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News, 17-24/9/03 (1) IRAQ GOVERNING COUNCIL * Chalabi is right, indefatigable and also self-serving * Proposed Iraqi plan puts Americans on sidelines * Iraqi Minister Assembling Security Force * Senior Iraqi official gunned down * SCIRI officials confirm Badr Corps remain active * Constitutional-Drafting Committee to be elected * Chalabi seeks to take seat at UN * Aljazeera barred from covering Iraqi council * Chalabi seeks more control of finances, security NEW ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER * U.S.-appointed delegates pick interim council in Tikrit * British forces fire Al-Basrah police chief * 'As Long as It Takes' Iraqis are on the road to democratic self-government NEW ECONOMIC ORDER * World Bank, IMF gear up for assisting Iraq reconstruction * OPEC approves Iraqi attendance at upcoming meeting * Iraq industries - except oil - up for sale to highest bidder * Iraq oil assets 'up for sale' SECURITY IN IRAQ * Major Iraqi attack on US convoy * Iraqi oil pipeline on fire * Purported new audiotape of deposed Iraqi leader surfaces * US soldier kills rare tiger at Baghdad zoo * Tiger and Zoo I Know! * Security stepped up in Al-Sulaymaniyah * U.S. to pay compensation for killing Iraqi policemen * Iraq UN blast kills 2 * US wipes out family in missile attack IRAQ GOVERNING COUNCIL http://www.dailystar.com.lb/opinion/16_09_03_d.asp * CHALABI IS RIGHT, INDEFATIGABLE AND ALSO SELF-SERVING by Robert Rabil Lebanon Daily Star, 16th September Writing in the Washington Post in late August, following a spate of horrific bomb attacks in Iraq, Ahmed Chalabi, the founder of the Iraqi National Congress (INC) and a member of the country's governing council, rightly observed: "It is only by involving Iraqis as true partners that the United States will be able to salvage the situation." Chalabi, in explaining the cause for deteriorating security conditions in Iraq, limited his diagnosis to an over-simplified notion that ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was the main culprit. Chillingly, he recommended that Anglo-American forces adopt collective punishment measures to improve security, such as arresting the brothers, sons, nephews and cousins of Baathists and former officials, as well as male residents between 15 and 50 if illegal weapons were found in their homes. Chalabi's recommendations, if heeded, would herald a sectarian upheaval in Iraq. Notwithstanding the ideological affinity between Chalabi and some US officials, the Bush administration needs to scrutinize Chalabi's policies and motives. As someone who supported the removal of Saddam, I commend Chalabi for his indefatigable drive to rid Iraq of a brutal dictator. But this has been compromised by self serving positions that have spelled catastrophe for US reconstruction efforts. During the run-up to the war, Chalabi and his supporters worked to foist on the Bush administration political views that conflicted with political and social realities in Iraq. They discounted religion as a political force, over-emphasized the secularism of Iraqi society, overplayed the welcome that would greet US soldiers and constantly attempted to discredit or marginalize competing political forces and views. Chalabi projected himself as a Charles de Gaulle-like figure, supported by an extensive network that would welcome him back to Iraq as the caretaker and builder of a new democratic state. Not even a week into the war, the INC began mobilizing for a de-Baathification campaign, which included dismantling the country's pre-war institutions, especially the army. In doing this, the INC brushed aside warnings by Iraqi political groups about the problems de Baathification would engender. Writing in the US newsmagazine The New Republic, Kanan Makiya, an Iraqi intellectual and INC strategist, endorsed the creation of a new Iraqi Army with INC fighters as its nucleus. After much INC campaigning, last May US civilian administrator Paul Bremer reversed earlier decisions by US authorities and issued summary edicts "disestablishing" the Baath Party and dismantling such Iraqi institutions as the army and police. These edicts were not only ill-advised, they were also a coup-de-grace to US reconstruction efforts. Although de Baathification was designed to get rid of Saddam loyalists, it effectively became an indictment of Iraqis considered guilty by association with the regime, rather than guilty because of their past conduct. In examining thousands of official Iraqi documents captured during the March 1991 uprising, I realized how thoroughly the Baath regime had coordinated and supervised a system designed to turn the maximum number of Iraqis into its accomplices. Saddam employed numerous procedures of oppression to rule Iraq and to penetrate and atomize its society, including its nucleus, the family. Through a comprehensive and methodical system, the regime strove to deepen the population's dependence on the state for services and employment. Employment and services for Iraqis were conditional on their "cooperating" with the regime by providing information on (in the Baath lexicon), "everything that might negatively affect the public welfare," including delicate information on their own families. Many Iraqis joined the Baath for reasons of expediency or necessity, including coercion. Consequently, Bremer's blanket edicts put on the streets hundreds of thousands of possibly innocent public employees, including police and soldiers. At a time when coalition forces needed an "Iraqi face" to secure the country, the Iraqi Army was dismantled. Significantly, the army, unlike the security apparatus, was not a bastion of Saddam loyalists and did not fight for his survival. At a time when coalition forces needed to rehabilitate Iraq's vital institutions and restore basic services, managers and employees of Iraq's public sector were jobless. All this has had a significant impact on the Sunni community, which has been concerned about its political, economic and social status vis-a-vis other communities. Besides seeing the edicts as an attempt by the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) to strip them of their privileges, Sunnis have been increasingly concerned that the CPA has been ignoring them in the reconstruction of Iraq, considering them sympathetic to the former dictator. Even Laith Kubba, a prominent Shiite intellectual, has questioned why the CPA has not approached prominent Sunnis, including religious scholars. This has engendered a rise in Islamist militancy and an anti-American environment that has served to bring disparate nationalist, leftist, Baathist, and Islamist (both foreign and local) forces together. It is, therefore, imprudent to depict the attacks on coalition forces and the recent bombings as the sole work of remnants of the former regime. Chalabi is right in insisting that Iraqis must be the true partners of coalition forces. But this partnership should not be based on misguided policies promoting the interest of one group at the expense of all others. The INC has made significant mistakes, entailing dire consequences for the US and Iraqis. The US must not pay the political price for the failure of the INC to emerge as a rallying point for Iraqis, or for its inability to match its political ambitions with its capacity to influence events. Robert Rabil was project manager of the Iraq Research and Documentation Project in Washington. He is the author of Embattled Neighbors: Israel, Syria and Lebanon. He wrote this commentary for THE DAILY STAR http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/world/2108480 * PROPOSED IRAQI PLAN PUTS AMERICANS ON SIDELINES by PATRICK E. TYLER Houston Chronicle, from New York Times, 18th September SALAHUDIIN, Iraq -- Five Iraqi leaders agreed Thursday on a sweeping new security plan that would call for most American troops to withdraw to their bases and turn over day-to day police functions to Iraqi militia forces working under the new Ministry of Interior. A Kurdish leader, Massoud Barzani, the host of the meeting, said in an interview that U.S. forces were making serious mistakes by trying to become a "front line" occupation force. He said the Americans needed to turn over this task quickly to Iraqi militia forces, which could work with Iraqi civic and tribal leaders to establish security arrangements tailored to each part of the country. The