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News, 9­15/9/01

News, 9­15/9/01

This is the news WITHOUT items relating to the aftermath of the recent
attack on Manhattan and the Pentagon. A small (relative to what has been
published) selection of these will appear shortly in a separate supplement.
In the meantime, before more terrible evils fall upon the world, let us
admire the more subtle evil of requiring Iraq to pay for the the World
Health Organisation probe into the effects of depleted uranium (under
ŒInside Iraq¹) as well as the continuing air raids which may well soon
appear to be rather insignificant. Note also how well things were going from
an Iraqi point of view in terms of increasing international relations (see
e,g. the article ŒTrade becomes Iraq¹s strongest weapon¹) and so how very
unlikely it is that Iraq would have been behind the events in New York.


*  Iraq foils bid to smuggle out 500-year-old Quran
*  5 m students return to school in sanctioned Iraq
*  Babel artistic festival in Baghdad
*  Iraq Blames UN Embargo for Black Fever Outbreak
*  Iraq ordered to pay for uranium probe
*  Iraqi cabinet decides to establish new universities, faculties


*  Iraq seeks cellphones supplier
*  Indian official outlines trade deals with Iraq
*  Trade becomes Iraq's strongest weapon
*  Iraq backs Arroyo gov't, Mindanao peace process [in Philippines]


*  Iraqi Oil Ministry plans gas exports to Syria, Jordan, Lebanon
*  Iraq to use the Lebanese ports
*  The US obstructs Syrian request on Iraq
*  Fire out on sanctions-busting ship
*  Iraqi ship towed into southern Iranian port
*  Iran, Iraq to Resume Searching for Missing Soldiers
*  A Message from [Tunisian] President Bin Ali to the Iraqi President
*  Several Iraqis wounded by attacks from missiles against Iranian Mujahidi
*  Iran prefers to run railway with Iraq through Khorramshahr


*  US, UK bomb Iraqi SAM sites
*  Iraq poses growing threat: Rumsfeld
*  8 killed in US-British air raids over southern Iraq
*  Iraq: Unmanned U.S. spy plane shot down
*  US warplanes strike in northern, southern Iraq
*  Iraq announces, US denies bombardment of positions in Southern Iraq


*  10 UN staff withdrawn from Iraq
*  Impasse on Iraq oil prices going to UN council


Times of India, 9th September

BAGHDAD ( AFP ) : Iraq's customs authorities have foiled an attempt to
smuggle out antique pieces including a five-century-old copy of the Quran,
the al-Ittihad reported on Saturday.

Hameed Shokr Mahmoud, director-general of the customs department, said
officials had "recently thwarted an attempt to smuggle out 410 antique
pieces, in addition to a 500-year old copy of the Quran," the Moslem holy


Times of India, 9th September

BAGHDAD ( AP ): More than five million Iraqi students have returned to
school as government measures forcing parents to pay for school items and
keep their children in the classroom came into force.

Sanctions-straddled Iraq was once wealthy enough to offer students free
education from kindergarten through to university. It also boasted one of
the highest literacy rates in the Arab world.

Though classes are still free through university level, cash-strapped state
schools now rely on parents to meet many costs as the country battles to
stay afloat under the weight of almost 11 years of UN-enforced economic

Iraq is able to import educational supplies under the UN oil-for-food
programme, but the United Nations says the government failed to place a
single order between January and June. However, Baghdad earlier said orders
to import items such as pencils had been rejected because the United Nations
had concerns that some materials could be used in the manufacturing of

Iraq's pressing economic situation is forcing many children - some as young
as 9 or 10 years - to drop out of school. The education ministry, in
cooperation with the UN children's fund, started a programme two-weeks ago
encouraging Iraqi families to enrol their children in schools or face
penalties ranging from fines to jail sentences.

Education minister Fahad Salem al-Shaqra also told reporters last week that
the government has supplied students with notebooks, erasers, pencils and
sharpeners for "half the street price."

Arabic News, 11th September

The artistic director of the Iraqi Babel festival said on Monday that some
20 Arab and foreign states have so far announced their participation at the
13th session of the International festival due to be opened on September

He added that a large number of artistic figures, media men and cultural and
artistic bands from Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Algeria, Jordan, and Yemen will
perform shows at the festival. Among the participating artistic bands are
the renowned Iraqi singer Nasir Shamma and the Egyptian famous musical band
of Abdul Halim Nweira.

He added that artistic bands from Moldavia, Ukraine, Russia, Bulgaria,
Yugoslavia, Pakistan, Belurus, Azerbeidjan, China, Sweden, Norway, Turkey,
Japan and Germany will take part in the activities of the ten- day festival.

The festival includes cultural and musical activities and dancing shows and
folkloric performances to be introduced at the Babylonian theatre " and the
throne hall " and the museum theatre which is established this year in the
archeological city which is 90 kilometers to the south of Baghdad.

ABC News, 13th September

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq blamed delays in the arrival of medical supplies
under the United Nations embargo on Thursday for cases of black fever in the
south and centre of the country.

A health ministry source said the UN's sanctions committee, which authorises
medical supplies under the UN oil-for-food deal, was responsible for the
outbreaks of the disease by delaying supplies.

``The embargo and the delay of contracts for medical and laboratory devices
by (UN) committee 661 have caused the emergence of a number of black fever
cases in southern and central provinces,'' the sources said in remarks
published by al-Iraq newspaper.

The source said preventive measures against black fever include fighting
mosquitoes that transmit the disease and spraying infected areas with

The parasitic disease is usually transmitted to humans by mosquitoes. It
causes high fever, anaemia, swollen liver and enlargement of the abdomen.


Gulf News, 15th September

Geneva, Reuters: Iraq must pay for a two-year probe by the World Health
Organisation (WHO) into possible links between cancer and depleted uranium
(DU) dropped by U.S.-led forces during the Gulf War, a WHO official said

"None of these projects can really start until funding has been found for
them, and funding, it has been agreed, will be at the Iraqi initiative,"
Neel Mani, the new director of the WHO's Iraq programme, said.

The UN health agency says it does not have enough approved funding of its
own to help the Iraqis.

WHO officials and Iraqi health authorities agreed at a meeting in Baghdad
last month that future work would focus on four projects, notably an
examination of the health effects of environmental risks including DU.

The other areas deal with cancer surveillance, documenting cases of birth
defects and kidney disease, and a plan to control cancer and other
non-communicable diseases.

"If the Iraq government is not able to come up with the short sources of
financing we would not be able to carry these projects forward," Mani said.

Iraq has claimed that investigations on the ground would start within two

However, Mani said implementation depended on Iraq's ability to find
funding, estimated to run into millions of dollars, and to agree on
technical criteria that the WHO would set out over the weekend.

"WHO would not involve itself in a project where it was not able to gather
data that it could validate scientifically," he said.

He insisted that international experts must be able to go where they need
inside Iraq and estimated that it would take between 18 to 24 months to
complete the study.

"If certain equipment is required and it is not approved to be taken into
the country by the sanctions committee then I'm afraid that that will mean
that that part of the project will be at a stalemate," Mani said.

Baghdad says the United States and Britain fired more than 940,000
armour-piercing DU projectiles during the 1991 conflict and had requested a
WHO study.

WHO studied radiation levels caused by the use of DU weapons in the Balkans
and concluded that the health effect was minimal.But it believes that
reports of increased cancer rates and birth defects in Iraq over the past
decade warrant further investigation.

The agency regards existing cancer data for regions outside Baghdad as
scientifically unreliable and said it would be improved if the study can go

The UN health agency has stressed that depleted uranium will not be the only
focus of its research, and that it wants to study wider health issues. It
cites the high rate of smoking among Iraqi men as a possible reason for high
cancer rates.

Economic sanctions imposed after Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait have hit the
nation's health sector hard.

Hoovers' (Financial Times), 15th September
Source: Iraqi TV, Baghdad, in Arabic

Leader mujahid President Saddam Husayn, may God watch over him, chaired the
43rd session of the Council of Ministers. The council discussed issues on
its agenda and made the necessary decisions and recommendations regarding

The leader president instructed the Ministry of Higher Education and
Scientific Research to establish another engineering faculty in Mosul
University and a faculty of fine arts in Wasit Governorate to be affiliated
with the Al-Qadisiyah University. The second faculty will be in charge of
taking care of the work of arts of the well-known Iraqi artist Al-Wasiti.

The president's instructions were made while the Council of Ministers was
discussing a proposal presented by the Ministry of Higher Education and
Scientific Research to establish a number of faculties and universities. The
council approved the establishment of the following universities and
faculties: a humanities faculty at Al-Anbar University; a law faculty at
Takrit University; a faculty of science at Diyala University that will open
in the current academic year; and a faculty of science in Karbala.

The Council of Ministers also approved the establishment of another faculty
of medicine at Mosul University. It also decided to establish two
universities; the first in Karbala Governorate and the second in Dhi Qar
Governorate, after enough faculties have been established in these two

IRAQI/INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS,4186,2-8-21_1077524,00.html

News 24 (South Africa), 9th September

Baghdad - Iraq said on Sunday it was approaching world companies to sell it
mobile telephone systems after the withdrawal of a Chinese firm from a deal
signed with Baghdad, the official Iraqi News Agency INA reported.

Iraq had signed a contract with Huawei for the purchase of a $28 million,
25 000-line mobile switching system.

The United States recently lifted its block on more than $80 million of
contracts for Chinese telecommunications goods in return for China's support
in June for a US-British initiative to overhaul the sanctions imposed on
Iraq for its 1990 invasion of Kuwait. Baghdad wants the sanctions ended.

The previously blocked contracts included one to buy mobile telephone
equipment from Huawei Technologies Co, said by US intelligence officials in
February to have helped Iraq upgrade its air defences with fiber-optic

The "smart sanctions" initiative, set aside by the United Nations Security
Council in July but still under consideration, would make it easier for Iraq
to buy civilian goods while tightening controls on oil smuggling and
prohibited weapons.

Hoover's (Financial Times), 9th September

Source: PTI news agency, New Delhi, in English, 9th Sep

New Delhi: India has agreed to provide high-tech "Skybus" rails to Iraq and
construct a railway line to boost cooperation between New Delhi and Baghdad.

"We have agreed to supply Skybus developed by Konkan Railways and build a
railway line between capital Baghdad and Mashoba," Digvijay Singh, deputy
chief of Indian delegation that visited Iraq last week, told PTI here.

Singh, who is minister of state for railways, said during the course of a
three-day visit to Iraq he held formal discussions with Iraqi railway
authorities on the two projects worth thousands of crore [one crore = 10
million] of rupees.

"Skybus" is another form of Metro Rapid Transit System (MRTS) in which
rolling stock hangs on wheel [as received]. It is running successfully in
many developed countries.

The Baghdad-Mashoba rail line will be constructed by IRCON, Singh said.

The project would be taken up under United Nations supervised "Oil-for-Food"
programme, Singh added.

The Oil-for-Food programme allows Iraq to bypass UN sanctions and sell oil
on the condition that revenue is spent on food and on humanitarian goods.

Singh described the visit of 80-member Indian delegation of MPs,
businessmen, writers and film makers as a step forward in the long-standing
Indo-Iraq bilateral ties. They had wide ranging interaction with Iraqi
officials and businessmen to enhance economic and political cooperation
between the two countries, he said.

Singh, who was also holding the portfolio of Junior Minister for Industry
and Commerce at the time of goodwill visit to Iraq, said beside wheat, India
would send tea, basmati rice and pharmaceutical items to Iraq in return for
oil from that country.

Under a 1996 agreement, India has been importing oil worth 250m dollars a
year from Iraq, which has been subject to UN sanctions since the Gulf War.

Iraq and India agreed to trade oil in exchange for wheat last year, with New
Delhi giving 35,000 tonnes of wheat for its 250m dollars of Iraqi crude oil.

India imports nearly 70 per cent of its oil needs, with its oil import bill
last year totalling 800bn rupees (17bn dollars).

by  Roula Khalaf and Carola Hoyos
Financial Times, 10th September

Doing business with Iraq can be a surreal experience. According to Arab
officials, the process begins with a trip to Baghdad, where you are met at
the border by a government representative dressed in military uniform.

You step into a car and the Iraqi official takes out his gun and puts it on
a seat between the two of you. A trade deal is outlined before you arrive at
his office.

This is not an exercise in intimidation. Its objective is simply to
underline that Iraq is in a state of war. In fighting the most comprehensive
embargo in history, trade has become Baghdad's most powerful weapon.

Convinced that UN sanctions will never be lifted, Iraqi President Saddam
Hussein has for years been seeking to erode the embargo by developing
business links through the legal United Nations oil-for-food deal - the
exemption to the sanctions - or by providing incentives for countries to
circumvent the UN-monitored programme and trade directly with Baghdad.

In recent months, Iraq's trade strategy has come into sharp focus. Its
priority now is to offer as many incentives as possible to Russia to
preserve its political support at the UN Security Council while creating an
economic dependency in neighbouring countries, most notably Syria, a
long-time foe, and Egypt.

The ability to use trade links to shape political realities has limits.
However, the award of import and export contracts - both legal and illegal -
has yielded some dividends at crucial times. In July, Russia, one of Iraq's
largest trade partners, blocked US proposals to amend the sanctions and
introduce tighter "smart sanctions" on the regime while facilitating the
flow of goods to the beleaguered civilian population.

Iraq's economic potential has long been seen as one reason behind Russian,
Chinese and French lobbying for an easing of the sanctions regime. With
112bn barrels of proven crude reserves - second only to Saudi Arabia - and
an under-developed industry, Iraq has raised the prospects of oil contracts
in a post-sanctions era as an incentive for western governments to back a
lifting of sanctions.

But it is the expansion of the oil-for-food deal that has provided ample
opportunity to use trade to advance political goals. Iraqi oil sales reached
Dollars 18bn (Pounds 13bn) last year, up from a mere Dollars 4bn in 1997.

Russian officials deny that trade lies behind their support for Iraq. But in
Baghdad, Russia has been identified as the Security Council member most
likely to be influenced by economic relations. Moscow is owed some Dollars
8bn in debts and annual trade with Iraq has reached Dollars 1.2bn, senior
diplomatic sources say.

According to Terence Taylor, assistant director at London's International
Institute for Strategic Studies, Iraq is also a source of revenues for the
struggling Russian arms market. As ties with Russia have expanded, Iraq's
attention has also turned to the Arab world, where most governments are
struggling with weak economies.

"There's been quite a shift in tactics. This year the Iraqis are
concentrating on neighbours to create a dependency so political decisions
are influenced by trade," says Mr Taylor. Until recently, Jordan was
Baghdad's closest Arab trading partner. But Iraqi suspicion of Jordan has
led it to seek to diversify its business links, targeting Syria and Egypt.

Last year the Iraqi government signed a free trade agreement with Egypt and
economic exchanges are believed to have reached over Dollars 1bn, with plans
to double them.

Political relations with Syria, which contributed to the Gulf war alliance
that drove Iraq out of Kuwait in 1991, also remain tense. But Bashar
al-Assad, Syrian president, took the unusual step of sending Mustafa Mero,
his prime minister, to Baghdad last month to sign a series of economic
agreements that aimed to lift trade from the current Dollars 500m to Dollars

Syria is also believed to be the conduit for what the west considers to be
the most glaring contravention of UN sanctions. Almost a year ago, it
re-opened an oil pipeline to Iraq through which more than 120,000 barrels a
day of oil is believed to be flowing. The oil, bought at adiscount, is used
in domestic refineries, allowing Syria to raise its own oil exports.

Both Syria and Egypt say they remain committed to UN sanctions, though
analysts suspect that unofficial exchanges are on the rise.

