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There are 7 messages totalling 840 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. Iran Condemns Israeli Siezure Of Lebanese Village
2. On Kosovo Crisis
3. On Shirazi Assassination
4. On Iran-U.S. Relationship
5. Oil Prices Rise
6. RADIO FREE EUROPE-IRAQ REPORT-Part 1/2
7. RADIO FREE EUROPE-IRAQ REPORT-Part 2/2

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 18:22:02 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Iran Condemns Israeli Siezure Of Lebanese Village

Iran Condemns Israeli Siezure Of Lebanese Village
=================================================


06:13 a.m. Apr 16, 1999 Eastern
TEHRAN, April 16 (Reuters) - Iran on Friday condemned Israel's
occupation of a village in south Lebanon and urged the
international community to toughen its stand against the Jewish
state, the official Iranian news agency IRNA reported.

``Foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi condemned the new
wave of Israeli attacks on Lebanon as well as its takeover of
Arnoun village in the south of the country,'' it said.

Asefi said Israel's move was ``in line with the Zionist regime's
aggressive policies,'' IRNA reported.

``He termed as dangerous the Zionist regime's acts in making the
region insecure and emphasized the need for the international
community to adopt more serious measures.''

Israel seized the village on Thursday, effectively incorporating
it into its military occupation zone.

Lebanon's pro-Iranian Islamist guerrilla group, Hizbollah, has
been waging a war of attrition against Israeli control of a
strip of south Lebanon, set up by Israel ostensibly to protect
itself from attacks.

Arnoun had been sealed off by Israel earlier this year when the
Jewish state alleged the village had been used by Lebanese
guerrillas as a base to attack Israeli troops.

The village was subsequently freed by Lebanese civilians who
mounted a protest march there in February.


Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.

------------------------------

Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 18:21:56 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: On Kosovo Crisis

Asefi Deplores Attack On Convoy Of Kosovan Civilians
====================================================


thr 050
asefi-kosovo
asefi deplores attack on convoy of kosovan civilians
tehran, april 15, irna -- foreign ministry spokesman hamid reza asefi
here thursday expressed grief over the attack on a civilian convoy of
kosovan refugees.
he added that this unfortunate incident is yet another tragedy
which has been added to the earlier damages and it only demonstrates
that unfortunately the main victims of the crisis are the defenseless
muslims of the balkans.
expressing concern over the escalation of the conflict, asefi
said. ''the islamic world can no longer be a witness to the massacre,
displacement, the pains and suffering of the ethnic albanian kosovan
muslims. based on this, the organization of the islamic conference
contact group, through its follow-up measures, has taken steps to
find a solution to the crisis.''
asefi expressed iran's condolences to the survivors and the people
bereaved as a result of the bombing.
ah/hm
end
::irna 15/04/99 23:46




Iran Deplores NATO Attack on Convoy of Kosovo
=============================================


Xinhua
15-APR-99

Refugees

TEHRAN (April 15) XINHUA - Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman
Hamid Reza Asefi on Thursday expressed grief over the fatal
attack by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on a
civilian convoy of Kosovo refugees.

This unfortunate incident is yet another tragedy added to the
earlier damages, Asefi said, adding it only demonstrates the
main victims of the crisis are the defenseless Muslims of the
Balkans.

NATO admitted on Thursday that it had "accidentally" bombed a
civilian vehicle in southwestern Kosovo on Wednesday, killing at
least 64 Kosovo refugees.

The Iranian spokesman tended Iran's condolences to the victims
and the survivors of the bombing and voiced grave concern over
the escalation of the conflict in Kosovo.

The Islamic world can no longer be a witness to the massacre,
displacement and the sufferings of the ethnic Albanian Kosovars,
the spokesman added.

------------------------------

Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 18:21:22 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: On Shirazi Assassination

Iranian Exiles in Iraq Vow to Kill More Officials in Iran
=========================================================


AP
15-APR-99


BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- Iranian exiles warned Thursday that the
assassination of a top Iranian general was only a prelude to
attacks on other senior officials in Iran.


Farid Soleimani of the Mujahedeen Khalq said his guerrilla group
was prepared for a retaliatory attack from the Iranian armed
forces to avenge thes to avenge the killing of Brig. Gen. Ali Sayyad
Shirazi.
He said the group was well equipped with tanks and helicopter
gunships.


