- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 12, 2003

IRAQ
Kurds in north prepare for worst
SULAYMANIYA U.S. plans for war against Iraq may be stalling on the diplomatic front, but Iraqi Kurds are working on the assumption that a conflict is just weeks away and are stocking up on food and fuel, and packing off family members to safer areas.
For many in Sulaymaniya, one of the main cities in the rebel-held north and just a short drive from Iraqi government lines, the memories of their failed 1991 uprising are all too fresh. "It was chaos, panic," recalls shopkeeper Jafar Ahmad, 37. "There was a traffic jam all the way to the Iranian border, hardly any transport, no shelter and no fuel."
After the Gulf war 12 years ago, when the first President Bush encouraged Iraq's Kurds and Shi'ites to rise up against dictator Saddam Hussein, the rebels notched up quick victories. But their dramatic advances were short-lived when the U.S. president agreed to a cease-fire with Baghdad and declined to support the rebels.

ISRAEL
U.S. delays talks on $12 billion package
JERUSALEM Washington has delayed by a week a meeting with Israeli officials to discuss $12 billion in aid and loan guarantees, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's office said yesterday.
The meeting had been set for tomorrow but was put off until Feb. 20 "for technical reasons," the Israeli leader's office said in a statement.
Israel hopes to secure $4 billion in extra aid and $8 billion in bank guarantees that would enable the Jewish state to take out loans at low interest rates. Israel already receives $3 billion a year from Washington about $2 billion of it in military aid.

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Papers say NATO veto aids peaceful resolution
DUBAI Gulf newspapers said yesterday that the veto by Belgium, France and Germany of proposals to boost NATO defenses in Turkey could lead to a peaceful resolution of the Iraq crisis.
"A peaceful solution is possible," read the lead headline in Qatar's Al-Raya newspaper. "Efforts by France and Germany … to stop war against Iraq are consistent with international law and could bring about a peaceful solution" to the crisis, the daily said.
The United Arab Emirates newspaper Akhbar al-Arab said: "Baghdad's cooperation with the United Nations, particularly its acceptance of private interviews of Iraqi scientists, has encouraged 'old Europe' … to defend international law."

Weekly notes
Celebrations of the 24th anniversary of Iran's Islamic revolution climaxed yesterday with anti-U.S. fervor revived by the crisis in neighboring Iraq. Cries of "Death to America" rang through the crowd of tens of thousands gathered in Tehran's Azadi (Freedom) Square, where demonstrators paraded disfigured models of Uncle Sam with his clutches on the globe. … Morocco's King Mohammed VI and the country's foes in the occupied Western Sahara announced prisoner releases yesterday to mark the Muslim feast of Eid al-Adha, which celebrates Abraham's willingness to obey God by sacrificing his son, Ismail. The patriarch was stopped when a voice from heaven told him to sacrifice a ram instead. The Moroccan king issued pardons or reduced jail terms and fines to 1,085 convicts, while the Polisario Front seeking independence of the Western Sahara announced the release of 100 Moroccan prisoners of war.
From wire dispatches and staff reports

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