News

Tariq Aziz, Pt 2, INA, Jan 11

Iraq News, Tue, 12 Jan 1999

By Laurie Mylroie

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Baghdad INA in Arabic 0815 GMT 11 Jan 99
[FBIS Translated Text] Baghdad, 11 Jan (INA)-The newspaper Al-Thawrah, 
published here today, carries the second part of an article entitled 
"Who Apologizes for Whom?" by Tariq 'Aziz.  The article says:
   What we mentioned in the memorandum, which I presented to Arab League 
Secretary General Chedli Klibi on 15 July 1990, was not the first 
occasion or attempt to discuss the base Kuwaiti conspiracy against Iraq. 
In its effort to deal with the Kuwaiti ruler's policy of flooding the 
oil market and reducing prices, Iraq initially resorted to dialogue with 
Kuwait. Dr. Sa'dun Hammadi, then deputy prime minister, made several
visits to the Gulf states, particularly Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, to find 
a solution to this issue, but to no avail. The Kuwaiti rulers insisted 
on continuing their policy. Strangely enough, the other Gulf states
that were harmed by Kuwait's conduct, as well as Egypt, did not apply 
any pressure on Kuwait to change this behavior, which was damaging to 
them all. In a previous article, I mentioned that I told President
Husni Mubarak on 23 July 1990 that Egypt had lost more than $0.5 billion 
as a result of this Kuwaiti behavior.
   A summit was held in Baghdad in May 1990. Why was that summit held, 
and what happened during that summit, particularly as regards this 
subject?
   Since February 1990, a feverish campaign was started in the United 
States and certain western states against Iraq, with special emphasis on 
its weapons programs. The measures of sanctions and siege against
Iraq started to follow. The United States froze its contracts for trade 
with Iraq in the field of food supplies and stopped the export of 
technology to Iraq, although Iraq was importing very little from it at 
that time. Brutal press campaigns also started in the United States 
against Iraq and against President Saddam Husayn personally. US 
newspapers and magazines started to publish sensational headlines, such 
as "Saddam Husayn: Most Dangerous Man in the World," and "Saddam Husayn: 
Enemy of the People," meaning of course the American people.
   Within the same context, certain states in Europe began to confiscate 
equipment bought by Iraq under the pretext that this was military 
equipment. Everybody remembers the clamor that was raised over the Super
Gun and other equipment.
   All this coincided with the Kuwaiti rulers' action of flooding the 
oil market with extra oil for no economic reason, as we have mentioned 
in part one of this article.
   Before that, in 1989 Norman Schwarzkopf, who commanded the aggression 
against Iraq the next year, visited Kuwait. Dick Cheney, the US defense 
secretary during President Bush's term in office, told the New York 
Times on 27 January 1991 that the US Administration completed in autumn 
1989 the drafting of plans for a war in the Gulf.
   In October of the same year, 1989, I met with James Baker in 
Washington. I told him: Yes, you promote in the Gulf that Iraq is a 
threat to them, and you are promoting warnings against Iraq. Your 
intelligence agencies are active against the leadership in Iraq. All 
this information is coming from official Gulf sources.
   All this happened before Iraq entered "oppressed" Kuwait. The Arab 
heads of state, monarchs, and amirs remember President Saddam Husayn's 
statement during the Baghdad summit meeting in 1990 on Kuwait's attitude 
to the oil issue, do they not?
   Following is President Saddam Husayn's statement: "We hope that our 
future conferences will be like this one and the previous ones, God 
willing, although the previous ones faced some brotherly problems. We 
thank God that this conference has proceeded in this way.  Yet, I have 
an observation to make within the framework of this good gathering. 
Brothers, you know that since 1986, our major Arab oil revenues in Saudi 
Arabia, Iraq, Libya, Algeria, Kuwait or any other oil-producing Arab 
country form the bulk of the economic strength in the Arab life.
   "In 1986, while we were still at war, we faced a circumstance, whose 
difficulties were similar to those of fighting, because it affected our 
economy and our major revenue, oil. So, some kind of confusion
