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[casi] News, 10-17/8/02 (4)

News, 10-17/8/02 (4)


*  Experts: Iraqi Military No Pushover
*  US Navy moves into Persian Gulf
*  Coalition planes strike Iraqi air defenses, U.S. military says
*  Four injured in US-British raid
*  US 'keeping Britain in dark over Iraq attack'


*  Baghdad: Exports cut in half
*  Iraq Says It Will Drop Surcharge


*  Cheney Assures Dissident Iraqis
*  Who will save Iraq?
*  Iraqi Dissident, U.S. End Dispute
*  Amsterdam hosts plenary conference of the Iraqi opposition
*  Iraqi Shiite opposition counsels US against attack


*  'Smart sanctions' will hurt Iraqis, aid agency [Cafod] warns
*  Iraq: U.N. Weapons Inspections Over
*  Iraq Seeks Abuja's [Nigeria] Support On Rights Resolution
*  U.S. says no to Iraq using humanitarian funds to pay U.N. Dues
*  Iraq Sends Lengthy Reply to Annan
*  Security council splits deepen on Iraq sanctions


The Associated Press, 13th August

Iraq and U.S. military strength in the Persian Gulf, according to defense
officials and experts at Jane's, Periscope and the Center for Strategic and
International Studies:

Troop strength:
‹Army has between 350,000 and 400,000 troops.
‹Six Republican Guard divisions, 17 regular army divisions.
‹2,200 main battle tanks, including 500 T-72s.
‹1,000 armored reconnaissance vehicles, such as the BDRM-2.
‹800 light tanks/infantry fighting vehicles, such as the BMP-2.
‹2,000 armored personnel carriers, such as the BTR-60.
‹200 self-propelled artillery guns, 1,500 towed artillery guns.
‹200-300 interceptors and attack aircraft, including the MiG-21, MiG-23,
Mirage F1, Su-22.
‹100 combat helicopters, including Mi-24 Hind.
Air defenses:
‹400 surface-to-air missile launchers, including the SA-2, SA-3, SA-6.
‹1,000 man-portable surface-to-air missiles, including the SA-7.
‹6,000 anti-aircraft guns.
‹Short-range (less than 90 miles) surface-to-surface missiles.
‹Between 2 and 20 Scud launchers and missiles.

U.S. forces in the region
‹5th Fleet, based at Bahrain, normally includes one aircraft carrier and
several cruisers, destroyers and submarines capable of launching cruise
‹Air Force fighters stationed at bases in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Turkey,
possibly Qatar.
‹Army equipment in Qatar, elsewhere.
‹Several thousand troops in Jordan.
‹Patriot missile units in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

Australian Broadcasting Company
14th August

The US Navy is moving more military hardware to the Persian Gulf region,
amid mounting signs that Washington is preparing for a war against Iraq.

US defence officials say tanks and helicopters are being sent to Jordan and
an undisclosed Red Sea port are part of a broader transfer of military
equipment from Europe to other parts of the globe.

Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says they are for a US military exercise
in Jordan called "Infinite Moonlight".

He has also dismissed the notion of weapons inspection teams going to Iraq,
saying they would never find any evidence even if they were to be granted
free access to the country.

Boston Herald, from Associated Press, 15th August

WASHINGTON - Aircraft from the U.S.-British coalition patrolling southern
Iraq bombed two Iraqi air defense sites Wednesday, the U.S. Central Command

The attack with precision-guided weapons at about 5 p.m. EDT was a response
to Iraqi actions threatening coalition planes patrolling the southern no-fly
zone, a Central Command statement said.

The strike was the latest in a series of incidents in the no-fly zones over
northern and southern Iraq. Coalition planes struck an Iraqi military
communications facility on Aug. 5.

The no-fly zones were created after the 1991 Gulf War to protect Iraqi
dissident populations from President Saddam Hussein's military. Saddam says
the zones are a violation of Iraqi sovereignty and his military often tries
to shoot down warplanes patrolling the areas.

Central Command says Iraq has fired on coalition planes 85 times this year.
The command, based in Tampa, Fla., is responsible for the region.,1113,2-10

News 24 (South Africa), 16th August

Baghdad - US and British fighter jets have bombed targets in southern Iraq,
wounding four civilians, the Iraqi Air Force Command said on Thursday.

