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NEW WORLD ORDER SUPPLEMENT, 24-31/12/00 * Madeleine Albright * Venezuela calls on OPEC to go to battle over oil price * Sanctions target the innocent * OIC [Organisation of Islamic Conference] urged to impose sanctions on India [over Kashmir] * How the mighty are fallen... * European nations probe illnesses of troops in Balkans * Moscow-Tehran ties threaten Gulf * Bush's Pentagon Pick Is Missile-Shield Savvy * Promoting the national interest - exercising power without arrogance [by the new US security adviser, Condoleezza Rice] * Iran Now a Hotbed of Islamic Reforms * Castro, Saddam and Chavez Pose Challenge to Bush * This is the world in 2015 [new global trends report from the CIA. The document itself may be had at http://www.odci.gov/cia/publications/globaltrends2015/index.html] http://www.latimes.com/news/comment/20001224/t000122452.html * MADELEINE ALBRIGHT by Robin Wright Los Angeles Times. December 24, 2000 WASHINGTON--For the past four years, Madeleine Korbel Albright has reigned as the most powerful woman in U.S. history--and, arguably, in today's world. The first female secretary of State has covered almost 1 million miles traveling to 91 countries, some of them several times, to contain the world's last dictators, negotiate peace, deepen alliances and promote democracy. Born in Prague in 1937, Albright and her family fled both Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin as each pushed into Czechoslovakia during World War II. In 1949, the Korbels ended up in Denver, where her father, a former diplomat, taught political science. After graduating from Wellesley College and then Columbia University, Albright rose through the ranks of the Democratic Party as advisor to presidential candidates Edmund S. Muskie, Walter F. Mondale, Michael S. Dukakis and Bill Clinton. Along the way, she worked on the National Security Council during the Carter administration, taught at Georgetown University's school of Foreign Service and headed the Center for National Policy, a Washington think tank. Albright's big break was her appointment, in 1993, as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, where she became known for blistering attacks against Baghdad and Belgrade, big brooches selected to match her political messages and dancing the macarena with Botswana's U.N. ambassador on the Security Council floor. Her four years at the State Department have been controversial. Supporters feel she's displayed guts in reorganizing the department to accommodate a globalizing world, trying to end deadlocks with Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jesse Helms and taking difficult stands, most notably prodding the North Atlantic Treaty Organization into its first military engagement in a half century. Critics charge that her bluntness and moralism alienated allies and subordinates, that her thin skin and insecurities made her unwilling to accommodate criticism, and that she failed to provide the kind of leadership at the State Department that she did at the United Nations. As the Kosovo crisis raged, Peter F. Krogh, the former Georgetown University dean who hired her in 1982, complained in a Wall Street Journal Op-Ed piece about "a foreign policy of sermons and sanctimony." In an interview in her seventh-floor suite of offices, which offer a spectacular view of the Potomac, Albright was sanguine about her legacy. Question: Looking back, what were the high points of this administration in foreign policy? Answer: The one that stands out the most was the Bosnia-Kosovo complex of issues in the Balkans. I believed it was very important to put the missing last piece of the puzzle into a Europe that was whole and free. It's not over. It's a story that was long in coming, and it's going to be long in being solved. Also, a part of that whole and free Europe is the expansion of NATO. The three new countries have been positive contributors and helped create a sense of cohesion within Europe. We leave America in 2001 safer. Russia has deactivated 5,000-plus nuclear weapons. We dealt with a lot of the nuclear threat of North Korea, and we're now trying to see whether we can do something about its missile threat. We've left America more prosperous. It's amazing that we got over the  Asian financial crisis; international institutions are working; and more free-trade agreements are on the way. So we are much more a part of the global economy. We put Africa policy on the map. We've created more focus on the issue of HIV-AIDS by making clear it isn't just a health issue but also a national-security issue. A high point for me has been the support of democracy. At the "community of democracies" meeting in Warsaw last summer, more than 100 countries signed the Warsaw Declaration and created a structure in which democracies can get together. They will get together in 2002 in Seoul. There is the beginning of a democracy caucus at the United Nations. We've made women's issues central to foreign policy, not because I'm a woman, but because when more than half of the [world's] population is female, [having them] part of the political and economic process helps stability. Q: What were the administration's low points? A: I wish we'd been able to accomplish more on the Middle East peace process. It's possible now--there's a new momentum. I wish we could have gone further in terms of our relationship with the Iranians. Because they are going through their own changes with such difficulties, it's hard for us to plug into it. I'm sorry I have not been around to witness a change in Cuba. The people in Cuba deserve to have the kind of possibilities that countries that shucked communism have. The lowest point of all was the bombing of the [two U.S.] embassies [in Africa]. Going to see the bombed-out buildings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam was very hard. The hardest thing I've ever done was to bring those coffins home. Q: The biggest foreign-policy test of your tenure was Kosovo. Critics contend the U.S. underestimated the staying power of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. Are there things, looking back, you'd do differently? A: Milosevic is gone. [Serbia] is having [parliamentary] elections this weekend. People misunderstood. A lot of people said [Kosovo] is like Vietnam and would go on for years. I didn't think it would, and it hasn't. But it doesn't mean the story is over, because there's an awful lot of work that needs to be done to undo the misrule first, of the communists and then Milosevic. I had a sense--and it turns out to be right--that Milosevic would ultimately be driven out because the Serb people are actually very smart, and they don't want to be isolated from the world. Q: What are the lessons from the Yugoslavia experience? A: I happen to think that humanitarian suffering, because Americans are a compassionate people, turns out to be [an issue] in the national interest. When children's hands or limbs are chopped off, I think Americans don't like that. A lot of people after the Vietnam War didn't want Americans to be involved anywhere. I'm not of that generation. I believe in the goodness of American power, not just military power; our engagement is something that is usually positive. So the lesson to me is, in the Balkans, from 1990 to 1991, [the attitude] was "let the Europeans do it"--and they didn't do it. When the U.S. gets involved and leads, then others join it. [With] things that are of importance, we can't just wait. Obviously, President Clinton and I have followed a much more activist and engaged American foreign policy. Q: What do you think will happen to the two rogues you had to deal with--Milosevic and Iraq's Saddam Hussein? A: On Milosevic, the war crimes tribunal has no statute of limitations and his time will come. On Saddam, he will continue to be contained in a way that will keep him from being a threat to the region. Even though there are parts of the sanctions regime that are pretty hard to maintain, interestingly enough, they have been maintained. They're the longest-running sanctions regime. But he's clearly hung on a lot longer than anyone would have liked. He was left for us, and so we pass him on. Q: What do you think your legacy will be? When you took the job in 1997, Newsweek ran a cover story titled "Mad About Madeleine." This year, the Washington Post ran a piece saying that you had "not measured up to the high--and perhaps unrealistic--expectations." A: It was impossible to live up to the idea that I would singlehandedly change the world. I was a different kind of secretary of State, and we have a different kind of secretary of State coming in. There's always this great sense that whoever sits here can automatically change everything. I didn't buy the initial stories, and I don't buy the subsequent stories. Q: What do you think the new administration must deal with urgently in its first few months? A: While there are statements made during campaigns, ultimately, what is so brilliant about the United States is that there is a continuum in foreign policy. When the Clinton administration came in, it had a [START II accord], which had been negotiated by the Bush administration, and [the North American Free Trade Agreement], also negotiated by it. And then we put [them] into place and got things ratified. Foreign policy doesn't come in four year segments. Obviously, the Middle East is going to continue to be of major importance; our relationship with Russia is going through its own changes; relations with China; massive changes on the Korean peninsula; our relations with Japan continue to be essential to the way we exist; the whole shift in Europe in terms of how it deals with NATO; the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is really the biggest threat for our nation. Q: How real are the dangers of a major conflict between India and Pakistan? A: We have said that it was one of most dangerous places in the world. At the moment, there's some respite, but it continues to be a great source of trouble. I would hope they would figure out some way to have a dialogue. That is really something the next generation is going to have to deal with. Q: This week, the U.N. passed new sanctions against Afghanistan's Taliban because of its support of Osama bin Laden, who is linked to several terrorist attacks against the United States, including the African embassy bombings. Realistically, what are the chances that Bin Laden will be brought to justice? A: He clearly is viewed as one of the major threats to the way the rest of the world operates. More and more it's evident that he's not just a threat to Americans but to a way of life. It's going to