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News, 27/7-3/8/02 (5) MILITARY MATTERS * Iraqi protest over [US and Australian] navy action * U.S. refurbishes Iraqi air bases in North * Intercepts of Iraqi Vessels Widened * Western Morning News: HMS Ocean will not go to Iraq, says MoD * US, UK planes raid 16 regions: Iraq * Iraqi buildup near border puts Kuwait on heightened alert * UN sees no Iraqi troop buildup near Kuwait * Whitehall dossier says Saddam plans biological weapons for Palestinians STRATEGIES * US may go straight for Iraqi jugular IRAQI OPPOSITION * The last thing the US wants is democracy in Iraq * Salvation council appeals Saddam Hussein to resign NEW WORLD ORDER * Studies Find No Link between Depleted Uranium And Balkans Health Problems: Pentagon MILITARY MATTERS http://www.dailytelegraph.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5936,4786695%255E7 03,00.html * IRAQI PROTEST OVER [US and Australian] NAVY ACTION Daily Telegraph, 28th July BAGHDAD: Iraq has protested to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan over what Baghdad called "piracy and provocative acts" by US and Australian naval units against Iraqi vessels in the Gulf, the Iraqi Foreign Ministry says. Foreign Minister Naji Sabri said in a letter to Mr Annan that the US and Australian naval units intercepted Iraqi vessels, interrogated their crews "and sometimes seized the ships and their crews for long periods". He urged Mr Annan to intervene to stop such activities. Giving examples, Mr Sabri said: "Two Australian military boats with 20 armed soldiers aboard attacked Iraq's al-Fida' ferry on June 28 while it was sailing from Iraq's Umm Qasar port to al-Ma'qal port. "The soldiers forced their way aboard the ferry, seized its crew, searched it, broke locks of its store-rooms and made it change course." He described the presence of units of the US and Australian navies and what he said were their attacks on civilian ships in the Gulf as an "act of aggression". http://menewsline.com/stories/2002/july/07_28_1.html * U.S. REFURBISHES IRAQI AIR BASES IN NORTH Middle East Newsline (extract from longer article), 28th July Abu Dhabi [MENL] -- The United States is close to completing a project to refurbish three abandoned Iraqi air force bases in Kurdistan. Iraqi opposition sources said the effort began nearly a year ago and involves the repair of runways and facilities meant to accommodate U.S. warplanes and transport aircraft for any attack on Baghdad. The sources said the project has been given to Kurdish contractors, with U.S. military personnel supervising the construction and repairs. The sources said the aim of the project is to repair and expand runways so that U.S. C-130 Hercules aircraft can land with American troops and weapons. They said the United States is also completing facilities for air command and control operations in Iraq. The project is said to be part of a U.S. military buildup in and near Iraq. The Kuwait Al Rai Al Aam daily reported that 25,000 U.S. troops are expected to arrive in southern Turkey near the Iraqi border. The newspaper, quoting Iraqi opposition sources, said 7,000 American soldiers have already arrived. http://hoovnews.hoovers.com/fp.asp?layout=displaynews&doc_id=NR20020728140.6 _027f0010f0245d5d * INTERCEPTS OF IRAQI VESSELS WIDENED Hoover's (Financial Times), 28th July DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) After an eight-year break, a U.S.-led naval coalition is resuming inspection of vessels in the northern Red Sea because U.N. sanctions against Iraq are being broken in the area, a U.S. Navy spokesman said Sunday. The decision is opposed by Jordan, which is Iraq's largest trading partner and a key American ally in the Mideast and which complained in the past that the monitoring hindered its trade. Lt. Chris Davis, a spokesman with the Bahrain-based 5th Fleet, refused to elaborate on the nature of the "sanctions-busting." Coalition forces in the Persian Gulf region long have been trying to prevent Iraqi oil smuggling and stop Iraq-bound cargo ships, except those carrying approved food, medical supplies or humanitarian items. "There was sufficient evidence for us to believe that we should expand our interception operation to the northern Red Sea," Davis said. A British warship was assigned on July 9 to monitor vessels outside Jordan's lone sea port at Aqaba, on the Red Sea, Davis said. Fifth Fleet commanders would not confirm if the ship had arrived. A Jordanian Cabinet official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Jordan has not been informed of any U.S. decision to expand the monitoring operation to just offshore. However, Jordan would oppose such measures because it already adheres to the letter and spirit of U.N. sanctions on Iraq, he said. Those strict sanctions were imposed following Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait, which led to the 1991 Persian Gulf War. The sanctions later were adjusted to allow Baghdad to sell unlimited quantities of crude oil to buy humanitarian goods. Baghdad, however, is barred from importing military-related items. U.S.