Skip to comments.Interesting Articles From Summer 2001
Posted on 04/12/2004 8:58:32 PM PDT by rocklobster11
Here are some interesting articles relating to the Administrations concern about attacks prior to 9-11.
U.S. Forces in Gulf On Highest Alert
Threat scrambles U.S. troops, ships in Mideast
Rumsfeld: 'U.S. vulnerable to emerging threats'
Bin Laden readying to hit US, Israeli interests
Terror, Iran and the U.S.
U.S. Forces in Gulf On Highest Alert Threats Also Prompt Travel Warning
By Vernon Loeb
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, June 23, 2001; Page A22
The Pentagon has put all U.S. military forces in the Persian Gulf on the highest state of alert and ordered ships from the 5th Fleet in Bahrain out to sea because of increased terrorist threats linked to Osama bin Laden, U.S. officials said yesterday.
News of the threats, which a senior official called credible but "non-specific," sent stocks tumbling on Wall Street.
The Pentagon ordered all forces in the Persian Gulf on "Threat Condition Delta" late Thursday night after U.S. intelligence agencies detected increased surveillance activity and movement throughout the region by individuals associated with al Qaeda, bin Laden's network of Islamic extremists, the official said.
The signs of a possible terrorist attack are not thought to be related to Thursday's federal indictment of 14 suspects in the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing, the official added.
"We don't have a geographic focus, and we don't have a date" for an attack, the official said. "We just have an angst."
A new bin Laden videotape circulating in the Middle East is reminiscent of propaganda that preceded the bombing of two U.S. embassies in East Africa in 1998, according to the official.
Bin Laden, an exiled Saudi millionaire who has taken refuge in Afghanistan, appears in the video wearing a traditional Yemeni dagger and reciting a poem in which he refers to the suicide bombing of the destroyer USS Cole in the Yemeni port of Aden in October.
Without claiming credit for the bombing, bin Laden says: "And in Aden, they charged and destroyed a destroyer that fearsome people fear, one that evokes horror when it docks and when it sails."
U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf have gone on heightened alert several times since the Cole bombing, which killed 17 sailors. Most recently, they moved to "Threat Condition Charlie," the second-highest state of alert, on May 29 because of intelligence reports of increased terrorist threats.
Under a Delta alert, access to U.S. military facilities is severely restricted. All vehicles entering bases are stopped, and many are searched; shore leaves and other non-business visits are canceled; packages and supplies are carefully inspected; patrols are increased, and troops are urged to be vigilant.
Retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni, who until last year was commander of U.S. forces in the Mideast, said yesterday that "the mood out there isn't good. I've not seen it worse."
The State Department, meanwhile, reissued a worldwide caution for Americans traveling abroad, warning they "may be at increased risk of a terrorist action from extremist groups." The global advisory was last updated May 29 after four al Qaeda operatives were convicted of conspiracy in the embassy bombings, which killed 224 people and wounded 4,600 in Kenya and Tanzania.
State Department security officials also closed the U.S. Embassy in Dakar, Senegal, early yesterday so that security precautions could be reviewed. The embassy in Manama, Bahrain, will be closed today for a similar review.
At the port in Manama, Navy minesweepers were sent to sea yesterday as a precaution against terrorist attack. The aircraft carrier USS Constellation and its battle group were already at sea.
A contingent of 2,200 Marines also cut short a training exercise yesterday in Jordan and left the country on three ships led by the USS Boxer.
Staff writer Thomas E. Ricks contributed to this report.
Threat scrambles U.S. troops, ships in Mideast
The Associated Press.
WASHINGTON (AP) - In response to a threat against Americans in the Middle East, a Marine Corps training exercise in Jordan has been cut short and Navy ships have been ordered out of port in Bahrain, Pentagon officials said Friday. The threat was described by the officials as "non-specific," meaning it was aimed at Americans but not necessarily against members of the military.
At the same time, the State Department said the U.S. government has learned that American citizens and interests abroad may be at risk of a terrorist attack from extremist groups,
A "worldwide caution" urged U.S. citizens to maintain a high level of vigilance and to take appropriate steps to increase security awareness to reduce their vulnerability.
