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News 20­27/8/00

NEWS 20­27/8/00

NOTE: The news this week comes in two parts. The first is the news proper
and the second is a Supplement (News supp 20­27/8/00) with things that don't
quite fit but which seem to me to be of interest. These include two
editorials on the bombing campaign ­ The Times (for) and The Guardian

*  Iraqi goods to get show despite UN sanctions (Daily Star, Lebanon)
*  Humanitarian mine-clearing center to open in Iraq (Itar-Tass)
*  Iraq to buy 4m kg tea from India (Times of India)
*  Iraqi health minister in Belgrade, in talks with Yugoslav counterpart
(Iraqi broadcast)
*  More than 10,000 Iraqis dead in July from embargo: Baghdad
*  Russian Oil Co. Chief Visits Iraq
*  Turkoman party claims armed attack by Kurdish KDP on sports club (BBC
*  UN building up arms inspection team for Iraq
*  Defiant Iraq awaits new UN inspection team (Times of India)
*  Dispute Arises on Iraqi Debt for Oil Losses by Kuwaitis (NY Times)
*  Iraq Says It Won't Permit U.N. Visit
*  US money to oust Saddam 'wasted' (Guardian)
*  Saddam building missiles (Guardian)
*  Iranian armed opposition claims attacks on govt forces (Times of India)
*  Iraqi spokesman gives details of US-UK 26th August air sorties (Baghdad
*  Iraqi foreign minister heads to Morocco
*  Iraqi parliament speaker off to UN meeting in New York

*  [British] arms build-up 'breached anti-nuclear treaty' (The Observer)
*  Stop the bombing: we must find a better way to deal with Iraq (Guardian
*  Watch over Iraq: Thankless and dangerous, but in no sense pointless
(Times leader)
*  Bombing of Iraq 'a threat to peace' (Letters to The Times)
*  Afghans welcome arms embargo, not economic sanctions: UN (Times of India)
*  Labour ditches ethical arms trade bill (Guardian)
*  Perfecting the art of evasion: Russians aren't the only ones who have
been telling lies (Guardian)
*  Is Iraq planning to nuke U.S.? (Christian Broadcasting Network)
*  What is the UN doing about Iraq? (Chicago Tribune editorial)
*  The collapse of the Iraqi war machine: Ten years after the Gulf War, what
was once the world's fourth largest army remains incapable of protecting its
own territory. (The Ottawa Citizen)

Amal Fadlallah, Daily Star (Lebanon), 19th August

Iraqi products are set to be showcased at an exhibition in Beirut in
mid-September, despite the UN embargo on trade with Iraq.

The exhibition, which is being organized by the Lebanese Industrialists¹
Association, follows three years of contacts and visits to Iraq by Lebanese
officials and economic bodies.

Ahmad Kabbara, head of the Lebanese Board of Export Development, said that
trade in the 41 Iraqi industrial and agricultural products that will feature
in the exhibition was not prohibited by the UN embargo.

The embargo, which was imposed after Iraq¹s invasion of Kuwait in August
1990, allows Iraq to export oil in exchange for food and medical supplies.

The port of Tripoli began handling some of these supplies earlier this year,
loading them onto trucks for overland transport to Iraq.

Kabbara said he regretted the lack of an Iraqi commercial office in Lebanon
and pointed out that Lebanon in 1997 was the first Arab country to resume
commercial contacts with Iraq. He said he hoped that the exhibition would
open the door to further cooperation.

Business contacts between the two countries since 1997 include six Lebanese
exhibitions in Iraq, the symbolic participation of Iraq in two food product
exhibitions in Lebanon in 1997 and 1998, and official visits by ministers of
the two states.

The industrialists¹ association outlined plans for the exhibition at a press
conference on Friday, which was also attended by Nabil Janabi, the Iraqi
charge d¹affaires in Lebanon, and Amer Shehab, the Iraqi commercial attache
in Damascus.

Fares Saad, director-general of the Industrial Marketing Company, said the
exhibition came amid ³a wide policy of openness of the countries neighboring
Iraq Š which will enhance trade and economic relations.²

He said the exhibition could lead to similar Lebanese-Iraqi events in the
future and create incentives to increase trade between the two countries.


Moscow, August 21 IRNA-Itar-Tass-ACSNA: It is planned to open a specialized
humanitarian mine-clearing center in Iraq with the assistance of Russia's
ministry for emergencies. Such is one of the  results of the Russian
delegation's visit to Baghdad.

The delegation  was led by Ruslan Tsalikov, deputy minister for emergencies.
In Baghdad on Sunday, the Russian delegation leader signed a  memorandum of
understanding between the Russian ministry for  emergencies and the interior
ministry of the Republic of Iraq on civil  defense and prevention of

The document envisages in  particular the establishment of a humanitarian
mine-clearing center.  According to the official data of the Iraqi
leadership, there are  about 450,000 unexploded missiles and bombs of
American make on the  country's territory up to now. Russian ministry
specialists will  assist the Iraqi side in rendering them harmless.

The group of Russian delegates was the first governmental  delegation to
land at Baghdad's Saddam airport since 1991. The Itar-Tass correspondent,
who was aboard the plane, was an eye witness  to a sincere tumultuous joy
among residents of the Iraqi capital, since to them an official Russian
delegation's arrival, about which  the UN special committee on sanctions had
been notified, virtually  signifies a breaking of the blockade.

Tsalikov stated in Baghdad that Russia is prepared to develop  relations
with Iraq in various fields. Russia's principled position  is to press for
the lifting of the international economic sanctions  against Iraq.  The
Iraqi side regarded with understanding the cancellation of minister Sergei
Shoigu's visit to Baghdad in view of the situation  concerning the sunken
submarine Kursk. The leadership of Iraq  expressed deep-felt condolences to
the Russian people on the tragedy  in the Barents sea.

*  IRAQ TO BUY 4M KG TEA FROM INDIA (Times of India, 22/8/00 ­ extract)

CALCUTTA: The gloomy domestic front notwithstanding, the Indian tea industry
is poised for exciting times on the export front. Even as the industry
aggressively jostles for more space in overseas markets, the good news is
Iraq is back with a bang.

Close on heels of a promising tour of a high level delegation of Iran, Iraq
has ordered another 4.2m kg of orthodox teas which it seeks to purchase
under the food for oil programme.

The tendering for the teas has already been completed. With the latest
order, Iraq is set to eclipse its previous year's purchases of 5.6m kg. "The
latest orders are only up to July. Hence we expect that the enquiries will
higher by year-end," said ITA chairman R S Jhawar.

Republic of Iraq Radio, Baghdad, in Arabic, 22 Aug 00/BBC Monitoring: Iraq
and Yugoslavia have held a session of talks in Belgrade. The Iraqi side was
led by Health Minister Umid Midhat Mubarak, while the Yugoslav side was led
by the Yugoslav health minister. The Yugoslav minister expressed his
country's gratitude and appreciation to President leader Saddam Husayn for
his ongoing support.

Talks dealt with prospects of cooperation in the field of medicine, health,
the pharmaceutical industry and exchanging expertise in a way that serves
the two countries and friendly peoples.

Umid Midhat Mubarak arrived in Yugoslavia yesterday at the head of an
official delegation on an official visit that will last several days.


BAGHDAD, Aug 22 (Agence France-Presse) - Iraq's health ministry said Tuesday
that more than 10,000 Iraqis, mainly young children, died in July because of
the international sanctions imposed on the country since its 1990 invasion
of Kuwait.

"Some 7,457 Iraqi children under five years of age and 2,843 adults died in
July of illnesses such as diarrohea, respiratory problems and malnutrition,"
the ministry said in a statement carried by the official INA news agency.

The ministry said on July 1 that more than 1.35 million Iraqis had died
because of the embargo since 1990.

And Iraqi Health Minister Umid Medhat Mubarak has said that the country's
infant mortality rate has almost quadrupled since 1990, rising from 24 per
thousand in 1990 to a current level of 98 per thousand.

Among children over five years old, the monthly death rate has increased to
8,600 from its 1990 level of 1,600, while the number of major surgical
operations carried out monthly had plummetted to 4,442 from a pre-embargo
151,525, Mubarak said.


MOSCOW (Associated Press, August 22) - The chief of Russian-Belarusian oil
giant Slavneft flew to Baghdad on Tuesday for talks on increasing operations
in Iraq, the company said in a statement.

