July 16, 2002

Iraq News Wire

July 16, 2002
Iraq |

I. Saddam Mocks CIA Plan to Topple Him
"… In a meeting with a number of Ba'ath party leaders, President Saddam Hussein mocked the reports about budgeting resources to carry out plans [to topple his regime] and said that if they were short of money he would look into helping them. He said that this subject was 30 years old … and was not suitable for a super power with any self esteem … He went on to say: "We are satisfied now because they target the leadership … let them leave the people alone by lifting the sanctions … and then give a free hand to their intelligence services to go after the leaders…"[1]

II. Saddam: Party Leaders Will Be Accountable If They Abuse Power
"In a meeting with a group of leaders in the Iraqi Ba'ath party … Saddam Hussein emphasized the need to respect the rights of citizens, and to condemn abuses of power … He said that 'some of the most important reasons for a rift between the people and any governmental or party entity are mistakes made by people who surround the leader, and not necessarily his own [personal] mistakes or the mistakes of his relatives or those who live under the wings of his position …"[2]

III. Saddam's Novels to Become Part of Iraqi Schools' Curriculum
"According to the Iraqi weekly Tikrit, the Iraqi Ministry of Education decided to revise the curriculum for the upcoming academic year to include three novels that seem to have been penned by President Saddam Hussein …[The novels were published under a pen-name, but are widely attributed to him]. According to a reliable source in the ministry, the purpose of the revisions is to improve the literary products [of Iraq] and to distribute them among students…"[3]

IV. Iraq Marks 21st Anniversary of the Destruction of Its Nuclear Reactor
On June 7, 2002, the Iraqi official press marked the anniversary of the Israeli raid on Iraq's nuclear reactor with attacks on what it termed "The Zionist Terrorism and its American support. "In one such article, Al-Thawra daily, the official newspaper of the Iraqi Ba'ath party stated:

"… Iraq's nuclear program, which was dedicated to peaceful purposes, was a top priority target for Zionist terrorist activities… They did everything to prevent Iraq from implementing its peaceful national nuclear program by using false propaganda, assassinating scientists, sabotaging parts and components of the nuclear reactor before shipping them to Iraq … However, the enemies failed to sway Iraq from pursuing its national program … and the proud Iraqi people were able to keep on developing their skills and scientific abilities despite the enemy's attempts…"[4]

V. A New Scientific and Technical Advisory Office at the Iraqi Nuclear Organization
"… Sources within the Iraqi Nuclear Organization said that the [new] office would provide scientific and technical advice and information and training to government offices and other sectors in Iraq, as well as exchange information with similar entities inside and outside Iraq… The establishment of this office reflects the need to cultivate scientific, technical, technological, and human resources within the [Nuclear] Organization in order to accomplish rapid and comprehensive progress…"[5]

VI. Shortly: Satellite TV Reception in Baghdad
"… Pursuant to President Saddam Hussein's directives to allow the citizens to view satellite TV channels without undermining our social and moral values, the Ministry of Information is set to begin satellite TV [reception]. At this point, the residents of Baghdad who purchase a decoder will be able to receive 14 channels … which include programs for children, family, science, sports, folkloric songs, documentaries, and interviews… The cost of the decoder is about 275,000 dinars and the annual subscription is 110,000 dinars…"[6]

Commenting on the cost of acquiring such a service, said:
"…The cost is more than many Iraqis could afford, since the annual income of most governmental employees ranges between 100-200 thousand dinars…"[7]

VII. Future Iraqi Oil Exports: 6.6 Million Barrels Per Day
"The Ministry of Oil announced that the four outlets for exporting Iraqi oil via the Gulf, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Syria will make it possible to export 6.6 million barrels a day in the future… Iraq's Oil Minister Amer Muhammad Rashid said that Iraq is trying to increase its oil production … and that the ministry developed a ten-year plan to develop the oil sector…"[8]

VIII. Where is the Milk?
"Iraqi officials shed crocodile tears over the shortages of milk for children, while their milk took a swim at Bneider… Milk that was produced and bottled in Iraq, and seems to have been exported illegally, fell from cargo ships and was washed [up on] the shores of Bneider… So, which milk were they crying over? The one intended for marketing? Or the milk that they have been depriving the children from having?" [The paper published a picture of the bottled milk that washed to the shores of Bneider.][9]

IX. The Kurds in Iraq: News and Opinions
Since about mid-May there have been a flurry of news reports and articles about the Kurds in Iraq and the discussions at various levels about the present and future situation in northern Iraq:

1. Efforts to Establish Turkish/Iranian/Syrian Coalition Against a 'Kurdish State' in Iraq
"Diplomatic sources told Al-Hayat daily that Ankara is trying to coordinate its efforts with Iran and Syria against the possibility of establishing a Kurdish state in northern Iraq… In his upcoming visit to Teheran, the Turkish President will discuss cooperation with Iran in fighting terrorism… and the implementation of security agreements that were reached by the interior ministries in the two countries. His aim is to realize a Turkish military superiority over the remaining elements of the Kurdish Labor Party in the border triangle of Iran-Turkey-Iraq. Ankara maintains that certain conservative factions in Iran are secretly providing logistic assistance the Kurdish party…"[10]

2. Turkey: We Will Not Give Up Kirkuk
"Sources [unidentified] reported that the government of Nechervan Idris Al-Barazani will proclaim independence in the fall… According to these sources, the U.S. has assured Al-Barazani's administration of its support of the plan, and that the State Department and the Pentagon have been working on it with urgency…" [The paper went on to name the members of a Kurdish cabinet headed by Nechervan Idris Al-Brazani.][11]

3. Turkish Daily: Possible Kurdish Independence Next Fall
"… Ankara reacted harshly to the idea of giving Kirkuk to the Iraqi Kurds in return for their support in the efforts to topple Saddam Hussein's regime… A Turkish diplomat in Washington, who asked to remain anonymous, said that 'Kirkuk is not a place that should be given to one ethnic group only.' He added that historically the Turkmens have had more authority in Kirkuk than anyone else. Therefore, Turkey will not welcome the idea of giving it to one particular group."[12]

4. Iraqi Daily: Foreign Presence in Northern Iraq is a Premeditated Subversion
The paper, which is officially sponsored by the Iraqi regime, focuses to a great extent on Kurdish issues and is published both in Arabic and Kurdish."Arabs and Kurds are one hand and one heart, and not one Kurd forgets his history which dates back thousands of years

… this is what the murderous enemies fail to understand when they try to sow the seeds of destruction in beloved Kurdistan…

According to Jamil Moussa Al-Amadi, Secretary General of Education in the self-ruled area in Kurdistan, suspicious foreign organizations, hiding behind the veil of humanitarian slogans, have been trying to distort the image of the Kurds [in northern Iraq]. These organizations, which are supported by American Imperialism and Jewish and Zionist organizations … try every so often to take advantage of our Kurdish citizens by tempting them with huge amounts of money and deceiving them with the construction of housing developments and other destructive projects under the false slogans of charitable endeavors…

Then they try to sow the seeds of discord among them, and obliterate their national Islamic spirit…" [The article goes on to compliment the role of the clergy in the area, who according to the article "play a central role in exposing these malevolent tricks in their sermons and discussions in the mosques." The article ends with the assertion of Iraq's unity].[13]

A few days later, the same newspaper published another article titled 'Kurdistan will remain pure … our Kurdish nation opposes all malicious missionary tactics,' in which it attacked the "fake humanitarian organizations and missionary delegations whose goal is to destroy the social fabric of Iraq's Kurdistan." The paper goes on to detail an interview with the Deputy Secretary General of Islamic Affairs in the self-ruled region in northern Iraq, in which he said that "the missionary organizations use false slogans to harm the people and destroy their spirits … and we have to fight those attempts with all our might…"[14]

5. Al-Barazani Calls For New Parliamentary Elections in Northern Iraq
"…Masoud Al-Barazani, leader of the Democratic Kurdish Party, suggested holding new parliamentary elections in northern Iraq in order to end the ongoing disputes between his party and the Kurdish National Union Party headed by Jalal Al-Talabani, and to secure peace in northern Iraq … He explained that his proposal to hold the elections stemmed from the fact that the two parties had a fundamental disagreement over the role of the parliament, and therefore were unable to implement the peace agreement that they had signed in Washington… [Some of the disagreements have to do with the chairmanship of the parliament, and the venue of its meetings]…"[15]

6. Conciliation between Kurdish Factions
"After many years of feuding, Masoud Al-Barazani met with the leaders of two small Kurdish parties. The meeting was the result of mediation efforts made by the Communist Kurdish Party and the Assyrian Movement… The secretary general of the Laborers Party [one of the two small parties involved] said that the 'meeting with Al-Barazani took place as part of the efforts to establish peace in Kurdistan'…"[16]

Also, "A high level delegation of the High Commission of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, which is the largest Shiite opposition organization in Iraq, met with Masoud Al-Barazani and other officials in northern Iraq… Kurdish sources in Irbil said that the two sides discussed ways to enhance bi-lateral relations and activities within the opposition 'Party of Four' … [which includes the two major Kurdish parties, the High Commission of the Islamic Revolution, and the National Conciliation Movement.]"[17]

7. Op-ed: If Only Iraq Would Solve the Kurdish Problem
An op-ed article published by Al-Sharq Al-Awsat said that Iraq could accomplish a political coup, no less than the one it accomplished at the Arab Summit in Beirut, if it were able to solve the Kurdish problem. The article written by Saleh Al-Qallab (no details) goes on to say:

"… The reality is that this region has been suffering from an … infected wound that drained much of Iraq's energy and caused pain and suffering to a segment of the Iraqi people, i.e. the Iraqi Kurds in the north… The Kurdish aspirations do not hurt the national unity of Iraq … and none of the Kurdish officials showed any desire to make the north a springboard for the anticipated attack against Iraq. To the contrary, the two Kurdish leaders asserted several times that their region would not become a 'Trojan Horse' for such an attack and that they believed in Iraq's unity… However, even though this position is clear and sincere, it will have its limitations when faced with American pressures at the eleventh hour. [Therefore] It is imperative that the Iraqi government starts now … not tomorrow … to give those [Kurdish] leaders something that will strengthen their resolve and ability to stay the course … giving the Kurds heir rights will strengthen Iraq's unity…"[18]

X. The Iraqi Opposition: News and Opinions

1. The Opposition 'Party of Four' Seeks an Expanded Conference
"…Several sources informed Al-Hayat that the [Iraqi opposition] 'Party of Four,' which includes the two major Kurdish parties, the High Commission of the Islamic Revolution, and the National Conciliation Movement are discussing a proposal to convene an expanded conference of Iraqi dissidents. The idea is considered as a workable framework to overcome recalcitrant problems stemming from the divisions within the American administration, as well as the demand of certain opposition elements to act under an Iraqi umbrella with internal financing, rather than through conferences financed by the U.S…. There are indications that the American State Department is 'encouraging the initiative'… It is understood from this initiative that the relations between the 'Party of Four' and the movement of Dr. Ahmed Chalabi [The Iraqi National Congress [INC] based in London] has reached an impasse despite the efforts made in Washington and London to unite the two sides…"[19]

[A few days later the same newspaper stated that the discussions held in Washington with representatives of the Iraqi opposition 'Party of Four' broke the Iraqi National Congress's monopoly on discussions with Washington. It quoted one of the leaders who participated in the discussions who stated "we stressed that we, as a group, could play a role in enhancing communications among the opposition elements, and coordinate their positions in order to end the despair that overcame many of the dissidents because of the failure of the INC to establish itself as an active organization.][20]

2. A New Iraqi Shiite Political Front
"… Sources in Tehran indicated that the decision of a number of Iraqi Shiite parties to create a new union [Union of Islamic Forces] outside the High Commission of the Islamic Revolution is irrevocable… The sources said that the new union is 'serious about reviving the core issues of the national and Islamic forces, which were compromised by personal policies that were not supported by collective decisions…"[21]

In response to that:
"Muhammad Baqer Al-Hakim, leader of the High Commission of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq denied that there was a rift within the Commission… Commenting on the establishment of the 'Union of Islamic Forces,' he said that there were many names [within the Iraqi opposition] and the important thing was to coordinate their positions and policies towards the Iraqi regime…"[22]

3. Iraqi Shiites Demand Expanded Decentralization
"121 Iraqi Shiite personalities in London will issue tonight [6/20/02] a declaration outlining their vision of the future regime in Iraq … The declaration includes nine points [as basic principles of the future regime] which are: Abolishing ethnic discrimination, establishing a democratic-parliamentary regime … ensuring equal citizenship to all Iraqis … honoring ethnic and religious affiliation of all Iraqis … strengthening Iraq's unity and sovereignty within a multi-ethnic framework… building a secular society … building a decentralized regime … honoring human rights … and maintaining the Islamic cultural identity of Iraq…"[23][23]

XI. Iraq's Relations with Its Neighbors: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Turkey, and Iran

Iraq/Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia's Defense Minister: Iraq is Not a Threat to Saudi Arabia
"Sultan Abed Al-Aziz said that Iraq is not a threat to his country, but also added that Riyadh does not intend to normalize its relations with Baghdad… [The two countries severed their relations in February 1991]."[24]

A Technical Problem Delays Opening Saudi's Borders with Iraq
"A Saudi official said that a technical problem between Baghdad and the U.N. delayed the opening of the border crossing between the two countries that had been closed since August 1990… A Saudi source said that the U.N. wanted to place an observer on the Iraqi side of the border to monitor Iraqi imports within the 'Oil for Food' program…"[25]


Kuwait has continually complained that Iraq has been defying the decisions and commitments made at the Arab Summit in Beirut concerning relations between the two countries.

"Kuwait's Foreign Minister Sheikh Muhammad Al-Sabbah said that Iraq's non-compliance with the Beirut Summit decisions would be high on the priority of issues discussed at the Gulf Foreign Ministers meeting in Jedda [opened on 6/8/02]… He added that the Gulf countries agreed with Kuwait that there were no positive Iraqi initiatives [to resolve the Iraqi/Kuwaiti problems] since the Beirut Summit …"[26]

"…Kuwait's ambassador to Jordan said that … Iraq's position during the Amman Summit was much more difficult and that Iraq rejected the inclusion of the phrase 'to ensure Kuwait's sovereignty and security' in the statement issued by the Amman Summit…"[27]


Turkey: No Negotiations with Iraq on Water Issues
Contrary to earlier news reports from Iraq, Al-Hayat daily reported that:

"Sources in Turkey's Foreign Ministry stated to Al-Hayat that there were no negotiations with Iraq about sharing water resources from the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The sources added that … the purpose of the recent visit to Baghdad of a Turkish delegation from the Water Projects Office [that took place during the week of June 8th] was to exchange knowledge and strengthen relations, and not to start negotiations. The same sources reiterated Ankara's rejection of the term 'sharing water resources'… Other Turkish sources said that Ankara did not have any 'water problems' and that this issue was not one of its priorities."[28]


Baghdad and Tehran Set Timetable for Voluntary Repatriation of Refugees
"The Iraqi Foreign Ministry announced on Sunday [6/23/02] that Iraq and Iran agreed on a timetable for voluntary repatriation of refugees from both countries… The operation will start on July 13 by exchanging lists of names of those who want to return to their country…"[29]

[1] Babil (Iraq), June 24, 2002.

[2] Al-Hayat (London), June 18, 2002.

[3] Babil (Iraq), June 24, 2002.

[4] Al-Thawra (Iraq), June 7, 2002.

[5] Al-Thawra (Iraq), March 6, 2002.

[6] Al-Iraq (Iraq), June 4, 2002.

[7] (Iraqi opposition), June 4, 2002.

[8] Babil (Iraq), June 5, 2002.

[9] Al-Rai Al-Amm (Kuwait) May 2, 2002.

[10] Al-Hayat (London), June 15 2002.

[11] Yeni Safak (Turkey), June 12, 2002.

[12] Milliyet (Turkey), June 12, 2002.

[13] Al-Iraq (Iraq), June 4, 2002.

[14] Al-Iraq (Iraq), June 9, 2002.

[15] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), June 6, 2002.

[16] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), June 15, 2002.

[17] (opposition), June 19, 2002.

[18] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), June 6, 2002.

[19] Al-Hayat (London), June 5, 2002.

[20] Al-Hayat (London), June 18, 2002.

[21] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), June 5, 2002.

[22] Al-Rai Al-Amm (Kuwait), June 3, 2002.

[23] Al-Hayat (London), June 20, 2002.

[24] Babil (Iraq), June 24, 2002.

[25] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), June 6, 2002.

[26] Al-Rai Al-Amm (Kuwait), April 7, 2002.

[27] Al-Watan (Kuwait), June 7, 2002.

[28] Al-Hayat (London), June 15, 2002.

[29] Babil (Iraq), June 24, 2002.

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