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News, 1824/2/01 (1) Special bumper edition this time owing to the reaction to the raid on 16th February. Iıve divided it in three parts the first two parts are all to do with the raid, the third with other affairs. Note in the International section the items concerning little dramas in Poland, Serbia, Germany and New Zealand. Note also that all the Middle East powers, except Kuwait but oincluding Saudi Arabia, condemned the raid (which however was only a logical extension of the no fly policy). I personally recommend as being of particular interest the articles *Airstrike on Iraq seeks wrong goal, in section 7; and *Kurds despair under west's leaky umbrella, in section 10. 1. RAIDS, (including details of targets and success or otherwise of raid on Friday February 16) * Bombs destroyed Iraqi command centre * MP hits out at 'pitiful' defence of air offensive [short extract giving details on the number of bombings last year] * US and British aircraft not fired on since raids [thus proving success of raid. But ...] * Iraq Resumes Fire on Allied Planes * Modernization of Iraq's air defence led to air strike: US [see also below on Chinese involvement] * Iraq says Western planes drop 'flare bombs' * Iraq Reports Western Air Patrols, But No Attacks * Serbia aided planning of air raids on Iraq [main part of article is in the international section. This is an extract in which the British claim the raid was a great military success. But ...] * Many Smart Bombs Off Target in Iraq Attack, Defense 'stunned' by bad showing * New Strikes on Iraq After Weapons Faults [detail on nature of bombs. Theyıre cluster bombs] * US warplanes strike Iraq again * Iraq reports higher death toll from airstrikes [further details on areas hit] 2. CHINA AND ITS POSSIBLE ROLE IN DEVELOPING IRAQıS DEFENSIVE CAPACITY * China fortifying Iraq's air defense system * Claims China Aiding Iraq a Diversion, Says Beijing * Bush Says Chinese Respond to Complaint on Iraq Aid 3. BRITAINıS ROLE IN THE RAID ON FEBRUARY 16 * Britain urged Bush to launch raids on Iraq * Claims that US pushed UK into Iraqi airstrike * MoD and Cook at war over Iraq [I have put in capitals a passage that seems to me to be very important suggesting that there is no point in the patrols over southern Iraq because the Shia have already been comprehensively beaten by Saddam. I would like to know more about this, and about what it means for our suposed concern for and desire to defend them] * Blair Defends U.S.-British Strikes on Iraq * UK's secret Iraq diplomacy [it seems Peter Hain was a good guy after all] URL ONLY http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,440333,00.html * Allies ready to ease Iraq sanctions by Richard Norton-Taylor and Jon Henley in Paris The Guardian, 20th February Not much more than what it says in the headline 4. REACTION TO THE RAID IN THE MIDDLE EAST & ARAB WORLD * Mideast powers condemns Bush "adventurism" in Iraq * Qatar says air strikes on Iraq regrettable * Jordan rallies to Iraq's side * Arab allies deserting Kuwait for Iraq? * Attacks increase suffering of Iraqi people - Oman * Bahrainis condemn bombing of Baghdad * Lebanese Hurt in Iraq Protest Outside U.S. Embassy * Saudi Arabia Joins Denunciation of Iraq Strike * Iran flays UK, US strikes * Moroccan association decries US-British raids on Iraq 5. INTERNATIONAL REACTION [sent in News (2)] * Western attack on Iraq mars Mexico-U.S. `fiesta' [Mexican discontent that the raid occurred while Bush was visiting Mexico, thus showing how little importance he attached to the visit] * Bombing sharpens US, Europe divisions * New Zealand government says US and UK bombings in Iraq threaten peace * PM raps Robson for Iraq comments [more on New Zealand] * Annan: Iraq bombing `awkward' * Iraq basks in support after US strikes [short extract on Malaysia and Indonesia] * Germany cautious on reaction to US-British strikes * Iraq halts trade with Canada, Poland [more on Poland below] * Malaysian leaders demonstrate at US Embassy * [Irish] Government expresses its 'regret' over bombing [Congratulations, Sandeep!] * Turkish minister calls for Ankara-Baghdad ties * France continues criticisms over US-British air strikes * Blair Defends U.S.-British Strikes on Iraq [extract in which Joschka Fischer seems to think the raid, in southern Iraq, was all about defending Kurds] * German Official Talks U.S. Defense [Fischer, anxious to prove he is not a terroristı, buys the whole American story. Green Party reaction below]] * Islamic Body Condemns US-British Raids On Iraq [the Organisation of Islamic Conferences meeting in Saudi Arabia] * Challenge UN sanctions, Duma tells Putin [Russian parliament tells Putin to break the sanctions] * Mexican Congress Slams US-British Raids on Iraq * Adviser to Polish premier submits resignation [and his resignations wqas accepted. This was because he gave the impression Poland supported the raid] * Serbia aided planning of air raids on Iraq * Kostunica: Yugoslavia did not aid in bombing Iraq [thank heaven for that. Though whether or not Kostunica knows what Djindjicıs men are getting up to is another matter ...] * Vatican Opposes Latest Bombing of Iraq * Greens [in Germany] upset by Minister's support for Iraq raids * US Muslims slam attacks on Iraq * Poland Denies Support for U.S. Raid in Iraqi Paper * UN concerns over Iraq policy [feeling that perhaps someone should have been told] URL ONLY http://www.ottawacitizen.com/national/010218/5079652.html * [Canadian] PM not concerned Bush didn't warn of air strike by Jack Aubry The Ottawa Citizen, 12th February Canadian support for US/British policy 6. COMMENTARY IN FAVOUR OF THE RAID * 'Eliminating Saddam Hussein is now both feasible and desirable' by Edward Luttwak, Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Sunday Telegraph [No explanation of why its more feasible now than ever before] * Iraq: Routine or new policy? by Amos Perlmutter, Jerusalem Post [Hopes for end to puillanimousı policy of Clinton] URL ONLY http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/dynamic/news/story.html?in_review_id=362213&in _review_text_id=307377 * Double standards - in Middle East Evening Standard, 19th February Editorial supports the bombing but seems to think they should be bombing Israel too. 7. COMMENTARY OPPOSED TO THE RAID * Bombing by obsession [Dawn (Pakistan)] * Locked in an Orwellian eternal war by Robert Fisk, Sunday Independent * Beware bellicose Bush, Mr Blair [The Observer, February 18] * If our pilots want to know the way to Iraq, they need only ask their fathers by Mick Hume, Times [this is a bit disappointing since the title seems to promise more of an account of past British policy in Iraq] * Pummelling malnourished Iraqis is poor leadership, by Syed Badrul Ahsan, Bangladeshi Independent [interesting Bangladeshi view of internal US politics] * Airstrike on Iraq seeks wrong goal by Micah Zenko, Baltimore Sun [very interesting article, criticising the raids from the point of view of the need to get weapons inspectors back] URLs ONLY http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/dynamic/news/story.html?in_review_id=362212&in _review_text_id=307376 * Silent majority don't want war by A N Wilson Evening Standard, 19th February Interesting to see A.N.Wilson on the side of the angels but the article is little more than an expression of disgust (and regret, which I share, that there is no substantial opposition in Britain). Note that this goes against the London Evening Standard editorial line. http://independent-bangladesh.com/news/feb/19/19022001pd.htm#3 * Bushıs foreign policy in rough waters by Barrister Harun ur Rashid (The writer is a former Bangladesh ambassador to the UN in Geneva.ı) Bangladesh Independent, 19th February On two incidentsı that have left the US foreign policy in a quagmireı. The accidental sinking of a Japanese training vessel by an American submarine, which has emphasised the difficulties of US relations with Japan; and the raids which put US middle east relations into disarray. 8. NEWS FROM INSIDE IRAQ [sent in News (3)] * Iraq threatens to hit back at Saudi, Kuwait * Iraq splits ministry of culture and information * Iraq's oil export rebounds from record low: UN * Iraq Warns Russia Over Oil Contracts [Russia might lose them if they donıt start drilling right away, sanctions or no sanctions] * Russian oil work in Iraq not UN approved-diplomats * Tunisia, Iraq agree free trade pact 9. IRAQ AND WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTIONı * No direct evidenceı of Iraq weapons [according to the CIA] * German spy report warns of Iraqi nukes [according to that sedulous servant of the New World Order, the German BND] 10. IRAQI KURDISTAN * Gunmen kill Iraqi Kurdish governor in ambush * Kurds despair under west's leaky umbrella [on the refugees beached on the French riviera and on the plight of Kurds still under Iraqi control. Also says there is 85% unemployment in the so-called liberated areası where Mr Blair is always telling us eveything is so much better. But then, theyıre under sanctions too, a bizarre fact no-one ever seems to question] 11. ANTI-SANCTIONS CAMPAIGNING * 'Iraqi bombing like Hitler's invasion', [on George Gallowayıs recent visit to Iraq. The substantial quotes are more interesting than the title suggests] * Protesters seek to end Iraqi sanctions [on the 7 day protest outside the House of Commons] * Italy Ministry Blocks Iraq Aid Flight at UN Request URL ONLY http://www.denverpost.com/news/news0218i.htm * Group seeks to aid Iraqi citizens by Karen Rouse, Denver Post National Organizing Conference on Iraq conference in Denver. Doesnıt say much other than that they are opposed to sanctions. 