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NEWS SUPPLEMENT, 10-17/12/00 * Tougher sanctions [against the Taliban] * 174,000 Afghan refugees voluntarily return home this year [from Iran] * Air Guard troops return from Gulf [this may be a rather frivolous item but the thought that some of the pilots overflying Iraq are women from Hawaii induced in me a state of culture shock] * Saddam's empty oil threat [a curious piece from the FT which starts off ridiculing recent Iraqi policies and finishes by suggesting that they might succeed] * Putin slams Cuba sanctions * U.S. panel seeks anti-terrorism plan ['U.S. terrorism experts sources say there were 392 acts of terrorism worldwide in 1999, and of the total 169 were aimed at U.S. targets, and the trend is upward. There are 858 known U.S. anti-government extremist groups and 86 known non-U.S. groups with an anti-U.S. agenda.' Scary, huh? Shows, the panel of anti terrorism experts concludes, that we need a full time, well-paid panel of anti-terrorism experts] * Military chairman: Armed forces under strain [New enemies. New threats to America. The armed forces need more money] * U.S. Must Prevent China From Becoming Threat, Says Shelton [extract. More of same] * US going it alone on Iraq ['Except for the British (and they are increasingly wobbly) ...', so there's hope yet] * Anti-missile system that raises the ante [Scottish defence of the US proposed National Missile Defence scheme. It seems that, without the US to keep order in the world, the rest of us would all be at each other's throats] * Putin Backs Cuban Goals * World Criminal Tribunal [the NY Times thinks the US should support it: 'As one of the nations most often asked to clean up the messes created by troublemakers like Slobodan Milosevic and Saddam Hussein, the United States would greatly benefit from the existence of a court that could try such men and put them behind bars.'] * Yemen sees new era in ties with Saudi Arabia * RAF crisis as personnel quit: Flight crews are frustrated by underfunding and lack of adequate training, says senior officer [need more money] * The refugees' champion fights the tide: UNHCR is caught between growing indifference in the west and ever greater need * Cleric's memoirs ignite a cyber war with Tehran leaders [on Montazeri, whose memoirs should be very interesting, but are still, alas, only available, on the web, in Persian] * UK demands speedy arrests after Saudi bombing SPECIAL BUSH POWELL SUPPLEMENT, 10-17/12/00 (sent separately) * Bush, foreign policy novice, has set out principles ['He says he will maintain tough sanctions on Iraq'] * At last, a US president who won't meddle [Simon Jenkins being very optimistic: 'This suggests ... that sanctions might be lifted from Iraq.' They won't be. But they might be modified in a positive way] * Powell's speech - excerpts [quite a full account] * Powell says foreign commitments will be reviewed [short extract] * US spies likely to move out of 'cushy' Europe [On Powell's British connection] http://www.dawn.com/2000/12/10/ed.htm#2 * TOUGHER SANCTIONS Dawn (Pakistan), 10th December THE draft UN resolution against the Taliban jointly submitted by the US and the Russian Federation constitutes a serious development in the context of the acute human suffering prevailing in war-torn Afghanistan. It seeks to tighten the economic and arms embargo imposed last year after the Taliban refused to turn over Osama bin Laden for trial on charges of involvement in terrorist acts, especially the bomb blasts at American embassies in East Africa in 1998. The US State Department earlier spelled out seven fresh sanctions which could be added to the aviation and financial curbs already in place. The draft seems to be a recipe for fuelling further conflict in Afghanistan, rather than promoting the cause of a peaceful, negotiated settlement. The UN-brokered talks on Afghanistan, described as a glimmer of hope by the UN secretary-general, are currently at a sensitive stage. Without international support for the resolution of the protracted internecine conflict, it is doubtful whether the current reconciliation efforts can make any headway. Earlier, the UN chief had been at pains to emphasize that the agreement signed between the United Front and the Taliban committing them to UN-sponsored negotiations was only a first step in what would be at best a long and difficult journey towards peace. For the effort to succeed, he pointed out, the support of the international community, especially the 'Six plus Two' group comprising Afghanistan's neighbours plus the United States and the Russian Federation, was essential. In this context, further punitive and discriminatory sanctions would surely undermine the UN initiative to end the civil war in Afghanistan. This in turn will only prolong the terrible suffering of the common people of the country and would amount to punishing them for no fault of theirs. The situation in Afghanistan today presents a strong parallel to the grim picture of colossal human suffering, starvation and death in sanctions-ridden Iraq. A UN report earlier had painted a grim picture of the conditions in Afghanistan which was facing the worst of a combination of war, with its direct ravaging effects, widespread poverty exacerbated by the worst drought in 30 years, continued gross violations of human rights, and the sickly state and criminalization of the economy. This situation in fact is deteriorating since the onset of winter, with women and children being the worst sufferers. Pakistan recently donated 90 trucks to the UN World Food Programme to help the food aid agency cope with daunting logistical problems resulting from damaged infrastructure and the devastating two-year long drought. At least 2.5 million people are suffering from grave food shortage. Aid agencies are trying to accelerate food assistance schemes, distributing some 20,000 tonnes of food a month. The hope is that this will help, to some extent, in preventing mass migration of the suffering Afghan people to neighbouring countries, especially Pakistan which is already under considerable pressure to accommodate a new wave of refugees from Afghanistan. While it is essential that relief efforts are expedited, aid agencies have warned that they will have to wind up their programmes if the proposed sanctions are slapped. It is necessary to spare the Afghan people further suffering and dislocation and help promote efforts for a peaceful settlement of the ongoing conflict. Political and diplomatic engagement provides the best course to achieve the objective. http://www.irna.com/newshtm/eng/22122209.htm * 174,000 AFGHAN REFUGEES VOLUNTARILY RETURN HOME THIS YEAR Mashhad, Dec 12, IRNA -- Some 174,784 Afghan refugees residing in Iran have voluntarily returned home since March 2000, the representative of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in eastern Mashhad, Toshiro Odashima said here on Tuesday. He said the repatriation of some 133,612 refugees took place in line with an agreement reached between Iran and the UNHCR over the voluntary return of Afghan residents. The rest, amounting to 41,172 people, returned home on their own initiative. Those returning according to the plan are paid in cash and helped in other ways. The plan for voluntary repatriation started on April 8 for a span of six months, but Iran agreed to extend the period for another three months during a visit in September by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Sadako Ogata to the region. Odashima said that centers have been established in Iran with the cooperation of the UNHCR which looks after the case of those refugees who have admissible reasons not to return home. The center has handled some 46,312 cases so far and