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NEWS, 29/10-5/11/00 Quite an exciting week, dominated by the obviously highly successful Baghdad Trade Fair. This, together with the opening of Saddam International Airport at exactly the right psychological moment; the building, with Chinese help, of a new power station; and the repair of the pipeline to Syria, providing an outlet that will be very difficult to control all these things suggest that there is a mind in the Iraqi government capable of thinking about something other than whiskey and jet skis. We may assume that this mind does not belong to Uday. These developments are creating alarm and our government is anxious to remind us of Mr Hussein's inconceiveable wickedness. Hence the Guardian article on 'Murders and mutilation', based on a 'restricted' Foreign Office memo that they have 'obtained', somehow (the assumption being that the only reliable information is information the government doesn't want us to know. We are of course waiting for the person responsible for leaking this restricted report to be punished). Note, however, that the star item in this secret document Uday's campaign against prostitution appears in the following news as an item that appeared several days earlier in the Bahrain Tribune; while the eight people executed for defacing Saddam murals was picked up by the BBC monitoring service from the London-based newspaper 'Al-Sharq al-Awsat' on the 6th october and YOU read about it in the CASI news for 1-7/10/00. It seems that the FO's major source of confidential information is the Internet. * Iraq reports two killed, one injured in U.S.-British airstrikes * Palestinian plane lands in Iraq * No Objections to Iraq Commercial Flights, Says U.S * Saddam fedayeen terrorising women * Iraq Gets UN OK for Euro Account [extract] * Fianna Fail MEP on Dublin-to-Iraq aid flight * Iraq says national airline to fly again [extract] * Iraq ready to build oil pipeline to Jordan * Turkish minister in Iraq for border trade talks [extracts] * Iran, Turkey relent on Iraq aid plane flight corridor * Iranian opposition says forces shell camp in Iraq * Saddam told to put his people before whisky [guess by whom?] * Kuwait had no official contacts with the Palestinian government * Iraq seeks Syria oil sales, tests U.N. Curbs * Jordan's Prime Minister flies to Baghdad for fair * Baghdad turns away Mauritania flight * UN committee fails to agree on Jordanian flight to Baghdad * Chinese Power Station Built in Iraq * Iraqi: We Got Bomb Info From U.S * Murders and mutilation in Iraq revealed * You have mutilated the truth about Iraq [by G. Galloway] * Saddam film-maker gets death threat * France Rejects [US] Iraq Flight Proposals * US warning on flights over Iraq * Kuwait Seizes Iraqi Ship * [Japanese] Govt to reopen embassy in Iraq in late Nov * Saddam's son tortured defeated footballers * Things improving in Iraq [report of Voices in the Wilderness visit to Iraq] URL ONLY http://www.vny.com/cf/News/upidetail.cfm?QID=132582 * Third Lebanese plane heads to Baghdad http://www.cnn.com/2000/WORLD/meast/11/02/iran.iraq.smuggling.ap/index.html * Iran impounds tanker carrying suspected Iraqi oil http://members.home.net/kurdistanobserver/29-10-00-barzani-interviewd.html * Barzani Interview: PKK-PUK Fighting, PLO, Iraq, Islamists [Kurdistan Observer, 29th october. Long but I thought a bit disappointing with the Kurdish leader] SUPPLEMENT (sent separately) * Flights to Iraq Carry a Message to U.N. ‹ Sanctions: As more nations challenge embargo imposed after Kuwait invasion, even the U.S. is rethinking its stance. [Los Angeles Times with URLs for similar reflections in The Times and The Observer] * SAS top brass left us to die Bravo Two Zero survivor blames ex-commander [tales of the Gulf War] * US Troop Alert in S. Arabia, Kuwait [this is interesting on the need to smuggle the USS Cole back without passing through the Suez canal] * Will US attack Afghanistan ? [From a Pakistani perspective] * Iraqi vendetta against dollar gives welcome boost to euro [Financial Times] * A discreet way of doing business with Iraq [Financial Times. Largely on US involvement in business with Iraq] * Cheney Broke His Word on Dealing With Iraq [an American Jewish comment on the above story] * Addressing Iraqi Sanctions [editorial from the Hartford Courant on a series of anti sanctions articles they have run. Links are given to help find the articles in question] * Guessing game about future US set-up [Pakistani view on the foreign policy personnel of each of the two candidates for the US presidency] http://www.cnn.com/2000/WORLD/meast/10/29/iraq.us.ap/index.html * IRAQ REPORTS TWO KILLED, ONE INJURED IN U.S.-BRITISH AIRSTRIKES October 29, 2000 BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- U.S. and British warplanes bombed southern Iraq on Sunday, killing two people and injuring one, the official Iraqi News Agency reported. "The bombardment targeted our civil and service installations, causing the deaths of two people and the injury of one in the southern province of Basra," INA said, quoting an Iraqi military statement. Basra is 340 miles south of Baghdad. There was no independent confirmation of the strikes. [....] http://www.vny.com/cf/News/upidetail.cfm?QID=132013 * PALESTINIAN PLANE LANDS IN IRAQ BAGHDAD, Iraq, Oct. 29 (UPI) -- A Palestinian plane carrying an official delegation and injured Palestinians arrived Sunday in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. The Boeing 747, which stopped over in the Jordanian capital, Amman, on its way to Baghdad earlier in the day, is the first Palestinian plane to land in Iraq since the Palestinian Authority took control of parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 1994. Upon the plane's landing at Saddam International Airport, ambulances rushed about 20 Palestinians injured during the month-long clashes with Israeli troops in the West Bank and Gaza for treatment in Baghdad hospitals. The flight, dubbed "al-Quds," or Jerusalem, was also carrying a delegation from the Gaza based Palestinian Authority, the Legislative Council and the Palestine National Council (parliament-in-exile of the Palestine Liberation Organization). Head of the delegation, Minister of Public Works and former Palestinian ambassador to Iraq, Azzam al-Ahmad, said the flight was a "message of solidarity with the people and leadership of Iraq in facing the sanctions imposed on them." Although Iraq has been living under crippling international economic sanctions since its 1990 invasion of Kuwait, Baghdad last week delivered more than 100 truckloads of humanitarian and medical aid to the Palestinian territories through Jordan, and rented a floor in one of Amman's private hospitals to treat Palestinians wounded in the confrontations with Israeli forces. The Palestinian Ambassador in Jordan, Omar Khatib, said the flight to Baghdad was "an expression of Palestinian solidarity with Iraq and our determination to continue working towards breaking the unjust sanctions." Brig. Fayez Zeidan, head of the Palestinian aviation authority, said that the aim of sending a flight to Iraq is to thank the Iraqi leadership and the Iraqi people for supporting the "Palestinian Intifada." Zeidan said that the first airplane flew from Gaza to Iraq two years ago carrying Palestinian medical aid and food supplies to the Iraqi people and Iraqi children. "We highly appreciate the Iraqi support to treat Palestinians were shot and injured by the Israeli soldiers in spite of the siege and the sanctions that had been imposed on Iraq for ten years," said Zeidan. Azzam El Ahmad, the Palestinian authority ambassador to Iraq said that there are 20 Palestinian wounded that were shot and injured by Israeli