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]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

News, 20 ­ 26/5/01

News, 20 ­ 26/5/01

Second instalment of the backlog of news items and again the Œsanctions
reform¹ items are under-represented (there were a lot of them but they did
not seem to say very much.All that is really on offer seems to be that the
US and UK will relax their present outrageous Œholds¹ policy in return for a
much more intrusive US/UK - who else could be trusted? - presence on Iraq¹s


*  Russian opposition likely to delay UN vote on Iraq sanctions
*  Turkey says will abide by UN on Iraq sanctions
*  Revamped sanctions 'will not deter Iraq arms efforts'


*  Iran, Iraq to link power grids
*  Syrian PM to seal end to 20-year rift with visit
*  Damascus denies Miro visit to Baghdad
*  Turkish army incursion into the Iraqi territories


*  Iraq Says US, British Planes Bomb Northern Iraq


*  Saddam Appoints Son as Baath Party Deputy Military Commander
*  Iraq is draining away 5,000-year way of life [in the area of the ŒMarsh
Arabs¹.  You know - the ones we¹re protecting through the imposition of the
No Fly Zones. Reference is made to dams built in northern Iraq saince the
1950s which could have a positive effect but Œthe maintenance of these
projects under Hussein has been poor, and there are too few experts in
charge of them to do the job properly¹. Wouldn¹t the whole situation,
including a policy of draining the southern marshlands, the sort of thing
every Œmodern¹ government wants to do, have been very different if Iraq
hadn¹t been under embargo?]


*  Washington and Tehran Ought to Get Together Against Saddam [begins
quoting Ahmad Chalabi but is in effect advocating a reorientation away from
the INC toward the Hezbollah, oops, Supreme Council for the Revolution in


*  Powell under seige at Wits University ["I'm here to say to you that
Africa matters, by history and by experience, to the United States and to
President Bush.²  Bad luck for the Africans]


*  Blast exposed Gulf troops to 'DU-plus' ["The urine sample tests which
governments like Canada are providing to their soldiers are essentially
useless -- simply a placebo aimed at increasing their own negative test


*  Iraqi singer breaks down many barriers [Farida Mohammed Ali performing in


*  Russian opposition likely to delay UN vote on Iraq sanctions
Reuters, 24th May

With Russia balking at U.S. and British plans to lift controls on consumer
goods to Iraq, the UN Security Council may be forced to delay a vote on the
programme until next month or later, diplomats said yesterday.

And without unity among the five key council members - the United States,
Britain, Russia, France and China - threats from Iraq to cut off oil
supplies to the world could become a real possibility, they said.

The United States and Britain want a resolution adopted before the current
phase of the UN oil-for-food humanitarian programme expires on June 3. That
plan aims to ease the impact on ordinary Iraqis of sanctions imposed when
Baghdad's troops invaded Kuwait in August 1990. But France, more amenable to
the proposals than Russia or China, believes two weeks is too short to
debate all the resolution's provisions and hopes adoption could be possible
later in June, its diplomats said.

This would mean a rollover or extension of the oil-for-food programme for
whatever length the council decides. The program puts proceeds from Iraqi
oil sales in a UN account and then pays suppliers of food, medicine and many
other goods.

Diplomats said France had submitted a series of amendments on arrangements
for civilian flights to Baghdad and the rate Iraq has to pay to a
compensation fund, among others. France also wants the resolution to allow
foreign investments in goods and services to help Baghdad's economy.

If the French reach agreement with the British and the Americans, Russia
would come under pressure to drop its opposition, the diplomats said. But
Russia's ambassador, Sergei Lavrov, sharply criticized the U.S.-British
proposals and revived a counter draft resolution rejected by the council in

It did not include removing civilian goods from tight UN controls but Lavrov
said if the United States stopped blocking $3 billion worth of contracts for
Iraq the impact would be the same.

In a position similar to that voiced by Iraqi leaders, Russia advocated the
council take six months to work out a comprehensive plan leading toward the
suspension or lifting of sanctions rather than rush through a more narrow
one now.

Iraq fears that any new system affecting its economy will only prolong the
embargoes, which it hopes will be lifted or  whither away. If the draft
resolution is adopted, Baghdad says it would stop oil sales through the U.N.
programme, which would mean curtailing them for the world.

"Not a single barrel of oil shall be sold through the (UN programme) if the
Security Council adopts the draft resolution with the proposed American
elements and ideas in it," Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz was quoted as
telling foreign diplomats in Baghdad.

The U.S.-British proposals are the first concrete measures since the
administration of President George W. Bush began an overhaul of its Iraqi
policy. In an effort to counter critical world opinion of the sanctions, the
draft aims at dropping embargoes on all nonmilitary items, from bicycles to

But it retains the current system of having the bulk of Iraq's oil revenues
run through a UN escrow account, leaving Baghdad without direct control of
its monies. In an effort to keep out of Iraq goods the military can use, the
U.S.-British proposals call for a list of "dual use" items, which include
high-grade computers and some telecommunications equipment. Such items would
still need separate approval by a council committee.

"We have quite a number of questions, starting with a list, which we are
invited to endorse and which is not yet made available," Lavrov told
reporters on Tuesday. But most other plans on tightening sanctions or
halting smuggling of oil and other goods would not be enacted immediately
and call for recommendations from UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

The draft resolution provides for letting Iraq's neighbours, Turkey, Jordan
and Syria, deal legally in trade with Baghdad and asks them to institute
border monitoring to stop smuggling. But these measures depend on proposals
from Annan, after which the council would have to approve them.

In Ankara, Turkey's Foreign Ministry spokesman, Huseyin Dirioz, said his
country would be pleased if the British-U.S. plan "adds to the normalization
and improvement of conditions for the Iraqi people."

Turkey restored full diplomatic relations with Iraq in January and has sent
humanitarian and trade missions to Baghdad in recent months, despite U.S.
opposition. Still, official policy is to back the sanctions and urge Iraq to
comply with UN demands on weapons of mass destruction.

Britain yesterday underlined its commitment to a clampdown on illegal Iraqi
oil exports as part of U.S.-backed proposals for a new UN "smart sanctions"
regime against Iraq. But Foreign Office minister Brian Wilson said London
would be flexible on the timing of a UN Security Council vote and said the
measures, that have drawn heavy criticism from Russia, needed some refining.

"An essential element of our approach must be to tighten up on illegal oil
exports which, one would assume, does include those neighbouring countries,"
Wilson told Reuters. He was referring to illicit cross-border oil trade to
Turkey, Syria and Jordan that brings billions of dollars a year direct to
the government of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

Britain distributed a draft proposal to Security Council members on Tuesday
that would allow civilian goods to flow freely to Iraq while maintaining a
ban on military materials. The document aims to tighten up UN control over
Iraq's oil revenues. Baghdad has threatened to pull out of the world body's
oil-for-food exchange if the new measures interfere with the programme.

The U.S. and Britain are aiming for a vote by the council on May 31, in time
for the next six month phase of oil-for-food which is due to start on June
4. Russia, stopping short of threatening a veto, heavily criticised the
draft proposals. China said the measures could not be adopted as they stood.
As permanent members of the Security Council both have the power to veto the

Wilson said Britain would not object to the vote being delayed beyond May
31, adding the proposals could need refining. "It is more a case of getting
it right rather than working towards a particular deadline," he said.

"There are very positive discussions going on. There is great unanimity
within the international community and the Security Council about preventing
Iraq developing weapons of mass destruction," he added. "The objective is
shared by all. It is simply a case of refining it." Britain and the U.S.
believe revenues from smuggled oil could be used to develop weapons and want
to stifle Baghdad's direct cash supplies by forcing its neighbours to step
up border controls.

Most Iraqi oil exports take place under the UN's oil-for-food programme,
which allows the country to sell crude in return for civilian supplies.
Revenues are controlled by the UN through a New York escrow account.

Iraq has threatened to cut off its oil supplies to Turkey and Jordan if they
cooperate with the UN and has said it will stop exports under oil-for-food
altogether if the new sanctions interfere with the programme.

The loss of Iraq's two million barrels a day of supplies to world markets
for any significant period could force up oil prices that already are close
to $30 a barrel. Wilson said the aim of the new plan was solely to bring
Iraq's oil exports under greater international scrutiny, to ensure revenues
were channelled to the Iraqi people, not government.

"Our purpose is not to win applause from Iraq," he said. "The intention is
to make it more difficult for Iraq to develop weapons of mass destruction -
that is the imperative behind this entire policy."

*  Turkey says will abide by UN on Iraq sanctions
Reuters, 24th May

Turkey said yesterday it would back revised sanctions on Iraq once they were
approved by the United Nations but declined to comment on specific details
of a current proposal being considered by the UN Security Council.

Britain distributed a draft proposal to council members on Tuesday that
would allow civilian goods to flow freely to Iraq while maintaining a ban on
military materials. Russia has challenged the ideas and revived a counter
plan to adjust the sanctions.

The U.S.-British document aims to tighten up UN control over Iraq's oil
revenues and stop Baghdad smuggling what industry sources say are about
300,000 barrels a day through Turkey, Jordan and Syria.

Iraq has threatened to halt all oil exports if the new UN sanctions regime
is enacted and last week said it would penalise its neighbours Turkey and
Jordan if they cooperated.

Asked whether Turkey would back so-called "smart sanctions", Turkish foreign
ministry spokesman Huseyin Dirioz said Turkey would implement all UN
resolutions that are approved. But he declined to comment on the merits of
the current proposals, including efforts to clamp down on the illegal oil
exports through Turkey, which Ankara condones and even raises revenues from
through levies.

"All the time we are calling on Iraq to obey...UN resolutions and thus
contribute to the normalisation of the situation," he told a news briefing.
"In Turkey, we are complying with the U.N. resolutions and are pleased if
their implementation adds to normalisation and improvement of conditions for
the Iraqi people," he said.

The spokesman's comments were in response to a question over Turkey's
reaction to last week's Iraqi threat to stop deliveries of oil by land
through a southeastern Turkish border gate.

"It's out of the question for Turkey not to implement the U.N. Security
Council resolutions. There's a warming in ties with Iraq but I don't expect
a change in our general policy," former foreign minister Ilter Turkmen told

Britain and the United States hope that the 15-member UN Security Council
will vote on the "smart sanctions" draft by May 31, before the next phase of
the UN-Iraq humanitarian oil for-food programme begins on June 4.

Turkey says it has lost $30 billion in trade with Iraq since sanctions were
imposed after the 1991 Gulf War that drove Iraqi invasion forces out of
Kuwait. Ankara is seeking to improve commercial and political ties with
Baghdad - once its biggest trading partner - and appointed a new ambassador
to Baghdad earlier this year, upsetting its close ally Washington.

But observers said Turkey, a NATO member, would risk its strategic
cooperation with the United States if it did not support the new U.N.
sanctions proposals. Turkey allows a U.S. led air force to conduct patrol
flights over Kurdish-held northern Iraq, which has been outside Baghdad's
control since after the Gulf War.

Western countries, most notably the United States, have turned a blind eye
to Turkey's technically illegal diesel trade with Iraq which continues
despite Ankara's official position in support of the sanctions.

Ankara raises revenues from the trade through levies and the smuggling is a
mainstay of the economy in Turkey's southeast. Jordanian Foreign Minister
Abdulilah Al Khatib was due to visit Ankara today and the two sides would
discuss the Iraqi sanctions, the Turkish spokesman said.

The Turkish spokesman said there were signs that Washington might provide
compensation for Turkey's losses if the diesel smuggling with Iraq was
stopped. "It is not clear yet how that could be formulated," he said.

*  Revamped sanctions 'will not deter Iraq arms efforts'
Reuters, 25th May

Revamped sanctions proposed this week by the United States and Britain
address what critics have long felt are some key weaknesses in existing UN
sanctions imposed on Iraq. But they are no easy panacea for international
concerns about Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's regime, analysts said.

The new measures - if they are adopted by the UN Security Council - may
enable the United States to reclaim the public relations high ground on
Iraq. They will not, however, end debate over penalties more generally nor
guarantee that Baghdad will be thwarted in its efforts to produce weapons of
mass destruction, analysts said.

"Unfortunately, it seems to me this new policy may be more of a fig leaf for
diplomatic retreat by the United States, although it's being presented as
increasing pressure on Iraq," said James Phillips of the conservative
Heritage Foundation.

Charles Duelfer, former deputy head of the UN arms inspection commission for
Iraq, said the proposal may be effective in slowing erosion or even building
up the international consensus in support of sanctions, particularly those
halting the transfer of military technology to Baghdad.

"But if you're betting on this to prevent Iraq from adding to its WMD
(weapons of mass destruction) arsenal, well it's not going to do much,"
Duelfer told Reuters. Horse-trading over the British-U.S. attempt to
overhaul the decade-old sanctions regime, imposed when Iraq invaded Kuwait
in 1990, began in earnest this week when a draft resolution was presented to
the Security Council.

Sponsors would like to see it adopted before the existing Iraqi oil-for-food
humanitarian programme expires next month. But controversy over the plan is
likely to continue for months. The British-U.S. proposal is aimed at several

First, it would drop restrictions on the sale or supply to Iraq of goods for
civilian use, from bicycles to whiskey. Until now, many imports had to be
approved by the council's Iraqi sanctions committee, where some $3.7 billion
worth of orders are on hold because of U.S. objections.

Under the new proposal, Iraqi oil revenues needed to purchase imports would
still be controlled by the United Nations through an escrow account, as they
have been since 1997 when Iraq was allowed to sell oil again.

But the presumption is the funds could be spent on any item - unless it is
on a banned list of specific materiel or supplies that could enhance the
military. This is an attempt to deprive Saddam of what has been a huge
propaganda victory.

He has created a public impression in Iraq and the Arab world, especially,
that Washington and its allies are to blame for the suffering of the Iraqi
people, although the Security Council increasingly has loosened its

The council stipulated from the start that sanctions could be suspended if
Iraq agreed to eliminate all of its nuclear, chemical and biological weapons
programmes. "I think they are really on the right track here," former U.S.
Ambassador Robert Pelletreau said of the new proposal.

"It will go a long ways toward reestablishing a strong international
coalition against what's really worrying about Iraq," he told Reuters in an
interview. However, Iraq, which desperately wants sanctions lifted
altogether, opposes the proposals.

And some analysts say even if revised sanctions are enacted, Saddam will
continue to delay importing all the civilian goods, including food and
medicine, that his people need and oil revenues can afford.

Pelletreau said the United States and its allies should conduct a vigorous
public relations campaign to underscore "there are no international
restrictions on normal civilian imports." Second, in an effort to keep
military-related goods from Iraq, the draft creates an expanded list of
"dual use" items with civilian and military applications, including
supercomputers and telecommunications equipment.

But to make it harder for Baghdad to provoke international crises, as it
repeatedly has done in recent years, there is no demand in the revised plan
tying a loosening of the sanctions to Iraq's acceptance of intrusive
inspections by UN arms experts.

Eliminating Iraq's WMD programme would still be required before the United
Nations would lift sanctions completely, however. Other elements of the
draft are aimed at tightening UN monitoring of Iraq's borders and
encouraging neighbour states Turkey, Syria and Jordan to cooperate by
allowing each to purchase up to 150,000 barrels of Iraqi oil per day.

These proposals would depend on further negotiations between UN
Secretary-General Kofi Annan and council members and there is no guarantee
they will ever be put into effect. "If the U.S. could attain greater
cooperation in monitoring what goes inside Iraq, then it might be a
worthwhile trade, but I don't see that as being realistic.

So I'm afraid what might happen is we reduce sanctions against Iraq but
don't get the increased cooperation in constraining military programmes,"
Phillips said. He added that even under the best of circumstances, it would
"still be very difficult to find military hardware smuggled in among
consumer imports."


*  Iran, Iraq to link power grids
Reuters, 20th May

Iran and Iraq have reached a preliminary agreement to set up a power
transmission line between the two countries, the official Iranian news
agency IRNA reported yesterday.

"The expansion of Iran's electricity network to the neighbouring countries
has been on our agenda in the past years," Masoud Hojjat, deputy head of
state power company Tavanir, told IRNA after returning from a visit to Iraq.

He said the plan needed further approval on both sides. Iran said in
February it was exporting 45 megawatts of electricity to Azerbaijan, 40 to
Turkey and 150  to Armenia. Hojjat said Iran had a surplus of 1,000
megawatts of electricity for exports in the year which ended in March.

*  Syrian PM to seal end to 20-year rift with visit
Times of India, 21st May

BAGHDAD: Iraq and Syria will seal their reconciliation on Monday when Prime
Minister Mohammad Mustapha Miro pays a visit to Baghdad, ending 20 years of
bitterness between two Arab states ruled by rival branches of the Baath

The visit comes as Iraq seeks the backing of its neighbours to fend off US
and British efforts to pressure the Baghdad leadership with a new regime of
targeted sanctions.

Miro will be only the second top-ranking Arab official to visit Baghdad
since the 1991 Gulf War over Kuwait, following the example of Jordanian
Prime Minister Ali Abu Ragheb who travelled to Iraq last November.

News of the landmark visit came a day after Damascus opened an interests
section in Baghdad and follows a visit to Syria in January by Iraqi Vice
President Taha Yassin Ramadan.

An Iraqi official, who refused to be named, told AFP that Miro's talks were
"particularly important" and would embrace "the strengthening of relations
between the two countries in all fields."

The two Arab states, after a longstanding on-off relationship, finally broke
off diplomatic ties in 1980 when Damascus backed Tehran in the 1980-1988 war
between Iran and Iraq.

It took until 1997 for a first real improvement when Syria and Iraq reopened
their border for businessmen and officials.

Iraq, which has been under a sweeping UN trade embargo since invading Kuwait
in 1990, signed a free trade accord with Syria in January during Ramadan's
visit. It came into effect on April 1.

Syrian diplomat Mohammad Hassan Tawab opened the interests section at the
Algerian embassy on Saturday with the title of charge d'affaires. Iraq
opened an interests section in the Syrian capital more than a year earlier,
in March

On his first day, Tawab met Iraq's Deputy Foreign Minister Nabil Najm and
was given assurances of "all the necessary facilities for the success of his
mission", according to a diplomatic source.

Over the past four years, Syrian and Iraqi government officials have stepped
up visits to each other's capital and Damascus has started to send flights
to Baghdad despite a UN air traffic embargo.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on February 28 underlined the need "to lift
the embargo imposed on the Iraqi people" and the Baath party in Damascus has
called for "joint Arab action" against the sanctions.

With the embargo now under review, Iraq has warned its neighbours, on whose
support the United States is counting to implement "smart" sanctions, that
they would lose billions of dollars in trade if they fell in line with

Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz also said last week that Iraq would halt
oil exports to its neighbours in retaliation.

Syria, which has embarked on economic reforms, is counting on the Iraqi
market and its potential thanks to the country's massive oil wealth, second
only to Saudi Arabia in reserves.

Smart sanctions would end the UN embargo on trade with Baghdad for all
non-military goods.

But US and British proposals expected to be discussed in the UN Security
Council this week also aim to halt Iraqi oil exports to neighbours outside
the confines of a UN oil-for-food programme, according to diplomats in New

Syria and Iraq are examining plans to build a new oil pipeline, while the
industry press said an old pipeline -- closed since 1982 after the break in
ties -- was reopened last November.

Damascus has explained to the US State Department that the old pipeline was
only being "tested", while Baghdad said in March that it had become obsolete
and needed to be replaced. (AFP)

*  Damascus denies Miro visit to Baghdad
Arabic News, 22nd May

The press office of the Syrian prime minister Muhammad Mustafa Miro denied
the Iraqi news on the visit of the Syrian prime minister Miro to Baghdad
which an Iraqi official said it was presumed to be made on Monday (
yesterday), The Syrian prime minister press office announced that there is
no schedule visit for Miro.

On Sunday an Iraqi official announced that Miro will start on Monday (
yesterday) a visit to Iraq which is the first for a Syrian official at this
level to Baghdad within the 20 past years.

Meantime, the Syrian minister of economy and foreign trade Muhammad al-Imadi
on Monday evening started a visit to Iraq to take part in the works of the
joint committee of the two countries, according to the press office of the
minister. The Syrian official dailies said that a delegation from the
ministry and also from the two ministries of health and irrigation are
accompanying the minister.

On Saturday, it was announced the opening of the Syrian interests office in
Baghdad, one year after opening the branch of the Iraqi interests office in

Meantime, diplomatic sources in Damascus did not rule out in press
statements that Miro's visit to Baghdad to be made next week in order to
take part in an official celebration to be held on the occasion of opening
the Syrian interests office in Baghdad. The sources also did not rule out
that al-Imadi visit will be in the framework of preparations for Miro's
visit to Baghdad which will be in response to the visit made by the Iraqi
vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan to Damascus by the beginning of this

*  Turkish army incursion into the Iraqi territories
Arabic News, 25th May

The BBC correspondent in Ankara on Friday quoted news reports saying that
Turkish military moves were seen and put into alert in the north of Iraq and
Southern Turkey in preparations to launch attacks against members of the
Kurdistani Labor Party there.

The correspondent added, quoting these information, as that this attack will
be very vast to the north of Iraq and Southern Turkey.


*  Iraq Says US, British Planes Bomb Northern Iraq

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq said U.S. and British planes bombed civilian
targets in the north of the country on Wednesday, causing damage to farmland
but no casualties were reported.

An Iraqi military spokesman said anti-aircraft guns and missiles fired at
the planes attacking targets in Nineveh province at 3.45 a.m. EDT.

There was no immediate comment on the Iraqi report from the United States
and Britain.



*  Saddam Appoints Son as Baath Party Deputy Military Commander
People's Daily, 20th May

Iraqi President Saddam Hussein on Saturday appointed his younger son Qusai
to be deputy commander of the ruling Arab Baath Socialist Party's military
bureau, the official Iraqi News Agency (INA) reported.

Qusai, along with Latif Nusayif Jassim, were named deputy commanders in
charge of the military bureau of the Baath party, the INA said.

This was the first time that Qusai was given an official post in the Baath
party. Also for the first time, Qusai was elected a member of the Baath
party command on Thursday's 12th election conference. The conference
re-elected Saddam the secretary-general of the party.

Qusai, 34, currently runs the Republican Guards, the country's best-trained
and equipped troops and handles the elite Special Security Organization that
protects his father.

Qusai's elder brother Uday controls Iraq's media and is also a member of
Iraq's National Assembly (parliament).

Besides Qusai, Saddam also named other members of the newly- elected command
to head other bureaux, organizations of the Baath party in the capital
Baghdad and other provinces, the INA said.,2669,SAV

*  Iraq is draining away 5,000-year way of life
by Ray Moseley
Chicago Tribune, May 22, 2001

LONDON -- One of Saddam Hussein's major crimes against his own people has
been his little-noticed effort to drain the marshes of southeast Iraq and
destroy a way of life that goes back at least 5,000 years.

Hussein undertook the drainage project after the Shiite Muslims of southern
Iraq- encouraged by the United States--rose up in an unsuccessful revolt
against his regime following the 1991 Persian Gulf war.

Today just 6 percent to 17 percent of the marshes, one of the world's most
important wetlands, is intact, and more than 200,000 people have been driven
out of the area in this act of vengeance by the Iraqi dictator. The marshes
may disappear altogether by 2010.

A London-based international charity, Amar, is preparing a detailed report
on the effects of Hussein's policy and on ways to restore the marsh Arabs to
their homeland and their traditional way of life in a post-Hussein era.

The European Parliament is throwing its weight behind Amar's efforts to
alert governments around the world to the need for financial and technical
aid in restoring the marshes when that becomes possible.

Amar organized a conference in London on Monday of historians, economists,
sociologists, legal and political experts and others to make contributions
to its report, which will be issued in mid-July.


"Everything has been lost to the marsh Arabs," said Emma Nicholson, the
founder of Amar and a British member of the European Parliament. "Nothing is
left at all."

Nicholson, who is chairwoman of the Parliament's foreign affairs and
human-rights committee, said she recently held talks with State Department
officials in Washington and found "a deep feeling of moral grief" over the
fact that the administration of then-President George Bush encouraged the
Shiite Muslims to revolt against Hussein. That led to Hussein's order to
drain the marshes.

"The U.S. bears that burden of guilt," she said.

The Amar charity was named for an injured boy whom Nicholson met when she
made a clandestine visit to the marshes. He was a victim of napalm and
phosphorus bombs dropped by Hussein's planes but he survived by diving into
a river to douse the flames engulfing him. He now lives in Britain with
Nicholson, who is his legal guardian.

"Among the many crimes of Saddam Hussein, the draining of the southern Iraqi
marshes stands out," she said. "It is a humanitarian and cultural
catastrophe as much as an ecological one.

"The marsh Arabs must be included in any post-Saddam settlement ... The full
restoration of the marshes and the communities who depend on them is
feasible and necessary."

The marshes covered 6,000 square miles, an area slightly larger than
Connecticut, and were fed by the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. They were once
home to about 400,000 people. A series of dams built in northern Iraq dating
to the late 1950s began to decrease the flow of water to the marshes, but
drainage occurred only when Hussein's regime diverted the river waters and
built drainage canals in the 1990s.

This was followed by the systematic destruction of villages and the
deportation of people. Since ancient times the marsh Arabs, known as Madan,
lived from reed gathering, mat weaving, fishing, hunting and grazing of
water buffalo. They lived on islands constructed of reeds and used reeds to
build their homes.

More than 95,000 Madan have fled to refugee camps in Iran since Hussein
drained the marshes and are getting some help from Amar. Others have been
made destitute and are internal refugees in Iraq.

The marshes also have played an important role in supporting the
international migration of birds. Several species of wildlife threatened
with extinction also have inhabited the marshes.

Thomas Naff, director of the Middle East Center at the University of
Pennsylvania, said that if drainage of the marshes continued at its present
rate, "there may come quickly a point at which salvation is not possible."

Where marshes do survive, he said, they have been altered permanently and
fisheries may not recover.


Naff said the full impact of dams built on the Tigris and Euphrates in
Turkey and Syria has not yet been felt but could be considerable. "But if
there is going to be any salvation [for the marshes], there has to be a
reversal in Iraq itself," he said.

Naff said there was a positive side to the tragedy. The dams in northern
Iraq were built to deal with floods and drought and to expand irrigated
agriculture. If the marshes are restored, he said, then there may be a more
consistent flow of water and better quality water in the area.

But he said the maintenance of these projects under Hussein has been poor,
and there are too few experts in charge of them to do the job properly.

James Brasington, a lecturer in geography at the University of Cambridge,
showed satellite photos of the marsh region taken by the U.S. National
Aeronautics and Space Administration that revealed how the marshes have

The NASA photos showed that only a narrow strip along the border with Iran
and stretching into Iran remains marshland. Brasington said that was between
6 and 17 percent of the original area.


*  Washington and Tehran Ought to Get Together Against Saddam
by Stanley A. Weiss
International Herald Tribune, May 24, 2001

LONDON: Why would Washington's closest Arab allies, the countries most
threatened by Saddam Hussein, oppose U.S.-based efforts to remove him? Ahmad
Chalabi, head of the leading Iraqi opposition group, the Iraqi National
Congress, tells me that from Egypt to the Gulf the authoritarian regimes and
hereditary monarchies fear democracy in Iraq more than Saddam.

Their economies are stagnant and their population growth is exploding as
farmers move into crowded cities. With almost half the population under 15,
the young people are more interested in the Internet and the latest Nike
shoes than in tired slogans about liberating Palestine. Yet these largely
artificial countries justify their very existence in terms of the war
against Zionism. And they have used hatred of Israel to distract attention
from the repression, corruption and lack of fundamental rights at home.

The tyrannical regime in Baghdad, armed with the nuclear weapons that Saddam
Hussein surely will obtain, poses the worst nightmare to the oil-rich region
and the industrial world - much worse than how the Jews and Arabs divvy up
Palestine, an oil-poor desert half the size of San Bernadino County in

Bill Clinton paid lip service to establishing a new government in Iraq, but
was not about to go to war to enforce it. His no-ground-troops air war over
Kosovo was called Operation Just Cause. An aborted air strike against Saddam
was Operation Just Kidding.

The United Nations weapons inspection teams no longer inspect. The "no-fly
zones" to protect the Kurds in the north and the Shiites in the south may
soon apply to allied planes themselves. Sanctions have all but collapsed.
And if the policy of containing Saddam has trapped him "in a box," the
self-proclaimed protector of the Arab world against the Persians and the
Jews, doesn't seem to notice.

The Bush administration has an opportunity to forge a clear, new policy in
the Middle East based on the president's vision of remaining engaged in the
world while basing America's actions solely on its own interests.

A Middle East without Saddam is clearly in the best interest of the United
States. But to succeed, Washington must be serious about supporting the
Iraqi insurgents.

Its unlikely ally in such an effort would be Iran, the only neighboring
country offering to provide the rebels with a secure base, and whose people
despise Saddam and have the will to stand up to him.

In the eight-year war that followed Iraq's invasion of Iran in 1980, Iran
suffered 750,000 casualties and endured savage trench warfare, chemical and
gas attacks and the bombing of its cities, oil refineries and sacred
mosques. Saddam fears a Washington-Tehran common policy against him more
than anything else.

Iran is the ideal staging ground for an Iraqi insurgency, having sponsored
both Kurdish and Shiite guerillas in the last four decades.

Iran has indicated that it is willing to put aside its differences with the
United States in order to work together against Saddam. Some initial steps
have already been taken. Iran has allowed the Iraqi National Congress to
open an office in Tehran to coordinate operations across the border. Iran
will permit the INC set up a radio transmitter to beam its message to the
Iraqi people.

Iran is fully aware that the INC is funded by the U.S. State Department. So
American government money is being spent openly in Iran for the first time
since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

The Iranian-backed opposition to Saddam has announced that it will now work
with the United States. During two decades of its existence the Tehran-based
Supreme Assembly for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq refused to deal with
Washington. But it recently said: "The protection of the Iraqi people
remains the responsibility of the international community, in which the
United States is a major element that cannot be ignored."

There are legitimate fears that a post-Saddam Iraq would break up, creating
greater instability in the region, so the territorial integrity of Iraq must
be guaranteed.

But that concern should not drive the United States to continue its current
failed policies while Saddam builds his arsenal of nuclear, biological and
chemical weapons in order to control the region's oil wealth and blackmail
his enemies.

(The writer is founder and chairman of Business Executives for National
Security and former chairman of American Premier, a mining and chemicals
company. He contributed these personal views to the International Herald


*  Powell under seige at Wits University
by Peter Fabricius
Independent Online, May 25 2001

American Secretary of State Colin Powell was held virtual hostage outside
the University of Witwatersrand Great Hall for almost an hour on Friday by
protesting students who prevented him from leaving as they chanted
anti-American slogans.

Powell had just delivered a speech on the new Bush administration's Africa
policy, pledging that the US would not abandon Africa. He was heckled
throughout by a group of about 150 students who branded him an "Uncle Tom
sellout" and as "The Butcher of Baghdad" for his leading role - as America's
chief soldier - in the US-led international attack on Iraq during the Gulf
War in 1991.

Powell was unruffled by some sharply critical questions and sometimes loud
heckling in the hall. But despite the disruption, Powell was generally well
received, and students gave him a standing ovation. However, when his
motorcade tried to leave afterwards along a narrow alley next to the hall,
the chanting, toyi-toying and jeering students blocked the way.

Eventually, after nearly an hour of negotiations with Leila Patel, the
university's acting vice chancellor and principal, and students
representative council president Muhammad Cajee, the students agreed to let
Powell's convoy through as riot police held them back.

The protesters were mostly students from the Muslim Students Association and
South African Students Congress but also included members of the Palestine
Action Group, student leaders said.

In his address, Powell gave the assurance that the administration of
President George W Bush would not abandon Africa, pledging that "we will be
with you every step of the way" as Africa moved down the path of democracy,
peace and free market development.

"I'm here to say to you that Africa matters, by history and by experience,
to the United States and to President Bush. As the only African-American
secretary of state so far, I will enthusiastically engage with Africa on
behalf of the American people," he said to applause from most of the more
than 1 000 people in the packed hall.

But he also stressed that the US could not bring peace and development to
Africa; Africans themselves would have to do that, and the US could only

Powell hailed South Africa and Nigeria especially as examples to the rest of
Africa for having chosen the path of democracy, good governance and open
markets. Free trade, he said, was a "powerful tool for freedom and for
sustainable development" and that was why the US would work with Africa to
remove trade barriers to African exports.

'It is for the citizens of Zimbabwe to choose their leader in a free and
fair election'He praised Zambian President Frederick Chiluba for his recent
announcement that he would not seek an unconstitutional third term, but
slammed Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe for clinging to power after more
than 20 years in office.

"Now it is for the citizens of Zimbabwe to choose their leader in a free and
fair election, and they should be given that opportunity," Powell said.

He announced that President Thabo Mbeki would visit Washington on June 26 to
meet Bush for the first time as president. Mbeki met Bush when the latter
was still Texas governor and running for president.

Powell detailed current US aid to Africa, including efforts to prepare seven
battalions of African troops for peacekeeping duties on the continent. This
was already happening with the Economic Community of West African States,
and he said he hoped that the US would also be able to work with the
Southern African Development Community.

He said the US was cautiously optimistic about the peace process in the
Democratic Republic of Congo and stressed that the US would not support any
solution to the country's crisis that entailed partition of the country.


*  Blast exposed Gulf troops to 'DU-plus'
by Scott Taylor
The Ottawa Citizen, 20th May

BAGHDAD -- A leading German scientist claims Canadian combat engineers
serving in Doha, Kuwait, after the Gulf War were exposed to a highly toxic
"cocktail" of depleted uranium (DU) when an American ammunition dump
exploded next to their barracks in July 1991.

Albrecht Schott, director of the Berlin-based World Depleted Uranium Centre,
cites the Doha explosion as the "worst contamination site on record," and
noted that the Canadian soldiers were "at ground zero."

What made the incident so extreme was that it not only detonated depleted
uranium shells, but also, in the ensuing inferno, a number of U.S. tanks
coated with DU armour tiles also burned.

"With the incredible heat generated by this burning uranium -- upwards of
2,000 degrees Centigrade -- the microscopic radioactive particles discharged
into the atmosphere would have been glazed into a cocktail of cancer-causing
substances," says Mr. Schott.

"These Canadian soldiers weren't just exposed to DU, they were exposed to

In January, the Citizen first reported that as many as 50 members of the 1st
Combat Engineer Regiment had been at risk of DU exposure as a result of the
Doha blast.

At the time, Canadian military medical official Col. Ken Scott acknowledged
that the U.S. military had not advised him about the presence of DU until
February 2000.

It was Col. Scott's decision not to inform the soldiers exposed as it would
"only increase their stress levels."

U.S, British and Canadian military officials have steadfastly denied any
link between exposure to DU and the growing legion of sick soldiers.
"Stress" has always been the official explanation of these illnesses.

When Citizen reporters tracked down 18 of the combat engineers, they were
told that 10 now suffer from some form of immune-system ailment.

In addition, several of the Doha veterans contacted also reported that their
children had been afflicted with congenital anomalies.

Mr. Schott says this is further evidence that these engineers ingested DU
particles into their lungs.

"These tiny alpha radiation molecules lodge in the lymph nodes and there
they attack chromosomes and the body's immune system," says Mr. Schott.

"This is why so many of these veterans are contracting cancer, and why there
has been so many birth defects among those exposed."

Mr. Schott is currently in Iraq studying the horrific proliferation of such
congenital anomalies -- particularly in the southern Iraqi city of Basra,
which was heavily bombed during the Gulf War -- in the offspring of Iraqi
veterans who served in Kuwait.

"We have had a 350-per-cent increase in birth defects since 1991," says
Riyahd Riyal, a senior surgeon at the Saddam Hussein Children's Hospital in
Baghdad. "Unfortunately, we do not have the facilities or the funding to
conduct the large-scale testing required to link this phenomena to DU, but
the circumstantial evidence is too overwhelming to ignore."

Mr. Schott acknowledges that testing for the presence of DU is possible, but
the only failsafe method is extremely expensive and that only a few
laboratories in the world have the means to perform such analysis.

"A true test involves methodically observing 1,500 blood cells at the moment
they divide in order to detect decentric chromosomes," says Mr. Schott. "The
urine sample tests which governments like Canada are providing to their
soldiers are essentially useless -- simply a placebo aimed at increasing
their own negative test results."

This year, Canada's ministers of Defence and Veterans Affairs authorized
"voluntary" urine testing of all soldiers who believe they may have been
exposed to DU during service in either the Persian Gulf or the Balkans.

In March 2000, the World Health Organization did a preliminary study of the
health situation in Basra and recommended a full-scale international
research survey be conducted into the effects of DU. To date, this
initiative continues to be blocked by the U.S. and British governments.

Mr. Schott does not believe DU is the only "culprit" in causing the
widespread illnesses. "If you look at the Iraqi situation -- where their
sewage systems and water treatment plants were destroyed, malnurishment due
to the continuing sanctions is widespread and, of course, they inhaled the
pollution from the oil-well fires -- all these factors contribute to the
breakdown of immune systems," says Mr. Schott.

"As for the U.S. coalition soldiers, they also had the anthrax vaccine,
which continues to be the cause of many concerns."

However, Mr. Schott says all DU research must focus on the epicentre of
destruction. "Basra is the only major urban centre which has experienced a
large dose of DU shelling during the Gulf War. And after a decade we can see
a tremendous decline in the population's resistance to malignancies."

The leukemia ward at the Baghdad Children's Hospital is full to capacity,
and more than 70 per cent of the young patients are from Basra. "With nearly
2,000 cases diagnosed in the past year among Iraqi children under 12 years
of age, this marks a 700-per-cent increase of leukemia among Iraqi children
over the past 10 years," says Dr. Riyal.

It was a rash of leukemia cases among NATO soldiers returning from service
in Bosnia and Kosovo that created an international furore last year.

Until last year's international media blitz, NATO officials had strongly
denied using DU rounds in Bosnia. But contradictory documents leaked to the
British media forced them to admit their "error."

In Kosovo, NATO admitted to firing more than 10,000 depleted uranium
anti-tank shells, but they maintain that these weapons pose no health risk
to their troops or the local population.

Mr. Schott is closely following the breakthrough research of Dr. Asaf
Durakovic at Memorial University of Newfoundland. The scientists on Mr.
Durakovic's team were the first to confirm the evidence of DU in the tissue,
hair and bones of Gulf War veterans.

It is the autopsy of Canadian soldier Terry Riordan, who died of what his
wife insists was Gulf War Syndrome, that provided some of the most
conclusive evidence of DU contamination to date.

Mr. Schott is now anxious to examine the Canadian soldiers involved in the
Doha incident. "In all the American reports of the incident that I have
studied, they never mentioned the presence of any Canadians," he says.

,SAV 0105200371,FF.html

*  Iraqi singer breaks down many barriers
by Lou Carlozo
Chicago Tribune, May 20, 2001

When Iraqi singer Farida Mohammed Ali performs at the Chicago Cultural
Center Monday- the final date on her U.S. mini-tour--it will mark a musical
event unlike any the city has ever witnessed.

First, Ali is a master of maqam, an immensely complex Arabian music form
dating from the 15th Century and little known outside Iraq. The music is
based on between 55 and 70 maqams, or suitelike songs, and no single singer
has ever mastered them all.

Second, Ali is touring during a U.S. embargo of her native country. As world
music enthusiasts know, her concert marks a watershed not only in genre, but
gender as well.

"This is the first time ever an Iraqi maqam singer has toured the U.S.,
never mind a female," said Wafaa' Salman, founder of the Institute for Near
Eastern and African Studies in Cambridge, Mass. In Iraq, Ali became the
first female maqam singer qualified to teach others.

Though there has been talk in Chicago's Iraqi community of tensions
associated with the concert because of gender and political issues, cultural
center officials said they do not foresee any problems at Monday's
performance or a need for heightened security. Still, city officials
requested that the names of Ali's band members not be published.

Yet for many Iraqis, Ali's visit is a source of pride--and hope. "Since the
embargo, there's this feeling that the Iraqis have been shattered, this
hopeless and helpless feeling of despair," said Salman, whose organization
is sponsoring Ali's tour. "There's this desire to grab strings from the
disaster; psychologically, there's this nostalgia, this wanting to encourage
an Iraqi singer who's coming to the United States."

Michael Orlove, program director for the city's Department of Cultural
Affairs, said he booked Ali's performance six months ago because "it sounded
to me like a can't-miss event, an event you'd rarely get to see. It's not
the first time we've presented an artist from an embargoed country, and as
far as I'm concerned, politics and culture should be far removed from each

In Iraq, that has been far from the reality. "Politically, it's been pretty
repressed," said Widad Albassam, director of the Arab American Action
Network's arts council in Chicago. Iraqi artists have "pretty much been
hostages of the government, so that's one reason we're anxious to have them
outside of Iraq. And she's a woman, so that's unique."

Ali now lives in the Netherlands, a move necessitated by the harsh realities
of the Iraqi boycott. Unable to find work and running out of cash, she and
her family moved there in 1997, aided by fans in Holland.

A large portion of the audience is expected to be made up of Arabs like
Albassam, who is Saudi, and Mazin Safar, an Iraqi American. "We're kind of
detached from our background, and anything that brings music like this is
welcome," said Safar, director of enrollment at East-West University in
Chicago. "We listen to maqam at home, we enjoy it and it brings us together.
As Iraqis, we're scattered here and scattered now more than at any time in
the past."

He added: "I feel like music is the one thing that keeps us from talking

True, the recent success of "Buena Vista Social Club," the 1997 album and
subsequent film that featured an array of talented Cuban musicians, proves
that music rises above the din of world affairs. But what if the gulf
between two nations is a Gulf War?

Observers following the Middle East agree that where diplomats and
negotiators have failed to ease distrust and prejudice between the American
and Iraqi peoples, a singer just might succeed.

"Surely there should never be a time when Americans are unwilling to welcome
musicians, artists or athletes from any country regardless of current
political disputes," said Jerri Bird, founder and president of Partners for
Peace, a Washington-based group that focuses on Middle East affairs. "Our
doors, minds and hearts should be open to these emissaries, and they will
enable us to recognize our common humanity."

Despite her expatriate status, Ali said her heart remains close to her
homeland. Ali relishes the unofficial role of Iraqi cultural ambassador and
acknowledges her desire to spread goodwill.

"The mission is to try to bridge the misunderstandings," Ali, 37, said
through an interpreter during a telephone interview from Cambridge. She's
quick to add that she knows a thing or two about how to do this. Long before
coming to the U.S., Ali had to convince skeptical men back home that she was
worthy of performing maqam.

"It used to be a male-dominated form of music, but I'm trying to challenge
people and take it forward," Ali said. "Maqam is a form of Sufi singing, a
religious experience, and the argument goes that it's for males and there's
no place for female singing. But I got so good the men couldn't criticize me

Today, Ali is one of three singers credited with keeping maqam's heritage
alive. "It's the most lasting form of Iraqi music," she said. "It cannot

"I know that a lot of Iraqis are going, and I'm trying to bring friends,"
including non-Iraqis, Safar said. "Iraq has been vilified and we've all been
made to look bad, even Iraqis in America. People forget that Iraq is the
cradle of civilization: Writing started there, music started there. Things
have to be put in perspective, and the one way to do that is through music."

This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq
For removal from list, email
Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website:

[Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]