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News, 24-31/12/00

NEWS 24-31/12/00

Not easy to spot any important trend in the main news apart from China¹s
apparent growing interest in the Iraq issue. I apologise for continuing to
run the Playstation story but hopefully that¹s now at an end. The article
¹Southland Muslims Seek to Ease U.S.-Led Embargo on Iraq¹ in the Iraqi
supplement is a quite encouraging account of anti-sanctions efforts by a
variety of different religion based groups in the United States. The article
ŒCastro, Saddam and Chavez Pose Challenge to Bush¹ is in the NWO section
because its mainly about Chavez but its quite relevant to Iraq as well.

*  Saddam's son Uday attends Iraq parliamentary session
*  Saddam's son Uday says Iraq heading for multiparty system
* Conference on Persian Gulf to be held in Tehran
*  India considering humanitarian flights to Iraq
*  Chinese Exports to Iraq Amount to Two Billion Dollars in Four Years
*  China calls for early lifting of UN curbs on Iraq
*  Iraq accuses Turkey of blocking water-sharing plan
*  Saddam Calls Holy Fight on Israel
*  Iran does not let Iraq-bound flights via Iran's route
*  Saddam donates hundreds of Korans to Iraqi Kurds
*  Iraq: Saddam receives message of allegiance from Kurdish tribal leaders
*  Baghdad Says US, British Jets Bomb Southern Iraq
*  Experts weigh in on Iraqi Playstations [on the difficulty of using them
as a means to conquer the world]
*  If Saddam wanted PlayStations he, too, would have to wait in line [on the
difficulty of obtaining them]
*  Iraq Questions Credibility of UN [for failing to report or prevent
violations of its air space]
*  Iraq wants peace talks [with Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, but doesn¹t ask for
them with the sort of language that could be expoectewd to get them]
*  Iraq again interrupts Mina Al Bakr exports
*  Heroes and villains [letter to the Independent from Harold Pinter on the
villainy of T.Blair]
*  Iraq Urges A[rab] L[eague] Intervention to Halt US, British Aggressions
*  Ceyhan pipeline started pumping Iraqi oil Thursday
*  Gulf Council States Discuss Rapid Deployment Force
*  Yugoslavia to take on Iraq in opener in Kochi

IRAQI SUPPLEMENT (sent separately)

*  Suffering of war opens way to a brighter future for Kurds
*  Southland Muslims Seek to Ease U.S.-Led Embargo on Iraq
*  IAF reveals Gulf War attack plan
*  Saddam guard wants to stay in Oz [this is one of a spate of articles
about the conditions of refugees at Woomera in Australia. I haven¹t included
these articles but many of the refugees in question are from Iraq]
*  Iraqi dissidents deal with U.S. Life [the advantages and disadvantages of
seeking asylum with the people who have destroyed your country]
*  Sanctions give Iraq little to celebrate [the end of Ramadan in Iraq]
*  Saddam £10k to kill Top Gun [The Sun reports on the heroism of our boys
having to face five hours without the possibility of a having a wee in order
to break Iraq¹s national pride. Does this indicate a tabloid war with the
Mirror after its piece on John Nicoll?]
*  Muslims mark sombre Eid [the end of Ramadan in Iraq]
*  Saddam Hussein: the last great tyrant (by Robert Fisk)
*  Next Pentagon chief a supporter of Iraqi resistance [on Donald Rumsfeld¹s
support for the Iraqi Liberation Act]


*  Madeleine Albright [brief account of career with sycophantic interview]
*  Venezuela calls on OPEC to go to battle over oil price
*  Sanctions target the innocent
*  OIC [Organisation of Islamic Conference] urged to impose sanctions on
India [over Kashmir]
*  How the mighty are fallen...
*  European nations probe illnesses of troops in Balkans [ŒSome specialists
argue that uranium rounds are environmentally harmful.¹]
*  Moscow-Tehran ties threaten Gulf
*  Bush's Pentagon Pick Is Missile-Shield Savvy [on the new Defense
Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, who persuaded the US government that their
country faces a serious threat of missile attack from Iraq and therefore
need to spend lots of money on an anti-missile umbrella]
*  Promoting the national interest - exercising power without arrogance [by
the new US security adviser, Condoleezza Rice]
*  Iran Now a Hotbed of Islamic Reforms [a rare article that presents Iran
as a country in which there are many people who have a variety of different
and interesting thoughts about the world. The author, who also wrote the
piece on Madeleine Albright which begins our selection, finds this fact
stunning and amazing]
*  Castro, Saddam and Chavez Pose Challenge to Bush
*  This is the world in 2015 [new global trends report from the CIA. The
document itself may be had at]

CNN, December 24, 2000

BAGHDAD, Iraq (Reuters) -- President Saddam Hussein's eldest son Uday
attended a parliamentary session on Sunday evening, his first appearance
since he won a seat in elections held on March 27.

