memri
August 12, 2002

Iraq News Wire

August 12, 2002
Iraq |

I. Baghdad is Expecting a 'Hot Fall' and a Protracted War
Al-Hayat published a report from Baghdad describing the mood in the Iraqi capital:

"The celebrations during this national holiday [the anniversary of toppling the monarchy] did not mask the overriding belief that a new war is imminent… Saddam's call to the people to prepare for battle is considered a warning that the war is surely coming… [The report also cites Uday's suggestion for preparing the Iraqi people and country as another indication of the inevitability of war]… New groups of volunteers are arriving at training camps as part of the mobilization plans prepared by the Iraqi leadership to face the probability of war. There are special camps to train females … and it is no longer an oddity to see a woman carrying a Kalashnikov rifle on the streets of Baghdad… But, what can Iraq do to assuage the U.S.? Journalist Muhsin Husein answers by saying that 'it is a mistake for anyone to think that America will change its policy towards Iraq, no matter what Iraq does… because America cannot stand anyone that opposes her and wants regimes that say 'yes' to everything' …"[1]

II. Uday's Ideas on Handling the American Threat to Iraq
Saddam's eldest son submitted a 'working paper' to the Iraqi National Assembly [parliament] in which he outlined his suggestions on how to handle the American military threat to Iraq:

Internally:

  • "Prepare the Iraqi people psychologically to accept the burdens of a war, which will probably be harsher than the aggression of 1991…"
  • "Ensure the sense of security by taking [proper] defensive measures… and keep in mind that Baghdad will be the main target this time…"
  • "Ensure the basic needs of the people in order to avoid discontent that could escalate into a negative atmosphere in Baghdad and the provinces, which in turn may result in a repetition of the episodes of deceit and treason [meaning the uprisings in the north and south following the Gulf war] on a wider scale, because the enemy has learned from the lessons of the past and will benefit from them…"

Externally:
The characteristics of this dimension are:

  • "America will dominate the international decision-making process…"
  • "There is an American/Zionist alliance, by which the Zionists will influence America's decisions."
  • "Despite an increased clarity in Iraq's position on the international arena… important countries will not take a decisive position against the American administration… However, it is possible to [gain the support of these countries] under one condition, which has to do with their major economic interests, by 'bribing them,' especially in the cases of Russia and Syria… It is also important for Jordan to understand that Iraq's position will be different this time than in the past, in case it [Jordan] participates in the aggression…"
  • "The official Arab position is hypocritical and will support the American position against Iraq. But it is also scared of the people's response to such support… therefore, there is a need to increase efforts on the Arab streets to get them to take a serious and active position, to the point of uprising [against the Arab regimes], in case Iraq is attacked…"
  • "The need for a complete change in dealing with France on the basis of getting its support in exchange for economic considerations…"
  • "The need to launch aggressive diplomatic initiatives on the international level…" [2]

An op-ed article written by Ahmad Al-Rab'i [no details] and published by the London-based Saudi newspaper Al-Sharq Al-Awsat daily, criticized Uday's 'working paper,' saying that "it is a manifestation of irresponsibility, lack of equilibrium, and continuation of the 90's mentality, which brought Iraq to where it is today… The Iraqi regime is its own worst enemy … and time will prove that victories are not accomplished by stubbornness, or by 'heavy oil artillery' [alluding to the issue of 'economic interests and bribery']. And this is what the Iraqi regime fails to understand."[3]

III. An Iraqi Magazine Demands an Unbiased International Investigation of the 'Blix File'
"The weekly magazine Al-Iqtissadi demanded Wednesday [July 10] that the UN Security Council conduct an un-biased and scrupulous investigation into the conduct of senior international employees, and the fact that they are appointed outside the established rules. This demand came in response to the conduct of Hans Blix, head of the UNMOVIC, during the latest round of negotiations, which - in Iraq's view - prevented a positive outcome. Iraq's foreign minister, Naji Sabri, said that Blix was responsible for the failure of the negotiations and that he succumbed to American pressure…" [4]

IV. Iraq Reacts to Australia's 'Hostile' Position by Reducing its Wheat Imports
"Iraq's minister of commerce announced that his country will reduce its imports of Australian wheat to half the amount agreed upon … due to the hostile position of Australia's PM and his government and their support of the evil American threats against Iraq…" [5]

V. Uday Criticizes an Official Decision to Suspend Al-Jazeera TV Operation for Ten Days
"Babil daily, which is published by Uday Saddam Hussein, criticized the decision made by information officials to suspend Al-Jazeera TV operations in Baghdad for ten days because of one of its programs… these officials assumed that the TV channel should become 'Iraqi' and not 'Arab'… The paper also criticized information officials for their choice of coded satellite TV channels that Iraqi citizens are allowed to receive if they purchase a decoder and subscribe to the service, saying that none of these channels has a high caliber programming… The paper goes on to say that those officials 'assumed that they could turn Al-Jazeera into one of their un-coded channels [government sponsored channels], rather than devising ways to gain its support…'"[6] [In an earlier issue, Babil wrote that the Al-Jazeera reporter in Baghdad was suspended after using terminology deemed damaging to Iraq.] [7]

VI. The Jerusalem Times [PA]: Saddam's Popularity Among Palestinians Increases
"The popularity of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has increased among the Palestinians due to millions of dollars he has granted the families of martyrs in the Intifada… Palestinian officials said that the Iraqi president has so far provided $5 million in aid to Gaza families that have lost family members as martyrs… Israel has accused Saudi Arabia and Iraq of supporting the families of suicide bombers who killed tens of Israelis, claiming that compensatory payments to such people encourage the killing of Israelis… Israel claims that President Yasser Arafat forwards some of the aid to extreme Palestinian organizations involved in 'violence'… Iraq also supports the reconstruction of tens of homes demolished by Israel…" [8]

And in other news reports:
"Almost 80 percent of Palestinians believe they should support Iraq, as they did during the 1991 Gulf War, if the United States launches renewed military action against the country, according to a poll published [recently]. The survey was conducted in March by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion, but was not published at the time because 'Israeli soldiers and Palestinians were fighting in West Bank cities,' said the center's director, Dr. Nabil Kukali. 'The Palestinians had such problems then that the time was not right,' he said. A random sample of 1,000 Palestinians aged 18 and over were asked, 'How far do you support the notion that the Palestinians must support Iraq as they did in 1991, if the United States strikes again?' The survey found 51.6 percent strongly agreed and 28.3 somewhat agreed, for a total of 79.9 percent in favor. Only 3.6 percent were strongly opposed to the proposition, and 6.9 percent were somewhat against it… 9.6 percent of those asked didn't know… [9]

VII. The Kurds in Northern Iraq: News and Opinions

1. Saddam Hopes That the Kurds Will Rejoin the Fold, Under Iraqi Leadership
"President Saddam Hussein expressed his hope that the Iraqi Kurds will rejoin the folds under Iraqi leadership and stressed that it was a duty to defend every inch of Iraqi territory against the foreigner. The President was attending the swearing-in of Munther Mudhaffar Al-Naqshabandi, the new Minister of Labor and Social Services, who is a Kurd… He said that the Kurds were deprived of the opportunity to participate in building [Iraq] … and they were deprived of the opportunity to fight for Iraq … 'not because they did not want to express their loyalty to Iraq but because of certain circumstances that we do not want to delve into… But, Allah willing, they will compensate for that now'…" [10]

2. 'Supporters of Islam' Desecrate Graves in Northern Iraq
"In an unprecedented development, armed men belonging to the Ansar Al-Islam [Supporters of Islam] Kurdish organization, which is accused of having links to Al-Qa'ida, desecrated one of the most holy graves in Kurdistan, belonging to Sheik Hisam Al-Deen Al-Naqshabandi founder of the International Naqshabandi Movement. Armed men dug up the remains of Sheik Al-Naqshabandi, his son, his brother, his grandson, his daughter, and his assistant and moved them to an unknown location…" [11]

"Leaders of the Al-Naqshabandi Movement in northern Iraq organized a peaceful demonstration to condemn the incident … they demanded the Kurdish leadership and regional government take a united stand [against] the desecration act committed by the Supporters of Islam…" [12]

VIII. Iraqi Opposition: News and Opinions

1. Ahmad Al-Chalabi: We Will Allow American Companies to Explore and Produce Oil
"The leader of the Iraqi National Congress said that any Iraqi government that replaces Saddam Hussein will try to increase the country's share of oil production within OPEC to 5 million barrel a day, in order to make up for the losses during the sanction years. He added that he would allow American companies to explore and produce oil in Iraq…" [13]

2. Lack of Interest in the Iraqi Problem Diminished the Arab Role and Enhanced America's Role
Excerpts from an analysis written by Amer Al-Jabouri, a member of the Iraqi opposition organization known as the 'Free Officers Movement,' in which he analyzed the causes of the lack of Arab support for Saddam's regime:"… Recent history shows that the Iraqi regime tried since it came to power to weaken the fabric of Arab unity at the detriment of the security of the Arab Nation as a whole…"

As examples he points out that the Iraqi regime undermined the 'Bilateral National Working Agreement' between Iraq and Syria, which the late Syrian President Hafez Assad played a central role in forging, the isolation of Egypt within the Arab world following President Sadat's visit to Israel; the Iraq-Iran war which occupied the area for 8 years; [Iraq's] intervention in the civil war in Lebanon; and the invasion of Kuwait. He goes on to say that "Iraq has become the weak spot in the body of the Arab nation…" Al-Jabouri does not believe that there is any chance in getting the present regime to return to the ranks of the international community and goes on to say that considering the importance of Iraqi oil and Iraq's geopolitical location, Iraq's weakness poses a danger to the balance of power in the region, and this in turn endangers Arab security. The situation, in his opinion will be even worse [for Iraq and the Arabs] if Iraq is divided into small states, which will be susceptible to the "influence and greed of neighboring countries…"[14]

IX. Iraq's Relations with its Neighbors

Iraq/Syria

An Israeli Daily: Syria Purchases Weapons for Iraq
The Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz reported that "Syria is violating the UN arms embargo on Iraq by sending weapons and military equipment delivered to Syrian ports on to Iraq via trucks and rail. Most, but not all, of the supplies come from Eastern European countries. Among other things, Russian-made jet engines, refurbished tank engines, and Czech anti-aircraft cannons are delivered to Iraq via this route. The sources for this information say that the military/business relationships between Syria and Iraq that developed since Bashar Al-Assad came to power in Damascus can be considered a significant strategic change in the area, particularly in light of the declared American intentions to overthrow the Baghdad regime… In at least one case, Iraq provided similar help to Syria, allowing arms shipment from Iran to Syria to pass through Iraq. For the purpose of the new commercial alliance, Syria and Iraq established a series of shell companies for weapons purchases…" [15]

Babil daily quoted the Syrian newspaper Al-Ba'ath as saying that "any American military strike against Iraq is akin to pouring oil on the explosive situation in the region … an American attack on Iraq is nothing but a desire for revenge…" [16]

Syria Keeps its Options Open on Iraq's Future
In a report filed from Damascus, Al-Hayat daily writes that despite Syria's opposition to a strike against Iraq "it is keeping its options open until the last minute… Damascus thinks that Ankara and Teheran, despite their public opposition to such a strike, have a [vested] interest in the American plans. Both countries have strong ties with opposition elements in southern and northern Iraq… Syrian officials think that any military strike against Iraq will 'divide it into cantons,' in which case both Iran and Turkey can support their allies within Iraq [the Turkmens and the Shiites]… [By contrast,] Syria is most concerned about 'the fragmentation of Iraq' because it had always considered Iraq its 'strategic depth' despite the occasional disputes between them. And during five years of conciliation, Syria's economy has become dependent on Iraqi markets, to the tune of two billion dollars a year… Therefore, the best solution for Syria is the return of the International Arms Inspectors to Baghdad to avoid a strike against Iraq … but America's conditions, and its campaign against Saddam convinced Damascus to leave its options open and to continue its dealings with the leaders of the Iraqi opposition…" [17]

Iraq/Turkey

Turkey Gets Ready For the Possibility of a Military Strike Against Iraq
"…Reliable Western sources in London revealed that the Center for Strategic Research (Eurasia), founded by the Turkish military headquarters two years ago, put together a plan consisting of eight points [in case of a strike against Iraq]." The main points are:

  • "Prevent Iraqi civilians, especially Kurds, who are expected to flee at the start of the military operations, from crossing the border into Turkey, and try to resolve their problem inside Iraq under the supervision of Turkish forces."
  • "Prevent the establishment of a Kurdish state in northern Iraq by all means."
  • "Attack the bands of the Kurdish Labor Party and eliminate them."
  • "Prevent the establishment of a military alliance in northern Iraq similar to the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan."
  • "Protect the unity of Iraq, and, in doing so, Turkey's role."
  • "Contain the Kurdish Democratic Party [headed by Al-Barazani] and the National Kurdish Alliance [headed by Al-Talabani], and [establish] Turkey's control over them."
  • "Protect the Turkmen's rights and assist in consolidating their ranks."
  • "Prevent the Kurds from controlling the cities of Mosul and Kirkuk." [18]

Iraq/Iran

Iraq Arrests Pro-Iranian Terrorists
"Iraqi TV broadcasted on Monday [July 23] taped interviews with two Iranian intelligence agents who confessed to crimes committed against the Iraqi people on orders from the Iranian regime. According to the two criminals, the crimes took place from 1991 to 2001 and targeted military, civilian, and party centers, in addition to lootings and murders to destabilize the security and stability of Iraq… They said that Iranian intelligence charged them and others with committing similar acts in Baghdad." [19]

"Iran denied the Iraqi accusations and said that it had no plan to interfere in Iraq's domestic matters…" [20]

Qussay Saddam Hussein Pays a Secret Visit to Iran
"A reliable Iranian source [no further details] revealed that the second son of the Iraqi president, who is also considered the second man in Iraq, visited Tehran last week and conducted security and military talks with senior Iranian officials… The source said that the Iraqi delegation expressed its wish to purchase military equipment from Iran, and to pay for them in cash at inflated prices. [According to the same source] Shihab 1, 2, and 3 missiles topped the list… Sources in the Iranian government contacted by Al-Sharq Al-Awsat denied this information…" [21]

Iraq/Kuwait

Do We Support a Strike Against Iraq?
An op-ed article written by Mubarak Bin Shaffi Al-Hajeri [no further information] states:

"… Kuwait was and still is against striking Iraq… Kuwaiti politicians clearly know the extent of damage that the Iraqis will endure as result of such a strike, and they know that the Iraqi regime knows that too… Kuwait was always interested in the stability of the region and in harmony among the Arabs… So what is wrong with allowing the International Arms Inspectors to return to Iraq in order to avoid war, which will destroy everything? What does the Iraqi regime wish for its people, and for us around it? Isn't it time for us to rest and channel our energies towards development and prosperity?… I was hoping that the end of the Iraqi regime, with Saddam at its head, would come at the hands of the Iraqi people … but it seems that the American strike is inevitable and that we should accept it, even if it is against our wishes and our current interests." [22]

Iraq/ Jordan

Jordan Will Not Align Itself with the Loser
"Western diplomatic sources in Amman said that 'Jordan will not align itself with the loser' in case the U.S. decided to topple Saddam Hussein… The sources pointed out that 'Jordan is linked with Iraq economically, including gifts and preferential conditions in [buying] oil at the tune of 450 million dollars … however, in case Washington decides to strike Iraq, Jordan will not be able to prevent that and will not undermine the American military operations…'" [23]

Meanwhile, "Baghdad and Amman signed an agreement by which Iraq will continue to supply all Jordan's needs of crude oil and oil by-products…" [24]


[1] Al-Hayat (London), July 19, 2002.

[2] Babil (Iraq), July 16, 2002.

[3] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), July 17, 2002.

[4] Babil (Iraq), July 11, 2002.

[5] Al-Thawra (Iraq), July 23, 2002 [A few days later Reuters reported that an Australian delegation will visit Baghdad in a few days to discussed this decision].

[6] Babil (Iraq), July 25, 2002.

[7] Babil (Iraq), July 21, 2002.

[8] Jerusalem Times (East Jerusalem), July 4, 2002.

[9] Ha'aretzdaily.com (Israel), July 18, 2002.

[10] Babil (Iraq), July 19, 2002.

[11] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), July 18, 2002.

[12] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), July 26, 2002.

[13] Al-Quds Al-Arabi (London), July 15, 2002.

[14] Al-Hayat (London), July 12, 2002.

[15] Ha'aretz (Israel), July 15, 2002.

[16] Babil (Iraq), July 16, 2002.

[17] Al-Hayat (London), July 14, 2002.

[18] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), July 28, 2002.

[19] Iraq News Agency (Iraq), July 24, 2002.

[20] Babil (Iraq), July 27, 2002.

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

[22] Al-Watan (Kuwait), July 15, 2002.

[23] Al-Hayat (London), July 11, 2002.

[24] Iraq News Agency, July 24, 2002.

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