12. ITEMS OF GENERAL INTEREST * We are not alone says Blair, as he defends Baghdad bombing [extract in which Coiokıs figure as to the amount of money the Iraqis arenıt spending is questioned] * West's Gulf War Chiefs in Kuwait Victory Party * No Gulf War regrets for leaders [John Major doesnıt regret not killing Saddam Hussein] URL ONLY http://www3.haaretz.co.il/eng/scripts/article.asp?mador=14&datee=2/19/01&id= 110615 * Saddam's army is obsolete, but the know-how remains by Amnon Barzilai, Haıaretz, 19th February Israeli estimate of Iraqi military capacity. Very little hard information. 13. POWELLıS TRIP TO THE MIDDLE EAST * Powell Gets Quick Lesson in Arab Mistrust * Powell, Russian counterpart try to bridge gaps 14. AND THE STATE OF THE NEW WORLD ORDER * Could British pilots face trial for bombings? [once the International Criminal Court is set up?] * Taliban ready to send Osama bin Laden to Saudi * Wearing a T-shirt makes you a terrorist URL ONLY http://www3.haaretz.co.il/eng/scripts/article.asp?mador=14&datee=2/19/01&id= 110620 * Israel to face Iran alone when U.S. lifts sanctions by Aluf Benn Ha'aretz, 19th February Israeli expectations that US is going to relax pressure on Iran and in particular get rid of the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act (ILSA), initiated by former Republican Senator Alfonse D'Amato and passed with the lobbying efforts of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)ı which is due to expire this year. The end of dual containmentı. 1. RAIDS, (including details of targets and success or other woise of raid on friday February 16) http://www.telegraph.co.uk:80/et?ac=000579381554028&rtmo=weQijtnb&atmo=99999 999&pg=/et/01/2/18/wirq18.html * BOMBS DESTROYED IRAQI COMMAND CENTRE by Philip Sherwell and David Wastell in Washington Sunday Telegraph, 18th February SADDAM HUSSEIN'S most sophisticated air command and radar centre was destroyed in Friday evening's strikes by American and British aircraft, The Telegraph can reveal. The Al Suwayrah site 40 miles south-west of Baghdad, built with Russian and Serbian technical advice and funds, had been used to co-ordinate intensified anti-aircraft attacks on British and US planes patrolling the no-fly zones over Iraq. The woman killed in the attack and identified by Baghdad as a civilian casualty was the wife of a senior air defence officer at the base, according to Iraqi opposition leaders. Baghdad has made no mention of military casualties. Iraq yesterday issued a predictable threat to launch retaliatory attacks against the West and Israel. Although Saddam has been rebuilding his weapons arsenal and, according to a senior defector, has two nuclear bombs, he is not expected to follow through on the rhetoric. Prince Charles was not informed of the attacks, even though he had just started a three-day visit to Saudi Arabia, from where some of the planes took off. At the time of the bombing, the Prince was with Sir Andrew Green, the British ambassador, who had also been kept in the dark. The royal party only became aware of the bombing when one of them received a telephone call from London. London and Washington rejected foreign criticism of the attacks, saying that they were militarily justified and avoided residential areas. Tony Blair said yesterday that further attacks could follow. He said: "Operations such as the one last night would not be needed if Saddam stopped attacking us. But as long as he does, I will continue to take the steps necessary to protect our forces and to prevent Saddam from once again wreaking havoc, suffering and death." President Bush, who was on his first foreign trip - to Mexico - at the time, did not speak to the Prime Minister before authorising the attacks. Officials said there was no need as the strikes were a "routine mission". The attack is a clear signal that Mr Bush intends to follow through on his campaign pledge to take a tougher line with Baghdad. More than 70 American aircraft and eight British planes took part in the carefully planned attacks between 5 and 6pm on Friday afternoon - lunchtime in Mexico and mid-evening in Iraq. The raids follow a steady escalation of pressure by Saddam over the past six weeks, with Iraqi forces firing artillery and missiles at American and British aircraft 65 times. An official at the Pentagon said: "Pilots were able to observe either the missile plumes, or the bursting of anti-aircraft fire." Early last week, American commanders in the field asked for permission to execute a long range raid against the radar sites directing the attacks. Because the operation involved an attack outside the UN-approved no-fly zone, the request was passed up the line to Washington. At a meeting on Thursday, Condoleezza Rice, the US National Security Adviser, was joined by Donald Rumsfeld, the Defence Secretary, and General Colin Powell, the Secretary of State. They recommended the raid after being told that Iraq was about to link its anti aircraft command-and-control sites with underground fibre-optic cables, which are difficult to tap or destroy. Pentagon officials advised that unless the links were hit while being built Saddam's ability to strike at allied planes would be dangerously enhanced. Mr Bush approved the strike. White House and defence officials called their opposite numbers in London late on Thursday to confirm that President Bush had given the Pentagon the go-ahead. Geoffrey Hoon, the Defence Secretary, spoke to Mr Rumsfeld by telephone, in the most senior ministerial contact. Four RAF Tornado GR1 bombers from Kuwait, accompanied by Tornado F3 air defence escorts and VC10 tanker aircraft, attacked the An Numaniyah control centre with the 2000lb Paveway III laser-guided bomb, so-called "bunker-busters" designed to destroy heavily fortified installations. The American force, led by 24 strike aircraft, fired stand-off missiles from within the southern no-fly zone to strike five sites dotted around Baghdad. http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_212824.html * MP HITS OUT AT 'PITIFUL' DEFENCE OF AIR OFFENSIVE [.....] Downing Street says Allied planes have patrolled the no-fly zones on 23 occasions in January, coming under anti-aircraft fire on 21 days. They responded on seven occasions, including Friday's pre-planned attacks on the integrated air defence system in Baghdad. Last year, Allied planes took action on 34 occasions in the northern no-fly zone and 44 in the south. Downing Street says this showed there is no increase in the frequency of Allied responses in 2001. [.....] http://www.timesofindia.com/200201/20euro5.htm * US AND BRITISH AIRCRAFT NOT FIRED ON SINCE RAIDS: PRESS Times of India, 20th February LONDON: US and British warplanes patrolling 'no-fly' zones over Iraq have not come under Iraqi anti-aircraft or missile attack since their air strikes last week close to Baghdad, The Times newspaper said on Monday, citing military sources. This contrasts with the six weeks before the raids when allied aircraft were targeted 65 times with different munitions in the zones which London and Washington have enforced in north and south Iraq since the end of Baghdad's occupation of Kuwait in 1991, the paper said. Iraqi anti-aircraft artillery and surface-to-air missile batteries had both been silent since Friday, said The Times. The sources said this shows that Iraq's newly-built network of fibre optic cables connecting anti-aircraft batteries to command centres -- one of the main reasons offered for the bombing raid -- has been disrupted. The claims that Iraq's anti-aircraft defences have been put out of action will be considered by the British defence ministry and the US Pentagon as vindication for last week's bombing raid. But Baghdad insisted Sunday that its air defence capabilities were intact. An official said Iraq had fired on two allied aircraft over southern Iraq since the raids, forcing them to turn for home. "We will continue, without respite, to retaliate against enemy planes," Iraq's air defence commander, General Shahin Yassin Mohammad, told Iraqi television. The February 16 raids left 30 people dead and 30 others wounded, according to Iraqi state television. Eight Royal Air Force planes -- four Tornado GR1 bomber aircraft, two Tornado air defence aircraft and two VC 10 tanker aircraft -- took part in the raids. The Times said they dropped two laser-guided Paveway bombs on an Iraqi air defence command-and-control bunker south of Baghdad, destroying it. The British effort was in support of a much larger contingent of US aircraft. The strikes have been roundly condemned in the Arab world and drawn criticism from France, Russia and Turkey. (AFP) http://www.baghdad.com/?action=display&article=5839854&template=baghdad/inde xsearch.txt&index=recent * IRAQ RESUMES FIRE ON ALLIED PLANES WASHINGTON (Associated Press, Tue 20 Feb) Hardly hesitating after the joint U.S. British air strikes, Iraq over the weekend resumed firing on allied air patrols in the southern ``no-fly'' zone, a Pentagon official said Tuesday. Iraqi air defenses fired surface-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft artillery at allied pilots on Saturday and Sunday, spokesman Marine