soldiers during the violent confrontations in the Palestinian territories. "Sending Palestinians wounded for treatment in Iraq came as Iraqi government requested from the Palestinian authority to send them for treatment at the Iraqi hospitals," said El Ahmad. The Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza were cheering during the Gulf War in 1991, when Iraq was hitting the state of Israel by Iraqi missiles. The flight is the 36th to land in Baghdad since Iraq reopened the international airport in August after Russia broke the ice when one of its planes landed there on Aug. 19. Iraq insists that the embargo does not include a ban on flights, but the U.N. Sanctions Committee, which had authorized most of the flights to Baghdad in the recent weeks, says that commercial flights constituted an economic resource. http://news.excite.com/news/r/001030/14/news-iraq-usa-dc * NO OBJECTIONS TO IRAQ COMMERCIAL FLIGHTS, SAYS U.S by Charles Aldinger, October 30, 2000 WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States joined Britain Monday and said it saw no problem with Iraqi plans resuming domestic commercial airline flights through Western imposed no-fly zones in the north and south of the country. But Washington stressed that it would continue to closely monitor air traffic in the zones to make sure that Baghdad's military did not fly in the areas and threaten Iraqis on the ground or neighboring countries. "We don't see civilian flights as posing a threat" to the no-fly zones, said Marine Corps Lt. Col. Dave Lapan, a Defense Department spokesman. "The no-fly zones pertain to military flights and protecting civilian populations inside Iraq from attack," Lapan told Reuters in response to questions. Iraq's Transport Minister Ahmed Murtada Ahmed Khalil was quoted Monday as saying Iraqi Airways flights would resume on Nov. 5 between Baghdad and the cities of Basra, 600 km (375 miles) to the south, and Mosul, 450 km (270 miles) to the north. A State Department official, who asked not to be identified, also told Reuters Monday that the United States would monitor Iraq flights closely to make sure that they did not threaten Iraqi citizens on the ground, the country's neighbors or U.S. and British warplanes policing the zones. "For reasons of flight safety and enforcing the zones, we would require notification of flight schedules and routes no less than 48 hours in advance of each flight," the official said. A British Foreign Office spokesman said earlier in London that his country was also "not at all exercised" about an announcement from Iraq that the flights would resume next Sunday. Iraq had resumed domestic flights in 1992, a year after they were disrupted by the Gulf War, but suspended them again because of the no-fly zones. Baghdad said then its aircraft needed maintenance. The United States and Britain say the exclusion zones are maintained to protect a Kurdish enclave in the north and Muslim Shiites in the south from possible attacks by Iraqi troops. [....] http://www.bahraintribune.com/middle.asp?Art_No=5712 * SADDAM FEDAYEEN TERRORISING WOMEN Bahrain Tribune, Monday, October 30, 2000 Nicosia: Death squads armed with 32kg swords are terrorising Iraqi women as part of an anti-prostitution campaign that has the backing of the regime of Saddam Hussein, according to a newspaper report yesterday. Women and girls suspected of prostitution are being summarily beheaded in front of their own homes and their heads are hanged on a fence ³as a lesson to others², according to the authoritative Arabic newspaper Al Hayat. The campaign of terror is being carried out by the notorious ³Saddam fedayeen² (Saddam guerrillas) under Uday, the son of President Saddam Hussein, the paper¹s Amman correspondent quoted travellers from Baghdad as saying. Members of the ruling Baath Party and the Iraqi Federation of Women have been attending the beheadings to endow them with ³an element of deterrence,² according to one traveller who said that at least 50 people have been beheaded in Baghdad. Victims have also included men alleged to have served as pimps or relatives who have ³condoned² or ³covered up² for the women¹s behaviour, the report said. The report said the hunt was launched in a bid to combat widespread prostitution exacerbated by deteriorating economic conditions in Iraq under 10 years of UN sanctions. Iraq, traditionally regarded as one of the more permissive Arab societies, has had red districts sanctioned by authorities in the Baghdad area of Al Kamaliya and Basra¹s AlTarab district. The report said that the oldest profession in history spread in the 1990s to both poor and high-class residential areas in Baghdad and to hotels. The UN blockade has forced even men to accept any jobs available in order to be able to survive. Uday, who heads the ³fedayeen² in charge of the hunt, was paralyzed from the waist down in an assassination attempt several years ago that was reportedly linked to his alleged ³womanising² escapades. His favourite ³hobby², according to a well-known Arab magazine, was stalking high-class women in plush Baghdad districts, abducting them in his car and using them as sex slaves. The slogan he has chosen for the hunt was ³Long Live the Iraqi Majidat (glorious women) and down with the A¹herat², or prostitutes, Al Hayat said. [....] http://www.wn.com/?action=display&article=4197608&template=worldnews/search. txt&index=recent * IRAQ GETS UN OK FOR EURO ACCOUNT [extract] [....] French Ambassador Jean-David Levitte complained Monday that the Treasury report omitted any mention of potential gains of using the euro, which France and 10 other countries use. He noted that a significant portion of the humanitarian supplies Baghdad purchases through the oil-for-food program comes from countries that use the euro. ``Transactions in this currency would reduce costs for exporters which currently have to factor in variations in the euro-dollar exchange rate,'' he wrote Undersecretary General for Management Joseph Connor. Levitte also complained that the Treasury report concluded it was up to the sanctions committee, which is deeply divided over Iraq, to approve the switch to the euro account. He said there was no reference in any U.N. resolution that requires the committee to be involved in such dealings. http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/breaking/2000/1031/breaking9.htm * FIANNA FAIL MEP ON DUBLIN-TO-IRAQ AID FLIGHT The Irish Times, Tuesday, October 31 The first flight from Ireland to Iraq since the Gulf War left Dublin Airport this morning loaded with humanitarian aid. Fianna Fáil MEP Mr Niall Andrews was on the light aircraft carrying medicines and food. He will travel through the Iraqi no-fly zone. He said: "The visit to Baghdad was a symbolic one in protest at the devastating effects of UN sanctions on the country since 1990." In what may be interpreted as a challenge to the UN sanctions committee Mr Andrews merely gave advance warning of his intention to fly aid to Iraq and did not wait for approval. Mr Andrews said: "I was in Iraq in May and I saw the horrific conditions - 500,000 young children have died in the country since 1990. A third of all children under the age of five are seriously malnourished. "My intention is to make a symbolic visit with humanitarian aid on board. Even if we sent 100 jumbo jets there with medicine and food it still would not be enough." He said the cargo of medicine and food was provided by private donors. "I came to the opinion that the only legal requirement that I had to comply with was to give the UN sanctions committee on Iraq 48 hours notice of my intention," he said. Last minute requests for information about the trip had been "appropriately dealt with", he added. Last month the organisers of a similar flight from France refused a UN request to delay departure, arguing the sanctions applied only to cargo flights and approval was not necessary. A British Foreign Office spokesman said its policy is to "encourage organisations to provide additional assistance to the Iraqi people" but all flights had to be approved by the UN sanctions committee, which must decide whether they contain a strong humanitarian element. "THE ONLY REASON WHY FLIGHTS HAVE BEEN HELD UP OR NOT APPROVED IN THE PAST IS WHEN THERE HAVE BEEN DOUBTS ABOUT THE POSSIBLE DUAL USE OF THE GOODS ON BOARD, SUCH AS IN THE MANUFACTURE OF WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION," HE ADDED. [My emphasis PB. Was this the reason given for the obstructions set up to G.Galloway's flight a few molnths ago?] SEE ALSO: http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/ireland/2000/1104/hom7.htm * Iraq sanctions should be reconsidered - MEP (Niall Andrews) by Marie O'Halloran, Irish Times, Saturday, November 4, 2000 http://www.brecorder.com/story/S00DD/SDJ31/SDJ31227.htm * IRAQ SAYS NATIONAL AIRLINE TO FLY AGAIN [extract] [....] Before the Gulf War, Iraqi Airways used to fly 15 Boeing airliners of various types and 22 Ilyushin-76s. Most of the aircraft were flown abroad for protection hours before the Gulf War, launched by the United States and its allies to force Iraq to end its occupation of Kuwait, began on January 17, 1991. Baghdad has repeatedly asked the UN sanctions committee on Iraq to allow them to be returned. Six of the Boeings are said to be in Amman and four in Tunis. Another five are said to be in Tehran, together with a number of Ilyushins. [....] http://www.brecorder.com/story/S00DD/SDJ31/SDJ31225.htm * IRAQ READY TO BUILD OIL PIPELINE TO JORDAN BAGHDAD (October 31) : Iraq's Oil Minister Amir Muhammad Rasheed said in remarks published on Monday that Iraq was ready to build an oil pipeline to neighbouring Jordan. Rasheed, speaking to Iraq's parliament late on Sunday, said that Baghdad had completed plans for the section of the proposed pipeline on Iraqi territory. He said Baghdad was waiting for Jordan to decide when work should begin on the $350 million pipeline to carry Iraqi crude to the Jordanian refinery of al-Zarqa. In 1998 the two countries signed a preliminary agreement to set up the pipeline. The 750 km (450 miles) line is designed to extend from the Iraqi pumping station in Haditha, 260 km (160 miles) north-west of Baghdad to Zarqa, north-east of Amman. Baghdad is Jordan's main energy supplier, delivering annually over $600 million worth of crude and refined oil products to the kingdom under undisclosed concessionary terms that eases Jordan's budget deficit. Iraqi oil exports to Jordan are exempt from United Nations sanctions. The newly-appointed Jordanian government recently put out feelers to Baghdad, hinting that it sought better ties.-Reuters http://www.norwaypost.no/content.asp?folder_id=1&cluster_id=14302 Thorvald Stoltenberg given new UN assignment Norway Post, 31 Oktober 2000 UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on Monday night asked Norway's former ambassador to Denmark, Thorvald Stoltenberg, to lead an independent commission to look into the humanitarian situation in Iraq. The UN Security Council asked Kofi Annan in June to appoint a commission, when the Council renewed the oil for food programme which is intended to lighten the burden for the Iraqi people while the country is under international economic restrictions. Stoltenberg (69) is now the President of the Norwegian Red Cross. He was earlier UN's peace negotiator in former Yugoslavia, from 1993-1995. http://www.gulf-news.com/31102000/GULF/gulf3.htm * TURKISH MINISTER IN IRAQ FOR BORDER TRADE TALKS [extracts] Baghdad (Reuters) -Turkish Foreign Trade Minister Tunca Toskay arrived in Baghdad yesterday to explore the possibility of opening a second border crossing with Iraq to boost bilateral trade, cut sharply by UN sanctions. [....] Before leaving Ankara Toskay, who will attend a Baghdad trade fair tomorrow, said he would discuss a second border crossing to ease congestion at the Habur crossing, currently the only land route between the two countries. "The Habur crossing is beginning to resemble a bottleneck and is raising transport costs. We are thinking of creating an alternative that will suit the economic interests of both countries," Toskay said. [....] http://www.irna.com/newshtm/eng/11065207.htm * IRAN, TURKEY RELENT ON IRAQ AID PLANE FLIGHT CORRIDOR Barnaul, Nov 1 IRNA-Itar-Tass-ACSNA -- A hunger strike by a Siberian team flying to Baghdad on October 29 with humanitarian aid for Iraqi children forced Iran and Turkey to let the Russian plane through their airspace. The plane left for Iraq on Tuesday, Ivan Komarov, director of the Altai Air Transportation Agency, told Tass. Komarov said formalities between appropriate United Nations agencies and Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs were completed in time. Turkish and Iranian authorities who first approved the flight later refused to provide an air corridor. The Siberians sent a protest telegram to the United Nations organization while delegation members started their hunger strike. When their goal was accomplished, the plane left Barnaul in Siberia on its way to Iraq. http://www.timesofindia.com/011100/01mide9.htm * IRANIAN OPPOSITION SAYS FORCES SHELL CAMP IN IRAQ BAGHDAD, 1st November: The armed Iranian opposition said Tuesday one of its camps in Iraq came under rocket attack by Iranian "agents", although the rockets fell on a surrounding residential area. "The clerical regime attacked ... with 107mm rockets" the camp at Homayun, 50 km from the Iranian border, on Monday, the People's Mujahideen said in a statement received here by AFP. It reported no casualties in the camp. "The camp's patrol units identified the location from which the rockets were launched and seized the equipment left behind by the mullahs' agents," it said, adding that the markings on the equipment and one unfired rocket were in Farsi. The statement said this was the 102nd attack on the Mujahideen in Iraq since 1993 and a violation of UN Security Council resolution 598, which brought an end to the Iran-Iraq war. "It was the 12th attack on the Mujahideen camps in southern Iraq, four of which have been on Homayun," spokesman Farid Suleimani told AFP. On October 18, the Mujahideen accused Iran of having fired rockets at its camp in Jalawla, 30 kilometres (20 miles) from the Iranian border. During August, the Mujahideen reported killing or wounding "dozens" of Iranian forces in a series of attacks and ambushes conducted in border provinces of western Iran. It has also carried out a number of mortar attacks against official targets in the capital, Tehran. The Mujahideen presence in Iraq, like the Iraqi opposition in Iran, is a stumbling block to the normalisation of relations between Tehran and Baghdad, who have not signed a peace treaty after the eight-year conflict between them ended in 1988.(AFP) http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_103118.html?nav_src=newsIndexHeadline * SADDAM TOLD TO PUT HIS PEOPLE BEFORE WHISKY 1st November Foreign Office Minister Peter Hain says Saddam Hussein must stop importing Scotch and jet skis and look after his citizens. And he has also threatened Iraq with a "fierce response" if it attacks Kuwait. Iraq recently warned Kuwait it would teach the emirate "an additional lesson" in retaliation for allowing US and British warplanes to patrol a no-fly zone over southern Iraq from bases in Kuwait. Mr Hain was making a one-day visit to the Gulf emirate. "We call on Saddam Hussein to give priority to his people rather than importing thousands of bottles of whisky, beer and wine each month for his cronies," he said. Mr Hain says the Iraqi leader has been buying luxury items like jet skis "which allow his own little elite to live in an almost obscene decadence." [.....] http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/001101/2000110111.html * KUWAIT HAD NO OFFICIAL CONTACTS WITH THE PALESTINIAN GOVERNMENT 1st November The Kuwaiti foreign ministry stressed on Tuesday that Kuwait had no contacts with the Palestinian government to resume relations between the two sides. Meantime, the United Arab Emirates UAE has urged Britain to " use its international status to halt the barbarous aggressions of the Israeli forces against the Palestinians." The Kuwaiti news agency Kuna quoted a source at the foreign ministry saying that " the question of relations between the state of Kuwait and the Palestinian government is one thing and the care to achieve the needed backing for attaining the legitimate rights of the Palestinians is something else." He stressed that no contacts have been so far made between Kuwait and the palestinian government," towards resuming relations. He added that the state of Kuwait sympathizes with the uprising of al-Aqsa and the escalation of al- Intifada in the other Palestinian territories in order to restore the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people." This new position came after the minister of planning and international cooperation at the Palestinian government Nabil Shaath announced he will visit Kuwait during the coming days "in order to prepare the way for the visit of the Palestinian President Yasser Arafat." In a statement to the Kuwaiti daily al-Rai al-Am Shaath added " I will fulfil the visit as soon as I receive a telephone call from the Kuwaiti foreign ministry even in hours," noting that he has " certain instructions from Abu Ammar ( Arafat) to seek and restore relations with Kuwait to what they were on before." Shaath continued that he had tried to contact the Kuwaiti deputy premier and foreign minister Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah. Arafat, had praised the decision taken by Kuwait to contribute in US $ 150 million to al Aqsa Fund and the Uprising Fund, approved to be set up by the recent Cairo Arab summit conference. Kuwait has resumed its diplomatic relations with most Arab states which were accused of backing Iraq during the Gulf crisis, but it until now has been refusing to make reconciliation with the Palestinians. http://www.individual.com/story.shtml?story=d1101124.002 * IRAQ SEEKS SYRIA OIL SALES, TESTS U.N. CURBS by Peg Mackey DUBAI, Nov 1 (Reuters) - Sanctions-bound Iraq wants to sell crude to Syria outside the terms of its U.N. oil-for-food deal, an industry source said, but diplomats say the world body is unlikely to approve any such exports. ``For Iraq, this would be like the border trade being conducted with Turkey,'' the source said, referring to oil trade Iraq is allowed with neighbours Jordan and Turkey outside the terms of the U.N. humanitarian exchange. ``That means it would fall outside of the oil for food deal and Iraq would not need U.N. approval,'' said the source. Diplomats in New York said on Wednesday Iraq would be flaunting 10-year-old U.N. sanctions on Baghdad if they opened an Iraqi-Syrian pipeline, closed since 1982, without U.N. approval. Word of Iraq's plans appeared to put Baghdad back on collision course with the United Nations just days after a tussle over the denomination of its oil export revenues. Iraq, under U.N. trade sanctions since 1990, is allowed to sell an unlimited amount of oil in the U.N.-administered oil- for-food programme but only through two ports -- Ceyhan in Turkey and Mina al-Bakr in Iraq. U.N. resolutions state that an additional export route through Syria or anywhere else would have to be approved by the U.N. Security Council's Iraqi sanctions committee. Iraqi Oil Minister Amir Muhammed Rasheed said on Wednesday that the Iraq-Syria pipeline would be ready for the export of crude oil through it in two to three days. An accord to reopen the pipeline was first signed on July 14, 1998. The industry source said: ``Iraq's top priority is to activate the line, but there are many other advantages of operating the line,'' ``First of all it would free up Iraq from the oil-for-food deal and enable an exchange of goods from another country. ``It would also be useful for both sides because they have historically shared a good economic and commercial exchange.'' Baghdad plans to export about 200,000 barrels per day (bpd) of Basrah Light crude to Syria which will be run in the country's domestic refineries, market sources said. The barrels will be priced at a discount to international prices. Damascus will then export the equivalent amount of Syrian Light into the Mediterranean market, they said. The deal would also mean a shortfall of the equivalent amount of of Basra Light at the Iraqi Gulf port of Mina al-Bakr. Experts say that until Iraq can increase its production and exports the Syrian deal would mean 200,000 barrels per day being removed from the oil-for-food programme. Members of the U.N's Iraqi sanctions committee and oil analysts said in New York on Tuesday that Iraq and Syria were not likely to get the necessary U.N. approval if they carried through with the plan to reopen the pipeline. The U.N. diplomats stopped short of saying they would quash reopening the pipeline. But they said approval for such a reopening has several things working against it. http://www.vny.com/cf/News/upidetail.cfm?QID=133027 * JORDAN'S PRIME MINISTER FLIES TO BAGDAD FOR FAIR by Sana Abdalla AMMAN, Jordan, Nov. 1 (UPI) -- Jordan's Prime Minister Ali Abul Ragheb flew Wednesday to Baghdad, becoming the highest-ranking Arab official to visit Iraq since the 1991 Gulf War. Abul Ragheb headed a large delegation on a two-day visit at the start of the Baghdad International Fair. As well as attending the fair, he was expected to hold high-level talks with Iraqi officials on boosting bilateral cooperation and renewing trade and oil accords. Jordan became the first Arab country in ten years to fly a plane into Baghdad in September, paving the way for a number of other countries to follow suit. Abul Ragheb, a former industry minister earlier visited Iraq in 1998 and enjoys good relations with Iraqi officials and businessmen. He was accompanied Wednesday by the ministers of transport, health, information, industry and trade and parliamentary affairs. The delegation also includes legislators, senior officials from the foreign, finance, agriculture and natural resources ministries, in addition to union leaders. The Jordanians and Iraqis were expected to review a $600 million oil protocol, under which Jordan receives all its oil needs from its eastern neighbor with United Nations approval. Iraq charges Jordan $19 a barrel, and Amman is concerned that Baghdad might increase the concessionary price, thus raising the price of fuel in the cash-strapped kingdom. Officials said that the two countries will also discuss a proposed $350 million project to build a pipeline to carry Iraqi oil to Jordan. Iraqi oil is currently transported overland to Jordan by tanker trucks. The high-level Jordanian visit came as King Abdullah II received a written message from Iraqi President Saddam Hussein that a royal palace official said dealt with "ways to support bilateral relations and increase cooperation in all fields that would benefit the brotherly peoples of both countries." In Baghdad, Deputy President Taha Yassin Ramadan, opening the fair Wednesday, called on the countries of the world to help Iraq confront the damage resulting from ten years of U.N. economic sanctions and resume trade with it. Ramadan also called for air service to Baghdad to be resumed, saying there was nothing to prevent such a move as U.N. Security Council resolutions do not ban civil flights to and from Iraq. All told 1554 companies from 45 Arab and other countries were participating in the fair this year. The 1999 fair was attended by 960 companies from 36 countries. Trade and industry ministers from Iran, Russia, United Arab Emirates and Syria as well as Jordan were attending the eight-day fair. http://www.vny.com/cf/News/upidetail.cfm?QID=133357 * Iraq's Saddam and Jordanian Prime Minister met [ Doesn't add anything to the above except the following detail: "The prime minister, who met with Saddam in 1997 in his capacity as Jordan's industry minister at the time ...] http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/middle_east/newsid_1003000/1003989.st m * BAGHDAD TURNS AWAY MAURITANIA FLIGHT BBC World Service, 2nd November Iraq has refused to allow a Mauritanian plane carrying medical aid to land in Baghdad, accusing one of the flight organisers of having ties with Israel. The Iraqi news agency said those on board included the chairman of a Mauritanian group promoting friendship with Israel, and that he had also visited the country. The Mauritanian flight, which was said to have been chartered by the ruling party, left Nouakchott yesterday with a delegation of parliamentarians and businessmen on board. It's the first time Iraq has turned away a foreign plane since flights into Baghdad's international airport resumed in August. Mauritania and Iraq at one time enjoyed close relations. However Mauritania established full diplomatic ties with Israel a year ago, and severed ties with Iraq shortly afterwards -- accusing it of planning subversive activity in retaliation for the decision on links with Israel. http://www.vny.com/cf/News/upidetail.cfm?QID=133454 * UN COMMITTEE FAILS TO AGREE ON JORDANIAN FLIGHT TO BAGHDAD by Rodolfo A. Windhausen UNITED NATIONS, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- United Nations sanctions on flights to Iraq, increasingly ignored in recent weeks, suffered a further blow Thursday when the Security Council's Sanctions Committee failed to reach a consensus on a request from Jordan to allow its prime minister to fly to Baghdad. Prime Minister Ali Abul Ragheb flew to the Iraqi capital Wednesday for the opening of the Baghdad International Fair and met Iraqi President Saddam Hussein Thursday. He thus became the highest ranking Arab figure to meet Saddam since the 1991 Gulf War. A spokesman for the Sanctions Committee told United Press International a request to permit the flight had been received from Jordan but the panel did not reach a consensus. "So the trip was not officially approved or disapproved," he said. When asked to elaborate, he said objections to the trip had been raised "and you know by whom" -- transparently a reference to the United States. [....] Abul Regheb's visit, intended to renew trade links with Iraq, met with mildly phrased disapproval in Washington. A State Department official Thursday said the Unite States did not believe any country, including Jordan, should bestow legitimacy on Saddam's regime by such a visit. [....] http://www.wn.com/?action=display&article=4240797&template=worldnews/search. txt&index=recent * CHINESE POWER STATION BUILT IN IRAQ The Associated Press, Thu 2 Nov 2000 BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) ‹ A Chinese company has completed a major power station in Iraq, the first such facility built in the Arab country since the Gulf war. The gas-powered 222-megawatt station, near the northern oil center of Kirkuk, is expected to ease a chronic electricity shortage in a country where blackouts last summer often lasted more than 12 hours in a day. The plant was inaugurated on Oct. 26 and cost $75 million, Xiang Jun of the Chinese National Machinery and Equipment Import and Export company told The Associated Press. The company is also supplying spare parts to revamp power stations hit during the 1991 Gulf War over Kuwait, he said. Hundreds of Chinese engineers, he said, are rehabilitating a major electricity plant near Najaf in southern Iraq. The company is among more than 1,500 companies taking part in the Baghdad International Fair in which 45 countries are represented. It is one of 12 major Chinese firms exhibiting products. Wang Shuang Xin, the Chinese commercial attache in Baghdad, said China's efforts to reconstruct Iraq's devastated infrastructure fall within U.N. rules governing foreign trade with the country. Iraq is under U.N. trade sanctions for invading Kuwait in 1990, but it is allowed to sell as much oil as it can and use the proceeds to buy food, medicine and other urgently needed goods. Chinese exports to Iraq last year were valued at more than $500 million. Xiang said his company also recently signed a $200 million contract for construction of the first phase of a new 1,200 megawatt power plant in Samarra, 75 miles north of Baghdad and is waiting for U.N. approval to start work. Iraq says it needs up to 10,000 megawatts to meet domestic demand but only 4,200 megawatts are supplied. It says it will take years to make up for the shortfall at the present rate of repairs and installation of new parts. Iraq has allocated $3 billion from its oil revenues for buying spare parts, turbines and generators. http://www.wn.com/?action=display&article=4242253&template=worldnews/search. txt&index=recent * IRAQI: WE GOT BOMB INFO FROM U.S. WASHINGTON (AP, Thu 2 Nov 2000) ‹ A former high-ranking official in Iraq's nuclear weapons program says he got American help in designing a bomb for Saddam Hussein: library copies of reports on the 1940s Manhattan Project. ``I found a nice gift from the U.S. Atomic Energy Project at the library ‹ the Manhattan Project report,'' Khidhir Hamza, a nuclear physicist who defected in 1994, said Thursday in a rare public appearance. One of only three or four nuclear physicists in Iraq when the bomb project began in the 1970s, he says he found the reports at Iraq's atomic energy library ``in a corner with a pile of dust on them ..., sitting there telling me exactly what to do.'' The Manhattan Project was the crash U.S. government program in which scientists developed the atomic bomb and produced the two that were dropped on the Japanese cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki to end World War II. In a speech at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Hamza did not say how the Iraqi library got the reports, which like much other information are readily available around the world now. He has said previously, however, that Iraq had a program before the 1991 Persian Gulf War of searching open literature and getting close to people in the United States who had classified information. Specifically, Iraqi students in the United States combed university libraries for bomb-building information, and Iraqi agents and scientists collected data at American scientific conferences and elsewhere, he has said. Hamza, who co-authored the just-released book ``Saddam's Bombmaker,'' said Iraqi scientists and engineers concealed their work from international inspectors by simply locking doors and leading inspectors past them. ``We understood what the inspector's limits were. He was not allowed to ask outside certain limits,'' Hamza told a conference on nuclear proliferation at the Carnegie think tank. ``So he would be taken to a set path, and he would be answered within the limits of what he was allowed to ask, and he would leave. And next door is where we would be working on whatever we were doing to enrich uranium or design a bomb.'' Hamza said he believes Iraq could build a nuclear weapon ``within months'' if it got fissionable material from Russia or on the black market. Without that, he said, it would need to rebuild destroyed factories to produce its own material, which would require two or three years. After his defection, Hamza worked for a time at the Institute for Science and International Security, a Washington research group, and as a consultant to the Energy Department. The assessment of how long Iraq would need to reconstitute the nuclear weapons program destroyed by the Gulf War and the following U.N. inspections, comes from work he did with the institute. http://www.ctnow.com/scripts/editorial.dll?bfromind=479&eeid=3372605&eetype= article&render=y&ck=&userid=206553684&userpw=.&uh=206553684,2,&ver=2.11 * MURDERS AND MUTILATION IN IRAQ REVEALED by Ewen MacAskill, diplomatic editor Guardian, Friday November 3, 2000 Barbarous acts perpetrated on Iraqi political prisoners and women persist under Saddam Hussein's regime in spite of a decade of international economic sanctions engineered by the west to topple him, according to restricted Foreign Office documents obtained by the Guardian. These state that in the last few weeks President Saddam and members of his inner circle have signed orders for executions and other acts of brutality. The material in the documents is said to have come directly from informants in Baghdad and, indirectly, from exiles. It will help Britain and the US in their efforts to shore up the sanctions - imposed on Iraq for igniting the Gulf war by invading Kuwait in 1990, but now under challenge. They will argue that the world must go on trying to force such a monstrous regime out. Opponents will argue that the abuses show how ineffective sanctions have been in weakening the dictatorship. The Foreign Office papers, classified as restricted, provide details of the extensive prison network in Baghdad and on individual cases that confirm the regime's reputation as one of the cruellest in the world. Among many incidents, the documents say that: More than 50 mental health patients were executed in place of prisoners with the means to bribe their way out. Eight prisoners were executed in October for defacing murals of Saddam Hussein. Thirty prostitutes were beheaded in a "clean-up" during the last month and their heads were left on the doorsteps of their homes. A man's tongue was cut off in September under a new decree making slander of President Saddam an amputation crime. While the international debate has gone on in recent years about the sanctions imposed on Iraq, and the bomb ing of its capital and missile sites by Britain and US, the regime's abuses have tended to be overlooked, partly because information is so hard to get. One of the Foreign Office papers says that the Iraqi government is obsessive about cataloguing its abuses. "Each execution or torture order is signed by an immediate member of Saddam Hussein's family or his closest advisers." It adds: "The orders allow the signatory to record how they want the victim to be tortured or to die." The tor ture and execution orders are said to be held on the eighth floor of the ministry of interior's main building in Baghdad. "None of the normal lifts in the building stop at the eighth floor. This is only accessible by its own special lift." Among the signatories are President Saddam, his two sons, Uday and Qusay, and various relatives including the president's half-brothers. A former minister of the interior, Watban Ibrahim al-Hassan, is said to have "had every execution videoed. Copies of the videos were kept in a vault in Hassan's office on the second floor of the ministry". Among the many prisons dotted round Baghdad, the Mahjar (Sanctuary), near Palestine Street, holds about 600-700 political prisoners, according to the documents. To maintain the fear factor, and give an impression to the public of impartiality, the president has imprisoned relatives of his inner circle there to show that no one is immune. "These high-level prisoners were held in the cells for detainees rather than in the prison itself and were only there for a number of days," one document says. Among those held was Ziyad Aziz, son of the deputy prime minister, Tariq Aziz. The document de scribes the layout of the prison in detail. "The execution area, the hadiqa (garden) is located near the women's [part of the] prison. The hadiqua is an open area with a sandbank covered by an awning" where prisoners were killed by machine gun. Between 1993 and 1998 about 3,000 prisoners were executed there, it says. At another Baghdad prison, Abu Gharaib, death-row inmates are said to have been able to buy their freedom from the governor for $5,000: "To meet the quota of people executed, and to avoid this scam being uncovered, someone would need to be executed. The prison governor devised a scheme whereby he would take a patient from al-Sha ma'eel mental hospital to be executed in place of the released prisoner." About 50-60 people died in this way until both the governor and the director of the hospital were transferred in July, it is alleged. One of the groups carrying out the recent drive against prostitutes - the Fedayeen Saddam militia set up by Uday - is said to have "beheaded about 30 prostitutes in Baghdad, Basra and other major cities. The ... heads were left on the front doorsteps of the prostitutes' homes as a deterrent." Another paper reveals that last month "the Iraqi authorities executed eight prisoners on charges of forming an opposition organisation and defacing several murals depicting Saddam Hussein. "Muhammed al-Naji, an engineer from Baghdad province, was the first to be charged with leading the organisation. His body, together with those of three of his companions, were handed on to their families on October 2." When in September the authorities began cutting off the tongue of anyone slandering the president or his family, an early victim is said to have been driven around his home suburb, New Baghdad, "with a loudspeaker announcing the crime and the punishment". RESPONSE BY GEORGE GALLOWAY: http://www.guardianunlimited.co.uk/letters/story/0,3604,392493,00.html * YOU HAVE MUTILATED THE TRUTH ABOUT IRAQ by George Galloway MP, The Guardian, Saturday November 4, 2000 If a compilation of every security service and émigré opposition group's wildest disinformation campaigns were put together it would look something like your front-page story (Murders and mutilation in Iraq revealed, November 3). Revealed, mind you, no need for quotation marks in the credulous Guardian. Drawn from "Foreign Office" documents, laughably described by your diplomatic editor as having been "obtained" and as "restricted", the story is the stuff of fantasy and its publication must have been greeted with loud cheering by its authors. Your alert readers will be familiar by now with the pattern: the campaign against the 10 years of sanctions reaches new heights; eureka, new horror stories are "obtained" by gullible journalists. Like the boy prisoner hoax spun by the same Foreign Office, lampooned mercilessly in your own pages and finally stated by you to have been flatly untrue. A measure of the credibility of your story is its claim that Ziad Aziz, the son of Tariq Aziz, has been incarcerated in one of these hell holes so helpfully videotaped, its tortures lovingly described and recorded by the Iraqi regime just waiting to fall into the hands of the British Foreign Office and Mr MacAskill. A few months ago I sat in the home of Mr Ziad Aziz with the same Mr MacAskill and Aziz seemed in remarkably good spirits and shape considering his reported incarceration. And although beheadings and amputations do take place in some Arab countries - funnily enough those countries most sympathetic to the Foreign Office line - they are illegal in Iraq and not a shred of evidence has ever suggested that they have taken place. There are many political prisoners in Iraq and opposition is dealt with brutally. There are plenty of genuine human rights abuses to write about there and elsewhere in the region. Why then publish as fact the allegations of opposition groups who are paid and sustained by the very governments who wrote and leaked the documents? Amnesty International regularly cautions against accepting as fact the propaganda material of émigré groups. MacAskill has been duped and the Guardian discredited by their presentation of this farrago of falsehoods masquerading as journalism. http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/entertainment/newsid_1005000/1005008.stmlow graphics version | feedback | help * SADDAM FILM-MAKER GETS DEATH THREAT BBC News Online, Friday, 3 November, 2000 A man who made a satirical film about Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein has been given a death threat in an overnight attack on his Hollywood home. French freelance journalist Joel Soler, 32, woke on Thursday to find his house splattered with red paint, his dustbins on fire and a death threat pinned to his mailbox. He said the unsigned note read: "In the name of God the merciful, the compassionate, burn the Satanic movie or you will be dead." The attack on Soler's house followed a week-long run of the film, Uncle Saddam, at a nearby cinema. Soler made a documentary about Hussein from footage he smuggled out of Iraq last year taken on the pretext of filming the country's suffering under UN sanctions. 'Courageous' He was given rare access to Saddam, and the film includes shots of him fishing at a country lake by throwing hand grenades in the water, lecturing aides on how often they should shower and showing his vast collection of hats. The film has been shown at the Vancouver Film Festival and the UN Film Festival. It has been praised as "courageous" by David Scheffer, the US ambassador-at-large for war crimes issues. Soler said he was so disturbed by the overnight incident he was considering hiring a bodyguard or going into hiding. "I freaked out. It is horrible. How can you not take (the attack) seriously?" he said. "I don't know who did it. I don't know whether it was the work of one angry guy or whether it is something more organised." Local police investigated the incident but had no comment to make. [DO WE BELIEVE S.HUSSEIN ALLOWED HIMSELF TO BE FILMED GOING FISHING WITH HAND GRENADES? PB] http://www.wn.com/?action=display&article=4261821&template=worldnews/search. txt&index=recent * FRANCE REJECTS [US] IRAQ FLIGHT PROPOSALS UNITED NATIONS (AP, Fri 3 Nov 2000) ‹ The United States proposed new procedures Friday to try to resolve a U.N. Security Council dispute over flights to Iraq, but France immediately rejected them because they would still allow Washington to control who and what enters the country. As part of 10-year-old U.N. sanctions against Iraq, there are limitations on flights to the country. But the nature of the limitations is a matter of contention here: France and Russia say Security Council resolutions only require countries to notify the U.N.'s Iraq sanctions committee of a proposed flight ‹ not to get its explicit approval. The United States and Britain say the committee, made up of all 15 council members, must approve each flight to ensure that it is bringing in humanitarian aid and not banned cargo. The dispute has grown more pressing as Arab and other countries continue to send planes to Baghdad in a challenge to the sanctions. Dozens have landed in the last six weeks, some without getting approval from the sanctions committee. The United States circulated a proposal Friday that said committee members need not approve every flight going into Baghdad ‹ in cases where the committee is notified of the flight and satisfied that only food or medicine are to be on board, no formal approval would be required. But the proposal also said committee members could require that passengers or cargo be removed before the plane took off if they were of questionable humanitarian use. France said the American proposal essentially preserved the ability of the Americans to block a flight. ``It's an authorization that is disguised as a notification process,'' a French diplomat said, speaking on condition of anonymity. France launched the campaign to ease restrictions on flights into Baghdad on Sept. 22, when it sent a plane full of roller-skaters, doctors and artists to Baghdad without waiting for the committee to approve it. That flight was followed by a Russian plane that also didn't get approval. Dozens of countries have sent flights since then, but most have waited for the committee's approval and provided extra information about the cargo manifest and passenger list often sought by the United States, which along with Britain takes the hardest line against Iraq in the Security Council. http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/middle_east/newsid_1006000/1006131.st m * US WARNING ON FLIGHTS OVER IRAQ BBC World Service, Saturday, 4 November, 2000 The United States has warned airlines and pilots to keep their planes out of the northern and southern air-exclusion zones over Iraq. The State Department said that if foreign planes flew outside the three hundred kilometre wide central band of Iraq, they could be in danger from Iraqi anti-aircraft artillery and missiles. The State Department said it was issuing the warning because an increasing number of humanitarian flights and missions by foreign politicians had not kept to the area outside the air-exclusion zones. [.....] http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/w-me/2000/nov/03/110300614.html * KUWAIT SEIZES IRAQI SHIP Las Vegas Sun, November 03, 2000 KUWAIT (AP) -- Kuwait's coast guard on Friday seized an Iraqi ship with a cargo of oil that authorities said was being smuggled out of Iraq in violation of U.N. sanctions. The ship was "smuggling the oil for a country," the Interior Ministry said in a statement carried by Kuwait's state-run official news agency. It did not name the country. The ship was intercepted in Kuwaiti waters and its 17 Iraqi sailors were taken into custody, the statement said. Iraq has been under international sanctions since its 1990 invasion of Kuwait. It is allowed to export oil only under a program in which the proceeds go to a U.N. account and are used to buy food, medicine and other humanitarian goods for the Iraqi people. However, foreign authorities say smuggling is believed to inject millions of dollars into Iraq's coffers every month. U.S. officials have suggested smuggling has increased this year, saying more ships have been caught smuggling than in 1999. http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/newse/1105po04.htm * [JAPANESE] GOVT TO REOPEN EMBASSY IN IRAQ IN LATE NOV. Yomiuri Shimbun, 5th November The government plans to partially reopen the Japanese Embassy in Iraq, which has been virtually closed, later this month, government sources said Saturday. The embassy in Baghdad has been closed since January 1991, immediately before the Gulf War broke out, after the Japanese ambassador and diplomats posted there were evacuated. Currently, three diplomats from the Japanese Embassy in Jordan make a weeklong business trip every two months to Baghdad. From Nov. 20, two diplomats will handle business at the embassy in Iraq two weeks out of every three, the sources said. The government will not name a new ambassador to Iraq. Instead, the Japanese charge d'affaires stationed in Jordan will continue to fill the post of acting envoy to the country. [....] http://www.telegraph.co.uk:80/et?ac=000579381554028&rtmo=weojiQMb&atmo=99999 999&pg=/et/00/11/5/wuday05.html * SADDAM'S SON TORTURED DEFEATED FOOTBALLERS by Philip Sherwell, Foreign Affairs Correspondent, Sunday Telegraph, 5 November 2000 UDAY HUSSEIN lived up to his reputation as football's worst loser last week when three Iraqi soccer stars were imprisoned and tortured as punishment for the national side's ignominious exit from the Asian Cup. The soccer-mad son of Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi dictator, also sacked the whole of the national football federation - sparing, not surprisingly, only himself as its chief. Uday, 36, a bullying playboy who oversees sport in the country as head of the Iraqi Olympic Committee, is infamous for unleashing his violent rages on the country's forlorn footballers. He once ordered that the entire national team be whipped on the soles of their feet after losing a crucial World Cup qualifying game. His latest outburst followed Iraq's 4-1 quarter-final defeat in Beirut on October 24 at the hands of Japan, the eventual Asian Cup winners. The goalkeeper Hashim Hassan, defender Abdul Jaber and striker Qahtan Chither were singled out as the main culprits for the thrashing. A senior Iraqi defector, now based in London, has told The Telegraph that on the team's return to Baghdad last week, the hapless trio were taken straight to Uday's power base, the lavish Olympic Committee headquarters. Uday's offices are housed in a nine-storey former hotel set amid several acres of attractive gardens and lakes, which contrast sharply with the grimy impoverished air of the capital after a decade of sanctions. A prison is located in the building's basement where Hashim, Abdul and Qahtan were beaten and whipped for three days by Uday's bodyguards before being released. By previous standards, however, the three could consider themselves lucky. While footballers who are deemed to have underperformed elsewhere in the world only face being dropped from the squad, sporting retribution in Iraq is a much more serious affair. Sharar Haydar Mohamad fled Iraq in 1998 after he and several team-mates were tortured in the country's most infamous prison at Al Radwaniya, near Baghdad. He described being dragged through a gravel pit and immersed in a sewage tank. Another defector said that players were forced to kick a concrete football at the jail after failing to reach the 1994 World Cup finals. Uday's younger brother Qusay, the country's security and intelligence chief, has replaced him as Saddam's chosen heir. Even the brutal Iraqi dictator baulked at his oldest son's violent fits of rage which are said to have worsened since a 1996 assassination attempt paralysed him from the waist down. Uday has never been able to accept the team's decline since international sanctions were imposed on the country. Before the Gulf war, Iraq was one of the Middle East's strongest footballing nations, winning the Arab Cup three times, the Gulf Cup twice and the Asian Games once during the Eighties. Former regime officials who have defected to the West say that Saddam's oldest son believes that the threat of torture will scare players into better performances. Iraq's record in recent years suggests that his motivational tactics leave much to be desired. http://www.vny.com/cf/News/upidetail.cfm?QID=134066 * THINGS IMPROVING IN IRAQ by Marcella S. Kreiter, Sunday, 5 November 2000 CHICAGO, Nov. 5 (UPI) -- A spokesman for a group that just returned from a trip to Iraq says though conditions are improving in the Middle Eastern nation, it is time the United States dropped its support of sanctions against the country. Andrew Mandell of Voices in the Wilderness, a group fighting to end the U.N. sanctions against Iraq, and several others returned to the United States last week after a 10-day tour that included a meeting with Deputy Iraqi Prime Minister Tariq Aziz. "The availability of food was better than we expected," he said. "The economy worse than I expected. The sadness and difficulty of talking to people in hospitals whose children are dying from things they can't control was overwhelming. "We found no sign the government is promoting starvation as a way to get the United Nations to end the sanctions. This is a very proud people." The United Nations imposed sanctions against Iraq following the 1991 Gulf War and for the government's efforts to block U.N. monitoring of its weapons program. Ostensibly, the sanctions were aimed at containing the Iraqi government but in reality impose great hardships on the people, especially children. U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan told the Security Council in September that Iraq has been trying to prevent foreigners from entering the country to assess the situation despite Iraqi demands to improve the oil-for-food program. Dennis Halliday, the former head of the U.N. Humanitarian Mission in Iraq, said the sanctions have led to a social collapse that amounts to genocide. Mandell, 36, a father of three, said the toughest part of the trip was visiting hospitals where shortages of blood bags, medicines and equipment are acute. "The worst was the maternity hospital in Baghdad," he said. "Their ultrasound machine is broken. They can't get parts. And they're seeing an increase in congenital birth defects - not little things. They're barely human. And they think it's because of the degraded uranium we used (in bombs) there. I haven't seen anything like this since Agent Orange." (Agent Orange was a defoliant used during the Vietnam War that has been blamed for severe birth defects.) Mandel, a writer for Cornerstone magazine, said despite the medical problems, other aspects of life in Iraq are improving. "The borders are more open. Jordan, Syria and Turkey are allowing more stuff to go in. A black market has developed. Things are available but it hasn't helped the regular people because things are super-expensive." As an example, he said his group brought a medical text book to a doctor. The book would cost $270 (American) in Iraq. The doctor's salary is only $29 a month. "It would have taken practically a whole year's salary for him to buy that book," Mandell said. Before the Gulf War, the exchange rate was three Iraqi dinar to $1. Now, it takes 2,000 dinar to buy $1. Cases of malnutrition appear to be easing, Mandell said, and the country's food distribution system appears to be working efficiently. However, in at least one town he visited he said garbage pickups had ceased because of a shortage of trucks and truck parts. The trash, he said, is piling up in the streets and the children were playing in it. Mandell said he was overwhelmed with the graciousness of the Iraqi people. "Growing up Jewish, I heard stories that Arabs are our enemies. The Iraqi people and Saddam Hussein were made one and that Saddam was like Hitler," Mandell said. "I felt that was ridiculous. I found the people there just like me, their children just like my children....I talked to soldiers. They had no idea that I was there to work against the sanctions. "Somewhere we've got to start treating these people like human beings." Opposition to the sanctions is growing. France, China, and Russia have criticized the economic sanctions as has the pope and other religious leaders and the Arab League. The Institute for Strategic Studies has said it is unlikely the sanctions will result in Saddam's ouster and recommended the United States reassess its sanctions policies to introduce a discipline and accountability that is now lacking. The institute said sanctions often are introduced as a short-term solution with little thought given to long-term objectives. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email email@example.com Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website: http://www.casi.org.uk