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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 5 Feb 1998 to 6 Feb 1998

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There are 16 messages totalling 1038 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. AI URGENT ACTION
2. "Democracy" (and Human Rights in America) (2)
3. Male spectators at women sports "no problem" denied
4. Contacts with FMI not a crime, says Hashemi
5. Khobregan ask for Azari Qomi's expulsion
6. Rafsanjani spells out role of Expediency Council
7. Soroush wants to form political party
8. File of Iran-US dialogue closed, says paper
9. Mehrangiz Kaar on women's rights in Iran
10. Sarkuhi receives his personal documents
11. Limited ceremonies for revolution's anniversary
12. Nukes aimed at Iraq after US policy switch
13. Saudis remain non-committal on Iraq bombing
14. Britain welcomes break-up of Iraq
15. Russia's clumsy Caspian policy damaging to Iran

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

Date: Fri, 6 Feb 1998 09:20:13 EST
From: CHAIRNGO@AOL.COM
Subject: AI URGENT ACTION

Subj: EX 13/98 on Iran
Date: 98-02-05 14:59:40 EST
From: sharriso@aiusa.org (SHARRISO)
Sender: sharriso@aiusa.org (SHARRISO)
To: chairngo@aol.com

U R G E N T A C T I O N A P P E A L

The following information is from Amnesty International's research
headquarters in London, England. A.I. is an independent worldwide
movement working for the international protection of human rights. It
seeks the release of people detained because of their beliefs, color,
sex, ethnic origin, language or religious creed, provided they have not
used nor advocated violence. These are termed prisoners of
conscience. It works for fair and prompt trials for all political
prisoners
and works on behalf of such people detained without charge or trial. It
opposes the death penalty, extra-judicial executions (political
killings),
'disappearances' and torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading
treatment or punishment of all prisoners without reservation.Please do
not repost the information below to any part of the Internet without
prior permission from Amnesty International. Thank you for your help
with this appeal.

Please read the monthly Urgent Action Network Newsletter posted on
the web at: http://www.amnesty-USA.org/urgact/newslett.html

Urgent Action Network
Amnesty International USA
PO Box 1270
Nederland CO 80466-1270
Email: sharriso@aiusa.org
http://www.amnesty-usa.org/urgact/
Phone: 303 440 0913
Fax:303 258 7881
---------------------------------------------------



EXTRA 13/98 Death penalty/ Flogging
5 February 1998
IRAN Helmut Hofer, German businessman
Iranian woman (name not known)

Amnesty International is concerned at reports that Helmut Hofer, a
German businessman in Iran, has been sentenced to death following
his trial for allegedly having had sexual relations with a Muslim
woman. It is not known when or where the trial may have taken
place. He is reportedly being held in Evin Prison in Tehran.


No information is available concerning the identity of the woman
allegedly involved or of any court proceedings against her. Amnesty
International is, however, concerned at media reports that she may
have been sentenced to 99 lashes and is continuing its investigations.

On 30 January 1998, a spokesman from the German Foreign Ministry
reportedly confirmed that Helmut Hofer was arrested and imprisoned
in Tehran on 27 September 1997 and sentenced to death on 26
January 1998 for: 'forbidden relations between a non-Muslim and a
Muslim'. On 1 February the Iranian Foreign Ministry reportedly
confirmed that a German national had been tried in Iran, but declined
to specify the charges against him or the sentence passed, stating
that the trial was held 'in a competent court in accordance with the
law'. The sentence is expected to go before an appeal court soon.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Amnesty International is opposed to the death penalty in all cases as
the ultimate violation of the right to life and the right not to be
subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment
as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Amnesty International also opposes the judicial punishment of
flogging on the grounds that it amounts to torture, or to cruel, inhuman
or degrading punishment, both unconditionally prohibited under
international law.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send
telegrams/faxes/express/airmail letters in English:
- expressing unconditional opposition to the death penalty in all cases;
- urging that the death sentence against Helmut Hofer be lifted
immediately;
- seeking urgent clarification of the charges against Helmut Hofer and
details of any court proceedings that may have been held resulting in
his death sentence;
- drawing attention to Safeguard 1 of the UN Economic and Social
Council (1984/50) which states that '[i]n countries which have not
abolished the death penalty, capital punishment may only be imposed
for the most serious crimes, it being understood that their scope
should not go beyond intentional crimes with lethal or extremely grave
consequences';
- seeking urgent clarification of any charges and court proceedings
against the woman allegedly involved in this case;
- urging that the flogging sentence, if it has been passed against the
woman concerned, should be commuted, and stating your belief that
flogging contravenes Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil
and Political Rights (ICCPR).

APPEALS TO: (Salutations)
Please note: fax tones can be very difficult to obtain

1) Leader of the Islamic Republic (Your Excellency)
His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed 'Ali Khamenei
The Presidency, Palestine Avenue
Azerbaijan Intersection
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
[Telegrams: Ayatollah Khamenei, Tehran, Iran]
Faxes: 011 98 21 650203 (via Interior Ministry, ask for fax to be
forwarded)

2) President (Your Excellency)
Hojjatoleslam val Moslemin Sayed Mohammad Khatami
The Presidency, Palestine Avenue
Azerbaijan Intersection
Tehran, The Islamic Republic of Iran
[Telegrams: President Khatami, Tehran, Iran]
[Faxes: 011 98 21 674790 (via Foreign Affairs, ask for fax to be
forwarded) ]

3) Head of the Judiciary (Your Excellency)
His Excellency Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi
Ministry of Justice
Park-e Shahr
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
[Telegrams: Head of Judiciary, Tehran, Iran]

4) Minister of Information (Your Excellency)
His Excellency Qorbanali Dorri Najafabadi
Ministry of Information
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
[Telegrams: Information Minister, Tehran, Iran]

5) Minister of the Interior (Your Excellency)
His Excellency Abdollah Nouri
Ministry of the Interior
Dr Fatemi Avenue
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
[Telegrams: Interior Minister, Tehran, Iran]
[Faxes: 011 98 21 899547/650203 (note:it can be difficult to obtain fax
tone)]

COPIES TO:
Minister of Foreign Affairs
His Excellency Kamal Kharrazi
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Abdolmajid Keshk-e Mesri Avenue
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Faxes: 011 98 21 674790

Chairman of the Islamic Consultative
Assembly's Human Rights Committee
Imam Khomeini Avenue, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

Mr Mohammad Hassan Zia'i-Far,
Secretary, Islamic Human Rights Commission
PO Box 13165-137
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Faxes: 011 98 21 204 0541

PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the Colorado
office, if sending appeals after 9 March 1998.

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

Date: Fri, 6 Feb 1998 11:18:04 EST5EDT
From: "Dr. Shodja Ziaian" <ZIAIAN@ERDA.GLENDON.YORKU.CA>
Subject: "Democracy" (and Human Rights in America)

Subject: Crowds cheer Tucker's execution in carnival atmosphere

Comment:
This is "democracy",... and in DNI, one should meditate on the
ressemblances between this carnival atmosphere of killing Tucker in
Texas and the carnival atmosphere of stonning and public hanging in
the Islamic Republic.

The United STates is the only "developped" country practicing death
penalty. All other countries are "Thirld World" countries --and if
not mistaking most or all of them are Moslem countries.

------------------------ :::::::::
The State of Texas has executed Karla Faye Tucker for the
two brutal murders she committed 15 years ago.

The crowd of around 300 outside the jail cheered when the
court's decision was announced and again when they were
told Tucker had died.

A large video screen played clips of Tucker's life as they
waited for the news and a carnival-type atmosphere
prevailed outside the prison.

Witnesses to the administration of the lethal injection
said Tucker had given a short statement before she died.

"I'm so sorry," she said. "I'm going to be faced with Jesus
now ... I love all of you very much. I will see you when
you get there, I'll wait for you there."

After Tucker's death, Richard Thornton, the father of
the other victim, said: "The world's a better place."

She has become the first woman to be killed by Texas since
1863 in a state that put to death 47 men last year.

The Texan Governor, George Bush confirmed he would not take up his
option of intervening.

"I will not grant a stay. May God bless Karla Faye Tucker
and may God bless her victims' families," he said.


Comment:
Also in the Islamic Republic, people killed by the state
(called "execution") may be blessed by Allah.

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

Date: Fri, 6 Feb 1998 09:11:06 PST
From: Brad Hernlem <alihernlem@HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject: Re: "Democracy" (and Human Rights in America)

>The United STates is the only "developped" country practicing death
>penalty. All other countries are "Thirld World" countries --and if
>not mistaking most or all of them are Moslem countries.

Japan, South Korea and Russia are some examples of "developed" countries
which have the death penalty. Not an exclusive US/Muslim concept.

Brad

______________________________________________________
Get Your Private, Free Email at http://www.hotmail.com

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

Date: Fri, 6 Feb 1998 19:01:14 -0600
From: Arash Alavi <aalavi0@HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject: Male spectators at women sports "no problem" denied

[This is a courtesy copy of an article posted to Usenet via Deja News]

Iran News
February 5, 1998

Press Review


ARZESH-HA * It reported that the Public Relations
Department of Women's Sports Solidarity Council denied the
news published by the monthly "Sobh" quoting Ms. Faezeh
Hashemi that there was no problem in undertaking sports
activities by women before male spectators. Faezeh Hashemi
termed Sobh as a publication that distorts and destroys
news.

Sobh's Editor in Chief is Mehdi Nasiri who held the same
position in the afternoon Persian daily Kayhan.

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

Date: Fri, 6 Feb 1998 19:01:09 -0600
From: Arash Alavi <aalavi0@HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject: Contacts with FMI not a crime, says Hashemi

[This is a courtesy copy of an article posted to Usenet via Deja News]

Iran News
February 5, 1998

Press Review


AKHBAR * The paper reported that Vice-President for
Executive Affairs Mohammad Hashemi has rejected the rumors
of his alleged participation in the commemoration service
of the late leader of the Freedom Movement of Iran (FMI)
Mehdi Bazargan.

The rumor took a fly after the publication of a picture of
Mohammad Hashemi next to the present FMI Leader Dr. Ibrahim
Yazdi and the Editor in Chief of Iran Farda magazine
Ezatollah Sahabi. The picture belonged to 1373 (1994-95)
when Bazargan passed away. Hashemi did not deny his
participation in 1373 ceremonies saying that having
contacts with these people is not a "crime." He stressed
that he had friendly relations with these people and the
late Bazargan's family saying that if he had time he would
certainly participate in the third commemoration ceremonies
as well.

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

Date: Fri, 6 Feb 1998 19:01:28 -0600
From: Arash Alavi <aalavi0@HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject: Khobregan ask for Azari Qomi's expulsion

[This is a courtesy copy of an article posted to Usenet via Deja News]

Iran News
February 5, 1998

Press Review


JOMHURI ISLAMI * In it "For Your Information", the daily
said that in its recent meeting in Mashhad some members of
the Assembly of Experts had asked for the expulsion of
Azari Qomi from the assembly.

Qomi, who is a jurisprudent at the Association of Qom
Seminary Teachers, is accused of making remarks against
Velayat-e Faqih.

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

Date: Fri, 6 Feb 1998 19:11:15 -0600
From: Arash Alavi <aalavi0@HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject: Rafsanjani spells out role of Expediency Council

[This is a courtesy copy of an article posted to Usenet via Deja News]

Iran Daily (IRNA)
February 7, 1998

Rafsanjani spells out Expediency Councilís prerogatives
Tehran - Head of the Experts Assembly, Ayatollah Ali
Meshkini, and other members of the assembly were invited to
visit the Expediency Council premises by the deputy head of
the Experts Assembly and the chairman of the Expediency
Council, Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Wednesday
evening.

Speaking on the occasion, Ayatollah Rafsanjnai considered
that one of the most important duties of the Expediency
Council in the new era is to determine the general policies
of the government which have not so far been defined or
framed.

Ayatollah Meshkini asked Ayatollah Rafsanjani to provide
more infor-mation on the set-up and description of the
duties of the Expediency Council to the members of the
Experts Assembly.

Rafsanjani said the Expediency Council was formed on the
orders of the late leader of the Islamic Revolution and
founder of the Islamic Republic, Imam Khomeini, to solve
part of the problems which were not foreseen in the
Constitution.

Referring to the duties of the Expediency Council in the
pre-sent period, Rafsanjani said, a number of commissions
have been created in the council to determine, define and
propose major general government poli-cies on cultural,
educational, research, economic, industrial, judicial and
infrastructural spheres which are referred to it by the
leader's office. The proposals on the topics discussed are
then presented to the leader's office for approval, he
said.

