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News from March 28 - March 29

Final Section :) 

(sorry if it was more news than you wanted :)

News from March 28 - March 29

(1)Report: President Mubarak to call for five-member Arab summit (This
summit would be to announce officially and collectively non-abidance of Arab
states on the siege on Iraq.) Source: Arabic News / March 28
(2) Turkish president and the question of waters with Syria and Iraq.
Source: Arabic News / March 28
(3)New U.N. relief official named for Iraq.  March 28 (Reuters)
(4) New coordinator named for oil-for-food program. March 28 (AP)
(5)Russia criticizes sanctions on Iraq. Times of India. March 29
(6) Iraq vaccinates 3.5 million children against polio. March 28 (Reuters)
(7)UN Council expected to vote Fri on Iraq spare parts. March 28 (Reuters)
(8) AIPAC E-mails to maintain sanctions on Iraq. March 28. (Note - AIPAC is
the American-Israeli Political Action Committee. It is one of the strongest
lobbyies in the US)
(9)U.S. jets bomb Iraqi air-defense system. March 29 (AP)
(10) Iraq Said Still Building Weapons. By TOM RAUM, Associated Press Writer.
March 28.
(11) Ex-disarmament chiefs urge effort to stop Iraq. March 28 (Reuters)
(12) Top UN official leaves Iraq, says programme failed. March 29 (Reuters)
(13) New U.N. relief official appointed for Iraq post. March 29 (Reuters)
(14) Saddam grooms his successors. March 29 (AFP)
(15) Iraq upping output despite oilfield damage. March 28 (Reuters)
Report: President Mubarak to call for five-member Arab summit
Regional, Politics, 3/28/2000
The Jordanian weekly al-Majd reported in its most recent issue that Egyptian
President Hosni Mubarak will start upon his arrival back from Cairo measures
to contact the Arab states bordering Israel (Syria, Egypt, Jordan, Palestine
and Lebanon) in order to convene a five-member summit in Egypt.
The aim of this summit is to draw up a united strategy concerning the peace
process and the restoration of coordination among the Arab states bordering
Israel after Israel "could previously play on Arab contradiction."
The paper added that in the Egyptian efforts aimed at convening the
five-member summit, which Egyptian sources in Cairo expected to be held in
Cairo, succeed, President Mubarak will call for convening a plenary Arab
summit in June. This summit would be to announce officially and collectively
non-abidance of Arab states on the siege on Iraq.
Turkish president and the question of waters with Syria and Iraq
Fertile Crescent, Politics, 3/28/2000
Turkish President Suleiman Demirel has expected that the question of
dividing the waters of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers with Syria and Iraq
will result in problems between the two countries and Turkey.
He said that Turkey has the right to have sovereignty on the two rivers,
refusing the description made by both Damascus and Baghdad to these two
rovers as " shared rivers."
The BBC correspondent in Ankara said that the Turkish President during his
visit to the Turkish national water establishment in Ankara on the occasion
of the International day of waters, indicated the problem of waters in the
Middle east and said that the question of sharing the waters of Tigris and
the Euphrates will result in a big problem in Turkey's relations with both
Syria and Iraq.
He stressed his country's right to make utmost use of Turkey's waters until
the last border area, noting he will continue building dams on all Turkish
rivers, including the Tigris and the Euphrates.
The BBC correspondent indicated that Turkey is preparing to sell 100 million
cubic meters of waters annually for each of Israel, Jordan and the
Palestinian government.
03/28/2000 15:23:00 ET
UPDATE 1-New U.N. relief official named for Iraq
UNITED NATIONS, March 28 (Reuters) - An senior official from the World
Food Programme was named on Tuesday to the sensitive post of U.N.
coordinator in Iraq after the last two appointees resigned in protest over
the impact of sanctions.
Tun Myat, a 58-year old native of Myanmar, was chosen by Secretary-General
Kofi Annan for the Baghdad-based post and is expected to assume his duties
on Saturday, U.N. spokesman Fred Eckhard said.
Tun Myat, who has a master of law degree from the University of London, has
been with the WFP since 1978 and served as director of resources and
external relations since 1997, in charge of raising funds and coordinating
with governments.
He replaces Hans von Sponeck of Germany, who resigned from his post after
strong pressure from the United States because of his outspoken criticism
of the punishing effects of U.N. sanctions, imposed in August 1990 after
Iraq invaded Kuwait.
Von Sponeck's predecessor, Denis Halliday of Ireland, left in September
1998 for similar reasons.
Annan had considered three candidates for the post -- two from the
Rome-based World Food Programme, including Tun Myat, and one from the U.N.
Development Programme, diplomats said.
The humanitarian coordinator runs the oil-for-food programme in Baghdad
that allows Iraq to sell oil to buy food, medicine and other necessities to
alleviate the impact of sanctions.
The embargoes have been under increasing attack for hardships caused to
ordinary Iraqis, especially children.
Trevor Rowe, spokesman for WFP, said Tun Myat was highly regarded for his
administrative abilities.
"He is one of the top people, the best and brightest in WFP," Rowe said in
a telephone interview from Rome.
Tun Myat, before his current job, was in charge of logistics, which means
he usually was the first person on the scene during a crisis.
"He was involved in every major emergency," Rowe said. "He was on the
frontlines and going into situations like Sudan, and Angola and building
>from the ground up logistical networks that enabled the feeding of
desperately hungry people."
"The United Nations system will have a first-rate person running the
operation in Iraq," Rowe added.
Tun Myat received both a bachelor of commerce in 1963 and a bachelor of law
in 1965, both from the University of Rangoon.
03/28/2000 16:25:00 ET
New coordinator named for oil-for-food program

