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NEWS SUPPLEMENT, 512/11/00 * Misunderstanding Sanctions [a summary of the argument in favour of maintaining sanctions] * Iraqi nuclear arms specialist tells of a CIA snub as he fled [more of Kidhir Hamza] * Oil is one thing - unity is another [Israeli view of Arab attitudes to Iraq] * Western style of democracy proposed [Kuwaiti intellectual on democracy and Islam in Pakistan] * What Game Are We Playing in Yemen? [on differences in attitude towards the Gulf between the US Defense Departtment and the State Department] * Yemen, Islamic Jihad, bin Laden and Iran's hardliners * His file of threats to his people [Full text, I think, of Foreign Office report on atrocities in Iraq] * Upon his return from a gulf tour [Full text of P.Hain's address to the Royal Institute of International Affairs] * Federalisation of Iraq [Kurdish view on how Iraq could be reorganised to prevent domination from Tikrit] * Not an alliance - yet [Israeli view on relations between Iraq and Syria] * Commentary: US emerging as defacto world government? [US feeling that the rest of the world is ganging up on them] http://www.ctnow.com/scripts/editorial.dll?bfromind=479&eeid=3382693&eetype= article&render=y&ck=&userid=206553684&userpw=.&uh=206553684,2,&ver=2.11 * MISUNDERSTANDING SANCTIONS by Daniel Byman Hartford Courant, November 05, 2000 The debate over the morality and efficacy of sanctions on Iraq - so vividly displayed in the Oct. 22-25 Courant series "Between Sanctions And Saddam" - suffers from considerable confusion that overstates sanctions' evils and obscures many of their benefits. The first mistake that many critics of sanctions make is to uncritically accept various statistics on Iraq. On the surface, the toll of sanctions appears heavy indeed. The Courant cites figures that blame sanctions for the deaths of more than 1 million Iraqis, including 500,000 children. But how accurate are these figures? The unfortunate answer is that we do not know. These numbers are impossible to verify because the government of Iraq will not allow independent outside organizations to collect data on the health and welfare of the Iraqi people. This reluctance should give observers pause. After all, if the magnitude of innocent suffering is as high as Iraqi propaganda claims it is, why not invite in reporters, aid workers and others to document this crime in detail? The credulous, including several U.N. agencies, simply accept Iraqi government data. Baghdad, however, has every incentive to exaggerate and lie. Amatzia Baram, one of the leading scholars of Iraq, notes that the government has consistently exaggerated the suffering, to the point that it counts individuals never born as among the "dead" - the embargo is blamed for their nonexistence. More cautious experts estimate that children's deaths are between one-fifth and one-half of the Iraqi government figures. Even this reduced burden is heavy. Every innocent death, particularly that of a child, is a tragedy, and clearly Iraqis suffer tremendously. Critics of sanctions err, however, when they place the responsibility for Iraq's devastation on the United States. The obvious culprit is Saddam Hussein and his cronies. When the Persian Gulf War ended, no one believed sanctions would last more than a few months, let alone a decade. Sanctions would stay in place until Iraq complied with the relevant U.N. resolutions, particularly those regarding the destruction of its weapons of mass destruction and missile programs. Saddam, however, refused to comply, and sanctions have dragged on for years in various forms as a result. Experts underestimated Saddam's commitment to developing and keeping weapons of mass destruction. He has surrendered more than $100 billion in revenues rather than give up on his weapons of mass destruction programs. Had he worked with the United Nations and abandoned these programs, suffering associated with sanctions would have been avoided. Indeed, Saddam rejected compromise measures that would spare his people. Iraq's mortality rates increased, and the country became impoverished, largely during the six years after the gulf war. Yet the international community, encouraged by the United States, had long offered a way out. The Iraqi government would be allowed to sell large amounts of oil; under U.N. supervision, the money generated would buy food and medicine. Yet Saddam rejected the "oil for food" deal for almost six years. He hoped to exploit the suffering of the Iraqi people to have U.N. control over Iraqi spending lifted. Freed from U.N. control, Iraq could then purchase whatever it wanted, particularly military items. As the United Nations reported in 1998, tremendous suffering would have been alleviated had Iraq accepted this compromise when it was first proposed. Only the risk of total economic collapse led Saddam to accept the oil-for-food deal in 1996. But even then he did not try to alleviate the suffering of his people. The United Nations has had to constantly press his regime to buy high-calorie items and appropriate medicine. Iraq has at times even smuggled medicine out of Iraq in order to sell it on the black market. Not surprisingly, even poorly governed countries that take in less revenue than Iraq, such as Syria and Yemen, do not suffer from the malnutrition levels reported in Iraq. Despite this poor record, critics of sanctions would free the Iraqi government from U.N. control over its spending. The United Nations is hardly perfect, but would Saddam do a better job caring for his people than would the United Nations? Saddam's regime has murdered hundreds of thousands of Shi'a and Kurds in an effort to stay in power. This is hardly the mark of a humanitarian. The contrast between U.N. and Iraqi government control is best understood by comparing the status of the northern Kurdish parts of Iraq outside Saddam's control with the rest of the country. Infant mortality rates and nutrition levels improved in the north as the rest of Iraq suffered because the United Nations spent the dollars earmarked for this area wisely. In the remainder of Iraq, where Baghdad has more influence over what is purchased and how it is distributed, suffering has grown. This same pattern of neglect is evident in how Saddam spends the hundreds of millions of dollars that Iraq gains from oil-smuggling money outside U.N. control. Saddam buys palaces for himself and his cronies and tries to acquire components for his weapons of mass destruction. He spends only a pittance on food and medicine. The Iraqi people are ignored. The evidence is too clear to ignore: If sanctions are lifted, it is likely that the regime will devote fewer resources to the health and welfare of Iraqis, spending the money instead on weapons systems and perks for Saddam and his henchmen. Critics also neglect what sanctions have accomplished. Sanctions are correctly criticized as having failed to force Iraq to give up its ambitions for its weapons of mass destruction program, and they provide little leverage in ousting Saddam. They have, however, prevented Iraq from rebuilding its conventional military forces. In 1990, Iraq had the strongest army in the Arab world. Since then, Iraq has not made any major weapons systems purchases. It has not recovered from the damage of Desert Storm, much less improved its forces in the last decade. Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and other U.S. regional allies are far more secure as a result. The United States does not have to greatly expand its military presence, and U.S. airmen who fly over Iraq do not face advanced air defense systems, which Saddam would have imported had Iraq not been under sanctions. Dire predictions about an Iraqi nuclear weapon also have not come true, largely because of sanctions. At the end of the gulf war, many experts estimated that Iraq could build a nuclear weapon in less than five years if left to its own devices. Because the United Nations controls much of Iraq's spending, Saddam has not been able to purchase many of the dual-use items that could be used to build a nuclear infrastructure. Smuggling in the parts and the infrastructure needed for a nuclear weapon is difficult, to say the least. As a result, Iraq's nuclear ambitions have been frustrated. As long as most of Iraq's oil revenues are spent under U.N. control, Baghdad will remain militarily weak and have difficulty acquiring and expanding its weapons of mass destruction programs. If Iraq remains aggressive (which it will as long as Saddam remains in power), then keeping these weapons out of Baghdad's hands should be an international priority. Weighing sanctions' benefits against their humanitarian and political costs is difficult but essential. It is naïve to assume that lifting sanctions will cure Iraq's humanitarian ills, and dangerous to ignore the real military threat that a sanctions-free Iraq will pose. Doing so would risk courting disaster while doing little to help end the suffering of the Iraqi people. Daniel Byman is research director at the RAND Center for Middle East Public Policy. He is based in Washington. http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/310/nation/Iraqi_nuclear_arms_specialist_t ells_of_a_CIA_snub_as_he_fled+.shtml * IRAQI NUCLEAR ARMS SPECIALIST TELLS OF A CIA SNUB AS HE FLED by Vernon Loeb Washington Post, 11/5/2000 (This story ran on page A14 of the Boston Globe on 11/5/2000.) WASHINGTON - After escaping from Baghdad in 1994, Iraq's chief nuclear weapons scientist thought he was safe when he offered to tell the CIA everything he knew about President Saddam Hussein's weapons program in exchange for asylum. But in the satellite telephone call, the CIA said it was not interested. This forced the scientist, Khidhir Hamza, onto a desperate flight from Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq, which took him to Turkey, Libya, Tunisia, and Hungary. After Hamza turned up at the US Embassy in Budapest in 1995, the CIA realized its mistake, began debriefing Hamza, and smuggled his family out of Baghdad. ''I held secrets no one outside Iraq, and only a handful of people inside the country, could know,'' Hamza wrote in a book coauthored with a journalist, Jeff Stein, called ''Saddam's Bombmaker: the Terrifying Inside Story of the Iraqi Nuclear and Biological Weapons Agenda.'' ''Not even the aggressive UN inspectors ... knew what we still had and how dangerous the situation was. None of them knew that Saddam had been within a few months of completing the bomb when he invaded Kuwait.'' Speaking on Thursday to nonproliferation experts at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Hamza said Saddam probably possesses a crude, 2- to 3-kiloton atomic bomb, and could begin limited bomb production within two to three years if sanctions are lifted. Later, in an interview, Hamza said that he had long ago forgiven CIA officials for the way in which ''they rebuffed and even ridiculed my pleas for help in 1994,'' as he put it in the book. ''They did redeem themselves,'' Hamza said. ''They went through a large operation to save my family, with a five-man planning team here and a nine-man team in the north of Iraq. They saved my family's lives literally; they all would have been killed. For me, that's a lot. That's everything.'' The CIA does not agree that Iraq possesses a crude nuclear weapon. ''We don't believe they have the fissile material required for a nuclear weapon,'' a senior US official said, adding that Hamza has been away from the Iraqi program for six years. ''Nor do we believe they currently have the infrastructure to build a nuclear weapon.'' The agency does not minimize what Hamza has contributed to its understanding of Iraq's nuclear capabilities. ''He is viewed as valuable,'' the official said, ''and his insights have been valuable.'' Now living in Virginia with his wife and three sons, Hamza, 61, received a master's degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a doctorate in nuclear physics from Florida State University. He was teaching at a small college in Georgia in 1970 when he was ordered home to work in Iraq's fledgling atomic energy program. By 1985, he had become Saddam Hussein's nuclear weapons adviser, charged with directing a crash program to make Iraq a nuclear power. The country had 25 kilograms of bomb-grade uranium from a French-built reactor, Hamza wrote, and volumes of nuclear weapons technology from the World War II Manhattan Project that produced the first US atomic bomb. Hamza discovered the declassified Manhattan Project reports on a shelf in Baghdad, a gift, he