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News for February 15 to 21, 2000 Sources: AP, Reuters, www.arabicnews.com, BBC, The Mariam Appeal Thanks to Rania Masri for supplying news reports from the Mariam Appeal. Headlines: * Jutta Burghart, head of the UN World Food Program in Iraq, resigns. * Von Sponeck speaks out on Iraqi situation. * US congressmen (both Democrats and Republicans) criticise embargo. * US/UK forces commit at least two bombing raids on Iraq during the last week. * Iraqi group states that 26 political prisoners were executed in Iraq last month. * Kuwaiti army officer on trial for heading pro-Iraqi regime in Kuwait during Gulf War. * Russian tanker saga concludes. Oil removed from ship. Proceeds will go to UN account. ----------------------- Sunday February 20 12:05 PM ET U.S. Jets Bomb Iraqi Defense Sites ANKARA, Turkey (AP) - U.S. jets bombed an Iraqi air defense system in Iraq's northern no-fly zone Sunday in response to a missile attack, the U.S. military said. The Iraqi forces fired multiple surface-to-air missiles at warplanes on patrol, the Germany-based U.S. European Command said in a statement. Coalition aircraft responded to the Iraqi attacks with bombs, the statement said. All planes left the area 250 miles north of Baghdad safely, it said. The planes are based at Incirlik air base in southern Turkey. On Saturday, Baghdad said three Iraqi civilians were wounded when U.S. warplanes bombed the same region during patrols of the no-fly zone. Saturday's attack was carried out in response to Iraqi artillery fire. ... ------------------- >From the BBC: http://news2.thls.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/middle%5Feast/newsid%5F649000/6 49675.stm Sunday, 20 February, 2000, 21:59 GMT Kuwaiti quisling says he faced death A Kuwaiti army officer who headed the regime which Iraq set up in Kuwait in 1990, has gone on trial for treason. The officer Colonel Alaa Hussein Ali, was sentenced to death in absentia in 1993 for collaborating with Iraq. He returned to Kuwait earlier this year after living in exile first in Iraq and then Europe. He broke down in tears during cross examination by the judge about his links with Iraq's ruling Baath party. He said the Iraqis threatened to kill his family if he didn't comply with the order. He said he was taken prisoner on the first day of the invasion while on his way to a Kuwaiti army camp to take up arms to defend Kuwait. ------------------- Saturday February 19 2:09 AM ET Russian Tanker Leaves Oman Waters After Oil Lifted MUSCAT, Oman (Reuters) - A Russian tanker seized by the U.S. Navy in the Gulf on suspicion of smuggling Iraqi fuel has left Omani territorial waters after it unloaded its cargo, an Omani foreign ministry official said. The Oman News Agency (ONA) quoted the official as saying that the cargo was pumped into another tanker Friday, allowing the Volgoneft-147 to sail with its crew on the same day. The agency quoted the official as saying late Friday that Oman plans to sell the tanker's cargo of 5,000 tons of gas oil and deposit the money with the United Nations fund in charge of Iraqi oil sales, after deducting costs of off-loading. ... ----------------------- >From the Mariam Appeal: US CONGRESSMAN TONY HALL RESPONDS TO ADMINISTRATIONS CRITICISM OF RESIGNING UN/WFP OFFICIALS Congressman Tony Hall (Democrat-Ohio) has written a letter to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright questioning the Clinton administration's negative comments on Hans von Sponeck and Jutta Burghardt. Hall wrote 17/2/00 that “thousands of courageous people, like Sponeck and Burghardt, [were] working against almost impossible odds to help those in need”, and that those he had worked with wer generally “conscientious and careful in their evaluations of situations such as those the people of Iraq now endure.” “It appears to me that nothing Mr. Von Sponeck or Ms. Burghardt has noted,” the letter continues, “differs from the reports of UNICEF, the International Red Cross, and other respected organizations that have examined what is happening in Iraq today.” Importantly he added, “Your spokesman's vilification of these individuals is unfair and appears to be an effort to stifle the expression of legitimate concerns about our country's policies toward Iraq.” ----------------------- http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/000219/2000021951.html US - Iraq no-fly zone clashes Iraq, Military, 2/19/2000 Iraqi anti-aircraft artillery north of Mosul fired today on aircraft enforcing the northern Iraq no-fly zone, the US European Command said, adding that the aircraft "responded to the Iraqi attack by dropping ordnance on elements of the Iraqi integrated air defense system." ------------------------ Friday February 18 11:32 AM ET Rights Group Says Iraq Executed 26 CAIRO, Egypt (AP) - Twenty-six political prisoners were executed in a prison near Baghdad last month and 13 others died of torture and neglect in a detention center, a human rights group linked to an Iraqi opposition party said Friday. The report by the Center for Human Rights, which is linked to the Iraqi Communist Party, could not be independently confirmed. The Iraqi government does not comment on such allegations. The group's report, faxed to The Associated Press in Cairo, said the executions took place Jan. 27 in Abu Gharib prison. The group listed the names of all 26 of those executed as well as their home provinces. The group also reported that 13 people it described as political detainees died in a Baghdad detention center as a result of