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I. NYT EDITORIAL, "A DANGEROUS POKER GAME WITH IRAQ," OCT 4 II. STATE LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS, TO REP BEN GILMAN, OCT 2 III. SAAD RASHID, THE CIA AND THE INA, IRAQ NET POSTING, OCT 3 IV. L. MYLROIE , "IRAQ'S REAL COUP," WASH POST, JUN 28, 1992 This is the 61st day without weapons inspections in Iraq. The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee hearing on the six Iraqi opposition members detained in Los Angeles has been rescheduled for Thurs, Oct 8, at 9:00 AM. The NYT, Oct 3, "Seeing no Change in UN Policy, Iraq Will Deny Access to Inspectors," reported that Iraq "decided Friday not to resume cooperation with arms inspectors after days of hints that a change of policy could be imminent." Nonetheless, Tariq Aziz and Kofi Annan are to meet again on Wed, while UNSCOM will present its semi-annual report on Iraq's proscribed weapons this week. The NYT editors, yesterday, in "A Dangerous Poker Game with Iraq," warned, "In altering its approach to Iraq, the Clinton Administration is blundering into a policy that allows Saddam Hussein to rebuild a deadly arsenal of chemical and biological weapons. That makes it all the more repugnant that the Administration is trying to discredit and intimidate Scott Ritter, a former top United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq who is rightly sounding an alarm about the developments in Baghdad." Following the introduction of the "Iraq Liberation Act of 1998" into the House and Senate [see "Iraq News," Sept 29 (2)], State's Asst Secretary for Legislative Affairs wrote the chairman of the House International Relations Committee, Rep. Benjamin Gilman [R. NY], explaining that "the Administration sympathizes with the sentiments" underlying the legislation. But the Administration "requested modifications to the policy statement section of the legislation, and we need flexibility in the designation of opposition groups. If we can continue to address these concerns as the bill moves to the House floor, we will not oppose its passage. We would note, however, that we must continue to think carefully about the impact of this bill on our diplomacy in the UN Security Council. UN Security Council resolutions do not call for Saddam's ouster, and the Council is critical to our efforts to support UNSCOM and maintain sanctions. Furthermore, there is much to be done with the Iraqi opposition before it would be able to utilize to good effect the kinds of support provided in this legislation." The bill, HR 4655, passed the committee. Two changes were made to the original legislation. The language, "It should be the policy of the United States to seek to remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq" was changed to "It should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq" Also language was added, "Nothing in this Act shall be construed to authorize or otherwise speak to the use of United States Armed Forces (except as provided in section 4 (a) (2)) in carrying out this Act." Yet whatever the White House position toward the "Iraq Liberation Act of 1998" may be, suspicion exists that the CIA is trying to sabotage it, through an effort to cobble together a broader opposition group, based around its failed client, the Iraqi National Accord (Wifaq). The idea seems to be to try to make the INA, a bunch of ex-Baathists, respectable enough to displace the Iraqi Nat'l Congress [INC], which really does aspire to democracy in Iraq, as the main recipient of the Congressionally-mandated assistance. Saad Rashid, a UK-based Iraqi opposition figure, explained recent developments in this complex intrigue, in a message posted on "Iraq Net," the largest and most popular Iraq site on the web-- http://www.iraq.net/links.html Rashid wrote that the INA [also Wifaq] was "being used by the CIA to sabotage the resolution introduced in the Congress by creating problems within the Iraqi opposition ... Two weeks ago, the Wifaq organized a conference for 'human rights' in the Dutch capital, Hague, which they claimed was being financed by Qasim Dawood, a wealthy and respected Iraqi merchant living in the United Arab Emirates. However, Qasim Dawood has publicly denied any involvement with the Wifaq, which is headed by Ayad Allawi, Tahseen Mualla, and Sallah al Sheikhly, all of whom are Baathists who worked for years with Saddam's regime. What Ayad Allawi and Sallah Al Sheikhly did not tell people that this conference was paid for ($320,000) by the CIA to 'overcome the paralysis of the INC' as they claimed. The conference failed miserably. . . "My source also asserted that Ayad Allawi was brought over to Washington last week by the CIA on a secret visit... He stayed at the Key Bridge Marriot where he met several CIA officers over several days to discuss plans of sabotaging the new congress resolution for supporting the Iraqi opposition with military assistance which was designated to being a support for the INC under Dr. Ahmad Al-Chalabi... The plan is to create a division within the executive committee of the INC... The Iraqi opposition will look like a bunch of back-stabbing idiots who are running after the 99 million dollars the Congress is giving to the opposition.... Maybe the CIA hates the INC because they could not control them and INC does not use their cheap tactics of bombing civilians [ED: the Wifaq's bombing of civilian targets in Baghdad was made public in the spring of 1996 in articles by Jim Hoagland and Patrick Coburn] and because the INC wants to overthrow Saddam and create a democratic country with no commitments to such bad name American organization (CIA)." Indeed, the CIA did sponsor the INA conference in the Hague and brought its chief, Allawi, to Wash DC in late Sept to discuss how to proceed with the Iraqi opposition, while the CIA has apparently told others, like the Israelis, that it has a plan to carry out a coup against Saddam. [The Mossad seems to be relying on the CIA for its information on Iraq]. And Warren Marik, a former CIA case officer, told "Iraq News" that he learned from friends of family members of some of the prisoners detained in California that Allawi didn't visit the INA prisoners there, while he was in the US or even talk to them. The CIA has long favored trying to overthrow Saddam through a coup, while opposing the effort to overthrow Saddam through a popular insurgency, as detailed in the Feb 7 Peter Jennings special on Iraq. And the CIA seems to be digging in its heels anew. Partly, that is an Arabist mentality within the Near East division; partly the belief that the consequences of a coup would be less messy, easier to handle; partly, under the Clinton administration, that reflects the influence of CIA director, George Tenet. Since his days at the NSC, in charge of intelligence affairs, Tenet has favored a coup, while he was opposed to the idea of helping the democratic opposition to remove Saddam. In the summer of '94, he opposed providing the INC with funds for a peace-keeping force to maintain a Kurdish cease-fire. When he was moved to the # 2 position at the CIA in early '95, his attitude remained the same--the infighting among the Kurds would be resolved once the coup in Baghdad occurred. Of course, the coup never came/comes. But like Charlie Brown, Lucy, and the football, hope springs eternal. Ayyad Alawi is a creature of Western--originally UK--intelligence, with whom he became associated in the mid-1970's. Following Saddam's invasion of Kuwait, MI-6 promoted Allawi, and the Saudis took him on, within the INA. But the organization was penetrated from the get-go. As I wrote in the Wash Post, Jun 28, 1992, shortly before the Gulf war began, London-based Iraqi opposition figures told me that one INA member, Salah Omar al-Tirkiti, claimed to have a list of military officers who would make a coup. Among them was his cousin, Hakam al-Tikriti, head of Iraq's helicopter squadrons. When Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, in the Mar 3, 1991 talks at Safwan, allowed Iraq to fly helicopters, which then proceeded to play a key role in suppressing the post-war uprisings, it seemed odd. Had Schwarzkopf heard the helicopters were going to make a coup? Toward the end of the Safwan meeting, according to the declassified transcript, the head of the Iraqi delegation, Gen. Sultan Hashim Ahmad, told Schwarzkopf, "Helicopter flights sometimes are needed to carry some of the officials, government officials or any members . . . to carry some of the officials, government officials or any members . . . to be transported from one place to another because the roads and bridges are out." Schwarzkopf understood that in terms of their previous discussion on how to safely separate the tangled military lines. He replied by telling Ahmad how to mark helicopters to avoid being shot at. But Ahmad then said, "This has nothing to do with the front line. This is inside Iraq." Schwarzkopf then replied emphatically, "As long as it is not over the part we are in, that is absolutely no problem. So we will let the helicopters