22 November 2002, Volume 5, Number 39
BUSH VOWS TO DISARM IRAQ IF IT FAILS TO COMPLY WITH UN RESOLUTION... U.S. President George W. Bush said, in an exclusive interview with RFE/RL on 18 November, that he will seek to form a coalition to disarm Iraq should it refuse to comply with the latest UN resolution. Bush said in Washington that he intends to make UN Security Council Resolution 1441 -- the 17th resolution on Iraq -- stand. Asked whether he would encourage the use of NATO forces against Iraq, Bush said: "If he [Hussein] doesn't disarm...I'll lead a coalition of the willing to disarm him and there's all kinds of ways for that coalition to be formed. It could be formed with NATO, if they chose." Bush said he assured the UN Security Council that the United States would further discuss the matter of Iraq before taking action, but he added that "Mr. Saddam Hussein must understand he will be disarmed, one way or the other." The interview is available in its entirety on RFE/RL's website (http://www.rferl.org). (Kathleen Ridolfo)
...AND PROMOTES 'COALITION OF THE WILLING' TO DISARM IRAQ... U.S. President Bush said after a meeting with Czech President Havel on 20 November that a military conflict with Iraq is his "last choice," and stressed that "if the collective will of the world is strong, we can achieve disarmament peacefully," AP reported. Havel, whose final term expires in early 2003, added, "If...the need to use force were to arise, I believe NATO should give honest and speedy consideration to its engagement as an alliance," according to CTK. U.S. ambassadors in 50 countries are soliciting support for personnel and equipment to aid in the war on terrorism and, potentially, on Iraq, AP reported. Bush was expected to meet later on 20 November with NATO Secretary-General Lord George Robertson and Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, whose country shares a border with Iraq. (Andy Heil)
...THOUGH GERMANY IS NOT WILLING. German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder told Germany's ZDF television in Prague on 21 November that while Germany endorses the NATO declaration on Iraq, it would not participate in a U.S.-led military strike on the country. "We have made it clear...that we will not participate in any military action in Iraq. This is still true," he said. "We had no problem with this [NATO] resolution, because it is identical to the UN Security Council resolution, which we welcomed." Asked what Germany's role would be in the event of a strike against Iraq, he said Germany would discuss some "issues" with its partners. "These are our obligations in the [NATO] alliance [and under] international treaties." Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer echoed Schroeder's statements at a news conference in Prague on 21 November, saying: "Our attitude is absolutely clear: we will not take part. There can be no doubt about it. This is certain," ZDF television reported. (Kathleen Ridolfo)
NATO ISSUES JOINT STATEMENT ON IRAQ... NATO members issued a joint statement at the alliance's Prague Summit on 21 November endorsing UN Security Council Resolution 1441 with regard to Iraq. The statement issued by the 19 member states expressed "serious concern" over terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. "We deplore Iraq's failure to comply fully with its obligations.... NATO allies stand united in their commitment to take effective action to assist and support the efforts of the UN to ensure full and immediate compliance by Iraq, without conditions or restrictions, with UNSCR 1441," the alliance stated. "We recall that the Security Council in this resolution has warned Iraq that it will face serious consequences as a result of its continued violation of its obligations." The statement can be read in its entirety on NATO's website (http://www.nato.int). (Kathleen Ridolfo)
...AS NATO PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY COMMITS TO FIGHTING WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION. The NATO Parliamentary Assembly closed its 48th session in Istanbul, Turkey, on 19 November. The assembly addressed the revision of NATO's mission in its "2002 Istanbul Declaration on NATO Transformation," posted on the assembly's website (http://www.naa.be). "NATO should now endorse defense against the threat of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, and particularly the threat of biological, chemical, or radiological agents, as a priority for the allies," according to the declaration. Meanwhile, German government sources told Berlin's ddp news agency on 19 November that NATO will issue a separate declaration in support of UN Resolution 1441. An unidentified source said Germany would "fully support" the declaration, but added that the NATO declaration will not go so far as to offer NATO support for military action against Iraq, ddp reported. (Kathleen Ridolfo)
U.S. PRESIDENT SAYS U.S. WON'T 'RUN THE SHOW' IN IRAQ. Speaking from the Prague NATO Summit on 21 November, U.S. President George W. Bush told Russia's NTV television that the United States does not intend to run the show in Iraq and will work with Russia and other UN Security Council members to see that UN Security Council Resolution 1441 is fulfilled. When asked whether the U.S. would encourage a new Iraqi government to consider Russia's economic interests there in the event of a regime change, Bush gave assurances that those interests would be taken into account and said the United States would concentrate on forming a new leadership that would recognize the rights of all Iraqi citizens and preserve the country's territorial integrity, according to NTV. Bush met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in St. Petersburg on 22 November to discuss Iraq, the NATO summit, and Chechnya. (Kathleen Ridolfo)
U.S. CHARGES IRAQ VIOLATED NO-FLY ZONE... White House Deputy Press Secretary Scott McClellan told reporters during a press briefing posted on the White House website (http://www.whitehouse.gov) on 18 November that UN Security Council Resolution 1441 "makes very clear that Iraq needs to stop hostile acts against members who are carrying out previous UN resolutions." "The United States believes that firing upon our aircraft in the no-fly zone or British aircraft is a violation, it is a material breach," McClellan added. Four such incidents have been recorded in the last week, according to AP. While he said the United States will not take the matter up with the Security Council at this time, "What the UN resolution allows us to do is it gives us the option, if we choose, to take that to the Security Council." Meanwhile, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said on 18 November that before the United States pursues the issue in the Security Council, first "a pattern of behavior will evolve and then people will make judgments with respect to it," AP reported. Western coalition forces set up the no-fly zones at the end of the 1991 Gulf War, outside the framework of the United Nations, to protect the Kurdish and Shiite populations living in northern and southern Iraq. (Kathleen Ridolfo)
...BUT UN, MEMBER STATES, DISAGREE... UN Security Council members criticized the White House's contention that Iraq is committing a 'material breach' in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1441 by firing on U.S. and British aircraft in the no-fly zone. The issue at hand involves Paragraph 8 of Resolution 1441, which stipulates that Iraq cannot "take or threaten hostile acts" against a UN member state while that state is actively enforcing "any council resolution." According to a 19 November report by Reuters, British Ambassador Sir Jeremy Greenstock, who co-sponsored Resolution 1441, assured the Security Council before the 8 November vote that Paragraph 8 did not apply to the no-fly zones. And, according to a 19 November report by telegraph.co.uk, "Whitehall sources said key members of the Security Council disputed the legality of the no-fly zones, and [British Prime Minister] Tony Blair would find it difficult to join a war justified only by Iraqi threats to Allied aircraft." UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan commented on the issue on 19 November, saying, "Let me say that I don't think that the council will say this is in contravention of the resolution of the Security Council," Reuters reported. In addition, the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying, "Recent claims that Iraq's actions in the no-fly zones can be seen as a violation of the UN Security Council Resolution 1441 have no legal grounds," according to Reuters. (Kathleen Ridolfo)
...AS IRAQ SAYS CHARGES ARE PROOF OF U.S. ILL INTENTIONS... In a statement issued on 18 November, the Iraqi Foreign Ministry said the U.S. charges against Iraq are "proof" that the United States is determined to use Resolution 1441 as a cover to attack Iraq. "The entire international community had condemned the imposition of the two no-fly zones as an illegitimate and flagrant violation of the UN Charter and the firm provisions of international law," said an Iraqi Foreign Ministry spokesman, Iraqi TV reported. He added that Russia and China condemned the establishment of no-fly zones by the United States and Britain, while France withdrew from allied participation in the zones in 1996. (Kathleen Ridolfo)
...BUT DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER SAYS IRAQ WILL COOPERATE. Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz told Britain's ITV Television on 18 November that his country will cooperate with UN weapons inspectors, but added that he is not sure it will be enough to prevent a U.S. attack on Iraq, according to ITV's website (http://www.itv.org.uk). "To be honest, we don't know if dealing with this resolution and the deception of the inspectors [is] going to prevent this war," Aziz said. "I have to be objective and honest in saying that we in Iraq do not feel that the possibility of American aggression on Iraq has been totally removed."
Aziz added that Britain and the United States would suffer the consequences of another Gulf War and responded to U.S. charges that Iraq violated the no-fly zone in contravention of Security Council Resolution 1441. "The warmongers in Washington and London will use any pretext...to say that this is material breach," he said. "The others [UN Security Council members] are not going to support such a description of any small event." (Kathleen Ridolfo)
HUSSEIN SENDS MESSAGE TO NATIONAL ASSEMBLY. Iraqi President Saddam Hussein sent a letter to the Iraqi National Assembly concerning the Revolutionary Command Council's decision to accept UN Security Council Resolution 1441, Iraq TV reported on 16 November. In the letter, Hussein praised the assembly and the Iraqi people for their nationalism, and religious devotion and called on them to remain strong, "not confuse right with falsehood," and to fearlessly confront the "Satan of the age." He attacked the Security Council for its decision, saying, "Your enemy [U.S.] has once again covered its goals and intentions by the cloak of the Security Council, which has violated everything that represents the conscience of international unanimity, in accordance with the UN Charter and international law through this resolution."
In a seemingly veiled reference to Iraq's possible possession of weapons of mass destruction, Hussein vowed to protect Iraq's scientific progress and "independently achieved" technology, and, in an apparent reference to a possible war with the U.S., said, "If the unjust ones [U.S., Britain] go too far in their injustice, you know that we can draw on the revolution's capabilities and principles against every injustice and unjust one...." (Kathleen Ridolfo)
IS IRAQ HIDING WEAPONS? Baghdad has shifted weapons and documents from military installations to public spaces and has sent its scientists abroad as it prepares for the return of UN weapons inspectors, according to a 17 November report by telegraph.co.uk. The report cites information provided by the Iraqi National Accord opposition group, which says that the Iraqi government has moved both documents and materials from weapons laboratories and a ballistic-missile site into hospitals, schools, and mosques in the cities of Mosul and Kirkuk. The operation is supposedly being overseen by Brigadier General Walid al-Nasri, and Qusay Hussein. In addition, "The Daily Telegraph" website reports that, over the last two weeks, two scientists have been sent to Yemen, and two to undisclosed locations in the Middle East, while one each has been sent to Romania, Singapore, and Malaysia.
The report also quotes an official from the U.S. Department of Defense as saying that Iraq has "trained large numbers of personnel in how to deal with an intrusive inspection regime," including how to rapidly sterilize the equipment that is used to produce and store chemical and biological agents. (Kathleen Ridolfo)
AL-BARADEI DISCUSSES UPCOMING INSPECTIONS. Muhammad al-Baradei, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), addressed upcoming UN inspections in Iraq in a speech at the "Carnegie International Non-Proliferation Conference 2002," hosted by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington on 14 November. Al-Baradei said that by December 1998, the inspectors had successfully neutralized Iraq's nuclear program, adding, "We had destroyed, removed, or rendered harmless all its facilities and equipment relevant to nuclear-weapons production -- mostly by the end of 1992." He added that Iraq's weapons-useable material had been removed from the country by 1994. Baradei contended that while satellite monitoring of Iraq has continued for the last four years, it is necessary for the inspectors to confirm Iraq's compliance through inspections on the ground. He added that the success of the inspections will depend on the Iraqi government's willingness to cooperate, and to provide access to sites, as well as transparency and access to all information, including intelligence data. (Kathleen Ridolfo)
DID HUSSEIN ARRANGE SAFE HAVEN IN LIBYA? President Hussein has reportedly struck a deal with Libya to provide a safe haven for members of his regime and his family in the event that he is driven from power in Iraq. According to a report by timesonline.co.uk on 16 November, Hussein sent General Ali Hasan al-Majid (otherwise known as Chemical Ali for his supervision of a chemical-weapons attack on the Kurds in Halabja in 1988) to Libya on 8 September to make arrangements. The deal calls for a safe haven to be provided to Saddam's family, as well as about a dozen senior Iraqi officials and their families, including Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz and Foreign Minister Naji Sabri. In return, $3.5 billion would be deposited into Libyan banks. Diplomatic sources in Tripoli said that Saddam and his son Uday would not be allowed to enter Libya, but it was unknown whether Saddam's younger son, Qusay, was on the list. The Libyan news agency JANA reported on 16 November that the assistant secretary for culture and information at the General People's Committee for Foreign Liaison and International Cooperation, Hassunah al-Shawish called "The Times" report "totally unfounded" and "fictitious." He threatened to take legal action against the paper. (Kathleen Ridolfo)
IRAQI VICE PRESIDENT CRITICIZES U.S. 'PLANS' FOR IRAQ. Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan told the Cairo weekly "Al-Musawwar" on 15 November that Washington was attempting to install a Karzai-like regime in Iraq and that it would fail. "This is political stupidity because they do not know the people of Iraq or how they view occupiers, or how they liberated their land from foreign occupation," he said in an interview from Baghdad. Ramadan also criticized Iraqi opposition groups, calling them a bunch of "dwarfs," adding: "They are just collaborators living in the United States and Britain. I believe they are completely powerless."
He also compared the recent presidential referendum in Iraq to the 2000 presidential elections in the U.S. Ramadan charged that the Iraqi referendum was "in accordance with the constitution" and implied that the outcome of U.S. elections are determined by wealthy individuals, companies, and "Zionist groups," adding that "President Bush was declared president by the court one month after the election." (Kathleen Ridolfo)
UNIDENTIFIED VEHICLE CROSSES KUWAIT BORDER INTO IRAQ. An unidentified man driving a vehicle with Kuwait license plates, broke through Kuwaiti and UN checkpoints and entered Iraq, according to a 18 November report by KUNA news agency. A source at the UN Iraq-Kuwait Observer Mission (UNIKOM) told RFE/RL on 19 November: "It was a small sports car [that] drove under the first gate that controls access from Kuwait proper into the DMZ -- Kuwait police control this -- went around the cement barriers about 200 meters further north, hit the gate at the UNIKOM control point on the border, which popped open the gate, then raced into Iraq. We think he was apprehended there, but have gotten no answer from the Iraqis on his ID or status." The KUNA report noted that an unidentified security source said that UNIKOM was investigating the matter, and has requested that Iraq provide Kuwait with details of the man's identity and his whereabouts. Meanwhile, the "Arab Times" reported on 18 November that the man may have been trying to escape Kuwait, and speculated that he might have been an Al-Qaeda operative fleeing capture. "Kuwaiti security sources say a number of suspected Al-Qaeda members have been arrested in Kuwait following the capture two weeks ago of [Mohsen Al-Fadhli] a Kuwaiti citizen, alleged to be a senior Al-Qaeda operative." (Kathleen Ridolfo)
DENMARK CHARGES IRAQI GENERAL WITH WAR CRIMES. Danish police formally brought war crimes charges against a former Iraqi army general on 19 November. Danish state Prosecutor Birgitte Vestberg issued a press release regarding the charges against former Iraqi Chief of Staff General Nizar al-Khazraji, saying, "The purpose of the preliminary hearing is to determine whether there are specific grounds to assume that the former Iraqi general will undergo criminal proceedings in Denmark," Copenhagen's "Berlingske Tidende" reported on 19 November. He has been under investigation by the Danish authorities since late 2001, according to a 28 September report by the BBC.
Al-Khazraji has been living in Denmark since 1996, after fleeing Iraq. He was reportedly a field commander in northern Iraq during the 1988 Anfal campaign, in which 3,000 Kurds were gassed in the town of Halabja. Al-Khazraji has repeatedly denied having any involvement in the campaign, and claims that accusations of his involvement stem from the Iraqi regime itself (Al-Khazraji has openly admitted his willingness to lead a military uprising against President Hussein). He told "The Daily Star" on 18 February: "I want to make clear that all that happened in Halabja had nothing to do with the Iraqi Army. It was the responsibility of Saddam Hussein and his cousin Ali Hassan al-Majid." Both the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) have remained quiet on the issue of al-Khazraji's involvement. But, some European Kurdish groups insist that he was involved in the gassing of Kurds in Halabja.
Al-Khazraji told "Al-Quds al-Arabi" on 31 July that he was currently involved in forming a military "council," separate from the Iraqi Military Council that is led by Iraqi defectors Brigadier General Tawfiq al-Yasiri and Staff Brigadier General Najib al-Salili, claiming his group was "a different case of officers who have a history in the armed forces and with known influence." He also was reported this year to be on a U.S. list of possible successors to President Hussein, but seems to have fallen out of favor with U.S. officials in recent months. (Kathleen Ridolfo)
IRAQI FOREIGN MINISTER MEETS BLIX, BARADEI... Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri met with UN Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) Executive Chairman Hans Blix and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General al-Baradei in Baghdad on 19 November to discuss "views regarding the start of [the inspectors'] work," Iraqi TV reported the same day. Sabri reportedly told Blix and al-Baradei that "Iraqi parties" are ready to assist weapons inspectors, disprove U.S. allegations that Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction, and lift the "unfair embargo" on Iraq. (Kathleen Ridolfo)
...AS IAEA CHIEF SAYS IRAQ WILL MEET DEADLINE. IAEA Director-General al-Baradei told Al-Jazeera television on 19 November that Iraq has pledged to declare its weapons of mass destruction by the 8 December deadline. al-Baradei said inspectors must determine whether Iraq restarted its nuclear program. Regarding chemical and biological weapons, al-Baradei told Al-Jazeera that when inspectors withdrew from Iraq in 1998, they "had not reached the conviction that Iraq submitted all the documents it should have submitted to confirm it had no chemical and biological weapons." Al-Baradei said inspections will begin prior to the 8 December deadline. (Kathleen Ridolfo)
IRAQ, JORDAN RENEW OIL, TRADE AGREEMENTS. Jordanian officials traveled to Baghdad 20-21 November to sign a new oil protocol with the Iraqi government. The "Jordan Times" reported on 20 November that Iraq will increase oil prices under the deal to $18 per barrel, a $2 increase from 2001. In addition, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has given Jordan a $300 million grant following the renewal of an annual trade agreement between the two states, Iraq TV announced on 21 November. According to the report, the grant will be deducted from the total value of the oil agreement between Jordan and Iraq for 2003. The agreement will provide Jordan with 4 million tons of crude oil and 1 million tons of oil products in 2003 at subsidized prices, according to Iraq TV. Jordanian Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Muhammad Batayneh told reporters at the signing ceremony in Baghdad that "we also agreed to cooperate in transporting crude oil in the future through the Iraqi-Jordanian pipeline," Iraq TV reported. Batayneh said work on the pipeline, which will stretch from the Iraqi-Jordanian border to the Jordanian Oil Refinery, will commence in 2003. Under the renewed $260 million trade protocol, the volume of trade between the two states is expected to increase by $10 million dollars in 2003, according to the "Jordan Times." (Kathleen Ridolfo)
'BABIL' BANNED FROM PUBLICATION. The Iraqi Ministry of Information has banned the Iraqi daily "Babil" from publication for one month, Al-Jazeera satellite TV reported on 20 November. According to Al-Jazeera, the newspaper published reports that contradicted Iraq's media policy. Meanwhile, the website "Ilaf" reported on 21 November that "The decision was taken in implementation of strict instructions that the Iraqi authorities had issued to the country's newspapers banning the publication of any criticism of the Arab countries, including Kuwait and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, following the Arab summit that was held in Beirut in March." "Babil" is run by Uday Hussein, the son of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. (Kathleen Ridolfo)
BLIX, AL-BARADEI MEET WITH ARAB OFFICIALS. Chief UN weapons inspector Blix and the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), al-Baradei, met with Arab and foreign ambassadors in Baghdad to discuss the upcoming UN inspections in Iraq, Al-Jazeera satellite TV reported on 19 November. Quoting "reliable sources" that attended the meeting, Al-Jazeera reported that 300 inspectors are waiting to enter Iraq. The sources also noted that first on the agenda of Blix and al-Baradei is the opening of offices for the inspection teams in the Mosul and al-Basra governorates. Meanwhile, Egyptian news agency MENA reported on 20 November that three Jordanians would join the UN inspection team in Iraq. According to a 20 November "Al-Dustur" report, the Jordanians are members of the Jordanian armed forces and the "scientific and academic body" in the Jordanian university system. (Kathleen Ridolfo)
IRAQI OPPOSITION MIGHT MEET IN EARLY DECEMBER. "The Guardian" speculated on 20 November that the next meeting of Iraqi opposition groups (originally scheduled for 22-23 November) would take place in London on 10-12 December. The report said U.S. officials "demanded" that the opposition meet by 10 December, which is two days after the expiration of Iraq's deadline to declare its weapons of mass destruction to the UN. The participating groups have reportedly been asked to adopt a document of U.S. prepared "principles," which were outlined in London's "Al-Hayat" on 19 November. According to the Arabic-language daily, the principles note that a report on the democratic future of Iraq by the Democratic Principles Working Group, which was formed by the U.S. State Department and opposition groups in April 2002, will be the basis for discussion at the meeting. In addition, an "advisory" group reflecting the diversity of the opposition will be formed to liaise between the United States and the opposition. The principles note that the United States will not support the establishment of an interim government by the opposition groups and stipulate that the opposition will support an Iraq that "lives in peace with its neighbors," renounces weapons of mass destruction, and "accepts unconditionally" UN Security Council resolution 687 (1991). (Kathleen Ridolfo)
LEBANON COMPILING LIST OF POSSIBLE ARAB INSPECTORS. Lebanese Foreign Minister Mahmoud Hammoud is reportedly compiling a list of potential Arab weapons inspectors, in coordination with other Arab states, "The Daily Star" reported on 19 November. Hammoud told reporters on 18 November that there are "Lebanese people with enough expertise to handle an arms inspector's job," and that he is in the process of contacting such people, many of whom live abroad, to request their services, the paper reported. (Kathleen Ridolfo)
GCC PLANS DECEMBER SUMMIT. The Gulf Cooperation Council's (GCC) Foreign Ministers Summit later this week in Qatar will discuss Saudi Crown Prince Abdallah bin-Abd-al-Aziz's "Opinions Document" which contains a report on the educational, economic, and military fields as well as dealing with the prospect of cooperation, according to an article in the London-based Arabic newspaper "Al-Hayat." It is to be discussed after the Foreign Ministers approve it at the GCC Summit in Doha in the third week of December.
Abd-al-Rahman al-Atiyah, the GCC's secretary-general, said that the foreign ministers are going to discuss the Iraqi and Palestinian files as well as economic and military ones. He also noted that there is an inclination to discuss the formation of an economic working team "to harmonize between the economies of the GCC countries and Yemen."
He lauded the return of the weapons inspectors to Iraq, and said: "This is a good chance for Iraq to seize and to implement the other Security Council resolutions, especially the release of Kuwaiti and other prisoners and detainees and complete the return of Kuwaiti possessions, especially the archives." (David Nissman)
AMERICAN GAME IN IRAQ IS OIL, SAY EGYPTIAN, TURKISH JOURNALISTS. A columnist for the Egyptian state-owned newspaper "Akhbar al-Yawm," Kamal Abd al-Rauf, claimed on 16 November that the Iraq issue is not about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction (WMD), but rather that of oil. He points out that the "Bush's administration seeks control of Iraq's oil reserves via an agent government." he also says that the U.S. has played a similar game in Venezuela last year.
He maintains that if the U.S. succeeds, it will control the energy sources both to the West and the East. "It marks the beginning of a new era in colonialism."
An "Opinion" column in the Ankara edition of the newspaper "Cumhuriyet" of 15 November by Professor Turkkaya Ataov makes the same point based on recent discussions with former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter, who also said that the U.S. intended to take control of the six million barrels of oil produced in Iraq in a day.
He cites Ritter as saying that Iraq was 95 percent clean of WMD. "The United States fears that this ration will rise to 100 percent barring its intervention." (David Nissman)
BLASTS OCCUR AT ARMY BASE NEAR MOSUL. The Iraq Communist Party newspaper "Tariq al-Sha'b" reported in its November issue that two officers were killed and 35 servicemen injured in a blast at the Al-Mahad al-Mahawi military base, which is part of the air defense field command, according to the "Iraqi Kurdistan Dispatch" of 10 November.
The blasts are said to have spread a great deal of panic among the Iraqi authorities in Mosul, and early the next morning Ba'th party security agents, heavily armed, surrounded residential apartments in the Al-Amil and Al-Rashidiya Districts, making many arrests.
Later newspaper reports said that 40 students were arrested at the Mosul Technical Institute. Two leading officers at the institute, Brigadier-General Engineer Jamal Husyan al-Dulaymi and Lieutenant-Colonel Jalil Khamas al-Khaffaji, were dismissed from their positions. (David Nissman)
IRAQI TURKMEN FORM COALITION ORGANIZATION. In Irbil, five Iraqi Turkmen political parties announced the formation of a new political coalition, called the Turkoman National Association. The parties announced that they do not share the political views of the Turkmen Front, founded in 1994. The report, from the "Iraq Kurdistani Dispatch" of 6 November, is "widely believed by observers and accused by other Turkoman political parties to act on the behalf of Turkey with a view at undermining the Kurdish self-rule experience in Iraq" (see "RFE/RL Iraq Report," 15 November 2002).
The new organization unites the Turkoman National Association and regroups the Turkmen Cultural Association, the Iraqi Turkoman Brotherhood Party, the Turkoman National Liberation Party, the Iraqi Turkoman Union Party, and the Kurdistan Turkoman Democratic Party. While each party would retain its own independent political platform, they would be "united when it comes to issues related to decisions on Turkoman national destiny and supreme interests."
Jawdat Najjar of the Turkoman Cultural Association hailed the new organization, saying: "the unity of Turkmen ranks became a reality as the result of the Iraqi Kurdistan regional government achievements."
At a press conference, the point was made that the new coalition of the five parties stands "for the fulfillment of the cultural, educational, and political rights" of the Turkmen minority in Iraq. They feel that the extent of their territory, which runs not only along parts of the Iranian and Turkish borders, includes substantial oil reserves, and gives them the right to establish a Turkmen autonomous administration. (David Nissman)