The illegal bombing raids carried out by NATO warplanes over Iraqi territory may soon be cut back, due to Pentagon warnings of increased danger from Iraqi anti-aircraft defences. NATO aircraft have been vigorously policing a unilaterally-imposed “no fly zone” over northern and southern Iraq since the Gulf War of 1991, forbidding Iraqi Air Force aircraft from flying in the area, ostensibly to protect the Kurds in the north and the Shi’ite Moslems in the south of the country, while at the same time NATO member states try to exclude people from these groups entering their countries, where they are as welcome as the bubonic plague. The fact is that the USA and its lackey, Britain, intend to keep a firm hand on the Middle East, an area which draws their attention only because of its vast reserves of oil. Now Pentagon officials have stated that flying these policing missions may become dangerous, as Iraq has improved its anti-aircraft capacity. “Either you keep bombing air defence sites…and take chances of losing a pilot in the process, or perhaps make some changes”, said a Pentagon official. General Tommy Franks of US Central Command wants the missions in the south to be cut back to a minimum and General Joseph Ralston, US military commander in Europe, wants the flights in the north of Iraq to be halted altogether. In February, US and British aircraft made a sustained raid on Iraqґs anti-aircraft defences. However, since then, more than 100 surface-to-air anti-aircraft missiles have been fired. The fact of the matter is that the NATO commanders are worried that one day, the Iraqis will shoot down a pilot. Their main worry does not stop here. It will start with the justification NATO will have to give to the media for such a policy in the first place. It is a fact that US warplanes strafed fields of crops after the Gulf War peace treaty was signed, to deprive the Iraqi civilians of food, hoping they would revolt against their President, Saddam Hussein. Such did not happen for one very simple reason : the Iraqi people do not want to remove Saddam Hussein, just as the people of Libya do not want to remove Muammar Khadafi, just as the people of Cuba do not want to remove Fidel Castro. The demonology used by NATO regimes creates an effect of censorship which a gullible public is quick to swallow. The point is that the USA pumped Iraq full of weapons to use against Iran. When the Iraqis became a threat, the wings of the eagle had to be clipped. To maintain influence in the area, the bombing raids have continued. Pravda.Ru has spoken out against these raids before and Pravda.Ru invites the NATO military command to provide a justification for these illegal raids on a sovereign state, firmly backed by international law.
TIMOTHY BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.RU LISBON
On Wednesday, April 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered his Address to the Federal Assembly. In the speech, Putin annually expresses his assessment of the state of affairs in the country and his vision of the main tasks for the future