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News, 10-17/9/03 (1) FUTURE OF IRAQ * Benign Autocracy Is Answer for Iraq * Iraqi Says New Gov't Setup May Take Years * Iraq Council Leaders Pressing For Power ECONOMY * 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 CIVIL SOCIETY * What Iraqis Really Think We asked them. What they told us is largely reassuring * 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'S CORNER * Juan Cole Informed Comment FUTURE OF IRAQ http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-op takeyh7sep07,1,6727607.story?coll=la-news-comment-opinions * BENIGN AUTOCRACY IS ANSWER FOR IRAQ 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. http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/030912/2003091216.html * 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." http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/w-me/2003/sep/14/091405866.html * IRAQI SAYS NEW GOV'T SETUP MAY TAKE YEARS by SAMEER N. YACOUB 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 month. 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 members. 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 commander. 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 written. 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 monarchy. 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. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A10631-2003Sep14.html * IRAQ COUNCIL LEADERS PRESSING FOR POWER 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 administration. 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 constitution. 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." ECONOMY http://www.larouchepub.com/other/2003/3035cheney_cptbggrs.html * CHENEY'S CARPETBAGGERS: LOOKING FOR THE LOOT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL 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 issued. 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 regime. 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 threat! 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 citizens." [.....] http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/business/2096015 * COST OF IRAQ'S OIL-FIELD REPAIRS BALLOONS PAST EARLIER ESTIMATES by DAVID IVANOVICH 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 projections. 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 be. 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. * GOVERNING COUNCIL APPOINTS CENTRAL BANK GOVERNOR 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 Ridolfo) * RETIRED IRAQI OFFICERS ISSUE APPEAL TO CPA FOR MORE MONEY 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) * BREMER ISSUES NEW PAY SCALE FOR STATE WORKERS 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 (http://www.cpa-iraq.org). 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 Ridolfo) CIVIL SOCIETY http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110003991 * WHAT IRAQIS REALLY THINK WE ASKED THEM. WHAT THEY TOLD US IS LARGELY REASSURING. by KARL ZINSMEISTER 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 unrepresentative. 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. * CPA ESTABLISHES FACILITIES PROTECTION SERVICE 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) * FOURTEEN IRAQI POLITICAL PARTIES FORM ALLIANCE 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 democracy. 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) http://riverbendblog.blogspot.com/ * GIRL POWER AND POST-WAR IRAQ 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 bat. 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 action. 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 necessary 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 education. 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 lawyers 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 creative 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 form 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 thator I must be wrong. Either way, excuse me please, I am after all, illiterate and unlearned. 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 sleep 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 scared 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 year 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 families http://www.kurdmedia.com/reports.asp?id=1644 * DEFINING FEDERALISM FOR IRAQ by Vahal Abdulrahman KurdishMedia.com, 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 rights. 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 provinces. 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 platform. 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. Defense 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. http://www.guardian.co.uk/obituaries/story/0,3604,1042762,00.html * PATRIARCH RAPHAEL I BIDAWID 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 manuscripts. 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. JUAN COLE'S CORNER http://www.juancole.com/ * JUAN COLE INFORMED COMMENT 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 al-Awsat). [.....] 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 http://www.upi.com/view.cfm? StoryID=20030915-104723-8758r 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 war. 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 al-Awsat). 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 hot. 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. See http://www.zaman.com/ default.php?kn=4134 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. [.....] _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk