The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

News, 11­17/2/01 (2)

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


*  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
*  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 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

*  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.

*  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.

*  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.

*  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

*  Pentagon: Iraq Air Strike Effective
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

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

In London, Defense Secretary Geoffrey Hoon said the attacks were a
"proportionate response" to an increased threat to patrolling aircraft.

*  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.

*  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

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.


*  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.

*  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

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

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

*  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."

*  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

"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.


"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."

*  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

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.

*  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

"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

"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.",2669,SAV-010217013

*  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.

*  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.

*  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

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

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
"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."

*  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

Although many nations have criticised the air strikes, Australian Foreign
Minister Alexander Downer says the attacks by its close allies were

He says the Australian government fully understands the need for the action.


*  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]
*  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]
*  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]
*  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
Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website:

[Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]