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News, 1-8/10/03 (4) SECURITY * US forces face night of terror in Kirkuk * US Facing Deadlier Foe in Iraq: Commander * Accusations fly between Czech troops and Shi'ite cleric in Iraq * Troops kill rioters in Baghdad and Basra * U.S. troops, Iraqi militias at odds over security roles * Attack targets Iraqi Shia party * US closes notorious Baghdad prison camp * Christian Translator Killed in Iraq, Branded as a Traitor * Violence rages in Iraq as UN balks at US resolution JUAN COLE'S CORNER * Juan Cole - Informed Comment SECURITY http://english.aljazeera.net/Articles/News/ArabWorld/US+forces+face+night+of +terror+in+Kirkuk.htm * US FORCES FACE NIGHT OF TERROR IN KIRKUK Aljazeera, 3rd October A carefully planned series of resistance attacks, causing death and injury, are reported to have brought chaos throughout the northern city of Kirkuk in Iraq. The night of terror began with a mortar bomb attack followed by a deadly operation launched by two resistance fighters who blew themselves up outside a dry cleaners frequented by US troops in Kirkuk. At least six explosions rocked the northern city. The first explosion caused by a mortar attack destroyed a US Humvee vehicle and wounded two American soldiers. US Major Peter Mitchell told Aljazeera.net: "We are aware of reports of an attempt by atleast one individual to ignite himself near a dry cleaners but we have no official confirmation about a series of attacks." However Lieutenant Shaker al-Riyashi of the civil defence said there were "two youths who wore explosive belts strapped to their bodies but we were not able to identify them because they were badly mutilated." The attack at the dry cleaners occurred about 11:30 pm (19:30 GMT) when the shop was empty. It triggered a fire that was quickly doused, Riyashi said. The US military initially said they had no report of any incident. The attacks came as the top US commander in Iraq, Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, said his forces were facing a deadlier foe, and after three US soldiers were killed in separate attacks in the country's central region. Iraqi police chief Colonel Khattab Abd Allah said the "suicide bombing" was the first incident of its kind to take place in Kirkuk since the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime almost six months ago. At least six explosions caused by rocket propelled grenades and mortars shook several parts of the city within 20 minutes, Abdullah said, adding that there were no immediate reports of casualties. According to Abd Allah the blasts occured in residential sectors in the south, center, east and southwest of the city. At least one of the explosions was heard near a US position in the city, witnesses contacted by AFP said. A senior security source said US troops rushed to the scene of the first blast in the southwestern sector of Kirkuk and transferred to a hospital two soldiers wounded in the attack. The source said he believed the blast was caused by a bomb. The source, who declined to be named, said the second blast was caused by a mortar which targetted a US position in the centre of Kirkuk. The attacks came on the same day as three US soldiers died in separate resistance operations The same location was hit by a second mortar about 10 minutes later. The fourth blast was also caused by a mortar that hit a police station in eastern Kirkuk, he said, adding that two other blasts targetted two US positions in the centre of the town, including the military's civil affairs office. Minutes after the last explosion an AFP correspondent said he heard US warplanes fly over Kirkuk while US troops and local police began patrolling the city. Less than two hours later, calm returned to Kirkuk where an AFP correspondent said the local police were still patrolling the streets to look for the assailants. http://www.arabnews.com/?page=4§ion=0&article=32949&d=3&m=10&y=2003&pix= world.jpg&category=World%22 * US FACING DEADLIER FOE IN IRAQ: COMMANDER Arab News (Saudi Arabia), 3rd October BAGHDAD, 3 October 2003 (AFP): The US commander in Iraq said yesterday the US-led forces were facing a deadlier foe on the ground, as troops traded fire with gunmen in the flash point city of Fallujah nearly six months after the coalition ousted Saddam Hussein from power. "The enemy has evolved and he is a little more lethal, a little more complex, a little more sophisticated and in some cases a little more tenacious," Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez said. The general said his soldiers were dying on an average of three to six a week, with another 40 being wounded over the same period. Sanchez said he did not think US troops would be leaving the country any time soon despite his forces laying the groundwork for Iraqi sovereignty, which in principle should free US forces to go home. "It will definitely be years. We never said it would be anything less than years," Sanchez said, as he surveyed Iraq's deadly security situation. A soldier was killed late Wednesday in a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) attack in Samarra, 100 kilometers north of Baghdad, at the same time as another was struck down by small arms fire in the capital. The attacks came just four hours after a bomb claimed the life of a soldier in Tikrit, the hometown of Saddam. Their deaths brought to 88 the number of soldiers killed in Iraq since US President George W. Bush declared major hostilities over on May 1. Fresh attacks were launched on US troops yesterday, with witnesses saying at least three Americans were injured in separate incidents, but the US Army was not immediately able to confirm the reports. In Fallujah, west of Baghdad, a witness said two US soldiers were wounded and four Iraqi civilians hurt by return fire shortly after midday when a 10-man patrol was hit by a drive-by shooting. A US Army spokeswoman said the violence started when a crowd gathered in front of the mayor's office and an Iraqi sprayed gunfire at them and at the building. The 82nd Airborne Division was called to the scene but there were no immediate reports of casualties, she added. One witness, Hossam Ali, told AFP "unidentified assailants drove past them in a car and opened fire on them," in the center of Fallujah, a bastion of Sunni Muslim conservatives where anti-US attacks are frequent. "Two US soldiers were wounded" in the incident, that occurred at 12:45 p.m. (0845 GMT), he said adding that the car fled the scene of the attack. "US troops returned fire and hit four people, including a woman, a child, a man who was passing by and a member of the Iraqi police," said Ali, who was walking down the street at the time of the incident. Iraqi police Lt. Jassem Mohammad confirmed that four civilians were rushed to hospital after they were hurt by gunfire in Fallujah, 50 kilometers from the capital. But the officer was not able to identify the source of the gunfire. Following the shootout, a man riding a motorcycle fired an RPG at the municipal building, but missed his target and then fled on foot, said municipal security guard Mohammad Qassem. In nearby Khaldiya, an eight-vehicle military convoy hit a land mine. There were no casualties, although the blast ripped a water main, witnesses said. Witnesses also reported an RPG attack on an American convoy by Fallujah late yesterday, but there did not appear to be any casualties. Meanwhile, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said yesterday he wanted Turkish Parliament to decide "rapidly" whether to send Turkish peacekeeping troops to Iraq to help Washington maintain security there. In an apparent concession to its NATO ally, the United States earlier agreed on joint action with Turkey against hundreds of Turkish Kurdish rebels holed up in northern Iraq, which could include military action. "We want a decision from the assembly rapidly on sending the troops," Erdogan told the local news channel NTV. The United States has made it clear in the past that it would be in charge of any military operations in Iraq and is wary of any Turkish involvement in action against Kurds there. * ACCUSATIONS FLY BETWEEN CZECH TROOPS AND SHI'ITE CLERIC IN IRAQ RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT, Vol. 6, No. 41, 3 October 2003 Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has reportedly accused Czech doctors working in the southern Iraqi city of Al-Basrah of distributing a passage of the Koran on which derogatory comments were written, Czech radio reported on 30 September. Czech Defense Ministry spokesman Ladislav Sticha responded by calling al-Sadr's allegations "an act of provocation that is clearly aimed at destabilizing the situation in Al-Basrah." He added that the defamatory comments were written "in very poor English and contain a number of grammatical errors frequently made by local people." Meanwhile, Czech Ambassador to Kuwait Jana Hybaskova told CTK on 20 September that Shaykh Sabah Saidi, an associate of al-Sadr, has made threats against the Czech field hospital. Hybaskova traveled to Al-Basrah to meet with local authorities and said she and the authorities believe the text is a forgery and a provocation, and that the Czech field hospital will continue to operate. She added that the hospital's relations with the local population remain good. (Kathleen Ridolfo) NO URL * TROOPS KILL RIOTERS IN BAGHDAD AND BASRA by Patrick Cockburn in Baghdad Sunday Independent, 5th October British and American troops fired into crowds of rioting former Iraqi soldiers in Basra and Baghdad yesterday, killing one man in each city. In both places unrest broke out as the ex-soldiers, out of a job since the Iraqi army was dissolved in May, were queuing for hours to collect a promised pay-off of $40 each. A British military spokesman, Major Simon Routledge, said that in the Basra incident a British soldier heard gunfire and then shot and killed an Iraqi holding a weapon. Troops also fired rubber bullets to disperse the crowd. In Baghdad hundreds of Iraqis threw stones and charged towards American soldiers, who fired in the air and beat them back with batons. "Get out of here. It is very dangerous," said a harassed Iraqi police officer as he stood beside the burned-out remains of a police car. In the nearby Yarmuk hospital Hussein Hatem, an ex-soldier, was lying on a bed with an X ray clutched to his chest showing that he had two bullets lodged in his thigh. "It started when one man went to get a drink of water after we had been queuing for five hours," said Mr Hatem. "The US soldiers wouldn't let him get back in the line and beat him and us with long batons and electric cattle prods. Then we started throwing stones at them and they fired back." The riot shows how friction between Iraqis and occupation troops can easily explode into violence, even when the authorities hand out money with the aim of defusing tensions. A few hours earlier, an attack on American troops with rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns left one US soldier dead and another wounded. At one stage during the riot the ex-soldiers, all conscripts, began the old pro-Saddam chant: "With our spirit, with blood we will be your martyrs O Saddam." Walid Jabber, a by stander, said bitterly: "I am a Shia from Nasiriyah, but I would like to bring back Saddam." Probably many of those chanting pro-Saddam slogans do so primarily to annoy the Americans, though it is unlikely that they knew what the ex-soldiers were shouting about. In the wake of the riot, gangs of demonstrators roamed the prosperous al-Mansour suburb attacking drink stores, four of which were reported to have been burned out. The thousands of Iraqi police recruited by the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) have reduced the amount of looting and armed robbery in the capital, but the pin-prick guerrilla attacks are also becoming better organised. Members of the US-appointed Governing Council, fearful of assassination, are all living in heavily guarded houses. A long line of 15ft high concrete slabs now protects Saddam's old Republican Palace, the CPA headquarters, where it overlooks the Tigris river. As under the old regime swimming in the river, an unhealthy pursuit in any case because of raw sewage, is once again forbidden because of fear of underwater saboteurs. http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/news/nation/6932974.htm * U.S. TROOPS, IRAQI MILITIAS AT ODDS OVER SECURITY ROLES by Drew Brown Philadelphia Inquirer, 5th October BAGHDAD - Shiite Muslim militiamen swagger in increasing numbers through the streets around Baghdad's mosques and elsewhere in Iraq these days, openly carrying AK-47 rifles, pistols and other weapons in defiance of the U.S.-backed Coalition Provisional Authority. "Our position is that we are not going to tolerate militias," Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the top coalition commander, said Thursday. "And where we find them, we are going to go ahead and disarm them." The militias threaten to undermine the central authority of the U.S.-led coalition. They are becoming a headache for American troops and a nascent Iraqi security apparatus struggling to establish law and order six months after Saddam Hussein's ouster. And American forces are not sure how to respond: If they crack down too hard, they risk more armed confrontations, a situation that could spin out of control quickly. Iraq is awash in guns, and there are many armed groups associated with the various political parties, especially with the powerful exiles on Iraq's interim Governing Council. But the resurgent Shiite militias are a special case. Long persecuted under Saddam, they are relishing their newfound political and social freedom, and many vow to die rather than give up those liberties. On Wednesday, U.S. soldiers exchanged fire with a group of about 50 militiamen and police at a Baghdad mosque. Miraculously, no one was hurt, and the soldiers withdrew to avoid risking a bloody confrontation. The exchange illustrates the fine line that American troops must tread in trying to establish security while avoiding inflaming tensions with the country's Shiite majority, whose cooperation is essential to a stable future in the country. It also underscores that in dealing with these new vigilante gangs, U.S.-led forces may find themselves in the cross hairs of the newly established Iraqi police forces. Torn between loyalties, the police are more likely to side with their countrymen. According to witnesses, Wednesday's incident began after American soldiers in a humvee and an artillery ammunition carrier arrived before dusk to investigate a demonstration at al Bayai mosque, in a southwestern Baghdad slum populated mostly by Shiites. Soldiers had tried to arrest Sheik Moayed al Khazraji, a militant cleric there, two days earlier but were chased away by an angry crowd. When soldiers arrived Wednesday, a cleric with a bullhorn was whipping up the crowd. "If we give you the order, are you ready to fight the Americans?" witnesses quoted the cleric as saying. "Are you willing to be crushed by American tanks? Are you ready to fight for Islam?" When the U.S. soldiers arrived, the crowd surged toward them, pelting their vehicles with stones. A soldier on one vehicle responded by firing a .50-caliber machine gun over the demonstrators' heads. The situation gave the Iraqi police officers standing about 100 yards away little choice, the officers said. "When they started shooting at the mosque, we started shooting at them," said Jassim Mohammed, 35, an Iraqi police officer. "We started shooting because we are Muslims first and policemen second. Besides, our job isn't to protect the Americans. It is to protect Iraqis." Sanchez said this was the first he was aware of Iraqi police deliberately firing on American soldiers. The militias formed mainly in Baghdad and the southern city of Najaf, about 90 miles south of Baghdad and home to the holiest shrine of the Shiite branch of Islam, after the assassination Aug. 29 of Ayatollah Mohammad Baqir al Hakim. Hakim was a Saddam foe who led the 10,000-strong Badr Brigade, an exile group that fought on the side of the Iranians in their 1980-88 war with Iraq and waged a low-level guerrilla campaign against Saddam in southern Iraq for years afterward. Hakim died in a car bombing outside the Najaf shrine that killed at least 78 other people and wounded more than 100. After American-led forces ousted Saddam, the Badr Brigade voluntarily disarmed. But after Hakim was assassinated, its members began appearing in the streets of Najaf, frustrated by the lack of protection from coalition forces. In Baghdad, coalition authorities have yet to deal effectively with a problem that took shape Aug. 31 during Hakim's funeral at the city's Khadimiya mosque, a prominent Shiite shrine in the northwest of the city: As hundreds of thousands of mourners packed the streets, hundreds of armed Badr Brigade militiamen were posted in the crowd and dozens kept a tight security cordon around Hakim's coffin. U.S. soldiers had stayed away to avoid angering the crowd. And they have cut a wide swath around the mosque in the weeks since Hakim's death. http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/E863D707-E5F3-4D67-9DE2 621D7DA2A4E6.htm * ATTACK TARGETS IRAQI SHIA PARTY Aljazeera (from AFP), 7th October An employee of Iraq's main Shia political grouping has died after an explosion at the party's offices in the northern city of Kirkuk. The worker was killed in the suspected resistance attack targetting the Supreme Assembly for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SAIRI). Mortar shells slammed into the party's office, killing Khalil Karam Hasnawi, 29, and wounded a second person, said SAIRI's chief Izz al-Din Musa in Kirkuk. "The goal of these attacks is to wreck the future of Iraqis and disturb security," he said in the oil-rich town, 255km north of Baghdad. Musa claimed the attacks were carried out by al-Qaida. US occupying forces and Shia groupings in Iraq regularly blame incidents on al-Qaida and Baathist elements. SAIRI's leader Ayat Allah Muhammad Bakr al-Hakim was killed, along with about 83 civilians, in an August car bombing in Najaf. SAIRI is represented on the US-appointed Iraqi Governing Council, a move which has angered both Sunnis and Shias in post-Saddam Hussein Iraq. Later in the day an explosion hit the foreign ministry building in Baghdad and gunfire was heard in the area, reported an AFP correspondent. The compound is near a US military base. "One mortar hit inside the compound," said Police Captain Ali Khadim. "There were no casualties." Khadim said the bomb landed inside the complex but did not hit the ministry building. http://www.jordantimes.com/Tue/news/news5.htm * US CLOSES NOTORIOUS BAGHDAD PRISON CAMP Jordan Times, 7th October BAGHDAD (AFP) ‹ The US military said Monday it shut down a makeshift prison camp at Baghdad airport that had drawn criticism for the conditions in which hundreds of Iraqis were held in tents in the scorching Iraqi summer heat. "It has been closed," said US military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel George Krivo, adding that the prisoners already had been moved out and that troops were busy dismantling the facility. The camp, which housed common criminals, former ranking members of the ousted Iraqi regime and others accused of attacking US troops, was sharply criticised by human rights groups after former detainees said they were held in inhuman conditions. Krivo said the prisoners were moved to "superior facilities" that were not available when the camp was set up in April. This, he said, was in line with US policy to provide detainees with "the best possible facilities." Amnesty International said in June that the conditions in which the prisoners were held at the camp "may amount to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, banned by international law." The International Committee of the Red Cross, whose representatives had visited the prisoners at the camp, said it would continue monitoring detention conditions. "We will closely follow the issue and the people transferred from this prison camp," said Nada Doumani, an ICRC spokeswoman in Baghdad. Human rights groups say Camp Cropper was one of the biggest detention facilities in US occupied Iraq, alongside Abu Gharib prison near Baghdad. Surrounded by razor wire, the camp housed supporters of ousted President Saddam Hussein as well as suspected looters who ransacked the capital after the April 9 fall of his regime. Among the high-profile prisoners who spent time at the camp was former Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz, according to human rights groups. Former inmates described conditions as only fit for animals, saying they were crowded in canvas tents in heat that soared above 50 degrees centigrade, and had to use holes dug in the ground as latrines. One of the men detained at the camp earlier this year told AFP that prisoners who committed the slightest misdemeanour were made to stand in the sun for hours, their ankles and wrists tied. "The worst offenders had their hands tied behind their backs and were put face down on the ground in the sun for two hours," Qays Al Saiman, 54, said in July. US officials said last month they were holding 10,000 prisoners in Iraq, including about 4,400 classified as "security detainees," described as people who attacked or planned attacks against coalition forces. "Generally speaking, security detainees are held separately from other detainees," said Krivo. NO URL * CHRISTIAN TRANSLATOR KILLED IN IRAQ, BRANDED AS A TRAITOR Associated Press, 3rd October Napoleon, a translator for the U.S. Army, was shot to death, along with his 16-year-old son, early Thursday in Khaldiyah by four men. The victims were sleeping on the sidewalk next to their house to escape the heat. Napoleon's family is Christian and uses Western names, hence his unusual name. Relatives set up a tent outside his home to receive condolences next to a wall riddled with bullet holes and stained with dried blood. ''He was killed because he was a spy and a traitor,'' said a neighbor. He and other townspeople spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing they might be targeted in any vendetta. Since the ouster of Saddam Hussein's regime and the capture of Baghdad in early April, Fallujah and Khaldiyah, part of the notorious ''Sunni Triangle,'' have become a center for anti-American sentiment, with attacks against U.S. troops an almost daily occurrence. Working with the U.S. troops is risky business in the region, with vendors advised against selling much-needed ice to the Americans. U.S. soldiers also have been refused entry to some restaurants in Fallujah. Even motorists are warned to stay well away from U.S. military convoys passing through the area. Napoleon's family say he was killed not because he was working for the Americans, but because he was a member of the country's Christian minority. Napoleon was a former major in Saddam Hussein's al-Quds ( Jerusalem ) Army, a militia force that supposedly included millions of volunteer fighters as a backup to the regular army. ''He was my officer in the al-Quds Army, and we considered him part of our family, until he began working with the Americans,'' said the neighbor, a carpenter. Others in the area said Napoleon was warned several times to quit his job with the Americans, including once when a percussion grenade was thrown next to his house. ''Warning leaflets were sent to him, and people talked to him, asked him to quit, but he wouldn't. I think he was happy with the wages,'' said another neighbor. Translators are paid an average of $300 a month, a large sum by Iraqi standards. Napoleon's brother blamed the Americans for his brother's death. ''When the Americans kill Muslims, we pay the price. Muslims can't get to the Americans, so they target the Christians,'' he said. Neighbors insist otherwise. ''Why wasn't his brother killed? It was not his religion that killed him, it was his line of work. That was his doom,'' said the carpenter. http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=1512&ncid=1276&e=2&u=/afp/20 031007/wl_afp/iraq_worldwrap * VIOLENCE RAGES IN IRAQ AS UN BALKS AT US RESOLUTION Yahoo, 7th October BAGHDAD (AFP) - Three more US soldiers and an Iraqi translator were reported killed in bomb attacks in Iraq (news - web sites), while a mortar targetted the foreign ministry, as efforts to stabilize and rebuild the war-torn country remained in political limbo. [.....] Two US soldiers attached to the 82nd Airborne Division and an Iraqi interpreter were killed and two were wounded in al-Haswah, just west of Baghdad, at approximately 10:40 pm (0740 GMT) Monday, a US military statement said. Less than an hour earlier at Ramadi, a flashpoint town 110 kilometres (66 miles) west of Baghdad, a soldier from the 3rd Armoured Cavalry Regiment had been killed and another wounded, also in a bomb attack, a military spokesperson said. The military also said a US soldier was wounded in a bomb attack south of Baghdad on Monday while three others were wounded by a blast as they patrolled ousted president Saddam Hussein (news - web sites)'s home town of Tikrit, north of the capital. The deaths brought to 92 the number of US soldiers killed in combat since US President George W. Bush (news - web sites) declared official hostilities over on May 1. [.....] JUAN COLE'S CORNER http://www.juancole.com/ * Juan Cole - Informed Comment Wednesday, October 08, 2003 [.....] ‹ Riots in Baghdad Rioting continued for the third day in Baghdad, this time by nearly 2000 former members of the Iraqi secret police, who want their jobs back. In southwestern Baghdad, a thousand Shiites staged a sit-in at the Ali Kazem al Bayai mosque to protest the arrest of their prayer leader, Shaikh Moayad al-Khazraji, by US troops. They blocked a road near the mosque. The US military claimed to have found weapons stockpiled in the mosque. Al-Khazraji is a follower of the radical Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr. The demonstrators threatened to return with guns on Wednesday if al Khazraji were not released. He had been taken into custody briefly last week, then released, and that incarceration had also produced demonstrations. According to AP, 2 CPA sport utility vehicles showed up at 4 pm, and appear to have been accosted by the Shiite crowd, leading to a gunfight in which grenades also exploded, lasting over a quarterof an hour. The protesters stood their ground. At night, 200 US soldiers went in to seal off the area, backed by helicopters and six M1A2 tanks. More protesters came. More US troops showed up. The standoff ceased with the advent of the midnight curfew. CPA administrator Paul Bremer lamely characterized all this violence as mere "demonstrations" and said "we have demonstrations in all democracies throughout the world." I know it is his job to try to put lipstick on this pig of security situation, but surely a diplomat of his experience could have found a less transparently phony response? We don't in fact often see grenades tossed into the French foreign ministry or M1A2 tanks accosting radical Catholic protesters in front of the Notre Dame, or riots in the Tuilleries by 2000 former French intelligence agents. ‹ Turkish Troops Rejected "Unanimously" by Iraqi Governing Council The complete powerlessness and irrelevancy of the so-called Interim Governing Council was demonstrated Wednesday when the US welcomed the Turkish parliament's offer of peace enforcing troops for Iraq. The American-appointed IGC, which supposedly oversees Iraqi government ministries, has repeatedly said it does not want troops in Iraq from neighboring countries. Kurdish IGC member Mahmoud Othman said, according to the Australian edn. of the Daily Telegraph, "The council is unanimous in issuing a communique against the sending of Turkish forces to Iraq. It is the wrong thing to do. It does not add to security. It is not useful. This is our (the council's) position and it is unanimous." Interim Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari had rejected the prospect of Turkish troops several weeks ago. Masoud Barzani, head of the Kurdish Democratic Party, condemned the idea of Turkish troops in Iraq, saying it would not add to security, but rather "will create problems we do not need." He said the US will bear the responsibility if, as a result, the security situation deteriorated, and would have to answer the questions that would be raised by the Iraqi people. (-al-Zaman) The Independent reported, "In a rebuttal of claims by American and British officials that real authority has been delegated to Iraqis, Mr Othman said: "The general council does not have much power and if you don't have real authority you lack credibility. We will be seen by Iraqis as puppets." As an example he said the CPA had decided to send 30,000 Iraqi policemen to be trained in Jordan at a cost of $1.3bn (£780m) in the teeth of objections from the council. "We don't agree with it," said Mr Othman. "We could train them for one third of the money. The US wants to do a favour to the Jordanians at our expense. In any case, Jordanians are generally pro-Saddam." He added that there was a complete lack of transparency on how the CPA and the Pentagon were spending funds in Iraq, opening up opportunities for corruption. "The US Congress is supposed to give $20bn to Iraq but the Iraqis have no say in how it is spent," Mr Othman said. He believes the best solution is not for the US to leave entirely but to pull its soldiers out of the cities." This episode, as Othman implies, demonstrates conclusively that the IGC has no authority whatsoever and is a mere creature of the American administration. Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani in a fatwa issued on Monday had underlined its lack of legitimacy, insofar as it is not elected. Meanwhile, inside the Kurdish regions of Iraq, the Kurdistan Regional Government is being allowed by the Coalition Provisional Authority to tender petroleum development contracts itself, rather than going through Baghdad. See: http://www.globalpetroleum.com.au/ This way of proceeding is really quite extraordinary. ‹ Iranian Factions divided on which Iraqi Shiites to support According to al-Sharq al-Awsat, reformist president Ali Khatami of Iran is supporting Abdul Aziz al-Hakim of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, and had invited him to Iran. It says the reformists had refused to meet with the radical Muqtada al-Sadr on his visit to Iran last June, whereas many hardliners supported Muqtada and continue to do so. Al-Sharq al-Awsat maintains that the hardliners in Iran, including the Revolutionary Guards, the Quds Brigade, and the security unit attached to Supreme Jurisprudent Ali Khamenei, had grown cold toward the al-Hakims in recent weeks. The reason was that the al-Hakims had refused to serve as tools of Iran in Iraq and had insisted on the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq having a seat on the American-appointed Interim Governing Council. He says that Khamenei had sent a delegation to Najaf to represent him there, and had wanted Abdul Aziz al-Hakim to subordinate himself to it and to him after the assassination of his elder brother, Muhammad Baqir al-Hakim, on August 29. Khamenei is represented in Najaf by Ayatollah Ali al-Haeri. Khamenei and his circle felt that SCIRI should be led by an Object of Emulation (a cleric who is followed by many laymen), and Abdul Aziz al-Hakim lacks this stature. By accepting Ali al-Haeri as the SCIRI spiritual guide, he could have repaired that gap. Al-Sharq al-Awsat also alleges that the Revolutionary Guards are supporting the radical Sunni Ansar al-Islam group, and that al-Hakim pleaded with them to stop doing so. I don't find the allegation plausible, and often find that in its Iran coverage the newspaper reports such conspiracy theories uncritically, apparently because its Iranian sources wish to have the Americans overthrow the ayatollahs. SCIRI and the al-Hakims have long had good relations with Khamenei and the hardliners, and I am not entirely sure that the shift that al-Sharq al-Awsat reports is so clear or absolute as this article makes it seem. Muhammad Baqir al-Hakim had accepted the Khomeinist doctrine of the Rule of the Cleric, which Ali Sistani and others in the Najaf tradition reject. I doubt Abdul Aziz has changed his mind about this, and the doctrine puts him closer to the hardliners in Iran than to the reformers. On the other hand, it is true that the Iranian hardliners would be upset about Abdul Aziz serving on the Interim Governing Council. But then the Iranians are also said to be giving money to Ahmad Chalabi, who also serves on the IGC, so how upset could they be? ‹ Waxman, Corporations Angry about Tender Process in Iraq The American-Iraqi Chamber of Commerce, the ambassador to the US of Qatar, several US companies, and Henry Waxman are all angry about the lack of transparency and the appearance of cronyism in the tendering of contracts for Iraqi reconstruction. Sam Kubba of the chamber of commerce said, "Sometimes we feel that they are just going through the motions and that a decision has already been made." Kubba said tenders issued by the CPA, in which bids sometimes had to be submitted within a couple of days, were often a logistical nightmare as communications problems prevented companies from getting their bids in on time. "The impression you get with such short lead times is that it's already been given to someone and therefore they don't mind giving such notice," he said. "I think everything should be as transparent as possible."" http://www.forbes.com/work/newswire/2003/10/07/rtr1101978.html One thing that confuses me is that Kubba is talking about the tenders being issued by the CPA. I thought they were all done in Washington by US AID or the Army Corps of Engineers? Meanwhile, Representative Henry Waxman has issued a wide-ranging letter incisively criticizing what he says is an unresponsiveness of US AID and other tendering agencies, as well as giving evidence that substantial amounts of money are being wasted in Iraq. See: http://www.mees.com/postedarticles/oped/a46n40d02.htm Tuesday, October 07, 2003 ‹ Attacks on US, Bulgarian Troops in Kirkuk and Karbala; Firefight in Beiji Guerrillas fired grenade launchers at Bulgarian troops in Karbala and at US troops in Kirkuk on Monday. Early Monday morning grenades fell on a city square where US troops were deployed in the northern, largely Kurdish city. The US took no casualties in the attack. Rioting unemployed Iraqi former military men were dispersed by US troops in Kirkuk, who killed two of them. In the southern Shiite shrine city of Karbala, a camp used by the 500 Bulgarian troops was fired on around 5 am. Bulgarian troops in Karbala have repeatedly come under fire since they deployed to the city, but have suffered no casualties. They say they expect further attacks as hundreds of Iranian pilgrims come to the shrine city on pilgrimage next week. (al Zaman, Novinite). In the oil refining town of Beiji in the Sunni Arab region, the 4th Infantry Division had been pinned down Sunday for 75 minutes by fierce rounds of rpg, mortar and light arms fire. Remnants of the Fedayeen Saddam appear to have been part of the attacking force. As in Baghdad, Basra and Hilla, there had been riots by unemployed soldiers seeking $40 in severance pay from the US on Saturday, which led to the more extreme fighting on Sunday. Iraqi police from nearby Tikrit who tried to come to the rescue could not get close. Only the arrival of US helicopter gunships turned the tide. On Monday the US reinstated a police chief it had dismissed several months before, in hopes he could restore order. He immediately met with clan chieftains to discuss their demands. ‹ Al-Hakim Calls for Iranian Role Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, member of the Interim Governing Council and head of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, called in a statement distributed to politicians and clerics in Iran for that country to play a major role in Iraqi reconstruction. Al-Hakim said that Iran had stood with the Iraqi people against the Baath regime throughout the past two decades. He said that the old historical ties between the two countries make it natural for Iran to contribute in key ways to putting Iraq back on its feet. Al-Hakim is a hardliner close to Iran's Supreme Jurisprudent, Ali Khamenei. But he met Monday with the Speaker of the Iranian Parliament, reformist Mehdi Karrubi. The US has been conducting secret back channel talks with Iran about this very possibility. Robin Wright notes in a recent LA Times article, "Iran will participate in an international donors conference this month in Madrid, and may end up as one of the few aid contributors. It is already offering to provide water, electricity and technical assistance to Iraq, a top Iranian diplomat said Friday." (Reference below). Wright quotes Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi as criticizing the drumbeat against Iran of Paul Bremer, which makes me wonder if he really has been involved in the opening to Iran. It seems mainly to be supported by the State Department. If George W. Bush has authorized State to reach out to Iran over the objections of both Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and of Mr. Bremer, this change would be momentous. It would suggest that Colin Powell is gaining greater credibility with the White House, after a long period in which the Defense Department has been allowed to virtually usurp Department of State functions in places like Iraq. The shift may also have something to do with the new authority being granted National Security Council adviser Condoleeza Rice over reconstruction and security in Afghanistan and Iraq. Al-Hakim also complained that the major problem in Iraq remains a lack of security. He said that the US cannot provide that security, and, indeed, could not even protect its own troops. He urged again that the Shiite paramilitary associated with his party, the Badr Corps, be allowed to conduct armed patrols and provide security. The US has been adamantly against such a step. ‹ Najaf Religious Authorities Rebuke IGC on Nationalities Law The Interim Governing Council issued a new law on Iraqi nationality in September, allowing dual citizenship. A number of the IGC members have dual citizenship, which was prohibited under the Baath regime, and holders of dual nationality were forbidden to hold office. The new law also allows someone to become an Iraqi citizen even when his or her parents are unknown. The law has drawn a sharp rebuke from the office of Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani and his colleagues in Najaf, who issued a fatwa or ruling denouncing the new law. The fatwa reminds the IGC that it has no legitimacy, since it has neither been recognized by the Najaf religious authorities nor been recognized by the Iraqi people through any sort of election. It says that the IGC should stick to issues such as security and services, and that it has no business attempting to legislate broadly, more especially when its legislation contradicts Shiite law. (-al-Sharq al-Awsat). The fatwa is not so important for its stance on the nationality law as for what it says about the Interim Governing Council's standing. Sistani has for the first time openly said that the IGC lacks legitimacy and that he has declined to give it his approval. He has also indicated that any Iraqi government could become legitimate only if it were both elected and approved by the religious institution. ‹ Process of Writing New Constitution Delayed Seemingly irreconcilable differences will delay the writing of an Iraqi constitution, says journalist Ahmad Mukhtar in Iraq Today. He says that the Shiites on the Interim Governing Council demand that the drafters of the constitution be elected. Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani suggested recently that a delegate be chosen on a proportional basis for each 100,000 Iraqis, based on the 1997 census. (That would yield a constitutional convention of 250 delegates). Abdul Aziz al-Hakim of SCIRI has strongly insisted on elected drafters. In contrast, the five Kurdish representatives are afraid of a tyranny of the Shiite majority and want an appointed constitutional committee that will safeguard the rights of minorities. "Dara Nurridin, a Kurdish GC member, said he preferred "convention members to be selected from among legal experts, academics and politicians rather than by popular election." The Kurds also want a loose Federal system with substantial provincial rights for the Kurds. Many of the Shiite representatives prefer a strong central government. I suspect that the IGC will go on wrangling about this issue for a long time. No one in the Iraqi National Congress things that a constitution can be written in six months, as Colin Powell suggested. Hell, it will take 6 months at this rate to decide how to choose the drafters. I believe that the prospect of this delay actually pleases many in the Bush administration, since they wish to put a strong American stamp on Iraq before turning it over to a newly elected government. Paul Bremer came in intending to rule the country himself for two years or so. He may essentially get to do just that, despite having been forced to acquiesce in the appointment of the IGC, just because the IGC cannot get its act together. On the other hand, Bush himself may wish he could be shut of Iraq as an issue by summer of 2004, so that it doesn't become a burden to his reelection chances. He was assured by the neocons that Iraq would be a cake walk and that the US would be able to keep just 25,000 troops there after the war ended. The US could, if it wanted, hold early elections under a modified version of a previous Iraqi constitution, and allow the constitution-writing to happen later. This is what the French, the Germans, the Saudis and others want. The Bush administration's unwillingness to take that route has so far caused its search for a new UN resolution on Iraq to fail. The draft presented was openly attacked by UN Secretary General for marginalizing the UN, and seems dead in the water. In turn, the US cannot hope for substantial donations of troops or money for Iraq without the legitimacy bestowed by a UN SC resolution. [.....] ‹ Jordanian Islamists ask Government not to Train Iraqi Police Jordan's Islamists asked the government of King Abdullah II not to train 30,000 Iraqi police, as is now planned. They said it was inappropriate given that Iraq is occupied, since it would just help the US consolidate its colonial position in Iraq. (-al-Sharq al-Awsat). References http://www.novinite.com/newsletter/print.php?id=26801 Robin Wright on Iran and Iraq http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/iraq/la-fg-usiran4oct04-1.story Delays in writing Iraqi Constitution http://www.iraq-today.com/article.php?id=11 New Iraqi nationality law http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2003-10/01/content_1108999.htm Monday, October 06, 2003 ‹ Unemployment Riots in Baghdad and Basra for Second Day Hundreds of former soldiers rioted in Basra and demonstrated in Baghdad on Sunday, after similar violence on Saturday in Basra, Baghdad and Hilla. In Basra, four hundred men closed the main road. British troops fired rubber bullents to disperse them, wounding five people. At one point an enraged crowd pursued hapless Iraqi police into a university building when the officers ran out of ammunition. The former soldiers say that they have run out of money and are depending on the US stipends of $40 a month. On Saturday, the riots were provoked by rumors that the payments would not be made to everyone, or that this was the last such payment. Payments could not be made on Sunday in Basra because the list of those who would receive them had been destroyed in the riots of the previous day. (-Reuters, al-Zaman). ‹ Secret Deal between US and Iran on Iraq The United States entered into secret negotiations with the Iranian regime with regard to Iraq, according to al-Zaman. It said that Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asafi gave an interview in which he detailed the negotiations. The paper alleges that Iran agreed to cease interfering in Iraq. In particular, it stopped its secret police and Revolutionary Guards from continuing to establish nodes of influence in Shiite cities like Najaf and Karbala. In return, Washington would recognize Iran's legitimate role in the region and would negotiate in good faith about a number outstanding issues between the two countries. Chief among these is the US concern that Iran has a secret nuclear weapons program. Iran has made conciliatory noises about signing the additional protocol to the Nonproliferation Treaty. US Secretary of State Colin Powell had recently signalled Washington's willingness to talk to Iran. It is hard to know what to make of all this. It seems to me that there were probably three parties contributing to Iran policy in Washington. The Department of Defense has spoken belligerantly about Iran, and it appears from what Wesley Clark says that Rumsfeld and company developed a plan for seven wars after September 11, with Iran being one of them. Soon after Saddam fell, Fox Cable News began setting up Iran and Syria as the next targets, usually a sign of a campaign on the Right. Even before then, Richard Perle had fingered Iran, in February: "The United States will not be satisfied with toppling Saddam Hussein, but also seeks to change other regimes throughout the Arab world. Richard Perle, chairman of the U.S. Defense Advisory Board, said the regimes include those in Iran, Libya and Syria. Perle told Arab journalists during a trip to London last week that the U.S. tactic would differ for each country. Perle, who is close to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, is said to be one of the architects in the Bush administration on the policy of the toppling of the Saddam regime, Middle East Newsline reported." http://188.8.131.52/2003/ss_mideast_02_25.html Perle's views are interesting because he is at a powerful nexus of the Likud Party in Israel, which would be the main beneficiary of the seven wars, and WASP hawks like Rumsfeld in Washington, who have their own reasons for wanting them. Desire to overthrow the Tehran government seems likely to have been in part behind the campaign to tag it with attempting to develop weapons of mass destruction, which is the new capital crime for regimes among the hanging judges in the Department of Defense. But there are two other major policy-making centers. One is the State Department and the other is the Coalition Provisional Government, headed by Paul Bremer. Bremer has repeatedly warned Iran publicly against interfering in Iraq. The US has expressed concerns about the activities of Iranian intelligence in cities like Karbala. There is evidence of Iranian support for the Badr Brigade and for the radical, Muqtada al-Sadr and his movement. If the Shiite South became as unstable as the Sunni Arab Triangle, that would possibly sink the whole US enterprise in Iraq. So from Bremer's point of view, neutralizing an Iranian-inspired Shiite militancy is highly desirable. My guess is that the Perle/Rumsfeld plan for seven wars has been put on hold because the aftermath in Iraq has not gone well. The Bush administration is highly vulnerable to Iranian mischief-making, which if crafted well could be done in such a way as to cost Bush the presidency in 2004. (The Iranians may well have deliberately helped Reagan beat Carter, by being intransigent on the embassy hostages, in 1980, so they are old hands at this sort of thing). So Bremer would have been frantically signalling to Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz that he needs Iran on board if his mission isn't to collapse and maybe take the Bush administration down with it. If I am right that Bremer's voice is heard in this respect, it would parallel the ways in which the British Government of India often influenced British foreign policy, with Calcutta being a policy-making center in addition to London. Moreover, with 130,000 US troops pinned down in Iraq, the US simply doesn't have the military capacity to attack and hold Iran. (Rumsfeld may have insisted the brass take Iraq with so few troops to prove that future such missions, e.g. to Tehran and Damascus, could also be accomplished with only 7 or 8 divisions, since he knew that after Iraq he was unlikely to have the 13 or 14 divisions the Pentagon officer corps preferred for such missions. Ironically, his insistence on such a small force may well have derailed the later plans, since the US troops were not numerous enough to establish order in post-Baath Iraq and so got bogged down. Rumsfeld had hoped to get all but a division or so back out by fall of 2003, i.e., by about now. Instead, he still has 130,000 troops tied up in Iraq and is having to call up an extra division of reserves). If the hawks in Defense have to postpone their plans to Deal With Tehran, then the only alternative is to send in the State Department to find some way to trade some horses and get relations with the mullahs back to some semblance of normalcy. Instead of acting like a Revolutionary Power (Kissinger's characterization of France under the Revolutionary and Napoleonic regimes) in the Middle East, as planned, the US might have to go back to being a status quo power. Even if Bush wins again in 2004, it is not clear that it will have the military resources to go after Iran, Syria and the others on the list. That will only be possible if a stable government with its own effective military emerges in Iraq in the short term, which is capable of blunting further Iranian moves. That development seems unlikely at all, but especially unlikely before 2006. It is possible that the hawks hope to go after the remaining targets at that time, if the political situation permits. On the other side, the Iranians are giving money to a range of Iraqi political figures, from Ahmad Chalabi to Muqtada al-Sadr. It is hard to see how it is in their interest to stop, since they need the influence this money buys for future contingencies. If this analysis is correct, then the Iranians are faced with a dilemma. If they do indeed back off from mischief-making in Iraq now, they may simply be hastening the time when Rumsfeld feels strong enough to take out Tehran. They have to get more out of the deal than a simple postponement of the American war on them, if it is to be worth their while. But there is no obvious way to tie Rumsfeld's hands as to what he will do in 2006. The only thing they could realistically get out of such an arrangement that would actually protect them would be US permission to develop a nuclear weapon, and such permission seems highly unlikely to be granted, even if Iran had this capability in the short term, which seems unlikely. For these reasons, I am personally pessimistic that any US truce with Iran over Iraq will hold. References Hirst on Syria: http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,1056693,00.html Sunday, October 05, 2003 [.....] ‹ Iraqis Forbidden to work for Some US Contractors The New York Times finally broke the story on Saturday of the US rebuilding efforts in Iraq being overly expensive because there is a failure to use experienced, reasonably priced Iraqi contractors. The situation is even worse than the Times suggested, however. It isn't just that some contracts are going to high-priced American firms. Rather, in some instances Iraqis may be being positively discriminated against as "security risks." So first they were supposed to dance in the streets at the US presence, and now they cannot even be trusted to rebuild their own country? Here is what an observer in Iraq says: "[Some] American subcontractors here . . . who are working for . . . US contractors . . . are prohibited from using Iraqi labor, contractors, or equipment for some US military jobs. Iraqi nationals are considered a security risk at some sites, so Indian and Sri Lankan laborers are brought in from Kuwait. I don't know how extensive this is, or what percentage of military projects it applies to. Iraqi equipment (such as trucks and cranes) are also considered a risk, so some companies are bringing in equipment from Kuwait (checked for bombs before entering Iraq - this simplifies the convoy process and means the equipment does not need to be checked again after arriving at the site) and elsewhere instead of using and paying Iraqi companies and operators. I heard from a reliable source that the US military has a list of nationalities prohibited from working on (some?) military sites in Iraq, a list that now includes IRAQIS! Aside from the usual suspects (Cubans, Vietnamese, Sudanese, etc), Chinese are also curiously included. I understand why some foreign contracting companies are hesitant to use Iraqi companies - many are fly-by-night operations, other simply don't know how to work with Westerners (often a lack of Western-style accounting procedures and supervising, poor quality-control, inability to provide quick quotes, etc). But, it also appears that institutional hindrances are being put on reconstruction companies that might want to use Iraqi labor. I have heard of competitive Iraqi bids rejected because they are 'Iraqi,' and hence a possible security risk. The British and American militaries (I've heard, no one will confirm this for me) won't use Iraqi cooks or even let them near kitchens - fear of poisoning." For other stories on contracts see http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=68&ncid=68&e=2&u=/nyt/200310 04/ts_nyt/questionsareraisedonawardingofcontractsiniraq and http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/story.jsp?story=450118 ‹ Sadrists Have Some Tribal Support in Southern Cities I often get asked by journalists and others whether Muqtada al-Sadr should be taken seriously, or whether he is just a young punk with some ruffians around him, as the Najaf religious elite maintains. His competitors include Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani. One informed observer in Iraq says, "The majority of Shiites I ask say they look first towards Sistani for guidance, but I do not know what that means since he is not organized olitically on the ground.. Arab journalists have suggested that Sistani's support is strongest among the middle aged and elderly, and among the middle classes. Another of Muqtada's competitors is the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), which has a paramilitary oganization, the Badr Corps. These are led by Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, who was in Tehran in exile for two decades but is now back and has a seat on the Interim Governing Council. Muqtada was backed earlier this year by Ayatollah Kazim al-Haeri, who lives in exile in Qom, though there were rumors that the two had broken off relations in July. Al-Haeri led the clerical wing of the al-Da`wa Party and may come back to Iraq eventually, as a power in his own right. My firm impression from everything I've seen is that Muqtada and his followers, the Sadrists, are a force to reckon with. They are perhaps dominant in East Baghdad, population 2-3 million. They have serious strength in the poorer parts of Basra. Since 25% of Basrans are said to favor an Islamic republic, I suspect a lot of those are Sadrists. Because Muqtada has many followers among the young slum dwellers of Baghdad, his ideas are spreading through them to the countryside. Many of the families in East Baghdad are recent immigrants, and retain tribal ties and loyalties. One Arab journalist wrote this summer of the way that a Sadrist youth went back to his village to meet with his tribal shaikh, and converted the shaikh to Sadrism. An observer in Iraq confirms that this sort of movement is afoot. He writes that a: "sheik from Amara says that SCIRI has no support in Amarah and that his tribesmen consider the Badr Corps Iranian mercs. I heard that most of the Badr Corps in Najaf speak Farsi, not Arabic (although everyone says Najaf and Karbala are calm). The border with Iran is not secure, anyone can come and go as they like (many carjacked SUVs end up in Iran). His tribesmen in Amarah and Saddam/Sadr city almost universally support Muqtada al Sadr. I asked him what would happen if Kazim Ha'eri returned from Qom and there was a split between him and Moqtada al-Sadr. He said everyone in Amarah and his tribesmen in Sadr City would back Moqtada al-Sadr, despite his age and learning, because of his father." Muqtada demands an immediate US departure and seeks an Iran-style Islamic Republic in Iraq. Saturday, October 04, 2003 [.....] ‹ Wesley Clark Calls for Criminal Investigation of Bush Iraq policy Presidential hopeful Gen. Wesley Clark said Friday he believes the Bush administration should be investigated for possible criminal wrongdoing in the case it made to the American people that Iraq was an immediate threat, according to the Telegraph. He said an independent counsel should look into the possible manipulation of intelligence. The pre released text of his speech said, "Nothing could be a more serious violation of public trust than consciously to make a case for war based on false claims. We need to know if we were intentionally deceived. This administration is trying to do something that ought to be politically impossible to do in a democracy, and that is to govern against the will of the majority. That requires twisted facts, silence, secrecy and very poor lighting." Clark said in his memoirs that he was told by a military officer in fall of 2001 that the Bush administration intended to go to war against Iraq and that this was part of a 5-year plan to attack 7 countries. "This was being discussed as part of a five-year campaign plan, he said, and there were a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia, and Sudan. So, I thought, this is what they mean when they talk about 'draining the swamp." Opinion polls show that most Americans already believe that an Indpendent Counsel should be appointed to investigate the White House's leak that the wife of Ambassador Joe Wilson is a CIA undercover operative, which damaged US national security. Perhaps Clark is right that the mandate of the Special Prosecutor should be widened to warmongering fraud. "Clark: Bush Should Face Inquiry" http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2003/10/04/wclark04.xml &sSheet=/portal/2003/10/04/ixportaltop.html ‹ Iyad Alawi takes over Presidency of IGC Iyad Alawi became president of the Interim Governing Council on October 1, in accordance with a compromise that lets each of 9 IGC members take one-month rotations as leaders. Alawi, b. 1945, was trained as a physician (a neurologist) at Baghdad University and practiced in the UK He was inducted into the Royal Society of Physicians in 1980. He is also a businessman. His Iraqi National Accord groups ex-Baath officers, and Alawi, a Shiite, unsuccessfully attempted to foment a military coup against Saddam in the 1990s. The rotation may please Washington, which according to Robin Wright of the LA Times has put enormous pressure on Alawi's predecessor, Ahmad Chalabi, not to embarrass President Bush by pressing for a quick turnover of power by the Coalition Provisional Authority to the American-appointed Interim Governing Council. Chalabi all but endorsed the French position at the United Nations, much to the chagrin of Washington, which is trying without much success to get a new UNSC resolution passed that would allow more countries to send troops or money to help with Iraq reconstruction. [.....] _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. 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