Officials said it was possible the threat against Americans in the Middle East was related to Thursday's announcement by the Justice Department of indictments against 13 Saudis and one Lebanese in connection with the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers apartment complex in Saudi Arabia. Nineteen members of the U.S. Air Force were killed in that attack.
It was not immediately clear whether the source of the new threat was known to U.S. officials.
In response to the threat, several Navy minesweeping ships were ordered out of port in Bahrain, which is headquarters for the U.S. 5th Fleet that patrols the Persian Gulf area. The aircraft carrier USS Constellation and her battle group already were at sea, officials said.
Other additional security measures also were taken, but the officials would not disclose details.
The level of security for U.S. forces in the Middle East - known as the "threatcon" - was raised a notch, the officials said. They would not be more specific.
A contingent of 2,200 Marines operating as an Amphibious Ready Group cut short training in Jordan, the officials said. The Marines of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit from Camp Pendleton, Calif., were being taken back aboard their three ships, led by the USS Boxer, an amphibious assault ship.
U.S. Embassy officials in Amman were not immediately available for comment. Jordanian government officials confirmed a joint military exercise with U.S. Marines was suspended indefinitely.
Extra security precautions for U.S. forces in the Middle East have been ordered several times since the bombing last October of the USS Cole in Yemen.
Rumsfeld: 'U.S. vulnerable to emerging threats'
WASHINGTON (AP) - The "two war" strategy that has underpinned U.S. military planning for the past decade has outlived its usefulness, leaving the United States increasingly vulnerable to emerging threats like ballistic missiles and cyberattack, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld told Congress.
"The current strategy is not working, so we owe it to ourselves to ask: What might be better?" Rumsfeld said.
He spoke before the Senate Armed Services Committee and later the House Armed Services Committee. It marked Rumsfeld's first public congressional testimony since he took office in January. Some in Congress have complained that Rumsfeld was keeping them in the dark, although several committee members applauded him Thursday for undertaking an in-depth review of defense needs.
The U.S. defense strategy, fashioned in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union, is based on a capability to win two "major theater wars" - on the scale of the 1991 Gulf War - at nearly the same time. The idea is to have enough combat forces to sustain a conflict in the Persian Gulf, with enough in reserve to dissuade North Korea, for example, from starting a conflict with South Korea.
Rumsfeld said this approach worked well during the 1990s but has been undermined by a lack of investment in the advanced military technologies needed to meet emerging threats. He also said the Pentagon had "skimped on our people, doing harm to their trust and confidence."
Rumsfeld said the Defense Department has sketched the general outlines of a new defense strategy and hopes to present it to the White House for President Bush's approval by late summer. It is being closely examined now by a civilian-military team of experts as part of a broad defense review, he said.
Rumsfeld also told the committees that the administration hopes to have an amended 2002 defense budget request ready for Congress by Wednesday. He provided no figures.
He described the emerging new defense strategy in broad terms, with the barest of detail. He said it would emphasize being prepared for future threats while defending the United States against current threats like terrorism and nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.
It also would enable the United States to maintain forces abroad capable of defeating any adversary, repelling attacks in "a number of critical areas," and conducting a limited number of smaller-scale military missions.
He said the new strategy could require modifications in war plans, but did not elaborate.
Underlying the Bush administration's push for a new defense strategy is the president's belief - shared by Rumsfeld - that the existing approach has put too much strain on the troops and emphasized near-term threats like war on the Korean peninsula at the expense of emerging threats like cyberwar.
Evidence of the difficulties in finding an alternative emerged in Thursday's exchange with members of the House Armed Services Committee.
Rep. Floyd Spence, R-S.C., told Rumsfeld he thought it was premature to drop the current approach because it serves an important purpose in dissuading potentially hostile nations from thinking that they could catch the United States short if it became involved in a war in the Gulf.
"If we change it we confuse a lot of people - friends and allies," Spence said.
Rumsfeld said he fears the United States has become complacent about defense, since the Cold War is over, the U.S. economy is strong and the country faces no immediate threat to its existence.
To illustrate his point he told the story of a Union general who surveyed his Confederate adversary across the battlefield and, confident in his superior position, turned to an aide and said, "They couldn't hit an elephant at this distance." A moment later a sharpshooter's bullet struck him under his left eye, killing him instantly.
"Complacency can kill," Rumsfeld said.
Bin Laden readying to hit US, Israeli interests: TV
DUBAI, Fighters Saudi-born extremist Osama bin Laden are preparing to hit US and Israeli interests around the world, the Arab television channel, the Middle East Broadcasting Centre (MBC) said Saturday.
"I met with bin Laden near Kandahar (Afghanistan) over the last few days and his main supporters said in front of him that there will be a big surprise over the next two weeks," the MBC correspondent said.
Among the bin Laden supporters quoted were Abu Hafs, considered as bin Laden's right-hand man, and Ayman al-Zawahirit, the leader of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad.
The United States on Friday ordered its war fleet in the Gulf to put to sea because of credible threats of terrorist actions, and published a worldwide warning for US citizens travelling abroad.
Washington holds Bin Laden responsible for the 1998 bombings of its embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which killed more than 200 people.
Terror, Iran and the U.S.
New York Times
June 23, 2001
By JAMES RISEN and JANE PERLEZ
WASHINGTON, June 22 - The United States has never known quite what to do about Iran's role in anti- American terrorism. From the embassy bombings and hostage taking in Lebanon during the early 1980's to the Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia in 1996, Washington's response to evidence that Tehran was sponsoring violence against American interests has been marked by deep ambivalence and contorted internal debates among several generations of policy makers.
To critics who advocate a harder line toward Iran, the government's indictment of 13 Saudis and a Lebanese in the Khobar Towers bombing, handed down Thursday, just short of Monday's five-year anniversary of the attack, once again revealed an American reluctance to tackle Tehran head-on on state-sponsored terrorism. United States officials have said they have evidence of Iranian involvement, and at a news conference announcing the indictment, Attorney General John Ashcroft charged that Iranian officials "inspired, supported and supervised members of Saudi Hezbollah" in the attack. But prosecutors stopped short of bringing charges against any individual Iranian officials.
"Why haven't we been more forward leaning on Iran?" asked one former United States official familiar with the long debate in the government over the Khobar Towers case. "The intelligence on Iran is pretty strong, and they could have named names of Iranian officials."
But even Thursday's rather limited indictment has stirred up a hornet's nest in the volatile Persian Gulf region, as Iran denied any role in the bombing and Saudi Arabia disputed American jurisdiction in the case. That underscored the difficult balancing act American policy makers confront whenever dealing with Iran on the issue of terrorism.
For diplomatic and economic reasons, Washington has declined to lean heavily on Saudi Arabia either to extradite suspects it holds in the bombing attack that killed 19 American servicemen and wounded 372 others, or to crack down on the Saudi branch of Hezbollah.
In addition, Pentagon officials said today that American forces in the gulf region had been placed on heightened alert because of the threat of a terrorist attack against United States interests in the region.
As a result of the alert, six Navy ships stationed in Bahrain - four mine sweepers, a supply ship and a destroyer - have been put to sea, joining the Constellation carrier battle group that was already deployed in the region. A Marine exercise in Jordan was cut short, and security has been tightened at bases and ports used by American forces in the region, officials said.
Officials speculated that the threat might be related to the Khobar Towers indictment, and might involve groups related to Osama bin Laden, the Saudi exile who has been charged by the United States with leading the conspiracy to blow up two American embassies in East Africa in 1998.
The Clinton administration was widely criticized for its failure to pursue evidence that Iran was behind the bombing, but now, the Bush administration has shown that same reluctance. Prosecutors did not cite Iranian officials by name despite what some officials said was the hope of Louis J. Freeh, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, that Iranian officials would be charged. Mr. Freeh, who had taken a personal interest in the case, said on Thursday that it would remain open, and Mr. Ashcroft made it clear that the United States would be willing to pursue charges against Iranian officials if more evidence emerged.
One United States official said today that while there was information pointing to Iranian involvement, "that's a long way from being able to make a case in court."
