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News, 3­10/12/00

The oil story turned out less exciting than it seemed to be at the end of
last week but there's still a lot of it so I've again put it into a separate
'supplement', probably more important than anything in the main news. The
'News Supplement' includes a couple of pieces on what foreign policy might
be under Bush so readers may like to delay reading those for a few days to
see if it matters.

NEWS, 3-10/12/00

*  Iraq to open four new embassies
*  Iraq gets planes back from Tunisia, Jordan
*  Iraq's Trade Minister Visits UAE
*  UN Criticizes Human Rights in Iraq
*  Exiled Jerusalem bishop visits Iraq
*  U.S. Gulf War study cuts chemical release by half
*  P[eople's] H[ealth] A[ssembly, meeting at 'Savar', which I can't find in
any of my atlases ­ PB] calls for end to sanctions on Cuba, Iraq
*  Russia criticizes U.S. for highly politicized stand on Iraq
*  Kuwait seizes smuggled Iraqi goods ['The Kuwaiti Interior Ministry said
hundreds of goats and sheep and a large quantity of dates were confiscated.'
It is very difficult to summon up
 any feeling of respect for the Kuwaiti government]
*  Lebanese ministers discuss economic, oil cooperation with Iraq
*  U.N. awards $208 million in Gulf War claims
*  Irish claims against Iraq deplored
*  Western air strikes wound 3 in Iraq
*  Riyadh gives up demand for extradition of hijackers
*  Arab economic union to meet in Baghdad next june
*  Extra Syrian oil supply raise suspicions over Iraq
*  Ending the misery in Iraq is Seattle minister's prayer
 *  Iraq Supports Palestinian Uprising [with payment of nearly $1billion]
*  Turkey says north Iraq Kurdish clashes intensify
*  Iraq says UN has approved oil-for-food deal with India

*  Editorial comment: Saddam's oil weapon
Financial Times, December 3 2000
This does not add to our knowledge except that it shows the Financial Times
in favour of maintaining total UN control over the Iraqi economy.
*  UN Team Hopeful for Iraq Inspection
Just really a reminder that the Weapons Inspection team exists.

OIL SUPPLEMENT (sent separately)

*  Iraq Blames U.S. for Its Halt of Oil Export
*  Iraq Bans Reselling Oil to Enemies
*  Iraq, U.N. discuss compromise on Dec oil prices
*  Iraq crude boycott targets U.S. oil import reliance
*  Iraq oil-for-food deal extended
*  OPEC Oil Output And Iraq
*  France proposes plan to adjust Iraq's oil-for-food program
*  UN extends Iraq oil program, relaxes spending restrictions
*  Iraqis Delay Agreeing to U.N. Deal
*  U.N. and Iraq Agree on Oil Price
*  OPEC oil price falls below $28

NEWS SUPPLEMENT (general discussions and items not immediately about Iraq.
Sent separately)

*  Platform: The sanctions boomerang [an Indian warning that the sanctions
imposed on Pakistan may not have the desired effect]
*  The IDF is taking lessons in communication skills [secrets of the MoD's
success in managing the media]
*  US Officials Should Look Beyond The Terrorist Pawns Deployed By Bin
Laden And Take Action Against The States That Support Him
*  How Helms is sparking a real crisis [the ''American Servicemembers
Protection Act'' aimed to ensure that no American serviceman will ever go
before an international tribunal]
*  Israel Launches Observation Satellite From Siberia
*  Pentagon Shapes the Bush Policy Team
*  The wrong man to run the State Department [On Colin Powell: 'After the
irresolution of the Christopher-Albright years, the next secretary of state
must be someone who is not uneasy with the assertion of US leadership or
nervous about the projection of power abroad.'  This seems very unjust to
Madeleine Albright.]
*  Putin makes a political misstep in trip to Cuba [not only should the
Russians cut off all help to their old ally they shouldn't even go there
without US permission]
*  Saddam Wins, America Sleeps [the selection of US foreign affairs hysteria
I am offering in this supplement comes to its shuddering climax]
*  CIA warns US faces biggest threat since World War II [though this runs it
*  The Biggest Robbery of the Century [about the UN Compensation Commission.
But its just a rewrite of the Monde Diplomatique article circulated to this
list by Sandeep Vaidya on 18th October]
*  Iraqis on the list [letter to the Observer commenting on 'Saddam's
executioner' which featured in last week's supplement]

BBC World Service, Sunday, 3 December, 2000

Iraq says it will shortly open new embassies in Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan
and Azerbaijan.

