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Hi all, Harriet's main e-mail account is dead so these items are being routed via my address. Colin Rowat Coordinator, Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/casi King's College Cambridge CB2 1ST tel: +44 (0)468 056 984 England fax: +44 (0)1223 335 219 ******************** · U.S. Will Aid Iraqi Opposition (Associated Press): 'The objective is to have plans ready for the day when Saddam goes.' · U.S. Won't Aid Anti-Saddam Iraqis (Associated Press). Rubin: "We're not prepared to take action that is premature or that puts people's lives needlessly at risk." [subject of this article as previous, but the US' distinction between 'lethal' and 'non-lethal' aid appears to be adding to the confusion] · Iraqi opposition delegation starts program in Washington (Arabic News) · Albright Says Hussein's Foes Are Building Unified Front (New York Times). Rubin: "This kind of broad-based political regime change is a new policy." · Allies resume attack on Baghdad (Arabic News): attacks on Sunday · Iraqi government formally renews Oil For Food (Associated Press) · Iraq stops medicine transactions with Jordanians that deal with Israel (Arabic News) · Pope hopes to visit Iraq in autumn (Daily Telegraph) · Report: 80 government troops killed in fighting between Islamic Resistance and Republican Guard last week (Associated Press) ******************** U.S. Will Aid Iraqi Opposition By Harry Dunphy, Associated Press Writer, Tuesday, May 25, 1999; 2:01 a.m. EDT WASHINGTON (AP) -- The United States wants to see a new government established in Iraq and will help bring it about, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright told Iraqi opposition leaders. The Clinton administration, which has made toppling Iraqi President Saddam Hussein a major objective, will provide material and training for the Iraqi opposition but no military help for now, State Department spokesman James P. Rubin said after Albright met with the leaders Monday. Rubin told reporters the opposition groups were not ready for military help. "We're not prepared to take action that is premature or that puts people's lives needlessly at risk,'' he said. "There are a number of steps that have to be taken before we're in a position to provide lethal assistance.'' Rubin said the administration would assist in establishing offices to help the opposition groups work together. He said the groups also would get computers, training in civil administration and advice on distributing anti-Saddam information. The opposition leaders, newly united under the Iraqi National Congress, had said they planned to seek U.S. military protection for their efforts to overthrow Saddam. Six representatives of the INC, which had disintegrated in squabbling among opposition groups until it agreed to reunify in April, were joined at the meeting by members of Iraq's Kurdish minority and other Arabs. But senior administration officials said Hamid Bayati, a representative of the Iran-based Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, a member of the INC, did not take part. The largest Shiite opposition group, it apparently did not want to be seen as cooperating with the United States. The opposition leaders plan to visit members of Congress on Wednesday and see President Clinton's national security adviser, Sandy Berger, on Thursday. Rubin said aid would begin flowing after opposition leaders meet in northern Iraq in early July. Last year Congress endorsed a plan to provide $95 million to Iraqi opposition groups and $2 million for anti-Saddam radio broadcasts into Iraq. ******************** U.S. Won't Aid Anti-Saddam Iraqis By Harry Dunphy, Associated Press Writer, Monday, May 24, 1999; 6:16 p.m. EDT WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Clinton administration will help Iraqi opposition leaders organize themselves but won't provide military help now for action against President Saddam Hussein, the State Department said Monday. To help the opposition groups work together, State Department spokesman James P. Rubin said the administration would assist in establishing offices in New York and London and possibly a satellite office in the Middle East. He said the groups also would get computers, training in civil administration and advice on distributing anti-Saddam information. The objective is to have plans ready for the day when Saddam goes. The opposition leaders, newly united under the re-formed Iraqi National Congress, had said they planned also to seek in a meeting with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright U.S. military protection for their efforts to overthrow Saddam. Six representatives of the INC, which had disintegrated amid squabbling among various opposition groups until it agreed to reunify in April, were joined at the meeting by members of Iraq's Kurdish minority and other Arab groups or individuals not