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News, 10-17/9/00

NEWS 10-17/9/00

Sorry there's so much of it, but it all seems to me very interesting and
pretty sinister - PB

*  UN asked to sue Western suppliers of chemical weapons to Iraq
*  Iraqi diplomat lauds Iran's detente policy
*  French non- governmental organizations fight to rent a plane to head for
*  Kurdish official says Iraq amassing troops near Kurdish region
*  The Turkish water projects on the Tigris and Euphrates
*  Kuwait to discuss Iraq war fines with France
*  Change of heart by Iraq would end sanctions (remarks by P.Hain)
*  Iraqi paper terms Opec decision as US conspiracy
*  Albright Bashes Iraq in U.N. Speech
*  Report: Iraq Civilians Get More Food
*  Iraqi paper condemns Saudi arms purchase from U.S.
*  Iraq says it discovered mass graves on the border
*  Russia in new push to lift Iraq sanctions
*  ICRC team expected in Tehran to clarify the status of PoWs
*  Iraq allows establishing private insurance companies
*  Iraqi Kurdish faction to withdraw militias
*  Unlikely Foe Of Iraq Policy Tells Why [interview with Ritter]
*  Child Malnutrition Plagues Iraq
*  Kuwait says Iraq wants war, calls for Arab stand
*  Iraq to boycott Jordanian firms doing business with Israel
*  U.S.: Iraq Violates Saudi Air Space
*  Iraq, Russia To Resume Flights
*  Reports of Iraqi Missile Threat Are Greatly Exaggerated [by Scott Ritter]
*  Iraq considers EURO instead of dollars  in trade dealings
*  Kuwait oil minister says OPEC fed up with Iraq
*  Remarks by Archbishop Carey in New York
*  Iraq: vice-president and Congo envoy discuss ties, cooperation
*  Oil minister tells symposium USA planned to weaken OPEC with Saudi help
*  Iraqi Foes To Receive Aid
*  Shi'ite group opposes U.S. aid to Iraqi opposition
*  Iraqi prelate calls for end to sanctions: Archbishop Kassab visits
Cardinal Keeler
*  Iraq sanctions 'cruel, outdated,' says Vedrine
* Egypt urges efforts to end UN sanctions on Iraq
*  Iraq Boosts Military Training
*  Pentagon trying to incriminate Iraq
*  US planes hit radar station in Iraq: Pentagon
*  Former Japanese defense chief meets Iraqi speaker


*  Souk in a Slump: A century-old institution, Baghdad's copper market
fading away
*  Saddam urges nuclear scientists to support military in defeating enemies
*  Throwing our weight about ­ Sierra Leone: A personal view by Seumas Milne
[Guardian. It refers to Iraq but raises the whole question of Britain's
colonial past]
*  Turkish dam 'will rob 70,000 of their homes'
*  US judge defers decision. Ruling on Surasaknow set for Oct 23 [Bangkok
Post ­ a strange little story about 'conspiracy' to buy oil from Iraq]
*  Iraq after Saddam [nasty little piece of American fantasising]
*  Oil prices: between Iraq and a hard place [interesting article in Irish
*  From a Rival With a Smile, Words to U.S. Are: En Garde [about Hubert


Tehran, Sept 11, IRNA -- Secretary of the Society Advocating Victimsof
Chemical Weapons in Iran Mohammad Hassan Maleki on Monday strongly condemned
the inaction of the international community to bring to justice the Western
firms which helped Iraq manufacture chemicalweapons in its imposed war on
Iran in 1980s.

Forwarding a letter to Representative of the United Nations to Iran, Maleki
said in the past six months at least 20 war veterans wounded by chemical
weapons have succumbed to their injuries. The letter, a copy of which was
made available to IRNA questioned,"If the victims had been from Western
countries, would the international community have exercised the same
inaction and wouldnot have sued the Western companies which helped Iraq
produce chemicalweapons."

Maleki said those affected by the chemical weapons have passed twodecades of
sufferings and have gradually succumbed to their wounds. "What is the answer
of the International Community to these crimes," Maleki asked the UN
representative in his letter.


Tehran, Sept 11, IRNA -- Iraqi Charge d'Affaires to Iran Abdul-Sattar
al-Rawi Monday praised Iran's detente policy and its contribution
tostrengthening regional and international security

.In a meeting with Majlis Speaker Hojjatoleslam Mehdi Karroubi,al-Rawi said
Iran has called for solidarity with the Islamic states which is an example
of its successful diplomacy.He said developing parliamentary relations is a
good avenue for building confidence among governments and hoped that
exchange ofparliamentary groups between Iran and Iraq would help create an
atmosphere of confidence. He offered congratulation to Karroubi on his
election to Majlis speaker and said that the Baghdad government is willing
to settle the dispute between the two countries and develop relations in
allareas.Mr. Karroubi said the Islamic Republic of Iran is willing to
develop relations with all Islamic states and neighboring countries in
particular. He said grounds should be prepared to remove the obstacles in
the way of promoting Iran-Iraq relations.Karroubi said the two countries
ranking officials are requiredto display resolve to settle the disputes
concerning bilateralrelations and take practical step in this respect.He
said exchange of visits between officials and developing parliamentary
relations would help remove the obstacles to Iran-Iraq relations.

IRAQ (ArabicNews.Com, 11th Sept)

French non governmental societies and organizations which want to break the
embargo imposed on the civil aviation flight to Iraq, have been launching a
difficult battle with airlines companies in order to be able to rent a
plane, that can be used by their representatives for Iraq. And these
difficulties are still persisting despite the positive stand of the French

Two months after these organizations announced determination to break the
air embargo on Iraq, the organizers have failed to rent a plane for this
purpose. The secretary general for the French- Iraqi friendship society jeil
Monieh said on Friday " we are making now negotiations with three private
airline companies in West Europe and Russia.

Monieh explained that the contacts which had started since last June with
the French and European airlines indicate that there are pressures exerted
on these companies in order not to comply " to our request," adding " I
think certain sides at the US embassy in Paris are not far from these
maneuvers ( of pressuring the airline companies ).

Monte Carlo - Middle East, Paris, in Arabic/BBC Monitoring Service, Sep 11)

[Murad] For some time now, there have been troop concentrations at the
southern areas administered by the PUK [Patriotic Union of Kurdistan]. There
are gatherings south of Kifri and Chamchamal and close to Kirkuk. These
forces are comprised of around 800 pieces of equipment, including personnel
carriers and an infantry division. These forces belong to the 12th Division
of the Republican Guards.

We believe that the Iraqi regime is trying to invade the area in order to
create tension. The Kurdish administration is properly implementing Security
Council Resolution 986, that is the oil-for-food programme. Food and
medicine are being distributed by the administrative organs among the
citizens in the area.

[Shamiyah] Can you tell us about any direct threats that you received in the

[A] Yes, Iraqi officials, particularly Mr Qusay, son of the Iraqi president,
made his threats in an open speech on the occasion of the 31st of August and
said that he is gathering his forces to invade the region and destroy, as he
put it, the sources of treason and disloyalty in the Kurdish areas. However,
it is worth mentioning that the organizations that are working here deal
with Baghdad and come and go out of Iraq through Baghdad. They also come to
our region by way of Baghdad. They are organizations that belong to the
United Nations.

[Q] Do the Iraqis not fear a reaction by the United States?

[A] A few days ago, the Americans announced that they will repulse any Iraqi
attack on the Kurdish area. Previously, [word indistinct] announced that
there are red lines for the Iraqi regime, such as Kuwait, not attacking the
neighbouring countries, and not attacking the Kurdish area. We believe that
if the Iraqi army thinks of invading the area [changes thought], or that the
Iraqi army might exploit the US elections to carry out an attack. I believe
that the Iraqi army will face an excellent resistance by the fighters and
the area's people, because they do not want to go back to the dark period,
which preceded 1990. The Kurds are managing their own affairs and there is a
local Kurdish government. This is a good opportunity to declare that this
government or this area, which we call the federal area, is part of Iraq and
we will not call for seceding from Iraq.

[Q] Why the Al-Sulaymaniyah? Does this area come under the international and
US protection?

[A] No, the No-Fly Zones do not cover Al-Sulaymaniyah. They extend to five
km south of Irbil. The Al-Sulaymaniyah falls south of this line.

[Q] You spoke of the resistance mounted by the Kurdish people and the people
of the area against the Iraqi army. However, the question was about the US

[A] Of course, the Americans let the Kurdish people down on the morning of
31st August 1996, when the Iraqi forces invaded the city of Arbil, which was
the only Kurdish capital and which was under the control of the PUK. They
threw us out in cooperation with the forces of Mas'ud Barzani [leader of the
Kurdistan Democratic Party] and the Americans did not do anything. The US
reaction was confined to targeting several Iraqi bases in the south of Iraq
and not in the Kurdish area. Therefore, the Kurds and the PUK rely
completely on their own forces and not on outside forces for their


The London- based al-Quds al-Arabi daily said in its Friday's issue that the
Turkish water projects on the Tigris and the Euphrates which count 21 dams
and 19 electricity generation stations besides irrigation infrastructure
estimated at US $ 32 billion will affect the water flow of the Euphrates
river and consequently will have an adverse impact on the economics of the
river's basin especially on Syria and Iraq.

