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This email contains news articles concerning Iraq for the period 27 September to 3 October, 1999. Highlights from this week's news: * The US military diverted at least 5 ships carrying goods to Iraq. * The US govt. is considering allowing Iraq to exceed the Oil for Food export quota. * US/UK air forces bomb Iraq on two separate days. * Turkish army crosses the Iraqi border to attack/pursue Kurdish rebels. * Also see comments by US Christian groups, Jesse Helms, various newspaper editors and Stratcom. # Thanks to Colin, Drew and Jean for their clippings. --------------------------------------------- Sunday October 3, 3:49 pm Eastern Time Iraq Urges OPEC To Cut Production By WAIEL FALEH Associated Press Writer BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries should cut production further to raise the oil price to more than $33 a barrel, Iraq's parliamentary speaker said Sunday. In an article published in the Al-Thawra newspaper, Sadoun Hammadi, who is also an economist, accused OPEC member states of flooding the market with oil to please the United States. ``The most important issue that should be discussed at the OPEC summit in Venezuela is production ceilings and prices,'' Hammadi wrote in the paper, which is controlled by the ruling Baath Party. OPEC is due to meet in Venezuela in March. ``The oil price should be $33.71 per barrel, which is a just and reasonable price,'' he said. In London on Friday, North Sea Brent crude oil futures settled at $23.67 a barrel on the International Petroleum Exchange. The price fell to below $10 a barrel in February as the world experienced a glut of oil. OPEC and non-OPEC members subsequently agreed on a series of production cutbacks which raised the price. Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was reported as telling his Cabinet last week that the price was still too low and accused the United States of manipulating the market. ``Would certain OPEC members abandon the policy of flooding the market with oil to suit the interest of big industrial countries (such as) the United States?,'' Hammadi asked in a clear reference to Saudi Arabia. Iraq has long accused Saudi Arabia of exporting more than it should. --------------------------------- Sunday October 3 4:01 PM ET U.S., British Planes Bomb Northern Iraq BAGHDAD (Reuters) - An Iraqi military spokesman said U.S. and British aircraft bombed civilian targets in northern Iraq Sunday before being driven off by Iraqi defenses. The spokesman, quoted by the official Iraqi News Agency, said the planes flew 12 sorties over northern Iraq at 12:45 p.m., and had bombed a civilian target. He did not mention any casualties. ``Hostile crows...flew over regions in the provinces of Duhok, Arbil, Nineveh and attacked a number of service and civilian installations,'' the spokesman said. Ground forces intercepted the planes ``and forced them to leave our airspace, retreating disappointingly into the bases of evil from where they came in Turkish territories.'' U.S. and British planes patrol no-fly zones over Iraq's north and south. The exclusion zones were imposed by the West after the 1991 Gulf War over Kuwait to protect opponents of President Saddam Hussein. In Germany, the United States European Command said Sunday that aircraft monitoring the northern no-fly zone in Iraq bombed air defense systems after being shot at twice by anti-aircraft guns. Stuttgart-based Eucom said in a statement the exchange happened near the Saddam Dam, northwest of the city of Mosul. It said all planes left the area safely. In London, a British defense ministry spokesman said: ``We do not bomb Iraqi civilians.'' He said British aircraft provided reconnaissance in the no-fly zone operation and would respond in self-defense. ----------------------------------------------- Saturday October 2 5:33 PM ET Iraq Protests U.S. Diversion of Ships By WILLIAM C. MANN Associated Press Writer WASHINGTON (AP) - American sailors diverted at least five ships carrying cargo to Iraq after boarding parties had problems searching for contraband, the U.S. military said Saturday. In a protest to the United Nations, Iraq called such action a misuse of U.S. force. The incidents in the Persian Gulf happened over the last month as U.S. ships enforced a 9-year-old trade embargo against Iraq. In a letter to Kofi Annan, the U.N. secretary-general, Iraq cited only two of the incidents, involving ships from Denmark and China. Both were ordered to rearrange their cargoes and to remove obstacles blocking full access to searching Americans. Each ship eventually was reinspected, ``given the thumbs up and sent on its way,'' said Army Lt. Col. Mark Samisch, spokesman for the U.S. Central Command headquarters at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. ``Every ship that goes into the Gulf is queried by