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News, 11-18/3/01 (1)

News, 11-18/3/01 (1)

Once again this news reports comes from an unfamiliar address. Complaints and queries should still 
be addressed to me at

The most spectacular news has been the Œfriendly fire¹ bombing in Kuwait. The pieces I have picked 
up don¹t seem to attach enough importance to the fact (at least I think its a fact) that these were 
shrapnel bombs, ie the nastiest, messiest sort of direct anti-personnel bombs. My own favourite 
article in a long but generally rather uninteresting selection is  *US blunder Œtriggered global 
germ bomb race¹, under the New World Order heading.


*  Allies carry out 46 sorties over Iraq
*  U.S. jet mistakenly bombs ground observers, killing 6 [this article is interesting as showing 
that this is by no means an isolated incident]
*  U.S. serviceman directed Kuwait bombing
*  On killing of American soldiers in Kuwait [a perhaps rather fanciful speculation that the people 
involved in the incident were experimenting with ways of assassinating Saddam Hussein]
*  ŒAbort! Abort!¹ call too late
*  US investigators to begin work on Kuwait bombing deaths
*  U.S. airman directing Kuwait attack was injured
*  The price of closing Vieques [Vieques is a training ground in Puerto Rico where there was a 
nasty accident mentioned in ŒU.S. jet mistakenly bombs ground observers, killing 6¹ above. This 
article complains that it has been closed for political reasons ­ namely the protests of Puerto 
Ricans living near it]
*  Britain and America's pilots are blowing the cover on our so-called "humanitarian" no-fly zone 
[by John Pilger. A very important article which if anything understates the degree of Britain¹s 
involvement in the Turkish repression of the Turkish Kurds]


*  US to decide whether to complain to UN on China
*  Cuban parliament speaker visits Iraq
*  A test for Poland¹s loyalties [on the rather intriguing incident in which a government adviser 
was sacked for giving the impression that the Polish government supported the raids on Baghdad]
*  Moroccan truck firm to deliver Iraq 550 vehicles by end 2001


*  US needs a credible Iraq strategy [Jerusalem Post in a state of alarm that the US appears to be 
appeasing Arabs]
*  Iraqis Seek To ŒLiberate Palestine¹ [Saddam¹s ŒJerusalem army]
*  Book Exposes Israeli Nuclear Policy [ŒThe CIA has estimated more recently that Israel has 
between 200 and 400 nuclear weapons. Œ]
*  Sharon to press for U.S. sanctions on Damascus [for backing the Hezbollah in Lebanon]
*  Of water pipes and diplomacy [not directly related to Iraq but interesting on Israeli/Lebanon 
relations. And once again it seems to me, Ha¹aretz articulating an intelligent pro-Israeli position]
*  Saddam poses a diplomatic threat [Ha¹aretz again. ŒAdopting a new tack in discussions with 
Powell, the Arab states grasped Saddam as their most potent leverage in relations with the U.S., so 
long as Washington sticks to its sanctions policy.¹ Should be read in conjunction with the next 
article from the Jerusalem Post]


*  Syria key to any anti-Iraq coalition - US sources [Jerusalem Post again. Israeli anxiety about 
Syria again. Largely on the refusal of senior US politicians to meet the Maronite patriarch. The 
statement that the Maronite church is Œa splinter of the Roman Catholic Church¹ is a bit of  
*  Ankara sends 400-member trade mission to Iraq
*  Lebanon gears to restart diplomatic ties with Iraq [obviously as part of the Syria/Iraq detente]
*  Saddam Says Leave Iraq Out of Arab Summit
*  Middle East could erupt in fireball, warns Holbrooke
*  Troops swamp Beirut to deter protests [protests in favour of the lebanese Christian leader, 
General Michel Aoun. Remember him?]
*  Death sentence commuted for Kuwaiti puppet leader
*  Lebanese seeks help over missing in Iraq
*  Moussa [Egypt], Sahaf [Iraq] exchange views on Amman summit¹s agenda
*  Oman calls for greater Arab unity
*  Kuwait Ready to Discuss Iraq at Arab Summit
*  Saddam Invited to Attend Arab Summit
*  Saddam is expected to take part [in person, which would be interesting] in the Arab summit
*  Iraq pardons 27 Iranian prisoners
*  Jordan, Iraq sign financial arrangements minutes of meeting
*  Mubarak-Bush summit to focus on the peace process, Iraq and free trade zone
*  Kuwaiti man builds museum to remember Gulf War horrors [Œincluding a mock-up of an Iraqi trench 
complete with looted TV set and VCR.¹]
*  Yemen minister in Baghdad

Sent separately as News, 11-18/3/01 (2)


*  Gulf War¹s Deadly Legacy [depleted uranium]
*  Net gives a few Iraqis a window on the world [internet cafés in Baghdad]
*  WHO to Study Health Effects of Depleted Uranium in Iraq
*  Sanctions make two classes in Iraq


*  Unpaid Pakistani victims of Iraqi invasion [complaints that Pakistanis missed out on the Iraq 
compensation scam. Makes Dawn¹s opposition to sanctions appear a little hypocritical]
*  UN sanctions committee decides to compensate Kuwait from the Iraqi oil [no such complaints here, 
*  UN weighs aid to Iraq on pollution claims [Russian/French proposal, opposed by the US and 
Britain, that Iraq should be helped to research its own defense against compensation claims]


*  How Saddam profits off mercy [to the great disgust of the New York Post]
*  Powell Is Smart‹and Tough‹on Iraq [Powell¹s policy is the best way to keep sanctions going]
*  The folly of sanctions that fortify dictators [from The Scotsman]


*  Global Realities Reshaping Bush Foreign Policy Vision
*  US blunder Œtriggered global germ bomb race¹
*  Let¹s boycott the UN¹s racism conference [on the grounds that dark skinned tyrants have the 
nerve to want to criticise white-skinned liberal democratics]
*  'Something special is at risk' [by Winston Churchill. A long, friendly interview with Donald 
Rumsden and Paul Wolfowitz about US foreign policy in general]

Sent separately as

[A series of articles put out by Arabic News giving excerpts from the UN government reports on the 
human rights situation in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq]


*  Allies carry out 46 sorties over Iraq
Times of India, 11th March

AMMAN: US and British warplanes carried out 46 reconnaissance missions over Iraq¹s southern no-fly 
zone on Friday, drawing fire from Iraqi anti-aircraft missile units and guns, the state-run Iraq 
News Agency (INA) reported.

The jets launched sorties from bases in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, INA quoted a spokesman for the 
command of the Iraqi Defence Force as saying.

``The hostile aircraft targeted residential areas and civilian installations in ... Basrah, Thiqar 
and Qadissiyyah,¹¹ the spokesman said.

He also claimed: ``They were intercepted by our rocket units and anti-aircraft batteries, which 
forced them to return to their bases in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.¹¹

INA did not report any US or British air activity over Iraq¹s northern no-fly zone from bases in 
Turkey in the last few days. (DPA)

*  U.S. jet mistakenly bombs ground observers, killing 6
Houston Chronicle, 13th March

WASHINGTON ‹ A bomb dropped by an F/A-18 fighter aircraft killed six ground observers during a 
training exercise in Kuwait near the Iraqi border Monday, Pentagon officials said.

Five of the dead were with the U.S. military and the sixth was a New Zealand military observer, 
Pentagon officials said. Five other people were injured in the blast and were taken to hospitals in 
Kuwait. Their injuries are not life-threatening, a Pentagon spokesman said.

 The incident took place at about 8 p.m. Monday Kuwait time, or 10 a.m. CST.

The bomb was dropped ³on or near an observation post² on a training range 45 miles northwest of 
Kuwait City, said a Pentagon statement.

It was not clear Monday whether the F/A-18 Hornet¹s pilot had been given the wrong coordinates on 
where to drop the explosive, or whether the pilot erred in following the directions relayed from 
the ground.

Investigators are being sent from the U.S. Central Command in Florida and are expected to begin 
searching for the cause of the deaths by the end of the week.

³The F/A-18 aircraft was participating in a routine close air support training exercise,² said a 
statement from the U.S. Central Command, whose headquarters is at MacDill Air Force Base in 
Florida. ³This exercise involves both day and night training.²

Those killed were taking part in a training mission in which ground observers point out targets to 
circling aircraft, which then bomb the targets, said a Pentagon official.

The names of the Americans killed and injured were not released Monday night because their families 
had not been notified, the Pentagon said.

Maj. John McNutt was identified by the New Zealand army as the New Zealander who died.

The flight was part of a military training mission near the Udairi range, about 28 miles from the 
Iraqi border in northern Kuwait.

The Navy aircraft flew from the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman in the Northern Arabian Gulf.

Last month, aircraft from the same carrier took part in bombing missions against Iraqi radar and 
communications targets near Baghdad after the United States claimed Iraq was targeting aircraft.

President Bush told an audience of military personnel and their families at Tyndall Air Force Base 
in Panama City, Fla., Monday that the accident illustrated the danger they faced on the job.

³I¹m reminded today of how dangerous service can be. We lost some servicemen today in Kuwait in a 
training accident,² Bush said. ³I hope you¹ll join me in moment of silence for those soldiers and 
their families.²

Few details of what caused the accident were released Monday. The incident is likely to be the 
subject of a lengthy review.

Some military analysts said the most similar accident they could recall involved the killing of a 
civilian military employee at the bombing range of Vieques, Puerto Rico, in April 1999.

In that incident, an F/A-18 pilot erroneously identified a watchtower near a bombing training area 
as a target, and destroyed it, killing a guard inside.

That killing galvanized many Puerto Ricans to protest live ammunition training exercises at the 
site by U.S. forces in the Atlantic.

In January 2000, former President Clinton issued a memorandum that could stop training exercises 

Without commenting directly on the accident Monday, military analysts said there is growing stress 
on American armed forces to undergo sufficient training to avoid mistakes.

William Taylor, a senior military analyst with the Center for Strategic and Military Studies said, 
³It is impossible to find a senior military leader who does not say our troops are underfunded and 

The center did a 1999 study of 12,500 troops who cited a lack of fuel, ammunition and other 
equipment for proper training as a major concern.

Jack Spencer, a military readiness analyst at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in 
Washington, said, ³As a general matter, I do believe the apparent increase in military accidents 
can be traced to cutbacks in the money for training, and the amount of training, of America¹s 

Spencer said the budget for training missions has dropped throughout the 1990s, and access to 
training sites ‹ like Vieques ‹ has also decreased.

A series of military accidents ‹ some high profile and some little reported ‹ have highlighted the 
danger from military operations to both soldiers and civilians.

A military court of inquiry in Hawaii is investigating the sinking of a Japanese fishery training 
vessel, the Ehime Maru, after it was struck by the submarine USS Greeneville Feb. 9. Nine men and 
boys on the ship were killed.

