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[casi] News, 20-27/8/03 (3)

News, 20-27/8/03 (3)


*  Iraq and the one-eyed liar
*  Iraq's insurgents: types, characteristics, ideologies
*  The plot thickens
*  [3 British Troops Killed in Iraq Attack - on Turkomen/Kurd clashes]
*  Anah, Iraqi Town With No Occupation Forces
*  Between a rock and a hard place
*  Bomb Hits Home of Key Iraqi Shiite Cleric
*  Violence and calm: dual realities in Iraq
*  Future prospects for anti-US  insurgency in Iraq
*  Shiites Demonstrate Outside Coalition HQ
*  Many in Mosul Would Not Turn in Saddam
*  Ethnic trouble in the north


by Nir Rosen
Asia Times, 22nd August

BAGHDAD - The al-Rahman mosque sprawls over a huge lot in Baghdad's upper
class al Mansour district. Saddam Hussein began constructing the immense
mosque that was originally named after him, and it is still unfinished, raw
concrete domes with metal poles dominating the neighborhood's horizon.
Immediately after the war, the mosque was taken over by partisans of Muqtada
al-Sadr, the young leader of a militant, theocratic movement that dominates
Shi'ite politics.

Muqtada's control was called into question on Friday, August 15, when
supporters of Sheikh Mohammed al-Yaqubi, a rival Shi'ite cleric,
demonstrated outside the mosque at the noon prayer time. "Yes, yes for
Yaqubi!" they shouted, and condemned Ayatollah Kadhim al-Hairi, a cleric
with whom Muqtada is allied. This fitna, or strife, within the "house of
Islam", is generally a state that Muslims avoid at all costs.

Al-Yaqubi and Muqtada are rivals in the contest to define the direction that
Iraqi Shi'ites will take in post-Saddam Iraq. The center of this battle is
in a collection of schools called the hawza, or Shi'ite academy, based in
Najaf, a shrine city built for Imam Ali, the cousin and son in law of the
Prophet Mohammed, regarded by the Shi'ite Ali (or partisans of Ali) as their
first leader.

Shi'ites comprise over 60 percent of the Iraqi population, and are mobilized
by their religious organizations. The hawza has historically been dominated
by the traditional Shi'ite view that religious leaders should eschew
politics and focus on the spiritual world and on advising their flock.

In the 1950s, however, responding to government oppression and encroaching
Western secularist trends, a more activists brand of Shi'ism developed. The
activist Shi'ites sometimes refer to themselves as the hawza natika, or the
outspoken hawza, or the thawra (revolutionary) hawza, or faala (active), and
disparagingly view their introverted counterparts as the hawza samita, or
silent hawza.

Yaqubi was the favorite student of Mohammed Sadiq al-Sadr, an important
proponent of the hawza natika who was killed by agents of Saddam in 1999,
and thus achieved the status of a revered martyr. His son, the young Muqtada
Sadr, has used his father's reputation to galvanize a mass movement that now
holds key Shi'ite neighborhoods and mosques throughout Iraq and who has
ambitions for national control. Muqtada and Yaqubi are now bitter rivals
seeking to embody the hawza natika and eventually rule Iraq.

Yaqubi made his debut Baghdad appearance at the Friday prayers of April 25,
where he spoke at the Kadhim mosque to tens of thousands of devotees who
chanted "yes, yes for the hawza natika!" A week later, he established an
organization in Najaf called Fudala, which means "the generous ones". Fudala
held its founding conference on April 30. No other Western journalists were
present for what may well have been the beginning of the Islamic revolution
of Iraq.

About 300 people attended the conference held in Fudala's headquarters at
the gutted mansion of Najaf's former Saddam-appointed governor. The
participants were religious leaders, tribal leaders and academics, all
people who could command a significant following of their own. Like every
religious conference, an appropriate chapter from the Koran was read. In
this case it was a triumphal proclamation that Allah had opened their path
to the future and they could not be stopped because they were victorious.

Yaqubi then spoke, describing the goals of Fudala. He sat behind a desk,
flanked by laymen in Western attire on both his sides. Yaqubi himself is a
small, frail man, with a white turban and a stern face behind thick
gray-framed glasses. He has a clipped graying beard, and the robes of a
clergyman fall over his child-like body. In his speech, Yaqubi claimed that
Fudala represented the hawza and would defend Muslims from Western culture.

They would open offices throughout Iraq to organize the work of the hawza.
They would organize the majlis al-shura, or supreme council, to be elected
by the participants. They would establish a newspaper to disseminate their
thinking. They would establish an information office to gather information
and analyze it in order to predict the future. There would be a majlis
dusturi al-Islami, or a constitutional Islamic council, that would be
responsible for politics and monitoring other parties, to evaluate and
control their behavior. Yaqubi urged people to go to their mosques. The
mosque is a school, he explained, a cultural center, a center for
conferences. Everything that is done must be done inside the mosque.

On the conclusion of Yaqubi's speech, a selected group of about 150 people
took part in elections. Not surprisingly, since he was the only candidate,
Yaqubi was elected general secretary of Fudala. He announced that he would
appoint seven people to work under him. Although Yaqubi stated in an earlier
interview that Fudala was not a party, a professor of nuclear physics from
Saddam University in Baghdad, named Abdel Aziz, who attended the conference,
admitted that it was indeed a political party. Most Islamists in Iraq avoid
the term "party", with its secular and corrupt connotations, and prefer, as
does Fudala, to refer to themselves as a "group" or "council".

In an earlier interview, Sheikh Husain al-Tai, the office director of
Fudala, explained that their goal was to prove that the hawza could govern
all aspects of life in Iraq, political, social, administrative. He said that
Fudala is an experiment in the efficiency of a theocracy, starting in Najaf.
He compared the seminary in Najaf to the other important Shi'ite seminary in
Qom, Iran, and asked, "if Qom can be political, why can't we?" Al-Tai also
expressed his desire for a walayat al-faqih, or government by the religious
jurisprudents, a system that has governed Iran since Ayatollah Ruhollah
Khomeini's revolution of 1979.

Fudala sells books by Yaqubi, who has appointed himself an ayatollah,
thereby promoting himself in the religious hierarchy. In one book, entitled
The West and Us, Yaqubi wrote that "America lifts the flag of enemies of
Islam and makes itself the enemy of Muslims, so we must consider America our
enemy." Yaqubi maintains that there is a cultural war between the West and
Islam. After the fall of the Soviet Union, a unipolar system dominated the
world. It is epitomized by American imperialism. Controlling this system are
the Masons. They have been planning in the shadows for 200 years to
implement their goal of controlling the world under the guise of
internationalism and legality. Their new system is called globalization,
Yaqubi teaches.

Yaqubi also discusses the awar al-dajal, or the one-eyed liar, in his book.
This is like the Muslim antichrist, an ostensibly omnipotent entity with
incredible powers that claims to be a god and demands a following. The awar
is blind because it sees only money, and has no feelings. It brings with it
a hell and a paradise. Only the return of Imam Mohammed al Mahdi, the
disappeared leader of the Shi'ites, along with Jesus Christ, can destroy the
awar al-dajal. Yaqubi labors in his book to demonstrate that the awar is not
a single person. Rather it is a big power, like America. America has all the
powers of the awar. This is evident by its stunning technology. The awar's
hell is the suffering caused by America. His paradise is the money with
which America buys people. Anyone sent to the awar's hell will be rewarded
with Allah's paradise, and anyone tempted by the awar's paradise will be
rewarded by Allah's hell.

