- The Washington Times - Friday, September 22, 2000

'Worrisome' Iraq

Kuwaiti Ambassador Mohammed Sabah knows what it means when Saddam Hussein starts complaining about Kuwait's oil industry.

The last time the Iraqi dictator leveled accusations against his neighbor, he invaded, sparking the Gulf war and U.N. sanctions. In 1990, Saddam charged Kuwait with flooding the market with oil and driving down prices. Now he is accusing Kuwaitis of stealing his oil.

Kuwait has responded by inviting international oil experts to examine its drilling operations near the Iraqi border.

"The real question is why these allegations are being resurrected again at this time," Mr. Sabah said in a statement this week.

"Saddam Hussein is challenging the no-fly zones, violating his neighbor's sovereign airspace and now we hear the warlike rhetoric we heard in 1990. This is very worrisome."

The Kuwaiti Embassy said the United Nations monitors Kuwait's drilling operations in a border oil field shared by Kuwait and Iraq. Kuwait is producing 43,000 barrels a day from that portion of the field inside its boundaries, the embassy said.

Northern Irish policing

Congress today opens a hearing into British plans to revamp Northern Ireland's police force, which critics have accused of human rights abuses against the Catholic minority.

Rep. Christopher H. Smith is calling British and Irish representatives to testify before his congressional human rights panel, the U.S. Helsinki Commission.

The New Jersey Republican will open his hearing two days after a rocket attack on the headquarters of Britain's MI6 secret intelligence service. Authorities suspect dissident elements of the Irish Republican Army.

The British Parliament is considering proposals to rename the Royal Ulster Constabulary to eliminate references and symbols of the British crown. The proposals also call for recruiting more Catholics.

The Catholic community has complained for years of mistreatment from the Protestant-dominated police force, which is well-respected by the Protestant majority.

Witnesses scheduled to testify today include Brendan O'Leary, a political science professor at the London School of Economics and a specialist on the Northern Irish police issue; Gerald Lynch, president of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York and a member of an independent commission on Northern Irish policing; Martin O'Brien, director of the Committee on the Administration of Justice in Belfast, Northern Ireland; and Elisa Massimino of the Washington office of the Lawyers' Committee for Human Rights.

The hearing from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. will be held in Room 2172 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

Beware in Indonesia

The State Department yesterday warned Americans to be extremely cautious in Indonesia, where U.S. citizens or property may be targeted by terrorists responsible for a recent series of bombings.

The latest bomb on Sept. 13 exploded at the stock exchange building in the capital, Jakarta. The blast killed 15 persons. However, no Americans were among the victims.

"The U.S. Embassy has had indications that the wave of recent bombings in Jakarta may escalate and that American companies and interests may be targeted," the department said in a statement.

"The Department of State urged all American citizens to exercise extreme caution."

It advised Americans in Indonesia to "be alert … and keep a low profile."

Truman gets a building

The State Department building, where diplomats often practice the fine art of obfuscation, today will be named after Harry S. Truman, a president known for his straight talk.

At yesterday's press briefing, spokesman Richard Boucher made sure the diplomatic reporters knew of the name change.

"Let me start off the last briefing in a building that has no name," he said.

"Tomorrow, we will no longer be nameless. I don't know what that does to all your anonymous sources; whether I'll be Harry S. Truman, or what, but we will have a name tomorrow for our building."

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