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News for 24 April '00 to 30 April '00



Hello all:

This weeks' news clipping again excludes all editorials and news reports
that were sent directly to the news group. Additionally, to minimize the
size of the message, I have included only links to several reports that may
be classified as relatively unimportant - I will have to do this because
some of you prefer not to receive a very long message. I have also used
ellipsis ,. . . . ., to replace well known facts or irrelevant stuff. Please
e-mail me if you think that I should have done the news clipping
differently.

Also, you can find links to the statements of the Canadian Standing
Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, European parliament
and New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister on CASI's home page at:

http://www.cam.ac.uk/societies/casi/index.html

Thanks,

Hathal
________________________________________________________

News for 24 April '00 to 30 April '00

Sources: AP, AFP, BBC, CNN, PBS, Reuters, Stratfor, The Times, Washington
Times

 U.N. Humanitarian Chief Hopeful About Iraq Task (Reuters)
 U.N. Asks Iraq to Cooperate on Missing Kuwaitis (Reuters)
 Interview with Congressman Hall - U.N. Sanctions' Impact on Iraq (PBS)
 Iraq: Oil Exports To Surpass $8.5 Billion (AP)
 US Plans for Saddam War-Crime Trial (The Times)
 Ritter's Response to Editorial on Iraq-North Korea-Sudan Axis (Washington
Times)
 Shell Fined $2 Million for Ship Carrying Iraqi Oil (CNN)
 Belize-Flagged Tanker Held in Gulf Over Iraqi Oil (Reuters)
 Russia Benefits from Iraqi Sanctions (Stratfor)
 Gore, Bush Tackling Foreign Policy (AP)
 Iraq Builds Water Park for VIPs, U.S. Says (Reuters)
 Birthday-Boy Saddam Misses Own Party (AFP)

Only links provided for the following reports:

 Iraq Says Trade With Egypt to Near $400 million (Reuters)
 Baghdad Treasure Trove Reopens to Public (BBC)
 Iraq Says Sanctions Failed to Shake Saddam (Reuters)
_________________________________________________

 Ritter's Response to Editorial on Iraq-North Korea-Sudan Axis, Washington
Times, 6 April '00

Editorial On Iraq's Armament Building Misses Target

As a former weapons inspector with the U.N. Special Commission (UNSCOM), I
read with concern your April 3 editorial "Saddam's rogue alliance." While I
am not inclined to speak up in defense of the regime of Saddam Hussein, the
issue of Iraq's disarmament obligation is too important to be shaped by
information that, when examined under the light of fact-backed logic, simply
does not stand up. Unfortunately, this is the case with the information in
your editorial concerning a supposed joint effort that has North Korea
building a Scud missile factory in Sudan, financed by Iraq.

Despite what your editorial suggests, Saddam has never attempted to
establish a strategic industrial capability for manufacturing weapons
outside of Iraq. Nor, as William Safire suggests in his related column in
the New York Times ("Saddam's Sudan?" March 23), has Iraq ever secreted away
any of its missiles in Sudan, or any other nation, in an effort to escape
U.N. detection. The history of Iraq's pre-Desert Storm relations with the
former Soviet Union, China, North Korea and Libya reinforces this point.
While Iraq has made numerous efforts to procure technology, know-how and
materials related to ballistic missiles abroad, including efforts to
purchase complete factories, in every single case, Iraq planned to use those
purchases to enhance its indigenous capacity to produce missiles. Building
an Iraqi factory in Sudan not only makes no sense, but runs against the
grain of everything Iraq has ever done in this regard.

I spent seven years as one of UNSCOM's leading investigators of Iraq's
ballistic missile programs and efforts used by Iraq to conceal aspects of
this program from the inspectors, and I can make such statements with
absolute certainty. This model holds true in the post-Desert Storm period as
well. In 1995, I headed efforts inside Jordan to intercept shipments of
Russian-provided missile guidance and control devices, along with tools for
testing and assembly, before they were shipped into Iraq. In 1997 I worked
closely with Ukrainian security services to shut down the activities of a
Ukrainian middleman who was brokering missile-related technology to the
Iraqis, again for use inside Iraq. In 1998 I spearheaded a complex effort to
foil Iraqi efforts to purchase controlling interests in a Romanian aerospace
company, which Iraq planned to use to transfer technology and materials into
Iraq in order to enhance its capabilities in the field of missile
production.

Despite this record of illegal activity, the reality is that for all of this
effort at covert procurement, the missile system for which the Iraqis were
working to acquire this technology was not, as some would like to believe, a
1,200-mile-range behemoth that could threaten Europe, but rather a
battlefield support missile possessing a range of 90 miles. While the
efforts made by Iraq to acquire technology to assist in the production of
this missile were illegal, the missile, known as the Al-Samoud, is, in fact,
a legitimate system allowed under the provisions of relevant Security
Council resolutions.

Touted by many Western intelligence analysts as a "mini-Scud," the Al-Samoud
has a long way to go before it can live up to its more famous predecessor.
The performance of the Al-Samoud was, and is, abysmal. I have videotapes of
the last few Al-Samoud flight tests conducted in 1998, all of which were
failures. UNSCOM assessments regarding the Al-Samoud placed it at least five
years away from reaching operational capability under ideal circumstances.
Yet this is the same missile that, because Iraq has had the audacity to
rebuild associated factories bombed during Operation Desert Fox in December
1998, the Pentagon and State Department would lead us to believe represents
a real and imminent threat to regional peace and security. The Al-Samoud
represents a threat to no one.

If the report of an Iraqi-North Korean-Sudanese axis proves to be accurate,
at best it represents an attempt by Iraq to acquire missile technology for
use by existing factories inside Iraq. It is somewhat ironic that the same
factories Iraq is refurbishing today were under stringent monitoring by
UNSCOM inspectors on the eve of Desert Fox. If anything, the information
written by Mr. Safire reinforces how critical it is to get weapons
inspectors back to work in Iraq. An effective monitoring system such as
existed before Operation Desert Fox would be able to detect and interdict
any effort by Iraq to illegally acquire missile-related technology. My
personal experience proves this. The return of a viable weapons-inspection
regime to Iraq should be the overriding priority of the United States and
the Security Council, even if this means trading the lifting of economic
sanctions. With inspectors back in Iraq, the world would be able to rest
easier and not be absorbed in bouts of unsubstantiated missile madness.

Scott Ritter, Hastings, N.Y. Scott Ritter was an UNSCOM weapons inspector
from 1991 to 1998.

Editor's Note: The editorial referred to appeared in the Current News Early
Bird, April 3, 2000.
_________________________________________________

 Russia Benefits from Iraqi Sanctions, Stratfor, 22 April '00
http://www.stratfor.com/MEAF/commentary/0004222320.htm

Russia is "ready to re-establish cooperation between the [defense]
ministries completely after [the] lifting of [United Nations] sanctions,"
said Russian Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev to Iraqi defense head Gen.
Sultan Hashem Ahman April 20. This statement was bold, unapologetic and will
do nothing to further the argument for dropping the sanctions - which may be
just the point. Russia has a number of reasons to want the Iraqi sanctions
to continue, and the threat of a resurgent Iraqi military will help keep
them in place.

This statement stems from several motivations. It could be simple
chest-pounding on Russia's part - a reminder that it has the capability to
cause significant mischief in the world and should be treated with respect.
On the other hand, there are small signs that the sanctions regime is
fraying at the edges: Gulf nations like the UAE are strengthening ties with
Iraq, and the United Nations has increased the amount of spare parts Iraq
can import as well as appointing what looks to be a more accommodating
weapons inspection team. Russia could simply be trying to nip the process in
the bud.

Continued sanctions will limit Iraq's oil exports, which keep the price of
oil high. Russian oil exports averaged 3.5 million barrels per day in 1998,
according to the Energy Information Agency. Russia needs all the foreign
currency it can get its hands on. Energy exports - oil and natural gas -
currently account for 58 percent of all Russian exports, according to
ITAR-Tass. Iraq has massive oil reserves, and a number of companies are
lined up to begin operations as soon as sanctions are dropped. Many of these
companies are Russian, but more money can be made by keeping prices high
than by merely taking a cut of future exports. Reducing the flow of oil from
Iraq increases the revenue flow into Russian coffers.

Sanctions on Iraq and the subsequent "no fly zones" also limits U.S.
political and military options in the Middle East. The United States spends
a lot of political capital maintaining cooperation with Iraq's neighbors,
many of whom are warming to Baghdad. Playing factional politics among Middle
Eastern nations is difficult when the United States needs them all to agree
on bombing a neighbor. Militarily, enforcing the no-fly zones ties down U.S.
aircraft in Turkey and the Persian Gulf and limits U.S. ability to respond
to an additional military crisis.

More broadly, sanctions keep Iraq isolated and dependent in its relationship
with Russia. Russia can expand its geopolitical options with the threat of
increased military cooperation and foreign policy coordination with Iraq.
Small steps have already been taken like Iraqi defense head Sultan Hashem
Ahman's visit to Moscow last week and Russian assistance on upgrading Iraq's
air defenses. Russia tried to foster a similar connection with China, but it
doesn't appear to be developing. A relationship with Iraq - or even with
Iraq and Yugoslavia - is a poor substitute, but it may be the best option
Russia has.

Russia appears to be in the process of choosing its allies in the Middle
East. Support for Iraq will steer Russia from Iran - a process that has
already begun - and Saudi Arabia will likely follow Iran. Turkey and Israel
are in the U.S. camp, which leaves Syria as the only uncommitted power.
Russia has tried to increase the ties between Syria and Iraq by
reconstructing the oil pipeline between the two, but Syria has not allowed
the oil to flow - a sign of its reluctance to place itself in the
Iraqi-Russian camp. The best move now is for Russia to quietly encourage
Iraq's intransigence and to do what it can to bring Syria to its side.
_________________________________________________

 Interview with Congressman Hall - U.N. Sanctions' Impact on Iraq, PBS, 25
April '00
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/middle_east/jan-june00/iraq_4-25.html

It has almost been a decade since the U.N. sanctions were placed on Iraq
after the Gulf War. Rep. Tony Hall (D-Ohio), who recently visited Iraq,
reports on the sanctions' impact on the Iraqi people.

RAY SUAREZ: Iraq has been under a UN economic embargo ever since it invaded
Kuwait in 1990. By most accounts, many ordinary Iraqi people have suffered
shortages and hardships as a result, even as Iraq's ruler, Saddam Hussein,
remains in power. A US Congressman with a long interest in hunger and
humanitarian issues is just back from a trip to Iraq. Congressman Tony Hall,
Democrat of Ohio, has been reporting on what he saw.

Welcome to the program.

REP. TONY HALL, (D) Ohio: Thank you.

Widespread disease, malnutrition

RAY SUAREZ: Were you able to see a lot of the country and able to move
freely?

REP. TONY HALL: I saw a good portion of the country. As you may know, with
sanctions you can't fly into the country, so you have to drive in. So it's a
ten-hour drive from Amman, Jordan, to Baghdad. So it's ten hours in, ten
hours back, and then that's in the central part. And then from there, I went
south about seven hours and stopped at various little towns, looked at
hospitals, various health care centers, water treatment plants, and then
came back up on the other side. So I saw approximately, you know, a good
portion of the central and southern portion of Iraq.

RAY SUAREZ: And were you able to move freely, and take a look at the things
that interested you?

REP. TONY HALL: Well, before I went, there was a schedule that I had asked
for. I had told them that I wanted to see basic primary health care, water
treatment centers, hospitals, orphans, widows, the kinds of things that I
could evaluate, and match what I had read from UNICEF reports and Red Cross.
And they pretty much let me see what I wanted to see.

On the other hand, a lot of the things that they showed me were set up. I
mean there was a lot of propaganda. Obviously, you can't go into Iraq and
not receive a lot of their propaganda, and there was a lot of setups. For
example, I mean, first thing they try to do, they try to get you to stay in
this one hotel that is in Baghdad, that has a picture of George Bush on the
floor. So they want you to step on his face, take a picture of it, and make
it look like, you know, you don't agree with George Bush. So I wouldn't stay
at that hotel. They played these kind of games, but if you look below the
surface, you could see that there is a real humanitarian problem there.

RAY SUAREZ: Well what are the kinds of things that you saw and were able to
tease apart from what they were trying to show you, the impression they were
trying to create, so you could conclude for yourself?

REP. TONY HALL: Well, you see malnourished children and they have distended
stomachs, you know, red hair. They have spots all over their hair. They...
there is certainly a lot of wasting among children. Wasting is a term that
they use in countries that are facing famine. 25-30% of the children that
are from the ages of one to six are chronically malnourished. There is
cholera, and polio has come back with a vengeance, all of the major
diseases. Any time you have cholera and the major diseases like this, you
have a country that's going downhill quickly health-wise.

RAY SUAREZ: And the built-in infrastructure, water supplies, that kind of
thing?

REP. TONY HALL: Well, the infrastructure was there in the 70's and 80's, and
it's a vast infrastructure, even the highways -- six, seven lanes. The
problem is it is crumbling now, a lot of the infrastructure, especially the
water, because, you know, first off they had a war with Iran that lasted
eight years. And apparently there was something like almost eight million
people that lost their lives on the combined totals of the two countries.
Then you had the Gulf War, then you had the sanctions. You put all that
together and you have an infrastructure that hasn't been repaired and that
is coming apart.

The oil-for-food program RAY SUAREZ: So after the sanctions were put in
place, Iraq was allowed to sell some of its oil and buy needed supplies. Why
is there this kind of privation?

REP. TONY HALL: Not enough food, not enough medicines are coming in, in any
large quantities. That's the first thing. Secondly, there is a sanctions
committee; it is called the 661 Committee, and it's made up of a lot of
bureaucrats that are not particularly sensitive to emergency needs and to
the disease and things that are going on there. They hold up lists of
consumer... not consumer goods, but humanitarian goods like medicines and
foods and refrigeration parts that they need to keep serum for polio cool,
and they hold these parts up for... because there might be a list of maybe a
hundred items, and there might be two or three items that they don't like,
so the whole list is held up, and one of the things that we could do is they
ought to be able to line item veto -- you know, things that might have a
dual purpose, and then send the rest in and don't even question it,
especially if it's food and medicines.

RAY SUAREZ: Well, along with the people who are in charge of managing the
sanctions, if you had a different kind of administration in Baghdad, would
there be this kind of distribution with so many people having so little?

REP. TONY HALL: Well, the NGO's that are there, the international
humanitarian organizations, the heads of them feel that the distribution
is... what they have now is fairly decent. Doesn't mean they don't have
problems, but they feel that the food and medicines are getting to the
hospitals. I, you know, I saw pharmacies. I saw not a lot of drugs, but I
saw some drugs. The only thing I could do is to take the word of the
international... international humanitarian workers so we would have to
check on that, but they are not bad. I mean, the monitoring is somewhat
decent right now, and it's getting better.

RAY SUAREZ: So where does the blame lie for the situation in Iraq today?

REP. TONY HALL: The blame lies in a lot of different places. First off, you
got to blame Saddam Hussein. He uses the situation very well as far as
propaganda. He uses his own people, in my opinion. Secondly, I think the
blame belongs with the United Nations and while we have... United Nations
and other countries, because we have held up shipments of humanitarian
goods. While we have focused on sanctions, which are important, we've missed
the most important point that's going on right now, that the people,
especially the children, which are innocent, they're dying. And they are not
living a good life, and they are they're not even having a life. As a matter
of fact, one of the humanitarian workers said that the kids don't dream
anymore. They don't have anything to dream about, and they lost their
ability to dream about good things.

RAY SUAREZ: So would you advocate having them lifted, modified, sharpened?
What conclusion did you come to?

REP. TONY HALL: Sharpened, smarter. We've got to have better, a better
sanction committee. We've got to put, allow emergency equipment and
emergency goods for humanitarian purposes to go in immediately. We need
serums for cholera and diseases. We need more international workers. That's
the first thing I would do. Secondly, as far as the sanctions on weapons of
mass destruction, those in my opinion should not be lifted.

RAY SUAREZ: So make the weight lie heavier on the government, the military
and less of a burden on the people?

REP. TONY HALL: Exactly, and really, really pick up on the humanitarian
part.

RAY SUAREZ: Can it be done?

REP. TONY HALL: It can be done. And as we talk, the sanctions committee in
New York, they are continuing to review some of the things that they've
heard, not only from my trip but from other people that have gone in there
and that it is a necessity. And they are starting to hear very strongly.
Hopefully they can hear from other nations that are very close, that have
members on these sanctions committee because they're not doing a good job.

RAY SUAREZ: Congressman Tony Hall, thanks for being with us.

REP. TONY HALL: Thank you.
________________________________________________________

 Shell Fined $2 Million for Ship Carrying Iraqi Oil, CNN, 25 April '00
http://www.cnn.com/2000/WORLD/meast/04/25/us.russian.tanker/index.html

WASHINGTON - Oil giant Royal Dutch/Shell Group has agreed to pay a fine of
$2 million to the United Nations after a Russian oil tanker under contract
to the oil giant was deemed to be illegally smuggling Iraqi oil in violation
of a U.N. embargo, the Pentagon said Tuesday.

Tests conducted by U.S. officials determined about 20 percent of nearly
80,000 metric tons of oil aboard the Russian tanker Akademik Pustovoyt came
from Iraqi oil facilities, according to Defense Department spokesman Ken
Bacon.

The tanker has been diverted to Oman's coastal waters in the Persian Gulf,
where the cargo will be offloaded to another ship also under contract to
Shell, Bacon said.

Bacon said there was no evidence that Shell willfully violated the embargo,
part of the U.N. sanctions imposed on Iraq during the 1990-1991 Persian Gulf
crisis. The ship's captain claimed he purchased the oil legally in Iran, and
Shell Oil spokesmen said they believed the oil was being carried legally.

The $2 million Shell will pay in fines is roughly equal to the value of the
smuggled oil, Bacon said. Shell will be allowed to retain ownership of the
78,000-metric ton cargo as part of the agreement, Bacon said. But he added
that future cases may be treated more harshly, and the company may forfeit
the oil.

The total shipment is worth about $12 million, according to U.S. Defense
Department officials. The government of Oman will release the ship to its
Russian owners after the transfer of the cargo.

The money will go to a U.N. fund used to pay for ongoing interdiction
operations intended to control the smuggling of Iraqi oil from the Persian
Gulf, Bacon said.

The Akademik Pustovoyt was detained earlier this month, the second time this
year that a Russian tanker has been held on suspicion of oil smuggling. In
February, the U.S.-led enforcement mission detained another Russian tanker,
the Volga-Neft 147. Tests determined the vessel was carrying Iraqi crude in
violation of the embargo.
________________________________________________________

 U.N. Asks Iraq to Cooperate on Missing Kuwaitis, Reuters, 26 April '00
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/htx/nm/20000426/wl/iraq_kuwait_1.html

By Anthony Goodman

UNITED NATIONS - Security Council members expressed deep concern Wednesday
at the plight of Kuwaitis missing since the 1990 Iraqi invasion of the
emirate and called on Baghdad to cooperate with the U.N. official trying to
determine their fate.

The statement was read to reporters by council President Robert Fowler of
Canada after closed-door consultations on a recent report on the efforts of
the U.N. coordinator for missing Kuwaitis and Kuwaiti property, Russian
diplomat Yuli Vorontsov.

The statement said Vorontsov, who also briefed council members Wednesday,
was still trying to open a dialogue with Iraq.

Kuwait says about 605 people, including 550 Kuwaitis and the rest of various
nationalities, have been missing since the Iraqi invasion. Iraq denies it is
holding any Kuwaiti prisoners of war or detainees. Kuwait also says Iraq
still has a considerable amount of Kuwaiti property, including state
archives.

The Security Council statement said members ``expressed their deep concern
for the plight of Kuwaiti and third party nationals and expressed their hope
that this issue would be dealt with as a strictly humanitarian one by all
sides concerned.''

``They highlighted the valuable work of the International Committee of the
Red Cross,'' it added.

``In this respect, members of the council stressed the importance of
dialogue among all parties, and urged Iraq to cooperate with Ambassador
Vorontsov and resume cooperation with all other agencies and bodies dealing
with this issue,'' the statement added.

Vorontsov was Moscow's U.N. ambassador from 1990 to 1994, including during
the 1991 Gulf war, when a U.N.-authorized coalition led by the United States
expelled Iraqi troops from Kuwait.

Vorontsov recently visited Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, as well as the
Geneva headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The U.N. report on his mission did not state flatly that Iraq refused to
receive him. But it said he had ``already attempted to contact the Iraqi
representatives to assure their cooperation'' and that he would ``continue
his efforts to establish dialogue with the Iraqi side.''

Vorontsov was appointed to his U.N. post as coordinator under a Security
Council resolution adopted last Dec. 17 that also set up a new agency,
called the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission
(UNMOVIC), to complete the scrapping of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

The resolution asked Secretary-General Kofi Annan to report to the council
every four months on Baghdad's compliance with demands for the repatriation
or return of all Kuwaiti and other nationals taken prisoner during Iraq's
occupation of Kuwait, or their remains.

He must also report every six months on the return of all Kuwaiti property
seized by Iraq.
________________________________________________________

 Belize-Flagged Tanker Held in Gulf Over Iraqi Oil, Reuters, 27 April '00
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20000427/wl/iraq_tanker_1.html

DUBAI - A Belize-registered and flagged tanker is being held in the southern
Gulf after being seized earlier this month on suspicion of carrying Iraqi
oil, a U.S. naval spokesman said Thursday.

Commander Jeff Gradeck, spokesman for the multinational interception force
which enforces U.N. sanctions on Iraq, said the Fuad 2 ``was intercepted on
17 April and diverted on 18 April.''

He told Reuters from Bahrain, where the U.S. Navy Fifth Fleet is based, that
the ship was ``carrying illegal Iraqi oil'' and was now being held at anchor
in the southern Gulf before being re-routed to a regional port.

The multinational force had boarded 174 ships so far this year and diverted
17, including the Fuad 2, Gradeck said.

. . . . .
________________________________________________________

 Iraq Builds Water Park for VIPs, U.S. Says, Reuters, 28 April '00
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20000428/wl/iraq_usa_1.html

WASHINGTON - Iraq has built a vast recreational water park for its leaders
and their families while complaining about the effect U.N. sanctions have on
the poor, a U.S. official said on Friday.

Work on the park, on the west bank of the Tigris in Baghdad, began about
seven months ago, and workers started filling the network of pools with
water this month, the official said.

The United States has prepared photographs of the park for release to the
media as part of its campaign to portray the Baghdad government as callous
and hypocritical.

``These are obviously extravagances that are inconsistent with a country
supposedly suffering from the devastating impact of sanctions,'' the U.S.
official said.

The photographs show a series of about a dozen lakes and pools, joined by
channels, in gardens spread out along the river for a distance of about half
a mile (one km).

``It's for use by VIPs and regime elite and their families, like Sea World
(a theme park in Florida). I don't think it's open to the public,'' the U.S.
official said.

In previous releases over the many years of sanctions against Iraq, the
United States has tried to show that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein spends
government money on new palaces or on bases for the Iranian
opposition-in-exile.
________________________________________________________

 Birthday-Boy Saddam Misses Own Party, AFP, 28 April '00
http://sg.dailynews.yahoo.com/headlines/world/afp/article.html?s=singapore/h
eadlines/000428/world/afp/Birthday-boy_Saddam_misses_own_party.html

TIKRIT, Iraq - President Saddam Hussein rained on his own parade Friday,
failing to put in an appearance as thousands of Iraqis marched through the
streets of this northern town to celebrate his 63rd birthday.

It was the president's number two, Ezzat Ibrahim, who took the salute in
Tikrit, the town near Saddam's birthplace, some 170 kilometres (105 miles)
north of Baghdad and traditional focus of the celebrations.

Ibrahim, who cut a huge cake in the shape of a white flower to the tune of
"Happy Birthday to You", wished a "long life for our leader", who has been
in power since 1979, and expressed hope that "this occasion will signal the
start of victories against our enemies."

He also accepted on Saddam's behalf a photo of the Iraqi leader kissing the
Kaaba in Mecca, the most important Islamic site, from the governor of
Salaheddin province, Tareq al-Hazzah.

The Tikrit parade was attended by all Iraqi ministers as well as leading
members of the ruling Baath party, dressed in their olive green
battle-dress, foreign dignitaries and other invited celebrities.

Young women in traditional Arab and Kurdish dress performed folkloric
dances, while troops from the army, navy and air force marched past,
followed by thousands of men and women from tribes from every province.

The marchers, chanting "by our blood, by our soul, we will defend you, O
Saddam", brandished portraits of the Iraqi leader and unfurled banners
saying "Saddam is the best leader for the best people" and "happy birthday
Mr President".

Saddam himself, however, did not appear for the parade and the official
media did not say where he spent his birthday.

Saddam, born on April 28, 1937, in the nearby village of Owja, started to
celebrate his birthday on a nationwide scale even before the embargo that
was slapped on Iraq for its 1990 invasion of Kuwait which triggered the Gulf
conflict.

But the festivities have increased in scope each year.

He was reported to have spent his 62nd birthday in the company of hundreds
of schoolchildren but the location was kept secret, while a grand official
ceremony was held in Saddam Thar Thar, 130 kilometres (80 miles) north of
Baghdad.

The streets of Baghdad were also packed on Friday with thousands of Iraqis
armed with giant portraits of Saddam and banners gathering from the early
morning in front of the presidential palace to pass on their salutations.

Iraqi radio and television continued to broadcast special programmes on the
life of Saddam and "his struggle against imperialism and Zionism."

The popular Youth TV, which is run by Saddam's eldest son, Uday, was renamed
"Birthday TV" just for Thursday and Friday, while presenters cut, live on
air late Thursday, a cake proclaiming "Happy birthday Mr. President".

Iraqi newspapers, as has happened every year, dedicated their editorials to
the occasion, with Ath-Thawra, the mouthpiece of the ruling Baath party,
stating "the president's birthday is that of Iraq."

And Deputy Prime Minister Taha Yassine Ramadan was quoted by the press as
saying that the "public's participation in festivities shows the people's
deep love of the president."

In defiance of ten-year-old international sanctions, Baghdad's shops and
public squares have been decorated with palm fronds and the municipality has
strung up thousands of coloured lights on the city's bridges and buildings.
________________________________________________________

 Iraq: Oil Exports To Surpass $8.5 Billion, AP, 29 April '00
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/aponline/20000429/aponline164144_000.ht
m

By Waiel Faleh
Associated Press Writer

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Iraq said Saturday it would export more than $8.5 billion
worth of oil in its current six-month phase, a record for its earnings under
the U.N. oil-for-food program.
In forecasting such high revenue for the phase ending late May, Iraq also
signaled it was implementing part of the U.N. Security Council resolution it
had rejected.

The announcement was made in a statement by Oil Minister Amer Mohammed
Rashid to the official Iraqi News Agency.

The U.N. program used to limit Iraq to selling $5.2 billion in oil every six
months. Iraq was allowed to exceed the limit only with special dispensation.

However, the security council passed a resolution in December offering Iraq
certain incentives - such as the abolishment of the $5.2 billion cap - to
encourage it to allow a resumption of disarmament inspections.

The sanctions - imposed after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in August 1990 - can
be lifted only when experts report that Iraq is free of has destroyed its
weapons of mass destruction. Iraq claims to have done so, and has refused to
let arms inspectors in the country.

Iraq condemned the council's resolution. Only last month, Deputy Prime
Minister Tariq Aziz dismissed it as "an evil resolution drafted by the
United States and Britain to keep sanctions in place."

But Rashid said President Saddam Hussein had recently ordered the Oil
Ministry to do everything in its power to increase production to the
maximum.

The ministry responded by drawing up a program to improve services and
increase both the quantity and the quality of oil offered for export, Rashid
said.

However, the minister reiterated the Iraqi complaint that U.S. and British
representatives on the U.N. sanctions committee were delaying contracts for
spare parts required for the oil industry.

The United States and Britain said they held up contracts because they
contained items that could have a dual military use. But their governments
have come under increasing pressure, driven in part by media pictures and
U.N. reports on the suffering of Iraqi civilians after nearly 10 years of
sanctions.

. . . . .
________________________________________________________

 Gore, Bush Tackling Foreign Policy, AP, 29 April '00
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/aponline/20000429/aponline114900_000.ht
m

By Sandra Sobieraj
Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - . . . . .

The candidates' substantive differences in foreign policy - on China, trade,
and sanctions against Cuba and Iraq - are negligible, focusing debate
instead on matters of experience, philosophy and gravitas.

. . . . .

Bush, more skeptical about U.S. participation in multilateral aims, has
tried to undercut his Democratic opponent's experience by criticizing it as
scattershot and mealy-mouthed. By contrast, he says, "I will have a foreign
policy with a touch of iron."

He proved it, aides said, when he bluntly told Russian Foreign Minister Igor
Ivanov in their hour-long meeting last week, he would, as president, develop
a U.S. anti-missile system with or without Russian agreement to re-write the
1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. Gore wants to build a limited missile
defense system to guard against threats by countries such as Iraq, Iran and
North Korea - but only under an amended ABM treaty.

. . . . .

"In the Clinton administration - and Gore's been a part of it - the foreign
policy's been all over the place, ad hoc, said Condoleeza Rice, chief
foreign policy adviser to Bush. "The governor will do everything he can to
conduct foreign policy by principle and not by polls and not by the flashy
opportunity-of-the-moment."

. . . . .

On the issues:

. . . . .

- Both would continue sanctions against Cuba and Iraq.

- Bush would apply a narrower standard for intervention in overseas crises
not directly tied to U.S. interests, such as the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

. . . . .

Robert Kagan, a veteran of President Reagan's State Department and a senior
associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, called Gore "a
classic liberal internationalist" while dismissing much of Bush's tough talk
as just that.

On U.S. intervention, Russia, China and arms control, the candidates talk "a
very different game," Kagan said. In office, while "Bush will express
greater skepticism and be a little less solicitous ... I'm not sure the end
result in policy will be fundamentally or noticeably different."
________________________________________________________

 U.N. Humanitarian Chief Hopeful About Iraq Task, Reuters, 30 April '00
http://abcnews.go.com/wire/World/reuters20000430_232.html

AMMAN - The new coordinator of Iraq's  U.N. oil-for-food programme said on
Sunday he hoped to improve  the system under which Iraq feeds its people
with proceeds from  crude oil sales.

"It's to improve what we are already doing to make it even  better and I
think we should be able to do a proper job in  Iraq," Tun Myat, the newly
chosen U.N. humanitarian coordinator  in Iraq, told Reuters Television in
Amman before leaving for  Baghdad by road.

Myat, 58, of Myanmar and a 22-year veteran of the Rome-based  World Food
Programme (WFP) was appointed last month to the  sensitive post after his
two predecessors resigned in protest  over the impact of U.N. sanctions,
imposed in August 1990 after  Iraq invaded Kuwait.

. . . . .

Myat shrugged off criticism the oil-for-food scheme was not  meeting the
minimum needs of Iraq's 22 million people, saying it  was functioning as
well as it could under its existing terms.

"Under the circumstances and arrangements which the programme  works, it's
meeting the needs as much as it could be expected to  meet but there is a
lot of room for improvement which is exactly  what I hope to find out," he
added.

. . . . .

Myat said he foresaw a good working relationship with the  Iraqi authorities
that would allow him to succeed in his new  Baghdad-based mission and ensure
a better management of the food  programme.

"We would like to see how things are and to see how we can  work together.
We are there to help the Iraqi people and I am  sure that they will
appreciate that because this is the goal of  the mission," he said.

Myat handled the 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.
________________________________________________________

 US Plans for Saddam War-Crime Trial, The Times, 30 April '00
http://www.sunday-times.co.uk/news/pages/sti/2000/04/30/stifgnmid02001.html

Marie Colvin

THE Americans have launched a campaign to indict Saddam Hussein for war
crimes.

They are lobbying for the creation of an international court that would put
the Iraqi leader, his two sons and nine of his inner circle on trial.

The administration has set aside $2m (1.3m) to fund the move and asked
Congress for a further $4m in the next budget. It has given $600,000 of this
to Indict, a London-based group that began the public campaign to bring
Saddam to justice. American war crime investigators are gathering witness
testimonies.

"Our primary objective is to see Saddam Hussein and the leadership of the
Iraqi regime indicted and prosecuted by an international criminal tribunal,"
said a source in Washington.

While international courts have indicted Slobodan Milosevic and his cronies
in the former Yugoslavia, and Rwandans who ordered the slaughter of almost
1m Tutsis, no attempt has yet been made to bring Saddam to account for the
hundreds of thousands of Iraqis tortured, imprisoned and killed by his
regime.

The American move appears to have been born largely of frustration at
Saddam's continued hold on power and widespread criticism that its Iraq
policy is moribund. The UN weapon inspection programme collapsed under
Saddam's opposition, and sanctions imposed in 1990 after the invasion of
Kuwait are crumbling.

It also appears part of an attempt to reinvigorate efforts to destabilise
the regime in Baghdad. The Iraqi opposition, reorganised under pressure from
Washington, last week received the first tranche of $93m in funds, training
and material allocated to it by Congress in 1998.The ultimate goal is to
create a court along the lines of the UN's criminal tribunal for the former
Yugoslavia, based in the Hague. It is not clear where the court will be
based; to boost its international credentials, however, it is likely to sit
outside America.

To give impetus to the effort to get Saddam indicted, the administration
recently declassified satellite photographs showing an aerial view of the
southern marshes, which the Baghdad regime is draining to eliminate cover
for rebels in the south. "The elimination of a people's way of life and
livelihood is a war crime," a source in Washington said.

Legal experts say Saddam and his fellow indictees could be prosecuted under
the UN convention on torture, the UN genocide convention, or the Geneva
convention. Despite Saddam's crimes, the creation of such a court faces
obstacles. It needs the approval of the UN Security Council. There is
widespread belief that Russia or even France - both of which are interested
in potentially billions of pounds of post-sanctions business - might veto
it. The British government is believed to be sympathetic but has not
formally backed the Americans.

The mood at the Office of War Crimes Issues at the state department in
Washington is bullish, however. The conventional wisdom said in 1993 that
Russia would oppose the creation of a court for the former Yugoslavia, but
the measure was passed by 15-0.

Although it would be virtually impossible to "snatch" suspects, as has been
done in
Bosnia, indictments would have immediate results. The Iraqi leadership would
be prevented from arguing the regime's case abroad - Tariq Aziz, the
cigar-loving Iraqi foreign envoy, for example, could no longer mount his
annual charm offensive at the UN general assembly. "These guys would be
bottled up," a senior diplomat said.

There are signs the campaign may be unsettling Saddam. When Washington
funded Indict's first international conference earlier this month in Paris,
an Iraqi diplomat with a stolen pass entered and tried to film the meeting
before being stopped.

The ruthless police state in Iraq is so centralised that the guilty are
likely to be limited to Saddam's inner circle, including Saddam's sons,
Qusay and Uday, both powerful figures in the regime.

Luckily for investigators, the ruling Ba'ath party of Iraq resembles the
Nazi administration in its obsessive documentation. Some 5.5m pages of
documents captured in Kurdistan and stored at the University of Boulder in
Colorado make chilling reading.

One of the most clearly documented cases concerns an order signed by Ali
Hassan Al-Majid, Saddam's first cousin and a senior figure in the Baghdad
regime, concerning the "Anfal" campaign against the Kurds in the 1980s, in
which tens of thousands were killed and many forcibly driven from their
homes.

"All persons captured in those villages shall be detained," reads one
document dating from 1987, which was seized by the Americans years later
after Iraqi forces fled the uprising that followed the Gulf war. "Those
between the ages of 15 and 70 must be executed after any useful information
has been obtained from them." Some papers are just receipts for bodies.

The brutal campaign to crush the rebellion in the south in the wake of
Iraq's defeat in Kuwait also comes under the scope of war crimes; whole
families were wiped out as Iraqi artillery reduced to rubble entire
neighbourhoods of the cities of Najaf and Karbala, holy to Shi'ite Muslims.

The charges

The campaign seeks to indict Saddam Hussein for:

Crimes against humanity and possible genocide for "Anfal" campaign against
Iraqi Kurds in the 1980s, including gassing of 5,000 at Halabja in 1988

Crimes against humanity and war crimes against Kuwait, its people and
environment during invasion and occupation in 1990-91

Possible crimes against humanity and war crimes for experiments on people
for biological weapons research in the 1980s

Possible crimes against humanity for killing and torture of political
opponents and others inside Iraq since the 1980s

Crimes against humanity and possible genocide since 1991 for brutal
repression of Kurds in northern Iraq and Shias and marsh-dwellers in the
south
________________________________________________________

Only links provided for the following reports:

 Baghdad Treasure Trove Reopens to Public, BBC, 29 April '00
http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/middle_east/newsid_730000/730669.stm

 Iraq Says Trade With Egypt to Near $400 Million, Reuters, 30 April '00
http://abcnews.go.com/wire/Business/reuters20000430_246.html

 Iraq Says Sanctions Failed to Shake Saddam, Reuters, 30 April '00
http://abcnews.go.com/wire/World/reuters20000430_276.html



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