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There are 2 messages totalling 334 lines in this issue.

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Date: Sun, 2 May 1999 04:57:00 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>

Vol. 2, No. 17, 30 April 1999

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

Five weeks ago a team of Serbian military experts
visited Baghdad. Three weeks later, a small Iraqi delegation,
headed by Abd Al-Hamid Humud, an aide to President Saddam
Husseyn responsible for military and war industrialization,
paid a visit to Belgrade, according to "Al-Watan Al-'Arabi"
on 23 April. This exchange of visits is the latest indication
of a deepening relationship between Yugoslavia and Iraq, ties
which have been developing since the appointment of
Lieutenant General Mahmud Al-Muzaffar as "scientific
counselor" at the Iraqi embassy in Belgrade in 1997 (see
"RFE/RL Iraq Report," 2 and 9 April 1999).
The report in "Al-Watan Al-'Arabi" suggests that the
flourishing Serbian-Iraqi relations are only a part of a more
complex mosaic and includes Tehran and Moscow in this picture
as well. The paper claims that a secret Iranian-Iraqi oil
smuggling deal to help Serbia, an accord the paper described
as "the biggest operation that violated the oil embargo." The
newspaper explains that "through this three-sided network
Iran used to smuggle oil out of Iraq while the companies
established by Milosevic sold it in the world market partly
paying Iraq back in arms and military equipment."
The obvious purpose behind such cooperation is "to
confront the NATO military campaign against Serbia
repulse the U.S. plan to impose its hegemony on the world."
And some in each of these countries are pressing for an even
closer alliance to oppose the West.
The congress of the perversely named Liberal Democratic
Party of Russia, which advanced the idea of creating a union
of Russia, Belarus, and Yugoslavia, has also called for
cementing Russia's ties with Iraq, India, Libya, Iran, Cuba,
Sudan, and North Korea. LDPR leader and extreme Russian
nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky told that forum that
"brilliant opportunities are now opening up for us to not
only restore the territory of the Soviet Union, but to expand
southwards to the Balkans," Interfax reported on 25 April. He
added that such a new alliance will be joined after
Yugoslavia by Slovakia, Moldova, Ukraine, Romania, Cyprus,
Greece, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Slovenia, and the
Caucasus and Central Asian republics, India, Iran and Iraq."
Husseyn is equally interested in backing Milosevic
precisely because the Iraqi leader finds himself in the same
bind. Like Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, Saddam also
faces international sanctions and bombing. And in addition,
he is confronted by open American efforts to promote his
departure from office.He certainly believes that if the U.S.
succeeds in the Balkans, it will then move even more actively
against him.
Baghdad's involvement with Moscow is already clear. Its
oil minister was in Moscow on 26 April to discuss LUKoil
exploitation of the West Qurna oil fields (see item below).
But suggestions that this grouping of states will ever
formally include Iran as well seem premature if not
preposterous, given the enmity between these states. (David

Iraqi Oil Minister Amir Muhammad Rashid met with Russian
Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov in Moscow on 26 May. At the
meeting, the Russian side highlighted the "active steps"
Russia is taking on Iraq's behalf, RIA-Novosti reported on 27
May. These steps include Russia's proposal to the UN Security
Council for the creation of a new system of international
monitoring which would simultaneously lift the sanctions
imposed against the country.
Iraq is actively preparing for that day. As of now, Iraq
has signed letters of intent with the French companies Elf
and Total, a Russian consortium, and the China National Oil
Iraq desperately needs some $30 million to revamp its
delapidated petroleum sector and boost its oil output from
the current two million barrels a day to six million,
according to AFP on 29 April. From Iraq's point of view, the
current picture has a brighter side. Crude oil prices surged
to a 15-month high in the London market. Contributing to this
increase was a decision by the United States government to
increase its strategic oil reserves by 28 million barrels.
But there may be clouds on this horizon as well. Ali
Hamid Muhammad Salih, director of the North Refineries
Company, recently said that contracts signed within the
framework of the fourth phase of the oil for food progran
have not been fulfilled due to inaction by the UN Sanctions
Committee. This does not permit the company to recycle the
necessary industrial waste, Baghdad radio reported on 26
April. (David Nissman)

Iraq's Ministry of Industry and Minerals has said that
it has "utilized its technical and industrial capabilities"
to participate in the production of anti-aircraft guns, "Al-
Hayah" reported on 23 April. In addition, an Iraqi diplomatic
source told the paper that Baghdad is introducing advanced
surface to air missiles and that French and Russian companies
have supplied Iraqi air defense with equipment to improve its
radar systems as well. (David Nissman)

A source in the Iraqi National Congress told "Al-Quds
al-'Arabi" that Washington has refused to receive a message
from Iraqi Shi'ite figures who were demanding that their
region be put behind the "red lines" Saddam Husseyn is not to
cross, the paper reported on 26 April. Failure to do so might
prompt Baghdad to launch attacks against them, the religious
leaders said.
The "red lines" were first outlined by Martin Indyk,
U.S. assistant secretary of state for Near East affairs, to
highlight the importance of the two no-fly zones. One reason
Washington may not have been willing to receive this missive
is that it may not want to offend the Saudi government.
Riyadh is very much opposed to any security arrangements of
this type which might strengthen Shi'ites in southern Iraq
because of the latter's close ties to Shi'ite groups in the
Saudi city of Al-Qatif, a major oil center.
Frank Ricciardone, the U.S. representative for
transition in Iraq, reportedly said that Washington would
have dealt with the demand if it had come from the leadership
of the Iraq National Congress or the Supreme Council of the
Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI). In fact, he had met with
Dr. Hamid Al-Bayyati, the SCIRI representative in London, to
discuss the venue and the date of the forthcoming INC
national assembly.
Meanwhile, what are described as "bloody clashes"
occurred in southern Iraq and in Baghdad between
demonstrators and security forces last week. The focal point
of the disturbances was the Al-Hikma mosque, from which the
faithful were prevented from attending Friday prayers by
security forces and Saddam's Fedayeen. Sources claim that Al-
Kindi hospital issued more than 250 death certificates, Al-
Hayah reported on 25 April. Senior Iraqi opposition sources
said that the conflicts were between fighters from the
Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. Following
the clashes, the SCIRI soldiers reportedly withdrew from
southern Iraq. (David Nissman)

Great Britain's Independent Television Commission
permanently revoked the license of MED-TV on 23April because
broadcasts contained statements "likely to encourage or
incite to crime or lead to disorder," Reuters reported. MED-
TV had been off the air for close to a month while its
programming content was being investigated.
In response, MED-TV issued a press release vowing to
challenge this decision, noting that the decision to close
the station down is "undoubtedly political" and made under
pressure from the Turkish government.. It addds that "only
the Turkish state will rejoice at this decision which is
contrary to Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights guaranteeing freedom of expression."
But MED-TV's problems are financial as well as
political. The Turkish news agency Anatolia reported on 24
April that $100 million which had been earmarked to cover the
station's expenses has disappeared and that the
organization's administrators are now suspects. The money
involved had been sent to it by the European branch of the
Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in September. According to the
"Turkish Daily News" on 27 April, the European branch has not
been sending any money to the PKK's military wing. PKK camps
in northern Iraq and Iran are having difficulty in obtaining
food or weapons. (David Nissman)

Kurdistan Television, a station sponsored by the
Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq and
initially designed to counterbalance MED-TV's pro-PKK
position, now has the Kurdish broadcasting field to itself..
Last week, Ilnur Cevik gave an interview wherein he made
several allegations about the state of KTV's financing and
technical equipment (see "RFE/RL Iraq Report," 23 April
1999). While no official response from KTV itself has yet
been received, there has been a response from the Office of
the Representative of the Kurdish Regional Government in
The KRG takes issue with a number of Cevik's assertions,
particularly concerning financing. Cevik had contended that
the KDP ran out of money after spending $2 million. The
official response says that "KTV is running into no financial
problems as suggested by Ilnur Cevik." But the KRG
acknowledges that it is having to use money originally
allocated for social services and other sectors to support
the broadcasts.
The KRG has been especially irritated by the widespread
reporting of the Cevik interview, not only in PKK press
outlets but also in the "RFE/RL Iraq Report." And it
concluded its official response with the admonition that "KTV
expects its commercial and technical partners to refrain from
unwarranted political interpretation or advice." (David

Sa'dun Hammadi, speaker of the National Assembly of
Iraq, has stated that self-rule, as opposed to federation, is
the only option for the Kurds. He said that "neither the
National Assembly nor the Iraqi leadership will approve any
other formula, such as federation," "Al-Sharq Al-Awsat"
reported on 25 April. He added that "any formula other than
self-rule will lead to partition and will be rejected."
Hammadi was also asked about the American plan to
organize an opposition military presence in northern Iraq. He
answered that "any such military presence will mean partition
which we will never allow."
A few days earlier, a "high-ranking Kurdish source" gave
an opposing view. He said the Kurdish dialogue with Baghdad
"is continuing." Matters under discussion include Kurdish
rights within Iraq. But Baghdad is "offering us nothing to
present to our people. It is clear that their mentality with
regard to Kurdish rights has not changed. They interpret
these rights as merely a cultural autonomy, but we are
demanding a federal solution to the Kurdish problem within
Iraq. We do not want to secede from Iraq, but we want a more
developed formula," "Al-Hayah" reported on 22 April.
This Kurdish source adds that the regime in Baghdad has
based its strategy on getting the embargo lifted. Then, they
believe "the Kurds will have two options: either to accept
the solution offered by the Iraqi regime or to return to the
mountains to resume the fighting."
In the meantime, federalization is gaining support in
northern Iraq since the signing of the Washington Agreement
between Mas'ud Barzani's Kurdistan Democratic Party and Jalal
Talabani's Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. According to the
Turkish newspaper "Hurriyet" on 15 April, Iraqi Kurdistan has
already made a considerable effort toward creating a state
apparatus: Kurds there have made efforts to reform education,
improve the arts, and provide health services. A bank has
been established; a "general directorate of police was
created"; a Kurdish theater group has started performing; and
the Kurdish parliament has begun to meet regularly.
Baghdad is not the only country concerned by these
developments. Turkey is as well, obviously fearing that a
federalized Iraqi state might provide an even safer haven for
Kurdish militants who seek to establish an independent
Kurdistan on Turkish territory. (David Nissman)

A 28 April press release from the Iraqi National Accord
office in Amman reported by the Iraq Foundation notes that
400 Kurdish and Turkmen families have been expelled from
several neighborhoods in Kirkuk. The Iraqi authorities claim
that the Turkmen families were expelled "when they denounced
the repressive measures the authorities partice against the
local families in the area. It appears that the Turkmens were
specifically targeted for "helping out the Kurdish families."
This process of expelling Kurds and Turkmens is merely
another form of ethnic cleansing that has been adopted by the
Iraqi regime. On 25 October, A.A. Taib, governor of Duhoq in
Iraqi Kurdistan, sent a letter to the UN claiming that
Baghdad is systematically arabicizing Kurdish, Assyrian, and
Turkmen areas. This process involves the deportation of non-
Arab inhabitants. He pointed out that this is a violation of
UN Security Council Resolution No. 688 which calls for an end
to the persecution of Kurds and other minorities in Iraq. The
UN special rapporteur on human rights issues has pointed out
that the region around Kirkuk has been most strongly affected
by the arabicization process. (see especially "RFE/RL Iraq
Report," 15, 22, and 29 January 1999).
But what makes this latest report important is that the
Kurds and Turkmen felt some sort of solidarity with each
other, something more extremist Turkmen groups, such as the
Turkmeneli movement, have repeatedly denied as existing.
(David Nissman)

Copyright (c) 1999. RFE/RL, Inc. All rights reserved.

The RFE/RL Iraq Report is prepared weekly by David Nissman on
the basis of materials from RFE/RL broadcast services, RFE/RL
Newsline, and other news services. Direct comments to David
Nissman at

Technical queries should be emailed to

For information on subscriptions or reprints, contact Paul
Goble in Washington at (202) 457-6947 or at
Back issues are available on the RFE/RL Web site at:

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Date: Sun, 2 May 1999 04:58:52 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>

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Listen to news about Iraq daily on the RFE/RL Web site:

Every day at 1700 CET and 1900 Baghdad time Radio Free Iraq
broadcasts at the following frequencies: 6130, 9540, 9850 and
11915 Kilohertz, corresponding with 49, 31.5, 30.5, and 25
meters shortwave.

Daily programs with some updates will be repeated every
morning at 0400 CET, 0600 Baghdad time on the following
frequencies: 5965, 7110, 7275, 9740 Kilohertz, corresponding
with 50, 42, 41, and 31 meters shortwave.



End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 1 May 1999