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* Tam Dalyell asks if Britain is at war with Iraq (Agence France-Presse) * 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 News) * 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 Iraq 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 its 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. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- 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