wrote, from the US Atomic Energy Commission in 1956. But by 1994, with Iraq close to enriching its own uranium through diffusion technology, Hamza plotted his escape and found himself at the headquarters of the opposition Iraqi National Congress in Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq, talking on a secure satellite telephone to CIA officers 10,000 miles away in Langley, Va. ''I wasn't a low-level official,'' Hamza writes. ''I had designed Saddam's bomb. That should be easy enough for them to confirm. I also knew about the chemical and biological programs.'' But after 15 or 20 minutes, Hamza came to believe that his long-distance debriefers had never heard of him, and that they knew little about Iraq's bomb program, headquartered at Al-Atheer. Hamza wrote that a CIA officer chuckled at the notion of a weapons plant at Al-Atheer, and closed the door on his only demand: asylum. Warren Marik, at the time a CIA case officer who was present at CIA headquarters at the time of the call, said Friday that he was ''appalled'' at the way his colleagues had dismissed Hamza. ''They blew him off, and you don't do that to a walk-in,'' Marik said. Marik said part of Hamza's problem resulted from his intermediary, Ahmed Chalabi, the Iraqi National Congress leader, who had by then fallen out of favor with the agency. But Marik also faulted Hamza, saying he had been testy and demanding with the CIA officers, and had refused to give them enough information to establish his bona fides. The CIA further heard of Hamza a year later, when he showed up at the US Embassy in Budapest. Part of the difference then, Marik said, was that Hamza's approach had been coordinated through a different Iraqi opposition group, the Iraqi National Accord, which had much closer ties to Langley. ''In fact, with every passing hour of my arrival in Germany, where I was first debriefed, the attitude of the CIA grew more trusting, friendly and respectful,'' Hamza wrote. Once they had flown him back to Washington, Hamza called his oldest son, Firas, in Baghdad and set the CIA's plan in motion. Soon afterward, a beggar, actually a Kurdish smuggler working for the CIA, approached Firas Hamza in a Baghdad coffee shop, whispered his name and signaled him to walk outside onto the street. The Kurd handed Firas Hamza a letter from his father and told him to bring his mother and younger brothers the following day to Mosul, north of Baghdad. From there, the Kurd drove Hamza's family over the mountains to the Kurdish-controlled north of Iraq, where they waited in a safe house to be evacuated. http://www3.haaretz.co.il/eng/scripts/article.asp?mador=5&datee=11/08/00&id= 99611 * OIL IS ONE THING - UNITY IS ANOTHER by Zvi Bar'el, Ha'aretz, Israel "The leaders in Baghdad have become a gang instead of a government and the revolutionary regime is a regime of exploitation and domination. From a regime that worked to serve the Arab nation they have developed into a gang that threatens it and is wasting its resources. This is what the Iraqi regime has given the Arab nation: It has committed aggression against its Muslim Arab neighbors; it has ignored the Zionist enemy; it has wasted the economic resources of the Arab nation and has spilled oil in Kuwait's drinking water; it has set fire to Arab oil wells - not Israeli ones; it has harmed human rights ... It suffices to say that the Arab nation was on the brink of complete unification until the Iraqi regime rose up against it and smashed this opportunity when it invaded Kuwait and since then the fate of the Arab nation has changed and not gone back to where it was. Toppling the Iraqi regime is the first step not only in the liberation of the Iraqi nation but also the liberation of the Arab nation as a whole, which because of this regime has fallen captive to Israel and Zionism.".This is not a quotation from the annual report of the Kuwaiti or Saudi government. Dr. Abd Alathim Ramadan is one of the most important publicists in Egypt, who publishes his column in the weekly "October." This strong attack on Iraq, in which he described in two closely printed pages all of Iraq's sins, was written before the events on the Temple Mount, before he imagined that Egypt would host the Arab summit conference, in which one of the participants was the deputy chairman of the Revolutionary Council, Izzat Ibrahim, who invited the Arab states to embark on a jihad (holy war) against Israel. Attacks in the Arab press on the Iraqi regime are nothing unusual, even in Egypt, which tries to keep up the appearance of being fair to all the Arab states. But when such things are published at a time when Jordan has announced its intention to renew its trade agreement with Iraq, and when in the month in which the article is published the prime minister of Jordan is making the first visit by an Arab head of state to Iraq and calling it "Jordan's strategic rear," when Syria is planning to re-open the oil pipeline from Iraq that was shut down in 1982, when Turkey is talking about repairing the railroad line to Baghdad and when Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Harazi is visiting Baghdad for the first time - it is possible to cast doubt on that Arab unity that tried to look so good at the summit conference. The case of Jordan is the most interesting example. Jordanian Prime Minister Ali Abu al- Ragheb returned last week from his historic visit to Baghdad with a fistful of contracts that will bolster the kingdom's shaky economy. Among other things, Iraq will sell Jordan oil for $20 a barrel (as opposed to the market price of about $33 a barrel); Jordan will get an oil grant worth $300 million; the extent of trade between the two countries will increase from $300 million a year to about $450 million; an oil pipeline will be built from Iraq to Jordan that will end at Zarqa in Jordan; Iraq will make greater use of the Aqaba port, where the Jordanian authorities have already ordered a cut in port taxes and service charges for Iraqi goods, and in the meantime Jordan is also planning to operate regular air service between Amman and Baghdad with the Jordanian national airline. A large portion of these agreements were made according to the rules stipulated by the UN sanctions committee. At the time, Jordan was granted special permission as compensation for the large debts that Iraq left in Jordan. Before the Gulf War, the Jordanian government had acquired Iraq's debts to Jordanian merchants and manufacturers. It compensated the merchants from the state coffers and it is charging this to Iraq in oil and other benefits. Jordan also got special permission for the flight of the plane carrying the Jordanian aid mission and it informed the United States of its intention to hold the visit of the Jordanian prime minister to Iraq. However, even though these are legitimate agreements, or at least agreements that do not constitute real violations of the sanctions policy, the grandiose way in which they were executed carries an unambiguous message: Not only will Jordan pursue its interests to the full in its relations with Iraq, it is also the country that will serve as an example to other Arab states. While the others are demonstratively sending airplanes to test the limits of violating the sanctions, Jordan is sending its prime minister. And this is the healthy anomaly in the Middle East. A week before this visit to Baghdad Jordan signed a free trade agreement with the United States and thus became the fourth country in the world that is partner to such an agreement, along with Israel, Canada and Mexico. This agreement could well be of great commercial significance if European or Japanese firms decide to transfer production to Jordan to enjoy preferential trade conditions with Jordan along with the cheap work force. The Israeli manufacturers who are operating in Jordan will also no longer need to transport raw material and finished products back and forth from Israel to Jordan and back to Israel again in order to export to the United States and benefit from the free trade agreement with Israel. The United States saw no contradiction between the trade agreement it has signed with Jordan and the trade agreement Jordan has signed with Iraq. The American consideration was a diplomatic one and was aimed at supporting a country that has signed a peace agreement with Israel, in a situation in which the United States needs every Arab vote that will support its policy in the region. The interesting aspect is that Iraq, too, did not see any contradiction between signing a trade agreement with Jordan and the fact that Jordan has a peace agreement and a trade agreement with Israel. According to Jordanian sources, Jordan was not asked to make any political concessions in return for the agreement in Iraq, "which evinced understanding for Jordan's special status." Iraq, the representative of the Arab jihad against Israel, is imposing limitations only on Jordanian companies that operate jointly with Israeli companies, but the Jordanian businessmen have found ways to bypass this. "It may be argued of course that were the trade agreements between Jordan and Israel operating at a higher volume, and Jordan were able to export more to Israel and the territories of the Palestinian Authority, we would not need this connection with Iraq. But this is a ridiculous claim," says a Jordanian businessman with extensive trade connections to Israel. "Jordan's connection with Iraq is a historical relationship, but beyond this Iraq has advantages that the Israeli and Palestinian markets don't have. Quality control, the easy passage without security checks and the possibility of making barter deals for goods in exchange for oil with government guarantees, all make the Iraqi market into an especially attractive one, and when a country has to make and provide a living you bypass political considerations if they constitute an obstacle. Jordan has made its contribution to the Palestinian issue, like all the Arab states, and now it has to feed the two million Palestinians who live in its territory. If this living will come from Iraq, so be it, and if it will come from Israel or from the furthest corner of the world, so be it. You can talk from today to tomorrow about Arab unity, but when Lebanon imposes a tax of 107 percent on imports of Jordanian flowers into its territory, and the economic cooperation agreement between Jordan and Egypt is practically meaningless, the Arab states have no business telling us whether or not it is moral to cooperate with the Iraqi regime." "It's true that there is seemingly a paradox here," says a source at the Jordanian Diplomatic Institute, who read Ramadan's article in the weekly October. "How is it possible to cooperate with a regime that led to the great split in the Arab nation when it attacked an Arab sister-state? But it must be recalled, if it may be said, that thanks to Saddam the great unification of the Arab states took place. This was the first time such a large Arab coalition was created on an Arab issue. Furthermore, thanks to that war most of the Arab states agreed to adopt the peace strategy and participate in the Madrid conference. Today, after Iraq has signed the trade agreement with Iraq and is wanting to expand its trade with Turkey, it may be said that it is indirectly joining the states that do not oppose the peace process. It has even adopted the decision to cancel the boycott of countries and firms that have relations with Israel, even if it is not declaring this outright." The series of new agreements between Jordan and Iraq gives Jordan a new dimension as the leader in the process of reconciliation between the Arab world and Iraq. After the Jordanian prime minister visited Iraq, he set a precedent that other Arab leaders can imitate. No one will be able to complain if the president of Tunisia or the president of Yemen, Algeria or Lebanon, decides to visit Baghdad. Jordan has taken a step here that even the president of Egypt has not dared to take, and even with tacit American permission, without sanctions on the part of Kuwait or Saudi Arabia, and in coordination with Syria http://www.dawn.com/2000/11/08/nat2.htm * WESTERN STYLE OF DEMOCRACY PROPOSED by Ashraf Mumtaz LAHORE, Nov 7: An ex-Kuwaiti minister has proposed that all Islamic countries should adopt Western style of democracy to give their people due rights. This system alone is democratic while other systems in the Islamic and Arab countries have been "fabricated" or are "semi-democratic", Sayid Yusuf Hashim Al-Rifai said while talking to Dawn here on Tuesday. The Kuwaiti dignitary had