- The Washington Times - Monday, November 14, 2005

IRAQ

Saddam chief deputy’s death doubted by U.S.

BAGHDAD — U.S. troops will continue to search for Saddam Hussein’s chief deputy, the U.S. command said yesterday, casting doubt on an Internet claim that the suspected architect of the Iraqi insurgency had died.

A statement posted Saturday on a Web site maintained by Saddam loyalists announced that Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri had died the previous day. Another Web site that carries statements by Saddam’s banned Ba’ath Party said that al-Douri was alive and apologized for the false report of his death.

“Coalition officials question the validity of the Ba’ath party claim, and a reward of up to $10 million remains for information leading to al-Douri’s capture or his grave site,” according to a U.S. statement.

FRANCE

Riots nearing an end, police chief thinks

PARIS — France’s worst rioting since the 1960s seems to be nearing an end, the national police chief said yesterday as fewer cars were torched nationwide and Paris remained calm.

In scattered attacks, youths rammed a burning car into a center for retirees in Provence and pelted police with stones in the historic heart of Lyon, the country’s third-biggest city. A firebomb was tossed at a Lyon mosque, but did not explode.

But National Police Chief Michel Gaudin said “things could return to normal very quickly,” noting that French youths burn about 100 cars on an average Saturday night.

AZERBAIJAN

20,000 rally seeking new voting

BAKU — More than 20,000 opposition supporters packed a square in Azerbaijan’s capital yesterday in the second mass protest in recent days, demanding a rerun of disputed parliamentary elections.

Gathering under a sea of orange flags, activists railed against what they said was a fraudulent vote in a scene similar to the protests that propelled opposition leaders to power in three other former Soviet republics.

International monitors say the vote — in which President Ilham Aliev’s ruling party won the most seats — fell short of democratic standards, but have declined to back the call for a new election.

IRAN

ElBaradei to promot euranium compromise

VIENNA, Austria — The head of the U.N. nuclear monitoring agency may fly to Tehran within days to promote a plan calling on Iran to move its uranium-enrichment program to Russia, diplomats said yesterday.

On Saturday, the head of Iran’s nuclear agency ruled out the proposal, saying uranium enrichment must occur in Iran. The rejection by Gholamreza Aghazadeh was made without seeing the plan.

But a European official and a diplomat close to the agency downplayed Mr. Aghazadeh’s reaction and said the plan would be presented to the Iranians by International Atomic Energy Agency head Mohamed ElBaradei and senior agency officials.

BANGLADESH

India, Pakistan chill regional summit

DHAKA — India and Pakistan exchanged frosty words as a South Asian summit ended in Bangladesh’s capital yesterday, casting doubt over whether the group would be able to overcome differences between its two biggest members.

“There is clearly a trust deficit between the two countries,” Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz told reporters. He said that as far as Pakistan was concerned, the core dispute with India was over divided Kashmir.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh agreed about the lack of trust between the two countries and accused Pakistan of failing to live up to its obligations to end violence in India by Pakistan-based militants.

BRITAIN

Al Qaeda calls queen an ‘enemy of Islam’

LONDON — Al Qaeda’s Ayman al-Zawahri has called Britain’s Queen Elizabeth “one of the severest enemies of Islam” in a video message, the Sunday Times reported.

The paper said the reference came in a videotaped statement released in September after the July 7 suicide-bombing attacks. Al Qaeda’s No. 2 praises the bombings and denounces the queen, it said.

The statement has prompted intelligence officers to alert Buckingham Palace that the queen had become a specific target of al Qaeda, according to the paper.

The Foreign Office and Buckingham Palace declined to comment.

IRAQ

Talabani sees exit for British troops

LONDON — Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said yesterday that British troops could leave Iraq by the end of 2006, an estimate that Britain’s top soldier said was realistic but did not amount to a timetable for withdrawal.

Mr. Talabani said Iraqi troops should be ready to take over from British forces in the southern provinces around Basra by the end of next year, adding that no Iraqis wanted foreign troops to remain indefinitely in their country.

But he warned that an immediate withdrawal of U.S.-led forces would be catastrophic for Iraq and lead to civil war, with consequences for the entire Middle East.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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