Last week, the wives of three Marines killed in an April crash of an V-22 Osprey gave emotional 
testimony about what one called the ³many legitimate and serious safety concerns² with aircraft. 
That crash and another V-22 accident in December together cost the lives of 23 Marines.

On March 3, 18 members of the Virginia Air National Guard and three Army crewmen died in the crash 
of a C-23 twin engine turboprop ferrying soldiers from Florida to a naval base in Virginia.

And in the past month, the military has experienced other deadly accidents. On Feb. 13, six 
soldiers died and 11 were injured when two UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters collided in Hawaii. On Feb. 
22, two Navy airmen were killed in the crash of an F-14 aircraft as it practiced takeoffs and 
landings from an aircraft carrier in the Atlantic off Jacksonville, Fla.

The United States military has mounted frequent missions against Iraq from airfields in Kuwait and 
aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf since the 1991 Gulf War. The Udairi range has been a frequent 
site for training missions by forces in the region, officials said.

*  U.S. serviceman directed Kuwait bombing
Washington, Reuters, 14th March

A U.S. serviceman who directed a practice bombing in Kuwait that accidentally killed five American 
troops and a New Zealander belatedly called off the strike when at least two bombs went awry, U.S. 
officials said yesterday. The officials, who asked not to be identified, told Reuters a military 
forward air controller mistakenly directed an F/A-18 attack jet from the aircraft carrier Harry 
Truman at a bombing range in Kuwait, then tried to abort the strike too late.

³Tragically, they (the bombs) hit near the service members that were at an observation post on the 
range,² Navy Rear Adm. Craig Quigley, a Pentagon spokesman, told reporters.
It was not clear whether the U.S. serviceman directing the attack might have been one of those 
killed. Quigley declined to discuss details of the incident, other than to say evidence indicated 
two of the three 500-pound (227- kg) unguided gravity bombs dropped by the F/A-18 ³Hornet² ripped 
into an air traffic control area on the range, causing six deaths and seven injuries.

³This was the site of the forward air controllers,² he told reporters at a briefing. Quigley said a 
veteran pilot who commands a U.S. Navy fighter squadron aboard the Truman was flying the F/A-18 jet 
when it dropped the bombs.

Cmdr. David Zimmerman, who has more than 3,000 flying hours and is commander of attack squadron 
VFA-37, was flying the jet when the incident occurred after dark at about 7:30pm Kuwait time on 
Monday, about 80 kilometres from the Iraq border. He was flying the 79th of 85 sorties scheduled in 
the exercise, which was abruptly ended after the accident.

It remained unclear how the bombs landed on the air controllers¹ vehicles and a small observation 
post, but Quigley said those involved in the exercise were using night-vision goggles and that 
weather was not a factor. Zimmerman, the son of a former naval aviator, is a native of Orange Park, 
Florida. He joined the service in 1982 and has been flying F/A-18s for eight years.

The U.S. Central Command, which is based in Tampa, Florida, and oversees American military 
operations in the Persian Gulf, said an investigation team headed by Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Mike 
DeLong would depart for Kuwait on Wednesday to begin a full investigation of the incident. The 
three-star general is deputy commander of the Central Command.

Four U.S. Army troops, one U.S. Air Force serviceman and a New Zealand officer were killed in 
Monday¹s incident. The Air Force yesterday identified the airman killed as Staff Sgt. Jason Farley, 
a tactical air controller with the 19th Air Support Operations Squadron at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

The U.S. Army dead were not immediately identified, but the New Zealand Defense Force said Acting 
Maj. John McNutt, 27, of the elite First NZ Special Air Service Group was killed.
Seven others were injured at the Udairi bombing range in the Kuwaiti desert - four U.S. soldiers, 
one American airman and two Kuwaiti troops. All were taking part in the exercise as observers.

Only three Americans remained hospitalized with injuries that were not life threatening, the 
Pentagon said. The Air Force identified one of those hospitalized as Staff Sgt. Timothy Crusing, 
also an air traffic controller from Fort Campbell. He was in stable condition.

President George W. Bush, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Vern 
Clark expressed sadness and regret for the accident. Rumsfeld and Clark promised a thorough 
investigation. ³Tragedies such as this occur without warning and for reasons that are difficult to 
understand. We will work hard to take care of the families involved, and to find out how such an 
accident could occur,² Rumsfeld said in a statement.

³Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of our fellow service members, from the United 
States as well as New Zealand,² added Clark. ³Military operations are dangerous by their very 
nature and these service members lost their lives in service to their country and their coalition.²

The U.S. military and Kuwaiti and foreign forces have set up a permanent training range at Udairi, 
where almost year-round exercises are held. About 5,000 Americans are based in Kuwait. The United 
States and Britain have air forces deployed as part of ³Operation Southern Watch,² which patrols 
over southern Iraq to enforce a no-fly zone.

*  On killing of American soldiers in Kuwait
Arabic News, 14th March

British military sources on March 12 questioned conditions of incidents in which four American 
soldiers and one soldier for New Zealand and other ten were wounded when an American F18 planes 
dropped a bomb, mistakenly, on a region where they were positioned to the north of Kuwait during 
military training, noting the vagueness on this incident.

In an exclusive statement to the London- based al-Quds al-Arabai issued on Monday a British 
military expert said that this incidents reminds of a similar incident that took place during 
secret Israeli training five years ago when five high ranking Israeli military men were killed and 
it was found out later that these training were in the framework of an Israeli secret plan to 
assassinate the Iraqi President Saddam Hussein..

The expert did not rule out that these maneuvers which were not officially declared in Kuwait were 
in the course of a similar plan also to assassinate the Iraqi President.

Earlier, the British daily had asserted that there is an American- British plan to assassinate the 
Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and to topple his regime and this plan¹s details were agreed upon 
during the recent visit held by the British prime minister Tony Blair to Washington during which he 
met with the US President George Bush.

*  ŒAbort! Abort!¹ call too late
New Zealand Herald, 15th March

Ace pilot David Zimmerman was slicing through the darkness 1500m above the Kuwaiti desert when he 
was told he could drop his three bombs.

³Cleared, hot,² the ground-based forward air-controller declared over the radio.

But moments later, the controller frantically shouted, ³Abort, abort!² as he realised too late that 
the pilot was flying towards his own observation post.

The three unguided 500-pound (226kg) ³dumb² bombs fell near the post, killing New Zealand special 
forces officer John McNutt and five United States servicemen.

It was not clear last night whether the controller was killed in the accident.

However the US Air Force said one of its tactical air controllers, Staff Sergeant Jason Faley, was 
among the dead.

The soldiers had been observing a live-ammunition bombing exercise in the Udairi military training 
range, about 50km from the Iraqi border.

Seven other soldiers were wounded in the accident at 5 am on Tuesday (NZ time).

Acting Major McNutt, a 27-year-old high-flyer in the SAS, had been New Zealand¹s sole military 
representative in Kuwait since December.

He had been a staff officer at the Coalition Joint Taskforce headquarters - a joint mission in 
Kuwait also involving the US, Britain and Australia - and was due home in eight weeks.

As investigators started an inquiry and New Zealand demanded answers, US military sources revealed 
how the botched exercise was thought to have unfolded.

Commander Zimmerman, leader of the US Navy¹s attack squadron VFA-37 based at Oceana Naval Air 
Station in Virginia, took part in the December 1998 bombing of Baghdad and enforcement missions 
over Iraq¹s no-fly zones.

He has more than 3000 flight hours in tactical jets.

A native of Orange Park, Florida, he graduated from Jacksonville University in 1982 and has since 
become a highly decorated pilot with four major medals - including the Defence Meritorious Service 

On Monday night in the Gulf, he put on his night-vision goggles and took off in his F/A-18 Hornet 
from the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman.

Commander Zimmerman was taking part in the close air-support live-ammunition bombing exercise over 
the Udairi range.

Close air-support exercises involve forward air-controllers properly identifying targets for 
aircraft to engage. The controllers are supposed to tell the pilots the crucial information they 
need, such as the target¹s location and type of target.

Commander Zimmerman flew the several hundred kilometres to the Udairi range. His targets were 
wrecked vehicles, and as he approached them he rose to about 3000m in the $55 million plane.

Commmander Zimmerman, on the 80th of 85 sorties, cut through the clear Kuwaiti sky at more than 
800km/h, and was directed in the early stages of his approach by a Navy forward air-controller in 
another aircraft.

In the final stage, a ground-based controller guided him into the target area, and he dropped to 

About 7.30 pm Kuwaiti time, what should have been a straightforward exercise turned into an 
international tragedy. Commander Zimmerman was reportedly told his bombs were ³cleared, hot² - an 
unambiguous military term.

Moments later, despite the desperate attempt of the controller to abort the exercise, the bombs 

Major McNutt¹s body was flown last evening to the US forward air base in Germany, and will be flown 
on to New Zealand.

The Florida-based Central Command chief, General Tommy Franks, will oversee the US inquiry into the 
tragedy, but it could be several weeks before there are any proper findings.

New Zealand Colonel Richard Cassidy left early yesterday for Kuwait and will act as an inquiry 

*  US investigators to begin work on Kuwait bombing deaths
by Ashraf Fouad, Reuters
Boston Globe, 15th March

KUWAIT - A team of US military investigators headed by a general flies into Kuwait today to 
investigate how bombs dropped by a US plane killed five American servicemen and a New Zealander 
during a desert exercise near the border with Iraq.

Joining them will be a three-man Kuwaiti team, including an officer who was on the ground when 
bombs from a US Navy F/A-18 Hornet fell on an observation post during a night exercise.

Several military sources familiar with the accident said the two bombs that killed the six 
servicemen fell several kilometers away from their designated targets.

Œ¹The approach of the aircraft towards the designated target indicated that something was not 
right,¹¹ said one officer.

Another said: Œ¹The difference was big. We are not speaking about a few meters but several 

But the sources said it was premature to try to identify the cause of the accident at the Udairi 
training range, which is used for almost year-round live-fire exercises, mainly by US, British, and 
Kuwaiti forces.

Military sources said US forces held an emotional memorial service last night for the victims at 
Camp Doha, a military facility on the outskirts of the capital, Kuwait City, which is also the base 
for prepositioned US heavy arms deployed in the country.

It was not immediately clear whether technical or pilot error was to blame or whether the warplane 
was wrongly directed by a ground team.

A US forward air controller directing the nighttime bombing run Monday had cried, Œ¹Abort,¹¹ to try 
to stop the Navy Hornet from dropping its load of 500-pound bombs.

Rear Admiral Craig Quigley, a Pentagon spokesman, said in Washington that evidence indicated that 
two of the three unguided gravity bombs loosed by the Hornet had hit the air traffic control site 
where the forward air controllers operated.

One US Army medic, three explosives specialists, one US Air Force tactical air controller, and a 
New Zealand liaison officer died in the accident.

Two Kuwaitis were injured, along with five US servicemen, including another air traffic controller.

Defense Minister Sheikh Jaber al-Hamad al-Sabah of Kuwait said the investigation teams would start 
their work shortly.

They are due to visit the accident site, which has been secured and sealed off. The war games, 
called Intrinsic Action, have been frozen.

*  U.S. airman directing Kuwait attack was injured
Washington, Reuters, 15th March

A U.S. Air Force ground controller who was directing a practice bombing that missed the target in 
Kuwait was one of seven military personnel injured in the deadly strike, defense officials said 

Five U.S. troops and a New Zealand officer died in Monday¹s accident at a bombing range in northern 
Kuwait when two out of three bombs dropped by a U.S. Navy F/A fighter jet smashed into a ground 
observation site at the range.

The U.S. defense officials, who asked not to be identified, told Reuters Air Force Staff Sgt. 
Timothy Crusing, a tactical air controller, was directing the attack when the bombs destroyed his 
post. He was hospitalized in stable condition after the incident.

The officials spoke as an investigation team led by a senior officer from the U.S. Central Command 
left Florida for Kuwait on Wednesday to begin an in-depth study of the incident at the Udairi 
bombing range 80 kilometres from Kuwait¹s border with Iraq.

But the defense officials stressed that it was not clear whether Crusing, who was in Kuwait on 
temporary duty from the 19th Air Support Operations Squadron at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, was the 
controller who gave permission to the Navy pilot to begin his bombing in darkness and then tried to 
call off the strike.


New York Post, 16th March

The U.S. Navy has another embarrassment on its hands: This week¹s aerial bombing accident in Kuwait 
that killed six people - five American soldiers and an army officer from New Zealand.

This is the second time in less than a month that Navy fliers have proven less than proficient in 
carrying out their duties. Earlier, bombs dropped from carrier-based aircraft during an attack on 
Iraqi air-defense radars fell far off their targets, endangering the attacking planes and any 
others on no-fly-zone duty over Iraq.

It¹s not entirely clear what caused the bombing tragedy in Kuwait.

But the father of one of the GI¹s who was killed made an excellent point earlier this week: 
³There¹s a problem somewhere in our training, and I think we need to find out what the problem is 
and get it solved before we lose more people,² said Mike Freligh of Gosnell, Ark.

There is one common element in the two incidents: Both involved aviators who had been denied the 
usual amount of naval bomb-range training on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques - because of 
political considerations.

Here in New York, Gov. Pataki and Sens. Schumer and Clinton - among others - are loudly calling for 
the Vieques range permanently to be closed before an alternative is located.

Down in Arkansas, a grieving Mike Freligh has a wider view. Again: ³We need to get [this] solved 
before we lose more people.²

Think of it as Vieques, put in perspective.
(Circulated to CASI list)

*  Britain and America's pilots are blowing the cover on our so-called "humanitarian" no-fly zone
by John Pilger
New Statesman, 19th March

Royal Air Force pilots have protested for the first time about their role in the bombing of Iraq. 
Pilots patrolling the so-called no-fly zone in the north of the country have spoken angrily about 
how they have been ordered to return to their base in Turkey in order to allow the Turkish air 
force to bomb the Kurds in Iraq - the very people the British are meant to be "protecting".

The pilots say that, whenever the Turkish air force wants to launch attacks on the Kurds, the Turks 
are recalled to base and their radar is switched so that the targets will not be visible. One 
British pilot reported seeing the devastation caused by the attacks when he resumed his patrol.

The pilots agreed to speak, on a non-attributable basis, to Dr Eric Herring, the Iraq sanctions 
specialist at Bristol University. "They were all very unhappy about what they had been ordered to 
do, and what they had seen," he said, "especially as there had been no official explanation."

While British government ministers have repeatedly described the no-fly-zones as "humanitarian 
cover" for the Kurds, the pilots' unease has become an open secret in the United States. Last 
October, the Washington Post reported: "On more than one occasion [US pilots who fly in tandem with 
the British] have received a radio message that 'there is a TSM inbound' - that is, a 'Turkish 
Special Mission' heading into Iraq. Following standard orders, the Americans turned their planes 
around and flew back to Turkey. 'You'd see Turkish F-14s and F-16s inbound, loaded to the gills 
with munitions,' [pilot Mike Horn] said. 'Then they'd come out half an hour later with their 
munitions expended.' When the Americans flew back into Iraqi air space, he recalled, they would see 
'burning villages, lots of smoke and fire'."

Last December, more than 10,000 Turkish troops invaded northern Iraq, killing untold numbers of 
civilians and fighters of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, the PKK. British and American aircraft 
"protecting" the Kurds did nothing to prevent the invasion; indeed, most patrols were suspended to 
allow the Turks to get on with the killing. Inside Turkey, the Ankara regime has destroyed 3,000 
Kurdish villages, displaced more than three million people and killed tens of thousands. Racist 
laws prevent Turkish Kurds from speaking their language; parliamentarians and journalists who speak 
out end up in prison, or assassinated.

The Blair government has said nothing about this, because Turkey is a member of Nato. Almost all 
Kurds applying for asylum in Britain - from Turkey and Iraq - have been refused. Jack Straw's new 
Terrorism Act bans the PKK, which has no history of violence in this country. This means that 
Kurdish activists resident in Britain are now at risk of being sent back to Turkey: to prison, or 
worse. In the past few weeks more than 1,000 political prisoners on hunger strike in Turkish jails 
have been attacked by the authorities, leaving 33 people dead. Again, Whitehall's response has been 

RAF pilots are gradually becoming aware of the dishonest power game of which they are a part, and 
that the no-fly zones have no basis in international law and provide no "humanitarian cover" for 
the Kurds in the north and the Shi'a in the south. Concern for these people was always a sham. In 
1991, when President Bush Sr called for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, he was really inviting 
Saddam's generals to stage a military coup and install a more malleable dictator. The last thing he 
wanted was the ensuing popular uprising by the Shi'a in March of that year - which Saddam crushed 
with helicopter gunships that the US allowed him to fly, and while American commanders denied 
weapons and equipment to the rebels. An estimated 30,000 people were slaughtered. "We clearly would 
have preferred a coup. There's no question about that," said Bush's national security adviser Brent 
Scowcroft in 1997. The British commander in the Gulf war, General Sir Peter de la Billiere, said, 
apparently with a straight face: "The Iraqis were responsible for establishing law and order."

Eric Herring wrote to me: "Perhaps the most repulsive thing about the whole policy is that US and 
British decision-makers have exploited popular humanitarian sentiment for the most cynical 
Realpolitik reasons. They have no desire for the Shi'ite majority to take control or for the Kurds 
to gain independence. Their policy is to keep them strong enough to cause trouble for Saddam 
Hussein while ensuring that Saddam Hussein is strong enough to keep repressing them. This is a 
direct descendant of British imperial policy from the First World War onwards [and is about the 
control] of Iraqi oil . . . Divide and rule was and is the policy."

Recently, Richard Norton-Taylor disclosed in the Guardian that Britain's military establishment was 
concerned about the proposed new international criminal court. The generals complained that rules 
made in Brussels might "prevent British peacekeepers from carrying out their tasks effectively". 
Their real concern, and that of western politicians, was put by Michael Caplan, the former lawyer 
to General Pinochet, who questioned how Tony Blair would be able to defend himself were he charged 
with bombing targets in Kosovo knowing that civilians would be killed.

When he was the Foreign Office minister responsible for Iraq, Peter Hain wrote to the New 
Statesman, describing as preposterous the very suggestion that he, and other British ministers 
directly complicit in the atrocious embargo against Iraq, might be summoned to appear before the 
new court.

We shall see.


*  US to decide whether to complain to UN on China
Times of India, 11th March

WASHINGTON: The United States put China on notice on Friday that it may soon decide to complain to 
the United Nations about Beijing¹s alleged flouting international sanctions against Iraq.

³We¹ll see about that in coming days,² said State Department spokesman Richard Boucher. ³We may, 
after we look into this further and see what¹s being done, we may decide that we need to go to the 
UN Sanctions Committee and discuss it there.²

US Secretary of State Colin Powell said Thursday Washington might ask the committee to review 
whether China has complied with the sanctions imposed on Iraq after its 1990 occupation of Kuwait.

Allegations that Chinese technicians may be helping Iraq to lay fiber optic cables to upgrate the 
country¹s air defenses came in the wake of last month¹s US and British air strikes against military 
targets outside Baghdad.

A Pentagon official said the strikes had been carried out specifically on a Friday, the Muslim holy 
day, to avoid hitting the Chinese technicians.

China has denied the US allegations.

US Ambassador to Beijing Joseph Prueher raised the issue of Chinese technicians in Iraq during his 
meeting Monday with Chinese foreign ministry officials.

³In that meeting, the Chinese told us that they intended to abide by UN resolutions, that they 
intended for their companies to abide by UN resolutions,² Boucher said.

But he said the Chinese officials did not provide the US government [with information? - PB] about 
the nature of work performed by Chinese specialists in Iraq.

³We will continue to monitor this situation and work with the Chinese to make sure that the general 
instructions to Chinese companies are abided by the way the Chinese government says it wants,² said 
Boucher. (AFP)

*  Cuban parliament speaker visits Iraq
Times of India, 11th March

BAGHDAD: Cuba¹s parliament speaker Ricardo Alarcon held talks with his Iraqi counterpart Saadun 
Hammadi on Saturday at the start of a visit to Baghdad, parliamentary officials said.

They said the aim of the visit was to further boost the close ties between the two countries, both 
of which are on a US list of pariah states.

The Cuban foreign ministry condemned the US and British air strikes around Baghdad on February 16, 
branding the operation as the latest in a ³long series of criminal and hostile actions² against 
Iraq since the 1991 Gulf War. (AFP)

*  A test for Poland¹s loyalties
by John Reed in Warsaw
Financial Times, 14th March

France and Poland had a telling diplomatic exchange after last month¹s US-British bombing of Iraq.

When an adviser to Poland¹s prime minister expressed sympathy for the raid, Hubert Vedrine, French 
foreign minister, remarked pointedly that Canada and Poland were the only two other countries in 
the world to support the attack.

Warsaw duly sacked the official, whose remarks it said did not reflect a neutral official stance.

But government spokesman Krzysztof Luft also remarked tartly: ³Polish foreign policy is conducted 
by Poland¹s foreign ministry, not France¹s.²

The incident highlighted two emerging trends: first, European Union countries are increasingly 
monitoring Poland, as a prospective member, for clues on its future policy leanings after 
December¹s Nice summit awarded it the same number of votes in an expanded EU council as Spain.

Second, some apparently worry that the country - among the most pro-American in Europe - could 
prove a stalking horse for US interests within the EU. ³There is no getting away from the fact that 
some countries perceive the Poles as having strongly divided loyalties,² said one senior EU 
diplomat in Warsaw.

