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Iraq Report: May 11, 2001

11 May 2001, Volume 4, Number 16

IRAQ WARNS TURKEY AGAINST 'SMART SANCTIONS.' Baghdad officials warned a visiting Turkish trade delegation against any cooperation with U.S.-sponsored "smart sanctions," "The Turkish Daily News" reported on 7 May. "Smart sanctions" refer to a tighter arms embargo combined with less strict control over trade in civilian goods. Iraqi Deputy Premier Tariq Aziz generalized this point when he told reporters that "any country that deals with the new American plan will lose its trade dealings with Iraq." But he argued that neighboring countries will not go along with Washington because they would suffer economic losses if they do. (David Nissman)

IRAQ EXPANDS COOPERATION WITH JORDAN AND SYRIA. Wasif Azar, Jordanian minister of industry and trade, met with officials in Baghdad in early May to work out a program of expanded cooperation with Iraq, Baghdad radio reported on 5 May. Trade between the two countries within the oil-for-food limits already totals more than $2 billion. Meanwhile, Iraqi Industry and Minerals Minister Adnan Abd-Al-Majid received the Syrian minister of oil and mineral resources to discuss expanding cooperation between their two countries, Baghdad Radio reported on 2 May. (David Nissman)

BAGHDAD RAILWAY ROLLS AGAIN. For the first time since 1982, the Baghdad railway is operational, with trains running from eastern Anatolia to the Iraqi capital, "The Turkish Daily News" reported on 6 May. Turkish officials said the reopened line will promote social and economic development in Turkey, Syria, and Iraq. (David Nissman)

SADDAM PROMISES 'INFINITE' SUPPORT FOR PALESTINIANS. Iraqi leader Saddam Husseyn told visiting Palestinian National Council Chairman Salim Za'nuni that Iraqi "support for the Palestinian people is infinite because Iraq and Palestine are one, and we decided to offer financial support and ourselves to the Palestinian people and its blessed Intifadah," INA reported on 8 May. After Za'nuni's visit, Saddam gave an order that all Palestinians are to be allowed to study without charge at higher educational institutions in Iraq, Baghdad television reported on 9 May. (David Nissman)

SADDAM SEEKS TO BOOST OIL PRODUCTION... Saddam Husseyn met with Oil Minister Amir Muhammad Rashid and other senior oil officials on 5 May to discuss ways to improve production in the oil sector, Baghdad television reported that day. The station said Saddam had stressed that expanding oil production would help to industrialize the country, strengthen its military, and thus break the UN embargo against it. (David Nissman)

...AND PHARMACEUTICAL OUTPUT. Saddam Husseyn met with officials in the health and industry ministries to discuss expanding production of pharmaceutical products, Baghdad television reported on 8 May. The Iraqi leader called for expanding the role of the private sector in this area and said he would remove all obstacles to private production. In other comments, Saddam said that the Americans and their allies are "stealing Iraq's wealth under the UN umbrella and on the pretext of the so-called reparations." (David Nissman)

SADDAM NAMES EX-INTELLIGENCE HEAD BAGHDAD GOVERNOR. Saddam Husseyn named Sabir Abd-Al-Aziz Al-Duri, former head of the Mukhabarat, to be governor of Baghdad, according to London's "Iraq Press" of 2 May. Sabir had been dismissed from his earlier post in 1994 as part of a campaign against members of the Al-Duri tribe, but a year later he was rehabilitated and named governor of Karbala. (David Nissman)

ZHIRINOVSKY REASSERTS MOSCOW'S SUPPORT FOR IRAQ. Russian Duma Deputy Speaker and LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky told Iraqi officials during his visit to Baghdad that Moscow will seek to lift the embargo against Iraq and that he sees Saddam Husseyn as a hero for those fighting against American hegemony, Baghdad television reported on 5 May. Zhirinovsky earlier attended birthday celebrations for Saddam in Tikrit. (David Nissman)

SERBIAN SOCIALIST LEADER HAILS SADDAM AND IRAQ. Zoran Lilic, a leader of the Socialist Democratic Party of Serbia, came to Baghdad to hail Saddam Husseyn and his people, "who are adamantly confronting the conspiracies mounted by the forces of evil and aggression," Baghdad Radio reported on 8 May. Lilic called for expanding ties between Iraq and Serbia as part of a common effort of struggle against "the aggressive and evil imperialist plots." (David Nissman)

CUBAN LEADER SAYS U.S. VIOLATES HUMAN RIGHTS. Gomex Abascal, a member of the Cuban Communist Party Central Committee, said in Iraq that the vote removing the U.S. from the UN Human Rights Commission reflects international recognition of American "human rights violations" in Iraq, Cuba, and elsewhere around the world, Baghdad radio reported on 7 May. He and his interlocutors discussed ways of "consolidating ties between the Arab Socialist Party and the Cuban Communist Party, particularly in the area of professional unions and all that serves the struggle against imperialism and world Zionism." (David Nissman)

BELARUS TO OPEN TRACTOR FACTORY IN IRAQ. Under the terms of agreements recently signed between Minsk and Baghdad, Belarus will open a tractor factory in Iraq, modernize a glass factory, complete a water-purification plant, and supply 600 trucks to Baghdad, "Belorusskaya delovaya gazeta" reported on 4 May. (David Nissman)

BELGIAN PEACE FORUM SEEKS TO END IRAQI SUFFERING. Raymond Cumont, head of the Belgian Peace Forum Society, arrived in Baghdad to take part in the fifth meeting of the follow up and coordination committee stemming from the Baghdad Conference for Solidarity with Iraq, Baghdad radio reported on 7 May. The Belgian group seeks to end the embargo as part of an effort to reduce the suffering of the Iraqi people. Deputy Premier Tariq Aziz and other Iraqi officials praised its work. (David Nissman)

IRAQI ATTACK AGAINST KURDISTAN REPULSED. Forces under the leadership of the PUK repulsed an Iraqi army effort to occupy parts of Kurdistan around Kifri early in May, according to the website KurdishMedia on 6 May. Meanwhile, the Kurdish branch of the Iraqi Communist Party (ICP[K]) announced that on 2 May its forces had driven back another Iraqi attack against Garmiyan, in South Kirkuk, at the line of contact with Iraqi forces. London's "Al-Hayat" reported on 7 May that the Mujahadin-e Khalq organization has denied that any of its members took part in the attack on Kifri. (David Nissman)

BARZANI TELLS TURKS PKK PRESENCE IS UNACCEPTABLE. Masud Barzani, the leader of the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP), told Turkish officials in Ankara on 7 May that "the presence of the PKK in our region is unacceptable," the "Kurdistan Observer" reported the next day. Barzani also praised the recent rapprochement with the PUK and discussed American moves concerning Iraq with Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit. (David Nissman)

PUK STREAMLINES TOP OFFICES. PUK leaders have issued a series of decrees calling for the streamlining of local and regional governments, "Kurdistan Nuwe" reported on 3 May. One of the decrees specified that "we need an effective management system to control expenditures in order to fulfill the responsibilities and pledges for providing efficient services and insuring that government employees are paid on time." (David Nissman)

KDP, ISLAMIC DA'WA DISCUSS RELATIONS. KDP leaders met with representatives of the Islamic Da'wa Party to explore a basis for cooperation, Irbil's "Brayati" newspaper reported on 1 May. The two also discussed more general issues, including their attitudes toward international policies directed at Iraq. (David Nissman)

KDP, PUK MEET WITH OTHER PARTIES. KDP and PUK officials on 2 May met with a joint delegation of the Iraqi Communist Party, the Kurdish Islamic League, the Kurdistan Independence Labor Party, and the Assyrian Democratic Movement, "Zinda" reported on 9 May. (David Nissman)

U.S. OFFICIAL MEETS TURKMEN FRONT REPRESENTATIVES. Mustafa Diya, representative of the Iraqi Turkmen Front, met with a junior State Department official in Washington, Irbil's "Turkmen Eli" reported on 29 April. The American official explained the new U.S. policy towards Iraq and said Washington will look into the Iraqi Turkmen Front's reports of human rights violations directed against Turkmen. Diya urged the U.S. to issue a statement calling for the protection of the national rights of the Turkmen. (David Nissman)