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News, 14-21/1/01

NEWS, 14-21/1/01

The items I found interesting here were the harrassment of the Iraqi
fishermen, the notion that Iraq might save the West¹s bacon when OPEC cuts
its oil production and Benon Sevan¹s criticism of Iraqi purchasing policy (I
haven¹t investigated the question but the figures he gives are pretty
surprising). The items I didn¹t find interesting including Uday reasserting
the claim over Kuwait and Saddam, in imitation of Gadaffy a few years back,
offering to give lots of money to poor Americans. Some good anti-sanctions
agitations. There are also supplements on Iraq (general discussion articles
swoillen this week by lots of rather amnaesiac reminiscence of the beginning
of the Gulf War), the ongoing depleted uranium saga, and general matters of
the New World Order aka US foreign policy.

*  Saudi firm to start direct exports to Iraq
*  Iraq says oil exports will soon return to 2 million barrels a day [press
conference by Iraqi oil minister, Amer Mohammed Rashid]
*  Iraq will not let U.N. inspectors return, minister says
*  Iraq: U.S. attempting to 'cover the truth' with missing Gulf War pilot
*  Egyptian FM Rejects "Indefinite" U.N.-Imposed Sanctions on Iraq
*  Iraqi fishermen say they [are] harassed by Iran, Kuwait
*  Iraqi oil smuggled out on train via Syria
*  Saudi, Iraqi ministers discuss upcoming haj plans
*  Iran Group Claims Mortar Attack [in Teheran by Iraqi based Mujahedeen
*  [Indian] PM writes to Saddam [Œconveying India's interest in the
reconstruction of Iraq¹]
*  Aziz Finds Friendly Audience [in US activists]
*  Iraq gives $9m to intifada [actually 900m, though not clear that its
actually or will actually change hands. PLO rep in Baghdad to discuss
 *  Iraqi Feb Kirkuk oil prices approved by U.N
*  British oil firms in talks with Iraq
*  'Stop the war' with Iraq, Canadian churches urge
*  Water and sanitation kills Iraqis: British activists [Voices in the
Wilderness visit to Iraq]
*  Minister says Iraq has right to sell oil freely
*  London traffic stopped by Iraq sanctions demo
*  Hunt supporters sanction rival protest
*  Aziz blames West for Gulf War [Extract giving account of Voices protest
in NY]
*  Syrian mediation between Iraq and the Arab Gulf states
*  Iraq denies mediation for reconciliation with Saudi Arabia
*  Jordan forms committee for building oil pipeline from Iraq
*  Australian Government Urged to Change Policy Towards Iraq [by group
including ex-PM, Malcolm Fraser]
*  Baghdad lavishes riches on elite [short article has a bit more nuance
than the headline]
*  US air strike in southern Iraq
*  End To U.N. Sanctions Sought [Fellowship of Reconciliation in New York
targetting Richard Holbrooke]
*  Britain promises flexibility on Iraq inspections [Hain trying to sound
reasonable. Unfortunately the Iraqi experience of weapons inspectors from
1991 to 1998 argues against him]
*  Palestinians march for Iraq on Gulf War anniversary
*  Hussein Calls for Arab Unity [account of SH¹s 10th anniversary TV speech]
*  UN Complains Iraq Neglecting Health, Oil Sectors [Report from Benon Sevan
criticising Iraqi purchasing policy]
*  Saddam may hold the key to West's prosperity [by making up the gap
created when OPEC reduces its oil quotas]
*  Egyptian - Iraqi relations beyond diplomatic representation [and related
*  Iraq shoots self in foot again [Uday reasserting claim to Kuwait and
reaction among Arab and Gulf states. With related URLs]
*  Some 11,000 Iraqis die in December, 2000 of the siege
*  Vietnam flouts Iraq air embargo
*  Iraq, Kurds still in dialogue despite break: Baghdad
*  Dr. Barham Salih becomes the new Prime Minister of the PUK-controlled
region of Southern Kurdistan
*  Iraq Says Airstrike Kills Six
*  Israel investigates its envoy in Atlanta for alleged Iraqi link [He is
accused of having an Iraqi friend, a very serious offence, it appears]
*  Iraq seeks UN permission to aid 'wretched Americans'

*  Saddam's vicious sons to fight it out
by Niles Lathem
New York Post,January 14,2001
*  Call to end Iraq sanctions
BBC, 16th January
[Account of BBC interview with Tony Benn. Also starring Peter Hain and the
Kuwaiti ambassador to London. Summary of well established positions]
*  Iraq Marks Gulf War with Eye on New U.S. Leader
by Nadim Ladki (Reuters, 17th January)
[Account of Baghdad rally attended by Ramsey Clark¹s International Action
*  Wheat export to Baghdad, Kabul, Tehran targetted
by Aamir Shafaat Khan
Dawn (Pakistan) 19th January

Times of India, 14th January

RIYADH (AFP): A Saudi transport firm signed a contract with Iraq for direct
exports through a border crossing to the sanctions-hit state, the company
said onSaturday.

Khaled bin Ibrahim al-Namlah, managing director of the Saudi Land Transport
Co., told AFP the contract was signed with Iraq's General Land Transport Co.
in the United Arab Emirates earlier this week.

The Arar border crossing would be used and the service launched in a month's
time after agreements have been sealed with Saudi exporters, he said.

He said his company would not handle Iraq-bound goods in transit.

A Saudi official said in November that the kingdom was awaiting a green
light from the United Nations to reopen Arar to ease the entry of
humanitarian goods to Iraq.

"The opening of the border crossing also needs the designation of a UN agent
to oversee that the products in question fall under the oil-for-food
programme," said Abdul Rahman bin Abdullah al-Zamel, head of a centre for
promoting Saudi exports.

Zamel put the figure of exports from Saudi private companies transited
through Jordan under the programme at "more than 400 million dollars."


CNN, January 14, 2001

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- Iraq's oil exports, which fell sharply last month amid
a dispute with the United Nations, are expected to reach 2 million barrels a
day by the end of January, close to previous levels, the country's oil
minister said Sunday.

Amer Mohammed Rashid also called for OPEC to cut its output by 2 million
barrels a day at its meeting this Wednesday to help reduce what he called an
oversupply in the international market.

In a wide-ranging news conference, Rashid expressed frustration at the U.N.
sanctions committee that has repeatedly delayed approval of contracts for
spare parts and other supplies Iraq needs to rehabilitate its oil industry.

Despite a decade of sanctions, Iraq has been producing at close to the same
level as before the 1991 Gulf War. The country was exporting 2.3 million
barrels of oil a day in the latter part of 2000.

But Iraq slashed exports to just 600,000 barrels a day in December due to a
dispute over pricing with the United Nations, which regulates Iraqi exports.
Rashid said Iraq would soon overcome this hiccup.

"We will come back to 2 million (barrels a day) at the end of January,"
Rashid said. He also described the recent slowdown in exports through the
Turkish port of Ceyhan as a "temporary interruption due to the holidays" at
the end of December.

The United Nations has lifted the ceiling on Iraq's oil exports and the
country sold more than $16 billion worth of oil last year, roughly what it
earned annually before the war.


"There is absolutely no hope for this program to succeed, even with good
faith," said Rashid, who accused the United States and its allies of seeking
to undermine Iraq's efforts to rebuild its economy. "Contracts over two
years old are still on hold."

Iraq is a member of OPEC, but due to Iraq's current economic state, it
operates independently and does not take part when OPEC raises or lowers its
output quotas.

Still, Iraq's output is large enough to influence world oil prices.

OPEC increased oil output four times last year, helping drive down prices
that had peaked around $35 a barrel. The United States and other major oil
consuming nations are urging OPEC to make only a moderate cut in production
this week, not the 2 million barrels that Iraq is seeking.

On other issues, Rashid said:

-- Iraq total oil production, for both exports and domestic use, averaged
around 3 million barrels a day last year, and the target this year is 3.5
million barrels, Rashid said. He said Iraq could pump up to 4 million
barrels a day, but needs spare parts to reach full capacity.

-- Iraq's oil export pipeline to Syria, which has been out of operation for
nearly two decades, is in the "final phase of repairs and testing." He did
not give a date when it would be formally reopened.

-- When asked about Iraq oil smuggling through neighboring states such as
Syria and Turkey, Rashid said his country was free to engage in trade with
its neighbors despite the U.N. program that calls for the sanctions
committee to approve all oil contracts.


CNN, January 14, 2001

BAGHDAD, Iraq (Reuters) -- Iraq said on Sunday it would not allow U.N.
weapons inspectors to return to the country, as Baghdad and the United
Nations prepare for high level talks next month.

Oil Minister Amir Muhammed Rasheed reiterated Iraq's dismissal of a U.N.
resolution adopted in December 1999 which calls for the suspension of
sanctions against Baghdad if it allows weapons inspectors to return.

"It is a complete failure and we will never deal with it and it is totally
impractical," Rasheed told a news conference marking the 10th anniversary of
the start of the Gulf War on January 17, 1991.

He said the resolution had removed Iraq "from a long tunnel where we started
to see light, and put us in a new tunnel with new procedures and without an

Rasheed also criticized the country's oil-for-food deal with the United
Nations, saying it was too difficult to implement.

"You cannot run a country of 23 million people with revenues of $16 to 20
billion," under the direction of the Security Council, Rasheed said.

The oil pact allows Iraq to sell unlimited quantities of oil over six months
to buy food, medicine and other humanitarian supplies for Iraqis hard
pressed by sanctions.

"We have to accept it... until people in the Security Council realize it is
high time that sanctions should be lifted," he said.


CNN, January 14, 2001


Details divulged from 1995 crash search

Iraq on Sunday also divulged details of a 1995 search of its western desert,
where the crash occurred.

U.S. crash site specialists from the Defense Department, working with the
International Committee of the Red Cross, entered Iraq with President Saddam
Hussein's permission.

The 11-member U.S. and Red Cross team found the wreckage from Speicher's
aircraft and reported there had been previous digging at the site.

Clinton administration officials told CNN the Red Cross team was able to
retrieve the plane's flight data recorder from Bedouin Arabs, as well as a
"tattered flight suit" that appeared to belong to Speicher. The data
recorder offered no useful clues, and neither did the flight suit, officials
said. Likewise, the Bedouins were not of any substantial help.

In its account of the search, the Iraqi Foreign Ministry statement said the
United States demanded that it "be carried out secretly."

"The team, accompanied by Iraqi experts and (Red Cross) representatives,
found the pilot's uniform, but not his remains," the Foreign Ministry said.

Parts of the plane were found at the site, along with "evidence the pilot
was killed," the ministry said without elaboration.

The ministry said a symbol near the crash site, cited by U.S. authorities as
evidence the pilot may have survived the crash, was in fact erected by
Bedouins. The Bedouins say the symbol was made from the plane's wreckage and
was erected near the site as a marker for travelers in the desert.

Iraq's government "did not know where the site was prior to the visit. The
American team supplied Iraq with the details on the location," the statement

Meanwhile, Iraq renewed its demand that the U.S. government pay $70,000 for
Iraqi expenses incurred during the investigation.

Clinton: No 'hard evidence that he is alive'

U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said more than one
informant has reported to U.S. intelligence agencies that an American
thought to be Speicher was being held prisoner in Iraq after the war ended.

However, the United States does not have "hard evidence that he is alive,"
President Clinton said Friday.

Speicher, of Jacksonville, Florida, flew his F-18 Hornet off the carrier USS
Saratoga on the opening night of the war in January 1991 and went down west
of Baghdad.

He is officially listed as "the only air-to-air combat loss" of the war,
since it is believed that he was in a dogfight with an Iraqi fighter jet
when his plane went down.

Another American pilot who saw the jet explode in the air reported that it
was hit by an air to-air missile and that he did not see Speicher eject. A
combat search and rescue mission was planned but not executed, and the crash
site was not found until 1994.

The Gulf War was triggered by Iraq's 1990 invasion of neighboring Kuwait, an
attack countered by a U.S.-led allied force.


CAIRO, January 13 (Xinhuanet) -- It is impossible to accept the 
notion of implementing "indefinite" U.N. sanctions against Iraq 
following its invasion of Kuwait in 1990, Egyptian Foreign Minister
Amr Moussa said here on Saturday.

Moussa made the remark at the three-day 14th annual conference 
on political research which opened in the day and was sponsored by 
Cairo University's Centre for Political Studies, the state-run 
Middle East News Agency reported.

The 10-year sanctions on Baghdad should by no means continue "
indefinitely" and it is high time for them to be lifted, said  Moussa.


Iraq severed its relations with Egypt in the 1991 Gulf war when 
Egypt joined the U.S. led multinational force that ended Iraq's  seven
month occupation of Kuwait. But the two countries have since 
maintained interests sections. 

In November, Egypt raised its diplomatic mission in Iraq to the 
level of charges d'affaires. Egypt has regularly called for a 
lifting of the decade old U.N. sanctions. 

Egypt has become Iraq's largest trade partner in the Arab world 
and the fifth largest in the world, after Russia, China, France and
India. Enditem

Fao, Iraq, Reuters, 14th January

Fishermen on Iraq's only outlet to the sea said yesterday UN restrictions
and Iranian and Kuwaiti harassment were badly hurting the industry. Hundreds
of old wooden vessels and small boats flying Iraqi flags line the tiny port
at the Fao peninsula on the Iraqi bank of the Shatt Al Arab waterway. Crew
members sat idly on some of the boats and fishermen said only a few boats
were out in the waters.

"In recent months our fishing activity has gone down considerably because of
harassment and restrictions," fisherman Abdullah Mussaed told Reuters at the
port. "After increasing harassment from Iranian and Kuwaiti patrol boats,
the (Iraqi) authorities have asked us to cut our fishing trips."

Iraq has fought wars against both Iran and Kuwait in the past 20 years.
Although there have been some fence-mending efforts between Baghdad and
Tehran, animosity still runs high across the Shatt Al Arab since the 1980-88
Iraq-Iran war that claimed one million lives. Kuwait still regards Iraq as a
major threat.

Iraqi fishermen say they are being picked upon by the Iranian and Kuwaiti
patrol boats to settle old scores. "They want to muscle us out and eliminate
us as competitors," Mussaed said. "They also want us to suffer more under
(UN)-imposed sanctions." There are more than 7,000 Iraqi vessels registered
by the Fishermen's Association that runs Fao's port. The association, run by
the state, organises the fishing activities and provides the fishermen with
equipment and financial support.

The fishermen say the patrol boats routinely search their vessels, check
their identity cards and boat registration before questioning them and
taking away their fishing nets. The procedures are usually accompanied by
insults and foul language, they said. They say most of the time the
incidents occur in international waters but there had been cases of them
being stopped while in Iraqi territorial waters. "We are not allowed into
the international waters," one fisherman said.

When the vessels accidentally wander into Iranian or Kuwaiti waters, patrol
boats seize the fishermen and vessels. "In the last incident, seven vessels
with 27 fishermen were held for four weeks by the Iranians. They had sailed
outside the Iraqi waters by mistake because of high winds and fog," Abbas
Hamdan Lazem, the association's security chief, said.

Under UN rules, Iraqi fishing vessels are not allowed to have weapons or
radio transmitters on board.  Iraq has repeatedly complained to the United
Nations over harassment of its fishermen."The fishermen are in constant
fear. They have no weapons to defend themselves and there are no Iraqi
patrol boats to protect them," Lazem said. "If they run into trouble they
don't even have radios."

Fao was at the centre of the most ferocious fighting during the 1980-88
Iran-Iraq war. The Iranians captured the peninsula in 1986 but the Iraqis
took it back two years later. Large Iraqi placards commemorating the Fao
battle say nearly 53,000 Iraqi soldiers and 120,000 Iranian troops were

by Jessica Berry, Philip Sherwell and Mary Fagan
Sunday Telegraph, 14th January

Saddam Hussein's regime is taking advantage of Arab anger over Israel's
treatment of the Palestinians to export its crude abroad illegally at a time
when there is little interest in the region in enforcing the United Nations
trade embargo.

Oil industry analysts say that the United States has ignored reports that
Iraq has sharply increased its smuggling operations via Syria in an effort
to avoid antagonising Arab public opinion at a critical stage in the
faltering Middle East peace talks.

Baghdad recently agreed a one-off deal to sell crude worth £700 million at
concessionary rates of £7 a barrel to Damascus (the price for Brent crude is
about £17). Both countries profit from the deal as it gives Iraq more money
than it would receive for the oil under UN accords and allows Syria to sell
it on at a higher price.

Improved relations between Baghdad and Damascus, former foes, mean that Iraq
is now sending oil to Syria through a pipeline that can carry 150,000
barrels a day and by the daily rail service. Syria's oil exports have risen
dramatically, reflecting the influx of smuggled Iraqi crude, according to
industry insiders.

Arab security experts said that most of the oil has been exported to Russia
and China, although they also claim that some has been sold to Italy. The
latest disclosures, just days ahead of this week's 10th anniversary of the
start of the Gulf war, are the latest blow to the tough sanctions regime
backed by Britain and America.

The line linking Iran, Iraq and Syria was closed for 18 years after Damascus
backed Teheran in the Iran-Iraq war, but was reopened seven months ago.
Ostensibly the train is meant to carry passengers, but fresh evidence has
shown that people are heavily discouraged from using the service.

Shipments began in August, according to military experts inside Iraq, with
relatively modest cargoes, but have been increased recently. After reaching
Aleppo it is transported to the Syrian port of Ladhiqiyah, and also through

The train came under attack recently at Al Mawsil, on the Iraqi side of the
border, by tribal gangs angered by the sight of the daily export of
much-needed fuel. The ambush failed and the attackers were shot dead by the
train's heavily-armed security guards.

The train, according to security experts, always carries representatives
from the ministries of oil and transport, Iraqi intelligence agents and a
member of the military industrialisation committee, in charge of building up
weapons of mass destruction.

Experts inside Iraq said that Saddam Hussein's son Uday is behind the
operation. He is also responsible for the clandestine use of the Iraq-Syria
pipeline between Kirkuk in northern Iraq and the Syrian port of Banias, as
revealed previously by The Telegraph.

Iraq has been under sanctions since it invaded Kuwait in August 1990. It is
allowed to sell oil providing that the revenues go to a UN-administered
account to be used for food, medicine and other supplies to alleviate the
impact of the embargoes on ordinary Iraqis.

UN resolutions only allow two ports officially to handle Iraqi crude, one in
Turkey and the other on Iraq's Gulf coast. Iraq has suspended oil shipments
from Turkey since December 1 and for two weeks cut them from its Gulf port
at Mina al-Bakr in its efforts to undermine the UN sanctions regime.

The export of Kirkuk crude oil to Syrian refineries via the pipeline in
violation of UN resolutions is an open secret, according to diplomats in New
York and oil analysts. The smuggling of Iraqi oil via the railway line is,
however, a new and previously undisclosed operation. Iraqi crude is pumped
to Syrian refineries, allowing Damascus to sell oil that otherwise would be
used domestically.

The revelations come against the backdrop of a fresh power struggle between
Uday and Qusay as uncertainty over their father's health increases. Only
last week Qusay succeeded in wresting control from Uday of a powerful
military corps, the Martyrs of Saddam, as he organised the huge military
parade on December 31.

The Syrian authorities receive a handsome commission for their role. Some of
the Iraqi profits go directly to Uday, providing funding for a future
showdown with his brother. The rest of the money allows Baghdad to continue
to rebuild its heavy weapons store and funds the lavish existences of the
ruling elite.

A Foreign Office spokesman last night said: "We are aware of the railway
line but as yet have no firm evidence that there is a breach of sanctions.
We are monitoring it very closely."

Dubai, Reuters, 14th January

Saudi Arabia's Haj minister met a visiting Iraqi cabinet member yesterday to
discuss arrangements for the upcoming Haj pilgrimage, the official Saudi
Press Agency (SPA) reported.It said Haj Minister Iyad Madani received Iraq's
Religious Affairs Minister Abdul Muneim Ahmed Saleh in his office in Jeddah
and "reviewed the arrangements and issues pertaining to the Iraqi pilgrims
who will come to visit the holy sites during this year's Haj." The Haj falls
in February this year.

Relations between Iraq and Saudi Arabia have been severed since Baghdad's
1990 invasion of Kuwait. Saudi Arabia was a key member of a U.S.-led
coalition that drove Iraqi forces out of Kuwait seven months after the
invasion. The Iraqi minister last year accompanied Iraqi pilgrims who flew
to Saudi Arabia aboard an Iraqi plane despite Western-imposed no fly zones
over Iraq. Saudi officials welcomed the Iraqi pilgrims to Jeddah. A total of
10,000 Iraqi pilgrims performed the Haj last year, most travelling to the
kingdom by land.

Under a quota set by the Organisation of Islamic Conference, sanctions-hit
Iraq is allowed to send up to 22,000 pilgrims to perform the Haj annually.
Up to two million Muslims from all over the world perform it each year.
by Ruth Sullivan and staff
Financial Times, 14th January

Bill Richardson, the US energy secretary, on Sunday urged the Organisation
of Petroleum Exporting Countries to make only a modest reduction in
production, insisting that prosposals by some Opec members to cut output by
2m-3m barrels a day would be "unhealthy" for the world economy.

Kuwait's oil minister Sheikh Saud Nasser al-Sabah, said Opec was set to cut
oil production by 1.5m bpd.

Indonesia and Quatar are among other oil producing counties advocating step
cuts in production.

Mr Richardson, on a tour of the Persian Gulf in a bid to persuade producers
to keep prices down, said a greater reduction would force oil prices up
thereby harming the world's economy.

The Kuwaiti minister, known for his hawkish stance on oil prices, said a
"definitive" cut was necessary to ensure market stability and steady global
oil prices.

Opec, which meets in Vienna on January 17, is widely expected to agree on a
cut. Saudi Arabia, the organisation's biggest producer, has also suggested a
reduction of 1.5m bpd to keep prices between $25 and $28 per barrel, while
some other members want a cut of up to 2m bpd.

Mr Richardson met with leaders from producing countries to try and convince
them to keep the price of oil between $25 and $28 which was the price he
considered ideal for both producers and consumers.

On Thursday, Sheikh Ahmed Zaki Yamani, a former Saudi oil minister, said his
country had already informed its customers of a 500,000 bpd reduction in its
February allocations of crude.

A reduction of 1.5m bpd would not translate into more than 1.3m bpd of oil
being taken off the markets because some member countries are not meeting
their quotas, he said.

Sheikh Yamani predicted the cut would drive prices higher but said the full
impact would depend on the state of the world economy and the behaviour of

In December, Iraq severely reduced its exports from 2.3m bpd to just 600,000
bpd as it sought to convince companies to pay a surcharge that would
contravene the 10-year United Nations sanctions.


DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (Associated Press, Sun 14 Jan 2001) ‹ An Iranian
opposition group said Sunday it caused heavy damage with a mortar attack on
intelligence ministry offices in northern Tehran, though the claim could not
be immediately confirmed.

The rebel group Mujahedeen Khalq said in a statement faxed to The Associated
Press from Paris that the attack occurred Saturday evening.

State-run Iranian media said nothing about an attack. People living in
northern Tehran contacted by AP said they heard several explosions on
Saturday but had no details.

The Mujahedeen Khalq said the explosions inflicted casualties among people
in the ministry.

The Iraq-based Mujahedeen Khalq seeks the overthrow of Iran's Islamic
government. It frequently attacks targets deep inside Iran.

Last week, the group fired five mortar shells at a military base belonging
to Iran's elite Islamic Republic Guards. Iran's state media confirmed those
attacks but said there were no casualties.

Hindustani Times, 15th January

PRIME MINISTER Atal Bihari Vajpayee has written to Iraqi President Saddam
Hussein, conveying India's interest in the reconstruction of Iraq.
Diplomatic sources said Mr Vajpayee, in his letter to the Iraqi strongman,
reiterated the long-term nature of Indo-Iraqi relations.

The Prime Minister was hopeful that the recent initiatives by the two
countries would go a long way in furthering their ties in diverse fields.

This is the second time in the recent past that Mr Vajpayee has written to
Saddam Hussein.

Minister of State for External Affairs Ajit Kumar Panja had personally
delivered a letter from Mr Vajpayee to Saddam Hussein when he visited
Baghdad in September last year.

The Iraqi President had stressed the need for deeper involvement of India in
his country's reconstruction programme and intensification of the dialogue
between the two countries for strengthening bilateral ties.

Mr Panja's visit to Baghdad was followed by Iraqi Vice-President Taha Yasin
Ramadhan's visit to New Delhi in November last year.

India is hopeful of bagging some major contracts from Iraq under its
reconstruction programme. The bilateral trade between the two countries is
expected to touch one billion US dollars in the ninth phase of the
oil-for-food programme in January-June this year.

Las Vegas Sun, 15th January

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- For veteran Iraqi politician Tariq Aziz it was the
rarest of occasions: As he denounced U.S. policy toward Iraq, a roomful of
appreciative Americans nodded in agreement and applauded his pronouncements.
They even laughed at his jokes.

With the 10th anniversary of the start of the Persian Gulf War on Wednesday,
Aziz spoke to about 70 American activists who have come to Iraq to deliver
aid and urge the lifting of international sanctions against the Arab nation.

"Although the Iraqis are very mad at the policy of the U.S. government, they
are not mad at the people of the United States," Aziz, Iraq's deputy prime
minister, said Monday evening.

For much of the past decade, Aziz has been the Iraqi official who has gone
before the cameras whenever there's a crisis brewing in Iraq. Standoffs with
U.N. weapons inspectors, U.S. bombing raids and U.N. debates over sanctions
have regularly brought a forest of microphones and tough questions addressed
to Aziz.

None of those issues were raised Monday, and the queries from the Americans,
most of them members of religious and humanitarian groups, were decidedly

"I know that (President) Saddam Hussein is a good Muslim," one young
American began before going on to ask whether the United States had shown a
willingness to compromise on sanctions.

"Until now, the Americans have not made any point of holding an objective
dialogue with the Iraqi side," Aziz replied.

The Americans made their comments over a microphone to a roomful of people
without identifying themselves.

The comprehensive sanctions, imposed after Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait,
have shown signs of cracking in recent months. Dozens of planes have flown
into Iraq since September, ending a de facto 10-year air embargo. Smuggling
through neighboring states is widespread, and a growing number of countries
are calling for the sanctions to be eased or lifted.

However, the U.S. government has said the sanctions should remain in place
until Iraq eliminates its weapons of mass destruction, as required by U.N.
resolutions. Iraq claims it has done so, but U.N. weapons inspectors were
demanding more material and documents before they left Iraq during a
confrontation two years ago.

The U.S. government says the current oil-for-food program, which allows Iraq
to sell as much oil as it can, provides the country with enough money to
meet its basic needs. But Iraq blames the sanctions for its emaciated
economy and claims the punitive measures are to blame for an additional 1
million deaths over the past decade.

Aziz appeared on a panel alongside Ramsey Clark, the former U.S. attorney
general who has been one of the more prominent opponents of U.S. policy
toward Iraq. Clark heads one of the visiting delegations, and several
questioners were from his group.

"We're all here because we stand against the imperialistic forces," said one
young American woman, who wanted to know if Iraq would allow "imperialistic
economic forces" into the country when sanctions are lifted.

"We do not buy the tricks and lies of globalization. We are socialist and
cannot approve of capitalist policies," Aziz responded, to a round of

One man asked Aziz how he thought relations might be under President-elect

"We are not going to bet on the new administration," Aziz said dryly,
drawing chuckles from the crowd.

Another questioner asked how the Iraqi government had changed since Saddam
and his Baath Party came to power in 1968.

"We have been in power for 32 years," Aziz said. "Basically, the political
situation has not changed for 32 years.",1113,2-10

News24, 15th January

Baghdad (Sapa-AFP): The head of the PLO's political department, Faruk
Khaddumi, arrived on Sunday in Baghdad for a visit of several days centring
on aid Iraq has promised the Palestinians, the INA agency reported.

According to INA, Kaddumi will have talks with Iraqi officials on the
"mechanism for paying the aid of one billion euros ($900 million) to the
Palestinian people and to the intifada," which was decided upon by Iraqi
President Saddam Hussein.

The Palestinian embassy in Amman had earlier said that Kaddumi was
accompanied on the trip by Palestinian ministers of trade, health, and
public works.

Iraq, which is opposed to the Middle East peace process, has said it has
mobilised 6.6 million volunteers for "the liberation of Palestine" in answer
to an appeal by Saddam Hussein on 8 October.


UNITED NATIONS (Reuters, January 15th) - The U.N. Security Council committee
monitoring Iraqi sanctions approved Monday Baghdad's proposed prices for
February crude oil shipments to Europe, U.N. officials said.

Iraq State Oil Marketing Organization (SOMO) on Thursday submitted the
prices three weeks prior to the beginning of the month, a move oil traders
said was an encouraging sign for oil shipments from Ceyhan, Turkey.

The council's Iraqi sanctions committee was given until 4 p.m. EST (2100
GMT) on Monday to raise any objections. No committee member did so, which
means the prices are approved, U.N. officials said.

SOMO wants to maintain January prices for Kirkuk in February at benchmark
Dated Brent  $3.00 a barrel, diplomats said. February shipments of Basra
Light crude are to priced at Dated Brent -$4.50 a barrel.

Only one shipment of about two million barrels of Kirkuk crude from Ceyhan
has been made since November with the slowdown pegged to price rows between
SOMO and the United Nations. In November, Iraq was shipping around one
million barrels per day (bpd) of Kirkuk crude with most of it going to

The diplomats said there seemed to be a new willingness by SOMO to end
confusion caused since November by tardy submission of price proposals.

The U.N.'s in-house oil advisors, called overseers, recommended to the
sanctions committee that the Kirkuk proposal be approved, and committee
members agreed.

While there has been only a single lifting of Kirkuk crude from Ceyhan,
there have been nine tankers loading Basrah Light from Mina al-Bakr,
industry sources said.

And now tankers appear to be loading without significant delay at the Iraqi
Gulf port, unlike in December when ships were forced to undergo two or more
weeks of demurrage.

Total Iraqi exports in the oil-for-food program administered by the United
Nations dropped from about 2.2 million bpd in November to about 500,000
barrels per day in December.


Avanova, 16th January: At least two British oil companies have been holding
talks with Iraqi officials about developing the country's oil fields.

Shell says it may invest up to £2 billion in oil fields in the south east of
Iraq, but insists that no business would be done until sanctions against the
country are lifted.

There are also reports that Premier Oil is considering setting up business
in Iraq.

A Shell spokesman says talks over land in south-east Iraq, which could yield
one billion barrels of oil, have been started with government officials.

The news comes the day after the 10th anniversary of sanctions on Iraq,
which have prevented companies trading with the oil-rich country.

The spokesman says: "Preliminary low-level discussions with the Iraqi
minister for oil to investigate potential opportunities in the Ratawi oil
field have taken place. Those discussions are mainly technical in nature."

He says the talks are about how the oil would be extracted from the land,
should any opportunity arise. "However, the Iraqi authorities are clearly
aware that Shell would do nothing to contravene any regulations arising from
UN resolutions or other relevant legislation."

The spokesman says: "We are a large company which operates in countries
where human rights abuses do occur.

"But human rights are of great importance. We are not a government, we are a
business. Within particular limits that apply to businesses, we try to
promote respect of human rights."

The spokesman adds that Shell has been talking to Iraq since 1994.

The Ottawa Citizen, 16th January

Canadian churches want an end to the Gulf War launched against Iraq 10 years
ago tomorrow.

In a statement marking the anniversary, Canada's major churches say the
continuing economic sanctions against Iraq have killed 1.5 million of Iraq's
23 million people by disease and malnutrition, and are simply an extension
of the war.

"The U.S. and its allies are still at war with Iraq. We need to stop the
war," said Dale Hildebrand, executive director of Inter-Church Action.

The death toll in Iraq is greater than the 1994 massacre in Rwanda, or the
massacres in Cambodia's killing fields by the Pol Pot regime in the 1970s,
said Mr. Hildebrand.

The churches have demanded an immediate end to the sanctions against Iraq,
which they say are both unjust and immoral.

But Foreign Affairs says the the dire humanitarian situation in Iraq is not
the result of sanctions -- which it says are appropriate and necessary --
but the result of the regime's bid to elicit sympathy, in the hope that
world governments will be pressured to lift sanctions without Iraq complying
with its disarmament obligations.

Over the past 10 years, the United Nations has made it easier for Iraq to
receive foreign help, and in 1999 the UN Security Council lifted the
restriction on the amount of oil Iraq could sell under the oil-for-food
program instituted in 1996, said Carl Schwenger, a Foreign Affairs

This move more than doubled the money available for humanitarian goods to
$7.1 billion from $3.4 billion every month, Mr. Schwenger said.

Mr. Hildebrand visited Iraq in November and said the sanctions on products
ranging from irrigation equipment to chlorine for purifying water have
destroyed the country's economy and made it impossible to rebuild its
infrastructure. The results include contaminated water, a resurgence of
cholera and polio, and a 50-per-cent drop in food production.

More than half the dead are children, and UN officials estimate 5,000
children younger than five are still dying every month, said Mr. Hildebrand.

Mr. Schwenger said a long list of goods, including those related to food,
education, agriculture, health, water and sanitation no longer require
Security Council approval to be imported.

Industrial or commercial goods that might have a dual use and help further
Iraq's chemical, biological or nuclear weapons programs cannot be imported,
Mr. Schwenger said.

Mr. Hildebrand said Canadians and other westerners pay little attention to
the death toll because "it is not people with machetes hacking other people
to death. It is children dying of diarrhea and malnutrition."

In the 10 years since U.S. and allied forces drove Iraqi troops out of
Kuwait, Iraq has been transformed from one of the most prosperous countries
in the Middle East to the status of some of the poorest African countries,
said Mr. Hildebrand.

Inter-Church Action, a peace and justice coalition, is launching an
education campaign on the effects of sanctions, and will continue to lobby
for a change in Canada's support for them.

Mr. Hildebrand said Canada is afraid to tread on the toes of the U.S., which
has vowed to continue the sanctions until Saddam Hussein is ousted.

He said UN experts concluded in 1998 that Iraq is no longer capable of
nuclear, chemical or biological warfare, and Iraqis told him sanctions have
not achieved the U.S. goal of destabilizing Saddam Hussein's regime.

"People are so desperate just to survive that they simply don't have any
energy to organize an opposition. What opposition there was has evaporated.
Saddam is much more powerful now," said Mr. Hildebrand.

Mr. Schwenger said, however, that the Security Council does not know that
Iraq cannot make weapons of mass destruction. Iraq began interfering with
weapons inspections in the summer of 1998, forcing the last inspection team
to withdraw that December.

And, Mr. Schwenger said, as long as Iraq stonewalls weapons inspections,
sanctions will likely remain.

"We think that sanctions need to be in place until the regime either gets
out of the way -- the regime falls -- or they allow the inspectors to go in
and do their job and certify that this program of weapons of mass
destruction has been totally eliminated," Mr. Schwenger said.

"There's this broad international consensus. All the member countries of the
G8 have this position, all our allies in NATO," he said. "It's just a
widely, widely held position."

The sanctions have caused hyper-inflation in Iraq. Where one prewar Iraqi
dinar was worth $3 U.S., it now takes 2,000 dinar to buy $1 U.S.

The punishing sanctions are unprecedented, he said. Even Germany received
help to rebuild after the Second World War, said Mr. Hildebrand.

Mr. Hildebrand said "23 million people in Iraq are being held hostage in a
political tug of war between the U.S. and Iraq."

Times of India, 16th January

AMMAN (AFP): British activists from the charity group Voice in the
Wilderness on Monday said contaminated water was the "biggest killer" in
Iraq and vowed to fight for an urgent lifting of UN sanctions against

"It doesn't matter how much food and medicine is being poured into Iraq,
water and sanitation are the biggest killers and the systems must be
repaired quickly to save more lives," group leader Richard Byrne told AFP in
Amman at the end of an eight-day trip to Iraq.

"We visited hospitals in Baghdad and the southern city of Basra (devastated
in the Gulf war) and spoke to doctors and the UN humanitarian coordinator in
Baghdad," Byrne said. Doctors complained that they are daily confronted by
numerous cases of children suffering from intestinal and urinary tract bugs
from drinking polluted water, that lead to malnutrition and eventually to

"Doctors say they can give the children all the medicine they need but when
these children go home they return to living conditions of squalor, open
sewers, broken water pipes, no electricity to pump water," Byrne said.

"So unless the electricity and the water delivery systems are quickly
repaired Iraqi children are going to continue to die at a very high rate,"
Byrne said. Byrne and the three activists who accompanied him to Iraq are
due to protest on Tuesday outside 10 Downing Street, the British prime
minister's official residence, and then join an anti-sanctions protest later
in the day outside the House of Commons.

"We will challenge the government to prosecute us for breaking the export
and import laws and we are taking back with us dates, scarves, books and
postcards bought in Iraq to sell outside the House of Commons," he said. The
group is also scheduled to give a series of television and radio interviews
when they return home as well as press for the election of an anti-sanctions
MP during forthcoming elections in Britain, he said.

"Our government must realise that we need to lift the sanctions now and not
in a slow way to contain the humanitarian crisis and allow for quick repairs
of the water and electricity systems," Byrne said. Byrne was accompanied to
Iraq by Brighton writer Milan Rai, social worker Les Gibbons from
Southampton and Birmingham restaurant manager Zia Chowdhury.

They took with them toys, medical journals and supplies in defiance of the
sanctions imposed after Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait. This week sees the
10th anniversary of the start of the US-led offensive against Baghad which
ended the Iraqi occupation of the emirate.

Baghdad, Reuters, 16th January

Iraq's trade minister yesterday gave the strongest signal yet that Iraq was
smuggling oil to neighbouring countries outside the terms of its
oil-for-food deal with the United Nations.

But Mohammed Mehdi Saleh said the scope and impact of any smuggling was
limited. Asked at a news conference about reports that Iraq was smuggling
oil illegally outside the UN deal, Saleh said, "The illegal (act) is to
restrict Iraq from exporting oil in normal cases."Our right is to export any
commodity, whatever we could, and to buy any commodity that Iraqi citizens
require," he said in English.

Saleh said no country could control smuggling across its borders, citing
smuggling from Mexico to the United States as an example. "There are no
walls between countries. However, smuggling itself becomes an approach which
is limited always. It does not give the real trade between countries," he

International oil traders suspect that Syria has been selling crude on
behalf of Iraq via a pipeline between the two countries since late last
year. Iraq has also been said to smuggle crude on tankers to Iran. "There is
a will from other countries to lessen and reduce the impact of sanctions and
restrictions on Iraq by exporting for Iraq without adopting these aggressive
resolutions," Saleh said. Saleh reiterated that the programme, adopted in
1996, had failed to alleviate the suffering of Iraq's 23 million people.

He said Iraq had sold oil worth $40 billion in the past four years within
the oil-for-food programme, but had received goods worth only $9.6 billion.
Contracts for goods on hold and not received were worth $15.6 billion, he
said. He said the goods received amounted to only $7 per capita for every
month since 1996.Saleh said the United Nations had deducted a total of $13.6
billion for its expenses and for a fund to pay compensation for losses
incurred during Iraq's seven-month occupation of Kuwait.

"The oil-for-food programme has failed to lessen the plight of the Iraqi
people," he said, adding that the United States and Britain backed the deal
for political reasons and to stabilise world oil prices.

[The rest of the article is an account of the sanctions committee approval
of Iraq¹s proposals for prices in Fenbruary. Reported elsewhere]


Avanova, 16th January:  Demonstrators have brought traffic in central London
to a standstill as they protest about economic sanctions in Iraq.

Hundreds of campaigners from several groups carried child-sized coffins as
they called on MPs to stop the "suffering" of innocent Iraqis.

Police said that one protester had been detained and escorted from the House
of Commons at around 1.50pm.

He insisted that there had been no further breach of security and that there
was "no indication that they were arrested".

Earlier veteran Labour MP Tam Dalyell addressed demonstrators and said the
sanctions had caused "terrible human suffering".

"I visited Baghdad in 1994 and again in 1998 and in hospitals there I saw
the most appalling injuries to young children who by no stretch of the
imagination could be to blame.

"The fact of the matter is that this is about sanctions. We are here to ask
for the immediate lifting of sanctions and a lifting of sanctions straight

by Luke Leitch

The small band of hunt supporters were making their point peacefully when an
altogether noisier group of demonstrators loomed into view.

Beating drums, some dreadlocked and dressed in boiler suits, a 50-strong
band protesting at western sanctions against Iraq descended on the corner of
Parliament Square and Whitehall today.

Suddenly the hunters feared they had become the hunted.

Charles Mann, 50, a farmer from Gloucestershire, called for calm among his
fellow country sports enthusiasts. "We are just going to stay here very
calmly as they pass by."

Some among the anti-sanctions group attempted a sit-down protest which was
broken up by police. For 30 minutes the uneasy crush of these two very
different groups of demonstrators went on. There was some barracking but
what could have been a confrontation was nothing more than a friendly
exchange of views.

The real arguments came when a small group of pro-sanctions demonstrators
unfurled banners in the midst of their opponents. The pro-hunting group held
their position. As the last of the demonstrators edged away, Mr Mann said:
"The streets of London are full of disparate groups and it's good to see
they can get on in harmony." And in a pointed reference to the Commons vote
on hunting, he added: "Let's hope the Government sees fit to respect
different minorities too."

[Extract giving account of Voices protest in NY]
BBC, 16th January


A handful of demonstrators from the Chicago-based group Voices in the
Wilderness protested at UN headquarters in New York on Monday, wearing
shirts which read: "Nations must unilaterally break the siege of Iraq."
The protesters argued that this week was not the anniversary of a war that
had ended, but of one that was still going on.
"The war didn't end", said Kathy Kelly, a co-founder of Voices in the
Wilderness. "It changed into economic warfare."
The US insists that the sanctions will remain in place until Iraq proves it
has no weapons of mass destruction.
UN weapons inspectors were pulled out of Iraq at the end of 1998 and have
not returned.


Arabic News, 16th January

News reports said on Monday that Syria is currently mediating between Iraq
and the Arab Gulf members states especially Kuwait in order to normalize
relations and open a new page.

The Qatari daily al-Watan said that sources that refused to be disclosed
stressed that this mediation has achieved a big stride in the area of making
contacts between Iraq and members of the Gulf Cooperation Council states.

The sources expected that these Syrian efforts will continue in the coming
phase and will be adjusted in order to create elements of stability and
confidence in the Iraqi- Arab Gulf relations in order to end any attempt
what so ever made by the new US administration to once again escalate the
situation with Baghdad and to try to find out new hotbeds in the region, in

The sources told the paper that Syria also makes similar mediation efforts
between Iraq and Iran, noting the recent improvements on the relations
between the two countries which is considered a fruit to the efforts made by
Damascus, stem from strategic considerations aspire to establish a Syrian,
Iraqi and Iranian alliance in the region to withstand the American- Israeli
alliance and its grave and numerous challenges.

Arabic News, 17th January

Iraqi foreign ministry secretary Nizar Hamdoun has denied in a statement
issued by the Iraqi weekly al-Rafeydeen ( the two tributaries) mediation to
reform relations between Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

He said" we are always confident that we are with the Arab states including
Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and when each of them show desire to reach solution,
we will be ready for that."

He added but " regrettably " there are no indicators for that and what is
taking place is totally the contrary and the evidence on that is the two
countries continue to ensure bases for the " American- British aggressions "
against Iraq. East

Times of India, 17th January

AMMAN (AFP): Jordan on Tuesday formed a committee tasked with paving the way
for the construction of a pipeline to carry Iraqi oil to the kingdom,
Information Minister Taleb Rifai told reporters.

"The council of ministers decided to set up a preparatory committee to
execute the pipeline project in Jordan in coordination with Iraq," Rifai
said at the end of a weekly cabinet meeting.

The committee, including experts from the finance and energy ministries and
the central bank, was asked to "prepare a feasibility study of the project
and a memorandum of understanding" with the Irqi government and the firm
which will be selected for the job, he said.

Jordan depends on Iraq for all of its oil needs and will import five million
tones of crude in 2001 under an agreement between the two countries, up from
4.8 million tones in 2000.

The oil is transported by tanker trucks across the desert from Iraq to the
Jordanian refinery at Zarka, northeast of Amman.

Under the new plan which has been under discussion between Baghdad and Amman
in recent years a 750-kilometre (465 mile) pipeline will feed Zarka at an
estimated cost of 350 million dollars.

Jordan and Iraq have been discussing means to finance the pipeline.


   CANBERRA, January 17 (Xinhuanet) -- Australian public figures 
Wednesday urged the government to change its policy towards Iraq.

Nine prominent Australians including former Prime Minister 
Malcolm Fraser issued an open letter to Prime Minister John Howard
urging him to take an independent standing towards Iraq.

"After a decade of suffering by innocent people, and the deaths
of children on a scale far exceeding that caused by any military 
weapon in history, the sanctions continue to bring misery and 
degradation to all sectors of Iraqi society except their target, 
the Iraqi government," the letter said.

The letter citing international agencies' surveys said that the
impact of sanctions has seen a dramatic increase in infant 
mortality and morbidity in the general population in Iraq. 

They asked the prime minister to assert an independent standing
and "to review Australia's policy towards Iraq so that it properly
reflects our common aspirations for peace with justice for all 
people, including the people of Iraq.",,2-69162,00.html

>From Michael Theodoulou in Nicosia
The Times, 17th January

IRAQ¹S budget may be opaque, but how President Saddam Hussein spends his
money is transparent.

>From the hardware on display at a recent military parade to the grandiose
marbled palaces and the new Mercedes and BMWs driven by the political and
military elite, it is simple to account for the estimated £2 billion he
makes from smuggling oil. More cash is drawn from a secret pre-Gulf War
slush fund.

Some has been spent on using local engineering skills to rebuild bridges and
roads destroyed ten years ago. The UN¹s oil-for-food programme has restored
a measure of stability for Iraq¹s 23 million people, although widespread
poverty and suffering remain, with high child mortality rates, poor
healthcare and a crippled education system.

For Saddam¹s critics, the lavish lifestyle of his inner circle is proof that
he could alleviate the plight of his people. For critics of the embargo, it
is evidence that sanctions have failed to hit their target, leaving Saddam¹s
regime unscathed while innocent Iraqis pay the price.

Money is being lavished on building the Hussein Grand Mosque, the biggest in
the Middle East. Saddam¹s latest quirky gesture is to offer £64 million in
humanitarian aid to America¹s inner cities and rural poor to goad the United
States, where the Clinton Administration¹s parting shot was to release £7
million to the Iraqi opposition.

ABC news, 17th January

American and British warplanes have struck anti-aircraft artillery batteries
in southern Iraq in retaliatory raids on the eve of the 10th anniversary of
the 1991 Gulf war.

A spokesman for the U-S Central Command says the strikes were launched after
coalition aircraft came under fire from Iraqi anti-aircraft artillery during
patrols of the southern no-fly zone.

The spokesman says follow-up patrols to enforce the no-fly zone met no



NEW YORK (Associated Press, Wed 17 Jan 2001) ‹ On one of his final days as
U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Richard Holbrooke was invited to a
lunch. He can be forgiven for passing it up.

The simple meal of lentils, rice, pita bread and untreated East River water
is a symbol of the typical diet forced upon Iraqis by punishing, 10-year-old
U.N. sanctions, say peace activists who displayed the lunch to onlookers
Tuesday outside the U.S. Mission to the United Nations.

``We believe the economic sanctions are illegal and immoral,'' said Ibrahim
Ramey of the Nyack, N.Y.-based Fellowship of Reconciliation. ``We understand
the anxiety about weapons of mass destruction ... and we are not supporters
of the Baghdad regime. But we do support the right of Iraq's people to live
in peace and dignity.''

The lunch and demonstration outside the U.S. mission was one of several
protests in recent days designed to draw attention to the plight of Iraq's
23 million people under U.S.-backed sanctions ahead of the 10th anniversary
of the start of the Gulf War on Wednesday.

Sixteen people who gathered on the steps of the U.S. mission were arrested
on charges of disorderly conduct and blocking a public building, police Det.
Frank Bogucki said.

Every day for the past week, the protesters have sent a photograph of an
Iraqi citizen and a letter to Holbrooke asking him to consider using his
influence to end the sanctions, clear Iraq of depleted uranium used in
bullets during the war, and allow the country to rebuild its infrastructure.

Noting that Holbrooke leaves office Saturday, the Rev. Bob Bossie of Chicago
said: ``He has a few days to take a moral stand.''

Holbrooke was unavailable for comment, his office said.


London, Reuters, 17th January

Britain promised yesterday to show flexibility towards Baghdad if it opened
talks to resume UN weapons inspections in Iraq, a key condition for the
suspension of sanctions. Speaking on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the
1991 Gulf War, junior Foreign Office minister Peter Hain said Iraqi
President Saddam Hussein would find "reasonable people ready to do business"
if he signalled a readiness to negotiate.

"I think everybody would want to show goodwill, and everybody would want to
show flexibility," Hain told Reuters in an interview. Hain insisted that a
December 1999 UN resolution on arms inspections, which Iraq has consistently
rejected, would remain the bedrock of any talks between Baghdad and the
United Nations.

But faced with growing demands from the Arab world, Russia and France for an
end to the suffering of Iraqi civilians, Hain said Britain - Washington's
most steadfast ally against Saddam - was anxious to see the stalemate

"I want to see sanctions suspended. Britain wants to see sanctions
suspended, and the route for that remains (UN resolution) 1284," he said.
The resolution promises a suspension of sanctions six months after the
resumption of arms inspections, broken off in 1998 when U.S. and British
forces bombed Iraq in retaliation for Baghdad's alleged non-cooperation.

"If (Saddam) was willing, even without prejudice to final acceptance of
1284, to discuss with the UN the terms on which arms inspectors would
operate and the modalities of suspension of sanctions, I think he would find
reasonable people willing to do business," Hain said. He said the
"flexibility" on offer to Iraq would depend on what Saddam brought to the

It could include the manner of weapons inspections, areas where the
inspectors went and the terms of their operations. In terms of sanctions
suspension it could cover where the oil revenues went, what would remain
under UN control, and easing restrictions on Iraqi business people, Hain

"So there is this way of moving forward. It is not as if... Britain is
saying this stalemate should have concrete put around it and we are not
willing to talk," he said. Hain has been one of Saddam's most outspoken
critics, highlighting allegations of human rights abuses, corruption and
reports of continued work on illicit Iraqi weapons of mass destruction in an
effort to maintain pressure on Baghdad.

But British diplomats have privately signalled unease at the continued
impasse over sanctions and said Britain would try to persuade the United
States to end patrols over the no-fly zone in southern Iraq, which they said
were risky and costly and a source of resentment in neighbouring Saudi

"We'd prefer British pilots were doing something else," Hain said, though
they would continue the patrols as long as Saddam was seen as a threat to
his neighbours and his own Shi'ite and Kurdish populations.

He said London had begun talks on Iraq with the incoming administration of
President-elect George W. Bush, whose officials have talked of more robust
U.S. action against Baghdad - a step which would widen international
divisions on Iraq. But Hain played down the chances of a sharp change in
U.S. policy.

"A new team, whatever people say in opposition in the middle of campaigns,
has to come into office and grapple with the realities of current
circumstances," he said.

CNN, January 17, 2001

"The Palestinian and the Iraqi peoples are in the first trench against
Zionism, imperialism and aggression," read one of the banners waved by the
crowd in self-ruled Gaza.

The mother of Palestinian teenager Moussa al-Debbis, who was shot dead in
clashes with Israeli troops on November 11, held up posters of her son and
the Iraqi leader.

"Saddam is the father of all Arabs. He is the bravest example of how an Arab
leader should be," she said.

Despite Iraq's impoverishment since the war, Saddam makes generous payments
to the families of Palestinians killed and wounded in their 16-week uprising
against Israeli occupation.

At least 309 Palestinians, 13 Israeli Arabs and 44 Israelis have been killed
in the violence.

Many Palestinians consider Saddam a hero for resisting the powerful U.S.-led
military coalition which ejected Iraqi troops who had invaded neighboring

Palestinian babies are named after him.

Wednesday's demonstrators marched to the main United Nations office in Gaza
City, urging the international community to lift sanctions imposed after the
invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

They called on the Iraqi leader to repeat the Scud missile strikes he
launched against Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities during the Gulf War.

"Dear Saddam, hit Tel Aviv," they chanted.

by Howard Schneider
Washington Post, 17th January

CAIRO, Jan. 17 -- Still in power after a decade in which a U.S.-led war
destroyed much of his country's military and U.S.-backed sanctions crippled
its economy, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein today reasserted Iraq's place in
the Arab world and linked his country's travails to the Palestinian conflict
with Israel.

In a taped, televised speech marking the 10th anniversary of the start of
the Persian Gulf War, Hussein appealed for Arabs to unite against foreign
influence in the Middle East and called for the liberation of Palestinian
lands from "the river to the sea" -- an allusion to Israel's destruction.

"After the immortal Mother of All Battles, and after the children, youth and
the aged of Palestine, men and women, have faced the weapons of the U.S. and
Zionism with stones," Hussein said, "can fear find its way to the heart of
any Arab?"

The address mingled religious imagery about the United States and other
"followers of Satan" with prideful language about Iraq's -- and his regime's
-- durability.

"The missiles and bombs of aggression hit everything material and suitable
as targets for their weapons," Hussein said of the massive allied air
bombardment that began 10 years ago today and continued until land forces
pushed Iraqi invaders out of Kuwait and north toward Baghdad.

Despite the punishment, and the economic sanctions that continued after the
war, "Iraq has remained, the people have remained, the army has remained,"
the Iraqi leader said.

Hussein's rhetoric was temperate in comparison with some of his other public
statements. His address omitted the harsh language he has often used in
discussing the participation of Egypt, Syria and other Arab countries in the
U.S.-led military coalition that ended Iraq's brief occupation of Kuwait.

Instead, he focused on asserting that Iraq still holds a prominent place
among its Arab neighbors. "The Arab nation is our nation," Hussein said. "We
belong to it, and it belongs to us. It is our pride and our strength. It is
our depth, and Iraq is its depth."

The remarks came at a comparative high point for Hussein and his country.
After a decade in which Iraq's economy has been crushed by sanctions, its
grip on portions of its territory has been loosened, and its capital has
been subjected to missile attacks, the country is now enjoying the fruits of
stronger oil prices and gradual but steady political rehabilitation. Hussein
himself, the subject of rumors that he is dying of cancer or has suffered a
massive stroke, has frequently been shown on Iraqi television as a picture
of strength -- meeting with his cabinet or, at a recent military parade,
firing one-handed rifle shots.

With Gulf War memories of his decision to fire Scud missiles at Israel still
lingering, Hussein is hailed today as a hero by Palestinians engaged in new
violence with the Jewish state. His donations of cash to the Palestinian
cause have cemented his image in the West Bank and Gaza Strip as the
Palestinians' best Arab ally.

He remains estranged from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, monarchies still wary of
Baghdad's repeated territorial threats. Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq
Aziz said this week that Kuwait "got what it deserved" when Iraq invaded the
emirate in 1990, because it was undermining Iraq's oil prices and stealing
Iraqi oil by drilling underneath their common border. The president's son,
Uday Saddam Hussein, a member of parliament, meanwhile suggested this week
that parliamentary maps be modified to include Kuwait "as part of larger

But Iraq's isolation from other Arab states is easing. Iraqi Vice President
Taha Yassin Ramadan is in Egypt this week to sign a free trade agreement,
and Iraq has been working with Syria, a traditional ideological foe, on
restoring an oil pipeline that could help Iraq further skirt an
international embargo.

The embargo itself, which still limits how much oil Iraq can sell and what
it can buy with the revenue, has become less and less of a financial and
political problem. Between high world oil prices and the easing of U.N.
restrictions on the amount Iraq can sell, Iraqi oil receipts have
skyrocketed to the point where the country has $12 billion resting in
U.N.-monitored accounts.

"U.N. sanctions are eroding, and Saddam thinks he is becoming stronger while
the United States is becoming more isolated," Patrick Clawson, research
director at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, wrote in a recent
analysis. It suggested that Iraq's emerging ties with Syria, the pressure it
can exert on Jordan and its ability to radicalize Arab public opinion could
pose a renewed threat to Israel.

The Iraqi leader is not, however, completely unfettered. At the end of the
war, he agreed to dismantle the country's chemical, biological and nuclear
weapons programs. He allowed teams of U.N. weapons monitors to oversee the
process; economic sanctions were designed to ensure compliance.

Since Iraq kicked the inspectors out in 1998, that arrangement has been
dormant. But Secretary of State-designate Colin L. Powell, who chaired the
Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Gulf War, has announced his hope to
"energize" sanctions to ensure Iraqi compliance with the weapons regime.
U.N. officials, meanwhile, are to open new discussions with Iraq in February
about a possible return of inspectors. The U.S. government has also pledged
$12 million to help Iraqi opposition groups and recently proposed that the
money be used to smuggle humanitarian supplies and propaganda into the

But Hussein's government insists that the inspectors will never return and
scoffs at the notion that exiled opposition leaders could crack their grip
on power.

"Iraq has triumphed over the enemies," Saddam said today. "It will triumph
in all the remaining rounds."

by Evelyn Leopold

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters, 17th January) - The United Nations (news - web
sites) complained to Iraq on Wednesday it had not ordered enough supplies
for health education, water and sanitation and oil equipment as permitted
under the U.N. humanitarian program.

``I am gravely concerned at the unacceptably slow rates of submission of
applications, in particularly under the health, education, water and
sanitation as well as the oil sectors,'' said Benon Sevan, the U.N. official
in charge of the program.

Under the so-called oil-for-food program, Iraq is permitted to sell oil in
order to buy food, medicine and other supplies to ease the impact of U.N.
sanctions imposed after it invaded Kuwait in August 1990. The goods are
ordered by Iraq according to a plan that the U.N. Security Council and
Sevan's office approves.

Sevan spelled out his criticism in a letter obtained by Reuters and sent to
Iraq's U.N. mission as well as Norwegian ambassador Ole Peter Kolby, head of
the Security Council's committee monitoring Iraqi sanctions.

But he said he was pleased that Iraq had submitted applications for
foodstuff that exceeded the allocation of $1.582 million and said these had
been approved. Applications made for agriculture, food handling, housing and
telecommunications had also been received, he said.

However, he said that ``despite all the concerns expressed regarding the
nutritional and health status of the Iraqi people,'' the value of
applications for supplies Iraq submitted for the health sector was only
$83.6 million whereas $624 million had been allocated.

Applications for oil equipment and spare parts amounted to $22.7 million
compared to the proposed budget of $600 million, Sevan said. For education,
applications amounted to $21.58 million compared to an allocation of $351.5
million while water and sanitation applications from Iraq amounted to
$184.76 million compared to $551.16 million allocated.

During the seventh phase of the program that started on Jan. 5, Sevan said
Iraq had submitted a total of $4.265 billion applications for goods compared
to $7.798 billion allocated for the program over the next six months.

Of this amount, some $2.742 billion had been approved by the United Nations
while the others were pending. Another $783.8 million had been blocked in
the council's sanctions committee.

Sevan did not say how many contracts from previous months or years since the
program began in December 1996 were still blocked. However, he has urged
Washington in the past to release some of the orders it placed on hold.

Baghdad has frequently complained that some $2 billion in its orders had
been blocked by the United States and to a lesser extent by Britain, the
countries most critical of Iraq.,,23-69968,00.html

>From Richard Beeston in Vienna And Damian Whitworth in Washington
Times, 18th January

THE future prosperity of Western economies could rest in the hands of
President Saddam Hussein of Iraq after oil producers decided yesterday to
cut production and Baghdad said that it would meet the shortfall.

A decade after the Western allies went to war with Iraq, in part to secure
oil supplies from the Gulf, Baghdad emerged as the one country in the region
prepared to boost exports to the West at a time of uncertainty in the global

The bizarre twist emerged in Vienna at an emergency meeting of the
Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec), where oil
ministers from the 11-nation cartel voted to reduce production in an effort
to keep up the price of crude. They also threatened further cuts later in

Chakib Khelil, Opec¹s President, said that the member states had agreed to
cut production by 1.5 million barrels a day in an effort to keep prices at
about $25 (£17) a barrel.

³I am happy with this, but maybe we will have another cut in March,²
Abdullah alAttiyah, the Oil Minister of Qatar, said. ³We will have to see
how the market reacts.²

The price rise has caused concern in America. At the weekend Bill
Richardson, the Energy Secretary, went on a tour of the Gulf states in an
effort to persuade the oil-rich kingdoms to maintain their production
levels. It is feared that higher fuel prices could hasten a slowdown of the
economy, which his already showing signs of strain.

Mr Richardson said the decision was disappointing and could lower stock
levels and make oil prices more volatile.

No sooner had Opec announced its plans to cut back production than the Iraqi
delegate at the meeting said that his country would more than meet the
expected shortfall.

Naji al-Hadithi, the former editor of the Baghdad Observer, who represented
Iraq at the Opec meeting, said that Iraq¹s disrupted exports would resume in
earnest by the end of the month and that he expected the country to be
exporting two million barrels a day. ³We warned Opec that their reduction
was meaningless and that if they wanted to have any impact they should have
announced reductions of three million,² he said.

³That is because we intend to have our exports back to two million barrels a
day by the end of this month.²

Although Iraq has a seat at Opec it is outside the cartel¹s production
agreements because, by international law, its oil must be sold through the
United Nations, which controls how the money is spent. Because of a dispute
with the UN last month over pricing, exports have been largely frozen.

Mr al-Hadithi emphasised that Iraq had not made the decision out of any
sympathy for America or the West, which, ten years to the day since the
start of the Gulf War, it still regards as its bitter enemies. Instead the
move is a reflection of Iraq¹s need to generate more revenue for its UN-held
account, which is used to purchase food and medicines.

The Iraqi move does, however, raise the prospect that Opec may have to
consider further production cuts when it meets in March if it is to keep the
oil price at today¹s levels.

Opec¹s action is likely to be used by George W. Bush, the US
President-elect, to bolster his argument that new areas of America must be
opened up to oil exploration.

During the election campaign Mr Bush, a former oilman, repeatedly argued
that the United States needed to become less dependent on importing oil and
realise the potential of oilfields believed to lie beneath a number of
wilderness areas, chiefly the National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.

Mr Bush, who clashed with Al Gore over the issue, repeated his desire to
expand oil and gas drilling when he met members of Congress earlier this
month. ³I¹m not going to allow the working people of this country to
suffer,² he said, referring to the rising cost of petrol and heating oil.

He plans to review decisions taken by President Clinton in his final days in
office to limit exploitation of 58 million acres of national forests and
create a series of new national ³monuments², many of which are pristine
areas where companies had hoped to drill. He decided not to give extra
protection to the Alaskan refuge, which will be opened to exploration
companies only if Congress agrees.

The news from Opec may even help him in the battle over his nomination of
Gale Norton as Interior Secretary. Ms Norton has faced tough opposition from
environmentalists because she, too, has championed the need to allow oil
companies on to Alaska¹s North Slope and other controversial sites.

Friends of the Earth said that Mr Bush had declared war on the environment
with her nomination, but concerns about oil supply might persuade some
wavering senators of the merits of changing energy exploration policy.

by Ruth Sullivan and staff
Financial Times, 14th January

Arabic News. 18th January

Egypt's President Mubarak yesterday received Iraqi Vice President and member
of the Iraqi Revolution Command Council Taha Yassin Ramadan, who said
following the meeting that they touched on Arab reconciliation.

He said that the aim of his visit to Egypt is to set the steps, which have
been recently taken in a legal and organizational framework through the
joint free market agreement, which serves as a model for joint Arab

Ramadan said that this agreement would lead to the flow of goods, supplies
and services between the two countries.

He said that this is the first agreement in the Arab world since Arab
organizations started to speak about the issue of Arab cooperation,
expressing hope that all Arab countries would follow this example.

Answering a question on whether an agreement was reached on upgrading
diplomatic representation between Iraq and Arab countries, Ramadan said that
relations between Iraq and Arab countries are already existing with
exception to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

He said that the level of relations between Egypt and Iraq have gone beyond
the idea of diplomatic representation at the level of charge D'affaires or
interests section.

On Iraq's attitude towards the peace process and Intifada, the Iraqi Vice
President said that Iraq is backing Intifada and liberation of usurped

Asked on whether Iraq would soon release Kuwaiti POWs, he said that there
are no Kuwaiti POWs in Iraq.

He said that Kuwaiti officials know that but they are requested by the US
and Britain to say so to find a justification. For sustaining siege on Iraq.
He wondered what Iraq would get from Kuwaiti POWs?

Answering a query on Iraq's political rhetoric, which is not proportionate
to Egypt's efforts to bring Iraq back to the Arab rank, Ramadan said that
this is not accurate talk because Iraq faces daily attacks, launched from
some Arab countries, but when Baghdad talks, its talk is considered as
sabotage to solidarity efforts.

It is not a secret that the US-UK warplanes hit Iraq from Saudi, Kuwaiti and
Turkish lands everyday. Is this considered Arab solidarity, the Iraqi Vice
President fumed?

On whether Iraq endorsed a new map that included Kuwait, Ramadan said that
the issue is raised as a bill at the parliament and the state should not be
held accountable. "This is the opinion of one Member of Parliament and 99%
of the Iraqi people are convinced of it," he further said. "But the
leadership has a different opinion," he added.

And if there are contacts conducted between Iraq and the new American
Administration, the Iraqi Vice President said that we cannot say the
incoming US government will have a perspective on Iraq different than that
of its predecessor.

Answering a query whether Iraq will settle a number of Palestinian refugees
in order to improve its relations with the US, he said that the issue was
not raised. Iraq would not go for less than condition-less relations with
the US, based on equal treatment.

The Iraqi Vice President had arrived in Cairo Tuesday on a few days' visit
to Egypt during which some agreements on joint economic and trade
cooperation and setting up a Free Trade Area between the two countries will
be signed.

The volume of trade transactions between the two countries stands at present
at $ 1.3 billion and is expected to reach the tune of $ 2 billion this year.

Iraq has decided to cancel all customs tariffs in its trade dealings with
Egypt. These measures come into effect within days.

Arabic News, 16th January
Arabic News, 20th January
[Includes cooperation on Œgenetic engineering¹],1113,2-10

News 24, 18th January

Dubai (Sapa-AFP): Baghdad's dramatic new claim over Kuwait a decade after
the Gulf War has ignited fresh fears and outrage in the Middle East at a
time when sympathy was running high for Iraq.

President Saddam Hussein had not been in such a comfortable diplomatic seat
for years, as relations resumed with Cairo and strengthened with Damascus
and some European and Asian capitals.

The terrible plight of the Iraqi people has seen virtually every Arab
country defy US wrath and a UN air embargo to fly aid and solidarity planes
to Baghdad.

Saddam's ministers have flown to Egypt, India and Syria in recent weeks to
drum up support for a campaign to lift the UN sanctions imposed for the
invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

Yet it was his own influential and feared son Odai, an MP, who boldly
renewed the claim to Kuwait in a document submitted to parliament and
published on Tuesday in his newspaper Babel.

And for good measure, Saddam himself threatened on Wednesday to unleash a
six-month artillery barrage against Israel to liberate Palestine.

Baghdad annexed Kuwait as its 19th province, but retreated in chaos before
the largest military alliance seen since World War II. Iraq was later
obliged to drop all claims to Kuwait and recognise the international border.

However, Odai said Kuwait forms part of "Greater Iraq," and urged the
National Assembly "to prepare a map of the whole of Iraq, including Kuwait
City as an integral part of Greater Iraq".

Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz on Tuesday sought to calm matters, saying
the claim was just Odai's personal viewpoint.

However, the views of Saddam's eldest son, who wields life-and-death powers
in Iraq and is a prime candidate for the succession, resound far and wide.

And Vice-President Taha Yassin Ramadan, the highest-ranking Iraqi to visit
Egypt since the war, clearly embarrassed his hosts by admitting it was the
view of 99 percent of Iraqis, if not the state.


Even the diplomat Aziz added a side-swipe that the Kuwaitis deserved to be
invaded, and worse.

An outraged Kuwait immediately protested to the United Nations, the United
Arab Emirates (UAE) warned of fresh dangers, and Syria stressed the need for
Arab solidarity, not threats against neighbours.

Ahmad Bishara, head of Kuwait's National Democratic Movement, a liberal
group, told AFP: "This is a catastrophe for Iraq and the Arab nation".

Shiite MP Hussein al-Qallaf said in Thursday's Al-Watan newspaper: "The
Iraqi and Kuwaiti people are both suffering from the Iraqi regime, which is
a cancerous disease".

Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, who also called in the Arab
League, said the claim betrayed Iraq's "aggressive intentions" towards
Kuwait, and posed "a direct and flagrant threat to security and stability in
the region".

In Damascus, Syrian Foreign Minister Faruq al-Shara called Sheikh Sabah to
offer his support for Kuwait.

And the UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed al-Nahyan also warned
of heightened tension in the Gulf and threats to stability.

"It seems the Iraqi regime deliberately provokes an incident, however small,
every time there is a prospect of a detente in relations with its
neighbours," a senior Gulf official told AFP.

"The conclusion can be drawn that the regime benefits from the continuation
of the crisis. It blocks all prospects for normalisation... and justifies
the mistrust that western countries have of Iraq."

The official dismissed Saddam's threat against Israel as "pure boasting".

"He's deceiving everyone when you know the balance of power in the Middle

Saudi Arabia's Al-Riyadh newspaper called for UN weapons inspectors to
return to Baghdad, which refuses to let them in.

"It is impossible to understand the policy of the Iraqi regime... it is not
based on any political foundation.

"A disarmament mission to Iraq is absolutely fundamental because this regime
no longer inspires confidence," the paper said.

URLS ONLY:,1113,2-10-35_965708,00.html
News 24, 15th January
Damascus, Reuters, 18th January
Abu Dhabi, WAM, 18th January
Tehran, Jan 18, IRNA --
[Chairman of the Iraqi Islamic Revolution Supreme Council, Ayatollah
Muhammad Baqer Hakim]
KUWAIT (Reuters, 17th January)

Arabic News, 19th January

Iraq stressed on Thursday that the sanctions imposed on the Iraqi people
resulted in the spread of diseases that caused the death of more than 11,000
persons mostly children since December 2000.

In a statement, the Iraqi ministry of health said that some 8182 Iraqi
children under five year old died because of the spread of diseases resulted
from the lack of nutrition, diarrhea and others in comparison with 299
deaths cases reported for the same period of 1989.

ITN. 19th January

Vietnam became the latest country to flout the UN air embargo on Iraq when a
Vietnamese plane carrying Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Cong Tan landed at
Baghdad airport according to the Iraqi news agency INA.

The plane, the first from Hanoi to Baghdad since the 1991 Gulf War, brought
a 100-member delegation including the foreign, trade and industry ministers
and businessmen.

"The visit aims to hold talks with senior Iraqi officials to discuss means
of developing relations between the two countries," Tan said.

He will deliver a letter from President Tran Duc Luong to Iraqi President
Saddam Hussein that discusses bilateral ties.

The delegation was greeted at the airport by Deputy Prime Minister Hikmat
Mezban Ibrahim, Trade Minister Mohammed Mehdi Saleh, Agriculture Minister
Abdulillah Hameed Mahmoud and a number of foreign and industry ministry

Iraq has good commercial links with Vietnam and the two countries have
carried out trade deals before under the UN oil-for-food programme.

Vietnam supports an early end to the sanctions, which the United Nations has
ruled will not be lifted until UN inspectors confirm the elimination of
Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

*  Iraq welcomes first Turkish ambassador to Baghdad since Gulf War
Times of India, 20th January

BAGHDAD (AFP): Iraq on Friday welcomed the decision by Turkey to name an
ambassador to Baghdad for the first time since the Gulf War, saying it hoped
to see an increase in bilateral cooperation in various fields.

While receiving the credentials of Ambassador Mehmet Akat, Iraq's Foreign
Minister Mohammad al-Sahhaf said his ministry was "ready to accord all
facilities to the Turkish diplomat to guarantee the success of his mission."

Quoted by the official INA news agency, Sahhaf said: "Iraq welcomes the
Turkish decision and hopes to increase bilateral cooperation in various
fields to serve the interests of the two neighbouring peoples." On January
5, Ankara named Akat, an expert on Turkish-Iraqi relations who previously
served in the Turkish embassy in London, to the post.

He replaces charge d'affaires Selim Karaosmanoglu, who has been at his post
for the past several years. Turkey, which backed western nations in the 1991
Gulf War, has not had ambassador in Iraq since the conflict, but it has
previously spoken out against the crippling decade-old sanctions imposed on
Baghdad for its 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

Turkey is also mulling the idea of opening a second border gate to Iraq,
while both countries have already agreed to open a rail link, running
through Syria. Iraq, on the other hand, often criticises Turkey for its
incursions into the Kurdish-held north of the country to hunt Turkish Kurd
rebels and for allowing western planes to use a base in southern Turkey to
patrol northern Iraq.

Some 40 British and US planes are deployed at Incirlik airbase to monitor
the northern no fly zone imposed on Iraq after the Gulf War to protect the
region's Kurdish population. Baghdad does not recognise the northern no-fly
zone, nor a similar exclusion zone in the south of the country aimed at
protecting the Shiite Muslim population. Neither is authorised by any
specific United Nations resolution.

Kurdistan Observer, 16th January

BAGHDAD, Jan 16 (AFP): Iraq and the Kurdish factions which have controlled
the north  of the country in defiance of Baghdad for almost a decade are
still in dialogue despite their  differences, a senior official said

"The dialogue between the Iraqi leadership and the main Kurdish parties in
the north has never  been cut off, despite our reservations over much of
their policies and their positions," said foreign  ministry undersecretary
Nizar Hamdoun.  Iraq wants "to pursue the dialogue with these parties," he
said, quoted in Al-Rafidain newspaper.  But the embargo, the western-imposed
no-fly zone over Iraqi Kurdistan and frequent US-British  air strikes "have
up until now prevented the normalisation of the situation," he said.  "Once
circumstances allow, I am convinced Iraq will be capable of normalising the

Two rival factions, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and Kurdistan
Democratic Party, have held  northern Iraq since 1991 following Baghdad's
defeat in the Gulf War over Kuwait.  Although part of the fragmented Iraqi
opposition, they have criticised US efforts to overthrow  President Saddam

The Kurdistan Observer Jan 16, 2001

Jalal Talabani, the Secretary General of The PUK party , has just appointed
Dr. Barham Salih as the new Prime Minister for the PUK-controlled region in
southern (Iraqi)Kurdistan yesterday, a PUK official informed the KO today.

Salar Doski, a PUK representative in Canada, said that Dr. Salih was asked
by Talabani yesterday to form a new cabinet after the resignation of the
former prime minister, Mr. Kusrat Rasol, on Jan 14.

The PUK official also added that the PUK leader has asked all PUK media
outlets to stop the negative media campaign against the KDP and to use all
efforts of PUK media for the purpose of strengthening the foundation of
peace, understanding, and coexistence between the two major political
parties in Southern Kurdistan, the PUK and KDP. Many experts of the PUK-KDP
conflict believe that with the Salih appoitment, relations between the rival
Kurdish parties will improve.

Dr. Salih is a leading member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and has
served as the director of the PUK bureau of international relations.

(The Kurdistan observer had conducted an interview with Dr. Salih on
September 2, 1998) To read the interview, please click on the following link

Las Vegas Sun, 20th January

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- Iraq said U.S.-British warplanes killed six of its
citizens in airstrikes Saturday on southern Iraq and that its air defense
units hit one of the aircraft.

The U.S. military denied any aircraft was hit, saying all planes returned
safely after a raid conducted in response to Iraqi anti-aircraft fire.

In a statement issued through the official Iraqi News Agency, the Iraqi
military said allied aircraft attacked civilian targets in two districts in
the southern province of al-Muthana, 220 miles south of Baghdad.

"Three people were martyred when enemy warplanes bombed southern Iraq and a
residential house was destroyed in Salman and a farm was burned in Samawa,"
the statement said.

Later, the Iraqi military said the death toll had risen to six and that
rescue workers were looking for more casualties while digging through the
rubble of bombed houses.

The Information Ministry invited foreign journalists in Baghdad to go on an
official trip to the sites on Sunday.

The U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Fla., said allied planes attacked Iraqi
radar systems and anti-aircraft artillery, but its statement made no mention
of civilian casualties.

"Coalition aircraft never target civilian populations or infrastructure,"
the command said. "The sites were targeted to further degrade Iraq's ability
to jeopardize coalition pilots and aircraft."

The allied aircraft were fired on while patrolling the no-fly zone over
southern Iraq, which was established after the 1991 Gulf War to protect
Shiite Muslim rebels from Iraqi government forces.

Iraq does not recognize the no-fly zone and has been challenging allied
aircraft since 1998.

"Our heroic (anti-aircraft) missile units confronted the enemy warplanes,
hitting one of them while it was violating our skies," the Iraqi statement

The statement did not give the nationality of the plane or say that it fell
to the ground. Iraq has previously claimed to have hit allied aircraft, but
has never provided evidence.

The airstrike came hours before President George W. Bush's inauguration.

by Don Melvin - Staff
Atlanta Journal, Saturday, January 20, 2001

The new Israeli consul general in Atlanta confirmed Friday that he is the
subject of a security investigation being conducted by the Israeli Foreign

According to a report in Wednesday's edition of the English-language
Jerusalem Post --- which cited the Hebrew newspaper Yedioth Aharonot --- the
Foreign Ministry is investigating reports that an Iraqi citizen has been
living in the official residence of a diplomat in an unnamed Western

Consul General Jacob Rosen confirmed in a telephone interview that he and
the Atlanta consulate were the subjects of the investigation, but declined
to make any further statement.

"Since the investigation is still ongoing, I have no intentions for the time
being of commenting on it," Rosen said.

The Jerusalem Post said that the diplomat and his wife, Annette, are
suspected of having known the Iraqi since they were posted in a third

Before assuming his duties in Atlanta this summer, Rosen was posted for six
years at the Israeli Embassy in Jordan.

The Israeli newspaper report said that the Iraqi "has allegedly been living
in the diplomat's official residence for the past few months, although the
diplomat claims it has only been for a few days."

The newspaper said that, because Israel considers Iraq an enemy state,
Israelis --- and especially senior emissaries --- are prohibited from having
any contact with Iraqi citizens.

The diplomat has been ordered to expel the Iraqi from his house immediately,
and to make sure that neither he nor his wife has any further contact with
him, the newspaper reported.

The Jerusalem Post said Foreign Ministry officials consider the case one of
the strangest ever in the annals of the ministry. The officials added, the
Post said, that the official in question is highly regarded and considered
to be an outstanding diplomat.

Rosen was born in Poland in 1948 and moved with his family to Israel in
1957. He began his career with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1973.

He served in Israel's embassies in the Netherlands and Britain before
becoming senior research fellow at the Center for Political Research for the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem in 1981.

In 1984, Rosen became consul for Academic Affairs at the Consulate General
of Israel in New York. Since then, he has served as political counselor at
Israel's embassy in Egypt and as second-ranking officer at the embassy in

Rosen, who is the father of two sons and a daughter, collects books on
Lawrence of Arabia. He speaks Polish, Dutch, English, Arabic and Hebrew and
can follow conversations in Russian, German and Yiddish.

United Nations, Reuters, 20th January

Iraq sought UN clearance yesterday for a gift of $94 million (100 million
euros) in humanitarian aid to "homeless and wretched" Americans living in

In a letter to Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed
Saeed Al Sahaf said Baghdad meant the gift as an expression of "deep
sympathy for the human suffering and wretchedness of some 30 million U.S.
citizens who live below the poverty line."

"The vast majority of those people are black citizens who continue to suffer
from persecution and discrimination and live on refuse, deprived of the most
basic means of subsistence," Sahaf said.

"Their continued suffering must not be met with silence," said the letter,
which did not spell out how Baghdad planned to distribute the money if it
were approved.

Washington promptly dismissed Iraq's idea of donating money to poor
Americans as "ridiculous and nonsensical." "It shows that what they are
doing is playing political games with the world,"


Hindustani Times, 18th January
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