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]
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 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 **************************************************** 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 increasing 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 March. 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 regime. "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 ========http://iraqaction.org/ ======= To subscribe, send an e-mail to "email@example.com" 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 March." 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: http://phobos.caltech.edu/~bpc/iraq/ and http://iraqaction.org/nofly.html 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 breadbasket. ``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 sustenance. 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 emigrating.'' 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, NOT the whole list. Archived at http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/~saw27/casi/discuss.html