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News, 29/1/01­1/1/02

News, 29/1/01­1/1/02

This is by way of a stop gap news compilation, hastily put together since
Iąm going away for a week or so to a place without access to the internet
(such places do still exist in the world), so thereąll be a bit of a pause.
If only the Śnewsą would stop as well.


*  The U.S. Must Strike at Saddam Hussein [says Richard Perle. Note how
surprisingly weak the case is for Saddam the international terrorist. In
fact the only substantial terrorist organisation Mr Hussein is sheltering is
the Iranian Mujaheddin. But theyąre the people Mr Perle will have to team up
with when he gets round to cleaning up Iran]
*  Bush handed three attack plans for Saddam [We learn here - at least I do.
Iąve obviously been slow on the uptake - that the conference of Iraqi Sunni
ex-military men last month, in opposition to the INC, was got up by the
state department]
*  The Pentagon's Highest-Flying Hawk [accpount of Paul Wolfowitz]
*  Road to Mideast Solution Starts Elsewhere [the argument is broadly that
to bring peace to the poor Israelis and Palestinians the US needs to smash
up everyone who might have any sympathy for the Palestinians. And this is
what the Palestinian people really want, only they just wonąt admit it.
Amazing what people get up to in American Śpeace studiesą programmes.]

*  Q&A: A Talk with Bush's Tough Guy
Business Week, 31st December
Mainly Bushąs Tough Guy (Wolfowitz) telling us about all the good things he
has done and wants to do for Muslims (the poor things being quite incapable
of looking after their own affairs)
*  An Interview with Professor Samuel Huntington
Chosun Ilbo (S.Korea), 31st December
Very long, wideranging interview with the man who discovered the clash of

*  Why Saddam Hussein Is Ripe for a Fall
by Patrick Clawson
Washington Post, 1st January
Rewply to an earlier article in the Washington Post (Philip Gordon and
Michael O'Hanlon :"A Tougher Target," op-ed, Dec. 26) which argued that Iraq
woulkd be a tough nut to crack. Suggests that it mightnąt be as tough as all
that because everyone hates Mr Hussein. The question of principle - what
business is it of Americaąs - doesnąt arise.


*  US missile shortage delays Iraq strike
*  Chronology of US Strikes Against Iraq


*  Iraq claims UN toll of 1.6m
*  INTERVIEW: Iraq Oil Min [ister Amer Mohammed Rasheed]: No Halt In Oil
Exports [Rather interesting inerview that I think gives a good overview of
Iraqi strategic thinking for getting rid of the embargo, or rather rendering
it irrelevant]


*  Egypt ministers in Iraq to boost trade
*  Gulf Arabs tell Iraq to allow U.N. arms inspections


*  Former UN chief weapons inspector [Scott Ritter] says US needs legal
basis for attacks [Ritter says the US must follow UN Security Council
resolutions. One wonders where he was during the war on Nicaragua, the war
on Panama, the war on Serbia and the war on Aghanistan.]


*  Iraq: Teaching hospital renovated, expanded in Kurdish region


*  Refugees wait in UK Cyprus base


by Richard Perle
New York Times, 28th December

WASHINGTON -- Within hours of the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush said, "We
will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and
those who harbor them." From that first statement, Mr. Bush shaped a grand
strategy for the war on terrorism that is as transforming of American policy
as was Ronald Reagan's pledge to consign an "evil empire" to the "ash heap
of history." It breaks with the past by taking aim at states harboring
terrorists as well as at terrorists themselves. It is why we have destroyed
the Taliban regime in Afghanistan even as we hunt down Osama bin Laden
himself. It is why the war against terrorism cannot be won if Saddam Hussein
continues to rule Iraq.

Three things about Saddam Hussein make the destruction of his regime
essential to the war against terrorism

First, like Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein hates the United States with a
vengeance he expresses at every opportunity. It is hatred intensified by a
tribal culture of the blood feud ‹ one that he has embraced since Mr. Bush's
father defeated him on the field of battle.

Second, Saddam Hussein has an array of chemical and biological weapons and
has been willing to absorb the pain of a decade-long embargo rather than
allow international inspectors to uncover the full magnitude of his program.
The expulsion of inspectors from Iraq three years ago has rendered future
inspections worthless; everything that could be relocated has been moved and
hidden in mosques, schools, hospitals, farms, private homes. These programs
‹ now involving dozens, perhaps hundreds, of clandestine sites ‹ will prove
even more difficult to find than Osama bin Laden.

Alone among heads of state, he has actually used chemical weapons against
his own people, killing thousands of unarmed citizens in northern Iraq. We
know that he has produced quantities of anthrax sufficient to kill millions
of people, as well as other biological agents. Disseminated to would-be
martyrs from Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad or other terrorist
groups, Saddam Hussein's biological arsenal could kill very large numbers of

With each passing day, he comes closer to his dream of a nuclear arsenal. We
know he has a clandestine program, spread over many hidden sites, to enrich
Iraqi natural uranium to weapons grade. We know he has the designs and the
technical staff to fabricate nuclear weapons once he obtains the material.
And intelligence sources know he is in the market, with plenty of money, for
both weapons material and components as well as finished nuclear weapons.
How close is he? We do not know. Two years, three years, tomorrow even? We
simply do not know, and any intelligence estimate that would cause us to
relax would be about as useful as the ones that missed his nuclear program
in the early 1990's or failed to predict the Indian nuclear test in 1998 or
to gain even a hint of the Sept. 11 attack.

Third, we know that Saddam Hussein has engaged directly in acts of terror
and given sanctuary and other support to terrorists. In 1993 he planned the
assassination of George H. W. Bush during the former president's visit to
Kuwait. He operates a terrorist training facility at Salman Pak complete
with a passenger aircraft cabin for training in hijacking.

His collaboration with terrorists is well documented. Evidence of a meeting
in Prague between a senior Iraqi intelligence agent and Mohamed Atta, the
Sept. 11 ringleader, is convincing. More important is his long, continuing
collaboration with a number of terrorist groups, some of whose leaders live
in and operate from Iraq. He openly, defiantly pays the families of suicide
bombers and praises the attacks on Sept. 11. If anyone fits the profile of
support for terror, it is Saddam Hussein.

