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[casi] News, 9-16/7/03 (3)

News, 9-16/7/03 (3)


*  Groups question quality of water
*  Electricity cuts at hospitals continue to kill


*  Break up Iraq now!
 *  On America's side in Iraq
*  Blair seeks new powers to attack rogue states
*  Washington's Afghan plan unravels


*  Vikings in Iraq
*  France Rules Out Sending Troops to Iraq
*  India says 'no' to U.S. on troops for Iraq


*  Iraq civilian body count passes 6,000
*  [Figures for US injured in war]
*  Kwaiti says it identified four missing Kuwaitis dead in Iraq
*  Two high officials of ousted Saddam's regime arrested
*  Former iraqi spy boss announces personal hunt for Hussein
*  Patriarch Raphael I Bidawid: Leader of Iraq's Chaldean Catholics
*  More mass graves in northern Iraq


*  Groups question quality of water
by Ralph Hassall
Baghdad Bulletin, 7th July

On June 24, a power outage left Baghdad without water for two days. Electric
pumps were unable to work and no water was pumped to the network. Even the
toilets in the offices of Coalition Provisional Authority head Paul Bremer
were unable to flush. "The Electricity Authority is responsible," said the
vice-manager of the Baghdad Water Authority, Mohammed Qassim Hussein. "The
situation for us is now normal, but we don't know what they are going to do
in the electricity department." A senior Coalition Joint Task Force
spokesman blamed the power failure on looters who attacked an important
tower between Baiji power station and Baghdad ‹ a charge confirmed by the
Central Electrical Dispatch Centre. The current security situation has left
engineers unable to fix nighttime problems in both water and electricity
networks, and at the moment one relies almost totally upon the other. The
water system uses electrical pumps ranging between 400 volts to 11 kV, and
the total electricity consumption range is between 50 to 70 MW a day, about
five percent of Baghdad's daily power consumption. This doesn't include the
electricity required to pump water to the tanks at the top of people's
houses. Most water is treated at two large water plants. The April 7 project
at Rasafa is responsible for western Baghdad, and the Al-Karkh project in
Tarmia supplies water for the larger eastern side. Smaller water treatment
plants such as the Al-Wahda project, which supplies water to Medical City,
are sited around the capital to meet specific area demands. "We treat the
water and supply all water stations in Baghdad," said control supervisor
Mohammed Muthena at the Tarmia facility. "The water cut was due to an
electrical failure. We have three backup generators, two of eight megawatts
and a smaller generator of three megawatts. Unfortunately, none of them
work." The Al-Karkh project is the fifth largest in the world and the
largest in the Middle East. It draws 1.5 billion liters of water from the
Tigris at Dijla and turns it into 1.1 billion liters of drinkable water each
day. "During the power strike we used our diesel generators for two to three
days, but when Tarmia was out of service we couldn't provide all the water,"
said Abbas Haider, an electrical engineer at Rasafa. The generators in the
Rasafa station are all operational thanks to the help of the International
Red Cross. The aid agency is now busy trying to repair the house-sized
generators at Tarmia; which in April were so overworked that they blew up.
The Al-Karkh project supplies around 300 million liters per day to the April
7 project and thus the Rasafa region is dependent on Tarmia's operational
efficiency. "If there is no power, water can still flow to the network, but
very slowly," Haider said. "During the big power cut, we pumped to Rasafa,
but because Tarmia was down we could only operate at half capacity." Haider
‹ a Rasafa resident himself ‹ said he received water at home during this
time. His good fortune is almost certainly due to the repair work carried
out by the IRC on the Qanat pumping station in mid-April. Qanat, which pumps
to northern Rasafa, was missiled during the war and received emergency
repair work, including a new compressor. But many other districts in Rasafa
couldn't receive any water during the power strike because other stations
couldn't provide the necessary pressure. "Water leaves our station through a
1.6 meter diameter pipe that runs along the canal. There are pipes leading
from it to various districts. Once the water leaves our station, it is not
our problem," Haider said. "It is a network problem." Short-term backup
systems are in place, but these are unable to meet the great demands
illustrated by the big power cut. The reservoirs of Tijla and Shimali ‹ both
of which are supplied by Tarmia ‹ have tanks that can provide a negligible
emergency supply of two to three hours.

Is the water safe to drink? Cracks in the water pipe network and reduced
water pressure allow dirty and clean water to mix. Of 11,000 km of main
water pipes in Baghdad, 5,000 km are in need of repair. To combat the risk
of contamination, two tons of chlorine are added to Baghdad's water supply
to kill bacteria. "Our project is 45 kilometers from Baghdad. Chlorine
disappears along the pipe, reacting with contaminants. When we pump it in,
the water has a residual chlorine level of 1.5 milligrams per liter. When it
comes out of the tap, we have a residual level of 0.5 milligrams per liter,"
Hussein said.The lowest internationally accepted level is 0.5 milligrams per
liter. Between April and May this year, a "rapid quality assessment" of the
water in Primary Health Care Centers in both Al-Karkh and Al-Rasafa was
carried out by Cooperazione Internazionale, a Greek NGO. The report stated
that in Al-Rasafa, 21 out of 56 samples analyzed were not fit for human
consumption. In Al-Karkh 33 out of 54 samples we deemed unsafe. Some
chlorine levels were so low they were recorded as zero. In some water
sources they found parasites and bacteria. "Water in the system is severely
contaminated, with the analysis showing only half of it is fit for human
consumption," according to a COOPI assessment performed in May. Drops in
water pressure are also caused by excessive water usage by Baghdad
residents. Adnan Abdallah, head of planning at the BWA, explained that some
residents have been taking large quantities of water from the network using
electrical pumps. The water drain causes pressure to drop in the pipes,
sucking in dirty water from the outside. Keeping an eye on chlorine levels
is not straightforward, even at the stations where it is added to the water.
The gauge that automatically measures the chlorine levels at Tarmia has been
broken for some time, but the levels can be monitored in an onsite
laboratory. In Rasafa, a laboratory is used to check the level. "Our people
can use the instruments and US soldiers come and work at the lab," said
Haider, though he admitted the lab is not staffed on a daily basis. The
supply of chlorine in Iraq is limited and more will be needed in the
not-so-distant future. "I don't know when we will get more, but there is
enough that we can work until the end of the year without resupply. If we
need more, we will ask the Red Cross and other humanitarian organizations to
help us," said Youssef Jouad, an electronics engineer at Tarmia.

Fact and rumor "The Tigris water is clean," said Abdullah, but tales of
deliberate and accidental water contamination are common. "Ziala was just a
rumor," he said, referring to allegations of deliberate contamination of the
river with radioactive materials. "But we have no ability to check the radio
activity percentage anyway the responsible department no longer exists." The
possibility of accidental contamination is high. During the water cleaning
process, in addition to chlorine, the river water is treated with a
succession of chemicals which separate the water from the mud. The unwanted
muddy sludge is then pumped back into the river along with the chemicals.
Like any chemical, in high concentrations they can be harmful to humans and
the environment. The Tarmia plant was only designed to operate until the
year 2000 and is now due for overhaul. A document titled: "Iraq Water
Treatment Vulnerabilities" produced for the Defense Intelligence Agency in
Washington DC in January 1991, lists causes for concern in Iraqi water
quality. Apart from underlining the difficulties the water treatment
industry would suffer under sanctions it reported that drinking the highly
mineralized water in the rivers could result in diarrhoea and stones forming
inside the body. COOPI supported this assessment. "These negative factors
give rise to major concerns of outbreaks like watery and bloody diarrhoea,
typhoid fever, cholera and hepatitis A. In Baghdad City, COOPI considers the
threat of an epidemic is now critical and expected to worsen," the
organization stated in a press release. So far there have only been reports
of isolated incidents but summer heat is expected to raise the risk. On a
broader level, the DIA report of 1991 also predicts that: "failing to secure
supplies (of water treatment materials) will result in a shortage of pure
drinking water for much of the population. This could lead to increased
incidences, if not epidemics, of disease and to certain pure-water-dependent
industries becoming incapacitated, including petrochemicals, fertilizers,
petroleum refining, electronics, pharmaceuticals, food processing, textiles,
concrete construction, and thermal power plants."

by Allaa Yousef
Baghdad Buletin, 7th July

Paul Bremer visited our hospital two months ago. We were told that the
purpose of his visit was to see the sick children. I was asked to be with
the medical personnel and welcome him on his visit.

He met a large number of our doctors, nursing staff and management
employees. He talked about the "liberation of Iraq," and he also said that
everything will be alright within two weeks. Electricity, he said, will be
maintained, the water supply will reach everywhere and the security
situation will be okay! This week, multiple events took place that made me
remember the words of Mr. Bremer.

The mains electricity went down all over the city last week. We are supposed
to have a private cable for supplying our complex when such things happen,
but this time when the supply went down, the generator failed to generate
electricity. As a result, all our ventilators stopped functioning within two
hours, when the emergency Uninterrupted Power Service power supply packs
charged off.

We turned my patients over to manual ventilation, using special bags
connected to oxygen bottles to pump air to their lungs. We continued by this
manual ventilation method for nine hours while the engineers were doing
their best to repair the generator, but to no avail.

We got permission from the manager to transport the patients to another
hospital with all our equipment and ventilators, risking the life of all
four of them. I had no other choice but to move them.

Losing Sherrin, a six year-old girl, made things more difficult to deal
with. Death chose her over all my other patients. Her system suddenly
collapsed. She was an only child with blonde hair and green eyes. Her mother
couldn't have children for six years of marriage and couldn't have any more
after her. Before her death, her mother felt so dispirited she went to the
US forces checkpoint in our medical complex and asked them for help.

Somebody there promised her help, but nothing reached us.

After 24 hours in the other hospital, in which we had gathered all our
patients, I was told that our generator was fixed. After losing Sherrin, we
returned to our hospital .

Five days later I was woken up at three in the morning. My assistant
informed me that a lot of patients were being transported to our hospital
from Al-Eskan hospital because their hospital was on fire.

I went down to the emergency unit and saw more than 20 patients with their
terrified mothers. With the pediatric team, we started to examine the
patients. Three needed intensive care but I had no beds available for them
and two were in need of cardiac monitoring.

One patient needed a ventilator. All the ventilators in the hospital were
occupied by my patients (we have only three ventilators), so I left him to
be ventilated manually by the oxygen bag system. The patient died an hour
after his arrival.

When will all these sad stories end? How much longer can we tolerate the
pain and suffering of our people? How much more stress and working under
pressure? When will it all stop? They say tomorrow is another day, the
problem is that I'm not seeing tomorrow coming.


by Ralph Peters
New York Post, 10th July

PRESIDENT Bush consistently has done the right thing by ignoring the nay-
sayers before, during and after Operation Iraqi Freedom. Yet he's in danger
of making the same mistake his father did at the end of Desert Storm - doing
only half the job.

Just as the failure to press on to Baghdad in 1991 left Iraq and the entire
region with cancerous problems, today's failure to recognize the artificial,
unjust nature of the Iraqi state promises enduring discontent.

Will American troops need to return to Iraq a third time, in another decade?

Speaking of Iraq as a single, integrated country is a form of lying. Its
borders were drawn by grasping European diplomats almost a century ago, with
no regard for the wishes - or rivalries - of the local populations.

Today, the Iraq we're trying to herd back together consists of three
distinct nations caged under a single, bloodstained flag. Our problems are
with only one of those nations, the Sunni Arab minority west and north of

Favored by the British, the Sunni Arabs took power at Iraq's formation and
maintained it through massacre, torture and imprisonment. Saddam Hussein was
the ultimate expression of Sunni Arab tyranny over Iraq's Kurds and

By holding Iraq together with U.S. troops, we merely encourage the Sunni
Arabs - who remain hostile to our presence, whose extremists attack our
soldiers and who still intend to recapture control of the entire country.

We are punishing our friends, rewarding our enemies and alienating the
neutral. President Bush needs to perform radical surgery on Iraq now, while
the world remains in a funk over our success. We still have a window through
which we can thrust major reforms. But the window is closing. Defending the
status quo is deadly folly.

The break-up of Iraq should proceed in two stages.

First, we should provisionally divide the country into a federation of three
states, giving the Sunni Arabs one last chance to embrace reform.

‹ One state would encompass the Shi'ite region in the south, encompassing
all of the southern oil fields.

‹ The second would be an expanded Kurdistan, including historically Kurdish
Kirkuk and Mosul, as well as Iraq's northern oil fields.

‹ The third would be a rump Sunni Arab state sandwiched between the other

‹ Baghdad would become an autonomous district.

Stop worrying about Shi'ite extremism. If we mean what we say about
democracy, the Shi'ites should be free to choose whomever they want as their
leaders - even fundamentalists. Although the odds of theocratic rule
emerging or enduring in southern Iraq are lower than the media imply, the
Shi'ites, who long have been oppressed and persecuted, should be free to
determine their own future.

Democracy means letting people make their own mistakes. We've made a few
ourselves. The only thing upon which we should insist is strict supervision
to ensure an honest vote.

We must, however, make it clear to Iran that meddling will not be tolerated.

As this column consistently points out, the Kurds deserve freedom and a
state of their own. After the Jews and Armenians, they have been the most
persecuted ethnic group of the last hundred years, always denied an
independent homeland, shot, gassed, driven from their homes - and even
victimized for the use of their native dialects. The world's willingness to
look away from the long tragedy of the Kurdish people is inexcusable.

And consider how strategically helpful a Kurdish state, reliant on U.S.
military guarantees, might be. If the Kurdish people agreed to host our
forces, we could abandon our bases in Turkey, the use of which has been
restricted almost to worthlessness. New airbases amid a welcoming population
would be quite a change in the region. Even the Saudis and the Gulf Arabs
would be on notice.

And what about Turkey? Our "long-time ally"?

I have no personal grudge against Turkey. On the contrary,NЕ êTy¿e
country maH@imes and even took my wife there on our honeymoon. Istanbul
remains one of my favorite cities. I've argued for years that Turkey was a
vital ally.

But times change. Turkish treachery on the eve of our recent war cannot be

Startled by the swiftness of our victory, the Turks immediately assured us
that it was all a minor misunderstanding, that Turkey wished to remain the
best of friends. Yet Turkey is again becoming the "sick man of Europe,"
plagued by ineradicable corruption, growing Islamic radicalism and a
self-destructive military.

The result of our renewed friendship? Last week, U.S. forces had to break up
a secret Turkish military operation in northern Iraq, arresting a dozen of
Ankara's special operations troops. The Turkish mission? To assassinate the
senior Kurdish leader in Kirkuk. His crime? Cooperating with the Americans.

The Turkish chief of staff, Gen. Ozkok, threw a public tantrum, insisting
that we had created a grave crisis by busting his assassins. Sorry, pal. You
created the crisis. And you just blew any chance you and your government had
of rebuilding bridges to Washington that will bear any real weight.

The Turkish military's scheme to undercut our occupation underscores the
need for the Bush administration to stop thinking small when it comes to
nation-building. Instead of just changing the oil in the old jalopy, it's
time for a fleet of new cars. An independent Kurdistan should roll off the
assembly line first.

The second stage of the division of Iraq would kick in if the Sunni Arabs
still refuse to cooperate: We would declare the interim Iraqi Federation
dissolved, creating three fully independent states in its place, with the
Kurdish and Shi'ite states meeting along the Iranian border to guarantee the
Kurds a corridor to the sea for their oil, gas and trade.

Then leave the Sunni Arabs to rot.

Oh, and there just might be a third step down the road, too. We should not
miss any opportunity to support the longing for freedom of the tens of
millions of Kurds held hostage behind European-imposed borders in Turkey,
Syria and Iran. For Americans serious about human rights and freedom,
Greater Kurdistan must be a long-range goal.

Military operations alone cannot change the Middle East. The European legacy
of phony borders must be demolished, starting in Iraq. Don't betray our
troops again by leaving the job unfinished to please our enemies.

Ralph Peters is a retired Army officer and the author of "Beyond Terror:
Strategy in a Changing World."

by Michael Young
Lebanon Daily Star, 11th July

Recently, as the Anglo-American coalition forces in Iraq came under
sustained attack, opponents of the war in Iraq adopted a new stratagem: They
began systematically criticizing how the US civil administrator, Paul
Bremer, was running affairs in his new domain, effectively calling on the
Bush administration to salvage the results of an invasion they previously

Such ambiguity was inevitable in a situation where the United States plainly
miscalculated how to take control of post-war Iraq. Bremer is at the heart
of a bureaucratic war between the State Department and the Pentagon, and the
cost is being paid in American lives. He's taken unilateral measures that
have eroded his authority, but was smart enough to partially backtrack on
Monday, when it was announced that an Iraqi interim government would be
formed later this month.

Beyond Bremer and his tribulations, however, is a more fundamental
certainty, one that even many of those opposed to the war realize: The
United States must succeed in Iraq or the consequences could be
catastrophic, especially for the Middle East.

Catastrophic, first, because there are sundry groups around the world that,
while their ties with the former regime of Saddam Hussein were never proven,
would gain much confidence from the Bush administration's humiliation in
Iraq. This includes Al-Qaeda, Hamas and Hizbullah, each quite different in
its own way, but whose agendas are all essentially conflict-driven.

For the moment, Hamas and Hizbullah have accepted the reality of American
power, momentarily interrupting their conflicts with Israel. However,
Al-Qaeda continues to show signs of life, particularly in Afghanistan, so
that an American pullout from Iraq would certainly undermine the Bush
administration's commitment to ensuring that Afghanistan doesn't again fall
into Osama bin Laden's lap.

The states surrounding Iraq are more befuddled when surveying America's
fortunes. On the one hand they fear the establishment of a pro-American
democracy that might destabilize them and give their inhibited peoples
something to dream about. On the other, if the Bush administration withdraws
from Iraq, what will probably ensue is civil war and a breakdown of the
country's territorial integrity. The vacuum could devastate regional
stability, since Iraq would become a hub for antagonism between its

The first casualties of war are liberal intellectuals, because they're never
quite sure which way to lean. They, rightly, dislike war on principle, but
when a specific war advances the values they favor they are left with two
options: to either pursue their opposition, which allows them to claim
consistency, but also makes them seem incoherent by refusing to implement
their principles; or to support the war, which makes them seem coherent, but
also inconsistent.

Intellectual chaos thrives today in the West over Iraq, as the war
engendered a cornucopia of bleeding heart liberals, liberal hawks, Attila
the Hun hawks, isolationist conservatives and old-line realists. The only
thing potentially uniting the sensible ones is their outlook on an American
defeat. They know that if Bremer and US forces turn tail in Iraq, liberalism
will lose, as the country becomes a Hobbesian playground where thugs like
Saddam Hussein would plot a comeback.

What of Arab intellectuals? There have been lucid readings of the pitiable
Arab condition since Saddam Hussein's mass graves were uncovered. However,
Arabs, particularly Arab nationalists, remain ambivalent about whether to
embrace the Baath overthrow or lament it. Therein lies a bizarre consequence
of the Iraq war, as many thinking Arabs still yearn for an American setback.
They want the US to be singed by the blowback of imperial hubris,
disregarding what this will mean for millions of Iraqis who don't want war
or more of Saddam Hussein, and who certainly don't want to pay for the Arab
nationalist ardor of others.

That's why there is a single sensible choice: to support the Americans in
Iraq and insist they remain there until their task is ended. However, within
this context, supporters must ensure that the policies adopted will bring
about genuine Iraqi democracy. Forming an Iraqi provisional government is a
step in the right direction, but only if Bremer is not seen as a puppet
master. Meanwhile, demanding an American pullout must be abandoned for the
near future, but never forgotten.

The Bush administration's enemies realize that the key to American failure
in Iraq is to sever the organic link between the occupation authorities and
the Iraqi people. Bremer's mistakes have not made things easier. However,
the long-term interests of Iraqis, their freedom and ability to avoid civil
war, are tied into a transitory perpetuation of the occupation until a
full-fledged Iraqi government takes over.

Such words may irk some Arabs, but it's time to wake up: Whatever one thinks
of America's Iraq war, a withdrawal now would be infinitely worse than
staying on and ensuring that Iraq can stand on its one two feet, unified and

Michael Young writes a regular column for THE DAILY STAR. His weblog is

by Andy McSmith and Jo Dillon
The Independent, 13th July

Tony Blair is appealing to the heads of Western governments to agree a new
world order that would justify the war in Iraq even if Saddam Hussein's
elusive weapons of mass destruction are never found.

It would also give Western powers the authority to attack any other
sovereign country whose ruler is judged to be inflicting unnecessary
suffering on his own people.

A Downing Street document, circulated among foreign heads of state who are
in London for a summit, has provoked a fierce row between Mr Blair and the
German Chancellor, Gerhard Schröder.

Mr Schröder is in London for a summit of "progressive" governments, convened
by Mr Blair, which opens today.

Mr Blair has involved British troops in five conflicts overseas in his six
years in office, and appears to be willing to take part in many more.

The document echoes his well-known views on "rights and responsibilities" by
saying that even for self-governing nation states "the right to sovereignty
brings associated responsibilities to protect citizens".

This phrase is immediately followed by a paragraph which appears to give the
world's democracies carte blanche to send troops anywhere there is civil
unrest or a tyrant who refuses to mend his ways. It says: "Where a
population is suffering serious harm, as a result of internal war,
insurgency, repression or state failure, and the state in question is
unwilling or unable to halt or avert it, the principle of non-intervention
yields to the international responsibility to protect."


by Ramtanu Maitra
Asia Times, 15th July

In recent weeks, two major incidents along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border
have laid bare the new complexities in the area. And a large part of the
blame for these two incidents lies with the United States's duplicitous role
in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The first of the two incidents occurred on July 4, a Friday afternoon at the
Jama Masjid-o Imambargah Kalaan Isna Ashri, a Shi'ite mosque in Quetta in
the western Pakistani province of Balochistan bordering Afghanistan. On that
holy Muslim day, while the Shi'ite faithful were offering their prayers,
three killers, apparently including a suicide bomber, attacked the mosque:
53 were killed and 57 injured. This is not the first time the Shi'ite
community has been at the receiving end of such a vicious attack from
presumed Sunni killers in Quetta. Less than a month ago, on June 8, 13
trainee police personnel, all belonging to the Shi'ite community, were
slaughtered in the same town, which, incidentally, is a major headquarters
of the Pakistan army.

The second incident occurred three days later, on July 7, when about 2,000
Afghan demonstrators, protesting the Pakistan army's alleged occupation of
Afghan territory in the Nangarhar and Kunar provinces along the
Afghanistan-Pakistan border, climbed the Pakistan embassy walls in Kabul and
broke windows and furniture. Pakistan promptly closed the embassy. In all
likelihood, the embassy will be opened shortly, but the bad blood developed
between Islamabad and Kabul, both virtual client states of the United
States, will continue to bring death and mayhem for some time to come.

The Quetta killings were orchestrated by either the Sipah-e-Sahaba or the
Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, both virulent Sunni killer gangs fortified by the Taliban
militia, al-Qaeda members and Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI)
agents. It is rather well known that al-Qaeda and Taliban remnants have been
avoiding the US dragnet by hiding in Balochistan and in Pakistan's tribal
agencies (FATA) bordering Afghanistan. The Balochi Shi'ites, most of whom
immigrated ages ago from the Hazara region in central Afghanistan, have been
providing the Americans and the Pakistanis intelligence about al-Qaeda and
Taliban militia in the province. That led to a number of arrests of al-Qaeda
operatives. But while their intelligence was accepted, neither the Americans
nor the Pakistanis saw it necessary to provide the Shi'ite sources with
adequate security.

It is certain that more killings will ensue, likely precipitating
full-fledged sectarian violence between Shi'ites and Sunnis in
already-troubled Pakistan that may, sooner or later, embroil the keeper of
the Shi'ite faith - Iran. Indeed, some in Washington, particularly the neo
conservatives thumping to "take out" the Iran regime, would like to get
Tehran involved in the brawl. This crude layer of the American political
mainstream hopes that such action by Tehran would provide the "smoking gun"
to justify a regime change in Iran to the hapless American populace.

The stoning of the Pakistan embassy in Kabul was yet another incident
waiting to happen. The fact is that under the guidance of its Afghan-born
expert, Zalmay Khalilzad, the Bush administration has been pursuing a policy
that will not only set Pakistan and Afghanistan on the road to
confrontation, but also threaten to tear down the already-stretched fabric
of Pakistani society.

To repeat the ABCs of this situation: the key players in Pakistan on whom
the US is relying to eradicate Taliban extremists are the very individuals
who created the Taliban. By supporting President General Pervez Musharraf in
his power grab in 1999 in a coup under the pretext of replacing a
"fundamentalist" with a "moderate", Washington did manage to buy off a small
section of the Pakistani army personnel. These switched from being pro
Taliban to become pro-American. Needless to say, Musharraf is one of them.
Since then, Washington has dumped money on Pakistan, looked away from its
enriched uranium-for missile deal with North Korea, and suppressed
information about the on-going support to the Taliban and al-Qaeda militia
by a section of the Pakistan army and the ISI.

The results are plainly visible. First, two Pakistani provinces -
Balochistan and the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) - are now under
fundamentalist control and Islamic laws, reminiscent of the Taliban-imposed
so-called Dark Age laws, are being put in place in the NWFP. Second, the
bordering tribal agencies, where Islamabad's writ never ever reached, have
become the hideouts of the al-Qaeda and the Taliban. These areas border
eastern and southeastern Afghanistan, where most of Afghanistan's major
cities are located. The fabled Kabul-Kandahar road runs parallel and close
to the borders.

>From these hideouts, and with the help of the intelligence provided by the
Pakistan army and the ISI, the anti-American and anti-Kabul elements carry
out sorties and ambushes. When Americans used their muscle to force the
Pakistan army to comb that area jointly, the chiefs of at least one tribal
agency, the Mohmand agency, announced their opposition to the joint combing.
Promptly, the NWFP provincial assembly, now under the control of the
Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) - also known as Musharraf Mullahs and Army -
endorsed the Mohmand tribal chiefs.

More recently, when Musharraf was touring abroad for 18 days in late June
appeasing Western leaders, Pakistan's chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Committee, General Mohammad Aziz Khan, identified America as Pakistan's
number one enemy. In a public speech in Rawalkot in the Pakistan-held part
of Kashmir Khan declared, "All the defeats and setbacks that the Islamic
world has suffered have been due to disunity and splits in Muslim ranks,
because of the presence of and tolerance of these elements that most of our
[jihadi] movements came to nought." Khan, once the most powerful commander
in the Pakistan army, is close to the mullahs, and it is likely that he will
be fired. But that may not be the end of the story, for such a move could
spell doom for Musharraf himself and the rest of the pro-American Pakistani
"moderates" in the army.

