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[casi] News, 10-17/9/03 (3)

News, 10-17/9/03 (3)


*  Changes sought to U.S. resolution on Iraq
*  More troops will not boost security in Iraq ‹ Schroeder 
*  Spanish Judge Jails Al-Jazeera Reporter
*  Iraq and the divided world
*  PTI opposes sending troops to Iraq
*  Foreigners financed the U.S. war in Iraq
*  India has ruled out sending troops to Iraq, UN mandate or not: reports
*  Immigrants sue Spanish PM for claiming terror groups link
*  UN work slows to a crawl in Iraq


*  Cabinet stresses Chalabi case criminal not political
*  Iranian rebels in Iraq "contained" - U.S. military
*  Mujahedeen ready to harass US, Kurds and Tehran
*  Turkey, U.S. OK plan on Kurdish rebels
*  MPs condemn US attack on Jordanian hospital in Iraq     
*  Occupied Iraq And OPEC Conference Meetings


Baltimore Sun, from Associated Press, 11th September

UNITED NATIONS - In amendments to a U.S. draft resolution, France, Germany
and Russia are urging a speedy transfer of power from the U.S.-led coalition
to an interim Iraqi administration.

The amendments, obtained yesterday by the Associated Press, demand more
power for Iraqis and the United Nations in running the country.

The amendments were given to the United States ahead of a meeting called by
Secretary- General Kofi Annan to try to get the veto-wielding, permanent
members of the Security Council to unite behind a plan to stabilize Iraq.
Foreign ministers of the five - the United States, Russia, China, Britain
and France - were to attend the meeting Saturday in Geneva.

U.S. Deputy Ambassador James Cunningham said the Geneva meeting would not
focus on the amendment text but on what must be done to get the
international community to come together "to get the job that we want done
in Iraq."

The European Union's foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, told the European
Parliament's foreign affairs committee yesterday that the 15 EU nations were
still "a long way from achieving consensus both among ourselves and with
other members of the Security Council."

The U.S. draft resolution invites the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council
to cooperate with the United Nations and U.S. officials in Baghdad to
produce "a timetable and program for the drafting of a new constitution for
Iraq and for the holding of democratic elections."

But it contains no time frame and it leaves the key decision in the hands of
the Governing Council, which has taken months to form a Cabinet. The United
States believes Iraqis must remain in charge of this process - but France,
Germany and Russia want a much faster timetable.

The French-German amendments call for immediately "initiating under the
auspices of the U.N. a new process leading ... to the full restoration of
Iraqi authority."

They call for an interim Iraqi administration to take control of "all
civilian areas, including control over natural resources and use of
international assistance."

The French-German amendments and separate Russian amendments ask the
secretary general to assist the Governing Council in developing a timetable
for drafting a constitution and holding elections.

The Russians don't go as far as the French and Germans in demanding the
immediate handover of authority to Iraqis.

Moscow's proposal endorses the principle of Iraqis governing themselves
quickly, saying that the Iraqi interim administration should "be gradually
assuming more executive authority" as it implements the timetable toward


Jordan Times, 11th September
BERLIN (AFP) ‹ Sending more troops to Iraq will do little to improve
security, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said Wednesday again ruling
out the participation of German troops in any future multinational force

But Schroeder said Berlin was ready to help the war-torn Gulf state rebuild
by training Iraqi police officers in Germany and offering the use of its
military schools for preparing a new army.

Speaking to parliament during a budget debate, Schroeder said he doubted
"whether increasing the number of soldiers there now, no matter who provides
them, really mean an improvement in security."

He said Iraq would be better served by "quickly installing a real Iraqi

"If more soldiers were to be sent to the country, then it would be better if
they came from countries which have a closer relationship with the Islamic
faith," he added.

With US troops under steady attack in Iraq, Washington has proposed that the
UN Security Council create a multinational security force to counter the
instability, and to legitimise the US-installed Iraqi Governing Council.

Berlin opposed the US-led war on Iraq, which was waged without UN approval,
and has been lobbying ever since for the United Nations to return to the
fore and be given a central role in rebuilding.

"I do not believe that we are in a situation, where we should take part
militarily," Schroeder told the deputies.

He said Germany was ready "alone or with others in Europe" to help train
Iraqi police officers who could help ensure a return to stability.

Washington is seeking troops at a time when Germany is struggling to get its
economic house in order.

In May, Defence Minister Peter Struck unveiled plans to transform the army
into a leaner force that could be rapidly deployed overseas on anti-terror
and peacekeeping missions, but he also announced deep spending cuts.

Schroeder told parliament that Germany's military duties in the Balkans and
Afghanistan was another reason why the military, the Bundeswehr, would not
be able to take part.

Germany, after the United States, has the greatest number of troops deployed
abroad in peacekeeping operations and in the Horn of Africa as part of the
international war on terror.

He reiterated "the war against international terror has not been won,"
notably in Afghanistan where Berlin would like to send for the first time a
special contingent of troops to assist rebuilding outside the capital Kabul.

In an interview with the weekly news magazine Stern, Foreign Minister
Joschka Fischer welcomed US plans to seek a new UN resolution on Iraq.

He said he hoped it would produce "a really new strategy" that would see the
United Nations play a central role and result in the rapid restoration of
Iraqi sovereignty.

Las Vegas Sun, 11th September

MADRID, Spain (AP) - A Spanish judge on Thursday formally charged a top
reporter for Al-Jazeera of being a member of al-Qaida, saying he carried out
"support, financing and coordination" for the terrorist network.

Investigating judge Baltasar Garzon charged Tayssir Alouni, 48, with
membership in an armed group and ordered him held in the high-security Soto
del Real prison near Madrid after a 72-hour extension of his arrest expired,
the National Court said. Alouni was not present during the hearing.

"Removed from his work as a journalist but taking advantage of it he carries
out support, financing and coordination, which are the characteristics of a
qualified militant of the organization," Garzon's statement read.

The charge will be followed by a more detailed indictment. In the Spanish
legal system, investigating judges issue the indictments against defendants,
who then go to a full trial.

Alouni's wife, Fatima Zohra Hamed Layesi, burst into tears upon learning the

Al-Jazeera has been criticized by some Western governments as being too
biased toward Islamic militants, but the network's standing among Arab
viewers also has given it remarkable access to extremist groups. On
Wednesday, the network showed exclusive footage it obtained of Osama bin
Laden - the first new images of the terrorist leader in nearly two years.

On Thursday, Al-Jazeera reported that one of its Baghdad correspondents,
Atwar Bahjat, was detained by the U.S. military while covering explosions in
Baghad that went off while she was in the area. The U.S. military said an
Al-Jazeera reporter was detained for breaking one of its "ground rules" for
coverage, but did not elaborate.