-led coalition ships monitored the same northern Red Sea area between 1991 and 1994. Jordan said then that the monitoring was hindering its trade and causing shortages of food and other essential imports. After the U.S. inspections stopped, Jordan hired British-based Lloyd's Register to conduct dockside inspections. But that $2.35 million contract was not renewed in 2000 because Jordan said the inspections strained its budget and delayed Jordanian-bound cargo. [.....] Jordan's powerful Islamic Action Front issued a statement saying the inspections were an "aggressive American measure" constituting a "violation of Jordan's sovereignty and will inflict great moral and financial harm." The Front said the expansion was among the preparations for military action against Iraq. It urged Jordan to cancel routine military exercises with the United States and revive a joint Arab defense pact. [.....] http://hoovnews.hoovers.com/fp.asp?layout=displaynews&doc_id=NR20020729670.4 _dd83001a8b87dd2c. * WESTERN MORNING NEWS: HMS OCEAN WILL NOT GO TO IRAQ, SAYS MOD Hoover's (Financial Times), 29th July. THE Ministry of Defence has denied reports that Westcountry marines could be heading straight back out to the Middle East for a new offensive against terrorism. Military experts predicted that marines from Devon and Cornwall could be heading straight back out to action after returning from Afghanistan after it was revealed by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) that the pride of the Royal Navy, HMS Ocean, has been withdrawn from the forthcoming Navy Days event at Devonport over the August bank holiday. It prompted speculation that Devonport-based HMS Ocean would be heading out to the Gulf as part of a US-led attack. But yesterday, an MoD spokeswoman said that HMS Ocean would not be going to Iraq. "HMS Ocean is in dry dock at Portsmouth for routine maintenance that has already been delayed on the ship," she said. "There are no plans for any sort of military action in Iraq for HMS Ocean or any other ship, tanks or soldier." However, the spokeswoman confirmed that the vessel would not be at the Navy Days show in next month. "Unfortunately, Ocean will miss the Navy Days event but this is purely because of the maintenance work, which is all part of a routine check of the ship," she added. HMS Ocean is one of the Navy's newest vessels and can carry 18 helicopters, four landing craft and around 600 Royal Marines. She was to be the main attraction at the Navy Days event in Plymouth in August, but has been withdrawn by the MoD. The MoD's denial comes as a Westcountry MP said that action against Saddam Hussein should be taken now. [.....] http://www.dawn.com/2002/07/29/int10.htm * US, UK PLANES RAID 16 REGIONS: IRAQ Dawn (from AFP), 29th July, 18 Jamadi-ul-Awwal 1423 BAGHDAD, July 28: US and British warplanes raided "civilian installations" in southern Iraq on Sunday, an Iraqi military spokesman said, without reporting casualties. The planes "carried out raids against 16 regions of southern Iraq and against civilian and service installations in Wassit province", 160 kilometres from Baghdad, he said, quoted by the official news agency INA. Iraq says US-British raids in the air exclusion zones have now killed 1,484 Iraqis and wounded 1,422. Baghdad does not recognize the zones, which are not sanctioned by any UN resolution. In Baghdad, an estimated 5,000 Arabs held a pro-Iraqi and pro-Palestinian protest on Sunday outside UN offices, burning US and Israeli flags and condemning US threats of military action against Iraq. http://www.worldtribune.com/worldtribune/breaking_4.html * IRAQI BUILDUP NEAR BORDER PUTS KUWAIT ON HEIGHTENED ALERT WORLD TRIBUNE.COM, 29th July Abu Dhabi ‹ Kuwait has drafted an emergency plan in coordination with the United States as officials reported an Iraqi buildup near the Kuwaiti border. On Monday, the Kuwaiti Al Rai Al Aam daily reported that authorities have cancelled all vacations for civil defense employees until further notice. The newspaper said the move is part of heightened preparations for an Iraqi attack. The Kuwaiti Cabinet was presented with what was described as an emergency plan to counter an Iraqi military strike on the sheikdom over the next year. Kuwaiti officials said the plan warns that the sheikdom can expect to be the first target of an Iraqi