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News, 28/9/01 (2)

News, 28/9/01 (2)


*  Eleven years of sanctions (general reflections on the effect of the
blockade, but centred on the Voices in the Wilderness fast in New York)


*  Why Saddam Likes Getting Bombed (welldrawn argument that present US
policy serves S.Husseins interest)
*  Book Reports on Secret U.S. Biological Weapons Research (but the article
does convey the naive impression that this very advanced research is being
done entirely with a view to knowing what sort of wickedness an enemy might
get up to)


*  Poison gas mishap kills 20 Iraqi soldiers
*  WHO concludes visit to Baghdad
*  Saddam relative 'seeks asylum'
*  Life in Sanctions-Hit Iraq Is Harsh and Short
*  Several hurt in Baghdad bomb blast
*  Iran strongly rejects Iraq's claims on blast involvement


*  Iraq's Rasheed: Iraq says world oil prices still too low
*  Gas pipeline between Turkey, Iraq


*  Kurds alarm over 'smart sanctions'


*  Iraq says pilot's body proves its sincerity on POWs
*  Turkish firms to hold medical fair in Iraq


by Asma Rashid
Dawn (Pakistan), 4th September

It is now eleven years since the UN Security Council clamped down economic
sanctions on Iraq on August 6, 1990, in a move supposedly designed to force
Baghdad to withdraw from Kuwait.

Five months later, a devastating war, waged by 29 countries, employing the
most dastardly weapons, forced an Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait, a
recognition of Kuwait by Baghdad and the systematic destruction of what
remained of the sinews of Iraqi military strength by international UN
inspectors. Hundreds of thousands were killed in the "war without
casualties", as the western networks invariably called it, and well over a
million and half people, the great majority of them children not even born
at that time and certainly innocent of any "offence" have since been
affected by the sanctions which have become like a medieval siege in their
severity and longevity.

Many authoritative reports and statements bear witness to all this including
those from the UN's own organs and the testimony of the UN's most
distinguished international civil servants who have resigned their position
in disgust at the silent massacre of innocents in Iraq.

One of them Denis Halliday, in a statement at the UN in New York on August
6, 2001, marking the start of the 40-day 'Breaking Ranks' fast and vigil
campaign led by the Voices of Wilderness to protest these sanctions, said:
"On Hiroshima Day, this is timely, although too late for the million-plus
Iraqis already killed by the UN Security Council-manipulated by the US and
the UK and supported by the weakness of other member-states".

Calling upon the those member-states 'not yet corrupted by the US' to end
the killing, by freeing up the Iraqi economy, allowing investment and
recovery and helping Iraq to rebuild its electric power and potable
water-supplies, Halliday asked, "Is the US/UN afraid of giving Baghdad a
victory, Is that a justification for the superpower to sustain genocide? Is
might so fragile? ...Do they refuse to do so because of US self-interest?
Whatever it is -it is a tragic breech of international law ... and
constitutes a crime against humanity.

"It is also timely for the Secretary General, while the UN has some small
credibility remaining, to take a stand against abuse of the UN Charter,
Human Rights and the SC itself, and use his moral and official authority to
speak out and condemn the Council and its intent to destroy the Iraqi
people, and demand of Washington an end to UN killing of children. The
children of Iraq are not 'suffering' as Kofi Annan often says, they are
being killed- and by the very UN expected to uphold their well being, their
very right to live".

Halliday called on UN staff members to examine their continuing servicing of
the SC embargo, knowing the deadly impact. "There is a time to question
authority and a time to refuse orders - as history shows us. How will we
explain our complicity to our children and grandchildren when the truth of
UN genocide in Iraq comes out, as it surely will. The US says it's all the
fault of Baghdad? How simplistic!

"Surely after eleven years, no thinking person could believe the US claim
that it's all the fault of Baghdad ... Have we all become victims of US/UK
propaganda of demonization that we can justify the UN punishing the innocent
people of Iraq, including Iraqi Kurds? We must get over our fears. Open a
dialogue ... Let the people of Iraq manage their own affairs. Respect their
sovereignty. End the bombing. End our arms trade.

End the double standards applicable to the countries of the Middle East. End
the Embargo. End the killing in the name of United Nations. Together we have
a heavy responsibility to end this crime against humanity - for which there
is no justification ... We have no choice but to speak out."

Explaining the motto of their fast, the co-founder of 'Voices in the
Wilderness,' Kathy Kelly, a long-time anti-sanctions campaigner said: "We
are trying to encourage the member-states of UN to 'break ranks' with the US
in its insistence on endless sanctions for Iraq.

"The more 'smart' they try to make the sanctions, the more adept they are at
killing the Iraqi people."

On August 15, nine participants, including Kathy Kelly, and three supporters
were arrested for bringing a meal of cooked lentils and rice, and untreated
water, the daily fare the Iraqis get under food-for-oil agreement, to the
steps of the US mission at UN in New York and inviting staff members to
share the meal (minus the untreated water from the Mississippi river) and
engage in a dialogue about how sanctions affect Iraqi civilians.

They were jailed, instead, for 8-10 hours of 'processing' and are to be
tried on September 20 for criminal trespass and obstruction. Undeterred, the
members of the Voices of Wilderness and their anti-sanctions supporters are
continuing their protest not only in New York but in a number of other
cities in America as well.

These valiant efforts by committed individuals and groups in the West, to
change the criminal policies of their governments, contrast sadly with the
apathy shown by our own media and human rights activists.

While commemorating Hiroshima day on August 6, they failed even to mention
that it was also the 11th anniversary of the murderous sanctions against

It is high time we realized that, in the final instance, our salvation lies
in our own efforts. Only by closing their ranks, and breaking ranks with
those powers responsible for the holocaust in Iraq and Palestine, can the
Muslim-Arab world hope to save what remains of its freedom, dignity and

US POLICY,8599,170782,00.html

by Tony Karon
Time, 1st September

The symbolic timing of Friday's U.S. air strikes on Iraq could not have been
worse. Hours after U.S.-made F-16s flown by the Israeli air force demolished
a Palestinian police station in Ramallah in retaliation for the latest
terrorist outrage in Jerusalem, U.S. Air Force F-16s bombed Iraqi air
defense sites. This came at a time when Saddam Hussein has been doing his
utmost, with considerable success, to paint himself as the Arab savior of
the Palestinians and his American foes as the as the co-conspirator of the
Israelis. Whatever damage the air raids did to Iraqi air defenses may be
more than compensated for in the political dividend for Saddam.

The U.S. is aware of the problem; indeed, it had been reported earlier in
the week that it held off on a more robust strike in the belief that its
benefits would not outweigh the negative political fallout in the Arab
world. The latest raids are almost certain to amplify the already rampant
anti-American sentiment on the streets of even the most pro-Western Arab
capitals, and that's good news for the likes of Saddam and Osama Bin Laden.

More importantly, the latest raids are symptomatic of an Iraq policy that's
going nowhere. The reason for the strike was that the Iraqis have been more
aggressively targeting U.S. and British warplanes patrolling the "no-fly"
zones declared by the Western powers at the end of the Gulf War. Saddam
makes no secret of the fact that he's trying to shoot one down in the hope
of forcing the allies to retreat from Iraqi airspace. The bad news for
Washington, of course, is that most of its allies are at best agnostic on
maintaining the "no-fly" zones, which today are maintained only by the U.S.
and Britain. Nor is there any serious support for the U.S. policy of trying
to overthrow Saddam by funneling money to the opposition Iraqi National
Congress  the INC is not exactly taken seriously in the capitals of
Saddam's Arab neighbors, whose support would be essential to any successful

Worse still, the U.S. has been unable to muster the requisite international
support to reinvigorate sanctions against Iraq by making them "smarter" 
allowing the resumption of normal trade with Baghdad to assuage concerns
about the toll 11 years of sanctions have taken on ordinary Iraqis, but
tightening up controls on the sale of weapons or technologies that would
improve the Iraqi war machine. Russia blocked the changes when the U.N.
Security Council met to review sanctions against Iraq at the end of June,
and the Arab neighbors on whom policing such "smart" sanctions would depend
have been less than sanguine about the changes. Where Washington is pushing
for revisions in the sanctions regime, most of its allies in the Arab world
 under pressure from their own streets, which are far more hostile to the
U.S. than to Saddam  would be quite content to abandon them altogether.

Saddam, of course, is happy to mine this rich propaganda seam. He maximizes
the suffering of his own people under sanctions by restricting the flow of
food and medicines that are actually available, knowing that this simply
builds pressure on Arab regimes to break with Washington on the blockade.
Similarly his more aggressive air defenses  Saddam knows that by turning on
his radar and firing SAMs he's going to draw the fire of U.S. and British
war planes. That's exactly what he wants  at best he'll eventually hit a
plane and cause a political crisis over the "no-fly zone" policy in the
West; at worst he'll simply remind the Arab world that he's still the prime
target of Israel's best friend. And as long as Washington remains committed
to the "no-fly zone," it finds itself forced into this fruitless bombing

During the Gulf War and after, America has always needed Arab support to
mount a viable campaign against Saddam Hussein. And the perceived U.S. role
in the current Israeli Palestinian conflict precludes such support, almost
by definition. No wonder, then, that Saddam makes a point of sending
thousands of dollars to the family of every Palestinian slain in
confrontations with the Israelis. Because the Iraqi leader may well have
been the biggest beneficiary of the intifada.

Yahoo, 4th September

NEW YORK, Sept. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Today's New York Times reported that U.S.
germ warfare research pushes the limits of a 1972 global treaty that forbids
nations from developing or acquiring weapons that spread deadly germs and
disease. This never before reported information is included in a new
comprehensive book on bio terrorism entitled: GERMS: Biological Weapons and
America's Secret War by Judith Miller, Stephen Engelberg and William Broad
(Simon & Schuster).

In the past decade, the government has quietly concluded that the United
States is all but defenseless against the rising threat of attack with germ
weapons. The stunning advances in biotechnology, the increasing audacity of
global terrorists, and fears that rogue scientists are hawking their skills
to the highest bidders have thrown America on the defensive. Miller,
Engelberg and Broad reveal the existence of secret, government-funded
research that in recent years has taken the United States to the limits, if
not beyond, what is allowed by the global treaty banning germ arms.

Drawing on hundreds of interviews with scientists, intelligence officers,
and senior government officials as well as declassified documents, GERMS
takes readers into a hidden world in which the ``bio-defenders,'' as they
call themselves, are struggling to fend off weapons capable of igniting
global epidemics. The authors trace a half century of failed attempts to
contain the danger, notably the international treaty that was blatantly
violated by Moscow, Baghdad and others.

Among the revelations chronicled in GERMS are:

* Secret U.S. experiments in which scientists replicated a Soviet-designed
biological bomb, built a working germ factory and began to genetically
engineer a new form of anthrax -- a superbug that might defeat America's
only vaccine against the disease.

* How gloomy warnings from a Nobel Laureate and the spine-tingling plot of a
best-selling novel helped persuade President Clinton to embark on a
multi-billion dollar program of civil defense to protect Americans that many
critics see as wasteful and uncoordinated.

* Previously undisclosed efforts by a handful of government officials to
penetrate the closed laboratories where Soviet germ warriors used the
wonders of gene splicing for evil, creating new, more lethal forms of
ancient killers like plague or smallpox.

* The panic as American military officers realized, on the eve of the Gulf
War, that decades of neglect of bio-defenses had left them vulnerable to
Iraq, a nation armed with enough germs to kill everyone on earth several
times over.

* Plans by the American military in the 1960's to attack Cuba with a
cocktail of debilitating germs intended to sicken millions of civilians and

The authors tell the story through the eyes of the men and women who
designed germ weapons and defenses. Readers meet an American scientist who
devoted his life to perfecting the mass production of hideous germs in the
decades before the United States renunciation of biological arms in 1969.
They follow the dogged efforts of a young Pentagon official as he traipses
across the former Soviet Union just ahead of Iranian recruiters offering
cash and other blandishments. And they are introduced to a former Soviet
germ warrior who worked on a new kind of weapon that could cause the human
body to destroy itself.

