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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Zyuganov: Albright Is 'Madame War'

As the United States again bombed Iraq on Wednesday night and NATO again backed away from talk of bombing Yugoslavia, Russia's top Communist lashed out at U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright - calling her "Madame War" and saying she had brought shame on all women with what he described as her unnatural war-mongering.

"I am alarmed by this madame, whom I call Madame War," Gennady Zyuganov told reporters in Moscow, in response to a question about peace talks on the Yugoslav province of Kosovo.

"She is a woman, after all. Rattling rockets and bombs - it is simply against nature," he continued, in remarks reported by Reuters. "I want to say through you [the media] to all the women's organizations of the planet and especially of Europe ... She is bringing shame on the entire female sex and the female tribe."

Zyuganov added that "love, respect and beauty should emanate from a woman," and said Albright came up wanting on all three counts.

It was unusually vicious anti-American rhetoric even for Zyuganov, who is no friend of the United States and has expressed sympathy for both the Yugoslav Serbs and Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

But it also seemed to capture the unusually belligerent face that Russian politicians of all stripes have shown to Washington over the past few days - particularly when criticizing NATO threats to use military airstrikes against the Serbs if the Kosovo peace talks fail.

The same day that Zyuganov was complaining about "Madame War," Kremlin press spokesman Dmitry Yakushkin declared ringingly that allegations of military ties between Russia and Iraq were a "complete provocation," according to Interfax.

Such angry talk came as U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott was in Moscow and as Russia is openly leaning on the Clinton administration to send more money from the International Monetary Fund - two delicate and affairs that are traditionally accompanied by a more diplomatic political tone.

Instead, the mood music of the past few days has been angry and martial. On Tuesday, Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev warned apocalyptically that a NATO attack would draw the United States into "another Vietnam" in the heart of Europe. A few days earlier, President Boris Yeltsin himself claimed loudly that he had forcefully warned President Bill Clinton against airstrikes.

"I gave Clinton my opinion, in writing and by telephone, that we won't stand for this," Yeltsin told a handful of journalists on Friday at a Kremlin summit appearance with European Commission President Jacques Santer and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder. "That's it. We won't let them touch Kosovo."

The tough talk continued Wednesday even as NATO backed down on bombing threats. Speaking at the Rambouillet chateau near Paris where the Kosovo peace talks were held, Russia's first deputy foreign minister, Alexander Avdeyev, portrayed the postponement of bombing as a victory for Russia - and, he hinted, a defeat for the United States.

"It has to be said that the Americans at the talks, confronted by the lack of prospects for their stubborn position, stepped back and gradually, though with difficulty, came over to our understanding of the negotiating process," Avdeyev said, in remarks reported by Reuters.

Russian media were laudatory. "It cannot be excluded that the consistent stance, expressed in Yeltsin's famous phrase 'We won't let you touch Kosovo' and the many declarations of Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov, Foreign Minster Igor Ivanov and senior military ranks, had a sobering effect," the Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper said.

Kommersant agreed, saying: "Russia can consider such a result [of the talks] a victory."

Russia has long defended the Serbs to the hilt, while its sympathies with Saddam Hussein's Iraq have been more muted. But Prime Minister Primakov, a Middle East specialist, has an unclear personal relationship with Saddam. And Pr imakov's hackles have been raised by weeks of on-again, off-again American bombing sorties against Iraq.

Wednesday night, U.S. jets again bombed Iraq. The official Iraqi news agency said the attacks hit the capital of Baghdad itself, killing one and wounding others. Russian television showed late-night footage of Baghdad's streets, complete with wailing air raid sirens.

Pentagon officials said the attacks were in the southern no-fly zone - the northern border of which now stretches almost to the southern suburbs of Baghdad. U.S. President Clinton said Wednesday evening that he regretted having to continue the air attacks against Iraq, which he said came after Iraq fired at a patrolling U.S. plane.

Iraq said in December it would no longer recognise the no-fly zones, an announcement that followed heavy cruise missile and bombing raids by American and British forces against Iraqi military targets.

An official Iraqi statement described the U.S. war planes as "black ravens," and claimed that they were driven back to "their bases of evil and aggression in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia" by "brave" Iraqi resistance.

It was the fourth consecutive day of raids by U.S. or British warplanes policing the northern and southern no-fly zones, which were set up after the 1991 Gulf War to protect Kurds in northern Iraq and Moslem Shi'ites in the south from vengeful attacks by Hussein's forces.