Previous PageTable Of ContentsNext Page


In the months prior to the war, the attention of the Bush Administration and the media was focused on Iraq's brutal occupation of Kuwait, the formidable power of the Iraqi military, and the regime's abysmal human rights record. The public learned practically nothing else about the Republic of Iraq, a highly urbanized and developed nation of 168,000 square miles, slightly larger than the state of California, and thus had little appreciation of the damage to be wrought.

Iraq's population was estimated at almost 18.8 million as of July 1990.1 Over 46 percent of the population is under the age of 16; some 5 million Iraqi children are under five years old.2 Iraq's economy also absorbed over one million third-country nationals -- workers and their dependents -- prior to the outbreak of the Gulf crisis.3 By January 1991, approximately 750,000 foreigners remained, including 80,000 Palestinians. Three cities had a population of over a half-million by 1980: Baghdad, Basra and Mosul. By 1987, seventy percent of Iraq's residents lived in urban areas, compared to 64 percent in 1977 and 44 percent in1965.4 Even harsh critics of the Ba'athist regime acknowledge its accomplishments in transforming Iraq into a modern state:

The Iraqi Baath not only built up the fifth largest army in the world and an enormous, pervasive secret police; it also transformed Iraq's physical infrastructure, its educational system, social relations, and its technology, industry, and science. The Baath regime provided free health and education for everyone, and it also revolutionized transport and electrified virtually every village in the country. Iraq has today a proportionately very large middle class; its intelligentsia is one of the best educated in the Arab world.5

The petroleum industry was the source of 95 percent of Iraq's export earnings. Oil fueled Iraq's economy, accounting for two-thirds of the gross domestic product prior to the disruptions of the Iran-Iraq war, which included the bombing of facilities in Basra in the south.6 The largest and richest oil fields are located in northern Iraq, near Mosul and Kirkuk; smaller fields are near Basra. Before the Gulf war, Iraq's refineries and petrochemical plants met the country's domestic needs for refined petroleum products.7

After the cessation of hostilties with Iran in 1988, Iraq mounted a major reconstruction program to rebuild and expand its petroleum industry. By the beginning of 1990, Iraq was pumping three million barrels of crude oil daily, making it the second-largest oil producer inOPEC, next to Saudi Arabia.8 Later that year, the London Financial Times noted Saudi nervousness at the post-war resurgence of Iraq's petroleum industry: "Saudi Arabia was almost bound to be irritated by the re-emergence of such a powerful rival. Riyadh well knows that Iraq --with oil reserves second only to its own -- could threaten its pre-eminence in the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries."9 In the early months of 1990, Iraq supplied 675,000 barrels of oil to the U.S. daily.10 Its capacity to export was growing faster than any other oil-producing state -- former Iraqi oil minister Issam Abdul Raheem al-Chalabi said that $2 billion a year was being invested in the oil industry.11

Iraq's oil exporting depended primarily on pipelines across Saudi Arabia -- to the Red Sea port of Yanbu -- and Turkey. The pipelines carried over 90 percent of the country's crude oil to markets abroad. The 820-mile twin pipelines that run from Iraq across southern Turkey to the Mediterranean port of Yumurtalik -- bypassing Syrian territory -- carried 1.5 million barrels daily from the Kirkuk oilfields in northern Iraq.12 Half of Turkey's oil imports were from Iraq, and Turkey earned $300 million a year in pipeline transit fees.13

Iraq's pre-eminence as an oil producer earned it classification by the World Bank in 1990 as one of the world's 17 upper middle-incomeeconomies, based on gross national product per capita.14 Iraq ranked above the 37 lower-middle-income states, which include Egypt, Syria and Turkey.15 Compared to other countries in the region, Iraq's labor force includes a high proportion of skilled workers, administrators, scientists and technocrats.16 Educated women enjoyed high labor-force participation rates; prior to the Iran-Iraq war, for example, women comprised 46 percent of all teachers, 29 percent of all doctors, 46 percent of all dentists and 70 percent of all pharmacists.17

The allies' air war wreaked major destruction on Iraq's oil industry and modern infrastructure. For example, by the end of the war only two of Iraq's 20 electricity-generating plants were functioning, generating less than four percent of the pre-war output of 9,000 megawatts.18 The report of the United Nations mission that visited Iraq in March 1991 concluded:

The recent conflict has wrought near-apocalyptic results upon the economic infrastructure of what had been, until January 1991, a rather highly urbanized and mechanized society. Now, most means of modern life support have been destroyed or rendered tenuous. Iraq has, for some time to come, been relegated to a pre-industrial age, butwith all the disabilities of post-industrial dependency on an intensive use of energy and technology.19

Estimates about the extent of damage in Iraq vary wildly. Then-Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Saadoun Hammadi in February put the cost of repairing the damage in Iraq from the air war -- to roads, bridges, electrical-generating plants, oil refineries and other facilities -- at $200 billion.20 One U.S. official interviewed by Reuters indicated that such a figure was not off the mark:

The Iraqis spent at least $160 billion on infrastructure projects in the 1980s. Assuming that most of them have been damaged or destroyed, reconstruction would cost considerably more in 1991 dollars.21

Others say the cost of repairing the damage will be lower. Ahmed Chalabi, an Iraqi expatriate banker "familiar with internal Iraqi data" estimated that $60 billion worth of infrastructure was destroyed in the allied bombing campaign.22 And the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency believes that the cost of repairing the bomb damage could reach $30 billion.23


The bombardment of Iraqi targets was reportedly based on an "intricately detailed air-war plan," drafted six weeks after the invasion of Kuwait by Brig. Gen. Buster C. Glosson -- commander of the 14th Air Division -- and his associates at U.S. Central Command.24 Gen. Schwarzkopf introduced Gen. Glosson at a briefing on January 30 as the "principal Air Force target planner." Lt. Gen. Charles A. Horner, the head of air operations for Central Command, had overall responsibility for the air-war campaign.25

A retired U.S. Air Force officer described the "massive surveillance" effort over Iraq during the five months leading up to the war:

For a full five months before the Jan. 15 deadline, the U.S. focused its intelligence gathering capabilities on Iraq's 170,000 square miles. Using satellites, high-altitude aircraft, electronic eavesdropping equipment and state-of-the-art analysis techniques, the U.S. patiently examined nearly every square inch of Iraq and listened to the voice communications of its military and civilian leaders.26

Verification of objects as military targets apparently had to proceed without "human intelligence" on the ground in Iraq, a tightly controlled society, where the CIA reportedly lacked even one skilled agent:

The wheels of power in Baghdad were controlled entirely by Saddam Hussein and members of his family, supported by an efficient and omnipresent secret police force. William Casey, director of the CIA under Reagan, had been forced to admit that the Agency did not have a single skilled agent in Iraq, and the situation had not changed since.27

During the war, the initial list of 400 strategic targets almost doubled to over 700, based on two factors: additional intelligence-gathering that identified targets, and an increased number of B-52 and F-117A bombers available in the military theater to attack targets.28

Information has not been disclosed by the Pentagon or the White House about the U.S. military and civilian officials involved in approving these target lists. The New York Times reported that target selection was the responsibility of Central Command headquarters, not the White House.29 Journalist Bob Woodward reported that President Bush, Secretary of Defense Cheney, Secretary of State Baker and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Powell all reviewed the target list, but "[t]o avoid a repeat of the military's Vietnam nightmare -- President Lyndon Johnson leaning over maps in the White House, circling specific targets -- Powell had kept as much air-targeting information as possible out of Washington."30

With the first strikes of the air war set to begin at 3 am Saudi time on January 17, Secretary Cheney went over the target list with the President on the night of January 13. According to Woodward:
The President was concerned about one set of targets and asked that it be dropped. It included statues of Saddam and triumphal arches thought to be of great psychological value to the Iraqi people as national symbols.31

The next day, Secretary of State Baker reviewed the targets at the Pentagon. According to Woodward: "Cheney wanted Baker to apply his political eye to the air campaign, to see if he spotted any unforeseen consequences. No other changes were made in the target lists."32 Secretary Cheney told reporters in June that every target was "perfectly legitimate" and that "If I had to do it over again, I would do exactly the same thing."33

Gen. Horner, at a briefing on January 18 in Saudi Arabia, praised the independence given to the military in developing the air war plan. "If we have any success in this air campaign," he said, "I can attribute it in large measure to the freedom with which we've been allowed to plan the campaign."34 Gen. Schwarzkopf said that he was responsible for target selection and, according to The Wall Street Journal, "is overruled by civilians only if they think he is doing something particularly `dumb.'"35

However, after the bombing of the civilian air-raid shelter in Baghdad's al-Ameriyya neighborhood on February 13, described in Chapter Three of this report, U.S. Defense Secretary Cheney reportedlyordered that all targets in Baghdad be reviewed by the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff prior to the execution of bombing raids.36

Target Verification: Unanswered Questions
As we pointed out above, an object on the target list was not necessarily attacked in the opening days or weeks of Operation Desert Storm unless it had priority status. For example, the Ameriyya shelter was said to have been on the target list for months, but it was not classified as a priority target until early February, when U.S. military officials claimed that military messages were being transmitted from the building.37

The actual bombing raids were planned several days in advance, according to Lt. Gen. Thomas Kelly, operations director for the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff.38 A few days prior to an attack, "strike packages" of aircraft and ordnance were prepared, and the targets were said to have been examined by photo-reconnaissance satellites.39 But military officials admitted that it was difficult to check recent aerial photographs in a timely fashion, prior to each attack. "We get a lot more intelligence data than we have time to look at and there are literally thousands of targets worth looking at," a senior U.S. official said.40 The apparent failure to carefully check intelligence data for the presence of civilians has been noted as one of the fatal flaws in the bombing of the Ameriyya shelter, which had long been on the allies' target list. Noting the overload of intelligence information, one senior U.S. official told The Washington Post: "It's not surprising that we didn't look at this the daybefore the [Ameriyya] raid," assuming that intelligence photographs were available.

Witnesses interviewed by Middle East Watch, including witnesses from the neighborhood, stated that civilians consistently had been using the Ameriyya shelter since the first days of the air war (see Chapter Three), which suggests that the U.S. intelligence lapse was not merely of one day's duration. The tragedy at Ameriyya raised questions, first, about the criteria that were used to place objects on the target list and, second, about the procedures used to verify that these objects were indeed military objectives that could be attacked under the rules of war. These questions still remain unanswered.

The Need for Disclosure
As discussed in Chapter One of this report, it is not permissible to launch an attack which offers only potential or indeterminate advantages. A legitimate military target must meet two tests: it must effectively contribute to the enemy's military action and its destruction must offer a "definite military advantage" to the attacking party in the "circumstances ruling at the time." The military advantage to the attacker must be "concrete and perceptible," and not "a hypothetical or speculative one," in the words of one authoritative commentary on the laws of war.41

Allied military spokesmen have never publicly disclosed the specific criteria used to categorize Iraqi "strategic" targets as military objectives. Nor has a detailed list of targets -- over 700 by one report --been revealed.

Only some of the targets attacked were mentioned by allied military briefers during the war, and most of these were indisputable military objectives such as Iraqi armed forces, military equipment, and military production facilities. In contrast, allied spokespersons were generally reluctant to provide information about other targets that were attacked. The Washington Post noted the refusal of the Pentagon to discuss this subject at a briefing on January 21:

Nor has the military said how many hits were made on economic targets such as Iraqi oil refineries and manufacturing plants, or explained the rationale for striking targets that could play a key role in Iraq's recovery after the war.

    When asked if he would anwer some of these questions at the daily Pentagon briefing [on January 21], Army Lt. Gen. Thomas Kelly, senior operations officer for the Joint Staff, said, "The short answer is no."42

This chapter contains information about attacks by coalition forces on targets that had civilian uses or supported Iraq's civilian population, including electricity-generating and water-treatment facilities, food-processing plants, food- and seed-storage warehouses, flour mills and a dairy-products plant. Allied damage to other objects with civilian uses is noted elsewhere in this report. Reports from northern Iraq during the war indicated that a sugar refinery, a textile factory and domestic heating-gas plant were bombed (see Chapter Five). A journalist who visited southern Iraq after the war saw a sugar factory and clay-baking kilns that had been bombed.43 Middle East Watch took testimony about the bombing of an underwear-manufacturing plant in southern Iraq (see Chapter Three).

The Iraqi government also complained during the war that a number of non-military industrial and manufacturing facilities had been attacked by coalition forces. For example, in a January 24 letter to the United Nations Secretary General, Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Tarek Aziz listed, among other objects, the following as being attacked between January 17 and January 21: pasteboard, plastic foam and vegetable oil factories in Baghdad governorate; a poultry farm in al-Anbar governorate; a sugar factory in Maysan governorate; and a textile plant in Hilla in southern Iraq.

Allied attacks on such targets generally were not mentioned by military briefers during the war. Since these factories do not appear to have been involved in military-related production, Middle East Watch believes that the burden is on the allies to explain why these facilities were attacked and how the attacks complied with the rules of war.

On what basis were Iraqi factories -- whose purpose was not essentially military -- included on the target list?

How did target planners verify that certain factories had a military purpose? What effective contribution were these factories thought to be making to Iraq's military action, and what definite military advantage, in the circumstances ruling at the time, was expected from a successful attack that resulted in their destruction?


Middle East Watch collected eyewitness testimony and other information about allied attacks on food and grain warehouses, flour mills, a dairy factory and several water-treatment facilities in Basra. In light of any evidence that these objects were being used solely by or in direct support of Iraq's military forces, these attacks appear to violate the rules of war, particularly in the context of the severe deprivations of food faced by the Iraqi civilian population due to the United Nations embargo.

U.N. Security Council Resolution 661 of August 6, 1990 imposed mandatory sanctions on Iraqi imports and exports. The embargo greatly affected the food supply in the country, which had been dependent on imports for about 70 percent of total consumption. The agricultural sector accounted for less than 10 percent of Iraq's gross national productbut employed a third of the country's labor force.44 About 20 percent of Iraq is cultivated agricultural land: half of it is located in the northeastern part of the country, and the balance in the valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, extending south to Basra governorate.45 The government supported agricultural development with investment in dam-building, irrigation, drainage and land reclamation.46 Iraqi farms produced enough dates and vegetables, including legumes, to make the country self-sufficient in these items.47 But other major staples, notably wheat and rice, were largely imported before the war, the United States being a major supplier.

So concerned was the Iraqi government about food shortages that, despite the impending military crisis, farmers were exempted from military and Popular Army reserve duty by order of the Iraqi Revolutionary Command Council (RCC), headed by Saddam Hussein.48 The RCC also issued a decision on September 7, 1990, which allowed the government, as of November 1, to seize, without compensation, any privately owned agricultural land "not planted by their owners or othersin accordance with the scheduled agricultural density".49 The land would revert to state ownership, to be used by the Ministry of Agriculture. The RCC decreed that leases of state-owned agricultural land not planted to established specifications would be canceled. It said that the state-owned land then would be leased rent-free for five years to citizens who planted wheat, maize and rice.50

Under the pressure of the embargo during the Gulf crisis, the Iraqi authorities took measures designed to increase domestic food production. The Ministry of Agriculture urged citizens in September 1990 to raise poultry and use their gardens to grow vegetables; it said that winter-vegetable seedlings would be made available at cost and that instructions would be provided about planting and care.51 Also in September, the price for crops purchased from farmers by the government was raised and prices of seeds and fertilizers reduced.52

Prior to the imposition of food rationing in September 1990, the Iraqi authorities had begun to limit the amount of food released to stores from government warehouses, according to U.S. government officials.53 The population's monthly allocation of staples -- such as flour, sugar, rice, tea, vegetable oil and powdered milk -- dropped from 343,000 tons in September 1990 to 135,000 tons in January 1991, or 39 percent of thepre-embargo level.54 To ensure the continuing availability of bread, on August 29 the Minister of Trade banned the closure of any bakery in Iraq for any reason, and said that any request to close a bakery would be denied.55 If a bakery stopped production for any reason, its allotment of flour would be transferred to another bakery in the neighborhood, and its license would be forfeited. Bakeries also were required to open to the public at 5:00 am each day and to maintain fixed prices. The Trade Minister also announced that equipment maintenance services would be available to bakery owners and that spare parts would be directly provided. In early September 1990, Iraqi authorities began to issue family ration cards for commodities such as rice, flour, cooking oil, tea, sugar, soap, detergent, milk for infants, potatoes and beans.56

It is within this context of growing scarcity that the allies' bombing of food and agricultural facilities must be viewed.

Middle East Watch interviewed former residents of Iraq who provided accounts of allied bombing of, among other objects, government food-storage warehouses and a dairy products factory. Seed warehouses, flour mills and a veterinary-vaccine manufacturing facility also were reported to have been destroyed in allied attacks.

Reports of Attacks on Civilian Food Warehouses
During the second week of the war, four government food warehouses in Diwaniyya, a city south of Baghdad, were bombed at about 9:30 in the evening, according to a Sudanese mechanic, 30, who had lived in the city for two years.57 He told Middle East Watch that the warehouses were located in an isolated area about eight kilometers northof the entrance to Diwaniyya. He said that there was no military installation or activity in the immediate area, or any obvious military targets such as a bridge, telecommunications tower or anti-aircraft artillery. The warehouses were steel-framed, zinc-covered buildings, the main storage area for Diwaniyya's food.

The Sudanese saw the warehouses three days after they were bombed. He said that two of the buildings had sustained direct hits, collapsing the walls and half of the roofs; bomb craters some 15 meters (50 feet) in diameter were inside each of the buildings, suggesting that the structures may have been hit with 2,000-pound bombs. He saw large quantities of sugar, rice, flour and milk in the rubble. Civilians were not killed or injured during this bombing, he said, but local food prices subsequently rose, presumably due to shortages.

Iraq reported on February 19 that a flour mill had been attacked in what it described as the heaviest allied bombing raids to date.58 Journalists who visited Diwaniyya during the war were taken to a residential area of the city where "a large plant with a camouflaged roof had been reduced to wasted masonry and tangled steel."59 Local Iraqi officials said that the building was a flour mill and grain warehouse; large sacks of grain and rice were visible in the rubble, some of which were labeled "Product of the United States."60 (Across the street from the warehouse were craters where houses had been hit on the first day of the war, killing nine civilians.)

Two Pakistani workers who lived in Najaf in southern Iraq and regularly traveled on Fridays to nearby Hilla, told Middle East Watch that they saw a food warehouse in Hilla that had been completely destroyed.61 They were traveling by bus with other Pakistanis on theroad to Baghdad, and stopped to look at the building. They saw rice and other foodstuffs inside the collapsed structure, but they did not know the date it was bombed.

On the outskirts of Basra, Iraq's second-largest city, a large zinc-roofed government food- storage warehouse, the General Establishment for Food, was bombed on or about February 6, according to a 26-year-old Yemeni student who had lived in Basra for 18 months while studying at the Academy of Marine Sciences.62 He said the building was located near Amar Mohatab Street and Amar Khattab Street, about four kilometers from the al-Moakal railroad station. He lived about four kilometers from the warehouse and visited it two days after it was bombed. He said the building had been completely burned; he saw charred food, cardboard food boxes and fork lifts inside the structure, which was surrounded by a fence. He said that Basra was usually bombed between 8 pm and 4 am and that the destruction was widespread. Rice and bread were scarce, food was rationed and there was little water in the city; he left for Baghdad on February 9. An Iraqi exile who arrived in Basra from Iran on March 1 told MEW that the tin-food (canned food) factory near the al-Ma'qil quarter had been bombed.63

Report of Attack on Dairy Products Plant
A Sudanese truck driver, 28, who had lived in Iraq for over two and a half years, told MEW that a new dairy factory,64 some 30 kilometers north of Basra, had been bombed about two weeks after thewar began.65 The factory, a two-story building constructed of steel beams and zinc, was about 50 meters off the road, located in an area of flat desert. A poultry-raising farm with three medium-sized sheds was 500 meters to a kilometer away. The Sudanese was driving past the building at about 9 am and saw fire and smoke pouring from the structure. However, he said he did not hear any explosions or see any dead or injured civilians near the site. All that remained of the building were the beams, which were still standing; delivery trucks parked nearby had not been damaged. The Sudanese was familiar with the plant through other Sudanese who worked there as drivers. Iraqi army camps with anti-aircraft artillery emplacements, located about a kilometer away, were the nearest unambiguous military target known to be in the vicinity.

Reports of Attacks on Water-Treatment Facilities
During a visit to Basra in May, journalist Ed Vulliamy reported that water-treatment plants in Iraq's second-largest city had been bombed, and that the allies targeted both the transformers and the turbines of these facilities. "It was not merely the transformers in the water plants that were bombed," he wrote, "but the giant Japanese-built turbines themselves, which cannot be repaired under the embargo."66
An Iraqi exile who arrived in Basra from Iran on March 1 told MEW that the main water-supply facility in the densely populated Bratha'iyya quarter of the city had been damaged beyond repair.67 He said that the system in nearby Tenuma "was only hit by machine guns from the planes, so we were able to repair it." British journalist Patrick Cockburn told MEW that the water facilities near the al-Khalij Hotel were partially destroyed.68

Agricultural Sector Facilities: Reports of Attacks and Effects
Despite Iraq's dependence on both imported wheat and rice for 82 percent of total consumption, these and other grains, such as barley and corn, were also planted and harvested locally. Wheat is planted from November to mid-December and harvested from May to mid-June.69 Wheat seeds are distributed to farmers by the Ministry of Agriculture at seed distribution centers through the Iraqi Company for Seed Production. For the winter wheat planting, farmers were asked to submit their applications for seeds to local Agriculture Ministry offices beginning in mid-September.70

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) reported that flour milling facilities and grain storage warehouses were destroyed during the air war, and predicted that the 1991 grain harvest would suffer from the effects of the war:

Even if the wheat yield is substantially increased, Iraq will have trouble harvesting and delivering it....[W]ith limited fuel available commercially, farmers will have difficulty operating the farm tractors, combines, and trucks to get the grain out of the fields and to the mills.

Moreover, if Iraq does manage to harvest the crop, the country could face problems in milling and storing it because of the incidental bombings of flour milling facilities and grain storage warehouses.71

United Nations representatives who visited Iraq in March reached a similar conclusion:

This year's grain harvest in June is seriously compromised for a number of reasons, including failure of irrigation/drainage (no power for pumps, lack of spare parts); lack of pesticides and fertilizers (previously imported); and lack of fuel and spare parts for the highly-mechanized and fuel-dependent harvesting machines.72

The team warned that if the 1991 grain harvest fails or falls short, "widespread starvation conditions become a real possibility."

Iraq's agricultural sector relied on imported vegetable seeds. During the March visit, the U.N. representatives inspected seed warehouses that were destroyed during the air war,73 and Iraqi agricultural authorities told them that all stocks of potato and vegetable seeds in the country were depleted. The U.N. team also reported that Iraq's only laboratory that produced veterinary vaccines -- an FAO-funded facility -- was destroyed during the war. The team inspected the center and said that the bombing had destroyed all stocks of vaccines at the complex. By March 1991, Iraq was judged to be in urgent need of imported seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, veterinary drugs, and agricultural machinery, equipment and spare parts.74 The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization reported in July that Iraq required some $500 million to rebuild or replace damaged or destroyed agricultural sector facilities and supplies, including machinery, irrigation systems, fertilizers and animal feed.75

One physician who participated in the Arab American Medical Association delegation to Iraq in May recorded in her notes that there was "a shortage of essential food items throughout Iraq." The food thatwas available was high-priced and beyond the reach of the average family.76 Rationed food items, distributed by the government, "are not enough for the average family and are of inferior quality."  In Saddam City, the densely packed Shiite quarter of Baghdad, "malnutrition is rampant," the doctor wrote.77

Legal Standards and Unanswered Questions
Civilian objects may not be attacked. Allied attacks on food- and agriculture-related facilities in Iraq raise serious questions about whether the destruction of these objects was a legitimate military objective under the rules of war or whether the objects were entitled to special protection deriving from the customary law principle that starvation of civilians as a method of warfare is prohibited, a principle which the United States accepts (see Chapter One).

In the first instance, since these appear to have been civilian facilities, they were improper targets for attack. In addition, Article 54 of Protocol I states that attacks on such objects are prohibited if the purpose of the attacks is to deny the "sustenance value" of these objects "to the civilian population ...whether in order to starve out civilians, to cause them to move away, or for any other motive." The ICRC Commentary states that the objects listed in Article 54 -- foodstuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies --are illustrative and not exhaustive; the Commentary cautions that protected objects under Article 54 "should be interpreted in the widest sense, in order to cover the infinite variety of needs of populations in all geographic areas."78

The only exception to the rule set forth in Article 54 is if the objects are used "as sustenance solely for the members of [an adverse Party's] armed forces" or "in direct support of military action."79 Even if this is the case, attacks are prohibited if they "may be expected to leave the civilian population with such inadequate food or water as to cause its starvation or force its movement."

Before the war, U.N. Security Council sanctions dramatically reduced the supply of imported food staples in Iraq and led to government-imposed rationing. There is a heavy burden on the allied military forces in respect to the bombing of food warehouses and other food- and agriculture-related facilities under these circumstances. In each case, the allies should demonstrate that these objects served exclusively the Iraqi military or, alternatively, that they directly supported military action. If this is claimed, what was the information supporting such conclusions, and what steps were taken, as required, to ensure the accuracy of the information?

Moreover, even if true, the allies would need to demonstrate that the destruction of these facilities could not be expected to leave the civilian population with "such inadequate to cause its starvation or force its movement." Did the allied military forces make such a determination? What information supported any conclusions reached?

If allied planners knowingly targeted civilian food production, processing and supply facilities with the specific purpose of denying their use to the civilian population, such an attack would violate the specific protections accorded to such objects by customary law. Particularly in light of the humanitarian principles underlying this rule, Middle East Watch believes that the allied military forces should explain their attacks on these objects.

Regarding reports of attacks on water-treatment facilities, the questions that must be answered by the allied forces are the following:

Were water-treatment plants in Basra or elsewhere in Iraq placed on the target list? If so, what informationwas available to allied planners that such facilities were serving a military purpose and that their destruction would yield a definite military advantage? More to the point, what information was available that these facilities were used either solely by the Iraqi armed forces or directly in support of Iraqi military action?

What assessments were made to determine that the destruction of water-treatment plants, even if they were used solely by or in direct support of Iraqi military forces, would not leave the civilian population with inadequate potable water? What alternative sources of potable drinking water were believed to be available to Iraqi civilians at the time?


The targeting and destruction of Iraq's electricity-generating plants, including four of the country's five hydro-electric facilities, was little-discussed and never questioned during the war. To Middle East Watch's knowledge, Pentagon and Bush Administration officials never publicly offered a justification during the war for attacking and crippling most of Iraq's electrical power system -- destruction which continues to have devastating consequences for the civilian population.

After the war, in its July 1991 report, the Pentagon states that attacks on "electricity production facilities that power military and military-related industrial systems" were related to the goal of isolating and incapacitating the Iraqi regime.80 The report's only mention of the impact of these attacks on the civilian population is as follows:

It was recognized at the outset that this campaign would cause some unavoidable hardships for the Iraqi populace. It was impossible, for example, to destroy the electrical power supply for Iraqi command and control facilities or chemical weapons factories, yet leave untouched thatportion of the electricity supplied to the general populace.81

Still, the report asserts that the bombing campaign was intended to "leave most of the basic economic infrastructure of the country intact"82 and does not reveal beyond the above brief statement any weighing of the military advantage of these attacks against the cost to the Iraqi civilian population of the near-total crippling of the country's electrical power system.

* * *

As a modern, electricity-dependent country, Iraq was reliant on electrical power for essential services such as water purification and distribution, sewage removal and treatment, the operation of hospitals and medical laboratories, and agricultural production. Iraq's electricity consumption had quadrupled between 1968 and 1988, and rural electrification projects brought electricity to 7,000 villages throughout the country during this 20-year period.83 In 1981, Iraq contracted $2 billion worth of construction work to foreign companies to build hydroelectric and thermal electricity generating plants and transmission facilities.84 Some 30 percent of Iraq's electric power was generated by hydroelectric facilities.85 By 1983, Iraq produced more electricity than it consumed, and in December 1987 it became the first country in the region to export electric power.86 Newly constructed power lines to Turkey were expected to generate initial electricity sales of $15 millionannually; plans called for expanded transmission to Turkey and the eventual sale of electricity to Kuwait.87

The report of a U.N. mission to Iraq in March stated that the allied bombing "has paralysed oil and electricity sectors almost entirely. Power output and refineries' production is negligible".88 The Iraqi government acknowledged in April that the al-Shu'aybah and the al-Nujaybiyah power plants in Basra had been heavily damaged by allied bombing during the war.89 The thermal power-generating plant at Bayji, north of Baghdad, was reportedly the largest in the Middle East; each of the plant's six units produced 220 megawatts.90 It was "heavily damaged" during the air war, according to the Iraqi authorities, who announced on April 18 that a team of 500 engineers and technicians had repaired four of the facility's six units.91

A Harvard University group that visited Iraq for nine days in April and May found that electricity was supplied at only 23 percent of the pre-war level, up from a mere 3 percent to 4 percent immediately after the war.92 By the end of June, the figure apparently had not changed; in an interview with The New York Times, Iraq's Minister of Industry, Amer Asadi, said that the level of electricity generated at that time was about 20 percent of the pre-war level, with repairs hampered by a lack of spare parts.93

One member of a delegation from the Arab American Medical Association who traveled to Iraq in May reported to Middle East Watch that while "electricity runs in most of the major cities for approximately 18-20 hours a day," the situation remained "dismal" in the provinces. The group traveled to southern Iraq on May 11 and found that in Karbala, electricity had been restored for only several hours daily; in Najaf, electricity also had not been restored and Saddam Hospital was operating with a generator that provided electricity for two hours in the morning and one hour in the evening, due to severe shortages of kerosene for the generator.94

Hydro-electric generating plants were attacked by the allies. Investigators from Harvard University reported that four of the country's five dams were attacked; two in the first days of the war and two others in early February, with the level of damage at each facility ranging from 75 to 100 percent.95 Middle East Watch interviewed a filmmaker who visited northern Iraq in March and saw bomb damage to the 400-megawatt Dukan Dam on the Zab River, north of Suleimaniyya and east of Arbil in northern Iraq, which was bombed in early February. Looking up at the dam from the south, he saw a three- to four-foot wide hole on the left part of the dam's main wall. Located beneath this section of the wall are the electricity-supplying generators.96

U.S. Public Statements
Information released by the U.S. Air Force after the war indicates that electrical power facilities in Baghdad and northern Iraq were targets identified for attack on the first day of the war. The electricity-generating system in occupied Kuwait, in contrast, was spared the broad attacks executed by the allies in Iraq, despite the apparent use of electricity there to support Iraq's military efforts. In fact, despite reports of some damaged electrical-generating facilities, electricity generally wasavailable in Kuwait throughout Operation Desert Storm until 3 am (Kuwait time) on February 24, the opening hours of the ground war.97

Gen. Schwarzkopf reported at a briefing on January 30 that in less than two weeks of bombardment that allies had rendered 25 percent of Iraq's electrical-generating facilities "completely inoperative" and an additional 50 percent "degraded."98 In the same briefing, Gen. Schwarzkopf stated that civilian needs were a consideration in limiting the scope of the destruction:

I think I should point out right here that we never had any intention of destroying all of Iraqi electrical power. Because of our interest in making sure that civilians did not suffer unduly, we felt we had to leave some of the electrical power in effect, and we've done that.99

When asked if the balance of Iraq's power stations would be attacked, Gen. Schwarzkopf replied: "That's a decision that lies in the hands of the President of the United States."100

But, contrary to Gen. Schwarzkopf's words, civilians did suffer unduly as electrical power to most of the country was severed during the early allied attacks. Middle East Watch interviewed former residents of Iraq who described the lack of electricity throughout Iraq, from north to south, soon after the war began:

Sudanese laborers who lived in al-Qayyara, an agricultural village 60 kilometers south of Mosul in northern Iraq, told Middle East Watch that the electricity and water supplies in their village were severed after the bombing started.101 They said that their village began to use diesel-powered back-up generators to pump water, but even then, water was available only every three days.

MEW interviewed a Mauritanian woman who left Baghdad with her family two days after the bombing started for the safety of Dawaya, a small village in southern Iraq, near Nasiriyya on the Euphrates River. The family stayed with the relatives of Iraqi neighbors in a small house in Dawaya. But, the woman reported, the villagers had no electricity because of the bombing and carried water from the river to their homes, boiling it before drinking it.102

Kashmiri workers who lived in a compound in Kifl, a village near Najaf in southern Iraq, recounted that the electricity cut-off severed the village's water supply. Theysaid they helped bring water to civilians in the village from a water-purification plant they had built six months previously for their own use.103

A resident of Najaf in southern Iraq told MEW that the city's power station was attacked in the early days of the war, severing the civilians' water supply and sewage-removal facilities as well as electricity.104

In Basra, Iraq's second-largest city, there was no electricity after the first two or three days of the air war, according to a former resident.105 He said that the government brought water trucks into neighborhoods, and women and children lined up with buckets. He also saw people collecting water from puddles in the roads, and others drawing water from the river running through the city.