Rafsanjani pointed out that Articles 110, 111 and 112 of
the Constitution have stipulated that the prerogatives and
duties of Expediency Council are not only settling any
dispute arising between the Council of Guardians and the
Majlis but also resolving issues whose solutions have not
been foreseen in the Constitution and have been referred to
by the office of the leader.

According to a decree issued by the leader's office, the
Expediency Council will act as a senior advi-sory board to
the leadership on issues relating to the programs and
decisions of the Executive, Majlis and the Guardians'
Council and also arbitrate disputes cover- ing the three
branches of thew government.

He elaborated that, as most of the members of the various
com-missions comprise of members of the executive and
legislative branches, most of the decisions ratified take
into account con-cerns of these two branches. This enables
the Expediency Council to play a decisive role in resolving
issues facing the nation.

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

Date: Fri, 6 Feb 1998 19:11:18 -0600
From: Arash Alavi <aalavi0@HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject: Soroush wants to form political party

[This is a courtesy copy of an article posted to Usenet via Deja News]

Iran Daily (IRNA)
February 7, 1998

Press Watch


Arzeshha quoted Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA)
pres-ident, Fereydoun Verdinejad, as saying that the
intellectuals in advanced societies avoid giving political
colors to their thoughts. "We shouldn't deal politically
with the issue of the renowned Iranian thinker, Abdolkarim
Soroush, because it is neither to our advantage nor to that
of Soroush," Verdinejad commented. He added, "Unfortunately
we have come to know that Dr. Soroush intends to form a
political party, which would be a mistake. It is a mistake
because our scientific and mental borders should be
safe-guarded."

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

Date: Fri, 6 Feb 1998 19:11:09 -0600
From: Arash Alavi <aalavi0@HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject: File of Iran-US dialogue closed, says paper

[This is a courtesy copy of an article posted to Usenet via Deja News]

Iran News
February 5, 1998

Press Review



JOMHURI ISLAMI* In its editorial, the daily said the file
of establishing relations with the U.S. had been "closed"
and criticized some "friends of the Revolution" who, despite
their goodwill, were insisting on keeping the file of
dialogue and ties with U.S. open under the excuse of
exchange of thought.

The daily Salaam on Tuesday urged the right faction to
refrain from calling the supporters of relations with the
U.S. mercenaries. It said that their views too must be
respected.

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

Date: Fri, 6 Feb 1998 19:21:10 -0600
From: Arash Alavi <aalavi0@HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject: Mehrangiz Kaar on women's rights in Iran

[This is a courtesy copy of an article posted to Usenet via Deja News]

Iran Daily (IRNA)
February 7, 1998

What's Up?


Two decades after the victory of the Islamic Revolution in
Iran, Tehran has failed in passing a significant law
package to secure women's rights, the BBC radio said
Tuesday. It quoted Mehrangiz Kaar, introduced as an Iranian
female lawyer, as claiming that part of the recent campaign
on women's rights has been due to the 'power struggle' in
Iran. After the power centers recognized the determining
power of Iranian women, she said, they decided to mobilize
this power. It is imma-ture to think that women's rights
have been fully realized in Iran or that the government is
convinced of such rights, Kaar told the radio. Iranian
women are interested in taking part in the country's
affairs, Kaar said, but constitutional bans hinders them
from such activities. She also called as 'backward' the
marital laws like those on divorce and sponsorship of
chil-dren in the Islamic Republic.

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

Date: Fri, 6 Feb 1998 19:21:21 -0600
From: Arash Alavi <aalavi0@HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject: Sarkuhi receives his personal documents

[This is a courtesy copy of an article posted to Usenet via Deja News]

Iran Daily (IRNA)
February 7, 1998

What's Up?


Faraj Sarkuhi who was released two weeks ago after serving
his sen-tence on spying charges has received his personal
documents, a media rights group said Monday. According to
the Berlin-based Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF), Sarkuhi
would be able to leave the country in the near future after
he gets his passport. Sarkuhi was the pub-lisher of the
weekly Adineh (Friday) who was sentenced to one year in
confinement for illegal exit from the country and espionage
charges. Various German institutes have invited Sarkuhi to
Germany, said the RSF, adding that it was not clear when he
could get the permission to leave the country. Sarkuhi's
wife, Farideh, and his children are living in Germany under
the political asylum status.

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

Date: Fri, 6 Feb 1998 19:21:45 -0600
From: Arash Alavi <aalavi0@HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject: Limited ceremonies for revolution's anniversary

[This is a courtesy copy of an article posted to Usenet via Deja News]

Iran Daily (IRNA)
February 7, 1998

What's Up?


An Iranian journalist reported of limited nationwide
ceremonies, marking the victory of the Islamic Revolution
compared to those held in previous years, the BBC radio
said Tuesday. Iraj Jamshidi, introduced by the radio as a
Tehran-based journalist, said that the new government of
President Mohammad Khatami has reduced the level of
ceremonies in its bid to pay more attention to the
infra-structur-al projects as well as cultural and
political developments. Both the pres-ident and his cabinet
members are avoiding pompous gestures, he told the radio.
According to Jamshidi, this year's budget deficit should
also be accounted for the low-scale ceremonies. Most of the
ministries and the state organizations are faced with
financial difficulties even in paying their staff, he said.

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

Date: Fri, 6 Feb 1998 19:36:10 -0600
From: Arash Alavi <aalavi0@HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject: Nukes aimed at Iraq after US policy switch

[This is a courtesy copy of an article posted to Usenet via Deja News]

Atomic warheads aimed at Iraq after US policy switch

Melbourne Age Page 1 , Monday Feb 2 1998

Washington, Sunday

The United States can direct tactical atomic warheads at
Iraq for the first time after changing its nuclear weapons
policy, according to White House and Pentagon officials.

The top-secret directive, signed by the President, Mr Bill
Clinton, in November, is part of the administration's
contingency plan to consider using atomic bombs on Iraqi
weapon sites if President Saddam Hussein launches a
biological attack on Israel or other neighboring countries
using Scud rockets, say the officials.

They said the policy shift involving tactical nuclear
weapons and so-called "rogue states", such as Iraq, was
made as part of the most extensive overhaul of US policy
regarding strategic and tactical nuclear weapons since the
Reagan years. "It is US policy to target nuclear weapons if
there is the use of weapons of mass destruction" by Iraq,
said a senior Clinton adviser who spoke on condition of
anonymity. "Whether we would use it is another matter."

The new policy was part of Presidential Policy Directive
60, which Mr Clinton approved after consultation with the
Defence Secretary, Mr William Cohen, and the chairman of
the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Hugh Shelton.

The United States is the only country to have used atomic
weapons in war, dropping bombs on the Japanese cities
Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. Through the Reagan
administration, US policy promised massive retaliation to
prevent nuclear confrontations with the Soviet Union and
China.

With the end of the Cold War, the threats changed from
long-range strategic nuclear weapons targeted against major
nations to more flexible weapons of mass destruction that
could be used by smaller rogue states such as Iraq.

Administration officials say they fear Mr Hussein might use
a handful of Scud rockets to spread a powdered version of
anthrax spores over Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Israel,
killing thousands and making parts of Riyadh, Kuwait City
and Tel Aviv uninhabitable for decades.

During the Gulf War in 1991, President Bush threatened to
retaliate with nuclear force if Mr Hussein used biological
weapons, but his administration never formally adopted a
policy. But it was Mr Bush's warning that has evolved into
Mr Clinton's directive.

Until November, first use of nuclear weapons on Iraq would
have violated US pledges never to make such an attack on a
signer of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which
includes Iraq. But [JS officials say Mr Hussein's efforts
to develop nuclear weapons would forfeit Iraq's treaty
protection.

Mr Clinton's threat has been deliberately vague. Pentagon
spokesman Mr Ken Bacon said last week the US refused to
"rule in or rule out" the use of tactical nuclear warheads.
Mr Bacon's words have caused rumblings abroad and among the
arms control community.

The B61 series of tactical warheads involved in the
contingency planning are so-called "mini-nukes" with an
explosive force less than one kilotonne.

The bomb dropped on Hiroshima had an estimated 13
kilotonnes of explosive power.

Even so, the mini-nukes are 300 to 500 times more powerful
than the largest conventional, non-nuclear warhead in the
US arsenal -AP

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

Date: Fri, 6 Feb 1998 19:36:22 -0600
From: Arash Alavi <aalavi0@HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject: Saudis remain non-committal on Iraq bombing

[This is a courtesy copy of an article posted to Usenet via Deja News]

The Guardian

Cook courts non-committal Saudis

Despite tough talk about Iraq, Western fears have yet to
reach what may again be the front line, writes Ian Black in
Riyadh

Friday February 6, 1998

Tall and courtly in his gold-fringed abaya and
red-chequered head dress, Prince Saud al-Faisal looked
politely bemused as Robin Cook, the Foreign Secretary, made
small talk before getting down to the serious business of
how to avoid a fight that nobody wants.

With signs that Iraq may be responding to pressure to give
way to United Nations weapons inspections, there was still
time for some British jaw-jaw to support the United States
- and a welcome chance for Mr Cook to get away from recent
domestic distractions.

He talked tough, hammering home the message that Saddam
Hussein must buckle or be held responsible for very violent
consequences.

"If diplomacy fails," he declared after 90 minutes with his
Saudi counterpart, "it will not be our fault."

Operational details were not discussed but there was a
broad British hint for Baghdad. "If there is military
action it will be serious action," Mr Cook warned.

For a change, no one questioned Mr Cook about his lover,
his wife or even his sacked diary secretary - so he
welcomed Prince Saud's "understanding" of the need to be
robust.

But doubts lingered: there was no Saudi endorsement of
US-led air strikes, even as a last resort, and a reference
to the suffering of the Iraqi people seemed to be aimed at
Arabs angered by the West's double standards which ensure
that Israel is never punished for ignoring the UN.

"Saddam Hussein possesses chemical agents and biological
weapons on an industrial scale," Mr Cook said gravely. "I
do not need to underline the seriousness of these facts in
Riyadh, a city hit by Scud missiles during the Gulf war."

But there is no sense of crisis here comparable to last
time round, after the invasion of Kuwait in 1990, when
Iraqi tanks were on the Saudi border and the kingdom's huge
oil reserves were threatened.

Western concern at the proliferation of weapons of mass
destruction and the threatened authority of the UN does not
seem to have reached what could once again be the front
line.

Timing was part of the problem: Thursday is never a working
day in Saudi Arabia, and at the tail end of the generously
extended post-Ramadan festival of Eid al-Fitr few shops or
offices were open.

Prince Saud, nephew of the ailing King Fahd, was on hand to
greet Mr Cook as he stepped out of the ambassadorial
Rolls-Royce and escort him into the foreign ministry.

But Crown Prince Abdullah, standing in for the king, was
not available, as had been hoped and as he had been for the
US secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, last weekend.

Yet Mr Cook's whistle-stop tour, arranged at only a day's
notice, was designed as much to support the US in the
latest stand-off with Iraq as to change the cautious
thinking of the conservative Gulf monarchies here and in
Kuwait.

"It is vital that this confrontation is not seen as a
confrontation between one country, the United States, and
one man, Saddam Hussein," Mr Cook said.

"If he can see that the UK and the US are not isolated,
then that will become another factor in whether or not he
recognises that he has to back down before something worse
happens to him."

And using the media may help convince sceptics that if
necessary our boys will be doing their duty again, even if
one Saudi paper referred to the arrival of the British
aircraft carrier as "HMS Invisible".

This was Mr Cook's first visit to the kingdom since taking
office, though he met Prince Saud at the UN in September to
discuss the case of the British nurses Deborah Parry and
Lucille McLauchlan, convicted of the murder of Yvonne
Guilford.


Copyright Guardian Media Group plc 1998

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Date: Fri, 6 Feb 1998 19:36:31 -0600
From: Arash Alavi <aalavi0@HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject: Britain welcomes break-up of Iraq

[This is a courtesy copy of an article posted to Usenet via Deja News]

The Guardian

UN allies round on Clinton

China and Russia vow to block attack on Iraq; Blair stands
by US as French hostility increases

By Mark Tran, Martin Kettle, Julian Borger and Ian Black

Friday February 6, 1998

Russia and China, strongly backed by France, issued a stark
ultimatum to the United States yesterday, warning that they
would do their utmost to block the threatened
Anglo-American attack on Iraq, including use of their
vetoes in the United Nations Security Council.

"We have firmly adopted a stance of saying 'No' to the
force scenario. It is impossible, it means a world war,"
President Boris Yeltsin insisted for the second day in a
row. "We must not allow a strike by force, an American
strike. I told Clinton about it: no, we shall not allow
that."

In a simultaneous move that suggested the two countries
were working closely together, China set aside its habitual
low profile and sent a blunt message to President Bill
Clinton and his only firm ally, Tony Blair.

"China is extremely and definitely opposed to the use of
military force because its use will result in a tremendous
number of human casualties and create more turmoil in the
region and even could cause new conflict," the foreign
minister, Qian Qichen, said on state television.

Both Russia and China are permanent members of the UN
Security Council, whose collective authority the US and
Britain are pledged to uphold, not least with respect to
Iraq.

Deepening Mr Clinton's and Mr Blair's isolation, France -
the fifth permanent member - also exhibited growing
hostility.

Hubert Vedrine, the French foreign minister, said France
had "no intention of associating itself" with the threat of
military action. The US "must consider the fact that apart
from the British, no country has said it favours, in
principle, the use of force."

France, backed by Russia, claimed diplomatic efforts to
resolve the dispute over inspections of Iraq's suspected
weapons sites were making progress amid reports that the
two governments had put forward a joint compromise.

The French special envoy, Bertrand Dufourcq, left Baghdad
yesterday saying he was bringing back "concrete proposals"
for a peaceful settlement. "We believe the diplomatic
solution can end the crisis, therefore discussions should
be continued until a settlement is reached," he said.

Speculative reports from Baghdad suggested that the
Franco-Russian proposal involved Iraq dropping its ban on
UN inspections of 45 presidential compounds in return for
face-saving concessions.

But as Mr Blair joined Mr Clinton at a White House press
conference, the comrades-in-arms kept up their ever-noisier
drumbeat of threats and coercion, apparently intent on
wringing more concessions out of Saddam Hussein or, failing
that, going to war.

"We will obviously try to make sure that any action we take
is taken as humanely and sensitively as possible, but it
has to be action that prevents [Saddam] from developing
these weapons of mass destruction," Mr Blair told US
television.

Not to be outdone, Mr Clinton added: "We have a difficult
decision we are facing now as a country, and as an
administration, because of the concern all Americans have
that we not expose our children if we can help it to the
dangers of chemical and biological warfare."

Further stoking fears of conflict, British officials hinted
that military action might commence on or soon after
February 14.

The Pentagon confirmed that the US would send additional
forces to the Gulf, including 2,000 marines equipped with
amphibious landing craft and yet more combat aircraft to
supplement 24,000 US military personnel already in the
region.

The US believes it needs no further legal justification or
UN Security Council resolution before launching its
aircraft but Russia and China, backed by power of veto,
insist that existing resolutions do not give the US and
Britain the green light to act in the name of the UN.
Britain is drafting a resolution to try to overcome the
impasse.

As a hostile armada gathered in the Gulf, President Saddam
made a dramatic bid to counter US efforts to raise Arab
support for military action, by ordering the release of all
foreign Arab prisoners from Iraqi jails.

During a whistlestop tour of the Gulf yesterday, the
Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, obtained conditional Saudi
support for military strikes, and firm backing from Kuwait.
The Saudi government warned President Saddam that he would
be responsible for the "dire consequences" if he failed to
back down.

Mr Cook suggested that Russian diplomacy was beginning to
bring concessions from Iraq. But he hinted clearly that if
diplomacy failed, military action would be planned to
undermine President Saddam's regime.

"Saddam controls the people of Iraq through fear and
through military forces," he said. "If his military force
is badly hit, his own position will be badly undermined."

And in remarks that will alarm Arab governments and Turkey,
Mr Cook added: "Iraq is a lively coalition of different
groups. If there is a vacuum - in a way that frankly we
might welcome - there could be consequences for the
break-up of Iraq."

He later modified his remarks: "It is part of our policy to
retain Iraq as a single state but if there is military
action no one can predict the consequences."


Copyright Guardian Media Group plc 1998

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Date: Fri, 6 Feb 1998 19:36:38 -0600
From: Arash Alavi <aalavi0@HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject: Russia's clumsy Caspian policy damaging to Iran

[This is a courtesy copy of an article posted to Usenet via Deja News]

Moscow Clumsy and Headed for Loss of Caspian Influence.

Itar-Tass 06-FEB-98

MOSCOW, January 6 (Itar-Tass) - The developments of the
first weeks of 1998 have shown with much certainty that
Russia is rapidly losing its influence with the Caspian
regions's countries.

Paradoxically, the ground for Russia's economic and
political fiasco in the Caspian region is laid not only by
the clumsy and sluggish performance of Moscow bureaucrats
but also by steps of major companies in the Russian fuel
and energy sector, keen on rapid profit and unheeding for
Russia's strategic interests.

With this in the background and with five littoral states
out for their shares of Caspian offshore oil and gas fields
and fishing grounds, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan a few days
ago have held separate talk, for the first time since the
break-up of the former Soviet Union.

The Russian gas giant Gazprom had demanded astronomical
sums for transit of the Turkmen gas through Russia to
markets of Ukraine and Central European states, only to
have Turkmenia firmly set to construct its own,
Russia-bypassing gas pipeline and end its backing to Moscow
in negotiations on the Caspian Sea.

Participation of Russian oil companies LUKoil and Rosneft
in the development of Azerbaijan's offshore oil field
Kipyaz with the Caspian Sea's status remaining open to
question has left other littoral states indignant, and
Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov told so as he met
Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin on January 12.

"Paradoxically but fact: our own, Russian companies that in
fact work under protectorate of the government and Viktor
Chernomyrdin by deed pursue an anti-state,
anti-governmental policy," a governmental apparatus high
official, who chose anonymity, told Itar-Tass.

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev caused a furore by
saying at the recent World Economic Forum in Davos that
from now on Kazakhstan would stand only for "division of
the Caspian bottom" between the five littoral states,
although earlier its stance was different and close to
Russia's.

Explanation is the same - with official Moscow showing its
"strange" behaviour, decision-making of the Caspian Sea's
status has been long stalling, while profit-thirsty
companies are up and about trying to turn in superprofits.

The key problem with the Caspian is that it was a
Soviet-Iranian sea in the USSR era. Now that Azerbaijan,
Kazakhstan and Turkmenia have appeared on the map as new
states a document to lay down the Caspian Sea's legal
status is still lacking.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the sides have been
in squabbling accusing each other of unfair claims of
offshore oil fields.

The nub of the debate was Azerbaijan's insistence on
dividing the Caspian Sea into sectors between the five
littoral states, while the rest, including Iran, leaned
toward a "condominium". This option, which would meet
Moscow's strategic interests, calls for a 45-mile coastal
area in jurisdiction of each of the states and common use
of the rest of the sea and its bottom resources.

If the condominium option was adopted in negotiations,
Russia's benefit would be obvious: its giant companies
could have got privileges in the development of the
"common" part of the Caspian, and with time this could have
enabled Moscow to unite the CIS littoral states
politically, if in a degree.

Russian companies would have surely managed to bar from the
Caspian Sea the Western competitors scrambling for the
presence, notably American ones. This would be to interests
of Iran too.

Russian government sources told Itar-Tass that a draft
convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea is to be
finished by March 15.

The sources did not rule out that the Caspian issue might
be brought up anew within two-three days by President Boris
Yeltsin, who stance is that the sea's "resources should be
developed on the basis of a legal status adopted by all of
the five littoral states".

Experts working on the draft convention reckon that, given
the altered positions of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan and
the quest of Azerbaijan for its cut in the "Caspian pie",
Russia's condominium option is likely to fall through, even
though Iran endorses it.

Failure with the condominium is bound to leave Moscow at a
political loss, as this will deprive it of economic control
of most of the Caspian basin and its bottom oil and gas
wealth.

That events are working out in that direction is indicated
by advertising campaigns already unfolded at the state
level in Kazakhstan, Turkmenia and Azerbaijan that are
broadcasting their overrated Caspian oil and gas deposits.

Speaking of "incalculable treasure-troves" in "their" sea
sectors the three states have in fact opened struggle for
potential, inevitably Western investors before the status
of the Caspian Sea has been defined.

lyu/

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End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 5 Feb 1998 to 6 Feb 1998
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