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News 18­24/2/01 (2)

News 18­24/2/01 (2)


*  Western attack on Iraq mars Mexico-U.S. `fiesta' [Mexican discontent that
the raid occurred while Bush was visiting Mexico, thus showing how little
importance he attached to the visit]
*  Bombing sharpens US, Europe divisions
*  New Zealand government says US and UK bombings in Iraq threaten peace
*  PM raps Robson for Iraq comments [more on New Zealand]
*  Annan: Iraq bombing `awkward'
*  Iraq basks in support after US strikes [short extract on Malaysia and
*  Germany cautious on reaction to US-British strikes
*  Iraq halts trade with Canada, Poland [more on Poland below]
*  Malaysian leaders demonstrate at US Embassy
*  [Irish] Government expresses its 'regret' over bombing [Congratulations,
*  Turkish minister calls for Ankara-Baghdad ties
*  France continues criticisms over US-British air strikes
*  Blair Defends U.S.-British Strikes on Iraq [extract in which Joschka
Fischer seems to think the raid, in southern Iraq, was all about defending
*  German Official Talks U.S. Defense  [Fischer, anxious to prove he is not
a Œterrorist¹, buys the whole American story. Green Party reaction below]]
*  Islamic Body Condemns US-British Raids On Iraq [the Organisation of
Islamic Conferences meeting in Saudi Arabia]
*  Challenge UN sanctions, Duma tells Putin [Russian parliament tells Putin
to break the sanctions]
*  Mexican Congress Slams US-British Raids on Iraq
*  Adviser to Polish premier submits resignation [and his resignations wqas
accepted. This was because he gave the impression Poland supported the raid]
*  Serbia aided planning of air raids on Iraq
*  Kostunica: Yugoslavia did not aid in bombing Iraq [thank heaven for that.
Though whether or not Kostunica knows what Djindjic¹s men are getting up to
is another matter ...]
*  Vatican Opposes Latest Bombing of Iraq
*  Greens [in Germany] upset by Minister's support for Iraq raids
*  US Muslims slam attacks on Iraq
*  Poland Denies Support for U.S. Raid in Iraqi Paper
*  UN concerns over Iraq policy [feeling that perhaps someone should have
been told]

*  [Canadian] PM not concerned Bush didn't warn of air strike
by Jack Aubry
The Ottawa Citizen, 12th February
Canadian support for US/British policy


*  'Eliminating Saddam Hussein is now both feasible and desirable'
by Edward Luttwak, Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and
International Studies, Sunday Telegraph
[No explanation of why its more feasible now than ever before]
*   Iraq: Routine or new policy?
by Amos Perlmutter, Jerusalem Post
[Hopes for end to Œpuillanimous¹ policy of Clinton]

*  Double standards - in Middle East
Evening Standard, 19th February
Editorial supports the bombing but seems to think they should be bombing
Israel too.


*  Bombing by obsession [Dawn (Pakistan)]
*  Locked in an Orwellian eternal war
by Robert Fisk, Sunday Independent
*  Beware bellicose Bush, Mr Blair [The Observer, February 18]
*  If our pilots want to know the way to Iraq, they need only ask their
by Mick Hume, Times [this is a bit disappointing since the title seems to
promise more of an account of past British policy in Iraq]
*  Pummelling malnourished Iraqis is poor leadership,
by Syed Badrul Ahsan, Bangladeshi Independent [interesting Bangladeshi view
of internal US politics]
*  Airstrike on Iraq seeks wrong goal
by Micah Zenko, Baltimore Sun [very interesting article, criticising the
raids from the point of view of the need to get weapons inspectors back]

*  Silent majority don't want war
by A N Wilson
Evening Standard, 19th February
Interesting to see A.N.Wilson on the side of the angels but the article is
little more than an expression of disgust (and regret, which I share, that
there is no substantial opposition in Britain). Note that this goes against
the London Evening Standard editorial line.
*  Bush¹s foreign policy in rough waters
by Barrister Harun ur Rashid (ŒThe writer is a former Bangladesh ambassador
to the UN in Geneva.¹)
Bangladesh Independent, 19th February
On Œtwo incidents¹ that Œhave left the US foreign policy in a quagmire¹. The
accidental sinking of a Japanese training vessel by an American submarine,
which has emphasised the difficulties of US relations with Japan; and the
raids which put US middle east relations into disarray.


by Linda Diebel, Toronto Star, 12th February

LEON, Mexico - Call it the lament of a nation: ``Why couldn't they have
waited until tomorrow?''

That cry of anguish came from top Mexican government official Martha Sahagun
Friday when she learned the United States had just bombed Iraq in the middle
of President George W. Bush's big trip to Mexico.

Moreover, it was her job to inform her boss, Mexican President Vicente Fox.

At that moment the two leaders were in separate meetings on Fox's San
Cristobal ranch, about 20 kilometres from Leon in central Guanajuato state.

She chose to slip Fox a note, according to Reforma newspaper.

Sahagun's reaction grew to a national cry of outrage yesterday after
Mexicans had time to think about Bush's decision to authorize the air strike
on defence sites near Baghdad.

The official response: No problem.

``Do you think it is not an improper gesture (that will) put a shadow on
this meeting here in Guanajuato?'' Fox was asked at a news conference Friday
that was dominated by reporters hungry for Bush's comments on the bombing.

``I see no reason why we should connect one event with the other one,''
replied Fox, as Bush stood beside him, beaming.

But that's not the story behind the scenes.

Here, in Mexico, there are reports that Foreign Minister Jorge Castaneda was
furious. So, apparently, were other Mexican officials who had to scramble to
salvage some coverage of the day's ``Guanajuato Accords.''

``Iraq Embitters Fox Fiesta,'' said yesterday's main headline in Reforma.

Friday was supposed to be Mexico's big day.

Bush chose Mexico as his first foreign destination, seeming to snub Canada
in the process (again, heatedly denied) and for weeks, this country has
talked about nothing else.

Fox's ranch hands carefully prepared his best horses - The King, Houston,
Bayo and Maximiliana - for a presidential ride.

It never happened. Suddenly, there was no time.

``Fox's ranch, which should have been converted into a symbol of a new era
in bilateral relations, instead served as a platform for Bush to launch his
first warning to Saddam Hussein - the enemy the United States has been
fighting since his father's government,'' said Reforma.

In 1991, president George Bush launched Operation Desert Storm against

Mexicans are an incredibly polite people. Graciousness counts and issues of
protocol dominate daily life.

Slights can be taken over the order in which one introduces one's guests.
When the guest throws out the host's agenda, a nation catches its breath.

Moreover, Mexico's history with the United States is less than jolly.

This sovereign country lost one-third of its territory to the Americans in
the last century, seeing such rich land as Texas and California fly the
Stars and Stripes.

Here, Davy Crockett is no hero. Mexicans celebrate the fall of the Alamo to
Santa Ana's forces - one of Mexico's last victories before it lost Texas.

Once again, Mexicans are worried about sovereignty, more so, it appears than
before Bush got here Friday.

The bombing of Iraq merely served to remind the country that the fight with
Saddam is about Iraqi oil, said Jesus Zambrano, secretary-general of the
leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution.

Yesterday, with the Mexican mood deflated, the banners marking the visit
here blew limply in the breeze.

But then, as the Leon daily, El Heraldo, showcased with photos yesterday, at
least Bush took Fox, one-time branch plant manager in Mexico for the U.S.
giant Coca-Cola, on a tour of Air Force One before taking off.

At the end of Bush's whirlwind visit, Fox and his son, Vicente, 18, had five
minutes to see the interior of the big presidential Boeing 747-400 up close.

by Peter Finn
Dawn, 19th February

BERLIN: European allies had mixed reactions to Friday's bombing of Iraqi
installations by the US and Britain, with Germany and Poland expressing
sympathy for a tough policy, but France and Turkey becoming increasingly
skeptical about the wisdom of using military strikes, as well as sanctions,
to force change on Saddam Hussein's regime.

While President Bush described the strikes as a "routine" measure to ensure
the safety of US and British pilots enforcing a "no-fly" zone over southern
Iraq, the scale of the bombing and the targeting of facilities just outside
Baghdad nonetheless startled governments across Europe.

"This appears to be a political signal, a sign of determination, a degree of
toughness on the part of the new administration," said a senior German
official who noted his government was not told of the strikes in advance.

The German and French foreign ministers were about to sit down to dinner on
Friday when the news caught them unaware, and the German defence minister
was at a party, officials said. But the Germans were not overly perturbed.

