Iraq: July 22, 1999

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Iraq announced that 8,000 of its citizens had died in the previous month because of the UN sanctions. This included 5,400 children, who suffered from malnutrition, respiratory infections and acute diarrhea. Adult deaths were primarily caused by heart disease, diabetes, kidney failure, hypertension and cancer. The Iraqi health ministry says more than one million Iraqis have died because of the sanctions imposed on Iraq in 1991. What the Iraqis did point out is that the Iraqi has routinely used food and medical care to reward, or punish, internal enemies of the government. In particular, the Kurds in the north, and the Shiites in the south (who comprise over 75 percent of the population) have often had their food and medical supplies withheld. If that did not work, the government would attack with conventional and chemical weapons. The sanctions have given the government an opportunity to do what they have always done, but now blame foreigners for it.

July 18 , 1999; Iraq accused the U.S. of killing 17 civilians when, in retaliation for Iraqi anti-aircraft gunners firing on coalition aircraft in the no-fly zone, an Iraqi headquarters was bombed. There was no independent verification of the civilian deaths.

July 12th; Iraq continues to announce it has fired on U.S. and British aircraft in the no-fly zones, but without any confirmation from the U.S. or Britain.

On July 5th, some 10,000 Turkish entered northern Iraq early Saturday to attack Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) bases in the area. The Turks were assisted by about 1,000 fighters of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), which sides with Turkey against the PKK. Iraq's usual response was to threaten Turkey with retaliation.

Iraq also continued to harass and expel UN personnel in Iraq.

Throughout May and June, Coalition aircraft bombed Iraqi air defense and communications targets in the northern and southern no fly zones of Iraq. Coalition aircraft were fired on or tracked by Iraqi radar almost daily. Iraq continued to protest these zones, and the continued UN approved embargo.

Iraq also has problems with Iran. On June 9th a truck bomb exploded near Baghdad, killing six Iranian rebels and wounding 36. The attack was blamed on Iranian agents. This was the 24th such attack since early 1996. On June 11th, Iran fired three Scud missiles at an Iran rebel camp inside Iraq. In the past, Iran had launched air raids on these camps, which were first established in 1986. On June 16th, The People's Mujahedeen, the principal Iranian rebel group operating from Iraq (and other Arab states) announced that Iranian agents had assassinated one of their leaders in northern Iraq. This was the 35th such incident since 1997.

 

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