US orchestrates new Iraq crisis

DUBAI, Nov 1 (South News) -Gulf newspapers pointed a finger of blame at the United States on Sunday after Baghdad's decision to break with the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) as the US, chair of the UN Security Council this month, provokes a new Iraq crisis.

"Over the past few years, the United States has clearly blocked any international effort to lift the sanctions" imposed on Iraq in 1990 for its invasion of Kuwait," said Al-Khaleej in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

It said that "the sanctions are now part of the US strategy for keeping Iraq in check." UNSCOM chairman Richard Butler, meanwhile, has been working to "prolong the sanctions," it charged, criticizing links between the Special Commission and Israeli intelligence as disclosed by former US arms inspector Scott Ritter.

The UN Security Council reached an agreement on Friday which, while agreeing to review Iraq's compliance with UN resolutions, gave no guarantees that the review would automatically lead to a lifting of trade sanctions.In addition, the Security Council's letter conveyed to the Iraqi leadership for the umpteenth time the not-so-subtle message bearing the fingerprint of the US that the embargo against Iraq will remain in place as long as Saddam remains in power.

A Qatari newspaper on Thursday accused the United States of seeking to annihilate Iraq and said Baghdad was justified in suspending cooperation with UN weapons inspectors. "Washington, which is trying to act under the cover of the United Nations, wants to annihilate Iraq," said Al-Watan, which has strong ties with the foreign affairs ministry.

The newspaper also supported Iraq's claims that it never equipped its missiles with deadly VX nerve gas during the 1991 Gulf War.

On Friday, a US-funded radio station started special services aimed at audiences in Iraq; the Arabic-language service broadcasts anti-Saddam propaganda as part of a multi-pronged US offensive to have Iraqis overthrow their leader.

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty announced that Radio Free Iraq, which broadcasts in Arabic went on air as scheduled at 1500GMT on Friday. This was the first time the "cold war" radio syndicate, which has been broadcasting to Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union since the 1950s, expanded its broadcast area to include the Middle East.

David Newton, head of Radio Free Iraq, said that in addition to local news about Iraq, programming on that service will focus on democracy, free speech and human rights."Under the dictatorship of President Saddam Hussein, people in Iraq never have a chance to hear about these issues," Newton said last week in Washington.

In October US Congress voted to permit the Clinton administration to spend 97 million U.S. dollars on military aid for opposition groups in Iraq with the goal of removing him from power. The  "Iraq Liberation Act of 1998" also provides two million US dollars in funding to opposition groups for radio and television broadcasts into Iraq. President Clinton signed into law HR 4655, the "Iraq Liberation Act of 1998." on Oct 31.

Meanwhile in Iraq a statement, entitled “The lifting of the embargo — a great patriotic, national and humanitarian mission,” was broadcast by Radio Baghdad.“Iraq conformed to the Security Council's resolutions, even though they are unjust and without precedent in the history of international relations, and despite all the sacrifices and bitterness they entailed, in the hope that the unjust embargo imposed on its people would be lifted.”

“Only, this bitter experience has proven that America and its agents are aiming to harm Iraq and Arab Nations, even against the resolutions it adopted and international law. Iraq has shown much flexibility, patience and diplomacy... but the unjust embargo was not lifted.”

“The events of this year have unmasked two other dangerous truths.

Firstly, the American lies with regard to the presidential sites which almost led to a destructive war. But when the truth was unmasked in front of the whole world, no justification was asked from America for its lies and there was no move towards lifting the embargo.

Secondly, the filthy role played by UNSCOM and its chief, coordinated by America, concerning the allegations about VX. When the truth was unmasked following the analysis in neutral French and Swiss laboratories, UNSCOM's chief did not recognise this truth. On the contrary, he demanded what he called `more clarification' from Iraq, in order to procrastinate and defigure the truth. There were no dissuasive measures against the lies of Butler, although they were needed.”

“Faced with these truths and despairing of a lifting of the embargo through normal means... and given that UNSCOM and its chief are tools in the hands of the Americans and that their real role is to harm Iraq and to spy ... Iraq decides to break off all cooperation with UNSCOM and its chief and stop all its activities in Iraq, including the `monitoring operations' as from today.”

“This decision does not concern the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which can continue its activities... on condition that they are totally independent from those of UNSCOM.”

“This decision will remain until the [UN] Security Council examines positively and honestly Iraq's right to a lifting of the embargo and until it takes firm decisions by firing UNSCOM chief Richard Butler and proceeds with a restructuring of this body to make it an international, impartial and professional institution, far from spying and American agents."