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Strikes Set Back Iraq Aid Program, Iraq's details of the "non-co

Contents of this email (all worth reading!)

1) Strikes Set Back Iraq Aid Program (AP report)

2) Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Iraq talking
   about the "non-cooperation" which triggered the bombing

3) 6 simple counterpoints to the claim "Clinton asserts the right
   to bomb Iraq because it was not complying with UN weapons

4) Leader article from last Sunday's Observer.


                  Strikes Set Back Iraq Aid Program

                  By Leon Barkho
                  Associated Press Writer
                  Monday, December 21, 1998; 9:00 a.m. EST

                  BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- U.S and British airstrikes
                  disrupted the distribution of supplies under the
                  U.N.-approved oil-for-food program, the U.N.
                  humanitarian coordinator in Iraq said today.

                  Hans von Sponeck confirmed earlier reports that a
                  warehouse, managed by the U.N. World Food Program,
                  holding 260,000 tons of rice was destroyed. He said
                  the warehouse was 100 miles north of Baghdad in the
                  city of Tikrit -- hometown of Iraqi leader Saddam

                  The U.N. humanitarian coordinator told Associated
                  Press Television News that ``our program has been
                  severely curtailed.''

                  More than 100 U.N. aid workers were evacuated Friday
                  to Jordan, but U.N. officials said they would return
                  to Iraq on Tuesday. Those workers -- along with
                  about 30 ``essential staff'' who stayed in Baghdad
                  -- supervise the oil-for-food program.

                  The program, which is an exception to U.N. sanctions
                  imposed after Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait, allows
                  Iraq to sell limited quantities of oil to buy food
                  and medicine for its 22 million people.

                  Oil continued to flow during the bombardment, both
                  U.N. and Iraqi officials said. But the arrival of
                  food was disrupted because monitors were not in

                  Also today, the U.N. Children's Fund, UNICEF, said
                  in a statement that it has drawn up plans to repair
                  some of the Baghdad buildings damaged by the

                  It said two hospitals and a few primary schools in
                  Baghdad had sustained damage.

                  It added that U.N. teams had been sent to the
                  southern city of Basra, which also was hit, to
                  assess the damage to facilities that would be used
                  by children and needy people.

                  The United Nations monitors Iraqis' distribution of
                  food and medicine in central and southern areas. In
                  the Kurdish north, U.N. humanitarian workers have
                  sole responsibility for distributions since the
                  Iraqi government is not in control in the region.

                  U.N. workers were not evacuated from the north
                  during the latest military action.

                  Von Sponeck said his contacts with Iraqi officials,
                  including Foreign Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf,
                  continued as usual.

                  ``We discuss all kinds of problems,'' he said. ``I
                  don't detect any difference.''

                        (c) Copyright 1998 The Associated Press


Excerpts from the Statement of Mohammed Said Al-Sahaf, Minister of
Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Iraq, to the Press on Dec. 17, 1998
and from Ambassador Nizar Hamdoon's interview w/ Larry King Live on
Dec. 17, 1998


The secretary-general, Mr. Kofi Annan, had received two reports, the
first one on the 14th of December, presented to him by the IAEA, the
International Atomic Energy Agency. The IAEA in its report had stated
clearly that the Iraqi counterpart has provided the necessary level of
cooperation to enable the above-enumerated activities to be completed
effectively and -- efficiently and effectively. ... The report of the
IAEA had stated clearly that Iraq had provided the necessary level of
cooperation to enable the above-enumerated activities to be completed
efficiently and actively.

Since the resumption of cooperation between Iraq and UNSCOM on the
17th of November, UNSCOM had sent to Iraq eight inspection teams.

They had operated 427 inspections. I repeat, 427 inspections to 427

Two hundred ninety-nine of those sites are included in the ongoing
monitoring regime -- 128 sites even not included in the ongoing
monitoring regime, but still they asked to inspect them and we

They said -- the Americans and the British said Iraq did not
cooperate. Well, out of the total inspections, which is 427, they
mentioned that there were cases of non-cooperation in five cases.

Well, again, I want to tell you briefly and through you to the whole
world, what were those five cases upon which the American
administration and the British government had committed a dangerous
crime against the people of Iraq because of those five cases?

One, they wanted to inspect a small headquarter of the political
party, the Arabic  (ph) Socialist Party. We asked them: What is the
relation between small headquarter of a political party and a
disarmament mission? They didn't answer.

The second case, they came to inspect a small building which
previously was the office of the deputy of the director general of the
special security organization. Then later on this post had been
canceled. No more. There is no deputy. So the office had been changed
to be a guest house. The Iraqi counterpart was explaining to the chief
inspector, which is the Australian, Roger Hill, that this is no longer
an office, this is now a guest house. So while explaining to the chief
inspector, they -- it took it about 20 minutes, about -- around 30
minutes. They put it in the report this is one of the violations. You
have delayed us about 45 minutes. So you deserve to be bombarded,
because you have delayed an inspection team for 45 minutes, only to
explain to them that this guest house, no longer an office. After that
they have inspected it. This is the second one.

Then there is two cases where they demanded that they want to inspect
establishments on Fridays. We told them that, according to the
agreement with UNSCOM, not all Iraqi establishments function or work
on Friday on the weekend, only small number of them. If that
establishment is working on Friday, you are welcome. If it is not,
well, we will go with you, but there are no people there. This is the
agreement. They came on Friday and they insisted. We told them that we
will go along, according to the agreement. So, there are two cases of
violation, they considered those two cases a violation, which we are
not working on Fridays. Because we are not working on Fridays, this is
a violation of the Security Council resolutions. This is
noncooperation attitude, so we are deserved, we are deserving the

The fourth case which is the fifth case, a chief inspector which is an
American woman, Diana Simon, she went to Baghdad University and she
demanded that she wants to interview the undergraduate students --
please pay attention to this -- she wants to interview all
undergraduate students in the science college in Baghdad University.
The Iraqi counterpart told her that this is incredible. What's the
purpose of interviewing undergraduate? What was the relation between
Iraqi undergraduate students and disarmament? Usually, UNSCOM asks to
interview some of the post graduates for the master degree, for the
doctorate degree. Because we told this American lady that it is very
difficult to comprehend, to understand that UNSCOM needs to interview
undergraduate Iraqi students for the mission of disarmament of Iraq.

Ladies and gentlemen, those are the five cases on which the American
administration, the British government had depended upon to say that
we had a material breach of the Security Council resolutions and this
an evidence that Iraq is not cooperating, so the Operation Villains in
the Arabian Desert should be launched against you.

>From Larry King Live (CNN), December 17, 1998

BLITZER: Mr. Ambassador, what happened over this past month --
remember that letter that you submitted to the United Nations, to Kofi
Annan, from Tariq Aziz promising complete, unfettered access? Richard
Butler sent the inspectors back in. All of the sudden he said that
there wasn't compliance, and now we're in the midst of covering this
air strike. What exactly was the issue? Where did you refuse to allow
those inspectors to visit?

HAMDOON: It was one incident, probably one or two. One with a foreign
organization that is in Baghdad. And we told them if you could agree
with them, it's all right with us. The second one was at party
headquarters, which nobody knows. I mean, nobody keeps any secrets or
secret documentation over there. We asked them for a written request
just to put it in writing that they want to visit that place. They
refused. And in a few minutes, they decided to leave that spot, and
that's it. That was one out of 400 visits, Larry, during the three
weeks, you see.

KING: Are you telling-you're saying that on that small issue-put it in
writing; no, we won't-we're bombing-the United States-forgive me for
saying the we...

HAMDOON: Exactly, that was...

KING: ... the United States is bombing Iraq?

HAMDOON: Exactly, that was it. In addition to one paper they wanted to
get, which we told them, come sit with us, discuss it, take what's
relevant with the presence of the Security Council, secretary- general
representative. They did not respond to that.


International Action Center
39 W. 14th St., #206   New York, NY  10011   212-633-6646   fax:
212-633-2889 web:   e-mail:

Lies, Fraud, Deceit - 
a Response from Anti-war Forces to Clinton's Bombing of Iraq

Talking Points for Anti-war Organizers

On November 16, 1998, the International Action Center issued the
following analysis and warning: "Frustrated by last-minute diplomatic
efforts, the Clinton Administration was forced to temporarily suspend
its plans to bomb Iraq Nov. 15.  Make no mistake about it, however.
The crisis is not resolved.  Peace is not at hand.  The stage has been
sent for a new U.S. war of aggression against Iraq.  It is true that
Iraqi President Sadaam Hussein publicly accepted all the U.S. demands
on Nov. 14, making it difficult for U.S. President Bill Clinton to
justify killing thousands of Iraqi civilians.  Nevertheless,
Washington is determined to  create new provocations and
`incidents'_which will be the pretext for massive aerial destruction
in Baghdad, Basra and other Iraq cities."

U.S. government claim:

Clinton asserts the right to bomb Iraq because it was not complying
with UN weapons inspectors. 


1.)   Even if Iraq was in noncompliance, the U.S. bombing would be a
major violation of the UN Charter, international law, and U.S. law.
The UN Charter prohibits countries from carrying out military action
against other countries unless faced with the need for self-defense
from imminent aggression. 

2.)   The U.S. based its attack on the report by Richard Butler,
chairman of UNSCOM, but UNSCOM is answerable only to the UN Security
Council and the Security Council did not authorize a U.S. bombing of
Iraq.  In fact, both Russia and China--two of the five members of the
Security Council--have demanded that Butler be fired for having
withdrawn UN weapons inspectors without first receiving the support of
the Security Council.  The unilateral decision to withdraw the weapons
inspectors was clearly a U.S., not a UN, operation.  The Washington
Post, on December 16, suggested that the administration had carefully
orchestrated the timing and content of Richard Butler's unfavorable
report about Iraq.  The New York Times, on December 18, says that the
U.S. air strikes have been planned since December 1 and that Butler's
report was simply a "formality."

3.)   So far, the U.S. bombing has hit local residential neighborhoods
in Baghdad and in Basra and very likely in many other places in Iraq.
By conservative estimates, scores of civilians have been killed.  A
Russian diplomat has been killed.  Major water pipes providing water
in residential areas in Baghdad have been destroyed.  A major civilian
housing unit received a direct hit from a cruise missile on December
17.  There is no way to know yet the extent of the damage, but it will
be vast.

4.)   Again, no "noncompliance" by Iraq provides legal justification
for this unilateral strike.  Everyone in the world knows that the
military campaign is coupled with economic sanctions and a major CIA
subversion effort (ie, $97 million plan approved by Congress and the
president) that constitute the core elements of a classic
destabilization strategy.  The U.S did this in Iran in 1953, Guatemala
in 1954, Chile under Allende from 1970-73, in Nicaragua against the
Sandinistas in the 1980s, and elsewhere.  The real goal is to replace
the current government with a puppet government in a country that
contains 10 percent of the world's known oil reserves.

