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News, 14-22/10/03 (3) INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY * A Toothless Resolution * A Solid Vote That Buttresses 'Made in USA' * U.S. presents draft Iraq resolution to UN * Upcoming donors conference shaping up * Contentious Iraq resolution withdrawn by OIC leaders * Jews rule world but Muslims can win NEIGHBOURS * Iraq appeals to Kuwait to forego war reparations * Iraqis force rethink on Turkish help * Kuwaiti Cabinet forms committee to examine Iraqi war crimes * Time for Arabs to stop saying 'no' PRETEXT * CIA and Pentagon split over uranium intrigue * Powell 'Misled Public over Iraq Threat' * Experts Downplay Bioagent RIVER'S CORNER [Riverbend on sniffer dogs and Turks] INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY http://slate.msn.com/id/2089881/ * A TOOTHLESS RESOLUTION by Fred Kaplan Posted Slate, 15th October Hip, hip, but not hurray. The U.N. Security Council is expected to approve the Bush administration's revised draft of a resolution designed to legitimize the U.S.-led occupation authority and the U.S.-commanded security force in Iraq. However, the vote will probably be close and, in any case, the support is certainly tepid. There is good reason for this lack of enthusiasm. The resolution essentially changes nothing. Its drafters have paid lip service to accelerating the process of Iraqi self-governance and strengthening the United Nations' role in this process. But a close reading of the resolution http://www.un.int/usa/s-2003-992-iraq.doc indicates that all power remains in American hands, that no real authority is transferred to the United Nations, and that a new Iraqi government remains a long way off. The resolution may pass, but the act will have no effect. It will not compel or persuade other countries to donate money or manpower. Nor will it convince anyone who needs convincing on the ground in Iraq that the U.S. occupation is short-term or legitimate. In short, the resolution fails to accomplish the main diplomatic tasks at hand-to share the burdens of building postwar Iraq and to quell the violent resistance so the rebuilding can proceed securely. Take a look at Section 1 of the resolution. This contains the much-quoted passage that notes the "temporary nature" of the U.S.-led occupation authority, and emphasizes that the authority's functions "will cease when an internationally recognized, representative government established by the people of Iraq is sworn in" and takes over the authority's responsibilities. Sounds good, but two things are amiss here. First, most members of the Security Council want authority to pass from the United States to the Security Council itself-or to some body representing the Security Council-before moving into the hands of a new Iraqi government. Section 1 explicitly rejects this position: The U.S.-led authority will cease only when the new government is sworn in; there is no provision for an interim U.N. (or any other international) body. Second, nothing in the resolution indicates that this transfer is going to take place any time soon. Many press reports have noted that the resolution gives Iraq's current Governing Council a deadline of Dec. 15 to come up with a new constitution and a procedure for holding democratic elections. Some reports have depicted this deadline as a sign of the Bush administration's newborn realization that power must be transferred quickly. In fact, the deadline does no such thing. It merely "invites" (not "requires") the Governing Council "to provide to the Security Council, for its review" (with no provision for how long the review will last), "a timetable and a program for the drafting of a new constitution for Iraq and for the holding of democratic elections under that constitution" (not a new constitution, not the drafting of a new constitution, but merely "a timetable and a program" for the drafting). How long will it take to go from a) an invitation to submit a timetable and a program to b) a review of the timetable and program to c) the actual drafting of a constitution to d) the approval of a constitution to e) the holding of elections to f) the elections' winners taking power? Judging from the resolution, the Bush administration assumes it will take at least a year. The telltale sign here is Section 15, which notes that the mandate of the U.S.-commanded multinational security force "shall expire . when an internationally recognized, representative government of Iraq has been sworn in and assumed the responsibilities of the Authority." However, Section 15 also notes that the U.N. Security Council shall review the requirements and mission of the multinational security force "not later than one year from the date of this resolution." Put those two provisions together, and one can infer that Bush assumes the multinational force will still exist-meaning the new Iraqi government will not yet have been sworn in-a year from now. The resolution does contain a few compromises by the Bush administration. In Section 15, it is a new concession that the Security Council is given any role in reviewing requirements and missions of the multinational force. It is also new that, in Section 7, the Security Council reviews the Governing Council's timetable for a new constitution. Previously it had been assumed, if not laid down in stone, that the U.S.-led authority alone would have these roles. However, it should be noted that these sections do not give the Security Council any power to do anything as a result of its reviews. And the review provided in Section 7 is explicitly to be conducted "in cooperation with the Authority." Those compromises will probably be enough to push the resolution through. They do reflect, albeit to a very limited degree, a realization that the United Nations must be more actively involved in the occupation if a new, democratic Iraq is ever to take hold. James Dobbins, former head of peacekeeping operations in the Bush and Clinton administrations, thinks this will be but the first of several resolutions that move steadily in a more multilateral direction. The other member-states of the Security Council are thinking along these same lines-which is why they will probably approve this resolution, however half-heartedly. Another reason for its likely approval is that, in the meantime, just as it poses no real obligations for the United States to share power in Iraq, it also poses no obligations for the rest of the world to share burdens. As with previous resolutions on the subject, it merely "welcomes the positive response of the international community"; "urges member states to contribute assistance . including military force, to the multinational force"; "calls upon member states . to contribute to the training and equipping of Iraqi police"; "appeals to member states and international financial institutions to strengthen their effort to assist the people of Iraq in the reconstruction and development of their economy"; and so forth. Nowhere does the resolution determine or demand or insist that assistance be rendered. (Emphasis added.) The other countries of the Security Council no doubt have, to some extent, self-aggrandizing motives for their demand to be included in Iraq's transitional rule. They want a hand on the lever of power, they want a share of commercial contracts. However, they also have objectively reasonable motives for this demand. Why should they spend their taxpayers' money and risk their soldiers' lives for a cause that most of them never believed in without a substantial say over how their resources will be used? http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=1802&ncid=716&e=26&u=/washpo st/20031017/ts_washpost/a38336_2003oct16 * A SOLID VOTE THAT BUTTRESSES 'MADE IN USA' by Glenn Kessler, Washington Post Staff Writer Yahoo, 17th October The Bush administration, having won unanimous approval yesterday of a U.N. Security Council resolution that backs the U.S.