The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]
NEWS, 17-24/12/00 Nothing of any great interest this week. Britain bombs Iraq, Saddam builds super-computer out of Playstation 2s stolen from American children, new/old defector reveals to general world amazement that Iraqi scientists are investigating the possibility of building a nuclear bomb - usual old stuff. I have divided the Supplement into two - one directly related to Iraq, the other to related issues, mainly aspects of the new world order¹. This may be the pattern in future mailings. Silliest quote of the week (a week in which the competition has been tough) come in one of the NWO articles, ³Britain in N-missile summit²: Foreign Office Minister Peter Hain yesterday said that the British Government recognised US concerns over the threat of missile attack by rogue states such as Iraq.¹ * Airlines prepare to resume flights to Iraq - paper [extract on Iraqi contract with Airbus - see message sent to list by F.Arbuthnot] * UN embargo claims 10 000 Iraqis [Iraqi figures for November] * Iraq trade delegation visits Muscat * Turkey's parliament renewed no-fly zone permission * Kuwaiti puppet govt head wants freedom or death [trial of head of government installed by Iraqis in Kuwait] * Syria ups sour crude sales as Iraqi imports flow * U.S. says has Syrian assurances on Iraqi oil * U.S. Purposely Ignores Iraq Oil Flow * Saddam grabbing PlayStation 2s for weapons * Iraq buys 4000 PlayStation 2s in world conquest bid * UN sends oil lifters telex advising against Iraq fee [nb. the wording of this telex is the same as the wording that was reported blocked¹ by Russia in last week¹s news report] * UN oil overseers accept Iraqi oil-pricing formula * Iranian Pilgrims Banned from Visiting Iraq Via Third Countries * Iraqi attorney seeks death penalty for UN killings * Annan Reports no progress on missing Kuwaiti issue * Iraq asks to diversify funds in Paris-based bank * Iraq seeks surcharge on exports * Iraq can destroy Israel, defense minister says * China Sends Plane to Iraq for First Time Since Gulf War * Japan to let firms join U.N. humanitarian program for Iraq * Mubarak Calls for Establishment of Arab Common Market * U.S., British Planes Hit Iraq * Jails get ready to house asylum seekers [short extract giving figure of 1,150 Iraqi asylum seekers last month] * Moscow says will work with new U.S. government on Iraq * Saddam Meets Senior Official From China * Iraq restarts nuclear bomb effort, report says [You guessed it! Another defector¹ revealed by the Sunday Times. This one has been living in Jordan since 1998 and only now is he going to be interviewed by the IAEA] URLs ONLY: http://www.timesofindia.com/201200/20mide8.htm * Iraq accuses Arafat of 'sell-out' http://www.irna.com/newshtm/eng/30192554.htm * Iran wins U.N. tender to sell soap to Iraq http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20001222/wl/egypt_iraq_dc_1.html * Egypt Sends Plane Carrying Theater Troupe to Iraq http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/001222/2000122210.html * Iraqi parliament tells to British House of commons sanctions are killing innocent people Arabic News, 12/22/2000 IRAQI SUPPLEMENT, 17-24/12/00 (sent separately) [Articles of reflection directly dealing with Iraq] * Grief-stricken Palestinians getting checks from Iraq * Iraqis reeling under sanction see glimmer of hope * Bush's Saddam test [Israeli view of Powell¹s remarks on sanctions. They are not reassured] * Bush Team Sets Ambitious Target in Iraq Policy [I include this in full because it gives a rundown of the views of a wide rangle of experts¹ in the field] * Report: economic growth linked to Iraq, Mideast peace [extract] * Matthew Norman's 'turncoat competition' [on P.Hain] * Board Sees Stress As a Primary Cause of Gulf War Illnesses * No cover-ups on Gulf War Syndrome, panel says * Powell Reconsiders Sanctions on Iraq (5 years ago he wrote against them; now he'd make them tougher) ["The problem is that sanctions are most often imposed against regimes that have only their own interests and the retention of power at heart ... And since these leaders are still going to have a roof over their heads, food on their table and power in their hands, sanctions rarely work against them." Colin Powell, 1995] * The Anglican Church's voice in the Valleys [very short extract. The Archbishop of Wales¹ views on Iraq] NEW WORLD ORDER SUPPLEMENT, 17-24/12/00 (sent separately) * Japan divided over call to contribute more to U.N. Peacekeeping * Britain in N-missile summit [Britain¹s role in proposed US National Missile Defence system] * The dilemma of intervention criteria [by Yasushi Akashi, former head of the U.N. Transitional Authority in Cambodia and special representative of the U.N. secretary general to the former Yugoslavia] * Taliban bashing by another name [sanctions on Afghanistan] * Arbitrary & ill-advised [sanctions on Afghanistan] * Talented Ms Rice will play a new tune [account of new US national security adviser, Condoleeza Rice] * Port visit for U.S. warship diverted after terrorist threat [in Naples, AND Suspect in Cole bombing identified] * Albright highlights importance of foreign policy continuity [She said the Clinton Administration "picked up a lot of issues from the first Bush administration." One of those issues was the Bush's policy of unifying Europe under democratic governments, a theme her policy team continued in involvement in the Balkans. Albright said the aim of a Bush policy on Europe was that it "be whole and free and the missing piece was the Balkans. I think as a result of our policies that piece is now in place."