Corps Lt. Col. Dave LaPan said. The allied planes were not hit and did not fire back, he said. [.....] http://www.dawn.com/2001/02/21/int1.htm * MODERNIZATION OF IRAQ'S AIR DEFENCE LED TO AIR STRIKE: US Dawn, 21st February [.....] But in the past Chinese companies have had UN-approved contracts to repair Iraq's electrical grid, which was heavily damaged by allied bombardments during the 1991 war. "Someone might try to make the case that 'fiber optic is dual use and we were using it only in the most benign of manners,'" the Pentagon official said. "We have reason to believe it's not the case." "We have reason to believe the Chinese were putting fiber optic cable in Iraq that would help with their communications and command and control capability," he said. The underground cables, which can move much larger volumes of data instantaneously than conventional land lines, would be much less vulnerable to attack than above ground telephone and power transmission lines. In recent weeks, US pilots who patrol no-fly zones in southern Iraq have reported that the Iraqis have been firing surface-to-air missiles at them more frequently and getting closer and closer. The Pentagon concluded that commanders were communicating ealy warning data from surveillance radars around Baghdad more quickly and simply to commanders who control the surface-to-air missiles in the south, military officials have said. A key element in the change has been the use of the fiber optic cables to link air defence command centres, according to the Pentagon official. "You have a group of radars that search up north, they have a long-range search capabilities and they can pick up air targets. You have weapons systems south that have fire control systems, or that fire the weapons," he explained. "If that information from up there, reaches down here to this little guy and does so in a sophisticated and timely manner, then that makes life more difficult because they have a known potential target coming in," he said.-AFP [.....] http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/news.asp?ArticleID=10276 * Iraq says Western planes drop 'flare bombs' Baghdad, Reuters, 22nd February Iraq said Western aircraft dropped "flare bombs" on civilian areas in a raid on southern Iraq yesterday. It was the fifth sortie by Western planes reported by Iraq since U.S. and British jets launched air strikes on air defence installations near Baghdad last Friday, prompting broad international criticism. "At 12:50pm American and British warplanes carried out 22 sorties coming from Kuwaiti and Saudi skies...and flew over the provinces of Basra, Muthanna, Qadissiya and Mesian," an Iraqi Military spokesman said in a statement carried by the Iraqi News Agency. "They dropped flare bombs in Samawah (southern Iraq) and were confronted by our brave missile and air defences which forced them to flee," he said. Iraqi authorities have reported a number of "flare bombs" dropped by U.S. and British warplanes in the past. The flaming devices are designed to divert anti-aircraft missiles. Iraq said they were being dropped for other purposes, primarily to burn Iraqi crops and civilian property. The spokesman said Western planes also patrolled a no-fly zone in northern Iraq but reported no incidents. The raids on Friday were the first strikes outside the zones since 1998. Iraq said two civilians were killed and more than 20 wounded. Iraq vowed revenge for the raids and the Iraqi press spoke of retaliation against Saudi Arabia and Kuwait for providing bases. There was no immediate confirmation of yesterday's patrols from the United States or Britain. In Washington, the Pentagon said on Tuesday Iraq fired at U.S. and British warplanes over the southern no-fly zone at the weekend. The United States and Britain said the Friday raids were carried out to protect their aircraft patrolling the no-fly zones. NO URL * IRAQ REPORTS WESTERN AIR PATROLS, BUT NO ATTACKS by Rawhi Abeidoh BAGHDAD (Reuters, 22nd february) - Iraq said Western warplanes flew scores of sorties over the no-fly zones in the north and south of the country on Thursday but made no mention of an air strike reported by the U.S. against Iraqi defense targets. The U.S. European Command based in Germany said earlier on Thursday that coalition aircraft launched the attack after they were targeted by anti-aircraft guns and Iraqi radar around the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. ``At 11:05 local time on Thursday, American and British aircraft violated our air space flying from bases in Turkey and flew over the provinces of Duhouk, Arbeil and Nineveh,'' the Iraqi News Agency (INA) quoted a military spokesman as saying. The spokesman made no specific mention of the attack on the air defense targets in Mosul, the first such raids since U.S. and British warplanes struck radar and communications sites near Baghdad last week. Mosul is the capital of Nineveh province. The spokesman said U.S. and British jets also flew a total of 42 sorties over several southern provinces, including Basra, Dhi qar and Muthanna, from bases in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia with the ''direct support of the regimes'' in both Gulf Arab countries. INA quoted him as saying that the aircraft were forced to return to their bases after meeting stiff resistance from Iraqi air defenses. ``Our heroic (anti-aircraft) missile forces and ground defense units confronted the American British planes coming from the dens of treachery in Saudi and Kuwaiti territories and forced them to flee our air space under our blazing fire,'' the spokesman said. [.....] http://www.telegraph.co.uk:80/et?ac=000579381554028&rtmo=Qwxz9waR&atmo=99999 999&pg=/et/01/2/22/wirq22.html * SERBIA AIDED PLANNING OF AIR RAIDS ON IRAQ [extract] by Michael Smith, Defence Correspondent Daily Telegraph, 22nd February [.....] The raids were a success, he said. RAF Tornado GR1 strike aircraft dropped two Paveway III laser guided bombs and US aircraft fired 32 stand-off weapons. He said: "We have definitely degraded their capability. Since then the level of activity has been very low. Our pilots have not seen any threats and intelligence indicates that Iraqi defences are operating at a very low level." [.....] http://www.sfgate.com/cgi bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2001/02/22/MN206598.DTL * MANY SMART BOMBS OFF TARGET IN IRAQ ATTACK, DEFENSE 'STUNNED' BY BAD SHOWING by Thomas E. Ricks, Washington Post San Francisco Chronicle, Thursday, February 22, 2001 Washington -- Most of the bombs dropped by U.S. warplanes on Iraqi radar stations during last week's air strikes missed their mark, Pentagon officials disclosed yesterday, with most of the misses blamed on a new and expensive Navy guided bomb. About 25 of the guided bombs were dropped in the attack, and the majority fell "tens of yards" from their "aimpoints," a Navy official said. Another official said he had been told the misses averaged more than 100 yards, an unsatisfactory performance for a modern precision-guided weapon. Pentagon officials initially were glowing in their assessment of Friday's air strikes against the Iraqi anti-aircraft system, which involved U.S. and British warplanes. But the disclosure of the guided weapon's failure rate stunned defense officials and led them to scale back their assessment of the damage done in the attack. "We feel we had a good effect. Was it perfect? No. Did every weapon system perform perfectly? No, but they never do," Rear Adm. Craig Quigley, a Pentagon spokesman, said yesterday. The Navy guided bombs that misfired Friday are known as the AGM-154A joint standoff weapon. Such weapons range in cost from about $250,000 to about $700, 000 apiece, according to the Federation of American Scientists. The guided bombs were fired at about 25 parts of Iraqi radar stations -- radar dishes, communication bunkers and other components -- and the Pentagon has been able to confirm damage to only eight of these targets, one official said. About another eight targets escaped damage, while satellite imagery has not produced usable pictures of the remaining radar targets, the official said. In a second part of the raid, communication nodes connecting the Iraqi anti- aircraft system were hit with two other types of smart weapons -- about five AGM-130 guided missiles and about 10 standoff land attack missiles. One or two of the AGM-130s also missed their targets, but the communication nodes were destroyed by the bombs that did hit, an official said. "Everything they were fired at was destroyed or heavily damaged," he said about the AGM-130s. The communication nodes were considered the most important targets because they linked large radar stations around Baghdad to surface-to-air missile batteries in southern Iraq. In the past, those batteries used their own radar to guide missiles at U.S. and British aircraft patrolling the southern no-fly zone. But U.S. radar- seeking missiles have proven so effective against the batteries the Iraqis turned off those radars. Instead, they moved to a new system of using the large radars stationed outside the no-fly zone to locate aircraft and then fire at allied planes from missile batteries in the south. It was the communication links tying together the new system that was attacked Friday. Almost all the guided bombs that missed on Friday did so in the same way -- veering to the left of the point where they were supposed to hit, officials