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News, 27/8-3/9/03 (2) IN IRAQ (b) POLITICS * Iraq council set to appoint 25-strong cabinet * Clerics Issue Edict Against Iraq Council * Sunnis wait for their moment * PUK, Turkoman Front reach agreement after unrest in northern Iraq * Kurd selected to head Constitutional Preparatory Committee * U.S. forces release leader of Islamic Kurdish movement * Verbal sparring over Iraqi Governing Council member's past * 'Iranians' in Iraqi government posts warned to leave * CPA issues announcement concerning Iraqi travel documents * Ayatollah Mohammad Bakr al-Hakim * Iraqi quits council in security protest * Iraq appoints former Shiite exile as oil minister * News analysis: Shiite leader's death leaves a void in Iraq * Iraqi Shias accused of sectarian cleansing IN THE WORLD AT LARGE * UN Security Council adopts resolution for protection of international humanitarian workers * U.K. ambassador briefs Security Council on coalition efforts in iraq * Handmaid in Babylon: Annan, Vieira de Mello and the UN's Decline and Fall * Erdogan Seeks to Reassure Turks on Troops * Terror Suspect Willing to Talk to U.S. * US plans to increase UN role in Iraq IN IRAQ (b) POLITICS http://news.ft.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=FT.com/StoryFT/FullStory&c =StoryFT&cid=1059479400241&p=1012571727092 * IRAQ COUNCIL SET TO APPOINT 25-STRONG CABINET by Gareth Smyth in Baghdad Financial Times, 28th August Iraq's US-appointed governing council is on the verge of appointing a cabinet of 25 ministers based on a quota system among the country's diverse sectarian groups. But after six weeks of discussion to reach consensus, council members say they have also assessed competence and struck careful balances between political groups. Two of the four most important ministries will go to Shia Muslims, one to an Arab Sunni Muslim and one to a Kurd. Hoshyar Zebari, a leading member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and relative by marriage of its leader Masoud Barzani, is set to become Iraq's first Kurdish foreign minister. "This will send a clear message that the Kurds are no longer second-class citizens in Iraq," said a senior official in the rival Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK). Mr Zebari, who grew up in the mainly Arab city of Mosul in northern Iraq, is fluent in Arabic and English and an accomplished media performer. Muther Shawqat, scheduled to become finance minister, is a Sunni Muslim allied to the Iraqi National Congress (INC), led by Ahmad Chalabi, the former banker admired by senior figures in the Pentagon. Neither of the Shia proposed for senior ministries is from the religious Shia parties. Nouri Badran, the likely interior minister, is a native of Basra, a former Iraqi diplomat and associate of Iyad Allawi, leader of the secular Wifaq (Accord) party. Thamer Ghadhban, a second Shia, is director-general of the oil ministry. His appointment as oil minister would reflect gentle pressure from Paul Bremer, the chief US administrator, who sees him as a technocrat whose 30-year experience in the state-run sector would help meet the challenges of long-term underinvestment and recent sabotage. Members of the council see the appointment of ministers as an important step toward gaining legitimacy inside Iraq and towards weakening the US hold on administration. Many of Iraq's would-be political elite have returned from exile since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and are barely known inside the country. As a whole, the 25 ministries will be allocated 13 to Shia, five to Arab Sunni, five to Kurds, one to a Turkoman and one to a Christian. Mahdi al-Hafaa, a close associate of Adnan Pachachi, a member of the governing council and a former Iraq foreign minister, is likely to be minister of planning. Three portfolios will go to members of the PUK. Among them, Latif Rashid, a London-based engineer with experience in Saudi water projects, is set to be minister of irrigation. The ministers will answer directly to the 25-strong governing council and there will be no prime minister. So far, the council's visible efforts have been international, with a delegation returning this week from Jordan, the Arab Emirates, Egypt, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Saudi Arabia. Ibrahim Jaaferi, the council's president, said that meetings with ministers abroad had conferred "de facto recognition" of the council. He said the council had received invitations from other countries including Turkey, Iran and Germany, and was hoping to attend the Arab foreign ministers' meeting that opens in Cairo on September 9. http://www.arabnews.com/?page=4§ion=0&article=30986&d=28&m=8&y=2003&pix= world.jpg&category=World * CLERICS ISSUE EDICT AGAINST IRAQ COUNCIL Arab News (Saudi Arabia), 29th August CAIRO/ BAGHDAD, 28 August 2003 ‹ Senior clerics at Al-Azhar, the most respected seat of Islamic learning, have issued a religious edict calling Iraq¹s US-appointed governing body illegitimate and saying it served God¹s ³enemies². But Mohammed Sayed Tantawi, the state-appointed grand sheikh of Al-Azhar Mosque and university, said yesterday the committee that issued the ³fatwa² had no right to make such judgments and would be brought to account. The edict, quoted by an opposition daily, said: ³The governing council in Iraq is devoid of religious and secular legitimacy because it is established in opposition to the principle of consultation and because it was imposed on the Iraqis by forces of occupation to be loyal to the enemies of God.² Many Muslims use such religious edicts from Al-Azhar as a moral guide. The ruling also said Arab and Muslim states should not support or deal with the council, some of whose leading members recently met senior Arab officials in countries including Egypt. It said Muslims should sideline countries, which work with the US-appointed body. ³If (the states) respond (to this warning), then that¹s acceptable. If they do not respond, then it is not possible to deal with them until they come back to their senses,² Al-Wafd newspaper quoted the fatwa as saying. But Tantawi told Reuters the clerics would be called to task for issuing the unauthorized ruling. ³The Fatwa Committee is not authorized to issue judgments about another country... We will summon the Fatwa Committee to see who said this and bring them to account,² he said. The Iraqi Governing Council has failed to win outright Arab backing, although a group of Arab foreign ministers meeting at the Arab League in August called it a step in the right direction towards an elected government. Meanwhile, the council has decided to divide up the key ministries in a new Cabinet being formed among the major communities in the country, a council member said yesterday. Muwaffak Al-Rubai told AFP that the oil portfolio will go to a member of the majority Shiite Muslim community, the Finance Ministry to a Sunni Muslim and the Foreign Ministry to a Kurd. ³In all probability, the oil and interior ministries will go to the Shiites, finance to the Sunni and foreign affairs to the Kurds,² he said. http://atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/EH28Ak02.html * SUNNIS WAIT FOR THEIR MOMENT by Nir Rosen Asia Times, 29th August BAGHDAD - The bombing of the United Nations compound last week means that now the targets in Iraq are not merely occupying forces, but the West and the international system as a whole. The use of an explosive-laden truck and a suicidal driver resemble the tactics of al Qaeda, Hamas and even the Lebanese Hizbollah in the 1980s. In a speech last Friday, President George W Bush warned of "al-Qaeda-type fighters" infiltrating Iraq. It is unlikely that Shi'ites would have been involved in the attack since their community has generally refrained from attacking US and British soldiers, while their leaders have criticized the style more than the substance of the occupation. Shi'ites, the primary victims under Saddam Hussein, are also still inclined to feel grateful for the liberation. The Shi'ite leadership was vehement and united in its condemnation of the UN bombing. Shi'ites are most likely to benefit from the new social order developing in Iraq, and thus least likely to obstruct it. Sunni radicalism, however, is less likely to distinguish between targets. Iraqi Sunnis were typically privileged under Saddam although in the minority and their leaders are far more hostile to the foreign presence. Al-Qaeda bears grudges against the UN going back to Afghanistan and the Ansar al-Islam, a radical Sunni group that was based in Kurdistan, had clear links with al-Qaeda. Ansar is said to have moved south towards Baghdad. Until now, however, even Sunni clerics like Imam Mahdi al-Jumeili of the small Hudheifa mosque of Baghdad's Shurti neighborhood have refrained from advocating violence. "We are sure they came here to steal the country and protect Israel," Jumeili says of the Americans. "They plan to take over the whole world. Everyone wants to control Iraq and take a piece of our wealth, Japan, Europe, Russia." Jumeili is conspiratorial in his view of international affairs. "Judaism and Masonism are at war with Islam and they share the same goals with America in the world. What is happening tells us the truth about their intentions. The American army consists of mercenaries and bastards. The control of Iraq is an evil thing and those who help control it are evil. The US helped Saddam 300 times. In the war with Iran, the US helped Saddam because it needed him. Now the US wants to play a role in the area by itself so it got rid of Saddam." Jumeili explains that "many simple people ask us why don't we wage a jihad, but we refuse to grant a jihad so that there will be no more bloodshed. All the people are mad and want to fight the US and we tell them the US promised to leave Iraq and we have to wait, but we think eventually people will take things into their own hands." This barely veiled threat is heard in Sunni mosques throughout Iraq. Sheikh Kheiri, leader of Tikrit's main mosque, still called the Saddam Mosque, "I told you many times not to attack the Americans now," he lectured his listeners. Instead, he exhorted his flock, "Wait and prepare yourselves. Your enemy is very strong and whatever you do you cannot defeat him. When you organize yourself secretly, and plan secretly and collect weapons secretly, then you will succeed in whatever you do. Don't let your enemy know what you are doing. Your government is gone, your supporters are gone, everything is gone right now." Sheikh Kheiri admonished his listeners, who numbered about 500, for supporting the Ba'ath Party of Saddam and for straying from Islam. Before the war, criticism of the secular and corrupt Ba'ath Party would have led to death, but now he blamed their support of the Ba'athists for the American presence. Kheiri reminded his listeners that "Mohammed worked secretly for three years before he began his campaign for Islam". He urged them to organize and recruit people, warning against small random attacks because "you are between the lion's teeth and if you do anything he will kill you and your family. Don't do anything until we tell you." Tikrit is the center of the area in Iraq known as the "Sunni Triangle", which was referred to by the head of the US Central Command, General John Abizaid, recently. "The terrorist threat that is emerging and is certainly becoming a problem for us is clearly being fueled by extremists within a fairly distinct geographical area - Tikrit, Ar Ramadi, Baghdad." In Samara, a city located between Tikrit and Baghdad, Mullah Hatim Samarai, leader of the Great Mosque, told his supporters, "I hope God will help us see them leave our country," Mullah Hatim spoke to a congregation of 1,000 people in his mosque, where he wields tremendous influence as one of the leading clerics of northern Iraq. But he, too, urged his listeners not to take matters into their own hands. In the nearby al-Jubeiria neighborhood of Samara at the mosque of Ahmad bin Hamad, the sermon is usually angrier. This mosque is reputed to be Wahhabi, the same strict brand of Islam that dominates Saudi Arabia and which counts Osama bin Laden among its adherents. The mosque is known for its sermons that demand of Muslims not to speak with Americans, not to help them and to begin fighting them. Graffiti on the mosque walls supports Ansar al-Islam. Until recently, there was also a weapons market nearby. At the Alburahman mosque of Samara, Sheikh Ahmad al-Abasi has taken a comparatively moderate approach, advising his listeners to work with the Americans, and help them, but that "if after a year they do nothing for the people here, we will tell them to go home". Presumably he meant violently. The speech resembled the recent sermon in Baghdad of Iraq's most prominent Sunni cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Kubaisi, the Sunni fundamentalist leader of the Iraqi National Movement, who spoke in Baghdad condemning the attacks against American soldiers because they were premature and should not begin until it is seen whether or not the Americans act on their promise to leave as soon as possible. Kubaisi admitted that Sunnis were pushed aside because the US viewed them as hostile and that the Shi'ites were the temporary victors. In June, Kubaisi spoke in the Great Mosque of Samara. He prohibited attacks against the Americans. "We waited 35 years under Saddam and we should give the Americans a year before we fight them and tell them to leave," he said. Kubaisi, who was exiled in 1998, returned to Iraq after the war and made his debut sermon at the Abu Hanifa mosque in Baghdad, Iraq's most important Sunni mosque. The minaret, or tower, of the mosque still bore the scars of an American missile that went through it during the war. Hundreds of people stood and knelt barefoot outside the packed mosque. On top of its walls stood young men holding banners proclaiming "One Iraq One People", "We Reject Foreign Control", "Sunnis are Shi'ites and Shi'ites are Sunnis, We are all One", "All the Believers are Brothers", and similar proclamations of national unity. The sermon that followed the prayer was unique for its nationalism. Baghdad had been occupied by the Mongols, the sheikh said, referring to the sacking of the capital of the Muslim world in 1258. Now new Mongols were occupying Baghdad and they were creating divisions between Sunnis and Shi'ites. The Shi'ites and Sunnis were one, however, and they should remain united and reject foreign control. They had all suffered together as one people under Saddam's rule. Saddam oppressed all Iraqis and then he abandoned them to suffer. There were no Sunnis or Shi'ites, all Iraqis were Muslims and they had defended their country together from the Americans and British, as a united people. The sheikh also thanked the Shi'ite people of Basra for "defending their country against the foreign invaders". Kubaisi then formed a political party and limited his overt religious activity. Sheikh Muayad, the imam and speaker of the Abu Hanifa mosque, was chosen by Kubaisi to lead it after the war. He, too, has strategically chosen to cooperate with the Shi'ite majority, although