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[casi] News, 10-17/9/03 (1)

News, 10-17/9/03 (1)


*  Benign Autocracy Is Answer for Iraq
*  Iraqi Says New Gov't Setup May Take Years
*  Iraq Council Leaders Pressing For Power


*  Cheney's Carpetbaggers: Looking for The Loot at the End of the Tunnel
*  Cost of Iraq's oil-field repairs balloons past earlier estimates
*  Governing Council appoints central bank governor
*  Retired Iraqi officers issue appeal to CPA for more money
*  Bremer issues new pay scale for state workers


*  What Iraqis Really Think We asked them. What they told us is largely
*  CPA establishes facilities protection service
*  Fourteen Iraqi political parties form alliance
*  Girl Power and Post-War Iraq
*  Defining federalism for Iraq
*  Patriarch Raphael I Bidawid


*  Juan Cole ‹ Informed Comment


by Ray Takeyh and Nikolas Gvosdev
Los Angeles Times, 7th September

WASHINGTON - Last month, national security advisor Condoleezza Rice declared
that it was in America's strategic interests "to work with those in the
Middle East who seek progress toward greater democracy, tolerance,
prosperity and freedom." A democratic Iraq, she continued, "can become a key
element of a very different Middle East." But would the flourishing of
democracy in Iraq really serve America's core interests? In a country
lacking a strong national identity, a country in which ethnic and regional
loyalties are paramount, democracy could well result in another Lebanon - an
unstable patchwork of local ethnic fiefdoms perilously perched at the brink
of civil war.

Iraq lacks well-rooted institutions. It lacks the national political
parties, civic associations, even business conglomerates that create common
interests upon which a stable democracy rests. The looting triggered by the
collapse of the old regime clearly demonstrated the lack of a civil society
capable of promoting general interests above individual ones.

Moreover, even if a sustainable democracy could be created in Iraq, there is
no guarantee it would be amenable to American strategic interests. The
ongoing acts of resistance - as well as the growing frustration with the
presence of American and British forces even in Shiite areas of the country
- point to a nationalistic rejection of the occupation.

Iraqis were happy to be rid of Saddam Hussein but show little inclination to
be directed by the United States in any aspect of domestic or foreign
policy. Under such conditions, it's ludicrous to expect an Iraqi leadership
to be responsive to American concerns and, at the same time, seek an
electoral mandate from a disgruntled populace that does not support U.S.
goals for the region.

America's democratic impulse is similarly self-defeating in the rest of the
Middle East. Despite the claims of the Bush team, our essential interests
are unlikely to be realized in a more democratic Middle East. To maintain
stability, contain its rivals and displace its nemeses, the U.S. needs
garrisons, naval installations and the cooperation of local intelligence
services. It needs to ensure that the price of oil remains stable. And it
needs to continue its commitment to Israel.

It is hard to see how any of these responsibilities can be easily discharged
in a democratic Middle East.

Throughout the region, opposition to the United States cuts across
ideological and cultural boundaries and unites seemingly disparate groups.
Take the case of the peace process. In the two states that have enacted
formal peace treaties with Israel - Egypt and Jordan - much popular opinion
is strongly hostile to such obligations. It is autocrats, not popular
assemblies, who keep the peace process alive.

Given such views, American policy objectives are unlikely to fare well in a
pluralistic Middle East.

Nor would the United States find a democratic Middle East a more hospitable
terrain for its antiproliferation priorities. Prospective democracies in the
Middle East, including Iraq, would face strong nationalistic pressure to
modernize their armed forces and develop weapons to compete with a
nuclear-armed Israel. Washington has had some success in coaxing, bribing
and pressuring Arab despots to comply with nonproliferation treaties, but it
would have little leverage with democratic regimes. It is significant that
none of the opposition parties in either Pakistan or Iran supports any move
toward a nuclear freeze.

The best that the United States can hope for is to encourage the rise of
liberal autocracies that will accommodate popular demands for accountability
and participation while still maintaining close ties with the United States.
The model of liberal autocracy is not without precedent in the Arab-Muslim
world. Several of the region's most stable and pro-American regimes are
already moving toward this type of governance. The modernizing monarchies of
Morocco, Jordan, Qatar and Kuwait and the liberalizing one-party state of
Tunisia all serve to illustrate this indigenous trend.

This sort of liberal autocracy should be America's model for political
reconstruction in Iraq. Instead of quixotic democratic schemes, Washington
should create a strong central government in Baghdad, one that is responsive
to its citizens but also capable of regulating local rivalries and is
insulated from popular pressure.

America's goal should be to transfer power to an indigenous regime as soon
as possible, not to use Iraq as some sort of social-science laboratory for
nation-building. The United States should select an efficient new leadership
capable of initiating market and other reforms while also managing popular
discontent with American policies. There is a great deal of talent in the
midlevel ranks of the military and civil service that can be tapped for such
a purpose.

Empowering pragmatic local administrators (as opposed to exiled politicians)
would ensure that the leadership is in touch with the needs of the Iraqi
people, and that it would have a good chance of surviving even after the
U.S. withdraws.

The continuing unrest in Iraq today demonstrates that its citizens crave
services, not abstract notions of pluralism. If a new regime improves the
quality of life for Iraqi citizens, it will gain popular support - even if
it was backed initially by the U.S.

The United States is at a crossroads. It can either face the very real risks
of democratization or dispense with its Wilsonian pieties and craft a
durable new order for the Middle East. It cannot do both.

*  Iraq 'privatization' within two years
Arabic News, 12th September
[sez 'Iraq's minister of finance' Kamel al-Keilani]

The new Iraq's minister of finance Kamel al-Keilani under the interim
governing council announced that a clear work plan will be drawn to
privatize industries owned by the government within two years.

Al-Keilani said that first the Iraqi people should be convinced of the idea
to sell governmental industries especially the oil sector, noting that the
"the period is very clear of no less than 2 years.. we will define first the
sectors that can be privatized and draw the foundations and make sure that
the issue is accepted for the Iraqi people."

Las Vegas Sun, 14th September

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - It could take as long as two years to write a new Iraqi
constitution, hold a national referendum on it and conduct national
elections for a new government, a key Iraqi official said Sunday.

Fouad Massoum, chairman of the committee studying the constitutional
process, said there would have to be a census to determine voter eligibility
for the referendum on the new legal framework and for participation in
national elections that would follow. He said his group would likely put
several options before the U.S.-picked Governing Council which established
his committee. He expected the proposals to be ready by the end of the

Should the process of writing a constitution stretch to two years, that
could put it well beyond the time set by L. Paul Bremer, the U.S. civilian
administrator for Iraq, who has said a new government could be in place as
soon as the end of 2004.

How quickly Iraqis can draft a constitution and become self-governing is
under intense debate by the United States and other U.N. Security Council

France, Germany and Russia have suggested that a swift timetable is needed.
The French want a provisional Iraqi government in place within a month, for
example, followed by a draft constitution by the end of the year and
elections next spring.

Secretary of State Colin Powell has called the French timetable unrealistic.

The United States and other veto-wielding security council members held
talks Saturday in Geneva and plan more discussions in New York on a new U.N.
resolution on Iraq that deals with the timetable for a political transition.

A draft U.N. resolution proposed by the United States invites the Iraqi
Governing Council to produce "a timetable and program for the drafting of a
new constitution for Iraq and for the holding of democratic elections." The
resolution would help shift the peacekeeping burden from Washington and
create a multinational force under a unified U.N. command with an American

One option to move the Iraqi political process along, Massoum told a news
conference, would be to conduct a census in tandem with the constitutional
drafting process so there could be a national referendum immediately after
the document was complete. A second option, he said, would be to draft a
temporary constitution to avoid a legal vacuum while the new basic law was

Iraq's only permanent constitution was adopted in 1925 under the
constitutional monarchy installed four years earlier by Britain, the
country's former colonial ruler. That constitution, which allowed a
pluralistic political system, was suspended after the 1958 coup toppled the

Since then the country has operated under a series of temporary
constitutions that served the interests of non-elected leaders.

During Saddam Hussein's 23-year rule, the final word on all policies rested
with the former dictator and the Revolutionary Command Council of which he
was chairman.

Massoum said a third alternative process could involve using the last
census, done in 1997. But that count did not include the Kurdish controlled
areas in the north which operated effectively as a self-ruling area under
the protection of American and British air patrols that kept Saddam's
military out of the region.

