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News, 1117/2/01 (2) RAIDS (etc) * Iraq says Western planes wound seven in south * Iraqis blast "criminal" Bush after 15 injured in air raid * US planes strike Iraqi missile site * Iraq Says Cluster Bomb Injures Two Children * Pentagon: Iraq Air Strike Effective * Abrupt end to Britain's quest for conciliation * Teenager Dies in Western Strikes-Iraq Papers REACTIONS AND EXPLANATIONS * Allies attacked due to 'Iraqi threat', UK says [extract giving reactions of the British ³opposition parties²] * Iraqi opposition supports no-fly zones * Was It Justified?Experts Criticize U.S. Strike on Baghdad * Britain Says Iraq Raid 'Humanitarian' * Experts unsure if Iraq attack is sole volley * Nations Criticize Air Attacks on Iraq * Palestinians show support for Hussein [also quite interesting on Israeli reactions] * Russia condemns U.S.-British air strike on Baghdad [³We are shocked by the actions taken, relying on military force². Yes. Well ....] * We bombed Iraq! What else is new? [interesting reaction from John Pike, director of Globalsecurity.org: ŒThe main thing that distinguished Friday's action from the strikes that occurred under the previous administration, Pike said, is publicity.¹] * Australia backs US and UK air strikes on Iraq and some URLs only http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/news.asp?ArticleID=9395 * Iraq says Western planes wound seven in south Baghdad, Reuters, 12th February Iraq said U.S. warplanes bombed civilian houses in southern Iraq yesterday, wounding seven people. "American criminals committed yet another crime when their planes bombed residential quarters in southern Iraq, injuring one person in Meisan province and six citizens in Basra province," the official Iraqi News Agency INA quoted a military spokesman as saying. The spokesman said the planes damaged 17 residential buildings in Nahran Omar in Basra and destroyed a power grid in the area. Air defence fired at the jets and forced them to return to their bases in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, he added. The Culture and Information Ministry invited television and news reporters to the south today to film the damage and casualties. There was no immediate comment from the United States or Britain whose planes patrol northern and southern no-fly zones set up by Western powers after the 1991 Gulf War. Iraq said late last month seven people were injured when Western planes attacked civilian targets in the south. Western planes have frequently bombed targets in the no-fly zones since Baghdad stepped up its defiance of the restrictions two years ago. http://sg.dailynews.yahoo.com/headlines/world/afp/article.html?s=singapore/h eadlines/010213/world/afp/Iraqis_blast__criminal__Bush_after_15_injured_in_a ir_raid.html * Iraqis blast "criminal" Bush after 15 injured in air raid by NAHRAN OMAR, Iraq, Feb 12 (AFP) - US President George W. "Bush, the son, is more of a criminal than his father," an angry farmer protested Monday, a day after 15 civilians were injured in a US and British air raid on southern Iraq. The younger Bush is "much more criminal," charged Muslim Enad, who had children in his family among the injured. George Bush, the father, who was president of the United States during the 1991 Gulf War when a US-led coalition ousted Iraqi occupation forces from Kuwait, is a hated figure in Iraq. "Three shells hit my fields and threw up huge clouds of smokes. It was a cowardly act. We are innocent families and want to live in peace," the 60-year-old farmer told AFP on his land in Nahran Omar, in the Basra province of southern Iraq. Adel Saleh, the hospital director in nearby Al-Deir, said eight children and four women were among 15 injured, raising the injury toll of seven given on Sunday by a military spokesman. Two women had abortions and two of the other casualties were cases of broken limbs, said Saleh. Homes in Nahran Omar, an area rich in agricultural land and oilfields, were not directly hit in the raid. But several collapsed walls, broken windows and four craters among the wealth of palm trees were left behind on Monday. >From her hospital bed, Hosnah Maktuf said she had had to abort in her eighth month of pregnancy because of the shock. "My son, who is 12 years old, was hit in the eye by part of a shell as he worked in the wheat field. I heard an explosion and then through the smoke I saw that my son had been wounded," she said. Abdul Jalil Daud Salman, a 27-year-old farmer, said that the air raid came at around 4:30 pm (1330 GMT) as most people in the village of 25 homes were out in the fields. "I fractured my right leg as a wall collapsed in my home," said a 38-year-old woman, Sajida. The Iraqi military said "enemy warplanes bombed civilian installations and services." Apart from the wounded, 17 homes were damaged before Iraqi anti-air defenses "forced the enemy planes to flee." Incidents occur on an almost daily basis between Iraq and a US and British force that enforces flight restrictions on the northern and southern parts of the country imposed after the 1991 Gulf War. Baghdad frequently accuses the warplanes of targetting civilians. Iraq says 323 people have been killed and 964 injured by raids since December 1998 when its anti-aircraft artillery started to challenge the overflights following a US-British air war. http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/breaking/2001/0214/breaking88.htm * US planes strike Iraqi missile site irish Times, 14th February US warplanes used precision-guided weapons against a surface-to-air missile site in southern Iraq, US military officials said today. A statement by the U.S. Central Command, which oversees US forces in the Gulf, said the attack yesterday was in response to recent Iraqi violations of United Nations Security Council resolutions, but gave no specific reason for the strike. It said aircraft in the US-led coalition, which has been reduced to just US and British planes, launched the attack at 9.15 p.m. local time (6.15 p.m. Irish time) and all planes returned safely to their bases. In Baghdad, an Iraqi military spokesman, quoted by the official Iraqi News Agency INA, said hostile planes flew over the province of Basra attacking civilian and service installations. No casualties were reported. http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20010215/wl/iraq_bomb_dc_1.html * Iraq Says Cluster Bomb Injures Two Children BAGHDAD (Reuters, February 15) - Two children were injured when a cluster bomb dropped during the 1991 Gulf War exploded in Anbar province, the Iraqi News Agency (INA) reported on Thursday. Muhammed Qassim Muhammed, 7, and Ahmed Hameed Firhan, 8, were injured when a cluster bomb went off while they tended their sheep in Habaniya district, Anbar province west of Baghdad, the agency said, quoting a civil defense source in the province. The source said the children were seriously injured in the explosion but it did not say when it happened. It said bomb disposal experts had defused 56,483 cluster bombs in the province since the 1991 Gulf War. The incident is the second in two days. Iraqi media said on Tuesday two children were killed and their mother was injured in a bomb explosion in the southern province of Kerbala. U.S. and British planes patrol two no-fly zones over the north and south of the country. They frequently bomb air-defense units which challenge the patrols. http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/w-me/2001/feb/16/021700821.html * Pentagon: Iraq Air Strike Effective by ROBERT BURNS Las Vegas Sun, 16th February WASHINGTON (AP) -- The joint U.S.-British air strike against Iraq, described by President Bush as routine, was the biggest blow against Saddam Hussein's military in more than two years and involved two dozen attack planes armed with precision-guided missiles, Pentagon officials say. "A routine mission was conducted to enforce the 'no-fly' zone" over southern Iraq, Bush said Friday. "It was a mission about which I was informed and I authorized. But I repeat, it's a routine mission." It was the first military action ordered by the new president, who inherited an Iraq policy that has evolved from the 1991 Persian Gulf War that his father carried out to evict the Iraqi army from Kuwait. A key part of that policy is enforcement of no-fly zones over northern and southern Iraq -- a mission that has taxed the U.S. military while also taking a heavy toll on Iraq's extensive air defenses. Iraq does not accept the legitimacy of the no-fly zones. Iraqi television said one person was killed and 11 injured in Friday's attack. Bush was in Mexico meeting with President Vicente Fox at the time the missiles were launched at about 12:30 p.m. EST. White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said Bush gave the go-ahead on Thursday. At the Pentagon, Marine Lt. Gen. Gregory Newbold, director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called the strike a "self-defense measure" initiated by the commander of U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf. The number of U.S. and British attack planes involved -- 24 -- was much larger than in previous missions over northern and southern Iraq in recent years. Dozens of support aircraft also were involved, including electronic jamming and radar control planes. Bush's approval was required, Newbold said, because the mission was not the usual small-scale attack that U.S. and British pilots have carried out almost routinely inside the no-fly zones. It was the first strike at targets outside the southern flight-restriction zone since December 1998, officials said. The Pentagon said five targets were struck, including long-range surveillance radars and associated facilities that Iraq has used more frequently over the past six weeks to coordinate its defenses against U.S. and British patrols. The radars allow Iraq to make better use of its surface-to-air missiles. The U.S. Central Command said Iraq recently increased its use of anti-aircraft artillery and surface-to-air missiles, with more than 60 incidents since Jan. 1. It gave no figures for previous periods. Asked whether the attack was a signal to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein that the new administration would take more frequent and more forceful military action, Bush said, "Saddam Hussein has got to understand that we expect him to conform to the agreement that he signed" after the 1991 Gulf War. Iraq has not followed the requirements set down in cease-fire resolutions that were designed to ensure it not develop long-range ballistic missiles or nuclear weapons. Bush said Saddam and his nation must not try to acquire or build weapons of mass destruction. "If we catch him doing so, we'll take appropriate action," the president said. Friday's attack, however, appeared largely unrelated to Iraq's bomb-building ambitions but rather a new chapter in the long-running battle over no-fly zones. The United States, with British and French support, established the southern zone as a means of preventing Iraqi forces from attacking Shiite rebels. The northern zone was meant to protect minority Kurds, whose uprising after the Gulf War was crushed by the Iraqi army. "We will enforce the no-fly zone, both south and north," Bush said. "Our intention is to make sure the world is as peaceful as possible." Condoleezza Rice, the president's national security adviser, told reporters traveling with Bush in Mexico that the administration was continuing the Clinton administration's policy of striking at Iraqi air defenses. "There isn't any change in policy," she said. In addition to land-based Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles and Navy F/A-18 Hornets from the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman in the Persian Gulf, there were many other command, control and other support planes involved in Friday's action, Pentagon officials said. They declined to provide full details. In London, Defense Secretary Geoffrey Hoon said the attacks were a "proportionate response" to an increased threat to patrolling aircraft. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/World/Middle_East/2001-02/iraqconciliate17 0201.shtml * Abrupt end to Britain's quest for conciliation by Kim Sengupta The Independent, 17th February The latest air strikes against Iraq come against a climate in which operations against Saddam Hussein were steadily scaling down and the British Government was using a more conciliatory tone towards Baghdad. But that was two weeks ago. In the intervening days the new Bush administration in Washington, with its veterans of the Gulf War, has honed its hard line towards President Saddam. The Ministry of Defence and the Foreign Office were last night echoing the line that the air strikes were in reaction to more provocation by the Iraqis, that they had fired more missiles and anti-aircraft artillery in the first six weeks of this year than the whole of the last. Yesterday's raids are seen as an extension of the festering conflict in two ways. It is the first time that allied planes had struck suburbs of Baghdad since the big operation of 1999, and they also took place on the orders of President George Bush given on Thursday. Until now the allied aircraft had been engaging the Iraqis in immediate reaction to attacks rather than carrying out premeditated engagements. The operation involved about 70 aircraft. Britain contributed four GR1 Tornados flying from Kuwait, two F3 Tornados from their base in Saudi Arabia and two VC10s flying from Bahrain, used for mid-air refuelling. The strike force did not cross the 33rd parallel inside the southern no-fly zone. They used their guided Smart missiles and bombs to hit their targets north of the line. The main attack was on a large command and control centre 10 miles south of Baghdad, the capital, which is alleged to have been stocked with the most modern surveillance radar equipment. According to defence sources all six targets, five outside the no-fly zone, had been reconnoitred through spy satellites and intelligence gathering missions by aircraft before the attack. Both the Pentagon and the MOD claimed that all the targets were away from civilian areas. The attack and its severity would have surprised the Iraqis A senior aide to Tariq Aziz, Deputy Prime Minister, recently said the Baghdad regime expected the strikes to be scaled down. He said: "They are not really damaging our military capability. The Americans and the British must know that the Russians, the French and the Chinese are increasingly against this. We don't expect them to increase these bombings.'' But that was before the new Bush administration expressed determination to turn the screw on Iraq. According to Whitehall sources the decision to carry out the attacks was taken on Wednesday and Dick Cheney was one of the chief hawks. Before he resigned to become George Bush's running mate, Mr Cheney was the chief executive of the oil supplies company Halliburton, which extensively traded with President Saddam through its European subsidiaries. http://www.hoovershbn.hoovers.com/bin/story?StoryId=CoO4fueGctKLsqveTu1rssuT flurd * Teenager Dies in Western Strikes-Iraq Papers Hoover¹s, February 17, 2001 02:27 BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraqi newspapers said on Saturday that a teenager was killed and several others were wounded in Friday's Western air raids against Baghdad. They reported Aliah Atshan Abdullah, 18, died in the city's al-Kandi hospital after she suffered severe wounds in the first major Western air strikes on the outskirts of the Iraqi capital for two years. The papers said a child wounded during the attack was also admitted to another hospital in the capital. On Friday, at Baghdad's Yarmouk hospital, physician Dr. Omar al-Abdali said nine wounded people, some critically hurt, had been admitted. Iraq has not yet provided an official death toll after the U.S. and British warplanes' attack on targets in southern Baghdad. [.....] http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_210930.html * Allies attacked due to 'Iraqi threat', UK says Ananova, 16th February [.....] Shadow defence secretary Iain Duncan Smith said the airstrikes had been "fully justified" in the face of the increased Iraqi threat to British and American aircrews. "Ten years after the Gulf War, Saddam is still a source of aggression in the region and the need for a resolute policy is as strong as ever." Liberal Democrat defence spokesman Paul Keetch said the party understood why the air strikes had taken place but insisted British and American involvement needed to be kept under constant review. http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_210967.html * Iraqi opposition supports no-fly zones Ananova, 16th February The Iraqi National Congress has said it supports the "no-fly" zones policed by British and US forces. It is now calling for them to be extended to further protect threatened minorities. The INC said it regretted that it was the Iraqi people paying the price for Saddam Hussein's aggression. The London-based organisation of Iraqi opposition groups also blamed the latest attacks on Saddam's refusal to comply with United Nations resolutions. A statement issued by the organisation said: "Nevertheless the INC absolutely defends the need for effective policing by the allies of the no-fly zones. "Without them, the people of the north and south of Iraq will fall victim once again to Saddam Hussein's brutality. "Indeed the INC would welcome the extension of the area of the no-fly zone to the whole of Iraq and the extension of the terms of engagement of allied aircraft to cover the movement of any Iraqi military equipment that could be used against the Iraqi people." Sharif Ali Bin AlHussein from the INC said: "No-fly zones and safe havens are essential to the security of the Kurdish people of north Iraq and the INC would like to see an extension of the principle of safe havens to the current no-fly zone in the south of Iraq." He added: "Yet again Saddam Hussein has refused to comply with the various UN resolutions or to honour other commitments he has made to the international community and has targeted allied aircraft in the no-fly zones that police the skies to defend the people of Iraq from Saddam Hussein's brutality." http://abcnews.go.com/sections/us/DailyNews/iraq_bombing_usreax010216.html * Was It Justified?Experts Criticize U.S. Strike on Baghdad by Bryan Robinson ABC news, Feb. 16 ‹ President Bush says his authorized attack on the outskirts of Baghdad was a justified, routine enforcement of the "no-fly-zone" that U.S. and British planes have policed since the end of the Gulf War. But some experts say today's strike against Iraq was not unjustified [sic PB] and could further inflame anti-American sentiment in the Middle East and fracture U.S. support for sanctions against Iraq. "It's absolutely unconsciousable," said Hussein Ibish, spokesman for the American Anti-Discrimination committee in Washington, D.C. "First off, the United States has imposed these horrible sanctions that have resulted in hundreds and thousands of deaths and the only thing this administration has done is compounded our problems with this aggression." In the most aggressive attack by combined forces outside the southern no-fly-zone since Operation Desert Fox in 1998, a strike force of 24 U.S. and British aircraft today targeted radar sites and bombed key command and control nodes in Baghdad. The no-fly-zones were set up after the Gulf War in 1991 and were imposed to protect Kurds in the north and Shiite Muslims in the south from possible attacks by Iraqi forces. No Defense for Self-Defense Pentagon officials described the strike as a "self-defense" measure in response to increased use of anti-aircraft radar on American jets patrolling the no-fly-zone, which Iraq does not recognize and has called illegal. However, some experts believe the Pentagon's self-defense argument is not valid because, they say, the no-fly-zone is not valid. "Self-defense? That depends if you're talking about a sovereign nation protecting itself against planes from another nation flying over its country," said Erik Gustafson, a former soldier in the Gulf War and current executive director of the Education for Peace in Iraq Center. "The fly zones were not established by the United Nations, It's not in any U.N charter." Gustafson indicated that he was not surprised by the strike, saying that it was a continuation of enforcement of the no-fly-zone policy since before Bush took office last month. U.S. and British planes have been bombing zone targets since Baghdad stepped up its defied sanctions in December 1998 and the U.S. and British forces waged a four-day campaign against Iraq during Operation Desert Fox. Waning Support for Sanctions The strikes came one week before Secretary of State Colin Powell is scheduled to travel to the Middle East to discuss, among other things, U.S. policy toward Iraq in meetings with Arab leaders. The United States, Gustafson said, does not have a lot of international support for the current sanctions against Iraq, especially among Iraq's neighbors. Gustafson favors sanctions that affect Iraq's military not the "civil and public health of its citizens." Today's action, he said, could undermine Powell's efforts to gather support for the U.S. policies toward Iraq. "If you look at the sentiment toward us internationally, we're not looking so good," Gustafson said. "Secretary of State Colin Powell is being sent to shore up support for U.S. policies and you bomb Iraq? His efforts may be seriously undermined." According to Hussein Ibish, Bush has squandered an opportunity to improve relations in the Middle East with a new approach. "The rationale that the Bush administration gives is no explanation at all. You can't give justification for something that wasn't justified to begin with," Ibish said. "Iraq didn't give up its sovereignty when it lost Gulf War. The United States' actions were completely unjustified and all is does is dig a deeper whole for all of us and everyone else involved. It's a horrible way for a new administration to begin what should have been a change in approach." http://news.excite.com/news/r/010217/05/news-iraq-britain-dc * Britain Says Iraq Raid 'Humanitarian' by Giles Elgood LONDON (Reuters, 17th February) - Britain said on Saturday that air raids it launched on Iraq together with the United States were a humanitarian action. Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon also said that British aircrews were entitled to defend themselves if they came under attack from Iraqi air defenses. He rejected a suggestion that the raids near Baghdad on Friday evening were a face-saving exercise because sanctions imposed on Iraq were not having the desired effect. "It's about specifically the protection of people on the ground in Iraq -- a humanitarian action to make sure that Saddam Hussein cannot once again unleash his forces to perpetuate terrible damage to those people," Hoon said. "Our pilots are there for humanitarian reasons," Hoon told BBC radio. Foreign Secretary Robin Cook said the raids followed acts of repression by Iraqi Leader Saddam Hussein against Shi'ite Muslims in southern Iraq. "In the southern no-fly zone we have been unable to prevent Saddam carrying out repression on the ground. He has used his power on the ground to repress the Shi'ite population in the marshlands," he told reporters. "But we have been able to stop him increasing the bloodshed by bombing them from the air." Cook added: "We cannot ask British pilots to patrol the no-fly zones and not act when we see Saddam Hussein preparing to shoot them down. That is why we took the action yesterday. MASS DESTRUCTION "There is one very simple way in which the bombing can stop and it does not need to happen again -- that is for Saddam Hussein to stop targeting our pilots and...abandon his weapons of mass destruction." [.....] Britain's biggest selling daily newspaper, The Sun, praised the bombing as a blow against a "bully" and applauded new U.S. President George W. Bush's decision to order the attack. "Bush has the makings of one of the great presidents. We like his style," the Sun said in an editorial. The Sun and the Independent newspapers saw the attack as a sign that President Bush intended to confront Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. But veteran Labor Party left-winger Tony Benn said the raids breached international law and could be described as a "terrorist" action. Benn, a former British cabinet minister, said the no-fly zones had not been authorized by the United Nations Security Council and British and American aircrews had no legal right to be there. "I'm against an action that is contrary to international law," he said. "This attack on Baghdad is in one sense a terrorist act." http://www.bostonherald.com/news/local_regional/mili02172001.htm * Experts unsure if Iraq attack is sole volley by Jules Crittenden Boston Herald, February 17, 2001 U.S. intelligence officials have reported that Iraq is using the revenues from illicit oil sales to rebuild its military and its ability to produce weapons of mass destruction, a potential trigger for strong military action under the Bush administration, according to Jane's Defence Weekly. But defense and political analysts say it is unclear whether yesterday's allied attack on five long-range radar sites near Baghdad signifies the start of a new get-tough policy that President Bush and key Cabinet members have indicated may be coming. ``This is a defensive measure (to protect allied pilots engaged in no-fly-zone enforcement),'' said Robert Pfalzgraff of the Center for Foreign Policy Analysis in Cambridge. ``But it sends a message to Saddam that we are in a position to take action against his other facilities that may be WMD sites.'' Pfalzgraff noted that knocking out radar sites could be a first necessary measure if a broader attack were to be launched on WMD sites. ``It is the first step you'd have to take,'' Pfalzgraff said. ``It is indeed quite possible that we will see additional action.'' Retired Army Gen. Terry Scott of the John F. Kennedy School of Government, said, ``It is too early to tell whether there has been a significant policy change on how to keep Saddam in his box.'' Scott said the limited attack on radar facilities is in keeping with the past history of destroying sites that threaten allied planes in the no-fly-zones. What has changed is that the Iraqis moved those radar facilities closer to Baghdad. ``If you see a stepped-up U.S. or allied air campaign, then yeah, policy has changed,'' Scott said. Those analysts said they doubt Saddam Hussein will have more than a symbolic or harassing military response to the attack, although the potential for some kind of Iraqi involvement in the Palestinian uprising has raised concerns and is being monitored. A Washington, D.C.-based defense analyst who asked not to be identified said, ``Saddam has been able to rebuild a lot of his forces. I think Bush did want to make a statement, `I'm here and I'm not going to let you go too far.' '' In Jane's Defence Weekly this week, CIA Director George Tenet expressed concern about the Iraqi rebuilding of chemical production infrastructure. ``Their capacity exceeds Iraq's needs to satisfy its civilian requirements . . . we have similar concerns about other dual-use research, development and production in the biological weapons and ballistic missile fields.'' Jane's reported that as much as $2 billion in revenues from smuggled oil is going to the Iraqi military and weapons production. Yesterday, Bush warned that the United States would take ``appropriate action'' if Iraq produced weapons of mass destruction. ``We're going to watch very carefully as to whether or not he develops weapons of mass destruction and if we catch him doing so we'll take the appropriate action,'' Bush told a news conference while on a one-day visit to Mexico. http://www.latimes.com/wires/20010217/tCB00V0970.html * Nations Criticize Air Attacks on Iraq by CHIKAKO MOGI, Associated Press Writer Los Angeles Times, 17th February TOKYO--Nations with large Muslim populations on Saturday slammed U.S.-British air strikes against Iraqi targets near Baghdad, saying prior attacks failed to topple the nation's leader and victimized innocents. Friday's raid, the largest in years, brought quick criticism from Russia and China -and a cold response even from some U.S. allies, particularly France, which once patrolled Iraqi skies alongside the United States and Britain. In Asia, reaction was strongest from Muslim nations. "Malaysia's position on Iraq has been very clear. We think they have suffered enough and this attack is totally unacceptable," said Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, a senior leader in the ruling United Malays National Organization. In Pakistan, Islamic political party Jamaat-e-Islami termed the strikes the "worst kind of state terrorism." Observers elsewhere questioned the effectiveness of using military might to force Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein out of office. South Korea's national news agency Yonhap said the air raid should be viewed by North Korea as a "confirmation of the U.S. policy of emphasizing military supremacy." The United States is deeply concerned about efforts by the North to expand its military. But Yonhap cautioned the United States to be mindful of mounting international criticism against its use of power in resolving conflicts overseas. "Its policy of strangling Iraq has failed to topple Hussein and often resulted in sacrifices of innocent civilians," Yonhap said. Iraq's state-run media reported that two people were killed and 11 people were injured in the attack. Iraq has said that some 300 people have been killed and more than 800 injured by allied strikes since Iraq began challenging the no-fly patrols in December 1998. The United States said the attack targeted air defense installations in order to damage Iraq's capabilities to threaten allied planes patrolling a no-fly zone in southern Iraq. Washington and London said Iraqi attacks on allied patrols had gotten more frequent and sophisticated in recent months. No-fly zones were established in northern and southern Iraq after the Gulf War, which ended in February 1991 with the end of Iraq's occupation of Kuwait. "Saddam Hussein remains a threat to stability in the Middle East," British Prime Minister Tony Blair said in a statement. "I am determined to prevent his tyrannical regime from once again attacking Iraq's neighbors, and to ensure that the humanitarian crises we witnessed after the Gulf War should not be repeated." France, which took part in setting up the zones but has since stopped participating in the patrols, said the attacks "gave rise to questions." Russia and China were also quick to condemn the strikes. "What the American militarists are doing at the start of the new administration's activity is a challenge to international security and the entire world community," said Col. Gen. Leonid Ivashov, chief of the Russian Defense Ministry's international cooperation department, as quoted by news agency Interfax. In Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao said, "We condemn the air attacks launched by the United States and Britain against Iraq, and express deep regret over the deaths and injuries of innocent civilians resulting from the action." China called on the United States and Britain to stop military action in Iraq immediately to create a favorable atmosphere for upcoming talks between Iraq and the U.N. secretary-general slated for later this month. Responses from the United States' close allies were subdued. Turkey, which allows allied planes to use its bases to patrol the northern no-fly over Iraq, said its bases were not used for Friday's attacks. The country is keen on improving ties with neighboring Iraq. "The event of last night is a serious one," Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem said. "We are in contact with the U.S. administration and we don't want such events repeated." In Japan, where ties with the United States have been strained by a string of gaffes by American military officials stationed in Japan, a short statement by the prime minister's office said only that it "hopes the situation over (Iraq) will not get strained further." http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/printedition/article/0,2669,SAV-010217013 8,FF.html * Palestinians show support for Hussein by Hugh Dellios Chicago Tribune, February 17, 2001 JERUSALEM -- Hundreds if not thousands of Palestinians took to the streets Friday night in a show of support for Iraqi President Saddam Hussein after U.S. and British warplanes attacked military installations around Baghdad. Arab television stations reported that within minutes of the attack, Palestinians took to the streets in Ramallah, Tulkarem, Kalkilya and other West Bank towns. The protests stoked fears that the attack could further inflame hostilities in the Mideast four months into the Palestinian intifada. Increasingly, Hussein is seen as a hero to Palestinians for his defiance of the U.S. and for his financial support for Palestinian victims. Elsewhere, China and Russia criticized the attack, and France said it raised questions for the U.S. to answer. Israeli analysts interpreted the attack as a warning to Iraq not to provoke the new Israeli government of Prime Minister-elect Ariel Sharon. But Arab observers warned that the attack could have the unintended effect of escalating the risk and rhetoric of war, both of which have been increasing since the Israeli election campaign. The attack occurred on a day when guerrillas from Lebanon's Hezbollah, or Party of God, ambushed an Israeli patrol along the border between the two countries, killing one Israeli soldier and wounding at least two others with rockets. Israel retaliated with artillery fire. In the West Bank on Friday, two Palestinians were killed during heavy exchanges of fire between Israeli troops and Palestinian gunmen in the divided city of Hebron, local hospital officials said. Fears that the intifada could develop into a regional conflict are based primarily on the specter of a border skirmish escalating into direct Israeli attacks against Syria, which is one of Hezbollah's main patrons. Iraq could join Syria in retaliating against Israel. "Now is only a good time for inflaming things," said Zakaria Al Qaq, an analyst with the Israeli-Palestinian Center for Research and Information. He said the U.S.-led air raid "is really a step that nobody could support in the Arab world, not even the Saudis and Kuwaitis." Al Qaq noted that the attack comes a month before a scheduled Arab League summit at which Hussein has been pushing to put the UN sanctions against his country at the top of the agenda. The air raid may increase public pressure on the Arab leaders to address Hussein's concerns and weaken the sanctions further, Al Qaq said. Amatzia Baram, an expert on Iraq at the Israeli National Defense College, said it is well-known in military circles that Iraq in recent months has upgraded its air defense systems and is a greater threat to American and British pilots. But he believes the timing of the attack carried a distinct message for the Iraqi leader. Since Sharon's election victory in Israel, Palestinian militants and Hezbollah guerrillas have been testing the Israelis during the period of limbo as the incoming government is being formed. Baram said the attack carried a message to Hussein that he should not try any provocations. "If the U.S. is looking for a moment to strike, this is the moment, before anything happens," Baram said. "It seems like Israel and the Arabs are sliding toward a major confrontation," he said, adding that Arab militants "believe they can provoke Israel without any retaliation." "With this raid, there's a message saying, `We will not go soft on Saddam,'" Baram said. In recent months, Iraq has made great strides in persuading fellow Arab states and a growing number of foreign governments to ignore UN sanctions imposed a decade ago after Iraq invaded Kuwait, precipitating the Persian Gulf war. And Hussein's reputation has soared on the Arab streets in the region as he continues to defy the U.S. In the West Bank and Gaza, his popularity has skyrocketed since the beginning of the intifada, when his representatives began handing out checks for $10,000 to the families of each Palestinian "martyr" and $1,000 to the families of anyone injured by the Israeli army. Demonstrators carry his image on posters and his portrait adorns many living-room walls. Israeli and Arab analysts agree that if Iraq fired Scud missiles at Israel, perhaps in reaction to a U.S. airstrike, it would be far harder for the U.S. to strike back at Baghdad with solid Arab support. "If there is a war with the Syrians, Saddam will join the fray, no question. The moment this happens, the U.S. will be unable to operate against Saddam. He has become an Arab hero, a latter-day Saladin," said Baram, referring to the 12th Century sultan of Egypt and Syria. http://home.kyodo.co.jp/fullstory/display.jsp?newsnb=20010217032 * Russia condemns U.S.-British air strike on Baghdad MOSCOW Feb. 16 Kyodo (Japan) - Russia issued a quick response to Friday's air strike against Iraq by U.S. and British warplanes, condemning the attack as ''a challenge to international society.'' The statement, made by Leonid Ivashov, head of the Russian Defense Ministry's Department for International Military Cooperation, was reported by Russia's Interfax News Agency, within hours of the attack on five control and command facilities in Baghdad. ''The new U.S. administration has ignored international and humanitarian principles. We are shocked by the actions taken, relying on military force,'' Ivashov was quoted as saying. A spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is currently touring Siberia, said Putin was told of the air raid while he was on his train, emphasizing the Russian government is closely watching the situation. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Yakovenko was critical of the action, saying it was ''absolutely essential to abide by United Nations Security Council resolutions'' in dealings with Iraq. http://salon.com/politics/feature/2001/02/17/iraq/index.html * We bombed Iraq! What else is new? by Alicia Montgomery and Laura Rozen Salon, Feb. 17, 2001: There were plenty of reasons to think Friday's bombing of Iraq represented a newer, tougher approach to Saddam Hussein by the Bush administration. For one, there are the high-profile leaders returning from the previous Bush administration -- which oversaw the Gulf War -- including Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of State Colin Powell. Then, there was the fact that this bombing -- coming just one month into Bush's presidency -- was the first of its kind since December 1998, when U.S. and British planes bombed Iraq for four days outside the southern no-fly zone. Plus, there was the constant speculation -- among hawks and doves and every animal in between -- that the new president would seek vengeance against Saddam Hussein, who has defiantly remained in power a decade after the war ended, and seven years after Saddam hatched a plot to have the older Bush assassinated. George W. Bush's constant references to "Saddam" during his election campaign suggested as much. Retaliation speculation had even grown in the last 24 hours, when Bush officially nominated Paul D. Wolfowitz, a dean of advanced international studies at Johns Hopkins University, to be deputy Secretary of Defense. Wolfowitz, as writer Nicholas Lemann pointed out in a January New Yorker, is the "most prominent proponent of the argument that we should oust Saddam Hussein." And yet Thursday's bombing appears to have been, as Bush said three times Thursday during the course of a brief statement, a "routine" one. Bush, in Mexico to meet with President Vicente Fox, was almost matter of fact, explaining that "since 1991, our country has been enforcing what's called a no-fly zone." That same reaction echoed from most quarters. "What's the big deal?" asked longtime Pentagon watchdog John Pike, director of Globalsecurity.org. "They've been doing the same thing for years." Allied planes have been regularly striking Iraq since December 1998, when Hussein began actively challenging the so-called "no fly zones" established after the Gulf War, with well over a dozen strikes in the year 2000 alone. At that time, the Iraqi government estimated that 300 of its citizens had been killed and 900 injured over the preceding two years. The main thing that distinguished Friday's action from the strikes that occurred under the previous administration, Pike said, is publicity. "Clinton carried out their strikes very quietly," Pike said. "They'd send out these extremely uninformative, extremely short news releases that said basically 'Iraqi targets bombed. No American casualties. No planes lost.'" In contrast, the Bush administration gave a full briefing to the press about the strikes. According to Pike, Clinton kept the profile low on the strikes because he didn't want to antagonize Arab nations that were already ambivalent about America's hostility toward Iraq. "Every time there was an air strike," Pike said, "Saddam would say that [it] killed some innocent shepherd boy and all his sheep." Such stories, along with the reports of Iraqi citizens suffering under sanctions, made supporting the U.S. very problematic for Arab leaders. That's why Pike is a bit puzzled by the fanfare that greeted the strike on Friday. "If they are going to have basically the same policy [as Clinton], I don't know why they are taking on a more visibly confrontational attitude toward Iraq," he said. "Maybe it was a slow news day." But that could be because while the bombing conformed to Clinton's policy, change is still in the air, and the Bush administration wants to make that clear. The administration, for example, has released millions of dollars to opposition groups working within Iraq and, according to the Associated Press, leaders from those opposition groups were meeting Friday with State Department officials. And, while Friday's retaliation itself might not be out of the ordinary, the timing may be, suggested Patrick Clawson, director of research for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. "We bombed because Secretary Powell is going out there" - to the Middle East at the end of February, in part to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the end of the Gulf War -- "and we wanted to show that we have other instruments than making concessions. Speak softly and carry a big stick." http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_211666.html * Australia backs US and UK air strikes on Iraq Ananova, 18th February Australia has strongly backed US and British air attacks on Iraq, saying they will help to block Baghdad's attempts to build weapons of mass destruction. Although many nations have criticised the air strikes, Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer says the attacks by its close allies were justified. He says the Australian government fully understands the need for the action. [.....] URLs ONLY: http://www.cnn.com/2001/ALLPOLITICS/02/16/iraq.airstrikes.cong/index.html * Congressional leaders irked they weren't told of strikes by Major Garrett, CNN, February 16, 2001 [Even Jesse Helms was annoyed. But not very annoyed] http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A17701-2001Feb16.html * Getting Serious in Iraq Washington Post, February 17 [³THE U.S. and British airstrikes ... show that the Bush administration is paying attention to a threat that the Clinton team chose, in its last two years, to ignore....there may be ways to appease feckless France and Russia, which want to trade with Iraq²] http://www.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/meast/02/16/iraq.reax/ * Western diplomats surprised by airstrikes on Iraq CNN, February 16, 2001 [The article would have been more interesting if they had said who the diplomats were] http://www.telegraph.co.uk:80/et?ac=000579381554028&rtmo=weQflMMb&atmo=99999 999&pg=/et/01/2/17/wirq117.html * Bush determined to finish the job by Anton La Guardia, Diplomatic Editor Daily Telegraph, 17th February [Life was just getting too good for the Iraqis. Something had to be done ...] -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 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