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NEW WORLD ORDER SUPPLEMENT (31/12/006/1/01) NOTE that, despite the address any complaints should be sent to me (Peter Brooke) at firstname.lastname@example.org. * U.S. Signs Treaty on War Crimes Tribunal * Global justice? Haider has heard that story before [Under the proposed court's rules, the United Nations Security Council (of which the US is one of five permanent members) can authorise a court prosecutor to investigate claims of crimes.This allows the US to have it both ways - avoid its citizens ever being tried, but ensuring it can initiate attempts to prosecute the war crimes of others.ı The Haiderı in question isnıt Jorg, but an Iraqi refugee called Haider Aljuboory] * Peace is the wrong strategy [Jerusalem Post article auggesting that Israel should emulate the US and abandon the failed strategy of employing peace as an element of strategic defenseı] * Peacekeepers [sic - PB] face radiation testing as more deaths reported [of soldiers serving in Kosovo, where depleted uranium was used] * First British Victim Of 'Balkan War Syndrome' Revealed * Nato urged to clean up its uranium debris in Kosovo * Back to the Future: Globalization Grows Up and Gets Political [by Fareed Zakaria, who has been appointed to become editor of Newsweek International] * Targeting Muslim countries [Pakistani former general compaining about the demonisation of Islam.] * Profile of the week: Osama bin Laden [as, for example ...] * 5 nations take turn on UN Council [Colombia, Ireland, Mauritius, Norway and Singapore are to be permitted on occasion to sit in the same room as the rulers of the world] * Briefing of the week: Bosnia [short extract on US deployment overseas. The article as a whole is interesting on Bushıs policy with regard to withdrawing from the Balkans.] * Holbrooke Leaves His Mark at U.N. [mainly on Holbrookeıs success in getting the US debt to the UN rescheduled] URL ONLY: http://www.dawn.com/2001/01/04/op.htm#1 * Will the UN sanctions on Afghanistan work? by Dr Ayesha Siddiqa-Agha Dawn, 4th January [Interesting article on one of the next horrors that is developing in the world]http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A4706-2000Dec31.html * U.S. Signs Treaty on War Crimes Tribunal by Thomas E. Ricks Washington Post, January 1 Over the objections of conservatives and the Pentagon, the United States signed a treaty yesterday that would create the first permanent international court designed to try people accused of genocide, war crimes and other crimes against humanity. ³We do so to reaffirm our strong support for international accountability,² President Clinton said in a statement from Camp David, Md., where he spent the weekend. ³We do so as well because we wish to remain engaged in making the ICC [International Criminal Court] an instrument of impartial and effective justice.² Clinton said his administration still has ³concerns about significant flaws in the treaty.² It remains especially worried that the Netherlands-based court, which would replace case specific international courts with a permanent tribunal, may claim jurisdiction over citizens from nations that do not ratify the treaty, as ultimately could be the case with the United States. One reason that he decided to sign, Clinton said, was to enable the United States to continue to influence the shape of the treaty. Yesterday was the last day that nations could sign the treaty without first having ratified it. At United Nations headquarters in New York, David Scheffer, the U.S. ambassador at large for war crimes, said he signed the treaty ³in honor of the victims of these crimes and also in honor of the U.S. services who uphold these laws of war.² A senior administration official described Clintonıs decision to sign as mainly a tactical move to keep the government involved in negotiations on the treaty. Clinton shares the Pentagonıs concerns that the international court could seek to prosecute U.S. soldiers for political and ideological reasons, this official said. But, he said, ³the president believes that signing . . . will keep us in the game.² Human rights organizations applauded the move. ³The president has made history here,² said Richard Dicker, director of international justice programs at Human Rights Watch, a human rights monitoring organization. ³He has strengthened hope for international justice for millions and millions of people worldwide.² Similarly, Michael Posner of the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights said Clintonıs decision ³reaffirms U.S. support for international criminal justice as a means of protecting human rights.² But others denounced the presidentıs action. ³This decision will not stand,² said Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jesse Helms (R-N.C.). ³I will make reversing this decision, and protecting Americaıs fighting men and women from the jurisdiction of this international kangaroo court, one of my highest priorities in the new Congress.² Lee A. Casey, a former Justice Department official who specializes in international law, called the move ³a shame.² By signing the treaty, he argued, the U.S. government gave up its best bargaining chip in trying to win additional changes in the treaty. Casey said he opposes the creation of the permanent International Criminal Court under the auspices of the United Nations because he believes its powers are too extensive, and could subject American citizens to trial without allowing them the rights and protections they are guaranteed by the Constitution. It is unclear what the practical effect of the United States signing the treaty will be, given that the Clinton administration leaves office in less than three weeks, and that ratification of the treaty by the Senate any time soon is considered unlikely. Most notably, Helms has vigorously opposed the treaty because he said he wants to ensure that ³no American is ever tried by this global Star Chamber.² However, one effect is immediate: Experts said it is an accepted principle of international law that by signing a treaty that is not yet ratified, the government immediately is obliged not to violate the spirit of that treaty. Clinton said in his statement that because of his concerns about the powers of the court, he would not submit the treaty for ratification. Nor, he said, would he recommend that President-elect Bush do so. ³Chances are it will never be ratified,² said Casey, the international lawyer. The presidentıs decision marks the third time in two years that Clinton has overruled Defense Secretary William S. Cohen on a major issue. In November 1998, Clinton overruled Cohen and other members of his Cabinet who advocated going forward with air raids against Iraq; the air attacks were postponed for a month. Last summer, Cohen advocated taking the first step in building a national missile defense system by building a radar site on a remote Alaskan island, a move that Clinton ultimately rejected. A Defense Department official noted, however, that there were several major issues on which the president supported Cohen, the sole Republican in the Cabinet. On the International Criminal Court treaty, ³the [Defense] Departmentıs position has been clear,² a Pentagon official said. ³We were against signing it and still are.² The U.S. militaryıs objections have played a significant role in shaping the treaty because it is more involved globally than any other nationıs armed forces, with hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops operating in dozens of nations every day. In the Pentagonıs view, the treaty ³offers inadequate protection for the average soldier on the ground in any number of scenarios,² another defense official said. Some opponents of the treaty fear that U.S. troops could be subjected to prosecution for ideological reasons. But other experts predicted that the U.S. military could be a major beneficiary of the treaty. ³Our military is the most law-abiding in the world, and so the least likely to be hauled before the court,² said Anne-Marie Slaughter, a professor of international legal studies at Harvard Law School. Slaughter said the treaty could give the U.S. military an additional tool by providing a widely accepted legal basis when it is pursuing dictators and other leaders who abuse human rights. Several other nations signed the treaty in recent days as the deadline for participating without ratifying approached, bringing the number of signing nations to 139. Israel at first said yesterday that it would not sign, then reversed its position after the United States said it would. Starting today, other nations that want to become a party to the treaty must first ratify it. The treaty takes effect when 60 nations have ratified it; 27 have done so. Special correspondent Colum Lynch in New York contributed to this report. URL ONLY: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/World/Americas/2001 01/APwarcrimes010101.shtml * UN hails US decision to sign war crimes court treaty by Nicole Winfield, The Independent, 1 January 2001 [Doesnıt seem to me to add much to the above] http://www.guardianunlimited.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,417165,00.html * Hypocrite to the last by Joan Smith Guardian, Wednesday January 3, 2001 [This doesnıt have much to offer either, except the following little bit of lobby room gossip:] Clintonıs Nato allies have put up with this situation [The USıs position - perfectly reasonable given the slavish attitudes adopted by most of the rest of the world - that it is above the law PB] to keep the US on side in a whole string of peace-keeping operations. (Privately, supporters of the Blair government even go so far as to admit that Britainıs acquiescence in the bombing of Iraq is a quid pro quo for American support elsewhere, particularly in the Balkans.) This means that Clinton has got away with what is really a form of American neo-imperialism, and has now turned his mind to ensuring that things stay that way in the future. He could scarcely have enjoyed a greater stroke of luck than the incoming Bush administration, which can be relied upon to enhance his thoroughly undeserved liberal reputation. [What is fantastic about this is the implication that the British government had serious intentions in the Balkans. In fact the only members of the international communityı which were pursuing anything resembling a policy in their interventions in that part of the world, and the only countries which stood to gain anything from it, were Germany and the US PB] http://www.theage.com.au/news/2001/01/06/FFXKJR08LHC.html * Global justice? Haider has heard that story before by DARRIN FARRANT The Age (Australia), Saturday 6 January 2001 It's too late for Augusto Pinochet, it will not catch Slobodan Milosevic, and it does not mean a thing to the Timor militias. But a parting gesture by a departing American president could become a turning point for the protection of human rights. The timing could hardly have been more unexpected: amid the political torpor of New Year's Eve, hours before the deadline, and long after even the most optimistic had discounted him (and his country), President Bill Clinton announced he would sign a treaty setting up a permanent global war crimes tribunal. The loudest opponent of the tribunal was suddenly on board, and the effect was immediate. Israel, whose cabinet had said no to signing just hours before, had a quick chat with the US and promptly announced it had changed its mind. Then Iran said it was joining the queue. Now international lawyers and human rights activists are starting to speak without having their fingers crossed. It seems the International Criminal Court may, at last, be a goer. Clinton's signature comes with several riders and reservations, and does not actually bind the US to do anything about the tribunal - even to set it up. Influential senators in the US Congress already have flagged that they plan to prevent the treaty's ratification, the move necessary for the US to become an official party. Yet the Coalition for an ICC, a group of more than 1000 non-government organisations, still described the decision as "a historic step for global justice ... It strengthens the US credibility in the effort to end impunity for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes." They are the crimes that the court is supposed to cover when it eventually opens in The Hague - once 60 countries have ratified the treaty. So far the tally stands at 27, including Germany, Canada, New Zealand and France. Australia is one of 112 other countries that have signed the treaty, a step which had to be taken before last Monday if the countries wanted to participate in further negotiations about the structure of the court. Attorney-General Daryl Williams says cabinet decided more than a year ago that Australia would also ratify. But that has still not happened, while the complementary domestic laws drafted to match the new court's powers and rules remain waiting to be examined. Parliament's joint committee on treaties is considering the treaty, and Williams says that if the committee opposed ratification, "that is something we would have to consider. But for that to happen would be very surprising. I hope the committee members would recognise the value and ... Australia's existing participation in the two ad hoc tribunals (for Rwanda and for the former Yugoslavia)." Those tribunals, each limited to certain time periods and areas, emerged in the '90s just as international support was crystallising for some kind of organisation to provide justice for the victims of atrocities. The end of the Cold War meant that an idea being floated since the late '40s finally had a chance to succeed. A massive conference in Rome in mid-1998 drew up the court's rules - definitions of who it could prosecute, how trials would be conducted, and what sort of penalties could be handed out. The death penalty is outlawed, the court's jurisdiction will not be retrospective (which means tyrants and killers of the recent past cannot be tried), and the court will only become involved if the legal system of the local country does not act. But these rules were not enough for the US, which was one of just seven nations (along with China, Libya and Israel) to vote in Rome against adopting the treaty. Many observers believed that a court without the involvement of the world's sole superpower would not be much of a court at all. Williams says the US "has always seen itself as being in a different position to other countries because they have troops stationed in so many parts of the world. They fear (prosecutions) could be used for political reasons against them and their troops. I think their concerns are exaggerated." The University of Melbourne's Professor Tim McCormack, who was part of the Australian delegation in Rome, doubts that George W. Bush's administration will support ratification. But he argues that American ratification is not essential for success or widespread international acceptance. Under the proposed court's rules, the United Nations Security Council (of which the US is one of five permanent members) can authorise a court prosecutor to investigate claims of crimes. This allows the US to have it both ways - avoid its citizens ever being tried, but ensuring it can initiate attempts to prosecute the war crimes of others. Double-standard, perhaps, but realpolitik, admits McCormack, who says it is unrealistic to expect the court to be able to pursue the perpetrators of crimes in every significant international conflict. Like the former Yugoslavian leader Milosevic, some people will be hard to even bring to court; others, such as former Chilean dictator Pinochet, may use advancing age or lack of health to avoid prosecution. "I think the first few cases of the court will be critical ... in building support and showing what it can do," McCormack says. For the Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture, which has been counselling people since 1988, a tribunal with serious flaws is better than none at all. The foundation's director, Paris Aristotle, says: "It has to start somewhere, and for people who seek some form of justice, and I don't mean retributive justice, but a genuine sense of justice, this is critical." Iraqi refugee Haider Aljuboory is not so sanguine. He fled Iraq with his family almost 10 years ago after taking part in a failed uprising against Saddam Hussein's regime at the end of the Gulf War. Aljuboory's father was taken from his job at a government oil company in 1985 after someone reported him for criticising Iraq's war with Iran. Later his family learnt he had been executed. They were stripped of their government-supplied home and never given his body. Another cousin was killed in 1980 for supposed support of Iran. The 30-year-old, who now lives in Melbourne, is sceptical that anyone from Iraq - from Hussein to the soldiers who carried out the killings - will ever be brought to justice. "The court will work to the advantage of the people who run it. There are war crimes happening every day, but no one says anything about it. But when a tourist or foreigner (is killed), they will do something," he says. TO ALJUBOORY, a genuine war crimes tribunal would also bring charges against Western political leaders like Clinton and Bush for maintaining sanctions against Iraq, which he says has led to the deaths of thousands of children. It would also pursue Israeli leaders over its occupation of Palestinian territories. McCormack says the cynicism is understandable given that only some conflicts and some regimes seem to attract the condemnation of international governments. But he believes some pursuit is better than none, and is optimistic that a viable court could be operating by as early as 2003. "A group of my PhD and masters students are on an e-mail list, and whenever there's a new ratification we get a message. We have a bit of a p----up and celebration every time there's a milestone, like when we got to 20 countries. "In the last half of 2000 we went from 15 to 27. It had taken two years to get the first 15. If you drew a graph plotting ratification, it's moving quicker and quicker." http://www.jpost.com/Editions/2001/01/01/Opinion/Opinion.18333.html * Peace is the wrong strategy by Avigdor Haselkorn Jerusalem Post, 1st January Instead of trying to put the peace process back on track, Israeli leaders should rethink the countryıs strategic doctrine. This is because reaching political accords with the frontline Arab states and the Palestinians was never meant just to bring peace, but to improve Israelıs national security in the face of new strategic threats. In the minds of its originators Shimon Peres and the late Yitzhak Rabin, the peace initiative was intended to cope with the growing threat of Arab missiles armed with weapons of mass destruction. The inability to stop such weapons from reaching Israel meant that a political solution became essential. Israel would thus defuse the risk that it could become a target. Rabin announced his thesis on Israelıs ³window of opportunity² fresh on the heels of the Iraqi missile attacks during the Gulf War. Israel had a ³window of two to five years² before the favorable strategic environment after the war vanished, and new existential threats emerged. Peres wrote in September 1991 that ³in the era of non-conventional missiles it is not enough to defend the frontiers encompassing the state but [regional] relations must be established which will contribute to maximum security.² Ehud Barak openly subscribed to this approach. Now in view of the ongoing war with the Palestinians it is apparent that, even if an accord is finally reached, the most which could be expected is a cold peace. At worst, a new Palestinian state would be a constant source of irredentism, incitement, and tension endangering Israelıs relations with the rest of the Arab world. Thus, instead of the peace fulfilling its strategic mission of enhancing Israelıs security vis-a-vis the new threats, it would have a marginal impact at best. The deal could even run counter to its designated strategic objective. Dramatic territorial concessions now would not only erode Israelıs deterrent image, since it would appear that Israel has yielded to violence, but the countryıs vulnerability would increase. An agreement could thus actually increase the Arab incentive to attack. As a new Arab Israeli war would likely heighten the threat of weapons of mass destruction to Israel, it follows that Israel must reassess the role of peace in its defense thinking. At a minimum, it should offer much lower prices for reaching a deal, given that Israelıs central strategic rationale for it has been undermined. The other components of Israelıs strategic doctrine, such as deterrence, would need revision as well. In his book The New Middle East, Peres advocated a political solution because ³The concept of deterrence that would be relevant to [the combination of nuclear weapons and extremist ideology] deviates so sharply from what would be tolerable to the rest of humanity that the outcome is hard to imagine.² Ironically, it is the peace process that has threatened to realize Peresıs nightmare. Israel adopted a policy of military restraint to facilitate the negotiations. But this approach severely undermined Israelıs deterrent image. Worse yet, the push to reach a final status agreement helped transform the conflict into a quasi-religious war where the liquidation of the Jewish state is openly sanctioned. Finally, the Palestinian leadershipıs calls for martyrdom may signal that the ³deviant² behavior Peres feared is becoming the regional norm. Contrary to Peresıs hopes, the nuclear race did not abate either. If peace is meant to prevent a mass destruction attack, it follows that those hampering it may be seeking a pretext to strike Israel. In this regard, Iranıs active efforts to derail a Palestinian-Israeli deal while seeking nuclear weapons are especially worrisome. Israel, therefore, must reenergize its strategic deterrence policy. It must be seen as an aggressive and unpredictable power fully committed to using all means at its disposal to block threats to its survival. After the Gulf War, then US defense secretary Les Aspin ordered a review of Americaıs nuclear strategy to cope with ³un-deterrable regimes.² Subsequently, in 1995 an advisory panel to the US Strategic Air Command said America should not appear too rational or cool-headed in dealing with rogues. It would be beneficial if ³some [of the US national defense] elements appear potentially out of control.² Indeed, ³part of the national persona we project should be that the US may become irrational and vindictive if its vital interests are attacked.² A year later, then US secretary of defense William Perry issued a veiled nuclear threat to stop Libya from commissioning a new chemical weapons plant. Israel, on the other hand, sought to deal with the post-Gulf War threats by employing peace as an element of strategic defense. The effort failed miserably. It is high time Israel downplays the diplomatic effort in favor of unilateral means to assure its survival. (The writer is the author of The Continuing Storm: Iraq, Poisonous Weapons and Deterrence [Yale University Press, 1999].) http://www.smh.com.au/news/0101/01/world/world2.html * Peacekeepers face radiation testing as more deaths reported Sydney Morhing Herald (The Daily Telegraph/AFP), 1st January Tests will try to determine if US use of uranium in shells is killing NATO soldiers. Christina Lamb and Macer Hall report from London Thousands of European soldiers who served in NATO forces in Kosovo will be tested for radiation amid claims of serious medical problems caused by ³Balkan War Syndrome² after being exposed to depleted uranium in ammunition used by American forces. Portugal and Spain this week will join the Italians, French and Belgians in systematically reviewing the health of the troops they sent to the region to discover whether they were exposed to dangerous levels of depleted uranium. Portugal will also send a mission of military personnel and nuclear medicine experts to test radiation levels in areas where depleted uranium shells fell. The decision follows a national outcry over the death from leukaemia of Hugo Paulino, a young Portuguese corporal, three weeks after returning from peacekeeping in Kosovo. The Defence Ministry refused to release his body to his family for a post-mortem examination and radiation testing, citing ³herpes of the brain² as the cause of death. ³It was depleted uranium that killed him,² his father, Luis, insisted. The death of a fifth Italian soldier was also confirmed this weekend. The Italian gendarmesı newspaper reported that Rinaldo Colombo, 31, died in September of leukaemia, after working as a peacekeeper in Bosnia in 1995. His death brought to five the number of Italian soldiers who are believed to have died from ³Balkans Syndrome², and the Italian press reported that four other Italians were being tested. Research has shown that exposure to depleted uranium causes health problems that may lead to cancer and neurological and immune system defects, and damage to the reproductive organs. Politicians in Portugal and Italy have accused NATO of a cover-up and demanded their governments should think more carefully before joining NATO operations. Britain is one of the few members of the NATO forces not to be carrying out an investigation. A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Defence said it was monitoring the investigations but had no plans to test its own soldiers. ³We do take the welfare of our personnel very seriously and weıll keep an eye on the outcome of any further investigations into depleted uranium,² she said, while insisting there was no cause for concern. ³Our medical advice has told us that depleted uranium is no more radioactive than, for example, a household smoke detector. It does have a recognised toxicity but only if ingested into the digestive system, not if it merely comes into contact with the skin.