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News for 31 July - 6 August 2000

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!]



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

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.


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.

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


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

 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.


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

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.


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.


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."


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.


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.

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

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

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.


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
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.


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

 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

 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''.


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.


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.


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

 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.



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

"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

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."…

IRAQ PATROLS,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

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

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- for the full

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.


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.


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.


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

 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.



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."


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

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

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

``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.

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

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

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.


By GEORGE GEDDA, Associated Press Writer


… Ritter's apostasy has alienated Richard Butler, the former chairman of
UNSCOM, the shorthand term for the now-defunct U.N. inspection

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.''…


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

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

"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.


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

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

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

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


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

"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

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.

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
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.


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.,

``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

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.


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


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.

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