It said the planes struck civilian and service targets shortly before
midnight on Wednesday in the provinces of Missan and al-Wassit, and that its
air defences fired at the attacking planes.

The raid was the first in 10 days and the 26th strike of the year by US and
British attack jets in northern and southern "no-fly zones" of Iraq,
established after the 1991 Gulf War to protect the Kurds of the north and
the Shi'ite Muslims in the south from attack by Baghdad forces.


by Michael Evans
The Times, 17th August
[The Brits don't know what little role they'll be allowed to play because
they're not being told anything about the major US deployment (described in
some detail) they see taking place all around them.]

BRITAIN is being kept in the dark about the military contribution that the
Armed Forces will be required to provide for any American attack on Iraq.

Senior defence sources admitted yesterday that until a political decision
was taken on the method to be used to change the regime in Baghdad there was
nothing that British Service chiefs could do to plan other than to ensure
that potentially deployable forces were available. ³We¹ve effectively been
kept in the dark, and until someone tells us what the plan is, we cannot
begin to work out what our involvement is going to be,² one source said.

While the United States already has a ³credible² force in the region to
attack Iraq, Britain would be able to offer only a limited capability if the
decision were taken to mount a campaign this year.

The sources said that once President Bush had chosen the military option for
toppling President Saddam Hussein, action could be a matter of weeks away,
rather than months. One source said: ³People should never underestimate the
capability of the US. As a military superpower it would be capable of
launching a major offensive at relatively short notice because all the main
ingredients are in place.²

The source added: ³The lead-time for launching an attack will be much
shorter than people think.²

However, if Mr Bush decides to act this year rather than early next year,
Tony Blair would be in a position to offer relatively limited support.
³There could be no question of sending an armoured division to the region if
the timescale is significantly shortened,² the sources said.

Among the tri-Service capabilities that could be offered would be: up to
four Royal Navy nuclear-powered submarines armed with Tomahawk land-attack
cruise missiles, the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal due to be on exercise in
the Mediterranean next month, special forces units, rapidly deployable light
forces such as 16 Air Assault Brigade, which includes the 1st Battalion The
Parachute Regiment, and RAF aircraft such as Tornado GR4 bombers and air
refuelling tankers.

The Americans are now far advanced in their preparations, awaiting the
political decision by their Commander-in-Chief. Two aircraft-carrier battle
groups, headed by USS George Washington and USS Abraham Lincoln, will soon
be together in the Gulf region. USS George Washington is in the northern
Arabian Sea, USS Abraham Lincoln is on her way out to the Gulf, supposedly
to replace the other carrier as a routine deployment.

USS Abraham Lincoln is the first carrier to be armed with the US Navy¹s
Super Hornet, the FA18E, which has a significantly increased payload of
bombs and missiles. The Super Hornet can be armed with the precisionguided
Joint Direct Attack Munitions (Jdam), which were used extensively in attacks
in Afghanistan. It can also carry Maverick guided missiles, Harm anti-radar
bombs and air-to-air weapons.

Fortuitously for the US military planners, the new strike aircraft, with its
multi-mission and all-weather capability, has come into service and is
expected to be used in combat for the first time against Iraq.

Both carrier groups in the Gulf region include nuclear-powered attack
submarines armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles. Tomahawks played a crucial
role in the 1991 Gulf War and are likely to be among the first weapons of
choice in any new attack on Iraq. USS Abraham Lincoln is also escorted by
two destroyers, USS Fletcher and USS Paul Hamilton, and one frigate, USS
Reuben James. The carrier battle group left Pearl Harbor this month and is
officially assigned to duties connected with Operation Enduring Freedom,
which covers all missions under the War on Terror label.

A spokesman for the US Navy said that the US 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean
did not have a carrier.

The Americans have a range of Gulf State bases where the Governments are
prepared to host a US land force, the role taken by Saudi Arabia in the 1991
Gulf War. Riyadh has made clear that US offensive forces will not be welcome
this time for a second attack on Iraq. The main base is in Qatar, but there
are also airbases in Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman. The Turkish base at Incirlik
is also likely to be a key base for any attacks.

Chartered ships packed with ammunition, vehicles and other battle stores are
also being sent to Diego Garcia, the Indian Ocean island.

Yesterday Mr Bush responded to criticism of his Iraq policy from fellow
Republicans by saying he would consult others but make decisions based on
the ³latest intelligence and how best to protect our country, plus our
friends and allies².


World Oil, 13th August

Iraq's U.N.-monitored crude oil exports in the week to August 9 nearly
halved to 620,000 barrels per day, with the full month likely to run at a
low 750,000 bpd.

Iraqi exports have become very irregular due to a prolonged pricing dispute
between the United Nations and Iraq and its oil customers, with supplies
this year running an average 1.2 million bpd -- just over half its capacity
2.2 million bpd.

In July, exports totalled 1.08 million bpd as European refiners sought
substitutes to expensive Russian sour crude and Asian buyers showed stable
tender demand, but demand in the United States -- once Iraq's mainstay
market -- remained thin.

Lifters and end-users complained strongly over the July selling prices
approved by the United Nations, saying they were 60-70 cents above market
value and traders have warned that worries about future prices may begin to
further cut into volumes.

The Associated Press, 14th August

UNITED NATIONS: Russia said Wednesday that Iraq has indicated it will drop a
surcharge on every barrel of oil it exports, a premium the United States and
Britain maintain is illegal.

The surcharge is at the heart of a dispute in the U.N. Security Council
pitting Russia, Iraq's closest ally, against Washington and London, which
want to cut off the flow of illegal revenue to Saddam Hussein.

Proceeds from oil sales are the main source of revenue for the U.N.
humanitarian program for Iraqi civilians. Russia and U.N. officials blame
the current pricing system for a precipitous drop in exports, which is
jeopardizing the so-called oil-for-food program.

Russia's deputy U.N. ambassador Gennady Gatilov said his government has
called for a meeting Friday of the Security Council committee that monitors
sanctions against Iraq at the ambassadorial level to discuss the pricing
dispute and to draw attention to the "very serious situation of the Iraqi
humanitarian program because of the drop in Iraqi oil exports."

The current problem began in late 2000 when the Iraqi government introduced
illegal surcharges as high as 50 cents on every barrel of oil as a way of
partially circumventing U.N. control over its only source of hard currency.

At the insistence of the United States and Britain, the sanctions committee
has been setting oil prices at the end of every month ‹ rather than the
beginning ‹ since October, to prevent Iraq from taking advantage of
fluctuations in the oil market to impose an illegal surcharge.

Washington and London maintain the so-called retroactive pricing policy has
worked in cutting illegal payoffs to Saddam's government. Both countries
have said they will continue to enforce retroactive pricing until they find
an alternative to curb Iraqi attempts to collect illegal surcharges.

Gatilov said Russia wants the sanctions committee to return to the original
practice of pricing oil at the beginning of the month ‹ prior to shipping it
rather than after ‹ "and Iraq will conclude the oil contracts without any

Asked whether Iraq would agree to this proposal, Gatilov said, "there are
some indications" that they will.

"The indications are the recently concluded oil contracts from which you can
easily see whether there are premiums or there are not premiums indicated in
the contracts," Gatilov said.

In these recent contracts, he said, there were no premiums.

"This is the only possibility to improve the situation," Gatilov said.

In June, Iraq reportedly was forced to cut the surcharge in half, to between
15 cents and 20 cents, to attract buyers, diplomats said. This was seen by
some industry analysts as a prelude to dropping the surcharge altogether.

The 5-year-old oil-for-food program was started to alleviate the suffering
of Iraqi civilians living under sanctions imposed on Iraq after its 1990
invasion of Kuwait. It allows Iraq to sell unlimited quantities of crude oil
provided the proceeds are used to purchase food, medicine and other
humanitarian goods, to compensate war victims, and to buy oil spare parts.

U.N. figures show Iraq's oil exports through the program have dropped to a
little over 1 million barrels a day, compared with the country's export
capacity of 2 million barrels a day.

The resulting revenue shortfall has left some $2.4 billion worth of
humanitarian goods ordered by Iraq unfunded, the United Nations said in a
report Tuesday.


The Associated Press, 11th August


Bush does not typically say that he would insist upon a democratically
elected successor, as he has in the case of the Palestinians.