Abu Abdullah, Fudala's spokesman, maintains that Fudala's vision differs
from the Iranian system and the role that they see for their hawza differs
from the role that the Shi'ite academy of Qom has. "In Iran," he explains,
"non-Islamic parties are illegal, but in Iraq every party will have the
opportunity to be a candidate, and the hawza will also be a candidate.
Fudala does not deny anyone the right to take part in the government, on
condition that his work is consistent with the decrees of the religious

Regarding non-Muslims, Abu Abdullah replied that "we accept everyone who
believes that there is no god but god, but not heretics or apostates".
Non-Muslims would have a special status, called dhimitude, that has
protected them throughout Islamic history, while also relegating them to an
inferior, and often vulnerable, social status. Abu Abdullah explains that
the hawza natika was a term created by Mohammed Sadiq al-Sadr during the
reign of Saddam to identify his anti-government stance and his Friday
sermons criticizing the former regime.

"Fudala's goals," Abu Abdullah continues, "are to make the hawza active in
forming the constitution but we will not deny anyone elected by the people
the opportunity to work according to the constitution." Given that Fudala
has called for an Islamic constitution and a future government consistent
with Islam, they are defining the structure in such a way that it will
exclude, or allow them to exclude, any individual or party that they
identify as inconsistent with Islam, the hawza, or the edicts of their
religious leaders.

Abu Abdullah explains that the war with the West is multifaceted, "There is
a cultural and educational war, because Western cultural and educational
institutions try to destroy the virtues of Islam and the Islamic identity.
There is an economic war because the West tries to expropriate the wealth of
Islamic lands, and there is a military war, such as the one in Palestine,
because the West supports Israel and its murder of the Muslim Palestinian

Fudala will have many locations to propagate its ideas, because, according
to Abu Abdullah, "every mosque in Iraq will be an office for us because it
is the natural place for religious people to meet."

Interviewed recently in his Najaf office, Yaqubi was explicit about the need
for the hawza to be politically involved. "Our founding declaration says we
will adopt political activity, and political action is one of the hawza's
most important duties," he said, voicing subtle contempt for members of the
silent hawza.

"The Koran says there are different people and they are not equal. There are
those who fight for God, called the mujahideen, and those who are afraid to
fight and stay home. The mujahideen are better and the natika hawza is the
one that does more duties." Yaqubi then quoted a verse from the Koran about
how everyone is rewarded, but god prefers the mujahideen.

Yaqubi, who avoided specific details about his plans in a manner typical of
the general and vague innuendoes used by clerics, did, however, say that it
was not necessary for the hawza to directly control Iraq because "if the
hawza controls each city independently, then the sum total for management of
all cities would be like a government".

by Ahmed S. Hashim
Lebanon Daily Star, 22nd August

Despite some evidence that the Baathist regime had planned all along on a
post-war insurgency after its formal defeat, the insistent claim by US
authorities, that the attacks are solely the work of remnants of the former
regime is incorrect.

Statements have been put out by various organizations claiming credit for
the attacks. Based on their respective clandestine statements, they seem to
be made up of the following groups of nationalist and religious provenance:

‹ The General Command of the Armed Forces, Resistance and Liberation in
Iraq, Popular Resistance for the Liberation of Iraq and Patriotic Front:
These three are most likely composed of former Iraqi military personnel,
particularly from the Special Republican Guard, security and intelligence
personnel, Baath Party members and the paramilitary Fedayeen. These members
of the former regime are not averse to giving their cells Islamic names.

‹ Al-Awdah (The Return), Jihaz al-Ilam al-Siyasi li Hizb al-Baath (Political
Media Organ of the Baath Party), Harakat Ras al-Afaa (Snake's Head
Movement): The first is a group that came into prominence in mid-June. It is
made up of former security service members and soldiers of the former Iraqi
armed forces organized in cells spread throughout cities such as Baghdad,
Mosul and Ramadi. There are reports that the pro-Saddam Hussein elements of
the Baath party have actually re-named the party Al-Awdah.

‹ Nasserites: A small group of non-Baathist pan-Arab nationalists of little
significance. Their only claim to fame apart from allegedly successful
attacks on US forces is their success of making enemies of almost all other
Iraqi political groups, whether insurgent or involved in the political
process under the auspices of the Coalition Political Authority

‹ Thuwwar al-Iraq - Kataeb al-Anbar al-Musallahah (Iraq's Revolutionaries -
Al-Anbar Armed Brigades): This is an anti-Saddamist nationalist insurgent
group based in Al-Anbar governorate.

‹ General Secretariat for the Liberation of Democratic Iraq: This is an
anti-Saddam Hussein leftist nationalist group which condemns the coalition
authority for failing to provide security basic services to the population.

‹ Munazzamat al-Alam al-Aswad: (Black Banner Organization): This group's
propaganda seems to indicate that it has nationalist and religious
tendencies. It has called for sabotage of oil industry to prevent it from
falling to the hands of the West.

‹ Unification Front for the Liberation of Iraq: Little is known about this
group except that it is an anti-Saddamist and anti-Baathist one which has
called upon all Iraqi forces to fight the US occupation.

‹ National Front for the Liberation of Iraq: This sounds like the name of a
secular resistance organization, but it is apparently an organization that
incorporated elements of both the regime and religious tendencies because it
accepted individuals from the Republican Guard into its ranks. It was also
one of the first to appear during the war. It issued its first communiqués
in April and actually claimed that it had tried to assassinate Ahmed Chalabi
but only succeeded in killing some of his supporters in an attack in

‹ Al-Farouk Brigades: This group refers to itself as the military arm of an
Islamic resistance organization called the Islamic Movement in Iraq, or
Al-Harakah al-Islamiyyah fi al-Iraq. The brigades were stood up in early
June and might include secular Sunni Arabs and and individuals from now
defunct organizations of the former regime. The Al-Farouk Brigades have set
up small units or "squadrons" which they give Islamic names and have
different specialties - e.g. there are reconnaissance squadrons and combat

‹ Mujahideen al-Taifa al-Mansoura (Mujahideen of the Victorious Sect): This
includes non Iraq Sunni Islamist elements or even Sunni fundamentalist
elements of neo-salafi background. Its military arm is known as the Martyr
Khattab Brigade.

‹ Kataeb al-Mujahideen fi al-Jamaah al-Salafiyah fi al-Iraq (Mujahideen
Battalions of the Salafi Group of Iraq): This is a Sunni Islamist group
which claims as its spiritual mentor the Palestinian Islamist, Abdallah
Azzam, who fought with the Afghan Mujahideen with his acolyte, Osama bin

Jihad Brigades/Cells: This group emerged in late July 2003 but little is
known about it except it has called for guerrilla warfare and threatened to
execute "spies and traitors," i.e. those who are seen as collaborating with
the US occupation.

Even though one could easily argue that the Sunni Arabs have shown a less
than welcoming visage to the Americans for the reasons alluded to above, the
groups engaging in armed action actually have different ideological
motivations for fighting the US presence. We can divide them into three
rough groupings:

‹ Regime loyalists who believe that they have no option but to continue
fighting and who are convinced that the United States will tire long before
them. They are trying to apply the experiences of other guerrilla/terrorist
organizations - such as the Lebanese Hizbullah and the Palestinian Hamas -
to their operations.

‹ Nationalist and patriotic individuals and insurgent groups who resent the
US presence and are angered by the US failure to restore law and order,
security, and by US operational methods that are seen as deliberately
humiliating the Iraqis and their honor. These individuals or groups are
relying heavily on kinship and tribal ties to provide them with shelter and
succor as they plan for and execute their operations.

‹ Islamists who have emerged after decades of suppression by the Baathist
regime. Brave though they may be - and there was considerable evidence of
this during the war itself - many of them are amateurs; others have proven
to have considerable military experience. But they learn quickly and they
have the experiences of other Islamist organizations to help along in their
learning curve.

Mention must be made of the foreign Islamist fighters that have infiltrated
into Iraq to fight the United States. The individuals from these groups come
from Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Sudan, and Chechnya. Some are
well-trained and fought well and to the death against US forces during the
war itself. Others are simply either middle class or working class young men
who left their "meaningless" lives in their respective countries and who
have sought to wage a holy war against the US occupation forces.

It is easy to exaggerate the numbers or importance of these Islamists as
some observers in the US have done. Little data is available on these groups
in Iraq and as a result, there are a number of rumors circulating about
them: that they are being funded by charitable organizations in Saudi
Arabia; that they have sought to terrorize Shiite residents of Al-Sadr City;
and that they have been responsible for some of the deadly hit and run
attacks on US troops in central Iraq. They have clashed with Shiite militia
groups and if such clashes increase in the coming months, they are bound to
cause tensions between the Sunni and Shiite communities.

However, apparently those that are Arab have managed to acquire Iraqi IDs
without problem and have integrated themselves into Sunni society despite
having noticeably different accents. US intelligence and military forces
have not been able to pick up on this because of the paucity of Arabic
language speakers within their ranks.

Many of these various groups have even eschewed contact with one another
because of mutual ideological hostility. For example, the Kataeb
al-Mujahideen refer to the personnel of the former regime as "soldiers of
tyranny and the devils of darkness" who have handed "over this Muslim
country to their American masters."

Many of the individuals who say that they are fighting the US presence for
patriotic or nationalistic reasons have expressed no desire to see the
return of the previous system.

For example, one of the insurgent groups issued a statement deriding one of
Saddam Hussein's taped messages:

"Yesterday, through their media outlets, the tyrant and his henchmen
announced from the holes in which they are stuck that he is the one behind
the resistance and that the men carrying out this resistance are loyal and
linked to him.

"The one behind the mass graves and executions wants to employ the struggle
of our people who reject the occupation, hegemony, and guardianship to his
own benefit and the benefit of his regime."

Others actively avoid coordination or interaction with like-minded insurgent
groups because such contact heightens the chances of penetration and
destruction by US forces.

Of those that we know about, such as supporters of the former regime, it
seems that they have organized themselves into small, cellular units each of
five-six members and because US forces do not enter mosques they are likely
to use places of worship for planning operations and for storing weapons and

Dr. Ahmed S. Hashim is professor at the Center for Naval Warfare Studies in
the United States. This is the first of several excerpts from a longer paper
published by the Middle East Institute in Washington

by Pepe Escobar
Asia Times, 23rd August

HANOI - Ahmad Chalabi, the Pentagon erstwhile protege, leader of the Iraqi
National Congress (INC), member of the American-appointed Iraqi interim
government in Iraq and a convicted criminal in Jordan, went on record in
Baghdad saying that he had received intelligence on Thursday, August 14,
that "a large-scale act would take place ... against a soft target, such as
Iraqi political parties or other parties, including the UN". He even learned
that the attack would be a truck bombing - by means of a suicide bomber or a
remote-controlled detonator. Chalabi also made clear that according to this
intelligence, "neither the Coalition Provisional Authority nor coalition
troops" would be attacked.

Chalabi is usually not recognized as a reliable source. But if this
startling piece of information is true, it means two things: 1) The
Americans in Iraq knew about an attack, and did nothing to try to prevent
it. 2) The UN itself didn't know anything about it, according to Fred
Eckhard, spokesman for secretary general Kofi Annan: "To my knowledge, that
information was not relayed to the United Nations."

The frightening possibility that Chalabi knew it, the Americans knew it, the
UN didn't and the Americans did nothing to improve security at the UN
headquarters will only benefit one player: the Pentagon, according to which
Iraq is now the central battle in the "war against terrorism". And right on
cue, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and US Central Command chief General
John Abizaid, in a joint briefing, declared Iraq now to be a sort of
terrorist Woodstock.

Whatever goes terribly wrong in Iraq is not enough to force the Pentagon to
change its script. It still refuses to acknowledge the indigenous
broad-based Iraqi resistance against the occupation, which, as Asia Times
Online has reported, spreads out from Sunni mosques and is guided by
patriotism. The Pentagon keeps repeating what it wants to hear - and it all
comes from none other than Chalabi, according to whom there was an important
meeting between the notorious "remnants of Saddam's regime" and
"international terrorists" before the UN bombing.

The Pentagon may have a point when one considers that a substantial part of
Iraqi public opinion is convinced that true patriotic Iraqis could not have
perpetrated the attack. Some Islamic factions of the Iraqi resistance - like
the Iraqi National Islamic Resistance Movement - have in fact condemned the
UN bombing as a "criminal act", although up to now other factions, like the
White Flags, the Muslim Youth and the Army of Mohammed, have not said
anything. But it's crucial to note that the Iraqi National Islamic
Resistance Movement has denied the involvement of all Iraqi resistance
factions, not only in the UN bombing but in the attacks against the
Jordanian embassy and the oil pipelines: it says these attacks discredit the
true Iraqi resistance.

Even if the Iraqi resistance was not responsible for these attacks, this
does not mean that there is no heavy indigenous opposition to the occupation
- as the Pentagon script demands. It's much easier to blame everything on
al-Qaeda, the Ansar al-Islam or a fuzzy terrorist Woodstock with players
coming from Saudi Arabia, Syria and Afghanistan.

Ansar al-Islam - led by Mullah Krekar, at the moment exiled in Norway - may
have been a very convenient tool manipulated by the Pentagon. For three
years, the organization was based in the village of Bijara, in northeasten
Iraq, almost an enclave in Iranian territory. Last March, its hideout was
bombed into oblivion by the Americans. The Pentagon version at the time was
that Ansar was virtually extinct. But now Ansar's leadership has
mysteriously managed to resurface - and in heavily-patrolled Baghdad, of all
places. According to Kurdish sources, a key element of the leadership is Abu
Wayl, a former colonel in Saddam's security services reconverted into
operational chief of Ansar's "Arab battalion".

The Americans have already blamed Ansar al-Islam for the attack on the
Jordanian embassy. Jordan, for its part, blames Abu Mussad al-Zarkaoui, a
Jordanian national, as one of Ansar's top operatives. Of myriad groups
operating in Kurdistan, there have been no Ansar-related arrests so far. On
the other hand, the Americans have arrested Ali Bapir, the leader of Jamiya
Islamiya, and Mullah Ali Abdul Aziz, the charismatic leader of the Islamic
Movement of Kurdistan - the main Kurdish Islamic force, which even has two
ministers in the local government dominated by Jalal Talabani of the
Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK, also a member of the interim government).

