The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]
News 1-7/4/01 (1) Again, please note that despite the stated address this comes from Peter Brooke and I am contactable at email@example.com MIDDLE EAST * Water crises stirs new disputes [mainly on problems between Iran and Afghanistan] * Egypt gives Bush an earful for Mideast talks * Iranian opposition group claims six attacks [operations agaiunst the Iranian government by the People¹s Mujaheedin, based in Iraq] * Kuwait considers its document to Arab summit Œnull and void¹ [this article on the aftermath of the Arab League summit covers very similar ground to the next two but they all seem to have slightly different angles on a dispute that still hasn¹t, in the material I have seen, been clearly explained] * Iraq squandered its chance at Arab summit: Kuwait * Huge obstacles to Gulf settlement * Free trade agreement between Syria and Iraq in effect: Baghdad * Iraqi Kurds killed in landmine explosion * US, Jordanian experts meet on amending UN sanctions on Iraq * 7 Arab countries owe $1.84 billion: Iraq INSIDE IRAQ * April Fool by Saddam¹s son taunts Iraqis * Iraq says sanctions kill over 10,000 in February * Human rights group urges Iraq to end violations INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS * Pak Exports to Iraq Over 65 Million Dollars in First Seven Months * Iraqi embargo ³very stupid²: French speaker * Russians bid for Iraq work * Iraq to hold talks in Moscow on lifting of embargo * Iraq to open embassy in Norway IRAQI OPPOSITION * Iraqi opposition ready for dialogue with Washington [The opposition in question is the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution, the main Shi¹i opposition, who have previously refused to deal with the US] [all the following sent separately as News, 7/4/01 (2)] IRAQI/UN RELATIONS * U.N. requires destination of Iraqi oil * The UN and the US-UK flights over Iraq [Annan reports that it would be too complicated to monitor them. He appears in the article to call them Œviolations¹] * Iraq denounces Blix as a 'new spy' * U.S. stands firm on tighter sanctions against Iraq [says Hans Blix. The article goes on to report the Iraqi government mortality figures for February and the fact that Kuwait is permitting relatives of Iraqis held in Kuwait to visit them] * Iraq denies UN workers entry visa US POLICY * Policy Wars Over Iraq [Jim Hoagland is of the opinion that the Americans should do something, not very clear what, very tough] ACCIDENTS * Dead U.S. Soldier in Kuwait Identified CAMPAIGNING * Protester who hit PM guilty of harassment [the mystery of the tomato and the mandarin has been resolved. There were two separate trials - one for a mandarin and the other for a tomato. Silly of me not to have thought of it] NEW WORLD ORDER * Labour is risking British soldiers, says defence chief [apparently there is a risk that some ill intentioned foreigner might accuse a British person of war crimes for Œpolitical¹ reasons. After all, look at what is happening to Slobodan Milosevic, though somehow that analogy doesn¹t appear in the article] * It's hard to control what the American military do to us [gives an account of the establishment of US bases in Britain and elsewhere in the wake of the 1939 war] FOOT & MOUTH * Iran, Iraq, China, Russia turn to India for sourcing meat [not terribly relevant to Iraq but interesting to see what the crisis looks like in other parts of the world] * Experts: Plague could be bio-terror attack * Iraq halts meat imports to thwart foot and mouth disease * Iraq to replace lab equipment ruined by UNSCOM URLs ONLY http://www.post-gazette.com/headlines/20010402iraqartifacts2.asp * World View: Iraq¹s past being looted for cash by Les Donison Post-Gazette, 2nd April Notre: this appears to be a longer version of an article on the degradation of Iraq¹s archaeological heritage which I sent out a few weeks ago. http://www.cbsnews.com/now/story/0,1597,191049-412,00.shtml * The First Casualty (Michael Scott Speicher) CBS, 5th May This is an update of a programme broadcast on 16th January. For anyone who is interested it seems to give a very full account of the affair of the missing US pilot shot down on the first day of the Gulf War. http://www.theage.com.au/news/2001/04/07/FFX535TB7LC.html * The warning that went unheeded by PETER MARES The Age (Australia) 7 April 2001 [On conditions in which asylum seekers, largely from Iraq, were kept in Australia] MIDDLE EAST http://www.vny.com/cf/news/upidetail.cfm?QID=173211 * Water crises stirs new disputes by ANWAR IQBAL SAN FRANCISCO, April 1 (UPI) ‹ An acute water shortage has forced two Muslim neighbors, Iran and Afghanistan, to lock horns in an area already plagued by war, civil strife and a severe drought ‹ but they are far from the only countries where water crises have heightened border tensions. The region¹s old rivals, India and Pakistan, have their own water disputes that often flare into skirmishes between the world¹s two newest nuclear-weapon states. Iran and Iraq, two old rivals of a nearby region, have also fought a war over the Shatt-el-Arab waterway. The latest dispute revolves around the Helmand river that flows into Iran from Afghanistan. Iran claims that Afghanistan has blocked the river, drying thousands of acres of rich agricultural land. But Afghanistan has rejected Iran¹s official complaint to the United Nations of blocking the river. Responding to Iran¹s complaint, Afghanistan¹s ruling Taliban militia said ³The river has simply dried up because of the unprecedented drought gripping the entire region.