Date: Feb 19, 1998 [ 22: 57: 28]

Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 18 Feb 1998 to 19 Feb 1998 - Special issue

There are 12 messages totalling 1288 lines in this issue.

Topics in this special issue:

1. Let's support Dr. Peyman 10
2. A POP QUIZ ON THE MIDDLE EAST -- ANSWERS MAY SURPRISE YOU
3. Oh what a lovely TV war!
4. Suffer the children
5. Looking at Gender Equality in Iran
6. US tipped balance in war by reflagging tankers
7. Deadly Consequences Of Bombing Iraq
8. Shifting geo-political sands in the Persian Gulf
9. Freedom Movement of Iran Illegal, says Nouri
10. US opposes any pipelines through Iran
11. Shell,Chevron to tap Caspian riches together
12. RFE: Central Asia: Iran Profiles Itself As A Regional Power

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Let's support Dr. Peyman 10


Few days ago, I sent a cheque for 200 to one of the members of
Jonbesh-e-Mosalmanan Mobarez in London. I did not wait to hear from Dr
Kourosh Parsa in the USA. Today, I was informed that the sum of fine has
been provided inside of Iran and the cheque is going to be returned to me. I
will return the money that I have raised outside IHRWG, to the donators
ASAP. I have received 20 American Dollars from Dr Ahmad Raf'at by post and I
will wait for his advice. I have not heard from Kourosh yet and I think
that he can advise me on his side.

Regards,

Asghar

A POP QUIZ ON THE MIDDLE EAST -- ANSWERS MAY SURPRISE YOU


@ A POP QUIZ ON THE MIDDLE EAST -- ANSWERS MAY SURPRISE YOU
@ Charley Reese of the Sentinel Staff
@ The Orlando Sentinel, Sunday 8 Feb. 1998
@
@ Just so you can keep up with the perpetual crisis in the
@ Middle East, I have a little quiz for you.
@
@ Question: Which country in the Middle East has nuclear weapons?
@ Answer: Israel.
@
@ Q: Which country in the Middle East refuses to sign the nuclear
@ non-proliferation treaty and bars international inspections?
@ A: Israel.
@
@ Q: Which country in the Middle East seized the sovereign terri-
@ tory of other nations by military force and continues to
@ occupy it in defiance of United Nations Security Council
@ resolutions?
@ A: Israel.
@
@ Q: Which country in the Middle East routinely violates the inter-
@ national borders of another sovereign state with warplanes and
@ artillery and naval gunfire?
@ A: Israel.
@
@ Q: What American ally in the Middle East has for years sent
@ assassins into other countries to kill its political enemies
@ (a practice sometimes called exporting terrorism)?
@ A: Israel.
@
@ Q: In which country in the Middle East have high-ranking military
@ officers admitted publicly that unarmed prisoners of war were
@ executed?
@ A: Israel.
@
@ Q: What country in the Middle East refuses to prosecute its
@ soldiers who have acknowledged executing prisoners of war?
@ A: Israel.
@
@ Q: What country in the Middle East created 762,000 refugees and
@ refuses to allow them to return to their homes, farms and
@ businesses?
@ A: Israel.
@
@ Q: What country in the Middle East refuses to pay compensation
@ to people whose land, bank accounts and businesses it con-
@ fiscated?
@ A: Israel.
@
@ Q: In what country in the Middle East was a high-ranking United
@ Nations diplomat assassinated?
@ A: Israel.
@
@ Q: In what country in the Middle East did the man who ordered
@ the assassination of a high-ranking U.N. diplomat become
@ prime minister?
@ A: Israel.
@
@ Q: What country in the Middle East blew up an American diplomatic
@ facility in Egypt and attacked a U.S. ship in international
@ waters, killing 33 and wounding 177 American sailors?
@ A: Israel.
@
@ Q: What country in the Middle East employed a spy, Jonathan
@ Pollard, to steal classified documents and then gave some of
@ them to the Soviet Union?
@ A: Israel.
@
@ Q: What country at first denied any official connection to
@ Pollard, then voted to make him a citizen and has continuously
@ demanded that the American president grant Pollard a full pardon?
@ A: Israel.
@
@ Q: What country on Planet Earth has the second most powerful lobby
@ in the United States, according to a recent Fortune magazine
@ survey of Washington insiders?
@ A: Israel.
@
@ Q: Which country in the Middle East is in defiance of 69 United
@ Nations Security Council resolutions and has been protected
@ from 29 more by U.S. vetoes?
@ A: Israel.
@
@ Q: What country is the United States threatening to bomb because
@ "U.N. Security Council resolutions must be obeyed?"
@ A: Iraq.

Oh what a lovely TV war!


The Guardian

Oh what a lovely TV ratings war!

The channels are pouring in troops and money and
their websites are already online, writes Joanna Coles
in New York

Thursday February 19, 1998

For the American television channels the war - for ratings - has
already started. "CNN has a handful of top reporters but NBC has
a stableful," boasted Chris Hampson, a senior producer for
MSNBC, the 24-hour news channel which - if air strikes proceed -
will compete with CNN during the conflict.

It will be a ratings battle fought with satellite phones and the
Internet. During the last Gulf conflict, Ted Turner's Cable News
Network shredded the competition, making stars of Peter Arnett,
John Holliman, Bernard Shaw and Christiane Amanpour, who
reported as the first bombs whistled past their hotel in Baghdad.
This time ABC, NBC and BBC's News24 are determined to offer
an alternative.

Indeed, on January 6 1991 Americans learned they had gone to
war only after seeing it live on CNN. The official confirmation came
30 minutes later, at 7.07pm, from the then White House
spokesman, Marlin Fitzwater.

Later that evening the defence secretary, Richard Cheney, said
he thought the bombing raids had been successful because that
was what he had heard on CNN.

"We have people in Baghdad, Tel Aviv, Bahrain, we're reinforcing
London, we've got people at the Pentagon and the state
department," Mr Hampson said. "CNN had no competition last
time, this time it will be different."

What about the challenge from the BBC's 24-hour channel? "It's
not even a blip on the radar screen."

New technology and the Internet mean the networks are running
vast web sites.

CNN, which has 20 people in the Iraqi capital, estimates that it
will cost an extra 1 million a week to keep its crew in place. How
much will it cost MSNBC? "Lots," said Mr Hampson. "But we're
prepared."

In 1991 the United States and Britain infuriated news
organisations by imposing a pool system which allowed fewer
than 100 reporters to talk to the 500,000 US service personnel.

Not only did the system stop reporters independently
corroborating official information, it was criticised for encouraging
reporters to exaggerate the accuracy of so-called smart bombs.
This time, with only the possibility of intermittent air strikes to
cover, the US media are debating how to avoid such mistakes.

"We're going to be at the mercy of the government's pictures,"
one producer told the Los Angeles Times. "We don't know what
controls might be put on us," said Bill Wheatley, vice-president of
NBC News.

Certainly, Iraq seems aware how useful it can be to give foreign
journalists access. During the last conflict Mr Arnett was
attacked by US politicians for going to a bombed factory which
the Iraqis claimed produced baby milk, although US sources
insisted it was an arms plant.

Arthur Kent, who reported for NBC during the last conflict, said he
was appalled by the "show business" direction in which television
news was moving. He recalled how he became conscious that
NBC was trying to make him a star, rather than a star reporter,
and that it was favouring sensationalism.

When he went public with his accusations, the company sacked
him, accusing him of cowardice for refusing a Bosnia assignment.
He sued and won, but left anyway.


Copyright Guardian Media Group plc 1998

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Suffer the children


The Guardian

Sick and dying in their hospital beds, the
pitiful victims of sanctions and Saddam

By Maggie O'Kane

Thursday February 19, 1998

There is a new weapon in the Western powers' line-up against the
Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein. It is not as hi-tech as the stealth
bomber, it lacks the punch of the cruise missile and it can only
be seen under a microscope. Travelling on the back of the female
sand-fly, it strikes hardest in the spring.

On the second floor of al-Quadisiya hospital on the outskirts of
Baghdad, the children's ward has on show some of the collateral
damage from this new microscopic weapon. Kena Azar is six
months old and wrapped up so only his head is peeping from a
pink-and-cream blanket.

The parasite moved first into his bone marrow, to eat the cells
that make his blood, and now it has taken over his liver and
spleen. He is sleeping easily, for this parasite kills without pain.

The hospital, with its scruffy foam mattresses, battered metal
beds and grubby sheets, does not have the pentostan medicine
that Kena needs to help his six-month-old body fight.

"He has a 10 per cent chance of living. Before the sanctions and
with the medicine, it would have been 90 per cent," says the
consultant, Dr Alia Sultan.

In the 1960s leishmaniasis, known as the "black plague", was
common in Iraq. Now it's back. A shortage of insecticides
(banned under United Nations sanctions), and the collapse of the
sanitation system with the absence of spare parts (because of
the sanctions), have seen the sand-fly flourish again.

In the bed beside Kena lies Saleema Jura's second-born child,
who is recovering from gastro-enteritis, the most common
infection in Iraqi children, caused by bad sanitation. Ms Jura,
aged 30, calls the doctor over and begs him gently to help her
eldest son, Ali, aged four, who is at home.

She shows a piece of paper with the name of another
unobtainable medicine. "Please help me, if there is anything I can
give to my baby. He was walking and talking and everything, then
he got this infection and now he can't move his legs or speak any
more."

Dr Sultan explains that Ali has a viral infection of the brain that is
untreatable in Iraq. "He needs physiotherapy, speech therapy,
things we don't have any more."

As the doctor walks away Ms Jura turns suddenly and says:
"You can tell all those people abroad that Ali really was talking
and playing. Then all of a sudden he got this and I have nothing to
give him. That is what your people have done to my child."

She is crying now and without warning picks up her child and
leaves the ward, signing herself out to go home to her elder son.

Dr Sultan says: "Last week a woman came in with a very weak
child suffering from diarrhoea and vomiting. I told her she had to
admit herself and the child, because the mothers have to stay
since we don't have the staff.

"She told me she could not admit herself to the hospital. I will
have to let him die, she said, I have four children at home to keep
alive."

The economic sanctions weapon, used for the past seven years
in the belief that it will compel President Saddam to comply with
UN resolutions on disarmament, has led to a six-fold increase in
infant mortality, according to the UN Children's Fund (Unicef).

A study last year by the Harvard medical group put the number of
Iraqi children dead or ill because of sanctions at half a million. In
10 out of 15 beds in this children's ward at al-Quadisiya hospital -
just one of Baghdad's 12 hospitals - at least half are here
because of sanctions.

There is despair in this hospital: absolute despair. Dr Ali Rasim,
aged 32, the paediatrician on the ward, says: "I have watched
children dying here from renal failure because we didn't have
sodium bicarbonate - that's baking soda."

In the premature delivery suite, the incubators are patched with
sky-blue supermarket bags; there are no bulbs in the incubators'
overhead lights and a mother is holding an oxygen tube, as thick
as a pencil, under the nose of her 3lb baby who has a head the
size of an apple.

"There are no oxygen masks left for the babies, and these are the
thinnest tubes we have," says Dr Rasim, almost apologetically.

In the next ward a nine-month-old boy in a pink jumper is
whimpering as his mother is forced to tie his arm to the metal bed
frame with string. There is no other way to hold the intravenous
drip.

Dr Juad Rashid, the hospital's consultant paediatrician, says: "In
all my seven years of training, I only saw one case of typhoid -
now I'm seeing them every week. We will have an epidemic by the
summer."

Britain and the United States continue to be the strongest
supporters of economic sanctions and all that comes with them -
now, the rebirth of the sand-fly and her black plague.

"I am a soldier without a weapon," says Dr Rashid. "The rockets
and missiles that are coming for our children are viruses and
epidemics, and I have nothing to fight for them with. Why are you
making war on our children?"

Copyright Guardian Media Group plc 1998
-------------------------------------------------------------------


Suffer the children

What about sanctions?

Thursday February 19, 1998

Distressing evidence of how children are the real victims in Iraq,
reported today by our correspondent, should make anyone pause
before inflicting more pain upon the Iraqi people. Maggie O'Kane's
report focuses on conditions in one medical establishment in
Baghdad, and one would hardly expect conditions to be better
outside the capital. In any case, her report bears out widespread
evidence gathered in recent months by the aid agencies and
particularly by the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef).
Though this evidence has been published it has left scarcely a
scratch on the media mirror which reflects the news from Iraq.
The reports from UN weapons inspectors have received several
hundred times as much coverage as those from UN doctors.

In an end-of-year analysis for 1997, Unicef summed up the
situation of children and women in the areas controlled by
Baghdad in these terms: "The economic and political priorities
with the embargo overwhelm their needed care." That is a
cautious way of saying - from a UN organisation wary of sounding
at all polemical - that the embargo has taken precedence over the
health of women and children. The most specific evidence
concerns malnutrition - which, as Unicef says, is "a potent factor
for increased mortality in young children". The data comes from a
Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey carried out through 1996,
followed by two further nutritional surveys in southern and central
Iraq last year. Here are some figures - chronically malnourished:
960,000 children under the age of five, a rise of 72 per cent since
August 1991 (when sanctions had already been in effect for a
year). This is 32 per cent of all children in this category. Almost a
quarter are underweight - twice as high as in neighbouring Turkey
or Jordan. Under-fives' mortality: a several fold increase. A child
with diarrhoea in 1990 had a one-in-600 chance of dying; in 1996
this became one in 50. The chances of death from pneumonia
rose from one in 60 to one in eight. Wasting (moderate and
severe): an increase from 3.6 per cent in 1991 to 11 per cent in
1996.

And so the dreadful statistics go on.

Much has been done and continues to be done by Unicef and
other agencies, including successful immunisation, health
education promotion and supplementary feeding programmes,
improved water for 7.5 million people, and rehabilitation of
schools. (Though primary school provision has fallen from a
virtually universal system to less than three-quarters since 1990.)
But it is wrong to suppose that any deficiencies of food or medical
supplies can be blamed solely on the regime's misuse of the
oil-for-food programme. The UN Secretary-General's new
proposals to improve the programme aleady recognise many
other problems, including supply delays and over-bureaucracy.

There is a more serious problem with sanctions too, which a new
report from the World Vision charity published last week explores.
In Iraq, NGOs have been encouraged to go into the northern areas
rather than the areas under close Baghdad control. Some
chemicals for water purification have been barred from import.
Examples such as these illustrate how sanctions are bound to
lead to fundamental distortions of any aid programme. After six
years, the utility of sanctions has become increasingly dubious
both as a political break upon the regime and on humanitarian
grounds. What to do with this economic weapon needs as much
attention as the military weapons question. It is not getting it -
while the children continue to die.


Copyright Guardian Media Group plc 1998

Looking at Gender Equality in Iran


Culture: Looking at Gender Equality in Iran

Inter Press Service
18-FEB-98

LAHORE, (Feb. 17) IPS - The most important victory for women in the
Islamic Republic of Iran during the past few years has been their
success in engaging the state in discussions, observes Iranian
anthropologist Shahla Haeri, an assistant professor at Boston
University.

While the government may claim credit for granting women their rights,
it has not come about without a fight by Iranian women themselves,
particularly from the middle class, she points out.

Haeri, a regular visitor to Iran for the last 10 years, says she has seen
a change in even women's appearances. They are a lot more elegant
and colorful, she says. "Having accepted the restrictions however
grudgingly they are being more creative...expressing their individuality
in an almost subversive way, getting around the restrictions..." she
says.

In Iran, where the scarf is part of all women's dress, how they wear it
indicates who they are. Women parliamentarians are "obsessively"
veiled, with a scarf under a black head-to-toe chaddor, she says.
Female government employees and students wear a dark uniform,
scarf, overcoat, trousers.

Other women maneuver the scarf in a "symbolic accommodation or
resistance to veiling." Some young women pull out fringes from under
the scarf and highlight it in different colors provoking the ire of the
revolutionary guards.

What women have done is to create some space for themselves,
observes Haeri in an interview in Lahore. Women "have pushed the
state to come through with its promises. They have been able to
engage the state in a serious discourse about women's rights."

Women seem to have said "we need education, health, jobs and laws
safeguarding women's rights within the family which religious leaders
like (Iran's revolutionary leader) Ayatollah Khomeini said was laid
down in the Koran."

By acquiescing to the state's demand that women must be veiled in
public, they have been able to win for themselves the right to a public
life, which also was impelled by economic necessity. The state was
forced to allow women to return to the workplace after imposing
restrictions at the height of the revolution.

Consequently, the symbolism of segregation had to be more
stringently maintained in the public space to safeguard against
allegations of impropriety by hardliners who wanted women to stay
home regardless. In a sense, segregation was transformed from the
domestic domain to the public.

Once women took that literally and moved out, the state had to
accommodate them. Discussing this process, Haeri explains that
initially the state talked about gender segregation.

After the ouster of the Shah in January 1979, women were barred from
working in certain professions and not allowed to study in fields
considered "unsuitable," like metallurgy, or some other engineering
fields and certain branches of the divinity school.

With time, it became less rigid. "Some leaders took a pragmatic view,
like Rafsanjani (former president), who accepted that we are living in a
modern world, where young people are constantly thrown together in
colleges, on buses, in bazaars.

So the veil became symbolic of segregation. It allowed women to
frequent the public space, while still hiding them from the public gaze,
she said.

What women have done is to make the best use of the public and
private space available to them. Unlike in many other Islamic
countries, women are a visible presence, there is even a woman bus
driver in Tehran.

Women are constantly challenging the state. Once, the head of the
judiciary, while addressing a Friday prayer, talked about husbands not
needing to look after terminally ill wives.

The "Zanan" a popular women's journal, argued back that if women
look after husbands who are terminally ill, husbands should do the
same, and that such public statements are morally reprehensible.

The head of judiciary was forced to respond. He said that he had been
"misunderstood," and was only talking legally and not morally.

In another instance, during last year's Presidential election, Zanan
decided to interview the candidates, including Natig Nuri, the speaker
of Parliament and the front runner, as well as Mohammad Khatami.
Nuri, "Zanan" reported, refused to be interviewed, although the
questions had already been sent to him.

Instead the journal published a huge article on Khatami, putting him on
the cover. After the election, and his crushing defeat by Khatami, Nuri
issued a public clarification that he was not anti-women -- it was
believed that his refusal to be interviewed by "Zanan" had ruined his
poll prospects.

The role of women in politics has been particularly interesting. In May
1996, over 100 women ran for the fourth parliamentary poll, 10 were
elected, including Faezeh Hashemi, 33, the popular second daughter
of then President Rafsanjani.

"She was expected to get the highest number of votes, making her the
highest ranking member in this almost exclusively male organization, a
threatening possibility for the establishment." But Natig Nuri managed
to get a few hundred more votes.

Hashemi, is now director of women's sports. She has an uphill battle in
her contention that the budget for women in sports shouldn't be less
than for men.

Last year, her statement that women could ride bicycles drew fire from
the hardliners, some of whom even attacked women in a park outside
Tehran where an area was allocated for women bicyclists. It had to be
closed for a while.

"But these issues are coming out, and women are addressing them
with great conviction, arguing that they are not un- Islamic," notes
Haeri.

Many women are now well informed of exactly what is or is not in the
Quran. "Iranian women, like elsewhere in the Muslim world, are
offering their own interpretations of the sacred text, knowing that there
is no reason why women should not do so."

Women's determination to participate in public life is reflected in the
fact that as many as nine ran for the Presidential election last year in
May. Only four out of the 238 candidates eventually qualified for the
final running, all men.

The disqualification of the women because of their gender was
challenged by Azam Taleghani, daughter of the late Ayatollah
Taleghani with a very clever and interesting argument, Haeri said.

Azam argued that the word "rejal" is plural for men in Arabic, but in
Persian it generally means political elite. She contended that since
Iranian women do constitute part of the political elite they should not be
barred from the Presidency.

However, the discourse between women and the state is limited to a
particular group of women. "It is important to know that none of the
secular women ran for any political office," stated Haeri.

There are lots of problem areas also, like divorce rights. Even though
men have to petition the courts for divorce, the lack of financial security
for women after divorce, or fear of losing their children forces many
women to stay in bad marriages.

In Iranian civil law, the age of marriage for girls is nine or even
eight-and-a-half, according to the lunar calendar. "There are many
discriminatory laws. There is a law against rape, but few cases are
reported. Marital rape is still not considered rape, and violence
against women may even be condoned as a male prerogative.

"But the state is now beginning to think about these problems, thanks
to women's own determination and stamina in keeping these issues at
the forefront of social and political debates," Haeri said.

US tipped balance in war by reflagging tankers


Western Governments Draw Veil Over Aid to Saddam

Reuters 19-FEB-98 By Paul Taylor, Diplomatic Editor

LONDON, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Western governments debating how
to stop Iraq building weapons of mass destruction have
drawn a discreet veil over their own role in arming,
bankrolling and supporting President Saddam Hussein right
up to his 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

"Saddam was seen by Western governments as a bulwark
against fundamentalism after the 1979 Islamic revolution in
Iran and we were more than happy to help him," a Western
Middle East policymaker at the time said.

The United States, which now proclaims Saddam to be a
threat to world peace, is widely believed to have provided
him with vital satellite intelligence during his 1980-88
war with Iran.

Washington tipped the balance in that conflict by
reflagging and protecting Kuwaiti oil tankers while Iraq
bombed Iranian ones with impunity, military historians say.

Diplomats say U.S. companies also supplied some of the
"dual use" compounds used in his biological weapons
programmes.

"In their great concern about Iran, the Americans not only
reopened grain credits to Iraq in 1988-90 but also restored
military intelligence liaison which was of considerable
help to Saddam," said Sir Alan Munro, a former British
ambassador in the region.

"Quite clearly it was only after he went against Western
interests by invading Kuwait that the West changed its
perception of Saddam," said Neil Partrick, head of Middle
East studies at Britain's Royal United Services Institute.

France sold Saddam a nuclear reactor, bombed by Israel in
1981, and was Iraq's second-biggest arms supplier after the
former Soviet Union.

Baghdad owes Paris nearly $5 billion, most of it for
high-tech warplanes and radars supplied on generous credit
terms in the 1980s. Iraq is unable to earn hard currency to
service its debt due to U.N. sanctions.

French officers complained that during the 1991 Gulf War
the Iraqis had more up-to-date French equipment than did
French forces fighting in the U.S.-led coalition that drove
Iraq out of Kuwait.

France's privileged relationship with Saddam began in 1974,
during the first oil crisis, when then prime minister
Jacques Chirac signed in Baghdad what was dubbed the
"contract of the century" to sell capital goods.

Chirac, now France's president, called Saddam, who was then
vice-president of the Revolutionary Command Council but
already Iraq's real strongman, his "great friend".

The United States tried unsuccessfully to talk France out
of selling the Osirak experimental reactor to Iraq in 1976,
arguing it would give Baghdad enough enriched uranium to
make nuclear weapons.

Britain barred the supply of lethal weapons to Baghdad
during the Iran-Iraq war but secretly eased the ban after
that war ended, helping rearm Saddam, a judge concluded in
a 1996 report.

There were recriminations in the British parliament this
week over the supply in the 1980s of so-called "growth
medium" used in making bacteriological weapons in
quantities far exceeding the civilian needs of Iraq's
hospitals.

The scientist said to have headed Iraq's biological warfare
programme studied at a British university.

Diplomats said Iraq acquired most of the materials and
equipment used in its chemical and biological warfare
programmes under civilian guises from Germany and
Switzerland.

Supplies continued even after Iraq used poisonous mustard
gas and tabun against Iranian soldiers in the mid-1980s and
against Kurdish civilians in 1988.

"The main reason why the U.N. weapons inspectors know what
they are looking for is that Western intelligence agencies
cooperated in pooling information on what Western companies
supplied to Iraq, on condition that the information was
treated confidentially," a former member of the inspection
team said.

While U.S. and British officials point accusing fingers at
France, suspected of mercantile interests in seeking to
help Iraq out of sanctions, there is a tacit agreement not
to look too closely at the West's past record with Saddam.

"He may be a butcher, but he was our butcher for a long
time," another Western analyst said.

Copyright 1998 Reuters Limited.All rights reserved.

Deadly Consequences Of Bombing Iraq


SCIENCE-IRAQ: The Deadly Consequences Of Bombing

By Judith Perera LONDON, Feb 13 (IPS) - Iraq's biological
weapons programme remains the focus of suspicion and
conjecture with U.N. inspectors convinced that Iraqi
president Saddam Hussein still has a huge secret arsenal of
these deadly agents.

But with the massed forces of the U.S. military and their
British partners gathering in the Gulf, ready to strike
Iraq, experts warn that air bombing suspect facilities,
could result in the release of lethal agents, rather than
their destruction.

''The result of any bombing would depend on the
circumstances,'' says Dr Julian Perry-Robinson of the
Science Policy Research Unit at Sussex University in
southern England. ''A little bit of anthrax, for example,
can go a very long way, as the 1979 accident at Sverdlovsk
in the Soviet Union proved.''

In 1979 in the Urals city of Sverdlovsk (now
Yekaterinburg), 96 people became ill and 64 died following
an outbreak of anthrax. Soviet officials originally blamed
contaminated meat, but later admitted that it was caused by
an explosion and aerosol leak from a nearby biological
weapons facility.

The amount released was no more than a few milligrams. Yet
people died up to four kilometres down wind, and animals
some 80 kilometres away died after grazing on vegetation
where the anthrax spores landed.

For two years, U.N. inspectors in Iraq have been looking
for 25 warheads that are filled with highly toxic
biological weapons, including over 150 litres of anthrax
and botulinum toxin.

Iraqi officials have admitted that the warheads the 1991
Gulf War hidden in railway tunnels or buried on the banks
of the Tigris River. But they say that later, the warheads
were taken to a desert site in Iraq called Nebai, and
destroyed.

The U.N.'s chief biological inspector, Richard Spertzel,
says he is ''extremely doubtful'' that any of the warheads
were destroyed because of the many conflicting accounts
given by Iraqi military officers and biological
specialists.

The warheads, each about one metre by three metres, could
be mounted on secretly constructed al-Hussein 'Scud'-type
missiles, which have a range of 600 kilometres. These
warheads could kill up to a million people if launched in
the right circumstances.

In total Iraq says it had filled 182 different munitions
with biological agents. Only 26 of these have been
adequately accounted for, according to U.N. officials, who
suspect that there were, in any case, more than the 182
munitions.

Of the 157 bombs that Iraq admits having filled, three were
recovered intact and parts have been found for 23 more. The
rest are unaccounted for.

Iraq has acknowledged making 11,800 litres of botulinum
toxin, enough to destroy the world's population several
times over. But U.N. officials believe production may have
been two to three times more than this.

Iraq has also admitted making over 8,500 litres of anthrax,
which would kill billions, as well as 340 litres of
clostridium perfringens, which cause gas gangrene. Then
there is the work on ricin, a toxin made from castor beans.

Iraq initially denied developing it as a weapon but finally
admitted packing the toxin into some 155 mm artillery
shells. But, again, inspectors suspect that Iraqi
scientists made more of the toxin than they admitted.

Last April inspectors tried to interview Shakir Akidi, a
British- trained biology professor at Baghdad University
who was known to have worked on ricin.

However, as they arrived for the meeting, a man rushed from
the building carrying a sheaf of papers which he said
belonged to his wife. In the event, the man was identified
as Shakir and the papers showed that the government had
been gathering castor beans round-the-clock in late 1990,
during the build up to the Gulf war.

''That means they could have a stockpile of extra ricin
still hidden away,'' says Spertzel. Iraq has also developed
aflatoxin as a weapon. This produces a form of food
poisoning and in the long- term can cause liver cancer.

It was only well after the war that the West began to
understand the full extent of Iraq's biological programme.
And although some of the major facilities have been
identified and destroyed, inspectors are aware that there
may be others still operating.

Biological weapons can be made on such a small scale that
Iraq could even have a mobile unit fitted into the back of
a lorry, points out Perry-Robinson.

In the event of military action against Iraq, any of these
facilities could be damaged or destroyed, either
deliberately or inadvertently. And in this case there would
always be a risk that some biological agent could escape,
although it would need to be sprayed as an aerosol to do
so, explains Perry-Robinson.

''If Iraq has a stockpile of anthrax and if it were hit in
a military attack a substantial quantity of spores would
probably be released,'' says Dr Alastair Hay, head of
chemical pathology at Leeds University in northern England.

''It is unlikely that if a facility were hit, everything
would be destroyed in the ensuing blaze.'' This has clearly
occurred to the U.S. military who are now developing
weapons which would ensure that any blaze would be
extremely hot and last for several seconds, say sources
close to the United Nations.

The U.S. is also considering weapons would produce
radiation ''which would be very bad for germs'', the
sources add. But anthrax, at least, is very stable and very
persistent. It can remain active in the soil for decades,
points out Hay.

British experiments with anthrax in World War II left the
Scottish island of Gruinard contaminated for almost 50
years. And even then it was only cleaned up by removing all
of the topsoil.

''Saddam Hussein's programme has clearly got to be
stopped,'' says Hay, ''But I honestly feel that bombing
will be effective because we don't know where things are.

''And in any case, will bombing guarantee us access to the
sites in Iraq which we need to investigate and monitor?''
The chances are, he warns, that bombing could create more
problems than it solved.

''Anthrax,'' warns Perry-Robinson, ''is really very scary
indeed.'' (END/IPS/JMP/RJ/98)


Shifting geo-political sands in the Persian Gulf


Iraq Crisis Stirs Gulf Alliances, Animosities

Reuters 19-FEB-98 By Barry May

DUBAI, Feb 19 (Reuters) - At first glance, the Iraq crisis
appears to have shaken up diplomatic relationships in the
Gulf.

It all seemed to be so simple. Viewed from Washington, it
was useful that the twin ``pariah states'' Iraq and Iran
remained mutually embittered by eight years of war.

The Gulf Arab oil monarchies were suspicious of both and
stayed close to Uncle Sam for their protection.

Now the old animosities and alliances seem less certain.
High government officials from Baghdad turn up in Tehran
and are received cordially, even though thorny issues like
1980-88 Iran-Iraq War reparations remain unresolved.

As part of its ``dual containment'' policy, Washington has
for years tried to project Iraq and Iran as serious
security threats.

But amid some of the highest tensions since the 1991 Gulf
War, it appears that there are diplomatic grey areas that
raise questions about the United States' efforts to isolate
and contain Iraq and Iran.

Qatar's foreign minister met face to face in Baghdad with
Iraqi President Saddam Hussein this week in the first such
visit by a Gulf Arab foreign minister since Iraq's 1990
invasion of Kuwait.

Two days later, Iraq's foreign minister showed up in Tehran
where his Iranian counterpart joined the regional chorus of
calls for diplomacy to end the crisis over U.N. arms
inspections, warning that military action would be
detrimental.

On the other side of the Gulf, the peoples of the Arabian
peninsula view the Islamic Republic less harshly and feel
sympathy for their Arab brethren in Iraq, if not its
leader.

Worse for the United States, though they cannot mount a
credible defence without U.S. military might, the Gulf Arab
leaders who supply the West with much of its oil openly
question Western moves in the standoff with Saddam.

The geo-political sands in one of the world's most volatile
regions seem to have shifted, frustrating policy makers in
Washington.

Gulf Arab leaders who boycotted a Middle East economic
conference in Doha attended by Israel in November flocked
to Tehran the following month for an Islamic summit.

``There are different emphases and tone being struck now
than in the Gulf War in 1991,'' said John Chipman, director
of the London-based International Institute for Strategic
Studies.

But he doubted whether Iraq's diplomatic offensive in Iran
would have any strategic significance despite its political
symbolism.

``On the principle that the enemy of my enemy is my friend
it would be natural that Iraq would try to seek some
support in Iran for its position,'' Chipman told Reuters.

But Iran was concerned about the large Shi'ite population
in southern Iraq protected by a ``no-fly'' zone imposed by
the United States and its allies in 1992 and had no special
reason to be friendly to its former foe.

``This Iranian regime is ever so different from the one in
1991 and would like to find a dialogue with the American
people and a way to improve their strategic position, which
includes a dialogue with the Western world,'' Chipman said.

From Iran's perspective, the Iraq crisis is far from being
clear cut, said Iranian analyst Bijan Khajehpour.

``I don't see a strategic alliance between Iran and Iraq at
all,'' he said by telephone from Tehran. ``Iranians cannot
work with Iraq so long as Saddam Hussein is there.''

Khajehpour, editor of the monthly newsletter Iran Focus,
said Iraq knew that Iran very strongly opposed a U.S.
military attack and was hoping to be able to use Iran's
contacts with Russia, China and France to put diplomatic
pressure on the United States to step back from a strike.

``That's all they can hope for. Iran will not make any move
that would go down badly with the international community.
Iran right now is at the stage of reintegrating itself into
the international community,'' he said.

Iran was extremely concerned about a Turkish military
presence in northern Iraq and about the possible
disintegration of Iraq, Khajehpour said.

``This is what Iran does not want. Iran does not want
different smaller states and the tense situation which
would be mainly on Iran's border. This is exactly what Iran
wants to avoid. That's the only common interest between
Iran and Iraq.''

As for the Gulf Arabs, the IISS's Chipman believes their
lack of enthusiasm for armed action against Iraq results
from their own sense that the immediacy of the threat is
not as great as it was in 1990 when Iraq invaded Kuwait.

``For many of the Gulf Arabs, this appears as a theoretical
and perhaps distant problem,'' he said. ``Were the threat
more immediate in Gulf Arab eyes the question of what the
West was doing would not arise.''

Copyright 1998 Reuters Limited.All rights reserved.

Freedom Movement of Iran Illegal, says Nouri


Freedom Movement of Iran Announced Illegal

Xinhua 19-FEB-98

TEHRAN (Feb. 19) XINHUA - Iranian Interior Minister
Abdollah Nouri has announced that the Freedom Movement of
Iran (FMI) is illegal, the local daily Kayhan reported
Thursday.

FMI's application for a status of informal political party
has been rejected by the commission of party supervision,
Nouri told students of Tabriz University in Eastern
Azerbaijan Province.

The FMI has no legal position in Iran, he said, without
giving the reasons, according to the daily.

The Freedom Movement, the only political party in Iran, was
founded in 1961 by former Iranian Prime Minister Mehdi
Bazargan and fought against the then Shah regime.

It joined the interim government after the 1979 Islamic
Revolution which toppled the Shah regime. But it quitted
due to disagreements with Iran's late Supreme Leader
Ayatollah Khomeini.

Ever since then, the FMI has been criticizing domestic and
foreign policies of the Islamic government, particularly
over issues related to freedom and democracy.

After the death of Bazargan in January, 1995, the party was
barred from carrying out activities following a decision of
the authorities to register political parties and
organizations in the year.

Nouri announced that the radical group "Ansar Hezbollah,"
notorious for its resort to violence against other
political groups, is also illegal.

He said that if the group wants to gain formal recognition,
it should present application for permission to carry out
activities.

US opposes any pipelines through Iran


US opposes any pipelines through Iran

Eizenstat: This is not an American game, a great oil rush

Reuters
19-FEB-98

The United States, which Accuses Iran of Sponsoring terrorism and trying
to acquire nuclear weapons, adamantly opposes any pipelines through Iran.


Eizenstat reiterated that point in the interview, saying such pipelines
``potentially give Iran a chokehold over energy development in the
Caspian going west ... increase(s) its political and economic influence
(and are) contrary to the interests of the West and the United States.''

Instead ``we are trying to encourage ... the creation of an east-west
transportation corridor that goes through the Caspian Sea and through the
Caucuses -- the so-called Baku-Ceyhan line'' from Azerbaijan to Turkey,
he said.

He said he has met executives of major oil companies like Shell and Amoco
``to explore the (project's) feasibility ... so there will be
alternatives to Iranian pipelines.''

Eizenstat insisted: ``This is not an American game, a great oil rush. We
want to have European companies participating in this east-west
corridor.''


Shell,Chevron to tap Caspian riches together


February 16, 1998

FOCUS-Shell,Chevron to tap Caspian riches together

By Sean Maguire

LONDON, Feb 16 (Reuters) - Oil giants Royal Dutch/Shell (RD.AS)(quote
from Yahoo! UK & Ireland: SHEL.L) and Chevron Corp (CHV - news) said on
Monday they had agreed to jointly
develop large energy projects in the hydrocarbon-rich Caspian region.

The two companies said in a joint statement that they would seek out
``various upstream opportunities'' and work on linking vast landlocked
oil and gas fields to world markets.

``We envision projects of a scale that would generate significant value
for the people of the region,'' said Chevron chairman Ken Derr.

Analysts said the deal made long-term strategic sense by combining
Shell's strong political connections in Russia and its skills in
transporting oil and gas with the U.S. oil major's already
strong production base in Kazakhstan.

``Chevron has got the lion's share in the biggest existing development
and Shell has got very good future potential,'' said Stephen O'Sullivan,
oil and gas analyst at M.C. Securities.

``The deal seems to be a good match of money now and healthy earnings
prospects in the future.''

Monday's accord adds another thread to the tangled web of alliances and
joint ventures developing the vast hydrocarbon provinces in and around
the Caspian and searching for ways to bring oil and gas to customers.

Chevron was in the vanguard when the former Soviet Union opened to
foreign oil investors at the start of the 1990s, moving quickly to secure
a large share in Kazakhstan's Tengiz field.

After much frustration the field came on stream and now produces around
185,000 barrels per day. But its potential is severely limited by the
lack of export routes, a problem that plagues other oil-rich states on
the Caspian littoral.

Tengiz oil currently has to be shipped by barge across the Caspian and
then moved by rail to the tanker port.

Chevron has a 15 percent stake, the largest, in the Caspian Pipeline
Consortium, which is to spend $2 billion to build a 1,600km (1000 mile)
pipeline across a swathe of Russian territory to a Black Sea oil export
terminal.

Through an alliance with Russian oil firm Rosneft (PFGS.RTS), Shell holds
a 7.5 percent stake in the CPC, which is key to unlocking Kazakhstan's
oil wealth. Chevron hopes for the go-ahead from Russia to build the link
by the third quarter 1998.

Shell's other interests in the Caspian, where it was slow to develop
projects, include a leading role in a six-company production sharing
agreement signed last November to produce oil from Caspian waters off
Kazakhstan.

Last year Shell bought a 60 percent stake in the Temir block in western
Kazakhstan and was due to begin an exploration drilling programme.

It has also begun a study on the feasibility of taking Turkmen gas to
Turkey either via Iran or underneath the Caspian.

A Chevron spokesman said the accord with Shell looked beyond the CPC
project.

``It's a wonderful oil province but to realise that we have to solve the
transportation problems and infrastructure issues,'' he said.

The deal with Shell, which has announced a major tie-up with the
politically well-connected Russian energy conglomerate RAO Gazprom (quote
from Yahoo! UK & Ireland: GAZPq.L), should give Chevron protection from
criticism that their Tengiz deal was slow in bearing fruit.

``It's risk-sharing and diversifying,'' said O'Sullivan. ``It makes a lot
of sense, particularly for Chevron.''

Shell, the world's second largest natural gas producer after Gazprom,
would also be positioning itself in the long-term to exploit both Turkmen
and Kazakh gas resources, said Ruslan Nickolov, energy analyst at Nomura
International.

``By combining its efforts with Chevron, Shell will increase its stake in
the region and gain influence over gas development,'' said Nickolov.

Britain's BG plc(quote from Yahoo! UK & Ireland: BG.L), Italy's Agip SpA
(AGIS.CN) and Russian oil company LUKoil(LKOH.RTS) have signed an
agreement to develop Kazakhstan's mammoth Karachaganak field, which has
reserves estimated at 2.4 billion barrels of crude and 16 trillion cubic
feet of gas.

But it too has as yet no means of exporting production, since Gazprom
refuses to transport rival Kazakh gas through Russia.



RFE: Central Asia: Iran Profiles Itself As A Regional Power


Central Asia: Iran Profiles Itself As A Regional Power

By Breffni O'Rourke/Armen-Azer Services

Prague, 12 February 1998 (RFE/RL) -- Iran's growing importance as a
regional power is creating a dilemma for its northern neighbors in the
Caucasus and Central Asia. The dilemma is how to reap the benefits of
increased trade with Iran while not alienating the United States, which
maintains sanctions against Iran for its support of international
terrorism.

During the Soviet era, Iran was more or less an outpost. It was cut off
from what are now the eight independent Caucasian and Central Asian
states which cluster along its northern borders.
But the collapse of the Soviet Union changed that dramatically. Iran now
finds itself in a new geo-political situation as the natural focal point
though which the eight mostly-landlocked states can reach the outside
world. That geographical reality is reinforced by the strong desire of
all these newly-independent states to reduce their dependence on Russia.

An international affairs expert, now based in London but who regularly
visits Iran, told RFE/RL that one of the major priorities of the Iranian
Foreign ministry is to further develop
links with its northern neighbors. By pushing northwards, Iran can tap
into other links heading west and east, thus profiling itself as a
regional power and reducing the isolation imposed on it
by the U.S. sanctions. The London source says Iran has been nurturing
good-neighborly ties with its neighbors on more than one level. Apart
from offering trade and transport possibilities,
Iran has at various times mediated in regional disputes, such as between
opposing factions in Tajikistan, and between Azerbaijan and Armenia in
the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute.

The dilemma for Iran's neighbors is well illustrated by the three
Caucasian states Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan. Each of these has links
with the United States, links which they consider essential to preserve.
Each receives substantial foreign aid from the United States, ranging up
to about $100 million annually in the case of Armenia.

At the same time, Iran is the number one exporter to Armenia, mainly in
food, manufactured goods and machinery, while Iran is Armenia's second
biggest export market, mainly in metals
and building materials. Iran also supplies some 10 per cent of Armenia's
electricity demands.

The key importance to Armenia of relations with Iran is thus clear. One
Yerevan-based journalist said that for Armenia, the huge Iranian market
is an el-dorado. On the political level,
relations are cordial, if passive.

In the case of Azerbaijan, there is also considerable trade with Iran.
But perhaps because the two states share a Muslim heritage, Teheran
appears to have taken a more active political line.
Azerbaijani President Heidar Aliyev told RFE/RL recently that Iran's
spiritual leader Sayyed Ali Khamenei had raised objections to
Azerbaijan's links with the United States and Israel.
Aliyev said he replied to that by asking Khamenei why Iran maintained
good trade links with Armenia, which -- as Aliyev put it -- had carried
on a war with Azerbaijan.

Like the other two Caucasus states, Georgia has friendly and growing ties
with Iran. The two countries have signed agreements, and a direct rail
link is planned. Georgian officials tend not
to say too much too loudly about the links with Teheran, but they realize
their potential. In Georgia's case, however, Turkey is still a more
important partner than Iran. Central Asian
countries are similarly building links with Iran, particularly with a
view to moving their oil and gas riches to the world market. In the case
of Turkmenistan, a gas pipeline has already opened onto Iranian
territory, and plans call for the line to be extended to Turkey.

For Iran, the economic links with it neighbors are useful in the first
line as steps towards regional leadership. To boost its own economy
significantly, Iran needs more investment than can be found in Central
Asia or the Caucasus. The U.S. sanctions bar it from receiving American
capital, so it turns mostly to western Europe, where French companies in
particular have been willing to defy the sanctions, even at the risk that
they too will come under
sanctions. Some 80 per cent of Iran's export income of some 12,000
million dollars per year comes from oil. And it badly needs investment to
upgrade its oil wells, particularly to develop
modern re-injection processes, which will allow more oil to be won from
the aging fields.

12-02-98

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End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 18 Feb 1998 to 19 Feb 1998 - Special issue
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