"There is a great deal of understanding here," said Karl Kaiser, director of
the German Council on Foreign Relations, noting Germany has long shared US
concerns about Iraq's weapons programmes. "The US and Britain have been
quite consistent. If Saddam Hussein meets his international obligations,
there is ground for change."

But reaction was colder in France, which has sided with Russia and China in
efforts to ease and eventually lift UN sanctions. "This (raid) raises a
question mark," French Foreign Ministry spokesman Francois Rivasseau said in
a brief statement. "We await an explanation from the US administration."

If, as some Europeans maintain, the bombing represents a clear signal from
the new administration that it intends to step up pressure just as Iraq
seemed to be emerging from isolation, it is likely to sharpen differences
among the allies.

"The West is at a dead end," the German newspaper Tagesspiegel said in an
editorial. "The sanctions against Iraq have not brought anything and have
hit the civilian population instead of the ruling class. Only one (person)
has profited: Saddam Hussein. But the West cannot bomb itself out of a dead

UN sanctions imposed after Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990 have begun to unravel
in recent months, with the resumption of direct flights to Baghdad and
European firms stepping up efforts to do business in the country. An
industry survey by Deutsche Bank late last year found European oil companies
lining up for opportunities in Iraq. France's TotalfinaElf, for instance, is
negotiating for rights to the huge Majnoon and Bin Umar oil fields. And at
the Baghdad international trade fair in November, firms from Germany, France
and Spain were pushing their products along with hundreds of other companies
from the Arab world and Russia.

Turkey, a NATO ally that allows US and British planes to use its bases to
patrol a "no-fly" zone but also has been rebuilding its ties with Iraq,
rebuked US for the lack of advance notice of the military strikes.

"There are special ties between Turkey and the US over the Iraq issue. The
US administration should have informed us beforehand," Prime Minister Bulent
Ecevit said on NTV news channel.

The Russian Foreign Ministry on Saturday called the airstrikes "unprovoked
actions (that) signal that Washington and London continue relying on the use
of force in their policy toward Iraq."

Gen Leonid Ivashov, head of international relations in the Russian Defence
Ministry, said, "What the US military is in the process of doing, at the
beginning of the new US administration, is a threat to international
security and the entire international community."

A senior Polish official said the raids were "understandable" and "a firm
gesture by the new American administration."

"There is no reason not to take in this action with understanding," said
Jerzy Marek Nowakowski, a political adviser to Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek,
according to the Polish press agency. "The US is now opting for greater
firmness." -Dawn/LAT-WP News Service

ABC news, 19th February

New Zealand's Foreign Affairs Minister Phil goff says United States and
British air strikes on Iraq over the weekend could help rather than damage
its leader Saddam Hussein.

In a statement Mr Goff says while the New Zealand Government condemns the
repressive nature of Saddam's regime, the air strikes risk undermining the
prospect of international action against Iraq.

He says as with the wide-ranging sanctions against Iraq, Saddam Hussein
seems likely to use the strikes to win greater sympathy at home and

Mr Goff says New Zealand endorses action through the United Nations to
impose smart sanctions against Iraq, rather than measures which impact most
heavily on the civilian population.

Iraq has said the strikes, near the capital Baghdad, killed two civilians
and wounded more than 20 others.

New Zealand Herald, 19th February

Prime Minister Helen Clark is unhappy at comments made by Disarmament
Minister Matt Robson about the US-led air strikes on Iraq.

The Alliance MP is strongly critical of the weekend attacks, labelling them
an arrogant abuse of power by Washington.

He says the attack is a setback for world peace initiatives, and moves to
lift sanctions against Iraq.

Matt Robson says it is clear the US wants a climate in which it is easier to
push through its new National Missile Defence System.

Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff is somewhat more restrained, saying the
air strikes are a matter of concern.

Helen Clark says Mr Robson did not clear his comments with Mr Goff, who
speaks for the Government on foreign policy.

The Prime Minister says she will be taking up the issue with Mr Robson.

A spokesman for Mr Robson's office says the Disarmament Minister has been
asked not to make any further comment on the issue until after today's

However the spokesman says the minister stands by his earlier statement.

by Rodolfo A. Windhausen

UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan Tuesday
called the timing of the U.S.-British bombing of Iraq "awkward" and
criticized the United States for not informing him of the air raids.

In remarks to journalists upon arriving at the U.N. headquarters, Annan said
he was not "consulted or informed before the air action."

"It was immediately after the air action that U.S. authorities called to
explain to me that they saw this as routine, not escalation," he said.

He said the strikes would not interfere with his scheduled talks with Iraq
on Feb. 26.

"Obviously the timing is a bit awkward for the talks that I am going to have
on Feb. 26, but the Iraqis have confirmed that they are coming so we will be
able to pursue our attempts to break the impasse and pull them into
cooperate with the United Nations," Annan said.


Times of India, 20th February


In Malaysia Monday, the main ethnic Chinese opposition party joined Prime
Minister Mahathir Mohamad in condemning the air strikes. Nearly 60 percent
of Malaysia's 22 million people are Muslim. The Malaysian government
supports an end to the sanctions.

Indonesia's foreign ministry said in a statement Monday that the attacks
only increased the suffering of Iraqis reduced to poverty by the prolonged
sanctions. Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid, who leads the world's
most populous Muslim nation, has often expressed his support for the easing
of the sanctions.


Times of India, 20th February

BERLIN: Germany gave a circumspect reaction to the US and British air
strikes on Iraq on Monday, offering neither wholesale support nor
condemnation of the military action.

Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said he was not worried by the bombing of
targets near Baghdad on February 16, but added "it does affect us" when
asked for a reaction by reporters at a meeting of his Social Democratic

"We are talking with our American friends but not in public about them," he
said. Schroeder added that he was "not interested in the sabre-rattling of
the German conservatives nor in the excitedness of the other side." The
center-right Christian Union parties gave their support to the air strikes
while the post-communist Party of Democratic Socialism and members of the
Greens, junior partners in Schroeder's coalition government, attacked the

Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer was headed to Washington Monday for talks
on Tuesday with US Secretary of State Colin Powell, Vice President Dick
Cheney and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice. Schroeder called the
trip "a difficult mission" and said the meeting would focus on the situation
in the Middle East in general, including ways to avoid any widespread
solidarity of Arabs with Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein following the military

He added such a response could undermine the Middle East peace process.

by Ghassan Al-Kadi

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- Iraq decided Tuesday to break trade ties
with Canada and Poland in retaliation for their support of the U.S.-British
air strikes near Baghdad last week while thousands of Iraqis participated in
a fourth consecutive day of protests against the attacks.

Trade Minister Mohammed Mahdi Saleh said Iraq decided to stop importing
goods from Canada and Poland after their governments supported Friday's air
raids on the suburbs of Baghdad that killed two people and wounded 20

Saleh said the imports included Canadian wheat, but he refrained from saying
when such a measure would take effect and whether it would cover goods and
products that Iraq already agreed to purchase from Canada and Poland. Iraq
has been importing wheat from Canada as part of the U.N. oil-for-food

The Polish Embassy in Baghdad has been protecting U.S. interests in Iraq
since the 1991 Gulf War.

Figures on how much trade between the countries would be affected were not


Times of India, 20th February

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia: Ethnic Malay Muslim officials from Malaysia's ruling
party staged a protest outside the US Embassy on Monday condemning recent
American and British missile strikes on Iraq.

More than 20 members of the United Malays National Organisation chanted
"Down with America" and "Bush is Satan" at the embassy's gates. Some held up
posters with the words, "Like father, like son - murderer."

Zulkifli Mohammad Alwi, assistant secretary of the party's youth wing, said
the group would consider "more radical measures" in the event of another
allied attack on Iraq.

Ten policemen watched the brief protest, which ended without violence.

Raids on air defense sites around Baghdad last Friday were the first
military operation ordered by US President George W. Bush. The air strikes
killed two people and wounded at least 20.

Nearly 60 per cent of Malaysia's 22 million people are Muslim. The Malaysian
government supports an end to Gulf War sanctions against Iraq. (AP)

by Deaglán de Bréadún, Foreign Affairs Correspondent
Irish Times, 20th February

IRAQ: The Government has expressed "regret" that the joint US-British
bombing of Baghdad was considered necessary and said every step should be
taken to avoid the use of force in future.

The bombing and the related issue of Iraqi sanctions will be raised by the
Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Cowen, on a round of visits to Moscow,
Paris and Washington over the next 10 days.

A statement issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs said the Government
had sought information over the weekend through its mission to the United
Nations in New York about the circumstances in which the bombing was carried

"These actions have taken place at a time when efforts are being made to
secure the return of a UN disarmament mission to Iraq and a possible review
of sanctions. The Government regrets very much that the use of force was
deemed necessary and is concerned that every step be taken to avoid its
further use."

Mr Cowen will hold talks in Moscow tomorrow with the Russian Foreign
Minister, Mr Igor Ivanov. On Friday in Paris he meets the French Foreign
Minister, Mr Hubert Védrine, and he travels to Washington next week for
talks with the new US Secretary of State, Mr Colin Powell, and the National
Security Adviser, Dr Condoleeza Rice.

"These talks, which will include bilateral issues, will also cover issues of
common interest on the UN Security Council," the statement said. All three
countries are permanent members of the Security Council: Ireland was elected
for a two-year term which began on January 1st.

In what Government sources described as a "balanced" approach, the Minister
will equally stress the need to alleviate the impact of UN sanctions on the
civilian population of Iraq and the parallel requirement for the Iraqi
government to comply with Security Council resolutions, especially relating
to the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction.

"Ireland wishes to see sanctions lifted at the earliest possible moment.
However, to help bring this about, Iraq must demonstrate, with concrete
evidence, its peaceful intentions, especially with regard to its
neighbours." Irish diplomats will also address the issue of Iraq in
discussions scheduled to take place in the Security Council today.

Supporting a review of the sanctions, Fine Gael's Foreign Affairs spokesman,
Mr Jim O'Keeffe, said there was a strong case for abandoning the general
trade embargo against Iraq and having "tight, strategic sanctions" on arms
and equipment. He added that if the air attacks reduced President Saddam
Hussein's military capacity, then "they may be justified".

Labour's Foreign Affairs spokesman, Mr Michael D. Higgins, said the
Government's statement on the Baghdad bombing was "mealy-mouthed and

He continued: "It accepts the use of force while evading the responsibility
of justifying it or addressing its consequences on a civilian population."
Noting that the Government had avoided criticism of the US and Britain, he
added: "We would like to know what the Irish position is."

Times of india, 20th February

ANKARA AFP): The recent American and British air strikes against Iraq must
not compromise "developing ties" between Turkey and Iraq, a Turkish minister
was quoted as saying in the on Monday edition of the Milliyet newspaper.

"We do not want our relations, which have entered a strengthening phase, to
be affected," said Tunca Toskay, a minister of state in charge of foreign

Toskay said the planned visit of a large delegation of Turkish businessmen
and officials to Baghdad would go ahead despite recent developments. The
delegation will focus on commercial matters, he added.

"We love the Iraqis and they love us too," the minister said.

Toskay had visited Baghdad in November 2000 with a group of officials and
businessmen in order to discuss a resumption of trade between Iraq and

Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit on Saturday said he regretted the air
strikes on the region around Baghdad and called on the new US administration
to consult Turkey in matters relating to Iraq.


Times of India, 20th February

PARIS: French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine called on Washington on Monday
to revise its policy towards Iraq and said the latest US-British air strikes
had no legal basis.

Vedrine, in an interview with France's LCI television, criticised the new
administration of President George W. Bush for maintaining a policy which
did not alleviate the suffering of the Iraqi population.

France has been at the forefront of widespread condemnation of the February
16 US-British strikes close to Baghdad.

Vedrine said: "We have long distanced ourselves from them (air strikes)
because we have considered for a long time that there is no basis in terms
of international legality for this type of bombardment, even though the
Americans and British claim that their planes had to react because they had
been, as the technical term goes, locked on to by enemy radar."

He added: "In short, this embargo, as usual, does not work as it is meant
to. It is the population which is suffering and we are calling for it to
end. The new administration has told us it is reflecting on a new Iraq
policy, more focused on security, and gentler on the population.

"What it has just done is neither. So we are still waiting and we are going
to discuss this with them," he said.

Security measures could be taken if Iraq undertook rearmament projects of
concern to its neighbours, he added. (AFP)

by Marjorie Miller, Times Staff Writer
Los Angeles Times, 21st February


n Washington on Tuesday, Powell seemed to have persuaded visiting German
Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer to accept the justification for the
U.S.-British attacks. Asked during a joint news conference if Germany had
come to support the strikes, Fischer said, "We understand the action our
allies had to take in an immensely difficult situation . . . where they have
to make sure that they safeguard the lives of the [Iraqi] Kurds as well as
of their own troops in those regions."


by George Gedda, Associated Press Writer
Los Angeles Times, 21st February

WASHINGTON--German Foreign Secretary Joschka Fischer said Wednesday there is
a "real chance" for cooperation between the United States and Russia on
American plans for a missile defense system despite Russian concerns that it
would trigger a nuclear arms race.

Fischer told a group of American reporters it is important for Russia to see
that U.S. deployment of a missile defense strengthens nuclear stability and
doesn't weaken it.

He said if Russia cannot persuade the Bush administration to drop the plan,
"The best thing is to cooperate with the United States, that there be a
climate of cooperation and not confrontation.

"There is a chance to have a productive approach with the Russian side," he

Fischer met Tuesday with Secretary of State Colin Powell and planned
meetings later Wednesday with Robert Zoellick, the administration's top
trade official.

The Bush administration believes a missile defense is necessary primarily to
guard against possible attacks by countries such as North Korea and Iran.

Moscow is worried that the shield could be used to protect the United States
from Russia's nuclear arsenal in violation of the 1972 Antiballistic Missile
Treaty. Moscow sees that treaty as a cornerstone of disarmament.

On other subjects, Fischer said:

 -He received assurances from Powell that the United States has no intention
of withdrawing unilaterally from the Balkans. Former Secretary of State
Madeleine Albright had strongly urged the new administration to keep a U.S.
military presence in the region. Fischer said it is too early to say whether
the Bush administration sees the Balkans in the same way as the previous
administration. He said this is the first time in decades that the Balkans
have a chance for a sustainable peace.

 -There is no cause for concern that U.S. and European differences about a
proposal to create an all-European defense force will weaken NATO. "There
are tensions," he said. "Tell me a time when there were no tensions in NATO.
... I'm not concerned about the future of the alliance -so long as everyone
is willing to put their fears and concerns on the table."

 -He was "really impressed" with Powell's ideas for getting Iraq to comply
with U.N. Security Council arms control resolutions. He declined to take a
stand on the U.S.-British airstrikes Friday near Baghdad.

 -Iran's development of weapons of mass destruction is a "major concern and
should be stopped." He said his government is working hard to expand the
existing democratic opening in Iran.

 -He told Russia to be more relaxed about NATO enlargement, pointing to the
results of adding Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic to the alliance two
years ago. "Where is the threat for Russian security?" he asked.

 -He has decided to "remain silent" about questions at home concerning his
past activities, particularly when he is outside Germany. He brushed aside a
question about his alleged presence at a Palestine Liberation Organization
conference in 1969. "I've talked too much," he said. "Whenever I say
something, it's turned against me."

Panafrican News Agency (Dakar), 21st February

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia: The Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) Tuesday
condemned the recent US-British bombardments against Iraq, describing the
action as violation of resolutions and principles of international law.

The organisation, comprising some fifty Muslim states, said in a statement
from its headquarters in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia that such "unjustified act
only makes it more difficult to find any solution" to the problem between
Iraq and some western powers.

The bombings against Iraq occurred when the country was preparing for
discussions with the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on 26 February
regarding the lifting of sanctions on Baghdad, the statement said.

OIC Secretary General, Dr. Abdelouahed Belkeziz followed with "much concern"
the repercussions of the attack by American and British forces against Iraq.

He also urged the Security Council to organise comprehensive talks between
Iraq and the UN in order to settle all pending issues in a healthy
atmosphere that could result in the lifting of sanctions against Iraq.

Belkeziz called on all OIC member States to contact the US and Great Britain
to ensure that the necessary measures are taken to guarantee the respect of
Iraq's sovereignty and territorial integrity and stop the use of force as
well as actions outside the framework of the Security Council.

British and British fighter-bombers targeted Iraqi military installations on
16 February night, following Baghdad reported that the raids caused

BBC World Service, 22nd February

Parliament in Russia has called on President Putin to formally declare that
sanctions on Iraq are useless, and to order the government to restore
economic ties.

The vote was overwhelming; but correspondents point out that it is
non-binding, and the Russian government has already said it will not
unilaterally break the United Nations embargo.

Russia was among the many states which condemned last week's air raid on
Baghdad by American and British aircraft.

Meanwhile, the Iraqi deputy foreign minister, Nizar Hamdoon, is in France --
which has also criticised the raid and the sanctions.

French officials are urging Baghdad to resume full cooperation with the
United Nations.

People's Daily, 22nd February

The Mexican parliament, the Congress of the Union, unanimously passed a
resolution Wednesday to condemn the United States and Britain for their
recent air strikes against Iraq.

The resolution said the Mexican parliament opposes using force to settle
international disputes and regional conflicts and the Iraqi issue should be
settled within the framework of relevant resolutions of the Security Council
of the United Nations.

The resolution also noted that Mexico abides by relevant resolutions of the
UN Security Council and supports the UN's efforts to permanently solve the
ten-year crisis.

US and British warplanes bombed Iraqi communications and air defense targets
in the south of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad on February 16, the first
attack on Baghdad since December 1998.

Times of India, 22nd February

WARSAW, Poland: An adviser to Poland's prime minister submitted his
resignation on Wednesday after his remarks about the U.S.-British airstrikes
against Iraq apparently led to Baghdad declaring a boycott.

Foreign policy adviser Jerzy Marek Nowakowski said he expected his
resignation to be accepted by Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek, but there was no
official word from Buzek or the government about his decision.

Apparently reacting to Nowakowski's remarks, French Foreign Minister Hubert
Vedrine said Monday that Canada and Poland were the only nations supporting
the airstrikes, and Iraq declared a boycott against those two countries

"I asked the prime minister to accept my resignation because I would not
like to be a cause for international tensions," Nowakowski said in a
telephone interview after meeting with Buzek.

But he refused to take responsibility for the diplomatic row, saying his
"remarks clearly did not give any grounds for such over-interpretation made
by the French and the Iraqi sides."

Earlier Wednesday, senior Buzek aide Teresa Kaminska said Buzek was
considering action against Nowakowski over the "unfortunate" remarks.

The Polish Foreign Ministry also will discuss with France the "very
unfortunate" interpretation of Nowakowski's remarks made by Vedrine,
Kaminska told private Radio Zet.

"I think it is not customary, and it should not become a custom, that
remarks of one country's foreign minister decide on the political position
of another independent and sovereign country," she said.

Nowakowski, a close collaborator with Buzek since he took office in 1997,
told PAP news agency Friday that the airstrikes were a "resolute gesture of
the new U.S. administration" and that there is "no reason for us not to have
understanding for the action." But he stressed he was speaking only as an
analyst and that an official statement could be made only by the Foreign

So far, Poland's contacts with Iraq have gone on as usual and Warsaw has
received no official notification of a boycott, Kaminska said.

Polish exports to Iraq totaled dlrs 327,000 during the first nine months of
2000, the latest figures available from the Polish Foreign Ministry. The
trade is conducted under the U.N. oil for-food program which allows Iraq to
export oil so long as the revenue is used to buy food, medicine and
essential items.

Polish Foreign Minister Wladyslaw Bartoszewski said Tuesday in Teheran, Iran
that Poland never made any statements approving or condemning the

He said Nowakowski's remarks were "arbitrary and harmful for Poland." (AP)

by Michael Smith, Defence Correspondent
Daily Telegraph, 22nd February

SERBIA'S new democratic government provided intelligence which aided
American and British air raids on Iraqi air defence installations, defence
officials disclosed yesterday.

China, Russia, Belarus and the former Yugoslav regime of Slobodan Milosevic
have all been credited with helping to improve the Iraqi air defence system.
Shortly before the raids, the US Defence Intelligence Agency reported that a
new underground fibre-optic link supplied by the Chinese had led to the
improved Iraqi capabilities.

But British defence officials said yesterday that intelligence for the raids
was provided by Serbs who had worked on the Iraqi installations under the
Milosevic regime. One senior British official said: "We have a good feel for
this. We have heard from Serbs who have been over to Iraq and built things
in underground facilities."

He stressed that the Serb assistance to Iraq had stopped since the election
of President Vojislav Kostunica. "It's because of the new Kostunica regime
that we've got to hear about this. Evidence of what was going on under
Milosevic is coming out."

The disclosure underlines the rapprochement between Nato and Belgrade, and
may go some way to explaining increasing consensus on how to handle the
problem of Albanian gunmen who have been operating on the border between
north-eastern Kosovo and Serbia.



BELGRADE, Feb. 23 (UPI) --President Vojislav Kostunica strongly denied
British news reports that said Yugoslavia had provided information to the
United States and Great Britain about Iraq's radar defense systems.

 In a statement released from his office Thursday, Kostunica rejected
reports that said the information was then used in recent air raids on Iraq.

 The statement said Kostunica made the denial during talks in Belgrade with
the Iraqi ambassador to Yugoslavia, Samir Sadun, when Kostunica condemned
air raids on Iraq and stressed that Yugoslavia's view on principle was that
policing of sanctions and military reprisals could solve no problems in the

 Kostunica and Sadun agreed there was need to continue economic cooperation
between their two countries, the Srna news agency reported.

 Yugoslavia had close ties with Iraq during the rule of the late Yugoslav
leader, Marshal Josip Broz Tito, who was a friend of President Saddam
Hussein. In Tito's lifetime and subsequently, throughout the 1980s and most
of the 1990s, Yugoslavia was known to have supplied Iraq with heavy weaponry
and other war materiel in exchange for oil.

NO URL GIVEN (circulated to CASI discussion list)


 VATICAN CITY, FEB. 21, 2001 ( The Vatican has expressed its
disapproval of last week's bombing of Iraq by U.S. and British warplanes.
Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican secretary of state, also protested the
embargo imposed on Iraq, when he met the press at a reception Monday in the
Italian Embassy.

"We pronounce ourselves again against the embargo," he told Vatican Radio.
"As to the rest, the Holy See is not the only one: Many governments,
including the Italian government, at times have expressed concern over the
humanitarian situation of these youths, patients, deprived of assistance,
and have always appealed for change. We also hope that wisdom will prevail."
"It is believed that the method of force will resolve problems; the Holy
See thinks otherwise," the cardinal stressed.

Last Friday, for the first time in two years, U.S. and British planes
bombed targets near Baghdad, to enforce a military "no-fly" zone. Their
action resulted in three people dead and 30 wounded among the civilian
population, Baghdad reported.

ZE01022111  ZENIT Editorial Address:  C.P. 18356 00164 Rome Italy

Times of India, 23rd February

BERLIN: The most prominent member of Germany's Greens, Foreign Minister
Joschka Fischer, has provoked anger and division in his party by backing the
US-British raids on Iraq, at a time when he is already under heavy attack
for his past as a militant of the far left.

Greens activists were shocked on Wednesday that Fischer should express
"understanding" for the air strikes against Iraq after his talks in
Washington week with US Secretary of State Colin Powell.

"It is not our place to criticise the United States," Fischer said, in a
remark that particularly upset members of the Greens. "We are of course
permitted to go on criticising the United States, above all when they take a
belligerent stance," countered the prominent Greens deputy, Hans-Christian

After trans-Atlantic telephone calls on Wednesday evening with leaders of
his party to smooth the row, Fischer on Thursday called Chancellor Gerhard
Schroeder to inform him about his Washington visit.

Schroeder again backed his embattled foreign minister, government spokesman
Uwe-Karsten Heye indicated. There was "complete agreement" between the two
men in their assessment of the visit, the spokesman said.

The previous day, Heye had denied there were any differences between the
chancellor and Foreign Minister Fischer over the US-British raids on
Baghdad, although Schroeder had been notably circumspect in his public
reaction to them.

The chancellor has already been having to defend Fischer from political
attacks over the minister's controversial far-left past, and on Monday the
foreign minister was placed under judicial investigation for alleged

The perjury probe, arising out of a terrorist trial in which Fischer gave
evidence last month, relates to his denial of ever having any relations with
members of the terrorist Red Army Faction (RAF), active in Germany in the
1970s when he was a far-left militant.

There is a strong suspicion that the perjury case has been inspired by the
opposition Christian Democratic Union (CDU), which because of its own
weakness after a slush-fund scandal badly wants to attack the Schroeder
government any way it can.

The problem for the once-pacifist Greens and their electoral base, is that
since joining the government they seem to be turning their coats. Fischer's
backing for the Kosovo war in 1999 caused uproar.

A fresh split arose last year when, led by Environment Minister Juergen
Trittin, the strongly anti-nuclear party rank-and-file was made to accept a
vague government promise to phase out nuclear power over the next 20 years.

Fischer's support for the raids on Iraq is thus all the harder for the party
to bear -- and comes in the run-up to two important regional elections in
Germany at the end of March, in Baden-Wuerttemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate.

In the Berliner Morgenpost newspaper on Thursday, the Greens' defence policy
spokesperson Angelika Beer said she and the parliamentary party "remain
fundamentally critical of Britain's and the United States' air strikes" on

Beer said the strikes were not justified under international law and had
"further destabilized" the situation in the Middle East. As well as adding
to Fischer's own troubles, the row is bad news for Chancellor Schroeder, who
had been riding a wave of popularity thanks to a domestic economic upturn
marked by falling unemployment and the floundering of the opposition.

He has reckoned on ensuring the re-election of himself and his Social
Democrats (SPD) in 2002 by maintaining the present coalition with the
Greens. But if the Greens worsen their already scant electoral base with
further in-fighting, that perspective looks less hopeful. (AFP)

Dawn, 23rd February

WASHINGTON, Feb 22: The American Muslim Council (AMC) has expressed its
grave concern at the recent US-British attacks on Iraq. With the sanctions
against Baghdad unravelling, the council said, the international community
is looking at other forms of securing the safety and rights of the Iraqi
people while controlling President Saddam's military strength.

The council urged the Bush administration to review its "current failed
policy and generate one that works toward effectively safeguarding American
interests but not at the expense of the Iraqi people."

After 10 years, "it has become apparent that the current policy has not
succeeded in dislodging Saddam and has only served to tarnish the reputation
of the US in the Muslim and Arab world and the international community.

The global community, with the exception of the US and Britain, has ceased
to view military force and economic sanctions as effective tools against the
Iraqi government."

The council urged the US to adopt a new policy that would not damage the
long-term interests of fostering a civil society and support for democracy
among the people of Iraq. It said a more compassionate US policy towards the
Iraqi people could have a great impact on US relations with other Arab
countries in the Middle East.


BAGHDAD, Feb 23, 2001 (Reuters) Poland denied it had openly supported last
week's U.S.-British attacks on air defense installations near Baghdad, a
Polish embassy statement published in an Iraqi newspaper said on Friday.

Such statements are rare in Iraq's government-controlled media. Baghdad has
suspended trade links with Poland and Polish Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek
dismissed his top foreign policy adviser for making remarks that appeared to
support the air raids.

"Poland has not taken any official position in support of the recent air
strikes on Iraq," said the statement published on the front page of al-Iraq

It blamed the misunderstanding on remarks by Buzek's now former foreign
policy advisor Jerzy Nowakowski, who was quoted by Poland's PAP news agency
as saying he saw "no reason not to understand such actions (as the air

"What happened was a result of unclear remarks made by one of...Buzek's
advisers, who had submitted his resignation, which was accepted," the
statement said.

Poland still enjoys full diplomatic ties with Iraq and "firmly supports
creating the conditions that would swiftly lead to the lifting of the harsh
economic sanctions within the United Nations framework," the statement said.

Nowakowski had qualified his remarks by saying that he had commented as an
analyst and not as a senior government official.

by Carola Hoyos, United Nations Correspondent
Financial Times, 23rd February

When Colin Powell, the US secretary of state, met Kofi Annan, the UN
secretary-general, last week he did not mention that he was planning only
two days later to send 24 attack aircraft to bomb Iraq's defences near

London and Washington also kept their fellow members of the UN Security
Council in the dark, prompting concern in New York that, after 10 years of
deep involvement in shaping policy on Iraq, the UN will find itself
marginalised under the new US administration.

"If there is a big shift it would result from hard decisions made in
Washington," Sir Jeremy Greenstock, the UK's ambassador to the UN, said.

The US chose to forgo what amounted to the new administration's first, if
slim, chance at making some diplomatic headway with Iraq, giving Mr Annan no
guidance before his meeting on Monday with Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, Iraq's
foreign minister.

Though Mr Powell and Mr Annan discussed Iraq at their meeting last week, Mr
Powell did not offer the secretary-general a specific approach to the

"I think talks can always be useful," Mr Powell said. "And it would be
presumptuous of me to suggest to the secretary-general what he might or
might not talk about."

Nevertheless, Mr Annan knows he has very little leeway when it comes to
negotiating a compromise with Iraq.

"Kofi is still waiting for a mandate. His position has to be very close to
that of the US," a European diplomat said. "Why do you think he called the
US bombing an 'air action'?"

Much of the problem of defining the UN's future role towards Iraq lies in
the fact that the US has not yet formalised its own policy, beyond its
assertion that it will narrow, but deepen, sanctions.

If the scope of the UN's sanctions were to be revised - something the
Clinton administration did when it approved UN resolution 1,284 in December
1999 - this would have to be done through the UN Security Council. The same
would be true of efforts to reduce the billions of dollars Iraq gains by
smuggling oil through Jordan, Turkey, Iran and Syria.

But the crux of the issue, namely the hunt for Iraq's weapons of mass
destruction, has so far failed to be addressed successfully in the context
of the UN. Many diplomats still blame the impasse on the US's and UK's
unilateral bombing of Baghdad in December 1998, which forced inspectors to
evacuate the country.

Since then Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi president, has not allowed inspectors
to return and the Security Council has become increasingly divided over what
to do about Iraq's weapons programme.

"Our goal [is] to make sure that Iraq complies with the arms control
agreements it entered into, and let's move on beyond this," Mr Powell said
at the UN last week.

That goal may not be new, but the Bush administration has already signalled
it will revise the current approach of getting weapons inspectors back into
Iraq, which for the past two years has failed. But the US may well have to
toe the security line outside the realm of the UN as France and Russia have
grown increasingly wary about toughening the UN's policy on Iraq.

The no-fly zones which the US and UK patrol were established by them and
France, outside the UN's policy, following the Gulf war.

France has since pulled out of the patrols and has grown increasingly
critical of them. Adding to the problem is the fact that UN inspectors are
hesitant to return to Iraq while the clashes continue, even if Baghdad
shifts its position.

Still, at least one diplomat suggested the bombings were a way of allowing
the Bush administration to soften its stance on Iraq at a later date. He
said the UN would serve as the perfect "stepladder" for the US if it were to
descend from its increasingly controversial hardline stance against Iraq.


by Edward Luttwak
Sundat Telegraph, 12th February

PRESIDENT BUSH has insisted that Friday's raid on Baghdad was "routine".
That is clearly false. If it had been routine, it would have been targeted
on locations inside the "no-fly zones".

Local American and British commanders do not have to ask permission to mount
"routine" missions. But Friday's raid was personally authorised by both
President Bush and Tony Blair. If this raid was "routine", then so was
President Clinton's "Operation Desert Fox", the now-notorious Cruise missile
attack launched on Iraqi targets by the former president at the very moment
that the details about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky became public.

There is, however, no ulterior presidential motive behind the latest raid.
The impetus for it came from Mr Bush's military commanders, not from the
President himself. He merely acceded to their request to be able to
neutralise some of Saddam Hussein's more sophisticated long-range radar,
which Saddam had already started to use to try to enable his missiles to
target United States and British aircraft.

The raid was a limited operation authorised for technical reasons; but with
more than 20 fighter bombers involved, no one could honestly call it
routine. Military planners must have been with Mr Blair in Downing Street
discussing it when he was preparing to receive Romano Prodi, the president
of the European Commission, who had arrived in London to try to persuade
British politicians, journalists and public of the merits of European

Mr Blair does not seem to have shared his plans to bomb Iraq with Mr Prodi.
European politicians, and not just Mr Prodi, are unhappy about only finding
out about the Iraq operation from television and newspaper reports. The
Italians and Germans are said to be sulking, and the French are reported to
be furious.

The Prime Minister's decision to keep the raid on Baghdad from his good
friends and close European allies Mr Chirac, Mr Schro¨der and Mr D'Amato,
however, makes perfect sense: none of those countries are willing to
contribute anything to the enforcement of the UN sanctions they all support,
leaving the burden to the Americans and the British. There is also the fact
that not all European governments can keep secrets.

Moreover, the French, who set up the no-fly zones with America and Britain
in 1991 but pulled out years ago, have been lobbying hard to have all
sanctions removed. They pretend to believe Saddam's claim that the
restrictions placed on his sale of oil are preventing him from feeding the
children and healing the sick of his country. That is palpable nonsense.

Saddam is allowed to sell as much oil as he likes, so long as the proceeds
do not go to build bombs, missiles, tanks or weapons of any kind. Saddam has
also sold hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of oil on the black market.
He has not used one cent of the proceeds to feed children, or buy medicine.
He has used them to buy spare parts for his military machine.

Saddam has made no attempt to disguise his intentions. In the past few
months, he has threatened Saudi Arabia, extolling its people to rise up and
overthrow their government; he has also called for an oil boycott of the
West. All oil consumers have a clear and obvious interest in seeing his
power curtailed.

George Bush Junior is well aware that his father let Saddam off the hook at
the end of the Gulf war. Everyone agreed at the time that the West needed a
functioning Iraq in order to provide a counter-weight to Iran. The situation
has changed in ways no one predicted.

Today, Iran is on the path away from anti-Western fundamentalism, and the
ayotollahs have so little support they could never attack Arabia. Saddam has
become the greatest menace to peace and security that the West has.
Eliminating him is now both feasible and desirable.

Edward Luttwak is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and
International Studies, Washington DC

by Amos Perlmutter, Jerusalem Post, 19th February

(February 19) - President George W. Bush continues to fulfill his campaign
promises. In a debate with former vice president Al Gore, he made it clear
that if Iraqi President Saddam Hussein violated the sanctions imposed upon
him by the 1991 coalition, "we'll take him out."

Colin Powell's first trip to the Middle East as secretary of state -
intended to be fact finding, getting to know people and their problems, and
generally relating to American concerns in the Middle East - will have an
added dimension as he deals with Middle Eastern terrorists.

The action taken against Iraq last week is linked with America's regional
policy in the Middle East. Although the national security advisers and the
State Department have not as yet formulated a comprehensive policy toward
Iraq, Bush found it imperative to end the serious Iraqi violations of the
"no-fly zone" over the last two months.

The demand for an American strike came from the ground, led by the US and
British air forces, whose aircraft have been endangered by Iraq's shooting
of surface-to-air missiles into the no-fly zone.

According to a Pentagon spokesman, Saddam has used these missiles on 14
occasions during the past six weeks. Although it could appear to be a
continuation of the routine Clinton defense of the no-fly zone, the targets
that American and British airplanes hit were outside the zone. This is an
end to former president Clinton's hands-off policy toward Saddam and the
beginning of Bush's hands-on policy.

The new administration is facing much more serious circumstances than
Clinton's did in 1992. In 1992 the anti-Saddam war coalition of Americans,
Europeans and Middle Easterners was still intact. Saddam was still in the

Clinton's appeasement of Saddam, his pusillanimous reaction to Saddam's
ousting of UNSCOM from Iraq and refusal to permit the new milder
arms-control commission into Baghdad, French and Russian greed for Saddam's
oil and money and the mischievous Chinese who will find any opportunity to
create obstacles for American strategy, have all succeeded in letting Saddam
out of the box.

The cunning Saddam has used oil revenues set up for food to buy weapons from
Russia, China, Germany and North Korea. The phony Clinton-Kofi Annan oil for
food policy is only adding to Saddam's arsenal at the expense of Iraqi
children whom Saddam uses as a public relations weapon against the US.
Saddam's buildup of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) after his expulsion of
UNSCOM inspectors is a first priority of the Bush administration.

The collapse of the Gulf War alliance has created an obstacle to the
re-establishment of a serious arms-control policy. Certainly a consistent
and continuous bombing of Iraq beyond the no-fly zone would demonstrate
American resolve to bring an end to his regime, as Powell has reiterated
several times. I have great doubts that the 1991 Gulf coalition can be

The new administration's most promising option for putting Saddam back into
the box, in addition to bombing, is to support the Iraq National Committee
(INC) which is composed of anti-Saddam dissidents. Unlike the Clinton
administration that paid only lip service to the INC, Vice President Dick
Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and his deputy Paul Wolfowitz
will upgrade the American political, economic and military support of the

This time, Saddam, who may lose assets to the opposition, will take the
American administration more seriously. A special task force composed of
Pentagon, State Department and CIA officials will be established to
supervise the INC and its activities. This time, unlike president George
Bush's administration in 1991, the US will not turn its back on the

The war against Saddam is part of this administration's determination to
raise the level of consciousness of the American people to the need for
bringing an end to terrorism, especially Islamic radical terrorism that
moves from Pakistan to the Middle East and back.

Saddam and the Syrians have started a preliminary military buildup for
eventual elimination of Israel. Saddam has already offered money and
resources to any Arab military that is willing to join in the support of
Palestinian violence in a crusade against Israel, thus igniting the Middle
East. Powell must persuade America's Middle Eastern friends and moderate
leaders to help bring an end to Palestinian violence, since Middle East
turbulence is not in the interest of fragile moderate Arab regimes. Bush and
Powell will not have the chance to let the Middle East factions settle
disputes among themselves. Radical forces in the Middle East will do their
utmost to harm American interests. Time is of the essence for bringing an
end to radical terrorism in the Middle East, beginning with Saddam Hussein.


Dawn (Pakistan), 12th February

The Anglo-American aerial strikes against Baghdad on Friday are indicative
of a sinister turn in US policy vis-a-vis Iraq. President George Bush's
description of the raids as "routine" speaks volumes about the new
administration's still evolving approach to this vexing issue, which has
earned the US world-wide opprobrium. Friday's strikes are significant in
many ways. Nearly two dozen aircraft were involved and the capital, Baghdad,
came under attack for the first time since late 1998. Long-range,
precision-guided weapons were used to attack four sites outside the "no-fly
zones" - the last time such an offensive having taken place in 1999. The
military goal of the latest mission was described to be the bombing of
radars to preempt Iraqi anti-aircraft fire against American planes
patrolling the "no-fly zones" in the south and north.

In narrow military and strategic terms, all this might make sense in a war.
But the West needs to be reminded that Iraq is not in a state of war any
longer and the western action has no political or military justification at
all. If it is intended as a signal to President Saddam Hussein that
Washington is planning to get tough, it will create no impact. The Democrats
were no less tough in their early years and what did they achieve? A
toughening of stance can only have some adverse effects. First, it will
exacerbate the conflict, increase the tension in the region and make a
resolution of the problem more difficult. Secondly, it could trigger an
international crisis of grave dimensions in the present-day world context.
Thirdly, a get tough US policy would not help ease the sanctions imposed on
Iraq after its invasion of Kuwait in 1990 and this would compound the misery
of the Iraqis.

The American policy is ostensibly directed at destroying weapons of
mass-destruction in Iraqi arsenals to make the country safe for its
neighbours. This plea is no longer valid. As it is, the UN had certified the
disarmament of Iraq before UNSCOM was pulled out of Baghdad in 1998.
However, the United States has made no secret of its intention to topple
President Saddam Hussein who continues to be entrenched in office,
notwithstanding all the punishing and arm-twisting the US has done of the
Iraqi people. President Bush has now announced assistance to an opposition
group in Iraq which will be operating in the country. This approach cannot
be justified under international law. In the age of imperialism America's
Iraq policy would have found acceptance in real politik. But international
relations are no longer based on the principle of might being right.
President Bush can expect some trouble from other quarters as well. China
and Russia have already condemned Friday's raids. Others will join the
chorus. The opinion now emerging very strongly in international circles is
that Washington's policy vis-a-vis Iraq is unreasonable, inhuman and smacks
of political chauvinism. Small wonder, then, that a growing number of
countries have begun to defy the sanctions and are establishing links with
Baghdad. They include Russia, France, China and many others. If the US
pushes its policy any further, there is bound to be a reaction from these
quarters which would have a profound impact on world politics. Finally, any
tightening of the sanctions will hurt the Iraqi civilians further. The
oil-for-food and medicine programme has helped the country survive but the
cost has been high. Half a million people (more than those killed in the
war) have died on account of non-availability of health care. Poor
sanitation and water supply have had a devastating impact on the people's
health and living standards. President Bush would find it difficult to
convince the world opinion that a toughening of policy is what is now

by Robert Fisk
Sunday Independent, 18 February

In George Orwell's 1984, Oceania ­ in which Britain is "Airstrip One" ­ is
engaged in eternal war with Eastasia. Victories are constantly announced by
the British government. Our battle with Eastasia, over the years, has become
routine. In George Bush's 2001, the West is engaged in eternal war with
Iraq. The "degrading" of Iraq's forces is constantly announced by the
American and British governments. And on Friday, the mission of the planes,
which have been bombing Iraq for 10 years, was officially announced by the
American President as "routine".

