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* Iraqi oil pumping to Turkey stopped (Arabic News) * Iraq: U.S. Strikes Jeopardize Oil (Associated Press) * UN 'kept in dark' about US spying in Iraq (The Guardian) * US threat to Saddam over air attacks (Daily Telegraph) * British-Syrian disputes over Iraq (Arabic News). The British ambassador to Damascus: "We agree with the Syrians on the importance of doing our best to ensure best conditions for the Iraqi people." ******************** Iraqi oil pumping to Turkey stopped Arabic News, Iraq, Economics, 3/2/99 The pumping of Iraqi oil to Turkey continued to be halted on Monday due to the damage Iraq said was inflicted on the oil pipelines as a result of the US air strikes on Sunday. The official in charge of planning at the Iraqi Oil Ministry, Faleh Hassan al-Khayat, said that it is still too early to resume exports despite the fact the pipeline transports half of the Iraqi oil exports. He indicated that the Iraqi authorities are currently evaluating the damage resulting from the raid launched by US planes on Sunday on the station for monitoring the operation of the Iraqi-Turkish oil pipeline in northern Iraq, noting that the raid resulted in killing or wounding several Iraqis. Iraqi - Turkish oil pipelines link Karkouk oil fields, 255 km north of Baghdad, with the Turkish port of Jeihan on the Mediterranean Sea. ******************** Iraq: U.S. Strikes Jeopardize Oil By Leon Barkho, Associated Press Writer, Tuesday, March 2, 1999; 5:06 p.m. EST AIN ZALA, Iraq (AP) -- About half of Iraq's oil exports are in jeopardy after U.S. warplanes hit two communications centers that controlled the flow of oil through a key pipeline, an Iraqi official said Tuesday. The damage from the strikes Sunday and Monday is so extensive that it will take a ``long time'' to resume pumping oil through the pipeline to Turkey, Hussein al-Fattal, head of operations for Iraq's Northern Oil Company, said. Officials tried to pump oil on Monday but failed, al-Fattal said. ``We tried ... but we lost communications and control,'' he said. The U.S. military has said American planes may have hit several sites in northern Iraq, but it was not sure if the targets had anything to do with the pipeline. British and U.S. planes have been striking Iraqi targets almost daily since late December. The allies say they are responding to Iraqi threats to its planes in ``no-fly'' zones over northern and southern Iraq. Iraq does not recognize the ``no-fly'' zones, which were set up to ensure that Iraqi forces do not target Kurdish rebels in the north and Shiite opposition in the south. In Washington on Tuesday, White House spokesman David Leavy said, ``Our pilots are going to enforce the no-fly zone; they are going to take the necessary precautions to do that ... What they're targeting is what they deem threatens their ability to carry out the mission.'' Al-Fattal and other Iraqi officials have denied the two centers hit ever were used for military purposes. Al-Fattal said the centers functioned as an oil relay station, carrying signals between Iraq and Turkey, and was used to maintain contact between branches of the company in the area. The pipeline carried about half of Iraq's oil exports. Al-Fattal estimated the damage has cost Iraq at least $2.5 million. Iraqi oil exports were banned under U.N. sanctions imposed in 1990 after its invasion of Kuwait but limited sales were resumed under a U.N. program that started in December 1996. Iraq is now allowed to sell oil every six months to finance its food and humanitarian purchases. In the current six-month phase, Iraq may sell $5.2 billion worth oil, or about 2.1 million barrels a day. However, the dilapidated state of its oil industry has made it difficult to reach that target. In New York, the United Nations issued a statement saying it was ``deeply concerned'' about the strikes and said any extended stoppage will limit funding for the program. ``Given the depressed price of oil and the state of Iraq's oil industry, there's currently a $900 million gap between the revenue expected and what's needed to fund the humanitarian program,'' said Benon Sevan, the executive director of the U.N. oil-for-food program. ******************** The Guardian: UN 'kept in dark' about US spying in Iraq, By Julian Borger in Washington, Wednesday March 3, 1999 American espionage in Iraq, under cover of United Nations weapons inspections, went far beyond the search for banned arms and was carried out without the knowledge of the UN leadership, it was reported yesterday. An investigation by the Washington Post found that CIA engineers working as UN technicians installed antennae in equipment belonging to the UN Special Commission (Unscom) to eavesdrop on the Iraqi military. When British intelligence asked what was going on, the operation was denied, the report said. US government officials refused to comment on the report yesterday. In response to newspaper allegations of espionage in January, the US conceded that it had deployed eavesdropping equipment in an operation codenamed Shake the Tree, but insisted that it was done at the invitation of Unscom with the sole aim of foiling Saddam Hussein's attempts to conceal weapons of mass destruction. But according to yesterday's report, quoting unnamed US sources, the "remote monitoring system" Unscom used to relay video pictures of suspected weapons sites to inspectors in Baghdad was secretly used to intercept communications between Iraqi commanders and military units. Richard Butler, the Australian diplomat who runs Unscom, was reportedly kept in the dark about the CIA operation, as