¹] * Test of trust between nations [on intelligence sharing among EU countries and between the US and the UK] http://www.hoovershbn.hoovers.com/bin/story?StoryId=CoJXiub9DndG5mZG2n * AIRLINES PREPARE TO RESUME FLIGHTS TO IRAQ - PAPER [.....] Asked about a contract signed before sanctions were imposed a decade ago with the European consortium Airbus to supply Iraq with five Airbus planes, Abdul-Kareem said: "The company is committed to the contract but it cannot implement it now and contacts are on with the company." An Airbus delegation held talks in Baghdad in September and renewed the European consortium's commitment to implement deals signed with the Iraqi government once U.N. sanctions are lifted. [.....] http://news.24.com/News24/World/Middle_East/0,1113,2-10-35_955747,00.html * UN EMBARGO CLAIMS 10 000 IRAQIS News 24 (South Africa), 17th December Baghdad (Sapa-AFP) - More than 10 000 Iraqis, mostly young children, died in November because of shortages caused by the UN embargo in force since 1990, the health ministry said on Sunday. It said that 7 556 children under the age of five and 3 390 adults had died last month due to illnesses such as diarrhoea, heart and respiratory problems, and malnutrition. In July, the health ministry gave an overall death toll of 1.359 million due to the embargo slapped on Iraq for its August 1990 invasion of Kuwait and kept in place to ensure the elimination of the country's weapons of mass destruction. [.....] http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/001218/2000121841.html Free! * IRAQ TRADE DELEGATION VISITS MUSCAT Arabic News, 18th December An Iraq trade delegation has arrived in Muscat representing the Iraqi foreign ministry in a visit to Oman that will last for five days at the invitation of the Omani center for investment promotion and export development. An official at the center said it is known that the Iraqi government has been importing several foodstuffs according to the UN oil for food program. He added: " Therefore the Omani center seeks to open connection channels with the Iraqi foreign ministry by sending high ranking Ministry officials to discuss the possibility of getting the Omani produce. http://www.abc.net.au/ra/newsdaily/s224861.htm * TURKEY'S PARLIAMENT RENEWED NO-FLY ZOME PERMISSION Turkey's Parliament renewed permission for United States and British planes to use one of the country's air bases for patrols of the "no-fly" zone over northern Iraq. The allied planes fly from southern Turkey's Incirlik air base to shield Kurds from any Iraqi attacks. Parliament has extended the mandate for the air patrols every six months since the end of the 1991 Persian Gulf War, when the skies of northern Iraq were declared off-limits to Iraqi aircraft. [.....] http://www.timesofindia.com/191200/19mide6.htm * KUWAITI PUPPET GOVT HEAD WANTS FREEDOM OR DEATH Times of India, 19th December KUWAIT (AP): A Kuwaiti man sentenced to death for heading a puppet government after Iraq's 1990 invasion of this Gulf nation told a high court Monday that, if he is not acquitted, he would rather die than serve a prison sentence. "I came back to prove my innocence," Alaa Hussein told the Cassation Court. "If you really believe that I'm a traitor, I want the death sentence. A commuted sentence would be an insult to me and a cause of suffering for my children." Hussein lived in Iraq, Turkey and Norway before he unexpectedly returned to Kuwait in January with his four children. He had been convicted of treason and sentenced to death in absentia in 1993, two years after the Gulf War liberated Kuwait from a seven-month Iraqi occupation. A criminal court upheld the sentence in May, and Hussein lost an appeal two months later. The five-judge Cassation Court is his last chance to overturn the death sentence. The thin unshaven defendant told the court that although he loved his country, he and his children would go back to Norway if he is acquitted. Hussein was granted asylum there after he left Iraq. "I'm a simple man, and I cannot face this attack" from my countrymen who accuse me of treason, he said. The court was supposed to hear the defense statement Monday, but one of his lawyers, Nawwaf al-Mutairi, asked for a postponement because his colleague, Kateb al-Shimmiri, suffered a heart attack and the team was not prepared. Al-Mutairi also told the court that around 10 new witnesses, including "Kuwaiti public figures" have told him they want to testify for Hussein, and a military officer who spoke against him in court wants to change his testimony. He would not provide any names or further details. The court, headed by Judge Abdullah al-Issa, adjourned hearings till Jan. 29. Hussein, 41, asked al-Issa if he could address the tribunal and he was allowed to speak for about 40 minutes. He said Iraqi officials threatened to "abuse" his wife and children if he didn't agree to head the puppet government and that they would not allow him to leave the country until years after Kuwait was liberated. Other members of the short-lived government, who like Hussein were chosen from among Kuwaiti prisoners, were permitted to return and were cleared of any wrongdoing. Many of them said in court that Hussein was as confused as they were in the beginning, but as days went by, he seemed to enjoy ordering them around and did not look happy when Kuwait was freed. http://news.excite.com/news/r/001219/07/energy-syria-iraq * SYRIA UPS SOUR CRUDE SALES AS IRAQI IMPORTS FLOW Dec 19 (Reuters) - Syria continues to draw upon Iraqi crude oil, outside of United Nations sanctions, as a means of feeding its refineries and freeing up more of its own oil for export, industry sources said on Tuesday. A Syrian industry source told Reuters that the country is still receiving 150,000 barrels a day (bpd) of Iraqi crude though a recently reopened pipeline. In mid-November, officials said the pipe had returned to service after 18 years of disuse, despite the failure of the United Nations to officially clear the exports. Iraq, bound by U.N. sanctions imposed after its 1990 invasion of Kuwait, is allowed to sell small quantities of oil outside the oil-for-food programme, but only with special permission. Some is sold to Jordan, more is smuggled to Turkey. Syrian and Iraqi officials have denied exports are taking place, saying only that the pipeline is being tested. The United Nations is currently debating whether to allow the exports to go ahead under the newly concluded ninth phase of the humanitarian aid programme. The United States and the UK, the most avid proponents of the U.N. sanctions, have said they will not block the pipeline exports as long as they are approved the Security Council. In seeming confirmation of Syria's greater reliance on Iraqi oil, trading sources said the country had revised the December loading programme for its heavy Souedie crude exports late last week to include three additional 80,000 tonne cargoes and two extra 50,000 tonne stems. Those come on top of the original three 80,000 tonne pieces and seem to raise Souedie exports to about 140,000 barrels daily from the more typical original plan of 60,000 bpd. Those volumes follow an original Syrian Light crude programme that was some 25-40 percent bigger than normal at 18.5 full cargoes, an export rate of about 345,000 bpd. Total Syrian exports normally run at about 350,000 bpd versus December's total of about 490,000-500,000 bpd. Total production capacity is thought to be around 550,000 bpd. "This would imply that almost the entire refinery feed is being supplied by Iraq," said one trading source. Syria is thought to be buying the Iraqi oil at a discount for use in its own two refineries, which have a capacity of around 240,000 bpd. Industry sources say Syria would be incapable of increasing its exports without depriving its own refineries since domestic production is already running at full throttle. The Syrian official did not specify the grade moving through the pipeline, although earlier it was said to be Basrah Light. However, the hike in heavy Souedie exports caused some oil traders to speculate that the imports may have switched to Iraq's sour Kirkuk, on which Syria's refineries were originally intended to run. http://news.excite.com/news/r/001219/13/energy-syria-usa * U.S. SAYS HAS SYRIAN ASSURANCES ON IRAQI OIL WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. State Department said Tuesday it had Syrian assurances that Syria would not break the rules on sanctions against Iraq, despite reports that Iraqi oil is crossing the border through a pipeline. Oil industry sources say that Syria is receiving 150,000 barrels a day of Iraqi crude through the recently reopened pipeline. Syrian officials have denied the oil is flowing. A U.S. State Department official, who asked not to be named, said: "The Syrian government is continuing to tell us that it doesn't intend to break the sanctions. To our knowledge they haven't reached a final agreement with Iraq." "We would view a violation with great concern and note that it is the obligation of all U.N. members to respect U.N. resolutions," she added. Diplomatic sources said they did not expect the United States to take a stand on possible Iraqi exports to Syria until the incoming Bush administration takes office Jan. 20. http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20001222/wl/iraq_syria_dc_1.html * U.S. PURPOSELY IGNORES IRAQ OIL FLOW by Bernie Woodall NEW YORK (Reuters, 22nd December) - The United States is ignoring reports that Iraq is smuggling oil to Syria to avoid antagonizing Arab public opinion at a critical stage in Middle East peace talks, analysts said on Friday. Iraq last month began shipping about 150,000 barrels of oil daily to Syria via a pipeline that had been disused for 18 years, according to oil industry sources. Raad Alkadiri, an analyst with Washington-based Petroleum Finance Co. (PFC) said only the most liberal interpretations of U.N. Security Council resolutions would permit the oil flow. Iraq has been under sanctions since it invaded Kuwait in August 1990. It is allowed to sell oil providing the revenues go to a U.N.-administered account to be used for food, medicine and other supplies to alleviate the impact of the embargoes on ordinary Iraqis. While Washington is diligent about policing Iraqi smuggling, it sees practical reasons to allow the Syrian connection to go ahead, Alkadiri said. ``There is evidence that Iraqi oil is flowing to Syria and despite hinting displeasure, the United States has not criticized Syria for busting sanctions or taken punitive measures,'' said Alkadiri. The State Department said it has Syrian assurances that Syria would not break the sanctions, which Alkadiri believed fell just short of saying no Iraqi oil exports were taking place. Iraqi and Syrian officials have denied that exports are taking place, saying only that the pipeline is being tested for future use. ``The Syrian government is continuing to tell us that it doesn't intend to break the sanctions,'' a State Department official said on Friday. ``To our knowledge they haven't reached a final agreement with Iraq.'' By remaining quiet about the oil smuggling to Syria, the United States is keeping open an outlet for Arab anger over American policy toward the Middle East, said Shibley Telhami, the Anwar Sadat professor for peace and development at the University of Maryland. ``It allows Arab governments to stay on board American policy toward the peace process by challenging the sanctions on Iraq,'' he said. President Clinton (news - web sites) met Israeli and Palestinian negotiators at the White House on Wednesday in an effort to jump-start peacemaking efforts, with negotiations expected to continue meeting through Saturday. Security Council members have said it would approve oil flows to Syria providing Damascus sent the United Nations (news - web sites) an official notice and the revenues were routed through the U.N. oil-for-food humanitarian program. Until this occurs, however, U.N. resolutions only allow two ports to handle Iraqi crude, one in Turkey and the other on Iraq's Gulf coast. Iraq has suspended oil shipments from Turkey since Dec. 1 and for two weeks cut them from its Gulf port at Mina al-Bakr. The exports cut is motivated by efforts to ease sanctions on Baghdad and are only masked by rows over pricing of Iraq's crude with U.N. officials since mid-November, Alkadiri said. The exports of Kirkuk crude oil to Syria is certainly taking place and is clearly a violation of U.N. resolutions, according to Western diplomats on the U.N. Iraqi sanctions committee as well as oil analysts. Alkadiri said Iraqi crude is pumped to Syria and put in Syrian refineries. This then allows Syria to sell oil that otherwise would be used in its refineries. He said that while there is speculation, there is no clear evidence that Syria then makes payments to Baghdad in some fashion. ``These exports are going on, no question,'' said an Asian diplomat on the U.N. sanctions committee. ``It takes away from money that otherwise would pay for the humanitarian program in Iraq.'' Telhami, also a senior fellow at The Brookings Institution, said Washington was being cagey because it needed to be. ``Challenging Syria also means challenging other Arab states and that means Saudi Arabia,'' Telhami said. ``Challenging Syria today further endangers alienating Arab public opinion more broadly.'' ``This is a side effect of the