News

Iraq Belligerence Toward Saudi Arabia and Kuwait

Iraq News, JANUARY 23, 1999

By Laurie Mylroie

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. SADDAM SLAMS SAUDIS, KUWAIT, INA JAN 23
II. IRAQI PARLIAMENT TO HOLD EXTRAORDINARY SESSION, INA, JAN 23
III. KUWAIT: IRAQ REINFORCES TROOPS IN SOUTH, AFP, JAN 18
IV. IRAQ REINFORCES MILITARY PRESENCE IN SOUTH, BBC, JAN 21
V. UNIKOM, NO UNUSUAL IRAQI TROOP MOVEMENTS, REUTERS, JAN 22
VI. KUWAIT: IRAQ TROOP MOVEMENTS NORMAL, REUTERS, JAN 23

  As INA reported today, a front page editorial in al-Jumhuriya
appeared under Saddam's name, fiercely attacking Saudi Arabia and 
Kuwait.  The charge--the Saudis and Kuwait had driven down the price of 
oil and had done grevious harm to Iraq and others--is reminiscent of the 
charge Iraq raised against Kuwait, prior to Aug 2, 1990.
  Saddam wrote, "The Saudi rulers have caused great catastrophes for the 
Arab nation and violated its rights ever since they became a bridge to 
the foreigner.  They also seriously harmed the people of Najd and Hejaz. 
. . Here is an example to this.  The price per barel of light Arab oil 
from 1973-74 until 1975 was around $30.  After 24 years--that is now--it 
has dropped to less than $9 per barrel . . . Any ruler who mortgages his 
will to the foreigner becomes unable to see his people's vital interests 
when they clash with the foreigner's interests.  The only gain he gets 
is that he remains in power, believing that he will remain in power so 
long as the foreigner is satisfied with him. . . .
   "They act on behalf of the United States and Zionism to weaken any 
national and pan-Arab rule.  This is so because any genuine national and 
pan-Arab rule will put them face to face with their people when a 
comparison of their policies is made.  That's one of the reasons why 
they insist on antagonizing Iraq and its faithful national and pan-Arab 
leadership.  This also explains why the Saudi rulers emphasize the need 
to disarm Iraq of its weapons, although this has been achieved.  The 
existence of weapons that can establish some kind of balance with the 
Zionist entity will negate the saying that the only thing the Arabs, 
including their rulers, can do is to submit to the US-Zionist schemes 
because Israel has an edge over the Arabs. . . .
  "This shows the volume of harm done to the Arab nation and the people 
in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, and even the great harm done to humanity by 
this unpatriotic policy.  It also shows how deeply the Arab nation and 
all of humanity are stabbed by the knives of the United States and 
Zionism."

  Arab League Foreign Ministers are to meet tomorrow on Iraq.  Today, in 
a terse statement, INA announced that the Iraqi parliament would hold an 
extraordinary session Tues.  AFP added that the session would concern
Kuwait.

  This display of Iraqi belligerence is occurring against conflicting
reports of Iraqi troop movements in the south.  On Jan 18, as AFP
reported, Kuwait's Defense Minister and Deputy Prime Minister said that
Iraq had boosted its military deployment in the south, although "the
Iraqi deployment 'does not constitute danger at the time being.' . . .
But he said Kuwait had 'reinforced its self defensive capabilities to
deter any possible threats.'"
   On Jan 21, the BBC reported that its correspondent in southern Iraq
"saw trucks carrying armoured vehicles, mobile missile launchers and
radar, towards the southern city of Basra.  The correspondent said at
least two mobile launching positions, one with a set of three
surface-to-air missiles raised to fire, were clearly visible."  The BBC
also noted that since Dec's US/UK airstrike, Iraq told UNIKOM that it
could not guarantee the safety of its helicopter patrols along the
border and they had to stop.  Thus, it seems, UNIKOM has no means for
aerial surveillance.
   On Jan 22, as Reuters reported, a UNIKOM official said that "there
was no unusual movement of Iraqi troops near the southern border with
Kuwait. 'There is nothing unusual inside Iraq's 10 km (6.3 miles) of the
Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), and visually it also looks normal (just) north
of the DMZ.' . .  A Kuwaiti officer said his forces saw movement in the
area. 'We have not seen tank transporters but we saw radars, rocket
launchers, surface-to-air missiles and troops . . . heading to and
around of Basra,' the officer told Reuters."
   On Jan 23, as Reuters reported, Kuwait's Foreign Minister said, "Our
information is that it is an ordinary (Iraqi) build-up and one has to be
cautious towards rumours and reports by news agencies and others."

I. SADDAM SLAMS SAUDIS, KUWAIT
Baghdad INA in Arabic 0750 GMT 23 Jan 99
[FBIS Translated Text] Baghdad, 23 Jan (INA)-His Excellency President 
Saddam Husayn has said that the United States, in coordination with 
Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, has been drawing up pricing policies with the 
aim of confronting OPEC's policy, particularly with respect to the issue 
of increasing prices. In an analysis entitled "For Whose Interest Is the 
Fluctuation in Oil Prices" published in today's issue of the newspaper 
al-Jumhuriyah, his excellency the president says that the Saudi rulers 
have caused great catastrophes for and violated the rights of Arabs ever 
since they started to serve as a bridge for the foreigner. He notes that 
any ruler who links his will to the foreigner becomes unable to see the 
vital interests of his people when they clash with those of the 
foreigner. Following is the text of the analysis written by His 
Excellency President Saddam Husayn:
 "Brothers: God can give and does give to whomever he wants in order to 
test him. And he can and does deprive whomever he wants in order to test 
him too. God has granted some countries in our nation, including Iraq, 
natural wealth in several forms, led by oil, which has paved the way for 
technical advancement. The bulk of scientific applications are related 
to oil and oil products. So, it is a good thing for the nation when it 
takes a firms stand. It can be a bad thing, however, when the nation 
uses it to burn its bridges and stain its chastity. The nation's will 
and consciousness should be present when the nation has to deal with 
oil, especially if the covetous foreigner is involved in it.
   "Let us move from general terms and be more specific. We would say: 
The Saudi rulers have caused great catastrophes for the Arab nation and 
violated its rights ever since they became a bridge to the foreigner. 
They also seriously harmed the people of Najd and Hejaz in the moral and 
practical aspects. Here is an example to this. The price per barrel of 
light Arab oil from 1973-74 until 1975 was around $30.  After 24 
years--that is now--it has dropped to less than $9 per barrel, which is 
quarter the price 24 years ago; that is, in 1974 and 1975. Here, we must 
take into consideration the factor of inflation in the prices of 
commodities, goods, and standard services, which have witnessed a great 
increase compared to the prices in 1975. Why has this happened? And what 
does it mean?
   "Any ruler who mortgages his will to the foreigner becomes unable to 
see his people's vital interests when they clash with the foreigner's 
interests. The only gain he gets is that he remains in power, believing 
that he will remain in power so long as the foreigner is satisfied with 
him and that he will certainly be removed from power if the foreigner is 
angered by any of his actions.  Therefore, the subservient ruler not 
only loses his will to the foreigner but makes his people lose their
will too when their interests clash with those of the foreigner. By 
doing this, the ruler believes he can dismiss the embarrassment such a 
clash may cause him.  Therefore, the Saudi rulers were not only content 
to mortgage their oil in terms of production, marketing, and prices but 
also were deterred from transforming it into oil byproducts on a large 
scale. They were also deterred from exploration and investments with 
respect to all the other raw material and natural resources they have as 
it would reduce the importance of oil as a revenue-generating source. We 
have another example. Though it is well known that gold can be found in 
large and economic quantities in Najd and Hejaz, they did not explore it 
and did not earmark investments to mine and sell it. If this takes 
place, it would give the inhabitants of Hejaz a moral boost and enable 
them to confront the imperialist policy of the rulers. This will also 
enable the people of Najd and Hejaz to say: If we have so much 
capabilities and diversified resources, then why should we submit to the 
US oil policy?
  "By doing this, they act on behalf of the United States and Zionism to 
weaken any national and pan-Arab rule. This is so because any genuine 
national and pan-Arab rule will put them face to face with their
people when a comparison of their policies is made.  That's one of the 
reasons why they insist on antagonizing Iraq and its faithful national 
and pan-Arab leadership. This also explains why the Saudi rulers 
emphasize the need to disarm Iraq of its weapons, although this has been 
achieved. The existence of weapons that can establish some kind of 
balance with the Zionist entity will negate the saying that the only 
thing the Arabs, including their rulers, can do is to submit to the 
US-Zionist schemes because Israel has an edge over the Arabs.
   "There are many other examples. It became possible in the early 
seventies to increase the oil prices many fold after some Arabs under 
the pressure of the Arab masses had drawn attention to the possible use 
of the nation's oil resources in a national and pan-Arab manner against 
those who aligned themselves with the Zionist entity in the 1973 war 
against the Arabs.  However, this did not last long as the United States
reached agreement with Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and perhaps others on 
specific things, including the establishment of the International Atomic 
Energy Agency whose task was to formulate pricing policies to confront 
the OPEC policies and abort any attempt to raise prices by resorting to 
various means, such as securing a strategic oil reserve that would 
enable the United States to carry out its plans of keeping oil prices 
reasonable. The word reasonable is not a general term. The term 
reasonable prices mean they should be reasonable for the United States 
only and not for any other party.
   "In this way, the United States has started to practically control 
oil prices in the entire world to a large extent, and the prices were no 
longer affected by the law of supply and demand. Thus, it became capable 
of embroiling the oil-producing countries in a series of crises 
according to its strategy and Zionist desire. It resorted to fabricating 
a fluctuation in prices upward and downward at certain periods of time 
and whenever it wanted to do so. In 1986, real oil prices dropped to 
half the price in 1974 due to an intentional Saudi policy. The same 
happened in the subsequent years. Oil revenues became subject to 
fluctuation in terms of production and prices. This made any country 
which relies on oil revenues unable to draft a stable budget, including 
a budget for development and progress.
   "It made Saudi Arabia and Kuwait--in addition to other sides--resort 
to the pretext of increasing revenues by selling oil in excess of the 
quantities specified by OPEC. This measure was bound to increase the  
quantity of oil which was expected not be sold, and thus would lead to a 
drop in prices. This was very clear in OPEC agreement signed in Jakarta 
at the end of 1997, when Saudi Arabia exercised strong pressure on OPEC 
member states in order to significantly raise the production ceiling and 
implicitly approve of the violation of the production ceiling, which has 
led to a severe drop in oil prices ever since that time. It has also 
seriously harmed the interests of the member states and the Saudi 
people. So, prices drop when the United States and Zionism want them to 
based on their policy. This way, they increase their oil reserve or fill 
any shortages in this reserve. The oil reserve continued to increase 
until it reached 6 billion barrels at the end of 1998.
  "Thus, the prices go up at other times and for short periods of time. 
This does not allow oil coming from distant areas, including Arab oil, 
from reaching Western markets. In this case, only oil from the US
reserve, which is basically Arab oil, can reach these markets.
  "Thus, the United States makes profits three times at the expense of 
the Arabs. Beside making profits by turning oil into oil and 
petrochemical byproducts and selling them at their set prices, it earns 
the difference between the real value of oil and the price it imposes 
for it at its markets as a result of the substantial revenues earned by 
the governments of the industrial nations in the form of taxes on the 
marketed oil products and the oil companies' profits.  These taxes 
exceed by many times the prices of the crude oil marketed to it.
  "The United States also makes profits when it forces the oil prices 
into planned fluctuations in the markets. Therefore, it occasionally 
reaps the difference in prices between the state of relative stability 
and any increase that it decides in the oil prices for a specific period 
of time before the distant oil can reach the Western markets. In 
addition, this policy causes substantial confusion in world economic and 
financial markets. Naturally, the profits will be reaped by the party 
that plans and initiates this policy. This shows the volume of harm done 
to the Arab nation and the people in Saudi Arabia and Kuwaiti, and even 
the great harm done to humanity by this unpatriotic policy. It also 
shows how deeply the Arab nation and all of humanity are stabbed by the 
knives of the United States and Zionism.
   "We have no solution to propose as a first step but for the will of 
decisionmaking in these two countries to be activated and for it to look 
at the interests of the people and nation first and foremost so as to be
able to do what should be done toward those people's national, pan-Arab, 
and human responsibilities."

II. IRAQI PARLIAMENT TO HOLD EXTRAORDINARY SESSION
Baghdad INA in Arabic 1050 GMT 23 Jan 99
[FBIS Translated Text] Baghdad, 23 Jan (INA)-The Iraqi National Assembly 
will hold an extraordinary session on Tuesday morning, 26 January.

III. KUWAIT: IRAQ REINFORCES TROOPS IN SOUTH
Iraq reinforces troops in south: Kuwait
KUWAIT CITY, Jan 18 (AFP) - Iraq has boosted its military deployment in
the south of the country but so far without posing a danger to
neighbouring Kuwait, said the emirate's defence minister, who inspected
Kuwaiti troops Monday.
   Sheikh Salem Sabah al-Salem al-Sabah, who is also deputy prime
minister, said Kuwait must be ready for "all possibilities and dangers."
    In southern Iraq, Baghdad has reinforced its troops, including the
elite Republican Guards, special units and missile launchers, Sheikh
Salem said, quoted by the official news agency KUNA.
    The Iraqi deployment "does not constitute danger at the time being,"
said the defence minister, who also denied that Iraqi warplanes had
violated Kuwaiti airspace.
    But he said Kuwait had "reinforced its self defensive capabilities
to deter any possible threats."
     Sheikh Salem made the rounds of Kuwaiti troops on the Iraqi border
and at an air base to check on their preparedness, the agency said.
     He "praised the level of readiness among Kuwaiti servicemen in
various fields," KUNA said.
     Kuwait is not responsible for footing the bill of any western
military build-up in the region, "except for hospitality necessities,"
the defence minister added.
     He also said the emirate had "its own methods" for dealing with any
influx of Iraqi refugees in case of renewed military strikes, following
last month's Desert Fox air and missile attacks by the United States and
Britain.
     The Kuwaiti government on Sunday slammed Iraqi threats to scrap
recognition of the UN-demarcated border between the two states as a
breach of Security Council resolutions.
     Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz said last week that Baghdad
refuses to apologise for its 1990 invasion of Kuwait, while the Iraqi
parliament has called for the scrapping of UN resolutions including the
border demarcation.
    Amid the Iraqi threats and protests over the border delineation,
Kuwait put part of its army on maximum alert.
     Diplomats posted in Amman have said the United States and Britain
were preparing to concentrate new military strikes on Iraq's southern
"no-fly" zone, following Sunday's end of the Moslem holy month of
Ramadan.
     Since Desert Fox, US warplanes have fired missiles at several air
defence sites in the south and a similar exclusion zone in north Iraq,
in retaliation for Iraqi efforts to shoot down patrolling US and British
jets.
     On the ground, the deployment of Republican Guards has been boosted
on the road from Baghdad to the southern capital of Basra since the air
war, mainly to avert any southern uprising, according to the diplomats.