Shirazi, deputy chief of the joint staff command of the Iranian
armed forces, was gunned down Saturday in front of his home in
Tehran by men dressed as city cleaners. The Mujahedeen Khalq
claimed responsibility for the attack.


"The punishment of Sayyad Shirazi has sent tremors throughout
the mullah's regime and the resistance is determined to step up
its attack on the regime," Soleimani told The Associated Press.


He spoke as more than 500 members of the so-called Iran's
parliament-in-exile met in Iraq to discuss ways to overthrow the
clerical regime in Tehran.


"We're fully prepared for all eventualities and that includes
attacks by the mullahs' regime," Soleimani said.


The presence of the Mujahedeen Khalq on Iraqi territory is a
main factor hindering a rapprochement between Baghdad and
Tehran, bitter neighbors who fought a 1980-88 war.


No exact figures are available on the number of Iranian exiles
in Iraq, but they are said to be operating about a dozen camps
in the country.


The Mujahedeen Khalq was part of the opposition that overthrew
Iran's U.S.-backed monarchy in 1979, but the group split with
the Islamic government over disagreements over power-sharing.


The group moved its headquarters and guerrillas to Iraq in 1984
at the height of the Iraq-Iran war.


Copyright 1999& The Associated Press.




Czech Republic Condemns MKO
========
===================


thr 047
condemnation-czech
czech republic condemns mko
vienna, april 15, irna -- the republic of czech on thursday condemned
the latest act of terrorism by the terrorist mojahedin khalq
oganization (mko) in assassination of lieutenant general ali sayyad
shirazi.
czech foreign ministry issued a statement thursday and expressed
regret over shirazi's martyrdom and commitment of such acts of
violence.
the statement said the czech republic condemns any act of
terrorism irrespective of who is the perpetrator.
shirazi was assassinated in front of his home last saturday by
mko agents.
sd/hm
end
::irna 15/04/99 20:37

------------------------------

Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 18:21:44 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: On Iran-U.S. Relationship

Iran Sees CLINTON'S Remark as Change
====================================


Xinhua
15-APR-99
TEHRAN (April 15) XINHUA - Iran on Thursday cited the recent
rei3/4rks of U.S. President Bill Clinton on Washington's
relations with Tehran as a change from Washington, but called
for more changes in U.S. policies and behaviors.

Clinton's remarks indicated a change in the statements of the
U.S. officials and "they contain traces of a kind of realism
towards the Islamic Republic of Iran and its r+h culture,"
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said.

Asefi said that the remarks are an admission of the miseries and
agonies the U.S. has imposed on tov Iranian people over the past
50 years, the Islamic RepublihNews Agency reported.

President Clinton said on Wednesday that Iran may have been
disfavored by the western countries, including the U.S.

The Iranian peop right to be indignant at what le had the right to be
indignant at what "my
country, my culture or my allies may have done to them 50 years
or 150 years ago, " he said.
Terming Clinton's remaras an adm3sion to Washington'sjunjust
relations with Tehran, the Iranian spokesman said, the remarks
are "a matter Tehran haQKbeen stressing upon over Ge past 20
years."
However, he said, "the ya'stick in relations between countries
is the behavior of United States."

"For the great people of Iran, what is important isq practical
change in the U.S. policies and behaviors towards the Islamic
Republic of Iran, " he said, "and the basis of evaluation is
practical and tangible steps that the U.S. government should
take towards Iran."

Iran and the U.S. broke off their diplomatic ties in 1980 after
the takeover of the U.S. embassy in Tehran by the Iranian
students in November, 1979.

Over the past two decades, Iranian leaders labeled the U.S. as
"the Great Satan" and strongly condemned the U.S. "arrogant and
hegmonist" policies in the world.
Meanwhile, Washington has nabbed every opportunity to isolate
Tehran from the international political arena by accusing Iran
of support-O (ovvrrori@ , undermining the Middle East peace
process and seeking weapons of mass destruction.

The two sides softened their verbal attacks against each other
after Iranian President Mmmad Khatami in January past year
called for talks between the two nations in order to break down
the "wall of distrust" between the two countries.

However, under strong pressures both from the U.S. and Iran, the
two governments have not succeeded in moving toards a compromise
in their relations, though they have taken some practical steps.




Iran Urges U.S. Deeds, Not Words, For Better Ties
=================================================


02:58 p.m Apr 15, 1999 Eastern
TEHRAN, April 15 (Reuters) - Iran on Thursday welcomed
conciliatory remarks by U.S. President Bill Clinton, but said
Tehran wanted action by Washington to end hostility towards the
Islamic Republic.

``Clinton's remarks are an admission of the unjust relations
America has always had with the Islamic Republic of Iran, and
that is what Iran has stressed in the past 20 years,'' said
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi, quoted by the
official news agency IRNA.

``These remarks reflect a change in American officials'
statements and are a sign of a kind of realism towards
Iran...But the norm in relations between countries is behaviour
and actions, and remarks are not enough,'' Asefi said.
Clinton said in Washington on Wednesday: ``I think it is
important to recognise...that Iran, because of its enormous
geopolitical importance over time, has been the subject of quite
a lot of abuse from various Western nations.

``And I think sometimes it's quite important to tell people,
look, you have a right to be angry at something my country or my
culture or others that are generally allied with us today did to
you 50 or 60 or 100 or 150 years ago,'' Clinton said.

Asefi said what was important for Tehran was ``a practical
change in the American government's policies and behaviour
towards Iran,'' IRNA reported.

Hostile for two decades, relations between the two countries
have thawed somewhat since moderate Iranian President Mohammad
Khatami last year called for grassroot exchanges.

Iranian officials have repeatedly called on the United States to
release Iranian assets, frozen after the 1979 Islamic
revolution, and cease acts of hostility such as trade sanctions.

Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who outranks
Khatami, has ruled out any thaw, saying Washington is bent on
destroying Tehran's Islamic government.

The United States broke diplomatic relations with Iran in April
1980, five months after militant students seized the U.S.
embassy in Tehran. They held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days.

Washington has since imposed sanctions on Tehran, accusing it of
backing terrorism and seeking nuclear weapons. Iran denies the
charges.


Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.

------------------------------

Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 18:22:08 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Oil Prices Rise

Oil Prices Rise
===============


AP
15-APR-99


NEW YORK (AP) -- Crude oil futures rose Thursday as Iran said it
would honor, at least in part, the production cutbacks agreed to
by other major producers.


The contract for May delivery of light, sweet crude oil for
delivery in May rose 28 cents per barrel to $16.75 at the New
York Mercantile Exchange.


Last month, Iran agreed to trim its output by 301,000 barrels a
day as part of an agreement among members of the Organization of
Petroleum Exporting Countries and a few other major producing
nations. The cutbacks are meant to reduce a world oil glut that
sent prices to 12-year lows in December.


Oil prices also drew support Thursday from more signs of
potential political instability in Venezuela, analysts said.


President Hugo Chavez sparked controversy in recent days by
calling for the dissolution of Venezuela's Congress and the
Supreme Court. He has also threatened to rule by decree if the
legislature fails to grant him sweeping new powers to manage the
recession-hit economy.


In other trading Thursday, the May contract for unleaded
gasoline rose 0.86 cents to 51.70 cents a gallon, and May
heating oil rose 0.50 cent to 42.15 cents a gallon.


Natural gas prices also rose, with contracts for delivery in May
settling at $2.137 per 1,000 cubic feet, up 4.1 cents.


In London, North Sea Brent Blend crude oil for delivery in May
settled at $15.20 per barrel, up 28 cents at the International
Petroleum Exchange.


Copyright 1999& The Associated Press.

------------------------------

Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 21:29:56 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: RADIO FREE EUROPE-IRAQ REPORT-Part 1/2

RADIO FREE EUROPE/RADIO LIBERTY, PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC
_____________________________________________________________
RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT
Vol. 2, No. 15, 16 April 1999

A Review of Developments in Iraq Prepared by the Regional
Specialists of RFE/RL's Newsline Team

THE BATTLE OVER SANCTIONS HEATS UP
Iraq will reject any new conditions imposed by the UN to
monitor its arms programs, the Ba'th Party newspaper "Al-
Thawra" said, because that is Iraq's legal right "and not a
gift of the Security Council," INA reported on 12 April.
These comments appear to have been triggered by recent
discussions in three Security Council subcommittees that were
set up in January to end the deadlock in that body concerning
Iraq. And they may also reflect new Iraqi confidence that
pressure to lift the sanctions is growing. Iraqi Vice
President Taha Yasin Ramadan has rejected the sanctions as
recently as this week.
On 9 April, the U.S., Great Britain, and the Netherlands
reiterated their opposition to any lifting of sanctions
because Iraq had not been fully disarmed of its weapons of
mass destruction. But the ranks of those completely opposed
to the lifting of sanctions are thinning: the other 12 member
countries are now calling for a lifting of the oil embargo as
an incentive to Iraq to cooperate with a future arms-
monitoring system.
The split reflects differences of opinion about the
status of Iraq's weapons program. The International Atomic
Energy Agency is prepared to certify that Iraq has no nuclear
capability at the present time. But there is no agency
willing to assert that Iraq does not have a chemical and
biological weapons capability. In part that reflects the
difficulties of monitoring such weapons programs, but it also
reflects mounting evidence that Baghdad is seeking to
replenish its capability in these areas (see "RFE/RL Iraq
Report," 9 April 1999 and an AFP report of the same day).
In responding to these charges, Iraq has lashed out at
UN weapons inspectors for supposedly destroying an animal
vaccine factory which could have helped prevent the hoof and
mouth epidemic that is taking an enormous toll on the
country's livestock. Iraqi officials have even demanded
compensation for the losses (AFP, 8 April; also "RFE/RL Iraq
Report," 19 March 1999).
On other issues raised at the Security Council, Iraq has
also maintained its former positions. As concerns the return
of Kuwait POWs, Baghdad officials said at the Arab League
Consultative meeting it was not unwilling to discuss the
situation but insisted on calling them "missing persons." But
these Iraqi representatives conceded that Kuwait could call
the "missing persons" "anything they want" (see "RFE/RL Iraq
Report," 26 March 1999). (David Nissman)


IRAQI NATIONAL CONGRESS MEETING INCONCLUSIVE
A London meeting of the Iraqi National Congress (INC)
last week that was intended to produce a "transitional
government" for the north and south of Iraq generated only a
vague statement clearly intended at papering over rifts
between various member-groups and factions and a new
Executive Council, according to the Voice of the People of
Kurdistan on10 April.
But the parties did agree to continue to work to "effect
political reconciliation within the framework of the INC." A
five-member committee was established to make contact with
INC members who had boycotted the sessions and to explore
ways to bring them back to the INC, "Al-Quds Al-'Arabi"
reported on 9 April. Meanwhile, the Executive Council, which
will disband when a National Assembly is held on 7 July, will
focus on expanding contacts with Iraqi groups which are not
INC members and seek to persuade them to join its ranks.
After that assembly meets, the leadership of the INC
will then be in a position to discuss implementation of the
U.S. Iraq Liberation Act. One INC official, Nabil Musawi,
told the London meeting that U.S. Senator Robert Kerrey, who
attended the meeting in London, had asked the Executive
Council to hold the INC National Assembly as soon as possible
in order to elect a new leadership. According to a meeting
participant who wished to remain anonymous, Washington
currently is forced to rely on the INC, "Al-Quds Al-'Arabi"
reported. This source added that Kerrey had told some
participants that the U.S. is determined to topple Saddam
Husseyn before the end of the year for reasons to do with the
American presidential election.
Ahmad Chalabi, the former president of the INC, has seen
his powers seriously diminished. He is now chairman of the
newly-formed Executive Council, but that is a collective
leadership in which any member can veto the suggestions or
plans of any other members. "Al-Zaman," a London-based Arabic
language newspaper, said on 12 April that many members of the
INC "became distressed when they learned that the seven-
member leadership would be just a collective one that could
make its decisions unanimously." The paper suggested that the
new council will be united only "in making excuses and
explanations."
Commenting on the role of Frank Ricciardone, the United
States official responsible for Washington's approach on
Iran, "Al-Zaman" argues that he has "failed to produce a
well-scripted play about tangible policies on the future
regime in Iraq."
The INC assembly is scheduled to convene in early July.
American officials reportedly want the meeting to take place
in Washington and have offered $700,000 to cover the expenses
of those attending. But other INC members believe the meeting
should take place in Cairo, Amman, or Riyadh in order to give
it "an Arab dimension," "Al-Quds Al-'Arabi" reported on 9
April. Efforts to organize INC meetings in these countries
have run into difficulties, "Al-Quds al-'Arabi" said on 13
April, though it provided no details. (David Nissman)


MAGHREB STATES REFUSE TO JOIN ARAB COMMITTEE ON IRAQ
The Maghreb states reportedly have turned town efforts
by Syrian Foreign Minister Faruq Al-Shar' to get them to join
the Arab Committee on Iraq, "Al-Sharq Al-Awsat" reported on
12 April. The Syrian diplomat who chairs the seven-member
committee, had sought to involve them in order to overcome
the current impasse among committee members.
The refusal of the Maghreb states to agree reflects
their anger at being excluded from some of the preliminary
maneuvering over the formation of this committee. Members of
the Arab-Maghreb Union, for example, expressed surprise in
January when they were not asked to become part of the
meetings that came to be known as the "Al-Ghardaqah Five"
(see "RFE/RL Iraq Report," 22 January 1999). At that time,
Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Musa claimed that it was
"incorrect" to think that the exclusion of some Arab
countries was a "plot" or "maneuver" (Middle Eastern News
Agency, 17 January).
Dr. Abd al-Majid, head of the Arab League, said that
Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco had based their refusal to
participate on "reservations about this committee's formation
and the nature of its work," "Al-Sharq Al-Awsat" reported on
12 April.
Iraq is also upset about its exclusion from membership
in the committee. Dr Sultan Al-Shawi, Iraq's envoy to the
Arab League, has said that "Iraq's exclusion, though it is
the main party involved, sparks Iraqi fears that the aim of
the committee is somehow to prolong the sanctions by implying
that Baghdad has failed to live up to its international
responsibilities. And he is now suggesting that the Maghreb
countries have refused to participate because they accept and
support Baghdad's views. (David Nissman)


MORE DETAILS ON 'OPERATION SAMSAM'
A biweekly magazine published by 'The Economist"
revealed that Iraqi purchases of components from South Africa
will help Baghdad to speed up its secret program for the
production of biological weapons. The publication, "The
Foreign Report," in this week's edition said that these
purchases are taking place within a secret operation known as
the "Samsam Operation." "The Foreign Report" quoted what it
described as "very informed sources in the Middle East"
saying that Iraq has tried to get around South Africa's
security and customs agencies to guarantee that the deal, a
clear violation of international sanctions imposed on Iraq
through UN resolutions for the removal of all of its weapons
of mass destruction, is not discovered.
"The Foreign Report" said that the deal might have been
discovered and foiled. It added that the plan started three
years ago with the recruitment of agents in South Africa. One
of the agents was described as a businessman working in a
local pharmaceutical company and another was described as a
microbiology expert. The agents were supposed to present
themselves as civilian intermediaries who want to sell
equipment to be used for civilian purposes but the real aim
was for this equipment to transferred to the biological
weapons production sphere in Iraq, the magazine said.
According to the plan, equipment would be purchased from
local companies and South African branches of European
companies. The equipment would then be sent either to
companies that are fronts for Iraq working outside South
Africa or to local companies in South Africa and then
transferred to Iraq with forged documents.
"The Foreign Report" went on to say that the agents were
given a list of items for purchase and instructions to find
out whether they were available for purchase in South Africa
or whether they were classified as secret because of their
dual usage. But their use for peaceful purposes makes them
easier to export. At the top of the Iraqi list were things
like equipment for a central sorting/isolation machine1 made
by German companies with branches in South Africa. The
British report then went on to say, referring to its sources,
that the agents were supposed to claim that the machine for
sorting, a machine that can spread germs, was wanted for a
dairy factory in Iraq. The Iraqi list also included
cartridges for biological filters made by another German
company and stainless steel that can be used to manufacture
fermentation tanks, cartridges for air filters, and
mechanical covers.
"The Foreign Report" said that the "Samsam Operation"
was prepared in 1997 by the military biological project and
the Central Intelligence Committee and in 1998 an officer
appointed specifically for the "Samsam Operation" accompanied
a government delegation to South Africa and prepared a list
of names of promising companies and businessmen. Some of them
working in pharmaceuticals and some were experts, who were
working in a secret biological weapons program, known as "The
Coast Project" in apartheid South Africa that was closed at
the beginning of the 90s leading to many of them becoming
unemployed. "The Foreign Report" said that the Iraqi plan had
probably been foiled but it said that it can be seen as an
important indication of Iraq's intentions. (Naim Iskandar,
Radio Free Iraq)


KURDS ON KOSOVO
Many commentators have draw analogies between Yugoslavia
and Iraq, both of which have been subjected to air strikes
for their failure to respect either the rights of the people
living on their territories or international agreements into
which they have entered. But there is an additional way in
which these analogies hold, one that links the Kosovars and
the Kurds.
The Kurds themselves have been anxious to draw that
analogy, clearly hoping to attract more international support
to their cause. On 10 April, the Kurdistan Democratic Party
issued a statement making this linkage explicit:
"The suffering of Kosovars today is similar to what the
Kurdish people had to suffer throughout the century and
especially in 1991 in Iraqi Kurdistan; they are suffering the
consequences of the destruction of their countryside, mass
deportation, genocide, murder, rape, and other crimes against
humanity...The Kurdistan Democratic Party condemns the crimes
committed by the Belgrade government against the Muslim
Kosovars." (David Nissman)


UDAY ON KURDS, YUGOSLAVIA
AP quoted the Iraqi president's eldest son, Uday Saddam
Husseyn, saying in an article he published on 1 April: "When
it is done with Yugoslavia, the U.S. and its NATO allies will
use their weapons to help Iraq's Kurds to get their national
rights."
In an article that was printed on the front page of
"Babel," Uday, the editor of the paper, added: "NATO, through
its help of the Albanian minority in Yugoslavia, is creating
a precedent that it intends to use in helping the Kurds in
northern Iraq." He added: "What is happening in Kosovo at the
moment will reflect on Iraq in one way or another, especially
on Iraqi Kurdistan."
Uday's words came at a time that saw Baghdad increase
its moral support for Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.
Iraqi President Saddam Husseyn has called the members of his
government to meet twice since the start of the air strikes
on Yugoslavia to issue statements supporting Milosevic. The
official Iraqi media has also defended what it called "Iraqi
and Yugoslav steadfastness in the face of the aggression led
by the U.S."
The London paper "Al-Hayat" said on 1 April that Iraq
and Yugoslavia have cooperated militarily for two years and
it quoted Iraqi opposition sources in Amman as saying that
the governments of both countries had used diplomatic pouches
to exchange spare parts for medium-sized and small weapons.
(Naim Iskandar, RFI)


TAJAMU' PARTY'S KURDISH SYMPOSIUM
In an attempt to understand the Kurdish issue, the Arab
Affairs Committee of the left-wing Tajamu Party in Egypt held
a wide-ranging symposium. Experts in the Kurdish issue and
dozens of people interested in the Kurdish issue took part.
The symposium intended to answer a number of unclear issues
between Turkey's accusation of Abdullah Ocalan being a
terrorist and another view that sees him as a fighter leading
a big battle for the sake of Kurdish self-determination.
Secretary of the Arab Affairs Committee and member of
the political office of the Tajamu Party, Farida Al-Naqqash,
stressed at the opening of the symposium that the issue of
the Kurds is a very important one and that it comes amidst
difficult circumstances that have seen the emergence of
national liberation movements all over the world.
Al-Naqqash drew links between the Arab and Kurdish
people in historical terms. She stressed the deep and very
good relations between them throughout history. She gave
proof of this in the names of people, who have been important
to Arab minds and existence, who were of Kurdish origin.
Among these was the "champion" Salah Al-Din Al-Ayubi, the
"Prince of Poets" Ahmad Shawqi, the "Liberator of Women"
Qasim Amin, and the prominent writer Abbas Mahmood Al-Aqqad.
In a presentation of the history of the Kurds, Dr.
Mohammed Al-Sayed Salim, head of Asian Studies in the

<< Continued to next message >>>

------------------------------

Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 21:30:32 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: RADIO FREE EUROPE-IRAQ REPORT-Part 2/2

<< This message is part 2 of a previous message >>>

Political Studies and Social Science Faculty at Cairo
University, said that the Kurds are not a politically,
culturally, economically, or linguistically homogenous group,
but in spite of this, they belong, in a general sense, to a
Kurdish identity. He added that the Kurds number nearly 30
million--half of the total number living in Turkey, with a
majority of the Kurds being Muslim and a minority being
Christian, along with several hundred Jews.
Dr. Salim also detailed four waves of Kurdish resistance
before the latest one by Ocalan. Their first revolution came
in 1880 and was led by Sheikh Ubaid Allah, who called for an
independent Kurdish state. It is of note that this revolution
coincided with the growth of the Arab Nationalist movement,
but it did not achieve its goals. The second one came in 1924
and was led by Sheikh Said. This revolution was predominantly
religious in nature and this was in response to Turkish
leader Kamal Ataturk, who abolished the Caliphate and removed
religion from politics. The Turkish response to this
revolution was severe kish response to this
revolution was severe and they totally crushed it. The very
next year, the third revolution came under the leadership of
Ihsan Nouri Pasha, a Kurdish officer in the Turkish army.
This, too, was crushed like the previous two. The fourth wave
came in 1937 under the leadership of Sheikh Rida. His
movement was popular, but he was arrested and executed.
The journalist Dourriya Aouni, who gave her talk through
her intimate knowledge of the PKK and her meeting with
Abdullah Ocalan, said that the PKK depends on a centralist
Leninist ideology. She also said that when she had asked
Ocalan about the secret of the progress made by the PKK, he
had said that the Kurds succeeded because of Turkish
stupidity. Professor of Political Science Jalal Muawad said
that talk about the Kurds and their rights had reemerged
among officials in Turkey when Turgut Ozal, the former
Turkish president, succeeded in canceling an article in the
Turkish Constitution relating to the illegality of using the
Kurdish language and presenting the idea of self-rule in the
framework of regional administration. At this time Ocalan
presented his first initiative for a cease-fire and for
giving up the idea of separation.
When Ozal died and was succeeded by Suleiman Demirel, he
was the first Turkish president to say that the Kurdish
problem was not one that could be solved through violence,
rather only through negotiation, and that its solution could
lead to the setting up of a confederation.
As a follow-up to the recent dramatic events of the
kidnapping and arrest of Ocalan and the positions of the
international powers, Nabil Zaki, the editor in chief of the
weekly "Al-Ahali," the paper of the Tajamu Party, said that
the current suffering of the Kurdish people was caused by
international maneuvers and conspiracies. He said: "The
international position is shocking as much as it is
terrible."
He pointed to the international intervention to help the
people of Kosovo achieve self-determination, while not
looking at the right of the Kurdish people for the same. He
also said that the Kurdish problem is because of the mistakes
of their leaders throughout history which permitted the Kurds
to be used in external struggles. He said that the Kurds paid
the price for this in the end--"as happened in Iraq in the
50s and is being repeated now."
He was also critical of the international community for
its stance on the Kurdish issue. He said that the EU had only
made isolated statements on the issue so far. He also
questioned the U.S. role: "The U.S., which bangs on about
human rights, where is it now as the Turkish army commits
atrocities in Anatolia, where whole villages are wiped out
and millions made homeless?" (Soulafa Ibrahim, RFI in Cairo)


A HEAD COUNT IN THE KRG
A planned census on the territory of the Kurdistan
Regional Government (KRG) continues to spark debate precisely
because so much rides on its outcome: the future course of
interethnic dialogue, water rights, property and grazing
rights, and the political balance. Indeed, as its organizers
have suggested, the purpose of this head count is to
determine who will be allowed to vote in elections for the
KRG parliament.
An article by Alexander Sternberg in the 12 April
edition of "Zenda" about the census operation promises to
heat up this discussion further. Earlier, Sternberg had
issued his comments via the Internet, but in his article, he
goes even further and suggests that problems with the census
will almost certainly result in a delay of the elections
until at least the fall.
Sternberg knows whereof he speaks. He has been a regular
visitor to the region since 1963 and knows almost all the key
players. He has even compiled a database on the region
.
According to his count, there were some 38,000 Assyro-
Chaldeans and approximately 58,000 Turkomans. This is out of
a total estimated population of between 3.7 to 3.9 million in
KRG territory. While these groups find such figures far too
low, Sternberg suggests they may be an exaggeration.
Only a professionally conducted census, under UN or some
other internationally-recognized supervision, will satisfy
the various factions concerned. It findings may match those
of Sternberg, but in the minds of many, such an
internationally supervised count would be seen as more
acceptable. (David Nissman)


CORRECTION: A study of chemical weapons exposure in Iraqi
Kurdistan reported in "RFE/RL Iraq Report" of 9 April was
based on what was purported to be a press release by the

*************************************************
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End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 15 Apr 1999 to 16 Apr 1999
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