said. The consistency of this error has led Navy officials to believe it is likely a software glitch that threw off the bombs' guidance systems. The weapon receives data from global positioning satellites as it glides as far as 40 miles to its target. But officials also are looking at whether the bombs were mishandled or otherwise damaged before they were loaded on F/A-18 jets flying from the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman that was in the Persian Gulf. "It could be a mechanical problem, it could be a software problem," a Navy official said. http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/abc/20010222/wl/new_strikes_on_iraq_after_weapo ns_faults_1.html * NEW STRIKES ON IRAQ AFTER WEAPONS FAULTS by ABCNEWS.com, 22nd February [.....] What is most concerning to Navy officials, however, is that the "bomblets" all missed their targets by the same distance, the sources said. Bomblets fall in an established pattern or footprint. In the majority of the dropped bomblets, each of these patterns missed their aim point by exactly the same distance, the sources said. Sources said the errors may have been caused by an error in programming the software that controls the weaponry. The "Joint Standoff Weapons" are fired from the Navy's F/A-18s from a safe distance, and release a series of highly explosive small bomblets that fall in a pattern. It is specifically used against "soft" unhardened targets such as radars. [.....] http://www.timesofindia.com/230201/23home5.htm * US WARPLANES STRIKE IRAQ AGAIN Times of India, 23rd February WASHINGTON: US warplanes struck Iraqi air defence targets in northern Iraq on Thursday, going into action for the first time since last week's attack on targets near Baghdad, the US military said. The US European Command said the strike was launched in retaliation against Iraqi forces that fired at coalition aircraft patrolling a no-fly zone in the north and targeted them with radar. "Coalition aircraft responded to the Iraqi attacks by dropping ordnance on elements of the Iraqi integrated air defence system," the command said in a statement. A Pentagon official said the latest air attack had targetted the north of Mosul inside the northern no-fly zone, unlike last week's strike near Baghdad, which is outside the two no-fly zones which cover northern and southern Iraq, respectively. "Iraqi forces fired anti-aircraft artillery from sites north of Mosul while ONW (Operation Northern Watch) conducted routine enforcement of the northern no-fly zone," the European command said. "Coalition aircraft were also targeted by Iraqi radar from sites southeast of Mosul," it said. Last Friday's strikes were the biggest in more than two years, and the first since Operation Desert Fox, in December 1998, to hit targets north of the 33rd parallel, the upper limit of the no-fly zone. But questions about the effectiveness of those strikes emerged with the disclosure on Thursday that more than half of the long-range missiles which were used to target radars around Baghdad missed their mark. (AFP) http://www.timesofindia.com/230201/23mide6.htm * IRAQ REPORTS HIGHER DEATH TOLL FROM AIRSTRIKES Times of India, 23rd February BAGHDAD: A civil defense official said in remarks published on Thursday that the casualty toll from last week's US-British airstikes has risen to three dead and 25 wounded. Iraq had previously put the death toll at two and the injured at 20. Giving new details about Friday's attack, Gen. Kassem Mohammad Nouri, director-general of the Civil Defenses Directorate, said some of the missiles fired by allied planes did not explode, according to Al-Zawra weekly. Nouri also named two new towns that he said were targeted in the strikes on the outskirts of Baghdad: Numaniya and Nahrawan, in addition to Rashidiya and Hafriya that were shown on Iraq's state television Sunday. "The strikes caused damage to buildings and residential areas," Nouri was quoted as saying. [.....] 2. CHINA AND ITS POSSIBLE ROLE IN DEVELOPING IRAQıS DEFENSIVE CAPACITY http://www.vny.com/cf/News/upidetail.cfm?QID=161413 * CHINA FORTIFYING IRAQ'S AIR DEFENSE SYSTEM WASHINGTON, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- China is building a fiber-optic communications system for Iraq's new air-defense network that was targeted by U.S. and British air strikes last week, The Washington Times reported Tuesday. The fiber-optic system was nearly finished before the raid. "These are largely buried fiber-optic cables that would protect them from a variety of things like weather or coalition air attacks," a senior defense official told the newspaper. China several years ago set up a nationwide system of fiber-optic communications lines through its territory. The system is able to handle larger volumes of communications and is more secure against electronic eavesdropping. U.S. companies have also sold fiber-optic communications equipment to China, raising questions about whether U.S.-origin fiber-optic technology was resold to Iraq as part of the air-defense network, which will greatly increase Iraq's ability to shoot down patrolling U.S. aircraft, analysts said. Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has offered a reward to any air-defense unit that succeeds in downing a U.S. or allied jet patrolling the two air-exclusion zones over northern and southern Iraq. "We wanted to take out the system and hardware and not the people," the senior defense official said. Pentagon officials said they do not know how long China has been helping build the air defense network or whether the U.S. government has protested the apparent violation of U.N. sanctions on Iraq, The Times said. The sanctions imposed after the 1991 Persian Gulf War prohibit sales of military goods to Iraq until it gives up all its weapons of mass destruction and certain missile programs. -- Copyright 2001 by United Press International. All rights reserved. http://www.insidechina.com/news.php3?id=294584§ion=default * CLAIMS CHINA AIDING IRAQ A DIVERSION, SAYS BEIJING BEIJING, Feb 21, 2001 (Reuters) China said on Wednesday reports that Chinese workers were helping Baghdad repair air defenses in violation of UN sanctions were an attempt to divert opinion from American and British strikes against Iraq. "We made our stance clear: That any effort to mislead the public and divert public attention is futile," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue told reporters. "There is nothing more to add," she said, when asked about statements from U.S. officials and U.S. media reports. According the U.S. embassy in Beijing, Washington was awaiting a reply from China to its inquiry into reports about China's assistance with Iraqi anti-aircraft systems. "Obviously, we are very concerned about reports that the Chinese have provided assistance to the Iraqis regarding their air defense network," the embassy said in a statement. "We have had consultations with the Chinese on the importance of full compliance with UN Security Council resolutions," it said. "It is particularly important for P-5 members to apply scrupulously the decisions of the Council," it said, referring to the five permanent members of the Security Council, Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States. SANCTIONS CONCERNS China has long supported an end to economic sanctions against Iraq but also says Baghdad must comply with UN Security Council resolutions. The Washington Post reported on Wednesday that the Bush administration planned to protest to Beijing. The Post quoted Bush National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice as saying: "We're concerned about the apparent involvement of the Chinese with fiber-optics." She added that, "under the sanctions regime, there appears to be a problem". A senior U.S. defense official, who asked not to be identified, told Reuters on Tuesday that Chinese military and civilian workers were helping bolster Iraq's military with Chinese fiber optic cables in violation of UN sanctions. The Pentagon official said that last week's joint U.S. and British air strikes against Iraq were timed to avoid injuring Chinese workers who were helping install new underground fiber optic cables to improve Iraq's air defense. "We wanted to take out air defense, not kill anybody" the official said of strikes by some two dozen warplanes on five sites near Baghdad on Friday, the Muslim weekend, when few Iraqi or Chinese were likely to be working. Washington is sensitive to potential Chinese casualties after the 1999 U.S. bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade during NATO's air campaign against Yugoslavia. The United States said that was a mistake. However, the bombing -- which killed three Chinese -- badly damaged U.S.-China ties for nearly a year. THIRD U.S. PROTEST OVER IRAQ The protest to Beijing would be the third time Washington had raised the issue of China providing technical assistance to Iraq, the Post report said. The United States first complained to China about the aid to Iraq a month ago, before President George W. Bush took office. Quoting a State Department official, the Post said David Welch, assistant secretary of state for international organizations, went to Beijing in early January to raise specific concerns about fiber-optic cables and telecommunications aid provided by Chinese companies to Iraqi air defense systems. China did not respond, even after Secretary of State Colin Powell reminded Beijing during a meeting last week at the United Nations of the need to abide by UN sanctions imposed after the Persian Gulf War 10 years ago, according to the Post. Administration officials suggested China's aid to Iraq appeared to breach UN sanctions, but stopped short of directly accusing China of violations, the Post said. China swiftly condemned the U.S. and British air attacks as a violation of Iraq's sovereignty and demanded the Western allies stop military action against Iraq. http://www.insidechina.com/news.php3?id=296700§ion=default * BUSH SAYS CHINESE RESPOND TO COMPLAINT ON IRAQ AID Inside China THURMONT, Feb 24, 2001 (Reuters) China told the United States on Friday that if Beijing was involved in rebuilding Iraqi air defenses, it would "remedy" the situation, President George W. Bush said. Bush revealed the Chinese reply to his complaint at a joint news conference with British Prime Minister Tony Blair on the outskirts of the Camp David presidential mountain retreat. Bush said Thursday he was troubled that China may have sought to help Iraq rebuild its air defense systems and said Washington was sending a message to Beijing on the issue. He said he had received a reply on Friday. "We filed a complaint, and they responded this morning," Bush said. "If I can paraphrase, it was (that) 'if this is the case, we'll remedy the situation'." Bush directed reporters to his national security adviser Condoleezza Rice for elaboration, but her spokeswoman, Mary Ellen Countryman, said she had nothing further to report. [.....] 3. BRITAINıS ROLE IN THE RAID ON FEBRUARY 16 http://www.sunday-times.co.uk/news/pages/sti/2001/02/18/stifgnmid01001.html * BRITAIN URGED BUSH TO LAUNCH RAIDS ON IRAQ by Michael Prescott and Tony Allen-Mills, Washington Sunday Times, 18th February BRITAIN urged America to take tougher action against Iraq in the weeks preceding Friday's bombing raids on Baghdad, it emerged last night. Royal Air Force commanders helping to patrol Iraq's no-fly zones complained bitterly about the rules of engagement under which they operated. They demanded a more muscular strategy to increase the effectiveness of their campaign. The concerns were reinforced by the government in talks with senior officials in the new administration of President George W Bush. While Bill Clinton was in the White House, the RAF was forbidden to attack certain command stations and radar posts. The officers felt such action was vital to reduce a growing number of Iraqi missile attacks on their aircraft. Once Bush was elected to succeed Clinton, the British pressed for a change in the rules. According to American sources, the main aim was to stop Saddam from linking radar stations to missile launch pads with new fibre-optic cables. This would have increased the accuracy of Iraqi attacks on allied jets. In London the Ministry of Defence said preliminary information was that all targets had been badly damaged. Tony Blair will review the results of detailed reconnaissance to confirm this when he is Bush's guest at the Camp David retreat outside Washington on Friday and Saturday. The strikes against targets around Baghdad will help Blair to preserve Britain's "special relationship" with America, despite tensions over the implications of a European Union defence force for Nato and over the so-called "son of star wars" missile defence shield. Robin Cook, the foreign secretary, is thought to have played an important role in agreeing the new rules of engagement with America. He held a 20-minute meeting with Colin Powell, the secretary of state, 13 days ago. As Saddam threatened military retaliation yesterday, Blair warned that further operations may follow. "I will continue to take the steps necessary to protect our forces and to prevent Saddam from once again wreaking havoc, suffering and death," he said. The Ministry of Defence and the Pentagon claimed that the targets were not in civilian areas. Iraqi television disputed this, broadcasting pictures of women and children said to have been injured in the raids. They claimed two adults had been killed. Washington is encouraging Iraqi opposition groups to play a more active role in the fight againt Saddam. A delegation from the opposition Iraqi National Congress was summoned to the State Department on Friday and told that the airstrikes represented "the start of a new policy". At a meeting with Edward Walker, assistant secretary of state, opposition leaders were told: "We are going to get serious with Iraq. All constraints are off." Additional reporting: Marie Colvin, Jerusalem http://www.iol.co.za/html/frame_news.php?click_id=24&art_id=ct20010220085514 784I620877 * CLAIMS THAT US PUSHED UK INTO IRAQI AIRSTRIKE Independent, 20th February London - Claims that British Prime Minister Tony Blair was bounced by the United States into launching a military strike on Baghdad intensified here on Monday night. Claims intensified after it emerged that the foreign office had signalled a relaxation of policy towards Iraq less than 24 hours before the airstrike. Brian Wilson, a Foreign Office minister, outlined a new approach on the issue of sanctions last Thursday, just as the Ministry of Defence (MoD) was preparing to bomb Iraqi installations. He indicated in a written parliamentary reply that the government would take fresh steps to ensure that humanitarian supplies were getting through to the country. His reply was claimed by ministerial sources as a "significant shift" in policy in response to Labour MPs' concern over the impact of sanctions on Iraqis. [.....] http://www.thescotsman.co.uk/scotland.cfm?id=49040&keyword=the * MOD AND COOK AT WAR OVER IRAQ by Andrew McLeod The Scotsman, 20th February THE Ministry of Defence and the Foreign Office were at loggerheads over Iraq policy when Britain and the United States bombed Baghdad last Friday, it emerged yesterday. Defence sources said the government "caved in" from its earlier pressure on the United States to abandon air patrols over the no-fly zone in southern Iraq because the Prime Minister and Robin Cook, the Foreign Secretary, were intent on reassuring Washington that the countriesı close relationship would continue. "It was a cave-in to Washingtonıs demands," said one source. "But it could also be seen as a deposit in the bank; having done this for the United States, Britain will now expect close consultation on the National Missile Defence system [NMD]." Mr Cook, who is believed to have discussed the Baghdad operation with the new US secretary of state, Colin Powell, is known to want Britain to be in the vanguard of the European Unionıs Common Security and Defence Policy. The Foreign Secretary also wants Britain to be the EUıs link with Washington on defence matters, including the controversial NMD, the latest incarnation of former US President Ronald Reaganıs Star Wars nuclear defence system. However, critics have attacked Mr Cookıs policy as naive: Britainıs European partners have been incensed by Londonıs lack of consultation on the attack on Iraq. [.....] CRITICS AT THE MINISTRY OF DEFENCE HAD ARGUED THAT THE AIR PATROLS IN THE SOUTH WERE COSTLY AND NEEDLESSLY PUTTING THE LIVES OF BRITISH PILOTS AT RISK. THEY DEEM THE SOUTHERN WATCH OPERATION A FAILURE BECAUSE SADDAM HUSSEINıS ENGINEERS HAVE OVER THE TEN YEARS SINCE THE END OF GULF WAR DESTROYED MUCH OF THE MARSH ARABSı ECO-SYSTEM AROUND BASRA, AND THEREFORE THEIR CULTURE. AS A RESULT, IRAQI OPERATIONS AGAINST THE LOCAL PEOPLE HAVE ALL BUT CEASED. Britain was prepared to continue air patrols over the northern zone, where Iraqi Kurds are still being persecuted by Saddamıs forces, the sources said. France, which has led international criticism of the attack on Baghdad and the only other NATO country with the military capability of carrying out the no-fly zone patrols, abandoned Southern Watch four years ago. There is also scepticism in the MoD that more attacks on Iraq would bring about Saddamıs downfall - and there are fears of what an Iraqi power vacuum would produce. The strongest internal opposition to Saddam Hussein is the Shia Islamic Dawa movement, which is seeking an Islamic republic in Iraq along the lines of the Islamic republic in Iran. Washingtonıs favoured opposition leader, Ahmed Chalabi, was convicted in Jordan in 1992 for embezzlement leading to the collapse of the Petra Bank, Jordanıs second biggest. In London, the shadow defence secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, said the failure of Britainıs EU partners to back the raids left plans for a European Rapid Reaction Force "in tatters". "The reaction of countries around the EU ranged from absolutely opposed to deeply unenthusiastic. The Iraqi operation demonstrates that when the UK and US are together then tough action takes place. "Tony Blairıs attempt to create a Euro Army shows this will divide NATO and render our defences weaker by pushing the US away. He should come to his senses, admit this publicly and put all his Euro-defence plans back into NATO." [.....] http://www.latimes.com/news/nation/20010221/t000015648.html * BLAIR DEFENDS U.S.