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]
News highlights this week: * US/UK bombs Iraq on Tuesday, Thursday and today -- possible civilian casualties. * A very moving article from the Progressive (14 October) by Zachary Fink who visited some bombed civilian villages. Fink's eyewitness account offers further evidence of civilian casualties. * Max van der Stoel resigns as the special investigator on Iraq for the UN Commission on Human Rights. * Iraq calls for an end to sanctions, but will probably renew the UN Oil-for-Food program. * I've included a link to Stratfor, at the bottom of this posting, which has some interesting articles on Iraq this week. Sources: Reuters, Arabic News, Assoc. Press, The Progressive. -------------- Baghdad says Western planes bomb north and south 10:32 a.m. Nov 14, 1999 Eastern BAGHDAD, Nov 14 (Reuters) - An Iraqi military spokesman said U.S. and British aircraft bombed civilian targets in southern and northern Iraq on Sunday before being driven off by Iraqi forces. The spokesman, quoted by the official Iraqi News Agency, said the planes flew 58 sorties over southern Iraq and 18 over the north, bombing civilian targets. He did not mention casualties. ``Eighteen hostile formations of enemy planes...flew over the provinces of Basra, Dhi Qar, Muthanna, Najaf and Wasit and attacked our service and civilian installations,'' he said. ``Nine hostile formations... flew over provinces of Duhok, Arbil, Nineveh and attacked our civilian and service installations. ``Our brave ground defences intercepted these formations and forced them to leave Iraqi airspace,'' the spokesman said. U.S. and British planes patrol no-fly zones over Iraq's north and south virtually daily. The zones were declared by the West after the 1991 Gulf War, to protect groups opposed to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. There was no immediate confirmation from London or Washington of bombing on Sunday. Western military officials insist such attacks are aimed only at military targets. On Thursday, Iraq said U.S. and British aircraft bombed civilian targets in southern Iraq but gave no details of casualties. --------------------------------------- Friday November 12, 7:56 am Eastern Time Iraq seen set to renew UN oil sales-Iraqi official By Peg Mackey LONDON, Nov 12 (Reuters) - Iraq looks certain to accept another six-month renewal of the United Nations humanitarian oil sales deal after the current tranche expires on November 20, a senior Iraqi government official said on Friday. The Iraqi official said Baghdad ``eventually will accept'' a rollover of the oil-for-food deal, especially since Iraq's long running demand for a full lifting of international trade sanctions looks unlikely to be met at this time. Whether Iraq might first make a political stand before accepting another 180-day phase of oil sales remained to be seen, he said. Only a minor gap is expected in Iraq's 2.3 million barrel per day (bpd) oil export programme when the current sixth phase ends, but oil traders still have not completely ruled out the possiblity that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein might pull the plug on oil sales. The U.N. at the end of next week is expected to craft a technical resolution renewing the $5.26 billion humanitarian package in the final hours of the oil-for-food deal's current sixth phase. Diplomats and oil traders alike are anticipating a fairly fluid transition between phases, as was the case last spring when the fifth phase expired. Baghdad moved quickly then to endorse the U.N.'s rollover and state oil marketer SOMO did its utmost to ensure only minor logistical and operational hiccups interfered with its sales. Western diplomats do not expect the Iraqi government to interrupt oil sales by making an issue of the scheme's humanitarian aid distribution plan. That had been the case when the first few phases of the programme, introduced in December 1996, drew to a conclusion. TRADERS EXPECT ONLY MINOR OIL EXPORT GAP ``Given the information at hand, we're building in about a week's gap in loadings, which was about the case last time,'' said a trader. Shipping for the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan should be fairly easy to secure while vessels for the Iraqi Gulf port of Mina al Bakr could be trickier to arrange, they said. SOMO has assembled an export loading programme which extends well beyond the current phase's November 20 expiry, market sources said. The sources reckon the Iraqi marketer could have at least 10 million barrels worth of oil left on its books when the sixth phase ends. The U.N. has approved roughly 392 million barrels worth of Iraqi oil contracts and as of Friday, customers had loaded about 360 million barrels of that volume, said traders. Some major lifters of Iraqi barrels already have nominated cargoes for dates between November 20-30. At least one big buyer is believed to have a ship secured to load Basrah Blend from the Iraqi Gulf port of Mina al-Bakr in that date range, they said. Customers are now keen to learn whether Iraq's current November official selling prices will be extended to cover the remainder of the month during the seventh phase. Kirkuk loading from the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan is priced at Dated Brent -$1.35 per barrel for November, Basrah for the U.S. at second line WTI -$3.55 per barrel and Basrah to the Far East at