take a concerted effort by a number of countries to lessen the space [in which] he can operate. But it's very hard to give you a precise answer. It's one of the big problems out there that has to be dealt with. Q: Any words of wisdom or advice for Colin Powell, your successor? A: We've known each other a long time and have friendly relations. He came over last Sunday for three hours, and we had lunch Tuesday. It's truly remarkable that the first female secretary of State is being followed by the first African American. We have a lot of the same ideas about strengthening the foreign service and reaching out to various minority groups. In different ways, we have a similar story: We're people who were never supposed to be here, and people who worked hard and did our best for the United States. Q: You're the most powerful woman in American history. But you remain in a distinct minority, as the numbers of women in politically powerful positions worldwide have not increased significantly over the past decade. Why? A: When I started, there were seven [women] foreign ministers. Now there are about 14. There are tremendous prejudices against women. Women have to work twice as hard and run twice as fast. I've had to prove myself every single day. In some countries, women can't vote. So it's a constant battle. As women get into various economic roles and into parliaments, we do a very good job because we do work so hard. But I am disappointed about how hard it is. Q: What are you going to do next? Did you ever give a moment of thought to Vaclav Havel's suggestion--twice over the past two years--that you run for president of the Czech Republic, the land of your birth, to succeed him? A: No, I was honored by his suggestion, but I never gave it serious thought. I'm going to write at least one book. I am going to continue to be very involved in the democratization push. It's something that's been very much a part of my life. I believe that I've struck a pretty good note with the American people; they see me as an approachable person. I love more than anything walking down any street, anywhere, and having people shout "Hey, Madeleine" or "How're you doing?" or "good job." What's been so much fun is that kids in schools have learned geography through travels with Madeleine. I want to continue the dialogue with the American people so that there's a sense that foreign policy is not foreign. It's very much a part of life. * - - - Robin Wright Is Chief Diplomatic Correspondent for The Times and the Author of Four Books on International Issues http://finance.individual.com/display_news.asp?doc_id=RTL24a9704reuff&page=n ews * VENEZUELA CALLS ON OPEC TO GO TO BATTLE OVER OIL PRICE by Tom Ashby CARACAS(Reuters, December 24s) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez called on the OPEC oil cartel Sunday to ``go to battle'' to defend the price of its main export, which has slumped by 30 percent in the past month. The former paratrooper insisted that the South American country was trying to achieve price stability in world markets, and said he wanted to speak to the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Libya and Algeria to coordinate a reduction in output, if necessary, to defend a ``fair price''. ``If we have to cut production, let's do it,'' he said, in the radio show transmitted live from the western Tachira state. OPEC's export price has plummeted by a third in a month -- from near its highest level in a decade of $31.63 on Nov. 24 to $21.64 per barrel on Thursday -- as fears of a heating oil shortage in the United States this winter subsided. Chavez, who has assumed a leadership role in the cartel after hosting the first OPEC summit in 25 years, said he wanted to talk by telephone with Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah, Iraq's Saddam Hussein, Libya's Muammar Gaddafi and Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. ``We have to go to battle to defend the price of our oil ... to avoid a collapse in prices, because there are those who want us to give (oil) away,'' Chavez said. Last week, U.S. President-elect George W. Bush called on OPEC to ``open the spigots'' to cut energy costs for consumers. Chavez, in his weekly radio show, said Sunday many OPEC members wanted to push the oil price up to $50 per barrel, while other countries were playing a ``dirty game,'' trying to push them back down to $8 to $10 per barrel, the level where they were in early 1999 when Chavez took office. ``Just as we don't want prices at $50 per barrel, we demand that those countries playing a secret and unfair game, play clean, because, if not, we have our resources and our leadership within OPEC and some countries outside OPEC to drive prices much higher,'' Chavez said, in typical combative style. ``We don't want to do it, but we demand in return a clean game,'' he added. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries blames speculation on financial exchanges in New York and London for the extreme volatility of world oil prices. OPEC agreed informally this year to a price target mechanism, under which it lifts or restricts output to the world's 76 million barrels-per-day (bpd) market by 500,000 bpd -- if prices move outside its target range of $22 to $28 per barrel. After prices moved below $22 Thursday, that could trigger a cut of 500,000 bpd on Jan. 5, just a week before OPEC ministers plan to meet in Vienna. OPEC has raised its production four times this year, by 3.7 million bpd, in an effort to cool a price spike that threatened to dampen world economic growth. Industry analysts expect world oil supply to exceed demand over the next few months, which could provoke a further collapse in prices early next year as inventories grow and demand eases. Iran, Kuwait and Indonesia have all called for a output cut of 1.0 million bpd to be agreed in next month's cartel meeting. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/getarticle.pl5?eo20001225a2.htm * SANCTIONS TARGET THE INNOCENT by Ramesh Thakur Special to The Japan Times, December 25, 2000 The use of sanctions as a tool of foreign and international policy increased dramatically in the 20th century. Yet as the crumbling sanctions on Iraq show, their track record in ensuring compliance is pitiful. They inflict pain on ordinary citizens while imposing questionable costs on leaders who are enriched and strengthened on the back of their impoverished and oppressed people. As the use of force for the pursuit of national goals became increasingly anathema to the modern conscience, the international community placed ever more normative, legislative and operational restrictions on the recourse to war. Coercive economic sanctions developed as a conceptual and policy bridge between diplomacy and force. Yet their track record in ensuring compliance with Security Council resolutions was described by U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan as "uneven" in his Millennium Report. In a debate in the U.N. Security Council in April 2000, not one country was prepared to offer unqualified support for the existing system and practice of sanctions. France and Russia called in vain for sunset clauses in sanctions resolutions, which would require complete reviews rather than periodic rollovers of sanctions once imposed by the Council. The United States took the contrary position, arguing that sanctions should remain in place until the target regime changes behavior. Considering that the U.S. imposed sanctions more than 100 times over the 20th century, this was not surprising. What is surprising is that Washington should persist with a policy of trying to destroy economies and destabilize governments by resorting to a tool that has almost never worked. Sanctions are generally ineffectual as a diplomatic tool. Their value as symbolic expressions of community disapprobation might still leave them as an acceptable policy option if there were no other collateral costs. Public and hence political support for sanctions rests in their image as a humane alternative to war. This is a dangerous distortion of reality. In contrast to wars, sanctions shift the burden of harm solely to civilians. Paradoxically, sanctions can be ineffectual in achieving stated goals even when effective economically, perhaps even devastatingly effective. Whether successful or not in attaining their goals, sanctions are not nonviolent alternatives to armed force. The degree and scale of death and suffering inflicted by the "structural violence" of sanctions exceeds the "cleaner" alternative of open warfare. In a provocative essay in Foreign Affairs (May/June 1999), John and Karl Mueller argued that sanctions have caused more deaths in the 20th century than all weapons of mass destruction throughout history. The imposition of sanctions is frequently accompanied by sentimentality and sanctimony. Yet the moral premises of sanctions as the preferred instrument to punish rogue regimes are open to serious question. They are neither refined, calibrated nor discriminating in their effects. The blockade of food supplies can exacerbate widespread hunger and promote malnutrition. The obstruction of medical supplies helps the spread of deadly diseases while hindering the delivery of international humanitarian aid. If sanctions were imposed because of gross, pervasive and persistent human-rights violations by the government, then its hapless citizens are doubly damned: first by their leaders, and then by the international community for the sins of their leaders. Sanctions imposed on India and Pakistan for their 1998 nuclear tests by nuclear powers who preach nonproliferation but practice deterrence begged the question of moral equivalence. This is the foreign-policy equivalent of "let he who has not sinned cast the first stone." Their nuclear stockpiles are in defiance of the World Court's opinion of a legal obligation to adopt nuclear disarmament. Unlike countries that are suspected of cheating on NPT obligations to which they have signed on, India and Pakistan breached no international treaty, convention or law to which they are party by testing. For the five nuclear "haves" to impose sanctions on the nuclear gate-crashers is akin to outlaws judging the law abiding. Of course, this charge does not apply to the vast majority of countries who have voluntarily renounced nuclear weapons, criticize the nuclear stockpiles of the five big powers, and simultaneously oppose the spread of nuclear weapons to any other country. International morality can be collapsed into one's own political strengths. The conflation of international norms into partisan privileges is a fatal flaw in the crime-and-punishment strategy of sanctions. One of the reasons for the erosion of the sanctions regime on Iraq is perceptions in the Arab world of double standards. In their view, the U.S. and Britain take a forceful stance against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, but resist U.N. intervention to protect Palestinians from Israeli onslaughts. Large and diversified economies are immune to sanctions because they can pay higher costs in the short term and make structural changes in the long run. The weaker and more vulnerable an economy, therefore, the more susceptible it is to sanctions. Picking on the small while leaving the big boys untouched is not part of the ethical vocabulary in any moral system. Because of the known harm caused to civilians and the low probability of success in changing targeted behavior, the sanctions equation does not add up. Sanctions are not morality elevated above commerce. Rather they are power politics camouflaged as virtue. Hence the need to move to "smart" sanctions that target guilty leaders while leaving innocent civilians alone. Smart sanctions are those that are targeted specifically at members of the ruling elite while leaving ordinary citizens more or less untouched. They are also limited in their application. One example of such a smart sanction is restrictions on overseas travel, even for health reasons, by members of the government of a country under sanction. Another would be to freeze foreign assets of, and restrict overseas financial transactions by, members of the government. Such smart sanctions hold many attractions. Their moral foundation is stronger, since they are directed at the perpetrators and transgressors themselves, not at innocent victims. Their costs to third-party countries are negligible. They circumvent many of the perverse consequences, such as enrichment of the elite by black market manipulation alongside impoverishment of the general population. They avoid long-term damage to the social and physical infrastructure. Above all, they make clear to the people that the international community does discriminate between the sins of the leaders and the travails of the people. Ramesh Thakur is vice rector of the United Nations University in Tokyo. These are his personal views. http://www.dawn.com/2000/12/25/nat1.htm * OIC URGED TO IMPOSE SANCTIONS ON INDIA Dawn, 25 December 2000, 28 Ramazan 1421 DUBAI, Dec 24: The Organization of Islamic Conference should impose economic sanctions on India to force that country for an early solution of the Kashmir problem. This was stated by Barrister Sultan Mahmood Choudhry, Prime Minister of the Azad Kashmir, while talking to Dawn in Dubai on Sunday. "I am confident that the sanctions will bear results," he said. Mr Chaudhry was on an official visit to Dubai during which he met the president, the director general and board members of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry to invite investment in hydel power, mineral and tourism sectors. He also sought information about the investment possibilities for overseas Kashmiris in Dubai. At Iftar, he met the Kashmiri community in Dubai. He said that his government was taking a cautious view of the Ramazan cease-fire, extended by another month, by the Indian government. He said that in doing so India had responded to international pressure for the resolution of the dispute after the talks offer by Gen Musharraf. In return, Pakistan had pulled back the small number of its troops (about 25,000) from the Line of Control. However, he said India had not withdrawn any of its about 700,000 troops from Kashmir. "It is possible that the Indian cease-fire offer was meant to gain time and to divide the All Parties Hurriyat Conference and the movement itself. In any case, it was difficult to restart the movement after a cease-fire and to bring it back to its present high pitch," he said. He said that the US and other western countries should take steps to resolve the Kashmir dispute as they did in Iraq, Serbia, Bosnia, and East Timor to resolve these international issues. "All we want from them is to exert diplomatic pressure on India for the solution of the Kashmir issue," he said. http://www.theage.com.au/news/2000/12/26/FFXBWQH05HC.html * HOW THE MIGHTY ARE FALLEN... by Keith Suter The Age (Australia), Tuesday 26 December 2000 THIS year's season of goodwill to all people is very different from the euphoria of a decade ago. In December, 1990, president George Bush was celebrating the end of the Cold War with talk about a new world order. He had created an international alliance to oppose Iraq's Saddam Hussein. He saw the Gulf War as an example of the new type of international operation against brutal dictators who violate the values of the international community. But in December, 2000, there is the end of the end of the Cold War euphoria. The next President Bush will enter the White House in a subdued way. The US has lost some of its self-confidence and it is suffering from a sense of combat fatigue. The US has gone from Cold War to cold feet. The US won the Cold War but has lost the cold peace. First, Saddam Hussein has survived all the political leaders who took him on 10 years ago. Not one of his major opponents is still in office. President Bush himself went from one of America's most popular presidents to being defeated within two years by governor Bill Clinton. This political outsider ignored foreign policy in the 1992 election campaign and claimed that the real issue was the economy, stupid. Meanwhile, there are still sanctions against Iraq, the US and Britain carry out flights over the northern and southern two-thirds of Iraq, and the US is supporting anti-Saddam Hussein conspirators based outside Iraq. But he is still in office. Russia, China and France are all anxious to end the sanctions and obtain contracts to rebuild the country. Most Arab countries want to call it a day, grudgingly admit that Saddam has survived, and get on with life. Second, the other military operations by the US have also had mixed results. In 1992-93, American personnel were killed in Somalia's civil war. The US led operations against Yugoslavia's Slobodan Milosevic. He was eventually driven from office in October, 2000. But he is still free and he has not been brought before the international war crimes tribunal in The Hague. It is possible that he could return to power. Third, there are probably almost as many conflicts under way today as during the Cold War. But there is now a new warfare state: the conflicts are intranational (not international) and guerrilla (rather than conventional). Peace has not broken out. Old tribal and ethnic disputes, which may have been frozen by the Cold War, have come back to life. Others have been on the boil for decades and, now that the US and USSR are not squabbling, suddenly they have come into view. For example, the civil war in southern Sudan is one of Africa's oldest and bloodiest civil wars. Fourth, the new era of media transparency has created fresh limitations for the American way of fighting. In the early 1990s, with the escalating violence in Balkans, General Colin Powell was challenged as to why the US intervened in Kuwait but was reluctant to intervene in the Yugoslavia. He replied: "We do deserts - we do not do mountains." But CNN had another policy. Night after night it reported on the Balkan violence and eventually the Clinton Government had to get involved. But it was not in the traditional John Wayne style. The US did not want to have any more live television of dead Americans. Somalia stopped that. Similarly, the 1999 action in Kosovo did not cost the US a single person to enemy fire. But the pilots flew unusually high and because of that may have caused more civilian casualties. Thus, military policy is determined by the media: they set the priorities and they also limit the conduct of operations so that no American is killed. To conclude, the US is the world's greatest military power. Russia now has an economy the equivalent size of California's, and it continues to fall even deeper into crisis. But the US still does not feel secure. It is worried about rogue states and terrorists. It is planning a national ballistic missile defence system because it fears that other countries may be a future threat. The US needs a new approach to national security. It should be based on confidence rather than paranoia, on cooperation rather than confrontation, on charm offensives rather than military offensives. As the Jewish proverb goes: The strongest person in the world is the person who can make his enemy his friend. Dr Keith Suter is a senior fellow with the Global Business Network Australia. http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/362/nation/European_nations_probe_illnesse s_of_troops_in_Balkans+.shtml * EUROPEAN NATIONS PROBE ILLNESSES OF TROOPS IN BALKANS by Ciaran Giles, MADRID (Associated Press, 27th December): European NATO allies have begun checking whether their soldiers may have been exposed to dangerous levels of radiation from depleted uranium ammunition used by US warplanes in Kosovo last year. Spain said yesterday that initial tests were proving negative. The Spanish Defense Ministry confirmed it would examine all 32,000 soldiers who have served in the Balkan region since 1992. A ministry spokesman said none of the first 5,000 soldiers screened for exposure in recent months had tested positive. Portugal's Defense Ministry said yesterday that it would send a team of experts to Kosovo to check radiation levels on spent rounds, but did not foresee screening its 330 troops there. Spain has just over 2,000 troops stationed in the Balkans, half of them in Kosovo. Fears arose after NATO acknowledged early this year that US warplanes operating in Kosovo fired armor-piercing rounds containing depleted uranium during the alliance's 78 day bombing campaign in 1999. Italian Defense Minister Sergio Mattarella said last week that Italy was investigating cancer cases among its soldiers from Kosovo and Bosnia to see if there is a link with the ammunition. A UN team that went to Kosovo in November is doing a similar study and is expected to report its findings in February. Twelve Italian soldiers who served in the Balkans have developed cancer. In addition, three peacekeepers who served in Bosnia died of leukemia last year. Four soldiers involved in aircraft maintenance have also died of cancer. Pentagon spokesman Jim Turner said yesterday there have been no problems with leukemia or other illnesses among US troops who served in the Balkans. He said soldiers receive regular health checkups. The Spanish Defense Ministry's medical chief, Colonel Luis Villalonga, said the health tests were designed to calm any fears among the troops. He said last week that Spanish Army studies coincided with others by allied forces that showed ''there has been no radioactive pollution.'' He said one case of a Spanish soldier dying of leukemia on returning home was unrelated. He said the soldier had been based in Macedonia, which was not directly involved in the war. The Dutch Defense Ministry said it would keep abreast of Spanish and Italian inquiries via NATO. A spokesman said the ministry was looking into a National Soldiers' Union report about a peacekeeper with leukemia who served in Bosnia. Earlier this year, the Yugoslav government reported that the region hit by uranium rounds in Kosovo stretched across a southwestern belt of the province. Most affected were areas surrounding towns such as Prizren, Urosevac, Djakovica, Decani, and the Djurakovac village, areas where Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Greek, and US troops have been posted. In its report, Yugoslavia claimed some 50,000 rounds had been fired, while NATO admitted to 31,000 rounds. Iraq long has attributed an increase in rates of leukemia and other cancers, as well as neurological and muscular diseases, to the use of depleted uranium bombs during the Persian Gulf War. Official statistics show that the number of Iraqi children with cancer rose to 130,000 in 1997 from 32 in 1990. Depleted uranium, which has low levels of radioactivity, is used in artillery shells because it is extremely dense and can pierce armor. On impact, the shells create an airborne dust. Some specialists argue that uranium rounds are environmentally harmful. http://www.vny.com/cf/News/upidetail.cfm?QID=147533 * MOSCOW-TEHRAN TIES THREATEN GULF by Ariel Cohen WASHINGTON, Dec. 27 (UPI) - Russian Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev is in Iran on a gigantic arms-sale mission. According to Defense Ministry sources, Moscow is offering Tehran virtually unlimited access to its military hardware "toy store" -- to the tune of $7 billion over the next three to five years. A similar program is underway involving Russia and China, in which Moscow is selling its military crown jewels to Beijing. The targets for this comprehensive military buildup are the United States -- especially its Seventh Fleet based in the Pacific Ocean -- and Taiwan. Similarly, some in Russia see Iran's growing military might as aimed not just against its neighbor Iraq, but also against moderate pro-Western states in the Gulf and Israel as well. From 1994-1999, Russia sold Iran close to $4 billion worth of weapons, including Kilo-class diesel submarines, modern armor, helicopters and battleships. In November, President Vladimir Putin's government announced that Moscow was no longer bound by the secret 1995 Gore-Chernomyrdin agreement prohibiting sales of high technology and destabilizing weapons to the Islamic Republic. In an interview with the state-owned Russian news agency RIA-Novosti late November, Defense Minister Sergeyev said that "Russia is forming its foreign policy, including its military component, with the aim of expansion of stability zones, including in the Near and Middle East." Iran, he said, "is a sovereign state with which Russia has the right to build partnership relations in those spheres where there is (a) coincidence of Russian and Iranian interests." During Yevgeny Primakov's tenure as Foreign Minister and Prime Minister, Russia denied that it sold sensitive technologies to the Islamic regime. Officials expressed deep offense when Madeleine Albright's State Department would impose inefficient and quite limited sanctions on Russian research organizations. The targets of the 1998 sanctions included, among others, the Mendeleyev Chemical Technical University in Moscow; the Baltic Technical University in St. Petersburg headed by Yuri Savelyev. There were allegations that Russia's national space agency, headed by Yuri Koptev, was also involved in the Iranian transactions. Koptev's space authority is the partner with NASA in the $60 billion International Space Station project. Russia also launches over a dozen civilian satellites under a U.S. government- approved quota. This cooperation may be endangered by Moscow's drive to sell weapons to Tehran. Today, the Kremlin hardly denies that it is involved in arming Iran and training its nuclear scientists and military engineers. It just says that its relationship with Tehran is none of Washington's business.Government sources indicated that the Kremlin links its breach of the U.S.-Russian agreement on arms sales to Iran with the declared intentions of the United States to deploy a national missile-defense system. The arms sales to Tehran, and Russian-Iranian cooperation in manufacturing weapons of mass destruction, may be the price Moscow is forcing Washington to pay for implementing policies which Moscow strongly opposes. In addition, Russia may have geopolitical and economic interests in selling arms to Iran. A new arms race will complicate and eventually may deny free U.S. access to the Gulf ports, oil terminals and its "brown waters". A new arms race in the Gulf could adversely affect oil prices, driving them up. Russia, Iran, Iraq, Libya, together with Hugo Chavez's Venezuela, are devout supporters of high oil prices. Russia is willing to supply arms to both Iran and Iraq (with sales to Kuwait for good measure), regardless of the security implications of such policy. The Kremlin also hopes that its military sales to the likes of Tehran will fund research and development -- and deployment -- of the new generation of the Russian weapons. Vladimir Putin has clearly made a bet that Russia's return to the ranks of great powers will be accompanied by a military modernization and rearmament. According to this scenario, Iranians are supposed to finance it. In the meantime, America's European allies are not excited about the Iranian military buildup. The 15-nation European Union sees both Iran and Iraq primarily as business partners and sources of much-needed energy -- not threats to its members' security. The EU prefers to invest and appease, not to confront and excoriate. The most important question for the incoming Bush Administration is whether Sergeyev is going to offer Iran a comprehensive military program which includes sales of ballistic-missile technology; nuclear weapons know-how; and other unconventional weaponry. If the answer to this question is yes, then U.S. officials will want to know what such a program may include, and what the timetables for delivery, manufacturing and deployment may be. The most pessimistic assessments coming from the U.S. intelligence sources forecast an Iranian intercontinental ballistic missile deployment in 2001, and a land-based cruise missile in 2004. Other U.S. intelligence estimates predict a deployment of land-to-sea cruise missiles in 2001 -- weapons capable of hitting naval targets in the Gulf and severely damaging oil exports from that strategically important region. Marshal Sergeyev may have gone to Tehran to play Santa Claus to its military. But this Santa's presents are certainly going to make many American policymakers and analysts extremely unhappy. Ariel Cohen, Ph.D., is Research Fellow at the Heritage Foundation. http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20001228/pl/rumsfeld_newsmaker_dc_1.html * BUSH'S PENTAGON PICK IS MISSILE-SHIELD SAVVY by Jim Wolf WASHINGTON (Reuters, 28th December) - Donald Rumsfeld, who headed the Pentagon in the traumatic post-Vietnam War years, was poised on Thursday to confront new post-Cold War challenges that play to his strength as an expert on national missile defense and protecting U.S. satellites. A four-time Republican U.S. congressman from Illinois and one-time American ambassador to NATO, Rumsfeld, 68, served from 1975 to 1977 as President Gerald Ford's defense secretary. Since then, Rumsfeld has acquired expertise in high-technology, 21st-century issues by heading a bipartisan commission that concluded in 1998 that U.S. intelligence had underestimated missile threats to the United States. The findings of the congressionally chartered, nine-member Rumsfeld Commission led President Clinton (news - web sites), in his final two years in office, to take the idea of a missile shield more seriously, bowing to long-standing Republican pressure. Rumsfeld -- who was nominated by President-elect George W. Bush on Thursday to serve again as defense secretary a quarter century after his first stint in the job -- would bring top level managerial experience from inside and outside the government to the Pentagon, which already has spent more than $50 billion on development of an anti-missile shield. If confirmed to the post by the U.S. Senate as expected, one of his first tasks would be to modernize U.S. forces by making them more mobile and swifter within existing budget constraints. ``We've got a great opportunity in America to redefine how wars are fought and won, and therefore how the peace is kept,'' Bush said in nominating Rumsfeld. NEW THREATS Rumsfeld said the United States must prepare itself to cope with new threats, including ``information warfare'' or computer-generated attacks on vital systems, defense of space assets such as satellites and the spread of weapons of mass destruction throughout the world. Rumsfeld also currently heads a congressionally mandated commission that is studying the use of space for national security purposes, including employing space assets to support military operations and protecting U.S. satellites from possible attack. Clinton deferred to his successor the question of whether to start breaking ground in Alaska to field a limited, land-based anti-missile system by 2005 or 2006. Bush campaigned for the presidency on promises of early deployment of a shield to protect U.S. forces and allies from the threat of missile attack or accidental launch. Russia steadfastly has refused to amend the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, a cornerstone of Cold War strategic stability, which bans such systems. China also strongly rejects any such system. Rumsfeld served as White House chief of staff for Ford in 1974 and 1975 before becoming the 13th U.S. secretary of defense from 1975 to 1977, the youngest in history, following the U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam. In 1962, at the age of 30, he was elected to the first of his four terms in the House of Representatives as a Republican from the 13th Congressional District of Illinois. Earlier, he attended Princeton University on a scholarship, served in the Navy as an aviator and became an all-Navy wrestling champion, according to his official biography. In 1969, he resigned from Congress to serve as a top aide to President Richard Nixon and director of the Office of Economic Opportunity. In January 1973, Nixon sent him to Brussels as U.S. ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. After stepping down as defense secretary, Rumsfeld became chief executive of G.D. Searle & Co., a pharmaceutical giant, from 1977 to 1985. For the next five years, he worked as an adviser to William Blair & Co., an investment banking firm. >From October 1990 to August 1993, he served as chairman and chief executive of General Instrument Corp., a leader in broadband and digital high-definition television technology. Since January 1997, Rumsfeld has been board chairman of Gilead Sciences Inc., a Foster City, California-based bio-pharmaceutical company. He was born on July 9, 1932 and graduated from Princeton in 1954. The Chicago native is married to the former Joyce Pierson of Wilmette, Illinois, and is the father of three. In 1977, Ford awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor. BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT Rumsfeld made a major impact as head of the blue-ribbon Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States, which found a vulnerability to attack sooner than had been suggested by the CIA. An unclassified, 27-page summary of the panel's report, made public on July 15, 1998, contradicted a 1995 CIA national intelligence estimate that predicted no nation outside of declared nuclear powers would be capable of hitting the contiguous 48 U.S. states and Canada before 2011. Instead, the Rumsfeld panel of defense and intelligence experts unanimously found that countries such as Iran, North Korea (news - web sites) and, eventually, Iraq could field ballistic missiles with ''little or no warning.'' The CIA at first stood by its 1995 conclusions. In a July 15, 1998, letter to Congress, CIA Director George Tenet said the intelligence community's predictions were ``supported by the available evidence and were well tested'' in an internal review. Since then, the CIA has said it agrees that a missile threat could emerge sooner than it originally had predicted. Rumsfeld said his panel reached a different conclusion because Tenet had granted it unrestricted access to a range of classified material that was unavailable in its entirety for security reasons to all but the most senior analysts. The Rumsfeld panel also called into question the ability of U.S. intelligence agencies to detect emerging threats, saying this was ``eroding.'' ``Deception and denial efforts are intense and often successful, and U.S. collection and analysis assets are limited,'' the panel's report said. ``Together they create a high risk of continued surprise.'' If confirmed, Rumsfeld also would preside over possible shake-ups in billions of dollars in weapons programs, including the largest -- the proposed Joint Strike Fighter warplane. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/commentary/printedition/article/0,2669,SA V 0012290372,FF.html * PROMOTING THE NATIONAL INTEREST - EXERCISING POWER WITHOUT ARROGANCE by Condoleezza Rice New York Times Syndicate, December 29, 2000 The United States has found it exceedingly difficult to define its "national interest" in the absence of Soviet power. That we do not know how to think about what follows the U.S.-Soviet confrontation is clear from the continued references to the "post-Cold War period." Yet such periods of transition are very important because they offer strategic opportunities. During these fluid times, one can affect the shape of the world to come. The enormity of the moment is obvious. The Soviet Union was more than just a traditional global competitor. It strove to lead a universal socialist alternative to markets and democracy. The Soviet Union quarantined itself and many of its often unwitting captives and clients from the rigors of international capitalism. In the end, it sowed the seeds of its own destruction, becoming in isolation an economic and technological dinosaur. America has emerged as both the principal benefactor of this revolution and the beneficiary. American values are universal. Their triumph is most assuredly easier when the international balance of power favors those who believe in them. But sometimes that favorable balance of power takes time to achieve, both internationally and within a country, and in the meantime, it is simply not possible to ignore and isolate other powerful states. The Cold War is a good example. Few would deny that the collapse of the Soviet Union profoundly transformed the picture of democracy and human rights in eastern and central Europe and the former Soviet territories. Nothing improved human rights as much as the collapse of Soviet power. Throughout the Cold War, the U.S. pursued a policy that promoted political liberty, using every instrument from the Voice of America to direct presidential intervention on behalf of dissidents. But it lost sight neither of the importance of the geopolitical relationship with Moscow nor of the absolute necessity of retaining robust American military power to deter an all-out military confrontation. In the 1970s, President Reagan's challenge to Soviet power was both resolute and well timed. It included intense, substantive engagements with Moscow across the entire range of issues captured in a classic "four-part agenda"--arms control, human rights, economic issues and regional conflicts. The Bush administration then focused greater attention on rolling back Soviet power in central and eastern Europe. As the Soviet Union's might waned, it could no longer defend its interests and gave up peacefully (thankfully) to the West--a tremendous victory for Western power and also for human liberty. Although the U.S. is fortunate to count among its friends several great powers, it is important not to take them for granted--so that there is a firm foundation when it comes time to rely on them. Today Russia presents a different challenge. It still has many of the attributes of a great power: a large population, vast territory and military potential. But its economic weakness and problems of national identity threaten to overwhelm it. Moscow is determined to assert itself in the world and often does so in ways that are at once haphazard and threatening to American interests. The picture is complicated by Russia's own internal transition--one that the United States wants to see succeed. The old Soviet system has broken down, and some of the basic elements of democratic development are in place. People are free to say what they think, vote for whom they please, and (for the most part) worship freely. But the democratic fragments are not institutionalized--and with the exception of the Communist Party, political parties are weak. Of course, in his last months as president, few paid attention to Boris Yeltsin's decrees. Arguably, the Russian government has been mired in inaction and stagnation for at least three years. Russia's economic troubles and its high-level corruption have been widely discussed. Its economy is not becoming a market but is mutating into something else. Widespread barter, banks that are not banks, billions of rubles stashed abroad and in mattresses at home, and bizarre privatization schemes that have enriched the so-called reformers give Moscow's economy a medieval tinge. The problem for U.S. policy is that the Clinton administration's ongoing embrace of Yeltsin and those who were thought to be reformers around him quite simply failed. Clearly the United States was obliged to deal with the head of state, and Yeltsin was Russia's president. But U.S. support for democracy and economic reform became support for Yeltsin. His agenda became the American agenda. America certified that reform was taking place in Russia where it was not, continuing to disburse money from the International Monetary Fund in the absence of any evidence of serious change. Thus, some curious privatization methods were hailed as economic liberalization; the looting of the country's assets by powerful people either went unnoticed or was ignored. The realities in Russia simply did not accord with the administration's script about Russian economic reform. The United States should not be faulted for trying to help. But, as the Russian reformer Grigori Yavlinsky has said, the United States should have "told the truth" about what was happening. Now we have a dual credibility problem--with Russians and with Americans. There are signs of life in the Russian economy. The financial crash of August 1998 forced import substitution, and domestic production has increased as the resilient Russian people have taken matters into their own hands. Rising oil prices have helped as well. But these are short-term fixes. There is no longer a consensus in America or Europe on what to do next with Russia. Frustrated expectations and "Russia fatigue" are direct consequences of the "happy talk" in which the Clinton administration engaged. Russia's economic future is now in the hands of the Russians. The country is not without assets, including its natural resources and an educated population. It is up to Russia to make structural reforms, particularly concerning the rule of law and the tax codes, so that investors--foreign and domestic--will provide the capital needed for economic growth. But the cultural changes ultimately needed to sustain a functioning civil society and a market-based economy may take a generation. Western openness to Russia's people, particularly its youth, in exchange programs and contact with the private sector and educational opportunities can help that process. It is also important to engage the leadership of Russia's diverse regions, where economic and social policies are increasingly pursued independently of Moscow. In the meantime, U.S. policy must concentrate on the important security agenda with Russia. First, it must recognize that American security is threatened less by Russia's strength than by its weakness and incoherence. This suggests immediate attention to the safety and security of Moscow's nuclear forces and stockpile. Second, Washington must begin a comprehensive discussion with Moscow on the changing nuclear threat. Much has been made by Russian military officials about their increased reliance on nuclear weapons in the face of their declining conventional readiness. The Russian deterrent is more than adequate against the U.S. nuclear arsenal, and vice versa. But that fact need no longer be enshrined in a treaty that is almost 30 years old and is a relic of a profoundly adversarial relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union. The Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty was intended to prevent the development of national missile defenses in the Cold War security environment. Today, the principal concerns are nuclear threats from the Iraqs and North Koreas of the world and the possibility of unauthorized releases as nuclear weapons spread. Moscow, in fact, lives closer to those threats than Washington does. It ought to be possible to engage the Russians in a discussion of the changed threat environment, their possible responses, and the relationship of strategic offensive-force reductions to the deployment of defenses. In addition, Moscow should understand that any possibilities for sharing technology or information in these areas would depend heavily on its record--problematic to date--on the proliferation of ballistic-missile and other technologies related to weapons of mass destruction. It would be foolish in the extreme to share defenses with Moscow if it either leaks or deliberately transfers weapons technologies to the very states against which America is defending. Finally, the United States needs to recognize that Russia is a great power, and that we will always have interests that conflict as well as coincide. As prime minister, Vladimir Putin used the Chechnya war to stir nationalism at home while fueling his own political fortunes. The Russian military has been uncharacteristically blunt and vocal in asserting its duty to defend the integrity of the Russian Federation--an unwelcome development in civil-military relations. The long-term effect of the war on Russia's political culture should not be underestimated. This war has affected relations between Russia and its neighbors in the Caucasus, as the Kremlin has been hurling charges of harboring and abetting Chechen terrorists against states as diverse as Saudi Arabia, Georgia and Azerbaijan. The war is a reminder of the vulnerability of the small, new states around Russia and of America's interest in their independence. If they can become stronger, they will be less tempting to Russia. But much depends on the ability of these states to reform their economies and political systems--a process, to date, whose success is mixed at best. http://www.latimes.com/news/front/20001229/t000123756.html * IRAN NOW A HOTBED OF ISLAMIC REFORMS by Robin Wright, Times Staff Writer QOM, Iran--Grand Ayatollah Yusef Saanei issues many of his fatwas sitting on the floor. Above him, a lone lightbulb dan gles from the ceiling and a slow fan struggles to diminish the searing desert heat in this religious center of yellow-brick seminaries and mud brick homes. The austere setting seems appropriate for one of the dozen most revered clerics in Shiite Islam, a man who has spent more than half a century in rigorous study of his faith. Yet Saanei, at 73, has turned out to be a thoroughly modern mullah. "It's my interpretation from the Koran that all people have equal rights. That means men and women, Muslims and non-Muslims too," he explained with gentle certainty, stroking a wispy white beard that hangs like fringe under his chin. "And in a society where all people have equal rights, that means all people should make decisions equally." To help enshrine those rights, Saanei has issued a series of stunning religious edicts, or fatwas: He banned discrimination based on gender, race or ethnicity. He declared that women could hold any job, including his own. Although Islam has historically outlawed abortion, he even issued a fatwa allowing it in the first trimester--and not only due to a mother's health or fetal abnormalities. Two decades after its stunning revolution expanded the modern political spectrum by creating a theocracy, Iran is once again shaking up the Muslim world. Its role, however, has reversed. Once widely feared as the hub of Islamic militancy and the training center for martyrs to the cause, Iran has increasingly become the intellectual breeding ground for the religion's most innovative reforms. For Islam, which literally means "submission," the change is so profound that Iran is now credited with spearheading a full-fledged Islamic Reformation--an event comparable in many ways to the Christian Reformation of the 16th century, which paved the way for the Age of Enlightenment and the birth of modern democracy in the West. Iran's reform movement still has a long way to go and faces enormous obstacles from conservatives willing to engage in sabotage, subterfuge and assassination. In a telling incident, after the grand ayatollah agreed to an interview, his aide called back. "If you get a call canceling this appointment, don't believe it," the aide said. "He wants to talk to you." REVOLUTIONARIES HAVE MADE A U-TURN Yet the inevitability of reform is reflected in Qom. This holy city, which once provided the mullahs who mobilized millions to rise up against the shah of Iran and end 2,500 years of monarchy, is producing clerics who are challenging and redefining the world's only theocracy. Many who were the most zealous revolutionaries two decades ago are the most ardent reformers today. In the 1980s, Saanei served on the first Council of Guardians, the conservative 12-member body that is now a leading roadblock to reform. Then he was chief prosecutor. The late Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini once boasted that he brought up Saanei, his protege, "as a son." A generation later, however, Saanei has issued a bold fatwa challenging both the powers and the selection of the nation's supreme leader. Iran's senior cleric, who is chosen by 86 of his peers, has veto power over the elected president and parliament, makes top judicial appointments and serves as commander in chief. His powers are the closest thing in Islam to the Roman Catholic papacy. But Saanei has ruled that no one is infallible. The supreme leader's right to hold office and his actions "depend on the endorsement by the public as a whole," Saanei declared. "Humans can always make mistakes. And no one leader or group of people is above the law or 'more equal' than anyone else," he said in an interview. "So power must rest with the people, the majority, not individuals or institutions." On abortion, he acknowledges that it is generally forbidden. 'REINTERPRETING' TO MATCH THE TIMES "But Islam is also a religion of compassion, and if there are serious problems, God sometimes doesn't require his creatures to practice his law. So under some conditions--such as parents' poverty or overpopulation--then abortion is allowed," said Saanei, who even writes letters of consent for women to take to their doctors. "This doesn't mean that we're changing God's law," he cautioned. "It just means we're reinterpreting laws according to the development of science--and the realities of the times." Saanei is unusual among grand ayatollahs, but he's hardly a lone voice among Iran's 180,000 mullahs. Because of the Shiite clergy's special powers, Iran was in fact a logical place to energize a reform movement that has been struggling to take off from Egypt to India for more than a century--just as Tehran was the most logical place for an Islamic revolution. In contrast to the advisory role of clerics among mainstream Sunni Muslims, who account for more than 80% of the Islamic world, Shiite clerics are mandated to interpret God's word and direct the faithful. The more senior the clerics, the more importance their fatwas carry in directing public behavior. So, whether it be the rallying cry of revolution from Khomeini or the reform fatwas of Saanei, the Shiite clergy wields far more authority than its Sunni counterpart in shaping public thinking and actions. That's particularly true in Iran, the world's largest predominantly Shiite country. Among the growing number of clerics willing to exert that clout, in defiance of their peers and at great personal risk, is Abdollah Nouri. He is a former vice president and interior minister who published the most popular reformist newspaper. He's also a hojatoleslam, or "authority on Islam," one rank below an ayatollah. "Religion should not be an instrument of power," he wrote last year. Nouri probably would have been speaker of the new parliament that opened last summer- had he been allowed to run. But in a blatant move to get him out of the way, the Special Court for Clergy last year charged him with apostasy and sentenced him to five years in prison. Mohsen Kadivar, a charismatic young seminary professor, is another. He has written daringly about the separation of mosque and state, and compared the theocracy's record on freedom of expression with the shah's era. The same special court last year charged Kadivar with "disseminating lies and disturbing public opinion" and sentenced him to 18 months in jail. The most unusual case, however, may be that of Hadi Khamenei, a tall man with an elegant, leonine face who can often be found in his office wearing an open-neck shirt with rolled-up sleeves. A clerical robe and a long piece of cloth that is his unwound turban--black, denoting his descent from the prophet Muhammad [? I thought that was green PB] --hang on a coatrack. "The most important thing we're looking for today in Iran is the rule of law. And that means no one, whatever his position, is above it. Unfortunately for the rest of us, there are still people at the top who don't accept that basic right," Khamenei said, peering from behind large aviator glasses. "The political right in this country says that the supreme leader is above the law, that he can change the law, that he can decree anything he feels is right." What makes Khamenei so riveting is the fact that Iran's supreme leader is his older brother by eight years: Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The younger Khamenei has taken his message to seminaries around the country. He launched a newspaper to provide alternative coverage to the mainstream media, which is dominated by conservative clerics. He became a top advisor to reformist President Mohammad Khatami after Khatami's 1997 election. And he registered to run for the Assembly of Experts, which selects the supreme leader. But Hadi Khamenei has paid a heavy price. He's been attacked during lectures; head injuries suffered at a Qom mosque required hospitalization. His newspaper was banned. And the Council of Guardians disqualified him from running for the Assembly of Experts because he refused to accept the council's right to test candidates. Which of the Khamenei brothers could win more votes is much debated in Iran. In February, the younger Khamenei ran for the 290-seat parliament and garnered the fourth-highest tally. The only bigger winners were siblings of Nouri and Kadivar, the two imprisoned clerics, and the brother of President Khatami. "No two fingers are the same," Saanei