Tags: U.S. | Bombs | Iraqi | Bases | Retaliation

U.S. Bombs Iraqi Bases in Retaliation

Wednesday, 20 November 2002 12:00 AM

The attacks, on unmanned air defense communications facilities, occurred between Al Kut and Al Basrah, which are 100 miles and 265 miles southeast of Baghdad, respectively.

Rear Adm. David Gove, the U.S. Joint Chief of Staff's deputy director for global operations, said the raids were in retaliation for Iraq firing anti-aircraft artillery and launching surface-to-air missiles against planes on routine patrol.

"Since 8 November [when Iraq accepted the United Nation's new resolution on disarmament], coalition aircraft have now been fired on in nine of those 13 days in the south and two of the last 13 days in the North," Gove said at a Pentagon briefing.

"In addition, Iraq continues to violate U.N. economic sanctions by illegally exporting oil outside the U.N.-mandated oil-for-food program," he said. "Last week alone, U.N. maritime interception forces operating in the North Persian Gulf boarded 118 vessels and diverted 42 for carrying contraband cargo."

Under terms of Resolution 1441, Iraq agreed to allow a return of international weapons inspectors, cooperate fully with the inspectors and to adhere to all previous U.N. Security Council mandates on Iraq, imposed after the 1991 Gulf War.

The resolution also forbade all hostile acts towards nations enforcing Security Council resolutions.

Violations of the new resolution were to result in the Security Council meeting to decide on "serious consequences" to be imposed.

That has not happened yet. The United States, which believes the attacks on planes flying over the north and south of the country are breaches of the agreement, was still considering a formal complaint, officials said. Observers believe the attacks would be used later to establish a pattern of non-compliance to back up an expected future compliant on an incident involving main inspection and disarmament provisions.

"I believe ... that it is a material breach," Pentagon spokeswoman Tori Clarke said. "The resolution says they shall not take hostile action against any member state. So we believe it is a material breach.

"When and how actions become the precipitating force, if you will, for there to be military action of far greater scope than what we're doing in the no-fly zones, is a decision for the president and others at that level to make."

President Bush has said repeatedly the United States would lead a coalition of military forces against Iraq if it fails to comply with Resolution 1441 and disarm, and the Security Council fails to take forceful action.

The United States and Britain, partners in the no-fly zone enforcement, maintain that a number of previous resolutions authorize the zones to which Iraqi military aircraft are forbidden, since they are the only way to ensure protection of the country's minorities from retaliation by the regime of Saddam Hussein for having supported coalition forces in the last war.

Iraq considers the flights violations of its sovereignty. Since Sept. 16, Iraqi forces have fired on coalition aircraft more than 202 times, but no aircraft has yet to be downed.

When asked if there were a spike in Iraqi firings Gove said, "it's too soon to say" for certain.

"We have these periodically, and we respond periodically, and then settle down to a baseline of firings and responses," he said. "In the last couple of weeks it has been higher. It looks like it's a spike.

"And we're responding as we have for previous no- fly zone violations over the last couple of years."

Copyright 2002 by United Press International.

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The attacks, on unmanned air defense communications facilities, occurred between Al Kut and Al Basrah, which are 100 miles and 265 miles southeast of Baghdad, respectively. Rear Adm. David Gove, the U.S. Joint Chief of Staff's deputy director for global operations, said...
U.S.,Bombs,Iraqi,Bases,Retaliation
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2002-00-20
Wednesday, 20 November 2002 12:00 AM
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