11 June 2004, Volume 7, Number 21
IRAQI POLITICAL GROUPS, Part 1Constitutional Monarchy Movement. Headed by Sharif Ali bin al-Husayn, cousin of the deposed Iraqi king, Faysal II, who was killed in the 1958 coup in Iraq. The group's website claims: "Constitutional monarchy is the one thing that could rescue Iraq from the factional conflicts between the various groups over the question of the position of the head of the state, because the Monarch would not favor one group to the detriment of another, but rather would represent all the people." The group supports an elected national assembly, and claims that it can maintain a balance in Iraq because "Monarchy needs not to be affected by the political ideologies of the competing parties because its main role is an arbitrator between all and guarantor of the constitution." The CMM was one of seven opposition groups to receive financial support from the United States prior to Operation Iraqi Freedom. However, the group was not afforded a seat on the interim Governing Council, much to the chagrin of al-Husayn (http://www.iraqcmm.org/).
Islamic Da'wah (Call) Party. Established in 1957-58, it is largely seen as a Shi'a organization, but does claim some Sunni membership. The spokesman of the party is Ibrahim al-Ja'fari, who served on the Iraqi Governing Council. The party is arguably the biggest and most well-supported Shi'a group in Iraq, having long opposed Ba'athist rule. The group was primarily based in Iran from 1980, after Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein declared membership to the group as punishable by death. The group attempted to assassinate former Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz in April 1980. The party joined the so-called Group of Seven leading Iraqi political parties to enjoy the support of the United States following the downfall of the Hussein regime. Prior to that, the group had limited contact with Iraqi opposition parties. Al-Da'wah claims to have lost 77,000 members to the Hussein regime. Some 40,000 Shi'ites were deported by the Ba'athist regime beginning in the 1970s after being labeled "Iranians" (http://daawaparty.com).
Iraqi Islamic Liberation Party. Founded in 1953 by Sheikh Taqi al-Din al-Nabahani and led by Sheikh Abd al-Qadim Zallum, who died in April 2003. The group considers itself a "branch" of the Iraqi Islamic Liberation Party, which is present in a number of countries. The party is also banned in many Arab countries states, including Iraq under previous regimes. It supports the establishment of an Islamic state under an Islamic caliphate. Party spokesman Abu al-Harith Azzam told Baghdad's "Al-Shira" in an interview published on 10 February 2004 that his group did not register (to date, groups are not required to do so) as a political party, and has no intention of doing so. The party does not coordinate with other Islamic parties. The party calls for an end to the occupation of Iraq, but does not support attempts to end the occupation through military action. The party is open to any Islamic sect, and any ethnicity, Azzam said, adding, "Being a Muslim is enough to accept him as a member in the party." The group's membership is unknown, but is thought to be negligible.
Iraqi Justice and Development Party. Established in December 2003, "Al-Ittihad" described it as a "political, social, and civil party that calls for political participation within a federal Iraq." It reportedly supports religious and ideological freedom. The group also supports Arab and Islamic causes and calls for Islam to be the basic source of legislation in Iraq. Calls for equality among citizens to be upheld. It is not known whether it is related to Turkey's ruling party of the same name.
Iraqi National Accord. Founded in 1990 and headed by interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi. The INA was one of the prominent opposition groups that received funding from the United States before the overthrow of the Hussein regime. Also known as the National Reconciliation Movement.
The group published its "political program" in its newspaper, "Baghdad," on 17 February 2004. It stressed the need to transfer sovereignty in accordance with the agreed upon date between Iraqis and coalition forces, as well as the transfer of responsibility for natural resources and foreign policy to Iraqi hands; it stressed the need for a national reconciliation project that includes a financial settlement for police, army, and government workers who were dismissed from their duties by the coalition, and the participation of those not involved in the regime's crimes in a new civil society; strengthening security and defense capabilities; and adopting new economic initiatives. The INA also calls for strong relations with Iraq's neighbors, the establishment of a vibrant civil society, and the drafting of a strong constitution that would protect the rights of all Iraqis.
Allawi is a former Ba'athist who left Iraq in the 1970s after a falling out with Hussein. He later survived an assassination attempt in the U.K. in 1978, purportedly ordered by Hussein. Membership of his group largely consists of ex-Ba'athists and military men opposed to the Hussein regime. A medical doctor by training, Allawi is a Shi'a.
Islamic Democratic Current Party. Established in March 2003 and led by Muhammad Abd al-Jabbar Shabbut, who is from Al-Kut. Shabbut told the Israeli Arab weekly "Al-Sinnarah" in an interview published on 7 May 2004 that his party combines Islam as a cultural basis and democracy as a neutral procedural mechanism as its platform. Shabbut has been an Islamic political activist since the mid-1960s. He left Iraq in the late 1970s after the Ba'athist regime clamped down on the Islamic movement in Iraq. According to "Al-Sinnarah," Shabbut was sentenced to death in absentia for his antiregime activism, and only returned to Iraq following the fall of the Hussein regime. Shabbut claims some 40,000 Sunni, Shi'ite, and Christian members to his party, which he says does not insist on an Islamic affiliation. He told "Al-Sinnarah" that based on opinion polls inside Iraq, "We are confident that the Iraqi people are aware of the need to elect a statesmen and not a man of religion as the head of state." He added that his party is different from other Islamic parties because it "is not a religious party," and because it "officially adopt[s] democracy in its documents and considers [democracy] part of the Islamic theory" of the party. Shabbut is the author of 13 books on Islamic thought.
Islamic Movement of Kurdistan. Established in the mid-1980s and led by Mullah Ali Abd al-Aziz Halabji. Set up a governing body in the Halabjah region of northern Iraq in 1998, but reportedly does not impose strict Islamic law. Abd al-Rahman Abd al-Rahim, a member of the group's consultative council, told London-based "Al-Sharq al-Awsat" in an interview published on 5 August 2003 that the movement's leader was unjustly arrested by U.S. forces in Halabjah. He claimed that Mullah Ali Abd al-Aziz is a member of the former Iraqi opposition who has since called for "means other than weapons" to further the movement's agenda. Asked about reported links by the movement to Ansar Al-Islam group, Abd al-Rahim said, "The Ansar Al-Islam group members were not happy with our new [nonviolent] policy. They are vehemently opposed to the stand of [Abd al-Aziz] on cooperation with the provincial [Kurdistan] government and the movement's participation in municipal elections." Asked whether the movement will disarm its fighters, he said, "Every party in the world should reconsider its stands and policies every now and then, and this applies to us.... We believe that our priorities at this current stage are limited to preaching and guidance. And I assure you that we have no training or other camps. All our activities are now confined to party organizational affairs." It has received aid from Iran, the United States (after 1998), and possibly Saudi Arabia.
Kurdistan Islamic Group. Established by Ali Bapir in May 2001. Bapir is a former member of the Islamic Movement of Kurdistan. The group reportedly receives funding from the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. It has been linked to the terrorist group Ansar Al-Islam, but released a statement on 11 October 2004 in "Komal" denying that any such links existed. Bapir was interviewed in "Komal" in January 2003. He said: " Our policy is that we enter into fraternity and cooperation with all Islamic groups. We seek such fraternal relations with Islamic parties and organizations, Islamist figures, and groups that follow a Salafi tradition or a Sufi or a scientific tradition. In the Islamic Group, we believe that the group must be open-minded and seek fraternity with all those who call or act for Islam. If we see a mistake, we will try to correct it through dialogue and by creating a fraternal atmosphere."
Kurdistan Communist Party. Declared itself a party in 1993 after separating from the Iraqi Communist Party. It is headed by Kamal Shakir, who succeeded Karim Ahmad in April 2004. It was one of the first political groups to call for an Iraqi interim government after the fall of the Hussein regime. In April 2004, the party called for an expansion of the Iraqi Governing Council to serve as the interim government following the 30 June transfer of power. The party has good relations with the main Kurdish groups the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and the Kurdistan Democratic Party. It is estimated to have around 5,000 members.
Kurdistan Islamic Union. Describes itself as "an Islamic reformative political party that strives to solve all political, social, economic and cultural matters of the people in Kurdistan from an Islamic perspective which can achieve the rights, general freedom, and social justice (http://kurdiu.org). The party secretary is Salah al-Din Baha al-Din, who also held a seat on the Iraqi Governing Council. The group draws a strong base of support from the student population and is reportedly on good terms with Kurdistan Democratic Party head Barzani and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan chief Talabani. However, Baha al-Din told "Hawlati" in May 2004 that he doesn’t believe the KDP and PUK are serious about unifying their administrations in northern Iraq. The group is closely tied to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Kurdistan Socialist Democratic Party. Led by Muhammad Jahi Mahmud. It has been critical of Kurdistan Democratic Party head Barzani and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan chief Talabani because Mahmud feels they could "care less" about the unity of Kurdistan. "As long as the United States supports and cooperates with them, they will neither unify nor will they accept to have partners with them in the government.
Kurdistan Toilers' Party. Established in 1985 by members of the Kurdistan Socialist Party who left due to ideological differences. It is headed by Qadir Aziz. He wants a federal system in Iraq that would be a "national, geographic federal system, based on the recorded historical and geographic facts," "Al-Sharq al-Awsat" reported on 30 July 2003. It worked with the Kurdistan Socialist Democratic Party in December 2000 to try to negotiate an end to fighting between the Kurdistan Workers' Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. "Hawlati" reported on 29 October 2003 that the Kurdistan Toilers' Party and the Kurdistan Socialist Democratic Party agreed to merge into a new group to be known as the Kurdistan Socialist Party.
(Written and compiled by Kathleen Ridolfo)
The Text Of The Inaugural Speech By New Iraqi President Sheikh Ghazi Ajil al-Yawir (Speech given on 1 June at ceremony in Baghdad introducing the new Iraqi president and members of the new cabinet.)
In the name of God, the merciful, the compassionate. It is best to begin our speech with a verse from the Holy Koran: "Our Lord! Bestow on us mercy from thyself and dispose of our affair for us in the right way."
Sir, Ambassador Lakhdar Brahimi, envoy of the secretary-general of the United Nations, honorable audience, ladies and gentlemen: Actually I like to speak impromptu. But, today, it is a written speech, and this is new to us. Please excuse me.
Allow me to deviate from the official presidential speech and say: Long live Iraq unified, strong, and lofty with you and your solid national unity and firm resolve, which shall not relent before all the difficulties and challenges, God willing. Long live Iraq with its Arabs, Kurds, nationalities, and fraternized and cohesive components in every corner of our precious homeland.
These are moments to express my thanks and gratitude to you and to all the brothers and colleagues of all trends for this trust, which showed that they are with the one homeland and above all sects and divisions. But, it is also a moment of a pledge and an oath, just as it is a moment of awareness of the honor of assignment.
My pledge and oath to you to be an Iraqi who honestly defends your aspirations for restoring our country's full sovereignty and establishing a democratic, plural, federal, and united system in which all sides enjoy free citizenship in the state of law, institutions, and liberties away from any quotas or fragmentation.
My pledge and oath to you to exert all efforts with my brothers in responsibility to reconstruct Iraq, liquidate the heritage of the dictatorial eras and all forms of discrimination, and achieve national reconciliation through which the homeland will be for all without murderers, criminals, and covetous ones who wish to restore dictatorship under any slogan.
My pledge and oath to you to restore Iraq's civilized face and positive and constructive role on the Arab, regional, and international levels.
My pledge and oath to you that Iraq shall be a support and a friend for its brothers and neighbor. It shall spare itself and its neighbors of any trend that weakens rather than strengthens, and divides rather than unites; a fully recovered Iraq that is democratic for its people; an Iraq that does not have any ambitions or desire to export its experiment or crises.
My pledge and oath to you to be the source and inspiration of political decisions.
My pledge and oath to you to work with all the means in my power to ensure for you the chance to express your direct free will in honest elections and to set up through them a solid foundation for the consecration of democracy in our country.
After this oath, my only wish is for our efforts to be concerted and for our wills to be united so that we can turn this moment into persistent work to overcome our people's tribulation by ridding them of the chaos and lack of security and to take them to the shore of safety and stability, God willing.
Finally, and before I end my speech, I would like us to remember our martyrs who fell in defense of freedom and honor, as well as our friends who fell in the battle for the liberation of Iraq.
I would like to draw attention to that there were today spiteful shelling attempts aimed at obstructing the democratic process in Iraq. They will not be able and they are not able, God willing, based on your consolidated efforts. God willing, we will continue on this course. May God preserve Iraq for us and preserve you, loyal and righteous sons for it. Peace be upon you.
THE UN AND IRAQUN SECURITY COUNCIL GIVES UNANIMOUS SUPPORT FOR IRAQ RESOLUTION... The UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1546 on Iraqi sovereignty in a unanimous vote on 8 June, setting out key elements of the formal end to the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq and a timetable for political steps such as national elections and the drafting of a constitution, international news agencies reported the same day. The U.S.-U.K.-proposed resolution sets out terms for the handover of authority from the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority slated for 30 June, and it establishes conditions for cooperation between the Iraqi government and international forces that are expected to continue security operations after the handover. AH
...AND IRAQI FOREIGN MINISTER HAILS MOVE... Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari on 8 June welcomed the adoption of the UN Security Council resolution, saying it provides his interim government crucial "international legitimacy," AP reported. Zebari added that the resolution will have a "positive impact" on security by lifting perceptions of a U.S.-led occupation force in favor of a multinational force. "The significance of this resolution for us, for the Iraqis, is really to take away the concept of occupation, which I would say was the main reason for many of the difficulties that we have been going through since liberation," Zebari told the Council on Foreign Relations, according to AP. "We need it as Iraqis as much as our American friends and [the] British." AH
...BUT IRAQI KURDS PROTEST RESOLUTION'S WORDING. The leaders of Iraq's two main Kurdish parties, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), signaled in a 6 June letter to the UN their unhappiness with the wording of Security Council Resolution 1546, international news agencies reported on 9 June. AP quoted PUK official Araz Talabany as saying that PUK leader Jalal Talabani and KDP head Mas'ud Barzani said that "in the future they might not participate in the government or in the coming elections" if the resolution did not endorse the interim constitution that was adopted in March and includes stipulations that Kurds say are their only safeguard of the self-rule they have enjoyed for more than a decade in Iraq. Talabany added that the Kurdish leaders threatened to "bar representatives of the central government from Kurdistan." On 6 June, Iraq's Kurdish interim public-works minister, Nasreen Mustafa Sideek Barwari, responded to the resolution with disappointment, according to Reuters, as cited by Al-Jazeera. She and other members of the interim government have said they will resign if they are called on to do so by their political leaders, Reuters added. AH
IRAQI PRIME MINISTER LAUDS UN SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION. Iyad Allawi on 9 June characterized the passage of UN Security Council Resolution 1546 (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 9 June 2004) as "a great day that future generations will remember as the day when Iraq has transferred from the era of occupation to a new era and got back its complete sovereignty," according to a Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) press release on Allawi's Baghdad news conference. "The new resolution guarantees that the interim government will construct the armed forces and security forces in partnership with the multinational forces and what's more important is that the international forces...will be working under the umbrella of the United Nations and under the review of the Iraqi government." He noted that after 12 months the Iraqi government may end the multinational force's mandate when it believes it is "the proper time, when Iraqi forces alone are able to maintain security all over the country and stop the killing and the explosions." MES
INSIDE IRAQFRIDAY PRAYERS CANCELLED AT SHI'ITE MOSQUE IN AL-NAJAF. Friday Prayers at the Imam Ali Mosque in Al-Najaf were cancelled on 11 June after scuffles broke out between rival Shi'ite factions at the mosque, international news agencies reported. Supporters of radical Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr threw shoes and stones as members of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) were entering the mosque, AFP reported. A top SCIRI official -- identified as the brother of Sheikh Saddredin al-Kubbanji, an opponent of Sadr who heads SCIRI's Al-Najaf office and conducts prayers at the shrine -- was reportedly injured in the incident. On 10 June, six people were killed in clashes between Iraqi police and the Imam Al-Mahdi Army in the city, according to the news agency. A police station was also looted and burned down by insurgents. MES
NEW IRAQI PREMIER UNASHAMED OF WORK WITH CIA. Interim Prime Minister Allawi said during his 9 June press conference that his group, the Iraqi National Accord, is not ashamed of any ties it had to foreign intelligence services in the early 1990s, according to a CPA press release. "Myself and my organization were part of the Iraqi political movement, the liberation movement of Iraq, and because of our efforts to destabilize the regime of Saddam Hussein we were in touch with a lot of agencies, including the government of the United States...who supported the struggle of the Iraqi people to get rid of Saddam," Allawi said. "We do not feel ashamed of being in touch -- to get rid of the evil regime of Saddam," he added. "The New York Times" on 9 June reported that the Iraqi National Accord sent agents into Baghdad during that period "to plant bombs and sabotage government facilities under the direction of the CIA." MES
DEAL TO DISARM SOME IRAQI MILITIAS CLEARS PATH FOR BAN ON PRIVATE ARMED GROUPS. Iraqi interim Prime Minister Allawi announced on 7 June the "successful completion of negotiations on the nationwide transition and reintegration of militias and other armed forces previously outside of state control," Al-Arabiyah television and international news agencies reported the same day. Reuters reported that nine of the countries' major militias have agreed to disband under the agreement, adding that militias that did not sign onto the agreement were outlawed -- including the Imam Al-Mahdi Army of Shi'a cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. "As of now, all armed forces outside of state control, as provided by this order, are illegal," Allawi said, warning, "Those that have chosen violence and lawlessness over transition and reintegration will be dealt with harshly." Allawi said "the vast majority" of about 100,000 militiamen "will enter either civilian life or one of the state security services" by early 2005, according to Al-Arabiyah and Reuters. Parties to the plan include the Kurdish peshmerga and the Badr Brigade, the armed wing of the Shi'ite Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. The U.S.-led administration will issue a ban on militias and private armed groups, Allawi added, according to Reuters. AH
FORMER IRAQI LEADER'S UNDERLINGS TO BE CHARGED BY END OF THIS YEAR. A senior court official quoted by Reuters on 8 June said an Iraqi tribunal preparing the case against ousted President Saddam Hussein plans to indict an unspecified number of individuals who served in that regime by the end of this year. The court's top administrator, Salam Chalabi, said the body is looking into 14 "major crimes" allegedly committed by those individuals, Reuters reported. Authorities are expected to seek testimony during those trials that might be used to help convict Saddam Hussein, who is being held at an undisclosed location by U.S. forces, when he faces trial at a later date. Interim Iraqi Prime Minister Allawi has "taken a personal interest and will help" ensure fair but rapid justice in such cases, the agency quoted a government spokesman as saying. AH
IRAQI PRESIDENT WARNS AGAINST UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS CONCERNING FOREIGN-TROOP PRESENCE. President al-Yawir told an Al-Arabiyah television audience on 6 June that Iraqis "should be realistic" about the likely continued presence of foreign troops in their country after the U.S.-led coalition's deadline for handing over authority on 30 June. The issue will become clearer once the UN Security Council issues a new resolution on Iraq, he added. "If the said resolution states that the multinational forces will withdraw on the request of the Iraqi government, then they will do so when the Iraqi government decides to ask them to withdraw," al-Yawir said. "However, we should be realistic. I don't believe this will happen overnight, not even within three or four months, perhaps more. The real test is our persistent work to establish or rehabilitate the Iraqi security bodies." AH
IRAQI FOREIGN MINISTER SAYS IRAQ STILL NEEDS FOREIGN FORCES... Hoshyar Zebari, the newly appointed foreign minister in the interim Iraqi government, told the UN Security Council on 3 June that Iraq requires the "continued assistance and partnership" of foreign troops, RFE/RL reported. However, he added that "we also need this presence to be regulated under arrangements that neither compromise the sovereignty of the interim government nor the right of the multinational force to defend itself." Zebari addressed the UN Security Council as was considering a revised draft resolution on Iraq proposed by the United States and the U.K. (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 2 and 3 June 2004). While Security Council members France and Germany have called for a resolution on Iraq to include a fixed date for the end of the international force's mandate, Zebari said that "a call for the immediate withdrawal or a fixed deadline or timetable would be very, very unhelpful." He said that such a deadline could be used by enemies of the new government "to complicate the problems even further," and that "as we are ready to assume responsibility [for security]" a withdrawal "can be done as soon as possible." MES
...BUT CALLS FOR SOME INPUT INTO THEIR DEPLOYMENT. Foreign Minister Zebari on 3 June said that the international forces and the Iraqi authorities must find common ground in their relationship after the 30 June transfer of power that would give the new government some say in U.S. military operations in Iraq, RFE/RL reported. "If there are some major offensive military operations that will have political and security implications on the country as a whole, definitely the views of the Iraqi interim government should be taken into consideration and we should have a say in endorsing this kind of operation," Zebari told reporters after addressing the UN Security Council. The same day, U.S. Ambassador to the UN John Negroponte told the council that the transfer of sovereignty to the interim government "will be a true partnership, founded on shared goals and tangible cooperation at all levels -- from the soldiers on foot patrols to the highest levels of two sovereign governments." MES
U.S. SKIRMISHES WITH IRAQI MILITIA AS ATTEMPTS TO SHORE UP TRUCE CONTINUE. Following fighting between U.S. troops and militiamen loyal to radical Shi'a cleric Muqtada al-Sadr in Al-Najaf and Al-Kufah on 2 June, al-Sadr met Shi'a political leaders on 3 June to attempt to shore up a truce made last week (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 27 May 2004), international media reported. Al-Sadr reportedly agreed to withdraw his Imam Al-Mahdi Army from the two Shi'a holy cities within two days as long as U.S. forces also withdraw. Fighting erupted in Al-Najaf briefly on 2 June, while at least five Iraqis were killed in fighting in Al-Kufah the same day, according to hospital officials, and the U.S. military said three soldiers were wounded. On 3 June, insurgents fired mortars and rocket-propelled grenades at a police station housing U.S. troops in Baghdad's Shi'a district of Al-Sadr City, starting fighting in which three Iraqis were killed, AP reported. Also, four U.S. soldiers were reported killed and five wounded on 3 June when their convoy was attacked near the edge of Al-Sadr City. DW
MILITIA ARMS DUMP EXPLODES NEAR AL-KUFAH MOSQUE. An arms dump belonging to Muqtada al-Sadr's militia reportedly exploded on 7 June, shaking the Al-Kufah mosque at which the anti-U.S. cleric often leads Friday prayers, Al-Jazeera and international news agencies reported. Reuters quoted hospital sources saying at least one person was killed and nine others injured, while dpa subsequently reported that three were killed and 12 others wounded. All of the casualties were members of al-Sadr's Imam Al-Mahdi Army, according to hospital staff. Al-Sadr last week ordered his fighters in Al-Kufah and nearby Al-Najaf to disarm; the U.S. military then said it was suspending offensive operations against the cleric. The U.S. Army said in a statement after the explosion that its forces were not operating in the area at the time. AH
FATAL EXPLOSION AT IRAQI MUNITIONS DEPOT RESULT OF MORTAR ATTACK. Six coalition troops from Slovakia, Poland, and Latvia killed in an explosion at a munitions depot on 8 June (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 8 June 2004) died as a result of a mortar attack, not an accident, during a weapons-disposal operation as suggested in initial reports, dpa reported on 9 June. PAP quoted a military spokesman saying authorities initially believed the tragedy was the result of a mistake while the team was defusing explosives in Wasit Province. AH
MORTAR ATTACK TARGETS IRAQI POLICE FORCES, KILLING 12. A mortar attack in the city of Al-Fallujah killed 12 members of an Iraqi security force and wounded 10 others on 9 June, marking the first attack on the so-called Al-Fallujah Brigade since it was established last month, Reuters reported. The guerrillas appeared to have targeted a camp that houses those security forces, which are commanded by Muhammad Latif, a former general and intelligence officer who eventually opposed Saddam Hussein. AH
ATTACKS REPORTEDLY DISABLE MAJOR IRAQI POWER PLANT. Coordinated attacks that recently shut down a major power plant south of Baghdad have heightened fears that insurgents will increasingly target Iraqi infrastructure in an effort to upend the country's interim government, "The New York Times" reported on 8 June. Attacks in the past week were aimed at fuel and transmission lines, the newspaper added, and an unspecified senior Electricity Ministry source said a weekend attack was the latest in a series of strikes. Deputy Electricity Minister Raad al-Haris cited a pattern of attacks on the high-tension lines that are the backbone of the national electricity grid, and he criticized the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority for not providing sufficient security for the transmission line. AH
EXPLOSIONS SHAKE IRAQI CITIES, KILLING OR WOUNDING SCORES. A car bomb detonated in heavy traffic near a forward U.S. base north of Baghdad on 8 June, killing at least four Iraqis and one U.S. servicemen and wounding about 16 other Iraqis and 10 American soldiers, Al-Arabiyah television and international news agencies reported. Hundreds of Iraqi nationals who work at the base, in the city of Ba'qubah some 30 kilometers north of the capital, were standing in line awaiting security checks at the time of the incident, AP reported. Also on 8 June, at least one explosion tore through a downtown area of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, killing at least three and wounding dozens. The Mosul attack appeared to have targeted the motorcade of Mosul security chief and district head Major General Salim al-Hajj Isa, according to Al-Jazeera, which reported that al-Hajj Isa was slightly wounded. Al-Jazeera initially reported that at least three people died in the Mosul incident and 30 others were wounded, although Reuters suggested that roughly 100 were wounded. AH
UN INSPECTORS SAY IRAQI WEAPONS PARTS ENDED UP IN DUTCH SCRAP HEAP. UN inspectors said in a report released on 7 June that weapons-related and dual-use equipment from Iraq has disappeared, some of it turning up in a Dutch scrapyard, according to Reuters. "A number of sites which contained dual-use equipment that was previously monitored by UN inspectors have been systematically taken apart," Ewen Buchanan, a spokesman for the inspectors, said. The authors show before and after satellite images of a missile-related site in Iraq, as well as photos of a missile engine discovered in a Rotterdam junkyard, Reuters reported. AH
EUROPE, THE U.S., AND IRAQG-8 CALLS FOR IRAQI DEBT FORGIVENESS. Leaders from the Group of Eight (G-8) industrialized countries meeting in the U.S. state of Georgia on 9 June urged the international community to write off Iraqi debt to "ensure the sustainability of its economy, reconstruction, and move to democracy," dpa and other news agencies reported. The group also vowed to work with the Paris Club of international creditors and the International Monetary Fund to draft a debt-reduction plan for Iraq by the end of this year. Iraqi debts are estimated at some $130 billion. The G-8 discussion of its new "partnership" with Muslim countries aimed at encouraging economic and political reform was attended by Iraq's new interim president, Ghazi Ajil al-Yawir. AH
REPORT SAYS USE OF DOGS IN IRAQI PRISON 'AUTHORIZED.' The use of dogs to scare prisoners at the Abu Ghurayb prison in Baghdad was authorized by U.S. intelligence officers, "The Washington Post" reported on 11 June. According to the newspaper -- which has obtained "previously undisclosed statements" the dog handlers provided to military investigators -- "the use of military working dogs was specifically allowed...as long as higher-ranking officers approved the measures.... The officer in charge of the military intelligence-run interrogation center at the prison had to approve the use of dogs in interrogations." Dogs were used at Abu Ghurayb to search for weapons, explosives, and drugs. The U.S. Army is investigating the incident and no charges have been filed against any dog handlers. Photographs surfaced in late April of sexual abuse and beatings of Iraqi prisoners carried out by U.S. forces. U.S. President George W. Bush has vowed, if the Iraqis agree, to destroy the prison and build a new one. LA
NO MORE NATO TROOPS FOR IRAQ. Bush, speaking at the closing day of the G-8 summit in Savannah, Georgia, said after talks that it is unrealistic to expect NATO countries to send more troops to Iraq, news agencies reported. "I don't expect more troops from NATO to be offered up," he said. French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder ruled out a direct military role for NATO in Iraq. "All interference by NATO in this region seems to us to carry great risks, including something of a risk of a clash between the Christian West against the Muslim East," Chirac said, AP reported, although he did not rule out NATO involvement in the training of Iraqi troops. British Prime Minister Tony Blair also said that having a large number of NATO troops in Iraq was "not practical," AP reported. Of the G-8 countries, four of them -- the U.S., Britain, Italy, and Japan -- have forces in Iraq. France, Germany, Russia, and Canada do not. Meanwhile, South Korea is planning to deploy 3,600 troops to northern Iraq by late August, AP reported, citing the Seoul-based daily "Hankook Ilbo." LA
SLOVAKIA DOES NOT PLAN TO WITHDRAW TROOPS AFTER SOLDIERS' DEATHS IN IRAQ. Slovak Foreign Minister Eduard Kukan said in Bratislava on 8 June that his country does not plan to withdraw its troops from Iraq in the wake of the deaths of three Slovak soldiers in an explosion earlier that day, CTK and AFP reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 8 June 2004). "I do not think this incident should affect our mission in Iraq," AFP quoted Kukan as saying. Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda told journalists that he is "deeply convinced" that "toying with the idea" of withdrawing the Slovak troops from Iraq would be "premature and cowardly." Two Polish soldiers and one Latvian also died in the incident. MS
ARMENIAN PARLIAMENT MOVES TO FACILITATE TROOP DEPLOYMENT TO IRAQ. The Armenian parliament ratified on 8 June an intergovernmental agreement with Kuwait signed in February that regulates the status of Armenian servicemen in Kuwait en route for service with the international peacekeeping force in Iraq, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reported. Armenia plans to send up to 50 doctors, demining experts, and drivers to Iraq, but Deputy Defense Minister Lieutenant General Artur Aghabekian told Noyan Tapan on 19 May that no date for their departure has been set. LF