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News, 14-22/10/03 (1) ADMINISTRATION * Another Challenge in Iraq: Giving Up Food Rations * Drugs crisis threatens to break fragile health service * Al-Basrah Airport opening delayed again CONQUERORS * UK Contractors in Iraq Accused of Importing Labor and Exporting Profit * Senate Defies Bush On Iraq Assistance * No let-up in violence in Iraq * The Enron Pentagon SECURITY * Senior Terrorist Figure Captured in Iraq * Car explodes near us base in Kirkuk: four Jordanians shot dead * Suicide car bomber attacks Turkish embassy in Baghdad * Iraqi oil minister, INC aide escape assassination attempt * Two troops die in Iraqi ambush on US convoy * U.S. soldier killed in Iraq ambush ADMINISTRATION http://www.occupationwatch.org/article.php?id=1331 * ANOTHER CHALLENGE IN IRAQ: GIVING UP FOOD RATIONS by John Tierney, New York Times, 12th October BAGHDAD, Iraq: The overhaul of welfare in America may seem complicated, but it has been simple compared with the challenge in Iraq. In the United States, the people who relied on public assistance were defined as the underclass. In Iraq, they're the entire nation. To Saddam Hussein, a culture of dependency was not a social problem but a political plus. Father Saddam, as he liked to be called, provided citizens with subsidized homes, cheap energy and, most important, free food. After international sanctions were imposed on Iraq in 1990, he started a program that now uses 300 government warehouses and more than 60,000 workers to deliver a billion pounds of groceries every month" a basket of rations guaranteed to every citizen, rich or poor. American and Iraqi authorities are now struggling to get out of the grocery-delivery business without letting anyone go hungry. They're trying to find a politically practical way of replacing the rations with cash payments or some version of food stamps. Planners would ultimately like to see the aid given only to the needy, but for starters they would simply like to get all Iraqis accustomed to shopping for themselves. "We need to replace the food program and attack the dependency culture created by Saddam Hussein," said Barham Salih, the prime minister of a Kurdish section of northern Iraq, which also receives the rations. "This culture has become one of the biggest obstacles to rebuilding Iraq. Everybody expects the U.S. to turn on its supercomputer and make all of our problems go away, but we should be learning to do things by ourselves." You can get a sense of the challenge facing reformers by visiting Zayuna, one of Baghdad's most affluent neighborhoods. While many Iraqis "60 percent of the population, by some estimates" depend heavily on the food rations, the residents of Zayuna generally do not. In fact, many of them disdain the items in the basket, which includes rice, flour, beans, sugar, oil, salt, powdered milk, tea, soap and laundry detergent. But most residents still make sure to collect "or have their servants collect" their monthly rations from the program's agent operating in their neighborhood. Then they take the items they don't want and drive to a roadside kiosk at the nearby Thulatha market, where vendors are legally allowed to buy the rationed groceries and resell them to less picky consumers. After the citizens sell their government-issued groceries, they either pocket the cash or apply the proceeds toward the purchase of better products available at the market, like olive oil to replace the cheaper soy oil. To an outsider watching people make these exchanges, it might seem odd for people in Mercedeses and BMW's to be profiting from government food aid, especially since the original justification for the aid has vanished. The program began as an emergency response to United Nations trade sanctions, and was later supplemented with provisions from the separate oil-for-food program of the United Nations. Even though the sanctions have ended, the program is still considered indispensable. "It would be a disaster if the program ended," said Haidar Hassan, one of the vendors at the market, and he was not merely speaking of his own business as a middleman. "If the government did not give out all this rice, there would be a shortage of rice in the market." He predicted the price of a kilogram (about two pounds) would quadruple from its current price of 10 cents. His clientele was similarly alarmed. "My economic situation is good, but even I could not afford the new higher prices if they stopped the program," said Thaeir Ezadden, a police captain whose salary had recently more than quintupled, to $150 per month, thanks to the new pay scales instituted by American authorities. Mr. Ezadden said he might be willing to go along with one change currently being considered "giving everyone cash payments instead of rations "but only if it was accompanied by more central planning. "If they gave out money instead of food," he said, "the Americans would have to establish an office in the Ministry of Trade to control all the food prices. Otherwise businessmen would import food and make a profit with high prices. The Americans should also give jobs to everyone who needs one." Economists, while acknowledging the need for protecting consumers during the transition, say that a market economy would provide food much more cheaply and efficiently than the current government-run system. But the American and Iraqi officials in charge of the program know that economists' arguments are not going to assuage the fears of citizens who have forgotten how the market works. "We want to phase out the rations program, but we must take into account the concerns of our most vulnerable citizens," said Fakhrldin Rashan, the acting officer in charge of the Ministry of Trade. "The transition to a