Uday won his seat in a vote in which 522 candidates were competing for 220
seats in the 250-seat chamber. All 165 candidates of the ruling Baath party
were successful, as were 55 independents.

Baghdad said the government had appointed 30 deputies to represent rebel
Kurdish areas in northern Iraq, where no elections took place.

Northern Iraq has been outside the control of the central government since
soon after the 1991 Gulf war over Kuwait.

During the session, Uday presented a summary of a paper which he submitted
to the National Assembly on parliament's performance and his views about
pluralism and democratic practices.

"Our stage might be a transitional one and we hope it would be a
transitional one towards achieving pluralism and democratic freedom," Uday

Kyodo news, Japan

BAGHDAD Dec. 25 Kyodo -  Uday Saddam Hussein, the 35-year-old son of Iraqi
President Saddam Hussein, said Sunday that Iraq is heading toward a
multiparty system and more political openness.

''Surely, Iraq is marching on the course of a new stage, after the nation
achieved full consciousness and preparedness for that. Personally, I believe
it is high time for (political) openness in a more expansive manner,'' he
told reporters after his first attendance at a session of the National

But he said that openness does not ''of course mean untraditional and
abnormal openness. It is rather (meant to be) an openness that would cope
with the aspirations, traditions and tribal roots of our people in a manner
achieving the aspired goals serving all.''

Iraq has been governed by a one-party system since the ruling Baath Party
seized power in a 1968 coup.

Uday recalled that in an address back in 1991 President Hussein declared the
country's intention to implement a multiparty system.

''Years that followed were difficult, and we were under difficult conditions
that prevented us from achieving that,'' he said.

He won a landslide victory in his constituency in Baghdad during the March
parliamentary elections but has never attended the assembly before.

Uday has been a member of the Baath Party, led by his father, since 1975.


Tehran, Dec 24, IRNA -- The 11th International Persian Gulf Conferenceon
`Status of the Persian Gulf at New Global Relations' is to held in Tehran on
January 7-8, it was announced here on Sunday.

The Persian Gulf is considered as an important geographic region which is
the centerpiece for the most important political and international
developments. The region is also regarded as the biggestsource of world
energy leaving mutual affects on global developments.

The two-day conference is the study these interrelated developments at the
Foreign Ministry's Institutes for Political and International Studies

Researchers and scholars from England, United States of America, Canada,
France, Russia, China, Japan, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain,
the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, Iraq, Yemen, as well as the central
Asian and Caucasian republics will attend the conference.

The conference will assess the most important issues of the regionand study
the interrelation political, economic and security developments on global

South Nexus, Karnataka, Southern India

DUBAI, Dec 25: India is considering direct humanitarian flights to Iraq in
the wake of similar initiatives recently by several countries, even as trade
between Baghdad and New Delhi is expected to touch one billion Dollars next

"India is considering direct flights to Iraq as several other countries have
already initiated such flights. This will be a humanitarian flight and not a
regular flight," Indian ambassador to Iraq R R Dayakar told a news agency on

"Several flights from other countries have landed in Baghdad in recent weeks
despite UN sanctions," Dayakar said.

He said, bilateral trade between India and Iraq will touch one billion
Dollars in the ninth phase of the Oil-for-Food programme in January-June
2001 having already crossed $ 600 million this year.

Most of the contracts awarded to India are in the power sector, the largest
being a $ 100 million deal struck with Bharat Heavy Electricals in March
this year to supply gas turbines to power plants in northern Iraq, Dayakar

Export of Iraqi oil to India has already begun while a pact with ONGC for
oil prospecting in Iraq is awaiting ratification and completion of
formalities, he said.

He said, Indian construction companies could make a comeback in Iraq in the
housing sector which is expected to be opened up to foreign companies next

A major chunk of Indian contracts are in power, food, education and
agriculture while petrochemicals and railways are emerging sectors for
Indian companies, Dayakar said.

He said, export of Indian tea to Iraq is pegged at 40,000 tonnes amounting
to $ 20 million annually, next only to Vietnam.


BAGHDAD, Dec 25, 2000 (Agence France Presse): China has exported more than
two billion dollars worth of goods to sanctions-hit Iraq since a UN
humanitarian program was launched four years ago, Iraqi Commerce Minister
Mohammad Mehdi Saleh said Monday.

The minister, quoted by the official news agency INA, said China was ranked
in third place among countries supplying Iraq, after France and Egypt, under
the program launched in December 1996.


