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News, 20-27/8/03 (3) FORCES OF CIVIL SOCIETY * 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 FORCES OF CIVIL SOCIETY http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/EH22Ak04.html * IRAQ AND THE ONE-EYED LIAR 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 leaders." 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 people." 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". http://www.dailystar.com.lb/opinion/22_08_03_e.asp * IRAQ'S INSURGENTS: TYPES, CHARACTERISTICS, IDEOLOGIES 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-Najaf. 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 squadrons. 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 Laden. 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 supplies. 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 http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/EH23Ak01.html * THE PLOT THICKENS 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. http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/w-me/2003/aug/23/082302888.html * 3 BRITISH TROOPS KILLED IN IRAQ ATTACK 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. forces. 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 Brigade. 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 ethnicity. 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 care. 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. http://www.islamonline.net * ANAH, IRAQI TOWN WITH NO OCCUPATION FORCES by Aws Al-Sharqy, IOL Correspondent ANAH, Iraq, August 24 (IslamOnline.net): 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 IslamOnline.net. "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 said. 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. NO URL * BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE 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. http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=540&ncid=716&e=3&u=/ap/20030 824/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iraq * BOMB HITS HOME OF KEY IRAQI SHIITE CLERIC 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. [.....] http://www.iht.com/articles/107589.html * VIOLENCE AND CALM: DUAL REALITIES IN IRAQ 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 south. 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% ô 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 forgotten. 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 way." http://www.dailystar.com.lb/opinion/25_08_03_e.asp * FUTURE PROSPECTS FOR ANTI-US INSURGENCY IN IRAQ 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 resistance. 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 http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/w-me/2003/aug/25/082505394.html * SHIITES DEMONSTRATE OUTSIDE COALITION HQ 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. [.....] http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=540&ncid=736&e=2&u=/ap/20030 826/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iraq_the_fugitives * MANY IN MOSUL WOULD NOT TURN IN SADDAM 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 Americans. "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 Abed. 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. http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/EH27Ak01.html * ETHNIC TROUBLE IN THE NORTH 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 fighting. 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 Kirkuk. 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 city. "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. _______________________________________________ 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 email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk