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News for 15 May '00 to 21 May '00

Hello all:

Please note that CASI web site's ''Info Sources'' page 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.



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
 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

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,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"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

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

``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

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
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

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

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

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

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

. . . . .

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

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.

"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

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

 Saddam in Secret Talks With Israel, The Observer, 21 May '00,6903,223287,00.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

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

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

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

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'

"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

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

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

by Richard Butler
Weidenfeld 20 pp288

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

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'

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

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

 Iran Accuses Iraq of Infringing Ceasefire, BBC, 18 May '00

 U.S., UK Policies Help Keep Saddam in Place, Gulf News, 21 May '00

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