Nobody knows where Mullah Abdul Aziz is being held. The Americans are
accusing both Jamiya Islamiya and the Kurdistan Islamic Movement of having
links with Ansar. The complicating factor is that all these groups come from
the same source: the Islamic Movement of Kurdistan, created in 1988 and
fragmented in three factions in 1990. Ansar al Islam decided to launch a
jihad against the kaffirs (infidels) of the PUK. The other two remained
legal. But they also consider themselves jihadi groups: the difference is
they don't think a jihad against the PUK - as well as a jihad against the
Americans - is justified at this stage.

A crucial fact is that both Islamist groups enjoy huge popular support in
Kurdistan: many Kurds are in fact fed up with Jalal Talabani's
barely-disguised dictatorship. But as the Americans have branded these
groups as "terrorists", the only one to benefit is Talabani, an American
ally. And why are these Kurds fed up? We come back to the same point:
because in a real democratic set up in Iraq, it is Islamist parties that
inevitably touch popular sentiment, with their central message that Muslims
cannot accept to be pawns of a foreign and non-Muslim occupation force.

The Pentagon line of "remnants of Saddam's regime", now composed with
"international terrorists", is supposed to explain the actions of all those
anti-American "evil doers" on the loose in Iraq. It's much more complex than
that. During the Saddam era all sort of crypto Wahhabi groups were more or
less tolerated - as long as they did not meddle in politics. Obviously,
these groups were all of them anti-Saddam. Post-Saddam Iraq finally offered
them the perfect cause: resistance against foreign occupation. This has
absolutely nothing to do with al-Qaeda or Ansar al-Islam. Al-Qaeda - which
was never tolerated inside Iraq - or the enclaved Ansar al-Islam could never
have organized such a disciplined resistance in two or three months.

As the Iraqi resistance is so multi-faceted, there's every possibility that
the UN bombing was perpetrated by elements of this Wahhabi network, already
in existence in the Saddam era. And as unfortunate as it may seem, the UN
for them is a pretty legitimate target. Human rights groups have extensively
documented how UN Resolutions 661 and 687 may have been responsible for the
deaths of at least 500,000 Iraqi children in the 1990s, due to entirely
preventable diseases. For many strands of the Iraqi resistance, the UN is
just a tool of the occupying power.

On top of it, the Baghdad office of the World Bank was also in the UN
building . Many Iraqi patriots in fact welcomed the fact that the World Bank
and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) "suspended" their activities in
Iraq after the bombing. Educated Iraqis are very much aware of the dreaded
IMF-imposed "structural adjustments" and the ghastly record of the World
Bank in terms of alleviating poverty in the developing world. The rationale
of the Iraqi resistance is that there are no holds barred to prevent an
occupation designed to steal Iraq's fabulous oil resources and also plunder
its already devastated economy.

So not only soldiers are legitimate targets. Corporate employees of Kellogg
Brown and Co (a subsidiary of Halliburton) or any other corporation likely
to make a killing out of Iraq's resources are legitimate targets. UN
employees are legitimate targets. The IMF and the World Bank are legitimate
targets. The Pentagon's response is predictable. It will send more troops.
Not regular troops, but most of its 29,000 specialists in repression of
urban guerrilla and terrorist groups with military training. They may kill
thousands more Iraqis, but they won't kill a national liberation movement,
operated by people who lived for years in a militarized society awash with
weapons. And the message of this national liberation movement to those who
concocted and want to profit from the invasion of their country is stark:
welcome to hell.

by Steven R. Hurst
Las Vegas Sun, 23rd August


In Tuz Kharmato, 110 miles north of Baghdad, U.S. soldiers killed two
Turkomen tribesmen and wounded two others after the Americans were fired on
when they arrived Friday to quell ethnic fighting, said Maj. Josslyn Aberle,
4th Infantry Division spokeswoman. She said it was the first ethnic conflict
in the tense region since May.

Capt. David L. Swenson of the 173 Airborne Brigade in Tuz Kharmato told The
Associated Press that several hundred Turkomen protesters were on the
streets. The fighting reportedly broke out after Kurds destroyed a reopened
Turkomen Islamic shrine.

Three Turks and five Kurds were killed and 13 people wounded, Swenson said

Violence continued late Saturday in nearby Kirkuk, where rocket-propelled
grenades were fired at statues of two Turkomen heroes as gunfire punctuated
the night. There was no indication of who was shooting or any sign of U.S.

Squads of police were stationed at each of the statues after the attacks.

"We're worried about the situation, but we are working with city leaders and
officials to resolve it," said Lt. Jonathan Hopkins of the 173rd Airborne

Earlier, Kirkuk Mayor Abdul Rahman Mustafa, a Kurd, told the AP two people
were killed and several were wounded. He did not identify the victims' by

According to both CNN-Turk television and private NTV television in Ankara,
Turkey, hundreds of Turkomen, carrying blue Turkomen flags, marched on the
governor's office. Turkey's Anatolia news agency reported two Turkomen were
shot and killed and 11 wounded by Patriotic Union of Kurdistan forces.

As the United Nations resumed work Saturday, staff members complained that
the U.S.-led coalition had done little to provide security in the area
before the bombing.

"It was the coalition's fault, because it was their job to watch the parking
area where the bombing happened," said security officer Mohammed Abdul Aziz.

The U.S.-led coalition claims responsibility for security in the country but
says it has no obligation to guard specific sites such as the U.N.
headquarters and diplomatic missions. U.S. troops are, however, guarding
locations such as Iraqi banks and the oil ministry.

But Maj. Mark Johnston said soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division had
temporarily taken control of security at the bombed hotel, which became U.N.
headquarters in Baghdad after the 1991 Gulf War.

"It's still a dangerous site. We are still in the recovery stage," he said.

Eighty-six seriously wounded U.N. workers were airlifted out for medical

Two U.N. employees were still unaccounted for and an unknown number of
people - visitors to the building - remained buried in the rubble. The U.N.
official death toll was 20, but checks of area hospitals by The Associated
Press showed at least 23 died in the blast.

by Aws Al-Sharqy, IOL Correspondent

ANAH, Iraq, August 24 ( Although not far away from the
flashpoint town of Fallujah, a part of the so-called Sunni triangle where
many U.S. forces come under growing attacks, this western Baghdad town was
surprisingly untouched by scenes of chaos and anarchy afflicting most other
areas of the war-torn country.

All basic services are still in operation in Anah, and life continued in
normalcy after the U.S. and British forces rolled into Baghdad on April 9.
Inhabitants are well aware of reasons behind this.

"With the first days of the U.S.-British offensive, the local inhabitants -
mostly acting in unison - formed a delegation to meet commanders of the
forces that would seize the country, threatening to kill any one of them
stepping into," Helal Al-Ani, a lawyer, told

"The delegation told the commanders that people here would not allow any
American soldier in to desecrate their town which is full of mosques," he

Facing a tough unified stance, the American forces bowed to the demands and
stayed on the periphery of the city.

"Here is the town with no American soldiers inside, thank God," said Al-Ani.
This contradicts U.S. military provocations in nearby Fallujah - which left
15 protestors dead in one shooting spree occasion in April - and lack of
basic services in most of Iraq.

"Many Jews of an Iraqi origin tried to sneak into the city to buy some
houses, but we stood toughly up to these attempts, and we will never make
any stranger walk about in our town until after we know him quite well,"
said Mohamed Al-Jamili, a broker.

