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* U.N. Report Says 17 Killed in Iraq (Associated Press) * UN food program asks for money to feed malnourished Iraqis (Arabic News) * US may be sued for Sudan factory bombing (today's Independent). [This article isn't to do with Iraq, but may be of interest because of the potential implications for US foreign ("right country, wrong building" !!!) policy] * Iraq to get Internet Access (Associated Press) ******************** U.N. Report Says 17 Killed in Iraq By Edith M. Lederer, Associated Press Writer, Friday, February 5, 1999; 2:56 a.m. EST UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- Supporting Iraqi casualty reports from two stray missiles last week, a U.N. report says the missiles killed 17 people, including 10 children, in southern Iraq. The report, obtained by The Associated Press on Thursday, did not say who fired the missiles that landed in the poor al-Jumhuriya neighborhood in the port city of Basra and in the village of Abu Khasib, 16 miles to the south, on Jan. 25. The Pentagon acknowledged that a U.S. missile fired at air defense targets near Basra missed by miles and struck the al-Jumhuriya residential area. But there has been no claim of responsibility for the missile strike on Abu Khasib, which is also called Abu Fullous. American and British planes patrolling the no-fly zones in northern and southern Iraq have been carrying out almost daily missile strikes on the country's extensive air defenses since Iraq began targeting allied aircraft with radar, and sometimes firing on them. Immediately after the two missile strikes, Iraq said at least 11 people were killed and 59 people were wounded. But according to the report from Hans von Sponeck, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator in Baghdad, the toll was higher: 17 deaths, about 100 injuries and 45 houses damaged or destroyed. Von Sponeck visited the site of both attacks on Jan. 27 and talked to local government officials and relief agencies. His report was sent to the Security Council's acting president, Canada's deputy U.N. ambassador Michel Duval, on Monday by Benon Sevan, the executive director of the U.N.'s Iraq program. Despite some demonstrations against the United States in al-Jumhuriya during the U.N. team's visit, ``the human climate was one of sadness rather than aggressiveness,'' the report said. The same atmosphere prevailed in Abu Khasib, where Muslim ceremonies were under way during the team's visit, it said. Eyewitnesses in al-Jumhuriya told Von Sponeck and other U.N. officials that the missile killed one woman and five children, according to the report. Von Sponeck was told that 64 people were injured and 30 were still hospitalized during the U.N. visit, the report said. When the missile struck on a Monday morning, most men were away from the neighborhood, which the report said was a low-income area where all streets were covered in garbage and some were flooded with sewage water. "The U.N. team visiting the area verified that seven houses had been completely destroyed and a further 27 houses sustained damage. The damage was caused by both direct impact and the blast effect to the missile,'' it said. In Abu Khasib, a village of about 400 houses, five women and five children died as a result of the missile strike and 30 people were injured, the report said. ``At the time the team was leaving this rural community, the body of an 11th victim was brought back to the village from the hospital where the person had died,'' it said. The U.N. team reported that the physical damage in Abu Khasib was less severe than in al-Jumhuriya, with one collapsed house and 10 others suffering varying degrees of damage. In another development Thursday, chief U.N. weapons inspector Richard Butler said he was unlikely to remain at his post beyond June 30 when his contract expires. The former Australian diplomat, who became a focus of controversy in the arms inspection dispute with Iraq, also said he was not seeking a spot on a new panel that will make recommendations on Iraq's disarmament. Speaking briefly as he left U.N. headquarters, Butler defended the work of the U.N. Special Commission, known as UNSCOM, saying it has accurately documented Iraq's efforts to make and conceal weapons of mass destruction. Russia and China have accused Butler and the commission of provoking U.S. and British airstrikes against Iraq in December by reporting that Baghdad had failed to live up to its pledge to cooperate with weapons inspectors. After the attacks, Iraq banned UNSCOM from returning. ******************** UN food program asks for money to feed malnourished Iraqis Arabic News, Iraq, Economics, 2/4/99 The United Nations World Food Program yesterday launched an appeal for financial aid to help Iraqi citizens who are suffering from shortages of food and water. The WFP said that $21 million is needed for aid to over one million Iraqis, including 200,000 "acutely malnourished" children. The money would fund a program that would last until January 31, 2000, distributing a blend of wheat, soya and milk to supply nutrition to 50,000 children for three months, then move to another group of children. The children's relatives will also be included in the program. Meanwhile, the United Nations announced on Tuesday the completion of a $3.28 million UN project in northern Iraq to repair a 249 megawatt hydroelectric dam. The UN said the Derbendikan Dam on the Diyala river, a tributary to the Tigris river, presented a danger of flooding because of non-functional and leaking spillway gates. The gates had been removed during the early stages of the Iraq - Iran war to prevent deliberate flooding and later repairs were not finished due to the Gulf War and subsequent economic sanctions. The repair work was carried out by United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs and the United Nations Development Program, the UN said. Further repair work is necessary for the structure to function fully, providing it's capacity of electricity and providing water for irrigation downstream. ******************** Independent, Friday 5th February 1999: US to be sued for Sudan bombing By Andrew Marshall in Washington The United States may be forced to acknowledge that it mistakenly attacked a factory in Sudan with cruise missiles last year, after the threat of legal proceedings by the plant's Sudanese owner. The US struck a pharmaceuticals plant in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, and a camp in Afghanistan last August after bombs at its embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. It said that both targets had links to the man they blamed for bombs, the renegade Saudi millionaire Osama bin Laden, and that the plant in Khartoum manufactured chemical weapons. The strikes caused enormous controversy since they came on the day that Monica Lewinsky gave evidence on her affair with President Bill Clinton, raising accusations that the White House was seeking to distract attention. The owner of the plant, Saleh Idris, has asked the US to apologise, to unfreeze his assets and to compensate him for damage to the factory, which he says was a legitimate pharmaceuticals factory. "We'd like to settle this peacefully," said John Scanlon, who represents Mr Idris in New York. But a legal action was under preparation, he said. Mr Idris has retained the Washington law firm of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer Feld, the same firm which employs Vernon Jordan, who gave evidence in defence of Mr Clinton in the Senate impeachment trial. A legal case would be almost unprecedented, and could have major implications for Mr Clinton and for US foreign policy. Mr Idris, who is also an adviser to Saudi Arabia's largest bank, has retained Kroll Associates, the world's leading firm of private investigators, to examine the evidence. Mr Scanlon said it proves that there was no chemical weapons plant in the factory, that it had never belonged to Mr bin Laden and that there were no links between Mr Idris and Mr bin Laden or the Iraqi government. The US said it found traces of chemicals that could be used to make VX nerve gas at the site. Mr Idris's representatives also conducted their own laboratory tests, said Mr Scanlon. The US has never provided evidence of links between Mr bin Laden and Mr Idris. Mr Idris's representatives presented their case this week to the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence of the US House of Representatives, said a US government source. Mr Scanlon said they also asked to meet representatives from other US government agencies, but had been rebuffed. Mr Idris has millions of dollars of assets in Bank of America in London, which have been frozen by the US Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control on instructions from the White House. Bank of America would not comment on Mr Saleh but said that their operations in London were subject to US jurisdiction. The US Treasury also refused to comment on Mr Idris, but said that some asset freezes apply outside America to US financial institutions. The British government has fewer concerns about Mr Idris than Washington. He is banned from entering the US, but travels freely to and from London. The British ambassador to Sudan had also visited the pharmaceuticals plant, and British sources have been highly sceptical of the US attack. At the time of last year's strike, there was an argument within the Administration as to whether the Sudanese plant was a legitimate target. The US said after the strike that the facility was a Sudanese government factory, but corrected this when it became clear that it had belonged to Mr Idris since April. One US government source told The Independent that it was a case of "right country, wrong building". The US government was itself divided over the attacks. The factory was reportedly added to the target list at the last moment. America had wanted to hit the building for some time, and the embassy bombings provided a rationale, said the government official. ******************** Iraq to Get Internet Access Thursday, February 4, 1999; 5:29 a.m. EST BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- Some Iraqi government offices will have access to the Internet soon, the director of the National Computer Center was quoted as saying today. However, access will be limited to ensure that Iraqis ``will not be affected by negative Western thoughts,'' al-Zawra weekly quoted the director, Hilal al-Bayati as saying. He did not elaborate. But in the past, Iraq has said the United States uses the Internet to dominate the world by entering every household. One government paper declared the Internet ``the end of civilizations, cultures, interests and ethics.'' Iraqi newspapers often blame Washington for the country's suffering under a U.N. embargo, which was imposed in 1990 after Iraq invaded Kuwait, prompting the 1991 Gulf War. Al-Bayati said his center plans to provide the world with details and information about Iraq's culture and art through the Internet. It was not clear if Iraq had obtained permission to install the Internet system from the United Nations, which has to approve Iraq's commercial contracts with foreign countries because of the sanctions. ******************** -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- 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. 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