Effects of Allied Attacks on the Electrical System
The immediate and longer-term consequences of denying almost the entire civilian population of an energy-dependent country an essential service such as electricity are grave indeed and should have been readily anticipated by the U.S. military planners of the air war. Almost a half-century ago, the consequences for civilian health of bomb damage of water, sewer and refuse disposal facilities in Germany and Japan during World War II was documented in meticulous detail in the United States Strategic Bombing Survey.106 The Survey -- a comprehensive studyby U.S. military and civilian experts of the effects of the air war on Germany -- was ordered by President Roosevelt and established by the U.S. Secretary of War on November 3, 1944.107

Among its numerous conclusions, the Survey found that there was a "reliable and striking" correlation between the disruption of public utilities and the willingness of the German population to accept unconditional surrender.108 The allied bombing of Germany duringWorld War II deprived over one-third of the German pre-war population of utilities: 20 million of 69.8 million.109 Of this number, almost 5.8 million Germans were subjected to severe electricity deprivation, and 14.5 million to moderate deprivation.110 The Survey noted, for example, that damage to the environmental sanitation system in Germany created a situation that "was ripe for the development of disease into epidemic proportions....disease would have become rampant had not the Germans been forced to surrender when they did. In any event, the dread of diseaseand the hardships imposed by the lack of sanitary facilities were bound to have a demoralizing effect upon the civilian population."111

Similar effects have been documented following the allied bombardment of Iraq. The United Nations reported that with the destruction of electricity-generating facilities and oil refining and storage plants, "all electrically operated installations have ceased to function."112 Predictably, the effects of this massive destruction on Iraq's water supply, sewage-treatment system, agricultural production and food distribution systems, and public-health system were severe and continue to be felt.

water supply: All of Iraq's urban population had enjoyed access to safe water, although only 54 percent of the rural population was similarly served.113 All of Iraq's water treatment plants -- seven in Baghdad, another 238 central stations in other parts of the country, and some 1,134 smaller facilities -- operated on electricity.114 Some 75 percent had back-up diesel generators. The destruction of the electrical power generating plants rendered water treatment plants inoperable, except if diesel generators were available.115 Back-up generators had limited utility because of the lack of fuel, spare parts and maintenance workers able to travel to their jobs.116 The World Health Organizationestimated in March 1991 that Baghdad's water supply was at five percent of its pre-war level.117

A WHO/UNICEF team that visited Iraq from February 16 to 21 described the water and sanitation situation in Baghdad as "grim." Ninety-five percent of the city's daily water needs were supplied by Tigris River water. The water was first treated at seven plants operated by electricity, then each plant would pump water into a 6,000 kilometer system of pipes. The team noted that conditions in Baghdad were similar to those in other areas of the country, but that the worst conditions were in Basra, Iraq's second-largest city.

The impediments to water treatment created by the destruction of the electrical system were compounded by the destruction of the factories that had produced the chemicals used to purify water, including chlorine. The WHO/UNICEF team noted "detailed reports that the whole of the Iraqi drinking water system is in or near collapse" and that the chemical supplies needed to treat the water were dwindling: "The chemical plants which used to supply the main treatment elements, aluminum sulphate (alum) and chlorine, have been destroyed by bombing."118 Iraq's Ministry of Industry told The New York Times in an interview in June that six chlorine-manufacturing plants were damaged during the war.119 He said that one of the plants was under repair and expected to be operational in June but that it would meet only 20 percent of the 50 tons of chlorine Iraq needed daily.

sewage treatment: The lack of electricity also brought all sewage treatment and pumping stations "to a virtual standstill," the March U.N. mission found. The WHO/UNICEF team that had visited earlier described the sanitary system in Baghdad as "critically deteriorating" and "dangerous." The sewer system operated by the movement of waste to treatment plants by 252 electrically operated pumping stations, of which192 had stand-by generators. The lack of fuel and spare parts for the generators caused the pipes to back up, flooding houses with raw sewage; sewage also overflowed at the pumping stations in large pools.

An Indian civil engineer who had been working in Basra on the construction of a new sewage treatment facility told Middle East Watch that the city's sewage system was not functioning because of the lack of electricity. He explained that sewage pipes in Basra are located 1.5 to seven meters below ground, and that they operated by the higher pipes draining to lower pipes, where pumping stations then moved the sewage to higher levels again, until the waste reached the treatment facility. The engineer, who was evacuated from Basra on February 4, said that sewage was seeping out of houses and accumulating in the streets.120

Noting that warm weather was approaching, the WHO/UNICEF team warned: "If nothing is done to remedy water supply and improve sanitation, a catastrophe could beset Iraq." On March 12 two mobile water purification and packaging units and equipment were brought to Baghdad by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).121 It said that the Iraqi civilian population's priority needs were sanitation and medical care.

An ICRC team of medical and sanitation specialists visited the southern cities of Nasiriyah, Basra, Amarah, Karbala and Najaf beginning on March 21, as part of an assessment of humanitarian needs in Iraqi cities. The ICRC reported that the most urgent problem was inadequate and unsafe water supplies.122 The ICRC said that the situation was especially critical in Basra and Nasiriyya, and that it planned to send water purification equipment there "to combat the risk of water-borne diseases -- a threat which will grow with the start of the warmer weather."

agricultural production and food distribution: The allied attacks on electricity-generating plants countrywide also inevitably disrupted Iraq's domestic food production and distribution systems, upon which the country increasingly relied since the international embargo imposed after the invasion of Kuwait (see previous section of this chapter for additional information). Iraq's agricultural sector, which was highly mechanized and relied on pumped-water irrigation, felt the impact of the lack of electricity and fuel. The attacks also disabled irrigation, as well as harvesting and food distribution systems. Food, grain and seed warehouses and flour mills were reportedly bombed by allied forces, creating additional disruptions. And, without electricity, food requiring refrigeration could no longer be stored.

health-care system: Hospitals and clinics in Iraq were gravely affected by the destruction of the electrical system. Two physicians from Doctors Without Borders, a private voluntary organization based in France, visited Iraq for six days in March and reported that the "lack of energy is paralyzing the whole health care system."123 They visited six hospitals in Baghdad, and one hospital and five clinics in Falluja, west of Baghdad. They found the facilities operating at 5 to 10 percent of capacity, treating only emergency case; vaccines had deteriorated from lack of refrigeration, medication and other supplies were scant, and medical laboratories could not function. The ICRC also identified the need to provide support and medical supplies for hospital and dispensaries in southern Iraq as another priority.124

A delegation of 15 physicians representing the Arab American Medical Association and International Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear War (Germany) traveled to Iraq for six days in May and found similar conditions in the hospitals they visited in nine cities throughout the country. The director of al-Qadisiyya Hospital in Baghdad, a 325-bed facility serving the low-income Saddam City suburb, reported that at the time of the group's visit an average of 20 children were dying a day fromsevere gastroenteritis.125 During the air war, premature infant mortality at the hospital was 100 percent because the pediatric intensive care unit could not function due to the lack of electricity. At al-Husseini Hospital in Karbala, in southern Iraq, the group saw many children with severe malnutrition; doctors at the hospital reported that the number of gastroenteritis cases "increased by three to four times the numbers usually encountered in the summer."126

The group found that the the effects of the war, exacerbated by shortages attributable to the U.N.-mandated embargo, "produced a signficantly deteriorated public health system in Iraq, characterized by unavailability or extreme shortages of medicines and medical supplies, absence of electricity, water supply, and sewage disposal in many regions of the country, prevalence of infections, particularly gastrointestinal, and extreme malnutrition."127 The delegation noted a marked increase in illness, particularly among children:

    Interviewed physicians in the various hospitals conveyed a clear impression of a significantly increased morbidity for their patients, both in terms of severity of illness and length of stay in the hospital. Further, there was a clear negative impact of malnutrition on the morbidity of children with gastroenteritis.128

Investigators from Harvard University visited hospitals and other health facilities in major cities throughout Iraq from April 28 to May 6. Based on their research, the group projected that a minimum of 170,000 children under the age of five would die in the coming year -- from gastroenteritis, cholera, typhoid and malnutrition -- as a result of thedelayed effects of the Gulf crisis and war.129 The figure represents a 100 percent increase in infant and child mortality since August 1990:

These projections are conservative. In all probability, the actual number of deaths of children under five will be much higher. While children under five were the focus of this study, a large increase in deaths among the rest of the population is also likely.

The immediate cause of death in most cases will be water-borne infectious disease in combination with severe malnutrition....The incidence of water-borne diseases increased suddenly and strikingly during the early months of 1991 as a result of the destruction of electrical generating plants in the Gulf War and the consequent failure of water purification and sewage treatment systems.130

The Harvard team found that the public-health crisis was exacerbated by the lack of public utilities and medical supplies at health facilities around the country:

Hospitals and community health centers also lack reliable clean water, sewage disposal, and electrical power. Of the 16 functioning hospitals and community health centers that the study team surveyed, 69% have inadequate sanitation because of the damage to water purification and sewage treatment plants. There is not enough electricity for operating theaters, diagnostic facilities, sterile procedures, and laboratory equipment.

Staff at every health facility visited reported severe shortages of anesthestic agents, antibiotics, intravenous fluids, infant formula, needles, syringes, and bandages. Existing stores of heat-sensitive vaccines and medicines have been depleted by the loss of electrical power for refrigeration.131

Legal Standards and Unanswered Questions
In less than two weeks of bombardment, 25 percent of Iraq's electrical-generating capacity was destroyed by the allies and an additional 50 percent "degraded." Still -- despite Gen. Schwarzkopf's comment at that time that "we never had any intention of destroying all of Iraqi electrical power" so that "civilians did not suffer unduly"132 --the bombing of the electrical system continued. But Dominique Dufour, the head of a team of 90 specialists sent to Iraq by the ICRC, said in June: "I am absolutely sure that no Pentagon planner calculated the impact bombing the electrical system would have on pure drinking water supplies for weeks to come, and the snowball effect of this on public health."133

By the time the air war was over, Iraq was left with less than five percent of its pre-war electrical-generating capacity. This resulted in severe deprivation of clean water and sewage removal for the civilian population and paralyzed the country's entire health care system, exceeding the deprivations experienced by German civilians as a result of allied bombing during World War II.

Middle East Watch recognizes that the injunction against starvation of the civilian population as a method of warfare does not prohibit incidental distress to civilians as a result of attacks against legitimate military targets. Yet, it is difficult to reconcile the devastation of Iraq's electrical-generating facilities with the humanitarian concerns underlying this legal injunction.

Insofar as the civilian population is concerned, it makes little or no difference whether a drinking water facility is attacked and destroyed, or is made inoperable by the destruction of the electrical plan supplying it power. In either case, civilians suffer the same effects -- they are denied the use of a public utility indispensable for their survival.

This destruction is all the more problematic given the allied air forces' supremacy and control of the skies,134 which enabled them to attack with virtual impunity any production or communication facility supporting Iraq's military effort. The apparent justification for attacking almost the entire electrical system in Iraq was that the system functioned as an integrated grid, meaning that power could be shifted countrywide, including to military functions such as command-and-control centers and weapons-manufacturing facilities. But these key military targets were attacked in the opening days of the war. The direct attacks by the allies on these military targets should have obviated the need simultaneously to destroy the fixed power sources thought to have formerly supplied them. If these and other purely military targets could be attacked at will, then arguably the principle of humanity would make the wholesale destruction of Iraq's electrical-generating capability superfluous to the accomplishment of legitimate military purposes.

There is also reason to question whether the attacks on the electrical system ever affected Iraq's key military command-and-control facilities. During the eight-year Iran-Iraq war, Iraq's power stations were "a special target of the Iranian air force from the outset of the war, and severe shortages of electricity became common."135 To overcome such difficulties, Iraq developed military communications systems placed in secure bunker-like facilities or in mobile units,136 powered by stand-by diesel-supplied generators independent of the national electric grid. Long after electricity was no longer available in Baghdad, the location of the Iraqi military's functioning command-and-control facilities continued to elude the allies.137 One of the justifications offered for the bombing of the Ameriyya shelter on February 13, for example, was that the building served as a command-and-control center.

As early as January 23, Gen. Colin Powell acknowledged that the Iraqi military was "very good" at command-and-control systems:

They have redundant systems, resilient systems, they have work-arounds, they have alternatives, and they are still able to command their forces....they're doing it, for the most part, on generator power, because we have taken care of the central power system within the city.

The Pentagon's July 1991 report provided additional information about the redundancy and dispersal of Iraq's military communications system:

Iraq ... placed significant emphasis on developing a secure, redundant communications system. This multilayered system included many built-in backups. If one layer were disrupted, other layers would theoretically take up the slack. In addition to a "civil" telephone system which carried more than half of the military's telecommunications, there was a microwave system, and a high-capacity fiber-optics network. Much of this system was buried or dispersed.138

During the war, it was reported that the Pentagon had apparent knowledge that Iraq's military communications system relied on special underground cables or radio transmissions using sophisticated "spread spectrum" technology, making jamming and interception difficult.139 As the fifth week of the air war began, senior Pentagon officials conceded that Iraqi military commanders were able to maintain their operational security (and were not forced to give orders by radio) because of an underground fiber optic cable than ran from Baghdad to Basra and on to Kuwait.140 These officials indicated that microwave communications towers had been bombed, including some in remote villages, but that the fiber optic line continued to function.

Gen. Powell's admission that Iraq's military command used redundant systems and alternative generators to supply power to these sophisticated command-and-control systems, coupled with the Pentagon's release of additional information after the war, gives less significance that would ordinarily be the case to the military advantages for destroying virtually the entire electrical system when weighed against the predictably severe consequences for Iraq's civilian population.

The U.S. Air Force acknowledges that a legitimate military target may not be attacked if its destruction is expected to cause excessive injury or damage to civilians and civilian objects:

Attacks are not prohibited against military objectives even though incidental injury or damage to civilians will occur, but such incidental injury to civilians or damage to civilian objects must not be excessive when compared to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated. Careful balancing of interests is required between the potential military advantage and the degree of incidental injury or damage in order to preclude situations raising issues of indiscriminate attacks violating general civilian protections.141 (Emphasis added)

The term "concrete and direct military advantage" -- the measure of what should be weighed against civilian cost -- sets a high standard, higher than the term "definite military advantage" used to define a military objective.142 The Air Force Pamphlet specifically requires that, when "a choice is possible between several military objectives for obtaining a similar military advantage, the objective to be selected shall be that which may be expected to cause the least danger to civilian lives and to civilian objects."143

Middle East Watch believes the allies should explain, under the rule of proportionality and the principle of humanity, the continuing attacks on and near-destruction of Iraq's electric power system, particularly as attacks on the system grew increasingly redundant in light of the allies' targeting of indisputable military targets such as fixed command-and-control centers and weapons manufacturing and research facilities, in view of the crippling impact the destruction of the electricalpower system immediately had and continues to have on the health of Iraqi civilians. The allies also should offer a public explanation for certain attacks on hydroelectric facilities in Iraq. The U.S. does not consider the prohibition against attacks on dams, dykes and nuclear electric-generating stations contained in Article 56 of Protocol I to be customary law.144 Even accepting this, questions remain about the need for continuing attacks on Iraq's hydro-electric facilities as the war progressed.

According to the Harvard University team that visited Iraq after the war, two hydro-electric facilities -- Saddam Dam and Haditha Dam --were attacked in the first days of the air war. But two other installations -- Samarra Dam (a small facility with only a 60 megawatt output) and Dokhan Dam -- were not attacked until early February. MEW believes that the allies should justify the attacks against the Samarra and Dokhan Dams in the circumstances that prevailed in early February, when 75 percent of Iraq's electrical-generating facilities had been degraded or destroyed. In particular, Middle East Watch calls on the allies to outline the concrete and direct military advantages expected from the destruction of these facilities, and how these advantages were deemed to outweigh the obvious cost to the civilian population.

The burden on the allies to disclose additional information about the destruction of Iraq's electrical system is heightened by subsequent public statements from U.S. Air Force officers involved in planning the air war which indicate that the purpose of destroying the electrical system was to harm civilians and thus encourage them to overthrow Saddam Hussein. As we noted in the Introduction to Part II of this report, Air Force officers in June indicated that the targeting of Iraq's infrastructure was related to an effort "to accelerate the effect of the sanctions."145 Col. John A. Warden III, the deputy director of strategy, doctrine and plans for the Air Force, acknowledged that the crippling of Iraq'selectricity-generating system "gives us long-term leverage."146 He explained it this way:

Saddam Hussein cannot restore his own electricity. He needs help. If there are political objectives that the U.N. coalition has, it can say, "Saddam, when you agree to do these things, we will allow people to come in and fix your electricity."

Another Air Force planner admitted that the attacks also were designed to put pressure on the Iraqi people to oust Saddam Hussein:

Big picture, we wanted to let people know, "Get rid of this guy and we'll be more than happy to assist in rebuilding. We're not going to tolerate Saddam Hussein or his regime. Fix that, and we'll fix your electricity."147

Insofar as Iraq's electrical-generating facilities were targeted not because the electricity directly supported the military effort but for the purpose of harming the civilian population as part of a strategy for using this civilian suffering to further military or political goals, the attacks were in clear violation of the most basic principles of the laws of war designed to exempt the civilian population from military attack.

Among the unanswered questions in regard to the allies' destruction of the electrical system are the following:

Gen. Schwarzkopf stated on January 30 that the U.S. "never had any intention of destroying all of Iraqi electrical power." He further stated that "some" of the electrical power would be left functional so that civilians would not suffer unduly. Who made the calculations about the level of destruction that was warranted, given the stated concern that Iraqi civilians not suffer unduly? On what basis were such calculations made? Who was charged with investigating the potential secondary effects on the civilian population of various levels of deprivation of the supply of electricity? Who reviewed such investigations? Who determined the threshold of civilian suffering that was considered appropriate? What indicators of suffering were used to calculate the harm caused by relative levels of deprivation?

Toward the end of the second week of the air war, the Pentagon disclosed that about 25 percent of Iraq's electrical-generating capacity was "completely inoperative" and that another 50 percent was "degraded." Who made the decision to continue with the attacks at this stage of the war? Was President Bush involved in this decisionmaking process, as Gen. Schwarzkopf implied he would be? What effective contribution to Iraqi military action were the remaining electricity-generating plants making at this time? Given the reported successful destruction by the allies at this stage of the war of Iraqi military production facilities -- coupled with the allies' total control of the skies over Iraq -- what concrete and direct military advantage was expected from the continued crippling of the country's remaining electrical-generating system?

To what extent did the goal of harming or demoralizing the civilian population, to prompt it to overthrow Saddam Hussein or for any other purpose, enter into the decision to destroy Iraq's electrical system?


Middle East Watch obtained eyewitness testimony about apparently indiscriminate attacks on civilian vehicles on highways in Iraq. With the exception of one attack on a bus traveling from Kuwait to Iraq, in which 31 civilians were killed, these accounts described incidents that took place on the Baghdad-Amman international highway in western Iraq, the area from which missiles were being launched into Israel.
Civilian vehicles on other highways in Iraq also were destroyed in allied attacks. In a visit to southern Iraq in May, a journalist saw the bombed-out wreckage of 29 Soviet fighter-bombers on either side of the six-lane highway that runs from Basra northwest to Nassariya: "They apparently had been parked there, far from any airfield, and protected by nothing except a few berms."148 But civilians were not spared in the allies' attempt to destroy the aircraft: "Hundreds of burned-out trucks, cars and taxis destroyed by allied aircraft litter the road."149 These accounts call into question whether the allies were taking all feasible precautions to distinguish civilian objects and military targets along Iraqi highways and, if not, why public warning of this policy was not given so that civilian victims could be spared.

Middle East Watch also interviewed three eyewitnesses to cluster-bomb150 attacks; in one case, a cluster bomb exploded three to sixmeters from the car in which a Jordanian doctor was traveling. The U.S. military publicly confirmed that cluster bombs were dropped on highways during the war. Gen. Buster Glosson was asked at a briefing in Riyadh on January 30 if cluster bombs were being dropped on the Baghdad-Amman highway, the major evacuation route for foreign-worker residents of Iraq fleeing the war to the safety of Jordan. He replied: "Yes, we use the cluster munition to cover a wider area when the military situation dictates that."151 However, Gen. Glosson did not reply to the second part of the reporter's question: "How do you reconcile that with your efforts to minimize civilian casualties along this...refugee route?"

In a letter to U.S. Secretary of Defense Richard Cheney dated February 1, Middle East Watch raised concerns about reports of the bombing of civilian cars and commercial transport vehicles on the Baghdad-Amman desert highway. MEW asked if cluster-bombs and delayed-action bombs were being used to attack major highways in Iraq, and urged that the U.S. military take all practical steps to ensure that civilians were not harmed by attacks on military targets. The Pentagon's reply to Middle East Watch's letter did not include an answer to this or other questions raised.

U.S. Public Statements
The civilian vehicles in western Iraq -- as well as Bedouin tents located there (see next section of this chapter) -- came under fire during what the U.S. Air Force termed "the great Scud chase" for Iraqi fixed and mobile missile launchers. Allied efforts to find and eliminate Iraq's surface-to-surface ballistic missile sites and equipment became a major focus of the air war. Maj. Gen. Martin Brandtner, the Joint Chiefs of Staff deputy for operations, said on January 26 that the allies were "undertaking every conceivable course we can" to detect and destroy themissile launchers, particularly the mobile launchers.152 Air Force Chief of Staff McPeak admitted after the war that "we had to improvise and figure out how to handle the SCUD problem....What surprised us was that we put about three times the effort that we thought we would on this job."153 Iraq's mobile missile launchers confounded and frustrated the allies -- locating them was "like finding a needle in a haystack," according to Gen. Schwarzkopf.154 The Pentagon provided the following assessment in its July report:

Decoy Scud missile launchers, some incorporating heat producers to simulate active generators, complicated the Coalition effort to eradicate the Iraqi ballistic missile threat. Finding and destroying Iraq's mobile Scud launchers proved a difficult and vexing problem, diverting resources from other aspects of the air campaign and prolonging the threat to Israeli, Saudi and other civil and military targets throughout the region.155

The missile launchers were developed from Saab Scania tractors.156 These massive vehicles bear little resemblance to civilian buses or cars loaded with luggage on their roofs. The mobile missile units were organized in convoys of five or six vehicles using "one set of command and support vehicles, including equipment to test the missilesand a crane to place them on the truck launchers."157 Military experts told The Washington Post that "fueling and preparing a Scud missile for launch can take hours, but would still be difficult to detect if rudimentary efforts are made to keep the missile and launcher hidden."158 What could be observed was the safety precautions taken to handle the missile's fuel, a volatile liquid. After launching, the detection possibilities were not any easier. According to The Post:

Once the Scuds are fired, the trucks move after the launcher cools. During launch preparations, the trucks and launchers emit few telltale electronic signals. It is often difficult to intercept launch orders, because they can be issued by telephone, rather than radio.159

The Pentagon notes that the task of destroying the mobile launchers was difficult because the missile units would "emerge from hiding places, fire, and hide again."160 Many aircraft, the equivalent of three squadrons, were employed in daytime and nighttime missions:

F-16s in the west and A-10s in the east were placed on constant airborne alert during daylight hours, with F-15Es, F-16s and A-6Es on constant airborne alert at night. RF-4C and F-14A reconnaissance aircraft flew daily flights against suspected Scud sites. However, once a suspected Scud site was found through intelligence or following a launch, aircraft would proceed to the target area to search for and destroy the launch complex.161

The allies offered various public and background explanations for the reports of attacks on civilian vehicles on the highway. At night, civilian fuel tankers could be mistaken for the vehicles that carried fuel for the missiles, according to a senior U.S. military official.162 As for other civilian vehicles, the closest to an explanation came from U.S. Brig. Gen. Buster Glosson, who stated on January 30 that only military targets along the highway had been attacked. He added, however, that the Iraqis hid missiles "in culverts and other things along the highway...When we see those type of vehicles go into those facilities, we bomb them. We make every attempt to minimize any possibility of civilian casualties."163

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mc Peak said: "Mobile SCUD-launchers operated at night, drove into [launch locations] and launched, so we had to do a lot of road [reconnaissance], even with the A-10s. An old, slow aircraft was used to go out and run up and down the road and try to find these mobile launchers."164 Gen. Thomas Kelly, director of operations for the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, also stated that many of the attacks took place at night, suggesting that darkness could mar pilots' vision.165

In its July 1991 report, the Pentagon does not acknowledge that civilian buses and cars were attacked on highways -- only Jordanian oil tankers are mentioned:

Some oil trucks were mistaken for Scud launchers and other military vehicles during night attacks; others were struck collaterally during daytime attacks on nearbymilitary targets. The destruction, which occurred despite extraordinary Coalition efforts to avoid collateral damage to civilian targets, was largely attributable to Jordan's failure to ensure adherence to [United Nations Security Council] sanctions and to warn its nationals of the combat zone's peril.166

The Pentagon also states that measures taken to minimize civilian casualties and damage affected the allies' ability to target military objects on the roads in western Iraq:

Coalition forces took additional measures to avoid collateral damage to civilian vehicles and incidental injury to noncombatants. As a result, the ability to target Iraqi military vehicles and convoys, including mobile Scud missile launchers and support equipment, was affected.167

An Inquiry by Middle East Watch
In a February 1 letter to U.S. Secretary of Defense Richard Cheney, Middle East Watch requested information and assurances about the precautions taken by the allied air forces to avoid injury and damage to civilians and civilian objects on the Baghdad-Amman highway. Among the questions raised in the letter were the following:

Is it technologically feasible to distinguish between civilian automobiles and buses, the roofs of which were often loaded with personal effects, and single and distinct military objectives, such as missile launchers or other military vehicles?

Were any Jordanian and other commercial vehicles considered military targets?

Did the rules of engagement regarding attacks on the Baghdad-Amman highway clearly specify that civilian objects were not to be attacked?

Were supplemental rules of engagement provided to military personnel involved in aerial bombardment of the Baghdad-Amman highway to take account of the fact that this route was used by fleeing civilians and commercial truckers?

Prior to each air attack on the highway, what was done to ascertain that the targets were military and not civilian objects?

Was it feasible to provide effective advance warning to civilians in vehicles prior to an attack on the highway when civilian objects were identified?

Middle East Watch also requested the Defense Department to make available specific information about the nature and extent of the aerial bombardment of the Baghdad-Amman highway, and asked whether reports were available about civilian objects damaged in the raids.

Gen. Kelly replied to Middle East Watch in a letter dated February 12. He stated that the U.S. forces "recognize our obligation to do everything feasible to minimize civilian casualties and collateral damage to civilian property when we engage military targets." Gen. Kelly expressed confidence that civilian targets were not being intentionally attacked on the Baghdad-Amman highway:

I am absolutely certain . . . that any coalition forces capable of conducting air to ground missions in the vicinity of the highway would not knowingly attack innocent civilians. Coalition forces are doing everything within their capabilities to distinguish between military targets and innocent civilians, and to attack only the military targets.
But Gen. Kelly declined to provide Middle East Watch with specific information about the bombing of civilian vehicles on the highway: "At this point we do not have sufficient factual detail in our possession to either confirm or rebut the alleged attacks by coalition forces."

Eyewitness Accounts: Attacks on Civilian Vehicles Carrying Evacuees to Jordan
The 915 km Baghdad-Amman highway, running east-west, is the sole international highway in western Iraq. The only official border crossing point to leave Iraq for Jordan is along the highway at Trebil, Iraq. From Trebil, the highway continues to the official Jordanian entry point at Ruwayshid, about 80 km west of Trebil.168 This highway was the primary escape route for foreign nationals living in Iraq and Kuwait after August 1990.169 Most were "evacuees" -- foreign nationals who entered Jordan and departed to their country of origin between September 3 and January 15, 1991.

After the air war started, the highway continued to serve as the primary evacuation route from Iraq.170 From that date until February 27, some 37,970 persons entered Jordan through the borderpost at Ruwayshid, according to the Jordanian Ministry of Interior.171 Of this number, 22,008 were evacuees -- including 11,900 Egyptians, 4,400 Sudanese and over 1,100 Yemenis172 -- and the balance were Jordanians.

In a letter dated February 7, Jordan's permanent ambassador to the United Nations informed the U.N. Secretary General that 14 civilians had been killed on the Baghdad-Amman international highway from January 29 through February 5, and an additional 26 injured.173 The letter stated that the casualties resulted from "the bombing by United States and allied aircraft of trucks and tankers belonging to Jordanian companies" and that 52 vehicles had been completely destroyed or damaged during the eight-day period. British journalist Patrick Cockburn, who traveled the Baghdad-Amman highway in February, told MEW that he counted 28 vehicles damaged by bombing on the road and that "at least" half of them were civilian.174

Middle East Watch interviewed evacuees and truckers for Jordanian companies who saw or were traveling in cars and buses that were attacked by allied aircraft on the highway.

two cars directly hit by diving aircraft in daytime attack, killing two families: MEW interviewed a group of Yemeni students who were eyewitnesses to attacks in broad daylight on two civilian cars between Rutba and Trebil on the Baghdad-Ammanhighway. According to the witnesses, it was unlikely that the occupants of the vehicles survived these direct hits.

The students had left Basra on February 7 because their university was closed when the war started. They traveled in two buses with Sudanese and Iraqis to Baghdad, and then continued on to Jordan with a group of 53 people -- Yemenis, Sudanese, Egyptians and an Ethiopian -- in two "Super" Mercedes buses. Each bus held about 28 passengers. The buses, pained light green with the company name on the side, were carrying only civilians. Luggage was piled on the roofs of the vehicles. As reports spread of the danger from the bombing on the highway, drivers and passengers began to develop their own theories about the safest way to travel. This group and the drivers had decided to drive only during the day and to avoid traveling convoy-style, so as not to be mistaken for Iraqi military vehicles.

The students saw a white sedan attacked at about 9:30 am that day, on or about February 8. They noticed a family in the car when it passed their bus. The sedan rode low from the suitcases piled on top. A few minutes later, when the white sedan was about 400 meters in front of them, they saw four planes, flying low and very fast, swoop down. One struck the sedan with a rocket, a direct hit. The other planes also fired rockets but they did not see where the rockets landed; as soon as this happened, the driver stopped the bus and the passengers ran into the desert, ducking for cover.

The planes were small black planes -- "so close we could have thrown a stone at them." The planes dived to about 30 meters from the ground, the students said. There were other civilian cars on the road in front and in back of them when the attack occurred, but no military vehicles and no military emplacements were in sight. The only installation or structure they saw was a gas station that had been blown up.

About an hour after the first attack, they saw, at a distance, two or three planes flying very low. The planes dove down in the same manner as before and hit a red Brazilian Volkswagen with a family inside and luggage on top. The bus driver did not stop to look at the remainsof either car out of fear, but the students said it appeared highly unlikely that there were any survivors.175

Three times during the trip from Baghdad to the Jordanian border, between Rutba and Trebil, the passengers had to jump out of the buses and run into the desert because of air strikes nearby. The students saw and heard several rocketing attacks; every time they heard planes, they heard rockets falling afterwards. They did not know where all the rockets hit: sometimes it was on the highway, sometimes not. They saw black smoke rising from areas on and off the road. In this stretch of the highway, the students said they saw many vehicles that had been destroyed. They told MEW that they were convinced that if the planes had wanted to target their bus "we would all be dead." At the time, they were not sure that they would survive the journey.

30 killed in attack on bus: MEW interviewed Sudanese evacuees who told of three buses that loaded up with Sudanese evacuees and left Baghdad on February 13 at about noon. They said that each of the public carriers waited until it was filled before departing. The first bus reached the border crossing at Trebil that night. A second bus stayed the night in Rutba. The third bus was bombed on the road before reaching Rutba and reportedly there were no survivors. Some drivers arriving at Trebil told the Sudanese in the first two buses that the third bus was destroyed and all of the passengers, some 30 to 35 Sudanese, were killed.176

MEW separately interviewed another group of Sudanese workers who arrived in Jordan on two different buses a few days later, on February 18 and 19. They saw a destroyed Costa Nissan bus at km 160 between Rutba and Ramadi: the bus, they were told, had carried 30 Sudanese passengers. They heard that all the passengers were killedexcept one, who reportedly returned to Baghdad under severe mental stress.177

cluster bomb falls meters from two cars in dawn attack: A Jordanian doctor interviewed by MEW was injured when a cluster bomb was dropped three to six feet from his car on the Baghdad-Amman highway. Dr. Samir A. Qawasmi, an ophthalmic surgeon, was part of a medical team of 13 doctors and nurses sent to Baghdad by the Arab Medical Committee for Emergencies. The team departed from Jordan in late January to provide emergency medical services in hospitals in Baghdad. After working around-the-clock treating civilian bombing casualties for four or five days, four members of the exhausted team set out for Jordan at 11pm on the night of January 27. They traveled in two cars: a white Mercedes sedan with a Red Crescent on the hood and a four-wheel-drive gray vehicle with a Red Crescent on the front.

