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Iraq news items

*       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

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


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

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

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

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

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
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

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.

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