Shi'ites grumble that both he and Kubaisi were denouncing them as apostates until the war started and that their new-found brotherhood is merely tactical. In a demonstration called for by Baghdad's Shi'ite leadership, Muayad told the thousands of Shi'ites that "we are brothers and we won't be separated. Our enemies want to separate us but we won't be divided and we will be united". In a recent interview, given in the dark because there was no electricity that night, Muayad complained about the American presence. "All good people of the world reject foreign occupation," he said, "whether they are Muslim or not. Americans rejected British imperialism, so why do they deny other people the right to do what they did? We as Muslims reject any foreign occupation because Muslims do not recognize slavery to anyone but God." On the steps outside the Abu Hanifa mosque a book seller displays a thin book supporting bin Ladin and defending his actions entitled "Bin Ladin: Our Enemy is America". * PUK, TURKOMAN FRONT REACH AGREEMENT AFTER UNREST IN NORTHERN IRAQ RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT, Vol. 6, No. 36, 29 August 2003 The Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) sent a joint delegation to the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk to meet with local leaders in an effort to ease tensions there after three days of clashes between Kurds and Turkomans on 22-24 August that left at least 12 people dead, London's "Al-Sharq al Awsat" reported on 25 August. Eight Turkomans were killed on 22 August in a neighboring city of Tuz Kharmato after Kurds reportedly damaged a newly reopened Turkoman Muslim shrine, AP reported on 26 August. Thirteen people were wounded in that incident. At least three people were killed in the ensuing violence in Kirkuk on 23-24 August. A bitter power struggle erupted between Kurds and Turkomans in oil-rich Kirkuk following the downfall of the Hussein regime, and speculation over who might be responsible for the weekend clashes has compounded tensions. A SCIRI source reportedly told "Al-Sharq al Awsat" that a foreign element -- possibly Turkey -- was to blame, while a PUK source told the daily that "terrorists" sparked the clashes. Meanwhile, a Kirkuk City Council source blamed the radical group Ansar Al-Islam. Reuters reported on 25 August that the Iraqi Turkoman Front accused the U.S. of failing to protect the Turkomans in Iraq, and the group called on Turkey to send troops to do so. The news agency also reported that thousands of Shi'ites marched in Baghdad on 25 August in support of Turkomans, who are also Shi'ites. The PUK and the Iraqi Turkoman Front finally reached a settlement agreeing to establish a joint committee to investigate the incidents and to prosecute those responsible for the clashes, KurdSat reported on 26 August. The families of those killed in the clashes will receive material and moral support, and a joint committee will be established to prevent such incidents in the future. Both sides also agreed to meet regularly to discuss political, economic, and social issues, and to instruct their members to work toward peaceful coexistence in the city, Istanbul's NTV reported. (Kathleen Ridolfo) * KURD SELECTED TO HEAD CONSTITUTIONAL PREPARATORY COMMITTEE RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT, Vol. 6, No. 36, 29 August 2003 Fu'ad Ma'sum of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) has been selected to head the 25 member Constitutional Preparatory Committee in Iraq, Muhannad Abdul Jabbar, a spokesman for the Iraqi Governing Council told AFP on 21 August. Ma'sum was elected on 20 August during the committee's third meeting. He is a university professor and a co founder of the PUK. He also served in 1992 as the first prime minister in the autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan. Arabicnews.com reported on 22 August that the committee also elected Muhammad al-Haj Hamud as its first deputy and Muhammad Rida al-Ghareiqi as its second deputy. The preparatory committee was formed to guide the process of drafting an Iraqi constitution (see "RFE/RL Iraq Report," 15 August 2003). (Kathleen Ridolfo) * U.S. FORCES RELEASE LEADER OF ISLAMIC KURDISH MOVEMENT RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT, Vol. 6, No. 36, 29 August 2003 U.S. forces have reportedly released the leader of the Islamic Movement of Iraqi Kurdistan who was arrested in early August, AFP reported on 19 August (see "RFE/RL Iraq Report," 7 August 2003). "Shaykh Ali Abd al-Aziz was freed [17 August] after two weeks in detention," Shwan Qaladizaze told AFP, adding, "The Americans have apologized to the spiritual leader of the Islamic Kurdish Movement." The shaykh's son Ihsan Abd al-Aziz, who serves as the movement's spokesman in London, reportedly lobbied through his office there and in the U.S. for his father's release. (Kathleen Ridolfo) * VERBAL SPARRING OVER IRAQI GOVERNING COUNCIL MEMBER'S PAST RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT, Vol. 6, No. 36, 29 August 2003 Plans by a group of Jordanian parliamentarians to request the extradition of Iraqi Governing Council member Ahmad Chalabi have sparked an escalating war of words. Twenty-one Jordanian representatives are working to put together a formal request to Interpol to return Chalabi to Jordan, AFP reported on 18 August. A Jordanian court in 1992 sentenced Chalabi in absentia to 22 years in prison for embezzling $228 million from Petra Bank, which he founded in Amman in 1978. Chalabi, who left Jordan in 1989, has dismissed the proceedings as politically motivated. As head of the Iraqi National Congress (INC), Chalabi was the public face of the "Iraqi opposition" in the prewar period, although he has not emerged to play a major role in domestic politics since returning to Iraq. "We will demand the extradition of the criminal [Chalabi]," Jordanian parliamentarian Mahmud Kharabshah told Reuters on 17 August. The INC's "Al-Mu'tamar" newspaper earlier this week wrote that "the fierce campaign Jordan is pursuing against the INC and its leader...has been organized by the Jordanian intelligence services to cover up the criminal activities of successive [Jordanian] governments and their theft of the Iraqi people's money," Britain's "Al-Hayat" reported on 20 August. (Daniel Kimmage) * 'IRANIANS' IN IRAQI GOVERNMENT POSTS WARNED TO LEAVE RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT, Vol. 6, No. 36, 29 August 2003 [by Muqtada al-Sadr ] Muqtada al-Sadr said in his 22 August Friday Prayer sermon in Al-Kufah that Iran has placed its security officials in some major Iraqi government posts, the Baztab website reported on 23 August. Al-Sadr warned the Iranians to leave Iraq promptly. Al-Sadr reportedly said that the 19 August bombing of the UN compound in Baghdad resulted either from the absence of a security apparatus or because the security organizations are under the control of Iranians and other foreigners. (Bill Samii) * CPA ISSUES ANNOUNCEMENT CONCERNING IRAQI TRAVEL DOCUMENTS RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT, Vol. 6, No. 36, 29 August 2003 The Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq (CPA) issued a statement on 19 August clarifying local newspaper reports concerning travel documents for Iraqi citizens. According to the statement, the CPA Interior Ministry is working to restore Iraq's ability to issue passports. "As part of this process, an Interim Travel Document will be issued [to Iraqis] in lieu of a passport." The travel document is currently under development and is expected to be released in the near future, although the CPA did not give a specific date. The statement added that the CPA has identified locations for issuing the documents, but that those buildings remain under repair." Contrary to published reports, there are no plans to use the Baghdad Convention Center for passport purposes now or at any time in the future," the statement noted. The CPA statement added that it is possible for some Iraqis to travel outside the country without a passport, adding that travelers should contact the country of destination for information regarding entry. Some countries require a visa for entry. The United Arab Emirates reportedly invited Iraqis to live and work in the country without conditions, dpa reported on 26 August, citing a Middle East News Agency report of the same day. Iraqis would need a valid passport and visa, however, to enter. Individuals seeking medical treatment or on an official visit to the emirates would be exempt from the visa requirement. (Kathleen Ridolfo) http://news.independent.co.uk/people/obituaries/story.jsp?story=438461 * AYATOLLAH MOHAMMAD BAKR AL-HAKIM by Adel Darwish The Independent, 30th August Mohammad Bakr al-Hakim, cleric and scholar: born Najaf, Iraq 1 July 1939; married Azzat Mohey-eldine al-Mghmaghanie (two sons, five daughters); died Najaf 29 August 2003. There was an air of calm and grandeur surrounding Ayatollah Mohammad Bakr al-Hakim when I first met him in exile in Iran 17 years ago. In his quiet but confident voice, he was very critical of the West's policy in general and American policy in particular, because of their support at that time of Saddam Hussein. The Iraqi dictator and his bloody Baathist regime had imprisoned and tortured the respected Shia leader several times in the 1970s, forcing him to flee Iraq in 1980 into 23 years of exile, first in Syria and Lebanon and then Iran, where he remained until his return last May, following the fall of Saddam's regime, to a massive popular welcome. Although critical of the Americans, Hakim was ready to work with them - a decision that earned him the hostility of more radical Shia factions. In the past, there had been seven attempts on his life, five of which were certain to have been by Baath regime hitmen. He was assassinated yesterday by a massive car bomb after the Friday prayers outside the mosque of Imam Ali - the cousin and son-in-law of the prophet Mohamed and the holiest of Shia saints. His death is the second major blow to the hopes of coalition forces for moderate and open minded leaders of the Shia to promote peace and unity. In early April, another exiled Shia leader was killed at the same mosque: Abdul Majid al-Khoei, just returned from exile in London. Mohammad Bakr al-Hakim was born in the holy city of Najaf in 1939, the fourth child of the second wife of Grand Ayatollah Sayyed Muhsin al-Hakim, the spiritual leader of Shia Muslims until his death in 1970. His family tree leads to Imam al-Hussein, grandson of the prophet Mohamed and founder of the Shia faith. Hakim studied at several centres of Shia theology in Najaf, many headed by his father, uncles and elder brothers. Two of his mentors, whom he always acknowledged, were Yousuf al-Hakim, who was arrested by Saddam, and Ayatollah Bakr al-Sadr, assassinated by Saddam. A great scholar and author of 33 books on Islamic philosophy, theology, politics, history and logic, Hakim enjoyed political and philosophical debate. He had an academic and open-minded approach and was tolerant of other points of view. He taught Theology and Koranic Research at Baghdad College of Religious Essence from 1965 until the Baath closed it down, following the successful military coup in 1969 which established a secular, one party dictatorship. Hakim's first fall-out with the regime came in 1976 when he was arrested for "inciting a rebellion" and for his membership of the banned Aldawa Islamic party. In the same year the regime banned the annual pilgrimage by Shia to the holy city of Najaf (a ban that remained in place until April this year). He was released six months later after Grand Ayatollah al Khoei protested to the President of Iraq, Ahmad Hassan al-Bakr. Following endless harassment, prison, torture and attempts on his life, Hakim fled to Syria, then Lebanon, before settling in Iran. There in 1982 he founded the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), an umbrella group for 70 different Islamic movements across the region. SCIRI is considered to be one the main Shia Muslim groups jockeying for power in post-war Iraq. The group had, until recently, been based in Iran and owed much to the conservative clerics ruling Iran who have funded the organisation for 20 years. Many Iraqis loathed SCIRI especially during the eight-year war that Saddam started against Iraq in 1980. At the time in Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini was setting up a Shia Islamic state. Hakim spent more than two decades in exile. From Iran, he not only headed SCIRI but also controlled the group's armed wing, the Badr Brigade. His militias waged a low-level war of ambushes, sabotage, and assassinations against the regime. After President George Bush Snr's call to the Iraqi people to overthrow Saddam following his eviction from Kuwait in 1991, many of Hakim's supporters crossed to join the intifada. They were helped by Iranian revolutionary guards who scared the Americans into allowing Saddam's armies to move unopposed to quell the uprising, and slaughter the Shia in the South. Scores of Hakim family members were arrested in March 1991, but a few members who were already in prison were released, in a move that perplexed historians. Saddam sent a message to Iran asking Hakim to return or face his family's execution, and carried out the threat when Hakim remained defiant. Although SCIRI boycotted the first conference to be organised by the Americans in Iraq at the end of April, Hakim, upon returning to Iraq from exile, advised his followers to give the Americans more time. Many Shia saw Hakim as the best hope of reversing the suppression of their political aspirations throughout Saddam's period in power. Others, not wishing for an Iranian-style religious rule, were wary of his Iranian connections. He was able to calm clan and tribal leaders and persuade them to join a moderate debate. But, despite its name and Iranian connections, SCIRI said it was not pushing for an Iranian style Islamist government in Iraq. In a pragmatic move, Hakim said the new government he supported would be a modern Islamic regime "to go along with today's modern world, and it will be able to bring Iraq to its natural place in the Arab and Islamic word." He made concessions to American sensitivities, by claiming that the new Iraq would represent Christians and all the other minorities as well as Muslims. "We don't want extremist Islam, but an Islam of independence, justice and freedom." http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,1033190,00.html * IRAQI QUITS COUNCIL IN SECURITY PROTEST by Rory McCarthy in Baghdad The Guardian, 1st September The US-led authority in Iraq suffered its first political fallout from the mounting security crisis yesterday when a senior Iraqi pulled out of the governing council. Mohammed Bahr al-Uloum said he was suspending his membership of the US-appointed council after the devastating car bomb in the holy city of Najaf on Friday which killed between 80 and 125 people, including a leading Shia cleric. He said there was a "dangerous security void in Iraq, especially in Najaf". Iraqi police were trying to fill that void at the weekend, detaining