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* UNSCOM says Iraq submitted new data on germ warfare (Reuters) * More on Iraq's response to UN panels' recommendations (Associated Press) * Impact of air raids on school children (Associated Press) * Iraq villages braced for germ attack (The Independent) * Iraq claims US, British uranium weapons to have caused deaths in the country (Arabic News) * Western doctors denounce "embargo on medical knowledge" in Iraq (Agence France-Presse) ******************** UNSCOM says Iraq submitted new data on germ warfare April 10, 1999, Web posted at: 6:41 AM EDT (1041 GMT) UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) -- As the U.N. Security Council debates its future policy towards Iraq, the chief weapons inspector told members Baghdad had only recently revealed some data on its past germ warfare programme. In a report circulated late on Friday, Richard Butler, head of the U.N. Special Commission (UNSCOM), accused Iraq of withholding documents and not declaring dual-use material, such as growth media that can be used to produce biological agents. Arms experts have long feared that Iraq had obfuscated its biological weapons programme, which was established in 1975 and had produced such deadly toxins as anthrax. The new report said Iraq had volunteered new information to the council in a February paper "in which it has revised its previous statements on the material balance of growth media." But the report did not give details or evaluate the significance of the disclosure except to say that U.N. inspectors in December had discovered "dual-use material such as growth media which had not been declared by Iraq." UNSCOM spokesman Ewen Buchanan said the gap in information was evident even while the Security Council was discussing a new arms system to monitor Iraq's potential nuclear, ballistic, chemical and biological arms. "The persistent finding over several years of undeclared equipment and material obviously raises some concern about Iraq's commitment to the implementation of a monitoring plan and we want to alert the council to this," he said. Iraq, which says it has no more weapons of mass destruction, insists on the lifting of stringent U.N. sanctions, imposed when it invaded Kuwait in August 1990. They are linked to the elimination of its dangerous weapons. The new report will be considered by the council late next week. Butler is expected to attend the session after Russia barred him from Wednesday's consultations. But Moscow's U.N. ambassador, Sergei Lavrov, who wants Butler dismissed and UNSCOM abolished, told reporters: "I don't care about this report at all. I don't care about UNSCOM. What is UNSCOM? What are they about to report? How they were spending the last months after December doing nothing in this building? It's a joke," he said. The council is considering reports from three panels it established on how to monitor Iraq's arms potential, improve hardships for ordinary Iraqis and account for missing Kuwaitis and Kuwaiti property. But there are few signs members were moving towards a solution. Russia, China and France want the sanctions greatly reduced or lifted entirely as an inducement for Iraq to allow arms inspectors back into the country. The United States and Britain oppose this. Other members, such as Canada, favour some sanctions relief, saying the panels' proposals should be instituted. The disarmament panel concluded that the "bulk" of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction had been dismantled and said remaining issues could be resolved under a monitoring system provided it included on-site inspections. The panel on humanitarian issues suggested easing but not lifting economic sanctions by allowing foreign investments in its oil industry and some agriculture export commodities. Iraq has attacked the reports, saying they put new labels on old discredited policies. ******************** Iraq Rejects U.N. Recommendations By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press Writer, Thursday, April 8, 1999; 8:45 p.m. EDT UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- Iraq has rejected recommendations of U.N. panels charting a new Iraq policy in the aftermath of the U.S.-British airstrikes, saying the proposals are politically motivated and flawed. In a memo distributed to the Security Council and obtained Thursday, Iraq denounced the panelists, charging that they failed to recommend an end to economic sanctions and called for U.N. arms inspections under a different name. Iraq is demanding an end to sanctions imposed after its 1990 invasion of Kuwait before it will allow any U.N. disarmament program to resume. Baghdad insists that it destroyed its weapons of mass destruction -- the main condition for lifting an oil sales embargo and other sanctions -- and requires no further intrusive inspections. Iraq's rejection of the panels' recommendations is expected to make an already difficult task for the council even more arduous. Not only must council members bridge their own deep divisions over lifting sanctions, but they must come up with a blueprint for a new relationship with Iraq that is acceptable to Baghdad. The council began what is expected to be a lengthy debate on the panels' recommendations Wednesday and was expected to continue closed-door negotiations on Friday. The council established the three panels -- on the status of Iraq's disarmament, humanitarian situation and on missing Kuwaitis and looted Kuwaiti property -- in February as a first step to break the diplomatic impasse that followed the December airstrikes. The disarmament panel concluded last week that outstanding issues could be resolved through reinforced monitoring of Iraq's banned weapons programs -- as long as monitors have the right to conduct inspections of suspected weapons sites. The humanitarian panel suggested improvements to the U.N. oil-for-food program, which lets Iraq sell limited amounts of oil to buy food and medicine for its people -- but it didn't recommend lifting the embargo. Iraq's memo -- distributed to all council members except the United States and Britain -- chastises the disarmament panel for having relied on information from the ``biased'' and ``politically motivated'' U.N. Special Commission, which has carried out inspections since 1991. Baghdad said it was ``incomprehensible'' that the panel recommended a more intrusive monitoring system when UNSCOM's surprise inspections had not turned up a single banned item since 1994. It called the recommendation for monitoring the same approach UNSCOM has used only ``under a new label.'' The Iraqis similarly dismissed recommendations by the humanitarian panel to consider allowing foreign investment into Iraq's oil industry. The panel said this would help Iraq export more oil and thereby provide more money for the U.N. humanitarian program in the country. But the Iraqis claimed this represented a violation of their sovereignty and would only prolong sanctions while leaving the oil industry under the mercy of foreign companies. Iraq didn't respond to the recommendations of the Kuwaiti panel. ******************** U.S.-Iraq Battles Scare Iraqi Kids By Leon Barkho, Associated Press Writer, Thursday, April 8, 1999; 7:19 a.m. EDT (extract) MOSUL, Iraq (AP) -- The school children of Mosul cry in fear every time air raid sirens and the booming roar of Iraqi anti-aircraft guns signal another skirmish with U.S. fighter jets. No American missiles have hit Mosul's schools or homes. But the children's mothers, wearing the black veils of conservative Muslims, rush to bring them home when the sirens sound. `We cannot control 50 pupils inside a class amid deafening explosions,'' said Mosul primary school teacher Basima Khalaf. The panic is only one sign of the psychological impact that the airstrikes have had on everyday life in Iraq since they began again in December. The sight of children hurrying home is heartbreaking, said Helena Yousif, whose five children attend Khalaf's school. ``Some leave their textbooks behind, some just keep running and a few hide under desks in the school.'' Mosul is the only government-held town in a region controlled by Kurdish rebel groups. Its sprawl of one-story homes set in gardens of citrus trees is heavily fortified, making it a prime U.S.-British target. In early March, bombing runs were reported almost daily around Mosul. Attacks tapered off in recent weeks. Meena Abdul-Latif decided to keep her three children at home when an anti-aircraft battery was positioned on a hill one mile from their school. Government officials in Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city and home to more than 1 million people, say military sites are far from residential centers. On rare occasions, journalists have been taken to see a school or hospital that the government claims was hit by U.S. bombs. But for the most part, journalists have not been allowed to see damage, indicating U.S. fighters are hitting military installations. Baghdad, the capital, is far from the no-fly zones and has seen little of the battles. Even when air raid sirens do scream over Baghdad, capital dwellers don't react -- traffic flows as normal, no one panics. After the eight-year war with Iran that ended in 1988 and the 1991 Persian Gulf War against a U.S.-led international force, many Iraqis seem accustomed to air raid warnings and the sounds of distant explosions. But there are signs the lingering conflict is taking its toll. Since December, the Iraqi dinar has lost nearly 12 percent of its value, dropping to 1,995 to the U.S. dollar. Jaafar Latif, a Baghdad Stock Exchange investor, said Iraqis usually dump their dinars in times of crisis. Nevertheless, the government says it will not stop firing on the American and British planes, which also show no sign of leaving anytime soon. ******************** Iraq villages braced for germ attack The Independent, April 8, 1999 By Patrick Cockburn The Iraqi President, Saddam Hussein, is deploying troops wearing gas masks and special white uniforms, designed to protect them against chemical weapons, around Najaf, a city at the centre of opposition to his leadership. The appearance of soldiers equipped against chemical warfare has caused terror in Najaf, where there are well-founded fears that the government is prepared to use poison gas againstthem if there is any sign of an uprising. A traveller who left Najaf recently said: "Everybody was so frightened when they saw the chemical warfare suits that they locked themselves in their houses. The streets were empty." Iraq has used chemical weapons against domestic opponents in the past. In 1988Iraqi artillery and aircraft used munitions filled with the nerve gases sarin and tabun against the Kurdish town of Halabja, killing 5,000 people. Iraqi troops equipped with tanks and multiple rocket launchers have sealed off Najaf since 19February, when Ayatollah Mohammed Sadeq al-Sadr, a popular leader of the Shia Muslims, who are a majority in Iraq, was shot dead in an ambush with his two sons. He is widely believed in Iraq to be the latest victim of government death squads, who are alleged to have killed four senior members of the Shia clergy in the past five years. The Iraqi government is aware that any sign that it is about to use