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The following items somehow went missing when I was preparing the last news

*  Hijack of Yemen Plane Foiled; Passengers Safe
*  US Ambassador Was on Hijacked Plane [extract]

*  IAEA carries out nuclear inspection mission in Iraq [this is better than
the report included in  the News which was sent out]

*  Iraqi press calls for overthrow of Saudi monarchy
*  Kuwait Impounds Oil Tanker
*  Iraqi officials, press urged [by Kuwaits foreign minister] to be

*  Pentagon Lacks Iraq Arms Evidence

*  Gulf War allies helping Iraq skirt sanctions

*  Trial verdict of Iraqi gunman in anti-UN attack put off for second time

by Mohammed Sudam

DJIBOUTI (Reuters, 23rd January) - A Yemeni claiming to be a supporter of
Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was overpowered by crew members after
hijacking a Yemeni plane with 91 passengers aboard including the U.S.
ambassador to Yemen, witnesses said.

This correspondent was on the flight from the Yemeni capital Sanaa to the
southern city of Taiz.

The pilot Amer Anis told Reuters that the hijacker, armed with a pen-shaped
pistol, had threatened to blow up the Boeing 727 if it was not diverted to
Baghdad, which is under a U.N. embargo since Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

"We persuaded him with difficulty to land in Djibouti to refuel. Once there,
I managed to let most of the passengers disembark from the emergency exit,"
Anis said.

The passengers included the U.S. envoy Barbara Bodine, the U.S. military and
political attaches at the Sanaa embassy and a protocol official from the
office of Yemeni President Abdullah Saleh. Eleven crew members were also on
board the plane.

"The crew overpowered the hijacker who was carrying a pistol," an airport
official told Reuters.

"Two shots were fired in the air, but all the remaining passengers and crew
are safe," he said. "The flight engineer was injured in the hand, but
everything is fine now."

Anis said the hijacker was a Yemeni in his 40s. Witnesses said he had
threatened to blow up a suitcase full of explosives.

The U.S. and Yemeni officials were on their way to Taiz to join U.S. Army
General Tommy Franks, who was due to hold talks with Saleh on military
cooperation and the investigation into the apparent suicide bombing of a
U.S. destroyer in the Arab country in October.

Franks, head of the U.S. Central Command, was on his second visit to Yemen
since the October 12 bombing of the USS Cole destroyer which killed 17 U.S.

The hijacker, sitting in the first class section of the plane, commandeered
the plane about 10 minutes into the flight. The plane circled for more than
one hour before heading to Djibouti.

At least 10 children and many women were on the plane.

Saleh was sending a special plane to take the passengers back to Taiz,
officials said.


ADEN, Yemen (Associated Press, Tue 23 Jan 2001)  U.S. ambassador Barbara
Bodine was aboard a Yemeni airways plane that was hijacked on a domestic
flight Tuesday, an embassy official said, adding that the ambassador was


It was not clear whether the hijacker had targeted Bodine, who has had a
high profile since terrorists attacked the USS Cole warship as it refueled
in Yemen's southern port of Aden. After the bombing that killed 17 U.S.
sailors and injured 39, she shifted for several weeks from the U.S. Embassy
compound in the capital, San'a, to a hotel in Aden, some 190 miles south.

Bodine, a 52-year-old St. Louis native named ambassador in 1997, oversaw
logistics for U.S. investigators who streamed into the dusty harbor town and
has returned several times since those first few weeks to meet with the
investigators. She also worked on the negotiating team that eventually found
a way for the Americans to participate actively in the probe despite Yemeni
sovereignty concerns.

A decade ago, Bodine was one of the last foreign diplomats to hold out in
Kuwait after Iraqi President Saddam Hussein ordered them to get out.

Bodine had only recently arrived in Kuwait when Saddam invaded, declared
Kuwait one of his provinces and ordered all embassies in the emirate to shut
down. Iraq said foreign countries would be represented in Baghdad, Iraq's

The United States and dozens of other countries refused. But with Saddam's
troops preventing supplies from reaching embassies, diplomats were pulled
out. Eight Americans  including U.S. Ambassador W. Nathaniel Howell and his
chief deputy, Bodine  stayed until they were sure all private American
citizens who wished to leave had done so. They left just one month before
the bombing started as the Gulf Crisis turned into the Gulf War and a
U.S.-led coalition pushed the Iraqis out of Kuwait.

Times of India, 23rd January

BAGHDAD: The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has been carrying out
a route inspection mission in sanctions-hit Iraq, a western diplomat posted
in Baghdad said on Monday.

The source, asking not to be identified, told AFP that a four-member IAEA
team led by Ahmad Abu Zahra of Egypt started a five-day mission on Friday to
inspect Iraq's sole declared nuclear site.

The inspection is taking place under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
(NPT) to which Iraq signed up in 1972, he said, stressing it was not linked
to UN post-Gulf War disarmament efforts.

The IAEA director general, Mohammad el-Baradei, said in Vienna on January 12
that the agency wanted to carry out a routine limited check of nuclear
material stocks at Tuwaitha, near Baghdad.

Iraq readily granted entry visas for the inspection team, the diplomat said.

Baradei said the stocks do not contain weapons-grade material, and that the
checks "would not, and could not, serve as a substitute" for UN arms

As a signatory to the NPT, Iraq was obliged to allow the IAEA to check its
nuclear inventory at least once every 14 months, he said. The last check was
carried out on January 25, 2000.

"All weapons-usable nuclear material has been removed from Iraq," as
demanded by the UN Security Council, Baradei said.

But remaining stocks include "a significant amount of low enriched and
natural uranium," he said. "This material needs to be verified to ensure
that it has been, and remains, accounted for, unaltered, under IAEA seal."

Baradei said the IAEA had been unable to carry out "the more comprehensive
and intrusive activities" since December 1998, when UN arms inspectors and
an IAEA team were evacuated from Iraq on the eve of a US-British air war.

Iraq has vowed not to allow their return, despite a Security Council
resolution offering a renewable suspension of sanctions in return for
Baghdad's full cooperation with a new disarmament regime.

Baghdad has been under sanctions linked to the elimination of weapons of
mass destruction since invading Kuwait in 1990. (AFP)

Times of India, 23rd January

BAGHDAD: Newspapers in Iraq on Monday called for the overthrow of the Saudi
monarchy, in anger at a deadly western air raid apparently launched from an
air base in Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi people are "more than ever aware that the time has come to get rid
of this backward regime and to put in place a regime without kings or
princes," said the ruling Baath party's mouthpiece, Ath-Thawra.

The official daily Al-Jumhuriya, meanwhile, warned the kingdom against "the
anger of Iraqis."

Iraq "will not let go of those who have strayed and are helping the mission
of the infidel enemy which continues to assassinate Iraqis and destroy their
properties," it said.

The warning came after six civilians were killed in an air raid Saturday on
the village of Salman in southern Iraq, which is patrolled by US and British
warplanes from bases in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait as well as aircraft carriers
in the Gulf.

Salman lies on the flight path of planes coming from Saudi Arabia, according
to local residents.

Turning its sights on Kuwait, Ath-Thawra on Sunday implicitly warned its
neighbour it could withdraw recognition of the emirate's territorial
integrity over its support for the US and British air strikes. (AFP)

Los Angeles Times, 23rd January

KUWAIT--Kuwait has impounded an oil tanker that allegedly violated the 10
-year-old U.N. sanctions on Iraq, the Interior Ministry said Tuesday.

The coast guard intercepted the vessel in Kuwait's territorial waters
Thursday, a ministry statement said. It said it was flying the Honduran
flag, carrying 1,000 tons of crude oil, and manned by 19 sailors of many

The sweeping embargo was imposed on Iraq after its 1990 invasion of Kuwait.
A U.S.-led international coalition fought the Persian Gulf War and liberated
the small oil-rich state in February 1991.

The sanctions, which bar most trade with Iraq, cannot be lifted before
Baghdad complies with all Security Council resolutions. However, since 1996,
Iraq has been allowed to sell oil under a U.N.-authorized program to buy
food, medicine and other basic goods.

The Honduran tanker is suspected of evading U.N. monitoring of Iraqi oil

Times of India,  23rd January

KUWAIT: Kuwait's foreign minister called on Iraqi officials and press on
Monday to end a recent wave of anti-Kuwait rhetoric, saying escalation was

"I'm sorry they have chosen to escalate," Sheik Sabah Al Ahmed Al Sabah told
reporters as he was leaving a Parliament meeting. "Such escalation is not
only against Kuwait, it is also against the United Nations and its
resolutions and I don't believe this would be in Iraq's interest."

The latest campaign of direct and indirect threats started about a week ago
with Odai Hussein, the son of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, telling Iraq's
rubber-stamp parliament that Kuwait should be included in a new map of Iraq.

His comments came on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the Gulf War, which
liberated Kuwait from a seven-month Iraqi occupation.

Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan later said in Cairo that "99
percent of Iraqis support" Odai Hussein's views. On Sunday, an editorial in
Al-Thawra, Iraq's Baath ruling party's official newspaper, said Iraq has the
right to abandon any commitments it has made to Security Council
resolutions. The editorial did not specify, but Baghdad acknowledged
Kuwait's sovereignty and agreed to a U.N. demarcated its border with its
small wealthy neighbor after the Gulf War.

Sheik Sabah said Kuwait "hopes peace will prevail in this area, and reason
would govern statements made by officials and newspapers in Iraq."

Baghdad criticizes Kuwait for allowing its Gulf-War allies the United States
and Britain to use its bases for daily flights to patrol no-fly zones over
northern and southern Iraq. These zones were set up after the war to protect
rebellious Iraqi minorities.

Another senior Kuwaiti official, Suleiman Majed al-Shaheen, had said Kuwait
considered the latest Iraqi statements as serious threats.

Meanwhile, a Sunday editorial in the Kuwaiti daily Al-Rai Al-Amm called for
the lifting of sanctions on Iraq.

Kuwait's official position has been that Iraq should implement all Security
Council resolutions so that the sanctions, imposed just after Iraqi troops
invaded Kuwait in August 1990, could be lifted. The sanctions have
devastated the Iraqi economy, pushing many middle class Iraqis into poverty.

"Remove sanctions on the Iraqi people, and direct punishment to the ruling
few that caused the catastrophes," Al-Rai Al-Amm's editor-in-chief, Jassem
Budai, wrote. "The regime will not fall unless it is directly targeted.
Don't give it an excuse to use Iraqis as human shields ... while the head of
the regime spends hundreds of billions on his palaces and birthday

The sanctions bar Iraq from importing or exporting goods, except for
transactions under an oil-for-food program approved by the U.N.

Sheik Sabah said it was the Iraqi regime that doesn't want the embargo
lifted. He did not elaborate, but many Kuwaitis believe Saddam Hussein's
propaganda machine is feeding on the image of suffering Iraqis. (AP)


WASHINGTON (Associated Press, Tue 23 Jan 2001)  The Pentagon says it lacks
firm evidence that Iraq has accelerated its effort to rebuild a chemical and
biological weapons arsenal. Officials wonder what has been missed during the
two-year absence of U.N. inspectors and automated video monitors at
suspected weapons factories.

``It's the lack of knowledge,'' Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. Craig Quigley
said Tuesday.

A senior administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said a
secret analysis, known as a national intelligence estimate, was done
recently on Iraq's progress toward reconstituting its weapons of mass
destruction. The official said the analysis concluded that Iraq's efforts
have put it in position to produce new chemical or biological weapons

The official cited the example of a rebuilt facility that produces chlorine,
which has a legitimate use in water purification systems but also could be
used as an ingredient in deadly chemical weapons.

Quigley also noted the problem of such dual-use facilities in the hands of
President Saddam Hussein.

``There are plausible explanations that the Iraqi authorities have given for
the use of these facilities,'' he said. ``We just have no particular
confidence in his truthfulness.''

Quigley and others said the United States gained little additional insight
into Iraqi activities in recent months. ``I don't think our knowledge of the
activities inside those facilities is any greater than it was before,'' he

Iraq's rebuilding effort began shortly after the United States and Britain
bombed numerous Iraqi targets, including missile production plants and
special security forces, in December 1998. President Clinton declared
immediately after the raid that U.S. forces would strike again if Iraq began
reconstituting its chemical, biological or nuclear weapons programs.

Now a new U.S. administration must determine whether, or when, the use of
military force would be an appropriate response.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld hardly mentioned Iraq at his Senate
confirmation hearing Jan. 11. He did say that deterring the use of weapons
of mass destruction is a vexing problem.

``The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of
delivery are increasingly a fact of life that first must be acknowledged and
then managed,'' Rumsfeld said in a prepared statement.

Rumsfeld's predecessor, William Cohen, told Rumsfeld shortly before he came
to the Pentagon that containing Iraq's military power will be a pressing
issue for the Bush administration.

On Jan. 10 Cohen released a report on the global spread of weapons of mass
destruction. It said that over the past two years Iraq may have
reconstituted its efforts to build such terror weapons and noted that the
United Nations has had no inspectors in Iraq since late 1998.

In a report last fall, Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and
International Studies said the U.N. inspection effort was ``dying, if not


BAGHDAD, Iraq -- For Muhamed Al-Ameen, few items are more important in life
than the shipping schedules of cargo vessels at Persian Gulf ports about 300
miles south of here.

Al-Ameen, a 28-year-old computer salesman, regards the regular Monday
arrival of the Jabil Ali, a vessel from the United Arab Emirates, as his
week's high point.
Along with cars, clothes and myriad other goods, the ship carries the Compaq
and Hewlett Packard components that he sells for good prices in Baghdad in
violation of the United Nations sanctions imposed on Iraq after its 1990
invasion of Kuwait.

"It's been getting much easier to get goods in during the last year,"
Al-Ameen said. "Sanctions are breaking down, and there is more and more
demand for these things."
Ten years after U.S.-led forces launched a bombing campaign against Iraq to
kick off the Persian Gulf War, Iraqis say economic sanctions against their
country are unraveling irreversibly, with both countries and companies
ignoring the decade-old embargo.

The violations are continuing, they say, despite signals from Washington
that the new administration of President Bush would like to reinvigorate
sanctions against Iraq.
In reality, "many people and businesses are doing business with Iraq,
regardless of the sanctions," said Nizar Hamdoon, undersecretary of the
Foreign Ministry and a former ambassador to both Washington and the United

"Practically," he said in an interview in his office, "the sanctions regime
is crumbling."

Increasingly, Iraq's new trading partners include the United States' Gulf
War allies, which act as transfer points for shipped goods whose origins
often remain obscure. Earlier this month, Egypt, one of the largest
recipients of U.S. foreign aid, signed a free-trade accord with Iraq.

The road linking Baghdad and Amman, Jordan, is jammed with vehicles carrying
goods of all kinds into Iraq. On a recent day, three trucks loaded with
factory new Mercedes-Benz sedans heqPIraqi capitaPn the
opposite direction, trucks carried Iraqi petroleum to Jordan.

In the Baghdad car dealership of Sardar Hussein Hassan stood a new,
blue-green Dodge Durango sports utility vehicle, its American warning label
still hanging from the air bag cover.

Two workers were washing down the vehicle after its long trip through the

"This will go for $35,000," said Sardar, 35, a Rolex on his wrist. "It's the
only one in Iraq."

Few Iraqis, of course, can afford computers and cars. The United Nations has
reported alarming increases in malnutrition and child mortality rates since
the Gulf War.

But experts say that the regime of Saddam Hussein itself is awash in oil

Under the sanctions, Saddam's government must seek permission from the
United Nations to spend the country's oil revenues, which are held in a
U.N.-controlled bank account. Both U.N. and Iraqi officials estimate that
Iraq now has about $12 billion in that account.

Oil analysts, however, have estimated that Iraq is bypassing U.N. scrutiny
and smuggling millions of barrels of oil overland to Jordan and Syria. Iraq
has admitted offering neighboring countries oil at cut-rate prices as a way
to lure them into violating the sanctions.

"We have bilateral trade relations with neighboring countries," Oil Minister
Amer Muhamed Rashid told reporters in Baghdad recently. "We have full rights
to manage this according to our own capabilities."

He admitted that a once-abandoned oil pipeline to Syria was being repaired
and would be open for business soon.

Baghdad's Saddam International Airport, its walls and windows still bearing
"Down USA" signs, is slowly coming to life after 10 years of inactivity
brought on by the sanctions. Vietnam Airlines and Ukraine Airlines planes
touched down one recent night with large trade delegations.

Imported foods, such as Colombian bananas and French bologna sausages, fill
markets in Baghdad.

Smuggling could make it harder for the United States to toughen sanctions
against Iraq, as Bush said he would like to do during last year's
presidential campaign.

Last month, the new U.S. secretary of state, Colin Powell, said he hoped to
"re-energize" the sanctions.

In Baghdad, middle-class Iraqis say that the 10-year-old embargo has
shattered their incomes. Today, a shopping bag is needed to carry $100 worth
of Iraqi dinars; in 1990, the dinar was worth more than a U.S. dollar.

"I had planned for a new car and a new house, but that will have to wait for
another time," said a surgeon, 50, who asked that his name not be published
for fear of reprisals from Saddam's security services. His pay, he said, has
dropped from $1,650 a month in 1990 to about $75 a month today.

But young go-getters like Sardar and Al-Ameen are betting that the situation
in Iraq will change soon.

"We are sure that sanctions will be gone in a few years," Al-Ameen said.
"Even if the Americans want to impose them on us, in the end, the sanctions
cannot succeed."

Times of India, 23rd January

BAGHDAD: The verdict in the trial of an Iraqi gunman who carried out a
deadly attack on UN offices in Baghdad was postponed for a second time on
Monday, as a defence team reinforced by parliament called for his release.

The court set a new date of February 5, again putting off the verdict which
had first been announced for January 8 and then delayed until January 22, an
AFP correspondent reported.

While the prosecution called for the "harshest penalty" against car mechanic
Fuad Hussein Haidar in the latest hearing, a defence lawyer argued for his
release on the grounds that Haidar was "not responsible for the crime
attributed to him."

An additional 15 lawyers appointed by the Iraqi parliament to defend Haidar
attended the hearing, boosting his two-member defence team.

"My trial is fair and we will triumph over the United States and
imperialism. I will accept any verdict handed down by the court," Haidar
told journalists at the end of the hearing.

The prosecution called for the death penalty at the start of the trial in

The 38-year-old Iraqi burst into the Baghdad offices of the UN Food and
Agriculture Organisation (FAO) armed with a Kalashnikov rifle on June 28 and
shot dead two UN employees.

The Somali deputy head of the FAO office, Yusuf Abdullah, and an Iraqi
computer expert were killed and seven others wounded.

After surrendering to Iraqi authorities, Haidar said he had wanted to draw
attention to the "genocide of thousands of Iraqis" under the UN embargo
which has been in force since Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

His trial opened on November 6. (AFP)

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