Alouni was arrested Friday in Alfacar, a southern town close to Granada.
Garzon had extended his detention on Monday after quizzing the reporter for
three hours. The delay gave police more time to investigate paper and
electronic documents seized when Alouni was arrested.

Garzon has been leading the investigation in Spain into alleged members of
the al-Qaida and other militant Islamic groups.

Alouni was arrested while in Spain to look into opening an office for

He is a well-known war correspondent in the Mideast for the Qatar-based
Arabic satellite television network and has covered the U.S. wars in
Afghanistan and Iraq.

Alouni was born in Syria but has had Spanish nationality for more than 16

Meanwhile in Damascus, a group of Syrian journalists staged a sit-in outside
the Spanish Embassy on Thursday to protest Alouni's arrest. They called it
"an aggression against journalistic rights and freedoms."

Al-Jazeera sent a letter this week to Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria
Aznar calling on him to release Alouni.

"On several occasions Western journalists met secretly with secret
organizations and they were not subjected to any legal action because they
were doing their job, so why is Alouni being excluded?," the letter said.

Before working for Al-Jazeera, Alouni worked at the Arab-language service of
Efe, Spain's new agency.

Police are investigating whether Alouni provided support to alleged members
of an al Qaida cell in Spain, including Imad Eddin Barakat Yarkas,
considered to be the leader of the cell.

Barakat Yarkas and seven others were arrested on Nov. 13, 2001 and were
directly linked to "the preparation and carrying out" of the Sept. 11
attacks. They are still in custody.

Bangladeshi Independent, 12th September

Before going to war in Iraq the US-UK coalition successfully managed to
divide the UN, to some extent the world, and now after the war it continues
to keep the entire world divided. No one really knows when would the
imbroglio end, and when would normalcy return, not only in Iraq, but in the
entire region. As of today, Iraq issue finds the top place in all world news
and analysis. People all over the world are eagerly waiting to see the US-UK
troops leave Iraq and leave the country to the Iraqis.

But what is the progress in forming the Iraqi Governing Council, how
effective it is going to be, and how well it represents all the Iraqis?
According to a recent Associated Press report the three countries (France,
Germany and Russia) - which strongly opposed the war on Iraq - are demanding
that Iraqis and the United Nations play a much more important role than the
one outlined in a U.S. draft resolution circulated last week.

It says that "the United States decided to seek a new resolution to get more
troops and money into Iraq, but the debate is focusing far more on how fast
an internationally recognized Iraqi government can be established, who
should be in charge of the political process leading to elections, and how
much power the Governing Council should have in the interim. The United
States believes the Iraqi Governing Council must remain in charge of the
political timetable leading to elections and a restoration of sovereignty -
but France, Germany and Russia want the United Nations to take charge of the
political process and speed up the handover to the Iraqis.

"Those issues are expected to dominate a meeting in Geneva tomorrow
(Saturday) called by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to try to get the
five veto-wielding council nations to unite behind a plan to stabilize Iraq.
Foreign ministers of the five permanent council nations - the United States,
Russia, China, Britain and France - are expected to attend the meeting. U.S.
Secretary of State Colin Powell said the U.S. aim was "the ability to
transfer sovereignty back to the Iraqi people and to do it in a responsible

"The French-German amendments to the U.S. draft resolution are the most
far-reaching, endorsing the Governing Council and newly named Cabinet "as
the trustees of Iraqi sovereignty" and calling for them to take over
administration of the country from the U.S. led Coalition Provisional

"Russia's proposal is less sweeping, calling for Annan to submit a timetable
for the specific steps needed to adopt a constitution and hold elections, in
cooperation with the Governing Council and in consultation with the U.S.-led
coalition. It stresses that "the evolving structures of the Iraqi interim
administration" should gradually assume "more executive authority" as the
timetable is implemented.

The AP report further says, "Council diplomats said the amendments from
France, Germany, Russia and Syria reflect deep divisions on the best way
forward, and predict lengthy negotiations to try to reach an agreement.

Syria, the only Arab nation on the council, took issue with the U.S.
contention that the threats to peace and security in Iraq are caused by
"terrorist acts."

"The threat to international peace and security is ... because of mistakes
made by the occupying power, especially dissolving the Iraqi institutions,
mainly the military and security," said the Syrian amendments, also obtained
by AP.

"The United States and its closest ally Britain want a vote before U.S.
President George W. Bush addresses the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 23,
but some council members believe that's too optimistic.

As of today the political development is that The U.S. draft resolution
maintains U.S. political and military control of Iraq.

The AP says, "It would transform the U.S.-led coalition force into a
U.N.-authorized multinational one under a unified command to help maintain
"security and stability in Iraq" and urge the 191 U.N.-member states to
contribute troops. A Russian amendment would ensure that there would be no
separate coalition force and that the single multinational force would be
led by the United States.

Meanwhile, many countries in the east and middle are waiting for the UN role
in Iraq before deciding on the issue whether they would send troops to Iraq
or not. All these small countries are indebted to the US in one way or the
other and they are now in an uncomfortable situation on the issue. The
report mentions that the U.N. authorization would hopefully spur countries
such as Turkey, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh who say they need a U.N.
mandate to commit troops to Iraq.

"The U.S. draft also invites the Governing Council to cooperate with the
United Nations and U.S. officials in Baghdad to produce "a timetable and
program" for drafting a new Iraqi constitution and for holding elections. It
contains no timeframe and leaves the key decision in the hands of the
Governing Council, which has taken months just to form a Cabinet.

"The French-German amendments mark a radical change in the attitude of both
countries toward the Governing Council. When it was formed on July 13,
France and Germany balked at endorsing it - and it took a month for the
United States to get the Security Council to adopt a resolution simply
welcoming the Governing Council.

"Council diplomats said the shift reflects the realities on the ground -
that the Governing Council is the best starting point to restore Iraq's
sovereignty. But the United States has made clear that it is not going to
hand over power immediately, the diplomats said, speaking on condition of

AP adds further, "The French and Germans also made clear in their amendments
that they want "full transparency and effective international participation
and oversight" of all funds for Iraq's economic reconstruction before they
and other countries make substantial contributions, a reference to America's
issuance of reconstruction contracts to major U.S. companies without
competitive bidding."

>From the elaborate AP report it becomes obvious that the intricacies with
regard to making the Governing Council functioning with full authority and
bringing back chaos on the roads and streets of Baghdad and elsewhere in the
country is still not over. Peace, therefore, is still illusive in Iraq.

The world continues to remain divided over the Iraq issue as it encomapasses
many problems affecting all the actors on the stage.

