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SHAPE NEWS MORNING UPDATE 08 OCTOBER 2002

 

 

TERRORISM

         Arab station broadcasts alleged bin Laden tape warning of further attacks

         U.S. intelligence: tape appears to be from bin Laden

         U.S. will eventually find al-Qaida leaders, Rumsfeld says

IRAQ

         President Bush gains congressional support for using force

         Britain confident of new UN resolution

         Saddam's rivals want to try him in "free Iraq," officials say

         Iran will not allow U.S. to use its airspace to attack Iraq

NATO

         NATO's top general to discuss new elite force in U.S. and Canada

         U.S. diplomat says Bulgaria has good chances of joining NATO

ICC

         Canada and the EU should make the ICC work to prove that Americans have nothing to fear, foreign minister says

EU

         EU says Turkey not ready for accession talks

BALKANS

         Bosnians fearful after nationalists win elections

         Former rebel chief's party to be part of government in Macedonia (sic)

         Police in Macedonia (sic) release ex-rebel after two days

 

TERRORISM

 

         Osama bin Laden is alive, traveling with his lieutenant, Egyptian Ayman Al Zawahri, living in Afghanistan and plotting more attacks, according to a satellite telephone conversation reportedly intercepted over the weekend by U.S. and Afghan intelligence. In the intercepted conversation, the Taliban's fugitive leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar allegedly told his former deputy prime minister Maulvi Abdul Kabir that bin Laden and Al Zawahri have lots of money and that something will happen to change the scenario in Afghanistan in the next 45 days. The text of the conversation was given to The Associated Press by an Afghan intelligence official who had previously been with the Taliban administration and said he would recognize both Omar's and Kabir's voices. News of the conversation comes after the Arab Satellite station Al-Jazeera released an audiotape said to be from bin Laden in which a male voice warns that their are planning more attacks against the United States. (AP 071643 Oct 02)

         An audio tape recently broadcast by Qatar's Al-Jazeera television appears to be the voice of Saudi-born militant Osama bin Laden, but it was unknown when it was made, a U.S. intelligence official said on Monday on condition of anonymity. Without any indicators of when the tape was made, it would not help determine whether bin Laden was still alive. (Reuters 072009 GMT Oct 02)

 

         Defense Secretary Rumsfeld pledged on Monday that the United States will track down Osama bin Laden and other top leaders of his al-Qaida terrorist network. "If they are alive and well, we'll eventually find them," Rumsfeld said during a news briefing to mark one year since the war in Afghanistan began. He said that he didn't know if the tape aired on Sunday by Al-Jazeera was from bin Laden adding that there were no indications when it was made. Rumsfeld and Marine Gen. Peter Pace, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, thanked the U.S. and coalition soldiers involved in the effort. (AP 072017 Oct 02)

 

IRAQ

 

         President Bush won fresh support in Congress on Monday for a resolution authorizing the use of force to disarm and depose President Saddam Hussein. Bush's prime-time speech coincided with the first anniversary of the start of U.S. bombing in Afghanistan. In advance of the speech, the White House urged Saddam's military commanders to defy the Iraqi leader if he orders biological or chemical attacks on U.S. forces. (AP 072053 Oct 02)

 

         Britain said Monday it is confident there will be a new United Nations resolution for a tough weapons inspection regime in Iraq backed up by force if necessary. Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, meanwhile, set off on a four-day trip to France and the Middle East to win support for the British-U.S. drive to disarm Saddam Hussein. In another development, The London Times reported on Tuesday that fear of a U.S.-led attack on Iraq is prompting some officials in Saddam Hussein's regime to plan "an exit strategy" in case he is overthrown. The report, quoting an unidentified top British official, said there is "a fair chance" that Saddam could face "an internal uprising." The official also was quoted as saying that the British military expects to receive a political decision by the end of October about whether it should prepare to use force against Iraq. (AP 072153 Oct 02)

 

         Opponents of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein are laying the groundwork for trying him on war crimes changes once a "free Iraq" is established, officials in President Bush's administration said on Monday. The administration endorsed the plan and provided funding for a recent seminar of anti-Saddam Iraqi legal experts who last month in Italy discussed the issue. The Iraqis weighed plans not only to try Saddam but dozens of other colleagues, including Ali Hassan Majid, nicknamed "Chemical Ali" for his role in a 1987-88 campaign in which chemical weapons were used to kill tens of thousands of Kurds in northern Iraq. (AP 072209 Oct 02)

 

         Iran will not allow the United States to use its airspace to attack Iraq and its armed forces will be prepared to defend the country's territorial integrity, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said Monday in Tehran. He said Iran was not a friend of Iraq but will not also participate in any military operation to topple Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. Iran repeatedly has expressed its opposition to a possible U.S. attack on Iraq, but has said it would support any UN-led action against Baghdad if inspectors confirmed the Iraqi regime was still developing weapons of mass destruction. (AP 071159 Oct 02)

 

NATO

 

         NATO's senior military officer, German Gen. Harald Kujat, was to start a four-day visit to North America on Monday to discuss the alliance's plans for a new rapid response force with senior U.S. and Canadian officials. In Washington, Gen. Kujat is to meet U.S. National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice and Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He will then travel to Canada to meet Chief of Defense Gen. Ray Henault and government officials. He is also scheduled to visit the Atlantic strategic command in Norfolk, which may be merged with the European command based southern Belgium, under reforms designed to make the alliance more responsive to threats. NATO Secretary General George Robertson said Monday the force would bring together "the most capable and advanced forces within the alliance." (AP 071605 Oct 02)

 

         A top U.S. diplomat said Monday that Bulgaria stands a good chance of joining NATO. "Bulgaria is among the serious NATO membership applicants," Nicholas Burns, the U.S. ambassador to NATO, told reporters in Sofia. "We are very impressed by the continuing very good reforms the Bulgarian government has put in place in all areas that are central to its application to NATO," he added. Burns praised Bulgaria's "commitment to build quickly deployable armed forces." (AP 071715 Oct 02)

 

ICC

 

         Canada and the EU should make the newly created International Criminal Court work to convince the United States that they have nothing to fear, the Canadian foreign minister said Monday in Copenhagen after meeting with his Danish counterpart. "This court was created with the series of very carefully designed procedural guarantees to make sure that there will be no frivolous prosecutions," Graham added. (AP 071619 Oct 02)

 

EU

 

         The European Commission dashed Turkey's hopes of opening accession talks any time soon by saying the country needed to carry out more reforms, according to an annual enlargement report seen by the Reuters news agency on Monday in Brussels. "Turkey does not fully meet the political criteria," said the draft report, due to be issued on Wednesday. The EU should provide more pre-accession aid to Turkey and increase its scrutiny of new Turkish laws, the draft added. The Commission says it applies the same criteria to all candidate countries and that it is in Turkey's own interests to deepen its political and economic reforms. (Reuters 071606 GMT Oct 02)

 

BALKANS

 

         Bosnia's top international official, Paddy Ashdown, tried Monday to put a positive spin on nationalist parties' strong gains in the weekend elections, saying the party that made the biggest leap has largely reformed. "The weekend vote was a protest ... a cry for help, not a vote for more of the same or a return of the past," he said. But Mark Wheeler, a Bosnia expert with the International Crisis Group, said the SDA remained essentially nationalist because it "carries too much baggage of the past." "The SDA has changed, but the change is far from complete," he added. For many Bosnians, the results were simply scary. Candidates from the other two nationalist parties, the Serb Democratic Party and the Croat Democratic Union, won their ethnic groups' spots on the three-member multiethnic presidency. Official results were expected in late October. (AP 071533 Oct 02)

 

         The designate prime minister of Macedonia (sic) said Monday that an ethnic Albanian party led by a former rebel leader will become part of his government and help ethnic reconciliation and stability in the troubled Balkan country. Branko Crvenkovski, the leader of the center-left Social Democratic Alliance, spoke after President Trajkovski formally entrusted him with forming a new government following the election victory of Crvenkovski's party. In that spirit, Crvenkovski said, the Democratic Union for Integration, the party which won most ethnic Albanian votes in the Sept. 13 elections, will join the government, although its leader, Ali Ahmeti, will not become a Cabinet member because of what Crvenkovski described as his "direct participation in the conflict." (AP 071349 Oct 02)

 

         Macedonian (sic) police released a former ethnic Albanian rebel on Monday after holding him for two days for alleged war crimes during last year's conflict. Sadulla Duraku, a member of the political party of ex-guerrilla chief Ali Ahmeti, was let go after being detained on Saturday, police spokesman Voislav Zafirovski said. "I don't know the reason for his release," he added. (Reuters 071809 GMT Oct 02)

 

 

 

 

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