come to Pakistan to participate in the three-day Islamic conference at the Aiwan-i-Iqbal. Mr Rifai opposed the rulers' authority to dissolve parliament at will as by doing so they bring the democratic process to halt whenever they feel that it is becoming a headache for them or is a cause of annoyance. Mr Rifai said democracy and human rights was the motto of the day and people could seize the opportunity to mount pressure on their respective rulers to give them their due rights and the best democratic system. In his opinion the Western democracy was the best system which all Islamic countries could adopt without any difficulty. "In the beginning, maybe some bad rulers come to power due to illiteracy and poverty in various countries - because such people use money to purchase votes. But later on, we'll get ideal people to run the system." The Kuwaiti dignitary said immediately after switching over to the Western democratic system the rulers of the Islamic countries might not be having an Islamic mentality. But, he was optimistic that the situation would change after some time when the ulema and Islamic scholars played their role for the renaissance of Islam and rekindled the love of religion in the hearts and minds of people. Answering a question, Mr Rifai said it had taken countries like USA and Britain several hundred years to have the kind of system they were practising now. But, he believed that because of the present-day revolution in the information technology and the increase in the literacy rate, the Islamic countries would have an ideal democratic system in a very short time. When it was pointed out that many people, including religious leaders, were of the view that the Western democracy was not in harmony with the Islamic system, the Kuwaiti scholar did not agree with the suggestion. He said what he was proposing was also the best way to keep the "secular-minded educated people" with their countries. He said such people might be allergic to the word "Shoora" because the West had brainwashed them and misled them about the Islamic code of life. But, he said, they would have no irritation in playing their role in a 'parliament'. He said the Islamic system of government had not been practised for a long time and there had been a sea change in the situation now because of which the Western system was easy to implement. He said in the days when the Islamic system was in practice, there was no foreign office or the intelligence agencies - both of which were important components of the new system. He said in the prevailing situation the Muslims would have to study afresh as to how much authority could the caliph or the head of government be given to run the state in the prevailing situation. The authority which was available to the four Caliphs after the life of Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) could certainly not be given to the rulers of the present times, he said. Responding to a question, he said there was no real will in the minds of the rulers of the Islamic countries to work sincerely for the unity and the dignity of the Ummah. "If there is no will, there's no way." In his opinion, there are three possible reasons behind their lack of interest in the Ummah's unity: Majority of the rulers don't have an Islamic mentality; there is a wide gap between people and the rulers because the rulers did not come to power through a democratic process; and some of the rulers have political or other interests tied to the United States and the West. Mr Rifai, who has a large number of followers here and is abreast of the situation in Pakistan which he regards as his second homeland, said his arguments in favour of a democratic system did not mean that he supported the system which was in practice in Pakistan before Gen Pervez Musharraf took over about a year ago. He said it was obvious to the observers - both in Pakistan and abroad - that the PML government was following wrong policies. Changing the weekly holiday from Friday to Sunday or yielding to the will of the United States to leave strategic places in the mountains of Kargil were wrong decisions, he said. He said he knew it very well that before the military takeover, the situation in Sindh was also very bad and important people like Hakim Muhammad Saeed had been killed. Mr Rifai claimed that he was the person who had convinced the late Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in the seventies to change weekly holiday form Sunday to Friday. He proposed that Pakistan and Afghanistan should sign a defence treaty to save each other from the possible external aggression. In the presence of such a treaty, he said, India would never dare commit an aggression against Pakistan nor could the United States, Russia or any other country think of striking at Afghanistan. Mr Rifai said the pact would also give Pakistan a strategic depth to defend itself. He made a strong plea for the Islamic countries to get a permanent seat of the UN Security Council. He pointed out that at present the doors of the council were being opened for the sake of Germany and Japan. India, he pointed out, was also seriously lobbying to get the seat. This, he said, was high time the OIC used its influence to get a seat for the Islamic countries. If it could not, it would mean that Christians, Buddhists and possibly Hindus would have representation on the Security Council wile Islam - which is the religion of one-third of the world population - would remain outside. Answering a question, Mr Rifai said people of Kuwait still felt a threat from Iraq partly due to the Western propaganda - and maybe it's true as well - that Baghdad is still producing ballistic missiles which can hit Kuwait, and weapons of mass destruction. He said Iraq was still insisting that it would not apologize for its aggression against Kuwait and, instead, was asserting that whatever it had done was justified. He pointed out that the people of Kuwait by temperament were opposed to the US. However, he said, they had to accept the US help to drive away invading Iraqi forces when some Arab countries stood on the side of the aggressor. Mr Rifai said since the coalition which had helped Kuwait regain its sovereignty was led by the US, Kuwait transferred the name of the US from the list of its enemies to that of its friends. However, he made it clear that Kuwaiti people knew it well that the US had not come to their help for any love for them but for its own interests. He said the day President Saddam Husain quit, Kuwait would say goodbye to the US troops on its soil. http://www.latimes.com/news/comment/20001108/t000107117.html * WHAT GAME ARE WE PLAYING IN YEMEN? by Rachel Bronson, Los Angeles Times, Wednesday, November 8, 2000 The attack on the U.S. guided missile destroyer Cole points to a dangerous disconnect between the State and Defense departments about what constitutes a threat to the United States, how to manage the threat and what our Persian Gulf strategy should be. The Monday morning quarterbacking over whether it was a safe operation and who was responsible for safety misses the point. The real problem is that State and Defense are operating from different game plans in the Persian Gulf, and the White House is not reconciling them sufficiently. Our partners in the region have picked up on this, leading them to conclude that U.S. policy is not serious. Washington is deadly serious, but in contradictory and confusing ways. The Defense Department is pursuing a multilateral strategy, trying to link our six Gulf partners into a coherent unit to confront regional threats. Every time Defense Secretary William S. Cohen visits the region, he visits each partner: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Oman. This is because U.S. military posture in the region depends on each of them. Qatar, for instance, supports important Army resources. Even though each of the six states pursues its own interests, and generally fears the other, the Pentagon seeks out every opportunity to link each state into broader, regional arrangements. To this end it has held environmental security conferences that have included all states, and it proposes an early warning program that includes each state to identify missile attacks. By contrast, the State Department is pursuing purely bilateral objectives in the region. It works with each country independently on issues such as economic and social reforms. It provides no vision for how the region could cooperate more effectively, largely because it believes the goal to be unrealistic. State views efforts at multilateralism with skepticism because past diplomatic efforts, like the 1991 Damascus Declaration--which envisioned a coalition of Arab forces providing security--have failed. When the secretary of State visits the region, she visits only one country. Yemen's centrality to U.S. interests depends on which department's view one subscribes to. In the Pentagon's strategy, Yemen is important and hence the warship Cole's visit. If Yemen, with its population of 17.5 million, could play a more active regional role, small Gulf countries would not be as skeptical about Saudi Arabia's domination of multilateral arrangements. There would be less need for the Gulf partners' historical reliance on Iran or Iraq to balance the Saudis and each other. The Defense Department also recognizes that virulent anti-Americanism and terrorism brewing in Yemen could spill into neighboring countries. Led by its recently retired regional commander, Gen. Anthony Zinni, the Pentagon decided that helping Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh modernize his country and control terrorist elements is in the long-term security interests of the U.S. and regional stability. Finally, having Yemen as a refueling option makes U.S. military movements less predictable. The State Department is more circumspect when it comes to Yemen. It has not embraced military engagement as enthusiastically. It sees Yemen as a dangerous place moving in an unpredictable direction. Because of its bilateral outlook, the role of Yemen in the region is of somewhat less importance. While State is interested in assisting Yemen move forward, its timetable is not as compressed as the Pentagon's. State maintains a reasonable concern that large Navy ships refueling off the coast are not the best way to engage developing states. But without a vision for how Yemen fits into the larger regional picture, State has provided few engagement alternatives. So who is right? Is engaging Yemen a critical U.S. interest? Our troops and diplomats are there every day, in a country lax and inefficient in enforcing security measures. Notwithstanding the recent attack, the U.S. has done a remarkable job protecting them. But the immediate question of Yemen is unanswerable until the deeper one is addressed: What strategy should the U.S. pursue in the region? The problem is that competing State and Defense department approaches have not been reconciled. The different approaches confuse our embassies as well as military personnel. They limit the tools available for engagement while sending contradictory messages to our regional partners. The White House, the ultimate and only possible arbiter of this debate, has left policymaking up to the different branches of government, which have come up with very different solutions. Ten years after the Gulf War, the White House still has not designed a coherent vision for the Persian Gulf. The debate over the Cole and Yemen is another tragic reminder of this fact. Rachel Bronson Is a National Security Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations http://www.wn.com/?action=display&article=4347009&template=worldnews/search. txt&index=recent * YEMEN, ISLAMIC JIHAD, BIN LADEN AND IRAN'S HARDLINERS UPI, Thu 9 Nov 2000 Islamic Jihad, blamed by Yemeni President Ali Abdallah Saleh for the murderous attack on the USS Cole, appeared in Yemen in the early 1990s. It joined a plethora of terrorist organizations that had found shelter in a country much of which is beyond the control of the government. Yemeni Jihad was suspected in two 1992 bomb attacks on hotels in Aden that accommodated U.S. servicemen on the way to Somalia. When Yemen slipped into renewed civil war, Islamic Jihad distinguished itself in fighting on the side of President Saleh, thus putting him under obligation to it. Made up of "Afghanis," Yemeni and foreign Muslims who had fought or trained in Afghanistan, it had at least one camp in the mountainous Abyan region, about 250 miles south of the Yemeni capital, Sana'a. Some 200 militants were based there, funded by the Saudi exile, Osama bin Laden. Starting in 1995, the government began expelling non-Yemeni "Afghans." This followed on a failed attempt to assassinate Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, blamed by Egypt on Islamists based in Yemen. In 1998, despite its intense fighting on behalf of his government four years earlier, Saleh sent troops to try and to close down the Islamic Jihad base. The clashes that followed were capped by an action that brought the Yemeni Jihad to the world's attention. This was the kidnapping of 16 Westerners in December 1998. One of the kidnappers killed by government forces freeing the hostages was an Egyptian, wanted by Cairo as an Islamist militant. At this time an Aden-Abyan Islamic Liberation Army announced itself. Believed to be an offshoot of the Yemeni Islamic Jihad, it declared it would attack American targets in Yemen in retaliation for the 1998 American missile attack on a pharmaceutical factory in Sudan and bin Laden affiliated training camps in Afghanistan. Bin Laden has been involved in Yemeni affairs for many years. He is Yemeni by descent, with a father and family from the Hadramaut, a part of southern Yemen that was the scene of intense conflict between Marxists and Islamists. As the Egyptian Islamist Ali Mohamed, testified in a New York federal court last September, Iran, like bin Laden, has provided the funds and other support for terrorists' attacks in the Arab and Western world. Iran and bin Laden match each other in their vituperative rhetoric about Israel. Yet Iranian President Mohammad Khatami has unquestionably sought to better relations with the West. On a visit to Japan at the start of November, in a radio interview, he said in measured tones, "the United States continues to take unreasonable measures against us, including economic sanctions and freezing Iranian assets in the United States. The United States has the key to improve the relationship. The door can be opened through concrete U.S. actions." In a later interview with a Japanese newspaper, he complained of Iran being on the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism. Khatami's mild words were in stark contrast with those of other Iranians, the hard-line anti Americans who dominate intelligence and security operations, whether carried out by government agencies or through religious bodies. These are the people who influence relations with Hezbollah, al-Qaida and Islamic Jihad. Some ten days before Khatami spoke on Japanese radio, members of Iran's Basij, a hard line organization, sent a letter to Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamene'i. The letter said, "America is striving to extinguish the fire of the Islamic Intifada [in the Palestinian territories] and to delay the definite victory of God's soldiers against Satan's party [the Israelis.]" A few days earlier, Basiji explained that "all sufferings of Muslims come from the arrogant United States." The Basij's young members were a force noted for blind valor in the eight year war with Iraq. Subsequently Basij became a morals enforcement agency, terrorizing Iranians it found wanting in its idea of proper Islamic conduct. A few days after the Basij letter, Khamene'i, who is Khatami's superior in the structure of the Islamic Republic of Iran, told officials and ambassadors from Islamic countries that in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the partner in Israeli "crimes is undoubtedly the government of the United States of America." When Secretary of State Madeleine Albright made a conciliatory speech last spring saying that Iran had legitimate grievances against the United States, Khamene'i's response was: "The Iranian nation and its authorities consider the United States to be their enemy." American support for Israel is not the only reason Tehran opposes Washington's policies. Another, strategic one is the powerful U.S. military presence in the Persian Gulf and surrounding areas. Iran wants that presence reduced, or, better still, eliminated. This would free the way for Iran to become the dominant regional power, an ancient and perennial ambition. Islamist Sudan, which also supports Islamic Jihad, wants the American presence out of East Africa. As for bin Laden, he has vowed to drive the Americans out of the Arabian peninsula of which Yemen, his forefathers' homeland, is a part. The attack on the Cole served the common interests of bin-Laden, Islamic Jihad, and Iranian hardliners. It struck at U.S. support for Israel and it was a blow against the U.S. presence in Arabia. This does not mean that Iran was directly involved in planning and executing the attack on the Cole. No evidence of that has emerged. But there is reason to believe that as well as bin Laden, Iranian hardliners are aiding and abetting terrorists, like Islamic Jihad, who share their anti-American intentions -- and who act on them. -- http://www.ain-al-yaqeen.com/issues/20001110/feat9en.htm * HIS FILE OF THREATS TO HIS PEOPLE AND THE REGION GROWS BIGGER. THE FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH OFFICE ISSUES A REPORT ON THE CRIMES OF THE IRAQI REGIME AGAINST IRAQI CITIZENS. DEATH THREATS TO A FILM DIRECTOR, AND CONTINUOUS EFFORTS ON WAYS OF ACQUIRING THE NUCLEAR BOMB. Ain-Al-Yaqeen, 'weekly arab political magazine', seems to be Saudi, 10th November. A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesman declared that the British government has acquired trusted information about the crimes committed by the Iraqi regime against humanity that would obstruct the UN review to lift the sanctions imposed on Iraq since its invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Following are the main points of the report: Human Rights abuse in Iraq: Despite the fact that Iraq has ratified Human rights Treaties the current regime systematically continues to abuse its citizens Human Rights. Torture and Execution The eighth floor of the Ministry of Interior's main building houses hundreds of boxes and sacks in the Cafeteria area which hold the execution and torture orders, (including pictures) for victims of the regime. The cover for this storage facility is that it contains the offices for the Branch of political parties. Each execution or torture order is signed by an immediate member of Saddam Hussein's family or his closest advisors. Saddam, his two sons Udai and Qusai, Ali Hassan Al Majid, the late Hussain Kamil, Saddam's half brothers Watban Ibrahim Al Hassan, General Abid H'moud (Head of the Presidential Secretariat) and Rukan Abd Al Ghafur al Majid have all signed these warrants. The orders allow the signature to record how they want the victim to be tortured, or die. The papers are not arranged systematically. They are kept in case they are needed for reference. The files guarded by members of the (Ministry of Interior Intelligence and Security Service). None of the normal lifts in the building stop at the eighth floor. This is only accessible by its own special lift. Watban Ibrahim Hassan former Minister of the Interior had every execution videod. Copies of the videos were kept in vault in Hassan's office on the second floor on the Ministry of the Interior. The new Minister of the Interior did not dare move them or take over Hassan's office. Saddam uses execution as a means of controlling his military and security forces. Executions of any army officers and party officials are routine. Saddam has killed more of his own military officers than his opponents. In mid February 99 Saddam ordered the execution of 38 senior military officers including General Kamil Saachit Al Dulaimi one of Saddam's close associates, and a member of the Iraqi military leadership, on suspicion of planning a coup. Of the other officers arrested 10 of them held the ranks of major and Lt. Col. the others were Captains and Lts. A large number of junior officers were also imprisoned. Prisons in Iraq: Arrest and detention is often arbitrary, fear used as a means of controlling the population. Charges are rarely bought and prisoners are often held incommunicado. Many people inside Iraq have "disappeared" they are presumed dead executed by the regime. Given the atmosphere of secrecy and fear it is often difficult and dangerous to determine whether executions were judicial or extra-judicial. Mahjar (Sanctuary) Prison located within the Police College compound off Palestine Street in Baghdad. It is in the area formerly used by the Police dog training unit before it moved in Diyala in 1993. The Mahjar is made up of a complex of 7 buildings, of these four of the buildings hold 60 cells designated to hold between one to 4 people; there is a detention center which can hold 50 people; a female prison; an office for investigators (torturers) and the prison oversight committee. The normal capacity of the Mahjar is 600-700 people but it can hold up to 2000. 30 cells are underground and another 30 cells are dog kennels which are only used in an emergency. The Mahjar houses men, women and children arrested on the direct orders of Saddam Hussein or his immediate family. Most of the prisoners are held on the direct orders of Abid H'moud (Head of Presidential Secretariat) and Qussai Hussein (Head of the Amn Al Khas). Prisoners have included Ziyad Aziz (son of the Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz) Ahmed Watban Al Hassan (son of the former Minister of Interior Watban Ibrahim Al Hassan and Saddam's half brother). The high level prisoners were held in the cells for detainees rather than in the prison itself and were only there for a number of days. Most of the prisoners are political prisoners or prisoners of conscience, many are Kurds, Shia or people suspected of anti-government activities. In some cases people are arrested and detained purely because they are related or associated with a person who has left the country or suspected of working with opposition. Normal prisoners are beaten twice a day and the guards regularly rape the women. The prisoners receive no medical treatment. Some prisoners have survived up to a year in the Mahjar. There are contingency plans to destroy Mahjar prison during an emergency. The execution area of the Hadiqa (the garden) is located near the women's prison. The Hadiqa is an open area with sand bank covered by an awning. Prisoners from the Mahjar are executed here by machine guns. A special oversight committee decides on the executions. People are executed for a variety of different reasons, the most usual ones are for the opposition activities, trying to flee the country, of falling foul of the regime. Between 1993 and 1998 about 3000 prisoners were executed at Hadiqa. Sijn Al Tarbout (the Casket Prison) is located on the third underground level of the new Amn Al Khas building in Baghdad. The prisoners are held in extremely cramped and inhumane conditions and only receive liquids. The Casket can hold about 0 [SIC] prisoners. Only male prisoners are held at this location. Quortiyya (The Can) is located in the Amn Al Khas compound in the Talbiyyah area of the Saddam city district of Baghdad. The Can can hold about 60 prisoners in conditions similar to those found in the Casket. Only male prisoners are held in the Can. Abid H'moud plays a direct role in supervising these prisons and their security. He and Saddam can sign death warrants. There is a relatively new MIC (Military Industrial Commission) prison at Rashdia on the outskirts of Baghdad. The bunkers and workshops of the old centrifuge system have been turned into a prison. Prisoners can be detained there for up to one year in very poor conditions. Hundreds of prisoners were held in the prison, they were mainly MIC officials and traders who had failed to deliver on contracts. Udai Hussein opened a prison in the Olympic Stadium Garage. A Security Directorate building located near the Saba' Al Boor clinic and police station has many guards because the location is used as a supplementary place to detain political prisoners who are still being interrogated. This location holds special equipment used for interrogation i.e. torture. Until July 2000 prisoners held in Abu Gharib prison on death row could pay the Governor of the Prison a sum of more than $ 5000 to buy their freedom. The sum required depended on the wealth of the family. This money would be collected from the extended family of the condemned man. In order to meet the quota of people executed and to avoid this scam being uncovered someone would need to be executed. The prison governor devised a scheme whereby he would take a patient from Al Shama'eel mental hospital to be executed in place of the released prisoner. About 50-0 people died in this way until the families of the mental patients realised there was something wrong. In July the governor of the Abu Gharib prison was transferred to a different prison and the director of the hospital was also transferred, but neither were punished. Punishments: In September 2000 a special court in Baghdad issued a death sentence in absentia against Ghassan Al Atiyah and Mustafa Al Ani on charges of meeting Israelis in the margins [of a] gathering in Cairo held in August to examine the prospects of the peace process. This followed an earlier announcement that the blood of Ghassan Al Atiyah spokesman for the opposition Democratic Centrist Tendency, could be shed with impunity. Dr Al Atiyah was disowned by his tribe the Al Humaydat from the Shamiyah district following Al Atiyah's appearance in a television programme in which he stated his opposition to Saddam Hussein. In October 2000 the Iraqi authorities executed eight prisoners on charges of forming an opposition organisation and defacing several murals depicting Saddam Hussein. Muhammad Al Naji an engineer from Baghdad province was the first to be charged with leading the organisation. His body together with those three of his companions were handed on to their families on October 2. The victims were arrested on 1 August on charges of setting up an organisation called "Iraq's Companies". They were subjected to a special investigation until a special court sentenced them to death. In October 2000 Ali Hassan Majid was in Mosul supervising an operation against prostitutes. A number of them were killed. In Baghdad the Young Lions (Ashbal Saddam) who are controlled by Udai had beheaded prostitutes at the Baba Sherji and left their heads on display as a warning to others. Fadayyeen Saddam have also beheaded about 30 prostitutes in Baghdad, Basra and other major cities. The heads of the prostitutes were left on the front door steps of the prostitutes' homes as a deterrent. The Iraqi authorities last cracked down on prostitution a few months after the Iran Iraq war. The usual sentence for prostitution in Iraq was 78 [SIC. 7-8?] years in prison but this is increased to 15 years if working in a group. A pimp receives the death sentence if she is supervising 3 or more women. Ethnic cleansing: The current Iraqi regime has a well-established track record in ethnic cleansing. THE IRAQI ARMY ATTACKED A PARTICULAR VILLAGE OFTEN WITH CHEMICAL WARFARE, CAPTURED THE VILLAGERS AS THEY FLED AND THEN DESTROYED THE VILLAGES. MANY VILLAGERS WERE EXECUTED, OTHERS WERE TRANSFERRED TO REFUGEE CAMPS. DURING THIS PERIOD ROUGHLY 2000 VILLAGES WERE DESTROYED. THIS IS THE REASON FOR THE IMPOSITION OF THE NORTHERN NO-FLY-ZONES. [My emphasis, PB. This seems to be a slightly condensed account) This campaign continues today there are repeated numbers of reports of a general Arabisation of northern Iraq. The Iraqi government runs a systematic programme of ethnic cleansing and displacement. Kurdish and Turkomen citizens of Kirkuk, Khanaqin and other areas under the Iraqi control continue to be forced our of their homes. These are areas of economical and strategic importance to the Iraqi regime. As recently as October 2000 the Iraqi government forced 10 families (78 people) from Kirkuk and sent them to PUK controlled areas of Kirkuk and Al Sulaymaniyah. Another 32 families in Imam Qasim and Iskan districts in Kirkuk were registered for displacement. One member of each family is held in Muthanna prison until the date for the relocation. One family member detained is the sole breadwinner of four families, which have already been forced to relocate against their will in Kurdistan. Thousands of Kurdish families have been forcibly expelled from their homes in northern Iraq by the security forces. They have to move to the areas controlled by the Kurdish political parties in Iraqi Kurdistan purely on the basis of their ethnic origins. The Iraqi regime as part of its Arabisation plan has re-distributed most of the land in Shwan area (Kurds are forbidden from living in this area) to Sheikh Dahham Obais Al Hassan (one of Saddam's relatives). Censorship and Press Freedom. The press is highly restricted in Iraq. Iraq's main media outlets including the national TV, radio, and main newspapers are government owned and controlled. Udai Hussein runs one of these newspapers "Babel". The private media is subject to heavy restriction and severe penalties. Most foreign publications and the ownership of satellite dishes are banned. On the other hand Reuters news agency announced that death threats have been sent to the French film director Joel Saulier who produce a film titled "Uncle Saddam". The film director said that he received several death threats amongst which a letter he found in his letter box in Hollywood in Arabic saying "burn the film or die". The matter was referred to the local police who did not comment, but Saulier said he would contact the FBI. Saulier was offered a rare opportunity to film a documentary about Saddam in which he appears using a hand grenade to fish and in a lecture to his aids telling them how many times they should bathe. The film was shown at the Vancouver Film Festival where it was commended by David Sheiffer the US Ambassador as evidence for war crimes. Saulier said that he felt he was facing problems at the end of his visit to Iraq when he repeatedly asked to see the palaces of Saddam and he was led for a blood test which he stopped with his screams. He said he left Iraq through the desert borders. Also the defected Iraqi nuclear scientist Khadr Hamza declared that Iraq has the equipment needed to develop a nuclear bomb but the only element missing is Uranium. Khadr Hamza a former head of the Iraqi nuclear programme said; "I wish to say that Iraq is capable of developing a nuclear bomb weighing several thousands of tones. He added that the bomb would be very large and would not be launched with a missile but could be airlifted and dropped on the target. Hamza who published his book "The maker of Saddam bombs" said that producing a nuclear bomb in Iraq would take few months. He added that If Saddam Hussein starts his programme to acquire splitting elements like Uranium he would complete the bomb in two or three years. He pointed out that Russia could be the supplier for the needed Uranium. He said that Iraq started its nuclear weapons programme in the early seventies and in 1974, Hamza and other scientists traveled to France from which Iraq bought a nuclear reactor, which should have been monitored by the French Agency for Nuclear Weapons. Hamza said that all nuclear components were moved a week before the allies started bombing Iraq. http://www.ain-al-yaqeen.com/issues/20001110/feat8en.htm * UPON HIS RETURN FROM A GULF TOUR THE FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH OFFICE MINISTER OF STATE FOR MIDDLE EASTERN AFFAIRS: SADDAM HUSSEIN IS STILL THE LONG-TERM BIGGEST THREAT TO THE REGION IN. WE SUPPORT THE PALESTINIAN RIGHTS TO SELF DETERMINATION INCLUDING THE OPTION OF A STATE. THE GULF STATES PLAY A ROLE IN STOPPING THE VIOLENCE AND IN PUTTING AND END TO INSTABILITY AND REALISING PEACE. Ain-al-Yaqeen, November 10, 2000 FCO Minister of State in charge of the Middle East Peter Hain declared that Saddam Hussein is still the long-term biggest threat to the region. He said [that a] few weeks ago Saddam repeated his threats against Kuwait and insulted other Leaders in the region. He is still defying the international legitimacy and refuses to abide by UN resolutions. This was underlined in a speech titled 'BRITAIN AND THE GULF 2000' delivered at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House after the Minister returned home from a tour to the Gulf states where he held talks with officials in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Kuwait. Following is the text of his speech: I welcome this opportunity to speak about Britain and the Gulf. It is particularly timely as I have just returned from a further visit to the region and was again struck by the amazing juxtaposition of the ultra-modern with the traditional. The skylines of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, like a time-lapse film sequence, appear to grow overnight. This is all the more extraordinary when you compare photographs of the Gulf States now with the way they were not so very long ago. And the dynamic growth of the infrastructure has been accompanied by an equally dramatic shift in worldview. This is partly due to oil wealth and easy travel, but also to the growth in instant communication, the ubiquitous mobile phone, satellite television, the Internet, e-mail. The wealth, regional influence, involvement in the global markets and oil resources of Gulf states brings with them a responsibility to play an active and stabilising role in world events and makes our continuing and evolving relationship of paramount strategic importance. WHY IS THE GULF IMPORTANT TO US? In 1999 UK exports to the GCC countries were worth over £3.75 billion. Imports were over £1.8 billion. It is our most important market outside the OECD. The figures do not, of course, include invisibles. Our exports span the spectrum: equipment for the oil and gas industry, construction, soft furnishings, food, aircraft, vehicles, books. I am also told that our Scottish expatriate communities there have little difficulty in tracking down the odd haggis or two. The UK is also a major investor in the region and over 86,000 British citizens live and work in the Gulf. The region contains 64 per cent of the world's known oil reserves and Britain's Armilla Patrol has maintained its presence in the Gulf ever since the 1980s. Our allies in the Gulf welcome our presence as a symbol of our commitment to the security of the region. It remains our largest military commitment outside NATO. REGIONAL SECURITY Britain has consistently defended the independence and territorial integrity of our friends and allies in the Gulf, most recently when Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990. That commitment remains as strong as ever. All three elements of our armed forces are in the Gulf. Our aircrews risk their lives patrolling the skies above southern Iraq. Our sailors are involved in activities to curb the illegal export of Iraqi oil. Our soldiers advise, train and exercise with their counterparts from the GCC. This commitment costs, politically, economically and tragically occasionally with lives. But the security and stability of the Gulf is vital not only to the region but also to the rest of the world. Although the invasion of Kuwait was reversed, the biggest long-term threat to the Gulf remains Saddam Hussein. He has demonstrated over and over again his ambition to dominate the region and at the same time has shown a callous disregard for the lives or welfare of his own people. Hundreds of thousands died in a ten-year war with Iran, which achieved absolutely nothing. He invaded and looted the country of his Arab brother and continues to refuse to give any information on those Kuwaitis taken back into Iraq. Not only did he develop weapons of mass destruction but also he has been prepared to use chemical weapons against his own people. In recent months he has repeated threats against Kuwait, insulted other Gulf rulers and continued to defy the UN. I firmly believe that he remains determined to develop his nuclear chemical and biological weapons capability, which could threaten the countries of the region and beyond. He should be in no doubt, however, that we remain equally determined that he should not succeed. Of course we are deeply concerned about the humanitarian situation in Iraq. Last year we devoted eight months of painstaking diplomatic effort to bring together the UN Security Council to pass UNSCR 1284 which represents the collective will of the Security Council, and has the force of international law. The resolution contained a raft of humanitarian provisions. Crucially, resolution 1284 removed the ceiling on the amount of oil Iraq is allowed to export to fund the purchase of humanitarian relief. Iraq's oil reserves are second only to those of Saudi Arabia. And recent increases in production mean that Iraq is now back among the world's top oil exporters with its oil revenue now at an all time high of almost half a billion dollars per week. All of this means that that over $16 billion will be available for the 'oil for food' programme this year alone. With this large amount of revenue available, one cannot help but ask why we still see pictures of malnourished and sick Iraqi children - pictures which rightly provoke our sympathy and compassion. There is absolutely no need for these children to want or for them to suffer. So why do they? With the $16 million Saddam has available - three times the amount per head that every Egyptian spends on food and medicine each year? It is an outrage that the Iraqi Government willfully denies food and medicine to those children and plays politics with their suffering. It hopes that by doing so, it can play on our emotions until we abandon the Security Council's resolutions and lift sanctions, leaving Iraq free to redevelop its weapons of mass destruction and once more pose a threat to the region. Contrast the situation with northern Iraq, where the same sanctions apply but Saddam's writ does not run. That is because in northern Iraq the UN is implementing the 'oil for food' programme, not the Iraqi authorities. And it is doing so in a manner designed to bring maximum benefit to the Iraqi people. As a result, the programme is making vast improvements to people's lives. Life is better in the North than it was even before sanctions were imposed. New homes and hospitals are being built. School attendances are up. Minefields are being cleared. Food and medicine is being delivered. All this could be happening in the centre and south of Iraq too. If only the Government in Baghdad wanted it to. The truth is that Saddam Hussein has no interest in putting his people's needs first. He chooses to reject offers of humanitarian assistance from other countries additional to the 'oil for food' programme, including assistance specifically targeted at children's needs. And this at a time when he is encouraging journalists and campaigners to come to Baghdad to tour the children's wards in its hospitals. It is a scandal that the doctors cannot get the drugs they need. But the fault lies with the Iraqi Government. They fail to order enough medicines under the UN programme. Then they fail to deliver them. We have even recently discovered hundreds of emergency asthma inhalers consigned to Iraq under 'oil for food' on sale in Lebanon for the benefit of the Iraqi regime and its stooges. Right now there is over $5 billion in a UN account available for civilian goods if Iraq only ordered them. I am extremely impressed with Hans Blix, the Executive Chairman of the new arms inspection body, UNMOVIC. His UNMOVIC is a new, independent body made up of UN professional staff drawn from a wide geographical base. There is no hidden agenda. We have been encouraging those who have contacts with Baghdad to urge Iraq to take the genuine opportunity on offer here for afresh start, and to work with Dr Blix and his staff. The Iraqi Government is fond of claiming that it has given up its weapons of mass destruction and has nothing to hide. If that is so, then it has everything to gain by allowing UNMOVIC in. I call on it to do so. I must say at this point that we have been very encouraged that some of our friends in the Arab world are working with us in our efforts to encourage Iraq to co-operate. Were Iraq to allow UNMOVIC into Iraq today sanctions could be suspended in a matter of months. We want to see that happen. Suspension would offer Iraq an enormous advantage, opening the door to the reintegration of Iraq into the international community and allowing economic regeneration to begin. This is a real opportunity to which, I repeat, we are wholly committed, and we urge Iraq to take it. For as long as it does not, there can be no progress on sanctions. And Iraq must be left in no doubt that there is no room for initiatives outside the resolutions. To suggest otherwise only encourages Iraq in its intransigence, thereby prolonging sanctions even further. That is not what we want. We want to see sanctions lifted as soon as possible. We want a law-abiding Iraq, respecting its international obligations and pursuing good relations with all its neighbours. We recognise the historic and cultural importance of Iraq in the Arab world, and its enormous potential. We understand the strong desire in the Arab world for it not to be excluded indefinitely - but the fact is that the present regime's refusal to co-operate with the UN and meet its obligations and its repeated challenges to the international community are the major obstacle to this. Compliance would bring major benefits. Governments, international financial institutions and companies would be ready to help Iraq rebuild its economy and infrastructure. The institutions would, I am sure, look creatively at the help that might be given. Many of the thousands of patriotic and talented Iraqis who have fled Iraq would return. Iraq could return to its rightful place in the international community. Regional stability would be put on a sounder foundation. That is an aim, which I believe we should all endorse. REGIONAL RESPONSIBILITY In all my travels around the Gulf and the Middle East, I have heard plenty of people express their sympathy with the Iraqi people and I agree with them. But I have never heard anyone in any position of authority show any sympathy for Saddam Hussein or his regime. Quite the opposite. They distrust him and despise what he has done to the Iraqi people. They even tell me that their support for the Iraqi people does not suggest support for Saddam. I have to say that however unwittingly, there are those who are giving great comfort to Saddam by undermining sanctions and challenging the authority of the UN. Some have become instruments of Saddam's manipulative propaganda. So-called humanitarian flights to Baghdad in contravention of the relevant UN Security Council resolutions do little to bring humanitarian help to the Iraqi people. They do a lot to support Saddam's policy of sowing discord amongst the members of the UN and undermining international law. We do not object to flights that go through the proper procedures, and most that do so are approved by the 661 Committee. We acknowledge that there may be different understandings of what is required under the resolutions, but the answer is not a free for all which only gratifies Saddam's long term aim of achieving sanctions lift without compliance on his part. We are working with our partners on the Security Council to find a mechanism agreed by all in accordance with existing resolutions which will allow bona fide flights to Iraq. In the meantime I would urge those who are tempted by commercial gain or gesture politics to consider seriously the damage to the credibility of the UN that they are risking. The same applies to those who turn a blind eye to the smuggling of Iraqi oil. Revenues from the sale of Iraqi oil under the 'Oil for Food' programme go to provide humanitarian aid to the people of Iraq. Revenues from oil smuggled out of Iraq go straight into the pockets of Saddam Hussein and his cronies. Those who ignore this trade or encourage it when they could take action to prevent it are contributing to Saddam's ability to ignore his international obligations. With no control over the illegal revenue, there is a strong risk of it being channeled into Saddam's arms programme, conventional or otherwise. Those who tolerate his actions now may have cause to regret them later. For those who don't know, it is instructive to see how the illegal oil revenues are spent. None of it is spent on food or medicine. It is spent instead on luxury items for those closest to Saddam, whose loyalty he wishes to retain. It is spent on building new palaces and theme parks. For example, Saddam City is a massive luxury resort complex for Saddam's cronies contains stadiums, an amusement park, and 625 homes for Saddam's favourites. Some reports even suggest the resort has a safari park with deer and elephants which graze on lush vegetation grown with the latest irrigation systems. For his birthday this year, Saddam held spectacular celebrations. His birthday cake was three metres high and its ingredients could have fed 100 orphans for 30 days. In a typical month Iraq imports over 300 million cigarettes, 28,000 bottles of whisky, over 115,000 litres of beer, 40,000 litres of vodka and 19,000 bottles of wine. By our estimates, illegal exports of Iraqi oil outside the UN programme will reach an estimated half a billion dollars this year. We and other members of the Security Council are making serious efforts to limit this trade. I want to encourage all the States in the region to do the same. IRAN Iran has traditionally been seen by Gulf countries as a threat. Historical suspicion of Iran cannot be overcome overnight. But I believe that the only way to address these concerns is through dialogue and constructive engagement. Experience has shown the benefit of being able to raise our concerns, however difficult and sensitive, quietly and directly and well away from the forum of megaphone diplomacy. Three years ago it would have been hard to imagine the progress that we have made in our bilateral relationship. This has been made possible by the reformist policies of President Khatami and Iran's desire to reintegrate with the international community, including her Gulf neighbours. I believe that President Khatemi recognises that it is not in Iran's interests to provoke instability in the Gulf or the wider region. However, the path of reform has not been smooth in Iran and there are many who continue to argue against engagement. But I believe that it is right to respond to the overwhelming majority of the Iranian people who have time and again at the ballot box shown their support for reform. The reintegration of Iran into the international community can only be to the further benefit of regional stability. It is encouraging to see a number of the countries in the Gulf responding to Iran's overtures. PEACE PROCESS The recent terrible clashes between Israel and the Palestinians are another major source of potential instability in the region. The easy availability of CNN, Sky News, BBC World and satellite television in the Gulf mean that, for the first time, ordinary men, women and children in the Gulf are seeing live, round the clock coverage of the violence. And they are appalled. In the past it was possible to filter their access to what was happening, and therefore to an extent control their reaction. This is no longer the case. Saddam Hussein's posturing as a champion of the Palestinians is an unsettling ingredient. No one should be taken in by that. Saddam's disregard for his own people makes him a wholly unreliable and dangerous partner for the Palestinians. True to form he is cynically manipulating their own sufferings in an attempt to rehabilitate himself with the rest of the Arab world. I would like to pay tribute to the Arab League Summit in Cairo, which backed the peace process. But history has shown that peace between Israel and the Palestinians will not be easy to achieve. It came tantalisingly close before this recent descent into violence. But despite the renewed commitment on 2 November to implement the Sharm Agreement, we remain close to the brink. A further upsurge in violence could take us over the brink and into more years of instability, terrorism, economic downturn and suffering. Too many people have died. Britain supports Palestinian rights to self-determination, including the option of a state. However, any Palestinian state declared in defiance of Israel and outside negotiations would be severely handicapped. Britain has been working to encourage the parties to end the violence and return to the negotiating table. In contacts with the Israelis, Palestinians and Arab states we have sought to concentrate on the way forward rather than apportioning blame for recent events. We have throughout worked closely with EU partners, the US and the UN Secretary-General. The UK played a leading and constructive role in helping to shape United Nations Security Council Resolution 1322 adopted on 7 October, and the EU statements of 9 October in Luxembourg and 13 October in Biarritz. We have made statements appealing for an end to violence and urging restraint. Robin Cook visited Israel, the Occupied Territories, Egypt, Syria and Jordan from 11-13 October for intensive talks with regional leaders as well as with the UN Secretary-General and the EU High Representative. I also visited Egypt on 16-18 October. There is a role here for our friends in the Gulf. Continuing violence and instability in the Middle East risks spreading. It is also holding back the social and economic development of the whole region. I believe that there will be a peace dividend. New markets will open up and the concerns of