-BRITISH STRIKES ON IRAQ by Marjorie Miller, Times Staff Writer Los Angeles Times, 21st February [.....] "I think we're less alone than it seems on this," Blair said of the Iraq policy. "People sometimes understand that we'll be the ones to act. I think if you were to talk to any of our main allies, privately at least, about Saddam, they recognize the danger." Blair spoke with a handful of reporters at 10 Downing St. before his scheduled departure today for a visit to Canada and the United States. He is to hold talks with Bush on an array of defense, trade and economic issues Friday and Saturday at Camp David, Md. [.....] Blair, meanwhile, stayed focused on what he called "probably the most dangerous man anywhere in the world," noting that Hussein has killed thousands of his own people, gone to war with Iran at the cost of a million lives, annexed neighboring Kuwait before the Gulf War and sought to develop weapons of mass destruction. "I think what we're doing on Iraq is absolutely essential," Blair said. "The test is what sort of situation would we be in if we'd had no pressure for the last 10 years, no sanctions, no attempt to enforce 'no-fly' zones. The answer is that Saddam would have been out there creating an awful lot more mischief than he is able to do now." [.....] http://news.ft.com/ft/gx.cgi/ftc?pagename=View&c=Article&cid=FT3JACN1GJC&liv e=true&tagid=ZZZPB7GUA0C&subheading=UK * UK'S SECRET IRAQ DIPLOMACY by Roula Khalaf in Amman Financial Times, 21st February Britain engaged in secret efforts over the past year to improve UN relations with Iraq, measures that were effectively buried with last week's air strikes on the outskirts of Baghdad. Despite the British government's strong anti-Iraq rhetoric, officials at the Foreign Office opened behind-the-scenes channels to Iraq in an attempt to reach a compromise that would allow the implementation of UN resolution 1284 - the 1999 decision calling for a return of UN arms inspectors to Baghdad - and lead to the suspension of sanctions. Britain, the architect of the resolution, has used Qatari envoys and former UK diplomats to try to persuade Baghdad to meet with Hans Blix, head of Unmovic, the new UN weapons inspectors' agency, and to hold informal talks in a third country with envoys close to the Foreign Office. Also involved in the contacts was the Next Century Foundation, a London group that promotes conflict resolution. According to people familiar with the contacts, UK officials reached an understanding with Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jaber, Qatar's foreign minister, late last year, that paved the way for the Qatari ambassador in London to travel to Baghdad and convey UK readiness for informal talks. Although the official UK position has been that resolution 1284 was not negotiable, the aim of the contacts was to discuss parts of the resolution opposed by Baghdad and to search for ways that would have given sufficient reassurances to Iraq that co-operation with inspectors would lead to a suspension of sanctions. "The UK wanted a way out that would not make Iraq look victorious but that would still satisfy Baghdad and the US," said a person familiar with the discreet moves. Iraq, suspicious of UK intentions and wanting to wait for a new US administration, rejected the offer of an unofficial meeting with Mr Blix. Although it was considering the idea of informal talks with UK envoys in a neutral country, no meetings took place and the process was further complicated by the departure last month of Peter Hain, former junior minister at the FCO and the main backer of the contacts. Last Friday's US and UK raids on targets near Baghdad have dashed hopes of resurrecting the dialogue. Mr Hain, now energy minister, told the Financial Times on Tuesday that the contacts arose after he was approached by Gulf states. "I insisted that it [the contacts] could only be done on the basis of Iraq accepting resolution 1284," he said. "I am sure if there were a willingness to accept the resolution without prejudice then the modalities of the arms inspections and how sanctions suspension could be triggered could be discussed." UK officials are now gearing up for talks with US counterparts later this week, including possible alterations in UN sanctions to target the Iraqi regime rather than the population. Additional Reporting by Kevin Brown in London. REACTION IN THE MIDDLE EAST http://www.timesofindia.com/180201/18mide2.htm * MIDEAST POWERS CONDEMNS BUSH "ADVENTURISM" IN IRAQ Times of India, 18th February DUBAI: Regional power Iran led Middle East condemnation on Saturday of the US bombing of Baghdad as "signs of adventurism" by the new US president, but Gulf states maintained an embarrassed silence. The Arab League complained that the attack had "no justification". League secretary general Esmat Abdel Meguid warned that the raids violated international law and had provoked "angry sentiments and discontent in the Arab world." He called for UN action to protect Iraq's sovereignty. In Jordan, which depends on Iraqi oil, the first air strikes around the capital in two years were seen as a clear message of strength from the new Bush administration to every country in the region. And in Lebanon, leading pro-Syrian daily As-Safir accused US President George W. Bush of "trying to torpedo any attempt at appeasement and proving he is his father's son by brandishing war." "The air strikes against Iraq cover the coming of another war, which will take place with the arrival in power of Ariel Sharon (in Israel)," said the influential newspaper. Syria and Russia consider the strikes "will not produce positive results," said Russian President Vladimir Putin's special Mideast envoy after talks in Damascus. Envoy Alexandr Saltanov, who met Foreign Minister Faruq al-Shara, said: "It is necessary to reach a political solution and the first step in this direction is the dialogue," between Iraq and the UN that is due to resume at the end of the month. However, as Iraq counted two dead and more than 20 wounded, neither Saudi Arabia nor Kuwait answered Baghdad's taunts that they were "accomplices in crime" for allowing US and British warplanes to fly from their countries. Arab world heavyweight Cairo was also slow to react. Riyadh and Kuwait City, which celebrates the 10th anniversary of liberation from Iraqi occupation on February 26, are due to receive visits next week by US Secretary of State Colin Powell. The man who was US military supremo during the 1991 Gulf War was expected to discuss the hard line adopted by the new administration on Iraq, whose people enjoy growing popular Arab support after a decade of sanctions. And the other Gulf monarchies that rely largely on US might for their security -- Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates -- made no comments. All four have, to varying degrees over recent months, distanced themselves from sanctions on Iraq and joined a flood of humanitarian flights to Baghdad, testing an air embargo on President Saddam Husssein's regime. But Iran's official Radio Tehran roundly denounced Friday's air raids over the suburbs of Baghdad, the first since December 1998, which Washington said knocked out air command and control centres. "The violent attacks of the American air force are signs of the adventurism of the new administration of George W. Bush," Radio Tehran said. "Bush is seeking to demonstrate his strength against Saddam Hussein." Turkey expressed regret and urged the new Washington administration to consult with Ankara on its Iraq policy. Foreign Minister Ismail Cem met with the US ambassador to Turkey and conveyed to him Turkey's concerns. Cem described the attack as "very serious" and stressed that Ankara "does not want the repetition of such incidents." Turkish analysts said the bombing was a warning to Turkey and other states which recently stepped up their efforts to normalize ties with Iraq. The attack is a message "that the Gulf War coalition should tighten its ranks," foreign affairs analyst Cengiz Candar wrote in the Yeni Safak daily. It was "a red card to normalisation with Iraq." Jordanian Foreign Minister Abdel Ilah al-Khatib voiced firm opposition to the use of force against Baghdad and urged that the issue of Iraq's military strength be sorted out with the United Nations. Al-Dustour, a leading Amman newspaper branded the assaults as "cowardly" and suggested that Gulf War veterans, such as Vice President Dick Cheney, defence secretary in 1991, and Powell, were seeking "to settle accounts" and reinforce the embargo. "Such blind policy will only reinforce Iraq and have negative repercussions on US interests through the Arab countries," Al-Dustour said. Al-Aswaq economic daily, which printed pictures of wounded children, said: "Bush begins dealing with the Middle East by shelling Baghdad. "A message addressed to all the countries in the region that the new US administration is different from the administration of (former president Bill) Clinton." (AFP) http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/news.asp?ArticleID=9927 * QATAR SAYS AIR STRIKES ON IRAQ REGRETTABLE Doha, Reuters, 18th February Qatar said yesterday that U.S and British air attacks on Iraq were regrettable and should not be repeated. U.S. and British aircraft attacked targets near Baghdad on Friday and President George W. Bush said Washington would take "appropriate action" if Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein produced so-called weapons of mass destruction. "It is a very sad and regrettable development. We request both the United States and Britain to maintain restraint and bombings should be ceased," a Qatari foreign ministry official told Reuters. Iraq said yesterday that two civilians were killed and more than 20 others were wounded in the attacks. State-run media in the Gulf Arab states which joined the U.S.