explained with a sigh. "There are differences between members of the same family, including mine." Saanei's brother heads the 15 Khordad Foundation, which in 1989 placed a bounty on Salman Rushdie, author of "The Satanic Verses," whom Khomeini charged with blasphemy. "My brother is not as educated as I am," Saanei said. "But in the end, each person is responsible for his own actions and thoughts. That's diversity in an open society." FROM HOSTAGE-TAKER TO LEGISLATOR Mohsen Mirdamadi has come a long way from the chaotic days of 1979 when he and two other rather scruffy engineering students masterminded the takeover of the U.S. Embassy- and then held 52 Americans and a superpower hostage for 444 days. Afterward, he donned the beige fatigues of the Revolutionary Guards, the militant wing of Iran's armed forces, and went off to fight Iraq. But these days Mirdamadi, a diminutive man with a neat salt-and-pepper beard, prefers pinstriped shirts and somber gray suits. Once willing to take the law into his own hands, Mirdamadi earlier this year ran for parliament on a platform of restoring the rule of law. He won big and now heads parliament's foreign relations committee. "We've always wanted a country that had independence, freedoms and was an Islamic republic, though our emphasis originally was on winning independence from foreign influence and creating an Islamic state," Mirdamadi reflected during an interview at his party's headquarters, just two blocks from the old U.S. Embassy. "But today our emphasis is on freedoms. And now we want to be more of a republic. Our tactics have shifted too. Before, we carried out a revolution. Today we're trying evolution." The transformation of the former hostage-taker reflects the profound political change unleashed by the Islamic reform movement. As clerics reform the faith, politicos are trying to create a new model of democracy that combines freedom with Islamic values. "The future now depends on what the people want, not what a few politicians or religious leaders prefer," Mirdamadi said. The impact of political change in Iran could be sweeping for the more than 50 nations of the Islamic world. Only a few of those countries--including Algeria, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Nigeria, Pakistan, Turkey and Yemen--have dabbled in democracy, and with mixed results. All have a long way to go; many have suffered military coups, civil wars or manipulated elections. Iran is different because Islam here is the idiom of political transition. Instead of adopting or adapting political systems from the West, Iran is using Islam to define and justify a new kind of democracy. The key is the idea of interpretation. For more than a millennium, Muslims have accepted the concept that Islam has a single path. Reformers contend, however, that Islam is adaptable through constant reinterpretation. In other words, reformers argue, Islam has many paths. "The people have the right to listen to those different interpretations. No one has the right to impose his ideas on everyone else," Mirdamadi said. "The same is true of political beliefs." Adapting to the times doesn't mean diminishing the state's Islamic identity, however. Emergency listings in Iranian newspapers still include numbers for the 24-hour Dial-a Koranic-Verse and a 24-hour prayer schedule. Last summer, Tehran hosted the Koranic Recitation Competition for members of the armed forces from Muslim states in the Mideast, Asia, Africa and Europe. TV news, official speeches and state documents all still begin with the phrase "In the name of God, the compassionate and merciful." None of that is likely to change soon. At the same time, Iran is now a society where Grand Ayatollah Saanei has his own Web site and communicates by e-mail. Ayatollah Ali Korani, another senior cleric who 15 years ago couldn't type, has spent the last five years putting major writings on Islam--as well as Christianity, Judaism and other faiths--on the Internet for use by scholars worldwide. Abdol Karim Soroush, Iran's leading philosopher, is another former Khomeini ally turned reformer. He's often compared to Martin Luther, the pioneering German theologian of the Christian Reformation. "We've abandoned the export of the revolution, and now we're thinking about the export of Islamic democracy," he said in an interview at the Tehran institute he founded after conservatives squeezed him out of three university positions. "We still need to do a lot of thinking about democracy, freedom and rights before these ideas are complete. But now we're heading in the right direction." 'GOD HAS TALKED TO ALL HUMAN BEINGS' Monireh Ghorji is a grandmother of six and great-grandmother of two with an appropriately wholesome face and gentle demeanor. She's also a mojtahedeh--the female equivalent of an ayatollah--and a feisty advocate of women's rights. "God has talked to all human beings, not to a special gender," she said with a trace of disdain for anyone who might say otherwise. "So there's no question that women are equal to men. In fact, the Koran says in several places that women are actually more important because they have character and qualifications that men don't have." For a country long deemed repressive to females, the most unexpected side of the Islamic Reformation is a spirited, even audacious, women's movement. A whole new breed of Muslim feminists has emerged over the past three years to challenge revolutionary dictates that stripped women of rights in the family, segregated classrooms, imposed strict dress codes and endangered their lives. During the revolution's early wave of retribution, the shah's female education minister was executed for "promoting prostitution" among girls. A generation later, record numbers of women have joined society and politics, become engineers, doctors and lawyers, and even entered seminaries. Iran now has a female vice president, Masoumeh Ebtekar. About 500 women ran for parliament this year, and more than 5,000 ran in municipal elections last year. Almost half the university student body and a third of the faculty are female. Revolutionaries once invoked religion to justify their clampdown on society; today reformers cite Islam to justify new activism and participation. For women, Islam has offered a sort of security blanket. Traditional families trusted an Islamic system to protect their daughters, so millions of families sent their girls to schools and universities for the first time after the revolution. And once educated, tens of thousands of women have joined the work force as professionals. The result is a new class of educated women and their mentors, including about 100 mojtahedehs. Women are now one of the two most important blocs of voters; young people are the other. Women were key to President Khatami's 1997 upset victory and the ouster of conservatives in parliament this year. "No Muslim society is introducing more new ideas about women's equality than Iran," said Ghorji, who now teaches her own interpretations of Islam that grant women equal rights in matters of divorce, inheritance, child custody and employment. 'THE RELIGION WAS MANIPULATED' Yet Ghorji, the only woman appointed by Ayatollah Khomeini to help write Iran's Islamic constitution, claims that the reformation is not changing the faith's basic tenets. "This isn't a new face of Islam. We're just removing a layer of traditions, most of which have nothing to do with Islam, or which predate the religion and which we Muslims imposed on Islam over the past 14 centuries. We covered the essence of Islam. The religion was manipulated," she said. One of those traditions is hejab, or modest Islamic dress, the ubiquitous symbol of Iranian women. Although she wears the all-enveloping black chador, over a head scarf and another layer of black clothing, Ghorji questions the revolution's rules on female clothing. A 7th century Koranic verse instructs "believing women" to "lower their gaze, restrain their sexual passions, not display their adornments . . . and let them wear their head coverings over their bosoms." But aspects of that edict have been misunderstood, Ghorji and other female reformers say. "Wearing black comes from tradition. It has nothing to do with Islam. In fact, according to Islam, it's not good to wear black," said Ghorji, who carries a pocket-size Koran in a zippered leather case in her purse. She's not alone. GIRLS GET THE GREEN LIGHT TO WEAR PINK Elaheh Koolaee, one of 11 new female members of parliament, shook up the chamber in June when she refused to wear a chador, instead donning a tight-fitting scarf and full body cover. Although a male lawmaker questioned whether Koolaee's credentials should be accepted, two other female legislators immediately followed suit. The women prevailed. Under pressure from women, the Ministry of Education announced in July that girls in primary schools would be allowed to wear "gay, bright colors," including pink. And Tehran began to buzz with talk of putting hejab to a public referendum. Koolaee, a Tehran University political scientist and administrator, plans to promote legislation on everything from equal pay for equal work to a mother's right to child custody after divorce. "Women have a very influential role as voters, so the political system should provide suitable answers to their demands," she said. Female reformers still face enormous obstacles. Mehranguiz Kar and Shireen Ebadi, champions of women's rights and lawyers for reformists, were arrested last summer for sowing disorder. Yet the women's movement has also gained critical support from Iran's male clergy. Ayatollah Mustafa Mohaqeqdamad, a dapper cleric with a full beard and an impish sense of humor, heads the Islamic Studies department of Iran's Academy of Sciences in Tehran. His main focus for the past five years has been the state of Muslim women. His recent fatwas have declared that no man can divorce his wife by simply saying "I divorce thee" three times, a long-standing practice that has often left ex-wives stranded. "If marriage is a bilateral act, the divorce certainly can't be a unilateral act," he said. Mohaqeqdamad also issued a fatwa refuting a principle at the heart of the justice system that says the testimony of one man is equal to that of two female witnesses, which has long been interpreted to diminish the worth of women across the board. "The Koran says, 'Call in to witness from among your men two witnesses, but if there are not two men, then one man and two women.' But that doesn't mean that a woman is worth only half the value of a man," Mohaqeqdamad said. "Quite the contrary! My interpretation is that you need two females because women have so many responsibilities and one may be busy or not available to go to court. In fact, this verse actually shows that women are more important than men." http://www.iht.com/articles/5689.htm * CASTRO, SADDAM AND CHÁVEZ POSE CHALLENGE TO BUSH by Tad Szulc International Herald Tribune (from the Los Angeles Times) Friday, December 29, 2000 WASHINGTON: The improbable but growing friendship of three military revolutionaries - Fidel Castro of Cuba, Saddam Hussein of Iraq and Hugo Chávez of Venezuela - poses a challenge to U.S. interests and to President-elect George W. Bush. It is a friendship with considerable power: Venezuela and Iraq are among the top 10 oil exporters. Cuba is a beneficiary of their largesse and, in Venezuela's case, a mentor of revolution. Meanwhile, United Nations economic sanctions against Iraq, imposed after the Persian Gulf War nearly 10 years ago, and the four-decade U.S. embargo against Cuba, following the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, are crumbling. Allies and U.S. businesses are increasingly violating or ignoring both embargoes, and there is nothing Washington seems able to do about it. Earlier this month, the UN Security Council overrode U.S. objections and released $525 million from its Iraqi oil fund for use in upgrading Mr. Saddam's oil industry. The Castro-Hussein-Chávez connection is anti-American and anti-capitalistic, but not in an ideological way. What matters to the three is domestic power built upon a base of nationalism that they believe legitimizes their policies. In a way, this bizarre trio represents the rebirth, a half century later, of the kind of nationalist populism spawned by General Juan Perón in Argentina and Gamal Abdel Nasser in Egypt. Mr. Castro and Mr. Saddam gained power through armed revolutions; Mr. Chávez, a paratroopers' lieutenant colonel, was democratically elected in 1998, after serving time for trying to overthrow the government in 1992. Mr. Chávez is the most intriguing new leader to emerge in Latin America since Mr. Castro - and he is the lynchpin between Mr. Castro and Mr. Saddam. Although Cuba had been sending doctors and health workers to Iraq for years, there had not been any major contacts between the two countries until Mr. Chávez appeared on the scene. This fall, Mr. Chávez became the first democratically elected foreign head of state to visit Iraq since the Gulf War, ostensibly to invite Mr. Saddam to a summit of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. But it also was an in-your face gesture toward the United States. With France and Russia, two of the five veto-wielding members of the Security Council, determined to see the sanctions against Iraq ended, the United States can do little to prevent them from withering away. Mr. Saddam has no intention of allowing UN weapons inspectors back into his country, and he knows that renewed bombing of Iraq is out of the question. Confident that the United States and the British would not risk shooting down a civilian airliner in the southern or northern "no-fly" zone, Mr. Saddam has resumed regular domestic commercial flights for the first time in a decade. Iraq has the world's second-largest reserves of oil, after Saudi Arabia, which it exports legally under UN controls and smuggles out on a huge scale. Mr. Saddam is not short of cash for whatever adventure next occurs to him, and, with Mr. Chávez, he can influence the international oil supply and its prices. As for Venezuela, a main source of U.S. imported oil, Mr. Chávez has been raising his profile within OPEC, having presided in Caracas in late September over a summit of that organization. Late in November, Mr. Saddam showed on two occasions what he can do to the oil market when he briefly threatened to halt the shipping of oil, a move Mr. Chávez knew about beforehand. The Iraqi link is one aspect of Mr. Chávez's international involvements that the United States must not underestimate, with Cuba playing a central role. Since he took office in February 1999, Mr. Chávez has proclaimed his "identification" with the Cuban revolution. He visited Havana and entertained Mr. Castro in Caracas for five days last October. Mr. Castro treated Mr. Chávez as a son, an attitude seldom displayed by the Cuban leader toward any young people. During that same visit, Mr. Chávez granted Cuba large crude-oil price discounts, as he has done selectively elsewhere in the Caribbean, and agreed to help complete building a Cuban oil refinery. Mr. Castro is Mr. Chávez's guide in the art of gently and gradually introducing authoritarian government to Venezuela. Mr. Chávez abolished the Senate and established a unicameral Parliament whose members support him. He has a new constitution, approved by a simple majority of voters in a referendum, that grants him considerable power. To complicate matters and his relations with the United States, Mr. Chávez has been openly supporting leftist guerrilla movements in neighboring Colombia. The rebels control big swaths of Colombian territory, along with numerous coca plantations. Washington has already committed $1.3 billion, mainly in military aid, to the eradication of both guerrillas and coca plantations. This could foreshadow a big U.S. commitment in Colombia and an eventual conflict with Mr. Chávez that may interfere with the flow of oil north from Venezuela. The writer, who visited Iraq this year, is the author of a biography of Fidel Castro. He contributed this comment to the Los Angeles Times. http://www.telegraph.co.uk:80/et?ac=000579381554028&rtmo=as3bN2wL&atmo=99999 999&pg=/et/00/12/31/wcia31.html * THIS IS THE WORLD IN 2015 by James Langton in New York Sunday Telegraph, 31st December THE world is on the brink of a new era that may resemble the script of a James Bond film in which international affairs are increasingly determined by large and powerful organisations rather than governments, according to a study just published by the CIA in Washington. These could include alliances between some of the most powerful criminal groups such as the Mafia and Chinese triads. Such groups, according to the CIA, "will corrupt leaders of unstable, economically fragile or failing states, insinuate themselves into troubled banks and businesses, and co-operate with insurgent political movements to control substantial geographic areas". The agency adds: "Their income will come from narcotics trafficking; aliens smuggling; trafficking in women and children; smuggling toxic materials, hazardous wastes, illicit arms, military technologies, and other contraband; financial fraud; and racketeering." The 70-page report, Global Trends 2015, will be required reading for the new president, George W Bush, and his senior policy advisers. It suggests that the early years of the coming century are likely to be filled with both potential and peril. Compiled with help from think tanks in America and the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, the report projects a future in which globalisation, whether in the shape of the European Union, the International Monetary Fund, giant corporations or terrorist gangs, plays an increasing part in the lives of ordinary people. "Governments will have less and less control over flows of information, technology, diseases, migrants, arms, and financial transactions, whether licit or illicit," it concludes. In addition to confronting the growing economic and military power of China and India and the continuing decline of Russia, the CIA says: "Between now and 2015 terrorist tactics will become increasingly sophisticated and designed to achieve mass casualties." In particular it notes the growing threat of biological and chemical weapons and "suitcase" nuclear devices against the United States. In addition, it expects rogue states such as Iraq and Iran to develop long range missiles in the near future. Iran, it says, could be testing such weapons by as early as the coming year, and cruise missiles by 2004. Iraq could have missiles capable of hitting America by 2015, with both nations developing nuclear, chemical and biological warheads. Potential flashpoints have a familiar ring and include India and Pakistan, China's relations with Taiwan, and the Middle East, where the best that can be hoped for is a "cold peace". Elsewhere, the world population will grow by more than one billion, to 7.2 billion, most of the increase coming in the mega-cities of the developing world. In Europe and Japan, an ageing population and static birthrate means that allowing more immigration may be the only way of meeting a chronic shortage of workers. The gloomiest predictions are reserved for Africa, where Aids, famine, and continuing economic and political turmoil means that populations in many countries will actually fall. At least three billion people will live in regions where water is in increasingly short supply. On the other hand, there is good news on energy supplies. "Energy resources will be sufficient to meet demand," the study says. The CIA report is most optimistic on the world economy, which it says has a potential for growth not seen since the 1960s. Computer technology represents "the most significant global transformation since the Industrial Revolution". "At the same time, genetically modified crops will offer the potential to improve nutrition among the world's one billion malnourished people. China's economy will grow to overtake Europe as the world's second largest but still behind the United States. Russia's economy will contract to barely a fifth of America's. The study expects the European Union to narrow the economic gap with America. It points out, however, that "lingering labour market rigidity and state regulation" mean that "Europe will not achieve fully the dreams of parity with the US as a shaper of the global economic system". The 2015 report is an update of a 1997 CIA study into the world in 2010, which it admits failed to anticipate the global economic crisis that occurred between 1997 and 1998 which had the hardest impact in the Far East and Russia. The new survey suggests a number of alternative scenarios, none of which makes happy reading. These include a trade war between Europe and America, and an alliance between terrorist organisations to attack the West. Most alarming of all, it raises the possibility of economic stagnation, followed by America abdicating its role as the world's policeman. At the same time tensions begin to grow in the Far East, where China orders Japan to dismantle its nuclear programme, leaving, the report says, no alternative but for "US re engagement in Asia under adverse circumstances at the brink of a major war". -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 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