Some 450 kilometers away from Baghdad, Anah received many of the capital
inhabitants flowing in large numbers to escape from cascading shelling on
war days.

"But citizens of this ancient town vowed to speak in one voice, especially
to drive any occupier or invader out," said Karam Mustafa, a doctor.

"People of Fallujah themselves managed to eject the occupiers to outside of
the city," said Mustafa, but only after regular house-to-house searches and
massive detention of its locals, they could get in.

"If all Iraqis acted in solidarity and insisted of forcing the occupiers
out, they would do so, but through resistance, he said.

Residents of Anah suffered greatly under the former regime of former Iraqi
President Saddam Hussein, but they are still loathe to be under occupation.

In 1985, the former regime decided to build a dam on the Euphrates River,
leaving the whole town's houses and streets flooded with water.

But the government stopped building the dam suddenly and for unknown
reasons, and decided instead to build a tourist resort. The project was
carried out by a French company which paid inhabitants compensation for
their houses damaged and inundated with water.

No Parties

Noticeably in Anah, there are no headquarters of signs of political,
religious organizations - unlike many areas of Iraq where there are more
than 100 parties.

"Some people had tried to control a number of buildings in the town to use
them as party headquarters, but tribe chiefs and locals agreed not to allow
any such steps," said Sheikh Abdel-Ghafour Al-Rawy.

"They also found the common ground that Islam is the main denominator
unifying all noble ideas and principles in the town," said Al-Rawy.

Unlike Baghdad and its suburbs whose inhabitants could not get out to
streets by night for fears of being killed, local inhabitants in Anah could
move freely until late hours.


by Nermeen Al-Mufti
Ahram weekly, Issue No. 652, 21 - 27 August 2003

Where are those weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in Iraq which provided
the convenient pretext for invading Iraq? Now that Tony Blair has admitted
in front of the British Parliament the difficulty of finding WMDs in Iraq,
the Bush administration is quietly shifting the emphasis from finding the
elusive WMDs themselves to searching for more circumstantial evidence
regarding Iraq's WMD programme.

This change in strategy means that the Americans are finally convinced that
there are no WMDs currently in Iraq, but still they must find a face-saving
formula. The growing witch hunt for Iraqi scientists should be perceived
within this context. One such maligned scientists is Dr Huda Ammash,
labelled by the Pentagon as "Mrs Anthrax", arrested on 3 May and accused of
developing biological weapons.

Her husband Dr Ahmed Makki said in an interview with Al-Ahram Weekly that in
1994 Ammash received the Shoman Prize for Young Arab Scientists, awarded to
a single scientist no older than 40, and given out by one of the most
prestigious independent Arab institutes. Makki believes that this testifies
to the public, benign nature of her scientific research, while Scott Ritter
and others have reported that Iraq was devoid of any biological weapons
programmes. He feels that Ammash was arrested for political reasons, seeing
as she had co authored a damning study on the lingering, carcinogenic side
effects on soldiers and civilians of the depleted uranium shells that were
used in Iraq in 1991. Whatever the reason, Ammash is still in the airport
detention camp, the place Iraqis refer to as Guantanamo.

Meanwhile, many Iraqi scientists and university professors are reporting
endless harassment by the American forces and intelligence apparatuses. An
Iraqi scientist under investigations by the coalition forces who preferred
to stay anonymous said: "First a team led by Colonel Robert Cadlack called
the Scientific Assessment Team interviewed us at Baghdad University....
After a while, the team was replaced by a Pentagon team, and the interviews
became interrogations. Then the team was changed again, this time it was a
CIA team. After the anthrax investigation, they moved to smallpox. They
refuse to understand that we are biologists and such weapons needed
virologists. And despite the fact that our labs for the past decade had been
under continuous monitoring, they still act as if they don't know anything."

Moreover, many scientists now are afraid of being abruptly imprisoned
without access to family, friends and legal aid. Armed plainclothes
Americans seized Dr Alice Krikore, the head of the biotechnology department
in Baghdad University from her office. She disappeared for two weeks and
nobody knew her whereabouts. After her eventual release, it transpired that
she had been detained and interrogated in the airport. Dr Hazim Al-Rawi of
Baghdad University's Medical School is still under arrest, denied all
visitors, including family members. Al-Rawi had been interrogated in his
house several times before he was arrested. Dr Anton Sabri, of the School of
Veterinary Medicine arrested a week ago, is still under arrest. And while
the search for evidence of any WMD programme continues, most Iraqi
scientists are now afraid of being arrested.

A prominent Iraqi scientist who preferred to remain anonymous said: "The
Americans tried financial incentives first, now they are using detention to
force scientists to give information. The irony in all this is that many
scientists were not hostile to the idea of being interviewed by foreign
experts, the humiliation of the arrests, and the witch hunt will surely turn
them against those who want to solicit their cooperation."

To add insult to injury, the Iraqi Interim Governing Council has not uttered
a word against this witch hunt. And many Iraqis now feel that when the new
academic year begins, Iraqi universities will have lost most of its senior
teaching staff -- if not for their alleged involvement in the WMDs
programme, then as victims of the deba'athification programme.

by Steven R. Hurst, Associated Press Writer
Yahoo, 24th August

BAGHDAD, Iraq - A bomb ripped through the home of one of Iraq (news - web
sites)'s most important Shiite clerics in the Islamic holy city of Najaf on
Sunday, killing three guards and injuring family members, a relative of the
cleric and member of the Iraqi Governing Council said.


In the Najaf bombing, a gas cylinder wired to explode was placed along the
outside wall of the home of Mohammed Saeed al-Hakim. It blew up just after
noon prayers.

The cleric suffered scratches on his neck, according to Abdel-Aziz al-Hakim,
a member of Iraq's U.S.-picked Governing Council and leader of what was the
armed wing of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, or SCIRI,
headquartered in Iran before the war.

The two men are part of an influential family in the Shiite community.
Abdel-Aziz al-Hakim is the brother of Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim, the
leader of SCIRI now believed to divide his time between Najaf and the
Iranian capital.

"Obviously terrorist groups who belong to the former regime are behind this
incident," Abdel Aziz Hakim told The Associated Press. He said Najaf
residents rushed to the ayatollah's house after the explosion, which
shattered windows and damaged a wall.

Iraqi newspapers had reported last week that Mohammed Saeed al-Hakim had
received threats against his life. He is also one of three top Shiite
leaders threatened with death by a rival Shiite cleric shortly after Saddam
Hussein was toppled on April 9.

A day after Saddam's ouster, a mob in Najaf hacked to death a Shiite cleric
who had recently returned from exile. Abdul Majid al-Khoei was killed when a
meeting called to reconcile rival Shiite groups erupted into a melee at the
Shrine of Ali, the third most important Shiite religious site after Mecca
and Medina in Saudi Arabia.

Shiites make up some 60 percent of Iraq's 24 million population.

Mohammed Saeed Al-Hakim, in his late 60s, holds the highest theological
title in Shiite Islam ‹ Ayatollah al-Uzma, which means Grand or Supreme
Ayatollah. He was detained by Iraqi authorities in the 1980s because of his
opposition to and criticism of Saddam.

Before the beginning of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March, most Shiite
religious leaders in Najaf, including al-Hakim, were put under house arrest.
Shortly after the collapse of Saddam's regime, al-Hakim's office went back
to work, dispensing religious advice to residents.

He has many followers among the world's 100 million Shiite Muslims and
representatives and offices in countries with Shiite populations.


by Dexter Filkins
International Herald Tribune, from New York Times, 25th August

DIWANIYA, IraqAs the area around Baghdad endured a week of repeated
violence, a happier scene unfolded in this city, a two-hour drive to the

American soldiers, without helmets or body armor, attended graduation
ceremonies at the Diwaniya University Medical School.

At ease with the Iraqi students and their parents, the marines laughed,
joked and posed for photographs. One by one, the students walked up to thank
them, for Marine doctors had taught classes in surgery and gynecology and
helped draw up the final exams. "We like the Americans very much here," said
Zainab Khaledy, 22, who received her medical degree a week ago Sunday. "We
feel better than under the old regime. We have problems, like security, but
everything is getting better."

Such is the duality that is coming to define the American enterprise in
Iraq, a country increasingly divided between those willing to put up with
the American occupation and those few determined to fight it.

While the areas stretching west and north from Baghdad roil and burn, much
of the rest of the country remains, most of the time, remarkably calm.
Rather than fight the Americans, most Iraqis appear to be readily accepting
the benefits of a wide-ranging ²% ôƒŽ­
The two fac Lf the occupation give U.S. policymakers something to take
solace in and something to worry over. Four months into the occupation, the
guerrilla opposition to U.S. forces, though fierce, is still largely limited
to the Arab Sunni Muslim population and its foreign supporters and is
confined to a relatively limited geographic area.

In much of the rest of the country, in places like Diwaniya and Mosul and
Amara, the American and British soldiers are finding a population that has,
at least for now, made a fragile and tentative peace with the occupation.

Violence does still occasionally break out; on Saturday three British
soldiers were killed in the south, in Basra. But in broad parts of the
country, violence increasingly no longer seems the norm.

In the north, the Kurds, long the beneficiaries of U.S. protection, count
themselves as America's most enthusiastic supporters. In the south, the
country's Shiite majority, while restive and suspicious, has apparently
largely chosen to go along for now.

"I don't accept the definition of a country in chaos," L. Paul Bremer 3rd,
the chief American administrator said this month. "Most of this country is
at peace."

But the violence in and around the capital, and the growing incidence of
terrorism, seen in the suicide bombing of the United Nations headquarters in
Baghdad, pose a grave threat to the American rebuilding plan. Both undercut
the establishment of democratic rule and make the Americans less confident
about handing over political power to the Iraqis. With the capital under
threat of attacks, the Iraqi Governing Council, the 25-member body
ultimately expected to take power, has increasingly conducted its business
behind the marble walls of the presidential palace - away from danger, but
away from the people. The atmosphere in Diwaniya is far different. The 2,300
marines based here since April move freely about the city, tossing candy to
children, waving to parents. None have been killed by hostile fire. There is
not even a curfew.

"This is not Baghdad," said Lieutenant Colonel Patrick Malay, who commands a
force of about 950 marines in Diwaniya. "The Iraqis love us here." By any
standard, Diwaniya is fraught with problems, many left over from the war.
Deprived of electricity and bottled oxygen, the ward for premature babies at
the children's and maternity hospital here has all but collapsed, and
doctors say that babies are dying at a higher rate than before. Electricity
shortages led to the closing of a textile mill and a tire factory, which
employed hundreds.

And some residents are impatient with the pace of progress and suspicious of
the occupiers, as shown in recent outbreaks of rioting. Two recent
demonstrations, one involving a failure to pay Iraqi laborers working on an
American project, and the other a protest against the local governor, turned
momentarily violent. The demonstrations, each involving a couple of hundred
people, were dispersed.

But for a city emerging from three decades of neglect and dictatorship,
Diwaniya in many ways seems remarkably stable.

There is none of the virulent anti-American graffiti that marks walls and
alleyways in Baghdad.

So far, most of the anger shown has not been directed at Americans. With
hundreds of thousands of dollars pouring into the area, the city and its
surrounding areas are rapidly being restored and in some cases improved.
Even when things do not go especially well in Diwaniya, there seems to be a
reservoir of good will, stemming, it seems, from the historical predations
suffered by the Shiite people at the hands of Saddam Hussein. Many in
Diwaniya lost relatives and friends to agents of Saddam, and they have not

Hassan Naji, a records clerk at the children's hospital, is critical of
recent changes, but only up to a point.

Like many at the hospital, he is convinced that newborns are dying because
the hospital lacks the electricity to run its sterile ward for premature
babies. Before the war, an emergency line provided electricity to the
hospital night and day. Naji also blamed the Americans for bringing freedom
to Iraq. "Democracy has ruined this hospital," he said, sifting through a
pile of uncollated notes and jottings. "In the past, people really worked at
their jobs, if only because they were terrified of their supervisors."'

He continued: "Now, with all this freedom, no one cares anymore. We don't
keep records anymore. People don't come to work. Nobody cares." Yet even for
all of that, Naji said, he would never go back to the days of Saddam.
"Never," he said. "The Americans did a great thing when they got rid of that
tyrant. Things could even get worse here and I would still feel that way."

"Believe me," Naji said, "Most of the people in Diwaniya would feel that

by Ahmed S. Hashim
Lebanon Daily Star, 25th August


However, despite its original allegiance to militant secularism, Saddam
Hussein's regime itself began to promote the re-Islamization of Iraqi
society over the past 10 years to buttress its legitimacy. This was
symbolized by a number of religious policies undertaken with the official
sanction of the regime over the course of the past four years. In 1999, the
regime began Al-Hamla al-Imaniyah, or Enhancement of Islamic Faith campaign,
which saw the restriction of drinking and gambling establishments, the
narrowing of secular practices, the promotion of religious education and the
propagation of religious programming in the media.

The regime even allowed Sunni clerics to politicize their sermons - so long
as they focused their ire on the forces that kept Iraq under debilitating
sanctions. While the regime focused mainly on reviving religion among the
minority Sunni Arab population, many Sunni Iraqis saw the regime's strategy
as a move from "infidelity to hypocrisy" as was described by a senior Sunni
Islamist, Usama al-Tikriti. But this state re-Islamization provided the
cover for Sunnis to show their faith somewhat more openly than before.
Naturally, as was its wont, the regime reinterpreted its ideology to account
for its "embrace" of religion.

But at the same time, the regime put stringent controls over
re-Islamization, in particular with respect to the Shiites who could not be
allowed their overt religious manifestations because these could easily
become political anti-regime rallies.

The sanctions regime that has been in existence since 1991 promoted the
return to religion within the Iraqi population. The destruction of the Iraqi
middle class, the collapse of the secular educational system, the rise of
illiteracy and growth of despair and anomie have resulted in large numbers
of Iraqis seeking succor in religion. The turn to religion for spiritual
relief intensified in the early 1990s when socioeconomic conditions began to
worsen perceptibly. Many Iraqis, rightly or wrongly, see the West equally as
culpable as Saddam Hussein foe the misery of Iraq.

