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IRAQI SUPPLEMENT (31/12/006/1/01) NOTE that, despite the address any complaints should be sent to me (Peter Brooke) at firstname.lastname@example.org. * History Is the Best Proof [an article from the Tehran Times about the recent criticisms of Ayatollah Khomeini made ny his one-time designated successor Hossein Ali-Montazeri. The article is interesting here for what it says, rightly or wrongly, about the role played by the Mojahedin Khalq Organization in the Iraqi attack that launched the Iran-Iraq war] * The great survivor [long Guardian article on the triumph of S.Hussein] * Syria joins Iraq, Iran against Israel [on Bahar Assadıs foreign policy] * 'It is an outrage that you repeat fabricated disinformation' [letter to the Guardian from Graf Hans von Sponeck on Peter Hainıs defence of sanctions] * UK defends Iraq sanctions [Hainıs reply] * Iraq has a rich cultural heritage URL ONLY: http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/uk_politics/newsid_1096000/1096054.stm * Bush faces Iraq dilemma by diplomatic correspondent Barnaby Mason BBC, 1st January [This article is just an attempt to spin some words out of Powellıs re-energise sanctionsı phrase] http://www.tehrantimes.com/Detailview.asp?Keyword=Iraq&Da=12/30/00&Cat=13&Nu m=3 * History Is the Best Proof Tehran Times, December 30, 2000 TEHRAN - The baseless statements against the Founder of the Islamic Republic, the late Imam Khomeini, which were aired on dissident Hossein-Ali Montazeriıs Internet site, were immediately welcomed by the terrorist Mojahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) led by Masoud Rajavi. With regard to Montazeriıs so-called memoir, the grouplet, in a statement from its base in Iraq, called for prosecution of 15 top officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran at international courts. It is not the first time that the friends of President Saddam Hossein in Baghdad exploit counter-revolutionary statements and stage anti-Iranian propaganda. But, the companions of Montazeri have published the memoir with a new objective, which is challenging the late Imam Khomeini and the high place of the Imam among Muslims. Apart from these objectives, the recent developments once again indicate the wisdom of the Imamıs concern over the consequences of Montazeriıs naiveness. The late Imam had time and again warned Montazeri of the penetration of counter revolutionary elements into his home, but unfortunately every time the fact was disclaimed by the dissident and he used to say it is just doubt and wrong information given to the Imam. Today, after 12 years some altered information about the Islamic Republic system is put on the Internet by Montazeri so that this time the enemies openly exploit the so-called documents gathered by the elements around the dissident. The intimidation of those elements, who were a matter of concern for the late Imam, was the best proof of the late Imamıs insight. The plots of those who had gathered around Montazeri, were frustrated by the timely foresightedness of the late Imam. Those who always had enmity against the Imam have been making new plots to challenge his immortal personality. Last year, the editor-in-chief of the monthly Iran-e Farda, which belongs to the Freedom Movement, in an interview with the daily Arya analyzed the roots of the serial murders. He defended Montazeri and made a ballyhoo against the late Imam. He said, ³I believe that the best way to solve the issue of the serial murders is referring to the past and opening the file of the large number of executions of political prisoners in the summer of 1988. All those who participated in the executions should be ousted and put under house arrest. The sentence of house arrest should not be applied only to Montazeri,² he said. As people from all walks of life know, Rajaviıs grouplet launched massive senseless assassinations across the country after declaring armed struggle in 1981, and also created insecurity behind the lines of the war fronts for the countryıs defensive forces during the war against Iraq. When Rajavi could not fulfil his mission inside the country, he left the country and stood beside the Baıath Party and officially aided the Iraqi army with intelligence services to Iraqi forces. A number of the members of this grouplet were arrested in the course of armed assassinations and thanks to Islamic leniency were not executed after trial, though they were doomed to be hanged. After the acceptance of UN Resolution 598 by the late Imam Khomeini, the enemy was confronted with an unexpected event and decided to bring in its last tools and therefore Rajaviıs grouplet equipped with Iraqi military armaments and the massive support of the Iraqi army invaded Iran, martyring a large number of the countryıs border guards and occupying a number of villages and sub-provinces. Simultaneously, prisoners of the grouplet who had not repented launched riots in prisons in coordination with the Baghdad-based terrorists in a attempt to pave the ground for the entry of the aggressor forces into the country. The Western propaganda machinery unleashed massive propaganda operations regarding the advance of the terrorist Monafeqin on to Iranian soil and their capturing western cities of the country. The Western mass media aired news of dissident forces joining the MKO terrorists. Under such circumstances, the late Imam Khomeini ordered that the rioters who insisted on cooperating with the enemy and the policy of assassination should be punished according to Islamic penal codes. The sedition unleashed by the sworn enemies of the countryıs independence was ended with the decisive decision of Imam Khomeini- this resolution disappointed more peaceful ill wishers of the revolution inside the country such as Montazeri. It is not without reason that the two lines confronting the revolution have converged to struggle against the revolutionary personality who predicted many of the seditions and thwarted them with the least expense. Now that the supporters of Mr. Montazeri have adopted the same stand as Rajavi which is defended by the Freedom Movement within the framework of ³political prisoners² it is time to unravel their covert relationships. For some time, certain elements questioned the leadership, the late Imam Khomeini and the revolution in covert form, but have now found the conditions favorable for presenting their beliefs in overt but gradual manner, targeting the bubbling fount of the revolution, that is the thought of Imam Khomeini. What is being done in the name of Mr. Montazeri and in his presence provides an opportunity for him to see the truth about interlopers in his rank as pointed out by Imam Khomeini. http://www.guardianunlimited.co.uk/g2/story/0,3604,417194,00.html * The great survivor by Brian Whitaker Guardian, Wednesday January 3, 2001 Holding a rifle in one hand and a cigar in the other, Saddam Hussein fired into the air, a signal to the world that he is back - with a bang. The puffs of tobacco and gun smoke from the presidential reviewing stand on Sunday marked the start of a military parade, the likes of which Iraq has not seen for more than 10 years. Jet fighters flew in formation and helicopter gunships hovered over central Baghdad. More than 1,000 Russian-made tanks, together with artillery and surface-to-surface and anti aircraft missiles, rumbled through Grand Festivities Square in a four-hour march-past. It could almost have been a flashback to the old days of the Soviet Union, with the Iraqi leader in period costume: blue three-piece suit and black, wide-brimmed hat. But among the uniformed naval, infantry and paramilitary units on parade there was, perhaps, a sign of things to come: white-hooded figures with only their eyes showing - allegedly volunteers for martyrdom in the struggle against Israel. To one side, a giant poster showed Iraqi horses trampling an Israeli flag in front of the Dome of the Rock, with Saddam looking on, god-like, from the sky. By January 16, the 10th anniversary of what the west calls Desert Storm and what Iraq calls the Mother of Battles, Saddam will have seen off four American presidents: Carter, Reagan, Bush Sr and Clinton. It was supposed to be the other way round. Getting rid of Saddam has been official US policy for years and, by any normal standards, it should have succeeded long ago. The devastating war over Kuwait came hot on the heels of a bloody eight-year conflict with Iran, and the damage continues through sanctions and America-British bombing of the no-fly zones. Throughout Saddamıs 20-year rule, Iraqis have known only four years without war or sanctions. That would be enough to bring down most leaders, and yet as the familiar faces of the US administration that tried to destroy him return to Washington, Saddam will be strutting across their TV screens, ready to needle them once more. Itıs not surprising that he looked pleased with himself during Sundayıs parade: it was a firm reminder to the world that he has pulled off one of the most remarkable feats of political survival in modern times. There was a moment, in 1991, when he seemed about to fall, but his forces bounced back from their humiliation in Kuwait, crushing revolts in the Kurdish north and the Shiıite south of Iraq. Two years ago, President Clinton signed the Iraqi Liberation Act, which made available 58m to opponents of the Baghdad regime. Since then, the problem has been how to spend the money. The opposition Iraqi National Congress (INC) has made little headway since 1996, when Saddam wiped out its power base in northern Iraq, under the noses of the Americans. Fortuitously, this provided a morale-boosting victory for the Iraqi army just as it was beginning to show signs of disaffection with the regime. The INC, which includes Kurdish, monarchist, Islamist and independent elements, has been beset by internal squabbles and the Americans have never been totally happy with its leader, Dr Ahmed Chalabi, who was once at the centre of a banking scandal in Jordan. More direct forms of insurrection, meanwhile, have so far failed. It is virtually impossible to organise a successful coup, according to one opposition leader. ³The moment you get three people involved they all tell Saddam about it,² he said. ³Thatıs because each one knows that if he doesnıt tell Saddam, the other two will.