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memri
July 31, 2003 No.
546

Editorials from the New Iraqi Press: MEMRI Baghdad Dispatch (3)

The following report is the third release from MEMRI's Baghdad office. It focuses on editorials which appeared in the Iraqi press regarding the deaths of Saddam Hussein's sons, the new governing council of Iraq, the coalition provisional administration, and the role of the U.N. in Iraq. In addition to its regular service of dispatches from the Iraqi media, MEMRI will issue, as an annex, a biographical note on the leading members of the Iraqi Governing Council. The first biography is that of Dr. Adnan Al-Pachachi.

I. On the Fate of Uday and Qusay

Face to Face with the Truth

An editorial by the editor-in-chief of the independent weekly Al-'Ahd Al-Jadeed (The New Era) welcomed the death of Saddam's sons: "Yesterday, the Iraqis happily welcomed the death of the greatest symbols of evil, of torment and degradation of the Iraqi people… [v]ery few nations in the world suffered such humiliation [as Iraqis suffered] and abuse from those who, regretfully, died at the hands of the occupiers, while the Iraqi people were unable to stand face to face with those murderers and exact revenge from those savage executioners who engaged in abnormal terror against the whole nation, the army, a woman, a young woman, a young man, teenagers, innocent old men, and mothers who had tears on their cheeks during years of torture. Unfortunately there was no opportunity for millions of people to settle the accounts with the sons of Saddam Hussein who terrified the people and who practiced all kinds of savage torture against the weakest of Allah's creations… Despite all the rejoicing, we cannot help admitting that we wish we could have settled the accounts with Saddam's sons. This is the wish of every Iraqi." [1]

Note: There are close to 70 dailies and weeklies published in Iraq, many of them characterize themselves as "politically independent," while other dailies are clearly associated with established political parties or groups such as Al-Mu'tamar (Iraqi National Congress headed by Dr. Ahmad Chalabi), Al-Nahdha (Liberal Democratic Group under Dr. Al-Pachachi), Al-'Adala(of the Iraqi Supreme Revolutionary Council), and Al-Aswaq (Iraqi Industrial Federation). To the extent possible, MEMRI will try to identify the affiliation of the newspapers quoted in this dispatch.

'The End'

In an article titled "The End," Al-Ayyam (affiliation unknown) wrote: "The two sons of Saddam have been killed and this is Allah's will. It reminds the Iraqis how the [two sons] used to corner their enemies and demonstrate in front of the people their ability to harm and destroy and kill without mercy. It was Allah's will that Uday and Qusay die before their father and for him to see in his own eyes the meaning of killing a child at high noon in front of his parents. How many Iraqi men and women have had this happen to them without the killers mov[ing] a mustache or [having it affect their] conscience? God's will has clipped his [i.e. Saddam's] two wings as a prelude to the elimination of this evil group that has for so long abused the security, the fortunes, and the honor of Iraqi women. Uday and Qusay have been killed and their pages will be turned forever." [2]

'Leave Saddam's Family Alone—It is Iraqi After All'

An editorial published in Al-Yawm Al-Akher (Al-Munajjed Publishing, which usually publishes articles in favor of Saddam) stated: "Not out of affection or fear do we say the time has come to leave Saddam Hussein's family alone, particularly what is related to his wife and daughters. Publicizing the most intimate information about them will, at the end, reflect on us, the Iraqi society. Ultimately, they are Iraqis. While it is true that the previous regime has left harmful fingerprints on the entire Iraqi society, we have to deal with them with lenience and forgiveness because we are Muslims and we are better than they are." [3]

Supporters of Saddam Hussein Threaten Revenge

According to the newspaper Al-Shira',supporters of Saddam Hussein sent an email to Paul Bremer, "copied to Saddam Hussein," threatening to take revenge against the coalition forces and declared to Saddam that they were all his sons. The alleged revenge, they wrote, would continue for a week, reaching its peak on July 30, "the Day of Revenge." [4]

Not in Defense of Saddam

Al-Balat(The Royal Court), which is published by the Iraqi National Coalition, reflects the views of Sherif Hussein, who is a claimant to the throne. The editor-in-chief of the publication decried the fact that Iraqis did not find it in themselves to punish the looters and the thieves who destroyed the country, and said that "if only the Iraqis had learnt from Western democracy and conducted a general referendum among all citizens, except the looters and their relatives, and asked them for their verdict on those who destroyed the country in such an evil and barbaric manner [meaning Saddam's sons]… they would have screamed: 'Death… Death to all those who brought shame on the country and harmed its people…' [The Iraqis] wish that Iraq could have put an end to all mass graves with one last big mass grave for the looters… Baghdad was about to realize that in 1991, but the opportunity dissipated in the face of savagery…" The article continued, stating that "no one can defend Saddam and clear him of the [crimes of] mass-graves… and perhaps the Iraqis have been saturated with murder to the point that they may not want to kill even one looter… but the laws of the universe –according to the article - decree death to whoever harms the motherland and society and if "defending the country is a sacred responsibility, then fighting those who betray it is more than sacred." [5]

II. The Governing Council

'Citizens Expect Quick Treatment of their Social and Security Problems'

An editorial in the twice-weekly newspaper Al-Mu'tamar ( Iraqi National Congress) stated that "The number of press communiqués issued by the Governing Council has reached 15 through July 23. All of them were meant to serve the Iraqi people who have suffered enormously at the hands of the previous, discredited, regime."

"Political observers maintain that the council is moving slowly and that the Iraqi citizen has not felt [real progress was made on] his economic, social, and security problems."

"The citizens are anxious to find out when the new government would be established and when the Council would impose its authority on the ground. The citizens are also asking why members of the Council have not intervened seriously in the process of selecting elements of the security system and the police and [instead left] all of this in the hands of the allied forces. Why doesn't the Council create a mechanism to coordinate between the Iraqi police and the American forces which seem to live in a state of confusion due to a lack of coordination and a clear vision on administering Iraq ." [6]

'The Powers of Paul Bremer after His Return to Our Country. Wisdom Calls for their Transfer to the Governing Council'

Al-Ittihad ( National Union of Kurdistan ) wrote under the above title: "…Ambassador Paul Bremer was in the capital of his country during the killing of the two sons and returned to our country with broad powers. Wisdom suggests that these powers should be handed over to the Governing Council."

"The Iraqis want sovereignty, bread and freedom - the Holy Trinity for survival and construction. Those who liberated us from dictatorship are truly our allies and the Iraqis do not and will not forget their kindness."

"The Iraqi will and the Iraqi laws [minus the laws of the despot] are those which the Iraqi personality absorbs, not the laws of the United States or Europe ."

"The Chinese say 'the greater the number of laws, the greater are the number of thieves,' but the Russians say that the guest is gold, then silver, then tin."

"When the Americans arrest a thief or a murderer, they tie his wrist and then read him his civil rights, such as the right to remain silent and to have a lawyer, and finally they have abolished the death sentence. All of it helps him to escape justice and return to crime."

"The British in the South, specifically in Basra , do not face heavyweight difficulties nor do they face members of the gangs of the despot who is hiding in a basement. Why do the British avoid the daily killing? General Maud [who led the British expeditionary force into Iraq in World War I] is no longer alive to answer that question. Why don't the Allies, the Americans in particular, find out in the archives of Kurdistan in Iraq the suitable road for sovereignty in Iraq ." [7]

Sunni Muslims Demonstrate in Baghdad

Al-Ittijah weekly (affiliation unknown) reported that Sunni worshippers demonstrated in Baghdad against the Governing Council accusing it of spreading the seeds of schism in society. Harith Al-Durri, the imam of Um-Al-Qurah Mosque in Baghdad, called on the armed people who attack the American forces to continue their efforts as a way of defending Iraq and its unity. [8]

'Promises'

In an article titled "Promises," Al-Aswaq (Iraqi Industrial Federation) wrote: "No one knows yet why the inability to restore security in Baghdad… The Governing Council… has not yet determined what to do in this unruly security [situation]… Even the meeting of the Arab foreign ministers - which does not accomplish anything anyway -… did not pay attention to the dire situation in Baghdad."

The editorial further described the situation in the city and asked: "Why do tens of citizens die in Baghdad each day? Why doesn't anyone pay attention to the Arab merchants who launder their dirty billions by buying properties and orchards in Baghdad?..." The article then detailed the promises that have not been kept, such as restoration of electricity and telephone service, holding general elections, and writing a new constitution. The editorial concluded: "In general, all these promises keep being postponed whenever their deadlines arrive, until Doomsday." [9]

A Point of View: Why these Croaking Voices?

An editorial in Al'Adala (Iraqi Supreme Revolutionary Council headed by Ayatollah Baqir Al-Hakim) criticized the Arab media for distributing "false accusations against Iraqi nationals" regarding the present situation in Iraq. It further commented that "some of them [i.e. the Arab media] go as far as saying that Iraq was lost after Saddam, and pretend to be concerned about the fate of Iraq more than the Iraqis themselves. Those media people were mum over three decades [when] they turned their backs on the rights of the Iraqi people, cheered the tyrant and bestowed upon him titles that he did not own… They embellished their praise to him, and he inflated his generosity to them… and they were thankful and even more expectant. The only things that connected these Arab media people with Iraq were money and greed. They had no interest in the ordeals of this nation… they covered up the crimes of the despot by hailing his chivalry, courage, and misadventures… Those who are shedding crocodile tears over Iraq today did not shed even one tear over millions of Iraqis who were buried alive by Saddam, or [for] those whom he has driven out of their homes and appropriated their money and property… So when will those mercenaries refrain from their vile deeds and their false speak…?" [10]

'Party Secretary General Receives Russian Charge D'Affaires'

The weekly Dar Al-Salam (Iraqi Islamic Party) reported: The secretary general of the Iraqi Islamic Party, Dr. Muhsen Abd Al-Hamid, received in his office the Russian Charge d'Affaires. The two reviewed recent developments in Iraq and the Russian position toward the country. The Russian diplomat stressed Russia's concern for the development of its relations with Iraq and its commitment to the restoration of its freedom and sovereignty. The secretary general thanked the Russian diplomat for supporting the Governing Council which was a first step toward self-government. [11]

Ayatollah Al-Shirazi Criticizes the Representation of the Governing Council

The newspaper Al-Ra'i Al-Aam (affiliation unknown) carried a statement issued on behalf of Ayatollah Sadeq Al-Husseini Al-Shirazi, who sits in Karbala (the second holy city, after Najaf, for the Shi'a Muslims), which criticized the number of seats allocated to the Shi'a in the Government Council. He said the Shi'a have received 14 out of 25 seats, or 56%. The statement said this is a return to the dark and despotic past which sought to conceal the overwhelming majority of the Shi'a in Iraq. The statement said the number of representatives for the Shi'a did not take into account that the Shi'a are also part of the Kurdish and Turkeman communities. The Ayatollah insisted on fairer representation for the Shi'a in the Governing Council which can only be accomplished through free elections. [12]

III. The Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA)

'Raiding the Offices of the Supreme Council [of the Islamic Revolution]: An Abnormal Phenomenon that Must Stop"

Al-'Adala, (a twice weekly publication of the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution), maintained that "a strange phenomenon is taking place under our own eyes… with every raid that the American special forces carry out against our offices, we witness an increase in the number of people who come to us, and the political role of the Supreme Council is enhanced. So how can we explain that?" The paper answers by saying that there is "a unifying bond between the Council and the people… one of them is the fact that the people, just like the Council, are subjected to arbitrary raids that are carried out so brutishly and without the basic tenets of human dignity and human rights… they contradict the democratic and freedom values set by the great American revolution as well as the The Hague and Geneva Conventions regarding occupied countries…"

"After discussing the coalition forces' justifications for such raids, the paper stated: "Don't they [the coalition forces] know that these are Saddam Hussein's methods… and that they help him justify what he had done in the past... when he used to justify his abnormal methods [by maintaining] that the Iraqis cannot be ruled except through oppression and subjugation." [13]

'Spreading Conflicts among the Communities'

Al-Shira' [the Sail, affiliation unknown] wrote: A plan was prepared by the security adviser to Bremer to spread conflicts among the Iraqi communities. According to this plan, there will be three axes of conflict. The first axis will be [the] Shi'a. It will involve the supporters of [Muqtada] Al-Sadr and the supporters of [Ayatollah Baqir] Al-Hakim. The second axis is Sunni and it will involve the conservative trend and the Wahabbi trend which has external connections and which increased its presence since the fall of the old regime. The third and final axis will involve the internal politicians and the external politicians [those who returned to Iraq from exile recently].

The paper wrote that the plan was prepared by John Solt (phonetic) the security adviser of Paul Bremer in collaboration with Paul Wolfowitz "the extremist deputy secretary of defense."

'Americans Withdraw from Nasseriyya'

According to Al-Balat (Iraqi National Coalition), a spokesman for the military forces in Nasseriyya announced the withdrawal of the American forces from the province the handover of responsibilities to Italian forces which completed their deployment in the middle of the month.

In a proclamation to the people of the province, the Italian commander called on the citizens to continue their collaboration for the sake of providing the best services for them. [14]

CPA Talks about the Ba'athists

An editorial in Al-Tayyar (published by the Iraqi Democratic Current)read: "An American source at the CPA, who insisted on anonymity, said the U.S. was determined to eradicate completely any signs of the Ba'ath Party. The U.S. has therefore decided that 15,000-30,000 former party members who are loyal to Saddam Hussein will be denied any administrative or political role in the new Iraq."

Paul Bremer who acknowledged the security problem said that the number of soldiers who would be responsible for security in Baghdad will be increased to 4000 by the end of this month. [15]

IV. The Role of the U.N.

Expanding the U.N. Role to Accomplish Important National Strategic Tasks

An editorial in Al-Nahdha(Democratic Liberal Group headed by Dr. Adnan Al-Pachachi—see annex below) discussed the report submitted to the special session of the Security Council on July 22, 2003, about the role of the U.N. in the political process in Iraq. The article stated that the report "stressed the need to expand this role and said that a large segment of the Iraqi people supported it… because it would speed up the restoration of Iraq's autonomy and allow the Iraqis to rule themselves by themselves." According to the article, the report exposed problems with resolution 1483 that delineated the relationship between the U.N. and the coalition administration, then went on to say that "there are positive and important initiatives from the U.N. to give the partnership between the two sides the largest and most meaningful context, especially in the political process that will benefit the Iraqi people. However this effort will remain theoretical if not accompanied by clear and fast decisions and concrete assurances for the active participation of the U.N." [16]

V. Special News Reports

The Pentagon Closes Iranian Offices in Al-'Amara

Special Pentagon forces have closed numerous Iranian offices in the governorates of Misan and Al-Samawa (southern Iraq) after they were discovered to have been engaged in sabotage activities intended to spread disorder and confusion in the Iraqi street. The forces also arrested two Iranian agents, Ali Saifi and Ahmad Safawi. [17]

With American Blessings – Ba'athists Occupy Leading Positions in Baghdad

The daily Al-'Adalah(Iraqi Supreme Revolutionary Council) reported that a number of bad elements of the Ba'ath Party continue to occupy senior positions in the government of the city of Baghdad, with American blessings. The paper reported on three particular individuals, two of whom serve as deputy mayors—Fareq Abd Al-Razzaq Al-A'ssam and Hadi Muhammad Abd Al-Hussein who are known for their loyalty to the old regime.

A Former Intelligence Officer is Sent to America

Al-'Adala has learned that the director of one of Saddam's intelligence branches, Hassan Hadi, was readmitted to the new directorate of intelligence in one of the branches dealing with the neighboring countries and the Islamic movements, namely the Shi'a. He was sent to America for training.

A reliable source said that a high-ranking position is awaiting Hassan Hadi upon his return to Baghdad. The same source said that tens of the most senior intelligence officers have returned to their previous jobs and are being paid more than what they had received during the regime of Saddam Hussein. [18]

Ayatollah Al-Sistani Rules Against the Use of Stolen Government Cars

Ayatollah Ali Al-Husseini Al-Sistani, one of the key clerics in Najaf, issued a Fatwa (religious edict) forbidding the use of stolen government vehicles to transport people to visit the holy shrines in Najaf and Karbala. [19]

The Establishment of a Free Trade Zone between Iraq, Turkey, and Israel

Iraqis close to the representative of the U.S. Treasury in Baghdad maintain that a free trade zone between Iraq, Turkey and Israel will be established in two years. Meetings have been held in Amman, Jordan, with the representatives of the three countries.

Hameed Shuker, head of the free trade zones in Iraq, said that a meeting with private companies from Iraq, Turkey, Israel and other countries in the region is planned for September.

The Governor of Iraq's central bank, Faleh Daoud Salman, said the U.S. government will support the creation of a free trade zone between Iraq, Turkey and the "Zionist entity." This will be accomplished in two stages - the first stage would be to link the free trade zone through a preferential trade agreement with the U.S. In the second stage the U.S. will spend $5-8 billion to achieve the best intelligence in countries which may wish to join the agreement. [20]

'Court in Ramadi Postpones Trial of American Secretary of Defense'

The court has postponed a hearing in a suit brought against Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and General Tommy Franks by the Iraqi citizen Abbood Serhan. In his suit, Serhan claimed that American forces bombed his house which caused the death of 17 members of his family including his wife, 10 children and grandchildren, as well as 200 heads of sheep. [21]

Sabotage of a Railway Track

"Some miserable souls who are linked to the extinct regime and other extremist organization" have sabotaged early Saturday (July 26) the railway track in the Latifiyya area, thereby causing disruption in the train service between Baghdad and Basra. [22]

Annex—Iraqi Leadership Biographical Series

Dr. Adnan Al-Pachachi

Dr. Adnan Al-Pachachi is the "old man" of the Iraqi politicians who returned to Iraq following the demise of the Saddam regime. He is a scion of one of the most distinguished Iraqi political families under the Hashemite monarchy andhas returned to Baghdad after 30 years in exile. [23]

Adnan Al-Pachachi was born in Baghdad in 1923. As was common for children of his social milieu, he was enrolled at the American school in Baghdad. For high school, he was sent to Victoria College in Alexandria, Egypt, an institution deemed to provide an appropriate educational and recreational environment for the aristocratic and wealthy children of royal families (for example, the late King Hussein of Jordan.) Upon graduation from Victoria College in 1940, Al-Pachachi enrolled at the American University of Beirut to study political science and history, graduating in 1943.

Foreign Service

Upon graduation from college Al-Pachachi joined the Foreign Service. In 1945, he was assigned to the Iraqi Embassy in Washington as Third Secretary. After a hiatus as a consul in Alexandria he returned to Washington in 1953 as First Secretary. In 1959 he was appointed as the permanent representative of Iraq to the United Nations, a position he held until 1965. He became a minister of foreign affairs in 1966. Suspicious of his loyalty, the new Ba'ath government in Baghdad sent him to the United Nations again in 1968 where he remained until 1971 when he decided to join the nascent state of United Arab Emirates as a counselor to the head of state, Sheikh Zayd bin Sultan Al-Nahyan. He retired in 1993 to settle in England and to take an active part in the Iraqi opposition activities while in exile.

Al-Pachachi's Political and Intellectual Assets

As a professional diplomat with experience extending beyond Iraq's borders, Al-Pachachi brings to the new Governing Council considerable insights and experience. His vision of the Iraq of the future is dominated by three principles: the State must be established on a secular constitution and by free elections in a unified Iraq (Mesopotamia has been unified, he says, since the dawn of history); second, there must be a transitional government with executive and legislative powers; and third, the United Nations should play a role in overseeing the country's transition to full sovereignty.

Al-Pachachi considers himself the extension of a bygone golden liberal era-an individual who seeks compromises without sacrificing principles. [24]

Despite his age, Al-Pachachi has been quite energetic in recent weeks, traveling to Kuwait, Egypt, and especially to the United Arab Emirates, where he has influence as a former counselor to the Emir, in order to drum up support for the establishment of an active governing council rather than a mere advisory council. A Saudi daily has even suggested that it was the intervention of the Emir of the United Arab Emirates with the British Government that persuaded Mr. Bremer to accept Al-Pachachi's demand for such a council. [25] Most recently, he spoke before the Security Council in New York.

Al-Pachachi's age may also be his biggest asset. At the age of 80, he is not seen as a long-term threat to anyone's political ambitions; thus, he is the perfect leader for any transitional government. But precisely because of his age, his experience and his charismatic personality, one should not underestimate the influence that Al-Pachachi could exercise in the building of a liberal and secular Iraq committed to political freedom, human rights, a democratic form of government and a national economy dominated by market forces. Characteristically, he stated in a lecture in Abu Dhabi that "The Iraqi people are no longer interested in knowing whether the reasons for this war are legitimate or not… their main concern now is their security…" [26]

In his most recent interview with the Arabic-language London-based daily Al-Hayat, Al-Pachachi outlined his major concerns on his way to speak before the Security Council:

• The ultimate objective is the promulgation of a new constitution and the election of a new government accepted by the Iraqi people and the international community.

• We shall ask the U.N. to play a central and effective role.


[1] Al-'Ahd Al-Jadeed, July 24, 2003.

[2] Al-Ayyam, July 24, 2003.

[3] Al-Yawm Al-Akher, July 24, 2003.

[4] Al-Shira', July 26, 2003.

[5] Al-Balat July 24, 2003.

[6] Al-Mu'tamar, July 26, 2003.

[7] Al-Attihad, July 28, 2003.

[8] Al-Ittijah, an educational weekly magazine, July 23, 2003.

[9] Al-Aswaq, July 27, 2003.

[10] Al-'Adala July 28, 2003.

[11] Dar Al-Salam July 24, 2003.

[12] Al-Ra'i Al-Aam, July 26, 2003.

[13] Al-'Adala, July 24, 2003.

[14] Al-Balatt, issued by the Iraqi National Coalition, July 24, 2003.

[15] Al-Tayyar, July 26, 2003.

[16] Al-Nahdha July 28, 2003.

[17] Al-Yawm Al-Akher, July 24, 2003.

[18] Al-Adala, July 24, 2003.

[19] Al-Ra'I Al-Aam, July 26, 2003.

[20] Al-Sa'ah, a daily newspaper, organ of the United National Movement, July 26, 2003.

[21] Al-Jazeera, an independent social weekly, July 27, 2003.

[22] Al-Aswaq, organ of the Iraqi Indusrialists, July 27, 2003.

[23] The biographic note on Al-Pachachi draws on an article which appeared in Al-Sharq Al-Awsat on "The Personalities of Transition—Adnan Al-Pachachi "the old man" of the opposition and the liberal in a radical environment." April 19, 2003.

[24] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, April 23, 2003.

[25] Al-Hahay, July 7, 2003.

[26] Al-Khaleej, June 5, 2003.