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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) http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/000328/2000032809.html 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. http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/000328/2000032814.html 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. http://www.abcnews.go.com/wire/World/reuters20000328_2867.html 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. http://www.abcnews.go.com/wire/World/ap20000328_1163.html 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. 3/29 http://www.timesofindia.com/today/29worl22.htm 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 purposes. 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) http://www.abcnews.go.com/wire/World/reuters20000328_2941.html :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 suburb. "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. http://www.abcnews.go.com/wire/World/reuters20000328_3768.html :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 industry. 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. http://www.abcnews.go.com/wire/World/reuters20000328_2587.html 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 <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: name and address supressed Subject: Re: ACT NOW TO STOP SADDAM 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 Clinton. 1. E-mail or write your representatives by clicking on http://congress.nw.dc.us/aipac/elecmail.html 2. Forward this message to your friends and ask them to e-mail their representatives. Learn more about the need for sanctions on Iraq by visiting our Web site at http://www.aipac.org To receive legislative updates on this and other crucial pro-Israel issues, send an e-mail to email@example.com AIPAC -- America's Pro-Israel Lobby http://www.aipac.org To unsubscribe from this list, send a blank e-mail with the words "remove me" in the subject field to firstname.lastname@example.org ================== 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. ----------- http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20000328/wl/iraq_weapons_2.html 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 hands.'' 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 Commission. 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 available. Butler said he would like the United Nations to create a powerful ``U.N. Council on Weapons of Mass Destruction'' that would police weapons proliferation. 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. http://www.abcnews.go.com/wire/World/reuters20000328_3844.html 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 Tuesday. 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 globe. "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 people. 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 said. 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. ================ http://www.abcnews.go.com/wire/World/reuters20000329_96.html :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. --------------------- http://asia.dailynews.yahoo.com/headlines/world/article.html?s=asia/headline s/000329/world/afp/Saddam_grooms_his_successors.html 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 Wednesday. 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 body. 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 variables. 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 September. 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 people." 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 possible. 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. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email email@example.com Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website: http://welcome.to/casi