The following is an archived copy of a message sent to the CASI Analysis List run by Cambridge Solidarity with Iraq.
Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of Cambridge Solidarity with Iraq (CASI).
[Main archive index/search] [List information] [CASI Homepage]
[ This message has been sent to you via the CASI-analysis mailing list ] This is an automated compilation of submissions to email@example.com Articles for inclusion in this daily news mailing should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include a full reference to the source of the article. Today's Topics: 1. Kidnapped protester entertains kidnappers (k hanly) 2. =?Windows-1252?Q?Parts_Of_Iraqi_Nuclear_Reactor_=91Resettled=92?= (ppg) 3. Frightening assesssment of US policies (CharlieChimp1@aol.com) 4. NYT: White House Says Iraq Sovereignty Could Be Limited (Dan O'Huiginn) --__--__-- Message: 1 From: "k hanly" <khanly@DELETETHISmb.sympatico.ca> To: "newsclippings" <email@example.com> Subject: Kidnapped protester entertains kidnappers Date: Thu, 22 Apr 2004 13:08:58 -0500 http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/04/22/1082616271351.html Protester entertains kidnappers with circus tricks April 23, 2004 A British peace protester who was kidnapped by rebels in Iraq won over her captors with circus tricks, it emerged yesterday. Law graduate Jo Wilding, 29, befriended Mujahideen fighters in the besieged city of Fallujah by making a handkerchief disappear and creating balloon animals. The Bristol protester, who travelled to Iraq before the war but was expelled when bombing started, later returned to the country to help deliver supplies to hospitals and to teach circus skills to Iraqi children. But, while transporting medicines in and out of the central city of Fallujah, a stronghold of Sunni insurgents that has been besieged by American forces, she and a group of campaigners were kidnapped for 20 hours by Mujahideen fighters. The three men and four women were ordered from their vehicles, moved from house to house and questioned before being handed over to a local imam and released, Wilding said. Far from being badly treated, she said her kidnappers looked after the group well and even gave them tea, food and blankets. In her website diary, she describes how she feared for her life last Wednesday when one of the fighters jumped into the passenger seat of their car while they were trying to negotiate their route out of Fallujah. She said: "You look for ways out. You wonder whether they're going to kill you, make demands for your release, if they'll hurt you. You wait for the knives and the guns and the video camera. "You tell yourself you're going to be OK. You think about your family, your mum finding out you're kidnapped." As the group were questioned, Wilding began to tell the fighters about her circus work. "They brought our bags in and I made a hanky disappear. The guard was initially unimpressed so I showed him the secret of the trick in the hope he would let me off," she said yesterday. "Then I made a couple of balloon animals including a giraffe for his children." The kidnappers warmed to the group and the campaigners were told they would be released after the morning prayers the following day. "To be honest they had begun to realise we were not scary people after we started singing songs and talking to them. They told us we would not be hurt and that we would be released," Wilding said. Despite the ordeal, the ardent campaigner, now back in Baghdad, has no regrets about her peace work in Iraq. "They took us because we were foreigners acting strangely in the middle of their war," she said. "They found out what we were doing and let us go. On the way out we were able to open up the checkpoint which meant people were able to get out of Fallujah to safety. "If that was all we did it would still have been worth it." Wilding plans to continue her relief work in Iraq for the next few weeks. PA --__--__-- Message: 2 From: "ppg" <ppg@DELETETHISnyc.rr.com> To: <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: =?Windows-1252?Q?Parts_Of_Iraqi_Nuclear_Reactor_=91Resettled=92?= Date: Thu, 22 Apr 2004 16:01:30 -0400 Parts Of Iraqi Nuclear Reactor =91Resettled=92: Sources There is =93extensive removal of equipment and in some instances, removal o= f entire buildings=94, ElBaradei By Hossam Al-Sayed, IOL Staff CAIRO, April 19 (IslamOnline.net) =96 Parts of Iraq=92s neutralized nuclear reactor have been resettled somewhere in the far-reaching country, an Iraqi scientist told IslamOnline.net Sunday, April 18. http://www.islamonline.net/English/News/2004-04/19/article06.shtml =93This can help the United States find a way out of the current limbo of failing to come across a sniff of Iraq=92s alleged weapons of mass destruction,=94 the central rationale of the U.S.-led war one year ago, sai= d the source, who asked not to be named. Material and equipment from the facility, some 40 kilometers from Baghdad, have also disappeared and been looted under the watchful eye of the U.S.-le= d occupation troops, well-placed sources here told IOL. Backed by U.S. warplanes, gunmen disembarked frequently from unidentified jets in the location of the Osirak reactor, looting some of its material, the sources at the Iraqi Atomic Agency (IAA) said. =91None Of Your Business=92 They noted that some IAA scientists reported the incident to the U.S.-led occupation authorities, asking for a protection to the facility and its depots. The request fell on deaf ears as a U.S. Let. Gen. told the scientists =93it= is none of your business=94, according to the source. =93They [the gunmen] were instructed by someone from his KIA and tampering with the reactor under U.S. protection,=94 another Iraqi scientist, who requested anonymity, told IOL. =93I myself happened on some non-registered materials in the reactor.=94 he added. =93We complained umpteen times to the U.S. occupation troops, who eventually denied us access to the facility.=94 An Iraqi translator working for the occupation troops confirmed the incident, claiming that the gunmen were Israelis. He asserted that they dismantled parts of the Russian-made reactor, which was struck by Israeli warplanes in 1981 in a preemptive strike to undermine Iraq=92s nuclear capabilities. The translator added that the parts were rushed to unknown destinations in armored vehicles. On Friday, April 16, the head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog, Mohammed ElBardei said he was concerned about the disappearance of nuclear material from the occupied country. Baradei said in a letter to U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan on the findings, which were based on satellite images. The U.N. Security Council was also kept posted on the situation in another letter from ElBaradei. According to the letter, satellite imagery shows =93extensive removal of equipment and in some instances, removal of entire buildings=94. in Iraq. =93Large quantities of scrap, some of it contaminated, have been transferre= d out of Iraq,=94 it added. =93It is not clear whether the removal of these items has been the result o= f looting activities in the aftermath of the recent war in Iraq or as part of systematic efforts to rehabilitate some of their locations,=94 ElBaradei sa= id in his letter. The IAEA chief told the Security Council March 7 that documents allegedly proving that Iraq was seeking to procure uranium from Niger were forgeries. David Kay, the head of the 1,400-member Iraq Survey Group which has been searching Iraq for alleged WMD, had recently resigned his post over failure to find any truce of such weapons. --__--__-- Message: 3 From: CharlieChimp1@DELETETHISaol.com Date: Fri, 23 Apr 2004 03:50:56 EDT Subject: Frightening assesssment of US policies To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com [ Presenting plain-text part of multi-format email ] http://billmon.org/archives/001411.html Billmon's Whiskey Bar April 20, 2004 Both Ends Against the Middle As previously mentioned, I spent most of Monday afternoon at a conference co-sponsored by the Coalition for a Realistic Foreign Policy, an advocacy group that has ambitions of eventually becoming sanity's counterpart to the Project for a New American Century, hopefully before the neocons have completely destabilized the Middle East and plunged the United States into World War III -- or IV, by their reckoning. But after listening to the various conference speakers -- academic scholars, mostly, with a smattering of defense analysts -- I'm starting to suspect the worst effects of the PNAC agenda can no longer be avoided, at least not without a fairly sweeping revolution in American politics, too sweeping to be credible. I think the invasion of Iraq may go down in history as one of those decisions -- like Germany's decision to back Austro-Hungary's ultimatum to the Serbs, or the U.S. decision to cut off oil shipments to Japan until it withdrew from China -- that have consequences extending far beyond what the makers of those decisions ever expected. The neocons, who have been failing upward for the past three decades, may have finally created a mess too big to be cleaned up. John Mearsheimer -- the University of Chicago professor last seen in this space reducing the NewsHour's Jim Lehrer to near despair -- provided a fairly definitive post mortem on the failure of the neocons' grand design. The three key elements of the original neocon strategy, Mearsheimer argued, were: Unilateral action, which would allow the United States to avoid the inevitably restrictions of a UN or even NATO-sanctioned operation. Creating a "bandwagon effect," in which uncommitted players (either inside and outside of Iraq) would jump to follow an America that acted decisively. A strategic and political transformation of the Middle