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News, 16-23/7/03 (3) THE COLLABORATION * US administration reaches out to communists, low-paid Iraqis * Pretender to throne marks anniversary of fall of monarchy * Iraqi Governing Council is inaugurated: a look at the first week * Bad blood lingers after strange days in Kurdistan * Iraq Council Fails to Choose President * New Iraqi Council Makes Debut at U.N. THE OPPOSITION * Al-Da'wah official discusses party, split * Resistance groups continue to issue threats against coalition * As other group claims it has halted attacks * Iraqi archbishop condemns US * US confused by Iraq's quiet war * Iraqi uprising gathers pace * 10,000 Iraqi Shiites rally in Najaf against US occupation THE COLLABORATION http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=1520&ncid=1520&e=3&u=/afp/20 030716/pl_afp/iraq_us_bremer_1 * US ADMINISTRATION REACHES OUT TO COMMUNISTS, LOW-PAID IRAQIS Yahoo, 16th July BAGHDAD (AFP) - Promoting communists, doubling the salaries of the low-paid and banning the death penalty might not sound like the work of a US Republican administration, but then welcome to topsy-turvy post-war Iraq (news - web sites). Among the more surprising choices made by the top US overseer in Iraq, Paul Bremer, known for his neo-conservative leanings, was to allow communist Hamid Majid Mussa to sit on Iraq's new Governing Council. "He has two main concerns: preventing extremists taking the key positions among the Shiites and keeping the economy going," explained one of the international advisors involved in the selection process. "He hesitated at first but became convinced that the communists could prove a counterweight to the imams," he added, asking not to be named. Iraqi Communist Party official Numan Suhayel explains how the selection was made: "The Americans and the British sent a delegation to see us and then Hamid Majid met personally with Paul Bremer," he says. He insists the party's seat on the council has nothing to do with power brokering but reflects the communists' standing in Iraq. Another peculiarity is the abolition of the death penalty. While US President George W. Bush (news - web sites) is a known advocate of capital punishment, with Texas under his governorship singled out by human rights groups for its level of executions, US authorities in Iraq have banned the practice. Other surprising decisions include reducing inequality in pay scales for civil servants. Bremer arrived in Baghdad on May 12 to be confronted by thousands of public sector workers unpaid and out of work. One of his first decisions was to double the minimum salary to 50,000 dinars (around 40 dollars) per month. At the same time he cut the top salaries for senior management from 1.2 million dinars (960 dollars) to 500,000 dinars (400 dollars). But one decision that backfired was an attempt to get rid of Iraq's 400,000-strong army with a one-off termination payment. Under threat of armed insurrection, the coalition agreed to pay monthly salaries to former soldiers not in the top tiers of Saddam Hussein (news - web sites)'s Baath Party. "Bremer's becoming an Iraqi. He's distancing himself more and more from the Bush administration," one international advisor said with a broad grin when asked to account for the top US official's recent "eccentric" decisions. RADIO FREE EUROPE/RADIO LIBERTY * PRETENDER TO THRONE MARKS ANNIVERSARY OF FALL OF MONARCHY RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT, Vol. 6, No. 31, 17 July 2003 Sharif Ali bin al-Husayn, cousin of King Faysal II, the Iraqi king assassinated in a coup led by Abd al- Karim Qasim on 14 July 1958, marked the day with a memorial at his party's headquarters in Baghdad, according to an announcement issued by the Constitutional Monarchy Movement (CMM) in "Al-Ra'y al-Amm" on 12 July. Sharif Ali's CMM has refused to join the fledgling Iraqi Governing Council on grounds that it was appointed by U.S. administrator L. Paul Bremer rather than elected, and because Bremer holds veto power over council decisions. Al-Husayn told Al-Jazeera on 13 July that the council will not achieve the Iraqi people's goal of an independent government. "Of course we will support this council," he said. "But based on weeks of continuous negotiations and dialogue with the occupation forces...there has not been any sign that they will give any additional powers to any council at this time." He told the BBC the same day that de-Ba'athification was a mistake in Iraq because he claims it "dissolved entirely the [Iraqi] national institutions." (Kathleen Ridolfo) RADIO FREE EUROPE/RADIO LIBERTY * IRAQI GOVERNING COUNCIL IS INAUGURATED: A LOOK AT THE FIRST WEEK. by Kathleen Ridolfo RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT, Vol. 6, No. 31, 17 July 2003 The long-awaited U.S.-backed Iraqi Governing Council held its inaugural meeting in Baghdad on 13 July to much media fanfare and Iraqi anticipation of a democratic future. The council, which will wield executive and legislative powers in the interim phase before a new government is formed, is seen as the first step toward democratic Iraqi self-rule in the wake of the U.S.-led operation to oust Saddam Hussein. "The establishment of this council is an expression of the national Iraqi will in the wake of the collapse of the former oppressive and dictatorial regime, thanks to the struggle and brave sacrifices of our people and the intervention of the international coalition forces," Al-Jazeera quoted a 13 July statement by council members as saying. "The building of Iraq shall remain among the first priorities of the good Iraqi people. It will require the participation of all Iraqis from all political and social trends who are willing to help accomplish this historic task," it noted. The Governing Council issued its first resolution at the 13 July meeting, canceling all official holidays associated with the deposed leadership and the defunct Ba'ath Party, and named 9 April as an official holiday marking the fall of the Hussein regime. Council members include 13 Shi'ite Muslims, five Sunni Muslims, five Kurds, one Assyrian Christian, and one Turkoman representative. There are three women on the council. Sixteen of the 25 members are Iraqis from the diaspora and autonomous Kurdish areas. Of the major opposition groups based outside Iraq that returned following the downfall of the Hussein regime, only the Constitutional Monarchy Movement (CMM) refused to join the council (for details see this issue). A complete list