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[casi-analysis] casi-news digest, Vol 1 #18 - 4 msgs

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Today's Topics:

   1. Emphasis on Iraq Remains, but From a Different Angle (cafe-uni)
   2. Bush vows guerrillas will not stop Iraq handover (cafe-uni)
   3. Talks under way as UN mulls Iraq mission (cafe-uni)
   4. Iraq, Afghanistan are stretching U.S. troops to the limit (cafe-uni)


Message: 1
From: "cafe-uni" <>
To: "Casi News" <>
Subject: Emphasis on Iraq Remains, but From a Different Angle
Date: Wed, 21 Jan 2004 15:55:25 -0000


      January 21, 2004
      Emphasis on Iraq Remains, but From a Different Angle

      ASHINGTON, Jan. 20 - President Bush used his State of the Union
Message on Tuesday night to answer directly the critics of his decision to
invade Iraq, but he emphasized that country's "liberation," rather than the
threat he has said its illicit weapons posed to the United States and the

      Mr. Bush's approach was a notable departure from the address he gave
from the same place in 2003, when the last third of his speech listed, one
by one, suspected stores of biological and chemical weapons that he asserted
were still in the possession of Saddam Hussein.

      This year, after months of largely fruitless inspections, he devoted
only two sentences to the subject and worded it carefully, saying that
inspectors had identified "dozens of weapons of mass destruction-related
program activities and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed
from the United Nations."

      Mr. Bush made no reference to the continuing search for the weapons,
in which an American-led team of inspectors working for nearly eight months
has found no unconventional weapons or evidence of active programs to
manufacture them.

      Instead, Mr. Bush took on the arguments heard from many of the
Democratic candidates for president: that Mr. Bush acted prematurely, citing
faulty evidence, and that with more time and care he could have built a true
international coalition. Mr. Bush has addressed each of those arguments
before, but on Tuesday night he put them all together, with a more assertive
response than any he has offered before.

      "Had we failed to act," Mr. Bush said, "the dictator's weapons of mass
destruction programs would continue to this day. Had we failed to act,
Security Council resolutions on Iraq would have been revealed as empty
threats, weakening the United Nations and encouraging defiance by dictators
around the world. Iraq's torture chambers would still be filled with
victims - terrified and innocent."

      "The killing fields of Iraq - where hundreds of thousands of men,
women and children vanished into the sands - would still be known only to
the killers," he added.

      Mr. Bush also addressed the critique that "our duties in Iraq must be
internationalized," and without naming his critics, again led by the
Democrats competing for the chance to face him in November, he suggested
they were ill informed. He listed the nations that have committed troops to
Iraq, including Japan and South Korea, which just joined the effort, and
also took a shot at France and Germany for their opposition.

      "From the beginning, America has sought international support for
operations in Afghanistan and Iraq and we have gained much support," Mr.
Bush said. "There is a difference, however, between leading a coalition of
many nations and submitting to the objections of a few. America will never
seek a permission slip to defend the security of our country."

      But Mr. Bush never returned to the charges about Iraq that he leveled
last Jan. 28, less than two months before he ordered the troops who had
massed in Kuwait to topple the regime of Mr. Hussein.

      In that speech, he listed each intelligence finding that the C.I.A.
had provided him with just months before: that Mr. Hussein had amassed
anthrax and botulin, nerve agents and mobile biological weapons
laboratories. As he named each one, he gave a variant of this conclusion:
"He hasn't accounted for that material. He's given no evidence that he
destroyed it."

      He concluded that "it is up to Iraq to show exactly where it is hiding
its banned weapons."

      Gradually, some of Mr. Bush's aides are beginning to acknowledge that
some of those stores were probably destroyed years ago, though they express
bewilderment that Mr. Hussein provided no evidence of that to international
inspectors before the invasion that ended his rule.

      In his address, Mr. Bush contrasted Mr. Hussein's decision, and his
fate, to that of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, the Libyan leader, who agreed last
month to dismantle his country's nascent nuclear weapons program. "Nine
months of intense negotiations involving the United States and Great Britain
succeeded with Libya," he said, "while 12 years of diplomacy with Iraq did
not." He connected the two, saying, "for diplomacy to be effective, words
must be credible, and no one can now doubt the word of America."

      As expected, Mr. Bush did not repeat his famous phrase "axis of evil"
to describe North Korea and Iran.

      Mr. Bush has often expressed frustration in the past few months that
with Mr. Hussein defeated, Americans no longer regard the country at war,
though he clearly does. He repeated that frustration at midday on Tuesday,
meeting with television anchors on a "background" basis, meaning that none
of his statements were to be attributed directly to the president.