part of the Iraqi National Congress. They included Adnan Pachachi, a former Iraqi oil minister; Sharif Ali bin Al Hussein, representing the monarchy deposed in 1958; and Hatem J. Mukhless, whose father helped establish the Iraqi army. But Hamid Bayati, a representative of the Iran-based Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq who also is a leader of the Iraqi National Congress, did not take part. His group, the largest representing Iraq's Shiites, does not want to be seen cooperating with the United States. The U.S. officials said Albright told the gathering wants to see a new government in Iraq that is responsive to the needs of all the country's people. ``She welcomed the fact that this group representing the mosaic of Iraq had come together to manifest their unity and pledged'' U.S. support for their efforts, an official said, briefing reporters on condition of anonymity. The opposition leaders will visit Congress on Wednesday and see President Clinton's national security adviser, Sandy Berger, on Thursday. Briefing reporters before the meeting, Rubin said the opposition groups were not ready for military help at this time. ``We're not prepared to take action that is premature or that puts people's lives needlessly at risk,'' Rubin said. ``There are a number of steps that have to be taken before we're in a position to provide lethal assistance.'' Rubin said Albright wants to learn the opposition leaders' plans and see how the United States can help, and aid would begin flowing after a general assembly of opposition leaders in northern Iraq in early July. Egypt rebuffed efforts to establish an anti-Saddam government-in-exile in Cairo. Last year Congress endorsed a plan to provide $95 million to Iraqi opposition groups and $2 million for anti-Saddam radio broadcasts into Iraq. President Clinton has proclaimed that Saddam's ouster is a major U.S. objective. U.S. and British planes patrol the skies over dissident strongholds in northern and southern Iraq, but the two countries have no military presence on the ground. As the United States promotes the Iraqi opposition, it continues to strike military sites in flight-interdiction zones in northern Iraq set up to protect Iraqi Kurds. The trip by the opposition group comes at a time when members of the U.N. Security Council are trying to work out a new policy to deal with Baghdad. The council has not agreed on a resolution that would allow resumption of U.N. arms inspections in Iraq that were halted last December, when the United States and Britain carried out four days of air raids against Iraq. ******************** Iraqi opposition delegation starts program in Washington Arabic News, Iraq, Politics, 5/24/99 A united delegation representing the Iraqi opposition, including members of the provisional leadership of the Iraqi National Congress and representatives for the Democratic Center Party, left London on Sunday for Washington. Today, the delegation will start its political program which includes meetings with officials in the Congress and the US administration. Sources in the "Free Iraqi Council" stated on Monday that the meeting, which was held last Thursday between the "provisional leadership" and the "Center Trend," resulted in reaching a cooperation agreement between the two sides "in order to unify forces of the Iraqi opposition with the participation of all parties and activities." A statement released following the meeting between the two sides stressed "continued dialogue and means of revitalizing the role played by the opposition" as well as taking part in the follow-up committee. The statement also stressed that a joint delegation representing the two sides is to visit the US in response to an invitation extended by the US Congress and administration in order to exchange views and discussions on latest developments relating to Iraq. The delegation to Washington includes members of the provisional leadership Eyad Allaei, Kamal Fuad, Latif Rashid, Ahmad al-Jalabi, Riyadh al-Yawar, Muhammad Abdul Jabbar and Nouri Badran as well as the representatives of the "Center Trend," Adnan al-Baja Je and al-Sharif Ali Bin Hussein. ******************** New York Times, May 25, 1999, By JANE PERLEZ Albright Says Hussein's Foes Are Building Unified Front WASHINGTON -- Secretary of State Madeleine Albright met with the leaders of Iraqi opposition groups Monday, the first encounter the secretary has had with such leaders and an indication of the Clinton administration's efforts to build a more cohesive opposition against Saddam Hussein. The meeting between Albright and nearly a dozen Iraqi opposition leaders came as the State Department announced moves to supply the opposition with non-lethal assistance such as offices and communication equipment. Under the Iraqi Liberation Act passed by Congress last year, $97 million was made available for lethal and non-lethal aid to seven opposition groups intent on overthrowing the Iraqi president. In January, the administration appointed Frank Ricciardone, a Foreign Service officer, as special representative for transition in Iraq and the official responsible for overseeing administration policy toward the Iraqi opposition groups. The administration decided to move ahead with supporting the opposition groups, including Ahmed Chalabi, the head of the Iraqi National Congress, despite skepticism at the Pentagon. In 1996, the operations in northern Iraq of the Iraqi National Congress were decimated by the Iraqi army and Chalabi was out of favor with the administration after that debacle. But Chalabi lobbied Congress to pass the $97 million plan and hoped to get his group designated as the main recipient. The top American commander in the Middle East, Gen. Anthony C. Zinni of the Marine Corps, warned last year that none of the existing groups was strong enough to either unify the opposition or topple Saddam Hussein. After Albright met with the opposition leaders, the assistant secretary for Near East affairs, Martin Indyk, said the support for the groups was one facet of the overall policy to change the regime in Iraq. "This is a political effort from the outside to delegitimize Saddam," Indyk said. The broader policy embraced the continuing bombing by the United States of Iraq, economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation, Indyk said. The first funds from the $97 million would be spent on training the opposition groups in civil administration that would help them "move into" Iraq should Saddam be toppled, a senior administration official said. "We're not talking about lethal assistance at this time," the State Department spokesman, James P. Rubin, said Monday. There were funds for a broadcasting system that would enable the opposition groups to get their anti-Saddam message into Iraq. As well, the opposition would most likely open offices in London, New York and in the Middle East. In announcing the activities Monday, Rubin, said that the administration was embarking on a new policy. "This kind of broad-based political regime change, overt policy, is a new policy," he said. He described the membership of the opposition that the administration is backing as being a "variety" that stretched beyond the interests of Chalabi. Among those groups at the State Department Monday were the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, led by Latif Rashid, and the Kurdistan Democratic Party, led by Hoshyar Zebari. State Department officials said they were pleased a centrist Sunni leader in exile, Riyad al Yawir, was present Monday. Part of the meeting with Albright Monday was intended to show to the administration that the frequently squabbling opposition factions had patched up their differences and were reuniting in the goal of overthrowing Saddam, a senior State Department official said. ******************** Allies resume attack on Baghdad Arabic News, Iraq, Politics, 5/24/99 US and British aircraft made raids yesterday on Iraq, coming from the Turkish Incirlik air base and attacked Iraqi anti-aircraft sites near Mosoul in northern Iraq, due to which Iraqi citizens were injured. A spokesman from the Iraqi air defense leadership stated that 19 formations for the allies implemented 23 air raids above Mosoul city, and the Kurdish cities of Dahouk and Arbil and the anti-aircraft sites in the area, due to which citizens were injured. The spokesman stated that the Iraqi ground forces confronted the assault aircraft and forced it to leave Iraq's airspace, returning to their bases in Turkey after spending more than two hours above Iraq. ******************** Iraq Renews Oil-for-Food Deal By Leon Barkho, Associated Press Writer, Tuesday, May 25, 1999; 5:05 a.m. EDT BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- The Iraqi government has formally renewed its oil-for-food deal with the United Nations that provides food and medicine for its people, a senior official said today. The official also said Iraq's SOMO, the state oil marketing arm, was now working on new contracts for the sixth phase of the deal, which started Tuesday. ``The contracts could be ready in a matter of days,'' the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Sources at SOMO said there should be no interruption in oil exports. Iraq is now producing 2.65 million barrels of oil a day with about 2 million earmarked for exports. The official said any production and export increase would be impossible without spare parts. However, he said, $14 million of equipment and spare parts have already arrived in the country and if the current pace of arrivals continues they will be able ``to add another 250,000 barrels a day to output before the end of this year.'' The oil-for-food program allows Iraq to bypass U.N. trade sanctions imposed after its 1990 invasion of Kuwait and sell limited amounts of oil on condition the proceeds are used to buy food, medicine and humanitarian goods for its people. The program, which is approved in six-month phases, began in December 1996. State-run newspapers, which reflect government thinking, have been very critical of the program recently, with some even advising the government to abandon the deal. The newspaper Babil, which is owned by President Saddam Hussein's eldest son Odai, speculated Monday that the United States and Britain would turn the oil program into a permanent measure that would substitute for any eventual lifting of sanctions. But Iraq desperately needs the program, particularly as it is facing its worst drought in almost fifty years. Iraq has so far received up to 10 million tons of food through the program. ******************** Iraq stops medicine transactions with Jordanians that deal with Israel Arabic News, Jordan, Politics, 5/24/99 Iraqi sources told ArabicNews.com that Iraq stopped dealing with some Jordanian medicine companies because of their dealings with Israel and that Iraq refused to complete some transactions for purchasing Jordanian medicines after learning it had a part in the economic normalization process with Israel. The sources added, "Iraq considered itself free of any commitment ratified with Jordanian medicine companies and stopped these transactions." Meanwhile, the public union for vocational syndicates in Jordan started a campaign against the Jordanian companies that deal with Israel, referring to them as normalized companies with the Zionist enemy. The Iraqi Ministry of Health informed the union of Jordanian pharmacists of the suspension of transactions, adding that the union started an expanded initiative aimed at collecting information about the concerned companies as soon as it is informed. ******************** Daily Telegraph, ISSUE 1460, Tuesday 25 May 1999, By Bruce Johnston in Rome Pope hopes to visit Iraq in autumn THE Pope is hoping to travel to Iraq "in the footsteps of Abraham" later this year, probably in the autumn, it emerged yesterday. The trip, which has still to be confirmed, would be mainly to Ur, where Abraham, the Patriarch of the Jews, was born, and to other Biblical sites. The Pope is said to be very keen on the visit, although President Saddam Hussein is certain to try to use it for his own propaganda purposes. Sources said that the decision concerning the general outlines of the visit followed meetings last week between members of the Curia and a delegation from Baghdad of Chaldean Catholic and Muslim leaders, led by the Patriarch Raphael Bidawid. Christians account for about one million of Iraq's 17 million population. Most of the Christians are Chaldeans, or indigenous Catholics. Thanks to his stand against the Gulf war and the United Nations embargo against Iraq, the Pope is now a popular figure in Baghdad. He is convinced that such sanctions hurt only civilians, especially children, and the weak and poor. The Vatican has full diplomatic ties with Baghdad, with whose regime Mgr Giuseppe Lazzarotto, the papal nuncio, is said to be on the friendliest of terms. To America and Britain's dismay, Saddam will probably seek a joint "photo opportunity" with the Pope to try to use his visit to end the UN embargo. ******************** Report: Iraq Battles Kill 80 Troops Monday, May 24, 1999; 12:16 p.m. EDT CAIRO, Egypt (AP) -- Armed Iraqi opposition groups fought a nine-hour battle with the elite Republican Guard in southern Iraq last week, killing 80 government soldiers, an opposition report said Monday. The Iran-based Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, or SCIRI, said an armored unit of President Saddam Hussein's Republican Guard attacked the dissidents Wednesday near Kut, 100 miles south of Baghdad. The opposition forced the government soldiers to retreat, ``leaving behind their dead and destroyed weapons,'' SCIRI said in a statement faxed to The Associated Press in Cairo. Seven dissidents were wounded, two of them seriously, it said. The fighting took place in the Jazeera area, close to the marshes that extend to the Iranian border. Tens of thousands of army deserters and civilians, mostly Shiites, took refuge in the marshes after soldiers crushed a Shiite rebellion in the south following Iraq's defeat in the 1991 Persian Gulf War. In another statement, SCIRI said Islamic resistance fighters launched rockets on government and army headquarters Friday in the Diyala province, 40 miles north of Baghdad. The offices of the governor, military security and two army headquarters buildings sustained heavy losses of men, equipment and buildings, it said. The reports could not be independently confirmed. ******************** ______________________________________________________ Get Your Private, Free Email at http://www.hotmail.com -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- 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