² She said the ministry had carried out substantial scientific research into the issue after the Gulf War, the first time weapons tipped or packed with depleted uranium were used extensively. Campaigners say exposure to depleted uranium is partly to blame for the recent deaths. Canadian tests last year found some Gulf War veterans had uranium in their blood. Iraq claims the uranium is responsible for a surge in cancers and birth defects in the countryıs south. The Pentagon originally denied uranium shells were used in Kosovo but in March the secretary-general of NATO, Lord Robertson, said 31,000 shells containing depleted uranium had been used by American A10 ground-attack aircraft in Kosovo. The A10s use uranium bullets for knocking out tanks. The fine, poisonous dust stays in the atmosphere and pollutes water supplies. The UN has a team in Kosovo carrying out its own investigation. It will report next month. http://www.guardianunlimited.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,418108,00.html * Nato urged to clean up its uranium debris in Kosovo by Peter Capella in Geneva and Owen Bowcott Guardian, Friday January 5, 2001 Nato should dispose of large fragments of depleted uranium (DU) ammunition remaining in Kosovo 18 months after the conflict ended, because they represent an unnecessary risk to health, a UN study says. Further details of the preliminary results of the UN Environment Programme investigation emerged yesterday as the EU began an inquiry into whether there is a link between radioactive military debris and the death from cancer of soldiers who served in the Balkans. Meanwhile, the European commission president, Romano Prodi, called for DU-coated shells to be banned, after the French defence ministry said that four French soldiers who served in the Balkans during Nato's bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999 were being treated for leukaemia in a military hospital. "It is clear that if there is even a minimal risk, these arms must be abolished," he said. "And even if this risk was not there, I don't like the idea of using these particular weapons". Britain remains one of the few countries to resist compulsory screening of troops returning from Kosovo for traces of contamination. The ministry of defence insisted that in its solid form was not a health hazard. "The UN's initial findings were that there were a lot of other things which were of far greater concern," a spokesman said. Italy opened an inquiry last week into a possible link between DU and 30 cases of serious illness in troops who served in the area, 12 of whom developed cancer. Five have already died of leukaemia. The Campaign Against Depleted Uranium in Manchester says that most of the areas where DU shells were dropped during the Kosovo war are in the south, in the Italian sector. Spain said it would examine all the 32,000 soldiers who have served in the Balkans since 1992. Portugal, Finland, Turkey, Bulgaria and Greece also plan to screen their peacekeepers and check radiation levels to discover if there is such a condition as "Balkans syndrome". The biologist leading the Royal Society's inquiry into the long-term effects of DU weapons, Professor Brian Spratt of Oxford University, called on the government to test British troops. "The leukaemia cases are probably not related, but the health of soldiers who go out to fight for their country should be taken seriously," he said. In its preliminary statement, the UN said it had found "slightly higher" radioactivity in Kosovo at eight of the 11 sites examined last November. Nato had given details of 112 sites where an estimated 31,000 rounds of armour-piercing DU ammunition were used during attacks on Serb targets. A US army officer on the team, who helped develop DU ammunition, was apparently surprised to find that it had not vapourised or dispersed. The UN statement said that its scientists had found "either slightly higher amounts of Beta-radiation, specifically at or around the holes left by DU ammunition, or remnants of ammunitions, such as sabots and penetrators". The team collected seven DU outer casings and seven penetrators. "It is an extra risk for the population, and that is something that military experts were surprised to find," Pekka Haavisto, the Finnish head of the mission, said yesterday. There is also concern about mine clearance, because most DU was found in heavily mined areas or sites with unexploded ordinance - some of which is cleared by controlled explosions. The UN believes this can turn DU back into its most dangerous form - a dust that can be inhaled. What is depleted uranium? Tim Radford, science editor: Natural uranium is a mix of different isotopes, including a small proportion of very radioactive U-235. The proportion of U-235 is concentrated for atomic fuel rods, and what is left over is depleted U-238. This has a radioactive half life of 4.5bn years, that is, it would take roughly the lifetime of the solar system for half of a lump of U-238 to break down into something else. It remains, however, radioactive. "In contact, you could get quite a sizeable dose [of radiation], but a few inches away, it's gone," Michael Clark of Britain's National Radiological Protection Board said. The rays from depleted uranium, or DU, may not be particularly penetrating but the substance itself is one of the densest metals available. It is therefore desirable as a military shell casing. Its density enhances military firepower. Tungsten splinters when it hits the hard steel of a tank; DU penetrates and catches fire, which makes it a perfect weapon for armour-piercing shells. These were first used in the Gulf war, when US forces fired almost 1m rounds into Kuwait and Iraq. Nato forces fired more than 30,000 rounds in Kosovo and 10,000 in Bosnia, inevitably leaving fragments and particles behind. Leukaemia is linked to radiation exposure. The connection was observed among the survivors of the atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki more than 50 years ago. Because DU ignites on impact, it leaves behind clouds of potentially toxic uranium oxide dust. The fear is this dust could lodge in the lungs and be hazardous. But scientists aren't so sure. "The calculations show that you would have to inhale almost choking amounts to get appreciable lung dust," said Dr Clark. "You would see kidney problems due to its chemical action before you saw any radiation problems." http://www.irna.com/newshtm/eng/16144148.htm * First British Victim Of 'Balkan War Syndrome' Revealed London, Jan. 5, IRNA -- The first known victim of so-called Balkan War syndrome was identified Friday as Kevin Rudland, a former army engineer who served in Bosnia between December 1995 and April 1996. Six Italian soldiers, who served on peace missions to the former Yugoslavia, are reported to have died from leukaemia symptoms, which has been blamed on depleted uranium weapons used by Nato troops in Bosnia. France has also reported that four of its soldiers are being treated for the illness, but the US Defense Department has denied any links with the weapons, which were first used in the 1991 Allied War against Iraq. Rudland, who is suffering from hair-loss, chronic fatigue, osteoarthritis and psychological problems, is claiming that his symptoms has been caused by contact with depleted uranium dust, a by- product of the nuclear industry, according to the BBC. "I may be the first in the country at the moment but I believe there are more that has not come forward or do not know," he warned, suggesting that another Gulf War syndrome was waiting to be exposed. The Italian and French cases have prompted government across Europe to call for an investigation into the use of depleted uranium in cannon shells. Some countries are also coming under pressure to screen all soldiers, who served in Bosnia and Kosovo. The BBC reported that Britain's Ministry of Defense was refusing to carry out tests, but was blaming the Americans for using depleted uranium, saying it was not used by UK troops. http://www.iht.com/articles/6004.htm * Back to the Future: Globalization Grows Up and Gets Political by Fareed Zakaria New York Times, 3rd january Globalization is a revolutionary force, and it is here to stay. But the globalization of the next 10 years is going to be different from that of the last 10. Foreign policy will have to focus less on the economics of globalization and more on the politics. In the 1990s, in the first phase of globalization, economics reigned supreme. After decades of flirtation with statism, countries around the world dismantled economic controls, deregulated industries