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News, 26/8-1/9/01 (1) The news compilations may be a bit disrupted over the next week or two. The main news this week is the shooting down of an unmanned spy plane and the talking out of Basra airport¹s radar facility. there were lots of articles on these but none of them seemed to say very much. The shooting down of the plane posed a problem for US apologists - how to make light of the Iraqi victory while continuing to insist on the reality of the Iraqi menace, which is what justifies the bombings. Recommended articles of the week: A passionate voice in the wilderness¹ and Where is our outrage over Iraq¹, both in the Campaigning section. NO FLY ZONES * Iraq Says It Shoots Down U.S. Spy Plane * U.S. Jets Attack 2 Targets in Iraq [with more details of the Predator spy plane which was shot down] * Iraqis bury civilians killed in U.S.-British airstrike * Droning around and around [Predator drones are easy to shoot down and don¹t cost a lot. Which may be true. After all $3m is only a tenth of what it cost to produce Michael Jackson¹s new LP) * Iraq Says Western Air Attack Kills Three Civilians * American Jets Attack Iraqi Radar * Iraq Says Basra Radar Destroyed by U.S. Jets IRAQI-MIDDLE EAST/ARAB WORLD RELATIONS * Iraqi criticism for the conference of the Arab foreign ministers [This is just included to register the fact that a conference of Arab foreign ministers took place. Otherwise we mightn¹t have noticed] * Iraq says Saudi soldier killed in border clash * Company plans Syria-Iraq airlink * Syrian source denies on expected visit of President al- Assad to Iraq * Turkish army clashes with Kurds [Another Turkish incursion into Northern Iraq. International Law, how are you?] * Jordan's King, Putin Urge End to Iraq Isolation * Yemen smooths Iraq-Kuwait row * DNA Tests Prove Identity of Gulf War Pilot - Saudi * Iraq accused of firing at Saudi forces INSIDE IRAQ * Return of archeological treasures from Europ sought * Satellite to beam anti-Saddam TV to Iraq * Saddam and the ministry of sound [The unpromising subject matter Zabiba and the King¹ turns into quite an interesting article on what is left of social and cultural life in Iraq. Doesn¹t mention the hundred giant statues pointing to Iran we learn about in the passionate voice¹ article below ...] * Iraq tops world 'disappeared' list [in a survey by Amnesty International] AND, IN NEWS, 26/81/9/01 (2) CAMPAIGNING * A passionate voice in the wilderness [on Kathy Kelly] * Where is our outrage over Iraq? [We're like the children of drug kingpins who love living in big houses and having private planes, and somehow manage to block out the fact that Daddy had to kill a lot of people to get where he's at. And that Daddy has to kill a lot more people to "protect our interests." The author is a Former Denver Broncos player¹, which seems to be as good a training ground for understanding the realities of the world as any] * Leave Iraq Alone? [This comes from Media Monitors.net, which seems to give ordinary folk like you and me the chance to have their say. This is a defence of US policy I couldn¹t track down the anti-sanctions article it is replying to but it states the problem rather as I see it: that it is one of pride. He reproaches Saddam for allowing his people to suffer to preserve his pride, while obviously being dimly aware that the people¹s¹ pride has something to do with it as well. It only takes a little more thinking to realise that we have murdered hundreds of thousands of people uniquely for the pleasure, which we have not yet been able to enjoy, of crushing that pride] OIL FOR FOOD * Iraq submits Sep oil prices to U.N. * Iraq and France and the oil-for-food program * UN blocks 43 food contracts, says Iraq * Iraq sets up firm to oversee new oil finds IRAQI/INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS * [Pakistan¹s] Trade volume with Iraq reaches $70m * India, Pakistan vying for Iraqi wheat market * Large delegation from India arrives in Baghdad * [Indian] Wheat exports to Iraq likely to resume EMIGRATION * 10 Iraqi Kurds Seized After Sneaking Into Israel From Lebanon [Surprising to see the People¹s Daily using the word sneak¹ in this context] * 44 Iraqis caught in chunnel [not surprising to see The Sun using the word sneak¹ in this context] NEW WORLD ORDER * The Thinking Man's Military [Jim Hoagland on Paul Wolfowitz. It seems Wolfowitz has realised that justifying the SDI on the basis of the threat¹ posed to the USA by Iraq or North Korea is ludicrous. So "We are trying to move from a threat-based strategy to a capabilities based strategy." ie not what we have to do, but what we can do. Extracts] * Editorial: "W;" confronts the world [Reproducing a whole article from the Saudi paper Ain al-Yaqeen is a bit of self indulgence but it seems to me that a quite perceptive and even, within its limits, witty attack on a US President, written by a Saudi Ambassador is a bit of an event. It includes the following: Finally, the president's advisors would do well to let him know that most of the credit for the "Bugaboo of Baghdad's" remaining in power goes to US policy which throws billions of dollars on Israel every year while throwing rockets at Baghdad.¹ Time to start getting the US military out of Saudi Arabia, isn¹t it? URLs ONLY: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,32966,00.html * Manned Combat Fighters Fall Prey to Evolution by Matthew Baker Fox News, 27th August [For military technology enthusiasts] http://english.pravda.ru/main/2001/08/21/12995.html American genocide continues by Mike Schneider Pravda, 21st August [This is a summary of Thomas Nagy¹s article in The progressive, on the policy of deliberately degrading Iraq¹s water supply] http://www.msnbc.com/news/612818.asp * Why Not Saddam by Christopher Dickey Newsweek International, 20th August [Arguing for the idiotic policy of indicting S.Hussein as a war criminal, i.e. invading Iraq, or continuing to torture the Iraqi people pointlessly until S.Hussein dies] http://www.jpost.com/Editions/2001/08/29/Columns/Columns.33660.html * Fools rush in by Barry Rubin Jerusalem Post, 29th August [An unpleasant piece of Israeli sneering against Arabs as shifty cowards and fools who need to be kept in their place by firm measures on the part of the Master Race. Mainly directed against Bashar alAssad, mainly because of his apparently pro-Iraqi policy] NO FLY ZONES http://news.excite.com/news/r/010827/06/news-iraq-usa-plane-dc * IRAQ SAYS IT SHOOTS DOWN U.S. SPY PLANE Excite, 27th August BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The Iraqi army said Monday its air defenses had shot down a U.S. reconnaissance plane while it was flying over southern Iraq. "The air defenses in the Basra area shot down the plane when it was flying a spy mission inside Iraqi airspace," a military spokesman told the Iraqi News Agency. He did not say whether the aircraft was manned or not. "This was an advanced plane which the Americans used during their aggression on Yugoslavia," he added without elaborating. Iraqi Information Ministry officials said they were expecting a video tape from the Defense Ministry showing the wreckage of the downed plane and that Iraqi television would air it as soon as it was received. In Washington, a Pentagon spokesman said he had no information about such an incident. [.....] http://www.baghdad.com/?action=display&article=8956666&template=baghdad/inde xsearch.txt&index=recent * U.S. JETS ATTACK 2 TARGETS IN IRAQ The Associated Press, Tue 28 Aug 2001 WASHINGTON (AP) U.S. and British fighter jets attacked two military targets in southern Iraq on Tuesday, Pentagon officials said. The targets were facilities that provide command, control and communications support for Iraqi air defense fighter aircraft, one official said. More than a half-dozen U.S. and British strike aircraft carried out the attacks, accompanied by more than a dozen jammer and other support planes. The attack came one day after U.S. forces lost an unmanned reconnaissance aircraft near Basra, in southern Iraq, but Tuesday's action was planned in advance and not related to that incident directly, two U.S. officials said. The officials discussed the attacks on condition they not be identified. They described the attack as part of a continuing effort to counteract Iraqi improvements to its air defenses. Pentagon officials also said on Tuesday they had verified Iraq's claim that it found the charred wreckage of the Air Force RQ-1B Predator aircraft that was lost over southern Iraq a day earlier. Two U.S. defense officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that while it appears certain the wreckage is from the lost Predator, it remains unclear whether the drone was shot down by Iraqi air defenses as Iraq claims or crashed as a result of a technical malfunction. The wreckage was found near the city of Basra, about 30 miles north of the Kuwaiti border. Pentagon officials said a Predator was operating in that area at the time its controllers lost contact on Monday. Iraq said its air defenses shot down the Predator, and Pentagon officials did not dispute that. They said they could not rule out the possibility that the Predator went down on its own. Images of the wreckage were broadcast on Iraqi state television, and government newspapers trumpeted Iraq's first downing of a U.S. aircraft since U.S. and British planes began patrolling ``no fly'' zones over Iraq in 1991. ``Iraqi skies are a death zone for the enemy,'' said the Al-Jumhuriya newspaper. A photograph released by the Iraqi News Agency on Tuesday showed a purported piece of wreckage that bore two tags. A red label said ``Property of U.S.A.F.'' A blue tag on an adjacent panel of the wreckage said ``U.S. Navy Prop.'' The Predator is an Air Force aircraft, but some contain Navy components. Also visible from Iraqi TV images was a piece of wreckage displaying the name ``Sierra Monolithics.'' A California company, Sierra Monolithics Inc., makes communications components for unmanned aerial vehicles. Calls to the company's headquarters in Redondo Beach, Calif., seeking details were not returned Tuesday, and Air Force officials at the Pentagon said they did not know whether Sierra Monolithics makes parts for the Predator. Army Col. Rick Thomas, spokesman for the U.S. Central Command, which is responsible for U.S. military operations in the Persian Gulf area, said no sensitive technology was compromised by the loss. http://europe.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/meast/08/29/iraq.us.ap/index.html * IRAQIS BURY CIVILIANS KILLED IN U.S.-BRITISH AIRSTRIKE CNN, August 29, 2001 BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- Villagers buried two civilians Wednesday who had been killed in a U.S.-British airstrike on southern Iraq, the official Iraqi News Agency reported. Giving the first Iraqi report on the raid, the agency said American and British planes carried out a "treacherous aggression" against al-Ahrar village in Nasiriya province, about 300 kilometers (188 miles) southeast of Baghdad, at 10:30 p.m. local time (1830 GMT) on Tuesday. "This peaceful village was far away from any military site," the agency said. But the U.S. Defense Department said late Tuesday that allied planes had attacked command, control and communications facilities of the Iraqi air defenses. The strike came a day after the United States lost an unmanned reconnaissance craft near the southern city of Basra, some 150 kilometers (95 miles) southeast of Nasiriya. Iraq claims to have shot down the drone. The Pentagon is not sure whether it was brought down by fire or malfunction. The Iraqi News Agency said Tuesday's raid killed Dahiaf Ali and Eidan Jabur. Government officials and "many people" attended their funeral, with people shouting their condemnation of this "new ugly crime," the agency reported. [.....] http://www.cincypost.com/2001/aug/29/editb082901.html * DRONING AROUND AND AROUND Cincinnati Post, 29th August Downing a U.S. Predator - an unmanned spy plane - is hardly a difficult feat of arms. The drones are slow and low, cruising at 85 mph and generally operating at an altitude of 10,000 feet. They lack the sophisticated features of manned warplanes. A Predator went down over Iraq on Monday. The Iraqis probably shot it down - they've been trying hard enough - but it could have just crashed. Incredibly, it is the first fixed-wing aircraft to be lost in the 10 years U.S. and British pilots have been enforcing the no-fly zone. The loss of the Predator proves the value of drones. No lives were lost; the $3.2 million replacement cost is cheap for a military aircraft; and it denies the Iraqis a propaganda victory. Parading through Baghdad brandishing pieces of what is basically an overgrown model airplane is hardly a triumph. The real problem about enforcing the no-fly zone is that sooner or later a manned aircraft is likely to go down in Iraq, either because of mechanical malfunction or because the Iraqis finally succeed in hitting one. Saddam Hussein's regime has spoken openly of using a captured American or British pilot as leverage to have the U.N. embargo lifted or eased. Saddam is calculating that a few American prisoners would cause the United States to cave, perhaps even withdraw from the region. It is hard-hearted to say, but he would have to be proved wrong. The Iraqis - with Chinese help, it is alleged - have upgraded their air defenses faster than the U.S. and British can take them out. If the no-fly zone is to continue to be enforced, the Bush administration's only option may be more and bigger air strikes. The U.N. embargo has succeeded in neither its stated goal - stripping Iraq of weapons of mass destruction and the means to make them - nor its unstated goal - toppling Saddam from power. The embargo has succeeded in but one respect: If it were not in place, Saddam would almost certainly again attack one or more of his neighbors, Kuwait certainly and perhaps Saudi Arabia. While the United Nations is stalemated over coming up with a more effective embargo, U.S. policy is like those overflights of Iraq - going around and around in circles in dangerous territory. http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20010829/ts/iraq_raid_deaths_dc_2.html * IRAQ SAYS WESTERN AIR ATTACK KILLS THREE CIVILIANS Yahoo, 29th August BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Western air raids on southern Iraq overnight killed three civilians and wounded 15, the Iraqi army said on Wednesday. ``The enemy attacked civilian and infrastructure targets in Basra and Thi Qar provinces, killing three citizens and wounding 15,'' a military communiqu said. Iraqi television showed the funerals of two men from the remote village of al-Ahrar it described as victims of the raids. [.....] http://www.baghdad.com/?action=display&article=9006938&template=baghdad/inde xsearch.txt&index=recent * AMERICAN JETS ATTACK IRAQI RADAR The Associated Press, Fri 31 Aug 2001 WASHINGTON (AP) For the third time in less than a week, U.S. fighter jets attacked a military target in southern Iraq that the Pentagon says posed a threat to allied pilots patrolling Iraqi airspace. Four Air Force F-16 fighter jets on Thursday attacked a long-range radar stationed at Basra airport, Pentagon officials said. They said the airport radar was not active at the time of the attack but had been used in the past to coordinate Iraqi air defense targeting of U.S. and British aircraft in southern Iraq. The radar was considered a significant target because it had sufficient range to ``see'' all of Kuwait's airspace, according to a senior defense official who spoke on condition of anonymity. In a brief statement announcing the attack, the U.S. Central Command said only that ``coalition'' aircraft used precision-guided weapons to strike the radar at 1:30 p.m. EDT and that the damage was being assessed. It also said the attack was ``in response to recent Iraqi hostile threats.'' The Central Command is responsible for U.S. military operations in the Persian Gulf area. The radar was located on Basra's main airport, which a Pentagon official said serves both civilian and military aircraft. He said the radar was located a sufficient distance from civilian airport facilities to ensure that civilians were not hit. Another defense official said the F-16s dropped 500-pound laser-guided bombs smaller than what normally would be used against such a target to further reduce the chance of civilian damage. Thursday's attack was planned in advance, the Pentagon official said. He spoke on condition of anonymity. Last Saturday, U.S. and British warplanes attacked a mobile radar in southern Iraq, and on Tuesday they hit an Iraqi aircraft command and control facility. [.....] According to the Pentagon's count, Iraq has ``provoked'' allied planes in the south defined as incidents in which it has fired on planes, used radar against them or sent fighters into the ``no fly'' zone 390 times this year. That compares with 221 ``provocations'' in all of 2000. Allied planes have struck at Iraqi air defense targets 23 times in the south so far this year, compared with 32 times last year. In the northern zone, the Pentagon counts 78 Iraqi provocations so far this year, compared with 145 in 2000. The pace of allied strikes has fallen from 48 