Massoum said that some parts of the new constitution might be lifted from
the document under which Saddam pretended to operate.

"The new constitution might be based on some positive points in the current
Iraqi constitution. We are not going to start from scratch," he said.

In any case, Massoum said, the new constitution would not be based on that
of any other country.

"The constitution should be written by Iraqis and be made to serve the
Iraqis," he said.

by Rajiv Chandrasekaran
Washington Post, 15th September

BAGHDAD, Sept. 14 -- Five key leaders of Iraq's U.S.-appointed Governing
Council have seized upon the debate over a new U.N. Security Council
resolution on Iraq to advocate a quick end to the American occupation and a
transfer of power to Iraqis, fueling the first significant tensions between
the Bush administration and its political allies here.

The leaders, who all head prominent political organizations that opposed the
government of deposed president Saddam Hussein, want the 25-member Governing
Council to expand its role beyond that envisaged by the U.S. occupation
authority and assume the powers of a sovereign government until a new
constitution is written and democratic elections are held.

"There must be a move forward to sovereignty for Iraq," said Ahmed Chalabi,
the leader of the Iraqi National Congress opposition group and this month's
Governing Council president. "We want to work with the international
community to achieve that as soon as possible."

The demands for a fast transfer of power, shared by other leaders on the
council, run counter to the Bush administration's postwar reconstruction
strategy. The administration insists the U.S.-led occupation authority here
should retain ultimate control over Iraq's civil and military affairs until
the constitution is ratified and an elected government is seated, a process
that U.S. officials have said could take until the end of next year.

The leaders' call for an end to the occupation also could complicate U.S.
efforts to win a Security Council resolution that would endorse the creation
of a multinational force in Iraq under American command, without requiring
the United States to relinquish significant control over the country's civil

The administration is hoping that a U.N. imprimatur for military operations
in Iraq will entice countries such as India, Pakistan and Turkey to send
troops to bolster stretched American forces. But the French government has
indicated it would consider such a resolution only if it includes the
transfer to Iraqis of significant additional civil authority.

Although the administration has argued it would be unwise to hand over power
too fast, it finds itself in the awkward position of having some of the
Iraqis it appointed as interim leaders calling for an accelerated end to the
occupation. One member of the governing council, former Iraqi diplomat Akila
Hashimi, recently held discussions with the French government in Paris.
Other members, including Chalabi, intend to press the issue when the U.N.
General Assembly meets in New York this week, representatives of the five
leaders said.

"We may be heading to a confrontation over this issue," a senior official of
Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress said today. "It puts the Americans in a
very difficult position."

During a visit to Baghdad today, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell met with
the Governing Council and reiterated the administration's view that there
needs to be a "deliberate process that first and foremost builds up the
institutions of governance" before there can be a handover of power. U.S.
officials here point out that the two-month-old council selected cabinet
ministers less than two weeks ago, and has not yet formed internal
committees, hired enough support staff or set up an effective public
relations operation.

"We're not hanging on for the sake of hanging on," Powell said at a news
conference. "We're hanging on because it's necessary to stay with this task
until a new government has been created -- a responsible government. The
worst thing that could happen is for us to push this too quickly -- before
the capacity for governance is there and the basis for legitimacy is there
-- and see it fail."

The U.S. civil administrator of Iraq, L. Paul Bremer, is concerned that the
council, whose members he handpicked, still does not have sufficient
standing in the eyes of ordinary Iraqis. Many people here regard the five
leaders, who returned after years living outside the control of Hussein's
government, as American puppets who enriched themselves while in exile or in
autonomous Kurdish areas.

"They're not ready for more power," said one U.S. official familiar with the
council, noting that the diverse body was created to advise the occupation
authority on policy issues and supervise the national bureaucracy, not
govern a nation of 25 million people.

The official maintained that transferring power quickly could be chaotic
because ordinary Iraqis may not accept the council as their interim
government and there would be no guarantee that the council would follow
through on the writing of a constitution and elections.

The council itself has become a divided body, with deep tensions between the
leaders and other members. Political independents have been incensed by the
leaders' maneuvers to dominate the body's rotating presidency and appoint
their candidates to several powerful cabinet posts -- and several
independents object to the idea of a fast handover of power to the council.

But the five leaders contend the best way to reduce attacks on U.S. forces
and improve attitudes toward the American presence here would be to give
sovereignty to the council, which then would invite U.S. troops and civilian
reconstruction personnel to remain in the country.

"We're in a very dangerous situation now," said Adel Abdel-Mehdi, a senior
official of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, a Shiite
Muslim party whose political chief is one of the five former opposition
leaders. "What prevents us from moving forward is this idea of occupation.
Iraq cannot be governed if Iraqis don't get more responsibility."

A restoration of sovereignty, said Chalabi, whose organization has long been
supported by the Pentagon, "would make the Americans look like liberators
again" and would reduce attacks against U.S. forces. "Iraqi people," he
said, "don't understand the logic of occupation."

Although most Iraqis appear to support the concept of an accelerated
handover of sovereignty, there are deep divisions among them about the
continued presence of U.S. forces. Many have urged a full withdrawal, while
others, including Chalabi and his fellow former opposition leaders, want
American troops and civil reconstruction specialists to stay, but to serve
in a more behind-the-scenes role.

The tension over the transfer of power underscores the complicated and
sometimes fractious relationship between the U.S. government and the five
former opposition leaders, who had expected to jointly run Iraq after
Hussein's government was toppled, based on an agreement they reached among
themselves before the war and what they contend were assurances from their
various sponsors in Washington.

Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress had long been supported by the Pentagon,
which flew him into the country during the war. Ayad Alawi, who heads the
Iraqi National Accord, is disliked by the Pentagon but had been backed by
the CIA, which had a falling-out with Chalabi. Abdul Aziz Hakim, the
political leader of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq,
which had been based in Iran, had been in touch with the State Department.
The two Kurdish leaders, Massoud Barzani and Jalal Talabani, also had the
backing of the Defense and State departments.

Shortly after the war, representatives of all five parties said the first
U.S. civil administrator, retired Lt. Gen. Jay M. Garner, promised them that
they would lead the transitional government. At the time, strategists in the
Pentagon favored that approach until democratic elections could be held.

But when Garner was replaced by Bremer, those guarantees vanished. Bremer, a
former ambassador who arrived in Iraq with a broad mandate to overhaul the
troubled reconstruction effort, concluded the five were insufficiently
representative and too disorganized to run the country. He instead set out
to form a council that would include them and several others to advise him
on governance issues while he retained ultimate executive authority.

After the five objected, Bremer began negotiating with them and eventually
agreed to a compromise that would give the former opposition leaders and
other members of the council more power, including the authority to name
cabinet ministers, approve the budget and devise a process to write the

In addition to the five former opposition leaders, the council's other
members include representatives of the country's diverse ethnic, religious,
political and tribal groups. There are other former exiles and Kurds, but
also several members who lived in the country throughout Hussein's rule.
Most are not affiliated with parties and many lack political experience.

Tensions quickly surfaced between the five former opposition leaders and the
independents. When it came time to elect a president, one of the five,
Talabani, opposed the selection of a single president even though 17 members
wanted one. Instead, the five devised a system in which they and four others
would share the presidency, trading off every month.

When cabinet posts were divided, the former opposition leaders grabbed the
most powerful ministries for themselves and doled out the rest.

"All the decisions were made in a smoke-filled room," said one independent
member. "It was disgraceful."

Independents also object to a quick transfer of sovereignty to the council,
raising fears that political leaders will further consolidate power. Several
of them said they prefer a more measured approach that would allow new
parties and aspiring politicians a fairer chance to compete.

"We want a complete transfer of sovereignty, but only as soon as it's
practical," said independent member Samir Shakir Mahmoud Sumaidy, a
businessman who spent 26 years in exile in London. "It needs to be gradual."

Another independent member, Mowaffak Rubaie, a physician who also lived in
exile in London, warned that "if the Americans leave now, there will be a
huge explosion of infighting."

U.S. officials said they are trying to encourage independent members to help
make the case for a continuation of the occupation. But the Bush
administration also is trying to avoid a direct confrontation with the five
leaders, who have significant constituencies and could be among the
country's first elected officials.