and liberalized economies. As capital markets flexed their muscles, governments began to think that they had little power over their own destinies. But as we enter the second decade of globalization, countries have come to realize that the constraints of capitalism are not nearly as tight or as predictable as many had believed. In Europe, governments are reforming their economies but have retained their cherished welfare states. And these countries are doing well. Meanwhile, in negotiations over everything from genetically modified food to cultural affairs, economics is taking a back seat to politics. Europeans have decided that they are willing to pay a price in inefficiency for their political values. Ignoring the political dimensions of globalization has had its costs. Nowhere was this made clearer than in the East Asian economic crisis of the late 1990s, particularly in Indonesia. After that crisis, the IMF and Washington helped topple President Suhartoıs regime, hoping that radical economic and political reform would follow. Instead the entire country has been unhinged. The economy has contracted by almost half, wiping out 20 years of economic growth, throwing tens of millions of people below the poverty line and embroiling the country in ethnic violence. Consider the contrasting fate of Malaysia, which has recovered from the East Asian crisis as fast as any of its neighbors despite the recalcitrance of its strongman, Mahathir bin Mohamad. An Indonesian scholar commented sadly: ³Many in my country wish that Suharto had done what Mahathir did - defied the IMF, moved at our own pace - and we would be better off today.² Or consider trade. Talks over the expansion of global trade are stalled. Third World countries believe that without some concessions from the West, these talks have become a one way street in which they alone open their markets. But Western countries are not about to get rid of domestic subsidies that have powerful constituencies, like European and American farmers, no matter how they distort global markets. Globalization goes only so far. And then there is the Middle East, where the seductions of globalization have not fared well. Bill Clinton, Shimon Peres and others painted a picture of a new Middle East based on cooperation, economic interdependence and growth. But Yasser Arafat understands that in such a world the Palestinian Authority, and he personally, would not prosper. Countries like Ireland and Israel benefit greatly from their access to the global economy, and so they take political risks. But most of the world is governed by political elites who dare not liberalize because to do so would unsettle their own power - think of Africa, Central Asia and South Asia. To them globalization is not an opportunity but a threat. If there is no gold to be had, why put on the straitjacket? Globalization is the dominant force in the world today and a profoundly progressive one. But when Washington advocates economic liberalization, it should bear in mind the political context in which particular countries and regimes exist. When it tries to expand free trade, it must broker political compromises to move negotiations forward. In dealing with Europe, for example, it will have to use political persuasion to modify the European Unionıs views on agriculture, not to mention those on sanctions against Iraq. Finally there is the underside of globalization. The bloody crossroads of the next decade will be where globalization meets terrorism. All the wondrous developments of the new economy - falling costs, fewer borders, easy communications - help international terrorists and criminals as much as they do businessmen. And only well-exercised power - military, economic and political - can meet this new threat. The last era of globalization, in the late 19th century, was also fast and furious. It, too, saw the birth of fantastic new technologies, like electricity, that changed the world. It, too, raised millions out of poverty. That era was undone not by bad economics but by bad politics - nationalist rivalries that led to World War I. Today the economics of globalization are in good shape. The politics are not. The writer, appointed to become editor of Newsweek International next month, contributed this comment to The New York Times. http://www.dawn.com/2001/01/03/op.htm#2 * Targeting Muslim countries by Khalid Mahmud Arif Dawn, 3rd January THE Muslim ummah - with a population of more than one billion and over 50 Islamic states, situated between Morocco and Indonesia - is a part of the under-developed Third World. Its geostrategic importance is greatly increased by its location between the two vital Straits of Gibraltar in the west and Malacca in the east, with strategically important choke points - Bab el Mandeb and Hormuz - located between them. Rich in oil and in a variety of other mineral wealth, the combined economic power potential of the Islamic countries is considerable, though not yet fully tapped. The Islamic world lags behind in the fields of knowledge, education and technology and is, consequently, exploited and blackmailed by the developed countries. One example illustrates the point. ³In summer 1980, Consolidated Edison of New York (Con Ed) ran a television advertisement in which film clips of various immediately recognizable OPEC personalities alternated with stills as well as clips of other people associated with oil and Islam were shown. None of these figures were mentioned by name. But the viewers were told ominously that these menı control Americaıs sources of oil. Mr Stuart Eizenstat, President Carterıs domestic policy adviser and later a senior official in the Clinton Administration, had urged the President that with strong steps we should mobilize the nation, around a real crisis (oil) and with a clear enemy - OPEC.ı Islam has come to represent Americaıs major foreign devil.² (Covering Islamı - published in the US). Among other lessons of war, the western countries learnt five important geostrategic realities from World War Two. One, the security and progress of the US and Europe are inextricably interdependent. Secondly, Europe may become Americaıs first line of defence in any future global conflict or in a regional conflict within Europe. Thirdly, the West may avoid getting involved in a major war in future, but should such a conflict become unavoidable, it may be fought somewhere in Third World countries. Fourthly, the developed states must not face the holocaust of nuclear weapons. And, finally, shooting war had been replaced by cold war in which the US had emerged as the only power possessing nuclear arsenal. The US quickly launched Marshall Plan to rehabilitate Europeıs shattered economy for the joint benefit of West Europe and America. The US and the Soviet Union became adversaries with the strategic balance tilting in favour of the US. Both the emerging power blocs looked for security. Within two decades the Soviet Union, France, Britain and China became nuclear weapon states. The western nuclear goals achieved, the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) became operative from 1968 In strategic terms, the world got divided between the five nuclear weapon states at one end and the remaining non-nuclear weapon states at the other. The cold war ended in the early nineties after the collapse of East Europe and the internal implosion of the erstwhile Soviet Union. The global power equilibrium changed. The US called it the new world order in which it was the most pre-eminent power. In 1990 the US vice-president, Dan Quayle, listed Nazism, Communism and Islam as challenges to the western civilization. With Nazism dead and Communism virtually humbled, those who propagate the clash of civilizationsı perceive that Islam poses a threat to the supremacy of the western culture. This myth has been played up by many western academics. Venom is spread ad nauseam through diplomatic channels and through western controlled electronic and print media to tarnish the name of the Islamic ummah in the colours of their own choice. Three examples are quoted here to illustrate the motives of the vested interests. First, on April 16, 1979, the Time magazine devoted its major story to Islam. Its cover was adorned with the painting of a bearded muezzin standing in a minaret, summoning the faithful to prayer. The mischievous caption given to this innocuous painting was The Militant Revival.ı Secondly, the Atlantic Councilıs Special Working Group on the Middle East issued its report in the fall of 1979. The title given to it was, Oil and Turmoil: Western Choices in the Middle East.