of council members is available on RFE/RL's "Post-Saddam Iraq" webpage (http://www.rferl.org/specials/iraqcrisis/) The council's members tried to dispel doubts as to the potency of the fledgling body as they met with reporters following their inaugural meeting on 13 July. Jalal Talabani of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) scoffed at a reporter's suggestion that the council's role will be limited, Al-Jazeera reported the same day. "The council enjoys a relatively good number of powers," he said. "These include appointing ministers, supervising ministries, [approving] the budget, security, reestablishing the armed forces, and appointing heads of diplomatic missions abroad. Except for one or two things, the council almost enjoys all government powers." Regarding U.S. administrator L. Paul Bremer's power to veto council decisions, former Iraqi Foreign Minister Adnan Pachachi told the press, "We do not expect vetoes because the administration...stressed that it will fulfill all the demands of the Governing Council. If there is going to be any differences of opinion...such differences can be settled through discussion." Moreover, council members openly criticized the Arab League, Arab states, and their satellite networks for their apparent support for the deposed Hussein regime. Muhammad Bahr al-Ulum told reporters that Arab satellite channels "betrayed [Iraqis] and did not stand by us," adding, "These channels are awaiting Saddam's return." Nasir al-Chadirji, secretary-general of the Movement of National Democrats, added, "I have an appeal for Al Jazeera and other Arab satellite channels. I tell them: Enough incitement for the Iraqi people to carry out acts of violence against the coalition troops." Al-Jazeera broadcast the criticisms of council members. Council member Muwaffaq al-Rubay'i went a step further in the press conference, lashing out at the Arab League for not supporting the Iraqi people, saying, "We wished that the Arab League had taken a stand towards the crimes of the Hussein regime," adding, "The Arab League's stand toward the Iraqi people should demonstrate more sympathy and understanding." He called on the Arab League to recognize the Governing Council. Regarding Arab states, Ahmad Chalabi from the Iraqi National Congress (INC) told reporters, "We ask them to understand that the Saddam regime is finished, and that they should deal with the Iraqi people...Arabs, Kurds, Turkomans, Assyrians, Shi'a, and Sunnis.... They should help us in all fields." As the council assembled to conduct its first full day of meetings on 14 July, a blast destroyed a car parked outside the Baghdad compound that houses the new Iraqi Governing Council. The origin of the blast was not initially determined, although some international media reported a grenade as the cause. The car bore diplomatic license plates, according to Reuters. The council did not let the blast prevent them from carrying out their mission, however. Instead, it voted to send a delegation to the United Nations on 22 July, when UN Special Envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello is slated to brief the Security Council on the UN role in postwar Iraq. A three-member delegation is expected to lobby the Security Council "to assert and emphasize the role of the Governing Council as a legitimate Iraqi body during this transitional period," "The Washington Post" reported on 15 July. The delegation may also request a seat on the UN General Assembly during that meeting, international media reported. Vieira de Mello hailed the formation of the council and pledged full UN support when he addressed the council on 13 July. One item on the first day's agenda was postponed indefinitely: the election of a council president. Iraqi National Accord (INA) head Iyad Allawi told Al-Jazeera a day later that the council was working on an internal by-law. "We have to discuss this before deciding on the form of presidency or who is going to be the president," he noted. He added that the council was working on more pressing issues, such as establishing a police force. The council is pushing for a police force with a ratio of one policeman for every 300-350 Iraqis, Allawi said. That ratio is half of the world ratio. Allawi also said that the selection of ministers would not be based on any kind of ethnic or religious formula. In its second day of official business, the governing body announced that it would establish a judicial commission to try members of the ousted regime who are charged with war crimes against the Iraqi people, Reuters reported on 15 July. Defendants from among the U.S.-led coalition's 55 most-wanted Iraqis will apparently be among the first to be tried by that commission. "The Governing Council will take it upon itself to try [senior members of the deposed Hussein regime] and to punish them according to law," Iraqi National Congress (INC) spokesman Entifadh Qanbar told reporters. He did not say whether deposed President Saddam Hussein would be tried in absentia, Reuters reported. Meanwhile, international rights groups were cautious in their praise of the decision. Human Rights Watch (HRW) welcomed the establishment of a judicial commission as "a positive step" in a press release dated 15 July, but the group called for international jurists to serve on the commission. "The Iraqi judiciary, weakened and compromised by decades of Ba'ath Party rule, lacks the capacity, experience, and independence to provide fair trials for the abuses of the past," the press release stated. "Few judges in Iraq, including those who fled into exile, have participated in trials of the complexity that they would face when prosecuting leadership figures for acts of genocide, crimes against humanity, or war crimes," HRW stated. HRW said in its 15 July press release that "bringing about accountability for the crimes of the past two decades in Iraq will be a massive undertaking for the Iraqi people." According to HRW, the most heinous crimes to be investigated and prosecuted include: the 1988 Anfal campaign against the Iraqi Kurds, in which some 100,000 civilians were reportedly killed and 4,000 villages destroyed; the "disappearance" and execution of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis; the purported use of chemical weapons against Kurdish civilians and Iranian troops; the decimation and repression of the Marsh Arabs; and the forced expulsion of ethnic minorities in northern Iraq during Hussein's Arabization campaign. Amnesty International echoed