The United States has often been willing to punish lesser nations when they step over the line into support for terrorist acts, often with less evidence of their involvement in specific acts than was the case with the Khobar Towers bombing. The United States bombed Libya in 1986 after it linked it to the bombing of a Berlin nightclub that killed American soldiers. The Clinton administration launched missile strikes against Afghanistan and Sudan in 1998 after the embassy bombings in East Africa. Yet, several administrations have hesitated to retaliate against Iran.
The Khobar Towers case has been complicated by the fact that the attack occurred on the soil of one of America's most important allies in the region, Saudi Arabia, and that most of those suspected of direct involvement are Saudi citizens.
On Friday, Saudi officials complained publicly about the indictment, arguing that the United States had no right to bring a legal case over an incident that occurred in Saudi Arabia. The defense minister, Prince Sultan bin Abdel Aziz, said legal steps in the case "fall within the jurisdiction of Saudi Arabia."
Iran, meanwhile, denied any role in the Khobar bombing. A Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hamid Reza Assei, said today that the "U.S. judiciary has leveled charges against Iran which have no legal and judicial basis," the Islamic Republic News Agency reported.
Early on, the United States approached the incident almost purely as a law enforcement matter, in contrast to the way the government responded to the East Africa embassy bombings two years later. After those, the United States quickly retaliated with cruise missile strikes against Afghanistan and Sudan, in an effort to punish Mr. bin Laden and his network. Only later did Washington seek indictments against Mr. bin Laden and others in his organization.
"We chose law enforcement retaliation versus military retaliation," the former Clinton administration official said. The Khobar investigation, however, bogged down in turf battles between the F.B.I. and the Saudis. The bureau complained of a lack of cooperation from the Saudi authorities, while the Saudis privately began to complain that the Clinton administration did not seem interested in hearing about evidence that Iran was behind the attack.
Ultimately, American officials said cooperation improved, and the Saudis are believed to have provided much of the evidence that led to the indictments.
By 1999, the evidence linking Iran to the bombing was strong enough so that President Clinton sent a secret letter to Iran's president, Mohammad Khatami, asking for help in solving the Khobar case. The letter was sent after the United States obtained convincing information that Iranian officials were behind the attack. The letter came in the midst of Mr. Clinton's broader efforts to reach out to Mr. Khatami and engage the reformist forces in Iran.
But the Iranians refused to help on the case. Mr. Freeh reportedly concluded that the Clinton administration was not serious about solving the case, and he is said to have waited until Mr. Clinton left office in order to try to bring charges in the matter. The indictment came in Mr. Freeh's last week in office as F.B.I. director.
"I'm disappointed that they didn't name the Iranians," said Fran Heiser, of Palm Coast, Fla., the mother of one of the bombing victims. "There has been so much talk around and around it. I hope they have a reasonable answer."
Searching for Bin Laden
Wednesday May 30
U.S. commandos have been inside Afghanistan (news - web sites), ready to seize Osama bin Laden (news - web sites), but were called off at the last moment.
The U.S. government set up several secret commando missions to capture Osama bin Laden, only to call them off at the last minute, U.S. military and intelligence sources have told ABCNEWS.
The commando missions were arranged by teams assembled by the CIA (news - web sites) and the Defense Department, but abandoned because people in charge were not comfortable with the risks, sources say.
Some of the commando team members have already been inside Afghanistan, where bin Laden has lived since 1996. Other teams are on several hours' notice to try again, the sources say.
A commando operation to capture bin Laden would entail much higher risks. American commandos could be killed or captured, and any botched raid would only add to bin Laden's mystique, U.S. officials say.
U.S. officials accuse the exiled Saudi dissident of masterminding the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 and want him to stand trial. Four of his followers were convicted in the case Tuesday, but bin Laden and numerous other defendants are still at large. The bombings killed 224 people, including 12 Americans.
The United States targeted bin Laden three years ago, soon after the bombings. U.S. warships in the Arabian Sea fired cruise missiles at a suspected bin Laden training camp in Afghanistan.
A Hard Man to Find
The U.S. government spends hundreds of millions of dollars each year trying to learn every detail of bin Laden's life, using satellites and a network of informers. For years, the United States has been waiting for him to make a mistake.