last year to 10 so far this year. [.....] http://www.reuters.com/news_article.jhtml?type=worldnews&StoryID=192194 * IRAQ SAYS BASRA RADAR DESTROYED BY U.S. JETS by Khaled Yacoub Oweis BAGHDAD (Reuters, 31st August) - Iraq said on Friday a U.S. air strike on radar at Basra airport in south Iraq had destroyed the installation and wounded one civilian in the latest of a series of attacks by Western warplanes. Iraqi officials confirmed the attack on the Basra radar station, which U.S. defense officials said took place on Thursday, following Baghdad's claim this week to have shot down an unmanned U.S. Predator reconnaissance aircraft. "At 21:42 (1742 GMT) on Thursday, U.S. and British warplanes committed a despicable crime by bombing the radar station of Basra International Airport, which guides civilian landings and takeoffs," said a transport ministry official. "This device is registered with the International Air Transport Association. It was fully destroyed," the official told the Iraqi News Agency (INA). A military spokesman quoted by INA said one civilian was wounded in the attack. U.S. defense officials said on Thursday that F-16 warplanes attacked "a military radar" as part of a concerted strategy to destroy Baghdad's air defenses, which regularly fire at Western warplanes policing two "no-fly" zones in northern and southern Iraq. Air raid sirens rang in Basra city around the time of the attack. A Reuters photographer who boarded a plane from Basra to Baghdad on Friday said the airport appeared to be functioning normally. The airport occupies a large area in the strategic Basra province, home to Iraq's main port on the Gulf and major oil installations 300 miles south of Baghdad. [.....] "The United States cannot tell Iraqis under siege for the past 11 years 'You cannot improve your military tools'," said Foreign Minister Naji Sabri. "We expect the United States and Britain to widen their aggression on Iraq any time. We are ready for confrontation," INA quoted the minister telling Qatar's al-Jazeera television. [.....] IRAQI-MIDDLE EAST/ARAB WORLD RELATIONS http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/010827/2001082710.html * IRAQI CRITICISM FOR THE CONFERENCE OF THE ARAB FOREIGN MINISTERS Arabic News, 27th August The Iraqi daily al-Thawra ( revolution) on Sunday strongly criticized the decisions of the emergency conference of the Arab foreign ministers, considering that these decisions constituted a step backward in confrontation of Israel towards the Palestinian Intifada. The paper said that the decisions of the emergency conference which was held in Cairo last Wednesday which did not result even the simplest decision that should be taken, which is to sever political and economic relations with Israel showed the discrepancy and inability in the Arab lines. The paper also criticized talking about secret decisions released by the conference attributed by news agencies to several diplomatic observers, calling for more diplomatic work in order to convince Washington to change its position towards what is going place in the occupied Palestinian territories. http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/news.asp?ArticleID=25241 * IRAQ SAYS SAUDI SOLDIER KILLED IN BORDER CLASH Reuters, Baghdad, 27th August Iraq said its border guards killed a Saudi Arabian soldier on Friday during clashes with a Saudi armed group that had infiltrated the Iraqi border, the official Iraqi News Agency (INA) reported on Sunday. INA quoted a letter addressed by Iraq's Arab League envoy to League Secretary-General Amr Moussa as saying the fighting took place on August 25 at Iraq's Slikhat and Dhaher border posts. "A Saudi armed group of 10 persons carrying light arms infiltrated the Iraqi territory and engaged in an exchange of fire with units of Iraqi border guards," the letter said. It said the Saudis then withdrew, leaving behind a wounded member, named in the letter as Saad Mutliq Slibi. The letter said he died on his way to hospital in Samawa city, adding that Iraq's Foreign Ministry had contacted representative of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Baghdad to take his body back to Saudi Arabia. The letter said a Saudi patrol of three vehicles had also entered Iraq's territory and fired at Iraqi border outposts on March 25 last year. It was the second time in as many months that an incident on Iraq's border with Saudi Arabia has been reported. In June Saudi Arabia said its border guards had killed an Iraqi soldier during clashes with an Iraqi patrol, which had infiltrated the kingdom. [.....] http://europe.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/meast/08/28/syria.iraq.flights.reut/index.h tml * COMPANY PLANS SYRIA-IRAQ AIRLINK CNN, 28th August DAMASCUS, Syria (Reuters) -- A private airline company is launching the first direct daily flights between Damascus and Baghdad in two decades following the restoration of relations after nearly 20 years of hostility, sources said on Tuesday. They told Reuters the flights, organized by an unnamed company, would start on Saturday, September 1. Several Syrian planes have already flown official delegations and aid to Baghdad, despite international sanctions on Iraq, but no commercial flights have been organized before. The aviation sources said the company, which had already placed advertisements in the Syrian capital, had no links with either the state-owned Syrian Air Company or Iraqi Air. Neither the advertisement nor the sources gave any name for the company. "The planes will take off daily from Damascus airport at 2000 local time for a direct flight to Baghdad starting from September 1," one source said. Iraqi Air reopened its office in the Syrian capital early this year, but the bureau is only being used to organize travel for Iraqi officials and citizens through Damascus airport to other parts of the world. [.....] http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/010828/2001082806.html * SYRIAN SOURCE DENIES ON EXPECTED VISIT OF PRESIDENT AL- ASSAD TO IRAQ Arabic News, 28th August A well-informed Syrian source has denied news talking about an expected visit by the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to Iraq, prepared for by the Syrian prime minister Muhammad Mustafa Miro during his recent visit to Baghdad. In a statement issued on Monday by the London- based al- Sharq al-Awsat daily, the source described these news as totally groundless. http://www.baghdad.com/?action=display&article=8950511&template=baghdad/inde xsearch.txt&index=recent * TURKISH ARMY CLASHES WITH KURDS ISN [International Relations & Security Network], Tue 28 Aug 2001 (Reuters): Turkish security forces have clashed with Kurdish separatists in northern Iraq, but it was not immediately clear how many casualties either side suffered, a Europe-based Kurdish television channel said on Monday. "Turkish soldiers have launched an intense operation in northern Iraq that involves a group of at least 400 soldiers and a group of PKK [Kurdistan Workers Party] fighters," the Medya channel said, quoting a PKK statement. Medya said the fighting broke out on Saturday across the Iraqi border from the Turkish province of Sirnak, the site of clashes between security forces and the PKK that killed one soldier last week. Turkish forces regularly pursue PKK fighters across the border into the breakaway region of northern Iraq, outside of Baghdad's control since the end of the 1991 Gulf War. [.....] http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20010828/wl/russia_jordan_dc_1.html * JORDAN'S KING, PUTIN URGE END TO IRAQ ISOLATION Yahoo, 28th August MOSCOW (Reuters) - King Abdullah of Jordan and Russian President Vladimir Putin (news - web sites) called Tuesday for an end to the international isolation of Iraq, saying it would help stabilize the entire Middle East. During 90 minutes of one-on-one talks in the Kremlin the two men also discussed spiraling violence between Israel and the Palestinians, whose 11-month revolt has seen more than 700 deaths. The talks were later expanded to include ministers and discussions on trade and investment. Abdullah said he and Putin had agreed that a solution must be found to the ``tragic situation'' of the Iraqi people, now in the 11th year of U.N. sanctions imposed after Iraq invaded neighboring Kuwait in 1990. But the king said ending Baghdad's international isolation also had a broader purpose: ``The establishment of a comprehensive regional security requires Iraq to come back into the fold of the community of states.'' Putin echoed those remarks, saying that only ''political-diplomatic'' efforts could resolve the long-running international standoff with Iraq over sanctions. ``Arab countries should play a strong and positive role in unblocking the situation as regards Iraq,'' Putin said. ``That would help stabilize the situation in the entire region.'' [.....] http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/middle_east/newsid_1512000/1512656.st m * YEMEN SMOOTHS IRAQ-KUWAIT ROW BBC, 28th August The foreign minister of Yemen has briefed the Emir of Kuwait about Yemen's efforts to resolve Kuwait's dispute with Iraq over missing prisoners of war. Yemeni foreign minister, Abubakr al-Qirbi, visited Kuwait to discuss improving bilateral economic ties between the two countries. But he also delivered a letter to the Emir from the Yemen president about recent talks with Iraqi officials over the contentious issue of missing Kuwaitis. [.....] http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20010831/wl/saudi_iraq_pilot_dc_1.html * DNA TESTS PROVE IDENTITY OF GULF WAR PILOT - SAUDI Yahoo, 31st August RIYADH (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia said on Friday that laboratory tests had proved human remains found in Iraq belonged to a Saudi pilot who had been missing since his plane was shot down during the 1991 Gulf War. The aviation and defense ministry said in a statement that DNA tests conducted on the remains handed over by Iraq after they were found last year showed they were those of Colonel Mohammed Nazerah. ``After verifying the laboratory data, the Ministry of Aviation and Defense is now certain that the aforementioned pilot was martyred,'' a ministry official said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency. The statement gave no further details. Iraq said in January tests conducted in Geneva under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross confirmed that the remains found last October in the Iraqi desert close to the Saudi border were those of the pilot. But Saudi media said at the time the kingdom had demanded a re-examination to determine the cause and time of his death. Iraq had said the pilot's plane was shot down in 1991. An Iraqi officer who had buried the pilot in a minefield identified the burial site, and the wreckage of a plane was found about half a mile away. Hundreds of people were reported missing after the Gulf War. Accounting for them is one of several conditions Iraq must meet before trade sanctions imposed by the United Nations after Baghdad's 1990 invasion of Kuwait can be lifted. Saudi Arabia contributed to the U.S.-led international force that drove Iraqi troops out of Kuwait. http://www.dawn.com/2001/09/01/int5.htm * IRAQ ACCUSED OF FIRING AT SAUDI FORCES by Syed Rashid Husain Dawn (Pakistan), 1st September 2001, 12 Jamadi-us-Saani 1422 RIYADH, Aug 31: In a memorandum submitted to the Arab League Secretary General, Saudi Arabia has complained that encroaching Iraqis opened fire on Saudi security forces late in the evening on Aug 25 and injured a Saudi soldier, Saad Ali Al-Salby. The Iraqi armed men then took the injured soldier to the Iraqi territory, it was reported on Thursday. "We do not know whether the injured soldier taken away by the Iraqi armed men is dead or alive," the Saudi Ambassador to the Arab League, Mr Faisal ibn Hasan Tarad, was quoted here as saying. Saudi Arabia has also refuted Iraqi claims that the Saudi border patrols had infiltrated into the Iraqi territory and described it as contrary to the fact and an attempt by the Iraqi side to spread misinformation in this regard. The Iraqi allegation that Saudi Arabia is taking part in the US-British attacks was also vehemently denied by the Saudi ambassador. "We have replied to such falsifications several times. They are totally baseless," he added. He reaffirmed the Kingdom's commitment to the Arab League Charter and held Iraq responsible for its continuous aggressive attacks against the Kingdom. The Saudi memorandum was in response to an Iraqi statement on Sunday that a Saudi officer was killed during a clash between Iraqi border guards and an armed Saudi group. The Saudi ambassador said the Kingdom has taken a photograph of the area where the incident took place. "It shows the marks of the Saudi soldier while he was being dragged along the ground and even blood (could be seen in the photograph oozing out) from his injuries. We have also kept the bullets they used to fire against the Saudi security personnel," he said. INSIDE IRAQ http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow.asp?art_id=1403503408 * RETURN OF ARCHEOLOGICAL TREASURES FROM EUROP SOUGHT BAGHDAD (AFP): Baghdad is seeking the return of looted Iraqi archeological pieces from European museums, the head of Iraq's department of archeology and heritage, Jaber Khalil Ibrahim, said in a report on Sunday. "Iraq has made some diplomatic approaches in France, Britain and Germany in an attempt to retrieve stolen pieces of art," Ibrahim told Al-Ilam weekly. Ibrahim claimed museums in Britain, Berlin and the Louvre in Paris are showing stolen Iraqi archeological treasures, and that their attendance figures would suffer if Iraq got them back. He said that Baghdad had previously managed to have some stolen pieces of art returned from displays overseas, but was not specific. Iraq contains more than 10,000 archeological sites, many in the northern province of Kurdistan, and most of which have not yet been uncovered, according to official statistics. Baghdad alleges many archeological sites in Iraq were pillaged by US forces in 1991 in the thick of the Gulf War in which Iraqi occupation troops were expelled from neighbouring Kuwait. Iraq has also repeatedly accused foreigners of financing the theft of archeological pieces and pointed an accusing finger at diplomats posted in Baghdad and UN employees. Before the embargo imposed on Iraq in August 1990 for invading Kuwait, Iraq played host to numerous foreign archeological expeditions each year. http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,543610,00.html * SATELLITE TO BEAM ANTI-SADDAM TV TO IRAQ by Brian Whitaker The Guardian, 29th August The US-sponsored propaganda war against Saddam Hussein will move into space in the next few days when the first satellite TV channel run by Iraqi opposition groups starts broadcasting. Liberty TV aims to provide people close to the Baghdad regime with a mixture of uncensored news, chat, music and - eventually - video footage filmed secretly inside the country. The channel has been set up by the Iraqi National Congress (INC), an umbrella group for opposition movements funded by the United States. "There will be a 20-minute news bulletin - not just news about Iraq but things that might be of interest to the Iraqi people, or that might be censored," said the INC's communications adviser, Zaab Sethna. "There will also be a daily interview and either a chat section or a phone-in - though obviously the callers will have to be from outside Iraq. We have plans to show music videos by Iraqi artists, too." Transmissions will initially consist of an hour-long programme, repeated several times each evening. With 30 staff in the US and up to a dozen at its London studio, the station is expected to cost £700,000 a year to run. A similar amount has been spent on start-up costs. For its broadcasts, Liberty TV has rented a transponder on the Telstar 12 satellite, owned by Loral Skynet, an American communications company. This will cost a further £900,000 a year. Funds were provided by the US Congress and are administered by the state department. The more dangerous second stage of the project, Mr Sethna added, will involve filming secretly inside Iraq. "We're training people to use Sony digital cameras, transfer the footage on to a laptop and then send it back by satellite phone," he said. He admitted that Iraqis would not want to be interviewed, for fear of reprisals by the regime. "The aim is to collect footage that we can use in our programmes. Food queues, military sites, areas of deprivation, mass graves - that sort of thing." Radio programmes attacking the Bagdad regime have been broadcast for several years by Radio Free Europe, also funded by Washington. But Mr Sethna argues that television is likely to have more impact, even if it reaches a smaller audience. "People who have dishes in the regime-controlled part of Iraq are generally influential - often connected with the power structure, like an army officer's family or a government official or a merchant," he said. "These are the people we have to reach to make a change in Iraq." About a quarter of the population in Iraqi cities are thought to have access to satellite television. In the Kurdish north, access is higher - about 60% - but much lower in the Shi'ite south, at around 20%. Paul Goble, communications director of Radio Free Europe (RFE), said: "I think TV probably is the way of the future, but there are some problems. "If the Iraqi government discovers large numbers of people using satellite dishes for things it doesn't like I would expect some effort to make people hand in their dishes. You can't have an action without a reaction. "With radio you can listen privately in your bedroom, but if you have to have a satellite dish outside it becomes a whole lot easier to track it down." He said RFE monitors the response to its radio broadcasts partly through criticism from Iraqi officials - "which is one measure of success". http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/story.jsp?story=91256 * SADDAM AND THE MINISTRY OF SOUND Independent, 30th August by Rose George First the book, then the TV series, now the musical. It seems the president of Iraq's recent cultural output has no limits, much to the delight of foreign editors everywhere. You may have heard about the book, which was first gleefully written about in the West in May. Called Zabibah wal Malik' (Zabiba and the King), it is a deeply meaningful love story that tells the tale of beautiful Zabiba (or Everywoman), her cruel husband (or the Satanic West) and the introspective and insecure King (or the Iraqi president). The allegory is fairly well signposted, according to CIA operatives who have been poring over the book: Zabiba gets raped on 17 January, the day the Gulf War allies launch their attack on Iraq in 1991. The good King saves her and dies in the service of his country. Along the way, he pours out his heart to Zabiba, confessing his fears about his technique "Do the people need strict measures from their leader?" he asks her. "Yes, Your Majesty," Zabiba replies. "The people need strict measures so that they can feel protected by this strictness" as well as thoughts about his succession. In a year when Saddam's younger son Qusay has been promoted to the Revolutionary Council before his brother Uday, clues to his thoughts, even if submerged in allegory, are a delight for the spooks of the CIA's Iraq-watching department. Later, it was reported that the book was to be made into a 20-part TV series, no doubt to be shown on the trot, as happened with the 24-hour broadcast of a Gulf War drama in January. Finally, some 10 days ago, word was issued from the bottom floor of the Ministry of Information (where Baghdad's handful of foreign correspondents sit) that Zabiba will be a musical, and is already in preparation at the Iraqi National Theatre. Move over Ewan McGregor. Take one of the crowded elevators up to the ministry's fifth floor, however, and the idea that the president should have cultural aspirations will not seem so outlandish. In a corridor near the offices shared by the English-language arts magazine Gilgamesh, the women's monthly Ishtar and the multilingual El-Mamoun state publishing house, there is a table covered with books, all written by the same author. Thrilling stuff: The Revolution and the Woman in Iraq by Saddam Hussein; Thus we should fight Persians by Saddam Hussein; and my favourite One Trench or Two?, a charming speech on "the revolutionary experiment" and how to crush the Kurds. "His obsession is his concern for learning," gushes the introduction to Saddam's On Current Affairs in Iraq. "During his exile in Cairo, he found time in midst of his frenzied activities [ie plotting to overthrow the existing regime] to obtain his secondary school certificate." What's more, it continues, the president's gifts in public speaking led to "Saddam Hussein [being] compared by Christopher Hitchens of the New Statesman with President Nasser." (Hitchens says he has no recollection of making such a comparison.) Inside the army uniform and Armani suits, we are to believe, beats the heart of a cultured man, whose love of painting can be seen in the hundreds and thousands of garish portraits bearing his image throughout the country, and who regularly discourses on the importance of heritage and culture. The English-language newspaper Iraq Daily whose importance shouldn't be underestimated, given that its CEO is Saddam's son Uday carries regular cultural bulletins, while ancient wonders such as Babylon and Hatra have been reconstructed (to the fury of Unesco), with Saddam erecting a plaque in his name right next to Nebuchadnezzar's. Roads have been built to cultural treasures such as the Marmatti monastery near the city of Mosul and the northern no-fly zone. Baghdad's only major cultural centre is named after the president (as are countless schools, missiles and rivers). Such crude cultural imperialism and the fairly unimaginative narrative of the future Zabiba the Musical may not impress Western sensibilities. But that's not what Saddam's creative endeavours are about. Their purpose is to raise and direct the spirit of his beleaguered nation, as part of a wider attempt to fight back against the perceived cruelties of the West through culture. The past year has seen an increasing defiance of sanctions in Iraq: international flights now land with some regularity at Baghdad airport, and Iraq has been revving up its attempts to shoot down US and British jets in the no-fly zones. Now this defiance is being accompanied by a series of measures designed to boost the nation's cultural efforts. The publication of the Zabiba novel, for example, followed a pronouncement from the president that feature films and plays should abandon the fluffy, escapist themes they had followed since sanctions began in 1991 and instead tackle weightier issues that would lift the spirit of the nation. Earlier this year, the noted director Abdul Salam al-Adhami dutifully released Hafra al-Batm, a Gulf War story about courageous Iraqi troops buried alive by US soldiers (based on a CNN documentary on the incident). Two other Gulf War themed films are reportedly in production, one a reworking of the SAS book Bravo Two Zero, albeit with a new focus: instead of the captured and tortured SAS soldiers hogging the limelight, the hero is a brave Iraqi called Adnan, who leads the SAS men into a trap. Some may be tempted to sneer at such efforts, but it's worth noting that a US-sponsored satellite channel is to start beaming into Iraq a service called Liberty TV, a mixture of news, chat and entertainment, by way of a cultural counter-attack. Saddam's regime is well prepared to respond. This year has also seen the Ministry of Information and Culture split in two, and the direction of more money (from Iraq's annual $3bn revenues in non-sanctioned oil sales) towards cultural concerns. The Iraqi National Museum finally got a budget to pay for armed guards at three archaeological dig sites, to put a stop to catastrophic looting (10,000 artefacts have disappeared since 1991). As a sweetener, the death penalty for illegal exports of artefacts was introduced. Another request from the president pressed writers to produce work about everyday Iraq, from home life to "the experience of those who crouch behind their guns to resist enemy aircraft". However, as those who are crouching behind their guns are increasingly busy firing at no-fly patrols, they don't have much time to read or write. Nor, probably, can they or anyone else afford to. "People are more occupied with earning a living, not buying books," says Dr Khaduar Al- Dulaimi, head of El Mamoun publishing house. Before sanctions, El-Mamoun used to publish 20 novels a year, translated from English, Spanish, Russian and German. Now it's down to a couple. National literature fares even worse. "In the 1970s we used to invite Arab writers to have their work published in Iraq free of charge. People are doing self-publishing, but it's very discouraging." Books are out of most people's reach: Even Zabiba and the King, priced at 1,500 dinars (60p), represents half of a monthly state salary. "Before sanctions," says Margaret Hassan, the British-born head of the aid agency CARE in Iraq, "even the poorest were earning 200 dinars then £380. If someone got that now they'd think they'd died and gone to heaven. Maybe it wasn't paradise lost, but..." Now cultural splashes of colour such as Saddam the Musical take place in what has become a "photocopy culture". People can't afford books, and packages from abroad are classified as "trade" and banned under sanctions. Many people have sold their libraries, and taking even a single book out of Iraq now requires an export licence. You can always spot an Iraqi journalist in a crowd of reporters: they're the ones carefully using the back of printed sheets of paper, because they can't afford notebooks. It's a sorry sight, in a country famed throughout the Arab world for its art and civilisation, and well-known before sanctions for its highlife and party spirit. These days, there's little entertainment on offer in Baghdad, since the public consumption of alcohol was banned in 1995 (too many depressed people were drinking away their £1 salaries). Bars and nightclubs are non-existent. Even the wealthy rich through the £2bn a year smuggling trade have to make do with restaurants and private members' clubs. On one trip to Iraq, two French aid workers came to visit the annual Baghdad international photographic exhibit hardly the stuff of Magnum and said forlornly: "We've been looking forward to this for months." Even so, in one area of cultural endeavour, Iraq is triumphing. Sanctions keeps the borders pretty much sealed to Westerners, allowing pirating to flourish you can buy Encarta for a few dollars in Baghdad, and PlayStations galore. Disrespect for copyright has become an art form. How fitting, then, that the picture of Zabiba, who is depicted on the cover of the president's novel with flowing gown and hair "against a backdrop of the arches of Babylon", has been nicked. As the Canadian "goddess art" painter Jonathan Earl Bowse complains on his website, "I did not authorise the Iraqi president to publish my work in this way. A serious infringement has occurred here, and I believe copyright is a principle worth defending. But it seems unlikely anything can be done about it, so I am trying to view the story in a humorous light." http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/middle_east/newsid_1516000/1516877.st m * IRAQ TOPS WORLD 'DISAPPEARED' LIST Iraq has the world's worst record for numbers of people who have disappeared and remain unaccounted for, says the human rights group Amnesty International. Amnesty uses the term "disappeared" when it suspects that the authorities have been involved in a person's illegal detention. The group said hundreds of thousands of Shia Muslims had disappeared before the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war for allegedly being of Iranian origin. Another 100,000 Kurds are believed to have gone missing in Iraq following Operation Anfal in 1988. Amnesty urged "all governments to conduct full investigations, in accordance with international standards, into all cases of disappearances to bring those responsible to justice." The call coincides with the International Day of the Disappeared, aimed at highlighting illegal detentions around the world. [.....] Disappearances Iraq: hundreds of thousands Latin America: 90,000 Bosnia: 18,000 Kosovo: 3,000 Chechnya: thousands Lebanon: thousands, since 1975-90 war -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email email@example.com Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website: http://www.casi.org.uk