Global Policy Forum

Iraq Opposition to Get More US Funds


By Steven Mufson

Washington Post
June 14, 2001

The State Department notified Congress yesterday that it plans to release an additional $6 million to the Iraqi National Congress, an umbrella of Iraqi opposition groups with broad congressional support.

The money will cover continuing administrative costs of the INC and might further the exile group's efforts to start broadcasting television programs by satellite into Iraq, said Francis Brooke, who represents the INC in Washington.

Brooke said that the INC has about 15 people employed to produce television programs for broadcast to Iraq and that it has a contract with Lockheed Martin Corp. to send programs to Iraq by satellite. So far, however, there haven't been any broadcasts.

Brooke said that the INC -- which has offices in London, Washington, Damascus and Tehran -- has expenses of about $2 million a month.

The release of the money comes despite a financial audit of the INC launched last week by the State Department. The department said that the audit was routine but that no new grants would be made while it was taking place. Brooke said the $6 million was not part of a new grant but part of continuing programs.

The INC previously received a total of just over $4 million. Brooke said that money has been spent. Many members of Congress, and some members of the administration, have advocated more vigorous support for the INC and efforts to oust Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

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