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[casi] News, 11-18/10/02 (4)

News, 11-18/10/02 (4)


*  Putin demands proof over Iraqi weapons
*  Saddam Could Revoke Access
*  New Iraqi letter vows to ease inspection hurdles
*  Palaces flashpoint in war of nerves
*  Bush Corleone: "Saddam Hussein sleeps with the fishes"
*  Iraq Did Not OK All Inspection Rules - UN's Blix
*  Congress puts UN in the dock: Bush's Iraq obsession
*  Non-Aligned Countries Urge UN to Refrain From Using Force Against Iraq


*  Co-chair of Belarus-Iraq trade commission replaced
*  Iraq seeks chemical for arms
*  'Radar sale to Iraq' inquiry opens
*  Ukraine Sites Checked in Iraq Probe
*  Friends Can Bust Sanctions


by Michael White in Zavidovo
The Guardian, 12th October

Vladimir Putin yesterday rejected Anglo-American claims that Saddam Hussein
already possesses weapons of mass destruction and told Tony Blair that the
best way to resolve the conflict of evidence is not war, but the return of
UN inspectors to Iraq.

With a tense Mr Blair alongside him at his dacha near Moscow, the Russian
president took the unusual step of citing this week's sceptical CIA report
on the Iraqi military threat to assert: "Fears are one thing, hard facts are

At a press conference, during a break in the talks, Mr Putin - praised by
his guest for his "courageous" leadership - repeatedly stressed his concerns
about Iraq and his willingness to back fresh UN resolutions if necessary. Mr
Blair took comfort from that.

But his scepticism about the US-led drive for military action was palpable.
After confirming his foreign ministry's assessment that No 10's Iraqi
dossier "could be seen as a propagandistic step" to sway public opinion, he
made it plain.

"Russia does not have in its possession any trustworthy data that supports
the existence of nuclear weapons or any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq
and we have not received any such information from our partners as yet. This
fact has also been supported by the information sent by the CIA to the US

Evidently anxious to please his host and reinforce the international
coalition the prime minister emphasised the importance of taking Russia's
economic and diplomatic interests seriously "at the top table".

"There may be a difference of perspective about weapons of mass destruction,
there is one certain way to find out and that is to let the inspectors back
in to do their job. That is the key point on which we are both agreed," Mr
Blair said.

Mr Putin concurred. But he showed sensitivity to any suggestion that
Russia's economic contracts with Iraq - and its dependence on oil prices
staying high - made the country's position different from other states. "I
have invited the prime minister here to discuss a range of issues, I have
not invited him to an oriental bazaar," he said.

British officials accompanying Mr Blair gratefully seized on Mr Putin's
apparent acceptance of eventual need for a new UN resolution if President
Saddam repeats his past obstruction.

But amid poor official interpretation of the president's remarks, even that
concession was disputed, though No 10 later quoted Mr Putin as telling the
prime minister that he "hoped the journalists understood" the importance of
his admission that a new resolution may be required.

Mr Putin also appeared to be leaving himself room for manoeuvre in the weeks
ahead. "We have apprehensions that such weapons might exist in Iraq. That is
why we want to see the inspectors travel there."

In his remarks Mr Blair, very much the bridge between the hawks in
Washington and wider global scepticism, again said that "conflict is not
inevitable" but that the international community must give a "strong and
clear signal" to Baghdad to comply with its demands.

Given the overall tone of the president's remarks and the scepticism of
three of the security council's permanent five members it was not clear why
British officials are optimistic that the Russian obstacle has now been
cleared at the UN.

The two leaders and their wives spent the night at the presidential hunting
lodge north of the capital, a return trip after the Putins stayed at
Chequers. After a dinner that included caviar and assorted game and fish
they drove around the estate in search of wildlife and saw a boar. No
animals were killed, Russian reporters were assured.

The talks which began on Thursday night ranged across global problems,
including the Israel Palestine and India-Pakistan conflicts, and growing
bilateral trade between Britain and Russia. Mr Blair called Mr Putin "a
critical partner for ourselves and the whole of the western world."

by Ellen Knickmeyer
Salt Lake Tribune (from AP), 13th October

BAGHDAD, Iraq: Iraq reserves the right to end cooperation with U.N. weapons
inspections if it deems Washington is manipulating them, the Iraqi
inspections chief said, clouding prospects of the high-stakes U.N. missions
before they even resume.

The Iraqi warning by inspections chief Gen. Hussan Mohammed Amin -- made in
the face of threatened U.S. military action -- raises the possibility that
old problems would haunt any new U.N. inspections to ensure Iraq can no
longer produce weapons of mass destruction.

In a letter Saturday, Iraq promised to behave "professionally" if U.N.
weapons inspectors return to the country and gain access to Saddam Hussein's
palaces and other suspect sites.

In the letter, sent to the Vienna headquarters of the International Atomic
Energy Agency, Saddam adviser Gen. Amir al-Sadi said Iraq sees no obstacles
to a resumption of the hunt for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, IAEA
spokesman Mark Gwozdecky said.

That letter came a day after another letter from al-Sadi, this time to U.N.
weapons inspectors, appeared to ignore details of agreements hammered out
with the inspectors on their eventual return.

In Washington, the State Department expressed skepticism at the latest
letter. "Iraq continues to want to play word games, not comply. They will
continue to make contradictory promises, and then choose the version of most
tactical benefit at any given moment," spokeswoman Jo-Anne Prokopowicz said

Meanwhile, Iraq's parliament met in an emergency session Saturday, but said
nothing about a resolution by the U.S. Congress giving President Bush
authority to use force against Iraq. Instead, Iraq lawmakers condemned a
resolution by Congress that recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Charges of Iraqi deception, and U.S. double-dealing, have dogged the
inspections -- inaugurated in 1991 with volleys of Iraqi bullets over the
heads of newly arrived inspectors, and ended in 1998 with punishing
U.S.-British airstrikes the night thwarted inspectors finally withdrew.

Trying to stave off a new U.S. attack over what Washington says are covert
weapon programs, Iraq has dropped objections to inspectors' return, and says
it hopes to see an advance team back as soon as Oct. 19.

Asked if Iraq reserves the right to again revoke cooperation with
inspectors, Baghdad's inspections chief Amin said: "Of course."

"We gave commitments to cooperate, if they said they will follow scientific
and logical measures for inspections, and will not misuse them for spying,
collecting information," Amin said, speaking inside a walled industrial
complex where Washington asserts nuclear weapons work could be under way. If
they will follow scientific measures, and they will take measures from the
United Nations and not the United States, they should come on the date," he

The Bush administration said that Iraq has never complied with inspectors.

"The world is done playing the Iraqi game of denial, deception and
obfuscation. The Security Council needs to act to pass an effective new
resolution that leads to Iraqi disarmament," an administration official

Iraqi Islamic leaders appealed to the Muslim world Saturday to come to their
aid if the U.S. attacks.

"Take the word of Iraq, which already has lost so much flesh and blood to
this country: If no one stops it, it will destroy the whole world!" Iraq's
Popular Islamic Conference said in a religious edict signed by 500 clerics
of Iraq's Shiite Muslim majority and Sunni minority.

In the United Nations, Iraq's ambassador said in an interview that Saddam
has changed since he lost the Gulf War 11 years ago and his country is now
doing everything it can now to avert another conflict.

Mohammed al-Douri said the Iraqi leadership had changed its policies and
tactics since it fought Iran in the 1980s, used chemical weapons against its
Kurdish minority, invaded neighboring Kuwait in 1990 and lobbed scud
missiles at Israel and Saudi Arabia during the ensuing Gulf War.

"We think of how we can improve relationships, even with the United States,"
al-Douri said.

by Elizabeth Neuffer
Boston Globe, 13th October

UNITED NATIONS - An adviser to President Saddam Hussein sent his second
letter in a week to UN weapons inspectors yesterday, saying Iraq, as
promised, was ready to remove all obstacles to a return of inspectors after
a break of almost four years.

"We assert our complete readiness once again to receive the advance team on
Oct. 19 as per our preliminary agreement with you and our readiness to
resolve all issues that may block the road to our joint cooperation," wrote
the adviser, General Amir al-Saadi.

The letter followed one sent late last week to the chief UN inspector, Hans
Blix, and to Mohamed El-Baradei, head of the UN's International Atomic
Energy Agency, which US officials said they found evasive. In the earlier
correspondence, the Iraqis were answering a letter by the two weapons
experts stating what they believed both sides had agreed to during Vienna
talks for forthcoming weapons inspections.

The latest letter was sent as Washington, following Thursday's congressional
authorization of force if needed, prepares to push for a new, tough UN

The letter noted the desire for "unfettered access" to eight Iraqi
presidential palace sites - a key demand of the Bush administration. But it
made no specific concession on the issue.

The United States said the letter did not go far enough. "The Iraqis still
don't say yes to inspections," said Richard Grenell, spokesman for the US
mission to the United Nations. "Their response should be one word: Yes."

In the letter on Thursday, Iraqi officials insisted that any search for
weapons of mass destruction must take place under existing UN resolutions.
The new dispatch appeared aimed at ensuring that inspectors hold to an
arrival date for an advance team of Oct. 19, even if the UN Security Council
resolution is not passed in time.

Iraq wants weapons inspections to be conducted under existing resolutions,
which grant it more flexibility than the new, tough resolution being
negotiated among UN Security Council members. Baghdad's hope is that once
members of any inspection team are in Iraq, even if they are just part of a
logistics team, the Security Council will find it difficult to change
existing resolutions.

Blix and El Baradei, however, have indicated that they are unwilling to send
a team now, given that the Security Council appears to agree that a new UN
resolution is needed, even though it remains divided over its terms.

The latest Iraqi letter seemed to be an attempt to portray Baghdad as
sticking to its agreement to allow inspectors to return - a move apparently
aimed at bolstering its position among those doubtful of the US hard line.

Further complicating matters, the Associated Press quoted the Iraqi
inspections chief, General Hussan Mohammed Amin, as saying yesterday that
the country reserves the right to end cooperation with weapons inspectors if
it deems that Washington is manipulating them. "We gave commitments to
cooperate, if they said they will follow scientific and logical measures for
inspections, and will not misuse them for spying," Amin was quoted as

by Paul McGeough
Sydney Morning Herald, 14th October

They always drive past or fly around. Iraqi officials seeking to disprove
Western claims of extensive nuclear, chemical and biological weapons
programs have taken to carting foreign journalists around Baghdad, but they
never stop at the palaces that are the flashpoint in the war of nerves with

As President George Bush or his lieutenants name each new target, we are
taken to see factories and workshops that the Iraqis occasionally admit were
a part of illicit weapons projects, but which they insist have become
legitimate, state-run enterprises.

Contradictory statements by senior Iraqi officials at the weekend on UN
weapons inspectors' access to the palaces created the latest in a series of
tripwires that threaten diplomatic efforts to impose a last round of
inspections between the stalemate and a war.

The Iraqi Vice-President, Taha Yassin Ramadan, told the German magazine Der
Spiegel that inspectors would be allowed to visit eight contentious palaces
that Mr Bush claims could be the cover for secret weapons projects.

At the same time, the Iraqis seemed to be backing away from an agreement
with the UN on how the next round of inspections might be conducted and the
Deputy Prime Minister, Tariq Aziz, adopted a new tone of defiance when he
told Iraqi reporters: "America is the one challenging us; we are not the
ones challenging America."

Saturday's outing for the foreign press in Baghdad was to Al Furat, a plant
on the outskirts of the city that the US suspects produces gas centrifuges,
which are essential for enriching uranium. But Lieutenant-General Abbas
Saadi, the plant's director general, insisted that the heavily fortified
factory was nothing more than a centre for radar and communications research
and development. The anti-aircraft batteries were "normal", he said.

The visit was chaotic. There were no nuclear physicists among more than 200
journalists who descended on the plant and there was insufficient time to
visit most of the buildings in the complex. None of us came away with
evidence of a nuclear project.

The UN weapons inspectors have become fixated on the palaces, a presidential
indulgence estimated to be worth more than $US2 billion ($3.6 billion)
because they are huge, rambling compounds that the Iraqis guard with a
sensitivity that borders on paranoia.

The revolving restaurant at the top of Saddam Tower on the west bank of the
Tigris is a perfect place to view one of the grandest of Saddam's compounds.
The Guest Palace, which has a huge bronze bust of the president at each
corner of its astro-turf roof gardens, has 15 three-storey guard houses on
its pre-cast concrete perimeter wall.

The palace itself is a three-storey mansion surrounded by luxuriant gardens
of date palms and gum trees among which are interspersed manicured formal
gardens and a magnificent network of ornamental lakes.

The inspectors are desperate to get into more than 50 such palaces, which
they say have been renovated and expanded since the UN teams left Iraq in
1998. But they also want access to the 30 buildings in the palace grounds
and to more than 1000 buildings that they say are within the compounds of
the eight key palaces on their list.

Few Westerners get inside the palaces, said to be glittering confections of
marble and chandeliers, with luxurious fittings that range from golden
bathrooms to canopied beds, swimming pools, shooting galleries and hunting

There are galleries of Saddam kitsch in which, defectors claim, the Iraqi
leader has built some of his most secret weapons research laboratories,
gourmet kitchens and torture chambers.

Top of the inspectors' list is Radwaniyah Palace. It has more than 350
buildings, four of which are described as presidential residences and more
than 225 of which are listed in UN documents as VIP villas, offices,
warehouses, and security housing. Next is Saddam's huge bunker at Tikrit,
his home town about 160 kilometres north of Baghdad. And there is the new
Baghdad Al Salam Palace, built where the Republican Guard headquarters stood
until it was destroyed during the Gulf War.

A UN attempt to inspect one of the palaces descended into farce in 1998 when
a small team of inspectors became a 73-vehicle convoy as diplomatic and
Iraqi observers joined in.

Hans Blix, the head of the new UN inspection office, said his men were ready
to return to Baghdad. But the US pressured him to hold off until it took its
case for a tougher inspection regime to the UN Security Council. It is
likely that the weekend rope-a-dope by Iraq is a diplomatic payback for Dr
Blix's decision to go along with Mr Bush.

And what are the inspectors likely to find? They are unlikely to uncover any
weapons related work.

It seems the US insistence on getting into the palaces is as much about
sullying symbols of the regime as it is about denying Saddam his weapons of
mass destruction.

by Jeremy Scahill
Iraq Journal, 15th October

BAGHDAD‹Don Corleone once ordered his emissary to make someone an offer he
couldn¹t refuse. Later this week George W Bush is going to push ahead with a
UN Security Council resolution Saddam Hussein couldn¹t possibly accept. And
what¹s becoming abundantly clear is that that¹s precisely the point.