proposal, which will be presented to U.S. officials in the next few days, raised questions of how the militias would function together, if at all, and whether their return to the streets would foment a kind of warlordism in Iraq. But the Iraqi leaders said their forces could be integrated under the control of the new police ministry and monitored by Iraq's interim government and the U.S. military. The militias, Barzani said, could provide a transitional force until tens of thousands of Iraqi police officers and a new Iraqi army were ready to assume the task. The plan represented the strongest intervention to date on the deteriorating security climate in Iraq by the leaders of the former Iraqi opposition, some of whom said they were deeply frustrated by continuing instability. Barzani said Iraqi leaders wanted to continue to work closely with the 140,000 coalition forces in Iraq. But he indicated that the five former opposition leaders would recommend to the 25-member Governing Council that the U.S. military take a secondary and much reduced role. "The biggest mistake the Americans have made is to confront the Iraqis face to face and to be in the front line of confrontation," Barzani said. "But I think American forces should be withdrawn to bases nearby. They should not be policing and conducting patrols. They should hand over these duties to Iraqis." It was not immediately clear how the United States would respond. But military authorities had said they would be receptive to a workable plan to speed up the transfer of security functions to the Iraqis. Gen. John P. Abizaid, who heads the U.S. Central Command, told the Wall Street Journal that U.S. military commanders were considering a plan to pull back from policing duties by spring. The commander of coalition forces in Iraq, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, said in Baghdad on Thursday that "we would be willing to do that immediately" if local security forces were prepared to take over. The opposition leaders' plan would call for a more rapid pull back of coalition forces and would bring into play Kurdish, Shiite and other militia forces the American military commanders have either sought to disarm, disband or, in the case of the Kurds, restrict to guard duties in the Kurdish homelands in northern Iraq. http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=1802&ncid=716&e=28&u=/washpo st/20030918/ts_washpost/a26642_2003sep17 * IRAQI MINISTER ASSEMBLING SECURITY FORCE by Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Washington Post Foreign Service Yahoo, 18th September BAGHDAD, Sept. 17 -- Iraq's newly appointed interior minister is assembling a paramilitary force composed of former employees of the country's security services and members of political party militias to pursue resistance fighters who have eluded U.S. troops and Iraqi police officers, according to Iraqi officials. In an acknowledgement that Iraq's municipal police departments are too weak to combat Baathist insurgents and foreign terrorists, leaders of the country's Governing Council want the force to include a domestic intelligence-gathering unit and be deputized with broad powers to conduct raids and interrogate suspects, the officials said. The force, as outlined by the officials, would be the most powerful security apparatus in Iraq and would give five political organizations headed by former opposition leaders an unrivaled role in the country's internal security. Some independent members of the council, as well as diplomats in Iraq who have been informed of the plans to form the domestic paramilitary force, fear that it could be used as a tool by a future government to suppress political dissent or target enemies -- as similar forces have been used in many other Arab nations. But Ayad Alawi, the chairman of the Governing Council's security committee, said the new force was necessary because Iraq's regular police are "not sufficient at all." He said the committee asked Interior Minister Nouri Badran to form a special force that would be "a cross between the military and the police" and would be "deployed to areas of hot confrontation." In an interview today, Alawi said the Governing Council had reached a "general agreement" with the U.S. occupation authority on setting up the force. Although the U.S. civil administrator here, L. Paul Bremer, wants Iraqis to take more responsibility for internal security, U.S. officials here said a final decision on the force had not been made. "The coalition authority has been informed in general terms about this proposal," said Daniel Senor, a senior adviser to Bremer. "We are looking forward to the details before we agree to it." While the council has been given responsibility for many day-to-day governance issues, Bremer has the final say, particularly on security matters. But a senior U.S. official here said Bremer is "open-minded on proposed solutions to security issues, especially when they are proposed by Iraqis who have a substantial operations responsibility for security, like the minister of the interior." Despite the lack of formal approval, Badran has been moving forward with building the force, Alawi said. "We gave him the okay," Alawi said. "This falls within the sphere of his specialty." Alawi, the leader of the Iraqi National Accord, a former opposition party that has long been supported by the CIA, said the newly reconstituted Interior Ministry already has begun screening more than 3,000 applicants. "We have asked certain levels of ex-police and ex-military to come forward if they are interested in serving their country," he said. The first units of the force, about 1,500 men, should be assembled, trained and deployed by the end of the year, he said. Ultimately, he said, the force could grow to between 7,000 and 9,000 members and could employ helicopters and speedboats. He said former members of Saddam Hussein's four principal intelligence services and senior members of the Baath Party would not be hired but could be retained as "freelancers" to provide information. All recruits would be vetted for past human rights abuses, he added. It remained unclear, however, whether U.S. authorities would also participate in the screening process. Alawi said the force would be drawn primarily from two groups: former members of the military and police, and members of the security and intelligence wings of five political organizations: the Iraqi National Accord, the Iraqi National Congress, the Shiite Muslim Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq and two large Kurdish parties, the Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. The creation of an Iraqi-run paramilitary unit would be a significant step toward giving Iraqis more power to tackle the escalating insurgent activity and rampant crime that have shaken the faith of many Iraqis in the U.S.-led effort to reconstruct their country and form a democratic government. Members of the Governing Council said they believed the force also would address the difficulties U.S. authorities have faced in drafting police officers to assume more public security functions. Although more than 35,000 police officers have returned to work across the country, many lack training and equipment. In cities, officers have been unable to crack large criminal gangs; in small towns, they have been afraid that aggressive action against resistance fighters will prompt retribution attacks. Iraqi officials said the same fear of vengeance is affecting Iraqis who are being incorporated into U.S. military units to participate in patrols and man checkpoints. Those Iraqis, members of a new civil defense corps, spend the night in their homes instead of on military bases. "How can you expect someone to raid a house and then go sleep in the same town?" said an official with the Iraqi National Congress, whose leader, Ahmed Chalabi, is this month's Governing Council president. "You need a national unit that can deploy to places quickly, take action and then leave." Members of the civil defense corps are being recruited by U.S. troops and will work under their command. Previous reports indicated the corps would report to the Interior Ministry. The Iraqi National Congress official likened the new paramilitary force to the Italy's carabiniere. "We're up against terrorist and mafia-like organizations," the official said. "We need this type of force to counter this type of threat." Alawi said