a number of suspects in connection with the Najaf bombing. The governor of Najaf, Haidar al-Mayyali, said all those held were Iraqis, although a number of reports said several foreign Arab militants professing links to Osama bin Laden's al Qaida network had also been arrested. Saudi Arabia rejected allegations that its nationals were involved in the Najaf attack, rejecting speculation that a number of Saudi extremists had been seized in Najaf and claimed to have orchestrated the assassination. "Sources in Iraq have said Saudi citizens were involved, without presenting any proof," a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency said. "The Saudi government would like these sources to reveal the information they have and present it to the Saudi government, instead of making statements without any proof." The departure of Mohammad Bahr al-Uloum from the governing council represents a setback for US and British diplomats and may yet trigger a wider unravelling of the fragile political process. The 25-member council is intended to be the forerunner of a new Iraqi government, although it has been deadlocked by rivalries and disagreements since it was set up in July. [.....] http://www.jordantimes.com/Tue/news/news5.htm * IRAQ APPOINTS FORMER SHIITE EXILE AS OIL MINISTER Jordan Times, 1st September DUBAI (Reuters) ‹ Iraq on Monday appointed former exile Ibrahim Bahr Al Uloum, son of a leading Shiite scholar, as its first postwar oil minister. The 49-year-old US-educated son of Iraqi Governing Council member Mohammed Bahr Al Uloum faces a tough task in overseeing the revival of Iraq's dilapidated and war-damaged oil sector, Baghdad's only significant revenue earner. A political appointee based before the war in London and representing Iraq's Shiite Muslim majority, he will oversee day-to-day running of the oil ministry. The Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, one of the largest Shiite groups in the country, had backed Uloum for the position, Iraqis familiar with the selection process said. But there is no prime minister and overall authority remains with US governor Paul Bremer until an elected government is installed. An unknown quantity at the oil ministry, Uloum holds a PHD in petroleum engineering from New Mexico University. He will need to rely on the cooperation of long-standing Iraqi oil technocrats who worked under former leader Saddam Hussein. The new minister immediately received the backing of Thamir Ghadhban, acting oil minister since early May, who said he would stay on to help. "I did not want to be oil minister. I personally requested that I not be oil minister," Ghadhban, who apparently had been the US-backed first choice for the post, told Reuters. "I'm willing to continue at the ministry, there's lots of work to be done." Some in Baghdad fear Uloum may support the early privatisation of Iraq's huge oil reserves to US and other foreign oil companies. He attended prewar meetings of the US State Department's future of Iraq project which recommended foreign firms be invited to develop the fields. Iraqi oil officials said the minister could at least expect a honeymoon period of support. "We expected this. It's a political position," said one senior Iraqi official in Baghdad. http://www.iht.com/articles/108546.html * NEWS ANALYSIS: SHIITE LEADER'S DEATH LEAVES A VOID IN IRAQ by Neil MacFarquhar International Herald Tribune, New York Times, 2nd Septembe BAGHDAD: Feeling uneasy about the presence of so many foreign troops in the holy city of An Najaf, Tariq Ghazi, the dean of the city's renowned undertakers, went to a small group prayer session a few months ago with Ayatollah Muhammad Bakr al-Hakim and asked him whether the infidels should be expelled. In response he heard an extended discourse detailing how all leaders in recent Iraqi history had abused members of the Shiite sect, not to mention virtually everyone who has ruled this land since Shiite Islam was born here more than 1,300 years ago. Shiites inevitably became violent opponents of every government. "He told us that if we repeat the same mistake, if we don't cooperate with the Americans, someone else will cooperate and we will have lost our opportunity," recalled Ghazi. "He said this was our last chance." The ayatollah was assassinated Friday in a car bombing that killed more than 95 people. His cortege continued to wend its way through central Iraq to his burial in An Najaf on Tuesday. Hakim's death eliminated one of the few leaders of any stature who, while a critic of the Americans for what he saw as their bungling administration, counseled against fighting them, for now. His voice helped temper those seeking to carry out a holy war against American forces, and the presence of his political group on the Iraqi governing council lent it a legitimacy that no other Shiite could. Perhaps most important, the very combination of politician and senior religious scholar made him the voice of Shiite aspirations. In his absence, the political movement he left behind and the Coalition Provisional Authority both fear what lies ahead - whether the strength of his legacy will hold the Shiites together, accepting the occupation, or whether they will splinter into murderous factions that could sink the reconstruction of Iraq. "We are worried, this was a significant blow," said Adel Abdel Mahdi, a senior adviser to the ayatollah's brother on the governing council. "We thought that Ayatollah Hakim could play the link between the political sphere and the theological sphere." Among Shiites, who make up about 65 percent of Iraq's 25 million population, the marja', or senior religious scholars, play a unique role. The faithful look to them for advice on matters large and small, ranging from how to bathe to how to avoid sin to whether it is acceptable to kill American soldiers. So far, the four leading marja' in An Najaf, who sway opinions across Iraq, have given their tacit consent to the occupation by not really discussing it. Grand Ayatollah Ali Hussein al Sistani, the most significant clergyman in Iraq, insists that Iraqis shape their own constitution through elections, but otherwise he and the other senior clerics have tried to stay out of the fray. What made Hakim different from those four senior clerics was that he was willing to address such issues, giving the actions of the occupation an Islamic seal of approval. This was considered especially important because the other Shiites on the governing council are either unknown or are secular men like Ahmad Chalabi, of whom the Iraqi public are wary. "He was a wise man - moderate, flexible," Mahmoud Othman, a Kurdish member of the governing council, said of Hakim. "So from that point of view we have lost a great supporter of the current situation." The alternative, of course, is readily apparent. Moktada al-Sadr, also the offspring of illustrious ayatollahs, has been a virulent critic of the American presence and stopped just short of calling for a holy war to create an Islamic state. His supporters are hoping to capitalize on the loss of his main counterweight to widen his appeal. Some analysts believe the assassination will give space for ideas of the militants to grow, like that of forming a popular army of volunteers to protect Shiite neighborhoods and serve as religious police chaperoning morals. But officials of Hakim's political movement, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, dismiss the idea that the more militant fringe will gain popularity. In Hakim's absence, there is no obvious figure to bridge the space between the elderly, aloof clerics and the young firebrands, to channel Shiite aspirations away from violence. Given the frustration among Shiites over bad living conditions, the lack of electricity and jobs, bloodshed could be easily set off. Party officials said that after the burial they would work on resurrecting the spiritual side of their effort. They said they planned to consult with the senior religious scholars in An Najaf in the hope of persuading at least one to play a more public role, Abdel Mahdi said. But if the political movement lost its marja' in Hakim, it gained a martyr. Shiites hold special reverence for those who die fighting a cause. "We are more powerful today than we were yesterday," said Abdel Mahdi, pointing to the throngs who showed up along the route of the funeral cortege. "It was like an election, maybe even more important than an election." Yitzhak Nakash, a historian specializing in Iraq's Shiites, said they were facing a crisis of leadership. "They need a leader who will lead the community in a day-to-day struggle within the country," he said. The party hopes that for the time being the momentum Hakim built will move it forward, buoyed by reverence for his memory. The Americans, too, hope that the ayatollah's commitment to the idea that the occupation will improve the situation for Shiites will dispel any movement toward either internal bloodshed or attacking American forces. Until the bombing, the Shiite areas of the country had been relatively free of violence. "It's not really in their interests, even if emotionally some of them would like to go that route," said one official with the Coalition Provisional Authority. "Right now our presence guarantees them a significant role in any future government." http://english.aljazeera.net/Articles/News/ArabWorld/Iraqi+Shias+accused+of+ sectarian+cleansing.htm * IRAQI SHIAS ACCUSED OF SECTARIAN CLEANSING Aljazeera, 3rd September Spiritual leaders of Iraq's Sunni Muslim minority have accused some Shias of launching a sectarian cleansing campaign in two holy cities. They also accused neighbouring Shia-dominated Iran of trying to fuel growing religious tensions in the country by reaching out to Moqtada al-Sadr, a powerful young cleric known for his virulent opposition to the US-led occupation. The Shias "have taken over the al-Hamza mosque, our only one in Najaf, and the Hassan bin Ali mosque, our only one in Karbala," a spokesman for the Council of Ulema (religious scholars), Sheikh Abdel Salam al-Kubeissi, said. "Emptying Najaf and Karbala of Sunni presence is a grave phenomenon akin to sectarian cleansing and (conducive to) the Balkanisation of Iraq," he said. He also accused Shias of taking control of 16 other Sunni mosques across the country, including a dozen in Baghdad. The claim could not be immediately verified. But Kubeissi said the Ulema Council had called for calm among its followers in the face of "provocations from some Shias." "We are being quiet, not because we are cowards, but because in the current situation it is necessary that we remain calm." But in a broadside at Iran, the Ulema Council also accused the supreme leader of the neighbouring Islamic Republic, Ali Khamenei, of pressuring Shia cleric Moqtadaal-Sadr to cut ties with the Sunnis. "We had a minimum of coordination with Moqtada al-Sadr but he changed about 40 days ago after a meeting with Khamenei in Iran," Kubeissi said. "Iran has entered the Iraqi scene. It looks badly on meetings between Shias and Sunnis, a fraternisation between (Sunni) mosques and the Husseiniyeh," or Shia holy places, he said. Al-Sadr has risen to prominence in the power vacuum of post-Saddam Iraq, tapping the followers of his father, a revered grand Ayat Allah who died in 1999. Explaining the formation of the Ulema Council, Kubeissi said it was created on 14 April, five days after the fall of Saddam Hussein. He said it grouped all the country's Sunni ulema. His comments came as hundreds of thousands of Shias thronged Najaf, a pilgrim city 180 km south of Baghdad, to bury Ayat Allah Muhammad Baqer al-Hakim, a revered cleric whose death in a car bombing outside a shrine there has thrown the country into turmoil. Iraq's Shias make up 53% of the 25-million population. IN THE WORLD AT LARGE * UN SECURITY COUNCIL ADOPTS RESOLUTION FOR PROTECTION OF INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN WORKERS RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT, Vol. 6, No. 36, 29 August 2003 The United Nations Security Council unanimously approved Resolution 1502 on 26 August, urging member states to treat violence against humanitarian workers as a war crime, according to international press reports. The Mexican-drafted resolution was first proposed in April, and resurfaced following the 19 August bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 20, 21, and 22 August 2003), which killed 23 people and injured many others, Reuters reported on 26 August. Bulgaria, France, Germany, Russia, and Syria co-sponsored the draft. The U.S. supported the resolution after a reference to the International Criminal Court, which the U.S. opposes, was dropped. At the UN, Secretary General Kofi Annan told Security Council members, "Impunity for those who commit such unpardonable crimes cannot stand...there must be action." The text of the resolution is posted on the UN website (http://www.un.org). (Kathleen Ridolfo) * U.K. AMBASSADOR BRIEFS SECURITY COUNCIL ON COALITION EFFORTS IN IRAQ RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT, Vol. 6, No. 36, 29 August 2003 ['all 240 hospitals in Iraq are now functioning, and enough vaccines have been provided to vaccinate 4.2 million Iraqi children ... 1.2 million student kits and 3,900 school kits have been distributed nationwide ... most schools had been reopened by the end of June ... some 70 million revised schoolbooks will be printed by the end of December.] Emyr Jones Parry, U.K. ambassador to the United Nations, told the Security Council in a 21 August briefing that coalition progress inside Iraq is really the result of the coalition and the UN working together. Jones Parry said that while the coalition is working toward the establishment of a free and sovereign Iraq, "We have to recognize the difficulties which any state faces in moving from conflict to a stable, peaceful, law-abiding democracy." The ambassador addressed the Coalition Provisional Authority's (CPA) humanitarian activities, and activities to support the establishment of local institutions for representative government, as well as legal and judicial reform issues, and the need to establish respect for human rights in Iraq in his presentation. He said that food distribution systems inside the country are fully restored, adding that poverty and vulnerability surveys are currently underway to identify areas where continued support will be needed after the phasing out of the oil-for-food program, slated to end in November. Jones Parry added that all 240 hospitals in Iraq are now functioning, and enough vaccines have been provided to vaccinate 4.2 million Iraqi children. Regarding education, Jones Parry said that 1.2 million student kits and 3,900 school kits have been distributed nationwide and that most schools had been reopened by the end of June. In addition, some 70 million revised schoolbooks will be printed by the end of December. The Iraqi infrastructure continues to be a focus, with the water sector a high priority. Jones Parry said that some 130 "critical breaks" have been repaired, "But as we have seen spectacularly, the network has been badly hit by highly organized sabotage, exacerbated by