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 Thursday, March 20, 2003

Iraq - The Countdown To War

Civilian Casualty Update

Full text: UN security council resolution 1441 on Iraq

THE first shots of the war have been fired, killing at least one Iraqi during a suspected operation to mine the waters off Kuwait. The first clash occurred in the mouth of the Khawr al-Zubayr river, a few miles south of the port of Umm Qasr, when a Kuwaiti gunboat challenged a flotilla of about 25 Iraqi dhows. The boats failed to respond and the Kuwaitis opened fire.

The highest-level officer to defect from Saddam Hussein’s army disappeared from his home in Denmark on Monday under mysterious circumstances, according to family members and a Danish state official. Gen. Nizar al-Khazraji, Saddam’s former army chief of staff, was seen by some as playing an important role in a post-war Iraqi military.



European Union officials have launched an investigation after bugging devices were found at offices used by several delegations - including those of France, Germany and the UK. The Justus Lipsius building, where the bugging devices were found, is a regular meeting place for EU ministers. It houses the secretariat of the EU Council of Ministers. The bloc's foreign ministers have been meeting there this week. The building also houses the offices of the EU's foreign policy chief, Javier Solana Extra security measures have been adopted ahead of a meeting of EU leaders in Brussels on Thursday and Friday

The Serbian Government has taken action against more than 30 judges, as part of its continuing crackdown following the assassination of Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic. The judges, including seven from the Supreme Court, have been retired early.
No specific allegations have been made against them. Restrictions on local media are also being enforced, with two dailies - Nacional and Dan - and the weekly Identitet banned on Tuesday allegedly for hindering the police investigation

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