In an article written by Salah Taha, the paper added that Turkey's
implementation of these projects indicates that it wants to control the
waters of the region through imposing its conditions on those who use this
water, especially in the coming decades when waters will much more valuable
than oil.

The paper said that Turkey's desire to impose full hegemony on the Euphrates
river as its waters is a natural Turkish resource of no less importance than
the oil owned by the majority of the Arab states. A hegemony which is a
flagrant violation to the International law over waters of international
rivers as well as a violation to the rights of others in their fair shares
of waters.


KUWAIT (September 12) :: Kuwait's oil minister will fly to Paris this week
to discuss delays by France and Russia in processing a $21.5 billion claim
by the Gulf Arab state against former occupier Iraq, sources said on Monday.

Sheikh Saud Nasser al-Sabah, who is currently in Vienna attending an Opec
meeting, will fly to Paris with a message from the Kuwaiti leadership to
French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin dealing with delays in 1991 Gulf War
claims. The United Nations Gulf War reparations body has delayed action
twice on Kuwait's $21.5 billion claim for oil destroyed by Iraq during its
seven-month occupation.

The body's Governing Council, made up of the 15 members of the UN Security
Council, is due to meet again in September in Geneva to reconsider the claim
and whether to award Kuwait $15.9 billion, a figure recommended by
independent arbitrators.

The French and Russian delegations were behind the delays of the claim filed
against Iraq at the UN Compensation Commission (UNCC) in Geneva.

Sources said they expected the Kuwaiti minister to visit Paris on Tuesday
and return home on Thursday or Friday.

It was not immediately clear if he would also touch upon a declared desire
to enter the French downstream oil market, an issue which he has discussed
in recent months with French officials.

The Opec member has a wide downstream network overseas, including road-side
fuel stations and refineries in Western Europe.-Reuters


LONDON (September 12) : British junior foreign minister Peter Hain said on
Monday that if Iraq changed its mind and agreed to new weapons inspections,
UN sanctions could be suspended as early as next March.

Baghdad is under United Nations' trade sanctions following its 1990 invasion
of Kuwait. The so-called oil-for-food sanctions allow Iraq to sell oil in
order to purchase food, medicines and other humanitarian goods.

In December the United Nations Security Council adopted resolution 1284
which offers an easing of sanctions provided Baghdad allows UN weapons
inspectors to return to Baghdad.

"Essentially resolution 1284 allows for sanctions to be suspended in return
for a new arms inspection team under Dr Hans Blix to go into Iraq. If Saddam
Hussein signed up to it now sanctions could be suspended by next March,"
Foreign Office junior minister Hain said at a news conference.

"This is a win-win-win situation: UN inspectors return, Iraqi people get
relief and Iraq's neighbours feel safer with Saddam's weapons under
control," he added.

UN experts seeking to track down and destroy Baghdad's weapons of mass
destruction were withdrawn in December 1998. The United States and Britain
then launched a four-day bombing campaign prompted by Iraq's refusal to
co-operate with the arms team.

 Baghdad said the previous arms inspectors were working for Israeli and US
intelligence and insisted it had co-operated fully in the destruction of its
weapons of mass destruction.

Iraq has refused to accept 1284 which set up a new arms inspection body
called the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission

The oil-for-food sanctions have come under attack on humanitarian grounds
with the Vatican saying the sanctions harm children and the sick.

But Hain denied that the sanctions were responsible for widespread suffering
in the country.

Resolution 1284 had already abolished the ceiling on Iraqi oil exports, Hain
said, adding that Saddam Hussein was responsible for the suffering among the
Iraqi people.

"With the sums of money now available, any suffering is not the result of
sanctions but the responsibility of Saddam Hussein," he said in a statement.

Hain said that Iraq's oil revenues were at an all-time high at around $20
billion and that more than $14 billion would be available to spend on
humanitarian goods and infrastructure development.

He alleged that Iraq had not distributed a quarter of the medical goods it
had received since oil-for-food began in December 1996.

Last week Iraq's health authorities accused US and British officials of
delaying the purchase of measles vaccine for a nation-wide immunisation
project to reduce soaring child mortality rates.-Reuters


BAGHDAD (September 12) : Iraq's most influential newspaper on Monday
condemned as a US "conspiracy" the Opec decision to raise oil supplies by
800,000 barrels daily, saying Saudi Arabia and Kuwait were also to blame.

"Saudi Arabia and Kuwait along with America are the key states which
implemented the American conspiracy against oil," Babel, owned by President
Saddam Hussein's eldest son Uday, said in a front-page editorial.

The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed on Sunday in
the Austrian capital Vienna to lift output by 800,000 barrels per day (bpd),
slightly above pre-meeting expectations of 700,000 bpd.

The rise of just over three percent brings official total group production
to 26.2 million bpd for 10 members, excluding Iraq.

Baghdad remains under United Nations' sanctions following the 1990 invasion
of Kuwait.

Opec member Iraq is one of the strongest opponents of Opec increasing

"The increase of Opec production came as an execution of the will of
(President Bill) Clinton," the paper said.

Babel said the output increase reflected "the act of sabotage that Saudi
Arabia is adopting within Opec and the blackmail that Washington is
practising against oil producing countries".

Oil prices moved lower early on Monday, but resisted a steeper fall despite
the Opec pact, which hikes output for the third time since April to quell a
rally to post-Gulf War highs.

Opec's pact, struck in less than a day of discussions between energy
ministers, will be reviewed at an extraordinary meeting on November 12.
Crude may not fall enough on Opec Japan oil chief--Reuters


UNITED NATIONS (Associated Press, 12 Sep) ‹ In a measured farewell speech to
the United Nations, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright urged sometimes
hesitant nations to "stand up to the campaign launched by Baghdad against
the U.N.'s authority and international law.''

After four years as U.S. ambassador to the world body, and now nearing the
end of four years as Secretary of State, Albright called for a larger
peacekeeping staff and said she was alarmed by the deepening gap between
rich and poor.

She saluted U.N. programs that cut waste and said a new inspector general's
office was responsible for saving tens of millions of dollars.

But balanced against the good news, Albright said Tuesday she was grieved by
the conflicts that still rage around the world and widespread denial of
basic rights and freedoms.
Singling out repression in Burma, Albright said "we must not be silent.''

However, Albright told the U.N. Millennium Assembly at the start of a
two-week debate that "by working together, within and outside this
organization, we can move together, step by step toward the lofty goals we
have set. And thereby bring about a world more peaceful, prosperous and free
than it has ever been.''

Her harshest remarks were reserved for Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, for
defying U.N. inspectors searching for weapons of mass destruction. She said
Iraq's strategy was to ignore its obligations as a U.N. member ``and seek to
preserve at all costs its capacity to produce the deadliest weapons humanity
has ever know.''

Then, at a news conference, she vigorously dismissed as "Alice in
Wonderland'' contentions by religious groups and others that U.S.-engineered
sanctions were starving the Iraqi people.

Albright said Iraq was pumping all the oil it could and that the revenue
provided ``caloric intake'' for Iraqi children that was higher than before
the 1991 Persian Gulf war.

Denouncing Saddam as "the real villain,'' Albright said he"can pick up the
key to let him out of sanctions'' by admitting the inspection group headed
by diplomat Hans Blix.

Albright did not directly threaten an attack on Iraq if it did not submit,
but she said ``we have our red lines; we have made that clear.''

Albright's connection to the United Nations goes back to her childhood, when
her father, Czech diplomat Josef Korbel, was assigned here. "I have always
considered myself a child of the U.N.,'' she said.

In her four years as ambassador she championed an activist approach by the
world body, and then, as Secretary of State, pushed for holding perpetrators
of ethnic cleansing in the Balkans and Rwanda accountable.

Above all, she took a hard line against Baghdad, and labored to rally
sometimes hesitant nations, including ally France and also Russia, to join
the United States and Britain against the regime.

"When international norms are assaulted,'' she said, "the U.N. must do more
than simply observe injustice, or report upon it, or sympathize with the
victims. We must do all we can where we can to stop the perpetrators.''


UNITED NATIONS (Associated Press, Tue 12 Sep) ‹ Iraqi officials have refused
to cooperate with an investigation of the humanitarian situation in the
country, which is suffering under the weight of a decade of U.N. sanctions,
Secretary-General Kofi Annan said.

In a report Monday on the U.N. oil-for-food aid program in Iraq, Annan said
Iraqi officials have considerably increased the amount of food getting to
ordinary people through the aid program. But, he said, the government has
indicated it has no plans to cooperate with a panel of experts charged with
making a comprehensive report on the overall humanitarian situation there.

Iraq's allies on the U.N. Security Council, particularly Russia and France,
had pressed the council to request such a report in June. They said it was a
way to highlight what many aid groups say are the devastating effects that
10 years of sanctions have had on the Iraqi people.

Iraq has been under strict U.N. sanctions since its 1990 invasion of Kuwait.
Sanctions can be lifted after U.N. weapons inspectors report that Baghdad is
free of its weapons of mass destruction.

Iraq is barred from selling its oil on the open market under the sanctions.
But under the oil for-food program, the country can sell some oil to buy
food, medicine and other goods for its people.

Fearing some of the purchases could be used to make new weapons, Washington
often blocks Iraqi oil contracts or puts them on hold while U.S. officials
review them to ensure they cannot be used for military purposes. Annan has
repeatedly urged the United States and Britain, to a lesser extent, to
release the contracts so badly needed equipment can reach Iraq, particularly
oil spare parts needed to improve the oil production industry.

In his report Monday, Annan pointed to the $1.5 billion worth of contracts
that remain held up in the U.N. committee that monitors sanctions against
Iraq. While noting the ``commendable efforts'' to release some of the
contracts, the secretary-general again expressed concern at the volume and
value of the goods still tied up.

Also Monday, Annan welcomed Iraq's decision to ``increase considerably''
food and health sector allocations in the most recent distribution plan.

Annan has repeatedly urged the Iraqis to give priority to food and health
items in its distribution plan of proceeds from the oil sales to help combat
the malnutrition suffered by Iraqis, particularly children. In the past,
Baghdad has chosen to spend some of its money on other items, including oil
spare parts and telecommunications equipment.


BAGHDAD, Iraq (Reuters,September 12) -- An influential Iraqi newspaper on
Tuesday condemned Saudi Arabia an arms purchase from the United States,
saying there was no threat to justify spending large amounts on defense.

Riyadh is seeking $2.7 billion in U.S. arms and technical support to help
modernize its National Guard and maintain a fleet of U.S.-made F-15 fighter
jets, the Pentagon said last week.

One of the three packages requested by the Gulf kingdom would include $416
million in vehicles, missiles and communications equipment built by General
Motors Corp. and Raytheon Corp., the Pentagon said.

Another valued at $690 million would involve parts, maintenance, training
and modification facilities for the large Satudi fleet of F-15 jets built by
Boeing Co. The prime contractor for that would be Al-Salam Aircraft Co.,
which is 50 percent owned by Boeing.

"Is there a real need for a state like Saudi Arabia which is not threatened
by anyone to spend that unbelievable amount of money?" Babel newspaper,
owned by President Saddam Hussein's eldest son, Uday, asked.

"America is looting Saudi money through selling out-dated weapons to them,"
the newspaper said.

Iraq has accused Saudi Arabia in recent weeks of participating in patrols of
Western warplanes over Iraqi skies.

U.S. and British planes based in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait patrol a no-fly
zone over southern Iraq, set up after a U.S.-led force evicted Iraqi troops
from Kuwait in 1991.

"The question is what for all these weapons as the Saudi regime allows the
aggressors to use its territory, military bases and ports to launch daily
aggression against Iraq," the newspaper said.

The U.S. Defense Department said the prime contractor had not yet been
determined for the biggest of the three Saudi packages, valued at $1.6
billion for flight simulators, parts and technical services for Royal Saudi
Air Force F-15s.


 BAGHDAD, Iraq, Sept. 12 (UPI) -- An Iraqi government-run newspaper said
Tuesday that mass graves of Iraqi soldiers killed during the 1991 Gulf war
were discovered near the border with Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

 The Al Joumhuriya newspaper identified the soldiers as members of a unit to
preserve the environment.

 It said the soldiers were buried alive in their military uniforms. Their
identification papers were found in bottles near their remains.

 Al Joumhuriya quoted Iraqi farmers in the region as accusing U.S. and
British forces as well as their "agents who belong to the Kuwaiti and Saudi
regimes" of having carried out such "a cowardly operation" during the
withdrawal of the Iraqi forces from Kuwait.

 The farmers said the U.S. and British forces sent paratroopers and military
vehicles to attack the soldiers, and then buried them alive in mass graves.

 The newspaper said the Committee for Preserving the Environment in the
district of Basra, 340 miles (550 km) south of Baghdad, started with the
help of the farmers searching operations to locate other possible mass

 Iraq has previously accused U.S. and British forces of burying alive a
number of Iraqi soldiers. Baghdad announced shortly after the Gulf War that
it had discovered mass graves in the southern region of the country.

by Carola Hoyos, United Nations correspondent

Russia is stepping up the pressure for a lifting of United Nations sanctions
on Iraq, arguing that it has lost more than $30bn in business since the
embargo was imposed 10 years ago.

In a recent letter to Kofi Annan, UN secretary general, Igor Ivanov,
Russia's foreign minister, complained that the government was coming under
increasing pressure from the "federal assembly, many social and political
interests, and business and industrial circles . . .in favour of mitigating
the limitations imposed on Russia by the sanctions in the field of its
commercial and economic relations with Iraq."

The Russian letter underlines deepening divisions in the UN Security Council
over Iraqi policy. Jacques Chirac, France's president, last week made clear
his disapproval of the ongoing sanctions. "We have never been in breach of
the UN sanctions, even though we consider this sanctions policy is
dangerous, inhuman and inappropriate," he said.

The Russian and French positions are giving Iraq hope that the sanctions, if
not lifted, will soon become meaningless. In an interview with the FT, Tariq
Aziz, Iraq's deputy prime minister, said the Russian letter proved that
Iraq's trading partners were growing increasingly impatient with the

"People are feeling that enough is enough and they are acting in order not
only to be fair to Iraq but also to protect their own interests," he said.
"Iraq's practically becoming more like Cuba vis a vis the US . . .everyone
else is trading with Cuba, this is going to be the future of the matter."

Last December, the Security Council tried to maintain a semblance of unity
by passing a new resolution calling on Iraq to allow the return of UN
weapons inspectors and promising to suspend the sanctions once they verified
that Baghdad had destroyed its key remaining weapons of mass destruction.

Now that a new inspection agency has been formed but Iraq is refusing to
accept the resolution, Security Council splits on policy towards Iraq are
becoming more apparent, with the US maintaining a hard line against
concessions to Baghdad.

"People supported [resolution] 1284 as a way forward, there has not been
much movement and people are getting iffy about 1284," one diplomat said. He
added that once Iraq accepted the resolution, Russia and France likely would
"get back on board".

The UK, which along with Russia, France, the US and China is one of the
permanent members of the Security Council, is trying to salvage the
resolution, of which it was a principal author. UK officials in New York
have talked to several Arab leaders in the hope of rekindling dialogue with

But Mr Aziz, who met six of his regional counterparts over the weekend, said
that there had been no progress.

"The foreign ministers who show goodwill don't have any power," Mr Aziz
said, adding that he saw no prospect for negotiations until Washington
showed some sign of changing its policy to overthrow Saddam Hussein, Iraq's

Mr Aziz, who is in New York after attending the UN's millennium summit, said
he had no intention of meeting Hans Blix, the head of the new UN weapons
inspections agency.

Iraq and members of the Security Council for now seem to be in agreement on
at least one substantive issue - to avoid any escalation of hostilities over
the stalemate.

Noshahr, Mazandran province, Sept 12, IRNA

Head of the Commissionfor Prisoners of War (PoWs) and the Missing-in-Action
(MiAs) BrigadierGeneral Abdullah Najafi said here on Tuesday that a group
from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) will arrive in
Tehran in the next few days to clarify the status of the PoWs of Iran and
Iraq. He said the group will present the report of its discussions with
Iraqi officials to Iran.

Speaking at a one-day conference to pay tribute to the families ofPoWs and
MiAs, Najafi said, "Some 8,000 of Iraqi PoWs have officially informed the
ICRC that they do not wish to leave Iran." He added these people are
voluntarily residing in Iran and they are permitted to leave the country
whenever they wish."Despite of their own willingness (to remain in Iran),
therepresentatives of the ICRC are interviewing them in Ahwaz, Khuzestan
Province" added Najafi. He said, "So far, 59,830 Iraqi PoWs and 39,417
Iranian PoWs havebeen repatriated by the two countries."

He added the exchange of these PoWs, which covers 97 percent of the entire
PoWs, has been carried out following nine rounds ofdiscussions in Tehran and
Baghdad and ten rounds in the border betweenthe two countries and the fate
of the remaining three percent is stillunclear due to obstacles put by the
Iraqi side.


13th Sept: For the first time in 32 years, the Iraqi commerce ministry
allowed the private insurance companies to work in the country and according
to the procedures ratified by the ministry five companies were allowed to
get the necessary authorizations with the possibility of giving the
authorization to other companies in the coming period.

The new companies will be able to work in all the insurance areas including
health, life insurance and maritime insurance on ships.

Iraq had nationalized the insurance sector at the end of the sixties and a
governmental corporation took the responsibility to provide the insurance
for the local market inn addition to contracting with foreign companies to
present their services in the external transportation field.

Liberalizing the insurance sector is regarded as part of the framework of
Liberalizing economic activities which so far comprised allowing
establishing private banks and exchange offices.

On the other hand, the Jordanian Harbors Corporation began applying the
reduced tariffs for items transported to Iraq in addition to the harbor
services in Aqaba harbor, a matter which can contribute in increasing
Jordan's share in the transportation movement to Iraq in confronting the
competition from the Syrian and Lebanese harbors.


The Kurdish Democratic Party has announced that it will withdraw all armed
militias from large towns under its control in northern Iraq over the next
two months.

A statement said the decision was taken at a meeting in the town of Erbil,
presided over by the KDP leader, Massoud Barzani.

A spokesman for the rival Patriotic Union of Kurdistan said the withdrawal
was one of ITS main demands for the normalisation of relations between the
two groups.

More than three thousand people are estimated to have died in fighting
between the KDP and the PUK since they fell out in 1994, two years after an
agreement was made to share power in the mainly-Kurdish areas of northern

by Lewis Dolinsky, September 13

"America could care less about disarming Iraq,'' says Scott Ritter. The
ex-Marine was a hard nosed U.N. weapons inspector in Iraq until August 1998,
when he fell out with his boss, Richard Butler, and grew tired of the
meddling of his own government. Ritter says that Iraq is sufficiently
disarmed but that the United States wants to maintain U.N. sanctions as a
means of toppling, or neutralizing, Saddam Hussein. A worthy goal, perhaps,
but contrary to the U.N. mandate -- as the Iraqi government keeps insisting.

Iraq once accused Ritter of being a U.S. spy. But last month, Ritter was
allowed into Baghdad to work on a documentary film. In arms facilities, he
was received courteously by Iraqis who had previously vilified him. He
scoffs at Butler's recent warnings that Iraq has resupplied itself with
weapons of mass destruction.

By phone from Albany, N.Y., Ritter denied he has flipped or flopped since he
left the arms control job, as an observer might conclude. He says he speaks
with authority because he was with UNSCOM from its inception in 1991 and
even designed its intelligence operation.

Ritter is mindful that Saddam is dangerous and terrible but says Saddam is
not atypical in his region. In 1982, Syrian dictator Hafez Assad massacred
20,000 people in putting down Muslim insurgency in the city of Hama. Saddam
killed 5,000 Iraqi Kurds with poison gas. If Saddam had killed them with
artillery instead of poison gas, Ritter says, we would not be talking about
them. Ritter, a rock-solid Republican, says President Bush's Hitler analogy
trapped us in a failed policy.

Ritter, you may recall, accused the United States of using UNSCOM
intelligence gathering for its own ends, and he accused Butler of allowing
it to happen. He also says Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and
national security adviser Sandy Berger made UNSCOM delay inspections seven
times in 1997-98 to suit the Clinton administration's political needs. But
Ritter's main point is that by 1995, Rolf Ekeus, who was then head of
UNSCOM, was saying Iraq was fundamentally disarmed, which meant that it was
no longer a threat. Because of U.S. and British pressure, the U.N. continues
to insist on 100 percent compliance with U.N. requirements. The original
goal is impossible and unnecessary, unless the real purpose is to maintain
sanctions no matter what.

The Security Council must rewrite the rules of engagement in Iraq, Ritter
says, because the second half of its mandate is essential: monitoring Iraqi
arms so a buildup does not catch us by surprise. Iraq has not allowed
weapons inspections since December 1998, but Ritter says Iraq will allow
monitoring if we drop sanctions. Not suspend them, end them.

Ritter says the Iraqis will allow us to watch them but not strip-search
them. We can't look for every last document about missiles or every nut and
bolt. In striving to achieve the impossible, he says, we are depriving
ourselves of the opportunity to do what is necessary.
Ritter was posted to General Norman Schwarzkopf's headquarters during the
Gulf War, which Ritter says Bush ended 48 hours too soon. Ritter is not
arguing that Saddam should have been taken out. That was impractical and
beyond our mandate. We would have lost our Arab allies; Saudi Arabia would
have erupted.

But Ritter says we should have taken the extra time to destroy the
Revolutionary Guard even if that meant killing 15,000 more Iraqis -- just
like the ``turkey shoot'' depicted in Seymour Hersh's controversial New
Yorker article. Those deaths among the soldiers propping up Saddam would
have paled by comparison to the civilian deaths caused later by sanctions.
UNICEF's figure, based on Iraqi data, is 1.5 million.

"The longer we continue the policy of isolation and containment,'' Ritter
says, "the stronger Saddam gets. In 1992, he would have lost a (fair)
election in a landslide; now he would win in a landslide.''

When Ritter comes to the Bay Area this weekend, he will join Denis Halliday
at anti sanctions events. Halliday was head of the U.N. oil- for-food
program in Iraq until he decided it was fraudulent and that the loss of
civilian life was unacceptable. Don't expect them to agree on everything.
Ritter also believes that sanctions should end, but only after the U.N.
satisfies its legal requirement, declaring that Iraq is in compliance on
disarmament. In terms of the real world, Iraq is in compliance, he says.

The Associated Press, Thu 14 Sep 2000

ROME (AP) ‹ A U.N. report says child malnutrition remains a serious problem
in much of Iraq despite increases in food rations in the country, which has
been under U.N. sanctions for a decade.

The Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization released the report
Wednesday, two days after U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in New York
that Iraqi officials have refused to cooperate with an investigation of the
humanitarian situation in the country.

Wednesday's report was based on a mission to Iraq in May by officials from
FAO and two other U.N. agencies, the World Food Program and the World Health
Organization. The agencies said the report was prepared for the Iraqi

The survey found that two straight years of drought and inadequate
availability of seeds and other farming supplies severely hurt Iraqi

Annan had noted that under the U.N. oil-for-food program, which allows Iraq
to sell oil to help feed its population, Iraqi officials have considerably
increased the amount of food getting to ordinary people. But, he said, the
Baghdad government has indicated it has no plans to cooperate with a panel
of experts charged with making a comprehensive report on the overall
humanitarian situation there.

FAO officials in Rome could not say if Annan's remarks were based on some of
the report's findings.

The May mission found that food rations are lacking in vegetables, fruit and
animal products and that monthly rations only last up to three weeks. The
mission urged Iraq for ``timely submission of applications'' for food
contracts, which then must be approved by the United Nations.

Iraq has been under U.N. sanctions since its 1990 invasion of Kuwait.
Sanctions can be lifted only after U.N. weapons inspectors report that
Baghdad is free of its weapons of mass destruction.

by Ashraf Fouad

KUWAIT, (Reuters, September 14) - Kuwait on Thursday accused its former
occupier Iraq of trying to trigger a new regional war, and an official
called for a firm Arab stand against Baghdad's latest ``threats''.

The Gulf Arab state denied in a statement carried by the official Kuwait
News Agency (KUNA) Iraqi claims that it was stealing oil from border fields.

Baghdad also said on Thursday that it would take unspecified measures
against its much smaller neighbour.

``The latest Iraqi claims and threats sound exactly like language used in
July prior to the (August 2, 1990) invasion,'' a senior Kuwaiti official
told Reuters. ``The Arab world should respond firmly to this behaviour.''

A war of words between Iraq and 1991 Gulf War foes Saudi Arabia and Kuwait
has been brewing since the 10-year anniversary of the invasion of Kuwait but
the latest Iraqi claims, diplomats said, have raised the level of concern in
the region.

The Kuwaiti statement, issued in the name of Information Minister Saad bin
Tiflah, said:

``Iraq is trying to drag the area into new wars and is seeking to keep a
level of tension because the continuation of the Iraqi regime in power is
linked to tension and creating problems and crises with neighbours.''

The U.S.-led Gulf War ended Iraq's seven-month occupation of Kuwait in
February 1991. Kuwait plans major celebrations in February to mark the 10th
anniversary of Iraq's defeat and the 40th anniversary of independence from

Iraq Oil Minister Amir Muhammed Rasheed, who is also an Iraqi armed forces
general, said Kuwaiti drilling in a desert border zone was depleting Iraqi

Rasheed was quoted as saying fellow OPEC member Kuwait was ``practising an
act of sabotage against Iraqi oilfields by digging oil walls in a joint zone
(straddling the border) in order to deplete Iraqi underground oil reserve.

``Iraq will take suitable measures which will guarantee its and the Arab
nations' rights to control its oil wealth and employ it for the interest of
the whole Arab nation rather than achieve vicious American policy.''

Kuwait's Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah told Reuters at the
U.N. in New York: ``We haven't stolen anything. If you take from your own
land, it can't be stealing.''

He said that Iraqi jets had recently been more threatening, coming
increasingly close to both Kuwait's and Saudi Arabia's borders. He said that
Kuwait was on alert, but did not expect any military action.

Senior Western defence sources in Kuwait had told Reuters that a possible
fresh military standoff with Iraq later this year was taken into
consideration when updating defence plans.

Some said Iraq could try to create a fresh regional crisis as the U.S.
presidential race heated. The United States and Britain have a large
military presence in and around Kuwait, with additional firepower ready for
immediate deployment.

Iraq had accepted its land borders with Kuwait which were demarcated by the
U.N. in a 1993 resolution and the area is patrolled by a U.N. force.

``The exploitation (of northern Kuwaiti oilfields) takes place infront of
the world, especially the U.N. forces, in a legal manor. The latest Iraqi
claims are baseless,'' the Kuwaiti information minister added.

Two decades after nationalising the oil sector, Kuwait is currently seeking
a role by oil majors to operate northern fields close to the border with
Iraq to double production to 900,000 barrels per day over five years.

Iraqi accusations against Kuwait over southern Iraqi oilfields and wrangling
over OPEC oil production quotas were the main reasons for Iraq's 1990
invasion of Kuwait.

Iraq has also criticised a decision by OPEC to raise output this week to
help contain world oil prices. It said the latest deal had come about
because Saudi Arabia and Kuwait had given in to pressure from the United

Thursday, September 14 2000 13:50 14 Elul 5760

Post, September 14)
by Douglas Davis

LONDON - Iraq has announced that it will boycott Jordanian companies that
trade with Israel.

The challenge is believed to be based on Baghdad's perception that Amman has
failed to do enough to end international sanctions which have been in place
since the 1990 Gulf crisis.
According to the London-based Al-Kuds al-Arabi, Iraq has drawn up a list of
85 Jordanian companies it intends to boycott because of their contacts with

A senior Arab source in London said that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had
carefully chosen this moment to challenge a vulnerable neighboring Arab

"He has calculated, probably correctly, that Washington is currently focused
on the forthcoming presidential elections rather than on containing Iraq,"
he said. "This gives Saddam a license to revert to his natural bullying
posture and to behave in ways that he might not in other circumstances."

Observers in Amman are reported to believe Saddam is taking the opportunity
to ratchet up the pressure on Jordanian Prime Minister Ali Abu-Ragheb, who
is seeking to open up to Iraq, a vital trading partner for Jordan.

Abu-Ragheb accompanied King Abdullah II to the UN Millennium Summit last
week, during which the Jordanians are thought to have been rebuffed by
Washington when they sought the go-ahead to improve ties with Baghdad.

The paper reports that Amman was shocked by Iraqi Trade Minister Mohammed
Mehdi Saleh, who launched a bitter attack on Jordan while meeting a large
delegation of visiting Jordanian industrialists earlier this week.

Saleh is reported to have blamed Amman for the decrease in economic
cooperation between the two countries, charging that Jordan prohibits the
export of many important goods to Iraq.

He also charged that Jordan "does not take a serious stand" over the
inspection of Iraqi bound imports that arrive via Akaba and that does not
provide adequate investment incentives for Iraqis.

Saleh also implicitly accused Jordan of going too far in complying with UN
trade sanctions, and said that Amman not only withheld important products
but also prevented third parties from exporting them to Baghdad.

He said he was handing the Jordanian group a "blacklist" of 85 Jordanian
industrial and trading firms engaged in "normalization activities" with
Israel and which Baghdad will immediately boycott.

Saleh portrayed the move as part of a general anti-normalization policy by
Baghdad, but the London paper noted that it represented a direct challenge
to Jordanian government policy, as it came less than a week after Amman
appealed to anti-normalization activists to halt their campaign.

by Roy Gutman, 14th September

Iraq last week sent a military aircraft into the air space over Saudi Arabia
in what the State Department yesterday called a "troubling development" and
one of the worst violations of the United Nations-mandated no-fly zone.

U.S. officials, who asked to remain unnamed, said Iraqi President Saddam
Hussein may have been attempting to "provoke a crisis" during last week's UN
Millennium Summit. They warned Iraq that the U.S. and British force that
monitors the no-fly zone created after Iraq lost the Persian Gulf War "will
respond appropriately to the violation at a time and place of our choosing."
It had been a "long, long time since Iraq has flown aircraft like this,"
said one of the officials. Another aide termed it "extremely unusual" to
send an aircraft into Saudi air space. According to the U.S. Central Command
at McDill Air Force Base in Florida, most of the military tensions with Iraq
involve no-fly-zone violations south of the 33rd parallel in southern Iraq
or attempts to shoot down coalition aircraft. Since January, there have been
135 no-fly zone violations or incidents in which U.S. or British aircraft
were fired at by surface-to-air missiles or anti-aircraft batteries. Neither
the State Department nor the Central Command would provide details of the
newest incident or those that preceded it.

The disclosures come during a new drive by Iraq to lift economic sanctions
imposed after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990. One U.S. official called it
a "charm offensive." French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine told reporters
yesterday that he would like to see the sanctions ended and that France will
no longer support them.

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, asked to comment yesterday, told the
Newsday editorial board that the United States will not allow a
renegotiation of the sanctions regime. A senior official said the secretary
totally disagreed with the French.

In another development, mid-level Middle East peace talks, mediated by the
United States, will resume later, U.S. officials said.


BAGHDAD, Iraq (Associated Press, Thu 14 Sep) ‹ Iraq and Russia have agreed
to resume flights between the two countries starting next month, Iraq's
state run al-Thawra daily newspaper reported Thursday.

The announcement came from Pavil Piryatku, regional director of the Russian
official airline, Aeroflot. He was visiting Iraq to unveil the plan, the
paper said.

``The decision was taken by President Vladimir Putin last month in Moscow
after a meeting with Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz,'' Piryatku

The Russian airliner will reopen its Baghdad office in the middle of
October, and steps have already been taken to provide equipment and
administrative staff, Piryatku told the paper. He added that an Iraqi
delegation will travel to Moscow this month ``to make final touches'' on
rates, reservations and number of flights.

``We hope to make two or three flights weekly to transport passengers,''
Piryatku said.

An official at the state-run Iraqi Airways confirmed the flight resumption
to The Associated Press on Thursday but said Iraq had hoped the first flight
would be by ``a brotherly Arab plane.''

It was unclear whether Russia or Iraq had sought U.N. permission to resume
the flights. In comments broadcast by Monte Carlo radio and monitored by the
British Broadcasting Corp., Piryatku said he was unable to give ``exact
information'' on whether Moscow had obtained U.N. approval.

The United States, Britain and the U.N. Sanctions Committee maintain that
civil flights to and from Iraq constitute an economic resource. They say
that makes such flights a breach of the sanctions in place since the Iraqi
invasion of Kuwait in August 1990.

Russia and France, Iraq's strongest allies on the U.N. Security Council, say
the council never adopted a specific text banning all flights to and from

Iraq's Saddam International Airport was last used for commercial flights
hours before the outbreak of the 1991 Gulf War. Since then, only a few
planes have landed, mainly carrying humanitarian aid. The airport was
officially reopened for business in August.

Before the Gulf War, Iraq deposited its civilian fleet in Jordan, Iran,
Tunisia and Mauritania. Baghdad also smuggled its warplanes to Iran, which
took possession of the jet fighters when the war broke out.

Iraq has been denied U.N. authorization to bring back its civilian planes.
The only one now in use is an old Russian IL-76 transport plane that has
transported Iraqi pilgrims to Saudi Arabia for the last three years.

U.N. resolutions say the sanctions are to remain in place until Baghdad
complies with demands to dismantle its weapons of mass destruction.

by Scott Ritter, September 14, 2000

[The recent Patriot missile] alert for deployment to Israel underscores the
effort by the United States and others to create the perception of an
imminent threat from an Iraqi ballistic missile. It doesn't seem to matter
to the Pentagon that the Israeli Prime Minister himself downplays the Iraqi
missile threat as nonexistent.

In the nearly 20 months since U.N. weapons inspectors were last on the job
in Iraq, there has been no shortage of speculation on what has transpired
inside Iraq's weapons factories. Richard Butler, the former executive
chairman of the now-defunct United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM), has
been at the forefront of those charging that Iraq is actively rearming.

One of Ambassador Butler's favorite themes has been that ``Saddam Hussein is
back in the business of making long-range missiles.'' The Pentagon's
announcement appears perfectly constructed to play along with this theme.

This is not the first time the United States has hyped an ``imminent''
threat from Iraqi missiles. This past summer, the CIA reported that its
satellites picked up evidence that Iraq had resumed flight testing of the
Al-Samoud missile. Even though the Al-Samoud has a range of less than 150
kilometers and is permitted under U.N. resolutions, the CIA highlighted
these tests as proof that Iraq had more nefarious plans for long-range

The United States has not been alone in ``exposing'' the threat from
Baghdad. In a rare public statement earlier this month, the German
Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) Intelligence Service confirmed a report that
its agents had located a ``secret Iraqi missile factory near Baghdad,'' the
Al Mamoun factory, which produces solid- fuel missiles known as the

Although the Ababil-100, like the Al-Samoud, possesses a range less than 150
kilometers, the BND cited this latest discovery as clear evidence that
Saddam Hussein has continued to build up his arsenal.

Given that inspectors have not been on the job for some time now, such
information, on the surface, would seem compelling. But the reality is much

Contrary to the BND report, the Al-Mamoun factory was well known to UNSCOM
missile inspectors. Like the rest of the Iraqi weapons production infrastruc
ture, the Al Mamoun factory had been under continuous monitoring by

UNSCOM since 1993. The ``secret'' Ababil-100 missile project had in fact
been declared to UNSCOM by Iraq in the spring of 1998. UNSCOM inspectors
never felt that the Ababil-100 missile represented anything close to a
viable project, let alone the potential threat to German cities that the BND
report made it out to be.

Why would the Germans publish such a report at this time? The answer lies in
the current effort by UNSCOM's successor organization, the United Nations
Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) to send
inspectors back into Iraq. Iraq has made it clear that it rejects such
inspections, and the Security Council is bracing itself for yet another
confrontation. A report such as the one put out by the BND will play a
prominent role in any discussion concerning Iraq's refusal to accept the
UNMOVIC inspectors, and it closely parallels the CIA reports of the past
summer and complements the recent Pentagon announcement on the Patriot

Given the lack of substance behind the reports from the CIA, BND and the
Pentagon, one couldn't help but conclude that these reports are part of an
overall cam paign of disinformation designed to continue demonizing and
isolating Iraq. Such disinformation campaigns have long been associated with
the effort to contain Iraq through the continued economic sanctions. In this
regard, the key issue isn't the truth about Iraq's weapons of mass
destruction, but rather the perception, however incorrect, of the threat
such weapons pose in the hands of Iraq.

The continuation of economic sanctions, which have resulted in the deaths of
some 1.5 million innocent Iraqi civilians, hinges on the issue of Iraq's
weapons of mass destruction. It is high time that this issue be debated on
the basis of fact, not fiction.

By spreading such misleading and inaccurate reports, the United States and
Germany have thrown away the credibility that comes by embracing the truth,
and instead have surrounded themselves with a bodyguard of lies. Given the
enormity of the tragedy unfolding in Iraq today, the citizens of these two
great democracies deserve, and should demand, better.

by Ghassan al-Kadi

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Sept. 14 (UPI) -- Iraq said Thursday it was studying the
possibility of using the Euro and other currencies instead of the U.S.
dollar in its trade dealings. The Iraqi government decided after a meeting
chaired by President Saddam Hussein of forming a committee made by of
economic experts to study such a possibility.

A Cabinet statement said the decision to resort to currencies other than the
U.S. dollar in concluding Iraq's trade contracts was meant to "consolidate
the Iraqi capabilities in confronting its enemies where it could face them
as long as the  (U.N.-imposed) sanctions are maintained against it."

The statement said "dealing with the U.S. dollar is one of our enemy's
influences on the regional and international levels and it is this enemy
which is fighting us in all fields and under all circumstances."

 It called on the Arab countries to "exchange the U.S. dollar with other
currencies in their trade dealings in order to get rid of the harm inflicted
by Zionism and the United States on their economies."

The statement did not say when Iraq will adopt such a measure and whether
this will affect previous contracts it had concluded in the U.S. dollar.

Observers said if such a measure was adopted it will be among the most
dangerous economic decisions taken by Iraq since the 1991 Gulf War,
especially regarding contracts concluded in line with the U.N. oil-for-food
program. The observers thus noted that it could be a step to get closer to
the European countries.


KUWAIT (Reuters) -- Kuwait's oil minister said on Friday that what he termed
Iraq's ruling "thieves" were a threat to the oil-rich region and an obstacle
within OPEC.

"This is a strange world. (Iraqi) thieves are now accusing the noble
(Kuwait). This is our situation now with that regime," Sheikh Saud Nasser
al-Sabah told reporters on his return home from OPEC meetings and a visit to

He was responding to claims on Thursday by Iraq, which occupied Kuwait for
seven months in 1990-1991, that its much smaller neighbor was stealing oil
from a border field.

Kuwait has strongly denied the charge. It said it was producing 46,000 bpd
for a well on its side of the border.

Baghdad also said that it would take unspecified measures against Kuwait to
stop what it called sabotage, remarks which triggered a strong warning from
the United States.

Washington said it was ready to use Gulf-based forces if Iraq took such

Iraq "is an obstacle to the stability in this region and its security, and
is also an obstacle to OPEC operations," said Sheikh Saud, criticizing Iraq
for blocking the election of a Saudi Arabian as OPEC's new

Iraq made similar allegations of oil theft before its troops invaded Kuwait
on August 2, 1990, which led to the 1991 Gulf War, the ousting of Iraqi
forces and imposition of international sanctions on Baghdad.

"We are concerned, of course," said Sheikh Saud who served as ambassador to
Washington during the 1990-91 Gulf crisis.

Earlier on Friday, al-Rai al-Aaam newspaper quoted Sheikh Saud as saying in
an interview in Paris that the international community would act to make
Iraq comply with U.N. resolutions and end threats to neighbors.

"Wait for October, and see how things turn out...The issue (Iraq) has become
annoying to all, to France, Britain, the United States, Saudi Arabia,

"The big powers will not allow Iraq to reject U.N. resolution 1284" which
deals with the return of U.N. arms inspectors to Iraq, said the minister.

U.N. arms inspection operations in Iraq have been halted since December 1998
when the United States and Britain launched military strikes against Iraq.

Sheikh Saud accused Baghdad, with the aid of some countries which he did not
name, of rebuilding its arsenal of weapons of mass destruction and added: "I
do not think world states will stand by with arms folded."

In Washington, White House spokesman Joe Lockhart said the United States was
deeply committed to stopping Iraqi President Saddam Hussein from threatening
his neighbors or rebuilding his weapons of mass destruction.

"He has had times where he's miscalculated. But he should not miscalculate
our resolve," he told reporters on Friday.

The latest tension has triggered a fresh rally on oil markets, reversing
some easing which followed a deal this week by the Organization of the
Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) -- which includes both Kuwait and Iraq
-- to increase official output by 800,000 barrels per day (bpd) from October

London Brent crude last traded at $33.90 a barrel while U.S. light crude was
at $35.85 a barrel, having touched $36 a barrel -- the highest level since
the Gulf War -- minutes before the close of business.

Iraq has also criticized the OPEC accord and said it was reached after Gulf
War foe Saudi Arabia and Kuwait bowed to pressure from the United States.

The accusation also reminded officials here of language used in 1990.

Sheikh Saud dismissed earlier Iraqi statements on oil policy and said: "Iraq
has two positions...Inside OPEC, it threatens to raise output and that it
has the capacity to reach three million bpd. Our response was 'good for you'
if you can reach three million.

"At the same time, Iraq (publicly) threatens that it would stop its oil
production, I do not know which stand to believe."

* Carey in New York (The Guardian, Sep 15 ­ extract from article: MDC
offices in Harare raided)

The Archbishop of Canterbury called for the reform of UN sanctions against
Iraq yesterday.
Dr George Carey, speaking in New York, said the sanctions were affecting
ordinary Iraqis, particularly children, rather than the regime.

COOPERATION ( Iraqi TV, Baghdad, in Arabic 1700 gmt 14 Sep 00 /BBC

Vice-President Taha Yasin Ramadan received Kazadi Timboy [phonetic],
ambassador for special missions and envoy of Laurent Kabila, president of
the Democratic Republic of Congo. Timboy conveyed a message from Kabila
extending greetings to President Saddam Husayn and the Iraqi people. He
praised the heroic steadfastness of the Iraqi people in the face of the
continuing US-UK attacks and their jihad to lift the unjust embargo by
rallying round their leader who achieved a distinguished status for Iraq
which has become a model for peoples who adhere to their principles and
sovereignty in rejection of subservience and hegemony.

He underlined the Democratic Republic of Congo's keenness to develop
relations with Iraq - a country of civilizations and heroic deeds - in a
manner that serves the interests of the two friendly countries. Ramadan
expressed, on President Saddam's behalf, his gratitude to Kabila and asked
the Congolese envoy to convey Saddam's greetings and the Iraqi people's and
leadership's appreciation for the Democratic Republic of Congo's stands,
which are opposed to the colonialist, imperialist policies of America. He
also expressed Iraq's genuine desire to develop relations with the
Democratic Republic of Congo.

Ramadan stressed that solidarity with Iraq by world countries and
nationalist forces, represented by their parties and associations, will
render unsuccessful the colonialist US policy. This policy, he explained, is
based on exploitation, aggression, and interference in other countries'
affairs with the aim of stealing their resources and determining their
peoples' destiny. He pointed to the victories achieved by Iraq under
President Saddam against America and its colonialist policy.

The Congolese envoy reiterated his country's solidarity with Iraq, which is
defending the principles of sovereignty, freedom, and cultural progress, and
struggling against the US policy of hegemony. He noted that his visit aims
at finding new mechanisms for cooperation and friendship between Iraq and
the Democratic Republic of Congo. He expressed confidence that these
relations will be developed and expanded in various fields. During the
meeting, the two sides discussed prospects for bilateral cooperation and
underlined their true desire to enhance and diversify cooperation in the
interest of the two peoples.

(Republic of Iraq Radio, Baghdad, in Arabic 1600 gmt 14 Sep 00 /BBC

Under the patronage of blessed leader President Saddam Husayn, and under the
slogan "We support all that would serve OPEC, its unity and stands", the Oil
Ministry organized a symposium to mark the 40th OPEC anniversary. Oil
Minister Dr Amir Muhammad Rashid represented leader President Saddam Husayn
at the symposium...

The representative of the leader president gave a speech in which he said:
The celebration of OPEC's 40th anniversary has a special importance, not
because Iraq witnessed the birth of this organization on 14th September
1960, but because the epic of steadfastness and confrontation, under the
leadership of President Saddam Husayn, of Iraq's enemies and the plunderers
of the peoples' resources, has become a lofty and pioneering symbol of
defending the developing countries' interests...

He added: The US administration has set a comprehensive programme aimed at
weakening OPEC after its member states succeeded in exercising their
legitimate sovereignty on their oil resources and in using their revenues to
reinforce national independence and development programmes.

The representative of the leader president said: Saudi Arabia has
contributed to implementing the wicked US programme, which caused successive
collapses in oil prices, something which caused grave damage to the
interests of OPEC member states and left negative effects, which OPEC states
failed to overcome for a long time.

He added: Iraq, in cooperation with a number of OPEC member states, had
managed to foil the US plans, which are supported by Saudi Arabia. These
plans were aimed at causing harm to the economies of the oil-producing
countries. Leader President Saddam Husayn's proposals in his research in
1999 marked the beginning of a new stage for OPEC to restore its control
over the oil market and assume its role in protecting the interests of its
member states.

Dr Amir Muhammad Rashid said: Iraq views OPEC summit, which will be held in
Caracas on 27th September, as an important opportunity to reaffirm the
organization's unity and independent decision-making and policy.

Concluding, the representative of leader President Saddam Husayn said: Iraq,
based on its huge oil reserves, views with optimism OPEC's future and
growing role in safeguarding the interests of the freedom-loving peoples...


NEW YORK (Associated Press, Fri 15 Sep) ‹ The Clinton administration soon
will provide $4 million to political foes of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein
to help them try to end his rule, a senior State Department official said.

Congress was notified of the grant recently, and another $4 million will be
sent in stages under a program being worked out with the Iraqi National
Congress, which is trying to oust the Iraqi leader, the official said
Thursday night.

The Clinton administration is not providing any weapons to the opposition,
said the official who talked to reporters under rules that kept his identity

Some 200 Iraqi dissidents are being schooled with Pentagon funds on legal
and war-crime issues, the official said. And documents detailing human
rights abuses are being collected for potential use by a war crimes

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright met with eight of the political foes,
some of whom came here from Iraq. Others live in exile.

"They proposed ways to hold Iraq accountable'' to the United Nations and "to
the people of Iraq,'' Albright said in a statement.

"Anyone who really cares about the Iraqi people and the recovery of their
once-great country must listen to free Iraqis like these who bravely speak
the truth,'' she said.

The U.S. contributions are to be used to fund a newspaper, radio
transmitters and other media operations. An additional $268,000 was given to
the Iraqi National Congress for administration.

Only the United States is providing this kind of assistance to opponents of
Saddam Hussein, the official said. None of the Arab countries were willing
to participate in what they view as an attempt by an external force ‹ the
United States ‹ to bring down an Arab government, he said.

In a speech to the United Nations on Tuesday and on other occasions this
week Albright has denounced Saddam and his government. She called him a
villain and said at a news conference Thursday: ``I genuinely have trouble
believing one word out of the mouths of any Iraqi official.''

For the first time in more than a decade, at least one Iraqi fighter jet
flew into Saudi Arabia airspace last week, a senior U.S. official said.

Albright said Iraq's purpose may have been to confront the United States
during the U.N. Millennium summit.

Trying to put pressure on Saddam Hussein, she met for 50 minutes with eight
Iraqi opponents of his rule and discussed trying to build a legal case
against him, possibly with the formation of a war crimes tribunal.

"The United States salutes the courage of Iraqis everywhere in the
opposition,'' Albright said in a statement. ``I wish them success in
presenting to the world the true hopes and needs of the Iraqi people.''

Albright warned Iraq, meanwhile, that if it rebuilt its arsenal of weapons
of mass destruction or otherwise crossed U.S. "red lines'' it risked a U.S.

"We have a credible force in the region and we are prepared to use it at a
time and place of our choosing,'' she said at a news conference.

At the same time, Albright ridiculed any suggestion that U.N. sanctions were
denying food to the Iraqi people.

She said oil revenues were so high "they import 12,000 cases of scotch each

"I am not sure if this is food or medicine,'' Albright added.

*  Shi'ite group opposes U.S. aid to Iraqi opposition

NEW YORK (Reuters, September 15) -- The main Shi'ite Moslem group fighting
the Iraqi government said on Friday it opposed U.S. funding because it would
undermine the opposition's credibility among the Iraqi people and Iraq's

The group, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI),
took part in a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on
Thursday night after staying away from some similar events in the past.

The SCIRI representative in London, Hamid al-Bayati, said he went to the
meeting because it was on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly and
because the Iraqi delegation did not represent the U.S.-backed Iraqi
National Congress (INC).

"We always take part in the U.N. This (the United States) is a permanent
member of the Security Council and a superpower," he told Reuters in a
telephone interview.

The INC accepts U.S. money and soon expects to receive the first half of an
$8 million grant -- a quantum leap in the level of U.S. assistance to the
Iraqi opposition.

Bayati said, "Financial support will undermine the INC's credibility in the
eyes of the Iraqi people and neighboring countries. We will give (Iraqi
President) Saddam Hussein a good political card to accuse us of being
American agents."

SCIRI, based in Tehran and close to the Iranian government, has stayed away
from INC events, to the frustration of U.S. officials who want the INC to be
as inclusive as possible.

SCIRI is also one of the few Iraqi opposition groups believed to be active
militarily inside parts of Iraq under the control of President Saddam

Bayati said SCIRI did however support an Iraqi opposition proposal for
"no-drive zones" inside Iraq. In such zones any Iraqi military vehicles
engaged in internal repression of the Iraqi people would be liable to

He said "no-drive zones" had U.N. authority under a Security Council
resolution passed after the Gulf War over Kuwait in 1991, even if the only
countries able to enforce them would be the United States, Britain and their

CARDINAL KEELER (Sun, Maryland, Sep 15)

Roman Catholic Archbishop Gabriel Kassab of Basra in southern Iraq brought a
message yesterday to the United States: End the decade-old economic
sanctions against his country and the suffering they have brought.

"I want to say that as a witness I saw in many hospitals not even a syringe
available to give shots, and there were some operations done without
anesthesia," Kassab said yesterday atop the steps of the Basilica of the
Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in downtown Baltimore. "The people and
only the people are suffering."

Kassab spoke through a translator, his brother Joseph, a physician living in
the Detroit suburbs. Yesterday, Kassab met with Cardinal William H. Keeler.
Over the next 10 days, he will travel to Ohio, New York and Michigan. The
archbishop said he will continue to talk about the need for food, medicine,
school repairs and clean water in his country.

Keeler and six other cardinals wrote a letter to President Clinton in 1998,
urging him to find a way to get more humanitarian aid to Iraqi civilians.

A State Department official said yesterday food and medicine are not among
the commodities subject to the sanctions, which mostly deal with heavy
machinery and tools that could be used to strengthen an army or produce
weapons. The sanctions have been in place since the Persian Gulf War.

"There's no limit to the amount of food that can be imported, there's no
limit to the amount of medicine that can be imported," the official said.
"The nations of the world remain concerned about the well-being of the Iraqi
people and are trying to find new ways to help them without giving Saddam
Hussein free rein to use the money."

Kassab and Keeler met in March when they were both in Amman, Jordan, to
greet Pope John Paul II on his trip to biblical sites in the Middle East. As
part of that trip, the Pope had planned to visit Ur, in southern Iraq, the
birthplace of Abraham. But unrest related to the sanctions made it too risky
to travel to Iraq, Joseph Kassab said.

Iraq, predominantly Muslim, is home to 750,000 Christians.

 by Michael Littlejohns

Fears that Russia might decide unilaterally to end sanctions againt Iraq
without waiting for the Security Council were compounded Wednesday when
French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine stated that the embargo was "cruel,
oudated, economically absurd" and should go.

He also said that Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz told again him this
week that his country does not accept the key UN Resolution 1284 and will
not cooperate with Hans Blix, the new UN chief weapons inspector who has
replaced Richard Butler, an Australian with whom Baghdad repeatedly feuded.

"Evidently, the situation has not evolved," Vedrine said at a UN press
conference, noting there had been no major change recently on the Iraqi
side, on the US side or on the part of the European Union, of which France
is the current president. The minister's remarks followed US Secretary of
State Madeleine Albright's statement Tuesday that Washington would not use
force to obtain Iraqi cooperation with UN weapons inspectors.

It coincided with a joint FAO-World Food Program report from Rome that Iraqi
children are suffering from serious malnutrition, except where the UN is in
charge of humanitarian aid distribution, in the nothern part of the country.
"Child malnutrition rates in the central and southern parts of the country
do not appear to have improved significantly and nutritional problems remain
serious and widespread," according to the report.

Drought and sheer poverty contributed to the situation, but food supplied
under the Oil for Food system failed to provide a nutritionally adequate and
varied diet, the two UN agencies said. Though adequate in energy and total
protein, vegetables, fruit and animal products were missing from the

As a result, apart from the effects on children, more than half of adult
Iraqis were overweight and at risk of heart disease, hypertension and
diabetes, "the major reported causes of death" in adults.

Also, pharmaceuticals were in short supply and health services were far from
adequate, due in part to a dilapidated infrastructure and power shortages at
hospitals and clinics. But specific programs aimed at improving the
situation had "either not been implemented or have suffered very slow
startups," while a supplementary feeding program recommended by Kofi Annan
two years ago was never acted upon by the Iraqi government.

With the ceiling on Iraqi oil exports now lifted and oil prices rocketing,
the report urged Baghdad to implement this program as soon as possible.

Moscow's discontent with sanctions has been underscored in statements that
the economically battered former superpower lost $30 billion in Iraqi trade.


CAIRO (September 16) : Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Moussa called in
remarks published on Friday for an end to UN sanctions on Iraq, saying
Baghdad no longer posed the threat it had done a decade ago.

"We and others see that after 10 years of sanctions and embargo, it is not
possible for Iraq to be the threat that was present in 1990," Moussa told
the London-based Arabic newspaper al-Hayat in an interview in New York.

His comments appeared amid renewed tension in the Gulf after Iraq accused
Kuwait of stealing its oil and Washington said it was ready to use force if
Baghdad threatened its neighbours.

Kuwait denied the oil theft charge, similar to accusations Baghdad levelled
before its 1990 invasion of the Gulf emirate.

Moussa said it was time to modify the sanctions regime aimed at forcing Iraq
to dismantle its weapons of mass destruction, but did not offer a specific

"There must be a change in the scope of inspection, monitoring, embargo and
interdiction," he declared. "Where is the way out...the way out that
everyone accepts?

He spoke of a growing Arab consensus that the status quo was unacceptable,
but acknowledged Arab differences over the conditions under which the
sanctions could be lifted.

The UN Security Council passed resolution 1284 in December 1999, making any
easing of sanctions conditional on a return of UN arms inspectors to Iraq.
Permanent members France, China and Russia abstained in the vote.

"In its present form, resolution 1284 will be difficult to implement,"
Moussa said. "But there is nothing to stop the UN secretary-general and the
Security Council from looking at ways to move to the next phase of joint
work with Iraq to implement the resolution to get Iraq out of this ditch."

Asked about implementing mechanisms that would allow Iraq to see light at
the end of the sanctions tunnel and encourage it to co-operate with Security
Council resolutions, he said: "First we must affirm that there is light.

"A state of total darkness is not acceptable, nor is it acceptable to say
there is only one way out of the embargo, which is resolution 1284," he
said, but added that it must be respected as a Security Council resolution.

Moussa said the way forward was for the UN secretariat or the
secretary-general or the chairman of the Security Council to start
discussing how to suspend the sanctions against Iraq.-Reuters


BAGHDAD, Iraq (Associated Press, Sat 16 Sep) ‹ President Saddam Hussein has
ordered his party members to conduct military training year-round because of
rising hostility toward Iraq, newspapers reported Saturday.

The order, made during a Cabinet meeting Thursday, coincided with a Clinton
administration decision to provide $4 million to the Iraqi leader's
political foes and another $4 million in stages under a program with the
Iraqi National Congress, which is trying to oust Saddam.

"Because our enemy is fighting us in all fields and under all titles, we
must boost our capabilities to face the enemy in the fields we are capable
of,'' Saddam said in remarks carried by the official Al-Qadissiya newspaper.

Military training is usually conducted during crises and summer vacations

The decree allows civil servants and regular citizens to volunteer for
military training. Volunteers are taught to fire automatic weapons and
rocket-propelled-grenade launchers.

Tensions between the United States and Iraq have been rising, mostly over a
renewed attempt to have U.N. inspectors look for hidden weapons of mass

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said Wednesday the United States will
back vigorous diplomacy with a threat of force to preserve stability through
the Middle East and Persian Gulf.

Regional friction increased Thursday, when Iraq accused Kuwait of digging
wells that allow it to steal Iraqi oil and warned that it will take measures
to stop its neighbor's action.

An official at the Iraqi Information Ministry told The Associated Press on
Saturday that Iraq did not threaten anyone.

"We only said we will take measures to stop the theft of our oil by
Kuwaitis. But the training of people and the Baath ruling party members will
continue as a precautionary measure,'' he added, speaking on condition of

Iraq historically has accused Kuwait of stealing its oil, one of the
justifications it made for invading in 1990. A U.S.-led coalition army drove
Iraq from Kuwait seven months later.

In the Saudi capital of Riyadh, a foreign ministry official said Iraq's
comments about Kuwait are similar to threats that preceded Iraq's invasion.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Saudi Arabia and
other Gulf neighbors were planning to meet in the coming days to discuss the
situation and affirm solidarity with Kuwait.

Kuwaiti officials repeatedly have denied Iraq's claims.


BAGHDAD, 16th sept: An official Iraqi newspaper on Friday refuted claims by
the Pentagon that it was closely observing Iraq, saying Washington was
looking to "incriminate" Baghdad.

"The United States has been trying for some time to invent and inflate facts
... with the goal of harming Iraq and wrongly incriminating it," said
Ath-Thawra newspaper, mouthpiece of the ruling Baath party.

The paper was reacting to statements by Pentagon spokesman Kenneth Bacon
that Washington was watching "Iraq very, very closely, but particularly at
this time of year, because August, September and October tend to be the
times when Saddam Hussein historically has either decided to attack his
neighbors or attack his own people."

"Would a simple sneeze from Iraq worry American politicians so much?" the
paper asked.

"In the United States, the image of Iraq will always be of a country that
dangerously threatens the security of the region and US interests ... and
that will last until the end of the American elections" in November, it

Washington said on September 12 that it was flying scores of warplanes and
thousands of support troops to Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Turkey as part of a
scheduled rotation of forces that coincides with heightened concern about

Bacon said the current rotation was "fairly standard" and that there were no
plans to increase the size of the US force in the region.

Tension mounted in the Gulf Friday as Kuwait accused Iraq of trying to
plunge the region into a new war by claiming that the emirate had been
stealing oil from Iraqi territory.

And Kuwait's Oil Minister Sheikh Saud Nasser al-Sabah warned Iraq in Al-Rai
al-Aam newspaper that the international community would not allow Baghdad to
keep defying the United Nations and rebuilding weapons of mass destruction.


WASHINGTON: US planes patrolling a no-fly zone over southern Iraq hit an
Iraqi radar installation on Thursday but the extent of the damage was not
immediately known, the Defense Department announced.

The site, part of the Iraqi air defense network, was attacked at 9:00 a.m.
(1300 GMT), according to Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral Craig Quigley.

"The coalition aircraft all returned safely to their home stations, and the
battle damage assessment is still being done," he said.

Quigley confirmed that there were "a couple of violations" of the southern
no-fly zone by Iraq on September 4.

According to The New York Times, an Iraqi fighter-jet violated Saudi
airspace on that day.

Iraqi warplanes have made 150 incursions into the northern and southern
no-fly zones patrolled by the United States and Britain since December 1998,
Quigley said.

The spokesman said US defense officials have taken note of recent
belligerent statements coming from Baghdad.

"This time of year we pay particular attention to that," said Quigley. "And
we will continue that for as long as it takes." (AFP)


A Japanese delegation led by former Defense Agency chief Fumio Kyuma met
Saturday with Iraq's Parliament speaker Sa'adoun Hammadi.

According to the official Iraqi News Agency (INA), Kyuma, a House of
Representatives member from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP),
''affirmed his understanding of and sympathy to the sufferings of the Iraqi
people because of the unjust sanctions.''

*  Iraqi trade fair in Beirut (Times of India, 17th Sept)

BEIRUT: An Iraqi trade fair opened in Beirut Saturday, marking the first
exhibition of Iraqi goods in Lebanon since the 1990 economic embargo was
imposed on Iraq.

The Iraqi products, including dates, canned foods, rice, honey, wool and
carpets, were allowed inland into Lebanon on Thursday, tax free.

Lebanese officials have said the Iraqi Products Fair, which ends Sept. 24,
does not violate the United Nations' trade sanctions on Iraq imposed after
it invaded neighboring Kuwait in 1990.

The exhibition was opened by Lebanon's Economy and Trade Minister Nasser
Saidi and his Iraqi counterpart, Mohammed Mehdi Saleh.

Lebanon's relations with Iraq were severed in 1994 after three Iraqi
diplomats were accused of killing a prominent Iraqi dissident in Beirut.
Economic ties have since improved, including official visits by ministers of
the two countries. (AP)

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