The central focus of Iraq News is the tension between the considerable, proscribed WMD capabilities that Iraq is holding on to and its increasing stridency that it has complied with UNSCR 687 and it is time to lift sanctions. If you wish to receive Iraq News by email, a service which includes full-text of news reports not archived here, send your request to Laurie Mylroie .
APRIL 27, 1998 I. IRAQI INFO MINISTER, WE ARE SERIOUS IN WHAT WE SAY, REUTERS, APR 26 II. IRAQI FOREIGN MINISTER, UNSC SHOULD END SANCTIONS, REUTERS, APR 26 III. IRAQI PRESIDENTIAL ADVISOR, IRAQ HAS COMPLIED, REUTERS, APR 26 IV. IRAQI PAPER, IRAQ WILL BREAK SANCTIONS THIS YEAR, REUTERS, APR 25 In advance of today's sanctions review, yesterday, as Reuters reported, Iraq's Information Minister said that the world "should take seriously the statements issued by the Revolutionary Command Council, the Iraq leadership (of the Baath Party) and the cabinet and nothing else." [see "Iraq News, Apr 17, 20, 24 on the significance of those statements]. Also on Sun, Iraq's Foreign Minister, Mohammed al Sahhaf, as Reuters reported from NYC, charged that the US and UK, in insisting on keeping sanctions on Iraq, were "doing everything they like because they think they are masters of the world. This is jungle law. . . . We are a victim of jungle law in this organization. When we ask for our rights it is called rhetoric." As Reuters further explained, Russia is circulating a resolution at the Security Council, based on the IAEA's latest report, to declare Iraq in compliance with UNSCR 687 in the nuclear field. That conclusion has been challenged by UNSCOM and other experts, as well as the US Gov't [see "Iraq News," Apr 16]. Even so, Sahhaf said, "We are not happy with this resolution prepared by the Russians because if we are asked we would prefer that the process of discussions to implement paragraph 22 is the correct and proper way to do things." Asked whether Iraq set any deadlines for UNSCOM, Sahhaf said, "'Leave us to see what are the developments. It's not a matter of putting a deadline, but that logic should dictate that the Security Council end sanctions soon.' Asked whether inspectors would be banned again, he said, 'History will not repeat itself. This time, the public opinion, the international public opinion (and) the members of the Security Council (have changed). Now they are knowing more facts than they had before. So I think Iraq is not bluffing. Iraq is asking for its rights. Iraq has implemented all the conditions which had been mentioned in the Security Council. Enough is enough. Sanctions should be lifted.'" Also, Reuters reported yesterday from Baghdad that Gen. Amir al-Saadi, former head of Iraq's Military Industrial Organization, now adviser to Saddam, denounced the latest UNSCOM report, as "the worst report . . . a political report, not a technical report." Al-Saaadi reiterated that "all of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction had been destroyed and all of the means of producing them were destroyed." Finally, on Sat, one of Iraq's most important journalists, Salah al-Mukhtar, in a front page editorial, described by Reuters, wrote, "We are adamant on breaking the embargo this year if it is not lifted by the Security Council. America and others have to choose between lifting the embargo or storms that are impossible to control, like past events have proven, which will get rid of all the putrid symbols." Saddam has something in mind. But what it is remains to be seen. Any suggestions from the readers of "Iraq News" about what it is that he might have in mind would be most welcome.