ı The implied threat was provocative and obvious. Thirdly, some catchy and loaded phrases are coined to defame the Muslim countries and to influence the world opinion against them. Examples: The crescent of crisisı, the arc of instabilityı, the return of Islamı, Militant Islamı, Islamic Fundamentalismı and Islamic Terrorismı. Some feature films produced in India mischievously depict Muslims indulging in ugly acts, the purpose being to link violence with Islam. The industrial needs of the West demand uninterrupted supply of oil at low prices to maintain its economic superiority. In the perception of the West any shortage of energy supply or expensive energy bills will cause inflation and produce dislocating effects on the western society. The West links Islam with the supply of oil and employs coercive tactics against the oil-producing countries where, in their assessment, the western oil supplies are located. The developed world is determined to deny opportunities to the oil-producing countries to use oil as a weapon in any major conflict in the future. The 1991 Desert Stormı military operation against Iraq highlighted this point. Some foreign powers cherish to have an adversary to maintain their present superiority in economic, technological and other fields. And, if such an opponent does not physically exist, they fictionalize a threatening demon and launch diplomatic and media blitzkrieg against it to achieve their perceived goals. Islam is criticized and some Islamic countries are accused of posing a non-existent threat to the West. The targeted countries are subjected to coercion, technological barriers, sanctions, media trial, and economic hurdles by the political and economic barons of this age. As against this, the spoilers of peace are being pampered and turned into military powers to promote their hegemonic designs in the Middle East and South Asia. Attempts are also made to create political divisions within the Islamic ummah to prevent the Muslim countries from adopting a unified approach on issues of concern and substance to them. Before the price hike of oil in the mid-1970s one seldom heard the mention of Islam in the western media or culture in derogatory terms. They criticized Arabs, Turks, Iranians, Pakistanis and Indonesians but seldom Muslims as a group. The situation has changed since then. Western scholars and media analysts now travel an extra mile or two to link extremism and terrorism with Islam. Jihad is interpreted with a bias and condemned with a purpose. Any erring act of an individual Muslim is attributed to his country to show that a conflict between Islam and the West is real and serious. These critics forget that hatred is a double-edged weapon and it is best avoided by everyone, particularly so by the followers of the two great religions in the common interests of Christianity and Islam. All nuclear weapons are identified the world over by the countries of their origin - the American bomb, the Chinese bomb, the Indian bomb etc. No one calls them the Christian Bomb, the Communist Bomb or the Hindu Bomb. But the mischief is all too transparent to hide when Pakistanıs nuclear bomb is called the Islamic Bomb. The Third world is told that nuclear catastrophe anywhere is a nuclear catastrophe everywhere. Let this truth be followed without discrimination. Let there be no holy cows in the dangerous game of nuclear weapons. Let no country in the world possess any weapon of mass destruction. Let every country adopt a non-discriminatory approach on the issue of nuclear weapons. Such a fair approach falls on deaf ears of those who wish to dominate others. The western countries rarely discuss Islam outside the framework created by their own passion, prejudice and political interests. Political unrest in some parts of Africa and the fires that have long been burning in Palestine, Kashmir and Bosnia are classic examples. The UN is in deep slumber over Palestine and Kashmir but it suddenly springs to life on the issue of West Irian for ethnic reasons. The UN-imposed sanctions are faulty instruments to punish any country. They punish the people not the rulers. The arrogance of power is hard to hide. So are the intentions of the masters of this age. The Arab oil takes precedence over Arabs. The western trade interests in India are more important than the blood of minorities in India - Muslims, Sikhs, Christian missionaries and Dalits - and the people of Kashmir who have lost 70,000 lives for the crimeı of seeking their right of self-determination. Extremism and struggle for freedom are put in the same category of punishable offence. The world is silent when the people of Palestine are killed by hundreds. But the loss of one Israeli life is splashed the world over. Pakistanıs nuclear weapons are criticized but no serious concern is shown about its national security when its hegemonic neighbour stockpiles both conventional and nuclear weapons. Such double standards pose a threat to peace and encourage blackmail by the regional hegemonists. The Muslim countries are politically free but their freedom is compromised in the economic, technological, military, strategic and other fields. They are economically blackmailed for political reasons. They must invest their wealth judiciously to ensure its safety and return when needed by them. They must spend generously on education to catch up with the developed countries. They need greater Muslim unity to avoid exploitation by the vested interests. They need economic prosperity and industrial growth for the well-being of their people. They need greater cooperation and coordination on issues of common concern. Weakness invites blackmail, exploitation and aggression. The Muslim countries are overdue for their own soul-searching. Are they united from within? Do they speak with a common voice on issues of common concern in the United Nations and other international forums? Do the Muslim universities serve as centres of excellence in the fields of arts, science and technology? Are the Muslim states not victims of brain drain? Is their share in the global trade and industrial production commensurate with their size and their power potential? What is their contribution in the present-day high-tech? The answers to these questions are not flattering for the Muslim ummah. Greater unity in the Muslim ummah can frustrate the designs of those that fish in their waters and create dissensions in their ranks. All Islamic countries must condemn and reject external attempts to divide and rule the Muslim world. The followers of Islam possess considerable potential of playing important role in all walks of life. They need to put their acts together with vigour and determination and show the political will to change their status quo. The writer is a retired general of the Pakistan army. http://www.vny.com/cf/News/upidetail.cfm?QID=149210 Profile of the week: Osama bin Laden * Profile of the week: Osama bin Laden by Anwar Iqbal SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 3 (UPI) -- On the first encounter, Osama bin Laden appears quiet, emaciated and even a little shy. During interviews, he takes time to warm up and needs some probing to speak his mind. Those unaware of his background, may find it difficult to believe that this tall, shy man is accused of killing hundreds in terrorist attacks planned and orchestrated by him and his Al-Quaida group of Arab and Muslim militants. But few fail to notice a strong dislike for the West and Western influences, almost bordering on hatred, when bin Laden speaks. "Our war is not against American or Western people, it is against the corrupting influence of the West. What has the West given the world? A lust for power and a license to loot and plunder the poorer countries," he said in a recent interview to an Arab journalist while urging the Muslims to reject "Westernization of their culture and faith." He firmly believes that the U.S. soldiers based in Saudi Arabia were, "corrupting and polluting" the Muslim holy lands. While American intelligence officials blame bin Laden's anti-western feelings for the terrorist attacks he is accused of carrying out against U.S. targets, his sympathizers urge the West to "try and understand that not many in the Islamic world like the way the West is bullying the Muslims," says Kazi Hussain Ahmad, who heads Pakistan's Jamaat-i-Islami party. Bin Laden is among the 10 most wanted men in the United States for masterminding twin U.S. embassy bombings in East Africa in August 1998. He is also a prime suspect in organizing or at least inspiring the bombing of the USS Cole on Oct. 12, which killed 17 American sailors. But despite the charges, bin Laden remains a hero to many in the Islamic world. His