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News, 17­23/6/01, part 1

News, 17­23/6/01, part 1

Another bunch of news that is out of date owing to my travels.



*  Jordan in plea against revamped Iraq sanctions
*  Ex-UN officials attack U.S.-British plan on Iraq [Halliday and Von
Sponeck. Includes the interesting comment that it is mainly money from
outside the Oil for Food scheme, ie Œillegalı money, Œwhich is being used to
begin the process of getting people back to workı]
*  Syria does not accept monitors to Iraq sanctions
*  Mubarak receives Iraqi Envoy
*  France Offers Iraq Sanctions Deal


*  Israel to Get $74M for Attack [Turkey only got $1,800, Syria got nothing.
Talk about selling your soul for a mess of pottage]
*  UN pays $243m for Gulf War environment studies [so that yet more claims
can be made, the aim being to cripple the Iraqi economy indefinitely]


*  U.S. pilots face more fire from Iraqi guns
*  U.S. denies Iraqi report of air raid that killed 23
*  For US fliers over Iraq, danger rises
*  Pentagon Claims Iraq Responsible for 23 Deaths
*  Missile Fragments Collected in Iraq [by ŒVoicesı representatives]


*  A free trade zone between UAE, Iraq
*  Al-Assad issues a decree to found a Syrian trade center in Iraq
*  US blames Iran for Saudi bombing



*  NASYO [Malaysian youth organisation ­ PB] Calls For A Total Lifting Of UN
Sanctions Against Iraq
*  Iraq Wants To Buy Palm Oil Direct From Malaysia
*  Canada in tough at world under-20 soccer championship with Iraq first foe
[Iraq won ­ PB]
*  Bula [Irish oil company whose chairman is former Irish PM, Albert
Reynolds] says it has not signed Iraq deal
*  Wengi To Hear Iraq Case [about money owed to Iraq by Uganda from Idi Amin
*  South Africa to Rescue of Iraqis [on recent humanitarian plane from South
Africa and underlying diplomacy. Contains a rather naive reference to
Œdomestic and foreign pressureı on Iraq Œfor a more open economy and
societyı. I canıt see that anyone is exercising any such pressure on Iraq at
the present time. The only thing the ŒInternational Communityı seems to care
about is that somehow S.Hussein should disappear in a puff of smoke]
*  All Indian wheat shipments to Iraq stopped [because it is full of
weevils, apparently because UN rules require that it should be opened and
inspected, thus undoing the work of fumigation]
*  Malaysia knocking on Iraq's door [general article on pro-Iraqi policy
adopted by Malaysia]
*  French Senators Call for Lifting UN Embargo on Iraq


*  Book-Starved in a Land With a Literate Past [short extract from an
interesting article on general state of literature in Arab world]
*  Saddam in warning to 'wasteful' women
*  Iraq says drug industry hit by lack of materials


*  Iraq got around sanctions, reports say [more leaks from the old weapons
inspection team suitable for creating paranoia and keeping them all in
*  Iraq Calls U.N. Reports Lies [though it would be rather surprising if the
Iraqi government hadnıt been smuggling in the means to defend themselves
during the nineties]
*  Iraq close to building nukes - defector [Dr Khidhir Hamza again. Well, a
manıs got to make a living. And it doesnıt seem that Œthe former head of
Iraq's nuclear weapons programı is good enough to get a job in the American
nuclear industry]


*  Iraq unaware of possible changes in UN oil pricing
*  No Opec output rise if Iraq oil back soon: Iran [note that I havenıt been
bothering with the large number of articles saying that oil is going up, or
down, or whatever, as a consequence of Iraqi policy, or not, because I canıt
make any sense of them and so canıt tell whatıs important and what isnıt]


*  Time for Realism On Handling Iraq [surprisingly sensible article from the
Washington Post recommending the lifting of sanctions and suggesting that
carefully fostered US public perceptions are the main obstacle to progress:
ŒWhile Saddam Hussein is portrayed here as one of the greatest threats to
world peace, the rest of the world sees him as a ruthless dictator who is
neither powerful enough to pose such a threat nor so suicidal as to be
immune to military deterrence.ı]ŒSMART SANCTIONSı


United Nations, Reuters, 16th June: Jordan appealed to the UN Security
Council yesterday not to enact a new U.S.-British plan to revamp sanctions
against Iraq, saying Jordan's economy might collapse otherwise.

"The effect on the macroeconomic performance cannot be over-exaggerated,"
said Prime Minister Ali Abu Al Ragheb in a memorandum to Secretary-General
Kofi Annan and the council. At issue is a draft resolution that would ease
sanctions on civilian imports to Iraq, ban military materials and draw up a
lengthy list of goods for review of items that could have military and
civilian uses.

The resolution also seeks to stop smuggling, worth about $1 billion a year,
among Iraq's neighbours and have the monies paid to a separate account
rather than to Baghdad directly.

But details were left vague, including how the neighbours might be
compensated, leaving it to Annan to devise a system. One council diplomat
said the Jordanian letter had to be considered "very seriously" but did not
say if this would alter the negotiations.

Iraq fears the new proposals would solidify rather than ease the sanctions,
imposed after Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990. It cut off oil supplies on June 4
in protest against the resolution. It has also threatened to cut oil exports
to its neighbours, including Jordan and Turkey, if they cooperated with the
new plan, should the council approve it.

The Security Council had turned a blind eye to Iraqi oil exports to Jordan,
but Al Ragheb's letter revealed how extensive Jordan's trade was with Iraq.

He said Jordan not only imported $750 million worth of oil a year from Iraq
but exported a wide range of goods and services to Baghdad, its largest
trading partner. Much of the trade is through barter, he said.

"In other words, 37 per cent of all Jordanian industrial companies are
depending on Iraq," Al Ragheb said. If this trade were stopped or reduced,
he said there would be a "recessionary impact" on Jordanian industry,
transportation, construction, banking and other sectors.

Al Ragheb said Iraq had amassed more than $1.3 billion in debts to Jordan,
which were gradually being paid. He also said any interruption in current
arrangements would have an impact on 300,000 Iraqi nationals who have found
jobs in Jordan.

The Jordanian prime minister noted that the political consequences of the
proposed change in the sanctions were as serious as the economic ones,
particularly in view of the Palestinian uprising in the West Bank and Gaza.

"Repeated calls for solidarity with Iraqi and Palestinian people and the
broadening base of support for Iraq and radical Palestinian organisations
are direct results of regional tensions," Al Ragheb said.

These pressures would be aggravated if Jordan's economy suffered as a result
of a change in the sanctions, he said. The council is working towards a
self-imposed deadline of July 3 to adopt the new resolution. Russia, Iraq's
closest ally on the council, has signaled its objections to the concept.

Unclear, however, is whether Russia would use its veto power to kill the
measure or abstain, letting it go through should it be put to a vote.

Baghdad, Reuters, 18th June

Two former United Nations officials yesterday condemned a U.S.-British
proposal to revamp 11-year-old UN sanctions on Baghdad as a move which
amounted to increased punishment for the Iraqi people.

Denis Halliday and Hans von Sponeck, who have both headed the UN
humanitarian programme or oil-for-food deal, told reporters the proposed
"smart" sanctions were designed to extend an embargo imposed on Iraq for its
1990 invasion of Kuwait.

"They (smart sanctions) are intended to create an open-ended opportunity to
sustain an embargo," said Halliday, who quit as head of the oil-for-food
programme in 1998 and has since been a vocal critic of the sanctions.

"We have very carefully studied the draft resolution. We find it a
provocation and an intensified punishment of a people for a crime they have
never committed," said von Sponeck, a German career UN official. He resigned
from the same post last year, criticising the sanctions' effects on ordinary

The UN Security Council is debating an Anglo-American draft resolution that
would ease sanctions on civilian imports to Iraq and tighten the ban on
military goods.

The council is working towards a self-imposed deadline of July 3 to adopt
the new resolution. Russia, Iraq's closest ally in the Security Council, has
signalled its objections. The resolution also seeks to stop smuggling, worth
about $1 billion a year, and have the monies paid to a separate account
rather than to Baghdad directly.

"If the Americans and the British were able to close down (Iraq's) borders
with Turkey, Syria and Jordan, that will deny Iraq a source of hard currency
outside the so-called oil-for- food programme. And it is that extra money
which is being used to begin the process of getting people back to work,"
Halliday said.

Iraq sells oil to neighbouring Jordan, Syria and Turkey outside the
oil-for-food deal, providing funds directly to Baghdad. Iraqi sales under
the oil pact go to a UN escrow account to pay for food, medicine and other
humanitarian needs.

Baghdad fears the new proposals would solidify rather than ease the
sanctions. It cut off oil supplies on June 4 in protest and threatened to
stop selling oil to its neighbours if they cooperated with the new plan.

In a letter to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on June 14, Jordan appealed
to the Security Council to drop plans to overhaul sanctions, saying its
economy would be devastated if trade was halted. Iraqi media said Syria had
also voiced its concern over the new resolution in a letter to Annan.

