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News for 12 June '00 to 18 June '00

Hello all:

Please note the following message from Glen Rangwala:

The Guardian, 12 June 2000, 'The Road to the Manifesto, by Richard
Norton-Taylor and Simon Tisdall':


"The next Labour government should also: ... [final paragraph] *
Unilaterally withdraw from the sanctions regime against Iraq if no solution
to the current impasse is found within six months of the election."

The Guardian has been producing its own political manifesto in advance of
the general elections to be held (probably) next year. Although the Guardian
hasn't admitted as much, its manifesto is closely modelled in style on the
Labour Party consultation process, which has been on-going for the past few
years. The international manifesto is a direct response to, & attempt to
influence the results of, the Labour Party's own consultation document,
'Britain in the World', and the Guardian even uses a similar title. For
CASI's formal response to Labour's 'Britain in the World' document, see:



News for 12 June '00 to 18 June '00

 Sources: AFP, Amnesty International, AP, BBC, Common Dreams, Guardian, Los
Angeles Times, Newsday, Reuters, Washington Post

 Amnesty International Annual Report 2000 -- Iraq (Amnesty International)
 Richard Butler on Iraq and Foreign Policy (Washington Post)
 Gulf War Reparations May Take Iraq More Than a Century to Pay (Guardian)
 The True Cost of Gulf War Compensation (Guardian)
 Under Iraqi Skies, a Canvas of Death (Washington Post)
 How Baghdad Divided the Conquerors (Los Angeles Times)
 Inside Iraq, Iraq's Sacrificial Lambs (Newsday)
 U.N. says Sanctions Hit Iraq's Schools, Children (Reuters)
 UN Delays Kuwait's $21b Gulf War Oil Claim (Reuters)
 US Defends No-Fly Zone Air Attacks (AP)
 Saddam Ready to Curb Arms if Others Do So (Reuters)
 Annan Says Iraq Should Make Extra Effort to Return Kuwaiti Property (AFP)

Only links provided for the following reports:

 Iraq Asks UN For Money For Supplies (AP)
 Turks Say Iraq Should Take Services to Kurd North (Reuters)
 No-Fly Zones Go On Trial In Des Moines, Iowa (Common Dreams)
 Iranian Opposition Group in Clash (BBC)
 U.S. Seeks Immunity From U.N. Court (AP)
 Iraq Claims to Intercept 100 U.S. HARM Missiles (Reuters)

 Amnesty International Annual Report 2000 -- Iraq, Amnesty International,
June '00

Republic of Iraq
Head of state and government: Saddam Hussain
Capital: Baghdad
Population: 22.2 million
Official language: Arabic
Death penalty: retentionist

Violent clashes between the security forces and armed Islamist activists in
the predominantly Shi'a south were frequently reported, especially following
the killing in suspicious circumstances on 19 February of Ayatollah Sadeq
al-Sadr, a prominent Shi'a cleric. Dozens of people from both sides were
killed. Hundreds of people, including political prisoners and possible
prisoners of conscience, were executed and large-scale arbitrary arrests of
suspected political opponents took place. Torture and ill-treatment of
prisoners and detainees were widely reported. Hundreds of non-Arab families,
mostly Kurds, were forcibly expelled from their homes in the Kirkuk area to
Iraqi Kurdistan.


Iraq continued to be subjected to stringent economic sanctions imposed by UN
Security Council resolutions after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990. The
sanctions have crippled the country's economic infrastructure and have
contributed to a deteriorating economic situation, increased unemployment,
rising malnutrition and mortality levels and widespread corruption. In 1999,
UNICEF estimated that sanctions had contributed to the deaths of some
500,000 children under the age of five.

In January the UN Security Council established three separate panels on
Iraq: the first to examine disarmament and verification issues; the second
to assess the humanitarian situation; and the third to investigate the issue
of Kuwaiti prisoners of war and Kuwaiti property. The three panels submitted
their recommendations two months later. The humanitarian panel recommended
the raising of the ceiling on oil sales to create additional revenue, more
humanitarian assistance and better distribution of humanitarian supplies to
meet pressing humanitarian needs in Iraq. It also recommended that the Iraqi
government facilitate the timely distribution of humanitarian goods and
address the needs of vulnerable groups.

After months of negotiations, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution
1284 in December. This resolution established a new arms inspection body,
the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), and
raised the possibility of the lifting of sanctions if the government of Iraq
allowed arms inspections to start again. The resolution also included some
provisions intended to ease the humanitarian impact of the sanctions.
However, divisions in the Security Council and Iraq's stated refusal to
cooperate with the arms monitoring program left much uncertainty as to the
likelihood of any improvement.

In August 'Ezzat Ibrahim al-Duri, Vice-Chairman of Iraq's Revolutionary
Command Council, the highest executive body in the country, went to Austria
for medical treatment. While he was in hospital a Vienna city councillor
filed a complaint against him with the Vienna courts, accusing him of being
responsible for the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and personally taking part
in attacks on Kurds and of committing other atrocities, including torture. A
few days later 'Ezzat Ibrahim al-Duri left Austria, reportedly before
completing his treatment and despite calls on the Austrian government by the
USA, Iraqi opposition groups and human rights groups to investigate or
indict him.

In September AI received a communication from the Iraqi authorities about
the Amnesty International Report 1999, which failed to allay AI's concerns.

Civilians killed in US and UK air attacks

Since the four-day air strikes launched by US and United Kingdom (UK) forces
in December 1998, these forces had been carrying out regular strikes on
Iraqi targets inside the two air exclusion zones in northern and southern
Iraq. These zones, north of the 36th parallel and south of the 33rd
parallel, were imposed by allied forces at the end of the Gulf war and were
intended to protect Iraq's Kurdish and Shi'a Muslim population. The strikes
reportedly resulted in the deaths of dozens of civilians and left many more
injured. US military officials often accused Iraq of stationing military
equipment near civilian population centres.

* On 30 April a shepherd and six members of his family were killed in their
tent in Mosul in the north. A UN humanitarian official who visited the area
confirmed the killings.

AI issued worldwide appeals expressing concern about the continuing loss of
civilian lives as a result of these air strikes. The organization received
responses from UK and US government officials stating that their forces had
been acting in self-defence and were making great efforts to avoid civilian
casualties. However, the responses did not give any indication as to what
steps were being taken to avoid civilian loss of life, although in October
US military officials publicly stated that US warplanes were using
concrete-filled bombs instead of explosives in attacks on northern Iraq to
"minimize the chances of damage to people and property around military

Death penalty

The death penalty continued to be used extensively. Hundreds of people,
including possible prisoners of conscience, were executed during 1999. In
many cases it was impossible to determine whether the reported executions
were judicial or extrajudicial, given the secrecy surrounding them. Most of
the victims were Shi'a Muslims suspected of anti-government activities. Also
among those executed were a number of senior army officers suspected of
having links with the Iraqi opposition outside the country or plotting to
overthrow the government.

* In March a 36-year-old army officer in the Special Forces, Mohammad Jabbar
al-Rubay'i, was executed. He had reportedly been detained in the Military
Intelligence Prison for about two years. His body was handed over to his
family for burial but without any religious ceremony. He had allegedly been
accused of planning to flee the country.

* At least 100 people were executed in Abu Ghraib Prison on 12 October 1999.
They included 19 political detainees, among them the writer Hamid
al-Mukhtar. He had been held for several months after the assassination of
Ayatollah al-Sadr in February. He reportedly decided to organize a religious
ceremony in his house to commemorate Ayatollah al-Sadr's death. The security
forces stormed his house and arrested him and his son. The son was
reportedly tortured and released. Hamid al-Mukhtar was executed.

Torture and ill-treatment

Torture and ill-treatment were used systematically against detainees in
prisons and detention centres despite its prohibition under the Iraqi
Constitution. Political detainees were subjected to severe torture. The most
common methods of physical and psychological torture included electric
shocks to various parts of the body, pulling out of fingernails, long
periods of suspension by the limbs, beating with cables, falaqa (beating on
the soles of the feet), cigarette burns, piercing of hands with an electric
drill, mock executions and threats of bringing in a female relative of the
detainee, especially the wife or the mother, and raping her in front of the

* A 59-year-old doctor was arrested in her clinic in June on suspicion that
she had contacts with an Iraqi opposition group, an accusation she strongly
denied. She was held incommunicado for a month during which she was
tortured. During the first few days she was forced to lie down on the floor
and was beaten with a cable on the soles of her feet (falaqa) by a hooded
man. She lost consciousness on several occasions. She escaped by bribing a
prison officer and fled the country.

Arbitrary arrest and detention

Reports of widespread arbitrary arrests of suspected political opponents,
including possible prisoners of conscience, continued throughout 1999. Most
of those arrested were Shi'a Muslims suspected of having links with
underground Islamist armed groups or simply relatives of people sought by
the authorities.Thousands of suspected political opponents arrested in
previous years continued to be held at the end of 1999. Generally it was not
possible to obtain information on the detainees' fate and whereabouts,
because of both the government's control of information and the fear of
reprisals. In some cases those arrested were later executed and there was no
information as to whether they had been tried and convicted or simply
extrajudicially executed.

* In January and February, before the assassination of Ayatollah al-Sadr on
19 February, a number of his closest associates were arrested in southern
Iraq and in Baghdad; their whereabouts remained unknown at the end of 1999.
Among them were al-Shaikh Awus al-Khaffaji, an Imam in al-Nassirya, and
al-Shaikh 'As'ad al-Nassiri, a religious scholar in al-Najaf.

* Dr Hashem Hassan, a lecturer in journalism at the University of Baghdad,
was arrested at the beginning of October and his whereabouts remained
unknown at the end of 1999. He was reportedly on his way to Jordan when he
was arrested on the Iraqi side of the border by plainclothes security men.
Dr Hassan had written numerous articles in newspapers. Before his arrest he
had reportedly been stripped of his membership of both the Iraqi
Journalists' Union and the Iraqi Writers' Union because he had criticized
government policies in his writing.

Iraqi Kurdistan

Since 1997 the human rights situation in Iraqi Kurdistan had gradually
improved. A cease-fire declared in 1997 brought an end to large-scale abuses
by the ruling parties, their militias and security forces. However, isolated
cases of human rights abuses continued to be reported in Iraqi Kurdistan in
1999. These included arbitrary arrests and political killings. The fate of
scores of political prisoners and people who had "disappeared" in previous
years remained unknown.

The cease-fire declared at the end of 1997 between the Kurdistan Democratic
Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) remained in force
during 1999. Further talks between the PUK and KDP were held during 1999 on
the implementation of a peace agreement signed in Washington, USA, in
September 1998, which included a commitment to elections in areas controlled
by the two groups. In October the two parties agreed to exchange all
remaining prisoners and to open offices in each other's territories.

* In February, two Iranian opposition members, Mehdi Satter-Aloyoub and his
brother Massoud Satter-Aloyoub, were arrested in Sulaymania by PUK security
forces, a few days after fleeing Iran. They were accused by the PUK of
entering Iraqi Kurdistan illegally and attempting to join the People's
Mojahedin Organization of Iran, based in Baghdad. At the end of 1999 they
were reportedly still held without trial in Sulaymania General Security

* In October Nabil Khalil Karim, a trade unionist sought by the Iraqi
security authorities for suspected anti-government activities, fled from
Baghdad. On arriving in Arbil he was arrested, reportedly by the KDP
security forces, and his whereabouts remained unknown at the end of 1999.

AI received reports of politically motivated killings during 1999. Armed
Islamist activists were reported to have committed some of the killings.
Most of those targeted were reported to be secularists, including well-known
communist figures. Death threats and harassment, reportedly by Islamist
groups, against women members of women's organizations and communist groups
continued to be reported.

* In April Nicholas Sleight, a New Zealand national and UN mine-clearance
worker, was killed by an unidentified gunman near the UN compound of Ain
Kawa in Arbil. In May the KDP informed AI that an investigation was under
way, the results of which would be made public.

* In October Farhad Faraj Amin, a member of the Central Committee of the
Organization of Communist Revolutionaries, an opposition group, was shot and
killed at his home in Sulaymania by unidentified armed men.

* In July the KDP informed AI that judicial investigations were still
continuing into the killing of two Assyrian women, Nasreen Hina Shaba and
her daughter Larsa Tuma, whose house was bombed in December 1998. According
to the KDP, investigations were also continuing into several other attacks
on Christian families in Arbil as well as the killing of two Iraqi Workers'
Communist Party members in April 1998.

 How Baghdad Divided the Conquerors, Los Angeles Times, 11 June '00

By: Charles Duelfer

Charles Duelfer, who served in the State Department, was deputy chairman of
UNSCOM from 1993 until March 2000

WASHINGTON -- In December 1998, the United States conducted military attacks
against Iraq after the U.N. Special Commission, or UNSCOM, reported, in
essence, that it could not achieve its mandated disarmament and monitoring
tasks with the limited access and cooperation Iraq allowed. A year later, in
December 1999, the United States, voted in the U.N. Security Council to
eliminate UNSCOM and replace it with another organization more acceptable to
Iraq and its sympathizers on the council. What happened?

Certainly, Iraq has not improved its behavior. It continues to defy the
Security Council, stating it will consider admitting weapons inspectors only
if the U.N. lifts sanctions and the United States ceases its enforcement of
the no-fly zones over Iraq. Moreover, evidence accumulates that Iraq is
continuing its programs for weapons of mass destruction.

On reflection, it is clear that the attempt by the Security Council to
disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction was doomed from the start. In
fact, this failure repeats the same fatal mismatch between disarmament goals
and disarmament mechanism that frustrated efforts to disarm Germany after
World War I, under the Treaty of Versailles.

The cease-fire resolution passed by the Security Council to end the Gulf War
in 1991 included the goal of a complete accounting and elimination of Iraqi
weapons of mass destruction and all associated production capabilities. A
second resolution required intrusive monitoring to ensure that Iraq did not
restart its weapons programs. UNSCOM was created to implement these coercive
tasks and was given, on paper, extraordinary rights of access. Until Iraq
demonstrated complete compliance, the embargo was to continue. Fundamental
flaws can be seen in the dynamics of this tripartite arrangement among Iraq,
UNSCOM and the Security Council.

First, the goal was forced disarmament, not arms control. The later being an
agreement parties enter into because they judge it in their mutual interest.
But Iraq sees its weapons of mass destruction as vital to its national
security. Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz and other senior members of the
Iraqi government described the key role of chemical weapons and long-range
missiles in saving Iraq during its war with Iran. They also point to their
deterrent value in the Gulf war; Aziz regularly said that U.S. forces did
not go to Baghdad, and Iraq was not occupied. From the Iraqi perspective,
possession of chemical and biological weapons contributed to this outcome.
Aziz has also argued that since Iraq was not occupied, there were limits to
what UNSCOM could do. He has been proved correct.

A second basic problem was that Iraq, which has had consistent priorities,
confronted a group, the Security Council, which has shifting interests and
priorities. Iraq's goals have been steadfast since 1991. On the other hand,
the consensus in the Security Council, while strong in 1991, has
progressively weakened as other issues came up. There is  also growing
concern over the consequences of sanctions on Iraq's civilian population.
Ironically, as UNSCOM achieved growing, but still partial, success, the
willingness of the Security Council to enforce its resolutions and support
UNSCOM attenuated. Judgments about the costs and benefits of achieving the
remaining tasks were reevaluated.

Ultimately, it became clear that the Security Council could not agree on a
mix of carrots or sticks that would coerce or convince Iraq to comply. Yet,
it is also apparent that the Security Council cannot acknowledge its
failure. One point on which consensus exists is the desire to avoid further
weakening the council's authority by a blatant failure on Iraq. This
motivated the fractious effort to write a new resolution with sufficient
elasticity to shroud widely disparate objectives.

On one side, Russia, France and China cited UNSCOM as the problem. They
attacked UNSCOM's objectivity; in particular, saying that former chairman
Richard Butler was a pawn of Washington. Therefore, all UNSCOM's technical
judgments about Iraqi noncompliance are suspect. They go so far as to accuse
UNSCOM of fabricating evidence. At the same time, some of these same council
members have aided Iraq in thwarting UNSCOM.

Other council members, including the United States, shifted focus from
defending UNSCOM to halting or slowing the disintegration of sanctions that
permit Iraq to export oil as long as revenues are used for humanitarian

Britain proposed a resolution that would preserve disarmament hurdles before
sanctions could be lifted, but replacing UNSCOM with a new disarmament
organization more like the United Nations--emphasizing geographic diversity
of staff, transparency of operations and cultural sensitivity. The council
approved this resolution, though Russia,
France, China and Malaysia abstained.

Iraq, quite predictably, refuses to acknowledge this new resolution or
accept the new organization. It sees no benefit in even pretending to
cooperate since there are neither threats of ample magnitude nor evident
rewards. So, while no member of the Security Council believes Iraq complies
with the disarmament resolution, they can do nothing about it.

Meanwhile, other elements of the Iraqi problem now take precedence, notably
the export of oil, in which all permanent council members have an immediate

We have been here before. After World War I, the Allied powers dictated
strict disarmament and monitoring obligations to Germany in the Versailles
Treaty of 1919. An international organization called the Inter-Allied
Control Commission was created to implement those provisions. Inspectors
were sent to Germany to verify compliance with weapons, manufacturing and
manpower limitations. They endeavored to obtain accurate declarations from
Germany of postwar inventories and supervise required destruction

The German military and, in particular, the elite officer corps, dealt with
the Control Commission. Masterminded by the clever and driven Gen. Hans Von
Seeekt, the inspectors' efforts were frustrated through deception and
concealment systems, to preserve prohibited weapons and production. The
Germans conducted weapons development abroad and illegally sustained a
trained officer and troop base to rapidly expand its army once Allied
attention waned.

The German government argued that the inspectors were too demanding and
acted as spies. They pleaded that the requirements to demobilize contributed
to unemployment and caused the suffering of innocent civilians. They argued
that the destruction of many weapons factories was unnecessarily severe,
since they could produce civilian products.

The German Army created "army peace commissions," nominally instructed to
help the work of the Control Commission, but, in fact, set up to provide
surveillance of the inspectors and warn of upcoming inspections. UNSCOM
experienced all the above.

As Germany resisted disarmament inspections, disputes among the Allies grew
over German compliance and the need for enforcement. German obstruction was
countered forcefully--once with an Allied ultimatum, in May 1921, which
threatened occupation of the Ruhr if Germany did not provide improved
cooperation. Temporarily, Germany improved.

But disputes continued among the Allies, with France assuming the more
forceful position. Paris argued that enforcement was necessary and even
sought to occupy key cities unilaterally. Britain was more anxious for a
political solution, to be free of the problem so it could focus on other

Thus, Germany successfully divided the Allies. The senior British member of
the Control Commission, Brig. Gen. John Morgan, wrote that the German
officer corps wore the commission down, "'by a policy of continuous evasion
of our demands until British ministers . . . would turn a deaf ear to all
our reports, convinced that either Germany was
disarmed or, if she was not, never could be."

Ultimately, with the accession of Germany to the League of Nations, the
Allies agreed to withdraw the Control Commission at the end of 1926, its
work only partially complete. The fig leaf at that time was the argument
that with Germany now in the League of Nations, it was only appropriate that
any monitoring be accomplished under League auspices and as part of the
overall goal of general disarmament. No further
inspections were conducted.

So the record of UNSCOM, Iraq and the Security Council is not unprecedented.
The inability of an international organization to conduct coercive
disarmament is demonstrated again. The long-term consequences--and their
full cost--remain to be seen.

 U.N. says Sanctions Hit Iraq's Schools, Children, Reuters, 14 June '00

BAGHDAD -- A senior U.N. official said on Wednesday international economic
sanctions were depriving Iraq's schools and forcing children into work
instead of education.

Anupama Rao Singh, country director for the U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF),
said Iraq, where petrodollar wealth once provided universal primary
education, lacked even the basics for teaching.

She said children were leaving school in droves to earn money for their
families that were suffering under economic sanctions imposed after Iraq's
1990 invasion of Kuwait.

"Only 67 per cent of children aged six start going to school...That means
that out of every three six-year-olds in Iraq only two are enrolling in
school," Rao Singh told Reuters.

She said more than 90 percent of six-year olds attended school in the late
1990s, before the imposition of sanctions. School buildings needed urgent
attention. Rao Singh estimated that about 55 per cent of schools were unable
to deliver good teaching because of dilapidated buildings.

According to Iraq's education ministry, 8,000 schools required structural
work and 5,000 new schools were needed. Some schools run two or three shifts
a day to cope.

Rao Singh said lack of water, poor sanitation, substandard equipment and a
shortage of teachers had contributed to the rising dropout rate.

Teaching standards had declined due to overcrowding, lack of maintenance and
shortages of textbooks, stationary and paper.

The government used to supply pupils with all their schooling needs but now
parents had to boy most equipment.

"There has been a massive impoverishment of the Iraqi people and families
are finding it increasingly meet some of the costs of
education," Rao Singh said.

Before the sanctions, Iraq used to spend millions of dollars on schooling..
In 1988, for instance, the Iraqi government invested around $230 million on

Under the U.N. oil-for-food programme established to mitigate the impact of
sanctions, $23 million has been earmarked for education annually and it must
all be spent on goods.

Rao Singh said cash was also needed for areas like teacher training. In
order to make up some of the shortage, UNICEF is using its own money.

"We have since 1997 refurbished or reconstructed 300 schools primarily in
Dhiqar (province in southern Iraq), Baghdad and Basra...with at least
another 50 planned for this year," Rao Singh said.

"On average we spend about $1.5 million every year on eduction (in Iraq)."

Rao Singh said money allocated under Iraq's oil-for-food deal with the
United Nations was not enough to meet education requirements. The oil
programme allows Iraq to sell oil over six months on a renewable basis to
buy food, medicine and other humanitarian needs.

UNICEF and other aid groups are trying to stem the drain of children from
schools, helping to finance work on dilapidated buildings and supplying new
text books and equipment.

 Saddam Ready to Curb Arms if Others Do So, Reuters, 14 June '00

Baghdad -- President Saddam Hussein, in remarks published yesterday, said
Iraq was ready to sign arms reduction agreements, but not if they allowed
other countries to retain more sophisticated weaponry.

"If they want peace, we are at the forefront of those who are seeking peace
and if they want to limit weapons we will be among the first to advocate
it," Saddam told officers and experts from the Military Industrialisation
Commission, Iraq's arms production body, on Monday night.

"We are ready to sign security agreements with anyone who wants security. If
they ask us to get rid of our weapons ... we would do so" but other
countries should do the same, he was quoted by Iraqi newspapers as saying.
Saddam said Iraq was not bent on "assembling weapons, but we shall defend
our country and we will never give up Iraq..."

. . . . .

"If the world tells us to get rid of our weapons and to only possess swords
we will do so. But if they possess rifles and ask us to have only swords, we
won't accept that,"
Saddam said. He said Iraq remained strong and ready to defend itself. "We
are not weak because we are not weak believers and we do not measure things
on the basis of highly advanced technology."

Saddam again lashed out at the UN Security Council, saying that it was
unduly influenced by the United States. He said that the no-fly zones
imposed over Iraq's north and south after the Gulf War were not the Security
Council's idea.

 Richard Butler on Iraq and Foreign Policy, Washington Post, 15 June '00

The Gulf War is 10 years past, and after economic sanctions and hundreds of
hours devoted to weapons inspections and disarmament, Saddam Hussein has
turned his attention to building a chemical and biological weapons
stockpile, with plans for nuclear capabilities not far behind. Could this
have been prevented? Where do the United States and other nations go from
here in dealing with the potential threat that Iraq poses?

Richard Butler served as executive chairman of the United Nations Special
Commission (UNSCOM) from 1997-99, charged with weapons inspections and
disarming Iraq after the Gulf War. He was the Australian ambassador and
permanent representative to the United Nations for five years prior to that,
and in 1996 led the United Nations to adopt a treaty banning nuclear
testing. He is currently the diplomat in residence at the Council on Foreign
Relations in New York.

Butler is the author of a new book, "The Greatest Threat," which details the
faceoff between Saddam Hussein and the countries allied against him in the
Gulf War, and their failure to shut him down. He discussed his book and
policy toward Iraq on Thursday, June 15. The transcript follows:

Free Media: Good afternoon, Mr. Butler, and welcome. You've faced a lot of
criticism for your report to the U.N. Security Council in 1998. How do you
respond to those who say that your team withdrew from Iraq before the U.S.
bombings to the detriment of others who were in the country on humanitarian
missions? Looking back, would you have done anything differently?

Richard Butler: On the substance of the report, obrviously I did that with
care only after detailed consultation with every chief inspector with
UNSCOM. I prepared my December 1998 report with absolute care. I was under
instruction from the Security Council to verify Iraq's "full cooperation,"
that had been made a month earlier. It was a very strict instruction. I took
it seriously, I consulted with the chief inspectors of every area --
missile, chemical, biological.

In hindsight, would I have done things differently? No. The only way I could
have done that differently would have been if I had been prepared to distort
the truth. I was not prepared to do that then, and I'm not prepared to do
that now. My technical report was factual. Iraq did not meet its promise of
full cooperation. Iraq not only did not meet that promise, but it actually
imposed new restrictions on us.

If Iraq had truly believed that a breach of the promise of full cooperation
would have led to bombing, then the only logical interpretation you can give
to how they behaved was that they wanted to be bombed. What is more likely
is that they thought that maybe the bombing wouldn't be carried out. Either
they thought the bombing wouldn't be
the consequence of that military action would have been the destruction of
UNSCOM. And that's what happened.

The only way I could have done it differently would be if I were prepared to
cook the books.

The United States authorities notified me that their strong advice was to
pull out our personnel. They did the same to the director general of the
International Atomic Energy Agency and to Kofi Annan, who was in charge of
humanitarian staff. They started to reduce the humanitarian workers, they
were the "good guys." If there had been a hostage situation, it would have
been the "bad guys," the inspectors, who would have been in danger.

The idea that somehow my actions jeopardized the safety of others is not
true. The others were also given fair warning.

Columbia, Md.: Discussions focused on disarming Iraq frequently overlook the
devastating human consequences of U.N. policy. By the U.N.'s own estimates,
about one million civilians, including half a million children, have died as
a result of U.N. sanctions -- making the Iraq catastrophe on par with the
Rwanda genocide. We talk about the security objective, but isn't this an
example of "destroying a village in order to save it"?

Richard Butler: In the book I just published, called "The Greatest Threat,"
the subtitle is "Iraq, Weapons of Mass Destruction and Global Security."

The questioner touches on the latter. There is a crisis in the management of
global security. The security council has been faced down by a dictator who
has the worst human rights record since Hitler, according to U.N. reports.
He has amassed a quality and quanitity of weapons of
used them on his own people.

One of the main ways that the council has tried to get this person to obey
the law, in particular that he should be disarmed, is sanctions. What we now
know is that those sanctions are an abject failure. He has defied the
sanctions, he has cheated them, but above all, he has transferred the burden
to ordinary Iraqi people. They have paid the price, and he and his
government have paid almost none. We now know that sanctions, when they are
faced by a ruthless and determined government, will be ineffective. Under
these circumstances, it is imperative that the United Nations address the
sanctions issue, because no person should continue with a measure that isn't

It's been very difficult for me to say these things in the past, because the
sanctions have been tied to disarmament. If I had stepped forward in the
past and said things against sanctions, it would have undermined the
disarmaent process. But I can say now that it is perfectly clear that
sanctions against Iraq have become a bankrupt and harmful instrument.

The Security Council must address this crisis of global security management.
They've allowed their authority to be faced down by Saddam, they're still
continuing with this instrument that doesn't work. That's a crisis of
authority in security management, and it needs to be addressed urgently.

New York, N.Y.: Ambassador Richard Holbrooke has kept a surprisingly low
profile on the Iraq issue. But it would seem to be a natural issue for him
to tackle in the Security Council. Does this signal a new U.S. approach or
attitude toward inspections?

Richard Butler: I don't know the answer to that question. It has puzzled me.
When Ambassador Holbrooke took up his job, he made a curious statement that
he would not be dealing with the Iraq issue, but his deputy would be. And I
quite honestly have never known quite what to make of that. I did find it
curious. After all, the ambassador to the security council ought to be
involved in every major policy issue, and he was implying that this is not a
major policy issue.

Council on Foreign Relations, N.Y.: What should be the next administration's
policy priorities vis-a-vis Iraq? Is regime change essential to our strategy
toward Iraq? If yes, how should the next administration go about it?

Richard Butler: Regime change is obviuolsly desirable. Saddam's track record
in all fields, including human rights with respect to his own people, his
violation of the non-proliferation treaties, make him a really disastrous
figure in contemporary international relations. It's highly desirable that
there be a different kind of government in Iraq.

To say that it's highly desirable is different from saying that it's
essential. If the U.S. or anyone else says it's essential, then it could be
setting itself up for policy failure. if you say that something is essential
and it doesn't occur, then you've failed. if you say something is essential
and you don't robustly persue it, then you're a phony. I think the U.S. must
be careful not to set itself up in this way. Because I strongly suspect that
the only way there will be a change is the intervention of Allah -- by
natural causes -- or by a successful internal political action run by
Iraqis. Regime change engineered from the outside is unlikely to succeed,
and raises awful political and legal problems. The first of those political
problems is how do you know what you'll get instead? And what would other
Arab countries think, for example? Does this set a precedent that if the

That's why non-intervention in the internal affairs of other countries is
the key to international affairs.

A regime change is highly desirable. There were many instances in
negotiations in Baghdad when I thought this will never work as long as these
guys are there. One just got this gut sense that their hold on power was
dictatorial and that was everything.

I think the U.S. should, at an early opportunity, go to the other permanent
members of the security council and say we've got a serious problem with
Iraq and we want to have a fresh look at this problem. Iraq has challenged
the authority of the council. It for two years has been without arms control
or monitoring. On both grounds, we've got to do something about it. This
recalcitrant challenge to our authority has ripples throughout the world.
The council's authority is important to all of us. Secondly, this challenge
is based on the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The very
concern that is motivating the U.S. today to be talking about National
Missile defense. That might provide an opportunity for a fresh approach. If
that approach were to involve, for example, an agreement to lift the
sanctions that we agree aren't working, provided that Iraq would accept into
its territory reentry of arms control monitors. That would represent a shift
in U.S. policy. This was cooperation among the permanent members of the
council in the post-Cold War era.

This would address another problem, that three of the other four -- Russia,
France, and China -- do have a problem with there only being one super
power. We might be able to kill three birds with one stone -- (1) deal with
the problem of Iraq's challenge to international legal authority and get
monitoring back into Iraq; (2) help that change in approach take place in a
way that might be acceptable domestically in the United States; and (3) it
might deal with some of the anxiety that is felt, especially by Russia,
France and China, about a world dominated by one super power, by including
them in this solution, by it being a collegial solution.

In such an areement, everyone has to give up something. The U.S. would be
giving up on its past policy toward Iraq, but so would Russia. Russia would
have to give up this sort of protectionist policy it's had toward Iraq in
recent years. It would have to talk tougher to Baghdad than it has in the
last couple of years. When everyone makes a sacrifice, no one's the loser.
Everyone's the winner.

Los Angeles, Calif.: Dear Sir: Did the United States government have any
role in the writing -- even partial -- of your last report in
November/December 1998?

Richard Butler: None. The report was written by me. I accept complete
responsibility for it. It was based on facts that were put to me by chief
inspectors in the field and UNSCOM's extensive knowlege of Iraq's weapons

Golden Valley, MN: Many who oppose economic sanctions favor maintaining
military sanctions. In Mr. Butler's opinion, is the incremental value of
economic-plus-military sanctions (as opposed to military sanctions alone)
worth the demonstrated civilian cost?
Would Mr. Butler support de-linking military and economic sanctions?

Richard Butler: If what is meant by this question is that military sanctions
would mean embargoing the export of weapons and materials for manufacture of
weapons of mass destruction, I think it is important that such sanctions
continue until we have a clear idea of the current status of Iraq's weapons
programs. And as I've said earlier, we now know that using economic
sanctions to bring about compliance in the weapons area does not work. So
de-linking would address the need to stop doing something that isn't

Binghamton, N.Y.: In a BBC on-line debate (June 4), you said, "In the last
chapter of my book I make very clear that as we move towards nuclear
disarmament as we must that Israel's weapons have to be put on the table."
Without using any analogies to household furniture could you more CLEARLY
elaborate on this statement?

Richard Butler: The most widely accepted approaches to nuclear disarmament,
including that put forward by the Canberra Commission, recognize that the
beginning has to be what we've already seen happening -- that the two
largest holders of nuclear weapons -- the U.S. and Russia -- begin to lower
their holdings. When it reaches that lower point, it is widely agreed that
the other countries -- namely the U.K., France and China -- would be
included in the talks. What is new in my book is that I say is that it's now
accepted that Israel is actually also a nuclear weapons state. When we get
to the point where those who have a lower number of nuclear weapons are
included, we have to include Israel.

This would have terrific bearing on the Middle East problems, and in that
context I point out that the framework agreement for the Middle East peace
process, which is about to take its next step at Camp David, has in it the
commitment that when Israel and the Arabs make peace, the last issues to be
addressed would be the status of Jerusalem and getting out of the Middle
East the weapons of mass destruction. It is envisaged that a point will come
where once Israel's security is assured, moves will be made to ensure that
the Middle East as a whole is free of weapons of mass destruction. That
would mean that not only Iraq's, but Israel's weapons of mass destruction
would be put on the table and a solution found.

None of what I am suggesting for any country, is that it should be stripped
naked and made defenseless. Every country under international law has a
right to self-defense. What I deeply question is whether nuclear weapons are
an appropriate way to ensure that defense. I deeply believe that nuclear
weapons are very very dangerous, even when states believe that they're good
for their own defense.

Springfield, Ohio: With Saddam working feverishly behind the scenes as well
as politically to get sanctions eased, how close is he to once again
becoming a viable threat in the near future?

Richard Butler: We don't know. The logic of that is that since it's almost
two years since there was inspection and monitoring in Iraq, it's not been
possible to know in a satisfactory way to know what they've been up to in
terms of new weapons development. It's hard to know in any perceptably
precise terms what they're doing. We don't know the order or magnitude

Council on Foreign Relations, N.Y.: When the new administration takes
office, what accomplishments of this administration should be built upon,
and what failures should be addressed vis-a-vis U.S. policy toward Iraq?

Richard Butler: I think what has to be built on is how the administration
has tried to carefully manage its relationship with the other permanent
members of the security council. Especially by staying alongside Russia and
help it through its internal problems and in keeping things going with
China, the administration has been trying to behave quite constructively.
But the big challenge for a new administration, in building on that, would
be to find ways in which the anxiety that is felt in key parts of the world,
not just in Moscow and Beijing but also in Europe, about how the U.S. will
exercise its now very great power in the world, has got to be addressed.
That doesn't mean that the U.S. has got to apologize for that power, but I
think a new administration would do well to make clear to others that that
anxiety shouldn't be exaggerated. That the U.S. will try to build a
collegial management of global security, and not go in for a unilateral
exercise of its very great power.

Free Media: That was our last question today for Richard Butler, former head
of UNSCOM. Thanks so much to Ambassador Butler, and to everyone who joined

 Annan Says Iraq Should Make Extra Effort to Return Kuwaiti Property, AFP,
15 June '00

UNITED NATIONS -- UN Secretary General Kofi Annan urged Iraq on Thursday to
make extra effort to find and return archives, military equipment and
cultural items removed from Kuwait in the Gulf War.

In a report to the Security Council, he acknowledged that "Iraq has returned
a substantial quantity of property over a nine-year period of time, with the
bulk of the hand-overs occurring between 1991 and 1994."

But, he said, "there remain many items which Iraq is under obligation to
return to Kuwait."

An annex to the report listed military equipment demanded by Kuwait
including eight F-1 Mirage planes, six M-84 tanks and several thousand
surface-to-air and anti-tank missiles.

The report was the second since December 17, when the council overhauled its
Iraq sanctions regime and asked Annan to appoint a coordinator to oversee
the return of 605 missing persons and property to Kuwait.

Annan appointed the former Russian ambassador to Washington, Yuli Vorontsov,
on February 14.

"It may never be possible to reach a point at which there will be 100 per
cent certainty that all items in Iraq's possession have been returned,"
Annan wrote.

But "Kuwait considers essential the return of archives and military
equipment, as well as the items from the Islamic and National museums of
Kuwait," he said.

Urging Iraq to "make additional efforts" to make it possible to close the
property dossier, he said that "understanding and goodwill are of critical
importance to the success" of Vorontsov's mission.

 Gulf War Reparations May Take Iraq More Than a Century to Pay, Guardian,
16 June '00,3604,332649,00.html

Brian Whitaker

Iraq faces a series of gigantic claims for Gulf war damage - so large that
there is almost no way to recover the money, short of extending sanctions
for well over 100 years.

Although Iraq has so far paid about $7bn, further claims amounting to $276bn
are in the pipeline at the United Nations Compensation Commission in Geneva.

Until now, the commission has processed the smallest and most
straightforward claims. But this week it turned to the first of the big
ones: a $21.5bn demand from Kuwait.

The scale of the claims has put experts and officials in a quandary. Some
argue that future generations of Iraqis cannot reasonably be expected to
continue paying for
Saddam Hussein's folly. Others insist that war victims are entitled to
compensation and that to let Saddam off the hook would set a dangerous

Altogether, about 100 governments have lodged 2.6m separate claims, on their
own behalf and on behalf of individuals and companies.

Of the claims processed so far, many have been reduced substantially by the
UNCC. One, from the Egyptian government, sought $491m for 915,000 workers
but was eventually settled at just $84m.

Although Iraq agreed 10 years ago to pay compensation for losses caused by
the invasion and occupation of Kuwait, there was no practical way to recover
the money until December 1996 when the UN's oil-for-food programme started.

Since then, 30% of the revenue from Iraq's oil sales under the programme has
been deducted to pay for war damage and the cost of running the UN

The amount that can be collected in this way varies with oil prices but is
currently $400m a month. At that rate, if all the outstanding claims were
approved, it would take Iraq 58 years from now to pay off the debt.

But as soon as the main debt is paid Iraq will be required to pay interest,
at a rate still to be decided, for the delays in compensation since 1990.
Even at a very modest rate of 3% a year, interest charges could amount to a
further $320bn - in which case Iraq would still be paying for the invasion
of Kuwait in the year 2125.

Iraq's compensation payments are, however, dependent on continuation of the
oil-for-food programme. A Foreign Office spokesman confirmed yesterday that
the UN has no way of enforcing payments if sanctions are lifted.

Unless an alternative mechanism is found, the UN may eventually have to
choose between abandoning hope of compensation and continuing sanctions into
the next century.

Arthur Rovine, president of the American Society of International Law and an
expert on Gulf war compensation, said that when the oil-for-food programme
ends "the chances of the claimants collecting all the monies due them would
be reduced severely and perhaps to nil".

He continued: "Unless Iraq agreed to a mechanism and process similar to the
UNCC, the only alternative would be lawsuits by claimants around the world
in places where they can attach Iraqi assets, including oil assets.

"Whether or not such lawsuits represent a viable alternative is open to
serious question. In my judgment, it would be a completely disorganised

The UNCC has already awarded $2.9bn to Kuwaiti oil companies for the
destruction of property and the cost of putting out fires in hundreds of oil
wells set alight by Iraq during the war.

The $21.5bn claim now under consideration - which Kuwait has backed up with
a million documents - is for lost revenue and for oil spilled or destroyed
during the war. "This is the big one we've all been waiting for," a diplomat

Khaled al-Mudaf, chairman of Kuwait's Public Authority for Assessment of
Compensation, called on the UNCC to "confirm Iraq's responsibility before
the international community for its criminal acts and its liability to
compensate for all consequential damage and loss". He said Iraqi occupying
forces had mined Kuwait's oilfields so as to destroy the emirate. "Just
before its forces withdrew from Kuwait, Iraq ordered the complete blowing up
of Kuwait's oilfield infrastructure: production, refining and export."

But independent experts who evaluated the claim are understood to have
recommended reducing it to $15.9bn.

Although the UNCC has always accepted expert recommendations so far, this
claim is seen as an issue of principle and could go to a vote. Yesterday,
the commission members failed to agree and postponed their decision for two

Dr Kamil Mahdi, an economist of Iraqi origin at Exeter University, said:
"There's no indication yet how the commission is going to deal with this.

"We haven't got to the position yet where these very large claims have been
awarded, and it's important that they should not be awarded. Jordan, for
example, is claiming $8bn and its economy is minute. It's astounding."

He added: "We're talking of many, many generations of Iraqis to pay this
burden. The whole question has to be solved politically."

Useful links: United Nations Compensation Commission

 The True Cost of Gulf War Compensation, Guardian, 16 June '00,2763,332957,00.html

The Iraqi invasion of Kuwait caused financial hardship for businesses and
individuals across the globe. But reparations come with their own price tag,
writes Middle East editor Brian Whitaker

Wars never come cheap. Ten years after Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, the
bills are still coming in - and they're enormous. Apart from the cost of all
the bullets, bombs and missiles used, and the deaths and injuries, there are
thousands - perhaps millions - of people who played no part in the war but
suffered financially: the poor families in Egypt who depended on remittances
from relatives working in Iraq are just one example.

Many companies who were peacefully doing business in the Middle East also
lost money - and by no means all of them were rich oil firms. Governments
suffered, too. Jordan, for instance, which refused to join the war and was
punished by the west for it, provided emergency medical facilities at its
taxpayers' expense.

Back in 1991, at the end of the war, the UN decided that Iraq should pay for
"losses caused by the invasion and occupation of Kuwait". Iraq agreed to
this and since then, 96 countries have presented their bills, which include
claims for businesses and individual victims as well as for their

Kuwait is the biggest claimant. Others, more surprisingly, include Bolivia,
Iceland, Nepal, Panama, Thailand, Uruguay and Vietnam.We all know how
tempting it is to add a few quid to an insurance claim in the hope that no
one will notice. Some countries, sniffing a honey pot, have almost certainly
done that and their claims are being whittled down by teams of expert

Even so, Iraq will face a bill running into hundreds of billions of dollars
which, with interest, will take several generations to pay. The only sure
way to collect this money from Iraq is to extend sanctions, in some form or
other, well into the 22nd century. But it would, in the eyes of many, impose
a huge burden on Iraq's economy, years after Saddam is gone and dead. Is
that fair?

Recall, if you can, a school history lesson about the Treaty of Versailles
at the end of the first world war. It forced Germany to pay massive
compensation and succeeded in building up resentment which played a large
part in starting the second world war.

The alternative to sanctions would be either a gentleman's agreement on the
terms for payment (and Saddam Hussein is no gentleman), or an endless series
of court cases around the world which would make lawyers very rich but
probably achieve little else.

If none of this sounds feasible, the only other option is to forget about
compensation. But that would be unfair to Saddam's victims. It would also
send a signal to other would-be Saddams that they can wreck a neighbouring
country without having to pay for the damage. Compensation, like sanctions,
is one of the great moral dilemmas left over from the Gulf war.
Unfortunately, Saddam has no need to face such ethical questions himself.
But he does understand the problems they create for his foes - and exploits
them at every opportunity.

 Under Iraqi Skies, a Canvas of Death, Washington Post, 16 June '00

By Edward Cody
Washington Post Foreign Service

TOQ AL-GHAZALAT, Iraq -- Suddenly out of a clear blue sky, the forgotten war
being waged by the United States and Britain over Iraq visited its lethal
routine on the shepherds and farmers of Toq al-Ghazalat about 10:30 a.m. on
May 17.

Omran Harbi Jawair, 13, was squatting on his haunches at the time, watching
the family sheep as they nosed the hard, flat ground in search of grass. He
wore a white robe but was bareheaded in spite of an unforgiving sun. Omran,
who liked to kick a soccer ball around this dusty village, had just finished
fifth grade at the little school a 15-minute walk from his mud-brick home. A
shepherd boy's summer vacation lay ahead.

That is when the missile landed.

Without warning, according to several youths standing nearby, the device
came crashing down in an open field 200 yards from the dozen houses of Toq
al-Ghazalat. A deafening explosion cracked across the silent land. Shrapnel
flew in every direction. Four shepherds were wounded. And Omran, the others
recalled, lay dead in the dirt, most of his head torn off, the white of his
robe stained red.

"He was only 13 years old, but he was a good boy," sobbed Omran's father,
Harbi Jawair, 61.

What happened four weeks ago at Toq al-Ghazalat, 35 miles southwest of Najaf
in southern Iraq, has become a recurring event in the Iraqi countryside. A
week of conversations with wounded Iraqis and the families of those killed,
around Najaf and in northern Iraq around Mosul, showed that civilian deaths
and injuries are a regular part of the little-discussed U.S. and British air
operation over Iraq.

Lt. Gen. Yassin Jassem, spokesman for Iraq's air defense command, said about
300 Iraqis have been killed and more than 800 wounded by U.S. and British
retaliatory attacks in the 18 months since President Saddam Hussein ordered
his antiaircraft batteries to fire on allied warplanes enforcing "no-fly"
zones in northern and southern Iraq. Of those killed, Jassem said in an
interview, "well more" than 200 were civilians like Omran Harbi Juwair,
caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The Iraqi death toll has been substantiated in part by a U.N. survey that
examined some incidents independently and accepted Iraqi reports on others.
While not conclusive on the overall toll, interviews and observations during
lengthy drives through the regions where airstrikes have often been reported
backed up the government's contention that civilian casualties have become

U.S. and British warplanes enforcing the zones were heard almost daily
crisscrossing the skies, although they were invisible flying at more than
20,000 feet. The Iraqi air defense command says it has detected penetrations
into Iraqi airspace by more than 21,600 U.S. and British warplanes since
December 1998, when Iraqis started opposing the patrols with antiaircraft
fire. The sustained military operation results in bomb or missile attacks on
an average of once every three days. The Pentagon says more than 280,000
sorties have been flown in the near decade since the no-fly zones were
imposed, without a single loss of aircraft to hostile fire.

Visits to a dozen airstrike sites, chosen by this correspondent, showed that
Iraqi antiaircraft equipment--gray snouts of multibarreled cannons sticking
out of dugouts in the sandy soil--is sometimes installed near towns and
villages. That increases chances of civilians being hurt or killed when
allied planes retaliate. But the travels showed that air attacks have
occurred as well in vast, open fields or grazing grounds--such as in the
strike at Toq al-Ghazalat--with no signs of any military target present or
having been present near the sheep and the boys who tend them in scenes
reminiscent of the Bible.

The mounting toll--averaging one civilian death every other day by Iraq's
count--has prompted France to freeze participation in enforcing the no-fly
zones. It has generated growing protests from Russia and has left
neighboring Saudi Arabia and Turkey increasingly uneasy about continuing to
provide air bases for the U.S. and British enforcement aircraft.

Challenge and Response

The U.S.-led air campaign over Iraq has been underway since shortly after
the Persian Gulf War in 1991, but civilian casualties began to mount after
Operation Desert Fox in December 1998--a 70-hour U.S. bombing campaign
against targets across Iraq to retaliate for the government's refusal to
cooperate with U.N. weapons inspectors. Iraqi air defenses received orders
after that campaign to fire on U.S. and British patrols, drawing retaliatory

"That was a watershed," Riyadh Qaysi, undersecretary in the Foreign
Ministry, said in an interview.

Previously, U.S. and British aircraft were rarely challenged. When they
were, pilots replied to the source of the challenge, usually with AGM-88
HARM missiles that homed in on the radars that guide antiaircraft missiles.
But after Iraq's decision to challenge patrols regularly, U.S. forces were
authorized to attack any Iraqi air defense target--even unconnected to a
specific attack, or at a time well after any challenge--in retaliation for
antiaircraft fire, radar illumination or missile launch.

The United States and its allies first imposed the northern no-fly zone in
April 1991, six weeks after the end of Operation Desert Storm, citing a need
to protect northern Iraq's Kurdish population after an uprising against the
Baghdad government. They imposed the southern no-fly zone in August 1992,
citing a similar need to protect southern Iraq's largely Shiite Muslim
population, which also had risen up against Saddam Hussein immediately after
his defeat in the Gulf War.

The northern operation, based at Incirlik, Turkey, banned Iraqi flights
north of the 36th parallel, which runs just south of Mosul. The southern
operation, enforced by planes based in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia and aboard
U.S. aircraft carriers in the gulf, banned Iraqi flights south of the 32nd

President Clinton ordered the southern no-fly zone widened to the 33rd
parallel in 1996, after Iraqi forces intervened in clashes between two
Kurdish guerrilla bands in northern Iraq. That gesture brought the southern
ban right to the outskirts of Baghdad, the capital, and left 60 percent of
the country off-limits to Iraqi planes.

Since they were imposed, the no-fly zones have become more than just a means
to protect restive Kurds or Shiites from retribution. According to officials
in Washington, the Clinton administration also sees them as a tool to
contain and degrade the Iraqi military, humiliate Saddam Hussein and perhaps
generate opposition to his rule.

'Lifted . . . Into the Air'

"I was thrown to the ground and covered with dirt," recalled Ziad Ibrahim
Taha, a 50-year-old shepherd. "Then another blast. It lifted me right up
into the air."

Taha was with scores of people on a broad, flat expanse of open land 45
miles west of Mosul just before 10 a.m. on May 12 of last year. As he and
others in the nearby village of Abu Auani recalled it, two, perhaps three
warplanes made repeated passes over the congregated villagers, firing
missiles and raking the area with machine guns.

According to Iraqi authorities, 14 people were killed on the spot and five
more died later from their injuries. Forty-six people were wounded and
several hundred sheep were killed. Taha's right leg was injured at the
ankle--red scar tissue, angry and twisted, has replaced its normal contours.
Two of his sons, Mohammed, 24, and Ahmed, 20, were killed, leaving him with
one remaining son.

"They are trying to destroy the Islamic people," Taha responded when asked
what lay behind the attack.

Taha and others in Abu Auani said a group of youths were tending 400 head of
sheep that morning and had taken refuge from the searing sun in a goatskin
tent pitched on the grazing range less than a mile from the village of 500
residents. Older people remained at home, tending to their affairs.

Then, Taha said, he heard the tremendous crash of an exploding missile
coming from the direction of the grazing range. Alarmed, he and many others
from the village ran to the site. Inhabitants of several other nearby
villages also ran to look.

What they found, Taha said, was carnage. Many sheep lay dead or dying.
Several of the young shepherds were killed or wounded. As the wounded boys
were carried away and owners began to slaughter their injured sheep and
round up those that had fled, the number of rescuers and onlookers grew.

"When all the people were there together, another plane came, and another
missile came down," he recalled.

Nine missiles were fired in all, as best as he can remember, over an area of
about 200 square yards. He said aircraft firing machine guns crossed the
zone twice.

Hama Mahmoud Ahmed, 20, a soldier home on leave in Abu Auani, said he was in
the goatskin tent when the first missile hit. Pandemonium broke out almost
immediately, he recalled, and the situation became total chaos as the
second, third and fourth missiles came down.

"I was running away carrying a wounded boy on my shoulder," he said. "But
the boy got cut through his stomach. Another boy I saw nearby got his head
cut off."

Ahmed himself received a piece of shrapnel through his left shoulder,
leaving thick welts of scar tissue and withered muscles unable to fully lift
the arm below.

He was luckier than Raha Khader Ibrahim, 18, whose left arm was severed by a
fragment just below the shoulder. Asked to describe what happened to him,
Ibrahim stammered repeatedly.

Questions of Responsibility

The attack at Abu Auani was one of the few in which the U.S. military has
acknowledged an error. A communique from Incirlik Air Base that day said
Operation Northern Watch aircraft were targeted by Iraqi radar and fired on
by antiaircraft artillery, generating a response with AGM-88 and AGM-130
missiles and GBU-12 and GBU-15 precision-guided bombs.

"Results of the strike are still being assessed," the communique continued.
"However, a review of post-strike data indicates that one of the targets,
believed to have been a surface-to-air missile site, now appears to have
been a nomadic camp with a number of livestock in the area. Every effort is
taken to avoid any collateral damage to civilians and civilian property.
Ultimate responsibility, however, lies with Saddam Hussein."

U.S. officials have stressed that, although they seek to avoid civilian
casualties, Iraq installs air defense equipment near civilian-inhabited
areas in an effort to make civilian casualties more likely, generating news
coverage such as this article and, Iraqi officials hope, more international
opposition to the no-fly zones.

In addition, U.S. and U.N. officials have maintained that some casualties
probably have been caused by Iraqi antiaircraft fire falling back to earth.
Finally, the U.S. and British governments have stressed that the airstrikes
would not be necessary if Iraq stopped firing at the U.S. and British planes
in its airspace.

Jassem, the Iraqi air defense command spokesman, offered a theory that the
civilian deaths and injuries occur in part because U.S. pilots, who fly most
strike missions, may have targeting data that confuse military equipment
with farm machinery, such as large harvesters, or tents and big herds of
sheep. And Jassem had another suggestion: Maybe, he said, some pilots fear
flying near antiaircraft batteries and loose their munitions at what they
hope is empty terrain.

Deadly Remnants

The airstrikes leave behind a lethal litter that could claim civilian
casualties for years.

In Rihaniyah, a farm village of 650 people 25 miles west of Mosul, most
people were still indoors at 9:30 a.m. on May 28, sheltered from the heat
and sipping their morning tea.

But some of the boys went out to wander, exploring for something to do on
what promised to be a delicious day, just after the school year finished.
Wearing the scruffy shirts and baggy, dusty pants of northern Iraqi peasant
boys, they left home ready for fun.

What they found instead was death and injury. Saoud Nouri Jassem, 12, Khalis
Abdullah Jassem, 15, and Ahmed Omar Abdullah, 15, were killed. Fadhli
Abdullah Jassem, 10, and
Muzhir Abdullah Jassem, 9, were hospitalized and still carry their wounds.

At the edge of the village, they picked up an unexploded piece of munition.
It may have been one of the many fragments spit out by bombs and missiles
from U.S. aircraft to destroy Iraqi antiaircraft equipment. Or it may have
been one of the many cannon rounds and missiles fired by Iraqi antiaircraft

>From his sickbed at home, Muzhir described the fragment as about six inches
long and cylindrical, with striations on the surface and a point at one end.
His right arm was dressed with a heavy bandage, from the biceps down to the
wrist. His left leg was dressed similarly.

Whatever its origin, the fragment exploded as the boys were bringing their
find to the center of the village. No one knows for sure who was carrying
it. Muzhir said he thinks it was Ahmed. Those who were close enough to know
for sure did not survive.

"The explosion woke me up," recalled Raha Nouri Jassem, 20, who looked over
the edge of his roof as soon as he heard what happened, then piled
downstairs in a panic. "I ran over there and found them on the ground. Two
of them were already dead, and another one died in the hospital."

Dangerous Positions

Although the Iraqi government emphasizes casualties among civilians, it was
clear at Bashiqah, a town 18 miles east of Mosul famous for its ouzo-like
drink called arrack, that positioning antiaircraft emplacements near houses
and towns also contributes to the toll.

The danger was far from the minds of two friends, Mowafaq Atu Hathar, 23,
and Shuthar Shukri Elias, 22, as they worked on a new cinder block house
last Aug. 23 on the edge of Bashiqah. Hathar was particularly glad for the
work. His father had no job. Those in the family who still lived at home,
mainly his parents and his own wife and children, depended on his income for
a living.

That was the way things stood when a missile came down just behind the
house, killing Hathar and his friend. Since then, the would-be owner has
sealed the entrance and stopped construction, convinced that no good can
come of finishing a house where something so horrible happened. And the
family has come to depend on donations.

"Some people help us out, the neighbors," said Hathar's mother, Kithir
Hathar, 44. "One day we have food, one day we have nothing."

That was not the end of it, however. The missiles have continued to crash
down around Bashiqah, where Iraqi antiaircraft installations are visible at
two sites several hundred yards from town.

An attack May 29, Kithir Hathar recalled, sent ragged fragments six inches
long clanging up against her home in the middle of Bashiqah. Luckily, she
said, none of them pierced the walls and nobody else in the family was
injured. But the noise of the explosion was tremendous, and the concussion
was felt up and down the street.

"I heard it, and I felt the air push the scarf on my head," she said.

The Iraqi military announced later that two civilians were killed in the
attack, and this was confirmed by an Iraqi army officer stationed at the
town hall who accompanied a reporter to visit the Hathar family.

But suddenly an elderly man who had been sitting in on the conversation
silently, fingering his worry beads, piped up uninvited. "They were
soldiers," he proclaimed. "They died in the blast. It was so strong their
eyes rolled back in their heads and stuff came out of their ears."

Fielding a suggestion to go to the destroyed building and get the story
straight, the army officer said it probably would be dangerous because
planes were flying overhead and could strike again. Pressed to go anyway, he
replied, "It is forbidden."

 UN Delays Kuwait's $21b Gulf War Oil Claim, Reuters, 16 June '00

Geneva -- The UN Gulf War reparations body, citing a lack of consensus, said
yesterday it had put off for two weeks a decision on whether to approve
Kuwait's $21.5 billion claim for oil destroyed by Iraq.

The claim, the largest filed against Iraq at the UN Compensation Commission
(UNCC), will be reconsidered by the UNCC's governing body on June 30,
according to a statement.

Independent experts who evaluated the whopping claim have recommended that
Kuwait be awarded $15.9 billion for lost production and sales of petroleum
and related products, according to diplomats and UNCC sources.

"The Governing Council was not able at this session to reach a consensus on
this matter," Joe Sills, a consultant serving as UNCC spokesman, told a news
briefing after the three-day talks in Geneva ended yesterday. "There were
some comments on technical grounds, but that was not the major problem."

Diplomats said that Russia had blocked a consensus at the UNCC's Governing
Council, composed of the same 15 countries as the UN Security Council. Iraqi
officials had been lobbying delegations for weeks to put off the claim, they

Diplomats said that France had initially joined Russia in seeking a delay,
but Moscow's delegation was the only hold-out.

"It is basically the Russians now," said one diplomat. "Looking around the
room, there was only one country saying 'no' - Russia," said another envoy.
"We're reasonably confident that we can get back on track and get it done by
consensus in two weeks. If not, we'll go to a vote."

But Sills noted that all Governing Council decisions had been taken by
consensus since the humanitarian fund, set up after Iraq's invasion and
seven-month occupation of Kuwait, was established in 1991.

"There was very strong support (from) each of the 15 members that there
should be consensus on these major claims related to production and sales of
petroleum and petroleum-related products," he said.

Kuwaiti authorities say Iraqi occupying forces mined Kuwait's oil fields in
a calculated effort to destroy the emirate on as many levels as possible
before they were driven out by U.S.-led multinational forces in the 1991
Gulf War.

The UNCC receives 30 per cent of the revenue generated by the UN
oil-for-food programme that allows Iraq to sell crude to raise money for
imports of certain essential supplies.

UNCC coffers have benefited from the recent rise in crude prices, receiving
nearly $400 million per month since September.

Over the years, it has paid out $6.8 billion to individuals, corporations
and governments who have proved losses directly caused by Iraq's invasion.
Individual claimants have priority.

At its session, the Governing Council approved $148 million in compensation
to individuals and governments, bringing the total approved to date to $15.7
billion, the statement said.

It set at $5.0 million the top amount which individuals, corporations and
governments may receive in compensation under a third phase of payments due
to begin by year-end, according to Mojtaba Kazzazi, secretary to the
Governing Council.

The previous limit for successful claimants in these categories was
$100,000. In all, the Geneva-based UNCC has received 2.6 million claims with
an asserted value of a staggering $320 billion.

 US Defends No-Fly Zone Air Attacks, AP, 16 June '00

By George Gedda
Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON -- The State Department expressed regret Friday over civilian
deaths in Iraq from U.S. and British air strikes but said the flights in the
"no-fly zones" have prevented Iraq from threatening citizens in these areas.

Spokesman Richard Boucher commented in response to a report Friday in The
Washington Post that outlined the toll the air strikes have taken on the
civilian populations of these regions.

. . . . .

Boucher said the allied aircraft act in response to Iraqi threats.

"They never target civilians or civilian facilities," he said. "If Iraq
would stop targeting these aircraft that are carrying out a humanitarian
mission of protection, there would be no need for pilots to respond in

He added: "Since the no-flight zones were established, they have succeeded
in preventing the Iraqi regime from using air power to threaten citizens in
the south and the north, as they have done in the past.

"Under this protection, and with U.N. supervision in the region, Iraqi
citizens in the north live been in far better conditions than Iraqis who
live under the rule of Saddam Hussein."

 Inside Iraq, Iraq's Sacrificial Lambs, Newsday, 18 June '00

Its Babies are Dying in Squalor; Is UN Embargo to Blame?


Baghdad -- From the corridor outside the crowded pediatric ward came the
scream of a mother in the first seconds of mourning.

Looking from side to side, a woman in a black head scarf carried the limp
body of her 1-year-old daughter Yousser out of the ward's examination room.
Her tears fell on the scarlet fabric of the last dress Yousser would ever
wear. As she stood cradling her dead daughter, the woman started to explain
how she had first brought Yousser to the hospital 10 days ago after the
little girl developed bloody diarrhea. Today she had brought her back, but
it was too late.

Again the moan of a mother. This time from inside the examination room. It
was 3:03 p.m.-seven minutes since Yousser had died.

"Another one," said Dr. Uldram Ahmed, chief resident of the pediatric
section of Ibn Al-Baladi maternity and pediatric hospital in a poor part of
Baghdad known as Saddam City.

Lying on his back inside the examination room was Ali Hussein. Facing him on
a wall of the room was a photograph of two chubby, European-looking toddlers
giggling as they fed long grass to a kid goat. Ali was not like those

He looked brittle. The right nostril of his nearly fleshless nose was
crusted in blood. His minuscule hands were curled and motionless. He was 10
weeks old and looked like he'd lived through a century. His teenage mother
leaned over him as Dr. Ghassam Rashid Al Baya pressed his stethoscope to the
naked baby's gray chest.

"He died?" asked Ahmed, who was looking on.

"Yes," Al Baya replied, still listening to Ali's chest for a sound he knew
he would never hear.

"Second one dead," Ahmed said. "Look at the bloody vomitus." Ali's last,
crimson breath formed a tiny wet cloud next to his head on the orange wrap
he lay on.

"He died," Al Baya confirmed, tucking his stethoscope away into the pocket
of his white coat. "He passed." Ali's mother enclosed him in the stained
orange blanket and glided out of the room in silence. He was the third that
day. The first died at 8 a.m. The second was Yousser. And there was another,
a 4-month-old girl, Rinda Satar, across the corridor gasping what Ahmed said
would be her last breaths. Two of them, Ali Hussein and Rinda Satar, were
from the same neighborhood, Hai Al Tarek.

The hospital didn't even keep a record of their mother's names or their
addresses. The women walked out of the building with their babies in their
arms. All around the hospital the old electric clocks were stopped at
different times. 12:52. 4:11. 5:32. And 1:07 in the room where Ali Hussein

It was a perfectly average day at Ibn Al-Baladi.

"You see, they died of poor feeding, loss of weight," said Al Baya, who
earns the equivalent of a dollar and a half per month. He's 30 years old and
has been a doctor for six years. He has lost count of the number of babies
who have died in his hands. Today's dead suffered from malnutrition, stomach
infections, bacterial infections, chronic loss of weight, the doctors said.
The usual. With proper nutrition, clean water, efficient sanitation and
sufficient medical supplies, most of these babies would survive, the doctors
said. It hasn't always been this way. Not that long ago Iraq had one of the
best health care systems in the Middle East. Infant mortality rates were
comparatively low.

But now this is normal at Ibn Al-Baladi.

"It is one of the results of the embargo," Al Baya said. "This is a crime on
Iraq. What is wrong with these poor children? Are they soldiers that they
have to be treated like this? They are not soldiers." Al Baya may have lost
count but other people are trying to record the numbers of children who have
died in Iraq since the UN Security Council imposed economic sanctions on the
country in August 1990. While not the only way of judging the effect of the
sanctions, the number of children who have died is perhaps the most stark
indication of its impact on the Iraqi people. UNICEF, the United Nations'
children's organization, last August put the number of children under age 5
who have died since the start of the sanctions at 500,000.

>From 1994 to 1999, UNICEF says, more than one in 10 Iraqi children who live
in the main part of the country under the control of President Saddam
Hussein died before they reached the age of 5. A similar survey for the
period from 1984 to 1989 had the death rate at less than half the current
rate. Iraq blames the United Nations and the Western powers-mainly the
United States and Britain-who insist on maintaining the embargo.

The United States insists that Hussein is to blame for refusing to allow
arms inspectors free rein in Iraq, for refusing to spend government revenue
on essential services, for mismanaging the medical supplies imported under
the UN's Oil for Food Program and for exploiting the common people of Iraq
for propaganda purposes.

"We've been pretty clear about not wanting to see babies dying," said a
State Department official who spoke on condition of anonymity. "Those
500,000 babies died needlessly because of a government that doesn't care
about them." "It has transcended the bounds of tragedy," said Riyadh Al
Qaysi, Iraq's deputy minister of foreign affairs. "It's a concrete
genocide." The apportioning of blame is highly politicized. Deciphering
where that blame truly lies is difficult.

"There is a total lack of logic on either side, with the American government
or the Iraqis," said a senior diplomat in Baghdad.

There may be no better place to look at the roots of Iraqi suffering than
Hai Al Tarak, the neighborhood of little Ali Hussein and Rinda Satar. It is
right on the edge of Baghdad, on the frontier of Saddam City, itself a vast
slum of 2 million people.

Over and over, the water is named as the chief culprit behind the dying
babies of Hai Al Tarek.

"The water is so dirty, cloudy," said Jassima Abed, 32, the mother of Rinda,
the dying four-month old. "There are worms in the water and it has a bad
odor." Rinda had similar symptoms to Ali Hussein: Bloody diarrhea, loss of
weight, lethargy, vomiting. In the hospital, she lay on stained blankets,
her breath rasped and the skin around her stomach was drum-tight. The
doctors said the actual cause of death would be a bacterial infection.

Such tragedies are commonplace in Hai Al Tarek.

In the single-room hut of mud bricks she shares with her husband and two
children, Samira Kassim, 23, flapped at the flies that buzzed around her and
talked of how her 4-year-old son, Mazen Karim, died in February.

"He started to lose weight day after day and his skin started to stretch. I
took him to the hospital on December 29th. They put oxygen on his nose but
he was in a coma. He didn't want to eat. It's because of the water and the
dirtiness around. I always told him not to use it or play in that water but
I expect he did." Kassim lost another son two years ago. She is pregnant
again. Her children bathe once a week in the dirty water, which they get
from a neighbor's pipe and store in plastic containers in the room. Often,
there's not enough water coming out of the taps. She throws the family's
urine from a bucket into her front yard where it evaporates in the sunshine.
Her children play in the street, which is covered in garbage and has an open
sewage ditch running down the side.

Her husband works for the Baghdad sewage system and makes the equivalent of
five dollars per month.

In 1990, fewer than a thousand people lived in Al Tarek. Now there are more
than 30,000 living in sloppily built homes of bricks, mud and concrete

There is no sewage system. Trucks sometimes come and remove the solid waste
from the homes. Ditches of urine and other liquid waste line nearly every
street where barefoot children play. A huge disused canal full of toxic
water and raw sewage sits between Al Tarek and Saddam City. The water in Al
Tarek, residents said, is frequently smelly, cloudy and, as Abed said, full
of worms.

It's so bad that sometimes Al Tarek people fetch water from the main parts
of Saddam City, itself an impoverished mini-city where herds of goats chew
at piles of garbage in the street.

"We are always sending requests to the mayor for new water pipes and the
answer is always there are not enough pipes and pumps because of the
embargo," said Jihad Nasser, 59, the mukhtar or unofficial head of the
community. "The government promised a sewage system but when the war started
none came." And so the people of Al Tarek drink whatever water they can

Saad Behnam Abdullah, at the end of another 16-hour day in his tatty office
as director general of the Baghdad Water Supply Authority, said he was not
at all surprised to hear about the deaths of the children in Al Tarek.

On his wall was a wistful poster of a large plan the authority had in the
late 1980s-before the embargo-to build new reservoirs, pumping stations,
treatment plants and pipelines around the city. None of that has been
started even and the city's aging water and sewage pipes are cracking all
over the place.

The problem with Baghdad's water is not its quality when it leaves the
pumping stations, he said. It's that the water and sewage pipes have started
to disintegrate and that means raw sewage is being sucked into the water
supply en route to people's homes. Anupama Rao Singh, the UNICEF
representative in Iraq, also said this is the main problem. With hardly any
money to spend on the systems, Abdullah and his colleagues can't hope to
repair the pipes.

A vicious cycle is going on underground in Baghdad. When the water and
sewage pipes leak, the nearby ground shifts and settles, causing further
cracks. And that causes more leaks. And then the ground shifts and settles
again. It's getting worse all the time, Abdullah said.

When asked how much it would cost to repair the system, Abdullah erupted in
bemused and tired laughter.

At Al Tarek, the problems are worse than for most of the city, he said. The
supply of water there is low, he said. It's at the end of the line and the
water pressure is at its weakest, and as Al Tarek continues to grow, the
demand for water is pushing people to tamper with the pipes.

"The lack of quantity is forcing people to find other ways to get water and
it's not good for their health," he said. "They're bursting pipes, getting
that water mixed up with polluted water and sewage, pumping water on their
own from the mains pipes. That creates a negative pressure, which can suck
in sewage.

They are causing this pollution but they're obliged to do it. They don't
have water. This has caused so many cases in the hospital." Who's to blame
for this? "America," said Kassim without hesitation.

American officials say that such responses are the result of fear of
Hussein's regime and lack of understanding of the situation. If Kassim had
blamed the Iraqi government while speaking in front of a government
official, the consequences for the family might have been dire. Foreign
reporters in Iraq have government minders with them at all times except in
meetings with diplomats and aid workers.

In one of the few moments that a reporter had away from the minder, a
medical worker departed from the party line. "The people can't say what they
really feel," the medical worker said. "It's the political regime that's the
problem. Of course they blame the government." American officials say the
Hussein regime mishandles the supplies that come into Iraq under the Oil For
Food program. Established in late 1996, the UN-administered program allows
Iraq to sell large quantities of its oil. The UN handles the profits. The
Iraqi government requests supplies, a UN committee reviews the requests and,
if approved, the goods are shipped to Iraq. In Northern Iraq, which is
currently run by two Kurdish parties, the UN directly administers the
distribution of aid. In the south and central parts of Iraq, still under
Hussein's control, the Iraqi government runs the aid program.

UN officials in the south dismiss the American government's claims about
widespread and manipulative Iraqi mismanagement.

"Not one of the observer mechanisms has reported any major problems in
humanitarian supplies being diverted, switched or in any way misused," said
George Somerwill, spokesman for the UN in Iraq. Rather, aid workers said,
the program is clunky, bureaucratic and operates in a country whose
infrastructure has been devastated.

"Not all contracts are approved in time," said Dr. Hussien Zakar, officer in
charge of the World Health Organization in Iraq, which monitors the
distribution of medicine and the Iraqi health care system. "Not all
shipments arrive in sequence. They're not always efficiently distributed.
There's a lack of transport and funds for that." These same problems with
the embargo make it difficult to do anything about the water and sewage
mess, UN officials say. The sanctions committee has repeatedly withheld
approval for engineering equipment the Iraqi government says it needs for
the water or sewage systems because, the committee says, the equipment could
also be used for the Iraqi military. UN officials in Baghdad say most of
these objections, especially those raised by the United States and Britain,
are not valid.

Iraqi government officials also say they have no money to spend on the new
trucks for distributing medication, partly because the Oil for Food program
allows them no cash allowance, only materials.

"Saddam finds money to spend on trucks for his army," the State Department
official said. "Why doesn't he spend it on distributing medication?" Another
point American officials like to make about the Iraqi government's
expenditure choices is the comparatively healthy state of Iraq's private
hospitals. Newsday made an unscheduled visit to one private hospital in
Baghdad and conditions there were markedly better than in the public
hospitals visited.

"There are very obvious disparities within the country," said Singh, of

A simple car journey testifies to that. Drive from central Baghdad, past
some of the city's new private hospitals with expensive German cars parked
outside, then through the boulevards of Saddam City and into Al Tarek and
you see that disparity.

In Al Tarek, in Kassim's room, her neighbor Aria Rishak Ghelan told how she
too had lost a child.

It was April 21 of last year, she said, when she noticed that her 5-year-old
boy Sajad Abbas had started to suffer from the same symptom that all the
sick children from Al Tarek seem to have-diarrhea.

"I took him to Al Qadissiya hospital and the next day I lost him," she said.
"At 9 a.m. he died. Nobody explained why.

"I was married twelve years ago," said Ghelan, 29, who wore a black head
scarf and was barefoot. "Life was good then and we were living with my
husband's parents." That was before the embargo. Three years ago, with a
growing family, they had to find their own home and the only place they
could find was Al Tarek, which is where people in Baghdad go when they have
no other option. Most people there build their own homes out of whatever
they can find on any patch of land they can find. They have no legal right
to live there.

"There are many things here," Ghelan said. "We don't usually get enough to
eat, the water is bad and there is sewage outside." "It is a horrible life,"
said Ghelan, who has four surviving children. "If the conditions continue
like this it will just get worse."

Only links provided for the following reports:

 Iraq Asks UN For Money For Supplies, AP, 11 June '00

 U.S. Seeks Immunity From U.N. Court, AP, 12 June '00

 No-Fly Zones Go On Trial In Des Moines, Iowa, Common Dreams, 14 June '00

 Turks Say Iraq Should Take Services to Kurd North, Reuters, 15 June '00

 Iranian Opposition Group in Clash, BBC, 15 June '00

 Iraq Claims to Intercept 100 U.S. HARM Missiles, Reuters, 16 June '00

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