News Release

Members of U.S. Delegation to Baghdad Available for Interviews

Interviews are available with members of a U.S. delegation to Iraq sponsored by the Institute for Public Accuracy. Members of the delegation met with Tariq Aziz and other Iraqi officials over the weekend.

In Damascus:

Rep. NICK RAHALL and former Sen. JAMES ABOUREZK, en route back to the U.S. from their visit to Baghdad.
In a story in the Washington Post today entitled “Congressman Sees Hope For Return of Inspectors: Bush’s Call for Ousting Hussein Cited as Obstacle,” the Post reports that “[Rahall said] there was a ‘strong possibility’ Iraq would agree to unrestricted U.N. weapons inspections if President Bush backed down from his call for Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein to be replaced…. Meetings this weekend with senior Iraqi officials, including the deputy prime minister and a speaker of the national assembly, left him with the impression that Hussein’s government was ‘very interested’ in allowing inspectors to return unconditionally but wanted diplomats from countries other than the United States to serve as independent arbiters of disputes between Iraq and the U.N. inspection commission…. The deputy prime minister, Tariq Aziz, insisted Saturday that even if his government readmitted the weapons inspectors, the United States and Britain would proceed with military action. ‘It’s doomed if you do, doomed if you don’t,’ he said.”

Rahall returns to the U.S. on Tuesday early afternoon.

See: www.commondreams.org/headlines02/0916-01.htm

In Baghdad:

JIM JENNINGS
President of Conscience International, an Atlanta-based humanitarian aid organization, Jennings has been to Iraq many times.

NORMAN SOLOMON
Executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy, Solomon said today: “During our meeting with Aziz, it was clear he felt that even if Iraq fully complied with the weapons inspectors, the administration would try to find some other pretext for a massive military assault…. One of the concerns the Iraqi government has is that unless there are safeguards that the inspectors will not be spies, then the Iraqis would be better off not letting them in at all. The fear is that if inspectors functioning as spies were let in, then U.S. military officials would end up with more information about sites to attack.”
See: “U.S. Says It Collected Iraq Intelligence Via UNSCOM”
www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/inatl/longterm/iraq/stories/unscom010899.htm

“Iraq Arms Teams Were ‘Manipulated'”:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/middle_east/2161552.stm

“Autopsy of a Disaster: The U.S. Sanctions Policy on Iraq
Myth: The Sanctions Will be Lifted When Iraq Complies with the U.N. Inspections”:
www.accuracy.org/iraq

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020 or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167