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[casi] News, 3-10/9/03 (2)

News, 3-10/9/03 (2)



*  US, Israel stood to gain from Najaf bomb-Hizbollah
*  Ba'athist elements threaten airlines using Al-Basrah airport
*  Daily count at Baghdad morgue gives insight into violence
*  Leader of Ubayd tribe arrested for pipeline attacks
*  Tribal chiefs sanction the killing of violent criminals
*  Kirkuk governor comments on press reports on clashes
*  Iraq police station hit by rocket
*  Sunnis shot at while praying in Baghdad
*  Baghdad Burning: Girl Blog from Iraq... let's talk war, politics and
*  Saboteurs Hit Critical Oil Line in Iraq
*  One dead, 53 wounded in Arbil blast: US military
*  U.S. Soldier Killed in Iraq Attack
*  Three U.S. Soldiers Wounded by Land Mine



*  Transcript of Interview with Ibrahim Bahr al-Uloum
*  Turkey to supply electricity to Iraq
*  Frozen Iraqi assets in Jordan may go to Jordanian businessmen
*  Kuwaiti National Bank part of consortium to run Trade Bank
*  Live from Iraq, it's the real story


*  Norwegian aid workers pulled out of Iraq
*  Poles bring relief as US tries to shed burden
*  Fresh row over UN role in Iraq
*  Denmark compensates families of Iraqis killed in incident
*  Iraq Will Not Attend OIC Summit in Malaysia
*  Iraq's oil export to Asia rises
*  UK to send 1,000 more troops to Iraq




BEIRUT, Sept 1 (Reuters) - The leader of Lebanon's Hizbollah guerrilla group
told mourners massed in Beirut that the United States and Israel had most to
gain from the killing of a top Shi'ite cleric in a car bombing last week in

"The Americans do not want a state in Iraq, they want a splintered Iraq and
the Israelis want to crush Iraq," Hizbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah
told about 3,000 Shi'ites gathered in the city's southern suburbs to mourn
Mohammed Baqer al-Hakim.

"For more than one reason it is in Israel's interests and part of its plan
to kill the leaders that present or even might present a danger to Israel,"
Nasrallah said.

The cleric stopped short of blaming Israel or its main ally the United
States directly for Hakim's killing on Friday in an attack in Najaf, one of
Shi'ite Islam's holiest cities, which killed more than 80 people.

Supporters who could not cram into the vast hall where Nasrallah spoke
watched him on television screens in the street outside, many waving Hakim's
picture or black flags. Iraqi mourners held banners proclaiming their
loyalty to Hizbollah.

Nasrallah, whose Iranian-backed group helped drive Israel out of southern
Lebanon in 2000 after a 22-year occupation, said attacks such as Hakim's
killing or Israeli attacks on Palestinian militant leaders would strengthen
the Arabs.

"In Palestine today, Israel has taken the decision to cross out the leaders
of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the leaders of the uprising in Palestine,"
Nasrallah said.

"But this (Arab) nation, in its cultural, emotional and mental make-
up...when it is threatened with death is provoked and when it is killed it
awakens and resurges," he said.

Nasrallah said such an awakening had started to take place in Iraq as a
result of the killing of Hakim, which was the deadliest attack since the
United States toppled Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein in April. Washington and
members of Iraq's U.S.-appointed governing council have blamed Saddam
loyalists for the attack.

"Oh Americans and Zionists, no matter how much of our leaders' blood you
spill you cannot impose on us your tyranny or your projects," he said.

RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT, Vol. 6, No. 37, 5 September 2003

The Iraqi Ba'ath Party reportedly sent a statement to London-based "Al-Quds
al-Arabi" on 27 August claiming that the Al-Basrah International Airport is
a legitimate military target and warning international airlines not to use
it, the daily reported on 28 August. "The British occupation forces are
trying to impose an illegal administrative and political situation" in
Al-Basrah, the statement claimed. "We appeal to the Arab and foreign
airlines, which have expressed their readiness and intention to operate
civilian flights by submitting a request to the occupation forces in this
regard, to halt their programs and to refrain from cooperating with the
illegal British occupation forces," the statement read. "We look forward to
a declared decision in this regard by the Jordanian, Qatari, Yemeni,
Egyptian, and other airlines."

The group claims that it has issued similar statements concerning the
Baghdad International Airport, the Al-Bakr Air Base, and other smaller
airports in Iraq. Both Royal Jordanian Airlines and Qatar Airways announced
this week that they have postponed starting flights into Al-Basrah at the
request of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) due to security
concerns. The airport was due to open to commercial air traffic by the end
of August. (Kathleen Ridolfo)

RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT, Vol. 6, No. 37, 5 September 2003

Coroners in the Iraqi capital are faced with a daily workload more than
triple the prewar figure, an average of 35 Iraqis a day, Reuters reported on
28 August. Those Iraqis who met violent or suspicious deaths are examined at
Baghdad's Institute for Forensic Medicine, while family members wait outside
to claim their loved ones for burial. The dead are victims of random
violence, revenge killings, and violent crimes. "Before the war, we would
see maybe 10 cases a day," the institute's director, Fayik Amin Bakir told
Reuters. "Now it is three or four times that, and nearly all because of
shootings. It's a new situation, a terrible situation." An Iraqi police
officer, Ghazwan Whalid, told the news agency that the police are doing
their best, but noted, "Every day a police officer is killed in Baghdad."
The lack of a functioning judicial system is part of the problem. Criminals
taken into police custody are sent to detention facilities, but many are
released after a few weeks. "The Americans jail them and after 20 days
release them," he said. "Then they'll find us and take their revenge."
(Kathleen Ridolfo)

RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT, Vol. 6, No. 37, 5 September 2003

The Sunni leader of the Ubayd tribe, Shaykh Hatim al-Ubayd, was arrested by
coalition forces for allegedly inciting members of his tribe to commit acts
of sabotage along the Kirkuk-Yumurtalik pipeline, reported
on 1 September.

According to the report, al-Ubayd's home was raided in the village of Ramal,
as was his nephew's in the village of Asar. The raids resulted in the
seizure of 4 million Iraqi dinar (approximately $2,667), small arms, and
rocket-propelled grenades. Representatives of the tribe had reportedly
recently struck a deal with the U.S. to protect the pipeline in exchange for
which some 100 tribe members would receive a stipend of $100 per month.
According to, around 700 members of the tribe received a
monthly stipend of $200 per month under the Hussein regime, with the head of
the tribe receiving much more. Al-Ubayd had complained publicly in recent
weeks that the U.S. payment was less than Hussein's and, according to a 31
August MENA report, a number of jobless members of his tribe are suspected
of arson attacks on the pipeline. (Kathleen Ridolfo)

RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT, Vol. 6, No. 37, 5 September 2003