What¹s unfolding now is so cliche that it shouldn¹t even be necessary to
spell it out. At the end of the day, Saddam Hussein is going to reject
peace. He will reject diplomacy. He will invite upon ³his own people² a
massive US attack and possible ground invasion. He will once again spit in
the face of the ³international community² that Bush has recently discovered
(you know the insignificant folks that make up that soon to be debating

>From his prison cell at the Hague, former Yugoslav President Slobodan
Milosevic must be feeling Saddam¹s pain. He knows what it¹s like to reject
America¹s peace pipe. When Bill Clinton, Madeline Albright and company
decided it was time to attack Yugoslavia in 1999, they gave Milosevic one
last chance. At the talks at Rambouilet prior to the 78-day bombing,
Yugoslavia was presented with a document that read like an occupation
agreement. It said that NATO troops could deploy in Serbia and, along with
their planes and vessels, would enjoy ³free and unrestricted access
throughout all of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia,² and not just Kosovo.
It said that NATO troops would be immune from prosecution for crimes
committed during their presence in the country.

But back then, when it came time for ³good reporters² to do their duty, they
told it like it was: Milosevic had rejected peace.

Fast forward to this week. Iraq is facing the possibility of a US-forced
security council resolution that says that if weapons inspectors return, the
³teams shall be accompanied at their bases by sufficient UN security forces
to protect them, shall have the right to declare for the purpose of this
resolution no-fly/no-drive zones, exclusion zones, and/or ground and air
transit corridors, (which shall be enforced by UN security forces or by
member states;) shall have the free and unrestricted use and landing of
fixed and rotary winged aircraft, including unmanned reconnaissance

Recent reports in the press have indicated that the Bush administration is
developing plans to impose a military governor on Iraq. This resolution
would certainly hurl the country in that direction. General Tommy Franks is
probably trying on the UN fatigues as you read this.

The resolution then ³Decides further that Iraq shall immediately cease, and
shall not take or threaten hostile acts directed against any representative
or personnel of the United NationsŠ²

>From reading this, one would think that peacekeepers are being gunned down
in Iraq, taken for ransom‹that UN buildings are being stormed by the natives
and firebombed. But in the 11 years since the Gulf War ended, Bush‹or for
that matter anyone‹would be hard pressed to name an incident in which any UN
personnel came under attack from the Iraqis, including the time in 1998 when
Baghdad uncovered that the US had infiltrated the weapons inspections regime
with CIA spies. These days most UN officials here, while deriding the
infamous Iraqi bureaucracy, speak of deep collaboration with the government
in attempting to deal with the devastating impact of the US-led sanctions.

Of course, no resolution put forth by the Bush administration would be
complete if it didn¹t include that well-known bedrock of international
law‹using UN resolutions to conduct espionage. The remarkable thing about
this resolution is that Washington is actually spelling it out in the draft:
³Šany permanent member of the Security Council [i.e. America, i.e. the
Pentagon, i.e. the CIA] may request to be represented on any inspection team
with the same rights and protections accorded other members of the team,
shall have unrestricted, and immediate movement to and from inspection
sites, and the right to inspect any sites and buildings, including
unrestricted access to presidential sitesŠ²

And then there is the issue of interviewing any Iraqi the US, pardon me, the
UN sees fit. A shrewd Iraqi friend, who was educated in the US and trained
as an engineer often says: ³I could have a great life abroad. All I would
have to do is Œescape¹ to Europe and claim to be a former technician on
Iraq¹s covert weapons program.² Parts of the US draft resolution read like a
premeditated kidnap doctrine. It mandates ³immediate, unimpeded,
unrestricted and private access to all officials and other persons,² saying
that the inspectors may ³at their discretion conduct interviews inside or
outside of Iraq, facilitate the travel of those interviewed and family
members outside of IraqŠ² It doesn¹t mention in the draft resolution whether
those individuals or their families would have any choice in the matter.
Call it forced defection.

The inner circle in Iraq seems to be resolved to the idea that a massive
attack is a fait accompli and that this resolution could well be the highly
choreographed trigger. This resolution will ultimately constitute a
sprawling text of fine print that most journalists won¹t bother to read and
most newspapers won¹t bother to print. What matters is that it will be
Saddam who has rejected peace. Bush and his cronies need not worry about any
uproar from the media on this one. They know very well that you don¹t need
to read the manual of a product you know quite well how to use.

(Jeremy Scahill is an independent journalist, who reports for the nationally
syndicated Radio and TV show Democracy Now! He is currently based in
Baghdad, Iraq, where he and filmmaker Jacquie Soohen are coordinating, the only website providing regular independent reporting
from the ground in Baghdad.)

by Evelyn Leopold
ABC News, 15th October

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Chief U.N. inspector Hans Blix acknowledged on
Tuesday that Iraq had not agreed to all ground rules for arms inspections
but reiterated he would not go to Baghdad before a new U.N. resolution was

While Iraq had agreed to most practical arrangements for inspections, it had
not responded to conducting interviews with scientists and others without
escorts, Blix told the U.N. Security Council, according to his briefing

He also noted that Iraq had not replied to U.N. demands for using U-2 spy
planes, flying helicopters over Baghdad and setting up cost-free regional
offices in Mosul in the north and Basra in the south.

Blix was addressing the 15-nation council on two letters from Iraq last week
on practical arrangements for the return of the inspectors, out of the
country since December 1998.

"What we are now waiting for is not really so much for further
clarifications (from Iraq), which would be nice to have, but rather a new
resolution from the Security Council," Blix said after the briefing.

"We have waited now for nearly four years so we have to have a little
patience," he said.

Blix said his timeline for advance teams would be about 10 days after the
resolution was adopted. But a U.S.-drafted measure, which is still facing
strong opposition among key council members, has provisions that might mean
a 30-day wait.

At issue in the council briefing was a letter Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei,
director-general of the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency, wrote to
Iraq about their understandings on how inspections would be conducted
following meetings with Baghdad arms officials in Vienna two weeks ago.

Iraq replied in two letters, which Blix said covered most but not all of the
points raised in Vienna. He also made clear neither he nor the council would
reply to Baghdad.

"It would have been simpler for everybody if they had affirmed what was in
our letter," Blix told reporters.

But he did not respond with the same outrage at the letters as the United
States did last week, and explained to the council where Baghdad had agreed
with him.

On the subject of interviews, Blix had said inspectors could choose the
"mode and location" for talks with Iraqi scientists and other government
officials. Instead, a letter, from Gen. Amir al-Saadi, an Iraqi presidential
adviser, said inspectors had to ensure the right of its citizens "under the

Blix said his teams could not force any Iraqi citizen to submit to an
interview but he wanted Iraq to say it would "not demand to have an observer
present at any interview." The United States wants the inspectors to be able
to interview scientists and others out of the country.

Senior Pentagon civilian officials routinely dismiss the effectiveness of
U.N. inspections, saying they can do little to uncover Iraq's efforts to
hide chemical or biological arms.

At the same time, Blix has told other council members as well as U.S.
officials he is reluctant to field teams under some proposals Washington has

They include allowing key council members to join inspections and choose the
sites and using troops to clear any roadways Iraq might block for

by Karen DeYoung & Walter Pincus
Dawn (from The Washington Post ), 15th October


"The ability to have our own people on inspections teams, and not just a
bunch of UN bureaucrats" is not open to discussion, said a senior
administration official closely involved in Iraq planning.

Disdain for the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection
Commission (UNMOVIC) is high in the Pentagon, where senior officials
routinely dismiss UNMOVIC chief Hans Blix, who has objected to this and
several other provisions in the resolution, as living in a fantasyland where
a few dozen inspectors can counter Iraq's efforts to hide chemical and
biological weaponry.

Blix's concern, which was echoed in an interview with Rolf Ekeus, the first
head of the UN inspection team in Iraq, is that if the United States and
other permanent council members put their people on inspection teams, the UN
team leader would lose control. "Suppose the US member wants to go behind
one door in a building and the French member doesn't, what happens?" Ekeus
said in a recent interview. "That plan is unworkable."

"It is fair to say that one reason why we're insisting so hard that they not
water (the resolution) down is that UNMOVIC cannot go through the hide and
seek game that UNSCOM went through," a senior Defence official said. That
was a reference to the first Iraq weapons inspection organization that gave
up in 1998 after more than six years of battling Iraqi concealment and
Saddam's final refusal to allow them to continue.

Some of this disdain is transferred to Powell, whose UN efforts are seen by
some advocates of US military action as a placeholder while the Pentagon
gets its forces up to invasion strength. Their views are returned in kind by
some in the State Department, who suggest refusal to compromise on
"expendable" parts of the resolution is motivated by a desire to see the UN
and inspections fail so an invasion can begin.

As the Security Council debate begins in earnest this week, a number of US
friends and allies professed confusion and concern about a US policy dispute
they thought was settled by Bush's decision to take his case against Iraq to
the United Nations.

Since Bush's UN speech on Sept 12, said a diplomat from one council member,
the administration has had two Iraq policies, "one for New York, and one for
Washington." He said even his government, a close US ally, is still unsure
which one is Bush's.

Others say they wonder if Bush was ever serious about the UN "We all want
Washington to stay on the UN line, and having gotten us all fired up, not
walk away," said another council diplomat.

While Powell and his aides have stressed that the UN must be prepared to
take multinational military action if Iraq defies new inspection rules,
their negotiating emphasis has been on the importance of the multinational
inspections effort and the elimination of weapons of mass destruction. There
has been unspoken acknowledgment that, in the unlikely event Saddam
cooperates fully, he will be allowed to stay in power.

Away from the United Nations, in news conferences, speeches and testimony
designed to promote public and Congressional support, Rumsfeld and others
have stressed Iraqi links with Al Qaeda and the potential for attacks on the
United States that would be far worse than Sept 11. Even if the Security
Council agreed to a tough resolution, and even if Iraq cooperated, several
officials have said that is only one step toward Saddam's ouster.

In the unlikely event that Saddam complied with UN resolutions, Zalmay
Khalilzad, who handles Iraq on the White House National Security Council
staff told a group of Middle East specialists here, force might not be
required in the "near term." But "we would still pursue regime change and

Tehran Times, 17th October


Before the debate began, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan sent a message to
the council urging it to unite behind a new resolution strengthening the
hand of the weapons inspectors.

But he stopped short of endorsing military action.

Annan was on a 12-day tour of Asia. His statement was delivered by Deputy
Secretary General Louise Frechette.

Iraq's 11-year defiance of council resolutions posed "one of the gravest and
most serious" challenges to the UN today, Annan said.

"Iraq has to comply. It must implement the disarmament program required by
your resolutions," he said.

"The inspectors must have unfettered access" to weapons sites, and it would
be appropriate for the council "to pass a new resolution strengthening the
inspectors' hand, so that there are no weaknesses or ambiguities," Annan

"The new measures must be firm, effective, credible and reasonable," he
added. "If Iraq fails to make use of this last chance, and defiance
continues, the council will have to face its responsibilities.


Hoover's (Financial Times), 11th October
Source: Belapan news agency, Minsk, in English 1110 gmt 11 Oct 02, BBC

Minsk, 11 October: The Council of Ministers has dismissed Leanid Kozik as
co-chairman of the Belarusian-Iraqi commission for trade and economic

Mr Kozik has been replaced with Mikalay Ivanchanka, deputy head of President
Alyaksandr Lukashenka's administration.

Mr Ivanchanka, former director of the Belarusian State Concern for Material
Resources (Belresursy), succeeded Mr Kozik at the presidential
administration when the latter was elected chairman of the Federation of
Trade Unions of Belarus in mid-July.

by Bill Gertz
Washington Times, 16th October

A Chinese state-run company is talking with Iraq about selling a chemical
used in making missile fuel, although no transfer has been spotted,
according to U.S. intelligence officials. Top Stories

The covert procurement effort by Iraq was uncovered in August and is seen as
a sign that Baghdad continues to work on building missiles and that Chinese
companies remain key suppliers of missile goods.

Disclosure of the China-Iraq talks on a missile-related chemical comes as
Chinese President Jiang Zemin prepares to visit the United States for talks
with President Bush in Texas. Mr. Jiang will visit the United States from
Oct. 22 to 25 before traveling to Mexico for an economic summit.

China's sales of products with both military and civilian uses to rogue
states and unstable regions continues to be a problem, according to Bush
administration officials.

The intelligence report on the talks was sent to senior administration
policy-makers in mid August ‹ around the time that China announced new
export controls on its state-run companies to stem dangerous arms

On Aug. 22, China issued new export regulations aimed at limiting sales of
missiles and missile-related items. A Chinese Foreign Ministry statement
said that details of the controls would be issued "in the near future."

The controls were issued under pressure from the U.S. government, which has
criticized China for two decades for not stopping sales of missile-related

The intelligence on the talks shows that arms-related transfers by China
have continued despite the announced new controls, U.S. officials said.

"Chinese arms proliferation activities to the Mideast have continued
unabated," one official said.

Another official said that intelligence agencies have not confirmed any
transfer of a dual-use chemical but are continuing to monitor the region.

A semiannual CIA report to Congress on global arms proliferation is overdue.
The report is being held up by the Bush administration until after Mr.
Jiang's visit.

The last CIA report made public in January identified China as a key arms
seller. The report stated that China provided "dual-use missile-related
items, raw materials, and/or assistance to several other countries of
proliferation concern ‹ such as Iran, North Korea and Libya."

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said that Mr. Jiang's visit
to the United States "is of great significance" and will focus on "major
international issues of common concern," such as trade and anti-terrorism

The Bush administration has imposed economic sanctions against Chinese
companies for missile-related sales to Pakistan and Iran.

China also assisted Iraq with a fiber-optic communications system that was
used for both civilian and military communications, including Iraq's
air-defense system, which continues to threaten U.S. and allied aircraft
patrolling Iraqi skies.

The fiber-optic network was bombed last year during U.S. military strikes.
China, however, was never hit with economic sanctions for the system,
despite U.N. prohibitions on arms related sales to Iraq.

The identity of the dual-use chemical involved in the Iraq-China talks could
not be confirmed. However, one official said that it was a component used to
make nitric acid, a key element for missile fuel.

U.S. and British intelligence agencies recently disclosed that Iraq has
rebuilt a chemical facility destroyed during the 1991 Persian Gulf war.

Defense Intelligence Agency official John Yurechko told reporters during a
briefing on Oct. 8 that the Iraqi chemical complex is known as Project
Baiji, and was part of efforts by Baghdad to hide its weapons programs by
using dual-use facilities.

"We have to be honest ‹ all components and supplies used in [weapons of mass
destruction] and missile programs are dual-use," Mr. Yurechko said, noting
that the U.S. military is watching the plant because of its ability to make
missile fuel.

A British report on Iraq's weapons programs said that the country has been
building Baiji since 1992 and that "intelligence reports indicate that it
will produce nitric acid which can be used in explosives, missile fuel and
in the purification of uranium."

CNN, 14th October

KIEV, Ukraine (CNN) -- U.S. and British officials are starting an
investigation into suspicions that Ukraine approved the sale of an aircraft
tracking system to Iraq despite U.N. sanctions.

The probe was sparked when Washington received a tape allegedly recorded in
July 2000 in which Ukraine President Leonid Kuchma is heard approving the
sale of "Kolchuga" early warning systems to Baghdad.

A senior U.S. administration official said the tracking system, which can
detect and track aircraft without giving itself away, was "very
sophisticated" and "should not be in the hands of Iraq." If this were the
case it could complicate any possible U.S.-led military action to oust Iraqi
President Saddam Hussein.

The tape, which the U.S. State Department said it believed was authentic,
was given to Washington by Kuchma's former bodyguard, Mykola Melnichenko,
and has prompted the United States to re-examine its policy towards the
ex-communist country, and in particular towards the president.

The U.S. government suspended $55 million in aid to Kiev last month and
officials have told CNN that more action could follow unless Washington
receives a full account of any sales to Iraq.

Viktor Medvedchuk, chief of Kuchma's staff, said on Monday Ukraine would
cooperate with the experts. Government sources said the team would visit
military installations where the Kolchugas are located and the producer in
eastern Ukraine.

"Ukraine is very worried about the charges and will do everything to help
the investigators," Reuters quoted Medvedchuk as saying. The experts
declined to comment.

On Friday, Ukraine's Foreign Ministry said in a statement that experts have
reviewed the tapes and concluded the original recordings were edited.

The Scientific and Research Institute for Legal Examinations at the Justice
Ministry in Kiev had concluded that "the recordings of conversations, which
were cited by the U.S. State Department, were edited after they were
initially recorded," Reuters quoted the statement as saying.

Kuchma last week gave "his word of honour" that he had not sold the system
to Iraq and dismissed the tapes as dubious, Reuters said.

The joint investigation starting on Monday involves U.S. and British
"military and industrial experts," U.S. officials told Russia's Interfax
news agency. It was agreed at a recent meeting between Ukrainian
Presidential Chief of Staff Viktor Medvedchuk and U.S. Undersecretary of
State Elizabeth Jones.

A spokeswoman for Britain's Defence Ministry told Reuters on Monday the team
would help investigate "concerns" over the radar system, including whether
it had been sold to Iraq and what potential threat that might pose.

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said the investigation would
"look into the circumstances of the procurement effort by the Iraqis, the
nature of the equipment, (and) what transfers did or did not occur."

U.S. officials have described the system as using multiple sites to
passively receive aircraft signals, such as communications from warplanes.
The sites then feed locational information to a central computer, which can
process and triangulate a plane's location.

Key to such a system is having computers and weapons guidance fast enough to
accurately aim any ground fire.

"First of all, it matters to us whether Iraq got this system or not,"
Boucher said, adding the administration was following up on some unconfirmed
reports that the transfer took place.

"But what also matters to us is the degree of cooperation we get, the degree
of transparency we get, and the degree of commitment we get towards avoiding
a repetition."

The issue of weapons sales to Iraq in the face of U.N. sanctions has long
been a sore spot in U.S.-Ukraine relations.

Boucher said the matter has been repeatedly raised with the Kuchma
government "to ensure that they protected against sales and made sure that
no sales were made despite Iraq's attempts to procure military equipment."

The suspended aid to Ukraine's central government, totalling nearly $55
million for the 2002 fiscal year, makes up 35 percent of U.S. aid to the
country. The cut-off affects programmes funded under the Freedom Support
Act, which includes work with the Ukraine government on political and fiscal

But it does not affect the bulk of U.S. assistance to Ukraine -- most of
which goes to the private sector, non-governmental organisations, small
businesses and local government entities.

U.S. military and non-proliferation assistance to Ukraine will also be

by Elizabeth Piper
Moscow Times, 17th October

Reuters, KIEV: U.S. and British experts fanned out across Ukraine on
Wednesday, inspecting its main arms producer, other large military plants
and holding talks to investigate charges the country's administration sold
Iraq an early warning system.

As an appeal court judge gathered documents to support his bid to
investigate corruption charges against President Leonid Kuchma, the experts
said they were pressing their inquiries over whether the Kolchuga aircraft
detection system was in Iraq.

The 13 experts, who arrived Sunday, are investigating U.S. charges that
Kuchma approved the sale of the Kolchuga, which detects and tracks aircraft
without giving itself away and could complicate any U.S.-led military action
against Baghdad.

"We cannot say at this point. We are in the middle of our meetings," Alan
Van Egmond, the leader of the experts, said when asked about the state of
the investigation.

Asked whether officials were being open, he replied, "We have had a very
active schedule of discussions and meetings."

Officials in eastern Ukraine said two groups of experts had arrived; one to
investigate the Topaz plant, which produces Kolchuga in Donetsk and another
to visit Kharkiv, which is home to the country's largest plants producing
tanks and other military equipment.

"The experts have arrived and are working," said Oleksander Kashnikov, head
of the special construction department in the Donetsk regional

The experts have given no details of their program, saying there was no
deadline to check the claims, based on tapes made by Kuchma's former
bodyguard in which the president is apparently heard giving the go-ahead to
the sale.

Kuchma has denied he sold the system to Iraq, and Ukrainian officials have
cast doubt on the tapes, saying the copies they checked were edited.

But the suspension of some financial aid by Washington and the arrival of
the inspectors has put Kuchma under heightened pressure.

Kuchma also has hanging over him a court appeal for a wide-ranging
investigation into corruption charges.

On Tuesday, a judge at the Kiev appeals court said he had ordered
prosecutors to open a criminal probe into Kuchma's activities, the first
legal challenge to the 64-year-old leader.

After prosecutors refused to launch an investigation, the Supreme Court on
Wednesday sent the appeal back to the court asking for further documentation
to support the charges.

European Union leaders told Ukraine on Wednesday it stands no chance of
becoming a member until it respects common values of democracy, press
freedom and arms control.

"We are talking now about the standards which are necessary to be part of
the European family," EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana told reporters
at a conference in Warsaw. "Ukraine has to have the structures that will
allow it to get as close as possible to the European Union."

Some delegates agreed that there was a long way to go.

Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yushchenko referred to the murder of
opposition journalist Georgy Gongadze, whose headless corpse was found in
November 2000. Recordings released by a former presidential bodyguard
implicate Kuchma in the case.

"Two years ago a journalist was killed; today we are killing the entire
journalistic profession. Who would want to accept us in Europe with such
standards?" Yushchenko said.

by Pavel Felgenhauer
Moscow Times, 17th October

The United States has accused Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma of flouting
UN sanctions by selling a sophisticated radar system to Iraq that could
threaten the safety of U.S. and British pilots. As punishment for the
alleged deal, Washington has suspended aid to the government in Kiev. This
week a group of British and U.S. experts arrived in Ukraine to investigate
the allegations, which Kuchma and his government have steadfastly denied.

The Kolchuga (Russian for chain mail) system detects radar signals and other
electromagnetic emissions from warplanes flying hundreds of kilometers away.
It is a passive system, i.e. it does not emit any signals of its own and
pilots do not know they are being tracked.

A former bodyguard of Kuchma's, Mykola Melnichenko, secretly taped a
conversation in July 2000 in which the Ukrainian president apparently
approved the sale of four Kolchuga systems to Iraq through a Jordanian
intermediary for $100 million. The U.S. authorities have declared the tape
authentic and have announced that they have indications that the Kolchuga
radar systems have indeed reached Iraq.

But can a tape -- even if authentic -- be in itself sufficient proof that an
illegal transaction went through? Surely the U.S. authorities should have
got corroborating evidence before openly accusing a previously friendly
government of sanctions-busting.

For those who follow the dealings of the shady international arms market,
sanctions-busting vis-a-vis Iraq is not news. UN sanctions barring any arms
sales to Saddam were imposed in September 1990. If they had indeed been
watertight for the past 12 years, there would not be a single Iraqi jet or
helicopter flying, tank rolling, or radar and SAM battery operating today,
due to the lack of spare parts and adequate maintenance. Saddam's army and
even his Republican guard would resemble rebel forces from the Congo or

Obviously the UN arms sanctions are a sham. A Moscow banker, former military
officer and professional arms trader who worked for the state arms export
agency in the Middle East told me in 1997 (when I was investigating
sanctions-busting) that spare parts for Russian made Iraqi weaponry have
been shipped into Iraq with the help of Bulgarian and Turkish
intermediaries, mostly via Jordan. Romania, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and
Poland have also been mentioned as black market arms hubs. The East European
black and gray arms trading network was established in the 1990s to supply
arms to warring factions in former Yugoslavia and later turned to serve
other clients such as Iraq, Ethiopia, and the Congo.

A retired colonel and former official Russian arms trader, who switched to
become a freelancer, told me how the system works. If a client appears with
cash to put up front, an intermediary in Eastern Europe or the Middle East
takes the deal and contacts "friends" in Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan or
Russia -- all countries with massive surpluses of modern weapons. A package
deal is put together that can easily include mercenary pilots, mechanics and
other specialists, if the client wishes. This network is well established
and can cut through government red tape in no time by means of bribes. Of
course, many government officials and local intelligence services are privy
to these illegal deals.

In 1997, I discovered solid evidence that in 1996 Iraq illegally acquired
some 20 Mi-24 armored helicopter gunships. A Bulgarian company apparently
masterminded the deal, the choppers were shipped from Ukraine or Russia, but
it was Russian technicians, an official source told me, that traveled to
Baghdad in 1996 to get them into working order.

A high-ranking Foreign Ministry official involved in arms export control,
whom I asked to investigate this incident, not only confirmed that Russia is
breaking the embargo, but that in the UN secretariat in New York and,
apparently, in Washington these facts are well known, but they are hushed

Of late, Washington has accused leaders it doesn't like -- Kuchma and
Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko -- of smuggling arms to "rogue"
states, including Iraq, while "friendly" regimes in Russia and Kazakhstan
have been spared. However, if in the coming days Moscow vetoes a
U.S.-sponsored anti-Saddam resolution in the UN Security Council, some major
Western media outlet may come out with an anti-Russian arms smuggling scoop.
If Russia abstains, Kuchma and Lukashenko may remain as the only ones in the

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