In contrast with the Shiite groups on whom we have a relative wealth of
detail, we have little knowledge on what Sunni Islamist groups have
re-emerged in Iraq. However, from what little that can be gleaned from both
Arabic and English sources, I have concluded that we can tentatively divide
them into three groups. While the first two have decided to engage in
legitimate political activity for the time being, it is not far-fetched to
assume that their members might choose to follow the path of violent

The Muslim Brotherhood (MB), which is making halting and tentative steps to
re-enter the Iraqi political arena, first appeared in Iraq among its Sunni
Arab and Kurdish population in the late 1940s. A venerable Sunni political
party, the MB has had a strong presence in many Arab countries, including
Iraq's neighbors, Syria and Jordan. In Iraq, its presence has been weak.
Much of this has to do with the adherence of many Sunnis to secular
ideologies of a nationalist hue and to the Baathist regime's crackdown over
the years, which forced the party underground. Nonetheless, the MB continued
to propagate its values among Sunni Iraqis through secret sermons in mosques
and the smuggling of literature into Iraq from neighboring countries.

The shadowy Iraqi Islamic Party has ensconced itself in the northern,
ethnically mixed but Sunni-dominated city of Mosul (the largest Iraqi town
with the lowest percentage of Shiites). In 1960, the Iraqi branch of the MB
applied for a license to set up a political party under the name of the
Iraqi Islamic Party (IIP). It went into decline following the seizure of
power by the Baathists but re-emerged in the early 1990s.

However, most interesting here is the current relationship between the MB
and IIP. It is not clear whether the IIP is the Iraqi offshoot of the MB or
is a separate party that is strongly tied to and allied with the MB. When
asked whether the MB has begun to make a political impact in post-Saddam
Hussein Iraq, Tikriti responded: "We are now practicing political work along
with others through the Iraqi Islamic Party. We are actively participating
in the Islamic Party since it is a system for political work in Iraq and has
more than 90 branches throughout Iraq."

When the MB official was asked whether the IIP was a political front for the
MB, he responded: "We do not actually say that, because the Muslim Brothers
and others also participate in the Islamic Party."

These ambiguous statements do not clarify the relationship between the two
entities, and only the stabilization of the political situation in Iraq in
the coming months will uncover the nature of the relationship between them.
But the IIP does have a political manifesto that calls for the establishment
of an Islamic state by peaceful means. There are indications that it is
establishing cells in the central and the northwestern parts of the country,
but it is not known whether these are political cells or armed cells.

Ominous is the austere form of Islam associated with violent Salafi groups
that seek to "reform" Islam. Reform in this context differs from the reform
associated with Christianity. In Islam, the reform sought by Salafis is the
ridding of Islam of syncretism and innovations acquired over the centuries;
it is a quest to return to the pristine Islamic community of the forefathers
(in Arabic, salaf means a forefather; hence the Al-Salafiyya movement and
its adherents, the Salafis) who lived with Prophet Mohammed. The Salafis
seem to be making headway in Iraq and gaining adherents, even among Shiites.

This is, of course, distinct from the influx of Arab fighters of Salafi
beliefs that have entered Iraq. But the latter have experience to impart to
their Iraqi compatriots who have expressed Salafi beliefs.

Dr. Ahmed S. Hashim is professor at the Center for Naval Warfare Studies in
the United States. This is the third of several excerpts from a longer paper
published by the Middle East Institute in Washington

by Tarek Al-Issawi
Las Vegas Sun, 25th August

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Thousands of Shiite Muslims protested peacefully Monday
night outside the headquarters of the U.S.-led coalition in Baghdad,
charging the occupation force was lax on security and did too little to stop
a weekend of ethnic bloodshed in the north and the bombing at the house of
an important Muslim Shiite cleric in the south.

The U.S. military reported a soldier died of a non-hostile gunshot wound,
bringing the number of soldiers killed since major combat was declared over
to 138. A total of 276 soldiers have died in combat or by accident since the
war began March 20.

The Baghdad protest moved, after about an hour, to the Patriotic Union of
Kurdistan office in Baghdad. The protesters alleged the Kurdish organization
started the fighting Friday night in Tuz Kharmato and continued attacks on
Turkomen tribesmen the next day in Kirkuk, 115 miles north of Baghdad.
Eleven people died.

The protesters dispersed quietly, ahead of the 11 p.m. Baghdad curfew.

The Baghdad protesters, mainly from the Sadr City slum, had sided with the
Turkomen, also Shiites. A PUK spokesman in Baghdad told The Associated Press
the violence was the work of Saddam Hussein sympathizers trying to
complicate the already tense security situation in the country by adding the
specter of ethnic and religious violence to the mix. Kurds are predominantly
Sunni Muslims.

"They are trying to move the fighting (between Kurds and Turkomen) from
Kirkuk and Tuz into Baghdad," said Adel Murad, a PUK spokesman.


by Scheherezade Faramarzi, Associated Press Writer
Yahoo, 26th August

MOSUL, Iraq - The United States is offering a $25 million reward for Saddam
Hussein, but many people in Mosul say they wouldn't turn in the ousted
dictator even if the bounty were hundreds of millions of dollars.

In this northern city, where the mainly Sunni Muslim population is closely
knit by tribal bonds, a tradition among Iraq's Arab tribes is strictly held:
If you accept a fugitive into your home, then you are responsible for that
person and must never betray your guest. No matter that an entire superpower
army wants him captured or dead.

More than a dozen people interviewed said they would hide Saddam if he were
to knock on their door seeking protection.

"Not only would we let him in, but we will protect him. If he goes to any
house in Mosul, he will be protected," said Asra Abdel-Jawad, 19. "He's our
president, we must protect him."

Her mother, Yamama, agreed. "We all love him," she said.

"Our situation now is much worse...What have the Americans done for us so
far?" said Yamama's husband, Abdel-Jawad Jawad.

"Saddam will kill himself and won't let the Americans kill him," Asra said
with pride.

The Mosul region has been the hiding place for a number of the most wanted
figures from Saddam's regime. Taha Yassin Ramadan, Saddam's vice president,
was captured there last week by Kurds and turned over to U.S. forces.

Last month, U.S. troops stormed a Mosul villa and killed Saddam's sons Odai
and Qusai ‹ working on a tip from an informant, who then received a $30
million reward, $15 million for each son. Some in Mosul say Sultan Hashem
Ahmed, Saddam's defense minister and No. 27 on the U.S. most-wanted list of
55 regime officials, also is in the region under the protection of his
al-Taei tribe.

As more of Saddam's inner circle is captured, U.S. officials say Saddam
himself is running out of places to hide and is forced to move as often as
every four hours to avoid capture. The search for him has been most intense
in the region encircling his hometown of Tikrit, 120 miles north of Baghdad.

Mosul, 240 miles north of Baghdad, is one of the few areas where Saddam
would find hospitality and loyalty. Some here expressed contempt for the
informant who turned in Saddam's sons ‹ alleged doesn't read the owner of
the house where Odai and Qusay were staying. The Americans have never said
who turned the brothers in, but the informant was spirited out of the
country under U.S. protection and paid the reward.

"He who turns in Saddam for money has no roots," said Abu Ibrahim, 39.
Neighbors said the owner of the house where the sons were staying was not
from Mosul originally, but had come to the region three years ago.

"When you say salam alaikom (peace be upon you) to someone and he replies
alaikom al salam, it means he's a friend, even if he murdered your father,"
said Jawad, who lives next door to the three-story stone house raided by the

"Even the Prophet said the enemy must not be betrayed when he steps into
your home," said Hussein Yousif Hussein, another neighbor. "If he wasn't
going to protect them, then he shouldn't have let them into his home."

The province of Nineveh and its capital Mosul are dotted with extremely
closed tribes that would not even allow intertribal marriages or any other
outside interference.

"It's a mysterious place ‹ nobody knows what's going on in other peoples'
houses," said Mumtaz Jamil, 40, a businessman from here. "My family might be
hiding a fugitive, and I wouldn't know. That's how secretive and tight-knit
it is."

"A major characteristic of Mosul is trust. If they give you their trust,
they will never betray that trust, even if they lose their neck for it,"
said Jawad.

Across the Tigris River from Mosul is the ancient Nineveh, the last capital
of the Assyrian Empire. The province that still carries its name prides
itself on its deep military traditions. Many of its sons are graduates of
Baghdad's Military Academy and are professional soldiers, not bothered too
much with politics.

Ahmed, the former defense minister, was one such man, according to his
friends, relatives, neighbors and even people on the street.

"Sultan was no criminal. He did not kill anyone or hurt anyone," said
Mazlouma Abed, 70, walking with her daughter in the affluent Hay al-Arabi
neighborhood, a few blocks from Ahmed's home.

"I would hide him if he came to my house. I would not betray him even if
they give us millions of dollars ‹ what to help the Jews and infidels?" said

Ahmed's two-story modern villa sits atop a hill, overlooking the grounds of
Saddam's presidential palace.

Although he is nowhere to be seen, his brothers and sons live openly.
American troops visited his villa a few times but found nothing and even
spoke to his sons, said Abdullah Ahmed, a guard.

"He had no power over what happened in the country. Everything was in the
hands of Saddam. Don't the Americans know this?" asked Ahmed's niece, who
refused to give her name.

"His name is on the list because he defended his country," she said.

She said she did not know where her maternal uncle was and that she had not
seen him since the fall of Baghdad on April 9.

"May God protect him," she said.

by Ron Synovitz
Asia Times, 27th August

PRAGUE - Ethnic violence has emerged as a new source of trouble for United
States-led coalition forces in northern Iraq following weekend clashes
between Kurds and Turkomans (ethnic Turks living in Iraq) that killed at
least 12 people.

The trouble began on August 22 in the northern city of Tuz Khurmatu, when a
bomb exploded and destroyed part of the dome of a Turkoman Shi'ite religious
shrine. A riot ensued when Turkoman Iraqis in the city of 200,000 blamed
Kurds for the blast. At least nine people were killed in the Tuz Khurmatu

The next day, the violence spread to the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, about 70
kilometers further to the north, where at least three people were killed.

A statement issued by Jalal Talabani's Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK)
denied any role in the violence. He blamed "foreign elements" and the
remnants of Saddam Hussein's regime for the clashes in Tuz Khurmatu and

Behruz Gelali, a PUK spokesman, is quoted by the Turkish media as saying
that ethnic Turkomans started the violence in order to encourage Turkey to
deploy troops in northern Iraq.

Saadeddin Arkij, leader of the Turkoman Front of Iraq, suggested that the
violence may have been started by terrorists trying to foment discontent
between Kurds and Turkomans. But Arkij says that the response of Kurdish
police in Kirkuk exacerbated the tensions.

"We want our brethren [the Kurds] to intervene so as to put an end to this
sedition and help ease tension," Arkij said. "For our part, we have started
to ease tension. So [the Kurds] should deal with the issue properly and not
let the terrorists do whatever they want. The coalition troops are
themselves responsible for controlling the situation. Yesterday we called
for an increase in coalition patrols and an end to police actions. The
Kurdish police are behind such provocations. They refuse to speak with us in
Arabic, only in Kurdish, which just widens the gap between us."

David Newton, the head of RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq and a former US
ambassador to Iraq, says that it is possible that the bomb blast in Tuz
Khurmatu was an attack by supporters of ousted Iraqi leader Saddam. "It is a
possibility, since it was a bomb which destroyed the dome of the shrine. I
think it's a real stretch to say it was al-Qaeda. But it could be the
supporters of Saddam trying to stir up ethnic tension. Beyond that [bomb
blast], there was clearly no involvement [of the remnants of Saddam's
regime.] It was Kurds versus Turkomans in the clashes."

But the mayor of Tuz Kharmatu, Muhammad Rashid, said that the violence was
not instigated by either foreign terrorists or the remnants of Saddam's
Ba'ath Party regime. He said the responsibility lies with what he called
"dubious elements" from both the Kurdish and Turkoman ethnic groups in his

"These acts don't serve the national unity or the Kurdish-Turkoman
fraternity. For hundreds of years, they have lived together in this area
without sectarian or doctrinal differences. Dubious elements from both
parties were behind such sedition."

Still, others say the mayor is downplaying the severity of ethnic tensions
in northern Iraq between the two communities. Newton says the US-led
coalition in Iraq eventually may need to re-examine how its alliance with
Kurdish factions in the north is impacting those tensions.

"The tension has been there. And this is one outbreak. But I think that the
outbreak has been contained. Maybe the United States needs to take a look at
its relations with Kurds and Turkomans and see if they can do something that
would lower the tensions - lower the grievances of the Turkomans."

Newton explained that repeated calls from the Turkoman community for Kurdish
police in northern Iraq to be disarmed are complicated by the US position on
Kurdish peshmerga fighters - a position stemming from Kurdish support for
the US military during major combat operations in Iraq earlier this year.

"The [United States] agreed that they would not disarm the Kurdish peshmerga
and there is a project, as I understand, to turn them into border guards,"
he said. "It gets back to the facts of the war. The Kurds cooperated and
helped the United States. Turkey, the friend of the Turkomans, placed
obstacles in the path of the United States. And they suffer, I think, as a
result. The Kurds have established a reputation of friendship and
cooperation. And that bothers the Turkomans, who feel that they are being
left out."

Indeed, many Turkomans resent the appointment of a Kurdish official - Abdel
Rahman Mustafa - as the governor of Kirkuk.

For its part, Turkey's parliament had refused to allow US troops to invade
northern Iraq from Turkish territory during the spring offensive. And
although the US has asked Turkey to deploy up to 10,000 soldiers to Iraq as
part of a US-led stabilization force, the Turkish parliament has yet to
approve those deployments.

"I think this [violence] will make [Turkey], in a way, want to send the
troops in even more," Newton said. "But it will be tricky because they will
have to go through at least the northern part of Kurdistan. And the United
States will not be willing to see them in northern Iraq. [The United States]
clearly would want the Turkish troops to go into the south [of Iraq]. And
they don't want them in any part where there are Kurds and Turkomans,
because they feel [Turkish troops] will clearly side with the Turkomans and
they would just exacerbate the situation."

The weekend violence has raised tempers in Turkey and led to street
demonstrations in front of PUK offices in Ankara. At least 23 police were
injured along with an undetermined number of demonstrators when they clashed
during the protest. The demonstrators condemned PUK leader Talabani and his
Kurdish fighters. They also chanted slogans claiming that Kirkuk is and will
remain a Turkish city.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his government is keeping a
close watch on events in northern Iraq. "Our Foreign Ministry declared our
wish to the Americans that they must immediately become involved in the
situation. We are watching the situation minute by minute in Baghdad, in
Washington and also in Ankara."

Turkey has suppressed a Kurdish separatist movement within its own territory
and has expressed concern about the growing Kurdish influence in the
politics of Iraq.

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