The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]
Hello all: Please note that CASI web site's ''Info Sources'' page www.cam.ac.uk/societies/casi/info/index.html now contains: · Excerpts from the Ahtisaari and Aga Khan reports that were published in the 1996 UN "Blue Book" on the Iraq-Kuwait conflict. They are under ''UN''. · A link to the English translation of the European Parliament debate in April '00. Thanks, Hathal ________________________________________________________ News for 15 May '00 to 21 May '00 · Sources: ABC, AP, ArabicNews, BBC, Gulf News, New York Times, The Observer, Reuters, Sunday Times · Saddam in Secret Talks With Israel (The Observer) · Trading Blows (ABC) · Bush Adviser Suggests 'Detaching' Parts of Iraq (Reuters) · Deal Reached on Nuclear Arsenals (AP) · Albright Acknowledges Criticism (AP) · The Last Battle of The Gulf War (Editorial - New York Times) · Report Revives Criticism of General's Attack on Iraqis in '91 (New York Times) · EU Approves 8.6 mln Euros in Aid for Iraq (Reuters) · Kuwait Plans Better Ties with Iraq -- After Saddam (Reuters) · Jordan Calls for Arab Effort to Lift Iraq Embargo (Reuters) · Iraq First-Half May Sales Near 2.4m bpd (Reuters) · Primakov 'Took Iraqi Bribes' (Sunday Times) · Stopping Saddam -- Book Review (Sunday Times) Only links provided for the following reports: · Iran Accuses Iraq of Infringing Ceasefire (BBC) · 5,000 Freed Iraqis Opt to Remain in Iran (AP) · U.S., UK Policies Help Keep Saddam in Place (Gulf News) ________________________________________________________ · Trading Blows, ABC, 15 May '00 http://www.abcnews.go.com/sections/world/DailyNews/iraq000515.html ABCNEWS Talks With General and Reporter on War Crimes Charges On one side is four-star combat Gen. Barry McCaffrey, President Clinton's drug czar. On the other is Seymour Hersh, a controversial investigative reporter, who won the Pulitzer Prize for exposing war crimes. In the newest issue of the New Yorker magazine, Hersh authors a 25,000-word story raising serious questions about American actions at the end of the Gulf War - including allegations that Americans may have fired on hundreds of disarmed Iraqi prisoners, many wounded coming out of a hospital bus. Did Americans kill defenseless Iraqis? That's the question ABCNEWS tried to answer, in separate interviews with Seymour Hersh and Barry McCaffrey. Read transcripts of those interviews, here: Jackie Judd's Interview with Seymour Hersh: JUDD: You spent six months investigating the 24th infantry division led by Gen. Barry McCaffrey. You interviewed several hundred people. What did you come away believing about how they had behaved during the war? HERSH: There were some terrible incidents that took place toward the end of the war, particularly in the first brigade headed by a colonel named John Lemoine, who was very close to McCaffrey, and in one case, some soldiers stopped as many as 350, 400 prisoners, some on a marked hospital bus marked with the crescent, the equivalent of a red cross sign here, they radioed what they were doing to the troops behind them, and they got them in line, gave them their food. They drove off. Behind them came a squadron, 14 or 15, 13 maybe what they call Bradley - sort of like tanks, fighting machines with machine guns capable of firing several hundred rounds a minute. Boom, they open up on all the prisoners as the kids - as the first group was leaving. It was a horrible mess, and afterward, somebody complained, and they began an investigation. The investigation was Colonel Lemoine picked his chief deputy to run the investigation, it was kept inside, and the conclusion of the investigation was that nobody was shot. JUDD: You quote several scouts involved in that incident in kind of penning in these Iraqis who then surrendered themselves. But what you don't have that in that incident is anyone saying, 'I saw bodies.' HERSH: Well, all I'm certain of is this - I'm certain of what these people were saying. Everybody there was very, very sure. JUDD: Now, there's another incident that you report on and that is the small group of Iraqis with the white flag, and suddenly, they're fired on as well. HERSH: There were about 75 Iraqis coming toward a group of - they were between a group of soldiers and intelligence people. The people who I can't quote by name, what they saw was a group of people coming toward them, they saw a lot of bullets get fired. They saw people go down. They think they saw 15, 20 people, some people saw more, and some saw less, bodies go down. They saw people running, just as in the first instance. They didn't see people die but they saw some of the people running for cover as they left. JUDD: Now, the third incident is what has been called the battle of the causeway. HERSH: Yeah. That's right. JUDD: Your thesis there is that the force that McCaffery used was completely disproportionate to the threat he faced in the battlefield. HERSH: It's more than that. I say he faced no threat. This is a retreating army going home. McCaffrey moved his forces to where the enemy was going to be coming out in retreat. They were going the way they were told to go, guns not facing in the direction of the forces. The gun turrets - turrets turned away. The American who saw them said a lot of the Iraqis were getting sun, taking rays. All of a sudden, the attack is four hours. The army's own investigation which McCaffrey said exonerated him totally, yes it did, of criminal charges, but not about his judgment. JUDD: Did he commit war crimes? HERSH: The 24th Division committed some terrible acts that weren't investigated or prosecuted properly. JUDD: Would you go so far as to say he violated some codes of military conduct? HERSH: I don't think I'd want my son to serve in his unit. Charlie Gibson's interview with Barry McCaffrey: GIBSON: Gen.McCaffrey, let me start with the specific charges that Sy Hersh levels. Number One, that on two dates, your troops or troops under your command fired on first penned up prisoners and secondly, Iraqi civilians with a white flag. MCCAFFREY: Hersh and his article lack integrity. That's the bottom line. He maligns the characters of 26,000 great young soldiers who conducted a 400-kilometer attack successfully, where thank god we only lost eight killed and 36 wounded. Charlie, what he's doing is recycling charges that were investigated in '91. Here's the front page of the newspaper, Savannah newspaper, in those months. A total of 2,000 pages of investigative material, hundreds of interviews, there is no truth to this stuff, and this is a nonobjective attack on the character of these great young soldiers. GIBSON: Let me get those two specific charges out of the way, number one that on Feb. 27, 1991, the troops under your command fired on penned-up prisoners and then on March 1 fired on civilians with a white flag. MCCAFFREY: Well, first of all, let me just say that I think his story is going to melt like a snowball this week. The two scout platoon leaders involved in both these incidents, they were thoroughly investigated, he went to the same people, cleared two elements of all wrongdoing. They simply did not harm Iraqi soldiers or civilians. The allegations, the bottom line, are not true. GIBSON: He purports to have an audiotape that some of your troops were horrified that these prisoners, who were restrained, were coming under fire MCCAFFREY: The audiotape is sort of good news. What it says is a bunch of young soldiers hearing machine gun firing assumed that the follow-on unit was engaging these prisoners, who were standing there unguarded, several hundred of them. So they did report it. That's good news. Great young soldiers. The investigation revealed, however, that the machine gun fire they heard was directed at Iraqi vehicles. It was not directed at these poor Iraqis, who were treated with enormous compassion and discipline all throughout this battle force. The incidents did not occur according to exhaustive investigation at the time. GIBSON: Also charges March 2, 1991 that you provoked a battle with retreating Iraqi forces, used heavy firepower against them even though the guns on the Iraqi tanks were pointed away from your troops, that they were retreating. MCCAFFREY: Yeah. It would almost be comical, Charlie. He's quoting a scout platoon, a couple young soldiers as saying that they believe that they were not really Iraqis firing on the Americans. The scout platoon was 9 kilometers away. So, when the scout platoon leaders were asked this week what do you think he'll say, they say we weren't there. John Lemoine's soldiers acted appropriately and used overwhelming force and protected U.S. lives. GIBSON: He quotes the commander of the 82nd Airborne as saying there was no need to be shooting at the Iraqis. They couldn't surrender fast enough. MCCAFFREY: My son was a first lieutenant in the 82nd Airborne, great division. My commander said it was appropriate use of force, I'll bet Johnson was quoted out of context, and he was 400 kilometers away. Why would anyone argue with an infantry batallion commander and say two company commanders were reporting a fire? This is comical. GIBSON: Do you feel libeled by Seymour Hersh? MCCAFFREY: I don't want to say that. I think he maligned the characters of these beautiful young American soldiers. The American people are very proud of their behavior, and they ought to be. Thank god for the discipline and courage of these 26,000 troops. ________________________________________________________ · Report Revives Criticism of General's Attack on Iraqis in '91, New York Times, 15 May '00 http://www.nytimes.com/library/world/global/051500gulf-war.html By MICHAEL R. GORDON WASHINGTON -- One of the top American commanders in the Persian Gulf war came under investigation in 1991 after a member of his unit complained that his troops had pummeled retreating Iraqi forces in an unprovoked attack two days after a cease-fire went into effect. Military investigators, who fielded the anonymous complaint and completed a secret report in 1991, exonerated Barry R. McCaffrey, now a retired four-star Army general and President Clinton's top drug control official. But questions about the attack have been revived by a report appearing in The New Yorker magazine on Monday that quotes senior Army officers, including one of the top officers on General McCaffrey's staff, as saying the attack was unjustified. Patrick Lamar, the operations officer of General McCaffrey's division, told the magazine that the attack was a "giant hoax" in which overwhelming firepower was used against an Iraqi armored force that put up little resistance. The article by Seymour M. Hersh pits a tenacious investigative reporter against one of the nation's most aggressive military men. Mr. Hersh first made his name by reporting on the massacre of Vietnamese civilians by Americans in the hamlet of My Lai. His 25,000-word article on General McCaffrey is the longest The New Yorker has published since 1993. In addition to challenging General McCaffrey's conduct, Mr. Hersh also asserts that some of the commander's troops fired on Iraqi prisoners. And he questions the integrity of the military's investigations of this and other allegations of gulf war misconduct, charging that critics were often either ignored or intimidated. But General McCaffrey insists that he has been the victim of a journalistic attack. He says Mr. Hersh pursued him for months and tried unsuccessfully to prove that he had committed felonies during his service in Vietnam and had stolen a bicycle as a child. And in recent weeks, General McCaffrey has mounted a pre-emptive campaign to make Mr. Hersh the issue, distributing letters to reporters by military officers complaining of Mr. Hersh's tactics, and directing journalists to the Army's in-house investigation, which concluded that the attack was provoked by the Iraqis and was within the cease-fire rules of engagement. "I have been dealing with the press for years, but nothing prepared me for this," General McCaffrey said in an interview. General McCaffrey has long had a reputation as an ambitious commander. He was badly wounded in Vietnam, but that did not shake his confidence or ardor for battle. As allied troops prepared to battle the Iraqis, General McCaffrey was in command of the Army's 24th Infantry Division, which had been commanded by H. Norman Schwarzkopf, the former gulf war commander, and which consisted of 26,000 soldiers and 8,600 vehicles. The task of General McCaffrey's division was to take the fight to Iraq's Republican Guard. Unlike some of his fellow Army commanders, who methodically and cautiously maneuvered their units on the battlefield, General McCaffrey had his soldiers race through southern Iraq, and they were on the verge of cutting off many of the Iraqi forces when President Bush announced that a cease-fire would take place after 100 hours of ground combat. Mr. Hersh's article makes several allegations. One of the most sensational is that on Feb. 27, 1991, a unit of armored vehicles within General McCaffrey's division fired high-powered machine guns into a group of more than 350 disarmed Iraqi prisoners. General McCaffrey was not personally implicated in the episode, although Mr. Hersh suggests the general set a tone that encouraged use of excessive firepower. Mr. Hersh cites a tape of radio conversations during the episode that shows soldiers were horrified by what is portrayed as a panicky blunder by trigger-happy troops. According to Mr. Hersh, the