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News, 8-16/4/01

News, 8-16/4/01

Apologies for the late delivery of the following:


*  Egypt lifts restrictions on exports to Iraq
*  Iraq slams Gulf states' meeting in Saudi Arabia
*  Jordan, Iraq and U.S. alignments
*  Kuwait Seeks 'Milosevic Model' to Confront Saddam
*  Persian Gulf ship sinks, spilling smuggled Iraqi oil


*  Pahad [Deputy Foreign Minister of South Africa] to accompany mercy flight
to Iraq
*  Australia mocked as 'America's lackey' [by New Zealandıs minister for
disarmament. Do we have one of those?]
*  Europeans Poised To Resume Ties With Hussein [article particularly
interesting on the views and activities of Fr Jean-Marie Benjamin]
*  Energy panel: Ease Iraq sanctions? [America needs cheap oil]
*  UK leads way for Iraq dealings [ŒThe UK is home to more companies doing
oil business with Iraq than any other country ...ı]
*  US, British jets bomb southern Iraq
*  Iraq rejects Russian deal to end sanctions


*  Iraq seeking extra banks to deposit oil revenues
*  UN Reports Sharp Increase in Iraqi Oil Exports
*  UN confirms delay in talks with Iraq


*  Iraqis losing hope for a better life
*  Shi'ite opposition awaits clear U.S. policy on Iraq
*  Jiving With the Enemy: Baghdad Chills Out on American Radio [Uday Hussein
promotes US culture in Iraq]
*  Saddam's son calls for shake-out in parliament [Uday Hussein promotes
US-style democracy in Iraq]


*  Pentagon Studies Low-Yield Nuclear Weapons for Underground Targets


*  Egypt lifts restrictions on exports to Iraq
Baghdad, Reuters, 9th April

Egypt has lifted restrictions on exports of local products to Iraq, the
official Iraqi News Agency (INA) said yesterday. The move comes after the
two countries signed a free trade agreement in January, which is expected to
boost Egyptian exports to its Gulf War foe to $1 billion a year.

Exports to Iraq under the oil-for-food programme have reached $1.3 billion
since the programme began in 1995. "Contracts signed during a trade fair
held in Baghdad will fling doors open to more Egyptian goods to enter Iraq's
markets," INA quoted Egyptian Public Enterprise Minister Mokhtar Khattab as

A total of 180 Egyptian firms took part in the fair last week, exhibiting
products including food, medicine, construction materials, vehicles and
electrical appliances. Khattab said they had won contracts to export 5,299
minibuses, trucks and buses valued at $228 million and 100,000 tonnes of
construction iron worth up to $34 million.

"Egypt is negotiating with Iraq contracts to the value of $5 million to
export agricultural tractors and construction materials," Khattab said.
Egypt and Iraq had agreed to set up joint production lines to assemble
agricultural tractors and minibuses.

Khattab said Egyptian firms would organise a fair for construction materials
in Baghdad in May. Iraq said earlier it wanted to import $2 billion of goods
from Egypt this year including vehicles, food, construction materials and
industrial products.

Egypt broke off diplomatic ties with Iraq after its 1990 invasion of Kuwait
and sent troops to join the U.S.-led coalition that drove Iraqi troops from
Kuwait during the 1991 Gulf War. Relations have improved in recent months
and trade has blossomed, but full diplomatic ties have not been restored.

*  Iraq slams Gulf states' meeting in Saudi Arabia
Baghdad, Reuters, 9th April

Baghdad's official press denounced as provocative yesterday a meeting of six
Gulf Arab states in Saudi Arabia this week and called it a threat to Iraq.
"It is an act of provocation and threat," the ruling Baath Party's
newspaper, Al Thawra, said in a front-page editorial.

Senior officials from the six states had met at the headquarters of their
joint defence force in Saudi Arabia on Thursday, state-run media in the
countries involved reported.

Gulf news agencies said the officials were invited by Saudi Defence Minister
Prince Sultan to the northern Saudi town of Hafer Al Batin, the base of the
Peninsula Shield Force formed by the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council
(GCC) in 1986.

It was not clear what was discussed by the six - Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the
United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman - who sit on over half the
world's oil reserves. "If senior Iraqi officials, whether civilian or
military, met in Basra...wouldn't the Kuwaitis and Saudis say that Iraq was
threatening them or preparing to attack them?," Al Thawra asked, referring
to the Iraqi province bordering Kuwait.

The GCC states, which rely mainly on Western powers for their defence
against more powerful neighbours Iraq and Iran, signed a long-delayed joint
defence pact in December to pool their resources, expand the Peninsula
Shield and equip it with a modern early warning system and communications

"It is quite clear that the meeting took place under American orders in a
bid by rulers of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia to heighten tension," Iraq's
official Al Qadissiya newspaper said. The GCC was formed in 1981 as a
political and military alliance.

It started active steps towards military integration after failing to defend
Kuwait when it was invaded by Iraq in 1990. It took a U.S.-led multinational
force to eject Iraqi troops from the emirate in the Gulf War the following

*  Jordan, Iraq and U.S. alignments

(UPI, 10th April) When King Abdullah met with Bush in the White House this
morning to press for approval for the U.S.-Jordanian Free Trade Agreement,
as expected the Jordanian monarch also lobbied the administration to play a
more vigorous role in mediating an end to the seven-months of
Israeli-Palestinian violence. But although it garnered fewer headlines, an
equally if not more pressing topic on the King's agenda was the emerging
political rift between Jordan and Iraq, a development that represents both
dangers and opportunities for Washington and its closest Arab ally, Jordan.

Washington has long viewed the close political and economic relationship
between Jordan -- with its moderate pro-Western regime -- and Saddam
Hussein's Iraq with concern.

Still, the United States has tacitly encouraged King Abdullah, like his
father King Hussein before him, to walk the tightrope between its leading
trade partner in Baghdad and its regional security patron in Washington.
This dynamic has allowed Jordan to serve as the West's entree to Iraq and at
the same time placated the largely Saddam-sympathetic Palestinian population
in the Kingdom.

Last year, Washington demurred as Amman played a leading role in the Arab
efforts to end the sanctions against Iraq. In recent months, however,
Iraqi-Jordanian relations hit a snag when the kingdom balked at signing a
Free Trade Agreement with Iraq. Unlike Egypt and Syria, which both have FTAs
with Iraq, signing this agreement poses difficulties for the kingdom because
it is pushing for its own FTA with the United States. Essentially, the FTA
issue has forced Jordan to choose between Baghdad and Washington. When King
Abdullah chose Washington, it effectively ended his two-year balancing act.

Perhaps predictably, the king's decision provoked Saddam's ire. The first
indication came on March 26, when Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan
publicly lambasted Jordan for its pro-Israel, pro-West positions. According
to the pan-Arab daily Al-Quds al-Arabi, during his 1 1/2-hour lecture to a
Jordanian delegation in Baghdad, Ramadan questioned Jordan's commitment to
Iraq, its leading source of foreign assistance and sole supplier of oil.

Not only did Ramadan berate Amman for not fulfilling the terms of its annual
trade protocol with Baghdad, he accused King Abdullah of allowing "Jews and
Americans" to enter Jordan to "spy" on Iraq.

In lieu of Jordan's misguided policies, Ramadan urged Jordanians to topple
their government, demanding that the "Arab Street should act to put pressure
to achieve the objectives of the people, not the objectives of the regime."

Two days later during the Arab summit in Amman -- before a stunned King
Abdullah -- another Iraqi Vice President delivered a speech from Saddam
praising the Iraq 1958 revolution against the Hashemites in which many of
the King's uncles and cousins were slaughtered by the rebels. The speech was
an insult to King Abdullah and an explicit Iraqi condemnation of the
Jordanian regime.

When taken together, these recent Iraqi statements suggest that Saddam
--emboldened by his burgeoning ties with Syria -- no longer feels dependent
on Jordan as an economic and political outlet. Freed from these
considerations, Saddam has initiated a campaign to diplomatically embarrass,
economically threaten, and undermine the domestic stability of his erstwhile

For Washington and Jordan, Tuesday's meeting is an opportunity to counter,
if not neutralize the prevailing Iraqi threat to Jordan. To this end,
despite its ideological objections, the administration should put its
political weight behind the U.S.-Jordanian FTA, currently under debate in

Jordan, with an unofficial unemployment rate of 25 percent, and heading
toward its fifth straight year of negative growth in per capita gross
national product, is facing extreme economic hardship. While there is little
illusion that this agreement will provide the Kingdom with the kind of
immediate economic jolt it needs (in 1999 the Kingdom exported less than $14
million in products to the United States), the passage of this agreement --
the first of its kind in the Arab world-would send an important signal as to
the importance that Washington places on the economic and political
stability of the Kingdom.

But the FTA is only a starting point on the road to securing the long-term
stability of the Kingdom. At the end of the day, the future of Jordan is
linked to that of Iraq. In the short term, Washington can work to diminish
the Kingdom's dependence on Baghdad by seeking out and encouraging its Gulf
allies to provide a cheap alternative source of oil to Jordan. But even so,
as the latest rhetoric from Baghdad suggests, this tack cannot indefinitely
prevent Saddam from attempting to destabilize his neighbors.

Saddam continues to pose a significant problem for both Amman and
Washington. Given the developments over the course of recent weeks,
Washington and Amman will need to coordinate a strategy to deal effectively
and creatively with their common problem in Baghdad. For while there is some
debate in Washington as to whether Saddam is "in the box," as Jordan and
other key U.S. allies in the region can attest, it is clear that Saddam is
thinking outside of the box.

(David Schenker is a research fellow in Arab politics at the Washington
Institute for Near East Policy.)

*  Kuwait Seeks 'Milosevic Model' to Confront Saddam

PARIS (Reuters, 11th April) - Sanctions against Iraq should follow a
''Milosevic model'' that targets the country's leadership and not its
people, Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah was quoted
as saying on Wednesday.

In an interview with the French newspaper Le Monde, he also said the United
States had to adopt a ``smart strategy'' for the Middle East that stopped
Iraqi President Saddam Hussein  making capital from the Israeli-Palestinian

Sheikh Sabah spoke to Le Monde after talks in Paris on Tuesday with Foreign
Minister Hubert Vedrine of France, which has been highly critical of United
Nations  sanctions in place against Iraq since Saddam's forces invaded
Kuwait in 1990.

The U.S. administration has been working on ideas for a new package of
``smart sanctions'' since taking office in January, in the hope of restoring
international solidarity against Iraq acquiring military equipment or
materials for weapons of mass destruction.

Sheikh Sabah said any such package had to ``relieve the suffering of the
Iraqi people, which is living in an enormous prison'' and send a message
that the world understood their plight.

``I'd cite what we call the 'Milosevic model' or the 'Serb model' which
identifies who is responsible and targets a political class,'' he was quoted
as saying, referring to sanctions tactics used to encourage the removal from
power of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.

``The Serbian people were allowed to travel and food and medicines could be
brought into the country.''

Sheikh Sabah said Saddam was also ``making cheap capital'' from the
suffering of the Palestinian people in the conflict with Israel.

``We have told the American administration that the absence of serious
action on this level is giving the Iraqi regime a formidable burst of
political oxygen,'' he said.

``The United States must contribute to ending Israel's acts of violence
against the Palestinians,'' he said.

Kuwait and Iraq have blamed each other for the failure of an Arab summit in
Amman last month to agree on a resolution calling for the lifting of
sanctions against Iraq.

``Arab leaders are now convinced that Iraq doesn't want sanctions lifted,
that the status quo suits it, and that the regime is afraid of any change
whose consequences it would not be able to master,'' Sheikh Sabah was quoted
as saying.

His view was echoed by the French Foreign Ministry, which repeated its
standard line that the present sanctions regime hurt the Iraqi people and
was counter-productive.

``We consider that at present there is no particular incentive for Iraq to
change the state of its relations with the United Nations, nor any incentive
for Iraq to cooperate with the international community and that this maybe
suits Iraq,'' a ministry spokesman said.

*  Persian Gulf ship sinks, spilling smuggled Iraqi oil
Houston Cronicle, 15th April

(Associated Press) DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- A ship smuggling thousands
of tons of Iraqi oil sank in the Persian Gulf, a U.S. Navy official said
today, and authorities here said some of the fuel spilled into the water.

The Georgian-flagged vessel went down Saturday near Dubai's Jebel Ali port
with 3,850 tons of fuel oil on board, said Cmdr. Jeff Gradeck, spokesman for
the Navy's Bahrain-based 5th Fleet.

However, the Emirate's Federal Environmental Agency put the fuel figure at
only 1,430 tons, saying some of it had spilled. Crews were working to
contain the spill, 16.5 nautical miles off the coast, the agency said today.

The aging ship was headed from Iraq to Pakistan at the time, an Emirates
official said on condition of anonymity.

Gradeck said the ship had been intercepted several days earlier for
violating U.N. sanctions against Iraq. "The ship was en route to a holding
area in international waters for sanction-busting ships when it sank," he

After the ship was damaged by rough waves, two U.S. ships in the area helped
the 11-member Iraqi crew stabilize the vessel, he said. But by Saturday
afternoon, the ship began sinking, Gradeck said. The crew of the Zainab was
rescued by the Emirates' coast guard, he said.

Under sanctions imposed by the United Nations following Iraq's invasion of
Kuwait in 1990, Iraq can only sell oil on condition that most of the
proceeds are used to meet Iraqis' basic needs.

Oil smuggled out outside the so-called oil-for-food deal -- and the vessels
carrying the illegal shipments -- are auctioned off.

Ships loaded with smuggled Iraqi oil routinely pass through the waters off
the Emirates.

But after an oil barge believed to be carrying Iraqi fuel spilled fuel off
the Emirates in 1998 and contaminated some nine miles of coastline, the
Emirates launched a crackdown on sanctions-busting tankers.

In January last year, a tanker carrying 1,080 tons of crude oil from Abu
Dhabi to Somalia sank in bad weather four miles off the Emirates' coast,
spilling about 330 short tons of crude.


*  Pahad to accompany mercy flight to Iraq
by Peter Fabricius
Independent, 8th April

A South African mercy flight to Iraq, organised by civil-society
organisations and supported by the government, will eventually go ahead, the
department of foreign affairs insisted on Sunday after widespread
speculation that it had bowed to international pressure and cancelled it.

It said in a statement that the government viewed the planned flight as "a
powerful international statement" about the "unprecedented" suffering caused
by the international sanctions against Iraq and the need for the
international community to do something about it.

No foreign state had asked it to cancel the flight, organised by various
civil-society bodies under the umbrella of the Durban-based Iraq Action

Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad would accompany the flight to meet his
Iraqi counterpart, and other Iraqi ministers and international organisations
concerned with humanitarian assistance.

Sanctions caused the deaths of more than a million Iraqi childrenNo new date
was given for the flight.

The humanitarian flight carrying food, medicine and other supplies was
postponed twice in February and March, prompting speculation that opponents
of Iraq - the United States, Saudi Arabia and/or Kuwait - had put pressure
on the South Africa government to cancel it.

But the department said on Sunday that the government "remains committed" to
the flight.

It said a recent UN Children's Fund (Unicef) report had indicated the
sanctions were directly responsible for the deaths of more than a million
Iraqi children and the extensive collapse of hospitals and other
infrastructure, with a "massive impact" on public health.

"South Africa, given its national ethos and international responsibilities,
cannot ignore the human consequences of this disaster."

The department said it had decided to join the international effort to
relieve the suffering of the Iraqi people following expressions of concern
by many international personalities including United Nations
secretary-general Kofi Annan, Unicef, the World Food Programme, and a
majority of the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.

The humanitarian supplies - collected from the South African public -
include milk powder, baby formula and other food, and six tons of medical

The department said the planned flight from South Africa was one of a
growing number from many countries and international/national humanitarian
organisations around the world, including the US, the UK, France, Russia,
Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, the Gulf states, Scandinavian countries,
Bulgaria, India and Vietnam.

In an apparent reference to concerns by some foreign states that Pahad's
presence on the flight would make it political rather than purely
humanitarian - and thereby transgress UN sanctions - the department said it
had kept the UN and Iraq fully informed all along about all those who would
be on the flight.

It said it had consulted many governments in the immediate region as well as
the permanent members of the Security Council.

"In these contacts, cordial discussions took place. At no stage in any of
these contacts was the government of South Africa requested to cancel the
flight," the department said.,5936,1876915%255E954,00.htm

*  Australia mocked as 'America's lackey'
by Ray Lilley in Wellington
Courier Mail (New Zealand, I think), 9th April

NEW Zealand's disarmament minister lashed out yesterday against the
country's top allies, labelling Australia a lackey of the US and describing
Washington's foreign policy as disastrous.

The outburst by Minister of Disarmament Matt Robson caused dismay in the

NZ Prime Minister Helen Clark was to meet Mr Robson today over the remarks,
a spokesman for Ms Clark said yesterday.

"Australia has the unfortunate appellation now that they're the deputy
sheriff for the US in the Pacific, and they are quite derided in
international circles," Mr Robson said in an interview in the Sunday
Star-Times newspaper.

"Australia is quite derided, even by those they think they're close to, for
being a lackey for that sort of a foreign policy. New Zealand is not."

Mr Robson said he was concerned at the "disastrous" attitude of US foreign
policy, claiming it had antagonised China, Russia and North and South Korea.

"It does seem to be an attitude of 'we're the top dog on the block, we'll
make the rules'," he said. "Hopefully that changes because it's a disastrous
type of an attitude."

Ms Clark said it was time for a talk with Mr Robson.

"He is not the minister of foreign affairs. I just think there's time for
shouting and there's time for diplomacy," she said.

"I think these are deeply held personal views, but there are also
responsibilities as a minister."

It was Mr Robson's second outburst in two months. In February, Ms Clark
rapped him over the knuckles after he condemned US and British air strikes
against Iraq.

*  Europeans Poised To Resume Ties With Hussein
by Jeff Israely
San Francisco Chronicle, April 11, 2001

Rome -- Giampiero Pansolini is still waiting to hear back from the United
Nations about his sprinklers.

After eight months, a deal to sell his irrigation systems in Iraq is stuck
in the U.N. office monitoring the embargo imposed on Saddam Hussein's regime
a decade ago.

Submitted under the oil-for-food program that has allowed Iraq to use oil
proceeds to buy nonmilitary related goods since 1996, Pansolini's seemingly
harmless $4 million deal has yet to get the green light from New York.

"You start to get the impression that somebody's putting the brakes on this,
" said the 50-year-old farm equipment wholesaler from the central Italian
town of Fermi. "We're not talking about weapons here."

Though his company, Semitalia, has a financial stake in the outcome,
Pansolini shares many Europeans' sentiments after a decade of economic
sanctions on Iraq. "Enough is enough. Ten years is too long," he said. "It
doesn't make sense to make the people suffer."

While top Bush administration officials are divided over how to deal with
Hussein, much of Europe has shifted its attention to the Iraqi people.

Countries such as France, Italy and Spain, solid members of the 1991 Gulf
War coalition and the sanctions that followed, roundly condemned the U.S.
and British air strikes in February.

"What's happening transforms (Hussein) from the Arab leader rightly
considered the most dangerous into the one most popular in the eyes of Arab
public opinion," Italian Prime Minister Giuliano Amato said after the

The Rev. Jean-Marie Benjamin, a French priest based in Assisi, Italy, was in
Baghdad three years ago to investigate the effects of the embargo and
depleted uranium from allied weapons when he got caught under a U.S.-led
bombing strike.

As he heard explosions nearby, he lit his first cigarette in more than 10
years -- and has been chain smoking ever since. "I'll quit when they lift
the embargo," Benjamin said with a laugh.

But it is the daily suffering under the embargo that drives Benjamin's

"The Americans and British spend all their energy demonizing Saddam," he
said. "But there are other people there too, good people. And they're
letting them die of hunger and illness. They are a people in agony."

Last week, Benjamin celebrated the one-year anniversary of the day when he
led the first sanctions-busting flight into Iraq. On April 5, 2000,
Benjamin, a pilot and a member of the Italian Parliament, passed undetected
through the no-fly zone in a small jet to protest the sanctions.

Since then, he has continued to travel regularly to Iraq, in bigger planes,
bringing humanitarian aid and businessmen along for the ride.

Such missions, and similar flights from France and Russia, have mostly been
allowed to continue since then.

"It's like we're making the first holes in the Berlin Wall," Benjamin said.
"Europe is fed up with the embargo, and we must move unilaterally to break

Bjorn Moeller, a professor at the Peace Research Institute in Copenhagen,
said the question of sanctions is approached very differently on the
European continent than in Britain and the United States.

"The Americans ask, 'Why should we lift the sanctions, what has Saddam done
to deserve it?' " Moeller said, speaking by telephone from Denmark.

"Europeans tend to ask if the sanctions are serving a purpose. And this
embargo has never served a purpose other than the destruction of Iraqi
society. "

Moeller, author of "Oil and Water: Towards Cooperative Security in the
Persian Gulf," also said Europe's proximity to the Middle East dictates a
more pragmatic approach to a difficult neighbor. "The U.S. may soon find
itself alone on Iraq, with the entire coalition crumbled to pieces," he


Leading the charge are oil companies -- notably the major French firms. They
are supported by political leaders in Paris who have been the most eager on
the continent to deal with Hussein.

Using the oil-for-food program, France is Iraq's leading trade partner,
followed by Russia and Egypt.

The French oil giant Total Fina Elf announced in November that it was set to
use state-of-the-art technology to develop two Iraqi fields that contain an
estimated 35 billion barrels of oil.

Moeller doesn't expect European leaders to take drastic actions to end the
sanctions but said "a number of small steps" are likely. "They'll look for
loopholes and keep trying to convince the Americans to ease the embargo."

As widespread smuggling continues, legitimate businessmen like Pansolini are
growing impatient and use trips like those organized by Benjamin to plant
seeds for the day the sanctions are lifted.

"Everyone's doing it," Pansolini said of meetings with Iraqi colleagues that
fall outside the bounds of U.N.-approved activity. "We have to look to the
future when we'll do business with these people."

Those who have spent time inside Iraq say the level of poverty and medical
care is staggering, especially outside Baghdad. A European Commission report
says poverty has worsened over the past year for Iraq's 22 million people,
despite the oil-for-food measures.

Such concerns prompted the Italian Parliament to vote last year for an end
to the sanctions, though the government distanced itself from the

More than half the Arab countries from the Gulf War coalition have re-
established diplomatic ties with Iraq.

Switzerland in November and Norway this month became Europe's first two
countries to re-establish a diplomatic presence in Baghdad since 1991.

In a statement that would anger many in Washington, Benjamin said Hussein's
behavior "isn't the problem."

"I don't care if he's a dictator -- there are lots of other dictators. I'd
go meet him tomorrow."

Benjamin said he thinks the day is approaching when one of Europe's
heavyweights turns the tide on the embargo: "Just one country has to break
it, and the rest will follow."

*  Energy panel: Ease Iraq sanctions?
by Hil Anderson, Chief Energy Correspondent

 WASHINGTON, April 12 (UPI) -- The United States is entering a period of
relative shortages of energy that will require an overhaul of U.S. foreign
policy, including possibly revamping sanctions against Iraq, an independent
task force of energy and foreign policy experts told the White house in a
report released Thursday.

 The report, drafted by a panel assembled by the James A. Baker III
Institute for Public Policy at Rice University and the Council on Foreign
Relations, was submitted this week to the White House energy task force
headed up by Vice President Cheney.

 In its comprehensive look at the United States' energy situation, the panel
warned that increasing domestic energy supplies and reducing consumption
would not be enough to insulate the United States from the ups and downs of
world oil markets, particularly in the often volatile Middle East.

 "Tight markets have increased U.S. and global vulnerability to disruption
and provided adversaries undue potential influence over the price of oil,"
the report said. "Iraq has become a key 'swing' producer, posing a difficult
situation for the U.S. government."

 Political turmoil in the Middle East, including the Arab-Israeli conflict
and potential internal unrest in the Persian Gulf states, gives Iraqi
President Saddam Hussein greater leverage in using his vast oil reserves as
an economic and diplomatic weapon.

 In order to offset Iraq's "destabilizing influence" in the Middle East, the
panel recommended the United States and its allies consider refocusing the
current sanctions more toward curbing Baghdad's weapons development programs
and less on stifling the Iraqi economy to the detriment of its everyday

 "The United States should develop an integrated strategy with key allies in
Europe and Asia and with key countries in the Middle East to restate the
goals with respect to Iraqi policy and to restore a cohesive coalition of
key allies," the report said. "Goals should be designed in a realistic
fashion, and they should be clearly and consistently stated and defended to
revive U.S. credibility on this issue."

 Once a new sanctions policy is agreed upon, restrictions on the Iraqi oil
industry could be relaxed to allow more barrels of crude on to the world
market, although such a move would not be without risk.

 "Like it or not, Iraqi reserves represent a major asset that can quickly
add capacity to world oil markets and inject a more competitive tenor to oil
trade," the report said. "However, such a policy will be quite costly as
this trade-off will encourage Saddam Hussein to boast of his 'victory'
against the United States, fuel his ambitions, and potentially strengthen
his regime."

*  UK leads way for Iraq dealings
by Carola Hoyos, United Nations correspondent
Financial Times, April 12 2001

The UK is home to more companies doing oil business with Iraq than any other
country, according to a confidential United Nations list of buyers, many of
which are said to be paying illegal kickbacks to the Iraqi regime.

The list, obtained by the Financial Times, was discussed on Wednesday in a
closed-door meeting by members of the UN Security Council. It shows that 98
of 735 companies registered to buy oil directly from Iraq are from the UK.

The vast majority of the companies on the list are shadowy middlemen, many
of which are suspected of paying illegal surcharges to Saddam Hussein's

Iraq's regime gains $2bn to $3bn a year through oil smuggling and such
surcharges, and diplomats are concerned Mr Saddam could use the unchecked
money to build up his weapons arsenal. Halting the kickbacks is a top
priority for the Bush administration and the UN as they struggle to maintain
the crumbling 10-year-old sanctions regime.

The UK mission to the UN has registered over 2-1/2 times more companies than
the United Arab Emirates and over four times more than Russia, which had
been viewed as the main culprit in doing oil business with Iraq before UN
oil overseers prepared the list.

Ironically, the UK is at the forefront of the campaign to eliminate illegal
kickbacks by weeding out middlemen who are not well established in the
market from the list of companies approved by the UN to buy Iraqi oil.

The UK and the US have proposed tighter registration rules, forcing
companies to prove financial solidity and a prominent past within the oil
market, before being able to buy oil through the UN's oil-for-food

Diplomats believe that making the process more stringent would reduce the
list to little more than 100 companies.

"What we are proposing is that there should be criteria referring to the
companies' respectability and reliability in the market," said one UK

Some of those currently registered through the UK include well-known trading
companies such as Phibro Energy. "This doesn't reflect any endorsement by
the British government," a UK official said. "At present we would have no
legal basis to apply criteria to such applications of companies wanting to
be on the register."

*  US, British jets bomb southern Iraq
Times of India, 15th April

WASHINGTON: US and British planes attacked targets in southern Iraq in
response to anti-aircraft artillery fired on coalition planes, US officials

The air strike on Thursday targeted an anti-aircraft missile site in the
hopes of reducing Iraq's ability to fire upon Western allies enforcing a
no-fly zone set up to protect anti-Baghdad Shiite Muslims in the area,
according to a statement issued on Thursday by the US Central Command.

"All coalition aircraft returned safely and target battle damage assessment
is ongoing," the statement said. The last strike in the southern no-fly zone
was against an Iraqi anti-aircraft artillery site on March 30.

Iraq said there were no immediate casualties reported.

"US and British warplanes carried out 24 sorties from Saudi Arabia and
Kuwait ... and flew over the provinces of Basra, Dhiqar, Muthanna, Qadissiya
and Wassit," an Iraqi military spokesman said in a statement carried by the
Iraqi News Agency (INA).

The spokesman said the planes attacked civilian and military installations,
but were forced to return to their bases by Iraqi air-defense fire.

The Western jets patrol no-fly zones set up after the expulsion of Iraqi
troops from Kuwait in 1991 to protect the Shiite Muslims in southern Iraq as
well as Kurd dissidents in northern Iraq. (Reuters)

*  Iraq rejects Russian deal to end sanctions
Times of India, 15th April

BAGHDAD: Vice-President Taha Yassin Ramadan on Saturday rejected Russian
proposals to end sanctions against Iraq once weapons inspectors are allowed
back to Baghdad.

"Any attempt which does not call for the total and unconditional lifting of
the embargo and which does not condemn the aggression against Iraq cannot be
a solution or ensure a minimum of justice," Ramadan told reporters.

The vice-president, who visits Moscow on April 18, said, "there is no
Russian mediation for the lifting of sanctions against Iraq but just some
Russian ideas" to break the deadlock between the UN and Baghdad.

Moscow said at the start of April that the two sides could easily reach a
"practical plan" to lift sanctions and resume UN disarmament inspections.

"If, after a reasonable and clearly defined period of time, the inspectors
do not uncover any violations by the Iraqi authorities of the military
restrictions, the UN Security Council (would) decide to lift the economic
sanctions," a Russian foreign ministry statement said.

But Ramadan would have none of it. "All those pushing for a return of the
inspectors are in fact working for the return of spies to Iraq ... which is
totally unacceptable," he warned.

UN inspectors fled Baghdad just hours before the United States launched a
four-day aerial blitz in December 1998 to punish Iraq for failing to
cooperate with the weapons monitoring regime.

Under restrictions imposed after Iraqi troops were chased out of Kuwait in
1991, sanctions can only be lifted once Iraq is found by the United Nations
to have destroyed all weapons of mass destruction. (AFP)

*  Iraq seeking extra banks to deposit oil revenues
Baghdad, Reuters, 9th April

Iraq is holding talks with the United Nations on obtaining use of additional
banks to deposit its revenues from the UN oil-for-food programme, an Iraqi
newspaper said yesterday.

The UN-Iraq escrow account, which now has billions of dollars concentrated
in one bank, receives Baghdad's oil revenues, generated from the
oil-for-food programme. The UN then uses the revenues to pay suppliers for
food, medicine and other goods needed to ease the impact of 10-year-old UN
trade sanctions against Iraq.

"Iraq is conducting talks with the U.N. management office to add five more
banks to deposit Iraqi oil revenues in addition to the French BND-Paribas
bank," the weekly Al Ittihad (Union) newspaper said, quoting an official
from the Iraqi Central Bank.

The paper said about five more banks were set to receive Iraq's oil
revenues. It did not name the new banks, but said they were from
Switzerland, Germany, Spain, Austria and France.

A UN spokesman for the oil-for-food programme in Iraq, George Somerwill,
said that UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan had been recommending the use of
additional banks for the last two years, saying the concentration of funds
at BNP was risky.

The issue was first raised quietly in June 1997 when the escrow account had
only $860 million. UN officials said they feared over-exposure and
operational difficulties. They also believed the sums were large enough to
shop around for the best interest rates.

In March, Annan, in a report to the Security Council, said that the Iraqi
government had agreed to diversify the funds in the UN-Iraq account. He said
that six banks had been identified, including BNP Paribas, and they were to
compete for the banking services required to run the oil-for-food programme.

"A competitive bidding process will be carried out, and it is expected that
this process will be completed by May 2001," Annan said in his report.

*  UN Reports Sharp Increase in Iraqi Oil Exports
Peoples Daily, 11th April

The Iraqi oil exports under the United Nations oil-for-food program surged
to an average of 2.29 million barrels a day in the week leading to April 6,
from the previous week's average of 1.8 million barrels a day, The UN said

The United Nations Office of the Iraq Program said that during the week Iraq
sold 16 million barrels of oil, earning an estimated 318 million US dollars
in revenue at current price.

In current phase IX, which runs from December 6, 2000 to June 3, 2001, Iraq
has exported 163 million barrels of oil, raising an estimated 3.13 billion
dollars in revenue, the office said.

The total Iraqi oil exports since the beginning of the oil-for- food program
in December 1996 now stand at almost 2,370 million barrels, for an estimated
revenue of some 38.6 billion dollars, the office reported.

The total value of contracts placed on hold by the UN sanctions committee on
Iraq now stands at 3.43 billion dollars, including 2.99 billion for
humanitarian supplies, and 438 million for oil industry spare parts and
equipment, it added.


*  UN confirms delay in talks with Iraq
Times of India, 15th April

UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations confirmed on Saturday that it had
postponed a second round of high-level talks with Iraq, but said it was in
touch with Baghdad about rescheduling them.

The official Iraqi press had accused UN Secretary General Kofi Annan of
caving in to US pressure to delay the talks, which had been expected to take
place in early May.

Annan's spokesman, Fred Eckhard, said Annan learned at a lunch with the
15-member Security Council this week that "some members of the council were
still studying the papers presented by Iraq at the first meeting," held here
on February 26 and 27.

At that meeting, the Iraqi delegation, led by Foreign Minister Mohammad Said
al-Sahhaf, presented Annan with half a dozen long papers setting out
Baghdad's grievances over the UN sanctions imposed on Iraq after it invaded
Kuwait in August 1990.

The Security Council has resolved that the sanctions cannot be removed until
Iraq satisfies the UN that it has eliminated all its weapons of mass
destruction. Council members are deeply split, however, over how to get Iraq
to cooperate and allow UN arms inspectors back into the country.

"The council members are not expected to complete their policy reviews on
Iraq by the end of May," Eckhard said.

"The secretary general continues to be in touch with Iraq concerning the
dates for the second round of talks," he added.

Eckhard declined to comment on remarks by Vice-President Taha Yassin Ramadan
that the delay "does not upset Iraq ... which does not expect much from such

Ramadan told reporters at the opening of a trade fair in Baghdad that Iraq
had agreed to the talks with Annan "so that it could not be said that Iraq
had missed an opportunity."

His comments contrasted with remarks made by Sahhaf after the February
meeting, the first high-level contact with the UN since 1998.

The foreign minister told reporters the talks had been "objective" and had
gone smoothly.

"We have to continue building this dialogue because it is not an aim in
itself," he said. "It is a vehicle for something, namely to find a way out,
a solution which we consider reasonable." (AFP)

INSIDE IRAQ,2669,SAV-010408021

by Hugh Dellios
Chicago Tribune, April 8, 2001

BAGHDAD -- Haidar Abdul Hussein and Haidar "Adusha" Raad barely remember an
Iraq without war and deprivation.

Born under President Saddam Hussein, the two young Iraqis grew up in
different worlds within Baghdad society. But together, their lives are the
story of Iraq's alienated youth, a tale with a worrisome subplot about who
will control the world's second-largest oil supply in the years to come.

Hussein, 16, went to work seven years ago after his father died. His $6
weekly paycheck from a sewing sweatshop feeds a family of nine, and he has
no energy left on his day off to play in the Shiite slum where he lives.

Raad, 20, has clung to a middle-class lifestyle since his father began
trading smuggled electronic equipment after Iraq's economy collapsed. He
studies on outdated computers at college and finds escape by playing in a
1980s-style rock 'n' roll band.

U.S. officials, now debating how to reinforce the embargo around Iraq and
Hussein's military machine, might take heed of the tale of the two Haidars
as the double-barreled tale of Iraq's future:

After plenty of hardship, Hussein may be vulnerable to the radical,
fundamentalist strains of his Shiite Muslim underclass. Raad dreams of going
abroad for a good education, a journey from which many talented Iraqis never

After two decades constrained by the Iran-Iraq war, the Persian Gulf war and
United Nations sanctions, diplomats and aid workers worry that Iraq's new
generation is growing up isolated, anti-West and unprepared to help rebuild
a peaceful nation when and if the crippling embargo is lifted.

Unlike their parents' generation, known for its Western orientation and
multilingual worldliness because of Iraq's oil wealth, this generation's
development has been stunted, its opportunities as dim as the city streets
during sanctions-related blackouts.

Saddam Hussein blames American-led sanctions, and the West blames his
regime's corruption and mismanagement, but observers in Baghdad say there is
enough blame to go around.

"Are we not creating a restless, explosive generation? A generation that has
lost the capacity to learn?" asked Zakir Husain, a Bangladeshi doctor and
policy consultant to the World Health Organization, who mostly faults the

"What kind of a future scenario does this give Iraq?" he continued. "Even in
terms of security, these things worry me."

These days, Iraq is not a promising place for its young people.

On holidays, Baghdad's Azura Park is jammed with picnicking families, but
the carnival rides are rusty and old.

The zoo doubles as a pound for stray dogs; among its most exotic inhabitants
is a wild cat that was a "gift" from Hussein's feared son, Uday. The workers
feed it pigeons.

Still a popular outing is a dinner of roasted "mashguf" fish at an open-air
restaurant along the Tigris River. But families now heed health warnings
about a river where raw sewage is dumped because treatment plants lack spare

Half of all work-age Iraqis are unemployed. Mothers sell part of their
monthly food rations to buy other necessities. The Iraqi dinar, once worth
$3, now trades at 1,700 to the dollar and is carted around in stacks.

Thanks to their oil, Iraqis once enjoyed one of the highest standards of
living in the Mideast. Even during the eight-year Iraq-Iran war in the
1980s, they received good medical care, traveled widely and studied at the
best universities in the U.S. and Europe.

Diplomats warn of a breakdown of Iraq's moral fabric. They remember a time
when it was nearly impossible to bribe anyone, while the society now
practically runs on "baksheesh."

Many Iraqi professionals have left and gone abroad. Resigned to hardships,
those who remain say their pride is in having survived and done "the best
with the minimum."

"We have a saying: A wet man is not frightened of the rain," said Akram
Hussein al-Fulfili, 45, a bookshop owner who recently was able to buy a
cheap Chinese computer for his son.

Tragically but inevitably, youngsters have suffered the brunt of Iraq's

Repeatedly, visitors are shocked by how small the children are. The WHO says
one-third are stunted, and the child mortality rate is high because of
malnutrition, dehydration and a "systemic" failure of the health system,
despite more available medicines through an expanded UN humanitarian

In education, a recent UN study found that 90 percent of Iraq's primary
schools are dilapidated and unsafe for children. The crisis also has taken a
toll on the intellectual and emotional development of Iraqi youth.

"You know, the youngest here in Baghdad have nothing," said Widad al-Orfali,
one of Iraq's most famous artists. "My generation traveled the world. I was
able to learn the piano at 5, and at 6, I learned Strauss. But they have
seen nothing. This generation has no dreams."

On Friday nights, Orfali holds concerts for young Iraqis at her art gallery
in the upscale Mansour district. Through her door come Iraq's future
leaders, and judging from the trendy clothes, some are the sons and
daughters of Hussein's regime while others are scraping to remain part of
the crowd.

These youths speak of hardships, and invariably echo the regime in blaming
the sanctions. Young women complain that young men do not marry until much
later. University classes lack materials. Rewarding careers are scarce.

One Friday last month, the gallery was packed with young people singing
along as two folk musicians played John Lennon's "Imagine" and other Beatles
songs on their acoustic guitars.

Among the youths, who knew every word of the lyrics, was Haidar "Adusha"

Before the gulf war made visas scarce for Iraqis, Raad's mother was a travel
agent who traveled the world. Before the government's paychecks became
nearly worthless, his father had a good job at the Housing Ministry.

While his father makes a decent living peddling smuggled or secondhand
stereos and other electronic equipment, the family car regularly breaks

Tall and bright-eyed but shy, Raad is a student at a technical college where
he studies on computers that are three generations old. Like all but a few
Iraqis, he has no access to the Internet.

That limits his exposure to the modern world as well as his career
prospects, but any bitterness is concealed behind a detachment from
politics--a survival technique common in Iraq.

"You have to forget it all, but it's not easy," he said.

His mood brightens when he speaks of his name-brand electric piano and his
band, although the '80s American pop music they play is even older than the
computers he uses. "You know Guns 'n' Roses?" he asks.

"We hope he can go abroad for his final year of study. That's what my family
hopes for him," said Raad's sister, Tamara, 26.

Raad is lucky. Across Baghdad, a more typical life for young Iraqi men
resembles that of Haidar Abdul Hussein.

Six days a week, Hussein climbs a rotting, water-flooded staircase to a tiny
factory off a dim alley near the city's main market.

There, engulfed by humming sewing machines and the occasional whiff of
industrial solvent, he irons embroidery patterns onto dresses.

The job is Hussein's life since his father died of complications from
diabetes. His daily commute takes two hours from the poor village of
Husseiniye where his family moved because they could not afford the city

At his cinderblock home in Husseiniye, the only sign of child's play is a
flat soccer ball in the yard. A ringing bell sounds as a man passes selling
cooking oil from a rusty drum on a donkey cart.

Inside oil-rich Iraq, the family's situation is shocking. Hussein describes
a life blurred by poverty and hard work from such a young age that he
doesn't recall ever dreaming about a better one.

Asked about the origin of the gulf war and the sanctions that limit his life
in so many ways, he is stumped: "I don't understand many things about this
war. I am just hearing its name."

*  Shi'ite opposition awaits clear U.S. policy on Iraq
CNN, April 10, 2001

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (Reuters) -- The head of Iraq's main Shi'ite
Muslim opposition group said on Tuesday he was waiting for the new U.S.
administration to formulate its policy before starting a serious dialogue on
toppling Saddam Hussein's rule.

But Ayatollah Mohammad Baqer al-Hakim said direct talks between his
Iran-based Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) and
Washington had "never stopped" since they began in 1992 under former
president Bill Clinton.

"U.S. policy on Iraq under the new administration (of President George W.
Bush) is not yet clear for us to intensify or reduce our contacts with
them," Hakim told Reuters in a telephone interview from his office in

"But routine contacts continue until they clarify their position," he said.

SCIRI is one of the largest Iraqi opposition groups and claims to have
between 4,000 and 8,000 fighters operating inside Iraq. It has vowed to
topple Saddam's Sunni Muslim-dominated government.

Hakim said his group wanted the United States and other permanent members of
the U.N. Security Council to stop what he called Saddam's "repressive
policies" against the Shi'ite community in southern Iraq.

"There is an economic and military blockade imposed by the regime on
southern areas," he said, criticizing Washington for ignoring the plight of
the Shi'ite under Saddam.

"Until now, the U.S. is not showing any interest in this issue which for us
is more grave than the embargo," he said, referring to U.N. sanctions
imposed on Iraq over its 1990 invasion of neighboring Kuwait.

"When it does, we are ready for a serious dialogue with the United States
and other Security Council members," he added.

U.S. and British warplanes enforce "no-fly" zones to protect Shi'ites in the
south and Kurds in the north from possible Iraqi air raids.

But Hakim said the exclusion zones were not enough. "The international
community, including the United States, must shoulder its responsibility to
protect the Iraqi people."

Hakim denied that SCIRI's readiness to enter into dialogue with the Bush
administration represented a change in policy.

"There is no change. Some people thought that by rejecting U.S. financial
aid we were rejecting everything. We have not received any financial aid
from the U.S. or any other party."

Washington designated seven Iraqi opposition groups in 1999 as eligible for
U.S. aid, including SCIRI, which has spurned financial aid and opposed
outside intervention to oust Saddam.

A London-based pan-Arab newspaper reported last week that Iranian supreme
leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had given his blessing to SCIRI's contacts
with Washington.

But Hakim said his group enjoyed "full independence" in Iran. "They do not
interfere in such matters...We are keen to listen to views by friendly
states, but they (Iran) do not impose anything on us."

Hakim described SCIRI's activities in Iran, where some 500,000 Iraqi
refugees live, as "purely political" but said his group's fighters inside
Iraq were engaged in daily clashes with government forces.

Iraqi forces crushed a Shi'ite rebellion in the south soon after Baghdad's
1991 defeat by a U.S.-led coalition that ended Iraq's occupation of Kuwait.

*  Jiving With the Enemy: Baghdad Chills Out on American Radio
International Herald Tribune, 11th April 

BAGHDAD "What's wrong with you guys? You're all such a bunch of quitters!"
said the brittle-voiced young woman doing the afternoon stint as disk jockey
on the most popular radio station in Iraq, Voice of Iraq FM.

A call-in program, conducted in English, was in its second hour, and no one
had successfully answered any of the prize-winning questions. "It's so
easy!" the DJ said, her tone heavy with exasperation. "All I'm asking is,
tell me the Metallica song that won a Grammy in 1989!" A few minutes later,
another caller could not name the "four different types" of music sung by
Bob Dylan, and still another faltered when asked to name the "godfather of
heavy metal."

"Give me a break," the caller stumped by the heavy metal question said,
eager for a prize - for women, a shopping spree at a fashionable Baghdad
boutique; for men, a six-month membership in a popular body-building club.
But the DJ was unsparing. "Seems like you are such a loser," she said.

In the land of Nebuchadnezzar, of the Islamic caliphs, and of Saddam
Hussein, radio has gone cool - or as cool as a team of young producers and
on-air personalities can make it.

Baghdad, after all, has been isolated by a decade of economic sanctions. And
the visa requirements of Western countries, the jamming of foreign radio
broadcasts, and Mr. Saddam's stringent restrictions on who can go abroad,
have not made it easy to keep up with what is hip in London, Los Angeles or
New York.

Still, to be driving through Baghdad and have your taxi driver tune in to
"FM," as the station is commonly known, is to experience a sort of
somersault of the mind. Mr. Saddam's Iraq, for a decade, has produced some
of the most virulently anti-American propaganda anywhere. In newspapers and
newscasts - even those on FM - President George W. Bush is "the little
criminal" (his father is the big one, for having assembled the military
alliance that drove Iraq from Kuwait in 1991).

And the sanctions, although imposed by the UN, are America's way of
"annihilating an entire nation."

Why, then, is the government allowing a radio station to draw millions of
listeners with programming that speaks to, and may encourage, an addiction
to things American, especially among Iraqis drawn to rock, rap and country
music - and, what's more, broadcasting in English? And why are its programs
broadcast over the tightly regulated, state-owned broadcasting network -
from studios inside the network's headquarters, heavily bombed during the
Gulf War, that are protected by soldiers peering out of sandbagged bunkers
bristling with machine guns?

The answer, in part, lies with the station's owner - Uday Saddam Hussein,
the older of the Iraqi ruler's two sons, a man with a notorious capacity to

Iraqi opposition groups, and the State Department's annual human rights
reports, have declared for years that Uday Hussein, now 36, has a history of
violent and unpredictable behavior. One report said that he had imprisoned
members of Iraq's national soccer team after they lost an important match,
and ordered them to play an exhibition game with a concrete ball.

In Iraq's fear-driven society, it is impossible to determine whether such
stories are true, or, as government officials contend, invented to discredit
Saddam Hussein and his son. Among Iraqis, there is quiet - very quiet -
discussion about the role the FM station and the Youth TV station founded by
Uday Hussein could play in the eventual succession to Mr. Saddam, who is 63
and the subject of persistent rumors, officially denied, that he is ill with
lymphatic cancer.

Opposition groups have speculated that Uday Hussein's role as a broadcaster
is part of a behind-the-scenes struggle for the succession with his brother,
Qusai, 34, the leader of the army's elite Republican Guards.

Uday Hussein was critically wounded in 1996 when a rocket-propelled grenade
was fired at his sports car on a Baghdad street in an assassination attempt
that was ascribed to Iranian agents. He spent months recuperating.

Since then, Uday Hussein has become a member of Parliament and president of
the country's Olympic Committee. He has also added a powerful string to his
political bow - and, his loyalists claim, a strong following among young
Iraqis - by founding FM and Youth TV.

Jawad Ali, who has run the two stations since Uday Hussein drafted him from
the No. 2 position in the state broadcasting network in 1993, said in an
interview that FM, at peak hours, draws 95 percent of the listening audience
across Iraq, and that Youth TV, also broadcast over the state network's
facilities, also draws a lopsided slice of the viewing audience with its two
channels - 75 percent.

If accurate, the figures suggest that the Stalinist fare offered by the only
state-owned television channel has greatly alienated Iraqis - particularly
the two-thirds of the country's 23 million people under 30. This, to anybody
who has watched the channel, is scarcely a surprise.

Evening broadcasts feature stone-faced announcers reading vehement
denunciations of the United States, interspersed with long sequences of Mr.
Saddam meeting top officials or accepting frenzied welcomes from crowded
ranks of ordinary Iraqis.

Youth TV has a sports channel and a "general" channel, whose main attraction
is pirated Hollywood movies that have become a focal point of Baghdad social
life. Satellite television is denied to all but the most privileged Iraqis.
But Mr. Ali seemed to revel in answering a question about the pirating,
turning his answer into a gibe at the United States, delivered with a
half-smile. "We say you stole all the world, so just let us steal this small
part," he said.

As for Uday Hussein's stealing the state network's audiences, Mr. Ali said
that Uday Hussein had put the idea of starting the private stations to his
father, who enthusiastically endorsed it.

But Mr. Ali stiffened when asked if a program featuring the interior
minister, in charge of the police and prisons, had featured complaints about
the widespread human rights abuses, including torture and summary execution
of prisoners, that have been described by Iraq's critics.

"Absolutely not," he said smoothly. "No one has said anything like that."

*  Saddam's son calls for shake-out in parliament
Times of India, 15th April

BAGHDAD: President Saddam Hussein's eldest son Uday has called for a
shake-out in Iraq's parliament to give what is seen as a rubber-stamp body a
voice of its own.

The parliament should not just be an "echo" of the government, he said in an
April 2 speech to the house, published on Saturday.

Uday called for a vote of confidence in the speaker, ruling Baath party
veteran Saadun Hamadi Hamadi, who is in his second term as parliament

"A vote on the action of the speaker of parliament will allow the speaker to
remain in place if he wins a majority of votes or to change him if he
fails," Uday said as he was sworn in as an MP, a year after winning 99.99
per cent of his constituency vote. The vote would also allow an evaluation
of "the actions of the speaker on behalf of the people," since the March
2000 elections.

The 37-year-old, one of few figures in Iraq powerful enough to voice such
criticism, said the house "should make its voice heard" and not just "echo"
government policy. Uday however added that he would not seek the speaker's
chair because of the number of top posts he already occupies: chairman of
seven weeklies and one daily newspaper, of a television station, of the
Iraqi Olympic Committee, the football federation and commander of the
Fedayin militia force.

He was also highly critical of the Iraqi delegation at the Arab summit held
in Amman at the end of March for "failing on the issue of the embargo
against Iraq and the Palestinian cause," although he had not criticism for
his father.

Baghdad's summit delegation, led by Saddam's number two Ezzat Ibrahim, "did
not respect the directives of President Saddam Hussein to focus efforts
exclusively on the Palestinian cause," Uday said. (AFP)


*  Pentagon Studies Low-Yield Nuclear Weapons for Underground Targets
Walter Pincus Washington Post Service
International Herald Tribune, Monday, April 16, 2001

WASHINGTON The Defense Department is studying whether to develop a new,
low-yield nuclear weapon with an earth-penetrating nose cone that could
knock out hardened or deeply buried targets such as leadership bunkers and
command centers, according to administration and congressional sources.

Such a weapon has long been sought by nuclear weapons scientists and some
military strategists, including key members of the Bush administration, as a
way of reaching targets that are hidden deep underground without incurring
huge collateral damage.

Advocates also say that by developing such smaller nuclear weapons, the
United States could safely reduce its current stockpile of 6,000 much more
powerful warheads. Interest in low-yield weapons has been rising with
concern that the Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein, could hide his biological and
chemical arsenals in underground bunkers.

Another hardened target that has drawn attention is Russia's long-term
construction of a nuclear war command center under a mountain.

A senior adviser to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said that the Iraqi
leader would not be deterred by current U.S. nuclear weapons "because he
knows a U.S. president would not drop a 100-kiloton bomb on Baghdad" to
reach Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

The prospect that the Pentagon would recommend that the administration
develop a low-yield nuclear weapon has become the focus of attention for
groups committed to traditional arms control. The Federation of American
Scientists plans to release a report this week that argues that "adding
low-yield warheads to the world's nuclear inventory simply makes their
eventual use more likely."

A report on the Pentagon study is to be sent to Congress in July. Seven
years ago, Congress barred research and development of a low-yield,
precision-guided nuclear weapon. But an amendment last year to the defense
authorization bill required the Pentagon to study how to defeat hardened and
deeply buried targets.

Air Force Testing New Drones

Greg Schneider of The Washington Post reported from Washington:

In the next few weeks, an unmanned airplane the size of a small Cessna will
shoot a missile at a tank on a Nevada test range, blasting the air force
toward a future in which some of its most dangerous missions could be
carried out by robots.

While the Pentagon has been experimenting with pilotless planes for half a
century, advances in technology have only recently made it feasible to use
them to attack foes. And with the Bush administration moving to redirect
military spending into more futuristic weapons, unmanned combat aircraft are
expected to be one of the big winners.

"I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a new military technology that has a
broader following than unmanned combat vehicles," said Loren Thompson, a
defense consultant with the Lexington Institute, a private organization in
Arlington, Virginia. "The idea is easy to grasp, and the benefits are easy
to see."

Known as uninhabited combat air vehicles, or UCAVs, such drones could knock
out enemy air defenses without endangering pilots. They would cost
significantly less than traditional fighter jets, yet would be similar in
size and capability. And they could be shipped quickly and in great numbers
wherever needed.

President George W. Bush cited them in a recent speech on military
priorities, and the Senate Armed Services Committee chairman, John Warner,
Republican of Virginia, added $146 million to the Pentagon budget this year
to speed up development.

Defense contractors are lining up to get a piece of what many believe will
be the future of military aviation. Both Boeing Co. and Northrop Grumman
Corp. recently unveiled designs for sophisticated robot attack planes and
are investing millions of their own dollars in the projects.

Lockheed Martin Corp., meanwhile, is concentrating less on the drones
themselves and more on the electronics that allow them to operate, with
research programs that include secret government contracts.

But like National Missile Defense, another futuristic program that promises
more than technology can yet deliver, the push for attack drones strikes
some experts as overblown.

"The problem with UCAVs now is they're in a very early stage of the
technology," said Steven Zaloga, a weapons expert with a consulting firm,
Teal Group Corp., in Fairfax, Virginia. "It's really premature to be talking
about what percentage of the future force is going to be taken up by UCAVs."

What is more, there will be resistance among some in the Pentagon against
moving humans another step back from the trigger.

But even critics concede that certain combat roles will inevitably shift
over to unmanned vehicles as the technology matures. The reason is simple:
They could save American lives.

"Rather than having piloted aircraft go in on day one to break the back of
the bad guys," said John Pike of, a nonprofit,
nonpartisan research group in Alexandria, Virginia, "you send in these
robots who are infinitely brave. They are unafraid."
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