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]
NEWS SUPPLEMENT 1/10/00 7/10/00 * Iranian daily responds to Iraqi daily on two countries' eight-year-long war * Turkish drought worsens regional water row Iraq and Syria say new dams threaten supply * Editorial: Iraqi sanctions are a dead end (Seattle Times a very hard-hitting attack on American policy) * Despite U.S. opposition, Hussein in `great shape' (Chicago Tribune) * A Nominee's Long Road to 'No' (on controversy surrounding US Iraqi policy with regard to the next US ambassador to Kuwait) * Iraqi smugglers net oil bonanza * Chavez a new revolutionary (account of the first foreign head of state to visit Iraq since the war) * Saddam sells medicines and aid for life's little luxuries (The Times) * Turkey Warns of Retaliation If U.S. Makes Genocide Charge (Washington Post) * Cheney, Lieberman differ on dealing with US foes http://search.ft.com/search/multi/globalarchive.jsp?docId=001001001056&query =Iraq&resultsShown=20&resultsToRequest=100 * IRANIAN DAILY RESPONDS TO IRAQI DAILY ON TWO COUNTRIES' EIGHT-YEAR LONG WAR BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom, Oct 1, 2000, 385 words Text of commentary in English by 'Iran Daily' web site on 1st October During the Sacred Defence Week (21st-27th September), President Mohammad Khatami's remarks implied that Iran only gained from the war that aimed to topple the Islamic system and that Iran has never sought and will never seek wars. In response, the Baghdad-based daily `Al-Thawrah' in its 22nd September issue rejected this reality. We intend to respond to this reaction. The paper claimed that Iraq never intended to topple the Islamic system and at no juncture did any Iraqi official declare so. Did Iraq's military attack on Iran, with the full backing of the majority of Arab states, the US, France, England and the former Soviet Union, imply anything other than toppling the system? Let us look at the matter from a different angle. If Iraq had managed to permanently separate some parts of Iran, what would have happened? Wouldn't that have resulted in the collapse of the newly-formed Islamic system from within? The paper's claim that an Arab foreign minister had told Saddam before the start of the war that Iranian officials behaved wickedly towards the Arabs is also very ambiguous. It is clear that Iraq fanned the flames of war to overthrow the Islamic republic. Thus, Iraq's and its allies' failure in toppling the Islamic system or bringing about the disintegration of the country is a great triumph for Iran. Now let us presume that Iraq never intended to bring about the fall of the Islamic republic. Can anyone explain why the Iraqi leadership tore the 1975 Algiers Accord at the beginning of the war and then accepted its implications at the end? Doesn't this mean Iran was ultimately the victor? With regard to the notion of Iran rejecting all international and Iraq's peacemaking efforts and not immediately accepting the UN Resolution 598, if Iraq never wanted to indulge in a war, a conscious mind can explain quite reasonably [sentence as received]. Throughout the conflict, with the exception of the ratification of UN Resolution 598, which surfaced when Iran had apparent battlefield superiority, there were never any meaningful peacemaking attempts detectable by Iran. The supporters of Iraq initiated all those so-called efforts and there was never a mention of Iraqi withdrawal from occupied Iranian lands in them. All angles considered, the Islamic system, in line with its policy of detente, is firm on establishing sound ties with all Muslim countries of the world, including Iraq. Tehran has repeatedly proved its good intentions in the past few years. Source: 'Iran Daily' web site, Tehran, in English 1 Oct 00 p 1 /BBC Monitoring/ © BBC. http://www.guardianunlimited.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,375983,00.html * TURKISH DROUGHT WORSENS REGIONAL WATER ROW IRAQ AND SYRIA SAY NEW DAMS THREATEN SUPPLY Chris Morris in Ankara, Monday October 2, 2000 After the driest summer in 20 years, Turkish officials are warning that they cannot supply Syria with all the water it wants from the Euphrates and Tigres rivers. The announcement will cause concern in the Middle East, where water is one of the most sensitive strategic issues. Under an informal agreement, Syria is supposed to receive 500 cubic metres of water per second from the two rivers as they cross the border from Turkey. This month, however, the average flow has been only 160 cubic metres per second, and next month it could be even less. The water levels in Turkish reservoirs have become dangerously low, and Turkey is bracing for a winter of severe energy shortages. The head of the state water authority, Dogan Altinbilek, has said that the amount of water Turkey can send across the border will depend on rainfall in the next few months. Syria and Iraq, which is also downstream from Turkey, complain that Ankara's ambitious programme of dam-building on the Euphrates and the Tigres is a threat to their water supply. Turkey, however, insists that the shortages have nothing to do with the dams, which officials in Ankara say have improved the situation. "Syria would have received only about 50 cubic metres [per second] if there had been no dams on the rivers," Mr Altinbilek said. Water has been a contentious issue between Turkey and its neighbours for years. Sporadic talks on the issue have failed to reach any formal agreement. Turkey insists that there is more than enough water in the two rivers for all three countries, but it claims both Syria and Iraq waste supplies because of inefficient water management and poor agricultural techniques. In turn, Damascus and Baghdad accuse Turkey of trying to dictate terms. The lack of an agreement on water sharing has been one of the main points emphasised by opponents in Britain of the proposed Ilisu dam, which would be one of the biggest dams in the region. The British government is still considering whether to grant Balfour Beatty export credit guarantees worth £200m to build the dam on the Tigres, a few miles north of the Syrian border. Current signs are that the plan has run into serious difficulties. If the drought intensifies, Turkey's use of water on the two most important rivers in the region will come under even closer scrutiny. Some strategic analysts have predicted that water, rather than oil or land, could be the spark which ignites a future war in the Middle East. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/cgi bin/WebObjects/SeattleTimes.woa/wa/gotoArticle?zsection_id=268448410&text_on ly=0&slug=iraqed&document_id=134236005 Sunday, October 01, 2000, 12:00 a.m. Pacific * EDITORIAL: IRAQI SANCTIONS ARE A DEAD END (SEATTLE TIMES) Imagine if a U.S. cruise missile were to land on a kindergarten and kill 165 children. Imagine now that it was launched knowing it would hit that kindergarten, and further, that one of these missiles was launched at a different kindergarten every day for a month. That's 5,000 children. To kill that many children as a matter of state policy would be unspeakable. The American commander in chief would be condemned as a barbarian. And yet, that is what the economic embargo of Iraq has done: According to the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF), the embargo has caused 5,000 extra deaths per month among children under 5. This has gone on for nearly 10 years, killing more than half a million children. These deaths were caused not by bombs but by germs, mainly preventable water-borne diseases such as typhoid and dysentery. They were caused because the United States and its allies wrecked Iraq's water-purification plants in 1991 and because the U.S. led embargo on Iraqi oil has prevented Iraq from rebuilding them. Water systems were not likely to matter much in a 100-hour war, or even a six-month war. They were targeted for long-term leverage. The justification was to put pressure on Saddam Hussein. Whatever deaths resulted from the policy could be blamed on Saddam. If the policy worked quickly, one could argue it was a success. But when the policy goes on and on, causing deaths of children with no end in sight, it becomes unconscionable. Americans like to say the economic embargo is the policy of the United Nations. But the UN's General Assembly, if given a chance, would repeal it. So would the Security Council, where the embargo is sustained only by the United States and Britain. If President Clinton decided otherwise, the embargo would end tomorrow. Americans also keep this policy going by disingenuously misidentifying the target. Government officials speak of the squeeze on Iraq in terms of a campaign against one man. Officials do not say that we bomb the people of Iraq; we are "hitting back at Saddam Hussein." They do not say we embargo the people of Iraq; we are "putting the squeeze on Saddam Hussein." And yet, the price is not paid by Saddam Hussein, personally, but by children who die and their families. What has been gained? The goal was to prevent Iraq from developing weapons of mass destruction. American officials also hoped it might lead to the downfall of Saddam. Today, it is not clear that such weapons exist or that Saddam retains any ability to manufacture them. Within Iraq, it's likely the sanctions have strengthened, not weakened, Saddam's grip on power. Despite all that, the United States continues to enforce an economic embargo that kills 5,000 children per month. After 10 years, it's time for Americans to take notice and name the policy for what it is: a tragic failure. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/printedition/article/0,2669,SAV 0010020196,FF.html * DESPITE U.S. OPPOSITION, HUSSEIN IN `GREAT SHAPE' By John Diamond, Washington Bureau October 2, 2000 WASHINGTON -- The U.S. strategy of containment against Iraq is unraveling amid rising oil prices, bickering among allies and concern about the suffering of the Iraqi people. President Saddam Hussein's hold on power is as strong as ever. Using money diverted from the UN-sanctioned oil-for-food program, his military has begun to rebuild from the damage sustained in the Persian Gulf war. The surge in fuel prices suddenly places the West in the awkward posture of beseeching Iraq not to cut crude oil production. "Make no mistake about it. Iraq is awash with money," said Richard Butler, the former UN weapons inspector whose team was turned out of Iraq two years ago. "The regime is in great shape," he told lawmakers last week. Mild protestations from Washington have done nothing to stop an increasing flow of commercial flights into Iraq from France, Russia, Jordan and Yemen. Iraq has avoided international arms inspections for two years, leaving the Pentagon in the dark as to Baghdad's arsenal. The economic sanctions kept in place at Washington's urging are coming under increasing attack not only from countries such as Russia and France that hope to do a booming business with Iraq but also from U.S. lawmakers of both parties concerned about the effect on nutrition and infant mortality in Iraq. No one seems happy with the U.S. containment strategy. But after months of intensive internal review by the Clinton administration, no workable alternative has emerged. Admitting frustration, the administration counæÝ µÝ¬W0ile Hussein ¼? s every indication that time is on his side. "We would like to see Saddam gone," Undersecretary of State Thomas Pickering told Arab journalists recently. "But I can't tell you that there is a magic formula to see this done. Our magic formula, in reality, is patience. ... It is not a perfect policy." One of the participants in Capitol Hill's policy review was retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni, until recently the head of the U.S. military command in charge of the Persian Gulf region. Zinni has briefed senior administration officials on a secret war plan that details how the U.S. military, with limited allied help, would seek to topple Hussein. The effort would be massive, involving possibly as many as half a million troops, according to one knowledgeable official. Although he has confidence in U.S. forces, Zinni has no illusions that such a scheme could win public support, considering the cost in lives and dollars it would almost certainly involve. Nor, he said, would any gulf nation allow such an offensive to spring from its territory without a major provocation by Iraq. "I wracked my brain for over four years to come up with a strategy other than containment that might work," Zinni told the Senate Armed Services Committee. "I have to be honest with you: I didn't come up with a better one. Containment is what you do when you can't come up with the popular will to take decisive military action." The gulf war almost a decade ago left Hussein with a shaky hold on power. Armchair generals complained that the Bush administration ended the war too soon and blew a chance to drive Hussein from power. Bush allies such as retired Gen. Colin Powell, then the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and now an active supporter of Texas Gov. George W. Bush's run for the presidency, call those criticisms preposterous. They say the coalition of nations, including many Arab countries, would have fallen apart had the United States marched on Baghdad. Nevertheless, the notion that Hussein somehow survived because of U.S. weakness has persisted, and the Iraqi leader's ability to tweak Washington has remained a major foreign policy irritant to the Clinton administration for the past eight years. Since the gulf war, the United States has spent $8 billion building up an arsenal in the gulf, deploying thousands of troops to the region, conducting occasional "pinprick" strikes, and flying hundreds of combat sorties over northern and southern Iraq. Under U.S. and allied scrutiny, Iraq has refrained from threatening military moves against its neighbors, and for this reason U.S. allies in the gulf such as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman continue to allow a U.S. military presence. But the 30-nation coalition that fought Iraq in 1991 has nearly evaporated. Only U.S. and British warplanes participate in keeping Iraqi planes from entering the northern and southern Iraq no-fly zones. "Why is the United States virtually alone?" Sen. John Warner (R-Va.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, asked at a recent hearing. Frustrated by Iraq's ability to defy international sanctions and to throw out U.S. arms inspectors, Congress passed legislation two years ago to funnel $97 million to opposition groups seeking to topple Hussein. Yet so far, the money has gone to fax machines and copiers, and not a single bullet has been purchased with the aid, according to Clinton administration reports. Opponents of Hussein inside Iraq are far too weak to challenge his regime. Arab-language newspapers have reported that he has cancer and that the recent flights from France carried medical specialists to treat him. But U.S. intelligence dismisses this as wishful thinking, saying there's no evidence to support rumors that Hussein is ailing. Richard Perle, a senior Reagan administration official and close adviser to Gov. Bush, advocates a more active U.S. military role, including arming and training indigenous Iraqi opposition groups. "It is increasingly clear that the only solution to the danger posed by Saddam Hussein is a sustained, determined plan to remove him from power," Perle said. "Saddam has emerged from each new bombing stronger than before. Support for sanctions, whose most visible effect is the impoverishment of the Iraqi people, is sinking fast." The technical term used by the Pentagon to explain the current military posture toward Iraq is "keeping Saddam in his box." Increasingly it appears Washington is boxed in by its own Iraq policy. The United States got involved in the gulf war for economic reasons. "Jobs, jobs, jobs," was how then-Secretary of State James Baker explained it. The idea was that aggression by one nation in the heart of the world's richest oil region would upset energy markets, with potentially enormous repercussions in the United States, perhaps leading to recession and unemployment. To win public support for waging the gulf war, however, Washington had to demonize Hussein, and the Iraqi leader gave the Bush administration plenty of material. There were his Scud missile attacks on Israel and poison gas attacks on his own Kurdish population in the north in the late 1980s. There was the brutal treatment of Kuwait during Iraq's occupation. Immediately after the war, there was the iron-fisted repression of an uprising by the so called marsh Arabs in southern Iraq. Subsequent UN inspections revealed a huge Iraqi chemical and biological weapons program and the beginnings of a nuclear weapons effort. Today, the rest of the world appears to see Iraq in economic terms, as a possible trading partner, as holder of the world's second-largest oil reserves whose production capacity could ease the latest fuel price spike. The State Department acknowledges that even if Hussein observed all the requirements imposed by the UN, the containment policy would remain until he was out of power. With no arms inspectors inside Iraq, it is difficult to tell whether Hussein has reconstituted his programs to build weapons of mass destruction. But there is some evidence to indicate that he is. Despite the suspicions of an arms buildup by Baghdad, the administration, pressured by France and Russia in the UN Security Council, has acquiesced repeatedly on Iraq. Just last week, the U.S. lifted its earlier objections and voted to allow Iraq to lower the percentage of its oil revenue that must go into a fund to compensate victims of Iraq's invasion and occupation of Kuwait. Meanwhile, U.S. intelligence suspects that some of the food and drugs Iraq is buying with oil money are being exported for cash the regime can use for weapons. Stephen Solarz, a former Democratic congressman from New York known for his foreign policy expertise, told Congress last week that the United States has declared its intention of toppling Hussein without a plan that offers a realistic hope of achieving that objective. "We're paying a very heavy price in terms of our credibility in the region," Solarz said. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A62966-2000Oct2.html * A NOMINEE'S LONG ROAD TO 'NO' By John Lancaster, Washington Post Staff Writer, Tuesday, October 3, 2000; Page A03 With his Arabic language skills and more than 30 years of experience as a Foreign Service officer, much of it in the Middle East, Larry Pope seemed destined for diplomatic stardom when President Clinton picked him last February as the next U.S. ambassador to Kuwait. In an Aug. 8 letter, Defense Secretary William S. Cohen urged Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) to support Pope's confirmation by the Senate, citing his "invaluable" service as political adviser to Gen. Anthony C. Zinni during Zinni's recent tour as commander of U.S. military forces in the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia. But it was that very service that proved to be Pope's undoing. Angered by Zinni's open scorn for a Republican-backed plan to provide Iraqi opposition groups with arms and military training, Helms decreed last month that his committee would not grant Pope a hearing, sinking the nomination and prompting Pope, 55, to retire from government service. Washington "is a pretty poisonous town these days," said Pope, who departed last weekend with his wife for their 60-acre farm in Maine. "It will be a while before I come back to the Beltway." A Helms spokesman said the chairman blocked the nomination because of Pope's close association with Zinni and also in the belief that with just a few months left in the Clinton administration, the filling of such a sensitive post should be left to the next president. But to Pope and his allies at the State Department, the episode is evidence of an excessively partisan confirmation process that permits individual lawmakers to hold would-be ambassadors hostage to narrow political agendas, damaging careers as well as U.S. foreign policy. "Something has really gone off the tracks on this nomination review for career people," said Peter Burleigh, a 33-year Foreign Service veteran who served most recently as the acting U.S. representative at the United Nations. Burleigh knows whereof he speaks. In July 1999, Clinton named him ambassador to the Philippines. But Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) blocked his nomination for 12 months pending resolution of the unrelated case of Linda Shenwick, a State Department employee who said she had been transferred from her job at the U.S. mission to the United Nations for blowing the whistle on management abuses. Grassley released his "hold" last summer after the federal Office of Special Counsel found that the State Department had not mistreated Shenwick. By then, however, a frustrated Burleigh had already put in his retirement papers. He left the Foreign Service in August. "This was not an isolated incident," Marshall Adair, president of the American Foreign Service Association, wrote in the October issue of the organization's magazine. He also cited