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The stress of Office seems to be affecting Peter Hain. Michael Evans (Times
24th October) writes of the Minister's briefing re Saddam City a complex
with homes, amusement parks, elephants and deer imported etc. We've been
here before. An archeoligical preservation programme in northern Iraq  which
was written as Saddam's destruction of one of the most ancient sites on
earth. Infact it was an excercise in preservation which architects from many
countries were participating.

I know not of this complex, nor the basis of Mr Hain's certainty, however
commonsense dictates that the odd bit of smuggling of cigarettes etc across
leaky borders is not beyond the wit of man. Elephants, however are another
thing. 'If Saddam sneeszes, we can see him reach for his handkerchief' said
James Baker in 1991. 'We can see a coca cola can in a trash can' said an
UNSCOM spokesman just prior to departure in 1998. Yet they could'nt see
elephants being imported? How did these elephants get there? Overland,
obviously - yet these are creatures that need special care, vast
transportation vehicles, are endangered and must have vetinary and export
certification from each country through which they passed. 'Elephants for
Iraq' would be a hell of a story and wld have certainly been discovered by
journalists in countries through which they travelled. However, according to
the Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office they just
materialised in Iraq.

Perhaps they were pink?

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