has admitted some 70,000 to stay, while dismissing 27,212 cases, he added. Odashima put the total number of Afghans currently residing in Iran at 1.4 million, saying half of them are staying illegally. He said over 27 percent of the refugees had returned from Tehran, while 22 percent were repatriated from Khorasan province, and 10 percent from Sistan Baluchestan. Iran hosts the largest number of refugees, mainly from Afghanistan and Iraq, in the world. http://starbulletin.com/2000/12/11/news/story2.html * AIR GUARD TROOPS RETURN FROM GULF by Treena Shapiro Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 11th December Air Force 2nd Lt. Donna Mae Chun wore a different sort of dress uniform last night at Hickam Air Force Base to welcome her husband back from the Persian Gulf in time for Christmas. Wearing a festive costume, she masqueraded as Santa's helper. Chun's father and golden retriever Maile got into the act, as well, dressing as Santa and a reindeer respectively. Her husband, James, a Hawaii Air National Guard member, left Thanksgiving night to fly missions in Iraq's southern no-fly zone. He was one of about 250 Guard members who are returning this week. This was his first time in a combat zone, and the deployment came only a month after the attack on the U.S.S. Cole in the Persian Gulf port in Yemen. But Chun said she was not too worried while he was away. "I feel they know what they're up against and they're prepared," she said. "I feel God is watching over them." James, an aircraft weapons specialist, returned in high spirits and said he had never felt his life was in danger. "Security forces over there are wonderful. They're really great just protecting our assets." Squad commander Col. James Drake said there was a "measured amount of danger" where the unit was stationed, about an hour's flight from the border and "as close to Iraq as you can get." The squad participated in the 8-year-old Operation Southern Watch, flying over Iraq to make sure there is no military aircraft or troop movement in the area. Iraqi forces shoot anti-aircraft guns pretty regularly, he said. Albert Bruhn and 11-year-old son Kainoa also met the flight last night. Kainoa said he was worried when his mother Roxanne was gone, and now that she is home, he plans to spend quality time with her and fix her breakfast in bed. After 14 years of marriage, Albert, who works for a distributor in the plumbing industry, said he has gotten used to his wife's deployments, but it is hard to have no control over her situation. "You can't help them if they need help," he said. "All you can do is hope and pray." Most returned feeling positively about the mission and said they would be willing to do it again. Senior Airman Sonja Johnson, 35, said she would like to go back, and this was the second time she has been to the Persian Gulf since September. "It was tough and strenuous and we worked long hours, but we tried to make laughs, tried joking about things to break the monotony," she said. Troop commander Brian Leong said that this was a good chance for the unit to put all their training to use. "It gives them a taste of what it takes and what they need to do." http://news.ft.com/ft/gx.cgi/ftc?pagename=View&c=Article&cid=FT3WETI2OGC&liv e=true&useoverridetemplate=ZZZFKOXOA0C&tagid=ZZZCWHK1B0C&subheading=energy%2 0%26%20utilities * SADDAM'S EMPTY OIL THREAT by Roula Khalaf Financial Times, 13th december [I think PB. 12th, 13th and 14th December are mentioned] You can always count on Saddam Hussein to make a wrong move when his luck is picking up. As the Iraqi president's rehabilitation in the Arab world was gathering steam and support for the 10-year-old United Nations sanctions was fast eroding, he turned off the flow two weeks ago of Iraq's 2.3m barrels a day of oil exports. His aim was to provoke an oil crisis and wrest control of Iraq's oil resources from the UN. However, his oil weapon proved an empty threat, as prices lost more than $5 a barrel. Yet the controversy sparked by Iraqi demands that oil buyers pay a 50 cent surcharge into a special bank account unsupervised by the UN has not been a complete setback. It satisfied Iraq's strategy of keeping sanctions in the headlines. It also led the UN to accept an Iraqi demand for the allocation of some funds out of the UN-monitored oil-for-food programme for the running of the local oil industry. Iraq's next move is unclear. Although it has indicated that the crisis has been defused, it has yet to resume exports, amid reports that it continues to require companies to make an under-the-table payment, now reduced to 40 cents. Some analysts say Baghdad could simply be delaying an embarrassing climbdown. Others, however, believe Iraq is determined to pursue a full assault on sanctions. This would mean raising pressure on buyers to agree to an illegal surcharge while hoping a longer disruption in sales would drive oil prices up. Most companies, however, are loath openly to contravene UN sanctions. And, in the current climate of oil prices, they have no reason to pay a higher-than-market price for Iraqi oil. In any case, Iraq's behaviour is its most blatant effort to undermine the sanctions. "The Iraqis are in the process of testing the boundaries of where sanctions lie. They misperceived the oil market but they got concessions out of the UN and they have consistently been getting concessions," says Raad al-Kadiri, analyst at Petroleum Finance in Washington. The UN security council passed Resolution 1284 a year ago, calling for the return of UN arms inspectors and promising a lifting of sanctions when key disarmament tasks are fulfilled. But Baghdad has refused to comply, insisting the US would never agree to end the embargo. Mr Saddam has nonetheless taken advantage of the carrots in the resolution, including the lifting of the ceiling on oil sales. Increased oil exports have led to a rise in smuggling. The expansion in revenues also has helped Iraq lure Arab and western businessmen to Baghdad, with the promise of large commercial contracts under the oil-for-food deal. Bolstered by the attention and by the divisions over Iraq policy in the UN security council, the Iraqi leader's challenges have become more serious in recent months, with the aim of gaining direct access to Iraq's oil money. Under UN rules, all funds in the oil-for-food programme are controlled by the UN. In the Baghdad trade fair in November, the largest since sanctions were imposed, Baghdad asked companies to break the sanctions and sign contracts outside the oil-for-food deal. Later that month, it made clear it was preparing to reopen a pipeline to Syria to sell oil outside the UN framework. Iraq has been helped by a favourable regional and international environment. The US has been eager to avoid a showdown with Baghdad during a presidential election year. So it has not pressed for a return of UN arms inspectors. Meanwhile, the collapse of the US sponsored Middle East peace process has accentuated anti-US sentiment in the Arab world. Officials have not lost all hope of rescuing UN resolution 1284. They insist the core sanctions remain in place and Iraq's gains are marginal. True, Iraq controls only a tiny fraction of the more than $20bn in oil sales expected for this year. And it agreed to start a dialogue with the office of Kofi Annan, the UN secretary general, in January on ways to restore relations. But Mr Saddam is unlikely to change his position on the UN resolution or drop efforts to shatter the embargo unless he is assured that the next US administration will have a softer policy on Iraq. "Part of Iraq's strategy is to show the security council that if nothing is done on Iraq policy, the sanctions will simply crumble," says a western official. "The nightmare situation would be that sanctions erode, there are no inspections, and the security council does nothing - the credibility of the UN would then be at stake." http://news.ft.com/ft/gx.cgi/ftc?pagename=View&c=Article&cid=FT3YR9CYNGC&liv e=true&tagid=ZZZOMSJK30C&subheading=US * PUTIN SLAMS CUBA SANCTIONS by Andrew Jack and agencies in Moscow Financial Times, 13th December. Or 12th December. Or 14th December. Russia's President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday criticised continued US sanctions against Cuba ahead of the start of the first state visit in 11 years to the country which begins on Wednesday. In a series of interviews in Cuban and Russian publications, Mr Putin called the embargo launched by the US in 1960 against the Communist regime of Fidel Castro "groundless" and said he did not believe it would yield any political or economic results. His visit is the first since that of Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet leader, in 1989, and was seen by analysts as representing an attempt to rebuild links with the Communist state which had been neglected over the past decade. It comes following an intensive few months of foreign trips and meetings with leaders for Mr Putin since his inauguration last May, including attempts to re-establish Russia's relationship with a number of so-called "pariah" states such as North Korea, Libya, Iran and Iraq. The Russian president said: "I will say again that Cuba is our traditional partner in the world and, in the first instance, in Latin America." Mr Putin went on to say that he felt a cooling in post-Soviet relations with Cuba had been a mistake and had not been well handled. "Russia is right to be paying more and more attention now to the Latin American aspect of its foreign policy. Cuba's role has been great and extremely important for us because it always had an independent position ... favouring the development of democratic principles in international relations." The Soviet Union once supplied nearly all Cuba's oil and oil products, basic foodstuffs and machinery while accepting most of its sugar, citrus fruits, nickel and cobalt in subsidised deals. However, with trade now on a commercial basis, Russia has become Cuba's fourth trading partner after Spain, Venezuela and Canada. Mr Putin will fly from Cuba for a state visit to Canada, which has maintained its economic ties with the Caribbean island in spite of the US blockade. In his interview, Mr Putin said Russian companies had given way to foreign competitors in Cuban deals. It was now logical, he said, for Russian companies to finish what Soviet ones had started. http://www.msnbc.com/news/503712.asp * U.S. PANEL SEEKS ANTI-TERRORISM PLAN MSNBC STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS, WASHINGTON, Dec. 14 ‹ Terrorism experts called Thursday for President-elect George W. Bush to develop a national plan to combat terrorism within his first year in office. The panel concluded that recent efforts have reduced U.S. vulnerability to these attacks somewhat but that efforts lack ³coherence² and are not well coordinated among the many U.S. agencies. ³THE UNITED STATES has no coherent, functional national strategy for combating terrorism,² said Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore, who heads the panel. ³Instead, we have a loosely coupled set of broad policy documents, plans and specific programs.² The plan should give local law enforcement, fire departments and emergency medical services a major stake in planning and executing any new approach, the panel concluded in its second annual report, which was presented to Bush, President Bill Clinton and Congress. After bomb attacks on U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in August 1998, Congress established the advisory group in 1999 to assess the United States¹ domestic response capabilities to terrorism. U.S. terrorism experts sources say there were 392 acts of terrorism worldwide in 1999, and of the total 169 were aimed at U.S. targets, and the trend is upward. There are 858 known U.S. anti-government extremist groups and 86 known non-U.S. groups with an anti-U.S. agenda. Among the countries believed to have biological and chemical weapons capability are China, Russia, North Korea, India and Pakistan. Biological weapons warheads discovered in Iraq at the time of the Persian Gulf War have not been accounted for since. ³There are several graduates of major medical institutes in the United States who are now working in biochemical programs in their home countries,² said a U.S. government expert who asked not to be named. ³It is almost impossible to differentiate between defensive and offensive biochemical programs.² Among the measures taken in the last three years by individual agencies, the FBI has expanded the number of its legal attache offices outside the United States to 46 from 30 ‹ which allows the U.S. agents ³cop to cop² relations in cross-border crimes cases including drug trafficking and terrorism, official sources said. However, Gilmore said: ³A terrorist attack on some level inside our borders is inevitable, and the United States must be ready. ... We are not, as some suggest, totally unprepared to meet the threat of terrorism in our own front yard. But we can be better prepared.² The panel also recommended that the White House create a national office to deter, prepare for and respond to international and domestic terrorism. The office would do extensive budget reviews and ³eliminate conflicts and unnecessary duplication among agencies,² the report said. While the panel recommended better intelligence gathering about terrorism and increased sharing of that information among local law enforcement, Gilmore emphasized the need to protect the rights of Americans. ³Preservation of the Constitution and protection of our civil liberties must always come before what might be more efficient or expedient,² he said, adding that the military should never head a domestic terrorism investigation, instead lending support to a civilian agency in charge. Here, at a glance, are some of the players and groups whose names have surfaced in connection with possible millennium-related terrorism plots against U.S. targets. [There follows a long but confused and repetitive account mainly of the activities of 'Ressam', arrested trying to smuggle explosives into the US from Canada, and all his connections, mainly to do wiuth the Algerian GIA and, perhaps, Osama bin Laden PB] The distinctions between international terrorism and domestic terrorist attacks are eroding, said the report, noting the World Trade Center bombing in New York, the attacks against the embassies in East Africa and the recent strike in Yemen against the destroyer USS Cole. Among the panel¹s findings: Executive branch programs for addressing terrorism ³cross an extraordinary number of jurisdictions² and ³no one is Œin charge¹ of all relevant capabilities.² Congress ³shares responsibility for the inadequate coordination of programs to combat terrorism,² the report said. It made these points: Congress should consolidate authority over anti-terrorism programs into a Special Committee for Combating Terrorism ‹ either a joint Senate-House committee or a separate committee in each chamber. The government should ensure that high-level state and local officials help develop and implement a national strategy for terrorism preparedness. For example, ³adequate stockpiles of vaccines should be created and made accessible for rapid response to a terrorist biological attack.² While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently contracted for 40 million doses of effective smallpox vaccine, ³much remains to be done to ensure effective distribution of vaccines, including better coordination with state and local agencies.