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US Says Iraq in 'Material Breach'

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U.S. says Iraq in ‘material breach’

U.S. Sec. of State Colin Powell offers the U.S. response to the Iraqi arms declaration on Thursday in Washington, D.C.

MSNBC NEWS SERVICES

Dec. 19 — U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell denounced Iraq’s weapons declaration on Thursday, saying the 12,000 -page dossier “totally fails” to meet U.N. requirements. Powell described the broad omissions as “another material breach” of the U.N. resolution that requires Baghdad to disarm or face a possible military strike.

POWELL CALLED Iraq’s declaration “a catalog of recycled information and flagrant omissions.”

His description echoed a hard-hitting assessment of the declaration given earlier Thursday by U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte to the U.N. Security Council.

The term “material breach” is widely accepted as a trigger for military action against President Saddam Hussein.

But the United States is notably the only nation to date that has used it in reference to the Iraqi dossier, submitted to the Security Council on Dec. 7.

Britain, for example, has denounced the Iraqi documents as flawed, but Foreign Secretary Jack Straw noted that the gaps were not in themselves grounds for war.

Straw said the Iraqi government would have to obstruct the work of U.N. weapons inspectors to be found in “material breach” of the Security Council’s resolution.

“The grounds for declaring that there has been a material breach are very clearly set out in the resolution,” Straw told British Broadcasting Corp. radio. There would have to be “omissions in the declarations and failure by Iraq to comply and cooperate with inspectors,” he said.

His stance was echoed at the United Nations by Britain’s ambassador, Sir Jeremy Greenstock.

IRAQI DENIAL

The United States initially wanted any false statement or omission in Iraq’s declaration to be declared a “material breach,” but France and Russia insisted that this be coupled with an Iraqi failure to cooperate on the ground — and they won this point in Resolution 1441 adopted by the Security Council on Nov. 8.

For his part, Negroponte declined to discuss whether the breach was grounds for a war.

Instead, he said the United States wanted the U.N. experts to report back to the Security Council on a more frequent basis than currently scheduled.

France, a key veto-holding member of the Security Council, also expressed reservations over the Iraqi documents.

“There are gray areas in the Iraqi declaration,” French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin told reporters. “We trust the president of the inspections commission, Mr. Hans Blix, and the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency to clear up the situation and verify the information.”

Separately, Bush administration officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the decision to declare Iraq in material breach is not an immediate trigger for war, but rather the beginning of an intense diplomatic campaign to convince allies that Saddam Hussein has violated a U.N. resolution requiring him to rid Iraq of weapons of mass destruction or face possible military action.

Iraq’s deputy U.N. Ambassador Mohammed Salmane dismissed the U.S. charges as “baseless,” saying: “I would like to confirm that the Iraqi declaration is complete and comprehensive.” He said it can be verified on the ground by U.N. inspectors.

POWELL’S REMARKS

In his remarks, Powell warned that Iraq’s “non-compliance” and its “defiance of the international community” bring it closer to facing the consequences threatened in the U.N. resolution.

He said Baghdad’s response to date “fails totally to move us in the direction of a peaceful solution.”

Washington’s carefully choreographed series of remarks on the declaration followed a report to the U.N. Security Council by the two top weapons inspectors.

“We are consistent in the view that there has been relatively little given in the declaration by way of evidence concerning the programs of weapons of mass destruction,” chief weapons inspector Hans Blix told reporters after the briefing.

Blix noted inconsistencies in Iraq’s biological declaration, noting that the latest report did not include a table that had been provided in 1999 on Baghdad’s purchase of material that it used to grow biological warfare agents including anthrax.

This omission “needs to be explained,” Blix told the council, according to his briefing notes.

Also, he said Iraq was using chemical equipment destroyed by inspectors before they left in December 1998 and was developing a missile known as the Al Samoud with a range, in 13 flight tests, that exceeded the range permitted under U.N. resolutions.

ElBaradei said Iraq needed to provide answers and evidence regarding Iraq’s recent purchase of aluminum tubes. The top U.N. nuclear inspector also found little new in the 12,000-page declaration.