East, one that would sweep away anti-American and anti-Israeli regimes and lay the groundwork for "democracy" -- or at least, for an unbroken network of pliable pro-American goverments. As described by Mearsheimer, these three elements were intended to be both sequential and self-reinforcing. By moving unilaterally, the neocons hoped to gain a free hand to remake Iraq as they saw fit -- in defiance of international opinion and even international law, if need be. This display of U.S. resolve would then help create the desired bandwagon effect, which in turn would promote regional transformation. If necessary, the same force that conquered Iraq in less than three weeks could be sent into Syria or Iran to crack a few more heads -- another exercise in what Mearsheimer called "social engineering at the end of a gun." A Confederacy of Dunces It's easy -- and Mearsheimer wasn't the only conference speaker to find it so -- to poke huge holes in this "strategery," which really does sound like something Shrub and a bunch of his old frat brothers might have dreamed up in a lost weekend at Camp David. You could write this off as just another example of 20/20 hindsight, if not for the fact that so many of these flaws were pointed out before, during and immediately after the invasion -- by Mearsheimer and others, including Whiskey Bar's humble proprietor. Some of the holes were political -- like the historical tendency of weaker actors to resist, rather than bandwagon with, a hegemonic power seeking to unilaterally alter the status quo. Some were almost metaphysical, as when Bush and the neocons promised to unleash a wave of "democratization" in the Middle East, but provided absolutely no concrete ideas for how that transformation was supposed to take place. But the fatal flaw was military, which is ironic, given the universal assumption a year ago that whatever else might go wrong, the U.S. war machine was invincible. But the neocon program rested almost entirely on Rumsfeld's grandiose theories of military transformation -- the so-called Revolution in Military Affairs. "For the theory to work, the Pentagon has to be like Muhammed Ali -- able to float like a butterfly and sting like a bee," Mearsheimer said. This essentially forced the neocons to adopt their Pollyanna scenario of a post-Saddam Iraq that could be quickly pacified and entrusted to the tender mercies of Ahmed Chalabi. A ten-division army simply couldn't handle anything else -- as Gen. Shinseki tried, in vain, to warn us. It still can't. While Shrub and Rummy can lie, repeatedly and brazenly, to the American people about giving Gen. Abizaid whatever he needs to "win" the war, the general certainly knows better. The force Centcom has now -- 130,000 troops, give or take -- is as big a force as it's ever going to have, unless Bush is willing to bite the political bullet and call up the entire National Guard, instead of just a third of it. Even then, if the conventional rule of thumb for peacekeeping duties is correct (and given the Iraqi realities, it probably wouldn't be unreasonable to double it) the Army wouldn't have anything like the number of troops it needs to restore a semblance of security in Iraq. And now that the truth has become unavoidable (except, of course, to the ever clueless American voter) the bandwagon is running in reverse, shedding Hessians and defense contractors as it goes. Waist Deep in Big Sandy All very Vietnam-like. But Iraq isn't Vietnam, no matter how much the senior managers of the two wars may resemble each other. In the end, America left nothing of strategic value behind in Indochina, just a trail of human devastation. The Persian Gulf is another story. Access to cheap oil may or may not have been a neocon motive for the conquest of Iraq, but it could easily become the main motive for the next Middle Eastern invasion, if the chaos in Iraq spills over into rest of the region. In other words, the neocons may have screwed the pooch (to borrow a bit of pilot slang from Tom Wolfe's The Right Stuff) so ferociously the poor beast can't be patched back up again. Instead of World War IV, America may find it's been dragged into a Middle Eastern version of the Thirty Years War, if not the Hundred Years War. This isn't the kind of war the Revolution in Military Affairs is designed to fight. Sooner or later (probably sooner) the Uncle Sam is going to need more soldiers -- many more than the relatively modest increases now being talked about in Washington, and probably more than the global supply of Hessians can furnish. Even if the necessary supply of cannon fodder can be found, or created, the economic burdens of a long war -- costs which are only now beginning to appear on Wall Street's radar screen -- aren't going to fit easily into a federal budget, not when 20 or 30 million baby boomers are about to become wards of the state. Two hundred years ago, Britain was able to cover the better part of the tab for defeating Napoleon, and emerge from the contest stronger than when it entered -- just as America was able to subsidize its World War II allies and pay for the postwar reconstruction of Europe, and actually increase its share of world GDP in the process. But those days are gone, as America's mounting foreign debts already testify. If, as I suspect, the business of pacifying the Middle East grows into a war that will be measured in decades, not years, the United States could emerge bled as white as Britain and France at the end of World War I. As somebody (my notes aren't clear on exactly who) at the conference said: If America has become an empire, it isn't a condition that's likely to last very long. You Can't Go Home Again But solutions -- strategic as well as political -- were as scarce at the conference as problems were abundant. Mearsheimer argued that America should return to a policy of using naval and rapid reaction forces to police the Middle East from "over the horizon," as it did in the pre-Gulf War I days. This, at least, would be within the competence of Rummy's "transformed" high-tech warriors. But it's hard to see how the status quo ante can be restored, not when the pillars of the old "realist" order -- a strong, centralized Iraq under Sunni control, and a House of Saud free to run its medieval house in its own corrupt way -- have been destroyed or fatally weakened. By all accounts, Iran's hardline security services are now well established in southern Iraq, bringing the Hezbollah wolf hard up against the door to Saudi Arabia's primarily Shi'a eastern provinces -- the source of about 15% of the global oil supply. That's not the kind of threat that can be handled by dispatching another aircraft carrier to the gulf. To paraphrase the military historian Andrew Bacevich, America may not be pursuing old-fashioned empire in the Middle East (of the sort the sun never sets on) but it definitely has some old-fashioned imperial problems. And thanks to the neocons and their idiot president, they're no longer the kind that can be dealt with from "over the horizon." Ship of Fools Unfortunately, even though the supertanker U.S.S. Foreign Policy is heading straight for the rocks, it doesn't look like we're going to change course any time soon. If anything, the current captain and his would-be replacement appear to be competing to see who has the best plan for ripping the ship's belly open a little more quickly -- as demonstrated by last week's little menage a trois with Ariel Sharon. Turning the ship, or at least throwing the engines in reverse, would require a foreign policy revolution even more dramatic than the one that brought the neocons to power -- a process, remember, that took decades. Even if we had that kind of time (which we don't) I doubt the Coalition for a Realistic Foreign Policy will be able to match the political (as opposed to policy) successes of the neocons -- first creating an institutional base for their ideas, then grooming a team of experienced bureaucratic players, and then, as their penultimate triumph, capturing control of one of the two major political parties, while reducing the other to a state of extreme ideological dependency. Strategically, the neocons and their neoliberal collaborators now hold the center of the political spectrum. The anti-imperialists hold the two edges -- historically not an enviable position. To continue the military analogy, the hawks enjoy the advantage of "interior lines of communication." The two wings of the anti-war movement, on the other hand, barely speak the same language. The fact that realism has been pushed to the fringes of the political debate says a lot about America's collective mental condition. Sanity isn't very popular these days -- not for those desperate to rescue Israel from its demographic predicament, or for those dreaming of a world that looks "just like us," and certainly not for a president who believes he's God's vice-gerent on earth, or for the 15%-20% of the population that's counting down the days until the Rapture. We seem to have reached the point where a half-baked strategy for endless war in the Middle East is actually easier to sell politically than a sensible energy policy, an end to American subservience to worst instincts of the Israeli national security state, and a focused campaign to destroy Al Qaeda while drying up the pools of hatred in which jihad festers and grows. Clausewitz, that ultimate realist, once said that "he who neglects the possible in quest of the impossible is a fool." That just might end up being the epitaph for America's imperial adventure in the Middle East. Whither the Popular Front? For libertarian conservatives, the great fear is of a state that gradually overwhelms and crushes human liberty. For progressives, it's a state that ignores the needs of the weak and the powerless at home, while acting as an engine of oppression in the developing world. Thanks to the war in the Middle East, it looks like our worst fears could both come true. Thus, the idea of a coalition of both ends against the middle. But it's hard to see how an alliance of the "realist" edges can seriously challenge the pro-war center without becoming another example of Clausewitz's axiom in action. We are, both separately and collectively, a movement without a party. Even leaving aside the futility of third-party politics, many, if not most, progressives aren't going to vote for a Libertarian candidate just because he or she is anti-war, just as many libertarians aren't gong to vote for Ralph Nader or the Greens just because they're against the war. On the other hand, a Popular Front that includes the likes of Bill Kristol and Frank Gaffney (another neocon nut job who's suddenly discovered the latent virtues of John Kerry) is a total contradiction in terms. I'm left, in the end, still flying the vote-for-Kerry flag, for all the reasons I've stated in my previous posts. It's roughly the same logic as Noam Chomsky's: When you're dealing with a superpower as large and potentially destructive as the United States, even minor political distinctions can make huge differences in real world outcomes. The neolibs, for all their sins -- mortal as well as venal -- at least are still living in the same reality as I am. The Republicans, on the other hand, have followed the neocons off into the Twilight Zone. And I don't think they're ever coming back. But while I may still be flying Kerry's flag, I'm definitely not waving it. Being reduced to such fine distinctions between greater and lesser evil probably doesn't deserve a name as grand and heroic as the Popular Front. A Coalition for a Realistic Foreign Policy, on the other hand, is too much of a mouthful. Let's just call it "Americans for Sanity," and leave it at that. Posted by billmon at April 20, 2004 03:48 PM | TrackBack Comments --__--__-- Message: 4 Subject: NYT: White House Says Iraq Sovereignty Could Be Limited From: Dan O'Huiginn <do227@DELETETHIShermes.cam.ac.uk> Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org To: email@example.com Organization: Date: 23 Apr 2004 11:19:28 +0100 New York Times, April 23, 2004 http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/23/politics/23DIPL.html?pagewanted=3Dprint&p= osition=3D White House Says Iraq Sovereignty Could Be Limited By STEVEN R. WEISMAN WASHINGTON, April 22 =E2=80=94 The Bush administration's plans for a new caretaker government in Iraq would place severe limits on its sovereignty, including only partial command over its armed forces and no authority to enact new laws, administration officials said Thursday. These restrictions to the plan negotiated with Lakhdar Brahimi, the special United Nations envoy, were presented in detail for the first time by top administration officials at Congressional hearings this week, culminating in long and intense questioning on Thursday at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's hearing on the goal of returning Iraq to self-rule on June 30. Only 10 weeks from the scheduled transfer of sovereignty, the administration is still not sure exactly who will govern in Baghdad, or precisely how they will be selected. A week ago, President Bush agreed to a recommendation by Mr. Brahimi to dismantle the existing Iraqi Governing Council, which was handpicked by the United States, and to replace it with a caretaker government whose makeup is to be decided next month. That government would stay in power until elections could be held, beginning next year. The administration's plans seem likely to face objections on several fronts. Several European and United Nations diplomats have said in interviews that they do not think the United Nations will approve a Security Council resolution sought by Washington that handcuffs the new Iraq government in its authority over its own armed forces, let alone foreign forces on its soil. These diplomats, and some American officials, said that if the American military command ordered a siege of an Iraqi city, for example, and there was no language calling for an Iraqi government to participate in the decision, the government might not be able to survive protests that could follow. The diplomats added that it might be unrealistic to expect the new Iraqi government not to demand the right to change Iraqi laws put in place by the American occupation under L. Paul Bremer III, including provisions limiting the influence of Islamic religious law. Democratic and Republican senators appeared frustrated on Thursday that so few details were known at this late stage in the transition process, and several senators focused on the question of who would be in charge of Iraq's security. Asked whether the new Iraqi government would have a chance to approve military operations led by