³This is felt most strongly in defence and foreign policy areas,² he added, especially over plans 
for an EU-led rapid reaction force.

Polish Americanophilia goes back to the 18th century, when many Poles fled their partitioned 
homeland to fight under Washington in the American war of independence.

The ties continued into the 20th century - when President Woodrow Wilson championed Polish 
independence - and through the 1980s, when Polish intellectuals supported Ronald Reagan¹s 
anti-Soviet stance.

Today, Poland¹s embassy in Baghdad looks after US diplomatic interests in Iraq, one reason why last 
month¹s remarks touched off a minor international incident.

Opinion polls consistently rank Americans as Poland¹s favourite foreigners, ahead of the French and 

More than 9m Americans claim Polish descent, and emigré groups were instrumental in pushing for 
Poland¹s acceptance into Nato two years ago. With Nato membership a novelty and memories of Soviet 
domination fresh, Poland continues to support a strong US role in Europe.

³We feel ourselves part of Europe, but we want to see the future of Europe with a strong connection 
with the US,² said Maciej Pisarski, US desk officer in Poland¹s foreign ministry, who emphasised he 
spoke in a private capacity.

Yet Poland needs to play its perceived transatlantic special relationship carefully or risk 
alienating its future EU partners. When Britain and France proposed a European defence force Poland 
irritated some EU diplomats by opposing it because it could weaken Nato.

Poland has since shifted its stance to support the initiative, although as a non-EU member it 
complains it is not being fully consulted about the future force¹s shape.

Meanwhile, as the debate on the future US role in Europe gains momentum, Poles continue to deny 
they should have to ³choose² between Europe and the US.

³We often ask the question: should we go with Europe or the US?² said Longin Pastusiak, a member of 
parliament with the opposition Democratic Left Alliance who has written some 60 books on the US. ³I 
think it¹s a false dilemma, since it¹s in our interest to have equally good relations with both.²

Security issues aside, Mr Pastusiak and other Poles realise that their country¹s economic fortunes 
are firmly tied to the EU, with which Poland conducts more than 70 per cent of its foreign trade.

German, Italian and other European companies are the country¹s biggest foreign investors, and some 
of the most important decisions affecting Polish business are already made in Brussels, Berlin and 

Free from communist and Soviet domination for just a decade, most Poles support EU membership and 
appear to have few qualms about surrendering some sovereignty.

The same perspective inspires Poland¹s relatively uncritical embrace of US political and cultural 

³Unlike the French, we never had the luxury to think about preserving our sovereignty in the face 
of the American market and media domination,² says Andrzej Werner, a cultural critic and member of 
Poland¹s Academy of Sciences.

³There were always threats closer to home that captured our imagination.²

*  Moroccan truck firm to deliver Iraq 550 vehicles by end 2001
Arabic News, 14th March

Morocco¹s truck-making firm, DAF Industries, has concluded a $ 60 million-worth contract with Iraq 
for the delivery of 550 trucks by end 2001, reports Moroccan economic daily ³L¹Economiste.²

According to the source, the truck deal makes about one third of a $ 160 million deal obtained by 
Morocco as part of the ninth stage of the oil-for-food program.

The first delivery of 50 vehicles took place in the beginning of the year, the second on March 9 
for a value of $ 15.5 million, another 200 trucks will be sent in July 2001 and the rest, 200 
vehicles, before end 2001.

DAF General manager says the company will double its turnover which only stands at 350 vehicles, 
rejoicing that this is the first time that DAF goes to Iraq.

In a previous story, the paper had reported quoting a United Nations classified document, that some 
contracts are still suspended over suspicions that the supplies could have a double use, such as a 
$ 1.2 million contract for the supply of computer equipment and a $ 2.2 million contract of 
irrigation machinery.

Moroccan companies, facing a harsh competition on Iraqi market, blame the government for lack of 
financial support in a high-risk market, unlike Egypt which subsidizes 15% of exports to Iraq.

According to the source, the Moroccan exporters association is projecting to stage this March 26 a 
made-in- Morocco exhibition in Iraq.


*  US needs a credible Iraq strategy
Jerusalem Post, 11th March

The Middle East policy of President George W. Bush is beginning to emerge and its key element is 
identifying Iraq as international public enemy No. 1, to use the famous FBI title for the most 
dangerous criminal threatening America. But what does such a strategy really mean? Despite this 
tough stand, US leaders have apparently concluded that Washington can only muster allied support by 
reducing sanctions against Baghdad. In his remarkable March 9 testimony to the Senate Foreign 
Relations Committee, Secretary of State Colin Powell admitted that sanctions are falling apart and 
that US policy is having a tough time rebuilding an anti-Iraq coalition.

He also stated that Iraq has been winning the international propaganda war against the United 
States. Baghdad¹s policy is to avoid spending available money for civilian uses, then blame any 
resulting suffering on US-backed sanctions. These domestic problems are also exaggerated.

Yet ³humanitarian concerns² have now become an acceptable excuse for countries that want to take a 
softer line against the Iraqi dictator, even though their real motive is to get more money from 
commercial deals with Iraq. For the Iraqis, their apologists, and their would-be business partners, 
such an approach is quite cynical but also very effective.

Despite US determination, though, one can hardly blame the Gulf Arabs for rejecting American 
urgings to denounce or combat Iraq. After all, American credibility to eliminate the Iraqi regime 
and American ability to do so is very much in question. For the Gulf Arabs, Saddam Hussein is scary 
and many local rulers are once again thinking about appeasing him.

Fortunately for them, the Gulf rulers also have a good excuse for doing precisely what they want. 
We would love to help out the United States, they whisper to US officials, but unless the 
Palestinians get everything they want it is impossible to act. Of course, this rationale should be 
ridiculed but - as in the case of Saddam Hussein¹s deep humanitarian concerns - it is taken 
seriously by many Western leaders.

American credibility in defending moderate states and battling the spread of weapons of mass 
destruction to Middle Eastern dictators is also suffering on other fronts. Recently, it became 
public that the US-Russia agreement to let Moscow complete existing arms and military technology 
transfers to Iran as long as it didn¹t start new ones has been violated by the Russians.

Indeed, Iran has now announced that its Russian-built nuclear reactor will open in 2003, with 
partial operations starting earlier. Despite Iranian and Russian claims that this is an innocent 
electricity-generating scheme, both Israel and the United States charge that the reactor will be 
used to further Iran¹s nuclear weapons program. Suspicions can only be heightened by charges that 
Russian Atomic Energy Minister Yevgeny Adamov has received payments for his past dealings with Iran.

At the same time, assertions that Egypt has been working alongside North Korea to develop missiles 
have also become public. US experts have charged for some time that intelligence about such a 
program was kept secret by the American government to avoid a negative impact on US-Egypt 
relations. Quiet warnings to Cairo to stop these activities had no effect.

The United States is claiming some success with persuading China to stop helping Iraq improve its 
air defenses so that it can shoot down American planes. Whether in fact Peking has ordered its 
companies to stop such projects will only be seen over time.

Another concern about US policy on Iraq is whether the obsession with Baghdad might blind American 
leaders to other regional threats. Powell¹s statement to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee 
claimed that he had found Syrian President Bashar Assad helpful during his trip to Damascus.

Powell claimed the Syrian leader was also concerned about growing Iraqi power and would put the 
reopening of the Iraq-Syria oil pipeline, which violates UN sanctions, under UN auspices for 
monitoring Iraq¹s exports. This view may signal a renewal of historic American naivete over Syria. 
More important, it might well mean that, despite Syria¹s destruction of the Syria-Israel peace 
process and other activities, the United States will avoid putting any pressure on Damascus.

Finally, and of particular concern, there are signs that the United States hopes to enlist Iran as 
at least a silent partner in an anti-Iraq coalition. The administration will not support renewal of 
a law that punishes foreign companies for dealing with Iran, a process that has cost Iran billions 
of dollars and badly needed equipment. Again, there is the possibility that Washington will turn a 
blind eye to Iran¹s growing involvement in anti-Israel terrorism in order to win Teheran¹s help. As 
has happened before with Iran, American expectations of Iranian help are likely to prove illusory.

Bush¹s tough stance against Iraq¹s resurgence is welcome. But such a policy should be effective, 
credible, and not involve concessions to other radical - and equally threatening - regimes.

*  Iraqis Seek To ŒLiberate Palestine¹
Las Vegas Sun, 11th March

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Vowing to ³liberate all of Palestine,² a group of Iraqi volunteers on Sunday 
bid an emotional farewell to their families and left for military training in the so-called 
Jerusalem Army.

With his call to form an army to wrest Jerusalem from Israeli control, President Saddam Hussein has 
cast himself as the defender of the historic city as Arab leaders meet in Cairo to discuss their 
stance on both Israel and Iraq.

Saddam made his call for volunteers for the ³Jerusalem Army² in October, responding to 
Israel-Palestinian clashes that had erupted the month before. The clashes have so far killed 424 

The official Iraqi News Agency says that more than 7 million men and women - nearly a third of the 
22 million population - volunteered for the force. It was unknown how many were in the first 
batches to be trained, but the figure appeared to be in the thousands.

On Sunday, Iraqi volunteers chanted, ³with our blood and souls ... we sacrifice for Saddam,² as 
their wives and children kissed them goodbye. A similar group left for military training on 
Saturday, in an event broadcast on Iraqi television.

³Everybody should look at the stand made by Saddam Hussein and the people of Iraq and the Baath 
party,² Latif Nasaif Jassim, a high-ranking official of the ruling Baath Party, told the crowd on 
Sunday. ³We are going today to train, and after training you will be ready to join the Jerusalem 
Army to liberate all of Palestine.²

It was not clear what the volunteers would do once their training was completed.

Saddam, who shocked the world by invading Kuwait a decade ago, has called for a war to liberate 
Jerusalem, but other Arab leaders say negotiations are the only way to resolve the 
Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has ridiculed calls for war.

Arab foreign ministers discussed the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process in the Egyptian 
capital on Sunday as they prepared for an Arab League summit later this month in Amman, Jordan.

The Cairo talks and the Amman summit also were expected to grapple with growing calls to end Iraq¹s 
isolation since it invaded Kuwait and then was forced to retreat in the Gulf War.

The issues of Israeli-Palestinian clashes and Iraq¹s isolation are becoming increasingly 
intertwined among Arabs, in part because of Saddam¹s stated willingness to fight for Jerusalem.

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators across the Arab world have waved Iraqi flags and shouted praise of 
Saddam - and criticized their own governments for not taking a firmer stand against Israel.

Demonstrators also have expressed sympathy for ordinary Iraqis suffering under U.N. trade sanctions 
that cannot be lifted until Saddam proves he has surrendered chemical, biological and nuclear 
weapons. U.S. support for the sanctions is often portrayed as anti-Arab, just as the United States 
is seen by many Arabs as supporting Israel against the Palestinians.

Control of Jerusalem continues to be a flashpoint of Arab emotion.

On Sunday, Jordan joined Iran and other Mideast nations in criticizing U.S. Secretary of State 
Colin Powell¹s statement that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.

On Thursday, Powell told the U.S. Congress that while there is no immediate plan to relocate the 
U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv, President Bush is committed to moving it ³to the capital of 
Israel, which is Jerusalem.²

In a session of Jordan¹s Parliament, Prime Minister Ali Abu-Ragheb said that Powell¹s statements on 
the holy city, which both Israel and the Palestinians claim, will ³lead to more tension and 
complications to an already complex issue.²

Israel considers Jerusalem its undivided and eternal capital. But few countries have accepted its 
claim to the entire city, whose eastern half was controlled by Jordan until the 1967 Arab-Israeli 
war. The Palestinians want east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

*  Book Exposes Israeli Nuclear Policy

JERUSALEM (Associated Press, Wed 14 Mar 2001) ‹ Israel¹s nuclear program has avoided domestic 
scrutiny for decades, but an Israeli author¹s return from the United States is testing the limits 
of public debate on the hypersensitive topic shrouded in official secrecy.

Unable to get his manuscript approved by Israeli censors, Avner Cohen published his 1998 book, 
``Israel and the Bomb,¹¹ in the United States, where he works as a senior researcher at George 
Washington University in Washington, D.C.

Though facing possible arrest in Israel, Cohen returned this week and was promptly questioned by 
the military and police on suspicion of breaking the legal wall of silence erected around Israel¹s 
nuclear capabilities.

He was released and has not been charged, but will be called back for questioning. Cohen isn¹t 
giving interviews during his 10-day stay, but did speak about Israel¹s nuclear program Wednesday at 
a Jerusalem institute located next door to the official residence of Israel¹s President Moshe 

``All nuclear development (in Israel) has functioned as a secret state within a state,¹¹ Cohen said 
in an hour-long address. ``The entire field has become the black hole of Israeli democracy.¹¹

Cohen insists he is not seeking a confrontation with Israeli authorities. But his work challenges 
the core of Israel¹s policy of ``nuclear opacity¹¹ ‹ whereby the entire world assumes Israel has 
nuclear weapons but the government refuses to discuss it.

Cohen has argued for a spirited public discussion of nuclear policy.

He says his book was produced from information in the public domain, and therefore is not subject 
to military censorship. Yet he also knows the threat of prosecution for divulging nuclear secrets 
is not an idle one.

Mordechai Vanunu, a technician who worked at Israel¹s nuclear reactor at Dimona, in the Negev 
Desert, is serving 18 years in prison for giving pictures taken inside the reactor to The Sunday 
Times of London in 1986.

Based on the photographs, experts said Israel had the world¹s sixth-largest stockpile of nuclear 
weapons. The CIA has estimated more recently that Israel has between 200 and 400 nuclear weapons.

According to Cohen, Israel and the United States reached an understanding in 1970 that Washington 
would look the other way as long as Israel kept a low nuclear profile and did not carry out nuclear 

U.S. protection has helped shield Israel from international scrutiny, and maintaining this 
arrangement has overwhelming support among Israel¹s political and military establishment.

Israel¹s new prime minister, Ariel Sharon, is expected to renew this understanding when he meets 
President Bush in Washington next week, Haaretz newspaper reported.

``Opacity has been successful in Israeli eyes, allowing Israel to enjoy a regional nuclear monopoly 
without incurring the political cost of possessing nuclear weapons,¹¹ Cohen wrote in his book. 
``This brought many Arabs to the realization that the conflict could not be settled by military 
means, but only through negotiation.¹¹

Arab countries have complained for years, to no real effect, about Israel¹s special status when it 
comes to nuclear weapons.

Israel has never signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty nor opened its facilities to 
international inspection.

Meanwhile, the Americans have pressed hard to prevent other countries ‹ such as Iraq, Iran and 
North Korea ‹ from developing a nuclear arsenal. Even nations with otherwise normal relations with 
the United States, such as Pakistan and India, have been criticized for their nuclear programs.

Cohen¹s book traces the development of Israel¹s nuclear program from its origins in the 1950s, when 
it was guided by a young, fast-rising government official named Shimon Peres.

Peres, now 77, is a Nobel Peace Prize winner and the foreign minister in Sharon¹s government, and 
he has maintained his silence on the nuclear program.

According to Cohen, Israel first built crude nuclear weapons shortly before the 1967 Middle East 
war, when the country feared it could be overrun by Arab armies. Ever since, Israel has enjoyed a 
position of nuclear dominance it doesn¹t want to declare, Cohen argues.

``Israel cannot openly make a case for nuclear monopoly and thus must keep its nuclear status 
unacknowledged,¹¹ he wrote.

*  Sharon to press for U.S. sanctions on Damascus
by Aluf Benn
Ha¹aretz, 16th March

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon plans to ask U.S. President George W. Bush to step up American 
sanctions against Syria during his trip to Washington next week.

Sharon will request that Bush impose the full range of sanctions possible under American law 
against states that support terrorism. Syria is on the State Department¹s list of state sponsors of 
terrorism, but until now has received less severe treatment compared to other countries on the list 
- such as Iraq, Iran, Sudan and North Korea - because it was engaged in negotiations with Israel.

Government sources in Jerusalem said that Sharon¹s decision to ask the U.S. to increase its 
pressure on Syria was due largely to the fact that Syrian support for Hezbollah has expanded under 
President Bashar Assad beyond the level that obtained during the tenure of his late father, Hafez 

Sharon will also ask the U.S. to warn Lebanon that, if it continues to back Hezbollah, it too risks 
being added to the list of state sponsors of terrorism. However, he does not plan to ask that the 
Lebanese government be added to the list immediately, as former prime minister Ehud Barak made such 
a request not long before the elections.

Sharon plans to present Bashar Assad as someone who through his support for Hezbollah is ³playing 
with fire² and undermining the stability of the entire region. He will ask the U.S. to pressure 
Assad into restraining Hezbollah, and to press Lebanon to deploy its army in the south. He will 
also discuss Iran¹s growing involvement in Lebanon.

But Sharon¹s national security advisor, Uzi Dayan, has advised him that he should also leave the 
door open to a possible resumption of negotiations with Syria.

At a meeting between Sharon and his advisors yesterday, Dayan also proposed that the prime minister 
call during his Washington visit for a return to the Sharm el Sheikh Agreement. This agreement, 
signed by Barak and Palestinian Chairman Yasser Arafat in October but never implemented, contains a 
number of measures aimed at reducing the violence and enabling the resumption of negotiations. 
Sharon, however, rejected this idea. Other participants in the meeting noted that the agreement 
speaks about renewing negotiations on a final-status accord, whereas Sharon believes any talks that 
take place should focus on a series of long-term interim agreements.

Sharon stressed that he considers himself obligated only to signed agreements that the Palestinians 
have fulfilled, and certainly not to unsigned understandings that were never implemented. But 
Arafat, he added, has broken every one of his agreements with Israel, in all of which he pledged to 
refrain from violence and to combat terrorism.

Sharon also reiterated that a distinction must be made between the Palestinian Authority, with 
which he intends to deal harshly, and the Palestinian public, for whom he would like to ease 
conditions as much as possible.

Israel¹s ambassador to the U.S., David Ivri, said the American administration will be interested to 
learn at what point ³between Madrid and Taba² Sharon believes negotiations should pick up once they 
are restarted. But he recommended that Sharon refrain from presenting detailed ideas for renewed 
talks at this stage. Instead, said Ivri, Sharon should say, ³first let there be quiet, and then 
we¹ll see.² Brigadier-General Amos Gilad, the head of Military Intelligence¹s research division, 
issued a similar recommendation.

*  Of water pipes and diplomacy
Ha'aretz, 18th March

The excitement surrounding the intention of the Lebanese authorities to pump water from the 
Hatsbani River, in proximity to the "Blue Line," with which the United Nations demarcates the 
northern border of Israel, died out toward the end of last week. What appeared at first to be a 
crisis of serious proportions, threatening to draw Israel and Lebanon into a violent confrontation, 
shrunk down to its natural proportions - a local dispute with a solution. It appears that the 
attention the media gave to the story swept with it a number of politicians whose eagerness is 
greater than their experience in government. Among them was Minister of National Infrastructure, 
Avigdor Lieberman, whose ministry is responsible for Israel's water resources. Composed voices were 
needed in the government and the General Staff in order to cool him down.

Since the armistice was signed with Syria in 1949, which left vague the issue of sovereignty over 
land adjoining the Jordan River and Lake Kinneret, a number of disputes have emerged between the 
countries who share these scarce water resources. Syria opposed Israel's decision to drain the Hula 
swamp and build the National Water Carrier. Israel acted forcefully to thwart Syrian preparations, 
supported by other Arab states, to react to the diversion of waters of the Kinneret to the south by 
diverting the Jordan River. The deterioration in relations between Israel and Syria, to the point 
where tanks and aircraft took part in clashes over the diverting of the water, directly contributed 
to the escalation that resulted in the Six-Day War in June 1967.

Efforts to mediate between Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, reaching a zenith in 1953 with the 
Johnston Plan, which called for the sharing of the waters of the Jordan River by the four 
countries, failed. Nonetheless, it is clear to all that a total and final regional peace accord 
will revive the sharing solution or one in a similar spirit.

Lebanon has so far been the least troublesome of all the countries involved in the dispute over the 
water. In a peace deal, experts are suggesting that surplus waters from the Litani River be used, 
with Lebanon's agreement, as a partial solution to Israel's water problems, with Lebanon receiving 
electricity in return. It is doubtful that Lebanon will willingly take a chance by daring Israel on 
the water issue, at a time when the situation on the northern border remains highly flammable.

The question of the Hatsbani River waters should be included in the general basket of subjects that 
should be discussed in an effort to achieve peaceful coexistence in the region, and especially 
between Israel, Syria, and Lebanon, which comes under the aegis of Damascus. The visit of U.S. 
Secretary of State Colin Powell to Damascus last month was the first step toward renewing the 
Syrian-American-Israeli channel and the unraveling of the warming relations between Syria and Iraq. 
Friday's telephone conversation between George W. Bush and Bahsar Assad, the sons of the presidents 
who forged a practical alliance against Iraq during the Gulf War in 1991, and agreed to initiate 
the peace process at the Madrid Summit in 1992, suggests that the renewing of the dialogue, which 
froze last year after the meetings at Shepherdstown and Geneva, is close at hand. In this context, 
the telephone conversation between Bush and Assad appears to serve as a prelude to the diplomatic 
talks which Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is set to hold in Washington this week.

>From the Hatsbani affair that wasn't, we must learn what will take place in the bargaining between 
>Israel and Syria. There lies the future of the whole northern border, where Syria will be asked to 
>deal with the Hezbollah and counter Iranian influence; and the two sides will determine formulas 
>which will prevent unilateral actions on the Jordan River and Lake Kinneret - holy sites for 
>Christianity, but more importantly, essential for the survival of the peoples of the region. An 
>acceptable agreement in this arena will also influence the Jordanians and the Palestinians, who 
>are thirsty more than others for water, which so far has been given to them as a result of the 
>generosity of their neighbors.

*  Saddam poses a diplomatic threat
by Zvi Bar'el
Ha'aretz, 18th March

In his bid to sharpen policy toward Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq, U.S. Secretary of State Colin 
Powell has received assurances from Damascus. Syrian President Bashar Assad has promised Powell 
that he will allow UN inspectors to keep tabs on the flow of oil from Iraq to Syria, and that money 
which turns over in Syria after sales of Iraqi oil will be deposited in a sanctions-treasury 
handled by the United Nations, instead of ending up in Baghdad. In exchange for these Syrian 
assurances, the U.S. government is prepared to consider ways in which it might help Syria make up 
for losses incurred when sanctions are clamped down more vigorously against Saddam's regime.In 
trying to formulate its policy in the Middle East, the Bush administration is focusing on Baghdad 
and also on Saddam's links with Damascus. Expanding economic links between Syria and Iraq - 
featuring plans by their two governments to raise the annual trade volume between them to $1 
billion (a level close to double the annual trade between Jordan and Iraq), along with Iraq's 
rapid, renewed acceptance by the Arab world - have become major foreign policy issues in Washington.

In view of the salience of the Baghdad issue, and also Syrian assurances to the Americans, it is 
difficult to imagine that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's demand for U.S. sanctions against Syria 
will win much sympathy in Washington, even though Syria appears on the list of states that support 
terrorism. "We are currently engaged in the effort to restore the efficacy of sanctions against 
Iraq. And to achieve this end we need the full cooperation of Arab states, especially those which 
border Iraq, such as Syria, Jordan and the Gulf states," one American diplomat explains. "The 
imposition of sanctions against another Arab state would do more than undermine this effort. It 
would set the whole Arab world against us."

Nudging aside the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, Saddam Hussein will apparently top the Bush 
administration's Middle East policy agenda. When it comes to the Palestinian problem, the new U.S. 
government has dusted off the old apathetic formula whereby "the United States cannot seek peace 
more ardently than the sides themselves." In contrast, turning the screws in its diplomatic 
campaign against Iraq, the Bush foreign policy team has shifted into high gear in attempt to sway 
the hearts of Arab states.

Knowing that the efficacy and status of the old sanctions policy had eroded, Powell was forced to 
propose American agreement to a significant expansion in the trade of civilian goods with Iraq, in 
exchange for stepped-up inspections concerning the sale of military items. Powell came away from 
his visit to the region believing that this proposal has Arab backing. But he also learned that the 
proposal is enveloped by an Arab demand for "balanced American policy in the Middle East" - meaning 
tougher American stances toward Israel. In concrete terms, the Arab states want Washington to stop 
referring to a united Jerusalem as Israel's capital; to denounce Israeli policies in the 
territories; and to show "understanding" toward Arab stances adopted in international forums in 
which America plays a decisive role, such as the UN Security Council.

These states' strategic goal of exploiting America's obsession with Saddam Hussein in order to 
notch gains in the Israeli-Arab arena is clear. In addition, the Americans understand that their 
goal of toughening policy toward Iraq necessitates plugging up areas where sanctions policies have 
had leaks, such as Jordan and Syria. These two countries will demand major economic compensations, 
should they decide to jeopardize their relations with Iraq by showing support for the American 
position. (Jordan's annual exports to Iraq are valued at about $700 million, compared to $20 
million in exports to Israel. Jordan's imports, including low-priced oil, from Iraq stand at 
roughly the same level. Syria, in its efforts to end economic stagnation, could rely on Iraq as a 
source of cheap oil and a market for its goods.)

Adopting a new tack in discussions with Powell, the Arab states grasped Saddam as their most potent 
leverage in relations with the U.S., so long as Washington sticks to its sanctions policy. When 
addressing the Israeli-Arab dispute, U.S. officials have the luxury of choosing the level of their 
involvement, and the extent to which they are willing to put American prestige on the line. The 
character and status of American policy toward Iraq is completely different. Policy toward Iraq has 
repercussions with respect to America's image abroad, the formulation of agendas which will compel 
action on the part of European allies, and confrontation with Russian ambitions to upgrade its 
status as a major power. Thus, it suddenly seems as though the threats posed by Iraq to Israel are 
of a diplomatic, rather than military, nature. If Israeli policy in the territories interferes with 
American efforts to build up an alignment of Arab states for initiatives against Saddam, Israel 
could come to be perceived as a strategic burden in Washington.


*  Syria key to any anti-Iraq coalition - US sources
by Janine Zacharia
Jerusalem Post, 11th March

WASHINGTON: The US administration considers Syria a key part of any new coalition against Iraq, and 
therefore is trying to avoid ruffling feathers in Damascus as it embarks on a campaign to sell a 
narrower sanctions policy to skeptics in Washington, sources in Washington say.

As part of that goal, last week US President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell 
both declined to meet with the Lebanese patriarch of the Maronite Church, Cardinal Nasrallah Sfeir 
- an outspoken critic of Syria¹s occupation of Lebanon - despite prodding from Arab-American 
lobbyists and officials including Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham, himself of Lebanese origin.

The Lebanese president is always Maronite, making the minority sect - a splinter of the Roman 
Catholic Church - the most powerful ethnic group in Lebanon.

The last time Sfeir was in the US, in 1988, he met with then-president Ronald Reagan.

The State Department offered Sfeir a meeting with Assistant Secretary of State for Near East 
Affairs Edward Walker, but Sfeir refused, saying he only wanted to meet with top officials.

A State Department spokesman said the department believes ³a meeting at the assistant-secretary 
level offers the patriarch an excellent opportunity for a substantive exchange on the issues he is 
most interested in.²

After Sfeir¹s refusal, Walker declined an invitation to dinner hosted by the Lebanese ambassador in 
Washington in Sfeir¹s honor last Thursday night, according to diplomatic sources. A State 
Department official acknowledged that Walker had received the invitation, but ³had made his own 
decision for whatever reason not to attend.² Powell declined an invitation to a luncheon for Sfeir 
held last Friday by the Vatican¹s embassy in Washington, saying that his schedule was already full.

³This administration is trying to court Syria. They don¹t want to take any steps that will be 
interpreted by the Syrian government as anti-Syrian, especially when Syria is a main player in 
rebuilding a coalition,² a well-informed source in Washington familiar with Syrian-American 
relations said.

During his testimony to the House International Relations Committee last Wednesday, Powell cited 
Syria specifically as one of the key nations that had expressed support for his new sanctions 
policy. In making his sanctions pitch, Powell has repeatedly mentioned Syria without mentioning 
other Arab states by name.

³In fact, in Syria, when I discussed it with President [Bashar] Assad, who has been calling for the 
end of sanctions, he saw some merit in this because he, too, is concerned about weapons of mass 
destruction,² Powell said.

The US is eager to see Damascus put the flow of oil through an Iraqi-Syrian pipeline under UN 
control, and Powell said he received conditional assurances from Assad that he would do so if the 
US modified its sanctions policy.

To a question on whether the US believes Syria needs to pull its troops out of Lebanon, Powell 
echoed the traditional US view that it would be a positive move at some point but did not call on 
Damascus directly to do so.

³We believe that it would be for the benefit of all parties if eventually at some point - I¹d like 
to see it tomorrow, but it isn¹t going to happen tomorrow - for the Syrian army to leave Lebanon,² 
Powell said.

Sfeir, who is in Washington for several weeks, met with more than a dozen congressmen last week. He 
was quoted as saying that the Maronites want ³a Lebanon that is free to determine its own future, 
independent from all other forces, whether within her borders or exerted upon by her neighbors.²

Syria is the de facto power broker in Lebanon, with roughly 35,000 troops stationed there.

*  Ankara sends 400-member trade mission to Iraq
Times of India, 12th March

ISTANBUL: A 400-member Turkish trade mission heads for Iraq on Monday to relaunch economic ties 
frozen by an embargo now considered obsolete, Anatolia news agency reported.

Trade secretary Kursad Tuzmen, who is heading the mission, briefed Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit 
about its objectives, the agency said on Sunday.

A similar mission was organised last month by Ankara which recently strengthened its diplomatic 
ties with its neighbour by reopening its embassy in Baghdad.

Turkey has also organised several ³humanitarian² flights to Iraq since late last year with medical 
equipment and also businessmen aboard.

They were organised with the approval of Turkish authorities who said they had observed official 
procedures by informing the United Nations about the flights and where they came from.

Several other countries have since followed Turkey¹s example despite the UN air embargo on Iraq 
imposed after the Gulf War in 1991.

Anatolia did not say whether the latest mission would go to Iraq by land or by air. (AFP)

*  Lebanon gears to restart diplomatic ties with Iraq
Times of India, 12th March

BEIRUT: The Lebanese cabinet has decided to overturn a 1994 decision to cut diplomatic ties with 
Iraq, paving the way to restart normal diplomatic relations, an official source said on Sunday.

The source said the decision was taken during a cabinet meeting earlier this week to match the 
improvement in economic ties between the two countries. He gave no further details.

Lebanon severed diplomatic ties with Iraq in 1994 after accusing Baghdad of killing an Iraqi 
opposition figure in Beirut. Relations were partly restored in 1998 when Beirut and Baghdad 
exchanged low-key diplomatic representatives and resumed trade ties.

Several Lebanese economic and ministerial delegations have visited Baghdad since and signed 
contracts with Iraq to sell goods under Iraq¹s oil-for-food deal with the United Nations. (Reuters)

*  Saddam Says Leave Iraq Out of Arab Summit
Los Angeles Times, 12th March

BAGHDAD‹Iraq urged Arab leaders on Monday to concentrate on the Palestinian issue at the upcoming 
Arab summit in Amman and not to discuss Iraq¹s situation after a decade of U.N. sanctions.

Arab leaders scheduled to meet in Amman later this month aim to forge a united stance on Iraq 
sanctions and the conflict between Israel and Palestine, considered the two most contentious issues 
in the region.

The United Nations imposed sanctions on Iraq in 1990 as a punishment for Baghdad¹s invasion of 

³Iraq believes that Arab rulers who will attend the summit should not bother themselves with 
discussing any of Iraq¹s affairs,² said a statement issued following a meeting of top Iraqi 
officials chaired by President Saddam Hussein.

³The attitude of Arab countries toward the embargo and (U.S. and British) aggression can be 
developed through bilateral and other means, rather than by discussing them collectively at this 
stage,² said the statement, handed to Western reporters in Baghdad.

The statement was referring to a joint attack last month by the United States and Britain on 
targets near Baghdad, which Iraq said killed two civilians and wounded more than 20 others.

It said the summit should ³separate the issue of ending the embargo and the aggression on Iraq from 
other issues like differences between Iraq and Saudi Arabia and the rulers of Kuwait.²

*  Middle East could erupt in fireball, warns Holbrooke
by Anton La Guardia Diplomatic Editor
Daily Telegraph, 13th March

THE resurgence of Iraq and the collapse of Arab-Israeli peace poses the most serious threat to 
world stability in nearly four decades, Richard Holbrooke, the recently departed US ambassador to 
the United Nations, said yesterday.

With Saddam Hussein threatening to mobilise tens of thousands of ³volunteers² to fight alongside 
the Palestinians, Mr Holbrooke gave warning that the two problems could merge into a ³gigantic 

He told the annual meeting of the Trilateral Commission, a network of senior business and political 
leaders: ³If Iraq and Arab-Israeli conflict merge, you could have . . . the most serious threat to 
peace since the Cuban missile crisis.²

Iraq has steadily been breaking down the wall of sanctions imposed at the time of its invasion of 
Kuwait in 1990. Saddam has ably exploited the emotions of the five-month-old Palestinian uprising 
to present himself as the only Arab leader ready to stand up to the Americans.

Britain¹s recently retired Chief of Defence Staff, General Sir Charles Guthrie, voiced long-held 
fears that British and American aircraft could be lost while patrolling the ³no-fly² zones in Iraq. 
He told the gathering in London: ³We are living on borrowed time. Sooner or later one of our 
aircraft is going to be shot down or there is going to be an engine failure.²

Sergei Yastrzhembsky, an adviser to President Putin, said Moscow believed that ³Iraq has been 
punished enough². He said there was a better chance of containing Iraq¹s weapons of mass 
destruction by ³engagement² with Baghdad.

*  Troops swamp Beirut to deter protests
by Gareth Smyth in Beirut
Financial Times, 13th March

Lebanon¹s army swamped the streets of Beirut on Wednesday to prevent anti-Syria demonstrations by 
supporters of Michel Aoun, the exiled former army commander.

The Liberal National Student Grouping had called on the Lebanese ³to prove to the world that they 
are a living people² by peaceful gatherings at government buildings on the 12th anniversary of Gen 
Aoun¹s forlorn attempt to drive out Syrian forces.

Battle-ready troops backed up with armoured vehicles were deployed at busy intersections. 
Checkpoints created long tailbacks.

With 35,000 soldiers in Lebanon, Syria has supervised Lebanese politics since the civil war ended 
in 1990. Growing opposition to Syria¹s presence has been strongest among Lebanon¹s Christians, who 
make up about a third of the country¹s 3.5m population.

Nasrallah Sfeir, patriarch of the Maronites, the largest Christian sect, is pressing the issue on 
his current tour of the US and Canada, home to many Lebanese expatriates. ³Lebanon existed 1,800 
years ago within its modern official boundaries,² said Mr Sfeir. ³It was mentioned 66 times in the 

The government insists that this is not the time to raise the Syrian role. ³Syria¹s presence here 
is necessary, legitimate and temporary,² said Rafik Hariri, prime minister, this week. ³We are now 
in a critical situation, with the new government in Israel [led by the hardline Ariel Sharon], and 
discussing Syria¹s presence here is out of place.²

On Wednesday in Damascus, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was joined by Hosni Mubarak, the 
Egyptian president, and King Abdullah of Jordan to inaugurate an electricity network adding Syria 
to a grid already linking Egypt and Jordan. The grid will eventually link Egypt, Jordan, Syria, 
Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq.

The three Arab leaders also discussed the Palestinian-Israeli conflict - which will be the focus of 
the Arab summit in Amman, Jordan, on March 27-28.

Syria - which wants to regain the Golan Heights, occupied by Israel since 1967 - is trumpeting Arab 
unity as the best means to combat Mr Sharon.

Such a regional atmosphere gives little room for the anti-Syrian opposition in Lebanon, who were 
also disappointed by this month¹s visit to Beirut of Edward Walker, the new US assistant secretary 
of state.

Mr Walker said the US would not intervene in the Lebanese-Syrian relationship.

*  Death sentence commuted for Kuwaiti puppet leader
by Diana Elias
Seattle Times, 14th March

KUWAIT - An appeals court yesterday commuted the death sentence of a Kuwaiti officer who headed a 
short-lived puppet government after Iraq¹s 1990 invasion, reducing his sentence to life in prison.

Alaa Hussein, the lieutenant who was chosen to head the Iraqi-appointed government, had been 
convicted of treason and sentenced to death in May 2000.

Judge Abdullah al-Issa upheld the treason conviction but commuted the sentence to life 
imprisonment, saying the mitigating factors included Hussein¹s ³good upbringing, his age and the 
fact that he returned home from his shelter in Norway at his own free will ... asking for clemency.²

Hussein¹s lawyer, Nawwaf al-Mutairim, said he hoped Kuwait¹s emir might issue a full pardon.

³We have been able to untie the noose from Alaa Hussein¹s neck,² he said.

Hussein had told a lower court he had no idea why Iraqis chose him from hundreds of war prisoners 
to head the puppet cabinet in Kuwait that served for about a week after Iraq invaded Kuwait on Aug. 
2, 1990. He says that the Iraqis forced him to stay in Iraq after the war until 1997.

Witnesses for the prosecution testified that Hussein came to enjoy his position and giving orders 
in the puppet government.

The other members of the pro-Iraqi government surrendered to the Kuwaiti authorities after a 
U.S.-led coalition liberated Kuwait in February 1991. The authorities investigated and exonerated 

Hussein, 41, lived in Iraq, Turkey and Norway until January 2000, when he returned home, saying he 
wanted to prove he was not a collaborator with Iraq.

Hussein, who is married with four children, has exhausted his court appeals and can only ask the 
emir for a pardon.

*  Lebanese seeks help over missing in Iraq
Beirut, Reuters, 14th March

Families of Lebanese who went missing in Iraq a decade ago urged their government yesterday to try 
to secure their release, days after Beirut moved to restore normal ties with Baghdad. The Committee 
of the Families of Lebanese Detainees in Iraqi Prisons listed six names, saying they were not 
politically active and that they were studying religion subjects at a Shi¹ite school in Iraq when 
they were arrested during the eight-year-long Iraq-Iran war.

³We urge the Lebanese leaders to make a move to know the fate of those detainees and work to secure 
their release,² said a statement by the group. An informed foreign ministry source said the 
ministry received a complaint during the Iraq-Iran war that there were about 80 Lebanese detainees 
in Iraq. ³The Iraqi government denied at the time it was holding them.²

The Lebanese cabinet last week decided to overturn a 1994 decision to cut diplomatic ties with 
Iraq, paving the way to restart normal diplomatic relations. Lebanon severed diplomatic ties with 
Iraq in 1994 after accusing Baghdad of killing an Iraqi opposition figure in Beirut. Relations were 
partly restored in 1998 when Beirut and Baghdad exchanged low-key diplomatic representatives and 
resumed trade ties.

*  Moussa, Sahaf exchange views on Amman summit¹s agenda
Arabic News, 14th March

Egypt¹s Foreign Minister Amr Moussa met in Cairo Tuesday with his Iraqi counterpart Mohammed Saeed 
EL Sahaf. Speaking to the press after the meeting, Sahaf said they exchanged views on outcome of 
the ll5th session of the Arab League Council.

The Ministers agreed to maintain consultations to render the incoming Arab summit, slated for March 
27 in Amman, successful, he added.

³On his evaluation of decisions taken during this session on lifting the ban imposed on Iraq, Sahaf 
said what took place Monday and Tuesday was an attempt to hammer out the summit¹s agenda. 
participants exchanged views and there was a common Arab desire to make this summit a success,² he 

On differences emerged among the foreign ministers on items of the agenda and whether or not those 
differences would hinder reaching effective decisions, Iraq¹s top diplomat denied the existence of 
such difficulties.

Sahaf termed as ³very successful² the recent Cairo Arab summit as its agenda focused mainly on the 
Palestinian people¹s suffering.

Asked if Iraq would present an initiative to achieve a comprehensive reconciliation especially with 
Gulf states, he made it clear that Iraq is not required to do so.

Solving pending problems between Baghdad and both Saudi Arabia and Kuwait hinges on creating an 
appropriate Arab atmosphere to render any relevant bid successful, he clarified.

³To achieve this goal, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait should not allow their lands to be used in launching 
daily military operations against Iraq,² he said.

*  Oman calls for greater Arab unity
by Arif Ali

Muscat, 4th March: The Sultanate of Oman has called for greater Arab unity to counter Israel¹s 
growing hostilities being inflicted on the homeless Palestinians. ³The Arabs should adopt all means 
to counter the Israeli challenge and make it come to the path of peace,² said Foreign Minister 
Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah after meeting his Egyptian counterpart, Amr Moussa, in Cairo, as 
quoted by Oman Television. ³We should, at the same time, extend support to the Palestinians to help 
them overcome their current ordeal.²

Alawi is in Cairo for the Arab foreign ministers¹ meeting ahead of the Arab summit in Amman, 
Jordan, on March 27. He also discussed with Moussa ways of improving ties with Iraq in order to end 
the sufferings of the Iraqi people caused by the UN sanctions after the 1990 Gulf War.

Oman, which has severed its trade links with Israel to support the Arab cause, wants Israel to 
vacate all occupied Arab lands, including Syria¹s Golan Heights, and agree to the creation of an 
independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital - a move which is going to top the Arab 
summit agenda.

The Arab foreign ministers have already warned the United States against moving its embassy from 
Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, as suggested by Secretary of State, Colin Powell, after his first visit to 
the Middle East in his new position in the new Bush administration. The ministers have also renewed 
their appeal for an international protection force for the Palestinians.

The UAE was one of the first Arab countries to take notice of Powell¹s remark at a congressional 
committee in Washington last week. On Monday, the UAE called this ³a flagrant violation of 
international law², saying that the comments could jeopardise U.S. ties with Arab and Muslim 

Earlier, before leaving for Cairo, Alawi held discussions in Muscat with the visiting Kuwaiti 
Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Mohammed Sabah Al Salim Al Sabah, on a number of 
Gulf, regional and international issues of common concern, as well as on how to achieve security 
and stability in the region.
More...Wednesday March 14 11:20 AM ET

*  Kuwait Ready to Discuss Iraq at Arab Summit

KUWAIT (Reuters, 14th March) - Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, who is to 
tour Arab states this week, said Wednesday his country would not oppose discussing Iraq at the 
forthcoming Arab summit.

``We have no objections to placing this item on the agenda,¹¹ the sheikh told reporters in 
parliament, when asked for his view on discussing U.N. sanctions against Kuwait¹s former occupier 
Iraq at the Arab summit in Amman on March 27-28.

Iraq urged Arab leaders Monday not to discuss Iraq¹s situation after a decade of U.N. restrictions, 
but to concentrate on the Palestinian issue.

Sheikh Sabah, discussing his tour, said: ``It is time to visit our brothers in these countries and 
at the same time I carry a letter from the Emir (Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad al-Sabah) concerning the 
Arab summit.¹¹

Sheikh Sabah, who is also first deputy prime minister, is expected to visit Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, 
Jordan and Yemen.

The summit is the first since Arab leaders decided in October to hold regular annual meetings.

Jordan said Wednesday it would hold separate talks with the foreign ministers of Iraq and Kuwait on 
the thorny issue of relations between the two Gulf foes.

Jordanian Information Minister Taleb al-Rifai said Arab foreign ministers, who met earlier this 
week in Cairo, had asked Jordan, Egypt and Qatar to try to bridge the gap between Iraq and Kuwait 
before the summit discusses ``the state of affairs¹¹ between them.

Leaders of Egypt, Syria and Jordan are also expected to discuss the forthcoming talks in Damascus 
where they converged Wednesday for a ceremony linking electricity grids.


*  Saddam Invited to Attend Arab Summit
People¹s Daily, 15th March

Jordanian Interior Minister Awad Khleifat arrived in Baghdad Wednesday by plane to invite Iraqi 
President Saddam Hussein to attend the coming Arab summit later this month.

Khleifat said at the Saddam International Airport that he, on behalf of King Abdullah Bin Hussein, 
came to Baghdad to invite Saddam to take part in the two-day Arab summit on March 26-27 in Amman.

Khleifat said he also brought a letter from the Jordanian monarch to the Iraqi president.

It is widely believed that Saddam will not accept the offer because he has never left Iraq since 
the 1991 Gulf War, which ejected Iraqi troops out of Kuwait after seven-month occupation.

Saddam was also invited by his Egyptian counterpart Hosni Mubarak to attend the Cairo Arab summit 
on October 21-22 last year, a signal of Iraq¹s return to the Arab world, from which it has been 
excluded since its invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

Saddam thanked Mubarak for the offer, but apologized for not being able to come to Cairo. Izzat 
Ibrahim, vice chairman of the Iraqi Revolutionary Command Council, came to the summit representing 

The upcoming Arab summit is expected to deal with the ongoing situation in the occupied Palestinian 
territories and ways to support the Palestinian uprising and enhance Arab unity.¡¡

The Iraqi delegation attending the 115th session of the Cairo- based Arab League (AL) Council which 
concluded Monday in Cairo, demanded that the summit discuss the issues of ending both the 
decade-old U.N. sanctions and the no-fly zones against Iraq.

*  Saddam is expected to take part in the Arab summit
Arabic News, 15th March

In a statement to the London- based al-Hayat daily issued on Wednesday, a high ranking Arab 
officials said that the Iraqi President Saddam Hussein might surprise the Arab leaders who will 
meet at Amman¹s summit on March 27 and 28 by attending this summit..

The source added that if it happens the participation of the Iraqi president will be a surprise of 
one or two hours time during which the Iraqi president will deliver a speech and then he will leave 
the meeting hall heading back to Baghdad.

The source explained that it is so far known that Iraq¹s participation in the summit will be in a 
high ranking official presided over by one of the Iraqi vice Presidents, Izzat Ibrahim or Taha 
Yassin Ramadan.

*  Iraq pardons 27 Iranian prisoners
Arabic News, 16th March

The Iraqi President on Thursday pardoned 27 Iranian prisoners who are hailed under various crimes.

The spokesman for the Iraqi foreign ministry said that this Iraqi measure expresses Iraq¹s good 
intention and the real desire to deal with and close all files including the questions of the war 
prisoners, missing, the refugees and the remains of the war victims.

The Iraqi spokesman added that the Iranians covered by the Amnesty were released and handed to the 
Iranians through the al-Manzereyah border point with Iran under the supervision of the 
International Committee of the Red Cross ICRC.

*  Jordan, Iraq sign financial arrangements minutes of meeting
Arabic News, 16th March

Jordan and Iraq on Thursday signed a protocol on financial arrangements aiming at revitalizing 
their bilateral trade protocol.

On the Jordanian side, the minute of meetings was signed by the governor of the Iraqi central bank 
Umaya Toukan and the Iraqi side was attended by the governor of the Iraqi central bank Issam Hweish 
who arrived on Wednesday in Amman in a visit to Jordan on top of a delegation from the Bank that 
will last for several days.

On Thursday Hweish held meetings with the Jordanian minister of finance Michael Marto; the minister 
of finance and commerce Wasef Azar and the executive President of the Arab banking establishment in 
Jordan Zeyad Fareiz during which they reviewed bilateral relations, prospects of economic and trade 
co-operation and the importance of joint co-ordination among various economic sectors in the two 
states and means of eliminating hindering obstacles.

*  Mubarak-Bush summit to focus on the peace process, Iraq and free trade zone
Arabic News, 17th March

Well-informed US sources said intensive contacts are underway between Cairo and Washington in 
preparation for President Mubarak's planned visit to the US capital early next month.

The sources noted that Mubarak-Bush summit on April 2 will focus on the issues of free trade zone 
between Egypt and the United States, developments of the peace process and Iraqi crisis.

US sources said contacts which were held between Cairo and Washington in preparation for President 
Mubarak's visit to the United States have provided the US administration with the chance to get 
acquainted with the guidelines of Egypt's standpoint regarding the latest developments.

The sources said President Mubarak would inform President Bush during their meeting at the White 
House of further details on the sufferings of the Palestinian people as a result of denial of their 
rights and the Israeli policies which have created a feeling of frustration and despair among the 
Palestinian people.

US sources said President Bush administrations interested in listening to President Mubarak's views 
and his assessment of the situation in Iraq and the US policy towards Iraq.

Well informed sources in the US capital expressed their confidence that the issue of bilateral 
relations would be given special emphasis in Egyptian US talks which will be held during President 
Mubarak's visit.

The sources said the two sides will tackle during the visit certain subjects agreements and ideas 
mainly the among which are issues of economic, commercial cooperation, the establishment of free 
trade zone, technology transfer and the future of US aid to Egypt.

In the context of preparation for President Mubarak's visit to the United States, Prime Minister 
Dr. Atef Ebeid reviewed at his meeting today with members of the US Chamber of Commerce the working 
papers of the economic file which will be given top priority in President Mubarak's talks with the 
US administration.

The economic file includes a number of important issues such as the volume of Egyptian exports to 
the US and providing privileges to the Egyptian commodities in the US market and increasing US 
investments in Egypt.

Eng. Sameh Fahmy, the Minister of Oil said the sector of petroleum represents one of the important 
sectors in attracting US investments, indicating that US investments in the sector of oil in Egypt 
is expected to reach 3-4 billion dollars in the year 2005.

The Minister of petroleum said total US investments in Egypt until the year 2000 amounted to 11.6 
billion dollars.

Diplomatic sources in Cairo said President Mubarak's visit to Washington would witness meetings 
with officials in the US administration, members of the Congress, chairmen of a number of US 
companies and the press.

Ambassador Hager Al Islamboully the Assistant Foreign Minister for Foreign Affairs said a 
delegation from the US Chamber of Commerce would visit the United States on March 25 to prepare for 
the visit in which the economic side would be given special significance in the light of plans by 
Egypt and the United States to declare the establishment of free trade zone between them.

*  Kuwaiti man builds museum to remember Gulf War horrors
Houston Chronicle, 17th March

KUWAIT -- Amid all the celebrations of the 10th anniversary of Kuwait's escape from Iraq's grasp -- 
the parades and dancers, concerts and poetry readings and VIP guests -- Youssef al-Ameeri wanted to 
make sure the horrors of the war weren't forgotten.

The urge to remember is perhaps stronger among Kuwaitis these days as they see former Arab allies 
succumbing to the lure of trade with Iraq and questioning the need to go on smothering its people 
in punishing economic sanctions.

Al-Ameeri, a Kuwaiti civil servant, said he sold his house to help pay for his own museum 
chronicling Iraq's Aug. 2, 1990, invasion of his homeland and the U.S.-led Gulf War that forced it 

"Many of Kuwait's Arab guests don't know how horrid the invasion was," al-Ameeri said. "They think 
we were eating cookies and chocolate and waiting for Westerners to liberate us."

Al-Ameeri said he spent the war supplying resistance fighters with arms salvaged from a Kuwaiti air 
base and smuggled in garbage bins.

His cousin, he said, was captured by the Iraqis in an attack on a police station to free Kuwaiti 
prisoners. He was tortured, killed and his body dumped on the doorstep of his home, al-Ameeri said.

A staffer in Parliament's protocol department, al-Ameeri began working on his museum in 1997. He 
said it has cost over $900,000 so far and needs another $650,000.

Parliament Speaker Jassem al-Kharafi, a wealthy contractor, was a major contributor, and private 
companies also helped, al-Ameeri said. The government donated material for the exhibits, some 
electronic equipment and a one-story building for a nominal $65 in monthly rent.

Kuwait has no official memorials or museums of the war. All the damage has been repaired and little 
evidence remains that the New Jersey-sized country of 750,000 citizens was looted and sabotaged a 
decade ago by Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's army.

The 10th anniversary was marked with a lavish gala. Former President Bush, the Gulf War leader and 
father of the current U.S. president, was among the guests at the Feb. 25-26 celebrations.

Al-Ameeri and 30 volunteers raced to open the museum beforehand, even if it was three months from 

Museum halls have been constructed and some of the exhibits are in place, including a mock-up of an 
Iraqi trench complete with looted TV set and VCR.

Volunteers say the unfinished museum already attracts crowds of Kuwaitis and foreigners. A 
volunteer, Rawnak Mohammed, said she has shown ambassadors, labor leaders and allied forces 
soldiers around the exhibits.

The completed museum will offer a half-hour sound-and-light trip through history.

*  Yemen minister in Baghdad
BBC World Service, 17th March

The Foreign Minister of Yemen, Abdul-Qader Bajammal, is in Baghdad with a message from his 
government to President Saddam Hussein about the forthcoming Arab summit in Jordan.

Last week, Arab foreign ministers, meeting in Cairo, discussed a summit agenda, but correspondents 
say they could not agree on the question of moves to lift United Nations sanctions against Iraq.

The summit is also expected to seek a consensus on negotiations with the new Israeli Prime 
Minister, Ariel Sharon. Yemen supported Iraq during the Gulf crisis ten years ago, but in recent 
years has improved relations with Gulf countries, particularly Saudi Arabia.

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