Saddam Hussein's removal from office, we are told privately, would be
cheered in the Persian Gulf. The conventional wisdom that an attack on him
would be seen as an attack against Islam is an insult to Islam, and it is
wrong. To most Muslims, his reign of terror is an abomination. In Iraq
itself, his downfall would be met with dancing in the streets. A decent
successor regime would be very likely to encourage peace in the region.

The charter of the Iraqi National Congress, an umbrella group of Saddam
Hussein's opponents, calls for eradicating weapons of mass destruction and
renouncing terrorism. Those opponents need our political and financial
support today, and when the time is ripe, they will need our precision air

In 1981 the Israelis faced an urgent choice: Should they allow Saddam
Hussein to fuel a French-built nuclear reactor near Baghdad ‹ or destroy it?
Once fuel was placed in the reactor, it could not be bombed without
releasing lethal radioactive material. Allowing the fueling to go forward
meant that the Baghdad regime could eventually get the plutonium to build a
nuclear weapon. The Israelis decided to strike pre-emptively, before it was
too late: in a spectacular display of precision bombing, the reactor at
Osirak was destroyed.

Everything we know about Saddam Hussein forces President Bush to make a
similar choice: to take pre-emptive action or wait, possibly until it is too
late. We waited too long before acting broadly against terrorism. We were
too late to save the victims of Sept. 11. We should have taken terrorism
seriously three years ago, when our embassies in East Africa were destroyed.
To leave Saddam Hussein in place and hope for the best would repeat that
mistake. And narrowing the war against terror to exclude his regime would
drain a bold and courageous policy of its great and vital strength.

Richard Perle, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, was assistant
secretary of defense from 1981 to 1987.;$sessionid$EAN4SRIAACVTZQF

by David Wastell in Washington
Daily Telegraph, 23rd December

A SHORTLIST of three options for attacking Iraq will be presented to
President George W. Bush next month.

The plans are being prepared by the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence
Agency in a fresh sign that Mr Bush is considering strong action against
President Saddam Hussein's regime.

With only isolated pockets of al-Qaeda resistance remaining to be tackled in
Afghanistan, the time is fast approaching for Mr Bush to make a decision on
the next phase of the war on global terrorism.

First will come smaller-scale action against al-Qaeda's cells in other
countries. However, Mr Bush will consider plans for a campaign against
Saddam soon, to allow military and diplomatic preparations to begin.

He has made clear that he sees the Iraqi dictator as a menace because of his
aggressive stance and his reported stocks of chemical and biological
weapons. His view is likely to have hardened after a new Iraqi defector's
reports last week of secret weapons caches.

"You'll see the pace of administration decisions pick up in January," said
an observer familiar with CIA and Pentagon thinking.

Senior Pentagon officials, led by Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy defence
secretary, want to adapt the strategy that has just delivered victory in
Afghanistan and apply it to Iraq.

A Pentagon study group set up by Mr Wolfowitz is examining a detailed war
plan put forward by Ahmad Chalibi, the leader of the opposition Iraqi
National Congress (INC).

Under these proposals, Washington would spend several months arming and
training the Iraqi opposition - then send in special forces to direct air

The chiefs of staff, however, are thought to be arguing for a much bigger
commitment of US ground troops, capable of taking on Saddam without help
from the INC, which they see as far weaker than the Afghan Northern

The CIA, meanwhile, is pushing for covert action to destabilise the Saddam
regime - perhaps culminating in a coup. CIA officials have begun putting out
renewed feelers to Iraqi military defectors who may have influence and
contacts within Saddam's forces.

Defence officials, however, point out that previous coup attempts have all
failed, or been detected before they began, resulting in the execution of
scores of officers.

Colin Powell, the secretary of state, is among a number of Bush officials
with reservations about the wisdom of tackling Saddam head-on but who
acknowledge the need to do something.

Last month, the State Department flew at least a dozen exiled Iraqi officers
to Washington to discuss Iraq's future after Saddam - a sign that Gen Powell
may now favour the CIA option.

Both he and the intelligence agency believe that a campaign against Saddam
is more likely to succeed if the opposition can be expanded beyond Kurds in
the north and Shia Muslims in the south to embrace Iraq's Sunni Muslim

Mr Bush has made clear that his desire to topple Saddam is not driven by the
Iraqi regime's involvement - or otherwise - in the September 11 terrorist

He believes that US success in Afghanistan has made Middle East opinion more
receptive to a move against Saddam - provided it was overwhelming and

Last week, the New York Times quoted an unnamed Arab envoy in Washington as
arguing that an attack on Saddam was now "do-able" without destabilising
governments in Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Syria.

He was quoted as saying: "How many people will cry for Saddam if he goes?"

Some officials believe that it may be both possible, and desirable, to
combine elements of all three options, putting maximum military pressure on
Saddam while speeding his collapse from within. "The more lines of attack,
the more effective we will be," said one strategist.

by Stan Crock, with Paul Magnusson, in Washington and Dexter Roberts in
Business Week, 31st December

Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz isn't a Muslim, isn't considered
a friend of the Arab world, and argued in favor of U.S. forces pressing the
attack in Afghanistan during Ramadan. So guests at a Pentagon Iftar
dinner--the communal meal that breaks the fast each day during the Islamic
holy month--might have been excused for wondering what he was doing as the
featured speaker.

Nevertheless, the audience of 50 listened politely as Wolfowitz noted that
America had defended Muslims six times in the last decade, from the Balkans
and Iraq to Somalia and Afghanistan. And it's no secret that Wolfowitz
dearly wants to add a seventh campaign to the list: a new drive to end the
rule of Saddam Hussein.

Wolfowitz is arguably the fiercest hawk in the Bush Administration, and his
dustups with Colin Powell's more cautious State Dept. have made headlines as
debate rages over where the war on terror should head next. Despite the
obstacles to unseating Saddam, no one is counting Wolfowitz out. "Anytime
Paul Wolfowitz speaks, it's like E.F. Hutton: Everybody listens," says
Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage, a longtime associate and now
one of the pragmatic ex-soldiers at State who sometimes clash with the more
hawkish academics and corporate managers at Defense.

