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NEWS SUPPLEMENT 10-17/9/00 * Souk in a Slump: A century-old institution, Baghdad's copper market fading away * Saddam urges nuclear scientists to support military in defeating enemies * Throwing our weight about Sierra Leone: A personal view by Seumas Milne [Guardian. It refers to Iraq but raises the whole question of Britain's colonial past] * Turkish dam 'will rob 70,000 of their homes' * US judge defers decision. Ruling on Surasaknow set for Oct 23 [Bangkok Post a strange little story about 'conspiracy' to buy oil from Iraq] * Iraq after Saddam [nasty little piece of American fantasising] * Oil prices: between Iraq and a hard place [interesting article in Irish Independent] * From a Rival With a Smile, Words to U.S. Are: En Garde [about Hubert Védrine] http://www.foxnews.com/etcetera/091100/copper_souk.sml * SOUK IN A SLUMP: A CENTURY-OLD INSTITUTION, BAGHDAD'S COPPER MARKET FADING AWAY by Waiel Faleh BAGHDAD, Iraq, September 11 Sultan Mohammed hasn't found it easy to give up his link with history. Even though he closed his own shop in Baghdad's famed coppersmiths souk a few months ago, he visits often, plunging into the smoke of forge fires and the musical clang of hammers against metal. But with each visit, Mohammed finds the song of the coppersmiths souk a bit quieter, the clamor of its crowds a bit more subdued. Plastic goods are now being sold at a narrow shop that once offered copper coffee pots, plates and souvenirs engraved with scenes of Iraq's historic and religious sites. "They are closing one at a time," Mohammed said. "It reminds me of a dying man." Coppersmiths blame the slump in business on bad relations between Iraq and neighboring countries since the Persian Gulf War, competition from pots made of cheaper metals in Southeast Asia and higher rents. Al-Safafer Souq the Coppersmiths Market has been a Baghdad institution for more than a century. The history of the area stretches back even further. Ancient Market The narrow stalls built of yellow bricks that now house workshops and stores were originally stables for a school built in the 13th century by the Abbasid Caliph Al-Mustansir Billah. Centuries later, the stalls were turned into school kitchens. The school closed in the 19th century and became a tourist attraction. Slowly, coppersmiths began renting the stalls. Graceful Coffee Pots While all kinds of copper goods are available, the market is famous worldwide for its coffee pots. They come in classic vase shapes mottled by hammering. The smallest hold about a half pint, the largest just over a gallon. Pots from Baghdad "have their original flavor which we ... cannot find in other pots," said Mohammed Dikheel, a rare visitor to the souk from the United Arab Emirates. Dikheel was looking for a large pot for serving guests at "diwans," traditional receptions at which local leaders meet their constituents to sort out problems, mourn the dead or celebrate weddings. Dikheel said it used to be easy to do business with Baghdad's coppersmiths, ordering items that would be delivered in a few days. But Iraq's trade routes these days have been shattered by war and U.N. sanctions, so Dikheel would have to carry his pot home himself if he was lucky enough to find what he was looking for. Most large pots are now available only by special order. Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait soured its relations with many of its neighbors. The Gulf War forced Iraq to retreat and it has been under crippling U.N. trade sanctions ever since. Ammar Jassim, 65, one of the oldest men to work in al-Safafer Souq, says rents charged by the government have gone up too much. For some stalls, the annual rent has soared from 100,000 dinars a decade ago to almost 20 million dinars today as the value of the dinar has plunged and the economy has shriveled, leaving Iraqis little money to spend. Government officials say rents are determined by fair, public bidding. Lovers of Baghdad's copper art fear the craftsmen will soon disappear from the Coppersmiths Souk. "There is very little I can do for them," said Siham Taqi, 58, a retired teacher who can afford to buy only a few pieces a year herself. "Their main business depended on the foreign buyers who used to come to Iraq especially to buy huge quantities of copper-made products." http://search.ft.com/search/multi/globalarchive.jsp?docId=000911005132&query =Iraq&resultsShown=20&resultsToRequest=100 * SADDAM URGES NUCLEAR SCIENTISTS TO SUPPORT MILITARY IN DEFEATING ENEMIES (Republic of Iraq TV, Baghdad, in Arabic/BBC Monitoring Service, Sep 11) Iraqi nuclear scientists must take part in the fight against the nation's enemies, Iraqi President Saddam Husayn told a meeting of "nuclear energy mujahidin", which was broadcast by Iraqi TV on 10th September. At the meeting, which was reported to have been attended by the head of the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission, Saddam says: "The battle is your battle. It was expected in the past that a certain party would want to come and take Iraq. That certain party has actually come to take Iraq, but we are now fighting it on a wide front. As weµ]Ý V ¼Ú re than one ¾sion, women participate in this battle alongside men, as well as children and the elderly. A scientifically and professionally active man can rise to a high rank and reach leading positions." Saddam then emphasizes the importance of the Iraqi armed forces in the battle, and the importance of people's support for the armed forces. He says: "The support that the Air Defence receives raises it to such a great level in confronting the enemies, that it frustrates these enemies and forces them to return in terror to their bases across the Atlantic. These enemies have no place in our country, and, hopefully, not even in the rest of the Arab world. Therefore, everyone must return to their place and to their people across the Atlantic. Our people are right here close to us. Everyone must return to their people." Saddam adds: "The Air Defence will be defeated if they remain without food, and will collapse if the great Iraqi people do not support them with awareness and energy. The armed forces would not be able to fight with such great strength without the support of the people. Similarly, a people without an armed forces will be unable to confront the enemies as necessary." He adds: "This is a battle that we only used to envisage in the past. The battle is actually taking place now." Saddam calls for the country's enemies to be defeated. He says: "Yes, defeat them using the determination of the people. Let the Air Defence of the armed forces act as your front-line spear. Let them flee quickly, for they have been here for 10 years, and it is imperative that they flee quickly. They will be defeated when their losses are greater than the accomplishments they hoped to achieve." Turning to the nuclear energy sector, Saddam says: "Nuclear energy has a great deal of responsibility in this respect. It has to compete on legitimate terms and also cooperate with all the other elements showing the expected level of patriotism. It can compete with them on one occasion, and cooperate with them on another through open channels and without hesitation." Saddam says he believes that the Arab people everywhere, including the states from which "hostile aircraft" are being launched against Iraq, support the Iraqi people because the Iraqis are being "victimized". He says: "I believe that the Arab people everywhere are furious over those who exhibit cowardly silence or work with ill intentions against the heroic Iraqi people." He says that all Arabs are fighting alongside the Iraqis in their hearts. "We cannot imagine that any zealous Arab can remain silent over this situation.". He adds that if any other Arab country had been subjected to this kind of aggression, the Iraqi people and army would have risen to the occasion and adopted an honourable stance. Saddam then underlines the unity of the Arab people from the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf. He also says true faith is evident in behaviour, making sacrifices and showing ability. He says: "Those who agree to have the boots of foreigners tread the ground of Muslim holy shrines are not believers in God or in God's books, messengers and day of judgment." He calls on Iraqi nuclear officials to remember the past and emphasizes that the Iraqi people will never grow weary. He says that a government that serves business interests is dominated by them, and gears competition towards material rather than spiritual gains. Whereas, he says, a government that serves the people turns competition into a major national race for righteousness. Applying this rule to the nuclear energy sector, Saddam says: "The main concern motivating people in the nuclear energy sector or military industrialization is their national concern and their concern for how to overcome evil, defeat it, and declare the victory of the people." http://www.guardianunlimited.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4061834,00.html * THROWING OUR WEIGHT ABOUT SIERRA LEONE: A PERSONAL VIEW (Guardian, September 11) by Seumas Milne Any thought that the aftermath of Nato's Kosovan imbroglio might have dimmed Tony Blair's enthusiasm for "humanitarian wars" has been dispelled. His government has emerged as the most interventionist British administration since decolonisation. No opportunity is now to be passed up, it seems, to raise the 21st-century crusader's flag across the globe. The increasingly grim Sierra Leone adventure, with its kidnappings and yesterday's bloodstained, military rescue, is the third time in 18 months that New Labour has used British armed force outside UN control. Sierra Leone has also been the biggest independent British overseas military operation since the Falklands war. Thirty-nine years after the union flag was hauled down in Freetown on almost two centuries of bloody colonial rule, British squaddies have now been back in significant force for months, their commanders directing the conduct of a gruesome and intractable civil war. With barely a murmur of public debate at home, British troops are once again shooting Sierra Leoneans dead in their own land, while Royal Navy gunboats patrol the west African coast and the limb-hacking rebels of the Revolutionary United Front are routinely compared to Nazis, the standard designation for all post-1945 British enemies. The scaled-down British "training mission" and its backup security units - denounced by the UN commander for their "Rambo tactics" - are embroiled in a wider conflict with, among others, renegade British-armed militias. More paratroopers have been shipped out to hold an indefensible line. The declared intent is not only to rescue hostages and maul the erstwhile government-supporting "West Side Boys", but also to take back control of Sierra Leone's lucrative diamond fields. The Blair administration's intervention sprees began with the four-day Anglo-American missile onslaught against Iraq in December 1998. The bombing raids there have continued, outside the terms of UN resolutions and opposed by a majority of the permanent UN security council members, while the US and Britain's enforcement of the failed sanctions regime - described by US Democratic congressman David Bonnier as "infanticide masquerading as a policy" - is now almost universally recognised as having created a humanitarian disaster. But it was Nato's self-proclaimed war of values over Kosovo that triggered Mr Blair's clarion call last year in Chicago for a new wave of worldwide intervention, based on what he described - echoing the liberal imperialists of the late 19th century - as a "subtle blend" of self-interest and moral purpose. A year on, reverse ethnic cleansing proceeds apace in Kosovo. But the full flowering of Mr Blair's new line has been in Africa, where the Unites States still fears to tread in the wake of its Somali debacle of the early 1990s. After weeks of British interference in the internal crisis in Zimbabwe - with British ministers repeatedly championing the cause of white landowners who made up the backbone of the racist Rhodesian regime, while denouncing the black leadership which defeated it as "uncivilised" - Blair's paratroopers were despatched to Freetown to fill the vacuum left by the disintegrating UN peacekeeping force Britain refused to join a year ago. The fact that Iraq, Zimbabwe and Sierra Leone are all former British colonies does not seem to trouble the cheerleaders of the new "doctrine of international community", enveloped as they are in a blanket of cultural amnesia about the horrors of Britain's colonial past. It is less than 50 years since British soldiers shot dead striking Sierra Leoneans on the streets of Freetown, were paid five shillings for each Kenyan Kikuyu they killed, nailed the limbs of Mau Mau fighters to cross-roads posts and had themselves photographed with the severed heads of Malayan guerrillas. With such a record, it might be thought that Britain was the last country on the planet to sort out the "savagery" of its once-captive subjects. The world, we are told, has moved on. But for the people of Africa - burdened with western debt, arms, mercenaries, mineral hungry multinational companies and commodity prices that have been falling for more than 40 years - it has not moved on enough. After supporting one corrupt dictator after another in Sierra Leone, Britain has thrown its military and diplomatic weight behind President Kabbah and his supporters, who Tony Blair insists are the democratic "good guys", against the rural-based RUF, led by vice- president Foday Sankoh until his capture by British soldiers in May. But the 1996 elections which brought Kabbah to power were held when the country was already engulfed in civil war, did not include the RUF and were undermined by violence and ballot rigging claims. While the RUF has the worst record of atrocities, according to Amnesty International, Kabbah and his kamajor militias have also been heavily involved in torture and extra-judicial killings, and his ally Johnny Paul Koroma is responsible for the mutilation and massacre of thousands of civilians. These are the people British troops are supporting - until Koroma's former proteges, the West Side Boys, started kidnapping British soldiers. The reality is that Britain and its friends are part of the problem in Sierra Leone and that no outside force can impose the necessary internal settlement. If Mr Blair wants to build a genuine international community, he should be working through the UN and universally accepted regional bodies - rather than, as Nelson Mandela charged earlier this year, playing "policemen of the world" with the US and "introducing chaos into international affairs" by acting unilaterally. The record shows that the more effective peacekeepers in Sierra Leone have been regional forces. The most useful contribution Britain and other western states - which still refuse to write off the debts of countries such as Nigeria - could now make to Sierra Leone would be to support an African solution to an African crisis. http://search.ft.com/search/multi/globalarchive.jsp?docId=000911002409&query =Iraq&resultsShown=20&resultsToRequest=100 * TURKISH DAM 'WILL ROB 70,000 OF THEIR HOMES' (Guardian, September 7) by Paul Brown, environment correspondent A confidential report commissioned by the government into the controversial Ilisu dam project has revealed significant underestimates of the chaos and misery it would bring to tens of thousands of people. Up to 78,000 Kurdish people, around three times the number originally thought, will be made homeless and landless by the British-backed scheme in Turkey, according to the report seen by the Guardian. The report makes clear that thousands of already extremely poor