² A supply adequate to vaccinate the U.S. population for a potential biological weapons attack using smallpox is unlikely to be ready until 2006, according to one U.S. terrorism expert. Smallpox, which is highly contagious, has about a 30 percent fatality rate. [The article also includes a "look at the elite groups around the world called upon to counter terrorism". The stars of the show appear to be the SAS, doubtless as a consequence of their well known triumphs in Northern Ireland PB] http://www.vny.com/cf/News/upidetail.cfm?QID=144514 * MILITARY CHAIRMAN: ARMED FORCES UNDER STRAIN by Pamela Hess, 14 December 2000 WASHINGTON, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- The nation's top military officer warned Thursday that the armed forces have been asked to do too much and are beginning to fray. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Henry Shelton, said that not only does the Defense Department need more money, but it needs to limit the scope of its activities. "Executing the current strategy places an unsustainable burden on parts of our forces," Shelton said in a speech at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. "We have plenty of strategy, not enough forces." The military is currently sized to fight two regional wars, but has been keeping up a hectic pace of non-combat operations -- peacekeeping missions and humanitarian relief. "We were just unable to anticipate how high that demand would be...leading to what has been termed a fraying of the forces," Shelton said. "The long-term commitment to nation building and the like place our readiness (for combat) at risk." "America is a prosperous nation. America can afford whatever defense it wants," he said, adding the country just needs to decide what defense that is. Shelton predicted the flash points of the future will not be Iraq, North Korea and the Balkans -- the problems of the last decade. "I don't believe the near-term threats will determine the shape of security" in the coming years, Shelton said. Rather, emerging Russian nationalism, China's uncertain economic future, the conflict between Pakistan and India over Kashmir, and the clash of modernism and fundamentalism in the Middle East will determine where and when the military fights. Noting China's distrust of the United States, Shelton said, "The focus of our power should be to be sure China does not become the 21st century version of the Russian bear." He warned that the inherent contradiction between China's burgeoning capitalist economy and old-line communist attempts to control resources could lead to instability. "The Balkans pales in comparison to events in Russia," he continued. "The future of Europe swings on the path Russian nationalism takes." Shelton said a chief concern is the safety of Russia's stockpiles of old nuclear and chemical weapons, as well as missiles still in the arsenal, which could fall into the wrong hands. "There are many wrong hands over there trying to get them," he said. Shelton has one more year in his second term as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He will serve under President-elect George W. Bush until September 2001. http://www.insidechina.com/news.php3?id=230207§ion=default * U.S. MUST PREVENT CHINA FROM BECOMING THREAT, SAYS SHELTON Inside China [.....] While Iraq remains a trouble spot, instability throughout the Middle East is the biggest challenge to U.S. interests in the long term, he said. Shelton described Iraq as a "damaged regime, internally insecure, and its armed forces a shadow of their former strength." He said the focal points in the Middle East were the Israeli-Palestinian situation and the tension between modernism and fundamentalism. In Europe, the future would not swing on the status of Kosovo, but rather "on the path that Russian nationalism takes," Shelton said. Also, the thousands of nuclear and chemical weapons stored in Russia would be a danger to U.S. security if they fell into the "wrong hands, he added. Shelton will stay in his post next year and so will be President-elect George W. Bush's senior military advisor. Shelton, who will conduct next year's Quadrennial Defense Review, undertaken every four years when a new U.S. president takes office, said increased funding was needed to bolster U.S. armed forces. The current $60 billion annual budget for acquisition and weapons modernization is not enough, and others have estimated that $90 billion or $100 billion would be more appropriate, he said. "While those figures are probably closer to the mark, I cannot give you a precise dollar amount today," Shelton said. Parts of the military are "showing strain" and "fraying" and so steps must be taken to keep it well-prepared not just for near-term activities, but for the future, he said. Army Secretary Louis Caldera told reporters earlier on Thursday he was not worried the Bush administration might halt a multi-billion dollar thrust by the Army to form lighter and more mobile forces to quickly and effectively go to hot spots around the world. But he warned the Army will need more people and more money to modernize and handle a growing range of missions from warfare to peacekeeping. The Army currently gets about $10 billion of the $60 billion annually provided to the armed services for modernization. "You can't replace the Army's equipment on $10 billion a year," Caldera said. On another issue, Shelton said the military's current "don't ask, don't tell" policy related to homosexuals struck the "right balance," but more work was required to see that it was properly implemented. http://www.dawn.com/2000/12/14/int13.htm * US GOING IT ALONE ON IRAQ by Charles Duelfer Dawn (Pakistan), 14th December 2000, 17 Ramazan 1421 LOS ANGELES: In light of the present trend of events regarding Iraq, one could be forgiven for asking: Who is containing whom? Virtually all the continuing multilateral actions in the United Nations Security Council have the effect of reinforcing the legitimacy of Saddam Hussein's regime. Moreover, as Iraq continues to expand its oil capacity, and its contracts grow under the UN' s "oil-for-food" programme, some members of the Security Council have an increasing stake in keeping the Iraqi president around. This has clearly been a large part of Iraq's strategy of dividing the United States from its allies and other members of the Security Council. Meanwhile, the US, virtually alone, spends billions of dollars to keep Hussein in check. Imagine security in the region if US forces withdrew. Except for the British (and they are increasingly wobbly), the rest of the permanent members of the Security Council contribute only criticism as they compete to win favour and lucrative contracts from Iraqis. The remaining council checks on Iraq include sanctions, which are eroding, and control of Iraq's legal oil-export revenues. These funds go to an escrow account, and the UN must approve any expenditure by Iraq. This is the last serious UN constraint on Baghdad's grander military visions. The Europeans seem convinced that pragmatism and commercial interests dictate that they must work with Hussein. Much of this is rationalized by the need to reverse the harm to Iraq's civilian population that sanctions cause. The US, they are convinced, has no choice but to remain vigilant in the region in case the Iraqi leader gets aggressive again. Hence, they can afford, and indeed profit, from being relatively open to the regime. Given Hussein's track record and undiminished ambitions, the future does not look good. His regime has an exquisite sense of the value and use of power. Toward that end, it has acquired and now retains weapons of mass destruction. The same logic drives its oil policy. Iraq's oil minister, Gen Amir Mohammed Rashid, has said he can more than double current production capacity, up to 6 million barrels a day, in three to four years. Iraq's goal is to supplant Saudi Arabia as the dominant force in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. http://www.thescotsman.co.uk/searchresults.cfm?id=32472&keyword=the * ANTI-MISSILE SYSTEM THAT RAISES THE ANTE by George Kerevan On Tuesday, lost amid the other ongoing news of Nice, American elections and Christmas, came the rather dull information that China had successfully fired its Shehab-3 intercontinental missile. Dull except that it will confirm the new American president in his intention to build a National Missile Defence (NMD) system to protect the continental US from rocket attacks, and this move is likely to prove the most contentious issue in international relations over the next decade. It also involves the UK up to its neck. To make such a defensive system work, you need super-fast radars close to where the incoming missiles might be launched - the Middle East, say. That means locating these so-called X-band detection systems in Fylingdales, Yorkshire. If Mr Blair, hob-nobbing with his old friend, Bill Clinton, this week, refuses access to Bush¹s NMD radars (as the Foreign Office minister, Peter Hain, has already publicly hinted) then there are all the makings of a major crisis in NATO. Never mind encouraging the enmity of Russia. Putin has already made belligerent noises about NMD, which he views as a gross breach of the existing US-Russian Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. Coming on top of the creation of the EU Rapid Reaction Force, any resistance to NMD inside NATO could accelerate a rift between the unknown and uncertain Republican presidency and a Europe in some disarray after the inconclusive Nice summit. Putin has already been stirring this dangerous diplomatic brew by putting pressure on Eurosceptic Denmark, which has responsibility for the other potential X-band radar site in Greenland, to oppose NMD. Do not think that NMD is pie in the sky. President Reagan¹s Star Wars Project was a fantasy because you could never hope to kill every one of the estimated 8,000 Soviet warheads coming in simultaneously. But the first successful long-range - to avoid the dangerous nuclear debris - anti-missile missile batteries already exist. Designed to knock out small numbers of incoming rockets, they went operational in Israel this October. Called the Arrow, this missile was paid for by America but developed in Israel to avoid being technically in breach of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. What are the arguments for and against NMD? Let¹s begin with how George Bush sees the world. Contrary to ignorant European opinion, the Republicans are not neo-isolationists. Even with the end of the Cold War, US economic links with the rest of the world - oil and capital imports more so than exports - have made America a part of the global family in a way that was not true even 20 years ago. Further, the very geopolitical destabilisation that has resulted from the implosion of the old Soviet bloc has made US national security analysts - especially Republican ones - aware that America must take hold of the global reins firmly or precipitate international anarchy. There is a surprising political consensus on the future between think-tanks such as the Congressionally-mandated Commission on National Security, the authoritative National Defence Panel and even the rightist Nixon Centre. Namely, America should defend its own national interests rather than seek to sublimate them in some volatile system of international agencies. (Think Nice). But "interests" come in tiers, the top priority being national survival in a world where weapons of mass destruction are ubiquitous and everyone is jealous of America or blames it for every wrong - which leads straight to NMD. The next level of US priority interest is security of strategic economic infrastructure - to be interpreted as oil and trade links. The new US doctrine (which is also bipartisan) is to use US military force projection as early as possible, anywhere trouble is brewing, to nip a crisis in the bud without huge loss of American blood. This will make maximum use of the growing US lead in sci fi technology: stealth, robot planes and smart bombs. The key trouble spots identified are the oil-rich Caspian Basin, the Mid-East and Taiwan. The corollary of this unilateral police role is that the US wants to encourage its regional allies to take a bigger role in their local theatres. Hence its early support for the Euro Rapid Reaction Force - but only as a theatre adjunct to global US-NATO or as a UN peacekeeper, not as an embryo European counterweight to NATO. In other words, we do Kosovo by ourselves but support US-NATO in the world-threatening Big Ones such as the Gulf war. And NMD serves as the fort from which the US cavalry can sally forth. If that benign American global hegemony fills you with horror, think on the only plausible alternatives. Either: US isolationism and dog-eat-dog for the rest of us (with yours truly emigrating sharpish to Brooklyn). Or Jacques Chirac¹s fantasy of a tri-polar US-Chinese Super Europe co-dominion; ie the end of NATO and global stability. What are the arguments against NMD? It might encourage rather than hinder the proliferation of ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction. Not so much in rogue states - it¹s goodbye Iraq if Saddam was ever daft enough to try to take out New York. Rather, China and Russia will feel threatened that NMD gives America too much leverage. China, soon to have the world¹s second largest economy, is bound to react negatively. The American counter-argument is twofold. First, the Chinese are already reacting. Not only have they just demonstrated their new long-range rocket, there is every reason to believe they have been secretly buying the Arrow anti-missile missile technology from the Israelis - a little peccadillo that Clinton and Gore somehow overlooked. Second, Bush sees a rapid deployment of NMD as actually averting the likely proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, at least for generation, by stymieing their effective delivery. Before you criticise, remember that it was Bill Clinton who, sotto voce, established the Ballistic Missile Defence Organisation in 1993 to fund the whole NMD programme. Bush will merely pick up neatly where Clinton left off. The next argument against NMD is more local. If we host the X-band radars, Yorkshire might get the first rogue atom bomb. Leaving aside the fact this is supposed to be why we have spent all that money on Trident submarines, Bush has already offered to deploy an NMD anti-missile shield to cover the UK. Clinton cannily offered to share the technology with Russia as a way of removing Putin¹s objections to ending the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. That could also be a way of dealing with China and defuse the notion that NMD only exists to facilitate American hegemony. Besides, some countries are quietly happy with NMD. India - which America increasingly sees as a valuable regional ally - thinks NMD would give the US the clout to threaten Pakistan in the event of an incipient Indo-Pak nuclear confrontation. Of course, a deadlocked Congress and an American economic recession next year might kick the NMD into touch, but don¹t count on it. Deploying NMD is a core US strategic decision. Britain would be better to buy into it now, including its protective umbrella. Then scrap our over-expensive nuclear subs at the earliest opportunity, diverting resources into an upgrading of our conventional force projection in the Atlantic, European and Mediterranean theatres. That package will not guarantee eternal security, but it would be a basis for reaffirming our special relationship with the US and reflect a determination to pursue our own national interests in a world, post-Nice, where everyone else is doing likewise. http://www.iht.com/articles/4444.htm * PUTIN BACKS CUBAN GOALS International Herald Tribune, 15th December Reuters: President Vladimir Putin of Russia joined his Cuban counterpart, Fidel Castro, on Thursday in condemning the U.S. embargo on the island, while at the same time congratulating the U.S. president-elect, George W. Bush. Mr. Putin and Mr. Castro signed a joint declaration at Havana's Revolution Palace criticizing the U.S. sanctions, urging world "multipolarity" in the face of American "hegemony" and warning of the perils of economic globalization for Third World nations. In a reference to events like the Balkans crisis, where Havana and Moscow were united in their disapproval of NATO military action in 1999, both leaders also underlined in their statement the "fruitlessness" of "humanitarian interventions." But it was the mention of the U.S. embargo that would have most pleased the 74-year-old Mr. Castro, hosting Mr. Putin since Wednesday night on the first visit by a Russian leader to Latin America since the breakup of the Soviet Union a decade ago. "They have repeated their condemnation of the continued trade, economic and financial blockade of Cuba by the United States, as well as any other extraterritorial acts linked to the blockade," said a Russian-language version of the joint communiqué, signed after a first round of formal talks. That came just after Mr. Putin sent his message to Mr. Bush wishing him "success in this important and responsible post" and looking forward to "an intensive and constructive dialogue with you and your administration." Mr. Bush has promised a tough line on Mr. Castro, defiantly maintaining one of the world's last few bastions of communism and a longtime political thorn in the side of Washington. Although himself a proponent of multi party democracy and free-market economics - both of which Mr. Castro has rejected in Cuba - Mr. Putin nevertheless wants to rekindle Moscow's political and economic ties with its former Cold War client and ally. In addition to the bilateral trade and investment benefits for Cuba, Mr. Putin is thought to want to rebuild Russia's global role, particularly in the Third World, and has not been shy of making advances to other nations viewed suspiciously by the West - including Libya, North Korea and Iraq. On top of their joint communiqué, Mr. Castro and Mr. Putin also penned five other agreements, covering legal and health cooperation, the avoidance of double taxation, trade targets for 2001-2005 and a project on archives of mutual interest. The presidents, who met at Havana airport for Mr. Putin's arrival, were to spend most of the day together, with a visit to the Russian operated Lourdes electronic intelligence center outside the Cuban capital scheduled for the afternoon. Mr. Putin's two days of formal activities - prior to a weekend at the world-famous beach resort of Varadero, at Mr. Castro's invitation - began with a military guard of honor in front of the Revolution Palace. Mr. Putin then placed a wreath to honor Cuba's 19th century independence hero, Jose Marti. The Russian also held an unscheduled 20 minute meeting with Mr. Castro after his arrival shortly before midnight Wednesday, during which he invited Mr. Castro to visit Moscow. The last major visit to Cuba from Moscow was by Mikhail Gorbachev in 1989, who received an effusive bearhug from Mr. Castro and an open-top drive into Havana past cheering masses, rather than the businesslike handshake and quiet drive he shared with Mr. Putin on Wednesday. The Soviet Union became Cuba's strategic partner shortly after Mr. Castro came to power in his 1959 revolution, which toppled the dictator Fulgencio Batista. But relations loosened dramatically after the collapse of the Soviet empire in 1991. Discussions are widely expected to center on the problem of Cuba's massive debt to Moscow, estimated at $20 billion. http://www.iht.com/articles/4353.htm * WORLD CRIMINAL TRIBUNAL The New York Times, Friday, December 15, 2000 Two years ago, representatives of virtually every country met in Rome to complete work on the design of an International Criminal Court. The finished document was endorsed by 120 nations. Only seven voted against it - among them Iraq, Libya, China and the United States. Now President Bill Clinton has a last chance to reverse this mistake and embrace the court. The United States, which has been a strong proponent of international tribunals for war crimes in the Balkans and Africa, balked at a permanent court that would be able to judge those accused of genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes worldwide. Despite safeguards that would allow the court to take over only if national governments were unable or unwilling to bring the accused to justice, the Pentagon worried that the court could be used to try American soldiers unjustly. The Pentagon's objections were misplaced, as the court will have sufficient safeguards to prevent frivolous prosecutions. But the Defense Department has been vehement enough to keep the United States from endorsing a court that would further American interests. As one of the nations most often asked to clean up the messes created by troublemakers like Slobodan Milosevic and Saddam Hussein, the United States would greatly benefit from the existence of a court that could try such men and put them behind bars. Mr. Clinton's signature on the document creating the court would not make the United States a party to the treaty that created the court. That would require ratification by the Senate, which would be desirable but is unlikely to happen soon. By signing, however, Mr. Clinton would encourage eventual ratification, preserve American influence in continuing discussions about the details of the court and maintain Washington's global leadership in human rights and efforts to bring international criminals to justice. Mr. Clinton can sign until the end of the year. After that, countries must simply ratify the treaty. His signature now would further American interests and the cause of justice worldwide for decades to come. http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/news.asp?ArticleID=4960 * YEMEN SEES NEW ERA IN TIES WITH SAUDI ARABIA Sanaa, Reuters, 15th December Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh said yesterday his country's relations with its rich northern neighbour Saudi Arabia were set for a major improvement that would include joint oil projects. Saleh was speaking a day after the Saudi-Yemeni Cooperation Council (SYCC) held its first meeting in 13 years on Wednesday and announced that Saudi Arabia had agreed to reschedule Yemen's $331 million debts to it and extend $300 million in fresh loans. "I believe that this is a start that will be followed by more important steps towards partnership and mutual interest leading to trust," Saleh told Reuters in an interview at the presidential palace in Sanaa. "Such joint projects covering various sectors will make the Yemeni and Saudi citizens the guardians and protectors of those joint interests, despite the political differences that might arise between the two leaderships of the two countries," he said. Saudi Arabia had frozen all aid to its poor southern neighbour after Yemen was seen as siding with Iraq after its 1990 invasion of Kuwait. It also expelled hundreds of thousands of Yemenis in retaliation. Saudi-Yemeni relations have been improving since the two countries signed a border agreement in June this year, ending a long-running dispute which had occasionally erupted into armed clashes since the 1930s when tribal homelands and frontiers in the region were poorly defined. Saleh said surveys in the area that was handed over to Yemen under the June border pact gave "promising" results that showed there were good quantities of oil. He gave no further details. Asked what projects Yemen hoped to sign with Saudi Arabia, Saleh said: "If there is oil on the joint border, then there will be joint investment. If Saudi Arabia finds oil on its side of the border and wants to pump it to the Arabian sea through Yemen, then we welcome that." "We have a pipeline that can take Saudi and Yemen oil to the Arabia sea," he said referring to the line built by Canadian Occidental, now called Canadian Nexxen, that carries some 250,000 barrels per day (bpd) of Yemeni crude to Al Sheher port. It has a capacity of 400,000 bpd. "This way, Saudi Arabia will have a third outlet for its crude in addition to the existing outlets in the Gulf and Red Sea," Saleh added. Yemen, one of the Arab world's poorest nations, hopes improved relations with its neighbour, the world's largest oil exporter and the region's wealthiest economy, will boost investments and improve its general economic situation. The SYCC statement, published by Saudi and Yemeni newspapers on Thursday, said the new loans would help finance development projects in Yemen. "The two sides agreed that a delegation from the Saudi Development Fund will visit Yemen to discuss with officials at the finance and planning ministries rescheduling Yemen's debts to Saudi Arabia," the statement said. "The Saudi side promised to extend to Yemen $300 million in the form of loans to finance some development projects," it added. The two countries also agreed on other cooperation steps in education, agriculture, health, trade and investment. http://globalarchive.ft.com/globalarchive/article.html?id=001216000836&query =Iraq * RAF CRISIS AS PERSONNEL QUIT: FLIGHT CREWS ARE FRUSTRATED BY UNDERFUNDING AND LACK OF ADEQUATE TRAINING, SAYS SENIOR OFFICER by Richard Norton-Taylor The Guardian - United Kingdom; Dec 16, 2000 The RAF is suffering a severe loss of personnel, with 30% more leaving than being recruited, according to figures released yesterday. John Spellar, the armed forces minister, said that 2,320 people left the RAF between May and October. Only 1,777 were recruited over the period. He gave the figures in response to a question from the shadow defence secretary, Iain Duncan-Smith, and disclosed that because of defects in the RAF's Tucano aircraft, young pilots were completing their basic fast jet training in Australia. In a highly unusual public intervention earlier this month, Air Chief Marshal Sir Peter Squire, chief of the air staff, told The Officer magazine that RAF flight crews were becoming frustrated because inadequate funding was depriving them of equipment to do sufficient training. Sir Peter told The Officer it was increasingly difficult to meet the 3% annual efficiency savings demanded by the Treasury. He said the RAF's inability to buy enough 'mission critical' equipment had stretched bases in the UK. 'There is a lack of quality training back at the main base,' he said. Pilots were getting only half or two thirds of the flying hours needed to refresh their skills. The problem is compounded by computer problems involving long-delayed plans to upgrade Tornado bombers. RAF engineers are having to rob spares from one aircraft to use in another - 'not an efficient way of doing business,' said Sir Peter. Pilots on average earn about pounds 40,000 a year, including pounds 10,950 flying pay. The maximum they could hope to earn as a squadron leader, the highest flying rank, is about pounds 50,000. This is significantly lower than the salaries paid even by short-haul airlines offering cheap flights. 'Pilots in their thirties can earn pounds 10,000 more at a civil airline and the gap widens,' an RAF officer said. The RAF is short of some 100 fast jet pilots. This has added to problems of overstretch, with pilots spending more time on operations - including the no-fly zones over Iraq. 'All the money is being put into overseas operations,' Andrew Brookes, airforce expert at the International Institute for Strategic Studies and a former pilot, said yesterday. 'The only way to save money is on fuel. It is a complete and utterly ridiculous state of affairs,' he said. He added that even flying scholarships for young pilots had been abandoned. A flight simulator designed to save money on fuel had been shown not to be up to the job. Meanwhile, lack of funds and bad management meant that it took five years to train a pilot in the RAF compared with two years in the US airforce. He said many pilots were leaving flying altogether. They were not attracted by the higher pay and allowances in the civil airline sector, because they wanted a settled job with their families. Many RAF personnel - not just pilots - were leaving for business where skills they learned in the services and their military background were sought after. The armed forces review board is expected in its forthcoming awards to improve pilots' pay by up to pounds 20,000 a year. There is a shortage of navy and army helicopter pilots as well as pilots for RAF multi-engined aircraft, the national Audit Office pointed out in a recent report. It estimated that almost pounds 42m of pounds 155m spent on training RAF fast jet pilots in 1998/99 was lost to wastage and delays in training. The MoD also admitted recently that almost a third of the navy's trained Sea Harrier pilots were considering resigning their commissions and leaving the service. It admitted there was concern over the possible loss of up to 13 pilots - equivalent to the strength of one of the Fleet Air Arm's two Sea Harrier squadrons. http://globalarchive.ft.com/globalarchive/article.html?id=001216000588&query =Iraq * THE REFUGEES' CHAMPION FIGHTS THE TIDE: UNHCR IS CAUGHT BETWEEN GROWING INDIFFERENCE IN THE WEST AND EVER GREATER NEED by Frances Williams Financial Times; Dec 16, 2000 The United Nations refugee agency, twice a Nobel peace prizewinner, marked its 50th anniversary this week with some pride and considerable self-doubt. Sadako Ogata, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, can claim important achievements over her 10-year tenure, which has coincided with some of the biggest refugee emergencies since the second world war. But she will leave Ruud Lubbers, the former Dutch premier who takes the UNHCR helm next month, an organisation under challenge from all quarters. First among these is the threat to UNHCR's core mandate to protect refugees, based on the 1951 UN refugee convention requiring countries to grant asylum to those fleeing persecution by governments for their beliefs. Over the past decade or so western governments, particularly those in Europe, have erected ever higher barriers to refugee entry, on the pretext of keeping out illegal immigrants and "bogus" asylum-seekers. Research commissioned by the agency suggests that these restrictions deny asylum to genuine refugees, who, alongside economic migrants, are turning in ever greater numbers to traffickers and smugglers. The other threat to UNHCR's core mandate comes from the changing nature of refugee operations. Instead of a steady trickle of political dissidents from the communist countries of eastern Europe, the agency has faced mass refugee emergencies provoked by civil strife, in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Balkans, the African Great Lakes region and now in west Africa. In becoming one of the world's biggest aid agencies, critics say, UNHCR has lost sight of its original protection function, making sometimes dubious compromises with warlords and politicians to keep aid flowing. That has served to fuel conflict and put refugees in danger, critics argue. Mrs Ogata denies that protection has been downgraded but says people cannot be protected once they are dead. She also has harsh words for governments that, she argues, have too often seen aid as a substitute for political action to avert or resolve conflicts. UNHCR is consulting governments and others on the 1951 convention to reaffirm its protection mandate and adapt it to current circumstances. These include mass exodus, the granting of temporary asylum during times of conflict and the recognition for asylum purposes of persecution by non-state actors such as rebel movements or religious bodies. UNHCR also wants some form of international protection extended to the estimated 20m 25m internally displaced people (IDPs) around the world, who now outnumber by two to one the 12m or so refugees who have crossed national borders. The refugee agency, which has a caseload of 22.3m, looks after about 4m IDPs under ad hoc arrangements but most have no international legal status. Mrs Ogata has also been unable to resolve UNHCR's recurring budget problems. The agency, which yesterday launched its budget appeal for Dollars 953.7m for 2001, is almost completely reliant on voluntary contributions from a dozen or so governments, led by the US, Japan and some western European nations. [The article finishes with the UNHCR website address: www.unhcr.ch] http://www.miamiherald.com/content/today/news/world/digdocs/036633.htm * CLERIC'S MEMOIRS IGNITE A CYBER WAR WITH TEHRAN LEADERS Miami Herald, December 16, 2000, PARIS -- Dissident cleric Hossein Ali Montazeri, once in line to be Iran's supreme leader, has published his memoirs on the Internet, provoking a cyber war with the leadership in Tehran. Montazeri, 79, who had been chosen to succeed Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, founder of the Islamic republic, has been living under house arrest in Qom, south of Tehran, ever since he was forced to resign weeks before Khomeini's death in 1989. A fierce opponent of Iran's spiritual and political leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Montazeri has managed to make his opinion known through his sons. But he moved more forcefully Monday when he published a 600-page memoir on an Internet site based in Britain, which his sons verified as his work. The document, published in Persian and available at www.montazeri.com, provides testimony to some of the most dramatic moments of the Iranian revolution and the war with Iraq. Authorities in Tehran have not publicly reacted to Montazeri's memoirs, but on Thursday another website -- www.montazery.com -- appeared on the Internet and described itself as representing the office of Khamenei. Most noteworthy on the first site are Montazeri's remarks on how he tried in 1988 to prevent the summary execution of thousands of opponents to the Khomeini regime. He states that Khomeini ordered the executions after the opposition launched a fierce offensive against Iranian troops from bases in Iraq. ``All those against the revolution must disappear and quickly be executed,'' the cleric quotes Khomeini as saying in a written note. Montazeri decided to intervene to prevent the killing of 2,800 to 3,800 men by writing a letter to Khomeini in which he appealed for compassion. ``I told myself `I am after all the Imam's successor and I took part in this revolution','' he says in his memoirs. ``If an innocent man is killed, I am also responsible.'' http://www.wn.com/?action=display&article=4874624&template=worldnews/search. txt&index=recent * UK DEMANDS SPEEDY ARRESTS AFTER SAUDI BOMBING UPI, Sat 16 Dec 2000 British Foreign Office Minister Peter Hain Saturday called for speedy arrests of bombers responsible for the latest attack on a British expatriate in Saudi Arabia on Friday night. Scotsman David Brown, a Coca-Cola International executive in the Saudi city of Khobar, was the third Briton to be targeted in an attack suspected to have been carried out by Saudi extremists. Saudi security sources told news media the device went off as Brown tried to remove a small parcel which looked like a pack of juice placed near the windshield of his car. He suffered severe injuries to his hands and eyes and was rushed to hospital where he underwent emergency surgery. His wife was uninjured in the attack, officials said. Hain said that Britons living in Saudi Arabia had been issued with special security advice, especially concerning vehicles. In the past few weeks there have been community meetings, and security guidance has been posted on the internet. He said in a radio interview that Britons generally so far had "a very happy coexistence" with Saudis but conceded that Britain's stance on Iraq had "evoked a lot of criticism in the region" and "this may or may not be related." Security analysts told UPI that extremists might consider Britons in the kingdom more vulnerable as so far they took less precautions than Americans based in the region. Officials have said Britain now regards Saudi Arabia as one of the countries where there is an increased threat to British nationals. About 30,000 Britons work in Saudi Arabia, many of them in the defense industry. "Our sympathy is with the injured man and his wife," Hain said in a statement. "The safety of the British community in Saudi Arabia is of paramount concern to us. This is a serious incident." He is the third Briton to be targeted in a bomb attack in less than a month, although Hain said it was too early to make a link Officials said a special medical team was sent to the city in Saudi Arabia's Eastern province to help care for Brown, who is in his mid-thirties and a customer services manager for Coca-Cola International. Hain said that the Saudi authorities were fully cooperating with British officials but he called for a speedy resolution to their investigation. Diplomats told United Press International a team of British investigators is in the kingdom helping Saudi authorities with their quest for those responsible for the two previous incidents. One Briton was killed and four others were injured in two separate car explosions in the capital, Riyadh, last month. The Saudi interior ministry said Friday that several suspects had been arrested in connection with the explosions, including one American, whom the authorities suspect because of his relationship with the Briton who was killed in his car on Nov. 17. His wife was slightly injured. Officials said that if the American suspect, Michael Sedlak, was formally charged in the Nov. 17 car explosion, he would be tried in the kingdom under the country's Islamic laws and could receive the death sentence if found guilty. Four days after that incident, three Britons and an Irish woman were injured in a second attack in the capital. Dr Saad Al-Faqih, head of a London-based Movement for Islamic Reform in Arabia, told the British Broadcasting Corp. that all westerners in Saudi Arabia were potential targets. He said the attacks are being carried out by small groups of Saudis who opposed the presence of western military forces in the country. Al-Faqih said emotions were also aroused by the clashes between Palestinians and Israelis. Although most Saudis blame the U.S. for supporting Israel, Al-Faqih said, U.S. citizens were harder to attack as they were more vigilant than Britons. U.S. companies and residents in the area tightened security after two major attacks in 1995 and 1996, in Riyadh and eastern Saudi Arabia's main oil center of Dhahran, which together killed 24 American citizens. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 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