attack either prior to or during any U.S. military campaign to topple the regime of President Saddam Hussein. The Kuwaiti plan cited the Iraqi military buildup near the Kuwaiti border, Middle East Newsline reported. The plan, discussed on Sunday by the Cabinet, is meant to respond to both internal and external threats from the Saddam regime. Officials said the plan raises the prospect that Iraqi soldiers will storm Kuwait while Saddam's agents will try to launch a sabotage campaign within the sheikdom. [.....] http://www.dailystarnews.com/200207/31/n2073113.htm#BODY3 * UN SEES NO IRAQI TROOP BUILDUP NEAR KUWAIT Daily Star, Bangladesh (from Reuters, AFP, Kuwait/ London), 31st July A United Nations peacekeeping force in Kuwait said on Tuesday there was no sign of Iraqi troops building up near the border with the emirate. "We have not seen such a thing," UNIKOM spokesman Daljeet Bagga told Reuters in response to a report abroad that Iraqi forces were building up close to its border with Kuwait. "There is nothing in the DMZ (Demilitarised Zone between Iraq and Kuwait) or close to it. We have no confirmation of that," said the U.N. official. The United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission (UNIKOM), has been monitoring the border since the U.S.-led Gulf War ended in 1991 a seven-month Iraqi occupation of Kuwait. It also enforces a 10-mile demilitarised zone which runs into Iraq. Various Kuwaiti ministries and departments have been holding special meetings in recent days to update emergency plans in case of a U.S.-led attack on its northern neighbour to topple Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. [.....] http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-373053,00.html * WHITEHALL DOSSIER SAYS SADDAM PLANS BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS FOR PALESTINIANS by Michael Evans The Times, 3rd August SADDAM HUSSEIN is suspected of planning to arm a Palestinian terrorist group with biological weapons to attack either American or Israeli targets. A Whitehall dossier containing a detailed assessment of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction programme, which has been circulated to the Prime Minister and other senior Cabinet ministers, is understood to focus on Iraq's biological weapons capability. Details of the dossier came to light as the United Nations rejected a new offer from the Iraqi leader. Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary-General, said that an Iraqi letter calling for a further round of technical talks with Hans Blix, the head weapons inspector, set conditions "at variance" with the demands of the United Nations Security Council. Using mobile laboratories for their research, the team of scientists working for Saddam are believed to be developing a range of biological agents that can be "delivered" by an aerosol system. The latest assessment in Washington and London is that Saddam's plan is to produce a basic weapon that can be used by a terrorist group to attack the Iraqi leader's enemies, the United States and Israel. In the same way that Iran has funded and trained terrorist groups to carry out attacks from Lebanon against Israel, Saddam, according to the assessment, could be banking on recruiting a Palestinian terrorist group to act on his behalf. Analysis of US satellite imagery over the past four years has provided sufficient evidence to show what Saddam has been doing since the expulsion of the United Nations weapons inspectors in December 1998. While the Iraqi leader has pursued all elements of his weapons of mass destruction programme, he has made greatest progress in trying to "weaponise" his biological systems, using the mobile research laboratories to try to deceive America's spy satellites. The Iraqi leader knows from experience that it is far more difficult to hide work on nuclear weapons because of the substantial infrastructure required. Saddam's attempts to develop long-range ballistic missiles, capable of reaching America, have also been carefully monitored from space and there is no sign that he has succeeded beyond trying to modify old Russian Scud missiles. In assessing the threat posed by Saddam's weapons of mass destruction programme, the emphasis has, therefore, been on his biological warfare projects, which pose as great a threat as nuclear devices and can be developed relatively easily away from the sensors of America's spy satellites. The Palestinian connection is now at the heart of intelligence thinking. Despite the belief in some quarters in America that a senior officer in Saddam's intelligence service met an al Qaeda terrorist in Prague last year, before September 11, this is given no credence by the CIA, the FBI or by British Intelligence. Saddam has funded Palestinian extremist groups for many years, and the assessment now is that, with the Middle East in turmoil, the Iraqi leader may see that the best way of taking revenge against the US and Israel is by using a Palestinian organisation as his proxy terrorists. STRATEGIES http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2002/07/29/1027926853897.html * US MAY GO STRAIGHT FOR IRAQI JUGULAR by David Sanger The Age (Australia, from New York Times), 29th July As the Bush administration considers its military options for deposing Saddam Hussein, senior administration and Pentagon officials say they are exploring a new, risky approach. The approach calls for taking Baghdad and one or two key command centres and weapons depots first, in hopes of cutting off the country's leadership and causing a quick collapse of the government. The "inside-out" approach, as some call this Baghdad-first option, would capitalise on the US military's ability to strike over long distances, manoeuvring forces to envelop a large target. Those advocating the plan say it reflects a strong desire to find a strategy that would not require 250,000 American troops, yet hits hard enough to succeed. One important aim would be to disrupt Iraq's ability to order the use of weapons of mass destruction. The advantages and risks of strikes aimed deep inside the country and radiating outward are being discussed, according to senior administration and Defence Department officials. No formal plan has been presented to President George Bush and several officials cautioned that alternatives were still under consideration. The inside-out ideas are essentially the reverse of the US strategy in the 1991 Gulf War that dislodged President Saddam's army from Kuwait. The aim would be to kill or isolate President Saddam and pre-empt Iraq's use of weapons of mass destruction, whether against an incoming force, front-line allies or Israel. These weapons are the wild card in all the outlines of a military confrontation. Officials say it may be possible to paralyse an Iraqi command-and-control system that is highly centralised and authoritarian. Under such a system, mid-level officers are not taught to improvise, should they be cut off from commanders. It is also possible that those mid-level officers, if they fear President Saddam has been killed, would not bother to fire weapons of mass destruction. If President Saddam can be deposed with a smaller invasion force than the 250,000 troops suggested in early drafts, the approach could appeal to nervous Gulf allies whose bases would be needed. These states are quietly advocating the quickest and smallest military operation possible, to lessen anti-American protests on their streets. But something nearer the 250,000 still might have to be deployed to the region, to make sure any forces that drop into Baghdad do not become isolated or surrounded. [.....] IRAQI OPPOSITION http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,764608,00.html * THE LAST THING THE US WANTS IS DEMOCRACY IN IRAQ by Nick Cohen The Observer, 28th July [The Guardian's Nick Cohen continuing his support for the INC against the option of another Sunni strongman] Although everyone is lining up for or against a war on Iraq, few are asking what the war would be for. We know it would be against Saddam Hussein's dictatorship. But what will the Americans and their British sidekicks be fighting to replace the tyrant with? It's impossible to say with certainty, but most reports from Washington suggest that Bush wants another tyrant and Blair will concur. The alternative is the Iraqi National Congress, a loose and fractious coalition, but one which, for all its faults, is committed to democracy. The CIA and State Department hate it and the bad example a liberated Iraq would give to the repressed people of Saudi Arabia. The hostility has relented a little - the State Department has agreed to meet the INC on 9 August. We'll have to see what happens, but Iraqi exiles believe the CIA has a list of 15 approved generals from which a new leader will be picked. The prime candidate was General Nizar al-Khazraji, the army chief of staff when Iraq invaded Kuwait, and the highest-ranking military defector. He lives in exile in Copenhagen and had nothing to fear except Hussein's assassins until a Kurdish refugee saw him in the street. In a scene straight out of Marathon Man, the refugee cried that this was the man who had levelled his village. The Danish Justice Ministry is now investigating charges that al-Khazraji was up to his neck in the‰Anfal' campaign of 1988 (named after the cheery chapter in the Koran on the spoils of war). Uncounted numbers of Kurds were driven from