UNITED NATIONS (AP) _ The United Nations named a World Food Program
official Tuesday as its new humanitarian coordinator for Iraq, replacing a
German official who resigned to protest the effect of sanctions on the
Iraqi people.
The new coordinator, Tun Myat of Myanmar, has worked for the United Nations
since 1978 and is currently the director of external relations at WFP's
Rome headquarters, U.N. spokesman Fred Eckhard said.
His predecessor, Hans von Sponeck, was the second humanitarian coordinator
in Iraq to quit over the impact of sanctions imposed after Baghdad's 1990
invasion of Kuwait. Denis Halliday of Ireland quit in 1998, saying he
didn't want to be associated with the suffering of the civilian population.
Von Sponeck made a farewell call to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein on
Sunday and said the two had a "philosophical discussion" about the tragedy
of sanctions. Saddam invited von Sponeck to return whenever he wanted and
said he appreciated how the German had spoken out about sanctions.
Sweeping U.N. sanctions cannot be lifted until U.N. weapons inspectors
report Iraq is free of its weapons of mass destruction.
Von Sponeck announced his resignation effective March 31. His successor
will take up the position April 1, Eckhard said.

Russia criticizes sanctions on Iraq
MOSCOW: Russia's Foreign Ministry sharply criticized the United States and
England for blocking commodities contracts to Iraq, saying the country was
suffering a humanitarian crisis.
The ministry said the United States and England were aggravating the
situation by blocking contracts for over $1 billion in commodities targeted

for Iraq under the United Nations sanctions program. It said $291 million
worth of the contracts were from Russia.
The United States has tied up the goods in the UN sanctions committee for
Iraq, because Washington wants to make sure they cannot be used for military
The foreign ministry repeated Russia's stance that the entire UN sanctions
program, which allows Iraq to sell its oil to buy humanitarian goods and
equipment to repair its oil sector, was flawed and must be scrapped.
"The humanitarian operation cannot lead Iraq out of its crisis condition,"
the statement said. "A cardinal solution to the Iraqi humanitarian problem
is only possible by cancelling sanctions introduced against Baghdad."
Russia has long opposed the UN sanctions, imposed after Iraq's 1990 invasion
of Kuwait, partly because Baghdad owes Moscow billions of dollars in
(truncated at the site)
:03/28/2000 15:37:00 ET
Iraq vaccinates 3.5 million children against polio
BAGHDAD, March 28 (Reuters) - Iraq launched a campaign on Tuesday to
immunise 3.5 million children under five against the crippling virus polio.
"The aim of the (health) ministry is to eradicate polio," said Nibras
Abdul-Sattar, an official in charge of a vaccination centre in a Baghdad
"Bad sanitation system and unhealthy drinking water as well as lack of
electricity mean many cases of polio have been registered in this area,"
she added.
Iraqi Health Minister Umeed Madhat Mubarak earlier this month accused the
United States and Britain of delaying the delivery of vaccines.
Both countries sit on a U.N. committee monitoring Iraqi import plans under
a deal allowing Baghdad to sell oil and use the proceeds to buy food and
medicine to ease the impact of U.N. sanctions imposed after Iraq's 1990
invasion of Kuwait.
Mubarak said Iraq would have to rely on private transport for the
immunisation campaign as the committee had not approved delivery of
vehicles ordered by the ministry.
Iraq said that 11,236 Iraqis, mostly children, died last month as a result
of almost a decade of U.N. sanctions.
The United Nations Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) said in a report in
August that deaths among Iraqi children under five had doubled over the
past decade in central and southern areas controlled by the government.
Iraq has rejected a controversial U.N. Security Council resolution passed
last December that could ease the sanctions if Baghdad cooperated with a
new weapons inspection regime.
:03/28/2000 19:06:00 ET
UN Council expected to vote Fri on Iraq spare parts
UNITED NATIONS, March 28 (Reuters) - The U.N. Security Council is
expected to vote on Friday on a resolution that would allow Iraq to double
the amount of spare parts and equipment it can buy for its dilapidated oil
Diplomats said experts had completed work on a U.S.-draft document that is
now being referred to capitals for approval. With Security Council
ambassadors going to Washington on Thursday for a meeting on Capitol Hill,
the vote is not expected before Friday.
The resolution would raise from $600 million to $1.2 billion the equipment
and spare parts Iraq can purchase for its oil industry over a year's
period, ending in June.
Annan warned in a report earlier this month that the rapidly deteriorating
oil industry could jeopardise the humanitarian oil-for-food programme for
22 million Iraqis.
The spare parts money would come out of the humanitarian programme, which
allows Iraq to sell unlimited amounts of oil to purchase food, medicine and
other goods, under U.N. control.
Iraq has been under sweeping U.N. sanctions since its troops invaded Kuwait
in August 1990.
WIRE:03/28/2000 14:01:00 ET
Iraq wants better trade ties with Yugoslavia
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq said Tuesday it wanted to expand its trade with
Yugoslavia, which it praised for standing up to the West in last year's war
over Kosovo.
"Iraq is keen to expand full cooperation with Yugoslavia which stood firm
in the face of the American aggression," the official Iraqi News Agency
quoted Vice-President Taha Yassin Ramadan as saying.
"It is our duty to resist American policy, which is aggressive,
imperialist, unjust and aims to take away the rights of people everywhere,"
Ramadan told visiting Yugoslav Deputy Prime Minister Maja Gojkovic.
Belgrade and Baghdad enjoy good relations, in part because they are both
internationally isolated and under sanctions.

>From: AIPAC Update <>
To: name and address supressed

March 28, 2000
Dear [...],
In recent months, Saddam Hussein has been cynically exploiting the Iraqi
people to pressure the West to lift sanctions against Baghdad. Currently,
there are efforts underway in Congress to pass legislation to end the
sanctions. It is critical that you act TODAY to stop this campaign by asking
your members of Congress to sign a letter being circulated by Reps. Sweeney
(R-NY), Crowley (D-NY), Bereuter (R-NE) and Lantos (D-CA) urging the
president to maintain sanctions on Iraq.
Lifting sanctions would not benefit the Iraqi people, but rather allow funds
>from Iraq's oil exports to go directly to Saddam. As a result, the letter
states, Saddam would be "unrestrained in his efforts to produce chemical,
biological and nuclear weapons."
On Sunday, former U.N. chief weapons inspector Richard Butler said on NBC's
Meet the Press, "Bottom line is, they're [Iraq] doing it again. They're
trying to break out in the vital area of longer-range missiles." On March
23, William Safire wrote in The New York Times that Iraq is reported to be
financing a $475 million ballistic-missile factory in Sudan, with expert
technical support from North Korea. The purpose -- Baghdad "gets its old
missiles refurbished and new, longer-range missiles built."
Saddam is using images of malnourished Iraqi children in a cynical ploy to
pressure the West to lift sanctions against Baghdad. The U.N. oil-for-food
program mandates that Iraq spend 90 percent of its oil revenues for the
humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people, including food, medicine and
infrastructure. Iraq is the world's second-largest exporter of oil, and
clearly earns more than enough money to meet the Iraqi people's needs. Any
malnutrition in Iraq is not the result of sanctions -- it is because Saddam
is withholding distribution of humanitarian goods to the Iraqi people.
It is essential that you contact your representative today and urge them to
join the effort to stop Saddam Hussein by signing the letter to President
1. E-mail or write your representatives by clicking on
2. Forward this message to your friends and ask them to e-mail their
Learn more about the need for sanctions on Iraq by visiting our Web site at
To receive legislative updates on this and other crucial pro-Israel issues,
send an e-mail to
AIPAC -- America's Pro-Israel Lobby
To unsubscribe from this list, send a blank e-mail with the words "remove
me" in the subject field to


WIRE:03/29/2000 08:06:00 ET
U.S. jets bomb Iraqi air-defense system

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) _ U.S. warplanes bombed an Iraqi air-defense  system
Wednesday in response to Iraqi artillery fire during their  patrol of the
northern no-fly zone, the U.S. military said.
Iraqi forces fired anti-aircraft artillery from a site south of  Bashiqah,
some 250 miles north of Baghdad, said a statement from  the Germany-based
U.S. European Command.

All planes, based in the southern Turkish base of Incirlik, left  the area
safely, it said.

U.S. and British fighter jets have been enforcing no-fly zones  in northern
and southern Iraq since shortly after the 1991 Persian  Gulf War to protect
Shiite Muslims and Kurds from the forces of  Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

Iraq does not recognize the zones and has been challenging the  allied
planes since December 1998.


Tuesday March 28 6:08 PM ET
Iraq Said Still Building Weapons
By TOM RAUM, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - Saddam Hussein almost certainly has used the absence of
international scrutiny to rebuild Iraq's arsenal of weapons of mass
destruction, two former chief U.N. weapons inspectors suggested Tuesday.

``He is clearly doing it again,'' Richard Butler told the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee.

Those views were echoed by his predecessor, Rolf Ekeus. ``There is no
conclusive evidence that Iraq has decided to terminate any of its weapons
programs,'' Ekeus said.

Ekeus led the U.N. Special Commission for Iraq between 1991 and 1997; Butler
was the executive chairman from 1997 to last June.

The commission had worked with the International Atomic Energy Agency to
oversee the destruction of Iraq's biological, chemical and nuclear weapons
and missile programs. Weapons inspectors from both agencies left Iraq in
December 1998 ahead of U.S. and British airstrikes, launched to punish Iraq
for failing to cooperate with the inspectors.

Butler, known for his outspoken and confrontational attitude toward Baghdad,
said he doesn't hold out much hope that a new panel created by the United
Nations will have any more success. He predicted Iraq would refuse to
cooperate with the new team and ``we will again have an Iraq crisis on our

Butler also said President Clinton should appeal immediately to Vladimir
Putin, Russia's newly elected president, and propose an aggressive
U.S.-Russian campaign against the development of weapons of mass destruction
by countries like Iraq.

``No vetoes, but the great powers standing together,'' Butler said.

The new arms inspections panel, the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and
Inspection Commission, was created in December to replace the Special

Hans Blix, the director, said earlier this month that he wants Baghdad to
give his arms experts free access to suspected weapons sites - suggesting it
would help bolster Iraq's claim that it does not have such weapons.

Iraq has said it has destroyed all of its prohibited weapons, meeting U.N.
requirements to have sanctions lifted.

But both Ekeus and Butler said they doubted this. Ekeus said the new weapons
inspectors must make sure they have the most sophisticated equipment

Butler said he would like the United Nations to create a powerful ``U.N.
Council on Weapons of Mass Destruction'' that would police weapons

They testified as the Senate committee held another in a series of hearings
on the dangers of the spread of nuclear weapons. Tuesday's session dealt
with Iran and Iraq. The CIA has said both countries have weapons programs,
and that Iran's is the more advanced.

``For both Iran and Iraq, the status quo is unacceptable,'' said Sen.
Richard Lugar, R-Ind.

03/28/2000 19:26:00 ET
Ex-disarmament chiefs urge effort to stop Iraq

WASHINGTON, March 28 (Reuters) - United Nations member  states must
demonstrate they are determined to block Iraqi  President Saddam Hussein's
drive to develop weapons of mass  destruction if the new arms monitoring
regime in Iraq is to  succeed, two former U.N. chief arms inspectors said on
The warning from two of his predecessors, Rolf Ekeus and  Richard Butler,
came just one month after the United Nations  appointed Hans Blix of Sweden
to lead a new disarmament  inspection team to Iraq after the absence of
international  weapons inspectors for well over a year.

Ekeus -- who was nominated by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi  Annan to return
to the post but rejected because of opposition  by Russia, France and China
-- and Butler, whose hard-nosed  persistence aroused hostility in Iraq,
warned that the new arms  inspection team could succeed only if the
international  community backs it strongly and unites against the spread of
nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.

Testifying before a Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee,  Ekeus, the first
chief U.N. weapons inspector to Iraq and now  Sweden's ambassador to the
United States, said any success his  team had in setting back Saddam
Hussein's armaments programme  was due to sophisticated technology and
strong international  support.

"The international approach is still superior because it is  more effective
and it delivered," said Ekeus. "No single  country can successfully, without
international cooperation,  block weapons development."

"There is no conclusive evidence that Iraq has decided to  terminate any of
its weapons programmes," he added.

Butler, who succeeded Ekeus and resigned as chief arms  inspector last June,
said his own disarmament mission was  undercut by Russia, which withdrew its
support and weakened the  will of other U.N. member countries to force Iraq
to comply with  increasingly intrusive weapons inspections.

The arms monitoring effort headed by Butler collapsed in  December 1998 when
Saddam abruptly halted its work, prompting  the United States and Britain to
launch a bombing campaign to  punish Baghdad for its refusal to comply.

"Evil is triumphing again in Iraq today because good men  have turned their
backs on the problem," Butler told the Senate  panel. He said there is
"clear evidence" Iraq is again seeking  to develop long-range missiles and
is continuing work on  chemical and biological warheads.

"Weapons of mass destruction should be an exception from  politics as
usual," said Butler, who urged the creation of a  U.N. council on weapons of
mass destruction to report on and  enforce non-proliferation across the

"Can we do that? No-one's security would be threatened. No  sane person in
this world believes that you need chemical  weapons, poisonous substances,
with which to defend yourself,"  Butler told the panel. "We have long since
said that this is  uncivilized and no-one should do it. But we've not
created the  mechanism whereby we sit together and be sure we enforce it."

The U.N. Security Council has been sharply divided over  policy toward Iraq
with Russia, China and France favouring an  early lifting of U.N. sanctions
while the United States and  Britain have taken a harder line.

Iraq has ruled out cooperation with the new U.N. arms  inspection body. It
has still not accepted a December 1999 U.N.  Security Council resolution
that called for the return of the  inspectors in return for suspending
sanctions if it cooperated  with disarmament demands.

Blix, a former director general of the International Atomic  Energy Agency,
is already engaged in his first task of drawing  up an organisational plan
and staff list for the inspection  agency. He has said he will try to find a
middle path in  carrying out his mission, treading a line between alienating
  Iraq and standing up to its demands.

WIRE:03/29/2000 03:03:00 ET
Top UN official leaves Iraq, says programme failed

BAGHDAD, March 29 (Reuters) - The top U.N. humanitarian  official in Iraq
left the country on Wednesday after resigning  his post, saying the
programme he headed had prolonged the  suffering of the Iraqi people instead
of alleviating it.
Hans von Sponeck, co-ordinator of the U.N.'s humanitarian  oil-for-food
programme, told reporters before his departure for  Jordan by road:

"I cannot any longer be associated with a programme that  prolongs
sufferings of the people and which has no chance to  meet even basic needs
of the civilian population."

Von Sponeck, a German career U.N. official, resigned in  February after
saying the programme was not meeting the minimum  needs of Iraq's 22 million


He said he saw no prospects for improvement in Iraq under a  U.N. Security
Council resolution passed in December which would  ease sanctions if Baghdad
allowed international weapons  inspectors to return to the country. Iraq has
rejected the  resolution.

"I leave with a deep conviction that the overwhelming  evidence that the
international community now has is that things  have not gone well in Iraq
and that the target has been  missed," he said.

Von Sponeck angered the United States by criticising the  trade sanctions
that have been imposed on Iraq since it invaded  Kuwait in 1990. Washington
welcomed his resignation.

Tun Myat, an official of the Rome-based World Food Programme  (WFP) and a
native of Myanmar, was named on Tuesday to replace  Von Sponeck, whose
predecessor, Dennis Halliday of Ireland, also  resigned for similar reasons.

Iraq is under U.N. orders to destroy its weapons of mass  destruction, a key
condition for lifting sanctions.

It has banned U.N. disarmament inspectors since 1998, when  Washington and
London launched four days of extensive air and  missile attacks for its
failure to cooperate with the monitors.

"All parties both within Iraq and outside have to now make  a very serious
effort to get out of this terrible stalemate  which continues to deprive the
Iraqi population of everything  that people elsewhere have," von Sponeck

President Saddam Hussein praised von Sponeck when he met him  on Sunday. He
was the first U.N. official based in Iraq to be  received by Saddam since
the 1991 Gulf War.

"The president of Iraq gave me an opportunity to explain  how I see the
situation in this country and I did so," the  German official said.


:03/29/2000 01:03:00 ET
New U.N. relief official appointed for Iraq post

UNITED NATIONS, March 29 (Reuters) - A 22-year veteran of  the U.N. World
Food Programme (WFP) has been appointed to the  sensitive post of U.N.
humanitarian coordinator in Iraq after  his two predecessors resigned in
protest over the impact of  sanctions.
Tun Myat, 58, of Myanmar, who was chosen by  Secretary-General Kofi Annan on
Tuesday for the Baghdad-based  post, is expected to begin his job on
Saturday. But U.N.  spokesman Fred Eckhard said he did not know when he
would go to  Iraq, following meetings in New York.

Tun Myat replaces Hans von Sponeck of Germany, who resigned  after strong
pressure from the United States because of his  outspoken criticism of the
punishing effects of U.N. sanctions,  imposed in August 1990 after Iraq
invaded Kuwait.

Von Sponeck's predecessor, Denis Halliday of Ireland, left  in September
1998 for similar reasons.

Tun Myat to date has not created any public controversies  during his tours
of trouble spots. But he has spoken out several  times about the perilous
food situation in North Korea, where he  led several WFP missions.

He handled WFP's programme in Iraq and spent time in the  country in 1996,
helping to organise the distribution of food in  Iraq's three northern
provinces and observing rationing in the  rest of the country.

Tun Myat has a master of law degree from the University of  London and has
been with the WFP since 1978. He had served as  director of resources and
external relations since 1997, in  charge of raising funds and coordinating
with governments.

The humanitarian coordinator runs the oil-for-food programme  in Baghdad
that allows Iraq to sell oil to buy food, medicine  and other necessities to
alleviate the impact of sanctions.

The embargoes have been under increasing attack for  hardships caused to
Iraqis. Annan last Friday warned the  Security Council it could lose the
propaganda war against  Baghdad if more steps are not taken to improve life
for ordinary  Iraqis, especially children.

Trevor Rowe, spokesman for WFP, called Tun Myat among the  agency's "best
and the brightest" who has spent many years in  charge of logistics
organising arrangements in the field.

"He was involved in every major emergency," Rowe said.  "He was on the
frontlines and going into situations like Sudan,  and Angola and building
>from the ground up logistical networks  that enabled the feeding of
desperately hungry people."

Tun Myat received a bachelor of commerce in 1963 and a  bachelor of law in
1965, both from the University of Rangoon.


Wednesday, March 29 6:01 PM SGT

Saddam grooms his successors
BAGHDAD, March 29 (AFP) -
The entry of Saddam Hussein's eldest son Uday into parliament is part of the
Iraqi President's long-term plans to groom his successors, diplomats said

Younger son Qussay is also part of the plan, the diplomats said after Uday,
35, officially won more votes than anyone in Monday's election to the
National Assembly.

However Saddam, who apparently enjoys robust health, shows no signs of
tiring at the head of the state he has dominated for 30 years.

He will be just 63 next month, although he became president in 1979.

"Saddam is not in the same situation as Hafez al-Assad," a western diplomat
told AFP, referring to the ailing Syrian leader, who is 69.

Assad had to move quickly to prepare his younger son Bashar after the death
of his eldest son Basel.

Saddam "is in a position to pre-programme the succession," said the
diplomat, who requested anonymity, alluding to the electoral victory which
launched Uday's political career with a seat in parliament.

The huge official vote for Uday -- 100 percent according to his own
television station, 99.99 percent according to a newspaper -- "shows his
popularity and it allows him to become familiar with the functioning of the
administration," said a Middle Eastern diplomat.

"The parliament could be a springboard for Uday to reach higher positions in
the state or the (ruling Baath) party," he added.

Uday has built up a powerful base in the media and sports.

He commands a militia force and has an array of titles from chairman of the
journalists' union to the students' union, chairman of the board of seven
weekly newspapers, publisher of the leading Iraqi daily Babel, head of TV
and radio stations, head of Iraq's Olympic Committee as well as the
country's football association.

However diplomats say Saddam's exact plans for Uday are not clear.

They point to the rise of Qussay, 33, since his brother almost died in an
assassination bid in a Baghdad street in December 1996.

Qussay, who officially commands the elite Republican Guard force, has a
reputation for discretion and efficiency, enjoying his father's confidence
to handle sensitive security issues.

In a rare public appearance by Uday, when he voted on Monday, it was
revealed that he still carries a limp from the bullets which riddled his

In January, Saddam awarded Uday Iraq's Medal of Valour, but it was a month
after Qussay was given the same recognition.

"The decoration of Qussay before Uday "means something for sure," said an
Asian diplomat. "It is unusual in this part of the world, the eldest should
always come first."

He suggested the election victory restored the balance between the two
brothers. "Perhaps the president wants to appease him and make a balance
between the two brothers."

"One was launched on a military trajectory and the other on a political
trajectory," the diplomat said, noting that their roles depended on several

The longer Iraq's plight goes on and a state of virtual war continues the
more Qussay will be favoured, he said.

The views of the old Baath party guard, such as Vice President Taha Yassin
Ramadan, the president's Takriti clan -- which runs the security services --
will also been important, the diplomat added.

Yet the unexpected, such as a coup d'etat or assassination, could still
upset all predictions.


WIRE:03/28/2000 22:07:00 ET
UPDATE 1-Iraq upping output despite oilfield damage

OTTAWA, March 28 (Reuters) - Iraqi Oil Minister Amir  Muhammad Rasheed said
on Tuesday his country would proceed with  massive oil output hikes despite
the fact that high production  was causing short- and medium-term damage to
the oilfields.
In a conference call with North American reporters from the  OPEC meeting in
Vienna, Rasheed said his country's planned  production increases would
proceed despite the fact that OPEC  had decided to boost output by more than
Iraq had advised.

Since the United Nations has lifted the limits on how much  oil Iraq can
pump, the stated Iraqi intention is to vastly  increase its output to
provide for its people and, analysts say,  to give it more leverage on the
Arab and world stage.

Rasheed asked OPEC, the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting  Countries, to
give it a 3.4 million barrel per day (bpd) output  quota starting in

He said he hoped Iraq would be able to pump that much by  September or
October and 3.5 million by the end of the year -- a  huge jump from the 2.4
million being produced now and made  tougher by a U.N.-caused shortage of
spare parts.

Iraq has been outside the OPEC quota system since it invaded  Kuwait in 1990
but has been asking to be reinstated, a request  that was denied at least
for now in the ministerial meeting that  just ended in Vienna.

Iraq aims to hit 2.95 million bpd by the end of April and  3.1 million by
early May. It had produced as much as 3 million  at the end of 1999 but
reduced this on the grounds that holds on  spare parts contracts were
depriving it of urgently needed  equipment.

The United States has started relaxing its restrictions on  oilfield
equipment to Iraq, and is sponsoring a U.N. resolution  which would allow
Baghdad to double the annual money it can  spend on oilfield equipment to
$1.2 billion.

But equipment will take a long time to make its way to Iraq  and be
installed, and in the meantime a U.N. report warned this  month that Iraq
was adopting "high-risk solutions" to maximize  oil exports.

Rasheed said the report was generally accurate but Iraq's  behaviour was
proper given its exceptional circumstances.

"We have to make a lot of sacrifices and we have to use a  lot of
exceptional procedures -- and even it has entailed a lot  of risks and
unreliability," he said.

"We have to get as much revenues to cover the essential  needs of our

Rasheed said this involved making compromises in its  production methods:
"We accept some short-term damages. We  accept some medium-term damages."

He said they tried to avoid irreversible long-term damage as  much as

The minister did not give a detailed explanation, but if oil  is extracted
too fast, a reservoir's pressure can decrease  faster than it would have if
pumped more gently.

He said one of the measures being implemented in Iraq was  water injection,
a technique used to try to increase pressure  and drive oil to the wellhead.

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