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U.S. E-Mails Iraqi Leaders to Solicit Support, Information

January 12, 2003|From Times Wire Services

BAGHDAD — The United States has e-mailed military and civilian leaders in Iraq, urging them to turn against President Saddam Hussein and reveal the location of any chemical, biological or nuclear weapons, U.S. defense officials said Saturday. In response, Baghdad has blocked some e-mail service.

The e-mails, in Arabic, urge Iraqis not to follow orders to use chemical, biological or nuclear weapons; to identify where they may be located; and to render any weapons ineffective. Iraq denies that it has any banned weapons programs.

"Iraqi chemical, biological and nuclear weapons violate Iraq's commitment to agreements and United Nations resolutions," part of one message reads. "Iraq has been isolated because of this behavior. The United States and its allies want the Iraqi people to be liberated from Saddam's injustice and for Iraq to become a respected member of the international community. Iraq's future depends on you."

Many Internet sites are off limits in Iraq, and all foreign e-mail servers are blocked. The state-controlled e-mail service is available to only a small number of Iraqis, mainly government officials, senior public servants, academics and scientists.

Iraqis began to receive the U.S. e-mails last week, visitors said, and the government has shut down some e-mail service, apparently to prevent the messages from spreading.

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