But on Saturday, Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld made clear
it is a democracy the United States wants. The message was delivered to more
than a dozen Iraqi opposition leaders who visited the White House complex to
discuss the situation. They also met with Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of
the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

"Very clearly, the vice president and the secretary of Defense indicated
they would support a democratic regime in Iraq," said Sharif Ali of the
Iraqi National Congress, a leading opposition figure.

"They would not support replacing one dictator with another and in the
eventuality of military action, that the United States will not carry out
military action to replace one dictator with another," he said.

He added: "We are very optimistic that they will do something to effect
regime change."

There was no immediate comment from Cheney's office or the Pentagon.

A White House official said the desire for a democratically elected
government in Iraq has been implicit in the demands for new leadership.


by Nick Cohen
The Observer, 11th August

The bad faith of the anti-war movement is revealed in what it doesn't say.
For all its apparent self-confidence, the Left, reinforced by a small army
of bishops, mullahs and retired generals, lacks the nerve to state that the
consequence of peace is the ruin of the hopes of Iraqi democrats. The
evasion is on a Himalayan scale. Unsurprisingly, the religious, with
centuries of training in casuistry, are the most adept dodgers of the
uncomfortable question: how can the peoples of Iraq overthrow their tyrant
without foreign help?

Many pious men and women signed the declaration of Pax Christi, the
'International Catholic Movement for Peace', which was presented to Downing
Street last week. If the Prime Minister read it, he would have noted that in
only one sentence did they accept that Iraq was a prison state. 'The people
of Iraq,' Pax Christi said, 'must not be made to suffer further because they
are living under a dictator who in his early years in power enjoyed the
collusion and support of Western nations.' Pax Christi deserves credit for
its scanty acknowledgement - Richard Harries, the Bishop of Oxford, managed
to oppose war for 1,000 words on these pages last Sunday without once
alluding to the nature of the Iraqi regime. But I would have thought that
the dopiest theologian might have grasped that the people of Iraq are
suffering, and will suffer further, precisely because they live under a
dictator. The faithful can't say as much because the issue would then become
whether the civilian casualties of a war would justify the removal of the

As important would be the nature of the new government after the likely
victory. The Foreign Office, US State Department and CIA appear to favour
the replacement of one goon with another. In that instance, war would
probably not be worth fighting. But the moral calculus would change if the
West met the demands of the Iraqi National Congress, a loose coalition of
Kurdish, Sunni and Shia opposition groups, and for once supported democracy
and secularism in the Middle East.

The battle by the INC and others to win American backing for a democratic
Iraq is being fought in Washington and London as I write. On Friday Colin
Pow ell told opposition leaders 'our shared goal is that the Iraqi people
should be free'. Whether his warm words were anything other than propaganda
remains to be seen. His State Department had refused to talk to the INC for
a year. Meanwhile George Tenet, the director of the CIA who, astonishingly,
was not fired for his failure to protect his country on 11 September, has
been an unyielding opponent of Iraqi democracy since he advised Bill Clinton
in the mid-1990s.

I'm not saying Iraqi opposition is perfect. Generals who want a pro-American
dictatorship form a part of it, while the two Kurdish factions in the INC
were engaged in a civil war as late as 1996. Nevertheless, the heroism of
many dissidents can't be doubted by those who are prepared to do what the
Bishop of Oxford won't do and look at Saddam's regime with clear eyes. Among
Amnesty International's voluminous accounts of executions and amputations in
Iraq are descriptions of the collective punishment of their families. The
fate of al-Shaikh Nazzar Kadhim al-Bahadli was 'typical', we are told. His
wife, father and mother were tortured in front of him until he confessed to
organising protests against Saddam. The latest grim dispatches from Iraq
brought news of the execution of Abd al Wahad al-Rifa'i, a retired teacher,
who was suspected of having links to the opposition through his exiled

The opponents of Saddam therefore include many brave men and women who are
paying dearly to uphold the values of at least a part of the liberal-Left.
They champion human rights and the protection of the Kurdish minority. Yet
when they ask their natural allies to pressure Blair into supporting a
democratic Iraq they are met with indifference or the preposterous slander
that they are the stooges of the CIA.

A part of the explanation for the bad mouthing of freedom fighters lies in
the belief that Muslims cannot handle and do not want freedom. On Friday yet
another bishop - Colin Bennetts, the Bishop of Coventry, this time - wrote
in the Guardian that he opposed war because 'Muslim communities here in the
UK would perceive a UK attack on Iraq as evidence of an in-built hostility
to the Islamic world'. I bow before the Right Reverend's superior knowledge
of the views of the superstitious, but can't for the life of me understand
why he believes the rejection of appeals from Muslims for help in removing a
secular dictator is anti-Islamic.

The greater reason for hostility is the ground shared by Left and Right.
Noam Chomsky and his supporters have become the mirror image of the
hypocrisies of American power. If the US encourages the persecution of
Palestinians, but belatedly fights against Serbian ethnic cleansing, they
will support freedom in the West Bank but not in the Balkans. In Britain the
supposed extremes have gone a stage further and merged. It was as
predictable as Christmas that the voices of Douglas Hurd and Sir Michael
Rose would be among the loudest crying to leave Saddam alone.

As Tadeusz Mazowiecki, the former Polish Prime Minister, said of the
struggle to persuade Europe to stop Milosevic: 'Any time there was a
likelihood of effective action, Hurd intervened to prevent it.' Rose, while
refusing to contemplate decisive intervention by his troops in Bosnia,
decided that denunciations of the rape and murder of Muslims were the work
of 'the powerful Jewish lobby', and chummily regarded General Ratko Mladic,
the butcher of Srebrenica, as a fellow officer 'who generally kept his

Both have warned that an invasion of Iraq will destabilise neighbouring
states. By this they must mean the theocracy of Saudi Arabia. You might have
thought the prediction that war would set on fire a repellent Saudi monarchy
whose religious police terrorise the population - and which sponsored the
most brutal version of Islamic fundamentalism until one minute to midnight
on 10 September - would have been met with the cry 'let it burn'.

But the Left appears as anxious to keep the lid on popular fury in the
region as the Right. In their Commons motion, which is rallying Labour
opposition, Tam Dalyell and Alice Mahon write, 'an aggressive war by Britain
and the US would destabilise Iraq, risk provoking further conflict in the
region and, inevitably, alienate the Arab states'.

There are honourable grounds for upholding the authority of the United
Nations and opposing American global domination. What is dishonourable -
indeed insufferable - is the pretence of everyone from Trots to archbishops
that their animating concern is the sufferings of the peoples of Iraq.

The Associated Press, 13th August

WASHINGTON (AP) ‹ The leader of a coalition of Iraqi opposition groups said
Tuesday he had resolved a dispute with the State Department over $8 million
in U.S. support.

Ahmed Chalabi, head of the Iraqi National Congress, made the disclosure amid
signs that a series of meetings between INC and Bush administration
officials in recent days have helped ease strains between the two.

State Department spokesman Philip Reeker said the Iraqi dissidents have
received assurances that the United States will protect the Kurdish
population of Northern Iraq in the event of an unprovoked attack by Saddam
Hussein's forces.

This point was confirmed earlier in the day by Jalal Talabani, leader of a
faction that controls a substantial portion of Iraq's Kurdish area.

Reeker said, "We have made clear that should Saddam move against the Kurds
we would respond."

Chalabi, asked about the fate of the $8 million after a meeting with
Assistant Secretary of state William Burns, said, "We have resolved the
issue ... We have to draft the agreement so we can sign it."

Disagreements over accounting procedures and other factors had held up
release of the funds for months and forced INC-sponsored television
broadcasts into Iraq off the air.

Chalabi said the agreement means that the broadcasts, designed to erode
public support for Saddam, should resume within days after the agreement is

Chalabi and INC colleagues have spent the past several days conferring with
administration officials, the most senior of which was Vice President Dick

"The United States administration spoke to us in a united voice," Chalabi
said in an interview with the Associated Press.

"They told us that they will help us liberate our country," he said. "This
is commensurate with President Bush's policy of regime change and that is
what we want to hear. We are very, very heartened that they are united."

Chalabi has placed high priority on winning U.S. approval for military
training for Iraqis willing to take up arms against Saddam. But, he said,
his talks here were of a political nature and not operational.


Arabic News, 13th August

A source in the Iraqi opposition said that the Dutch capital Amsterdam is
the place nominated for convening the plenary conference due to be shortly
held for the representatives of the Iraqi opposition with the aim to elect
an executive committee to be a sort of a parliament in exile, noting that
the Dutch authorities do not oppose convening the conference on its

The source which asked to be anonymous said that Amsterdam has been
unanimously approved by the opposition forces concerned, expecting that
invitations will be sent very soon to 75 representatives from opposition
trends to attend the conference.

Iranmania, 14th August

TEHRAN, Aug 13 (AFP) - The leader of a Tehran-based Iraqi Shiite opposition
group said in remarks published Tuesday he favours a "political solution" to
the situation in Iraq and called on United States to avoid "any military
action" against his country. 

"A political solution is necessary for a regime change in Iraq", said
Ayatollah Mohammad Baqer Hakim, leader of the Supreme Council of the Islamic
Revolution in Iraq, the major Shiite Iraqi opposition group.

"We are against any attack or occupation" of Iraq, he said in the interview
published in the government daily Iran, adding that his group would seek to
discuss the issue with US officials to drive the point home.

"The regime is completely cut off from the people, and the authorities, who
have increased their atrocities, are digging trenches in the cities", Hakim

He added that the regime had warned leaders of Iraqi tribes against "any act
to counter the system".

"Executions in prisons have been on the rise and terror has got new
dimensions", Hakim said, claiming that the "Iraqi people will rise up at the
minimum sign of weakness from the regime.

"We have decided to negotiate with Washington in order to keep off the
threats against Iraq, and we call on the United States to cooperate with the
United Nations to oblige Baghdad to respect (UN) resolutions.

"The United States and the United Nations should cooperate to oblige Iraq to
abide by UN resolutions and help the people to pave the way themselves for a
change", he added.

Hakim said he appreciated the opposition by Iran and Saudi Arabia to "any
military action" against Iraq.

Asked about the likely nature of Iraq after a hypothetical ouster of its
president, Saddam Hussein, Hakim said "the decision is up to the people and
all components of the Iraqi population, including Sunni (Muslims) and

The Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, founded in 1982, is
the major Iraqi Islamic opposition group. It was represented by the
ayatollah's brother, Abdelaziz, at talks in Washington Saturday between
senior US officials and Iraqi opposition groups.



by Paul Vallely
Independent, 12th August

Changes to the sanctions regime on Iraq introduced 10 weeks ago - which were
supposed to make it even harder for Saddam Hussein to create weapons of mass
destruction, while lessening the impact on ordinary Iraqis - are backfiring,
according to the Catholic aid agency Cafod.

Under the new "smart sanctions" policy introduced at the end of May, the
number of items defined as "dual usage", goods that can be used both for
civilian and military purposes, has doubled.

The list, which previously required a 150-page document, now spreads over
332 pages. Among the items it bans are boilers, turbines, pumps,
compressors, cables, transformers and other items vital to the upkeep of
Iraq's electricity supplies. Also banned are chemicals and equipment for
water treatment.


Cafod says in its report Iraq, Sanctions and the War on Terrorism that the
result of the new sanctions policy is shortages that affect "every aspect of
the Iraqi people's lives - households, educational institutes, agricultural
production and industry.

"Power cuts are particularly hazardous in facilities such as hospitals and
water treatment plants," the report says. The country is now operating on
less than half of its electricity needs. The report says: "Sanctions imposed
on Iraq, now in their 11th year, have resulted in untold suffering for
millions of people - physical, mental and cultural.

"No one knows how many have died as a result of sanctions but it is believed
to include thousands of children a month. The effects of sanctions - even
were they to be lifted today - will certainly be felt for many years to
come. It is indelibly imprinted on the Iraqi psyche. A once prosperous
nation - home to the world's second-largest oil reserves - is being
systematically de-developed, de-skilled and reduced to penury," it says.

Cafod began working in Iraq with its French sister agency, Confrerie de la
Charité, during the Gulf war. For the past five years, support has been
focused on Confrerie's feeding and nutrition programmes, targeting
especially vulnerable groups such as malnourished babies and children.

"As many as half a million children are thought to have died," said Cafod's
director, Julian Filochowski, who recently visited Iraq to look at the
humanitarian consequences of sanctions. "The new 'smart sanctions' are even
worse than the previous regime."

The oil-for-food programme set up by the United Nations to prevent sanctions
hitting ordinary citizens is not working, the Cafod report says.

In the past month, President Saddam has cut off oil supplies in protest at
the behaviour of Israel but even before that - when Iraqi oil exports under
the UN programme registered their highest single weekly volume at 9.8
million barrels - some 996 UN-approved humanitarian supply contracts, worth
almost $2.1bn (£1.4bn) were blocked because of the lack of funds. "This is a
scandal," the report says.

The proposed military action by the US would hurt ordinary people, weakened
as they are by these rigorous sanctions, the report claims.

* More than two-thirds of British voters oppose an attack on Iraq, according
to a poll for The Daily Telegraph. More than half fear that in his stance on
Iraq, Tony Blair is becoming George Bush's "poodle".

The Associated Press, 12th August

CAIRO, Egypt: Baghdad's information minister rejected the need for a
resumption of U.N. weapons inspections in Iraq, saying Monday inspectors had
finished their work four years ago when they left the country in advance of
U.S. and British air strikes.

Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf told the Arabic satellite television Al- Jazeera in
an interview that the Bush administration was "confused" and was making
inspections into an issue in an attempt to use them as a tool in the latest
showdown between Washington and Baghdad.

"The work within the U.N. concerning (prohibited weapons) in Iraq, this work
has been achieved. They say that it hasn't been achieved. They claim
something remains. This talk can be responded to and disproved," al-Sahhaf
said in the interview conducted in Iraq and monitored in Cairo, Egypt.

"This is a lie," he said of Washington's insistence Iraq still possesses
weapons of mass destruction. "Inspections have finished in Iraq."

Though Iraq feels the job is done, it was not clear whether al-Sahhaf's
remarks were intended as a final rejection of any return of weapons
inspectors, as demanded by the United States and the United Nations.



Iraq has solicited Nigeria's co-operation in voting against a draft
resolution on human rights situation in the country submitted by the
European Union to the Human Rights Commission.

The draft resolution was adopted by the Human Rights Commission at its 58th
session in Geneva, between March 18 and April 26, 2002.

In a letter to his Nigerian counterpart, a copy of which was made available
to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja at the weekend, the Iraqi
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Naji Sabri, said the resolution was adopted
without regard to the effect of UN sanctions on the country.

Iraq has been under UN sanctions since 1991 for invading neighbouring

"If the sponsors of the resolution were actually keen in knowing the true
picture of human rights situation in Iraq, they should, out of human and
objective consideration, have taken into account this tragic condition and
call for an end to the crime of sanctions to which the people of Iraq have
been subjected," Sabri said.

He said Iraq had hoped that the resolution would be more objective and
balanced in view of the co-operation extended to the UN special rapporteur
on Human Rights, Mr Andreas Mavrommatis, who was in Baghdad from Febuart 11
to 15, 2002.

The minister recalled that during his visit, Mavrommatis was offered, at his
request, the opportunity to meet a number of ministers, officials and
representatives of religious and ethnic minorities.

"He was also offered free access to all places that he wanted to visit but
the sponsors of the resolution disregarded this," he said.

"This attitude is but an evident example of selectivity and double standards
which are used for achieving narrow political interests," Sabri said,
pointing out that the resolution contradicted the UN charter and objective
of the international human rights conventions.

The Iraqi foreign minister noted that Nigeria had abstained from voting in
the Human Rights Commission and the UN General Assembly the last time the
issue came up.

"We hope that your government would review this issue again and vote against
the draft resolution which would be presented to the 57th session of the
General Assembly on September 10, 2002," he said.

He said such a move would do justice to the people of Iraq "who are
subjected to a flagrant violation of their rights as a result of the
continued unjust sanctions and the US-British daily aggression against

CNN, 12th August

UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- Iraq said Monday it wants to use $12.4 million from
the U.N. humanitarian program to pay its late dues to the United Nations,
but the United States immediately said no.

In a letter circulated Monday, Iraq's U.N. ambassador said Iraq's arrears
could be paid from a fund that administers the oil-for-food humanitarian

He asked Secretary-General Kofi Annan to bring the request to the U.N.
Security Council. The Security Council has rejected similar requests in the

The program was created in 1996 to alleviate the suffering of Iraqi
civilians living under sanctions imposed on Iraq after its 1990 invasion of
Kuwait. It allows Iraq to sell unlimited quantities of crude oil to purchase
food, medicine and other humanitarian goods, compensate war victims and
purchase oil spare parts.