seven ambassadorial appointees whose nominations were placed on hold last summer by Sen. Rod Grams (R-Minn.) to force the State Department to tighten security. "These actions incur a cost," Adair said in an editorial. "The absence at post of an Ambassador, the President's personal representative, reduces American access to the highest levels of the host government and correspondingly reduces our influence." Senate aides respond that the constitutional duty to "advise and consent" on nominations requires rigorous scrutiny. In the aftermath of security lapses at the State Department, including the bugging of a conference room and the loss of a laptop computer containing classified information, Senate staffers were incensed by Adair's suggestion that Grams had no business holding up the seven ambassadorial nominees, each of whom had compiled double-digit totals of security violations. "One . . . had been suspended twice, once for 10 days and once for 16 days without pay, for mishandling classified information," said Marc Thiessen, spokesman for the Foreign Relations Committee. "Senator Grams held those nominations up in order to force the State Department to institute new regulations and new penalties and to finally start taking security seriously." Last Wednesday, satisfied that the State Department had gotten the message, committee members voted to send the seven nominees to the full Senate for confirmation. "So the Congress did its job," Thiessen said. "It's called oversight." Pope was not so lucky. A Boston native whose first overseas posting was in Vietnam, he spent much of his career in the Arab world and Africa, including a stint as ambassador to Chad from 1993 to 1996. He held senior posts in Washington and in 1997 was named political adviser to Zinni, then head of the Tampa-based U.S. Central Command. Pope traveled frequently with Zinni to the Persian Gulf, experience he assumed would work to his benefit after Clinton tapped him for the Kuwait City job. In June, Pope left Tampa with his wife, moved into a rented apartment in Ballston and began brushing up on his Arabic. But Pope quickly discovered that his nomination was in trouble. In an unusual e-mail to colleagues last month, he described his experience, opening a rare window on a process that usually is shrouded in secrecy. A copy of the e-mail was provided to the Washington Post by a third party, after which Pope agreed to be interviewed. By his account, the bad news was delivered by Danielle Pletka, a staff member on Helms's committee known for her acerbic style and prickly relations with the State Department. At a meeting with Pope in June, Pletka raised the subject of Zinni's well-known views on the Iraq Liberation Act, a 1998 law that authorized the spending of up to $97 million to arm and train Iraqi opposition groups. Though Clinton signed the bill, he did so reluctantly. To the irritation of Helms and other Republicans, the administration has limited its assistance to non-lethal training and equipment such as fax machines, arguing that the opposition is not sufficiently organized to lead a rebellion against Saddam Hussein. Zinni has gone even further. "There are congressmen today who want to fund the Iraq Liberation Act, and let some silk-suited, Rolex-wearing guys in London gin up an expedition," he said last spring at the U.S. Naval Institute. "We'll equip a thousand fighters and arm them with $97 million worth of AK-47s and insert them into Iraq. And what will we have? A Bay of Goats, most likely." Such comments did not sit well with Helms and his staff. "Referring to Tony Zinni's forthright statements under oath to the [Senate Armed Services Committee] in which he had opposed the coup schemes . . . being promoted in some quarters, Pletka said there were two possibilities," Pope wrote in his e-mail. "Either I agreed with General Zinni, and certainly wouldn't be confirmed, or I was an ineffectual adviser." According to his written account, Pletka then said that "the nomination might be salvaged, but only if I was willing to inform on Zinni, providing the Committee with documents I had generated . . . advising him against the position he had taken." Pope replied, according to his e-mail, that his advice to Zinni was a private matter but that he would be happy to discuss his own views with anyone on the committee. But he added, "She wasn't much interested in my views, since, as she put it, nominees often say one thing and do another after they are confirmed." Pope was accompanied at the meeting by Susan Jacobs, the State Department's deputy liaison to Congress. Jacobs declined to comment on his account. A senior State Department official who discussed the meeting with Jacobs described Pope's description as "a true and accurate report." Pletka declined to comment on Pope's account and referred questions to Thiessen, the committee spokesman. "The description in the letter is inaccurate, doesn't reflect reality, and it's fiction," Thiessen said, declining to provide further details. "We consider it a private meeting." Pope's nomination languished all summer. On Sept. 15, he and Jacobs met with committee staff director Stephen Biegun, who informed them that the Senate would not act on his nomination but that Helms bore him no grudge and would support his confirmation to another post. Pope described Biegun as a "decent guy" who delivered the news with regret. "What he said to me was, 'You are not being held responsible for General Zinni's statements. It's just that the Senate wants someone who would be more forward-leaning on the Iraqi opposition,' " Pope said. The Kuwait embassy post is a sensitive one for supporters of the Iraqi opposition; the tiny emirate could well play a role as a staging area for an armed uprising against Baghdad. Biegun declined to comment. Since his meeting with the staff director, Pope has occupied his time by taking retirement seminars and planning his move to Maine. Over a beer at the Army-Navy Club last week, Pope said he is proud of his friendship with Zinni and acknowledged that he shares the administration's--and Zinni's--doubts about the wisdom of arming the Iraqi opposition. But he added, "If you start saying to Foreign Service officers that because you were a loyal servant of this administration, therefore you won't be a loyal servant of the next, you've got a spoiled system." Thiessen defended Helms's decision. "Probably the greatest foreign policy failure of the administration has been Iraq policy and the crumbling of the coalition against Saddam Hussein, combined with nonenforcement of the Iraq Liberation Act, which the president signed into law," he said. "We're now six weeks away from a presidential election, so there is actually no reason why the Senate should impose on the next president in the key post of ambassador to Kuwait somebody who's associated with the old policy." Thiessen added that "we would have been perfectly happy to have confirmed him for another post." But Pope said he had considered the Kuwait assignment ideal, given his background, and had no interest in waiting around for another opportunity. "And go through this again?" he said. http://news.ft.com/ft/gx.cgi/ftc?pagename=View&c=Article&cid=FT3M76UUVDC&liv e=true&tagid=ZZZINS5VA0C&subheading=middle%20east%20and%20africa * IRAQI SMUGGLERS NET OIL BONANZA By Robin Allen in Dubai Published: October 3 2000 17:37GMT (Financial Times) Iraq is smuggling out $2bn of oil a year in spite of the United Nations economic embargo and spending the proceeds on weapons and luxuries for Saddam Hussein's inner circle. The smuggling bonanza is benefiting officials in Iraq and Iran, together with shareholders of small Gulf-based oil trading companies, according to oil traders in the United Arab Emirates. The scale of the smuggling, and the blind eye turned by regional authorities, they say, make a mockery of the UN embargo, as well as claims by Iraqi leaders that the UN embargo causes widespread public hardship and malnutrition. According to these traders, more than $600m a year is being shared among senior Iraqi officials, including President Saddam's cronies, with the money going on imports of "cigars, whisky and weapons". According to the United Nations, Iraq's daily oil production is between 2.6m and 2.8m barrels, worth between $16bn and $20bn a year. Seventy per cent of the revenue goes to the oil-for-food programme and 25 per cent to the UN's Gulf war compensation fund. Estimates by oil traders of the value and volume of Iraqi oil smuggling suggest 10m tonnes a year of oil products are being sold on the open market at an average $200 a tonne. Two thirds of this traffic is fuel oil fetching $160 a tonne when Dubai spot crude sells at $32 or $33 a barrel, and a third is diesel and gas oil selling at more than $300 a tonne. The traffic, which started in earnest four years ago when sanctions were making it harder for President Saddam to pay off key constituents, has been "hot and heavy" for the past year as prices for fuel oil and middle distillates such as diesel have risen. The sanctions-busting covers a variety of land and sea routes, with pay-offs to various third parties. There is even a "ring" among many trader-smugglers who agree not to bid against each when buying back their own confiscated oil. Iraqi beneficiaries use some of the proceeds to buy more than 10,000 bottles of whisky and 50m cigarettes a week, plus quantities of cash-counting machines. At the same time, Iraq is exporting grain, other food and medical equipment overland to Jordan and Syria and by sea through the Gulf. About a third of smuggled Iraqi oil products go by road into central and northern Iran. Traders call it Iranian "displacement" oil because it replaces products from Iran's own refineries in the south of the country, where products are often blended with Iraqi contraband. But the bulk of Iraq's smuggled oil traffic goes through Gulf ports, with more than half finding its way to the UAE. The journey for smuggled products starts at the Iraqi ports of Fao and Umm Qasr in the Khawr Az-Zubair channel, where it is loaded into old, small and environmentally hazardous vessels. Smugglers pay Iraqis between $60 and $95 a tonne for all types of oil products. Once they leave Iraqi ports, the vessels steam into Iranian coastal waters, putting in at Iranian ports where officials of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) take $50 to $60 per tonne of products in exchange for "authentic" bills of lading. To put pressure on the smugglers for more money, the IRGC occasionally intercepts their ships, while simultaneously demanding financial assistance from the UN to defray the cost of intercepting the smugglers. If US naval ships, which comprise 95 per cent of UN surveillance forces, are being particularly vigilant, the smugglers avoid making the cross-Gulf journey. Instead they lay up in Iranian ports, including the free zones of Kish, Qeshm and Chah Behar, where additional demurrage and customs "fees" are paid to port officials. Last year the US navy stopped and questioned more than 2,400 ships, boarded 700 of them, and arrested 19 which were taken to Gulf Arab ports, with both ship and cargo being confiscated before being sold at public auction. Most of the arrested ships have been taken to Abu Dhabi, where this month six sanction busting vessels were sold off for Dh4m ($1.1m). Their cargoes of diesel and fuel oil were sold about $20 a tonne below the market price, fetching $3m, a drop in the ocean compared with the total scale of the traffic. The sanctions-busting vessels are registered in Panama, Belize and other flag-of-convenience countries. Their owners frequently operate through "brass-plate" companies and UAE-based agents under the benignly neutral eye of the authorities. Owner/agents frequently buy back their own confiscated oil. The buyers of seven vessels auctioned in Abu Dhabi last May were all Dubai-based businessmen and companies. UAE businessmen insist the US could, if it really wanted to, completely block the Gulf maritime smuggling routes. That it does not, they argue, is evidence that it is in Washington's wider regional interests to keep Mr Saddam in power and "locked up in his cage". This argument is rejected by senior British and US diplomats, who say western officials have no right to supervise the enforcement of international law inside other countries' jurisdiction. As one trader put it: "On the one hand you have a regime [in Iraq] determined to stay in power no matter the cost. That's politics. On the other, at $65 a tonne clear profit, a vessel has paid for itself after only two successful trips, so entrepreneurs are prepared to take a risk. On both fronts, there is complete cynicism." http://www.vny.com/cf/news/upidetail.cfm?QID=124042 * ANALYSIS: CHAVEZ A NEW REVOLUTIONARY By Roger Fontaine WASHINGTON, Oct. 2 (UPI) -- No one in this hemisphere has seen anything quite like him since Fidel Castro's entry on the world stage in 1959 or Argentina's Juan Perón in 1945. Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez has charm, charisma, and world-class ambition. Chávez, an ex-paratrooper from a small town in Venezuela's remote savannahs, is intent on carrying out a revolution in his oil-rich, but down-at-the-heels country. In less than three years in office, he already has transformed the country's political institutions, written a new constitution, and promises to yank 80 percent of Venezuela's 23 million people above the poverty line. Even if it will take him another decade. According to the new rules -- Chávez can do that by succeeding himself after his first term in office, which ends in 2006. At 46, Hugo Chávez should have no trouble staying in office for another dozen years. The comparison with Fidel Castro is instructive. Chávez has already irritated Washington by calling the Cuban "lider máximo" ) or "Maximum Leader") a great man and the Cuban revolution a shining success. Venezuela, he once declared, is swimming "toward the same sea as the Cuban people," a sea, he added, "of happiness, social justice and true peace." A star-struck Chávez also last August became the first head of state to visit Saddam Hussein since multilateral sanctions were imposed after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. Said Chávez: Saddam Hussein is a "brother" and at one press conference he positively gushed about the Iraqi leader personally driving him about the streets of Baghdad. The State Department was not amused. "Particularly galling," pronounced the Department's press spokesman Richard Boucher. Not to be outdone, Chávez has also had kind words for Moammar Gadhafi and corresponded with convicted international terrorist Carlos the Jackal, who is a Venezuelan by birth. Some of Chávez's neighbors are not thrilled at Venezuela's new diplomacy either. Colombia's President Andrés Pastrana bluntly warned Chávez not to get involved in his country's internal affairs - Chávez had offered to talk to Colombia's guerrilla groups. To the east, Guyanese leaders were appalled at the Venezuelan president's resurrecting a once buried claim on two-thirds of Guyana's territory. Meanwhile, Chávez's enemies in Venezuela are not the only ones seeing a bit of Fidel in their new leader. Like Castro, Chávez favors long, rambling speeches as he talks to his people in earthy, street language. Like Fidel, his grasp of economics is shaky as he spends money on state-run programs designed to help the poor. And like Fidel he made his start in national politics by staging an armed uprising that nearly toppled a corrupt government - albeit an elected one. For Chávez, the big moment was February 1992. He was the last to surrender and got two years in jail -- about the time Castro served on the Island of Pines. But Chávez did something else. Although under lock and key, he somehow managed to smuggle out a videotape supporting a second coup attempt nine months later. U.S. officials and independent analysts and experts saw only the horrible prospect of South America's oldest democracy being taken over by a bunch of cowboys in uniform. Many Venezuelans, however, saw a gutsy guy who just didn't talk about change, but was willing to risk his life for a cause. In Venezuela that was the headline. That was macho. It has been reported that Chávez, aside from plotting, spent much of his time in jail reading and reading widely -- another echo of Fidel. In fact, Chávez is fond of quoting from a wide assortment of authors just to prove he is no yokel from the south of nowhere. But like Castro, he may have read widely but perhaps not too well. In all the lists of readings favored by the Venezuelan and the Cuban, no one yet has cited a classical economist. Walt Whitman yes, but Adam Smith. definitely not. Having risked his life in a coup plot and been a plotter ever since he was young junior officer, Chávez's ambition is formidable. But he has combined that with a native criollo shrewdness. He knew perfectly well that a large majority of Venezuelans were sick of a two-party democracy in which the politicians from each side shared the jobs and the oil wealth leaving only a little to trickle down. When oil prices dropped in the 1980s, even the trickle stopped. But the políticos did not care. By the time Chávez declared his candidacy for the presidency in 1998, Acción Democrático and Copei combined had a popular approval rating of 5 percent. Chávez got 58 percent of the vote. Once in office, Chávez campaigned to change the rules -- he called it a war on the oligarchy - while critics said he was building himself a dictatorship. In reality, it was a bit of both. The old constitution was scrapped and another written by a constituent assembly that was completely in the pocket of Chávez. The new constitution, a monster of 350 articles, abolished the bicameral Congress, limited the powers of the new unicameral chamber, and gave the president the kind of authority even Abraham Lincoln or Franklin Roosevelt in wartime could only envy. The new constitution also provided for new elections and a six-year term in office, just like Mexico. Unlike Mexico, however, President Chávez can run again. Since creating a constitution to suit himself, Chávez is beginning to build an international reputation. He likes to travel and he offers advice. In the case of Cuba he offered aid. And he has seized Venezuela's current presidency of the 11-nation Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and made it a bully pulpit. Chavez demands that the oil cartel gets serious about maintaining the current level of prices, the highest they have been in 25 years. His concern for keeping oil at $30 plus a barrel is not just the starving masses of say, Nigeria. Chávez knows his presidency can founder as his predecessors' did on the rocks of bankruptcy. Therefore Chávez needs that expected $26 billion in oil revenues this year to pay for his increasingly extravagant social welfare spending. After all, it's not too early to think about 2006. http://www.sunday-times.co.uk:80/news/pages/tim/2000/10/04/timfgnmid02001.ht ml * SADDAM SELLS MEDICINES AND AID FOR LIFE'S LITTLE LUXURIES By Roland Watson, Richard Beeston and Michael Theodoulou October 4 2000 SADDAM HUSSEIN is importing vast quantities of Scotch whisky and cigarettes every week while illegally exporting food and medicine destined for the Iraqi people, according to a confidential Foreign Office report. The Foreign Office document, which discloses the anger in London at the West's failure to win the propaganda war, spells out blow by blow how the Iraqi President has effectively shattered the sanctions regime imposed on Iraq. As the soaring price of oil shores up his power, Britain and the United States have found themselves increasingly isolated among the countries of the world in trying to keep the sanctions in place. The report says that the Baghdad regime is buying an average of 10,000 bottles of whisky - much of it Scotch - and 50 million cigarettes each week for the dictator's extended political and military elite. At the same time, humanitarian goods that have been bought for the Iraqi people under United Nations supervision are being stockpiled and sold abroad. The Kuwaiti coastguard has intercepted ships loaded with food leaving Iraq, while emergency drugs meant for Iraqis have been discovered in pharmacies in Lebanon. The contrast between the luxury enjoyed by Saddam and his circle and the poverty elsewhere in the country was typified by his birthday celebrations this year, which included a 3- metre-high cake, the ingredients of which would have fed 100 children for 30 days. The details are contained in Foreign Office papers compiled from informed sources within Iraq and the Middle East. On Monday the United States announced that it would spend £3 million funding Iraqi groups opposed to Saddam. However, William Cohen, the US Defence Secretary, conceded that Iraq had been successful in its battle to win international public opinion for the lifting of sanctions. In particular, Iraq has effectively broken out of its decade-long isolation thanks to a series of recent aid flights from France, Russia and from around the Arab world. There is even the prospect of a resumption of regular flights between Baghdad and Moscow with the signing of a memorandum between Aeroflot and Iraqi Airways. Iran said yesterday that it would allow the flights to cross its airspace and expected the service to begin later this month. Yesterday a Moroccan flight landed at Baghdad's Saddam International airport, which was reopened earlier this year to cope with the sudden influx of air traffic. Delighted Iraqi officials said that similar flights were expected in the coming days from Tunisia and Libya. George Galloway, the Scottish Labour MP, who is in Baghdad attending a conference on Jerusalem, welcomed the sudden rush of flights, which he said had "proved the illegality of the air embargo". Part of Saddam's new-found confidence comes from the high price of oil, which has opened the way to an elaborate oil-smuggling operation via Turkey and the Gulf, which should bring him an estimated £700 million this year. Some 150,000 barrels are exported overland to Turkey. This cross-border trade has never been authorised by the United Nations, but is conducted quite openly and Turkey even levies a tax on it. A further 50,000 to 100,000 barrels are smuggled daily through the Gulf. Yet another 100,000 barrels of Iraqi oil are sold to neighbouring Jordan, although these sales are not viewed as illegal. The UN has not authorised this trade, but neither has it criticised it. The proceeds help to buy the loyalty of the ruthless security services that keep Saddam in power. The volume and variety of luxury goods being spirited into Iraq have grown in recent months as oil prices soared.Some of the whisky imported by Saddam originates from Scotland, while many of the cigarettes are manufactured in the United States. Both the alcohol and tobacco take extremely circuitous routes, being repeatedly sold on until they arrive in Baghdad. Most of the cigarettes are channelled through Cyprus, where they are stockpiled before being shipped on. The main smuggling routes into Iraq are by sea through the Gulf, overland through Turkey and via Jordan, although the third is less widely used than the others. Robin Cook, the Foreign Secretary, and Madeleine Albright, the US Secretary of State, are concerned to see that recent disagreements, particularly with the French Government, do not develop into deeper tactical splits in the West about how to handle Saddam. One senior British official said: "It's not just the media and it's not just domestic opinion - it's some allies, too, who tend to overlook the fact that he could relieve the suffering if he wanted to, and these luxury imports show just how cynical he is." Whitehall's anger also focuses on Saddam's failure to make the most of the amendments to United Nations sanctions, imposed after the Gulf War but relaxed at the turn of the year. The changes, pushed through with the help of Mr Cook, lifted the ceiling on Iraqi oil exports, allowing Iraq to reclaim a place among the world's top-five oil producers, with present revenue at record levels. However, Baghdad is largely ignoring billions of dollars sitting in the UN account, set up after Operation Desert Storm, which is designed to ensure that proceeds from Iraq's oil exports are channelled into buying food and medicine. It has ordered only $1 billion-worth of humanitarian goods over the past four months, even though there is a further $4.5 billion sitting in the bank. When the United Nations Secretary General recommended recently that Iraq set aside $91 million for targeted nutrition for vulnerable groups such as infants and new mothers, Iraq allocated only $24 billion. Yet reports from around the region disclose the extent to which Baghdad is exporting humanitarian goods. As well as selling food to Syria and trying to sell food to Jordan, Kuwaiti coastguards have intercepted Iraqi vessels in the Gulf loaded with grain and other foodstuffs. The Foreign Office papers also contain recent reports indicating that asthma drugs, including 15,000 emergency inhalers, destined for Iraq under the UN programme, have been found on sale in Lebanon. The dossier has been compiled in an effort to blunt the efforts of Saddam's propaganda and to persuade Western opinion that most of the suffering in Iraq is of Saddam's choosing. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A21420-2000Oct6.html * TURKEY WARNS OF RETALIATION IF U.S. MAKES GENOCIDE CHARGE by Molly Moore and John Ward Anderson Washington Post Foreign Service, Friday, October 6, 2000 ISTANBUL, Oct. 5 Turkish officials warned today that the United States risks losing the use of a Turkish base for launching air patrols over northern Iraq if the House of Representatives approves a resolution accusing Turkey of genocide against Armenians about 80 years ago. The non-binding resolution, introduced by representatives in an election-year appeal to Armenian American voters, has infuriated Turkey, a strategically important NATO ally. As part of their response, Turkish officials said they are considering appointing an ambassador to Baghdad for the first time since the end of the Persian Gulf War in 1991 and said Turkey will join a growing number of nations in sending humanitarian aid to Iraq, despite U.N. sanctions aimed at bringing down Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. The resolution was approved Tuesday by the House International Affairs Committee. "If it is passed by the House of Representatives, serious effects should be expected on Turkish U.S. relations," Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem said, according to the Anatolian News Agency. In a statement today, the leaders of all five parties in the Turkish parliament declared "The Turkish Grand National Assembly will evaluate the extension of Operation Northern Watch in the framework of changing conditions." In that operation, U.S. and British pilots based at Turkey's Incirlik air base have flown patrols over northern Iraq since the end of the Gulf War to enforce U.N. restrictions on Iraqi military deployments. The Turkish parliament votes every six months on whether to renew approval for that use of Incirlik. The current extension ends Dec. 30. Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit also has suggested that the flights could be affected by the U.S. resolution. Other Turkish politicians and business leaders have threatened retaliation against U.S. businesses, including the cancellation of military contracts. But some Western diplomats said it seemed unlikely that Turkey would take measures, such as canceling defense contracts, that could hurt itself as much as the United States. Others expressed skepticism that Turkey would stop the Incirlik-based patrols because Iraq might then launch military operations in the north. That would likely force thousands of Kurdish refugees into Turkey, where the Turkish military has been fighting Kurdish separatists for much of the past 15 years. Turkey might retaliate more strongly against Armenia, with whom it has no diplomatic relations, the diplomats said. Turkey set tough new visa restrictions on Armenians today. The Armenian Foreign Ministry welcomed the House committee vote endorsing the genocide resolution and declared Wednesday that "the recognition of the genocide . . . will make it possible to overcome the barriers existing between [Armenia and Turkey] and contribute to . . . stability in the region." Armenian Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanian called on Turkey to begin a dialogue on the genocide issue and on economic cooperation, the Russian news agency Interfax reported. The House resolution is a symbolic measure focusing on the killings and forced eviction from Turkey of as many as 1.5 million Armenians during the collapse of the Ottoman Empire between 1915 and 1923. The bill urges President Clinton to characterize that event as genocide. Armenians say that, in those years, Armenian villages were ransacked, civilians--including children--were slaughtered and tens of thousands of Armenian men disappeared. The Turkish government argues that the deaths were wartime casualties, caused as the Ottoman Empire battled Armenian rebels trying to carry out Russian plans to take over slices of the country. Turkish history books place the death toll closer to 300,000. There are no official records to conclusively determine how many Armenians died, and the era remains a dark and controversial chapter in Turkey's modern history. Clinton, who opposes the resolution, spoke with Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer on Monday before the committee vote. After the committee passed the resolution, the State Department issued a statement that House approval of the measure "will likely complicate our efforts to bring peace and stability to the Caucasus and harm our relations with Turkey, our strategic partner in the region." The Turkish news media has reported the government is considering other retaliatory measures, including dropping scheduled negotiations with the U.S. defense contractor Bell Textron to buy 145 attack helicopters costing an estimated $4.5 billion. Turkish Chief of Staff Gen. Huseyin Kivrikoglu canceled a trip to Washington planned for later this month in response to the resolution. Since the Cold War era, when Turkey was a critical U.S. ally in attempting to contain expansionism by the Soviet Union, the U.S. has maintained some of its strongest military ties with Turkey. http://www.timesofindia.com/071000/07amrc2.htm * CHENEY, LIEBERMAN DIFFER ON DEALING WITH US FOES DANVILLE, Kentucky: Republican Dick Cheney and Democrat Joseph Lieberman on Thursday differed -- at least in tone -- on how to tackle U.S. foes in Iraq and Yugoslavia in a vice presidential debate focusing significantly on foreign policy. Cheney urged that Washington use the crisis in Yugoslavia to "test" Russian President Vladimir Putin's commitment to democracy and said Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush should get credit for proposing last week a Russian role in ending the turmoil. Responding to a question about the stalemate with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, Cheney -- who was defense secretary during the 1991 Gulf War that ousted Iraq from Kuwait -- said a Bush administration might "have to take military action to forcibly remove Saddam from power." Appearing at the only debate between the vice presidential candidates ahead of the November 7 election, the two men spoke hours after the Yugoslav opposition took charge of Belgrade's streets after a popular and almost bloodless revolution appeared to have swept Slobodan Milosevic from power. But there was uncertainty about Milosevic's whereabouts. Serb opposition sources reported that he was in a bunker in eastern Serbia, protected by army troops, and could be mounting a coup. U.S. officials were monitoring the situation, and did not rule out the possibility of a "last stand." President Bill Clinton said military intervention was not appropriate. On Yugoslavia, Lieberman said the United States should be proud of the role it played in recent years in stopping Milosevic's aggression and genocide in the Balkans. Lieberman, a U.S. senator from Connecticut, said it appeared there would be "a very happy ending to a terrible story" of Milosevic's aggression in the Balkans. If Milosevic has not yet been ousted, however, then Washington and its allies "should do everything we can to encourage the people of Serbia to do exactly what they have been doing over the last few days, to rise up and end this reign of terror by Milosevic and bring themselves back into the family of nations where they will be welcomed by the United States and others," Lieberman said. He criticized Republicans for accusing the Democratic administration of Clinton and Vice President Gore of "overreaching" by using military force in the Balkans and said the Democrats were proven right. AGGRESSION STOPPED "We stopped the aggression and the genocide and therefore strengthened our relationships with our European allies and NATO and in fact, this made us more respected and trusted by our allies and more feared by our enemies," he said. He credited Gore with playing a critical role in the policy. Cheney said Bush supported the administration's approach to the Yugoslav province of Kosovo and would "do everything we can to support Mr. Milosevic's departure." He also ruled out U.S. military force. He criticized Gore for "poo pooing" Bush's suggestion at last week's presidential debate that Russia be enlisted to use its influence to encourage Milosevic to cede power peacefully. Now that the Yugoslav people have taken to the streets to insist that Milosevic accept the election of opposition candidate Vojislav Kostunica as president, "it is time to find out if (Putin) is committed to democracy" there, Cheney said. Russia has strong religious and cultural ties with Serbia but Putin so far has not accepted Kostunica's election. On Iraq, Cheney said the United States should seriously consider a military attack on Iraq if there was evidence that it was developing weapons of mass destruction. He noted the coalition that defeated Iraq in 1991 was weaker today, with Arab states reopening diplomatic ties with Baghdad and U.N. inspectors no longer in Iraq to monitor its arms program. "If in fact Saddam Hussein were taking steps to try to rebuild nuclear capability or weapons of mass destruction you'd have to give very serious consideration to military action to stop that activity," said Cheney. "I don't think you can afford to have a man like Saddam Hussein with nuclear weapons in the Middle East," he added. Lieberman said the decision to deploy military force against Iraq was too weighty to discuss in the heat of a political campaign and should be left to the commanders of the U.S. military and the nation's leaders. He agreed that "we will not enjoy real stability in the Middle East until Saddam Hussein is gone" and promised he and Gore would continue to support Iraqi opposition groups "until the Iraqi people rise up and do what the people of Serbia have done in the last few days: get rid of a despot." (Reuters) -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email firstname.lastname@example.org Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website: http://www.casi.org.uk