24 July 2003, Volume
HUSSEIN'S SONS KILLED IN NORTHERN IRAQ.
Deposed Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's two sons were killed after a "fierce" six-hour firefight broke out between U.S. forces and the men at a residence in Mosul on 22 July, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) reported in a press release dated the same day. Qusay and Uday Hussein were second and third, respectively, behind their father on CENTCOM's list of the 55 most-wanted Iraqis from the deposed Hussein regime.
U.S. Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez briefed reporters in Baghdad on the incident on 22 July, saying U.S. forces went to the house of Nawaf al-Zaydan Muhammad, a local tribal leader and cousin of Saddam Hussein, after an Iraqi walked into a local U.S. command center the previous evening with a tip that the two men were holed up in the house, AP reported on 22 July. The United States offered $15 million for information leading to the capture or killing of each man. CNN reported later on 23 July that the reported informant is in protective custody, as international press speculated that Muhammad himself was the informant. Sanchez said four coalition soldiers were wounded in the incident, which also resulted in the deaths of two other Iraqis in the house -- one reportedly a teenage boy that might be Saddam Hussein's grandson. Their identities have not been released.
At a 23 July press briefing broadcast on CNN, Sanchez told reporters that the United States might consider releasing evidence of the deaths of Uday and Qusay but added that no decision has been made. He said that "multiple means" have been used to identify the corpses. Four former senior regime members in coalition custody positively identified the bodies, including Presidential Secretary Abid Hamid Mahmud al-Tikriti; dental records confirmed a 90 percent match for Uday and a 100 percent match for Qusay. Autopsies on the two men will follow, Sanchez added. In addition, X-rays confirmed injuries on one of the bodies consistent with those reported about one of Hussein's sons after a previous assassination attempt, Sanchez said. While both sons survived previous assassination attempts, Uday was badly injured in 1996, sustaining approximately 10 gunshot wounds. On 22 July, Sanchez had told reporters that a DNA test would also be performed.
Meanwhile, Iraqi public reaction to news of the deaths appeared mixed in 22-23 July media reports. Numerous international news agencies reported that Iraqis celebrated across the country by firing off celebratory shots on 22 July. However, some Iraqis expressed doubt in light of previous reports that Saddam Hussein had been killed or captured that later proved false. In Mosul, a small crowd of Iraqis gathered outside the home of Nawaf al-Zaydan Muhammad to protest the deaths. Subsequently on 24 July, the U.S. military released photographs that it said were the dead bodies of Uday and Qusay. (Kathleen Ridolfo)IRAQI GOVERNING COUNCIL MEMBER COMMENTS ON LEADERSHIP STRUCTURE.
Iraqi Governing Council member Ghazi Ajil al-Yawir issued statements to London's "Al-Sharq al-Awsat" that were published by the newspaper on 22 July. He indicated in his statements that he and his colleagues had not yet agreed on the leadership structure. He noted that one suggestion tabled by members calls for a chairman and two vice chairmen to lead the body, while another calls for a three-person leadership committee that would rotate. Other proposals are reportedly being weighed.
Al-Yawir told "Al-Sharq al-Awsat" that no date had been set for the proposed Iraqi constitution. He stressed however, that council members recognize that once a constitution is written and approved by referendum, the council would be disbanded. Al-Yawir called on Iraqis to communicate their suggestions and opinions to the council, saying, "We are working for them, and we are trying to serve their future." He added that ministers would be appointed in the next two weeks, saying, "The council prefers that the ministers be non-political but technocrats who know what they are doing and do more than speak because this is a time to work and not to speak." Baghdad daily "Al-Zaman" reported on 21 July that the Iraqi Governing Council had elected a three-man leadership headed by Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) head Mas'ud Barzani, former Iraqi Foreign Minister and Iraqi Independent Democrats Movement leader Adnan Pachachi, and Iraqi National Congress (INC) head Ahmad Chalabi, to chair the council on a rotating basis. The paper's claim has not been verified by independent sources. (Kathleen Ridolfo)INC CLAIMS U.S. IS REVIVING PARTS OF IRAQI INTELLIGENCE INFRASTRUCTURE...
The U.S. government is reportedly working to revive parts of the Iraqi intelligence infrastructure, in particular the branch that monitors Iran, former Iraqi agents and politicians have told "The New York Times," the daily reported on 22 July. INC leader Chalabi told the daily that senior officials from that party have met with senior members of the Iraqi Mukhabarat's Turkey and Iran units over the past several weeks.
INC official Abd al-Aziz Kubaysi said the INC received documents from former intelligence officers and recruited them into a new intelligence unit, "The New York Times" reported. Kubaysi said that U.S. officials are aware of INC activities, while former intelligence officers have claimed that the United States is supporting the operation. "As far as what we do, we are sending back information to the Pentagon, to people who are responsible," Kubaysi said. "They know the nature of what we're doing. There is coordination. We have representatives of [U.S. Defense Secretary Donald] Rumsfeld at the INC." Kubaysi said that Iran is the key focus, noting that some Iraqi political groups have long-standing ties to Iran. (Kathleen Ridolfo)...AS LINKS TO MKO ALLEGED.
A former Iraqi intelligence officer reportedly told "The New York Times" of 22 July that he declined an offer to work with the United States after learning that he would also be working with Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO), an Iranian opposition group long based in Iraq that is listed on the State Department's list of foreign terrorist groups. Sabi al-Hamed said he worked with the MKO during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War and called them "butchers." The United States reportedly signed a cease-fire with the group in April and worked to disarm them in May. According to the daily, INC officials have called for the removal of the MKO from the State Department list, saying the organization can play a valuable role in providing intelligence on Iran. INC official Kubaysi has denied that a future Iraqi intelligence arm will work with the MKO, but former Iraqi agents told the daily that the reconstituted intelligence unit is already operating in Baghdad.
Meanwhile, U.S. officials in Washington and Baghdad reportedly told "The New York Times" of 22 July that the idea of reviving the Iran branch of the Iraqi Mukhabarat was only in the discussion phase. "There's been a lot of discussion, but I haven't seen anything that has developed into concrete thinking," one unnamed official was quoted as saying. The official declined to comment when asked whether the U.S. Defense Department is working with the INC to recruit former Iraqi intelligence officers. (Kathleen Ridolfo)IRAQI POLICE CLOSE DOWN NEWSPAPER.
A special investigative unit of the Iraqi police closed down the offices of "Al-Mustaqillah" newspaper on 21 July, arresting the newspaper's office manager, a press release posted on the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) website (http://www.cpa-iraq.org) announced the same day. "'Al-Mustaqillah' newspaper published on 13 July a clearly inciteful [sic] article entitled 'Death to all spies and those who cooperate with the U.S.; killing them is religious duty'," the press release stated. "'Al-Mustaqillah' newspaper has chosen to threaten the basic human rights of Iraqi citizens, especially the right to life and the right to live without fear or threat," it stated, adding, "The CPA and the Iraqi Police Service therefore judged that 'Al-Mustaqillah' poses a significant security threat to Iraqi citizens, placing it in violation of international humanitarian law, as well as in breach of CPA Order Number 14 'Towards a Free Iraqi Press.'" That order can be viewed on the CPA website. (Kathleen Ridolfo)AL-SADR CALLS FOR ISLAMIC STATE, SHI'ITE ARMY.
Iraqi Shi'ite leader Muqtada al-Sadr continued to reject the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council in his Friday prayer sermon on 18 July, saying that instead he will seek to establish an Islamic state in Iraq, Al-Jazeera reported the same day. "I will seek, and so will you, to bring together some parties to write a constitution, establish a governing council, and declare the establishment of an Islamic state that seeks to apply the rule of religion," al-Sadr told his followers in the holy city of Al-Najaf. "With the help of God, you and I will seek to establish the major pillar of the state, which is an Islamic army, obedient to its authorities and leaders." Al-Sadr also called for the establishment of a governing council to counter the U.S.-appointed council, and the establishment of an army -- the Imam al-Mahdi Army -- to defend the Al-Hawzah Shi'ite Seminary and its religious figures. One day earlier, al-Sadr told Al-Jazeera that his group was not excluded from the Iraq Governing Council but chose not to participate, calling it "illegitimate" (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 18 July 2003). Al-Sadr called on Iraqi Shi'ites to volunteer for his proposed army, Reuters reported on 18 July.
A representative of al-Sadr claimed that U.S. forces surrounded the Shi'ite cleric's home in the holy city of Al-Najaf on 19 July, one day after his fiery anti-coalition Friday prayer sermon, Al-Jazeera reported. Al-Sadr representative Akram al-Ka'bi said massive demonstrations broke out in al-Najaf in reaction to the U.S. troops' presence "in the area between Muqtada al-Sadr's house and the shrine of Imam Ali," forcing the U.S. forces to withdraw from the area. Al-Ka'bi threatened U.S. forces in the interview, saying, "The U.S. forces should know that any attempt to harm the leader Muqtada al-Sadr will be the end of the United States, and not only the end of [the] U.S. presence in Iraq." He also claimed that the U.S.-led war in Iraq was not aimed at the removal of Hussein but rather at Islam and Muslims. Al-Jazeera reported that another demonstration in support of al-Sadr broke out in Baghdad on 19 July. Again on 20 July, thousands of al-Sadr followers marched nearly 10 kilometers from the Imam Ali shrine to U.S. headquarters in the region to demand the withdrawal of U.S. forces, AP reported the same day. (Kathleen Ridolfo)U.S. TO APPOINT CONSORTIUM OF BANKS TO MANAGE IRAQ TRADE BANK.
The U.S. will appoint an international consortium of banks by August to handle letters of credit for the newly created Trade Bank of Iraq, "The Wall Street Journal" reported on 22 July. The trade bank will help facilitate Iraqi ministries, including the Oil Ministry, in making big-ticket purchases abroad, according to the paper, which reported that purchases would likely average around $100 million a month to start. The trade bank is expected to eventually be managing transactions totaling billions of dollars per month, the "Journal" reported.
Several banks are reportedly vying for the role. According to the paper, J.P Morgan Chase & Co. has teamed up with Britain's Standard Chartered PLC, the National Bank of Kuwait, the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd., and Poland's Millennium Bank in a bid to run the trade bank. That banking alliance will reportedly be competing against contenders Citigroup Inc.; and Deutsche Bank AG, which is expected to team up with a U.S. bank, according to the "Journal." Proposals offering the most competitive fees will factor into the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) choice, the paper reported.
There will be one marked difference in the initial procedures of the winning consortium however. "Instead of receiving fees up front, the bank consortium will be paid after the transaction is completed, which shifts some of the risk to the banks," the "Journal" noted. Under the CPA-devised system, the Trade Bank "will issue letters of credit on behalf of Iraqi government agencies and affiliates looking to buy heavy equipment and other goods abroad. Upon delivery, the purchases will be paid for from an Iraq Central Bank account within the Federal Reserve Bank of New York." The winning consortium will not, however, be involved in financing future Iraqi oil sales.
U.S. Treasury Department Adviser in Baghdad Peter McPherson said that the Trade Bank would be "a good first step to get Iraq back into the international financial world." McPherson contended that there is "no front-runner" for the deal, but told the trade paper that the winning bid will include banks from at least two different countries. Another Treasury official reportedly said that the Treasury Department has encouraged banks with an established presence in the Middle East to participate. The initial contract is expected to run for 12 months, the "Journal" reported, with a possible extension. One treasury official cautioned, however, that Iraqi commercial banks would be encouraged to begin issuing their own letters of credit as soon as possible.
Treasury officials are also working with Iraqi banks to devise a payment system for the transfer of money between entities, and to set up a system for international transfers. Such a system, the newspaper noted, would rely on a currency exchange component. Officials are also looking into ways to restart Iraq's retail banking system. For additional information on the Trade Bank of Iraq, and the CPA's request for proposals, go to the CPA website (http://www.cpa-iraq.org/). (Kathleen Ridolfo)CPA OPENS RECRUITMENT CENTERS FOR NEW IRAQI ARMY.
The Coalition Provisional Authority announced the opening of three recruitment centers for the New Iraqi Army in a press release dated 19 July and posted on the CPA website (http://www.cpa-iraq.org/). The recruitment centers, located in Baghdad, Mosul, and Al-Basrah are accepting applications from men between the ages of 18 and 40, according to the press release. Not all applicants will be accepted, however all former Iraqi officers below the rank of colonel were invited to apply.
Excluded from the application process are "those persons from the former regime security organizations, intelligence organizations, Special Republican Guards, Special Security Organizations and Ba'ath Party security and militia organizations, and top-level Ba'ath Party members," the deputy commanding general of the Coalition Military Advisory and Training Team, Brigadier Jonathon Riley was quoted as saying in the press release. Riley added that the new army "will be the beginning and not the end of the new Iraqi armed forces which will defend the Iraqi nation, rather than a particular leader or regime." He said that each enlistee at first would be paid $60 per month after completing the first month of training. "At the conclusion of training, individuals will be appointed to ranks and assigned to positions of leadership according to their abilities and performance in training. Their pay will be increased according to their duties and responsibilities," he added. A fourth recruitment center is expected to open in the northern Iraqi city of Irbil.
"Over the next two years, nearly thirty battalion-sized units will be formed. If an individual is not identified for the very first unit to be formed, he may be identified for any of the subsequent units, after the first unit has been trained," the press release stated.
"The Christian Science Monitor" reported on 22 July that U.S. officials handed out some 3,600 applications in the first three days of the recruitment drive. According to the paper, 12,000 troops will be trained during the first year. The Vinnell Corp. in Fairfax, Virginia, has won a contract for training the new army. Major General Paul Eaton who commanded the U.S. Army's infantry school at Fort Benning, Georgia, will head the training. (Kathleen Ridolfo)U.S. OPERATION SODA MOUNTAIN ENDS.
U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) announced that Operation Soda Mountain ended on 17 July, claiming it successfully met its objectives of neutralizing subversive individuals and confiscating banned weapons, according to an 18 July press release posted on the CENTCOM website (http://www.centcom.mil). "Operation Soda Mountain, which followed Operations Peninsula Strike, Desert Scorpion, and Sidewinder, continued the common purpose to deter, disrupt, or defeat enemy attacks. Additionally, the operation served to identify and fund additional stability projects designed to provide or enhance long-term stability throughout Iraq," the press release stated. According to CENTCOM, 141 raids were conducted in the operation, resulting in the detention of 611 individuals, including 62 former regime leaders. Some 4,297 mortar rounds were confiscated, along with 1,346 rocket-propelled grenades, and 635 weapons. The same press release stated that more than 9,000 former Iraqi soldiers have been paid so far by the coalition.
Another CENTCOM press release dated 19 July listed a number of what U.S. military officials labeled successful humanitarian projects accomplished over a five-day period in support of Operation Soda Mountain. Engineers from the 4th Infantry Division collaborated with Iraqis to reopen the Buffalo Soldier Bridge across the Tigris River on 17 July. That bridge, which had been damaged by erosion, is now open to civilian and military traffic. The 101st Airborne Division delivered 50,000 liters of water to the village of Musaid, located some 17 kilometers west of Mosul. The village has neither a water pipeline nor a well to provide adequate water, the press release noted. In Al-Anbar, the 122nd Engineer Battalion met with community and school leaders to discuss a $20,000 grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) for the purchase of school materials and supplies. CENTCOM also reported that six medical clinics remain under renovation by the 1st Armored Division, while the 3rd Infantry Division coordinated the delivery of X-ray equipment and furniture to the Al-Taji and Mandy Al-Batchechy medical clinics. (Kathleen Ridolfo)CENTCOM CHIEF ANNOUNCES 7,000-STRONG MILITIA.
The head of CENTCOM, General John Abizaid, announced plans to create an Iraqi civil-defense force -- a 7,000-strong Iraqi militia -- that will work alongside U.S. forces in Iraq, AP reported on 21 July. The militia will comprise eight battalions of armed Iraqi militiamen, each in turn comprising 850 members. Abizaid announced the militia during his first visit to Iraq since assuming his role as commander of CENTCOM earlier this month (see "RFE/RL Iraq Report," 4 July 2003). According to a 21 July report on nytimes.com, the militia would replace U.S. troops in guarding power plants, ammunition depots, and supply convoys. "Over time, it'll free up an awful lot of American forces," Abizaid told reporters. Conventional U.S. forces will train the militia. Special-operations forces normally carry out such duties, according to AP. The militia is expected to be operational within 45 days. (Kathleen Ridolfo)DEPOSED IRAQI PRESIDENT PURPORTEDLY ISSUES STATEMENT.
An audiotape purporting to carry a 14 July message from deposed Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was issued to Arab satellite channels Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiyah on 17 July -- the 35th anniversary of the coup that brought the Ba'ath Party to power in Iraq. In the message, the speaker made references to the July 1968 "revolution" and lashed out at coalition forces, saying, "The administration of occupation and evil had issued its orders according to the instructions of Washington, Tel Aviv, and London. It appointed some of those who follow its orders in line with a despicable division of great Iraq. By so doing, the occupiers have revealed part of their intentions and schemes to divide Iraq." The speaker praised regime loyalists, citing resistance fighters in the Al-Anbar Governorate, particularly in Al-Fallujah, claiming, "Those who are loyal to their nation and people have been shown." But the speaker added, "The same holds true for the slaves of the foreigners, the treasonous and petty people who are conspiring against the nation, peoples, and humanity."
The speaker in the purported Hussein audiotape broadcast on Al-Arabiyah Television on 17 July criticized Iraqis that work with coalition forces, particularly Iraqi "notables" and clergymen, and appeared to address the formation of the Iraqi Governing Council. He called on Iraqis to reject the council, saying, "None of our people should be preoccupied with it, as this would weaken their concentration on occupation and action against it. What could the poor or rich people gain from employees whom the foreign occupier appointed, whether the majority among them were Sunnis and Shi'ites?" The speaker said that coalition forces seek to weaken Iraq and called Iraqis to jihad against coalition troops. (Kathleen Ridolfo)AL-SADR DENOUNCES IRAQ'S GOVERNING COUNCIL.
Iraqi Shi'ite leader Muqtada al-Sadr told Al-Jazeera that he rejects the formation of the Iraqi Governing Council and is instead calling for a general referendum and national elections, the satellite channel reported on 17 July. Al-Sadr claimed that his group was not excluded from participating in the council, saying, "We stayed out so as not to give this council any legitimacy or legal authority." He added that other factions' participation "is not right because it supports the occupation, something that we do not want."
Al-Sadr claimed that he is willing to coordinate with other groups that did not join the council. Al-Sadr leads the Active Shi'ite Seminary, Al-Jazeera reported. Meanwhile, Haqqi Isma'il, director of the Awqaf Department in Al-Basrah, told the news channel that a group affiliated with al-Sadr attacked the department, kicking out its employees and seizing "old Sunni documents." Al-Sadr's followers, the Sadriyun, have been linked to other hostile acts since the downfall of the Hussein regime, most notably the assassination of Abd al-Majid al-Khoi on 10 April (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 11 and 14 April 2003). (Kathleen Ridolfo)TURKOMAN LEADER SENDS BREMER WRITTEN PROTEST.
San'an Ahmad Agha, the leader of the Iraqi Turkoman Front, has reportedly sent a letter dated 14 July to CPA head L. Paul Bremer, protesting the CPA's exclusion of his organization from the Iraqi Governing Council. The text of the letter was printed in "Turkomaneli" on 20 July. Agha writes that the Iraqi Turkoman Front was "shocked" when it learned of its exclusion from the council. "Unlike other [groups] the Iraqi Turkoman Front was not consulted on the question of our representation in the council," he wrote, adding, "The name included in the [CPA] list as a representative of the front is not a nominee of the Iraqi Turkoman Front."
Agha stressed that the Turkoman representative to the governing council should have been chosen based on the Iraqi Turkoman Front's choice, as he believed other groups participating in the council were allowed to do. He reminded Bremer that the Iraqi Turkoman Front for years "led the struggle of our Turkoman people" and "has taken part in all Iraqi opposition conferences which began in Vienna and were concluded in the meetings of Salah Al-Din at the end of January 2002." (Kathleen Ridolfo)
ERDOGAN SAYS TURKISH TROOPS WILL GO TO IRAQ.
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan told reporters on 20 July that the U.S. has asked Turkey to send troops to Iraq, Reuters reported the next day. The move signals warming relations between the U.S. and Turkey after a near-freeze over the past five months. In March, Turkey stalled on a decision -- and eventually refused -- to allow U.S. troops to launch an attack on Iraq from Turkish soil. Earlier this month, U.S. forces detained 11 Turkish soldiers on suspicion that they were planning to assassinate the governor of Kirkuk (see "RFE/RL Iraq Report," 11 July 2003).
Iraqi Kurds, who have long called on Turkey to withdraw a Turkish force stationed in northern Iraq, will view the appearance of more Turkish troops on Iraqi soil as controversial. Turkish troops entered Iraq seven years ago to maintain peace between the then-battling Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and the Kurdistan Democratic Party. PUK head Jalal Talabani told an NTV correspondent in Rome on 21 July, "The [Turkish Army] has made clear what it will do once it enters northern Iraq. They seek to seize the weapons of the [Kurdish] peshmergas and disband the federal administration and the Kurdish parliament." He added that he did not object to the presence of Turkish soldiers on Iraqi soil in general, but was opposed to their presence in northern Iraq. "The United States has requested that Turkey send soldiers to the region," Reuters quoted the state-run Anatolian news agency as reporting Erdogan as saying. The prime minister reportedly did not say whether he would commit Turkish troops to Iraq. (Kathleen Ridolfo)KUWAITI FIRM TO OFFER COMMERCIAL FLIGHTS TO IRAQ.
Kuwait Projects Co. announced on 22 July that it would soon offer charter flights to Iraq, under its subsidiary United Airways, according to the KUNA news agency. Booking for the 45-minute flights will begin once Baghdad International Airport reopens to commercial traffic. (Kathleen Ridolfo)
UN RELEASES $190 MILLION IN COMPENSATION ARISING FROM 1990-91 GULF WAR.
The United Nations released $190 million in compensation claims to victims of Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait and subsequent 1991 Gulf War on 17 July, AP reported the same day. The UN Compensation Commission distributed the payments from funds taken from the oil-for-food program. The majority of the 1,069 claimants came from Kuwait, where $113 million will go to individuals, corporations, and the government itself, AP reported. Some $47 million will go to satisfy claims in Jordan, and $5 million to Syria. About $17.8 billion has been paid out thus far by the commission to individuals, corporations, and governments for losses incurred as a result of the invasion and ensuing war. The UN Security Council voted to phase out the oil-for-food program in May. However, the Compensation Commission will continue to receive 5 percent of all export sales of oil and gas from Iraq to address claims, pursuant to UN Security Council Resolution 1483. (Kathleen Ridolfo)UN SECRETARY-GENERAL UNVEILS PLAN ON IRAQ...
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan issued a 23-page report to the UN Security Council on 17 July assessing the UN role in Iraq since the appointment of UN Special Representative Sergio Vieira de Mello on 23 May, pursuant to UN Security Council Resolution 1483 (see "RFE/RL Iraq Report," 30 May 2003).
The report, available on the UN website (http://www.un.org), provides "an initial assessment of the scope of the challenges involved in implementing the mandate conferred" by Resolution 1483, Annan writes, and lays out a plan for UN assistance in the rebuilding of Iraq. In particular, the report states that the UN will focus on human rights and humanitarian assistance, and contribute to the building of a national dialogue.
Other key areas include judicial and legal reform, police training, public administration, economic reconstruction, and technical assistance. The UN will carry out its mission under the new UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), staffed by over 300 international and local personnel. The report was formally presented to the Security Council on 22 July. (Kathleen Ridolfo)...AS SECURITY COUNCIL OPENS SESSION ON IRAQ.
UN Security Council members gathered in New York on 22 July for the council's first session to examine the situation in Iraq as required under Resolution 1483. Speaking to the council, Vieira de Mello expressed optimism for the future of Iraq, while cautioning that there was "little margin for error," the UN News Center reported on the same day (http://www.un.org/news).
Vieira de Mello praised the formation of the Iraqi Governing Council, telling member states, "We now have an institution that, while not democratically elected, can be viewed as broadly representative of the various constituencies in Iraq." "It means that we now have a formal body of senior and distinguished Iraqi counterparts, with credibility and authority, with whom we can chart the way forward," he added.
Vieira de Mello called on the Security Council to support the governing body, saying, "It must be empowered to deliver tangible improvements to the welfare of the population yet not bear the brunt of criticism for what remains the legal obligation of the CPA under the current situation."
The special representative said that an end-date to the coalition occupation should be visible, noting, "There will need to be a clear timetable, laid out as soon as possible, for the earliest possible restoration of sovereignty." He stressed that "Iraqis need to know that the current state of affairs will come to an end soon. They need to know that stability will return and that the occupation will end." Likewise, UN Secretary-General Annan called the governing council's formation "an important step toward the full restoration of Iraqi sovereignty," AP reported on 23 July.
A three-member delegation from the Iraqi Governing Council was allowed to address the 22 July meeting. Former Iraqi Foreign Minister Adnan Pachachi, Iraqi National Congress (INC) head Ahmad Chalabi, and Aqilah al-Hashimi, who served in the Iraqi Foreign Ministry under the Hussein regime, were welcomed at the UN but failed to gain official recognition for the Governing Council as the ruling body in Iraq. Speaking to the Security Council, Pachachi vowed that Iraq would never return to totalitarianism, Reuters reported on 22 July. "Our primary goal is to shorten the duration of the interim administration, to pave the way for a constitution and a popularly elected government in Iraq," Pachachi said. "The state intelligence services and mandatory arrests and random executions [carried out by the Hussein regime] are done for once and for all."
The delegation's visit to the Security Council was overshadowed, however, by reports of disunity a day before. According to a 21 July Reuters report, a dispute erupted when the INC's Chalabi refused to join the delegation on the trip to New York after learning that only one member of the delegation would address the UN, unidentified diplomats said. Chalabi changed his mind after it was tentatively agreed that both he and Pachachi could speak, the sources reportedly told the news agency. However, a spokesman for Spanish Ambassador Inocencio Arias, Security Council president for July, told the news agency, "Pachachi will talk in the name of the delegation -- only one person." Indeed, only Pachachi addressed the council, while Chalabi and al-Hashimi sat in the background. (Kathleen Ridolfo)U.S. AMBASSADOR ASKS NATIONS TO HELP WITH IRAQI SECURITY.
U.S. Ambassador to the UN John Negroponte addressed the Security Council on 22 July, asking council members to contribute to the rebuilding of Iraq by providing security, according to the text of his address available on the U.S. State Department's Bureau of International Information Programs website (http://usinfo.state.gov). Negroponte told council members that UN Security Council Resolution 1483 "appeals to member states and concerned organizations to contribute to conditions of stability and security in Iraq, and we strongly encourage member states to contribute stability forces under this resolution."
Meanwhile, defense officials in Washington said on 22 July that the U.S. Army will bring new soldiers into Iraq to replace two 3rd Infantry Division brigades whose soldiers have been in the region since last fall, AP reported on 23 July. The U.S. 82nd Airborne Division, U.S. Army reserve forces, and a new Stryker Brigade -- described as a highly mobile force built around an agile wheeled vehicle instead of a battle tank -- will replace the troops. The United States will maintain troop strength in Iraq at about 145,000 soldiers, defense department officials told AP. (Kathleen Ridolfo)
BLAIR UNDER FIRE AFTER BBC SOURCE COMMITS SUICIDE.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair's cabinet has come under fire after events of the past week have confirmed that British Ministry of Defense weapons expert Dr. David Kelly was the prime source for a series of BBC reports that charged Downing Street with "sexing up" its Iraq dossier in order to win public support for the war in Iraq (see "RFE/RL Iraq Report," 11 July 2003). Kelly was reported missing on 17 July; searchers later discovered his body the next day when searching the area surrounding his home. He had reportedly committed suicide.
Kelly had apparently provided the BBC with information that cast doubt on the dossier published by the prime minister's office that claimed, among other things, that Iraq could launch biological and chemical weapons within 45 minutes of an order being given. Kelly denied under testimony before a parliamentary committee that he was the source for the BBC stories. That testimony had reportedly left Kelly, not accustomed to the spotlight, under immense stress. Andrew MacKinlay, a Labour Party member of parliament who sat on the committee, later apologized for the committee's treatment of Kelly saying, "I am sorry for any of the stress that, albeit unintentionally, I may have caused him during his questioning before the Foreign Affairs Select Committee," "The Sunday Telegraph" reported on 20 July. Kelly's family said in a statement issued on 19 July that "events over recent weeks made David's life intolerable," the BBC reported on the same day. BBC journalist Andrew Gilligan named Kelly as his primary source in a 20 July statement to the press.
The Blair cabinet, for its part, has been accused of leaking Kelly's name to the press. Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon, who identified Kelly in a letter to BBC Chairman Gavyn Davies, challenging Davies to say if Kelly was Gilligan's mole, denied the accusation, saying, "This was a confidential letter which was not leaked; I do not think it was the source of identification," "The Sunday Telegraph" reported on 20 July. But a 23 July report by "The New York Times," contends that the Defense Ministry disclosed Kelly's name to the British press earlier this month as the likely source for the BBC report. The leak came after Kelly told defense officials that he had spoken to BBC reporters about the dossier, although he denied telling Gilligan and others that the dossier had been "sexed up." The leak was seen as part of a government campaign to discredit the "source," which the BBC had identified as a high-level intelligence official. Kelly, a government scientist, was not a high-level official.
Blair, who returns to Britain after trips to the U.S. and Asia, told students at Qinghua University on 22 July in Beijing, "This is a desperately sad time for the family of Dr. Kelly and his funeral has not been held yet, and I don't want to say more about this situation, except to say there will be a proper independent inquiry into what happened," "The Straits Times" reported on 23 July. (Kathleen Ridolfo)U.S. DEFENSE DEPARTMENT CREATES OFFICE TO SUPPORT IRAQ RECONSTRUCTION.
The United States Defense Department is establishing an Office of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) Representative to support reconstruction efforts in Iraq, U.S. Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith announced on 18 July, according to a 19 July report by the State Department's "Washington File" (http://usinfo.state.gov).
Feith told reporters at the Pentagon that the office would be staffed by all U.S. government departments and agencies involved in the Iraqi reconstruction project. It "will serve as a convenient portal" for businesses, universities, and nongovernmental organizations that interact with the CPA. "As we look forward to more involvement in Iraq by nongovernmental entities such as businesses, NGOs, and charitable groups, the existence of a convenient portal is all the more important," Feith said. A recent study by the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington (http://www.csis.org/) recommended the creation of a "strong office in Washington to support the CPA." (Kathleen Ridolfo)SPANISH TROOPS DEPART FOR IRAQ.
The first 60 of an estimated 1,300 Spanish troops departed on 23 July for Iraq as part of an international force that will monitor the Shi'ite-dominated zone south of Baghdad, Reuters reported the same day. The first batch of troops will head to Kuwait. Others were slated to follow on 24 July. According to Reuters, Spain, Poland, and Ukraine will each lead brigades south of Baghdad. Earlier reports indicated that Poland would oversee the zone, which stretches from Iran to Saudi Arabia, and includes the Shi'ite holy city of Al-Najaf. (Kathleen Ridolfo)