Iraq: December 4, 2002


  Saudi Arabia and other OPEC countries have increased oil production and sales over the last few months. This has produced a glut on the market that might cushion the inevitable shock when Iraqi oil exports (legal and illegal) are interrupted.

UN arms inspectors in Iraq have been giving the Iraqis 12-36 hours warning of "surprise" inspections but insist that this is "purely a matter of logistics" since they needed a crane to change cameras and air sampling devices. US officials are concerned that this shows that the European-dominated inspection teams intend to avoid finding anything.

Iraqi officials have publicly insisted that they have no chemical or biological weapons and have privately warned the US that they will use such weapons early in (rather than at the end of) any US-led war against them.--Stephen V Cole

American and British warplanes bombed an Iraqi air defense base in northern Iraq after the Iraqis fired on the patrolling aircraft. 


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