Human Rights Watch, saying trials "must be fair and seen to be fair, conducted by an impartial and independent court fully in accordance with international human rights standards," in a statement issued on 15 July (http://www.amnesty.org/). The organization recommended that Iraqi judicial experts work alongside international experts to assess the Iraqi judicial system "including its capacity to ensure fair trials in the short term," and to "explore options for bringing perpetrators to justice," including the possible participation of non-Iraqi judges and courts. http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/07/18/1058035204818.html * BAD BLOOD LINGERS AFTER STRANGE DAYS IN KURDISTAN by Ed O'Loughlin Sydney Morning Herald, 19th July [.....] But with the influence of Iraqi Kurds hugely increased by their active alliance with the US in the present war, Turkey is very unhappy. And nothing makes it more unhappy than the situation in Kirkuk. Home to the world's sweetest, richest oil field, this city lay just outside the Kurdish autonomous zone until April, when thousands of Kurdish guerillas swarmed in on the heels of Saddam Hussein's fleeing army. Since then the Kurds - with US backing - have been the real powers in the town, much to the chagrin of its sizeable Arab and Turkoman (ethnic Turks living in Iraq) populations. All three ethnic groups claim to be the majority in the area, and Kurds and Turkomen both claim the city for their historic capital. At stake, they seem to believe, is control of the precious oilfield. In a little-reported incident in April, US soldiers stopped a Turkish convoy carrying humanitarian aid for the Turkoman population of Kirkuk and arrested a number of armed Turkish special forces in plain clothes. They too were quietly returned home. When the US succeeded in brokering the setting up of a new, ethnically mixed Kirkuk city council last month Turkomen did not get the majority of seats that they feel they deserve. The man elected to govern the city was Abdurrahman Mustafa, an ethnic Kurd. Logically, then, the next step was for the disgruntled Turkomen to get the Turkish Army to murder him. "They wanted to assassinate him mainly because he's a Kurd," said an official of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, one of two main Iraqi Kurdish factions. "They claim the Turkomen are a majority in Kirkuk, which is not true. They want an ethnic conflict there, to create enmity between the Kurds and Turkomen and Arabs to give them an excuse to intervene." One of many problems with this scenario is that it is hard to believe Turkey would set itself up for the apocalyptic recriminations that would follow such meddling in the US's new fief - and in an oil town at that. While one can never rule out military adventurism, another explanation for the raid also presents itself: the Americans were naive, and the Turks were set up by the Kurds, who are increasingly unhappy about the lingering Turkish military forces inside their borders. These include not only the regular formations in the north but also a small Turkish monitor team with US forces in Kirkuk and a Turkish-officered "Peace Monitoring Force" established by general agreement in 1996 to keep apart the then warring Kurdistan Democratic Party and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. Although the Kurdish regional Parliament has called for both forces to be removed or disbanded, Turkey has so far paid no heed. That the Peace Monitoring Force draws its rank and file from the Turkoman Front party has reinforced Kurdish perceptions that the Turkoman Front is merely a tool for Turkish interests inside Iraq. The Kurds are particularly suspicious of a Turkoman Front office and radio station in Sulaimaniya, an eastern Kurdish city with no indigenous Turkomen. Not only that, but the Turkoman Front's Sulaimaniya office is back-to-back in the same block with the Turkish "interest office" where the special forces were arrested on July 4. It too was raided, and several firearms were reportedly seized. Both offices were open again this week, although neither could furnish anyone who would speak to a visiting reporter. Whoever sparked the July 4 raid, there is no doubt that many Kurds were delighted to see Turkish soldiers - and several Turkoman Front members - arrested in Sulaimaniya by the Kurds' US protectors. So sensitive are US-Turkish-Iraqi relations that it is difficult to get anyone to comment on the matter on the record. Professor Sadaddin Ergec, leader of the Turkoman Front in Kirkuk, would say only that he believed the raid had been set up by "a very selfish man, who wants to exploit the situation to his own advantage". For Turkomen, he said, the incident was only another example of what they see as increasing US bias towards the Kurds. "I don't think the Turks would try to do such a silly thing. Turkey is a great country and wouldn't belittle itself in that way," he said. "Besides, our governor is a peaceful man, an independent man and a good man. We've seen no partiality from him towards any nationality. We are proud of him and have nothing against him. His father is Kurdish but his mother was Turkoman." http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=540&ncid=736&e=4&u=/ap/20030 720/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iraq * IRAQ COUNCIL FAILS TO CHOOSE PRESIDENT by Steven R. Hurst, Associated Press Writer Yahoo, 20th July BAGHDAD, Iraq - Iraq's American-backed administration failed in its first week to choose a president, abandoning that mission in favor of a weak, three-man rotating leadership. The top U.S. official in Iraq ‹ who hand-picked the Governing Council ‹ returned to Washington while an insurgency killed another American soldier Saturday. The council, agonizingly shepherded into existence by L. Paul Bremer, the U.S. administrator for Iraq, was announced last Sunday, saying its first order of business was the election of a president. When that did not happen after six days in session, officials of the Iraqi government told The Associated Press on Saturday that it would share the leadership job among at least three of 25 members. [.....] Bremer had given Shiites ‹ who were harshly oppressed by Saddam's Sunni-dominated regime ‹ a slim majority on the governing council. But most of the Shiite members are secular figures or moderate clerics. The U.S. administrator left Baghdad unannounced Friday and was expected to be in Washington for about a week. His Baghdad office said the 61-year-old