Written in a riveting, accessible style, GERMS offers a glimpse at the dark
side of the astounding advances in biotechnology that dominate the
headlines. The authors describe America's vulnerability to attack in
chilling detail. ``If we as a nation believe that the germ threat is a hoax,
we are spending too much money on it,'' they write. ``But if the danger is
real, as we conclude it is, then the investment is much too haphazard and
defuse. We are woefully unprepared for a calamity that would be unlike any
this country has ever experienced.''

About the Authors:

Judith Miller is a senior writer at The New York Times. Since joining the
paper in 1977 she has reported extensively from throughout the world
including the Middle East where she served as Cairo Bureau Chief. Her most
recent book is God Has 99 Names. She lives in New York City. Stephen
Engelberg is a senior investigative editor for The New York Times whose
projects include a series of articles on germ warfare and terrorism. He
lives in Pelham, NY. William Broad is a senior writer at The New York Times
and has twice shared the Pulitzer Prize with colleagues there. His most
recent book is The Universe Below. He lives in Larchmont, NY.


by Jessica Berry
The Age (Australia  from Sunday Telegraph), 3rd September

London: At least 20 specially trained Iraqi soldiers are dead and up to 200
have been admitted to hospital after taking part in a chemical weapons
exercise that went wrong, intelligence officials say.

News of the training accident emerged last week amid concerns that Saddam
Hussein has rebuilt his chemical weapons arsenal.

The soldiers, based in the Zaafarnia region south of Baghdad, were suffering
from severe respiratory problems, according to intelligence officials inside

"They were training in the Al Suwayrah and Basmaya camps three months ago,"
one official said. "We know that the accident has not stopped the training.
Fresh soldiers were brought in soon after." The Al Suwayrah camp has been
rebuilt since it was attacked in February by American and British aircraft.

President Saddam last used chemical weapons against the Kurds in March 1988
at Halabjah, with helicopter gunships causing thousands of injuries. In
December 1998, American and British warplanes mounted Operation Desert Fox
in an attempt to destroy Iraq's chemical weapons capability.

However, evidence surfaced last week that Iraqi scientists are working
around the clock to rebuild the Iraqi leader's conventional weapons and
self-defence arsenal as well as his chemical capability.

In the past three months, eight military factories have begun working at
almost full strength. The most significant, in the unpopulated Syrian border
area of Al Qayem, is said to be building chemical weapons and missiles.

"The Al Qayem base has only recently expanded," a Western military observer
said. "It has just passed under the total control of Saddam's son and heir,
Qusay. To ensure total secrecy, each scientist ha\ed by

Arabic News, 3rd September

A delegation representing the World Health Organization (WHO) has concluded
an official visit to Baghdad during which it discussed with officials at the
Iraqi ministry of health the possible impact of using depleted Uranium (
during the second Gulf war) on health in Iraq.

The Iraqi news agency said the health ministry secretary Zuheir Saeed Abdul
Salaam presided over the Iraqi side to the talks, while the WHO side was
presided over by the regional assistant for WHO to the East Mediterranean
basin Abdul Aziz Saleh.

The agency quoted Abdul Salaam as saying that it was agreed that Iraqi
experts will make field checks in the areas already bombarded during the war
and then WHO after two weeks to hold field tests and visits to the areas
defined by the two sides.,3604,546616,00.html

by Brian Whitaker
The Guardian, 4th September

A member of Saddam Hussein's family said last night that he was seeking
refuge in an Arab country, then hastily retracted his statement.

Alaa Abd al-Qader Suleiman al-Majid, 46, left Iraq more than two months ago
on a business trip to Morocco and has not returned to Baghdad.

Speaking from a hotel room in Jordan, he told an AP reporter: "I have
serious problems, which I am not at liberty to divulge, and I am looking for
a secure place to go to."

After being interrupted by several other phone calls, during which he was
heard screaming and denying he had sought political asylum, he retracted his
remarks, apparently for fear of reprisals.