² There has been little rain in the area during the last three years, drying up rivers and other water sources in parts of Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India. The drought has affected lands as far away as Iraq and Turkey. The lack of rain has forced millions of people to leave their lands and move into cities. Hundreds of thousands of cattle have died while in some places aid workers have also reported drought-related deaths among humans. In a report to the U.S. government in January this year, the CIA warned that the entire region is going to face a severe water-shortage, making it ³the most vital and most contested natural resource.² ³Continued population and economic growth and expansion of irrigated agriculture over the next 15 years will increasingly stress water resources.² The CIA report said that per capital water availability is likely to drop by 50 to 75 percent in India alone, which is otherwise fed by some of the world¹s largest river systems. ³Since the region¹s waterways are interstate, water could become a source of renewed friction,² the report warned. The United Nations and other international agencies have also warned of similar troubles in the regions where water is scarce. Unfortunately, some of these places already have old territorial and political disputes and drying water sources would further complicate an already volatile situation. Responding to Iran¹s claim that it has blocked the Helmand river, Afghanistan¹s ruling Taliban militia said ³the accusations are politically-motivated and in harmony with the UN and the U.S. policies of exerting unnecessary pressure on the Afghan people.² The Taliban said the river, which flows normally into Iran after irrigating much of southern Afghanistan, had dried up even at points where it originates. Tehran last week wrote to the UN secretary general Kofi Annan charging that the Taliban¹s.decision to block the 1,000 kilometer (620-mile) long river had dried some 140,000 hectares (350,000 acres) of land in the neighboring regions of Iran. But the Taliban said they were honoring a 1972 bilateral agreement, which allowed four cubic meters per second of water into Iran only as a gesture of good will. Based on this agreement, the Taliban allowed an Iranian fact-finding mission to travel to southern Afghanistan last year after the Helmand river dried up on Iranian soil, the Taliban said. Landlocked Afghanistan imports a big portion of its food needs from neighboring Pakistan and Iran. The drought has devastated agriculture, multiplying the sufferings of a nation already reeling under more than 20 years of war and civil strife. Iran supports the anti-Taliban northern alliance in the Afghan civil war while Pakistan helps the Taliban. Meanwhile, officials in Pakistan said they were considering new and unorthodox ways of obtaining water to cope with more than three years of continuing drought. The government has asked Pakistani scientists to consider spraying charcoal on the Himalayan peaks to melt glaciers and using nuclear technology to cultivate salt tolerant crops. The majority of Pakistan¹s 141.5 million people do not have access to potable water and freshwater for farming is equally scarce. A prolonged drought has not helped matters for Pakistan, a country about twice the size of California. It also has exacerbated water-sharing problems with India over the Indus River. Under an agreement signed with the International Atomic Energy Agency Thursday, the Pakistan government will use nuclear technology to cultivate crops, trees and fodder grass on 5,000 acres of saline and waterlogged land. The IAEA is conducting an inter-regional Model Project in eight countries, including Pakistan, to demonstrate that salt affected barren land can be cultivated using saline groundwater and salt tolerant plants chosen to meet local needs. The other countries taking part in the Model Project are Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Myanmar. Pakistan is also looking into melting glaciers to ease the country¹s water shortage. The proposal involves melting part of the glaciers in northern Pakistan by spraying on charcoal, which raises the temperature of the ice. http://www.timesofindia.com/020401/02mide9.htm * Egypt gives Bush an earful for Mideast talks Times of India, 2nd April WASHINGTON: Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak sounded off to the new US administration on issues including the Middle East conflict, as he prepared Sunday for talks with President George W Bush, hoping to persuade him to move toward US resumption of active regional diplomacy. ³The United States cannot just take its hands off. It has to work to narrow the gap (between the Palestinians) and the Israelis,² Mubarak stressed in a lengthy interview with Newsweek magazine. The comments presaged difficult negotiations between the Egyptian leader, whose country was the first Arab nation to normalise relations with Israel and remains one of the closest US allies in the Middle East, and Bush, who has displayed a reluctance to plunge headlong into regional politics. Bush has repeatedly stated that his administration will not ³force peace² in the region, signalling a departure from the aggressive pursuit of a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians undertaken by his predecessor, Bill Clinton. ³It requires two willing parties to come to the table to enact a peace treaty that will last,² Bush said on Thursday. But as Mubarak¹s plane touched down at Andrews Air Force Base here on Saturday, Newsweek released the interview in which the Egyptian leader chose not to hide his unhappiness with the US administration¹s new course. ³The new administration may not have a picture of what¹s going on,² said Mubarak, describing the situation in the Middle East as ³very very tense.² The Egyptian president went on to complain that he was ignored by the United States this past week when he had pleaded with the State Department not to veto a UN Security Council resolution calling for deployment of UN observers in the West Bank and Gaza during an Arab summit in Amman. ³I sent the United States a message: ŒPlease don¹t veto now,¹² Mubarak said. ³They did, and the (Arab delegations) changed resolutions. We couldn¹t prevent it.² The Egyptian leader also took the Bush administration to task for its Iraq policy, which involves strikes against Iraqi antiaircraft batteries that US military officials say threaten US and British planes patrolling the no-fly zones over northern and southern Iraq. The latest such attack occurred on Friday, when a US warplane bombed what the Pentagon said was an antiaircraft artillery site near the town of As Samawah in southern Iraq. ³The more you bomb him, the stronger he gets,² said Mubarak, speaking of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, an avowed foe of the United States. Egypt¹s president also dismissed as hopeless US attempts to bring about a change of government in Iraq through active support of Iraqi exile groups. The idea is being actively promoted by newly appointed Deputy Secretary of Defence Paul Wolfowitz, who said just last Monday that ³the United States continues to look for new leadership in Iraq.² To that, Mubarak issued a blunt piece of advice: ³Forget about it.² ³The Iraqi opposition you have in the United States ... they cannot deliver ‹ now or after Saddam,² he explained. ³Any opposition group from outside the country that is known as working with the Americans is seen as traitors to the people.² Mubarak is expected at the White House Monday ‹ followed a week later by King Abdullah of Jordan. ³Egypt and Jordan are two of our most important partners in the region, and their role is crucial,² said Bush. However, Jordanian Prime Minister Ali Abu Ragheb said in March he was ³astonished² by Bush¹s plan to move the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. (AFP) http://www.timesofindia.com/020401/02mide10.htm * Iranian opposition group claims six attacks Times of India, 2nd April NICOSIA: Iran¹s armed opposition group, the People¹s Mujahadeen, said on Sunday it had made half-a-dozen mortar attacks on bases of the security forces overnight, and fought an extensive battle in which three of its fighters were killed. In statements faxed to AFP in Nicosia the Iraq-based Mujahadeen said its fighters had hit units of the army¹s 81st division, a security forces headquarters in Qasr-e Shirin and a military security detachment, all in northwestern Iran, with a total of 96 mortar bombs. The operations were in retaliation for an alleged rocket attack by Iran on one of its camps in southern Iraq in March, the Mujahadeen said. Another statement reported clashes lasting several hours on Saturday on the borders of Lorestan, Khuzestan and Ilam provinces, in western Iran, in which three Mujahadeen fighters were killed. ³Dozens of enemy agents were killed or wounded², the statement, which could not be independently verified, added. The People¹s Mujahadeen claimed to have carried out 195 attacks on Tehran¹s clerical regime in the past Iranian year just ended. (AFP) http://www.jordantimes.com/mon/homenews/homenews2.htm * Kuwait considers its document to Arab summit Œnull and void¹ by Tareq Ayyoub Jordan Times, 2nd April AMMAN - Kuwait¹s ambassador to Jordan Faisal Mashaan on Sunday said his country considers the document it submitted to last week¹s Arab summit on the Kuwait-Iraq position ³null and void.