former diplomat and counterterrorism expert would visit the U.S. capital for consultations. He also was scheduled to appear on three weekly U.S. television interview programs Sunday. In Baghdad this week, Bremer nearly disappeared from public view after the council was announced, an apparent bid to diminish the widely held perception among Iraqis and the rest of the world that the new Governing Council was an American puppet. Bremer's office did not respond to requests for an assessment of the council's first week in business, but a spokesman for one council member issued a short statement. "There is a general agreement that the presidency should be on a rotational basis because each political group in the council should shoulder an equal role and equal responsibility," said Ali Abdul-Amir, spokesman for council-member Iyad Allawi of the Iraqi National Accord. The three likely members of the rotating presidency will be a leading Shiite politician, a highly respected Shiite cleric and former Foreign Minister Adnan Pachachi, a council source told the AP, speaking on condition of anonymity. The 80-year-old Pachachi, a Sunni Muslim, served in the government that Saddam's Baath Party ousted in a 1968 coup. He will be joined in the leadership troika by 78-year-old Mohammed Bahr al-Uloum, a cleric who returned from London after the 1991 Gulf War. He served as the council president during its first week in session. The leadership group will be rounded out by Abdel-Aziz al-Hakim, who is in his early 50s, head of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq and also a Shiite cleric. He opposes the U.S. presence in the country but has close ties to U.S.-backed Kurds and Ahmad Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress. Chalabi, who left Iraq as a teenager, has been touted in some U.S. government circles as Iraq's likely first post-Saddam leader. But many in Iraq are distrustful of his close ties to Washington. A Western diplomat who works closely with the council said the decision to establish a rotating presidency did not reflect political divisions among members of the governing body, whom, he said, were cooperating despite their religious and ethnic differences. The diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the move to a joint presidency meant the job would be largely symbolic. The move clearly reflected an unwillingness among council members to vest too much authority in any one of them. [.....] http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/w-me/2003/jul/22/072208318.html * NEW IRAQI COUNCIL MAKES DEBUT AT U.N. by Peter James Spielmann Las Vegas Sun, 22nd July UNITED NATIONS (AP): The fledgling Iraqi Governing Council made a cautious debut before the international community Tuesday. Protesters in the Security Council gallery denounced it as "illegitimate," and the U.N. chief welcomed it - but only as "an important first step towards the full restoration of Iraqi sovereignty." The 25-member Iraqi Governing Council is broadly representative of the key constituencies in Iraq - Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds - but it was appointed just nine days ago by the U.S.-led occupation force in Iraq. It is a transitory body that everyone stresses must give way to a true Iraqi government, and is viewed with some suspicion. Many Sunnis worry that it gives Shiites a slim majority in its deliberations; and some Shiite clerics have already denounced it because it was set up by America. The Iraqi Governing Council will be able to pick ministers for a new administration and hold other powers, but U.S. administrators will have ultimate say. Secretary-General Kofi Annan gave the three-member visiting delegation a warm welcome, but made it clear that they shouldn't get too comfortable with their role. "Our collective goal remains an early end to the military occupation through the formation of an internationally recognized, representative government," Annan told the Security Council after welcoming the visitors. "Meanwhile, it is vital that the Iraqi people should be able to see a clear timetable with a specific sequence of events leading to the full restoration of sovereignty as soon as possible." On Monday, Annan delivered a toughly worded report to the Security Council in which he warned the United States that "democracy cannot be imposed from the outside." That rhetoric reflects lingering resentment over the way the United States and Britain turned their back on the United Nations earlier this year and attacked Iraq to depose Saddam Hussein's government when it became clear they could not muster enough support from the Security Council for a resolution authorizing the war. Now the United States finds itself overextended as it tries to quell guerrilla attacks in Iraq that are killing about one American a day. Other nations are declining to send relief troops that would be put under U.S. command; India and France have refused to send troops unless their responsibilities are defined in a new Security Council resolution. Annan's special representative for Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello, presented his recommendations Tuesday based on his recent visits to Iraq -- underlining the breakdown in security, both common criminality and attacks on the U.S.-led occupation force and Iraqis cooperating with it. In the midst of Vieira de Mello's report, two women in the visitors' gallery rose to shout denunciations of the Iraqi Governing Council as "illegitimate." They were hustled out by uniformed U.N. security guards. The U.N. spokesman's office said they had gained admission to the Security Council gallery on a one-day visitor's pass obtained for them by Occupation Watch, a San Francisco-based political group that monitors and criticizes the U.S. and British occupation of Iraq. The Iraqi governing Council delegation was circumspect about its own role. It includes Ahmad Chalabi, who was once favored by the Pentagon to be Iraq's next president. But he had took a back seat at the Security Council to Adnan Pachachi, a Sunni and a former Iraqi foreign minister in the government deposed by Saddam's Baath party in 1968. Chalabi sat next to the third IGC delegate, Akila al-Hashimi, one of three women on the Iraqi Governing Council. A Shiite and diplomat, she led the Iraqi delegation to the New York donor's conference for Iraq. Pachachi gave the Security Council an introduction to the massive task of reorganization facing Iraq. He said the Iraqi Governing Council has decided to