7.20.05 Indonesia confirms first three human deaths from bird flu
JAKARTA (Agencies) July 20 Indonesia confirmed its first human deaths from bird flu Wednesday, a man and his two daughters, bringing Asia's toll from the disease to 57 people. Health Minister Siti Fadilah Supari told reporters lab tests from Hong Kong showed the 38-year-old man and his two children, 9 and 1, had the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu...All three family members lived in a suburb of Jakarta and died earlier this month...Bird flu has swept through poultry populations in large swaths of Asia since 2003. Tens of millions of chickens have either died or been slaughtered, while bird flu has killed 38 people in Vietnam, 12 in Thailand, four in Cambodia, and - with the latest deaths - three in Indonesia. [Full story>>thejakartapost.com]
7.20.05 Six killed in Afghan blast; 1,920 lbs of explosives discovered
KANDAHAR, July 20 Four suspected Taliban rebels were killed when a roadside bomb they were laying blew up prematurely in southern Afghanistan, while in the country's east a blast under an army truck killed two soldiers, officials said on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, police thwarted a plot to bomb the capital, Kabul. Some 876 kilograms (1,920 pounds) of explosives and 5,000 fuses were discovered on Monday hidden in several sacks of onions in a vegetable market in the eastern city of Jalalabad, said Khalil Ullah, the police chief in Nangarhar province. Two men were arrested and told authorities they had planned to bring the explosives to Kabul for an unspecified attack, he said. [jang.com.pk]
7.20.05 Bomber kills Baghdad army recruits
July 20 A man strapped with explosives has blown himself up among a group of Iraqi army recruits in Baghdad, killing up to 10 people and wounding more than 20. Police sources said the bomber mingled with the crowd of men outside a recruiting centre on Wednesday, at an abandoned airport in the Muthana district of central Baghdad, before detonating an explosive belt. Officials at al-Yarmuk hospital said they had received about 10 dead and 22 people with injuries. Also on Wednesday, armed men wounded a key provincial leader in southern Basra in a morning attack, police said. Husayn Hamid, head of the municipal councils at the Basra governorate, was injured when armed men opened fire, said police Lieutenant-Colonel Karim al-Zaidi. Hamid is the number two leader in the Basra provincial government. [More>>aljazeera.net]
7.20.05 World 'ignores' Niger food crisis
July 20 The United Nations top aid official has accused the international community of neglecting the food crisis in Niger. Some 150,000 children will die soon without aid, out of 2.5m who need food, said Jan Egeland. "Niger is the example of a neglected emergency, where early warnings went unheeded," he told the BBC.
The UN's Niger appeal in May initially failed to attract a single pledge. But the government there has also sought to downplay the scale of the crisis. It has refused demands to distribute free food and has been criticized for not doing more to prepare for the food shortages. The crisis was widely predicted after last year's poor harvests, following poor rains and locust invasions. [more>>bbc.co.uk]
7.20.05 Bush chooses Roberts for court
July 20 Bush introduced his choice for the nation's 109th justice in a prime-time East Room ceremony broadcast live on national television after a dramatic day of shifting speculation that captivated Washington. The president hailed Roberts as an impressive legal figure who would interpret the Constitution and laws rather than legislate from the bench. "John Roberts has devoted his entire professional life to the cause of justice and is widely admired for his intellect, his sound judgment and his personal decency," Bush said, with Roberts at his side. The president added, "He is a man of extraordinary accomplishment and ability. He has a good heart. He has the qualities Americans expect in a judge: experience, wisdom, fairness and civility."
Liberal advocacy groups immediately assailed Roberts for his positions on abortion and other issues. Before the announcement, Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.) ordered his fellow Democratic lawmakers to offer a more measured response to whomever Bush chose to avoid appearing knee-jerk negative, aides said. But Democrats expect to eventually wage a fight. [More>>washingtonpost.com]
7.20.05 Calls mount from all sides for speeding up Saddam's trial
July 20 Iraq's prime minister has criticized delays in trying toppled dictator Saddam Hussein, while the president urged a speeding up of the process so as to take the sting out of the brutal insurgency devastating the war-torn country. Their calls were bolstered by those of the country's neighbors, whose interior ministers, meeting in Turkey, issued a communique notably stressing the need for "accelerating the process of bringing to justice in Iraq, Saddam Hussein and all those in the leadership of the previous Iraqi regime who have committed crimes against humanity."
Iraqi Premier Ibrahim al-Jaafari, who was due to return to Iraq yesterday at the end of a landmark three-day visit to fellow Shiite-dominated neighbor Iran, described the "prolonging" of Saddam's trial as "unusual."
"While about two years have passed since he has arrested, no action has taken about his trial," the radio quoted Jaafari as saying during a meeting with Iraqi expatriates in Iran. Jaafari also said Saddam's trial must be "transparent."
On Sunday, the Iraqi Special Tribunal filed its first criminal case against Saddam for a 1982 massacre of Shiites and said a trial date would be set within days, despite U.S. fears a trial would inflame tensions at a time the Shiite-led government is trying to lure Sunnis away from the insurgency. On Monday, Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said his country will file a lawsuit against Saddam over the 1980-88 war between the two countries that killed more than one million people. [More>>dailystar.com.lb]
7.20.05 Pakistan arrests London bombing suspect
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) July 20 Pakistani security forces have arrested a British Muslim believed to be wanted in connection with the July 7 London bombings, Pakistani intelligence sources said on Wednesday, but a minister denied he had been detained. Several intelligence sources, who asked not to be identified, said Haroon Rashid Aswad had been picked up earlier this week during a crackdown on militants in Pakistan that has netted more than 150 people.
³We have arrested Haroon Rashid from the house of Qari Fateh Mohammad from Sargodha three days ago... We strongly believe he has links with bombers,² one security official told Reuters.
An official said the qari, an honorific title for someone who recites the Quoran, had been detained at madrasa Qasim ul-Aloom on the outskirts of Sargodha, 150 km (90 miles) south of Islamabad. Officials said Aswad had been taken from Sargodha and was being held in Lahore, the capital of Punjab province.
....In overnight raids on controversial Islamic religious schools, known as madrasas, and on private houses, police detained 39 students and clerics belonging to banned organizations in restive Karachi, authorities said. Another 39 were detained in the northwestern city of Peshawar, 30 in the southwestern city of Quetta and 30 in the central city of Multan and some other cities in Punjab province. ³These people have been under surveillance for some time for their links to extremist groups,² said senior police officer Malik Mohammad Saad of the Peshawar arrests. [Full story>>khaleejtimes.com; See also turkishpress.com article, "Pakistan detains 200 in post-London crackdown on Islamic militants."
7.20.05 Indo-US ties on fast track, it's a different America: Manmohan Singh
WASHINGTON (PTI) July 20 Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said his current visit has laid the groundwork for a transformation of ties with the United States which would contribute to India's long-term strength and competitiveness. "I saw a different level of interest in India on the part of the President himself, key members of the adminstration and among members of the US Congress," he said at a reception organized by Indian Ambassador Ronen Sen for him on Tuesday.
Singh affirmed that during the last two days of his visit to the US, "groundwork had been laid for a new relationship between the two countries."
"The discussion we had would mark a transformation of ties between the two great democracies," Singh said adding "initiatives and understandings that emerge from this visit should contribute to the long-term strength and competitiveness of India." [More>>expressindia.com]
7.20.05 Database to bar hate preachers from Britain
July 20 The Government is to create a global database of hate preachers and other individuals accused of fomenting or promoting terrorism so that they can be easily kept out of Britain. The move was announced today by Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary, as part of a raft of anti-terror measures including three new criminal offences that will be rushed through Parliament with cross-party support after the July 7 suicide bombings in London.
Separately, Tony Blair announced that the UK might host an international conference on how best to tackle the terrorist threat. And he said that the Government would consult with police and security forces on whether a longstanding ban on using evidence from phone-tapping in courts could be lifted - something that the Government had previously ruled out.
Mr. Clarke told the Commons that database of those who have demonstrated "unacceptable behavior" would include those who preached intolerance, or ran websites or wrote articles encouraging the kind of extremism likely to encourage terrorists.
...At the heart of the forthcoming Counter-Terrorism Bill will be three new criminal offences: acts preparatory to terrorism; indirect incitement to terrorism - which will cover those who glorify and condone terrorist acts; and giving and receiving terrorist training.
...The Government is also concluding a series of agreements allowing it to deport terror suspects to their home countries, where previously they might have been expected to face cruel or inhuman treatment, or even the death penalty. It emerged today that the first agreement in principle has now been struck with Jordan, and could see the deportation there of Abu Qatada, one of the group of foreign terror suspects held for more than two years at Belmarsh prison. Abu Qatada is now under a control order limiting his movements and activities. He is a Jordanian-Palestinian preacher, sometimes described as Osama bin Laden's "ambassador in Europe," who has been convicted in absentia in Jordan for bomb plots there. [Full story>>timesonline.co.uk]
7.20.05 Bush move to share N-technology with India comes under fire
WASHINGTON (AFP) July 20 US President George W. Bush has set a dangerous precedent by moving to lift a ban on civilian nuclear technology sale to nuclear armed India, which has not signed up to global non-proliferation rules, some analysts and lawmakers said on Tuesday. The warning came as a bipartisan energy panel of the US House of Representatives adopted a resolution Tuesday preventing export of nuclear technology to India and other countries not party to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and which have detonated a nuclear device.
³We are playing with fire by picking and choosing when to pay attention to the existing non-proliferation treaties,² panel member Democratic Representative Ed Markey said even before the ink could dry on a joint statement by Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh released Monday.
Bush said in the statement that he would ask Congress and allied nations to lift sanctions preventing Indian access to civil nuclear technology as part of a new bilateral partnership forged with Singh. Under the agreement, India would be allowed to buy nuclear fuel and reactor components from the United States and other countries for nuclear power aimed at driving rapid economic growth in the worldıs second most populous nation. India, in return, would allow international inspections and safeguards on its civilian nuclear program but not its nuclear-weapons arsenal and refrain from further weapons tests. [More>>khaleejtimes.com]
7.20.05 New space rocket engine tested in Russia
VORONEZH (RIA Novosti) July 18 A new generation space rocket engine, designed to propel Soyuz and Angara rocket vehicles, was successfully tested in Voronezh, a city 450 kilometers south of Moscow. A spokesman for the Voronezh regional administration's main department of industry, transport, and communications said the RD-0124 engine is more powerful than those currently used in rockets, which among other advantages allows for the orbiting of cargoes a ton heavier than before.
A joint Russian-French project, the RD-0124 engine is to be used to launch rockets from the Russian launch sites of Baikonur and Plisetsk, as well as the Kourou launch pad in French Guiana. [More>>rian.ru]
7.20.05 Oil manoeuvres by China, India, challenge US
VIENNA (PTI) July 20 Iran, Sudan, Venezuela, Syria - nations shunned by America as nuclear threats, insurgent havens or human rights violators are increasingly being wooed by China and India in a race for oil and influence that is challenging Washington on the energy and security fronts. The most recent US concerns have focused on China's bid for Unocal Corp., America's ninth largest oil company. American congressmen, senators and former CIA director James Woolsey have described it as a threat to US National security. But less high-profile manoeuvres by the two Asian powerhouses also are raising questions.
Besides their involvement in energy projects worth billions of dollars in countries America views with concern, India and China also have bought into Russia's oil and gas sector. And Beijing, with Moscow's apparent blessing, is reaching out to energy-rich former Soviet republics in central Asia where the Americans have military outposts.
The all-out energy offensive by the two Asian powers was documented this year by the national intelligence council, the US government think thank which advises the central intelligence agency and senior US policy-makers.
Strategic manoeuvring has always been a part of world rivalries and most nations aren't that choosy, Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil producer, remains crucial to Washington despite its human rights record. But the imperative of making friends with energy-rich nations has grown over the past two years as oil prices rise and consumption grows.
...Chinese and Indian interest in Venezuela, the fourth largest US oil supplier, whose President, Hugo Chavez, is a fierce critic of US foreign policy. Chavez is trying to rewrite concessions to US oil companies and has invited China and India to participate in oil exploration. [Full story>>expressindia.com]
7.19.05 Pakistan detains 25 in bomb probe
July 19 Pakistani security forces have detained 25 suspected Islamist militants in a series of raids linked to investigations into the July 7 bomb attacks in London, officials said today. The latest detentions were made in an overnight crackdown in the most populous province, Punjab, and included members of outlawed Islamist groups.
"They are being questioned for links with any of the bombers," an official of the provincial government said on condition of anonymity. The official said security agencies had detained 25 suspects in the cities of Dera Ghazi Khan, Multan, Faisalabad and Khushab. A senior security official in Punjab expected that questioning of a handful of other suspects detained in recent days in the provincial capital, Lahore, would confirm ties to the London bombers. "We suspect two or three of the detained (from Lahore) had links with the bombers," the official said. [More>>theaustralian.news.com.au]
7.19.05 Forces capture dozens of insurgents, uncover weapons caches
WASHINGTON (American Forces Press Service) July 19 Joint raids by Iraqi and coalition forces have rounded up dozens of suspected terrorists and uncovered thousands of weapons and ammunition, according to military reports. Coalition soldiers and Iraqi police raids today in Baghdad's Ameriyah district and Al Dora neighborhood led to the capture of four suspected terrorists, including an individual believed to be a mid-level terrorist cell leader with ties to Ansar Al Sunna. The individual was wanted for selling and smuggling surface-to-air missiles that could be used against coalition aircraft.
During operations July 18, the military reported that Iraqi security forces and Task Force Baghdad soldiers detained 17 individuals and uncovered as many as six roadside bombs at various locations.
Iraqi citizens pointed out explosives to coalition soldiers in one incident.
The previous day, 29 more terror suspects were taken into custody, and three others were killed in separate operations. In a large military operation in east Baghdad, Iraqi Special Police commandos raided 19 targets and captured 24 more terror suspects. The commandos also seized AK-47 assault rifles, a machine gun and a sniper rifle. They also found computer equipment and documents thought to be plans for future attacks.
In Mosul, Iraqi security and coalition forces from Task Force Freedom detained 20 suspected terrorists, and killed five more during operations July 17-18. The task force also discovered a large weapons cache in western Mosul July 18. It consisted of more than 1,000 mortar rounds; 25 mortar firing systems; 150 rockets, 450 rocket-propelled grenade rounds; 26 RPG launchers; numerous missile firing systems; improvised explosive devices; and assorted rifles. In a separate discovery that day, Iraqi and coalition forces found 26 surface-to-air missiles, 700 mortar rounds, 450 rocket-propelled grenades, and 150 57 mm artillery rockets hidden in the floor of a chicken coop.
Also south of Mosul outside the town Qayyarah, another weapons find turned up six 1,000-pound bombs.
The military also reported that Iraqi soldiers captured an individual today suspected of dealing artifacts believed stolen from the Baghdad Museum. The detainee said he was acting as a middleman for a buyer and that the artifacts, estimated to be between 2,000 and 5,000 years old, were worth $25,000 each. Three items believed to be artifacts were recovered.
In other news, a U.S. Marine assigned to 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), died as the result of a non hostile incident July 17 at Camp Blue Diamond, in Ramadi, military officials in Baghdad today reported. The name of the deceased is being withheld pending notification of next of kin. The incident is under investigation. [Report from>>defenselink.mil]
7.19.05 Top Taliban commander arrested in Pakistan
ILSAMABAD (Xinhuanet) July 19 Top Taliban leader Mulla Mohammad Kabir and at least four of his senior colleagues have been arrested in a secretive operation in Nowshera district in Pakistan's North West Frontier province. However, official confirmation is not available, The News reported Tuesday. Government functionaries were tight-lipped as to the circumstances of these arrests. Also, the identities of those arrested were not revealed. Once confirmed, these would be the most significant arrests of Taliban leaders in Pakistan to date.
However, information pierced together from various sources showed that the arrests took place from Akora Khattak and Bab-i-Jadeed villages sited in different parts of Nowshera. An important religious leader, who requested anonymity, confirmed the arrest of Mulla Kabir and the other Taliban figures. Police sources in Nowshera also said they had heard about the arrests.
Mulla Kabir was governor of the eastern Nangarhar province when the Taliban government fell following the US invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001. Kabir and Osama bin Laden retreated from Jalalabad, capital of Nangarhar province, around the same time in late November or early December in 2001 and took refuge in Tora Bora mountain range.
Others arrested with Mulla Kabir include Mulla Abdul Qadeer, who held a senior position in the Taliban movement and was responsible for recruiting fighters and arranging supplies for Taliban troops when they were in power. For a while, he also ran the Taliban office in Peshawar. After the fall of Taliban regime, he too went underground to evade arrest.
One Mulla Abdul Haq, who worked for sometime in Mulla Omar's Kandahar office, was also arrested. He is being identified as a deputy to Mulla Omar, but it doesn't appear to be the case. However, he remained close to Mulla Omar while working for him in the Taliban spiritual capital of Kandahar.
Mulla Kabir's younger brother Mulla Abdul Aziz was also stated to be among those who were apprehended. He served as an assistant to Mulla Kabir when the latter was governor of Nangarhar. The identity of the fifth Taliban figure picked up from Nowshera district isn't known.
Sources were quoted as saying Mulla Kabir was arrested three days ago but the news was kept secret. Agents from different intelligence agencies were involved in the raids that netted the Taliban figures. They recovered a wealth of material from the compound including computer discs and papers and vehicles. A local landlord Iftikhar, who too was arrested, owned the compound.
Members of the intelligence agencies then raided an Afghan refugee camp to nab the remaining Taliban figures. This raid reportedly took place Sunday night. The sources said the Taliban leaders got trapped because they had been talking on satellite phones and receiving visitors.
Meanwhile, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Sheikh Rashid Ahmad did not confirm the arrest of Mulla Muhammad Kabir. In an interview with private Geo TV late Monday night, he said as a chief government spokesman he did not have any information about the arrest or otherwise of Mulla Muhammad Kabir.
Pakistan has arrested more than 700 Taliban and al-Qaeda members since Taliban was ousted from power in 2001. It has deployed more than 70,000 troops to the tribal areas on the border with Afghanistan in the fight against remnants of Taliban. [xinhuanet.com]
7.19.05 Afghans hail UK sentence, mull war crimes body
KABUL (Reuters) July 19 Afghanistan hailed Tuesday's British court decision to jail a former Afghan commander for 20 years for torture and said it was considering forming a body to enable prosecution of anyone found guilty of war crimes. The court passed sentence on Farayadi Sarwar Zardad one day after finding him guilty of torturing and terrorising innocent civilians in Afghanistan over a four-year period in the 1990s. Prosecutors said it was the first case of its kind in the world. "There were plenty of evidence against him and we back and welcome the decision," Afghan Information Minister Sayed Makhdoom Rahin told Reuters.
Zardad is regarded as one of the notorious war criminals from the period of factional fighting which accompanied the mujahideen (holy warriors') defeat of a Soviet-backed regime in 1992. Some military strongmen and high-ranking officials in President Hamid Karzai's government are also accused of serious rights abuses and war crimes during that period, and rights bodies have often called for their prosecution and punishment. [More>>thestar.com.my]
7.19.05 Six-party talks set for next Tuesday
July 19 The [Korean] Foreign Ministry said yesterday the fourth installment of the six-party talks will open on Tuesday at Diaoyutai, the Chinese government's guest house in Beijing. Representatives from the six member countries including the two Koreas, the United States, China, Japan and Russia will be gathering for the first time in 13 months after Pyongyang called off a boycott of the talks earlier this month. China has hosted the last three rounds of the talks at the same venue since 2003 . No date has been set yet on when the talks will finish. [More>>koreaherald.co.kr; See also xinhuanet.com, "Six-party talks to restart on July 26."]
7.19.05 Anger in China rises over threat to environment
XINCHANG, July 19 Howard W. French reports on the rising protests in China over pollution: After three nights of increasingly heavy rioting, the police were taking no chances on Monday, deploying dozens of bus loads of officers before dusk and blocking every road leading to the factory. Protesters, who say the pharmaceuticals factory at Xinchang pollutes their water, were blocked on Monday by police barricades. There is rising discontent in China with the authorities' failure to respond to grievances.
But the angry residents in this village 180 miles south of Shanghai had learned their lessons, too, they said, having studied reports of riots in towns near and far that have swept rural China in recent months. Sneaking over mountain paths and wading through rice paddies, they made their way to a pharmaceuticals plant, they said, determined to pursue a showdown over the environmental threat they say it poses.
As many as 15,000 people massed here Sunday night and waged a pitched battle with the authorities, overturning police cars and throwing stones for hours, undeterred by thick clouds of tear gas. Fewer people may have turned out Monday evening under rainy skies, but residents of this factory town in the wealthy Zhejiang Province vow they will keep demonstrating until they have forced the 10-year-old plant to relocate....The riots in Xinchang are a part of a rising tide of discontent in China, with the number of mass protests like these skyrocketing to 74,000 incidents last year from about 10,000 a decade earlier, according to government figures. [Full story>>nytimes.com]
7.19.05 Georgia releases photo of man suspected of throwing grenade at Bush rally
TBILISI, July 18 Georgian authorities Monday released a photograph of the man suspected of throwing a live hand grenade during a visit by US President George W. Bush in early May and announced a 75,000 dollar reward for information leading to his capture. Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili showed reporters a photo of the suspect, who is wearing glasses and a dark suit, during a brief press conference in Tbilisi. Police released little detail about the suspect other than his estimated age of 25 to 35 years and height of 175-180 centimeters (five foot eight to five foot ten). "I am appealing to the mass media for help" in finding the suspect, Merabishvili said.
The minister said the authorities were offering 150,000 laris (75,000 dollars) for information that would lead to the suspect's capture. He declined to provide any other details.
On May 10, a live hand grenade was thrown toward a stage in central Tbilisi where Bush was addressing a massive rally with Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili at his side. The grenade failed to go off due to what US officials have said was a malfunction. [turkishpress.com]
7.19.05 Middle-class bombers find DIY 'martyr belt' online
July 17 They aren't poor and can learn their deadly trade on the web, says Hala Jaber.
For several months Islamic websites have carried a chilling 26-minute video containing a detailed do-it-yourself guide for would-be suicide bombers wanting to cause maximum death and carnage. Entitled The Explosive Belt for Martyrdom Operations, the step-by-step video shows the making of a tough-to-detect explosive belt using common materials.
The film access to which has now been blocked is among a vast range of military manuals, showing how to make everything from ordinary bombs and explosives to chemical weapons, disseminated by Islamic websites that refer to this monthıs bus and tube bombings as ³the blessed London attacks².
While the existence of such sites explains how the bombers acquired the expertise to kill themselves and fellow passengers, they go little way to answering the more fundamental question of what drove the four British-born men to carry out the attacks provided, that is, they knew theirs was a suicide mission.
Was it purely the result of a religious upbringing with promises of paradise for acts of martyrdom? Or was it brainwashing or encouragement from a community that regards suicide bombers as weapons against oppression and humiliation? During my last few yearsı reporting in the Middle East, I have met and interviewed many aspiring suicide bombers, from Palestine to Iraq, who explained their reasons for volunteering for such missions. Many did not conform to the "typical" profile of the suicide attacker.
The current wave of bombers no longer comes purely from the poor and downtrodden classes seeking a way out of poverty and their desperate lives. It also includes young men and women from the middle classes with a high level of education and a profession.
"We are educated strugglers," claimed Yunis, a 27-year-old Palestinian graduate I met while he was preparing for a mission. "We are not terrorists and the world should recognise that our acts are not intended to be pure, cold-blooded murder."
Curiously, he had begun our conversation by talking of his love for art and the paintings of Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Picasso before abruptly changing the subject to his impending "martyrdom." [More>>timesonline.co.uk]
7.19.05 Iran prepares to ink oil deal with Iraq
BEIRUT, July 19 Iran is poised to sign an agreement to swap Iraqi crude for desperately needed refined products, Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said Monday as Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari wrapped up a landmark visit. To further economic ties with its neighbor, Iran plans to fund three pipelines across Iraq's southern border to help satisfy the country's urgent need for petroleum and refined oil products. Iraq will export crude oil to Iran, and Iran will transport petroleum and other refined products to its neighbor.
Iraqi Oil Minister Ibrahim al-Ulum had said on Saturday the deal would be signed Monday. No reason was given for the delay.
Iraq contains 115 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, the third largest in the world, and is estimated to contain at least 110 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The country, however, has recently suffered severe deficiencies in its petrochemicals industry due in large part to its security crisis. Oil will begin flowing ten months after the two countries sign the deal, which is expected within the month.
"The plan is for Iran to buy 150,000 barrels per day of light crude from Basra (in southern Iraq)," said Zanganeh. There has been talk of requesting that Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar engage in a similar exchanges with Iraq to prepare for the looming oil products shortage expected in Iraq this winter. [More>>dailystar.com.lb]
7.19.05 US orders arrest of PKK leaders in Iraq
ANKARA, July 19 The United States has ordered the capture of commanders of the rebel Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in Iraq, where many of the group's militants are based, the Turkish army number two was quoted by media as saying here Tuesday. General Ilker Basbug, the deputy chief of the Turkish general staff, made the remarks during a briefing to a group of reporters here, both the NTV news channel and the Anatolia news agency reported. A spokesman for the US embassy in Ankara told AFP that he could neither confirm nor deny Basbug's remarks, saying that he could not comment on operational matters.
The PKK, which has fought the Ankara government since 1984, is blacklisted as a terrorist organization by the United States as well as the European Union. Turkey has long been pressing the United States to take action to curb the PKK, whose guerrillas retreated to northern Iraq in 1999 after declaring a unilateral cease fire. The rebels ended the truce in June 2004 and have recently begun to sneak back into Turkey in increasing numbers to engage in anti-government violence. [More>>turkishpress.com]
7.19.05 Fourteen killed in car bombing in Chechnya
GROZNY (RIA Novosti) July 19 Fourteen people, including 8 policemen, one passport office head and one child riding a bicycle were killed in a UAZ police vehicle bombing in Chechnya's Znamenskoye settlement, local police said Tuesday. Twenty people were injured in the blast. They are being transported to hospitals in here and in Mozdok in North Ossetia. The vehicle was said to have been fired at from a VAZ-2199 car before the explosion. [rian.ru]