-appointed Iraqi leaders, was muted in its celebration -- and for good reason. President Bush (news - web sites) greeted the vote with one sentence, thanking the Security Council, toward the end of a speech in California and an 80-word written statement. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, while calling it "a great achievement," was careful to add: "I don't see this vote as opening the door to troops." The 15 to 0 vote, bringing in not just France, Germany and Russia but also Syria, was no small feat. But analysts and diplomats said the impact of the resolution would be limited, and perhaps not worth its cost of exposing the deep-seated resentments in the world community over the U.S. handling of the Iraq (news - web sites) war. Few believe the Security Council's resolution will bring much in terms of pledges of troops or aid, even though the Bush administration originally sought the resolution for precisely that reason. France's permanent representative to the United Nations (news - web sites), Jean-Marc de la Sabliere, underscored that point when he read a statement from France, Germany and Russia calling the resolution "a step in the right direction" but saying it "should have gone further" to broaden the U.N. role and transfer power to Iraqis. "In that context, the conditions are not created for us to envisage any military commitment and any further financial contribution beyond our present engagement." And Pakistan, from which the administration has eagerly sought troops for Iraq, said the resolution was not good enough. "Under these circumstances, Pakistan will not be able to contribute troops for the multinational force in Iraq," Pakistan's U.N. ambassador, Munir Akram, told the Security Council. A week ago, some U.S. officials had suggested the administration was on the verge of withdrawing the resolution. That would have been a diplomatic disaster, and might have imperiled the congressional vote on Bush's $87 billion funding request for Iraq and Afghanistan (news - web sites). But a range of analysts said the final vote, while far better than a withdrawal or a resolution approved with numerous abstentions, is too weak to be considered much of a victory. Dropping the resolution "would have been a colossal slap in the face," said Kenneth M. Pollack, research director at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. "They successfully avoided a major negative. It is not a major plus." The resolution does provide a U.N. imprimatur to the American enterprise (news - web sites), both to the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council and U.S.-led occupation forces. But analysts said it largely papered over differences between the United States and many key nations on the Security Council, ensuring that the effort to build an Iraqi government will remain stamped with a "Made in USA" label. "It was in the interest of all concerned to get another resolution," said Patrick Clawson, deputy director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. He said the resolution "will make incremental progress; that is the name of the game in Iraq. The glass is a little more full." Indeed, some of the support appeared mostly intended to begin repairing relations with the Bush administration, as some nations were distinctly uncomfortable with the resolution's language. Adolfo Aguilar Zinser, the Mexican ambassador, earlier this week told the Security Council he had deep reservations about the U.S. proposal, especially language saying that the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council "embodies the sovereignty of the State of Iraq," sources said. But after declaring the resolution all but useless, he indicated he would vote for it anyway. The World Bank (news - web sites) has estimated Iraq will need $35 billion in reconstruction aid through 2007, in addition to $20 billion that the administration has requested from Congress. Japan said Wednesday that it would provide $5 billion in aid and loans, and the European Union (news - web sites) has pledged a little over $200 million. It is unclear how the administration will bridge the gap. The only major nation to pledge more troops in recent weeks is Turkey, which indicated it could provide as many as 10,000. But the Iraqi Governing Council has balked at permitting Turkish troops in Iraq, given the long history of animosity between Turks and Kurds in northern Iraq. U.S. officials worked hard in recent days to tweak the resolution to bring on board Russia, France, China and Germany -- key nations that had been at odds with the United States over its decision to go to war without U.N. approval. Passage of the resolution "shows a desire on the part of the United States and others to heal the breach over Iraq," said Jessica Tuchman Mathews, president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. But, she added, "in content, it accomplishes very little." For instance, she said, while the resolution appears to convey some status of government to the Iraqi Governing Council, in reality the Coalition Provisional Authority does not treat it as a sovereign government. Moreover, although the United States in part sought the resolution to bolster the role of the United Nations, she said that status of the world body and its role in the political transition are barely addressed. Lee Feinstein, acting director of the Washington program at the Council on Foreign Relations and a former Clinton administration official, noted that this is the third Security Council resolution on rebuilding Iraq since the war, and it will likely have as much impact as the first two. "The administration isn't interested in broadening international support for the reconstruction in Iraq," he said. Danielle Pletka, vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, said it appeared that the administration had been begging to win approval of some sort of resolution. "I'm not sure we want to be in that position, especially if begging gets you nothing," she said. * U.S. PRESENTS DRAFT IRAQ RESOLUTION TO UN RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT, Vol. 6, No. 43, 16 October 2003 The United States formally presented a draft resolution on Iraq to the UN Security Council on 14 October, international media reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 14 October 2003). According to Reuters, the new draft sets a 15 December deadline for the Iraqi Governing Council to establish "a timetable and a program for the drafting of a new constitution for Iraq and for the holding of democratic elections under that constitution." "The draft outlines the process of returning as soon as possible full authority and responsibility to the people of Iraq," U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher told a press conference in Washington on 14 October (http://www.usinfo.state.gov). According to washingtonpost.com on 15 October, Russia, France, and Germany have dropped their demand that the United States transfer power to a provisional Iraqi government in the near future. According to the website, they have also dropped their demand calling for the UN to play a central role in rebuilding Iraq. But the three states have called for a definitive timetable for the end of the U.S. occupation, and for a Security Council role in monitoring Iraq's political transition, the website reported. The draft was cosponsored by Cameroon, Spain, and the United Kingdom. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan told reporters at the UN in a 14 October press conference that the new U.S. draft resolution on Iraq does not represent a "major shift" from the previous version floated by the United States, international media reported. The draft that was formally presented on 14 October was the third revision. "Obviously, the current resolution does not represent a major shift in the thinking of the coalition...of course I will implement any resolution that the council might adopt, bearing in mind the constraints that we are all aware of," Annan said. At the told reporters on14 October: "In terms of the vital role that the United Nations can play, they can play an important role in the humanitarian assistance and reconstruction and the constitutional electoral process, just to name a few. And this draft, this resolution, requests that the United Nations and the special representative of the United Nations lend their unique expertise to the Iraqi people in the process of drafting a constitution and conducting the elections." Asked about a phrase in the resolution that says that the Iraqi Governing Council will embody the sovereignty of Iraq, Annan said: "Well, it is a nice phrase, but the resolution also says that the occupying power is the authority, and is the government. So in my judgment, the occupying power is the government, will remain the government, whether this resolution is passed or not, until such time that power is fully handed over to the Iraqis. And I think the resolution recognizes that." (Kathleen Ridolfo) * UPCOMING DONORS CONFERENCE SHAPING UP RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT, Vol. 6, No. 43, 16 October 2003 As world leaders prepare to attend the 23-24 October donors conference for Iraq, there are signs that the conference may fall short of reaching the UN/World Bank estimate of $36 billion needed for Iraq over the next four years. According to the Downing Street website (http://www.number-10.gov.uk), the United Kingdom will pledge some 296 million pounds (over $494 million) in new aid over the next two years. This is in addition to the 248 million pounds ($414 million) already pledged to Iraq, bringing the U.K.'s total two-year commitment to 544 million pounds (about $908 million). Spain, another major U.S. ally in the coalition that deposed former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's regime, has said that it will pledge 90 million euros ($105 million) for reconstruction. Australia is expected to pledge "in the tens of millions," but less than 50 million Australian dollars (nearly $34.5 million) at the Madrid conference, smh.com.au quoted government sources as saying on 15 October. That contribution is in addition to the 100 million Australian dollars ($69 million) given to Iraq in April. Denmark has pledged $50 million. Meanwhile, Japan has said that it would provide $1.5 billion to Iraqi reconstruction efforts. Japanese media have reported that Japan may announce a pledge on 23-24 October of some $5 billion over the next five years to Iraq. It is the largest single contribution after that of the United States and should account for around 10 percent of the estimated cost of reconstruction. U.S. President George W. Bush has asked Congress for $20.3 billion in aid to Iraq for next year (see above). And, the European Union has pledged some 200 million euros ($235 million) for 2003-04. Other states are expected to contribute to the rebuilding effort in Iraq, but have remained noncommittal. Sweden has said that it would only offer humanitarian aid as long as the U.S. remained in charge of Iraqi reconstruction, or until the establishment of a sovereign Iraqi government, Reuters reported on 15 October. South Korea has said that it intends to make a financial contribution in addition to the 5,000 combat troops already committed to Iraq, but has thus far not disclosed an amount. And Germany, France, and Russia have yet to commit any economic aid to Iraq. Iraqi interim Trade Minister Ali Abd al-Amir Allawi told Reuters on 15 October that his weeklong Asian tour to secure funds for Iraqi rebuilding has shown positive signs, particularly from Japan and South Korea. Regarding China, Allawi said, "Their response was positive on humanitarian aid but they're awaiting the resolution of various political issues in the [UN] Security Council before they take a position regarding financial commitments to reconstruction." The CPA's chief fundraiser is former Polish Deputy Prime Minister Marek Belka. He told Reuters in a 14 October interview that he expects the Persian Gulf states to help in the reconstruction effort. "We expect Gulf countries to be active in Madrid and we have unofficial promises they will be," he said. Belka, who will begin serving as the deputy director of economic development on 1 November, also said that he expects that some countries would contribute by writing off Iraq's foreign debt incurred under the deposed Hussein regime, which is estimated at about $120 billion including commercial debt. About 45 nations are expected to attend the donors conference. (Kathleen Ridolfo) http://independent-bangladesh.com/news/oct/17/17102003ap.htm#A16 * CONTENTIOUS IRAQ RESOLUTION WITHDRAWN BY OIC LEADERS Bangladeshi Independent, 17th October AFP, PUTRAJAYA, MALAYSIA, Oct 16: Islamic countries have agreed to drop a contentious draft resolution calling for a timetable for the end of the US-led occupation of Iraq in the face of opposition from Iraqi leaders, the country's interim leader said Thursday. Iraq's US-appointed Governing Council, led by Ayad Allawi who is attending the two-day Organisation of the Islamic Conference, was also unhappy with the resolution's call for the United Nations to take a central role in the transition to democracy. "The draft (resolution at the Islamic summit) contains a lot of interference in the internal affairs of Iraq, it will be replaced by a political statement," Allawi told AFP after the first day of the summit. The Iraqis had received support from Kuwait ahead of a planned UN Security Council vote on a US resolution which has no timetable for a troop withdrawal or elections for a new government. "We think that the Iraqis, represented by the Governing Council, should be left to decide," Kuwait Oil Minister Ahmad Fahad Al-Sabah told reporters on the sidelines of the summit in Malaysia's new administrative capital. He said the Iraqis objected to the draft because it included a demand the UN Security Council should set a timetable for the withdrawal of the US-led coalition which toppled Saddam Hussein's regime in April. "There are no differences on the essence, but the difference is on the mechanism and stages that should lead to a transfer of power to the Iraqi people," he said. Mohammed Sauhan, director for International Organisations for United Arab Emirates, said the statement would "confirm the sovereignty of Iraq, and (urge) the withdrawal of US forces from Iraq and the role of UN in (Iraq)". He said the Governing Council had come under pressure from the United States to have the resolution withdrawn. "When the resolution was out, the Americans saw the resolution and they started to put pressure on them," he said. "The resolution has become a political declaration, but it will be very weak." The OIC draft had called for the United Nations to play a "central role in Iraq, covering all aspects of transition" and for the Security Council to set a "defined and clear timetable for the withdrawal of occupying powers as soon as possible". [.....] http://independent-bangladesh.com/news/oct/17/17102003ap.htm * JEWS RULE WORLD BUT MUSLIMS CAN WIN Bangladeshi Independent, 17th October AGENCIES, PUTRAJAYA, MALAYSIA, Oct 16: Jews rule the world by proxy but Muslims can defeat them through the use of brains as well as brawn, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad told a major Islamic summit Thursday. In a speech at one of his last appearances on the world stage, Mahathir told the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) summit that Muslims could exploit what he termed the increasing arrogance of the Jewish people. "The Europeans killed six million Jews out of 12 million. But today the Jews rule this world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them," said Mahathir, who is due to retire at the end of the month after leading this moderate Muslim country for 22 years. "1.3 billion Muslims cannot be defeated by a few million Jews." He urged Muslims to emulate the Jewish response to oppression, however, saying the Jews had "survived 2000 years of pogroms not by hitting back, but by thinking". "We cannot fight them through brawn alone, we must use our brains also," he said. The Muslim people had become angry and the Jewish people had become arrogant, "and arrogant people like angry people will make mistakes, will forget to think," he said. Mahathir said Muslims were "humiliated and oppressed", a reference not only to the Palestinian situation but to what he sees as the West's use of the war on terrorism as a pretence for a war against Islam. The summit is the biggest gathering of Islamic leaders since the 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, drawing more than 30 heads of state and government from throughout the Muslim world. In an apparent denunciation of terrorism, Mahathirwho often criticises both sides in a disputesaid "we find some of our people acting irrationally," killing themselves and others as they "lash back blindly in anger". Muslims must seek another way to "counter-attack", he said, calling for them to build stable, economically strong and technologically advanced countries along with military might. "Of late, because of their power and their apparent success they have become arrogant. And arrogant people like angry people will make mistakes, will forget to think." "They are already beginning to make mistakes. And they will make more mistakes. There may be windows of opportunity for us now and in the future. We must seize these opportunities," he urged fellow leaders. Mahathir's speech, apart from its racially explicit attack on the Jewish peoplerather than the state of Israel, was in line with the general theme of the summit, which is that the Muslims feel besieged by the fallout from the terrorist attacks on the United States. [.....] NEIGHBOURS http://www.jordantimes.com/Wed/news/news4.htm * IRAQ APPEALS TO KUWAIT TO FOREGO WAR REPARATIONS Jordan Times, 15th October KUWAIT CITY (AFP) A leading member of Iraq's US-appointed Governing Council has appealed to Kuwait to forego tens of billions of dollars in war reparations, saying the Iraqi people too were victims of Saddam Hussein, a newspaper reported Tuesday. "We are looking for an understanding from the State of Kuwait... That Saddam Hussein oppressed the Iraqi people before oppressing Kuwait," Ibrahim Al Jaafari said in remarks published in Al Rai Al Aam. Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, ousted by a US-led coalition in April, was never elected by the Iraqi people, who should not pay for his mistakes, said Jaafari, who spoke on arrival in Kuwait late Monday night. "We believe that the Kuwaiti government and people are well aware that this (Saddam's atrocities) is not linked to Iraq in any way... We look for a humanitarian gesture to overcome this issue," Jaafari added. The US administrator in Iraq, Paul Bremer, last month called on Kuwait and Saudi Arabia to re-examine war reparation payments Baghdad owes them in light of Iraq's poverty and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, who ordered the invasion of Kuwait. "Regarding Bremer's call to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia to forego reparations, this is an Iraqi request," stressed Jaafari, who is the third member of the Governing Council to visit Kuwait in the past two weeks. The two other members, Abdel Aziz Al Hakim, the leader of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, and Massoud Barzani, who heads the Kurdistan Democratic Party, have acknowledged the emirate's right to compensation but appealed for at least a payment delay. Bremer's call was condemned by Kuwaiti lawmakers, who threatened action against the government if it responded positively. Parliament's legal and legislative panel Monday cleared the way for such action by unanimously approving a draft law banning the Kuwaiti government from foregoing war reparations from Iraq. The bill, which was sent to another parliamentary panel to be finalised, must be passed by the 50-member house and endorsed by Kuwait's emir to become a binding law. Kuwait has filed compensation claims worth more than $170 billion to the United Nations Compensation Commission (UNCC), set up by the UN Security Council after Iraq invaded the emirate in 1990. The UNCC has already approved claims worth about $35 billion to Kuwait and paid out just under $9 billion, mostly to individuals. http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,1064851,00.html * IRAQIS FORCE RETHINK ON TURKISH HELP by Ewen MacAskill, diplomatic editor The Guardian, 17th October The US-British coalition in Iraq is running into problems over its attempt to bolster its forces with Turkish troops. Washington and London have been forced to rethink by the level of hostility generated in Iraq by the prospect of troops from Turkey, a neighbour and detested former colonial power. The crisis has also sparked a fresh round of in-fighting in Washington between the Pentagon and the state department. Several options are being considered to try to minimise Iraqi anger. One being floated is for Turkish troops to serve in Iraq but not in uniform, a proposal that is unlikely to go down well with the Turkish high command. Another is for the Turkish troops to be given tasks that would not involve highly visible frontline policing of the kind being carried out by US and British troops. Instead, they would be used to train the Iraqi army or as border guards. Yet another is to halve the proposed number of Turkish troops, from the estimated 10,000 being suggested at present. The Turkish parliament voted last week to send the troops, a move gratefully seized on by the US and British governments, who have had little success in obtaining troops from other countries for duties in Iraq. But the Iraqi governing council voted by 24 to 0 against the move. It is understood that Paul Bremer, the US envoy to Iraq and head of the coalition in Baghdad, is sympathetic to the Iraqi governing council and favours minimising the role of Turkish forces. Mr Bremer is from the state department, though until now has enjoyed the backing of the Pentagon. But Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy US defence secretary, favours maximum involvement of Turkish troops. The extent of the dilemma facing the US and British governments was underlined yesterday when the Iraqi Kurdish leader, Masoud Barzani, threatened to resign from the Iraq governing council if the Turkish troops arrive. Turkey has a long history of suppression of the Kurds, including those in Iraq. Mr Barzani told Asharq al-Awsat newspaper: "The intervention of Turkish troops in Iraq will have dire consequences. "Military involvement in Iraq by a neighbouring country will create a dangerous situation and lead to greater instability." The urgent need for more troops to bolster US and British forces was underlined by the highest-ranking Briton in Iraq, Sir Jeremy Greenstock, who said Iraq's open borders must be blocked. "I don't believe that having open borders or ammunition dumps around the country open to the world helps in damping down the use of violence on Iraqi territory. These gaps need to be plugged," he told journalists in London on a visit from Baghdad to brief Tony Blair on recent developments. The US and British forces are worried about the extent of easy movement across the border not only of supporters of the former regime but of elements bent on mischief and supported by the Syrian and Iranian governments. Sir Jeremy, until recently the British ambassador to the United Nations, said there was a need to redouble efforts on the security front. "There is a security threat and challenge, particularly in Baghdad and in the 'Ba'athist triangle' north and west of Baghdad. I think it will go on for some time. You will be reporting bangs every few days in and around Baghdad." He added: "That is not going to knock us off our stride ... we have to redouble our efforts to meet that [threat]." * KUWAITI CABINET FORMS COMMITTEE TO EXAMINE IRAQI WAR CRIMES RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT, Vol. 6, No. 43, 16 October 2003 The Kuwaiti cabinet has decided to form a committee to examine war crimes by the deposed Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein that took place during Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait and the subsequent 1991 Gulf War, KUNA reported on 12 October. The committee will examine illegal acts with the purpose of seeking a legal resolution to the crimes. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Cabinet and National Assembly Affairs Muhammad Dhaifallah Sharar said following the decision that the committee would be chaired by the Ministry of Justice, and comprise representatives of the Foreign, Fatwa and Legislation, and Interior ministries, as well as the Public Authority for the Assessment of Compensation for Losses (incurred during the invasion), the Martyr Office, and the National Committee for Prisoners of War and Missing Affairs. Sharar added that the committee would seek to enforce international agreements regarding war crimes and genocide. The remains of a number of Kuwaiti nationals missing since 1990 91 have been discovered in mass graves in Iraq since the Hussein regime's downfall. (Kathleen Ridolfo) http://www.dailystar.com.lb/opinion/20_10_03_e.asp * TIME FOR ARABS TO STOP SAYING 'NO' Ashraf Hamdi Fouad Lebanon Daily Star, 20th October Iraq's occupiers need real help in what is proving to be the impossible task of restoring security in one of the Arab world's richest states. Countries with little knowledge of the Middle East are lining up to step in to gain Washington's political and financial favor. But Arab states are refusing to even explore collective negotiations with the United States and Britain to try and influence events in one of the region's most important nations. Turkey, which dragged its feet during the first phase of the war, is now the first Muslim state to pledge troops, a 10,000- strong force, to the Iraq operation in an attempt to gain a political and military foothold in its southern neighbor despite opposition by Iraq's Kurds. The decision is expected to somehow have a positive impact on Turkey's debt review talks with the IMF on a $16 billion package. Ankara last month secured $8.5 billion in Dubai in various soft loans and grants from the United States after months of tension over the war in Iraq. But when Arab states were offered a role, they slammed the door shut - something they have been doing for decades now. The Arab League at a meeting in Cairo turned down the US request for troops with the traditional "no" instead of trying to influence realities on the ground which many in the region disagree with so adamantly. Probably, Macedonia or Latvia, each with about 35 troops in Iraq, have more say in Baghdad than many Arab states, not to mention Poland which runs an 80,000 square kilometer zone in Iraq - almost the size of Jordan or the State of Virginia and much larger than many Arab countries. Arab states could have tried to negotiate their own terms instead of just highlighting from the sidelines and criticizing all the mistakes that are being committed in Iraq. Surely, Arab states want a better future for Iraqis and can find a diplomatic formula to help without appearing to be protect and enforce the occupation. In the end, some Arab states might have to be part of the Iraq operation once the United Nations Security Council agrees on a new draft resolution to send international troops and financial aid. Arab forces could go to Iraq but under the command of non-Arab states which will enjoy economic and political benefits for their early "commitment" to the US plan to draw the future of the new Middle East. The "international" deployment in Iraq will not be on Arab terms, but rather conditions currently being drafted in long haggling sessions held behind closed doors between key world players and the two occupying powers. For sure Arab demands and views are not high on that agenda, and the single Arab member of the Security Council will have little impact on the negotiations. Poland, with just 2,400 troops, controls the south-central Iraqi zone. Some 10,000 troops from 21 countries operate under Warsaw's command although it has no real experience in this part of the world. And Washington is paying Poland for a large chunk of the operational costs not to mention generous political and economic favors, including a deal for F-16 warplanes with considerably soft terms. France, Germany, Russia and China - who were more vociferous than many Arab states in opposing the Iraq war - are trying to force the hand of the United States at the UN to surrender some of its control and grant the world body a bigger say in the future of Iraq in return for international troops. The United States and Britain now know that they do need a helping hand in Iraq and their "allies" are using this and pressure from Congress after some 94 US and 11 British soldiers were killed in attacks since the end of the war on May 1 to squeeze out of the United States the best deal possible. But Arabs states still say "no" although they do have a chance to maneuver in advance of a possible deal at the UN. How about trying a new Arab policy aimed at engaging the world and having some impact on mending this regional disorder? The policy of saying "no" and walking out of international meetings over the past 50 years has not worked, so far at least. If Arabs cannot get their Iraq terms met, they could try to improve on what is on offer and engage the occupying powers into a negotiation which will benefit ordinary Iraqis. The world is changing fast and there are new US-led realities that many ordinary Arabs disagree with, but they cannot be changed or amended if regional states continue to refuse to influence them. The Arab countries could negotiate a deal to send a united Arab force to Iraq ready to take charge in one of the zones. There are no language or religious barriers; there is full cultural understanding and Arab sympathy for the Iraqi people. Add to that formula generous Arab funds and humanitarian assistance, then we could see an Arab-controlled zone enjoying relative stability, sufficient services with eventual growth in terms of jobs and development projects. Such a desired Arab success, or even part of it, would boost moral in a region where pessimism prevails and influence events on the ground in favor of the Arab view point. It would no doubt place positive pressure on other foreign troops in Iraq, mainly the two occupying powers, to work harder on matching the success by restoring law and order, providing services and respecting basic human rights for Iraqis. The quicker this is achieved the faster the "occupiers" could leave Iraq with the other troops behind them. But the Arabs have only given a collective "no" to date. Ashraf Hamdi Fouad is a political commentator with Abu Dhabi television and has been a correspondent in the Middle East for the past 20 years with an international news agency. He wrote this commentary for THE DAILY STAR PRETEXT http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,1064845,00.html * CIA AND PENTAGON SPLIT OVER URANIUM INTRIGUE byJulian Borger in Washington The Guardian, 17th October A bitter row has broken out between the CIA and Pentagon over reports that Iraqi uranium was smuggled to Iran, demonstrating that the rifts between the US agencies are as deep as ever. The tangled tale of contraband, radiation sickness, two shifty middlemen, secret meetings and demands for cash is the stuff of Hollywood, though it might make a better comedy than an action movie. Yet no uranium was found, the distrust between the CIA and the defence department leadership has worsened, and the hunt for banned weapons to justify the Iraq invasion is growing even more desperate. The drama's central figure is Manucher Ghorbanifar, an Iranian arms dealer based in Paris who was involved in the Iran-Contra affair during the Reagan administration. At that time, the CIA gave him two lie detector tests, which he failed. In 1984 and 1985 the CIA issued two "burn notices", warning all members of the US government not to go anywhere near him. That did not stop two Pentagon officials from meeting Mr Ghorbanifar in December 2001 in Paris and January 2002 in Rome, lured by his promises to build bridges to influential Iranians who were interested in bringing down the Tehran theocracy. The meetings took place in secrecy, intelligence sources say, and the CIA director, George Tenet, and the secretary of state, Colin Powell, only found about them when the Rome meeting was reported by the US ambassador to Italy. Nevertheless, according to one source, the meetings continued until they were leaked to the press this summer and the defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, ordered a halt. But Mr Ghorbanifar maintained lines of communication with the neoconservative thinktank, the American Enterprise Institute, and in particular a friend from the Reagan days, Michael Ledeen, and through him passed on an extraordinary story. According to Mr Ledeen and a US intelligence source, five years ago Iraqis working for Iranian intelligence were smuggling enriched uranium out of Iraq and into Iran. These agents developed radiation sickness and in the wreckage of postwar Iraq, were willing not only to tell the story but to lead US officials to uranium remnants that were still in a Baghdad laboratory. "I think it's a credible story," Mr Ledeen, a former national security council consultant, said, adding that he had talked to Mr Ghorbanifar's source for the story, an Iraqi Shia Muslim. Mr Ledeen took the story to the Pentagon but a Rumsfeld aide told him that since the CIA's appointment of David Kay, a former UN inspector, as leader of the US hunt for Iraqi weapons, the defence department's hands were tied. The Pentagon allegedly said that "if it was up to us we'd go and look, but no military person can do anything". Mr Ledeen says he was told to go to the CIA but he was not hopeful about gaining their help because of what he called their "mistake about Ghorbanifar 20 years ago". "I said, 'What's the worst that can happen? You've chased hundreds of false leads.'" Under pressure from the Pentagon and the White House, the CIA agreed, as long as they did not have to talk to Mr Ghorbanifar, and after the affair was over, the agency even issued a statement denouncing him as "a fabricator who has peddled false information for financial gain". According to Mr Ledeen, who helped to set up the meetings with the Iraqi informants, two attempts to make contact failed, once when the CIA officials' satellite phone did not function, and again when the official did not show up. On the third occasion, two weeks ago, the CIA men turned up, along with a military official on the insistence of Mr Ledeen's Shia contact, and the negotiations took place behind the tinted windows of a vehicle which was driving around the streets of Baghdad. Opinions differ as to who was responsible for what went wrong. An intelligence source said Mr Ledeen's contact "couldn't answer any questions, so we said 'get us a sliver of uranium', and he got mad. He demanded money and when he didn't get it, he walked away. "The whole story was the same old crap. It was typical Ghorbanifar. The idea that these Iranian agents would smuggle uranium out five years ago, and only now go down with radiation sickness - it was all well-designed fabrications designed to make headlines." Mr Ledeen said the US agents had simply misunderstood. "The CIA was going to pay for travel, and then make a payment only if something was found. Nobody was asking for any money in advance." He added that the Shia middleman would not simply lead the CIA officials to the store of uranium because it was in the control of the Iraqi agents who had carried the rest of it into Iran. "These were people who required protection and reward, and why not?" Mr Ledeen said. He said he was leaving the matter in the hands of the administration was going back to writing a book about Naples, his personal passion. Mr Ghorbanifar remains untouchable as far as the CIA is concerned, and the stash of uranium he talked of remains no more than a mirage. http://www.news.scotsman.com/latest.cfm?id=2055017 * POWELL 'MISLED PUBLIC OVER IRAQ THREAT' by Mark Sage, PA News, in New York The Scotsman, 15th October US Secretary of State Colin Powell misled the world about the threat posed by Iraq when he spoke at the United Nations last winter, a former top weapons expert claimed today. Greg Thielmann, who retired last year as the State Departmentıs expert on chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, described the appearance as one of Mr Powellıs career "low points". He claimed that intelligence was interpreted to lead to the conclusion that war was necessary. In fact, he said, Iraq posed no imminent threat to the world or even to its neighbours. His claims are contested by the American and British governments, who believe Saddam Hussein was developing weapons of mass destruction and could have eventually passed them on to terrorists. Mr Thielmann made the claims on the CBS 60 Minutes II programme, which will be shown on US television tonight. He said: "I think my conclusion (about Powellıs speech) now is that itıs probably one of the low points in his long distinguished service to the nation. "The main problem was that the senior administration officials have what I call faith-based intelligence. "They knew what they wanted the intelligence to show. "They were really blind and deaf to any kind of countervailing information the intelligence community would produce." His claims were backed up by Steve Allinson, a British-born chemical engineer who was a team leader among the 30-member UN chemical inspection group which was pulled out of Iraq in March when an invasion was imminent. He said that some UN inspectors laughed during Mr Powellıs speech, during which he memorably produced a vial to demonstrate how little anthrax could terrorise a population. Inspectors turned towards each other after watching Mr Powell, and said "They have nothing,", he added. His own experience in Iraq led him to believe that there were no stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, he told the programme. On one occasion, suspected "decontamination vehicles" turned out to be fire trucks, he said. Another time, the team examined refrigerated trucks, which intelligence suggested were linked to biological weapons, and found nothing but cobwebs. Earlier this month the CIA-led Iraq Survey Group said in an interim report that so far no weapons of mass destruction had been found. Group head David Kay added, however, that there were signs that Iraq had breached UN resolutions on weapons and that it would take up to nine months to finish the search. http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/iraq/complete/la-fg wmd17oct17001431,1,2112164.story?coll=la-iraq-complete * EXPERTS DOWNPLAY BIOAGENT by Bob Drogin, Times Staff Writer Los Angeles Times, 17th October WASHINGTON A suspicious sample of biological material recently found by U.S. weapons hunters in Iraq probably was purchased legally from a U.S. organization in the 1980s and is a substance that has never been successfully used to produce a weapon, experts said. The discovery of the hidden vial of C. botulinum Okra B, which was revealed in an Oct. 2 interim report by chief U.S. weapons hunter David Kay, was highlighted in speeches by President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and other senior administration officials as proof that President Saddam Hussein's government maintained an illicit bio-weapons program before the war. The significance of the vial is one of several elements of Kay's report that are being called into question by U.S. biowarfare experts and former United Nations weapons inspectors. Although most praised Kay for uncovering numerous cases in which Iraq hid suspicious equipment and activities from U.N. inspectors, they said the report appeared misleading in several areas. Overall, Kay, who returned to Iraq last week, reported that he had found no evidence so far to indicate that Hussein's regime had reconstituted its chemical weapons program, or had taken significant steps to build nuclear weapons or produce fissile material, after the 1991 Persian Gulf War. He found considerable evidence, however, that Hussein secretly had begun an extensive effort after 1998 to design missiles that violated U.N. rules; had launched numerous schemes to procure missile technology and other prohibited equipment from foreign suppliers, including North Korea; and had maintained a clandestine network of about two dozen small laboratories, run by Iraq's intelligence services, which Kay said contained equipment "suitable" for chemical or biological research. The single vial of botulinum B had been stored in an Iraqi scientist's kitchen refrigerator since 1993. It appears to have been produced by a nonprofit Virginia biological resource center, the American Type Culture Collection, which legally exported botulinum and other biological material to Iraq under a Commerce Department license in the late 1980s. The vial of botulinum B about 2 inches high and half an inch wide was the only suspicious biological material Kay reported finding. It was sealed and stored in the scientist's home with 96 other apparently benign vials of single-cell proteins and biopesticides. In his 13-page declassified report, Kay said "a biological agent" could be produced from the botulinum sample. Speaking to reporters at the White House the next day, Oct. 3, Bush said the war in Iraq was justified and cited Kay's discovery of the advanced missile programs, clandestine labs and what he called "a live strain of deadly agent botulinum" as proof that Hussein was "a danger to the world." But Dr. David Franz, a former chief U.N. biological weapons inspector who is considered among America's foremost experts on biowarfare agents, said there was no evidence that Iraq or anyone else has ever succeeded in using botulinum B for biowarfare. "The Soviets dropped it [as a goal] and so did we, because we couldn't get it working as a weapon," said Franz, who is the former commander of the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Ft. Detrick, Md., the Pentagon's lead laboratory for bioweapons defense research. "From the weapons side, it's not something to be concerned about," agreed Dr. Raymond Zilinskas, another former U.N. inspector who is now director of the chemical and biological weapons nonproliferation program at the Monterey Institute in California. Botulinum B is a source of botulism, a common form of deadly food poisoning that usually results from improper canning. It disperses quickly in the air, however, and thus is not effective as an airborne agent for weapons, Zilinskas said. Asked for comment, a U.S. official who consulted with government experts said Kay "didn't oversell this." "He stated a simple fact. What Dr. Kay said was botulinum B can be used to produce a biological agent," he said, speaking on condition of anonymity. "Can that agent be used to produce a biological weapon? You bet." During the 1980s, Iraq produced botulinum A, a highly lethal neurotoxin that causes respiratory failure and can lead to death in 24 hours. According to U.N. reports, Iraqi scientists produced more than 19,000 liters of botulinum A and poured about 10,000 liters of the toxin into missile warheads and 400-pound bombs. But U.N. inspectors found no evidence that Iraq ever produced botulinum B in its laboratories. A CIA spokesman said Kay has not yet traced the origin of the vial he obtained. But Zilinskas said the sample almost certainly came from American Type Culture Collection. "We know they bought their botulinum strains from the United States, including B," he said. In 1994, an investigation by the House Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee determined that American Type Culture Collection had been a primary supplier of botulinum, anthrax and other pathogens to Iraq. The organization, based in Manassas, Va., shipped at least seven batches of botulinum strains to Baghdad in May 1986 and September 1988, according to records released by the committee. Nancy Wysocki, a spokeswoman for the bioresource center, said there was no way for her to know if her organization had exported the vial of botulinum B found in Iraq. But she said all botulinum and other exports to Iraq at the time had been approved by the Commerce Department. "Iraq was not an embargoed country in the 1980s," she said. The circumstances of the botulinum B find were one reason for Kay's concern. Some of the other vials found in the scientist's refrigerator had labels indicating they came from Al Hakam, which was one of Iraq's chief bioweapons production labs before 1991. In addition, Kay said the scientist also was asked by the government to store other biological material, including a virulent strain of anthrax. He briefly did, but then returned the material. The scientist has passed a polygraph test, Kay said. Terence Taylor, another former U.N. biowarfare inspector who now heads the Washington office of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, a nonpartisan think tank, said it is too early to dismiss the discovery of the vial. "Just because botulinum B has not been used in a weapons program elsewhere, and we never found evidence of it in the 1990s, that does not necessarily rule out" transforming it into a weapon, Taylor said. "There's not enough detail in Kay's [unclassified] statement. And there's a lot we still don't know about their weapons programs." In addition to the doubts about the botulinum B, several outside experts are also questioning the significance of Kay's claim that he uncovered covert "new research" in Iraq on such potential biowarfare agents as Brucella and Congo Crimean Hemorrhagic Fever as well as "continuing work" on ricin and aflatoxin that were not declared to U.N. inspectors. CCHF, as the hemorrhagic fever virus is known, is common in Iraq. The World Health Organization reports that the disease, which can cause intense bleeding and death, is "endemic in many countries in Africa, Europe and Asia." There is no evidence that Iraq or anyone else has weaponized it. "There are public health reasons to work with it in that part of the world," said Franz, the former bioweapons lab chief. "I wouldn't find it alarming that they're working on that." Brucella, which chiefly affects livestock, is also endemic to Iraq. U.S. military scientists weaponized the bacterium during the Cold War but did not consider it effective because it is slow acting and can be treated with antibiotics. U.N. inspectors have not found evidence that Iraq worked on Brucella as a weapon. Aflatoxin causes vomiting and other incapacitating symptoms but is rarely lethal in humans. The fungal toxin is chiefly known for causing liver cancer. Iraq produced aflatoxin as a weapon in the 1980s, but nonproliferation program director Zilinskas said it has never been clear why. "It's not particularly toxic, and its primary effects are long term," he said. "My feeling to this day is that it was a scam that the scientists put over on the decision-makers because it's easy to produce and the decision-makers wouldn't know it is useless as a biological weapon." Hussein's regime also had sought to weaponize ricin, which can be highly lethal if inhaled, but ended the program in 1990 after field tests failed to kill animals, according to U.N. reports. "They gave up using ricin as a weapon," Franz said. "That was the right decision, in my opinion." Because it is so difficult to produce the proper powdered form for aerosol distribution, he added, "you almost need to be hit by a brick of it to kill you." Former U.N. inspectors also questioned Kay's plan to search Iraq's 130 known ammunition storage sites for further evidence of chemical weapons; he has scoured 10 so far. Kay reported: "As Iraqi practice was not to mark much of their chemical ordnance and [was] to store it at the same [sites] that held conventional rounds, the size of the required search is enormous." U.N. inspectors found, however, that virtually all of Iraq's "special munitions," as chemical and biological weapons were known, carried distinctive, if inconsistent, markings. They included numbers, a black stripe, a white circle or a painted letter. "Kay's comment gives the impression [that chemical weapons] were kept with conventional munitions and he'll have to check every shell," said another former U.N. inspector, who asked not to be identified. "That's baloney. They kept them separated from regular munitions, they had separate security, and they had a separate chain of command. They were never co-located with conventional munitions." RIVER'S CORNER http://riverbendblog.blogspot.com/ * Baghdad Burning Tuesday, October 21, 2003 [.....] I heard some more details about the demonstration today The whole situation was outrageous and people are still talking about it. Ever since the occupation, employees of the Ministry of Oil are being searched by troops- and lately, dogs. The employees have been fed up the ministry itself is a virtual fortress now with concrete, barbed wire and troops. The employees stand around for hours at a time, waiting to be checked and let inside. Iraqis have gotten accustomed to the 'security checks'. The checks are worse on the females than they are on the males because we have to watch our handbags rummaged through and sometimes personal items pulled out and examined while dozens of people stand by, watching. Today, one of the women who work at the ministry, Amal, objected when the troops brought forward a dog to sniff her bag. She was carrying a Quran inside of it and to even handle a Quran, a Muslim has to be 'clean' or under 'widhu'. 'Widhu' is the process of cleansing oneself for prayer or to read from the Quran. We simply wash the face, neck, arms up to the elbows and feet with clean water and say a few brief 'prayers'. Muslims carry around small Qurans for protection and we've been doing it more often since the war- it gives many people a sense of security. It doesn't not mean the person is a 'fundamentalist' or 'extremist'. As soon as Amal protested about letting the dog sniff her bag because of the Quran inside, the soldier grabbed the Quran, threw it out of the bag and proceeded to check it. The lady was horrified and the dozens of employees who were waiting to be checked moved forward in a rage at having the Quran thrown to the ground. Amal was put in hand-cuffs and taken away and the raging mob was greeted with the butts of rifles. The Iraqi Police arrived to try to intervene, and found the mob had increased in number because it had turned from a security check into a demonstration. One of the stations showed police officers tearing off their "IP" badge- a black arm badge to identify them as Iraqi Police and shouting at the camera, "We don't want the badge- we signed up to help the people, not see our Quran thrown to the ground" Some journalists say that journalists' cameras were confiscated by the troops This is horrible. It made my blood boil just hearing about it- I can't imagine what the people who were witnessing it felt. You do not touch the Quran. Why is it so hard to understand that some things are sacred to people?! How would the troops feel if Iraqis began flinging around Holy Bibles or Torahs and burning crosses?! They would be horrified and angry because you do not touch a person's faith But that's where the difference is: the majority of Iraqis have a deep respect for other cultures and religions and that's what civilization is. It's not mobile phones, computers, skyscrapers and McDonalds; It's having enough security in your own faith and culture to allow people the sanctity of theirs Saturday, October 18, 2003 [.....] The topic of the moment is "Turkish troops". We discuss Turkish troops at breakfast, we discuss them as we get ready for lunch, we discuss them with neighbors as we communicate over the walls separating our homes. E. says it's the same at topic at gas stations, shops and street corners. The discussion isn't actually about Turkish troops, per se: it revolves more around the Puppets and their ability, or lack thereof, to convince the CPA what a bad idea introducing Turkish troops into Iraq would be. Iraqis of different ethnicities all have different opinions of late, but this is one thing we all seem to be agreeing upon- Turkish troops will only make the situation worse. There are all sorts of reasons why people don't like the idea of Turkish troops in the region. First, there's a lot of animosity between the Kurds and Turks; thousands of Kurds faced constant persecution while on Turkish territory- many of them were driven into Iraq. Ever since the beginning of the war, there have been several clashes between Kurdish militias and Turkish troops in northern Iraq. Second, everyone knows that Turkey has certain interests in the region- namely, Kirkuk and Mosul. Turkey has been overly eager to send in troops ever since the 'end' of the war in April. Third, Shi'a are adamant about not allowing Turkish troops into Iraq because Turks are predominantly Sunni and the thought of an aggressive Sunni army makes the majority of Shi'a nervous. One faction of Christian society in Iraq, Armenian-Iraqis, are dead set against having Turkish troops in Iraq. They speak of Turkish occupation, bloodshed, executions and being driven into Iraq. Armenian-Iraqis are horrified with the thought of having Turkish troops inside of Iraq. Then there are all of the historical reasons. For almost 400 years, Iraq was ruled by the Ottoman Empire.... The Ottoman Rule in Iraq ended in 1918, with the start of the British occupation. Iraqis haven't forgotten that during World War I, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis were forced to fight and die for the Ottoman Empire. Then there's the little issue of all the problems between Iraq and Turkey. Iraqis still haven't forgotten the infamous Ataturk Dam on the Furat (Euphrates), the fourth largest dam in the world. We had to watch the Euphrates diminish in front of our very eyes year after year, until in many areas, it seemed like nothing more than a stream. In a country that is largely composed of desert land, ebbing the flow of a river that many people depend on for survival is an atrocity. People here don't understand why there's so much insistence to bring in a Turkish army anyway. What good can it possibly do? America is emphasizing how important it will be to have 'Muslim troops' in the region- but what difference will it make? If Turkish troops enter under the supervision of an occupation army, they will be occupation troops- religion isn't going to make a difference. It's like this: imagine America being invaded and occupied by, say, North Korea. (Note: I only say 'North Korea' because of the cultural differences between the US and North Korea, and the animosity.... I, unlike Chalabi, am not privileged to information on WMD, etc.) Imagine Korean troops invading homes, detaining people and filling the streets with tanks and guns. Then imagine North Korea deciding it 'needed help' and bringing in?. Mexico. And you ask, "But why Mexico?!" and the answer is, "Well, Mexicans will understand you better because the majority of Americans are Christian, and the majority of Mexicans are Christian- you'll all get along famously." The Puppet Council is completely opposed to a Turkish presence inside of the country; America is insistent that there should be one.... we're all just watching from the sidelines, waiting to see just how much real respect the CPA has for the Puppet Council. _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. 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