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October 28, 2004 - Image 2

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-10-28

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2A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, October 28, 2004

NATION/WORLD

.4

Miar did not secure explosives NEWS IN BRIEF
The Associated Press - A U.S.S[
nilitary unit that reached a muni- dzers had no orders to sarch amtninn e er i

eons storage installation after the
invasion of Iraq had no orders to
Search or secure the site, where offi-
clals say nearly 400 tons of explo-
sves have vanished.
Looters were already through-
put the Al-Qaqaa installation south
tf Baghdad when troops from the
JOlst Airborne Division's 2nd Bri-
gade arrived at the site a day or so
after other coalition troops seized
the capital on April 9, 2003, Lt. Col.
ired Wellman, deputy public affairs
officer for the unit, told The Associ-
ated Press.
The soldiers "secured the area
they were in and looked in a limited
amount of bunkers to ensure chemi-
cal weapons were not present in their
area," Wellman wrote in an e-mail to
The Associated Press. "Bombs were
found but not chemical weapons in

that immediate area.
"Orders were not given from high-
er to search or to secure the facility
or to search for HE type munitions,
as they (high-explosive weapons)
were everywhere in Iraq," he wrote.
A U.N. official said Al-Qaqaa
installation was believed to be the
only site in Iraq where high explo-
sives such as HMX, RDX and PETN
were stored. When Iraq declared the
explosives after the 1991 Gulf War,
IAEA experts concentrated them at
Al-Qaqaa so they could be moni-
tored by U.N. nuclear inspectors, the
official said, speaking on condition
of anonymity.
HMX and RDX are key compo-
nents in plastic explosives, which
insurgents in Iraq have used in bomb
attacks. HMX is also a "dual use"

wvr v vv v V ut l/I G l-Lll UU4/l uuuu"l Lt? JGGG

substance powerful enough to ignite
the fissile material in an atomic
bomb and set off a nuclear chain
reaction.
The disappearance of the explosives
- first reported in Monday's New
York Times - has raised questions
about why the United States didn't do
more to secure the facility and failed to
allow full international inspections to
resume after the invasion.
It has also become a heated issue
in the U.S. presidential campaign.
The Kerry campaign called the dis-
appearance the latest in a "tragic
series of blunders" by the Bush
administration in Iraq.
Vice President Dick Cheney
raised the possibility the explosives
disappeared before U.S. soldiers
could secure the site, and he com-

plained that Kerry does not mention
the "400,000 tons of weapons and
explosives that our troops have cap-
tured."
The 101st Airborne was at least
the second military unit to arrive at
Al-Qaqaa after the U.S.-led invasion
began. Pentagon spokesman Bryan
Whitman told The Washington Post
that the 3rd Infantry Division reached
the site around April 3, fought with
Iraq forces and occupied the site. It
left after two days for Baghdad, the
Post reported yesterday.
AP Correspondent Chris Tomlin-
son, who was embedded with the 3rd
Infantry but didn't go to Al-Qaqaa,
described the search of Iraqi mili-
tary facilities south of Baghdad as
brief, cursory missions to seek out
hostile troops, not to inventory or

Signs point to key showdown in Ira

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - An
uptick in airstrikes and other military
moves point to an imminent showdown
between U.S. forces and Sunni Muslim
insurgents west of Baghdad - a deci-
sive battle that could determine whether
the campaign to bring democracy and
stability to Iraq can succeed.
American officials have not con-
firmed a major assault is near against
the insurgent bastions of Fallujah and
npighboring Ramadi. But Iraqi Prime
Minister Ayad Allawi has warned
Fallujah leaders that force will be
used if they do not hand over extrem-
ists, including terror mastermind Abu
Musab al-Zarqawi.
A similar escalation in U.S. military
actions and Iraqi government warnings
occurred before a major offensive in
Najaf forced militiamen loyal to radical
Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr to give up
that holy city in late August. And U.S.
apd Iraqi troops retook Samarra from
insurgents early this month.
Now U.S. airstrikes on purported al-
Zarqawi positions in three neighborhoods
of eastern and northern Fallujah, 40 miles
west of Baghdad, have, increased. And
residents reported this week that Marines
appeared to be reinforcing forward posi-
tions near key areas of the city. Other mili-
tary units are on the move, including 800
British soldiers headed north to the U.S.-
cgntrolled zone.
, The goal of an attack would be to
restore government control in time for
national elections by the end of January.

However, an all-out assault on the scale
of April's siege of Fallujah would carry
enormous risk - both political and
military - for the Americans and their
Iraqi allies.
A series of policy mistakes by the
U.S. military and the Bush administra-
tion have transformed Fallujah from a
shabby, dusty backwater known region-
ally for mosques and tasty kebabs into
a symbol of Arab pride and defiance of
the United States throughout the Islamic
world.
A videotape obtained yesterday by
Associated Press Television News fea-
tured a warning by masked gunmen
that if Fallujah is subjected to an all-out
assault, they will strike "with weapons
and military tactics" that the Americans
and their allies "have not experienced
before."
Regardless of whether the threat was
an empty boast, insurgents elsewhere in
Iraq could be expected to step up attacks
to try to relieve pressure on fighters in
the Fallujah and Ramadi areas.
But the main problem an assault
would pose for both the U.S. military
and Allawi's government is political,
such as a widespread public backlash.
A nationwide association of Sunni cler-
ics also has threatened to urge a boycott
of the January elections if U.S. forces
storm Fallujah.
So Iraqi officials appear anxious to
convince the public that they have made
every effort to solve the Fallujah crisis
peacefully. The government spin is that

VIENNA, Austria
Iran rejects Halt on nuclear program
Iran ruled out a total suspension of uranium enrichment yesterday as a second
round of talks with European negotiators failed to produce an agreement aimed at
avoiding a showdown and the possible threat of U.N. sanctions.
Britain, France and Germany have offered Iran incentives in return for assuranc-
es that Iran will stop enrichment, which can produce fuel for both nuclear energy
and atomic weaponry.
"Total suspension will not be accepted under any circumstances," said Sirus
Naseri, a member of the Iranian delegation that met in Vienna with the Euro-
pean envoys.
Naseri said Iran was still trying to work out a compromise with the Europeans.
"We're negotiating," he said. "We're trying to come to an agreement. The next
meeting will be soon."
The British Foreign Office said a third round of talks would be held "shortly."
"Some progress was made towards identifying the elements of a common
approach towards the issues," a Foreign Office spokesman in London said.
The deal aims at easing fears in the United States and Europe that Iran is seeking to
develop nuclear weapons.
RAMALLAH, West Bank
Arafat collapses as health declines
Yasser Arafat collapsed yesterday evening, was unconscious for about 10 minutes
and remained in a "very difficult situation," Palestinian officials said. A team of Jorda-
nian doctors was urgently summoned to treat the ailing Palestinian leader.
Within hours, three senior Palestinian officials formed a special committee to
run Palestinian affairs during Arafat's illness, according to a Palestinian official
in Arafat's office.
The committee includes Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia, his prede-
cessor, Mahmoud Abbas, and Salim Zaanoun, head of the Palestinian National
Council.
The committee was to run the PLO and the Palestinian Authority until Arafat
recovers, the official said on condition of anonymity.
Arafat was eating soup during a meeting with Qureia, Abbas and another offi-
cial between 8 and 9 p.m. local time when he vomited, according to a bodyguard
who was in the compound at the time. The 75-year-old Arafat was brought to the
clinic inside the compound, where he collapsed and was unconscious for about 10
minutes, the guard said. His doctors were urgently summoned.
MOSCOW
Kyoto Protocol one step away from law
The Kyoto Protocol overcame its final legislative hurdle in Russia when the
upper house of parliament ratified the global climate pact yesterday and sent it on
to President Vladimir Putin for his signature - setting the stage for the treaty to
come into force next year.
Putin's stamp of approval is considered a formality, but the Kremlin has given
no indication of when he will sign the pact, which seeks to slow global warming
by reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. Russia's adoption is the final step needed
among major industrial countries after the treaty was rejected by the United States,
which alone accounted for 36 percent of carbon dioxide emissions in 1990. The proto-
col requires ratification by 55 industrialized nations, accounting for at least 55 percent
of global greenhouse gas emissions in 1990, to go into effect.
STRASBOURG, France
EU president withdraws exec. team proposal
Incoming European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso withdrew his
proposed 24-member executive team from consideration by the European Parliament
yesterday, realizing he faced an unprecedented rejection. Barroso's team faced almost
certain defeat because of strong opposition to Italy's Rocco Buttiglione, the proposed
justice commissioner, who called homosexuality a sin and has been criticized for his
conservative views on women and marriage.
"The outcome would not be positive," Barroso said of the aborted vote by the 732-
member legislature.

44

U.S Army Sgt. Jessie Jackson screams in pain from shrapnel wounds while
being evacuated in a helicopter with Spc. Dustin Hughes from a base north of
Baghdad, Iraq, yesterday.

0
0

the people of Fallujah are held as virtual
hostages of armed foreign terrorists.
Although Fallujah leaders insist there
are no more than a few foreign fighters
in the city, Arab journalists who have
visited say they heard non-Iraqi accents
at some checkpoints.
U.S. and Iraqi officials hope the
Iraqi people are so fed up with suicide
attacks, assassinations and kidnappings

- many of them believed orchestrated
from Fallujah and Ramadi - that they
will acquiesce to the use of force.
"There are terror groups in this city
who are taking human shields," Iraq's
deputy prime minister for national securi-
ty, Barham Saleh, said yesterday, referring
to Fallujah. "We are working hard to rid
the people of Fallujah of them and to let
security and stability prevail across Iraq."

_A

- Compiled from Daily wire reports

MARKET UPDATE
WED. CLOSE CHANGE

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