different system of payments must be done slowly." Planners are considering gradually replacing some groceries with cash welfare payments or some version of food stamps that could be redeemed at local markets. Besides giving shoppers more choices, the change would also help Iraqi merchants and farmers, because consumers would presumably buy more local fruits and vegetables instead of relying on the many imported foods in their rations. Mr. Rashan said no major changes in the program would take place before next year, although one small part of it will be privatized soon. The drivers who now deliver the food to government warehouses will essentially be given their trucks and then paid as independent contractors instead of as government employees. But that still leaves close to 20,000 other government employees in the food program, plus another 45,000 distributors who dole out the food at neighborhood storefronts. Any change in the program is sure to bring protests from the affected workers as well as from citizens accustomed to having their shopping done for them. "People expected the Americans to come in and create a better rations system," said Robin Raphel, a State Department official who has advised Iraq's Trade Ministry. "But we can never make the system work as well as it did when the whole country was a command-and control system run from the center, and even then it was profoundly inefficient. We want to introduce market forces and get people used to making their own decisions." After Iraqis adjust to shopping for themselves with food stamps or welfare payments, planners would like to wean the more affluent citizens from any kind of aid. But no one expects American or Iraqi officials to take that step anytime soon. "We have to be very careful with our food program," said Mr. Rashan, of the Trade Ministry. "We already have enough social and political problems in this country. We don't want to create any more." Mr. Rashan, incidentally, said that he himself has not been picking up rations for the past several months, but not out of any ideological qualms. "I've been so busy with the new responsibilities here that I haven't had time to pick up the basket," he said. "But I hope I'll find the time next month." http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,1063071,00.html * DRUGS CRISIS THREATENS TO BREAK FRAGILE HEALTH SERVICE by Rory McCarthy in Baghdad The Guardian, 15th October Hadir Diya is back in a grimy bed at Baghdad's al-Kadhimiya teaching hospital for another bout of treatment for leukaemia. Her mother sits by her side and smiles, grateful that after three years, her daughter's disease is in remission. Dr Wasim al-Tamimi is much more worried. He has seen cases like this too many times before. Hadir, 18, is having chemotherapy but for years the doctors have had no supplies of a drug she vitally needs - Mercaptopurine - which is commonly used across the world to suppress the symptoms of this acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. Without it, the leukaemia is likely to reappear and will probably one day claim Hadir's life. "She has been on an incomplete drug regime ever since she was first diagnosed," he said. "Without this drug there is a real danger of relapse. We have seen it happen before. But this drug is just not available." Hadir's mother, Iman, spent 150,000 Iraqi dinars (£55) on 25 tablets of the drug that will last her daughter little more than a week. "It is very expensive and it's getting harder and harder to find," she said. Under the UN sanctions imposed on Iraq throughout the 1990s, the delivery of many of these life-saving drugs were delayed or refused entry into Iraq. Six months after the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime, the drug shortage is as serious as ever. It has fast become the biggest crisis facing Iraq's fragile health service and a severe test of America's bold promises for post-war Iraq. Last week Dr al-Tamimi watched another of his leukaemia patients die. The woman, aged 32, had suffered from acute myeloid leukaemia for three years. Dr al-Tamimi wanted to treat her with another drug commonly used in the west called Atra, or All-trans-retinoic acid, which forces leukaemia cells to rapidly mature and die, forcing the disease into remission. This drug has not been available in Iraq for years and even now cannot be bought in pharmacies. Twice in the past the woman's parents travelled across the border into Jordan to buy a supply of Atra. Twice she went into remission. Two months ago she was brought into the al Kadhimiya again to be treated for a third relapse. Again her parents travelled to Jordan to buy the drug, but when they returned last week they were too late. "On the day the drug arrived we lost her," said Dr al-Tamimi. "She died simply because the drug is not available in Iraq. We come across these cases all the time." Only wealthier families can even think of travelling to Jordan to shop for life-saving drugs such as Atra. A three-month course costs a crippling 42m Iraqi dinars (£15,000). "Sometimes the families ask if there is a drug abroad that can help," the doctor said. "If they are poor we don't even tell them. We don't want them to feel they have failed to do something to help their relative. This has become something we are used to." While the US has spent millions of dollars repairing Iraq's oil fields, hunting for weapons of mass destruction and catering for the 150,000 troops deployed in Iraq, the country's ailing health service is struggling to stay afloat. Aid workers say the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in Baghdad, has failed to realise the scale of the crisis and many fear the entire health sector is simply being lined up for privatisation. "It is completely