The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

From the US IAC list: air strikes on Iraq and more drought information

The following articles have been circulated on the Iraq Action Coalition list, a US list:

1.  Allied air strikes on Iraq going unnoticed (Los Angeles Times)
2.  Iraq Facing Severe Drought (AP)

The list also circulated a correction to the numbers reported in the first article.  I have 
appended that to the first article.

The drought article is the first one to provide much detail that I have
seen.  It is quite worrying.

Colin Rowat
Coordinator, Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq

King's College                                                 
Cambridge CB2 1ST                       tel: +44 (0)468 056 984
England                                 fax: +44 (0)1223 335 219

The Detroit News, June 2, 1999, Wednesday 

HEADLINE: Allied air strikes on Iraq going unnoticed: But the pace of
precision attacks by U.S., Britain on radar posts, air defenses gradually

BYLINE: John Daniszewski / Los Angeles Times

CAIRO, Egypt -- While NATO jets have been slamming targets in Yugoslavia
for the last nine weeks, America's other -- and far less visible -- air
war has intensified over Iraq.

Virtually unnoticed, U.S. and British aircraft have responded to what the
coalition partners describe as provocations by Baghdad.

The allied fighter jets, flying from Turkey and the Persian Gulf, have
been chipping away systematically at Iraqi radar posts, air defenses and
other military and command facilities.

Despite the use of laser-guided rockets and other precision munitions,
Iraq claims some of the strikes have gone astray, destroying private
property, killing at least 20 civilians and leaving scores injured.

Although one might think the enormous demands for air power in the Balkan
conflict would diminish allied activity over Iraq, the pace of attacks has
picked up slightly since NATO action in Yugoslavia began.

According to an unofficial tally of actions announced by the U.S. Central
and European commands, there have been about 19 strikes against Iraq in
April and May, roughly equal to the total for all of January, February and

In a way, the Yugoslav conflict has worked to the advantage of
U.S.-British forces in the Persian Gulf, Middle East analysts say, by
distracting the attention of the Arab world away from Iraq -- and
deferring any action on the basic split in the UN Security Council over
what to do about Iraq.

"The daily attacks are a war of attrition against Saddam (Hussein), and at
the same time, they do not arouse mass anger among Arabs," observed Nabil
Abdel Fattaj, a researcher at Cairo's Al Ahram Center for Political and
Strategic Studies. "It is not making headlines anymore."

It is not only the war in Kosovo that has put Iraq on the back burner. In
the Middle East, the top item on the diplomatic agenda for the remainder
of the year is likely to be Israel's new government under Ehud Barak and
its attempts to resuscitate the peace process.

U.S. officials say the bombings have exacted a heavy toll on Hussein's

"We have certainly degraded their ability to respond," said Air Force Maj. 
Joseph LaMarca Jr., spokesman for the U.S. Central Command, which oversees
U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf. He said Iraqi air defenses have been
weakened and the bombings may have contributed to dissension in the ranks
of the Iraqi military.

Since Iraq announced in January that it would begin resisting the
Western-imposed "no-fly" zones in northern and southern Iraq, the U.S. 
military said there have been 180 Iraqi threats against allied forces,
including 111 violations of the no-fly zones, nine cases of illuminating
allied aircraft with radar, 16 firings of surface-to-air missiles and at
least 50 engagements with anti-aircraft artillery, LaMarca said.

U.S. officials deny that the coalition air strikes are anything but
defensive and say they are an appropriate response to the Iraqi actions.

Among ordinary Iraqis, the mood is bleak, said journalist Subhy Haddad,
speaking from Baghdad. 

"It seems that there is no end," he said with a sigh. Three permanent
Security Council members -- Russia, China and France -- have urged the
lifting of economic sanctions against Iraq after nine years, arguing that
they have caused intolerable suffering to the Iraqi people without effect
on the regime.

The United States and Britain, however, insist that Hussein's regime still
poses an extreme danger to Iraq's neighbors and must be contained.

In the absence of any consensus for a new approach, the Security Council
last week extended for six months the existing oil-for-food program that
allows Iraq to sell limited amounts of petroleum to pay for food, medicine
and other basic needs under UN auspices.

Appendage to previous article

=========Iraq Action Coalition ======== =======
To subscribe, send an e-mail to "" with
'subscribe iac-list' in the body of the message
Dear friends,

The article (US Attacks on Iraq Mounting, Unnoticed) contains a factual
error.  The article states that: 

"According to an unofficial tally of actions announced by the U.S. Central
and European commands, there have been about 19 strikes against Iraq in
April and May, roughly equal to the total for all of January, February and

By May 25, there have been 23 strikes in April and May.  There were 41
strikes in the months of January, February, and March. 

(Thanks to Justin Beck for pointing out the mistake)

For updated information about the bombings, refer to:


Thank you,
-Rania Masri

Iraq Facing Severe Drought

By Waiel Faleh
Associated Press Writer

Wednesday, June 2, 1999; 12:07 p.m. EDT

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- Iraq is enduring its worst drought in nearly 100 years
and will soon face a food ``catastrophe'' if new aid funds are not
immediately found, U.N. and Iraqi officials said Wednesday.

According to figures released Tuesday by the U.N. Food and Agriculture
Organization, Iraq has lost about 70 percent of its crops in the country's

``The low rainfall and higher temperatures have had a disastrous effect on
crops and livestock in Iraq,'' Hans von Sponeck, Iraq's U.N. humanitarian
coordinator, told reporters.

More alarming, according to von Sponeck, is the fact that 90 percent of the
wheat and barley fields in these areas ``have failed to germinate.''

``A catastrophe,'' he declared.

Neither von Sponeck nor the FAO's Iraq representative, Amir Khalil, offered
exact figures on this year's yields.

Last month, a U.N. report released in Baghdad said Iraq was facing grain
harvests of only a third of what they were last year, when government
granaries collected 1.2 million tons of wheat and 859,000 tons of barley.

But Khalil said new government figures showed that the barley harvest will
actually be at least 90 percent below last year's yields. The prospect for
wheat is also bleak, he said.

Both officials expressed fears about whether the government will be able to
sustain its food rationing system, upon which millions of Iraqis depend for

Von Sponeck will travel to New York next week to ask the U.N. Security
Council for immediate additional funding to help meet Iraq's food needs.

He said relief aid pouring into Iraq under the oil program, which allows oil
exports of $5.2 billion every six months, is ``inadequate.''

Senior Iraqi agriculture official Abdulsattar Salaman said water levels
across Iraq were only 43 percent of normal. Khalil said the drought was the
severest Iraq has had since it began keeping records in 1903.

``It is going to affect all aspects of life in Iraq,'' he said. ``There is
no crop even for grazing. There is no germination. Livestock are

Khalil said more than 400,000 Iraqi shepherds and Bedouin have left the
parched areas in the center and south of the country and moved to
Kurdish-rebel controlled land in the north in search of pasture and water.

But he said the drought has also adversely affected the livestock and
poultry production in the mountainous Kurdish areas.

The United Nations in Baghdad has formed a drought committee to help Iraq
deal with the drought crisis.

This is a discussion list run by Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
To be removed/added, email, NOT the
whole list. Archived at

[Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]