Wolfowitz' position on Iraq was forged long before September 11: He
advocated helping oust Saddam in 1991 and was one of the first voices to
favor taking on Serb dictator Slobodan Milosevic. Wolfowitz also hews to a
hard line on the need to defend Taiwan against a possible invasion from
China. "When anything happens, he always assumes that it must be solved by
the U.S. military," says Yan Xuetong, director of the Institute of
International Studies at Tsinghua University in Beijing.

The current frenzy over Iraq leaves the soft-spoken Wolfowitz a bit
unsettled. For one thing, it's too early to talk about marching to Baghdad,
he insists. "I would not be at all surprised if next spring or summer, we
are still seeking terrorists hiding" in Afghanistan, Wolfowitz told
BusinessWeek in a Dec. 18 interview.

In truth, Wolfowitz, 58, is far more than an anti-terror hard-liner. The
former dean of Johns Hopkins' School of Advanced International Studies has
been tapped by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld to kick-start the
Pentagon halting efforts to transform itself into a 21st century fighting
machine. And he has established himself as the intellectual godfather of the
Bush Administration's nuclear strategy, which calls for a reduction in
nuclear warheads and construction of a missile shield.

As one of a tiny group of foreign-policy gurus who guided then-Texas
Governor George W. Bush during the campaign, Wolfowitz argued that with the
end of the cold war, the emphasis should be shifted away from mutually
assured annihilation. He even advocated slashing nuclear arsenals. In fact,
the cuts the Bush team has proposed, to roughly 2,000 warheads, are what the
Clintonites sought for a third strategic arms reduction pact.

On the other hand, Wolfowitz is one of the architects of Bush's withdrawal
from the Anti Ballistic Missile Treaty, considered by many Democrats to be
the cornerstone of arms control. Despite predictions of a cataclysmic
reaction by Russia, China, and allies to the withdrawal, the response has
been muted, except in Washington. "I think Wolfowitz is very bright. I think
he's honest. I think he's wrong," says Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Chairman Joseph R. Biden (D-Del.).

But even those who disagree with him note that Wolfowitz's experience and
knowledge make him a formidable opponent. Wolfowitz' service to six
Administrations has included three tours of duty at the Pentagon, beginning
in the Carter years, when he focused on Persian Gulf rivalries after the
fall of the Shah of Iran; two jobs at State, where he helped oust
Philippines dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos; and an ambassadorship to
Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim nation.

One key to Wolfowitz' influence is that he engages colleagues with a loose,
Clintonesque management style, encouraging debate rather than rapid
decisions. "I often found myself in his office thinking, `Paul, it's time to
throw me out,"' says one ex-aide. "But the result is he always has a leg up
on the other principals at the table who haven't thought through the ideas
to their second and third order of consequences."

That style has helped build a loyal coterie that has fanned out throughout
the Administration, giving Wolfowitz enormous bureaucratic clout. His former
aides include Deputy National Security Advisor Stephen J. Hadley; Zalmay M.
Khalilzad, the National Security Council's director for South Asia;
Vice-President Dick Cheney's top two national security aides, I. Lewis
"Scooter" Libby and Eric S. Edelman; and Air Force Secretary James G. Roche.

This time around, Wolfowitz chose a top job at defense instead of state.
"Trying to bring the military into the 21st century is too much to resist,"
he says. But Wolfowitz could fast become a lightning rod for the military
brass, defense contractors, and Congress if he guts some pet programs that
aren't working. On Dec. 14, for example, the Pentagon axed an overbudget
Navy missile defense system for ships that was much beloved by some Star
Warriors: They hoped it would be the base for a national missile shield.

The Brooklyn-born Wolfowitz isn't spoiling for a fight--at the Pentagon or
overseas. In fact, he prefers deterrence as a management tool and in foreign
policy. He believes "you should be the guy nobody wants to screw with," an
associate says. "You have a lot fewer problems." And he is persistent. "If
he gets an idea and thinks something is right, he will stay with it," says a
top Administration official. That's the sort of determination that could
make for some sleepless nights in Baghdad.

by Barry S. Strauss
Los Angeles Times, 31st December

On his march to power, Julius Caesar had the advantage of a mind that
commanded sure and certain insights. One of them was this: The shortest
distance between two points is not necessarily a straight line. Take the
road to Rome--Caesar understood that it ran not through Naples or Parma but
through Paris.

To capture the seat of power in Italy, therefore, Caesar took an army to
conquer Gaul. That was in 58 BC. Nine years later, Caesar crossed the
Rubicon and swept through Italy, a conquering hero.

Caesar's story offers lessons to American strategists today. Consider one of
the most dangerous disputes in the contemporary world: the war between
Palestinians and Israelis. A just and secure settlement would infinitely
strengthen the United States' standing in the Muslim world, in turn a
strategic battleground in the war on terror. But Washington will never
resolve the conflict if it limits its horizons to the strip of territory
between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River.

The road to a solution does not run through Ramallah, where Palestinian
Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat sits under virtual house arrest. Nor does
it run through Jerusalem and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's

The road runs through Baghdad, Tehran and Damascus.

The reason, as Caesar might have put it, is that when it comes to the
Arab-Israeli conflict, the local players are just centurions. The generals
sit further east.

To understand why, consider the strategic realities.

First, public opinion. The Israeli public has hardened its heart of late
against the Palestinians. The reason is that the Palestinian leadership
rejected Ehud Barak's generous peace offer in 2000 and then declared a
second intifada. Currently it does little to stop a terror campaign against
Israel's civilians. And yet that same Israeli public, as poll after poll
shows, yearns for peace with a Palestine that is willing to put down its

The Palestinian public is probably no different. However much their leaders
may talk of armed struggle, it is impossible to believe that the
long-suffering Palestinian people want anything other than peace, security
and independence.

So if it were up to the two peoples, this war would be over.

But it is not up to the two peoples. The main reason, and this is the second
strategic reality, is the terrorists.

The fighters of Hamas and Hezbollah would rather kill Israeli civilians than
negotiate with Israeli diplomats. They don't want peace with Israel but
merely a base from which to drive Israel into the sea. The terrorists take
their orders from the same place that they get their arms, their funds and
their sanctuary.

Which brings us to the third strategic reality, the enabling states of
terror. Syria provides bases for Hamas and Hezbollah in the Bekaa Valley of
Lebanon, which it occupies. Iraq offers schooling in terror techniques such
as airplane hijacking. Iran offers weapons and funding. All three states
mount media operations that drown out moderate Arab and Muslim voices.

Faced with such a sea of troubles, it doesn't take a Caesar to see what
should be done. If the United States wants peace in the Middle East, it
should, first of all, make war on Saddam Hussein. U.S. power, helped by the
Iraqi resistance movement, can bring his bloody regime finally to an end.

At the same time, the United States should take out the terrorists' camps in
the Bekaa Valley. With luck, this will in turn bring down Bashar Assad's
dictatorship in Damascus. Finally, there is Iran. Rather than engaging with
the mullahs, as some advocate, Washington should support the coming
democratic revolution aimed at the tyrants of Tehran.

To be sure, the use of force will raise a storm of public criticism. In
private, however, the U.S. will find enormous support especially if, like
Caesar, it takes speedy and decisive action. In the end, the world will hail
the replacement of three tyrannies, each hated by its own people, with
liberal, secular and friendly regimes. And the cheers will grow louder the
clearer the U.S. makes it that one of the fruits of victory will be
resolution of the Israeli Palestinian conflict.

Barry S. Strauss is director of the peace studies program and a professor of
history and the classics at Cornell University.


by Sean Rayment
Daily Telegraph, 30th December

America's supply of the air launched version, one of the US air force's most
sophisticated and deadly weapons, has become so depleted that military
chiefs are pressing Boeing, the manufacturers, to speed up their production.

Even so, the first of the new batch of missiles ordered last year is not
expected for months, and it may take longer to rebuild stocks to a level
that would make such an attack viable.

Strikes against Afghanistan and Sudan in 1998 and Kosovo two years ago
virtually exhausted the US supply. The number of conventional [non-nuclear]
air launched cruise missiles left within the inventory is believed to be
fewer than 30.

The Ł900,000 missiles are a vital tactical weapon because of their ability
to destroy targets from up to 800 miles without warning.

The news came as President Bush pledged to maintain the war on terrorism in
2002. "Above all, this coming year will require our sustained commitment to
the war against terrorism," he said in his weekly radio address. "We cannot
know how long this struggle will last. But it can end only one way: in
victory for America and the cause of freedom."

The US joint chiefs are known to be considering a number of plans to
overthrow Saddam Hussein's regime. The military is thought to be pushing for
a full-scale invasion of the country in a campaign similar to Operation
Desert Storm, but this would require months of planning and the movement of
hundreds of thousand of troops.

Fundamental to any plan is the use of overwhelming air power. Unless Iraq's
air defence system was destroyed by cruise missiles, as in the Gulf war, the
chances of heavy US casualties would be high.

Other options open to America include the use of Tomahawk cruise missiles,
85 of which have been fired against Afghanistan during Operation Enduring
Freedom. The Tomahawks can be launched from ships or submarines but lack the
range for every target in Iraq, a fact that Saddam recognises.

It is also likely that the US Navy would not want its stock of Tomahawks
diminished, potentially creating the nightmare scenario of the world's only
military superpower being without a viable long-range missile force.

Rob Hewson, the editor of Jane's Air Launched Weapons, said American bombers
would not be sent in until hostile air defence and communications systems
had been all but destroyed by cruise missiles.

He said: "The Pentagon will not want to be in a position to launch another
full-scale attack against Iraq without a full armoury of cruise missiles.

Iraq has one of the largest armed forces in the world. It has a very capable
air defence system and the US wouldn't want to launch an attack against it
without destroying most of its air defence first.

"The only real option as far as Iraq is concerned is to sit tight and
replenish stocks." A Pentagon spokesman admitted that cruise missile stocks
had been virtually exhausted after the strikes on Afghanistan, Sudan and

When asked whether the shortfall would delay any future large-scale military
operation, he said: "The military chiefs are aware of the situation and
measures are in place to fix it."

The Pentagon has also given the go-ahead for a more sophisticated version of
the "Daisy Cutter" bomb which has been used in Afghanistan. The BLU118/B was
first dropped on December 14 in the Nevada desert. The devices creates a
pressure wave capable of destroying caves and killing troops in the open.

The Associated Press, 30th December

Some of the most significant strikes by allied forces against Iraq since the
Persian Gulf War:

‹Oct. 13, 2001: Allied warplanes attacked military installations in southern
Iraq in response to continued threats to U.S. and British pilots patrolling
the northern and southern no-fly zones, officials said.

‹Aug. 30, 2001: U.S. fighter jets attack an Iraqi radar site at Basra
airport, which in the past had been used to coordinate Iraqi air defense
targeting of U.S. and British aircraft, officials said.

‹Aug. 29, 2001: One day after an unmanned Air Force reconnaissance aircraft
was inexplicably lost in southern Iraq, allied forces hit two targets which
provide support for Iraqi air defense fighter aircraft, according to one
U.S. official.

‹Aug. 10, 2001: Dozens of allied aircraft bomb a military communications
center, a surface-to-air missile launching site and long-range radar in
southern Iraq in response to increasing threats by Iraqi air defenses, the
Pentagon said.

‹Aug. 7, 2001: Air defense sites in northern Iraq are struck by the U.S. Air
Force after surface-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft artillery are fired by
Iraq, the military said. Just days before, Defense Secretary Donald H.
Rumsfeld said Iraq had rebuilt air defenses near Baghdad which had been
targeted in heavy allied attacks in February.

‹July 25, 2001: An Iraqi anti-aircraft missile narrowly misses an Air Force
U-2 spy plane.

‹May 18, 2001: In an act of self-defense, allied forces target a
surface-to-air missile complex, including radars and launchers, near
Al-Amarah, about 180 miles southeast of Baghdad, according to the military.