people are at risk of "falling into greater destitution" if the government goes ahead with its plan to make £200m of taxpayers money available to contractors Balfour Beatty to allow the dam to be built. Reports that the government was dropping the dam project have been formally denied by Richard Caborn, the trade minister. He was writing to protesters on behalf of the prime minister, who has been threatened with high court action because damming the Tigris would alter the flow of water to Iraq and Syria without any consultation. His letter reiterating the British support for the project came on August 22, four days after the report on the flawed resettlement plan was sent to the Department of Trade and Industry by Ayse Kudat, 56, who is Turkish but has most recently been the World Bank's head of social development. The report, leaked yesterday to the Guardian, had been kept secret even though the department said it would make documents connected with the Ilisu project public. The report said the dam would inundate the most fertile irrigated land in the area where landlessness and poverty was already widespread. Half of the people did not grow crops but grazed animals on pasture, worked for cash payments and relied on subsistence gardening "to stay alive". The people who were forced to move would be at high risk of falling into greater destitution, Dr Kudat said. Dr Kudat was employed by the export credit agencies of the UK and other European countries to report on the Turkish plans to resettle Kurds in the area to be inundated. She said some of the area was not accessible because of Turkish military operations against the Kurds, but potentially the number of people affected was between 47,000 and 78,000 - up to three times the government's original estimate. The government made its support for the project conditional on a proper resettlement plan but Dr Kudat noted that many similar plans round the world had failed. She said sweeping institutional reforms were required in Turkey if there was to be any hope of an Ilisu plan working. "In the Turkish context, past failures have been particularly severe with respect to inadequate and inappropriate delivery of resettlement housing," she said. There had been a lack of concern for the well being of those forced to move, failure to consult them, and no monitoring of social impact. She said the Ilisu catchment already contained thousands of people displaced from previous projects who had not been properly settled or compensated for losing their homes. The coalition of environment and human rights groups opposing the dam said the report highlighted 10 serious problems with the Turkish resettlement plan which violated World Bank and OECD guidelines on financing such projects. These included Turkey's failure to provide a resettlement budget. Kerim Yildiz, a director of the Ilisu Dam Campaign, said: "This report clearly indicates that the Turkish government is in no position to fulfil even the basic conditions put forward by the UK government. "It provides more than enough evidence for the government to abandon this ill conceived and destructive project." A trade department spokesman confirmed that no decision had yet been made on whether the Ilisu project would be backed, but it was conditional on the resettlement plan being satisfactory. http://www.bangkokpost.net/today/130900_News11.html * US JUDGE DEFERS DECISION. RULING ON SURASAKNOW SET FOR OCT 23 (BANGKOK POST) by Anuraj Manibhandu in San Diego, September 13 Surasak Nananukul, the former chief economic adviser of New Aspiration Party, won another five weeks' breathing space Monday, when the criminal court postponed its decision on whether to dismiss the case against him for alleged conspiracy to trade oil from Iraq. Judge John S. Rhoades set Oct 23 as the date when he would issue his "opinion" on the matter. Mr Surasak, Amnard Vorachard and Singaporean Simon Tan were arrested on Mar 21, for their alleged attempt to buy and sell oil from Iraq in violation of US laws and United Nations sanctions. Mr Surasak has been under house arrest since Aug 11, after putting up bail of US$600,000 (24 million baht). According to the US Customs Department, the three had negotiated with undercover agents to buy 160,000 metric tonnes of oil from Iraq in violation of the August 1990 presidential order, and the International Economic Powers Act. The presidential order applied to them as they were considered to be "United States persons" by virtue of their being in the country. In an interview with the Bangkok Post before the court session, Mr Surasak maintained he had no role in the trading deal, but had only deposited $150,000 to guarantee Hin Leong Trading of Singapore as it was serious in its intent to buy the oil. But an affidavit filed by US Customs on Mar 22 said Mr Surasak had provided the "up front money" which "guaranteed the deal and allowed agent [Michael] Shevock to buy false Iranian oil certificates for the oil of Iraqi origin". The affidavit described Mr Amnard as a broker, and Mr Tan as someone who assisted Mr Amnard in drafting and reviewing the contracts between Hin Leong and Mr Shevock. Mr Tan and Mr Amnard also proposed a Cayman Island business firm that would sell the oil. In the interview, Mr Surasak said he expected