employ at least 30,000 police, open at least 1,500 schools and clinics, pay back salaries to government employees and retrain more than 200,000 demobilized soldiers. "Our primary goal is to shorten the duration of the interim administration" so that an elected government serving under a constitution endorsed by the people can take power in Iraq, he said. The new constitution would "consolidate personal freedom," grant full rights to women and place the armed forces under the command of civilian government, he said. Pachachi said the Governing Council considered that other pressing issues in Iraq include appointing ministers and administrators, reopening Iraq's embassies, amending laws passed under Saddam Hussein's rule, and establishing tribunals to try members of the former regime for alleged crimes. John Negroponte, the U.S. ambassador, told the Security Council that for the first time in almost 50 years in Iraq, "There is no limit on freedom of expression in that country." He hailed the visiting Iraqi delegation, telling them: "Your presence here is a powerful symbol of that freedom," and noting that the Governing Council "reflects the rich mosaic of Iraqi society." "The role of women in Iraqi political development should not be overlooked," he added. But Negroponte also recognized the transitory role that the Governing Council is to play in preparing Iraq "for the restoration of full sovereignty" Before the Security Council meeting, the trio met with staffers at Iraq's U.N. mission to discuss the finances of the mission and other administrative matters. Ever since Saddam's U.N. ambassador, Mohammed Al-Douri, left New York on April 11, Iraqi diplomats have kept a low profile at the United Nations. Al-Douri did not resign and Iraq's U.N. Mission remains open, with the former third-ranking diplomat, Said Shihab Ahmad, in charge. When asked whether his group would attempt to present credentials as the new legitimate government of Iraq, Chalabi said the purpose of their visit was just to brief the Security Council on the state of Iraq. "Part of the purpose of the Governing Council is to represent Iraq internationally and in international organizations," he said. THE OPPOSITION RADIO FREE EUROPE/RADIO LIBERTY * AL-DA'WAH OFFICIAL DISCUSSES PARTY, SPLIT RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT, Vol. 6, No. 31, 17 July 2003 Khudir Ja'afar from the Islamic Al-Da'wah party discussed the status of his party following reports of an internal split between those members inside Iraq and those in the diaspora, in an interview with the London-based "Al-Hayat" daily, published on 15 July. Ja'afar indicated in the interview that while differences exist between the two groups, it should not be interpreted as a split within the party, saying, "We called ourselves the internal organization because we aimed our activity toward inside Iraq. We are two branches of the same party and are in agreement on almost all matters." He added that the differences that exist "are not of a political nature but of an administrative dimension," and said efforts were under way to settle them. Asked which religious leadership the group follows, al-Ja'afar stressed that Al-Da'wah's "understanding of political action doesn't call for a religious leadership." He said that the party is supported by Ayatollah Kazim al-Ha'iri, but cautioned that it does not subscribe any one person to a single leadership role. "Some of us follow [Muqtada] al-Sadr, while others follow [Muhammad Baqir] al-Hakim or [Grand Ayatollah Ali] al-Sistani," he added. Regarding the position of the Al-Najaf Hawzah (religious seminary) vis-à-vis other hawzahs he said, "The Hawzah is one; there is no Hawzah that is mute while another speaks. We believe that Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr, the founder of Al-Da'wah Party deepened Islamic thought, while Muhammad Sadiq al-Sadr expanded the horizon of the Islamic movement and turned it into a popular current. It is the Sadr school in its two branches." Regarding the Vilayet Al-Faqih (rule of the jurists), Ja'afar told "Al-Hayat," "We call for upholding the Vilayet Al-Faqih," but, he added, "it is not necessary that the Faqih who rules in Iran should be the same to rule in Iraq or Lebanon. We support the multiplicity of the Vilayet Al-Fakih. Ja'afar said that the Al-Da'wah would participate in a coalition government in Iraq, as long as that government draws its legitimacy from the Iraqi people. He called on the U.S.-led coalition forces to remain in Iraq until order is established, saying, "If the Americans withdraw, the regime will immediately be restored to power." (Kathleen Ridolfo) RADIO FREE EUROPE/RADIO LIBERTY * RESISTANCE GROUPS CONTINUE TO ISSUE THREATS AGAINST COALITION RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT, Vol. 6, No. 31, 17 July 2003 The 1920 Revolution Brigades, the military wing of the Iraqi National Islamic Resistance Group, has issued a statement threatening continued attacks on coalition forces, Al-Jazeera reported on 14 July. The group said it is coordinating its attacks with other resistance factions, and it claimed the brigades recently downed a large U.S. transport plane in Al Mahmudiyah, south of Baghdad, according to Al-Jazeera. The group sent its first communique to Al-Jazeera earlier this month, the news channel reported on 10 July. It has claimed that it is not linked in any way to the deposed regime of Saddam Hussein but seeks to liberate Iraqi land from the coalition "occupiers." Meanwhile, Al-Arabiyah Television reported on 14 July that leaflets were distributed in Baghdad announcing the formation of the so-called Iraqi Liberation Army. The leaflet claims that Iraqis from all ethnic and religious groups are members, and it purports to have the support of the Al-Najaf Hawzah. The leaflet threatens attacks against newly opened embassies in Iraq and addresses UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, declaring that it refuses to recognize 9 April as a day of liberation. The group called on Arab states and the Arab League to support the resistance. Meanwhile, a group identifying itself as the Armed Islamic Movement of the Al-Qaeda Organization-Al-Fallujah Branch, issued an audio statement dated 10 July to Al-Arabiyah Television claiming responsibility for attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq, the satellite channel reported on 13 July. The speaker in the tape claims that the deposed Hussein regime and defunct Ba'ath Party have not had a role