"These are people who are now involved in a process leading to democracy," a
senior State Department official said. "We recognize there are going to be
different views. It's democracy."


by Edward Spannaus
Executive Intelligence Review, 12th September


Ten days after taking the oath of office, President George W. Bush created a
task force, headed by Vice President Dick Cheney, to develop a national
energy policy. Less than four months later, the task force's report was

Its final chapter deals with global energy supplies. Noting that the United
States currently imports 53% of its net oil requirements, the report
declares that continued access to international energy supplies is a vital
matter of national security. Strategically, the report divides the sources
of oil into two categories: the Middle East-with 67% of proven world oil
reserves-and the rest of the world. The report asserts that the Persian Gulf
region "will remain vital to U.S. interests," and it will be "a primary
focus of U.S. international energy policy."

The report's recommendation is for Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Algeria, Qatar, the
United Arab Emirates, and other suppliers "to open up areas of their energy
sectors to foreign investment." Iraq is not mentioned by name, even though
Iraq has the second-largest reserves, next to Saudi Arabia-and potentially,
with full exploration, even the largest. Moreover, because of special
geological conditions, Iraq oil can be extracted considerably more cheaply
than in most areas of the world.

Was this somehow just overlooked by Cheney and the Task Force? Or did they
have other ways in mind to "open up" Iraq for foreign investment?

The Secret Iraq Map

In mid-July 2003, the watchdog group Judicial Watch announced that, as a
result of a court order, it had just obtained a set of documents concerning
the Energy Task Force, which included a map of Iraqi oil fields, pipelines,
refineries and terminals, as well as two charts detailing Iraqi oil and gas
projects, and a list of "Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oil Field
Contracts"-pertaining, of course, to contracts with the Saddam Hussein

The maps and charts were dated March 2001-at the peak of activity of the
Cheney task force; it was created at the end of January, and issued its
report in mid-May 2001. The only other countries for which such maps were
provided were Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E., both of which were openly
discussed in the Task Force report.

It took Judicial Watch more than two years, and a court order, to obtain
these documents, and it's not hard to imagine why. The implications are
rather staggering, when the documents are examined in the context of the
Task Force report final chapter, which places overwhelming importance on
opening up the Gulf region for foreign investment. The deliberate omission
of Iraq is itself almost an admission of guilt, for we know that Cheney and
Co. had their eye on Iraq since the 1991 Gulf War, which they considered a
failure for not going on to Baghdad to remove Saddam Hussein from power.

The 1991 draft Defense Policy Guidance, prepared by Paul Wolfowitz, Lewis
Libby and Eric Edelman (all key players in the current Administration) for
then-Secretary of Defense Cheney, called for the United States to prevent
the emergence of any rival superpower globally, and to prevent domination of
any strategically critical region by any hostile power. Among seven
classified scenarios for war, was one involving Iraq.

Halliburton's Contract

Even before the second war against Iraq was officially launched in March
2003, Dick Cheney's Halliburton Co., through its subsidiary Kellogg Brown &
Root (KBR), had received a no-bid contract to extinguish oil fires in Iraq
and to rebuild Iraq oil facilities. The contract is reportedly worth up to
$7 billion. Over time, as details of the secret contract leaked out, it was
learned that the contract also contained provisions for KBR to operate the
Iraqi oil fields and organize distribution of Iraqi oil.

While all sorts of grandiose plans to quickly restart Iraq oil exports were
flying around, the big problem, as more sober observers noted, was that it
might prove impossible to find anyone to buy Iraqi oil, because of the
problem of legal title. Who owns it? The United States certainly doesn't,
and there was no recognized Iraqi government. The lack of clear title was
making it impossible for oil purchasers or shippers to even get insurance
for their deals.

Because of this legal cloud preventing the United States from selling the
oil, and with protests from other countries against the U.S. plans to simply
grab the Iraqi oil, the United States was compelled to put the Iraqi oil
revenues under some fig-leaf of United Nations control. This was done
through a plan to create a new "Development Fund for Iraq," which was
established under UN Security Council Resolution 1483, adopted on May 22.
The funds accumulated under the UN Oil-for-Food program were to be deposited
in the Fund, along with all future proceeds from oil and gas sales.

The Fund is controlled by Paul Bremer, the Administrator of the Coalition
Provisional Authority (CPA). According to CPA Regulation No. 2, issued by
Bremer on June 15, the Fund is managed "in coordination with" the Federal
Reserve Bank of New York, where all receipts of Iraqi oil and gas sales are
to be deposited and held. Provision is also made for coordination with the
Bank for International Settlements (BIS), if accounts are opened there.

Mortgaging Iraq's Oil

Already in the works by this time, was a plan developed by Halliburton,
Bechtel and others, to mortgage future Iraqi oil revenues to pay for their
reconstruction contracts. The plan, contained in a U.S. Export-Import Bank
memorandum dated May 28, is that the Ex-Im Bank or another facility would
issue bonds secured by future oil revenues, and use the proceeds of the
bonds to pay for reconstruction contracts, i.e. to pay Halliburton and
Bechtel. The June 19 Wall Street Journal reported that the plan "has the
enthusiastic endorsement" of Halliburton and Bechtel, who are also operating
through the "Coalition for Employment Through Exports." This was also
confirmed to EIR by sources at the Ex-Im Bank.

(After Cheney became the CEO of Halliburton in 1995, he sharply increased
its political contributions and lobbying activities. Under Cheney,
Halliburton received $1.5 billion of guarantees or direct loans from the
Ex-Im Bank and related agencies, including projects in Russia and the
Caspian Sea region.)

The oil-revenue grab was outlined in the Ex-In Bank's May 28 memorandum
"Financing the Reconstruction of Iraq." Under the caption "Securitizing
Future Oil Revenues," it noted that, under UN Resolution 1483, some 95% of
Iraqi oil and gas revenues are to be deposited into the Development Fund for
Iraq, and that there will be many competing demands on these revenues. If
investments are made to upgrade Iraqi oil industry facilities, estimated oil
revenues could reach $10-15 billion a year, so the question is, how to seize
these funds-in advance-for the contractors who will do the reconstruction?
The mechanism proposed, is "securitization," issuing bonds against the
anticipated future revenues. According to one account, this would be managed
through an "Iraq Reconstruction Finance Authority."

Yet, there were still a few flies in the ointment, namely legal ones. There
was the question of the existing contracts between Iraq and foreign oil
companies, largely European and including Russia. Then there was the even
bigger question, of who has the authority to void the old contracts, and
enter into new contracts? Traditionally, only a recognized, sovereign
government can do so.

As Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) put it in a July 11 interview with the Los
Angeles Times, on the oil-mortgage scheme: "Unless a reconstituted Iraqi
government or the UN Security Council authorizes the plan, it appears to
violate international law."

This is why the Bush-Cheney administration was so eager to obtain some kind
of UN endorsement of the CPA. But what the UN did, was to recognize the
United States and Britain as "occupying powers"-which imposes strict legal
responsibility and liability. Under the international law of occupation, the
occupying powers are responsible for the health, welfare, and safety of the
population of the occupied country, and are subject to civil and even
criminal liability.

Something else was, therefore, needed, to protect Cheney's cronies and their
plans to loot Iraq's oil.

Immunizing the Oil Grab

What they came up with, was a sweeping scheme to fence off the revenues from
any legal action or seizure. This was done in two steps:

1) UN Resolution 1483, drafted by the United States, provided immunity from
legal process for the revenues from oil sales deposited in the Development
Fund. Specifically this protects the funds from claims by creditors or those
with claims against the previous Iraq regime.

2) On May 22, the same day that Resolution 1483 was adopted by the UN
Security Council, President Bush signed Executive Order 13303, which gives
U.S. oil companies and contractors blanket immunity from any liability or
claims arising from anything to do with Iraqi oil. The EO was published in
the Federal Register on May 28, and went unnoticed for weeks.

The EO is entitled "Protecting the Development Fund for Iraq and Certain
Other Property in Which Iraq Has an Interest." In it, President Bush
declares that "the threat of attachment or other judicial process" against
the "Development Fund for Iraq, Iraqi petroleum and petroleum products, and
interest therein, and proceeds, obligations, and any financial instruments
of any nature whatsoever" related to the sale or marketing of such petroleum
or petroleum products, "constitutes an unusual and extraordinary threat to
the national security and foreign policy of the United States," such that
Bush even felt bound to declare "a national emergency" to deal with this

Many observers were simply bowled over by the sweeping nature of this
declaration. Oil companies, etc. are given immunity for anything relating to
Iraqi oil and the revenues derived therefrom.