Dr. Qawasmi told MEW that after driving through the night without incident, they pulled to the side of the road at a parking area at about 5:15 am for dawn prayers. They were about 400 km from Baghdad and had not yet reached Rutba. They prayed in the desert cold and then got back in their vehicles. At that moment, Dr. Qawasmi said he heard "a huge noise, with lightning," and they were tossed around inside the cars. They were totally startled, he said, because they did not hear or see planes. The windows of the car were closed because it was cold.

Dr. Qawasmi, who was in the driver's seat of the white Mercedes sedan, was injured with lacerations on his face, nose, cheek, and hands. Tossed against the side of the car, he was still suffering pain in his left shoulder when he was interviewed by MEW. The driver of the other car suffered similar injuries but the two passengers were not physically injured.

The bomb hit the side of the road, about three to six feet from the car, creating a crater about a half-meter deep and one and a half meters wide. It divided into two parts, apparently a cluster bomb. There were many small bombs inside the canister and other bomblets scattered outside. They left as quickly as they could, before any of the small bombs exploded. The badly damaged Mercedes was towed behind the four-wheel-drive vehicle which had a broken windshield and windows and damage to its left side. They passed many burned cars, and passenger vans of the type used by Kuwaiti families.

About a half-hour later, before reaching Rutba, Dr. Qawasmi through the rear view mirror saw a 40-foot refrigerator truck with a 12-foot rig hit by a rocket, and turned around to get a better look. They heard the explosion but did not stop. They later learned that the driver of the truck had been killed.178

strafing of buses on highways during daytime: MEW also took testimony about the strafing of buses on highways that left evacuees scared for their lives. Pakistani construction workers, evacuated by their company from Najaf in southern Iraq on three buses on February 15, told MEW of a strafing incident involving one of their buses. The last of the three buses was strafed 10 km west of Rutba on February 15 at about 4:10 pm. There were 36 Pakistani workers in the white bus, which had luggage piled on the top. According to several workers interviewed by MEW, there were four attacks on the bus at two- to three-minute intervals. They heard machine-gun fire and were quite sure that rockets or bombs had not been used. Bullets were fired close to the bus, but it was not hit.

One Pakistani thought that there was one plane; another said he saw four planes. A third said he did not see a plane because he ducked down to avoid danger, but he heard bursts of machine-gun fire. A fourth said he saw four planes that were the color of smoke. The bullets hit the road near them, he said.

The bus did not stop. It was the only vehicle on the road; there were trucks in the distance, they said. There was "only desert" aroundthem -- "no military trucks, no buildings, no gas station, no tents, nothing."179

Later in the air war, bus drivers seemed to believe that traveling the Baghdad-Amman highway at night afforded more protection. A young Egyptian furniture finisher told Middle East Watch that he left Baghdad on the evening of February 19 with a cousin and some friends. They were in a bus with 50 Egyptians and three Sudanese. The two buses drove together, his bus in front. It was night, and both buses had their headlights on. A few kilometers outside of Ramadi, a plane fired bullets at the bus, hitting to the right and left side. The driver kept going, but turned off the headlights. No one was hurt and the bus was not damaged.180

An Egyptian couple interviewed by MEW told of strafing of their bus, a white Coaster which left Baghdad on February 23 with luggage piled on top. There were 28 Egyptians on the bus: 22 adults and six babies. Theirs was the only bus, indeed the only vehicle, on the road. The journey was very difficult because the planes were shooting at the bus while it traveled the road: "It sounded like bombs were falling almost over our heads," the husband said. The strafing occurred after the bus left Rutba, between 7 and 10 pm. The bus stopped several times; the driver was travelling without lights for greater safety. The family said they were very afraid. The father told MEW how he dashed out of the bus several times carrying his daughter. The bus was not hit, and they arrived safely in Trebil at about 11 pm.181

Similar stories of strafed civilian vehicles appeared in the press. The New York Times reported that a Jordanian Red Crescent official hadseen a Jordanian family whose two infants were killed in a strafing attack.182 A group of evacuees told journalists that on February 3 an Egyptian worker running toward his bus was machine-gunned and killed instantly on the road to Trebil.183

southern iraq: 31 dead in daytime attack on civilian vehicles: A Jordanian bus carrying civilians fleeing Kuwait was attacked by allied planes near the Kuwaiti border on February 9 at 2 pm, killing 27 in the bus and another four in two cars traveling with the bus. MEW interviewed the driver of the bus, Shawqi Naji, 32, a Palestinian who lives in Jordan. A bus driver for 10 years, he had made several round trips in his 1983 Mercedes model 303 luxury passenger bus from Jordan to Kuwait to pick up Palestinians, Jordanians and others evacuating Kuwait.

He told MEW that his bus left Kuwait on February 9, at 1 pm. Orange in color, with a six-inch blue stripe around the side and Jordanian plates, the vehicle had capacity for 51 passengers but was carrying 61 because some of them were children. There was baggage underneath and on the roof of the bus. Two cars drove in front of the bus: a white Chevrolet and a dark blue Chevrolet. The passengers in the white car were newlyweds, and a family was riding in the blue car.

The highway from Kuwait City to southern Iraq traverses desert terrain, the driver told MEW. "There is nothing else there, just a highway ... no bridges, river, military fortifications ... nothing." The attack took place when the bus was an hour outside of Kuwait City, some 20 km beyond al-Metla'. The driver said he did not hear any aircraft. He was confident that the bus was identifiable as civilian because of its size, color and the baggage piled on top.

He said that he passed another bus parked on the side of the road. Some 500 meters beyond the parked bus, he heard a rocketexplode behind his bus, hitting it with shrapnel. He slammed on the brakes, quickly opened the two doors, and he and the passengers began to run off the bus. The rear of the bus was in flames. Before all of the passengers could get off, about two minutes after the first rocket, a second rocket struck, piercing the roof of the bus. The whole bus was engulfed in fire: 27 men, women and children were incinerated.

As he ran out of the bus, the driver helped drag an acquaintance from the bus, holding her on one arm and her young daughter on the other. While the passengers were running away from the bus into the desert, a third rocket struck at the place where some of them had gathered about 200 meters off the road. It left a crater five meters in diameter and three meters deep. This rocket hit about two to three minutes after the second rocket. Because of the confusion, the driver did not know if any passengers in this location were injured or killed.

When they were outside the bus, the woman he had helped was hit with shrapnel. Cut almost in two, she died immediately. Her daughter, injured with shrapnel in her heel, clung to the driver, crying, "Please, I don't want to die!" Of this family of six, three were dead: the mother, grandmother and a daughter, 9, who was hit by shrapnel in the chest.

After the third rocket, Naji heard other explosions. He told MEW that he heard about six rockets in all during that short period of time but only saw where the first three had landed. The area was covered with smoke and debris. He believed a plane strafed them with machine-gun fire. He was hit with a bullet at about this time; he was numb and did not feel anything. He did not see any planes, but he heard their roar. Two pieces of shrapnel were lodged in his right side, which were removed at Sabah Hospital in Kuwait. He also sustained a bullet wound on his right thigh; the doctors told him it was a bullet after it was removed.

The driver took the survivors to Sabah Hospital in Kuwait, using a car that was being driven by someone behind the bus but belonged to a family which had been riding in the bus because they thought it was safer. At the hospital, he met the man and woman who were riding in the blue Chevrolet. They said that their two daughters were killed in theattack but the rest of the family survived. They did not have much time to talk or exchange more information, the driver said.

The next day, he returned with the Palestinian Red Crescent to assess the damage. They counted 25 charred bodies on the seats of the bus; another two bodies were partially burned. The bus had a large hole in the roof from the rocket and the interior of the vehicle had been badly burned. There were holes on the outside of the bus, like machine-gun fire, he thought. The Red Crescent took photos of the bus and the human remains.184 The newlywed passengers in the white car were dead. The driver saw their charred bodies, still inside the car, in front of the bus.

A MEW fact-finding team that visited Kuwait in April was able independently to corroborate some aspects of the account provided by the bus driver. In interviews with the supervisor and two assistants at the Selaibekhat Cemetery, 15 km west of Kuwait City, MEW investigators learned that eight victims of the bus attack were buried at the cemetery on February 10. The cemetery supervisor, Abdel Razzaq al-Karraf, told MEW that the bodies of five Jordanian women, two Jordanian men and one Kuwaiti woman were brought in while he and his assistants were on duty on February 10. He said that they were told that the total number of fatalities from the rocket attack on a civilian bus traveling north totaled 18, but that 10 other victims were buried elsewhere. The cemetery workers told MEW that the attack occurred north of al-Metla', next to the Kuwait satellite station.

Legal Standards and Conclusions
It is legitimate under the laws of war to attack an enemy's transportation system, including by destroying roads and highways, if they are making an effective contribution to military action and the total or partial destruction of which would offer a definite military advantage. The use of highways and roads by Iraqi military vehicles and missile launchers made it legitimate to attempt to stop that traffic by, for example, destroying bridges or strategic passes. In addition, individual military vehicles traveling the Baghdad-Amman highway and other roadswere legitimate military targets, as were aircraft, military vehicles or missile launchers parked or hidden along the roadside.

Civilian buses and cars traveling the road, however, were not legitimate military targets. Coalition pilots therefore could not directly target them and had a duty to take precautions to avoid hitting them when attacking military targets. At a military briefing in Saudi Arabia on January 30, U.S. Brig. Gen. Buster Glosson acknowledged this, stating that only military targets along the Baghdad-Amman highway were under attack. The attacks on civilian vehicles, including in some cases strafing by low-flying aircraft, indicates that something clearly went wrong on the part of the allied air forces, who had consistently reiterated their intent to avoid civilian casualties. In the strafing incidents in particular, pilots presumably were close enough to have visual contact with the target. Eyewitnesses reported to MEW that aircraft dived once before opening fire; others were reported to be quite close to the vehicles when opening fire.

Given the known use of highways and roads by the civilian population -- there were repeated press reports of such use, and the Jordanian government filed a formal complaint with the U.S. ambassador in Amman on January 30 that Jordanian civilian vehicles on the highway had been wrongly attacked by allied aircraft -- allied pilots were under a duty to distinguish military objectives on these roads from civilian objects, such as cars and buses, and prohibited from striking military objectives and civilian objects indiscriminately (see Chapter One). Pilots also were obliged to take "constant care" to "spare the civilian population, civilians, and civilian objects" on highways in Iraq. They were required under the laws of war to "do everything feasible to verify that the objectives to be attacked are neither civilians nor civilian objects." They further were obliged to "take all reasonable precautions to avoid losses of civilian lives and damage to civilian objects." (see Chapter One)

Accordingly, allied forces should have taken care before firing to ensure that each target was military, especially since no warning was given to civilian vehicles to stay off the road. The legal burden is on the allies to demonstrate how they could have mistaken the civilian buses and cars for military targets, and to disclose the rules of engagement or other guidelines that they were following in these circumstances to avoid civilian casualties. If for technological or other reasons, coalition pilotscould not distinguish civilian objects from military targets, then this should have been publicly stated, so that potential civilian victims of these attacks would have had notice to avoid public highways.

One possible cause of the civilian casualties is that allied bombers were not required to make visual contact with their targets but relied only on radar. According to U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. McPeak, the "most effective" tactic devised for the great Scud chase was the use of the Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) -- which he described as "an airborne radar system now under development" -- to locate moving targets on the ground.185 Gen. McPeak described how this system of "ad lib attacks" worked:

This radar finds and tracks moving targets on the ground. So with it, we could track all of these vehicles, and when we found one that looked suspicious, then these JSTARS aircraft were able to divert the airborne [combat air patrol planes] and perform on-the-spot ad lib attacks.186

After the war, Gen. McPeak was queried about the precise ability of JSTARS to distinguish between moving objects on the ground. "These JSTARS that can identify mobile targets, could they identify them well enough to distinguish between a truck that might have a SCUD and a Jordanian oil tanker? Or are they just identifying large moving targets?"a reporter asked. Gen. McPeak's reply to this critical question: "I can't answer the question. I'm not sure."187

According to Aviation Week, a typical U.S. "Scud patrol" was approximately six hours; the aircraft in the patrol were equipped with 2,000-pound laser-guided bombs, and others carried cluster bombs or conventional high-explosive bombs.188 If the laser-guided bombs missed the target, other aircraft in the formation would drop cluster bombs or dumb bombs; the precision bombs were dropped from altitudes of over 15,000 feet and some four miles from the target.189 "We'd set up a pattern where we would weave back and forth across a road and perform [reconnaissance] by looking though the targeting pod," Lt. Col. Steve Pingel, commander of the 335th Tactical Fighter Squadron, said. "It was like looking through a soda straw."190

The allies should explain how such targeting techniques against vehicles on a road that was known to carry civilians comports with the requirement to take all feasible precautions to verify that the objects to be attacked are military and not civilian. Moreover, such long-distance reconnaissance does not explain the apparently deliberate strafing of cars and buses recounted by eyewitnesses interviewed by Middle East Watch.

Attacks on Jordanian Civilian Oil Tankers
In addition to the widely publicized evacuee traffic before and during the air war, Jordanian oil tankers traveled a portion of the Amman-Baghdad highway from Jordan through Rutba to a turnoff 120 km from the Jordanian border. From there, the drivers proceeded north to al-Qa'im, near the Syrian border, where they loaded up with oil and brought it back to Jordan. Gen. Kelly of the Joint Chiefs of Staffsuggested on February 2 that distinguishing civilian oil tankers from military-supply vehicles was a problem for the allies: "It's difficult to look at the ground and tell what a civilian target is and what a military target is, because, for example, oil trucks out in that area could be carrying fuel for Iraqi [military] aircraft," or for other military purposes.191 A senior U.S. military officer confirmed to The New York Times in early February that oil tankers on the road were being attacked, "arguing that it was impossible to tell which trucks were carrying civilian cargoes and which were carrying military material."192

Despite these admissions, at no time during the air war did the allied forces publicly warn Jordanian truckers that all civilian vehicles hauling oil from Iraq to Jordan would be subject to attack. To the contrary, U.S. Maj. Gen. Robert Johnston said at a briefing on February 5 that "we are not specifically targeting Jordanian civilian tankers."193 Gen. Kelly sent the same message, while noting that civilian-tanker drivers assumed some risk: "If a truck chooses to operate in that environment, there is some risk. We're not purposely going after civilian vehicles. [But] if one got hit, it was certainly by mistake."194

Jordan's Dilemma: Dependence on Imported Oil
The Gulf crisis had wreaked havoc on Jordan's already shaky economy: remittances from its citizens working in the Gulf states were lost, and the substantial revenues generated by Iraqi shipping through the port of Aqaba and Jordanian trucking of goods to Iraq disappeared. Jordan had imported about half its oil from Saudi Arabia, via the Trans-Arabian Pipeline (Tapline) from eastern Saudi Arabia to the Zarkarefinery in Jordan. The balance of Jordanian oil arrived by tanker truck from Iraq, at below-market rates.

On September 20, the Saudi government abruptly cut off the Tapline supply, citing a financial dispute over Jordanian payments due for previously imported oil.195 By October 1990, Jordan's oil reserves were perilously low and the government ordered conservation measures aimed at reducing fuel consumption by 20 percent or more.196 An appeal by the Jordanian Energy Ministry in October for the resumption of Saudi oil shipments, pending settlement of the dispute, was turned down by the Tapline company.197 Since the Saudi cutoff, it was reported that Jordan imported about 60,000 barrels of oil from Iraq daily, but that, with the allied attacks on the highways once the air war began, only 5,000 to 6,000 barrels per day were being imported, against the country's normal oil consumption of about 70,000 barrels daily.198

The Jordanian Minister of Finance, in a letter dated 15 October 1990, notified the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General of the measures taken by Jordan to implement Security Council Resolution 661 which imposed trade sanctions on Iraq. A memorandum appended to the letter, dated October 13, stated that Jordan "will continue to import certain petroleum products from Iraq...because of the lack of any immediate or foreseeable alternative and in view of Jordan's total dependence on it for the production of energy. Jordan will considerhalting such imports if an alternative becomes available."199 The memorandum also pointed out that Jordan was receiving the oil at "concessionary prices" and that Iraq was generating no income from the supply of oil to Jordan, as the transfer was in satisfaction of a debt.

On January 30, then-Jordanian Foreign Minister (and now Prime Minister) Taher al-Masri summoned U.S. Ambassador Roger Harrison and presented him with an official protest that four Jordanians had been killed and several others injured in allied bombing on the highway. The Foreign Minister said the bombing took place on January 29 and January 30, in Iraqi territory, and that nine Jordanian oil tankers and numerous civilian cars were destroyed.200 In a statement later that day to the Jordanian Parliament, al-Masri said:

It was obvious the cars were carrying evacuees and the Jordanian trucks were oil tankers and not military vehicles that were driving on an international highway during daytime. These brutal planes knew exactly what they were doing. Because of that I called the American ambassador and the ambassadors of the four other members of the Security Council.201

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Margaret Tutwiler said on February 4 that the allies had "credible information that war materiel, including some related to Scud missiles, has been transported in convoy with civilian oil trucks." She further cautioned: "While we seek tominimize coalition damage in all our operations, this is made difficult by Iraq's policy of co-locating military and civilian targets."202

Tutwiler also stated on February 4 that although Iraq's oil exports to Jordan "do violate the sanctions, it is not coalition policy to attacks civilian trucks exporting petroleum to Jordan." She also stated that "there is not exemption at the United Nations Sanctions Committee and ...there is no document specifically dealing with this at the UN." In its July 1991 public report, the Pentagon also stated that Jordan obtained oil from Iraq by truck and that "such purchases were technically in violation of the UN Security Council sanctions."203

Then-Jordanian Prime Minister Mudar Badran challenged the U.S. view in a statement released on February 4. He said that after the October memorandum, noted above, was sent to the Security Council, Jordan received verbal assurances from the Council that the import of Iraqi oil would be allowed to continue until an alternative source was found.204 On February 5, Badran accused the Security Council of bad faith:

Our trucks are being bombarded en route because they are carrying oil. Now they say: You are violating the UN resolution. No, we did not violate it. We asked and told them that we did not have any oil route other than this one and that we would continue to use it to transport oil until you, the Security Council, found an alternative, in accordance with your charter of conditions. We were told to continue until we secured oil for you. To date, nothing has been secured. Now, it is up to the Security Council to secure oil for us. Do you think I like to send trucks, approximately 700 or 800 tankers, and riskJordanian citizens to this bombardment, death, and destruction? No, I do not.205

Ms. Tutwiler also charged in the February 4 briefing that Iraqi war material was transported with the Jordanian tankers:

[W]e have credible information that war material, including some related to Scud missiles, has been transported in convoy with civilian oil trucks. Such material contributes to Iraq's occupation of Kuwait and is a legitimate military target.

Pressed for additional specific information about the charge, Tutwiler referred journalists to the Pentagon because "that gets into their operations in targeting and ... I don't do that." The Pentagon's preliminary report provides additional details about this charge:

There have been reports that Jordan may have supplied materials, including munitions to Iraq, during the course of hostilities....As the United States became aware of specific cases, they were raised with the Government of Jordan. Some of these cases were without foundation but some were substantiated. Regarding the latter, the Government of Jordan took action to terminate and reassured the United States that these instances had been the result of individual initiative and not as a result of governmental policy. In any event, it seems fair to say that such logistical assistance as Jordan may have provided Iraq did not substantially improve Iraq's ability to conduct operations, nor did it have an appreciable effect on the operational capabilities of the Coalition forces.206

Civilian Trucker Casualties: Eyewitness Testimony
In a February 7 letter to the U.N. Secretary-General circulated to the Security Council, Jordan stated that from January 29 to February 4, seven Jordanians and one Indian had been killed in allied attacks on trucks and tankers and another 21 injured; 42 vehicles had been partially or completely destroyed.207 On February 5 alone, another six had been killed, five wounded and eight vehicles destroyed. Despite these public reports about the attacks,208 Jordanian government high-level protests and the letter to the Security Council, the attacks continued. MEW interviewed five wounded truckers in a hospital in Amman about allied attacks involving their vehicles in Iraq, and took testimony from two evacuees who were eyewitnesses to other attacks on civilian trucks. These accounts follow.

convoy of four tankers attacked: One Jordanian oil-tanker driver, 52, did not recall the date in late January when he was injured. As far as he knew, his convoy was the first to be attacked on the road. They did not notice any other vehicles wrecked on the road, or any destruction to the road. He had been a driver for 30 years. At the time of the attack, he was in a convoy of four tankers which had filled up with oil in al-Qa'im and were on their way back to Jordan. About 30 km east of Trebil, the Iraqi border crossing point, they stopped by the road for afternoon prayers. After prayers, he was checking the air in the tires of his red-cabined 44-ton truck when he heard planes. He did not become alarmed because he did not expect the planes to attack civilians. There were no military facilities or installations nearby, he said emphatically.

He said that suddenly he heard an explosion and a "cloud" hit him. He was on the ground and the next thing he knew he woke up in a hospital in Amman. He did not know what happened to the other three truck drivers who were driving with him. At the time of his interviewwith MEW, the man was blind. One of his eyes had been removed in the hospital. He had no vision in the other eye but the doctors hoped that with surgery they would be able to restore his vision. The driver had multiple wounds: his first and second left toes, and part of his third and fourth left toes had been amputated. He had multiple shrapnel wounds in his pelvis, lower abdomen, and both thighs, a metatarsal fracture on his right foot, and a fractured right hand. His right arm was broken.209

28-truck convoy hit in nighttime attack: Another Jordanian truck driver was in a tanker truck that was part of a convoy of 28 tankers on their way to pick up oil at al-Qa'im. At 9 pm on the night of January 28, at the intersection for the turnoff to al-Qa'im, the convoy was attacked by planes, which this driver did not see. Everything was ablaze; he had many burn injuries on his bald head and elsewhere on his body. He told MEW that the planes returned and hit the truckers with machine-gun fire, killing two drivers. "I never thought I would live through it," he said weakly from his hospital bed.210

one driver killed, others injured, when aircraft machine-gunned five-truck convoy: A 57-year-old driver was traveling in a convoy of five tanker trucks, all with yellow Mercedes cabins, to the intersection at al-Qa'im. It was 1 pm on the afternoon of February 2, 1991 when he reached the intersection, where there were only Bedouin tents -- "there is nothing else around," the trucker told MEW. "There were no military objects or installations. It is empty, except for the tents." When he reached the intersection, his truck -- a German-built M.A.N. with a red cabin -- was hit with a rocket, which landed between the trailer and the cabin. "Everything burst into flames," he said. Only his truck was hit.

He threw himself out of the truck. He sustained burns and had shrapnel in his thighs. His face and eye area were scarred from the fireand his left hand badly burned. He crawled away from the truck and, as he was lying on his back, he saw two planes circle back, flying low, and machine gun the other trucks. He said that the planes aimed at him as well but did not hit him. The aircraft made three runs over the trucks, gunning them each time, he told MEW. One of the drivers, in the tanker in front of him, was killed when he jumped out of his truck. The other three drivers were injured.211

cluster bomb dropped at truck stop in afternoon attack: A Turkish tanker-truck driver, 34, who had been driving for 10 years, was injured by a cluster bomb 30 km east of Rutba. He was on his way to the intersection near Rutba in a red German-made M.A.N. truck on a sunny but cold day, either February 9 or 10. He was traveling with a Turkish friend who was driving another tanker truck. On the road, he saw about 50 or 60 tankers that were damaged, in addition to other automobiles.

At 3 pm in the afternoon they stopped their trucks about 400 meters from a corrugated zinc stand where truckers stop for coffee and tea. He started walking over to the stand, telling his friend he was going to get a blanket for a nap in the truck. About 100 meters from the stand, he heard but did not see aircraft. Then a bomb hit near the shed, scattering many small bombs over a few hundred meters. The bombs exploded at the same time, injuring the driver and two Iraqis. There were no military installations or objects nearby. Except for the shed and some Bedouin tents, it was a deserted area; there was not even a gas station. The closest military object was antiaircraft artillery off the highway about one and a half km from the place where the bomb fell. His left leg was fractured and in a cast. His right arm was in a cast. He had shrapnel up and down his right leg.212

two tankers destroyed at intersection: A Circassian tanker-truck driver, 38, interviewed by MEW in King Hussein Medical City hospital, had been driving a white Scania tanker truck and his cousin, 39,recuperating in the next hospital bed, had been driving a green Styer. They arrived at the intersection for al-Qa'im at about 7:30 pm on February 10. The crossroads has a water pump and a few Bedouin tents. The driver knew the place well since he passed there many times. There was nothing there of a military or even a civilian nature, except for the tents: "It was totally deserted," he said. Drivers sometimes stop there to buy bread from the Bedouin. They pulled over to the side of the road because it was night and they could not go further because it was too dangerous to use their headlights. They took out a portable stove and boiled water for tea. They were drinking tea when they heard the noise of planes in the distance. Suddenly there was a "big explosion" and both men were knocked down, unconscious. The explosion was "like compression," he remembered.

He does not know how long they remained unconscious. When he awoke, his head was next to his cousin's, but he did not see the bottom of his cousin's body and thought he was dead. He touched his cousin's hand and found he was alive. A fender that had been blown off the truck covered the cousin's body. Both of the tanker trucks were destroyed, with everything "in a shambles." The cabins had been blown off the trucks. The driver said he was wearing a leather jacket and jeans that were totally shredded. His nose was bleeding. He had and still has difficulty breathing. He had shrapnel all over his body, as did his cousin. A pickup truck stopped and took them to Rutba hospital. He thinks the Bedouin may have seen the explosion and got them help.213

cluster bomb dropped in daytime attack, two injured: Middle East Watch took testimony from a 19-year-old student at the school of art in Kirkuk who was on his way with his brother, also a student, to stay with an uncle in Jordan. Their parents lived in Kuwait and the brothers had lost touch with them. One brother hitched a ride in a refrigerator trailer with a yellow cabin, and the other rode in a vehicle behind. They left Baghdad at 5 pm on February 9. About 10 km from the border with Jordan, at about 8 am the next day, they saw planes coming. When the driver of the refrigerator truck heard the planes, he pulled off the road and told the student to get out of the truck and runaway. The student heard numerous explosions and saw lots of debris and dust from a bomb that fell close to the truck. He saw many cylindrical yellow canisters on the ground, with a parachute-like cone of cloth, military green color, on the end. The area was "full of canisters," he said.

He told MEW that when he hit the ground he felt a canister close to his body. He got up on his knees, tossed the canister away, and it exploded in the air. Then: "I saw myself flying off the ground and there was blood all over the place." He tried to get up, but could not. He had multiple fractures in his left leg, among other injuries.

The student and the driver of the truck, injured with shrapnel in his chest, were taken by a passing pickup truck to the Rutba hospital. While riding in the pickup, they heard another plane coming. The pickup stopped and the passengers jumped out and ran from the road. The student could not leave the pickup because he could not move. The plane went away and they continued on to the hospital.214

refrigerator truck attacked near border: Middle East Watch interviewed a Sudanese carpenter, 28, a resident of Baghdad since 1984, who left the city on February 15 in a green Nissan bus with 36 Sudanese and Jordanian passengers. He said that during the trip the bus stopped twice and passengers ran out for safety because of nearby attacks.

Toward the end of the journey, at about 8 pm on February 15 when the bus was 30 kilometers out of Rutba, the Sudanese heard approaching planes. The driver pulled off the road and turned off the lights; the passengers stayed in the bus. There was one explosion. When it was over, the driver proceeded. One kilometer down the highway, they passed a yellow refrigerator truck that appeared to have been hit in the raid: in the headlights of the bus the carpenter saw that the truck's cabin was on fire. The bus drove on and the carpenter did not see if anyonewas killed or injured. He saw many other vehicles along the road that had been destroyed in earlier attacks.215

other accounts of strafing of trucks by allied aircraft: The Amman trucking company, Odeh Nabr and Sons, has a fleet of 750 trucks, including oil tankers. About 95 percent of the company's transport business was based on hauls between Iraq and Jordan.216 Samir Nabr, the owner, told the Financial Times that seven of his trucks were destroyed on the Baghdad-Amman highway from direct attacks by allied bombers.217 He said that two of his drivers were hospitalized with severe burns and the cost of each destroyed vehicle was $110,000. He showed a reporter one oil tanker with eight bullet holes in the window of the cab.

A Filipino driver, Ramon Agila, said that he had been attacked twice in two weeks; during one raid he said his oil-tanker truck was sprayed with machine-gun fire. The driver also said he witnessed other strafing attacks: "They were bombing every three hours, all along the road. When some of the drivers fled, they were shot by the planes' machine guns."218

Samir Nabr said that in some cases pilots flew over the convoys of trucks before bombing, allowing time for drivers to escape. But in other cases, the attacks occurred without warning: "It depends if the pilot has any ethics," he said.

Legal Standards and Conclusions
To be legitimate military targets, the Jordanian oil tankers would have had to satisfy the two-pronged test of military objectives: by theirnature, location, purpose or use the vehicles must have been making an effective contribution to Iraq's military action, and their total or partial destruction, in the circumstances ruling at the time, must have offered a definite military advantage to the allies (see Chapter One). Under these standards, the tankers in and of themselves were not legitimate military targets. The vehicles were owned by private citizens of a state that was not a party to the conflict. The tankers were driven not by Iraqi military personnel but by civilian truckers from Jordan. With isolated exceptions, the tankers are not alleged to have been transporting fuel destined for military or any other use by Iraq; all evidence indicates that they were carrying fuel to Jordan, for consumption there. The "nature, location, purpose or use" of the tankers made no contribution whatsoever to Iraqi military action.

Nor is there any evidence that Iraq generated any immediate revenue from the export of this product, since the unrefuted statement by Jordan was that the oil was taken as repayment of loans; the oil shipments did not produce currency that could be used by Iraq to further its war effort. Accordingly, the destruction of the oil tankers, in the circumstances ruling at the time, did not offer a "definite military advantage" to the allies.

Indeed, the allies, to MEW's knowledge, never asserted that Jordanian oil tankers were legitimate military targets, but instead justified or excused these attacks on the grounds that it was difficult to distinguish these civilian vehicles from trucks carrying materiel for military purposes or the volatile fuel for mobile missile units. This defense, however, is undercut by the failure of the coalition forces to issue a specific warning to civilian drivers to stay off the highways because pilots were unable to distinguish civilian tankers from military vehicles.

Given that the Jordanian government had placed the allies on notice at the very latest as of January 30 that Jordanian oil tankers were on the road and had been improperly attacked by allied planes, Middle East Watch believes that the allies were under a duty to take effective steps to distinguish these tankers from Iraqi military vehicles, or to issue an unequivocal warning to civilian-tanker drivers to stay off the highways. The allies are at fault for failing to take one or the other precaution.

The U.S. Air Force Pamphlet requires that "constant care must be taken to spare the civilian populations, civilians, and civilian objects." It further states that those who plan or decide upon an attack have the duty to "[d]o everything feasible to verify that the objectives to be attacked are neither civilians nor civilian objects" (see Chapter One).

Objects used for civilian purposes, such as civilian trucks hauling oil, gas and other fuels, may be subject to direct attack "whenever a commander or other person responsible for planning, deciding upon or executing an attack honestly concludes, on the basis of information reasonably known to him at the time,"219 that the object satisfies the test of a military objective.

Whether the numerous attacks on these tankers were reasonable under the circumstances and based on the information available to the planners and pilots at the time is an issue on which the allied air forces have the burden of proof. It is particularly important to know what "credible information" the allies had that "war material, including some related to Scud missiles, has been transported in convoy with civilian oil trucks," as claimed by the U.S. State Department on February 4.220

It is a matter of concern to Middle East Watch that allied military spokesmen conceded that it is "difficult to look at the ground and tell what a civilian target is and what a military target is, because, for example, oil trucks out in that area could be carrying fuel for Iraqi aircraft." It was also noted that many of the operations were taking place at night, which could mar pilots' vision. Taken together, these comments -- and the eyewitness testimony taken by MEW -- suggest that the allied air forces did not exercise the required duty of care in the circumstances to distinguish between civilian and military objects on highways.

When they were in doubt, pilots apparently chose to believe that the object was military rather than civilian, in violation of the opposite presumption dictated by the laws of war. The duty to discriminatebetween civilian and military objects and to "do everything feasible to verify that the objectives to be attacked" are not civilians or civilian objects is not lessened because of the political importance attached to the elimination of Iraq's capability to launch missiles at Israel.

In MEW's view, if there was doubt about whether the oil tankers were Jordanian civilian vehicles or Iraqi vehicles carrying fuel for missile launchers or other military purposes, allied aircraft should have refrained from attacking. If, on the other hand, U.S. military planners regarded all vehicles transporting fuel within Iraq as legitimate military targets, they should have given, at the very least, effective advance warning of their intention to attack these vehicles. To have issued such a warning would not have jeopardized the security of allied aircraft and their crews, given their total control of the skies, and could possibly have averted death and injury to civilians driving such vehicles, as well as to civilians traveling in proximity to these fuel trucks.

To resolve these troubling issues, Middle East Watch calls on the allies to disclose fully the means and methods used to distinguish between civilian and military vehicles on highways and roads in Iraq, and the rules of engagement governing the attacks on military vehicles on those highways.


Bedouin civilian casualties in Iraq -- sustained during "the great Scud chase" -- were barely noted by the Western media during the air war. Desert-dwelling Bedouin families who reside in the Iraq-Jordan-Saudi Arabia border areas typically camp at sites with their sheep and goats for months or years at a time. They live in distinctive long, black, goat-hair tents (beit al-sh'ar, in Arabic), familiar to travelers in the region. The Bedouin have long disregarded national boundaries, and move freely throughout the desert. Approximately 95,000 nomadic or seminomadic Bedouin were identified in the 1977 Iraqi census, comprising less than one percent of the population.221

Middle East Watch obtained information about several Bedouin encampments in western Iraq -- located far from towns and main roads -- that were bombed by the allies, leaving at least 46 dead civilians, including infants and children. Mkhelf Dayes, a Bedouin who lived with his family in the desert on the Iraq-Jordan border, was the only survivor of a daytime attack on his three tents on January 22 which killed 12 members of his family and two others. He was interviewed by MEW in his hospital bed in Amman, Jordan, on February 17.

Mr. Dayes told MEW that he had established his compound 12 years ago. The site was isolated: the nearest military installation was 120 km away and the nearest town, Rutba, the largest town in western Iraq, was 160 km away. His tents were 100 km from the nearest highway, to which Mr. Dayes drove over the desert in his four-wheel-drive vehicle.

On January 22 at about 4:30 pm, Mr. Dayes saw four planes circle over his compound of three tents. Each black tent was about 30 meters long. Outside the compound were many sheep and goats, he said. The planes dove and attacked, firing 12 rockets. He was standing at the entrance to the compound watching, transfixed, when one of the rockets landed next to him. Rockets hit two of the tents, killing all 14 people inside. Mr. Dayes told MEW that his family members who were killed included two daughters, ages four and six, and nieces and nephews, among them a 19-year-old woman and her 18-month-old son and four-month-old daughter. The woman was the wife of his 17-year-old nephew, Adnan Dayes, who was in the hospital room taking care of his uncle at the time of the MEW interview. A father and daughter, unrelated to the family, also were killed in the attack.

Mr. Dayes said that after the attack some of his Bedouin friends just happened to come to his camp to visit; if they had not, he would have bled to death. They rushed him across the desert to the nearest clinic, in Ruwayshid at the Jordanian border; from there he was brought to the hospital in Amman for surgery. He already had undergone five operations for 36 injuries. He had a fractured scapula, 20 stitches on his left hip, five on his right thigh, a fractured ankle and a badly fractured and dislocated shoulder, among other injuries. He said that the attackdestroyed blankets worth JD 6-7,000222, four-wheel drive vehicles, sheep and other property, including cash.223

Mr. Dayes told MEW that he knew of only one other Bedouin encampment that had been attacked before the attack on his compound: 20 members of the family of Karim Khamar were killed inside their tents when they were bombed. He had since heard from relatives who came to visit him in the hospital that other Bedouin compounds had been attacked by allied aircraft. Some four or five days after the attack on his site, 18 rockets hit the tents of the Flayeh family who lived not far from him, killing 12 to 16 people. There were only two survivors: a four-year-old girl and her father. The tents of Ayed Mraydi also were attacked --the man lost his wife, daughter, and 900 sheep with a market value of about $50,000.

The Bedouin herdsman, quoted above, told The Guardian that attacks on Bedouin camps near the Iraq-Saudi border had taken place near Zamlat Houran, Kalabat and Makar al-Na'am.224

Legal Standards and Conclusions
Bedouin tents fall into the category of objects to which a presumption of civilian use attaches under the customary principle codified in Article 57(3) of Protocol I.225 The presumption requires that, in the case of doubt, pilots should have refrained from attacking.

Middle East Watch assumes that the aircraft that attacked Mr. Dayes' camp were seeking to destroy concealed Iraqi mobile missile-launchers and accompanying support vehicles, although it is difficult to understand how it reasonably could be expected that these large vehicles could travel easily over desert roads so distant from major highways. The attack on Mr. Dayes' camp took place during the afternoon. The planes did not attack from a high altitude, but dove down. Three long black tents, a herd of animals and four-wheel drive vehicles were in plain view. Even assuming that pilots thought that the 30-meter-long black tents could be hiding places for mobile missile launchers and other equipment, it is reasonable to assume that the signs of civilian life at the encampment also were visible.

Since the tents were relatively fixed objects, and since there were no antiaircraft artillery batteries nearby, there was no apparent need to strike quickly or lose the military advantage. There should have been time, therefore, to examine the site more closely and establish with greater certainty that it was a legitimate military target, or to provide some form of effective advance warning, given the evidence of civilian life.

From the perspective of the military planner, it is difficult to see how a commander or other person responsible for planning, deciding upon or executing the attack could "honestly conclude, on the basis of information reasonable known to him at the time,"226 that these Bedouin tents satisfied the test of a military objective set forth in U.S. military manuals and Article 57(2) of Protocol I. Although the U.S. Air Force target planners perhaps never visited the Middle East and perhaps never saw Bedouin tents, the Arab members of the coalition who participated in the air war campaign had ample experience in the air and on the ground in the region and knew well the configuration of typical Bedouin encampments -- information which should have been communicated to pilots responsible for bombing missions in isolated desert areas of Iraq.

1 Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook 1990 at 149.

2 World Bank, World Development Report 1990 at 229; Paul Lewis, "Allies Asked to Guarantee Safe Transit on Medical Aid," The New York Times, February 9, 1991.

3 UNHCR, "Summary of Activities in the Persian Gulf," February 4, 1991. According to the International Labor Organization, there were about 2.6 million foreign workers, and 700,000 of their dependents, in Iraq and Kuwait prior to the August 2 invasion. Within two months, some 1.5 million workers and their families had fled. Countries of origin, beginning with the largest group, were as follows: Egypt, Jordan/Palestine, India, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Philippines and Thailand.

4 Helen Chapin Metz, Ed., Iraq/A Country Study (Federal Research Division, Library of Congress, U.S. Government as represented by the Secretary of the Army: 1990) at 79 [hereinafter Country Study].

5 Samir al-Khalil, "Iraq and Its Future," The New York Review of Books, April 11, 1991 at 12.

6 Country Study at 125.

7 Congressional Quarterly, The Middle East, 7th Ed. (Washington, D.C.: 1990) at 159.

8 James Tanner, "Iraq Is Fast Rebuilding Its Ravaged Oil Trade Into a World Leader," The Wall Street Journal, January 8, 1990.

9 Andrew Gowers, "Iraq elbows its way back in with its Gulf friends," Financial Times, April 12, 1990.

10 John H. Kelly, "U.S. Relations with Iraq," April 26, 1990, Current Policy No. 1273, U.S. State Department Bureau of Public Affairs.

11 The Wall Street Journal, January 8, 1990.

12 Clyde Haberman, "Trade Sanctions Against Baghdad Imposed by European Community," The New York Times, August 5, 1990.

13 Clyde Haberman, "Iraqi Official Urges Turkey Not to Shut Oil Pipeline," The New York Times, August 6, 1990.

14 See World Bank, World Development Report 1990. In addition to Iraq, other "upper middle income" states included Algeria, Argentina, Iran, Korea, South Africa and Venezuela.

15 The U.S., United Kingdom, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates and 19 other countries were classified as high income states.

16 The Middle East Review 1990 (Hunter Publishing Company, Edison, New Jersey) at 74.

17 Samir al-Khalil, "Iraq and Its Future," The New York Review of Books, April 11, 1991 at 12.

18 Harvard Study Team, "Public Health in Iraq After the Gulf War," May 1991 at 19 [hereinafter Harvard Study Team Report].

19 Ahtisaari Report at 5.

20 Glenn Frankel, "Allies Must Now Win the Peace," The Washington Post, February 27, 1991.

21 Bernd Debusmann, "`$200 bn and an entire generation to bring Iraq out of the 19th century,'" Mideast Mirror, February 26, 1991 at 13.

22 Glenn Frankel, "Iraq: A Devastated Nation," The Washington Post, April 9, 1991.

23 Patrick E. Tyler, "U.S. Officials Believe Iraq Will Take Years to Rebuild," The New York Times, June 3, 1991.

24 Eric Schmitt, "Clouds Reported To Delay Bombing," The New York Times, February 9, 1991.

25 Barton Gellman, "Allied Air War Struck Broadly in Iraq," The Washington Post, June 23, 1991.

26 Col. Michael R. Boldrick (Ret.), "The Message of the Scuds," The Wall Street Journal, February 7, 1991.

27 Pierre Salinger with Eric Laurent, Secret Dossier (Penguin Books, New York: 1991) at 8.

28 Barton Gellman, "Allied Air War Struck Broadly in Iraq," The Washington Post, June 23, 1991.

29 John H. Cushman, Jr., "Crucial Tests for Tools of Command," The New York Times, Section 4, January 20, 1991.

30 Woodward at 368.

31 Woodward at 364.

32 Woodward at 365.

33 Barton Gellman, "Allied Air War Struck Broadly at Iraq," The Washington Post, June 23, 1991.

34 John H. Cushman, Jr., "Crucial Tests for Tools of Command, The New York Times, Section 4, January 20, 1991.

35 Gerald F. Seib, "Military Reform Has Given Field Commanders Decisive Roles and Reduced Interservice Rivalry," The Wall Street Journal, January 24, 1991.

36 Christopher Bellamy and Patrick Cockburn, "Allies assess precision of bomb raids," The Independent, March 19, 1991.

37 R. Jeffrey Smith, "Design Convinced U.S. Analysts Building Was a Bunker," The Washington Post, February 14, 1991.

38 The Washington Post, February 13, 1991.

39 R. Jeffrey Smith, "Design Convinced U.S. Analysts Building Was a Bunker," The Washington Post, February 14, 1991.

40 Id.

41 New Rules at 326.

42 R. Jeffrey Smith, "Official Accounts of Battle Leave Many Gaps," The Washington Post, January 22, 1991.

43 In the area south of Amara, a city near the Iranian border in southern Iraq, "even the kilns that baked the clay for housing have been bombed, and new homes, built with straw, are being busily constructed. A sugar factory is reduced to a tangle of metal." See Ed Vulliamy, "Fear At the End of the Basra Road," Weekend Guardian (London), May 18-19, 1991.

44 Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook 1990 at 150.

45 Country Study at 154. In 1989-90, the Basra governorate in southern Iraq had some 4,200 farms on 95,500 dunums [almost 24,000 acres] of cultivated agricultural land, up from 4,800 dunums [1,200 acres] in 1975. Almost ten percent of the total acreage was rice-producing marshlands. The areas in the south around Safwan and Zubeir had large-scale greenhouse production of tomatoes; other crops in the Basra governorate included dates, fruit, garlic, onions, cucumbers, pumpkins, wheat and barley. (Statement by Basra governor to al-Jumhuriyah, September 18, 1990, FBIS, September 26, 1990 at 37.)

46 The Middle East Review 1990 at 76.

47 Susan B. Epstein, "Iraq's Food and Agricultural Situation During the Embargo and the War," Congressional Research Service, February 26, 1991.

48 Baghdad INA in English, September 7, 1990, as reported in FBIS, September 11, 1990 at 42.

49 Baghdad Domestic Service, September 10, 1990, as reported in FBIS, September 11, 1990.

50 Al-Thawrah, September 9, 1990, as reported in FBIS, September 14, 1990 at 21.

51 Baghdad Al-'Iraq, September 19, 1990, as reported in FBIS, September 26, 1990 at 38.

52 Al-Thawrah, September 7, 1990, as reported in FBIS, September 14, 1990 at 21.

53 Keith Bradsher, "Stretching Food in Iraq: Rationing and Feed-Grain Bread," The New York Times, September 1, 1990.

54 Ahtisaari Report at 6.

55 Announced by Minister of Trade Muhammed Mahdi Salih, as reported in FBIS, September 7, 1990 at 23-24.

56 Agence France-Presse, September 2, 1990, as reported in FBIS, September 4, 1990 at 23.

57 MEW interview, Azraq Evacuee Center, Azraq, Jordan, February 26, 1991

58 The Guardian, February 20, 1991.

59 Fred Bruning, "In Iraq, `No Place to Hide,'" Newsday, February 4, 1991.

60 Id.

61 MEW interview, Azraq Evacuee Center, Azraq, Jordan, February 18, 1991.

62 MEW interview, Azraq Evacuee Center, Azraq, Jordan, February 16, 1991.

63 MEW interview with Ali al-Basri, London, May 4 and May 6, 1991.

64 Iraq produced dairy products. According to the director-general of the General Establishment of Dairy Products, the country's largest factory produced in September 1990 200 tons of pasteurized milk, 20 tons of cream, 16 tons of soft cheese, and 20 tons of processed cheese. (Al-Jumhuriyah, September 18, 1990, as reported in FBIS, September 26, 1990 at 38.)

65 MEW interview, Azraq Evacuee Center, Azraq, Jordan, February 26, 1991.

66 Ed Vulliamy, "Fear At the End of the Basra Road," Weekend Guardian, May 18-19, 1991.

67 MEW interview with Ali al-Basri, London, May 4 and May 6, 1991.

68 MEW interview, London, May 7, 1991.

69 Susan B. Epstein, "Iraq's Food and Agricultural Situation During the Embargo and War," Congressional Research Service, February 26, 1991 at 3-5 [hereinafter Epstein].

70 Al-Thawrah, September 14, 1990, as reported in FBIS, September 19, 1990.

71 Epstein at 10.

72 Ahtisaari Report at 6.

73 Ahtisaari Report at 6.

74 Ahtisaari Report at 7.

75 Jerry Gray, "5 Powers At U.N. Decide To Allow Iraqis To Sell Oil," The New York Times, August 8, 1991.

76 The average income for an Iraqi family is 120 dinars. During the AAMA mission, one kilogram of meat with bones cost 14 dinars, a three-day supply of baby milk was priced at 7 dinars and a tray of 30 eggs cost 14 dinars. One Iraqi dinar is the equivalent of $3.70.

77 The AAMA conducted this mission jointly with the International Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear War (Germany). The report of the delegation, "Medical Conditions in Iraq," was published in July 1991. Information from this report is cited in the next section of this chapter.

78 ICRC Commentary at 655.

79 Emphasis added.

80 Pentagon Interim Report at 2-6.

81 Pentagon Interim Report at 2-6.

82 Pentagon Interim Report at 2-6.

83 Country Study at 167.

84 Country Study at 167.

85 Ahtisaari Report at 12.

86 Country Study at 167-168.

87 Country Study at 168.

88 Ahtisaari Report at 12.

89 Baghdad INA, April 13, 1991, as reported in FBIS, April 16, 1991 at 15.

90 Baghdad INA, April 18, 1991, FBIS, April 19, 1991 at 14.

91 Id.

92 Harvard Study Team Report at 19.

93 Patrick E. Tyler, "Iraq Tells of Constant Electricity Crisis," The New York Times, June 25, 1991.

94 Arab American Medical Association/Emergency and Disaster Committee, "Medical Conditions in Iraq," July 1991 at 9-11 [hereinafter AAMA Report].

95 Harvard Study Team Report, Table 6, "Electrical System's Prewar, Postwar and Current Outputs."

96 MEW interview with Gwynne Roberts, May 19, 1991, London.

97 A United Nations mission, led by Abdulrahim A. Farah, former Under-Secretary-General, visited Kuwait from March 16 to April 4, 1991 to report on infrastructure and economic damage during Iraq's occupation. According to the mission's report, five power stations supplied electricity in Kuwait and "[c]ritical parts of the electrical generating capacity and also part of the distribution grid were destroyed during the occupation." (at 21) Two stations, Doha East and Doha West, "were blown up and totally destroyed." (at 71) The small Shuwaikh station inside Kuwait City sustained severe damage (at 71). The U.N. report, while assessing the extent and cost of the damage, does not describe how the damage was sustained. (See Annex to Letter Dated 26 April 1991 from the Secretary-General Addressed to the President of the Security Council, S/22535, 29 April 1991.)
Middle East Watch obtained conflicting information during a fact-finding mission to Kuwait in March 1991 about the cause of the damage to electrical-generating facilities; some Kuwaitis, mostly members of the military, told MEW investigators that the damage was caused by the Iraqis; other Kuwaitis said the facilities had been attacked from the air.

98 Pyle at 208.

99 Pyle at 208.

100 Pyle at 231.

101 MEW interview, Azraq Evacuee Center, Azraq, Jordan, February 15, 1991.

102 MEW interview, Azraq Evacuee Center, Azraq, Jordan, March 1, 1991.

103 MEW interview, Azraq Evacuee Center, Azraq, Jordan, February 18, 1991.

104 MEW interview, London, May 7, 1991.

105 MEW interview, Azraq Evacuee Center, Azraq, Jordan, February 12, 1991.

106 See, for example, U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey, The Effect of Bombing on Health and Medical Care in Germany (First Edition, 30 October 1945; Second Edition, January 1947). Chapter Ten, which discusses environmentalsanitation, states: "Sanitation facilities, consisting essentially of an adequate supply of potable water and a system of sewage and refuse disposal, are the principle planks in the platform supporting good health and a high standard of living. Most people in the civilized cities of the world are accustomed to such facilities in the course of every-day life. They take them for granted. Take them away suddenly and there is cause for immediate concern, not particularly with their origin an disposition, but with the dread of disease and the hardships involved.
"Aerial bombing of German cities had a devastating effect upon water supplies and waste disposal facilities. Much damage resulted from direct hits; additional damage resulted indirectly from the destruction of supplies and equipment necessary for maintenance and operation." (at 229)

107 The study of Germany resulted in a summary report and some 200 supporting reports. The mission of the German study was to examine "the effects of our aerial attack on Germany, to be used in connection with air attacks on Japan and to establish a basis for evaluating the importance and potentialities of air power as an instrument of military strategy for planning and future development of the United States armed forces and for determining future economic policies with respect to the national defense." (The United States Strategic Bombing Survey, The Effects of Bombing on Health and Medical Services in Japan, June 1947 at iii.) On August 15, 1945, President Truman directed that the Survey conduct a similar study of the effects of all types of air attack in the war against Japan; headquartered in Tokyo in September 1945, Survey staff questioned over 700 Japanese military and other officials and reported on a wide range of issues, including "the course of health and morale among the civilian population" and "the effects of the atomic bombs." (Id.)

108 The United States Strategic Bombing Survey, The Effects of Strategic Bombing on German Morale, Volume II (December 1946) at 3. Based on data from 18 German cities, the survey found that the highest correlation wasbetween disruption of transportation services and a willingness to surrender, following by the disruption of electricity; disruption of gas and water ranked lower. (Id.)

109 Id. at 7.

110 Table 4 Deprivation of utilities and services

Electricity deprivation: Persons affected
Severe 5,766,000
Moderate 14,520,000


Total 20,286,000


Gas deprivation:
Severe 12,402,000
Moderate 6,018,000


Total 18,420,000


Water deprivation:
Severe 7,692,000
Moderate 10,254,000


Total 17,946,000


United States Strategic Bombing Survey, The Effects of Strategic Bombing on German Morale, Vol. I (US Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.: May 1947) at 10.

111 The United States Strategic Bombing Survey, The Effect of Bombing on Health and Medical Care in Germany (First Edition, 30 October 1945; Second Edition, January 1947) at 263. (Emphasis added.)

112 Ahtisaari Report at 8.

113 UNICEF, The State of the World's Children 1991 at 106.

114 Ahtisaari Report at 8.

115 WHO/UNICEF Special Mission to Iraq, February 1991, U.N. Security Council S/22328, 4 March 1991 at 17 [hereinafter WHO/ UNICEF Report].

116 Ahtisaari Report at 8

117 Financial Times, March 13, 1991.

118 WHO/ UNICEF Report at 18.

119 Patrick E. Tyler, "Iraq Tells of Constant Electricity Crisis," The New York Times, June 25, 1991.

120 MEW interview, Azraq Evacuee Center, Azraq, Jordan, February 12, 1991.

121 ICRC Press Release No. 91/21, March 12, 1991.

122 ICRC Press Release No. 91/25, March 28, 1991.

123 Lee Hockstader, "Power Outages Said to Burden Iraqi Hospitals," The Washington Post, March 16, 1991.

124 ICRC Press Release No. 91.25, March 28, 1991.

125 AAMA Report at 7.

126 AAMA Report at 11.

127 AAMA Report at 19.

128 Id.

129 The report discusses the methodology used to derive this figure; see Harvard Study Team Report at 12-13.

130 Id. at 1-2.

131 Harvard Study Team Report at 15.

132 January 30, 1991.

133 Patrick E. Tyler, "Disease Stalks Iraq as Trade Ban Saps Its Strength," The New York Times, June 24, 1991.

134 Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf stated publicly on January 30 that the allied forces had control of the skies. (Edward Cody, "Iraqi Targets Bombed at Will, General Says," The Washington Post, January 31, 1991.) U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Merrill A. McPeak described at a Defense Department briefing on March 15, 1991 the plan for the first phase of the air campaign: "Phase I, lasting about seven to ten days, would be the air superiority phase aimed at destroying Iraqi intergrated air defenses and their offensive capability, and disrupting their command and control setup -- attacking the brains and nervous system of the Iraqi ability to control their own forces." (McPeak Briefing, Transcript at 3.) Discussing the first allied attacks in the early morning hours of January 17 in Baghdad, Gen. McPeak said that coalition forces "achieved tactical surprise....the Iraqi Air Force never recovered from this opening attack. We took the initiative at the beginning and we held it throughout the rest of the war period." (McPeak Briefing, Transcript at 4.) Gen. McPeak added: "Once we had achieved air superiority, our next goal was to cut off the deployed field army." (McPeak Briefing, Transcript at 8.)

135 Economist Intelligence Unit, 1986/87 Yearbook, Energy, Middle East (London: 1986) at 42.

136 One of the priority targets during the war was a U.S.-made Wanderlodge luxury mobile home thought to be used by Saddam Hussein as a mobile command center. Newsday reported that one Air Forces officer said "the search at one point rivaled allied efforts to destroy Scud missiles sites in Iraq." Patrick J. Sloyan, "Air Force Tracked Motor Home In War's `Get Saddam' Mission," The Washington Post, June 23, 1991.

137 Earl Lane and Knut Royce, "War's `Biggest Surprise,'" Newsday, February 15, 1991.

138 Pentagon Interim Report at 2-4.

139 Earl Lane and Knut Royce, "War's `Biggest Surprise,'" Newsday, February 15, 1991.

140 Rick Atkinson, "Iraqis Called Vulnerable to Land Attack," The Washington Post, February 15, 1991.

141 Air Force Pamphlet 110-31 at para.5-3 (c) (2) (b).

142 New Rules at 365. The ICRC Commentary at 685 makes the same point: the words "concrete and direct" impost stricter conditions on the attacker than those implied by the criteria defining military objectives.

143 Air Force Pamphlet 110-31, para. 5-3 (c) (1) (c).

144 See Matheson at 427.

145 Barton Gellman, "Allied Air War Struck Broadly in Iraq," The Washington Post, June 23, 1991.

146 Id.

147 Id.

148 Jonathan C. Randal, "Battle-Scarred Basra Struggled Toward Recovery," The Washington Post, May 23, 1991.

149 Id.

150 A cluster bomb is an "air-delivered, free-fall weapon...that contains numerous small submunitions, or bomblets. A time of proximity fuze in the nose of the cluster bomb activates a burster charge, which splits open the canister after release to disperse the bomblets over a wide area. That compensates for the inherent inaccuracy of low-altitude bombing, and increases the probability of multiple target kills with a single weapon....Some submunitions are fitted with delay or pressure fuzes, to act as mines." Edward Luttwak and Stuart L. Koehl, The Dictionary of Modern War (Harper Collins:1991) at 123.
Cluster bombs, including cluster bombs that released bomblets with delayed-action or contact fuses, were used by allied forces during Operation Desert Storm. The ordnance was employed against Iraqi troops and military emplacements in the Kuwaiti military theater and dropped on or near roads and highways inside Iraq. Middle East Watch interviewed two former residents of Samawa who described civilian casualties and damage from cluster bombs used in the area (see Chapter Five).
An Iraqi health minister announced in August that 608 civilians had been killed or injured from exploding cluster bombs that had been dropped in residential districts of Iraq during the air war. Dr. Shawqi Sabri Murqus,the first under secretary of the Health Ministry, said this number included three Jordanians killed and four injured. The official Iraqi news service reported that Dr. Murqus had said in May that dozens of civilians, especially children, had been hit by exploding cluster bombs. (Baghdad Iraqi News Agency, August 6, 1991, as reported in FBIS, August 7, 1991 at 28.)

151 The New York Times, January 31, 1991.

152 Molly Moore, "Arms Caches, Supply Lines Targeted; Marines Direct Artillery at Kuwait," The Washington Post, January 27, 1991.

153 McPeak Briefing, Transcript at 5.

154 Martin Fletcher, "Hunt for Scuds as 80% of strikes succeed," The Times, January 19, 1991.

155 Pentagon Interim Report at 24-1.

156 Duncan Lennox, "Iraq -- Ballistic Missiles," Jane's Soviet Intelligence Review, October 1990 at 440.

157 R. Jeffrey Smith, "Compactness, Simplicity of Iraq's Scuds Complicate U.S. Search," The Washington Post, January 20, 1991.

158 Id.

159 R. Jeffrey Smith, "Compactness, Simplicity of Iraq's Scuds Complicate U.S. Search," The Washington Post, January 20, 1991.

160 Pentagon Interim Report at 4-4.

161 Pentagon Interim Report at 4-4.

162 Susan Sachs and Patrick J. Sloyan, "Allied Raids Taking Massive Toll on Iraq," Newsday, February 6, 1991.

163 Excerpts from military briefing in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, The New York Times, January 31, 1991.

164 McPeak Briefing, Transcript at 5.

165 R. Jeffrey Smith, "U.S. Military Pressed About Civilian Casualties," The Washington Post, February 3, 1991.

166 Pentagon Interim Report at 12-7 to 12-8. Jordan claimed that its receipt of oil from Iraq, as repayment for debt owed, was conducted with notice to and without objection from the United Nations Sanctions Committee. See below for additional information.

167 Pentagon Interim Report at 12-8.

168 The Jordan-Iraq border crossing used to be at Ruwayshid and was moved several years ago. The Jordanian official entry point was simply left in Ruwayshid. There is no other town in the desert between Ruwayshid and Trebil.

169 IOM, Geneva, Gulf Emergency Programme: Updated Plan of Action, dated January 17, 1991. From September 3, 1990 to January 15, 1991, 13,176 evacuees left directly from Iraq to their countries of origin, by air; from Turkey, 7,889; and from other areas, IOM-coordinated departures totalled 1,410.

170 There also was civilian traffic from Jordan through Ruwayshid into Iraq during the air-war period: 6,320 people of all nationalities traveled from Jordan to Iraq, according to information provided by the Jordanian authorities to MEW during an interview on February 28, 1991 in Amman. Some of those who entered Iraq were Jordanians who assisted their relatives in leaving Kuwait and Iraq, as well as enterprising truckers hired to transport Jordanian citizens and their possessions back to Jordan.

171 MEW interview, Amman, Jordan, February 28, 1991.

172 There were many fewer evacuees legally crossing the Iraqi border to countries other than Jordan from January 17 to February 28: IOM reported that 7,700 fled to Iran; 400 to Turkey; and 31 to Syria.

173 Letter dated 7 February 1991 from the Permanent Representative of Jordan to the United Nations Addressed to the Secretary-General, S/22205, February 7, 1991. Jordan asked that the letter be circulated as a document of the Security Council.

174 MEW interview, London, May 7, 1991.

175 MEW interview, Azraq Evacuation Center, Azraq, Jordan, February 13, 1991.

176 MEW interview, Azraq Evacuee Center, Azraq, Jordan, February 16, 18 and 22, 1991.

177 MEW interview, Azraq Evacuee Center, Azraq, Jordan, February 22, 1991.

178 MEW interview, Amman, Jordan, February 15, 1991.

179 MEW interview, Azraq Evacuee Center, Azraq, Jordan, February 18, 1991.

180 MEW interview, Aqaba Transit Camp, Aqaba, Jordan, February 21, 1991.

181 MEW interview, Ruwayshid Evacuee Center, Ruwayshid, Jordan, February 24, 1991.

182 Alan Cowell, "More Air Attacks on Road to Jordan," The New York Times, February 1, 1991.

183 Wafa Amr, "Ruined Basra lacks food and water," The Guardian, February 4, 1991.

184 MEW interview, Amman, Jordan, February 19, 1991.

185 McPeak Briefing, Transcript at 5. The Pentagon's July 1991 report acknowledges that JSTARS aircraft were prototypes, "not scheduled to be operational until 1997." Despite this, the Pentagon states that JSTARS performed well, in 49 combat support missions: "Although still a prototype, the JSTARS aircraft proved effective in detecting and rapidly targeting tactical air assets against enemy ground units. Of particular importance, JSTARS offers both wide area coverage and more focused imagery of moving or fixed items of interest....JSTARS was an integral part of the system used to locate and track the movements of Scud launchers and to direct aircraft into position to search for and attack Scuds." (Pentagon Interim Report at 6-10.)

186 McPeak Briefing, Transcript at 5.

187 McPeak Briefing, Transcript at 13.

188 Jeffrey M. Lenorovitz, "Air Crew Training, Avionics Credited for F-15E's High Target Hit Rates," Aviation Week & Space Technology, April 22, 1991 at 55.

189 Id.

190 Id.

191 R. Jeffrey Smith, "U.S. Military Pressed About Civilian Casualties," The Washington Post, February 3, 1991.

192 R.W. Apple, Jr., "U.S. Hits Hussein's Town, As War Hits Home in Iraq," The New York Times, February 6, 1991.

193 R.W. Apple, Jr., "U.S. Hits Hussein's Town, As War Hits Home in Iraq," The New York Times, February 6, 1991.

194 R. Jeffrey Smith, "U.S. Military Pressed About Civilian Casualties," The Washington Post, February 3, 1991.

195 Youssef M. Ibrahim, "Citing a Default, Saudis Stop Sending Jordan Oil," The New York Times, September 21, 1990.

196 Joel Brinkley, "Short of Oil and Supporters, Jordan Orders Fuel Savings," The New York Times, October 8, 1990.

197 Mideast Mirror, October 25, 1990 at 20.

198 Youssef M. Ibrahim, "Citing a Default, Saudis Stop Sending Jordan Oil," The New York Times, September 21, 1990.

199 See Letter dated October 22, 1990 from the Secretary-General Addressed to the President of the Security Council, S/21938, November 13, 1991.

200 "Masri: Jordan reserves right to respond if attack is repeated," Jordan Times, January 31, 1991.

201 David Hirst, "Jordan protests at `deliberate' civilian deaths," The Guardian, January 31, 1991.

202 State Department Regular Briefing, Washington, D.C., February 4, 1991.

203 Pentagon Interim Report at 12-7.

204 Mideast Mirror, February 5, 1991 at 21.

205 Amman Domestic Service, February 5, 1991, as reported in FBIS, February 6, 1991 at 35.

206 Pentagon Interim Report at 12-7.

207 Letter dated February 7, 1991 from the Permanent Representative of Jordan to the United Nations Addressed to the Secretary-General, S/22205, February 7, 1991.

208 See, for example, Laurie Garrett, "At Jordan-Iraq Border, Refugees Tell of Suffering," Newsday, January 29, 1991, and Nora Boustany, "`Sky Was Black--We Could Not Breathe,'" The Washington Post, January 30, 1991.

209 MEW interview, Farrah Centre, King Hussein Medical City, Amman, Jordan, February 17, 1991.

210 MEW interview, Farrah Centre, King Hussein Medical City, Amman, Jordan, February 17, 1991.

211 MEW interview, Farrah Centre, King Hussein Medical City, Amman, Jordan, February 17, 1991.

212 MEW interview, Farrah Centre, King Hussein Medical City, Amman, Jordan, February 17, 1991.

213 MEW interview, Farrah Centre, King Hussein Medical City, Amman, Jordan, February 17, 1991.

214 MEW interview, Farrah Centre, King Hussein Medical City, Amman, Jordan, February 17, 1991.

215 MEW interview, Azraq Evacuee Center, Azraq, Jordan, February 18, 1991.

216 Mark Nicholson, "Jordanian truck drivers vow to defy air raids," Financial Times, February 7, 1991.

217 Id.

218 Id.

219 New Rules at 326.

220 Margaret Tutwiler, State Department regular briefing, February 4, 1991.

221 Country Study at 80.

222 Jordanian dinars. One US dollar was then equal to 0.64 Jordanian dinars. The blankets, held for sale, were worth about US $9-10,000.

223 He estimated the value of all the property lost at US $117,000.

224 Wafa Amr, "Bedouins claim allied jets attacked camps in Iraq," The Guardian, January 25, 1991.

225 Article 57(3) states: "In case of doubt whether an object which is normally dedicated to civilian purposes, such as . . . a house or other dwelling . . . , is being used to make an effective contribution to military action, it shall be presumed not to be so used."

226 New Rules at 326.

Previous PageTable Of ContentsNext Page