"We have people that track him all the time and know him probably better than his wives know him," says Jeff Ellis, a former commando who participated in several secret missions to capture terrorists overseas.
"If there's an opportunity to grab this guy, the government, unless they've changed, will go after him," says Ellis, who now works for Research Planning Inc., a private sector company based in Falls Church, Va.
But bin Laden has proven to be an extremely difficult target, sources say.
He has stopped using easy-to-trace satellite phones. He disguises his travel by using beaten-up old trucks or cars, sleeps in a different place every night and often changes his plans at the last minute. He is heavily guarded.
"He'll have people that will sit down there and work him through where he gets his food, how he gets his food, where he sleeps that night, how they're going to move him. It's just like the Secret Service protecting our president," says Ellis.
"The kind of detailed knowledge we need about his immediate movements, his everyday activities and his current location at any given time are very difficult to come up with," says retired Lt. Gen. Patrick Hughes, former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. "Without knowing where he is going to be, chances are you won't apprehend him."
In the 1998 airstrike, the cruise missiles hit the camp just two hours after bin Laden's departure, U.S. sources say.
"The problem is, if one is going to contemplate a strike on him ... one needs absolutely perfect information. Not only now but where he will be in the next hour or two," says Ken Katzman, a former CIA analyst who now works for the Congressional Research Service.
U.S. Still Hopes to Nab bin Laden
New York Times
May 30, 2001
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Bush administration hasn't given up on capturing Osama bin Laden, the exiled Saudi accused of masterminding terrorism, now isolated in Afghanistan with a $5 million bounty on his head.
While hailing the convictions of four followers of bin Laden in New York, U.S. officials and private analysts acknowledge that a long and difficult road lies ahead before victory can be proclaimed over bin Laden.
State Department spokesman Philip Reeker said Wednesday the United States remains ``committed to seeing justice done.''
``Mr. bin Laden should be delivered to a country where he can be brought to justice,'' Reeker said. He said strict U.N. sanctions against the Islamic Taliban regime, which controls Afghanistan and considers bin Laden a persecuted holy warrior, demonstrates the global opposition to sheltering him.
U.S. officials acknowledged that Pakistan, a Cold War ally and Afghanistan's eastern neighbor, has been an obstacle to fulfilling of U.S. policy goals. They said Pakistan continues to supply weapons to the Taliban in defiance of a U.N. Security Council resolution.
Vincent Cannistraro, a former CIA chief of counterterrorism operations, called Tuesday's convictions in a New York court a modest victory but said there are ``hundreds and hundreds more like them who will take their place.''
On Tuesday, a Manhattan federal court jury convicted the four allies of bin Laden for their roles in the bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in August 1998 that killed 228 people.
As for bin Laden, Cannistraro said, ``We don't have him on the run. He's still able to do about one major operation a year.''
A U.S. official who follows terrorism said the convictions marked a breakthrough but added the threat has not abated.
Hours after the convictions were announced, the State Department urged overseas Americans to maintain high vigilance and to increase their security awareness.
The statement was a reaffirmation of a warning issued three weeks ago, after the trial began.
The CIA would not comment on the verdict but said testimony on bin Laden last February by CIA Director George Tenet remains valid.
At the time, Tenet said bin Laden had declared all U.S. citizens legitimate targets of attack and demonstrated a capability to plan ``multiple attacks with little or no warning.''
The Bush administration is reviewing the policy for dealing with bin Laden that it inherited from the Clinton administration. The State Department is offering a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to bin Laden's capture.
As evidence of international opposition to the Taliban, the U.N. Security Council has imposed sanctions twice over the past two years.
Nevertheless, the Taliban vowed Wednesday never to hand over bin Laden.
``He is a great holy warrior of Islam and a great benefactor of the Afghan people,'' said Abdul Anan Himat, a senior official at the Taliban information ministry.
The Afghan problem is one of the few issues on which the United States and Russia agree. Russia believes bin Laden is using Afghanistan as a base to foment Islamic fundamentalist uprisings in Chechnya as well as several of the former Soviet republics, including Uzbekistan.
