CAIRO: Violations of human rights and international law by US-led forces in Iraq have embittered the populace, an Arab League report obtained on Monday said.

The report - which cited raids on homes, arrests, open-ended detentions and troop sensitivities towards Iraqis - was prepared by an Arab League mission which spent almost two weeks meeting 600 prominent Iraqis during December.

"It (the treatment of Iraqis) is not in conformity with relevant international legal rules or with human rights documents in general," said the report.

The report quoted some Iraqis who were critical of Arab indifference towards their plight under the brutal rule of former President Saddam Hussein and said a change in methods by US-led occupation forces could ease tensions.

"The delegation noted with concern and sorrow the bitterness and tension which the practices of the occupation forces have created and are creating," it said.

The delegation recommended that the secretary-general of the Arab League appoint a special representative in Iraq until the country has a new constitution or a new national government and said the League should open an office in Iraq so that it can play a role in the political process.

Most Arab governments opposed the pre-emptive US-led invasion of Iraq in March and the Arab League has been slow to open contacts with the US-appointed Iraqi Governing Council. But relations with the new authorities have gradually improved.

Some Iraqis told the Arab League delegation that Arab countries had ignored the sufferings of Iraqis under Saddam or were now inciting sectarian feeling between Iraqis.

On the sensitive question of federalism, for example, the report mentioned the Kurdish demand for a large measure of ethnic autonomy, along with Sunni Muslim fears that advocates of a federal system intend to divide up the country. -Reuters

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