Said a spokesman for another watchdog group, the Goverment Accountability
Project (GAP): "In terms of legal liability, the Executive Order cancels the
concept of corporate accountability and abandons the rule of law." GAP
accurately describes it as "a license for corporations to loot Iraq and its


Houston Chronicle, 12th September

WASHINGTON -- The Pentagon already has spent nearly $1 billion repairing
Iraq's damaged energy sector, but the White House says it will need double
that amount next year.

With the nation facing mounting bills as coalition forces struggle to
rebuild Iraq, Democrats on Capitol Hill want to know why the current
estimates for oil-field repair work are so much larger than previous

As part of his $87 billion budget request for postwar Iraq, President Bush
has asked lawmakers to provide $2.1 billion "to rehabilitate oil
infrastructure and secure domestic consumption."

As the Army Corps of Engineers' oil-field contractor in Iraq, Houston-based
Halliburton Co. subsidiary KBR, formerly known as Kellogg Brown & Root, has
been assigned five different tasks so far, with a total price tag of nearly
$948 million.

More than half that expense to date -- nearly $588 million -- has involved
repairing the fuel distribution system and importing products such as diesel
fuel and liquefied petroleum gas until Iraq can produce enough of its own to
meet domestic needs, according to Corps of Engineers records.

Another $319.7 million has been spent assessing the damage to Iraq's oil
fields after the war, putting out well fires and repairing those facilities.

By August, those efforts had helped push Iraqi oil production to more than 1
million barrels, up 350,000 barrels a day from July output, according to
Platts, an energy industry publisher. But that's still a far cry from the 3
million barrels a day Bush administration officials hope to see by the end
of the year.

The effort to restore Iraq's oil production and export has been plagued by
repeated acts of sabotage. The attacks have become so frequent that Corps of
Engineers officials concede they don't know what the final cost figures will

Critics of the administration have long assailed the Halliburton contract,
complaining that the corps handed this huge project to the firm once headed
by Vice President Dick Cheney without seeking bids from competitors.

Last month, the corps solicited bids from other contractors to complete the
oil-field service work. The corps is slated to award two new contracts
around mid-October.

Democrats in Congress blasted the new, $2.1 billion funding request Friday.

California Rep. Henry Waxman, ranking Democrat on the House Government
Reform Committee, and Michigan Rep. John Dingell, ranking minority member on
the House Energy and Commerce Committee, called the budget request a
"radical departure" from previous estimates in a letter to Joshua Bolten,
director of the Office of Management and Budget.

They pointed to a final work plan released in July, which detailed 220
oil-related projects the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority, the Corps
of Engineers and the newly reconstituted Iraqi oil ministry hoped to have
completed by the end of March. The total cost of that remaining work was
estimated in July at just over $1.1 billion.

"This is an enormous change," Waxman and Dingell wrote. "Yet the president
gave no explanation of how the costs could have ballooned so dramatically in
such a short period of time."

A spokeswoman for Halliburton said company officials are proud of the work
they have done in Iraq and argued that rehabilitation of the country's
energy sector is an essential part of restoring normalcy to Iraq.

A spokesman for the Army Corps of Engineers referred calls to the White
House. A White House spokeswoman could not be reached for comment.

RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT, Vol. 6, No. 38, 15 September 2003

The Iraqi Governing Council appointed economist Sinan Muhammad Rida
al-Shibibi as Iraq's first post-Hussein central bank governor, AP reported
on 10 September. He was a member of the opposition's Follow-Up and
Coordination Committee organized in December 2002 to prepare for a
post-Hussein Iraq (see "RFE/RL Iraq Report," 23 December 2002). Al-Shibibi
holds a master's degree in economics from Manchester University and a
doctorate in economics from Bristol University. He worked for the Iraqi
Planning Ministry until 1980 when he joined the UN Conference on Trade and
Development (UNCTAD), and has worked as a consultant for UNCTAD since his
2001 retirement.

His appointment comes just weeks before an international donors conference
on Iraq, scheduled to be held in Madrid on 24 October. Fifty nations and
international organizations are slated to attend the conference. Iraqi
Governing Council President for September Ahmad Chalabi, told reporters on
10 September that the council's Financial Committee is preparing proposals
for development projects to present at the Madrid conference. (Kathleen

RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT, Vol. 6, No. 38, 15 September 2003

Retired Iraqi military officers issued an appeal through the Baghdad weekly
"Al-Arab al Yawm" on 6 September calling on Coalition Provisional Authority
head L. Paul Bremer to increase their $20 per month stipend. "We had to
undergo deprivation during the previous system that compelled most of us to
work [hard] in unsuitable jobs in spite of our...ages, or to sell our
[possessions], or even to request a return to service after [we had dreamed]
of retiring," the appeal stated, adding, "All [of] that to keep our families
barely alive." The appeal called the current CPA stipend "debasing" and
asked that retired officers be paid a sum equal to that paid to current
officers in service. It also calls on the Iraqi Governing Council to "decide
suitable salaries" to ensure that retirees live in honor. "We ask the
[governing] council to pay us a suitable 'service end honorarium sum'
instead of the meager one which had been paid to us when we were referred to
pension, in order to substitute our [severe] deprivation," the appeal
demanded. (Kathleen Ridolfo)

RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT, Vol. 6, No. 38, 15 September 2003

Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) head Bremer signed an order on 8
September approving a new pay scale for Iraqi government workers, according
to the CPA website ( The revised salary scale will
be effective from 1 October until 30 September 2004.

Exceptions to the scale will be made for employees whose current rate of pay
is higher than it would be according to the new scale, and to employees for
which an exception is granted by the CPA director of management and budget,
or in cases where that director has already authorized a salary scale for a
public agency. As part of the government salary reform, Bremer has ordered
all ministers and state-owned enterprise directors to establish salary grade
classifications for existing positions within their agencies and to present
those classifications to the Ministry of Finance for review and approval.
All government agencies will also be responsible for developing annual
salary budgets.

The order also states that public service employees that lost their civil
service positions as a result of the CPA's order on the de-Ba'athification
of Iraqi society would not be entitled to retirement benefits. The
seven-page document details hiring and promotion guidelines, and employment
conditions for Iraqi government workers, including a salary table. (Kathleen


Opinion Journal, 10th September

America, some say, is hobbled in its policies toward Iraq by not knowing
much about what Iraqis really think. Are they on the side of radical
Islamists? What kind of government would they like? What is their attitude
toward the U.S.? Do the Shiites hate us? Could Iraq become another Iran
under the ayatollahs? Are the people in the Sunni triangle the real problem?
Up to now we've only been able to guess. We've relied on anecdotal
temperature takings of the Iraqi public, and have been at the mercy of
images presented to us by the press. We all know that journalists have a
bad-news bias: 10,000 schools being rehabbed isn't news; one school blowing
up is a weeklong feeding frenzy. And some of us who have spent time recently
in Iraq--I was an embedded reporter during the war--have been puzzled by the
postwar news and media imagery, which is much more negative than what many
individuals involved in reconstructing Iraq have been telling us. Well,
finally we have some evidence of where the truth may lie. Working with Zogby
International survey researchers, The American Enterprise magazine has
conducted the first scientific poll of the Iraqi public. Given the state of
the country, this was not easy. Security problems delayed our intrepid
fieldworkers several times. We labored at careful translations, regional
samplings and survey methods to make sure our results would accurately
reflect the views of Iraq's multifarious, long-suffering people. We
consulted Eastern European pollsters about the best way to elicit honest
answers from those conditioned to repress their true sentiments.

Conducted in August, our survey was necessarily limited in scope, but it
reflects a nationally representative sample of Iraqi views, as captured in
four disparate cities: Basra (Iraq's second largest, home to 1.7 million
people, in the far south), Mosul (third largest, far north), Kirkuk
(Kurdish-influenced oil city, fourth largest) and Ramadi (a resistance
hotbed in the Sunni triangle). The results show that the Iraqi public is
more sensible, stable and moderate than commonly portrayed, and that Iraq is
not so fanatical, or resentful of the U.S., after all. . Iraqis are
optimistic. Seven out of 10 say they expect their country and their personal
lives will be better five years from now. On both fronts, 32% say things
will become much better. . The toughest part of reconstructing their nation,
Iraqis say by 3 to 1, will be politics, not economics. They are nervous
about democracy. Asked which is closer to their own view- "Democracy can
work well in Iraq," or "Democracy is a Western way of doing things"--five
out of 10 said democracy is Western and won't work in Iraq. One in 10 wasn't
sure. And four out of 10 said democracy can work in Iraq. There were
interesting divergences. Sunnis were negative on democracy by more than 2 to
1; but, critically, the majority Shiites were as likely to say democracy
would work for Iraqis as not. People age 18-29 are much more rosy about
democracy than other Iraqis, and women are significantly more positive than
men. . Asked to name one country they would most like Iraq to model its new
government on from five possibilities--neighboring, Baathist Syria; neighbor
and Islamic monarchy Saudi Arabia; neighbor and Islamist republic Iran; Arab
lodestar Egypt; or the U.S.--the most popular model by far was the U.S. The
U.S. was preferred as a model by 37% of Iraqis selecting from those
five--more than Syria, Iran and Egypt put together. Saudi Arabia was in
second place at 28%. Again, there were important demographic splits. Younger
adults are especially favorable toward the U.S., and Shiites are more
admiring than Sunnis. Interestingly, Iraqi Shiites, coreligionists with
Iranians, do not admire Iran's Islamist government; the U.S. is six times as
popular with them as a model for governance. . Our interviewers inquired
whether Iraq should have an Islamic government, or instead let all people
practice their own religion. Only 33% want an Islamic government; a solid
60% say no. A vital detail: Shiites (whom Western reporters frequently
portray as self-flagellating maniacs) are least receptive to the idea of an
Islamic government, saying no by 66% to 27%. It is only among the minority
Sunnis that there is interest in a religious state, and they are split
evenly on the question. . Perhaps the strongest indication that an Islamic
government won't be part of Iraq's future: The nation is thoroughly
secularized. We asked how often our respondents had attended the Friday
prayer over the previous month. Fully 43% said "never." It's time to scratch
"Khomeini II" from the list of morbid fears. . You can also cross out "Osama
II": 57% of Iraqis with an opinion have an unfavorable view of Osama bin
Laden, with 41% of those saying it is a very unfavorable view. (Women are
especially down on him.) Except in the Sunni triangle (where the limited
support that exists for bin Laden is heavily concentrated), negative views
of the al Qaeda supremo are actually quite lopsided in all parts of the
country. And those opinions were collected before Iraqi police announced it
was al Qaeda members who killed worshipers with a truck bomb in Najaf. . And
you can write off the possibility of a Baath revival. We asked "Should Baath
Party leaders who committed crimes in the past be punished, or should past
actions be put behind us?" A thoroughly unforgiving Iraqi public stated by
74% to 18% that Saddam's henchmen should be punished. This new evidence on
Iraqi opinion suggests the country is manageable. If the small number of
militants conducting sabotage and murder inside the country can gradually be
eliminated by American troops (this is already happening), then the mass of
citizens living along the Tigris-Euphrates Valley are likely to make
reasonably sensible use of their new freedom. "We will not forget it was the
U.S. soldiers who liberated us from Saddam," said Abid Ali, an auto repair
shop owner in Sadr City last month--and our research shows that he's not

None of this is to suggest that the task ahead will be simple. Inchoate
anxiety toward the U.S. showed up when we asked Iraqis if they thought the
U.S. would help or hurt Iraq over a five-year period. By 50% to 36% they
chose hurt over help. This is fairly understandable; Iraqis have just lived
through a war in which Americans were (necessarily) flinging most of the
ammunition. These experiences may explain why women (who are more
antimilitary in all cultures) show up in our data as especially wary of the
U.S. right now. War is never pleasant, though U.S. forces made heroic
efforts to spare innocents in this one, as I illustrate with firsthand
examples in my book about the battles. Evidence of the comparative
gentleness of this war can be seen in our poll. Less than 30% of our sample
of Iraqis knew or heard of anyone killed in the spring fighting. Meanwhile,
fully half knew some family member, neighbor or friend who had been killed
by Iraqi security forces during the years Saddam held power. Perhaps the
ultimate indication of how comfortable Iraqis are with America's aims in
their region came when we asked how long they would like to see American and
British forces remain in their country: Six months? One year? Two years or
more? Two thirds of those with an opinion urged that the coalition troops
should stick around for at least another year. We're making headway in a
benighted part of the world. Hang in there, America. Mr. Zinsmeister, editor
in chief of The American Enterprise magazine and holder of the J.B. Fuqua
chair at the American Enterprise Institute, is the author of "Boots on the
Ground: A Month With the 82nd Airborne in the Battle for Iraq," just out
from St. Martin's Press.

RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT, Vol. 6, No. 38, 15 September 2003

Bremer signed an order establishing the Facilities Protection Service (FPS)
in Iraq on 4 September, according to the CPA website.

The FPS "is an organization of trained, armed, uniformed entities charged
with providing security for ministry and governorate offices, government
infrastructure, and fixed sites under the direction and control of
governmental ministries and governorate administrations," the order states.
Iraqi government employees employed by the ministries or governorates are
eligible to serve in the FPS, as are employees of private security firms
working for those entities. The ministry of interior is responsible for the
FPS's training.

According to the order, the FPS organization may be known under different
names, such as the "Electricity Police," the "Diplomatic Protective
Services," and the "Oil Police." FPS agents have the power to apprehend
persons in the act of committing a crime, fugitives, and individuals
interfering in their duties. (Kathleen Ridolfo)

RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT, Vol. 6, No. 38, 15 September 2003

Fourteen Iraqi political parties and movements have formed an alliance
called the Unified Iraqi Front, the "Al-Zaman" newspaper reported on 8
September. Faysal Sharhan al-Urs was named as honorary chairman of the
grouping. According to the report, the alliance's charter calls for all
political parties and forces to work towards Iraq's sovereignty and
independence, to restore its pan-Arab and international role, and to promote

The alliance's members include the Democratic Constitution Party, the
Movement for Building Iraq's Future, the Free Speech Party, the Islamic Iraq
Movement, the Liberal Independents Movement, the Unified Nasirite
Pan-Arabist Party, the Iraqi Republican Party, the New Iraq Party, the
Islamic Revolution Party, the Iraqi National Bloc, the Common Destiny Party,
the Independent Progressive National Movement, and the Islamic Accord
Movement. (Kathleen Ridolfo)

Baghdad Burning, 16th September

I've been a bit sick these last few days. I seem to have come down with
something similar to the flu that has left me red-eyed, runny-nosed and
feverish. I didn't actually realize I was sick until the electricity went
off the day before yesterday: there was a collective groan as the heat
instantly settled down upon us like a wool blanket and all I could say was,
"What heat?!"

The family looked at me like maybe I was crazy- or feverish- and it finally
hit me why the room took to dancing around before my eyes every few
minutes... why the sunlight made me wince and squint in pain, rather like a

So I spent yesterday on a couch in the living room, surrounded by tissues
and Flu-Out (a favorite Iraqi flu medication). I watched tv whenever it was
available and even managed to drag myself to the computer two or three
times. The screen would move in waves in front of my bleary eyes so I'd give
up trying to make sense of the dancing letters after a few minutes.

At night I focused enough to watch "For Females Only", a weekly program on
Al-Jazeera. It left me feeling enraged and depressed. The subject was, as
usual, Iraq. The program was hosting three Iraqi females: Dr. Shatha Jaffar,
Yanar Mohammed and Iman Abdul Jabar.

Yanar Mohammed is an architect who has been living in Canada ever since
1993, as far as I know. She is the founder of the "Organization of Women's
Freedom in Iraq" which was based in Canada until a couple of months ago. Dr.
Shatha Jaffar I haven't heard of. I think she left Iraq at the age of 15
(she is now in her 40s) and is also heading some sort of Iraqi women's
movement, although the caption under her name said, "Women's Rights
Activist". Iman Abdul Jabar was apparently representative of some sort of
Islamic women's movement and was, as far as I could tell, living in Iraq the
whole time.

Iman and Yanar both had a distinctive advantage over Shatha because they
were both actually living in Iraq. The discussion was regarding how much
women's rights in Iraq had been affected after the occupation- how females
were being abducted, raped and forced into a certain form of dress or

Yanar claimed that women's equality couldn't be achieved except through a
secular government because an Islamic government would definitely hurt
women's rights. I don't necessarily agree with that. If there were an
Islamic government based purely on the teachings of Islam, women would be
ensured of certain nonnegotiable rights like inheritance, the right to an
education, the right to work and earn money, the right to marry according to
her will and the right to divorce her husband. Of course, there would be
limitations in the way females dress and other restrictions.