shortages of parts and chemicals." Jones Parry told the Security Council that the Iraqi Governing Council "is [the coalition's] partner in many decisions concerning the administration of Iraq." He listed the activities of the Constitutional Preparatory Committee and said that the coalition is also working to promote local governance. "Every major Iraqi city now has a local government," he said, adding, "We are in the process of deploying teams to help build up Iraqi provincial governments." As for human rights, Jones Parry said that the coalition is working to "support the creation of a culture where human rights are respected" but did not elaborate. He also discussed the coalition's work regarding the establishment of a National Iraqi Bureau of Missing Persons. He added that the coalition has repaired over 450 court buildings and "scores" of prison facilities. In addition, "A Judicial Review Committee, comprising equal numbers of coalition and Iraqi members, is in the process of screening judges and prosecutors. A Central Criminal Court, with some of the most highly regarded jurists in Iraq, has been established as a model of judicial integrity and fairness to handle cases of special importance or with national significance." The transcript of Ambassador Jones Parry's report to the Security Council can be viewed on the U.S. State Department's International Information Programs website (http://usinfo.state.gov). U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte also addressed the Security Council at the 21 August meeting. His presentation focused on security and economic progress in Iraq. (Kathleen Ridolfo) http://www.counterpunch.org/cockburn08302003.html * HANDMAID IN BABYLON: ANNAN, VIEIRA DE MELLO AND THE UN'S DECLINE AND FALL by Alexander Cockburn Counterpunch, 30th August "One has to be careful," said UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in late August, "not to confuse the UN with the US." If the Secretary General had taken his own advice, then maybe his Brazilian subordinate, Sergio Vieira de Mello, might not have been so summarily blown to pieces in Baghdad two days earlier. As things are, the UN still craves the handmaid role the US desperately needs in Iraq as political cover. Whichever group sent that truck bomb on its way decided that Vieira and his boss were so brazen in moving the UN to play a fig-leaf role in the US occupation of Iraq that spectacular action was necessary to draw attention to the process. So the UN man handpicked by the White House paid with his life. To get a sense of how swift has been the conversion of the UN into after-sales service provider for the world's prime power, just go back to 1996, when the United States finally decided that Annan's predecessor as UN Secretary General, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, had to go. In a pleasing foreshadowing of Annan's plaintive remark cited above, Boutros-Ghali told Clinton's top foreign policy executives, "Please allow me from time to time to differ publicly from US policy." But unlike Annan he did so, harshly contrasting western concern for Bosnia, whose conflict he described as "a war of the rich" with its indifference to the genocide in Rwanda and to horrifying conditions throughout the third world. Then, in April 1996,he went altogether too far, when he insisted on publication of the findings of the UN inquiry which implicated Israel in the killing of some hundred civilians who had taken refuge in a United Nations camp in Kanaa in south Lebanon. In a minority of one on the Security Council the US insisted on exercising its veto of a second term for Boutros-Ghali. James Rubin, erstwhile State Department spokesman, wrote his epitaph in the Financial Times: Boutros-Ghali was "unable to understand the importance of cooperation with the world's first power." It took another foreign policy operative of the Clinton era to identify Annan's appeal to Washington. Richard Holbrooke later recalled that in 1995 there was a "dual key" arrangement, whereby both Boutros-Ghali and the NATO commander had to jointly approve bombing.Boutros-Ghali had vetoed all but the most limited pinprick bombing of the Serbs, for fear of appearing to take sides. But when Boutros Ghali was travelling, Annan was left in charge of the U.N. key. "When Kofi turned it," Holbrooke told Philip Gourevich of the New Yorker, "he became Secretary-General in waiting." There was of course a further, very terrible service rendered by Annan, in which, in deference to the American desire to keep Sarajevo in the limelight, he suppressed the warnings of the Canadan General Romeo Dallair that appalling massacres were about to start in Rwanda. Of course even in the UN's braver days, there were always the realities of power to be acknowledged, but UN Secretaries General such as Dag Hammarskjold and U Thant, were men of stature. These days UN functionaries such as Annan and the late Vieira, know full well that their careers depend on American patronage. Vieira was a bureaucrat, never an elected politician, instrumental in establishing the UN protectorate system in Kosovo. Then he was the beneficiary of an elaborate and instructive maneuver, in which the US was eager to rid itself of the inconvenient Jose Mauricio Bustani, another Brazilian, from his post as head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the Chemical Weapons Convention's implementing organization. Bustani was no US catspaw but adamant in maintaining his organization's independence, and admired round the world for his energy in seeking to rid the world of chemical weapons. When UNSCOM withdrew from Iraq in 1998, hopelessly compromised and riddled with spies, Bustani's OPCW was allowed in to continue verification of destruction of WMDs. The US feared Bustani would persuade Saddam Hussein to sign the Chemical Weapons convention and accept inspections from Bustani's organization, thus allowing the possibility of credible estimates of Iraq's arsenal that might prove inconvenient to the US. Brazil was informed that if it supported the ouster of Bustani, it would be rewarded with US backing for Vieira's elevation to the post of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, replacing another object of US disfavor, Mary Robinson. Vieira was duly appointed. Then, earlier this year, the imperial finger crooked an urgent summons for him to come to Washington for inspection by Condoleezza Rice. Vieira made all the right. Desperate for UN cover in Iraq, the Bush White House pressured Annan to appoint Vieira as UN Special Envoy to Iraq. Vieira installed himself in Baghdad where, in cooperation with the US proconsul Paul Bremer, his priority together a puppet Governing Council of Iraqis, serving at the pleasure of the Coalition Provisional Authority. The council was replete with such notorious fraudsters as Ahmad Chalabi. It was formed on July 13. Nine days later Vieira was at the UN in New York, proclaiming with a straight face that "we now have a formal body of senior and distinguished Iraqi counterparts, with credibility and authority, with whom we can chart the way forward.we now enter a new stage that succeeds the disorienting power vacuum that followed the fall of the previous regime." Though it did not formally recognize the Governing Council, the UN Security Council eagerly commended this achievement. The Financial Times editorialized on August 19: "America's friends, such as India, Turkey Pakistan and even France, which opposed the war, should stand ready to help. But they need UN cover." In Baghdad, the next day, in the form of the truck bomb, came an answer. Two days later, Kofi Annan counselled on the dangers of confusing the UN with the US. If he meant what he said Annan should obviously resign forthwith as the man who has done more than any figure alive to equate the two. But who would imagine Africa's Waldheim being capable of that? http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/w-me/2003/sep/02/090201675.html * ERDOGAN SEEKS TO REASSURE TURKS ON TROOPS by Suzan Fraser Las Vegas Sun, 2nd September ANKARA, Turkey (AP): Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan tried to reassure wary Turks on the possible deployment of Turkish peacekeepers to Iraq as the commander of U.S. forces in Europe arrived here Tuesday to discuss the possibility. U.S. Gen. James L. Jones, whose arrival was reported by the Anatolia news agency, was scheduled to hold talks with top Turkish officials, including Gen. Hilmi Ozkok, the head of Turkey's military, and Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul on Iraq and other issues Wednesday. Almost daily there are small demonstrations in Turkey to protest plans to send peacekeepers. Turks overwhelmingly opposed the war in neighboring Iraq and Parliament in March refused to grant permission to the United States to base troops in Turkey to open a northern front against Iraq. The Turkish rebuff led to a cooling of relations with the United States, whose support is crucial as Turkey recovers from an economic crisis. Many Turkish leaders see sending peacekeepers as a way of repairing relations with the United States and gaining a say in the future of neighboring Iraq. Erdogan said a decision on sending troops would come after Sept. 22, when the government assesses the issue with the president and Turkey's top brass at a National Security Council meeting. Parliament would have the final say. "Neither us, nor our military would ever send our army into a quagmire. Our people should trust us on that," Erdogan said in a late Monday interview with private Kanal D television. Turkish officials also are likely to raise concerns about Kurdish rebels amid rising tensions in southeastern Turkey, which borders Iraq. Turkey fears Kurds may use northern Iraq as a base for terrorism. Turkey wants the United States to crack down on the rebels, fearing cross-border attacks. http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/sns-ap-norway-iraq krekar,0,1720535.story?coll=ny-nationworld-headlines * TERROR SUSPECT WILLING TO TALK TO U.S. by Doug Mellgren Newsday, 2nd September OSLO, Norway -- The ex-leader of a militant Islamic group with suspected ties to al-Qaida is willing to answer questions from the United States about suspected terror activities in Iraq and elsewhere, his lawyer said Tuesday. Mullah Krekar, a refugee in Norway, is considered the spiritual leader of Ansar al-Islam, a group of fundamentalist Islamic Kurds in northern Iraq considered by the United States and United Nations to be a terrorist group. On Monday Attorney General John Ashcroft visited the capital, Oslo, and called Ansar al Islam a "very dangerous group." He said the organization maintained a network for terrorist training camps in northern Iraq. Ashcroft added that the group, and its leaders, should be watched by investigators and security officials. Krekar has denied any role by Ansar al-Islam in the spate of terror attacks in Iraq, including Friday's car bombing at the Imam Ali mosque in Najaf or the attacks on the Jordanian Embassy on Aug. 7 and the U.N. headquarters on Aug. 19. In an interview published Tuesday by the Norwegian daily, Aftenposten, Krekar said he didn't want to be a problem for Norway. "I am willing to travel to the U.S. and answer questions there," Krekar was quoted as saying. However, his lawyer, Brynjar Meling, said Krekar would stay in Norway if U.S. investigators want to question him. "What we have said is that he is willing to talk to the Americans. I don't trust the Americans. I'm not sure his rights would be protected there," Meling told The Associated Press. Mullah Krekar was arrested in September 2002 at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport and held for four months before he was deported in January to Norway, which granted him asylum in 1991. Krekar, born Najm al-Din Faraj Ahmad in 1956 in the Iraqi province of al-Sulaymaniyah, was questioned by the FBI twice while in Dutch custody. He was released from a Norwegian jail in April after a court found insufficient grounds to hold him on terrorism charges. Police dropped the charges in July, but are investigating him for allegedly financing terrorist activities. Norway revoked Krekar's refugee status after learning that he repeatedly traveled to Iraq, the country he fled to seek protection from in Norway. He is fighting deportation in court. http://english.aljazeera.net/Articles/News/GlobalNews/US+design+for+Iraq+UN+ mandate.htm * US PLANS TO INCREASE UN ROLE IN IRAQ Aljazeera, 3rd September US Secretary of State Colin Powell plans to negotiate a Security Council resolution that would draw the United Nations into a bigger military role in occupied Iraq. One State Department official, speaking to journalists in Washington on Tuesday night, said the draft UN resolution ³talks about how countries can contribute² to Iraq¹s occupation ³in political, military and economic areas². UN envoys said the draft might include a role for the United Nations in helping to prepare for elections in Iraq. In an afternoon meeting, US President George Bush and Powell discussed ways to persuade the Council to provide backing for a multinational force under a single US command, the US official said. The United States has insisted on retaining authority in Iraq although former president Saddam Hussein was removed from power in April. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, in an interview last week, said a concept under consideration was a multinational force under UN sponsorship, but "the American would be the UN commander." Resistance attacks The UN resolution move comes as repeated resistance attacks on US-led forces and US appointed Iraqis in positions of authority have become a daily occurrence. Until recently, Powell and other US officials contended that a Security Council resolution adopted in May was sufficient to get other countries to send more troops. But attitudes have begun to change with increasing casualties and the unwillingness of countries such as India, Pakistan and Turkey to serve under US occupiers in Iraq. France, Germany and Russia, which led opposition to the US invasion at the United Nations earlier this year, are not expected to send troops either. They want a stronger UN political role in Iraq and it was unclear how much the US draft resolution would meet their demands by handing over significant authority to the world body. US reaction Dismissing international disagreement over Iraq¹s administration, the State Department official said the draft resolution "addresses security within the framework that Secretary General Annan has talked about, which is a multinational force under a unified command." Other US sources said the resolution text was not expected to be distributed to the full 15 member Security Council until late this week or next week, although close US ally Britain had received a copy. Diplomats at the United Nations said there would be private discussions with the other permanent UN Security Council members - France, Russia and China - before any draft text was distributed to the full council. _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. 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