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[casi] News, 8-14/10/03 (1)

News, 8-14/10/03 (1)


*  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
*  US resists Iraqi proposal to merge party militias
*  UK 'failing' to police Basra
*  Tough questions that need asking on Iraq


*  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


*  US Must Relinquish Power in Iraq
*  Iraqi Women Struggling to Win Back Status


*  2 GIs Killed After Deadly Baghdad Bombing
*  US soldiers bulldoze farmers' crops
*  Suicide Car Bomb Kills Eight in Baghdad
*  Three U.S. Soldiers Killed


*  UN Iraq-Kuwait observer mission closes
*  Spanish, EU officials say donors conference still on
*  US offers compromise in UN vote on Iraq


*  Baghdad's courts 'up and running' again
Houston Chronicle, 8th October
[Mainly, it seems, because they just decided to continue where Saddam left

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.,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

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

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.


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."

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)

*  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,

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.

*  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."

*  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

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."


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)

*  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

"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

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

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

"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.

*  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

"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

"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".


*  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

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

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.

*  Iraqi Women Struggling to Win Back Status
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.


*  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.

*  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

"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."— on— re— mi—

*  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

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

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

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

*  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.



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

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)

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

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),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

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

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.

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