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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Tracking Number:  160346

Title:  "US Sees Real Shortages Developing in Iraq." UN sanctions are taking hold. (901031)

Translated Title:  "Les E-U Entrevoient des Penuries en Irak." (901031)
Date:  19901031


10/31/90 1Me Re U.S. SEES REAL SHORTAGES DEVELOPING IN IRAQ (United Nations sanctions are taking hold) (780) By Edmund F. Scherr USIA Diplomatic Correspondent

Washington -- The United States is "beginning to see some signs of real shortages" in Iraq as a result of the sanctions imposed by the United Nations after Iraq invaded Kuwait August 2, the State Department says.

While no one can say how the shortages will affect Iraqi government decisions, they are leading to a steady decline in industrial activity, spokesman Margaret Tutwiler told reporters October 31.

Tutwiler said imports of industrial goods, foreign raw materials, semi-finished goods, and machinery have been reduced by 90 percent to less than 10 percent of pre-gulf crisis levels.

"Shortages of imported lubricants, spare parts and chemicals are hampering machine operations and causing production difficulties at refineries, petrochemical plants and other industrial sites," she said.

Discussing the effects of the sanctions at a news briefing, Tutwiler said the department estimates that some 97 percent of Iraq's oil exports have been stopped, along with a reduction of some 90 percent in Iraq's imports of industrial goods.

In addition, she noted, the sanctions "have brought most of Iraq's development projects to a virtual halt."

"While food is still readily available," the spokesman said, "Baghdad is rationing basic commodities such as bread, sugar and soap." She noted that "the cost of some basic commodities has jumped over 800 percent" since Iraq's invasion of Kuwait August 2.

Stressing that the intent of the sanctions is to "change the behavior" of the Iraqi government, Tutwiler conceded that "no one can say at this point how rapidly these shortages will translate into meaningful decisions, particularly since Saddam Hussein has made clear that his army will be the last to be touched by shortages, and that he does not care how much the people of Iraq may suffer to protect that army."

GE 2 POL305 The spokesman noted that President Bush's policy -- while not ruling any options in or out -- has aimed at isolating Saddam Hussein and finding a peaceful diplomatic solution to the crisis.

She told reporters that the freezing of Iraq's foreign assets after the invasion has severely limited Baghdad's ability to pay for imports, "even if it finds sellers willing to circumvent the sanctions."

"The embargo is costing Baghdad 1,500 million dollars each month" in lost oil revenues "at pre-invasion prices," and "2,500 million dollars" in lost oil revenues at the current rate of 31 dollars a barrel, she said.

Speaking of Americans being held against their will in Kuwait and Iraq, she said that an embassy officer in Baghdad was told that the four Americans, who were being detained at Baghdad's Mansour Melia hotel, have been taken away.

"As usual, the Iraqis provided no explanation for the move, and did not say where the Americans have been taken," the spokesman reported. "In the absence of any information from the Iraqis," she said, "we can only assume that these latest detainees have been taken to one of the strategic sites at which Western hostages are currently being held to be used as human shields." She said current estimates are that some 110 Americans are now being held as human shields.

Concerning their condition, she noted that "while some hostages are receiving adequate food and shelter, others -- according to returning Western hostages -- are surrounded by filth and poorly fed."

"Although we cannot confirm that Americans are being singled out for particularly harsh treatment, we understand that conditions are appalling in some detention facilities," Tutwiler told reporters. "One American detainee has required hospitalization, and many others are very sick."

She said that one of the Americans needing medical attention is Miles Hoffman, who was shot by Iraqi soldiers while attempting to evade capture. "Returning Western hostages have indicated that he is in very serious need of medical care," she said.

"The Iraqis have ignored our demands for the immediate evacuation of all those who are being held against their will, particularly those listed as medical cases," Tutwiler noted. "Detainees with medical needs -- like Miles Hoffman -- have become the victims of Saddam Hussein's barbaric guest policy," she pointed out.

GE 3 POL305 Asked how the United States would resupply American citizens and diplomats in Iraq and Kuwait in the aftermath of a Security Council resolution on this issue, Tutwiler noted that the resolution calls for the U.N. secretary general to facilitate the resupply of not only the U.S. embassy, but other embassies in Kuwait.

"We intend, at this point, to work with the secretary general in the role laid out for him in this resolution," she emphasized. NNNN NNN

File Identification:  10/31/90, PO-305; 10/31/90, AE-306; 10/31/90, AR-324; 10/31/90, EP-318; 10/31/90, EU-305; 10/31/90, NE-304; 11/01/90, AS-412; 11/01/90, NA-409; 11/02/90, AF-510
Product Name:  Wireless File
Product Code:  WF
Languages:  Spanish; Arabic; French
Thematic Codes:  1NE
Target Areas:  AF; AR; EA; EU; NE
PDQ Text Link:  160346; 160398; 160670

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