The acting oil minister of postwar Iraq predicted Saturday that crude production would double within a month and oil exports would resume "within three weeks.""
Thamer al-Ghadhban said Iraq was currently producing 700,000 barrels of oil a day and working hard under U.S. occupation to increase that number as quickly as possible.
"It is a matter of a few weeks, and we can reach 1.3 or 1.5 million barrels a day," al-Ghadhban said at a coalition-sponsored news conference in the capital. Prewar production under Saddam Hussein was about 3 million barrels daily.
Mr. Hussein shuttered Basra's dance halls and bars in the early 1990's, though he allowed the minority Christian population to keep their liquor stores open under government oversight. Since his fall, however, the owners of the liquor outlets have seen their livelihoods victimized by a series of attacks on the alcohol industry.WHAT?! I don't know how y'all feel, but for me, this may be the most compelling reason to fear a non-secular majority government in Iraq. And I KNOW how Michele feels about her margaritas ..."
One store owner recently had a firebomb thrown into his shop. At least two others have been shot dead and several have received warnings from armed men that the new Iraq does not allow alcohol.
A monograph recently published by the Strategic Studies Institute of the Army War College lays out in comprehensive detail the many obstacles that will confront coalition forces after presumed military victory in Iraq. Written by Conrad C. Crane, the director of the U.S. Army Military History Institute, and W. Andrew Terrill, the SSI's Middle East specialist, the report points out that U.S. forces will have to prevent Sunnis from fighting Shiites, secular Iraqis from fighting religious ones, returned Iraqi exiles from fighting non-exiles, Kurds from fighting Turkomans or establishing an independent state, tribes within all these groups from fighting one another, Turkey from invading from the north, Iran from invading from the east, and the defeated Iraqi army?which may be the only national institution that can keep the country from being ripped apart?from dissolving. All that (the easy part) is merely a prelude to the hard work of nation-building...You can read the summary, and download the entire report in PDF format, here ."
... The report includes, as an appendix, a "mission matrix for Iraq": a list of 135 tasks that must be accomplished, including securing weapons of mass destruction, training a new Iraqi army, stabilizing the currency, training indigenous lawyers to work in new courts, and operating orphanages.
. . . in 1950, the Iraqi parliament stripped Jews of their citizenship if they registered to leave the country. And later legislation effectively confiscated the property of those who had declared their intention to leave. ?Detailed regulations limited the items which emigrating Jews were permitted to take with them. Even the permitted number of pairs of shoes and sets of underwear was set out in the law,? she said. ?As a result of these legislative confiscations, an estimated $150 million to $200 million worth of Jewish property was left behind in Iraq.?
The chief U.N. weapons inspector says he's starting to suspect Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction.For those with the interest, you can read the original article Der Taggesspiegel article here , and a Google Bablefish translation here ."
Hans Blix told a German newspaper, Der Tagesspiegel, that Saddam Hussein's evasive behavior may have only been related to his need to control - and wasn't about hiding weapons of mass destruction.
Blix notes in the interview that the man whom officials identified as the leader of Iraq's unconventional weapons program surrendered, and told the United States there were no weapons of mass destruction.
Blix says the Iraqi is likely telling the truth because he no longer fears retaliation by Saddam.
The United States does not intend to punish France for its opposition to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, but would review joint cooperation "in the light of changed circumstances," Secretary of State Colin Powell said Friday."
Powell and French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin emerged from a breakfast meeting saying they would like to put the feud over Iraq behind them. Powell added that the United States wants to "work out any remaining sharp edges ... that are still there as a result of this disagreement."
With the UN Security Council?s adoption Thursday of a resolution lifting sanctions on Iraq, diplomats and industry experts predicted that small shipments of Iraqi oil could resume as early as the next week or the week after."
By recognizing the US-led coalition?s authority over Iraq and its oil revenue, the resolution clears a major hurdle to restarting oil exports, which have been shut down since hostilities began on March 20. Iraqi oil likely will just trickle out in the early stages, with larger shipments following.
American troops confiscated gold bars valued at $34 million from a truck in northern Iraq, defense officials said Friday."
The truck carrying 1,600 gold bars was stopped at a military checkpoint near Qaim, a northwestern city near Iraq's border with Syria, Pentagon officials said.
The US administrator in Iraq acted swiftly on America's overwhelming victory at the United Nations over its plans to rebuild the oil-rich country, dissolving several key Baathist ministries and bodies on Friday."
Only hours after the Security Council voted to end 13-year-old crippling sanctions, Washington's man in charge of Iraq, Paul Bremer, sacked hundreds of thousands of public employees and soldiers by abolishing the defense and information ministries and military and security courts.
Iraq's military and the security organizations that supported Saddam Hussein's regime have been officially dissolved, and a new defense force "representative of all Iraqis" will be set up to replace them, the U.S. civil administrator announced Friday."
Months after France said it would veto a U.N. resolution authorizing the invasion of Iraq, forcing the United States to withdraw the measure and go to war without it, realpolitik has overcome resentment in most of the Bush administration. Although there is little desire to cuddle up with Paris, officials at the White House and the State Department say they are willing to work with the French on issues where views coincide, and work around or oppose them when they disagree.There's more; read the rest ..."
But the Pentagon apparently is not ready to move on. A Defense spokesman said yesterday that slots for foreigners in Red Flag, an exercise held with a rotating group of allies several times a year, in which France has participated annually since the 1980s, "are going to be reserved for those with whom we will likely be participating in operations in the future."
The Iraqi Health Ministry has ordered an immediate health survey around the country's largest nuclear facility amid fears for locals after looting."
US military officials, who are conducting a damage assessment at the Tuwaitha plant, have said a fifth of the radioactive materials knnown to have been stored there are missing...
... Villagers nearby have begun reporting ill effects they attribute to contact with hazardous waste.
Menem Abed Ali, who lives in the village of al-Mansia adjacent to the plant, said that since the looting took place he had been suffering from exhaustion and skin irritation.
A Canadian Forces officer has suffered minor injuries in an explosion near the Baghdad airport, the Defence Department said on Wednesday."
The officer was injured last Friday when a grenade exploded near a convoy the soldier was travelling in. He suffered shrapnel scrapes on one arm and temporary hearing loss, the military said. The officer has returned to duty.
A US officer is behind allegations about the conduct of a high-profile British Army officer during the war in Iraq, it emerged today."
The Ministry of Defence is investigating Lieutenant Colonel Tim Collins, who commanded the 1st Battalion of the Royal Irish Rangers during the war against Saddam Hussein?s forces.
Evidence is mounting to suggest that between 5,000 and 10,000 Iraqi civilians may have died during the recent war, according to researchers involved in independent surveys of the country."
None of the local and foreign researchers were willing to speak for the record, however, until their tallies are complete.
Such a range would make the Iraq war the deadliest campaign for noncombatants that US forces have fought since Vietnam.
All 60,000 U.S. Marines now in Iraq and Kuwait are expected to leave the Gulf and return to home bases in the United States and elsewhere by the end of August, the Marine Corps commandant said on Wednesday ...Of course, if you've been reading the Op-Ed page, you know that others have a different explanation for the Marines' departure ..."
... While up to 100,000 or more U.S. Army troops are expected to remain in Iraq to help keep peace and stability, Hagee said that Marines - now in southern Iraq - were likely to be replaced by forces volunteered by other nations.
Four explosions rocked a U.S. command post near the Iraqi town of Fallujah and a U.S. tank was ablaze, Qatar-based al-Jazeera television reported on Wednesday, citing witnesses at the scene."
U.S. officials at the Pentagon and at U.S. central command said they had no information on anything happening in Falluja, west of Baghdad.
France, Germany and Russia have decided to back the latest draft of a U.S.-proposed resolution lifting U.N. sanctions on Iraq, French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin said Wednesday."
"Even if this text does not go as far as we would like we have decided to vote for this resolution... This is because we have chosen the path of unity of the international community," Villepin said at a joint news conference with German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer and Russian counterpart Igor Ivanov.
Leaked advice from the attorney general, Lord Goldsmith, reveals that he warned Tony Blair two months ago that attempts at postwar reconstruction of Iraq by US-British occupying authorities would be unlawful without a further UN resolution."
Lord Goldsmith, the government's chief law officer, told the prime minister that the longer the occupation went on and the more the actions of the occupying authorities departed from their main task of disarmament, the harder it would be to justify the occupation as lawful.
State Department spokesman Richard Boucher says Washington and the International Atomic Energy Agency have agreed to send a joint team to the Tuwaitha nuclear research center as soon as it is ready to go."
Iraq's main political groups said tonight that they were drafting a formal statement of protest to the American and British authorities over their plans to declare an occupation authority in Iraq, which would delay the rapid turnover of sovereignty to an interim Iraqi government.
Iraqi political figures who attended a meeting tonight with David Manning, the foreign policy adviser to Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain, said they wanted to work in partnership with Washington and London. But they said they were strongly opposed to the reversal in policy announced to them Friday.
1. NYT alleged "that in 1998, France and Germany had supplied Iraq with high-precision switches used in detonating nuclear weapons..."
2. Disputes the WaPo article saying that "France, along with Russia, Iraq and North Korea, possesses prohibited human smallpox strains..."
3. Disputes Bill Gertz' report "that two French companies had sold Iraq spare parts for airplanes and helicopters..."
4. Disputes William Safire's claim that France sold a missile propellant to Iraq.
5. Disputes MSNBC's Joe Scarborough claim that France sold Iraq ""planes, missiles, armored vehicles, radar equipment and spare parts for Iraqi fighter planes," and of offering to sell nuclear reactors, without mentioning specific dates..."
6. "On April 21, Newsweek reported the "possible" discovery of Roland 2 missiles by coalition forces in Iraq and implied that they had been manufactured in 2002. A charred Roland 3 missile launcher was also allegedly found..."
7. Disputes the story claiming that France provided passports to Iraqi leaders .
8. Disputes WashTimes' WashTimes reports that "France and Russia of seeking to sign oil contracts with Iraq just before the start of the war."
And, "A "military expert" asked by MSNBC about the coalition's failure to discover banned weapons insinuated that "weapons could well have been discovered" and that they "could very well be French or Russian," which would have led the administration not to mention them "out of concern for easing tensions."
Saddam Hussein is hiding in Iraq with a small group, probably including his sons, and issuing orders to trusted supporters as he plots a return to power, according to former Iraqi generals returned from exile.
The generals, who were in exile for years and now play a key role in working with U.S. forces to purge the Iraqi public service and security apparatus of Saddam die-hards, said the deposed president had ordered a name-change for his Baath party.
Maj. Gen. Tawfiq al-Yassiri told Reuters that Saddam had changed its name in the last few days to "Auda," meaning return.