potential investors allayed. It will not just be those the parties to the Peace Process that will benefit. The Gulf countries need to exert any influence they have to avert further bloodshed. Lebanon and Syria also hold keys to peace and have improving relations with the Gulf. HUMAN RIGHTS There are, of course, those who regard protection and promotion of economic interests as being incompatible with promoting human rights. But we live in a global community that needs universal values. Creativity and innovation, which are so necessary for a modern, knowledge-based economy, flourish in societies, which make full use of the resources of their people across the board. We support human rights, transparency and accountability for other people because these are the values we demand for ourselves. Increasingly we are able to work on human rights in close co-operation with the countries of the region, whether bilaterally or with those on the UN Commission on Human Rights. Not by shouting, but by dialogue. We will continue to work together with all our friends across the Gulf for peace, justice and prosperity. After the speech Minister Hain answered few questions amongst which the following: Why are the Arab states not allowed to acquire modern weapons while Israel possesses nuclear weapons? Minister Hain said: "We deal with the world as it is, not necessarily as we want it to be. I do not deny that Israel has nuclear weapons and we are and have always been calling on Israel to endorse the Treaty for the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. The fact and the truth are that Israel for known and historical reasons is in a strong military position. I am not defending this or justifying it or supporting it all what I am saying is that this is a fact." On the possibility of employing UN forces for the protection of Palestinians Hain said: "the situation resembles that of the Congo where there are two groups shooting at each others, for this reason the work of such forces will be very difficult, indeed impossible. Bearing in mind that I understand the Palestinians desire, to have a line separating between them and the Israelis, the fact remains that this is not a practical policy, but if this is discussed and approved by the UN, Britain will not stand as an obstacle. I think ultimately this might be possible if both sides reach a peaceful agreement." On the more assertive role Europe could play in the Peace Process in the future Hain said: "the problem with the European role is that Israel does not show any enthusiasm for it, on the contrary. This is an obstacle facing us as Europeans. Besides that the Americans administration accords great importance to the Israeli-Palestinian file. It has concentrated on it since seven years. The US President himself has great knowledge and has acquired unique expertise in dealing with this file. For this reason, I think that there is a special role for the US to play and especially President Clinton. Perhaps the president elect will decide before he takes office to support President Clinton in solving this issue, that would mean that there is hope and a chance for peace in the near future." Minister Hain added: "with regard to the British role if all parties involved in the conflict - including the Palestinians, the Israelis, the Americans, the European Union with which we share our foreign and security policies, as well as the Arab states ask us to play such a role we will be ready to do so. The US does not exercise pressure on us to distance us from this file. The fact is that this is a difficult file and the US is more experienced in it. On the other hand we have a great credibility in the region, we are keen on what we say and declare to keep our credibility and our friendships with the different parties. This includes all the countries I mentioned. For this very reason we could play a greater but paralleled role to the American." http://homepages.go.com/~heyvaheft1999/20-9-00-opinion-R-Ahmad.html * Federalisation of Iraq by R.M.Ahmad, The Kurdistan Observer, Sep 20, 2000 During my forum discussion on Iraqnet BBS with Iraqis about federalisation of Iraq, I have received only supporting ideas and not one constructive objection. Each one supported federalising Iraq on his/her own innovative different proposals. My idea was to federalise Iraq to three free democratic federated states, North (Kurdistan), Central and South, reflecting conscience of the major Iraqi social segments and the distribution of natural and industrial resources. Furthermore for other reasons, I thought these three federated states should be changed to four by changing Central Federated State to two federated states separated from each another by Dijla River. Another idea was to leave Iraq as it is made up of its existing 18 administrative areas, each area to be raised to a federated status. Another idea was to change Iraq to five federated states made up of Liberated Kurdistan, Mosul/Kirkuk, Baghdad, Najaf/Karbala and Basra/Safwan. One of the novel ideas was to let Kurdistan becomes independent with the inclusion of Kirkuk, Mosul and Tickrit, vaticanising both holy cities of Najaf and Karbala and leaving the rest of Iraq as it is. The reasons for vaticanising both holy cities are to keep clergies away from politics. I think the reason he wants Ticktrit joins Kurdistan is to cause all Tickritis get heart attack. This man must be hating Tickrit and Tickritis a lot. These are good enough as ideas but practically may not be so. Because none of them finds the solution for the problems which have put Iraq into present messy situation. Iraq suffers from three major messy problems which are major ethnic/diversity injustices, misuse of resources and the moral degradation of the ruling elite of the small Iraqi social segment which may not exceed as much as 20% of Iraqi population, but has monopolised power and brutalised Iraqi people since the birth of Iraqi state. So the basic plan of Iraqi federalisation must naturally lead to the elimination of the major ethnic/diversity injustices, equitable share of natural and industrial resources as much as practical and restraining and taming the ruling Iraqi social segment against causing more damages to Iraqi lives and properties. To eliminate major ethnic/diversity injustices, we have to change Iraq to at least three federated states; each one reflects the character and conscience of one of the three major Iraqi social segments. In line to this, the concept of three federated states, North, Central and South, has to be introduced. Each federated state reflects the major geographical position of a major Iraqi social segment. This means Northern Federated State reflects the character and conscience of all people of Kurdistan with all their local diversities. Southern Federated State represents the largest Iraqi social segment, which is at least 60% of the Iraqi population. Central Federated State reflects the present ruling smaller Iraqi social segment. All populated areas, like cities and villages, have to be given free choice, which federated states to join depending on geographical possibilities. Each populated area can vote in a referendum and a simple majority of 50%+ has to be accepted as a deciding vote. It is predicted that Mosul joins Central Federated State, Kirkuk joins Northern Federated State and all other populated areas, South Baghdad, join Southern Federated State. After that, Southern Iraqi Federated State can consult people of both holy cities of Najaf and Kerbala about the idea of vaticanising both holy cities provided they could be protected by an International Rapid Reaction Force so that no one can violate them again Taming and Restraining the Present Ruling Elite There are important things which have to be mentioned and cannot be avoided. All of them have to be brought to the open. We need to talk a lot about the elite of the Iraqi small social segment, which has monopolised power and brutalised Iraqi people since the birth of Iraqi state. We need to talk about them to find ways to tame and restrain them to make them develop and advance to fit to the modern world where universal values of fair and justice have become the rule of the game, and to protect Iraq from their self-destructive behaviour. The ruling elite of this small Iraqi social segment has a very dark side against Iraqi people in the history of Iraq. If it had not existed but we read it in fictional stories we would have fallen unconscious. Their behaviour can be described as evolutionarily directed towards self destruction and extinction because of which they want to take Iraq down with them. They are liabilities on Iraq. They have not contributed anything to Iraq except putting a knife on it and enforcing their darkest culture on Iraq. Anfal-driven lust to commit atrocities by the strongest against the weakest boils in their blood inherited from their forefathers thousands of years ago when they were burying newly born baby females alive. Their dark culture is a shame on the history of Iraq and Mankind. Discrimination, prejudice, Tickriti culture, military coups, back stabbings, violation of innocents, wife beatings, abusing children and murdering women for trivial reasons are their trade marks. Please go to www.iraqicp.org, Arabic discussion page, women¹s section, report No 9 by Um Farah to read Anfal Tickriti law of 18th March 1983 which is an indirect invitation to any man to rape a relative woman and then murdering her.They have changed Iraq to a hell where every one wants to run from. They have changed family life to a battlefield by allowing a man to marry more than woman. To see how far they are morally and ethically degraded, we have to go to Lebanon during civil war when Israelis went there to support Falangists against Palestinians. An Israeli commander made a mistake by allowing armed falangists enter a Palestinian refugee camp to deal with armed Palestinians. But the falangists had a different agenda. They massacred every one in the camp, from children to wounded, unarmed, men, women, old and young. They spared no one. When the news came out and reached Israel, it shocked Israelis. Almost all of them came out demonstrating and protesting against massacring Palestinian refugees by Israeli allies. They were about to start a civil war in Israel because of massacring refugees by Israeli allies. Because of the guilty conscience, the Israeli commander ended up in psychiatrist hospital. But when the news of anfalling Kurdistan and gassing Halabja came out, no one came out to demonstrate and protest in Iraq or outside Iraq, Tickriti cousins. No Muslims or Muslim Imams in Iraq or outside Iraq spoke out or protested or demonstrated. The commanders of anfalling Kurdistan and gassing Halabja are still alive, healthy and proud [of] what they did. These people are going to be in charge of Central Iraqi Federated State. Obviously, they represent a threat on Northern and Southern Iraqi Federated States in the short term in certain circumstances especially if they keep monopolies on natural and industrial resources. They cannot be reformed in 24 hours. For example, they may unexpectedly declare independent and hold other federated states in ransom by taking and controlling on all natural and industrial resources. To tame and restrain them, at least these few things have to be done: Many industrial resources have to be relocated from central to the north and south proportionately to the population number. There are many natural resources (oil fields) in the Central and South. There is only one natural resource in the North, which is Kirkuk oilfield. Kirkuk with all its oilfields has to join Northern Federated State for the sake of long-term peace and stability. If Kirkuk joins Central Federated State it will lead to two serious consequences: 1- One thing for sure, either the Central Federated State declares independence or dictates terms on the Northern and Southern Federated State. 