in attacks on U.S. forces. "I urge the Muslims and the people of Iraq not to believe what the deposed ruler [Saddam Hussein] has said [in recently released audiotapes].... None of his followers carried out any jihad operation as he claims. They were [carried out] by the...patience of our mujahedin brothers," the speaker claims. "The end of the United States will be at the hand of Islam," he adds. London's "The Sunday Times" reported on 13 July that sources close to a "nascent anti American resistance movement in Baghdad" have warned participants in the Iraqi Governing Council against "collaborating" with coalition forces. "Otherwise they too will become targets of resistance attacks similar to those being conducted against the Americans," one source told the weekly. Groups deemed "illegitimate" will be given an unspecified period of time in which to "repent" or face elimination, the source added. (Kathleen Ridolfo) RADIO FREE EUROPE/RADIO LIBERTY * AS OTHER GROUP CLAIMS IT HAS HALTED ATTACKS RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT, Vol. 6, No. 31, 17 July 2003 An Iraqi resistance group identifying itself as "Iraq's Revolutionaries -- Al-Anbar's Armed Brigades" issued a statement to "Al-Zaman" in which it claims it has halted all resistance activities against coalition forces, the daily reported on 16 July. The group stated that its truce was temporary, and was aimed at distancing itself from the deposed Hussein regime, which it claims is taking credit for the Al-Anbar brigades' attacks. "The one behind the mass graves and the executions wants to employ the struggle of our people who reject the occupation, hegemony, and guardianship to his own benefit and the benefit of his regime," the statement noted. The group claims it has not participated in any attacks on coalition forces since 2 July. "Al-Zaman" also reported on 16 July that a group calling itself the "Black Banners Organization" has issued a statement to the daily calling on all Iraqis, Arabs, and Muslims to bomb oil pipelines and oil wells in order to "deprive" Americans and Europeans of oil. (Kathleen Ridolfo) http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3072085.stm * IRAQI ARCHBISHOP CONDEMNS US by Tom Geoghegan BBC News Online, 17th July One of Iraq's most senior archbishops has sharply criticised the US for its administration of Baghdad. Severius Hawa, Archbishop of the Syrian Orthodox Church in Baghdad and Basra, told BBC News Online the electricity shortage was crippling the city and putting lives at risk. People were sweltering in temperatures of 50C, with no telephones, no jobs, food shortages and increased illness and disorder, he said. Speaking through an interpreter, at the end of a three-week trip to the UK, the archbishop, who opposed the war, said even supporters of the invasion were now losing patience. But he praised the British for getting Basra back on its feet, and said the anti-war stance of the Church of England had prevented a Muslim backlash against Iraqi Christians. His trip to the UK included preparing for the proposed visit to Iraq in October by his English counterpart, the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams. He said: "Since the Americans have been in Iraq, nothing good has happened for us. "What we were looking forward to did not happen. "In Basra, it is better because the British know how to administrate and know the thinking of the Iraqi people because they share a history." Fr Dawod, who also acted as translator, blamed the recent death in Iraq of a 45-year-old relative with high blood pressure, on a health system under chronic strain. The archbishop said mounting disorder was also preventing some people from leaving their homes at night. He said: "My message to Tony Blair and George Bush is to think about us, about our people, to make peace and security grow in Iraq. "And to deal with people in a Christian spirit as Christ taught us, not to punish all the people just because one person may be crazy against the Americans. Not all Iraqis are against the US." He said he was unable to say yet whether he was happy to see Saddam Hussein toppled. "There were people suffering under Saddam, but now everyone is unhappy," he said. "We cannot say if it will be better or not until power and security are returned." Saddam Hussein fostered good relations with the Christian Church, giving it money to restore monasteries, and allowing worship without persecution. The archbishop said: "Whenever I met Saddam, like anyone else, I met him with happiness, patience and good spirit. And he gave the help I wanted." The Iraq leader had a habit of putting a glass of water on the tomb of a holy person, to bless the water before drinking it, Mr Hawa said. Baath party laws prevented the use of Biblical names or Christian schools, and Muslims who converted to Christianity were killed. But Christianity was allowed to co-exist with Islam and the Catholic communities, with no animosity between the religions. Even as the unpopularity of the West increased, there were no repercussions for Iraq's Christians because of the anti-war stance of Christians in the UK. "Muslims did not hurt or kill Christians because they understood the Church of England was against war, and we saw the protests by people in England, France and the US," the archbishop said. One Muslim leader who returned to Iraq from exile was thankful to the Anglican Church for helping his passage back, the archbishop said. Describing the nightly bombing of Baghdad, Mr Hawa said there were missile attacks every 10 seconds. But the fear within the capital did not prevent the churches from being full for Sunday worship, as people's faith seemed to strengthen in the face of adversity. But since the war, donations have dwindled and the church could lose the lease on many of its buildings. In order to ease fears the eventual government in Baghdad could be anti-Christian, talks have taken place in Jordan between Iraq's religious leaders to ensure continuing good relations. Mr Hawa said: "We don't have any problems for the future. The problem is the people suffering now, with no money, no work and growing illness and disorder." NOTE Iraq's Syrian Orthodox Church 100,000 members and 30 churches 60,000 are in the diocese of Baghdad and Basra It came to Iraq in the 4th century, 300 years after being founded in Antioch Iraq's other Christians include the Holy Apostolic Catholic Syrian church and the Chaldean Church of Babylon Mr Hawa met BBC News Online in Croydon, south