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Dear all This and its companion have been sitting in my drafts folder for a week. Seems I forgot to send them. Sorry. Peter News, 30/7-6/8/03 (2) THE HOME FRONT(s) * 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 THE OCCUPATION * 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' THE PEOPLE * 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 CONDUCT OF THE WAR * Officials Confirm Dropping Firebombs on Iraqi Troops Results are 'remarkably similar' to using napalm THE HOME FRONT(s) http://www.dawn.com/2003/08/02/int12.htm * IRAQ INVASION ERODES PRE-EMPTION STRATEGY 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 abroad. 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 accomplished. 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) http://www.jordantimes.com/Fri/news/news8.htm * 'IRAQ WAR MAY HAVE HURT FIGHT AGAINST AL QAEDA' 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 terrorists. 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. http://www.sundaymirror.co.uk/news/content_objectid=13249608_method=full_sit eid=106694_headline=-25-000-TROOPS-WIN-RIGHT-TO-HAVE-NEW-TEST-FOR GULF-WAR-SYNDROME-name_page.html * TROOPS WIN RIGHT FOR GULF WAR SYNDROME TEST 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 law. 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. THE OCCUPATION RADIO FREE EUROPE/RADIO LIBERTY, PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC * U.S. SOLDIERS CHARGED WITH ABUSING POWS IN IRAQ 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) RADIO FREE EUROPE/RADIO LIBERTY, PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC * SOUTHERN IRAQ ADMINISTRATOR LEAVES POST 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) http://www.jordantimes.com/Fri/ * US SEES IRAQ POLLS BY MID-2004 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 occupation. 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 fire. 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. http://www.news.scotsman.com/latest.cfm?id=1750058 * US ISSUES 'NEW-LOOK SADDAM' PICTURES 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. http://www.indystar.com/print/articles/7/062700-9397-010.html * MORE AMERICANS DIE NEAR BAGHDAD 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 1. 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." [.....] http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/world/wire/sns-ap-red-cross iraq,0,1884908.story?coll=sns-ap-world-headlines * RED CROSS GETS ACCESS TO SADDAM LOYALISTS 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. http://news.ft.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=FT.com/StoryFT/FullStory&c =StoryFT&cid=1059478679679&p=1012571727172 * 'NATIONAL RECONCILIATION IS THE BIGGEST TASK FOR IRAQ' 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 found. 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 that." 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 country. 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 caught". 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." THE PEOPLE RADIO FREE EUROPE/RADIO LIBERTY, PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC * MILITANTS ATTACK LIQUOR STORE IN AL-BASRAH 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) RADIO FREE EUROPE/RADIO LIBERTY, PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC * UNHCR HELPS REPATRIATE 240 IRAQI REFUGEES 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 (http://www.un.org/news). 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) RADIO FREE EUROPE/RADIO LIBERTY, PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC * PALESTINIANS GIVEN OFFICIAL STATUS AS REFUGEES IN IRAQ 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) http://www.dawn.com/2003/08/02/int4.htm * 10 ARABS KILLED IN KIRKUK FIGHTING 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. http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1010160,00.html * LET IRAQIS REBUILD THEIR OWN COUNTRY 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 repairs. 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 Sabir-Ali http://www.jordantimes.com/Mon/news/news10.htm * SILENT STRUGGLE FOR CONTROL OF NAJAF, IRAQ'S SHIITE POWER BASE 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 say. "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 Iraq. 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 danger. 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. CONDUCT OF THE WAR http://www.commondreams.org/headlines03/0805-01.htm * OFFICIALS CONFIRM DROPPING FIREBOMBS ON IRAQI TROOPS RESULTS ARE 'REMARKABLY SIMILAR' TO USING NAPALM 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 fireballs. "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 GlobalSecurity.com, 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 border. 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 2001. 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 situations. 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." _______________________________________________ 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