² The money donated to the opposition is nothing compared with the cost of policing the no fly zones, where 450 tonnes of bombs have been dropped in the past two years, mainly by the Americans. In total, Britain has spent 800m on maintaining the no-fly zones, while the American presence - 200 aircraft, 19 warships and 22,000 personnel - has been costing around $1bn a year. Although this containment policy may have helped to keep Iraq in check, Saddam has effectively discredited it by highlighting the deaths of innocent shepherds and other civilians caused by the bombing. Two recent events have contributed to Saddamıs newfound buoyancy. One was the arrival in Baghdad of a hijacked Saudi airliner in October. It might have been the cue for a confrontation, reminiscent of the human shield crisis of 1990, but that didnıt suit Iraqıs new international image. All the passengers were released unharmed and kindly sent on their way, allowing Saddam to bask for a few days in the unfamiliar glow of international adulation. In Israel and the occupied territories, meanwhile, the gathering uprising triggered by Ariel Sharonıs visit to Jeruselemıs Temple Mount was doing more for Saddamıs popularity in the region than any PR campaign could. While political realities force other leaders - in Egypt and Jordan, for example - to take a more cautious stance, much to the frustration of public opinion, Saddam is free to increase his stature through ostentatious preparations for an imaginary battle. Bad news from Israel is good news for Saddam. It is largely because of Israel that Iraq is now back in the Arab fold. The Arab League summit, last October, needed to show unity in its support for the Palestinians and had no option but to invite Iraq - for the first time since the invasion of Kuwait. Saddam has also pledged $881m from oil revenues to support the Palestinian uprising. Some of this is going to the families of dead Palestinians, in lump sums of several thousand dollars. Sundayıs military parade followed a Christmas message in which Saddam called on Christians, as well as Muslims, to take ³the path of jihad, without which we cannot attain our aspirations of establishing right, justice and peace and delivering humanity from the evils of aggressors, criminal killers². More than six million Iraqis, including two million women, have already signed up for the struggle to ³put an end to Zionism². Nobody dares to ask how, exactly, this will be achieved. For the moment it is, almost certainly, a fantasy to please the masses. Today, the official picture from Baghdad looks brighter than at any time in the past 10 years. Thinly-disguised ³humanitarian² flights from abroad arrive almost daily, Iraqi Airways is operating again (even in the no-fly zones) and oil production has recovered to pre-war levels. Ordinary Iraqis can see changes, too. Food rations are up, power cuts are less severe, drinking water and sewage services are slowly improving. We hear less now about the malnutrition, the lack of medicines and the dying children. Those problems are still there - Iraqıs health ministry blamed sanctions for more than 10,000 deaths last month - but Saddamıs message has changed: it is no longer that sanctions are a disaster, but that they are so full of holes we might as well abandon them. Resistance to sanctions takes two forms. One is simply to flout them, though some of this illicit trade is stopped by patrols in the Gulf. But despite seizures, supporters of the regime still manage to acquire new cars or the latest computers. One London-based Iraqi recently brought back a much-coveted PlayStation2 for his son from Baghdad: ³Itıs cheaper there, and thereıs no waiting list,² he said. At another level, there are what the Americans describe as Iraqıs ³salami tactics² - picking at weak points in the rules of sanctions, preferably in ways that cause disagreement between the US and other countries. For example: what, precisely, makes a flight to Baghdad ³humanitarian²? In a region where political symbolism is often valued more than hard facts, Saddamıs defiant stance against sanctions plays well to the masses. It has certainly embarrassed the west, but it is largely theatre - like the missiles on display last weekend which looked menacing enough but which actually had ranges under 150 kilometres and therefore complied fully with UN arms-control restrictions. While Iraq continues to protest about sanctions, it shows no willingness to end them on the UNıs current terms. But as Britain and the UN have been making conciliatory noises about sanctions, many Arabs believe George W Bush will feel compelled to adopt the hard line his father took. Colin Powell, the new Secretary of State, who was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Bush