The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

News: September 18 - September 26

Dear friends,

Hello.  Please find the news digest enclosed below. I have the news
divided by topic, rather than in chronological order.  To avoid
duplicates, articles that provide similar information are provided as

There also is a weekly digest of editorials and letters to the editor.
Please let me know if you would like me to forward that digest to CASI.
The digest is accessbile to all at:

-Rania M.
p.s. my apologies if this is too long :-1

Subject: News: September 18 - September 26
News Sections:

- Iraq: Embargo cost more than 10,000 lives in August. 24. Sept. AFP.

- UN fast-tracks 1.792 billion dlrs worth of contracts for Iraq. Sept. 19.
- Russia Moves to Lower Iraq Funds for Gulf War Victims. Sept. 21. Reuters.
- Kuwait claims more than 168 billion dollars in war damages from Iraq.
Sept. 23. AFP. {NOTE: All other reports cite the claim at $16 Billion not
$168 Billion)
- U.N. Aide Says Equipment Delays May Curb Iraqi Oil Exports. 21 Sept.
Washington Post.
- Iraq to up oil output to 3.4 million barrels by early 2001: minister. 25
Sept. AFP.
- Saddam sells UN drugs on black market. 24 Sept. The Telegraph (UK)

* POSSIBLE OCTOBER SURPRISE -- i.e. massive US/UK military bombardment of
- Report: Iraqi forces on full alert. 20 Sept. UPI
- Iraqi threats mere words, no need to reinforce in Gulf: US army. 20 Sept.
- Kurd faction wants U.S. to stop any N. Iraq attack. 24 Sept. Reuters.

- Iraqi sanctions must end, says Campbell. (Campbell is the UK Liberal
Democrat foreign affairs spokesman.) 19 Sept. The Independent (UK)
- India for lifting of UN sanctions against Iraq. Sept. 24.
- India denounces US-British raids on Iraq: Baghdad. Sept. 24. AFP.
- Russia exerts new pressure for early lifting of sanctions on Iraq. 20
Sept. AP.
- Syria Calls for Removal of Iraq U.N. Sanctions. 26 Sept. Reuters.
- Oman calls for lifting of embargo against Iraq . 17 Sept. AFP.

- Russia Won't Defy UN Iraq Sanction. 20 Sept. AP.
- French flight to Iraq divides West. 22 Sept. BBC News.
- Gulf papers urge resumption of air links with Iraq. 24 Sept.  AFP.
- India considers organizes flight to Iraq.  26 Sept. AFP.
- (UK) MP to defy sanctions with flight to Iraq. 26 Sept. The Telegraph (UK)
- Second French flight to test Iraq sanctions. 26 Sept. Reuters.
- Jordan to send "humanitarian" plane to Iraq on Wednesday: minister. 26
Sept. AFP.
- Arab trade union group hopes to organise flight into Iraq. 25 Sept. AFP.

- Jordan's premier in Iraq: 1st visit of the kind in 10 years. 20 Sept.
- Iraq, Jordan discuss $250m oil pipeline project. 24 Sept. The Jordan
- Iraq and India to seek ways to reinforce trade ties. 23 Sept. AFP.
- More than 47 countries to take part in Iraq's Babylon Festival. 20 Sept.
- (US) Officials Laud Saddam Efforts. 20 Sept. AP. & US Press Briefing on
Iraq - 19 Sept.
- Cheney Blasts Clinton on Saddam.  20. Sept. AP.
- Better Chance for Malaysian Iraqi Trade After Sanctions Lifted. Sept. 20.
Asia Pulse.
- Arab workers for lifting sanctions on Iraq. 24 Sept. Tishreen (Syria
- Beginning of Arab committee for lifting sanctions off Iraq today in Cairo.
23 Sept. Arabic News
- Kuwait seizes ship with Iraqi oil in own waters. Sept. 23. Reuters.

- U.N. Secretary-General sees no sign Iraq will accept inspectors. Sept. 19.
- IAEA demands Iraq allow full nuclear inspections. Sept. 23. Times of
- UK's Hain sees signs Iraq ready for dialogue. 25 Sept. Times of India.
- Iraq reaffirms rejection of U.N. arms inspections. 25 Sept. Reuters.

- Iraq: Conference Examines Hussein's Alleged War Crimes. Sept. 19. Radio
Free Europe (Official US Propaganda Piece)

- American authorities detain Iraqis at U.S.-Mexican border. 20 Sept. AP.
- Drama at Mexico Border Spotlights Plight of Iraqis Seeking U.S. Asylum. 22
Sept. LA Times.


* From An Official US Propaganda Machine:
Iraq: U.S. Sees Long-Term Threat As Long As Saddam Rules. 20 Sept.

* Iraq and Saudi Arabia and Kuwait relations:
-Kuwait, Saudi Arabia responsible for continuing sanctions: Saddam. 26.
Sept. AFP.
- Saddam warns Saudi, Kuwait not to push Iraq to the brink. 25 Sept. AP.


* SANCTIONS AND ITS EFFECTS,1690,Life|29537,00.html
Iraq: Embargo cost more than 10,000 lives in August

The health ministry said 7,436 children died of diarrhoea, pneumonia,
malnutrition or respiratory problems

September 24, 2000, 01:00 PM

- The decade-old UN embargo slapped on Iraq for its invasion of Kuwait cost
more than 10,000 lives in August, almost three-quarters of them young
children, the health ministry said Saturday.
It said 7,436 children died of diarrhoea, pneumonia, malnutrition or
respiratory problems, while 2,831 adults were struck down by heart disease,
hypertension, diabetes or cancer.

Iraq has been under embargo ever since its 1990 invasion of Kuwait but is
authorised to export crude under UN supervision to finance imports of food,
medicine and essential goods.



Wednesday, September 20 4:44 AM SGT

UN fast-tracks 1.792 billion dlrs worth of contracts for Iraq
The UN's Iraqi sanctions committee has approved 1.792 billion dollars worth
of contracts under streamlined vetting procedures since March, the United
Nations said Tuesday.

But the value of humanitarian contracts put on hold by the committee had
risen to 1.974 billion dollars, the office administering the oil-for-food
programme said in its weekly update.

Holds on 12 contracts in the housing and agricultural sectors with a
combined value of 18.9 million dollars were lifted last week, it said.

New "fast track" procedures were introduced in March for contracts in these
sectors, together with food, education and medicine, after criticisms that
the committee was unreasonably blocking Iraq's imports.

The list of contracts which the committee can approve on a notification
basis was later extended to basic water and sanitation supplies.

The programme was set up in December 1996 to enable Iraq to sell crude oil
under UN supervision and to import essential supplies to ease the impact of
the sanctions imposed on Iraq after it invaded Kuwait in 1990.

The Office of the Iraq Programme said it had notified the committee of 762
humanitarian supply contracts worth 1.792 billion dollars.

Another 46 contracts worth almost 34 million had been expedited in the oil
sector, it said.

The office said the committee had blocked 1.7 billion dollars worth of
contracts for humanitarian supplies since the start of the fourth phase of
the programme in May 1998.

In the same period, it had approved 7.98 billion dollars worth of orders for
such supplies, the office said.

It said holds on contracts to import spare parts and other equipment for
Iraq's ailing oil industry amounted to 266 million dollars in that period,
while 2,129 contracts worth over 1.1 billion dollars had been approved.

"The total value of contracts on hold in all sectors is now 1.974 billion
dollars," it said.

The Security Council instructed the committee to streamline its vetting
procedures when it overhauled its sanctions regime in December.

At the time, the council decided to remove the financial ceiling on the
amount of crude oil Iraq was allowed to export.

The Office of the Iraq programme said that in the week to September 15, Iraq
exported 16.8 million barrels oil for revenue estimated at 490 million

Since the start of the current 180-day phase of the programme on June 9, the
revenue from Iraq's oil sales was over 5.1 billion dollars, it said.

Russia Moves to Lower Iraq Funds for Gulf War Victims

UNITED NATIONS, Sep 21, 2000 -- (Reuters) Russia circulated a draft
resolution among permanent UN Security Council members that would lower the
amount of funds Iraq contributes for Gulf War victims from 30 percent to 20
percent, diplomats said on Wednesday.

The move coincides with a row brewing over next week's vote in Geneva by the
UN Compensation Commission over a potential USD 16 billion payment from Iraq
to Kuwait for war reparations, including the burning of Kuwaiti oilfields by
retreating Iraqi troops.

The envoys said most council members, including Britain, would not oppose
Russia's draft proposal but they believed the United States would not take
any action favorable to Iraq before the November presidential elections.

One U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Washington was
opposed to the Russia proposal.

Fears that Iraq might cut off its key crude exports in protest if the
Compensation Commission approved the payment have helped to push already
lofty world oil markets to new decade highs.

Iraq produces about three million barrels of crude daily, or about 4 percent
of world oil production, and exports about 2.3 million barrels of that to
the world market each day.

Kuwait's claim will be considered again when the commission's governing
council, which has the same 15-nation membership as the Security Council,
meets in Geneva on September 26. European diplomats at the UN said it was
"most likely" that the Compensation Commission will delay its decision on
Kuwaiti claim at the meet because the issue is such a politically hot topic.

Under the UN "oil-for-food program," which began in December 1996, Baghdad
is allowed to sell unlimited quantities of oil to buy food, medicine and
other civilian necessities to help offset the effects of the sanctions on
ordinary Iraqis.

Since the start of the program, 30 percent of the proceeds from the sale of
Iraqi oil is automatically siphoned off into the U.N.-administered
reparations fund and other funds go to UN administration of the program.

Russia's UN ambassador Sergei Lavrov first raised the issue in August in
challenging a USD 21.5 billion claim by Kuwait for lost oil production and
sales during Iraq's seven-month occupation of the emirate. A panel of
arbitrators has recommended awarding USD 15.9 billion.

Some oil analysts say that recent political skirmishes between Iraq and its
neighbors Kuwait and Saudi Arabia are caused by Baghdad's opposition to the
Kuwaiti claim.

Raad Alkadiri, analyst with The Petroleum Finance Co. in Washington, said
that the USD 16 billion claim is the "tip of the iceberg" to claims that
could possibly tie up Baghdad's oil revenues for years.

Since the oil-for-food program began, Iraq has interrupted the flow of oil
several times, but only for short periods, to score political points,
analysts said.

Alkadiri said that the current situation regarding the claim of the
state-owned Kuwait Petroleum Co. for damages incurred during the Gulf War is
"just the type of situation" that could lead to a suspension of oil exports.

Since the oil-for-food program started in 1996, Iraq oil sales have totaled
about USD 32 billion, UN figures show. The Kuwaiti claim would be half that.

Thirty percent of the total proceeds - about USD 9.6 billion - has been set
aside for UN Compensation Commission awards.

Iraq's UN mission issued a press release that said that more money has been
set aside for compensation claims than has been paid out for Iraq's people -
about USD 8.3 billion.

"The program has not only failed to stop the deterioration in the
humanitarian situation in Iraq, but also failed to achieve its modest
humanitarian objectives," Iraq's press release said.

The Russian draft, according to diplomats who have seen it, also calls for a
review of Compensation Commission procedures and also includes a provision
that the Iraqis be part of decisions regarding spending of its oil money.
But that proposal isn't likely to fly, U.S., British and other European
diplomats said.

A European diplomat said both Russia and France favor a Security Council
review of the UN Compensation Commission, which he said has not been
conducted in its 10-year history.

Alkadiri said one way to delay the action next week in Geneva would be to
squabble over the details of procedure. This would allow all involved to
save face and at the same time not induce Iraq into suspending oil exports
at such a sensitive time.

Saturday, September 23 9:25 PM SGT

Kuwait claims more than 168 billion dollars in war damages from Iraq
KUWAIT CITY, Sept 23 (AFP) -
Kuwait's total claims submitted to the UN Compensation Commission (UNCC) for
damages from the 1990-1991 Iraqi occupation have shot up to 168.2 billion
dollars, a Kuwaiti official said Saturday.

The rise came after Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) submitted an
86-billion-dollar claim for "lost investment returns," the general manager
of Kuwait's Public Authority for Assessment of Compensation (PAAC), Adel
Assem, told AFP.

"The claim represents KIA losses resulting mainly from missed returns on
investments which were liquidated to meet spending during the invasion and
occupation of Kuwait," he said.

Assem said the amount also covered costs "to finance reconstruction and
rebuilding of the infrastructure that was destroyed at the hands of Iraqi
occupation forces."

The Gulf emirate has also submitted individual claims worth 7.5 billion
dollars to the Geneva-based UN body, while ministeries have put in separate
claims worth more than 50 billion dollars.

Kuwait's pre-invasion foreign investments amounted to an estimated 100
billion dollars, a figure that was chopped down to around 30 billion dollars
after the liberation due to the costs of the 1991 Gulf War and

The PAAC handles both private and state claims for compensation from Iraq.
The sum is expected to increase as assessment studies are underway on damage
to the Kuwaiti environment and public health.

Another major claim Kuwait has submitted to the UNCC is a 21-billion-dollar
bill for damage to its oil sector that has caused friction in the UN
Security Council.

The governing body of UNCC has reduced the bill to 15.9 billion dollars, but
countries like Russia and France still insist such claims are too big and
should be delayed.

The UNCC is scheduled to vote on the oil claim at a September 26-28 meeting
and Kuwait's Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah said Friday the
emirate had rallied enough votes to approve the 15.9-billion-dollar claim.

The UNCC has so far approved 8.2 billion dollars for payment to Kuwait, but
paid only 2.3 billion dollars, Assem said.

The commission set up in 1991 has paid out more than 4.2 billion dollars to
1.45 million victims of the August 1990 invasion of Kuwait, starting out
with individual claims rather than corporations or governments.

The fund is financed by 30 percent of Iraq's oil export revenues under a UN
mechanism. The rest of the oil revenue goes towards buying food, medicine
and essential goods for Iraq, which has been under sanctions since the

France, supported by China and Russia, asked the UN Security Council on
September 21 to reduce the amount deducted for the compensation fund to 20

Consensus sought for Kuwait's Gulf War oil claim. 25 Sept. Reuters.
Iraq Allies Work Against Sanctions. 21. Sept. AP.
France, Russia Want UN Aid Changes. 22 Sept. AP.
U.S. seen as winning U.N. vote on Kuwait oil claim. 22 Sept. Reuters.
Kuwait And Iraq Make Cases to U.N. Gulf War Body. Sept. 26. Reuters.


U.N. Aide Says Equipment Delays May Curb Iraqi Oil Exports

By Colum Lynch
Special to The Washington Post
Friday, September 22, 2000; Page A26

UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 21 –– Iraq may have to curb its oil exports unless the
United States and other members of the U.N. Security Council speed up their
approval of Iraqi purchases of spare parts, a senior U.N. official said

"I fear the current volume of production and export levels are not
sustainable, unless the necessary parts and equipment are delivered," said
Benon Sevan, executive director of the U.N.'s humanitarian program in Iraq.

Iraq exports about 2.3 million barrels a day of crude oil. About a third of
that, some 700,000 barrels a day, goes to the United States.

"The world needs all the oil it can get," said John Lichtblau, chairman of
the Petroleum Industry Research Foundation. "If 2.3 million barrels of Iraqi
oil exports were stopped, it would be a serious problem. Right now, every
barrel counts."

U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan previously has chided the United States
for holding up approval of Iraqi purchases of supplies and equipment, which
are reviewed individually under the terms of the economic sanctions on Iraq.
The Clinton administration says the purchases must be checked to ensure that
Iraq does not import equipment for military uses.

Sevan's remarks add to the growing pressure on Washington to ease the
sanctions on Baghdad.

As part of that campaign, France today notified the Security Council that it
will allow a group of physicians, artists and anti-sanctions activists to
fly from Paris to Baghdad on Friday. Although France called it a
"humanitarian flight," the trip clearly is a challenge to the ban on
commercial air traffic to Iraq.

Russia and France also are championing an Iraqi proposal to cut the portion
of oil revenue used to compensate victims of the 1990 Iraqi invasion of
Kuwait, which sparked the Persian Gulf War. The move comes as the United
States seeks council support to award $15.9 billion to Kuwaiti and Saudi
state oil companies whose rigs and production facilities were set ablaze by
Iraqi forces.

Under an exemption to the sanctions, Iraq can sell oil on the world market
and use most of the proceeds to buy food, medicine, humanitarian supplies
and vital spare parts. But Iraq is required to spend 30 percent of its oil
revenue on reparations. Russia and France want to reduce that figure to 20

According to diplomats, Security Council members have placed "holds" on more
than $2 billion in proposed Iraqi purchases. About 500 of those contracts,
valued at $266 million, are for oil-related spare parts.

U.S. officials said they are willing to consider proposals to increase the
flow of humanitarian goods to Iraq. But they said it does not make sense to
shortchange worthy claimants for reparations when Iraq has $4.5 billion of
surplus revenue in a U.N.-monitored fund for humanitarian purchases.

"The number of holds in the oil spare parts [category] has gone down
significantly in the last couple of months," said James Cunningham, the
deputy U.S. representative to the United Nations. "The facts of the matter
are, there are $200 million worth of unused authority [for Iraqi purchases]
under the last phase of the oil-for-food program, and no new orders under
the new phase."

© 2000 The Washington Post Company

Monday, September 25 4:35 PM SGT

Iraq to up oil output to 3.4 million barrels by early 2001: minister
NICOSIA, Sept 25 (AFP) -
Iraqi Oil Minister Amer Rashid said Monday that Iraq hoped to up crude
output to around 3.4 million barrels per day (bpd) by spring 2001,
reiterating that it was adopting a maximum production policy.

"We are hoping that the equipment we expected in September will arrive in
January or February. This would bring us up to 3.3 million bpd or perhaps
3.4 million bpd in the spring of 2001," Rashid told the Middle East Economic
Survey (MEES).

"We are adopting a maximum production policy. But if we have difficulties,
if we have shortages, if we see attacks against us, then we have to adapt
our production accordingly. There are always possibilities," Rashid said.

"We will probably continue at this (current) rate of 3.0 million bpd until
January 2001," he told the specialist newsletter. "Everything depends on the
approval and arrival of the equipment."

Rashid accused Washington of reverting to "its policy of putting many
contracts on hold" and also slammed Banque Nationale de Paris (BNP), where
Iraq's escrow oil accounts are kept.

"BNP has become a nuisance. They are creating a lot of obstacles on behalf
of the Americans, in addition to the problems the Americans themselves
create in the sanctions committee.

"BNP is creating delays in opening the letters of credit and all suppliers
now are aware of it," Rashid said. "The fact is they want to keep the money
and the Americans are pressurising them becasue they are under their

Iraq, which has the second-largest oil reserves in the world after Saudi
Arabia, is allowed to purchase up to 600 million dollars worth of oil spare
parts and equipment during each 180-day phase of the oil-for-food programme.

But the UN sanctions committee continues to put holds on applications for
supplies which its members believe might have a military potential.

The director of the Iraq oil-for-food programme, Benon Sevan, told the UN
Security Council on September 21 that 503 contracts in the oil sector, worth
a total of 266 million dollars, had been placed on hold.

Almost all the holds are ordered by the United States or Britain.

Iraq's oil production in August rose by 560,000 barrels a day (bpd) to 3.0
million bpd, of which 2.4 million bpd were exported under the UN
oil-for-food programme and 600,000 bpd were used for domestic consumption or
cross-border trade.


Sunday 24 September 2000

  Saddam sells UN drugs on black market
By Christina Lamb

  CHILDREN'S medicines sent to Iraq by a British pharmaceutical company
under a United Nations programme are being smuggled out of the country and
sold on the black market in Lebanon to fund the lavish tastes of Saddam
Glaxo-Wellcome has made official complaints to the Foreign Office and to the
UN which oversees the Oil for Food Programme. This allows Baghdad to sell
limited quantities of oil to buy vital humanitarian supplies for children,
the sick and elderly.

The UN Security Council set strict controls to ensure that the medicines
went to civilians and not the regime. But a spokesman for Glaxo-Wellcome
told The Telegraph that the company has so far traced 15,000 units of
Ventolin, part of a consignment of asthma medicine shipped to Iraq,
circulating on the black market in Beirut.

The medicines had been transported to Lebanon using vehicles belonging to
Iraq's ministry of transport. This indicates that the smuggling is being
masterminded at the highest levels and undermines Saddam's claims that
people are dying in Iraq because of shortages caused by the trade embargo
imposed in 1991 after the invasion of Kuwait. However, with the Iraqi
dictator still firmly in power despite a decade of sanctions, Britain and
America are increasingly isolated as they continue to insist on the embargo.
A Foreign Office official acknowledged: "Sanctions are clearly not working
but they are desperately clinging on because no one knows what else to do."

Saddam is using the supposed shortages as a propaganda tool, showing
pictures of sick children and blaming the West for his people's suffering
when his regime is actually smuggling out medicines that it does receive.
The Ventolin is thought to be just a fraction of the UN- approved Western
medicines illegally sold on by Saddam's lieutenants in a scheme run by his
son Uday. The Iraqi opposition estimate that millions of pounds are being
raised in this way and used to finance Saddam's regime and the activities of
his intelligence services as they step up their work in London and other
European capitals.

Glaxo-Wellcome has launched a campaign to warn pharmacists in Lebanon and
other Arab states not to sell the smuggled goods. The company is concerned
about the safety implications of prescription drugs being sold over the
counter as well as being undercut in markets to which it already exports.
Last week the Lebanese authorities arrested a number of those involved in
selling them.

"Obviously this is a worrying development," said an official at the UN
programme office for Iraq. A recent report by the office to the Security
Council projected oil revenues for Iraq from December 1999 to June 2000 at
£6 billion, which should be spent on health and food, and complained that
medicines worth £180 million were still lying in Iraqi warehouses and had
not been distributed.

However, there is now increasing pressure to end sanctions both in the Arab
world and beyond. Iraqi trade with Syria, Egypt and some Gulf countries has
been increasing, as has support for an end to the embargo, and there have
been several reports of oil being smuggled through Turkey and the UAE.

Last week Saddam's regime celebrated the arrival of a Russian flight at the
newly-reopened Baghdad international airport and Aeroflot executives are
awaiting Kremlin approval for the resumption of what will be the first
regular commercial flights since the Gulf war. Passengers on last week's
flight included oil executives interested in making deals with Iraq.

On Friday, a French plane flew from Paris to Baghdad, carrying doctors,
athletes and artists defying a request from the UN committee that upholds
the sanctions regime against Iraq. The sanctions committee was informed only
on Thursday night of the Friday morning flight and France refused a request
to delay the flight for 12 hours so that the issue could be studied.
Welcoming the flight at Baghdad, Hussein Saeed, an Iraqi Olympic committee
official, said the French had taken "a big initiative in breaking the

At the same time, boosted by record oil prices and the protests in Britain
and across Europe over high fuel costs, Saddam has begun an intensive
lobbying campaign to weaken the sanction regime. His efforts already seem to
be having some effect. Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's new president, recently made
a trip to Baghdad, the first elected head of state to visit since the Gulf
war. Known for his anti-American rhetoric, President Chavez claimed his
visit was necessary because Venezuela currently holds the presidency of the
Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries and suggested it was time to
end Iraq's isolation.



Report: Iraqi forces on full alert
Wednesday, 20 September 2000 13:56 (ET)

Report: Iraqi forces on full alert

LONDON, Sept. 20 (UPI) -- Iraq has placed its armed forces on a state of
full alert in anticipation of any possible U.S. strike following recent
threats against Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, according to a London-based Arab

The Al-Zaman newspaper in a report to be published on Thursday and made
available to United Press International Wednesday said, "Iraqi authorities
evacuated positions and headquarters of important administrations in
anticipation of a U.S. strike following Iraq's recent escalation against
Kuwait and its media campaign against Saudi Arabia."

The newspaper quoted Iraqis who left Baghdad recently as saying that the
Iraqi forces were in a state of maximum alert. All soldiers' and officers'
leave had been canceled and troops had been redeployed around Baghdad. The
report also quoted Iraqi sources with close ties to the Iraqi authorities as
saying that organizations of the ruling Baath Party were also placed on full
alert while military forces had taken positions around the capital.

The sources said that several ministries "located to alternative positions
inside and outside Baghdad in preparation to move to them within a week."

Copyright 2000 by United Press Internationa


Wednesday, September 20 8:24 PM SGT

Iraqi threats mere words, no need to reinforce in Gulf: US army
KUWAIT CITY, Sept 20 (AFP) -
Washington has no plans to bolster its military forces in the Gulf, a senior
US military officer stressed here Wednesday, dismissing Iraq's new threats
against Kuwait as mere "rhetoric".

"Our military forces remain at the normal level of preparedness and
alertness," said Lieutenant General Paul Mikolashek, commanding general of
the US Third Army and Army Forces Central Command.

Asked if Washington had any plans to bolster its forces in the region,e
replied: "No. We have a continuous presence of forces here."

"There has been a lot of rhetoric. What is important to us, the military, is
what actions are being done. Right now, we see a lot of rhetoric," the
general said, explaining he was in Kuwait on a routine visit.

He said the current situation in the Gulf was "totally different" to the one
that existed in August 1990, when Iraq invaded Kuwait.

"As you know, (Iraqi President) Saddam Hussein was dealt a devastating
defeat in (Operation) Desert Storm. He has lost military control over about
60 percent of his country.

"His armed forces have been degradaed and sanctions have been in place for
10 years. He (still) has some very dangerous military capability, but the
situation is not anywhere near the way it was in 1990," Mikolashek said.

Kuwait's state minister for foreign affairs Sulaiman Majed al-Shaheen said
Tuesday that the latest Iraqi threats had escalated tension to pre-invasion

During his visit, Mikolashek has met with senior Kuwaiti officials including
Defence Minister Sheikh Salem al-Sabah and will see thousands of US troops
stationed in Kuwait.

Some 4,500 US troops are in Kuwait, including 3,000 ground forces, a combat
task force, an Apache helicopter unit, command and control systems, two
Patriot batteries and stockpiles of prepositioned military hardware.

An undisclosed number of US aircraft and 400 aircrew are also deployed at
Ahmad al-Jaber air base, 80 kilometres (50 miles) south of Kuwait City, from
where they patrol the southern "no-fly" zone over Iraq.

Kuwait has defence pacts with Washington, London and Paris, signed after the
1991 Gulf War, and the Kuwaiti military regularly holds exercises with their

The Central Command, one of five US regional commands, covers an area
stretching from Pakistan to Egypt.

U.S. troops ready for Iraq but alert level same. 20 Sept. Reuters.
US officials threaten military action against Iraq. 19 Sept. World Socialist

:09/24/2000 11:36:00 ET
Kurd faction wants U.S. to stop any N. Iraq attack

  ISTANBUL, Sept 24 (Reuters) - An Iraqi Kurdish faction on Sunday said it
was counting on U.S. threats of military force to keep the Iraqi government
>from attacking territory it controls in northern Iraq. U.S. Secretary of
State Madeline Albright earlier this month warned Iraq of military action if
it threatened neighbouring countries or Kurds in the northern enclave, which
U.S. and British air patrols protect. The warning came after Iraq accused
Kuwait of stealing its oil and threatened to take unspecified measures
against the neighbour it invaded in 1990, sparking the 1991 Gulf War. A
London-based representative of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), which
controls part of northern Iraq that slipped from Baghdad"s hands after the
Gulf War, told Reuters Iraqi troops and tanks had massed near the area,
close to the Iranian border. "We have conveyed our concerns to the relevant
people," he said. "Protection is absolutely essential, since they (Iraq) are
threatening the Kurdish area with their policy of deportation, ethnic
cleansing and Arabisation." He added Iraq was using fighters from the
Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) -- which has used northern Iraq as a base in
its 16-year battle for self-rule in Turkey"s mainly Kurdish southeast -- to
try to undermine the PUK. Turkey poured thousands of troops into northern
Iraq in an offensive against the PKK in May, fighting alongside the other
main Iraqi Kurdish faction, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP). Kurdish
groups say clashes over the past two weeks between the PKK and PUK have
resulted in dozens of deaths. "There is no way they could reach our region
without aid and access from Iraq," the PUK representative said. The PUK and
KDP have controlled much of northern Iraq since wresting the region from
Iraqi control after the Gulf War. Fighting between the factions, which has
killed several thousand people since the end of the war, culminated in 1996,
when Iraqi-backed KDP forces overran the PUK stronghold of Suleymaniyah. A
1998 U.S.-brokered peace deal aimed at uniting the region in opposition to
Iraqi President Saddam Hussein followed, but squabbling over sharing revenue
>from customs and border fuel trade have impeded progress toward the
elections and power-sharing it envisaged. PUK chief Jalal Talabani, quoted
in the Arabic daily Al Hayat on Sunday, criticised U.S. strategies for
nudging Saddam from power as unfeasible and urged an active coalition of
opposition groups within Iraq.



Iraqi sanctions must end, says Campbell

By Fran Abrams, Westminster Correspondent

19 September 2000

Sanctions that have caused the deaths of thousands of children in Iraq
should be scrapped, the Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman, Menzies
Campbell, told the conference yesterday.

Mr Campbell's statement came just two weeks after he published a joint paper
on the United Nations with the Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook.

Campaigners say the non-military sanctions cause 4,000 infant deaths every
month through shortages of medicine and clean water.

Yesterday Mr Campbell gave the protesters Liberal Democrat backing for the
first time. His party's decision to support the war against Saddam Hussein
in 1990 now amounted to little more than "containment", he said.

Despite the sanctions, Saddam continued to impose "unspeakable terror and
evil" on his own people.

"Their daily lives, save for those whose welfare and loyalty are essential
for the survival of the regime, are blighted by poverty, malnutrition and
ignominy. Their suffering is not caused by sanctions – it is caused by the
evil exploitation of sanctions by Saddam Hussein. But remove the sanctions
and you remove the opportunity for that exploitation," he said.

The British Government should fight for the lifting of all sanctions against
Iraq apart from those relating to military equipment, he added.

Mr Campbell also launched an attack on the American government's planned
National Missile Defence System, which would require the use of a British
airbase. The "son of Star Wars" system would break the Anti-ballistic
Missile Treaty and could unleash an Asian nuclear arms race, he said.

Mr Campbell backed the British Government's intervention in Sierra Leone.
Britain should consider sending a battalion of troops to support the United
Nations, he added.

India for lifting of UN sanctions against Iraq

Ashok Tuteja in Dubai

India has called for immediate lifting of United Nations sanctions against
Iraq, saying they had proved to be counter-productive and affected the
common man.

''India has been and is against any sanctions and we tried to convince all
bilaterally and multi-laterally, even at UN forums, that sanctions against
Iraq must be lifted,'' Minister of State for External Affairs Ajit Kumar
Panja told Iraqi Vice-President Taha Yasin Ramadhan, at a meeting in Baghdad
on Saturday evening.

Describing his 35-minute meeting with the Iraqi leader as ''very cordial'',
Panja told UNI over the telephone from Baghdad, ''We have also expressed
concern to the Iraqi-vice president over the humanitarian situation in Iraq,
particularly the high mortality rate among women and children.''

Panja, who arrived in the Iraqi capital on Saturday, leading an Indian
delegation comprising officials and business representatives, met Iraqi
Minister of Trade Mehdi Mohammed Saleh and Minister of Industry and Minerals
Adnan Abdul Majeed Jassim, besides Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. He will
meet Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz, a confidant of Hussein, and
ministers of transport and communication, agriculture, health and oil on

The Indian minister told his Iraqi interlocutors that New Delhi supported
Iraq's sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence. India stood for
regional stability of the Gulf, Panja said, describing the region as ''an
extended neighbourhood of India''.

He also clarified to the Iraqi leaders that India's relations with Israel
were not at the cost of New Delhi's ties with any other nation.

India highly valued its relations with the Arab world and would not take any
step that would undermine this historic relationship, he assured the Iraqi

The Indian minister recalled the meeting between Prime Minister Atal Bihari
Vajpayee and the Iraqi vice-president at Durban on the sidelines of the
Non-Alligned Movement summit in 1998. That meeting became a turning point in
bilateral relations and led to the setting up of a joint business council
between the two countries, he recollected.

Panja, who had paid an official visit to Kuwait in July, described Iraq and
Kuwait as ''extremely friendly countries", adding ''we want stability in the
Gulf so that no third country can take advantage of the situation in the

On bilateral economic co-operation, Panja emphasised India's economic
potential and stressed the need for a larger share for New Delhi in the
UN-approved oil-for-food programme in Iraq.

He pointed out that India's share in the oil-for-food programme at three per
cent was extremely modest and that it was not consistent with the
traditionally strong friendship and economic interaction between the two

Panja's arrival in the Iraqi capital coincided with the landing of French
and Russian planes in Baghdad during the past two days, carrying
humanitarian aid for the people of the sanction-hit country, virtually
challenging the UN embargo.


Monday, September 25 1:40 AM SGT

India denounces US-British raids on Iraq: Baghdad
BAGHDAD, Sept 24 (AFP) -
Ajit Kumar Panja, India's minister of state for external affairs, met here
Sunday with President Saddam Hussein and denounced the nearly daily US and
British raids on Iraq, the official INA news agency said.

"Mr. Panja expressed his country's rejection of the embargo imposed on Iraq
and the American-British raids against the Iraqi people," INA said.

The minister also gave Saddam a message from Indian Prime Minister Atal
Behari Vajpayee expressing "New Delhi's desire to bolster relations with
Iraq in the political, economic and cultural arenas," the agency said.

Panja has been in Iraq since Friday to head a commercial delegation and
talked to Baghdad officials about possible sales of Indian parts to repair
Iraq's oil and electric installations.

India has more than 150 contracts with Iraq valuing more than 280 million
dollars as part of the UN-sponsored "oil-for-food" program.

India's major exports to Iraq include oil industry equipment and food,
pharmacutical and electric products.

09/20/2000 14:35:00 ET
Russia exerts new pressure for early lifting of sanctions on Iraq

  MOSCOW (AP) _ Russia is stepping up its opposition to the United Nations"
sanctions against Iraq with new challenges aimed at undermining the rules
and bringing Saddam Hussein"s regime out of isolation. The state-controlled
airline Aeroflot is negotiating with Iraq on resuming flights to Baghdad,
and Russian business executives have flown to the Iraqi capital for talks on
reviving trade. Russia has long claimed that the sanctions don"t work, but
avoided confrontation with the United States and Britain, the two main
supporters of the controls. Moscow has changed its strategy in recent weeks,
encouraged by growing international questioning of the sanctions. Moscow has
a lot to gain by aiding Iraq, a Soviet-era ally and important customer. The
cash-strapped Russian government hopes helping to end sanctions will mean
lucrative oil and weapons contracts with Baghdad. "Russia has gotten
frustrated that its urges to revise the sanction regime were not getting
positive responses from the western members of the United Nations," said
Boris Makarenko, an analyst with the Center for Political Technologies in
Moscow. Aeroflot officials say only technical issues remain to be resolved
before flights are resumed. The United States and Britain oppose the
resumption of air service between Moscow and Baghdad, arguing that civil
flights to Iraq constitute an economic resource, and therefore violate the
sanctions imposed after Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990. The United Nations said
sanctions would remain in place until its observers verify Baghdad has
dismantled all its weapons of mass destruction. Russia says it strictly
observes the sanctions, but claims that the rules do not explicitly prohibit
civilian flights. "As before, we take the standpoint that in the
corresponding resolutions of the U.N. Security Council there are no bans on
carrying out regular passenger flights to Baghdad, and we will be ready to
restore them as soon as possible," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement
Monday. Analysts say Moscow has been encouraged by signs of other nations
opposing the sanctions. Jordan has also considered resuming air service,
while Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez got red-carpet treatment in a defiant
visit to Baghdad last month. "I think the Russians are seeing an opening
where they can take the position to what"s a little closer to what they
would like to do without it being quite as dangerous vis-a-vis their
relations to the United States," said Phyllis Bennis, a fellow of the
Institute for Policy Studies in Washington D.C. Several delegations from
Russian government agencies and state-controlled oil companies have made
trips to Iraq in recent months. Russia has also sent humanitarian missions
to Iraq without awaiting permission from the U.N. sanctions committee _
though it got U.N. permission for the latest flight, on Sunday. Some of the
humanitarian missions have been mixed with Russia"s business and political
interests. The Sunday shipment of medicine was accompanied by a delegation
>from pipeline company Stroytransgaz, which wants to boost ties and possibly
open an office in Baghdad. Russian companies say they are doing what makes
good business sense. "Aeroflot does not get involved in politics _ our job
is to carry passengers," said Alexander Lopukhin, deputy director of
Aeroflot. Resuming flights would boost Russia"s status in Iraq. And
President Vladimir Putin wants Iraq to pay back some $8 billion on
Soviet-era debt. Challenges to the sanctions began under former President
Boris Yeltsin, but Putin shows signs of wanting to step up Moscow"s
opposition. "There is strong pressure to develop ties with Iraq, and it is a
large debtor," said Alexander Pikayev, an analyst with the Carnegie
Endowment for International Peace. "Putin needs somehow to react to that."