Times of India, 27th December

BEIJING (AP): China on Tuesday said the humanitarian situation in Iraq is
worsening and called for the early lifting of UN sanctions to help suffering

The appeal, issued by China's Foreign Ministry, follows hard after a highly
symbolic Chinese mission to Baghdad that included an unexpected meeting with
Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. Chinese Cabinet minister Ismail Amat delivered
humanitarian aid to Baghdad, carried on the first direct flight from Beijing
in 10 years.

The mission, which occurred over the weekend, underscored China's desire to
end the sanctions - something it has been pushing for in the UN Security
Council with fellow permanent members Russia and France against Britain and
the United States.

Amat gave Saddam a letter of support from Chinese President Jiang Zemin and
toured an underground bunker bombed during the Gulf War. He visited a
children's hospital to gauge "the Iraqi people's sufferings under long-term
sanctions and the great losses war caused Iraq," the Foreign Ministry said
in a statement.

"We tried to convey the profound sympathy of the Chinese government and
people to the Iraqi people who have been suffering from sanctions," Foreign
Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said at a media briefing. "The humanitarian
situation in Iraq continues to be very grave and it can also be said that it
is deteriorating."

Zhang provided no specific examples from Amat's trip to illustrate what
China considers the worsening conditions in Iraq. She said "China would like
to see the early lifting of sanctions against Iraq."

The Chinese support was welcome in Baghdad. Iraqi state television said
Saddam, while meeting Amat, accused Britain and the United States of
violating U.N. resolutions.

In declaring sympathy for Iraq, Zhang however also signaled that China was
not attempting to circumvent the United Nations in ending the sanctions
imposed after Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990. She reiterated China's position
that U.N. resolutions on Iraq need to be fully respected.

That, she said, means "fairly and objectively" assessing Iraq's progress in
meeting U.N. demands so that the sanctions can be gradually eased. In the
past China has also called on Baghdad to work with the U.N. inspectors who
need to verify that Iraq has dismantled biological, chemical and nuclear
weapons programs.

Previously the target of sanctions, China generally opposes their use. It
abstained in the UN Security Council vote that allowed a US-led force to
wage war against Iraq for the invasion of Kuwait.

In recent years, China has quietly stepped up contacts, hoping to land
contracts for business and oil shipments once sanctions fall and improve its
influence in the Middle East. Two-way trade grew 60 per cent last year to
$264 million, by Chinese government statistics.

Zhang, the spokeswoman, said China has also provided an unspecified amount
of aid to Iraq, but said all the assistance has been approved by the U.N.
sanctions committee.

With China working hard to raise its profile in the Middle East, Zhang also
announced that Vice President Hu Jintao would travel to Iran, Syria and
Jordan next month. On the same trip he will also visit Cyprus and Uganda.

CNN, December 25, 2000

BAGHDAD, Iraq (Reuters) -- Iraq says it has agreed with Syria on a
water-sharing plan but says Turkey is blocking efforts for a tripartite

"Irrigation Minister Mohamoud Diyab al-Ahmed has announced that Iraq and
Syria have reached an agreement on sharing waters of the Euphrates," the
weekly Nabdh al-Shabab newspaper said on Monday.

It quoted Ahmed as saying that Syrian Irrigation Minister Taha al-Atrash
would come to Baghdad shortly to sign the agreement.

The paper gave no details of the agreement.

Meantime, Ahmed accused Turkey of blocking efforts to reach a three-way
water-sharing agreement with Baghdad and Damascus.

"The Turkish side is still stubborn (over reaching) a solution to the water
issue," he said.

Baghdad and Damascus depend largely for drinking water, irrigation and power
generation on the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, both of which originate in

The Euphrates winds through Syria before entering Iraq, while the Tigris
flows straight to Iraq from Turkey.

Both Baghdad and Damascus say the current flow of water from Turkey is not

Iraqi protests have grown since 1996 when Turkey announced a $1.62 billion
plan for its fourth dam on the Euphrates to produce power and irrigation for
a big area of southeast Turkey.

Iraq, Turkey and Syria have held several meetings in the past but failed to
clinch a water-sharing agreement.

Ankara and Damascus signed a provisional agreement in 1987 under which
Turkey allows the flow of 500 cubic metres per second to Syria. The Syrian
government has called for a permanent accord.


BAGHDAD, Iraq (Associated Press, Mon 25 December): Saddam Hussein used his
traditional Christmas message Monday to call on the world's Christians and
Muslims to rise up in holy war against Israel and the ``Zionist

The Iraqi leader praised Christians and other Iraqis for standing up to
conspiracies through which ``the United States, Britain and Zionism ... have
tried to bend Iraqis' will, bring them to their knees and master their
independent decision.''

The letter was carried on the front page of every Baghdad newspaper.

The president called on Christians and Muslims everywhere to take ``the path
of jihad (holy war), without which we cannot attain our aspirations of
establishing right, justice and peace and delivering humanity from the evils
of aggressors, criminal killers.''

Iraq opposes peace agreements signed between Israel and the Palestinians and
those signed with neighboring countries.

``The Zionist conspiracy aims at Judaizing (Jerusalem) and other areas of
Palestine and annihilating its indigenous population, Muslims and
Christians, with the backing of America,'' al Thawra daily quoted Saddam as
saying in his letter.


ONGC to invest Rs 400cr in Abu Khema oil fields
Economic Times, India, 26th December

Mumbai (PTI): THE OIL and Natural Gas Corporation will invest Rs 400 crore
for exploration and development of 'Abu Khema' oil fields in Iraq beginning
early next year.

Abu Khema oil fields (block No 8) have a capacity to produce up to three
lakh barrels of crude per day, equivalent to that produced by ONGC's prime
property Mumbai High, company sources said here.

ONGC's overseas subsidiary ONGC Videsh has been awarded exploration and
development contract for Abu Khema in southern Iraq which ONGC had explored
15 years ago but abandoned consequent to the Iran-Iraq war, the sources

A contract for exploration of the blocks for crude oil for a period of 20-25
years was signed between OVL and Oil Exploration Company of Iraq during the
five-day official visit of Iraqi vice president Taha Yassin Ramadhan in

ONGC has also tied up with Reliance Industries and Algerian national oil
company Sonatrach for securing the Tuba oil field in southern Iraq.

Tuba, discovered in 1959, lies in southern Iraq between Rumaila and Zubair
oil fields and reportedly could yield as much as 300,000 barrels per day of
oil of medium and heavy crude, the sources said adding OVL, Reliance and
Sonatrach were equal partners in the project.

OVL would invest over $200 million in the project, expected to cost over
$500-600 million, and had been given a security of crude supply for a period
of 20-25 years, the sources added.


Tehran, Dec 26, IRNA -- Upon a request by the United Nations, Iran does not
allow Iraq-bound flights to pass through Iran's airspace, press reported
here Tuesday.

Gholam-Abbas Aramesh, a deputy chief of the Civil Aviation Organization told
the daily Abrar that the United Nations Security Council has approved the
above-mentioned plan.

He rejected reports by foreign media that Iran has allowed Iraq-bound
flights to use its airspace and said "Iran's airspace is merely allowed to
be used by humanitarian flights agreed upon by the United Nations and Iran's
Foreign Ministry."

He said that the plane which flew Iran's Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi to
Iraq in mid-October, had the endorsement of the United Nations.

But, in early October, Iran has agreed to allow regular Tehran-Damascus
flights to pass through Iraq's airspace instead of Turkey's.

"Since the route over Turkey is not suitable for these flights, and wanting
to develop relations with Iraq, particularly in transportation, Iran
believes these flights should go over Iraq," Road and Transportation
Minister Mahmoud Hojjati said after meeting with his Iraqi counterpart Ahmed
Morteza in October.

The Tehran-Damascus route is primarily geared toward Muslim pilgrims.

All international airlines have avoided flying over Iraq since August 1990,
when an air embargo was imposed on the country after Baghdad's invasion of

Iran has previously said it would return the planes to Iraq but only if
requested to do so by the United Nations.

The issue of POWs is a key stumbling-block to a normalization of ties
between Iran and Iraq, which fought a bloody eight-year war up to 1988.

During the 9th summit of the 56-member Organization of the Islamic
Conference in Doha in November, Kharrazi held normalization talks with his
Iraqi counterpart Mohammad Said al Sahhaf.

Early this month, Kharrazi told visiting Iraqi undersecretary for foreign
affairs Riad al-Qaissi that Tehran and Baghdad needed to respect the 1975
Algiers agreement that fixed the two countries' borders.

The 1975 agreement was signed between Iran's then shah and Saddam Hussein,
who was vice president at the time.

Irish Times (AFP), 27th December

President Saddam Hussein has sent 870 copies of the Koran, the Muslim holy
book, to the Kurds who control northern Iraq in defiance of Baghdad, an
official newspaper reported today.

Al-Iraq said 10 Korans were offered to each mosque in the Kurdish-held
region. The books had been gifts to the Iraqi leader.

In another gesture for the Muslim holidays of Eid al-Fitr, which follow the
fasting month of Ramadan, Saddam has distributed 1,000 of the holy books to
100 mosques of Baghdad.