Turkey last week sent its foreign ministry under-secretary to Baghdad, where
he was told by Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz that Ankara would
suffer severe consequences if it implemented the new resolution.

Halliday and von Sponeck accused Washington and London of misleading public
opinion by saying the new proposals would ease the plight of the Iraqi
people. "We see headlines in the media in London saying 'sanctions have been
lifted on Iraq' but this, of course, is simply not true," Halliday said.

Both former UN officials are touring countries lobbying for an end to the
sanctions. "Only a full lifting of economic sanctions will let Iraqis have a
chance to live a normal life again," von Sponeck said.

Arabic News, 18th June

Diplomatic sources in Damascus told the London- based al-Hayat daily issued
on Sunday that Syria is very worried from the existence of UN observers to
monitor the new sanctions system against Iraq and sees in that as a
violation to the Syrian sovereignty on its own territories that it can not

The sources added that Syria will not accept to increase the suffering of
the Iraqi people while it is concerned with lifting these sanctions,
especially at this period of Israeli escalation against the Palestinian
people, besides the Iraqi market has become very important for the Syrian
economy and that there are economic problems in Syria that can be solved
through consolidating trade relations with Iraq.

The paper indicated that the observers expect the question of the sanctions
to be among the files which President Bashar al-Assad will discuss with the
French President Jacques Chirac during his visit to Paris scheduled on June

Al-Hayat noted the possibility that an agreement will be signed with the
French Elf Aketin company to erect a new oil pipeline from Iraq to Syria in
the framework of the UN Security Council resolutions.

Arabic News, 19th June

The Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak Monday morning received at the
Presidential palace Iraqi Deputy Premier and Finance Minister Hikmat

The meeting was attended by Iraqi charge d'affaires in Cairo Hamam E1

Speaking to the press after the meeting, Hikmat Ibrahim said he came to
Egypt as an envoy of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to brief the president
on the latest developments on the so-called "smart sanctions", its
dimensions and direct impact on Iraqi-Arab relations in general and
Iraqi-Egyptian ties in particular.

>From the outside, the Anglo-American project seems ostensibly containing
some points that are in favour of the Iraqi people because it speaks about
easing measures to enable Iraq import commodities and goods from the outside
world, he said.

Iraq's trade dealings with its neighbors should take place through the UN,
but reality shows the US influence the UN and consequently, Washington has
the upper hand in carrying out this project, he added.

This project puts the Iraqi civil aviation under control and inspection as
each plane heading for Iraq should first land on neighboring borders and be
subject to inspection in search for commodities that might be banned, he

Revenues of Iraqi aviation are then to go to a UN-supervised fund, he added.

"Iraq rejected this project because it would be an infringement of its
dignity and sovereignty,and it is a new colonialist formula.

The entire region is now in great danger because of the energy sources
Israel owns," Ibrahim said.

Asked whether Iraq will work anew as part of the UN oil-for food programme,
he said the programme was usually extended for six months but this time the
UN extended it only for one month in a bid to force Iraq to agree on the
British-American-proposed smart sanctions regime.

That why we announced our approval to extend the programme for six months
but under new terms, he added.

Whether Iraq will accept lifting the UN sanctions and tight control on its
armament process, he said the previous resolutions used to organize the
armament process but now the US is trying to suffocate Iraq even more.

About the impact of the new sanctions regime on the Iraqi Arab relations, he
said "Arab countries exactly feel what we feel." Though the US is trying to
insinuate that there are some countries that supported new sanctions regime,
the official Arab stance is in general against this regime." Concerning
whether the Saudi-Iraqi dispute over the oil pipeline was contained, he said
this issue is about the Iraqi oil pipeline passing through Saudi lands.
"This project was set up in accordance to a definite contract signed between
the two sides,and they should sit together to discuss the contract," he

The United Nations Security Council decided on June 1 to extend the
oil-for-food programme for one month to end on July 3.

Russia and China have been insisting earlier to extend the programme for six
months, but the UNSC failed to take such a decision in the current phase.

As regards the Kuwaiti prisoners of war held in Iraq, Hekmat Ibrahim said
that this issue is a controversial one, adding there are still more
important issues such as Iraqi borders with Kuwait and recognizing the state
of Kuwait.

Moreover, Prime Minister Atef Ebeid Monday received Hekmat Ibrahim, who is
now visiting in Cairo. "The talks dealt with Egypt's stance that rejects
maintaining the international blockade imposed on Iraq," said the Iraqi
official after the meeting.

In reply to a question about the volume of trade between Egypt and Iraq
after carrying out the oil-for-food memorandum of understanding , Ibrahim
said that it hits now $ 2.5 billion. The figure will rise high after
ratifying the free trade area between the two sides, he pointed out.

Ibrahim denounced the Security Council resolution on extending the
oil-for-food programme for only one month instead of six months.

by Edith M. Lederer,  Writer

UNITED NATIONS (Associated Press, 21st June) - In an apparent effort to
build consensus for an overhaul of sanctions on Iraq, France renewed its
support for foreign investment in the country and proposed only limited
interference in Baghdad's trade arrangements with its neighbors.

A new French proposal circulated to Security Council members Wednesday
reiterated France's initial call for allowing foreign companies to invest in
Iraq's civilian sectors, singling out the country's ailing oil industry.

The move appeared aimed at winning Iraq's support for a controversial
sanctions overhaul. But Britain and the United States continue to oppose
direct foreign investment in Iraq's economy.

A new draft British resolution, also circulated to council members
Wednesday, would allow foreign companies only to provide services to Iraq's
civilian sectors, such as agriculture, education and health care.

British and U.S. diplomats insist that their countries will only allow
foreign investment in Iraq if it cooperates with U.N. weapons inspectors.

Sanctions imposed by the Security Council after Iraq's 1990 invasion of
Kuwait cannot be lifted until U.N. inspectors certify that the country's
programs to build weapons of mass destruction have been dismantled. But Iraq
has barred U.N. inspectors for 21/2 years, demanding instead that sanctions
be lifted unconditionally. Baghdad maintains it has fulfilled all the U.N.

Norway, head of the U.N. sanctions committee, rebuffed an Iraqi plea for an
end to the sanctions on Wednesday, insisting Baghdad bow to international

Deputy Iraqi Foreign Minister Nizar Hamdoon met with his Norwegian
counterpart Raymond Johansen in Oslo, but a two-hour working lunch produced
no new concessions.

``No one will take the first step and that must be Iraq now, which must
allow access to weapons inspectors,'' Johansen said.

Hamdoon said Iraq has no intention of giving in, adding: ``We have lost
faith in the security council.''

The British plan, backed by the United States and first submitted May 22,
would lift most restrictions on civilian goods entering Iraq while
tightening enforcement of the arms embargo and plugging up lucrative Iraqi
smuggling routes.

Iraq's main objection to the British proposal is that it would bring under
U.N. control its flourishing trade in oil and other commodities with its
neighbors. Iraq exports oil at a highly discounted price to Jordan under a
special U.N.-approved arrangement, and illegally ships hundreds of thousands
of barrels a day of oil and petroleum products to neighboring Syria and
Turkey, reportedly earning $1 billion a year.

Iraq halted its U.N.-monitored oil exports June 4 to protest the proposed
British plan and has warned its neighbors that it would stop their supplies
if they cooperate with it. The three neighbors have expressed deep concern
about the British draft.

The French proposal makes clear that Paris wants the existing trade
arrangements between Iraq and Jordan kept largely intact, and asks
Secretary-General Kofi Annan to prepare recommendations ``in close
cooperation'' with the neighbors.

The revised British draft would leave it up to Annan to consult the
neighbors on trading arrangements, a more watered down version of its
original proposal.

The three neighboring countries are unlikely to agree to any new


by Alexander G. Higgins

GENEVA (Associated Press, 21st June) - Israel will receive $74 million in
compensation for costs incurred in Iraqi Scud missile attacks during the
Gulf War, but a U.N. panel rejected most of a $1 billion military-related

``The commission very early decided that military costs of participating in
the Desert Storm operation would not be compensated, but a number of member
states went ahead in spite of this,'' U.N. Compensation Commission spokesman
Joe Sills said Thursday.

The commission, charged with making payments to victims of Iraq's 1990
invasion of Kuwait and the resulting Gulf War, received a total of $8.58
billion in claims from Israel, Germany, Turkey and Syria, but only awarded
approximately $79 million in compensation, Sills said.

Sills did not go into detail about what was rejected, but commission
documents showed many of the successful claims involved costs of evacuating
civilians. The commission also agreed to cover damage to diplomatic
buildings, the documents showed.

Germany submitted claims for $130 million and was awarded $5 million. Turkey
asked for $3.3 billion, but was granted only $1,800 for property losses.
Syria submitted claims for $3.8 billion, but none of its claims were
approved, Sills said.

The awards are funded through the U.N. oil-for-food program. The
compensation fund receives 25 percent of the revenue Iraq earns through the
sale of oil.

Because of Iraq's refusal to sell oil under the U.N.-imposed conditions, no
further funds are being added to the commission's reserves, but it still has
$503 million available, Sills said.

The panel also decided to let Iraq have up to $5 million to hire consultants
to defend against environmental claims. The agreement, which initially had
been opposed by the United States, was worked out on a political level in
the U.N. Security Council in New York, Sills said.

The commission is made up of representatives of the 15 Security Council

Geneva, Reuters, 22nd June

The United Nations' Gulf War reparations body yesterday announced it would
pay $243.3 million to five Middle Eastern countries to fund studies on
damage to the environment and public health caused by Iraq. Overcoming
initial United States objections, the Geneva-based fund also agreed to
provide up to $5 million for Iraq to prepare its defence against the claims,
officials said.

It is the first time Iraq has been given funds for technical assistance. The
move comes amid British and U.S. attempts in the UN Security Council to
revamp sanctions against Baghdad to ease the impact on civilians.

Neighbouring states have filed a total of $46 billion worth of environmental
claims against Iraq for damage due directly to its 1990 invasion and
seven-month occupation of Kuwait. Iraqi troops fleeing a U.S.-led military
coalition set fire to oil wells which spewed out pollution and took months
to put out. The UN Compensation Commission (UNCC), which is handling a total
of $300 billion in claims, has already awarded nearly $17 billion to Kuwait
for damaged oil wells.

The UNCC's Governing Council, the executive body, is made up of the same 15
states that sit on the UN Security Council.

At its three-day session, the UNCC Council approved another $599 million in
assorted claims by individuals, companies and governments - part of the
ongoing process of reparations imposed on Iraq after the Gulf War.

Payments included $74 million to Israel for damage caused by Scud missiles,
officials said. The five "front line" states - Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iran,
Jordan and Syria - were awarded $243.3 million to carry out the
environmental studies. Turkey's claim was rejected.

"The studies will bring forward information about the extent of
environmental damage and public health damage," UNCC spokesman Joe Sills
told a news briefing. The awards, to be paid in the next weeks, are: Saudi
Arabia $109.6 million; Kuwait $108.9 million; Iran $17 million; Jordan $7.1
million and Syria $700,000.

The funding for Iraq's defence was awarded after pressure by Russia and
France, both highly critical of current international sanctions against

"This was clearly a difficult political matter...because the U.S. publicly
said initially that they opposed any funding being made available and I
think some other members had reservations," Sills said.

However, a U.S. spokesman in Geneva said Washington was "satisfied" with the
assistance to Iraq. Iraq's ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Samir
Al Nima, had urged the Governing Council to reject funding the studies but
to contribute $20 million to Iraq's defence.

The fund currently receives 25 per cent of the revenue generated by the UN
oil-for-food deal, which allows Iraq to use other proceeds from strictly
controlled oil sales to buy humanitarian supplies.

Iraq halted its oil exports under the programme on June 4 in protest at the
Security Council extending the pact for only one month instead of the usual
six so as to ponder new sanctions.


by Louis Meixler
Chicago Tribune, June 19, 2001

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey (Associated Press) -- U.S. fighter pilots are
shooting back less despite taking more anti-aircraft fire while patrolling
northern Iraq, leading to concerns among aviators of Saddam Hussein scoring
an enormous propaganda victory if an American plane is downed and to
questions in Washington about the value of the decade-old mission.

Iraqi gunners are opening fire almost every day, said U.S. pilots, and
experts say Hussein has beefed up his missile forces with Chinese and
possibly Yugoslav help.

Since January, U.S. warplanes patrolling a no-fly zone over northern Iraq
struck at targets just seven times, while Iraq opened fire on the aircraft
48 times. In 2000, the United States struck 47 times.

The dangers and the estimated $1 billion cost have led officials in
Washington to question a mission that has sent more than 200,000 flights
over Iraq during the past decade.

Hussein "is doing everything he can to shoot us down," said Col. Maury
Forsyth, the U.S. officer who draws up the allied flight plans for the
no-fly zone. He spoke from his concrete command bunker in Incirlik air base
in southern Turkey.

Forsyth said the Iraqis have been shooting at allied warplanes during his 22
months in command of the aircraft. Some suspect Hussein has been hiding some
of the anti-aircraft guns in civilian areas.

"I prefer to ... stay away rather than endanger the civilian population,"
Forsyth said.

Experts say Iraq apparently hired Chinese workers to install fiber-optic
cables to link its radar systems -- an allegation noted by Defense Secretary
Donald Rumsfeld on a visit to Incirlik this month but denied by the Chinese

Though the surveillance radar is outside the no-fly zone, the network gives
Iraqi commanders an overall picture of the allied flights and help them
direct anti-aircraft fire.

Other reports say Slobodan Milosevic, then president of Yugoslavia,
dispatched air defense experts to advise the Iraqis on how to improve their
anti-aircraft capabilities.

The no-fly zone was set up in 1991 after the Persian Gulf war to protect
rebellious Iraqi Kurds from Hussein's forces. A similar zone was set up over
southern Iraq a year later and is also patrolled by U.S. and British
June 20, 2001, 1:52PM

Houston Chronicle [?], 20th June

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Associated Press: Iraq's state-run television claimed today
that a U.S. British airstrike killed 23 people during a soccer game, and
showed children reportedly injured in the attack. U.S. and British officials
said the claims were false propaganda.

The Iraqi News Agency said allied planes attacked Tall Afar, 275 miles
northwest of Baghdad, the capital. It did not say when, but said the victims
were buried today. It said 11 other people were injured.

Iraqi state-run television quoted an unidentified doctor who treated people
at Tall Afat Hospital saying the attack was Tuesday.

The television report quoted the doctor as saying four members of one family
were killed and some of the injured were in a serious condition.

"I saw three planes attack the soccer field at 11:30 a.m.," an unidentified
man told the station.

An injured child, Amar Hameed, 5, said on television that he was watching
the soccer game when a missile fell on the field. He reportedly had burns
and fractures.

Television footage showed several injured children in a hospital, reportedly
wounded during the American-British raid in Iraq's north.

"America and its ally, Britain, have committed a new, ugly crime that will
be added to the record of their heinous crimes against Iraq," the Iraqi News
Agency said. "The people of Tall Afar buried today the martyrs amid shouts
of anger and condemnation against this crime."

Allied aircraft patrol the skies over southern and northern Iraq, zones
established after the 1991 Gulf War to protect Shiite Muslim rebels in the
south and Kurds in the north from Saddam Hussein's forces. Iraq does not
recognize the no-fly zones and has challenged allied aircraft since December

In Washington, White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said of the Iraqi
charges: "There's no substance, nothing at all to those claims."

Maj. Ed Loomis, public affairs officer for the U.S. European Command in
Stuttgart, Germany, denied such a hit could have come Tuesday.

"We did fly yesterday, conducting routine enforcement of the no-fly zone,"
Loomis said. "Our aircraft completed their mission without dropping any
ordnance and returned safely to their bases. ... The Iraqi allegations are
absolutely false."

Britain's Ministry of Defense said American and British planes were fired on
by Iraqi ground forces while patrolling Tuesday and today, but did not
respond either day.

"This is yet another example of Iraqi propaganda," a ministry statement
said. "Saddam regularly claims that we have killed civilians or destroyed
civilian infrastructure on days when we have not dropped ordnance -- and
even when we have not flown patrols over the no-fly zones."

British and American jets enforcing the no-fly zone over northern Iraq are
based in Turkey.

A spokesman for U.S. forces at Incirlik air base in southern Turkey, home
base for the planes that fly over northern Iraq, denied anything was bombed

"We flew today, but we did not ... drop anything," said Maj. Scott Vadnais.

The Iraqi television report also showed hundreds of people and government
officials attending funerals, with people shouting "we will protect our
leader with our souls" and "America is the enemy of the world's people."

by Louis Meixler, Associated Press
Boston Globe, 20th June

NORTH OF THE TURKISH-IRAQI BORDER - Lieutenant Colonel T.J. O'Shaughnessy
steers toward Iraq, where the American pilot patrols the skies with
laser-guided bombs under the wings of his jet fighter. In his vest, he
carries a pistol and a letter urging his safe return if he is shot down.

The no-fly zone over northern Iraq is becoming more dangerous for its
enforcers, with Iraqis firing more often - from beefed-up air defense
facilities - at US and British aircraft. The United States is responding by
avoiding risky areas and preparing for a possible rescue mission.

The most recent shooting incident occurred yesterday, when Iraqi gunners
opened fire with antiaircraft artillery on a patrol that included
O'Shaughnessy and his F-16 squadron, the Buzzards. No planes were damaged.

''Pretty much every day, they are shooting at us,'' said O'Shaughnessy, of
Boston. ''That keeps guys on their toes. It keeps you focused.''

Air Force commanders say President Saddam Hussein's forces are firing their
antiaircraft guns and missiles more often at planes patrolling the zones
established to protect Kurds in the north and Shiite Muslims in the south.

Pilots say the missiles are fired without radar guidance because American
aircraft carry missiles designed to home in on radar.

Brigadier General Edward Ellis said yesterday that while the chance of an
Iraqi missile hitting an airplane was small, Hussein ''shoots more often
than he did in the past ... and the bottom line is he could get lucky.''

US aircraft try to avoid areas where there are Iraqi guns and have
significantly reduced their bombing of northern Iraq, pilots said. This
year, US warplanes have struck targets just seven times, even though Iraq
fired on the aircraft 49 times. Last year, the United States bombed northern
Iraq 47 times.

The northern no-fly zone was created in 1991 to protect rebellious Kurds
from Hussein's forces. The southern zone was set up a year later and is also
patrolled by US and British aircraft. Iraqi gunners began shooting at the
aircraft in December 1998.

If a plane were shot down, O'Shaughnessy and his men would be responsible
for locating the pilot on the ground. After making contact with the pilot,
O'Shaughnessy could call in Air Force commandos for a rescue mission.

O'Shaughnessy and all American pilots who fly over Iraq carry a 9mm Baretta
and a letter - in English and Arabic - urging anyone who finds them to help.
Some also carry cash.

Specialists say that after almost a decade of air patrols, Iraq is so
desperate to shoot down a US plane that its gunners try to bait the pilots
to approach heavily defended areas. ''They are going to try to come up with
any tactic that could work,'' Ellis said.

Pilots say Hussein has been placing antiaircraft guns in civilian areas so
that they can fire without being attacked.

''An Iraqi civilian does not deserve to die because Saddam Hussein placed a
gun near his home,'' Ellis said. ''But if it is out in the open, we will
respond violently.''

In Washington, officials are considering cutting back the dangerous mission,
which costs some $1 billion a year.

Ellis said that with Hussein still well armed and capable of posing a threat
to his neighbors, he would recommend continuing the patrols.

by Alex Belida
Voanews, 21 Jun 2001

Pentagon officials say Iraq itself appears to be responsible for the 23
deaths it claims resulted from a bombing raid by U.S. and British warplanes.

Donald Rumsfeld says patrolling coalition aircraft this week observed Iraqi
missile and anti aircraft artillery fire at a distance. He believes some of
those shots may have struck a sports field in Northern Iraq, killing 23
people and wounding 11 others. Mr. Rumsfeld said, "They were not anywhere
near our airplanes. The coalition aircraft did not fire in response and in
the event anyone was killed it was undoubtedly the result of misdirected
ground fire that ended up in a location that was not intended."

Mr. Rumsfeld spoke to reporters after meeting at the Pentagon with NATO
Secretary General Lord Robertson.

Earlier, Pentagon officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said
similar apparent accidents have occurred in Iraq in the past. They noted
Iraqi authorities have in the past also sought to blame coalition air
patrols for casualties and damage.

The Pentagon acknowledges that U.S. and British aircraft conducted routine
patrols in the skies of Northern Iraq on Tuesday and Wednesday. But
spokesmen deny that any bombs were dropped or missiles fired.

Iraq says its anti-aircraft defense units fired on the planes, hitting one.
But the Pentagon says all the aircraft returned to their base in Turkey

Coalition aircraft have been flying patrols over both Northern and Southern
Iraq since the end of the 1991 Gulf War. In the North, the patrols are
intended to protect minority Kurds from attack by Baghdad.

Las Vegas Sun, 23rd June

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Six American and British activists opposed to U.N.
sanctions against Iraq said Saturday they had collected fragments of a
missile that reportedly killed 23 Iraqis to determine whether it was fired
by allied warplanes, as alleged by Iraq.

The United States had denied dropping bombs Tuesday on a soccer field in
Tall Afar, 275 miles northwest of Baghdad. Washington said if there were
deaths in the attack, they were likely caused by Iraq's own misdirected
ground fire.

"We saw a soccer field with a small crater and there were missile fragments,
clothes and children's sandals," said Bilal Moose Patel, a 31-year-old
British member of the Chicago based Voices in the Wilderness pressure group.

"The nearest large facility was a grain elevator, which is at least one half
to three-quarters of a mile away," he said.

American activist Philip Steger, from St. Paul, Minn., said he planned to
ask the Pentagon to check on the serial numbers on the fragments.

"Since we now have only initial observation, we are not prepared to draw any
conclusions," he told reporters.

Since arriving in Baghdad on June 14, the three Britons and three Americans
have visited Basra, 340 miles south of Baghdad, and the province of Mosul,
where the attack allegedly occurred.

The activists said they want to voice their support for Iraqis suffering
under 11 years of U.N. sanctions, imposed after Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990.

Allied aircraft patrol the skies over southern and northern Iraq, zones
established after the 1991 Gulf War to protect Shiite Muslim rebels in the
south and Kurds in the north from Saddam Hussein's forces. Iraq does not
recognize the no-fly zones and has challenged allied aircraft since December


Arabic News, 18th June

The Iraqi minister of trade Muhammad Mahdi Saleh has stressed that his talks
with several officials on Saturday in the United Arab Emirates UAE dealt
with the establishment of a free trade area with the UAE and Iraq aiming at
UAE exportation of commodities through its ports without customs fees and a
licensing to Iraq.

In a press statement, Saleh added that a joint cooperation in the area of
ports will be held between the ports authority and the free zone of Jabal
Ali in Dubai and the authorities concerned in Iraq, noting that the volume
of the foreign trade of Iraq with the Arab states, according to the "oil for
food" agreement reached USD 10.6 billion.


Arabic News, 19th June

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Monday issued the presidential decree
no, 311 for 2001 provides for the establishment of a Syrian trade center in
Baghdad, belong to the Syrian ministry of Industry and aims at acquainting
with the Syrian products, making relevant marketing studies and maintaining
cooperation with regional organizations and their trade centers concerning
exports as well as taking part in the activities that would help realizing
objectives of the center.

by Bertus Hendriks,
Radio Netherlands, 22 June 2001

The United States has indicted 13 Saudi militants and a Lebanese man for the
Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia. At the same time, the US accused
parts of the Iranian government of being behind the 1996 attack which killed
19 U.S. servicemen and wounded 372 other Americans. The indictment did not
name or charge any members of the Iranian government, but it may have
serious political repercussions.

The 14 people indicted in connection with the 1996 truck bomb attack near
the town of Dahran are said to belong to Saudi Hizbollah, a radical Shi'ite
Muslim group. Saudi Arabia's ruling royal family and the majority of the
population belong to Sunni Islam.  Eastern parts of Saudi Arabia including
the town of Dahran is home to a sizeable Shi'ite minority. Shia Islam is
dominant in Iran and in southern Iraq.

For years, the United States have suspected the involvement of Iranian
officials in the planning and supervison of the sophisticated operation in
which a powerful truck bomb ripped through a US military housing complex at
the Khobar Towers, leaving 19 serviceman dead and causing massive

Iran´s Alleged Involvement

Iran has always strenuously denied any involvement, but the United States
Federal Bureau of Investigation now says it has enough proof of Iranian
involvement. It has taken the FBI a long time to come to that conclusion,
not in the least because the Saudi authorities have been very reluctant to
cooperate in the police investigation.

Saudi Arabia, a key ally of the US, fears that the American accusations
against Iran and the political actions the US would have to take if the
accusations are upheld in court, could jeopardise Saudi-Iranian relations
which have greatly improved in recent years.

Changes in Iran

As a matter of fact, a lot has happened since 1996. The then President
Hashemi Rafsandjani was replaced by reformist president Mohammad Khatami in
1997. Mr Khatami has just clinched a second term in office winning a
landslide victory earlier this month. One of the few successes of President
Khatami's first term has been the mending of Iran's relations with its
neighbours in the Gulf and elsewhere in the world.

Rogue operations by Iranian-backed militants abroad were stopped and
hardliners within the Iranian intelligence apparatus responsible for such
operations were sidelined. An example is former Intelligence Minister Ali
Fallahian, who, in April 1997, was held responsible by a German court for
the 1992 murder of Kurdish Iranian dissidents in the Mykonos restaurant in

Normalisation Undermined

Just as the Mykonos trial caused a crisis in Iranian European relations, the
Khobar trial could gravely undermine Mr Khatami's efforts to normalise
relations with the US. A debate is currently going on in US government
circles about this sensitive subject. Leading voices in the US establishment
are calling for a rapprochement with Iran with a view to boosting the
position of the reformist Iranian president vis a vis his conservative
hardline opponents, for whom the US is still the Great Satan.

But any normalisation between Iran and the US means first of all a lifting
of trade sanctions under the Iran-Lybia Sanctions Act adopted by the
previous Clinton Administration. The lifting of sanctions has the strong
support of the US oil industry, which now sees many lucrative contracts go
to European competitors. But such normalisation also faces strong
opposition, especially in Congress and in pro-Israeli circles. These argue
that Iran is still supporting terrorism, developing weapons of mass
destruction and putting up opposition to the Israeli-Palestinian peace

In short: the Khobar trial will put Mr Khatami on the defensive at home and
it will thwart any attempts by the Bush Administration to lift the sanctions
or to renew them only for a limited time. In other words, the normalisation
of US-Iranian ties is not around the corner.
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