Iraq threatens revenge as US-Israeli exercises begin

Xxxx Xxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx at
Mon Feb 19 08:28:03 MST 2001

Lou, my e-mail seems to be cutting and pasting without any formatting problem.
has this passed through OK?   here is some more info from Financial Times.  
thanks Xxxx   middle east and africa


Iraq threatens revenge as US-Israeli exercises begin
By our international staff
Published: February 18 2001 20:51GMT | Last Updated: February 19 2001 15:14GMT
Iraq flag and map and picture aircraft

The US on Monday began a week of joint exercises with Israel, against a
background of rising regional tensions in the wake of Friday's air raid by US
and UK forces, on targets in Iraq.

The exercises in southern Israel are said to have been planned long in advance
and hence to be unconnected with Friday's raid. They reportedly involve test
firings of the Patriot missiles that failed to intercept Iraqi Scud attacks
during the Gulf War. Iraqi newspapers on Monday threatened revenge on Kuwait and
Saudi Arabia which were accused of "treachery" in facilitating the attacks.

International reservations about Friday's air strikes on targets near Baghdad
were meanwhile highlighted on Sunday when France raised the prospect of a
transatlantic diplomatic clash if the Bush administration puts further military
pressure on Saddam Hussein.

The French government issued two separate statements making clear its
disagreement with London and Washington on how to deal with the regime in

"We have frequently made known our incomprehension and unease over the repeated
air strikes carried out by US and British aircraft," said one French statement.
A second said: "These raids... create tensions that damage efforts to reach an
agreed solution to the Iraqi problem on the lines proposed by the [UN] Security

Irritation with the US and UK action extended across Nato. Bülent Eçevit,
Turkish prime minister, criticised both countries for failing to give Turkey
advance warning of the air strikes. Turkey is a base for US military aircraft,
though not those used in Friday's attack.

Even within the UK parliament some ruling Labour MPs added their voices to the
concern provoked by the attacks. Tony Lloyd, a UK foreign minister until 1999,
said: "There is bound to be concern... there have to be clear lines drawn as to
what support Britain will give to actions taken by the new administration in the
White House." A wish among other US allies to gain a fuller knowledge of the new
Bush administration appears to have influenced responses to the air strikes.

The German government maintained a tactful silence, albeit amid signs of concern
among some business and political leaders about greater assertiveness in
Washington under Bush and the risks of escalation.

"The federal government is observing the situation in the Middle East with
concern," said a statement from the foreign ministry, in Berlin's only official
reaction. The government's reticence stemmed partly from the fact that Joschka
Fischer, the foreign minister, is on Monday embarking on a three-day visit to
Washington for discussions with US leaders in the first high level bilateral
contacts since President Bush took office.

"The foreign minister will seek information from the US government and conduct
consultations on the situation in the region," the statement added. Mr Fischer
will meet Colin Powell, the secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, the
president's national security adviser, and vice president Dick Cheney.

In Moscow, critics of US plans to build a National Missile Defence (NMD) system
seized upon the air strikes against Iraq as a warning that the US could use
force more widely overseas if it goes ahead with the NMD. Dmitry Rogozin,
chairman of the foreign affairs committee of the Duma, the lower house of the
Russian parliament, said on Saturday: "Europe should think carefully about what
a powerful overseas country can do if it believes it is invulnerable. Whom will
the US bomb then, and for what reason?"
  --- Xxxx Xxxxx Xxxxxx Ph.D Student Department of Political Science SUNY at
Albany Nelson A. Rockefeller College 135 Western Ave.; Milne 102 Albany, NY

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