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Opposition funding { February 4 2003 }

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   http://commondreams.org/headlines03/0204-05.htm

http://commondreams.org/headlines03/0204-05.htm
http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/035/nation/Usual_budget_item_for_Iraqi_opposition_groups_is_dropped+.shtml

Published on Tuesday, February 4, 2003 by the Boston Globe
Usual Budget Item for Iraqi Opposition Groups is Dropped
by John Donnelly

WASHINGTON - President Bush insists almost weekly that he has not made up his mind on whether to attack Iraq. But, opening a small window into the administration's thinking about the possibility of war, the State Department said yesterday that funding for Iraqi opposition won't be needed in next year's budget.

It requested zero dollars.

''We don't feel it's necessary to fund it any longer,'' said Christopher Burnham, assistant secretary for resource management.

In the current fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, the US earmarked $25 million for Iraqi opposition groups, which pays for conferences and training, among other things, in helping exiles lay the groundwork for a post-Saddam Hussein Iraq.

State Department officials sidestepped questions on why they will no longer fund the opposition in the year starting Oct. 1. It may imply that the budget officials believe that such post-Hussein planning will no longer be necessary following a war. Or it may be that the future is so uncertain that any budget number would be useless.

Asked why no money was budgeted for humanitarian relief in Iraq, Joseph Bowab, assistant secretary for foreign assistance programs and budget, said it couldn't be predicted and, if needed, would be handled in an emergency budget request.

''If you're talking about humanitarian relief reconstruction, it's kind of hard to understand what that would be at this point in time, until actually something happens,'' he said. ''You could be off by a long way,... making assumptions now. I mean, you have to make those assumptions once it happens.''

Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company




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