"After the US and British strikes on Iraq in 1998, there was no US policy on
Iraq and Saddam got the message - instead of making up with Kuwait, he
decided to erode the sanctions," says Walid Khaddouri, editor of Middle East
Economic Survey, a Cyprus-based newsletter that tracks Iraqi trade. "Now a
good part of the Arab trade is not going through the oil-for-food

In trying to convince Security Council members to back new sanctions, the US
has offered carrots and sticks to Iraq's trade partners.

While it was discussing smart sanctions with China, a country traditionally
sympathetic to Iraq, the US released more than Dollars 80m of Chinese
business deals with Iraq that Washington had blocked at the UN on grounds
that they included material that could be used in weapons programmes.

Now, the US focus is on Russia, the only Security Council member still
opposed to amending the sanctions. The US and its UK ally have been
attempting to complicate the ability of companies to pay surcharges when
lifting Iraqi oil, a move analysts say is aimed at making it difficult for
Russian companies to benefit from Iraqi business.

"The battle now is for the soul and pocket of Moscow. Both sides, the US and
Iraq, are looking to meet Russia's price," says Raad al-Kadiri, analyst at
The Petroleum Finance Company, a Washington-based consultancy. "The US is
trying to take away something from the Russians and Baghdad is putting its
emphasis on Russian firms which have never received so many contracts for

by Edd K. Usman
Manila Bulletin (Philippines), 11th September

The Iraqi government has expressed support for President Gloria Macapagal
Arroyo's administration and the peace process in Mindanao with the rebels as
it upheld Philippine sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Iraqi officials also cited the Philippines for "maintaining a balanced
policy on issues involving Iraq."

This was learned from Dr. Parouk Hussin, presidential adviser on Muslim
Mindanao Concerns, and one of the leaders of the Moro National Liberation
Front-Executive Council (MNLF-EC), who arrived recently from a trip to
Baghdad, Iraq, where he led 89 Filipino and foreign businessmen and seven
top government officials in visiting an international fair.

The delegation, which visited an industrial fair in Baghdad, was welcomed by
the Iraqi government, with Hussin meeting top officials such as Iraqi Vice
President Taha Yasseen Ramadhan, Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz, Dr.
Mun'im Ahmad Salih, minister of Endowments and Religious Affairs; Ma'an
Abdullah Sarsam; Dr. Naji Sabri AlHadithi, minister of Foreign Affairs; and
Dr. Umaid Midhat Mubarak.

Ambassador Salah Samarmad, the Iraqi envoy to Manila, initiated the visit
and accompanied the Philippine delegation on its Baghdad trip.

He said the meetings showed positive signals for the re-establishment of
Manila-Baghdad relations "even on a limited basis," while Hussin conveyed
Philippine solidarity with the Iraqi people, who are suffering from the
effects of a United Nations (UN) embargo that has caused the death of over a
million Iraqis, many of them children, "due to lack of food and medicine."

Iraqi officials also discussed the establishment of a refinery in Mindanao
with Iraqi crude oil, he said.

"Indeed, it now seems to be the time to be actively involved in Iraq. While
waiting for the mutual lifting of the (UN) sanctions, the Philippines must
pursue involvement in the Oil-for Food program," Hussin said.

In a report to the President, Hussin said the official trip to the Middle
East state from Aug. 27 to Sept. 3 "was made to show Philippine products
with focus on Mindanao to participate in Iraq's Oil-for-Food program" as
well as an effort to revive trade, socio cultural, religious, and political
relations between Manila and Baghdad.

Hussin cited the enormous economic benefits of joining Iraq's United
Nations-designed Oil for-Food program which is being used by many countries,
from the start of the scheme in December, 1996, to August, 2001, proceeds
have reached $38.6 billion and 7.9 billion euros.

"As of March 2001, 75 countries have signed contracts under the Oil-for-Food
program," Hussin said. "Asian countries in the top 20 list include Vietnam,
India, Malaysia, and Thailand, with Vietnam having a signed contract valued
at $1.109 billion and Thailand at $346 billion."

Among others, he said, the Iraqi officials he met expressed support for the
Arroyo administration, the Mindanao peace process, the country's sovereignty
and territorial integrity; vowed to accept Filipino workers, specially in
the medical and allied fields; are willing to improve relations; offered
scholarships to Muslim students; and are ready to patronize Philippine
pharmaceutical products.


Hoover's (Financial Times), 9th September
Source: Al-Ittihad web site, Baghdad, in Arabic 8 Sep 01

An Iraqi petroleum study emphasizes the need to implement a project to
export natural gas to Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan in the context of Iraq's
programme for exploiting its huge natural gas reserves.

The study, prepared by the Iraqi Oil Ministry, explains that this project's
annual maximum capacity will amount to 15 billion cubic metres of gas at an
investment cost of more than one billion dollars.

The study points out that this project, in addition to another project
involving the exportation of natural gas to Turkey, will boost the national
economy and will provide these countries (Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey)
with a source of energy to meet their domestic needs. The implementation of
the project to export gas to Turkey is already at an advanced stage.

The recent study shows that all technical and economic feasibility studies
have underlined the importance of these gas exportation projects to
guarantee revenue for Iraq and exploit the country's large gas resources
that would otherwise have to be burnt off and wasted. Additionally these gas
projects will consolidate economic ties and mutual interests with these
neighbouring countries.

The recent study stresses that all the factors of success exist for
exporting Iraqi natural gas because Iraq has a suitable reserve of free gas
in many of its natural gas fields. This will ensure that Iraq will always
have a large production capacity of gas without this being linked to the
production of petroleum. Furthermore the locations of these projects are
geographically close to the consumption areas in the neighbouring countries.

The study points out that the project to export natural gas to Syria,
Lebanon and Jordan is more economical than the project to build a pipeline
to export gas to Turkey, always bearing in mind that both projects are
economically feasible.

The study proves that Iraq possesses a large reserve of natural gas. Proven
reserves amount to 3,000 billion cubic metres of gas while potential
reserves amount to 4,300 billion cubic metres. It adds that a recent find in
the Akas gas field in the western desert increases the chances that this
region contains other gas fields, particularly as the reserves of the Akas
field are estimated at about 61 billion cubic metres.

The study shows that natural gas exportation projects through pipelines are
among the most economical ways of exporting it in comparison with other
methods, and for this reason around 75 per cent of the gas exportation trade
in recent years has been conducted through pipelines.

Arabic News, 9th September

Iraq has announced it wants to rely on the Lebanese ports in importing
commodities and goods coming to it in the framework of the "oil for food"

During his meeting with a Lebanese delegation, the Iraqi minister of
commerce Muhammad Mahdi Saleh said that the volume of trade relations
between the two countries is currently estimated at USD 680 million and that
Iraq wants to develop trade and economic relations between the two countries
and to use the Lebanese ports to receiving its imports.

However, the Lebanese trade delegation which is composed of 55 political,
economic, industrial and agricultural figures arrived on Sunday in Baghdad
in a visit aims at discussing means of developing trade co-operation
relations between Iraq and Lebanon.

Arabic News, 10th September

The United Arab Emirates UAE daily al-Bayan issued on Saturday said that the
US is obstructing a Syrian request submitted to the UN which provides for
permitting civil Syrian air flights to Iraq.

In a statement a diplomatic source at the UN said that the ambassador of the
US to the UN James Koningham stressed before the UN security council in its
Thursday's session that the resolutions on approving air flights to Iraq are
given separately, adding that it is surprising that this request comes from
a country that seeks to be a member at the UN Security Council, in remarks
to Syria.

Syria had proposed a decision to the UN sanctions committee on Iraq to run
ordinary air flights to Baghdad but the committee refused the Syrian

News 24 (South Africa), 10th September

Manama - US Navy ships have put out a fire on board a Honduran-flagged ship
in the Gulf which was allegedly smuggling fuel oil from Iraq, a spokesman
said on Sunday.

"The fire has been put out," Commander Jeff Alderson of the US Fifth Fleet
based in Bahrain said. He said the ship was carrying about 5 700 tonnes of
fuel oil.

US Navy ships patrolling the Gulf put out the fire at around 16:00 after
rushing to the scene when it broke out on Saturday night, Alderson said.

The Bahrain-based Marine Emergency Mutual Aid Centre (Memac) said fire broke
out on the Khaled 1 while it was in international waters off Kuwait.

Memac did not report any oil spill into the sea.

US ships rescued the crew of five Iraqis, four Filipinos and six Indians, a
US Navy spokesperson said earlier.

"(The USS) Nicholson sent over a rescue assistant team to fight the fire on
Khaled 1. The crew members are now aboard the US ship," the spokesperson

The crew were in good condition, but two members needed medical assistance
for smoke inhalation and burns, the spokesperson added.

The US Navy patrols the Gulf to enforce UN sanctions imposed on Iraq after
Baghdad's 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

The fire was the latest in a series of accidents involving ships allegedly
smuggling Iraqi oil in the Gulf.

On August 6, a Honduran-flagged ship with some 900 tonnes of crude sank in
the Gulf after it was intercepted by a US-led naval force.

In April, a tanker smuggling Iraqi fuel oil sank off the United Arab
Emirates, causing the Gulf Arab state's worst environmental disaster in

Iraq, under international sanctions since the invasion of Kuwait, is allowed
to sell oil only under close United Nations supervision.

A British official said in February that Iraq sold $600 million worth of
smuggled oil in 2000.


Tehran, Sept 11, IRNA -- An Iranian tugboat has towed the Honduran-flagged
ship which caught fire in the Persian Gulf into the southern Imam Khomeini
Port, the state Ports and Shipping Organization announced Tuesday.

"The ship has been towed into Imam Khomeini Port and, thus, can pose no
threat of pollution to the region," it said in a statement faxed to IRNA.

On Sunday, the Bahrain-based Marine Emergency Mutual Aid Center (MEMAC) said
in a statement that the fire broke out aboard the Khaled 1 on Saturday night
while it was sailing in international waters east of Kuwait's al-Ahmadi port
in the northern Persian Gulf.

The ship was said to be carrying 5,700 tons of fuel oil, allegedly smuggled
from Iraq.

The fire was the latest in a series of accidents involving ships carrying
Iraqi oil in the Persian Gulf in recent months.

On August 6, a Honduran-flagged ship with some 900 tons of crude sank in the
Persian Gulf after it was intercepted by a U.S.-led naval force.

In April, a tanker smuggling Iraqi fuel oil sank off the United Arab
Emirates, causing the Gulf Arab state's worst environmental disaster in


People's Daily, 12th September

Iran and Iraq have reached a new agreement to resume search operations for
soldiers missing in the eight-year Iran-Iraq War, the Iranian committee in
charge of the search for missing in action (MIA) said on Tuesday.