pere, declared immediately after his nomination that he hoped to ³re energise² sanctions. Bush himself has said that he wants sanctions to be tougher - an idea that many experts dismiss as unrealistic. Meanwhile, there is still no sign of repentance or regret from Baghdad over the invasion of Kuwait. Iraqi soldiers are currently being paid to write short memoirs for inclusion in a book to mark the 10th anniversary of the Mother of Battles. Sanctions may not have achieved their goals, but there is little doubt that Saddamıs campaign against them has kept him out of serious mischief. In his battle with the Security Council he needs international support and, so long as that battle continues, he is not going to risk losing support through military adventures. Once sanctions have gone, it may be a different matter. Even if Iraq meets the weapons inspection criteria, there will be little to stop it re-arming. Intelligence sources suggest that Iraqıs nuclear programme is continuing and that it may be between five and 10 years from developing a usable nuclear weapon. Saddam still hankers after leadership of the Arab world, and the history of his rule suggests that he sees only one route to achieving that and to ensuring the survival of his regime: through conflict. http://www.vny.com/cf/News/upidetail.cfm?QID=149556 * Syria joins Iraq, Iran against Israel by MARTIN SIEFF, UPI Senior News Analyst WASHINGTON, Jan. 4 (UPI) -- Be careful what you wish for. You might get it. For years, if not decades, many U.S. and Israeli foreign policy columnists regularly lamented that only the "lack of vision" -- or courage, or anything you want to imagine -- of Syrian President Hafez Assad was preventing Syria taking the "historic opportunity" of making peace with Israel. Last year, tough old Assad, who had held Syria in an iron grip for a full 30 years, finally died, to be succeeded by his mild-mannered, Western-educated son Bashar, an eye-doctor by profession and an enthusiastic exponent of the economic wonders of the Internet. Surely, progressive, forward-looking young Bashar, so many of the Western experts and columnists said, would abandon the repressive, paranoid old ways of his father and lead his country out into a bold new era of engagement with the outside world. And indeed, he has. But not the way they expected. Bashar has launched a new era of Syrian foreign policy all right, but one that is on a collision course for war, not peace, with Israel; for confrontation, not engagement, with the United States; and for close military cooperation with Saddam Hussein in neighboring Iraq, not rejection of him. Commercial air links are being resumed between Damascus and Baghdad for the first time in nearly 20 years. Iraq has responded by giving Iran permission to over-fly its territory when sending air shipments of arms and ammunition to the Iran and Syrian-backed Hezbollah (Party of God) Shiite militia in southern Lebanon. Bashar, Middle East intelligence sources told UPI, played the key role in brokering this agreement. They also said that Bashar is working hard to achieve a rapprochement between historic enemies Iraq and Iran. Between 1980 and 1988 they fought the bloodiest war in modern Middle East history in which half a million people, at least three-quarters of them Iranians, died. Bashar has even given the go-ahead for close military cooperation with Iraq. This involves, the sources said, joint planning for a coordinated response in the event of war with Israel. Iraq has moved one of its few and precious armored division in recent weeks to the border with Syria, not to threaten Syria, but to be able to respond quickly in support of Damascus if hostilities erupt between Syria and the Jewish state. Late last year, Syria and Iraq, with no publicity, held joint military maneuvers, the first in their modern history. The new spirit of cooperation extends to economic affairs as well. Iraq and Syria hope this month or next to reopen a major oil pipeline from the northern Iraqi oil fields through Syrian territory to the Lebanese Mediterranean port of Tripoli. It has not been used since 1982. Already, Syrian and Iraqi technicians are at work on the pipeline. In fact, Iraqi oil is already being refined in the Syrian city of Banias, the Middle East sources said. Bashar, one of the Middle East intelligence sources said, "has definitely embraced" a radically new concept for Syria. He has clearly approved a new strategic doctrine of cooperation with Iraq, Syria's historic regional rival, as well as with Iran, to create a powerful regional block of Iran, Iraq and Syria opposed to Israel and the United States. This move is a radical reversal of the cautious policies of Bashar's father for a full 30 years. Hafez Assad fought two fierce wars with Israel within six years. First, he directed Syrian forces in the 1967 Six day War, when he was Syria's minister of defense. Then, as president, he launched the 1973 Yom Kippur War, when his tough, massive tank army caught the Israelis