The Bush administration has denounced gaps, omissions and other major troubles with the Iraqi weapons declaration, setting the United States on a course to possible war with Saddam early next year.

Speaking after the meeting, both Blix and ElBaradei complained about the quality of Iraq’s report.

“An opportunity was missed in the declaration to give a lot of evidence,” Blix said. “They can still provide it orally but it would have been better if it was in the declaration.”

ElBaradei noted that the Iraqis have been opening doors for inspectors on the ground but said: “We have not gotten what we need in terms of additional evidence.”

The comments were based on initial assessments and both men said they would need more time to review the entire declaration.

KEY INFORMATION

An IAEA official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Thursday the latest declaration contains new information “related to Iraq’s peaceful research.” He said the IAEA had not concluded that Baghdad was withholding key information on its weapons programs.

In preparing its declaration, Iraq had a list of outstanding questions prepared by the former U.N. inspection agency and by an international panel of experts. Inspectors left Baghdad in December 1998, and Iraq barred them from returning until last month.

The unanswered questions included:

How much anthrax did Iraq actually produce, and was it all destroyed as Baghdad claims?

Where are 550 artillery shells that it filled with mustard gas?

Why were no remnants found of warheads for 50 long-range missiles that Iraq said it destroyed?

What happened to all the deadly VX nerve agent that Iraq produced?

The report by former chief inspector Richard Butler listed biological agents Iraq produced including deadly botulinum toxin, anthrax and ricin; gangrene gas, which rots flesh; and aflatoxin, which causes liver cancer. Baghdad also said it did research on rotavirus, which causes diarrhea, and hemorrhagic conjunctivitis virus, which affects the eyes.

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

U.N. weapons inspectors were delayed Thursday getting into a military guest house north of Baghdad, in the second known snag as renewed inspections program moved into its fourth week.

Syria said it had instructed its representatives at the United Nations in New York to boycott Security Council talks on Iraq’s arms declaration in protest against receiving an excised copy of the text.

Reporters at the scene estimated the inspectors were prevented from entering the site for 15 to 20 minutes. The inspectors used cell phones during the delay, apparently reporting the trouble to supervisors.

The Washington Post reported Thursday that the Bush administration has set the last week in January as the go-or-no-go point in the protracted standoff with Iraq.

:blown:

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Iraq’s medicine shortages may grow

U.S. proposal to tighten sanctions targets key antibiotics

By Peter Baker

THE WASHINGTON POST

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Dec. 19 — The infant lay sleeping on a bed, an intravenous tube disappearing beneath the worn gray blanket as her mother dabbed at tiny bubbles around the baby’s mouth. The mother, Saadiya Saif, had rushed to the hospital with her 40-day-old daughter, Zahraa, because of the baby’s cough and fever. Doctors diagnosed a chest infection.

AS THEY DO nearly every day for some patient, they prescribed the antibiotic ciprofloxacin. Within a few days, the doctors said soon after she was admitted Tuesday morning, Zahraa should be well enough to go home, where she will continue to take ciprofloxacin in syrup form.

But antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin, commonly known by its brand name Cipro, may soon become harder to obtain here under a new U.S. proposal to tighten international sanctions on Iraq. Because ciprofloxacin can be used to counter anthrax exposure, the U.S. government wants to keep President Saddam Hussein’s government from stockpiling it, fearing such a supply would make it easier for him to launch a biological attack while protecting his own troops.

Similarly, doctors at the Saddam Teaching Hospital for Pediatrics here use gentamicin to treat urinary tract infections, doxycycline to help those with cholera or diarrhea, and streptomycin in cases of tuberculosis. All three would be added to the list of restricted items if the U.N. Security Council agrees to the U.S. proposal.

“We’re a developing country and infections are common diseases here, not like in Europe or the United States, so antibiotics are vital,” said Mohammed Hassan, the 28-year-old chief resident presiding over wards of children at the pediatrics hospital. “There’s no thinking of humanity, there’s no thinking about the patients in our hospital.”