inspectors,'' Samisch said. ``The ships are boarded if there is any question about the cargo after the query. If it is not configured appropriately, so the crew cannot inspect properly, the ship is asked to go to the port of its choice - as long as it's not in Iraq - for reconfiguration.'' Such action is ``sheer aggression on civil navigation in the Gulf,'' Foreign Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf's letter said. He asked Annan to put a stop to it. ``The Iraqi government condemns this misuse of force by the United States to prevent the arrival of humanitarian items to Iraq,'' the official Iraqi News Agency quoted al-Sahhaf's letter as saying. Under the U.N. sanctions, imposed after Iraq invaded neighboring Kuwait on Aug. 2, 1990, most trade with President Saddam Hussein's government is banned. The sanctions regime allows Iraq to sell $5.2 billion worth of oil every six months and use the proceeds to buy humanitarian supplies for the 22 million Iraqis. In recent months, the United States and Britain, the main enforcing parties, have been largely alone on the 15-nation Security Council in strong support of continuing sanctions until Iraq complies with conditions set by the council. They include confirmation by the Security Council that any Iraqi chemical, biological and nuclear weapons have been destroyed, and Saddam has abandoned efforts to develop them. Iraq insists the conditions have been met. Without inspection teams inside Iraq, which Saddam expelled a year ago, the United States and Britain reject the assurances. In Bahrain, a Gulf emirate where the U.S. 5th Fleet is headquartered, U.S. Coast Guard Cmdr. Donald Bunn said multinational forces in the Gulf have made more than 1,700 radio queries on ships entering or leaving Iraqi ports. Through Aug. 31, Bunn said, 515 vessels had been boarded. The first of the diversion incidents, al-Sahhaf's letter said, involved the Chinese vessel Dahua, which was inspected in late August and carried a tugboat and a generator. The letter also protested the interception of the Arktis Crystal, a Danish ship carrying 60,000 bags of white beans from the Philippines. Both were sent to port to reconfigure their loads - the Dahua twice - and then were reinspected and cleared. The same was true for the other three ships, Coast Guard spokesman Bunn said. In a related matter, Central Command spokesman Samisch, of the Central Command, said a new element in the last two weeks has been the emergence of tankers smuggling oil out of Iraq. Five have been taken over since Sept. 15, ``since the price of oil increased.'' - EDITOR'S NOTE - Associated Press Writer Waiel Faleh contributed to this report. ----------------------------------- Friday October 1 7:22 PM ET Countries Under Fire for Weapons VIENNA, Austria (AP) - Iraq and North Korea came under fire Friday for failing to cooperate with nuclear weapons inspectors, while Israel was accused by its neighbors of blocking efforts to create a nuclear weapon-free zone in the region. At the International Atomic Energy Agency's 43rd annual meeting, representatives from more than 100 countries urged Iraq and North Korea to comply with agreements allowing the United Nations' nuclear watchdog agency to inspect the nuclear programs of the two nations. Iraq has been accused of blocking access to documents and possible nuclear sites, and the IAEA has been unable to conduct inspections since December. Iraqi officials have repeatedly argued that they have fulfilled their obligations, and sanctions imposed by the U.N. Security Council at the end of the Gulf War should be lifted. However, U.S. representative John B. Ritch III said, ``Iraq is challenging the will of the Security Council. Iraq is solely responsible for the present situation.'' Also in the Middle East, Israel, which is widely believed to possess nuclear weapons, was roundly criticized by its neighbors for failing to sign the nuclear nonproliferation treaty. ``Middle Eastern countries look forward to establishing a nuclear free weapons zone in the region,'' Iranian representative Ali Akbar Salehi said, adding that efforts have been blocked ``due to Israel's arrogance and its stubbornness.'' Without citing Israel specifically, IAEA representatives approved a resolution pushing for the Mideast to seriously consider establishing itself as a nuclear weapons-free area. Israeli representative Giora Amir conceded ``a nuclear weapons free zone could serve to complement peace, security and weapons control in the region.'' -------------------------------- FOCUS-Turk forces attack Kurd rebels in north Iraq 11:51 a.m. Sep 30, 1999 Eastern By Yilmaz Akinci DIYARBAKIR, Turkey, Sept 30 (Reuters) - Thousands of Turkish troops pushed about 10 km (six miles) into the mountains of northern Iraq on Thursday to engage Kurdish rebels hiding in the remote region, a security official said. The operation, which the official told Reuters had been launched on Monday, coincided with hardline statements from Turkey's influential military vowing to fight until every ``terrorist'' has surrendered or been ``neutralised.'' Iraq condemned the incursion, saying it was aggression and a violation of Iraqi sovereignty. The Iraqi government lost direct control of northern Iraq in the wake of the 1991 Gulf War. The developments represent a blow to Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) rebels who say they are suing for peace. Their leader, Abdullah Ocalan, is on death row in a top security island jail. ``Clashes are continuing but there is no information yet on casualties,'' an official in the southeast said. However, military and civilian sources in the region said 18 PKK rebels and five Turkish soldiers had been killed. Three members of a Turkish Kurd militia force and three ``peshmerga'' fighters for an Iraqi Kurd group, both allied to Ankara, also died. About 5,000 troops backed by air power and armoured vehicles entered the Kurdish-held enclave of northern Iraq at three points along the border some 80 km (50 miles) apart. U.S.-built Cobra helicopter gunships were used to attack the rebel hideouts on the Haftanin and Metina mountains just over the border from Turkey. Turkey's defence minister said a lack of central authority in northern Iraq, in the hands of rival Kurdish factions since the 1991 Gulf War, allowed the PKK to set up bases there and forced Turkey to intervene. The regular operations infuriate Iraq, which said it ``reserves the full right to choose the place and time suitable to retaliate against such Turkish aggression.'' OCALAN CASTS HIMSELF AS DOVE Since his capture and sentencing to death earlier this year, Ocalan has sought to portray himself as a peacemaker, ordering his PKK guerrillas to stop fighting and leave the country. Most recently, he called on one group to turn themselves in to authorities as sign of their desire for peace and an end to the 15-year conflict in which over 30,000 people have died. A group of Kurdish lawyers have travelled to the southeast to oversee the surrender of a group of around 25 guerrillas. ``The point is to secure the safety of the group that is planning to come,'' a spokesman for the lawyers said in Istanbul. But a Reuters Television cameraman said the lawyers and journalists accompanying them were stopped by security forces near the border province of Hakkari and ordered to turn back. Officials say the PKK group will be detained and prosecuted as would any other guerrillas. Parliament recently passed an amnesty for rebels who had not taken part in armed attacks. Ocalan's PKK set out in 1984 to fight for self-rule in the mainly Kurdish southeast but now says it only seeks cultural rights. It says it aims to campaign as a peaceful democratic force, but appears increasingly frustrated at Turkey's refusal to answer its peace overtures. The defence minister said Ocalan's new line was insincere. Ocalan said this week that the conflict could spin out of control if Ankara did not take his peace overtures seriously. ------------------------------------------------------- Published Thursday, September 30, 1999, in the Miami Herald Anti-Hussein coalition split on Iraq punishment BY CHRISTOPHER MARQUIS Herald Washington Bureau WASHINGTON -- The international coalition that expelled Iraq from Kuwait nearly nine years ago is unraveling, with former allies blaming Washington for surging child mortality rates in Iraq, an unremitting air war and a failing effort to disarm President Saddam Hussein. The United States and the other permanent members of the United Nations Security Council still agree on the need to prevent the Iraqi leader from developing nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, but they are badly split over how best to force him to cooperate. Russia, China and France support a move to suspend economic sanctions against Iraq in 100-day increments if Baghdad allows U.N. arms inspectors to resume their work. The United States and Britain reject that plan, saying Hussein must accept monitoring without any conditions. French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine blasted Washington last week for being ``insensitive to the human catastrophe under way in Iraq.'' U.S. officials countered that Hussein is to blame for his country's misery, but they seemed to hedge their bets by indicating they won't object if he tries to sell more oil than U.N. sanctions allow. Meanwhile, U.N. officials and envoys privately grumble that the United States and Britain, which have bombed more than 400 sites in Iraq since December, have forsaken their diplomatic mandate and are engaged in a little-noticed campaign to topple Hussein. ``Now he's got a weakened international resolve -- or at least a much more distracted international community, if nothing else -- to the point that he's got to be feeling pretty good, that he's just going to ride this one out,'' said Sen. Sam Brownback, a Kansas Republican. GENERAL WEARINESS Analysts said several factors are straining the U.S.-led coalition, among them a general weariness with the subject among diplomats, U.S. neglect of its allies, publicity of suffering Iraqis, a renewed commercial interest in Iraq by nations such as France and a belief that the United States can be relied on to contain any arms threat posed by Iraq. Complicating the scenario is a little-noticed bombing campaign by U.S. and British planes over Iraq. Since December, when Hussein declared his forces would no longer honor two no-fly zones in northern and southern Iraq, U.S. and British jets have flown nearly 24,000 sorties and unleashed more than 1,300 smart bombs and missiles. U.S. and British diplomats say the attacks are purely defensive -- responses to anti-aircraft fire and Iraqi radars locking on to allied planes. Hussein has offered a $14,000 reward to any Iraqi who shoots down an American jet. But the attacks don't have U.N. authorization, and many nations -- including Turkey and Saudi Arabia, which provide air bases -- are uncomfortable with the nebulous mission. U.S. officials concede the cost and the risk to pilots make the strategy hard to sustain. --- Editorial - The Washington Post 'Counterfeit Bills' Thursday, September 30, 1999; Page A22 IF WINNING means surviving, staying in the fight and continuing to work for chosen objectives, then Iraq won the Gulf War. Though its army was defeated and its population suffers still, a decade later Saddam Hussein remains in power and in pursuit of the deadly weapons the world's nations ordered him to yield. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee made a quick tour of the possibilities the other day and came up with the grim message that there is no easy way out. In the U.N. Security Council, Russia, China and France are ready to peel back the economic sanctions voted in the war. But, eyes on narrow strategic and commercial prizes, they are not ready to demand that first Iraq disarm and submit to international inspection. The United States and Britain go at it from the other direction: first, inspections to make sure Iraq has eliminated its nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, and then suspension of sanctions for renewable periods to ensure compliance. This is the better way -- the only way, in fact, to keep these weapons out of irresponsible hands. Somehow split the difference? This sounds reasonable but carries the seeds of deception. An arrangement that rested on expectations of good-faith behavior would invite Saddam Hussein to prolong the violations and lies that have marked his approach to disarmament from the start. It is so that international inspectors have not been permitted to return to the job for almost a year -- a long time in which to build and hide illegal weapons. But the answer cannot be to swallow what former chief inspector Richard Butler calls Saddam Hussein's "counterfeit bills." That leaves the United States and Britain to continue containment by economic sanctions and military pressure. The deeper requirement -- to oust Saddam Hussein -- shimmers beyond the reach of the Western countries and assorted other fatigued allies. The alternative is to show the patience for a policy of the long haul. --- The Washington Post "For the Record" Wednesday, September 29, 1999; Page A28 >From remarks yesterday by Chairman Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee: I have heard it argued that any weapons inspections in Iraq are better than no inspections. I do not subscribe to such a view for one obvious reason: Meaningful inspections must be intrusive, thorough and open-ended--in other words, not different from the inspections conducted by UNSCOM. If anyone concludes, therefore, that I regard any new inspection regime accepted by Saddam Hussein as a charade, the conclusion will be valid--for that is precisely my apprehension. Worse yet, in exchange for whatever inspection regime Saddam and his allies will agree to, the United Nations will ease sanctions on Iraq. Our friends at the Department of State obviously believe that easing sanctions on Iraq will undercut the argument that it is sanctions that are starving the Iraqi people. Which, it seems to me, is bureaucratic nonsense. It is Saddam who is starving the people of Iraq. Food and medicine are rotting in Iraqi warehouses while little children suffer and die. In Northern Iraq, where the United Nations distributes food, child mortality rates are below pre-war levels. In the center and South (where Saddam is in charge) mortality rates are twice what they were before the war. Meanwhile, Forbes magazine recently rated Saddam Hussein as one of the richest men in the world, with $6 billion in personal wealth. ------------------------------- 11:31 a.m. Sep 29, 1999 Eastern By Ferit Demir TUNCELI, Turkey, Sept 29 (Reuters) - Thousands of Turkish troops, backed by air power, have crossed into northern Iraq to hunt down Kurd rebels who have vowed never to surrender, a senior Turkish military official said on Wednesday. Some 5,000 troops crossed the border at three points on Monday to reinforce soldiers there, the official told Reuters. They attacked positions held by Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) forces loyal to condemned rebel chief Abdullah Ocalan. Armoured vehicles and infantry entered the remote Kurdish-held enclave through the Habur, Uludere and Cukurca passes, some 80 km (50 miles) apart on Turkey's border with the mountainous enclave of northern Iraq. U.S.-made Cobra helicopters bombed mountainside hideouts in support of the advancing troops, the official said. A rebel spokesman told Reuters the Turkish forces had hit a group of guerrillas pulling out of Turkey to north Iraq. ``This is an attack on PKK forces that were withdrawing from Turkey,'' said a spokesman for the PKK's political wing. ``They ambushed the guerrillas as they were traversing one of the mountain passes into Iraq.'' The rebels are thought to be gathering in north Iraq, outside Baghdad's control since the 1991 Gulf War, after Ocalan ordered them to abandon their armed struggle and leave Turkey. ``This will not stop our efforts for peace. The PKK only fought back because they were attacked,'' the spokesman said. The PKK set out to fight for Kurdish self-rule but now only seeks cultural rights. It says it aims to campaign as a peaceful democratic force in Turkey but appears increasingly frustrated at Turkey's refusal to answer its peace overtures. The clashes came a day after Ocalan, on death row in a Turkish jail, warned that the 15-year conflict could spin out of control if Ankara did not take his offers seriously. Turkey has refused to ease its military assault. The army said on Tuesday operations would continue until every ``terrorist'' had surrendered or been ``neutralised.'' NO SURRENDER PKK commanders in the mountains of northern Iraq slammed what they called Turkish intransigence and said the rebels would continue to seek peace but never surrender. ``The (Turkish) General Staff is set on a policy of war over peace, surrender over freedom and destruction and oppression over democracy,'' the PKK leadership said in a statement carried by the German-based Kurdish DEM news agency. ``While making sacrifices for peace and democracy, we reject surrender. We have rejected surrender, we reject it now and will reject it in the future,'' the statement said. Ocalan called last week for a group of PKK fighters to surrender with their weapons to show their desire for peace. The PKK statement said the surrender would still take place. But there was no sign that any of the rebels were giving themselves up and observers said the army's hardline stance and the clashes could have derailed the PKK plan. Ocalan was sentenced to death in June for leading a 15-year armed struggle for Kurdish self-rule in which some 30,000 rebels, soldiers and civilians have died, most of them Kurds. While awaiting a ruling on his appeal, Ocalan has portrayed himself as the only man able to negotiate an end to the war. The Turkish official gave no details of casualties in the offensive, but DEM said 15 soldiers and six guerrillas had died. Iraqi Kurd ``peshmerga'' fighters opposed to the PKK were cooperating in the operation, the Turkish official said. Fighting also continued in Turkey. A security official said 13 Kurdish guerrillas were killed in overnight clashes with Turkish forces in the mountains of the southeast. --------- Tuesday September 28 8:10 PM ET US Wants Iraq To Export More Oil By NICOLE WINFIELD Associated Press Writer UNITED NATIONS (AP) - The United States has begun drafting a plan to let Iraq export oil beyond its U.N.-mandated limit without suspending the oil embargo, U.N. and U.S. officials said Tuesday. The move came as Iraqi Oil Minister Amer Mohammed Rashid vowed Baghdad would continue to export oil regardless of whether the Security Council approved it. ``We'll continue to produce and export as much as we can within our capabilities, independent of any other measure,'' the minister said at a news conference in Baghdad upon the arrival of his Russian counterpart, Viktor Kaluzhny. The U.S. plan would let Iraq keep exporting oil even after it reaches the $5.26 billion ceiling authorized under the U.N. oil-for-food program, which allows Baghdad to sell limited amounts of oil over six months to buy food and medicine. Iraq is expected to reach that limit by the second week in October, nearly a month before the current six-month phase ends Nov. 20. Without Security Council authorization to exceed the ceiling, Baghdad wouldn't have the legal right to continue exports. The U.S. plan, which would require a council resolution, would allow Iraq to keep exporting oil beyond the $5.26 billion limit to make up for export shortfalls from previous six-month periods. Because of low oil prices and production limits, Iraq fell $3.5 billion short of the ceiling over the course of two six-month periods last year. At current prices and production levels, Iraq can be expected to generate about $7 billion in oil by Nov. 20, still short of the $8.76 billion that would be allowed if the U.S. plan is approved. A second proposal under consideration would have the Security Council estimate how much Iraq could earn through exports by the Nov. 20 expiration of the current phase and adjust the revenue ceiling up to that number, diplomats said. The United States and Britain - Iraq's toughest critics on the council - were reluctant to lift the export cap altogether before the council reaches agreement on an overall resolution on returning U.N. weapons inspectors to Iraq while improving the humanitarian situation for Iraqis. Iraq's 22 million people have lived under sanctions imposed after the 1990 invasion of Kuwait. Under U.N. resolutions, sanctions cannot be lifted until Iraq is declared to be free of its biological, chemical and nuclear weapons. Iraq says it has fully complied and deserves to have sanctions lifted immediately. -------------------------- Talabani: US policies do not lead to the liberation of Iraq Kurdish Media - Sep 29, 1999 In an interview with Al-Zaman Newspaper (issue Sep 28,1999) JalalTalabani, the leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), played down therole of the US administration in its approach to change the regime in Iraq. In reply to a question whether he agrees with the US foreign office initiative in bringing groups of Iraqi oppositions to New York,Talabani said, "coming to New York was not accomplished by American initiativealone, but achieved by the Iraqi oppositions initiative and originally wesucceeded in it with the co-ordination of the 'Higher Islamic Committee forIslamic Revolution' and other Iraqi forces working in the homeland, includingthe Iraqi Communist Party and the "Movement of Islamic Unity in Kurdistan". Oppression of parts of Kurdistan under Saddam's control In this context Talabani said: "The meeting with Mrs Albright was clearand frank. We made it clear to her that the Iraqi people are sufferingunderthe oppression, displacement and under the current depopulation of Kurdsand Turkman from Khanaqeen, Kirkuk, Makhmoor and other parts of Kurdistan controlled by the Iraqi regime. We also expressed to Mrs Albright that the Iraqi people are sufferingform the dictatorial policies implemented by the regime in Baghdad. We askedfor the activation of the UN resolutions that are in favour of the Iraqipeople and not just focusing on the resolutions that are related to thedestruction of weaponry. We emphasize the importance of implementations of the UN resolution 688 that is emphasizing the human rights and the resolutionsthat relate to the oil-for-food programme in an appropriate manner that mayserve the Iraqi people. In addition, we asked the end of the suffering of Iraqi people andremoval of the sanctions on the Iraqi people and bypassing the regime inBaghdad. We asked her to send international missions to monitor the humanrights abuses. We found Mrs Albright responding very positively to all what we asked." Removing Saddam's regime In the context of American plan to remove Saddam from power,Talabanisaid, "...we are not against 'liberation of Iraq' but we object to the USpolicies that do not lead to the liberation of Iraq and we have expressed thatthe opposition groups that are based abroad cannot liberate Iraq." "The outside conspiracies cannot liberate Iraq and we believe thatactive oppositions should emanate from the homeland and should be ready for democratic changes in the Iraqi nation and not be a tool of outside conspiracies whether it is American or others." In reply to a question whether the PUK has received any help from the$97M allocated to the Iraqi oppositions by the US Congress, Talabani repliedin a humorous manner, "thanks god we have not and we shall not receive asingle dollar of this help." ------------------------------------------------ Iraq Says Western Planes Wound Six Civilians 07:07 a.m. Sep 28, 1999 Eastern BAGHDAD (Reuters) - U.S. and British planes hit residential areas in southern Iraq Monday night, wounding six civilians, including two children, the official Iraqi News Agency (INA) said Tuesday. The U.S. Central Command said earlier aircraft patrolling no-fly zones in Iraq attacked military radar and communications sites in the south of the country Monday night. ``The Americans and Britons committed last night another crime in their long list of crimes against residential