Islamic government doesn't work because the people running the show usually
implement certain laws and rules that have nothing to do with Islam and more
to do with certain chauvinistic ideas in the name of Islam- like in Iran and
Saudi Arabia.

Iman Abdul Jabar was taking Rumsfeld's attitude to the situation- see no
evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. She claimed that she knew nothing about
any extremists belonging to Al-Sadr and Al-Hakim coming into schools during
the exams, pulling 'safirat' (girls without hijab) out of tests and
threatening that they wouldn't be allowed to come to school anymore if they
didn't wear a hijab. She says she has heard nothing of all the signs and
banners hanging all over colleges and universities in Baghdad condemning
females who didn't wear what is considered the traditional Islamic dress. I
say 'considered' because there is nothing specifying exactly what is Islamic
dress. Some people feel that a hijab is more than enough, while others claim
that a burka or pushi are necessaryŠ

Shatha was full of self-righteous blabbering. She instantly lost any point
she was trying to make by claiming that girls in Iraq were largely ignorant
and illiterate due to the last 30 years. She said that Iraqis began pulling
their daughters out of school because non-Ba'athists weren't allowed an

Strangely enough, I wasn't a Ba'athist and I got accepted into one of the
best colleges in the country based solely on my grades in my final year of
high school. None of my friends were Ba'athists and they ended up
pharmacists, doctors, dentists, translators and lawyersŠ I must have been
living somewhere else.

Every time Shatha was onscreen, I threw used tissues at her. She feeds into
the usual pre war/post-occupation propaganda that if you weren't a
Ba'athist, you weren't allowed to learn. After 35 years that would mean that
the only literate, sophisticated and educated people in Iraq are Ba'athists.

Something you probably don't know about Iraq: We have 18 public universities
and over 10 private universities, plus 28 technical schools and workshops.
The difference between private and public colleges is that the public
colleges and universities (like Baghdad University) are free, without
tuition. The private colleges ask for a yearly tuition which is a pittance
compared to colleges abroad. Public colleges are preferred because they are
considered more educationally sound.

Arab students come from all over the region to study in our colleges and
universities because they are the best. Europeans interested in learning
about Islamic culture and religion come to study in the Islamic colleges.
Our medical students make the brightest doctors and our engineers are the
most creativeŠ

In 6th year secondary school (12th grade), Iraqi students are made to take a
standardized test known as the Bakaloriah. The students are assigned 9-digit
numbers and taken to a different school with random examination supervisors
to watch over the testing process. For 'science students' the subjects
required for examination are math, physics, English, Arabic, chemistry,
Islam (for Muslim students only), French (for students taking French), and
biology. For non-science students, the subjects are Arabic, English,
history, geography, Islam (for Muslims), math, and economics - I think.

As soon as we get our averages, we fill out forms that go to the Ministry of
Higher Education. In these forms, you list the colleges and universities you
would like to end up in, the first being the one you want most. I recall
nothing on the form asking me if I was a Ba'athist or loyalist, but maybe I
filled out the wrong formŠ

Anyway, according to the student's average, and the averages of the people
applying to other colleges, the student is 'placed'. You don't even meet the
dean or department head until after classes have begun. Ironically, the
illiterate females Shatha mentions have higher averages than the males. A
guy can get into an engineering college with a 92% while for females, the
average is around 96% because the competition between females is so high.

What Shatha doesn't mention is that in engineering, science and medical
colleges over half of the students in various departments are females-
literate females, by the way. Our male and female graduates are some of the
best in the region and many public universities arrange for scholarships and
fellowships in Europe and America. But Shatha wouldn't know thatŠor I must
be wrong. Either way, excuse me please, I am after all, illiterate and

Iman Abdul Jabar brought up a good point- she said that during the
examinations in June and July, the people who were working in the mosques
were protecting many of the local schools in Baghdad- which is very true.
She doesn't, however, mention that those people aren't likely interested in
running for president or any other political position in the country- the
people currently mixing religion and politics are Al-Hakim and SCIRI who
were terrorizing girls and Al-Sadr and his thugs (who met with Powell this
time around and was promised a marvelous political career).

Yanar was outraged during the whole conference. She is currently in Baghdad
and they say that there have been attempts made on her life. She read my
mind when she said that the story of police in Baghdad was a farce- they
weren't nearly enough and the Americans were doing nothing about the
security of the people. She said that the theory of females contributing to
post-war Iraq politically or socially was a joke. How are females supposed
to be out there helping to build society or even make a decent contribution
when they suddenly seem to be a #1 target? She talked about a "Women's
Conference" arranged by the CPA where she wasn't allowed to enter because
the 'women representatives of Iraqi females' were all selected by the
feminist extraordinaire L. Paul Bremer.

More and more females are being made to quit work or school or college. I
spent last month trying to talk a neighbor's mother into letting her
19-year-old daughter take her retests in a leading pharmaceutical college.
Her mother was adamant and demanded to know what she was supposed to do with
her daughter's college degree if anything happened to her daughter, "Hang it
on her tombstone with the consolation that my daughter died for a
pharmaceutical degree??? She can sit this year out."

The worst part of the whole show was when they showed a mortician in Baghdad
claiming he hardly ever saw any rape victims! What rape victim is going to
go, in our current situation, file a complaint? Who do you complain to?
Besides that, women are too ashamed to make rape public, and why bother when
you just KNOW the person will never be caught- when no one is going to
bother to look for the aggressor?

They showed a girl who was around 15 talking about how she was abducted. She
went out one morning to buy groceries with a brother who looked around 5 or
6. Suddenly, a red Volkswagen screeched to a stop in front of her. She was
pulled inside of the car and the headscarf on her head was used to tie up
her mouth. They took her and her little brother to a mud hut far away from
A'adhamiya (the area she lives in). She was kept in the hut for 4 days and
systematically beaten and questioned- how much money do your parents have?
Do you have any valuables in your home? She wasn't allowed to sleepŠ the
only sleep anyone got was her little brother while she held him in her arms.
They gave them no food for four days.

Finally, one of the abductors took pity on her. He told her that the rest of
the tattooed gang were going to leave somewhere and he would leave the door
of the hut open. She should meet him behind a little 'kushuk', or shop, made
of straw, down the street. She left the hut with her little brother as soon
as the coast was clear. She left the door unlocked because inside the same
hut were 15 other girls abducted from a secondary school in Zayoona- a nice
residential area in Baghdad where many Christians choose to settle. The man
dropped her and her brother off near a hospital far away from her house.

The interview with the girl ended when the reporter asked her if she was
still scaredŠ the girl looked incredulous at the question and said, "Of
course I'm still scared." The reporter then asked if she was going to go
back to school that yearŠ the girl shook her head 'no' as her eyes welled up
with tears and the screen faded back to the show.

I spent last night tossing, turning and wondering if they ever found the 15
girls from Zayoona and praying for the sanity of their familiesŠ

by Vahal Abdulrahman, 16th September

What exactly does federalism mean and how can the Kurds ensure that a
federated Iraq would grant them their political and cultural rights? Unlike
any other group in Iraq, the Kurds did participate militarily in Operation
Iraqi Freedom, American and Kurdish forces fought together, were wounded
together and paid the ultimate sacrifice together in the effort to liberate
the northern cities of Mosul and Kerkuk. Iraqi Kurdistan is without any
doubt one of the most pro-American places in the entire world. The Kurds of
Iraq have been the greatest hosts American troops can ask for. Iraqi Kurds
must realize that they have no choice but to play their cards right during
this turning point in Iraq's modern history.

The Kurds of Iraq were subjected to every named and every unnamed crime by
the totalitarian Ba'athi regime. Halabja and her scar of WMD served as a
justification for the Anglo-American war against Saddam Hussein's regime at
a time when there was no evidence that the Iraqi regime still had weapons of
mass destruction. The mass graves of Anfal victims, which were discovered in
the post-April 9, 2003 world, continue to justify to the world that while
the war was unpopular, it was most certainly worthwhile.

Now the time has come for the Kurds to settle in a civil, secular,
democratic and free Iraq, but not without unsubtle guarantees.

