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[casi] News, 30/7-6/8/03 (2)

Dear all

This and its companion have been sitting in my drafts folder for a week.
Seems I forgot to send them. Sorry.


News, 30/7-6/8/03 (2)


*  Iraq invasion erodes pre-emption strategy
*  'Iraq war may have hurt fight against Al Qaeda'    
*  US sees Iraq polls by mid-2004
*  US Issues 'New-Look Saddam' Pictures
*  Troops win right for Gulf War syndrome test


*  U.S. soldiers charged with abusing pows in Iraq
*  Southern Iraq administrator leaves post
*  More Americans die near Baghdad
*  Red Cross Gets Access to Saddam Loyalists
*  'National reconciliation is the biggest task for Iraq'


*  Militants attack liquor store in Al-Basrah
*  UNHCR helps repatriate 240 Iraqi refugees
*  Palestinians given official status as refugees in Iraq
*  10 Arabs killed in Kirkuk fighting
*  Let Iraqis rebuild their own country
*  Silent struggle for control of Najaf, Iraq's Shiite power base


*  Officials Confirm Dropping Firebombs on Iraqi Troops Results are
'remarkably similar' to using napalm


by Morton Abramowitz
Dawn, from Dawn/The LAT-WP News Service (c) The Washington Post, 2nd August

WASHINGTON: Getting rid of Saddam Hussein's regime was a great blessing, but
the war and its aftermath have had important unintended consequences for the
Bush administration. Pre-emption policy toward "rogue states" has been
eroded. The United Nations' importance on security issues has been elevated.
And in creating enormous new obligations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the
president has probably eliminated further serious use of an indispensable
tool - nation-building - although, to be sure, it was a tool he never much
cared for.

It's hard to believe, after Iraq, that the American public would support a
unilateral military engagement with a "rogue" state such as Iran on the
basis of the potential harm that state might do. There is little public (or
military) appetite for another extensive, pre-emptive use of the American
military - something the administration will obviously bear in mind as
election year draws near. Any notion that the United States can fight two
large-scale pre emptive wars at the same time is without basis.

This country may have the military capability, but it lacks the political
wherewithal, unless the United States is itself attacked. The way the
administration has, over the past eight months, put off resolving the far
more threatening North Korea nuclear issue reflects both its dislike of Bill
Clinton's negotiating approach and its awareness of how politically
difficult it is to manage two large crises at the same time. Washington is
too often a one-crisis town, particularly when the president's credibility
is under attack.

The intelligence debacle reinforces the political difficulties of another
pre-emptive effort. Although actual weapons of mass destruction (WMD) or
greater evidence of Iraq's WMD programmes may show up one day, it has become
clear that the US intelligence agencies did not have much empirical evidence
about Iraq's programmes and that its judgments were essentially deductive,
based on information accumulated from UN inspectors in Iraq in 1998.

The intelligence agencies went beyond a real knowledge of Iraq's WMD
programmes and holdings, and administration officials exaggerated that
limited knowledge even further. This will fuel significant antiwar sentiment
here and throughout the world should another case for pre-emptive war be
presented, as there is bound to be uncertainty again. Our intelligence
analysis system has been wounded, its integrity made suspect at home and

To say that this administration has been no fan of the United Nations is
understatement. Senior officials frequently called the Iraq issue the last
great test of the efficacy of the organization. So far as the administration
was concerned, the United Nations not only failed the test but could not be
entrusted with building the peace in Iraq.

But that was yesterday. The warm reception the president recently gave UN
Secretary General Kofi Annan was a step toward reconciliation. It's not
surprising; the United States needs the United Nations more as pre-emption
recedes and deficits rise.

We are in trouble in Iraq (and in Afghanistan, almost forgotten by the
public). We need military help and we need money (for both). The
administration is fanning out hat in hand. But many nations, even close
friends, will not now provide it without either some UN benediction or a
broad multilateral umbrella such as the World Bank. The administration may
try to tough it out mostly alone to avoid embarrassment, but the American
people like partners, and they increasingly do not like to bear all the
costs. Internationalism has become a much more demanding necessity for the
United States. This administration and succeeding ones will be more
restrained about going to a pre- emptive war without a nod from the UN
Security Council. Even the British will no longer join without it.

Finally, Bush has probably achieved, inadvertently, what he campaigned for:
getting the United States out of nation-building. (As his national security
adviser once put it: We don't want our soldiers taking kids to
kindergarten.) He has done this by embarking on nation building
unprecedented since World War II and in a land that we do not know well and
that does not play to our strengths. And it was done, it is now clear, with
little effective planning and with largely unexamined notions of what can be

Public concern about our essentially solitary occupation of Iraq is rising.
The major illumination for the administration to date has been the need to
turn control over to the Iraqis as soon as possible, which could conceivably
turn out to impede our exit. Talk that we are in it "as long as necessary
and not a day more" has diminished.

It is too early to make any judgment on our occupation of Iraq. The killing
of American soldiers almost every day is dismaying, but it does not
necessarily convey the reality of the Iraq situation, and the American
public has shown it can take casualties as long as it believes our effort
makes sense. The American occupation may well turn out to have respectable
results, although questions of political stability in Iraq will remain once
the Americans depart.

But the idea that we would again take over another country essentially on
our own seems politically out of the question for a long time to come. The
administration already is less than enthusiastic in joining collective new
efforts of a far more modest kind.

Empire is no rose garden.

(The writer, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation, was assistant
secretary of state for intelligence from 1985 to 1989)

Jordan Times, 2nd August
LONDON (AP)  The war against Iraq did not significantly diminish Al Qaeda
and may even have hampered the struggle against the terrorist network, a
British parliamentary committee said Thursday.

Osama Ben Laden's organisation continues to pose "a substantial threat" to
Britons, even after the capture of many its leaders, the House of Commons
Foreign Affairs Committee said in a report on the war against terrorism.

When the United States made its case for war against Saddam Hussein, it
linked Iraq to the Al Qaeda network, although many critics insisted there
was no proof of a connection. Prime Minister Tony Blair, Bush's strongest
ally, steered clear of that allegation, saying that Saddam had to be
disarmed before his weapons of mass destruction reached the hands of

Despite progress against Al Qaeda and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, "we
cannot conclude that these threats (from terrorism and weapons of mass
destruction) have diminished significantly," said the committee.

The report is the third in a series on an inquiry into the war on terrorism.
The committee began its investigation shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001,
attacks on the United States and said it will continue in recognition of the
seriousness of the attacks and "the transformation they wrought on US and
United Kingdom foreign policy." The legislators said the Iraq war 
described by Blair and US President George W. Bush as a battle in the war
against terrorism  may have hampered the struggle against Al Qaeda, which
orchestrated the Sept. 11 attacks.

"The war in Iraq might in fact have impeded the war against Al Qaeda," the
panel said, adding that expert witnesses had testified of their fear that
the conflict "might have enhanced the appeal of Al Qaeda to Muslims living
in the Gulf region and elsewhere." "Al Qaeda has dangerously large numbers
of 'foot soldiers,' and has demonstrated an alarming capacity to regenerate
itself," the committee said in its report, "Foreign Policy Aspects of the
War against Terrorism." It also said the group "continues to pose a
substantial threat to British citizens in the United Kingdom and abroad."
Bill Rammell, a Foreign Office minister, told British Broadcasting Corp.
radio that he did not believe the Iraq war had helped Al Qaeda's recruiting.

"Removing Saddam has removed a sponsor of terrorism," he said. "He was a
major sponsor of terrorism and removing him I think helps us in the war
onterrorism." "The idea that our actions are going to lead to a political
consequence of Al Qaeda being able to recruit agents I simply don't think is
the case," he said.

The cross-party foreign affairs committee has played an important part in
the political storm over the government's justification for the Iraq war.

Earlier in July, it said Blair's government had undermined its case for war
by mishandling intelligence material. But it cleared Blair and his ministers
of deliberately misleading lawmakers.

The committee later questioned weapons adviser David Kelly about remarks he
made to a British Broadcasting Corp. journalist, who reported claims that
Blair aides had doctored an intelligence dossier on Iraqi arms to exaggerate
the threat posed by Saddam. The government denied the accusation.

Two days after testifying, Kelly committed suicide, intensifying the debate
over the justification for war.

The committee's report also said the collapse of law and order in Iraq
following Saddam's overthrow was predictable, and chastised Britain and
America for failing to restore stability more quickly.

"The level of resentment of the new US and United Kingdom presence in Iraq
may well depend on the success or otherwise of efforts to improve the lives
of Iraqi people and progress in the Middle East peace process," the
committee said.

The lawmakers said anti-terrorism experts had emphasised to them the
importance of doing more to stabilise Afghanistan.

Its report quoted Paul Wilkinson, of the Centre for the Study of Terrorism
and Political Violence at St. Andrews University in Scotland, as saying that
to reduce the threat from Al Qaeda, it would have been smarter to spend the
money used to fight Iraq on boosting security in Afghanistan.

Another parliamentary committee, the intelligence and security Committee, is
due to examine the government's handling of information on Iraqi weapons.
Unlike the foreign affairs committee, it meets in private and reports
directly to the prime minister.

by Rupert Hamer,
UK Sunday Mirror, 3rd August

MORE than 25,000 British troops are to have a new medical test which could
finally prove that Gulf War Syndrome exists.

Their victory comes after scientists developed a way of tracing even minute
amounts of depleted uranium (DU) in their bodies.

And in a major U-turn which follows a Sunday Mirror campaign for justice the
Government has agreed that ALL veterans will be able to have the test.

For years after the first Gulf War, the MoD claimed DU - used in thousands
of shells fired in the conflict - was not a threat to health.

But it has now been linked to leukaemia, lung cancer, kidney damage and
other symptoms which around 5,000 soldiers who served in the 1991 conflict
say they have been suffering.

All 45,000 troops who served in the latest Iraq conflict have automatically
been given the right to be tested.

Shaun Rusling, 44, of the National Gulf Veterans And Families Association -
who won a landmark case in fighting to get Gulf War Syndrome recognised -
said last night: "This is a great victory."

The former Army medic in the 1991 conflict added: "Many soldiers who have
Gulf War Syndrome have had to go abroad to get themselves tested. It is
disgusting that we have not been offered this kind of test before."

If DU shows up in the veterans' bodies, they may be able to claim billions
of pounds in compensation.

Dr Randall Parrish, 50, an expert on radioactive material who helped devise
the test, said: "It has taken one and half years to produce something which
could detect what would now be small traces of DU - but it is capable of
doing that."

He said the lapse in years since exposure meant it would be far more
difficult to say for sure that DU had caused illnesses. "These tests should
have been done years and years before." Patrick Mercer, a member of the
Commons defence select committee, said: "This is a major U-turn, especially
as the MoD has always maintained that DU did not pose a threat to the health
of soldiers."

British and Americans forces used up to 2,000 tonnes of DU in the war in
Iraq this year - twice as much as in the 1991 Gulf War.

More than 400 soldiers who have so far returned from this year's war have
already asked for the test to be carried out. Many more are expected to
request it when they come back. MoD officials are refusing to say if any
have yet tested positive.

In addition, troops are to be monitored for signs of mental stress in the
largest study of its kind undertaken of military personnel. The study will
involve thousands of servicemen and women and is being run by experts at
King's College, London.

The use of DU shells flouts a United Nations resolution. According to a
report by a UN committee in August last year, it also breaks international

Professor Doug Rokke, a former director of a depleted uranium project at the
Pentagon, described its use as a "war crime".

He said: "There is a moral point to be made here. This war was about Iraq
possessing illegal weapons of mass destruction - yet we are using weapons of
mass destruction ourselves."

An Army spokeswoman last night confirmed that 1991 veterans are now being
offered a DU test. She added: "Anyone who wants to be tested for DU should
approach us and we will provide one."

The Sunday Mirror led the way in highlighting the scandal of Gulf War
Syndrome. We also exposed the miserly pension payments made to widows of
Gulf War victims - and won a promise from Tony Blair to review the scheme.



RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT Vol. 6, No. 33, 1 August 2003

The U.S. military has charged four U.S. military-police officers with
abusing Iraqi prisoners of war (POWs) at Camp Bucca, the largest U.S.-run
POW camp in Iraq, AP reported on 26 July. The soldiers are accused of
punching, kicking, and breaking the bones of prisoners at the camp.
According to AP, they are the first U.S. soldiers to be charged with abusing
POWs in Iraq. The soldiers, including two women, reportedly deny the
charges, saying they acted in self-defense after Iraqi prisoners attacked
them. "A few of my [military-police officers] were assaulted by the enemy
prisoners, and we had to use force to regain control, all justifiable,"
Staff Sergeant Scott McKenzie reportedly e-mailed his relatives five days
after the 12 May incident. The four soldiers have been separated and
assigned restricted duties at a base in Kuwait, AP reported. According to
AP, all four face up to five charges each of assault and mistreating
prisoners. Two have also been charged with making false statements to
investigators and obstruction of justice. At least three other soldiers from
the 320th Military Police Battalion are also being investigated. British
soldiers are also under investigation by the International Criminal Court
for their treatment of Iraqi POWs (see this issue). (Kathleen Ridolfo)


RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT Vol. 6, No. 33, 1 August 2003

Ambassador Ole Wohlers Olsen, the Danish coordinator for the Coalition
Provisional Authority (CPA) in southern Iraq, resigned from his post on 28
July, international media reported the same day. Olsen told a press
conference in Copenhagen that although he was slated for a six-month tour,
his decision to leave early coincides with the CPA's restructuring plans,
Danish radio reported. "It is convenient now, when troops are being replaced
and other countries are taking over military tasks involving security and
law and order, and when the administration in Iraq is being reorganized," he
said. Olsen had reportedly complained that the CPA has not provided him with
the resources necessary to carry out his mission, Reuters reported on 28
July. "The attrition of south Iraq was far worse than I had expected," he
told reporters. "My people in the administration office have no security
guards with them as they move around either -- and I'm not happy about
that." British diplomat Sir Hillary Synnott will replace Olsen, who held the
position for less than two months, Danish Foreign Ministry officials told
Reuters. (Kathleen Ridolfo)

Jordan Times, 2nd August
BAGHDAD (Reuters)  Facing a guerrilla campaign that killed another US
soldier in a landmine blast on Thursday, the US governor of Iraq said
democratic elections could be held within a year to end the American

A soldier from the 1st Armoured Division was killed and three wounded when
their armoured personnel carrier hit a mine on the road to the US base at
Baghdad International Airport.

In another attack in broad daylight in central Baghdad, a man fired a
rocket-propelled grenade at a US tank  and missed  before sprinting off,
locals and US soldiers said. Soldiers later found a grenade launcher lying
on the street outside a nearby house and arrested a man inside.

A spokesman said a soldier from the 4th Infantry Division was killed and two
wounded by gunmen who attacked an army base northeast of Baghdad just before
midnight on Wednesday. Four attackers were wounded when troops returned

Washington says it wants to put a democratic Iraqi government in place as
soon as possible so it can end an occupation that is taking a heavy toll in
lives and money  guerrilla attacks have killed 52 US soldiers since May 1
and Washington is spending some $4 billion on Iraq every month.

"It is not unrealistic to think we could possibly have general elections by
mid-2004 and that is when our work here will be done," civilian
administrator Paul Bremer said at the reopening of the looted and
fire-ravaged foreign ministry.

The Scotsman, 2nd August

The US Central Command has begun distributing several digitally-enhanced
photographs of fugitive Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, to help American
troops spot him if he has adopted a "new look" to escape detection.

Two photos show the usually shaven-cheeked Iraqi leader with a heavy black
beard. In one, his face is framed by a white keffiyah headscarf of a tribal
Arab, garb worn by millions of Iraqi men.

Three other photos show Saddam  always assumed to have been either dyeing
his hair brown or wearing a dark-brown toupee  with hair more fitting to
his 66 years, ranging from white to salt-and-pepper grey. In two of those
photos, he has a moustache to match.

All five photos depict Saddam with his trademark smile, the grin on tens of
thousands of photos of the dictator that, until April, had hung on walls,
poles and monuments across Iraq.

Release of the photos comes as the US military steps up its efforts to
capture the deposed leader. Last week, his two sons Uday and Qusay were
killed in a US raid in northern Iraq.

Indianapolis Star, 3rd August

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- A homemade bomb exploded under a convoy Saturday morning,
killing two U.S. soldiers and their interpreter, and a grenade attack Friday
night left another American dead, military officials said Saturday.

At least four other soldiers were injured in the attacks.

In Friday's attack, soldiers with the 4th Infantry Division were struck by a
rocket-propelled grenade about 10:30 p.m. while traveling in a convoy near
the town of Shumayt, 40 miles north of the capital, said Spc. Nicole
Thompson, a military spokeswoman in Baghdad. One soldier was killed, and
three were injured.

Late Saturday morning, two soldiers and their interpreter were killed when a
homemade bomb exploded under their convoy on the outskirts of Baghdad,
striking two Humvees, said Pfc. Jose Belen, with the 1st Armored Division.

Some witnesses said a rocket-propelled grenade was fired at the convoy as
well, Belen said.

A sniper then sprayed the Humvees with machine-gun fire, and one soldier was
struck and wounded in the neck, Belen said. A group of soldiers with the 1st
Armored Division who happened to be in the area pursued the attackers but
did not find anyone, he added.

The soldiers who died were with a civil affairs unit, Belen said, though he
declined to identify their division. The deaths brought to 55 the number of
soldiers killed since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May

L. Paul Bremer, the U.S. civilian administrator for Iraq, said Saturday that
military experts have drawn links between al-Qaida and other terrorist
groups and the continuing guerrilla attacks.

Bremer said four groups were behind most of the attacks: Baath Party
loyalists, remnants of the irregular Saddam Fedayeen force, intelligence
officers from the former regime and foreign fighters.

The foreign element, Bremer said, included al-Qaida and Ansar al Islam, a
militant Islamic group that U.S. and Kurdish forces attacked in northern
Iraq but is now believed to be restructuring.

"With regret, I say we did not kill all of them," Bremer said. "Some of them
escaped . . . and are now trickling back in."


by Jonathan Fowler
Newsday, from Associated Press, 4th August

GENEVA -- The U.S.-led authorities running Iraq have granted the
International Red Cross access to captured members of Saddam Hussein's
former regime, a senior official from the aid agency confirmed Monday.

Pierre Kraehenbuehl, director of operations at the International Committee
of the Red Cross, said the U.S. and British military and the Coalition
Provisional Authority were respecting the 1949 Geneva Conventions, which
allow the organization to visit all detainees.

"There is no person we are aware of to whom access has been denied,"
Kraehenbuehl said in an interview with The Associated Press.

Officials from the Swiss-led agency are always tightlipped about individual
cases, and Kraehenbuehl declined to comment on specific detainees from
Saddam's inner circle.

ICRC officials said they had logged about 3,000 captives held by the
coalition at the end of July -- tallying with figures released by the
Coalition Provisional Authority. They include POWs, common criminals and
high-profile former regime members.

Early in the U.S.-led war on Iraq, the Defense Department issued a deck of
cards showing the 55 most-wanted Iraqis. Thirty-five are in custody, 16
remain at large, two -- Saddam's sons Odai and Qusai -- have been confirmed
killed and two reported killed.

Those in custody include Tariq Aziz, former deputy prime minister, and Gen.
Zuhayr Talib Abd al-Sattar al-Naqib, former head of the Directorate of
Military Intelligence.

In May, the ICRC demanded access to captured former regime members.
Kraehenbuehl declined to say when the coalition had approved the visits.

But he said the ICRC remains odds with the United States over Washington's
detention of about 660 terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, some close
to 20 months.

The U.S. military maintains the detainees, suspected of links to the fallen
Afghan Taliban regime or al-Qaida terrorist network, are illegal combatants
and are not entitled to POW status under the Geneva Conventions. The ICRC
says combatants captured in conflict have a right under the conventions to
be considered POWs unless a tribunal rules otherwise.

The ICRC, which now has 850 people working across Iraq, has engineers and
technicians working in cities like Baghdad and Basra to try to restore water
and electricity supplies damaged in the U.S. bombardment and Iraqi looting.

The ICRC has lost two staff in the country this year, one caught in
crossfire as American forces closed in on Baghdad in April, the other shot
by unknown assailants two weeks ago near Hilla, south of the Iraqi capital.

Kraehenbuehl said it looked like a deliberate attack and "not look like an
act of banditry that went wrong."

He said it was unclear whether the neutral ICRC was the specific target, but
staff from other aid agencies also have faced increasing attacks even as
troops from the U.S.-led coalition have been hit by a string of ambushes.

"The question is: how do you manage to get the message across that while you
are an international organization, you are not part of the
military-political structure," Kraehenbuehl said.

by James Blitz
Financial Times, 4th August

In Britain and the US, the focus of political andmedia attention continues
to beon Iraq's past - on whether Saddam Hussein really possessed the weapons
of mass destruction that were the reason the coalition went to war.

However, John Sawers, who has just completed three months as Britain's
special representative to Iraq, has his eye firmly fixed on Iraq's future.

In an interview in the Foreign Office, where he has just taken over as its
director in charge of political and security policy worldwide, Mr Sawers is
careful to say little on the burning question of whether Iraq's WMD will be

Asked about the work being done by David Kay, America's chief strategist in
the Iraq weapons hunt, he chooses his words carefully. "I think the interim
reports he will produce in the autumn will help provide authoritative light
on what weapons Saddam had produced. I wouldn't want to go any further than

But Mr Sawers is a good deal more voluble on the task in which he has been
involved in his three month stint as special representative: creating a
political, security and military context which can move Iraq from
dictatorship to democracy.

A 48-year-old career diplomat, he is - as one might expect - confident about
Iraq's future. "When I arrived there in May, things were not in brilliant
shape but three months later we are on course in the three main areas -
security, the creation of political and civil structures, and economic
reconstruction. So it is conceivable to think of elections being held in the
course of the second half of next year."

But while the coalition forces are having success on several fronts -
closing in on Mr Hussein and setting up a new governing council - he
concedes there are numerous problems. The economy is plagued by huge
problems such as the lack of electricity generating capacity, still well
below what the country needs. And the US continues to face sustained
rebellion from guerrilla fighters.

Like his US counterpart Paul Bremer, Mr Sawers is confident Iraq will hold a
general election next year. But he believes much will depend on the speed
with which the newly created governing council confronts the tough task of
creating a constituent assembly that can draw up a new constitution for the

This is the subject, says Mr Sawers, of "strongly held views" in the
governing council but of no easy solutions. Nobody wants the US and UK to
appoint the assembly, but direct elections to the assembly are also
impossible "because the elements for that are not there, there is no census,
no national media".

However the constituent assembly ends up being formed, its task will be
formidable. It will have to decide on the status of the Kurdish region, the
role in the constitution of Islam, and whether the country should have a
presidential or parliamentary system.

Nevertheless, a general election by the summer of next year is "realistic"
and "feasible".

He adds: "It may be that people deliberate for longer on the content of the
constitution, so it could slip to the end of next year. But it is our goal
to have elections in the course of 2004." He also believes that local
elections may be held before then, both to test the electoral system and to
identify who the local chiefs are in some contested regions.

Mr Sawers believes Mr Hussein is almost certainly still alive. "I would be
very surprised if he isn't. His sense of insecurity will have been
heightened by the death of [his sons] Uday and Qusay. . . by the fact they
were informed upon by someone they had previously trusted.

"This will have heightened Saddam's need to move around as much as possible
and trust people as little as possible."

Following the death of Mr Hussein's sons, he says there has been "a
significant increase in the number of informants coming forward, giving
clues to his whereabouts, and it's only a matter of time before he is

But Mr Sawers believes that the biggest task ahead will be one of national
reconciliation. Human Rights Watch says 300,000 Iraqis were murdered under
Mr Hussein, but he believes this may prove to be an underestimate.

"Every time you would lunch with friends in Baghdad, it is astonishing how
everybody round the table had a list of relatives murdered in one massacre
or another," he says.

"There was a scale or repression here that dwarfs what we have seen in other
countries. But when it comes to the act of reconciliation, the Iraqis will
have to do it for themselves."



RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT Vol. 6, No. 33, 1 August 2003

Five Iraqi citizens were wounded on 27 July when unidentified militants
fired rocket propelled grenades (RPGs) at a store selling alcohol in the
southern Iraqi city of Al-Basrah, Voice of the Mujahidin reported on 28
July. The attack occurred in the city center. Hospital sources told the
radio station, purportedly operated by the Supreme Council for the Islamic
Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), that the attackers exited two vehicles some 30
meters from the store, and fired two or three RPGs in its direction, hitting
the building, and injuring individuals in the vicinity. (Kathleen Ridolfo)


RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT Vol. 6, No. 33, 1 August 2003

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) assisted in the
repatriation of some 240 Iraqi refugees to their homeland on 29 July, UN
News Center reported ( The refugees, housed at Rafha
refugee camp in Saudi Arabia since the 1991 Gulf War, have lobbied for their
repatriation, despite UN discouragement due to the unstable security
situation in Iraq.

UNHCR spokesman Kris Janowski told a 29 July press conference in Geneva that
more than 3,600 refugees from the camp are expected to be repatriated by
year-end. The evacuation will be carried out in 10-day intervals. Rafha
shelters approximately 5,200 Iraqis, the remainder of some 33,000 that once
occupied the camp. According to Janowski, "More than 25,000 Iraqis were
resettled from Rafha over the years, while 3,500 returned to Iraq -- the
last group of Iraqis to return left the camp last December." UNHCR expects
that as many as 500,000 Iraqi refugees may seek the organization's
assistance in their bid to return in the coming months, primarily from camps
in Iran, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia.

