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News for Dec 20 to 27, 1999

News for 20 to 27 December, 1999

It has been suggested that I reduce the repetition
across articles. Therefore, I've truncated many of
them. Truncations are indicated with three dots (...).

Further suggestions for improving this weekly posting
are welcome. 

*       British MP George Galloway anounces plans to fly a
planeload of medicine to Iraq.

*       UN Orders Iraq to pay Israel's national airline, El
Al, $7M for compensation for gulf war.

*       Iranian troops and opposition fighters clash along
Iraqi border.

*       Al-Thawra, an Iraqi newspaper, has questioned Kofi
Annan's neutrality following SCR1284 which gives the
UN Secretary General a large say in determining what
Iraq may import.

*       Pentagon indicates that poor weather is behind
reduction in bombing raids. It also states that Iraq
has shifted its air defences to central Iraq,
apparently reducing clashes in "no-fly" zones.

*       In a tragic story, three Iraqi Kurdish children died
during their family's perilous attempt to illegally
emigrate to Greece. This story will NOT restore your
faith in the good of humanity.

*       There's also an excerpt regarding Iraq from a
Democratic Party presidential debate.

*       Some condemnations of SCR1284 from the Arab world
are printed.

Sources: Associated Press, Reuters,

----------------------------- 12/27/99

Baghdad completes maintenance of Karkouk-Banias oil
The London-based al-Hayat daily quoted a high-ranking
Arab diplomat who it described as very well-informed
on Syrian-Iraqi relations as saying that a team of
Iraqi engineers and technicians has carried out for
several months the necessary maintenance work on the
destroyed parts of the Iraqi-Syrian oil pipeline.

Iraq, Economics, 12/27/99

------------------------------ (Dec 27, 1999)

The international union for the Arab laborers in
Damascus denounced yesterday the adoption by the
United Nations Security Council of a resolution
establishing a new organization for monitoring Iraqi
disarmament to replace the United Nation's Special
Committee (UNSCOM), while keeping the sanctions on
Iraq. It said that although this resolution was not
unanimously issued, and stirs people's anxiety of
tyranny against national sovereignty, which makes this
international organization lose its credibility.


British MP Plans Planeload of Medicine to Iraq
Monday, December 27, 1999 

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - 

British MP George Galloway was hailed in Iraq Monday
for his "spirit of knighthood" after disclosing plans
to fly in a planeload of medicine. 
Galloway, a member of the ruling Labor Party, was
quoted by official media as saying the British
government had prevented him from including some kinds
of medicines in the cargo early next year with the
excuse that Baghdad might use them to produce chemical
Last month, Galloway wound up a two-month journey
across Europe, North Africa and the Middle East
including Iraq on a double-decker London bus to drum
up support for the lifting of the U.N. embargo on
Stringent economic sanctions were imposed on Iraq
after its 1990 invasion of Kuwait. Iraq says they have
caused well over one million deaths. Galloway said
that he was collecting donations to build a cancer
hospital in Baghdad. 
The maverick leftwing Scottish politician was also
received Monday by Iraq's Vice-Chairman of the
Revolutionary Command Council Izzat Ibrahim. 
"The journey showed the reality of the British people
in rejecting injustice, aggression and domination of
peoples," the official news agency INA quoted Ibrahim
as telling Galloway. 
"Your initiative revived the human values, manhood,
and knighthood spirit of the British people which we,
regretfully scarcely find nowadays," said Ibrahim. 