U.S. and Russian officials have met several times on the issue, including last week at the State Department. The department said the two sides agreed ``to review specific steps to counter the threats from terrorism and narcotics production emanating from Afghan territory.''
Cannistraro said Russia, along with Iran and India, has been supporting an anti-Taliban resistance group in Northern Afghanistan, and he urged the Bush administration to adopt the same policy. It is not clear whether the administration is considering that option.
The most dramatic U.S. attempt to do away with bin Laden occurred in August 1998 when President Clinton ordered cruise missile strikes against bin Laden's suspected hide-out. The missiles landed wide of the mark.
Barnett Rubin, of New York University's Center for International Cooperation, recommended that the United States offer a large package of reconstruction aid to the Taliban in return for a change in behavior.
He said he was not confident the proposal would be accepted by the Afghans, but the mere offer could encourage Taliban moderates to challenge the rule of the hard-line faction now in charge.
Bin Laden Rides Again: Myth vs. Reality
A 'plot' to assassinate President Bush and a second to attack the U.S. military in the Gulf -all in the same week.
BY TONY KARON
Wednesday, Jun. 20, 2001
That It Boy of international terror, Osama Bin Laden, is back in the news. Headlines from just the past week: "Russians Reveal Bin Laden Plot to Kill Bush at G8 Meeting." "Bin Laden Video Claims Responsibility for Cole Bombing." "Yemen Foils Bin Laden Plot to Kill U.S. Investigators." "Bin Laden Group Planned to Blow Up U.S. Embassy in India..." And finally, at week's end, U.S. forces all over the Gulf confined to barracks and ships put to sea because of a "non-specific but credible threat" from Bin Laden's group. Vile acts and wretched conspiracies reported from all over the world, all carrying the imprimatur of the Saudi terror tycoon skulking in the hills of Afghanistan, his name now the globally recognizable shorthand for Islamist terror in the same way that "Xerox" has become for "photocopy."
In the language of advertising, Bin Laden has become a brand - a geopolitical Keyser Soze, an omnipresent menace whose very name invokes perils far beyond his capability. To be sure, his threat is very real. Bin Laden is a financier of considerable means who maintains a network of loyalists committed to a war of terror against the U.S. And he has put his money, connections and notoriety to work in attracting a far wider web of pre-existing Islamist groups to his jihad against Washington.
If Bin Laden didn't exist, we'd have to invent him
Still, the media's picture of Bin Laden sitting in a high-tech Batcave in the mountains around Kandahar ordering up global mayhem at the click of a mouse is more than a little ludicrous. Yes, the various networks of Islamist terror have made full use of the possibilities presented by technology and globalization. But few serious intelligence professionals believe Bin Laden is the puppet-master atop a pyramid structure of terror cells. It's really not that simple, but personalizing the threat - while it distorts both the nature of the problem and the remedy - is a time-honored tradition. Before Bin Laden, the face of the global terror threat against Americans belonged to the Palestinian radical Abu Nidal. Or was it Colonel Ghaddafi? Ayatolla Khomeini, perhaps? And does anyone even remember the chubby jowls of Carlos the Jackal, whose image drawn from an old passport picture was once the icon of global terror?
Personalizing makes it seem more manageable. Bin Laden may be out of reach right now, safe in the care of Afghanistan's Taliban rulers. But by making him the root of the problem, we hold out the possibility that his ultimate removal from the scene will make the world safe from Islamist terror. A comforting thought, but a delusion nonetheless.
The dangers are real. The Cole bombing, and this week's indictments handed down in the Khobar Towers attack, are brutal reminders of the vulnerability of U.S. personnel stationed in the Arab world to attack by extremists. Last Saturday, Indian police arrested a group of men allegedly planning to blow up the U.S. embassy in New Delhi and quickly turned up evidence linking the plot to Bin Laden. Two days later, an unrelated plan, involving suicide bombers killing U.S. agents investigating the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole, was foiled in Yemen; their trail, too, leads back to Bin Laden. He was in the news again the following day after Western reporters were shown a Bin Laden promotional video in which he appeared to claim responsibility for the bombing of the Cole in a macabre poem.
Then there is the sublime: For sheer diabolical genius (of the Hollywood variety), nothing came close to the reports that European security services are preparing to counter a Bin Laden attempt to assassinate President Bush at next month's G8 summit in Genoa, Italy.
Iraq Says It Will 'Punish' Allies
By Sameer N. Yacoub
Associated Press Writer
Thursday, June 21, 2001; 3:17 p.m. EDT
BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Iraq warned that an alleged U.S.-British airstrike on a soccer field "will not go unpunished," the official Iraqi News Agency reported Thursday.
Iraq claimed that an allied airstrike Tuesday killed 23 people in Tall Afar, 275 miles northwest of Baghdad, but Washington said if there were deaths, they were likely caused by Iraq's own "misdirected ground fire."
"Iraqis will not be terrorized by such criminal acts," Iraq's ambassador to the United Nations, Mohammed al-Douri, told the agency.
U.S. and British defense officials said a mission was flown over Iraq's no-fly zone Tuesday, but denied warplanes fired on any positions.
The Pentagon said Iraqi forces had fired several surface-to-air missiles at allied planes and it appeared that part of at least one of the Iraqi missiles malfunctioned and landed on the soccer field.
"How do the U.S. officials know the missile malfunctioned?" an Iraqi Foreign Ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity, asked The Associated Press. "Do they have representatives working with our anti-aircraft missiles units?"
Lauren Cannon, the leader of visiting American and British activists currently visiting Iraq, said the group will travel to Tall Afar "to see for ourselves who was behind the deaths."
The newspaper of Iraq's ruling Baath party, Al-Thawra, accused the U.N. Security Council on Thursday of "turning a blind eye to U.S. and British aggression because it is dominated by the United States."
The Security Council imposed sanctions on Iraq after its 1990 invasion of Kuwait.
"This new aggression is more proof of America's political and moral bankruptcy," the paper said in an editorial.
Allied aircraft patrol zones over southern and northern Iraq, which were established after the 1991 Persian Gulf War to protect Shiite Muslims rebels in the south and Kurds in the north. British and American jets enforcing the northern zone are based in Turkey.
Iraq does not recognize the no-fly zones and has challenged allied aircraft since December 1998.
6/24/01 Afghan Taliban Dismiss Bin Laden Threat Reports
6/25/01 Bin Laden aide denies attack plan As U.S. forces remain on alert, Israel also warns of terror threat
6/26/01 U.S. Has Bin Laden 'On the Run,' Sen. Shelby Says
06/26/01 Overlooking Terrorism
06/26/01 A Memo From Osama
06/29/01 U.S. Tells Taliban to Control Bin Laden
08/06/01 FBI´s growth abroad adds to clashes
08/10/01 US - Iraq Chronology
08/16/01 GAO: FBI Doesn't Always Share Info
08/19/01 F.B.I. Is Investigating a Senior Counterterrorism AgentThe F.B.I. has begun an internal investigation into one of its most senior counterterrorism officials, who misplaced a briefcase containing highly classified information last year. The briefcase contained a number of sensitive documents, including a report outlining virtually every national security operation in New York, government officials said. The agent, John O'Neill, left government service to head up security at World Trade Center and died in the 9-11 attacks
08/21/01 FBI Confirms Probe of Stolen Briefcase
08/21/01 U.S.: FBI Team May Return to Yemen for Cole Probe
08/31/01 2 U.S. Embassies In E. Europe Shut
09/04/01 US Aircraft Bomb Iraqi Air Defenses
09/04/01 FBI Agents Resume Cole Probe
09/07/01 Committee Approves Intelligence Bill
09/07/01 Americans in Japan warned of possible terror attack
09/09/01 U.S. attacks three Iraqi missile sites
09/11/01 US SHIES AWAY FROM UN TREATIES ON TERRORISM
09/11/01 Planes crash into World Trade Center
09/12/01 Saddam Says 'Evil' U.S. Policy to Blame for Attacks
09/12/01 Plotters Found the Flaw In Nation's Defense Plans - Debate Revived on Sharp Rise of Counterterrorism Spending
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