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Iraqi supplement, 31/12/00=ad6/1/01

IRAQI SUPPLEMENT (31/12/00­6/1/01)

NOTE that, despite the address any complaints should be sent to me (Peter Brooke) at

*  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

*  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 Œre-energise sanctionsı phrase] 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 

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.,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 

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 

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 

*  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 

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.,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 

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 

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:                          
*  UK Deceiving Public Over Iraq Sanctions, Says Ex-UN Coordinator
[a report on the above letter from the Iranian news agency, IRNA]

*  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 

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:
*  Hain stands firm over sanctions on Iraq

*  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 
"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 
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 
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 
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.

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