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* Jacques and Bill (Associated Press) * Chirac on sanctions and Saddam (Agence France-Presse) [HG's note: Chirac's statement of the strengthening effect of sanctions on Saddam is important, BUT in stating that "President Saddam Hussein is responsible for all the miseries of the Iraqi people" (as, according to a long-term view of the situation, he is), Chirac is propagating the myth that the negative effects of western sanctions policy on Iraqi people are insignificant. In other words, the west bears no responsibility for the humanitarian crisis (in the immortal words of Albright, "You can't lay that guilt trip on me!")] * Washington "taking Iraq threats seriously" (Associated Press) * Iraqi government-run newspapers predicting new air strike in April (Agence France-Presse) * Tariq Aziz in Ankara: "Iraq does not constitute a threat to its neighbours", and statements on Iraq-Turkish and Kurdish relations (Arabic News) ****************** French President Visits Clinton By Harry Dunphy, Associated Press Writer, Thursday, February 18, 1999; 3:06 a.m. EST (extract) WASHINGTON (AP) -- French President Jacques Chirac is using a two-day visit to the United States to demonstrate there is more that unites the two old allies than divides them. But differences do exist, on Iraq and currency alignment. White House spokesman Joe Lockhart said the two leaders would discuss Kosovo, NATO's 50th anniversary summit in Washington in April, Iraq, Russia and global financial issues. After lunch Friday, they are scheduled to hold a joint news conference. In an interview in Paris with The Associated Press before his departure, Chirac bristled at the idea the United States and France are competitors, even though they differ on some foreign policy issues, particularly the recent U.S.-British air strikes on Iraq. ``France is not worried about a powerful United States,'' Chirac said. ``In the world today it is a real necessity. France wants to be part of a strong Europe and we do as much as we can. I don't like the idea of presenting Europe and the United States as competitors,'' Chirac added. ``We have the same values. We are two great democracies. We are partners and we must be great partners.'' On Iraq, Chirac emphasized common points with Washington rather than differences. ``I wouldn't say that French and American policy are so different,'' he said. ``We both agree about the responsibility of Saddam Hussein.'' But he also referred to a French plan he intends to raise with Clinton, under which Iraq would agree to allow weapons inspections in return for lifting the U.N. embargo on its oil, which Chirac argues hurts the Iraqi people. ``The thing is that France asks: What shall we do after the bombs?'' he said. The United States, whose objective is to topple Saddam, is skeptical about the French plan. [NB see article below, published before Chirac's visit to Clinton] ******************** Chirac to try to sell Iraqi deal to Clinton: report Agence France-Presse, 12:10 GMT, 16 February 1999 PARIS, Feb 16 (AFP) -President Jacques Chirac hopes to win United States support on a French plan to lift the oil embargo against Iraq if Baghdad will allow international inspections of its weapons programmes to resume. In an interview with US journalists here carried by the New York Times, Chirac said "President Saddam Hussein is responsible for all the miseries of the Iraqi people." Speaking ahead of a meeting in Washington with President Bill Clinton on Friday, Chirac said "The more the (Iraqi) population suffers, the more it rallies to Saddam Hussein and strengthens him." The French president went on "Getting rid of Saddam Hussein is easily said, but very difficult to do." ******************** U.S. Taking Iraq Threats Seriously By Robert Burns, AP Military Writer, Wednesday, February 17, 1999 WASHINGTON (AP) -- Iraq has three main options for carrying out its threat to attack Turkey, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia for supporting recent U.S. air attacks, but none is likely to succeed, U.S. defense officials say. Iraq could fire Scud missiles, attack by air with planes, or launch a terrorist attack, Kenneth Bacon, spokesman for Defense Secretary William Cohen, said Tuesday. ``All of these would be difficult, given the circumstances that Iraq faces today,'' Bacon said, referring to the deterioration of Iraq's military since the 1991 Persian Gulf war, the effect of the U.N. economic embargo and the strength of U.S. forces in the area that could retaliate. Iraq's state-controlled media warned U.S. allies Tuesday they will pay a high price for playing host to American and British warplanes that patrol ``no-fly'' zones over Iraq. The planes have attacked Iraqi air defense installations almost daily in recent weeks in what the Pentagon calls self-defense. Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan said Monday that Baghdad would attack Incirlik Air Base in south-central Turkey -- used by U.S. and British warplanes -- if the jets continue patrolling Iraqi skies. It was the first time in years Iraq has threatened to attack its northern neighbor. ``Whether or not he means this threat to be taken seriously, we have to take seriously threats like this,'' Bacon said. He said Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is searching for a way to intimidate his neighbors. ``It's a sign of Saddam Hussein's desperation and isolation that Iraq is making such threats,'' Bacon said. In Ankara, Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz defended his government's threat. ``The U.S. and British planes are killing Iraqis, are destroying Iraqi property, and this is not acceptable,'' Aziz said Tuesday. ``A Turkish air base should not be used by the Americans and British to hurt Iraqis.'' Bacon said Incirlik is at ``the very outer edge'' of the range of Scud ballistic missiles that Iraq might use against Turkey and is protected by a small contingent of U.S. Army Patriot anti-missile missiles. Iraq says it has no more Scud missiles, but U.N. arms inspectors are not sure. Bacon said Iraq's depleted air force would stand little chance against U.S. and allied air defenses in Turkey, Kuwait or Saudi Arabia. ``I don't think that they have significant air power to be able to launch a longer-range attack against bases deep inside another country's territory, and it would be extremely unwise for them to try to do that,'' Bacon said. ******************** Iraq sees major US strike by April Agence France-Presse, 11:38 GMT, 17 February 1999 BAGHDAD, Feb 17 (AFP) -Iraq said Wednesday it expects a major new US assault by April following Washington's repeated warnings of severe punishment if Baghdad carries out threats to attack Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. "The US escalation started two days ago and will continue in coming weeks to prepare a new military strike against Iraq under UN cover, within 45 days at the most," said Babel newspaper run by President Saddam Hussein's son Uday. "The intensification of enemy air raids in the north and south of Iraq was prepared in advance by the United States, which realized they can not change the regime, as they like to call it, without direct military action," it said. "Unable to achieve this objective, they are trying to inflict human losses on Iraq and weaken its air defences" ahead of a major strike like the Desert Fox air war waged by Washington and London in mid-December, said Babel. ******************** Iraq's Aziz speaks on Turkey, the siege on Iraq Arabic News, Iraq, Politics, 2/17/99 Iraqi Deputy Premier Tariq Aziz announced on Tuesday that all the long-range Scud missiles Iraq had imported from the Soviet Union were totally destroyed. In a press conference he held in Ankara on Tuesday Aziz added that Iraq does not constitute any danger to its neighbors. He added that his current visit to Turkey falls in the natural course of relations between officials in the two countries. Aziz indicated the common interests between the two neighboring countries, stating, "Therefore I held lengthy and profound talks with the Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit and with the Foreign Minister Ismael Cem and viewpoints were identical on certain issues and disputes were on other debated matters." Aziz described his visit to Turkey as "useful," adding that it was agreed to continue contacts between the two countries. Aziz asserted that he explained to the Turkish officials that permitting the British and the Americans to use Incirlik base does not serve the joint interests of the two neighboring countries. He expressed hope that Turkey will halt anti-Iraqi activities made through allowing the use of the the air base. Aziz added that during talks with the Turkish side stress was laid on the Iraqi demands on the need for the full lifting of the sanctions imposed on Iraq and to stop launching aggressions on Iraq. Aziz asserted that the imposition of the air embargo by the US aims at partitioning Iraq rather than protecting the Iraqi people. He, in this regard, indicated that he entered Turkey from the al-Khabour border point between the two countries and passed through the areas which fall under the influence of chairman of the Kurdish Democratic Party headed by Mesoud Barzani and that there is no problem between the Iraqi government and the Kurds in northern Iraq. Aziz added that dialogue continues between the government of Baghdad and the Iraqi Kurds to find a political solution with them. Aziz denied that Iraq supports the Kurdistani Workers Party (PKK): "It is a Turkish internal issue and Iraq has no relevance to it." Aziz also expressed his astonishment that Turkish President Suleiman Demirel did not meet with him, saying that protocol calls for Demirel to receive visiting foreign officials. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- 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