London, at the rectory of Fr Toma Dawod, parish priest of the Syrian Orthodox Church in London. http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,1000367,00.html * US CONFUSED BY IRAQ'S QUIET WAR by Jonathan Steele and Michael Howard in Baghdad The Guardian, 18th July [.....] One undisputed fact is that at least 80% of the attacks have taken place in the so-called 'Sunni triangle' between Tikrit, Baghdad, and Ramadi. Attacks are rare in the mainly Shia south and the Kurdish north. But even in the Sunni triangle the truth is more complex than the simple stereotype that the area has long been pro-Saddam. Ramadi is a case in point. One of its largest tribes, the Alawani, turned against Saddam in 1995 after he jailed and executed a prominent hero from the war against Iran, Air Force General Mohammed Madhlum. Three hundred people dared to march in the streets after his death, and scores were arrested. "My brother was arrested by the mukhabarat [the secret police] and spent three months in prison. He then fled abroad," said Ahmed Rajab. He then pointed angrily at a bullet hole in a shop window. "The Americans did that because the mojahedin were running about outside last week". His use of the word 'mojahedin', meaning "soldiers of God", carries an ominous echo of other Islamic guerrilla movements, and according to Mr Rajab, the resistance is concentrated in the mosques. The imam of al-Saleh mosque in Ramadi, Jihad Abed Hussein al-Alawani, says he was no supporter of Saddam, who put him in jail for three years, but he is unsurprised about the attacks. "It is wrong to put these attacks down only to fedayeen, remnants of the Ba'ath party, or former army officers," he said. "They are coming from ordinary people and the Islamic resistance because the Americans haven't fulfilled their promises." The Americans had interrogated him "very politely" for eight hours, he said, because of the content of his Friday sermons. "I asked them whether they would not resist if Germans or Fidel Castro occupied Washington, and of course they said yes," he added. Comments such as these suggest that though the number of attackers could be small, their actions are supported by a wider pool of Iraqis in the Sunni areas. [.....] http://www.jordantimes.com/Sun/news/news6.htm * SHIITE LEADERS ISSUE DUELLING ASSESSMENTS OF IRAQI GOV'T Jordan Times, 20th July NAJAF, Iraq (AP) ‹ Two of Iraq's most prominent Shiite clerics have issued duelling assessments of Iraq's new American-picked government ‹ one calling the Governing Council a US puppet, the other counseling patience while the body demonstrates its independence. Speaking in this Shiite holy city, Mohammad Bakir Al Hakim, head of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, said during Friday prayers he had formed no fixed opinion of the council other than it included "respected personalities." His brother, Abdul Aziz, is on the 25-member governing body. But, in the nearby holy city of Kufa, an influential cleric condemned the council as one made up of "nonbelievers." Muqtada Al Sadr, the son of prominent Ayatollah Mohammad Sadeq Al Sadr, who was killed by ousted dictator Saddam Hussein in 1999, declared the council unrepresentative ‹ of both the people and the Hawza, the 1,300-year-old Shiite seminary there. Interestingly, the US administrator of Iraq, L. Paul Bremer, took great pains to see that the council had a Shiite majority to reflect the national population. Hakim said he believed the council would show its independence eventually because it "must be independent and represent the will of the Iraqis and not the will of the occupiers." Fellow cleric Sadr vowed not to wait but to form his own ruling council. "I will do my best to create a Muslim country. I will collect as many voices as I can to strengthen this council. There will be two councils: One of wrongdoers and another of righteous people," he told thousands of the faithful, many bused from Baghdad for special prayers at the Kufa mosque. Imam Ali, the cousin and son-in-law of Prophet Mohammad, preached at this holy shrine in the 7th Century. As Sadr spoke, his followers chanted "Death to America, Death to Israel" and called for formation of an army to liberate Iraq from American occupation. At one point, the 29-year-old cleric raised his eyes from the bank of microphones at the podium and looked directly at the throngs gathered before him. "If you ignore the Governing Council, you'll be restoring good to your country." His followers chanted that the council was "Zionist," an inflammatory Arab catch phrase for Israel's alleged desire to dominate the Middle East. The more moderate Hakim said Shiites did not want to dominate Iraq, saying each of the country's ethnic and religious groups should have full rights. Saddam and his ruling clique were minority Sunnis. Sadr spoke no conciliatory words and lashed out at the council for making its first official action the declaration of April 9 ‹ the day Baghdad fell to theAmericans ‹ a new holiday. "On this day we replaced a little Satan with big Satan. Eventually, we'll have a referendum separate from the Americans and, God willing, elections separate from the Americans," he told the AP. Sadr did, however, condemn attacks on the occupation forces. "Right now these strikes are not under the order of the Hawza (the seminary) and are therefore illegitimate." At the same time, he called for "volunteers to register for the great army which will take orders from the Hawza." http://www.reuters.co.uk/newsArticle.jhtml;jsessionid=VYBZP2E41GA4UCRBAEZSFE Y?type=searchNews&storyID=3121429 * IRAQI UPRISING GATHERS PACE by Miral Fahmy, Reuters, 20th July NAJAF, Iraq - A group of Shi'ite Muslims in Iraq has threatened violence if U.S. troops do not quit the holy city of Najaf, where rumours they had harassed a radical cleric sparked an angry protest by more than 10,000 people. The U.S. commander in the city, 160 km (100 miles) south of Baghdad, faced down the demonstrators. He flatly denied talk that his men had surrounded the cleric's house on Saturday and he deployed troops, arms at the ready, to get them to disperse. Leading supporters of the fiercely anti-U.S. preacher, Moqtada al-Sadr, were dissatisfied, however, and warned of an "uprising" in Najaf if the Americans failed to pull out within three days. The U.S. commander said he was concerned about the threat but played down the size of Sadr's following in Najaf. "If they don't leave, they will face a popular uprising," said Sayed Razak al-Moussawi, one