Tribal chiefs in Central Iraq's Wasit Governorate have reportedly signed a
document condoning the killing of anyone who is proved to have committed
armed robbery, theft, looting, or kidnapping, if that person's actions
resulted in the death or injury of his victims, Voice of the Mujahedin Radio
reported on 27 August. The decision was made at a meeting to discuss ways to
establish law and order in the governorate, attended by the governor of
Wasit, Ni'mah Sultan, and representatives of local political and religious
parties. According to the radio report a "tribal document" was signed at the
meeting that said that the tribes would sanction the killing of anyone who
uses arms to confront local security forces, which will patrol local roads
and public spaces as well as pipelines in the governorate. (Kathleen

RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT, Vol. 6, No. 37, 5 September 2003

The governor of Kirkuk, Abd al-Rahman Mustafa, has issued a statement to
"Kurdistani Nuwe" denying international press reports attributing recent
clashes in the city (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 26 and 27 August 2003) to ethnic
tensions between Kurds and Turkomans, the daily reported on 26 August.
"These disturbances were carried out by some troublemakers," Mustafa wrote,
adding, "The incidents did not occur as a result of conflict between two
national groups as reported by some Arab and Western media.... In this
context, I deny the statement which an Arab channel TV attributed to me,
according to which I had said that the Kurds killed three Turkomans in

Meanwhile, the Turkoman representative to the Kirkuk Civil Administration
Council, Irfan Jamal Kirkukli, issued a statement blaming Ba'athist elements
for sparking the clashes. "I also want to say that before Operation Iraqi
Freedom we, as Turkoman political parties in Kurdistan, have had offices and
Turkoman media and a TV station, which still continues to exist thanks to
the Kurdistan Regional Government. We have never been badly treated. On the
contrary, we have been helped by the regional government and [Kurdish]
political sides, and Turkomans' rights have been defended on all levels,"
Kirkukli said. (Kathleen Ridolfo)

Aljazeera, 6th September

Two anti-tank rockets have been fired into a police station in the centre of
Ramadi sparking a gunbattle with attackers amid promises by occupation
authorities of more troops and law enforcement officers for the shattered

The rockets caused a fire at the police station in the Al-Tamim area of the
town, which lies to the west of Baghdad on Friday, a witness told French
news agency AFP.

An exchange of fire between police and the unknown attackers ensued. The
witness could not say whether there were any casualties.

On Thursday, an American patrol came under similar rocket fire in the centre
of Ramadi, injuring two soldiers.


by Charles Clover in Baghdad
Financial Times, 6th September

Gunmen attacked a Sunni mosque in Baghdad yesterday, as armed militia
assembled during Friday prayers at Shia mosques across Iraq following
violence against Shia religious leaders.

Three people were injured at the Quiba mosque in morning prayers when gunmen
sprayed the congregation with automatic rifle fire, Walid al-Azari, the
imam, said yesterday. He said the gunmen escaped and no one knew their
identity. The attack comes as Shia militias gathered to provide security at
mosques in Baghdad and Najaf, where a car bomb last Friday killed at least
83 people, including Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim, the high-ranking cleric.

Bitterly critical of US failure to provide security in Iraq, Shia groups
ignored coalition rules against carrying weapons in public.

Armed members of the Badr Corps, the military wing of Mr Hakim's Supreme
Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, were providing security in Najaf
during a Friday sermon by Abdul Aziz Hakim, brother of the dead cleric.

In Baghdad, armed militia were visible at the Mohsen mosque, a popular Shia
mosque run by groups loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr, a Shia cleric. Sheikh Hassan
al-Zirgani, who led the prayers, even brandished a Kalashnikov assault rifle
during his sermon, saying "we will defend ourselves".

US and UK policymakers decided to ban militias in May, fearing that armed
political parties would destabilise Iraq. An exception has been in Iraqi
Kurdistan, where Kurdish paramilitary fighters have been allowed to keep
their weapons.

In Amara the Fawj, a militia of dispossessed Marsh Arabs, has been allowed
to function by the British administration there.


Monday, September 08, 2003

Under the Palm Leaves

The water was off and on again today. We filled all the bottles and
containers. The water pressure was really low and evidently, our super-low
garden faucet is one of the only ones in the area dribbling water at
intervals. The neighbors have all sent buckets, pots and messages of love
and gratitudeŠ perhaps I have found a job.

The sun was just beginning to set and the sky was a combination of blue,
orange and gray. I was standing, in the warm, dry grass, waiting for a pot
to fill with water, when I heard someone knocking the garden gate. It was
Ihsan, our ten-year-old neighbor across the street. He was holding freshly
made Œkhubzı (something like whole-wheat pita bread) and squinting across
the street at his next-door-neighborıs house.

Ihsan: They found Abu RaıadŠ

Me: What?! Did they? Is heŠ

Ihsan: Heıs dead. Raıad and his sisters are at my house.

I looked at the house across the street and saw that three cars were lined
up in front of it, as if in a funeral procession. Ihsan followed my gaze and
shook his head solemnly, ³They didnıt bring him home- theyıll bury him
tomorrow at dawn.² He handed me the bread and turned to run back home. As he
darted away to cross the street, he lost a flip-flop. He squealed as his
foot hit the hot asphalt and hopped around on one leg like some bizarre

I continued watching the late Abu Raıadıs beige, stucco house with sadness
and relief. The once green creeper all along the sides was yellow and
decaying. The curtains were drawn on dusty windows and the whole house
looked almost abandoned. The only signs of life were the shiny tiles of the
driveway, washed daily by well-meaning neighbors.

They had finally found Abu Raıad.

Abu Raıad (meaning Œfather of Raıadı) was a lawyer with his own private
practiceŠ if it could be called that. It was an office in a crowded,
mercantile area in Baghdad large enough for three desks: one secretary and a

On April 10, in the middle of the chaos, Abu Raıad left his house, his wife
and three children to go check on his parents, whom he had lost contact with
a week earlier. At 10 am, he got into an old Toyota, said a prayer and
headed out to seek his family. He never came back.

For 3 days, Umm Raıad (mother of ŒRaıadı) thought he was held up at his
parentsı house for some reason. Perhaps her husband had found his family
hurt? Maybe he had found a parent dead- after all, his father was very sick
and oldŠ Maybe the fighting was so heavy, he couldnıt make it out of their
area? The possibilities were endless. Finally, one of the other neighbors
delivered a note to Umm Raıadıs brother asking him to please visit Abu
Raıadıs family and find out if he was okay. After a long day, Umm Raıadıs
brother visited her home, grim- Abu Raıad wasnıt at his parentsı home. He
never made it and no one knew where he was.

For 7 days, everyone thought he was being detained by the Americans. We
heard that hundreds of civilians were taken prisoner simply for being in the
wrong place at the wrong time. Abu Raıadıs younger brother, and his
brother-in-law, visited authorities every day. They went to the various
hotels, they visited the two or three remaining hospitals, and went over
endless lists of detainees and POWs in search of Abu Raıad.

By the end of April, his family had resigned themselves to Abu Raıadıs
death. His 35-year old wife was wearing black from head-to-toe in
anticipation of the news she knew she was bound, sooner or later, to

I remember visiting her for the first time in early May. It was an awkward
visit because we wanted to hold out hope, yet we knew there was none to
give. She sat, very small and dark, on a couch in the living room, shredding
tissues listlessly and listening vaguely to the words of commiseration and
sympathy that, obviously, brought little or no comfort. Her 3 children, aged
1, 4 and 10 sat near her, unbearably quiet and calm. They sat gauging the
situation by their motherıs expression. She knew he was dead, but she
couldnıt bring herself to cry.

And still, they didnıt give up the search. They traced his route from his
home to Al-Jamiıa Quarter, where his parents lived, pausing at every burnt
vehicle to examine it and asking the people in the surrounding areas whether
they had seen a white 1985 Toyota being driven by a 40-year-old man? Maybe
it had been fired at by a tank? Maybe it was hit by an Apache? People were
sympathetic, but helpless. No white Toyota- a blue Kia with 6 passengers, a
red Volkswagen with a mother, father and two kidsŠ but no white Toyota.
Every single time, they were referred to the makeshift graves along the main
roads and highways. The temporary graves, for several weeks, lined the main
roads of Baghdad.

As the tanks and Apaches invaded the city, they shot left and right at any
vehicle in their path. The areas that got it worst were Al-Dawra and
Al-Aıadhamia. People in residential areas didnıt know what to do with the
corpses in the burnt vehicles that had come from other parts of the city.
They were the corpses of people and families who were trying to get away
from the heavy fighting in their own areas, some of them had been officially

The corpses sat decomposing in the heat, beyond identification. Some people
tried asking the troops to help deal with them, but the reaction was mainly,
³Thatıs not my job.² Of course not, how sillyŠ your job is to burn the cars,
we bury the corpses.

Finally, the people began to bury the corpses along the roadside- near the
burnt vehicles so that family members looking for the car would find their
loved ones not very far off.

For several weeks, you could see little piles of dirt all over Baghdad, and
along the highways leading outside of the city, marked with bricks, or
stones, or signs and, always, with palm leaves. The drying, wilting palm
leaves were buried, standing up, to mark the graves. Some of the graves had
little cardboard placards stuck carefully under a pile of stones to help
family members: Adult male, adult female, 2 children in black Mercedes.
Adult male, small boy in a white pick-up.

Sometimes the graves were marked by the license plate of the car the victims
were in. But most of them were marked with the palm leaves.

For several weeks, there would be people stooping, all along the way, trying
to decide if they knew, or recognized, any of the dead. Thatıs what Abu
Raıadıs family did, all through May, June, July and August.

Finally, 3 days ago, an old man in his Abu Raıadıs parentsı neighborhood
told them how the roads were blocked to their area for a couple of days, and
people coming from the other end of the city had had to detour. There were
several burnt cars in an area on the suburbs, in their own makeshift
graveyard. They should look there; maybe they would find their son.

They finally found him, this morning, in an area outside his expected
course. One of the several burnt cars, dragged into a dusty field, was a
white 1985 Toyota with the skeleton of a car-seat in the back. Not far off
were the graves. They located the Œadult male in the white Toyotaı and with
the help of some sympathetic men in the neighborhood, unearthed Abu Raıad
for identification.

We went to give our condolences to Umm Raıad. The children were at Ihsanıs
house and she was surrounded by relatives and family members, grieving.
Kerosene lamps and candles were lit in the darkened living room; they threw
light all over the drawn, grief-stricken faces. She was finally crying.

Tomorrow, at dawn, he will be exhumed by his family and officially buried in
the over crowded family graveyard, under one of the dozens of palm trees, in
the place reserved for his father.

*  Two US soldiers in Iraq wounded
Taipei Times, 9th September
[Baghdad, Monday 8th September]

AP, Tuesday, Sep 09, 2003,Page 6: Iraqi guerrillas yesterday broke about 24
hours of relative calm, striking at an American patrol in Baghdad with
explosives as soldiers were about to drive into a tunnel. Two soldiers were
wounded, the military said.

The attack damaged two Humvees, one of which turned over and caught fire,
according to a military spokesman.

Sunday afternoon the new military spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel George
Krivo, said the US military had completed the 24-hour period in which no
American soldiers had been killed or wounded.


by Sabah Jerges, Associated Press Writer
Yahoo, 9th September

KIRKUK, Iraq - Saboteurs struck a critical oil pipeline in northern Iraq
(news - web sites) on Monday, the latest in a series of attacks that have
halted the country's oil deliveries to Turkey at an estimated cost of $7
million a day.

Adel al-Qazzaz, director general of the Northern Oil Co., said the line
attacked Monday had carried 35,000 barrels a day from the Jabour oil field
20 miles southeast of Kirkuk to the main pipeline that originates in the
northeastern Iraqi city.

The official said saboteurs set the line afire at a valve at 10:30 a.m.,
sending huge flames and clouds of smoke into the air. Firefighters had the
fire under control by nightfall; about 300 yards of the pipeline were

L. Paul Bremer, U.S. civil administrator for Iraq, has estimated the country
is losing $7 million daily because of damage to the pipeline that carries
oil from the Kirkuk fields to a Mediterranean port at Ceyhan in Turkey.


Iraq has the world's second-largest proven crude reserves, at 112 billion
barrels, but its pipelines, pumping stations and oil reservoirs are
dilapidated after more than a decade of neglect. The Kirkuk fields account
for 40 percent of Iraq's oil production; saboteurs have crippled attempts to
resume exports.

Income from oil exports is crucial to U.S. plans for rebuilding Iraq's
infrastructure. The Kirkuk-Ceyhan line, which was first reported attacked
Aug. 18, just days after the major export pipeline began carrying oil to
Turkey, was expected to remain closed for five more weeks because of
Monday's attack.

For the seventh day in a row, the U.S. military reported no combat deaths
Monday ‹ a rare period of calm.


Yahoo, 10th September

BAGHDAD (AFP) - One Iraqi was killed and 53 people wounded, including six US
defense department personnel, in a suspected car bomb blast in the Kurdish
city of Arbil, a US military spokeswoman said.

Specialist Nicole Thompson said the blast went off at 9:05 p.m. (1705 GMT)
Tuesday at a building in the northern Iraqi city, but she could not give any
other details.

"So far there are 47 wounded Iraqis and one confirmed dead. There were six
US DOD (department of defense (news - web sites)) personnel who were
injured," Thompson told AFP. She said the explosion was "the result of a
suspected car bomb."

Egypt's official MENA news agency said earlier in Cairo that a car bomb set
off near a checkpoint of the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) of Massoud
Barzani had killed and wounded a "large number" of people.

The report said it was the first time such an explosion had hit Arbil, which
became a KDP stronghold after the 1991 Gulf war (news - web sites).

The bombing was the latest in a string of similar attacks across Iraq (news
- web sites) in the last three weeks that have killed about 120 people,
including the top UN envoy and a revered Shiite Muslim cleric, and rattled
the US-led occupation.

The latest attack came five days after Kurdish security forces said they had
foiled a major bomb plot in northern Iraq by suspected members of the
radical Islamic group Ansar al Islam, suspected by Washington of ties to

The plot involved using a total of 1.2 tonnes of explosives to kill
Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) leader Jalal Talabani in the city of
Sulaimaniya, and attack a bridge and a public square in the oil city of

KDP and PUK forces, under the protection of a US-led coalition in 1991,
forced Saddam Hussein (news - web sites)'s army out of the Kurdish areas of
northern Iraq.

The Arbil blast occurred two weeks after a massive car bomb killed leading
Shiite Muslim cleric Ayatollah Mohammad Baqer Hakim and 82 others in the
holy city of Najaf, south of Baghdad, on August 29.

An August 19 truck-bomb attack on UN headquarters in the Iraqi capital cost
the lives of 22 people, including Sergio Vieira de Mello, the world body's
top representative in Iraq.

Twelve days earlier, a car bomb outside the Jordanian embassy in Baghdad
killed at least 14 people and wounded dozens of others.

Yahoo, 10th September

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - One U.S. soldier was killed and another wounded in an
attack on their vehicle in Iraq (news - web sites), the U.S. military said

Attackers used a crude bomb to ambush the military vehicle along a major
supply route northeast of Baghdad Tuesday, U.S. Central Command said in a
statement on its Web site.

"One 3rd Corp Support Command soldier was killed and one was wounded in an
improvised explosive device attack," the statement said.

U.S.-led forces have come under attack almost every day since they ousted
Iraqi president Saddam Hussein (news - web sites) five months ago. But this
was the first U.S. death reported in the past week.

Sixty-eight U.S. soldiers have now died in hostile fire since major combat
operations were declared over on May 1.

U.S. officials mostly blame Saddam loyalists for the attacks and a spate of
bombings on other targets in recent weeks.

Tuesday, a car bomb exploded in the northern Iraqi city of Arbil, killing at
least one Iraqi and wounding more than 40.

A U.S. military spokesman said several Americans were also wounded in the
attack in largely Kurdish northern Iraq, which has been much quieter than
the rest of the country since Saddam's fall.

by Steven R. Hurst
Las Vegas Sun, 9th September

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP): Firefighters on Tuesday contained an oil fire blamed on
saboteurs on the major Turkish-bound pipeline, while witnesses said three
U.S. soldiers were wounded when their Humvee hit a mine on the road near

The U.S. military confirmed the incident but had no details. Fallujah, 40
miles west of Baghdad, has proven one of the most dangerous places for the
U.S.-led occupation force. It sits in the so-called "Sunni Triangle," the
area north and west of Baghdad where support for ousted dictator Saddam
Hussein remains strong.

The 4th Infantry Division, meanwhile, reported another soldier was seriously
wounded in a mortar attack Monday near the town of Balad, 50 miles north of
Baghdad. Division spokeswoman Maj. Josslyn Aberle had no other details.




by Nicolas Pelham in Najaf
Financial Times, 4th September

Q: What are you priorities for the ministry?

A: One has to be clear that Iraq receives most of its income from oil. Iraqi
oil production will completely dominate, and the majority of revenue will
come from oil production. The sector has suffered in the last three wars and
requires rehabilitation of existing oil fields.

The most important issue is the security of the oil industry. We have to
work out how we provide security for pipelines and the oil production
installations to increase the target to the pre-war level.

Security of the oil industry faces two main problems, smuggling and
sabotage. We cannot resolve this problem at the moment, until we reach a
level where Iraqis feel that their normal life is tied to the oil sector.
Only then will we succeed in this stabilisation.

We need to make the effort to encourage and speak to the Iraqi people. We
need more transparency. The people are suffering because of the sabotage,
and their basic needs - such as electricity - are not being met because of
the sabotage. You have to let the people feel this is your property, and
support the maintenance of the sector.

Money cannot come without selling oil. We can't have jobs without selling
oil. Agriculture cannot produce money for one or two years. We need a
roadmap for the future.

It is better to produce 750,000 bpd for one month than oscillating between
1.5m and 200,000 barrels. If oil production stabilises then I'll increase
production slowly, slowly.

Oilfields require technology and rehabilitation. I need the people to feel
the field has been damaged, that the surface installation has been damaged
because of the war and the looting after the war. Plus the former regime has
used a bad policy by over-producing from fields without looking at the

Q: What can you do to improve that security, to stabilise the sector and
then increase production?

Firstly, the sabotage could be reduced by increasing awareness of the Iraqi
people in the importance of protecting the pipelines and reducing the

Americans have tried their best to secure the pipelines. But it's like the
security in the cities. Security of the pipelines and the installations has
to be in the hands of the Iraqis. There should be separate security agency
under the interior ministry in co-ordination with the oil ministry.

The US didn't have the manpower. Too many explosions have occurred. My idea
is to have Iraqi security supported by the Coalition Provisional Authority
(CPA), who will give them training. But let Iraqis lead, to prepare them for

Secondly, Iraqis have great human resources. Iraq has enough educated people
in the oil industry. Many have been kicked out of their offices. A few have
left the country. We need to target them to bring them back. Iraq is
considered the first country in the region to send its engineers out of the
country in the late 1940s and 1950s. Iraq was the first country to open a
college of engineering in the late 60s - I graduated from it in 1976. Iraq
has the engineers.

Thirdly, the focus for the next year is only to be on the existing
oilfields: how to upgrade the oil installations, how to solve the technical
problems, and how we are able to repair the damage. The focal point cannot
be done by only using the high expertise of Iraqi people.

This needs to be done with the help of the United States and the CPA. The
rehabilitation of the field requires at least $1.5bn to bring the production
up to 3m barrels a day. This is our hope.

There are many ways to do that, but I think this issue was discussed between
the CPA and the oil ministry and some funding has been allocated.

This is my theory and the Governing Council's theory for the general idea
about the investment in Iraq's future. Priority will be given to the Iraqi
people and their investment, and there is nothing wrong by providing the
security for the country. It [the investment] should be managed by Iraqis.

Q: Will the US receive preference in any contracts for developing the oil

A: The Americans can help us and we'll help the Americans with well
experienced Iraqi people. I would love to see the oil industry upgraded with
American help. The good job is through mutual understanding.

The experience of the Governing Council is a good example. There is no
interference in the Council's decisions. We can we do the same in the oil
industry. Yes. I think we are able to do that. As I said mutual
understanding is the key. I am keen on the theory that lets us give the
opportunity to the Iraqi people.

At the same time, this huge work cannot be done by ourselves alone. We have
to have the co-operation and support from the [international] oil companies.

I think the oil companies will provide such support. I am looking at this
moment at a Technical Agreement for companies to rehabilitate the surface
infrastructure. The whole issue is how to draw the line to keep the Iraqi
interest... Iraq requires technology and improvement of technology.
Improvement of Iraqi industry requires the support of the international oil
expertise, and requires a good way of co-operation with the neighbouring
countries, especially Arab.

Q: Will Iraq under your tenure participate in Opec?

A: Sure. I support the idea that Iraq has to be part of Opec. Iraq is one of
the founders of the Opec organisation, and there is no need at this moment
to be out of Opec. Iraq hasn't the potential to reach the quota of 3.2m
barrels a day for the next two years, and I appreciate the invitation from
one of the oil ministers in the Gulf, saying Iraq would be invited to the
oil meeting next month.

It's a good start. Iraq needs to be in all the activities outside Iraq. Iraq
has to go back to the international community. Iraq can not live isolated.

Q: And the US is supportive?

A: I haven't heard any objection from the US. I don't expect any objection.
Not for at least the next year. At the moment that Iraq will be able to
produce more than 3.2m b/ dwe'll find a mechanism to allow us to produce
more, based on the fact that we need such a production to rehabilitate and
reconstruct the country.

I have a feeling that Opec will understand our situation very well.

Q: You speak of the 'help' of US oil companies. Do you mean privatisation?

A: For privatisation, this is a very sensitive issue. Iraq sooner or later
will need it. But the question is when we should start, and when we start
how are we going to start. It is a cultural issue, which requires an
awareness of the people.

For the next two or three years, they need to be focussed on the existing
oil fields, how to rehabilitate them, how to maximise the efficiency from
the oil fields. This requires a lot of technical assessment. Of course we
need help from American oil companies to look at these problems, and
European companies probably.

Q: But American companies would get first pick?

A: Priority should be given to American companies.

Privatisation is a long term process which needs first of all the authority
of the Iraqi parliament. This issues needs to be left for a new elected
government. It is not in our hands. Iraqi people need to decide. What we are
trying to do in this transitional period is to return power to the people,
and study the privatisation of the oil

Privatisation has to be a matter for the Iraqi people. The new elected
government at the end of the transitional period will decide this issue. But
there is nothing to wrong with speaking about it, talking about it, but the
decision needs to be given to the people. Until then, I will pay attention
to the rehabilitation of the oil fields and to bringing production to the
pre-war level.

Q: How will you raise the money to invest in the sector? Will you mortgage
the oil fields?

A: We have to look at it very carefully to see if it is in the Iraqi
interest. I need to see. It is not clear. I have to review. They [the oil
ministry] have been working for the last four months on some plans. I need
to continue and improve it. They have short-term plans and medium term
plans. I have to review them without making discontinuity. We try to
continue and improve. The difference is the improvement we can make.

We had a crisis in benzene and oil products. They had short-term plans on
how to provide the consumption level, and a six month plan.

Q: How much longer will you continue importing oil?

A: Iraq is still importing from two neighbouring countries. Self-sufficiency
will depend on the awareness of the people and if we are able to secure the
refineries which are capable to meet domestic demand.

The first priority is to provide security and then resolve the crisis,
especially for the winter when there is more demand. If we are able to
secure the three major refineries, that's the issue. It's not a problem of
production, it's a problem of refining, and reaching the three main
refineries at Doura, Beija.

On average level last month we had 680,000 bpd of exports. However, the
daily production goes up and down according to the degree of sabotage. The
southern part of the country is able to produce above 1m bpd a day if the
electricity problem can be controlled. We are targeting to increase
production to pre-war levels of above 1.5m bpd within the next two months.

Q: Will you try to influence where the borders are drawn in a federal Iraq?
Should Kirkuk be included in a Kurdish zone?

A: I'm the person who looks at the whole of Iraq as one unit without any
differentiating between Arab and Kurds, Sunni and Shia, and Christians.
Iraq's future will depend on remaining united. We have to save for Iraq
regardless of whether you are from the south or the north.

The majority of the reserves of the oil are in the south, but does that mean
they belong to the south? They belong to Iraq whether in the north or the
south. We need to preserve such unity by preserving all Iraqi properties
with the principle that these properties need to be managed for the benefit
of the Iraqis.

Q: What will happen to your predecessor at the oil ministry?

A: Thamir Ghadhban and others will stay in the oil ministry. His experience
is valuable of course for us, and for Iraq, so we are going to learn from
them. We have to have good co operation with them as long as they serve our
goal, building a new democratic Iraq.

Our objective is to clean the offices from any corrupted members whether
Ba'athist or non Ba'athist. The rule is a Ba'athist with a bad record has to
be out.

Iraq needs at this time all the efforts of Iraq's technocrats. We are here
to put them together in one boat as long as they serve Iraq.

Q: How were you received during the Governing Council's tour of Arab states?

A: We found support during the visit of the Council delegation as well as
Egypt and Jordan and a good understanding about the Iraqi situation,
particularly [with regard to] the forming of the Council and their
achievements in the constitutional and executive levels.

They were urging us to speed up the process of the cabinet, to see the
light. And we found them very co-operative on all political and economic
aspects for building Iraq and establishing very good ties with our
neighbours. They are ready to co-operate on the reconstruction of Iraq.

Q: What path do you see the privatisation as taking? Along the lines of
Aramco for example?

A: Iraqi oil for Iraqi people. And it has to be managed by the Iraqi people,
without barrier for the transfer of technology from the West to help
redevelop the oil fields, and attract the investment of the oil companies
into Iraq.

The future regulation of the oil industry should be approved by the new
elected government. Production-sharing contracts and agreements could be one
of the possibilities of bring health to the oil industry as a way to
preserve Iraqis as the owners of the oil wealth. It should be enshrined in
the constitution.

People lived for the last 30-40 years with this idea of nationalism.
Introducing privatisation to the oil industry requires a lot of effort to
educate the Iraqi people. It is necessary to take it step by step and start
with downstream side instead of the upstream side.

Refineries could be privatised but all oil fields would remain in the hands
of the Iraqi people. The Iraqi government started doing that by having
private gas stations. Under the old regime, some of the petrol stations were
state-owned, some were private. They started. We could expand that. Before
it was just limited. But we have to be careful during the transitional

For example in the Ministry of Industry there are more than 100 industries
and the idea has been raised of selling some of them to let the Iraqi people
run them. This is privatisation, because we believe that Iraq can not run by
itself. The economy has to be run by the state and private sector. This is
the way to inject inspiration to Iraqi industry.

Q: Israel has called for the reopening of the pipeline between Mosul and
Haifa... How do you respond?

A: Iraq has enough pipe capacity to export the oil through Turkey, Saudi
Arabia, and the others. Why is there a need to open that one? I heard they
improved the line to Turkey which has a capacity above 1m bpd, and if there
is a need we can open the Syrian line. [Already] we can currently export
750,000 bpd by sea.

Iraq had a capacity in 1979 of 3.7m bpd. In 1989, it was three point
something. We have capacity in our pipelines for 4m bpd. And we'll reach
that level. We are targeting 6m bpd within five or six years.

Extra production has to come from developing oil fields, and all these will
be tackled by an elected government. I don't have such problems.

We have 112bn barrels of reserves, and unproven about 200 billion. We
believe there's a potentiality in the western desert. One of the targets is
to develop these, but not within the next two years. But plans can be
prepared for the newly elected government.

Q: Is it clear how you will get control of the oil receipts for your budget?

A: No, it's still got to worked out. We have budgeted for a deficit of $12bn
for 2004. We hope to raise some of it from our assets frozen outside the

Q: How long have you been living in London?

A: I was living in London since 1992 - consulting to oil companies,
including the Houston based Duke engineering Company. I also worked for the
Petroleum Recovery Research Centre at New Mexico Tech preparing research on
enhanced recovery. I published papers in the SPE on enhanced oil recovery
techniques and some issues related to the increase the recovery by using
carbon-dioxide and other solvents. And I worked in the Kuwait oil ministry
from 1976 to 1982 as an engineer.

RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT, Vol. 6, No. 37, 5 September 2003

Turkey will begin selling electricity to Iraq effective 15 September,
Istanbul's "Radikal" reported on 31 August. The agreement came following
talks between representatives of the Turkish Energy Ministry and private
sector companies and the Iraqi Energy Ministry and the Coalition Provisional
Authority (CPA). According to the report, the Habur-Zakho transfer lines
linking the Turkish and Iraqi Interkonnekte systems will be renovated to
carry the electricity. Payment for the electricity will reportedly not be
all in cash, with Iraq exchanging an unspecified amount of oil for the
electricity. Some 200 megawatts of electricity will come from the Karadeniz
Energy Company's Silopi power stations.

The daily reported that Iraq needs a ready supply of 6,500 megawatts, and
currently has only 600 megawatts of "live" energy, while generators inside
Iraq produce 1,200 megawatts. Thus, some 5,000 megawatts are needed. It is
not known how many megawatts have been requested by the Iraqi Energy
Ministry. (Kathleen Ridolfo)

RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT, Vol. 6, No. 37, 5 September 2003

Assets belonging to members of the deposed Iraqi regime held in Jordanian
banks may go to compensate Jordanian businessmen for money owed to them by
the Hussein regime, the "Jordan Times" reported on 31 August. "The
government's decision to freeze Iraqi assets was to avert adverse
consequences expected to reflect on the banking sector and on the country's
economy in the case of a full withdrawal of deposits, particularly as they
were all in foreign currency," an unnamed government source told the daily,
adding, "All Jordanian businessmen adversely affected by the change in the
Iraqi regime may claim their dues if they provide a special committee with
documents attesting to their rights." Businessmen can also seek compensation
for "damages" for unfulfilled contracts signed with the former Iraqi regime,
the source said. According to the "Jordan Times," Iraqi assets frozen in
Jordanian banks amount to some 650 million Jordanian dinars (approximately
$923 million). (Kathleen Ridolfo)

RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT, Vol. 6, No. 37, 5 September 2003
[On the newly established Trade Bank of Iraq, run by a consortium which
'includes 13 banks representing 14 countries: The U.S., Australia, Canada,
France, Japan, Italy, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, South Africa, Spain,
and Turkey.' Plus Kuwait. 'The bank will open with an authorized capital of
$100 million from the UN Iraq Development Fund.']

A consortium of more than a dozen international banks led by J.P. Morgan
Chase & Co. has won a bid to head the newly established Trade Bank of Iraq,
Dow Jones Newswires reported on 2 September. The U.S.-led Coalition
Provisional Authority (CPA) approved the bid on 29 August. The Trade Bank
was established to facilitate the purchase of big-ticket items from abroad
by Iraqi ministries (see "RFE/RL Iraq Report," 24 July 2003). According to
Dow Jones, the J.P. Morgan group will be paid around $2 million to run the
bank. The consortium is also expected to benefit from billions of dollars in
anticipated business that would eventually be transacted through the
facility, Peter McPherson, the director of economic development for the CPA,
reportedly said.

According to Dow Jones, the consortium includes 13 banks representing 14
countries: The U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Japan, Italy, New Zealand,
Poland, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, and Turkey. The Kuwaiti National Bank
is also a member. Some 60 banks reportedly applied to take part in the Trade
Bank, with six consortia making the final cut, U.S. Treasury officials told
Dow Jones. The Iraqi government will foot the bill for the bank's operations
and also provide most of its staff, McPherson said. "We are very much
looking forward to Iraqis taking steadily more leadership in this," he
noted, adding, "There are many people in this country we believe can do it,
particularly with some exposure and training." The bank will open with an
authorized capital of $100 million from the UN Iraq Development Fund.
According to the Kuwait News Agency (KUNA), the Trade Bank will begin
issuing letters of credit by the end of September. (Kathleen Ridolfo)

by Jon Carroll
San Francisco Chronicle, 3rd September

I suppose blogs have had their day as a populist phenomenon. Democratic
candidates for president have blogs now, and that's pretty much the death
knell for cutting-edge status. If John Kerry has one, it's not a trend, it's
an appliance.

But I think that's true only of blogs produced in the United States. In
other countries, the Internet is still a revolutionary tool, a place for
information censored in every other medium in the nation. Vox populi, and no
pop-up ads. It's 1991 all over again.

Some of the best blogs are coming out of Iraq. They are designed for a
foreign readership -- they're in English, for one thing -- and they tell a
very different story from anything our media is presenting. Here's the
difference: Young Iraqi bloggers know what they're talking about. They have
not just arrived in country with a briefing book, a Kevlar vest and a Lonely
Planet guide.

My current favorite is
<> . It is written by a woman, a
resident of Baghdad not otherwise identified, and it's funny and sad and
constantly informative. I offer as an example one tale from last week. It's
one of those "you thought this was going on but you had no data" deals.

Here's the setup: Riverbend has a cousin who works as a structural engineer.
He is, says Riverbend, a "bridge freak"; he can spend hours talking about
trusses and pillars and stuff. (It is useful to remember that Iraq, before
we started destroying it, had a pretty good infrastructure of roads,
bridges, water and power, education; all that. Iraq ain't Afghanistan.)

The Iraqi company that employees Riverbend's cousin was asked to bid on
rebuilding the New Diyala bridge south and west of Baghdad.

"They did the necessary tests and analyses (mumblings about soil composition
and water depth, expansion joints and girders) and came up with a number
they tentatively put forward -- $300,000. This included new plans and
designs, raw materials (quite cheap in Iraq), labor, contractors, travel
expenses, etc.

"Let's pretend my cousin is a dolt. Let's pretend he hasn't been working
with bridges for over 17 years. Let's pretend he didn't work on replacing at
least 20 of the 133 bridges damaged during the first Gulf War. Let's pretend
he's wrong and the cost of rebuilding this bridge is four times the number
they estimated -- let's pretend it will actually cost $1,200,000. Let's just
use our imagination.

"A week later, the New Diyala Bridge contract was given to an American
company. This particular company estimated the cost of rebuilding the bridge
would be around -- brace yourselves -- $50,000,000!!"

She goes on to talk about all the work Iraqi engineers did rebuilding the
country after the first Gulf War. She tells a story:

"My favorite reconstruction project was the Mu'alaq Bridge over the Tigris.
It is a suspended bridge that was designed and built by a British company.
In 1991 it was bombed and everyone just about gave up on ever being able to
cross it again. By 1994, it was up again, exactly as it was -- without
British companies, with Iraqi expertise.

"One of the art schools decided that although it wasn't the most
sophisticated bridge in the world, it was going to be the most glamorous. On
the day it was opened to the public, it was covered with hundreds of painted
flowers in the most outrageous colors -- all over the pillars, the bridge
itself, the walkways along the sides of the bridge. People came from all
over Baghdad just to stand upon it and look down into the Tigris.

"So instead of bringing in thousands of foreign companies that are going to
want billions of dollars, why aren't the Iraqi engineers, electricians and
laborers being used? Thousands of people who have no work would love to be
able to rebuild Iraq; no one is being given a chance."

Say, Americans: That's our money.


Norway Post, 4th September

The Norwegian Refugee Association (FR) is terminating its work in Iraq
immediately, because of the security risks for its international staff.

Several other international aid organizations are also pulling out. Among
them is the Danish Save The Children Fund.

The UN is also pulling out 90 per cent of its international staff, Dagbladet

The Norwegian Refugee Association's main task in Iraq was to work among the
internally displaced persons in Northern Iraq. The plan was to use NOK 5 to
10 million on aid in Iraq this year.

This summer FR moved its office from Kirkuk to Arbil in the Kurdish self
governing region, but also in Arbil the security situation has now
deteriorated, and it has become more dangerous to use the roads, the
newspaper writes.

-In FR's opinion, the security situation for its employees in Iraq is too
risky. It is the occupation forces who are responsible for the security. It
seems that the Americans are first and foremost concerned for the security
op their own, says FR's communication director, Petter Nome, to Dagbladet.,3604,1035072,00.html

by Owen Bowcott
The Guardian, 4th September

Control of Shia-dominated south-central Iraq was handed to a Polish-led
division yesterday, as Washington and London stepped up their diplomatic
efforts to secure more international reinforcements.

The handover ceremony in a restored amphitheatre at the site of the ancient
city of Babylon marked the first phase in the process of the US and Britain
sharing out their military burden.

Thirty countries have now promised troops. But some contributions number
fewer than 100 and are symbolic rather than militarily significant. And
Turkey, India, Japan and Pakistan, which were expected to provide larger
contingents, have made their participation conditional on a new UN
peacekeeping resolution. The coalition is eager to obtain the backing of
prominent Muslim countries.

General James Jones, commander of US forces in Europe, has been in Ankara
this week trying to persuade the Turkish defence minister, Vecdi Gonul, and
the chief of the general staff, General Hilmi Ozkok, to send up to 10,000

Turkish popular opinion was strongly opposed to the invasion, but the
government is keen to repair its damaged relations with the US. However,
senior commanders do not want their soldiers to be under the command of
another country.

A decision is unlikely before parliament reconvenes at the end of the month.
One sensitive issue is where Turkish soldiers would be stationed in Iraq.

Their presence in the Kurd-dominated north would be resented, so they are
more likely to be sent to the south.

The Polish-led multinational division is about 10,000-strong and its area of
responsibility will stretch as far east as the Iranian border, covering the
Shia holy city of Najaf.

It comprises soldiers from 21 countries, including Spain, Ukraine, Thailand,
Albania, Mongolia and Honduras.

President Aleksander Kwasniewski prepared Poles for possible casualties

"This is a very high-risk mission, linked to sacrifice," he said on Polish

"If things don't take the happiest turn, I think we must show a lot of
self-control and understanding that this is not a holiday in Iraq."

Troops from nine other countries - Italy, the Netherlands, Denmark, the
Czech Republic, Romania, Portugal, Norway, Lithuania and New Zealand - will
serve with the British division, which has its headquarters in Basra. They
will number about 3,000.

There are currently about 150,000 American and 11,000 British soldiers
stationed in Iraq.

The deteriorating security situation has cost the lives of 67 American and
11 British soldiers since President George Bush declared major combat
operations over on May 1.,3604,1035995,00.html

by Jon Henley in Paris, Patrick Wintour and Michael White
The Guardian, 5th September

France and Germany yesterday warned Britain and the US that Washington's
draft United Nations resolution on Iraq does not yet give the UN enough of a
role to allow them to accept it.

As Whitehall confirmed a review of British troop levels in Iraq after recent
attacks, the caution shown by Paris and Berlin contrasted with the upbeat
tone expressed by Tony Blair. He predicted that critics and supporters of
the war - including France and Germany - would rally because they had a
common interest in seeing a stable and prosperous Iraq.

President Jacques Chirac gave no sign of hurrying to meet Mr Blair's
expectations. "We are ready to examine the proposals, but they seem quite
far from what appears to us the primary objective, namely the transfer of
political responsibility to an Iraqi government as soon as possible," he
said after talks in Dresden with the German chancellor, Gerhard Schröder.

Mr Schröder said the draft resolution showed "some movement" from the Bush
administration in calling on the international community for more help in
Iraq and offering the UN a larger role in the country's security, political
transition and reconstruction. But it did not go far enough.

"I agree with the president when he says 'not dynamic enough, not
sufficient'," he said, adding that both countries, while wanting to help
restore peace and stability to Iraq, were adamant that the UN must take
control of the political process.

In Washington's draft the US would not give up political or military
control. Although Paris is keen not to appear obstructive after last
February's row at the UN, that insistence is a major stumbling block.

"Now is the time to look forward, and that can only happen if the UN can
take responsibility for the political process," Mr Schröder said. Both
leaders predicted that an eventual UN security council vote on the
resolution was still some way off.

British diplomatic sources were not despondent at the initial Franco-German
rejection of the UN draft. France was bound to seek a high price for
involvement, Whitehall admitted. The French will be willing to contribute to
a UN-mandated force under US control if a clear route map exists to Iraqi
control after democratic elections.

But coming from two of the most ardent opponents of the war in Iraq - one of
them, France, a veto-holding permanent member of the council - yesterday's
opening skirmish is an early blow to the Bush administration's bid to get
more countries to contribute troops and money to its occupation.

Mr Chirac last week urged the US to move "without delay" to transfer full
political power to the Iraqi people under the mandate of the UN. And at his
monthly press conference yes terday Mr Blair seemed to echo that emphasis -
as he stressed the growing role of the Iraqi governing council.

He accused "a small number of Saddam's supporters and an increasing number
of outside terrorist groups" of acting to undermine the prospect of a
"stable, prosperous and democratic" Iraq.

"They know such a country reborn would spell an end to their hopes of
persuading the Arab world down the path of extremism," said Mr Blair.

Mr Blair's evident reluctance to commit more British troops to Iraq came as
the defence secretary, Geoff Hoon, announced a review of the British
presence in south-east Iraq, currently 11,000 troops. The foreign secretary,
Jack Straw, called for 5,000 more troops.

Mr Straw's plea for reinforcements came as the top US commander in Iraq, Lt
Gen Ricardo Sanchez, and the US defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, called
for additional international forces of around 15,000 troops.

Mr Straw has warned in a leaked memo that security had to be improved in
Iraq by Ramadan or else the US-UK coalition risks "strategic failure" in

RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT, Vol. 6, No. 37, 5 September 2003

Denmark will pay compensation to the families of two Iraqis killed by Danish
soldiers and to one Iraqi who was injured during a 16 August incident near
Al-Basrah, Danish Radio P1 reported on 27 August. According to press reports
at the time of the incident, a Danish patrol stopped a truck carrying
several Iraqis west of Al-Basrah. An exchange of gunfire ensued and one Dane
was killed along with the two Iraqis. The injured Iraqi and the families of
the two Iraqi victims will be paid around 80,000 kroners ($11,700) each,
according to the Danish Army Operative Command, Radio P1 reported. (Kathleen

Tehran Times, 8th September

KUALA LUMPUR - Iraq will not attend the 10th Organization of Islamic
Conference (OIC) leaders' summit to be held in Malaysia next month,
Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar said Sunday, AFP said.

"There'll be no representative from Iraq attending the summit because the
country is still under occupation," he said.

"As long as Iraq is not in the hands of Iraqis, its leaders are not
legitimately elected by Iraqis, until then its seat in the OIC will remain
vacant," he said.

Syed Hamid, however, said the OIC Credentials Committee would study Iraq's
position on whether its seat could be occupied by the temporary government
or its cabinet members.

Iraq's transitional Governing Council recently announced a new 25-member
post-war interim government until elections are held next year.

The new cabinet is divided up among the country's various communities, with
13 ministries going to Muslim Shiites, five to Sunnis, five to Kurds, one to
Turkmen and one to the Christians.

However, Syed Hamid said Malaysia would not recognise the council as it was
not set up by Iraqis.

Malaysia would confine its diplomatic relations with the country only to
humanitarian assistance, he said.

"We'll only recognise the Iraqi government after it is duly elected by the
Iraqis and not by the occupying forces," he was quoted as saying by the
Bernama news agency.

Asked on the U.S.-drafted resolution to push for a wider United Nations
involvement in Iraq, Syed Hamid said it was the right decision but the move
was "not far enough".

"It (the resolution) does not get the UN to be totally involved. The UN must
be directly involved and everything must be subjected to the UN and not the
other way round," he said.

He said although the move should be welcomed, additional steps ought to be
taken to get the involvement of Muslim countries in a multinational force
under the UN.

The U.S. has conceded to drafting a new UN resolution that will pave the way
for a greater UN role in Iraq.

The Bush administration hopes the resolution will offer some relief to the
130,000 U.S. troops deployed in the war-torn country as well as to the
budgetary pressures being applied to the nation's finances. The move
represents a turnaround in policy compared to the months leading up to the
U.S.-led war on Iraq, which Washington launched without endorsement from the
UN and amid staunch opposition from other UN Security Council members. The
government of mainly-Muslim Malaysia fiercely opposed the US-led war in Iraq
with Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad warning that it would fuel anger among

by Syed Rashid Husain
Dawn, 9th September

RIYADH, Sept 8: Iraq's crude export to refineries in Asia is on rise.
Traders such as Japan's Mitsubishi Corp and China's Sinochem International
Company may ship more than 200,000 barrels a day of Iraq's Basrah Light
Crude worth $500 million to refineries in Asia in the last quarter of the
year, industry reports confirm.

Refiners in Japan, Taiwan and India appear ready to use Basrah Light
regularly provided the Iraq's State Oil Marketing Company (SOMO) is ready to
fulfil recent supply contracts.

"There is a possibility once exports are normalized, volumes to Japan or the
Far East will increase," Yoshinobu Satomi, assistant general manager of the
crude oil trading at Tokyo based Mitsubishi Corporation, which has a
contract to buy Iraqi oil, was quoted by Bloomberg as saying. Japanese
refiners and traders were not allowed to trade directly with Iraq after the
1991 Gulf War because of sanctions. Now they are reportedly renewing links
with SOMO.

Sales of Basrah Light which competes against Arabian Light Crude have
reportedly picked up because of the price factor. SOMO has been selling the
Basrah Light for September at 60 cents a barrel less than the Saudi Aramco's
Arabian Light Crude.

Some refiners in Asia, including India's Hindustan Petroleum Corporation,
Indian Oil Corporation, Reliance Industries Ltd and Bharat Petroleum
Corporation, are already buying Basrah Light directly from SOMO. Japan's
Itochu Corporation is among the traders that are buying Iraqi oil for resale
to the Asian refiners.

Mitsubishi, Japan's largest trading company, recently sold Basrah Light
cargoes for October loading to two refiners in Japan. Chinese trader
Sinochem was reported to have sold as much as four million barrels of Iraqi
oil to Taiwan's state-owned Chinese Petroleum Corporation for deliveries in
October and November. Basrah Light was last sold to Taiwan in March, traders
were quoted as saying by the industry press.

ChevronTexaco and Royal Dutch/Shell may also ship oil bought under contract
from Iraq to their refineries in Singapore and the Philippines, traders were
quoted assaying by Bloomberg.

Basrah Light seems to be gaining popularity in Asia as winter approaches in
the northeast because of its higher yield of gas oil and kerosene, which are
mainly used for truck fuel and heating in Asia. Basrah Light has recently
become mightier because SOMO no longer adds surplus fuel oil from its
refineries to the oil. Its gravity, as defined by American Petroleum
Institute, has reportedly gone up to as high as 34 from 29 before the
invasion of Iraq by the US-led forces.,2763,1037859,00.html

by George Wright
The Guardian, 9th September

Britain is to send 1,000 more troops to bolster its security operation in
Iraq, the defence secretary, Geoff Hoon, said today.

The deployment of troops from 2nd Battalion, the Light Infantry, and 1st
Battalion, the Royal Green Jackets, follows a wave of attacks against US and
British forces and other targets over recent weeks.

In a statement to Parliament today, Mr Hoon said that there was an
"immediate requirement" for the extra troops because of the "evolving
security situation" in Iraq.

He also indicated that more troops could be deployed "in the near future" to
help restore and protect Iraq's shattered infrastructure, including power
and water supplies.

Mr Hoon said that "real progress" has been made in the post-war mission to
stabilise Iraq. "We now seek to accelerate progress in other areas,
including enhanced security across the country, and the reliable provision
of basic utilities," he added.

There are already around 10,000 British troops in the Basra area of Iraq.

The Light Infantry, a company of which moved to Iraq from its Cyprus base
over the weekend, will be involved in "supporting current operations, and in
offering additional protection to the coalition provisional authority",
according to Mr Hoon.

The Royal Green Jackets will "deploy immediately to increase force
protection, accelerate training of the Iraqi civil defence corps and to
improve our information gathering capability", he said.

Under the MoD's revised plans, both battalions will serve in Iraq until
November, when they will be replaced by fresh troops "if the requirement

It is hoped that some of the roles currently being carried out by British
troops will gradually be transferred to Iraqis.

Mr Hoon said: "These measures will give extra capabilities to our commanders
in theatre, allowing them to increase their proactive efforts to improve
wider security across the region, and allowing them to support the essential
reconstruction and regeneration efforts in their area of operations.

"The commitment of the UK and its armed forces to Iraq remains undeterred by
recent events.

"We are determined to help the Iraqi people to forge a new, peaceful and
secure future for themselves, and we will meet this commitment with
appropriate forces in Iraq for as long as required, and no longer."

Mr Hoon's statement was released ahead of his appearance in the House of
Commons this afternoon, when he will face questions from MPs on the latest
deployment plans.

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