US Report: Anti-bombing sites exist ... outside Iraq

Web users looking to find perspective on the war from Iraq's point of view will be disappointed, as what few Iraq-oriented sites do exist originate mostly from the United States.

Still, several of those sites do make it easier for grassroots opponents of the Desert Fox operation to log complaints about the bombings. Some sites also include tips on how to contact U.S. decision-makers to lodge a protest.

A group calling itself the Iraqi Action Coalition provides the phone numbers of U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, several ambassadors to the U.N., and various news organisations. "Please call the following individuals, and let them know that bombing Iraqi cities is a crime -- legally and morally," the site reads. It also provides a link that lets people send a free fax to U.S. Congress members.

The site -- run by Lebanese Networks in College Station, Texas, has been tracking the relationship between the U.S. and Iraq for a while, mainly focusing on the effects that sanctions are having on the country's people. It plugs December 1998 as the 100th month of sanctions, and one link takes users to the Global Movement to End the War against Iraq, a site launched in February to protest sanctions. "This page is black in mourning for the thousands who are dying every month in Iraq as a direct result of the war," it reads.

Another site, Iraq.org, gives American users the ability to send a form letter protesting the bombing to their local representative. The letter is sent via e-mail based on the zip code entered. A search of major Internet sites failed to turn up any sites within Iraq that are protesting the bombing.

The Iraqi government does not have its own Web site, according to a spokesman at the country's embassy in Washington, though there is a site for the Permanent Mission of Iraq to the U.N. which contains recent speeches made before the U.N. News from the region has a predictably anti-U.S. spin.

For example, a forum on the Arabia.com, a collection of news stories that also resides at Iraq.com, asks readers: "Will the United States reintroduce the Nuclear Age into the battlefield against Iraq? Will Iraq retaliate with its alleged non-conventional weapons? Speak your mind in the News Forum."

Strangely, opposition group Iraqi National Congress site has no stories about the bombings on its site. In fact, there's no evidence of the action at all, and the latest news stories are several weeks old.

The group, which has been exiled and is now based in London, says its goal is to create a "credible authority with a base on Iraqi soil" to protest Saddam Hussein's regime.

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