      He made the point at the opening of his address, when he warned
Americans against going "back to the dangerous illusion that terrorists are
not plotting and outlaw regimes are no threat to us."

      Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company | Home | Privacy Policy |
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Message: 2
From: "cafe-uni" <>
To: "Casi News" <>
Subject: Bush vows guerrillas will not stop Iraq handover
Date: Wed, 21 Jan 2004 15:56:01 -0000

Bush vows guerrillas will not stop Iraq handover
By Dean Yates

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - U.S. President George W. Bush vowed guerrillas would not
stop a planned handover of power to Iraqis, while Iraq's long-repressed
majority Shi'ite Muslims demanded a bigger say in their political future.

"We are dealing with these thugs (guerrillas) in Iraq just as surely as we
dealt with Saddam Hussein's evil regime," Bush said in a State of the Union
address to the U.S. Congress on Tuesday, pressing his case for re-election
in November.

Bush said the United States had been right to go to war in Iraq and that the
world was a safer place since Saddam was toppled last April.

"Had we failed to act, the dictator's weapons of mass destruction programmes
would continue to this day," Bush said. Although no nuclear, chemical or
biological arms have been found since Saddam was ousted, he said U.S.
weapons expert David Kay had identified dozens of programmes.

In last year's State of the Union address before U.S.-led forces invaded
Iraq, Bush said Saddam possessed chemical and biological arms and was trying
to build a nuclear weapon.

Bush blamed attacks on U.S.-led forces on a "remnant of violent Saddam
supporters....joined by foreign terrorists".

"These killers...are a serious, continuing danger. Yet we are making
progress against them," he said.


Presenting Adnan Pachachi, president of the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing
Council, to the Congress, Bush said: "Sir, America stands with you and the
Iraqi people as you build a free and peaceful nation."

Bush urged Americans to stick with his leadership on Iraq, saying: "We have
not come all this way -- through tragedy, and trial, and war -- only to
falter and leave our work unfinished.

"The work of building a new Iraq is hard, and it is right."

Guerrillas fired a projectile, believed to be a rocket, at the compound
housing the U.S.-led administration in Baghdad on Tuesday night and there
were unconfirmed reports one person was wounded, the U.S. military said.

The attack caused no major damage to buildings, the military said. The
compound was previously one of Saddam's palaces.

A suicide car bomb on Sunday just outside one of the main gates of the
compound killed at least 25 people.

Thousands of Shi'ites hit the streets of four Iraqi cities on Tuesday,
calling on the United States to hand over Saddam to be tried as a war
criminal and demanding a bigger say in their political future.

Shi'ites were repressed during Saddam's three decades of iron rule.

The rallies followed a march through Baghdad on Monday by tens of thousands
of people from the Shi'ite community demanding direct elections to decide
who controls Iraq when the United States hands back power in June.


Many of Tuesday's protesters were supporters of Moqtada al-Sadr, a firebrand
religious leader who has expressed support for Iraq's most senior Shi'ite
cleric Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.

Sistani and his followers have proven a thorn for the United States by
opposing its plans to let regional caucuses appoint a transitional authority
to take power at the end of June, instead of letting all Iraqis vote.

"We demand elections or we will bury every American here," said one Shi'ite
cleric, Sattar Jabbar.

In Baghdad, Iraq's second city of Basra and the Shi'ite holy cities of
Kerbala and Najaf, thousands demanded Saddam be declared a war criminal and
handed over for trial soon.

The United States declared Saddam a prisoner of war on January 9 following
his capture the previous month.

Washington has said his status may be changed further down the line, and
that he will eventually be handed over to Iraqi authorities to be tried
under a special tribunal set up to account for his murderous rule.

Abdul al-Hakim, a Governing Council member and Sistani ally, urged U.S. and
U.N. officials to explore ways to hold early polls rather than focusing on
other plans such as caucuses.

Speaking to reporters after a Governing Council meeting with Bush at the
White House, Hakim said the demonstrations showed strong support for

"We said clearly that we should have elections in Iraq and we should keep to
the timetable of the transfer of sovereignty," Hakim said through a

At the urging of the Governing Council and the Bush administration, U.N.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan is considering whether to send a team to
Baghdad to study the transition process. He is expected to announce a
decision within a week.

(Reporting by Fiona O'Brien and Andrew Marshall in Baghdad, Steve Holland
and Caren Bohan in Washington)

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Message: 3
From: "cafe-uni" <>
To: "Casi News" <>
Subject: Talks under way as UN mulls Iraq mission
Date: Wed, 21 Jan 2004 15:56:37 -0000,prtpage-1.cms

The Times of India Online
Printed from  >World >The United States

      Talks under way as UN mulls Iraq mission

            AFP[ WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 21, 2004 12:26:35 PM ]

                  UNITED NATIONS: Discussions were under way as the United
Nations mulled sending a mission to Iraq that US and Iraqi leaders hope wil=
clear the way for its June handover of power in Baghdad.

                  UN officials said the "technical" talks that Secretary
General Kofi Annan demanded were ongoing amid widespread speculation by
diplomats that the UN chief would authorise the mission soon.

                  Annan said he would consider the request put forward at a
meeting on Monday with the US overseer in Iraq, Paul Bremer, and a
delegation of Iraqi officials at UN headquarters.

                  Annan is away on a two-week swing through Europe but a
spokesman underlined that his absence from New York did not mean that no
decision would be taken before then.

                  "These talks are ongoing. The secretary general said
(Monday) he was not going to drag the process out, and he's very much aware
of the time issue," the spokesman said.

                  The mission would assess the feasibility of national
elections before the June 30 handover date after the religious leader of
Iraq's Shiite Muslim majority, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, rejected the
current plan.

                  As the blueprint now stands, caucuses would be set up to
select the interim government set to take power when the coalition formally
ends its occupation and the current Iraqi Governing Council is dissolved.

=A9 Bennett, Coleman and Co., Ltd. All rights reserved.


Message: 4
From: "cafe-uni" <>
To: "Casi News" <>
Subject: Iraq, Afghanistan are stretching U.S. troops to the limit
Date: Wed, 21 Jan 2004 15:57:14 -0000

           Posted on Wed, Jan. 21, 2004

            Iraq, Afghanistan are stretching U.S. troops to the limit


            The U.S. military is in the midst of one of the most massive
movements of troops since World War II. Almost the entire battle force in
Iraq is being replaced by fresh units, involving the rotation of nearly
240,000 soldiers and Marines over the next five months.

            Buried within this huge rotation is one deployment that has
quietly alarmed some military experts. Some 8,000 troops from the two
Hawaii-based brigades of the 25th Infantry Division, the famed Tropic
Lightning Division, are being sent to Iraq and Afghanistan. These troops ar=
the cavalry for the Pacific Command -- they are the men and women who are
designated to rush first into battle in case of a war in Korea.

            This leaves the United States with a very thin line of defense
in an area of the world that is of vital strategic interest. It comes at a
time when the potential for conflict, possibly triggered by the collapse of
negotiations to persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program=
is high. And it is a move that will not pass unnoticed by North Korea, whic=
could read it as a sign that the United States is too tied down in Iraq to
handle another crisis.

            ''We should be very concerned about the fixation on Iraq and th=
effect on other potential hot spots,'' Sen. Jack Reed, a Rhode Island
Democrat and a veteran of the 82nd Airborne and former West Point professor=
told me. ``We would be very hard pressed to counter quickly any serious
military move by the North Koreans.''

            This doesn't mean that the United States could not eventually
fight and win a war in Korea without the 25th. A combination of American ai=
and naval power and the South Korean army, along with the one U.S. Army
division still based in Korea, may be enough to blunt a North Korean attack=
And that could allow time for reinforcements to arrive from elsewhere.

            But this deployment reveals the stress, particularly on the
Army, created by the war in Iraq.

            ''Clearly, unanticipated commitments in postwar Iraq had
stretched the Army to the point where it had little in reserve for any othe=
contingencies that might arise (e.g. a war in Korea),'' wrote defense
specialist Jeffery Record in an Army War College study on the global war on
terrorism that is being widely read in Washington these days.

            The best response, one favored by some defense experts, is for
the United States to increase its military forces, especially ground troops=
Reed, joined by Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, offered an
amendment to the defense appropriations bill last fall to expand the size o=
the army by 10,000 soldiers. A group of House Democrats introduced
legislation in December to increase force levels by about 8 percent over th=
next five years.

            Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, needless to say, doesn't
agree. He and others argue that revolution in military technology --
precision weapons, increases in mobility, the ability to coordinate air and
ground forces more quickly and effectively, and the use of special forces -=
diminish the need for ground troops.

            During a recent visit to Seoul, however, a senior South Korean
military officer expressed serious doubt about its ability to repel the
North. Among other things, South Korea lacks key weapons systems, such as
those to accurately direct fire against the North's thousands of artillery
batteries. Plans to transfer such technology are in the works, but it will
take years.

            It is time to realize the cost of war in Iraq is not only
measured in the tens of billions spent there or the lives being lost every
day. It is the price of having put too much of our resources in the wrong


=A9 2004 The Miami Herald and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.

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