Iran Attacks Iraq

Iran fired around 60 missiles during three hours at the bases of the opponents to the regime in Teheran inside Iraqi territory. Iraq was swift to react, saying that it will reply, as it claims to have shot down a reconnaissance drone (an unmanned aircraft). Between 56 and 66 Scud land-land missiles were fired at targets in Basra, Kut, Khalis and Jelawla, killing two civilians, wounding 19 and creating “heavy damage and destruction”, according to INA, the Iraqi News Agency. Iran admitted the attack against the “People’s Mujaheddin” inside Iraqi territory, but claimed it was “defensive and limited”. However, the government’s statement claimed that such attacks would continue until these bases were removed from Iraqi territory. The Iraqis denounced this attack as “a cowardly and aggressive Iranian act, a flagrant violation of the UN Charter and international law. Iraq reserves the right to reply with the appropriate methods at the right time”. In an attempt to attenuate the predictable reaction of outrage from Iraq, the Iranian representative at the United Nations, Hadi Nejad-Hosseinian, stated in a letter to the UN Security Council that “Iran respects the territorial integrity of Iraq and is favourable to the development of friendly relations with our neighbour. Baghdad accuses Iran of supporting the internal Shiite opposition within Iraq against the regime of President Saddam Hussein, while Iran accuses the Iraqi authorities of supporting the Mujaheddin against Teheran, in violation of UN Resolutions 687 and 949. Both countries also accuse each other of keeping prisoners from the 1980-1988 war. Iran accuses Iraq of keeping 3,206 prisoners and Baghdad accuses Teheran of not having returned 29,000 Iraqi prisoners of war. As the temperature again rises in the Gulf, Tareq Aziz assumes again the position as Iraqi Foreign Minister, a choice which Baghdad hopes “to give the external diplomacy new energy and dynamics”, given that Tareq Aziz, reportedly a Christian, enjoys great popularity among western public opinion. Tareq Aziz held the same post in 1990/1991, during the Gulf Crisis, after which he was nominated Vice-Prime Minister. Always a loyal ally to Saddam Hussein, President of Iraq, he was nominated the Iraqi Ambassador to the United Nations, with the responsibility of discussing Iraqi disarmament after international sanctions were imposed following the Iraqi invasion of Kuweit (August, 1990). Iraq at present is trying to get the international community to lift the sanctions and Tareq Aziz is seen as the best man for the job.

TIMOTHY BANCROFT-HINCHEY, PRAVDA.RU