Richard Grenell, a spokesman for the U.S. Mission, said the Security Council
resolution which established the program "is clear on how oil-for-food money
is to be spent and we think it should continue being used to feed and clothe
the people of Iraq."

Failure to pay the back dues has denied Iraq its vote in the 189-member U.N.
General Assembly.

In the letter, the Iraqi U.N. ambassador, Mohammed Al-Douri, said there are
surplus funds in the oil-for-food account to administer the program that
could be used to pay its U.N. dues.

He accused Washington and London of trying to impose "a political, economic,
military and public information blockade on Iraq and commit aggression
against it."


by Edith M. Lederer
Las Vegas Sun, from Associated Press, 16th August

UNITED NATIONS- Iraq told the United Nations on Friday that it will continue
a dialogue on the return of U.N. weapons inspectors, but it insisted on
conditions which Secretary General Kofi Annan has already rejected.

In a 10-page letter to Annan, Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri reaffirmed
an Iraqi offer to hold a round of technical negotiations - but he insisted
they focus on outstanding issues related to Iraq's alleged weapons of mass
destruction as well as "practical arrangements for the return of the
inspection system in the future."

Annan had rejected in an earlier letter Iraq's proposal to have chief
weapons inspector Hans Blix and Iraqi experts determine outstanding
disarmament issues of mass destruction and figure out how to resolve them
before inspectors return to the country.

In the Aug. 6 letter, Annan insisted that Iraq must follow the roadmap laid
out by the Security Council for the return of inspectors and he urged
Baghdad to accept it.

A 1999 Security Council resolution requires U.N. weapons inspectors to visit
Iraq and then determine within 60 days what questions Iraq still must answer
about its chemical, biological, nuclear and missile programs. The Security
Council must approve the list of outstanding issues.

The council has not authorized Blix to discuss any outstanding issues with
Iraq before inspectors are back on the ground.

In his letter, released in Baghdad, Sabri reaffirmed Iraq's offer "to
conduct a technical round of negotiations to evaluate what was achieved in
the previous phase and look into the methodology of dealing with issues that
were not achieved until the inspectors willingly left at the end of 1998."

"At the same time, the technical team of the United Nations can put forth
issues deemed necessary to advance dialogue and to lay the foundations to
build common ground for the next inspection and monitoring phase," Sabri

by Carola Hoyos
Financial Times, 16th August

Deepening international divisions over how to stop Iraq flouting United
Nations sanctions are set to dominate an emergency meeting of the five
permanent members of the UN Security Council, which was due to start last

The meeting has been called because the UN's humanitarian oil-for-food
programme for Iraq is crumbling and has a $2bn (£1.2bn) shortfall. It could
demonstrate the divisions within the council in its dealings with Iraq.

Under the programme, Iraq is allowed to export crude oil, despite UN
sanctions against it, provided the proceeds after the repayment of war debt
are spent on foods and medicines.

But Iraqi crude oil exports have slumped. Last week, they were down to
630,000 barrels per day, a fraction of the country's 2m bpd capacity.
According to the UN, lack of funds meant that $2.4bn of humanitarian goods
could not be purchased.

The meeting - which involves the US, UK, France, Russia and China - comes as
the US state department is beginning to explore setting up a network of US
humanitarian relief organisations in Iraq.

The UN sets Iraq's crude oil prices, as well as monitoring its sales and
exports, using the revenues to buy humanitarian products and repay war

Diplomats blame the low Iraqi exports on illegal surcharges Baghdad levies
on buyers as well as the restrictive pricing policy the US and UK have
instituted to combat the 15-45 cents per barrel extra that Iraq demands.

The US and UK governments fear that the illegal surcharges, which go
straight to Baghdad's coffers rather than the UN's humanitarian programme,
could be used to rebuild Iraq's weapons programme.

But Russia, Iraq's most important ally on the Security Council, is pushing
for a change in the pricing policy. It argues that Iraq has dropped its
surcharge. This is not accepted by the UK and US.

Oil companies are beginning to feel the effect of Iraqi oil exports'

Last week, Bill Greehey, chief executive officer of Valero, an independent
US refiner, wrote to Spencer Abraham, US energy secretary, last week urging
the US to change its pricing policy.

But one US official said: "Someone has been paying illegal oil surcharges
and it's in violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions."

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