Iraq: October 17, 1999

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The head of Iraqi intelligence has been executed for leaking information about an arms deal with Russia. The deceased, Rafeh Dahham Majoul al-Tikriti, apparently came up on the losing side in a dispute with Saddam's chosen successor, his oldest son Udey (who is apparently more bloody minded and unstable than his father.)

October 3; Iraq is now pumping more oil than before the 1991 Gulf War. But the UN embargo severely restricts what can be bought with that money, and much of it goes in reparations to nations damaged by the Iraqi aggression. Iraq imports plenty of food and medicine, but does not supply it to those portions of the population (Kurds and Shiites) hostile to the government. The Iraqis then point to the resulting deaths and sickness as a reason to life the embargo. Although the media tends to pitch this the way Iraq wants it presented, Iraq's neighbors know better, but feel that since the embargo is not stopping Iraq's weapons development or forcing Saddam Hussein out of power, then it should be dropped. Since December, 1998, the US and Britain have been conducting a low level air war against Iraq to enforce the no-fly zones in the north and south. While this has done a lot of damage to Iraq's remaining air defense systems, it has not changed the situation much, and has cost the US nearly a billion dollars. The eight year stand off between Iraq and the UN appears to be ending in something of an Iraqi victory. But it is a marginal success for Iraq, as much economic progress and well being has been sacrificed to fulfill Saddam Hussein's vow to not comply with UN weapons inspections. 

September 29; The Turkish army continues to operate against the PKK in northern Iraq, and Iraq has threatened retaliation if the Turks do not stop it and get out. The Turks, as is their custom, ignore these threats. Meanwhile, Iran has released another 276 Iraqi prisoners from the 1980-88 war. Iran has thus far released 55,438 Iraqi prisoners. Iraq insists that Iran still holds 13,000 more. Iran says that 2,806 of its soldiers remain prisoners, after Iraq has released 39,417. Iraq insists it holds no more Iranian prisoners, except for 64 who were sentenced to prison terms for taking part in the Shiite uprising after the 1991 Gulf War. 

 

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