pictures adorn walls in many places from North Africa to Central Asia. Last month thousands bought a fake Nike shirt that showed bin Laden brandishing a gun and declaring holy war against America. Both his admirers and enemies say that the Saudi millionaire will become even a greater hero if he is captured or killed in a U.S. attack. Trained by the U.S. war experts to fight the Russians in Afghanistan in the 1980s, bin Laden now trains and finances terrorist groups, an accusation he denies but refuses to surrender himself for a trial. His is particularly in Afghanistan, where he has lived since 1996. Despite severe economic sanctions, the Taliban rulers of this desperately poor country have refused to hand him over to the American authorities. Instead they have urged Washington to send evidence against bin Laden, promising to try him in Afghanistan. Washington has already rejected this demand. The Taliban officials [say] they watch him closely and have prevented him from launching operations from Afghanistan, particularly against the U.S. targets. But American officials say that they have evidence to prove that he has been guiding operations against the U.S. targets from his hideout in Afghanistan. Bin Laden, 42, was born in Jeddah, the 12th child of construction magnate Mohammad bin Aaud Bin Laden whose assets were once valued at five billion dollars. His father served the Saudi royal family as a cabinet minister and was a close friend of the late King Faisal. During his early years bin Laden worked for his father's construction company as a laborer, before joining the U.S.-backed jihad against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan during the 1980s. According to the Central Intelligence Agency which helped arm the anti-Soviet Mujahideen, bin Laden had between 12,000 and 20,000 supporters trained in arms, explosives and the use of U.S. Stinger missiles. When the Russians pulled out of Afghanistan in 1989, bin Laden went quiet for a while but he and his supporters were not allowed to return to Saudi Arabia as the rulers feared having trained and battle-tested men in the kingdom. When Iraq invaded Kuwait a year later, Saudi Arabia and the United States forged a strong alliance, with U.S. and other troops pouring into the kingdom. Bin Laden saw this as U.S. occupation and, shifting his base to Sudan, declared a jihad to evict the new invaders from Islam's holy lands. The Saudis was stripped him of his Saudi citizenship and forced Sudan to evict him. Bin Laden returned to Afghanistan in 1996 and was allowed to settle in the capital Kabul by the then president Burhanuddin Rabbani who now leads the opposition Northern Alliance against the Taliban. When Taliban captured Kabul, mutual benefits and Taliban's puritanical views brought bin Laden close to the Afghan militia. He shifted from his hideout near the eastern city of Jalalabad to the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar in early 1997. Annoyed by the move, Saudi Arabia, which was one of only three countries to have recognized the Taliban regime, recalled its ambassador from Kabul but it had little impact on bin Laden's new found friendship with the Taliban's supreme leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar. Another veteran of the anti-Soviet jihad, Omar received arms, cash and men from bin Laden to fight the opposition. In March 1998, bin Laden issued a fatwa or a religious edict against the United States calling on his followers to "kill and plunder American citizens." Although now he denies issuing this edict, U.S. intelligence report show that he also tried to match the 'fatwa' with action and five months later two U.S. embassies in east Africa were simultaneously bombed. More than 220 people were killed in the two attacks, including 12 U.S. citizens. Washington blamed bin Laden and retaliated with missile strikes on his alleged bases in Afghanistan and Sudan. In November 1999, the United Nations imposed strict aviation and financial sanctions against the Taliban. >From his base in Afghanistan bin Laden runs a group of Arab and Muslim militants called Al-Qaeda >or "the base." U.S. intelligence reports describe Al-Quaida as an extensive Islamist network and >blame it for orchestrating terrorist activities around the world. The bin Laden clan hails from a remote valley in Yemen, called Wadi Doan. Nestled between the Arabian Sea and Yemeni mountains, it is the legendry land of the Queen of Sheba, fabled for the gold and frankincense and myrrh that the Wise Men carried to the manger where Jesus was born. Bin Laden's native village, Al-Rubat or "the tent" is in Hadhramaut, a province in eastern Yemen. Muhammad bin Laden, Osama's father, migrated from Al-Rubat to Saudi Arabia in the 1950's. He soon formed close ties with the ruling Saud dynasty and accumulated a billion-dollar fortune building roads and palaces and trading real estate. Though the 43-year-old Osama bin Laden never lived in Wadi Doan, he absorbed his fundamentalist views on Islam from the strict Wahhabi form of Muslim beliefs that is prevalent in this region. Wadi Doan is part of Yemen's remote hinterland that has been a stronghold of Muslim militants for some time. Although he never lived there, the 6-foot-3-inch tall Osama bin Laden still wears traditional Hadhrami dress, with a curved dagger at his belt. He has also married a girl from a prominent Hadhramaut family. Though bin Laden grew up in the Saudi Arabian city of Jiddah, about 700 miles away across the Arabian peninsula, those who know him say he retains the characteristics of the people of this remote Yemeni region: extremely clannish, and intensely conservative in their adherence to strict forms of Islam. His father is also know in these areas as a man with deeply conservative religious and political views and for his profound distaste for non-Islamic influences that have penetrated some of the most remote corners of old Arabia. http://www.vny.com/cf/News/upidetail.cfm?QID=149439 * 5 nations take turn on UN Council by WILLIAM M. REILLY UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 4 (UPI) -- Colombia, Ireland, Mauritius, Norway and Singapore Thursday took up their two-year seats in the first consultations of the Security Council in the new year, replacing Argentina, Canada, Malaysia, Namibia and the Netherlands. Determined by routine alphabetical rotation, Singapore started its first time-ever membership on the panel as president for January. The new members join Bangladesh, Jamaica, Mali, Tunisia and the Ukraine, whose two-year terms expire the end of this year, to form the 10 non-permanent members and the five veto-wielding permanent members of Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States. The first matter of business, in addition to determining the program of work for the month, was the assignment of committee chairmanships. The panel generally followed the routine of regional representatives replacing representatives from the same region. However, Singapore Ambassador Kishore Mahbubani, the council president, and the Mauritius representative, Ambassador Anund Neewoor, switched sanctions committees. Sources in the council said it was at the behest of the United States, but U.S. Deputy Representative Ambassador James Cunningham neither confirmed nor denied the report when asked by United Press International if a stronger chairman was sought for the Liberian panel aimed at stemming illicit diamond trade funding arms for Sierra Leone rebels. "We want every committee to be strong," was his diplomatic reply. The changed lineup, as announced by Mahbubani, calls for Singapore to chair the Liberian committee, Mauritius the Eritrea and Ethiopia panel, Norway the Iraq sanctions regime, Ireland takes over Angola oversight and Colombia chairs the Afghanistan committee. Other panels remain unchanged. The council resumes consultations Friday morning, considering the situations in Sierra Leone and Eritrea and Ethiopia. Both are U.N. peacekeeping missions where cease-fires have been holding, although somewhat more tenuously in Sierra Leone, a conflict that is threatening beyond its borders, into neighboring Liberia and Guinea. http://www.vny.com/cf/News/upidetail.cfm?QID=149408 * Briefing of the week: Bosnia by PAMELA HESS [.....] And if Bush is to make good on his promise to bring troops home, he doesn't have many other missions to choose from. Almost 250,000 of the 1.3 million U.S. military personnel are deployed around the world, for diplomatic, political and operational reasons. It's a show of confidence and commitment to a host country and it also cuts travel time for troops that are responding to regional crises. But there are only three ongoing deployments -- defined by the military as "temporary" duties connected with a specific mission -- in the world: the Balkans with about 11,000 troops, the Persian Gulf with about 25,000 in Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Kuwait; and Korea, with almost 40,000 troops maintaining a 50-year peacekeeping missions. Pulling out of the Persian Gulf is unlikely, given Rice's concern about the region and President-elect Bush's tough talk on Iraq's Saddam Hussein -- and the fact that he is unlikely to back down against his father's one-time greatest foe. A withdrawal from South Korea is also unlikely at best and unimaginable to most in the military. North Korea maintains an 800,000-man military and long-range ballistic missiles, not to mention an active chemical and biological weapons program, and nuclear weapons development capabilities. That leaves the Balkans. The United States has had a presence in Bosnia since 1995, when as part of a NATO peacekeeping force it replaced an ineffective and overmatched U.N. protection team in place during the Serb-Bosnian and Croatian wars. It has been active in Kosovo since March 1999, when the Untied States led NATO in a 78-day war against Serb troops marauding the region, an effort to maintain stability on Europe's southern flank and stem the tide of refugees -- more than a million -- that fled Slobodan Milosevic's forces. Bush said in the second presidential debate that he supported NATO's action in Kosovo. Those two deployments show no end in site, although the U.S. force in Bosnia has been dramatically cut over the last four years. What began as a 25,000-man team has been cut to around 5,000, and annual assessments of the situation on the ground will likely yield more cuts. [.....] http://www.worldnews.com/?action=display&article=5142959&template=worldnews/search.txt&index=recent * Holbrooke Leaves His Mark at U.N. UNITED NATIONS (Associated Press, Fri 5 Jan) As a diplomatic troubleshooter Richard Holbrooke loves challenges, and during his 17-month stint as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, he took on some of the toughest from reforming the United Nations to trying to bring peace to Africa. Against the odds, he got results, but not everything he hoped for. ``What's the point of being in the government if you don't try to make things better, which means trying to change things,'' Holbrooke said in an interview as he reflected on his U.N. tour and his plans now that the Republicans have won the White House. Holbrooke's most important U.N. victory came four weeks before he was to leave office: He persuaded 188 countries to overhaul U.N. financing and reduce U.S. payments to the world body. After a grueling 14-month battle in Congress over his nomination, Holbrooke was a man in a hurry to make his mark when he arrived at the United Nations in September 1999. He had successfully brokered the 1995 Dayton peace agreement that ended the war in Bosnia and served as President Clinton's special envoy to Yugoslavia on Kosovo. But he faced serious obstacles at the United Nations. A global outcry over the U.S. failure to pay $1.6 billion in U.N. dues had seriously undermined U.S. influence at the United Nations, and the Security Council was deeply divided over Iraq and the U.S.-led bombing of Yugoslavia without council authorization. A hard-driving fighter with sharply honed diplomatic skills, Holbrooke wasted no time in tackling the U.S. debt, which many observers said was the single most important issue to resolve if he wanted to restore U.S. relations with the organization. ``People said, `It can't be done.' As everybody who worked with me knew, that was the best way to get me to accept an issue,'' Holbrooke said. By his own estimate, Holbrooke spent a third of his tenure trying to get U.N. members to agree to revamp the U.N. payment scale for the first time in over two decades. That's because Congress demanded that U.S. payments be cut before it would pay a major chunk of back dues. After a year of shuttling to Washington and a last-minute lobbying effort by the Clinton administration, the General Assembly approved a budget deal in December that came very close to meeting the congressional demands. Britain's U.N. Ambassador Jeremy Greenstock said the deal ``would not have happened if Richard Holbrooke had not been driving the negotiations to see it settled.'' ``He's a bulldog for the globe,'' said Timothy Wirth, president of the United Nations Foundation, which disburses Ted Turner's $1 billion pledge to U.N. causes. ``The relationship between the U.S. and the U.N. is the most fundamental cooperative relationship in New York, and Holbrooke has gone a long way to getting that relationship sorted out and back on an even keel.'' As his other U.N. priority, Holbrooke chose Africa. He spent his month as president of the Security Council trying to focus a global spotlight on the continent's problems, which he saw firsthand on two separate trips. He invited the presidents of the warring factions in Congo to the Security Council to pledge to stop fighting. He brought in Nelson Mandela to brief ambassadors on efforts to forge peace in Burundi. Vice President Al Gore presided over a council meeting on the havoc the AIDS epidemic has wreaked in Africa. Holbrooke later ushered through a resolution declaring AIDS not just a health problem but a global security threat, particularly in Africa. ``I think it was historically, and morally and politically and economically correct,'' Holbrooke said during a recent interview at his office at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. ``We showed the Africans that we paid attention that Africa matters.'' Despite the fanfare, Holbrooke has little concrete progress to show for the effort. Congo is still at war and new crises have erupted in Sierra Leone and between Eritrea and Ethiopia. While acknowledging disappointment, Holbrooke stands by his decision to focus global attention and U.S. attention on Africa, which he calls a work-in-progress. ``I'm absolutely certain that if we hadn't done it, things would be much, much worse,'' Holbrooke said. But he acknowledges more could have been done. ``In Washington, African policy was complicated and politically charged despite its relatively low priority and that was wrong,'' Holbrooke said. ``There should have been a higher priority to Africa, and a clear formulation of our policy earlier,'' he said, without elaborating. In the Middle East, Holbrooke led a behind-the-scenes U.S. campaign to give Israel the chance to be represented on U.N. bodies in New York for the first time in 50 years. And he successfully helped engineer the defeat last month of a Palestinian-backed resolution to send U.N. observers to the West Bank and Gaza because Israel opposed it. But many U.N. watchers and diplomats note that Holbrooke was conspicuously absent during virtually every Security Council discussion on the other Mideast issue on the U.N. agenda Iraq. Several observers speculated that as a top candidate for secretary of state if Gore had won the presidency, Holbrooke may not have wanted to take a high-profile position on the vexing Iraq issue. To such criticism, Holbrooke counters that Iraq was in ``a maintenance position'' during his U.N. tenure and could be handled by his deputies while he focused on other issues. He says he was involved behind the scenes and spoke to Secretary-General Kofi Annan repeatedly about Iraq. With just two weeks to go before he steps down as ambassador, Holbrooke is satisfied that he got a lot done during a short time though he quickly adds that there is plenty of unfinished business, from solving Africa's crises to reforming the entire U.N. system. But after eight years of diplomatic problem-solving, the 59-year-old Holbrooke says he's now ready for a break. He plans to join the Council on Foreign Relations, the New York-based think-tank, and write at least one book. ``I love to write that's my real passion,'' he said. But leaving the United Nations won't be easy. ``I've loved this job,'' Holbrooke said. ``It's been exciting. It's a dream job to be a member of the Cabinet and live in my hometown, New York.'' While still critical of the bloated U.N. bureaucracy, Holbrooke has nothing but praise for Annan, whose first, five-year term as U.N. chief comes to a close at the end of 2001. Holbrooke said Annan was the best secretary-general the United Nations has ever had, and he hopes he will seek a second term. ``He is an international rock star of diplomacy,'' the ambassador said. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 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