Every country is now busy ensuring its cut in Iraq. It does not matter how
the Iraqis are themselves feeling about it. It is indeed the biggest tragedy
in recent times.

Dawn, 12th September

ISLAMABAD, Sept 11: Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan has
threatened to launch a mass agitation movement against the government if it
decides to send troops to Iraq.

Talking to reporters at the party's central secretariat here on Thursday,
the PTI chief said the party had planned to mobilize public opinion and to
hold protest demonstrations, if the government decided to send troops to

He asked all political parties, labour unions, lawyers bodies, women
organizations, traders, students and NGOs to hold joint rallies since the
issue was fundamental to the ideology of Pakistan.

He said the time had proved that Iraq was invaded on false pretext as no
weapons of mass destruction had been found in the country. Similarly, the US
had failed to find any link between Saddam Hussain and Al Qaeda.

Mr Khan said President Bush talked to Gen Musharraf on telephone in an
desperate attempt to seek support of the Muslim world as he knew that the US
had been trapped in Iraq. Moreover, he said, there would be elections in the
US next year, and President Bush knew that it would be difficult for him to
win the polls if bodies continued to arrive in the country from Iraq.

He opposed the idea of sending troops to Iraq even under the United Nations
umbrella as, according to him, the UN was merely a foreign policy tool of
powerful states. Instead of sending troops to defend the US soldiers,
Pakistan must demand end to occupation of Iraq, he asked.

The PTI chief Mr Khan said sending of troops to Iraq would be against the
ideology of Pakistan, which was created in the name of Islam. He was of the
view that any such decision would further antagonize the Arab world as they
had not forgotten the role of Pakistan during the Suiz crisis in 1956 when
Pakistan government, under the "doctrine of supreme national interest",
sided with the West against the Arab national interests.

He further said the decision would increase political instability in the
country and increase extremist tendencies. "By endorsing the illegal
occupation of Iraq, we will undermine our moral stand on the Indian
occupation of Kashmir," he added.

Talking about the visit of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to India, he
said the agreements signed there were between the two fundamentalists.

He was of the view that India always supported Palestinians and opposed
Israel, but with this government, the relations between the two
fundamentalist parties were getting strong.

by Floyd Norris
International Herald Tribune, from New York Times, 12th September

The Bush administration is not very popular overseas, at least if you
believe the polls. But if money could talk, it would tell a different story.

For most of this year's second quarter, the United States was waging a war
in Iraq, with help from Britain and not very many others. There were
demonstrations around the world against the war.

But guess who was financing it? The world was. Figures released this week
showed that private foreign citizens bought an unprecedented $129 billion of
U.S. government and agency securities. Official accounts, mostly central
banks, added $43 billion to that total.

In all, foreign investors bought almost 80 percent of the net increase in
Treasury and agency debt during the quarter. They now own 38 percent of
Treasury securities outstanding, more than double the figure of a decade

Those numbers came from the Federal Reserve this week in its quarterly flow
of funds report.

That report tends to be ignored because it is late, voluminous and
complicated. But the foreign aspect of it is extraordinarily important these
days because the United States needs to attract so much capital from the
rest of the world.

It needs that capital because of the huge current-account deficit the
country is running. That deficit - largely reflecting the trade deficit -
went above 5 percent of gross domestic product in the first quarter of this
year for the first time in U.S. history. The second-quarter number, when it
is released Monday, is likely to be about the same.

Such deficits can be financed only by investment flows. If they are not
large enough, then currency values must adjust. A few years ago, it was
fashionable in some circles to argue that the growing current-account
deficit was a sign of American strength because it reflected just how
attractive American investments were internationally.

That argument does not work now. In the late 1990's, most of the foreign
investment was going into investments that were a bet on the vibrancy of the
American economy: corporate stocks and direct investment, meaning foreigners
were buying companies or building plants.

A lot of those investments went bad when the stock market bubble burst,
reflecting the fact that foreign investors often come a bit late to parties.

The really big overseas accumulations of American stocks started in 1999 and
continued into 2001. The overseas investors did not turn into net sellers
until the first quarter of this year, after stocks hit bottom and started to

In the second quarter, they bought $21 billion of shares, a big gain but
less than one-third of the amount they bought in early 2000, when the market
was peaking.

The second-quarter surge in private purchases of Treasury securities may
reflect a bit of bubble buying as well, as plunging bond yields and rising
prices attracted speculators.

John Vail, senior strategist of Mizuho Securities USA, said that Japanese
investors appeared to have sold Treasury issues in July, when rates were
rising and prices were falling.

But speculators aside, much of the foreign investment reflects the need for
a place to park the dollars those investors receive when they sell all those
Toyotas, textiles and toys in the United States.

It's a nice situation while it lasts. Americans get cheap imports, and the
flood of foreign money helps to hold down U.S. interest rates and support
the dollar. The war can be financed relatively cheaply because rates are so

But borrowers eventually have to pay attention to the views of the lenders.
It would not be fun if foreigners began to invest the way they have been

Yahoo, 12th September

NEW DELHI (AFP) - India will not send troops to Iraq (news - web sites) even
if the United Nations (news - web sites) mandates multinational peacekeeping
operations in the strife torn country, the Indian media reported.

Quoting top government sources, newspapers said Friday the line New Delhi is
now pushing is that it cannot spare any of its million-strong army for
peacekeeping operations due to security threats within the country and on
its borders.

However, the real reason, the reports said, was that national elections are
due in India by October 2004 and the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya
Janata Party (BJP) believes it would be politically disastrous if any Indian
soldier died in Iraq.

India on July 14 rejected a US request to send 15,000 to 20,000 troops to
Iraq but said it would reconsider if there were an explicit UN mandate.

Washington has since proposed a UN resolution to send a multinational force
to Iraq.

However, France, Germany and Russia -- which all opposed the US-led invasion
that toppled Saddam Hussein (news - web sites) -- have expressed
reservations about the UN draft resolution.

Most major newspapers Friday quoted the unnamed government sources as saying
that UN mandate or no UN mandate, India will not be sending troops to Iraq.

"It's for the same reason that we turned down the (US) request to send
troops to Liberia (news - web sites)," the Hindustan Times quoted one source
as saying.

"We said we're in no position to spare troops because of the situation in
our northwest sector (on the border with Pakistan) and the kind of terrorist
activity that happens in Kashmir (news - web sites) on a daily basis."

Kashmir is in the grip of a 14-year-old Islamic insurgency which has so far
claimed 38,000 lives, according to Indian figures. Separatists put the death
toll between 80,000 and 100,000.

India already has committed two infantry batallions for UN peacekeeping
operations -- in Lebanon and along the Ethiopia-Eritrea border, the source

Diplomatic sources said the BJP had recently taken a firm decision not to
send troops to Iraq no matter what -- but for internal political rather than
logistical reasons.

The Hindu newspaper at the weekend hinted as much when it said domestic
political considerations more than anything else were likely to dissuade the
BJP, which heads India's coalition government, from sending its troops.

The Hindu report said the Indian government saw "no particular merit in
giving the opposition any handle" for attack.

The Asian Age newspaper Friday quoted Indian Deputy Prime Minister Lal
Krishna Advani as telling former US Ambassador to India Robert Blackwill:
"What would we say to the nation if our soldiers get killed?"

The report said Advani made the remark when Blackwill, trying to persuade
India to commit troops, had expressed concern over American soldiers being
killed in the post Saddam period.,3604,1041396,00.html

by Giles Tremlett in Banyoles, north-east Spain
The Guardian, 13th September

Sixteen north Africans held in jail for two months are suing the Spanish
prime minister, Jose Maria Aznar, for slander after he and the US secretary
of state, Colin Powell, wrongly claimed they were proof of a dangerous
alliance between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.

The arrest of the Algerian and Moroccan immigrants in north-east Spain in
January was hailed by Mr Aznar as the capture of "an important network of
terrorists connected to al Qaida" armed with "explosive, chemical and
electronic material".

He was congratulated by George W Bush, and Mr Powell used the arrests as an
example of the links between Baghdad and Bin Laden in a speech to the UN
security council on February 5.

But bottles and flasks containing what police claimed were "explosives and
chemical products" found in their homes turned out to hold cologne, olive
oil, honey, household ammonia and washing powder. The case against them was
provisionally shelved and the men were released.

One of accused, Smail Boudjelthia, still lives in the apartment in Banoyles,
a small town in north-east Spain, which was raided on the morning of January

"Welcome to al-Qaida", he quipped as he opened the door, damaged when masked
officers blew it open. Mr Boudjelthia, who was asleep in bed, at first
thought there was a fire and the men charging through the door were

He found himself lying face down on the floor as armed police quizzed him
about, among other things, how often he went to the local mosque. "It was
very frightening," he said.

A few miles away, in the village of Sant Jaume de Llierca, Mohammed Nabbar,
his wife and 18-month daughter, Diana, were woken by a similar raid. "They
said to me. 'You are very calm Mohammed. You must be the one who gives the
orders that the others execute. Is that right?'."

Police took away cooking material, cologne bottles and some of Diana's
medicines. "They looked everywhere. I said 'take whatever you want'," he

Although some of those detained had been involved with Islamist groups in
Algeria, none are wanted by Algerian police and all deny any terrorism

The raids came after a French judge requested Spanish help in a case against
four al-Qaida suspects detained there. One of them, Mr Boudjelthi admits,
had stayed at their apartment.

"Many Algerians who come through Banyoles stay here. I could not tell you
who they all are. Even the local Red Cross brings Algerians to our door if
they arrive in town and ask for help," explained Mr Boudjelthia, 31, who has
been in Spain for three years.

The men thought police would realise their mistake but, instead, they were
transferred to the national court in Madrid where terrorism cases are dealt
with. A police press release described them as a cell that "provided
information and support to other Islamist terror groups, had explosives,
used chemical products and had connections with terror cells in Britain and

It announced scientific tests would be carried out in Spain and the US on
the materials found in their apartments.

Mobile phones, alarm clocks, television remote controls and the manuals that
Mr Nabbar used to learn electronics were presented to press photographers as
evidence that they helped plan attacks. A child's toy pistol, not included
in the court evidence, was added to the display which appeared in Spanish

"Even other Muslims, when they saw that pistol, said they believed we must
have been terrorists," said Mr Nabbar, 38, a legal immigrant who has lived
in Spain for eight years.

During a press conference Mr Aznar claimed: "They were preparing to carry
out attacks with explosives and chemicals." He said the arrests highlighted
"the danger of terrorist groups getting hold of arms of mass destruction".

"We are not talking about hypothetical or remote dangers ... we must fight
against it if we do not want them to cause major problems to our liberty,
security and tranquillity," said Mr Aznar, who had already joined Mr Bush
and Tony Blair to press for tough action against Iraq.

He went on to claim in the Spanish parliament that the detainees worked for
Abu Musa al Zarkawi, an al-Qaida leader who spent time in Iraq.

"His collaborators have been picked up recently in Spain and Britain. The
problem affects us closely," he warned MPs.

At the UN security council on February 5 Mr Powell tried to persuade its
members of the links between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida. The "Spanish cell"
appeared on a slide connecting them to Zarkawi and those accused of planning
a poison attack on the London tube.

Mr Powell also praised a British dossier partially based on academic
articles published up to seven years earlier.

"They said our 'boss' was in Baghdad to try to make out that al-Qaida and
Saddam Hussein were the same thing," said Mr Nabbar. "I thought I was
finished, that I would be in jail for 40 years."

None of them has dared to return to Algeria. Sebastia Salellas, their
lawyer, said France had never asked for them to be extradited. He has
applied for compensation, and is suing Mr Aznar for slander.

Their cause ran into trouble yesterday when the national court announced it
had reopened the case after receiving what El Mundo newspaper's website
described as "a report from a US laboratory which affirms the substances
found, when combined with other elements, could produce deflagration" .

About 60% of Spaniards believe Mr Aznar tried to fool them about Saddam's
weapons of mass destruction and 68% want Spanish troops brought home,
according to a recent poll by the leftwing Cadena Ser radio station.

The Scotsman, 13th September

THE blue flak jacket is heavy and cumbersome, and Roger Guarda frets
uncomfortably as he pulls it off.

"Itıs hot and Iım choking," grumbles the new head of the United Nations
Development Programme (UNDP) in Baghdad. "But because the UN is now a target
in Iraq, we have to wear these things every time we leave the office."

Freed of his body armour, he gets down to business. But instead of heading
out into the field and surveying the array of UN job programmes, park
rehabilitations and electricity generation projects, he stays close to his
desk, playing phone tag with colleagues in Jordan and beyond.

"The work I used to complete in one day, I now do in four days," he says
with dismay. "Since I started this job, all I focus on is security."

The foreign ministers of the UN Security Councilıs permanent members convene
in Geneva this weekend to discuss United States proposals to expand the role
of the UN under the US-led occupation of Iraq.

The Bush administration, faced with huge bills for rebuilding and the
daunting challenge of securing the California-sized nation, wants more help
from the international community and the UN.

But in the wake of the 19 August lorry bomb at the UNıs Canal Hotel
headquarters -- which killed the UNıs Iraq envoy, Sergio Vieira de Mello,
and at least 22 others - giving Iraqis a hand has become a complicated
affair. UN officials say safety precautions have begun to hamper their
ability to deliver help to local people.

Although it vows it will never abandon Iraq, the UN has pulled out nearly
340 of its 400 international staff.

UN offices, once friendly and inviting compared to US military bases and
quarters of the Coalition Provisional Authority, have become barricaded
fortresses surrounded by concrete and security guards.

Plainclothes UN security officials, toting machine-guns, have been scouring
the homes of UN employees, ordering the few remaining international staff to
remain in their hotels at night and turning the once-coveted Baghdad
assignment into a virtual house arrest. Several officials said a plan is
being considered to move all UN staff out of hotels and into tents on the
grounds of the Canal Hotel.

UN staffers complain that maintaining contact with and assessing the needs
of the Iraqi population, much less delivering services, is much harder.

But Mr Guarda, 62, a Belgian of Italian descent, said it was important to
keep a presence in Baghdad. "It is important that Iraqis do not feel
abandoned. The UN is like a big brother to Iraq. Itıs important that people
donıt feel like the big brother is leaving them."

UN leaders often say that reducing and constraining international staff will
not affect UN operations because the Iraqi staff can do their jobs.

But even Iraqi employees say new security rules complicate their tasks. Aziz
Ahmad, an Iraqi UNDP engineer, used to hop into two-vehicle convoys and
travel from his northern Iraq base in Erbil to the Baghdad office at will.
Now, he says, he must find a rare UN flight between the two cities. "The
road is regarded as too dangerous," Mr Ahmad says. "Itıs very frustrating
because our job is fieldwork."

Although it was the most spectacular of attacks against the UN, the still
unsolved 19 August bombing was not the first and only time UN or UN-tied
organisations have been attacked in Iraq. Assaults against the UNıs
distinctive vehicles and installations had already forced more intensive
security precautions.

But the 19 August attack - unprecedented in its carnage, audacity and impact
- was on a wholly different scale.

Now, only the most dedicated UN veterans take on an Iraqi assignment. Mr
Guarda, a UN globetrotter since he was 24, has worked in Cambodia, Panama,
Malaysia, Zaire, Cuba, Burkina Faso and the Palestinian Territories.

Although past retirement age, he felt obligated to volunteer for Iraq after
his predecessor and friend, Henrik Kolstrup, was seriously wounded in the
attack. "I was shocked," said Mr Guarda, who was finishing an assignment in
Erbil and about to head to New York. "I love the UN family."

A day in the work life of a UN worker has become longer and more dreary. Mr
Guarda is spending this particular day setting up a "virtual office" so
employees evacuated to Amman and Beirut can speak with those in the Baghdad
office and those working from home.

"You try to work as if the team was complete, but obviously itıs a lot more
complicated," Mr Guarda says.

UN involvement in Iraq intensified following the creation of the
oil-for-food programme in the late 1990s. The program allowed Iraq, then
under the strict sanctions, limited sales of oil to provide revenue for
humanitarian needs.

Each Iraqi received a food ration. Iraqıs war-damaged infrastructure was
patched up, but then the UN evacuated all of its international staff and
curtailed operations before the bombing began.

UNDP projects launched or resumed since the UNıs return to Baghdad in May
include rehabilitation of the power and water infrastructure, reforestation,
school reconstruction and rubbish collection.

UN projects that do get off the ground can be of huge benefit to the people.
In a park in the Adhamiya district of Baghdad, 30 workers pruned weeds and
refurbished a statue of Antar Ben Shadat, a poet and pre-Islamic Iraqi hero.

Wasif Mohamad, a formerly unemployed blacksmith, is paid just under £5 a day
under the programme. "Itıs the most Iıve ever earned," said the young man
with dirty, calloused hands. "Itıs helping me put food on my familyıs

FRIENDS AND NEIGHBOURS,5596,301_9225,00.html

by Ghassan Joha
The Star, 8th September

JORDAN (Star) - This monthıs appointment of Ahmad Chalabi as president of
the Iraqi Interim Governing Council (IIGC) was greeted with annoyance and
disapproval in Jordan. Some regarded the selection of the Iraqi
businessman-turned-politician as a political "maneuver" to weaken chances
for his extradition to Jordan to stand for trial.

Chalabi is most-wanted by the Jordanian authorities on charges of
embezzlement, fraud and misuse of trust for his part in the Petra Bank
scandal during the late 1980s.

In 1992, Chalabi, who was chairman of the bank from 1982 to 1989, was
sentenced to 22 years in prison in absentia by the State Security Court. He
was charged of committing a series of illegal financial transactions that
led to the bankıs bankruptcy and dissolution in 1990. The 58-year-old was
accused of stealing more than $500 million while he was chairman of the
bank. Five of Chalabiıs relatives, including his four brothers, were also
convicted for being solicitors in the affair.

Thirteen years now and Petra Bankıs case still remains unsolved, as many of
the convicted criminals stay at large. The Lower House resurrected the case
weeks ago in a move regarded by the observers as "significant to seal off
one of the most controversial financial scandals in Jordanıs history."

Chalabi is the co-founder of Petra Bank in 1977 and was accused of being
involved in funding deals with Iran and Iraq, through false financial
transactions with associate banks in Switzerland and Lebanon. After the
bankıs collapse Chalabi fled the country in mysterious circumstances and
moved to the United States.

Deputies asked the government in August to issue a subpoena for Chalabi
without delay. About one-third of the deputies, including members of the
Islamic Action Front (IAF), have requested the House Speaker Saad Hayel
Srour to fix a date for a special session to discuss the case openly with
the government.

Prime Minister Ali Abul Ragheb reiterated the governmentıs stand to bring
Chalabi to justice in Jordan. He said last week that the Petra Bankıs affair
is a top priority for the government and will renew its request for the
International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) to extradite Chalabi
to Jordan.

Interpol has rejected a previous Jordanian request for a warrant to arrest
Chalabi in May, citing that Chalabi was convicted in a State Security Court,
rather than in a civilian court. The government pledged to retry Chalabi in
a civilian court, a right that is preserved by the Constitution.

Deputy Mahmoud Kharabsheh, head of the Legal Committee at the Lower House,
denied the Interpolıs allegations and said that all the verdicts that were
issued against Chalabi are legal and confined by the Constitution. In
addition, some civil courtsı rulings were issued against Chalabi during‹and
after‹the bankıs liquidation.

Kharabsheh justified the deputiesı petition, "to make a comprehensive review
of the latest developments in the affair and its longstanding ramifications
on the local economy."

Kharabsheh told The Star that no date is fixed yet for the session to
discuss the Petra Bankıs case, but noted that it could be before the end of
September, when the current extraordinary session of the Lower House closes.

