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News, 8-14/10/03 (1) ADMINISTRATION * Baghdad's courts 'up and running' again * Everywhere and nowhere, Saddam retains his grip on Baghdad's imagination * Ousted Iraqi Police Chief reinstated after replacement fails to provide order * US resists Iraqi proposal to merge party militias * UK 'failing' to police Basra * Tough questions that need asking on Iraq BUSINESS * INC head wants to establish fund for Iraqi businessmen * Iraqi officials outline job opportunities for businessmen at Jordan Economic Forum * Iraq security deters western firms GENERAL REFLECTIONS * US Must Relinquish Power in Iraq * Iraqi Women Struggling to Win Back Status INCIDENTS * 2 GIs Killed After Deadly Baghdad Bombing * US soldiers bulldoze farmers' crops * Suicide Car Bomb Kills Eight in Baghdad * Three U.S. Soldiers Killed INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY * UN Iraq-Kuwait observer mission closes * Spanish, EU officials say donors conference still on * US offers compromise in UN vote on Iraq ADMINISTRATION http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/world/2146125 * Baghdad's courts 'up and running' again by MICHAEL HEDGES Houston Chronicle, 8th October [Mainly, it seems, because they just decided to continue where Saddam left off] BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Allawi Ajan Ali gunned down Ismail Saef Latif with an AK-47 on a blazing summer day in a landlord-tenant dispute that raged out of control, according to a preliminary investigation by Iraqi authorities. But giving Ali his day in court is proving a frustrating trial in itself. With U.S. assistance, the Iraqis are struggling to get a revamped criminal justice system in operation -- vital to the effort to build a democracy in this nation of 23 million. After at least two delays, Ali's trial was to have begun Wednesday. But his transfer from a prison cell outside Baghdad took longer than expected, and the U.S. military police who had jailed him were unable to alert court officials they were running late because the phone system still does not work. So, by the time the MPs and Ali showed up, the presiding judge had dismissed all the witnesses and reset the trial. "The families of the victims are getting angry at us for the delays, but we are telling them that it is up to the Americans to deliver him," shrugged Judge Nawak Muhamed Nassir, the presiding jurist at the Kharkh district court in Baghdad. Maj. Juan Pyfrom, the Army officer who leads the U.S. legal integration team in Baghdad, said that despite such glitches Iraq's court system has made tremendous strides in a short time. "Four months ago, there was no court system in Baghdad," Pyfrom said. "Looters took the fixtures out of the bathrooms. They stole the wiring in the buildings and all the furniture. "We now have all the courts in Baghdad up and running, which I find absolutely amazing." Superficially, Iraq's new criminal court system is much like the one that had operated in the time of Saddam Hussein, Iraqi and American experts say. Iraq's courts are modeled under France's Napoleonic system. The police conduct an investigation and turn their information over to an investigative judge, who decides if there is sufficient evidence to warrant a trial. If so, a defendant goes before a three-judge panel, which reviews the evidence, questions witnesses and renders verdicts of guilt or innocence. Traditionally, the main role of a defense lawyer here is to assure that a defendant's rights are observed during the trial, rather than to develop a courtroom strategy and cross-examine witnesses. But if the outline is the same, the guts of the new Iraqi justice system have been completely overhauled, Judge Nassir said. It is now independent of government control. "Before, there were many, many people who could never be brought to trial," Nassir said, "and if they were brought to trial, it was meaningless." Nassir recalled the murder trial of a member of Saddam's Special Republican Guard. "He killed a Kurdish man over a girl," the judge said. "I sentenced him to life in prison. But he was a relative of Saddam, and he was out before the end of the month. As a judge, I was upset, but there was nothing I could do." Among the Iraqis who remain outside the new justice system are the fighters and others deemed "illegal combatants" by the Americans on a case-by-case basis, Pyfrom said. These Iraqis are held in military detention centers and fall under jurisdiction of the U.S. military. Nassir gives the American officers working to help re-install the courts good marks for their intentions but said that both sides seem harried. "American officers have said to me, `Look, we're doing what we can, but we are frustrated just like you.' " the judge said. Likewise, U.S. authorities expressed admiration for the Iraqi judges, who routinely collect death threats from Saddam loyalists and others. U.S. occupation authorities here have directly interfered in the Iraqi justice system on only one important matter, officials on both sides said -- capital punishment. The Americans have suspended the death penalty indefinitely while they review it. Pyfrom said some Iraqi judicial officers have not been happy with that decision. "There are judges in this town who believe, as a lot of people in the U.S. do, that the death penalty is an important deterrent," Pyfrom said. About 1,100 Iraqis are awaiting trial on charges ranging from homicide to stealing cars and looting buildings. Some were arrested by U.S. military police, and American officials made the initial decisions to detain them. Now, Iraqi police are making the arrests, and Iraqi judges are deciding who to hold. "My greatest hope is that within the next month or so we can completely transition out of our role in the judiciary system," Pyfrom said. Before that can happen, Ali must have his trial. According to the court record, he is a 64-year-old property owner from the Baghdad suburb of Al Qadimiya who one day in the early summer went to his 27-year-old tenant to collect a rent increase. The meeting went badly, according to the preliminary investigation. A follow up encounter involved Ali's assault rifle. Ali has not seen a lawyer yet, according to the court file. That would not be unusual here because lawyers often are not appointed until just before a trial begins. It is one aspect of the Iraqi system that American experts are seeking to change, Pyfrom said. Ali's original court date came in September, according to Nassir. But U.S. authorities said the Iraqis failed to properly identify him, and he could not be found among the jail population. Another court date was set for Oct. 1, and witnesses and family members were assembled in court. But because of a spate of mortar attacks on the road from Ali's prison to Baghdad, U.S. military police decided it was not safe to deliver him. A new trial was set for next Wednesday. http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1058867,00.html * Everywhere and nowhere, Saddam retains his grip on Baghdad's imagination by Suzanne Goldenberg The Guardian, 9th October [Extracts from an article by Suzanne Goldenberg. Dismantling of food distribution schme and restoration of Ba'ath era security system. Also that 'The second-in-command at the information ministry, who spent his days reading the reports the minders wrote about visiting foreign journalists, has been employed by Fox News.'] [.....] A more substantial assault on Saddam's legacy is under way in the Republican Palace, where the occupation authority is making preparations to dismantle the food distribution system which gave free rations of flour, rice, cooking oil and other staples to every Iraqi. Described by the UN as the world's most efficient food network, the system still keeps Iraqis from going hungry. But the US civilian administrator of Iraq, Paul Bremer, views it as a dangerous socialist anachronism. The coalition provisional authority (CPA) is planning to abolish it in January, despite warnings from its own technical experts that this could lead to hunger and riots. Such haste in obliterating all traces of Saddam is disconcerting for many Iraqis, especially the educated elite who were part of his bureaucracy. Many say the US has yet to appreciate how that bureaucracy functioned, and they fear that their national history is being replaced with another, without their consent. [.....] It is also difficult to decipher the intentions of an occupation authority which, while seemingly intent on obliterating the symbols of Saddam, shows little compunction in rehabilitating the real instruments of his brutal control. After months of chaos and confusion, it appears that the CPA has come around to the view that it cannot rule effectively without the security and intelligence ser vices. Its readiness to deal with members of the former regime - particularly those in the intelligence services - is a departure from its earlier practice. [.....] Diplomats and other officers of the former Ba'athist intelligence apparatus claim that the return to active duty of members of Saddam's security services extends to the former head of the mukhabarat himself, Tahir Jalil Haboosh. They are not the only apparatchiks deemed worthy of rehabilitation. Almost all of the bureaucrats at the information ministry have done very nicely for themselves since the war. The government minders who spent their days reporting to the intelligence services on foreign reporters or doing their best to obstruct their work have gone on to well-paid jobs - for the same foreign news organisations they once hounded. The second-in-command at the information ministry, who spent his days reading the reports the minders wrote about visiting foreign journalists, has been employed by Fox News. Revival Other former servants of the security service have found jobs in the police where, it is widely believed, they are indulging in the same brutal practices they employed before the war; the only change being that they feel freer to extort bribes. The revival of the security structures has been watched with interest, particularly by those who once exercised control over the Ba'athist state. In a living room decorated in the style favoured by the former elite, the Iraqi army general Qasim al-Jawani holds forth on power and control. He was one of the creators of the Quds brigades, formed soon after the start of the Palestinian intifada. Officially, they were volunteer forces dedicated to liberating Jerusalem from Israel, but Mr Jawani frankly admits their real purpose was control and intimidation. On the wall beside the front door hangs a picture taken at one of the palaces now occupied by the US army. In it Mr Jawani crouches in the front row, directly at the feet of Saddam. He says he sees no reason to be ashamed of the picture. "The affairs of Iraqi society cannot be managed without a great deal of violence and power," he says. "Iraqi society cannot be controlled by someone who treats them in a nice way. It cannot be run by someone open minded. "It needs someone all-powerful, ready to use force or violence to get the people to do what he wants." * OUSTED IRAQI POLICE CHIEF REINSTATED AFTER REPLACEMENT FAILS TO PROVIDE ORDER RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT, Vol. 6, No. 42, 9 October 2003 [in Bayji. Expansion of an item briefly noticed last week.] The Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in Iraq dismissed the Bayji police chief on 6 October after three days of rioting in the city, AFP reported, citing U.S. military officials. The rioting on 6 October involved a police exchange of gunfire with former army personnel from the regime of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein who were demanding their military stipends, AFP reported. Demonstrators fired rocket-propelled grenades during the skirmish, setting fire to a fuel tanker and also hitting the Bayji mayor's office. AP reported on 7 October that Fedayeen Saddam forces led the resistance. The fighting was so intense on 4 October that Bayji police officers reportedly fled the city. U.S. 4th Infantry Division Major Josslyn Aberle said that Bayji Police Chief Ismail al-Jabouri was dismissed on 6 October because the coalition and the governor of the Salah Al-Din Province "were not satisfied with his performance," AFP reported. Al-Jabouri was accused of heavy-handedness and for giving members of his clan and other associates jobs on the 1,000-plus-member police force, AP reported. The CPA reinstated Hamid al-Qaisi as police chief. He had been dismissed from his position by coalition forces in May. Bayji is located some 225 kilometers north of Baghdad and is home to Iraq's largest oil refinery. The Anatolia news agency reported that some 4,000 people were involved in the 6 October rioting. (Kathleen Ridolfo) http://news.ft.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=FT.com/StoryFT/FullStory&c =StoryFT&cid=1059480510829&p=1012571727172 * US resists Iraqi proposal to merge party militias by Roula Khalaf Financial Times, 10th October [Financial Times interview with Hoshyar Zebari, Iraq's foreign minister. The militias in question are, principally, the Kurdish and (though Zebari doesn't mention them) Shi'i militias, ALL OF WHOM, as pointed out last week, SUPPORTED IRAN IN THE IRAN/IRAQ WAR.] The Iraqi Governing Council is seeking to convince the US occupying authority in Iraq to merge existing party militias into one force under the interior ministry, arguing that this would be the most effective way of stabilising the country. According to Hoshyar Zebari, Iraq's foreign minister, the US has resisted the idea fearing it would spark civil conflict between Iraq's ethnic communities but was now discussing it with members of the council. "There is a greater realisation the idea should be implemented," Mr Zebari said in an interview with the Financial Times. The Governing Council's efforts to persuade the US come as the US-appointed Iraqi body faces its first serious rift with the US over the deployment of Turkish troops. Mr Zebari said that while the council was trying to reach an accommodation with the Coalition Provisional Authority over a Turkish military presence, its members were concerned that the move would be resisted by Iraqis and would encourage meddling by other neighbours. Jordan, for example, is suspected of sponsoring new monarchist movements in Iraq and Iran could say it too wants a military presence in Shia areas, he said. Members of the Governing Council were holding discussions with the CPA to ensure that the supply lines for the Turkish troops, which would have to go through the Kurdish north of Iraq, were controlled by US forces and that Turkey is not given a say in Iraq's political affairs. The US has sought to take away heavy weapons from various Iraqi groups that emerged after the war as concern grew that militants in the majority Shia community were forming their own militias. The force proposed by the Governing Council would be dominated by the 30,000-strong Kurdish fighters known as peshmergas who continue to be armed. It would also take in smaller militias under the control of parties that returned to Iraq from exile, including the Pentagon-backed Iraqi National Congress and the CIA-backed Iraqi National Accord. Various tribes in Iraq, armed by the former Saddam Hussein regime, have also reportedly set up their own protection forces. US forces are training Iraqi police and army units gradually to take over security. But Mr Zebari said the 35,000-strong Iraqi police needed to reach 70,000 to cover all of Iraq and he estimated that it would take another year before a sizeable army was formed. "We have told the US that you cannot resolve the security by bringing in more troops - the only way is by empowering Iraqis and making them take charge of security responsibilities." He insisted such a move would not encourage civil war. "It will be under the minister of the interior and under US command." The US has struggled to attract military contributions from other countries and sees the presence of a Muslim force in the most troublesome Sunni areas as potentially reducing attacks by the Iraqi resistance. The Turkish parliament vote this week to deploy troops, however, drew a critical response from the Iraqi Governing Council. Iraq's Kurdish community worries that Turkey will meddle in the country's political future and undermine its efforts to establish a federal state in Iraq. Turkey is concerned that a large measure of autonomy for Iraqi Kurds would bolster the aspirations of its own Kurdish minority. But Mr Zebari, a former senior Kurdish official, said the legacy of 400 years of Ottoman rule made many Iraqi Arabs equally opposed to the deployment of Turkish troops. "The US wants to convey the message that they're getting support from allies and they're not alone. But the implications of this deployment are not fully apprehended," he said. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/3188368.stm * UK 'failing' to police Basra BBC, 12th October [sez Assistant Chief Constable Stephen White of the ... hmmm ... now what is it the police in Northern Ireland is called?] A leading Northern Ireland police chief has attacked the UK Government for "not providing the necessary help to maintain law and order in Iraq". Assistant Chief Constable Stephen White has told BBC Northern Ireland's Spotlight programme he needed more resources to police the city of Basra in southern Iraq. He is serving as the Director of Law and Order for the region - a senior position in the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA). The senior officer said while he had expected a contingent of about 1,500 international recruits, he had a team of just 15. Mr White told the BBC: "If people are sitting in Whitehall, or sitting in the shire counties of England thinking we had better not take any risks, it's too dangerous for UK police officers, I'm embarrassed as a professional police officer. "I can understand why people are concerned. It is a dangerous place and people are being killed here, but at the end of the day our job is to minimise that risk and try to do something that makes it safer eventually for everyone." Mr White - who has extensive experience in overseas policing and major events in Northern Ireland - was appointed to his current post by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. However, he told Spotlight that since assuming the role he had been shocked by the limited backing from the authorities. Order could only be restored in Basra with the aid of more international police officers in order to meet the most serious challenge of growing crime and tribal strife, he said. While attacks against coalition forces have declined in southern Iraq, there are still regular gunfights in downtown areas, said Mr White. "I believe that there's a place here for, not just the UK police, but police experts from around the world and that's what I think should happen, not holding off until things get better, because they may not get better." http://www.iht.com/articles/113370.html * Tough questions that need asking on Iraq by Thomas L. Friedman International Herald Tribune, from New York Times, 13th October [Thomas L. Friedman describes US efforts to build a grassroots democracy] As a precondition for helping in Iraq, the United Nations is demanding that the United States hand over "early sovereignty" to an interim Iraqi government and then let those Iraqis invite the United Nations in to oversee their transition to constitution-writing and elections. I too would like to see Iraqis given more control faster and the United Nations more involved. But people are tossing around this idea without answering some hard questions first. Would handing power to an interim Iraqi government really stop the attacks on U.S. forces, Iraqi police, the United Nations and Iraq's interim leaders? I doubt it. These attackers don't want Iraqis to rule themselves; these attackers want to rule Iraqis. Why do you think the attackers never identify themselves or their politics? Because they are largely diehard Baathists who want to restore the old order they dominated and will kill anyone in the way. Will the United Nations, which has basically left Iraq, not flee again when its officials get attacked again - which will happen even after Iraqis have sovereignty? Could the Iraqi Governing Council agree now on who should lead an interim government? Will the Europeans really pony up troops and billions of dollars for Iraq, if the United States hands the keys to an Iraqi interim government? Will the U.S. public want to stay involved then, as is needed? Until these questions can be answered, without Iraq spinning out of control, I'd stick with the status quo as the least bad option - in part because genuine sovereignty means running your own affairs and the United States has already done more to build that at the grass roots level in Iraq than most people realize. I spoke the other day with Amal Rassam, an Iraqi-American anthropologist, who has been spearheading this effort. Since April, U.S. Army officers and Rassam's teams from RTI International, a nongovernmental organization, have gone out to all 88 neighborhoods of Baghdad, met with local leaders and helped them organize, through informal voting, 88 "interim advisory councils." Then the 88 councils elected nine district councils, and the nine district councils elected an interim 37-member Baghdad city council. For the first time ever, a popularly-based city council, including women, is demanding to set budgets, set priorities and decide who will police their neighborhoods, and is making the city's managers accountable to them. Similar town councils have been set up all over Iraq. U.S. and British teams have been schooling the Iraqi councils in how to hold a meeting, set an agenda, take a vote and lobby. They have also provided seed money for women's groups and all sorts of other civil society organizations that Iraqis are scrambling to start. They have not unearthed any weapons of mass destruction, but they have unearthed a lot of aspiring Iraqi democrats. "I have worked in many parts of the world," said Rassam, "and it is very gratifying to come here and see that we are beginning to get some natural leaders to emerge, men and women, from the real grass roots. We had two women from the councils, a Christian and a Muslim who keeps her head covered, go to a conference in Hilla the other day and speak about their experiences with incipient democracy. They came back and said to me, 'We want to talk to Paul Bremer [the U.S. administrator] and tell him there must be a quota for women on the constitution-writing committee.' To see these two women - one Christian, one veiled - stand up and say, 'You have really helped us come out and have self-confidence and now we don't want to stop here, we want women on the constitution-writing committee' - that is real democracy-building. I don't think you can put them back in their place, at least I hope not. These councils are a natural arena for leaders to emerge from the people." Oh yes, these councils have their crooks and power hogs, some of whom have already been purged by their colleagues. But even with their warts, they are providing Iraqis a forum for the kind of horizontal conversation - between Sunnis, Shiites, Turkmen, Christians and Kurds - that Saddam never allowed and must happen for any Iraqi democracy to have a solid base. I also spoke the other day with Nasreen Barwari, Iraq's new, Harvard-trained minister of public works. She made it very clear to me that she and her colleagues want sovereignty as soon as they are really able to run things. But to those demanding early sovereignty in Iraq, as a precondition for helping, she said: "If you want me to be sovereign, come and help me reconstruct my country. ... Help me get ready quicker." BUSINESS * INC HEAD WANTS TO ESTABLISH FUND FOR IRAQI BUSINESSMEN RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT, Vol. 6, No. 42, 9 October 2003 [Sensible suggestion from A.Chalabi] Iraqi National Congress (INC) head Ahmad Chalabi is reportedly calling on the U.S. government to establish an investment fund for Iraqi businessmen, according to a 4 October report in the INC newspaper "Al-Mu'tamar." Chalabi said the fund should be set up with a capital investment of $500 million to help Iraqi industrialists and businessmen who want to participate in the reconstruction of Iraq, or contribute to economic growth in general. He said the fund would help Iraqis who don't have enough capital or those who could not operate under the deposed regime of Saddam Hussein because of their religion, ethnicity, or tribal affiliation. (Kathleen Ridolfo) http://www.jordantimes.com/Tue/economy/economy2.htm * Iraqi officials outline job opportunities for businessmen at Jordan Economic Forum by Sahar Aloul Jordan Times, 14th October [Chances of Arab firms getting subcontracts from Bechtel. Not very bright unless thay can find an Iraqi partner] AMMAN — Hopeful companies looking for a piece of the Iraq reconstruction market will have to align themselves with Iraqi partners in order to get any of the sub-contracts offered by Bechtel, the giant US construction corporation, according to a statement made at the Jordan Economic Forum by the corporation's representative on Monday. Foreign and Arab commercial banks will also have a chance of setting up shop in the lucrative Iraqi financial market should they win one of six licences that will be on offer in the coming five years, Central Bank of Iraq Governor Sinan Chbabi pointed out to the Arab and business assembly. These comments came as eager investors packed the conference hall to the limit to listen to nine panelists relaying the latest developments on the Iraqi rebuilding scene. "Seventy per cent of total contracts issued by us are expected to go to Iraqi companies," Bechtel executive Gregory Huger said. To date, 138 contracts were issued by Bechtel which was awarded $1billion contract by USAID for reconstruction of Iraq. Seventy four per cent of which were awarded to local Iraqi contractors. Many of the subcontracts awarded were for small- to medium-size jobs, Huger explained urging the participants to look into bidding for larger contracts through partnering with Iraqi firms. Iraqi ministers of planning and international cooperation, finance, reconstruction and housing and electricity also offered insight to the current situation on the ground although not without controversy. Asked about who would sign on the Iraqi part for any awarded contract, Iraq's Planning and International Cooperation Minister Mehdi Hafedh, conceded it would "temporarily" be the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA). "We are in a difficult political situation. Our country is occupied so we need to commit to UN resolutions and start our main mission in reconstructing Iraq," Hafedh said. The minister told the predominantly Arab assembly of businesspeople that a total assessment of 14 vital sectors of the Iraqi economy was put in a report with an estimate of $55-56 billion placed on the total reconstruction bill his country would need. The report will be presented to donor countries in Madrid on Oct. 23-24 as a means of signing up financiers, in addition to the US which offered $20 billion and the European Union's $223 million commitment, for the rebuilding process. Hafedh urged Arab as well as foreign capital to help in creating a new Iraqi economy that would be free of obstacles and limitations. He also revealed that a new five per cent custom's tax would be installed by the beginning of next year on commodities entering the Iraqi market but stressed that the economy will continue its stride towards opening up to free competition. Under new legislation, leasing will also be allowed for non-Iraqis for up to 40 years, Hafedh added. However, total ownership of property will no be allowed. The governor of Iraq's central bank, meanwhile, listed preconditions for non-Iraqi banks looking to enter the market there. A clear business plan, strong geographical presence around Iraq, capital to exceed minimum legal requirement, aggressive lending policy and an IT-enabled service were the conditions Chbabi set for the foreign banking community. "We don't want a banking sector that would only facilitate rebuilding projects but one that would contribute to growth," he stressed. Chbabi told the audience that Iraq will bear a good part of the reconstruction cost through its oil revenues, debt forgiveness — Iraq's debts are estimated at $120-130 billion, cutting military spending in addition to help from donor money. Iraqi's Housing and Reconstruction Minister Bian Zubaidi also touched upon the housing woes his country is going through estimating the deficit in homes at one million units. The most pressing issue for the minister remains finding homes for some four million refugees and homeless people returning to Iraq and solving the "poverty belts" around Baghdad and major cities. Electricity Minister Ayham Samarrae held a press conference earlier during the day when he announced that a major conference on reconstruction of the electricity sector will be held here in Amman on Oct. 19-20. Samarrae also briefed the business assembly on the enormous tasks that his ministry faces in returning the electric current to citizens all over Iraq. "Our need for electricity stands at 10,000 megawatt. After the war we could only produce 3,000 which we managed to raise to 5,000 megawatt recently," in a metre-less infrastructure, the minister said. Arab participants expressed their satisfaction for the information that was given at the special session although they learned that they will not receive any favourable treatment over their foreign competitors. "I think I learned some new things today, especially the issue of leasing. In general, the meeting was a good exercise," concluded UAE businessman Hussein Shijwani. http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/10/14/1065917386035.html * Iraq security deters western firms Sydney Morning Herald, 14th October ["Doing Business in Iraq" conference in London] Western firms are reluctant to play a role in the reconstruction of Iraq because of security concerns and a lack of clarity about the contracts on offer, a conference in London has heard. Acknowledging disquiet among companies over the way sub-contracting work has been handed out by the US companies leading the work to rebuild Iraq, the United States is creating a new agency, under the aegis of the Pentagon, a US defence official told delegates. The new agency, as yet unnamed, will be introduced at the beginning of November under the direction of retired admiral David Nash, said the Deputy Under Secretary of Defence for International Technology Security, John Shaw. It will be charged with coordinating the distribution of sub-contracting work in Iraq, notably by US groups Bechtel and Halliburton, the main contractors in Iraq's reconstruction. Shaw admitted there were "divergences" over the process between the US Agency for International Development (USAID) - which awarded the main contracts under the supervision of the State Department - and the Pentagon. An Iraqi businessman at the conference, called "Doing Business in Iraq", lamented that the process of awarding sub-contracts in Iraq was "so slow, bureaucratic, and not very fair". To win a contract "you have to be there," Mustafa Al-Hijaj, head of development at the Iraqi company Al-Hameediyaih Co Ltd, which has managed to secure work from Bechtel to help to repair Iraq's water treatment systems. The most important thing to do was to form an alliance with local people, he told AFP. The US administration was represented by several officials at the conference, which also heard calls for Western firms to set aside their fears about the rising violence in Iraq and to help to rebuild the war-torn country. "If you don't participate in reconstruction now, it will affect your position" in the future, said Rubar Sandi, a Kurdish-American who is advising the interim Iraqi authorities. "Whether you are pro-war or against war is irrelevant now. We have a country to rebuild," said Sandi, the owner of the Baghdad Hotel, the target of a car bomb on Sunday that killed eight people. Sandi, chief executive of the US investment bank CorporateBank Business, confided that his brother had been seriously hurt in the attack, but he argued that to not invest in Iraq would only reward the terrorists. Mustafa Al-Bunnia, vice president of the Iraqi company Al-Bounnia, the country's biggest conglomerate, flew over from Baghdad to attend the gathering. "Iraqis are hungry to prove themselves," he told delegates. But he warned: "Don't expect when you arrive in Baghdad to find the right person right away". GENERAL REFLECTIONS http://www.arabnews.com/?page=7§ion=0&article=33310&d=9&m=10&y=2003 * US Must Relinquish Power in Iraq by Patrick Cockburn Arab News (Saudi Arabia), 9th October from The Independent [Patrick Cockburn tells us what happened to the famous mosaic of G.Bush Sr in the lobby of the Al-Rashid hotel] WASHINGTON, 9 October 2003 — Soon after the capture of Baghdad by US troops Donald Rumsfeld, the US defense secretary, came up with a novel idea on how to run the ravaged Iraqi capital. He suggested in a conference call with newly arrived US officials in Iraq that Rudy Giuliani, the stoic mayor of New York at the time of destruction of the World Trade Center, be made the new mayor of Baghdad. A friend who participated in the conference was aghast at the idea pointing out that few Iraqis had ever heard of Giuliani and many of them had probably cheered when the Twin Towers went down. Even so it took 48 hours for the proposal to die. The friend told me wryly that "ever afterwards the neocons among the US officials in Baghdad regarded me with suspicion as a hostile element". The arrogant triumphalism of Rumsfeld and the civilian leadership of the Pentagon which led to his "Guliani for mayor" proposal has taken a battering over the last five months. But the US is today no nearer finding a satisfactory way of running Iraq than it was at the time the US Army overthrew Saddam Hussein. The main change in the physical appearance of Baghdad over this period is the building of extraordinarily elaborate fortifications to protect the Coalition Provisional Authority. Great slabs of concrete fifteen feet high now run along the bank of the Tigris River, protecting Saddam's old Republican Palace where Paul Bremer, the head of the CPA, has his headquarters. Notices announce that no swimming is allowed in the Tigris, presumably to deter underwater saboteurs. Inside this forbidden city the occupation authorities live in extraordinary isolation, both physical and mental. It should be difficult to outdo Saddam's personal security measures but Iraqis say that the length of Bremer's motorcade exceeds that of the former Iraqi ruler. Many of the US officials live inside the Al-Rashid hotel, once the haunt of journalists, now protected by rolls of razor wire and sand-bagged emplacements. The only noticeable change inside the hotel is that a mosaic of President George Bush, the victor in the first Gulf War, placed on the floor just inside the entrance has gone. It was placed there by the Iraqi government in the early 1990s so anybody entering the hotel would have to step on President Bush's face. A CPA official, who wanted to preserve it as a historic memento, explained that it had been ripped up after a US officer, patriotically determined not put his foot on Bush's features, had tried to step over the mosaic in one stride. The distance was too great. He sprained his groin in doing so and had to be hospitalized for twenty-four hours. Part of the American problem is Bremer himself. He wears a neat business suit and protruding from the trouser legs an incongruous pair of military boots. Some of his staff whisper that he suffers from a "MacArthur'"complex, seeing himself in the same role as Gen. Douglas MacArthur when he was the all-powerful US viceroy in Japan after 1945. Members of the US-appointed Governing Council say they find him abrupt, patronizing and prone to issue decrees unilaterally without even a nod in their direction. But the real problem for Bremer is that everything he does is with only one eye on Iraq and the other on the US presidential election next year. The US rush to war earlier this year is explained by the desire in Washington to get a famous victory under its belt well before the election. It has not worked. The obvious way out for the US is to internationalize responsibility for Iraq and at the same time turn over more power to Iraqis. But so far this has remained at the level of slogans. The bomb which destroyed the UN headquarters in the Canal Hotel means that the number of UN staff is being reduced by the day. Salvadoran troops are here with a member of the US Special Forces covertly giving orders in the background, but the South Koreans have touchingly requested that their soldiers be posted to "a safe place" in Iraq while the arrival of the Turks would infuriate the Kurds. The Governing Council is an unelected body selected by the US. It cannot have real credibility until the parties which belong to it face an election. Bremer wants a constitution drawn up which he says can be done in six months. It would certainly take longer and this is probably an attempt to delay the political process until President Bush has won re-election. In any case a constitution drawn up by an unelected body would not carry much weight with Iraqis. But if there are elections then they would almost certainly be won by the Shiite parties because the Shiites, long marginalized by Saddam Hussein, are the majority of the population. They think their day has come. If they suspect that the US is going to deny them power then they can make it impossible for the US to rule Iraq within days. Despite these difficulties facing the Americans, the key point in Iraq is to have elections just as quickly as possible. Until this happens the US is in the position of promising democracy but in practice running an old-fashioned colonial regime. The only real way out for the Americans is to let the Iraqis decide the fate of their country, which is what the US claimed it was doing in the first place. http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/w-me/2003/oct/09/100909640.html * Iraqi Women Struggling to Win Back Status by KATARINA KRATOVAC Las Vegas Sun, 9th October BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Ibtisam Majeed never held a job in her life, but the 42-year-old wife and mother of four lined up outside a government office this week to attend a forum entitled "Iraqi Women in Business" - an effort to encourage women to set up small businesses in their communities. "My husband and I talked," Majeed said, wrapping a black scarf tightly around her head. "He is without work, so he encouraged me to come here." Majeed and the two dozen other women who attended the conference came away without any jobs, but the U.S.-run coalition hopes the forum was a start in efforts to empower a segment of society that steadily lost status during the rule of ousted leader Saddam Hussein. "I want women here to know they can own their own Internet cafes, restaurants or sewing shops," said Spc. Varetta Barnes of the 354th Civil Affairs Brigade. Barnes, who is from Boston, said the U.S.-led coalition plans to open workshops to teach women to create business plans. Bankers will give lectures about how to obtain small loans, how to deal with banks and how to bid for contracts. "The funds are still very hush-hush," Barnes said. "But once the women see we are delivering, they'll trust us, their mindsets will change." Women in Iraq are only starting to struggle for equal rights, according to Ala Talabani, a Kurdish women's activist from the north. "We are asking for basic things, equal salaries and equal opportunities." "The Baathist regime made women redundant, they brainwashed us," Talabani said at a separate U.S.-funded women's conference held Tuesday in Hillah, 40 miles south of Baghdad. At the Hillah conference, about 200 women from five southern cities agreed to a set of goals to improve the economic status of women. They included pressing for women to comprise at least 35 percent of the delegates at a conference to draft a new Iraqi constitution and at least 30 percent of the members of a future Iraqi parliament. But that vision is a distant dream for many Iraqi women. During the 1970s and early 1980s, Iraqi women enjoyed a status that was the envy of other women in the Arab world. Women worked in the professions and held responsible posts in the government. All that changed around the time of the first Gulf War. In a bid to shore up support from Iraq's influential tribal leaders, Saddam Hussein in 1990 introduced Article 111 into the Iraqi penal code. Among other things, the law exempted men from prosecution if they killed female relatives who had dishonored the family, usually through sexual activity. After a U.S.-led coalition drove Iraqi forces from Kuwait in 1991, Saddam introduced his "faith campaign," a series of overtures to the conservative religious establishment whose support he desperately needed. Iraqi women say the result of those measures was a steady erosion in their rights. With Saddam now gone, many women hoped things would improve. But the continued instability has served to increase the concerns of women who fear for their personal safety. The slow revival of the Iraqi economy has impacted heavily on segments of the society who lacked economic power to begin with. "We got rid of Saddam, but little else has changed," said Alla Aysaa, engineering student at Baghdad's College for Women. "I still don't feel free and I'm afraid to go out." Sameer Khader, a computer science professor at Baghdad University, wonders whether any of his 100 female students will be able to find jobs. "It is hard nowadays for men to find any job, so how can women compete?" Leyla Mohammed of the Iraqi Women Freedom group believes efforts to improve the status of women will fall short until order is restored. "The Americans are in denial," she said. "They are ignoring the most pressing issues such as kidnappings, honor killings, security concerns." Mohammed's group receives reports of up to two honor killings a week. Her recently opened shelter for victims of domestic violence at a secret location in Baghdad received its first two battered women Sunday. "To get to equality, we must first have security, and separate the state from religion," Mohammed said. Few women can be seen in public places, those who go out to work or college are often bused by drivers, trusted by their families. In daytime, men of all ages jam among pavement stalls in Baghdad's busy book market Al-Mutanabi street. Dozens of intellectuals crowd the corner Al-Chabandar tearoom, with no female in sight. "I feel invisible," said Noor Jamal, 23, a minority Sunni Muslim student. With the collapse of the former regime, women's groups have begun to take shape with the goal of helping women break free of traditional restrictions of a male-dominated society. Nevertheless, Jamal and other female students are weary. "There are so many groups, how do we know if they will stick to their goals," said Hadel Saad, 24, a fourth-year biochemistry student. From a devout Shiite background, Saad said she has few options but to stay at home after she graduates. "The only thing a woman can be in Iraq is a teacher, any other job brings shame," she said. Such traditions are hard to change. A Baghdad policeman, Adel Mahdi, 25, showed off his 2-year old daughter Noor's photo. "All I want most is for her to grow up, get married and give me grandsons," Mahdi said. INCIDENTS http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20031010/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ir aq&cid=540&ncid=1480 * 2 GIs Killed After Deadly Baghdad Bombing by HAMZA HENDAWI, Associated Press Writer Yahoo, 10th October [Series of incidents on Thursday 9th October including suicide bomb in Sadr City and the killing of the Spanish military attache. Reference to another US soldier killed and general state of tension] BAGHDAD, Iraq - Two U.S. soldiers were killed and four wounded in an ambush just hours after a fatal car bombing that killed 10 people — including the driver — in the same Baghdad neighborhood, the U.S. military said Friday. The troops from the 1st Armored Division were on a routine patrol when the ambush occurred about 8 p.m. Thursday, the military said. No further details were released. Earlier Thursday, a bomber crashed a white Oldsmobile loaded with explosives into a police station in the Sadr City neighborhood, killing himself and nine other people and wounding as many as 45. Sadr City is the largest Shiite Muslim enclave in the Iraqi capital. Also Thursday, gunmen — one dressed as a Muslim cleric — shot and killed a Spanish military attache. The violence, six months to the day after Baghdad fell to American forces, underscored the predicament of a capital whose deliverance from Saddam Hussein's tyranny has been repeatedly undermined by terrorism, attacks on U.S. forces and sectarian unrest. The ancient city's landscape is now lined with massive concrete blast barriers and coils of barbed wire outside hotels, government departments and along stretches of road near U.S. military bases. There was no claim of responsibility for the car bombing in Sadr City, a Baghdad district with an estimated 2 million Shiites. "It was a huge blast and everything became dark from the debris and sand. I was thrown to the ground," said Mohammed Adnan, who sells watermelons opposite the police station. Vegetable seller Fakhriya Jarallah said two of her sons were repairing the outside wall of the compound. "I ran across the road like a madwoman to find out what happened to my sons. But thanks to God they are both safe," she said. Policemen and some in the crowd that gathered outside the police station after the explosion offered an assortment of possible culprits ranging from non-Iraqi Arab militants to Saddam loyalists and Shiite radicals angry about a cleric's arrest. The killing of the Spanish military attache happened across town in the upscale Mansour area about 30 minutes before the car bombing. Jose Antonio Bernal Gomez, an air force sergeant attached to Spain's National Intelligence Center, was shot to death after four men, one dressed as a Muslim cleric, knocked on the door of his home, according to a Spanish diplomat in Baghdad who spoke on condition of anonymity. A guard in the area, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said Gomez opened the door to the gunmen. When they tried to grab him, he ran outside and was shot. The guard said he heard six shots and Gomez was hit in the head at least once. American, Iraqi and Spanish authorities were investigating the attack, U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said. Commenting on Thursday's violence, L. Paul Bremer, the top U.S. official in Iraq, emphasized his government's commitment to fighting terrorism, branding the perpetrators of attacks in Iraq as individuals who have shown "wanton disregard" for the lives of innocent people. In other developments Thursday: — Iraq's national electricity network — crippled by war, looting and sabotage — has surpassed the production levels of the prewar period for the first time in six months, Bremer reported. — U.S. troops arrested an Iraqi resistance leader believed to be responsible for scores of deadly attacks against American forces around Saddam's hometown of Tikrit. They also uncovered a factory where deadly roadside bombs were being built. — A 4th Infantry Division soldier was killed in a rocket-propelled grenade attack on a U.S. convoy northeast of Baghdad, the military said. — U.S. soldiers conducted a raid Sunday near the Syrian border and detained 112 suspects, including a high-ranking official in the former Republican Guard, the miltary announced Thursday. — Bremer said Thursday he welcomed the White House's decision for a new coordinating committee for Iraq. Bremer reports to the Defense Department, but it was disclosed earlier this week the White House had set up an oversight committee for Iraq operations. In Sadr City, some 50 policemen had gathered in the police station's courtyard to collect their pay when the white Oldsmobile sped up. Two policemen on guard duty at the gate opened fire, but the car, with driver and passenger, crashed into a parked vehicle and exploded. "I ran and got hit in the leg. When I looked back, all I could see was fire," officer Khalid Sattar Jabar said from his hospital bed. He said he got a look at the driver: a man with a beard and a thick head of hair. Mangled police cars were scattered around the bomb site, and debris filled the large courtyard in front of the one-story police building. The blast left a crater about 10 feet across and 4 feet deep, said a U.S. Army officer at the scene. Three policemen and five civilians were killed, said Capt. Sean Kirley of the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment. In addition, the two people in the car died, said Iraqi police Capt. Bassem Sami. Hospitals reported treating 45 wounded. The blast attracted a crowd of up to about 2,000 people. The crowd became angry when scores of American soldiers in Humvees arrived and put a security ring around the area. There was panic later when two men ran in shouting that another car bomb was about to go off; it was a false alarm. Still later, the crowd became agitated when a rumor spread that American soldiers were surrounding the nearby office of Muqtada al-Sadr, a Shiite cleric who opposes the U.S. occupation. He was not at the office, and his Baghdad representative, Sheik Qais al Khaza'ali, said soldiers had wanted to search the office but left without doing so. Hundreds of al-Sadr supporters, armed with assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades, guarded the office in the afternoon, sealing off streets leading to it and taking positions on rooftops. The mainly Shiite area was known as Saddam City until Saddam's ouster, when it was renamed for al-Sadr's father, a Shiite cleric killed in 1999 by suspected security agents. The area has been tense for days, with supporters of the younger al-Sadr demanding that the U.S.-appointed local council be replaced by one they say was democratically elected in polls they organized. An Iraqi policeman who pushed through the crowd was stabbed in the arm after being set upon by the mob, which chanted "No, no to America!" He was treated by U.S. military medics at the scene. The crowd also attacked Associated Press Television News camera crews and stole some equipment. One crew member was slightly injured. Scores of other journalists, including Iraqis, were jostled by the crowd. Opinions differed about who might have been behind the bombing. Saad Drawal al-Dharaji, a wounded police sergeant, said an imam had threatened to take action against the police station unless it turned over some policemen for "punishment" for having served under Saddam. "We will have our revenge for this," al-Dharaji said. He didn't know the name of the cleric. Wounded officer Jabar said another possible motive for the attack was the detention of Shiite cleric Moayed al-Khazraji, who was arrested by American forces Monday. The cleric's supporters rallied at the police station Wednesday to demand his release, but dispersed peacefully. Iraqi police said the cleric is not in their custody. http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/story.jsp?story=452375 * US soldiers bulldoze farmers' crops by Patrick Cockburn in Dhuluaya The Independent, 12th October ['as part of a new policy of collective punishment of farmers who do not give information about guerrillas attacking US troops'. Patrick Cockburn's article in The Independent. See the Comment in River's Corner.] US soldiers driving bulldozers, with jazz blaring from loudspeakers, have uprooted ancient groves of date palms as well as orange and lemon trees in central Iraq as part of a new policy of collective punishment of farmers who do not give information about guerrillas attacking US troops. The stumps of palm trees, some 70 years old, protrude from the brown earth scoured by the bulldozers beside the road at Dhuluaya, a small town 50 miles north of Baghdad. Local women were yesterday busily bundling together the branches of the uprooted orange and lemon trees and carrying then back to their homes for firewood. Nusayef Jassim, one of 32 farmers who saw their fruit trees destroyed, said: "They told us that the resistance fighters hide in our farms, but this is not true. They didn't capture anything. They didn't find any weapons." Other farmers said that US troops had told them, over a loudspeaker in Arabic, that the fruit groves were being bulldozed to punish the farmers for not informing on the resistance which is very active in this Sunni Muslim district. "They made a sort of joke against us by playing jazz music while they were cutting down the trees," said one man. Ambushes of US troops have taken place around Dhuluaya. But Sheikh Hussein Ali Saleh al-Jabouri, a member of a delegation that went to the nearby US base to ask for compensation for the loss of the fruit trees, said American officers described what had happened as "a punishment of local people because 'you know who is in the resistance and do not tell us'." What the Israelis had done by way of collective punishment of Palestinians was now happening in Iraq, Sheikh Hussein added. The destruction of the fruit trees took place in the second half of last month but, like much which happens in rural Iraq, word of what occurred has only slowly filtered out. The destruction of crops took place along a kilometre-long stretch of road just after it passes over a bridge. Farmers say that 50 families lost their livelihoods, but a petition addressed to the coalition forces in Dhuluaya pleading in erratic English for compensation, lists only 32 people. The petition says: "Tens of poor families depend completely on earning their life on these orchards and now they became very poor and have nothing and waiting for hunger and death." The children of one woman who owned some fruit trees lay down in front of a bulldozer but were dragged away, according to eyewitnesses who did not want to give their names. They said that one American soldier broke down and cried during the operation. When a reporter from the newspaper Iraq Today attempted to take a photograph of the bulldozers at work a soldier grabbed his camera and tried to smash it. The same paper quotes Lt Col Springman, a US commander in the region, as saying: "We asked the farmers several times to stop the attacks, or to tell us who was responsible, but the farmers didn't tell us." Informing US troops about the identity of their attackers would be extremely dangerous in Iraqi villages, where most people are related and everyone knows each other. The farmers who lost their fruit trees all belong to the Khazraji tribe and are unlikely to give information about fellow tribesmen if they are, in fact, attacking US troops. Asked how much his lost orchard was worth, Nusayef Jassim said in a distraught voice: "It is as if someone cut off my hands and you asked me how much my hands were worth." http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20031013/ap— on— re— mi— ea/iraq&cid=540&ncid=1480 * Suicide Car Bomb Kills Eight in Baghdad by CHARLES J. HANLEY, AP Special Correspondent [Sunday 12th October] BAGHDAD, Iraq - At least one suicide car bomb exploded Sunday on a busy commercial street the heart of Baghdad after guards prevented it from reaching a hotel full of Americans, U.S. military and Iraqi officials said. Eight people died in the blast, including at least one suicide attacker. The Pentagon said gunfire from Iraqi guards and U.S. personnel aborted the plan to hit the Baghdad Hotel, home to officials of the U.S.-led occupation authority here and reportedly some members of Iraq's interim Governing Council. Military spokesman Lt. Col. George Krivo. said it was still unclear if there were two suicide car bombs or if one blast triggered an explosion in the fuel tank of a second car. At least one guard was reported among the dead; the two occupants of two cars also were presumed killed. One member of the 25-seat Governing Council, Mouwafak al-Rabii, told Al-Jazeera satellite television he suffered a slight hand injury. It was the seventh fatal vehicle bombing in Iraq since early August, attacks that have taken more than 140 lives. All have targeted institutions perceived as cooperating with the U.S. occupation of Iraq, and none has been reported solved. The lunchtime attack sent terror-stricken Iraqis fleeing up Saadoun Avenue, over broken window glass from banks, restaurants and shops and past the bloodied bodies of injured. American helicopters and combat vehicles converged on the chaotic scene as black smoke from burning cars billowed over the central city. The six victims and 32 injured reported at al-Kindi Hospital — four in critical condition — were all Iraqis, authorities said. The U.S. military said three Americans were slightly injured. "We will work with the Iraqi police to find those responsible and bring them to justice," Iraq's U.S. civilian administrator, L. Paul Bremer, said after Sunday's bombing. But along Saadoun Avenue, feelings ran high against the Americans and their inability to stop the bombings. "Hey! Hey! This regime's a failure!" a group chanted in Arabic at a group of U.S. soldiers as the fires raged. [.....] The heavily guarded Baghdad Hotel sits at the foot of a short side street running from Saadoun Avenue. A tall wall of concrete slabs guards the intersection where the street meets the avenue. Bremer's Coalition Provisional Authority said some of its staff and contractors reside in the hotel, and for weeks it was rumored to be home to CIA staff, although the U.S. intelligence agency denied Sunday it was their headquarters. Witnesses said two cars sped toward the intersection, one going up the wrong lane on Saadoun, a two-way road, and suddenly veered behind the barrier to head toward the hotel. Sabah Ghulam, 37, said one of the cars came at him as he rode in an automobile past the barrier. "The car was in front of us, a 1990 Toyota Corolla," he said. "He suddenly turned in toward the hotel. ... A policeman shot at him four times, and then there was the explosion." In Washington, Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Col. Cynthia Scott-Johnson said both vehicles were fired on by Iraqi guards and by Americans. "Both vehicles then detonated, wounded three U.S. personnel slightly," she said. She didn't specify whether the U.S. personnel were military or civilian; at least one civilian gunman who looked American was seen at the scene. Lt. Col. George Krivo, a military spokesman in Baghdad, said two cars came at a high speed toward the checkpoints but it was unclear if both contained explosives. Ghulam described the one driver as light-skinned, clean-shaven and wearing a hat. He didn't look like an Iraqi, he said. Ghulam's vehicle, passing the 15-foot-tall barriers when the cars exploded on the other side, suffered only shattered windows. The U.S. Army's Col. Peter Mansoor, of the 1st Armored Division, said of the barriers, "They prevented a greater loss of life. So the security worked." The force of the 12:45 p.m. blasts blew down a half-dozen sections of the concrete wall, shattered brick walls up to the third floor above the site, and blew out windows up to three blocks away. "Our office is on the fourth floor. The windows blew in. Some of the girls fainted," said a dust-smudged Salima Saddam, 33, as she was evacuated. The first of the injured were rushed away in police cars. Mansoor said no one was seriously injured at the hotel. Saad Hamid, 41, owner of a shop near the scene, said police had caught a would-be car bomber at the same spot six weeks ago before he could detonate his explosives. Authorities then erected the blast wall at the end of the street. http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=574&ncid=721&e=1&u=/nm/20031 013/wl_nm/iraq_dc * Three U.S. Soldiers Killed by Irwin Arieff and Rosalind Russell Yahoo (from Reuters), 13th October [Monday, 13th October, in three separate incidents. bringing the total acknowledged US combat toll since 1st May to 97] [.....] In the north, one U.S. soldier was killed at the oil refining town of Baiji, while a second died in a grenade attack in the Tikrit area. A third soldier died in an ambush northeast of Baghdad. Their deaths brought to 97 the number of U.S. soldiers killed by hostile fire since President Bush (news - web sites) declared major combat over on May 1. [.....] INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY * UN IRAQ-KUWAIT OBSERVER MISSION CLOSES RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT, Vol. 6, No. 42, 9 October 2003 [Having spectacularly failed in its mission to '"deter violations and report on hostile action along the border" between the two countries'] The UN Iraq-Kuwait Observer Mission (UNIKOM) was phased out on 6 October after 12 years in operation, the UN News Center reported the same day (http://www.un.org/news). UNIKOM was established following the 1991 Gulf War to "deter violations and report on hostile action along the border" between the two countries. The mission suspended most of its activities on the eve of Operation Iraqi Freedom (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 17 and 18 March 2003) and the UN Security Council voted unanimously in July to phase out the mission by October. (Kathleen Ridolfo) * SPANISH, EU OFFICIALS SAY DONORS CONFERENCE STILL ON RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT, Vol. 6, No. 42, 9 October 2003 Spanish and European Union officials said that the international donors conference for Iraq, scheduled for 23-24 October in Madrid, will go on as scheduled, despite apparent calls for a delay from German and Russian officials. A German government source accompanying German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder on an official visit to Russia on 8 October told Reuters that Germany would not mind "if this donors conference could take place at a somewhat later date." The source added that the German government was unsure about how much it could financially contribute to Iraq because he claimed there was no real estimate of the costs of rebuilding. A recent World Bank/UN study has set the rebuilding cost at around $36 billion for 2004-07 (see above). The source also told the news agency that Germany was unsure that U.S. expectations for the conference could be met. Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on 9 October that he would prefer that a UN Security Council resolution be adopted ahead of the donors conference. "We would very much like to have such a resolution agreed on at the UN Security Council before that conference, whose date we are unable to change," Putin told a press conference in Yekaterinburg. "Back in New York I said Russia would attend the donor countries' conference, most probably in the capacity of observer," he added. The European Commission said on 9 October in Brussels that the conference would be held according to schedule. "As far as we're concerned, the dates are unchanged," Reuters quoted EU external affairs spokeswoman Emma Udwin as telling reporters. "We can't wait for a perfect peace in Iraq to decide what we'd like to do to help the people of Iraq," she added. A spokesman for Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar also confirmed that there has been no change in schedule saying, "We don't have any news [of postponement] and are going ahead as planned," Reuters reported. (Kathleen Ridolfo) http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,1062408,00.html * US offers compromise in UN vote on Iraq by Ewen MacAskill and Ian Black in Luxembourg The Guardian, 14th October [Details of proposed new US resolution. The text of the draft, with comments (more interesting than are to be found here), was posted by Daniel on 14th October] The US is to try to break the United Nations deadlock over Iraq by tabling in the next 24 hours a revised draft resolution that it hopes will bring Russia aboard. The fresh version of the security council resolution sets a December 15 deadline for the Iraqi governing council to produce a timetable for the transfer of power to Iraqis. The new draft, co-sponsored by Britain and Spain, America's closest allies in the war against Iraq, will go some way towards meeting the demands of Russia and France, which have been pressing for a speedy move to democracy. The timetable should include target dates for the publication of a new Iraq constitution, elections and a handover of power. A western diplomat said the elections could be held as early as next spring. The US ambassador, John Negroponte, said the US will seek a vote on the revised draft this week. The US, which showed the draft to security council members at the weekend and yesterday morning, claimed to be confident of having in the bag the necessary majority of nine of the 15-member council. The security council source said that while Russia is expected to support the draft resolution, it will probably not be enough to bring round France, which is expected to abstain but, crucially, not exercise its veto. "Russia has been more accommodating, with the French further out and harder to reel in," the source said. The US needs the resolution in order to obtain UN legitimacy for its occupation of Iraq ahead of an international conference in Madrid next week to secure donations for Iraq reconstruction. So far, the response of most countries, including most of the EU, has been poor. The US also hopes a UN stamp of approval will help to persuade other countries to send troops to Iraq. As well as Russia, the new draft aims to meet criticism expressed last week by the UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, over the slowness with which power is being transferred. According to the new draft, the Iraq governing council must submit to the security council "a timetable and a programme for the drafting of a new constitution for Iraq and for the holding of democratic elections under the constitution" by December 15. There is a further olive branch for opponents by the inclusion of a reference to sovereignty. The draft now "resolves that the governing council and its ministers are the principal bodies of the Iraq interim administration which will embody the sovereignty during the transitional period". At an EU foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg yesterday, Britain's European partners opted to wait to see the shape of the resolution before committing themselves on donations. The foreign secretary, Jack Straw, called on colleagues to match Britain's pledge of €375m (£265.5m) over two years. "We would encourage others to be as generous as they are able within the limits of their own spending plans," the foreign secretary said. "It is now important for the international community to send a clear signal of its willingness to help Iraqis build on the progress already made." Britain had hoped that talk of a resolution would be enough to trigger European largesse. But no other member state announced a contribution, while several signalled there would be no pledge on top of a modest €200 in EU funds confirmed yesterday. In Baghdad, the stalemate over the planned arrival of Turkish troops in the country continued. The Iraqi governing council reiterated its opposition to Turkish troops, traditional enemies of the Kurds, on its soil. The Turkish military did little to help by stating it would respond in kind to any attacks on its forces by Kurds. _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk