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News for 31 July - 6 August 2000 [Ed note: this clipping is much longer than usual. This reflects the 10th anniversaries of the invasion and the sanctions. As things currently stand, I will be standing in for the next two weeks as "interim clipper". Please let me know if you can help by, for example, looking daily at one of the major websites. Lack of previous experience preferred!] 6/8/00: SANCTIONS PROTESTER SCALES LONDON EYE 6/8/00: AMERICAN PROTESTERS IN IRAQ MARK SANCTIONS ANNIVERSARY 6/8/00: US GRIPS ON IRAQ SANCTIONS 6/8/00: U.N. ARMS CHIEF RULES OUT 100 PCT SUCCESS IN IRAQ 6/8/00: IRAQI MINISTER SATISFIED BY TRANSPORT FACILITIES OFFERED BY DAMASCUS 6/8/00: IRAN SAYS IT SEIZED SHIP WITH 800 TONNES OF CONTRABAND IRAQ OIL 6/8/00: BELLY DANCERS FEAR THAT IRAQI PLOT WILL RUIN WORK IN BRITAIN 5/8/00: IRAQ 'BUILDS UNDERGOUND TUNNELS' 5/8/00: IRAQ DENIES IRANIAN PILGRIM BAN 5/8/00: IRAQ'S VIEW OF THE GULF WAR 4/8/00: IRAQ BAFFLES EUROPE MARKET IN BID TO UP KIRKUK PRICE 4/8/00: U.S. DISPUTES FRENCH VIEW OF IRAQI AIR EMBARGO 3/8/00: EX-U.N. WEAPONS INSPECTOR ENDS TRIP TO IRAQ WITHOUT VISITING ARMS SITES 3/8/00: IRAQ MOCKS U.S. STATEMENT IT IS WEAK AND ISOLATED 3/8/00: IRAQ MARKS INVASION OF KUWAIT DEFIANTLY 3/8/00: U.S. GENERAL DEFENDS CONTINUING SANCTIONS ON IRAQ 3/8/00: MPS CRITICISE RAF TORNADOS AFTER PROBLEMS ON IRAQ PATROLS 2/8/00: MALAYSIAN MUSLIM YOUTH JOINS NGOS CONDEMNING SAUDI ROLE IN IRAQI GENOCIDE 2/8/00: FRANCE'S VEDRINE SAYS IRAQ SANCTIONS ARE CRUEL 2/8/00: IRAQ CLAIM ON BLOCKED IMPORT CONTRACTS AT ODDS WITH UN DATA 2/8/00: US: GOALS UNFILLED ON IRAQ 2/8/00: SECURITY COUNCIL IN CRISIS OVER IRAQ, FORMER ARMS INSPECTOR SAYS 2/8/00: IRAQI INVASION LEFT MARK ON KUWAIT 2/8/00: IRAQ, A DECADE LATER: STANDOFF REMAINS, BUT MILITARY AND POLITICAL LANDSCAPE HAS CHANGED 2/8/00: EX-WEAPONS INSPECTOR BACK IN IRAQ 1/8/00: UN OIL-FOR-FOOD CHIEF VISITS IRAQ AFTER COMPLAINTS OVER AID PROGRAMME 1/8/00: SANDS OF TIME ERODE SUPPORT FOR SANCTIONS 1/8/00: US, BRITAIN BLOCKING CONTRACTS TO REPAIR OIL TERMINAL: IRAQ 1/8/00: RUSH FOR CLAIMS AGAINST IRAQ INVASION 1/8/00: IRAQ OIL EXPORTS BACK IN NORMAL RANGE 31/7/00: IRAN-IRAQ PILGRIMAGE ROW -------------------------------------------------------- 6/8/00: SANCTIONS PROTESTER SCALES LONDON EYE http://news6.thdo.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/uk/wales/newsid%5F868000/8683 48.stm BBC Wales A man from west Wales has climbed part of the Millennium Wheel in protest at sanctions against Iraq. Dave Rolstone from Narberth in west Wales, is reported to have spent an hour and a half on the 450ft-high tourist attraction, situated on the bank of the river Thames close to the House of Commons. The 53-year-old is believed to be a member of a group called Voices in the Wilderness which campaign's against the West's economic sanctions against Iraq. Before mounting his protest Mr Rolstone said: "I have visited Iraq myself and seen first hand the devastating effects of economic sanctions. This Government's policy is a crime against humanity." The demonstration was the first in a series of demonstrations planned by the group over the weekend including a vigil at Whitehall and a protest walk from Trafalgar Square to the Foreign Office. Imposed in 1990 following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, campaigners say the international sanctions have caused "terrible hardship" on the people of Iraq while having little effect on their leader Saddam Hussein. Scotland Yard said the protester was not arrested because his actions were civil trespass and therefore a matter for British Airways, the owners of the £35m wheel which is officially called the British Airways London Eye. A BA spokeswoman said no decision had been taken on whether to press charges. Voices in the Wilderness said Mr Rolstone had come off the wheel so as to minimise disruption to passengers. The opening of the attraction was delays by about half an hour because of the protest. 6/8/00: AMERICAN PROTESTERS IN IRAQ MARK SANCTIONS ANNIVERSARY http://abcnews.go.com/wire/World/ap20000806_389.html BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) _ Four American demonstrators camped outside Baghdad"s U.N. compound on Sunday, saying they won"t eat for three days to protest the effects of 10 years of crippling international sanctions on Iraq. Kathy Kelly of Voices in the Wilderness, an anti- sanctions group she helped found in her Chicago living room four years ago, said other demonstrations were taking place around the world Sunday, the 10th anniversary of the sanctions. The protests, she said, were to draw attention to the plight of Iraqis under the sanctions, which bar the country from trading with the rest of the world except through a limited United Nations-sanctioned loophole. Across a highway from the U.N. compound in Iraq, the four Americans set up a tent under a few trees _ scant protection from a fierce sun that has pushed temperatures up to 122 degrees this summer. They vowed to consume only water for the next three days. "What we are doing is nothing compared to the suffering of Iraqis," Kelly said. "We hope that our government will wake up to the fact that thousands of innocent people are dying because of their political ambitions." The United Nations imposed the sanctions four days after Iraq"s 1990 invasion of Kuwait, which led to the Persian Gulf War. The U.S. government has been the chief backer, saying the sanctions must remain in place until Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein has proven to U.N. inspectors that he has given up his weapons of mass destruction. U.S. officials say Saddam"s refusal to comply is to blame for an economic collapse that has degraded health and education in Iraq and left many of his citizens dependent on U.N. food rations. Kelly was joined in the anti-sanctions fast by three other Voices in the Wilderness activists: Lauren Cannon of Dover, N.H.; Lisa Gizzi of St. Paul, Minn., and Mark McGuire of Winona, Minn. They and two others _ Ken Hannaford-Ricardi of Worcester, Mass., and Tom Jackson of Dover _ arrived last month to spend two months in Iraq, mostly in the southern city of Basra, where the six have been living on the same food rations as Iraqis and coping with power cuts, bad water and a damaged sewer system. Elsewhere on Sunday, Voices in the Wilderness activists said Dave Rolstone of Wales climbed part way up the Millennium Wheel _ London"s 450-foot-tall Ferris wheel _ to protest the sanctions. Dozens of groups were assembling over the weekend in Washington for a National Mobilization to End the Sanctions Against Iraq. In Amman, Jordan, more than 200 activists called for the sanctions to be lifted during a rally outside U.N. offices. They handed over a letter at the office addressed to Kofi Annan that urged the U.N. Secretary-General "side with justice and humanity" and get the sanctions lifted. "This embargo is a tragedy," said Mohammed Qabani, a representative of the Association of Jordanian Artists at the rally. "There should be an end to it." Iraq held no official commemoration of the anniversary, but a government newspaper, al-Thawra, on Sunday called on the international community to "participate in destroying the sanctions wall." Aqeel Sadoun, a 32-year-old Iraqi civil servant, said that in the first few months of the sanctions, he feared "we would all die from starvation. "Now we, sometimes, even forget that there are sanctions imposed ... we have learned how to live and deal with it." Sadiq Bachai, 45, said he supplements his monthly civil service pension of $3.50 with work as a teacher by day and the school"s security guard at night, adding $27.50 a month. Bachai, who can also buy food at a government discount for his family of eight, believes he is doing better than most Iraqis. "Working long hours is tiring, it makes it hard for me to see my children," he said. "But I feel good too see them in good health under the tough circumstances we are going through." A UNICEF report last year said that in many areas of Iraq, the mortality rate among children under 5 had more than doubled in 10 years. In addition to the sanctions, UNICEF blamed Saddam"s government for spending too much on wars against its neighbors and internal opponents and not enough on children"s health. Concerned by the deteriorating situation, the U.N. Security Council opened a loophole to its embargo in 1996. The so- called oil-for-food program has allowed Iraq to sell oil as long as about half the proceeds buy essentials for its people. Most of the rest goes to pay war reparations and U.N. administrative costs. 6/8/00: US GRIPS ON IRAQ SANCTIONS http://news6.thdo.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/middle%5Feast/newsid%5F 868000/868350.stm BBC World Service By Diplomatic Correspondent Barnaby Mason On the 10th anniversary of the imposition of a United Nations economic blockade on Iraq, the United States has defended the sanctions policy as the best available means of containing President Saddam Hussein. A top State Department official, Thomas Pickering, told journalists on a video link from Washington to London that the Iraqi leader was responsible for the suffering of his people. The trade embargo has been relaxed in response to mounting international criticism. A few days ago, the French Government said the sanctions had become cruel, ineffective and dangerous. Critics have blamed the suffering, for example the shortage of drugs in Iraqi hospitals, on the United States - for holding up certain items under the oil-for-food programme on the grounds that they might be used to make weapons. In the last two years, two successive heads of the UN relief programme in Iraq have resigned in protest at the sanctions. 'Iraqi problem' Mr Pickering repeated American charges that President Saddam Hussein was diverting food to his favourites and storing supplies for the military. Even though he did not provide any specific evidence, Mr Pickering pointed to the fact that Iraq's oil revenues had gone up sharply - oil exports are not far short of the level before the Gulf War - but its purchases of food had hardly increased at all. Mr Pickering emphasised that the expanded oil-for-food programme now covered a wide range of goods, not just food and medicine. "This is not a UN problem; this is not a world community problem: this is an Iraqi government problem. And the bulk of the things that Iraq needs have been taken off the list and some never were," he said. Weapon inspection issue At the same time, the United States is maintaining its hard line that there can be no general suspension or lifting of sanctions until Iraq co- operates again with UN weapons inspectors. The Iraqis have rejected the offer to this effect made by the Security Council last December. Mr Pickering said that if sanctions were lifted now it would open the flood-gates to the rebuilding of President Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction. It would threaten the controls on the import of goods that could have a military use, he said, and remove the basis for the western naval force that intercepts and searches ships bound for Iraq. Mr Pickering's remarks offer no prospect of a loosening of American policy; but in any case, any re-think would have to wait until a new president takes office next January. The main Security Council sanctions resolution against Iraq, number 661, was passed on 6 August 1990, a few days after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. 6/8/00: U.N. ARMS CHIEF RULES OUT 100 PCT SUCCESS IN IRAQ http://www.reuters.com/news/default.asp?b=rcom:general&s=nL0623293 0 LONDON, Aug 6 (Reuters) - The United Nations chief arms inspector for Iraq Hans Blix said on Sunday his monitoring agency could never find out everything about Iraq's banned weapons programmes. Blix, whose U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) is currently barred from operating by Baghdad, said no inspection was totally foolproof. "It is generally recognised that no inspection, however intrusive, however effective, can ever come up with a 100 percent answer or mapping of the capacity that Iraq has," Blix told BBC radio. "I think the (U.N. Security) council has come to accept that," he said. UNMOVIC replaced the U.N. Special Commission (UNSCOM) whose inspectors pulled out of Iraq in 1998 on the eve of a U.S.-British bombing campaign. Iraq has repeatedly said it would not allow Blix's team to work before international sanctions, imposed exactly 10 years ago, are lifted. The United Nations says Iraq must first cooperate with Blix before the sanctions are eased. Blix, a Swede and former director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said Iraq might still change its mind and let his inspectors in to do their work. The new U.N. arms agency started training 44 weapons inspectors from 19 countries earlier this month. "They may find that there is no other way of eliminating or suspending the economic restrictions to which they are subjected," he said. Blix promised UNMOVIC would be a "proper, appropriate U.N. organ". Iraq said its predecessor UNSCOM was dominated by the United States and Britain and was helping drag out the sanctions as long as possible. "(UNMOVIC) will have a broad geographic distribution and we are to be very correct, not cosy with the Iraqis, but correct in our dealings with them," he said. 6/8/00: IRAQI MINISTER SATISFIED BY TRANSPORT FACILITIES OFFERED BY DAMASCUS http://asia.dailynews.yahoo.com/headlines/world/article.html?s=asia/hea dlines/000806/world/afp/Iraqi_minister_satisfied_by_transport_facilities_ offered_by_Damascus.html DAMASCUS, August 6 (AFP) - Iraqi Trade Minister Mohammed Mehdi Saleh said Sunday he was satisfied by the facilities agreed by the Syrian authorities for Iraq to transport its goods, the official SANA agency said. Saleh stressed "the importance of the facilities agreed in the areas of land transport and the use of Syrian ports for the transport of goods" from Iraq, during a meeting with Syrian Transport Minister Makram Obeid. Saleh said he was also "satisfied" at the re-opening of a a rail link between Iraq and Syria, suspended since 1981. Iraq and Syria have agreed to operate a train link between the cities of Mosul, 400 kilometres (250 miles) north of Baghdad, and Aleppo, 350 kilometres (220 miles) north of Damascus from August 11, Iraqi railways chief Ghassan Abedlrazzak al-Ani said Monday. The link between Mosul and Aleppo was built in 1940. A twice weekly service between the two cities was suspended in 1981 after diplomatic relations were broken off because of Syria's support for Tehran in the Iran-Iraq war of Iraq and Syria, governed by rival branches of the Baath party, started normalising their relations in 1997, opening their common border to businessmen and officials. During Sunday's meeting, the Syrian minister said that "work is going ahead to improve transport in the two governerships in northern Syria which will help the transport of goods destined for Iraq arriving at Syrian ports." Saleh has been in Damascus since Friday and had earlier met with Prime Minister Mohammed Mustafa Miro. The two men looked at "ways of promoting trade and economic cooperation" between the two countries within the framework of the "oil for food" programme, which allows Iraq to sell oil to pay for the purchase of essential food and medicine. The volume of Syrian-Iraqi trade stands at 450 million dollars, according to the Iraqi minister. A joint Syrian-Iraqi commission on economic cooperation met on Saturday for the first time in 20 years. In 1998 the two countries signed a deal to put back into operation the pipeline linking the oilfields of Kirkuk in the north of Iraq to the Syrian port of Baniyas on the Mediterranean, which has been closed since 1982. Diplomatic relations between Syria and Iraq have been cut since 1980, but Iraq opened an interests section in Damascus in March 2000. 6/8/00: IRAN SAYS IT SEIZED SHIP WITH 800 TONNES OF CONTRABAND IRAQ OIL http://www.clarinet.com/hot/wed/bu/Qiran-iraq-oil.RBzA_Aa6.html TEHRAN, Aug 6 (AFP) - Iran intercepted and seized a ship carrying 800 tonnes of contraband Iraqi oil through Iranian territorial waters, the official IRNA news agency announced Sunday… Iran in recent months has announced the seizure of more than a dozen ships that were defying the international embargo on Iraqi oil exports in force since Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990. The United States claims Iraqi President Saddam Hussein could be taking in up to a billion dollars a year from oil smuggled through Iranian waters, while Iran has benefitted to the tune of 500 million dollars a year. The US navy, which participates in a multinational Gulf force to patrol against Iraqi oil exports, has projected that 4.8 million tonnes of contraband Baghdad oil will move through the Gulf this year. 6/8/00: BELLY DANCERS FEAR THAT IRAQI PLOT WILL RUIN WORK IN BRITAIN http://www.telegraph.co.uk:80/et?ac=000579381554028&rtmo=0i2eRXxq& atmo=99999999&pg=/et/00/8/6/nbelly06.html The Daily Telegraph. By Christina Lamb BRITAIN's belly dancers have reacted angrily to revelations that Saddam Hussein has been training female agents in the guise of exotic performers to target Iraqi dissidents in London, claiming that this will undermine their business. "There is already little work for belly dancers in Britain these days," complained Kathy Salford, who has been a belly dancer for more than 30 years and has performed in most of the well known clubs across the Middle East. "This will deter customers from attending legitimate clubs or taking dance classes." The Telegraph revealed last week that Saddam's intelligence chiefs have decided to use women to report on and eliminate Iraqi opposition abroad. A 45-day intensive training course focusing on poisoning and organising car accidents was held outside Baghdad last month for agents, some of whom are believed to have already arrived in London, and the Foreign Office is on maximum security alert. Ms Salford said: "Already a very, very glamorous Iraqi dressed up to the nines has been to the Baghdad Cafe in Westbourne Grove offering to dance for free. How can anyone dance for nothing when the costumes alone cost more than £500? It's highly suspicious." There is such fierce competition for places to belly dance in London, that Maroush, a Lebanese-owned restaurant in Edgware Road, runs a contest on Lebanese television where the prize is a one-month contract to perform there. Members of the Midlands Arabic Dance Network (Madan), which represents 600 belly dancers, are particularly concerned about reports that a well-known Iraqi belly dancer is planning to set up a school in London as a cover for giving support to Saddam's spies. They are worried that potential clients would desist because of fears they could be turned into "Mata Haris". One, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: "Most of our members make their living giving classes. Probably only five British belly dancers make a full-time living from performing." Although many belly-dance venues have closed since the heyday in the Seventies, there has been a recent surge in popularity in classes. Miss Salford fears that talk of links between belly dancing and the Iraqi regime may end chances of organisations obtaining a lottery grant such as that recently awarded to belly dancers of Manchester to bring over a famous Egyptian teacher. In the coffee shops of west London where Arabic dancers meet, the talk is of little else. One young woman sipping Turkish coffee said: "We belly dancers are a very tight-knit community and know when outsiders appear. Saddam has really chosen the wrong thing - if they had set up a nail bar it would have been a better cover." 5/8/00: IRAQ 'BUILDS UNDERGOUND TUNNELS' http://news.24.com/News24/World/Middle_East/0,1113,2-10- 35_893210,00.html Kuwait City (Sapa-AFP) - Iraq has built underground tunnels in the north of the sanctions-hit country for "top secret research" believed to be linked to its banned weapons programmes, a Kuwaiti newspaper charged on Saturday. The research "to develop certain programmes" has been going on for several months with the help of Russian experts, Al-Qabas said, quoting "informed Iraqi sources". It said Iraq had dug a network of tunnels in Makhoul mountain close to President Saddam Hussein's palaces in the Zawiya area near Kurdish- held Iraqi Kurdistan. The entrance to the tunnels, dug at a depth of several hundred metres, has been concealed by small buildings made to look like normal rural homes, according to Al-Qabas. It said the area was clear of air defence missiles or other military installations so as to avoid detection by US spy satellites. Soil recovered from digging the tunnel was taken at night to a valley 10 kilometres away from the site and access is being restricted to senior officials for night-time visits only. The Iraqi sources told Al-Qabas the tunnels were designed for protection against even the most advanced US weapons. Baghdad has been under sanctions since its 1990 invasion of Kuwait and the embargo is linked to the elimination of its weapons of mass destruction. UN arms inspectors were evacuated in December 1998 ahead of a US-British air war on Iraq. Insisting its banned weapons programmes have long been dismantled, Iraq rules out a return of the inspectors while calling for an unconditional lifting of the decade-old sanctions. 5/8/00: IRAQ DENIES IRANIAN PILGRIM BAN http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/middle_east/newsid_817000/8170 61.stm BBC World Service Iraq has denied that it is preventing Iranian pilgrims from visiting holy shrines there. The statement came in response to an accusation by Iran's Hajj and Pilgrimage Organisation that Iraqi officials were overcharging pilgrims and flouting agreements between the two countries. Iraqi radio quoted a Foreign Ministry spokesman as saying that that it was Iran which had decided to suspend the visits after it failed to fulfil its contractual obligations. Iraq is home to some of the most holy sites in Shia Islam, at Najaf and Karbala, south-east of Baghdad. 5/8/00: IRAQ'S VIEW OF THE GULF WAR http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/from_our_own_correspondent/ne wsid_866000/866351.stm BBC World Service. By Roger Hearing in Baghdad … Coming here fairly regularly over the past three years, I would have to say that I have been surprised by the number of lavish building projects, grand theatrical events and prestige media events the country seems to be able to afford. Iraqi officials say it is important that Iraq has things to be proud of, and I suppose I can see how they can be useful gestures of defiance to an apparently hostile world. But combined with a clear abundance of items in the shops, these things can deceive the visitor into hardly noticing sanctions at all, at least in Baghdad. It is only when I think back to the country I visited 10 years ago, in the first few weeks of the crisis, that I realise how much has changed, how much Iraqis have lost. There are beggars at the traffic lights, holes in the road, shabby and cracked concrete pillars at the Ministry of Information, and in the countryside, the pools of greenish black fetid water beside people's homes. It would be nothing too surprising for a developing country, but this was not a developing country. It was a land with the same level of education and healthcare as Greece. Per capita income put it even higher. Iraq may be the first country in history to have been forced, by the international community, back down the developmental ladder. And that is a tragedy, whoever we hold responsible. 4/8/00: IRAQ BAFFLES EUROPE MARKET IN BID TO UP KIRKUK PRICE http://abcnews.go.com/wire/Business/reuters20000804_1040.html LONDON, Aug 4 (Reuters) - Iraq"s surprise bid to raise its Kirkuk crude oil prices to Europe by 80 cents has left traders wondering if they will have to play a potentially costly guessing game when doing business with Baghdad in the future. Iraq has asked the United Nations for a green light to lift the price of its Kirkuk crude to the Mediterannean market to a discount of $4.20 to benchmark Dated Brent from August 10- 31. Baghdad"s request to the U.N. Security Council"s Iraq sanctions committee is expected to be approved by 2000 GMT on Friday, according to U.N. diplomats. That would be an unexpected upward revision from a price of Dated Brent -$5.00 that the U.N. had already approved for the month of August. Iraq, which sells crude under the tightly-supervised U.N. oil-for-food programme, had made several previous adjustments in its Kirkuk price in mid-July. But those changes were welcomed by customers who had threatened not to lift Kirkuk in that month unless the grade was priced to reflect an oversupplied Mediterranean market. "Traders now find themselves in a sticky situation. They believed the official selling price was 80 cents less. That is a disaster. It"s an improper way of doing business," said one trader. "This will hurt buyers" confidence in Iraq." Iraq wants to lift the price of Kirkuk so the crude can compete with Russia"s benchmark Urals, which has recently made significant gains in the Mediterranean market. Iraq"s oil policy-makers in Baghdad have watched Urals bounce back to a discount of about $2.20 to Dated Brent from recent record lows of about Dated -$5.00. "The Iraqis never faced such a period for Urals. It has been volatile. It"s a headache for them and there is no magic solution," said another trader. SOME SEE NEED FOR NEW PRICE STRUCTURE Many market players say Baghdad is seeking a fair price in its drive to gain an edge over Urals. "I am not happy as a buyer but it"s reasonable. It makes sense. Actually the market is higher than that. As a matter of fact the Iraqi figure is too low. There is demand and the trend will continue," said one lifter of Iraqi crude. Although its makes economic sense for Baghdad, Iraq"s move has triggered confusion among some traders who say they want to have a firmer handle on the country"s pricing policy. Traders are especially vulnerable. Unlike refiners, they have no ability to store oil in their systems to safeguard against unpredictable price swings. Anxiety over higher Iraqi Kirkuk prices has led some to conclude that Iraq will eventually have to restructure its pricing mechanism. "The Iraqis have to find an instrument that is more acceptable to the buyers. And more Iraqi customers who want to sell the crude may have to accept selling at a premium to the official selling price to transfer the price risk to the buyer," said a source at a European oil major. While some traders seek a shield against any potential losses in dealings with Baghdad, other industry players say the latest Iraqi move is part of life in the murky world of oil. "Nobody complained when Iraq lowered the price the last time. What they did was spot on. Look what Urals has done," said one market source. 4/8/00: U.S. DISPUTES FRENCH VIEW OF IRAQI AIR EMBARGO http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20000804/pl/france_usa_dc_1.html WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States said on Friday it disagreed with a French interpretation of restrictions on flights to and from Iraq. France said on Friday a proposed French charter flight to Iraq would not necessarily violate international sanctions because the U.N. Security Council never adopted a specific text banning all flights. ``We disagree with the French on this, and we have done for some time,'' a State Department official retorted. The dispute centers on how to interpret U.N. Security Council resolutions 661 and 670, passed in 1990 after Iraq invaded neighboring Kuwait. Resolution 670, which goes into detail on the restrictions, refers only to aircraft carrying cargo to and from Iraq, allowing an interpretation that passenger flights are allowed. Resolution 661 bans commercial dealings with Iraq. A French Foreign Ministry spokesman said: ``The refusal by some members of the Sanctions Committee to allow flights to and from Iraq may have led to believe that there is an air embargo. There is no such thing.'' The State Department official, who asked not to be named, replied: ``Our position is that if there's a flight going in you have to put it through the Sanctions Committee to show that there is no cargo.'' ``There also has to be a determination of whether there's a commercial benefit (to Iraq). The only way to evaluate that is to put it through the Sanctions Committee,'' he added. The group on the French flight, including several parliamentarians, want to go to Baghdad on September 29 to push for an end to U.N. sanctions. They have yet to find a plane. French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine said this week sanctions on Iraq were ``cruel, ineffective and dangerous''. 3/8/00: EX-U.N. WEAPONS INSPECTOR ENDS TRIP TO IRAQ WITHOUT VISITING ARMS SITES http://abcnews.go.com/wire/World/ap20000803_1408.html BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) _ Iraq is not a threat to its neighbors, a former U.N. arms inspector said Thursday at the end of a six-day tour in which he did not visit suspected Iraqi weapons sites. Scott Ritter said he had not asked to see such sites for the documentary film he is making on Iraq because he feared that Baghdad and Washington would use the visits for propaganda. Ritter said the United States" policy toward Iraq is troubling. On the one hand, he said, Washington insists that Iraq abide by U.N. resolutions that require its disarmament, while on the other hand it links the lifting of U.N. sanctions to the removal of President Saddam Hussein. Ritter resigned as a U.N. inspector two years ago, saying the United States was not aggressive enough in compelling Iraq to disarm. But he said at a news conference Thursday that he quit because he felt the United States was manipulating the U.N. inspection agency for political ends. The United States and Britain have been the strongest proponents of Iraqi disarmament, arguing that sanctions cannot be lifted until Baghdad proves it has eliminated long-range missiles and biological, chemical and nuclear weapons. Ritter said Richard Butler, former chief of the disbanded U.N. inspection agency, UNSCOM, and United States and Britain had been spreading "inaccurate information, irresponsible speculation" to picture Iraq as a threat. Ritter said his documentary will say that Iraq has "qualitatively" met U.N. demands and that sanctions should be lifted. He interviewed senior Iraqi officials, but said he did not go to suspected arms sites because if he had found nothing Iraq would have said that proves compliance. The United States would have said Iraq emptied the sites ahead of time, he said. Ritter said he borrowed money from an Iraqi-American to make the documentary, but was not sure whether anybody would buy it. 3/8/00: IRAQ MOCKS U.S. STATEMENT IT IS WEAK AND ISOLATED http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20000803/wl/iraq_usa_dc_1.html BAGHDAD (Reuters) - An Iraqi general on Thursday ridiculed a U.S. statement that Baghdad was weak and no longer a threat to its neighbors 10 years after its invasion of Kuwait. Speaking on the 10th anniversary of Iraq's August 2, 1990, invasion of Kuwait, Defense Department spokesman Ken Bacon said on Tuesday that President Saddam Hussein was now the trapped ''emperor'' of a weak and dispirited nation. ``Iraq is not weak, but rather healthy and strong. Were it weak, Iraq would not have been able to be so persistent and firm in confronting American and British aggression daily in the no-fly zones,'' Lieutenant- General Yassin Jasim, spokesman for the Iraqi air defenses, told a news briefing in Baghdad. ``Were it militarily weak, why then did Iraq succeed in neutralizing (U.S.- made) HARM missiles? Why is the U.S. using its most up-to-date weapons and warplanes in the flights over the illegal no-fly zones?'' Jasim asked. Baghdad said earlier that it had developed a technique to neutralize the HARM missiles used by American warplanes to strike at Iraqi air defenses, and had effectively forced them out of the skies. Jasim also mocked Bacon's statement that Baghdad remained isolated and contained while Kuwait was free. ``Iraq is not isolated. Rather it is the U.S. that uses sanctions against other countries including Iraq, which has become isolated.'' He said clear proof of such U.S. isolation ``is the collapse of the U.S.-led (anti-Iraq) coalition and the mounting international pressure on it (the U.S.) for lifting the sanctions.'' The Iraqi spokesman also said the cost of flights over the two no-fly zones set up after the Gulf War in southern and northern Iraq come up to $4 billion a year. ``The Kuwaiti and Saudi regimes pay for these flights and finance the daily U.S. and British aggression against Iraq.'' Bacon had put the cost of flights over the zones set up to protect minority Kurds in the north and Shi'ite Muslims in the south from possible attacks by Baghdad's forces at up to $2 billion a year. 3/8/00: IRAQ MARKS INVASION OF KUWAIT DEFIANTLY http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/world/2000/0803/wor8.htm IRAQ (Reuters): Iraq defiantly marked the 10th anniversary of its invasion of Kuwait yesterday, despite the harsh economic situation caused by UN trade sanctions. State-run newspapers criticised Kuwait's rulers, blaming them for Iraq's seven-month occupation of the oil-rich country. The ruling Ba'ath party newspaper said "there was no option" for Iraq but to send troops into Kuwait to repulse what it described as a conspiracy by the US and Kuwait against Baghdad. A government newspaper, al- Jumhouriya, added: "What Iraq did on August 2nd, 1990, was to exercise its legitimate right to defend itself against a major plot aimed at our sovereignty and unity." Iraqi forces invaded Kuwait after weeks of wrangling over oilproduction quotas. The occupation lasted until a US-led multinational alliance based in Saudi Arabia drove the invaders out in February 1991. Ten years on, despite being subject to crippling sanctions and almost daily bombing by NATO forces, Baghdad still says it has no regrets and President Saddam remains firmly in power. "The Iraqis were able to foil the conspiracy and despite the aggression and the unjust embargo we are still strong enough in all fields," the official al-Iraq newspaper said. The papers stopped short, however, of declaring Kuwait part of Iraq, as was the case in the early years after the invasion. In 1994, as part of efforts to get the sanctions lifted, Iraq recognised Kuwait as an independent state within the borders demarcated by a UN commission. In Kuwait, relatives of Kuwaitis killed during Iraq's occupation remembered their dead yesterday on the anniversary of the invasion. "I miss my father a lot . . . but at the same time I am very proud of him as he dedicated himself to defend his country," Dhuha Mouhammad (16), whose father died during the invasion, said. Anood al-Saleh, only seven when President Saddam sent his troops across the border into Kuwait, said her heart went out to Iraqis languishing under international sanctions, although she was still afraid of Kuwait's larger neighbour. The two were among some 100 Kuwaitis attending an open day to mark the anniversary, organised by the "Martyrs' Bureau", an office set up by the Kuwaiti government in 1991 to care for the families of Kuwaitis killed during the Iraqi occupation. 3/8/00: U.S. GENERAL DEFENDS CONTINUING SANCTIONS ON IRAQ http://www.vny.com/cf/News/upidetail.cfm?QID=107141 By ELIZABETH BRYANT CAIRO, Egypt, Aug. 3 (UPI) -- Ten years after the Gulf War, the new head of U.S. armed forces in the Middle East defended continued United Nations sanctions on Iraq, despite growing criticism from America's war allies. "The obligations that we undertook have to do with the protection of Saddam Hussein's neighbors -- and I believe that you would agree that we have been successful in doing that," said Gen. Tommy Franks, commander in chief of the U.S. Central Command, Thursday during a press conference in Cairo. Franks also defended the continued no-fly zones maintained by the United States and Britain over Iraq's north and south, as necessary to protect Iraq's minority Kurd and Shiite population… Besides Egypt, Franks also visited Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Qatar. He heads back to the command headquarters in Tampa Friday, after a stopover in Belgium. Franks' defense of allied policy on Iraq comes amid growing international criticism of continued U.N. sanctions on Baghdad. The criticism has most recently been echoed by Richard Butler, the former head of U.N. weapons inspections in Iraq, and by former American weapons inspector Scott Ritter. For its part, the Arab League has called for the sanctions to be lifted. "We, I believe, feel as much as anyone the pain of the Iraqi people," Franks said. But, he added, living standards were far higher in the no-fly zones -- parts of Iraq where Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has no control over supplies of food and medicine imported under the U.N.'s oil-for-food program. The U.S. commander also expressed concern about the continued absence of U.N. weapons inspectors, who left Baghdad more than 19 months ago. "I don't know whether Saddam Hussein has continued to build his weapons of mass destruction," Franks said. "...I will say that in the past he has provided every indication that he would use resources available to him to pursue weapons of mass destruction."… 3/8/00: MPS CRITICISE RAF TORNADOS AFTER PROBLEMS ON IRAQ PATROLS http://www.guardianunlimited.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,349806,00.html Special report: Iraq The Guardian, Richard Norton-Taylor British war planes patrolling no-fly zones over Iraq are unsuitable for the task, and the conditions in which their crews are living are inadequate, a cross-party committee of MPs said yesterday. High temperatures in the Gulf have a "significant effect" on the performance of F3 Tornados, which were designed for cold war air defence operations over the North Sea, said the Commons defence committee. The aircraft, it added, could not fly as high as the US F-15 fighters. "We understand the frustration of our air crew in undertaking difficult missions with aircraft that are not ideal for the task, particularly when they are operating alongside their US colleagues who have demonstrably superior equipment," said the committee. The Ministry of Defence is upgrading the Tornados to give them advanced air to air missiles and enable pilots to identify planes flying nearby through electronic means rather than just on sight. The committee also criticised the accommodation at the RAF's Ali Al Salem airbase in Kuwait, where, it said, personnel were required to live 20 to a room, with 40 having access to only one bathroom with "inadequate" air conditioning. The poor telephone system connecting RAF personnel with the UK meant staff lost as much as half their weekly 20 minutes of free calls. The committee defended on "moral and humanitarian grounds" Britain's participation in what is sometimes called the "forgotten war", although it admitted the "precise legal basis" for the operations was controversial. Figures released by the MoD last month showed that British pilots had dramatically increased their strikes on Iraq. An estimated 78 tonnes of bombs had been dropped on southern Iraq by British aircraft since December 1998. That compared with 2.5 tonnes over the previous six years. Some 95% of targets attacked were Iraqi ground-based air defence systems. About 1,000 British service personnel are stationed in the Gulf region at an estimated cost of £30m a year. In a separate report yesterday a Lords committee was sceptical about plans to create an EU rapid reaction force of up to 60,000 troops by 2003. The force's task would include "peacemaking" that could amount to war, action unsuitable for the EU, the peers said. Keith Vaz, the minister for Europe, said yesterday the government's aim was "European defence which produces flexible, better equipped, armed forces across Europe strengthening Europe's contribution to Nato." [see http://www.parliament.the-stationery- office.co.uk/pa/cm199900/cmselect/cmdfence/453/45302.htm for the full report] 2/8/00: MALAYSIAN MUSLIM YOUTH JOINS NGOS CONDEMNING SAUDI ROLE IN IRAQI GENOCIDE http://www.irna.com/newshtm/eng/12173123.htm Islamic Republic News Agency [Iran] Kuala Lumpur, Aug 2, IRNA -- The Malaysian Muslim Youth Movement (ABIM) has joined hands with several non-governmental organizations in condemning the continued military collaboration of the Saudi Arabian regime with the United States against the Iraqi people. In a joint memorandum to U.S. President Bill Clinton and King Fahd of Saudi Arabia urging the lifting of sanctions on Iraq, 13 NGOs forming the ASEAN Network for Iraq expressed outrage over the U.S.'s current policy of genocide in Iraq. Among other NGOs are the Consumer Association of Malaysia's northern state of Penang, Malaysian Sociological Research Institute, Third World Network and National Asscoaition of Muslim Students. ''We are horrified that while U.S. citizens spend millions of dollars in food and medicine for their pets, their government is killing Iraqi babies and old people by denying them food and medicine,'' said the memorandum dated July 14. The memorandum was made available by IRNA here on Wednesday, Aug. 2. The organizations also took to task the Saudi government for colluding with the U.S. 'in its campaign of genocide against the Iraqi people'. ''It [Saudi government] has permitted the U.S. to locate its military bases on Saudi territory from where the bombers take off to bomb Iraqi civilians,'' they said, adding that the kingdom has continually obstructed efforts by Qatar and other Arab and Muslim nations to have the 10-year old sanctions lifted. ''The Saudi authorities must realize that over a billion Muslims oppose their policy of collusion with the U.S.'' The statement noted that more than one million people have succumbed to diseases as a direct result of the sanctions. And 50 percent of rural people have no access to portable water, while waste water treatment facilities have not been in service in urban areas. Reports by UNICEF say there has been a six to eightfold increase in the fatality rates of children due to diarrhoea and pneumonia. During the height of the U.S.-led war on Iraq, the allied forces exploded more than one million depleted uranium over Iraq, contaminating the entire region with radioactive and causing a tenfold increase in cancers in Iraq. The memorandum called on the Saudi and the U.S. governments not to oppose attempts to lift the economic sanctions. It also demanded that the Saudi regime stop its collusion with the U.S. and to work on dismantling U.S. military bases on its tetrritory. 2/8/00: FRANCE'S VEDRINE SAYS IRAQ SANCTIONS ARE CRUEL http://abcnews.go.com/wire/World/reuters20000802_477.html PARIS, Aug 2 (Reuters) - French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine used the 10th anniversary on Wednesday of Iraq"s invasion of Kuwait to push for an end to what he called "cruel, ineffective and dangerous" sanctions against Baghdad. He said the continued application of sanctions by the United Nations posed a risk to the social cohesion of Iraq and, with that, a threat to regional stability. "They are cruel because they punish exclusively the Iraqi people and the weakest among them," Vedrine said in an interview with the London-based Arabic newspaper Al-Hayat published on Tuesday and later disseminated by his ministry. "They are ineffective because they don"t touch the regime, which is not encouraged to cooperate, and they are dangerous because they...accentuate the disintegration of Iraqi society." The United Nations imposed sanctions on Iraq in the wake of its invasion of Kuwait. They have been maintained officially because Iraq has not cooperated with international efforts to eliminate its weapons of mass destruction. France, Iraq"s main Western creditor and arms supplier until 1990, is at odds with the United States and Britain over the continued use of sanctions, arguing that the West is storing up trouble by consigning Iraq to poverty and isolation. Vedrine also criticised continued air attacks against Iraq by British and U.S. planes enforcing "no-fly" zones over the north and south of the country, denouncing them as "useless and incomprehensible." Diplomats expect a French initiative at the United Nations, possibly after the U.S. presidential election, seeking to have all civilian sanctions suspended but to maintain a strict ban on sales of arms and dual-use goods to Baghdad. "Our aim remains to return a peaceful and prosperous Iraq to the international fold so as to break the isolation the Iraqi people have lived in for a decade," Vedrine said. "As we regularly tell Iraqi officials, there is no other path to re- integration and the lifting of sanctions than cooperation with the United Nations." France abstained last December on a U.N. resolution offering to suspend sanctions on civilian goods if Iraqi President Saddam Hussein complies with a new arms monitoring system. It said the terms were too vague, but it continues to respect the embargo. "We are now working to remove the ambiguities from that text so as to facilitate the resumption of disarmament control and thus the suspension of sanctions," Vedrine said. 2/8/00: IRAQ CLAIM ON BLOCKED IMPORT CONTRACTS AT ODDS WITH UN DATA http://sg.dailynews.yahoo.com/headlines/world/afp/article.html?s=singap ore/headlines/000803/world/afp/Iraq_claim_on_blocked_import_contract s_at_odds_with_UN_data.html UNITED NATIONS, Aug 2 (AFP) A claim by an Iraqi official on Wednesday that import contracts worth 10 billion dollars had been blocked under the UN's "oil for food" programme appeared to contradict United Nations data. Trade Minister Mohammed Mahdi Saleh said in Baghdad that the United States and Britain had held up contracts worth more than 10 billion dollars under the programme, which was established in 1996. Figures from the office which administers the programme showed that, as of May 31, Iraq had submitted contracts for imports worth a total of 15.66 billion dollars for approval by the Security Council's sanctions committee. The committee had authorised contracts worth 11.49 billion dollars and put 1.64 billion dollars worth on hold, the figures showed. Other contracts were being processed. Iraq has been under UN-imposed economic sanctions since its invasion of Kuwait 10 years ago, but the "oil for food" programme allows it to sell crude in order to buy essential goods under strict UN supervision. US and British officials in the sanctions committee have often blocked contracts for goods which they said might be diverted to the Iraqi military -- so-called "dual purpose" imports. Early this year, the committee streamlined its vetting procedures after UN Secretary General Kofi Annan complained about the number of contracts placed on hold. But contracts for food and medicine were very rarely blocked. The UN statistics show that food accounted for 6.57 billion dollars of the total application of 15.66 billion dollars, and that health sector contracts accounted for another 1.16 billion. In his statement, Saleh said the United Nations had deducted more than nine billion dollars earned from Iraq's oil sales, while Iraq had acquired goods worth only 7.6 billion dollars. Under an agreement negotiated with the Iraqi government, 30 percent of the revenue from Iraq's oil sales goes to a fund to compensate victims of the invasion of Kuwait. The money is held in an escrow account in the French bank Another 2.2 percent goes to pay for the administration of the oil for food programme, and 0.8 percent for the administration of the UN team set up to monitor Iraq's disarmament. Saleh was speaking after the director of the UN programme, Benon Sevan, arrived in Baghdad for a two-week visit. In a statement before his arrival, Sevan said that 8.35 billion worth of humanitarian supplies and oil industry spare parts had arrived since the inception of the programme, and that another 4.2 billion dollars worth was "in the pipeline". Sevan's figures included contracts approved by the sanctions committee since May 31. Officials here pointed out that any delays in delivery were the responsibility of Iraq's contractors, not of the United Nations. 2/8/00: US: GOALS UNFILLED ON IRAQ http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20000802/wl/us_iraq_3.html By GEORGE GEDDA, Associated Press Writer WASHINGTON (AP) - The 10th anniversary of Iraq's invasion of Kuwait passed with the Clinton administration admitting that many U.S. goals remain unfulfilled, including the ouster of President Saddam Hussein. Nevertheless, the State Department said Wednesday, Iraq is far weaker militarily than it was. ``A decade has now lapsed with Saddam unable to invade a neighbor. That fact alone marks an important success for the international community,'' said David Welch, who heads the State Department's international organizations bureau. Welch conceded that the February 1991 liberation of Kuwait by a U.S.- led coalition was not the final chapter of the Iraq saga. Saddam has not given up his weapons of mass destruction and continues abusive practices, Welch said. ``It's not over for some 600 Kuwaiti missing persons and POWs seized by Iraqi forces in Kuwait,'' he said. ``Nor is it over for the people of Iraq who continue to suffer the brutal misrule of the Saddam Hussein regime.'' Pentagon spokesman Kenneth Bacon said Wednesday the United States spends well over $1 billion a year patrolling Iraq with jet fighters to keep Iraqi warplanes grounded. Also, to deter future Iraqi adventurism, the United States maintains 24,000 troops on station in the Persian Gulf region. David Scheffer, U.S. ambassador-at-large for war crimes who joined Welch at a news conference, renewed the administration's wish that a war crimes tribunal be established for Iraq. Scheffer said the administration is collecting evidence to hold Saddam and top aides accountable for two decades of crimes against Iraqis and the people of the countries Iraqi forces have invaded, Kuwait and Iran. ``He must be brought to account for his crimes,'' Scheffer said. The administration has had little to say about Saddam's efforts to reconstitute weapons of mass destruction since Iraq expelled U.N. weapons inspectors in December 1998. Richard Butler, former chairman of the defunct U.S. weapons inspection agency, says Saddam has not been sitting on his hands. Saddam, Butler wrote in The Washington Post, is ``manufacturing the weapons of mass destruction with which he threatens the Iraqi people, his neighbors and, by extension, the safety of the world.'' The United Nations is to try and send new inspectors soon. But because Iraq remains under sanctions for ignoring terms of the cease- fire, Saddam is not expected to cooperate. That the Iraq agenda remains unfinished after 10 years is duly noted in the Republican presidential campaign platform. ``Perhaps nowhere has the inheritance of Republican governance been squandered so fatefully as with respect to Iraq,'' the GOP platform plank on Iraq says. ``The anti-Iraq coalition assembled to oppose Saddam Hussein has disintegrated.'' It adds that the administration has only ``pretended'' to support the removal of Saddam Hussein from power. Some critics argue that the problems could have been avoided if former President Bush had not called off the Desert Storm operation without removing Saddam by force if necessary. Congress has appropriated $97 million for use by anti-Saddam Iraqis to oust his regime. Some opposition leaders have complained bitterly that no money has been earmarked for lethal equipment. Welch suggested that the administration must proceed cautiously lest rebel forces receiving U.S. support face annihilation by Saddam's troops. ``We would like to help them in a way that's responsible ... and doesn't raise undue risk to them, either inside or outside,'' he said. 2/8/00: SECURITY COUNCIL IN CRISIS OVER IRAQ, FORMER ARMS INSPECTOR SAYS http://sg.dailynews.yahoo.com/headlines/world/afp/article.html?s=singap ore/headlines/000803/world/afp/Security_Council_in_crisis_over_Iraq__f ormer_arms_inspector_says.html UNITED NATIONS, Aug 2 (AFP) - Iraq's refusal to dismantle its weapons of mass destruction has created a crisis for the United Nations Security Council, the former chief UN arms inspector Richard Butler said Wednesday… "Evidence is continuing to arrive that Saddam is back in the business of trying to expand or re-acquire his weapons of mass destruction capability," Butler said referring to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in a telephone interview. "This a crisis for the Security Council," said Butler, now diplomat-in- residence at the Council for Foreign Relations, an independent think-tank in New York. "This outlaw state is refusing to cooperate with them," he went on. "The main instrument used to get that cooperation -- namely sanctions -- simply aren't working, other than to harm the ordinary Iraqi people." … The council has said that if Iraq cooperated with UNMOVIC, it would suspend the sanctions, but Butler was skeptical. "A month from now, the new inspectorate will be ready to go in, and all the signs are that Iraq will continue to refuse," he said. "That truly would be another crisis," he added. "There are credible reports that they have re-assembled their nuclear design team," he said. The principal obstacle to Iraq's making a nuclear bomb was lack of core material -- highly enriched uranium or plutonium, he continued. He said he believed that if it acquired the material, Iraq could make a nuclear explosive device "in about 12 months." But he added, "I don't know whether they have got that material or not." 2/8/00: IRAQI INVASION LEFT MARK ON KUWAIT http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20000802/wl/kuwait_invasion_s_legacy _2.html By DIANA ELIAS, Associated Press Writer KUWAIT (AP) - Ten years to the day after Iraq's invasion and occupation of their small Gulf homeland, families of people who disappeared during that chaotic time gathered at a theater Wednesday to listen to poems of longing. Eleven-year-old Rasha al-Sharif left the theater in tears to sit alone on a bench. Rasha was a toddler when Iraqis arrested her father. Nobody has heard from him since. ``Other people are enjoying life,'' she said. ``But we still live with the tragedy.'' Rasha said her father was picked up while crossing the border to Saudi Arabia against Iraqi rules. She knew few other details. Iraq has not accounted for 605 Kuwaitis and citizens of other countries who disappeared during the occupation. A decade after the Aug. 2, 1990, Iraqi invasion and the subsequent U.S.-led Gulf War that forced Iraq to withdraw, the issue is the biggest stumbling block to repairing relations between Iraq and its neighbors. ``I'm prepared to go on my knees to Baghdad if there is any hope for the release of the prisoners,'' Kuwait's defense minister, Sheik Salem Sabah Al Ahmed Al Sabah, was quoted as saying in Al-Siyassah daily on Wednesday. Baghdad says it has released all war prisoners, and in recent years has accused Kuwait of withholding information on the fate of 1,150 Iraqis who disappeared during the crisis. Kuwait says it cannot be held responsible for them at a time when Iraqi authorities ran the country. The 10th anniversary of the invasion passed quietly in Kuwait, where the government held to its annual policy of holding no official functions to mark the day. The poetry reading, attended by about 300 people, was organized by a private support group for families of the missing. At the reading, 10-year-old Hussein al-Saleh, who has two uncles among the missing, recited from the work of Kuwaiti poet Khaled al-Bathal: ``Who will give us patience? We will be patient if we can,'' he said. ``Who will be moved by the tears of a little boy? The city's streets are filled with sadness and our country is impoverished by their loss.'' People in this state of 2.3 million people, the majority of whom are guest workers, are still shocked that an Arab country would take over another overnight. ``Our wounds have not healed,'' said the editorial of a special issue of the Al-Anba daily to mark the anniversary. ``On the contrary, they hurt with every new dawn and whenever we close our eyes.'' It took Iraqi tanks just a few hours to invade this oil-rich country. In the decade since, determination by Kuwait and its neighbors to never again be so vulnerable has changed the political landscape in the Gulf. Kuwait signed a 10-year defense pact with Washington shortly after a U.S.-led coalition drove out the Iraqis in the 1991 Gulf War. Similar agreements followed with Britain, France, and Russia, as well as a defense agreement with other Gulf states. Kuwait and other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council - Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Bahrain and Qatar - established a nucleus of a common army in a mutual defense pact. But it's clear they believe their real defense lies in their relationship with the United States. Iraq's aggression led neighboring Saudi Arabia to allow some 500,000 foreign troops, most of them American, into the country. The legacy of that decision is still felt politically and economically in the kingdom: The $60 billion bill helped drain the Saudi kingdom's reserves, and the presence of foreign troops in the area gave birth to a fundamentalist Saudi opposition. In Kuwait, political scientist Abdullah al-Shayeji said his government is spending 25 percent of its annual budget on security, in addition to some $12 billion earmarked for defense. As for Iraq, Kuwaitis say enmity between neighbors cannot go on forever. Some predict a day when the two nations will reconcile and perhaps join economic forces - after Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is out of power. 2/8/00: IRAQ, A DECADE LATER: STANDOFF REMAINS, BUT MILITARY AND POLITICAL LANDSCAPE HAS CHANGED http://abcnews.go.com/sections/world/DailyNews/iraq000802.html By Barbara Starr W A S H I N G T O N, Aug. 2 — A decade after Saddam Hussein’s failed invasion of Kuwait, the United States and Iraq remain at a standoff — an arrangement the Pentagon says ensures the “containment” of Baghdad and stability in the Persian Gulf region. The loggerheads situation is unlikely to change soon. Saddam maintains a formidable, yet worn-out and outdated military force. The United States has a constant $1 billion-a-year presence in the region, maintaining “no-fly zones” in northern and southern Iraq. But what has changed is the threat. Saddam’s army, Washington believes, isn’t so much poised to conquer its neighbors, than it is to squash simmering internal insurrection. When Iraq moved into Kuwait on Aug. 2, 1990, they were a formidable threat to the region — 54 divisions of armor and artillery and some half a million troops at the ready. Today, there are just 23 Iraqi army divisions, still a concern with more than 325,000 troops, but perhaps not the threat they once were to the entire region. Much of the equipment is aging, spare parts are difficult for Iraq to obtain and training is intermittent at best. Eyes on Uprisings In northern Iraq, there are 16 divisions — about 100,000 troops, deployed along the line of demarcation with Kurdish forces that control much of northeastern part of the country. The Iraqi troops include infantry and heavy armor — along with 600-800 tanks in barracks that still could move quickly to put down any Kurdish uprising, a situation considered unlikely because of an informal truce. Still, Iraqi troops remain positioned nearby, just in case. In southern Iraq, there are six divisions positioned to counter any uprising by Shia minorities. Three divisions are deployed near the Iranian border to guard against intermittent incursions. Another three divisions deployed across the marsh areas to counter Shia insurgencies and keep control over towns, roads, and railroads. A mechanized division of about 10,000 troops remains within 30 miles of the Kuwaiti border. With all of these troops positioned at Iraq’s outer reaches, Saddam also has a formidable array of Republican Guard troop in and around Baghdad to maintain his iron grip on the government. In central Baghdad there are 15 battalions of so-called “Special” Republican Guards — about 15,000 crack troops who are highly loyal to the Iraqi leader. They are responsible for government security in the capital and are equipped with the most modern equipment, including Soviet T-72 tanks and modern armored personnel carriers. Saddam’s Flat Management Structure But Saddam also has his troops craftily organized. There is no overall military commander. Each battalion commander reports to Saddam’s son, who is the head of the security services. That ensures that no military commander can amass enough power to launch a coup. In the region right around Baghdad there are another three regular Republican Guard divisions, arrayed to provide general security and serve as an early warning of any threats against the capital. And of course there are many remaining questions about whether the Iraqi regime has used the last 10 years to rebuild its biological, chemical and nuclear weapons as well as its missile program. U.S. intelligence assessments indicate Iraq could still have two dozen or more SCUD missiles left over from the war, and they probably maintain some stocks of biological warfare agents. But officials emphasize that no one knows for sure. With no U.N. weapons inspectors in Iraq for the last two years, there is little specific knowledge about the status of these programs. More Money, More Problems Perhaps the biggest change in the decade since the invasion of Kuwait and the defeat of Iraq in Operation Desert Storm has been the status of the Iraqi economy. In the years after the war, the economy virtually collapsed and today it does largely remain in shambles for most Iraqis. There are power outages, poor health care, and few jobs in the legitimate sector. But the recent boom in oil prices clearly help. Under the U.N.-administered “oil-for-food” program, since 1996 Iraq has earned $30.7 billion in oil revenues. U.N. officials estimate for the period from July to December 2000 alone, Iraq will earn over $10 billion in revenue. For the week of July 8 alone, Iraq earned $378 million in oil revenue. This money, of course, is supposed to buy food and medicine for the Iraqi people, but much of the money is siphoned off into the black market. Saddam Hussein also earns nearly $1 billion a year through illegal smuggling of oil through the Persian Gulf. That money is used to fund his control of the government through bribes and payoffs, as well as reconstruction of lavish presidential palaces. 2/8/00: EX-WEAPONS INSPECTOR BACK IN IRAQ http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20000802/wl/iraq_inspector_2.html By GEORGE GEDDA, Associated Press Writer WASHINGTON (AP) - … Ritter's apostasy has alienated Richard Butler, the former chairman of UNSCOM, the shorthand term for the now-defunct U.N. inspection agency. In response to Ritter's contention in the magazine Arms Control Today that UNSCOM left Iraq ``qualitatively disarmed,'' Butler said the ``facts are clear and alarming, and they do not support this assertion.'' Butler used to be one of Ritter's biggest boosters, once calling him ``a professional officer of the highest quality.''… 1/8/00: UN OIL-FOR-FOOD CHIEF VISITS IRAQ AFTER COMPLAINTS OVER AID PROGRAMME http://sg.dailynews.yahoo.com/headlines/world/afp/article.html?s=singap ore/headlines/000802/world/afp/UN_oil-for- food_chief_visits_Iraq_after_complaints_over_aid_programme.html BAGHDAD, Aug 1 (AFP) - The director of the UN oil-for-food programme, Benon Sevan, started a visit to Iraq on Tuesday for talks with officials of the sanctions-hit state who have called for a review of the humanitarian deal. UN spokesman George Somerwill said that Sevan, a Cypriot national, would also travel to the Kurdish-controlled northern provinces of Iraq during his mission running up to August 17. In a pre-arrival statement, Sevan said that since the launch of the oil-for- food programme in December 1996, around 1.9 billion barrels have been exported earning just under 29 billion dollars. But "even with recent improvements ..., the oil-for-food programme is no substitute for the resumption of normal economic activity in Iraq," he said, referring to the sanctions. "However, there is no doubt the situation for many in that country is significantly better than it was when the first oil was exported under the programme," said Sevan. The head of the humanitarian programme said the UN sanctions committee has now agreed "on a list of parts and equipment which would be approved by a group of (technical) experts" rather than the committee itself. Also under new "procedural improvements", he said, lists have been drawn up of food, health, educational and agricultural products which would not need to be submitted to the sanctions committee for approval. Iraq, which has been under embargo since its 1990 invasion of Kuwait, is authorised to export crude oil under the programme to finance imports of essential goods under strict UN supervision. Baghdad has frequently complained of delays in the arrival of supplies, which have to be vetted by the sanctions committee, and accuses the United States and Britain of blocking its contracts with foreign suppliers. On July 26, Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan said Iraq planned to review the oil-for-food accord, charging it was squandering the country's resources. "After almost four years of implementation, it is time for a thorough examination of the usefulness of continuing this programme under its current formula," he said. A third of the oil revenues are siphoned off to pay war reparations for the invasion of Kuwait and to finance UN operations in Iraq. "This programme was accepted by Iraq after more than a year of negotiations with the UN secretary general as a temporary formula to remedy the humanitarian situation in Iraq," explained Ramadan. "But it has been transformed into an operation to loot Iraqi funds by making deductions for UN funding and for the so-called compensation," he charged. On the security front of the UN operation, for which Sevan is also in charge, the United Nations has withdrawn all its international observers in southern Iraq but its work will continue with local staffers, Somerwill announced on July 16. 1/8/00: SANDS OF TIME ERODE SUPPORT FOR SANCTIONS http://www.guardianunlimited.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,349275,00.html Tomorrow is the anniversary of Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait. Iraq is still paying the price, and it is rising Special report: Iraq Ewen MacAskill, Brian Whitaker and Jonathan Steele Tuesday August 1, 2000 Saddam Hussein began the Gulf war 10 years ago tomorrow when he launched his forces across the desert into Kuwait. Officially, the war ended seven months later with the liberation of Kuwait. Yet last week British and US planes were in action over northern and southern Iraq, as they have been for the past year and were the year before that. "There is a sortie going on at the moment in the north and there is an engagement," a British commander said last week, describing how Iraqi anti-aircraft batteries locked on to a British jet. To him it was a routine day, one of many in a conflict which is under- reported, mainly because Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, which provide the bases, do not want too much attention drawn to it. Iraq claims that more than 300 civilians were killed in raids in the past two years. The US and Britain, which send planes over Iraq on average every second day, insist that most of those listed as civilians were soldiers manning anti-aircraft weapons. British and US ships are also in the Gulf, trying - largely unsuccessfully - to police the embargo imposed on Iraq, the toughest sanctions regime in history. What has been achieved by 10 years of war and sanctions? President Saddam, 63, is still in power, presiding over a police state with one of the worst human rights records in the world. The 30-country coalition raised against him is falling apart as the Gulf states and others normalise their relations with Iraq. The sanctions are increasingly difficult to maintain. Iraq's borders with Jordan, Syria, Turkey and Iran are porous. Trade is increasing. Eighty countries plan to attend the Baghdad trade fair in November. Because of the sanctions' impact on civilians, the US and Britain face moral disapproval from a growing alliance of organisations as diverse as the Italian parliament and the Church of England. To those with money, just about anything is available in Baghdad's shops. The rest of Iraqi society is struggling, caught between President Saddam's tyranny and the implacable attitude of the US and Britain. Education is suffering as children drop out in droves. Income has been slashed. Iraq, which once boasted one of the best health services in the Middle East, now has one of the worst. Children have suffered disproportionately. Unesco estimates that half a million children have died in the past 10 years, partly as a result of malnutrition, poor sanitation and lack of medical services. The sanctions have left Iraq's infrastructure in an "appalling" state, the programme director for Save the Children in northern Iraq, Peter Maxwell, said. "It is questionable whether the successful implementation of the UN's humanitarian programme should be made so dependent upon progress made in military and security matters." Church of England representatives were horrified by social conditions in Iraq. In a report last month they suggested that the UN should aim the arms embargo and financial sanctions at the ruling elite. "Such an alternative might be more effective than the current sanctions policy, which is unlikely to yield further political dividend without creating further suffering." Publicly the US, the main proponent of sanctions, remains determined to put President Saddam and his cronies on trial for war crimes. But behind the rhetoric a change is taking place. Bill Clinton and those around him no longer insist that sanctions cannot be lifted until President Saddam has gone. Iraq's moment of truth, when it will show whether it will cooperate with the new team of UN weapons inspectors and get the sanctions suspended, is almost at hand, according to Hans Blix, the team's Swedish chairman. If it agrees to meet him,the conflict may be resolved. If it refuses, there will be another standoff with the UN. "Towards the end of August we should be ready to open up in Iraq," Mr Blix told the Guardian. "It is not in our mandate to harass, humiliate or provoke Iraq, and we shall not do that." Iraq complained that the previous team (Unscom) had an open agenda which meant that sanctions would never be lifted. Mr Blix said: "We want to be firm but correct. We have given Iraq a marked trail towards suspension, so there's a path they can follow." The new team is not dominated by the west. "The complaint that Unscom was lopsided in a western way is correct," Mr Blix said. Previous inspectors were not recruited by the UN, as the new team is, but seconded by their governments, and western states were more generous. The new team is also determined to avoid the accusation that it is a tool of western intelligence or Iraqi defectors. Iraq made this claim against Scott Ritter, an American member of Unscom. "We will want to examine everything with a critical eye, because there is almost as much disinformation as there is information," Mr Blix said. "Unscom had people with information from various groups and different channels. It's clear Ritter had channels directly, and I don't want to accept any of that. I want that to be under control." Mr Blix is a former director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, with long experience of checking nuclear safeguards in closed societies. "They [Iraqis] may believe sanctions will crumble . . . Many ministers have been visiting Baghdad and sympathising; but I have not seen any of them suggesting there should be a breach of sanctions." But the Iraqi deputy prime minister Tariq Aziz showed no sign of conciliation when visiting Moscow last week. "There is nothing new regarding [UN] resolution 1284, [which set up the new team], which is still unacceptable because it does not provide any solution to the Iraqi cause." Despite the public intransigence on both sides, there is a 50-50 chance of a deal. In a significant change of tone, the British foreign minister Peter Hain provided the kind of assurances that those trying to achieve a deal have been looking for. "Baghdad has to understand we are serious about wanting sanctions suspended, and all that is required is for the Iraq government to allow Blix's team in," Mr Hain said. When that happened, details of how the suspension of sanctions might be triggered could be discussed with the Iraqis. He denied that US-British policy towards Iraq had been a failure. "The biggest achievement of the strategy is to contain Saddam Hussein. That is a very significant one. He has not invaded any country in the last 10 years." Meanwhile, the Gulf states are re-establishing diplomatic relations with Baghdad. Four - Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates - have done so this year. If a diplomatic compromise can be agreed and sanctions are lifted, Iraq, once one of the most economically successful countries, will take a long time to recover. Professor Anoush Ehteshami, director of Middle East studies at Durham University, said: "You can rebuild the infrastructure in 20 years or so, but not the people." Turbulent decade 1990 Aug 2 Iraq invades Kuwait Aug 6 UN imposes sanctions 1991 Jan 16 US-led coalition launches air war against Iraq Feb 26 Allies retake Kuwait Feb 28 Ceasefire announced 1992 Aug 27 "No-fly" zone imposed over southern Iraq 1993 Jan 7 Allies attack missile sites and nuclear facility 1994 Nov 10 Saddam fully recognises Kuwait sovereignty 1996 Sep 4 Bill Clinton extends no-fly zone to Baghdad suburbs Nov 25 Iraq agrees oil-for-food deal with UN 1997 Nov 13-14 Iraq expels US members of UN arms inspectorate. UN withdraws all inspectors in protest. US and Britain build up Gulf forces Nov 20-21 Inspectors allowed back. Iraqis have destroyed equipment 1998 Jun 24 Chief arms inspector Richard Butler says Iraq put VX nerve gas in warheads Aug 4-20 Butler refuses to certify Iraq's weapons of mass destruction destroyed Dec 16-19 Air strikes by US and Britain begin 1999 Jan 6 Butler denies that his team spied for US. Colleague Scott Ritter claims US used information compiled by UN • Research: Ian Bucknell, Guardian R&I 1/8/00: US, BRITAIN BLOCKING CONTRACTS TO REPAIR OIL TERMINAL: IRAQ http://sg.dailynews.yahoo.com/headlines/world/afp/article.html?s=singap ore/headlines/000801/world/afp/US__Britain_blocking_contracts_to_rep air_oil_terminal__Iraq.html BAGHDAD, Aug 1 (AFP) - Iraq accused the United States and Britain on Tuesday of blocking contracts for the repair of a disused Gulf oil terminal whose start-up would boost export capacity to more than three million barrels per day (bpd). "US and British representatives on the UN sanctions committee are blocking the approval of contracts allowing the import of equipment for repairing Mina al-Amaya" oil terminal, Oil Minister Amer Rashid told Al- Qadissiya newspaper. "The first contracts signed by Iraq have all been blocked," he said. Rafed Debuni, head of state-run Southern Petroleum Company, said on June 7 that the offshore terminal, which was damaged during the 1980- 1988 war against Iran and destroyed during the 1991 Gulf War, would be in operation "soon" with a loading capacity of 700,000 bpd. In May, the Middle East Economic Survey reported that Iraq preferred to repair the second terminal rather than reopen a pipeline through Syria to boost its UN-controlled oil exports. Iraq currently uses the Gulf terminal of Mina al-Bakr, west of Mina al- Amaya, that is also in need of repair, and a pipeline running from northern fields through Turkey to the Mediterranean. Under the oil-for-food accord, Iraq, which has been under embargo since its August 1990 invasion of Kuwait, is authorised to export crude in return for essential goods. But a UN sanctions committee has to approve Iraq's contracts with foreign suppliers. Iraq has repeatedly complained of delays in the approval process, pinning the blame on the US and British representatives on the committee, although the United Nations has accelerated the procedure since March. According to Rashid, the UN sanctions committee has blocked "447 contracts, worth 294.9 million dollars, for the oil sector" during phases IV, V and VI of the programme. The director of the UN programme for Iraq, in a statement issued before his visit to Baghdad starting on Tuesday, put the figure at 282 million dollars. The sanctions committee has now agreed "on a list of parts and equipment which would be approved by a group of (technical) experts" rather than the committee itself, as part of the new "procedural improvements", explained Benon Sevan. He said that in the food, health, education and agriculture sectors, lists have been drawn up of products which would not need to be submitted to the sanctions committee for approval. 1/8/00: RUSH FOR CLAIMS AGAINST IRAQ INVASION http://news6.thdo.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/middle%5Feast/newsid%5F 861000/861875.stm BBC World Service Thousands of Kuwaitis have been crowding their law courts to file new compensation claims against Iraq for its occupation of their country ten years ago. They believe they have only hours left to do this, after lawyers warned that the deadline was the tenth anniversary of the invasion tomorrow August 2. The government however has gone on national radio to say there are in fact five more years in which to claim. Kuwait has already filed claims to the UN compensation commission for more than one-hundred-and-fifty-billion dollars worth of damages it says the Iraqis caused. 1/8/00: IRAQ OIL EXPORTS BACK IN NORMAL RANGE http://www.individual.com/story.shtml?story=d0801142.800 NEW YORK (Reuters) - Iraq's oil exports rose 643,000 barrels per day (bpd) last week, ending a lull in oil exports since late June, oil analysts and United Nations diplomats said on Tuesday. Iraq's exports fell in late June and early July both because of the transition between the six-month phases in the U.N.-administered oil-for-food program and Baghdad's delay in signing the eighth-phase oil contracts until after the late June OPEC session, analysts said. The eighth phase of the program, an easing of the embargo the U.N. Security Council placed on Iraq for its Aug. 2, 1990, invasion of Kuwait, runs from June 9 to Dec. 5. Iraq averaged a robust 2.57 million bpd for the week ended July 28, the United Nations said. Its sustainable export rate is about 2.4 million bpd, as estimated by oil industry experts. ``After the problems of June and July, the Iraqis are starting to ramp it up again,'' said Raad Alkadiri, an analyst with the Petroleum Finance Co. ``There is no immediate reason why they should slow down.'' The transition between sales phases ``was particularly drawn out this time, not only because of the rollover (between phases) but because of the Iraqis' insistence not to sign any oil contracts until the OPEC meeting. But now, it's business as usual,'' Alkadiri said. Unless there were unforeseen political tangles, he said, Iraq was expected to keep exports high until the end of the eighth phase in early December. Larry Goldstein, president of the Petroleum Industry Research Foundation Inc., agreed. ``The impression we get is that the Iraqis are not prepared to play politics,'' Goldstein said, noting that the 10th anniversary of the start of Iraqi invasion of Kuwait is Wednesday. ``They are selling increasing volumes of oil and seem prepared to continue.'' The average price for Iraq's crude fell 43 cents to $21.50 per barrel in the week. The four-week average for Iraq's oil exports was 1.84 million bpd and the average for the eighth phase was 1.88 million bpd, with an average price of $22.85 a barrel. Iraq signed six new oil sales contracts in the week, bringing to 353.3 million barrels the total it has agreed to ship in the eighth phase. Iraq would have to ship at least 2.0 million bpd until early December to meet the shipping demands to which they have already agreed. Since the oil-for-food program began in December 1996, Iraq has been allowed to sell oil despite international sanctions that include an oil embargo. Two-thirds of the proceeds fund food, medicines and supplies for Iraq's needy. Another $1.2 billion per year has been used to maintain Iraq's sorely-strained oil industry. In the 3-1/2 years of the program, Iraq has sold 1.9 billion barrels of crude oil for an estimated $29 billion, the United Nations said. 31/7/00: IRAN-IRAQ PILGRIMAGE ROW http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/middle_east/newsid_859000/859804.stm Iran has accused Iraq of obstructing Iranian pilgrims seeking to visit a holy Muslim site, after a group of worshippers was reportedly stopped at the border. Iranian reports said nearly 600 pilgrims on their way to a shrine in Karbala in southern Iraq were stopped at the Khosravi crossing on Sunday after Iraqi border guards demanded higher fees than agreed. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi said Baghdad had "unfortunately and without warning" changed the terms of a long-standing arrangement, the official Irna news agency reported. He described Iraq's actions as "unacceptable". Iran says the agreement governing pilgrim crossings between the two countries - which sets out the level of entry fees - is not due to expire until late September. Delays Most of those stranded at the checkpoint are relatives of people who died in the two countries' brutal 1980-88 war. They had gathered from across Iran to make the journey to the tomb of the Prophet's grandson, Hussein, in Karbala, but are now waiting in the border town of Qasr-e Shirin. The town's governor, Mr Zakeri, said this was the third time such an incident had taken place. "The first time this happened there was a one-year delay. The second time, there was a delay of a few days. "Unfortunately, this sort of thing happens every so often," he said. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email firstname.lastname@example.org Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website: http://welcome.to/casi