by surprise and nearly swept them off the Golan Heights and across the Galillee to the Mediterranean before being held and rolled back. But after that, Assad followed a policy of more than 25 years of trying to avoid any outright direct conflict with the Israeli Army. Since the 1975 Israeli-Syrian disengagement agreement, not a single Israeli soldier or settler on Golan has been killed by direct Syrian action. In fact, Hafez Assad's greatest enemies were two fellow revolutionary Arab leaders of his own generation, Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat and President Saddam Hussein of neighboring Iraq. Syria and Iraq have always been rivals for the leadership of the Arab world, especially in the Fertile Crescent region they share. But ideological rivalries over the past 40 years have made things far worse. Both Saddam and Hafez Assad claimed to preside over the only true, ideologically pure regime of Baathism, or Arab Socialism. Hafez Assad always deeply distrusted and feared Saddam. Iraq has almost double Syria's population and vast oil wealth. When the United States mobilized a vast coalition and assembled a huge army of 700,000 men to roll Iraq out off Kuwait in the 1991 Gulf War, Hafez Assad joined them. Reversing this historic policy carries enormous risks for Bashar Assad. But it has major attractions to him as well. The main risks are that he could blunder into a major war with israel and that this time, unlike 1967 and 1973, Syria could be totally smashed. Then Bashar's Baathist regime, dominated by the Assad family's own Alawi religious sect concentrated around the mountainous western Syrian city of Latakia, could be swept from power. Or, by allowing the Iraqi military and security services to operate freely in Syria -- a policy that was anathema to his father -- Bashar could leave himself vulnerable to being toppled and killed in a coup plot orchestrated by Saddam. But with all its risks, the policy of strategic alliance with Iraq also has many advantages for Bashar. It is popular with the hawkish Alawite Baathists who dominate Syria's army and security services. They are filled with frustration at their inability to win a chance for military revenge against Israel, Middle East intelligence source say. And they are strongly supportive of this policy. Also, having been raised from childhood on the radical, anti-American ideology of Baathism, they want to expel the United States and its allies from the region, not come to terms with them. A strong anti-U.S. and anti-Israel policy is also popular with Syria's Sunni Muslim majority, especially the radical fundamentalists among them. Hafez Assad slaughtered at least 10,000 of these people - possibly as many as 30,000 -- along with their families in 1982 when he used tanks and heavy artillery to literally flatten the city of Hama when it was in a state of insurrection, controlled by the Ikhwan, or Muslim Brotherhood. Now Bashar, like his father before him, must take especial pains not to offend Muslim religious leaders, especially radical ones, to avoid reopening that deadly old feud. Finally, the policy of going radical and lining up with Saddam is also popular with Iran, which now fears the United States far more than it fears Iraq. It is also welcome to Hezbollah. If Bashar instead had sought peace with Israel and closer ties with the United States, he would have risked being undermined, or even assassinated by Hezbollah and the Iranians. In many respects, Bashar's policy is a product of weakness, not strength. Hafez Assad was strong enough to keep Saddam at arms length. Bashar is not. Hafez was strong enough to resist calls for a more radical, but risky policy towards Israel from his own generals and security chiefs. The young, inexperienced Bashar cannot afford to alienate them. Hafez could defy Iran on occasion. Bashar does not yet dare to. For decades, U.S. and Israel analysts complained about Hafez Assad's supposedly baleful influence in the Middle East. Very soon, they may have cause to wish it was still there. http://www.guardianunlimited.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,417598,00.html * 'It is an outrage that you repeat fabricated disinformation' Letter to the Guardian from Graf Hans von Sponeck Thursday January 4, 2001 As the Bush administration prepares for power, the UN policy of sanctions against Baghdad, introduced 10 years ago, must be one of the first areas to claim its attention. A former senior UN official writes an open letter to Britain's minister with responsibility for Iraq, Peter Hain, a leading voice in defence of a policy now widely seen as ineffective and immoral Dear Minister Hain, 17 December 2000 was the first anniversary of UN Resolution 1284. This resolution was offered by the UN security council last year as a step forward in resolving outstanding disarmament, and arms monitoring issues as a precondition for the suspension of comprehensive economic sanctions against Iraq. As many feared, including myself, this resolution was a still-born creation. For this neither the British nor the Iraqi governments but rather the people of Iraq continue to pay dearly and daily. The European public is increasingly unwilling to accept such a policy. There is deep concern because of the suffering of innocent civilians and the irrefutable evidence of violations of international law by the UN security council. Without a transparent political agenda and a determined end to contaminating information, I do not see an end to this costly human tragedy in Iraq. Your speech of 7 November at Chatham House has not helped in this regard. Let me single out nine specific points of what you have said: "Our air crews risk their lives patrolling the skies above southern Iraq." The public does not know that you do this without a mandate by the UN security council. It is in your hands to stop endangering your pilots by withdrawing them from Iraqi skies. It angered your office that I introduced air-strike reporting for 1999 while serving in Iraq. I did so as the UN secretary general's designated official for security because of the dangers for the security of a highly mobile team of UN observers travelling daily on the roads of Iraq. The report showed that out of 132 incidents, UN staff was witness to such air strikes on 28 occasions. The public does not know that in the very areas you established as 'no-fly zones' to protect the population living there, 144 civilians died and 446 were wounded by UK/US airforces. The FCO classified these reports as [³?]Iraqi propaganda with a UN imprimatur" even though much of it was collected and verified by UN staff travelling in the areas at the time of the strikes. "Our sailors are involved in activities to curb the illegal export of Iraqi oil." This is known. You are silent, as you have been in all your statements, about the UK condoned export of illegal oil from Iraq into Turkey. Your silence is understandable albeit not acceptable if you want the full story to be known. US/UK concurrence to this illegal export of oil is in exchange for Turkish government agreement to the use of Incirlik airbase in south-eastern Anatolia for allied sorties into the northern no-fly zone of Iraq. "I firmly believe that he (President of Iraq) remains determined to develop his nuclear, chemical and biological weapons capacity." You offer no evidence. What I in turn 'firmly believe' is that you want to keep a picture of Iraq alive even though it no longer reflects the realities on the ground. This is not surprising. Without it the case for sanctions would be over. I remind [you] here of what former Unscom chief weapons inspector Scott Ritter recently said: "There is absolutely no reason to believe that Iraq could have meaningfully reconstituted any element of its WMB capabilities in the past 18 months." Around the same time, Dr Blix, executive chairman of Unmovic, answered the question whether there was any indication that Iraq was trying to rearm. "No, I do not think you can say this. We have nothing to substantiate this." Iraq resolution 1284 "represents the collective will of the Security Council and has the full force of International Law." You know how deceptive this assertion is. Three out of five permanent members and Malaysia did not support this resolution. Yes, security council decisions constitute international law. This puts a formidable responsibility on the shoulders of the UN security council. You are aware, no doubt, of the increasing numbers of serious objections by international legal experts to the continued application of these laws. The evidence is overwhelming that after ten years of sanctions these 'acts' have become illegal. (UN) "resolution 1284 removed the ceiling on the amount of oil Iraq is allowed to export." This is a political ploy. Your government knows well from annual UN reports on the state of the Iraqi oil industry that Iraq cannot pump more oil unless the UN security council allows a complete overhaul of the oil industry. You mention "recent increases' in (oil) production." Why do you do this when you know that the Iraqi oil output has not increased at all but exports have fluctuated around 2.2m barrels per day? "With this large amount of revenue available, one cannot help but ask why we still see pictures of malnourished and sick children?" My first reaction to this tendentious statement is to ask whether your officials ever show you UN documents? Unicef has repeatedly pointed out that this reality is only going to change when the sanctions regime is once again replaced by a normally functioning economy. Let me add that more often than not, it is the blocking of contracts by the US/UK which has created immense problems in implementing the oil-for-food programme. The present volume of blocked items amounts to $2.3bn the highest ever. "It is an outrage that the Iraqi government wilfully denies food and medicine...". Please forgive me if I say that it is an outrage that against your better knowledge you repeat again and again truly fabricated and self-serving disinformation. Why do you ignore UN stock reports which give you the monthly distribution situation and which, verified by UN observers, show for food, medicines and other humanitarian supplies an average of over 90% distributed per month? "Contrast the situation with northern Iraq where the same sanctions apply but Saddam's writ does not run." This statement is correct. The Kurdish areas are indeed doing better. I am distressed, however, about the false impression you create with the simplistic causality you offer. A fair comparison would mention that i) the Kurdish population received 19.4% of the oil revenue, i.e. a disproportionately higher amount than the population in central/southern Iraq; ii) sanctions are regularly broken in northern Iraq; iii) there is extensive cross-border trade with Turkey and therefore good income earning opportunities; iv) the UN security council does not block many contracts benefiting the Kurdish areas; v) the climatic conditions in the hilly areas of the north are more favourable. Why are you, Minister, not mentioning these factors? "... there are those who are undermining sanctions and challenging the authority of the UN." Yes, this is true, and it includes me. Do accept, Minister Hain, that I do so with the utmost discomfort. I am fully aware that this weakens the very machinery which has been set up to deal with conflicts like this one. However, I see no other alternative when the fundamentals of human rights and international law are applied in a biased and lopsided manner. The human rights coin has two sides, Minister. Lawlessness of one kind does not justify lawlessness of another kind! This has grave consequences not only for the suffering of the Iraqi people but also for the importance we should ascribe in Europe to the laws earlier governments have helped to create. The FCO should carefully study the deposition of Professor Bossuyt to the Human Rights Commission in June 2000. It provides comprehensive legal arguments by a large group of jurists of the serious violation of international law by the UN security council in which the UK has always played such an important role. Let me end by saying, the Iraq file cannot be handled objectively and in the interest of the people of Iraq unless the hidden agenda disappears. When this happens then but only then does this sentence in the closing paragraph of your Chatham House speech get the value it deserves. " We support human rights, transparency and accountability for other people because [these are?] the values we demand for ourselves!" Yes, this is how it should be, Minister! Yours Sincerely H.C. Graf Sponeck Former Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq Geneva, December 2000 URL ONLY: http://www.irna.com/newshtm/eng/15152452.htm * UK Deceiving Public Over Iraq Sanctions, Says Ex-UN Coordinator [a report on the above letter from the Iranian news agency, IRNA] http://news.ft.com/ft/gx.cgi/ftc?pagename=View&c=Article&cid=FT36Q2C9MHC&live=true&tagid=ZZZINS5VA0C&subheading=middle%20east%20and%20africa * UK defends Iraq sanctions by Andrew Parker in London Fiunancial Times, 5th January Britain on Friday branded critics of United Nations economic and military sanctions against Iraq as "apologists" for Saddam Hussein, the country's president. The UK government claimed opponents of the sanctions had failed to offer an alternative way of getting UN weapons inspectors back into Iraq. France, wants changes to the sanctions introduced in 1990 after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. Last year it sent a civilian flight to Baghdad without UN approval. On Friday, Hans von Sponeck, a former UN humanitarian co-ordinator for Iraq, attacked Britain for supporting the sanctions. He said they were causing misery for the Iraqi people. Peter Hain, the British foreign minister responsible for Iraq issues, said: "What I think is very interesting about the Hans von Sponecks of this world, and many others, is they put themselves in the position of becoming effective fellow travellers and apologists for the maintenance of the Iraqi regime's brutal rule under Saddam Hussein. They do not have a clear alternative." Mr Hain said if Mr Saddam allowed the weapons inspectors back into Iraq then, in accordance UN security council resolution 1284, the sanctions could be lifted within 180 days. He also defended the no-fly zones in the north and south of Iraq that are patrolled by US and UK military aircraft, after Mr von Sponeck said 144 civilians had died and 446 wounded. Mr von Sponeck said the Iraq government "don't want to give in to a return of arms inspectors unless sanctions are lifted immediately". "This is the deadlock," said Mr von Sponeck. "The price for that deadlock is paid by the Iraqi people. The alternative clearly is to continue with an arms inspection but lift the economic sanctions so that Iraqis can begin to live a normal life. "Delink the two. Right now in resolution 1284 you are linking economic sanctions with the disarmament compliance. This has turned out over many years to be unrealistic because nothing has changed." A French foreign ministry spokesman said the sanctions regime was "not satisfactory". "There are a lot of things which tend to indicate that maintaining the present situation without making moves is putting us more and more each month in a kind of dead end," said the spokesman. "The situation is that sanctions are maintained without a prospect of evolution, whatever Iraq may do or not do. We think the regime should evolve." The spokesman said there was a shift in attitude towards Iraq in the Middle East. He said: "The basis of all that is the understanding that maintaining sanctions just for the purpose of maintaining them is probably driving us towards a situation which will only worsen, which is not a solution." URL ONLY for Daily Trelegraph version of this story: http://www.telegraph.co.uk:80/et?ac=000579381554028&rtmo=qxpMM9X9&atmo=99999999&pg=/et/01/1/5/wirq05.html * Hain stands firm over sanctions on Iraq http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/middle_east/newsid_1102000/1102547.stm * Iraq has a rich cultural heritage by Barbara Plett in Baghdad BBC, 5th January In every spacious hallway and under every sweeping arch, workers are chipping damaged plaster off the walls of Baghdad's old post office. On the ground floor, a bank of rusting postal boxes waits for a new life - this once grand building is being restored and turned into a museum. "Heritage sites like this one are important because they show the old civilisation of Iraq," says the contractor Soran Najjad Omar, stepping carefully so as not to get chalky dust on his shiny grey suit. "This post office will look like it did in 1907. The style is beautiful, it's far better than the current fashion in architecture, and the construction is also more sound," he said. Most of the buildings in old Baghdad date back to the Ottoman period around 150 years ago, their finely crafted exteriors a stark contrast to the soulless Soviet-style apartment blocks that started taking over in the 1970s and 80s. Restoration work had slowed almost to a stop because of wars and UN sanctions, but it has started to recover recently. Baghdad has also revived efforts to preserve and protect its ancient heritage, which is a much bigger job. Hundreds of kilometres south of Iraq, archaeologists carefully scrape away rock and sand covering the remains of a 5,000-year-old city - so far they've found the remains of a temple, a palace and a cemetery. It's 60 degrees, there's no shade, and the incessant wind is like the breath of a dragon, but these hardy workers are not only exploring the past, they're protecting it. Sites like these were looted during the chaos after the 1991 Gulf war and the years of poverty that followed. Four thousand artefacts were also stolen from regional museums, some by organised smuggling rackets. For the most part, the department of antiquities watched helplessly, until it decided recently that it must try a new approach. "We tried all kinds of protection, but the best idea was to go by ourselves, and be here to protect the sites with our own guards, with the workers working here," says archaeologist Donny George. "This proved to be 100% perfect because since we came here, nothing has been lost from these cities." Over the past two years, archaeologists have begun excavations at 21 threatened sites. This is only part of a plan to resurrect Iraq's rich heritage, a history of civilisations that range from the ancient Sumerian to the medieval Islamic. This year Baghdad re-opened the national Iraq Museum for the first time since the Gulf War. Its precious artefacts were hidden for most of the past decade to protect them from theft or destruction. Now the collection is back on display, including a prehistoric skeleton, statues of gods, and superb Assyrian stone reliefs that impress a class of visiting school girls. "I really liked the Assyrian artefacts," says 12-year-old Marwa Salah, "especially the carvings of the flowers. They were holy symbols, which the people used to decorate their dresses, and even to wear on their wrists like a watch." Restoring Iraq's past is a presidential priority. Saddam Hussein issued a decree several years ago to get the work back on track. He even allocated a budget, although no one can say how much or where the money comes from. Iraq has since recovered thousands of stolen pieces with the help of neighbouring Jordan. "We are working, excavating and making restoration projects," says Donny George. "The Iraq museum is now open, and the regional museums are opening up too." The task is still enormous: Iraq has some 10,000 archaeological sites and an official protection force of 2,000. It's impossible to say how much Baghdad has lost and may never recover. Recent efforts though are restoring not only the sites but a sense of national pride, and have increased Iraq's determination to some day finish the job. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email email@example.com Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website: http://www.casi.org.uk