If Musharraf has turned out to be an American puppet, it was not, perhaps,
intended. His switch from being a pro-Taliban to pro-American and
anti-Taliban - a move made to receive protection from Washington - made him
a puppet. By contrast, Hamid Karzai, the interim leader of Afghanistan, was
always an American puppet. He knows better than most that he had virtually
no credentials to take up the job that was handed to him by a group of
bullying Americans at the UN-organized international conference in Bonn at
the close of 2001.

Nobody knows better than Karzai the problem of being a puppet of Washington.
Karzai, who is referred to as the "mayor of Kabul" by cynical Kabul
residents, was wholly at the mercy of the Americans from the time he was
made leader. The US provides him an inner core of bodyguards, and he remains
as distant from the Afghans as he was the day he was sworn in. Meanwhile,
Americans are out there "fixing" things.

One of the things that the Americans "fixed" is drug production. During the
Taliban days, opium production had reached a peak of 5,000-plus tons. In
2001, with the warehouses filled to the ceiling with raw opium, the Taliban
wanted to show how "good" they were, and stopped poppy cultivation in the
territories they controlled - about 95 percent of the country. The opium
price soared, and the Taliban regime and its Pakistani benefactors made huge
profits. At the same time, the Taliban, citing their efforts to end the
venal drug trade, sought recognition as the legitimate Afghan government.

Following the American invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001 and
subsequent removal of the Taliban from power, competing agencies within the
US government set about to prove their worth (with some individuals
intensely involved in lining their pockets with the drug money) by adopting
policies to "short-cut" the process of Afghan reconstruction. One of these
short-cuts involved a deal with the warlords. The deal was to allow the
warlords to grow poppy, so that these warlords could buy arms and recruit
militia to strengthen their ranks. In return, they would not only provide
the Americans with the intelligence on where the al-Qaeda and the Taliban
are hiding, but would also provide the Americans with fighters.

What came of this approach? The first thing that happened is that poppy
fields and the poppy growers took over Afghanistan. In the year 2002, about
3,750 tons of opium was harvested. In cold cash, this translates
conservatively into anything between US$5-6 billion for the warlords.

The second thing that the policy did was further weaken Karzai, who was
running from pillar to post to get some cash to show some "improvement" in
living conditions in Kabul to justify his and the Americans' presence, and
he was deprived of revenue. The warlords claimed - and the American
operatives endorsed their claims - that they needed the money to bolster
their anti-Taliban militia and help the Americans find al-Qaeda members. As
a result, the Afghan warlords, who were virtually eliminated by the Taliban,
are now stronger than ever. In a few more years, these warlords will be
strong enough to kick out their American benefactors and American puppets.

As if these developments do not portend a bad enough future for the
immediate region, Washington felt compelled to introduce another. By
pressurizing the Pakistan army to comb the border areas to ferret out the
al-Qaeda and the Taliban, the Americans have given Pakistani troops a free
hand to occupy Afghan territory and maintain control of the Taliban and
al-Qaeda operations. According to area expert Ahmed Rashid, the Afghan
government and the US have been frustrated by Pakistan's reluctance to reign
in elements of the Taliban and al-Qaeda Islamic militant units. These
militants use Pakistan as a safe haven from which to launch raids against US
and Afghan troops. United Nations officials and heads of aid agencies say
that the security situation has worsened and that aid and reconstruction is
blocked in southern Afghanistan, or one third of the country, because of
increasing Taliban activity.

According to reports, the mob that attacked the Pakistan embassy in Kabul
was well organized. They were carrying sledge hammers, sticks and stones -
an indication that there was a plan to attack the embassy and it was not a
decision made on the spur of the moment. Pakistan's ambassador to Kabul,
Rustam Shah Mohmand, even accused the Karzai government of inciting the mob.
He said, "We hold the Afghan government squarely responsible, not only for
negligence, but for stage-managing the show, for creating the environment in
which such an attack could take place."

Prior to this, Musharraf, while in the US, criticized the Afghan leader for
his limited control over Afghanistan and for having a government which was
not fully representative of the ethnic mosaic that represents Afghanistan.
The Karzai cabinet has a large number of Panjshiri Tajik and Uzbek
representatives, but only a handful of the Pashtun community - the largest
community in Afghanistan. It is also well known that Pakistan, being close
to the Pashtun-dominated Taliban militia, would like to interact with the
Pashtuns, and not with the Tajiks or Uzbeks.

Musharraf's statement in the US did not go well with Karzai. The American
puppet in Kabul said that he was seeking clarification from the virtual
American puppet in Islamabad concerning his statements that Karzai's
government was unable to extend its authority into Afghanistan's provinces.
On the same day, Karzai issued a tough statement accusing Musharraf of
interfering in Afghanistan's internal affairs.

The Humpty Dumpty of the US war on terrorism has taken another fall, and it
is not at all clear that the divisive forces in Washington will be able to
put it together again.


RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT Vol. 6, No. 30, 11 July 2003

[Norwegians following Danes to Iraq. The Danes were suffering from

More and more international military contingents are arriving in Iraq,
including some Scandinavian ones. Some 104 soldiers from the Norwegian
Army's Telemark Battalion are on their way to Al-Basrah, "Aftenposten"
reported on 9 July. Their stated mission includes mine-clearance,
road-building, and humanitarian activities. The first batch of 15 Norwegians
left for Iraq on 26 June, according to "Aftenposten" the same day, and at
that time the Norwegian Defense Ministry acknowledged that their duties
would be military as well as humanitarian in nature. State Secretary Gunnar
Heloe said it is important that Norway does not appear to be part of the
occupation forces.

Observers in Oslo are concerned about the imprecise nature of the mission.
Vegard Hansen of the Norwegian Foreign Policy Institute (NUPI) said in the 9
July "Aftenposten" that "Norwegian soldiers in Iraq risk being exposed to
popular unrest and protest, and to planned attacks by remaining resistance
groups." Henrik Thune of NUPI added that "this is intended as a peacekeeping
mission, but it could easily turn into a peacemaking assignment." The
newly-arrived Norwegians may have more to fear than hostile fire, based on
the experience of the Danish detachment that preceded theirs. The
approximately 50 Danish soldiers at Camp Niebuhr near Al-Basrah are facing
malnourishment, "Jyllands-Posten" reported on 6 July. This is because the
Danes were forced to eat prepackaged rations for almost a month after their
kitchen ovens, refrigerators, and freezers broke down, and they had limited
access to fresh fruit and vegetables.

Camp doctor Knud Thomsen is hoping that providing the troops with better
access to fruits high in potassium -- such as bananas -- and by giving them
orange juice, will alleviate the problem. The first Danes suffering from
dehydration to be sent to the British field hospital in Al-Basrah were found
to have dangerously low levels of potassium, which is rare in Denmark for
anybody other than alcoholics, according to "Jyllands-Posten."

Camp commander Major Kent Gjedsoe said the general situation has improved
recently, and that new air conditioners purchased in Kuwait are better able
to operate in the extreme heat. "It's just wonderful," he added. (Bill

by Robert H. Reid
Las Vegas Sun, 15th July

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP): France's president Tuesday ruled out sending French
troops to Iraq, following India and Germany in rejecting U.S. calls for help
without approval from the United Nations.

Although a few nations are sending troops, near daily guerrilla attacks -
many of them deadly - and growing doubts about the basis for the war are
complicating Washington's search for peacekeepers to replace exhausted
American troops in Iraq.

In Paris, President Jacques Chirac, a leading opponent of the war, told the
Czech president that sending French soldiers to Iraq "cannot be imagined in
the current context."

He cited comments last week by his foreign minister, Dominique de Villepin,
who said a French role was unthinkable without approval by the U.N. Security

India also rejected a U.S. request for peacekeepers for Iraq, saying Monday
it would consider such a move only under a U.N. mandate. And German
Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said last week that his country would consider
sending peacekeepers only if asked by an interim Iraqi government or the
United Nations.

"We are very consciously not with troops in Iraq," German Foreign Minister
Joschka Fischer said Tuesday. "The German position about this did not

The long tours of duty in Iraq are heightening the strain on both the U.S.
Army and on soldiers' families back home. On Monday, the U.S. military said
thousands of troops from the 3rd Infantry Division, which helped capture
Baghdad, would stay in Iraq indefinitely because of the precarious security

The Bush administration has scored some success in recruiting other
countries to help patrol Iraq. Poland will contribute 2,300 soldiers to a
brigade that will also include units from Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and

A second brigade will have 1,640 Ukrainians and the third 1,100 Spanish
troops as well as units from Honduras, the Dominican Republic and El
Salvador and Nicaragua.

And on Tuesday, Croatia said it plans to send in up to 60 peacekeepers. "It
is in our interest to contribute to the strengthening of stability in Iraq
... and to prove ourselves a serious partner and a future member of NATO,"
Defense Ministry official Davor Denkovski said.

However, the decision to keep the 3rd Infantry in Iraq shows the need for
even more troops from countries with well-trained and well-equipped military

Even with a U.N. mandate, the decision to send soldiers to Iraq would
require considerable political soul-searching for many countries because of
widespread opposition to the war.

The failure to find any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq has reinforced
the feeling in Europe and elsewhere that the war should have never been
fought. Recent doubts that Iraq had tried to import uranium from Africa, as
President Bush said in his State of the Union address in January, have
revived debate in Europe over the basis for the war.

That in turn would make it hard for governments to convince their publics of
the need to risk the lives of their own soldiers to help the United States.

"Whatever they may have achieved with their bombs and missiles in Iraq ...
is overshadowed by the suspicion, which is being confirmed ever more, that
for the sake of the war they grotesquely exaggerated the threat posed by
Saddam Hussein," Germany's Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper said.

Germany's Berliner Zeitung newspaper said the governments in Washington and
London "rather than those in Berlin and Paris are today finding it most
difficult to justify their actions" in Iraq.

In a commentary in The Times of India, former Foreign Secretary Salman
Haidar cited public opposition to America's Iraq policy as a main reason for
refusing to send troops, even as India works for better relations with

"The Iraq war was widely seen as unjust, and there is sympathy for the Iraqi
people with whom we have had age-old ties," Haidar said. "It would be
disturbing to see Indian troops deployed against them," even though Indian
forces would have been sent to the relatively peaceful Kurdish areas, he

Even with a U.N. mandate, Germany and France are already deeply committed to
peacekeeping missions elsewhere. Germany has 8,500 troops abroad, mostly in
Afghanistan and the Balkans as well as in the Horn of Africa as part of the
war against terrorism.

France is leading a European Union operation, mandated by the United
Nations, to stabilize the situation in the Congo town of Bunia and has about
4,000 troops maintaining order in Ivory Coast.

by John Kifner
New York Times, 15th July

NEW DELHI: In a sharp blow to America's postwar plans, India refused Monday
to send peacekeeping troops to Iraq.

The Bush administration had hoped that India would send a full army division
of 17,000 or more soldiers to serve in the Kurdish region around Mosul, and
exerted considerable pressure on the government of Prime Atal Bihari
Vajpayee to do so.

That would have made the Indian contingent second in numbers only to the
United States in the occupation force and give a more international texture
to a coalition that consists primarily of American and British troops. It
would also have relieved hard-pressed American troops, who could either go
home or be redeployed to more volatile areas in the center of the country.

India's refusal will not affect the scheduled rotation of forces, which will
bring 17,000 allied troops to Iraq over the summer.

Following several months of uncertainty and debate, the government's Cabinet
Committee on Security in a two-hour meeting Monday afternoon voted not to
send the troops.

''Our longer-term national interest, our concern for the people of Iraq, our
long-standing ties with the Gulf region as a whole, as well as our growing
dialogue and strengthened ties with the U.S. have been key elements in this
consideration,'' India's foreign minister, Yashwant Sinha, said in a brief
statement read to journalists after the meeting.

The reasoning, Indian political observers said, was relatively simple: the
war in Iraq is very unpopular here.

Even as American troops were approaching Baghdad in early April, the Indian
Parliament overwhelmingly passed a resolution condemning the war as unjust
and calling on the United States to withdraw.

Press reports spoke of antiwar demonstrations in hundreds of cities and
towns. A poll in the current issue of the weekly news magazine Outlook
showed 69 percent opposed to sending troops to Iraq. Other polls have put
the figure as high as 87 percent.

The political considerations loomed larger with elections coming up this
fall for five state legislatures, four of them in the Hindi-speaking
heartland that is controlled by the opposition Congress party. These
elections are expected to set the tone for national elections in September
of next year.

''Public opinion is sharply critical of the war,'' said Praful Bidwai, a
prominent journalist. ''It just doesn't make sense for Indian soldiers to be
basically used as cannon fodder when the U.S. is getting bogged down and
taking casualties.''

The Americans had pressed hard to get India to send the troops. When the
deputy prime minister, Lal Krishna Advani, visited Washington this spring he
got a protocol upgrade that saw him greeted by Vice President Dick Cheney,
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, National Security Adviser Condoleezza
Rice and even President George W. Bush, press reports here said. They all
urged India to participate in what the Americans described as a
''stabilization'' effort.

