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Dear folks, Please read carefully - the next strikes may be only a heartbeat away. Best wishes, Gabriel voices uk POWELL EXPANDS LIST OF FACILITIES IN IRAQ THAT MAY BE BOMBED By John Diamond Washington Bureau March 8, 2001 WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration is broadening the rules of engagement against Iraq to include air raids against weapons production facilities or, possibly, troop movements, Secretary of State Colin Powell told lawmakers Wednesday. Outlining an evolving policy toward the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein, Powell told the House International Relations Committee that it would not be only in cases of provocation that U.S. forces could strike at Iraqi targets. In the past, strikes were in response to Iraqi air defenses' challenges of U.S. or British planes patrolling no-fly zones over Iraq. The new rules would allow attacks on targets that could be involved in activities banned under United Nations resolutions stemming from the 1991 Persian Gulf war, such as production of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons, or troop movements threatening to Iraq's neighbors. "If and when we find facilities or other activities going on in Iraq that we believe are inconsistent with our [UN] obligations, we reserve the right to take military action against such facilities and will do so," Powell said. Although the United States has struck at suspected Iraqi weapons sites in the past, those attacks stemmed from specific provocations. In 1998, then President Bill Clinton ordered strikes on Iraqi military targets, including suspected biological weapons and missile production facilities, after Iraq expelled UN weapons inspectors. In 1993, the United States sent cruise missiles into Iraq's intelligence service headquarters after U.S. intelligence learned Iraq was plotting the assassination of former President George Bush, the man who led the coalition in the gulf war. During the past three years, there have been repeated small-scale strikes on Iraqi air defense assets in northern and southern Iraq in response to Iraqi attempts to shoot down the patrolling war planes. Then, last month, President Bush ordered strikes on Iraqi air defense targets, including several close to Baghdad. Powell was staking out new ground, indicating that U.S. planes would strike at Iraq virtually anywhere and aim at virtually any type of target linked to Hussein's regime and his military machine. "The plain meaning of those words is that they're basically going to substitute air strikes for weapons inspections," said John Pike, director of GlobalSecurity.org, an online national security think tank. Under the Bush policy, Pike said, "strikes against Iraqi weapons facilities would become as routine and as much a part of the standing policy as against air defense--anytime, anywhere." The administration wants weapons inspectors to return, Powell said, but "we should not plead with the Iraqi regime to let them in." Powell also said he had approved additional release of U.S. funds to the Iraqi National Congress, a group opposed to Hussein and one that the Bush administration hopes could form the nucleus of a credible opposition to the Iraqi regime. Powell also defended his support for a shift in sanctions policy that would lift some sanctions on Iraq but strengthen the enforcement of others. Republican lawmakers have raised questions about Powell's views on Iraq after the secretary, on a trip last month to the Mideast, appeared to soften the U.S. stance toward UN sanctions. Initially, Powell spoke of the sanctions shift as new administration policy. As criticism mounted in Washington, other administration officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney, made clear that Powell had gone to the region to listen and help develop a Bush administration position. In Wednesday's hearing, Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.), chairman of the International Relations Committee, opened the questioning of Powell. "Regarding Iraq, what is our policy, to contain him or to remove him?" Hyde asked. "There are several policies, really," Powell replied. He went on to describe "three baskets." The first is the U.S. support for UN-imposed sanctions and resolutions passed after the gulf war requiring Iraq to give up its chemical, biological and nuclear weapons technology. The second is the enforcement of the no-fly zones, a policy under review by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. The third is the U.S. support for Iraqi opposition groups. Powell defended his position on the Iraqi sanctions, saying that the array of economic embargoes against Iraq was rapidly losing support in the international community, from friendly Arab states such as Jordan and Saudi Arabia, close allies such as France and major powers such as Russia and China. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email email@example.com Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website: http://www.casi.org.uk