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News, 3-10/9/03 (4) FRIENDS AND NEIGHBOURS * Saudi Crackdown Encourages Iraq Jihad, Clerics Say * An Unlikely Alliance * Angry Turkey Wants Clarification on Troop Deployment * Jordan backs interim participation in Arab meeting, denies formal recognition * Main points of the Arab League resolution on Iraq * Arabs Allow Iraq Council Delegate to Attend Talks LIVING HISTORY * Wife of Tariq Aziz says husband was loyal to country, not Hussein * Kuwait identifies six more POWs * British army officer cleared of abuse charges * Spies who are coming out from the cold * Who's Counting the Dead in Iraq? * Mosul Residents Talk of Supposed Betrayer * 'I became the profane pervert Arab blogger' BURIAL OF THE PRETEXT * The whistleblower * UNMOVIC head says U.S., U.K. wmd claims unfounded * Blix says Iraq's weapons declaration may have been true NEIGHBOURING WORLD http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=topNews&storyID=3364293 * SAUDI CRACKDOWN ENCOURAGES IRAQ JIHAD, CLERICS SAY by Andrew Hammond Reuters, 31st August RIYADH: Saudi militants, facing a clampdown at home long demanded by Washington, are heading to Iraq for a holy war against the American "Satan," clerics and analysts say. U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said last week that some of those attacking U.S. forces in Iraq are coming into the country from neighboring Saudi Arabia, Iran and Syria. Some clerics in the kingdom said a security crackdown by Saudi authorities on Muslim militants after deadly suicide bombings in Riyadh in May -- leading to bloody clashes and arrests -- was pushing militants to head to Iraq. "Most youth think the only safe road is to go to Iraq. They are trapped between the international campaign against terrorism and this campaign at home. The only safe haven for them is to go to Iraq," said leading cleric Mohsen al-Awajy. "We are hearing stories of families who get mobile phone messages from their sons saying they're going to Iraq." Awajy said thousands of Saudi veterans of the war against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s, who at that time were supported by the government, were now being targeted. Riyadh woke up to the problem of homegrown militancy after the September 11, 2001 attacks on U.S. cities, blamed on Saudi-born Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda group and carried out by mostly Saudi hijackers. The crackdown intensified after the May bombings, which killed 35 people, including nine Americans. Authorities have arrested more than 200 militants believed linked to al Qaeda. "In the Saudi street, people are not happy with the mass operation against former mujahideen, who were encouraged by the Saudi government. Without U.S. pressure, our own government would not be as harsh against their own people," Awajy said. A Western diplomat said unlike with Afghanistan the Saudi authorities would do everything to stop wide-eyed young radicals from heading to Iraq. "One thing is for sure, they won't encourage or export problems that they wouldn't want at home. Never again," he said, noting that prominent clerics have either discouraged jihad (holy war) in Iraq or kept silent on the matter. Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef has denied Saudi nationals have been pouring over the long porous border into Iraq, saying in remarks published Saturday that any Saudis in Iraq must have entered through a third country. NEW GENERATION OF MILITANTS Relations between long-time allies Riyadh and Washington hit their lowest point after September 11. But after the oil-rich kingdom began its crackdown on militants, Washington said the Saudis were serious in the "war on terror." Political analyst Dawoud al-Shiryan said it was clear from the age profile of dozens of Saudis wanted, arrested or shot in a series of skirmishes between militants and police in recent months that this was a new generation of mujahideen. "The problem is the new generation. People in their 20s, most of them born after the Iranian revolution," he said. "The security solution is not enough. These people are willing to die, and we have a lot of jobless and economic problems. When Saudis go to Iraq it's partly because of these pressures," he added. "You cannot take away 30 years of something with a few sermons. It needs a major plan in culture, media and education." London-based dissident Mohamed al-Masari said Saudi police, long sidelined by the powerful morality police in this strict Islamic state, were ill-equipped to confront an insurgency. "The training is miserable and the psychological preparation is very bad. A big percentage of the police will be pro-bin Laden," Masari said. "The militants are not willing to be taken into custody without a fight. Most of the fights have been bloody and the government does not announce every fight," he added. The Saudi Foreign Ministry has made it mandatory to have security guards at schools, Western food franchises and foreign airline offices and travel agencies in the kingdom. Bin Laden has repeatedly called for jihad against "infidel" countries, urging his followers to target Western interests. "The main reason there was no militant action in Saudi (against the government) in the last 10 years was ideological -- it would have involved Muslims getting killed," Masari said. "Now people are getting over this, but those hesitating can go to Iraq, it's a paradise." www.stratfor.com * AN UNLIKELY ALLIANCE www.stratfor.com, 2nd September Though the recent death of SCIRI leader Ayatollah Mohammad Baqir al-Hakim would appear to be raising the level of turmoil within Iraq, it might in fact help to push the United States and Iran toward a powerful -- if seemingly unlikely -- alignment. Analysis The death of Shiite Ayatollah Mohammad Baqir al-Hakim, the leader of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), appears to have exacerbated the turmoil in Iraq. In fact, it opens the door to some dramatic shifts that might help stabilize the U.S. position in Iran. Indeed, it might even lead to a fundamental redrawing of the geopolitical maps of the region -- as dramatic as the U.S.-Chinese alignment against the Soviet Union in the 1970s. To understand what is happening, we must note two important aspects of the al-Hakim affair. First, though far from being pro-American, al-Hakim was engaged in limited cooperation with the United States, including -- through SCIRI -- participating in the U.S. sponsored Iraq Governing Council. Second, upon his death, Iran announced a three-day mourning period in his honor. Al-Hakim, who had lived in exile in Iran during much of Saddam Hussein's rule in Baghdad, was an integral part of the Shiite governing apparatus -- admired and loved in Iran. We therefore have two facts. First, al-Hakim was engaged in limited but meaningful collaboration with the United States, which appears to be why he was killed. Second, he was intimately connected to Iranian ruling circles, and not just to those circles that Americans like to call "reformers." If we stop and think about it, these two facts would appear incompatible, but in reality they reveal a growing movement toward alignment between the United States and Iran. The United States has realized that it cannot pacify Iraq on its own. One proposal, floated by the State Department, calls for a United Nations force -- under U.S. command -- to take control of Iraq. This raises three questions. First, why would any sane country put its forces at risk -- under U.S. command, no less -- to solve America's problems if it doesn't have to? Second, what would additional outside forces, as unfamiliar with Iraq as U.S. forces are, add to the mix, save more confusion? Finally, what price would the United States have to pay for U.N. cooperation; for instance, would the U.N. presence place restrictions on U.S. operations against al Qaeda? Another proposal, floated by Defense Advisory Board Chairman Richard Perle, suggests that the way out is to turn Iraq over to Iraqis as quickly as possible rather than prolonging a U.S. occupation. The problem with Perle's proposal is that it assumes a generic Iraq, unattached to any subgrouping -- religious, ethnic or ideological -- that not only is ready to take the reins, but is capable of governing. In other words, Perle's proposal would turn Iraq over to whom? Putting the Kurdish issue aside, the fundamental fault line running through Iraqi society is the division between Sunni and Shiite. The Shiite majority dominates the area south of Baghdad. The Sunni minority, which very much includes Hussein and most of the Baath Party's national apparatus, spent the past generation brutalizing the Shiites, and Hussein's group also spent that time making certain that Sunnis who were not part of their tribe were marginalized. Today, Iraq is a fragmented entity where the center of gravity, the Baath Party, has been shattered and there is no substitute for it. However, embedded in Perle's proposal is a simple fact. If there is a cohesive group in Iraq -- indeed a majority group -- it is the Shiites. Although ideologically and tribally fragmented, the Shiites of Iraq are far better organized than U.S. intelligence reports estimated before the war. This is due to the creation of a clandestine infrastructure, sponsored by Iranian intelligence, following the failure of U.S.-encouraged Shiite uprisings in the 1990s. While Washington was worried about the disintegration of Iraq and the growth of Iranian power, Tehran was preparing for the day that Hussein's regime would either collapse or be destroyed by the United States. As a result, and somewhat to the surprise of U.S. intelligence, organizations were in place in Iraq's Shiite regions that were able to maintain order and exercise control after the war. British authorities realized this early on and tried to transfer power from British forces in Basra to local control, much to U.S. displeasure. Initially, Washington viewed the Iranian-sponsored organization of the Shiite regions as a threat to its control of Iraq. The initial U.S. perception was that the Shiites, being bitterly anti-Hussein, would respond enthusiastically to their liberation by U.S. forces. In fact, the response was cautious and sullen. Officials in Washington also assumed that the collapse of the Iraqi army would mean the collapse of Sunni resistance. Under this theory, the United States would have an easy time in the Sunni regions -- it already had excellent relations in the Kurdish regions -- but would face a challenge from Iran in the south. The game actually played out very differently. The United States did not have an easy time in the Sunni triangle. To the contrary: A clearly planned guerrilla war kicked off weeks after the conquest of Baghdad and has continued since. Had the rising spread to the Sunni [Shi'i? - PB] regions, or had the Sunnis launched an intifada with massed demonstrations, the U.S. position in Iraq would have become enormously more difficult, if not untenable. The Sunnis [Shia? - PB] staged some protests to demonstrate their capabilities to the United States, but they did not rise en masse. In general, they have contented themselves with playing a waiting game -- intensifying their organization in the region, carrying out some internal factional struggles, but watching and waiting. Most interesting, rather than simply rejecting the U.S. occupation, they simultaneously called for its end while participating in it. The key goes back to Iran and to the Sunni-Shiite split within the Islamic world. Iran has a geopolitical problem, one it has had for centuries: It faces a threat from the north, through the Caucasus, and a threat from the west, from whatever entity occupies the Tigris and Euphrates basin. When both threats are active, as they were for much of the Cold War, Iran must have outside support, and that support frequently turns into domination. Iran's dream is that it might be secure on both fronts. That rarely happens. The end of the Cold War has created an unstable area in the Caucasus that actually helps secure Iran's interests. The Caucasus might be in chaos, but there is no great imperial power about to push down into Iran. Moreover, at about the same time, the threat posed by Iraq abated after the United States defeated it and neutralized its armed forces during Desert Storm. This created a period of unprecedented security for Iran that Tehran exploited by working to reconstruct its military and moving forward on nuclear weapons. However, Iran's real interest is not simply Iraq's neutralization; that could easily change. Its real interest is in dominating Iraq. An Iranian-dominated Iraq would mean two things: First, the only threat to Iran would come from the north and Iran could concentrate on blocking that threat; second, it would make Iran the major native regional power in the Persian Gulf. Therefore, were Iranian-sponsored and sympathetic Shiite groups to come to power in Iraq, it would represent a massive geopolitical coup for the United States [for Iran? - PB]. Initially, this was the opposite of anything the United States wanted. One of the reasons for invading Iraq was to be able to control Iran and its nuclear capability. But the guerrilla war in the north has created a new strategic reality for Washington. The issue at the moment is not how to project power throughout the region, but how to simply pacify Iraq. The ambitions of April have given way to the realities of September. The United States needs a native force in Iraq to carry the brunt of the pacification program. The Shiites, unlike the United Nations, already would deliver a fairly pacified south and probably would enjoy giving some payback to the Sunnis in the north. Certainly, they are both more likely to achieve success and more willing to bear the burden of pacification than is the United States, let alone any U.N. member willing to send troops. It is not, at the moment, a question of what the United States wants; it is a question of what it can have. The initial idea was that the United States would sponsor a massive rising of disaffected youth in Iran. In fact, U.S. intelligence supported dissident university students in a plan to do just that. However, Iranian security forces crushed the rebellion effortlessly -- and with it any U.S. hopes of forcing regime change in Iran through internal means. If this were to happen, it would not happen in a time frame relative to Washington's problems in Iraq or problems with al Qaeda. Therefore, the Iranian regime, such as it is, is the regime the United States must deal with. And that regime holds the key to the Iraqi Shiites. The United States has been negotiating both overtly and covertly with Iran on a range of issues. There has been enough progress to keep southern Iraq quiet, but not enough to reach a definitive breakthrough. The issue has not been Iranian nuclear power. Certainly, the Iranians have been producing a nuclear weapon. They made certain that inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency saw weapons-grade uranium during an inspection in recent days. It is an important bargaining chip. But as with North Korea, Iranian leaders know that nuclear weapons are more valuable as a bargaining chip than as a reality. Asymmetry leads to eradication of nuclear threats. Put less pretentiously, Tehran must assume that the United States -- or Israel -- will destroy any nuclear capability before it becomes a threat. Moreover, if it has nuclear capability, what would it do with it? Even as a deterrent, retaliation would lead to national annihilation. The value of nuclear weapons in this context is less real than apparent -- and therefore more valuable in negotiations than deployment. Tehran has hinted several times that its nuclear program is negotiable regarding weapons. Officials also have indicated by word and deed to the United States that they are prepared to encourage Iraqi Shiites to cooperate with the U.S. occupation. The issue on the table now is whether the Shiites will raise the level of cooperation from passive to active -- whether they will move from not doing harm to actively helping to suppress the Sunni rising. This is the line that they are considering crossing -- and the issue is not only whether they cross, but whether the United States wants them to cross. Obviously, the United States needs help. On the other hand, the Iranian price is enormous. Domination of Iraq means enormous power in the Gulf region. In the past, Saudi Arabia's sensibilities would have mattered; today, the Saudis matter less. U.S. leaders understand that making such an agreement means problems down the road. On the other hand, the United States has some pretty major problems right now anyway. Moreover -- and this is critical -- the Sunni-Shiite fault line defines the Islamic world. Splitting Islam along those lines, fomenting conflict within that world, certainly would divert attention from the United States: Iran working against al Qaeda would have more than marginal value, but not, however, as much as Saudi Arabia pulling out the stops. Against the background of the U.S.-Iranian negotiation is the idea that the Saudis, terrified of a triumphant Iran, will panic and begin crushing the extreme Wahhabis in the kingdom. This has delayed a U.S. decision, as has the legitimate fear that a deal with Iran would unleash the genie. But of course, the other fear is that if Iran loses patience, it will call the Shiite masses into the streets and there will be hell to pay in Iraq. The death of SCIRI leader al-Hakim, therefore, represents a break point. Whether it was Shiite dissidents or Sunnis that killed him, his death costs the Iranians a key ally and drives home the risks they are running with delay. They are vulnerable in Iraq. This opens the door for Tehran to move forward in a deal with the United States. Washington needs to make something happen soon. This deal might never be formalized. Neither Iranian nor American politics would easily swallow an overt alliance. On the other hand, there is plenty of precedent for U.S.-Iranian cooperation on a covert level. Of course, this would be fairly open and obvious cooperation -- a major mobilization of Shiite strength in Iraq on behalf of the United States -- regardless of the rhetoric. Currently, this seems to be the most likely evolution of events: Washington gets Tehran's help in putting down the Sunnis. The United States gets a civil war in the Muslim world. The United States gets Iran to dial back its nuclear program. Iran gets to dominate Iraq. The United States gets all the benefits in the near term. Iran gets its historical dream. If Roosevelt could side with Stalin against Hitler, and Nixon with Mao against Brezhnev, this collaboration certainly is not without precedence in U.S. history. But boy, would it be a campaign issue -- in both countries. http://www.tehrantimes.com/Description.asp?Da=9/8/03&Cat=2&Num=024 * ANGRY TURKEY WANTS CLARIFICATION ON TROOP DEPLOYMENT Tehran Times, 8th September ISTANBUL - Turkey on Sunday slammed hostile rhetoric by an Iraqi Kurdish official on a possible Turkish deployment in Iraq, urging the United States and the Iraqi leadership to clarify whether its soldiers would be welcome. Iraq's new foreign minister and senior Kurdish leader, Hoshyar Zebari angered Ankara when he said Friday that any military role for Turkey or other neighboring countries would further destabilize Iraq. "There have been some excessive... and ugly statements... I think Iraqi officials should pass what they say through a filter of reason," Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a news conference. In an apparent reference to Kurdish suspicions that Turkey may have secret ambitions over Iraq, Erdogan said his government was intending to send troops only to help stabilize the situation in its still conflict-torn neighbor. "Otherwise, we are not that eager" to get militarily involved, he added. Erdogan's deputy, Mehmet Ali Sahin, said Zebari's remarks flew against U.S. policy, which has been pressing Ankara to contribute peacekeepers as part of a wider international effort in Iraq. "Zebari says they do not want Turkish soldiers, while the United States, which controls Iraq, wants them. This contradiction must be cleared up. Do you want them or not?" Sahin told reporters, according to Anatolia news agency. Eager to mend fences over its failure to back the war, Ankara is willing to send up to 10,000 troops to Iraq, but it has yet to take a formal decision. Such a move will require the approval of parliament, where many legislators have expressed vocal opposition to the plan. Public opinion is also against sending troops. Ankara is worried that anti-Turkish rhetoric in Baghdad will make it more difficult for the government to win over opponents at home. Turkish newspapers reported Sunday that the foreign ministry had asked Washington to press the Iraqi Kurds to toe the line. The Turkish deployment has been mooted for al-Anbar province, a non-Kurdish Sunni region stretching from west of Baghdad to the borders with Syria and Jordan. Underscoring the tensions between Ankara and the Iraqi Kurds, Zebari said they were concerned that Turkish troops would have to cross through Kurdish northern Iraq and set up bases along the way. Iraqi Kurds fear that Turkey has secret ambitions on their oil-rich homeland. Ankara, on the other hand, suspects the Kurds of plotting to break away from Baghdad, a prospect that could rekindle separatist Kurdish violence in Turkey, and wants to have a say in the shaping of post-war Iraq. "We want peace and tranquility in our neighbor. We do not have our eyes on either its territory or natural resources," Sahin said. Ankara and Washington have agreed that the Turkish army will be given a separate sector under its own command if Ankara decides to contribute peacekeepers to Iraq, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said Saturday. Bilateral talks on the conditions of a possible Turkish military role were to continue, he said. http://www.jordantimes.com/Tue/homenews/homenews2.htm * JORDAN BACKS INTERIM PARTICIPATION IN ARAB MEETING, DENIES FORMAL RECOGNITION Jordan Times, from AFP, 9th September Jordan has approved a request by the US-backed Iraqi government to be represented at the Arab foreign ministers' meeting due to open in Cairo Tuesday, Foreign Minister Marwan Muasher said. Muasher, who was speaking Monday after a meeting with his Egyptian counterpart Ahmed Maher, denied at the same time that such participation would amount to recognition of the US-appointed Iraqi Governing Council. "The Iraqi minister will participate as a representative of the transitional Governing Council. We realise that elections cannot be held now in Iraq and therefore there is no escape from a transitional period," he told reporters. "The position of Jordan is to deal positively with the members of the Governing Council without officially recognising it... because this is a transitional government and it has no sovereignty over the Iraqi land." Interim Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari arrived Monday in Cairo in the hope of participating in the two-day meeting of the 22-member Arab League. An Arab League official said Monday the foreign ministers were close to reaching an accord on allowing Zebari to attend their meeting as an observer, though this would not mean recognition of Iraqi council. The official was commenting on the developments in closed-door talks to discuss Iraq's participation in their meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday. "The scenario that received the support of most Arab states... is the participation of the Governing Council under the title of Iraqi Governing Council, as opposed to Republic of Iraq," he said. The accord under consideration provides observer status for the transitional Governing Council and Zebari would be allowed to attend open sessions and not closed-door meetings, he said. This form of representation will continue "until an Iraqi government is elected by the Iraqi people to represent them," the official added. The interim Governing Council set up by the US-led coalition in July named a 25-member Cabinet on Sept. 1 ahead of elections at least one year away. Meanwhile in Amman, Information Minister Nabil Sharif welcomed Monday US President George W. Bush's call on the United Nations to play a larger role in postwar Iraq, calling it a "positive" move. "We support a bigger UN role in Iraq and we hope that it will be a prelude to restoring [governing] authority to the Iraqi people so that they could rule themselves," Sharif told AFP. Bush's call to the UN "is a good invitation and we support it. It is a positive step," said Sharif, also government spokesman. On Sunday, Bush urged the United Nations to overcome bitter "past differences" over the US-led invasion of Iraq and "assume a broader role in assuring that Iraq becomes a free and democratic nation." In his first major speech on Iraq since May, he also appealed to opponents of the war for troops and money and said he would ask Congress $87 billion for policing and rebuilding Iraq and Afghanistan. http://www.prolog.net/webnews/wed/ag/Qiraq-arab-resolution.ReaG_DS9.html * MAIN POINTS OF THE ARAB LEAGUE RESOLUTION ON IRAQ CAIRO, Sept 9 (AFP) - Hereafter the main points of the resolution on Iraq adopted Tuesday at a meeting of the foreign minsters of the Arab League. The ministers welcomed the US-backed Iraqi Governing Council as a temporary representative of Iraq in the Arab League, called for a central UN role in Iraq, and condemned for the first time human rights' violations under ousted president Saddam Hussein. "The League's ministerial council: - Considers the interim Governing Council and Iraqi government as a step towards the formation as soon as possible of a national legitimate government recognised by the international community. - Stresses the importance that the United Nations assumes a central role in the political process in Iraq, in boosting stability and in the reconstruction effort. - Expresses deep worry about the deteriorating security situation in Iraq, condems the terrorist bombings that killed recently (UN top diplomat Sergio Vieira de Mello, leading Shiite Muslim cleric Mohammad Baqer al-Hakim) as well as the terrorist bombing against the Jordanian embassy in Baghdad. - Appeals to the Iraqis to stand up against any attempt to sow the seeds of sedition. - Condemns the gross violations of human rights and international law by the previous regime against the sons of the Iraqi people, and people from Kuwait and other countries... the assassinations, genocides, mass graves and the killing of prisoners, including Kuwaiti detainees. - (Calls for) bringing to justice the officials of the previous regime to account for the violations of the laws that should be implemented under military conflict and of the Fourth Geneva Convention. - Calls on the international community and specialised organisations to help the Iraqi people recover the pieces of its historical and cultural heritage that have been stolen. - Calls for supporting the Iraqi people's reconstruction efforts. - Requests the secretary general (of the Arab League, Amr Mussa) to follow up on these issues and report to the next ministerial meeting (in March 2004)." http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=574&ncid=721&e=3&u=/nm/20030 909/wl_nm/iraq_arabs_dc * ARABS ALLOW IRAQ COUNCIL DELEGATE TO ATTEND TALKS by Mohamed Abdellah Yahoo, 9th September CAIRO (Reuters) - Arab ministers agreed Tuesday to let a delegate of Iraq (news - web sites)'s U.S.-appointed Governing Council represent Iraq at their talks this week, a move which may set an important precedent for the body's international acceptance. Arab foreign ministers reached the decision after several hours of debate, lasting until well past midnight. Analysts said the decision could help determine whether the Council will be allowed to fill Iraq's seat in other bodies like the United Nations (news - web sites) and oil cartel OPEC (news - web sites). Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari, a Kurd newly appointed by the Governing Council, will now be able to take up Iraq's vacant seat at the full ministerial meeting of the 22 member Arab League due to be held Tuesday and Wednesday. "There was an Arab consensus in this meeting to invite the Governing Council in Iraq to attend this session as a member," Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal told reporters. The decision is a victory for more moderate Arab states over hard-line members of the Cairo-based body. Analysts had said some states would try to deny Zebari access to the meetings, and perhaps only grant him observer status, to avoid legitimizing the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq and the unelected Council. But analysts said more moderate states, including a number of U.S. allies, wanted the Council represented in the League to ensure that Iraq was embedded in the Arab fold and that Arabs could influence Iraq's future. Arab League spokesman Hossam Zaki said the agreement would be officially announced at the start of Tuesday's session at 12 p.m. (5 a.m. EDT), after Zebari meets with League Secretary General Amr Moussa and Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher. Zaki said the ministers' decision was only valid until the formation of an elected Iraqi government, and would be reviewed accordingly at each ministerial meeting. Arab states have previously called the Council a step in the right direction, but have been loath to endorse the body for fear they would seem to be backing the occupation of Iraq. Even at the Cairo talks, ministers were at pains to distinguish between general support for the Council and full recognition. Some analysts say Arab states are splitting hairs, and the Council's participation at the League will be seen as de facto recognition, whatever political spin Arab governments put on it. Abdel Monem Said, director of Cairo's al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, said that if the Arab League allowed the Iraqi foreign minister to represent Iraq, "the Governing Council will be recognized by other bodies." Zebari had told reporters Monday that Iraqis had a right to claim their seat at the Arab League. "Our message is: we are the representatives of the de facto Iraqi authority. We need to be represented at this ministerial meeting," Zebari said. LIVING HISTORY * WIFE OF TARIQ AZIZ SAYS HUSBAND WAS LOYAL TO COUNTRY, NOT HUSSEIN RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT, Vol. 6, No. 37, 5 September 2003 Violette Aziz, the wife of former Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz, said that her husband, whose has been in coalition custody since April, was loyal to his country but critical of the Hussein regime, according to an interview published on 1 September in Rome's "La Repubblica" newspaper. Speaking from Jordan, where she and two of her four children have been granted political asylum, Aziz claimed that in the weeks and months leading up to Operation Iraqi Freedom her husband had tried, to no avail, to prevent the war in Iraq. Upon his surrender to coalition forces on 24 April, he reportedly told her that he had no fear, saying, "My only fault is that I have stayed loyal to my country." Asked why he hadn't outwardly opposed the Hussein government, she said, "He would be dead. No one could oppose Saddam. My husband did everything in his power to prevent the war," even appealing to Pope John Paul. "Tariq was in despair in those days. He suffered from ongoing and increasingly deep depression; he knew that war was inevitable despite his efforts...the same thing had already happened before, back in the days of the invasion of Kuwait. My husband kept repeating [then] that would be Saddam's greatest mistake. He was the only one in the regime to make no secrets of his opposition to that war and that is why the Foreign Ministry was taken away from him." Aziz said that she has received word from her husband twice via the International Red Cross since April -- one letter to her daughter requested toothpaste, shaving foam, clothing, and cigarettes. Asked how she arrived in Jordan, Aziz told the daily that the U.S. military "took care of getting us to Jordan" after King Abdullah granted her family political asylum. She said that the American soldiers that took her husband into custody promised that he would receive medical treatment for a heart ailment and that they would allow him to call her every day. She said she had considered appealing to U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who she said "had been a friend of my husband ever since he opened the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad," but remarked, "Everything has changed now and I believe that there would be no point in writing to him or even to President Bush." (Kathleen Ridolfo) * KUWAIT IDENTIFIES SIX MORE POWS RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT, Vol. 6, No. 37, 5 September 2003 Kuwait announced on 1 September that it has identified the remains of six individuals, five Kuwaitis and one Saudi national, whose bodies were discovered in a mass grave in Iraq in May, Reuters reported on the same day. All were prisoners of war missing since Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait. The state-run news agency KUNA reported that the remains of 23 Kuwaitis have been identified to date from the mass grave in Al-Samawah, located approximately 250 kilometers south of Baghdad. According to Reuters, Kuwait claims that the former Hussein regime captured up to 605 POWs, mostly civilians, during the 1990 invasion. (Kathleen Ridolfo) * BRITISH ARMY OFFICER CLEARED OF ABUSE CHARGES RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT, Vol. 6, No. 37, 5 September 2003 A British army officer has been cleared by the Ministry of Defense on charges of allegedly abusing Iraqi prisoners of war (see "RFE/RL Iraq Report," 23 May 2003), Reuters reported on 1 September. A U.S. military officer accused Lieutenant Colonel Tim Collins, the former commanding officer of the 1st Battalion, the Royal Irish Regiment, of abusing prisoners in his battalion's custody during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Specifically, Collins was accused of kicking, punching, and threatening Iraqi POWs, and pistol-whipping an Iraqi civic leader. A British military spokesman commented on the investigation saying, "He as been cleared...there are no criminal charges pending and no other action is expected." (Kathleen Ridolfo) http://www.dailystar.com.lb/opinion/06_09_03_d.asp * SPIES WHO ARE COMING OUT FROM THE COLD by Mahan Abedin Lebanon Daily Star, 6th September The recent reactivation of elements of the old Iraqi intelligence services by American forces in Iraq serves to underline the desperation of US security policy there. But there is another dimension to the development. Many of the reactivated elements belong to those sections of the Iraqi intelligence services that dealt with Iran. It is both interesting and disappointing to note that the US occupation authorities, by hiring these agents, may perpetuate the same ideology, tools and methodology the former Baathist regime used to contain Iranian influence in Iraq. The Baath regime deployed considerable intelligence and security resources to maintain security at home and spy on the country's neighbors and adversaries abroad. The names, nature and activities of these organizations have been well documented. Principally three of these organizations - the Jihaz al-Mukhabarat al-Amma (the General Intelligence Directorate, or GID), the Istikhbarat (Military Intelligence, or MI) and the Amn al-Khas (the Special Security service) formed the backbone of the old Iraqi intelligence community. The Special Security service mainly dealt with monitoring the Baath Party, but it also scrutinized the loyalties of other intelligence organizations. Since the ouster of the Baathist regime much evidence has emerged pointing to the inefficiency and corruption of the old Iraqi intelligence community. GID files depict an atrophying intelligence organization. A former director of the organization, Tahir Jalil Habbush, is on record as chastising his agents for showing off their firearms and identification cards. He even had to issue memos reminding the agency of basic intelligence tradecraft, such as not disclosing informants' names in correspondence. The GID's once impressive network of international agents apparently dwindled over time. An evaluation of stations in Paris, Rome and Athens for the first half of 2002 rated them all "zero" for intelligence procurement and counterespionage. Arguably the most efficient elements of the former Iraqi intelligence were the sections dealing with Iran. These included the GID's Department 18 (D18) and the Persian Battalion of Military Intelligence (MI's Unit 999 deployed six battalions, of which the Persian Battalion was easily the most active). Both institutions regarded Iran through the lens of chauvinistic Arab and Iraqi nationalism. Therefore it not surprising that their main operational priority (one that failed pitifully) was destabilizing Iran's Khuzistan Province under the pretext of promoting the rights of the province's Arabic-speaking minority. Also, it was D18 that masterminded the 1980 takeover of the Iranian Embassy in London. Despite their narrow and frequently self-defeating ideology, these departments also adopted efficient methods and deployed impressive resources. D18 primarily relied on the Mujaheddin-e Khalq Organization to gather intelligence on Iran. In fact the Mujaheddin's self-styled National Liberation Army (NLA) was effectively run by D18. The GID maintained liaison offices in the main NLA camps and issued direct orders to the organization's military and security planners. The Mujaheddin's chief liaison officers with DI8 were Mahnaz Samadi, Akram Shahrabi and Fereshteh Esfendeeyari. Iraq's Al-Daawa party assassinated Esfendeeyaree in May 1995, in an ambush near the Diyala town of Baqubah. Samadi and Shahrabi survived the recent Iraq war and are currently quarantined in the Mujaheddin's Ashraf complex in Diyala. It is entirely plausible that both have been recruited once again by the revamped D18 and its US masters. If so, this would be cynical in the extreme. Samadi is a renowned international terrorist who was apprehended and later deported by Canadian authorities in late 1999. The Persian Battalion of MI also made use of the Mujaheddin - especially in hit and run operations in border areas. However the service's main success was in penetrating the Iranian military, particularly Iran's air force. By using its moles and agents provocateurs (possibly acting under the influence of Western, particularly British, intelligence services), MI prompted several defections at the highest levels of the Iranian Air Force in December 1986. In the summer of that year the Persian Battalion tasked an air force officer to defect to Iraq with an F-14. The Mujaheddin are believed to have acted as middlemen. In an interview with The Independent in September 1996, Wafiq al-Samarrai, a former head of MI who defected in 1994, claimed that he traveled to London in 1988 to make payments to an Iranian Air Force colonel in exchange for information. By making use of the resources of the old D18 and the Persian Battalion, the US occupation authorities are hoping to contain growing Iranian influence in Iraq. But this is unlikely to yield significant dividends, as Iran's principal levers of influence are organizations like Al Daawa and SCIRI - both of which are regarded as legitimate Iraqi institutions by the Anglo American coalition authority. The GID specialized in tracking the clandestine cells of these groups in Iraq. As the groups are now firmly and openly entrenched in the country, it is unlikely that the old methods of penetration and subversion will prove effective. As far as penetrating Iranian institutions and conducting sabotage operations in Iran, the United States would be committing a major mistake if it pursued the old Baath policies. Clearly, there will always be scope for espionage, and neighbors in the Middle East, as those everywhere, will continue to spy on each other. But the old sabotage game between Iran and the ousted Iraqi regime had an acute component to it, namely each country's hosting the other's opposition groups. Now that Iraqi groups are no longer based in Iran, there is little reason for the old ways to persist. In fact there is now growing pressure on the US from all quarters to expel the remnants of the disarmed Mujaheddin from Iraq. Once this is done, normalcy will be restored in Iranian-Iraqi relations. The US may have legitimate security concerns in Iraq and as US civil administrator Paul Bremer recently put it, the occupation authority lacks the assets to stabilize the security environment. However the reactivation of members of the old intelligence organizations is a short-term and desperate response to unexpected post-war security difficulties. It would be foolish to insist that Iraq must rebuild its security and intelligence organizations from scratch. The more professional and untainted elements of the old intelligence apparatus can be rehabilitated. But this should be a sensitive and long-term task for the Iraqis themselves, not a short-term fix arising from the needs of the occupiers. Mahan Abedin is a London-based financial consultant and analyst of Iranian politics. He wrote this commentary for THE DAILY STAR NO URL * WHO'S COUNTING THE DEAD IN IRAQ? by Helen Thomas Miami Herald, 5th September Remember the enemy body counts during the Vietnam War? Some of those U.S. tabulations were highly exaggerated in an effort to show gains on the battlefield. Well, we don't do that anymore. The Pentagon has meticulously reported the American fatality toll in Iraq, now up to 286. That number includes 183 deaths from hostile fire since the start of the war. It also includes 148 dead since May 1 when President Bush declared the end of major combat operations. A Pentagon spokesman said that 1,105 U.S. service personnel have been wounded since the war began. That kind of numerical precision doesn't apply throughout Iraq. Trying to find the death count among Iraqis has proved to be mission impossible. I asked Pentagon officials: "How many Iraqis have been killed in this war?" The answers were given "on background" -- meaning that the Pentagon spokesmen requested anonymity. The spokesmen were honest. They clearly were following orders from the policymakers when they replied that the Iraqi fatality toll was simply not our concern. The reply to my first Pentagon call was: "We don't track them (Iraqi dead)." Weeks later I pursued the question and was told by a Defense Department official: "They don't count. They are not important," meaning the casualty figures. I later asked for an explanation of why there has been no attempt to find out the number of Iraqi war dead. A Pentagon officer patiently responded: "In combat operations, we have objectives. We don't have an objective to kill people. Our objective was to remove Saddam Hussein from Iraq." "If the Iraqis laid down their arms," he added, "there was no problem. But if we have to go in by force to kill them, the numbers don't make a difference. It's not something we are concerned with." He said that U.S. forces used precision weapons to minimize the casualties. "We achieved our military objective. We did not count" the enemy dead, he said. "It would be difficult at best to determine who was killed when dealing with soldiers on the ground." Various news organizations have come up with estimates of Iraqi dead that range from 1,700 to 3,000 persons. The heavy tonnage of bombs dropped on Iraq probably raised the civilian death toll higher. An official at the U.S. Army Center of Military History acknowledged that the question of enemy fatalities "is a bit sensitive to our people. We just don't face up to how many people were lost." Books at the history center refer to 50,000 Americans killed in World War I and some 250,000 Americans in World War II. Germany lost 1.8 million soldiers in World War I, and, as our archenemy in World War II, lost about 3.25 million people. We do know, however, that in the Vietnam War 58,198 Americans died -- and many thousands more Vietnamese. White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan was asked this week whether President Bush knows how many people were killed and wounded in Iraq -- "not just Americans but the total people killed and wounded in Iraq since the beginning of the war." He dodged the question, simply saying that Bush is "well aware of the sacrifices that our troops have made and the sacrifices that their families are making with our troops over there in Iraq." On March 18, two days before the U.S. invasion, Barbara Bush had an interview with ABC TV's Diane Sawyer. "Why should we hear about body bags and deaths and how many, what day it's gonna happen?" Mrs. Bush declared. "It's not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?" Maybe she is right, but I don't think so. If we do not know or care about the human cost of war for the winners and losers, America will be forever diminished in the eyes of the world. http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/w-me/2003/sep/08/090801874.html * MOSUL RESIDENTS TALK OF SUPPOSED BETRAYER by Scheherezade Faramarzi Las Vegas Sun, 8th September MOSUL, Iraq (AP): Seven weeks after U.S. troops stormed Nawaf al-Zidani's palatial three-story villa, killing Saddam Hussein's sons, al-Zidani's neighbors are still trying to fathom why the popular man broke with Arab custom and betrayed the two brothers. Was it for the $30 million reward to pay off large debts? Was it to avenge the imprisonment of his brother? "We were his neighbors," said Etemad Yassin Taha. "He ought to have at least tipped us off so we wouldn't be in the middle of the shooting. It was literally a war in our neighborhood." U.S. officials have not publicly said who gave them the information that led to the July 22 capture of Odai and Qusai, but people here have little doubt it was al-Zidani who collected the reward - $15 million for each son. Al-Zidani has not been seen since U.S. troops surrounded his house at around 9 a.m. that day, then led him and his son away at gun point. He'd taken his wife and four daughters away from the villa a few hours earlier, said Abu Karam, who runs a grocery store across the road. The house has since been torn down on the orders of U.S. troops. Al-Zidani, 46, was a sociable, fun-loving man, his neighbors say. They'd only really come to know him after the March 20 U.S. invasion of Iraq. He was involved in construction, but was heavily in debt. His brother, Salah, had been jailed more than a year ago for falsely claiming he belonged to Saddam's extended tribe, neighbors say. Some suspect that al-Zidani would have been paid large sums for providing refuge to Odai and Qusai. Al-Zidani wasn't related to Saddam, but did have ties to businessmen in Owja, the former dictator's home village near Tikrit, people here say. Many of his neighbors now feel betrayed because he endangered their lives by bringing heavily armed U.S. soldiers in armored vehicles and tanks into their neighborhood. It also is strictly against Arab culture to host somebody, then betray them. "The children were scared. I was alone with the kids," said Taha. "All the windows broke, the house shook every minute. The walls shook and the kids were screaming - we didn't know what was going on." During the war, al-Zidani's house had been a place of warmth, where friends gathered to play dominoes or backgammon late into the night as laughter drifted off into the distance, the neighbors say. "He seemed a good man," said Wasfiya Hussein. "He was generous and not a show off. He attended wakes, said 'hello' to everyone on the street and visited the sick." But al-Zidani's attitude changed after U.S. troops captured Baghdad on April 9, sending Saddam and his loyalists fleeing into hiding. Al-Zidani immediately packed up some belongings and went north to Dohuk, a town that lies halfway between Mosul and the Turkish border. When he returned, al-Zidani was no longer the sociable man his neighbors had come to know and like. "Their house had always been an open house, with people going in and out... But for 23 days, their gate was pretty much shut," Taha said. The sight of neighbors even sent al-Zidani into panic, she said. Others remember him sitting on his porch until 1 a.m. "We didn't know what was going on. We didn't know who was inside or expect that Odai and Qusai would be hiding there," Abu Karma said. Master Sgt. Kelly Tyler, a spokesman for the 101st Airborne Division, which took part in the raid, would only say that a person "came and told us 'these people are in my house.'" The person told U.S. forces that it wasn't just about the reward money, but also because "there's a growing sense that he (Saddam) needs to be turned over," Tyler said. Since the killings of Odai and Qusai, the search for Saddam has been taken particularly seriously in Mosul, Iraq's third-largest city, 240 miles north of Baghdad. Saddam's vice president, Taha Yassin Ramadan, also was caught in the city by Kurdish forces, and the ex-dictator enjoys profound support among the largely Sunni population. Claims of Saddam spottings, most of them absurd, flood a hot line the U.S. Army has set up and the $25 million bounty for the capture of the dictator remains untouched. http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1038253,00.html * 'I BECAME THE PROFANE PERVERT ARAB BLOGGER' by Salam Pax The Guardian, 9th September My name is Salam Pax and I am addicted to blogs. Some people watch daytime soaps, I follow blogs. I follow the hyperlinks on the blogs I read. I travel through the web guided by bloggers. I get wrapped up in the plots narrated by them. I was reading so many blogs I had to assign weekdays for each bunch, plus the ones I was reading daily. It is slightly voyeuristic, especially those really personal blogs: day-to-day, mundane stuff which is actually fascinating; glimpses of lives so different, and so much amazing writing. No politics, just people's lives. How they deal with pain or grief, how they share their happy moments with anybody who cares to read. And I cared. We had no access to satellite TV, and magazines had to be smuggled into the country. Through blogs I could take a peek at a different world. Satellite TV and the web were on Saddam's list of things that will corrupt you. Having a satellite dish was punishable with jail and a hefty fine because these channels would twist our minds and make us do bad things. They spread immoral values. Of course he and his buddies were incorruptible so they could watch all the satellite TV they wanted. This was the case with internet as well. While the world was moving on to high-speed internet, we were being told it was overrated. So when in 2000 the first state-operated internet centre was opened, everybody was a bit suspicious, no one knew if browsing news sites would get you in trouble. When, another year later, you were able to get access from home, life changed. We had internet and we were able to browse without the minders at the internet centres watching over our shoulder, asking you what that site you are browsing is. Of course things were not that easy, there was a firewall. A black page with big orange letters: access denied. They made you sign a paper which said you would not try to get to sites which were of an "unfriendly" nature and that you would report these sites to the administrator. They blocked certain search terms and they did actually have a bunch of people looking at URL requests going through their servers. It sounds absurd but believe me, they did that. I had a friend who worked at the ISP and he would tell me about the latest trouble in the Mukhabarat [secret police] room. Sometimes when Mr Site Killer would get very upset by people Googling Saddam or his sons, Google would be blocked, and it would take the people at the service provider days to convince him that it is not Google which is the baddie, that it has nothing to do with the content people are searching. We also had no access to sites offering free web mail or web space. You had to use the mail account provided by the ISP and you can bet your wireless mouse this mail was being monitored. But the beauty of the internet is that it is not static, it changes all the time. There are always new sites offering all sorts of services and the people who run the firewall were not always that clued-up. They were just as new to this as we were and it was a race. We would use a certain web mail service until the site was blocked, then start a new search. You had to be creative with your search terms and have lots of patience. And for those who were a little bit geekier, the internet offered a wealth of tunnelling software to download, little programs which allowed you to make tiny holes in the firewall through which you could access blocked sites. They knew it was happening. It was a cat and mouse game. It was on one of these searches that I found blogs. With blogs the web started talking to me in a much more personal way. Bits of news started having texture and most amazingly, these blogs talked with each other. That hyperlink to the next blog - I just couldn't stop clicking. And the best thing about it was that Mr Site Killer had absolutely no clue. To tell you the truth, sharing with the world wasn't really that high on my top five reasons to start a blog. It was more about sharing with Raed, my Jordanian friend who went to Amman after we finished architecture school in Baghdad. He is a lousy email writer; you just don't expect any answers from him. He will answer the next time you see him. So instead of writing emails and then having to dig them up later it would all be there on the blog. So Where is Raed? started. The URL used to be where_is_raed.blogspot.com, just a silly blog for me and Raed. I never worried about the people monitoring the web finding out, it was just silly stuff. The first reckless thing I did was to put the blog address in a blog indexing site under Iraq. I did this after I spent a couple of days searching for Arabs blogging and finding mostly religious blogs. I thought the Arab world deserved a fair representation in the blogsphere, and decided that I would be the profane pervert Arab blogger just in case someone was looking. Putting my site at that portal (eatonweb) was the beginning of the changing of my blog's nature. I got linked by the Legendary Monkey and then Instapundit - a blog that can drive a stampede of traffic to your site. I saw my site counter jump from the usual 20 hits a day to 3,000, all coming from Instapundit - we call it experiencing an Insta-lanche (from avalanche) and if I remember correctly it was a post I wrote on October 12 in which I called the American plan to invade Iraq just a colonialist plot. I just flicked the rant switch on, wrote for half an hour and was surprised that the world took notice. What really worried me was the people writing those emails were doing so as if I was a spokesman for the Iraqi people. There are 25 million Iraqis and I am just one. With the attention came the fear that someone in Iraq might actually read the blog, since by now it had entered warblog territory. But Mr Site Killer still didn't block it. I preferred to believe they were not watching. They were never patient. If they knew about it I would already have been hanging from a ceiling being asked about anti-governmental activities. Real trouble comes when big media takes notice and this happened when there was a mention of the blog and its URL in a Reuters piece. I totally flipped out. I sent emails to Eve Tushnet of the Legendary Monkey, saying that if the blogger site gets blocked I would give her my password so she could erase all my archives. I spent three days checking blogspot.com and blogger.com every couple of hours, because if access got restricted to them I was sure it meant they knew about the site. Things got worse when the Reuters article got picked up by other news outlets. My brother saw my agitation and I had to tell him. He thought I was a fool to endanger the family, which was true. I was kicking myself in the butt for the next couple of days. Then Blogger did get blocked. This was the end. My brother and I kept checking on Blogger.com every couple of hours. But the "access denied" page still did not come up. I signed in, deleted the archives and stopped blogging for a couple of days. What was actually very funny is that blogspot does not delete the archives. Even if the blog does not exist, the archives stay on the web. I was doomed. I waited. Nothing happened. My hands were itching and there was so much news and other blogs to write about, I couldn't help myself. I changed the URL. Using the idea that what I was writing was intended to be letters to Raed, I chose dearraed.blogspot.com, updated the links and started writing again - I told you it was addictive. This time around keeping things quiet was more difficult. The war was coming and search engines were pointing searches about Iraq to the blog. I still thought the most important thing was staying out of the big media - and I never thought they would be interested anyway. By the end of January war felt very close and the blog was being read by a huge number of people. There were big doubts that I was writing from Baghdad, the main argument being there was no way such a thing could stay under the radar for so long in a police state. I really have no idea how that happened. I have no idea whether they knew about it or not. I just felt that it was important that among all the weblogs about Iraq and the war there should be at least one Iraqi blog, one single voice: no matter how you view my politics, there was at least someone talking. I was sometimes really angry at the various articles in the press telling the world about how Iraqis feel and what they were doing when they were living in an isolated world. The journalists could not talk to people in the street without a Mukhabarat man standing beside them. As the war came closer, my blog started getting mentioned more and more. There were people quoting it even after I told them not to, because I feared it would attract too much attention. I talked to as few people as possible and did not answer any interview requests, but my blog was popping up in all sorts of publications. The questions people were asking me became more difficult and the amount of angry mail I was getting became unbelievable. Raed thought I should start panicking. People wanted coherence and a clear stand for or against war. All I had was doubt and uncertainty. One of the first people to link to the blog said, "It is all about a guy who risked his nuts to tell us he's a pervert and his friend likes to watch". I still don't really understand how it became what it is now. The blog for me will always be a wonderful personal reminder of the times I, my friends and family have been through in the past year. To order a copy of Salam Pax's The Baghdad Blog for £7.99 with free UK p&p call Guardian Books on 0870 066 7850. BURIAL OF THE PRETEXT http://politics.guardian.co.uk/kelly/story/0,13747,1035334,00.html * THE WHISTLEBLOWER by Richard Norton-Taylor and Vikram Dodd The Guardian, 4th September A senior government intelligence official who was deeply involved in the production of the dossier on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction yesterday accused the government of "over egging" the threat posed by Saddam Hussein and of ignoring concerns about central claims made in the document. Brian Jones, a top analyst in the defence intelligence staff, described how the "shutters came down", preventing experts on chemical and biological weapons from expressing widespread disquiet about the language and assumptions in the dossier. He told the Hutton inquiry that he and fellow intelligence officials regarded as "nebulous" the hotly disputed claim that Iraqi forces could deploy chemical and biological weapons within 45 minutes - the assertion at the centre of the row between Downing Street and the BBC. The claim, he said, came from a single but "secondary" source whose purpose might have been to "influence rather than inform" British intelligence agencies. Dr Jones, who is now retired, was at the time the dossier was published the head of a scientific section in the defence intelligence analysis staff responsible for chemical and biological weapons. Pressed by Lord Hutton to explain his worries, he told the inquiry: "My concerns were that Iraq's chemical weapons and biological weapons capabilities were not being accurately represented in all regards in relation to the available evidence. "In particular ... on the advice of my staff, I was told that there was no evidence that significant production had taken place either of chemical warfare agent or chemical weapons." Some intelligence analysts complained that they were unhappy with "all the detail that was in the dossier", he said. Dr Jones went as far as to suggest that Iraq possessed few, if any, weapons of mass destruction in the proper meaning of the term. He said he would struggle to place chemical weapons, and many biological weapons, in the category of "weapons of mass destruction", he added. He described how his top chemical warfare expert had expressed concern about the tendency "to over-egg certain assessments in relation particularly to the production of CW [chemical warfare] agents and weapons since 1998". He "could not point to any solid evidence of such production". Dr Jones chaired a meeting of senior defence intelligence officials on September 19, five days before the dossier was published. David Kelly, the government's expert on Iraq's banned weapons programme whose suicide led to the Hutton inquiry, was present. The officials, including Dr Kelly, raised a number of specific concerns about the dossier. None was accepted by Whitehall's joint intelligence committee. One of those present at the meeting, invited there by Dr Kelly, gave evidence yesterday. A government adviser on Iraq's weapons programme, known only as Mr A, he testified by audio link from the Ministry of Defence. Though he said "as a whole" he and Dr Kelly had thought the dossier was a reasonable and accurate reflection of available intelligence, there were serious problems with it, including the 45 minute claim. "What does the 45 minutes refer to?" he said "Are you referring to a technical process? Are you referring to a commander control process?" Prompted by an article in the Guardian, Mr A emailed Dr Kelly about their mutual scepticism over an Iraqi factory at al-Qa' Qa' producing phosgene - used for explosives but also a component suitable for chemical weapons - highlighted in the government's dossier. "You will recall [name blanked out] admitted they were grasping at straws," Mr A told Dr Kelly. It was another example, he said, "supporting our view that you and I should have been more involved in this than the spin merchants of this administration". Mr A told Lord Hutton: "The perception was that the dossier had been round the houses several times in order to try to find a form of words which would strengthen certain political objectives." Asked about the references to "spin merchants" Dr Jones told the inquiry: "I think there was an impression that there was an influence from outside the intelligence community", taken to mean Downing Street. Yesterday's evidence goes to the heart of the claims by the BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan, who alleged Downing Street "sexed up" the dossier against the wishes of the intelligence agencies, though he originally said the government also knew the 45 minute claim to be wrong. Dr Jones's evidence raises questions about evidence given by the prime minister and the JIC chairman, John Scarlett. The analyst told the inquiry he believed the full committee had not met to discuss the final version of the dossier - a suspicion confirmed to the Guardian last night by Whitehall sources. Tony Blair said of the dossier in evidence: "We could hand on heart say: this is the assessment of the joint intelligence committee." Dr Jones said yesterday: "The impression I had was ... the shutters were coming down on this particular paper, that the discussion and the argument had been concluded. And it was the impression that I had, at that time, that our reservations about the dossier were not going to be reflected in the final version." * UNMOVIC HEAD SAYS U.S., U.K. WMD CLAIMS UNFOUNDED RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT, Vol. 6, No. 37, 5 September 2003 The acting head of the UN Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), Demetrius Perricos, told Athens weekly "Kiriakatiki Elevtherotipia" in an interview published on 31 August that claims made by the U.S. and U.K. regarding Iraq's weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs prior to the outbreak of the war were unfounded. Asked about claims made by the Blair administration that Iraq could launch biological and chemical weapons within 45 minutes of receiving the order, Perricos said: "There is no doubt that the phrase 'within 45 minutes' included in the British report was incorrect. The picture of a country fully ready to use weapons of mass destruction, which it supposedly had, was presented. However, how reliable was the information used by the British and American governments to achieve the political decisions they sought? The claim on the Iraqi capability to stage overwhelming attacks within 45 minutes is being reversed, there has been no uranium, and the aluminum piping that was supposedly used to enrich the uranium might be simply intended for shells. Some of the most important elements presented are falling apart." Asked if he believed that the weapons found by UN inspectors were sufficient cause for war in Iraq, Perricos responded "of course not," adding, "I keep saying that the so-called 'smoking gun' was found nowhere. They are still looking for evidence. The Iraqi Survey Group, a team created by Americans, British, and Australians, is continuing the searches, but nothing specific has so far been released to the press. [Iraq Survey Group head] David Kay said a few days ago in a television interview that there would be surprises. So let us wait to see if these surprises have to do with weapons or some program. Of course, nobody goes to war for a program, since it is not known whether the weapons the program refers to have been created. We all want to see the truth." Perricos later noted that UNMOVIC carried out inspections for nearly four months, and the Iraq Survey group has been searching for WMD in Iraq since June, saying, "It is now approximately nine months that inspections have been carried out and nothing has been found." (Kathleen Ridolfo) http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/afp/20030909/wl_afp/un_iraq_w eapons_blix&cid=1512&ncid=1480 * BLIX SAYS IRAQ'S WEAPONS DECLARATION MAY HAVE BEEN TRUE Yahoo, 9th September WASHINGTON (AFP) - Iraq (news - web sites) may have been truthful when it told the UN Security Council in December that it did not have chemical, biological or nuclear weapons, a former chief UN weapons inspector said. The declaration, submitted December 7 by the government of then-Iraqi president Saddam Hussein (news - web sites), was quickly dismissed as false and incomplete by the United States and Britain, which accused Baghdad of failing to disarm as required by Security Council Resolution 1441. These charges were later used by Washington and London to justify the invasion of the country in late March. But more than four months after US President George W. Bush (news - web sites) declared victory in Iraq, former chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix said facts presented by Iraq in the 12,000-page document may have been accurate. "With this long period, I'm inclined to think that the Iraqi statement that they destroyed all the biological and chemical weapons, which they had in the summer of 1991 may well be the truth," Blix told CNN television. The retired Swedish diplomat, who headed the United Nations (news - web sites) Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission for Iraq, said his inspectors had worked in Iraq for three-and-a-half months in late 2002 and early 2003 and "did not find any smoking gun." Blix said US and British experts had now been scouring Iraq for weapons of mass destruction for several months and had the opportunity to interrogate members of the Iraqi establishment in their custody. "I cannot fail to notice that some of the things that they expected us to see that they have turned out not to be real weapons of mass destruction," said the former chief inspector. A US investigative team headed top Central Intelligence Agency (news - web sites) weapons analyst David Kay that began its own search for banned Iraqi weapons shortly after the fall of Hussein is to present its preliminary findings later this month. But US officials indicate it may fail to produce any "smoking gun" as well. US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who met with Kay during his visit to Iraq last week, sought to dampen expectations, telling reporters afterwards, "I'm assuming he would tell me if he had gotten something." President George W. Bush did not mention the search for the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction in his televised address to the nation late Sunday. Blix said top US officials, including Secretary of State Colin Powell (news - web sites) and national security adviser Condoleezza Rice (news - web sites) were anxious to get evidence implicating Baghdad in violations of Resolution 1441 in the run-up to the war. "They would have hoped and they would been happy to see if we had said, 'Here Iraq has violated, here they have, here is the smoking gun. We have found it,'" said the ex-arms inspector. "And when we didn't do that, well, then they were disappointed. And then they overinterpreted their own intelligence." He said he did not want to suggest that top US officials were wilfully and consciously lying, but he said he believed Washington was too willing to jump to conclusions. "I said in the Security Council that if something is unaccounted for, it doesn't necessarily mean that they exist," Blix said. "And I think there was that tendency to jump to that conclusion." _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk