Report From the Arab Press

Collated by A.

June 22, 2004

Kurdish militia beyond government control

The al-Hayat daily of London said that differences between the US-installed Prime Minister Ayad Allawi and his Kurdish deputy for security, Barham Salih have developed into a clear dispute that would lead to either Salih's resignation or an open challenge to the government on who runs the security file. The paper quoted a Kurdish source as saying it was likely that Salih presented an emergency plan to Allawi assigning the main role to the Kurdish secret services and that the two Kurdish parties want a full sovereign role in the security operation. The source continued that the Kurdish militia command stressed that it's a military and security force that is not subject to the Baghdad government's authority -- which angered Allawi.

Al-Hayat explained that the Kurdish militia refused to join the Iraqi military and security organizations in a way that allows Allawi to control them. They, added the paper, considered Allawi's plan to merge a large part of their forces into the new army as an anti-Kurd conspiracy. The paper reported the absence of Salih from Allawi's press conference devoted to his security plan. "Many high officers in the Iraqi ministry of Defense complained to Allawi that the Kurdish militia and officials do not cooperate with them in regard to their task of protecting Iraqi borders with Iran and Turkey. The Iraqi Ministry of Interior had a similar complaint considering that it's not allowed to work in Northern Kurdish provinces because the Kurdish militia regard the area as completely confined to them," reported the paper.

Chalabi's reported terrorist activities and threats

The Saudi daily, al-Watan said Iraqi security sources accused Ahmad Chalabi, head of the Iraqi National Congress, of responsibility for murdering Bassam Kubba, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs,and Kamal al-Jarrah, Director General at the Ministry of Education, a week ago.

The al-Moheet web site quoted a source at the Interior Ministry as saying that investigations had shown that a political party had used its privileges in ordering its militia to assassinate the two officials above. It added that the party's motive for the two murders was to take their positions. Al-Jarrah was known to have returned thousands of Ba'thist teachers to primary and secondary schools who were fired by the so-called deba'thification Committee headed by Ahmad Chalabi. The security source said there are indications that this party might be responsible for assassination of many prominent academics and physicians.

The Iraqi paper al-Nahdha quoted 'reliable' security sources as saying that Ahmad Chalabi has ordered his militia and several hundreds of armed men he recently recruited to attack governmental offices with the transfer of authority to the Allawi government. The paper, owned by a party headed by Adnan Pachachi, former member of the now defunct Interim Governing Council, said Chalabi had paid large amounts of money to some tribal leaders in order that they provide his militia with a few thousand armed men to carry out the terrorist attacks.

The al-Moheat web site said that Chalabi has moved to Najaf to avoid being arrested and is focusing now on winning popular support for his ambitions for power.

Moslem scholars boycott conference

The Association of Moslem Scholars (Ulama) announced that it would not take part in the general conference, due to be held next month in Iraq, to choose an advisory body. Dr. Muthanna al-Dhari said he received an invitation as a representative of the Association, but he would not participate because such a conference is illegal

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