American commanders, who would be in charge of both foreign and Iraqi forces, a senior official said Americans would have the final say. "The arrangement would be, I think as we are doing today, that we would do our very best to consult with that interim government and take their views into account," said Marc Grossman, under secretary of state for political affairs. But he added that American commanders will "have the right, and the power, and the obligation" to decide. That formulation is especially sensitive at a time when American and Iraqi forces are poised to fight for control of Falluja. In another sphere, Mr. Grossman said there would be curbs on the powers of the National Conference of Iraqis that Mr. Brahimi envisions as a consultative body. The conference, he said, is not expected to pass new laws or revise the laws adopted under the American occupation. "We don't believe that the period between the 1st of July and the end of December should be a time for making new laws," Mr. Grossman said. As envisioned by Mr. Brahimi, the caretaker government would consist of a president, a prime minister, two vice presidents or deputy prime ministers and a cabinet of ministers in each agency. A national conference of perhaps 1,000 Iraqis would advise it, possibly by establishing a smaller body of about 100 Iraqis. His plan would supplant an earlier American proposal that would have chosen an Iraqi assembly through caucuses. Since last November, when the June 30 transfer of sovereignty was approved by President Bush and decreed by Mr. Bremer in Iraq, the United States has insisted that Iraq would have a full transfer of sovereignty on that date. Mr. Grossman, however, referred in testimony on Wednesday to what he said would be "limited sovereignty," a phrase he did not repeat on Thursday, apparently because it raised eyebrows among those not expecting the administration to acknowledge that the sovereignty would be less than full-fledged. The problem of limiting Iraq's sovereignty is more than one of terminology, several administration officials said in interviews this week. The proposed curbs on Iraqi sovereignty are paving the way for what officials and diplomats say is shaping up as another potential battle with American allies as the United Nations is asked to confer legitimacy on the new government. "Clearly you can't have a sovereign government speaking for Iraq in international forums, and yet leave open this possibility that we'll do something they won't particularly like or disagree with," said an administration official. "There's got to be something to be set up to deal with that possibility." Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, the ranking Democrat on the foreign relations panel, and Senator Jon Corzine, a New Jersey Democrat, pressed Mr. Grossman on that point. European and United Nations diplomats said that because the main task of the caretaker government would be to try to secure the support of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the Iraqi Shiite leader whose supporters are unhappy with some of the laws enacted by the Iraqi Governing Council, there may have to be a change in these laws. Under the basic legal framework pressed by Mr. Bremer, Islam is only one of many foundations of the law. Ayatollah Sistani's supporters want Islam to govern such matters as family law, divorce and women's rights. Mr. Bremer had at one time threatened to veto any such changes, but even some administration officials acknowledge that the idea of telling the new Iraqi government it cannot enact new laws is unrealistic. A European official familiar with Mr. Brahimi's thinking said the envoy wants the caretaker government and its consultative body "to find a consensus on the fundamental law to make sure Sistani is invested." "Everybody wants to have Sistani on board," said this diplomat. "For that you'll have to pay a price." The skeptical tone of the foreign relations hearing was set by the committee's chairman, Senator Richard G. Lugar of Indiana, who said that without clearer answers, "we risk the loss of support of the American people, the loss of potential contributions from our allies and the disillusionment of Iraqis." But Mr. Grossman said Mr. Brahimi's plans were still so vague that they have not yet been put in writing to be incorporated into Iraqi regulations. Mr. Grossman was also asked what would happen if the new government wanted to adopt a foreign policy opposed by the United States, such as forging close relations with two neighbors, Iran and Syria. The United States, he replied, would have to use the kind of persuasion used by any American ambassador in any country. End of casi-news Digest _______________________________________ Sent via the CASI-analysis mailing list To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-analysis All postings are archived on CASI's website at http://www.casi.org.uk