torture, neglect and malnutrition in December and January. The victims were among at least 580 other detainees held in the Makaseb detention center, the human rights group said. The officials in charge of the Makaseb center are personally selected by President Saddam Hussein and are affiliated with the military intelligence, headed by Saddam's son, Qusai, the group said. Iraqi prisons are generally overcrowded. The former minister of labor and social affairs, Abdel-Aziz Mohammed Saleh al-Sayegh, was sacked last June for saying prison conditions were appalling. ------------------------ http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20000217/wl/iraq_un_6.html Thursday February 17 6:30 AM ET Iraq Deaths Double Under UN Sanctions-Von Sponeck DUBAI (Reuters) - The United Nations' top humanitarian official in Baghdad says infant mortality in Iraq has more than doubled under the U.N. embargo imposed in 1990. Hans von Sponeck, who announced his resignation at the weekend saying U.N. humanitarian programs in Iraq were ineffective, added that one Iraqi child in five now suffered from malnutrition. ``We have increasing evidence on many fronts. When you look at the mortality situation you could see there is a rising trend,'' von Sponeck told Qatar's al-Jazeera satellite television. ``In 1991, 56 children under the age of five per 1,000 were dying. Now 10 years later, the figure has gone up according to UNICEF to 131 per 1,000,'' he said in an interview from Baghdad broadcast on Thursday. ``Malnutrition, I keep saying every night one out of five Iraqi children under five goes to be malnourished,'' he said. ``We have evidence that mental disorders of children under 14 are increasing. So there is a sense of hopelessness and can we afford, can anyone afford, to associate himself or herself with such a reality? I cannot.'' ... Von Sponeck told al-Jazeera the state of education in Iraq was ``totally inadequate.'' ``There is not enough anywhere, whether it is books or pencils or classroom furniture....That is the generation that is now in Iraq being prepared for responsible citizenship of tomorrow,'' he said. ``Today, with an unemployment rate that is estimated at between 60 and 75 percent, people depend on what is given to them and that is humiliating and it does not make for a future of self-reliance based on your efforts to earn in a dignified way a living,'' he added. ``Every year that passes, every month in fact that passes, sees the intensity of the weight of the sanctions on the lives of people here increase,'' he said. ------------------------ http://news2.thls.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/middle%5Feast/newsid%5F646000/6 46783.stm >From the BBC: Thursday, 17 February, 2000, 17:42 GMT US congressmen criticise Iraqi sanctions Protesters in New York call for an end to sanctions A group of United States congressmen - both Democrats and Republicans - are putting pressure on the Clinton administration over its support of the United Nations economic sanctions against Iraq. The group's spokesman, David Bonior, a Democrat for Michigan, has described the sanctions as "infanticide masquerading as policy". ... 'Hurting Iraqis not Saddam' The bipartisan group of congressmen held a press conference in Washington on Thursday in conjunction with Arab-American groups. They were representing a larger group of 70 legislators who had signed a letter urging President Bill Clinton "to do what is right: lift the economic sanctions". The congressmen said they supported the military embargo on Iraq, but wanted to see the economic embargo lifted. The letter read: "While we have no illusions about the brutality of Saddam Hussein, the people of Iraq should be allowed to restore their economic system." "This embargo has not hurt Saddam Hussein or the pampered elite which supports him, but has been devastating for millions of Iraqi people," congressman Bonior said. ------------------------ Tuesday February 15 12:30 PM ET U.N.'s Iraq Food Program Chief Quits By WAIEL FALEH Associated Press Writer BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - The head of the U.N. World Food Program in Iraq has quit to protest U.N. trade sanctions, European diplomats in Baghdad said today. Jutta Burghart of Germany has administered the distribution of food supplies in Iraq under the U.N.-approved oil-for-food deal since she assumed her post in January 1999. Several attempts by The Associated Press to reach Burghart for comment failed, but one of the diplomats said that in her letter to WFP headquarters in Rome she said that she cannot continue in her job amid the widespread suffering she attributes to U.N. sanctions. In Rome, WFP spokesman Francis Mwanza confirmed that Burghart had resigned, but he said it was a ``personal decision to leave and go back to her previous employer, the German government.'' He said her decision was not made to protest the sanctions. Burghart is the second high-ranking U.N. official in Iraq to quit in three days. Iraq's chief Humanitarian coordinator, Hans Von Sponeck, quit over the sanctions. His resignation was accepted Monday. ... ``The United States acts as if the United Nations is one of its own states. ... Hans von Sponeck and Denis Halliday have refused to sell themselves to America and have stood for the truth,'' the daily newspaper al-Iraq said in a front-page editorial. ... ---------------------------- -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email firstname.lastname@example.org Full archive and list instructions are available from the CASI website: http://welcome.to/casi