Oman/Dubai +30 cents. The United Nations Security Council this week has been attempting to cobble together a text for a resolution easing sanctions imposed on Iraq after its 1990 invasion of Kuwait. But an agreement is unlikely before the current phase of the oil-for-food deal expires next week. --------------------------------- Thursday November 11 4:42 PM ET Iraq Human Rights Official Resigns By EDITH M. LEDERER Associated Press Writer UNITED NATIONS (AP) - A U.N. special investigator who reported on human rights abuses in Iraq has resigned, a U.N. spokesman confirmed Thursday. Max van der Stoel left his post as the special investigator on Iraq for the U.N. Commission on Human Rights last Friday, spokesman Fred Eckhard said. Since 1991, the former Dutch foreign minister has documented executions, kidnappings and repression by Saddam Hussein's government. Last week, he reported to the General Assembly that the human rights situation in Iraq is worsening and the repression of civil and political rights continues unabated. The Hague-based special investigator submitted his resignation to Ann Anderson, president of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, the body that monitors human rights abuses around the world. Commission officials are scheduled to meet Nov. 17 to discuss van der Stoel's replacement, Eckhard said. ``He gave no reason for the resignation to my knowledge, but I understand that he's 76 years old,'' Eckhard said. ``He must be tired after nine years on that job.'' On his first visit to Iraq in 1992, van der Stoel issued a scathing account of the brutal tactics employed by the Iraqi leadership to stifle political opposition. The report so angered Iraqi leaders that he was not permitted to return to the country. He subsequently prepared reports based on evidence from a variety of sources, including Iraqi exiles and opposition groups. Iraq's Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Nizar Hamdoon on Monday dismissed van der Stoel's latest report as a propaganda ploy to further the ``political objectives'' of certain parties. U.N. Security Council resolutions require Iraq to improve its human rights record as one of several conditions to lift economic sanctions imposed in 1990 after Saddam's army invaded Kuwait. Van der Stoel is also High Commissioner for Minorities for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. ------------------------------------------ Iraq calls for breaking the sanctions Iraq, Politics, 11/11/99 (Arabic News) Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan has called for breaking the sanctions imposed on Iraq and not to wait for a decision to be taken to this end by the UN Security Council. In an interview with the Iraqi paper al-Joumhoureyah, Ramadan said, "What is required today is to break the oppressive siege and not to wait for the UN Security Council resolutions." Meanwhile, the UN Security Council's five permanent members on Wednesday decided to intensify their discussions in the coming weeks with the objective of reaching an agreement to suspend sanctions on Iraq. The discussions are concentrated on a British project that proposes the suspension of sanctions for a renewable period, while Iraq is asked to cooperate in dismantling any banned weapons. Meanwhile, a demonstration was carried out in Baghdad on Wednesday in protest of the embargo imposed on Iraq. The demonstrators burned Israeli, American and British flags. The demonstrators, mostly representatives of Arab trade unionists, gathered in front of the headquarters of the UNDP, burned the flags and chanted slogans "down the US." The handed over a message to the UNDP representative addressed to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan condemning the continued US and British imposition of "no-fly zones" in Iraq and continued air strikes on the Iraqi civilian areas. The demonstrators called on Annan to intervene to put an end to the embargo. The demonstration was organized in line with the beginning of deliberations of the 12th conference of the general federation of the Iraqi workers, currently being held in Baghdad with the participation of Arab and foreign trade union delegations. ---------------------------------------------- Thursday November 11 1:33 PM ET Baghdad Says US, British Planes Bomb Southern Iraq BAGHDAD (Reuters) - An Iraqi military spokesman said U.S. and British aircraft bombed civilian targets in southern Iraq Thursday before being driven off by Iraqi forces. The spokesman, quoted by the official Iraqi News Agency, said the planes flew 75 sorties over southern Iraq and bombed civilian targets. He did not mention casualties. ``Twenty hostile formations of enemy crows (planes) ... flew over the provinces of Basra, Dhi Qar, Muthanna, Qadissiya, Najaf and Meisan and the enemy attacked our service and civilian installations,'' the spokesman said. U.S. and British planes patrol no-fly zones over Iraq's north and south virtually daily. The exclusion zones were imposed by the West after the 1991 Gulf War over Kuwait, to protect groups opposed to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. There was no immediate confirmation from London or Washington of bombing Thursday. Western military officials insist such attacks are aimed only at military targets Tuesday, Iraq said U.S. and British aircraft bombed civilian targets in northern Iraq. ----------------------------------------------- Tuesday November 9 2:45 PM ET U.S. Planes Bomb Iraq Defense Site ANKARA, Turkey (AP) - U.S. warplanes bombed an Iraqi air defense system Tuesday after drawing artillery fire during routine patrols of the northern Iraq no-fly zone, the U.S. military said. The U.S. attack targeted an Iraqi integrated air defense system near the town of Bashiqah, about 250 miles north of Baghdad, the Germany-based U.S. European Command said in a statement. U.S. jets bombed the same area on Monday after coming under Iraqi fire. The planes, based in Incirlik air base in southern Turkey, left the area safely, the statement said. The Iraqi News Agency charged that ``evil U.S. and British warplanes'' struck ``residential areas and service installations'' in Tuesday's attack. It was not clear if there were any casualties or damage. U.S. and British planes have been patrolling no-fly zones over northern and southern Iraq since the end of the 1991 Persian Gulf War to protect Kurds and Shiites from the forces of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. Iraq says the zones are a violation of international law and has frequently challenged the allied planes there since December. --------------------------------------- A Visit to a Bombed Village What the US War in Iraq Look Like Up Close BY ZACHARY FINK In July, I traveled to Iraq with members of Voices in The Wilderness, a nonprofit anti-war group. The group has been to the country twenty-five times since 1996 to deliver food and medicine to the Iraqi people, though this was my first time. Whenever Voices in The Wilderness goes to Iraq, it is openly violating U.S. law, which prohibits unauthorized transactions in Iraq. I was part of an eight-person delegation. I carried a small digital camera but did not identify myself as a journalist to the Iraqi government. While we were there, several towns in the southern part of the country were attacked by U.S. warplanes. According to the Pentagon, U.S. and British warplanes have struck Iraq more than 130 times since the first of the year. In each strike, many bombs are dropped. We arrived in Najaf just a few days after a July 19 bombing raid. Najaf is a city of approximately 300,000 people and is two hours south of Baghdad. The official Iraqi news agency claimed that seventeen people were killed. The people we spoke to on the ground said fourteen people had been killed and eighteen injured. The first bomb landed in the middle of a small village outside the city, they told us. On one side of the road were houses and stores; on the other side were garages and repair shops for automobiles. The bomb had left a crater in the road, and bulldozers were preparing to pave over it when we arrived. Eyewitnesses described the attack as a large explosion followed by several smaller ones. The people in the village were poor. Many wore ragged clothes. When we left our air-conditioned van and walked out into the oppressive heat, villagers swarmed around us. They tugged on our sleeves and spoke frantically in Arabic. They pointed to the crater, then pointed to the sky. They tried to pull us toward some of the houses away from the road, but our group leader told us to proceed with caution. People formed tight circles around me as I took pictures with my camera. Witnesses showed us marks on a garage wall where bomb fragments had landed. Pieces of shrapnel with razor-sharp edges were strewn about the ground. Our guide from the humanitarian organization Red Crescent was eager to move on. A second bomb had struck about fifty yards away from a grain processing plant. We were taken inside a dormitory for the factory workers. Every window we saw in the building had been shattered from the explosion. Broken glass crunched under our feet as we made our way through bedrooms and the living room. A ceiling fan lay on the floor where it had fallen just days earlier. A tricycle was parked nearby. Outside the house, workers showed us pieces of the bomb. A serial number--30003-318, 96214-4215, 21562-32490--was etched into one of the pieces of plastic that was torn and twisted from the impact. Shell casings for bomblets were also handed to us as evidence that this was no precision-guided munition, but possibly a cluster bomb intended to kill human beings. Each container was empty of its explosives. The workers took some members of our delegation into the back of the factory to show them that grain was indeed processed here. Through a translator, we were told that there was no radar at that location and no military machinery. Our group was then taken to the area hospital where many of the victims were recovering. Mohammed Nadar, a thirty-one-year-old cab driver, was wounded in the attack. He pointed to shrapnel in his back and told us that he was driving his taxi when the bomb struck. Three of his passengers were killed instantly and another was wounded, he said. His wife and son sat next to his bed. They watched us come in and ask questions, but they said nothing. Nadar stared at us with deep black eyes. He spoke quietly in Arabic. "It's hatred," he said. "Why kill civilians? Why drop a bomb at 6:00 p.m. when children are playing?" He lay sideways on the bed, wearing only shorts. The bottoms of his feet were burned. Behind him, a window was wide open; a light breeze offered a bit of relief from the heat and humidity. The window allowed the only light inside the room. Doctors explained that the electricity shuts off for several hours each day. Without power, many medications that need to be refrigerated go bad, and the lack of air conditioning makes the patients even more uncomfortable. In the next room, we saw a six-year-old boy with his right arm missing. According to doctors, his arm had to be amputated because his tissue was severely burned. The boy did not move his body while we were in the room. His eyes darted past us, but he did not speak. He had a bewildered look on his face. A fly landed on his lip, and he made no attempt to shoo it away. The boy's mother sat at the end of the bed. She also said nothing, staring blankly at us as I took more pictures. In another room, doctors used a bloody cotton ball to dab a ten-inch wound on the stomach of Abdullah Shakur, a thirty-one-year-old mechanic. Shakur's arm was in a sling, and his wounds looked fresh. Crude stitchwork prevented his insides from spilling out. Flies landed in and around the open sores. Despite the seriousness of his injuries, Shakur was speaking in an animated tone. One of the doctors translated for us. "I'm not very educated," Shakur said, "but I ask Clinton why does he kill the people of Iraq?" Shakur pointed to his son Ahmed. He said that Ahmed is too young to go and work and provide for the family. "Now that I am crippled, I'm worried about what I will do," Shakur said. You could feel the desperation in every hospital room. Twenty-seven-year-old Ahmed Abid Zaid was lying in a stiff position in one of the other rooms we entered. He had bandages on his head. He wore gray pants and a gray shirt. His eyes followed us as we walked into the room, but his body did not move. We were told that bomb fragments were still lodged in his head and his body was paralyzed as a result. Doctors were planning on operating in the next few days, but medicines are in short supply because of the economic sanctions. Zaid was supposed to be married in three days. But because of the injuries, he could no longer speak. Our delegation did not see any dead bodies because Muslim tradition requires burial within twenty-four hours of death. But people told us some bodies had been torn to shreds by shrapnel. The United States did not acknowledge any civilian casualties in its raid on Najaf. According to a military spokesman, U.S. planes dropped bombs in response to an Iraqi missile threat while they were patrolling the southern "No Fly Zone." When asked about the bombing on July 20, Defense Secretary William Cohen said: "We have no evidence any civilians were killed by this particular operation." Such denials have become routine. And the military is reluctant to share information about what kinds of weapons are used in the raids. According to the Pentagon, any time U.S. pilots drop bombs, it is in response to an Iraqi challenge. Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein has offered a reward to any soldier who can shoot down a U.S. or British plane, but so far none have been hit. After seeing some of the cannons that the Iraqi military uses, this does not surprise me. I saw what appeared to be a military camp about three miles up the road from the area in Najaf where the U.S. bombs landed. But the weaponry looked as though it were left over from the set of a bad World War I movie. I'm no expert, but these guns were not about to shoot down an F-16. Iraqis say the bombing raids come almost daily. Sometimes villages are hit; other times the bombs fall in more remote areas. The Pentagon acknowledges there have been more bombs dropped on Iraq since January than during Operation Desert Fox last December, when U.S. jets began pounding Iraqi targets the day before the House of Representatives was set to impeach President Clinton. U.S. military officials say the raids will continue as long as Iraqi radar continues to lock onto jets patrolling the "No Fly Zones." But the United Nations never authorized these "No Fly Zones." After the Gulf War, the U.N. Security Council passed Resolution 688, which ordered Saddam Hussein to stop repressing Iraq's civilian population. The allies set up the northern "No Fly Zone" ostensibly to enforce that resolution and to protect the Kurdish population. A year later, the Bush Administration set up the southern "No Fly Zone" ostensibly to protect Shi'ite Muslims. But Iraqis we spoke with said they were much more afraid of U.S. bombers than they were of their own government. Ikbal Fartous, a thirty-eight-year-old English teacher, lives in Jamariya, a neighborhood in Basra that was hit by U.S. cruise missiles in January. Her three-year-old son was killed in the attack. Her other son, Mustafa, was severely injured. Fartous peeled the shirt off of Mustafa's back to reveal scars and indentations covering almost every inch of his body. She explained that some of the shrapnel is still lodged underneath his skin. "Mustafa comes to me when he hears the planes. He buries his head," Fartous said. "Every day they come, in the middle of the night . . . even yesterday evening." Zachary Fink is a reporter at New Jersey Network News, a PBS station. Before that, he was the morning news anchor at WBAI-FM Pacifica Radio in New York City. ----------------------------------------- Link to Iraqi information on Stratfor website: http://www.stratfor.com/meaf/countries/iraq/default.htm __________________________________________________ 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 ***