prevailed in the oil market after some parties refused to comply with 
the OPEC's resolutions. We are not a member of OPEC, but I would like to 
make a brief observation that may be useful to all of us. The
confusion resulted from the failure of some of our Arab brothers to 
comply with OPEC's resolutions after the market was flooded with oil, 
giving time and flexibility to the buyers at the expense of the 
prevailing prices. As a result, the prices dropped to $7. Regarding 
Iraq, which is not a major oil-producing country or a member of the 
OPEC, I can say that if the oil price drops by $1 per barrel, Iraq will 
lose $1 billion a year. Hence, we can assess the huge oil loss the Arab 
nation will suffer per year. So, the direct answer to this question is: 
Why should the Arab nation lose tens of billions of dollars as a result 
of a technical or non-technical fault and without any justification, 
particularly since the buyers at least this year have prepared 
themselves to pay $25 for a barrel, as we have heard from the 
westerners, who are major buyers in the oil market?
  "This huge loss in our economy is caused by a confused vision or a 
failure to view the local issues from the pan-Arab angle. If we consider 
the overall pan-Arab economy and the extent of damage caused to it, we 
will hesitate much before doing anything that may cause such huge damage 
to the pan-Arab economy. I would like to say this in a frank, brotherly, 
simple, and direct way rather than in an analytical way. During wars, 
soldiers are harmed or killed by explosives, coup attempts take place, 
and economies are harmed. I hope that our brothers, who do not intend to 
launch wars--I am now exercising our right to speak within the framework 
of Iraq's sovereignty--that this behavior is a kind of war against Iraq.
   "If we had the ability to bear this, we would have borne it, but I 
believe that all our brothers are aware of our state of affairs, which 
we hope will improve, God willing. I say that we have reached a point at 
which we cannot bear any pressure. We, as well as the whole nation, will 
benefit from commitment to OPEC's resolutions in terms of oil production 
and prices. Let us rely on God."
   Following the Baghdad summit meeting, President Saddam Husayn 
proposed to [King] Fahd that Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the United 
Arab Emirates hold a special summit meeting to find a solution to this 
problem.
   But Fahd procrastinated in holding the conference, and Dr. Sa'dun 
Hammadi visited Saudi Arabia and Kuwait to discuss the issue. Finally, 
Fahd agreed to hold a meeting of the foreign ministers of the four
countries. Saudi Oil Minister Hisham al-Nazir then came to Baghdad. 
During his meeting with President Saddam Husayn on 9 July 1990, the 
president told him:
   "I will not accept seeing Iraqis starve and Iraqi women selling 
themselves because of poverty." The oil ministers held a meeting in 
Jeddah on 10 July 1990 and the conferees pretended to have agreed to 
confine oil production to OPEC's quotas. But as soon as the meeting 
ended, the Kuwaiti oil minister said that his country would resume its 
previous production rate of October. We knew that the statement would 
destroy the positive results that might have been reached because of 
consensus in the oil market and that the oil experts knew that the 
Jeddah meeting would be useless if Kuwait resumed its previous 
production rate of November, because the oil market witnesses recession 
during summer.
   In his speech on 17 July 1990, President Saddam Husayn announced a 
final warning to the rulers of Kuwait. He said: "The Iraqis, who have 
been exposed to this premeditated oppression, believe in the need to 
defend their rights and themselves. They also believe in the saying that 
chopping off one's head is easier for him than being deprived of his 
livelihood. If words fail to provide protection to the kinfolk, 
effective action should be taken to restore usurped rights to their 
owners."
   These clear facts on the Kuwaiti rulers' past behavior, as well as 
their behavior before the events of 2 August 1990, proves that these 
rulers had colluded with US plans to weaken Iraq economically and
militarily, guarantee Israel's superiority over the Arabs, and impose 
US-Zionist hegemony over the region.
  The rulers of Kuwait were aggressors and not oppressed. Who apologizes 
for whom?