The agreement was reached during a meeting between Iranian and Iraqi
delegations Monday, Iran's official IRNA news agency reported.

According to the agreement, Iran will start searching operations on
September 22 in parts of the Iraqi territory.

IRNA said several Iranian searching groups are currently combing the Iraqi
part of Shalamcheh and neighboring regions where most bloody battles were
fought during the war between 1980 and 1988, which killed some one million

The two countries have so far recovered scores of bodies of soldiers from
both sides and have exchanged over 100,000 prisoners of war (POWs) since the
end of the war.

The issue of POWs and MIAs has been a major obstacle to the normalization of
Tehran Baghdad ties.

Iran says some 2,500 of its forces are still being held in Iraqi prisons
while refuting Baghdad's claims that it holds nearly 30,000 Iraqi soldiers.

Arabic News, 14th September

The Tunisian Foreign minister al-Habib Bin Yahya arrived on Tuesday evening
to Baghdad carrying a message from the Tunisian President Zein al-Abidin Bin
Ali to his Iraqi counterpart Saddam Hussein.

The Iraqi news agency quoted Bin Yahya as saying that the message pertains
to " bilateral relations and issues of mutual concern." Worthy mentioning
that the two countries signed on February 23, this year an agreement to
establish a free trade zone between themselves that states to abrogate
customs barriers before the productions of the two countries.

This agreement was signed during the visit held by the Iraqi vice President
Taha Yassin Ramadan to Tunisia. This visit is the first by an Iraqi official
at this level to Tunisia since the Gulf war in 1991.

KHALQ organization in Iraq
Arabic News, 15th September

The opposition Iranian Mujahidi Khalq organization said on Friday that
several Iraqi citizens were wounded by missiles attack which targeted one of
its camps in Jalolaa city, near the border between Iraq and Iran.

In a statement issued in Baghdad, the Organization said that five missiles
were fired at the camp which belongs to the Iranian national liberation
army, noting that the missiles failed to achieve its targets and all fell on
the residential area inside Jalloulaa city and this resulted in killing
several Iraqis and several damages in properties.


Abadan, Khuzestan Prov., Sept 15, IRNA -- It is cost-effective for Iran
whose connecting railway with Iraq runs through the border city of
Khorramshar in western Iran, deputy provincial governor for planning and
economic affairs said Saturday.

Gholamreza Firouzi told IRNA that the huge economic project in question will
cost "next to nothing" for Iran, while it would strengthen the security of
the region and pave the way for provincial economic development.

Firouzi said: "connecting the country's railroad with Iraq through Khosravi
checkpoint in northwest of Iran is quite uneconomical since we already have
the railroad in the south, while we need to lay down the costly
northwest-northeast railway before that path becomes possible."

He predicted that if the Korramshahr-Iraq-Syria railway becomes operational,
Iran will in near future also announce Khorramshahr as a Free Harbor.

The governorate official said that everything is ready in Iran's
Khorramshahr and Abadan port cities for embracing a comprehensive
development plan, whose key will be clicked on with approving the
international railway project.

"Promoting the economic prosperity of the oil-rich Khuzestan Province is not
only to the benefit of the whole Iranian nation, but advantageous for the
whole region, and therefore any official who will ignore this fact has
actually mistreated a large population," said Firouzi.

He finally hoped that the Khorramshahr-Abadan twin cites will once again
regain the deserved grandeur they once enjoyed before the 1980-1988 Iraqi
imposed war against Iran and become one of the region's most prosperous
international, economic, political and cultural spots in Iran.


ISN, 10th September

US and British warplanes attacked three surface-to-air missile sites in
Iraq's southern "no fly" zone on Sunday as part of a campaign to disable
Baghdad's air defenses, the Pentagon said. All U.S. aircraft returned safely
to their bases, the Pentagon said. One Pentagon official said that U.S. Air
Force F-16, Navy F-18 and British Tornado GR-4 aircraft hit missile sites
near al-Numinayah, al-Kut, and Tallil, all southeast of Baghdad.

The Navy jets were based aboard the US aircraft carrier "Carl Vinson,"
stationed in the Gulf. Defense officials declined to say from which nearby
country the Air Force and British jets flew their missions. "Today's strikes
are in response to recent Iraqi hostile threats, including enhancement of
its air defense system against coalition aircraft (US and British jets)
monitoring the no-fly zones" in northern and southern Iraq, the official
added. "Iraq's actions continue a nine-year pattern of aggression in the
no-fly zones," he said.

Four other attacks, some also involving British planes, have been conducted
against air defenses in southern Iraq since 25 August in response to
increasing attempts by the Iraqi military to shoot down planes that have
been patrolling no-fly zones in northern and southern Iraq for a decade.
Last Tuesday, US jets attacked anti-aircraft guns, missile sites and radars
in Iraq's northern and southern "no-fly" zones. No piloted Western planes
have been downed by Iraqi fire, although Iraq said last week that its
gunners had shot down an unmanned US reconnaissance aircraft that crashed in
the southern no-fly zone.


Times of India, 10th September

WASHINGTON ( AFP ): Iraq is growing increasingly dangerous as the regime of
dictator Saddam Hussein pursues weapons of mass destruction without
international monitoring, US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said on

"They have an appetite for weapons of mass destruction," Rumsfeld said on
"Fox News Sunday."

"They have been, every period since they have been able to get the
inspectors out of there, working diligently to increase their capabilities
in every aspect of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile
technology. And as they get somewhat stronger, the problem becomes some

"And that problem, particularly biological weapons, over the coming decade
is going to be an increasingly serious one."

Air strikes have limited effectiveness against sites where the weapons are
developed or deployed because some of those sites are underground or mobile,
Rumsfeld said.

The problem "will have to be attacked from a whole range of methods," he

"To the extent other countries keep trading with him and improving his
fibber optics and improving his ability to cue and network, the risk level
goes up," Rumsfeld told CNN.

"And then the United States and (Britain) are forced to go in and take out
those capabilities."


Daily Star (Bangla Desh), 11th September

Baghdad (AFP): Eight people were killed and three wounded in US-British air
raids over southern Iraq on Sunday, the official INA news agency said

The raids hit Salhiya region, in Wassel province, around 170 kilometres (105
miles) south of Baghdad, INA said, blasting "another savage attack by the
United States and Britain against Iraqi citizens."

The deaths take to 365 the number of people Baghdad says have been killed in
US-British raids since December 1998.


Reuters adds earlier: US and British warplanes attacked three surface-to-air
missile sites in Iraq's southern "no-fly" zone on Sunday as part of a
campaign to disable Baghdad's air defences, the Pentagon said.

A Pentagon official said three separate strikes occurred between 11 am EDT
(1500 GMT) and 1:30 pm EDT (1730 GMT). All US aircraft returned safely to
their bases, the Pentagon said in a statement.

The US military's Central Command (CENTCOM) in Tampa gave no details of the
strikes. It said damage from the raids was still being assessed.

One Pentagon official said that US Air Force F-16, Navy F-18 and British
Tornado GR-4 aircraft hit missile sites near al-Numinayah, al-Kut, and
Tallil, all southeast of Baghdad.

Chicago Tribune, 12th September

BAGHDAD (Associated Press): A second unmanned U.S. spy plane has been downed
by Iraq in less than a month, Baghdad said Tuesday, following American
reports that Iraq was beefing up its ability to strike U.S. and British
aircraft patrolling no-fly zones over Iraq's north and south.

A U.S. military spokesman said a plane was missing and its loss was being

The official Iraqi News Agency reported that wreckage of the downed
aircraft--carrying "highly advanced equipment"--had been found. It did not
mention pilots.

Maj. Brett Morris, spokesman for a U.S.-British military task force in the
Persian Gulf, said coalition forces had lost a Predator aircraft Tuesday
similar to the reconnaissance plane lost last month.

"We have lost contact with our unmanned observation aircraft," Morris said
in Manama, Bahrain. "There is an investigation going on."

U.S. officials have noted that Iraq seems to have been improving its
targeting ability and missile defense systems while also adopting a strategy
to attack slow-moving American surveillance aircraft rather than
high-performance fighter jets.

Morris said the Predator plane took off early Tuesday for southeastern Iraq.
The unmanned aircraft, which is controlled from land, disappeared later
Tuesday morning while patrolling in the area, he said.

Earlier Tuesday, the Iraqi agency reported a U.S. spy plane was shot down at
11:30 a.m. near the southern city of Basra, 350 miles south of the capital.

"The plane was coming from Kuwaiti territory, and it was used to provide the
American enemy with information concerning our installations, vital sites
and our air-defense formations," the news agency said, quoting an
unidentified spokesman from the Iraqi Air Defense Command.

Last month, Iraq claimed to have shot down a Predator reconnaissance plane
in the Basra area. The U.S. Defense Department acknowledged losing a plane
in that area but said it was unsure whether it had been hit by hostile fire
or had crashed on its own.

The Pentagon has said that plane was the first U.S. aircraft lost in Iraq in
the 10 years since U.S. and British planes began patrolling "no-fly"
zones--except for a "friendly fire" incident in 1994. Then, two American
F-15 fighter jets mistakenly shot down two U.S. Army helicopters over
northern Iraq, killing 26.

Times of India, 13th September

WASHINGTON: US warplanes attacked Iraqi air defense sites in northern and
southern Iraq Tuesday, responding to Iraqi ground fire and "hostile
threats," the US military said.

The US European Command said coalition warplanes struck "elements of Iraq's
integrated air defense" in northern Iraq in response to anti-aircraft
artillery fire and after coalition aircraft monitoring a no-fly zone in the
north were targeted by Iraqi radar.

In the south, US ground and carrier-based fighter jets used precision guided
munitions to attack anti-aircraft artillery and surface-to-air missile sites
around As Samwah, 209 kilometers southeast of Baghdad, a spokesman for the
US Central Command said.

The command, which is based in Tampa, Florida, but is responsible for US
forces in the Gulf, said the air attack was "in response to recent Iraqi
hostile threats against coalition aircraft monitoring the southern no-fly

It would not say how many sites were struck in the raid.


US Air Force F-16s and Navy F/A-18s from the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise
took part in Tuesday's raid in the south.

In the north, the bombing followed anti-aircraft artillery fire from sites
north of Mosul, the European Command's statement said, adding that the
patrol planes were also targeted by Iraqi radar.

US aircraft "responded to the Iraqi attacks by delivering ordnance on
elements of the Iraqi integrated air defense system," the statement said in
the usual formula.

The jets returned safely to their base in Incirlik in Turkey's southern
province of Adana.

Arabic News, 14th September

The British and American planes on Thursday bombarded the civilian areas in
southern Iraq, but no news reported casualties.

Iraqi official sources said that the American and British warplanes
bombarded by missiles the province of Waset and this resulted in destroying
several houses and fears among the civilians.

The US has denied what was announced by the Iraqi official sources on that
British and American planes carried out a raid on southern Iraq in which
several houses were destroyed.

News reports quoted the spokesman for the American national security council
as saying that there are no reports about military activities for the Allied
warplanes in Iraq.


Times of India, 9th September

UNITED NATIONS ( AFP ): The United Nations on Friday clarified claims made
by the Iraqi authorities, saying it had withdrawn a total of 10 people from
Iraq at the government's request since April.

Six worked for the UN oil-for-food programme in Baghdad and four were with
the military observation mission (UNIKOM), set up in April 1991 after the
Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, officials said.

Iraq's ambassador to the United Nations, Mohammad al-Duri, was quoted by the
official INA news agency on Friday as saying that eight UN employees had
been expelled this month for spying for the United States.

"They were expelled for carrying out activities damaging Iraq's national
security," Duri said.

He earlier told reporters here that Iraq had expelled an unspecified number
of other UN staff in recent months.

On Thursday, the director of the oil-for-food programme, Benon Sevan, told
reporters after briefing the Security Council that five of his staff and one
consultant had been declared persona non grata.

The staff members included three Nigerians whom he instructed to leave Iraq
for their own safety, he said. The three arrived safely in Amman on Tuesday.

Another Nigerian staff member was on leave at the time, and the fifth, a
Bosnian woman, had been transferred at her own request to another UN mission
two months ago, Sevan's office said.

The five were data collectors for the oil-for-food programme, which was set
up in December 1996 to alleviate the impact of sanctions on the Iraqi

The sixth person, a Dutch citizen employed by the Swiss company Cotecna, was
withrawn on August 30 after taking unauthorised photographs, Sevan said.

Cotecna has been contracted by the UN to inspect goods entering Iraq under
the programme.

A spokesman for the UN, Stephane Dujarric, said four UNIKOM observers were
withdrawn on two occasions.

Two Argentinians were pulled out in late August, and two others left in
April, he said. He did not say what nationality these two were.

"All of them had been taking pictures where they were not supposed to,"
Dujarric said. As of March 31, UNIKOM had a total strength of 1,301,
including 193 military observers drawn from 32 countries, among them the
United States and Britain.

It also included an infantry battalion of 775 from Bangladesh, 204 civilian
staff, and other military engineering, logistics, helicopter and medical

The oil-for-food programme employs a total of 882 international staff in

They include 364 whose core function is to monitor the distribution by the
authorities of food and other necessities in the 15 provinces under
government control in southern and central Iraq.

The other 518 staff are employed to implement the programme on behalf of the
government in the three mainly Kurdish northern provinces.

The job of the monitors is to ensure that imported goods are used for
purposes approved by the Security Council's sanctions committee, and not
diverted to military ends.

by Bernie Woodall
Excite, 11th September

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The impasse over Iraqi oil prices will be brought
to the U.N. Security Council later this week from its subordinate Iraqi
sanctions committee, the committee's chairman Norwegian U.N. Ambassador Ole
Peter Kolby said Monday.

"If there is no agreement in the committee, there is no other way (to settle
the matter) than to bring it to the Security Council," Kolby said after the
committee met and again failed to make progress on setting Iraqi oil prices
to the United States.

Kolby said he would bring the issue to the council later this week, but
didn't say when or if a vote will take place.

Kolby will have one-on-one meetings with Security Council ambassadors this
week in an attempt to reach a compromise.

There is little chance that the committee will solve the impasse over
setting oil prices for U.S.-bound shipments of Iraqi crude, Kolby told

Iraq proposed prices for U.S.-bound crude oil for the full month of
September, a proposal blocked by Britain and the United States.

Russia, Iraq's biggest ally on the U.N. Security Council, in turn blocked a
U.S.-British proposal to set the U.S.-bound prices for a half month.

So there have been no prices for U.S.-bound Iraqi crude since September 1.
The United States is the biggest consumer of Iraqi crude. Oil shipments to
the United States can continue with prices set retroactively.

Prices for European-bound and Asian-bound Iraqi crude are in place.

Oil industry experts fear that oil companies will soon curtail oil liftings
because of uncertainty over prices.

Britain and the United States are leading an effort to set prices for Iraqi
oil exports at least twice a month rather than once a month. This, the
Western nations believe, will stem Iraq's ability to include illegal charges
collected by Baghdad.

If the prices are set more often, they can more closely match oil cash
market prices. When oil prices climb and the official selling prices for
Iraq's oil are set for a month, Iraq can easily fold in the under-the-table
charges, diplomats and oil industry experts said.

>From December 1996 when the oil-for-food program began until last fall, the
rather mundane task of setting oil prices has been undertaken by the
committee. Until last November when the committee became aware of the
illegal oil surcharges, Iraq's price proposals were rarely contested by the
15-nation sanctions committee.

Twice since last December Iraq has stopped oil exports to protest oil
pricing issues. Although Iraq has said its oil will continue to flow, there
is fear among oil industry experts that oil companies will soon curtail
liftings if prices remain uncertain.

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