the oil to be delivered in a month and his money to be returned within two months. After the court session, Mr Surasak said the delay in the judge's decision "gives us another opportunity". "If the judge has time to read the transcript [of the hearing on Sept 11], it will be useful to us," he added. Patrick Swan, one of Mr Surasak's lawyers, said the judge will rule on all three motions filed by the defence. These include calls for the criminal court to:- Dismiss the case for outrageous government conduct;- Dismiss the case for entrapment;- Dismiss the case under the court's supervisory powers. In court, Michael Attanasio, one of Mr Surasak's lawyers, said the US government had manufactured a crime that otherwise would not have taken place. Mr Amnard's lawyer, Charles Adair, said the government gave his client a "huge inducement" to get involved, offering profits of up to $60 million over a period of one year. But the prosecution maintained Mr Amnard initiated the "criminal activity". The prosecution said the government had stopped the deal in 1999 and the activity resumed only at the "insistence" of Mr Amnard. As the judge's opinion will be communicated to concerned parties, there would be no need for anyone to appear in court on Oct 23, lawyer Patrick Swan said. The judge said if there is to be a trial next year, the case would be "very complex", as it would involve laws of countries in the Middle East, as well as witnesses from Thailand, Singapore and other countries in the Far East. In his interview, Mr Surasak slammed the Imperial Bank, saying it had acted as an agent for the FBI. He said he was arrested after signing a document for the transfer of money for the seller of the oil, a US company. He said he trusted the Imperial Bank because it was a "correspondent bank" of Bangkok Bank for which he had worked for 18 years. He maintained that the oil was from Iran and consisted of fuel oil. He said the oil was to be loaded in the United Arab Emirates and delivered in Singapore. Piyawat Niyomrerk, the Thai consul-general in Los Angeles, said he had received no instructions to intervene in what was a private case, except on humanitarian grounds which included ensuring the defendants' wellbeing and their right to due process of law. Mr Amnard's lawyer noted that all three defendants were not US citizens. An informed source said it was "strange" that the 1990 executive order of the US president applied to non-US citizens. Thailand applied similar measures to non-citizens only in cases of serious crimes like murder, the source said. http://www.nationalpost.com/commentary/story.html?f=/stories/20000913/397994 .html * IRAQ AFTER SADDAM (National Post, September 13) by Alexander Rose Saddam Hussein, now 63, is reportedly ailing with lymphatic cancer and may die. Like some Shakespearean history play, his courtiers, servants and family are plotting and murdering and betraying in the ruthless struggle to succeed the king. The likeliest candidate is one of his two sons, Uday and Qusay, or perhaps one of their uncles. Family life in Baghdad's presidential palace resembling less the Brady Bunch than the imperial Ottoman court -- where eunuchs strangled a new sultan's siblings with silken cords -- whoever next rules Iraq will be as dogged and ruthless as its current tyrant. Of Saddam's two sons, 35-year-old Uday -- a drunken and stupid lout whose hobbies include beating relatives to death at parties, collecting cars (1,600 at last count), smuggling oil for daddy and raping (then killing) the help -- would end up with a bullet in the back of the head fairly soon after assuming power. The assassin would probably be an ambitious army general, who could set himself up as Saddam Mark II, thereby continuing Iraq's nuclear, biological and chemical program. Qusay, the younger brother, is cleverer and more cunning. That is why he has been put in charge of the security, intelligence and military apparatus, as well as the Presidential Guard. (Uday got the chairmanship of the Iraqi Olympic committee, whose building has torture chambers in the basement.) Still, there is always the chance a Kurdish or Shi'ite separatist group will get him. Sadly, post-Saddam Iraq will almost certainly be a violent, lawless and aggressive state run by Ba'athist republicans. A small but distinct possibility exists, however, that with adequate CIA funding, training and arming of a variety of opposition groups sheltering under the umbrella of the democratically minded Iraqi National Congress, U.S.-backed proxies could overthrow the regime, especially during any confusion following Saddam's death. In this instance, the opportunity would arise to rehabilitate Iraq -- and in a far broader and more permanent sense than simply replacing its leader with another of similar stripe. Such rehabilitation would entail a thorough makeover and a purge of the body politic's more toxic elements, such as Saddam's sinister Ba'athist functionaries, the men who directed the state's terror and liquidation agencies, and those primarily responsible for the illegal acquisition and development of Saddam's weapons of mass destruction. In other words, a drastic sort of "de-Nazification" of Iraq under a Middle Eastern Konrad Adenauer [I FEEL UNABLE TO LET THIS SLUR ON ONE OF THE GREATEST POSTWAR EUROPEAN STATESMEN PASS. ADENAUER WAS NO STOOL PIGEON OF THE ALLIES AND WOULD NEVER HAVE ACCEPTED HANDOUTS FROM THE MURDERERS OF HIS FELLOW COUNTRYMEN PB] would be most helpful, demonstrating to the people that the new government really was new. Once the initial bout had been completed, a truth and reconciliation commission -- like those of South Africa or Chile -- could help the transition to a civil society. It's the "civil society" bit that is the most difficult to effect. Every institution and organization in Iraq is run by gangsters. In post-Saddam Iraq, justice, banking, education, health care, the oil industry, even the administration of the sewage system would all need to be drastically reformed. The entire political system would have to be dismantled, then reconstructed using such imported materials as democratic representation and public accountability. In order to keep Iraq united -- though it is tempting to partition it into a northern Kurdistan, a central Sunni state and a Shi'ite south, greedy neighbours such as Iran would sweep in -- a federal structure would doubtlessly be on the cards. The restoration of a constitutional monarch (to fulfil the duties of an apolitical head of state) alongside the establishment of parliamentary democracy could do much to attract the allegiance of warring Sunnis, Shi'ites and Kurds. For instance, the accession of King Juan Carlos after Franco's death inestimably aided Spain's peaceful and unified evolution. The last king of Iraq, assassinated by revolutionaries in 1958, was Faisal II, who, being of the venerated Hashemite dynasty, could trace his ancestry back to the Prophet Muhammad. Today, under King Abdullah, the Hashemites rule Jordan. An ideal candidate for the Iraqi job would be his well-respected and dynamic uncle, Prince Hassan, who until King Hussein's death last year served as heir. Even if, like the late President Hafez al-Assad of Syria, who was reportedly "dying" for 20 years, Saddam hangs in there for quite a while, once he starts trailing blood, he is finished. We should prepare our plans now. http://www.independent.ie/2000/257/b06a.shtml * OIL PRICES: BETWEEN IRAQ AND A HARD PLACE (Irish Independent, 14-September) GOVERNMENTS complaining about oil prices have only themselves to blame. They created the shortage by persisting with failed sanctions against radical Muslim states. This boosts oil prices, causing inflation. The oil price is high because supply is tight. Supply is tight because major producers are at capacity limits. Western policy artificially constrains production by preventing the natural swing producers Iran, Libya and Iraq from developing their industries. Saudis and other pro-Western regimes help where they can. When they can't help, they offer sweet words. But they are already at practical output limits. Many producers, such as the USA, are in terminal decline. Countries with large untapped reserves should produce more to take up the slack. They want to, but can't, because of sanctions. Left to the free market, even imperfectly managed by OPEC, Iraq would now rival Saudi Arabia with output between six and nine million barrels daily. Instead, Iraq struggles to produce three million barrels - barely 80pc of their 1980s quota. Petty bureaucrats frustrate UN Resolutions allowing for oilfield development. Instead of growing with demand, they are forced to cut back. Future historians will marvel at this tragedy. How did Monica Lewinsky's dress lead to missile launches? The imbroglio resulted from a weird combination of miscalculation, double standards and bad luck. The road to hell was paved with good intentions. We encouraged Iraq to contain radical Iran. Westerners and moderate Arabs connived at Baghdad's clandestine arming. We were caught unawares when these weapons turned against pro-Western, if undemocratic, Kuwait. The UN imposed sanctions and restored original (if disputed) boundaries. UN inspectors dismantled Iraq's key nuclear programme and delivery systems. Any residual threat is wildly exaggerated. But sanctions, like warfare, are best used sparingly. They should be smart, not blunt instruments, targeted at regimes, not ordinary people. Otherwise, the cure quickly becomes worse than the disease. We have destroyed a generation's human and physical infrastructure. Sanctions are now actually counter-productive. UN measures now cause the mass destruction they were designed to avoid: over 500,000 Iraqi children died because of resulting medicine and food shortages. Of which UN resolution is a sick baby in breach? Our double standards destabilise Arab moderates, rather than radicals, by undermining their legitimacy. Even cynics worry about the future harvest of bitterness from policies that kill the innocent. Resentment is bad for business. Instead of preventing proliferation, they may actually encourage it: deterrence works both ways. There is no prospect of changing any radical Muslim regime - nor is this a lawful objective under UN rules. If dictatorship is bad, why are we dictating? Vindictiveness is un American. US generals helped rebuild shattered Germany and Japan. US Vice Presidential hopeful Dick Chaney wisely called for a settlement - albeit prior to his candidacy. If Ireland joins the Security Council, we should back the practical French aim of objective and time limited tests, which if passed would lead to sanctions ending automatically. Ten lost years is enough. http://www.nytimes.com/2000/09/17/world/17FRAN.html * FROM A RIVAL WITH A SMILE, WORDS TO U.S. ARE: EN GARDE (about Hubert Védrine) by Jane Perlez (New York Times, September 17, 2000) Like the French satirical television show that twits the United States for being the "World Company" that invades people's lives around the globe, the French foreign minister, Hubert Védrine, expresses frustration, and perhaps a little envy, at America's dominion. He is more elegant, although for a top diplomat refreshingly undiplomatic, in how he expresses what he sees as the problem of a world run exclusively by the United States. "This situation is unprecedented: what previous empire subjugated the entire world, including its adversaries?" Mr. Védrine wrotes in his new book, a discourse in which he loves to use his shorthand for the United States, "hyperpower," a word that makes officials in Washington cringe. But Mr. Védrine says that a new equilibrium will eventually evolve, and France, as the current president of the European Union, is busy trying to construct it with a more streamlined Europe with France at its center rising as a future equal, rather than junior, partner. The United States should not worry about this, he said in an interview. Europe, he said, is not about to take on the "hyperpower," which he finds the most telling way to describe America's military, linguistic, cultural and business dominance. "I don't believe it would necessarily lead to rivalry," he said between meetings with fellow foreign ministers at the United Nations General Assembly. "It could be a real alliance between the United States of tomorrow and the Europe of tomorrow I don't mean an alliance as we know today but a real partnership. But it would, I grant, disturb the habits and usual trends of American leadership." Since becoming foreign minister three years ago, Mr. Védrine, 53, a lawyer and previously the senior foreign policy adviser to the French president, François Mitterrand, has made a priority of making distinctions between France and the United States. In the process, he has left senior Clinton administration officials muttering more than usual about the French. Recently, Mr. Védrine stunned Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, with whom he converses in French, by declining to sign a declaration on democracy that she had organized in Warsaw. ("Democracy is not like instant coffee where you can just add water and stir," he said). He surprised the Clinton administration by leading France's demands for modifications in the United Nations resolution that mandates sanctions against Iraq and then abstained from voting on the changes. In his book, called "France's Assets in the Era of Globalization," (to be published in English later this year by the Center on the United States and France at the Brookings Institution), Mr. Védrine argues that France has much to offer the world and must find the self confidence to work toward a "multipolar world" that would undo the "uniformity and the unilateralism" that results from American supremacy. He scolds his fellow Frenchmen, who, he says, have much to be proud of in their modern age, for being too attached to their past: "We have to avoid giving the impression that all we're doing is trying to keep a fading star from burning out completely." In order to move Europe toward being the political and military powerhouse that France would like, the European Union has initiated a European defense plan that would have its own command and planning staffs and be capable of moving 60,000 troops to a crisis zone by 2003. "Many American officials are of two minds about this," said Mr. Védrine. "There's the usual complaint that Europe is not taking a big enough share of the burden. And then there is the other traditional reaction that whenever Europe does something, people say: `Be careful, you're going to resuscitate American isolationism.' " Despite reservations at the Pentagon about the new European plan, particularly because it could duplicate the work of NATO, President Clinton was in favor of it, he said. Anyway, he said, the plan to strengthen Europe's defense capability should not be interpreted as a threat. "We're not talking about having a go at the hyperpower," he said. "It's the reaction of a perfectly legitimate ambition." In his book, Mr. Védrine said that while many Europeans were sympathetic to France's complaints about American arrogance, they also believed that if France was as powerful as the United States today, the French would be more unbearable. "France most of the time has a mythical approach to its history," he explained. "I'm trying to tell them that there is no point in being nostalgic about when you were a great power and that it is stupid to underrate yourself. In France we're always talking about the voice of France, the universal mission of France. I'm trying to say that you're only well received if we come up with bright ideas that no one else has." -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email email@example.com Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website: http://www.casi.org.uk