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News, 10-17/12/00

NEWS, 10-17/12/00

The major news is of course the imminent departure of Madeleine Albright and
her replacement by Colin Powell. It would be foolish to hope too much but so
far it seems to me that the signs are good. I have put the articles
concerning Bush and Powell in a special Supplement, separate from the
main Supplement (commentaries and articles not directly about Iraq). Due to
the sheer quantity of items in both the news and the supplements I am not,
as previously,  giving the Supplement headings here.

Two URLs ONLY demonstrate the difficulty of choosing oil-related
articles, especially this week. We've also had Iraq demanding the surcharge
and not demanding the surcharge and, of course, as ever, oil prices rise,
oil prices fall: Free!

*  Bad Weather Delays Resumption of Iraqi oil sales
*  Mole reveals Saddam plots against Iran [not actually a mole but yet
another defector. Someone high up in Iraqi ruling circles who, for some
strange reason or other, isn't being treated like a war criminal]
*  Iran Calls for Reactivation of Security Accord with Iraq
*  Iran, Iraq for normalizing relations [extract]
*  Iraqi Paper Criticizes France
*  Cuba/Iraq: Radio, TV and news agencies to cooperate
*  Iraq Agrees to Oil-For-Food Deal Extension
*  Iraq airline plans regular flights to Jordan
*  Iraqi spokesman reports US-UK air sorties on 10th December
*  Egypt, Libya, Iraq agree to establish a free zone area
*  Iraq insists again on surcharge for oil sales
*  Saddam reportedly withdraws troops from Kurdish safe haven ['Iraqi
sources reportedly stated that the Yezidi Kurds -- a small faction in
northern Iraq, living in the town of Ba'adra -- had invited the Iraqi army
to "liberate" them from the KDP forces ...']
*  Saddam Opens Palaces To Feed Poor [in Ramadan]
*  Hit Iraqi ground forces from air, allies urged [by Iraqi National
*  Hussein Forcing Kurds, Non-Arab Iraqis to Flee Homes [in Kirkuk area.
This is from Benon Sevan, not from either our or the US government so it
deserves to be taken seriously. So far, however, I have seen nothing about
it in the Kurdistan Observer]
*  Saddam gives £6,000 for every intifada martyr
*  2 Iranian letters circulated at U.N. Security Council [about Iraqi
violations of the Iran/Iraq ceasefire. But why is Iran treating the Security
Council as if it has a right to interest itself in the matter?]
*  Russia blocks UN panel attack on Iraq oil surcharge [I remember seeing a
report in the last two weeks, but can't find it in the material I sent out,
which seemed to indicate that Russia was PAYING the surcharge]
*  Egypt to Re-open Regular Flights to Baghdad
*  Norway takes on responsibility for UN's Iraq sanctions
*  Baghdad: three men in Ode's [Uday's] assassination attempt is [sic] in a
neighboring state [Iran]
*  Iraq considering buying Proton cars [from Malaysia]
*  Bush will follow predecessors: Iraq
*  Spanish flight in Baghdad for first time in decade
*   Iraq admits the cost of sanctions ["America is trying to bleed Saudi
Arabia and Kuwait, especially by selling American weapons to these two
countries, using the excuse of Iraqi threats. It is in the interests of the
military industry complex (in the United States and Britain) that the
situation stays the same so they can sell weapons to countries which do not
need such weapons and cannot even use them." ­ Tariq Aziz. Not a bad
*  Kurdish refugees return to Turkey from Iraq
*  Iraq accepts Iran's plan on PoWs
*  Powell calls for stiff sanctions against Iraq [a fuller account of
Powell's remarks is given in the Supplement. My reading of diplo-speke
suggests that 're-energising' the sanctions regime might be a euphemism for
making it less intolerable]
*  People's committee [in Syria] to back the Iraqi people
*  Russia serious in lifting sanctions on Iraq 


BAGHDAD (Reuters, December 10, 2000) - Bad weather blocked the resumption of
Iraqi oil exports on Sunday, delaying the end to a 10-day suspension in
flows caused by a price dispute between Baghdad and the United Nations, an
Iraqi oil industry source said on Sunday.

"Because of rough weather, lifting of Iraqi oil from Mina al Bakr has not
started yet," the source told Reuters.

An Iraqi oil official had said earlier in the day the exports would be
resuming shortly.

"Oil exports will resume soon, especially at Mina al Bakr," the official
said. "Ships are near the terminal and soon they will go to the terminal."

The industry source said resuming exports through the Turkish port of Ceyhan
was not immediately possible because there were no tankers near by.

"We are pumping oil via the Iraq-Turkey pipeline. We have not suspended oil
pumping through the pipeline, but because there are currently no oil tankers
at Ceyhan, there are no loadings there," he said.

The imminent resumption of some 2.3 million barrels per day (bpd) of Iraqi
oil sales comes on the heels of Baghdad's tacit approval on Saturday of a
United Nations resolution extending the oil for-food program for another
six-month phase.

Less than 24 hours before Iraq gave its apparent nod to the U.N. oil sales
program, a U.N. committee agreed to Baghdad's revised proposals for December
oil prices.

Iraq cut off its oil flows, about five percent of the world's exports, after
U.N. oil overseers rejected Baghdad's original December oil prices for being
too low.

Industry sources said Iraq's original discounts were an attempt to
compensate its customers for a 50-cent per barrel surcharge to be paid
outside the U.N.'s control.

Oil lifters refused to cough up the payment which many described as a
blatant violation of U.N. sanctions imposed against Iraq for its 1990
invasion of Kuwait.

Baghdad later denied it had made such a demand and oil traders said it has
subsequently been dropped.

The oil official said state oil marketer SOMO was preparing to sign new
crude oil contracts under the ninth phase of the U.N. oil-for-food program
which began on December 6. The package allows Iraq to sign unlimited amounts
of oil under U.N. supervision in exchange for food, medicine and
humanitarian aid.

"We will sign ninth phase contracts soon," the official said.

In the meantime, five oil tankers -- Jade, Astro Beta, Crude Traveler,
Panormos and Sahara -- were queued up to load Basrah Light grade from Iraq's
Mina al Bakr terminal, industry sources said.

It was unclear whether the U.N. would count those vessels as eighth or ninth
phase contract volume. But the oil official said the phase classification
was not an issue.

"Whether it's eighth or ninth phase, this will not be a problem," he said.

Industry sources said the U.N. had already extended a significant amount of
eighth phase oil contract volume until January 15, honoring Baghdad's
earlier request.

It remained to be seen whether Baghdad would carry out its threat to punish
those companies supplying U.S. companies with its crude oil.

"We must see what the government says," the Iraqi oil official said. "Then
we will follow instructions.

The United States, Iraq's biggest enemy, has been lifting some 750,000
barrels per day of Iraqi oil via third parties.

by Marie Colvin
Sunday Times, December 10 2000

A RECENT defector from the Iraqi intelligence service has revealed that
Saddam Hussein has stepped up operations against Iran, despite public
diplomatic overtures.

The defector, who worked in the Iranian office of the mukhabarat
(intelligence) headquarters in Baghdad, portrayed a Saddam unchastened by
his 1991 defeat in the Gulf war, still plotting against his neighbours and
able to import substantial weaponry despite an international embargo.

Saddam's increased efforts to undermine Tehran include extra support for the
Mujaheddin-e Khalq, an Iranian opposition group based in Iraq. With Iraqi
training and a supply of arms and explosives, the group has mounted a
growing number of operations inside Iran.

The defector said Saddam had ordered Iraqi intelligence to encourage the
Mujaheddin-e Khalq to attack armed forces and assassinate officials. Last
Sunday the group shelled Mehran, a southern city, and in October
mortar-attacked buildings in central Tehran two days running. One of the
targets was the headquarters of the elite Republican Guards.
According to the defector, Saddam has also begun supporting other opposition
groups among restive minorities in Iran, where most of the population is
Persian and adheres to the Shi'ite branch of Islam.

Iraqi intelligence has been ordered to give weapons and other support to
Sunni Arabs in Baluchistan, Iranian Kurds, Turkomans in the desert north of
Tehran and Arab Shi'ites in Ahvaz, near Iraq's border in the south.

The Iraqi support for these other groups, the defector said, was not just to
undermine the regime in Tehran but to dilute the strength of the
Mujaheddin-e Khalq, the very group Saddam purports to back.

"Saddam's ultimate goal is to take back the Shatt al Arab," the defector
said, referring to the waterway that gave Saddam an outlet on the Gulf.

Outwardly Saddam has pretended to be seeking peace with Iran. In October
Kamal Kharazi became the first Iranian foreign minister to visit Baghdad in
10 years. But behind the scenes there is no rapprochement. "We were told,
'Ignore what you see in politics,' " the defector said.

Iraq has increased the number of intelligence officers at its embassies in
Karachi, Islamabad and Ankara as part of the campaign against Iran.

Iraq was supposed to destroy its weapons of mass destruction after the Gulf
war. However, the defector said, the mukhabarat had unlimited access to
weapons needed for an assassination and guerrilla campaign in Iran: pistols
with silencers, machine pistols, sniper rifles of low calibre, detonators
with timing mechanisms and poison that could kill with one tablet.

While at the end of the war in 1991 the army had only 200,000 guns, it was
now completely re equipped with many times that number, he said.

People's Daily (China), 11th December

Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi on Sunday, December 10, called for
full implementation of a 1975 security accord between Iran and Iraq to pave
the way for normalization of their relations.

"Reactivation of the accord, which was suspended by the war, will guarantee
the interests, security and stability of the two countries and pave the way
for settlement of remaining problems from the war," Kharrazi told visiting
Iraqi Deputy Foreign Minister for International Affairs Riadh al-Qeysi.

Kharrazi said their meeting that the two countries should solve "minor
issues" first before they can effectively solve other issues related to
relations, reported the official IRNA news agency.

The 1975 accord, signed in the Algerian capital of Algiers by Saddam
Hussein, then Iraq's vice chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council, and
Iran's late shah, obliges the two sides to halt actions undermining each
other's security.

It also provides for non-interference in each other's internal affairs and
political and cultural exchanges.

Al-Qeysi expressed hope that bilateral relations will have "a bright future"
in light of good neighborliness and removal of existing obstacles.

He added that continued contacts and exchange of visits would be helpful in
settling disputes and restoring good-neighborly relations.

The Iraqi official arrived in Iran by land last Tuesday for a six-day visit.
Upon arrival, he said that he was to follow up the talks held between
Kharrazi and Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed Said al-Sahaf.

Kharrazi met al-Sahaf during his landmark visit to Iraq in mid- October. The
two sides then agreed to reactivate all joint committees set up more than a
year ago to resolve all problems left over from their eight-year bloody war
in 1980-88.

The two thorniest problems are the exchange of thousands of prisoners of war
the two sides still accuse each other of holding and the support of
opposition groups based in each other's territory. Free!

Arabic News, 11th December


In this regard, the same Iranian sources stressed that Iran has announced
its readiness to close a TV station for the opposition in the name of "
Mujahidi Khalq" as a practical step on the seriousness of the two countries
to close the file of the opposition and develop needed normalization steps.


BAGHDAD, Iraq (Associated Press, Sun 10 Dec 2000) ‹ Iraq on Sunday
criticized France, one of its closest allies in the U.N. Security Council,
for what it called an ``ambiguous'' policy toward Baghdad.

In a front page editorial, the ruling Baath Party Al-Thawra newspaper said
France has failed to distance itself from U.S. positions on Iraq.

``In spite of what is said about its sympathy for Iraq, the French attitude
is still marked with ambiguity,'' the paper said. ``France has failed to
express its independence from the American policy.''

Al-Thawra also said that Paris has ``left the Americans alone to deal with
the (Mideast) peace talks and impose their conditions on Arab negotiators.''

``France has also not condemned the daily Zionist aggression against the
Palestinian people,'' added the paper.

More than 300 people, most of them Palestinian, have been killed in over two
months of violence between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Despite France's frequent support of Iraq, Baghdad has criticized Paris,
most recently for calling on Iraq to allow weapons inspectors back into the
country as a precondition for lifting U.N. sanctions.

The sanctions, imposed after Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait, cannot be
lifted until U.N. inspectors report that Iraq is free of its weapons of mass

Source: Prensa Latina news agency, Havana, in Spanish, 7th Dec 00
BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom, 11th Dec

Havana, 7th December: Cuba and Iraq have signed, in Havana, a protocol on
the 12th Session of their Mixed Committee for Commercial, Economic,
Technical and Scientific Cooperation, aimed at strengthening their ties in a
group of important areas...

Marta Lomas, the minister of foreign investment and economic cooperation,
and Hasan Abd-al Mun'im al-Khattab, the Iraqi planning minister [title as
received; appropriate sources have reported him to be director of Iraq's
Planning Committee], who led the working meetings, signed the document last

Also signed during the session was a letter of understanding between Prensa
Latina and Iraqi News Agency, INA (known by its English acronym), which
establishes an immediate exchange of information and offers facilities to
the two parties to achieve this objective.

Prensa Latina president Pedro Margolles Villanueva and Iraqi Ambassador to
Cuba Muhammad al-Amili signed the letter of understanding.

The Iraqi diplomat and the foreign investment and economic cooperation
minister also signed a cooperation agreement between the two countries in
the areas of radio and television...

Los Angeles Times, 11th December

BAGHDAD--Iraq has officially notified the United Nations of its agreement to
an extension of the country's oil-for-food deal for another six-month
period, the official Iraqi News Agency (INA) said on Monday.

It said Foreign Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf relayed Iraq's acceptance
in a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan in which he reiterated
Baghdad's criticism of the program.

The memorandum of understanding which originally set up the program in 1996
"was supposed to be temporary and for six months only, according to a
Security Council resolution," Sahaf's letter, carried by INA, said.

"But America and Britain have dealt and still deal with this memorandum as a
substitute for lifting the embargo and its permanent status," it said.

"But so that our behavior is not seen as negative and to expose further
those with bad intentions, Iraq has agreed to extend the memorandum of
understanding...for another six months."


See also URL ONLY:
*  Iraq flays UN programme before resuming oil exports

Baghdad, Reuters, 11th December

Iraqi Airways is waiting for approval from Jordan's aviation authorities to
resume regular flights to Amman for the first time in 10 years, a local
weekly newspaper said yesterday.

"There are contacts between officials from the Iraqi transport ministry and
their Jordanian counterparts to reach an agreement to resume flights," said
the Ettihad (Union) weekly, which publishes mainly economic news.

It said the state-owned carrier was waiting for Jordanian officials to agree
to an Iraqi Airways once-a-week round trip to Amman. Commercial flights into
and out of Iraq have been curbed since 1990 by UN sanctions.

Baghdad says there are no UN Security Council resolutions, which govern the
Gulf War ceasefire, that prevent civilian flights into and outside Iraq
provided that the UN inspects planes to make sure they do not carry
prohibited materials to Iraq.

The United States and a number of its allies say that all planes flying to
and from Iraq need UN clearance. Iraqi Airways, whose planes have been
grounded since the 1991 Gulf War, resumed domestic flights in November,
flying two planes a day to the southern city of Basra and the northern city
of Mosul.

An Iraqi newspaper said last week that Jordan had agreed to hand back six
Iraqi civilian airliners impounded since the Gulf War. But Jordanian
aviation sources said in Amman that they did not know of any decision to
return the planes to Iraq.

Jordan's national carrier Royal Jordanian (RJ) flew a round trip on November
30 for the first time in 10 years. The airline flew another plane last
Thursday. The first RJ flight had all the hallmarks of commercial trip
challenging economic sanctions against Iraq, but Jordanian authorities
insisted it was of humanitarian nature and had been cleared by the UN
sanctions committee.

Source: Republic of Iraq Radio, Baghdad, in Arabic, 10th December
BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom, 11th December

Our proud people day after day prove their ability to remain steadfast and
resist hostile schemes aimed at undermining the will of Iraqis. The US-UK
ravens of evil have continued their combat air sorties, violating the
sanctity of our national airspace with the support of the ruling regimes in
Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, who extend assistance to the enemies of Iraq and
the Arab nation. In a statement to the Iraqi news agency, a spokesman for
the Air Defence Command said: At 0950 [0650 gmt] on 10th December 2000,
US-UK ravens of evil coming from Saudi and Kuwaiti airspace violated the
sanctity of our airspace with the support of the ruling regimes in Saudi
Arabia and Kuwait.

The hostile ravens carried out 18 combat air sorties from Saudi airspace and
14 combat air sorties from Kuwaiti airspace. Backed by AWACS from Saudi
airspace, the planes flew over areas in the governorates of Basra, Dhi Qar,
Maysan, Al-Muthanna, Wasit, Al-Qadisiyah and Al-Najaf. Our heroic missile
force and valiant ground defences confronted the planes and forced them to
leave our airspace to the bases of treachery in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

The spokesman added: The combat air sorties carried out by the ravens from
Saudi airspace since the Day of Conquest on 18th December 1998 have reached
a total of 14,292, while those carried out from Kuwaiti airspace total
7,680. This brings to 27,676 the total number of combat air sorties carried
out by the ravens from Saudi, Kuwaiti and Turkish airspace. Free!

Arabic News, 11th December

Initially, each of Egypt, Libya and Iraq have agreed to a draft project to
declare the establishment of a free market between the three states in the
framework of the Arab economic unity council.

Egypt's minister of planning and international cooperation Ahmad al-Darsh
said in conclusion of the 72nd session of the economic unity council that
there is a determination from the three states to fully and immediately
resume stages of the joint Arab market signed in the framework of the
council since 1971.

For its part, the council welcomed the determination of the three states to
promptly implement the common Arab market in being a constructive initiative
towards Arab economic integration.

The council noted that this step opens up the way before all Arab states
members in the council to join this market in the future. 

Reuters, 11th December

Iraq is insisting that customers for its crude under the United Nations
oil-for-food programme pay a 40 cent surcharge direct to an Iraqi account
before liftings resume, industry sources said on Monday.

"We called to make sure that SOMO had dropped its 50 cent surcharge demand.
They told us yes, but we've reduced it to 40 cents," said one.

Another said he had received the same message from SOMO, Iraq's State Oil
Marketing Organisation. SOMO had said it applied immediately to all sales
from both permitted export points, Mina al-Bakr and Ceyhan.

Oil traders had been assuming that the issue had been quietly dropped by
Iraq after Baghdad resolved a row on Friday over December pricing for Iraqi

The industry sources said SOMO had renewed on Monday a written notice that a
surcharge was required but that the 40-cent figure had only been given

Under U.N. rules all revenues from oil-for-food go direct to a U.N. escrow


ANKARA, Turkey, Dec.12 (UPI) -- Iraqi troops who had surrounded a town in
the Kurdish enclave in northern Iraq pulled back Tuesday following a warning
by U.S.-led forces in the area. Kurdish sources in Ankara said that an Iraqi
infantry brigade and two battalions had moved into the mountain ranges
overlooking the town of Ba'adra last Saturday. The town is located outside
the region which is under Iraqi government control, they said.

The safe-heaven was set up by the U.S.-led allied forces following the 1991
Gulf War. It has since been monitored by the allied planes as part of
Operation Northern Watch.

The town of Ba'adre is 25 miles south of Dohouk in northern Iraq, a town
under the control of one of the Iraqi Kurdish factions, the Kurdistan
Democratic Party headed by Massoud Barzani.

"Last night Iraqi army units of seventh division pulled back from areas
taken on Dec .9 around the town of Ba'adra," a statement from the KDP office
in Ankara said.

The statement said that, all day Monday, the airplanes operated by Operation
Northern Watch had closely monitored the Iraqi troop movement and positions
and flew several sorties over Iraqi army positions.

After the three-day Iraqi army incursion, the people of Ba'adra rejoiced and
celebrated the withdrawal, the statement said.

Earlier, the KDP said the aim of the Iraqi troops was to control the town of
Ba'adra and install their authority over the area and its vicinity. "The KDP
leadership had responded to the action swiftly by deploying a large
Peshmerga force to defend the people of the town and the region," it said.

Meanwhile, Iraqi sources reportedly stated that the Yezidi Kurds -- a small
faction in northern Iraq, living in the town of Ba'adra -- had invited the
Iraqi army to "liberate" them from the KDP forces. The KDP said it had acted
in caution and patience in order to avoid endangering the security of the

Turkish officials refused to comment over the matter but said they have been
closely monitoring evelopments in northern Iraq.


BAGHDAD, Iraq (Associated Press, Tue 12 Dec 2000) ‹ Saddam Hussein is
welcoming Iraq's poor to religious meals in his palaces, mansions that have
become symbols of both his opulent lifestyle and his secretive government.

The palaces are serving the main fast-breaking meal to hundreds of Muslim
faithful during the holy month of Ramadan, official media reports said

Access to Hussein's palaces ‹ ranging from individual homes to sprawling
complexes of mansions and offices ‹ has been a touchy subject since U.N.
weapons inspectors were repeatedly denied access to them following the 1991
Persian Gulf War.

The U.S. government has criticized the Iraqi leader for using scarce funds
to build palaces instead of alleviating the hardship facing Iraqis as a
result of sanctions imposed on the country for its 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

In 1998, the palaces became part of the tug of war between Iraq and the West
when an estimated 2,000 Iraqis, including women and children, responded to a
call by the Iraqi leader to stay in the premises at a time when a military
strike by the United States and Britain was expected.

At the time, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan accused Baghdad of using
Iraqi people as human shields. On Tuesday, daily Al-Qadissiya quoted the
government thanking Iraqis for defending the palaces.

by Anton La Guardia, Diplomatic Editor
Daily Telegraph, 13th December

AMERICAN and British aircraft should increase attacks against an
increasingly belligerent Saddam Hussein by hitting Iraqi ground forces
whenever they threaten civilians, the main Iraqi opposition umbrella group
said yesterday.

Sharif Ali bin Al-Hussein of the Iraqi National Congress, an umbrella group
supported by Washington, said the allies' repeated attacks against Iraqi
anti-aircraft facilities threatening planes patrolling two "no-fly" zones
were "ineffective in changing the regime". Instead, America and Britain
should attack Iraqi ground forces. Mr al-Hussein said: "We believe the only
way to save the Iraqi people is to change the rules of engagement."

Kurdish groups said two Iraqi battalions had recently taken over positions
in the Kurdish safe haven, near the town of Ba'idrah, 40 miles south of
Dohuk. But after negotiating for the release of about 150 soldiers who
surrendered, apparently without a fight, the Iraqis retreated again.

The Foreign Office said it had received reports of the military movement. A
spokesman said: "It had been a matter of some concern, but we are pleased
the Iraqis have moved back quickly."

A Ministry of Defence spokesman appeared to rule out offensive action
against Iraqi forces. He said: "Our rules of engagement are tailored to make
it easier for pilots to defend themselves. They are not for attacking Iraqi
troops on the ground. It is not our policy to work for the overthrow of
Saddam Hussein."

Boosted by surging oil prices and widespread Arab anger at the West because
of the two-month old conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, Saddam is
growing in strength and confidence. Iraq has been steadily breaking out of
its international isolation, with several Arab countries restoring
diplomatic relations, and challenging the air embargo.

Saddam has also mobilised troops to "help" Palestinians in their uprising
against Israel, rattled his sabre at Kuwait and Saudi Arabia and cut off oil
exports to try to extort payments outside United Nations control.

Displaced say president is trying to 'Arabize' nation
by Barbara Crossette, New York Times
San Francisco Chronicle, December 13, 2000

United Nations -- More than a decade after Iraqi President Saddam Hussein
began a campaign against rebellious Kurds, unknown thousands of them and
other non-Arab Iraqis are again being driven from their homes, U.N.
officials in the region say.

Much of the forced migration is taking place within northern Iraq, from
government-controlled locations like the oil-producing area around Kirkuk,
which the displaced people say Hussein is trying to "Arabize."

The deportees are being resettled in Kurdish areas in the north that are
protected under the U.N. "no-fly zones."

The relocation, which the United Nations is beginning to quantify, adds to
an already large refugee population in the north. The earlier refugees are
Iraqis displaced by sporadic outbreaks of Kurdish infighting, families who
fled or were forced north from government-controlled areas of central and
southern Iraq during the 1991 Persian Gulf War, and others from Iran.

Officials say the 805,000 displaced people in so-called Iraqi Kurdistan --
about 23 percent of the population -- are putting strains on international
relief efforts and local populations. They have asked Baghdad to stop the

In a briefing to the Security Council last Monday, Benon Sevan, who directs
all of the U.N. programs in Iraq that are not related to weapons monitoring,
said he was "greatly concerned with the increasing numbers of internally
displaced persons." He said conditions at refugee centers are abominable.

Officials working in the Kurdish region say about 59,000 people have been
surveyed, mostly Kurds and some Turkomen, and report that they have been
displaced from homes near Kirkuk -- an oil producing city about 200 miles
north of Baghdad near the border of Kurdish areas -- where there is also a
huge military base and airfield.

The refugees said that the Iraqi government apparently does not want them in
that strategic area.

This round of expulsions has been going on to varying degrees for two years,

human rights groups say, but has attracted little attention until now, when
the concentrations of people arriving at refugee camps have made the trend

In its 2001 world report, the private group Human Rights Watch said last
week that Kurds and Turkomen were being expelled from at least half a dozen
districts as part of a government program that has forced ethnic minorities
to sign forms renouncing their ethnic identities and declaring themselves to
be Arabs.

Some refugees arriving in the north say that even that was not enough to
prevent expulsion and the seizure of their properties.

The Kurds have particular reasons to fear the central government. In 1987
and 1988, 50,000 to 100,000 Kurds were killed by being gassed by Iraqi
forces, U.S. officials say. [NOTE. THE WEBSITE OF THE KDP - -  SAYS: 'In the town of Halabja alone, an
estimated 5,000 civilians were killed and more than 10,000 were injured.' I

At a refugee camp at Kani Shaitan, east of Kirkuk in Iraqi Kurdistan, 1,375
people -- 994 of them children -- have been crowded into a settlement built
to hold 550. People continue to arrive at the camp, officials say, sometimes
in groups that appear to have been driven out of government controlled
regions en masse.

"Unfortunately, the number of families at the Kani Shaitan camp appears to
be increasing," Sevan said. The latest report of the U.N. program under
which Iraq exports unlimited quantities of oil to buy civilian goods says
that the presence of so many refugees is taxing the ability of the U.N.
housing agency, Habitat. Housing experts are looking for ways to encourage
local builders to provide labor and material for crash programs.

In the Kurdish north -- comprising the three Iraqi provinces of Dohuk, Erbil
and Sulaimaniya -- the United Nations, not the government, administers the
oil-for-food program. Because the Hussein government has a record of abuse
against Kurds, money is specially earmarked for them.

Direct U.N. administration appears to have meant a better-targeted, more
carefully monitored relief effort in the Kurdish areas, and Iraqi officials
contend that per capita the Kurds have better living conditions than other

In the last six months, U.N. officials say, economic improvements have
continued in Kurdish areas, especially in livestock breeding and poultry
farming, as money from the oil-sales program provides food and new stock.
But electricity remains in short supply in the north, while it is becoming
more available in government-controlled areas.

In June, the U.N. Children's Fund found a mixed pattern in studying
malnutrition. In Kurdish areas, chronic malnutrition dropped to 14.5 percent
of children under 5, from 18.3 percent a year earlier. But the incidence of
underweight children rose, and acute malnutrition doubled. UNICEF officials
attribute that to diarrhea, which could be corrected with more education on

from Sam Kiley in Abu Qash, West Bank
The Times, December 13 2000

WHEN a pro-Iraqi delegation handed a cheque for $10,000 (£6,900) on behalf
of President Saddam Hussein to Adnan Bayatneh, the unemployed Palestinian
mumbled his thanks and slumped into a pink plastic garden chair with his
eyes cast down.

Once members of the Arab Liberation Front, which represents Saddam¹s Baath
Party in the Occupied Territories, had left his home in Abu Qash, the
47-year-old father explained his lack of enthusiasm for the money. ³It feels
like fire in my pocket. I am going to donate the money to other people,² Mr
Bayatneh said. ³I don¹t want it; I don¹t want to have any part of this money
because of the way it came, through the death of my son.²

President Saddam, popular among Palestinians for his Scud attacks on Israel
during the Gulf War, has tried to carve out a reputation as the most popular
figure on the streets of the Occupied Territories and has sought to shame
other Arab leaders into greater support for the intifada.

His latest technique has been to hand $10,000 to the family of every
³martyr² and $1,000 to anyone wounded in clashes with the Israelis. Yassir
Arafat¹s Palestinian National Authority has chipped in with $2,000 to
compensate families of the dead, plus a small pension.
Yesterday President Saddam went further and asked the United Nations to
divert to the Palestinians $880million of oil revenues controlled by the UN
as part of the ³oil for food² programme. About $300 million was to be set
aside for ³martyrs² and the rest to be paid to Mr Arafat¹s authority.

In making the remarkable request, given the widespread shortages of medical
supplies and food in Iraq after a decade of sanctions described by some UN
officials as an internationally approved crime against humanity, Iraq aimed
to match the $1billion pledge by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states.

³Aid for a people fighting for their independence and freedom figures at the
top of the list of principles of the UN Charter,² Muhammad al Shahhaf,
Iraq¹s Foreign Minister, said. So far the Arab Liberation Front has handed
out almost $3million to the families of dead Palestinians.

Yesterday Rakad Salem, chairman of the group in Ramallah, admitted that many
had rejected the charity, telling him that ³people in Iraq deserve it more.
But we are acting for a foreign donor, so we have to hand it to them,² he

Mr Salem added: ³The Baath Party has come on behalf of Saddam Hussein to pay
our condolences. Ramzi is a martyr of Palestine and he will join the rest of
the martyrs in Paradise. Our people will continue the struggle until we
achieve our goals and our own state. Iraq has always stood behind us and
Iraq¹s President, Saddam Hussein, considers the issue of Palestine central
to the Arab world.²

Then he asked for Mr Bayatneh¹s full name and wrote out a cheque on the
spot, asking for a receipt in return. The Iraqi-sponsored delegation
departed, leaving behind the bereaved and embarrassed father who has been
unable to earn money as an employee in a Jerusalem hotel since the start of
the intifada at the end of September.

Pro-Israel lobby groups and the Israeli Government condemn the paying of
compensation to those killed by Israeli forces, which number more than 300,
because, they said, such payments are incentives to young people to risk
their lives. They have also hotly rejected evidence that Israeli soldiers
have killed scores of children under 16 and that many have been shot by


United Nations, New York, Dec 13, IRNA -- Two letters by the Islamic
Republic of Iran on attacks by terrorist Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization
(MKO) and violation of Iran-Iraq ceasefire agreement by Iraqi forces were
circulated at the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday.

The cases of ceasefire violation as well as MKO attacks were listed in two
letters sent by Iran's permanent ambassador to the U.N. Hadi
Nejad-Hosseinian to the U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan.

The letters included verbal protest by Iran's Foreign Ministry to the Iraqi
embassy in Tehran on MKO mortar attacks against residential areas in the
Iranian capital city of Tehran on October 21 and 22, 2000 as well as 13
cases of ceasefire violations by Iraqi soldiers and MKO members on March
18-23, 2000.

The letters also said that during the border conflicts, happened following
the ceasefire violation by the Iraqi forces, an Iraqi soldier was killed and
another was arrested by the Iranian forces.

by Bernie Woodall

UNITED NATIONS, Dec 13 (Reuters) - Russia blocked a U.N. committee Wednesday
from telling buyers of Iraq oil not to pay a surcharge Baghdad is demanding
for its crude exports, participants at the meeting reported.

U.S. officials had proposed the Security Council's Iraqi sanctions committee
ask oil companies ``not to pay a surcharge of any kind to Iraq.'' Baghdad,
oil industry sources reported, has asked for a special payment of 40 cents a

The surcharge would go to an account Iraq controls rather than to the United
Nations, which most members say is a clear violation of the 10-year old
sanctions imposed on Baghdad after its troops invaded Kuwait in August 1990.

Russia's envoy was the sole committee member to object to the proposed U.S.
statement, Western diplomats said. Russia argued that the timing would
further provoke Iraq, which has been openly challenging all aspects of the
sanctions for the past few months.

An Arab diplomat said Wednesday that Iraq is standing by its position that
it has not asked crude oil buyers to pay the surcharge.

Iraq has not formally submitted a request to the U.N on the issue -- part of
a pricing row that stopped Iraqi exports for 12 days before they resumed on
Wednesday -- and U.N. envoy Saeed Hasan has said talk of surcharges was only

Russia's envoy on the committee expressed concern over Iraq's reaction
because it had not admitted asking buyers of its oil to pay the surcharge
and U.N. officials had not been informed, the diplomats reported.

Committee chairman Peter van Walsum, the Netherlands ambassador, however,
said ``There was no disagreement among the committee on the substance of the
proposal'' as compared to the timing.

Committee members will attempt again to get the statement approved on
Thursday after Russian envoys consult Moscow. All 15 council members are
represented on the committee and all decisions must be unanimous.

U.S., British and Dutch representatives said it was important for the panel
to make the statement to clear up confusion among buyers of Iraqi crude.

Iraq has not told the United Nations of any surcharge but the committee was
reacting to media reports that buyers were being asked to make payments
outside the U.N. oil-for-food program to an Iraqi account, diplomats said.

That four-year old program allows Iraq to sell oil, an exception to the
sanctions, in order to buy food, medicine and a host of other goods to ease
the impact of the embargoes. The monies are deposited in a U.N. account and
the United Nations pays the suppliers.

U.N. oil experts, called overseers, estimate that Iraq has lost about $600
million in oil sales since cutting off exports Dec. 1, also over a surcharge
proposal. Iraq began loading an Indian Oil Company tanker at Mina al-Bakr on
Wednesday and was planning to load a second tanker from the same company.

The overseers told the committee it was not clear whether crude exports
would continue after loadings of the two Indian Oil Company tankers are

``Nobody knows what will happen next,'' said a Western diplomat regarding
Mina al-Bakr crude exports. ``As I understand it, there is no schedule for
those ships that are sitting at Mina. Maybe it is just these two (Indian)
ships and it goes to the next stage. But we don't know that right now.''

The U.S. proposal on the surcharge reads as follows:

``The committee requests that the oil overseers provide the following
communication to all oil buyers immediately:

1. The sanctions committee has not approved a surcharge of any kind on Iraqi

2. Payments cannot be made to a non-U.N. account.

3. Therefore, buyers of Iraqi oil shall not pay any kind of surcharge to

People's Daily, 14th december

Egypt has decided to operate a weekly regular flight between Cairo and
Baghdad after the current Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Egypt's Civil
Aviation Authority (CAA) said on Wednesday, December 13.

The flights, which will be run by EgyptAir, Egypt's national carrier, is to
become the first service between the two Arab capitals since Iraq's 1990
invasion of Kuwait, Egypt's Middle East News Agency reported.

Egypt has received a one-year permission from Jordan for Egyptian planes to
fly to and from Iraq via the kingdom's airspace, CAA officials said.

They added that Egypt was contacting the United Nations Sanctions Committee
for approval.

The committee's permission has been insisted by the United States and
Britain, which enforced two no-fly zones in Iraq after the 1991 Gulf War
driving Iraqi troops out of Kuwait, as necessary for any flights to and from

But the CAA officials said their step follows a number of countries, which
have already operated flights to Baghdad, because the U.N. Security Council
resolutions related to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait do not prohibit civil
flights to the Iraqi capital.

Egypt and Iraq, which cut off diplomatic relations in 1991 after Egypt
joined the Gulf War, restored the ties last month.

The two countries have been making efforts to expand trade. Since the U.N.
allowed Iraq to sell oil to buy humanitarian goods in 1996, Egypt has become
one of the largest exporters to Iraq in the world.

Norway Post, 14th December

Norway has expressed willingness to head the Security Council committe which
is responsible for UN's sanctions against Iraq. This has been confirmed by
the Undersecretary of State, Raymond Johansen.

This would be a great challenge for us, Johansen says to NRK.

Norway will probably be appointed to lead the committee when the Security
Council assembles in early January, with Norway as one of the new Council


14th December

An Iraqi security source said on Wednesday that three out of five persons
who took part in the assassination attempt against Ode Saddam Hussein, the
elder son for the Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in 1996 are still fleeing,
noting that they are existed " in a foreign state neighboring Iraq."

The Iraqi weekly al-Rafeideen quoted a source at the at the general security
directorate in a file which is the first of its kind saying that " three of
five persons took part in the attack crime which claimed the life of Ode
four years ago are fleeing from the face of the justice."

Although the Iraqi security source gave no mention to the name of the
country to which those took part in the attack resorted, there are
suggestions show that this country is Iran which was then accused by Iraq of
being behind the operation.

Worthy mentioning that Ode Saddam Hussein occupies the post of the chairman
of the Iraqi national Olympic committee, the chairman of the central
federation of the Football, the chairman of the Iraqi youths and students
unions and the chairman of the Iraqi journalists Union, the chairman of the
editing board of the Iraqi daily Babel. He also supervises the " Youths TV
and radio."

Bernama (Malaysian news agency) December 14

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 14 (Bernama) -- Iraq is seriously considering buying
Proton cars and importing more palm oil directly from Malaysia, its Trade
Minister Dr Mohammad Mahdi Salih said.

Describing Proton as a good car, he said that the matter was still under
discussion, but Iraq is seriously considering buying the cars as well as
other types of commercial vehicles including pick up trucks, four-wheel
drives and other medium-sized cars.

Iraq which has been under the United Nations trade sanction since the Gulf
War, is buying these items under its Oil for Food (OFF) Programmes which
began in December 1996.

"We have just arrived, if we agree on the pricing (of Proton cars), today or
tomorrow, we can sign (the contract)," Mahdi said after meeting Minister of
International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz here on Thursday.

It has been reported that the Iraqi government had obtained approval from
the United Nations under the OFF programme for the bulk purchase of
passenger vehicles in the region of 5,000 to 6,000 units.

Mahdi said that under its eight phases of OFF programmes, Iraq's imports
from Malaysia was worth US$500 million.

"However, the imports could have been US$1 billion", he added. This is
because Iraq has been importing vegetable ghee from Middle-east countries
such as Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Yemen, of which 65 percent of the raw
materials for the ghee were in the form of palm oil products from Malaysia.

As such, under phase nine of the OFF programme, Iraq would now consider
buying more palm oil direct from Malaysia, besides other items.

Viewing Malaysia as a friendly nation where relationships between both
countries had been active, he said Iraq would like to see the trade volume

On Thursday's meeting with Rafidah, he said Iraq agreed to expand
collaboration between both countries in different fields, particularly in
the economic and trade sectors.

Among other things, the two ministers discussed on cooperation in food,
medicine, industrial products, cars as well as construction materials such
as steel, timber and saw-logs.

On the renewal of the OFF programme, he said Iraq has agreed to implement
phase nine of the programme soon, where it is expected to sell 2.5 million
barrels of oil per day as was done previously.

This programme covers food supplies, medicine, medical equipment,
construction materials, requirements for the agricultural sector,
irrigations, water supply, telecommunications, transportation, electricity
and power distribution.

Total trade between Iraq and Malaysia stood at RM63.8 million in 1999 and
RM61.5 million in January-October 2000, both in favour of Malaysia.

The main exports to Iraq are margarine and shortening, soap, cleansing and
polishing preparations, medicinal and pharmaceutical products, radio,
textile and leather machinery derivatives.

Main imports from Iraq were mainly commodities and special transactions
valued at RM10,951 in 1999. To-date, there is no Iraqi investment in

Meanwhile Rafidah, when asked to comment on the appointment of George Bush
as the US president, said that she expects the new administration to have
its relationship based on mutual respect and not to interfere in the affairs
of other countries, like what has been done previously.

Times of India, 16/12/00

BAGHDAD (AFP): Iraq said on Friday US president-elect George W Bush would
try to dupe the Arab world over the Middle East peace process and that the
only way forward for the Palestinians was holy war.

The Ath-Thawra daily, mouthpiece for President Saddam Hussein's ruling Baath
party, said Bush would copy his predecessors in letting US foreign policy be
controlled by "the hegemony of the Zionists."

"Bush's father already deceived everybody once, Bill Clinton deceived
everyone twice in the course of two terms in office and now Bush will
deceive again," it said in Iraq's first official reaction to the US election

As president in 1991, George Bush, father of the president-elect, led the
multinational Gulf War effort to drive Iraqi troops out of Kuwait, and he
remains a detested figure in Baghdad.

"Does Bush junior have something that his father or his successor didn't
have?" Ath-Thawra said, calling on the Palestinians to launch a jihad, or
holy war, to win their liberation from Israeli control.

"In order to liberate Palestine, jihad is the only proper, sensible,
realistic and practical strategy," the daily said, also taking a swipe at
those favouring a negotiated peace with the state of Israel.

"Those who believe that probably have the false hope that the new American
president is going to deliver a magic solution," the paper said.

"The problem with such people is that they refuse to recognise that (the
choice of peace) no longer exists," it said.

"All that is left for those people to do is to go chase after some new
mirage, agree to more shameful concessions, and act like card-playing losers
who keep on playing and playing until they've sold the shirts off their own

Times of India, 17th December

BAGHDAD (AFP): An Iberia Airlines flight landed on Saturday in Baghdad, the
first direct flight between Spain and Iraq since the 1990, an airport
official said.

The plane brought in 150 people, including representatives of humanitarian
groups and businesses, along with eight tones of medical and educational

Spain becomes the eighth European country to organise a direct flight to
Iraq in defiance of international sanctions, following efforts from
Bulgaria, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine.

Several dozen planes have landed at Saddam International Airport since its
reopening in August.


Iraq has admitted for the first time that it is losing money because of the
UN trade sanctions enforced since its 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

But Iraq's trading partners are losing as well, Deputy Prime Minister Tariq
Aziz has told a delegation of Spanish legislators and activists opposed to
the sanctions regime.

Previously, Iraqi ministers have always spoken of the financial losses
incurred by Turkey and Russia through sanctions. Turkey used to have a
flourishing cross-border trade with Iraq and Russia is owed millions of
dollars for weapons sold to Iraq.

Giving Iraq's first Cabinet-level response to George W Bush's victory in the
US presidential race, Mr Aziz said Iraq is indifferent to the result.

He said: "Whether the president is Republican (party) or Democrat, we are
not concerned. We do not expect it to change anything."

His view is in sharp contrast to the line he took after the inauguration of
President Bill Clinton in 1993. Then Mr Aziz said Iraq wanted to forge a new
relationship with the White House.

Mr Aziz has accused the United States and Britain, the chief proponents of
sanctions on Iraq, of maintaining the status quo so they can sell weapons to
the Gulf states.

He added: "America is trying to bleed Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, especially by
selling American weapons to these two countries, using the excuse of Iraqi

"It is in the interests of the military industry complex (in the United
States and Britain) that the situation stays the same so they can sell
weapons to countries which do not need such weapons and cannot even use

CNN, December 16, 2000

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey (Reuters) -- More than 100 Kurds who fled Turkey in the
early 1990s to escape fighting between the army and Kurdish separatists
returned from Iraq on Saturday, security sources said.

Officials at the Habur crossing point on the Turkish-Iraqi border said 132
people returned under the supervision of the U.N. refugee agency. Most had
been in refugee camps in Iraq since 1994.

About 8,000 Kurds fled Turkey between 1992 and 1994, many saying their
villages were cleared and burned by Turkish troops to deny Abdullah Ocalan's
Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) rebels sanctuary and material support.

Turkish officials say the refugees fled under pressure from the PKK.

Fighting between Turkish forces and the PKK has dropped off dramatically
since Ocalan, abducted and sentenced to death for treason by Turkey last
year, called on his fighters to end their armed struggle and work
politically to win cultural rights.

More than 30,000 people have died since the PKK launched an armed campaign
for autonomy in Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast in the mid 1980s.

Turkey rejects Ocalan's peace overtures as a ploy to spare him from
execution, and says it will never negotiate with the PKK, which it deems a
terrorist organization.


Tehran, Dec 16, IRNA -- Iraq has accepted Iran's proposed plan over
expediting the repatriation of remaining prisoners from the 1980-1988 Iraqi
imposed war, press reports said here Saturday.

The Persian newspaper Entekhab quoted the head of Iran's commission for PoWs
and those missing in action, Brigadier Abdollah Najafi as saying that the
visiting Iraqi delegation last week had announced it would study Iran's
proposal and would inform it about the results.

"During this week's talks in Tehran between representatives of the two
countries, Iran put forward a new plan for expediting the return of the
remaining three percent PoWs of the two countries which was accepted by the
Iraqi side," the paper quoted him as saying.

"The implementation of this plan could secure the trust of the two sides in
what they have said so far about the state of each other's PoWs," Najafi

The issue of POWs is a key stumbling-block to a normalization of ties
between the two former foes, 12 years after the ceasefire. Iran and Iraq
have freed near 100,000 of their prisoners of war since the end of the war,
with Tehran unilaterally releasing a large number of Iraqis as a
humanitarian gesture.

Iraq says Iran still holds 29,000 of its soldiers. However, Iran says there
are still 3,206 prisoners of war in Iraq.

CNN, December 16, 2000

CRAWFORD, Texas (Reuters) -- U.S. Secretary of State-designate Colin Powell
said on Saturday he would work with American allies to breathe new life into
sanctions against Iraq.
Powell, who as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff oversaw the U.S.
military during the Gulf War, said Iraq had not lived up to the obligations
of the 1991 truce, which called for Baghdad to account for its weapons of
mass destruction and arms technologies programs.

"They have not yet fulfilled those agreements and my judgment is that
sanctions in some form must be kept in place until they do so," Powell said.
"We will work with our allies to re-energize the sanctions regime."

Powell was responding to a reporter's question during the ceremony at which
President-elect George W. Bush named him to the top U.S. foreign policy

Regarding Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, Powell said: "We are in the strong
position. He is in the weak position. And I think it's possible to
re-energize those sanctions and continue to contain him and then confront
him should that become necessary," Powell said.

Arabic News, 16th December

A People's Committee for Backing the Iraqi People following the foundation
of the National Committee to Dismember the Sanctions was recently formed in

The foundation of this people's committee came at a time when the Bar
association in Syria is preparing to start a flight to Baghdad following
several Syrian flights to Baghdad with the aim to contribute to dismembering
the sanctions imposed on Iraq.

The people's committee issued its constituent statement which includes a
large number of Syrian journalists and intellectuals whose efforts have been
varied in setting up committees and forums in a course of a democratic
activities in Syria.

Times of India, 17th December, 2000

BAGHDAD (AFP): Russia is working "seriously" for a lifting of the UN
sanctions in force against Iraq since 1990, a Russian envoy said during
talks here on Saturday.

"Russia is working seriously to find a means to secure a lifting of the
sanctions as soon as possible," Nikolai Kartuzov told Iraq's Foreign
Minister Mohammad Said al-Sahhaf.

"My country is determined to develop its relations with Iraq," the senior
foreign ministry official said, quoted by the official news agency INA.

Sahhaf, in turn, expressed Iraq's appreciation of Russian support "for its
legitimate demands for a lifting of the unjust embargo," slapped on Baghdad
for its August 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

On December 14, the Russian foreign ministry said only a suspension of UN
sanctions could save Iraq.

"A true solution of Iraq's humanitarian crisis is impossible while the
economic sanctions last," the ministry said in a statement, adding that
Russia would continue to actively lobby the UN Security Council to suspend
the embargo.

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