The deputy, however, maintained that the issue could be postponed until
further notice. "The affair is very serious and must be discussed thoroughly
by the government and the Lower House," he said.

However, Kharabsheh acknowledged that a new trial for Chalabi in Jordan
would take some time to be achieved. "It all depends on how the American
authority in Iraq would deal with the issue," the deputy said while advising
his fellow deputies to send messages to the US Congress clearing Jordanıs

Deputy Khalil Attyeh mentioned during Wednesdayıs Lower House session that
the Jordanian-American mutual extradition treaty allows Jordan to ask for
Chalabi to be handed over since he is not a US citizen. The deputy asked the
government to actively adhere to the treaty and submit a request to the US

Observers and economists agree that Chalabiıs alliance with the Americans
would make it difficult for Jordan to extradite him‹for the time being at

When the scandal first surfaced in 1989, Mohammad Said Al Nabulsi was the
governor of the Central Bank of Jordan. Nabulsi supervised thorough
investigations and inquiries into the matter. He believes that Chalabi knew
what he was doing then.

"I believe Chalabi was preparing for the whole affair long time ago, before
it was made public in 1989," Nabulsi told The Star. The investigations in
the Petra Bankıs finances and Chalabiıs improprieties took more than three
years of inspections and analysis.

Both Kharabsheh and Nabulsi rebuff allegations made by Chalabi and American
officials suggesting that the charges against the IIGC member were
politically motivated. "We are talking here about a half billion dollars
lost. This is not political. It is a totally economic crime," Nabulsi
explained. "The Iraqis know exactly who is Chalabi and the majority of them
agree that he is a dirty man," he added.

What solidify Jordanıs position against Chalabi are his connections to other
financial scandals in many parts of the globe. In January 2002, the US State
Department suspended funding to Chalabiıs Iraqi National Congress party, for
lacking financial management and internal weaknesses.

Chalabiıs brothers, Jawad and Hazem, have been convicted by the Swiss
authorities in 1989 of false accounting in connection with the collapse of
Socofi, an investment firm that was part of Chalabiıs international
financial empire. The Swiss federal banking commission in April 1989 also
cracked down a Geneva-based bank, Mebco, which was under Chalabiıs

"He was given an authority by the Americans, and by virtue of that power he
is able to politicize the affair to serve his interests," Al Nabulsi pointed
out. He is sure that Chalabiıs chances to run away from justice are slim,
but doubts that he will stand for trial in Jordan anytime soon.

If Chalabi is brought to Jordan and given a retrial, he might be released
according to the Economic Crimes Law, which was amended in April. The
amendments made it possible for the government to reach a legal settlement
with people like Chalabi, allowing them to repay the stolen money and pardon
him in return.

Abul Ragheb has denied that the amendments were made for Chalabiıs case. He
said that the two situations are not related. Nabulsi, however, thinks that
the only way for Chalabi is "to prove that he is not guilty, something which
I truly doubt."

Boston Herald, from Reuters, 11th September

BAGHDAD, Iraq - The U.S. military said on Thursday it was holding 3,800
Iranian rebel detainees in eastern Iraq and denied that the People's
Mujahideen was still mounting cross border raids into Iran.

"Are they continuing to enter Iran? I can guarantee you that is not
happening. They are contained," Lieutenant-General Ricardo Sanchez,
commander of U.S. troops in Iraq, told a news conference in Baghdad.

He was responding to a report in the Washington Post newspaper that the U.S.
military may be turning a blind eye to renewed activity by the Iranian
opposition group that is on the State Department's list of "terrorist"

The Post quoted State Department officials saying they suspected the
Pentagon was allowing the group to retain its weapons, move in and out of
camps at will, broadcast propaganda and cross into Iran to conduct attacks.

Sanchez said: "There is no problem with the MEK that we are having today."

The People's Mujahideen, or MEK, was allowed to operate on Iraqi soil by
Saddam Hussein's anti-Iranian government but was forced to surrender to the
U.S. military after the March invasion of Iraq.

Giving the first official figure for the number of MEK fighters being held,
Sanchez said the roughly 3,800 detainees had been "separated from their
weapons systems" and were undergoing "screening" to determine their "defined
end state."

He gave no further clues to their future fate.

Five hundred soldiers are guarding them at a base in Ashraf, he said. Their
weapons -- including tanks, rocket launchers and artillery guns -- are at
another base in the desert.


He said he knew nothing of other Mujahideen fighters based in Iraq. Some
reports put MEK numbers far higher than 3,800.

But he said guarding the long Iran-Iraq border was a vast task only really
possible with something like a Berlin Wall.

Tehran has demanded that MEK members be extradited.

Security analysts have speculated that Iran may be willing to swap some of
its al Qaeda detainees for MEK leaders.

At the start of the U.S.-led war to oust Saddam, the U.S. military bombed
the Mujahideen but agreed a cease-fire after Baghdad fell in April, on
condition the rebels withdrew into their bases in "non-combat" positions.

The MEK are classed as "detainees" not prisoners of war.

The group still has offices in major cities across the world and says it has
an underground network of members in Iran. But its fighters and weaponry
were based in Iraq.

For years, Saddam helped the Mujahideen fight his regional foe, Iran, which
itself is no friend of the United States. But after the invasion, Washington
was determined to clear Iraq of any independent fighting forces, even its
enemy's enemy.

Prior to then, the Mujahideen had said they were clashing daily with
Iranian-backed forces in the northeast of Iraq.

Some Washington hardliners back the Mujahideen, despite its position on the
"terrorist" list, as allies against Iran which President Bush had branded
part of an "axis of evil" with Saddam's Iraq and North Korea.


Jordan Times 14th September

JALAWLA, Iraq (AFP) ‹ Splinter elements within the People's Mujahedeen have
taken to the rugged mountains separating Iran and Iraq, and were preparing
to wage attacks against US troops, ethnic Kurds and Tehran, local officials
and military sources said.

But US commanders and local sources insist their capabilities are limited
after the bulk of Mujahedeen, also known by its Persian name
Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK), hatched a deal with coalition authorities and
withdrew to nearby Camp Ashraf in April.

Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Cantwell, commandant of Camp Ashraf, said the
4,000 MEK members in the former Mujahedeen base were consolidated, detained,
disarmed and were being screened for any past terrorist acts.

"All vehicles, arms and ammunition is under coalition control, they do not
even carry a bayonet," Cantwell, a Battalion Commander with the 324 Military
Police, said.

The MEK has been classified by Washington as a terrorist outfit but Cantwell
said this did not mean that each member of the MEK was a terrorist, hence
the screening process to determine each individual's legal status.