Northern Iraq was known to Saddam Hussein's regime as the "self-ruling
region," yet needless to mention, the reality of the situation was that the
region was a concentration camp where hundreds of thousands of innocents
were murdered to leave millions of others chained in their pain, stripped of
every basic human right. So let us not fall for words. Federalism is a fancy
word but so is "self-rule." The Kurds must make every effort that the
constitution of the New Iraq specifically grants the Kurds their political

First and foremost the Kurdish language must be an official language in not
only the four Kurdish provinces but also in the center and southern parts of
the country. The new education system of Iraq must require all Kurdish
students to learn Arabic but by the same token, all Arab students to learn
Kurdish. Certain supreme judicial and other high-ranking posts must require
mandatory bilingualism, that is to say, fluent Kurdish and Arabic skills.
Such a step would initially ensure that the Kurds occupy those positions,
but in the long run, Kurdish-speaking Arabs would also take part. Mandatory
bilingualism will ensure that neither the Kurds abandon Arabic as an
official language nor the Arabs abandon Kurdish.

The constitution must clearly state that Iraq is not an Arab country. The
Kurds, the Assyrians and the Turkmens are all non-Arab peoples living in
Iraq and are entitled to the same political rights as the Arab majority.

Let us assume that a federate Iraq will be divided into four provinces, a
Kurdish north, a Sunni center, an all-Iraqi Baghdad and a Shi'a south. These
provinces must have a number of significant powers granted to them with
little if any control from the central government.

The exclusive powers of the Kurdish province must include total control over
the education system, religious affairs, criminal justice and defense. Let
me briefly elaborate on each one of these powers that ought to be given to
the Kurdish province rather than the federal government.

The Education System

During the decade of 1990's, the Kurdistan Regional Government took various
measures to turn Kurdish into the primary language in Iraqi Kurdistan. Year
after year, the Arabic language became more distant to the Kurdish children
and teenagers resulting in the birth if a generation of Kurds who lack the
ability to speak even basic Arabic. While this change has Kurdified a once
Arabized region, the process of de-Arabization was taken too far. Every
Kurdish young man or woman who seeks for opportunities within Iraq will be
required to speak Arabic. A future education ministry in the Kurdistan
province should immediately take measures to include Arabic in the
curriculum not only as a one-subject requirement as is the case now, but
also as an intense program to produce Arabic speaking youngsters.

Aside from language, a Kurdish-controlled education system for the northern
province will ensure that the curriculum includes subjects such as Kurdish
history and Kurdish literature as well as Assyrian and Turkmen history and
culture. This is beneficial for all the provinces. For instance, if the
southern Shi'a province chooses to include religious studies as a school
subject, then it is their right to do so.

Religious Affairs

Iraq has a number of religious groups. There are Sunni and Shi'a Muslims,
Catholic and Orthodox Christians, Yezidis and others. The federal government
should have no power to regulate any religious affairs and must grant the
power to individual provinces. Due to the fact that most Kurds are secular
Muslims and there are non-Muslim groups in the future northern province,
Islam must not play the same role in the north as it seems likely to play in
the south. The religious disparity between various Iraqi groups can only be
solved if the federal government handed that power exclusively to the

For the Kurds, a secular platform of governance is not only fit for reasons
mentioned earlier but also because a secular Kurdistan is likely to attract
tourists who will provide an additional income to the local government not
to mention give opportunities for the local residents to invest in the
tourism industry.

It is in Iraq's best interest to leave religion to the individual provinces.
If the predominantly Shi'a south decides to make and enforce laws on the
basis of religion, then it would be undemocratic for the federal government
to stop them. However, it would be equally undemocratic, not to mention
unacceptable to make the rest of the country follow an unpopular religious

Criminal Justice

The Kurds must insist that the northern province is given exclusive power on
the issues of criminal justice for the Kurdistan region. If by virtue of
referendum, the people of Iraqi Kurdistan decide to abolish polygamy,
capital punishment, honor killings, or if they decided to allow the selling
of alcohol, licensed ownership of small arms, or abortion, they should not
have to go through the federal government to do so.

There are many issues on which the people of Iraq in general should agree to
disagree. The only way to satisfy all groups is to allow them to have their
own way bound of course by a federal constitution protected by the armed
forces of the provinces of Iraq.


It would be unrealistic to assume that the Peshmerga forces would change
their uniforms and become Iraqi soldiers overnight. The issue of defense is
a crucial and a complex one as the federal government must eventually be put
in charge of all the armed forces. However, to ensure that the armed forces
of the New Iraq are loyal protectors of Iraq's constitution and borders,
there must first be some degree of trust between the various groups that
constitute the mosaic known as Iraq.

In the initial stages of the transition, the Kurds should insist that the
Peshmerga forces remain intact and the formation of a unified Iraqi army be
delayed. That said, the President or the legislative branch should have the
power to call upon the armed forces in matters of supreme emergency. The
Kurds and the Arabs of Iraq must work together, live together, form shared
establishments together, create Kuro-Arabic associations together, learn
each others' languages together before a firm trust is created. Once the
trust is there and a relative stability and economic prosperity is there,
then the constitution should be amended to form a unified Iraqi military.

I have briefly specified some of the terms that must be included in the new
Iraqi constitution; there are various others that the Kurds should strive to
obtain. The word "federalism" is used daily by policymakers and media
outlets yet the details of such a plan are seldom mentioned. The Kurds of
the Diaspora as well as those living in Dohuk, Erbil, Sulaimany, Kerkuk and
of course Baghdad should urge the 25 members of the Governing Council and
the 25 cabinet ministers as well as ambassador Paul Bremer III and his team
and the constitutional committee to include the mentioned points in the
constitutions as exclusive powers granted to the northern province.

Once these powers are given to the local authorities rather than the central
government, the Kurds can then fantasize about having a Kurdistan soccer
team to be allowed by FIFA to play to qualify for the world cup like
Scotland. Or they can try to get the government to build a Halabja monument
or a museum in Baghdad so that the whole world can see that the New Iraq is
really a new Iraq.

The Kurds must realize that maintaining the territorial integrity of Iraq
does NOT mean that Kurdistan will be under the control of the central
government. They must insist that they run their affairs by themselves. The
Kurds of Iraq deserve to be given autonomy in a unified Iraq, their
experiment with civil society in the past decade is apparent by the fact
that Kurdistan is the only place in Iraq where American soldiers are not
being murdered.,3604,1042762,00.html

by Shola Adenekan
The Guardian, 16th September

Patriarch Raphael I Bidawid, who has died of kidney failure aged 81, was the
spiritual leader of the Chaldean Catholics, the largest Christian group in
Iraq, whose number include the erstwhile deputy prime minister Tariq Aziz.
The Chaldean Catholics are descended from the 5th-century heretical group,
the Nestorians; the church has about 1m members worldwide, of whom 700,000
are in Iraq.

Bidawid was an ardent critic of western policy towards his country. In the
early stages of the 1991 Gulf war, when Saddam Hussein's rhetoric was
peppered with threats of jihad against the "Christian" west, he moved to
defuse the threats of a backlash against Iraqi Christians by urging
westerners to leave Arab soil, and interceding with Saddam to tone down the
anti-Christian propaganda.

He was also an outspoken opponent of the economic embargo on Iraq, imposed
after Saddam invaded Kuwait in 1990. During a 1991 visit to the Vatican,
Bidawid accused the Gulf war allies of genocide against the Iraqi people.
"These nations should feel pretty guilty. It was a vendetta, a shame for
humanity," he said. Ten years later, in an interview at the Vatican, he
remarked that westerners did not realise that an Arab could do without
everything except his dignity. "If you touch his dignity, he will be as
ferocious as a lion."

Bidawid was criticised in the west as an apologist for Saddam and the Ba'ath
party. His response was that he was only defending his people and his
country. He often praised the Iraqi leader for protecting the rights of
Christians. "Saddam gives us what we want, listens to us and protects us,"
he once said.

On the question of Islamic extremists, he also put his faith in the
dictator. "They have infiltrated the veins of religious power and are trying
to steer it in their direction," he said. "But the government keeps them in
check. Saddam is capable; he fools them into being more open in order to
uncover them. He will get them." Two years ago, he saluted the courage of
Palestinian suicide bombers, while likening the Israeli government to that
of Hitler's Germany.

Born in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, Bidawid was educated at the
Dominican Fathers school and the Patriarchal Ecclesiastical College there.
At the age of 14, he was sent to Rome to train as a priest; he excelled
academically and was the conductor of the choir at the Papal College.

He returned to Iraq in 1948 after being ordained as a priest and taking his
doctorates in philosophy, theology and canon law. He was subsequently made
assistant rector at the Chaldean seminary in Mosul, where he was responsible
for translating the work of Dominican Father Lanza on the history of Mosul
from Italian into Arabic. He also created indices for ancient Chaldean

Between 1950 and 1956, Bidawid was chaplain of the Iraq Petroleum Company,
before being appointed patriarchal vicar for the diocese of Kirkuk. The
following year, he was elected bishop of the Chaldean diocese of Amadiyah,
in Iraqi Kurdistan, becoming, at 35, the youngest bishop in the world.

In 1962, he was transferred to the Beirut diocese, where he served for 23
years. In May 1989, the Chaldean bishops elected him patriarch of Babylon of
the Chaldeans; more than 10,000 people attended his enthronement ceremony in
Baghdad. Four months later, he received the pallium from Pope John Paul II
in recognition of his status.

In 1992, Bidawid formed the Confrère de la Charité to help provide medicine,
food and shelter for those severely affected by UN sanctions against Iraqi.

A polyglot, he was one of the founders of the Christian Minorities Union in
Lebanon, and a champion of the unification of the Assyrian Church of the
East and the Chaldean Catholic Church (the two branches separated in 1552).

Patriarch Raphael I Bidawid, priest, born April 17 1922; died July 7 2003.



Wednesday, September 17, 2003
Two US Soldiers Wounded, One Albanian Killed, Iraqis wounded:
In Mosul, guerrillas wounded two US soldiers on Monday. In a separate
incident, they fired grenades in front of City Hall, killing one Albanian
soldier and wounding several Iraqis. There are 70 Albanian troops in Iraq as
part of the US "coalition of the willing." The killing provoked a heated
debate in Albania about whether the troops should be withdrawn. (al Sharq


High Baathist official Held in Najaf Bombing:
Kareem Ghatheeth, a Baath Party "Security Director," was captured recently
in Najaf by Badr Corps militiament in a firefight. They say that he is the
mastermind behind the Najaf truck bombing of Aug. 29 that killed Muhammad
Baqir al-Hakim, head of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq,
along with a hundred or so others. The Badr Corps is the paramilitary branch
of SCIRI. Badr spokesman Abu Zu'l-Fiqar al-Hasan insisted that Ghatheeth,
who had been dismissed as Security Director by the Americans, had confessed
to masterminding the bombing. He also charged that the former police chief
of Najaf, Husayn Yasin al-Juburi, arrested Sunday on corruption charges, had
helped with the bombing operation by reopening a road in Najaf that had
earlier been closed for security purposes. UPI, which reported the story,
could verify neither charge, and said that there was no indication if the
Badr Corps had turned Ghatheeth over to the United States. Badr leader
al-Hasan also expressed confidence that al-Qaeda had somehow been involved
in the bombing (which seems an intellectually lazy attempt to reduce all
enemies to just one; al Hasan had just charged the Baath with the deed!) See
Meanwhile, members of the Interim Governing Council met Monday in Najaf with
the governor of the district and local city notables on the security issue
in the wake of the bombing. They decided to name a couple streets after
Muhammad Baqir al-Hakim and to have an annual commemoration of him. But all
this seems to me window dressing, since the IGC is not actually in charge of
security (the Spanish are). The Badr Corps expressed its willingness to do
more policing. (al-Sharq al-Awsat).

Tuesday, September 16, 2003


Ayatollah Hussein al-Sadr:
Steven R. Weisman reports of the US Secretary of State in Baghdad, Colin
Powell: "On Sunday evening he dined with the senior Shiite cleric in
Baghdad, Saeed Hussein Al-Sadr, a member of a prominent family with some
members of the family having opposed Saddam and others now opposing the US
occupation." I've seen this ayatollah's name come up before, but had no idea
he was this important. Nowadays you can google and nexis anyone, even
ayatollahs. So:

In February, the Cairo Times reported on anti-Saddam demonstrations in
London: "'We are against war, but we are also against dictatorship,' Iman
Hussein Al Sadr, head of the Islamic Institute in London, told the small
crowd outside parliament. 'We don't believe that Saddam Hussein's staying in
power is less catastrophic than a war.'" I'd say he was actually for the

AFP reported of the April 28 leadership conference in Baghdad, "Delegate
Hussein Sadr, dean of the Islamic Council in London, said Iraqis want
security and stability." On April 30, al-Ahram Weekly said, "When Hussein
Al-Sadr, the director of the London-based Islamic Institute and a prominent
Shi'a leader was asked by an Arab newspaper this week to define democracy he
said: 'it is to give the Iraqi people the right to express their true
opinions about the US presence in their country.'"

The Guardian identified him this summer as a second cousin of the radical
Muqtada al Sadr. Jonathan Steele wrote on 31 July, "Ayatollah Hussein
al-Sadr, Mr Sadr's second cousin, supports the governing council, although
he turned down an invitation to join it. 'The Americans were able to achieve
something - the fall of the regime - which we couldn't do after 30 years of
bloodshed and prisons full of people,' he said." Another source identifies
Hussein al-Sadr's base in the Baghdad suburb and shrine center of
al-Kazimiya. On June 30, Dawn (Karachi) identified Ayatollah Hussein al-Sadr
as the "representative of Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani in Baghdad." On August
13, CBS's anchor Dan Rather reported, "Ambassador Paul Bremer, the man in
charge of Iraq, visited a new hospital, named for the founders of the Shia
sect, where he also met one of Baghdad's leading clerics, Hussein Sadr."

The Sadr family had produced two major martyrs and theorists of Islamic
government, Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr (d. 1980), and Muhammad Sadiq al-Sadr (d.
1999), both killed by Saddam Hussein, and the family's followers tend to be
radical Shiites. Most follow Muqtada al-Sadr, a radical, or Muhammad
al-Ya`qubi, also a relative radical, who founded the al-Fudala' Party. A
moderate, even pro-American member of the family would indeed be a valuable
asset for the US, more especially if he is a conduit to Grand Ayatollah Ali
Sistani, who has refused to meet with the Americans. But dinner with the
Secretary of State? Something is going on here that is not transparent.

Turkmen Choose Leader:
Sami Shabak, a prominent member of the governing council of the Iraq Turkmen
Front, angrily resigned Monday, accusing the party of being under the
influence of the Turkish government and of taking outside direction in
pursuing confrontations with the local Kurdish population. (-al-Sharq

The Iraq Turkmen Front voted in Kirkuk on Monday for a Party leader. The
party, which represents the Sunnis among Iraq's some 500,000 Turkmen in the
north, will probably be led by Faruq Abdul Rahman. It had had members living
in Turkey during the Saddam period, but these have now given up their right
to vote, though the question of Turkish government influence on it remains

The main rival to the ITF is the Turkmen Islamic Union or TIU, which largely
groups Shiite Turkmen from Telafer and Tuz Khurmati. The two parties have a
vague association, but there is sectarian friction. The ITF nevertheless is
seeking to capitalize on the support recently given by Arab Shiites to the
Turkmen Shiites when the latter clashed with local Kurds over a shrine. One
problem for Iraq is that small ethnic groups such as the Turkmen think they
are a larger proportion of the population than they really are. The Turkmen
claim they are 5-14% of Iraqis, which seems to me wholly implausible. The
ITF has already held rallies protesting that there is only one Turkmen
representative on the Interim Governing Council, and she is a woman
representing a non-governmental organization rather than the ITF. The
Turkmen and their fate are important because they have strong backing from
Turkey. The recent Kurdish-Turkmen riots provoked demonstrations in Ankara.

Monday, September 15, 2003


Najaf Police Chief Dismissed for Corruption:
Haydar Mahdi Matar al-Miyali, the Governor of Najaf, announced Sunday that
the city's police chief, Husayn Yasin al-Juburi, had been arrested on
corruption charges. Legal action against him is pending. Other sources said
he had been dismissed for poor administration. The dismissal comes two weeks
after a huge truck bomb went off in the city, which is holy to Shiites. Note
that the first mayor/police chief imposed on Najaf by the US had been a
Sunni Baathist officer, who was also dismissed after about a month on
corruption charges.


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