Later he said he might go "to another Arab country in a few days on a
business trip," and "may or may not return to Baghdad".

In 1996 Mr Majid took part in the murder of other relatives who had defected
to Jordan, according to the official Iraqi news agency, Irna [SIC  PB. Irna
is of course the official Iranian news agency].

Iraqi opposition sources said that he had served as a personal aide to
President Saddam until 1990, and since then had been working in the Iraqi
intelligence directorate.

Later last night the Iraqi ambassador to Jordan, Sabah Yassin, spent 15
minutes with Mr Majid in his hotel room. He left without speaking to
reporters. Mr Majid did not answer his telephone after the meeting.

Jordanian officials denied that he had sought political asylum in the

Six years ago President Saddam's son-in-law Hussein Kamil defected to Jordan
with other relatives, and provided important intelligence about Iraq's
evasion of UN weapons inspections. He was eventually persuaded to return to
Iraq with President Saddam's personal promise of a pardon. But as soon as he
arrived, members of the president's family killed him and his immediate
relatives in a huge gun battle.

Irna reported that Mr Majid was injured in the battle. His brother Tha'ir
was killed.

In July the London newspaper al-Zaman said the president had given Mr Majid
5m barrels of oil "to improve his financial situation" as part of a renewed
effort to "put his tribal house in order" after the battle.

by Khaled Yacoub Oweis
Yahoo, 5th September

BAGHDAD, Iraq (Reuters) - Take a trip round the crippled Iraqi capital and
the consequences of 11 years of United Nations sanctions become apparent --
power outages, polluted water, a decaying infrastructure and factories and
people without work.

The almost bankrupt country suffers from widespread poverty, one of the
highest rates of infant mortality in the world and a health service which
barely functions.

``The sanctions are the equivalent of dropping a nuclear bomb,'' said a U.N.
official in Baghdad who privately sides with Iraq. ``So-called civilized
countries do not treat other nations like this, even one which lost a war.''

The sanctions were imposed in 1990 when the United Nations voted to punish
Iraq for its invasion of Kuwait and prevent it from importing technology to
make weapons.

Six years later the U.N reached a memorandum of understanding with Iraq
allowing it to sell ``oil for food'' and other humanitarian goods. Baghdad
says it has exported the equivalent of $47 billion of crude under the deal
but received only $12 billion worth of goods in return.

According to newly released official Iraqi figures, $16 billion earned by
Iraq in oil sales were paid out as reparations for the Gulf War.

And $19 billion worth of contracts that it tried to negotiate for goods and
food were rejected or frozen by the U.N. sanctions committee in New York.

``Foreign firms cream off the contracts allowed under oil for food,'' said
an official at a West European company with an office in Baghdad. ``The
Iraqis do not stand a chance to compete. Under sanctions, manufacturers have
inferior quality and traders cannot obtain visas to travel.''

``It is pointless to invest even if we could afford to. There is no supply
chain to maintain new equipment,'' said a senior businessman in Iraq.

He said it still took months to receive U.N. approval for orders to replace
simple equipment and even then he was at the mercy of Jordanian and Syrian
middlemen who handle the process.

He has been unable to get any new equipment for his company since sanctions
were imposed.

``The state is not pumping any money into the economy either,'' he said,
adding that the nearly bankrupt government could not afford repairs to the
electricity grid or to clean up contaminated water.

The only signs of new business in the streets are traditional kebab
restaurants and billiards salons to entertain masses of unemployed youths.

In the trendy Arasat district, the number of shops selling imported clothes
is on the rise, but their goods are beyond the reach of most Iraqis, whose
average monthly salary dropped to the equivalent of $5 after the collapse of
the dinar at the start of the Gulf War in 1991.

The dinar strengthened significantly when Iraq and the United Nations
reached the ``oil for food'' deal but collapsed again when it became
apparent the agreement was not going to spur the economy or earn the
government enough cash.

The private sector has been shrinking since the 1958 revolution which
brought down the monarchy and steered Iraq toward a command economy.

Attempts by President Saddam Hussein to sell state assets and decrease
dependence on oil were relegated to second priority during the 1980-1988 war
with Iran.

