April 19, 2002

Iraq News Wire

April 19, 2002
Iraq |

In this Wire:

I. Iraqi Claims on Dismantling its WMD

  • Over the past few months, the Iraqi press has intensified its campaign to prove that Iraq has complied with UN demands to dismantle its weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and its missile industry. Most recently, Al-Thawra daily, the official newspaper of the ruling Ba'ath party , published four consecutive editorials detailing the steps Iraq claimed to have taken to comply with the UN demands:


  1. "Provided detailed information about the locations, quantities, types of missiles and launchers, including their main and supporting components, and manufacturing locations.

  2. Destroyed all missiles, launchers, special and traditional warheads, the main and supporting components of missiles with a range that exceeds 150 km [94 miles].

  3. Destroyed the physical infrastructure for repairing and producing missiles over 150 km in range, whether fueled with liquid or solid fuel.

  4. Submitted a full and final report [to the inspection panel] supported by thousands of documents…"

"Between June and August 1998, the Iraqi government reported it completed the following:

  1. Ascertained that the balance of warheads is zero.

  2. Reviewed the status of local manufacturing of missile launchers, gyroscopes, warheads and the local efforts to destroy them.

  3. The [UN] Commission ascertained the destruction of fuel and oxidizer…

  4. The [UN] Commission ascertained the consumption of oxidizer (2435 tons), and fuel (660 tons)…"[1]

The Nuclear Program:

  1. "Submitted detailed information about the locations involved in the nuclear program, quantities and types of nuclear materials, and equipment that contributed to the nuclear activities.

  2. Destroyed all equipment, components, materials, and buildings related to the program.

  3. In 1993 and 1994, Iraq gave the Special Commission 127 kilograms of enriched uranium…

  4. The remaining 539 tons of raw uranium is now in the hands of the International Nuclear Energy Agency.

  5. Submitted the full and final report [to the inspection panel] supported by thousands of documents…"[2]

The Biological Program:

  1. "Iraq was forthcoming in informing the Commission about its biological program.

  2. The final report submitted in June 1996 contained detailed information and important documents, including the 1990 annual report of [the] Al-Hakm factory for the manufacturing of biological agents.

  3. All biological weapons were destroyed in 1991.

  4. All manufacturing sites were destroyed.

  5. All research and production equipment, including that used for civilian purposes, was destroyed. Total of 926 pieces.

  6. 30.5 tons of materials were destroyed under the supervision of the Special Commission." [3]

Chemical Weapons:

  1. "The Special Commission destroyed all empty equipment in [the] Al-Muthana plant, including 122 mm artillery shells.

  2. From June 1992 to June 1994, the Special Commission continued to dismantle the Al-Muthana plant with the help of Iraqi specialists…" [4]

Saddam to Iraqi Nuclear Scientists - I Supported You From the Start:

In a meeting with Dr. Fadhil Muslim Al-Janabi, Director of the Nuclear Energy Commission, and a group of Iraqi researchers and scientists, Saddam Hussein told the group: "I feel very happy when I see a great cooperation between the nuclear energy [researchers and scientists] and their brethren in Air-Defenses or any other military or civilian endeavor… The Iraqi people will tell you that I have been with you since the beginning of the revolution… [They will tell you] that I have supported nuclear energy and have been concerned with its issues, and that I have been providing it with the necessary state and scholarly resources… [Y]ou preceded many other state activities, since we gave you preference in [obtaining] Master and Doctoral degrees over – for example - the Ministry of Industry and Minerals, as well as others… Therefore, you owe the Iraqis, and you owe Saddam Hussein too …" [5]

II: "Ansar Al-Islam" in Northern Iraq: New Terrorist Organization that Ties Saddam Hussein to Al-Qa'ida and Bin Laden

  • The Turkish newspaper Radikal reported that Kurdish military sources claimed a new organization called Ansar Al-Islam [Supporters of Islam] with links to Osama bin Laden and Al-Qa'ida was established in northern Iraq. The organization, which also has ties to Saddam Hussein, controls about 10 villages with 4,000 inhabitants near the Iranian border.[6]

  • "Halabja [Northern Iraq] – Local security officials in Al-Suleimaniya warn that some members of 'Ansar Al-Islam' [previously named 'Army of Islam,' i.e. Jund Al-Islam], Al-Qa'ida and the Taliban who were driven out of Afghanistan by Operation Anaconda, have now joined the battle-front in northern Iraq… New information surfaces daily about ties between Ansar Al-Islam, bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. One of the security officials said that the Iraqi government has been providing secret financial support and training to Ansar Al-Islam in order to weaken the Kurdish opposition…" "Some Kurdish commanders are minimizing the danger of Ansar Al-Islam…" "The organization has only a few hundred fighters, but it controls several Kurdish villages in northern Iraq, close to the Iranian border and on the fringes of the area protected by the U.S."

    "The information about the ties between Ansar Al-Islam and Al-Qa'ida came from Rafid Ibrahim Fattah, an Iraqi who was arrested by the forces of Jalal Al-Talabani [in northern Iraq]… He had fled from Baghdad in the mid 1980's and lived in a refugee camp in Tehran…" For the remainder of the interview Al-Talabani spoke about his meetings with Iraqi fighters who returned from 'Mujahideen Camps' in Pakistan, and how he himself joined a training camp in Afghanistan for some time, elaborating about meetings and discussions that took place while he was in Qandahar.[71]

III. Considering a Change of the Iraqi Regime

  • An op-ed article in the Arabic London daily Al-Hayat written by Muhammed Al-Rumeihi (identified only as a Kuwaiti writer) stated:

    "…There is an overall feeling among Iraqis and others about the importance of seizing the current historical opportunity to [affect] change [in the Iraqi regime]. Such an opportunity, if wasted, might create tremendous frustration in large segments of the Iraqi people. But Iraq is not Afghanistan. It has a much greater strategic and economic importance, [because of its] proximity to the Gulf area with its energy reserves… The pessimists contend that the present threats echoed in the Western media are just a formality since the [Iraqi] regime is capable of accepting a compromise, on the condition that it stays in power… [I]n such [a] case, the frustration of the Iraqi people will turn into acquiescence or even into support to the present policies…"[8]

  • The Saudi magazine Al-Majala discussed potential successors to Saddam:

    "Former Iraqi Brigadier General Najib Al-Salihi is the candidate to replace Saddam Hussein if he is removed from power. In a phone interview with Al-Salihi, Al-Majala asked him about his acceptance of American military assistance [to topple Saddam], and how the Iraqi army will react to that. He said that the purpose of military action from outside is to create an opportunity for Iraqis inside Iraq to affect change, and that the Iraqi army will have a role in that…"[9]

  • "On the other hand, Al-Hayat reported [on February 11, 2002] that [in case of a regime change] the U.S. proposed former Iraqi Lieutenant General Nizar Al-Khazraji, who lives in exile in Denmark, as a successor to Saddam…"[10]

IV. Opinions and News on Northern Iraq

  • "Barham Saleh, Director of the Kurdish Administration in Suleimaniya, northern Iraq, survived an assassination attempt that killed five of his bodyguards, and two of the attackers… Jalat Al-Talabani, leader of the National Union [one of the two main Kurdish parties] met with Saleh after the incident and declared to the local media: 'Such incidents do not weaken our resolve to uproot terrorism in Kurdistan'… Mas'oud Al-Barazani, leader of the Democratic Kurdistan Party [the second main Kurdish party], sent a telegram to Al-Talabani and Saleh condemning the attack… stressing that he supported the efforts to uproot terrorism in Kurdistan."[11]

  • "Mas'oud Al-Barazani, Chairman of the Democratic Kurdistan Party (Iraq) stated that the Kurds would not take sides in any military operation without knowing the nature of the new regime and its platform. He stressed that the Iraqi Kurds do not aim to establish a separate Kurdish state… and that they prefer the federation model that was adopted by the regional parliament [self-rule region]…"[12]

  • Under the headline, 'The Kurdish street rules out a strike against Iraq,' the London-based Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat published a report stating that the Kurds in northern Iraq think that American threats against Iraq are just propaganda designed to obtain concessions from Baghdad. On the other hand, political analysts in northern Iraq think that America will topple the current regime.[13]

  • According to [Iraqi opposition]: "A source in Iraq's Kurdistan Labor Party reported that Turkish airplanes raided several of its positions inside Iraq on March 21st… No casualties were reported… The source said that Turkey had stopped such attacks for several months because it had concluded that they did not resolve the conflict… [T]he source considered this month's raid an 'act of intimidation' only; therefore, it did not warrant retaliation…"[14]

V. Iraq's Relations with Its Neighbor:

  • In an Interview with the Turkish newspaper Aydinlik, Tariq Aziz, Iraq's Deputy PM, said:
    "…In my humble opinion, it is in the best interest of Iraq and Turkey not to heed the American schemes… [I]n the past, we always maintained good relations with Turkey – except during the aggression of 1991, which resulted in great losses to both Turkey and Iraq… [N]ow the situation is calm and we are resuming economic and trade relations with Turkey… also, we are trying to solve old problems with Iran peacefully and reasonably…"

    Asked whether the Kurds in northern Iraq will play a similar role to that of the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan, Aziz replied: "[It is] not realistic, and it shows that America is stupid and does not know the region well. The Kurdish groups are not the Northern Alliance, [they] were never in power in Baghdad [the way the Alliance was in Afghanistan]... And to a certain extent, we maintained peaceful relations with the two [Kurdish] groups…Therefore they don't have a good reason to participate in a strike against Iraq… If Iraq, or any country in the region is divided ethnically, the whole region will explode… and if the Kurds create a puppet state [in Iraq] under the U.S. patronage, this will absolutely lead to a similar situation in neighboring countries…"[15]

Different Opinions on the Territorial Integrity of Iraq

  • "In a meeting held by the Iraqi Turkoman Intellectuals' Association, Minister Dogru said Turkey is for the territorial integrity of the country Iraq. Minister Dogru said Turkey should be strengthened in the region and they want the Iraqi Turkomans to live in peace. Mr. Dogru said a strong Turkey would provide totally different solutions to problems of northern Iraq."

    "In the same meeting, President of [the] Turkish Chamber of Commerce in Ankara Sinan Aygun mentioned the efforts to establish a Kurdish state in the region and said: 'With God's will, we will take the lost territory back. We would want nothing but to have Mossul and Kirkuk back as our land.'"[16]

Iraq - Iran Relations:

  • During a recent visit to Iran, Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri said: "Iran and Iraq, the two strongest Islamic countries in the region, can coordinate their positions to deal with current international problems… He added that historical, geographical, cultural, and religious rapprochement [between the two countries] diminishes the significance of the negative issues [that exist between them]…"[17]

  • "Iranian sources reported that Iraq promised Tehran it would curb the activities of the Iranian armed opposition (Mujahideen Khlaq) on Iraqi soil... In case of an American strike against Iraq, Iran promised to help as much as possible. The Iranian assistance will not be military, but political and humanitarian…"[18]

[1]Al-Thawra (Iraq), March 13, 2002.

[2] Al-Thawra (Iraq), March 14, 2002.

[3] Al-Thawra Weekly (Iraq), March 28, 2002.

[4] Al-Thawra Weekly (Iraq), March 28, 2002.

[5] Al-Thawra (Iraq), April 10, 2002.

[6] Radikal (Turkey), March 29, 2002.

[7] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), April 3, 2002.

[8] Al-Hayat (London), March 8, 2002.

[9] Al-Quds (East Jerusalem), March 4, 2002.

[10] Al-Hayat (London), March 7, 2002.

[11] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), April 4, 2002.

[12], March 28, 2002.

[13] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), March 26, 2002.

[14], March 30, 2002.

[15] Aydinlik (Turkey), March 24, 2002.

[16] NTV (Turkey), March 24, 2002.

[17] Babil (Iraq), January 29, 2002.

[18] Al-Hayat (London), January 28, 2002.

Share this Report: