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* Allied air raid kills two Iraqis in Nineveh (BBC) * More on the French position: sanctions "null and void" (Arabic News) * Turkey agitating against Western policy on Iraq (Arabic News) * US "does not understand" Turkey's decision to invite Tariq Aziz (Associated Press) * US official: "We don't like it. It runs counter to what we want to do." (New York Times) *********************** BBC Online, Thursday, February 11, 1999 Published at 19:25 GMT Air raid 'kills two Iraqis' (extract) The authorities in Baghdad say two Iraqis were killed in a Western air strike on Thursday, and have said they will continue to challenge the no-fly zones over Iraq. An Iraqi military spokesman said two civilians died when "enemy planes" operating from Turkey bombarded anti-aircraft artillery sites and civilian installations in northern Iraq. American and UK planes had carried out 23 air sorties and had fired 16 bombs and missiles at military installations, in addition to the attacks on civilian positions, according to a statement by Iraq's Air Defence Command. "The hostile bombardment martyred two civilians and caused several other citizens to sustain various wounds." There has been no independent confirmation of the Iraqi claim. US defence officials confirmed that missiles were fired at several sites, and said damage was still being assessed. Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz vowed "We will continue our struggle against [the no-fly zones], no matter what the sacrifices and the consequences." He said the air exclusion zones constitute "a flagrant aggression of international law ... a flagrant disrespect to the Security Council resolutions, and Iraq cannot accept it." ********************* Vedrine: Embargo on Iraq proves ineffective and harsh Arabic News, Iraq, Politics, 2/11/99 French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine said on Wednesday in a statement before the French Parliament that the embargo imposed on Iraq has proven to be "null and void." Vedrine added that the recent French thoughts "permit the realization of progress through lifting the embargo which has proven today its futility and harshness and at the same time establish a monitor system on any possible armament and any financial revenues from lifting the embargo." Vedrine described the French proposals submitted in January 1999 to the UN Security Council to eliminate the Iraqi crisis as "integrated and strong." He added, "But the UN has formulated the decisions which formed the framework to deal with this issue, therefore we have to work within the frame of the UN Council. And this is what we work for." ******************** Iraq's Aziz to visit Turkey in the mid of this month Arabic News, Iraq, Politics, 2/11/99 Turkey said on Wednesday that Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz will visit Ankara for 24 hours at the beginning of next week in order to discuss bilateral relations.An official at the Turkish Foreign Ministry said that Tariq Aziz will arrive on February 15, "at his request." Earlier, the Iraqi News Agency said that Tariq Aziz will visit Turkey at the invitation of the Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, who had recently criticized the "absence of a clear US policy towards Iraq." Ecevit expressed his dissatisfaction for the possibility of establishing a Kurdish state in northern Iraq as a result of the air embargo imposed by the Western planes over northern Iraq under the pretext of protecting the Kurds. Last week Turkey called for revision of principles which govern the activity of the Western planes in the context of what is called "the process of monitoring northern Iraq." Turkey says that imposing sanctions on Iraq causes it losses estimated at US $30 billion. ********************* Associated Press: US Criticizes Turkey for Iraq Visit By Barry Schweid, AP Diplomatic Writer, Thursday, February 11, 1999; 4:28 p.m. EST (extract) WASHINGTON (AP) -- In an unusual jab at a longtime ally, the Clinton administration is criticizing Turkey's prime minister for inviting a top Iraqi official to Ankara. ``We don't understand the decision to host Tariq Aziz at this time,'' James P. Foley, the State Department's deputy spokesman, said Thursday. ``Obviously, we will be in diplomatic contact with the Turkish government on this matter.'' Aziz, Iraq's deputy prime minister, is due in the Turkish capital Monday at the invitation of Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit. The United States has tried to limit economic and political contact with Iraq. Foley called NATO member Turkey a close ally and ``valued partner'' in an international effort to get Iraq to disarm and comply with other U.N. demands. ``We expect that the Turkish government will make it clear to Tariq Aziz that the roots of the current confrontation with Iraq are Baghdad's eight-year-long refusal to meet its U.N. obligations and more recently its challenges to the no-fly zones,'' Foley said. Ecevit, newly appointed as Turkey's prime minister, recently criticized the United States for retaliating to Iraqi challenges. He said the U.S. attacks ``seem to have gone too far'' and questioned whether all really were in self-defense. Ecevit's criticism reflects Turkey's uneasiness with U.S. policy on Iraq. ********************* >From the New York Times, 11/2/99 (writer STEPHEN KINZER) (extract) A U.S. official speaking on condition of anonymity was explicit. "We don't like it," the diplomat said of Aziz's planned visit. "Why would they give him sanction and access when we're trying to isolate him? It runs counter to what we want to do." Although Turkey and the United States are NATO allies and close political partners, differences between their policies toward Iraq have broken into the open since Bulent Ecevit became prime minister last month. Ecevit, a lifelong leftist and self-proclaimed anti-imperialist, has for years expressed sympathy with Iraq and Hussein. This month, as U.S. war planes flying from the Incirlik base in southern Turkey have repeatedly bombed Iraqi targets, Ecevit has begun to question their mission. "The Iraqis are zealous supporters of their independence," Ecevit said during a televised interview last week. "It is unclear how the American government will reach its goals to overthrow Saddam Hussein. It doesn't seem to have formed a policy on Iraq. It needs to plan carefully what to do about that issue, and Turkey should contribute to those plans." Turkey and Iraq enjoyed good relations before the Persian Gulf War. Since the war, Turkey has lost billions of dollars as a result of trade sanctions imposed on Iraq by the United Nations. A national election is scheduled here on April 18, and by inviting Iraq's second-ranking leader to Ankara, Ecevit may be seeking to shore up his support among leftist voters and the thousands of families along the Iraqi border who have lost their livelihoods as a result of the U.N. sanctions. "Ecevit is under intense criticism for sitting on the lap of the United States and letting the Americans use the Incirlik base for bombing Iraq," Cengiz Candar, an author and commentator who is a specialist on Middle Eastern politics. "It runs against the image he cultivated over the years as having a distance from the United States and sympathizing with the plight of the Iraqi people and with Saddam. On the eve of the election campaign, he might see that as a weak spot. He may also be hoping to use this as a bargaining chip to get more sympathy and economic aid from Washington." -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To be removed/added, email email@example.com, NOT the whole list. Archived at http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/~saw27/casi/discuss.html