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[casi] News, 17-24/9/03 (1)

News, 17-24/9/03 (1)


*  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


*  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


*  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'


*  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


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

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

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.

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

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

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.",6903,1046381,00.html

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.


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,
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)

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);

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

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.


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

"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

"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.

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."


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)

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

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)

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.


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

"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

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.

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);

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.


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.


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

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


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

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

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.


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.


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.

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
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
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.

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

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

"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.


by Felicity Arbuthnot, 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.'

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)

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)

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

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.


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
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
The operation came just hours after 250 people demonstrated in Fallujah,
50km west of Baghdad, demanding US-led occupation force should leave Iraq to
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
Fallujah and the surrounding area have been the scene of frequent clashes
and attacks on US troops.

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