- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 29, 2004

YEMEN

Schools revamped to prevent extremism

SAN’A — The government, which is battling Islamist militants, said yesterday it would reform its education system and shut down unlicensed schools to combat extremism.

“Due to links between extremism and militancy and some curricula that promote deviant and alien ideologies, … the Cabinet ordered the immediate closure of all schools and centers violating the education law,” the government said. “The Cabinet also stressed the need for a complete overhaul of religious education curricula to realize moderation in Islam and national unity and to increase security and stability.”

Yemen has hundreds of religious schools, many of them unlicensed. Some analysts say these institutions promote fundamentalism in the Arab state, the ancestral homeland of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. The Cabinet also banned private and national schools from providing unlicensed courses outside the official curriculum.

IRAQ

Neighbors demand war compensation

GENEVA — Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, which have lodged claims for billions of dollars against Iraq for damage from the 1991 Gulf war, insisted yesterday that Baghdad must honor its debts to its victims.

A day after the United States handed over sovereignty to an interim Iraqi government, the two oil-exporting giants said there should be no interruption in the flow of payments to a U.N.-administered compensation fund.

A recent U.N. Security Council resolution said 5 percent of Iraqi oil revenues must continue to go to Gulf war victims. But it provided no mechanism to ensure compliance once Britain and the United States had transferred control of revenues to Iraq.

EGYPT

Newspapers fault Iraq power transfer

CAIRO — The Egyptian press yesterday castigated the U.S. transfer of power to an Iraqi government as a small step on a long road.

“In a scene bordering on the ridiculous, the United States transferred power to an interim Iraqi government. The formalities took place in the atmosphere of a funeral, 48 hours earlier than expected,” said the independent daily Nahdet Misr.

“Iraq has not been liberated from the grip of the American occupation,” an editorial said.

Samir Ragab, editor in chief of the government Al-Gumhuriya daily, wrote, “The departure of [former U.S. overseer L. Paul] Bremer on the sly is the best thing that happened Monday.”

Added state-owned Al-Akhbar newspaper: “The Iraqi government will have to do everything possible to win the hearts [of Iraqis] that the United States has lost.”

Weekly notes

The European Court of Human Rights condemned Turkey yesterday for expelling 15 Kurdish villagers from their homes under a 1994 state of emergency and for preventing them from recovering their property. The decision is the first with a bearing on the inability of hundreds of Kurds to return home to their villages in southeastern Turkey until July 2003. … U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan arrived in Qatar yesterday at the start of a three-week tour of Africa, Europe and the Middle East with a visit to Doha’s Education City, which opened last year. Today, Mr. Annan will travel to Sudan for official meetings before heading Friday to a displaced-persons camp in Sudan’s western region of Darfur.

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