unclear what is going on," said Thomas Dehermann, the head of mission for Médecins Sans Frontières in Baghdad. "Because they are not coping they don't want us to know." For now, hospitals are reliant on old stocks, many of them looted after the war, and on vital drug shipments from the World Health Organisation. WHO is delivering $130m worth of medicines paid for by Saddam's government under the oil for food programme along with an extra $18m worth bought by WHO itself. Every other day 15 truckloads of medicines are brought into Baghdad but the deliveries will cease in late November when the oil for food programme ends. Saddam's reign left Iraq the legacy of a highly centralised, bureaucratic and frequently corrupt health system. A state firm, Kimadia, is responsible for buying in all medicines for government hospitals and all private pharmacies. But the Guardian has learned that in the six months since the war, Kimadia has only secured two drug deliveries, neither of which are for much-needed lifesaving drugs. One delivery was for 50,000 rabies vaccines and the second was for 2m chlorine tablets, for water purification. Taha Omran, Kimadia's deputy director, blames the drug shortage on bureaucracy and a lack of funding from the CPA. "Here in Iraq we don't have the communications we need to buy the best quality drugs from abroad and the ministry of health only restarted three or four weeks ago," he said. The CPA has given the ministry a $210m budget until the end of this year, of which $125m can be spent on importing drugs and medical equipment. "It is just not enough to face our urgent needs," Dr Omran said. Under Saddam, Kimadia relied on heavy subsidies to buy its drugs. Now it must pay the much higher market price. The CPA has also told him that in the coming months the supply of drugs in Iraq will be part privatised. Even the most basic work at Kimadia, including an inventory of existing drug stocks, has yet to happen, said Mr Dehermann. He said: "They need to do an inventory and they need to find out how they are going to support Kimadia once the oil for food pipeline stops." US officials working on Iraq's health sector say today's problems are a result of three decades of mismanagement and corruption under Saddam Hussein. James Haveman, the senior American adviser at the health ministry, said limited budgets were also to blame and that until next year Iraq would have to rely on the WHO drugs now being delivered. "I only have enough money in my budget to buy ahead for next year," he said. "And we know there is not enough money in the budget to meet the equipment needs. Does it pain me when I go through these hospitals? It surely does. Can we do something better for them? Yes, we can." [.....] * AL-BASRAH AIRPORT OPENING DELAYED AGAIN RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT, Vol. 6, No. 43, 16 October 2003 The reopening of the Al-Basrah Airport has been postponed indefinitely, Voice of the Mujahedin Radio quoted British Army spokesman Hisham Halawi as saying on 9 October. The delay is due to continued instability in the area and inadequate infrastructure at the airport. (Kathleen Ridolfo) CONQUERORS NO URL * UK CONTRACTORS IN IRAQ ACCUSED OF IMPORTING LABOR AND EXPORTING PROFIT by Nicolas Pelham Financial Times, 14th October US sub-contractors are importing cheap migrant labor from south Asia to Iraq, despite high local unemployment and complaints from Iraqi contractors that they are being overlooked by the US-led administration in Baghdad. US officials in the Iraqi capital say that six months into their occupation of Iraq, security conditions have forced companies to turn to south Asian lab our to implement contracts, from prison-building to catering for US troops. Recent weeks have seen unrest in several major cities, including the capital Baghdad, amid rising anger at Iraq's high unemployment rate. "We don't want to overlook Iraqis, but we want to protect ourselves," says Colonel Damon Walsh, head of the Coalition Provisional Authority's procurement office. "From a force protection standpoint, Iraqis are more vulnerable to a bad guy influence." US troops and some companies under contract to the US government nevertheless seem prepared to take the "risk". Iraqis form the bulk of the workforce for reconstructing Iraq's prisons. General Janis Karpinski, who is overseeing the prison program, says she has had "no single security incident" involving Iraqi contractors. "You find other [non-Iraq] nationalities in out-of-the-way corners taking 15 minute naps," she says. "Iraqis see work as a way of getting the country on its feet." Bechtel, which is handling a $680m (&euro577m, £408m) reconstruction program for USAid, has meanwhile held open days for Iraqi contractors and intends to spend $215m of $300m on Iraqi sub contracts. "If the work can be done by an Iraqi firm at a competitive price that's who's going to do it," says Francis Caravan, Bechtel spokesman in Baghdad. But a number of businesses based in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states that have contracts to supply the US army are wary of employing indigenous labor. "Iraqis are a security threat," says a Pakistani manager in Baghdad for the Tamimi Company, based in the Saudi city of Dammam, which is contracted to cater for 60,000 soldiers in Iraq. "We cannot depend on them." The company, which has 12 years' experience feeding US troops in the Gulf, employs 1,800 Pakistanis, Indians, Bangladeshis and Nepalese in its kitchens. It uses only a few dozen Iraqis for cleaning. In the dusty backyard of the US administrators' Baghdad palace, south Asians, housed 12 to a Saudi-made temporary cabin, organize 180,000 meals a day for US troops and administrators. A Tamimi manager says the company pays an