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[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index] strikes again

Another useful article from Tony Karon

As Drew said a couple of weeks ago...

'The web version of Time magazine -- world's largest newsmagazine and
flagship of media congolomerate AOL/Time/Warner -- has just published the
following blistering commentary by columnist Tony Karon.  Letters to
<>, or to's editors
<>, or to the print edition's editors
U.S. Policy Gap Offers Saddam an Opportunity's Tony Karon argues that if all Washington has to offer is
sanctions and bombing, Baghdad may end its isolation on its own terms

Iraq's probably the last thing anyone in Washington is thinking about during
this election season, and that may be making life easier for Saddam Hussein.
The U.S. and British air raids on the southern Iraqi city of Samawa over the
weekend, which Iraq alleges struck civilian targets, highlight the problem
posed by Washington's strategy - or, perhaps, the absence of a strategy.
Besides maintaining U.N. sanctions in the face of growing concern in the
Gulf War alliance that these have no positive effect, the U.S. and Britain
remain militarily engaged against Iraq by policing the "no-fly" zones they
have declared in northern and southern Iraq. Although these zones aren't
recognized by the United Nations, allied planes bomb Iraqi air defenses at
the first hint that ground radar is locking on, supposedly to help keep
Saddam on the defensive so that he can be overthrown. But while nobody's
expecting that to happen any time soon, the bombing policy does create
opportunities for Baghdad's campaign to end its isolation.
Last week Saddam entertained Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, the first
head of state to visit since the Gulf War, who defied pressure from
Washington in order to meet the Iraqi leadership for a chat about oil
policy. And in a further sign that Western attempts to keep Baghdad isolated
are crumbling, Indonesia's President Aburrahman Wahid announced last week
that he, too, plans to visit in the coming weeks. Neither Chavez nor Wahid
can be considered influential statesmen, but their moves are in line with
recent comments by France's foreign minister Hubert Védrine that sanctions
against Iraq are "cruel, ineffective and dangerous."

With doubts mounting over sanctions, Saddam can simply order a few
air-defense batteries in densely populated areas to target allied planes and
provoke retaliatory bombing, and sooner or later he'll get the sort of
"collateral damage" images that make the U.S. and Britain look like the bad
guys, even among their Arab allies. And that will further embolden others to
begin breaking the sanctions regime, cheered on by France and Russia, who
both have considerable commercial interest in bringing Iraq back on line.
Because with Saddam's power probably even stronger a decade after he invaded
Kuwait, it's becoming harder to sell a policy based on sanctions and
bombing. Indeed, unless London and Washington come up with something a
little more creative, they may actually be increasing Saddam's chances of
ending sanctions on his own terms.

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