quarters and civilian installations in Iraq,'' INA said. It said the planes bombed the villages of Tala'e and Mezbaniyeh near the city of Amara, some 220 miles southeast of Baghdad. It said six civilians, including a six-month-old baby girl and a four-year-old girl, were wounded and several houses and a school badly damaged in the attack. An Iraqi information ministry official said the raid took place at 9:30 p.m. He gave no further details but said reporters would shortly be taken to the bombed area. The U.S. Central Command, in a statement faxed to Reuters in Dubai, said: ``The strikes were in response to numerous incidents of Iraqi surface-to-air missile and anti-aircraft artillery fire directed at coalition aircraft yesterday (Sunday).'' The command said that two Iraqi fighter jets also ''violated'' the southern no-fly zone. It said the communications and radar sites were targeted to ''further degrade Iraq's ability to jeopardize coalition pilots and aircraft enforcing the United Nations mandate.'' U.S. and British planes patrol no-fly zones over northern and southern Iraq. The exclusion zones were imposed by the West after the 1991 Gulf War over Kuwait to protect opponents of President Saddam Hussein. Iraq says the no-fly zones are illegal since they were not included in United Nations resolutions adopted after the war. It says nearly 200 civilians have been killed and 600 wounded in repeated air strikes over its northern and southern regions since late December. -------------------------------------- CHRISTIAN RELIGIOUS LEADERS URGE END TO IRAQI EMBARGO>> (WASHINGTON, DC, September 28, 1999) Today twenty-four leading American Christian religious leaders, including heads of major Christian denominations, joined in urging President Clinton to support liftingof the nine-year-old economic embargo against Iraq. The religious leaders cited "clear evidence that the embargo against Iraq is contributing to falling living standards and life expectancy. By almost every measure - - such as malnutrition, child mortality and overall morbidity - - the situation of most Iraqi civilians has deteriorated markedly over the past eight years." It is morally imperative, the religious leaders concluded, forthe> international community to ease the intolerable suffering of theIraqi civilian population caused in part by the embargo's indiscriminate effects. "Since the end of the Gulf War, the U.S. Catholic bishops have repeatedly called for ending the economic embargo, but we are increasingly concerned and impatient with the morally intolerable suffering that continues in the absence of any change of policy," said Bishop Joseph A. Fiorenza of Galveston-Houston, President of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. "The U.S. churches individually and together have spoken out consistently about the immoral level of suffering created by the sanctions againstIraq, but this is the first time that church leaders from the Catholic,Protestant and Orthodox traditions have raised our voices together," said Bishop Craig B. Anderson of the Episcopal Church USA, President of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA. "We believe this will strengthen our common witness and impress upon our government the urgency of the situation." The religious leaders have expressed grave concern about theembargo's> effects on a number of occasions over the past several years. They have appreciated the fact that there have been and continue to be discussions within the United Nations Security Council about the embargo's impact on Iraqi civilians. Today, however, the religious leaders called attention to the failure of existing efforts to address adequately the humanitarian crisis in Iraq. The UN-sponsored oil-for-food program, they said, "was never intended to meet the overall needs of Iraq' people. . . and cannot meet basic needs, much less fund the rebuilding of Iraq's infrastructure and civilian economy,which alone can insure adequate nutrition and health standards." The Iraqi government, the religious leaders pointed out, has contributed to the suffering of its own people by failing to comply with the GulfWar cease-fire resolutions and by failing to take full advantage ofexisting> exemptions to feed and care for its people. "The Iraqi government's actions, however, do not relieve the international community of its responsibility to end the dreadful suffering caused by the embargo. The international community cannot pursue its legitimate goals of eliminating Iraq's weapons of mass destruction by threatening the lives and livelihood of innocent people." The religious leaders called for lifting restrictions on normal trade in ordinary civilian goods, "while maintaining appropriate political sanctions and a strict embargo on military-related items. Taking these steps should not be seen as rewarding irresponsible conduct on the part of the Iraqi government, but as necessary to relieve a morally intolerable situation for which the international community bears a share of responsibility." "More focused and morally defensible means" of eliminating Iraq's weapons of mass destruction should be pursued within the context of regional disarmament called for by UN Security Council Resolution 687, they added. This appeal to President Clinton was signed by the following religious leaders: The Right Reverend Craig B. Anderson, President, The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA; The Reverend H. George Anderson, Presiding Bishop, The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; Mathews Mar Barnabas, Metropolitan of the American Diocese of the Malankara Orthodox Church (India); Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate, Diocese of the Armenian Church of America; John A. Buehrens, President, Unitarian Universalist Association; The Rev. Joan Brown Campbell, General Secretary, The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA; Bishop Joseph A. Fiorenza, President, National Conference of Catholic Bishops; Brother Stephen Glodek, SM, President, Catholic Conference of Major Superiors of Men's Institutes; Wesley Granberg-Michaelson, General Secretary, Reformed Church ofAmerica; The Most Reverend Frank T. Griswold, Presiding Bishop and Primate, Episcopal Church, USA; William Boyd Grove, Ecumenical Officer, United Methodist Council of Bishops; Richard L. Hamm, General Minister and President, The Christian Church Disciples of Christ in the U.S. and Canada; Archbishop Cyril Aphrem Karim, Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch; Clifton Kirkpatrick, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.); Dr. Ronald J.R. Mathies, Executive Director, Mennonite Central Committee; Johan Maurer, General Secretary, Friends United Meeting; Kara Newell, Executive Director, American Friends Service Committee; Metropolitan Philip Saliba, Primate, Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America; Paul H.Sherry, President United Church of Christ; Metropolitan Theodosius, Primate, Orthodox Church in America; The Right Reverend Dr. Zacharias Mar Theophilus, Bishop, Mar Thomas Church; Joe Volk, Executive Secretary, Friends Committee on National Legislation; Bishop Vsevolod, Ukrainian Orthodox Church of USA; The Rev. Dr. Daniel Weiss, General Secretary, American Baptist Churches MEDIA NOTE: A full text copy of the letter to President Clinton is available from Corinne Whitlatch at 202/546-8425 >From Stratcom --------------------------------------------- 2200 GMT, 990927 - Iraqi "Cooperation" May Help Ease U.N. Sanctions Iraq is making overtures of cooperation toward the U.S., raising some interesting possibilities for the future of U.N. sanctions. Iraq appears to be softening its "all-or-nothing" approach to the lifting of sanctions, opening up to trade with U.S. oil companies. Until recently, Iraq has prevented U.S. companies from doing business in Iraq, maintaining that it would not cooperate with any U.N. proposals or weapons inspection programs unless all sanctions were lifted. Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz made a statement on Sept. 24 that deviated significantly from the original, firm Iraqi position. Although Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and his foreign minister maintain a stance of non-cooperation without a complete lifting of the sanctions, Aziz said that Iraq would consider accepting a "serious easing" of sanctions if a total repeal could not be achieved. Additionally, the Iraqi Oil Ministry undersecretary, speaking at the inauguration of the oil and gas technology fair on Sept. 26, said that Iraq is ready to deal with international oil companies, including those from the United States. Iraq hopes to purchase spare parts for oil-producing equipment from the companies, which would not violate the sanctions. If U.S. oil firms begin making money in Iraq, they may pressure the U.S. government to ease or even lift the sanctions. This could be just what Iraq is looking to achieve with this move. Iraq may truly be trying to cooperate and show some flexibility in order to get the sanctions eased. More likely, however, Iraq is trying to attract American oil companies in hopes that they will put internal pressure on the U.S. administration. While Iraqi cooperation may or may not be genuine, it indicates a possible softening of Iraq’s previously rigid stance. __________________________________________________ Do You Yahoo!? Bid and sell for free at http://auctions.yahoo.com -- ------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To be removed/added, email email@example.com, NOT the whole list. Please do not send emails with attached files to the list *** Archived at http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/~saw27/casi/discuss.html ***