The decision was announced by the Iraqi foreign minister, Mohammad Said
Correspondents say the move is in line with Baghdad's diplomatic campaign to
help reduce the impact of UN sanctions.

Iraq currently has sixty-two embassies around the world, and announced last
month that it had appointed its first ambassador to South Africa.

At the same time, two more international flights arrived in Baghdad
overnight, from Italy and Ukraine.

The Italian plane carried a delegation of forty political and cultural

The Ukranian delegation is made up of eight officials, who will hold talks
with the Iraqis on ways of improving relations.


KADI BAGHDAD, Iraq, Dec. 4 (UPI) -- Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed Saeed
al-Sahhaf said Monday that Tunisia and Jordan would return Iraqi civilian
planes, which were sent to both countries for shelter when the Gulf war
broke out in 1990. Al-Sahhaf told Iraq's "Nabad al-Shabab" weekly newspaper
that "Tunisia and Jordan decided to release 10 Iraqi planes" while Baghdad
was exerting pressures on Iran to convince it return five other Iraqi planes
"captured since the Gulf War II."

He said Iraqi technicians have started to rehabilitate the Iraqi planes in
both Tunisia and Jordan but noted that they need to replace their engines so
that to be able to fly again. Iraq sent its civilian fleet, made up of 30
planes mostly Boeings, for shelter in Tunisia, Jordan and Iran on the eve of
the 1990 Gulf War to spare it from air strikes and missile attacks by the
U.S.-led allied forces.



Iraq's Trade Minister, Mohammed Mehdi Saleh, is at present on a visit to the
United Arab Emirates.

The Iraqi Minister was duly received by Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan,
Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, and during their meeting various
matters were discussed, including measures designed to improve and
strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries.

The meeting was also attended by Sheikh Fahim bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Minister
of Economy and Commerce and Abdul Razaq Ahmed, Iraqi Chargé d'Affaires.



UNITED NATIONS (Associated Press, Mon 4 Dec 2000) ‹ The U.N. General
Assembly criticized human rights abuses in Iraq, Iran, Congo and Sudan on
Monday, reserving its strongest condemnation for Baghdad's campaign of
``widespread terror.''

The nonbinding resolutions call on the four countries to protect the human
rights of their citizens and end the use of torture and other cruel and
inhuman punishments.

By a vote of 102-3, with 60 abstentions, the General Assembly strongly
condemned ``the systematic, widespread and extremely grave'' human rights
violations by the Iraqi government, ``resulting in an all-pervasive
repression and oppression sustained by broad based discrimination and
widespread terror.''

The resolution also condemned executions and political killings and the
repression faced by all opponents of Saddam Hussein's government. It called
on Iraq to establish an independent judiciary, cancel decrees limiting free
expression and prescribing inhuman punishment, and ensure the rights of the
political opposition and religious minorities.


UPI, Tue 5 Dec 2000

The exiled Eastern Rite Catholic Bishop of Jerusalem, Hilarion Cappucci,
arrived Tuesday in Baghdad aboard a Syrian plane, accompanied by 24
Christian religious leaders. Cappucci told reporters upon his arrival that
this was the first time that a Christian religious delegation has visited
Iraq in nearly two decades.

"I was away from Iraq during the past years, but I was always praying for
it," said Cappucci, who was deported from Jerusalem by Israeli forces 20
years ago because of his support then of the Palestinians and the Palestine
Liberation Organization. Since then, he has been at the Vatican, but never
relinquished his post as Bishop of Jerusalem.

Cappucci praised Iraq for his backing of the ongoing Palestinian uprising
and for extending assistance to the Palestinians fighting Israeli



Washington (Reuters), 6th December: A plume of low-level nerve gas released
shortly after the Gulf War ended and investigated for possible links to
mysterious symptoms affecting U.S. troops, contained about half the chemical
agents than initially believed, the Pentagon said yesterday. A study
conducted in 1997 estimated that when U.S. forces destroyed a cache of
rockets in southern Iraq, 500 released 1,762 pounds (715 kg) of the nerve
agents sarin and cyclosarin at the Khamisiyah arms dump.

The updated computer simulation study released yesterday now says 225
rockets released about 705 pounds (320 kg) of the nerve agents, out of an
estimated 1,250 rockets in the pit. Chemical rockets in Khamisiyah in
southern Iraq were blown up in an open pit on March 10, 1991, which set off
a large cloud of smoke and gas that drifted away from the blast.

The demolition of the rockets at Khamisiyah is the only Gulf War event that
the Pentagon believes may have exposed U.S. troops to chemical warfare
agents, Bernard Rostker, the Pentagon's special assistant for Gulf War
illness said. Some of the revisions in the latest report were based on
updated information gathered by the CIA.

The UN Special Commission on Iraq (UNSCOM) excavated the pit and found "far
fewer damaged rockets" than earlier estimated, CIA spokesman Mark Mansfield
said. Also a soldier who was an explosives expert said the demolition charge
at Khamisiyah was not optimally placed, he said.

"We believe the amount of chemical agent released from the Khamisiyah pit is
about half of what was originally estimated," Mansfield said.

The ratio of sarin to cyclosarin, which is the deadlier nerve agent of the
two, was about three-to-one. The revised study said the number of U.S.
troops in the area where the plume was released was still about 100,000, but
35,000 of them were now different individuals than in 1997 because of more
detail on the location of the troops.

The Pentagon is sending letters to the whole group. The letters to the
newly-identified group tell veterans they may have been exposed to "very low
levels of chemical agent for a brief period of time" and if they have health
concerns to get a physical exam.

The Pentagon has through interviews and journals been better able to pin
down which troops were near the Iraqi arms dump when it was destroyed,
Rostker said. Thousands of Gulf veterans have complained of ills ranging
from joint aches to loss of memory, but no cause has been found for the

Rostker yesterday said there was still no definitive link between
unexplained Gulf War veteran health complaints and a particular event of the
war. Between 10,000 and 20,000 Gulf War veterans have unexplained illness,
he said.

"There are consistent studies that show those who served in the Gulf report
symptoms at a considerably higher rate," Rostker said. "When you turn that
into objective measures - days of hospitalization, mortality, days off the
job - there are no correlations," he said.

The Pentagon shared the report with British and French authorities and the
British believe the U.S. study was portraying the cloud as "too toxic" and
larger than it should be, Rostker said.

SEE ALSO (for  less rosy view of the same story):
*  Pentagon: 35,000 troops potentially exposed to nerve gas
CNN, December 5, 2000

Bangladeshi Independent, 6th december

Cuban and Iraqi delegations addressing the second day session of the
People's Health Assembly (PHA) 2000 being held at Savar yesterday called for
an immediate lifting of sanctions against their countries.

Former director general of the World Health Organisation Halfdan Mahler said
no other country in the world is as successful as Cuba in achieving the goal
for Health for All".

David Woodward, an economist, also cited Cuba as an example of a country
which has taken people's welfare as a top priority.

Salma Jabu, a delegate from the northern territories of Iraq also called for
an end to the US sanctions on Iraq after the Gulf War in 1991 which she said
had resulted in massive destruction of infrastructure and affected health
care seriously.

Bangladesh Water Resources Minister Abdur Razzak said millions of people
around the world are still deprived of basic health care. Unfortunately the
Alma Ata declaration of 1978 of "Health for All" had turned out to be a

The South African delegate compared the phenomenon of globalisation to that
of slavery and said that it had taken 300 years to end the slave trade
because many African leaders had collaborated with colonialists. He said
similarly in the contemporary world third world leaders were collaborating
with international institutions to rob their own people of their resources.


Ottawa, Dec 6, IRNA-Itar-Tass-ACSNA -- Russia favors allowing international
inspectors to come to Iraq and make sure the country does not have weapons
of mass destruction, Deputy Foreign Minister Georgy Mamedov told Tass on
Tuesday after two-day talks to prepare President Vladimir Putin's visit to

The talks addressed main economic problems, including international
sanctions against Iraq, the diplomat said.

If inspectors find proof that Iraq does not develop such weapons the
country' prospects for lifting sanctions would open as is provided by the
U.S. security council resolution, Mamedov said. According to him, Russia
cannot accept that the U.S. does not allow hopes that sanctions can be
lifted, but approves a national law that makes the toppling of the Saddam
Hussein regime a U.S. national policy.

"The law bounds the American administration even in a legal sense, and I am
not sure that we will manage to cope with the U.S. resistance, as
Washington's stand is highly politicized," the diplomat said.

BBC, Thursday, 7 December, 2000

The authorities in Kuwait say coast guards have impounded five ships on
suspicion of breaking the United Nations embargo on Iraq.

The Kuwaiti Interior Ministry said hundreds of goats and sheep and a large
quantity of dates were confiscated.

"The seizure comes as a result of the cooperation with the international
forces imposing the decade-long economic embargo against Iraq," the ministry

There was no indication of which flag the vessels were flying nor the
nationalities of the 51 crew members who were arrested.

Three of the ships were carrying 520 goats and 402 sheep while the other two
were loaded with 872 tonnes of Iraqi dates and an unspecified quantity of

This year Kuwait has seized 25 vessels and small tankers which were
smuggling oil and other produce out of Iraq in controvention of the
comprehensive economic sanctions imposed when Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990.

Correspondents say the ships and goods are usually sold at auction. Crew
members, who often hail from the Indian subcontinent are detained and fined
before being deported to their home countries.


BAGHDAD, Iraq, Dec. 7 (UPI) -- A four-member Lebanese ministerial delegation
arrived Thursday for talks with Iraqi officials on ways to boost economic
cooperation and the possibility of the resumption of pumping Iraqi oil to
Lebanon as part of the U.N. oil-for-food program.

The delegation, headed by Minister of Finance Fouad Seniora, traveled from
Beirut aboard a cargo plane of Lebanon's Trans Mediterranean Airways, which
was carrying 10 tons of medical and food supplies. Seniora was accompanied
by Minister of Economy Bassel Fleihan and state ministers Beshara Merhej and
Michel Pharaoun as well as 30 officials and businessmen.

The talks with the Iraqi officials were to focus on consolidating economic
cooperation and the possibility of pumping Iraqi oil to Lebanon through
Syria. Lebanon has joined efforts to break the 10-year-old U.N. embargo on
Iraq by sending five planes with businessmen and humanitarian assistance to
Baghdad's Saddam International Airport, which was reopened last August.

Meanwhile in Beirut, Lebanese and Syrian officials met to discuss a
mechanism for re-operating the Iraqi oil pipeline that crosses Lebanese and
Syrian territories and estimate the cost for another pipeline to supply
Lebanon with Syrian gas. Mohammed Beydoun, the Lebanese minister of
Electricity and Water Resources, said the cost of rehabilitating the oil
pipeline between Iraq and Lebanon was "very minimal." Beydoun said Lebanon
would "enter a new phase to coordinate its oil policies, including
benefiting from the Iraqi oil in an attempt to condemn the (U.N.-imposed)


UPI, Thu 7 Dec 2000:  The United Nations Compensation Commission on the
1990-1991 Gulf War approved Thursday $208.7 million in reparation claims
with Kuwait and Saudi Arabia the major recipients of the awards.

To date, the commission has awarded more than $32 billion, and more than
$9.5 billion has been paid out under the food-for-oil regime approved by the
U.N. Security Council, which has earmarked 30 percent of revenue generated
from Iraqi oil sales on the world market to the compensation body. But
thousands of individual, corporate and government claims for tens of
billions of dollars in damages have yet to be reviewed by the UNCC, which is
scheduled to wrap up at the end of 2003.

The recent hikes in world oil prices have seen about $400 million flowing
monthly into the reparations fund, commission spokesman Joe Sills told
reporters. But Sills said the decision by the U.N. Security Council in
September to reduce the amount going to the UNCC from 30 to 25 percent,
effective in December, along with the a drop in oil prices and the recent
withholding of output by Iraq could reduce the amount of funds received. The
Commission's governing council approved 148 claims filed by 13 countries in
the over $100,000 individual "D" category.

The total value of awards from this category has reached $43.5 million, of
which Kuwait received $25.6 million, Jordan $7.7 million, and the United
States, $5.7 million. In a separate D category installment, the Council also
approved 515 claims by 14 governments with a total award value of $131.6
million, of which Kuwait alone received $127.7 million for 42 claims.
Finally, in the government awards segment, Saudi Arabia was awarded $33.5
million for two claims -- substantially less then the amount of $288.9
million initially requested for 22 cases.

The UNCC Council has also agreed to allow Iraq 12 months instead of the
present six months, to consider large claims in excess of $1 billion and has
been also looking into providing technical and legal assistance for complex
environmental claims. In a related development, U.N. Secretary General Kofi
Annan Thursday appointed Rolf Knutsson, currently his special envoy in
Southern Lebanon, as executive secretary to the UNCC. Knutsson, a Swedish
national, is to replace early next year the incumbent chief Jean-Claude

 by Alison O'Connor, Political Reporter
Irish Times, Friday, December 8, 2000

Fifteen Irish companies have made claims, some for millions of pounds, to an
Iraqi war reparation fund for commercial losses suffered as a result of the
Gulf War.

The claims have been criticised by the Fianna Fáil MEP, Mr Niall Andrews,
who said 5,000 Iraqi children are dying every month and the country has
already paid enough.

So far one company, Aer Lingus, has received a payment from the fund. The
claim for $159,000, a spokesman said, was lodged in 1993. The company has
received two payments, amounting to £87,000, and is expecting the third and
final payment.

The claims were made to the Geneva-based United Nations Compensation
Commission on Iraq (UNCCI), into which the Iraqis have paid a total of $11.5
billion to date.

"It is hard to believe 10 years after the Gulf War Iraq is still paying war
reparations," Mr Andrews told The Irish Times.

"Since the Gulf War, one million children have died because of lack of
proper food and medicinal supplies. They have paid enough. If I was running
Aer Lingus I would not claim from the UNCCI, they always had the option of
withdrawing the claim."

According to an Aer Lingus official, its claim related to the detention in
May 1993 of six employees who were working in Kuwait when the war broke out,
as part of a contract with Kuwait Airlines. He said that most civilian
airlines had made claims to the commission relating to operational losses,
the cancelling of routes or consequent losses.

Its claim, he said, related directly to the six employees. "Obviously we
would have suffered (commercially) but we didn't get into that. We wanted
compensation for the direct expenses incurred relating to the six staff,
such as setting up a crisis centre, dealing with the families, offering

This week an Irish parliamentary delegation is visiting Iraq to review the
effects of the continuing UN sanctions. The members include Mr John Gormley
TD of the Green Party, ail TD Mr David Andrews TD of Fianna Faíl, Labour TD
Mr Michael D. Higgins, Senator Mick Lanigan of Fianna Fáil, and independent
Senator Mr David Norris.

According to the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, 15
companies, which it would not name but are based in Ireland, have made
claims through the Department. Six of those companies did not receive

A further six claims are currently being processed and one company has
withdrawn its claim. The Aer Lingus claim has been processed and
compensation granted.

Mr Niall Andrews, who has visited Iraq twice this year, explained that the
UN Oil for Food Programme began in December 1996. Since then Iraq has
exported over 2,190 million barrels with an estimated total value exceeding
$38.3 billion. He said that 30 per cent of that, $11.5 billion, has had to
be paid to the UNCCI.

It was essential that Irish people were informed of the claims and the
justification for them, he said. The lack of knowledge about the commission
was startling.


UPI, Thu 7 Dec 2000: Three Iraqis were wounded Thursday when U.S. and
British warplanes bombarded civilian installations, according to an Iraqi
military spokesman. The spokesman said the U.S. and British jets violated
Iraq's air space "backed by the Kuwaiti and Saudi regimes" and hit civilian
installations. He did not say, however, which area was targeted. He said
three civilians were wounded and Iraqi anti-aircraft gunners confronted the
raiding warplanes.

Yimes of India, 8th December

RIYADH (AFP): Saudi Arabia said on Thursday it had given up its demand for
the extradition of two of its nationals who hijacked a Saudi plane to
Baghdad on October 15 and have since been granted political asylum in Iraq.

"We have not asked for their extradition and we hope they'll live in peace
and safety with their brothers in Iraq," Defence Minister Prince Sultan bin
Abdul Aziz told journalists.

According to Prince Sultan, Saudi Arabia was continuing as if the two
hijackers, Faisal Naji al Balawi and Ayesh Ali al-Fridi, "were dead".

Prince Sultan's statements contradicted repeated demands by Riyadh's
interior ministry that the two men be extradited so they could be judged in
the kingdom.

Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdel Aziz had even said his country
would contact Interpol over its extradition request, as Riyadh and Baghdad
have not had diplomatic relations since the 1991 Gulf War.

The Boeing 777 flying from Jeddah to London was hijacked to Baghdad. Its
passengers were quickly released unharmed at the Saddam International
Airport and the hijackers were taken into custody and questioned by Iraqi

Prince Sultan also said that Riyadh would not request the extradition from
the United States of 36-year-old Khalid al-Fawwaz, a Saudi national
suspected of having links to alleged terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden.

"The kingdom is not concerned with this affair. The man has put himself in a
dishonourable situation for a Saudi citizen," he said.


The Arab Economic Union council will hold its upcoming session next June 6-7
in Baghdad, Iraqi trade minister, Mehdi Salah, announced at the end of the
72nd session held in Cairo. The decision to convene 10 economy and trade
ministers in Baghdad was made at absolute majority. The council also decided
to support Iraq's rights to full sovereignty over its oil.

The Union council comprises 10 members: Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon,
Palestine, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Mauritania.

by Jonathan Leff, December 8, 2000

LONDON, (Reuters) - Syrian light crude exports in December are running 20
percent higher than normal, indicating that an import pipeline from Iraq
could be helping supply Syrian refineries, trading sources said on Friday.

According to the copy of a loading programme obtained by Reuters, 18.5
80,000-tonne cargoes of Syrian Light are scheduled to lift in December.

Typically Syria exports 15 cargoes of the crude, an export rate of 280,000
barrels per day.
The difference amounts to an increase of some two million barrels, or about
65,000 barrels a day.

``This looks like the first sign of Iraqi imports displacing crude at Banias
(refinery),'' said one trader. ``I would say this programme does represent
some incremental barrels.''

Industry sources say Syria is incapable of increasing exports unless it
diverts crude being processed at domestic refineries. Domestic production is
already at its limit.

In mid-November, a Syrian oil official said that Iraq had begun pumping
about 150,000 barrels a day of Iraqi crude through the pipeline, which had
not been used since 1982, without awaiting United Nations approval.

Industry sources said Syria was purchasing the crude at a discount to
international prices for use in local refineries, freeing its own Syrian
Light grade for export.

But U.N. representatives of both countries have denied exports are taking

Last weekend Iraqi Oil Minister Amir Muhammed Rasheed reiterated that
Baghdad was not exporting through the pipeline and that repairs on it were
in an ``advanced stage.''

A State Department official said late on Friday that the U.S. has no
evidence Iraq is pumping oil to Syria, and insists the Iraqis are just
testing the pipeline.

``The pipeline is not functioning...they're not pumping,'' the official
said, who repeated that the U.S. would not oppose Iraq sending oil through
the pipeline as long as it is approved as an export route under the U.N's
oil-for-food programme.

The department has no idea how Syria was able to increase its oil exports,
the official said.

As part of Iraq's ninth phase of its oil-for-food programme, under which the
United Nations controls the sanction-bound country's export revenues, the
Security Council has asked Secretary General Kofi Annan to look into the
feasibility of restarting the pipeline.

The United States and Britain have said they will not stand in the way of
Iraqi exports on the pipeline as long as it is approved by the Security

Baghdad is allowed to sell some oil directly to its neighbour Jordan outside
the terms of the U.N. programme. More is smuggled to Turkey by truck.


Traders noted that a number of stems in the Syrian programme appeared to be
``trading cargoes,'' including one being lifted by a trading house while two
other European companies had received an unusually large allotment of two
full cargoes each.

by Sally Macdonald
Seattle Times, Saturday, December 09, 2000,

It was a Christmas epiphany that led the Rev. Randall Mullins to Iraq.

He was struggling to write a sermon on the meaning of the Magi, the wise men
whose visit to the manger foreshadowed Jesus' ministry beyond Judaism. He
called a friend for help. Suddenly, he says, his sermon and his own ministry
were clear.

The friend was Jim Douglass, a peace activist formerly of Seattle who has
made several trips to Iraq since the the Gulf War, taking medical supplies
for children's hospitals, in violation of U.S. sanctions.

"Talking to him turned the story around," Mullins says. "Instead of the Wise
Men from the East going west to see one child, it became people from the
West going east to see many children, to save them from dying."

Mullins also went to Iraq after his epiphany, to take medicines and see for
himself how sanctions have caused Iraqis to suffer.

"There are many horrors in the world," he says. "But Iraq beats all in terms
of the extent of suffering and the absurdity of the suffering. Two hundred
children are dying every day without aspirin. ... And it could be more
children than that."

Tomorrow, Mullins is being given a Human Rights Award by the Seattle United
Nations Association. Others being honored include the Seattle Peace Chorus;
Bruce Kochis, director of the Human Rights Education and Research Network at
the University of Washington, Bothell; Roman Mayfield, a union activist; and
Charlotte Utting, a former Peace Corps volunteer. Mullins also helped found
the Church Council of Greater Seattle's Interfaith Network of Concern for
the People of Iraq to help people of all faiths "be a unified voice" against
the sanctions. But he has no plans to go back to Iraq.

Federal authorities threatened prison and a fine up to $200,000 for going in
1997. "I've had a sense, and it became pretty explicit, that my place is to
stay here and try to bring a deeper inward dimension to the problem," he

"I am an activist, but I also believe in prayer. There's a kind of prayer
that can be escapist - just you and me, God. But there's also people like
the Dalai Lama, Gandhi and Jesus who showed us that activism matters, but we
have to pay attention to our ultimate connectedness with each other, too."

The U.S. entered a new era of warfare with the Gulf War, Mullins believes,
leaving depleted waste from the construction of nuclear weapons to poison
the desert.

"In my view, it was the first step to using nuclear weapons, actually, but
we didn't admit it. A kind of destructive frenzy overtook our country with
that war."

The salve for Iraq's misery lies in activism and prayer, Mullins says, and
the ability to look unblinkingly at what war and sanctions have wrought in
Iraq.. "We have the facts, but people have to have more - facts and prayer
and a certain gentleness. It would be hard as a nation to look at ourselves,
but we could go through spiritual renewal as a society over this." 


BAGHDAD, Iraq (Associated Press, 9th December) -- Iraq pledged Saturday to
allocate some $881 million in oil revenues to support the Palestinian
uprising, the official Iraqi News Agency said.

The agency was quoting a statement issued after a meeting of the
Revolutionary Command Council and the Iraq Regional Command of al-Baath
Party, chaired by President Saddam Hussein.

The members agreed to allocate $264 million to support the families of
Palestinian martyrs, with the remaining $617 million to go toward the
purchase of food, medicine and humanitarian needs. The money would be
donated in euros.

More than 300 people, most Palestinians, have been killed in more than two
months of fighting in Israel and the Palestinian territories.

The Iraqi News Agency said the donated money would be deducted from its oil
export income.


Tunceli, Reuters, 9th december

Turkish military officials said yesterday that fighting had intensified
between rival groups in the neighbouring Kurdish-held enclave of northern
Iraq. Ankara keeps a military presence in the enclave - which Iraqi Kurds
wrested from Baghdad's grasp after the 1991 Gulf War - to fight the
Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

The PKK has waged a 16-year-long campaign for autonomy in Turkey's mostly
Kurdish southeast. Its leader, Abdullah Ocalan, is in prison in Turkey under
sentence of death. A Turkish military official told Reuters that more than
100 people had been killed in combat between the PKK and the Patriotic Union
of Kurdistan (PUK). PUK officials could not be reached for comment.

Ankara limits journalists crossing its border into northern Iraq, making
independent confirmation of reports of fighting there difficult. But
according to a variety of different sources, PKK guerrillas are involved in
heavy fighting with a rival group led by local leader Jalal Talabani.

"According to the information reaching us the PKK has lost more than 100.
There are uncertainties about the PUK figures but they are in the region of
50," the official said. The clashes between two groups that once lived in
relative peace suggest changing balances in the region, which the United
States patrols by air with British support to prevent the troops of Iraqi
President Saddam Hussein reimposing control.

The Turkish official denied PKK claims that its troops were acting as
advisors and providing logistical support to the PUK. "That is out of the
question. Turkey is not a party to this," he said.

Talabani and the head of the other principal Kurdish faction, Massoud
Barzani, have both visited Ankara in recent months for talks which Turkish
officials say included measures to be taken against the PKK.

The PKK, which Turkey regards as a "terrorist" group that it is determined
to destroy, has been saying since September that it was under attack by
forces of Talabani's PUK.

Senior PKK rebel commander Nizamettin Tas told the satellite channel Medya
TV, close to the rebels, that PKK forces had killed more than 100 of
Talabani's men for the loss of around 35 of its fighters. The fighting is
taking place in mountains close to the northern Iraqi border with Iran.

*  IRAQ SAYS UN HAS APPROVED OIL-FOR-FOOD DEAL WITH INDIA [based in Karnataka, a state on the west coast of
southern India]

NEW DELHI, Dec 10: Iraq has said that the United Nations Sanctions Committee
has approved Indo-Iraq food for oil deal and fixed price at which India will
import oil from Iraq in exchange for foodgrains.

"The UN Committee yesterday gave its stamp of approval to the agreement
signed by India and Iraq for trading oil for foodgrains. The Committee has
arrived at the price at which Iraq will sell crude and the details would
come next week," Iraqi Ambassador Salah Al-Mukhtar said at a seminar
organised by International Association of Economic Journalists here on

Stating that the details and quantity of oil for food deal will be worked
out with Iraq after a formal confirmation of the UN approval was received,
Petroleum Minister Ram Naik expressed the view the deal would ensure that
India gets oil cheaper than the prevailing international crude prices.

"We expect that the price fixed by the United Nations would be lower than
the prevailing international oil," he said. Al-Mukhtar said that quantities
of oil India will import and quantity of wheat and rice it would export to
Iraq would be decided by the two sides shortly.

Iraq presently sells around 1.5 million tones of crude to India under the
supervision of United Nations. India, which signed an agreement for
exchanging oil for food during the visit of Iraqi Vice President last month,
has demanded increasing the crude import from Iraq by at least one million
tones immediately.
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