5.)   But let's look at the specifics of the U.S. charges against Iraq
right now.  They too are a lie.  Was Iraq in noncompliance?  Neither
Butler nor the U.S. has challenged the Iraqi Foreign Minister's
allegation that since November 17, 1998, when Iraq allowed weapons
inspections to resume, there have been 427 inspections, 128 of them at
new sites, and UNSCOM has cited only five so-called obstructions. Five
obstructions!  And what were they?  One was a 45 minute delay before
allowing access.  Another was a rebuff to an outrageous demand by a
U.S. arm inspector, Dianne Seamons, that inspectors be allowed to
interview all of the undergraduate students in Baghdad University's
Science Department.  Another, on December 9, was the inspection of a
small headquarters of the Baathist political party.  Inspectors left
those premises after they were asked what is the relation between the
small headquarters of a party and the disarmament mission.  The last
two cases of so-called Iraqi noncompliance were this:  UNSCOM asked to
inspect two establishments on Fridays--the Muslim holy day.  The
Iraqis told UNSCOM that since these establishments were not open on
Friday, the inspectors could visit the establishments, but they would
need to be accompanied by Iraqi officials.  This is in accordance with
the agreement between Iraq and UNSCOM about Friday inspections.  These
five incidents are the supposed legal basis for raining thousands of
powerful missiles into Iraq.

6.)   Finally, it is the U.S. government that is the largest producer
of weapons of mass destruction in the world.  Only one country has
ever dropped a nuclear bomb--the U.S. did it twice on civilian areas
in Japan in 1945.  The U.S. has more than 10,000 nuclear warheads.  It
has the largest stockpile of chemical and biological weapons.  The
B-52 bombers are currently dropping 3-5,000-pound bombs from 30,000
feet in Iraq.


The Observer (UK)
Sunday December 20, 1998 

Leader: This colossal misjudgement 

The savage saturation bombing of Iraq has provoked almost universal
outrage and condemnation. Even in those countries supportive of
American and British action there has been vocal criticism and a
general anxiety to bring the bombing to an early end. 

These concerns are mirrored in Britain, even if suffocated in a House
of Commons genuflecting before the twin conservatism of Mr Blair and
Mr Hague. But dissent and concern are proper. The motives and legality
of Operation Desert Fox are questionable; the objectives are unclear
and, as far as they can be discerned, largely unachievable. To tell
the British we must do our duty because we have no choice is to invite
us to suspend our judgement. 

In truth, Britain is now in a de facto war with an Arab power with no
clear war aims, no honourable way out and no prospect of success. Even
the fall of Saddam Hussein and his replacement by some other
authoritarian monster - the Iraqi political culture does not throw up
Third-Way democrats - would hardly constitute a victory. The harsh
truth is that Britain should not have been involved last Wednesday and
the bombing should never have begun; Mr Blair has made a colossal

This is machismo military intervention at its worst, and the first
reaction - a gruesome Dutch auction in jingoism - is giving way to
deep worry as the full stupidity of our conduct becomes clear. We have
exposed our cities and civilian planes to the risk of terrorist
counter-attack; we are earning the hatred of the Arab world; we have
undermined the legitimacy of the United Nations; we compromise
ourselves in Europe; and we have set in train possible revenge against
Israel whose shock waves could radiate beyond the region and menace
the world. And for what? 

These risks are being run to reduce the already enfeebled military
capacity of a state that could not even in its pomp win a war against
Iran, and where the key software and intelligence that so exercises
the Americans and the British will be left intact on floppy disks;
cruise missiles to destroy these must represent the worlds biggest
ever sledgehammer to crack the tiniest of nuts. Much of the
weapon-making capacity has been identified and eliminated by Unscom,
and some has been moved beyond the range of cruise missiles by being
sited in other Arab states. Worse, as Neal Ascherson argues, Saddam is
more likely to end stronger than weaker from our limited war fought
from the air. When we ask what should we do about Saddam, the answer
is not to collapse into the logic of the playground bully. It is to be
absolutely clear-headed about the threat he actually poses set against
the risks. By that reckoning what we are doing is wildly

A curious displacement has occurred in which the American military and
political establishment has redirected the language of the Cold War to
Iraq and then followed up with an attack based on the doctrine of
deterrence. As Saddam - a dictatorial leader of a state making weapons
of mass destruction and threatening his neighbours, runs the argument
- does not respond rationally to warnings of reprisals for his
misconduct, then there can be no shirking the consequences. Missiles
must be fired. 

The relationship with Iraq is hardly mutually assured destruction, but
if it is to be stable then Saddam must know bad behaviour and
non-compliance with UN Resolutions brings as quick and deadly response
as the Soviet Union might have expected during the Cold War years. The
Americans and British might be acting with regret and heavy heart but
the West did last week as it would have done to make nuclear
deterrence work. It bombed, strafed and degraded military targets as
much as it could. 

It may be that the deterrence philosophy will be vindicated by the
fall of Saddam, but even that victory will be hollow. No Arab will
consider an action as anything but partisan which punishes one of
their own, however heinous, for flouting UN Resolutions, while turning
a blind eye to Israel for the same flouting of the UN. And in any case
there is every likelihood that Saddams successor will be as
dictatorial and cruel as he. 

For the notion that the successor regime might be a liberal capitalist
democracy is nave in the extreme. It betrays a wholesale
misunderstanding, not only of the contemporary Middle East but of what
is happening in many lands beyond Europe and North America that are
not states in any sense of the term. These are virtually ungovernable,
peopled by private warlords and criminal gangs kept in check only by
patronage and corruption. They extend from the former Soviet Union to
decolonised Africa. There is no rule of law, freedom of the press,
enforceable property rights or opposition that defines a liberal
capitalist democracy; nor any prospect of such. 

Iraq is in a similar structural position. Saddam holds the ring
between Kurds in the North, the Shia in the South and opposition
groups which are little more than mafia gangs, and does so by iron
martial-law and patronage made stronger with every upward ratchet in
sanctions and air strikes. Anybody succeeding him will face the same
internal tensions, and will have to take an aggressive stance towards
Israel. The choice is not between a dictator and a democrat; it is
between rival dictators. 

It is for this reason that the Anglo-American action is so futile. We
are not even declaring war with the aim of occupation, the only slight
chance of achieving the end we want. If Iraq was a state in the
Western sense then the punitive attacks might have delivered the
goods. But Iraq is not like that. It is a family fiefdom based on
patronage and terror, and where rational governance - and thus
effective deterrence - is impossible. Iraq is not an orthodox state,
and assessments of its weapons of mass destruction are over-estimates.
The probability of Saddam responding rationally to our bombing is
tiny. The possibility of replacing the current regime with one more
favourable is also tiny. The risks we run are huge. Confronted by
these realities Western - that is American and British policy - should
have been the opposite of what has taken place. The aim should have
been, and must be, to keep the Unscom weapons inspectors in place at
any cost, and to chip away at Saddams war-making capacity. Unscoms
connivance with Israel, close working with the Americans and political
obduracy undermined its legitimacy. It should have been impartial and
its power backed by economic rather than military sanctions. The
pressure should have been to internationalise the sanctions on Saddam
rather than fall back on American military might. International law,
and courts to try Saddam, should have been vastly strengthened, not
least as part of the process of introducing a non-partisan
international order to limit the excesses of the increasing part of
the globe where orthodox state power does not exist. 

Instead of that, we have bombing and all its attendant risks. The
Americans, with their manichean world view and strong pro-Israeli
lobby, have their own reasons for acting as they have  but the same is
not true of Britain. Mr Blair feels keenly the burden of his decision,
but the harsh truth is that what he has done is weak and easy. It
would have been much tougher and harder to resist the Americans and
attempt to redefine the Wests policy. But in Britains contemporary
political culture such a stance is improbable. The old Left has
offered the only critique, but what it says is rendered implausible by
its lack of recognition of Saddams proclivity for evil and its
implacable anti-Americanism. 

Mr Blair represents the new conservative orthodoxy in domestic and now
foreign policy to which there is no reasonable challenge from a
legitimate and level-headed social democratic Left. That role used to
be fulfilled by the Labour Party. No more. We need it back, urgently,
and if it is lost to the forces of reaction then we must reclaim the
Labour Party from those who purport to redefine its role in British
politics. There is too much at stake at home and abroad for us all to
become Conservatives.  


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