was his predecessor, Rolf Ekeus. But the Washington Post quoted "sources in Washington" as saying that the CIA notified Charles Duelfer, a US official who served as deputy to both Mr Ekeus and Mr Butler, to ensure that Unscom inspectors in Iraq did not interfere with the operation. On hearing of the Washington Post story, Mr Butler was reported to have exclaimed to a colleague: "If this stuff turns out to be true then Rolf Ekeus and I have been played for suckers, haven't we?" Ewen Buchanan, spokesman for Unscom, said yesterday that Mr Butler had made no official response to the Washington Post allegations. But he questioned whether the alleged eavesdropping would have been possible. "I don't know if it was technically feasible," he said. "Those repeater stations [used in the Unscom video-monitoring programme] are out in the middle of nowhere. They're there for anyone to go and tinker with. Wouldn't the Iraqis have been able to tell what was going on?" he asked. The UN secretary-general, Kofi Annan, said he "personally had no direct knowledge" of the allegations. In a book due to be published next month, a former US Unscom inspector, Scott Ritter, is expected to confirm that CIA agents infiltrated the UN inspection teams. Mr Ritter resigned from Unscom last year, complaining that the US was undermining its work by ordering inspections to be reined in to avoid military confrontations at politically inconvenient moments. Iraqi officials said the report vindicated their claims that Unscom was a front for US and British spies. According to yesterday's report, Unscom technicians occasionally noted "burst transmissions" but were unable to identify their source. But an Iranian spy in Baghdad was more successful and signalled back to Tehran a message saying that the US was running an electronic espionage operation within Unscom. British intelligence intercepted the Iranian message, but when it asked the US National Security Agency for an explanation in May 1997, the NSA gave none."We don't tell the British everything, even if they are our closest intelligence ally," the Post quoted one US official as saying. Unscom weapons inspections collapsed in December, when US and British planes carried out Operation Desert Fox. By then, according to yesterday's report, the clandestine eavesdropping network had already been abandoned. ******************** The Daily Telegraph: US threat to Saddam over air attacks By Hugo Gurdon in Washington, 3 March 1999 AMERICAN forces will wipe out Iraqi air defences in the no-fly zones if Saddam Hussein continues trying to shoot down air patrols, Washington said yesterday. The Pentagon, a day after the heaviest allied attacks since Operation Desert Fox in December, said: "Monday's strikes should make it clear that tit-for-tat is over. The number of bombs and range of targets is growing." Clearly, Washington and London have grown weary of Saddam's constant efforts to gain a propaganda victory by shooting down at least one of the aircraft enforcing the no-fly zones imposed after the Gulf war to stop his attacks on the Kurds. The warning to Baghdad came as the White House refused to deny a report that CIA spies were infiltrated into United Nations weapons inspection teams three years ago to eavesdrop on Saddam's military. Citing secret documents and information from unidentified officials, the Washington Post reported that Saddam was right, and that Washington had for years abused the international surveillance regime. America knew it could undermine the UN Special Commission and calculated, correctly, that the risk of detection was slight, officials told the paper. Richard Butler, head of the UN Special Commission, Unscom, denied that his teams exceeded their mandate or included spies. It has been reported that CIA agents fixed the Unscom equipment to monitor microwave communications from generals to infantry in the field via Iraqi radio masts. Mr Butler's teams had video cameras fixed in remote sites to keep an eye on weapons development. In 1996 the pictures began transmitting to Unscom headquarters in Baghdad, using radio signals boosted by relay stations. Without telling Unscom, the CIA made sure the relay stations were installed by its agents, who hid antennae in them to intercept the military communications. They told Unscom so little about their "maintenance" work that it provoked a clash with the commission's director of operations, Col James Moore, who was recalled to Washington. ******************** British-Syrian disputes over Iraq Arabic News, Syria, Politics, 3/2/99 The British ambassador in Damascus, Basil Eastwood, has expressed hope to reach with Britain's "Arab friends a means of avoiding us the use of power in Iraq." He indicated "Syrian-British disputes over means of how to deal with the Iraqi issue," noting that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein "is a problem for all of us." In a speech he gave on Monday in the central Syrian city of Homs, Eastwood said, "There are political disputes between us and the Syrian government," adding, "but the points which we agree upon are much greater those we differ on." Eastwood added that the points of agreement between Damascus and London cover the "need of implementing UN Security Council resolutions and urge Iraq to abide by them." He commented, "But we differ on how we achieve that." The British ambassador added, "We agree with the Syrians on the importance of doing our best to ensure best conditions for the Iraqi people." ******************** -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. 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