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Forwarded news

*       Tam Dalyell asks if Britain is at war with Iraq (Agence
*       More killings as US jets attack Iraq (Agence France-Presse) 
*       Russia denies Iraq arms deal report (Associated Press)
*       Arab League to arrange urgent meeting to lift embargo (Arabic
*       Make-up of new Iraq disarmament panel (Agence France-Presse)

On Monday, Saddam threatened to attack Turkish air bases being used by
US forces to patrol the northern no-fly zone (he also made similar
threats against Saudi Arabia and Kuwait). US officials (including
Albright) immediately responded by threatening "severe consequences" for
any such attack. Meanwhile, in a "separate incident", more civilians are
killed by planes patrolling the southern no-fly zone. Western policy has
invariably and incessantly severe consequences for Iraqi civilians, no
matter what.

The last article, on the make-up of the new UN Iraq disarmament panel,
is a few days old (not sure if this has been circulated before).

British MP demands to know if Britain is at war with Iraq 
Agence France-Presse, 21:37 GMT, 15 February 1999

LONDON, Feb 15 (AFP) -A British Labour MP, Tam Dalyell, on Monday
demanded to know if Britain was at war with Iraq, as British and
American fighters continued to pound targets on Iraqi soil. The British
defence ministry had earlier confirmed that British jets had again taken
part in operations in southern Iraq, but gave no further details. The US
Central Command said US and British jets had struck at four Iraqi
targets on Monday after violations of no-fly zones. Speaking in
parliament, Dalyell said: "There have been reports of both civilian
casualties and further military action over Iraq."

Five killed as US jets attack Iraq in wake of Saddam's threat 
Agence France-Presse, 13:06 GMT, 15 February 1999

BAGHDAD, Feb 15 (AFP) -US jets launched fresh attacks Monday on Iraqi
air defense sites, reportedly killing five in the wake of President
Saddam Hussein's threats to hit bases used by allied aircraft in Saudi
Arabia and Kuwait. US planes attacked two sites in the northern "no-fly"
zone from a base in southern Turkey, a statement from the US military in
Turkey said. But an Iraqi military spokesman later said five Iraqis were
killed and 22 others injured, some of them civilians, in attacks on the
south of the country, the deadliest strikes in three weeks. "Planes
coming from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Turkey" carried out a total of 65
"aggressive sorties" in the skies of both northern and southern Iraq,
the spokesman said.

Russia Denies Iraq Arms Deal Report 
Associated Press, Monday, February 15, 1999; 11:04 p.m. EST

MOSCOW (AP) -- The Russian government on Monday angrily denied a British
newspaper report that said Moscow had signed a contract to modernize
Iraq's fighter jets and air defense systems.  ``The fabrications in the
British media have clearly been initiated by those who try to cast a
shadow on Russia's policy for political settlement of the Iraqi
problem,'' the government said in a statement.  Britain's Sunday
Telegraph said a $160 million deal to strengthen Iraq's air defenses and
upgrade squadrons of MiG fighters was signed in mid-January after a
Moscow visit by Ahmed Khalil, Iraq's Transport and Communications
Minister.  The newspaper claimed the move was approved by Russian Prime
Minister Yevgeny Primakov on Dec. 7 in violation of a United Nations
arms embargo on Iraq. Russia has harshly criticized the United States
and Britain for recent airstrikes on Iraq, and has pushed for an early
lifting of the U.N. economic sanctions imposed on Iraq after its 1990
invasion of Kuwait. At the same time, Moscow has urged Iraq to comply
with the U.N. resolutions that require Iraq to dismantle its weapons of
mass destruction.

Urgent meeting for Arab ministerial committee to lift the embargo from
Arabic News, Regional, Politics, 2/15/99

Arab League Secretary General Esmat Abdul Meguid has called upon Syrian
Foreign Minister Farouk al-Sharaa to arrange an urgent meeting of the
ministerial committee in charge of following up efforts with the UN
Security Council to lift the economic embargo imposed on Iraq. In a
statement he made in Cairo on Sunday before heading for Kuwait, Abdul
Meguid said that had sent an urgent message in this respect to
al-Sharaa, in the Syrian official's capacity as chairman of the
ministerial committee formed by the Arab foreign ministers in their
meeting in Cairo on January 24. The AL chief added that he will hold
during his visit to Kuwait talks with Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad
al-Sabah and Kuwaiti officials on the current Arab conditions and the
Iraqi question in light if the recent consultation ministerial meeting
of the Arab FMs. He said he will brief the Kuwaitis on the contacts he
made with the Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and the messages he
exchanged with him on the situation in Iraq.

New Iraq disarmament panel completed
Agence France-Presse (date?)
UNITED NATIONS (AFP) - The chairman of a key U.N. panel that is to
review Iraqi disarmament unveiled Friday a 20-member board whose members
combine political with technical expertise. Brazilian Ambassador Celso
Amorim, who is to chair three panels which are to review U.N. relations
with Iraq in the light of the U.S. and British airstrikes in December,
unveiled the panels' composition to reporters Friday. Initial favourable
reactions from Security Council members to the disarmament
 panel indicated that he appeared to have pulled off a tricky balancing
act and avoided criticism from both sides in the divided council. "This
is a balanced panel," Amorim said after submitting the final list to
U.N. Security Council President Robert Fowler. The team included "people
who can bring to this work adequate amount of expertise, also an
adequate amount of broad view of the problems in different areas." But
he acknowledged that he had no guarantee that Iraq would cooperate with
the panellists, who include experts of the U.N. Special Commission and
American deputy, Charles Duelfer. 

Baghdad has vowed that the UNSCOM inspectors, accused of being spies for
the United States and Israel, will never return to Iraq, and is
demanding the lifting of sanctions which are linked to the elimination
of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. As expected, UNSCOM chief Richard
Butler will not be a panellist. Amorim confirmed that Butler had told
him that "he didn't expect to be in the panel." Russia has cut off
official relations with the Australian UNSCOM chairman and is demanding
his dismissal after his negative report on Iraqi cooperation with the
inspectors triggered the U.S. and British air strikes. The disarmament
panel notably includes representatives of the five U.N. Security
Council permanent members - Britain, China, France, Russia and the
United States in a thinly-disguised political role. UNSCOM is
well-represented, with 12 out of the 20 panel members either UNSCOM
staff experts (four) or national commissioners (eight) from the UNSCOM
advisory board. 

While there are two American members, two Britons, two French and two
Russians on the panel, Amorim took care to have a geographical balance
which in addition to a Chinese expert took in panellists from as far
afield as Zambia, Argentina and Japan. And U.N. chief Kofi Annan will be
represented by his undersecretary general for disarmament, Jayantha
Dhanapala, who is also one of the 22 UNSCOM commissioners. Three of the
five council permanent members - Britain, Russia
and the United States - will have their UNSCOM commissioners on the
panel. France is not sending its UNSCOM commissioner but a foreign
ministry arms control expert, Daniel Parfait, and China is also sending
government expert Liu Jieyi instead of its commissioner. The disarmament
panel is the most controversial of the three, which are also to cover
the humanitarian situation and issues relating to the 1990 invasion of
Kuwait, because of strong political differences among the five permanent
members on Iraq.

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