The foreign secretary, Kanwal Sibal, received similar treatment in
Washington, meeting with Rice and the deputy defense secretary, Paul
Wolfowitz, a main architect of the Iraq strategy. The Pentagon dispatched a
special team here to assist in planning the Indian deployment.

The Indians themselves dispatched emissaries to Iraq and neighboring
countries to assess the situation.

Some in the government argued for the deployment, contending that a closer
relationship with the only superpower would strengthen India's international
position ‹ particularly in relation to rival Pakistan, which has tied itself
to Washington in the war on terrorism.

The two countries have a bitter dispute over Kashmir that goes back to
independence in 1947. Some also suggested that India could get a slice of
lucrative postwar reconstruction contracts.

A retired general, Satish Nambier, for example, argued in an essay in
Outlook that sending a force to Iraq would in ''considerations of
realpolitik'' give India a chance to be a major player on the world scene.
Still, he hastened to begin the essay by underscoring his ''total opposition
to the unilateral'' American operations in Iraq.

Writing in the same magazine, a columnist, Prem Shankar Jha, expressed a
more prevailing view, suggesting that the situation in Iraq was changing for
the worse. ''To send Indian troops now ‹ without knowing what they will be
called on to do, how long they will have to stay, and when and how their
task will be completed ‹ would be to push many of them to a pointless
death,'' he wrote.

Some within the ruling Hindu nationalist coalition were strongly opposed,
including the defense minister, George Fernandes, and other military and
security officials.

Two left-leaning former prime ministers, Indar Gujral and V.P. Singh, issued
a statement against deployment of Indian forces to Iraq. ''We believe
irreparable damage will be done to India's reputation and good name if
Indian troops were sent to prop up the occupation of Iraq. Above all, it
will be unwise and unfair to our army to send them on a mission to risk
their lives where no national interest is at stake.''

The government statement said that ''careful thought'' had been given to the
matter and that India ''remains ready to respond to the urgent needs of the
Iraqi people for stability, security, political progress and economic
reconstruction,'' adding that India was planning, with Jordan, to set up a
hospital in An Najaf as a ''concrete gesture of our support to the Iraqi

The statement added that, ''were there to be an explicit UN mandate for the
purpose, the Government of India could consider the deployment of our troops
in Iraq.''


Reuters, 9th July

LONDON (Reuters) - New information from remote locations of Iraq has pushed
up the civilian death toll from the U.S.-led war by 500 in the last month to
at least 6,000, an Anglo American research group says.

The Iraq Body Count's (IBC) latest figures, based on media reports and more
than a dozen counting projects from independent investigators in and outside
Iraq, put the minimum number of civilians dead at 6,055 and the maximum at

"Both the U.S. & the U.K. said they were taking every effort to minimise
civilian casualties and talked a lot about smart, precision weapons," IBC
researcher John Sloboda told Reuters.

"From that, one could have expected a clean war with very few casualties,
but I don't call 5,000 to 7,000 very few. It is clear the coalition claims
were political claptrap."

The latest IBC toll has risen by about 500 after information arrived from
areas that had not been reached before by outsiders. The group says its
statistics are the most comprehensive collation of civilian deaths

"If you look at a map of Iraq, there are still a lot of places, that you
would imagine allied troops have gone through, where there have been no
reports of killings yet, simply because no journalist or researcher has gone
there," said Sloboda, a psychology professor from Britain's Keele

The IBC, run by British and American academics and peace activists, has
chastised London and Washington for not setting up an official investigation
into civilian deaths.

"Then there are the deaths by malnutrition and dehydration as a consequence
of the war which we haven't even started talking about," Sloboda added.

The United States and Britain have repeatedly stressed their tactics were
designed to keep civilian casualties to a minimum.

But they are declining to give estimates.

"We made every effort to reduce civilian casualties by a careful targeting
policy," a spokesman for Britain's Ministry of Defence said.


*  [Figures for US injured in war]
The Associated Press, 10th July


The Pentagon said Wednesday 1,044 American servicemen and women have been
wounded in action or injured since the war in Iraq began March 20. Of that
total, 382 have been wounded or injured since Bush declared major combat
over, according to the Pentagon's figures. Of the 212 U.S. troops who have
died in Iraq since the war began, 74 died after May 1, not including
Thursday's toll.'

Arabic News, 10th July

The spokesman for the search team for "misssing Kuwaitis and prisoners in
Iraq" Fayez al Oneizi said yesterday that the remains of four Kuwaiti
missing were found in a mass grave in al-Samawa area to the south of Iraq.

In a statement to the Kuwaiti TV, al-Oneizi claimed that DNA tests on the
remains of the bodies in the grave which four of them proved to be for
Kuwaitis; three men and one woman, the Iraqi forces had detained in 1990
during its invasion of Kuwait.

The team announced that discovered the bodies are for Nasser Hussein al-Anzi
( 64 year old), Anam al-Eidan ( 41 year old), Abdul Latif al-Wahim ( 41 year
old) and Mahmoud Sayed Hassan ( 51 ) year old.

The team also were able to recognize the identity of other three Kuwaitis in
the said cemetery since the beginning of June.

Sydney Morning Herald, from AP, 10th July

Saddam Hussein's former interior minister and a top level member of his
Baath party have been taken into custody, the latest arrests from a list of
55 most wanted fugitives from the ousted regime, the military said

Mizban Khadr Hadi, a high-ranking member of the Baath Party regional command
and revolutionary command council and Mahmud Diab al-Ahmed, the former
interior minister, were taken into custody on Tuesday, according to a
statement from Tampa, Florida-based US Central Command.

Hadi, number 23 on the US list of 55 most wanted Iraqis from Saddam's
regime, turned himself in in the capital on yesterday. Al-Ahmed, number 29
on the list, was captured the same day, the Central Command statement said.
It gave no further details.

"Coalition forces will continue to work at apprehending former members of
the Saddam Hussein regime," Central Command said.

Thirty-four out of the 55 people on the most wanted list are now in custody,
but none of the top three - Saddam Hussein and his sons Qusay and Uday.

The most recent arrest came June 17, when Abid Hamid Mahmud al-Tikriti,
Saddam's top aide, surrendered after informants' tips led US forces to his
hideout in Saddam's hometown, Tikrit.

Just before the war began, al-Ahmed was named commander of one of four
military regions for the defense of Iraq. He held a news conference just
after the war began wearing a bulletproof vest in which he tucked a big
knife and three ammunition magazines, and also brandished a Kalashnikov
assault rifle.

"Some of you may be wondering why I am dressed like this," he asked at the
time. "Well, because we in Iraq have pledged not to relinquish our guns
until the day we are victorious."


RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT Vol. 6, No. 30, 11 July 2003


The former head of Iraq's Military Intelligence has launched a personal hunt
for deposed Iraqi President Hussein, AFP reported on 1 July. Major General
Wafiq al-Samarra'i, who defected in 1994 and joined the Iraqi opposition
movement, told reporters on 29 June that he decided to embark on the hunt
after an overnight attack on his home by what he identified as Hussein
loyalists. "My house was attacked at 1:45 a.m. with an antitank rocket.
There was only material damage," al-Samarra'i told reporters in his hometown
of Samarra, located 125 kilometers north of Baghdad. Al-Samarra'i was
surrounded by a number of local tribal chiefs when he made the announcement.
"We have various pieces of information saying [Hussein is] present in the
region, even if no one's seen him," Samarra'i said. "I'm leaving today to
search for Saddam and his partisans.... We will share information we'll
gather with the Americans." Al-Samarra'i is the founder and
secretary-general of the National Salvation Movement. According to AFP, he
has no military forces under his control except some personal security
guards. (Kathleen Ridolfo)

by Felix Corley
The Independent, 12th July

Raphael Bidawid, priest: born Mosul, Iraq 17 April 1922; ordained priest
1944; Patriarchal Vicar of Kirkuk 1956-57; Bishop of Amadya 1957-66; Bishop
of Beirut 1966-89; Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans 1989-2003; died
Beirut 7 July 2003.

Calling Saddam Hussein a "real gentleman" was hardly likely to endear a
clergyman to the outside world. But as head of Iraq's largest Christian
church for 14 years - all but the last few months under Saddam's rule -
Patriarch Raphael I Bidawid had to tread carefully to protect his
600,000-strong flock.

It was not just the United States that believed he had overstepped the mark.
The Vatican was highly concerned by his defence of Saddam's 1990 invasion of
Kuwait - the action that triggered the first Gulf war - and diplomatically
distanced itself from his remarks, insisting that the invasion was a breach
of international law and the UN Charter.

The Chaldean Church - an offshoot of the Assyrian Church of the East -
accepted the authority of the Pope in the 16th century and is the only
Eastern-rite Catholic church to have grown larger than the church from which
it sprang. Iraq's Chaldeans take pride in continuing to use Aramaic - the
language Jesus spoke - among themselves and during the liturgy.

While relations between the Assyrians and the Chaldeans are close, Patriarch
Raphael failed to bring about the unity between the two he so desired. At
the same time there were some Chaldeans who criticised his Latin style,
believing he was drawing his church away from its Oriental roots.

Born in British Mandate Iraq soon after the disintegration of the Ottoman
Empire, Bidawid attended a Dominican-run primary school in Mosul (the
Biblical Nineveh) and at the age of 11 entered the Chaldean junior seminary
in the town. Identified as a promising student, he was sent to Rome three
years later to study theology and philosophy. He remained in the city during
the Second World War.

Ordained a priest in October 1944, he obtained a doctorate in philosophy
with a thesis on the Islamic theologian Al-Ghazali and a doctorate in
theology on Patriarch Timothaos the Great. In 1947 he left Rome and returned
to Mosul as vice-rector of the seminary, where he also taught French and
moral theology.

>From 1950 he served as chaplain to Chaldeans working in the field for the
Iraq Petroleum Company. In 1956 he was appointed patriarchal vicar for the
diocese of Kirkuk and a year later, at the age of just 35, was appointed
Bishop of Amadya in northern Iraq, at the time the youngest Catholic bishop
in the world. He attended sessions of the Second Vatican Council in Rome
(1962-65). In 1966 he was transferred to the diocese of Beirut, where he
stayed for 23 years, having the difficult task of leading his church through
the bitter Lebanese civil war.

A synod of the Chaldean Church elected Bidawid Patriarch of Babylon of the
Chaldeans in May 1989, following the death of Mar Pulus II Chekho the
previous month. His installation in Baghdad's Chaldean cathedral was
attended by 10,000 faithful.

As economic and political conditions worsened in Iraq and across the Middle
East, Chaldeans emigrated in droves, leaving a dwindling flock at home but a
vibrant diaspora, with 170,000 in the United States (with two dioceses of
their own) and communities in Europe, Canada, Australia and the Caucasus.
Patriarch Raphael was a regular visitor to his scattered flock.

But he is most likely to be remembered for his public endorsement of
Saddam's regime. He attacked the Western coalition for launching the first
Gulf war (though he was criticised for spending the war outside Iraq).
"These nations should feel pretty guilty. It was a vendetta, a shame for
humanity," he said.

He also bitterly criticised the subsequent United Nations embargo:

It is a tragedy, not to say a genocide, inadmissible in our times considered
civilised. If this is the new world order that is talked about, then we

On his trips abroad he campaigned vigorously for sanctions to be halted:

You Westerners do not realise that an Arab can do without everything except
his dignity. If you touch his dignity he will be as ferocious as a lion.

Raphael had hoped to be able to welcome Pope John Paul to Iraq on his
much-desired papal Millennium pilgrimage to Ur of the Chaldees and other
Biblical sites. But the Vatican abandoned the visit as the Iraqi regime set
too many unacceptable conditions.

Patriarch Raphael faced a dilemma as leader of a Church that straddled the
divide between its Oriental homeland and the diaspora in the West. It had to
work with the Saddam regime, which initially followed a secularist model
that kept Islamists at bay, while suffering in silence such encroachments on
its rights as the confiscation of church-run schools.

With its most prominent layman, Tariq Aziz, as deputy prime minister, the
Chaldean Church had some state protection. "Christians here are privileged.
Saddam gives us what we want, listens to us and protects us," he claimed,
perhaps sincerely. But, as an educated man, Raphael was aware of the
precarious state of his flock, divided between Saddam's regime, a self-ruled
Kurdish zone and a Western diaspora.

Dawn, 16th July

AL-HADAR, July 15: Dozens of bodies were exhumed Tuesday from a mass grave
in the northern Iraqi region of Al-Hadar under the supervision of US
experts. The remains of people who residents said were victims of the ousted
regime of Saddam Hussein were dug up from a grave at Sahil Attaf, south of
the northern capital of Mosul.

The digs, which were undertaken by a team from the US Armed Forces Institute
of Pathology, with the help of American troops and members of the Kurdistan
Democratic Party (KDP), will continue over the coming days.

The US team said it put the remains unearthed on Tuesday in around 40 bags
each containing the remains of two to four people. Pieces of Kurdish women's
clothing and coloured headscarves were found in the grave. Several skulls
appeared to have been pierced by bullets, indicating some victims had been
shot in the head.

According to residents, the exhumed bodies belong to Kurds from regions
further north, including women and children, executed by Saddam's regime in
1988, the final year of an eight-year war between Iran and Iraq.-AFP

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