American captors piled the prisoners' confiscated weapons into a truck, drove it into the desert, and blew it up. The spectacular explosion apparently excited the drivers of nearby American fighting vehicles, who rolled to the scene and began blazing away with their machine guns. "Why are we shooting at these people, when they are not shooting us?" one soldier asked on the tape cited by The New Yorker. "It's murder," someone else said on the tape. General McCaffrey said that the soldier who made the tape was leaving the scene in a Humvee at the time and did not actually see what the armored vehicles were firing at. He said a subsequent Army investigation determined that not a single Iraqi prisoner was killed or injured. General McCaffrey's decisions immediately after the 1991 Persian Gulf war have long been the subject of debate. After a cease-fire was announced, an Iraqi unit trying to retreat stumbled into General McCaffrey's division, and there was an exchange of fire. Hundreds of armored vehicles and trucks were destroyed in the fight, and General McCaffrey told Cable News Network soon after the battle that he believed 400 Iraqis has been killed. Some Army officers complained after the war that General McCaffrey had used the episode as an excuse to pummel the Iraqis in one of the most one-sided fights of the war. The chief operations officer of the Army's VII Corps, for example, declared that rules of engagement followed by his forces would have precluded such an attack. The dispute has been explored in several books, and was the subject of a 1991 investigation by the Army's Criminal Investigation Command. The investigation cleared the general, and he has cited it this past week in his defense. Mr. Hersh's account, however, suggests for the first time that the discomfort over the attack on March 2, 1991, also ran deep within General McCaffrey's own 24th Infantry Division, citing comments by his operations officer. Mr. Hersh's interpretation of the fight is sharply contested by General McCaffrey. Mr. Hersh suggests that General McCaffrey deliberately provoked the fighting by deploying his troops in front of a causeway over Lake Hammar and, thus, along a likely Iraqi retreat route. He also quotes officers as saying that many of the Iraqi tanks were being carried by trucks and that their turrets were turned to the rear; that the initial shots from the Iraqi side were not a real attack but a sign of panic upon encountering the Americans blocking their retreat; and that McCaffrey ordered additional waves of assault long after any sign of resistance from the Iraqis. "There was no need to be shooting at anybody," Lt. Gen. James H. Johnson Jr., who commanded the 82nd Airborne, is quoted as saying. "They couldn't surrender fast enough. The war was over." General McCaffrey, however, insisted that Mr. Hersh's account was skewed. He said he moved his troops up to a boundary decided by higher-level Army officers, who were overseeing the war from Saudi Arabia. And General McCaffrey added that he had no reason to think his units were astride an escape route because he believed that the causeway had been destroyed by American warplanes. He also denied that most of the Iraqi tanks had their guns turned to the rear and insisted that he carried out the attack to protect his men. "This whole notion that the tanks were up on trucks and that their guns were all to the rear is bull," he said. "This was an armed unit moving through the desert." Gen. Gary Luck, retired, the commander of the XVIII Airborne Corps during the gulf war and General McCaffrey's superior, said he went to the battle scene immediately after the fight and concluded that General McCaffrey had acted appropriately. "I think it was a fair fight," he said. General McCaffrey has also released a letter by General Schwarzkopf to Mr. Hersh in which the allied commander said he was not aware of any impropriety in the attack. General McCaffrey has cited the Army investigation in his defense. The investigation has received scant public attention until now. Leon Panetta, a senior White House official at the time of the general's appointment as President Clinton's top anti-drug man in 1996, told The New Yorker that the Clinton administration was unaware of the investigation back then. But Robert S. Weiner, spokesman for General McCaffrey, says that the existence of the investigation was not a secret, and that it was known to the Senate committee which confirmed the general's appointment. The report into actions by General McCaffrey's division in the gulf war was 2,100 pages long, and based on interviews with some 200 witnesses. The allegations about the March 2 attack did not apparently cloud General McCaffrey's career. After the gulf war, he was promoted several times, and served as the four-star commander of American forces in Latin America. For all the criticism in the New Yorker account, General McCaffrey said he was relieved that Mr. Hersh had dropped many of his earlier allegations. He said that as a result of the episode he has gathered an array of material on the Persian Gulf war, and is planning to write his own book. ________________________________________________________ · Kuwait Plans Better Ties with Iraq -- After Saddam, Reuters, 15 May '00 http://www.cnn.com/2000/WORLD/meast/05/15/iraq.kuwait.reut/index.html KUWAIT -- A Kuwaiti official set out an ambitious plan for better ties with Iraq and regional development on Monday but said it could only happen once Iraqi President Saddam Hussein left power. "May God speed the lifting of obstacles ... and free Iraqis as he has freed us," Sheikh Nasser Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah told a conference on the future of ties between Iraq and Kuwait. He is an economic adviser to the Crown Prince and Prime Minister Sheikh Saad al-Abdulla al-Sabah, and is seen by some Western diplomats as one of the next generation of leaders within the ruling al-Sabah family. The three-day conference, attended by a host of Iraqi opposition figures, Western experts, regional officials and politicians has already come under strong criticism from Iraq, which occupied Kuwait for seven months from August 1990. Sheikh Nasser said there would have to be confidence building between Kuwait and Iraq -- once the Iraqi leadership had changed. "It can only be achieved if a democratic, peaceful regime which respects international accords is found in Iraq," said the sheikh who is the oldest son of the country's influential foreign minister, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah. "Political stability in Iraq is not only an Iraqi desire, but also a Kuwaiti requirement," he added. Sheikh Nasser said Kuwait and Iraq could in future make Kuwait a shipping, financial and re-export center for populous northern Gulf regions in Iraq and Iran, while Iraqi oil pipelines could be extended to Kuwaiti ports. He said it could also serve as a storage center for trade between Central Asia and the region via a new network of railways, he said. "The large population centers in Iran and Iraq are close to Kuwait ... which, because of Iraq's limited access to the Gulf waterway, can become a center for the needs of the Iraqi economy after the rule of Saddam ends," Sheikh Nasser said. One of the speakers, Iraq expert Gerd Nonneman, told the conference that Iraq's continued need to gain access to the Gulf "may lead to conflict again unless it is resolved and managed." Some regional experts believe one of the aims of Iraq's war with Iran from 1980-88 and its invasion of Kuwait was to gain access to the Gulf. ________________________________________________________ · Jordan Calls for Arab Effort to Lift Iraq Embargo, Reuters, 15 May '00 http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20000515/wl/iraq_jordan_1.html AMMAN, Jordan -- Jordanian Prime Minister Abdul-Raouf al-Rawabdeh, in an interview published Monday, called for a joint Arab initiative to lift U.N. sanctions against Iraq. In the latest remarks by an Arab official demanding an end to 10 years of sanctions against Iraq, the Jordanian prime minister told the pan-Arab al-Hayat newspaper Baghdad should be allowed back into the international fold. ``We demand the lifting of sanctions against Iraq and the preserving of the unity of its people and its land,'' Rawabdeh was quoted by the London-based Saudi-owned daily as saying. ``But the role (to get the sanctions lifted) should be an Arab and not a Jordanian one. A comprehensive Arab role in lifting the sanctions on Iraq (is required) because Iraq should return to its Arab nation and resume its regional and international roles,'' he said. The prime minister said Jordan was against any foreign interference in Iraq's internal politics and said only Iraqis should choose their political regime. Qatar's Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabr al-Thani last week called for an initiative by Gulf Arab states to normalize ties with Iraq and lift United Nations sanctions. Jordan, sympathetic to Iraq in the 1990-91 Gulf crisis over Kuwait, turned against Baghdad in 1995 and gave shelter to two senior Iraqi defectors. The late King Hussein then called for a change of administration in Iraq. But in recent years Jordan has been an advocate of lifting the sanctions, imposed on Iraq for its 1990 invasion of Kuwait, which it says hurt only the Iraqi people. Rawabdeh said Jordan has paid dearly since the 1990-91 crisis, losing its labor market in the Gulf and a large chunk of the Iraqi market to its goods. Jordan exports goods to Iraq under an oil-for-food deal between Iraq and the United Nations but its exports are only a small fraction of what they were before the sanctions were imposed. Baghdad exports around 80,000 barrels of crude oil per day to its neighbor at undisclosed concessionary terms. ________________________________________________________ · The Last Battle of The Gulf War, Editorial - New York Times, 17 May '00 The Army this week brushed off new reports that American forces needlessly attacked retreating Iraqi troops after a cease-fire was declared in the Persian Gulf war. The accounts, contained in a New Yorker article written by Seymour Hersh, cannot be so easily dismissed. Though questions about the battle were raised as the war ended in 1991, and subsequent Army investigations found no fault, there is good reason for the Pentagon and Congress to revisit the matter. Some of the officers most familiar with the American assault offer detailed testimony that one of the country's most decorated commanders, Gen. Barry McCaffrey, ordered a punishing and unwarranted attack. The sequence of events described by Hersh is complex and filled with the confusion and ambiguities that are common in war. There are conflicting accounts about what happened and why, and McCaffrey, now retired from the Army and serving as the Clinton administration's top drug-control official, has vigorously defended his actions. But none of that justifies the Army's cavalier response to the New Yorker article. Few matters are more important to a democracy than the conduct of its military forces, and any credible accusation of reckless or unjustified killing by American servicemen must be thoroughly investigated by an independent panel of experts. The Army's internal inquiries are not an adequate answer. The core issue raised by the Hersh piece is whether McCaffrey, who was commander of the 24th Infantry Division, deliberately provoked a fight with retreating Iraqi forces after the cease-fire was in place by blocking a main escape route and then seizing on the firing of several Iraqi weapons to launch a withering assault. The ferocity of the American attack is not in question. American ground and air units all but pulverized a Republican Guard tank division on March 2, 1991, in one of the most devastating and one-sided battles of the war. A number of McCaffrey's fellow commanders, including Lt. Col. Patrick Lamar, who was the division's operations officer, told Hersh that excessive firepower was used against a weakened and retreating Iraqi force that did not seriously threaten the Americans. They believe that the American assault was a clear and willful violation of the cease-fire rules of engagement that had been established by the Pentagon. McCaffrey maintains that he acted properly to defend his troops after the Iraqi forces initiated combat. He denies that he blocked their escape route in hopes of forcing a confrontation. Hersh examines other serious charges involving McCaffrey's troops, including reports that they massacred a group of Iraqi prisoners of war, but the evidence he cites here is not definitive. The Army's investigations of all these matters, which cleared McCaffrey and the division, should not be the last word. The military services have a poor record of holding their own members accountable for misconduct, especially top officers. As Walter Cronkite, the former CBS News anchorman, noted in a letter to The Times earlier this week, the Pentagon's efforts to restrict coverage of the war denied the American people an immediate and full account of the battles American forces fought in Kuwait and Iraq. More comprehensive coverage might long ago have clarified whether McCaffrey's order to attack was appropriate. The Senate did not inquire deeply into the 24th Infantry Division's actions when it approved promotions for McCaffrey after the war or when it confirmed his appointment to the drug policy post. Secretary of Defense William Cohen should appoint an independent review panel. If he does not, the Senate or House should conduct its own investigation. If McCaffrey acted responsibly, he should welcome an unflinching examination of the facts. ________________________________________________________ · Iraq First-Half May Sales Near 2.4m bpd, Reuters, 17 May'00 http://www.gulf-news.co.ae/17052000/BUSINESS/business12.htm London -- Iraq's oil exports have surged to nearly 2.4 million barrels per day (bpd) during the first half of May - a sharp rise on April's average of two million bpd, Iraqi and western oil industry sources said yesterday. "Our intention is to keep up that rate for the rest of the month," an Iraqi oil official told Reuters. Baghdad turned up the taps at the end of March to take advantage of the United Nations' speedier approval of spare parts for its ailing oil sector. Iraqi Oil Minister Amir Mohammed Rasheed said then that oil sales would swell 700,000 bpd to hit the 2.4 million bpd mark in early May. There is an apparent discrepancy with official UN export figures which show sales of some 2.1 million bpd over two weeks to May 12. That could be ironed out next week if the UN shows higher Iraqi sales for the week ending May 19. The oil industry sources said exports of Basrah Light from the Iraqi Gulf port of Mina al-Bakr have been running at just over 1.4 million bpd during the first two weeks of May. Kirkuk sales from the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan have been rolling out at between 900,000 to one million bpd, they added. Baghdad is meanwhile working to ensure that export flows continue without interruption between six-month phases of the United Nations oil-for-food deal. As the clock runs down on the current seventh tranche - which expires on June 8 - oil traders had been preparing for about a two-week break in Iraqi exports. Iraq between previous phases has often suspended exports for weeks and halted sales for just over three weeks last November. But the Iraqi oil official confirmed that state oil marketer SOMO has expanded seventh phase contract volume for some of its close customers to the end of next month to avoid any gap in exports. "We always suffer interruptions between phases," he said. "The two-week extension will help us get over any technical hurdles." But SOMO will only proceed with an eighth phase if instructed by Baghdad, the Iraqi source said. For its part, the UN is also aiming for a seamless transition between phases of the oil sales package, which allows Iraq to sell oil over a 180-day period to buy food, medicine and other humanitarian needs for the Iraqi population. A draft resolution for the next 180-day oil-for-food package could be put on the table next week, a western diplomat said. "The basics of rolling over the oil-for-food deal are not contentious," he said. "We expect to adopt a new resolution a day or two before the seventh phase runs out." ________________________________________________________ · EU Approves 8.6 mln Euros in Aid for Iraq, Reuters, 19 May '00 http://www.cnn.com/2000/WORLD/meast/05/19/iraq.eu.reut/index.html BRUSSELS, Belgium -- The European Commission said on Friday it had approved an 8.6 million-euro ($7.67 million) humanitarian aid program to supply mostly drugs and medical equipment to central and southern Iraq. "The program is designed to ensure maximum complementarity with the United Nations oil-for-food program," the Commission said in a statement, noting it had already provided 250 million euros worth of humanitarian aid to Iraq since the end of the 1991 Gulf War, making it the largest international donor. . . . . . The Commission, the European Union's executive body, said its aid will be channelled via non-governmental organizations including Doctors Without Borders, the Red Cross and UNICEF. ________________________________________________________ · Deal Reached on Nuclear Arsenals, AP, 20 May '00 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/aponline/20000520/aponline212228_000.ht m By Edith M. Lederer Associated Press Writer UNITED NATIONS -- The five nuclear powers on the Security Council agreed Saturday to eliminate their nuclear arsenals, as part of a new disarmament agenda approved by 187 countries. The agreement by the signatories to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty was reached after all-night deliberations and intense pressure on Iraq and the United States to settle a dispute over Baghdad's compliance with U.N. sanctions. "Today is a great day for the cause of nuclear nonproliferation and nuclear disarmament," said Algerian U.N. Ambassador Abdallah Baali, the conference president, as he banged the final gavel to loud applause. Although the agreement gives no timetable, and delegates said it would take many years to achieve a nuclear-free world, it marked the first time the major nuclear powers had publicly affirmed their obligation to disarm. The five-year review conference for the global treaty - aimed at controlling and ultimately eliminating nuclear weapons - required a consensus, and the U.S.-Iraq dispute threatened to sabotage approval of a final document. Signaling the importance Washington placed on the issue of Iraq's compliance with nuclear agreements, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Robert Einhorn, who is in charge of nonproliferation, flew to New York to take part in the final talks. Hours after his arrival, Canadian Ambassador Chris Westdal, who had worked through the night, announced an agreement to applauding delegates, saying "the last piece in our puzzle is complete." Delegates to the conference said the new agreement was significant because it marked the first time in 15 years that the signatories to the nonproliferation treaty have reached consensus on moving forward with nuclear disarmament. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said it "marks a significant step forward in humanity's pursuit of a more peaceful world - a world free of nuclear dangers, a world with strengthened global norms for nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament." On Thursday, the five nuclear powers - the United States, Russia, Britain, France and China - agreed to "an unequivocal undertaking" to eliminate their nuclear arsenals. The NPT, which came into force in 1970, has only four holdouts: India and Pakistan, which conducted rival nuclear tests in 1998, Israel, which is believed to have nuclear weapons, and Cuba. Delegates repeatedly stressed the importance of getting those nations to sign - a step many concede is crucial to the cause of disarmament. The final document reaffirmed "the importance of Israel's accession to the NPT" and urged India and Pakistan, despite their nuclear tests, to become parties to the treaty "as non-nuclear weapon states." But China's U.N. Ambassador in Geneva, Hu Xiaodi, was critical, saying the document did not "fully reflect the current international situation, nor does it call for the removal of fundamental obstacles to nuclear disarmament." Hu cited a host of issues that weren't addressed in the final document - the expansion of NATO, the absence of any reference to no first use of nuclear weapons or U.S. plans for a limited missile defense system. Nonetheless, the delegates did take other important steps leading up to a total ban on nuclear weapons, including a moratorium on testing pending activation of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, further reductions of tactical nuclear weapons, increased transparency on reporting information about nuclear arsenals and taking weapons off "hair-trigger" alert. They also agreed to permanently and irreversibly remove plutonium and uranium from nuclear warheads, and to negotiate within the next five years a treaty banning the production of weapons-grade nuclear material. The U.S.-Iraq dispute centered on Iraq's compliance with U.N. sanctions requiring that Iraq's facilities for producing nuclear, chemical and biological weapons be shut down. The United States maintains that Iraq has not adequately accounted for its weapons programs. Iraq's U.N. Ambassador Saeed Hasan initially said Baghdad would accept the International Atomic Energy Agency's January inspection of its nuclear reactors under the NPT treaty - but was vehemently opposed to U.S. demands for a statement that the IAEA inspection would not substitute for its Security Council obligations. Under the compromise language, the conference noted an April 24 statement by the IAEA director-general that since Iraq has suspended weapons inspections since December 1998 "the agency has not been in a position to provide any assurance of Iraq's compliance" with the U.N. sanctions. At the final plenary session of the conference, Hasan entered a reservation on the compromise, reiterating that there was "no reason" to include Iraq or the Security Council resolution in the document. But without naming Iraq, U.S. Ambassador Robert Gray said it was important that the conference expressed "profound concern about cases of noncompliance." ________________________________________________________ · Saddam in Secret Talks With Israel, The Observer, 21 May '00 http://www.observer.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,223287,00.html Iraqi ruler offers peace with West in return for taking Palestinian refugees Jason Burke, Paul Beaver and Ed Vulliamy, New York Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi dictator, has made an astonishing bid for peace with the West after months of secret talks with the Israeli government. At a series of meetings held over the past 15 months, Saddam's representatives have repeatedly told the Israelis that, if Jerusalem works to end Iraq's diplomatic isolation, Baghdad will arrange for more than 300,000 Palestinian refugees living in Lebanon to be airlifted to new lives in Iraq and will tone down its hostile rhetoric towards the Jewish state. Lebanon's Palestinian population poses the most significant security threat following the Israelis' planned withdrawal from the south of the country later this summer, and moving them to Iraq would solve a significant problem for Jerusalem. It would also mark one of the most significant shifts in regional politics in decades. The secret discussions will embarrass the Foreign Office which supports the Americans' hardline policy aimed at isolating Iraq. Official sources in Washington, London, Amman and Jerusalem last week confirmed the contacts between the two nations and the Iraqi proposal. Senior US State Department sources told The Observer: 'We know that this is being talked about. No agreement has been finalised but we are pretty confident it is going to happen.' An airlift moving the refugees - which would cost more than $100 million (£60m) - would be funded by Israel and its supporters overseas, the State Department source said. On at least three occasions over the past 20 years Iraq and Israel have held talks - always when Saddam's regime has been under pressure. Israel is keen to neutralise any possible threats from other countries. However, it could merely be humouring Saddam to gain leverage elsewhere in the region. 'Saddam is the consummate pragmatist. He will talk to anyone if he thinks it will help him... He will offer whatever he thinks they want most,' said one former aide of the Iraqi dictator last week. The Observer has established that representatives of the two countries have met at least four times. The first meeting was at the funeral of King Hussein of Jordan in Amman in February last year when a senior Israeli politician had two conversations with Taha Mohieddin Maarouf, the Iraqi Vice-President. 'It was just protocol though, nothing substantive,' said one Iraqi opposition source in London. The meeting in Amman was confirmed by a Jordanian official. Later in the spring a second meeting occurred in Athens between an American businessman with strong Israeli connections and a diplomat from a Middle Eastern country supportive of Iraq. A number of issues were discussed including the lifting of specified sanctions and the translocation of the Palestinians. Late last year Nizar Hamdoun, the Iraqi deputy Foreign Minister and former ambassador to the United Nations, travelled to America to further contacts with Jewish groups and representatives of the Israeli government in New York and Washington. At a series of meetings the question of the movement of the Palestinians to Iraq was raised though no commitments were made. Hamdoun is known as a smooth diplomat with a good reputation internationally. 'He has kept himself distanced from the ugliness of the rest of the regime,' said one Iraq expert. The most recent meeting known to The Observer occurred last February in Amman though it is unclear who attended. Intelligence sources in Jerusalem confirmed last week that discussions between representatives of Israel and Iraq are continuing. Saddam's favoured son Qusay - recently appointed head of the regime's security operation - is thought to be in overall charge of the talks. The idea of moving the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon to Iraq has been raised before though this is the first time Baghdad has ever talked practically about how to execute the plan. The current sanctions regime imposed on Iraq by the United Nations - and maintained through strong pressure from London and Washington - has shattered Iraq's economy but done nothing to weaken Saddam's grip. The Iraqi dictator is increasingly constrained by the current situation. The contacts will cause serious concern in Whitehall. Britain has doggedly followed the Americans' hardline despite increasing criticism. The diplomacy pursued by Israel will be a significant embarrassment for the Americans and the British who have repeatedly called for a united front. Experts say there are many reasons for the contacts between Baghdad and Jerusalem. 'Both governments have significant amounts to gain,' said Said Aburish, a biographer of both Saddam and Yasser Arafat and a former adviser to the Iraqi regime. ________________________________________________________ · Bush Adviser Suggests 'Detaching' Parts of Iraq, Reuters, 21 May '00 http://www.gulf-news.co.ae/21052000/GULF/gulf2.htm Washington -- A policy adviser to U.S. presidential candidate George Bush suggested yesterday the United States use air power and other means to detach parts of Iraq from the control of President Saddam Hussein. Just as the United States has helped the Kurds run an autonomous region in northern Iraq, it now should help opponents of Saddam set up an enclave in the south, said Robert Zoellick, an under secretary of state under Bush's father. Zoellick, who was also President George Bush's deputy chief of staff, said President Bill Clinton's policy towards Iraq had been "a debacle" which had allowed President Saddam to grow stronger and stronger. The alliance against Iraq was in tatters, no UN inspectors were monitoring Iraqi weapons programmes and economic sanctions against Baghdad barely survived, he told a seminar organised by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. "At some point we know that Saddam will move first and at that point, as opposed to letting him get an additional step, I think for one step forward he has to get two steps back. "That means that we essentially undermine his position within his own country, also with the Russians, the French and others, and that means slowly taking away pieces of his territory," Zoellick said. "We have started that in the north, I believe we could do that in the south. I believe that in part this involves air power, in part it involves more." The United States already bans Iraqi aircraft from overflying southern Iraq, ostensibly to protect the mainly Shi'ite population there from government repression, but it has not tried hard to support southern rebels. Leon Fuerth, national security adviser to Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore, said in response to Zoellick that his proposal overlooked the realities of the Gulf. "The reality is that the members of our coalition are not prepared and have not been prepared to support the level of violence that is implied by your comments," said Fuerth, a member of President Clinton's Principals' Committee. "To get what we've got from our friends and allies, we have applied maximum torque. When you get to the point where you sense that anything further will damage the position of the United States, then you take what you can get," he added. But Zoellick said U.S. allies in the Gulf did not support U.S. proposals because they did not have confidence in U.S. leadership and expected Saddam to stay in power. "People in the region are making plans of their own because they think Saddam Hussein will be around... They are cold-blooded, practical people," he added. The Bush adviser, echoing some congressional Republicans, also criticised the Clinton administration for its half-hearted support for the Iraqi opposition in exile. He said the administration had spent only $5 million on the opposition, despite Congressional permission to give it goods and services worth more than $97 million. But Fuerth, reflecting U.S. frustration with the Iraqi National Congress, said members were "far more prone to attack each other than to unite against their common enemy". . . . . . ________________________________________________________ · Albright Acknowledges Criticism, AP, 21 May '00 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/aponline/20000521/aponline144924_000.ht m WASHINGTON -- Secretary of State Madeleine Albright urged George Washington University graduates to "be doers, not dabblers" even as she acknowledged their criticism of her appearance Sunday and the Clinton administration's policy toward Iraq. "I know that there are some who are unhappy I was chosen and I can understand why," she told the 3,500 graduates. "If I were a graduate, I would have asked for Denzel Washington or Tom Cruise. But I'm pleased you didn't, because I love academic surroundings." At an entrance to the outdoor ceremony near the White House, students and anti-war protesters distributed literature denouncing U.N. sanctions against Iraq. Critics say sanctions have led to the deaths of millions of Iraqis due to inadequate supplies of food and medicine. Recalling her own attraction to foreign policy, Albright told the graduates to "choose to live your lives, instead of simply drift through them; to be doers, not dabblers; to act with courage and compassion" despite what will be a "path obstructed" and a "course steep and uphill." "But no matter how high the odds against you may sometimes seem, and no matter how tough the opposition may be, I hope you will have the courage to go for it, never back down, don't give in," said Albright, who also received an honorary doctorate of laws degree. "Because there is no greater satisfaction in life than using your gifts to help others and to contribute to your community and country," she said. ________________________________________________________ · Primakov 'Took Iraqi Bribes', The Times, 21 May '00 http://www.sunday-times.co.uk/news/pages/sti/2000/05/21/stifgnrus01001.html Peter Conradi and Mark Franchetti, Moscow THE diplomat who led United Nations efforts to inspect Iraq's chemical and biological weapon stocks has accused Yevgeny Primakov, the former Russian prime minister, of taking bribes from Saddam Hussein. Richard Butler, the Australian head of the UN Special Commission from 1997 to 1999, claims in a new book that western intelligence sources told him they had seen evidence of Primakov, who mediated between the UN and Baghdad, receiving "payoffs from Iraq". Butler said last week: "I was given credible, intelligence-based information that the man was being paid off. We're talking in excess of $1m. I went back and repeatedly checked it, and I was told repeatedly by people whom I respect that not only was it true but more information had arrived that made these reports even firmer." Primakov rejected the allegations and said he was considering legal action. The West's relations with Iraq reached a crisis in 1997 when Saddam threatened to expel all American weapons inspectors. Primakov, a fluent Arabic speaker, was asked to mediate, but aroused suspicions with his apparent sympathy for Iraq. Butler writes that Russia's willingness to favour Saddam was inspired by factors ranging from political and economic ties to a desire to challenge the growing American hegemony after the fall of the Soviet Union. "Furthermore, as I'd recently learnt," Butler writes, "the Russian leadership had other, more personal reasons for wanting to placate Iraq." In the New Yorker magazine last year, Seymour Hersh, an American investigative journalist, claimed British intelligence had intercepted an $800,000 bank transfer from Tariq Aziz, Iraq's foreign minister, to an unnamed Russian who American officials were convinced was Primakov. Butler's decision to reaffirm the allegations may make it difficult for the Russians to ignore them. Moscow-based analysts reacted sceptically, saying Primakov had merely followed the Kremlin line. "Primakov acted as result of Russia's geopolitical interests in the region, not out of personal interests," said Dimitri Trenin, head of the Carnegie think tank in Moscow. ________________________________________________________ · Stopping Saddam -- Book Review, Sunday Times, 21 May '00 http://www.sunday-times.co.uk/news/pages/sti/2000/05/21/stibooboo01007.html SADDAM DEFIANT by Richard Butler Weidenfeld £20 pp288 DAVID PRYCE-JONES Richard Butler is the Australian diplomat who in July 1997 took over UNSCOM, the United Nations Special Commission set up after the 1991 Gulf war to supervise the dismantling of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction. A capable man and a good fellow, he meant well and did what he had to do. The world owes him much. Yet two and a half years later, UNSCOM was thrown out of Iraq, and its role essentially abandoned. The UN promptly dropped Butler. The only winner is Saddam Hussein, who throughout the period has been rebuilding weapons of mass destruction with ominous single-mindedness. This wretched sequence of events follows from the fateful decision by the leaders of the 1991 Gulf war coalition to liberate Kuwait, but not to overthrow Saddam. Butler is among those who believe that restraint was right. But an absolute dictator enjoys real advantage in dealing with democracies. Nothing could check Saddam except superior force. The coalition leaders indeed possessed superior force, but were inhibited by law and morality from using it. To Saddam, power is without the least moral colouring. Left in position, he was certain to behave as before, with the spur of revenge. Here was a flaw inherent in the enterprise, and one which has handed Saddam victory. For him, it is as if the Gulf war hardly took place. Butler's mission, then, was condemned to failure before it started. Throughout the 1990s, the United Nations responded to Iraqi violence with its usual procedural methods of passing resolutions, instituting committees and dispatching envoys to seek common ground with Saddam. In the context, such methods were not just irrelevant but actively self-defeating. While time and energies were being wasted so publicly, Saddam was secretly hurrying along his weapons' procurements. Sanctions were the other instrument available. Though imperfect, they deprived Saddam of enough oil dollars to limit his rearming. Arriving in Baghdad, Butler found that his opposite number was Tariq Aziz. One of this book's pleasures is its portrait of this egregious gangster, puffing Cuban cigars, complaining that he is deprived of his private jet and the best New York hotels, always emitting "sheer hostility". But Aziz envisaged a trade-off. If Butler could be brought to accept Iraq's say-so that weapons of mass destruction had all been destroyed, then the UN must lift sanctions, and he could resort to his private jet once more. A professional through and through, Butler insisted on inspection and verification. Several hundred experts were available. In absorbing detail, Butler describes how they would visit sites with or without notification, request official files and interviews and so on. Correspondingly the Iraqis developed cunning counter-stratagems. They destroyed some weapons the better to conceal others. Surprised, they were sometimes caught removing or "sanitising" evidence. Their trick of last resort was to declare some site "a presidential area", and therefore inviolate. Not Saddam's palaces at all, these areas covered 70 sq km, with 1,500 weapon sites on them. No lie or fraud was too gross for Aziz and his men. They also resorted to intimidation. Even so, the UN experts found unassailable evidence of biological and chemical weapons, including some of the most lethal. Butler and his team were likely to be thrown out of Iraq the moment it became clear that their findings could not be exploited as a pretext for lifting sanctions. The conduct and ineptitude of leaders in the West brought the crisis to its precipitous head. Enmeshed in the Monica Lewinsky scandal, President Clinton could not decide whether to surrender to Iraq or to bomb it. Selfishly pursuing profit or national prestige, Russia, France and China then put paid to UN efforts to contain Saddam's weapons' procurement. Kofi Annan of the UN proved helpless as policy swung in favour of Saddam. The UN was displaying its usual paradoxical purpose of politicising disputes which by their nature are usually not susceptible to political processes. Adding an innovative confusion to the world order, wars may now be won without harm to the loser. Short and clear, Butler's book makes painful reading. It is a cautionary tale about how not to do things. He concludes that somebody somewhere is likely soon to use chemical or biological weapons in some form. So urgent is this danger that he advocates preemptive force to prevent it. Coming from someone who still thinks it was right to leave Saddam in power in 1991, this sounds like a collapse in reasoning. But perhaps first-hand experience has convinced him that force used against dictatorships carries its own moral justification. Available at the Sunday Times Bookshop special price of £17 inc p&p on 0870 165 8585 ______________________________________________________ Only links provided for the following reports: · 5,000 Freed Iraqis Opt to Remain in Iran, AP, 17 May '00 http://www.seattletimes.com/news/nation-world/html98/iraq17_20000517.html · Iran Accuses Iraq of Infringing Ceasefire, BBC, 18 May '00 http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/middle_east/newsid_754000/754315.stm · U.S., UK Policies Help Keep Saddam in Place, Gulf News, 21 May '00 http://www.gulf-news.co.ae/21052000/OPINION/opinion2.htm -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 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