A fly crawls on the face of 19-month-old Ahiam Fazel,
one of the many malnourished youngsters at Al Mansour Hospital
in Iraq.

BAGHDAD, Iraq (August 23, 1999 AP/Nandotimes)
Western warplanes struck northern Iraq on Monday, bombing a site the United States said was an Iraqi military radar station. Iraq said it was a residential area.

The strike in a residential area of Ba'sheqa, 280 miles north of Baghdad, left "a number of people" dead or injured, Information Ministry sources said on customary condition of anonymity.

Year later, US attack on factory still hurts Sudan

By Jonathan Belke, 08/22/99 (Boston Globe)

Friday marked the one-year anniversary of the US Tomahawk cruise missile attack on the $100 million El-Shifa Pharmaceuticals factory in North Khartoum, Sudan. While the attack killed or injured several people, the loss of the factory has had longer-term consequences for the people of Sudan. Without the lifesaving medicine it produced, Sudan's death toll from the bombing has continued, quietly, to rise.

US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright justified this attack on Aug. 20, 1998, by citing the need to combat terrorism as the war of the future, and claimed this factory was capable of producing nerve gas. Indeed, administration officials claimed that a soil sample from outside the plant contained traces of a substance used in nerve gas production. The bombing was ordered a week after terrorist bombs destroyed US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

But now, a year later, there is not a shred of evidence suggesting that the pharmaceutical plant in Sudan produced nerve gas.

The El-Shifa facility had been called the Pride of Africa at its opening, which drew much fanfare, heads of state, foreign ministers, and ambassadors. The factory even became a supplier of medicine to Iraq as part of the United Nations Food for Oil program.

More importantly, this factory provided affordable medicine for humans and all the locally available veterinary medicine in Sudan. It produced 90 percent of Sudan's major pharmaceutical products. Sanctions against Sudan make it impossible to import adequate amounts of medicines required to cover the serious gap left by the plant's destruction.

Thus, tens of thousands of people - many of them children - have suffered and died from malaria, tuberculosis, and other treatable diseases.

Outside America, the US missile attack on El-Shifa still is seen by many as another case of Washington using double standards, which has become omnipresent in US foreign policymaking since 1945. Clearly, Washington would not have accepted a missile attack by foreign powers on, say, the Aldrich Chemical Co. factory in Milwaukee, because Empta - the key ingredient in producing nerve gas, according to US experts - was found in a suspect soil sample.

…the action taken by Washington on Aug. 20, 1998, continues to deprive the people of Sudan of needed medicine. Millions must wonder how the International Court of Justice in The Hague will celebrate this anniversary.