of Sadr's aides, after the protesters presented the soldiers with a list of demands following a demonstration lasting more than two hours. Whatever the immediate consequences, the high feelings sparked by an obscure and minor incident were indicative of problems the Americans face among the long-oppressed Shi'ite majority. Frequent attacks on U.S. troops since the fall of Saddam Hussein have mostly been in Saddam's Sunni heartlands. The U.S. commander in Najaf, Lieutenant-Colonel Chris Conlin, said he believed Sadr had limited support in Najaf, where other, more senior religious figures are based. A young cleric with limited religious authority but a considerable following among the poor, Sadr denounced the U.S. occupation in a sermon on Friday and has condemned U.S. efforts to launch self-rule by the Iraqi Governing Council. "Mr al-Sadr is a young, immature man, who is rapidly losing support in the city," Conlin said. "Sadr wants to import violence into this most peaceful city. But the people of Najaf do not want him." But asked if the threats worried him nonetheless, Conlin said: "Yes, because Sadr's people are a bunch of riff-raff." Following reports that troops had surrounded Sadr's house in response to his sermon, more than 10,000 Shi'ites marched on the Najaf office of the U.S. administration, though soldiers and barbed wire kept them more than a kilometre (a mile) away. At least two armoured personnel carriers guarded the building and U.S. soldiers were stationed on nearby rooftops. Emotions ran high as the crowd swelled, chanting support for Sadr and beating their chests in unison. Protesters held up a sign in English which read: "This is a warning to America." There were unconfirmed media reports of injuries. U.S. soldiers said some protesters had thrown rocks. Shi'ites, reversing their under-representation under Saddam and earlier Iraqi rulers, account for 13 of the 25 seats on the new Governing Council and other Shi'ite leaders have either backed the U.S.-appointed body or at least reserved judgment. http://www.jordantimes.com/Mon/news/news5.htm * 10,000 IRAQI SHIITES RALLY IN NAJAF AGAINST US OCCUPATION Jordan Times, 21st July NAJAF, Iraq (AFP) ‹ More than 10,000 demonstrators rallied in the Shiite holy city of Najaf on Sunday in support of cleric Moqtada Sadr, a fiery critic of the US-led occupation, leading to a tense stand-off with US Marines. The crowd eventually dispersed under threat of force by US troops after the two sides nearly came to blows over the young cleric, who was not at the protest. Chanting "No, no to America! No, no to the arrogant!" demonstrators gathered outside Najaf's main mosque, the tomb of imam Ali, one of the holiest sites in Shiite Islam, dressed in white robes and wearing green headbands. They shouted "We are with Sadr" in a muscular show of support for the controversial cleric who claimed US troops had besieged his home on Saturday in the wake of a scathing sermon he delivered lambasting the coalition. But US Marines dismissed the story as an attempt by Sadr, who has seen his popularity rocket in the chaos and power vacuum of post-war Iraq, to cause friction in this religious city. "This is a lie. Sadr wants to build up his prestige," said Lieutenant Colonel Chris Conlin who stared down the tide of fuming protesters demanding US forces apologise to Sadr and leave Najaf, home to the Hawza, the preeminent Shiite authority in Iraq. "My men did not go there. I know. I am their commander." Conlin said Sadr bussed in thousands from Baghdad and Mosul, to the north, as he sought to discredit the Americans and push them from the city which they say they have showered with money for schools, hospitals and basic services. A sea of Sadr followers marched and hurled stones on the more than two dozen marines guarding the city hall compound. Imams in the crowd formed a human chain and tried to calm the protesters, as the marines kept their guns pointed at the ground. After brief scuffles with the US troops, a group of clerics and followers crossed the line of protesters and huddled with the US commander in charge of the town. The clerics presented demands, including that the marines withdraw from Najaf and relinquish control of the local television station. "Show me whether Moqtada Sadr is a man of peace or of violence," Conlin told the imams. "I do not want to see violence in the city of Abraham and Adam. This is a sacred place." But a young cleric, Sheikh Qais Kazali, snapped: "You have your boss and I have mine." One of the older imams, Sheikh Khalid Al Kadimi, told Conlin: "We'll get the people to go back and pray," then asked the crowd through a loudspeaker on a US all-terrain Humvee to disperse. The mob then pulled back for thirty minutes before charging forward again. "Down, down with America!" they chanted, beating their chests, punching their fists in the air and carrying banners depicting Sadr's father, assassinated by agents of Saddam Hussein in 1999. "Today there are no weapons but in the future there will be," they railed. Conlin then addressed them through the loudspeaker, warning they would use lethal force if the demonstrators attacked. "There are a thousand marines hiding all around this building," his voice blared at the flood of Sadr supporters. "You must disband or we'll consider you a threat." The clerics then announced Sadr had decided to end the protest, although they still insisted the Americans should leave Najaf. One man in the crowd, 40-year-old Adnan Husseini, said he was a member of Sadr's self proclaimed "Mehdi Army" and would become a suicide bomber if asked. "I'm a fedayeen of the Mehdi. I'm willing to put on explosives and blow myself up nearby the Americans if I am asked," he said. "We are waiting for the order of jihad," or holy war, echoed Ali Hillali, 32. "All of these people are willing to die for their religion. We are not afraid." Sadr's spokesman, Mustafa Yaqubi, claimed that demonstrators had met a senior US officer on Saturday who had apologised for the alleged encirclement of the cleric's home. The palpable display of anger sends an alarming message to the US-led coalition. The Shiites have, until now, accepted the occupation, unlike Iraq's Sunni minority, blamed for a string of guerrilla-style attacks on US forces. "We are seeking a peaceful solution with America, so no blood will be spilled," Yaqubi said, adding that an armed insurrection, or Intifada, against the occupation was "far away still." _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk