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News for 3 July '00 to 9 July '00

News for 3 July '00 to 9 July '00

Sources: AP, CNN, Gulf News, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Reuters, St.
Petersburg Times, Stratfor, Sunday Times, Times, USA Today, Voice Of America

· Iran Opens Key Isle to Iraqi Oil Smugglers, U.S. Says (Los Angeles Times)
· Bush/Gore/Iraq (Voice Of America)
· Iraqis Ask U.S. to Do More to Oust Saddam (New York Times)
· Iraq: The Recovery of a Renegade Country Nears Prewar Levels (USA Today)
· Sanctions-Bound Iraq Revives with Oil-Price Windfall (CNN)
· Saddam Blackmails Rebels with Rape (Sunday Times)
· Middle Eastern Power Brokers Confer over Iraq (Stratfor)
· Gulf Help to Smugglers 'Sustains Saddam' (Times)
· Iraq Wants Immediate Work on Upstream Deals-MEES (Reuters)
· Iraq July 1-15 Oil Sales Down 500,000 BPD on June (Reuters)
· Medical Mysteries (St. Petersburg Times)
· 'You'll See Children Die' (St. Petersburg Times)
· The Cult of Saddam (St. Petersburg Times)
· Cross Him, Pay a Price (St. Petersburg Times)

Only links provided for the following reports:

· Iraq Pressing Russian Group to Honour Oil Contract (Reuters)
· US Concerned with Iraqi Activity (AP)
· Iraq Walks Out as OIC Condemns Kuwait Invasion (Gulf News)
· Key Iraqi Opposition Movement Quits U.S.-Backed Alliance (AP)

· Medical Mysteries, St. Petersburg Times, 4 June '00

Is depleted uranium hurting the health of Iraqis and U.S. Gulf War veterans?

Times researchers Kitty Bennett and Cathy Wos contributed to this story.

BASRA -- It is a heart-breaking catalog of horrors.

Babies with grotesquely big heads. Or a single Cyclopean eye. Or no face at
all, just a gaping hole where the nose should be.

"This family near Kuwait had three children -- all the same, no genitalia,"
says Dr. Janan Hassan, flipping over page after page of stomach-turning
photos. "You could not even tell the sex."

In the past nine years, Hassan and other doctors in this southern Iraqi city
have seen what they say is an ever-growing number of babies with hideous
birth defects. Last year alone, at least 137 were born with congenital
malformities, five times as many as reported in 1991.

And that is not the only frightening trend. Iraqi authorities say the number
of children and adults stricken with leukemia, lymphoma and other types of
cancer has also soared since the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

To the Iraqis, there is a simple explanation. They blame the increases on
exposure to depleted uranium, a radioactive substance used in weapons fired
during the war by U.S.-led forces.

But many outside experts say the claim is premature. There have been no
scientific studies in Iraq itself. The few conducted elsewhere have found
that depleted uranium causes little risk of cancer and none at all of birth
defects. Other hazards could be at fault, the experts say.

Thus continues a major medical mystery -- one of concern not only to Iraq
but also the thousands of Gulf War veterans from the United States, Canada
and other nations who have long complained of apparent war-related health

There is worry, too, in Kosovo, where NATO forces used munitions containing
depleted uranium to attack Serbian troops last year.

"The issue has become polarized," says Dan Fahey, a U.S. Navy veteran who
has spent years trying to prod the Pentagon into acknowledging the potential
risks from depleted uranium.

"The danger with DU is mainly localized contamination in the immediate area,
say within 150 feet of a tank that's hit. Some people make it sound like if
you're 100 miles away you're breathing in the dust. In my opinion they are
inflating the hazards, but it is a serious hazard and in terms of how this
has impacted the health of vets and civilians it definitely needs more

Of the three types of uranium, two are fissionable and thus key in the
making of nuclear bombs. The leftover material, called depleted uranium, is
valuable in other types of weapons because it is so dense and heavy.

At high speed, a shell containing 10 pounds of solid DU can slice through
tanks like "a hot knife through butter," in one apt description. It burns on
impact, releasing particles that are toxic and remain radioactive for
billions of years.

During the Gulf War, allied troops fired almost 1-million rounds containing
an estimated 300 tons of depleted uranium. Most of those hit Iraqi tanks or
fell on Iraqi soil. However, U.S. soldiers were also exposed, either wounded
by "friendly fire" or from inhaling contaminated dust as they clambered over
Iraqi tanks at war's end.

At the time no one -- neither Iraqis nor Americans -- knew much about the
health risks from depleted uranium. But within a year, Iraqi doctors
realized that something strange seemed to be happening.

Women who lived near the battlefields or whose husbands had fought in the
war began having more and more babies with birth defects. Some survived,
usually those with cleft palates or missing limbs. Others were stillborn,
including some with tails, two heads, no brains or such terrible
malformities they barely appeared human.

"I am a pediatrician but there is nothing even in the books about these
kinds of things," says Dr. Hassan, a professor in the medical college of
Basra University.

In 1991, her records show, 28 babies in Basra had birth defects, for a rate
of 2.84 abnormalities per 1,000 births.

In 1998, the number of infants born with defects grew to 78 and the rate
ballooned to 7.76.

"And the numbers will go up more and more," Hassan predicts. "The trend may
continue forever. DU is radioactive and Basra is saturated with DU. This is
a crime. What crime have our children done to deserve this?"

Along with the increase in birth defects has been a 262 percent percent jump
in leukemia and other cancers nationwide, Iraqi authorities say.

In Basra, the hardest hit area, cancer strikes almost seven times as many
people as it did in 1988, according to Dr. Jawa Kadhim Al-Alia, an
oncologist at Saddam Teaching Hospital. Three of his best friends, two
doctors and a pharmacist, have sons with leukemia.

"Everybody is afraid of getting cancer," Al-Alia says. For the first time in
his long career, he is also seeing many "clusters" -- cancer striking
several members of the same family.

Doctors at Saddam Central Teaching Hospital in Baghdad, where many young
leukemia victims go for treatment, used to get only a few cases a year. Now
two or three children are diagnosed every week.

"In Jordan and Egypt there is a very low incidence of leukemia," says Dr.
Basim Al Abdili, the chief resident. "The cause of this is very clear: It's
depleted uranium used during the war."

To some outside experts, though, the link between depleted uranium and
cancer or birth defects is not at all clear. There are other factors, they
say, that should be thoroughly studied:

* Iraq's air is often hazy and hard to breathe, polluted by the thick black
smoke that belches from oil refineries and countless brick factories. After
the Gulf War, pollution was aggravated by the many oil-field fires set by
Iraqi troops as they fled Kuwait.

* In the 1980s, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein used mustard gas and other
chemical weapons on rebellious groups in his own country as well as on
Iranian soldiers who fought near Basra during the eight-year Iran-Iraq war.
Scientists say mustard gas can cause genetic damage.

* Years of war-related food shortages have left many Iraqis seriously
malnourished. Pregnant women who do not get enough folic acid, an essential
vitamin, have a greater chance of delivering babies with birth defects.

* "The regular Iraqi people have suffered a lot and the situation is bad,"
says Dr. Kelley Brix of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. "It is
human nature to try to find reasons why the situation is bad, but the only
way you're going to get the answer is by having a careful evaluation done by
a group that is authoritative and balanced in its viewpoint."

Brix is among those working with the Persian Gulf Veterans Coordinating
Board, created partly in response to complaints by U.S. soldiers that they
have suffered a wide range of ailments since their Gulf War service. Like
the Iraqis, many wonder if their problems are caused by depleted uranium.

Pentagon officials "have changed their story a lot in the past couple of the
years," says Fahey, a researcher for the non-profit Military Toxics Project.
"A couple of years ago, no one was exposed, now the line is that a lot of
people might have been exposed but no one was exposed enough to cause any
health problems. The problem is they don't have any data to support that
because they didn't do any testing right after the war."

The Pentagon acknowledges that at least 100 or so U.S. soldiers injured by
friendly fire still have DU-contaminated shrapnel in their bodies. Since
1993, those vets have visited the Baltimore VA Center three times a year for
a full battery of tests and examinations.

To date, officials say, there have been no reported cases of cancer, birth
defects or even kidney problems, the main health risk observed in rats
exposed to high levels of uranium.

"Despite the fact (the veterans) do have a high amount of uranium in their
bodies, they are not showing any adverse effect so far," Brix says. "That's
not to say they wouldn't show up down the line so the (Department of
Defense) and the VA will keep a very careful look on these poor American
soldiers for at least 10 years."

Since 1998, the government has offered medical evaluations to all Gulf War
veterans, not just those hit by shrapnel. Hundreds of veterans might have
come in contact with depleted uranium as they cleaned up after a large fire
in Kuwait that burned tons of munitions.

Under pressure from critics, the Pentagon plans other research, including
live-fire testing on tanks to get a better handle on the levels and range of

Only a few studies have been completed so far, and those found no greater
rate of birth defects in the babies of Gulf War veterans. But can depleted
uranium cause leukemia and other types of cancer? On that score, the
evidence is more troubling.

Three years ago, researchers from the National Cancer Institute and other
agencies exposed human cells to depleted uranium and injected them into
mice. They developed tumors within four weeks.

Based on those results, the cancer-causing potential of DU "remains a
concern and warrants additional studies," the reserachers said.

In the United States, depleted uranium is considered enough of a risk that
the Environmental Protection Agency requires detailed plans for protecting
people and the environment at the three sites where the material is stored.

No such precautions exist in southern Iraq. Children still play near
burned-out tanks and farmers still grow tomatoes -- albeit stunted ones --
in fields they say were hit with missiles.

Although some residents have been moved out of the area, the Iraqi
government says it has neither the resources nor the responsibility to clean
up any uranium.

"The polluter pays. This is the principle in America," Khidhir Putres, a top
environmental engineer, pointedly tells two American journalists.

The World Health Organization and Iraqi officials have discussed a study on
the risks of depleted uranium, but the government has yet to make a formal
request. In the meantime, W.H.O. has twice sent missions to Iraq to lay the
groundwork for investigating the apparent rise in cancer cases.

The teams "found a lot of missing data in Iraq's health records," says
Gregory Hartl, a spokesman for the Geneva-based agency. "What we need is to
start at ground zero and re-establish a system for collecting scientific

Verifying Iraqi claims and tracking down victims can indeed be difficult.
Hospitals do not require patients to give full names and exact addresses,
let alone the exhaustive amounts of information required in the United
States or Europe.

A Times reporter and photographer tried, for example, to find the woman
whose three stillborn babies lacked sex organs. Dr. Hassan's notes showed
only the mother's name and the fact she lived near the main school in a
village near the Kuwaiti border.

However, no one in the area, including the village elders, said they could
place the woman, explaining that they generally know families only by the
husband's name. Nor could anyone recall three malformed babies born to one
woman. Perhaps, they said, she was so ashamed she never told anyone other
than close relatives.

Likewise, efforts to locate a family who "live across the bridge and near
the market" in another village also came to naught.

"So many babies," one man said, glancing at the dozens of children playing
in the street. "Who remembers the dead ones?"

· 'You'll See Children Die', St. Petersburg Times, 4 June '00


BASRA -- Here in the Basra Maternity and Pediatric Hospital, with its
peeling paint and grimy walls, the motto could be "Getting by on what we

Disposable gloves are washed and used again. That increases the risk of
tearing -- and spreading germs -- but gloves are in such short supply the
hospital says it has no choice.

Meanwhile, premature babies must breathe industrial-grade oxygen that is
just 92 percent pure. The factory that produced oxygen for medical purposes
was bombed during the 1991 Persian Gulf War and never repaired.

And nurses keep a close eye on one of the incubators used for premature
infants. It is so unreliable the temperature can abruptly drop or soar.

"Everything we have is old," says Dr. Ali Faisal, the hospital's director.
"We are functioning at only a small percent of our ability."

By all accounts, Iraq is suffering a humanitarian crisis that has taken a
terrible toll, especially on the young. Children under 5 in heavily
populated central and southern Iraq are dying at more than twice the rate
they did 10 years ago, a level comparable to that in Haiti, UNICEF says.

Tens of thousands of other youngsters are so stunted by malnutrition that
many 14-year-olds look like they're 8 or 9. Diseases once thought to have
been eradicated are making a comeback, among them polio, cholera and

Iraq blames the crisis on one thing: the economic sanctions that have been
in place ever since it invaded Kuwait in 1990. Although Iraq is allowed to
sell unlimited amounts of oil to buy food, medicine and other essentials, it
says the committee that oversees the oil-for-food program often delays or
turns down requests for things it desperately needs.

"You'll see children die because we don't have enough medicine to give
them," says Dr. Ghanim al-Marsomi, director of the Saddam Central Teaching
Hospital in Baghdad.

But those who work closely with the U.N. sanctions committee say it has a
difficult job. It must distinguish legitimate humanitarian items from "dual
use" ones that could be valuable in making chemical, biological and nuclear

"The oil-for-food program has moved from an emergency program for food and
medicine to where it's more or less a rehabilitation program for the entire
economy," says Harry Verweij, spokesman for the Dutch ambassador to the
U.N., the committee chairman.

"Iraq is actually working on great projects, grand projects where contracts
sometimes come in for $90-million or more. These contracts are extremely
complicated and where on the face of it a certain contract may not seem to
be dual use, specific items might well be of dual-use nature."

Iraq complains, for example, that the committee has held up requests for
laser eye-surgery machines and refrigeration equipment to keep blood cool.

But, as others note, lasers also have military applications. Refrigerators
can be used to store chemical and biological agents used in warfare.

Even something as seemingly innocent as disposable gloves could be worn by
workers in weapons-development labs.

At times, the fear of what could be converted to military use borders on the
ludicrous, Iraqi officials say. A few years ago, the sanctions committee
refused to let a big British pharmaceutical company sell Iraq a drug called
Angised, used to treat angina in heart patients.

The reason: The tablets contain tiny amounts of nitroglycerin, an explosive.

Officials also complain that the committee drags its feet by making repeated
requests for information.

"We wanted to buy 10 CT scan machines to use in teaching hospitals," says
Dr. Kusai Al Keit, a director in Iraq's Ministry of Health.

"After two months (the committee) says, "Give us the names of the hospitals
where they are going to be installed.' So we gave them that and two months
later they say, "Can you tell us the names of the staff that's going to
operate them.' How does it matter if it's me or Dr. Ali?"

Months and months later, a few machines finally arrived.

"We're still waiting for the rest," Al Keit says.

The sanctions committee acknowledges it sometimes asks for more details,
primarily to make sure the items are for the general population, not just
the Iraqi elite. Hence a request for a liposuction machine, presumably to
slim someone's bulging belly, got thumbs down.

The committee also holds up certain drugs because they are sold by companies
that have repeatedly violated the sanctions, or are known to be fronts for
the Iraqi government. Money from such sales goes directly to Saddam
Hussein's regime to be used, it is suspected, for nefarious purposes.

As for Iraq's malnutrition problem, the government has largely itself to
blame, a top U.S. representative to the United Nations charged in March.

"Iraq consistently under-orders foodstuffs and has never met the minimum
calorie and protein targets set by the (United Nations) despite
record-setting revenues" from oil sales, says James Cunningham, deputy
permanent representative.

His statement was partly in response to accusations that the United States
and Britain are the main culprits in Iraq's health care crisis. Of the 15
nations represented on the sanctions committee, they are the only ones that
ever challenge Iraq's proposed purchases. That, defenders say, is because
they have the technical expertise to do so.

"Credit is due to those delegations which possess both the required
resources and the political will to scrutinize all contracts for dual-use
potential," Dutch Ambassador Peter Van Walsum, chairman of the sanctions
committee, told the United Nations this spring.

However, he admitted that the amount of contracts on hold -- $1.7-billion
worth -- was "intolerably high." In response to criticism, the committee has
shortened the time for reviewing contracts and expanded the list of items
that can be sold without approval.

It has also allowed the sale of chlorine and other supplies that have
military uses but also are essential for public health services like water

Although the sanctions have been eased over the years -- and would be
dropped if Iraq cooperated with weapons inspectors -- Iraqi officials say
the effects already have been catastrophic.

"It will take years before we get back to the status we used to have before
the sanctions," says Al Keit of the health ministry. "Iraq was one of the
pioneers of health services in the region and to restore that situation will
take a lot of time."

· The Cult of Saddam, St. Petersburg Times, 6 June '00

Are sanctions an effective club for getting Saddam Hussein to give up his

By SUSAN TAYLOR MARTIN, Times Senior Correspondent

BAGHDAD -- At the Saddam Hussein Museum for the Arts, visitors get a
generally warm and fuzzy view of the man considered one of the world's most
dangerous dictators.

Here are the Iraqi president's high school report cards. (An 89 in history,
82 in geography.)

Here are the many odd and lavish gifts he received before Iraq became an
international pariah. (Silver spurs from Ronald Reagan, a football signed by
the New York Giants.)

And here are dozens of engaging photos of Hussein, chatting with troops at
the Kuwaiti front and comforting Baghdad residents at the start of the 1991
Persian Gulf War.

But the museum's assistant director is especially proud of one display: a
giant electronic map that, when you push a button, shows Iraqi missiles
raining down on Israel in the war's early days.

"Haifa, Tel Aviv -- 39 of our Scuds hit Israel," he says, beaming with
satisfaction. "This map, it's very nice."

It is Iraq's history of belligerence toward its neighbors in the Middle East
that lies at the heart of a bitter debate: Should the United Nations lift
economic sanctions imposed on the country after its 1990 invasion of Kuwait?

Critics of the sanctions, now almost a decade old, argue that they have
failed to dislodge Hussein but have caused untold misery to millions of
ordinary Iraqis.

Earlier this year, the U.N.'s top humanitarian official in Iraq resigned,
saying he could no longer bear to see an entire population "deprived of
everything . . . the right to proper life, the right to work, the right to
shelter, good services and most of all, the right to education."

But supporters of the sanctions say they are the most effective way of
keeping Hussein in check as he defies U.N. resolutions and continues to
develop weapons of mass destruction.

"Iraq remains a threat," James B. Cunningham, a U.S. representative to the
U.N., said in March.

"Unanswered questions remain in the areas of nuclear, chemical and
biological weapons and the missiles to deliver them. . . . Sanctions are the
leverage the international community has to get the government of Iraq to
comply. That is the goal."

In the past 10 years, international attitudes toward Iraq have done an
abrupt about-face.

Most of the world was aghast when Hussein invaded a sovereign nation, on the
pretext that Kuwait had been waging "economic war" against Iraq by keeping
oil prices artificially low. More than three dozen countries joined the
U.S.-led allied coalition, including most of the Persian Gulf states and
even nations like Syria that had never been friendly toward the West.

But with the war over and the sanctions dragging on far longer than anyone
expected, there is increasing sympathy for Iraq and growing hostility toward
the United States and Britain, the sanctions' most ardent enforcers.

Most Arab nations have called for an end to the embargo and some have have
resumed diplomatic relations with Baghdad.

Many other countries -- among them Russia, China, France and Canada -- want
the sanctions substantially relaxed, if not dumped altogether. And in
February, more than 70 members of Congress sent President Clinton a letter
urging an end to the embargo.

Ironically, the only congressman who has visited Iraq since the Gulf War
thinks the sanctions, while flawed, should continue. Tony Hall, an Ohio
Democrat, decided to look for himself in April despite reservations from the
Clinton administration.

"They said, "It's not safe. You have to be careful you don't get sucked into
their propaganda,' " Hall recalls. "They basically said, "We don't like
Saddam Hussein and we don't like his government.' I said I agreed with all
those things but the fact is you have a lot of innocent people who could
care less about Saddam and are dying."

A five-day tour of decrepit schools, hospitals and utilities convinced Hall
that "we could be doing a much better job" of helping the Iraqi people. But
while he found the misery real and widespread, he wasn't convinced the
embargo was solely to blame.

"If Iraq's government would show it is serious about easing its people's
suffering -- instead of using their problems to support its bid to end
sanctions -- it would be easier for me to see sanctions as the primary
culprit," Hall says.

Not all of the opposition to the embargo stems from humanitarian concerns.
Foreign companies are chafing to do business with Iraq, which has the
world's second-largest oil reserves and an enormous pent-up demand for cars,
televisions and other consumer goods.

But skepticism remains that much of Iraq's oil wealth would ever trickle
down to average
Iraqis as long as Hussein stays in power.

"This is a regime which has a high tolerance for the hardships it inflicts
on its own subjects," says Peter Van Walsum, the Dutch ambassador to the
United Nations.

Phebe Marr, an Iraqi expert, says Hussein did little to improve conditions
in the lull between the end of Iraq's war with Iran in 1988 and when he
invaded Kuwait in 1990.

"If the sanctions come off tomorrow -- and they definitely are not going
to -- the expectation of the people is that everything is going to get
better. It's only going to get a little bit better," predicts Marr, a former
senior fellow at the U.S. National Defense University. "I watched this
happen after the Iraq-Iran war. There's going to be a bonanza. We've got all
of this oil. But what happened? Not much."

Marr notes that the sanctions already have been eased to the point Iraq can
sell unlimited amounts of oil to buy food, medicine and other humanitarian
essentials. She thinks it also should be allowed to rebuild its oil
industry -- the core of the economy -- and have greater access to the
outside world.

"One of the things that is so bad for this country is its isolation," she
says. "We ought to look into the possibility of opening up some commercial
air travel. Let some people out, some books in. They can't get out, they
can't travel, they can't see anybody."

But it would be a mistake, she says, to end the sanctions altogether.

"Lifting the sanctions means putting all of the money from oil exports into
Saddam's hands," Marr says. "People who want to do this have not yet figured
out a suitable way to make sure he is not using (the money) to import
weapons of mass destruction. They're only solving one part of the problem."

How great is Iraq's military threat?

Experts agree that Hussein's might was substantially weakened in the Gulf
War. Still, "Iraq could test an ICBM capable of reaching the United States
in the next 15 years," the CIA ominously predicted last fall.

Contrary to a general belief, the United Nations has never tried to
eliminate all of Iraq's weapons. To help maintain a balance of power in the
Middle East, where Iraq is surrounded by much larger countries like Iran and
Turkey, the 1991 cease-fire agreement allowed Hussein to produce missiles
with a range of 93 miles or less.

That means "Iraq can retain a significant missile development effort," says
Anthony Cordesman, a defense expert at the Center for Strategic and
International Studies in Washington, D.C.

According to a new report by Cordesman, U.S. satellite photos show that Iraq
has rebuilt one missile research facility. It also has two large new
buildings designed to produce much longer-range missiles.

The big question -- and great worry -- is what Iraq would put in its
warheads. At the time of the Gulf conflict, it was the only major country to
have recently employed weapons of mass destruction -- in this case, mustard
and nerve gases used against Iranian troops and rebellious Kurds in the

Iraq was also known to be developing nuclear and biological weapons capable
of reaching Israel, several hundred miles away.

After his Gulf War defeat, Hussein agreed to eliminate his weapons of mass
destruction under strict monitoring by the United Nations Special
Commission. However, UNSCOM charged, Iraq consistently stonewalled
inspectors, withheld thousands of documents and offered no evidence for
claims it had destroyed its stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons.

In one case, the Iraqis repeatedly insisted that a huge facility south of
Baghdad made only pesticides and animal feed. In fact, as inspectors later
discovered, it stored tons of "growth material" used to produce the germs
needed for biological warfare.

As for Iraq's nuclear capability, "UNSCOM believes Iraq's nuclear program
has been largely disabled and remains incapacitated," Cordesman writes.
However, "Iraq retains substantial technology and established a clandestine
purchasing system in 1990 that it has used to import forbidden components
since the Gulf War."

The inspections standoff came to a head in December 1998, when U.S. and
British jets bombed Iraq in an attempt to jolt Hussein into cooperating.
Instead, he kicked out the inspectors and disabled the automated video
monitoring systems they had installed in suspected weapons plants.

The bottom line?

While there is no "direct evidence" Iraq has rebuilt its weapons program
since 1998, "this type of activity must be regarded as likely given its past
behavior," the CIA said in February.

Intelligence sources suspect that at least some of Hussein's weapons
development takes place in enormous, heavily guarded compounds whose
opulence stands in marked contrast to Iraq's overall shabbiness.

Photos of these mysterious mini-cities are strictly forbidden. The
government guides who accompany all foreign journalists are notably
tight-lipped when asked about them, such as the one in Baghdad that covers
several blocks and has a monumental entrance topped by what appear to be
anti-aircraft guns.

"What's that?" a guide was asked.

"A gate," he answered.

'What's behind the gate?'

Meanwhile, a palatial structure overlooking the ruins of ancient Babylon is
described as a government "guest house." Why foreign dignitaries would be
consigned to such a remote area miles from the capital is not explained. Nor
is it clear why photos of the guest house are banned

It was on his visit to Babylon that Hall, the member of Congress, found
himself musing on what Iraq is today, and what it could be.

"I thought, isn't it sad that here's a country with tremendous oil wealth
and some of the greatest historical and Biblical sites in the world? If they
ever got a good leader and some stability, think of what could happen."

Today, though, Saddam Hussein seems as firmly in charge as he has at any
time since grabbing power in 1979.

At 63, the Iraqi president is rarely seen in person but appears everywhere
in portrait. Iraqi artists have found that one sure way of getting canvas
and other supplies during times of shortage is by painting their leader
large and often.

Hotels, restaurants and government buildings all display portraits of
Hussein in an endless variety of get-ups. Sporting straw hat and safari
shirt, he looks like Panama Jack; with fur cap and heavy jacket, he
resembles Dr. Zhivago. There are larger-than-life paintings of Hussein
hugging babies, clutching prayer books, smelling flowers.

But these benign images belie a reality of life in Iraq today: It is a
totalitarian state where few dare utter a word against the regime. Those who
do risk imprisonment, torture and death.

"Suspected political opponents . . . continue to be arrested and tens of
thousands of others arrested in previous years remain held," Amnesty
International said in its 1999 report on human rights abuses in Iraq.

"Torture and ill-treatment of prisoners and detainees were widely reported.
According to reports, at least six people had their hands amputated as
punishment. There was no further news on the fate of thousands of people who
"disappeared' in previous years."

The greatest threat to Hussein's regime came immediately after the Gulf War,
when Kurds in the north and Shiite Muslims in the south rose up against him.
But the rebellions failed when the U.S. government, which had encouraged
both groups, refused to provide military help.

Among the reasons for the reluctance to intercede in southern Iraq were
fears that the Shiites were actually backed by Iran. Its fundamentalist
government, which held 52 Americans hostage from 1979 to 1981, was
considered as big a threat to regional peace as Iraq's bellicose

In the north, U.S. officials worried that support for the Kurds would anger
Turkey, a long-time U.S. ally that was waging its own war against Kurdish

Since the Gulf War, Congress has appropriated millions of dollars for
opposition groups based outside Iraq in hopes they could engineer a coup or
popular uprising.

However, the opposition, primarily based in London 2,500 miles away, remains
fragmented, and attempts to overthrow Hussein have failed.

Cordesman, the military analyst, says the United States has two viable
options in dealing with Hussein and trying to prevent another dangerous
weapons buildup: Either support a professional, covert operation to oust the
Iraqi leader or else "wait for history to take its course."

"Trying to publicly unite the weak and divided Iraqi opposition outside Iraq
into a useful tool, and to do so with minimal or no Arab support, is like
trying to forge Jell-O into a sword," Cordesman said in a March report.

Moreover, he says, it is unrealistic to think that Iraq will ever stop
trying to develop weapons of mass destruction, given its place in a region
where at least three other countries -- India, Pakistan and Israel -- have
nuclear capability.

"We may want a world of of arms control, but Iran and Iraq live in a world
of proliferation," he writes. "Power, status and security appear to come
with proliferation and even far more moderate regimes would find it
difficult to put their trust in arms control and restraint."

· Cross Him, Pay a Price, St. Petersburg Times, 6 June '00

By SUSAN TAYLOR MARTIN, Times Senior Correspondent

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Iraqi President Saddam Hussein likes to keep things all in
the family. But relatives who cross him, beware.

In 1995, Hussein's son-in-law, Gen. Hussein Kamel, surprised the world by
defecting to Jordan after years of heading Iraq's efforts to develop weapons
of mass destruction. But even more surprising -- many said "stupid" -- was
his decision to return to Baghdad after such a public betrayal of the Iraqi

Kamel and his brother, who had also defected, lasted only a few days back in
Iraq. They were killed Feb. 20, 1996, in a shoot-out with Saddam Hussein's
security forces, led by Hussein's oldest son, Uday.

The slayings devastated the men's mother, Safiyah Salma Al-Majid. She
complained she wasn't allowed to see her grandchildren and began publicly
criticizing the Iraqi regime.

Last February -- almost four years to the day her sons were murdered -- Mrs.
Al-Majid was found hacked to death at her home in Baghdad. Police did a
brief investigation and closed the case without arrests.

According to Western intelligence sources, the Kamel brothers had run afoul
of the regime because of a power struggle with Uday Hussein. But Uday
himself had barely escaped his father's wrath.

In 1988, he gunned down one of Hussein's favorite bodyguards for allegedly
arranging trysts between the Iraqi president and a beautiful eye doctor.
Hussein later took the woman as his second wife -- much to the anger of his
first wife, Uday's mother.

In Out of the Ashes: The Resurrection of Saddam Hussein, authors Andrew
Cockburn and Patrick Cockburn, describe a bizarre scene in which wife No. 1
called Jordan's King Hussein and pleaded with him to help.

"Uday has killed Jajo and now Saddam wants to shoot Uday!" Mrs. Hussein
shouted into the phone. The king flew his own plane to Baghdad and, he later
recalled, spent the next several days "talking things over" with Iraq's
ruling family.

As an apparent result of the king's intercession, Saddam Hussein cooled
down -- somewhat.

"It is my constitutional responsibility to enforce justice in the society
... and that does not exempt anyone," Hussein said in announcing that his
son would stand trial for murder.

Uday did time in prison, then spent a self-imposed exile in Switzerland that
ended when he was asked to leave for carrying a concealed weapon. On his
return to Baghdad he regained his father's trust enough to supervise the
execution of several hundred officers accused of plotting against the

(According to the Iraqi National Congress, a London-based opposition group,
the hot-tempered Uday has also murdered a guard, an aide, a tobacconist
caught selling U.S. cigarettes and a teenage girl who resisted his sexual

So despised was Uday in his home country that in 1996 he was nearly killed
when would-be assassins opened fire on his Mercedes, riddling him with
bullets. Initial reports said he had been permanently paralyzed but after
several operations, he is able to walk again, albeit with a limp.

Now in his mid-30s, Uday owns a Baghdad TV station, a Baghdad newspaper and
is head of the country's press council. He was recently elected to the Iraqi
Parliament and is in charge of Iraq's Olympic committee.

More clandestinely, he is reputed to have made a fortune smuggling
cigarettes, luxury cars and other goods as a major player in the country's
thriving black market.

Observers have long presumed that Uday's ultimate goal is to succeed his
father. If that's the case, his chief rival may be his younger brother,
Qusay. Considered more mature and self-controlled, Qusay has one of Iraq's
most sensitive jobs: directing Saddam Hussein's secret security forces.

"Qusay is still behind the scenes but he's emerging more," says Phebe Marr,
an Iraqi expert and former senior fellow at the U.S. National Defense
University. Still, she doubts that either Qusay or Uday will ever rule Iraq.

"If Saddam died tomorrow, nobody thinks these kids can hang on. Needless to
say, they're not that popular," Marr says. "But I don't think he's going to
die tomorrow and I think he's going to be around awhile."

· Iran Opens Key Isle to Iraqi Oil Smugglers, U.S. Says, Los Angeles Times,
3 July '00

Mideast: Use of transit point to skirt U.N. sanctions represents a baffling
surge in collusion between the nations, American officials declare.

By ROBIN WRIGHT, Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON -- To aid Iraq's largest sanctions-busting operation, Iran has
opened its strategic Qeys island for secret transfers of illicit Iraqi oil
to ships that can evade a United Nations blockade, according to Clinton
administration officials.

Traffic has become so heavy in recent weeks that the regime of Iraqi
President Saddam Hussein is smuggling as much as 100,000 barrels of oil a
day, netting as much as $42 million a month that is being used in part to
rebuild Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, U.S. officials say.

"Saddam Hussein is very dependent on this illicit trade," said a senior
administration official who requested anonymity. "It's his biggest source of
income not under U.N. control."

The oil transfers in the waters around Qeys, a small tourist haven off
Iran's southern coast, represent a substantial escalation of Iran's
collusion in Iraq's smuggling operations. In the transfers, slow barges and
tugboats offload their cargo to ships that disguise the origin of the oil
and can carry loads five to seven times larger and at much faster speeds.

The use of Qeys as a transfer point has enabled Hussein to expand the volume
of contraband traffic to as many as 200 small ships leaving Iraq monthly,
U.S. officials say.

Without Iran's assistance--which it seems to be offering mainly for
money--many of the smaller smugglers would have difficulty evading the
international blockade. But the Qeys island operation, overseen by Iran's
Revolutionary Guards, allows an estimated 90% of the smugglers to sail
through the Persian Gulf without being stopped, according to U.S. officials.

"Qeys has become the central rendezvous point for smuggling operations,"
said a well-placed administration official, also speaking on condition of
anonymity. It covers up the transactions "between the people who take oil
out of Iraq and those who take it on to the United Arab Emirates for resale.
That creates a tremendous problem for enforcement."

Under a U.N.-authorized "oil-for-food" program, Iraq is allowed to export up
to $18 billion worth of oil this year. But the revenue is tightly controlled
by U.N. officials and must only be used to acquire humanitarian aid such as
food and medicine.

Hussein turned to oil smuggling in the mid-1990s to generate a separate
stream of income he could use for any purpose, U.S. officials say. Since
then, Iran has sporadically allowed ships carrying contraband Iraqi oil to
use its waters in order to avoid detection by the U.N. Multinational
Interdiction Force, which maintains the blockade.

The pace of the smuggling has picked up significantly in the last two years,
U.S. officials say. But opening up Qeys as a transfer point is a big leap
that supports Iraq's most flagrant violation to date of the international
sanctions imposed after its 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

"The use of Qeys marks a huge surge," said a third U.S. official who closely
monitors the gulf.

U.S. officials say the United Arab Emirates, a key U.S. ally in the gulf,
also is assisting Iraqi smuggling by making at least two of its ports
available as transfer points. They say some oil-laden ships, after sneaking
through Iranian waters along the coast, dash across international waters to
the safety of Fujaira and Dubai, ports in separate parts of the fragmented

"The little Emirates are reverting back to their role as pirate posts during
the early 19th century," said the senior administration official.

The Emirates leg is important because the two ports allow Iraqi oil to enter
the legitimate international market. Fujaira, located on the Strait of
Hormuz, the gateway to the gulf, is particularly valuable as a place to
blend contraband oil with oil from legitimate sources, U.S. officials say.

The blatant use of Qeys, which began last winter and has escalated rapidly
in recent weeks, means Iran can no longer credibly deny abetting Iraq's
smuggling, U.S. officials contend. Last month, the Iranian Foreign Ministry
acknowledged that Iraqi oil smuggling had resumed in May after a brief
hiatus but said that was because Iran's navy alone couldn't stop all of the
ships that pass through its waters to avoid the U.N. blockade.

Although Tehran appealed to the United Nations for help, it has not allowed
ships of the interdiction force to enter its waters, which extend 12 miles
out from the Iranian coastline.

U.S. officials no longer speculate--as they once did--that Iran's
involvement could be a rogue operation run by the Revolutionary Guards
without the approval of the Iranian government. The use of Qeys, which has
created an angry backlash on the island because of oil spillage and
pollution problems, signals that senior officials in Tehran must be

"They're very complicit. This wouldn't be going on unless people high in the
government were aware of it and condoning it," the well-placed official

At the same time, he said it is not clear whether the reform bloc headed by
President Mohammad Khatami supports the smuggling. Under Iran's Islamic
government, the president is not commander in chief and does not have direct
control over the Revolutionary Guards.

"We're convinced Khatami knows about it," the official went on. "What we
don't know is whether he doesn't act because he doesn't care or because he's

For the United Arab Emirates, as for Iran, the main incentive for assisting
Iraq appears to be economic--although the Emirates have been sympathetic to
Baghdad's efforts to relieve the pressure of a decade of sanctions.

Iran's Revolutionary Guards make an average of about $20 million a month
from Iraqi smuggling, U.S. officials say. A Guards post known as Arvand
One--located near where the Shatt al Arab waterway, through which the small
smugglers begin their journeys, flows into the gulf--charges smugglers $50
for every metric ton of oil ferried out of the Iraqi port of Abu Flus, they
say. The most recent U.S. estimate is that 400,000 metric tons of illicit
oil are now being shipped out of Iraq each month, or about 95,000 barrels a

The trade is so lucrative to all involved that owners of ships seized and
then auctioned off by the U.N. Multinational Interdiction Force still make
enough profits to buy them back--and then start up again, U.S. officials

What baffles Washington the most is Iran's willingness to facilitate an
operation that has become Hussein's largest source of independent income.

Baghdad has used smuggling proceeds not only to develop the kind of weapons
of mass destruction used against Iran during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War, but
also to arm the Moujahedeen Khalq, the deadliest Iranian opposition group,
which is based in Iraq.

Iraq recently built a new headquarters for the Moujahedeen at Fallujah, 40
miles west of Baghdad, that will accommodate 3,000 to 5,000 members and
includes barracks, training fields, administrative buildings, farms and even

· Iraqis Ask U.S. to Do More to Oust Saddam, New York Times, 3 July '00


WASHINGTON -- More than a year and a half ago, President Clinton signed a
law pledging money and military equipment to opponents of President Saddam
Hussein of Iraq. Last week, a group of them came to Washington, still
waiting for signs that support is coming.

Even though the law gives Mr. Clinton the authority to spend as much as $97
million to help speed the overthrow of Mr. Hussein, the administration has
so far spent only $20,000 of it, the cost of sending three Iraqi exiles to a
training course in civilian-military relations at an Air Force base in

The administration's failure to act on its pledge to support Mr. Hussein's
fractious, far-flung opponents has prompted growing criticism from
Republicans in Congress, who used last week's visit by opposition leaders to
intensify attacks on the administration's policy toward Iraq.

"It is hard for me to figure out why administration officials, from
President Clinton and Vice President Gore on down, keep insisting that they
are interested in ousting Saddam and yet not one official of this
administration has been willing to take even the most minimal steps towards
that end," Senator Sam Brownback, a Republican from Kansas, said at a Senate
subcommittee hearing on Wednesday that was attended by several opposition

The Iraqi opponents of Mr. Hussein, including exiles and dissidents from
inside Iraq, spent the week meeting with senior administration officials at
the State Department and the Pentagon to press them for more assistance,
including military training for 140 Iraqis and military equipment like
communications gear that, they argued, could be used to foment opposition to
Mr. Hussein.

After meeting with the opponents on Monday, Vice President Al Gore voiced
strong support for their goal, And late last week, officials said they were
trying to schedule military training courses for as many of the 140 as
possible, starting in the fall.

But administration and defense officials balked at some of the opponents'
other requests. Those included a request to expand the "no flight" zones in
southern and northern Iraq, to expand the mission of American jets to
include attacking Iraq's ground forces fighting rebels in the south and to
set up humanitarian relief centers inside Iraq that would be operated by
opposition groups based in neighboring countries, the officials said.

The American officials emphasized that the military training would only
involve courses in leadership, international law, medicine, civil
engineering and public affairs, and not combat.

Ahmad Chalabi, a leader of the Iraqi National Congress who is based in
London, welcomed the additional training but complained that the
administration refused to provide weapons and other military equipment to
confront Mr. Hussein's forces on the battlefield.

"You cannot liberate Iraq by treating wounded people," Dr. Chalabi said in
the Senate hearing on Wednesday. "We need to liberate Iraq by fighting

At the same hearing, a leader of the Shiite rebels fighting in southern
Iraq, Seyid Kadhim al-Batatt, complained that American aircraft patrolling
the "no flight" zones over the region did little to help their cause.

"Unfortunately, American aircraft fly over us as we are being continuously
bombarded by Saddam's forces," he said, citing a clash with Iraq forces in
the swamps near Basra on May 15.

The opponents' demands are being echoed by Republicans here and are turning
Iraq into an issue in this year's presidential campaign between Mr. Gore and
Gov. George W. Bush of Texas. Mr. Bush has vowed to take a tough stand
against Mr. Hussein, and some of his advisers have called for actively
supporting the seizure of Iraqi territory.

But administration officials and, especially, military commanders remain
deeply skeptical. They say the opposition leaders remain divided by
lingering hostilities and lack popular support inside Iraq or in the Arab

Gen. Anthony C. Zinni, commander of all American forces in the Persian Gulf,
said Mr. Hussein's forces would easily crush an armed insurgency like the
one the opponents have proposed. The opponents, he said, needed to spend
more time in the region turning themselves into a credible alternative to
Mr. Hussein.

"I don't think the military adventures that they're seeking for us to fund
are reasonable," General Zinni said in an interview last Monday. "They are
pie in the sky. They're going to lead us to a Bay of Goats, or something
like that." ________________________________________________________

· Iraq Wants Immediate Work on Upstream Deals-MEES, Reuters, 3 July '00

NICOSIA -- Iraq has decided not to sign further upstream deals with foreign
oil firms unless they are prepared to implement projects on the ground
immediately, the Middle East Economic Survey (MEES) said on Monday.

It said Iraq would no longer sign any production and exploration agreements
such as the two reached in 1997 with Chinese and Russian consortiums unless
companies are willing to start work immediately - before United Nations
sanctions are lifted.

"The policy reflects Iraq's frustration with the lack of progress on the
part of the
Russians and Chinese towards carrying out any exploration and development
work in Iraq itself, having confined their activities to in-house
engineering and consulting work in their home countries," MEES said.

The industry newsletter said the policy will apply to all international oil
companies, including state firms from "friendly" countries such as Vietnam,
Malaysia, Algeria and India, which have been negotiating with Iraq for
several years.

Iraq's oil industry has been hit hard by U.N. sanctions imposed after Iraqi
troops invaded Kuwait in 1990.

But the country has managed to crank up oil production and lure
international firms, who have been eagerly awaiting the lifting of sanctions
to get their hands on lucrative projects.

Iraq is competing with other major oil producers in the Gulf - Saudi Arabia,
Iran and Kuwait - who are opening their doors wider to foreign oil firms,
hoping to attract investments worth billions of dollars.

MEES said it has learned that Iraq is also repairing two berths at Khor
al-Amaya in the Northern Gulf with the aim of providing an export capacity
of about 700,000 barrels per day (bpd) at the terminal by the end of the

Iraqi authorities still require U.N. Security Council approval for any
exports from Khor al-Amaya.

"It is also understood that Baghdad is going ahead with the construction of
two topping plants each with a capacity of 10,000 bpd," MEES said.

"MEES understands that part of the products, particularly gas oil, would be
exported to Turkey, which is planning to increase its border trade with Iraq
outside the oil-for-food programme," the newsletter said.

· Iraq July 1-15 Oil Sales Down 500,000 BPD on June, Reuters, 4 July '00

LONDON -- Iraq's preliminary oil sales programme for July 1-15 shows a
500,000 barrels per day (bpd) drop on the June average of 1.9 million bpd,
oil industry sources said on Tuesday.

Loadings for the first week of this month could decline to just under
600,000 bpd, but look set to recover during the second week of July to
around 2.45 million bpd, the sources added.

The lower rate during July 1-7 was mostly down to sluggish Kirkuk sales,
which might only reach about 160,000 bpd in the period.

There have been no tanker loadings at the Turkish Mediterranean port since
June 25, but there is one vessel set to lift this week, shipping sources

An Iraq oil official declined to say whether the higher export rate expected
next week would be sustained for the remainder of the month.

He added that state oil marketer SOMO will submit a price proposal for
second-half July European Kirkuk loadings to the United Nations this week.

Iraq last week cut its July Kirkuk price for first half loadings to Dated
Brent - $5.00 fob Ceyhan from an original Dated Brent - $2.95.

· Iraq: The Recovery of a Renegade Country Nears Prewar Levels, USA Today, 5
July '00

By Barbara Slavin

WASHINGTON -- As the 10th anniversary of the Gulf War nears, Iraq is on its
way back to its prewar status -- an oil-rich dictatorship that no one loves
but with which many are eager to do business.

Technically, Iraq is a renegade country cut off from the West diplomatically
and under almost daily air attack from U.S. and British forces. It remains
under United Nations sanctions aimed at preventing Baghdad from producing
nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and long-range missiles. The
sanctions, imposed after Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990, channel oil
revenue into a U.N. account, which can be used only for civilian goods.

Despite the sanctions, almost daily attacks on radar and anti-aircraft
positions and the rising talk in the U.S. election campaign about finally
bringing down President Saddam Hussein, Middle East analysts say the
63-year-old Iraqi leader is in better shape than he has been in years and
faces no credible internal or external challenges.

Since a U.N. resolution in December lifted the ceiling on Iraqi oil exports,
those sales are approaching prewar figures of $18 billion a year. As much as
10% of production is diverted to smuggling, and the proceeds are available
to Saddam for his own purposes, U.S. officials say.

On the diplomatic front, the prospects for Iraq also look brighter. Two more
nations along the Persian Gulf -- the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, the
base for the U.S. Central Command's naval forces -- have restored full
diplomatic relations with Baghdad, which already has ties with Qatar and
Oman. Analysts say these countries want support against Iran, Iraq's rival
and the other traditional regional power. Meanwhile, nations from Europe to
Southeast Asia are sending trade delegations and providing commodities and
oil equipment under a U.N. humanitarian program.

''Some of the neighbors and some Europeans and permanent members of the
Security Council have come to the conclusion that you have to deal with
Saddam and that it's pointless to wait for him to go because he's not
going,'' says Judith Yaphe, an Iraq expert at the National Defense

A tight oil supply has also given Iraq new leverage. A brief Iraqi
suspension of production last November pushed oil prices to a nine-year high
and helped persuade the White House to lift the ceiling on Iraqi pumping.
''A rogue's not a rogue when oil is $30 a barrel,'' says Kenneth Katzman,
senior Middle East analyst at the Congressional Research Service.

Administration officials stress that the bulk of oil revenue goes into a
U.N. escrow account at the New York branch of the Banc National de Paris.
But the range of items Iraq can purchase under the U.N. oil-for-food program
has been expanded, and contracts are no longer stringently reviewed to weed
out so-called dual-use items that can be used for civilian purposes as well
as in weapons.

''There's much more stuff coming into Iraq, and it's being handled much more
expeditiously,'' says Jim Placke, who directs Middle East research for
Cambridge Energy Associates in Washington. More than $1 billion has been set
aside to invest in Iraq's oil and gas sector, where oil production is
running at 2.7 million barrels a day, close to the prewar figure of 3.3

Meanwhile, Iraq, which before the war had developed chemical and biological
weapons and was close to building a nuclear bomb, has rebuilt capacity
destroyed by U.S.-British airstrikes in December 1998. U.S. officials say
Iraq has successfully tested missiles with a range of less than 95 miles,
permitted under U.N. sanctions. This suggests that longer ranges might not
be hard to achieve.

Uncertainty surrounds other Iraqi programs since the country has gone
without on-the-ground international arms inspection for 18 months. The U.N.
resolution that lifted the ceiling on oil exports created another arms
inspection commission but hedged it with so much political interference that
its ultimate effectiveness is in question -- assuming the Iraqis even let
inspectors into the country.

''The emphasis is on controlling the chairman (of the arms monitoring
commission), not controlling Iraq,'' Rolf Ekeus, the Swedish chairman of the
first postwar inspection system told The Washington Institute for Near East
Policy last week.

Russia has reportedly tried to blackball at least one of the proposed
personnel choices of the new chief U.N. inspector, Hans Blix, like Ekeus, a
Swede. And it remains unclear to what extent U.S. intelligence will be
shared with the new inspection team, which appears to contain more personnel
from countries sympathetic to Iraq than the previous organization, which was
headed first by Ekeus and then by a blunt Australian, Richard Butler.

Meanwhile, antipathy to U.N. sanctions increases among Arabs, in the
developing world and among some circles in the USA. Though the Clinton
administration insists that it is Saddam, not sanctions, that has caused
suffering to Iraq's 22 million people, the fact remains that millions of
Iraqi children are malnourished while Saddam and his cronies build more

Given this unhappy situation, a coalition of Iraqi exiles opposed to Saddam
has tried to court additional support from both U.S. presidential

They have made some rhetorical headway. Vice President Gore told leaders of
the Iraqi National Congress last week that Saddam ''must be removed from

Gore seemed to suggest that he would be more vigorous in implementing a 1998
law earmarking $97 million in training and surplus Pentagon equipment for
the Iraqi opposition. But the Clinton administration, skeptical of the
exiles' abilities and cohesion, has offered only a few fax machines and
training in non-lethal activities such as field medicine and communication.
Tuesday, one coalition member, the Iraqi National Accord, quit the alliance,
in part because of its close ties with the United States.

Advisers to presumptive Republican nominee George W. Bush have been scathing
in their criticism of the Clinton policy. Richard Perle, a Reagan appointee
who now advises the Bush campaign, told a recent congressional hearing, ''In
31 years in Washington, I have not seen a sustained hypocrisy that parallels
the current administration's embrace of the Iraq Liberation Act. This will
not be the case in a Bush administration.''

Despite the tough talk, experts doubt that the younger Bush would finish
what his father did not when he left Saddam in place at the end of the Gulf

''A year from now, the Iraqi opposition will have proved completely
ineffective,'' predicts Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and
International Studies in Washington.

Rend Francke of the Iraq Foundation says, ''The only change will be that
Saddam is better off.''

· Gulf Help to Smugglers 'Sustains Saddam', Times, 5 July '00


BRITAIN has warned the Gulf states and Iran that they are helping President
Saddam Hussein of Iraq to remain in power by collaborating in a
multimillion-pound oil smuggling operation.

According to senior British sources, the Iraqi regime is able to bypass UN
sanctions by using an elaborate shipping operation through the Gulf and on
to markets in the Far East and the West.

Ironically the smuggling is being conducted with the help of Iraq's rivals
in the region, including Iran, the United Arab Emirates and third parties,
who are making huge profits transporting and selling Iraqi crude.

A senior British source, clearly frustrated by the failure of the Gulf
states to help the US and British blockade of Iraq, told regional envoys
this week: "We spend time and energy to stop him exporting oil illegally. If
similar dedication was shown by the Gulf countries we would be successful."

The Iraqi oil, believed to be at least 100,000 barrels a day, travels down
the Shatt al-Arab waterway through Iranian waters into the UAE and from
there to the world market.

According to American sources, quoted in the Los Angeles Times, the volume
has become so great that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, who control the
contraband oil in Iranian waters have opened the island of Qeys as a
trans-shipment point.

Once it leaves Iranian waters it is transported to Dubai or Fujairah in the
UAE, where it is often mixed with other crude to disguise its origin.

The only successful interdiction occurred earlier this year when the US Navy
seized a Russian oil tanker and forced it to unload. It was found to contain
Iraqi crude.

In addition to the main Gulf route, other smaller scale smuggling is also
being conducted north into Turkey and west into Syria.

The sanctions-busting export business has been made increasingly profitable
by the high oil price, currently around $30/barrel, combined with growing
disillusionment in the Middle East about the effects of sanctions against
Iraq, which have been in place for nearly a decade. This week Iraq reopened
its embassy in the UAE, the fourth Gulf country to reestablish diplomatic
relations since the invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Last month Qatar openly
called for the sanctions onIraq to be lifted.

Although Iran has promised to try to tackle the contraband shipments, a
senior official challenged on the subject this week dismissed the problem as
"only a few barrels". Instead he blamed the West for keeping the Saddam
regime in power. However, British and US officials said that the smuggling
operation, worth about £2 million a day, is not only helping Saddam to
survive, it is strengthening his position.

Although the Iraqi people are suffering terrible deprivations because of the
economic boycott on the country, the illicit oil revenues are used to import
luxury items for Iraq's ruling elite, particularly the military, the
intelligence services and Saddam's clan.

The cash flow is thought to have helped Iraq to revive its military
infrastructure, supposedly destroyed by allied air raids. Last month Iraq
conducted missile tests of the short-range al-Samoud ballistic missile,
capable of carrying conventional, biological or chemical warheads.

· Bush/Gore/Iraq, Voice Of America, 6 July '00


WASHINGTON -- The Clinton administration's inability to achieve its stated
goal of bringing about a change of government in Iraq is shaping up as a key
foreign policy issue in this year's presidential campaign. Last week, Vice
President Al Gore met with members of the Iraqi opposition, pledging to
continue working to overthrow President Saddam Hussein if elected to the
White House in November. His Republican Party opponent, Texas Governor
George W. Bush, shares that objective, but differs on how to reach it.
V-O-A's Nick Simeone reports from Washington.

Vice President Gore promised the London-based Iraqi National Congress that
if he becomes president next January, there will be little difference
between his policy toward Saddam Hussein and that of President Clinton.

The United States will not flag in supporting your efforts to promote a
change of regime even as we continue to contain the threat posed by Saddam.

But Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush - - whose father put
together the international coalition that drove Iraqi troops from Kuwait
nine years ago -- has advocated a more aggressive stand against Baghdad,
with Bush campaign advisors wondering why more was not done during the
Clinton/Gore years to oust the Iraqi leader. The Bush team has called the
Clinton/Gore policy toward Iraq a debacle.

One of Governor Bush's foreign policy advisors, Richard Perle, charges the
administration does not have the courage of its convictions. Among other
things, he says the Clinton team has not done what is necessary to enforce
the Iraq Liberation Act, in which Congress set aside millions of dollars to
fund the Iraqi opposition. Mr. Perle says only a small amount of that money
has actually been spent.

The administration could appoint one official, just one, at a senior level
who believes in the goals and objectives of the Iraq Liberation Act and who
would honestly seek to implement the law as the law has been written and
approved. I can't, as I look through the list of administration officials
responsible for this policy, find a single official who is sympathetic to
the goals and objectives of the Iraq Liberation Act.

U-S officials say Washington has been slow in disbursing money and equipment
to the Iraqi National Congress, largely because of infighting among its
members and problems with accountability.

Another issue emerging in U-S Iraq policy is the fact that it has been more
than 18 months since United Nations weapons inspectors have been on the job
in Iraq, a situation that no longer appears to be a U-S foreign policy

Former chief United Nations weapons inspector Richard Butler thinks it
should be.

The specific order of magnitude of Iraq's military threat today can't be
known accurately, precisely, because there isn't an international presence
there to measure it. What can be said with certainty is that absent
international inspection and as long as Iraq continues to disobey the law,
which it is today, it would be utter folly to assume that they're not back
in the business of making weapons of mass destruction.

President Clinton often used to stress the need for weapons inspectors to
get back on the job, saying Saddam Hussein is determined to use weapons of
mass destruction if he is allowed to rearm. Administration officials say
Iraq has now resumed short-range missile tests. U-S officials are very
concerned about such activity, saying it underscores the need to get U-N
weapons inspectors back on the job.

But privately, they say Washington does not want to provoke a fight with
Iraq that could put American servicemen in harm's way before November's
presidential election.

· Sanctions-Bound Iraq Revives with Oil-Price Windfall, CNN, 6 July '00

BAGHDAD -- Iraq is looking ever less like a militarily vanquished nation
hopelessly hobbled by the world's most sweeping trade sanctions, imposed by
the United Nations in response to the 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

Not only is Iraq once again beginning to look threatening -- thanks to
activity which the United States government says could be the restart of its
missile program -- its economy has rebounded enough to set off a
mini-building boom in Baghdad.

The country's sudden new vigor may have more than a little to do with rising
oil prices. U.N.-approved oil sales alone have produced for Iraq a windfall
of hundreds of millions of dollars. Sanctions-busting oil smuggling has
brought it millions more.

Iraq's oil minister, Gen. Amer Rasheed, says business is booming.

"How far we go depends on the other countries -- how much they can tolerate
American pressure to prevent them from doing normal business with Iraq," he
said. "From an Iraqi
point of view, the sky is the limit."

An extra $1 million a day

Washington condemns Iraq's oil smuggling through the Persian Gulf to Iran,
but appears to tolerate it to neighboring Turkey, where the United States
has an air base used for attacks on Iraq.

Baghdad is officially allowed to sell as much oil as it can produce to buy
humanitarian supplies under strict U.N. supervision. After U.N. deductions,
an extra dollar per barrel in the world price of oil means more than an
extra $1 million a day that Iraq can eventually spend.

That's partly why in the heat of the Baghdad summer, high-level business
delegations still stream into the country to court Iraqi business.

"Iraq has the second largest reserves in the world," said Usman Aminuddin,
Pakistan's oil minister. "So it is a very important and very major player in
the oil world. We are very keen to develop a relationship with a major

'Concerns will increase'

Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department expressed concern Wednesday about
actions at Iraqi sites that it said are known to be capable of producing
weapons of mass destruction and long range ballistic missiles.

Another concern, the department said, is Iraq's "long-established practice"
of acquiring materials that have civilian uses but also could be used to
make powerful weapons.

The department commented in a written response to press questions about a
New York Times story last Saturday that said Iraq has restarted its missile
program and has conducted flight tests of a short-range ballistic missile.

The tests -- eight since as early as May 1999, including one last week --
have involved Al Sambaed, a liquid-fueled ballistic missile that could carry
conventional explosives or the chemical and biological weapons that Iraq is
still suspected of hiding, according to Clinton administration and military
officials cited by the newspaper.

The State Department response said that in the absence of U.N. inspectors on
the ground in Iraq, uncertainties about the significance of these activities
will persist.

"As time passes, our concerns will increase," it said.

A resolution passed by the U.N. Security Council in December would allow the
sanctions against Iraq to be suspended for renewable periods if Baghdad
cooperates with a new arms inspection agency, the U.N. Monitoring,
Inspection and Verification Agency.

There have been no U.N. inspections in Iraq since December 1998, when joint
U.S.-British air strikes were launched after Baghdad refused to permit
inspections by the United Nations.

· Middle Eastern Power Brokers Confer over Iraq, Stratfor, 7 July '00

The three most powerful governments in the Middle East - Egypt, Iran and
Turkey - are comparing notes about the future of the region. Although
separated by culture,
geography, history, and politics, all three have sent officials to Cairo,
according to the
London-based Al-Sharq al-Awsat. While the three countries may hope to
overcome their differences in the interest of broad, long-term cooperation,
they already share one immediate concern - Iraq.

By themselves, Egypt, Iran, and Turkey are extremely powerful nations. They
have the largest populations in the Middle East, and each occupies a
critical crossroads in the region - bracketing the remaining nations among
them. Each has a massive military, only Iraq's is of comparable size, and
their economies are among the largest in the region.

A host of differences have traditionally kept the three at arm's length.
Iran is a fundamentalist Shiite state; both Turkey and Egypt have secular
regimes. Turkey is a major U.S. ally and NATO member while Egypt is a
nominal ally and former Soviet satellite. Though relations are beginning to
thaw, the Iranian clerical regime has long been hostile to the United
States. Most of Iran is ethnically Persian, while Turkey is Turkic and Egypt
mostly Arab. Tehran and Cairo broke off diplomatic relations decades ago,
and Ankara has recently accused Tehran of funding militants inside Turkey.
Iran is a major oil exporter, while Turkey is a net importer and Egypt is
basically self-sufficient.

But the three are meeting nonetheless, raising the question of what is
bringing them together. As the three most populous and heavily armed
countries in the region - in which they are also strategically located - the
three countries have the potential in the long term to act as power brokers
and peacekeepers, if they can overcome their myriad differences. There is
one pressing issue that affects all three and transcends their
dissimilarity - the ongoing ostracism of Iraq.

Baghdad is slowly beginning to break out of its isolation. It restored
diplomatic relations with the United Arab Emirates on July 3, sent its
foreign minister to Syria on June 25 (the highest-level visit in decades)
and is expected to start warming ties with Jordan. Meanwhile, the nation is
rebuilding as massive oil revenues continue to flow.

The three countries all have reasons to want to assume management of the
Iraqi situation - though it is unclear what their policy would be. Turkey
has a history of border clashes with Iraq, but also wants to increase Iraqi
oil shipments through Turkish territory. Egypt is aligned with Washington,
but it is also Iraq's largest trading partner and could benefit by a shift
in the regional balance of power. No one in Tehran has forgotten the
eight-year war with Baghdad, and Iran competes with Iraqi oil exports. But
Iran has profited from Iraqi oil smuggling and has used its chokehold on
Iraqi exports to its own political benefit in dealings with OPEC and the
United States.

All three nations have an interest in shaping the way Iraq re-enters the
world. Coordinated policies, or even complimentary viewpoints, can have a
major effect on the actions of Iraq and the rest of the nations in the
region. Because the three are so different, they cannot be accused of
advocating any particular agenda - Shia, Turkic, fundamentalist, nor
Nasserite. The United States will likely echo any decisions made, as Ankara
and Cairo have strong voices in Washington.

Egypt, Iran and Turkey have the means, the motivation and the opportunity to
fundamentally reshape power relations in the Middle East. The meeting in
Cairo appears to be the first step in doing so.

· Saddam Blackmails Rebels with Rape, Sunday Times, 9 July '00

Marie Colvin

THE opening scene of a videotape General Najib Salahi received from Baghdad
filled him with apprehension. Instead of the message he expected from loved
ones he had left behind when he defected from Iraq, he was confronted with
the image of an empty room.

Salahi sent his young son out of the room before pressing the play button
again. His worst fears were about to be realised.

The flickering images showed one of his female relatives being raped by a
member of President Saddam Hussein's intelligence service. It was blackmail
of the most horrific kind.

The Iraqi leader wanted Salahi to stop working for the opposition and
co-operate with agents of his regime. Last month's video was a message:
savage cruelty could be inflicted on his family unless he fell into line.

Yesterday it emerged that a wall of silence has for years concealed Saddam's
use of this terror tactic to keep his people under control or threaten his
enemies. So great is the stigma attached to rape in Arab society that nobody
has spoken out before.

Worse, because the coercion on these videos is off-camera, the victims - who
are sometimes drugged - fear the video will be used by the regime either to
stain a family's honour by suggesting a married woman is adulterous or to
make a virgin unmarriageable.

Salahi, 48, said he knew such videos had been sent to Iraqi officials,
military officers and diplomats. His claim was confirmed yesterday by
American government officials. One of them told The Sunday Times that
Washington knew of two high-ranking officials in Saddam's regime who had
also received videos of female relatives being raped.

The Iraqis' loyalties were considered suspect, and Saddam was sending them
the most brutal of warnings. The American source said the videos made
painful viewing.

For Salahi, there was no warning that such horror would enter his life when
he received a telephone call at his home in Amman, the Jordanian capital, on
the night of June 7.

"A man with a Jordanian accent called at 9pm and said someone had sent me a
gift from Baghdad," Salahi said. "This man said he had no time to see me,
but he would leave it at a bakery up the road."

An hour later Salahi went to the bakery and was told a video cassette had
been left by a taxi driver who drove the Baghdad-Amman route.

When he started watching it, he had a "bad feeling", he said, and sent his
16-year-old son, Amr, out of the room on the pretext of needing something to
be fetched.

The general was shaken to the core by what came next. "I found myself
watching a pornographic movie," Salahi said. "It was a criminal play, very
well organised."

The general is a strong man, toughened by his career as one of Saddam's top
military men. He fought in the Gulf war and rose to the rank of chief of
staff of the Sixth Armoured Division before he defected in 1995.

He has endured Saddam's threats since and continued working to overthrow
him. But he grimaces in pain and disgust when he speaks about the film.

"In this video, a man of the Iraqi mukhabarat [intelligence service] is
performing rape on one of my lady relatives," he said, looking down and
speaking in a soft voice, shaking his head.

Last week he spent two days giving evidence to an American government lawyer
and has promised the tape can be shown to any court that tries Saddam. Rape,
when used by a state against people, is a crime against humanity and the
Americans have embarked on a campaign to indict the Iraqi dictator.

Salahi's courage in exposing this outrage cannot be underestimated. He said
he knew many other Iraqi officials, military officers, diplomats and
opposition members who had suffered from similar blackmail and were broken.

"I became so angry," Salahi said. He is articulate and dressed in an
immaculate navy blue suit with a yellow Hermès tie. "I have known for a long
time this is one of the tools Saddam Hussein is using to stay in power.

"I thought about how many people Saddam Hussein had treated like this and
how these people reacted. All of them decided to keep quiet and that
encouraged Saddam to continue with these kinds of crimes. I decided I would
not react the same way."

Before Salahi could decide how to fight back, he received another challenge.
An Iraqi man telephoned from Baghdad 10 days later, identifying himself as
Abu Khaled. "We sent you a gift, did you receive it?"

Salahi knew Abu Khaled was an officer of the Iraqi mukhabarat because the
same man had telephoned him last year after he attended an Iraqi opposition
conference in New York. He had put Salahi's brother and father on the phone
to ask him to give up working against the regime.

Salahi, who is well respected in the Iraqi military, had sent tape cassettes
into Iraq telling officers they should work against Saddam. "You will pay a
very high price for what you did," Salahi shouted at Saddam's henchman. What
followed revealed to what depths of moral corruption Saddam's regime has

"Be cool, be calm," Abu Khaled told the general. "We tried to reach you but
you didn't stop so we had no alternative." More threats followed. "You
should remember that a very important part of your family is in Iraq. And
don't forget you are in Amman and that you are not far from us."

The general was not cowed. "Tell Saddam that he has picked the wrong
target," he replied calmly. "I am not the kind of person to be blackmailed
and I will not stay quiet. Do whatever you want with this tape."Salahi is
waiting for his day in court but he has in no way been stopped. He travelled
to London this weekend to take his place as a member of the first meeting of
the central council of the revived Iraqi National Congress.

"Saddam Hussein is a criminal," he said. "He will pay the price. My message
is 'listen, Iraqi people, this is not something personal against me. It is a
crime against you and against Iraqi families'."

Saddam's worst crimes

1988 Poison gas attack wipes out Kurdish village of Halabja.

1990-91 Atrocities inKuwait during Iraqi occupation.

1991 Repression of Shi'a population of southern Iraq. Leading clerics
murdered, thousands imprisoned and tortured. Marsh Arabs forcibly relocated,
their environment destroyed.

1990s Biological weapons tested on Iranian prisoners of war. Political
prisoners suffer electric shocks, acid baths, rape and beatings. Family
members of defecting officials disappear and presumed killed.

Only links provided for the following reports:

· Iraq Walks Out as OIC Condemns Kuwait Invasion, Gulf News, 1 July '00

· Key Iraqi Opposition Movement Quits U.S.-Backed Alliance, AP, 4 July '00

· US Concerned with Iraqi Activity, AP, 5 July '00

· Iraq Pressing Russian Group to Honour Oil Contract, Reuters, 8 July '00

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