DECEMBER 27, 11:22 EST 

U.N. Orders Iraq To Pay El Al $7M 

The United Nations commission on compensation for
damage during the 1991 Gulf war has ordered Iraq to
pay Israel's national airline nearly $7 million, a
Justice Ministry official said Monday. 
El Al Israel Airlines sued Iraq for damages from the
war, when Iraq fired 39 Scud missiles at Israel.
Justice Ministry official Benny Rubin said the U.N.
commission, meeting in Geneva, awarded El Al
Rubin said most of the award was for the cost of
moving El Al's entire fleet out of Israel during the
El Al has not yet been paid, said airline official
Yoram Galon. The money must be deducted from Iraq's
limited oil production under U.N. sanctions. ``We will
have a second celebration when we actually get the
money,'' Galon told Israel radio. 
He said El Al's total claim was for $70 million, but
the commission refused to compensate the airline for
the drop in passengers flying to and from Israel
because of the war. 
Rubin said two Israeli families were also awarded
damages last week. One family is to receive $135,500
and the other $66,000, he said, to compensate them for
property damage from Iraqi missile attacks. 
Justice Ministry spokesman Ido Baum said that Israel's
government, businesses and citizens have sued Iraq for
``billions of dollars.'' So far the commission has
approved about $45 million, but only $2.6 million has
been paid. 


DECEMBER 26, 18:39 EST 

Iraq Demands Information From Kuwait 


Iraq demanded Sunday that the international community
pressure Kuwait to release information on more than
1,150 Iraqis whom Baghdad claims have been missing in
Kuwait since the 1991 Persian Gulf War. 
Iraq has supplied Kuwait with ``strong and material
evidence that some of the missing were civilians
arrested in their homes in Kuwait in front of their
families,'' Abdul Razaq al-Hashimi, head of the war
prisoners committee, was quoted as saying in the
al-Thawra daily. 
Al-Hashimi said that Kuwaiti authorities have given
little and contradictory information on some of the
Kuwait has denied holding any Iraqi prisoners. It
claims that more than 600 Kuwaitis went missing after
Iraq invaded the oil-rich emirate in 1990. Duaij Anzi,
manager of a Kuwaiti committee for war prisoners, told
The Associated Press that he will address Iraq's
claims at a news conference Tuesday. 
Iraq has withdrawn from an international committee set
up to look into the issue of persons missing since the
Gulf War that liberated Kuwait. Baghdad claims the
committee has not applied enough pressure on Kuwait to
reveal the whereabouts of the missing Iraqis. 


DECEMBER 26, 10:38 EST 

Iranian, Opposition Forces Clash 

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) 

Iranian troops and opposition fighters clashed along
the Iran-Iraq border, both sides reported Sunday. 
Members of the opposition group Mujahedeen Khalq
crossed from Iraq into Iran on Saturday to launch a
mortar attack on a military barracks near Fakkeh, the
official Islamic Republic News Agency quoted senior
army officials as saying. 
Fakkeh is about 500 miles southwest of Tehran, in the
southern province of Khuzestan. Two members of the
opposition group were killed in a shootout, but
Iranian forces suffered no casualties, the news agency
In a fax sent to The Associated Press in Cairo, the
Mujahedeen said its fighters attacked a Republican
Guard barracks in Khuzestan. The group said two of its
fighters and many Iranian troops died during the
Neither side's casualty figures could be immediately
The Iraq-based Mujahedeen Khalq seeks the violent
overthrow of Iran's Islamic government. It has more
than 30,000 men and women with military training in
camps in Iraq near the Iranian border. 


DECEMBER 24, 11:11 EST 

Iraq Paper Claims Annan Favors U.S. 


Baghdad's ruling party newspaper questioned U.N.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan's neutrality Friday,
charging him with siding with the United States in the
latest U.N. resolution on weapons inspections. 
The United States has consistently taken a hard line
on Iraq in the U.N. Security Council. 
``The resolution granted the secretary-general, not
Iraq, the right to suggest a list of items Iraq is
allowed to import under the new resolution,''
al-Thawra newspaper said. ``The United States would
not have given Annan the powers ... if it had not
secured his support for its policy.'' 



DECEMBER 24, 01:20 EST  
3 Iraqi Kurd Children Die in Greece 
By ELENA BECATOROS Associated Press Writer  
ATHENS, Greece (AP) 
Huddled in the back of a truck, sodden clothes
clinging to their frozen bodies, three children
struggled to stay conscious. Their parents banged
desperately on the truck's walls, hoping the driver
would hear them and stop. He did not.  Somewhere on
the snowy road from the northeastern border city of
Alexandroupolis to Athens, 550 miles to the south, the
children died of exhaustion and cold. By the time they
got to hospitals in the Greek capital on Thursday,
there was nothing the doctors could do.  Four-year-old
Marlin Hana, her brother Marvin, 2, and Roshkal
Maouloud, 3, all Kurdish children from Iraq, became
the latest victims of the perilous trek westward that
illegal immigrants take.  Each year, thousands of
people are smuggled across the Greek-Turkish border,
hoping to make their way to Greece or other European
Union countries.  Marvin and Marlin's mother, Adeba
Korkes, 32, paid a smuggler a total of $4,500  $1,500
per person  to sneak her and her two children across
the border and into Athens, Greek police say.  Akram
Maouloud, 29, his wife Fatma and their three children
 Roshkal and two others, ages 2 and 7  also paid the
smuggler $1,500 per person.  The two families began
their journey late Monday in Istanbul, Turkey, where
they boarded a bus for the Evros River, which
separates Greece and Turkey. By the time the bus
arrived, it was raining heavily. The two families,
along with another group of illegal immigrants, pushed
on.  It took them two hours to paddle across the
swollen river in a rubber dingy, arriving on the Greek
side before dawn Tuesday. With the weather
deteriorating rapidly, the two families still had a
long way to go to reach a designated pickup point and
be taken to the capital.  Still in their wet clothes,
they trudged through driving snow for seven or eight
hours, police said, unable to stop or find shelter in
the remote border area.  They eventually met up with
three men, a Turk and two Pakistanis, who were to take
them to Athens in a truck. Police said 50 people,
including nine children between 2 and 7, were piled
into the back of the vehicle, a refrigerated truck
that had the cooling mechanism switched off.  The
journey to Athens took nearly all day Tuesday and most
of Wednesday. The children, still in the same sodden
clothes, began to grow weaker, and efforts to warm
them were futile. The immigrants knew something was
seriously wrong, but no amount of banging on the walls
of the truck could make the driver stop, the parents
told authorities.  The driver began dropping off the
immigrants after arriving in Athens on Wednesday
evening. The two families were left at different
points. Mud-splattered and exhausted, not knowing
their way around a strange city, they searched
desperately for a hospital.  But passing drivers
refused to stop. They spoke no Greek or English, and
could not make drivers understand the emergency.  They
also feared that if authorities were notified, they
could be deported for entering the country illegally. 
A taxi eventually took Ms. Korkes and her two children
to a hospital just after midnight Thursday. But it was
too late. Marvin and Marlin were pronounced dead on
arrival.  Maouloud and his wife arrived at a
children's hospital by taxi several hours later,
police said. Doctors pronounced Roshkal dead on
arrival. His siblings have been hospitalized,
suffering from exhaustion and hypothermia.  The
parents appeared before a public prosecutor Thursday,
and were charged with entering the country illegally.
But police said they would not be deported for
humanitarian reasons. 


DECEMBER 24, 01:04 EST  
Pentagon Sees Hussein on Defense  

The Pentagon says Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has
shifted the focus of his air defense. His forces now
are defending Baghdad and central Iraq rather than
trying to shoot down U.S. and British aircraft
patrolling ``no fly'' zones over northern and southern


Kenneth Bacon, chief spokesman for Defense Secretary
William Cohen, said Thursday it was hard to know the
reason for the change of emphasis in Iraqi air
defenses. He speculated that Saddam may be ``preparing
to provoke another confrontation'' with the United
Nations over inspections of Iraqi weapons sites.  The
U.N. Security Council passed a resolution Dec. 17 that
would return weapons inspectors to Iraq after a
one-year absence and consider suspending sanctions.
Iraq rejected the resolution and declared it was
``ready to face all of the consequences.'' The United
Nations did not threaten military action against Iraq.
 Asked about a recent lull in Iraqi firings on U.S.
and British aircraft in the ``no fly'' zones, Bacon
said Saddam has moved some surface-to-air missiles and
other air defense equipment closer to Baghdad and
Tikrit, Saddam's birthplace.  Saddam has contested the
``no fly'' zones as an unwarranted infringement on
Iraqi sovereignty.  ``Saddam Hussein in the last few
weeks appears to have been somewhat less aggressive in
challenging coalition aircraft policing the no-fly
zones, both in the North and the South. I don't read a
lot into this,'' Bacon said.  It may be explained in
part by the Ramadan period of Muslim fasting and by
the fact that U.S. and British planes have been flying
less often this month because of poor weather in the
North, Bacon said.  

Bacon said there have been no Iraqi firings on air
patrols since Dec. 12 in the northern region and since
Dec. 6 in the South. There have been lulls of similar
duration in the past but they have been uncommon. By
the Pentagon's tally, there have been more than 400
Iraqi violations of the ``no fly'' zones over the past


Iraq Says Able to Foil UN Resolution on Sanctions

Thursday, December 23, 1999 

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq said on Thursday it could
defeat a new U.N. Security Council resolution that
holds out the prospect of relaxed Gulf War sanctions
if Baghdad cooperates with a new weapons-inspection
"Iraqis are able to foil Resolution 1284 as they did
(the previous) poisonous and aggressive resolutions,"
the official Iraqi News Agency quoted Vice President
Taha Yassin Ramadan as saying. 
He said the United Nations should lift sanctions on
Iraq entirely since it had fulfilled the obligations
imposed on it after the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.

"The United States and Britain work to issue new
resolutions in order that the main subject of lifting
sanctions shall not be discussed," Ramadan added. 
He also said the U.N. resolution of improperly
hindering Iraqi foreign trade. "The resolution puts
new penalties on Iraq in its heavy restrictions on its
imports and exports." 


DECEMBER 20, 01:18 EST  
Highlights From Democratic Debate  
By The Associated Press 
Highlights from the presidential debate between
Democrats Vice President Al Gore and former Sen. Bill
Bradley, as transcribed by the Federal Document
Clearing House and shown Sunday on NBC's ``Meet the

On the option of using of force against Iraq:  

GORE: Well, we're going to prevent him from acquiring
weapons of mass destruction with the sanctions, which
will remain in place; with the measures to prevent the
flows of technology into Iraq. ... We're enforcing the
no-fly zone and we're enforcing all the sanctions.
There has been more military action taken from the air
against Iraq in the last couple of years than there
was during the period of the war.  

BRADLEY: I would reserve the right to do that, of
course. The question is you'd have to read the
intelligence reports, you'd have to read where we were
at a particular time. You don't commit in a political
campaign you're going to use force until you're able
to see what the situation is on the ground. 


Iraq Postpones Trip by U.N. Sanctions Chairman  

Tuesday, December 21, 1999  &  UNITED NATIONS
(Reuters) - 

Iraq has postponed a planned January trip to Baghdad
by the chairman of the U.N. Security Council committee
that oversees sanctions against Iraq, diplomats said
on Tuesday.  Iraq's U.N. ambassador, Saeed Hasan, gave
no reason for delaying the Jan. 11-18 visit by A.
Peter van Walsum, who is the Netherlands' ambassador
to the United Nations.  Hasan informed van Walsum that
Baghdad was calling off the January trip in a letter
received by van Walsum on Tuesday, a Dutch envoy said.
 "The Iraqi side suggests to postpone the visit to a
more convenient date to be agreed upon later," Hasan
wrote van Walsum, the diplomats said.  Van Walsum had
helped formulate one version of a critical resolution
adopted last Thursday by the Security Council on
future Iraqi policy but Saeed did not mention the
measure in the letter.  Van Walsum had postponed a
visit this month because it would have conflicted with
Islamic religious observances. Iraq had wanted him to
make the trip so he could see first hand the impact of
sanctions.  The committee van Walsum heads approves
shipments of humanitarian goods as well as contracts
for oil sales under the U.N. "oil-for-food" program,
an exception to the embargoes imposed when Iraq
invaded Kuwait in August 1990. It includes all 15
members of the Security Council, any one of whom can
block or delay a contract.  Van Walsum voted for the
resolution adopted by the council last week 



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