Around Baghdad, word of the possible new restrictions has drawn a mixture of outrage and resignation. Few really question adding high-tech navigation systems, missile testing equipment, radio intercept devices, night-vision technology and communications jammers to the U.N. list. And many shrugged at the idea of more shortages of everyday items. After more than a decade of privation, many Iraqis have adopted a weary acceptance of reality.

‘THIS IS OPPRESSION’

Others, though, saw the effort to impose new restrictions as more evidence of American hostility. At the Mishin complex in south Baghdad, a rollicking bazaar where automotive parts are sold, Hisham Ali bristled at the idea that the large tires he sells might be restricted.

“This is oppression,” he exclaimed. “They’re trying to affect my living. They’re trying to destroy the whole economy.”

“Why do they focus on tires?” asked Jasim Sadiq, 35, a farmer who was buying some tires. “Do they think they’re weapons?”

U.S. officials put certain large tires on the list because of concern they could be used for military equipment. Yet Mohammed Fadhil needs them for his truck, so he can bring potatoes to the city. After each harvest, he loads 16 tons of potatoes and makes the journey to Baghdad, turning around to do it again a half-dozen times. In preparation for the January harvest, Fadhil, 40, spent his afternoon roaming through the market looking for new tires imported from such places as Turkey, China and India.

The sanctions have long embittered Iraqis, who consider them a chokehold on their lives. But now, at a moment of confrontation with the United States, the proposed changes strike many as even more punitive.

Beyond the antibiotics and tires are a host of other products that would be restricted, including atropine, organophosphate pesticides, activated charcoal, large hydraulic lifts, meteorological equipment, satellite dishes, full-motion flight simulators and even speedboats. U.S. officials came up with the 36 categories of items in their proposal this month after concluding that Hussein’s government has been exploiting the U.N. oil-for-food humanitarian program to buy products with the ability to enhance his military power.

DUAL USE IMPORTS

Over the last five years, for instance, Iraq has imported more than 3.5 million vials of the drug atropine, which can be used to treat cardiac arrest, but also is an antidote for nerve agents. With his own army inoculated, Hussein might be less inhibited in unleashing chemical weapons on enemy troops, U.S. officials fear.

If the 36 items are added to the restricted list, they would not necessarily be banned for import. But the United States would be able to block them on a case-by-case basis, or at least impose a monitoring system before they are approved. Negotiations on the U.S. proposal are supposed to be wrapped up by the end of the month, but Russian and French diplomats have raised objections.

As a practical matter, the most modern and effective medicines already are hard to come by here, even some of those used to treat routine illness. At the Hanoudi Pharmacy on Yasser Arafat Street, most shelves long ago were emptied of drugs and stocked instead with shampoo, toothpaste, shaving cream and deodorant. On back shelves that still contain medicines, some bottles date to 1980 or earlier, according to the owner, J. Hanoudi.

“If you go to a drug store in America, you see everything available. Here we have nothing,” said Hanoudi, 60, the image of an old-time pharmacist with dwindling gray hair and a red sweater who has been behind the counter here since 1969. “Every day, every time, we can’t help people. What can we do?”

The Ministry of Health disburses medicines to hospitals and pharmacies each month depending on what it receives through the U.N. program.

Even without the new restrictions, Hanoudi said he cannot get atropine or inhalers for asthmatics or insulin for diabetics. What he can get, he said, he cannot get enough of. “If I need 1,000, there is 10,” he said.

Just then, a man walked in and asked for capsules with fusidic acid to treat a bacterial infection.

“I haven’t got it,” Hanoudi said.

“Could you get it for me?” the man asked.

“I can’t. It hasn’t been available for a long time.”

The Ministry of Health disburses medicines to hospitals and pharmacies each month depending on what it receives through the U.N. program.

SOME SUPPLIES SECURED

In November, Shatha Edward Harak, another pharmacist, received a two-month allotment of 300 packages of acetaminophen, 200 vials of ampicillin, 30 iron injections for those with anemia, 14 vials of procaine penicillin, 12 doses of thiamine and two packages of the laxative Sennalax. She got 24 packages of ciprofloxacin from Syria and eight from India, and sells them for as little as 10 cents, depending on the dose.

Harak said supplies are somewhat more available than they were in the years immediately after the Persian Gulf War, before the U.N. Security Council revised the sanctions program to allow more humanitarian goods into Iraq.

The U.N. Children’s Fund, or UNICEF, reported recently, for instance, that the child malnutrition rate fell from 32 percent in 1996 to 23 percent this year. But Carel de Rooy, the UNICEF director for Iraq who announced the improvement, also noted that the numbers mean nearly 1 million Iraqi children still suffer from chronic malnutrition.

The Iraqi government has said 1.7 million children have died from disease, lack of food or other causes linked to the U.N. sanctions, which were imposed after Hussein’s troops invaded and occupied Kuwait in August 1990. Western health specialists have contested that figure, putting the number closer to 500,000.

Whatever the count, the notion of further restrictions on ciprofloxacin and other inexpensive, commonly used antibiotics has left Harak and her customers baffled. “Is this for rockets or bombs?” said Mohammed Ibrahim, a 39-year-old driver who came by for some ciprofloxacin to recover from bronchitis. “I just want to take my medicine to get well. I just want to breathe.”

Harak picked up the theme. “This is not for war. This is for people to live. Let the people live.”

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Sung to the tune: "If You're Happy And You Know It Clap Your Hands"

If we cannot find Osama, bomb Iraq.

If the markets hurt your Mama, bomb Iraq.

If the terrorists are Saudi

And the bank takes back your Audi

And the TV shows are bawdy,

Bomb Iraq.

If the corporate scandals growin', bomb Iraq.

And your ties to them are showin', bomb Iraq.

If the smoking gun ain't smokin'

We don't care, and we're not jokin'.

That Saddam will soon be croakin',

Bomb Iraq.

Even if we have no allies, bomb Iraq.

From the sand dunes to the valleys, bomb Iraq.

So to hell with the inspections;

Let's look tough for the elections,

Close your mind and take directions,

Bomb Iraq.

While the globe is slowly warming, bomb Iraq.

Yay! the clouds of war are storming, bomb Iraq.

If the ozone hole is growing,

Some things we prefer not knowing.

(Though our ignorance is showing),

Bomb Iraq.

So here's one for dear old daddy, bomb Iraq,

From his favorite little laddy, bomb Iraq.

Saying no would look like treason.

It's the Hussein hunting season.

Even if we have no reason,

Bomb Iraq.

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Originally posted by normalnoises

Sung to the tune: "If You're Happy And You Know It Clap Your Hands"

WOW, you really are a musical genius. NOT!!!

A moron in Politics and the musical skills of a 1st grader. Nice combination. YOU LOSER.

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Originally posted by guyman1966

WOW, you really are a musical genius. NOT!!!

A moron in Politics and the musical skills of a 1st grader. Nice combination. YOU LOSER.

*Punches guyman in the face*

I bet you like seeing muslims getting killed do you you racist asshole!

Can you do any better?

I doubt it 'cos racist assholes have no creativity.

How is guyman a creative name?

Why don't you go blow up a 7-11 or a mosque if that makes you happy YOU LOSER??

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Originally posted by normalnoises

*Punches guyman in the face*

I bet you like seeing muslims getting killed do you you racist asshole!

Can you do any better?

I doubt it 'cos racist assholes have no creativity.

How is guyman a creative name?

Why don't you go blow up a 7-11 or a mosque if that makes you happy YOU LOSER??

You’re the one who wants to punch me in the face and then you suggest that I blow up a store... What the fuck? Who is the violent person here? With that fighting attitude we should send you to Iraq. We can put that violent temper to good use.

Then, you call me a racist. Based on what? I've never condoned killing Muslims. Now, if they are terrorists (they can be Jew, Muslim, Christian, whatever) they should die. But the death of regular folks bothers me. Please show me a post that makes me sound racist! I dare you.

You still have no CLUE and you never will. Why don't you right a song to the tune of the 3 Little Pigs?

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