poison gas - such as troops wearing chemical warfare suits - provokes terror among Iraqis. In 1991 Iraqi helicopters dropped flour, which looks like a cloud of gas, on the Kurds, in response to their uprising, to speed up their flight to Turkey and Iran. Opponents of the Baghdad regime living in exile say that President Saddam has chosen this moment to increase repression against the Shia because he knows international attention isfocused on Kosovo. Yusuf al-Khoie, a member of a Shia charitable organisation in London, says: "I have seen nothing as bad as this since the uprising after the Gulf War [in 1991]. There are many arrests and executions. Saddam knows the attention of the world is focused elsewhere." The Shia make up 55 per cent of the Iraqi population but are excluded from power. President Saddam appears to consider the Shia's religious leaders, most of whom live in the holy cities of Najaf, Kufah and Karbala on the Euphrates, as being the most dangerous potential rebels to his rule. Ayatollah Sadr built up a religious organisation throughout southern Iraq and in Baghdad. Before his murder he appointed community judges and prayer leaders, many of whom have now been arrested. Iraqi security has such a tight grip on Najaf and the other holy cities that it is unlikely anybody other than government death squads could have carried out the assassinations of Sadr and the other senior clerics. An Iraqi who left Najaf 10 days ago says the government's claim to have caught and executedthe killers "is only good for Iraqi propaganda outside Iraq. Nobody believes it at home." The Baghdad government has, however, taken advantage of the assassinations by using them as an excuse to place surviving Shia leaders under virtual house arrest, ostensibly for their own protection. Armed Iraqi security men now prevent visitors from seeing the Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani. Meanwhile, the US and British governments are seeking to remould the Iraqi opposition at a two-day meeting at a hotel in Windsor, Berkshire, which started yesterday. The meeting is of the Iraqi National Congress (INC), the deeply divided umbrella organisation of the opposition, and is to set a date for its general assembly, possibly later in the month. Hoshyar Zibari, a leader of the powerful Kurdistan Democratic Party, which belongs to theINC, says the aim is to choose a new leadership. The White House, US State Department and the CIA are eager to remove control of the INC fromits leader, Ahmad Chalabi, who has strong support in the US Congress. Mr Chalabi advocates a guerrilla war using promised US equipment in the hope of provoking mutinies within the army. Mr Zibari said he sees the future of the INC as a political organisation and not as a military movement. The Kurdish parties are unlikely to agree to the INC operating from Kurdistan, the only part of Iraq outside the control of President Saddam, unless they receive cast-iron assurances from the US that it will protect them in the event of an Iraqi counter-attack. Kurdish misgivings about US air support have been compounded by its failure to prevent Serbia expelling the Kosovars. ******************** Iraq claims US, British uranium weapons to have caused deaths in the country Arabic News, Iraq, Politics, 4/6/99 Iraq has asserted that weapons which contain uranium, and were used by the US and Britain against Iraq caused deaths, have caused grave diseases and birth defects in the country. In a message sent to the Arab League on Monday, Iraqi Foreign Minister Muhammad Saeed al-Sahaf said that studies carried out by the Iraqi medical teams as well as similar studies conducted by international teams revealed the uranium stays in the soil, water and the air for many generations, a matter which is damaging and very harmful to health for a long period of time. Al-Sahaf asserted in his message that the US and Britain's use of these weapons show the extent of the two countries' violations of human rights. Al-Sahaf held both the countries morally, legally and humanitarianly responsible for using this weapons. He stressed Iraq's legal right to ask for fair compensation for the damages caused by these weapons in inflicting great damages against people, institutions and the environment in Iraq. Al-Sahaf asked the AL chief to circulate this message among the AL member states as well as to circulate the accompanying map and the sites where uranium shells were detonated. Al-Sahaf added that the US and British forces launched more than one million uranium-treated shells, whose weight totalled 315 tonnes in large areas of the country, adding that it is the first time that such a poisonous metal has been used in war. ******************** Western doctors denounce "embargo on medical knowledge" in Iraq 10:48 GMT, 05 April 1999 BAGHDAD, April 5 (AFP) -A team of US, Canadian and Australian doctors delivered supplies of medical books and journals to Baghdad's university on Monday in protest at the "embargo on medical knowledge." The medical literature and 28,000 dollars worth of antibiotics were given to the university's medical department by the team of 25 doctors, nurses and students. In a statement, the team called for an end to the "sanctions on medical information," and praised the "courage and effectiveness" of Iraqi doctors, who work with almost no resources. The crippling UN sanctions imposed on Iraq in 1990 following its invasion of Kuwait do not directly cover humanitarian supplies or medical books, but Baghdad no longer has the money to buy them. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- 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