2- It carries on alienising and tickritising Kirkuk against Kurds, Turkmen and Assyrians, taking over their properties and making them refugees in the land of their forefathers. Obviously, these refugees to run from abuse, go to Kurdistan to find shelter. This leads to friction between adjacent Iraqi federated states and may put back Iraq onto another round of anarchy. Accordingly, Kirkuk with all its oilfields has to join Northern Federated State even if people vote solidly to join Central Federated State. This is because voters some times cannot recognise what is good for them. For irrational and emotionally charged reasons, they vote against their own interest. Germany before 2nd WW is a good example of this. Before 2nd WW, German voters elected Hitler solidly. But that was a vote against their interest. It caused 2nd WW and Germany paid for it very heavily. Had that vote been invalidated 2nd WW would have been prevented. In any case, People of Kirkuk are going to vote solidly to join Northern Federated State. No one votes to become refugee and give up his or her properties for aliens. The next thing to tame and restrain Central Federated State is to divide it to two different federated states separated from each another by Dijla River. This means Baghdad is going to be divided between them. This is necessary for long term peace and stability although the objection may be very strong for irrational and emotionally charged reason. Legally this may mean previous Iraqi state becomes defunct. So the newly reborn Iraqi Federal Government may not be responsible for the liabilities (debts) of the previous Iraqi Government. In any case the newly reborn Iraqi Federal Government must not repay any military related debts. The owners of these debts knew their debts (military means) going to be used against Iraqi people and it¹s neighbours. So they cannot be rewarded and they have to bear the consequences. Finally, the newly reborn Free Democratic Federal Iraq has to be made up from federated states; each reflects the character and conscience of a major Iraqi social segment. Dividing Iraq into federated states must also take into account the question of distributing natural and industrial resources between federated states and the question of internal security, stability and peace on the long term. http://www3.haaretz.co.il/eng/scripts/article.asp?mador=14&datee=11/10/00&id =100099 * Not an alliance - yet [on relations between Iraq and Syria] by Zvi Bar'el, Ha'aretz (Israel), Friday, November 10, 2000 The visit by Iraqi Vice-President Ezzat Ibrahim al-Duri to Damascus, the first by such a senior figure in some 20 years, could lead to a strategic shift in the region if Syria agrees to restore full diplomatic relations with Iraq as a result. In February the two countries renewed relations, which were severed in 1980. Syria allowed Iraq to open a commercial interests section in the Algerian embassy, in exchange earning a slice of Iraqi oil exports in the framework of the oil for food program overseen by the UN. Last week Iraq and Syria announced the planned reopening, later this month, of the oil pipeline from Iraq to Syria, which was shut off in 1982, and the countries are expected to declare the restoration of diplomatic relations soon. The tactical advantages offered by the restoration of relations to both states include an increase in bilateral trade, which is very important to Syria, and another target for exports and relief from the sanctions, which are so important to Iraq . The move also completes a new strategic step. This step will create a new closeness, although not yet an alliance, between Syria and its historic enemy, Iraq. Jordan is also involved in this budding friendship. Its prime minister, Ali Abu al- Ragheb, went to Baghdad last week, the first Arab head of state to visit Iraq since the Gulf War. On Monday, Egypt turned its commercial interests office in Iraq into an embassy, appointing a diplomat who is not an ambassador to head it. Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Harazi also visited Baghdad recently. The new flowering of relations between Syria and Turkey are also part of this strategic change. This week, Syrian Vice-President Abd el-Halim Khaddam visited Ankara, where he was received by Turkish President Ahmet Sezer. The two countries soon intend to sign a memorandum of understanding that will redefine the relations between them. Turkey, for its part, intends to develop its economic and diplomatic relations with Iraq, and even declared its intention to renew the operation of a train service to Baghdad. It can also be assumed that the promotion of relations between Iraq and Syria is not being done in opposition to the wishes of Iran, a Syrian ally, but rather is part of a regional understanding that Iran must be an integral part of the Arab strategic alliance, even though it is not an Arab country and is not a member of the Arab League. This shift, which is beginning to erase historic rivalries between Arab and Muslim states in the Middle East, could have implications for the capabilities of the Arab states to formulate a unified policy toward both Israel and the United States, especially at a time when Russia is attempting to re-establish its position in the Middle East. This is not yet a close alliance between these states, especially when it comes to Iran's relations with Arab states, and there is still no cause to fall back on old terms such as the creation of a new eastern front, but even a friendly front that will attempt through non violent means to implement a unified Arab policy is liable to create new international difficulties for Israel. http://www.worldnews.com/?action=display&article=4357282&template=worldnews/ search.txt&index=recent * Commentary: US emerging as defacto world government? By Arnaud de Borchgrave, chief executive officer of United Press International. UPI, Fri 10 Nov 2000 Is the United Sates emerging as a de facto world government and the rest of the world as the opposition party? Sounds nuts, but that is how a growing number of world leaders are beginning to see their roles as they search for ways to counter-balance American omnipotence and omnipresence. There is much for the 43rd president to ponder. The French are not alone in warning about the dangers of the "hyperpower," as they refer to the world's only superpower. They are simply more vocal in venting their frustrations. France is crafting a new ideology that is designed to spearhead a covert global opposition movement to U.S. hegemony. There are two different opposition groups. The "Official Opposition" consists of France, Russia, China and several EU members only too willing to let France do the running. They resist the colossus of Washington, for example, by opposing and then breaching sanctions against Iraq; engaging in competitive diplomacy in the Balkans and the Middle East; weakening U.S. control of the international financial system; undermining America's global crusade for democracy and the economic "neo-liberalism" of the Anglo-American world. The second opposition is a blend of neo-Marxism and the autocratic regimes of the developing world -- Iraq, Iran, Libya, Cuba, Venezuela and their silent admirers. From the Battle for Seattle in November 1999 to similar cyber-organized demonstrations and riots against the IMF and the World Bank in Washington and Prague; to the visit of Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez to Baghdad, the first head of state to confer with Saddam Hussein since the end of the Gulf War 10 years ago; to Castro's state visit to Venezuela to anoint Chavez as his successor as Latin America's troublemaker in chief (in return for which Castro got 100,000 barrels of oil a day at discounted prices), the common thread is a worldwide movement against what they perceive to be America's winner-take-all strategy. Globalization, seen by many malcontents as a manifestation of U.S. economic imperialism, has spawned a worldwide web of discontent. Chavez makes no secret of his plan to morph OPEC into a champion of the developing world. He told OPEC's first summit meeting in 25 years, "together we will be invincible." The United States imports 15 percent of its oil needs from Venezuela. This was the same Chavez who went to China last year and embarrassed his hosts by raising his glass to Mao Zedong. No sooner back from China than Chavez went on to Cuba„È¿ 1†éo as Latin Aƒíca's man of the century. Chavez argues that Latin America must forge alliances with the Middle East and Asia to counterweigh the United States. His posturing finds favor in Paris, Moscow and Beijing. His denunciations of the $1.3 billion Clinton plan to support Colombia's government in its war against Marxist led guerrillas and drug dealers are echoed throughout Latin America. Chavez also sides with the FARC guerrillas and supports their incorporation in the Colombian government. This, he hopes, will bring the northern part of Latin America and Panama under his anti-Yankee sway. Meanwhile, Saddam has used the anti-Israeli fervor generated in the Arab world by the Aqsa Intifada to restore his image in the streets of Arab capitals from Marrakech to Muscat. The Iraqi dictator is reaching for the mantle of the late Egyptian dictator Gamal Abdel Nasser whose picture was an icon all over the Arab world in the 1950s and '60s. Moderate Arab regimes -- Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and other Arab Gulf states -- feel compelled to refrain from moderate pronouncements as they monitor their own streets where citizens and subjects are lining up to give blood for Palestine. In normally placid Amman, some 40,000 Jordanians, mostly Palestinians, rioted against their government's peace treaty with Israel. The Jordanian prime minister, Ali Abu Ragheb, got the message; he became the first Arab head of government to call on Saddam in Baghdad since his defeat in 1991. Erstwhile rivals Iraq and Iran have found common ground in their support for the Palestinian intifada. Iraq signed the final communiqué at the Oct. 22 Arab summit in Cairo and thus returned to the Arab fold, U.S. opposition notwithstanding. Even Kuwait, the victim of the Iraqi invasion in 1990, did not object. Pax Americana, a near certainty in the early 1990s following the twin victories in the Cold War and the Gulf War, is being challenged on many fronts. Al Jazeera, the Qatar-based TV network that has the largest viewership in the Arab world and encourages radical spokesmen to take on the moderate status quo regimes, has rehabilitated Iraq. The network's talking heads remind the Arab world's "downtrodden masses" that half the world's population of 6 billion is existing on $2 a day or less and that about 1 billion of them are Muslims, stretching from Morocco to Indonesia. CNN and other networks now watched by millions of Arabs show the Palestinians being killed in the West Bank and Gaza and their daily funeral processions. Al Jazeera encourages the growing conviction that the United States can never be even-handed in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict because Israel is an integral part of the American body politic. Washington's reluctance to condemn what other Western countries see as Israel's excessive use of force has triggered demonstrations in front of U.S. embassies throughout the Middle East. Intifada II and the terrorist attack against the USS Cole prompted security concerns that led to suspending normal diplomatic activity. America's European and Asian allies can see how U.S. Middle Eastern policy is largely dictated by domestic political considerations and how this pro-Israeli tilt could trigger the Arab oil weapon again. By simply withholding two million barrels of Iraqi oil a day from world oil markets, Saddam could provide the spark. In early 1973, Israeli intelligence dismissed as laughable the notion of an Arab oil embargo. Conventional wisdom in Jerusalem at that time was, "What are the Arabs going to do with their oil? Drink it?" On Oct. 16, 1973, at the height of the Yom Kippur War, when Gen. Ariel Sharon punched his way back across the Suez Canal and President Anwar Sadat faced military defeat. Saudi Arabia then ordered an oil embargo and the balance of geopolitical power between Arabs and Israelis was established for the first time. The two terrorists who committed suicide when they disabled a $1 billion guided-missile destroyer are viewed as cowards in the United States. Among the Arab masses, they are martyred soldiers of holy war against the United States and its Israeli ally. On CBS' "60 Minutes" program, religious leaders in Pakistan described their presumed leader, Osama bin Laden, as "Islam's Abraham Lincoln." When the Soviet empire imploded and the United States emerged victorious from a four-decade-long Cold War, Washington assumed that the whole world was applauding. But behind the cheers were countless millions of disappointed militants throughout the developing world, and not an insignificant number in the developed world as well. They lied low through most of the 1990s and they are now crawling out of the woodwork. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 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