With a large section of the population dependent on the government, depleted
state income has hit Iraq hard.

U.N. officials say almost no new schools have been built since 1990 while
the student population has doubled. Half the schools are not fit to be used
-- they have no desks or functioning lavatories.

Iraq says the U.N. sanctions committee has blocked the import of components
needed to maintain hospitals and rebuild infrastructure. The committee says
Baghdad has not ordered enough health and educational components allowed
under the ``oil for food'' plan.

The deterioration in the standard of living has strengthened Iraq's case for
lifting the sanctions with increasing support from Russia and China, which
have thwarted U.S. attempts to institute ``smart'' sanctions targeting the
Iraqi government more narrowly.

``Smart'' sanctions called for by the United States and Britain are aimed at
easing restrictions on civilian goods to Iraq, strengthening a ban on
military supplies and curbing smuggling.

``The understanding on the international level is wider than ever now that
the sanctions were imposed to achieve unlawful objectives of the United
States and Britain on Iraq,'' Foreign Minister Naji Sabri told Reuters.

Iraqis are bitter, remembering how their country used to spend huge amounts
on adult literacy programs, training, public health and information

``Iraq needs billions of dollars to repair this country and the United
States allows it millions,'' said a leading economist, who forecast the
sanctions would force the economy into its 11th year of contraction.

``It is difficult to quantify the extent of the damage the sanctions
inflicted, but it is massive. The government does not provide any data for
fear it would be beneficial to the enemy,'' the economist said.

He was one of tens of thousands of Iraqis whom Saddam sent to obtain
post-graduate degrees in the West, and one of the few who remained in the
country after the sanctions were imposed.

``Iraqis will return en masse once the sanctions are lifted. ''This was a
very prosperous country,'' he said, citing a few improvements, including a
pickup in construction activity after the sanctions committee allowed the
government this year to import building material.

Iraqi consumers are also finding a wider choice of goods since the
government struck trade preference deals that abolished import duties on
items from Syria and allowed Lebanese traders into the country.

Business delegations from Thailand, India and Finland last month descended
on Baghdad to assess the market.

While encouraging sanctions-busting trade, the government is attempting to
adopt a more disciplined monetary policy. Saddam recently asked his
ministers to ``reread'' old guidelines, to stop printing money and
streamline the tax system.

``They are quietly preparing to be ready when the sanctions are lifted,''
the economist said.

Baghdad, Reuters, 5th September

Several people were wounded yesterday after a bomb exploded in a central
Baghdad market on the day Iraq marks as the 21st anniversary to the start of
its war with Iran, the official Iraqi News Agency (INA) reported.

INA quoted a security source saying a highly explosive device had been set
off and blaming Iran for the attack, the latest in a series of incidents.

"The forces of evil and vice in Iran have yet committed another new crime
against Iraqi people that coincides with the 21st anniversary of the start
of the Iranian aggression against Iraq," security source said.

Eyewitnesses said the explosion occurred at Al-Shurja, Baghdad's main
commercial hub full of shops and street vendors. The security source also
warned of retaliation.

"Iraq, while condemning such outlawed criminal acts, holds the Iranian
regime responsible for such a cowardly operation and reserves for itself the
right to retaliate at a suitable time," the source said.

Iraqi television showed damaged cars and spots of blood scattered at the
scene as well as bloody and bandaged victims lying in a Baghdad hospital.

"At 1:00 p.m. we received civilians wounded in the explosion in Baghdad.
They are suffering from injuries to the face, chest, abdomen and limbs, some
of them severe," Dr Adil Kamil said.


Tehran, Sept 5, IRNA: An informed source at the Iranian Foreign Ministry
here Wednesday strongly rejected claims by an Iraqi security official on
Iran's involvement in Tuesday's blast in Baghdad.

"Iran, as a country which itself is subject to similar crimes, is totally
against such inhuman acts," he said.

He asked Iraqi officials to take necessary measures to make up for their
past mistakes which have harmed ties with the Islamic Republic instead of
blaming their domestic problems on foreign parties.



Petroleumworld, 2nd September

Caracas: Iraqi Oil Minister Amer Rasheed said Sunday world oil prices were
still below the desired level for producers but should improve in the fourth
quarter, the Iraqi News Agency reported, according to Platts.

"Current oil prices are not satisfactory and do not meet ambitions of the
oil producing countries," Rasheed said.

"Prices of oil must be better given the relative current stability in the
oil market," Rasheed added.

He expected oil prices to rise in the last quarter of the year as "winter is
on the doorstep and there will be an increase in demand for this vital
commodity," Rasheed said.

He confirmed he would attend the next OPEC ministerial meeting in Vienna Sep

Iraq, whose oil sales are controlled by the UN, is not party to the OPEC
quota system but has been an advocate of production cuts to shore up prices.

Arabic News, 3rd September

The Iraqi oil minister Amer Muhammad Rasheed on Saturday announced that a
Turkish delegation will shortly pay an official visit to Iraq to discuss
measures to implement the gas pipeline between Iraq and Turkey.

In statements to the press following his meeting with the advisor for the
foreign trade at the Turkish cabinet Korsad Touzman, Rasheed said that
serious steps were taken to run the project of installing gas pipelines
between Iraq and Turkey. He expressed his hope that a Turkish delegation
will shortly visit Iraq to revitalize this issue.

He explained that this project was suspended during the two past years
because of certain administrative measures in order to reconsider the
economic systems in Turkey. They stressed that the two sides will return
back to it effectively and efficiently.

Rasheed stressed that economic relations between Iraq and Turkey have been
growing especially during the two past years through the participation of
the Turkish companies in contracting with the Iraqi establishments. He noted
the possibility of fostering further economic relations between the two
countries in the future.

In 1997, Iraq and Turkey signed an agreement that states to install a
pipeline to transport natural gas from Iraq to Turkey at a length of 1380 Km
at a cost of USD 2.5 billion.


by Hiwa Osman
BBC, 5th September

Iraqi Kurds were anxiously glued to their TV screens when the UN Security
Council began discussing the lifting of the embargo on Iraq and replacing it
with "smart sanctions".

Baghdad argues that sanctions are the sole reason for the misery of the
Iraqi people. But the Iraqi Kurds have a different experience.

In 1996, the humanitarian situation was deteriorating rapidly as the
sanctions imposed in 1991 began to bite hard.

Child mortality rate among the Kurds is lower than before the sanctions

The UN introduced the oil-for-food programme as a temporary measure. Iraq
would sell some of its oil with the revenue to be used by the UN to provide
the Iraqi people with food and medicine and to restore the infrastructure.

Despite all the complaints about the programme, the Kurdish region is
undergoing steady development.

The region receives 13% from the proceeds of the oil sale. A monthly food
basket of 10 items and free healthcare are given to the people.

Previously, a whole family's salary was spent on food and medicine.

Shafiq Qazzaz, a minister in the Arbil Government, said: "I would like the
oil for food programme to continue forever, but all good things come to an

According to a UN report published last year, the child-mortality rate in
the Kurdish region is lower than before the sanctions. But the figures have
almost doubled in the rest of Iraq.

The reason for this discrepancy between the Kurdish north and the rest of
Iraq is that the UN directly implements the programme in the north with the
co-operation of the Kurdish authorities.

In addition to providing security, the Kurdish authorities have mobilised
their civil service to help the various UN agencies in their work. "We can
truly claim that we have contributed to the relative success of the
programme," added Mr Qazzaz.

Infrastructure in the Kurdish region was largely destroyed by Baghdad's
30-year war with the Kurds and the whole rural population was removed into
collective towns near the big cities.

After the Gulf War, the Kurds returned to their villages. But rebuilding
4,000 villages and removing approximately 10 million mines was not an easy

Nechirvan Barzani A portion of the programme's funds is allocated to
rebuilding the region's civil infrastructure. Various UN agencies and
non-governmental organisations implement projects for electricity, water
supply, sanitation, agriculture, health, education and mine clearance.

Despite its success in the field of rehabilitation, the Kurds have many
complaints about the programme.

The Kurds were not consulted or recognised as an authority in the area when
the programme was first introduced after an agreement between Baghdad and
the UN.

Projects implemented in the Kurdish region have to go through Baghdad. But
the Iraqi Government has been blocking many projects and preventing
international experts from entering Iraq.

The 13% share generated about $5bn for the Kurdish region. Baghdad's
obstruction and UN bureaucracy have held back approximately $2bn.

Prior to the programme, farmers cultivated their land and sold the crops.
But now, since food is being bought from outside, local produce has lost its
value and farmers have lost motivation to cultivate their land.

"The UN should decrease the money spent on food and medicine", said the
Prime Minister in Arbil, Nechirvan Barzani. "They should implement
income-generating projects so that our people can rely on themselves."

Trucks hauling goods and fuel to and from the region generate large sums of
revenue and create many business opportunities.

The region's mini economic boom is clearly evident in the stable exchange
rate of the local currency.

The Kurds in the north use the pre-1991 Iraqi dinar ($1=17 dinars); whereas
in Baghdad, new dinars are printed to pay salaries. A 'Kurdish dinar' now
equals 100 new Iraqi dinars.

Businesses depending on the trade route will suffer if smart sanctions are

The recent talks of so-called smart sanctions are creating anxiety amongst
the Iraqi Kurds.

The proposed system aims to clamp down on unofficial oil trade and this will
have a direct impact on the Kurds' economy.

The Kurds have asked to be compensated for the loss they will sustain,
should smart sanctions be implemented. But it will not restore their
situation to its current one.

Nechirvan Barzani said: "They might compensate for our inability as a
government to pay our employees' salaries but what about all the small
businesses that rely on this trade route?"


Gulf News, 8th September

Baghdad (Reuters): Iraq said yesterday Saudi Arabia's acceptance that human
remains found in Iraq were of a Saudi pilot missing since the 1991 Gulf War
proved its sincerity in trying to resolve the issue of missing Saudis and

"The Saudi admission affirms anew the sincerity and accuracy of information
and Iraq's efforts to account for the fate of missing Saudis and Kuwaitis,"
the official Iraqi news agency (INA) quoted a foreign ministry spokesman as

"By this announcement another file of the missing Kuwaitis and Saudis was
closed," the spokesman said.

Saudi's aviation and defence ministry said last week that laboratory tests
had proved that human remains handed over by Iraq after they were found last
year showed they were those of Colonel Mohammed Nazerah, a Saudi pilot.

The Iraqi spokesman said the result proved that direct cooperation between
Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait with the participation of the International
Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) or under the umbrella of the Arab League
could yield positive results in accounting for missing nationals.

"It is necessary that Saudi and Kuwaiti authorities show required level of
cooperation with Iraq's initiatives to solve this humanitarian issue," he

Revealing the fate of some 600 Kuwaitis and other nationals missing since it
invaded Kuwait in 1990 is one of several conditions that Iraq must meet
before 11-year old UN sanctions on it are lifted.

Iraq said in January tests conducted in Geneva under the auspices of the
ICRC confirmed that the remains found last October in the Iraqi desert close
to the Saudi border were those of the Saudi 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 said the pilot was shot down in 1991. An Iraqi officer who buried him
in a minefield identified the grave, and the wreckage of a plane was found
about one km (half a mile) away. A Saudi official told the Saudi-owned daily
Al Hayat in January that witnesses had reported seeing Nazerah in an Iraqi
jail and there was photographic evidence he was still alive.


Times of India, 8th September

ANKARA ( AFP ): Turkish firms will hold a medical supplies fair in Iraq next
week in a new sign of Ankara's drive to revitalise trade with its
sanctions-hit southern neighbor, the Ankara chamber of industry announced on

"The fair will be effective in penetrating into the Iraqi market, which is
in a serious shortage of medicines and medical supplies," the statement

The four-day fair, organized at the suggestion proposal of the Iraqi health
minister, was scheduled to open on Monday in Baghdad.

More than 20 Turkish companies, among them leading business group
Eczacibasi, were to take part in the event, ASO said.

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