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 .
I. RUSSIA CALLS FOR STEPS TO SPEED LIFTING SANCTIONS, TASS, APR 6 II. EGYPT'S AL AHRAM CALLS FOR LIFTING SANCTIONS, MAR 28 III. DOUG FEITH, PREPARE TO OVERTHROW SADDAM, JERUSALEM POST, MAR 20 CORRECTION: The Forward, Mar 27, in yesterday's "Iraq News," identified Jordan's crown prince as the individual, in Wash DC with King Hussein, who had resisted dealing with the INC, but had changed his mind on that score, and who had called on the US to develop a long-term policy on Iraq and the threat it posed to Jordan and the region. That was not the Crown Prince, Hassan ibn Talal, who met INC head, Ahmad Chalabi, in NYC, Mar 28. That was Talal ibn Mohammed, the king's nephew and secretary of Jordan's National Security Council, which deals with intelligence and foreign policy coordination and advises the King. Talal had worked closely with the CIA, providing operational support for its effort to engineer a coup in Baghdad to be carried out by the Iraqi National Accord. Thus, his change of mind might be considered especially significant. Today's NYT reported on the exchange of POW's from the Iran-Iraq war. It began Apr 2 and is the largest such exchange since 1990. When reports of the prisoner exchange first appeared, "Iraq News" consulted some readers expert in Iranian affairs. It seems, given the deep mistrust between the two countries, the POW exchanges are best understood not as a "major step toward resolving their bitter enmity," as the NYT suggested, but largely a humanitarian matter, at least until and unless other, more significant steps are taken. Russia's Foreign Ministry issued a statement yesterday lauding the diplomat-supervised palace inspections and calling for accelerated action toward lifting sanctions. As Tass reported, "It is necessary to step up efforts toward complete fulfilment of the mandate of the United Nations Special commission, and enhance the effectiveness and transparency of its work, taking into account the priority importance that the lifting of sanctions has for Iraq. There exist [sic] now good conditions for speedily sorting out whatever questions the commission still has and for closing all disarmament files, which will make it possible to discuss the lifting of the oil embargo strictly in accordance with the Security Council's decisions." On Mar 28, Egypt's newspaper of record, Al Ahram, asserted, "It has become necessary for the United Nations to start seriously working to lift the unfair and unjust blockade imposed on Iraq and its people because the reasons for imposing it disappeared once the Gulf War ended and Kuwait was liberated." The handwriting really is on the wall. What will the Clinton administration do? Former Reagan adminstration official, Douglas Feith, in The Jerusalem Post, Mar 20, suggested it seize the initiative, rather than wait for its position to deteriorate further. As Feith argued, "When the inevitable next Iraqi breach of promise occurs, the US administration will do well to have a strategy ready." The strategy he proposed was to systematically build on the no-fly zones, turn them into no-armor zones, and support the Iraqi National Congress in the overthrow of Saddam.