- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 2, 2003

Insider notes for United Press International for Jan. 2 …

Turkey has long maintained that observing U.N. sanctions against Iraq since Desert Storm in 1991 cost its economy a minimum $40 billion in lost revenues. Now Turkish officials are suggesting to their U.S. counterparts that the price of their support will be a 10-percent share of post-Saddam Iraqi oil which could mean an annual $5.5 billion windfall. The scheme has been sponsored by Murad Murjan, deputy chairman of the newly elected Turkish Justice and Development Party, who bases it on Turkish claims dating to the 1926 Treaty of Lausanne. The Turkish Republic signed the treaty with Britain to demarcate Iraqi borders, and was promised in return 10 percent of Iraq's oil revenues and of associated business profits. There are only two hitches to implementing the agreement. The first is that the Lausanne deal expired in 1951. The second is that Turkey's claim was bought out by the British 75 years ago for 500,000 pounds.

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In light of the botched terrorist attack on an Israeli airliner in Mombassa last month, Israeli authorities are planning to equip civilian aircraft with anti-missile systems. Elta Electronic Industries has been chosen by Prime Minister Sharon's office to outfit El Al, Arkia and Israir aircraft with the systems. Of course, the issue is always money, so the prime minister's office instructed Elta and its partners, Israel Military Industries and BAE Systems — Rokar International, to find a U.S. partner to manufacture and market the system. The reason for the decision is simple: if 51 percent or more of the system is manufactured in the United States, it can be classified as U.S.-made, and can be procured with U.S. military or civilian aid. It is estimated that it will cost $50 million to equip 40 Israeli planes with the system.

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Even as peace talks continue between the Sudan People's Liberation Army and the government, violence in Darfur, Sudan's second-largest region, has reached new and alarming heights. The target of the new savagery is a prominent ethnic group called the Fur, a farming people who inhabit the Jabal Marra massif, a fertile central area of the region. U.S. officials said evidence indicates that the Sudanese government may be behind attacks by Arab militias that have burned houses, killed residents and slaughtered livestock. Not only has the government not offered the Fur any protection, it has embarked on a policy of detaining Fur religious and tribal leaders. "The killings have reached the thousands," one U.S. government official tells UPI. Late last month, leaders of Darfur's Arab and non-Arab groups met In Nyala, a large town in the region, and accused the government of being an accomplice of the Arab militias mounting the attacks. Since the bulk of the Sudanese government forces are made up of recruits from Darfur, Sudanese government officials fear a backlash as groups of Fur have begun to arm themselves and ambush government troops. The Embassy of Sudan did not return phone calls. Stay tuned.

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In a related item, the Sudan government just announced a key rebel commander had defected and is on the government payroll, according to U.S. government officials. Commander Peter Cadet posed a chief threat to Sudan's rich oil fields, controlled by an ethic group called the Nuer, which made up Cadet's followers. Cadet had been a valuable lieutenant of dissident leader Riek Machar, and the government "parted with significant benefits" to win Cadet back, in the words of one U.S. government official.

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Prince Al-Walid bin Talal bin Abdul Aziz, a nephew of King Fahd of Saudi Arabia, had his $10 million donation to New York City rejected in 2001 by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani after suggesting that the terrorist attacks might have underlying causes associated with political turmoil in the Middle East. Al-Walid's fortune is estimated at $20 billion, and it would seem that the prince has not been deterred from donating it to American causes. Al-Walid has just donated $500,000 to the George Herbert Walker Bush Scholarship Fund at Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass. The establishment of the fund was announced at the 60th reunion of the 1942 class to honor President Bush the 1st, who is one of its graduates. So is his son, President Bush the 2nd. Curiously, back in election year 2000, only 27 percent of Andover students backed candidate Bush. In the prestigious school's mock elections, Al Gore won decisively with 59 percent, while Ralph Nader picked up a respectable 17 percent. No sign of the school — nor the Bushies — doing a Giuliani.

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Those famed European public health services are running into the kind of trouble that will be familiar to Americans. France's 5,000 private sector gynecologists, who deliver almost half the 750,000 babies born each year in France, are threatening to go on strike after a 60-percent hike in their malpractice insurance premiums. As of Wednesday, annual premiums went up from $9,000 to $15,000, and by striking the doctors threaten to overload the public hospitals.

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