their homes and tens of thousands died in prison camps. Al-Khazraji denies the charges, and many Kurdish leaders are working on the‰my enemy's enemy principle' and don't give a damn what he did. If the US goes for a military hardman, it is likely to find a general against whom plausible allegations of war crimes can be made. The alternative is a democratic, federal Iraq, which gives rights to the Kurds and Shias currently suffering under the apartheid rule of the Sunni minority, and places the military under civilian control. The INC says neither Downing Street nor the Foreign Office has raised a voice in support of its democratic dream. If anything, the Brits are more fanatical supporters of infinite injustice in the Gulf than the Yanks. http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/020801/2002080117.html * SALVATION COUNCIL APPEALS SADDAM HUSSEIN TO RESIGN Arabic News, 1st August The higher council for al-Khalas al-Watani ( national salvation ), the new Iraqi opposition commission in exile, has appealed to the Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to "give up the authority," according to confirmation made by one member of the commission which will be declared in Denmark very shortly. One of the signatures of the political draft statement of this movement said that the "council will appeal Saddam Hussein to give up the authority and hand it over to the council or to a military and civilian commission to run the country's affairs until elections will be made." He said that the council will also announce its readiness to shoulder Iraq's responsibility if Saddam Hussein "will quit the authority." The statement called on those who are close to Hussein to force him to give up the authority if he refuses to do so, and "to ensure his personal protection and the safety of his family members and not to be avenged." The official added that "there are Arab countries which expressed readiness to receive Saddam Hussein and give him political asylum, if that will avert Iraq an American strike." He explained that the council will compose of seven areas "the military, security, information, media, culture, finance and secretariat and foreign and national relations." He stressed that the draft statement was undersigned by 170 military men and 150 civilians, including former politicians, tribes clans, former ambassadors and business men. "We wait for other figures to sign it," he said. NEW WORLD ORDER http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/200110/31/eng20011031_83598.html * STUDIES FIND NO LINK BETWEEN DEPLETED URANIUM AND BALKANS HEALTH PROBLEMS: PENTAGON People's Daily, 29th July Medical and environmental studies have found no link between depleted uranium munitions and leukemia or other medical problems among peacekeepers in the Balkans, the Pentagon said Tuesday. The Pentagon reached that conclusion after reviewing studies by a number of countries, international organizations and private groups that were launched following news reports in January of a "Balkans Syndrome" among Italians who served as peacekeepers there. US Air Force A-10 aircraft fired some 31,000 30 mm depleted uranium rounds in Kosovo and another 10,000 rounds in Bosnia, which raised suspicions of a link to a rash of leukemia cases reported in Italy. Depleted uranium is a mildly radioactive heavy metal that is prized by the military because munitions made with it can slice through armor. Armor made from the metal on the other hand is exceptionally difficult to penetrate. "The medical and environmental assessments and investigations made by various countries, international organizations and private groups have had generally similar results," the Pentagon paper said. "None have found a connection between DU exposure and leukemia or other medical problems in people, and none have found widespread DU contamination sufficient to impact the general health of the general population or deployed military personnel." It said at least 13 countries had sent teams to the Balkans to collect and analyze samples of soil, air, water, vegetation and food, and the United Nations and other international organizations also conducted environmental surveys. "These surveys consistently report no widespread DU contamination and no current impact on the health of the general population or deployed personnel," the paper said. Most of the countries that sent troops on peacekeeping missions in the Balkans have begun medical monitoring and epidemiological studies, it said. "To date, none have found a connection between DU exposure and leukemia or any other pathology," the paper 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 email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk