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* BBC on the latest UN oil-for-food report [[HG query: Firstly, if "UK and US governments... have long argued that Iraq uses the humanitarian fallout of UN sanctions for propaganda purposes", why persist with current sanctions policy? Secondly, if either the US or the UK have been anxious to broadcast this very obvious fact, I must have missed it...]] * Iraq condemns 'grave new escalation' (BBC) * Civilian site hit in yesterday's bombing (Associated Press) * New trade discussions between Iraq and Jordan (BBC) * Iraq bans import of Swiss and Japanese products under oil-for-food ******************** BBC Online, Wednesday, February 24, 1999 Published at 13:47 GMT Annan tells Iraq: Deliver the aid A near-worthless dinar leaves Iraqis dependent on hand-outs United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan says Iraq has distributed less than half the medical supplies it has bought since the start of the oil-for-food programme three years ago. In his latest report on the programme, Mr Annan says $275m worth of drugs and medical supplies were still in Iraqi warehouses at the end of January. About $540m worth of supplies have been delivered to Iraq since the programme was launched in 1996. Mr Annan called on the Iraqi government to give the matter its urgent attention. The report said the Iraqi government has contracted to buy only $1.7m worth of high-protein biscuits for pregnant women out of an allocation of $8 million. Baghdad is also said to have submitted contracts for only 260 tons of infant milk, even though the UN has approved deliveries of 1,500 tons, the report said. Since strict UN sanctions were imposed on Iraq after it invaded Kuwait in 1990, infant and child mortality rates have increased dramatically. The report is likely to be seized on by the UK and US governments which have long argued that Iraq uses the humanitarian fallout of UN sanctions for propaganda purposes. Oil price falls hit Iraq Under the oil for-food programme, Iraq is allowed to sell just over $5 billion every six months to pay for food and other urgently-needed humanitarian supplies. Because of low oil prices, the UN report says Iraq will only be able to generate $3.1 billion during the current six month period. From that amount, 30% is diverted to pay for humanitarian supplies to the three northern provinces not governed by Baghdad, and another 17% goes towards paying compensation to victims of the occupation of Kuwait and the costs of Unscom, the weapons inspectors. But delays in distribution are not the only problem for the oil-for-food programme. "The most serious issue facing the implementation of the programme at present is the growing shortfall in revenues," Mr Annan said. The secretary-general also spoke of delays in UN approval of oil industry spare parts imported to Iraq to rebuild Iraq's dilapidated oil infrastructure. In the past these imports have been put on hold by members of the sanctions committee, particularly the US. Mr Annan welcomed the reduction in the number of new applications that have been put on hold. [Insert: the BBC also uses the following figures: 7,500 deaths per month (UNICEF); 1.3-1.5 million child deaths since 1990 (UNICEF); 25% malnutrition among under-fives (UN)] ******************** BBC Online, Thursday, February 25, 1999 Published at 08:20 GMT Iraq condemns 'grave new escalation' Iraq has condemned the latest American airstrike on the outskirts of the capital Baghdad, calling it a grave new escalation of the conflict and an act of flagrant aggression. On Wednesday, US warplanes carried out their closest military action to Baghdad since the end of Operation Desert Fox - the American and British air attacks on Iraq last December. Iraq said several people were wounded or killed after a civilian site was hit. Iraq also accused the US warplanes of flying 20 kilometres beyond the southern "no-fly" zone, which the western allies patrol. Chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff General Henry Shelton denied the claims, saying: "The report is erroneous, we have not gone across the 33rd (parallel) or south of the 36th." Air raid sirens sounded in the city in the early evening on Wednesday for the first time since 24 December. Iraq's information ministry said its air-defence batteries shot down one missile. A BBC correspondent in Baghdad, Jeremy Cooke, reported hearing brief volleys of anti-aircraft fire, loud enough to bring many people on to the streets, peering into the night skies. But he said the incident did not seem a major attack, and an all-clear was later sounded in the city. 'Baghdad not a target' American military officials said US Air Force and Navy aircraft attacked two Iraqi surface-to-air missile sites near al-Iskandariyah, a small town about 50 kilometres south of Baghdad. This was in response to anti-aircraft fire directed at allied planes and an Iraqi aircraft violation of the southern exclusion zone. Officials said Baghdad itself was not a target. President Clinton said the US would not be intimidated by Iraqi attempts to shoot down western jets. 'Evil and aggression' An Iraqi military statement said 23 "enemy formations" of aircraft carried out 48 sorties "towards the city of Baghdad". "These black ravens hit some targets on the outskirts of the city of Baghdad, " it added. "The planes bombed a civilian site with sophisticated rockets which led to the martyrdom and wounding of a number of people.'' The Iraqi military said the aircraft returned to ''their bases of evil and aggression in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia'' at 1920pm (1620 GMT). War of attrition There have been almost daily attacks on Iraqi air defences in northern and southern no-fly zones in the last two months. Iraq has allegedly responded to the repeated air strikes since Operation Desert Fox by withdrawing its remaining surface-to-air missile systems out of the no-fly zones and replacing them with less effective anti-aircraft artillery and even multiple rocket launchers. The Pentagon says that US and British planes have destroyed about a fifth of Iraq's anti-aircraft or surface-to-air missile systems since December. ******************** Iraq Says Civilian Site Hit By Waiel Faleh, Associated Press Writer, Wednesday, February 24, 1999; 5:34 p.m. EST BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- Iraqi gunners shot down a missile fired by U.S. planes Wednesday, while other American missiles hit a civilian site, killing or wounding several people, Iraqi authorities said. U.S. military officials said Air Force and Navy aircraft attacked two Iraqi surface-to-air missiles sites near Al Iskandariyah, about 30 miles south of Baghdad, in response to anti-aircraft artillery fire and an Iraqi aircraft violation of the southern no-fly zone. President Clinton said America wound not be intimidated by Iraqi attacks against U.S. warplanes, calling them an attempt by Saddam Hussein to score ``a symbolic victory.'' Speaking hours after the allied sorties, Clinton also said the United States had not given up hope of eventually restoring U.N. inspections of Iraq's weapons arsenal. The inspections halted after U.S. and British planes carried out airstrikes on Baghdad and other sites on Dec. 16-19. The strikes came after U.N. inspectors accused the Iraqi government of obstructing their search for weapons of mass destruction. In a statement Wednesday, the U.S. Central Command said an unspecified number of F-15E and F/A-18 aircraft carried out the attacks. It did not say what kind of weapons were used. The sites are at the extreme northern edge of the southern no-fly zone. The Iraqi Information Ministry said air defense batteries shot down a missile fired by the U.S. planes, but other American missiles ``struck one of our civilian sites, killing and wounding a number of citizens.'' Neither the Iraqi armed forces nor the Information Ministry gave precise numbers of casualties and it was not possible to confirm the reports independently. U.S. and British planes conduct daily patrols in the no-fly zone that was established in 1992 to protect rebels from air attack by government forces. Al-Iskandariyah is the home of a large military industrial factory, which has been attacked in previous confrontations between Iraq and the western allies. ******************** Wednesday, February 24, 1999 Published at 20:14 GMT BBC, World: Middle East: Jordan to discuss Iraq trade renewal Jordan, which relies heavily on Iraq for its oil and petroleum needs, is to hold talks on Thursday in Baghdad on the renewal of a long-standing trade agreement. A Jordanian delegation, headed by the Trade Minister, Mohammad Saleh Hurani, has arrived in the Iraqi capital to negotiate a new agreement following preparatory talks earlier this month. The existing agreement is exempt from United Nations sanction imposed on Iraq after the invasion of Kuwait. ******************** Iraq bans the import of Japanese, Swiss products Arabic News, Iraq, Politics, 2/24/99 The Iraqi authorities have decided to prevent the importation of Japanese and Swiss products, in the course of the oil-for-food program. Earlier the Iraqi authorities banned the imports from the US and Britain. The Iraqi weekly al-Itihad said on Tuesday that Iraq has listed 33 countries from which it will import its needs according to the oil-for-food program with the UN. The paper did not mention the reason which made the Iraqi specialized sides ban the importation of commodities from Switzerland, which is known for its neutrality, or those imported from Japan, which does not interfere militarily in foreign affairs. ******************** -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- 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