it "makes sense for Iraqis to take a more active role in restoring security." "We understand the culture, the geography, the customs and the habits of our people," he said. Adel Murad, a senior official of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, said giving Iraqis the authority to act on intelligence they gather would improve the chances of catching Baathist fighters and foreign terrorists. "We need to speed up the process," he said. "Right now, it can take days for the coalition to act on information we give them." But some independent members of the Governing Council are particularly concerned that militiamen and intelligence operatives from five former opposition parties will be a part of the new unit, warning that their inclusion will politicize the force. "It will give the parties an unfair advantage," said one independent council member, speaking on the condition of anonymity. "In a country like Iraq, if you control the police -- or something even stronger than the police -- you have the power." Alawi said the new force would include adequate safeguards to ensure it would not abuse its mandate. As a first step, he said, the Interior Ministry will ask the U.S. military to provide liaison officers to each platoon-size unit on the force. "We want to ensure maximum coordination with the coalition," he said. Eventually, he said, the ministry will have a civilian undersecretary and an oversight committee. Members of the Governing Council's security committee and their aides insisted, however, that aggressive measures were necessary in the face of rampant crime and insurgent activity. "There are bad guys out there," an adviser to Chalabi said. "There is a big difference between internal dissent and Baathist terror." http://observer.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,1046381,00.html * SENIOR IRAQI OFFICIAL GUNNED DOWN by Peter Beaumont in Baghdad The Observer, 21st September Aquila al-Hashimi, the most prominent of only three women serving on Iraq's Governing Council, was shot and critically wounded yesterday in an assassination attempt outside her home in west Baghdad. Neighbours said gunmen in a pick-up truck and a Mercedes intercepted her car, injuring Hashimi in the abdomen and wounding her bodyguards as they raked her vehicle with bullets. Hashimi, a Shia Muslim and former diplomat, came from a prominent religious family in the holy city of Najaf, south of Baghdad. Her death follows the assassination last month of Shia religious leader Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim in a bomb blast in Najaf, along with 85 worshippers. Neighbours who witnessed the attack told The Observer. 'I saw a pick-up truck and a Mercedes pull up just as she was leaving in her Land Cruiser with her bodyguards following in a second car,' said Saleh Mohammed al-Yassin. 'There were men hiding in the back of the pick-up with guns who jumped up and started firing. As her car tried to escape someone threw a grenade. I saw her brother, who was one of her bodyguards, come running with blood on his face, shouting "My sister, my sister!"' Hashimi, the only member of the Governing Council to have held Baath Party membership - although at a very low level - had been preparing to leave for New York as part of the Iraqi delegation to the UN General Assembly in an attempt to assume Iraq's seat in the world body. [.....] * SCIRI OFFICIALS CONFIRM BADR CORPS REMAIN ACTIVE RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT Vol. 6, No. 39, 21 September 2003 Leaders of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Resistance in Iraq (SCIRI) have confirmed that the group's armed force, the Badr Corps, remains active despite a U.S. demand that the militia disband, international media reported. SCIRI political adviser Muhsin al-Hakim told ISNA that the Badr Corps will now focus on the rebuilding of Iraq, saying the group is working to uncover terrorist plots against Shi'ite leaders and to foil acts of sabotage, the news agency reported on 12 September. Meanwhile, SCIRI's new head and Iraqi Governing Council member Abd al-Aziz al-Hakim on 12 September criticized the United States for failing to integrate Badr fighters into the new Iraqi police force, nytimes.com reported the next day. The United States has said all militia forces are welcome to apply to join the new Iraqi police and army but declined to guarantee that all applicants will be accepted. Al-Hakim also told a Baghdad news conference on 12 September that the Badr Corps has changed its name to the Badr Organization in light of the group's new focus. He then criticized the coalition for its approach to security and maintained that any religious scholar or tribal leader can form security groups to protect their regions, Baghdad's "Al-Dustur" reported on 13 September. (Kathleen Ridolfo) * CONSTITUTIONAL-DRAFTING COMMITTEE TO BE ELECTED RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT Vol. 6, No. 39, 21 September 2003 Fu'ad Ma'sum, the head of the preparatory committee of the Iraqi constitutional congress and member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), has said that members of the constitutional-drafting committee will be elected -- not appointed, Baghdad media reported on 13 September. According to the newspaper "Al-Ittijah al-Akhar," Ma'sum told reporters in Al-Najaf that committee members have decided to elect a drafting committee, but he did not announce a date for the elections. Ma'sum, who was in Al-Najaf to meet with Grand Ayatollah Ali al Sistani, also told reporters that "a population census [will] be organized prior to the election," "Al-Ittihad" reported. Meanwhile, Preparatory Committee member Fada al-Din Muhammad al-Sistani told reporters that the drafting committee must be elected in order for it to truly reflect the will of the Iraqi people, "Al-Ittijah al-Akhar" reported. (Kathleen Ridolfo) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2003/09/22/wirq222.xml& sSheet=/news/2003/09/22/ixnewstop.html&secureRefresh=true&_requestid=140968 * CHALABI SEEKS TO TAKE SEAT AT UN by Anton La Guardia Daily Telegraph, 22nd September Ahmad Chalabi, the head of Iraq's US-appointed Governing Council, hopes to score a diplomatic victory by taking over Iraq's seat at the United Nations. Aides said Mr Chalabi would not wait for formal recognition, instead attempting a fait accompli at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday. He will be helped by the remaining Saddam Hussein envoys, who are still formally accredited at the UN, but have no voting rights because Iraq has not paid more than £8 million of subscriptions. "Nobody knows what Iraq's status is," said one Iraqi official. "The delegation will occupy its seat. If there are any objections, we will deal with them at the time." Mr Chalabi will hope that the Arab League's decision this month to admit the new Iraqi administration will ease his way at the UN. But Iraqi officials fear that the Venezuelan government of President Hugo Chavez may object. Last week, Venezuelan officials said they would oppose the admission of the Governing Council to the Opec oil cartel, which is due to hold a meeting this week in Vienna. In the wrangling over a resolution setting out the post-Saddam rebuilding of Iraq, diplomats and officials at the UN say America and France have abruptly swapped roles in their attitude to the council. A UN source said: "The French would have said a short time ago that Chalabi was America's puppet. Now they want to empower him and it is the Americans who are saying 'Let's not rush things'." Mr Chalabi, emboldened by the French stance, has been urging America to give the council greater "sovereignty", including control of its own security forces. http://english.aljazeera.net/Articles/News/ArabWorld/Aljazeera+banned+again. htm * ALJAZEERA BARRED FROM COVERING IRAQI COUNCIL Aljazeera, 24th September Aljazeera has been banned from covering the US-installed Iraqi Governing Council's activities for allegedly inciting violence against US occupation forces and its supporters. Aljazeera and Dubai-based al-Arabiya were issued two-week bans for breaking so-called 'rules'. Other media organisations were served notices that action would be taken without warning against any future infractions. The Governing Council declared bans on inciting violence, disorder, or any reporting that directly or indirectly represents the ousted Baath party. They said breaches of the rules pose a risk to democracy and the stability of Iraq. "Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya will temporarily be excluded from any coverage of Governing Council activities or official press conferences, and correspondents of the two channels will not be allowed to enter ministries or government offices for two weeks," it said. Aljazeera officials condemned the move saying it violates basic rights of democracy and journalistic freedom. 'Dismay' Speaking to CNN, Aljazeera spokesperson Jihad Balout said, "my organisation is dismayed at this decision, and we certainly believe that there are several victims to the decision, firstly the truth, because it will be missing ... and the second one is the freedom of the press." "Al-Jazeera has been under pressure ever since day one of its existence, although it really adopts and practices the same principles of freedom of the press, and democracy and multiplicity of views as always advocated and asked people to do." US officials have been critical of the two satellite channels, saying they give too much prominence to anti-US attacks and provide a forum for members of the ousted government of Saddam Hussein. "At the end of the day, we are not in the business of censoring news and information, especially from our viewers. I think it's incumbent on us to give our viewers out there as full a picture as possible, and as balanced [a] picture as possible and as comprehensive as possible," Balout added. International reaction British MP and Iraq expert George Galloway said the decision was an indictment of the way the American-led forces were running the country. "This puts a nail in the coffin of the big lie that the West was going into Iraq to liberate the country in the name of freedom and democracy and to rid it of the yoke of dictatorship," he said. "Aljazeera and al-Arabiya have the right to report news. They cater to their audience and will obviously favouritise stories their audience is interested in. "Other media organisations should protest vociferously against this decision because today it is Aljazeera and al-Arabiya but tomorrow it could be them." He predicted the censorship would ultimately backfire on the occupation forces. "The British Prime Minister banned the Irish Republican Army in the 1980s and tried to deny them access to all media. But all that achieved was to reduce the government to the level of the IRA and to make them a laughing stock," he said. http://www.jordantimes.com/Wed/news/news4.htm * CHALABI SEEKS MORE CONTROL OF FINANCES, SECURITY Jordan Times, 24th September WASHINGTON (AFP) ‹ The interim authority head in Baghdad said in an interview on Tuesday the US occupying forces should hand over more power to his Iraqi Governing Council now, including at least partial control of the oil-rich country's finance and security ministries. "They can start by putting Iraqis to be in joint control, with the coalition, of Iraqi finances," council chairman, Ahmad Chalabi, told The New York Times. "We think that internal security in Iraq cannot be maintained unless Iraqis are far more involved (in commanding the security forces) than they are now," he added. Chalabi said all the measures he was seeking "would demonstrate increasing sovereignty in Iraq." Asked when he wanted the transfer of power, he replied: "Right away." "We want to claim Iraq's seat at the United Nations," he added from New York, where he had arrived to attend the United Nations General Assembly. Chalabi also said the council did not want to see more foreign troops arrive in Iraq. "We cannot be expected to solicit foreign troops in Iraq," he said. "We cannot be expected to do that." US President George W. Bush plans to use his speech at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday to call for a new UN resolution authorising the deployment of a multinational force in Iraq. Faced with daily attacks on its troops and a soaring bill for occupying Iraq, Washington is seeking to pass on part of the military and financial burden to the international community and gain UN acceptance for its presence in the country. The New York Times quoted Chalabi's aides as saying his call for a swift transfer of power was "going down poorly in Washington." But Chalabi denied his proposals were at odds with US policies in Iraq. "We are not at cross purposes," he insisted. Bush made clear on Monday Washington would not change its timetable for restoring power to the Iraqis. "The UN must understand that we are very firm on the sequencing of events," Bush told Fox television. "The key on any (UN) resolution ... is not to get in the way of an orderly transfer of sovereignty based upon a logical series of steps," he said. "And that's constitution, elections and then the transfer of authority." NEW ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER * U.S.-APPOINTED DELEGATES PICK INTERIM COUNCIL IN TIKRIT RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT Vol. 6, No. 39, 21 September 2003 A U.S.-appointed delegation of 120 individuals from the Iraqi city of Tikrit gathered there on 15 September to elect a 30-member city council that will govern an area comprising 1 million Iraqis, Reuters reported on the same day. The council, established in the hometown of deposed Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, was immediately criticized by some observers who argued that the participants -- and the leaders they elected -- were vetted by U.S. officers. In addition, a U.S.-appointed governor will retain ultimate decision-making power. U.S. Major General Ray Odierno congratulated the mostly-Sunni delegates on their participation in the election, saying it was "a historic step toward democracy," Reuters reported. Odierno reportedly appointed four members to balance the ethnic and religious diversity of the council. (Kathleen Ridolfo) * BRITISH FORCES FIRE AL-BASRAH POLICE CHIEF RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT Vol. 6, No. 39, 21 September 2003 British forces have reportedly fired Al-Basrah police chief Khudayr al-Abbudi citing his failure to establish security in the southern Iraqi city, Voice of the Mujahidin Radio reported on 17 September. Al-Abbudi headed a police force of some 3,700 policemen working out of 34 police stations, according to an interview he gave to Al-Jazeera Television on 16 August. Gerard Russell, a spokesman for the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office, told Kuwait Satellite Television on 25 July that al-Abbudi had reported an 80 percent decrease in the crime rate in the city, but recent weeks of violence appear to have impacted the decision to remove al-Abbudi from his position. Kuwait's "Al-Ra'y al-Amm" reported on 13 June that al Abbudi previously served as a brigadier-general in the Iraqi army under the now-deposed Hussein regime. (Kathleen Ridolfo) http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110004035 * 'AS LONG AS IT TAKES' IRAQIS ARE ON THE ROAD TO DEMOCRATIC SELF GOVERNMENT. by COLIN POWELL Opinion Journal, 19th September [by Colin Powell] I have just returned from Iraq. What I saw there convinced me, more than ever, that our liberation of Iraq was in the best interests of the Iraqi people, the American people and the world. The Iraq I saw was a society on the move, a vibrant land with a hardy people experiencing the first heady taste of freedom. Iraq has come a long way since the dawn of this year, when Saddam Hussein was holding his people in poverty, ignorance and fear while filling mass graves with his opponents. The Iraqi regime was still squandering Iraq's treasure on deadly weapons programs, in defiance of 12 years of United Nations Security Council resolutions. While children died, Saddam was lavishing money on palaces and perks, for himself and his cronies. Thanks to the courage of our brave men and women in uniform, and those of our coalition partners, all that has changed. Saddam is gone. Thanks to the hard work of Ambassador L. Paul Bremer and the Coalition Provisional Authority, Iraq is being transformed. The evidence was everywhere to be seen. Streets are lined with shops selling newspapers and books with opinions of every stripe. Schools and universities are open, teaching young Iraqis the skills to live in freedom and compete in our globalizing world. Parents are forming PTAs to support these schools, and to make sure that they have a voice in their children's future. The hospitals are operating, and 95% of the health clinics are open to provide critical medical services to Iraqis of all ages. Most important of all, Iraqis are on the road to democratic self-government. All the major cities and over 85% of the towns have councils. In Baghdad, I attended a city council meeting that was remarkable for its normalcy. I saw its members spend their time talking about what most city councils are concerned with--jobs, education and the environment. At the national level I met with an Iraqi Governing Council that has appointed ministers and is taking responsibility for national policy. In fact, while I was there, the new minister of justice announced the legal framework for a truly independent judiciary. The Governing Council has appointed a central bank governor who will be in charge of introducing Iraq's new, unified currency next month. It also recently endorsed new tariffs and is now discussing world-class reforms to open the country to productive foreign investment. Now, the Governing Council is turning its attention to the process for drawing up a democratic constitution for a democratic Iraq. I was truly moved when I met with my counterpart, Hoshyar Zebari, free Iraq's first foreign minister. He will soon be off to New York as part of the Iraqi delegation to the opening of the United Nations General Assembly. Iraq has come very far, but serious problems remain, starting with security. American commanders and troops told me of the many threats they face--from leftover loyalists who want to return Iraq to the dark days of Saddam, from criminals who were set loose on Iraqi society when Saddam emptied the jails and, increasingly, from outside terrorists who have come to Iraq to open a new front in their campaign against the civilized world. But our commanders also briefed me on their plan for meeting these security threats, and it is a good one. We also need to complete the renewal of Iraq's electrical grid, its water treatment facilities and its other infrastructure, which were run down and destroyed during the years of Saddam's misrule. Here, too, we are making progress. Electric generation now averages 75% of prewar levels, and that figure is rising. Telephone service is being restored to hundreds of thousands of customers. Dilapidated water and sewage treatment facilities are being modernized. But it will take time and money to finish the job. Indeed, that's Iraq in a nutshell. With our support, the Iraqis have made great progress. But it will take time and money to finish the job. President Bush has asked Congress for $20 billion to help rebuild Iraq's infrastructure. Next month, the international community will meet in Madrid to pledge additional assistance for Iraqi reconstruction. With these funds, and our continued help, I know the Iraqis will take great strides in rebuilding their battered country. How long will we stay in Iraq? We will stay as long as it takes to turn full responsibility for governing Iraq over to a capable and democratically elected Iraqi administration. Only a government elected under a democratic constitution can take full responsibility and enjoy full legitimacy in the eyes of the Iraqi people and the world. Anyone who doubts the wisdom of President Bush's course in Iraq should stand, as I did, by the side of the mass grave in Halabja, in Iraq's north. That terrible site holds the remains of 5,000 innocent men, women and children who were gassed to death by Saddam Hussein's criminal regime. The Iraqi people must be empowered to prevent such mass murder from happening ever again. They must be given the tools and the support to build a peaceful and prosperous democracy. They deserve no less. The American people deserve no less. Mr. Powell is secretary of state. NEW ECONOMIC ORDER http://www.jordantimes.com/Sun/news/news4.htm * WORLD BANK, IMF GEAR UP FOR ASSISTING IRAQ RECONSTRUCTION Jordan Times, 21st September DUBAI (AFP) ‹ The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are gearing up to help in the reconstruction of Iraq and make it move towards efficient governance, World Bank officials said here Saturday. "Emergency needs is important ‹ fixing roads, fixing water, fixing power," World Bank country director for Iraq, Joseph Saba, told reporters ahead of the World Bank and IMF joint annual meeting in the United Arab Emirates. "In a longer perspective, it is clear that the most important issue here is ... to build institutional capacity in Iraq to assist the emerging administration to provide sustainable development for its people," he added. The economic paralysis, caused by the looting, insecurity and electricity cuts after the US led invasion of Iraq, has caused unemployment rates to skyrocket to 60 per cent, according to UN estimates. The World Bank is to discuss with an Iraqi delegation due to arrive here later Saturday an assessment of the needs of the war-devastated country, to be submitted at a donor conference on October 23-24 in Madrid. Saba said the assessment covered the rehabilitation of 14 sectors, including education, health, electricity, sanitation and telecommunications, and if money is disbursed, "its greatest" effects will be seen after two to three years. "So while you look at a budget in the very first year, you really have to look over at least a short to medium-term in order to assure yourself of the impact." World Bank officials refused to put figures on the bill or comment, on a US official estimate of $50-$75 billion. The World Bank is also "working with the donor community, the UN and the IMF to design a model for a trust fund that would permit donor cooperation and coordination with the emerging Iraqi administration," said Saba. Three high officials from the US-backed Iraqi interim government are part of the 28-member delegation to attend the September 23-24 World Bank/IMF meeting: Finance Minister Kamel Al Kilani, Planning Minister Mahdi Al Hafez and central bank Governor Sinan Al Shebibi. A representative of the US-led coalition, which retains ultimate authority in ruling Iraq, will also come to the meeting here, World Bank President James Wolfensohn has said. Besides reconstruction, assistance has become vital to the budget of the Iraqi government itself, as sabotage, smuggling and run-down infrastructure hinder efforts to increase the exports of oil, its only source of revenue. Kilani, the Iraqi finance minister, said Monday the $13-$14 billion budget for 2004 will not depend on oil, but on foreign aid. Saba did not confirm reports in the specialised press that even the Coalition Provisional Authority was running out of money and down to its last $200 million. "Well, at the moment, the Iraqi economy is not in an excellent shape in any event. We're starting, frankly, following 20 years of sanctions, of war ... at a very low base," he said. Getting to grips with Iraq's woes, including its $130 billion foreign debt, will require "sophisticated financial engineering," he said. The World Bank and the IMF withdrew their staff from Baghdad following the Aug. 19 bombing of the UN headquarters in the Iraqi capital. A female Iraqi staffer with the World Bank died and all of the IMF's six Iraq team members were injured in the blast at the UN headquarters that housed the offices of the two institutions. In July, the Paris Club of creditor nations said it was ready to restructure Iraq's bilateral debt of more than $21 billion as soon as possible. The Iraqi interim government said last week it would also press the donors conference for relief from war compensation claimed by Kuwait for Iraq's August 1990 - February 1991 occupation. Those claims have reached about $300 billion, of which $50 billion already have been approved by the United Nations. Iraq so far disbursed $19 billion in settlement, taken from its oil revenue. * OPEC APPROVES IRAQI ATTENDANCE AT UPCOMING MEETING RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT Vol. 6, No. 39, 21 September 2003 The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has approved Iraq's attendance at the next gathering of OPEC ministers, scheduled to be held in Vienna on 24 September, international media reported on 16 September. New Iraqi Oil Minister Ibrahim Bahr al-Ulum will head the Iraqi delegation to the conference, Reuters reported. The invitation signals an at least tacit acknowledgement of the U.S.-led interim Iraqi government. Iraqi officials did not attend the oil cartel's last three meetings, held in April, June, and July, because there was not an officially recognized government in place (see "RFE/RL Iraq Report," 4 July 2003). (Kathleen Ridolfo) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2003/09/22/wirq122.xml& sSheet=/news/2003/09/22/ixnewstop.html * IRAQ INDUSTRIES - EXCEPT OIL - UP FOR SALE TO HIGHEST BIDDER by Jack Fairweather in Baghdad Daily Telegraph, 22nd September Iraq was put up for auction yesterday following the announcement by the country's United States-backed administration that foreign investors are to be allowed to buy complete control of Iraqi enterprises, with the exception of the oil industry. Everything from power stations to banks will be open to bidding under sweeping reforms designed to prime Iraq's formerly state-controlled economy, which has been in decline for more than a decade. At the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in Dubai, Kamel al-Keylani, Iraq's interim finance minister, said: "The measures will be implemented in the near future and represent important steps in advancing Iraq's reconstruction effort." Iraq needs an estimated $90 billion (£55 million) of investment. Since the collapse of the Saddam Hussein regime, the only source of investment has been foreign government spending, mainly American. Although hailed by Iraq's administration as a key step in the rebuilding process, the announcement will intensify feelings in the Arab world that American military action in Iraq was motivated by economic considerations. The country's oil reserves - the control of which was considered by some critics as the only reason for the US action of ousting Saddam - remain in Iraqi hands but American companies have so far been the biggest recipients of reconstruction contracts. Foreign companies are also wary of investing in trouble-torn Iraq after a summer campaign of bombings by Saddam loyalists, including that of the United Nations compound in which 22 people were killed. [.....] http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/3130776.stm * IRAQ OIL ASSETS 'UP FOR SALE' by Andrew Walker BBC, 22nd September Ali Allawi, the trade minister in the US-backed administration in Iraq, has said that foreign ownership of assets in the country's oil industry has not been ruled out. In an interview with the BBC during the IMF and World Bank annual meetings in Dubai, Mr Allawi said that he expects some form of foreign involvement in the sector, although there are other possibilities than ownership. Mr Allawi's remarks follow an announcement on Sunday in Dubai by other members of the administration of sweeping economic reforms. The announcement included new opportunities for foreign investors, allowing them to own 100% of Iraqi enterprises. But natural resources, including oil - Iraq's most valuable asset - was excluded. But Mr Allawi has now confirmed that it does not mean that oil is off the menu for foreign investors for good. Complex The sector was not covered because the arrangements and regulations needed are far more complex. There is no final decision on the shape of the oil industry after reform. He said it would be a matter for the oil ministry and the Governing Council to decide. But he certainly anticipates some private sector role. It might be through equity - owning a share of some oil businesses. He said that foreign ownership of some Iraqi oil assets is a possibility. But the foreign involvement could also be through technical co-operation or through sharing the revenue of oil remaining under Iraqi ownership. The prospect of foreign ownership will probably reinforce the views of people who thought oil was the underlying motive for the war - that the United States wanted to get control of the second largest oil reserves in the world. Mr Allawi said: "this point always comes up". But he doesn't believe it himself. Sabotage He said: "If the Americans or other western powers are interested in Iraqi oil, they are interested as consumers, not necessarily to protect it with bayonets". The revenue from Iraq's oil industry is going to have a central role in financing the country's reconstruction. It is performing far below its potential. Only Saudi Arabia has larger reserves. But many years of neglect and sanctions have produced a backlog of maintenance. Now the turmoil of war and sabotage since it ended have added to the industry's problems. Some conservative think-tanks in the US believe that privatisation of the state owned industry - and allowing foreign investors to take stakes - is the best way of getting new investment and expertise into the business. But whatever the commercial merits of that approach might be it would be fraught with political problems. SECURITY IN IRAQ http://english.aljazeera.net/Articles/News/ArabWorld/US+troops+kill+teeanger +in+Fallujah.htm * MAJOR IRAQI ATTACK ON US CONVOY Aljazeera, 18th September Several US occupation soldiers are believed to have died in the Iraqi town of Khaldiya in one of the fiercest resistance attacks to date. Witnesses reported seeing several soldiers being evacuated from their badly burnt vehicles after a US convoy came under attack as it passed through the town on the way to Ramadi from Fallujah. "A bomb exploded underneath a troop transport. It caught fire. The rest of the convoy tried to continue and was hit by rocket-propelled grenades," a local resident said. The US military in Baghdad said it had no immediate reports on the incident. But locals recounted of a ferocious attack on the US convoy. As several vehicles in the convoy attempted to push forward, they came under repeated fire over a stretch of few kilometres. Several vehicles were ablaze on being hit. More trouble US soldiers courted further trouble in Iraq, killing an Iraqi teenager and wounding four others in the flashpoint town of Fallujah. The soldiers opened fire when their convoy drove near a house where a wedding was under way and shots were being fired in the air in celebration. Fourteen-year old Sudian Dawud was shot dead, and four people including two women were wounded in the incident. The wounded were transferred to the hospital in the town. Two cars were also damaged in the shooting. The US troops apparently thought they were under fire and shot back in the direction of both the people taking part in the wedding and passers-by. Trigger-happy Under incessant attacks from Iraqi resistance fighters, US forces have been quick to pull the trigger and fire even on civilians. Only last Saturday, the US military issued an apology after its soldiers gunned down, a day earlier, nine Iraqi security guards in Fallujah, in one of the worst instances of "friendly-fire". The heavy-handedness of the US troops have stoked further resentment among the locals against the occupation. One US soldier was killed and three others wounded in a retaliatory attack in Fallujah, a day after the nine Iraqi guards were gunned down. http://english.aljazeera.net/Articles/News/ArabWorld/Iraqi+oil+pipeline+on+f ire.htm * IRAQI OIL PIPELINE ON FIRE Aljazeera, 18th September A fire has erupted at an oil pipeline 200 km north of Baghdad. The commander of US ground forces, Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, said on Thursday that the blaze broke out 9km north of the town of Baiji. He did not give any other details. The pipeline is one of several 20-inch lines from the Kirkuk oilfields that feed the main export line to Turkey, said a firefighter at the scene in Baiji. Bahaa Hasan, firefighting manager for Iraq's Northern Oil Company said it would take a "few days" to repair and would have no impact on the timetable for the restoration of exports from Kirkuk for the first time since the US invasion in March. Earlier US military spokeswoman Major Josslyn Aberle had told reporters she thought the new blaze was on a line feeding the Baiji refinery. Bahaa Hasan said it was not clear whether or not the blaze, north of Baiji, was another in the series of resistance attacks that had affected oil sales in US-occupied Iraq. Iraq's northern Kirkuk exports have remained closed since the invasion. The US military a few days back said it hoped to see the line reopened by about mid-October. Baghdad has relied on deliveries from its southern fields for vital export revenues to help finance post-war rebuilding efforts. The northern pipeline runs southeast from the Kirkuk oilfields to the Baiji refinery, before pumping northwest across the Turkish border to the Ceyhan export terminal on the Mediterranean. * PURPORTED NEW AUDIOTAPE OF DEPOSED IRAQI LEADER SURFACES RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT Vol. 6, No. 39, 21 September 2003 An audiotape purporting to carry the voice of deposed Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was aired on Al-Arabiyah Television on 17 September. The speaker in the tape claims that "erosion has begun to eat up the enemy ranks," and calls on Iraqis to overthrow the U.S.-led occupation by "shouting slogans, staging demonstrations, writing graffiti on walls, calling for attaining [citizens] rights...and carrying out jihad through financial donations." The speaker also addresses U.S. President George W. Bush, saying "you lied to yourself, to your people, and to all others." The speaker also claimed that a U.S. defeat in Iraq was "inevitable," and said that the Iraqi people and their leadership do not want to kill "more sons of the U.S. and British," adding, "We ask you to withdraw your armies as soon as possible, and unconditionally." The speaker then recommends that should the U.S. want to discuss withdrawal arrangements, it can do so with the senior Iraqi officials currently in its custody, who will help to facilitate the withdrawal and "guarantee the security" of coalition soldiers during the withdrawal process. The speaker also addresses the UN Security Council, cautioning it to not "slide into the pitfalls of the dark U.S. policies." He then reiterates that Saddam Hussein is the freely elected president of the Iraqi people, and addresses European leaders, noting, "We hope that Europe will develop its relatively balanced position so that this position would become legitimate and clear." The audiotape, said to be recorded in "mid-September," has not as yet been confirmed to carry the voice of Saddam Hussein. (Kathleen Ridolfo) http://www.jordantimes.com/Sun/news/news11.htm * US SOLDIER KILLS RARE TIGER AT BAGHDAD ZOO Jordan Times, 21st September BAGHDAD (AFP) ‹ An American soldier shot and killed a rare Bengal tiger in Baghdad zoo during an apparently drunken party, the head of the zoo said Saturday. "The soldiers arrived in the evening with food and beer, accompanied by a group of Iraqi police officers," Adel Salman Musa said of the incident on Thursday night. "One of the soldiers, who the Iraqi police said had drunk a lot, went into the cage against the advice of his colleagues and tried to feed the animal, who severely hurt his arm," he explained to AFP. The tiger tore off one of the soldier's fingers and mauled his arm. One of the other soldiers immediately fired at the animal and killed it, he said. "The soldiers don't have the right to behave like that. That was the most precious and valuable animal in the whole zoo. It was 14 years old and had been born here," Salman Musa said. The Bengal tiger is an endangered species which is protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora and the World Conservation Union. There are only 3,000-4,500 of these beautiful creatures left in the wild. Salman Musa said US soldiers often held parties in the zoo in the evenings. "We have no way of stopping them," he said. US Sergeant Mark Ingham confirmed to AFP that an American soldier had killed the tiger on Thursday and said the incident was being investigated. NO URL * TIGER AND ZOO I KNOW! by Felicity Arbuthnot CommonDreams.org, 22nd September Last Thursday night, a drunken American soldier amongst a group late-partying with guns and beer at Baghdad Zoo, shot dead Mendouh, one of the two surviving Bengal tigers. With the commitment of the zoo staff, Mendouh had survived two wars, and the draconian thirteen year embargo. A soldier, says the Zoo's Director, Dr Adil Salman Musa, was poking food at her through the bars of her cage. Such idiocy defies comment. When she bit off his finger and scratched his arm, one of his colleagues shot her three times through the head. There is now one less of this beautiful endangered species, of which an estimated only between two and five thousand are left on earth. But in a country where the hospital morgues now overflow into the car park and a US soldier recently told a commentator: "We're in the business of population control", a tiger would hardly register. For the thirteen years of the embargo, Baghdad's famous zoo, spreading over countless acres - whose animals inhabited compounds seemingly as limitless as if they were in the wild - struggled to survive. With the population deprived of food and medicine, the formerly pampered animals came way down the list of primary care. No one fought with more passion for them than Dr Musa. When one of the then three Bengal tigers became ill, he scoured Baghdad for penicillin and finally amassed enough to treat her. He could not, however, find a stun gun: "So I held held her tail, while the vet injected her". He said solemnly "This is a very dangerous practice." Indeed, a tiger by the tail. Literally. I took a photograph of the tigers, rolling, playing together in the sun. A family nearby laughed at me. Iraqis love photographs of every activity they engage in - but could no longer afford even film. "What do we have to do to get a photograph? Get in the cage with the tigers?", joked the father. In spite of Musa's Hurculean efforts, rare animals died in numbers. The great brown bear lay in what Musa said was 'severe depression' for three years. She looked through the bars lethargically with great mournful eyes. What she missed was her large pool, which she previously joyously immersed herself in, grunting with delight. With the destruction of the water system in 1991 and vetoing of parts subsequently by the US driven UN Sanctions Committee, just dark sludge replaced her sparkling bath. On one visit the majestic lion, refused to come out of his lair - designed like a cave - and sit under the palms. His ceaseless roars reverberated, echoing across the zoo. "His mate has died, lions usually mate for life"said Musa, "he is pining." He died two months later, refusing what food there was, or to come out. in spite of brave coaxing by Musa, who repeatedly entered the compound to encourage him. "He died of grief", Musa said. Zoo staff battled for the lives of exotic monkeys, birds, leopards, giraffe, zebra, aquatic animals, unable to provide the varied, specific diets they needed. Musa still dreamed of the breeding project he had to save rare breeds, which had been arranged with a South African counterpart just before the 1991 war. They would still do it, "when the embargo ends", he said. They would refurbish the zoo, restock. For all it's tribulations, the zoo was still a place of escape for the people, who flocked during leisure time, to wander through the royal palms and explain about the remaining wildlife to their children. Kids sold nuts and tiny metal cups of water by the paths. On my last visit to the zoo I turned a corner to find possibly the happiest lynx on earth, sitting in a mock palace, with all the correct food, looking, I thought distinctly smug. Then I noticed the sign over the compound. He had been donated on the occasion of the zoo's anniversary, by Saddam Hussein's son Uday. "What happens if the lynx dies?"I asked the keeper escorting me round. He looked over his shoulder, then whispered: "Madam Felicity, we all run a very, very, long way." I once became lost in the great park that houses the zoo and walked for over three hours. Dusk, then dark fell. At night it was not safe and trying to stay calm and think strategy, I was finally found by my longstanding driver, who ticked me off roundly for being so stupid. Like all of Iraq, it seems even less safe now. One regime has been changed for another, even more incomprehensible, repressive and certainly more out of control than the last. And I wonder how Dr Musa, feels. Felicity Arbuthnot has written and broadcast widely on Iraq and with Denis Halliday was senior researcher for John Pilger's Award winning documentary: 'Paying the Price - Killing the Children of Iraq.' * SECURITY STEPPED UP IN AL-SULAYMANIYAH RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT Vol. 6, No. 39, 21 September 2003 Officials have stepped up security in the northern Iraqi city of Al-Sulaymaniyah following recent terrorist attacks in that city and in nearby Irbil, London's "Al-Sharq al-Awsat" reported on 14 September. Checkpoints have been established on a number of side streets in the city, while roads leading to government agencies have reportedly been closed altogether. Security forces have also reportedly been equipped with devices to check vehicles for explosives. The daily also reported that local security forces have arrested an unknown number of Ansar Al-Islam militants belonging to a sleeper cell in the city. Ansar militants are suspected of being behind recent attacks on city officials. Al-Sulaymaniyah is under the control of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan headed by Jalal Talabani. (Kathleen Ridolfo) * U.S. TO PAY COMPENSATION FOR KILLING IRAQI POLICEMEN RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT Vol. 6, No. 39, 21 September 2003 The U.S. will reportedly meet with tribal chiefs and dignitaries in the Iraqi town of Al Fallujah to determine compensation for the families of eight Iraqi policemen killed by U.S. forces in the city on 12 September, AP reported on 18 September. According to U.S. military spokesman Captain Michael Calvert, the incident occurred when U.S. troops came under fire from a white van and responded, but Iraqi police said the attack was unprovoked. The policemen claimed that some 19 police officers traveling in three vehicles had been chasing a white BMW outside Al-Fallujah on the evening of 12 September and were fired on by U.S. troops as they headed home after giving up the chase. They said the attack lasted for nearly an hour despite their attempts to identify themselves in English and Arabic. Two of the vehicles were reportedly clearly marked "Iraqi Police, Al Fallujah." The incident sparked a mass protest on 13 September as Iraqis turned out in the town to bury the dead officers. Daily international press reports since the incident note that Iraqis in the town -- including policemen -- have vowed revenge against U.S. forces for the incident. Al-Fallujah, a Sunni stronghold, has been the site of numerous attacks on U.S. forces since the downfall of Saddam Hussein's regime. Meanwhile, U.S. Military spokesman Captain Jimmy Cummings denied that the incident occurred because the U.S. soldiers -- who had only been in the city for one day -- were ill prepared. "They did receive training. They had just gotten back from Afghanistan and...before they went [to Iraq] they got the training again," he said. Reparations for such incidents are considered a cultural norm in the Arab world, where compensation is paid for bodily injury or accidental death committed by a perpetrator to the victim or his family. Representatives of the victims -- in this case, apparently the tribal leaders and other notable figures from the community -- usually negotiate the compensation agreement. The U.S.-installed mayor of Al-Fallujah said that the meeting would also address the heightened tensions in the city, AP reported. (Kathleen Ridolfo) http://www.jordantimes.com/Tue/news/news1.htm * IRAQ UN BLAST KILLS 2 Jordan Times, 23rd September BAGHDAD (AFP) ‹ An apparent suicide blast outside the already bombed-out UN headquarters here killed two people Monday and rocked an already precarious security situation, as diplomatic efforts pressed on to stabilise Iraq. The latest bombing, which UN and US officials said killed an Iraqi security guard and the bomber, and wounded 17, is to be investigated by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation and Iraqi police. It was the second blast at the UN offices in just over a month following an August 19 truck bombing that killed 22 people, including top UN envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello. Captain Sean Kirley, a US military spokesman, said the assailant, apparently wearing an explosive belt, seemed intent on striking the UN offices in the Canal Hotel. "The bomber could not get inside the (UN) perimeter so he changed his target to civilians," Kirley said at the site, which US troops and Iraqi police sealed off. "The bomber was engaged by a security individual ... The bomb exploded at that time," the captain said. "He (the attacker) didn't get within 250-300 metres of the compound." Captain Holly Meeker said: "This is yet another example of former regime loyalists hurting the Iraqi people." Last month's UN bombing had grave repercussions with international organisations considerably cutting down their expatriate staff in Iraq and setting back aid efforts for the war-shattered country. "Everybody is shocked that there has been another bomb incident near the Canal Hotel compound," said UN spokeswoman Antonia Paradela, dismayed at the latest attack. "I don't know what is going to happen to us. We are here to work for the Iraqi people, doing only humanitarian work," said Paradela. And as Iraq tried to come to terms with the latest carnage, members of the interim Governing Council were preparing to press the United States to swiftly transfer power to the council. "A delegation is being sent to Washington to seek congressional support for a more rapid transfer of sovereignty, budgetary resources and security responsibilities to the council," The New York Times reported Monday. It said the information came from council member Iyad Alawi, who added: "To proceed, we need a new political consensus among the United States, the coalition and the Governing Council itself." Monday's bombing followed a surge in fatal guerrilla-style attacks on US troops with three soldiers killed Saturday north of Baghdad as an assassination attempt in the capital itself critically wounded Akila Al Hashemi, one of only three female members of the US sponsored Governing Council. And witnesses said Monday that about 20 mortar bombs were fired at US forces on the edge of the northern Iraqi town of Baaquba late Sunday. The US army declined to give any immediate comment on the report. The wave of deadly attacks, which followed the release of a new message, purportedly by Saddam Hussein, issuing a call to arms against the occupiers, came as President George W. Bush prepares to appear before the UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday. Bush is expected to seek more international troops and money for rebuilding Iraq, whose postwar stability and reconstruction have kept the United States and its main ally Britain at odds with leading European powers that opposed the US-led war from its start. Eighty-two US soldiers and 11 British soldiers have now died in attacks in Iraq since May 1, when US President George W. Bush said major combat operations after the removal of Saddam were over. [.....] http://english.aljazeera.net/Articles/News/ArabWorld/US+destroys+family+in+m issile+attack.htm * US WIPES OUT FAMILY IN MISSILE ATTACK Aljazeera, 23rd September [Fallujah, Tuesday, 23rd September] Villagers believe the US had meant to target an entirely different house Three Iraqis were killed and four others seriously wounded in a US air strike on homes north of Fallujah, hospital officials and witnesses said. All six victims were members of the same family from the village of al-Jisr, according to Falljuah Hospital's Dr Ayman al-Ani on Tuesday. Al-Ani identified the dead as Ali, Saadi and Salim al-Jumaili. Relatives in al-Jisr said US occupation forces encircled the village about 1:30am (2130 GMT) and began using machine guns before the helicopter missile attack. Missed target One correspondent at the scene said the attack was apparently aimed at two other houses, which only suffered damage, but were not destroyed. US military officials in Baghdad and Central Command said they had no immediate information on any operation No spokesman was prepared to discuss whether those members of the al-Jumaili family who survived would be compensated for the homicides and destruction of property. A military spokesman in Fallujah was also unavailable for comment when contacted by Aljazeera.net. Demonstration The operation came just hours after 250 people demonstrated in Fallujah, 50km west of Baghdad, demanding US-led occupation force should leave Iraq to Iraqis. A minority of the protesters even carried portraits of former president Saddam Hussein, and called for his return to power. But there was no indication whether there was any link between the two events. Fallujah and the surrounding area have been the scene of frequent clashes and attacks on US troops. _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. 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