The Slavneft delegation, led by President Mikhail Gutseriyev, was to meet
with Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz and other Iraqi officials during the
three-day visit, the statement said.

Slavneft, which is eager to develop Iraqi oil fields, recently opened an
office in Baghdad. Slavneft is also developing fields in neighboring Iran.

``We expect the international embargo against Iraq to be lifted eventually
and we are trying to be among those international companies prepared to
start oil production in Iraq immediately after this happens,'' said Slavneft
Vice President Andrei Shtorkh.

Text of statement by the Iraqi Turkoman Front leadership, published by Iraqi
Turkoman Front newspaper 'Turkomaneli" on 20th August (BBC Monitoring
International Reports, Aug 22):Armed attacks against the Turkoman continue
in Arbil, northern Iraq. At around 1500 on 20th August 200, a Kurdistan
Democratic party [KDP] armed group launched an armed attack on the Iraqi
Turkoman Front's Turkomaneli Sports Club, using all kinds of heavy weapons.
Eventually the building was seized and the club offices sustained heavy
damage. The armed men of the local administration [referring to the KDP-led
regional government], who were wearing official uniforms, fired into the air
declaring their triumph.

It is to be noted that on 19th August 2000 a meeting was held between
delegations from the front and Arbil Governorate in an effort to find a
solution regarding the aforementioned club. Deputy Governor of Arbil Mahdi
Khshnaw promised that tension would end if the club was vacated by the
front's guards. Acting on the promises made by the deputy governor and some
officials of the KDP, the front ordered the guards to leave the building.
However, the KDP exploited the opportunity and mobilized its forces which
stormed the building and seized it.

The KDP, which has no consideration for the rights of Turkomans, has been
heightening tension in the region and persistently escalating attacks on the
Turkoman Front's institutions.

While protesting against the situation, we urge all the democratic
authorities and human rights organizations to condemn the KDP's stance. We
would like to say that the entity of a people cannot be destroyed by
violence and injustice, and announce to the public opinion that we will
continue our struggle relentlessly for the attainment of all our legitimate

We, in the Iraqi Turkoman Front, along with peace and stability in northern
Iraq, support all the peoples in exercising their rights freely, and condemn
national assimilation and all the practices that are against human rights.
We wish for Arabs, Kurds, Turkomans and Assyrians to live in a fraternal
atmosphere and on the basis of mutual respect in Iraq.

Finally, we urge the international forces which protect the safe area
[haven] to take appropriate action in order to promptly stop the attacks to
which the Turkomans are being subjected in Arbil, which is within the safe

[Signed] The leadership of the Turkoman Front, Arbil, 20th August 2000


UNITED NATIONS, Aug 22 (Agence France-Presse) - The UN's new Iraqi arms
control body has recruited and trained enough inspectors to form an advance
team should Iraq agree to let the United Nations resume monitoring, a
spokesman said Tuesday.

But, said Ewen Buchanan, spokesman for the UN Monitoring, Verification and
Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), the commission was still far short of full
strength, which he estimated at slightly more than 130 people.

"We have completed the first month-long training course for inspectors," he

"Forty-four trainees of 19 different nationalities took part, and that is a
wider spread than UNSCOM ever had at any one time," he added, referring to
the UN Special Commission, the previous control body.

UNSCOM left Iraq in December 1998 on the eve of a bombing campaign by the
British and US airforces, and UN arms inspectors have not been allowed back
into the country since then.

The new commission was set up by the UN Security Council on December 17 last
year, in a resolution which offered to suspend the 10-year-old Iraqi
sanctions regime if Iraq cooperates fully with the inspectors.

Buchanan said that about half the recruits had been offered full-time jobs
with UNMOVIC and half had been put onto a roster of experts who were
"trained, fit and available."

He said the inspectors were "not all military types" and included civil
engineers who were trained to detect the possible military uses of an
aparently innocent factory.

The 16 members of UNMOVIC's college of commissioners are scheduled to meet
at UN headquarters in New York on Wednesday and Thurday to discuss the
second quarterly report by UNMOVIC chairman Hans Blix.

The report is due to go the UN Security Council on September 1.

"Recruitment and training is an ongoing process. Further recruitment and
training are planned," Buchanan said.

He recalled that in Resolution 1284, the Security Council said that Blix
must report to it "immediately that UNMOVIC is fully operational in Iraq."

He added: "I don't think you can be fully operational with only a dozen
people on the ground."

A second training course is expected to take place in France later this


BAGHDAD: Iraq is defiant as it awaits another attempt by the United Nations
to determine whether it is producing nuclear and chemical weapons - and
confident growing support means it does not risk attack.

In a meeting with army commanders broadcast on Iraqi television late Monday,
Iraqi President Saddam Hussein declared there "is a huge difference" between
conditions today and the situation in 1991, when a US-led multinational
force routed Iraqi troops in Kuwait.

There have been no UN inspectors in Iraq since a team left in December 1998
ahead of US and British airstrikes meant to punish Saddam for allegedly
failing to cooperate with the United Nations. A new team had been expected
to attempt to enter Iraq this month. Iraq has said it will not allow the
inspectors in.

Economy-crippling UN sanctions imposed after Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait
can only be suspended if Iraq cooperates with the new inspectors and can
only be lifted if Iraq is declared free of weapons of mass destruction.

In Iraq, state-run newspapers are full of articles declaring that the
US-backed sanctions are fizzling and the once formidable anti-Iraq alliance
Washington led is crumbling. "Every day, the world witnesses serious changes
and developments showing the degree of shift (towards Iraq) in the
international political climate," declared the government newspaper
al-Jumhouriya in a front page article on Tuesday.

It and other state-run papers devoted front-page stories Tuesday to a letter
they said Russian Foreign Minister Ivor Ivanov had sent to UN
Secretary-General Kofi Annan, saying that his country has lost nearly dlrs
30 billion in trade with Iraq due to sanctions.

The papers also quoted Ivanov as saying that sanctions were preventing Iraq
from repaying $7.8 billion in debts to Russia. Government officials
privately say their rejection of a request by the United Nations to send a
new team of inspectors could spark a new diplomatic or perhaps military
confrontation with Washington.

But they also have seen public opinion - in Arab and international arenas -
condemn punishment that has hit ordinary Iraqis hardest. Senior foreign
dignitaries are frequently shown on Iraqi television delivering message to
Saddam from their heads of state.

The stream of international visitors culminated this month with a trip by
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, the first head of state to call on Saddam
since the Gulf War.

UN exemptions to the sanctions have enabled Iraq to reemerge as a profitable
market in international trade. The oil-for-food program, initially a
humanitarian proposal, has also recast it as an important player in an
oil-thirsty world.

Iraq's external trade under the UN-monitored oil program, which allows it to
skirt sanctions as long as most of the proceeds are used to meet the basic
needs of ordinary Iraqis, now runs into billions of dollars a year,
prompting visits to Baghdad by foreign trade delegations.

by Barbara Crossette (NY Times, August 23, 2000)

UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 22 -- A dispute pitting the United States against
Russia and France over Iraqi reparations to a Kuwaiti oil company has for
the first time stymied the work of a United Nations compensation commission
set up after the 1991 Persian Gulf war.
At stake is a large claim of $21.6 billion submitted by the Kuwait Petroleum
Corporation for lost oil and gas sales resulting from Iraq's invasion of
Kuwait in 1990, during which oil wells were destroyed or damaged.

The compensation commission, based in Geneva, proposed in June that the
Kuwait company be awarded $15.9 billion. Russia and France objected, and no
award was made.

Diplomats say the United States is lobbying to line up support for Kuwait
before a vote on the issue that may be held at the commission's next
meeting, late next month.

Until now, all decisions by the commission have made been by consensus on
the advice of experts. The 15-member panel, made up of representatives from
Security Council countries, is expected to award claims as income from Iraqi
oil sales becomes available.

The disagreement adds another irritant to an already frayed Security Council
consensus on how to deal with the government of President Saddam Hussein as
economic sanctions imposed on Iraq after its invasion of Kuwait a decade ago
drag on.

As a critical moment approaches in the efforts of the United Nations to
return arms inspectors to Iraq -- a key to lifting the embargo -- the new
dispute over war reparations reopens another divisive debate in a second
important area, the oil-for-food program.

The program is an exception to the embargo under which Iraq is permitted to
sell oil abroad to pay for the imports of essential civilian goods.

Mr. Hussein, now earning billions in oil sales thanks to the lifting of all
restrictions on oil exports last year just as prices were rising, has always
objected to the requirement that a third of his oil income should go to
compensate the many victims of his invasion and occupation of Kuwait.

Money from the oil sales is also set aside for the Kurdish regions of
northern Iraq and to help pay for the arms inspection program.

The Iraqis rejected the oil sales program entirely until 1995, because of
the controls on how Iraq could spend the money. In the first few years of
the program, with oil prices low and limits on how much oil Iraq could sell,
the issue merely simmered. Iraq continued to demand that sanctions be lifted
to relieve the hardships of people living under the embargo, but was never
able to challenge the reparations plan successfully.

Now the sums being set aside for compensation are rising into the tens of
billions and Iraq -- with the backing of Russia and France, both of which
are owed money by Iraq and hope for more business in the future -- has
become more active in opposing the payments.

In recent years the Iraq compensation commission has paid more than $8
billion in claims, mostly to individuals and small businesses or other
institutions hurt by the Iraqi invasion.

But the commission has now begun to process claims from petroleum companies,
and the amounts being sought are significant. Last year the Kuwait Oil
Company and the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation were jointly awarded $2.3
billion for the loss of equipment and other measurable assets.

This year's much larger Kuwaiti request for the loss of less tangible things
like thwarted sales ran into technical objections from France, which
requested a delay to have its own experts review the claim.

United Nations officials and diplomats said that the Russian objection was
more political and that it raised the larger issue of the future of the
claims process.

According to unofficial notes from the June meeting, provided by panel
officials, the Russians said it would be unacceptable to give that much
money to the Kuwaiti oil industry, whether or not the claim was sound, while
Iraqis were suffering from a trade embargo.

The Russians then said that they would like a review of the level of Iraq's
contribution to the compensation fund from its oil revenues. The money now
goes into an escrow account in Paris managed by the United Nations, and any
change in its allocation would have to be made by the Security Council.

Diplomats said they expected Russia to raise the issue next month, when all
aspects of policy toward Iraq will be open for debate.

by Leon Barkho (Associated Press, 23 August)

BAGHDAD, Iraq: Iraq said Wednesday it will not permit a new U.N. weapons
inspection team to visit, promising that the country would stand firm even
if threatened with the use of force.

Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz said Iraq had not changed its position on a
U.N. resolution that calls for the resumption of stalled weapons inspections
and promises Iraq a suspension of sanctions if it cooperates.

Asked about Aziz's comments, U.N. spokesman Fred Eckhard said: ``That's been
their standing policy for some time. Our position is that we will continue
to prepare for a new round of inspections.''

Eckhard said at U.N. headquarters in New York that the world body hopes that
Iraq will change its position, accept the inspection teams ``and eventually
get to a position where we could declare Iraq in full compliance and see the
lifting of the sanctions against that country.''

The head of the new inspection program, Hans Blix, is ready to restart
international efforts to ensure Iraq has surrendered weapons of mass
destruction and the ability to make and deploy them in compliance with U.N.
Security Council resolutions.

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright met with Blix Tuesday and expressed
full support for his activities.

Aziz said Iraq will not allow Blix or any of his inspectors to enter the

"I have said Iraq will not cooperate with Resolution 1284. This means it
will not receive Blix or any person related to this resolution,'' Aziz told

Blix is a former Swedish foreign minister who also served for many years as
director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The new program is called the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection
Commission. It will replace the U.N. Special Commission, the inspection team
that left Iraq in December 1998 shortly before the United States and Britain
launched airstrikes to punish Baghdad for allegedly failing to cooperate.

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher has ruled out the use of force if
Iraq rejects the commission. Boucher said Tuesday that Iraq stands to
benefit by cooperating. He said the United Nations won't lift its sanctions,
imposed to punish Iraq for invading Kuwait in 1990, unless it does.

Aziz said threats and military action will not compel Iraq to change its

"We have become accustomed to threats. Iraq is ready for all challenges,''
he said.,4273,4054241,00.html#to
*  US MONEY TO OUST SADDAM 'WASTED' (Guardian, August 23, 2000)
Julian Borger in Washington

Two years after the US Congress voted to spend $97m on the overthrow of the
Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein, none of the country's resistance groups have
received any weapons, but they are learning how to talk about their

Under pressure to disburse the funds but concerned that rival opposition
factions would turn any new weapons on each other rather than on President
Saddam's forces, the US state department has sought out more innocuous ways
to spend the money.

Much of it, the Iraqi opposition complains, has been awarded to "new age"
management consultants in the west who know little about Iraq. The latest
beneficiary has been the Conflict Management Group (CMG), an organisation
founded by Roger Fisher, a US conflict-resolution guru who wrote the
business-negotiation bible, Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without
Giving In.

Ahmed Chalabi, leader of the main opposition grouping, the Iraqi National
Congress (INC), has denounced the scheme as a "great waste of money".

"A fellow called me up about six months ago and said: 'We've got this big
contract to organise this meeting. Can you tell me the names of some of the
Iraqi opposition leaders?'," Mr Brooke recalled. "I'd be very surprised if
anyone significant turned up at all."

A $3m (£2m) opposition conference was also arranged in New York last year,
but it failed to heal the rifts in the opposition and was boycotted by the
main Iranian-backed Shi'ite rebels; Iraqi opposition politicians complained
that too much congressional money had been spent on the event's highly paid
US organisers.

The INC organised its own conference earlier this year in London at
one-tenth of the cost for each per person, Mr Brooke said.

Leith Kubba, an independent Iraqi analyst at the Washington-based thinktank,
the National Endowment for Democracy, said he expected that very little of
the money would be spent before the US elections in November.

There were problems in supplying weapons to the Kurds or the Shi'ite rebels,
the only significant groups with an armed presence. Arming the Kurds would
anger Turkey, while the Shi'ites were based in Iran, he said."However, the
state department is being pushed to spend the money anyway, so they look for
other recipients," Mr Kubba said. "...the money has been forced on them by

ACTION COMMITTEE'. Thanks to Moonirah for drawing this body's website to my
attention ­ PB,4273,4055427,00.html

*  SADDAM BUILDING MISSILES (Guardian, August 26, 2000)

by John Hooper in Berlin

The German intelligence service took the highly unusual step yesterday of
confirming a report that it had found a secret missile-production facility
in Iraq.

The tabloid daily, Bild Zeitung, had placed the plant 25 miles south-west of
Baghdad in the "al Mamoun" factory.

The report was the latest of several based on western intelligence
assessments suggesting that the Iraqi president, Saddam Hussein, has rebuilt
his missile-production capability far more swiftly than expected. After
British and American war planes struck at 12 military factories in 1998, the
allies claimed to have set back Iraq's missile programme by several years.

But last month the New York Times reported that Baghdad had resumed building
and flight testing ballistic missiles. American officials said US spy
satellites and aircraft monitoring the "no fly" zones over northern and
southern Iraq had detected seven test flights in the 12 months to the end of

Iraq described the article as an attempt to divert attention from the issue
of sanctions imposed after its 1990 invasion of Kuwait. But it did not deny
the report.

Bild said that about 250 technicians were working at the al-Mamoun plant,
producing a solid-fuel, short-range weapon called the Ababil-100. A
spokeswoman for the Bundesnachrichtendienst, the German federal intelligence
service, said: "We can confirm that the report is substantially correct."

The paper said the Ababil-100 had a range of less than 150 kilometres (about
90 miles), and thus did not breach UN restrictions imposed on Iraq after the
Gulf war in 1991. Iraq is known to be keen to enhance its air-defence
systems to strike at British and US pilots enforcing the UN's no-fly zones.

But German and other western security experts have expressed concern that
building and testing short-range missiles could herald a move towards
establishing a longer-range capability.

Bild also reported that Germany's secret service had unearthed evidence that
President Saddam's scientists were working on plans for weapons that could
travel up to 3,000 kilometres (1,865 miles), which would allow Baghdad to
hit targets in western Europe.

Anthony Zinni, the US commander in the Gulf, sounded a similar warning last
month, when he told the New York Times that short-range missile technology
was "transferable to longer-range missiles".

=Iraq&results ­ PB

August 2000)

NICOSIA: Iran's exiled armed opposition, the People's Mujahedeen, said on
Saturday it had carried out a series of attacks on Iranian army units in the
west of the country over the past two days.

In a statement received by AFP in Nicosia, the Baghdad-based group said it
had carried out 15 large-scale operations in Khuzestan, Kermanshah and Ilam
provinces against Iranian army, state security and intelligence forces.

A Mujahedeen spokesman said "hundreds" of government forces had been killed
or wounded.

On Saturday a Mujahedeen unit pounded an "intelligence and terrorist base"
of Iran's Revolutionary Guards in the town of Qasr-e Shirin in Kermanshah
province, as well as a nearby army garrison, a statement from the group

The group also said its fighters had "inflicted heavy casualties" on an
airborne division in Ilam province.

Their spokesman said many of the attacks had been carried out in broad
daylight. He added that they were in retaliation for an Iranian attack on
one of the group's training camps in Iraq on August 18.

The commander of the camp warned at the time that the Mujahedeen's response
would be "10 times stronger."

There has been no official comment from Tehran on the Mujahedeen's claims.

The Mujahedeen's presence in Iraq is a major stumbling block to the
restoration of relations between Iran and Iraq, which fought a bloody
eight-year war in the 1980s. (AFP)
(Republic of Iraq Radio, Baghdad,26 Aug ­ BBC Monitoring Service, Aug 27)

In continuation of the hostile policy the United States and Britain pursue
against Iraq, backed by the Saudi and Kuwaiti regimes, the evil ravens have
continued their combat air sorties over residential areas and civilian and
services facilities in a desperate attempt to undermine the will of the
Iraqis, who are valiantly confronting their treacherous aggression and
unjust blockade.

In a statement to the Iraqi News Agency, a spokesman for the Air Defence
Command said: At 1025 [0625 gmt] today, 26th August, 11 formations of the US
and British aircraft conducted 24 combat air sorties from the Saudi airspace
and 12 combat air sorties from the Kuwaiti airspace. They were aided by an
AWACS plane that was flying in the Saudi airspace and an A-2C plane from the
Kuwaiti airspace.

The spokesman noted that the evil ravens flew over areas in the governorates
of Basra, Dhi Qar, Al-Muthanna, Al-Qadisiyah, Al-Najaf, Karbala, and Maysan.
He affirmed that our heroic ground defenses confronted these ravens and
forced them to leave our airspace for the bases of treachery and treason in
Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

Concluding his statement, the military spokesman said: Thus, the number of
the combat air sorties conducted by the US and British ravens from Saudi and
Kuwaiti airspace since the Day of Conquest, 17th December 1998, to date
totals 18,913. Meanwhile, the number of the combat air sorties conducted by
the ravens taking off from Saudi, Kuwaiti, and Turkish airspace totals


BAGHDAD, Aug 26 (Agence France-Presse) - Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed
Said al-Sahhaf left for Morocco Saturday to take part in the meeting of the
Jerusalem committee of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference.

Sahhaf was going to the meeting, scheduled for Monday, to "restate the Iraqi
position in support of the Palestinian cause and have meetings on the
sidelines with Arab and Muslim counterparts," a statement from the official
INA news agency said.

During these meetings, the minister will raise "bilateral relations and the
American and British aggression against Iraq," the statement said.

The Jerusalem committee, which meets at the foreign ministerial level, is
committed to working for the "liberation" of east Jerusalem from Israeli
occupation and preserving its Arab-Islamic heritage.

The committee groups Bangladesh, Egypt, Guinea, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq,
Jordan, Lebanon, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Pakistan, the Palestinian
Authority, Saudi Arabia, Senegal and Syria.

I nearly missed this one ­ PB)

BAGHDAD, Aug 27 (Agence France-Presse) - The speaker of Iraq's parliament,
Saadun Hammadi, left for New York Sunday to attend an international
parliamentary meeting at UN headquarters, the official INA news agency

Hammadi will also attend an extraordinary meeting of the Arab Parliamentary
Union taking place on the sidelines of the session, on August 30 and 31.

The APU meeting will focus on the "latest developments over Jerusalem" after
the failure of the Israel-Palestinian summit at Camp David in July.

The Iraqi press has also reported that Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz will
also go to New York shortly to represent his country at the special
three-day UN millennium summit due to start on September 6.

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