09/26/2000 09:36:00 ET
Syria Calls for Removal of Iraq U.N. Sanctions

  DAMASCUS (Reuters) - In a sign of improving ties between Syria and Iraq,
Damascus called Tuesday for U.N. sanctions against Baghdad to be lifted. The
gesture came after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad met visiting deputy
Iraqi Prime Minister Tareq Aziz, a presidential spokesman said. Ties between
Syria and Iraq, ruled by rival factions of the Baath Party, started to
improve three years ago following nearly two decades of animosity over
Iraq"s 1980-1988 war against Iran and Baghdad"s invasion of Kuwait in 1990.
Syria sided with Tehran during the Iraq-Iran war and joined the U.S.-led
multinational force that drove Iraqi troops out of Kuwait in 1991. Aziz was
the most senior Iraqi official to visit Syria since Bashar took office in
July following the death of his father Hafez al-Assad in June. "I am pleased
with the outcome of the visit..," Aziz said. Aziz also met Syrian Foreign
Minister Farouq al-Shara who said afterwards: "Syria supports calls for
removal of sanctions imposed on Iraq. "We expressed this position (call for
removal of sanctions) during recent meetings of the U.N. General Assembly
and the Arab League," he added. "We believe the preservation of sanctions is
not justified because the people of Iraq are those who are mainly suffering
as a result. Syria wants to ease the agonies of the Iraqi people," he said.
The minister said relations were improving and that several Syrian ministers
had already visited Iraq, adding that Industry Minister Ahmed Hammo was now
in Baghdad for talks. Officials said the two countries planned to double
their commercial exchanges -- conducted within the framework of Iraq"s
oil-for-food deal with the U.N. -- to around $1 billion. They exchanged
diplomatic representatives recently, sending envoys to work at interest
sections opened at the Algerian embassies in both capitals. Officials said
work was also under way to renovate and reopen the Iraqi Airways office in
Damascus to handle the travel of Iraqi passengers through Syrian airports.

Syria calls for elimination of embargo on Iraq. Sept. 26. AFP>

Oman calls for lifting of embargo against Iraq

Oman's minister of foreign affairs said the general situation in Iraq
continues to deteriorate as a result of the economic embargo

September 17, 2000, 02:24 AM

- Oman asked the UN Security Council Saturday to lift economic sanctions
imposed 10 years ago against Iraq to reduce the suffering of the Iraqi
Oman's minister responsible for foreign affairs Minister Youssef ben Alaoui
said "The general situation in Iraq continues to deteriorate as a result of
the economic embargo imposed for the last 10 years.

"Therefore, we cannot now but call for the establishment of a mechanism to
end the siege and to lift the embargo, which doubtlessly has done great harm
to the people of Iraq," ben Alaoui told the UN General Assembly.

The conservative Gulf sultanate of Oman has maintained good relations with
Iraq even during the Gulf crisis. It has an embassy in Baghdad.

The UN sanctions were imposed on Iraq in 1990, after its invasion of Kuwait.

Resolution 1284, which was adopted by the Security Council in December 1999,
offered to suspend the 10-year-old sanctions regime if Iraq cooperates fully
with a new body of UN arms inspectors.

Baghdad has announced that it has no intention of cooperating with the UN
Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), set up
pursuant to the resolution.

The Omani minister, however, indicated that UN arms inspectors had overseen
the elimination by Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction.

"We call on the Security Council to adopt new policies and effective
mechanisms that will relieve the suffering imposed on states such as Iraq,
Libya and the Sudan," he said, adding that the measures would come
"alongside the lifting of economic sanctions."


Wednesday, September 20 7:45 AM SGT

Russia Won't Defy UN Iraq Sanction

MOSCOW (AP) - Russia won't defy the United Nations even as it pushes for
resumption of passenger flights to Iraq, a senior Russian diplomat said

Deputy Foreign Minister Vasily Sredin, Russia's presidential envoy to the
Middle East, told the Interfax news agency that ``not a single Russian
airplane'' would fly to Iraq without permission from the U.N. sanctions

A Russian airliner flew to the Iraqi capital of Baghdad on Sunday, carrying
11 oil experts. Russia received approval for the flight from the U.N.
committee monitoring sanctions against Iraq.

Russia's Vnukovo Airlines says it plans a humanitarian flight to Iraq on
Sept. 29.

U.N. approval can be secured for humanitarian flights into Iraq, but the
sanctions committee maintains flights of commercial benefit to Iraq violate
a U.N. trade embargo.

Permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, the enforcer of sanctions,
are divided about what flights are allowed. The question has gained
importance lately as Russia and Jordan consider resuming flights to Iraq.

Russia argues that, as Sredin put it, ``no U.N. Security Council resolution
on Iraq forbids air traffic with that country.''

Russia's U.N. ambassador Sergey Lavrov echoed that view Tuesday in New York,
saying the sanctions require only that the council be notified of passenger
flights into Iraq. Cargo flights, on the other hand, require committee

The United States and Britain, however, say that passenger flights are an
economic resource, making their reinstatement a breach of the sanctions even
without a specific ban.

U.N. resolutions require the sanctions, imposed in the wake of the 1991
Persian Gulf War, to remain in place until Baghdad complies with demands to
dismantle its weapons of mass destruction. For the past decade, travelers to
Iraq have generally had to fly to Amman, Jordan, and then drive 12 hours to

Russia ``is exploring the possibility of resuming air traffic with Iraq ...
We are in no rush about this and are conducting ourselves properly,'' Sredin
was quoted as saying.

``Not a single Russian plane will fly to Iraq without the agreement of the
sanctions committee,'' he said.

Russia's national airline, Aeroflot, has been making plans with Iraqi
officials to resume flights from Moscow to Baghdad.

Analysts See Russia Testing Limits With Iraq Flight. 20 Sept. Reuters.
Russia Argues in Favor of Civil Flights to Iraq. 20 Sept. Reuters.
Iraq Flights Challenge UN Sanctions 24 Sept. (AP)
Third Russian Plane Arrives in Iraq. 23 Sept. Reuters.
Russian plane provides latest challenge to U.N. sanctions on Iraq. 23.
Russia keeps up flow of flights to Iraq despite US anger. 23. Sept. AFP.


Friday, 22 September, 2000, 14:37 GMT 15:37 UK
French flight to Iraq divides West

Iraqi hospitals are short of essential medical supplies

A private plane carrying doctors and sports personalities has landed in
Baghdad after the first direct flight from Paris since the international
embargo was imposed on Iraq.
The flight triggered a diplomatic row at the United Nations, which had asked
France to delay its departure while the UN sanctions committee considered
whether to approve the flight.

[The flight is to] to fight against an intolerable situation which condemns
an innocent population to a slow agony

Flight organiser Father Jean-Marie Benjamin

About 60 French doctors, artists and sports personalities were on board the
plane, which landed in Baghdad at 1520 local time (1120 GMT) on Friday to
provide medical assistance and take part in a cultural festival.

They were met by officials from the Iraqi transport, health and foreign
ministries as well as the country's Olympic committee, according to the
Iraqi News Agency.

Three permanent members of the UN Security Council are in dispute over the

Britain and the United States say that the French are violating UN sanctions
against Iraq by not giving enough notice of the flight.

However, France maintains that it is not trying to erode sanctions, but
merely interpreting UN resolutions in a more liberal way than Washington and


The flight was arranged by a private French group opposed to the
international sanctions imposed after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

Iraq has just reopened its international airport

A second French group has announced plans for another flight on 29

Its organiser, Father Jean-Marie Benjamin, said it was "to fight against an
intolerable situation which condemns an innocent population to a slow

Iraq reopened its international airport last month to enable it to receive
international flights again, despite the sanctions.

Last week Russia flew a passenger flight to Iraq carrying humanitarian aid
and a number of oil executives.

But it gave the UN sanctions committee a few days' notice, enabling other
countries to decide whether they wanted to raise any objections.


However, this time, France gave the committee only a few hours' notice,
arguing that it did not need the UN's approval as the flight is not

Iraqis say the rations allowed by the UN scheme are inadequate

Britain has formally objected to the flight, saying that it breaks the

"We objected. We don't think it is humanitarian," a British diplomat said.

US officials said they were still reviewing the situation, although they had
raised similar concerns earlier in the day.

The Netherlands, which chairs the committee on Iraqi sanctions, had asked
France to delay the flight's departure.

Both France and Russia, close trading partners of Iraq before the invasion
of Kuwait, want the sanctions eased and lifted.

Future of sanctions

The BBC's Jon Leyne says Iraq's aim is clearly to undermine the sanctions,
just as it succeeded two years ago in ending weapons inspections.

While Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein does not have many friends in the outside
world, there is a growing feeling abroad that the policy of maintaining
sanctions no longer has any clear purpose, our correspondent says.

Iraq's hand has been strengthened by the high price of oil, and it has also
revived some of the complaints against Kuwait and Saudi Arabia that led up
to the Gulf War.

Alternatively Iraq may be hoping for the gradual disintegration of the
sanctions regime, our correspondent says. But that will not bring what Iraq
really needs: a massive influx of investment into its creaking capacity to
produce oil.

-Iraq hails first Paris-Baghdad flight as step toward end of sanctions. 22
Sept. AFP.
-French Chartered Plane Lands in Baghdad. 22 Sept. Reuters.
-France rebuffs UN sanctions committee on flight to Iraq. 22 Sept. AFP.
-U.S., Britain Rebuke France Over Flight to Iraq. 22 Sept. Reuters.
-Flights to Iraq sound death knell for sanctions. 24 Sept. AFP.


Sunday, September 24 5:06 PM SGT

Gulf papers urge resumption of air links with Iraq
DUBAI, Sept 24 (AFP) -
Gulf newspapers urged Arab countries Sunday to resume air links with Iraq,
following the arrival in Baghdad of two delegations from France and Russia
by plane despite strong criticism from the United States.

"The air embargo has fallen completely by the wayside, subject to
interpretations according to one's interests," the Qatari paper Al-Watan

"Why are Arab countries standing there with arms folded instead of taking a
positive initiative ... while the way is open before them?" asked the paper,
dubbing the air embargo "fictitious".

Iraq has been under a wide range of international sanctions since its 1990
invasion of Kuwait, but the permanent members of the UN Security Council
disagree over the extent to which air traffic is affected, with France,
Russia and China arguing that non-commercial passenger flights to Baghdad
are not covered.

"A Qatari plane, with Qatari doctors and personalities, should visit
Baghdad, as a sign of solidarity with the Iraqi people," the Doha-based
Al-Sharq said.

"New strategies for the region lie behind the French and Russian flights to
Iraq," it said, and urged Arab countries "to take the initiative on Iraq so
as not to lose ground to the West, which imposed sanctions only to break
them in the search for new investments in the region."

The Emirati daily Al-Bayan, which said the French flight had given the
"green light to peace-loving countries to contribute to the lifting of the
embargo", urged Arab countries to undertake similar initiatives "to break
the embargo and come to the aid of the victims of the sanctions."

It also called on Baghdad to benefit from the moves by Paris and Moscow by
"putting an end to threats (against its neighbours) and its media campaigns
against Washington as well as applying international resolutions."

Dubai's Khaleej Times said the arrival of the two planes in Baghdad "points
to a concerted bid by Iraq's friends to hasten the demise of the 10-year-old
UN embargo," adding the countries clearly had an eye on lucrative commercial
contracts with Iraq.

"Using humanitarian assistance as a cover, Moscow and Paris have used the
flights to signal their impatience with the Security Council, which refuses
to lift the sanctions, as well as to stake a claim to the long-awaited
commercial windfall."

But Saudi Arabia's Al-Bilad urged that the embargo be upheld as long as
Baghdad kept mum on "Kuwaiti demands on prisoners-of-war and guarantees of
border security" with Iraq.

"Do those who break the embargo realise they are deliberately ridiculing the
rights and interests of others?" the paper asked.

A Russian flight arrived in Baghdad on Saturday, a day after a French plane
landed in the Iraqi capital, in defiance of the US hard line on decade-old
UN sanctions.

With the air embargo on Baghdad falling apart, another 120-strong delegation
of European lawmakers and business people is expected to fly to Iraq from
Paris on September 29.
Jordan's premier in Iraq: 1st visit of the kind in 10 years
Iraq, Politics, 9/20/2000

Jordanian prime minister, Ali Abu Ragheb, will visit shortly Iraq in the
first visit to Iraq by such a high-ranking Jordanian official in 10 years.

Abu Ragheb is planning to visit Iraq the soonest, probably before end of
September, an official source told AFP news agency under cover of anonymity,
MAP reported.

The prime minister had visited Iraq some days before his appointment last
June by King Abdallah II, said the source.

The visit will be taking place as Jordan is trying to get the United Nations
green light to resume flights to Iraq, hit by a 10-year long embargo.

Amman is also trying to renew an oil agreement with Iraq, its major oil

Exceptionally, Iraq and Amman have signed an oil and trade agreement under
which Jordan will export, in 2000, $ 300 million-worth of goods in exchange
of 4.8 million tons of crude oil, half of which is free and the second half
at preferential prices.

Tuesday, September 26 12:29 AM SGT

India considers organizes flight to Iraq
BAGHDAD, Sept 25 (AFP) -
India, following the lead of Russia and France, is considering a
sanctions-defying flight into Iraq, an Indian official said here Monday.

"India is studying the possibility of sending to Iraq a plan carrying Indian
personalities to support efforts to lift the embargo on this country," said
Ajit Kumar Panja, India's minister of state for external affairs, as quoted
by Iraq's official news agency INA.

Panja, on a three-day visit to Baghdad, said he signed a friendship
agreement with Iraq foreseeing regular bilateral meetings to improve
cooperation between the two countries.

The minister met Sunday with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, to whom he
delivered a message from Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee.

Panja used the occasion to denounce the embargo "imposed on Iraq and the
American-British raids against the Iraqi people," according to INA.

French and Russian planes arrived in Baghdad over the weekend, defying the
strict US interpretation of the international air embargo on Iraq.

India has more than 150 contracts with Iraq valuing more than 280 million
dollars as part of the UN-sponsored "oil-for-food" program.


ISSUE 1950 Tuesday 26 September 2000

  MP to defy sanctions with flight to Iraq
By Anton La Guardia, Diplomatic Editor

  THE backbench MP George Galloway will join a sanctions-defying flight to
Baghdad this week as an international campaign to break down the embargo
gathers strength.

George Galloway MP: 'An embargo only works for as long as people are
prepared to obey it'
Mr Galloway said: "An embargo only works for as long as people are prepared
to obey it. There is a sense that people are no longer prepared to blockade
Iraq in perpetuity." Mr Galloway, who tried to organise a protest flight
earlier this year but was prevented by objections from the United Nations
sanctions committee, said that he and the Labour peer Lord Rea would join a
group of French anti-sanctions campaigners led by the former foreign
minister, Claude Cheysson.

He said that British celebrities such as the pop star Kirsty MacColl and the
radio presenter Andy Kershaw would also travel on the flight from Paris on
Friday. The embargo on flights to Baghdad, in force for a decade, was
breached last week by a Russian aircraft carrying oil executives as well as
humanitarian supplies, and a French flight carrying doctors and other
anti-sanctions campaigners.

The Saudi-owned Arabic daily, al-Hayat, reported yesterday that the French
and Russian flights had carried doctors to treat President Saddam Hussein
for suspected cancer. There was no confirmation of the claim.

The UN Security Council is divided over the future of the sanctions. France,
Russia and China say that resolutions do not ban commercial air flights to
Baghdad, but Britain and America insist that they come under the wider trade
embargo. The Foreign Office said last night: "Any proposal for a flight to
Baghdad should be referred to the UN sanctions committee."

Iraq has repeatedly rejected a Security Council offer to lift sanctions if
weapons inspectors are allowed to resume work.
Second French flight to test Iraq sanctions
September 26, 2000
Web posted at: 7:15 AM EDT (1115 GMT)

PARIS, France (Reuters) -- A French plane is to fly to Baghdad on Friday,
the second such flight in a week testing U.N. sanctions against Iraq,
organizers said on Tuesday.

The plane, carrying French politicians and intellectuals, will fly as the
United Nations Security Council is deadlocked in a debate on whether
permission from the U.N. sanctions committee is needed for such flights, or
a mere notification is enough.

Organizers, including former French Foreign Minister Claude Cheysson and two
other ex-cabinet ministers, said the chartered plane would leave Paris on
Friday morning and return on Sunday.

Organizers said they had chartered a plane from a partner airline of Air
France and would name the company only once the flight plan had been
validated by aviation authorities.

A spokeswoman for the French national carrier named the airline as Euralair,
but denied it was a partner.

A spokeswoman for Euralair, which sent a plane to Baghdad last Friday,
denied it would operate next Friday's flight. Euralair had denied any
information about last week's flight.

Organizers had first tried to charter a plane from Air France, but the
airline said it would need to carry out technical inspections at Baghdad
airport before sending one of its aircraft.

The dispute over last week's French flight was the latest attempt by Iraq's
sympathizers in the council -- France, Russia and China-- to chip away at
the sanctions, introduced in August 1990 when Iraqi troops invaded Kuwait.

At issue is a September 1990 resolution that imposed air and sea embargoes
against Iraq. The flight ban has varying interpretations that have never
been resolved, even by U.N. legal experts.

Russia and France dispute the U.S. and British view that all flights to Iraq
need permission.

They say this applies only to freight and commercial passenger flights and
are expected to ignore any objections or requests for delays in flights to
Baghdad in the future, diplomats said.

France submitted a proposal on Monday that would end the committee's
practice of requiring 24 hours prior notification of any flight so that
members had time to register objections

A Russian request for a fourth flight to Iraq in as many weeks is currently
before the sanctions committee along with one from Iceland and Jordan.

Copyright 2000 Reuters

Tuesday, September 26 7:38 PM SGT

Jordan to send "humanitarian" plane to Iraq on Wednesday: minister
AMMAN, Sept 26 (AFP) -
Jordan announced official plans to send an airplane to Baghdad Wednesday on
what it said would be an essentially humanitarian venture.

The flight would be the first such move by an Arab country, crowning efforts
by the kingdom to put an end to the UN-imposed sanctions on Iraq.

Following a cabinet meeting, the acting culture and information minister,
Mahmud Al-Kayed, said Jordan had informed the United Nations of "the
departure on Wednesday of the airplane, which will return to Amman on

Earlier Tuesday, government sources said the flight would depart for Baghdad
within 48 hours.

He added that the cabinet had designated the flight a humanitarian one and
that it would be carrying a "quantity of medicine."

He reaffirmed what Jordanian Foreign Minister Abdel Ilah al-Khatib said
earlier Tuesday, that cabinet ministers and parliamentarians would be aboard
the aircraft, adding that there would be "a number of doctors from the
public and private sectors."

Calling the flight a gesture of "solidarity with the Iraqi people," Kayed
said he hoped it would be the "prelude to the organization of regular
flights between Amman and Baghdad."

Jordanian opposition and Islamist figures who have long campaigned to press
Jordan to take the lead and restore air links with its Arab neighbour and
main source of oil needs quickly praised the move.

"The flight will reflect the desire of the Jordanian people to be the first
Arabs to take the initiative to break the embargo on Iraq," Fawaz Zreikat of
the National Comittee of Mobilisation To Defend Iraq, told AFP.

"We hope it will pave the way for the resumption of regular flights," said

The head of the Islamist-led Bar Association, Saleh Armuti, who has
repeatedly tried to organise a flight to Baghdad, said the official trip
would be a "blessed and positive step."

Opposition MP Khalil Haddadin hoped he would be selected to be part of the
trip, which he described as "long overdue".

Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Jamil Abu Baqr joined in the acclaim and said
he hoped that other Arab countries will follow suit.

Earlier this month Jordan announced it had submitted a request to the United
Nations to allow the resumption of air links with Baghdad and said it was
awaiting an answer.

The cabinet last week discussed efforts deployed by King Abdullah II to put
an end to the embargo and the attempts to resume scheduled flights to Iraq.

Baghdad has repeatedly urged Amman to reopen its air space for planes flying
to and from Iraq, arguing that the UN trade embargo imposed on it after its
1990 invasion of Kuwait did not apply to passenger flights.

Iraqi Airways have been grounded since the Gulf war in 1991 with its fleet
of some 30 planes stranded in Iraq, Iran, Jordan, Libya and Tunisia.

In April, Jordan forced a small Italian plane to land in the kingdom,
accusing it of violating Jordanian airspace after a humanitarian flight out
of Iraq.

Baghdad's Saddam International Airport officially reopened on August 17 and
received several humanitarian flights from Russia and one from France but
none from any Arab capital.

The latest announcement follows a brief meeting late Monday in Amman between
Abu Ragheb and Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan, who stopped in the
Jordanian capital on his way to attend an OPEC summit in Venezuela.

Ramadan, who was accompanied by Iraqi Oil Minister Amer Rashid, discussed
with Abu Ragheb ways of bolstering bilateral ties between the two countries.

Jordan depends totally on oil imports from Iraq and has been seeking to
renew an annual oil agreement to obtain 4.8 million tonnes of Iraqi crude
for the year 2000, half free and half at discount prices.

Under the deal, which is exempted under the UN sanctions on Baghdad, Jordan
also hopes to export 300 million dollars worth of goods to Iraq in 2000.

Jordan, one of Washington's key Arab allies, used to be Iraq's top trading
partner before the 1991 Gulf war and stayed out of a US-led coalition of
Arab and Western forces that routed Iraqi troops from Kuwait.

Arab trade union group hopes to organise flight into Iraq
(Jordan Times, 25 September 2000)

DAMASCUS (AFP) — The International Confederation of Arab Trade Unions
(ICATU) said on Sunday it hoped to organise a flight into Iraq, following
Russian and French missions that flown into Baghdad despite the sanctions in
force since 1990.

The group said it was contacting airlines to lease a plane and that the
flight would bring representatives of Arab unions, lawyers and youth groups
into Iraq.

“We will bring Iraq's workers and people technical, food and medical help to
try to diminish their suffering, and we will launch press campaigns and
support meetings to denounce American and British practices and aggression
against Iraq, which violate human rights,” the ICATU said in a statement.

“This aggression against Iraq targets the entire Arab nation and serves the
enemies: the Zionist entity and the United States,” it said.

The ICATU, a Damascus-based labour confederation with representatives from
19 countries, also issued a call for Arab airlines to resume flights with
Iraq, suspended after its invasion of Kuwait.

A Russian flight owned by the Russian Vnukovo Airlines arrived in Baghdad on
Saturday, a day after a French plane carrying doctors and athletes landed in
the Iraqi capital.

Iraq has been under a wide range of international sanctions since its 1990
invasion of Kuwait, but the permanent members of the UN Security Council
disagree over the extent to which air traffic is affected, with France,
Russia and China arguing that non-commercial passenger flights to Baghdad
are not covered.

With the air embargo on Baghdad falling apart, another 120-strong delegation
of European lawmakers and businesspeople has been trying to organise another
flight to Iraq from Paris at the end of September.

On Sunday, Gulf newspapers urged Arab countries to resume air links with
Iraq, following the arrival in Baghdad of the two delegations from France
and Russia.

“The air embargo has fallen completely by the wayside, subject to
interpretations according to one's interests,” the Qatari paper Al Watan

“Why are Arab countries standing there with arms folded instead of taking a
positive initiative...while the way is open before them?” asked the paper,
dubbing the air embargo “fictitious.”

“A Qatari plane, with Qatari doctors and personalities, should visit
Baghdad, as a sign of solidarity with the Iraqi people,” the Doha-based Al
Sharq said.

“New strategies for the region lie behind the French and Russian flights to
Iraq,” it said, and urged Arab countries “to take the initiative on Iraq so
as not to lose ground to the West, which imposed sanctions only to break
them in the search for new investments in the region.”

The Emirati daily Al Bayan, which said the French flight had given the
“green light to peace-loving countries to contribute to the lifting of the
embargo,” urged Arab countries to undertake similar initiatives “to break
the embargo and come to the aid of the victims of the sanctions.”

It also called on Baghdad to benefit from the moves by Paris and Moscow by
“putting an end to threats (against its neighbours) and its media campaigns
against Washington as well as applying international resolutions.”

Dubai's Khaleej Times said the arrival of the two planes in Baghdad “points
to a concerted bid by Iraq's friends to hasten the demise of the 10-year-old
UN embargo,” adding the countries clearly had an eye on lucrative commercial
contracts with Iraq.

“Using humanitarian assistance as a cover, Moscow and Paris have used the
flights to signal their impatience with the Security Council, which refuses
to lift the sanctions, as well as to stake a claim to the long-awaited
commercial windfall.”

But Saudi Arabia's Al Bilad urged that the embargo be upheld as long as
Baghdad kept mum on “Kuwaiti demands on prisoners-of-war and guarantees of
border security” with Iraq.

French delegation to leave Iraq by road

In Baghdad, meanwhile, a diplomatic source said passengers from the French
civil flight will leave the country in the coming days by road, a diplomatic
source said on Sunday.

“They will leave Iraq by road via Syria or Jordan to return to France,” a
diplomat speaking on the condition of anonymity told AFP. “They will depart
in the coming days in little groups, bound for Syria and Jordan from where
they will fly on to France,” he said.

The French plane carrying 70 doctors and athletes, landed in Baghdad's
Saddam International Airport Friday despite strong US condemnation.

The aircraft had left Paris after France ignored a UN sanctions committee
request to delay the departure of what organisers insisted was a
humanitarian flight.

On Saturday, members of the delegation visited a primary school and a
shelter in the Amiriya district of Baghdad where almost 400 civilians were
killed during an air raid by the US-led coalition in the 1991 Gulf War.

The bombing was the “most odious crime of our century”, delegation spokesman
Jihad Fighali was quoted as saying by Iraqi newspapers on Sunday.


Iraq, Jordan discuss $250m oil pipeline project

AMMAN (Agencies) — A Jordanian delegation currently visiting Baghdad is
discussing with Iraqi government officials a mechanism for the
implementation of the projected oil pipeline extending from the Iraqi
borders to the Jordan Petroleum Refinery Company, a distance of nearly 260km
to transport the crude, according to Minister of Energy Wael Sabri.
The minister said that the estimated cost of the pipeline which will carry
the crude to the refinery near Zarqa is $250 million. A report in Al Ra'i
Arabic daily quoted the minister as saying that the delegation which is led
by ministry secretary general, Ahmad Bashir, will also pave the way for
negotiations over the cost of oil for the next year, a subject expected to
be discussed by the middle of November, the minister pointed out.

Sunday, September 24 5:50 AM SGT

Iraq and India to seek ways to reinforce trade ties
BAGHDAD, Sept 23 (AFP) -
An Indian trade delegation, on an official visit to Baghdad, met Saturday
with Iraqi officials to discuss ways to reinforce bilateral commercial ties,
Iraq's INA news agency reported.

The delegation, led by Indian State Minister for Foreign Affairs Ajit Kumar
Panja, examined "the possibility to sign sales contracts with Iraq for
replacement parts, notably to renovate its oil installations and power
plants," the agency said.

Representatives of Indian industrial, agricultural and oil-prospecting
companies are part of the official Indian delegation.

India has concluded more than 150 contracts with Iraq for a total value of
more than 280 million dollars. They concern Indian exports of food,
pharmaceuticals, electrical and oil equipment.

Although Iraq has been under a UN embargo since 1990, it is allowed to sell
limited quantities of oil in order to buy basic goods.

Thursday, September 21 12:09 AM SGT

More than 47 countries to take part in Iraq's Babylon Festival
BAGHDAD, Sept 20 (AFP) -
More than 47 countries will take part in the 10-day Babylon cultural
festival which opens on September 22 in sanctions-hit Iraq, Information
Minister Human Abdel Khaleq said Wednesday.

"Several artistic groups representing more than 47 friendly countries will
take part in the Babylon festival," the official INA news agency quoted
Khaleq as saying.

Their participation in the festival bore "witness to the solidarity of
several countries with Iraq in its struggle to get the embargo lifted and
put a stop to the plots by the US and British administrations, supported by
the Saudi and Kuwaiti regimes," he said.

According to the festival organisers, the Arab countries participating
include Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia and the United Arab

The annual festival in the historic city of Babylon, some 90
kilometresmiles) south of the Iraqi capital, was launched in 1987. Last
year, 38 countries took part.

But the 1990 and 1991 festivals were scrapped because of the Gulf crisis
sparked by Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait. Baghdad has since been under
crippling UN sanctions.

Wednesday, September 20 1:54 PM SGT

Officials Laud Saddam Efforts
By PAULINE JELINEK, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - The United States is already using the ``full range'' of
possible tactics against Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and should stick with
its current strategy, Clinton administration officials say.

Answering charges that the U.S. policy against Saddam is a failure,
Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Walter B. Slocombe said Tuesday that
there's ``no better ... alternative.''

At a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, senators questioned the
10-year effort against the Iraqi regime that has left Saddam in power, cost
the United States billions of dollars and has been losing international

``It appears that the current policy is a failure,'' said Sen. Strom
Thurmond, R-S.C. ``What do we have to show for the risk and the cost?''

``What ... are we trying to achieve? Do we have the best policy?'' asked
Sen. John Warner, R-Va., ``Why is the United States virtually alone - save
Great Britain - in its military efforts? Does the international community
have a better policy option to which more nations will give support?''

Edward S. Walker Jr., assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs,
acknowledged that ``Iraq under Saddam remains dangerous, unreconstructed and
defiant.'' The Clinton administration, he said, continues its work to
contain Saddam militarily and support Iraqi opposition leaders hoping to
overthrow the regime.

Slocombe said the strategy includes economic sanctions, diplomacy,
intelligence gathering and military force, including enforcing no-fly zones
over Iraq jointly with Britain so Saddam cannot threaten his neighbors or
his own country's minorities.

Asked later whether there might be a policy shift coming, White House
spokesman Joe Lockhart said the current one is already containing Saddam.

``I think the (Senate committee) hearing should have indicated that the
policy is working, and we believe that we should stick with it,'' he told a
news briefing.

The United States provides some 20,000 sailors, soldiers and airmen, 200
aircraft and 25 ships to the effort, considered one of its major theaters of
military operation, said Gen. Tommy R. Franks, commander in chief of the
U.S. Central Command. The Pentagon has said that enforcing the no-fly zone
alone costs nearly $2 billion a year.

Slocombe said Saddam knows that the ``only way to prevail is by outlasting
the United States'' or undermining the international coalition against him.

``If we were to let our impatience or our unwillingness to tolerate these
costs drive us to abandon our longer-term effort, Saddam would have won in
the only way he can and the costs to our interests would be immense,''
Slocombe said.

Warner criticized allies in the region for pursuing diplomatic and trade
relations with Iraq while simultaneously providing bases and other military
help to the U.S. forces fighting him.

Franks responded that ``maintaining a coalition is hard work and is not
without problems,'' adding that the nations each had their own ``interests
and priorities.''
Press Briefing by Joe Lockhart
U.S. Newswire
19 Sep 15:15
Press Briefing by Joe Lockhart
To: National Desk
Contact: White House Press Office, 202-456-2580

WASHINGTON, September 19 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The following
transcript was released today by the White House:


The James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

1:20 P.M. EDT

Q The Senate Armed Services committee is meeting today on policy
toward Iraq. In your view, are the sanctions working, the military
presence there? Is there an end game for the United States?

MR. LOCKHART: The policy is working to contain Saddam Hussein,
to limit his ability to threaten his neighbors, the Kurds, and to
keep him from reconstituting his weapons of mass destruction. The
end game on this, I think, as was articulated at the hearing, is an
Iraq that people have much more of a stake in, and an Iraq without
Saddam Hussein.

Q Is there a policy shift coming that you see?

MR. LOCKHART: I think the hearing should have indicated that the
policy is working and we believe that we should stick with it.


Q Joe, the last time Saddam Hussein accused the Kuwaitis of
stealing Iraqi oil, he invaded; and these comments now have caused a
spike in oil prices. There is a concern, on the oil markets at
least, that he might do something aggressive toward Kuwait. Does the
administration share those anxieties and is it doing anything
militarily to prepare for --

MR. LOCKHART: As I said, the administration has a robust force
in the region that can enforce our containment policy if Saddam
Hussein again. I think if you went back over the last 10 years and
looked at all of his comments, you would find a lot of things that
will go down as statements that he could not back up in one way or


Wednesday September 20 6:57 PM ET
Cheney Blasts Clinton on Saddam

By KAREN GULLO, Associated Press Writer

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (AP) - Dick Cheney (news - web sites) on Wednesday
blamed the Clinton administration for letting Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein
``slip off the hook'' on U.N. weapons inspections.

Campaigning in ``Aerospace Alley''- an area around Edwards Air Force Base
steeped in defense contractors and aviation history - the Republican vice
presidential nominee said the United States had a ``very robust'' inspection
capability under President Bush and after the Gulf War.

``We were all the time going back to make certain that he wasn't trying to
rebuild his biological and chemical capability,'' said Cheney, who was
secretary of defense during the war.

While Cheney says he did not think Saddam poses a military threat to the
United States, ``The thing I worry about is this administration, I think,
has let him slip off the hook, so to speak.

``Now we've seen that he's kicked out all the inspectors and this
administration seems helpless to do anything about it,'' Cheney told a
standing room only audience of several hundred in Lancaster, Calif., where
many local residents have spent generations building fighter jets.

Two years ago, the United States and Britain conducted airstrikes over Iraq
to punish Saddam for refusing to cooperate with weapons inspectors.

Some in Congress have charged that U.S. policy against Iraq has been a
failure. Administration officials have defended their strategy of using
economic sanctions, diplomacy, intelligence gathering and military force,
including enforcing no-fly zones over Iraq jointly with Britain so Saddam
cannot threaten his neighbors or minorities in his country.


Wednesday, September 20 9:37 AM SGT

Better Chance for Malaysian Iraqi Trade After Sanctions Lifted
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 20 Asia Pulse - Malaysia and Iraq will have better
opportunities to build closer trade and investment ties when economic
sanctions against Iraq are lifted, the Ministry of International Trade and
Industry (MITI) said in a statement.
Up to now, bilateral trade has been conducted under the Oil For Food [OFF]
programme and under the eighth phase of the programme from December 1996,
the Trade Ministry of Iraq has extended purchase contracts worth US$103.4
million to Malaysian companies.

The contracts were for the supply of steel rods and industrial steel worth
US$64.3 million, cooking oil worth US$17.1 million and sewing machines worth
US$22.0 million, the Iraqi Trade Minister, Mohamed Mehdi Saleh, was quoted
as having said during a seminar on Malaysia-Iraq Trade in Baghdad.

The seminar was held on Sept 17 during a four-day visit of Malaysia's trade
and investment mission to Baghdad from September 14. The mission was led by
the Minister of International Trade and Industry, Rafidah Aziz.

The Malaysian delegation consisted of nine government representatives and 66
executives from private sector organisations engaged in manufacturing,
trading, consultancy and service industries (including telecommunications).

According to Mehdi, the Iraq government had obtained approval of the United
Nations under the OFF programme for the bulk purchase of passenger vehicles
numbering in the region of 5,000 to 6,000 units.

The ministry statement said Malaysia has proposed that Iraq should consider
buying PROTON cars under the approved scheme and Iraq has agreed to consider
the proposal subject to the condition that PROTON cars can comply with the
purchase specifications.

Meanwhile, speaking at the seminar in Baghdad, Rafidah said Iraq currently
ranks as Malaysia's 12th largest trading partner in West Asia, accounting
for bilateral trade valued at RM63.8 million in 1999.

The top Malaysian exports to Iraq were margarine, soap and cleaning
supplies, and medical and pharmaceutical products.

However, the minister said the overall value of Malaysia-Iraqi trade
remained relatively small because Iraq imports most of its Malaysia-sourced
products and commodities through third-country channels.

To improve the situation, Iraqi traders should import their requirements
through direct channels from Malaysia, Rafidah said.

Up to the seventh OFF scheme, the value of bilateral trade between Malaysia
and Iraq amounted to US$324.7 million. In this connection, Mehdi said the
Iraqi government would increase the level of Malaysia-Iraq trade under the
OFF programme.

Mehdi also highlighted Iraq's needs for other industrial products like
computers and machine and equipment parts and accessories.

The MITI statement added that during the seminar's question and answer
session, the Iraqi government expressed its willingness to consider
applications for trading projects to be awarded to contract manufacturers
>from Malaysia instead of projects under the OFF system alone.

The projects include those for the supply and delivery of beauty products
and cosmetics.

To further enhance trade ties between Malaysia and Iraq, a total of 17
Malaysian companies have agreed to take part in the Baghdad International
Trade Exhibition scheduled for November 2000.

While in Bagdhad, Rafidah also met the Deputy Trade Minister of Iraq, Tareq
Aziz, and the Iraqi Minister of Industry and Mining, Adnan Abdul Majeed

Arising from these meetings, the Iraqi government has committed itself to
diversify the range as well as to increase the volume and value of imported
products from Malaysia, MITI said.

The Iraqis have committed towards expediting the import of palm oil and
plywood and veneer products from Malaysia.

To facilitate joint investments by private sector organisations from the two
countries, Malaysia and Iraq agreed to sign an investment guarantee
agreement as soon as possible.

As an incentive to promote closer relations between the two countries, the
Iraqi government has been urged to reciprocate Malaysia's ge

Arab workers for lifting sanctions on Iraq


Syria Times



The General Secretariat of the International Federation of Arab Trade Unions
has de-ided to organize an inter-ational, Arab, people's and unionist
campaign for lifting the blockade imposed on Iraq, to make every effort to
al-eviate the Iraqi people's suffering and enable them to recover.

In a statement released yesterday, the general secretariat said this
campaign involves organizing a flight to Iraq in which leaders of the
workers' unionist movement and representatives of Arab organizations will
take part.

This flight is designed to contribute to the efforts being made to break the
blockade imposed on Iraq and to offer technical, advice as well as food and
medical aid to the Iraqi people.

The campaign also includes media campaigns and festivals in solidarity with
the Iraqi people as well as dispatching cables and memos to international
bodies and organizations to urge them to increase pressure to lift the
blockade imposed on Iraq.

The general secretariat called on the Arab countries to work to enhance
economic integration and Arab solidarity so that they can face current
challenges at all levels.

Meanwhile, chief of the Arab Committee in charge of lifting the embargo on
Iraq Ashraf al-Bayyoumi said Egypt strongly denounced the continuation of
the international embargo imposed on Iraq, calling for the termination of
the sufferings of the Iraqi people and the end of different damages
inflicted upon them, especially children.

In an interview with London Radio broadcast on Saturday, al-Bayyoumi said
the Committee, the offshoot of the National Arab Conference, will carry out
a large-scale activity to break the embargo, stressing it is like a blockade
on all Arabs.

Al-Bayyoumi commended the French challenge of the embargo by sending a plane
to Baghdad, saying the French act will have positive impact in the Arab and
world arenas conducive to the lifting of the embargo, and will fa-ilitate
the mission of the Committee.

Beginning of Arab committee for lifting sanctions off Iraq today in Cairo
Egypt, Politics, 9/23/2000

Meetings of the Arab committee for lifting the sanctions off Iraq began
today in Cairo. This committee is a civil one and emerged from the Arab
national conference to prepare for an expanded Arab activity to break the
imposed international sanctions on Iraq.

Ashraf El-Bayoumi, head of the committee said that the committee will
discuss the possibility of sending an Egyptian accompanied by an Arab
delegation to Iraq, saying that "the Arabs must be at the front of breaking
this unjust siege on Iraq and we as Egyptian people are directly and
spiritually and economically suffering because of this siege for that
thousands of the Egyptians were working in Iraq and the Egyptian government
ought to allow this public expression which very widely appears by those
injured due to the sanctions on Iraq and the injustice being done to the
children as well as banning them from going to Iraq as before."

He said "we do not find sufficient support from the Arab people yet the
Egyptian people and government realize this and we demand resuming the
diplomatic relations as well as agreeing on a civil airplane to travel to
Iraq as a public expression."

09/23/2000 09:53:00 ET
Kuwait seizes ship with Iraqi oil in own waters

  KUWAIT, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Kuwait seized a ship in its territorial waters
on Saturday for allegedly trying to smuggle 1,500 tonnes of crude oil out of
former occupier Iraq in violation of United Nations sanctions. The vessel
was carrying 13 crew members -- five Indians and eight Iraqis -- Kuwait"s
Interior Ministry said in a statement sent to Reuters. It did not give the
nationality of the ship. The U.N. placed strict sanctions against Iraq for
invading Kuwait in August 1990, but under the supervision of the world body,
Iraq is allowed to sell oil to finance the import of some basic goods and
medicines. (Ashraf Fouad, tel +965 240 8945,

U.N. Secretary-General sees no sign Iraq will accept inspectors

September 19, 2000
Web posted at: 5:44 p.m. EDT (2144 GMT)

UNITED NATIONS -- U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Tuesday he doesn't
see any sign that Iraq is ready to admit U.N. weapons inspectors, as
familiar conflicts resurfaced among members of the Security Council on the
issue of sanctions.

Annan, who met Monday with Iraq Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz, said "it wasn't
evident" in their talks that inspectors would be allowed in the country.
However, he added, "in this life I don't think one can say never or

U.N. sanctions were imposed shortly after Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's
military invaded Kuwait in 1990, provoking the Gulf War. The sanctions can
only be lifted when U.N. weapons inspectors certify that Iraq's biological,
chemical and nuclear weapons programs -- and any missiles to deliver such
weapons -- have been destroyed.

Oil production not discussed
Hussein has barred entry to inspectors since they left Iraq following
Operation Desert Fox, a 1998 military operation in which 100 targets in Iraq
were targeted by the United States.

Annan said he and Aziz did not discuss the oil market, referring to the
oil-for-food program, a loophole in the sanctions adopted in 1996 which
allows Iraq to sell oil as long as half of the proceeds are used to buy
essentials for the Iraqi people.

Iraq has recently accused Kuwait of stealing its oil, and the United States
has said it is ready to use force against Iraq if it threatens its

Kuwait denied the oil theft charge, similar to accusations leveled by
Baghdad in 1990 before it invaded the Gulf emirate.

Critics have blamed the U.N. sanctions for Iraq's economic decline and an
increase in malnutrition, disease and deaths in the country. The U.S. has
repeatedly countered that those problems are solely the fault of Hussein.

Annan said a desire to break the impasse between Iraq and the U.N. was
evident during the recent Millennium Summit in New York, where many of the
foreign ministers said they want to "get Iraq to cooperate."

U.N. chief weapons inspector Hans Blix, who has a team of inspectors
organized and ready to travel to Baghdad, is expected to update the Security
Council on Friday.

Russia planning flight to Baghdad
Meanwhile, Russia is planning to send another commercial air flight to Iraq
this weekend, though it has not received permission from the U.N. sanctions

The committee approved a Russian flight last weekend, which carried oil
experts and humanitarian aid staffers, and on Tuesday, Russian Ambassador
Sergey Lavrov told CNN that Russia believes passenger flights are not barred
by the sanctions.

The U.S. and Britain disagree with Russia, France and China, on that regard,
insisting that such flights are banned under Security Council resolutions.

Lavrov said a country only has to notify the committee of a flight and then
"passengers can be executives, tourists, dance teams ..." he said.

The U.S. State Department has said it viewed the first flight as
humanitarian in nature and thus did not object. Sanctions committee sources
told CNN that the U.S. and Britain did put on hold an application by Russia
for a second flight to Iraq.

The sanctions committee chairman's office said although the committee
evaluated the first flight before approving it -- "it didn't fall through
the cracks" -- there was an understanding among committee members that the
flight was humanitarian and did not include oil experts that might be linked
to Russian-Iraq business ventures.


IAEA demands Iraq allow full nuclear inspections
VIENNA: The IAEA nuclear watchdog called on Iraq on Friday to agree to full
inspections of its nuclear material, rather than "limited" IAEA visits which
resumed this year after all inspections were cut short in 1998.

A resolution tabled by the European Union was backed by 54 members of the
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), while 27, including Russia,
China, Iran, Libya, Pakistan and Egypt abstained from the vote.

The resolution noted that Iraq had cooperated with agency officials who
visited the country in January, for the first time in over a year.

IAEA inspectors were withdrawn from Iraq in December 1998 along with the UN
Special Commission (UNSCOM), under whose umbrella they were working, and
which pulled out due to safety concerns.

UNSCOM was tasked with inspecting all material potentially connected with
weapons of mass destruction, including chemical and biological material.
IAEA inspectors simply look at nuclear-related materials.

Nonetheless this inspection "had the limited objective of verifying nuclear
material under safeguard in Iraq and cannot serve as a substitute" for the
range of inspections demanded by the UN Security Council.

The resolution also noted "that the status of the agency's technically
coherent picture of Iraq's past clandestine programme has not evolved in the
last year".

It demanded that "Iraq cooperate fully with the agency" and "provide the
necessary access to enable the agency to carry out its mandate."

Iraq has been under a UN embargo since its invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

The British delegation at this 44th annual conference of the IAEA said this
week that progress in nuclear inspections would be a factor in reviewing the
sanctions against the country.

"As soon as Iraq begins co-operating, it will be on the road towards the
suspension and eventual lifting of sanctions, something we all want to see,"
said the delegation head for Britain and Northern Ireland, Susan Haird, of
the Department of Trade and Industry.

Britain has been a forthright proponent of the wide-ranging sanctions
against Iraq. (AFP)

-Clash over French flight to Iraq a new setback for arms inspections Sept 22

UK's Hain sees signs Iraq ready for dialogue

DUBAI: A British minister was on Sunday quoted as saying there were
encouraging signs that Iraq was ready to start dialogue with the United
Nations on the work of U.N. arms inspectors so far banned from entering

Foreign office minister Peter Hain made his comments in an interview with
the Saudi-owned, pan-Arab Al-Hayat daily.

Hain said Iraq must understand that U.N. Resolution 1284 was the only choice
it had to ensure the eventual lifting of U.N. sanctions imposed over Iraq's
1990 invasion of Kuwait.

Asked if force would be used to ensure the arms inspectors did their work in
Iraq, Hain said: ''No. We do not want to enter a battle again and bomb Iraq.
This is not our goal.

''We said from the start that 1284 is the only offer in town. The Iraqis are
the ones who refused to deal with us, but recently there are indications
that they are ready to enter into a dialogue...We will wait and see,'' he
said in the interview published in Arabic.

He said he was encouraged by a meeting between Iraqi deputy prime minister
Tariq Aziz and Arab ministers in New York on the sidelines of the U.N.
Millennium Summit earlier this month.

''...We received reports that the talks were interesting and we await the
next steps,'' he said, but did not elaborate.

Asked if the Arab ministers saw an Iraqi willingness to cooperate with the
U.N., Hain said: ''...It is clear that there is a beginning of dialogue and
there are conflicting indications regarding this dialogue...It is a new
situation to some extent.'' Reuters
:09/25/2000 13:20:00 ET
Iraq reaffirms rejection of U.N. arms inspections

  BAGHDAD, Iraq (Reuters) - Iraq has reaffirmed its rejection of a U.N.
Security Council offer to lift sanctions if weapons inspectors are allowed
to resume work in the country, the official INA news agency reported. INA
quoted Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan as telling the Egyptian al-Ahram
al-Arabi magazine Sunday that Iraq would "keep on calling for a total and
unconditional lifting of the embargo." "We do not expect the Security
Council to lift the sanctions and we have never had this illusion. ...
However, we did not terminate our political activity and dialogue with the
Council," Ramadan added. Resolution 1284, adopted by the Security Council in
December, set up a new inspection body, the United Nations Monitoring,
Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), to replace the U.N.
Special Commission (UNSCOM). Iraq repeatedly has said it will have nothing
to do with UNMOVIC and demands the lifting of sanctions in force since its
August 1990 invasion of Kuwait. It argues that it already has destroyed all
its banned weapons of mass destruction, a condition for easing the
sanctions. U.N. experts have been barred from Iraq since the last UNSCOM
team left in mid-December 1998. It withdrew shortly before the United States
and Britain launched a four-day air campaign on the grounds that Iraq was
hindering the work of arms inspectors. Hans Blix, head of UNMOVIC, said
Friday his team was ready to start work if Iraq allowed in the inspectors.
British Foreign Office Minister Peter Hain said Sunday there were signs that
Iraq was ready to start a dialogue with the United Nations on the work of
the U.N. arms inspectors. ^

Iraq: Conference Examines Hussein's Alleged War Crimes
By Lisa McAdams

Two Independent think-tanks in Washington that focus on the Middle East
sponsored an all-day conference on alleged war crimes carried out by Iraqi
President Saddam Hussein and his regime against the peoples of Iraq and
neighboring nations. The U.S. ambassador-at-large for war crimes, David
Scheffer, opened the event by reiterating the United States' commitment to
seeing Hussein and his leadership indicted and prosecuted by an
international war crimes tribunal. RFE/RL correspondent Lisa McAdams

Washington, 19 September 2000 (RFE/RL) -- United States Ambassador-at-Large
for War Crimes David Scheffer says the U.S. remains committed to seeing
Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and his leadership indicted and prosecuted by
an international criminal tribunal.

If that proves too difficult to achieve politically, Scheffer says there
still may be opportunities in the national courts of certain jurisdictions
to investigate and indict the leadership of Hussein's regime for what he
said can only be described as crimes against humanity.

He also reiterated the U.S. commitment to improving conditions for the Iraqi
people, but said he could not foresee the suspension of UN sanctions against
Iraq, except through full compliance with the UN Security Council's
resolutions adopted as a result of Hussein's crimes against humanity,
genocide, and war crimes.

Scheffer's remarks came before an all-day conference in Washington entitled,
"The Case for Justice in Iraq." It was sponsored by two independent
think-tanks -- the Middle East Institute and the Iraq Foundation.

Our correspondent reports Scheffer's message was much the same as one he
delivered almost one year ago today, in which he detailed progress in
developing and preserving evidence of Iraqi crimes against its citizenry,
but lamented that much more needs to be done.

In making the U.S. case for why Hussein must be brought to accountability,
Scheffer focused first and foremost on present-day and past criminality in

"To the United States government, it is beyond any possible doubt that
Saddam Hussein and the top leadership around him have brutally and
systematically committed war crimes and crimes against humanity for years,
are committing them now, and will continue committing them until the
international community finally says enough -- or until the forces of change
in Iraq prevail against his regime as, ultimately, they must."

In order to illustrate why the U.S. believes Hussein's conduct deserves an
international response, Scheffer reviewed what the United States knows to
date of the Iraqi leader's record and those of his top associates.

He cited the Iran-Iraq War, the 1988 chemical attack on the northeastern
town of Halabja, the Anfal campaigns against the Iraqi Kurdish people, and
the 1990 invasion and occupation of Kuwait. Scheffer also noted the draining
of the southern marshes, ethnic cleansing of ethnic "Persians" from Iraq to
Iran, and the alleged killings of political opponents as further evidence.
Who is responsible for these crimes, Scheffer asks -- then answers:

"Like Slobodan Milosevic, Saddam Hussein did not commit these crimes on his
own. He has built up one of the world's most ruthless police states using a
very small number of associates who share with him the responsibility for
these criminal actions."

Scheffer singled out Ali Hassan al-Majid, more commonly referred to as
"Chemical Ali," Saddam's elder son, Uday, his younger son Qusay, and
Muhammad Hamza al-Zubaydi, the Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq.

Scheffer then detailed what the United States has been doing in the past
year to gather the evidence of Iraqi crimes against humanity, war crimes,
and genocide. He noted that the U.S. has been actively involved in several
key archiving projects in coordination with the Iraq Foundation and the Iraq
Research and Documentation Project. Scheffer announced that the U.S. had
declassified several hundred more aerial photographs taken a little more
than a week after the chemical attack in Halabja, which took place in March
of 1988.

Scheffer said the U.S. hopes the images will serve as a photo map to enable
witnesses to describe to investigators, doctors, and scientists what they
were doing during those days of the Iraqi chemical attack and its aftermath.

Baghdad-born author and scholar Kanan Makiya was introduced as having
detailed the brutality of Saddam Hussein's regime long before it was
fashionable. Makiya, who now works with the Iraq Research and Documentation
Project, told the conference that Saddam Hussein's regime is unique in its
use of violence:

"The phenomenon therefore that we are all meeting here to talk about today
is not spasmodic, occasional, the result of a sudden fit of vengefulness, a
desire to exact a price for a particular act of disobedience; it is
systemic. Cruelty is foundational in the peculiar police [state] that was
built up by the Baath [party] in Iraq."

Makiya said the cruelty did not start with the Gulf war, but dates back as
far as 1963. That is the year when Makiya -- then a young man of 14 --
recalls seeing the dead body of a man riddled with bullet holes broadcast
repeatedly on Iraqi television, ostensibly for having carried out acts in
opposition to the regime.

The message was not lost on Makiya, who has spent the entirety of his career
fighting against what he calls the longest lasting dictatorship in the
Middle East. Makiya says his view change will only come through a
combination of international political will and better internal organization
on the part of the Iraqi opposition.

U.S. officials have been meeting with witnesses and former Iraqi officials
over the past year to gather evidence of Iraqi war crimes. Witnesses like
Sahib Al-Hakim, who has had 27 immediate family members executed by the
regime. Al-Hakim, now living in exile in London, is the Coordinator of the
Organization of Human Rights in Iraq. He says justice will only be served
once Saddam Hussein and his associates are indicted and tried before an
international criminal tribunal.




American authorities detain Iraqis at U.S.-Mexican border
Associated Press Writer

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- American authorities detained 38 Iraqis on Wednesday after
they tried to walk across the Mexican border and into the United States,
apparently seeking asylum from religious persecution.

The adults and children arrived at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, which links
San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico, in small groups without visas to enter the
country, said Lauren Mack, a spokeswoman for the Immigration and
Naturalization Service.

All were being held at the world's busiest border crossing while the INS
awaited translators to determine whether the Iraqis qualify to enter the
United States, Mack said.

"They are very well, very calm, very quiet," she said.

Immigration authorities received a letter from someone claiming to represent
the Iraqis that said they are members of the Chaldean minority and had been
waiting along with others in Tijuana for permission to enter the United
States, said an INS official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

They grew tired of waiting and decided to present themselves en masse to
U.S. authorities, the official said. At least 150 more Chaldeans have been
detained by Mexican authorities in the Tijuana area, the official said.

In recent years, Chaldeans have applied for political asylum because of
religious persecution in Iraq, a predominantly Muslim country.

But it is unusual for them to attempt to enter from Mexico. U.S. authorities
are still trying to determine how they arrived and whether they had the
assistance of a smuggling ring, authorities said.

AP-CS-09-20-00 1847EDT
Friday, September 22, 2000 |  Print this story

Drama at Mexico Border Spotlights Plight of Iraqis Seeking U.S. Asylum
Immigrants: After traveling arduous route, a group of about 130 hope to join
the Chaldean community in San Diego.


     TIJUANA--The surge of Christian Iraqis across the U.S.-Mexican border
at San Ysidro that began Wednesday spotlights a new and little-known pathway
into the United States--as well as a growing community of families fleeing
religious oppression to San Diego.
     More than two dozen Iraqis trooped across the border into the hands of
U.S. immigration officials Thursday, for a total of at least 77 who have
turned themselves in at the San Ysidro port of entry in an apparent bid for
asylum. The families were held together at a private facility under contract
with the Immigration and Naturalization Service in Otay Mesa.
     As U.S. officials puzzled over what to do with them, at least 130 more
members of Iraq's Chaldean minority were being confined by Mexican
authorities to a dingy Tijuana hotel that in recent months has become a way
station for the asylum-seekers.
     Officials of the United States and Mexico were holding talks, and human
rights observers from the United Nations showed up at the hotel to take
statements from those inside. The human rights ombudsman for the state of
Baja California said Mexican authorities were considering offering asylum if
the United States refuses to.
     A growing flow of Iraqis applying for asylum at San Ysidro since the
beginning of the year, though modest in size, was apparently enough to
create delays that left Iraqis languishing for months in Tijuana--setting
the stage for this week's drama.
     In the last two months, 128 adults and 44 children from Iraq have
sought asylum at San Ysidro, said Robert Looney, director of the INS asylum
office in Anaheim. The total during the same period last year was zero, he
     In San Diego County, where arrivals of Iraqis over the last 40 years
have swelled the ranks of Chaldeans to at least 15,000, activists said
Iraqis have been quietly shuttled through Tijuana during the last six to
eight months. They said that after emigres were granted entrance to the
United States earlier this year, word spread halfway around the world.
     There are various ways to apply for asylum, but doing so from a country
next door offers a key advantage: Applicants who don't enter the United
States until asylum is granted are not subject to detention while their case
is considered, INS officials said.
     "They heard that everybody's coming to Tijuana. It was easy, but now
it's hard," said Ferial Shamma, who lives in San Diego and was helping the
newest arrivals in Tijuana fill out forms and translating interviews with
U.S. immigration officials.
     As the weeks of waiting continued, emigres living in the United States
have toted staples such as rice and sugar to friends and loved ones across
the border. They have offered advice and legal help. One U.S. resident even
set up an office at the hotel, complete with computer and printer, to help
new arrivals complete their applications.
     But the Iraqis reported shakedowns from men in Mexican police uniforms
in recent weeks. One such raid was said to have frightened the first group
of Iraqis into abandoning prior plans and turning themselves in to U.S.
officials at the border.
     Those left behind held a hunger strike, prayed and mulled the ill luck
that, so near the end of a hopscotching route across the globe, had
deposited them in a cheerless hotel named Suites Royal. Trapped in the glare
of an international immigration spectacle, they knew they were maddeningly
close to a community of loved ones just across the border.
     For Khairi Estefan and his family, who sold their Baghdad home and
endured an itinerary of menial jobs and heartless smugglers as they passed
through Jordan, Albania, Greece and finally Mexico, being held bore a
special cruelty: They had been due to pick up documents granting them
permission to enter the United States today.
     "We don't know what our life is going to be. Are we going to be here?
Deported?" asked Estefan's 38-year-old wife, Nahla, from her fourth-floor
window. "I feel like I'm in jail."
     Her brother, El Cajon auto parts salesman Amar Jacobs, waited on the
sidewalk outside and related the winding journey his relatives, economically
beset in Iraq by the U.S. embargo, had traced to Tijuana.
     Estefan, an ailing former electrician, Nahla and their son, now 20,
sold everything and were sneaked across Iraq's border into Jordan six years
ago. From there they were smuggled to Albania, where they were harassed by
police and the son was severely beaten by robbers, Jacobs said.
     Another smuggler escorted them on foot into Greece, where, lacking
documents, mother and son took on the lowest of jobs, washing cars,
arranging flowers, cleaning produce bins. They lived in a hovel in Athens,
scraping together the $30,000 they would pay to be smuggled, using Greek
passports, to Mexico City three months ago and then quickly to Tijuana.
     A planned welcoming celebration with relatives in San Diego now is in
     "We're stuck," Khairi Estefan shouted from the hotel window, "in a
political circle."
     Efforts by the Iraqis drew an instant outpouring of support from San
Diego County's Chaldean community and from several local politicians. Rep.
Bob Filner (D-San Diego) wrote to Mexican Ambassador Jesus F. Reyes-Heroles
to ask that the Chaldeans at the hotel be allowed to stay in Mexico while
U.S. officials evaluate their pleas for asylum.
     INS officials said that the acceptance rate for Iraqis seeking asylum
is one of the highest of any groups because of the long history of human
rights abuses by Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein.
     "This is not a regime that looks kindly on opinions that differ from
the prevailing opinions put out by the ruling class," said Looney, the INS
asylum official. For those Iraqis whose bids for asylum must be heard by an
INS court, the presence of a large and welcoming community nearby increases
their chances of being released on bond during the proceedings, which can
take weeks.
     On Thursday, the INS released without bond two women, one of whom is
pregnant, and a child on humanitarian grounds, allowing them to stay in San
Diego until their cases are processed.
     San Diego County has the second-largest Chaldean community in the
United States, behind the Detroit area. There are an estimated 120,000
Chaldeans in the United States.
     Beginning in the 1950s, Chaldeans began settling in Detroit to work on
assembly lines in the auto industry. Some later worked at grocery and liquor
stores and gradually become owners.
     Migration to San Diego, accelerated by the Persian Gulf War, followed a
similar pattern. Chaldeans now own about 900 local businesses, mostly small
grocery and liquor stores. Community leaders also have plans for a Chaldean
school system in San Diego to help preserve the group's customs and Aramaic
     The Chaldean community is centered in El Cajon, La Mesa and Spring
Valley, all suburbs east of San Diego.
     "We are an American success story and very proud of it," said Arkan
Somo, executive director of the San Diego Merchants Assn., a group for
Chaldean business owners. "We are people who have come here for a second
chance and we never forget that."
     Chaldeans share similar doctrines with the Roman Catholic Church but
have different customs and a different church hierarchy. In San Diego the
Chaldeans and the Roman Catholics have shared a strong bond.
     On Thursday, Vice Chancellor Rodrigo Valdivia, the third-ranking
official with the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego, sent a message to the
diocese in Tijuana asking it to make whatever "intervention is possible" to
assist the Chaldeans being detained by Mexican authorities.
     Chaldeans in San Diego County have contributed to local political
candidates and worked in their campaigns. Several local officeholders have
Chaldean staffers. One local politician, San Diego City Councilman Juan
Vargas, answered a plea taped to a hotel window--"Juan Vargas, We Need Your
Help"--by appearing outside. He had spent much of the day making calls on
behalf of the detainees.
     "They only want to work hard and keep their families together," Vargas
said. "They are just the kind of immigrants we need to keep the American
miracle going."

* * *
     Ellingwood reported from Tijuana and Perry from San Diego.

* * *

     Pipeline From Iraq
     An informal channel for members of Iraq's Chaldean minority seeking
political asylum in San Diego has sprung up over the last year. Individually
and in small family groups, they work their way west by a variety of routes,
often stopping to work for a time along the way.

This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq
For removal from list, email
Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website:

[Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]