2 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, December 5, 2003
Egypt pushes for
resolution in Israel NEWS IN BRIEF;f
HEADLINES FROM-AROUND THE WORLD
CAIRO, Egypt (AP) - Palestin-
ian factions opened talks yesterday
aimed at producing a cease-fire,
and Israel hinted it could reduce
military activity in the West Bank
and Gaza Strip if a truce were
Egypt is mediating the talks, and
Egyptian intelligence chief Gen.
Omar Suleiman opened the session
by urging the Palestinians to agree
to a total cease-fire conditioned on
Israeli reciprocity, Palestinian dele-
gates at the meeting said.
Suleiman told delegates the Unit-
ed States was eager for a break-
through next year - an election
year. The Egyptian intelligence boss
also said an accord now could fur-
ther feed opposition among Israelis
to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's
policies, one delegate said, insisting
"It is possible to take advantage
of these conditions to come up with
a cease-fire that the Israeli side will
feel compelled to commit to,"
Suleiman was quoted as saying.
"This requires that the groups think
about the political moves to stop the
aggression against the Palestinian
After Suleiman spoke, represen-
tatives of a dozen Palestinian fac-
tions began meetings among
themselves, with Palestinian Prime
Minister Ahmed Qureia set to join
the talks at a later stage.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the
militant groups behind most suicide
bombing attacks on Israelis, have
joined the talks despite their incli-
nation against a cease-fire. They are
under pressure to accept a truce -
from Egypt, Yasser Arafat's main-
stream Fatah faction and smaller
groups backing Fatah in hopes of
gaining some say in future talks
In the clearest statement yet that
Israel will respond favorably to a
cease-fire offer, a defense official
suggested Israel would scale back
its military operations if the Pales-
tinians pledge to halt attacks.
"If the Palestinians agree to a
cease-fire in Cairo, it's certainly not
out of the question that Israel will
agree to restrain its military activi-
ty," Deputy Defense Minister Zeev
Boim told Israel Radio yesterday.
Arafat, whose position on a
cease-fire remains crucial, despite
U.S. and Israeli efforts to isolate
him, gave public backing to the
Cairo talks yesterday.
"The most important thing is to
try to reach an agreement ... in
order to implement the 'road map'
(and) stop the daily Israeli escala-
tion against our people," he told the
pan-Arab satellite station Al-
Egypt wants the cease-fire to
eventually lead to a resumption of
Palestinian-Israeli negotiations, a
goal of the United States. U.S.
envoy William Burns was in the
region this week to press both sides
to fulfill their obligations under the
"road map," the latest peace plan
backed by Washington and the
An inter-Palestinian agreement
on a cease-fire offer would
strengthen Qureia's hand in negoti-
ating with Sharon when the two
meet. A meeting has been in the
works since last month but no date
has been set.
The Palestinians - ranging from
the mainstream to Islamic militants
and Marxists - have met informal-
ly with Egyptian officials and
among themselves since Tuesday.
Delegates to the talks say they are
weighing both a partial cease-fire
- to halt strikes on civilians inside
Israel's territory - and a broader
truce, being pushed by Egypt, that
MAZA -SHA F, Afghanistan w
Rumsfeld visits reconstruction sites
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld took a ride yesterday on
Afghanistan's bumpy road to recovery, finding signs of progress alongside
grim reminders the country remains torn by violence and crammed with
Rival Afghan warlords, responsible for much of the violence, are disarm-
ing only slowly, according to a British military commander, and there has
been a Taliban resurgence two years after that group's rule ended. Suspect-
ed militants ambushed a convoy of government census workers in the
southwest yesterday, killing one and wounding others.
Rumsfeld, making his fourth trip to Afghanistan since the Taliban's fall,
met for the first time with northern Afghanistan's two major warlords, wel-
coming them warmly. Afterward, he said he was satisfied they were moving
toward disarmament of their rival armies - a step considered critical to
extending the central government's authority beyond Kabul, the capital.
"Each of them has initiated that process," Rumsfeld told reporters. "It's
under way and that is a very good thing. At what pace it will proceed I
guess remains to be seen, but we're pleased that they've agreed to do so."
Tariffs lifted in face of threatened trade war
Yesterday, President Bush scrapped import tariffs he had imposed last year to help
the battered U.S. steel industry, defusing a threatened trade war with Europe and
Japan but creating political problems for himself in states that could be key in next
The president declared that the 21 months the steep tariffs had been in place had
given the U.S. industry a chance to consolidate and modernize and were no longer
needed as a result of "changed economic circumstances."
However, the decision prompted an angry response from the steel industry and its
political supporters, who accused Bush of breaking a campaign promise and turning
his back on an industry that was still in need of protection from foreign competition.
"In his rush to appease the Europeans and the Japanese, Mr. Bush willfully ignored
the fact that damage to the American steel industry and American steel communities
continues to this day," said Leo Gerard, president of the United Steelworkers of
America. Gerard said 42 steel companies had gone bankrupt over the past five years.
Egyptian girls protect themselves from heavy rain as they pass by
portraits of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and several Egyptian
presidents, on a Cairo street yesterday
would curtail attacks on Israeli sol-
diers and Jewish settlers in the West
Bank and Gaza.
Israel has reason to agree to the
cease-fire; when it kept up its own
attacks during the last truce
arranged by Egypt in June, the
Palestinians waited only seven
weeks before resuming suicide
bombings, with devastating results.
Zalman Shoval, an adviser to
Sharon, stressed that a cease-fire
must be total and followed by dis-
mantling militant groups as
required by a "road map" peace
"Israel welcomes a cease-fire, but
it must be the first step," he said.
Under the "road map," Palestini-
ans would stop violence and make
efforts to disarm violent cells,
while Israel would halt attacks
against Palestinians, withdraw
forces from Palestinian towns,
freeze settlements and take steps to
normalize Palestinian life. The
"road map" calls for establishment
of a Palestinian state by 2005.
Qureia has not accepted U.S. and
Israeli demands to dismantle radical
groups, especially Hamas, because
they have a strong political con-
stituency among Palestinians.
Apparently giving Qureia some
latitude, Secretary of State Colin
Powell last week suggested the
Palestinian prime minister could
take steps short of taking up arms
against militants and find support
from the international community.
The Palestinians say a compre-
hensive cease-fire - a total end to
fighting - would require Israel to
also stop settlement building, halt
construction of a security barrier
along the frontier with Palestinian
areas and withdraw troops from
sectors reoccupied since the out-
break of fighting in September
Iraqi guerrillas attack police station
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Guerrillas
attacked a police station in central Iraq
yesterday, wounding six people, while
-U.S. forces kept up their daily raids
against suspected rebel strongholds
with an overnight raid in Saddam Hus-
sein's hometown of Tikrit.
Meanwhile, a London-based Arabic
newspaper quoted Iraq's former plan-
ning minister as saying that Saddam
-might still have stashed away in foreign
banks tens of billions of dollars that he
skimmed for years from oil revenues.
Jewad Hashem, Iraq's planning min-
ister in the late 1960s and early '70s
who now lives in Canada, said that 5
- percent of oil revenues was ordered
deposited abroad in accounts under
Saddam's supervision when Iraq nation-
alized its oil industry in 1972.
Two rockets struck the Ramadi Police
Directorate, 100 miles west of Baghdad,
as officers gathered inside to receive
their monthly salaries, said Maj. Samir
Habib. Two policemen and four civil-
ians were wounded, he said.
Ramadi, a town on the main highway
between Iraq and Jordan, is part of the
so-called Sunni Triangle - a region
north and west of Baghdad that has
seen fierce resistance to the U.S.-led
The U.S. raid in Tikrit netted several
illegal weapons. Such counterinsur-
gency operations have come under
increasing criticism recently, with many
analysts warning that the U.S. military
was risking alienating significant seg-
ments of Iraqis through heavy-handed
military responses to hit-and-run
attacks by the insurgents.
Hashem's assertion is in his autobiog-
raphy, which is being excerpted in the
Asharq Al-Awsat pan-Arab daily.
In Wednesday's except, he wrote that
Iraq's former Revolutionary Command
Council issued the decree to create a
sort of war chest for Saddam's Baath
There was no way to independent-
ly confirm Hashem's story. Interna-
tional efforts are under way to track
accounts around the world in the
name of Saddam, the Baath Party
and other former Iraqi officials.
The former minister said Saddam did
not want to repeat the mistake of 1963
when a military coup toppled the first
Baath government after nine months
and it could not return to power quickly
because it lacked money.
Hashem said that by his calculation
the 5 percent revenues from 1972 until
1990 would amount to $31 billion.
'We are willing to take people into these forces as
long as when they come in they are not operating
as members of these other (militia) forces."
- Douglas Feith
U.S. Undersecretary of Defense for Policy
FORT WORTH, Texas
Flu outbreak kills
at least 10 children
As a nasty flu outbreak spreads across
the country, schools are reporting more
empty seats as parents keep children at
home to recuperate or to protect them.
The flu is being blamed for the deaths
of at least five children in Colorado,
three in Texas and one each in Oklahoma
and New Mexico.
Children's Medical Center Dallas has
seen more than 500 children with the flu
since October. Yesterday, more than two
dozen were in the intensive care unit,
said Jane Siegel, a doctor. "Most of those
children require IV fluids ... and most
have significant enough lung disease so
they're on a ventilator," she said.
In a typical year 36,000 Americans die
from the influenza virus, but flu
researchers expect a higher death toll this
supports U.S. troops
Lighting the national Christmas tree
yesterday, President Bush urged Amer-
ican troops who will be far from home
and family these holidays to take some
solace in the Christmas story and the
"Separation from loved ones is
especially difficult this time of year,"
Bush said at the 80th annual outdoor
"Pageant of Peace" ceremony. "People
in uniform can know that their fami-
lies miss them and love them, that mil-
lions are praying for them, and that
America is grateful for the men and
women who serve and defend our
As a light snow fell intermittently,
Bush and his wife, Laura, listened to a
slew of performers singing holiday
songs before flicking the switch that
enveloped the 40-foot Colorado blue
spruce in a blaze of light.
led to his arrest
More than a year ago, Michael Jack-
son let a BBC crew into his bizarre world
for a TV documentary he no doubt hoped
would boost his fading career.
Exactly what happened is a matter of
dispute, but interviews with sources
close to Jackson and the accuser's family
reveal one consistent thread: The docu-
mentary set in motion a series of events
that led to the pop star's arrest last month.
The TV special, broadcast worldwide
last February to an audience of millions,
offered images of Jackson's fairy-tale
estate, Neverland, his lonely trips to Las
Vegas and his lavish spending habits. It
also showed him talking about sleepovers
with children at Neverland and holding
the hand of a cancer-stricken boy - the
boy who is now Jackson's accuser.
- Compiled from Daily wire reports.
After 1990, United Nations sanctions
following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait
blocked the free transfer of money
On Wednesday, officials said they
were considering creating a specialized
Iraqi paramilitary battalion to help fight
the insurgents. The plan appears to be
aimed at bolstering counterinsurgency
efforts and replacing U.S. combat
troops in the anti-guerrilla role with
The tactical unit would be capable of
conducting independent operations.
American officials in Baghdad and
Washington said Wednesday that the
new 1,000-member unit would be
formed by uniting fighters from five
Iraqi political parties under the joint
leadership of the U.S. military and the
emerging Iraqi Civil Defense Corps.
If created, the paramilitary unit would
represent a significant policy reversal
by the United States, which previously
declared private militias illegal and
called on Iraqi political leaders to dis-
The Pentagon's policy chief said
Wednesday 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 members of
these other (militia) forces," U.S.
Undersecretary of Defense for Policy
Douglas Feith said in Washington.
The militia members would be
recruited as individuals, not as intact
units, Feith said.
Also Wednesday, U.S. soldiers cap-
tured former Brig. Gen. Daham al-
Mahemdi, who is suspected of recent
contacts with Saddam, in Fallujah, 30
miles west of Baghdad, the military said.
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