Tracking Number:  169995

Title:  "Iraq Intentionally Creating Gulf Oil Disaster." By releasing crude oil into the Persian Gulf, Iraq is creating the worst environmental disaster in the history of the region, and since the act has no military value, it is an act of environmental terrorism. (910126)

Translated Title:  "L'Irak Deliberement Cree la Maree Noire." (910126)
Date:  19910126


01/26/91 1Me Re IRAQ INTENTIONALLY CREATING GULF OIL DISASTER (Ecological, not military problem, posed) (570) By Jacquelyn S. Porth USIA Security Affairs Correspondent

Washington -- Iraq is "creating the worst environmental disaster in the history of the Persian Gulf region" by intentionally dumping crude oil from occupied Kuwait into the gulf, U.S. Defense Department spokesman Pete Williams said January 26.

With this action, he said, Iraq "is conducting an indiscriminate environmental war on its neighbors as well as on the plant and animal life" in the region.

Addressing reporters at the Pentagon, Williams said oil is entering the water at the Kuwaiti Sea Island offshore oil tanking loading terminal.

While Williams said it was impossible to accurately determine how much oil is entering the gulf, he said experts do know that at least three million barrels of oil (120 million gallons) came from five oil tankers which were anchored at the port of Madina al-Ahmadi for five months. Additional amounts of crude, perhaps as much as onboard the tankers, is also being pumped into the gulf from onshore storage facilities.

Williams said part of the oil slick generated by Iraq is burning, but the size of the fire is shrinking. The spokesman said defense officials do not know what started the fire.

The ecological problem Iraq has created prompted President Bush January 26 to order a team of U.S. government oil pollution and environmental experts to Saudi Arabia, Williams said. "This team will provide the appropriate advice and expertise to (assist) the Saudis to minimize the environmental damage from this oil slick," he added.

Asked if a military operation to knock out the oil pumping station would have to await consultations with the team of experts the president has ordered to the gulf, Williams declined, as is the Pentagon's usual procedure, to discuss future military operations.

Pressed about the effects of the oil slick on military planning for Operation Desert Storm, Major General Martin Brandtner, deputy director of operations for the Joint

GE 2 SFF607 Chiefs of Staff, said it is viewed as an ecological disaster and not a military problem.

Brandtner also discussed the continuing problem of Iraqi Scud missile attacks on Saudi Arabia and Israel. Moments before he entered the Pentagon's briefing room, Iraq launched another Scud surface-to-surface missile against the Saudi capital of Riyadh. Another four Scuds were launched against Israel; three at Haifa and one on Tel Aviv.

In the 24 hours preceding this wave of Scuds, he said, nine Scuds were aimed at Israel and another three at Saudi Arabia.

The general acknowledged the difficult task of eliminating Iraqi Scud launchers given the size of the country and the mobility of the launchers. He stressed, however, that "every conceivable action" is being taken to remove the missile threat.

Brandtner said there were sufficient numbers of Patriot air defense batteries in the region to deal with the threat posed by Iraqi Scuds.

The briefer confirmed press reports that some of Iraq's best fighter aircraft have gone to Iran, a neutral country, but said it remained unclear why the Iraqi pilots took this action.

Rear Admiral Mike McConnell, who accompanied Brandtner, said some two dozen Iraqi aircraft are thought to be in Iran -- about a dozen fighters and a similar number of military and civilian transport aircraft. He said the aircraft landed, apparently without any restrictions from Iran. NNNN

File Identification:  01/26/91, SF-607; 01/26/91, WF-U04; 01/26/91, AF-604; 01/26/91, AS-603
Product Name:  Wireless File; USINFO
Product Code:  WF; US
Languages:   French; Spanish
Thematic Codes:   1NE; 5EP
Target Areas:  AF; AR; EA; EU; NE
PDQ Text Link:  169995; 170005; 169994