Thursday, February 19, 1998

In last effort to achieve a "diplomatic solution" preventing a U.S. airstrike, UN Secy. Gen. Annan leaves for Baghdad for weekend of talks with Iraqi officials. U.S. warns that it will challenge any agmt. that does not allow unrestricted access to all Iraqi sites, including 8 "presidential palaces," which Iraqi pres. Saddam Hussein has deemed off-limits to inspectors as symbols of national sovereignty. (CSM, MM, WP, WT 2/19; MM 2/20)

Pres. Clinton calls on the UN to set a deadline for Iraqi compliance; orders VP Al Gore, Defense Secy. Cohen to cancel trip to South Africa set to begin 2/23 to keep them in Washington. (NYT, WT 2/20)

Secy. of State Albright travels to Tennessee State University to give 2d televised briefing on Iraq to some 200 hand-picked honors students, coached by the school's administration to "give the opposite impression that was given at Ohio State" 2/18. Before Albright arrives, campus security removes all demonstrators fr. camera view. The secy. then heads to University of South Carolina for 3d, similarly controlled briefing. (NYT, WP 2/20)

UN begins evacuating staff fr. Iraq. All personnel should be out of the country by 2/21. (WP 2/19)

U.S. sends 10s of Patriot missiles to Israel as part of an "emergency aid" package. (MM 2/19; YA 2/19 in WNC 2/21)

Opponents of military action against Iraq stage demonstrations outside the U.S. embassies in Egypt and Belarus, British PM Tony Blair's residence in London. Palestinians hold similar demonstrations in Dura, Bayt `Umar. (RE 2/19 in WNC 2/24; WT 2/20; PR 2/27)

Jordanian "popular delegation" heads to Baghdad to show solidarity with the Iraqi people. Reps. fr. all Jordanian political parties and professional organizations and fr. each governorate have agreed to make staggered trips to Baghdad over the next wk. (al-Dustur 2/19 in WNC 2/24)

Swiss police catch 5 Mossad agents in the process of installing a wiretap in a "foreigner's" house in Bern. For unknown reasons, 4 agents are released, only 1 is detained. No mention of the incident is made public. (ITV 2/25 in WNC 3/3; MM, NYT, WT 2/26; MM, NYT, WT 2/27; WT 3/16)

Hamas spiritual leader Shaykh Ahmad Yasin arrives in Egypt to undergo surgery for bone infection. (MENA 2/19 in WNC 2/24; WP 2/20)