and that is a very important point, and I want to make sure that's recorded, that military helicopters can fly over Iraq. Not fighters, not bombers." Ahmad said, "So you mean even the helicopters . . . armed in the Iraqi skies can fly, but not the fighters? Because the helicopters are the same, they transfer somebody." Schwarzkopf said "Yeah. I will instruct our Air Force not to shoot at any helicopters that are flying over the territory of Iraq where we are not located. If they must fly over the area we are located in, I prefer that they not be gunships, armed helos, and I would prefer that they have an orange tag on the side as an extra safety measure." Schwarzkopf gave the Iraqis such generous leeway regarding helicopter flights that he was prepared even to let armed Iraqi helicopters fly over coalition troops. As a number of military officers told me, that was a very imprudent concession. And Schwarzkopf said quite the reverse in a Mar 27, 1991 interview with David Frost, in which he asserted that he firmly told the Iraqis that they could not fly over coalition forces. To this day, Schwarzkopf has never really explained his instructions at Safwan regarding the flight of Iraqi helicopters. A year later, in Jul 92, Saddam arrested and executed officers involved in an INA-sponsored coup and did the same in Jun 96. Moreover, the INA tries to portray itself as part of the Sunni Arab "core," the 20% of the Iraqi population, beloved of Arabist-types, who seem to believe that it is okay, even desirable, for a part of the Iraqi population that is roughly the same percentage of the population as the whites of South Africa, to rule in Baghdad. Even so, Ayad Alawi is a Shi'a Arab and Salah Sheikhly is half Kurdish, half Turkoman. Moreover, it is strange that eight years after Alawi and the INA first promised to carry out a coup to overthrow Saddam, an agency of the USG should adopt the position that the US should turn again to those who have failed so consistently, for so long. But maybe it is not so strange. The dominant voices regarding Iraq-the Phebe Marrs & etc.-have been wrong at almost every critical turning point over the past eight years. Apparently, the key to success in the Iraq business is to be wrong together, and in a way that pleases and satisfies authority, particularly by making a difficult problem easy, or at least easier, at least in the short term. II. STATE LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS, TO REP BEN GILMAN United States Department of State Washington, D C 20520 Oct 2, 1998 The Honorable Benjamin Gilman Chairman Committee on International Relations US House of Representatives Dear Mr. Chairman This is in response to your letter concerning the position of the Department of State on HR 4655, related to Iraq. The Administration sympathizes with the sentiments underlying this proposal. Clearly, the world and the Iraqi people wou1d be better off with Saddam gone and a democratic government in place in Baghdad. The Administration has communicated several proposed changes to the legislation to committee staff, and we have had a usefu1 dialogue. In particular, the Administration has requested modifications to the policy statement section of the legislation, and we need flexibility in the designation of opposition groups. If we can continue to address these concerns as the bill moves to the House floor, we wi1l not oppose its passage. We would note, however, that we must continue to think carefully about the impact of this bill on our dip1omacy in the UN Security Council. UN Security Council resolutions do not call for Saddam's ouster, and the Council is critical to our efforts to support UNSCOM and maintain sanctions. Furthermore, there is much to be done with the Iraqi opposition before it would be able to uti1ize to good effect the kinds of support provided in this legislation. We appreciate the opportunity to offer our views regarding this legislation. Sincere1y, Barbara Larkin [signed] Assistant Secretary Legislative Affairs III. SAAD RASHID, THE CIA AND THE INA Date/Time: 10/3/98 7.45 AM Subject: Fresh Inside Story & Urgent Call By Saad Rashid Dear all, I just received a fax from a friend in London who is very close to Al-Wifaq movement (opposition group) saying that the Wifaq Movement, also known as the Iraqi National Accord (INA), is being used by the CIA to sabotage the resolution introduced in the Congress by creating problems within the Iraqi opposition. Since very little resistance can be put by the CIA against the Congress in America, they are going to discredit the Iraqi opposition by using the Wifaq to create divisions and lobby within the opposition against the INC headed by Dr. Ahmed Al-Chalabi. Two weeks ago, the Wifaq organized a conference for "human rights" in the Dutch capital, Hague, which they claimed was being financed by Qasim Dawood, a wealthy and respected Iraqi merchant living in the United Arab Emirates. However, Qasim Dawood has publicly denied any involvement with the Wifaq which is headed by Ayad Allawi, Tahseen Mualla and Sallah Al Sheikhly, all of whom are Ba'athists who worked for years with Saddam's regime. What Ayad Allawi and Sallah Al Sheikhly did not tell people that this conference was paid for ($320,000) by the CIA to "overcome the paralysis of the INC" as they claimed. The conference failed miserably because of very poor attendance and because the participants refused to fall into their trap of slandering the INC, focusing instead on discussing human rights issues. My friend told me that three days ago, the ill-reputed Al-Quds Al-Arabi paper (well-known as the trumpet of Saddam propaganda) published the news of the recent defections from Al-Wifaq by Maath Abdul Raheem. The Wifaq has had a long history of defections such as that of Baathi, Salah Umar Ali, in 1993, and infiltration by the regime's agents which worked to set up coup traps which uncovered the intentions of hundreds of officers who wanted to work against Saddam and who were summarily executed. Al Quds also reported on the assassination attempt against General Tawfiq Al Yasiri ordered by Ayad Allawi six weeks ago in the middle of London where unknown assailants opened fire on his car. This is typical Ba'athi behaviour. Please refer to the news I quoted yesterday with regards to al-Wifaq hideous tactics in bombing Iraqi civilians in the past. My source also asserted that Ayad Allawi was brought over to Washington last week by the CIA on a secret visit (because as a recipient of CIA fuding, he is prevented by US law from talking publicly about Iraq in the US). He stayed at the Key Bridge Marriot where he met several CIA officers over several days to discuss plans of sabotaging the new congress resolution for supporting the Iraqi opposition with military assistance which was designated to being a support for the INC under Dr. Ahmad Al-Chalabi. (INC should be notified with these information and that's why I'm posting it in public). The plan is to create a division within the executive committee of the INC and enticing those members who froze their membership in the executive council of the INC like Massood Barazani, Hassan Al-Nakeeb to say that Ahmad Al-Chalabi does not have anything to do with the INC, and that he is not a credible opposition leader. The effect of this is that the Iraqi opposition will look like a bunch of back-stabbing idiots who are running after the 99 million dollars, the Congress is giving to the opposition. Apparently, the Congress trusts and respects Dr. Ahmad, but they will definitely lose interest in supporting the Iraqi opposition when the divisions being engineered by the CIA using the Wifaq are exposed. Maybe the CIA hates the INC because they could not control them and INC does not use their cheap tactics of bombing civilians, and because the INC wants to overthrow Saddam and create a democratic country with no commitments to such bad name American organization (CIA). What do you think folks. I consider what the Wifaq is doing as treason and betrayal to our public cause. In principle, the Congress resolutions are a golden, it's a unique opportunity to get rid of Saddam' s regime, indict the regime, and to help the Iraqi people in a post-Saddam Iraq. Any attempt to sabotage this is a crime against the Iraqi people and their future which should not go unpunished. I suggest, my dear fellow countrymen/women as an independent Iraq, we should all call the Wifaq office and Ayad Allawi and Salah Al Sheikhly in London and tell them one sentence only: We know about your stupid plans to sabotage the Iraqi liberation ACT 1998. Don't kill our hope and have some dignity for once. Their office tel. Number: +0181 543 9282 or +0181 942 5676 Best regards, Saad Rashid Note: We can't afford silence when it comes to our last hope. Our people dying back home while the harsh sanctions are designed forever once Saddam in power. I already phoned them. They were like rats. They didn't know what to say. Kept asking me who told you and where are you and who else do know about Allawi-CIA recent talks. One word to describe them: jerks.