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Iraq (No-fly Zone) Mr. Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his Department's estimate is of the number of Iraqi civilians killed as a result of coalition aircraft responding to threats in (a) the northern and (b) the southern no-fly zone in Iraq between (i) 1 April 1991 and 16 December 1998 and (ii) since 20 December 1998 through (A) collateral damage, (B) attack on an unintended target and (C) malfunction of ordnance; what percentage of attacks in the no-fly zones resulted in civilian casualties over each of these periods, and if he will make a statement.  Mr. Hoon: I refer the right hon. and learned Member to the answer I gave on 6 June 2000, Official Report, columns 168-69W. Mr. Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on how many occasions coalition aircraft patrolling the (a) northern and (b) southern no-fly zone in Iraq have hit targets different from the intended target since 20 December 1998; on what dates each attack took place; what percentage these represented of overall attacks during this period; and if he will make a statement.  Mr. Hoon: The coalition goes to exceptional lengths to avoid hitting anything other than the intended target, including through the use of very strict target clearance procedures and precision guided munitions. We also routinely conduct painstaking battle damage assessment after every bomb is dropped. For these reasons we are confident that, in the vast majority of cases, ordnance released by coalition aircraft lands on or very close to its intended target. I am withholding detailed information on the activity undertaken by coalition aircraft in accordance with Part II of Section 1c of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information. For the period 20 December 1998 to 12 May 2000, I refer the right hon. and learned Member to my answer to his question on 6 June 2000, Official Report, columns 168-69W. There have been no further occasions of ordnance from UK aircraft appearing to hit unintended targets. The weapons released on these two previous occasions still represents some 1 per cent. of ordnance released by UK over this period. 23 Jan 2001 : Column: 533W Mr. Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on how many occasions (a) coalition and (b) UK aircraft patrolling the southern no-fly zone in Iraq have released ordnance in response to violations since 1 November 2000 indicating in percentage terms for this period the (i) nature of the threat, (ii) category of the target attacked and (iii) tonnage of ordnance released on each category of target (A) in total and (B) as proportion of the overall tonnage released in this period; and if he will make a statement.  Mr. Hoon: Between 1 November 2000 and 12 January 2001 coalition aircrew conducting legitimate humanitarian patrols in the southern no-fly zone were directly threatened by the Iraqi air defence forces on 24 occasions and responded in self-defence on nine occasions against Iraqi military facilities posing a direct threat to coalition forces. UK aircraft released ordnance on four occasions. Details of the threats to coalition aircraft, broken down by percentage, are: (i) Nature of threat by percentage Aircraft Violations of Southern no-fly zone: 3 per cent. Anti-Aircraft Artillery/Surface to Air Missile Firings: 97 per cent. (ii) Category of Target Attacked by percentage Integrated Air Defence System: 100 per cent. (iii) UK Weapons Released against Integrated Ground Based Air Defence System (a) By tonnage: 4 tonnes (b) By percentage: 100 per cent. Mr. Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on how many occasions since 20 December 1998 his Department has been able to verify the claims of civilian casualties due to coalition aircraft activity over the no-fly zones made by the Government of Iraq; what percentage of Iraqi claims of civilian dead his Department considers to be accurate in relation to (a) number of dead and (b) occasions when coalition activity has resulted in casualties; and if he will make a statement.  Mr. Hoon: The Ministry of Defence has no objective means of verifying Iraqi claims of civilian casualties. I am not therefore in a position to provide the precise information requested by the right hon. and learned Member. Coalition aircraft conducting legitimate, entirely humanitarian patrols of the Iraqi no-fly zones are being repeatedly attacked by Iraqi forces. Faced with these acts of aggression coalition aircraft, acting entirely in self-defence, only ever target Iraqi military facilities that pose an immediate and serious threat to their safety. It is deeply regrettable that they are forced to take this action, but they are only acting in self-defence. The risk of civilian casualties is always a major consideration during the very careful target selection process and only precision-guided weapons are used where there is any risk of civilian casualties. As the right hon. and learned Member implies, Saddam Hussein routinely claims that civilian casualties have been caused as a result of coalition activity over the no-fly zones. It is in his interests to do so. We learnt long ago not to give too much credence to these allegations. We conduct careful battle damage assessment (BDA) after every incident; this analysis demonstrates in the majority of cases that the coalition weapons have, acting in self-defence, in fact hit their intended military target. The 23 Jan 2001 : Column: 534W Iraqis regularly claim that there have been civilian casualties on days when the coalition has not even patrolled, let alone dropped any ordnance, and we know that they routinely claim that civilians have been killed when the casualties were actually military personnel. We know also that Saddam has claimed the coalition was responsible for casualties that were in fact caused by Iraqi air defence weapons. Mr. Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much additional expenditure has been incurred by his Department as a direct result of operations in the Gulf (a) between 1 August 1992 and 15 December 1998 and (b) since 16 December 1998, indicating in each time period the percentage of that expenditure relating to (i) personnel, (ii) base expenses, (iii) munitions, (iv) aircraft and fuel, (v) intelligence and (vi) other; and if he will make a statement.  Mr. Hoon: The information is not available in the form requested. The table sets out the total additional expenditure incurred by the Ministry of Defence as a direct result of operations in the Gulf from 1992-93 onwards. Year £ million 1992-93 551 1993-94 179 1994-95 58 1995-96 14 1996-97 6 1997-98 16 1998-99 35 1999-2000 28 2000-01(9) 24 (9) Estimate This expenditure relates to residual costs incurred during the Gulf War, the enforcement of the no-fly zone since 1991 and the associated deployments of naval, air and ground forces in support of our policy of containing Iraq. These figures do not include routine naval deployments to the Gulf. 33. Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with opposition groups in Iraq about the effect of sanctions.  Mr. Hain: Ministers and officials keep in regular contact with representatives of the Iraqi opposition on all aspects of our Iraq policy. The Iraqi National Congress, perhaps the most significant opposition grouping, makes clear that it holds Saddam Hussein directly responsible for the suffering of the Iraqi people, and wishes to ensure that he can never again attack his own people or his neighbours with weapons of mass destruction. 35. Mr. Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on Iraq.  Mr. Hain: Ten years after the outbreak of the Gulf war, we remember the allied service-men who lost their lives in the successful operation to expel Iraq from Kuwait. Kuwait is now prospering free from Iraqi tyranny. However, we should not forget the Kuwaitis missing since the occupation. I urge Iraq to co-operate with the Tripartite Commission, which is tracing the Kuwaiti missing. Since the Gulf war, our policy has contained the threat posed by the Iraqi regime. In the last 10 years, Iraq has not used chemical weapons against the Kurds or Iran or invaded its neighbours. Nor has it fired Scud missiles at Israel or Saudi Arabia. Before sanctions, Iraq did all of these. That is why Britain will continue to support sanctions and the no-fly zones until Iraq no longer represents a threat. This anniversary should be a reminder to us all of why it is necessary to contain the Iraqi threat now as it was 10 years ago. United Nations Security Council resolution 1284 offers Iraq a way out of sanctions. It allows for the suspension of sanctions in return for Iraqi co-operation with UN weapons inspectors. Britain wants to see sanctions suspended. Critics of sanctions should unite with us in calling on the regime to take up this offer rather than playing into Saddam's hands by supporting his defiance of the UN and international law and prolonging sanctions. Sanctions could be suspended in a matter of months if UN weapons inspectors are allowed into Iraq to control Saddam's biological, chemical and nuclear weapons capabilities, which are threatening the region. _________________________________________________________________________ Get Your Private, Free E-mail from MSN Hotmail at http://www.hotmail.com. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email firstname.lastname@example.org Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website: http://www.casi.org.uk