-led coalition that drove Iraqi troops from Kuwait in 1991, published reports about the strike without comment. But there have been rising calls in the Arab world, including the Gulf, for the lifting or at least the suspension of UN sanctions imposed on Iraq since its 1990 invasion of Kuwait. "In general, the Arab parties look at prolonging the sanctions as a political rather than a security means because Saddam no longer has the power to launch wars," the Saudi Arabian newspaper Al Riyadh said in a commentary. The commentary, published yesterday, was apparently written before the air strikes on Friday evening. "The damages done to the Iraqi people have already exceeded all objective limits," Al Riyadh said. http://www.dawn.com/2001/02/19/in * JORDAN RALLIES TO IRAQ'S SIDE Dawn (Pakistan), 19th February AMMAN, Feb 18: All of Jordan seemed to rally to Iraq's side on Sunday, two days after the US and Britain bombed five military sites around Baghdad. Jordanian Prime Minister Ali Abu Ragheb condemned the United States' and Britain's unjustified use of force against Iraq. Hundreds of protesters demonstrated in Amman, torching US, British and Israeli flags in front of the US embassy and UN headquarters. Abu Ragheb told parliament that "Jordan categorically rejects any form of aggression against brother Iraq and the unjustified use of force by American and British forces, which goes beyond UN resolutions and international consensus." The prime minister said US and British raids against Iraq are "a blatant violation of international norms and law" and will only succeed in causing "further destruction, instability and suffering for the Iraqi people and the (other) peoples in the region." He said Jordan will maintain its position in favour of "lifting the unfair embargo on Iraq and of the preservation of its sovereignty and territorial integrity." Jordan's lower legislative body, the Chamber of Deputies, also condemned the bombings "with vigour" and called for an end to the international sanctions slapped on Iraq in 1990 after Baghdad occupied Kuwait. On Saturday, Jordanian Foreign Minister Abdul Ilah al-Khatib had already voiced his country's opposition to the use of force against Iraq and called anew for the lifting of Baghdad's sanctions. The statements of political leaders proved deftly attune to the mood on the street with a pro-Iraq demonstration in front of the United Nations office in Amman. Some 200 protesters - including union members and opposition party politicians and their supporters - set ablaze US, British and Israeli flags to a chorus of pro-Iraqi chants. "America is the head of the snake" and "the key to Jerusalem is in Saddam's hands", the protesters roared in tribute to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. A statement released by the "coordinating committee of Jordan's opposition parties" which organised the protest urged Jordanians to "reject and condemn the visit to the region of the US Secretary of State" Colin Powell. Powell, a key general in the 1991 US-led Gulf war, visits the region from Feb 24 to 26 to discuss US policies on the troubled Middle East peace process and Iraq.-AFP http://www.timesofindia.com/190201/19mide17.htm * ARAB ALLIES DESERTING KUWAIT FOR IRAQ? by Diana Elias Times of India, 19th February KUWAIT: Five Kuwaiti lawmakers on a swing through the region found out exactly what other Arabs think of the emirate a decade after many rallied to its aid against Iraq. They didn't like what they heard. Earlier this year, Iraq had alarmed Kuwait by stepping up its threatening talk, with Odai Hussein, the son of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, saying Kuwait should be included in a new map of Iraq. Yet what the lawmakers got from political and labor union leaders in Jordan, Syria and Tunisia was complaints that Kuwait's response to the Iraqi threats was "exaggerated," and that it was "starving the Iraqi people" by supporting sanctions, said Mohammed al-Saqer, Parliament's foreign affairs committee chief. Kuwait has planned lavish celebrations of the Feb 26 anniversary of its liberation from the seven-month Iraqi occupation 10 years ago. The guest of honor will be US Secretary of State Colin Powell, the former Gulf War general. But just as it gets ready to party, Kuwait is seeing its ties with Arab Gulf War allies tested by the lure of Iraqi oil wealth, the popularity of Saddam's anti-Israeli rhetoric, and public anguish at the effect of sanctions on ordinary Iraqis. Egypt and Syria, both of which committed troops to the US-led international coalition when Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, last month signed free-trade agreements with Baghdad and played host to top-ranking Iraqi officials. Iraq has allocated half its UN-supervised oil-for-food contracts to Arab producers. Egypt expects to export $1 billion worth of goods to Iraq this year, and Syria is reportedly planning to reopen a pipeline carrying Iraqi oil to its Mediterranean port of Baniyas. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said after a visit here that he "sensed in Kuwait a worry that the trade agreement we signed with Iraq represents a change in Egypt's position." He said he renewed Cairo's commitment to Kuwait's security and sovereignty. Bashar Assad, his Syrian counterpart, did the same in an interview with Kuwaiti daily Al Siyassah. Neither Syria nor Egypt has restored full diplomatic relations with Iraq. Like many ordinary Kuwaitis, Sawsan al-Sarhan sympathizes with the Iraqi people's suffering under sanctions and says she hopes the Egyptian and Syrian trade deals will bring them relief. "However, there have to be limits," the homemaker said. "Saddam should not feel that Arab countries are supporting him and they don't care about Kuwait." Wafic al-Samaraai, a member of the Iraqi opposition, said on Kuwait TV that Saddam's overtures to Egypt and Syria were meant to break the international embargo imposed on Iraq and "isolate" Kuwait and its ally Saudi Arabia, which still refuse to have ties with the Iraqi leadership. Kuwaiti officials say they are satisfied with Syrian and Egyptian promises to confine their dealings with Baghdad to trade. But Khaled al-Jarallah, an undersecretary in the foreign ministry, said: "Our only concern is that Iraq misunderstands the message as an encouragement to back away from its international commitments." Iraq has shut UN weapons inspectors out for two years, and US analysts fear it has used that time to rebuild some of its UN-banned chemical or biological weapons programs. Kuwait political analyst Faisal al-Kenai said Arab nations shouldn't imagine Iraq has changed. "A thrust toward Saddam Hussein could lead to a worse situation than we found ourselves in 1990," he said. But Saddam is a hero to many ordinary Arabs for his threats against Israel, and some Arab leaders try to walk a fine line placating both sides. Shortly after Lebanon's prime minister, Rafik Hariri, left Kuwait with promises of new aid, Emil Lahoud Jr, a Lebanese lawmaker and the president's son, flew to Iraq with a trade delegation. Kuwait has spent billions of dollars on development projects in Arab nations since the 1960s. So Kuwaitis were shocked that countries such as Jordan, Sudan and Yemen sided with Iraq during the crisis, and it took years to mend the rift. "The effect of the development projects we finance are long-range, and unfortunately people on the street don't feel them right away," Kuwaiti political scientist Shamlan al-Issa said. "Saddam gives cash to writers, journalists and artists" who flock to Baghdad thinking they are helping the Iraqi people. Many Arabs focus on the sanctions, which ban most trade with Iraq and subject its oil industry to UN oversight. Kuwait's official stance is that Baghdad must implement UN Security Council resolutions requiring that it be certified free of weapons of mass destruction before sanctions can be lifted.(AP) http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/news.asp?ArticleID=10085 * ATTACKS INCREASE SUFFERING OF IRAQI PEOPLE - OMAN by Arif Ali, Muscat Gulf News, 20th February The Sultanate of Oman criticised the aerial attacks carried out by the U.S. and Britain against Iraq on Friday, saying they have only added to the suffering of the Iraqi people. In a statement broadcast prominently by the Sultanate's electronic media yesterday evening, Yusuf bin Alawai bin Abdullah, Oman's Foreign Minister, said: "We wish these attacks had never happened so that the efforts exerted by several parties and governments for the lifting of the embargo on Iraq would have continued to end the sufferings of the Iraqi people." He said the strikes had complicated matters, making "Iraq change its position". Agencies add: "The U.S. and British strikes made matters more complicated than they should be and therefore it will be difficult to make progress in discussions between Iraq and the United Nations," he told the official Omani News Agency. "Those attacks will not benefit regional security or negotiations and discussions," the minister added. Oman has been at the forefront of Arab states calling for an end to crippling sanctions imposed on Iraq by the United Nations after it invaded Kuwait in 1990. In Tehran, Iran's foreign ministry yesterday condemned the air strikes, deeming them "unacceptable" and "unjustified," the official Irna news agency reported. "This unilateral and unjustified act is unacceptable in the eyes of Iran," said ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi cited by Irna. Asefi expressed Tehran's "sadness" over the killing of "innocent people" and condemned the raids. In Ankara, the Turkish minister said the recent American and British air strikes against Iraq must not compromise "developing ties" between Turkey and Iraq. "We do not want our relations, which have entered a strengthening phase, to be affected," said Tunca Toskay, minister of state in charge of foreign trade. Toskay said the planned visit of a large delegation of Turkish businessmen and officials to Baghdad would go ahead despite recent developments. The delegation will focus on commercial matters, he said. http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/news.asp?ArticleID=10187 * BAHRAINIS CONDEMN BOMBING OF BAGHDAD by Latheef Farook, Gulf News, 21st February Bahrainis of different walks of life described the U.S. and UK air strikes on civilians in Baghdad as "outrageous and a sheer lack of basic respect for Arab blood". They pointed out that the bombing of innocent civilians in Iraq, already battered by war and hunger caused by devastating UN sanctions, is not going to serve the cause of peace. Especially, they add, at a time when the Arab streets are seething with anger over the United States' unstinted support to Israel, despite its continued atrocities against the Palestinians.This action, they say, will only further complicate the already tangled situation in the Middle East and the Gulf as well. Professor Munira Fakrho, who is awaiting to assume office in Bahrain University, said: "There is no justification at all for this attack on the helpless, voiceless Iraqi people who are sandwiched between the West, led by the U.S., and by Saddam Hussein." She said this is something the Arabs should condemn collectively. "What harm did the Iraqi people commit against the U.S. and the UK to deserve this punishment? Their claim that this was a pre emptive strike is baseless, as Iraq was not preparing to attack U.S. and UK targets." Columnist Sawsan Al Shaier said: "Ten years ago, in the aftermath of the Gulf War, the U.S.-led alliance wanted the world to believe their target was to get Saddam Hussein out and save the people. They also said this was the reason why they were imposing sanctions. But Saddam is still there and his oppression and brutalisation of the Iraqi people continues unabated. "Even the sanctions which were supposed to hurt him have brought unprecedented suffering and misery to the Iraqi people while Saddam and his family continue with their lavish lifestyle. She added: "Ten years later, today, the world is justified in asking the architects of UN sanctions on Iraq whether it is Sadaam Hussein they were targeting or the innocent Iraqi people. "The injustice has been such that even public opinion in the U.S. and the UK has turned against their own governments." Hanadi Salem, PR Executive said: "It was unfair to kill civilians. This was shocking news to me as it was done by the U.S. and the UK. From the humanitarian point of view, UN sanctions itself are not fair to the people, considering the damage it has caused to an entire nation." Jassim Hussein Ali, Assistant Professor at Bahrain University, said: "This unprovoked attack will not help in the cause of peace and stability. Instead, it will help raise tension in an already volatile region, especially in the context of the ongoing Palestinian struggle and the U.S. support to Israel.Khalid Al Maskati, Chairman of the Industrial Committee of Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: "This is very dangerous and what is most important is the need to protect the security of the area." Another Bahraini, who requested anonymity, said: "The U.S. and the UK should build a monument to Saddam for the services he has rendered in helping them destabilise the Gulf and the Arab world and cause destruction to his own people." http://www.latimes.com/wires/20010221/tCB00a6874.html * LEBANESE HURT IN IRAQ PROTEST OUTSIDE U.S. EMBASSY by KINDA JAYOUSH, Reuters Los Angeles Times, 21st February AWKAR, Lebanon--Lebanese security forces beat back thousands of students on Wednesday as they marched on the U.S. embassy to protest against last week's air attacks on Iraq, witnesses said. Red Cross and civil defense workers said at least 20 people were injured in the scuffles. A Reuters correspondent saw the angry crowd break through army barriers on the road to the heavily fortified compound on the outskirts of Beirut, shouting anti-U.S. and anti-Israeli slogans. Troops and riot police used batons and water cannon to try to break up the march. The demonstrators hurled stones at the armed soldiers, hitting some of them. The interior ministry said the wounded included one security force officer, two security personnel and three civil defense workers. "The ministry confirms its commitment to freedom of expression through peaceful ways, but warns against rioting, targeting the security personnel and harming order and security," an interior ministry statement said. Marching through pools of mud, the water-soaked marchers chanted: "Death to America, Death to Israel." A policeman struck a girl who kept on shouting despite the blood on her forehead. "The Iraqi people are not guinea pigs for American weapons. Death to America. With our blood and our souls we will redeem you Iraq," the crowd shouted. U.S. and British aircraft attacked targets near Baghdad last week. Iraq said the strikes killed two civilians, including an 18-year-old woman, and wounded more than 20 others. Anti-U.S. sentiment in the Arab Middle East has risen sharply in the wake of the raid. "Attacking Iraq is a crime against all Arabs," chanted the protesters, who were kept about 500 meters (yards) from the hilltop embassy, a massive complex protected by high walls, barbed wire and steel gates. "They hit Iraq but they never do anything against the Israeli murderers of Palestinian children," said Hanna, a geography student. She was referring to the Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation in which more than 400 people, the vast majority of them Palestinians and many of them children, have been killed since September. The protesters said they wanted U.S. ambassador David Satterfield expelled from Lebanon because he condemned a Hizbollah guerrilla attack last week in the disputed Shebaa Farms area on Lebanon's border with Israel. "Satterfield, you coward. Get out of Lebanon," the demonstrators yelled, throwing empty bottles at the last army barrier before the embassy walls. Last Friday Hizbollah, the guerrilla organization which forced Israel to end its military occupation of south Lebanon last year, killed an Israeli soldier and wounded two in Shebaa Farms, an area in the foothills of the Golan Heights captured by Israel from Syria in the 1967 Middle East War. http://www.latimes.com/wires/20010221/tCB00a5658.html * SAUDI ARABIA JOINS DENUNCIATION OF IRAQ STRIKE by ISSAM HAMZA, Reuters Los Angeles Times, 21st February DAMASCUS--Saudi Arabia, an arch rival of Iraq, has joined Syria in condemning the recent U.S.-British air strikes against Baghdad, officials said on Wednesday. In a joint communique issued late on Tuesday at the end of a meeting of the Syrian-Saudi Commission, the foreign ministers of Syria, Farouq al-Shara, and Saudi Arabia, Prince Saud al-Faisal, declared their support for Iraq's sovereignty and territorial integrity. "Both sides expressed feelings of denunciation and anxiety over the recent escalation against south Baghdad," it said in the communique. "It (escalation) came at a time when wide consultations were being conducted to tackle the whole (Iraqi) issue at the next Arab summit in Amman in a way that preserves security in the region and the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq," it said. The Arab summit will be held in the Jordanian capital next month. [.....] http://www.bahraintribune.com/middle.asp?Art_No=5836 * IRAN FLAYS UK, US STRIKES Bahrain Tribune, 22nd February TEHERAN (AFP): Iranıs Foreign Ministry yesterday condemned the latest US and British air strikes against Iraq, deeming them ³unacceptable² and ³unjustified,² the official IRNA news agency reported. ³This unilateral and unjustified act is unacceptable in the eyes of Iran,² said ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi cited by IRNA. Asefi, whose comments came three days after US and British raids on radar and military command centres near Baghdad, expressed Teheranıs ³sadness² over the killing of ³innocent people² and condemned the raids. [.....] http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/010224/2001022420.html * MOROCCAN ASSOCIATION DECRIES US-BRITISH RAIDS ON IRAQ Arabic News, 24th February The Moroccan Human Rights Association (AMDH) has decried the US-British raids on Iraq, terming them as "war crimes and collective extermination against humanity." The AMDH requested, in a release, the trial of those accountable for the raids and called on the Cairo based Arab League to endeavor for lifting the sanctions imposed on Iraq. The Association also urged Arab peoples, peace-loving peoples and human rights defenders to put pressure on governments to put an end to attacks on Iraq and to lift the "illegitimate embargo" imposed on this country. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 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