Intifada in that it has raised the level of anti-Americanism in the region and limited the options that are available to American foreign policy,'' he said, referring to the two-month uprising by Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza against Israel. PFC's Alkadiri also noted there was no easy way for the United States to police smuggling from Iraq to neighboring nations, for logistic and political reasons. The crude oil pipeline runs from the Kirkuk region in northern Iraq to Syria's Mediterranean coast near Banias and was shut in 1982 when Damascus sided with Iran during the Iran-Iraq War. Both Alkadiri and Telhami said the U.S. has also turned a blind eye to long-standing smuggling of Iraqi crude to Turkey because of its friendship with Ankara. However, the U.S. has made some moves at the United Nations to explore the Syrian oil flows. On Thursday, Russia and France, sympathetic to Iraq, blocked an effort by the U.S. and Britain in a U.N. committee overseeing sanctions to ask Syria about the oil. Instead the chairman of the committee, Netherlands U.N. ambassador Peter van Walsum will speak to his Syrian colleague. http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_148960.htmlHome * SADDAM GRABBING PLAYSTATION 2S FOR WEAPONS Avanova, 19th December US defence experts believe Saddam Hussein may be building a weapons supercomputer from Sony PlayStation 2s. Individual units of the powerful games console can be linked up and boosted so their computing powers can be used to design and control long-range missiles or even nuclear devices. A leaked US Defence Intelligence Agency report confirms that up to 4,000 of the consoles have been shipped to Iraq in the last three months. Both US Customs and the FBI are investigating. The news confirms the worst fears of the Japanese government, which first warned of the potential danger of the high-specification PlayStation 2 eight months ago. Experts say that the PlayStation 2 designers may have unwittingly built a machine ideal for weapons work because its technology is so advanced. Exports of the console to Iraq are illegal in Japan. One source tells WorldNet Daily: "Applications for this system are potentially frightening. One expert I spoke with estimated that an integrated bundle of 12 to 15 PlayStations could provide enough power to control an Iraqi unmanned aerial vehicle." It is believed Saddam Hussein may have exacerbated the Sony PlayStation 2 shortage. http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/2/15584.html 19 December 2000 * IRAQ BUYS 4000 PLAYSTATION 2S IN WORLD CONQUEST BID by Tony Smith The Register, 19th December Forget Jim Carrey - Saddam Hussein is the real Grinch who stole Christmas - at least according to one Web site. It claims the Iraqi dictator is buying up the world's supply - such as it is - of PlayStation 2 consoles to build military supercomputers. According to a WorldNetDaily report, US customs, the FBI and military intelligence - a contradiction in terms if we ever heard one - are investigating shipments of Sony's next-generation games machine to Baghdad. Some 4000 consoles have made their way to Iraq, those agencies reckon. And that, says the report, is depriving American kiddies of their requested Christmas prezzies, poor dears. It's hard to know what's worse: children engaging in (virtual) acts of mindless violence or the Republican Guard sharpening its skills on Tekken Tournament. Or even - and this is the angle a "secret" document leaked to WND takes on the matter - a stack of the machines being wired together into some vast, supercomputer configuration to be used to take over the world. Sounds a bit Billion Dollar Brain to us - ie. bollocks - but we don't suppose there's a good reason why Iraqi computer scientists can't get Linux running in Beowolf configuration on 4000 PlayStation 2s for the purposes of subverting Western democracy. Though we note that Florida seems to have done a pretty good job of that already... "Most Americans don't realise that each PlayStation unit contains a 32-bit CPU - every bit as powerful as the processor found in most desktop and laptop computers," one unnamed military intelligence source told WND. "Beyond that, the graphics capabilities of a PlayStation  are staggering - five times more powerful than that of a typical graphics workstation, and roughly 15 times more powerful than the graphics cards found in most PCs." Unnamed military source? 'Sony marketing mouth' would be a better description. "Applications for this system are potentially frightening," said another intelligence source. "One expert I spoke with estimated that an integrated bundle of 12-15 PlayStations could provide enough computer power to control an Iraqi unmanned aerial vehicle, or UAV -- a pilotless aircraft." Thanks for clarifying the meaning of the words 'unmanned' and 'aerial vehicle' - we'd have never figured out they were the same as 'pilotless' and 'aircraft'. Strewth. This sounds almost as bad as the scare stories from the early 1980s of Sinclair ZX-81s being nabbed by the Soviet military so for their Z-80a CPUs - handy for controlling ICBMs, we were told. That story proved to be nothing but Cold War paranoia and survivalist jack-off material, and that's pretty much what the WDN report appears to be. "Bundled [sic] PlayStation computers could also be used to calculate ballistic data for long-range missiles, or in the design of nuclear weapons... Iraq has long had difficulty calculating the potential yield of nuclear devices - a critical requirement in designing such weapons," says the WND story. WDN describes itself as "a fiercely independent news service created to capitalise on new media technology and opportunities, to reinterpret the role of the free press as a guardian of liberty, an exponent of truth and an uncompromising disseminator of news". Or, as we say over here, 'conspiracy theorists'. Put it this way, if Saddam isn't buying all those PS Twos, you can bet Elvis or JFK certainly is... URL ONLY http://theadvertiser.com.au/common/story_page/0,4511,1546415%255E912,00.html * Video game parts used for weapons The Advertiser, Australia, 22nd December http://news.excite.com/news/r/001219/05/energy-iraq-surcharge * UN SENDS OIL LIFTERS TELEX ADVISING AGAINST IRAQ FEE DUBAI, Dec 19 (Reuters) - The United Nations has sent telex notification to Iraq's crude oil customers warning them not to honour Baghdad's demand for a surcharge payment direct into an Iraq bank account, industry sources said on Tuesday. Following consultations with the United Nations Iraq Sanctions Committee, the U.N. oil overseers have advised lifters of the following: 1) The Sanctions Committee has not approved a surcharge of any kind on Iraqi oil; 2) Payments for the purchase of Iraqi crude oil cannot be made to a non-U.N. account; 3) Therefore buyers of Iraqi oil shall not pay any kind of surcharge to Iraq. Iraq suspended oil sales for 12 days from December 1 after crude oil customers under the United Nations oil-for-food deal, an exception to Gulf War sanctions, declined to meet Baghdad's request for a 40-cent per barrel surcharge. Baghdad's demand for the fee was seen as its boldest effort yet to wrest back some control from the U.N. over oil revenues after the 10-year embargo imposed for its invasion of Kuwait. Iraq, which denies requesting the charge, appears to have waived the fee for those customers now lifting crude oil, industry sources said. http://www.timesofindia.com/201200/20inte9.htm * UN OIL OVERSEERS ACCEPT IRAQI OIL-PRICING FORMULA Times of India, 20th December UNITED NATIONS (AFP): The United Nations' oil overseers have accepted a new formula proposed by Iraq for the pricing of its crude through the second half of December, diplomats here have said. The new formula is expected to be approved on Tuesday by the UN sanctions committee, said the diplomats on Monday, speaking on condition of anonymity. UN spokesman Fred Eckhard confirmed the Iraqi oil authority had requested on Friday a revision of the pricing formula "in light of recent market changes." Iraq on December 13 resumed its oil exports after suspending them for 12 days due to the dispute over the UN-run `food-for-oil' programme, which allows the sanctions-hit state to export crude in six-month phases to purchase essential goods. According to diplomats here, Baghdad had initially asked for a 70-cent reduction in the price per barrel of oil which it exports to Europe, while it wanted the pricing formula for exports to North America and Asia left unchanged. The UN's oil overseers has accepted a 50-cent reduction in the price per barrel of oil destined for Europe, and has recommended this formula to the UN Security Council's sanctions committee, the diplomatic sources said. The price of oil on world markets fluctuates constantly. When Iraq submits its monthly pricing formula, it asks the UN to sell its oil at a fixed discount below the fluctuating price of benchmark oils. http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/200012/20/eng20001220_58370.html * IRANIAN PILGRIMS BANNED FROM VISITING IRAQ VIA THIRD COUNTRIES People's Daily, 20th December Iran has banned its nationals from traveling to Iraq via third countries, saying pilgrimages to Muslim holy sites in Iraq can only be arranged by Iranian and Iraqi companies, the local Iran Daily reported on Wednesday, December 20. The measure has been taken amid efforts by Syrian travel agencies to attract Iranian pilgrims eager to visit Iraqi holy sites, the Iranian Pilgrimage Organization was quoted as saying by the English language newspaper. The Syrian travel agencies tried to attract nearly 1,000 Iranians per week to Iraq via Syria, whose border with Iraq was reopened last year, the organization said. It warned Iranians who went to Iraq via Syria would encounter problems upon return and the voyages via a third country were " unauthorized." Under a 1998 agreement between Iran and Iraq, some 3,000 Iranian pilgrims are allowed to visit Iraq each week in trips arranged by the two neighbors. The Iraqi government closed the Manzarieh crossing point to Iranian pilgrims on July 30 this year over financial differences with Iran. But during a landmark visit to Baghdad by Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi in mid October, the two sides decided to reopen the crossing point. The two countries have also agreed to increase the number of Iranians to visit Iraqi holy sites from the original 3,000 to 4,800 per week. The two neighbors fought a bloody war from 1980 to 1988 and have yet to sign a formal peace treaty. Kharazi's visit was considered a historical step toward resolving the remaining issues between the two countries, including the issue of prisoners of war and the backing of opposition groups based in each other's territory. http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/news.asp?ArticleID=5299 * IRAQI ATTORNEY SEEKS DEATH PENALTY FOR UN KILLINGS Baghdad, Reuters, 20th December Iraq's public attorney has demanded the death penalty for an Iraqi charged with killing two UN staff and wounding seven others in the Iraqi capital earlier this year, a newspaper said yesterday. Al Rafedain weekly newspaper said that Karadah court would issue a final judgment on January 8 in the trial of Fu'ad Hussein Haider, 38, accused of killing two Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) employees. Haider burst into Baghdad's FAO office on June 28, opening fire in a reception area before going upstairs and continuing to shoot. The paper, owned by President Saddam Hussein's eldest son Uday, quoted defenders of Haider as saying he did not kill the two UN staff or wound the seven others. "Guards of the FAO building opened fire towards the building when Fu'ad entered the reception area of the building," lawyer Abudul Latif Radhwan, a defender of Haider, told the paper. "What Haider had done is not a terrorist act rather it is a nationalist act because he did not kill any one as the witnesses had said." At the time Haider said he was planning to take FAO officials hostage in protest against UN sanctions imposed on Iraq for its 1990 invasion of Kuwait. He said his demands were aimed at alleviating the hardship caused by the embargo. The two who died in the attack were Yusuf Abdilleh, a Somali administrative officer, and Marewan Mohammed Hassan, an Iraqi information technology worker. http://22.214.171.124/english/htm/20001221/277292.htm * ANNAN REPORTS NO PROGRESS ON MISSING KUWAITI ISSUE UNITED NATIONS, December 20 (Xinhuanet) -- U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Wednesday expressed serious concern about the lack of progress on the issue of Kuwaiti and third country nationals missing since Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait. In a report to the Security Council, Annan said that Iraq has refused to cooperate with the designated coordinator on the issue, ambassador Yuli Vorontsov of Russia. Despite this, the ambassador has continued high-level contacts aimed at achieving progress, the U.N. chief said. "I believe that the establishment of an effective dialogue between ambassador Vorontsov and the competent Iraqi authorities would constitute an indispensable step toward resolving this humanitarian problem," Annan noted. While emphasizing the humanitarian imperative of addressing the issue, the U.N. chief said, "The suffering of detained and missing persons and their families finally deserves attention by Iraq." The secretary-general also put the matter in a broader context, pointing out that "the display of goodwill in these humanitarian matters would be of utmost importance with regard to possible progress on other issues concerning Iraq." Addressing a year-end press conference at the U.N. headquarters in New York Tuesday, Annan said he hoped to meet with a delegation from Iraq in January 2001 to explore how to break the impasse over those matters. Enditem http://news.excite.com/news/r/001221/15/iraq-un-banks * IRAQ ASKS TO DIVERSIFY FUNDS IN PARIS-BASED BANK UNITED NATIONS (Reuters, December 21, 2000) - Iraq proposed Thursday that its U.N. controlled oil revenues be diversified rather than placing them all in the New York branch of the French bank, BNP-Paribas. A record total of $12 billion is in a U.N. escrow account fed by proceeds of Iraq's oil sales under the Iraq-U.N. oil-for-food humanitarian program. U.N. financial officials have suggested for several years that monies should be spread among other banks. Last May the bank itself agreed. Iraq's Foreign Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf said in a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan that "banking activities involving all banking operations should be shared among several banks." "This is all the more necessary since the number of letters of credit to be issued has grown to such an extent that it is beyond the capacity of the relevant branch of the bank that presently holds the account to handle their processing and monitoring," al-Sahaaf said. The United Nations receives funds for Iraqi oil sales and then pays suppliers of food, medicine and other goods Baghdad orders from the escrow account though letters of credit. An Iraqi diplomat said that Baghdad suggested five banks to U.N. staff in addition to BNP Paribas, but did not name them. The concentration of all the money in an account and in the obligations of one bank has long been a matter of concern to U.N. officials. The U.N. under-secretary-general for management, Joseph Connor, has raised the issue since June 1997 when the account held less than $1 billion. In a letter to the Security Council's Iraq sanctions committee in December 1999, when the account held some $5.4 billion, Connor wrote, "As I have mentioned on several occasions to the government of Iraq and also to the Security Council, the over-concentration of funds in BNP-Paribas poses a serious investment risk." "For operational as well as credit reasons, this is an unacceptable exposure," he said. The account was established after the United Nations and Iraq signed a memorandum of understanding in 1995 on implementing the "oil-for-food" program, which began in December 1996. Since then oil sales revenues passing through the account has totaled more than $37 billion. http://www.economictimes.com/today/21comm11.htm * IRAQ SEEKS SURCHARGE ON EXPORTS Economic Times (India), 21st December DUBAI (Reuters ): Baghdad has resurrected its request for a surcharge payment on United Nations oil sales, leading contract holders to fear Iraqi exports could grind to a halt again by the end of this month, industry sources said on Wednesday. Iraq suspended its export flows from December 1-12 after customes under the UN oil-for-food programme declined to meet demands for a 50-cent surcharge payment into an Iraq bank account. Basrah Light exports resumed last Wednesday after Baghdad waived its controversial fee demand for those lifters who incurred huge demurrage costs while they were queued up at the Iraqi Gulf port of Mina Al-Bakr, market sources said. Baghdad has now softened its surcharge demand to 30 cents a barrel in a bid to kick start Kirkuk oil exports from the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan, industry sources said. "SOMO asked over the telephone whether we were prepared to pay a 30-cent surcharge for Kirkuk," a market source said. The state oil marketer is also requesting a fee payment, over and above the UN formula price, for January liftings from Mina al-Bakr, the industry sources said. http://www.worldnews.com/?action=display&article=4950170&template=worldnews/ search.txt&index=recent * IRAQ CAN DESTROY ISRAEL, DEFENSE MINISTER SAYS KADI BAGHDAD, Iraq, Dec. 21 (UPI) -- Iraqi Defense Minister Lt. Gen. Sultan Hashem Ahmed said his country could destroy Israel and that it was ready to confront any aggression against the Arabs, the weekly Al-Zawraa newspaper said Thursday. "Iraq can destroy Israel because it possesses a large combat experience in dealing with all possibilities," Ahmed told the newspaper in an interview to be published next week. He said Iraq would not hesitate to send its armed forces to defend an Arab country targeted by Israel. He said the Iraq military was prepared to deal with any potential aggression. Ahmed also said there could be no peace in the Middle East until Israel returned the land to the Palestinians. Ahmed said there was no military coordination between Iraq and the other Arabs over a potential conflict with Israel, but said that several states, including Syria, were satified with Iraq's position on the violence in the Middle East. "The Palestinian cause will not be solved until the Jews leave Palestine and its (Arab) people return to their homeland," he said. Last month, some 1.6 million Iraqis reportedly responded to a call by President Saddam Hussein and volunteered to fight alongside Palestinians against Israeli forces in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem. Iraq also demanded that the United Nations deduct $900 million from its oil revenues in support of the Palestinian Intifada. The United Nations, which imposed sanctions on Iraq in 1990, allows Iraq to sell oil in exchange for food. Ahmed also said his country was prepared for any future escalation of violence against the United States and Britain, which patrol the northern and souther no-fly zones over Iraq. "Maybe the technology used by the Americans in their continued aggressions against Iraq is highly developed, but the field combat experience that the Iraqi forces have gained allows it to confront and even surpass the American technology in the battlefield," he said. Ahmed headed the Iraqi delegation to the 1991 talks on the Kuwait-Iraq border that resulted in a cease-fire with the U.S.-led allied forces after 42 days of fighting during the Gulf War. -- http://www.insidechina.com/news.php3?id=234567§ion=default * CHINA SENDS PLANE TO IRAQ FOR FIRST TIME SINCE GULF WAR BEIJING, Dec 22, 2000 (Agence France Presse) A Chinese plane with a government delegation on board landed in sanctions-hit Iraq on Friday for the first time since the 1991 Gulf War, airport officials said. China became the third permanent member of the UN Security Council, following Russia and France, to send a plane to Baghdad in defiance of the UN embargo on air travel to Iraq since Saddam International Airport reopened on August 17. The Air China plane carried a load of humanitarian aid, China's state-run news agency Xinhua reported when the aircraft left Beijing. On board was an official delegation led by minister without portfolio Ismail Amat, who holds the rank of state councillor, as well as officials from other ministries including foreign affairs, health and foreign trade and economic cooperation. The delegation is to spend three days in Baghdad. The flight follows a visit to China last month by Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz, who received reassurances from President Jiang Zemin of China's opposition to UN sanctions on Iraq. More than 80 flights have landed in Baghdad since mid-August despite an air embargo which forms part of UN sanctions imposed on Iraq for its August 1990 invasion of Kuwait. http://home.kyodo.co.jp/fullstory/display.jsp?newsnb=20001222075 * JAPAN TO LET FIRMS JOIN U.N. HUMANITARIAN PROGRAM FOR IRAQ Kyodo News, 22nd December TOKYO: Japan decided Friday to take part in the U.N. humanitarian program which allows Iraq to sell oil to meet its people's basic needs, while maintaining economic sanctions against Iraq, Foreign Minister Yohei Kono said. The decision will enable Japanese businesses to take part in the U.N. oil-for-food program, which they have not been able to do up to now because of the strict enforcement of the government sanctions, ministry officials said. Japanese companies have reportedly been disadvantaged in doing business with Iraq, compared with some U.S. and European firms that have been able to expand business there through their governments' participation in the U.N. program. The U.N. Security Council imposed sanctions on Iraq in August 1990, but implemented the oil-for food program in December 1996 to help alleviate food shortages, lack of medicines and deterioration of essential social services, while maintaining the sanctions. Japan imposed its economic sanctions on Iraq in August 1990 in the wake of Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, ahead of the Persian Gulf War in January 1991. http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/200012/22/eng20001222_58522.html * MUBARAK CALLS FOR ESTABLISHMENT OF ARAB COMMON MARKET People¹s Daily, 22nd December Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak Thursday called for the establishment of an Islamic common market and a regime of economic integration among all Arab countries, the state-run Middle East News Agency reported. Addressing a ceremony marking the anniversary of the revelation of Koran, Mubarak said that all Muslims should work together to set up the common market on the basis of "frankness and transparency", in order to meet the challenges which the Islamic world is facing. Egypt will promote a full-scale project to lift tariffs in service sector among Arab countries at the next Arab summit to be held in Jordan's Capital Amman in March 2001. It has signed an agreement with Syria on establishing a free trade zone, a step forward to realize the Arab common market. Egypt is keen to boost economic cooperations with other Arab countries and expects to sign an accord on setting up a free trade zone with Iraq and Libya as well. The Arab world, which aims to set up the pan-region free trade zone by 2007, has been warming ties with Iraq in recent months with moves to boost trade and resume flights despite a decade of United Nations sanctions imposed on Iraq since its invasion of Kuwait in 1990. http://www.wn.com/?action=display&article=4976255&template=worldnews/search. txt&index=recent * U.S., BRITISH PLANES HIT IRAQ BAGHDAD, Iraq (Associated Press, Fri 22 Dec) U.S. and British warplanes struck targets in southern Iraq on Friday, and Baghdad said the attack killed one person and injured two others. The U.S. Central Command headquarters said in a statement that the warplanes, patrolling the no-fly zone in southern Iraq, attacked a radar system and anti-aircraft sites with precision-guided weapons. The command, based in Tampa, Fla., had no report of casualties and still was assessing the damage. ``We go to great lengths to avoid injuries,'' said Maj. Jeff Blau at MacDill Air Force Base. An Iraqi military spokesman said the warplanes struck ``civil and service installations in the provinces of Basra and Nasiriya, resulting in the killing of one civilian and the injury of two others,'' according to the Iraqi News Agency. ``Our heroic (anti-aircraft) missile units confronted the enemy warplanes, forcing them to leave our skies for Saudi Arabia and Kuwait,'' the unidentified spokesman said. The report did not say where the casualties occurred. Basra is 340 miles south of Baghdad and Nasiriya is 248 miles south of the capital. The U.S. Central Command said the sites ``were targeted to further degrade Iraq's ability to jeopardize coalition pilots and aircraft.'' [.....] http://www.guardianunlimited.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,415093,00.html * JAILS GET READY TO HOUSE ASYLUM SEEKERS by Alan Travis, home affairs editor Guardian, Saturday December 23, 2000 [.....] The latest Home Office figures show that asylum applications rose to 7,250 last month from 6,970 in October. Iraq (1,150 applicants), Iran (735) and Sri Lanka (650) were the main countries of origin. [.....] http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/news.asp?ArticleID=5504 * MOSCOW SAYS WILL WORK WITH NEW U.S. GOVERNMENT ON IRAQ Moscow, Reuters, 23rd December Russia said yesterday it was willing to work closely with the new U.S. government on policy toward Iraq, despite remarks by Secretary of State-designate Colin Powell that sanctions should be "re-energised". Moscow has traditionally spoken out in favour of lifting the UN sanctions imposed on Iraq after its 1990 invasion of Kuwait, while the United States has been the key proponent of keeping the sanctions in place. The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement it was necessary to approach the Iraqi problem on the basis of "reasonable compromises" which take into account the wishes of the Iraqi side. "We are ready for close coordination on this with the new American leadership, other partners in the United Nations, and all interested parties," said the statement, issued in response to Powell's remarks. Powell, who was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and oversaw the U.S. military during the Gulf War, has said Iraq is not living up to its obligations under the 1991 Gulf War truce, which called for UN inspections of Iraq's weapons programmes. The Russian Foreign Ministry statement said it was still too early to predict what policy Washington would adopt toward Iraq, but added: "the history of the last years has clearly demonstrated that political threats and strong pressure on Baghdad are counterproductive". This year the sanctions have been eroded, with countries including Russia, France and Arab states resuming flights to Baghdad and moving to revive trade with the oil-rich state. http://www.latimes.com/wires/20001223/tCB00a8288.html * SADDAM MEETS SENIOR OFFICIAL FROM CHINA Los Angeles Times, 23rd December BAGHDAD--Iraqi President Saddam Hussein met a senior official from China on Saturday for talks on improving relations, the Iraqi News Agency INA reported. INA said the Chinese State Councilor Ismail Amat delivered a message from Chinese President Jiang Zemin to Saddam on "friendship between Iraq and China and his country's desire to improve bilateral relations." Amat arrived on Friday aboard the first Chinese plane to fly to Iraq since the 1991 Gulf War over Kuwait. He heads a 70-strong delegation of officials representing Chinese communications, oil, agricultural, industrial and educational organizations. INA said Jiang expressed in his letter "deep concern about the deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Iraq as a result of the (U.N.) sanctions." The United Nations imposed trade embargoes on Iraq after its invasion of Kuwait in 1990. China has always opposed the sanctions but also says Iraq should comply with U.N. Security Council resolutions. Jiang assured Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz during a visit to Beijing last month that China would work to lift U.N. embargoes and restore civilian flights to Baghdad. INA said Jiang's letter expressed "support for the Iraqi people in its struggle against the embargoes." Amat was also received by Aziz and Vice-President Taha Yassin Ramadan. http://www.worldnews.com/?action=display&article=4991446&template=worldnews/ search.txt&index=recent * IRAQ RESTARTS NUCLEAR BOMB EFFORT, REPORT SAYS UPI, Sat 23 Dec 2000 Iraqi scientists who worked on building nuclear weapons for Saddam Hussein before the Gulf War have been ordered back on the job, according to an Iraqi defector. Salman Yassin Zweir, quoted by The Sunday Times, said the orders came in a secret document issued in August 1998, four months before Saddam Hussein expelled international weapons inspectors from the country. The new headquarters for the operation, he said, was identified as a research center on Al-Juadriya Street in Baghdad, the Iraqi capital. Mehdi Shurq Ghali, head of the research program, signed the order. "Saddam is very proud of his nuclear team," the newspaper quoted Zweir, who has escaped Iraq to Jordan. "He will never give up the dream of being the first Arab leader to have a nuclear bomb." The Sunday Times said the 39-year-old design engineer, who worked for 13 years for the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission, is to be interviewed by U.S. intelligence agents and officials of the International Atomic Energy Agency. The IAEA carried out more than 1,000 inspections of sites between 1991 and 1997 in Iraq that they suspected had and were possibly still being used in connection with development of weapons of mass destruction. The inspections were ordered following the 1990-1991 Gulf War, sparked by Saddam's invasion and occupation of neighboring Kuwait. Zweir, who said he was arrested and tortured after refusing to return to nuclear weapons work, said that during the war the Iraqi security service moved weapons development components around to keep them from reach of allied warplanes. They did the same after the war to keep them from the U.N. inspectors. Charles Duelfer, the former deputy chief of U.N. inspectors in Iraq, told the newspaper he was "very concerned" to hear Zweir's story. "When we were working in Iraq there was a pattern that appeared to show ongoing (weapons) research, but we never found direct evidence." The Iraqi nuclear weapons program was called Project 3000 and at one time was under Hussein Kamel, Saddam's son-in-law, who was later executed. U.N. inspectors believed Iraq was between one and four years from making a nuclear bomb when the war broke out and research and development facilities were destroyed. Zweir escaped from Iraq later in 1998 and lives in Jordan with his wife and children, the newspaper said. The report comes as more countries are beginning to break ranks on U.N. sanctions imposed on Iraq following the war and as a result of its non-cooperation with mandated weapons inspections. Iraq has been waging a steady campaign for economic sanctions to be lifted. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email firstname.lastname@example.org Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website: http://www.casi.org.uk