2A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, December 4, 2003
Iraqi political forces may form militia NEWS us BRIEFa+
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -Iraqi political parties members of these other (militia) forces," Undersecre- y ,
and coalition authorities are discussing the creation tary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith said in ., ;,:_
of a 1,000-member militia to bolster the U.S. mili-
tary's fight against a guerrilla insurgency, U.S. and
Iraqi officials said yesterday.
The militia would be formed by uniting fighters
from five Iraqi political parties under the joint lead-
ership of the U.S. military and the emerging Iraqi
Civil Defense Corps, American officials in Baghdad
and Washington said on condition of anonymity.
Also yesterday, U.S. soldiers captured a former Iraqi
general suspected of recent contacts with Saddam Hus-
sein. In another raid, Iraqi police and U.S. troops seized
a close aide to a radical Shiite Muslim cleric who
opposes the U.S. occupation.
If created, the paramilitary battalion would repre-
sent a significant policy reversal by Washington. The
United States previously declared private militias
illegal and called on Iraqi political leaders to disband
The Pentagon's policy chief said yesterday the
United States would welcome militia members into
the Iraqi security forces as long as they agreed to
drop their previous party affiliations.
"We are willing to take people into these forces as
long as when they come in they are not operating as
The militia members would be recruited as indi-
viduals, not as intact units, Feith said.
"We are not looking to preserve militias as such,"
The current president of the Iraqi Governing
Council, Abdel-Aziz al-Hakim, a Shiite Muslim, said
the idea of a joint militia was a good one. He said the
country's five or so individual militias have won
credibility for fighting Saddam's regime for more
than 20 years, and could root out that regime's rem-
"At this stage, we should try to make use of any
force, any tribal clan and any individual that can
help," he said, adding that the militias should be cen-
trally controlled, as the Americans have stipulated.
"They will have a role to play in the fight against ter-
In Fallujah, 30 miles west of Baghdad, soldiers
from the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne Division cap-
tured former Brig. Gen. Daham al-Mahemdi, an ex-
colonel of the elite Republican Guard who was
promoted to general immediately before the war, the
U.S. military said.
Productvity rates increase, end recession
The productivity of America's workers soared by the largest amount in 20 years
last quarter, raising hopes that the economic recovery is taking hold and businesses
will soon be stepping up hiring.
The Labor Department reported yesterday that productivity - the amount an
employee produces per hour of work - rocketed at an annual rate of 9.4 percent in
the July-to-September quarter, the best showing since the second quarter of 1983.
The figure, revised from a month ago based on more complete data, was even
stronger than the government's first estimate of an impressive 8.1 percent productivi-
ty growth rate and represented an acceleration from the brisk 7 percent pace in the
"The gains in productivity are helping companies' bottom lines so they can be less
focused on cutting costs and more focused on expanding business and ultimately hir-
ing more employees,' said Lynn Reaser, chief economist at Bank of America Capital
"This is very good news for the sustainability of the recovery."
PTO On Wall Street, the good news on productivity lifted stocks. The Dow Jones indus-
trials gained 19.78 points to close at 9,873.42.
., For the economy's long-term health and for rising living standards, productivity
gains are vital.
A U.S. soldier guards the city Samarra. Iraqi
parties want a militia to curb guerilla attacks,
Al-Mahmedi is suspected of keeping in indirect
contact with Saddam, while directing guerrilla
attacks on U.S. soldiers in Fallujah.
Judges question free trial for Moussaoui
U.S. Arab population doubles over 20 years
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Arab
population in the United States has
nearly doubled in the past two decades,
according to the Census Bureau's first
report on the group.
Experts cited liberalized U.S. immi-
gration laws and unrest in the Middle
East that led many people to come to
The bureau counted nearly 1.2 mil-
lion Arabs in the United States in
2000, compared with 860,000 in 1990
and 610,000 in 1980.
About 60 percent trace their ances-
try to three countries: Lebanon, Syria
While earlier Arab immigrants came
from countries with large Christian
populations, newer arrivals come from
heavily Muslim countries such as Iraq
"Immigrants from the Arab world
come for the same reason all immi-
grants come - economic opportunity,
opportunities to have an education, to
develop a professional career," said
Helen Samhan, executive director of
the Arab American Institute Founda-
tion, a research group.
Samhan said the lifting of U.S.
immigration quotas in the 1960s
opened the door to people from Arab
countries and many took advantage
during the 1980s and 1990s, with a
large number coming from nations
such as Lebanon and Iraq where there
Almost half of the Arabs in the Unit-
ed States live in five states - Califor-
nia (190,890), New York (120,370),
Michigan (115,284), New Jersey
(71,770) and Florida (77,461). .
"It would be better to come to
America than Europe or Canada," said
Zak Trad, 33, of Anaheim, Calif., who
came from Lebanon three years ago.
"It's the largest Arab community not in
an Arab country. I didn't think I would
be a stranger here."
New York City, the first stop for mil-
lions of immigrants for more than a
century, had the largest Arab popula-
tion among U.S. cities, 69,985. The
Detroit suburb of Dearborn, Mich.,
where many Arabs first settled to work
in the automobile industry, was next at
Sterling Heights, Mich., was the city
with the largest percentage of Arab-
Americans, 3.7 percent, followed by
Jersey City, N.J., with 2.8 percent.
Dearborn's population is about 30 per-
cent Arab but it was not ranked
because the Census Bureau only
counted cities with at least 100,000
residents; Dearborn has about 98,000.
The Census Bureau asked those who
received the long version of their
decennial questionnaire to list their
ancestry. The form was sent to about
one-sixth of all households.
Arab-Americans say their popula-
tion is larger than that reported by the
Census Bureau, but many are reluctant
to fill out government forms because
they came from countries with oppres-
The census report stops at 2000 so
there is no data to measure the impact
of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. But
tighter immigration procedures
imposed after then have reduced the
flow of Arabs to the United States.
The Arab American Institute Foun-
dation said that just over 15,000 visas
were issued to immigrants from Arab
countries in 2002, compared with
more than 21,000 in 2001.
Federal appeals judges yesterday sharply questioned whether terrorism defen-
dant Zacarias Moussaoui can receive a fair trial while the government denies him
testimony from al-Qaida witnesses who he says could exonerate him.
During a hearing on the fairness and death-penalty issues that have delayed trial
for the al-Qaida operative, the judges searched for a way to resolve a clash between
defendants' rights and the government's ability to fight the war on terrorism.
With the government declaring the witnesses off-limits to the defense, Judge
William Wilkins, who was appointed by President Reagan, asked the same point-
ed question of both sides:
"Is Moussaoui entitled to any remedy?"
Justice Department lawyer Paul Clement said that Moussaoui has the right to
material that might exonerate him but that national security overrides his right of
access to enemy combatants held abroad who might reveal secret information.
"The proper question is, 'Does the Constitution require them (terrorism defen-
dants) to get a windfall" because al-Qaida operatives were captured? he asked.
The answer must be no, Clement said.
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Brits charge shoe-
A 24-year-old British man was
charged yesterday with conspiring in an
explosives plot with Richard Reid, the
al-Qaida "shoe bomber" who tried to
blow up a U.S. airliner.
Sajid Badat, one of more than 20 peo-
ple arrested since last week in a series of
anti-terrorism raids, was charged with
two additional explosives offenses, Lon-
don's Metropolitan Police said.
Police gave no details of the charges,
and it was unclear whether Badat was
accused of involvement in Reid's
attempt to set off explosives on a Paris-
to-Miami flight. Badat is due to appear
in court today.
London police commissioner Sir
John Stevens said yesterday the force is
on a heightened state of terrorist alert.
Details of the accusations against
Badat were not released, but explosive
material was found at his home in
Gloucester, southwestern England,
where he was arrested Nov. 27.
Bush considers end
of high import tariffs
The administration is searching for
ways to soften the impact on the domes-
tic steel industry if President Bush with-
draws steep tariffs on imports as expect-
ed. The proposals under consideration,
industry officials say, include early
reporting requirements to detect possible
surges of steel into the United States.
The administration was expected to
announce Bush's decision around mid-
day tomorrow, barring last-minute snags,
one administration official said on condi-
tion of anonymity. Bush held a late-night
meeting in the Oval Office with Vice
President Dick Cheney, Commerce Sec-
retary Don Evans and U.S. Trade Repre-
sentative Robert Zoellick.
Hong Kong snake
soup industr suffers
Nothing holds off Hong Kong's winter
chill like a hearty bowl of snake soup.
Many restaurants are missing the main
Hong Kong's snake industry is suffer-
ing a severe supply crunch after main-
land authorities banned exports during
the SARS outbreak, when research sug-
gested the respiratory illness was spread
by wildlife in southern China.
The global epidemic was declared
under control in July, and snakes have
gotten a SARS-free bill of health, but the
ban still stands. Chinese officials have
told Hong Kong snake dealers it's a con-
- Compiled from Daily wire reports.
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