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[ Presenting plain-text part of multi-format email ] Hello all, latest news on Iraq. I thought I'd let you know. Dirk. BAGHDAD, April 8 (AFP) - Iraq stopped oil exports for 30 days from Monday in protest at Israel's offensive against the Palestinians, President Saddam Hussein announced in a speech to the nation. Iraq's leadership decided to "completely halt oil exports as of this afternoon, April 8, 2002, through the pipelines carrying (crude) to the Turkish port on the Mediterranean and through our ports in southern Iraq," Saddam said in his televised address. The stoppage will last "30 days, after which we will review (the decision), or until the armies of the Zionist entity have unconditionally withdrawn from the Palestinian territories they have occupied and (until they) respect the will of the Palestinian people and the Arab nation," he said. Saddam urged other Arab and Muslim oil producers to follow suit and suspend crude exports. "Our Arab and Muslim brethren and all believers will hopefully encourage our move ... by taking similar measures in the case of those who have oil," he said. Arabs and Muslims without oil wealth should take "effective measures" in accordance with their own means, the president added. The oil ministry said in a statement that oil exports stopped at 1000 GMT from Mina al-Bakr terminal on the Gulf and the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan, the two ports through which Iraq's oil flows. The price of oil promptly jumped above 27 dollars a barrel in London before settling back. Benchmark Brent North Sea crude for May delivery surged to 27.35 dollars from 25.99 on Friday evening, then eased to 26.91. Oil prices had risen even before the Iraqi announcement, after Israel pressed ahead with its siege of the West Bank, ignoring calls from US President George W. Bush for a pullout from Palestinian territories it reoccupied in the past 10 days. But an OPEC source in Vienna told AFP the oil cartel had no plans to organize a collective ban on crude exports following the Iraqi move. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries "is for order and harmony in the oil market and should not be dragged into a political crisis in the (Middle East) region," the source said. In Doha, OPEC general secretary Ali Rodriguez told AFP on the sidelines of an oil conference that he was consulting member countries about Iraq's gesture. Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called on Islamic oil-producing countries Friday to suspend their exports to Western countries and those that have relations with Israel "for a symbolic period of one month." Libya voiced suport for the call. Saddam said the decision to halt exports was taken at a joint meeting of Iraq's ruling Revolution Command Council, Baath Party leadership and cabinet. "This decision is essentially aimed against the Zionist entity and the aggressive US policy, not against anyone else. It is not meant to harm anyone except those who have decided to harm the Arab nation, including the heroic Palestinian people," he said. Saddam accused the United States of being Israel's accomplice in the blitz on West Bank towns. "The Zionist aggression in which our brothers and sisters are being killed in front of TV cameras is being perpetrated by common arrangement between the Zionist entity and the US administration," the Iraqi leader charged. "Its objective is not only to occupy Palestinian and Arab lands as happened in 1948 and 1967, but also to break the Palestinians' and Arabs' will and force them to surrender to the Zionist-American alliance," he said. The office administering Iraq's oil-for-food program with the UN said on April 2 that the volume of oil exported by Baghdad under UN supervision surged from 6.7 million barrels to 16.5 million barrels the previous week. Iraq has periodically halted exports under the UN oil-for-food scheme in recent years, the last time on June 4, 2001, for a month in protest at efforts to introduce "smart sanctions" against Baghdad. OPEC member Iraq has proven reserves of 112 billion barrels and a current production capacity of 2.2 million barrels per day (bpd). BAGHDAD, April 8 (AFP) - Iraq stopped exporting oil at 1000 GMT on Monday, the oil ministry said in a statement. Exports were halted at the Mina al-Bakr terminal on the Gulf and the Turkish Mediterranen port of Ceyhan, the two ports through which Iraq's oil flows. President Saddam Hussein announced exports would stop for 30 days as a protest against the Israeli military assault on the Palestinians. Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called on Islamic oil-producing countries Friday to suspend their exports to Western countries and those that have relations with Israel "for a symbolic period of one month. BAGHDAD, April 8 (AFP) - Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is vowing to fight to the last, but US military action against Baghdad looks increasingly uncertain as Middle East violence spirals out of control. "If half your anti-air defences were to be destroyed, you would defend with the other half and if the remaining half also came to be destroyed, you would fight with your daggers like your brothers in Palestine are doing," Saddam told senior military officials late Sunday. "You are strong and your enemy is weak because you are right and he is wrong," the Iraqi strongman charged. In another sign of his pugnaciousness, Saddam announced Monday that Iraq had stopped oil exports in protest at Israel's offensive against the Palestinians, sending world crude prices jumping in an indication of what might happen if Washington attacked. US President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair warned Saturday they were considering "all options" against Iraq, which has refused to allow in UN arms inspectors since a December 1998 US-British bombing blitz. Blair delivered his bluntest warning yet to Iraq a day later, speaking of possible military action to topple the "brutal, repressive" regime of Saddam Hussein. The two leaders received short shrift in the Iraqi media on Monday, with Al-Jumhuriya daily branding them "criminals". "Bush, the villain, and Blair, the stupid, have attacked Iraq with their idiotic statements to cover up their crimes in Afghanistan and ... their isolation in Europe on Iraq, Palestine, and Afghanistan," it said. Babel newspaper declared that the Israeli offensive against the Palestinians "is part of a plot ... which starts in Palestine and ends in Iraq." The daily run by Saddam's son Uday warned that "what the Palestinians are going through can be repeated in any other Arab country." "We are keeping some surprises for enemies despite all the precautions they may take," Babel said, underlining Baghdad's determination to defend itself against any US-led attack. But the London-based The Times, citing sources close to Bush and Blair, reported Monday that while the two leaders have agreed on a military campaign against Iraq, no action is likely for at least a year. They sketched out a "three-phase plan" to overthrow Saddam: "First recreating a coalition for action by convincing Iraq's neighbours that Saddam can be ousted; then taking military action against him and finally ensuring that a successor regime is capable of running the country." Blair said Sunday there would be no precipitate action against Iraq, but added: "We must be prepared to act where terrorism or weapons of mass destruction threaten us." But the two men have seen their plans to topple Saddam thwarted by the bloodshed from Israel's latest military offensive in Palestinian territory, which has been strongly condemned in the Arab world, notably by all of London and Washington's most faithful regional allies. Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Sunday that military strikes against Iraq would be a mistake and counter-productive. "Talk of using force today, when other means exist, is for the least politically incorrect, and would be a mistake," Putin said. Fellow "axis of evil" nominee Iran also reiterated its opposition to any US strike on neighbouring Iraq on Monday, saying that the region "cannot bear a new war". "Resorting to force to change a government is against international law, principles of democracy and morality. It is up to the people to carry out such a change," foreign ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi said. _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk