News


Tracking Number:  171113

Title:  "Iraq Using Civilian Convoys to Move War Materiel." Iraq has been transporting military materiel, including some related to Scud missiles, in convoys of civilian oil trucks, making them legitimate military targets. (910204)

Author:  DYBVIK, RUSSELL E (USIA STAFF WRITER)
Date:  19910204

Text:
*POL105

02/04/91 1Ne Re IRAQ USING CIVILIAN CONVOYS TO MOVE WAR MATERIEL (Any mediation must get Iraq out of Kuwait) (900) By Russell Dybvik USIA Diplomatic Correspondent

Washington -- Iraq has been transporting military materiel, including some related to Scud missiles, in convoys of civilian oil trucks, making them "legitimate military targets," the State Department said February 4.

At the same time, Spokesman Margaret Tutwiler dismissed a vaguely worded Iranian offer to "mediate" a solution to the Persian Gulf conflict. "The only mediation, in our opinion, that would be appropriate would be for the people who communicate with Saddam Hussein to convince him to comply with the 12 United Nations resolutions," she said.

In response to questions about possible allied attacks against oil trucks on the highway from Baghdad to the Jordanian border, Tutwiler said, "Coalition military operations in the Kuwait-Iraq theater are not designed to enforce the embargo" imposed by the United Nations on trade with Iraq, "but to implement United Nations Security Council resolution 678," which authorizes the use of all necessary means to end Iraq's occupation of Kuwait.

"Though these oil exports do violate the sanctions, it is not coalition policy to attack civilian trucks exporting petroleum to Jordan," Tutwiler said at the State Department news briefing. "On the other hand, these vehicles are traveling through a war zone, and specifically, through an area that has been the source of Scud attacks against neighboring states.

"Moreover, we have credible information that war materiel, including some related to Scud missiles, has been transported in convoy with civilian oil trucks," the spokesman said. "Such materiel contributes to Iraq's occupation of Kuwait and is a legitimate military target.

"While we seek to minimize coalition damage (to civilians) in all our operations, this is made difficult by Iraq's policy of co-locating military and civilian targets," Tutwiler pointed out. "It is difficult when materiel that is in other trucks is co-mingled with oil trucks, in other words, mixing military materiel with civilian materiel."

Referring to the Pentagon questions about specific targeting information, Tutwiler said, "I can't tell you

GE 2 POL105 that the military is targeting every convoy." She would not comment on where Scud missiles may be located in the area between Baghdad and the Jordanian border.

On January 16, when allied offensive operations were launched against Iraq, the coalition "moved beyond" total concentration on the enforcement of the U.N. trade embargo against Iraq, Tutwiler said. While she was not aware of any countries that were breaking the embargo, she noted that the allied air assault underway makes it doubtful that Iraq's commerce is able to proceed on a "business as usual" basis.

The spokesman emphasized that the United Nations sanctions committee has not granted Jordan an exemption -- as some Jordanian officials reportedly have claimed -- that would permit it to import petroleum products from Iraq.

Tutwiler noted that the percentages of Iraqi oil "seepage" into Jordan have been so small "that it has not been an issue with us." She reiterated the U.S. belief that "Jordan has complied with the U.N. sanctions, including oil."

Asked about reports of a new Iranian diplomatic initiative aimed at resolving the gulf conflict, Tutwiler replied: "We do not have any specific offers or plans, as has been reported. We've seen the various reports, but there is nothing that has come to us directly, or indirectly, through our third party."

Noting that a February 4 television report cited Iran's offer to be a mediator in the gulf war, the spokesman said, "Our response to that would be, what's to mediate?"

"There are 12 United Nations Security Council resolutions. The terms of those resolutions lay out the standards for ending this conflict," she said. "We would be pleased, obviously, if anyone could get (Iraqi President) Saddam Hussein to fully comply with these 12 U.N. resolutions. We do not, as you know, intend to walk back from these 12 U.N. resolutions. And the only mediation, in our opinion, that would be appropriate would be for the people who communicate with Saddam Hussein to convince him to comply with the 12 United Nations resolutions."

"I'm not going to entertain 'what-ifs' (hypothetical questions)," Tutwiler declared, when asked if the United States would be willing to talk directly to Iran about the gulf crisis. "I consider peace with Iraq within Iraq's capability of achieving," she said. But on the question of mediation, "whether it is Iranian mediation, or any other nation's mediation, in our view, there's nothing to mediate," she said.

GE 3 POL105 "If any nation on the face of the earth can talk Saddam Hussein into complying with the 12 U.N. resolutions, so much the better," Tutwiler said. "To date, no one that I'm aware of has been able to do such a thing."

She recalled that President Bush, in his January 1989 inaugural address, stated: "We are prepared to meet directly with authorized representatives of the government of Iran to discuss outstanding issues."

"To date, they have not picked up on the president's offer of two years ago," the spokesman pointed out. "Our policy has not changed concerning direct contacts with Iran," she said, noting that "we have maintained contact with the Iranian government throughout the gulf crisis through our protecting power, the Swiss." NNNN


File Identification:  02/04/91, PO-105; 02/04/91, AE-111; 02/04/91, EP-122; 02/04/91, EU-104; 02/04/91, NE-114; 02/05/91, AR-205; 02/05/91, AS-223; 02/05/91, NA-206
Product Name:  Wireless File
Product Code:  WF
Languages:  Arabic; Spanish
Keywords:  IRAQ/Defense & Military; OPERATION DESERT STORM; SANCTIONS; TRANSPORTATION
Thematic Codes:  1NE
Target Areas:  AF; EA; EU; NE; AR
PDQ Text Link:  171113; 171187