The first convoy from Rafha carrying the 240-plus Iraqis transited through
Kuwait before processing the individuals at the Umm Qasr border crossing
just south of the city of Al Basrah. "Today's convoy marks the beginning of
the end of Rafha refugee camp, a chance for long-time refugees to finally
return to their homeland," UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner Kamel Morjane
said. (Kathleen Ridolfo)


RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT Vol. 6, No. 33, 1 August 2003

The United Nations has reportedly begun to give refugee status to some
80,000 Palestinian refugees in Iraq, Reuters reported on 16 July. Under the
now-deposed regime of Saddam Hussein, Palestinians were registered as
refugees. The regime protected them, providing them with a monthly stipend
and housing. Iraqis who owned the properties evicted over 1,000 Palestinians
from their apartments after the regime's fall. Some 800 families have found
housing, but another 300 have ended up in a camp at a soccer pitch, the news
agency reported. "In the absence of a regular refugee protection system,
UNHCR now fills in," Reuters quoted a UNHCR statement as reading. The
registration will aid UNHCR by providing demographics on the refugees, which
will better help the agency in meeting their needs. (Kathleen Ridolfo)

by Nizamuddin Siddiqui
Dawn, 2nd August

KIRKUK, Aug 1: With the clock coming full circle for them, a number of Arabs
have either been killed here or have been expelled from this troubled city,
it was learnt on Friday.

In recent weeks at least 10 Arabs have been killed by people of Kurdish
origin, some residents told Dawn.

Residents confirm that fighting had broken out between the Kurds and Arabs
after the fall of Saddam's government and was still continuing in certain
parts of the city.

According to a local businessman, the villages south of Kirkuk were
particularly affected by the policy of forced expulsions. He claimed that
the Kurds were not the only people who were involved in the campaign. "The
Turkmens are also involved."

The Arab, who works for a private organization, said the tribe that was
affected most adversely was called Al-Shummar. The people of this tribe, he
said, had to flee four villages south of Kirkuk, namely Al-Mustansir,
Khalid, Al-Wahda and Umar ibn Al-Khattab.

He further claimed that the policy of "ethnic cleansing" had the direct
blessings of the top leadership of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan.

The deputy commander of the US army unit charged with helping manage the
civilian affairs in Northern Iraq, Maj James L. Bullion, also said there was
fighting between the Kurds and Arabs in Kirkuk soon after the defeat of
Saddam's men in the latest Iraqi war. "Yes, we have had people who tried to
reclaim their property which had been given to the Arab families during
Saddam Hussein's rule.

The major said the people who tried to expel the Arabs from the city were
either Kurdish in origin or Turkmen. He claimed that the US troops had
intervened on behalf of Arab families to stop excesses.

Sounds of gunfire are not uncommon in Kirkuk, and traffic thins out by 10
pm. Power breakdowns are frequent but whenever one of these occurs most
people press their generators into service. The communications system has
collapsed and if you want to call even cities inside Iraq, you have to go to
a call centre on Jamhouriya Street.

Fax and internet services are available in only a couple of the shops here.
About half, or may be more, of the shops remain closed perpetually. It seems
that the owners have had to leave the city.

The best hotel in town charges $55 for a night. It may not be full but it is
doing satisfactory business. An average hotel charges between $20 and $40
for a night.

Difficult times since the fall of Saddam's government have facilitated the
growth of the informal sector of the economy. You see edible oil and flour
bags bearing the stamp of the World Food Programme (WFP) being openly sold
on Al-Thawra Street.,2763,1010160,00.html

by Ghazi Sabir-Ali
The Guardian, 1st August

Iraq, which was, until the first Gulf war, the second-largest oil-exporting
country, is now importing petrol for the first time in 60 years. Iraqis are
now paying exorbitant prices for a commodity that only a few months ago was
cheaper than bottled water.

This is, of course, far from being the only cause of distress to an already
mentally and physically battered population. Nearly four months after the
war ended, services are appalling. The electricity supply is intermittent,
and there is a serious water shortage. With temperatures up to 50C, this is
an intolerable situation.

In 1991, after the first Gulf war, although electricity generating stations,
water purification plants and telecommunications were almost totally
destroyed, the Iraqis - despite sanctions - worked hard to rebuild them.

At the time I was chief executive of Iraq's North Oil Company, as the Iraq
Petroleum company was called after nationalisation in 1972. In the six weeks
that the offensive lasted, and in the chaos that followed, the oil
installations were extensively bombed and looted. The computer centre,
telephone exchanges, workshops, laboratories and company stores had been
wrecked, and technical drawings destroyed. The powerhouse, water-processing
plants, degassing and pumping stations had all been damaged. All the offices
had been trashed: paperwork had been burned, and every removable item taken.
Even the washbasins and taps, electrical sockets and lights had been removed
from the walls. Of 586 light vehicles, only six remained.

On April 2 1991, I received a hastily scribbled note from the minister of
oil in Baghdad. NOC had to produce, by April 15, 200,000 barrels a day of
crude oil and pump it to Baiji refinery in order to supply petrol to the
Iraqi people to celebrate Saddam's birthday on April 28. To have questioned
the order would have been dangerous; failure would incur punishment. But
that was not my primary motivation: in my view, the provision of petrol was
a service to the Iraqi people. It would mitigate their hardship.

So I called our first postwar board meeting; it was held sitting outside my
office, as there was no furniture. The morale of the company's 10,000 staff
was abysmal; on top of enduring bombing and looting, they had had no water,
fuel or wages since the war started. I decided to spend the first week
boosting morale, not with fine words and patriotic speeches, but through
tangible improvements to the life of our employees.

The priorities were obvious: nothing could be done without electricity to
operate the water pumps, telephone exchanges and so on. But, first and
foremost, the men needed money, so it was announced that any employee who
arrived at the company gates would receive five dinars daily on top of his
wages. There was no money in Kirkuk as the banks had been looted, so I sent
the finance manager to the central bank in Baghdad to bring back 3m dinars,
an enormous sum then. Word quickly spread and the next day several hundred
men reported to work. In a few days the workforce was back to normal.

I formed many committees, each under a highly capable man to whom I gave
sheets of paper, blank apart from my signature. One of our problems was lack
of transport: cars were allocated for four hours at a time. Shortage of
petrol was another headache: before the war I had hidden a 40,000-litre
petrol tanker in the hills west of Kirkuk, and in order to produce petrol
before this ran out we managed to revive an old refinery column, which had
last been operated in the 1950s. The quality was bad, but it met our need
for fuel.

On April 4, the head of electrical engineering told me that, by the end of
the day, he would be able to operate one of the turbines. Shortly after
sunset, there was jubilation in the 3,000 oil company houses as their
electricity came on, and the streetlights went on. The sight of these areas,
lit up after nearly three months of darkness, raised the spirits of the
town. The next morning water reached the houses, and people streamed out of
their houses to visit relatives, bathe and wash clothes.

In that first week, we were also assessing how to go about the repairs.
Before pumping the crude oil to the refineries, we had to recommission a
degassing station. Then impurities had to be removed by heating. The works
were so extensively damaged that we decided to use a cold-stripping plant.
The nearest one was beside Shurau degassing station, so this site was ideal
for both operations. We also needed pipelines to connect all parts of the
system, which meant a great deal of repair and re-routing. The same
specialised people who had worked on the services were carrying out these

The morale of the men was rising and they tackled the rebuilding with
enthusiasm. It rose even higher when, after sunset on day five, we lit the
flare of the degassing station. The red glow in the Kirkuk sky, which had
been missing for several months, told people that the oil company was
operational again, and life was taking on some semblance of normality.

On day 14 we started pumping; within three months we were producing 75% of
pre-war capacity.

The time taken to provide the basic necessities of modern life was vital in
raising morale. I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to lead such
men, drawn from all Iraqi areas, ethnic groups and religions. They are true
Iraqis, skilled in their professions and devoted to their country.

Many of those men, and many others like them, are still in Iraq. They remain
capable, as they were in 1991, of planning and executing the necessary
repairs to our battered country, if they are given a free hand. There is no
need for foreign companies to take control. Iraqi oil revenue should go to
Iraqis, who should then be left in peace to set their country to rights.

Ghazi Sabir-Ali is the former chairman and managing director of the North
Oil Company, Kirkuk. This article was written in collaboration with Valerie

Jordan Times, 4th August
NAJAF, Iraq (AFP)  The holy city of Najaf, power base of Iraq's Shiite
Muslim majority, is locked in a silent battle between those prepared to
cooperate with the US-led administration and those who champion resistance.

The struggle by supporters of firebrand cleric Moqtada Sadr to push the
religious hierarchy into a more antagonistic approach towards the Americans
has seen three attacks on mainstream clerics in the past two weeks, sources

"Such crimes are aimed at provoking disturbances in the town, but the people
have ignored them," said a son of Ayatollah Mohammad Said Al Hakim, one of
Shiite Islam's top four clerics.

But these pressures "won't make the Hawza change its policy", Mohammad
Hussein Al Hakim said, stressing that the hierarchy continued to favour
talks as the best way of ending the US-led occupation.

However, Sadr, who is himself scion of an illustrious family of ayatollahs,
has openly defied the hierarchy by condemning all contact with US forces.

During the mainly weekly prayers in the nearby town of Kufa Friday, he
demanded the withdrawal of US troops.

As one of the most outspoken voices of Shiite protest against the US
occupation, he said he was determined to defend the holy sites of Najaf
against the Americans, branding it the responsibility of all Muslims in

But demonstrators gathered in Najaf on Thursday and Friday to protest
against the wave of attacks against mainstream clerics and proclaim their
allegiance to the religious hierarchy.

A theology student, Amjad Al Azari, was beaten with the butt of a rifle on
Tuesday for refusing to drive armed men to Hakim junior's house, a source
close to the Hawza said.

Similarly, last Sunday, Sheikh Dia Al Modhaffar, a relative of Ayatollah
Hakim, was beaten black and blue in the street by unknown assailants.

Supporters of Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, another of Shiite Islam's leading
clerics, have also been subject to attacks.

An official from his office, Ibrahim Layez, was admitted to hospital with
multiple stab wounds two weeks ago, although he is now said to be out of

These attacks have been accompanied by "death threats" against the
ayatollahs, said Hakim junior.

Officially, no complaints have been filed, but the ayatollah's son blames
those who see their only hope of power and influence in "chaos". "It must be
an outsider, because the population is known for its allegiance to the Hawza
and respect for it is sacrosanct in the town," he said.

Instead, he pointed the finger at "certain blemishes on the name of Islam"
who collude with the media, in a clear reference to Sadr, whose sermons
areregularly featured on television.

But a spokesman for Sadr denied any role in the violence, dismissing the
allegations as "prejudice".

"Any attack against a member of the Hawza, be he a dignitary or a simple
student, is unacceptable," said Sheikh Mustafa Yaqubi.

Yaqubi defended Sadr's opposition to the Americans, although he acknowledged
it had little support among the tribes who still dominate the countryside.

"They think the US presence gives them protection but we see the occupation
as more negative than positive. It is not acceptable to justify the American
occupation in this way," he said.


by James W. Crawley
San Diego Union-Tribune, 5th August

American jets killed Iraqi troops with firebombs  similar to the
controversial napalm used in the Vietnam War  in March and April as Marines
battled toward Baghdad.

Marine Corps fighter pilots and commanders who have returned from the war
zone have confirmed dropping dozens of incendiary bombs near bridges over
the Saddam Canal and the Tigris River. The explosions created massive

 "We napalmed both those (bridge) approaches," said Col. James Alles in a
recent interview. He commanded Marine Air Group 11, based at Miramar Marine
Corps Air Station, during the war. "Unfortunately, there were people there
because you could see them in the (cockpit) video.

"They were Iraqi soldiers there. It's no great way to die," he added. How
many Iraqis died, the military couldn't say. No accurate count has been made
of Iraqi war casualties.

The bombing campaign helped clear the path for the Marines' race to Baghdad.

During the war, Pentagon spokesmen disputed reports that napalm was being
used, saying the Pentagon's stockpile had been destroyed two years ago.

Apparently the spokesmen were drawing a distinction between the terms
"firebomb" and "napalm." If reporters had asked about firebombs, officials
said yesterday they would have confirmed their use.

What the Marines dropped, the spokesmen said yesterday, were "Mark 77
firebombs." They acknowledged those are incendiary devices with a function
"remarkably similar" to napalm weapons.

Rather than using gasoline and benzene as the fuel, the firebombs use
kerosene-based jet fuel, which has a smaller concentration of benzene.

Hundreds of partially loaded Mark 77 firebombs were stored on pre-positioned
ammunition ships overseas, Marine Corps officials said. Those ships were
unloaded in Kuwait during the weeks preceding the war.

"You can call it something other than napalm, but it's napalm," said John
Pike, defense analyst with, a nonpartisan research group
in Alexandria, Va.

Although many human rights groups consider incendiary bombs to be inhumane,
international law does not prohibit their use against military forces. The
United States has not agreed to a ban against possible civilian targets.

"Incendiaries create burns that are difficult to treat," said Robert Musil,
executive director of Physicians for Social Responsibility, a Washington
group that opposes the use of weapons of mass destruction.

Musil described the Pentagon's distinction between napalm and Mark 77
firebombs as "pretty outrageous."

"That's clearly Orwellian," he added.

Developed during World War II and dropped on troops and Japanese cities,
incendiary bombs have been used by American forces in nearly every conflict
since. Their use became controversial during the Vietnam War when U.S. and
South Vietnamese aircraft dropped millions of pounds of napalm. Its effects
were shown in a Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph of Vietnamese children
running from their burned village.

Before March, the last time U.S. forces had used napalm in combat was the
Persian Gulf War, again by Marines.

During a recent interview about the bombing campaign in Iraq, Marine Corps
Maj. Gen. Jim Amos confirmed aircraft dropped what he and other Marines
continue to call napalm on Iraqi troops on several occasions. He commanded
Marine jet and helicopter units involved in the Iraq war and leads the
Miramar-based 3rd Marine Air Wing.

Miramar pilots familiar with the bombing missions pointed to at least two
locations where firebombs were dropped.

Before the Marines crossed the Saddam Canal in central Iraq, jets dropped
several firebombs on enemy positions near a bridge that would become the
Marines' main crossing point on the road toward Numaniyah, a key town 40
miles from Baghdad.

Next, the bombs were used against Iraqis near a key Tigris River bridge,
north of Numaniyah, in early April.

There were reports of another attack on the first day of the war.

Two embedded journalists reported what they described as napalm being
dropped on an Iraqi observation post at Safwan Hill overlooking the Kuwait

Reporters for CNN and the Sydney (Australia) Morning Herald were told by
unnamed Marine officers that aircraft dropped napalm on the Iraqi position,
which was adjacent to one of the Marines' main invasion routes.

Their reports were disputed by several Pentagon spokesmen who said no such
bombs were used nor did the United States have any napalm weapons.

The Pentagon destroyed its stockpile of napalm canisters, which had been
stored near Camp Pendleton at the Fallbrook Naval Weapons Station, in April

Yesterday military spokesmen described what they see as the distinction
between the two types of incendiary bombs. They said mixture used in modern
firebombs is a less harmful mixture than Vietnam War-era napalm.

"This additive has significantly less of an impact on the environment,"
wrote Marine spokesman Col. Michael Daily, in an e-mailed information sheet
provided by the Pentagon.

He added, "many folks (out of habit) refer to the Mark 77 as 'napalm'
because its effect upon the target is remarkably similar."

In the e-mail, Daily also acknowledged that firebombs were dropped near
Safwan Hill.

Alles, who oversaw the Safwan bombing raid, said 18 one-ton satellite-guided
bombs, but no incendiary bombs, were dropped on the site.

Military experts say incendiary bombs can be an effective weapon in certain

Firebombs are useful against dug-in troops and light vehicles, said
GlobalSecurity's Pike.

"I used it routinely in Vietnam," said retired Marine Lt. Gen. Bernard
Trainor, now a prominent defense analyst. "I have no moral compunction
against using it. It's just another weapon."

And, the distinctive fireball and smell have a psychological impact on
troops, experts said.

"The generals love napalm," said Alles, who has transferred to Washington.
"It has a big psychological effect."

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