‹Feb. 16, 2001: After President George W. Bush's first military order, U.S.
and British warplanes bomb surveillance radars and sites linking command and
control to Iraqi surface to-air missile batteries around Baghdad. It was the
largest strike ‹ and the first outside the ``no fly'' zone in southern Iraq
‹ in more than two years.

‹April 4, 2000: Allied aircraft target four Iraqi military sites, including
one at Nasiriyah, 17 miles southeast of Baghdad.

‹Feb. 24, 1999: Air Force and Navy aircraft attack two Iraqi surface-to-air
missile sites near Al Iskandariyah, about 30 miles south of Baghdad, in
response to anti-aircraft artillery fire and an Iraqi aircraft violation of
southern no-fly zone.

‹Feb. 10, 1999: U.S. and British warplanes fire at two air defense sites in
Iraq after three waves of Iraqi fighter jets violate southern ``no-fly''

‹Dec. 16, 1998: Weapons inspectors withdrawn from Iraq. Hours later, four
days of U.S. British air and missile strikes begin, pounding Baghdad.

‹June 30, 1998: A U.S. F-16 fighter fires a missile at an Iraqi
surface-to-air missile battery in southern Iraq after Iraqi radar locks on
four British patrol planes.

‹November 1996: Two U.S. F-16 pilots fire missiles at Iraqi radar sites near
the 32nd parallel in the southern no-fly zone.

‹Sept. 11, 1996: Responding to Iraqi missile fire at two F-16s in the
northern ``no-fly'' zone, the U.S. responds by sending more bombers, stealth
fighters and another aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf region. Iraq
accuses Kuwait of an ``act of war'' for allowing U.S. jets into Kuwait.

‹Sept. 3-4, 1996: U.S. ships and airplanes fire scores of cruise missiles at
Iraqi anti-missile sites to punish the Iraqi military for venturing into the
Kurdish ``safe haven'' in northern Iraq.

‹April 14, 1994: Allied planes enforcing ``no-fly'' zone shoot down two U.S.
helicopters carrying a U.N. relief mission, mistaking them for Iraqi
helicopters. Twenty-six people are killed, including 15 Americans.

‹June 27, 1993: U.S. warships fire 24 cruise missiles at intelligence
headquarters in Baghdad in retaliation for what the United States calls a
plot to assassinate President George H. W. Bush.

‹Jan. 7, 1993: After Baghdad refuses to remove missiles that United States
says it has moved into southern Iraq, allied warplanes and warships attack
missile sites and a nuclear facility near Baghdad.

‹Aug. 27, 1992: Backed by Britain and France, the U.S. declares ``no-fly''
zone over southern Iraq to protect Shiite Muslim rebels. The U.S. and some
allies begin air patrols.

‹April 1991: The United States, France and Britain declare
19,000-square-mile area of northern Iraq ``safe haven'' for Kurds and impose
``no-fly'' zone north of 36th parallel.

‹Feb. 26, 1991: U.S.-led coalition forces Iraqi troops out of Kuwait.
Baghdad accepts cease-fire two days later.


Boston Globe (from Reuters), 29th December

BAGHDAD - More than 1.6 million people have died as a result of economic
sanctions imposed on Baghdad since 1990 by the United Nations, the state
Iraqi News Agency said.

The agency was quoting from a letter sent from Iraq's UN mission to Kofi
Annan, secretary general of the United Nations.

''A total of 1,614,203 people, out of them 667,773 children under the age of
5 have died since the imposition of sanctions in 1990 until November 2001,''
INA quoted the letter as saying.

The letter said there had been only 258 deaths among children under 5 in
1989, a year before sanctions were imposed.

It blamed the rise in the death rate on delays by US and British
representatives to the UN Security Council's sanctions committee in
approving the purchase of medicine and medical equipment.


by Simeon Kerr and Sally Jones

Dec 29, 2001 (FWN Financial via COMTEX) -- CAIRO( Dow Jones)--The West's
fear that Iraq will halt crude exports in a bid to apply political pressure
on the U.S. and U.K. is unfounded, given Iraq's track record and its
strategy aimed at destroying the U.N.-imposed sanctions regime through
international economic cooperation , Iraqi Oil Minister Amer Mohammed
Rasheed told Dow Jones Newswires in an interview Saturday.

'Iraq, as a founding member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting
Countries, wants a stable market, fair prices, and will not take any measure
in any way unnecessarily to disrupt the market,' he said.

Despite the U.S.-led air strikes on Iraqi military facilities in December
1998, Rasheed said the flow of crude exports remained intact at that time.

Iraq's decision to interrupt exports in December 2000 was 'a de facto
interruption' due to the U.S. and U.K.'s rejection of Iraq's oil pricing
proposal at the time. 'We put in a pricing mechanism, they refused it; when
it was refused, oil purchasers couldn't send their oil tankers'So what
happened was not by Iraq but by the sheer action of the Americans and
British,' Rasheed said.

At the time, the U.N. said Iraq had proposed an oil price below market rates
while asking customers to pay a 50-cent surcharge into an Iraqi-controlled
bank account.

Rather than disrupting exports, Rasheed sees greater international economic
cooperation with Iraq - which could include the oil sector - as a means to
'disintegrate' the 'unethical and illegal' U.N. sanctions regime.

'(We need) to develop our economic relationship with neighboring economic
countries so that sanctions are disintegrated to such an extent that
sanctions will be lifted de facto,' Rasheed said.

He anticipates that Iraqi crude exports to Jordan will continue to grow.
Iraq recently signed a deal with Jordan to export some 90,000 barrels day of
crude and 3,000 tons of oil products in 2002.

The Iraqi-Syrian crude pipeline, he said, inset yet operational, but has the
potential to carry 1.4 million b/d of Iraqi crude. 'We're still testing the
pipeline. It's been out of order for 20 years, but we are putting extra
effort to make it operational, and bring it up to standard.'

Rasheed added that Russia is a priority in all forms of economic cooperation
with Iraq because of 'its constructive position in the Security Council.'

When asked whether U.S and U.K. companies had expressed an interest in
participating in Iraq's energy industry, Rasheed said: 'It is unnatural to
give projects to companies related to countries that want to break Iraq.'
But he said that the U.S. will eventually want to participate in Iraq's
hydrocarbons industry.

Despite U.S.-Iraqi mutual animosity, Rasheed noted the bizarre situation in
which Iraq indirectly supplies crude to the U.S. markets. 'U.S. foreign
policy is ironic in many ways,' Rasheed said.

Iraq, Rasheed said, has met its obligations to open up to foreign inspection
and monitoring of its Weapons of Mass Destruction capabilities under U.N.
Security Council Resolution 687.

'Now the U.S. has to fulfill its part of the deal, and lift sanctions,'
Rasheed said.

Asked about U.S. calls for renewed monitoring of Iraqi weapons capabilities,
Rasheed said: 'In (the attacks) of 1998, the U.S. themselves destroyed the
monitoring system. A lot of bombing was on manufacturing, which had a
monitoring system.'

'The U.S. wants a pretext; it wants to destroy and disintegrate Iraq and
disrupt its political independence,' Rasheed added.

Nor does he foresee the U.S./U.K. proposal of so-called 'smart sanctions' on
Iraq ever becoming a reality. 'They (smart sanctions) have been buried
because they are so stupid, and the Americans have buried it,' Rasheed said.

Smart sanctions, initially proposed earlier this year by the U.K, aim to
secure Baghdad's agreement to allow the return of weapons inspectors, while
tightening controls on arms imports and oil smuggling and easing
restrictions on humanitarian aid.

Turning to the issue of the U.N. oil-for-food program, which was extended
for another six months in December, Rasheed said it is hypothetical to gauge
the program's lifetime.

'What we envisage is that in a short time the Americans and British will
have to concede, due to international political pressure, and acknowledge
that Iraq has met its obligations and sanctions should be lifted,' Rasheed

'One day will come when the Americans will find sanctions are not in their
interests, and they will be forced, because of their interest, (to lift
sanctions),' Rasheed said. 'And then, of course, the British will follow as
they follow every American policy,' Rasheed added.

Iraq's close relationship with Russia was key in encouraging Moscow to join
OPEC and other non-OPEC members Thursday in cutting crude oil output. At its
November meeting, OPEC said it would cut output by 1.5 million b/d from Jan.
1 if non-OPEC oil producers cut by 500,000 b/d at the same time. Thursday,
OPEC ministers met in Cairo and agreed to reduce oil output by 1.5 million
b/d from Jan. 1 for six months. Their decision follows pledges from key
non-OPEC producers to slice 462,500 b/d from their supplies.

'We used our good relations to work with Russia on developing cooperation
with OPEC,' Rasheed said. He added that OPEC should have implemented its 1.5
million cut after the November meeting, to maximize the cut's impact on the


CNN. 29th December

BAGHDAD, Iraq (Reuters) -- An Egyptian business delegation headed by four
government ministers began trade talks in Iraq on Saturday, the Iraqi News
Agency INA reported.

Egypt's ministers for economy, public enterprise, energy and electricity,
and industry discussed with their Iraqi counterparts implementing a free
trade agreement signed by the two countries earlier this year.

The visit is the latest sign of improving relations between Egypt and Iraq
which had been strained since the 1990-1991 Gulf crisis.

Egypt broke off diplomatic ties during the crisis and sent troops to join
the U.S.-led coalition that drove Iraqi forces from Kuwait.

Relations have improved in recent months and trade has blossomed.

Iraqi Trade Minister Mohammed Mehdi Saleh was quoted by INA as saying the
value of trade between the two countries reached $1.7 billion this year.


CNN, 1st January

MUSCAT (Reuters) -- Gulf Arab states urged neighboring Iraq on Monday to
allow U.N. weapons inspectors back into the country or risk more tension in
the Middle East.

The leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) also called on Iraq to
show good will towards its neighbors and respect the sovereignty and
territorial integrity of Kuwait, which Baghdad invaded in 1990 before being
driven out seven months later by a U.S.-led multinational force.

The GCC alliance groups oil-rich Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab
Emirates, Oman, Qatar and Bahrain.

"The council calls on both Iraq and the secretary-general of the United
Nations to resume negotiations to renew cooperation based on foundations
whereby the Security Council can lift economic sanctions imposed on Iraq and
end the suffering of the brotherly Iraqi people," said a communique at the
end of a GCC summit in Oman.

The United Nations says sanctions, imposed on Iraq for its invasion of
Kuwait, cannot be lifted unless Baghdad allows international weapons
inspectors back into the country to check for weapons of mass destruction.

"We hope Iraq's obstinacy towards some Security Council resolutions will not
lead to more tension in the region and cause more suffering to the brotherly
Iraqi people," GCC Secretary General Jameel al-Hujailan told the summit.

He also criticized Baghdad for continuing antagonism towards its pro-Western
neighbors Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

The leaders called on Iraq to cooperate over the issue of Kuwaitis and other
nationals missing since the 1990-1991 Gulf War and to return Kuwait state



by George S. Hishmeh
The Daily Star (Lebanon), 31st December

WASHINGTON: Scott Ritter is a straight arrow. He prides himself for  telling
it like it is, recognizing that he is a lone wolf caught in the  midst of an
international argument that could ultimately precipitate a  war much
bloodier than the one underway in Afghanistan.

The former UN chief weapons inspector who hounded Iraq's Saddam Hussein  for
nearly a decade has shifted his target, and now aims his guns at his
government's unilateral policy ­ a policy of regime removal in Iraq.'

Is this a new Scott Ritter? 'There is no such thing as an old Scott  Ritter
or a new Scott Ritter,' he insisted. 'If I am anything, I am the  most
consistent person out there on Iraq. I have never cut Saddam  Hussein any
flack. As a weapons inspector my job was not to worry about  (him). My job
was to worry about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. If  people ask me my
opinion ť I would say he is a brutal dictator. That's  putting it mildly.'

The views of the former American Marine stick out like a sore thumb in  the
debate now underway in Washington between hawkish officials of the  Bush
administration, particularly those in the Defense Department and  the less
combative State Department over what some see as the unfinished  war against
the Iraqi strongman. What remains unsettled, some reportedly  believe, is
only the question of timing and military strategy, now that  the rout of the
Taleban and Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaeda network has made  these two points
seemingly moot.

'I take comfort in one thing and one thing only, and that is the truth,  the
facts,' Ritter told The Daily Star. 'Whether people rally around me  ť I
couldn't care less. I'd like them to, I'd like them to see who is  speaking
the truth, I'd like them to challenge people who make  statements. I get
challenged every time I make a statement. But I can  back it up.

'Am I isolated? Certainly. Do I feel alone? Yes. Does it bother me? No,  not
at all.'

Ritter explained the problem his inspection team had with Iraq after the
1991 Gulf  War, noting that UN Security Council Resolution 687 required
total disarmament, and so '90-95 percent was not good enough, although  it
meant that fundamentally Iraq has been disarmed.' From a qualitative
standpoint, Ritter said, 'Iraq no longer possessed a weapons program  under
the law (but) that 90-95 percent was not good enough.' This meant  his team
had to investigate how Iraq hid its programs in the past, and  how it might
continue to do so ­ 'what we called a concealment  mechanism.'

This effort, he continued, 'has put us in conflict with the Iraqi
government on a number of fronts, primarily over the issue of national
sovereignty and Iraqi national security,' because the inspectors tried  to
gain access to presidential security, intelligence services,  sensitive
military facilities, even presidential palaces.

'A lot of people misconstrued that work as somehow Scott Ritter (was)
waging his own private war against Saddam Hussein,' he said laughing.  'All
I am doing today is going forward in the same way I went forward as  a
weapons inspector, mindful of the facts and operating with high  integrity.'

Here, Ritter fired his first salvo. 'The big problem is that the US
government seems not to understand that, in order to have international
support to confront Saddam Hussein, the US has to be operating within  the
framework of international law. It cannot do this by itself. And we
definitely can't do it if we are going to ignore legal fundamentals such  as
the UN Charter.'

The Security Council has never passed a resolution which targeted Saddam
Hussein, he said. 'And yet the United States pursues, as its own  unilateral
policy, a policy of regime removal in Iraq ­ and we are using  Security
Council disarmament provisions as a means of facilitating our  own policy.
We are creating a situation which brings immense suffering  to 22 million
innocent people caught in the middle.'

Ritter attributed this misguided US stance to the 'private, political
agenda' of some key officials in the US government who, 'frankly, have
hijacked US national security for their own purposes.' He identified  these
as Defense Secretary Donald M. Rumsfeld and his deputy, Paul  Wolfowitz,
along with Richard Perle, head of the Defense Policy Advisory  Board, a
non-governmental group, and James Woolsey, the former CIA  director. 'It
appears they will do anything it takes to make just cause  for the United
States to go to war, even though, legally, there is no  just cause.'

Elaborating on the 'propaganda mills' engaged in this anti-Hussein
campaign, Ritter cited the pro-Israel Washington Institute for Near East
Policy as 'just one of many voices clamoring' for the past decade for  the
removal of the Iraqi leader. 'They have yet to put forth a  consistent
argument. Their reasons for his removal continue to change as  the political

This 'war of rhetoric,' as he put it, just demonizes a demon but  'without
any substantive facts ť on the table ť that are worthy of going  to war

Ritter also minced no words about Richard Butler, the former head of
UNSCOM, the UN agency overseeing Iraq's disarmament and who can be seen
regularly on television castigating the Baghdad regime. He said he found
Butler to be a 'complicated character' who in time 'disgraced himself'  as
the head of the UN commission for which Ritter worked until 1998.  '(Butler)
destroyed his reputation as a diplomat,' Ritter, who now  serves as a news
analyst with Fox television, claimed. 'He destroyed his  reputation as a
politician ť The man is a liar. The man has been exposed  as somebody who
has no ability to maintain integrity in positions of  high responsibility.
He betrayed the special commission, he destroyed  the weapons inspection
process almost unilaterally.'

In turn, Ritter has been taken to task for seemingly contradictory
assessments about Iraq's weapons potential.

Statements he made before two Senate committees in 1998 seem to  contradict
his current position. 'Once (the) effective inspection regime  has been
terminated,' he was quoted as saying then, 'Iraq will be able  to
reconstitute the entirety of its former nuclear, chemical and  ballistic
missile delivery system capability within a period of six  months.'

He explained in the interview: 'Now ť I would say it's unlikely that it  is
the case. It's unlikely that these plans are in place, it's unlikely  that
Iraq would seek to implement them. But the most important thing to  point
out is that even if Iraq had these plans, it can't implement them  if you
had weapons inspectors in Iraq. And that's why I have always  argued for the
return of weapons inspectors (for monitoring purposes).'

Where he parts way with the Bush administration is in the next step. 'If
you want to confront Saddam, you have to do so based on the foundation  of
legality. Now, if you pass (at the UN Security Council) a finding of
compliance under (Resolution) 687 and you offer to lift the oil embargo,
then in accordance with the law ­ now the United States is adhering to  the
law ­ you demand that Iraq adhere to its obligations which are to  allow
monitoring inspectors under (UN resolutions) 785 and 1051. Should  Iraq
refuse to do so, now you have a clear case against Saddam. Now you  can
start making the case that Iraq is a rogue nation, a lawless nation,  a
nation that refuses to adhere to international standards, and you can  start
making the case for war. But you cannot make that case if you, the  United
States, are yourself operating outside the framework of  international law.'

Ritter believes Iraq has no choice but to accept this offer. 'Saddam's  days
would be numbered (if) the entire world ť recognized that Iraq has  no
intention of complying with international law,' he said.

According to Ritter, Iraq at present can make the argument that 'we did
what we are supposed to do. We got rid of our weapons and now it is up  to
the Security Council to do what it's supposed to do and, until the  Security
Council does that, we do not want to deal with weapons  inspectors.'

'Right now,' he added, 'the United States has so clouded the situation  with
its own ridiculous policy of overthrowing Saddam Hussein that it is  very
difficult to make an argument that Iraq is the bad guy. Iraq right  now
looks very much like the nation that is being pursued relentlessly  and
irresponsibly by the United States.'

George S. Hishmeh, a one-time editor-in-chief of The Daily Star, is an
Arab-American journalist now based in Washington


Hoover's (Financial Times), 28th December
Source: Brayati web site, Arbil, in Sorani Kurdish 26 Dec 01

The teaching hospital in Arbil was opened originally in 1959. After two
years of renovation, Shawkat Shaykh Yazdin, the minister for the Council of
Ministers' affairs, opened the hospital on the second anniversary of the
fourth cabinet of the Kurdistan regional [KDP-led] government. The hospital
has been provided with many departments, floors, surgery halls, new units,
and advanced equipment.

During the opening ceremony, which the minister of finance and economy, the
minister of health and social affairs, a number of deputy ministers, the
representative of World Health Organizations, the director of the hospitals
and the doctors attended, honourable Mr Yazdin inspected each and every
room, unit, the general surgery department and orthopaedics surgery
department and ophtamology department in the hospital. He surveyed each of
the advanced, modern equipment and surgery appliances.

He also visited the departments of intensive care, medical treatment, the
pharmacy, the patients' additional halls for women and men and methods of
observation in a scientific, healthy way. Generally, the hospital could
accommodate 200 patients.

In a speech he delivered in the lecture hall, Shawkat Shaykh Yazdin
expressed his delight at the renovation of Arbil teaching hospital in a
modern way and equipping it with modern and advanced equipment to serve
patients. He manifested the importance of health services as one of the main
priorities of the Kurdistan regional government to serve and address the
medical needs of the citizens. He also stressed that the Kurdistan regional
government, in the light of the guidelines and the directives of President
[Mas'ud] Barzani, has always attached great importance to all aspects of
life especially that of health and raising the health standards, reducing
the rate of sickness in Kurdistan region by opening hospitals, importing new
surgical instruments and medical equipment and appliances, and maintains
attaching that importance.

In this context Shawkat Shaykh Yazdin said: "The duty of physicians and the
field of health care are sacred and it is a serious responsibility, which
concerns all. So we must all put ourselves at the service of that sacred
duty. We have to be able, as much as we can, to serve our fellow citizens to
raise the health standards."

[Passage omitted: More the minister's speech emphasising the regional
government's commitment to serving the people]

It is worth noting the Ministry of Health decided on the renovation of the
hospital in 1999 and allocated the sum of 750,000 dollars. Now, surgery
units, more than 170 beds and a number of medical equipment have been added
to it. Moreover, it is on the future agenda to add a restaurant, a dressing
room, a mosque, an artificial kidney department and a psychiatric unit to
it. Also several advanced equipment and appliances operated by a new system
for the intensive care unit, as well as for supervision, eyes, ears, brain
and the spine units will be purchased. There will also be additional
personnel and medical experts.


by Russell Working in Dhekelia, Cyprus
BBC, 30th December

Mohammed Ali and Avin Ibrahim thought they were heading for Italy when they
paid $5,000 (5,649 euros) to people smugglers and sailed from Lebanon in

But their leaky 36-foot boat, crammed with 82 passengers, began taking in
water off Cyprus.

As the passengers bailed and the boat sank, Mr Ibrahim found himself
thinking: "It's better for me to die outside my country."

The Ibrahims were lucky. They and their fellow passengers were rescued by
the British military.

These boat people have formed the core of a group of 103 mostly ethnic Kurds
from Iraq who have been squatting for up to three years in the no-man's-land
of a UK base at Dhekelia.

They are just a small part of a migration that is carrying thousands of
Middle Eastern and African illegal aliens to the promised land of Europe
every year.

The exact numbers of boat people are unknown, says Rupert Colville, a
spokesman for the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) in
Geneva, Switzerland.

If we could deport them, we would do

Rob Need, spokesman for Dhekelia base The United Nations recognises 5.6
million people in Europe as refugees, but there may be millions more who
haven't applied for asylum.

"It's very widespread and increasing, especially for those going to Italy or
Greece," Mr Colville says.

"Greece and its islands are the nearest point [in the EU] for people coming
through the Eastern Mediterranean."

In the case of the Dhekelia squatters, most came from Iraq, fleeing Saddam
Hussein's brutal crackdown on Kurds.

Their numbers were boosted by a group of non-Kurdish Iraqis who crossed over
from the Turkish-occupied half of Cyprus, apparently believing that sneaking
on to a base was a shortcut to British citizenship.

The military thinks otherwise, and the decision about their refugee status
is in the hands of the base administration, not the UK Government.

Only 21 have been granted refugee status by the officials, who have ruled
that most are economic rather than political migrants.

Yet the bases - which have been feeding, housing and providing medical care
for its uninvited guests - can't seem to get rid of them.

"If we could deport them, we would do," says Rob Need, a spokesman for the

"The difficulty is, Iraq is effectively a pariah state. There is no
mechanism for deporting them to Iraq."

The boat people borrowed and scraped up thousands of dollars to make the
journey. Kameron Amin Bango, 29, is a Kurd who was shot and crippled during
factional fighting in his home town.

He and his brother fled to Lebanon, where each paid $2,000 (2,260 euros) for
the trip to Italy.

"After we were rescued, we found out we weren't in Italy," he says ruefully.
"But [the British] saved us, because the engine of the boat was broken;
there was water in the boat."

No one had a harder journey than the 23-year-old Mrs Ibrahim.

Pregnant when they sailed, she went into labour at sea.

She lay on deck screaming while the other women held up blankets to offer a
little privacy.

The men busied themselves bailing out the boat.

Everyone was afraid that their vessel would sink and all hands would be
lost. Instead, Mrs Ibrahim gave birth to a healthy girl, and everyone

If the military has been sparing in granting refugee status, it does so in
part because some refugees seem to hold the mistaken notion that sneaking on
to a base amounts to a quick ticket to London.

Mr Need explains: "If someone believes this is a shortcut to migrating to
Britain, I hope we have proven that this is not the case."

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