"It's about restraint of the use of force and compliance with the Geneva
Conventions, we're especially trained in that, and that's why we're here,"
Cantwell said.

He said the screening process and heavy restrictions on movement was taking
a toll on the Mujahedeen, who are only allowed routine shopping trips into
the town of Khalis under a heavy military escort.

"There's nothing here that's cushy and there is a fair degree of anxiety
among them about their future," he told AFP.

The MEK was a well-armed, secular fighting force that with backing from
Saddam Hussein had continued a guerrilla insurgency against the hardline
Islamic government in Tehran since the Iran-Iran war ended in 1988.

Their equipment included British Chieftain and Russian T-55 tanks.

One military source said the MEK had initially fled its bases along the
Iranian border in southern Iraq as the United States was preparing to launch
its March 20 invasion of Iraq from Kuwait.

The source, and members of the local branch of the Patriotic Union of
Kurdistan (PUK), one of the main political parties in the area, said about
5,000 rebels then converged on the two bases near Jalawla about 30
kilometres west of the Iranian border in late March.

Those bases are now empty of rebels, occupied solely by looters and scrap
metal merchants who moved in after the Mujahedeen shifted to Camp Ashraf.

Deputy chief of the PUK branch in nearby Saadhiyah, Abdul Al Karim Mahmoud,
said the Americans began bombing the bases at about the same time as Saddam
was being ousted from power on April 9.

"But the bombings were designed to frighten the MEK, not kill them, and then
there were long negotiations with the Americans and the MEK," he said.

He said eventually a deal was hammered out and most of the MEK agreed to
relocate to Camp Ashraf but more than 1,000 of the rebels refused to move,
kept their arms and headed into the mountains.

"Now they are fighting the Americans, the Kurds and the Iranians," he said.

"The PUK were against Saddam, the Mujahedeen were with Saddam and they
fought against the Kurds in the 1991 uprising. They refused to make peace
with us so now they are fighting against the Americans and the PUK," he

The military source, a senior officer based in the area, agreed.

"They had for a long time operated camps in southern Iraq, then pulled up to
the border area to the north and west of Baghdad before the US began its
invasion," he said.

He said all the camps in the south, like those in Jalawla, and near Baghdad
were empty and looted, except for Camp Ashraf which sits about 100
kilometres west of the Iranian border and 60 kilometres north of Baghdad.

There are some rebels still out there "but there is no way of telling
exactly how many," he said.

Washington announced on April 22 it had reached a ceasefire with the MEK and
the following day Mujahedeen officials said the agreement allowed the MEK to
keep its weapons and carry on its activities in Iran from Camp Ashraf.

But Cantwell said any such claims were non-existent by June when troops from
the 324 Military Police took control of Camp Ahraf and the MEK was
consolidated and "all weapons secured by MPs."

He declined to comment on current MEK strength or any operations the rebels
could conduct against the Americans, Iranian-government forces or the PUK.

"But I will say a substantial number have agreed to consolidate in one
camp," he said, "at Camp Ashraf."

by SELCAN HACAOGLU, Associated Press Writer
Yahoo, 14th September

ANKARA, Turkey - The United States and Turkey agreed Friday on "a joint plan
of action" regarding Turkish Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq (news - web
sites), U.S. officials said.

Turkey, NATO (news - web sites)'s only Muslim member, is considering a
request by Washington to send peacekeepers to neighboring Iraq, but wants
help in dealing with an estimated 5,000 rebels of the Kurdistan Workers
Party, or PKK, that are based in northern Iraq.

A U.S. team headed by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State B. Lynn Pascoe met
with Turkish government, military and intelligence officials in Ankara
Friday to discuss cooperation on the issue of Kurdish rebels, who fought a
15-year war for autonomy in southeastern Turkey.

After the talks, Pascoe told reporters that Turkey and the United States had
agreed on a "a joint plan of action," but provided no details.

"We're very sympathetic with the problems that Turkey has had on this
issue," Pascoe said.

The State Department has branded the PKK, which now calls itself KADEK, as a
terrorist organization.

The possible deployment of peacekeepers is deeply controversial in Turkey. A
recent poll indicated that a majority of Turks oppose the move. Turkish
officials have said that a U.N. resolution backing the deployment of foreign
troops in Iraq would make the Turkish deployment easier.

by Dina Al Wakeel
Jordan Times, 15th September
AMMAN ‹ Lower House deputies on Sunday condemned the attack on the Jordanian
military hospital in Iraq that left one dead, while some MPs called upon the
US government to compensate the deceased's family with at least $10 million.

IAF Deputy Zuhair Abul Ragheb (Amman, 3rd District) said the attack was ³not
a mistake or caused by friendly fire ... It was done on purpose!²

Abul Ragheb called on the government to hold American troops responsible for
the attack and to ask for no less than $10 million in compensation for the
family of Sergeant Omar Ahmad Asfour. ³Jordanian blood is not worth less
than that of Americans,² he exclaimed.

Reuters reported that Asfour was killed along with eight US-trained Iraqi
policeman by US troops, who said they mistook the group for rebels in an
area considered a hotspot for resistance to the occupation.

The Jordanian hospital was badly damaged in the incident, its walls peppered
with bullet holes, said the news agency. Four other Jordanian workers were
also injured in the attack.

Deputy Prime Minister Faris Nabulsi pointed out that the government was
positive the Asfour's death was ³unintentional,² assuring the House that the
incident would not deter the Kingdom from its continuing support for the
Iraqi people to reconstruct their nation.

According to Nabulsi, initial reports showed that the hospital was attacked
by armed Iraqis and that Jordanian guards responded. Simultaneously,
American and some other Iraqi troops also became engaged in the battle,
resulting in chaos and confusion.

Relaying the apology Jordan received from the US, Nabulsi said US Secretary
of State Colin Powell telephoned Foreign Minister Marwan Muasher Friday to
express his government's ³regret² over the incident.

Deputy Insaf Khawaldeh (Tafileh) spoke on behalf of all women
parliamentarians, saying the attack should prompt a reevaluation of the
whole situation in order to provide the hospital's staff greater protection.

Then, speaking on behalf of the National Action Front, Khawaldeh slammed the
Jordan Bar Association's decision to stop new graduates from training and to
prevent those that had already paid dues from joining the association.

The deputy, who made reference to 450 graduates, said it was a
constitutional right for these graduates to train, as the association
suggestion for the establishment of a training institution had yet to be

Meanwhile, other MPs urged the government to accelerate procedures to find
the arsonist behind a fire that destroyed some 4,100 trees in Jerash.

Later, Health Minister Hakem Qadi answered deputy queries regarding the
nursing shortage in the Kingdom, pointing out that the level of nursing here
had led to an increase demand on Jordanian nurses abroad.

Last year, he explained, 511 nurses were appointed at the ministry but 367
declined ‹ nearly 72 per cent, while many others left soon after employ due
to low salaries.

Qadi said a special committee was formed to look into the salaries of
ministry workers that would submit recommendations to the Cabinet.

Temporary law activity

After a long debate, MPs decided to postpone discussions on the King
Abdullah Fund temporary law, as neither the government nor the labour and
social development committee that reviewed the law could decide whether the
fund was governmental or non governmental.

The nonprofit body was formed to initiate productive projects upgrading
citizens' standard of living, as well as to provide information technology
training by establishing centres towards that end.

The Lower House also passed two temporary laws. One an amended highway law
and another a piece of narcotics legislation that came with some

by Dr Fadhil J Chalabi (MEES)
MEES, Vol XLVI, no 37, 15th September

Dr Fadhil J Chalabi is Executive Director, Centre for Global Energy Studies,

Since Iraq has been under occupation by the coalition forces, its right to
attend OPEC Conference meetings has been questioned by OPEC spokesmen on the
grounds that the country lacks a legitimate, internationally recognized
government. For this reason, Iraq was excluded from the last OPEC meeting.
According to current OPEC interpretation, the conference meetings ought to
be attended only by member countries' legitimately elected ministers or
their deputies. The recent formation of Iraq's governing council and the
interim government did not change OPEC's position vis-à-vis Iraq, but it has
recently emphasized that once the UN recognizes Iraq's present interim
government, then Iraq may resume its attendance of OPEC conference meetings.
In other words, Iraq's OPEC membership, meanwhile, has been de facto
suspended, and Iraq's recently designated oil minister is not considered
politically qualified to attend so long as the UN does not recognize Iraq's

However, this stance towards Iraq is unjustified if we examine the nature of
OPEC, its history, its statutes and, above all, its long-term interests.

When OPEC was founded in Baghdad in September 1960, its entire raison d'être
was to defend its members' interests in confronting the international oil
companies' actions in unilaterally imposing two successive cuts in the then
'posted price' which was, at the time, the tax reference determining
government revenues. OPEC was never intended to be a political organization
representing sovereign states enjoying international, political recognition.
In essence, OPEC is an economic group of commodity (oil) exporters and its
formation was similar to that of many primary commodity agreements designed
by producer-exporters collaborating simply to defend their own interests in
international trade and to take action against price volatility of their
commodities. In fact, many primary commodity agreements (involving coffee,
copper, diamonds, etc) have been concluded in the past without great
success. In the case of OPEC, its success has been derived from the
importance of oil in the world economy, as well as oil's fundamental
importance in the economies of the producers themselves.

In fact, in 1961, when OPEC sought to establish its headquarters in Geneva,
it was its non political and purely economic nature that proved an obstacle
deterring the Swiss authorities from granting the organization international
status with diplomatic immunity. They declared that OPEC was not an
international organization serving any political end, but a group of
commodity exporters that should be treated commercially. For this reason
OPEC moved to Vienna, Austria, where chancellor Bruno Kreisky agreed to
confer diplomatic status on the organization. At that time, the far-sighted
chancellor's policy was to open the Austrian capital up to more
inter-regional and international activity and investment, in order to place
Vienna firmly on the international scene. Many UN agencies were transferred
to Vienna for the same reason.

Furthermore, OPEC's history shows clearly that its own membership is not
contingent upon state sovereignty or UN membership or any obligation for a
member country to be internationally recognized. In fact, OPEC Resolution
1.2, para. 3, states: "Any country with substantial exports of crude
petroleum can become a member". The word "country" is reiterated in OPEC
resolutions without any qualification, the sole criteria for the member
country being its production and export of oil and not whether or not it is
a sovereign state, or temporarily colonized, or under a foreign mandate, or,
for that matter, under occupation.

This is confirmed by OPEC's own history, and this fact could not have been
made more apparent than at the time of OPEC's inception in Baghdad in
September 1960, when Kuwait, itself a founding member of OPEC, was not
recognized internationally as a sovereign state, and remained a British
protectorate until late 1961, a year after the formation of OPEC. Indeed,
the Kuwaiti representative at the time, Ahmad Sa'id 'Umar, was not a
minister but simply the chairman of the Kuwait National Oil Company, dealing
not with exports of crude oil but refined products. Kuwait was neither an
Arab League member nor a member of any international organization, such as
the UN &endash; to which it gained admission on 14 May 1963, after gaining
independence in late 1961. Qatar joined OPEC in 1961 without being an
independent, internationally recognized, sovereign state. Its representative
was Hasan Kamil, the Egyptian advisor to the Emir. Qatar did not proclaim
its independence until 1971 and was admitted to the UN on 21 September 1971.

Similarly, when Abu Dhabi joined OPEC in 1968 it was neither a sovereign
state nor a member of the UN. At that time Abu Dhabi was represented by an
Iraqi advisor to Shaikh Zayid, Dr Nadim Pachachi, who, in January 1971, was
appointed Secretary-General of OPEC on behalf of Abu Dhabi 11 months before
that country even became an independent sovereign state on 2 December 1971,
joining the UN on 9 December 1971.

In fact, since its inception, OPEC has never been intended as a political
instrument. Even the measures taken in October 1973, to limit oil production
as an instrument of political pressure during the war between Egypt and
Israel, were taken not in the name of OPEC but by Arab oil ministers who met
in their official and national capacity, not even as members of OAPEC (in
whose Kuwait headquarters their meeting was held to take that crucial
decision). Therefore neither the status nor the history of OPEC gives any
precedence, legally speaking, for the exclusion of Iraq from OPEC conference
meetings on the grounds that it is not internationally recognized.

Even more important than the question of legality is the fact that the
prevention of Iraq's attendance of OPEC conference meetings is neither in
OPEC's nor Iraq's interests. It may take years for Iraq to acquire its
so-called legitimate government in the fullest sense of being democratically
elected. The question meanwhile is whether OPEC's attitude towards Iraq is
in the organization's own interests. Iraq has such enormous oil potential
that, if the country is excluded from OPEC, the future development of Iraqi
oil reserves will present a problem that OPEC can ill afford to ignore and
can only resolve with Iraq's cooperation. OPEC's attitude runs the risk of
encouraging certain voices within Iraq, clamoring to leave the organization
in order to feel free to produce as much oil as possible without the
production restrictions imposed by OPEC's archaic quota system.

Iraq is not only a major oil producer but it was Iraq that took the
initiative in the formation of OPEC in Baghdad in September 1960. Therefore,
it is both historically speaking just and in OPEC's long-term interests to
keep Iraq in the organization's 'family fold'.

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