average salary of one Saudi riyal ($3) a day and grants leave once every two years. The contracts are awarded by Kellogg Brown and Root (KBR), a subsidiary of Halliburton, which in 2001 won its second Logistics Civil Augmentation Program, or Logcap, contract to sub-contract the supply of US military provisions. The Logcap is open-ended and its Iraqi share is worth "in excess of $2bn", according to officials of the Defense Contract Management Agency in Baghdad. "The US military have never outsourced resources on this scale," says the DCMA's Colonel Damon Walsh. "If it weren't for this service support we would have needed at least 20,000 more troops." KBR officials in Baghdad declined to provide details of their employment policy in Iraq, or the size of their Asian workforce. However, Patrice Mingo, a KBR spokesman in Houston, says: "We buy as much as can locally and if we are unable to buy locally we go the Middle East. We look at Iraqis first, but we don't track our employees by ethnicity." The potential for ill-feeling nevertheless remains. "US contractors are importing labor. and expatriating the benefits," says Hakim Awad, an Iraqi construction manager who queues for contracts outside Baghdad Airport every day. "Where's the benefit accruing to Iraq?" Under a new Iraqi investment law, foreigners can own companies in full and export all the profits. US officials say they encourage firms to employ Iraqis but do not stipulate a minimum percentage for Iraqi employees. The recourse to an Urdu-and Bengali-speaking workforce has historical echoes for Iraqis, who recall the south Asian workers the India Office imported to maintain the British army following their invasion of Iraq during the first world war. Some also fear the replication of labor patterns from Gulf states, whose economies are dependent on Arab and Asian migrants. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A38331-2003Oct16.html * SENATE DEFIES BUSH ON IRAQ ASSISTANCE by Jonathan Weisman Washington Post, 17th October Defying weeks of intense White House lobbying, a narrowly divided Senate voted last night to convert half of President Bush's $20.3 billion Iraq rebuilding plan into a loan that would be forgiven if other donor nations write off the debt incurred by the ousted government of Saddam Hussein. The 51 to 47 vote came an hour after the Republican-controlled House defeated a similar loan amendment, 226 to 200, setting up potentially difficult House-Senate negotiations next week as lawmakers rush to conclude a final spending plan for Iraq before an international donors conference next Thursday in Madrid. The Senate and House are poised to approve today nearly all of the president's $87 billion request for the military and reconstruction efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Senate's version of the spending measure mirrors Bush's, although it contains the $10 billion loan provision. The House's version hews closely to the administration's but shaves $1.7 billion from the reconstruction fund, stripping out such items as the Iraq Zip code implementation, garbage trucks and a one-month business course that has become politically unpalatable to many Republicans. The Senate vote was a rare defeat for Bush in the GOP-led Congress, and it came after his intensive personal involvement. It indicated the depth of misgivings about the request among lawmakers of both parties and the constituents who have flooded them with protest letters and calls. Bush has maintained that a loan would confirm Middle Eastern suspicions of U.S. motives in Iraq, but Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said no amount of money is going to change the minds of those who believe the administration invaded for Iraq's oil. "I don't want to give in to a great lie. You can't buy your way out of this problem," said Graham, one of the five Republican co-authors of the Senate's loan provision. "You can't take $10 billion of taxpayer money, [while] people are losing their jobs, to buy your way out of a great lie. It would be terrible if the people of this country who have sacrificed so much wound up not getting a dime back." Bush had sternly warned Congress yesterday not to convert any part of his rebuilding plan into a loan. "The administration strongly opposes efforts to convert any portion of this assistance to a loan mechanism," the White House said in a statement. "Doing so would slow efforts to stabilize the region and to relieve pressure on our troops, raise questions about our commitment to building a democratic and self-governing Iraq, and impair our ability to encourage other nations to provide badly needed assistance without saddling Iraq with additional unsustainable debt." That argument won the day in the House, although 18 Republicans voted for a Democratic amendment to turn half of the reconstruction aid into a loan. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) used a parliamentary tactic to prevent a GOP loan amendment from reaching a vote, then he appealed to his colleagues' patriotism. "We will pay any price and bear any burden to advance the cause of human liberty," DeLay told lawmakers. "And after the shock and awe of major combat, the price and burden of human hope shifted from the battlefield to the town hall and the town market. And that hope cannot come in the form of a promissory note." "It's our fight," he concluded, "and now it's our job." But in the Senate, eight Republicans -- many of them usually reliable Bush supporters -- abandoned the president. They were Ben Nighthorse Campbell (Colo.), John Ensign (Nev.), Graham, Olympia J. Snowe (Maine), Sam Brownback (Kans.), Saxby Chambliss (Ga.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Susan Collins (Maine). Four Democrats voted against the amendment: Zell Miller (Ga.), Maria Cantwell (Wash.), Daniel K. Inouye (Hawaii) and Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Del.). There is little doubt that Congress will approve the $87 billion request, even if some of it becomes a loan. Democratic leaders are split, with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) saying she will vote against "an $87 billion bailout of a failed Iraq policy," while Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer (Md.) said he will vote for it. "Failure in Iraq is not an option," Hoyer said. "And additional funding is vital to our efforts." The ultimate outcome of the loan debate is far from assured. Rep. Fred Upton (Mich.), a moderate Republican, said the Senate's approach will have strong appeal to House members looking for leverage to force countries to forgive their loans to Iraq. But Rep. Jeff Flake (R Ariz.), an outspoken conservative, said Congress would be ceding authority to donor nations such as France and Germany, which would in effect have the power to decide whether U.S. funds are loans or grants. House conservatives had been the original proponents of the loan approach, and House GOP leaders allowed them to express that support in a debate over a Republican-written loan measure. But House leaders then refused to allow the measure to come to a vote. Conservative Republicans took to the floor to portray Iraq as an oil-rich nation that should be required to repay the U.S. largesse, and to express the frustrations of their constituents. "We're going to borrow this money so that we can give it to Iraq, which will be rich with oil in 10 years?" Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) asked. "That's obscene." But Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz.) said a loan would be impractical and would slow the pace of the reconstruction that is necessary to ensure that U.S. troops can leave a peaceful Iraq. Many of the Republicans who had argued for the GOP loan amendment then voted against the Democratic version. The House also narrowly defeated an amendment by Rep. David R. Obey (D-Wis.) that would have shifted $3.6 billion from the Iraq reconstruction fund to the U.S. military to pay for the medical and dental screening of military reservists, for family assistance centers, for pre-paid phone cards for the troops in Iraq, for the transportation of troops on rest-and relaxation leave, for the construction of more water treatment and power plants for the deployed troops, and for the repair and replacement of damaged equipment. The amendment died, 216 to 209. http://independent-bangladesh.com/news/oct/17/17102003ap.htm#A19 * NO LET-UP IN VIOLENCE IN IRAQ Bangladeshi Independent, 17th October AFP, BAGHDAD, Oct 16: [.....] Earlier, US forces said they engaged on Tuesday a group of people they claim infiltrated from neighboring Syria, killing a few of them and detaining others, as a US helicopter hit by small arms fire was forced to land. The American claim, denied by Damascus, came a few hours before the US House of Representatives voted 398-4 to sanction Syria for its alleged ties to terrorist groups and its purported efforts to obtain nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. [.....] The top US civilian in Iraq, Paul Bremer, has insisted that financial support was key to stability, and urged the US Congress to approve reconstruction funds in the form of a grant rather than a loan. "Imposing unpayable debt burdens on Germany following World War I is now recognized as a major contributing factor to German economic and social collapse in the 1920s -- the collapse which cleared Hitler's rise to power," he said on Wednesday. The US Congress is currently debating a 20 billion-dollar package in reconstruction funds for Iraq. US Commerce Secretary Donald Evans, on a brief visit to Baghdad, said "a major step toward economic security," already was taken with Wednesday's launching of a new, counterfeit-proof currency to replace the over-printed dinar that featured the grinning face of ousted dictator Saddam Hussein. http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2003/10/19/ the_enron_pentagon/ * THE ENRON PENTAGON by P.W. Singer, 10/19/2003 Boston Globe, 19th October THE IRAQ WAR has been a stunning revelation of trends that could shape the next decades of global politics and conflict - from the revolution in military technologies to the challenges presented by stability operations. However, one underexplored current is the extent to which warfare itself is being privatized. Breaking out of the "guns for hire" mold of traditional mercenaries, corporations now sell the sort of services that soldiers used to provide. These worldwide businesses range from small firms that supply teams of commandos for hire to large corporations that run military supply chains. This huge, new "privatized military industry" has operated in more than 50 countries, from Albania to Zambia. But its largest client is the US taxpayer: Over the last decade our government has signed more than 3,000 contracts with private military firms. Iraq is not just the biggest US military commitment in generations, it is also the biggest market for private military services - ever. Before the war, private firms helped with the invasion's training and planning. During the war, private military employees handled everything from feeding and housing US troops to maintaining our most sophisticated weapons systems, like the B-2 stealth bomber or the Global Hawk UAV. Private firms now play an even more stunning variety of roles in the Iraq occupation. One example is the controversial Dyncorp firm, a Virginia-based company whose employees were implicated in sex crimes in the Balkans; they are now training the post-Saddam police force. Other firms are training the new Iraqi army and paramilitary forces and guarding critical facilities. Indeed, the ratio of private contractors to US military personnel in the Gulf is roughly 1 to 10. Overall, the private military industry is actually our largest ally in the "coalition of the willing" (or perhaps we should rename it the "coalition of billing"). For example, Global Risk Managment of the United Kingdom has 1,100 personnel in Iraq, including 500 Nepalese Gurkha troops and 500 Fijian soldiers, ranking it sixth among troop donors. The expansion of this private military industry has its positive aspects, such as specialization or the promise of cost savings through competition. More important, it has arisen in a time when there is a gap between the supply and demand for professional forces. In lieu of calling up more reserves, private assistance has helped our nation meet unprecedented new global commitments. But privatization also comes with risks. In particular are poor accounting and accountability, a now common thread in the conduct of both business and our government. The absence of oversight may make Iraq the "Big Dig" of the private military industry - a profit bonanza for the firms, but a loss on the public policy ledger. A myriad of questions surround our dealings with the industry. For example, the Pentagon does not even know how many private military employees, or foreign subcontractors, it has working for it. Likewise, there is no requirement to reveal the number of private military casualties (at least five killed in Iraq by unofficial media accounts) or, in turn, the number of Iraqis killed by their employees. This lack of accounting also means that we don't know the number of contractors who have either declined to deploy or left Iraq because of their security concerns. This last problem raises an important concern. Contractors who did not deliver - because of issues ranging from staffing difficulties to higher than expected insurance premiums - left American troops with less support than they enjoyed in past wars. When our soldiers were still eating field rations and lacked running water, months after the president's infamous aircraft carrier landing, the blame fell on an overreliance on contractors. Contractors are not within the chain of command and thus cannot be ordered into combat zones. The same problems cross over into the Enron-like attitude toward financial costs. While one of the rationales for outsourcing military functions is cost savings, the evidence is either absent or limited. Even as we set greater goals for future outsourcing, we do not know if we are actually saving money. However, we do know that contracts have often been awarded with limited or no free market competition, and frequently to politically connected firms. For example, the US Army logistics contract was expanded to employ Halliburton to run the oil services part of Iraqi reconstruction - without competitive bid. So far, more than $1 billion in added revenue has gone to Vice President Cheney's old firm, in which he has continuing financial interests. Better standards and accounting must be used in our military outsourcing decisions. Two core questions must always be asked: First, is it in our best national security and public interest to privatize? Second, how can we ensure that privatization will save money? Unfortunately, our CEO-filled defense leadership has forgotten Economics 101. It has outsourced first and not even bothered to ask questions later. In sum, we have a distortion of the free market that would shock Adam Smith, an interface between business and government that would awe the Founding Fathers, and a shift in the military-industrial complex that must have President Eisenhower rolling in his grave. Without change, this is a recipe for bad policy, and bad business. P.W. Singer is national security fellow at The Brookings Institution and author of "Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Private Military Industry." SECURITY http://www.news.scotsman.com/latest.cfm?id=2051686 * SENIOR TERRORIST FIGURE CAPTURED IN IRAQ The Scotsman, 14th October US forces in Iraq have captured one of the most senior members of Ansar al-Islam, an extremist group suspected of having ties to Osama bin Laden's al Qaida network, US defence officials said today. The arrest of Aso Hawleri, also known as Asad Muhammad Hasan, late last week in the northern city of Mosul has not been announced. Larry Di Rita, chief spokesman for Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, told reporters: "I'm not in a position to confirm" Hawleri's capture. Hawleri was taken by soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division, a defence official, adding that the capture netted a number of other people besides Hawleri, but there apparently was not a gunfight. No other details were immediately available. The officials said Hawleri is thought to be the third-ranking official in Ansar al-Islam, most of whose fighters were believed to have fled their stronghold in northern Iraq before US forces invaded in March. US and Kurdish forces destroyed the group's main base in the early weeks of the war. Ansar had taken control of a slice of the Kurdish-controlled area near the Iranian border, enforcing a version of Islam only slightly less stringent than the Taliban in Afghanistan in mountain strongholds outside areas of Iraq controlled by government forces. In an analytical report in December 2001, Iraq expert Michael Rubin of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy wrote that Hawleri had led the Second Soran Unit, the largest single military unit within an Iraqi opposition group called the Islamic Unity Movement. In 2001 the Second Soran Unit merged with the Tawhid Islamic Front to form Jund al-Islam, later called Ansar al-Islam, according to Mr Rubin, who says the group received funds from bin Laden and trained in Afghanistan. Tactics of Ansar have included suicide bombings, car bombs, assassinations and raids on militiamen and politicians of the secular Kurdish government. The group has killed scores of people over the last two years. US officials say Ansar sent about a dozen people through al Qaida camps in Afghanistan in 1999 and 2000 and experimented with biotoxin ricin in 2002. In late August, Army General John Abizaid, overall commander in Iraq, told reporters that elements of Ansar al-Islam had migrated south into the Baghdad area and presented an increased terrorist threat. It remains unclear whether Ansar played a role in any of the recent bombings in Iraq, including the August 19 bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad that killed 22 people. Ansar's spiritual leader, Mullah Krekar, was taken into custody in the Netherlands in September 2002 and later was deported to Norway. He was released from a Norwegian jail last April after a court found insufficient grounds to hold him on terrorism charges. Police dropped the charges in July, but are investigating him on allegations he financed terrorist activities. http://www.dawn.com/2003/10/17/top20.htm * CAR EXPLODES NEAR US BASE IN KIRKUK: FOUR JORDANIANS SHOT DEAD Dawn, 17th October [Thursday 16th October] KIRKUK, Iraq, Oct 16: A car exploded near the headquarters of the US-led coalition forces in the northern city of Kirkuk late on Thursday, according to an AFP correspondent at the scene. There was no word on casualties. A car with three men inside stopped in front of the coalition headquarters in Al-Wassity neighbourhood, in the south of Kirkuk. US troops opened fire on the car which sped off before stopping about 200 yards away from the headquarters. The three men then stepped out of the car and fled before the vehicle exploded seconds later. The vehicle was in flames when US forces backed by Humvees and armoured vehicles cordoned the area and closed the road. A second smaller explosion from the car occurred a short time later. It was not clear if the explosions were caused by explosive charges, hand grenades or ammunition inside the car. Colonel Khattab Abdel Aref, director of the Kirkuk emergency police forces, told AFP that his men were prevented from approaching the scene by US troops. "We do not have details about the incident, except that we heard an explosion," he said. Earlier on Thursday, the coalition headquarters in Kurkuk was the target of an attack, apparently by at least seven mortar rounds, an AFP correspondent said. Also in Kirkuk, one US soldier was wounded on Thursday when an explosive charge blew up as he was putting up road blocks near a US army position, witnesses told AFP. FOUR KILLED: A taxi-driver and his three fellow Jordanian passengers were killed in Baghdad early on Thursday as US troops opened fire after their car failed to stop at a checkpoint, his taxi firm here said. Driver Ali Imad Abdel Khader was leaving the Iraqi capital headed for Amman when the incident took place, Said Mohammad of the company Abul Ezz told AFP. "When the car reached the outskirts of Baghdad at around five in the morning it came under fire from American troops at the checkpoint which caused it to spin out of control and crash into an armoured vehicle," he said. "The four men were killed on the spot," said Mohammad, quoting other taxi-drivers who witnessed the incident and were driving in convoy for extra security. He said the driver "probably did not see the American checkpoint in the dark and didn't stop", causing the soldiers to open fire. In Baghdad, US military officials said they had information on the incident but were investigating. An Iraqi suicide car bomber was gunned down by security agents on Thursday before he could blow up the interior ministry building in the northern city of Arbil, an official from the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) said. "An Iraqi in a Toyota carrying more than 100 kilograms of TNT sped towards the interior ministry building around 12:35 pm (0935 GMT) before trying to activate the explosives," Karim Singari, the KDP's interior minister, told reporters. * SUICIDE CAR BOMBER ATTACKS TURKISH EMBASSY IN BAGHDAD RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT, Vol. 6, No. 43, 16 October 2003 A suicide car bomber detonated his vehicle outside the Turkish Embassy in Baghdad on 14 October, killing himself and injuring two embassy workers, international media reported. AP reported that hospital officials said as many as 13 were wounded in the incident. Preventive security measures implemented in recent days at the embassy likely protected embassy employees from sustaining serious injury or death, U.S. officials in Baghdad said. In Ankara, Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin told reporters on 14 October, "I think that this attack is not an attack specially staged against Turkey and [the] Turkish Embassy," Anatolia news agency reported. Meanwhile, the news agency quoted Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul as telling reporters outside the Organization of the Islamic Conference's annual summit in Malaysia on 14 October, "This incident has once more showed the need for contributions of everybody to the settlement of stability and security in Iraq." The Turkish National Assembly voted last week to contribute up to 10,000 troops to peacekeeping efforts in Iraq. (Kathleen Ridolfo) * IRAQI OIL MINISTER, INC AIDE ESCAPE ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT, Vol. 6, No. 43, 16 October 2003 Iraqi Oil Minister Ibrahim Bahr al-Ulum and Nabil al-Musawi, an aide to Iraqi National Congress head and Governing Council member Ahmad Chalabi, escaped an assassination attempt in Baghdad on 12 October, the Saudi Press Agency reported on 13 October. The incident occurred in the Mansur district of Baghdad when unidentified gunmen opened fire on a convoy of five vehicles transporting the two men. "The two men were traveling in the same car in a five-vehicle convoy when the motorcade came under fire from a speeding car," an unidentified source told middle-east-online.com. (Kathleen Ridolfo) http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/story.jsp?story=455155 * TWO TROOPS DIE IN IRAQI AMBUSH ON US CONVOY by Patrick Cockburn in Baghdad The Independent, 20th October Two American soldiers were killed and one wounded in an ambush near the oil city of Kirkuk as armed resistance to the US occupation gathered strength in northern Iraq. The deaths brought to 103 the number of US soldiers killed in hostile fire in Iraq since President George Bush declared major combat over on 1 May. In Fallujah, 35 miles west of Baghdad, gunmen attacked a US military convoy yesterday morning, setting a truck carrying ammunition ablaze and setting off a series of explosions. The gunmen fired on American soldiers caught in the blast, who returned fire. The explosions sent burning shrapnel and plumes of black smoke into the air. Six wounded Iraqis were taken to hospital in Fallujah, one of whom later died, hospital officials said. Young Iraqis danced in celebration by the road as the ammunition detonated and drivers honked their horns to show approval of the attack. Fallujah, on the road to Jordan, is notorious for its support for the resistance and has been the scene of many ambushes. US troops who approached the blazing vehicles, believed to be two Humvees and a truck, were fired on by rocket propelled grenades (RPGs) and machine guns, said witnesses. "Shells were flying everywhere like fireworks," said Khalil al-Qubaise, a shopkeeper. The ambush in Kirkuk, 160 miles north of Baghdad, happened at 10.45pm on Saturday night when a patrol in vehicles was attacked with RPGs and small arms fire, an American spokesman said. A few hours later another attack with grenades and machine-guns on US troops near Hawija, west of Kirkuk, ended with five Iraqis killed. Another five men were arrested after a brief firefight north of Baiji, near Kirkuk. Until a month ago, Kirkuk - captured by the Kurds in the war, and ethnically divided between Kurds, Arabs and Turkomans - had seen few military actions against US troops. But incidents are now almost daily amid signs that the resistance in Sunni-Muslim northern Iraq is becoming better co-ordinated and is extending its reach. The US army in Iraq appears to be road bound, sending vehicles on patrol which are proving vulnerable to attacks by RPGs and bombs concealed in or beside the road. A foreign military observer who saw the aftermath of a bomb attack on a US convoy on the road west of Baghdad on Saturday which killed one US soldier noted that "it was very professionally staged with the middle vehicle in the convoy exactly targeted". Kerbala, where three US soldiers, including a colonel commanding a military police battalion, were killed late on Thursday night, was calm yesterday. US tanks had withdrawn from the centre of the city, which is holy to Shia Muslims. But the main road into it was blocked by Polish troops and the city could only be reached by a winding country road through groves of date palms. Ali, an Iraqi policeman, who said he was with the US patrol when the fighting started, said that Lieutenant Colonel Kim Orlando had just spoken to the senior Shia cleric about his armed guard being on the street after the 9pm curfew when one of the guards suddenly opened fire without orders. Lt Col Orlando was killed immediately as were two Iraqi policemen who were with him. [.....] http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Artic le_Type1&c=Article&cid=1066665885630&call_pageid=968332188854&col=9687058990 37 * U.S. SOLDIER KILLED IN IRAQ AMBUSH by TAREK AL-ISSAWI Toronto Star, from AP, 20th October FALLUJAH, Iraq - Assailants ambushed a U.S. army foot patrol outside Fallujah at midday today, killing one American and wounding five others in the second day of attacks in this anti-U.S. hotbed, the military reported. Two civilians also were killed. [.....] The U.S. patrol near Fallujah was first hit by an exploding homemade bomb, and then by small-arms fire, the military said. Americans then raided a nearby mosque in an apparent search for the attackers and detained three Iraqis. The bodies of two civilians were taken to a Fallujah hospital. Doctors said one of the dead was a Syrian truck driver who had been hauling cement from Lebanon to Baghdad when he was caught in the attack. Two civilian trucks were damaged, one left dangling on a bridge, apparently from what witnesses said was a rocket-propelled grenade strike. The attack occurred about 20 metres from the main bridge leading into Fallujah from Baghdad, 55 kilometres to the east, when about 30 soldiers on foot, accompanied by five Humvees, were on patrol along the highway. This was the same general area where a U.S. army ammunition truck, part of a convoy, broke down on the main road Sunday and came under attack. That truck and possibly two other vehicles apparently were hit by rocket-propelled grenades. Dozens of Iraqi youths danced and cheered as the vehicles went up in flames. A witness said the U.S. soldiers fired in a circular motion as they tried to leave. Five civilians were wounded and one died later of shrapnel wounds, a spokesperson for Fallujah General Hospital said. The U.S. command said there were no American casualties Sunday. 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