Iraqi Kurdistan, home to around three million people, has been under the
control of Kurdish factions since Iraq's defeat in the 1991 Gulf War over

Source: Republic of Iraq Radio, Baghdad, in Arabic 1500 gmt 27 Dec 00
BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Dec 27, 2000

President leader Saddam Husayn has received a message from the leaders of
Kurdish tribes in which they renewed their pledge of love and absolute
loyalty to the builder of Iraq's glory and founder of the self-rule
government, President leader Saddam Husayn. They pledged to remain under his
command to liberate the land of our dear north from mercenaries and the
country's traitors who have sold themselves as slaves to the foreigners.

In a message sent to his excellency, the chiefs expressed their warmest
congratulations on the occasion of the blessed Id al-Fitr. They asked God
Almighty to look after his excellency and keep him the pride of the homeland
and leader of the mujahidin to liberate the country's land from the filth of
those mercenaries and evict Zionism from the holy land in Palestine.

Los Angeles Times, 27th December

BAGHDAD--Iraq said U.S. and British warplanes struck targets in the south of
the country on Wednesday but no casualities were reported.

An Iraqi military spokesman, quoted by the official Iraqi News Agency INA,
said "enemy formations" flew over the provinces of Basra, Dhi qar, Muthanna,
Qadissiya, Najaf, Kerbala and Wassit at 2:15 a.m. EST, attacking civilian
and service installations.

Iraqi air defense units fired at the jets and forced them to return to bases
in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, the spokesman said.

There was no immediate comment on the report by the United States or
Britain, whose jets patrol no-fly zones set up by Western powers after the
1991 Gulf War.


by J. Mark Huffman, UPI Science News

WASHINGTON, Dec. 27 (UPI) -- The Sony Playstation 2 is acknowledged as the
leading video game console and the envy of every kid, but could it be a
major asset to the Iraqi military? Experts in both defense and video games
say no, despite some concerns raised in U.S. intelligence circles.

WorldNetDaily, a news and opinion Web site, cited a secret Defense
Intelligence Agency report stating as many as 4,000 of the game consoles
have been purchased in the United States and shipped to Iraq late this year.
The report expresses concern that the units could be linked together to form
a powerful super computer, capable of many military uses, including control
of missiles.

FBI and U.S. Customs officials are investigating the claim, but even if it's
true, Iraqi generals would likely be disappointed in the results anyway, a
Playstation 2 expert told United Press International

"As shipped, the Playstation 2 does not have the capability to link
processors in parallel. The idea that you can create a super computer by
linking ten of these units together is wrong. That's not a capability of the
Playstation 2 right out of the box," said Eric Newhouse, group manager at
Videogame, a San Francisco-based game site.

Newhouse agreed a major advantage of the Playstation 2 over a personal
computer is its greatly enhanced graphics capabilities, but he questioned
how valuable that would be to Iraqi military applications.

"The graphics capabilities would help for modeling and design functions, but
for raw CPU issues like calculating missile trajectory, a powerful computer
would be much better," Newhouse said.

John Carey, a Washington-based defense issues consultant, is also skeptical
of the Playstation's usefulness to the Iraqi military, especially in
controlling its missiles.

"The key Iraqi problem is accuracy. No matter how sophisticated their
computers, those old Soviet-era missiles are just too inaccurate to be a
threat. That's why our ships can operate in the region without becoming
targets," Carey told UPI.

Carey, president of International Defense Consultants, said he was in the
region during the Persian Gulf War and saw the state of Iraq's missiles at
close hand. He doesn't think the use of video game consoles will increase
Iraq's offensive capabilities.

"Where a computer might help is in defending yourself from attack," he said.

If Saddam Hussein did want to buy up large quantities of video game
consoles, however, he would have an easier time getting them past U.N.
sanctions than if he were buying regular computers. Video games are
classified as toys, which are not closely scrutinized. Computer hardware, on
the other hand, is banned under U.N. sanctions.

The Japanese government has shown sensitivity to the issue, having slapped
export controls on the game console upon its release last April.

The Sony Playstation 2 has been a hard-to-find item since it's introduction
earlier this year. It features a 300 MHz, 128-bit CPU. It's prized by video
game enthusiasts for its speed, sound reproduction and graphics.

Seattle Times, 28th December

WASHINGTON - Widespread media reports that Iraq has been importing the
scarce and highly sought-after PlayStation 2 video consoles for their
military potential are unsubstantiated and groundless, Sony said yesterday.

Several media outlets, including NBC, have cited an unidentified U.S.
Customs officer as saying the popular PlayStation 2 units were being
diverted from toy shops around Detroit to factions affiliated with the Iraqi

The stories note the coveted video-game units are being sought by the Iraqi
government due to their hefty processing power, which when hooked together
en masse could conceivably offer computing speeds similar to that of
low-grade supercomputers, devices seen as necessary for the development and
testing of weapons of mass destruction.

But Sony spokeswoman Molly Smith said if Saddam Hussein wanted a stash of
PlayStations, he'd have to get in line behind millions of other consumers:

"With our current inventory situation, it's likely that anyone - Saddam
Hussein or otherwise - claiming to have a substantial number of PlayStation
2 units is probably pulling your leg. This completely unsubstantiated story
has been lingering for weeks, and it's time to put it to rest."

"I would assume that if Iraq were determined to obtain such devices
illegally, it would presumably go after something much more powerful than a
chip in a toy," said Robert Majak of the Commerce Department Bureau of
Export Administration.


BAGHDAD, Iraq (Associated Press, Wed 27 Dec) ‹ Iraq is questioning the
credibility of a U.N. force monitoring the border with Kuwait, saying it
does not report flights by American and British warplanes as violations to
U.N. resolutions.

In a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Iraq's foreign minister
took the monitors to task over the U.S.-British warplanes, which patrol a
no-fly zone in southern Iraq and frequently fire on Iraqi air defense sites
that target them.

The U.N. Observation and Monitoring force, known as UNIKOM, watches over a
no-man's land at the Iraqi-Kuwaiti border, where its role is to monitor all
land, sky and sea traffic and report any violations of either nation's
territory immediately to the Security Council.

``Most of the warplanes cross the area observed by the UNIKOM posts to
strike Iraq and return through the same points,'' Foreign Minister Mohammed
Saeed al-Sahhaf said in the letter, reported by Iraqi television Tuesday

``By violating our territories, the warplanes commit sheer violations to
U.N. resolutions, obliging the UNIKOM forces to monitor and report these
violations immediately ... to the U.N. and the Security Council,'' al-Sahhaf
said in his letter.

The U.S.-British patrols, conducted since 1992 following the Gulf War, are
not mandated by the United Nations and Iraq considers them violations of its
sovereignty and international law.

The United States and Britain say the patrols ‹ based out of Saudia Arabia
and carriers in the Persian Gulf ‹ are necessary to protect Iraq's Shiite
Muslim minority in the area from the Baghdad government. A similar no-fly
zone in the north is enforced by planes based in Turkey.

Iraq has been challenging the flights for two years ‹ locking on to the
planes with its radar ‹ and routinely drawing fire.

In its reports, including its most recent one Sept. 27, UNIKOM has
highlighted air violations of the no-man's land, but has not identified the
origin of the planes and has said it could not chart all violations because
the aircraft were flying too high to be identified.

Al-Sahhaf dismissed that reasoning in his letter, noting the allies
``themselves announce that their warplanes have carried out daily patrols in

``Is flying in the no-man's land considered to be an accepted act?'' the
letter asked. ``If flying at high altitudes is not considered to be a
violation, then we Iraqis can do that, too.''

``What would the UNIKOM observers then say if Iraqi planes flew over the
same area?'' al-Sahhaf asked in the letter.,1113,2-10-35_959167,

News 24 (South Africa)

Baghdad (Sapa-AFP ): Iraq's ruling Baath party called for dialogue with
Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, aimed at a reconciliation with its neighbours after
a decade of enmity. The call came on Thursday, ahead of a Gulf summit set
for the weekend.

The Muslim and Christian holidays "could be an opportunity for ... a
constructive dialogue to forget the pains of the past and reach a
reconciliation ending division and humiliation", said the party's
mouthpiece, Ath-Thawra.

In reference to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, which were not named, Ath-Thawra
said its invitation was addressed to "those whom Satan has deviated from the
path of jihad", or holy war.

The two neighbours had "allied themselves with the US-Zionist enemy in
thinking that they could thus break the determination of the Arab world to
struggle for its rights", said Ath-Thawra.

It urged Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, which provide air bases for US and British
warplanes to overfly Iraq, to revise their policies.

"This call does not mean that Iraq is in a position of weakness or that it
needs anyone's help. On the contrary, it is filled with confidence and feels
it has left the crisis behind," Ath-Thawra said.

The Gulf Arab monarchies are to hold their end-of-year summit in Bahrain on
Saturday and Sunday.

Baghdad's ties with the region have vastly improved this year, but Iraq
remains at odds with Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, the emirate that Iraqi forces
occupied between August 1990 and February 1991.


Dubai, December 28 (Reuters): UN officials confirmed that oil exports from
Iraq in the United Nations oil-for-food programme were interrupted again
yesterday but were expected to resume later in the day.

Industry sources had said earlier that exports had been halted with a tanker
at the Gulf port Mina Al Bakr waiting for permission from Baghdad to load.
Weather conditions at the port, one of two permitted for the oil programme,
were good enough to allow loading but the tanker Astro Beta has yet to be
invited to start lifting Iraq's Basrah Light, the sources said.

"It appears exports will resume today because another tanker is about to
berth" at Mina Al Bakr, said a UN official who wished to remain anonymous.
The official was referring to the Astro Beta, which has a valid letter of
credit needed to lift Iraqi oil.

Oil loadings from Mina Al Bakr were halted for the first 12 days of December
and have been slowed in the past week. There have been no December loadings
at the Mediterranean port of Ceyhan, Turkey. In the oil programme, Iraq is
allowed to export oil only through Mina Al Bakr and Ceyhan.

Another tanker, the Moscliff, was at the front of the queue of tankers at
Mina Al Bakr since last Wednesday and finally sailed laden with crude on
Monday, the industry sources said. Oil analysts say the disruption is an
active effort by Baghdad to whittle away at 10-year-old sanctions. Crude
exports from Iraq have limped along from Mina Al Bakr in the past two weeks.

In November, Iraq was exporting about 2.3 million barrels per day (bpd).
That was before the December export disruption that is linked to an oil
pricing row Baghdad is having with the United Nations.

Industry sources said yesterday that Iraq still is demanding of customers a
surcharge above approved UN oil prices. Baghdad has denied it is charging
oil buyers a surcharge that would raise funds for an Iraqi-controlled bank
account, which UN officials say is not allowed under the sanctions.

In the four years of the oil-for-food programme, Iraq has often held up oil
exports to gain leverage in the ongoing debate over UN sanctions.
Top-ranking Iraqi officials will meet next month with UN Secretary-General
Kofi Annan to discuss the sanctions.

The Independent - United Kingdom; Dec 28, 2000
by Harold Pinter

Sir: You invited me to participate in your feature "Heroes & Villains 2000".
For my villain I submitted the following text:

"Tony Blair for Nato's `humanitarian' bombing of Serbia and the murder of
thousands of innocent people (mainly children) in Iraq."

You agreed to publish this. Now I find that you omitted the name Tony Blair.
This was done without any reference to me.

This omission also means that the second part of the sentence is untrue.
Nato is not bombing Iraq nor is it behind the sanctions. The United Kingdom
and the United States are responsible for both.

London W8

People¹s Daily, 29th December

Iraq Friday urged the Arab League (AL) to intervene to halt "the continuous
aggressions" by the United States and Britain, the official Iraqi News
Agency (INA) reported.

In a letter to AL Secretary-General Ahmed Esmat Abdel-Meguid on Friday,
Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohamad Said Al-Sahaf elaborated the continuous
aggressions by the US and British warplanes on December 9-15.

The infringement were aimed at "harming Iraq's sovereignty, territorial
integrity, infrastructure, civilians and civil installations," Sahaf said.

Moreover, "We ask you to demand the Saudi and Kuwaiti governments to stop
their logistic support to the aggressions," he added.

Sahaf accused Saudi Arabia and Kuwait as "full partners" in the U.S. and
British aggressions against Iraq, the INA said.


Istanbul, Reuters, 30th December

The Ceyhan pipeline carrying Iraqi oil to the Turkish port on the
Mediterranean started pumping oil again on Thursday morning, a spokeswoman
for Turkish pipeline company Botas said yesterday.

"The pumping began at 11:00 yesterday at a rate of 3,500 cubic metres per
hour (530,000 barrels per day)," the spokeswoman told Reuters. "The loading
of the first tanker also began at that time and it will be completed this

Iraq stopped exports from Ceyhan at the start of December, insisting that
buyers pay a surcharge which customers said would contravene the terms of
the United Nations oil-for-food programme.

However, enough oil was pumped through the pipeline during December to fill
up the storage tanks at Ceyhan. Industry sources say the first tanker to
load up at Ceyhan is the Amazon Falcon, chartered for Bayoil. "Ceyhan
officials expect more tanker loadings in the days ahead," the Botas
spokeswoman said.

By Rawhi Abeidoh

MANAMA (Reuters, 30th December) - Leaders of six oil-rich Gulf Arab states
on Saturday discussed a plan to set up a rapid deployment force at a summit
overshadowed by their tensions with big neighbors Iran and Iraq.

Delegates at the annual Gulf Cooperation Council summit said the
long-delayed defense plan might be gaining support among the six
member-states, who failed to defend fellow member Kuwait when it was invaded
by Iraq a decade ago.

The delegates said Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Abdullah and Bahraini Emir
Sheikh Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa spoke in favor of boosting joint defense in
separate speeches at the summit.

``Developing a defense capability that can effectively deter any possible
attack on our countries is of vital importance which we must not belittle,''
Crown Prince Abdullah said.

The Saudi-led GCC, which relies on Western powers for their defense, have
spent billions of dollars to strengthen their armies since Iraq's 1990
invasion of Kuwait.

But efforts to boost a small Saudi-based joint force set up in 1986 have so
far failed.

``This calls on all of us to move efficiently and decisively toward raising
the GCC's defense capabilities so that we can confront current and potential
challenges,'' the prince added.

The United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Oman are also in the GCC, which sits on
more than half the world's oil reserves, and their output policies are seen
as crucial to energy prices.


GCC delegates said relations with powerful neighbors Iran and Iraq figured
high on the agenda of the two-day summit which ends on Sunday.

Iran has rejected a GCC mediation bid to resolve a dispute with the UAE over
three strategic Gulf islands, insisting on direct talks, Gulf Arab officials
said earlier on Saturday.

The islands of Abu Musa and the Greater and Lesser Tums are located near key
shipping lanes in the Strait of Harms. They are claimed by both states and
held by Iran.

The officials said Tehran has refused to meet a GCC tripartite ministerial
committee after one of its members spoke in favor of the UAE in the
prolonged dispute.

Prince Abdullah urged Tehran to respond to the GCC initiative ''so that a
valuable opportunity to settle this long-standing dispute is not

The panel was set up in 1999 to try to help Iran and the UAE come to a
settlement, but has yet to produce any result.

The delegates said the GCC was also split on how to deal with Iraq after
Saudi Arabia and Kuwait turned down a proposal by Qatar to soften the
group's strong opposition to lifting the crippling U.N. sanctions imposed on
Iraq for invading Kuwait.

They said that Qatar's initiative, presented at a preparatory foreign
ministers meeting on Friday, was backed by the UAE. Both have repeatedly
called for the lifting of the sanctions.

``The position of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait is that any such softening would
encourage Iraq to continue its procrastination and failure to implement
Security Council resolutions without any preconditions,'' one Saudi official

These resolutions call on Iraq to rid itself of all weapons of mass
destruction, provide compensation to Kuwait and release prisoners of war.

A Saudi delegate said earlier that the Qatari proposal called for a ``Gulf
Arab initiative that would contribute to putting an end to the sufferings of
the brotherly Iraqi people.''


Oil ministers from GCC members and key OPEC (news - web sites) producers
Saudi Arabia and Kuwait were at the summit but it was not immediately clear
if a recent decline in crude prices would be discussed.

``We, in this vital location, which is indispensable to the world, are aware
of our important role in the field of global energy and strategic balance,''
Bahrain's Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa said in an opening speech,
without elaborating.

A recent decline in the price of crude oil has prompted calls from several
OPEC members for output curbs before the second quarter, when seasonal
demand dwindles, to keep prices afloat near the cartel's preferred price of
$25 a barrel.

The GCC was set up in 1981 and it supported Iraq during its 1980-88 war with
non-Arab Iran, ostensibly to prevent Tehran from exporting its Islamic

But the pro-Western GCC states stood against Baghdad when it invaded Kuwait
and took part in a U.S.-led international coalition that ended Iraq's
seven-month-old occupation.

South Nexus (Karnataka, southern India)

KOCHI, Dec 31: Yugoslavia would cross swords with Iraq in the inaugural
match of 'Group 1' in the 16-nation Millennium Super Soccer Cup 2001, in the
Kochi leg scheduled to be played at the Jawaharlal Nehru international
stadium here on January 10.

Chile would take on Bahrain in group 4 while Uzbekistan will clash with
Japan on the same day at Calcutta, All India Football Federation president
Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi told reporters here on Saturday.

The two groups playing in Kochi are Group-1 featuring Yugoslavia, Bosnia,
Iraq and Bangladesh and Group-2 (Uruguay, Iceland, Indonesia and India).

Group-3 matches, to be played at Goa, features Rumania, Cameroon, Jordon and
HongKong while Group-4, playing in Calcutta will have Chile, Uzbekistan,
Japan and Bahrain.

Dasmunsi said the tourney would provide a feast of 32 matches with 12
matches and a quarter final being played here, seven matches including a
quarter-final at Goa and 12 matches including two quarter-finals, two
semi-finals, third-fourth places and the final to be played at Calcutta.

Calcutta's Yuba Bharati Krirangam, one of Asia's largest stadiums with a
seating capacity of 1.20 lakh, would host the inaugural and closing
ceremonies, he said.
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