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The news reports about the ongoing war against Iraq are far too numerous for me to send out to this list, and a lot of it is being reported on TV and radio news in any case. Below are just a few recent reports. If you want to keep abreast of the latest developments, there's a web page on 'Where to find the latest news about the Iraq Crisis' on the CASI website, http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/casi/ which includes links to sites with newswire reports flowing in at a mind-boggling rate. This email contains: 1) Scott Ritter comments about Butler's report 2) extract from CNN. includes: Butler's comments Iraqi hospitals hit by US missiles 3) Stray missile hits Iran 4) Iraq Reports 25 Killed in US Blasts Some other news is that Russia has withdrawn its ambassador to the US in protest of the attack on Iraq. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- --------------------------------- From: Rania Masri <email@example.com> New York Post - NEWS WHISTLE-BL0W INSPECT0R: IT'S 'WAG THE D0G' By CHRISTOPHER FRANCESCANI ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Former chief U.N. weapons inspector Scott Ritter says U.S. officials prodded inspection teams to return to Iraq last month to provoke a crisis to justify bombing. "What [chief U.N. weapons inspector] Richard Butler did last week with the inspections was a set-up," Ritter told The Post yesterday. "This was designed to generate a conflict that would justify a bombing." Ritter said U.S. government sources told him three weeks ago when the inspections resumed that "the two considerations on the horizon were Ramadan [the monthlong Muslim holiday beginning this weekend] and impeachment. "You have no choice but to interpret this as 'Wag the Dog.' You have no choice," he said. "If you start assessing what's happened since November 19 [when inspectors resumed their work in Iraq], you have to wonder if the U.S. isn't perverting a good cause." Ritter's comments - and his reference to the movie about a president who created a phony war to divert attention from his domestic problems - came hours before U.S. military forces struck in the Persian Gulf, destroying suspected biological and chemical weapons sites in Iraq. In mid-November, U.S. and British forces were on the verge of massive bombing attacks on Iraq. The attacks were called off at the last minute after Saddam Hussein reversed Baghdad's Oct. 31 refusal to cooperate with U.N. weapons inspectors. After Saddam capitulated, inspectors were rushed back in to resume their duties. "UNSCOM [the U.N. Special Commission] knew there were no weapons at the sites they were sending their inspectors to. We've been doing this for seven years. We know that when the inspectors leave, Iraq shuffles up the deck, moves the weapons." "Why then did the U.S. urge these inspectors to carry out immediate inspections?" Ritter assailed Butler's report, released late Tuesday night, that said Iraq was not complying with the inspections. That report was in contrast with one released by the International Atomic Energy Agency which said Iraq was complying. Ritter insists Butler's report - while necessary - was politically motivated. "If you dig around, you'll find out why Richard Butler yesterday ran to the phone four times. He was talking to his [U.S.] National Security adviser. They were telling him to sharpen the language in his report to justify the bombing." Ritter quit the inspections team in August, saying the Clinton administration and the United Nations had stymied the efforts of inspectors to uncover Saddam's weapons of mass destruction. He said that before he quit, inspectors had acquired detailed information about where weapons were hidden - but the Iraqis have since had time to move them and probers will have to begin the process all over again. Yesterday, Ritter charged that the only way to achieve the objective of disarming Iraq is to demand - under threat of a crippling, large-scale military attack - that they not only turn over their weapons, but detail for inspectors exactly how and where they diverted the weaponry to avoid detection. A limited air attack on Iraq will achieve very little, Ritter said, though he said it would be in keeping with the Clinton administration's latest policy of containment with Iraq. "No inspector should go back until Iraq admits it has lied and details how they hid their weapons. "Instead, we send inspectors back in to continue the failed process of inspections. There are still weapons in Iraq. There's no doubt about that. "But we've been doing this since 1991 and its not working." ------------------------------- Extract from an article on CNN website: Blasts over Baghdad during second night of attack Pentagon reports on first wave CNN, December 17, 1998 Web posted at: 6:13 p.m. EDT (2213 GMT) WASHINGTON (CNN) -- As U.S. and British bombers unleashed more missiles on Baghdad for a second straight night, chief U.N. weapons inspector Richard Butler vigorously defended the timing and contents of his report, which criticized Iraqi cooperation with arms experts. He bristled at suggestions it had been written to suit the interests of President Clinton. "It danced to no one's tune. It was not written for anyone's purposes," Butler told reporters. "The report is factual, clear, objective and honest. Any suggestions to the contrary are false." An intensive series of explosions thundered through Baghdad at about 10 p.m. local time (2 p.m. EST) Thursday. An orange plume of smoke wafted over the city after one of the loudest bursts. "It's bigger, stronger and louder than last night," chief CNN Senior International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour reported from a rooftop in downtown Baghdad. Iraqi officials said at least 25 people had died and 75 were wounded in the Iraqi capital alone during two days of airstrikes. Health Minister Umeed Madhat Mubarak said two Baghdad hospitals were damaged in Thursday night's attack. Reporters were taken to Iraq's largest hospital, Saddam Medical City, where they saw smashed windows, broken elevators and water flowing across the floors. Physicians said most of their equipment had been destroyed. Mubarak said a maternity hospital had also been hit. U.S. military officials acknowledged one errant cruise missile struck a residential and commercial district, resulting in civilian casualties. [extract ends] ------------ FOCUS-Iran protests after hit by errant missile TEHRAN, Dec 17 (Reuters) - A stray missile from the allied attack on Iraq crashed into a southwestern Iranian border city on Thursday, causing no casualties but prompting a strong diplomatic protest from Tehran. The official IRNA news agency quoted an informed source in the port of Khorramshahr as saying the missile touched down near the city's central mosque, shattering nearby windows and damaging propery within a 200-metre (220-yard radius). ``The source told IRNA that the missile had apparently targeted one of the Iraqi installations in the city of Basra but instead hit Khorramshahr,'' IRNA said. The blast spread panic in the city, virtually destroyed during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war, but there were no injuries, the agency said. Iranian television showed a row of apartments, their hallways strewn with broken glass. The report on the main afternoon bulletin said the projectile was a cruise missile. But it was unclear whether the weapon's warhead had exploded. State radio said Foreign Ministry officials protested about the incident to the ambassador of Switzerland, who represents the United States in Iran, and the British charge d'affaires. ``The Swiss ambassador and British charge were summoned to the Foreign Ministry, where the Islamic Republic of Iran's strong protest regarding the landing of a missile in Khorramshahr was submitted to them,'' it said. Ministry officials said they held Britain and America, who launched the joint attack against Iraq in the early hours on Thurday Iran time, responsible for any damages or injuries. No comment was immediately available from the Western envoys, but the radio quoted them as saying the missile had deviated from its trajectory and expressed their regret. The radio also quoted the Foreign Ministry as saying Iranian pilgrims to holy Shi'ite Moslem sites in neighbouring Iraq were safe and preparations were under way for their return home. Earlier, Iran condemned the military strikes against Iraq as ``unacceptable'' and called for United Nations action to halt the operations. It also urged Baghdad to cooperate with the United Nations to implement Security Council resolutions. ``Such unilateral attacks against Iraq will worsen the suffering of the Iraqi people and increase instability in the region,'' the radio quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi as saying. ``Such wilful attacks against that country (Iraq) are unacceptable to the Islamic Republic of Iran, and Iran urges the U.N. Security Council to take urgent action to prevent the situation from getting any more dangerous in the region,'' Asefi said. He said Iran was against the partition of Iraq and was following developments closely. Iran, which condemns the presence of U.S. and other Western forces in the Gulf, has often opposed military action against neighbouring Iraq. Tehran, Baghdad's foe in a bloody eight-year war, has also repeatedly called on Iraq to comply with U.N. arms inspections. An Iranian newspaper said on Thursday that U.S. President Bill Clinton was politically doomed, regardless of the outcome of any attack on Iraq, because of the impending vote on his impeachment. In an editorial written before the strikes against Iraq, the English- language Iran Daily said: ``Whether the new planned aggression transforms into action or not and whatever Mr Clinton may do, he cannot change his past. ``When Mr Clinton's Mideast tour ended Tuesday night, it became more apparent that his political career, too, may be coming to an end sooner rather than later,'' said the editorial, quoted by IRNA ahead of publication. ``Even if he survives (impeachment), the question is what will be his future? He may be in office but not in power,'' said the newspaper, which is published by IRNA. It added that attempts to save Clinton ``appear futile at best.'' ------------------------------- Thursday December 17 7:36 PM ET Iraq Reports 25 Killed in US Blasts By WAIEL FALEH Associated Press Writer BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Buildings shook and parts of Baghdad's skyline glowed orange late Thursday as U.S. missiles exploded in the second wave of American airstrikes on Iraq. At least 25 people were killed in the two rounds of attacks, an Iraqi official said. After at least a dozen explosions, a pall of white smoke hung over the center of the Iraqi capital. The impact of one explosion rocked the government press center in downtown Baghdad. Startled Iraqi motorists stomped on the gas at the noise, speeding off to safety. Earlier, air raid sirens had screamed repeatedly during the day in a series of nerve-jarring false alarms. Iraqi Health Minister Omed Medhat Mubarak said at least 25 people were killed and 75 injured from the two rounds of attacks. The attack came as U.S. and Iraqi officials were still assessing damage from the first American strike by hundreds of missiles before dawn Thursday - a military operation that aimed to gut President Saddam Hussein's military machine. The sound of the explosions appeared far louder in the second attack since the missiles struck the heart of Baghdad. In Washington, Pentagon officials said cruise missiles had been fired deep into Iraq in the second attack, and Navy strike aircraft had fired laser-guided bombs along Iraq's borders. After the first explosion at 9:57 p.m. (1:57 p.m. EST), anti-aircraft fire was unleashed and tracer bullets darted into the air. One missile appeared to have hit the vicinity of the government's Military Industrial Corporation, from where the smoke drifted into the sky. The complex, which is in charge of Iraq's factories, was heavily damaged during the 1991 Gulf War but has since been rebuilt. Foreign reporters in Baghdad are based at a press center in the Information Ministry and could not move around the sprawling city of 5 million without official escorts. Mubarak, the health minister, said Iraq's ill-equipped hospitals will find it hard to cope with the growing number of casualties. He spoke to reporters in a Baghdad hospital that was damaged by nearby explosions. Clinton, meeting Thursday morning in the Oval Office with top military and foreign policy advisers, expressed regret at any ``unintended casualties.'' Residents of Baghdad lined up at gas stations Thursday to stock up on fuel - one indication they thought that more U.S. airstrikes were coming. But many people went about their normal routines - government workers showed up at their offices and children went to school - and some gave a show of defiance. ``Where is this Clinton? I wish I could get my hands on him,'' Salam Mohammed, 34, mumbled from a bed in Baghdad's al-Yarmouk Hospital bed, his face bandaged and his body trembling. Saddam visited some of the targeted sites Thursday, including the house of his daughter Hala, Baghdad Radio reported. Hala, the youngest of his three daughters, was safe, but the house was demolished, it said. ``It was targeted and destroyed by the evil enemies in their latest aggression,'' the radio said. The house was in a complex of buildings that houses several of Saddam's relatives. Saddam taunted the United States and Britain in a radio address, saying they are cowards for not fighting ``face to face.'' At least one missile fell near Saddam's biggest palace in Baghdad in the first attack. His whereabouts were not known at the time. Russian President Boris Yeltsin denounced the attacks Thursday and called for an immediate end to the bombing. Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov gave Vice President Al Gore an earful of criticism in a telephone call and Russia later pulled its ambassador from Washington in protest. Nonetheless, U.S. officials have said the airstrikes would go on for four days. In Washington, Gen. Henry H. Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the headquarters of Iraq's special forces and its military intelligence were leveled by sea-launched Tomahawk cruise missiles. Clinton said he ordered ``Operation Desert Fox'' to prevent Iraq from building the chemical, biological and nuclear weapons it was prohibited from having under U.N. resolutions after its 1990 invasion of Kuwait. Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair told lawmakers that British Tornado jets, all designed primarily for low-level bombing missions, went into action for the first time Thursday afternoon. ``I have no doubt at all that action is fully justified now,'' Blair told the House of Commons in London. He added of Clinton: ``Not for the first time, he has shown the courage to do the right thing, and he has my full support.'' Al-Sahhaf, the Iraqi foreign minister, accused both nations of lying in claiming that a report by U.N. chief weapons inspector Richard Butler proved Iraq had not cooperated in the search for its weapons of mass destruction. He said inspection teams had carried out visits to 427 sites since the last standoff over weapons inspections in mid-November and there had been only five cases of non-cooperation. The inspectors must certify that Iraq has eliminated its weapons of mass destruction before the U.N. Security Council will lift damaging trade sanctions imposed on Iraq. Al-Sahhaf said the five sites that caused trouble did not justify ``a dangerous crime against the people of Iraq.'' He also listed examples of targets struck in the first attack, including factories and the headquarters of the security police and military intelligence. The minister said instead of calling their campaign ``Operation Desert Fox,'' the allies should have named it ``Operation Villains in the Arabian Desert.'' In the Thursday morning attacks, U.S. warships fired more than 200 Tomahawk cruise missiles, and Navy EA-6B attack planes struck Iraqi air defense radars, Pentagon officials said. There are 24,100 U.S. troops, 22 warships, 210 aircraft and the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise in the Gulf off the coast of southern Iraq. The forces are bolstered with 15 B-52 heavy bombers. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To be removed/added, email firstname.lastname@example.org, NOT the whole list. Archived at http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/~saw27/casi/discuss.html