² ³We are not committed to any formula reached during the Arab summit because Iraq did not accept the compromise reached by the 16 Arab foreign ministers,² Mashaan said. ³We presented many concessions during the summit which were not reciprocated by the other side [Iraq], so we consider what has been agreed upon as cancelled,² the ambassador told the Jordan Times. The ambassador¹s statement confirmed a report by the London-based Al Hayat Arabic daily on Sunday in which Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah was quoted as telling journalists that the emirate had ³retreated from its previous stand it accepted during the summit.² During the two-day Arab summit, which ended last Wednesday, Kuwait agreed to proposals by Arab foreign ministers to resolve the Kuwait-Iraq position, but Iraqi officials declined to accept the compromise formula. Kuwait ³in principle² agreed to lifting the UN sanctions against Iraq, resuming commercial flights to and from Baghdad and recognition of Iraq¹s claims of missing Iraqis during the 1990-91 Gulf War. But despite mediation by other Arab foreign ministers, Iraq refused to accept the compromise reached by these officials because they proposed an article that urges Iraq to ³undertake necessary measures to maintain the sovereignty and security of the emirate.² Barring an agreement between the two countries, the Arab foreign ministers subsequently removed any reference to the Kuwait-Iraq position in the summit¹s final communique and instead dedicated a few lines to this issue in another non-binding document known as the ³Amman Declaration.² The summit also requested that His Majesty King Abdullah, in his capacity as the summit president, continue the mediation to resolve the deadlock once and for all. ³Iraq¹s refusal to accept the proposal has destroyed all efforts,² Mashaan said. ³Therefore we consider the concessions we have submitted during the summit cancelled,² the ambassador said. Mashaan added that his country now demands an Iraqi apology for the 1990 invasion of Kuwait and a pledge not to repeat what they did against Kuwait,² the ambassador said. The ambassador said Kuwait has decided to dispatch envoys to permanent members of the UN Security Council and ³friendly countries² to explain its stand during the summit. Among the countries these envoys are expected to visit are: the US, UK, France, China, Iran and Turkey. Jordanian officials said King Abdullah is expected to resume mediation efforts between Kuwait and Iraq following his visit to the United States. The King is scheduled to leave for Washington today and is expected to meet with US President George Bush early next week. Meanwhile, Chairman of Joint Chiefs-of-Staff Lieutenant General Mohammad Malkawi left Amman Sunday on a several-day visit to Kuwait, Mashaan said. Malkawi¹s visit came a few months after a similar visit to Jordan by his Kuwaiti counterpart earlier this year. http://www.timesofindia.com/020401/02mide11.htm * Iraq squandered its chance at Arab summit: Kuwait Times of India, 2nd April KUWAIT CITY: Kuwait has accused Iraq of wasting an ³important opportunity² to ease the plight of its people at last week¹s Arab summit in Amman by refusing to compromise, newspapers reported on Sunday. ³Iraq has wasted another important opportunity to help its people² by rejecting a compromise deal on ³the situation between Iraq and Kuwait², Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah said. Sheikh Sabah, in a meeting with editors of Kuwaiti dailies and magazines, said Iraq rejected the deal although ³17 Arab countries accepted it.² The Tuesday-Wednesday summit called for ³the lifting of sanctions against Iraq,² but the key issue of Baghdad¹s relations with Kuwait was omitted from the summit¹s final communique. Iraq has been under UN sanctions since its 1990 invasion of Kuwait. The Iraqi delegation had demanded a call for ³an immediate lifting of the sanctions and a link between respecting Iraq¹s sovereignty with that of Kuwait,² Sheikh Sabah said. ³We also refused to delete a paragraph calling on Iraq to respect Kuwait¹s sovereignty, security and stability in accordance with international resolutions,² he said. Sheikh Sabah, who headed Kuwait¹s delegation to the summit, acknowledged that he threatened to withdraw from the summit when a number of Arab leaders tried to convince Kuwait to accept ³additional concessions.² A ³Kuwaiti paper² presented to the summit was supposed to be included in the final communique, but Iraq¹s rejection made the summit delete the paper, the foreign minister said. ³It¹s in the interests of the Baghdad regime to maintain the international sanctions on the Iraqi people,² charged Sheikh Sabah, who headed the Kuwaiti delegation. Kuwait is to send envoys to the United States, Britain, France, China, Iran and Turkey and Arab countries to explain the emirate¹s ³position following the Arab summit², he said. Iraq, meanwhile, has blamed Kuwait for what it called the ³failure² of the summit in Amman. (AFP) http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/middle_east/newsid_1260000/1260360.stm * Huge obstacles to Gulf settlement by Barbara Plett in Amman BBC, 4th April It is becoming clear that King Abdullah of Jordan has been given a monumental task for a young monarch in a region divided by old quarrels. The recent Arab Summit in Amman charged him with following up efforts to reconcile Iraq and Kuwait, which failed despite intense high level negotiations. At stake is not a grand rapprochement, but a basic formula to which both countries could agree. The idea was to set out a common Arab view of the dispute for the first time since Baghdad split regional loyalties by invading Kuwait. The two sides accuse each other of sabotaging this effort, but many Arab officials say it was Baghdad that rejected a resolution accepted by all delegations. Kuwait has made it clear that it is not bound by the compromise proposal since the other side is not, while reports say Gulf Arab states are planning a diplomatic offensive to set the record straight about who is to blame. Iraq did push for stronger language on ending the UN embargo in the proposed resolution. But the main sticking point appeared to be a phrase that called on Baghdad to take steps to guarantee Kuwait¹s territorial integrity, an attempt to address Kuwaiti insecurities over hostile Iraqi rhetoric. In exchange, Baghdad would have received a unanimous Arab call for the lifting of UN sanctions, the resumption of commercial flights, and an indirect condemnation of British and American air patrols. The editor in chief of Jordan¹s al Dustour newspaper, Nabil al Sharif, says Iraq wasted a golden opportunity to get united Arab support, especially at a time when Washington is reviewing its Iraq policy. ³Iraq should have tried to remain within the Arab block to protect its interests,² he said. He added: ³Now it¹s isolated again, and this will only facilitate any American aggression against it.² For its part, Iraq said Kuwait had blocked chances for an anti-sanctions call by demanding concessions in other areas that it knew Baghdad couldn¹t give. According to the Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed Said al Sahaf, the wording on Kuwaiti sovereignty ³was intended to address the future.² ³We said to them that referring to the future means that we are not committed now. The party which is not committed is Kuwait, because US and British aircraft take off from air bases in Kuwait to commit aggression against Iraq,² he added. Iraq may have been reluctant to make what it saw as a tacit admission of disrespect for Kuwait¹s territorial integrity, a violation of Security Council resolutions. But a Western diplomat in the region said Baghdad was probably reasonably happy with the summit¹s outcome, because ³Iraq didn¹t give anything up and is still perceived as the victim on the Arab street². He said Western powers were pleased that the compromise resolution had held to Baghdad¹s obligations under UN resolutions in spite of Iraqi objections, although the language was watered down as much as possible. Arab leaders do believe that Iraq has to be reintegrated to protect regional stability, a long term view that is lacking from American Middle East policies. In that respect, observers agreed the summit¹s achievement was a debate on the issue for the first time in 10 years, with Arabs actively seeking consensus instead of taking sides. http://www.timesofindia.com/020401/02mide8.htm * Free trade agreement between Syria and Iraq in effect: Baghdad Times of India, 2nd April BAGHDAD: Baghdad announced that a free trade agreement with former rival Syria signed earlier this year went into effect on Sunday. ³As of April 1, exchanges of goods and merchandise between Iraq and Syria will be exempt from tariffs and will not need prior authorisation,² Trade Minister Mohamed Mehdi Saleh told state television late on Saturday. Iraq signed the free trade pact with Syria on January 31, its third such agreement with an Arab country following the 1991 Gulf War. Treaties have also been signed with Egypt and Tunisia. Syria and Iraq, governed by rival branches of the Baath party, broke off diplomatic relations in 1980 when Damascus supported Tehran in the Iran-Iraq war. They started to restore ties in 1997. The neighbouring countries¹ bilateral trade is worth about $500 million annually, and is nearly all one-way ‹ from Syria to Iraq. Iraq¹s exports of oil, its main money-maker, have been under tight UN supervision since the Gulf War. (AFP) http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/middle_east/newsid_1262000/1262230.stm * Iraqi Kurds killed in landmine explosion BBC World Service, 5th April Iraqi Kurdish officials say seven civilians have been killed in a landmine explosion in northern Iraq. A representative of the Kurdistan Democratic Party said it was suspected that the mine had been planted by Turkish Kurd guerrillas of the PKK or Kurdistan Workers Party. He said two other people had been injured in the blast on a remote road in Barwari district earlier this week. The Kurdish enclave in northern Iraq has been under the control of two factions of Iraqi Kurds -- the KDP and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan-- since the end of the Gulf War. The KDP has fought against the PKK alongside Turkish forces which enter northern Iraq in pursuit of the rebels. http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/010406/2001040607.html * US, Jordanian experts meet on amending UN sanctions on Iraq Arabic News, 6th April The US state department on Thursday announced that the US and Jordan agreed on Wednesday to hold talks at the level of experts concerning the US proposals aiming at making amendment in the UN sanctions imposed on Iraq. News reports quoted the spokesman for the US state department Richard Boucher as saying following a lunch and work meeting between the Jordanian King Abdullah II and the US state department secretary Colin Powell that both sides agreed to hold talks at the level of experts in the coming weeks. Boucher explained that these talks will be concentrated on certain points with the aim of alleviating sanctions pertaining to providing Iraq with necessary items and commodities needed for civilians and to tighten sanctions imposed on military equipment. Boucher noted that the Jordanian King and Powell also discussed efforts aiming at resuming negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians. He added that the UN and Jordan are intending to exert utmost efforts to ease down the conditions and to help the two sides, the Israelis and the Palestinians to put an end to clashes between the two sides and ensure the restoration of normal life for the peoples of the region and to return back to the path of peace. Boucher continued that the two men also discussed bilateral relations between the two countries especially in the commercial field. http://www.dawn.com/2001/04/08/ebr13.htm * 7 Arab countries owe $1.84 billion: Iraq Dawn (Pakistan), 8th April BAGHDAD, April 7: Seven Arab countries owe Iraq more than $1.84 billion, Iraqi newspapers said on Saturday. The amount of money due to be paid to Iraq by a number of Arab countries up to March 31, 2001 was $1,844,664,000, the papers quoted Finance Minister Hikmat Mezban Ibrahim as saying. He named the countries as Saudi Arabi, Syria, Bahrain, Kuwait, Somalia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, the papers, including the official al-Iraq and al-Jumhouriya, said. In 1999, Iraq said its frozen assets in these Arab countries reached $1.7 billion. Any increase was likely to have been accounted for by interest accruals. The papers said the money owed to Iraq covered loans offered by Iraq, oil exports, official bank deposits and profits of jointly held Arab companies before the 1991 Gulf War over Kuwait. Iraq's assets abroad, the bulk of them in U.S. and European banks, were impounded when it invaded Kuwait in 1990. Baghdad has called many times for the release of its frozen assets to cover humanitarian purchases as well as to pay for Iraqis wishing to go to Saudi Arabia for the haj pilgrimage.-Reuters INSIDE IRAQ http://www.telegraph.co.uk:80/et?ac=000579381554028&rtmo=0xeXbGKq&atmo=99999999&pg=/et/01/4/2/wiraq02.html * April Fool by Saddam¹s son taunts Iraqis Daily Telegraph, 1st April IRAQIS were promised an increase in food rations yesterday only to find it was an April Fool joke. The newspaper Babel, run by Uday Hussein, elder son of Saddam Hussein, announced a generous rise in portions of meat and chicken available under the rationing system in force since sanctions were imposed after Iraq¹s 1990 invasion of Kuwait. It also said that BMW cars ordered in the 1980s were finally on their way to Iraq. Students were told they would all be given pass grades in end-of-year exams. It was only on the last page of the newspaper that an insert warned readers not to be fooled. The Iraqi government played the same hoax on its people on April 1 two years ago when an official newspaper pledged that they would receive bananas, chocolate and soft drinks in their rations. * The Syrian newspaper Tishrin carried a hoax report that the 20 per cent jobless would receive a monthly payment of £40 pending a programme to fight unemployment. The paper said this would be financed by recovering £35 billion stolen from state coffers and placed in foreign bank accounts. http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/news.asp?ArticleID=13746 * Iraq says sanctions kill over 10,000 in February Baghdad, Reuters, 4th April Iraq said yesterday more than 10,000 people, mostly children, died in February because of diseases it blamed on a decade of UN sanctions. The Health Ministry said 7,270 children under the age of five had died of diarrhoea, pneumonia, and respiratory and malnutrition related diseases as opposed to 356 deaths in same period in 1989, a year before the embargo was imposed. The official news agency (INA) quoted the ministry as saying 3,255 people had also died of heart problems, diabetes, kidney and liver diseases, and cancers, compared with 479 deaths caused by those diseases in the same period in 1989. INA said these figures brought to 1,471,425 the number of people who have died since the United Nations imposed sanctions in August 1990. The embargo, imposed as punishment for Baghdad's invasion of Kuwait, has ruined Iraq's infrastructure and decreased living standards. The United Nations last month criticised Iraq, saying it could do more to prevent malnutrition among children and had ordered too few health, education, water and sanitation supplies. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Iraq now had the funds to "address urgently the nutritional and health status of the children". The United Nations has offered to remove some restrictions on imports of civilian goods provided that Iraq allows inspectors to return after a two-year absence. But Iraq has repeatedly refused. It wants the sanctions lifted, arguing it has fulfilled its obligations under Security Council resolutions to eliminate its weapons of mass destruction. http://www.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/meast/04/06/iraq.amnesty.ap/index.html * Human rights group urges Iraq to end violations CNN, April 6, 2001 CAIRO, Egypt (AP) -- A human rights group accused Iraq of showing disregard for human life and urged Baghdad to put an end to rights violations. "The high rate of execution in Iraq shows a continuing disregard for human life. ... The Iraqi government must put an end to the continuing executions of suspected opponents," Amnesty International said in a statement issued Tuesday. The statement, faxed to The Associated Press in Cairo, named three Iraqi air force officers and a major-general who were executed last month reportedly for criticizing the government. It also said that dozens of women accused of prostitution were beheaded without any judicial process. Men suspected of procurement were also beheaded. The beheadings were carried out with swords in front of the victims' homes in the presence of representatives of the ruling Baath party and the Iraqi Women's General Union, the statement said. The statement said some other female victims were killed for political reasons. Last month, in a report to the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Commission, Andreas Mavrommatis of Cyprus said he had received credible reports of torture, arbitrary detention and execution without trial in Iraq. The Iraqi government does not usually comment on reports of human rights violations or executions of opponents. INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/200104/02/eng20010402_66556.html * Pak Exports to Iraq Over 65 Million Dollars in First Seven Months People¹s Daily, 2nd April Pakistan¹s exports to Iraq totaled over 65 million US dollars in the first seven months of the current fiscal year as against only 2.5 million of last year, said the Chairman of the Export Promotion Bureau Tariq Ikram in an interview with Radio Pakistan Sunday. He said the export items include rice, wheat, tractors, ceramics and car batteries, etc. He pointed out that Iraq annually imports medicines worth 600 million dollars and Pakistan can do a lot to increase its share in the sector of medicine. He hoped there are prospects that the export of medicines to Iraq could touch the figure of 20 to 25 million dollars in the current fiscal. He said the two countries have enhanced their relations in wide areas. Iraq has also given concession to Pakistan for oil exploration in the south of the country, said Ikram. http://www.timesofindia.com/020401/02mide6.htm * Iraqi embargo ³very stupid²: French speaker Times of India, 2nd April CAIRO: French Parliamentary Speaker Raymond Forni called the decade-long embargo on Iraq ³very stupid² and described the situation between Israelis and Palestinians as ³dangerous,² Egyptian state media said. The National Assembly speaker, who arrived in Egypt on Tuesday, said the embargo on Iraq imposed since its 1990 invasion of Kuwait was ³very stupid², as it only ³aggravates (the Iraqi people¹s) punishment and poverty.² Quoted by Egypt¹s official Mena news agency, Forni described the Middle East situation as ³dangerous,² as ³violent clashes are continuing between the Israelis and Palestinians in the absence of a military balance. ³ Speaking at a news conference on Saturday with Egyptian Prime Miniter Atef Ebeid, Forni did not rule out the possibility of a wider war in the Middle East ³in case of involvement by the great powers.² He called for a role for Egypt, France and the European union in bringing a ³just and comprehensive² peace in the region. (AFP) http://www.vny.com/cf/news/upidetail.cfm?QID=173806 * Russians bid for Iraq work BAGHDAD, Iraq, April 3 (UPI) ‹ Russia has expressed readiness to rehabilitate Iraq¹s electricity installations that have become outdated or were partly damaged during the 1991 Gulf War, according to the weekly Al-Rafedeen magazine on Tuesday. The magazine said a Russian official, now visiting Iraq, gave Iraqi authorities offers by Russian companies. Russian, Italian, Chinese and Indian power experts are currently involved in rehabilitation efforts to improve power-generation in Iraq, whose electricity installations suffer from severe shortages in spare parts. Iraq has repeatedly accused the U.N. Sanctions Committee of deliberately delaying the endorsement of contracts Baghdad has concluded with several companies and countries in line with the U.N. oil-for-food deal to supply it with badly-needed spare parts for modernizing its electricity installations, which is estimated to carry a price tag of more than $2 billion. http://www.timesofindia.com/050401/05mide5.htm * Iraq to hold talks in Moscow on lifting of embargo Times of India, 5th April BAGHDAD: Iraq's Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan will hold talks during his visit to Moscow on April 18 on Russian proposals for a lifting of the decade-old UN embargo, a Russian diplomat in Baghdad said on Wednesday. Ramadan's visit will offer the "chance to discuss political ideas related to the lifting of the sanctions imposed on Iraq" as well as bilateral cooperation, the diplomat told AFP on the condition of anonymity. The Russian foreign ministry said Tuesday that Iraq and the United Nations could easily reach an agreement on lifting UN sanctions against Baghdad and resuming UN weapons inspections. The two sides could implement a practical plan specifying tasks and the conditions for inspection missions, the status and codes of conduct for inspectors working on Iraqi soil and conflict-solving procedures, the ministry said. Iraq's cabinet has welcomed the message from Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered at last week's Arab summit in Amman outlining Russian proposals for an end to sanctions in exchange for weapons inspections in Iraq. Putin said that his proposals would also mean the end of US and British bombing of Iraq, and other instances of what he called interference in Iraq's internal affairs. Baghdad has been calling on the UN Security Council to fulfil its commitments to Iraq and lift the sanctions, which have been in place since 1990. The Council's permanent members are divided on the issue, with the United States and Britain wanting to maintain the sanctions and China, Russia and France wanting to see them lifted. (AFP) http://www.timesofindia.com/050401/05mide7.htm * Iraq to open embassy in Norway 5th April OSLO: Iraq will soon be opening an embassy in Norway, where it will be represented by a charge d'affaires, the Norwegian Foreign Ministry announced on Wednesday. The Iraqi move comes on the heels of Oslo's recent decision to reopen its mission in Baghdad shortly after Easter, according to ministry spokesman Karsten Klepsvik. The Norwegian embassy, which has been closed for eight years, will be headed by a charge d'affaires, lower in rank than a full-fledged ambassador, and will initially have its offices in a Baghdad hotel. Norway decided to reopen its embassy in January when it took over the chair of the United Nations' sanctions committee on Iraq, saying it wanted to be able to better monitor the humanitarian situation in the country. Iraq has been under UN sanctions linked to disarmament ever since its August 1990-February 1991 occupation of Kuwait. The Scandinavian country also heads the UN commission that oversees Iraq's compensation payments to Kuwait for damage caused during the Gulf War. (AFP) IRAQI OPPOSITION http://www.timesofindia.com/040401/04mide2.htm * Iraqi opposition ready for dialogue with Washington Times of India, 4th April DUBAI: Iraq¹s Iran-based opposition said in statements published on Tuesday that it was ready to open direct dialogue with the United States. ³We have no objection to a direct dialogue with the American administration,² the head of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), Mohammad Baqer Hakeem, told Al-Hayat newspaper. ³Why must the Iraqi opposition, facing up to all this repression (from the Baghdad regime), not speak with the American administration?² Hakim asked. ³The whole world holds talks with the United States. The Palestinians, the Syrians and others ... and the Islamic Republic of Iran holds dialogue through intermediaries,² Hakim said. The United States provides the Iraqi opposition with millions of dollars in aid that Congress has set aside to oust Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. But the State Department said in March it was trying to increase the number of dissidents it funds beyond the London-based Iraqi National Congress (INC), a controversial umbrella group of exiles. SCIRI, in the past strongly opposed to any direct US intervention in Baghdad, said last September for the first time that it would support a US attack to topple Saddam. ³The protection of the Iraqi people remains the responsibility of the international community, in which the United States is a major element which cannot be ignored,² Hakim said. He also threw his weight behind the establishment of more areas in Iraq where the Baghdad regime would not be allowed, similar to the no-fly zones over the north and south of the country in place since the 1991 Gulf War. (AFP) -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email firstname.lastname@example.org Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website: http://www.casi.org.uk