As in 1984, the characters in 2001 do not change. In 1991, defence secretary
Dick Cheney and chairman of the joint chiefs of staff Colin Powell were
urging the bombers on to Baghdad with the backing of President George Bush.
In 2001, Vice President Dick Cheney and secretary of state Colin Powell are
urging the bombers on to Baghdad with the backing of President George Bush
Jr. In 1991, the Beast of Baghdad was Saddam Hussein. In 2001, the Beast of
Baghdad is Saddam Hussein.

And woe betide us if we feel like Winston Smith, eternally feeding old
newspaper cuttings into the oven. Bin those clippings about how we
"defanged" Saddam in 1991. Forget the UN arms inspectors who would eliminate
forever Iraq's "weapons of mass destruction". Make no complaint about the
half-million Iraqi children who have died under UN sanctions. Destroy all
reference to the New World Order.

We are engaging ­ an Orwellian cracker this, from the Pentagon on Friday
night ­ in "protective retaliation". And by yesterday morning, a military
"expert" was on our very own BBC ­ its defence correspondent, Andrew
Gilligan, no less ­ to announce that Iraq had acquired 30 surface-to-air
missiles from Serbia and Ukraine to boost its military might. Really? Is
this true? We in the West impose sanctions on Iraq so strict that we prevent
the import of lead for schoolchildren's pencils lest it be put to military
use; yet we cannot stop the Iraqis lugging anti-aircraft missiles over their

When we started bombing in the no-fly-zones in the aftermath of the Gulf War
10 years ago, we did so in retaliation because the Iraqis shot at our
planes, just as we supposedly did this weekend. When we fired 200 cruise
missiles into Iraq just over two years ago, President Clinton ­ a brief
interlude in the war between the Saddam and Bush families ­ told us that
Saddam has "disarmed the (UN) inspectors". Tony Blair, agonising about the
lives of British forces involved (all 14 pilots) told us ­ a real Orwell
masterpiece ­ "we must act because we must".

So what Newspeak do our masters produce for us this weekend? Why, our own
Foreign Secretary Robin Cook tells us that Saddam ­ not sanctions ­ are to
blame for all those Iraqi deaths. It was the same Mr Cook who has repeatedly
and truthfully told us during this eternal war that Saddam has used gas
"against his own people" ­ without mentioning the other truth: that he did
so during an aggressive war with Iran in which we enthusiastically supported
Saddam. So tell Winston Smith to burn all articles about a village called
Halabja if they inconveniently mention Iran.

Iraq's state television yesterday announces "an attack by American
aggressors". The forces of Oceania, it seems, killed a woman and wounded 11
civilians in the Eastasian capital of Baghdad. Oceania insists the attacks
were aimed at "sites well away from civilian areas". The planes were "well
within the 33rd parallel" ­ the limit of the self-appointed Oceanian no-fly
zones -- and used "standoff" missiles to hit their targets.

When President Clinton faced the worst of the Lewinsky scandal, he bombed
Afghanistan and Sudan. When he faced impeachment in 1998, he bombed Iraq.
Faced with an explosion between Israelis and Palestinians, George Bush Jr
bombs ­ why, Baghdad. And still Mr Cook tells the Iraqi people Saddam is
their "problem". Note to Winston Smith: burn at once all references to
George Bush Sr's 1991 call to the people of Iraq to overthrow Saddam and his
subsequent willingness to let Saddam massacre the lot.

Then there's that $29m aid package about to be handed over by Washington to
the so-called opposition "Iraqi National Congress". Note to Winston Smith:
place into the incinerator all newspaper reports about the Jordanian
conviction for massive fraud of one of the INC's most prominent leaders.
Let's keep it simple: Down with the brutal regime of Eastasia! Long live

The Observer, February 18, 2001

America has just tested the limits of international law, killing and
injuring a number of innocent civilians in a military adventure of dubious
purpose. It has been assisted by another government, our own, which should
have a much better sense of the dangerous ramifications of such an exercise
of force. However, raids such as the bombing of Baghdad on Friday night have
been carried out routinely for the past 10 years. What has changed is the
decision of President Bush and his colleagues to court publicity for them.
He is sending an early signal about how 'tough' he intends to be on rogue
states like Iraq.

What this sea-change brings into sharp focus is the futility of an
Anglo-American policy which has continued for a decade. Military pressure
and sanctions have left Saddam Hussein more, rather than less, powerful,
while seriously undermining the legitimacy of Western governments in the
Middle East. We risk an Arab payback for what is seen as partisan
highhandedness. We need a better policy than bombing.

President Bush sees it differently. He appears to believe that the US is
encircled by danger that must be contested to the last, hence the signal to
Saddam. It is part of a disturbingly unilateralist world view that extends
beyond defence. This weekend, the new US Treasury Secretary, Paul O'Neill,
will tell fellow finance ministers at the G7 meeting in Italy that he is
unconvinced of the merits of intervention in financial crises, and of
economic co-ordination generally.

In these circumstances, Tony Blair should treat Mr Bush's new administration
with great caution. He wants to prove himself the loyal ally, winning the
trust of the US and upstaging our own hawkish Conservative Party. But it is
a dangerous policy. Bombing Iraq is purposeless. The new US National Missile
Defence System, to which we fear the Government has already privately
agreed, will be dangerously destabilising. And international response to
financial crises is an imperative to limit the contagion of panic and
financial losses.

This is not just The Observer 's view, but the view of all European
governments, except our own. Mr Blair should now make common cause with the
rest of Europe and assert his entitlement to shape American policy rather
than be shaped by it.,,248-87090,00.html

by Mick Hume
Times, 19th February

The Americans describe Friday¹s air strikes against Iraq as ³a routine
mission². Or, as they might say in Downing Street these days, it was ³a
bog-standard blitz².

That Britain was the only Western State to back the US action certainly
looked routine, given new Labour¹s rather trigger-happy approach in the
Gulf, the Balkans and Africa over the past four years.

As he jetted off to Baghdad to inspect the damage, the maverick Labour MP
George Galloway reminded us that Tony Blair¹s Government has now ³fired more
shots in anger than any British Government since the end of the Second World
War². I do not recall seeing ³We will drop more bombs than the Tories² among
the many pledges and targets that Mr Blair brought with him into office.

The bombing of Iraqi targets by British aircraft could also be seen as
routine from a longer historical perspective. In the early 1920s, when the
British authorities (including Winston Churchill, the Colonial Secretary,
and T.E. Lawrence ³of Arabia²) decided that their man Feisal should head the
newly invented State of Iraq, they sent in the bombers to help persuade the
opposition of the Empire¹s case.

Through the inter-war years, the Royal Air Force became a frequent player in
Iraqi affairs. Not for nothing did the RAF earn the title the ³Midwife of
modern Iraq².

Yet there is something odd about the recent Anglo-American air raids that
sets them apart from previous interventions in Iraq, up to the Gulf War.
Nobody seems certain what the repeated little air strikes against the Iraqi
air defences of recent years are supposed to achieve.

The French Government has expressed its ³incomprehension and discomfort²
over what the Americans and British are doing. The Washington Post reports
RAF pilots complaining that ³they were taking risks against Iraq for no real
military purpose².

The old argument that they are there to protect the Kurds against Saddam
Hussein will cut little ice around the world while those same Kurds are
being bombed with impunity in the north by Turkey, a Nato ally. And the new
argument offered by Bush and Blair ‹ that the strikes were necessary to
defend Allied pilots (none of whom has been scratched during a decade of
patrolling the no-fly zones) ‹ only begs the question as to why those pilots
continue to fly their warplanes over Iraq¹s air defences in the first place.

Let us leave aside all the amateur psychoanalysis of how President George W.
Bush supposedly wants to continue his father¹s war against Saddam. There is
surely something revealing in all this about the mindset of a British
Government that always seems to have somebody in its bombsights.

Worse even than the gesture politics of ³Something Must Be Done², Labour now
seems to practise the PR politics of ³Something Must Be Seen To Be Done²,
even if nothing is actually achieved. It is an outlook captured in Tony
Blair¹s famous memo, leaked to The Times last year, in which he talked about
the need for some eye-catching policy initiatives (in short, stunts).
³Something tough, with immediate bite, which sends a message.²

If at home that means proposing daft £100 spot-fines for drunks, the
mindless foreign policy equivalent is to blow up some (hopefully) empty
buildings and knock down some aerials on the outskirts of Baghdad.

During the Gulf War of a decade ago, many on the old Left proposed economic
sanctions as an alternative to military action against Iraq.

New Labour tends to the opposite view today. Sanctions are messy, drawn out
and embarrassing for the Government, especially when United Nations agencies
start quoting horrendous infant fatality figures. By contrast, token
military strikes (especially when bombs are dropped from a great height and
missiles fired long-distance), can be quick and dramatic and allow ministers
to strut about being self-righteous.

Listening to Geoff Hoon repeatedly praise Friday¹s air raids as
³humanitarian², one felt that Labour might have found a worthy successor to
George Robertson as Secretary of State for the Defence of the Indefensible.

After Friday, Tony Blair promised further air strikes if necessary to
prevent Saddam ³wreaking havoc, suffering and death². Meanwhile, the ghosts
of humanitarian interventions past haunted the headlines: the havoc in the
Middle East, the suffering of a thousand Kurdish refugees found adrift in an
excreta and vomit-filled hulk off the French Riviera, and the death of a
dozen Serbs in a bus bomb in Kosovo. It appears that is now all part of the
routine, too.

*  Pummelling malnourished Iraqis is poor leadership
by Syed Badrul Ahsan
Bangladeshi Independent, 20th February

President George W. Bush has apparently stumbled upon the truth that an
early show of his leadership on a global scale has become necessary. He has
just bombed Iraqi positions in the interest of what his administration has
called the enforcement of the no-fly zone in Iraq. There is, therefore,
reason to think that the new men in Washington are happy with the
presidential decision. It reinforces, after all, the belief that the
Republicans mean business. And do not forget that many of the Republicans
who hold important positions in the new Bush administration are men who once
held power in earlier regimes. It is thus only natural that they will bring
their old sentiments and old prejudices to bear in the Washington of the
early twenty-first century.

But in all this display of presidential authority, President Bush has seen
his meeting with Mexican leader Vicente Fox overshadowed. It was a clear
instance of the failure of the new administration to prioritise its
programmes. Worse, the move towards bombing Iraq, which has already killed
an eighteen year-old woman, is a very sad reflection of the intellectual
hollowness the Bush White House could soon come to symbolise. That is apart
from the truth that during the campaign for the presidency, Bush gave little
sign of bringing any sense of depth to bear on his leadership.

The fact that early on in his administration he has gone for what is more or
less an unprovoked attack on Iraq does not reflect well on the way the
United States will conduct policy in the region in the next few years. For
President Bush, the bombing is a powerful sign of the lapses his government
is at present going through. That can only set a dangerous pattern for the
future. And Bush cannot at this very early stage of his presidency put his
leadership on the line and thereby assure America and the rest of the world
that his is very likely to be a one-term play of power in the White House.
It would be sad to have a repeat of the earlier Bush administration.

But, in a very large sense, there are all the limitations which the new
White House is condemned to suffer from. For one thing, the very issue of
Bush¹s legitimacy as President remains, and will haunt him until the next
election in 2004. He happens to have taken over as Bill Clinton¹s successor
not through a decisive vote of the electorate but because the Supreme Court
decided that the recount of votes in Florida needed to be stopped. It was a
decision which did America no favours. Indeed, it left the bad taste in the
mouth that the election was a stolen one, that perhaps the better man, Al
Gore, was cheated out of victory.

The result is that Bush today presides over a country that is about equally
divided between people who regard him as the real President and those who do
not. He thus has a hard job ahead of him. The bombing on the suburbs of
Baghdad looks about to make that task a good deal more difficult to
handle.For another thing, the new Bush administration consists basically of
holdovers from earlier Republican administrations. That is as much as to say
that the basic conservatism which once defined the White House (in the times
of Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and George Bush) has returned
with a vengeance. There is Donald Rumsfeld, a powerful hawk, back as part of
government in his position as Defence Secretary. And then there is the
presence of Vice President Dick Cheney himself. As Defence Secretary under
the senior Bush, he presided over a system that had little appetite for
Saddam Hussein and yet wanted him around to punish him occasionally.

The slightly less hawkish Colin Powell, now Secretary of State, may in the
end turn out to be the man without much of authority or influence. There are
precedents that could be brought into focus. In the Nixon administration,
Secretary of State William Rogers was the long suffering man who was finally
eased out by the National Security Advisor, Henry Kissinger. But for Powell,
the danger does not come from National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice. It
could be coming from Cheney, who has already launched his battle for control
of turf not his. Rice could find herself stripped of the powers which her
predecessors enjoyed if the Vice President manages to persuade George W.
Bush that he needs more authority in the national security arena. Once, and
only if, Cheney manages to strip away at Rice¹s authority will Powell¹s area
come under a palpable threat. Let there be no mistake made here.

All the men who have come to Washington with this Bush are ambitious people,
near ideologues who will not rest until they have overturned the legacy of
the Clinton White House.By any measure, President George W. Bush promises to
be a leader hamstrung by his limitations. His address at the State
Department a few days ago was a strong sign of the lacklustre nature of the
government he has brought to the White House.

There have been other Presidents, in recent times, whose periods in office
turned out to be mediocre. Jimmy Carter¹s, for instance. But Carter¹s
misfortune was the crises he was confronted with, not any absence of a
comprehension of the demands of leadership. And with President Bush deciding
that his toughness as a leader is dependent on how harshly he deals with
Saddam Hussein, there arises the spectre of a United States which is happy
to talk down to others around the world. It is a bad portent of things to

Bush will in course of time be called upon to play an active part in the
gasping peace process in the Middle East. There is Northern Ireland too, a
place where he will need to reinforce the momentum toward peace left in
place by his predecessor. With the Russians, now that a tough man presides
over the Kremlin, he will be expected to conduct sharp and skilled
diplomacy. Powell is not a diplomat (but neither was George Catlett
Marshall), which means the Secretary of State will need time to learn the
ropes in foreign policy.

The times between now and the election of 2004 will be under severe
scrutiny. It is always like that, especially when men without much of a
philosophical basis in politics rise to the leadership of strong societies.
George W. Bush¹s friends will argue that it is yet too early to judge their
man¹s abilities. Perhaps. But since when have abilities been tested on
people paying a price for sins they have had no hand in committing?
Punishing malnourished, dying Iraqis is a bad way to project a presidency.

by Micah Zenko
Baltimore Sun, 21st February

WASHINGTON -- President Bush's explanations for Friday's airstrikes against
Iraqi command and control centers represent a long-held misunderstanding of
the original intention of the no-fly zones, namely protecting Kurdish
refugees in northern Iraq and Shi'a Muslims in southern Iraq.

A Pentagon spokesman described the attacks as necessary to counter the
increased frequency of Iraqi anti-air artillery and missile attacks against
Anglo-American planes enforcing the no-fly zone. Mr. Bush described the
strikes as a "routine mission" intended to make Saddam Hussein abide by the
agreements he signed after the Persian Gulf war. The president added that
the United States was going to "watch very carefully as to whether or not he
develops weapons of mass destruction."

As his comments indicate, the issue of the zones has become intertwined with
Iraq's noncompliance of its promise to dismantle and account for its weapons
of mass destruction (WMD) programs. Unfortunately, by attacking the command
and control centers which threaten their ability to patrol the no-fly zones,
the United States and Britain may have damaged any near-term opportunity to
have U.N. weapons inspectors reenter Iraq.

Iraq has opposed the inspection of its suspected WMD and ballistic missile
program sites since December 1998, when the United States and Britain led an
ineffectual four-day bombing campaign against the alleged WMD production
sites after Iraq denied the U.N. inspectors open access.

In the last two years, no outside source has been able to determine the
extent of Iraqi re militarization, though reports of current anthrax
production have been confirmed by U.N. officials. Given Iraq's historical
interest in obtaining or developing WMD and WMD delivery systems, one would
not imagine they have spent the last two years sitting on their hands.

The revamped U.N. inspection team, headed by the respected Hans Blix and
renamed UNMOVIC (U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission),
has been staffed and ready to enter Iraq for six months. Iraq has accepted
the appointment of Mr. Blix, and the former Swedish foreign minister had
indicated in the fall that he fully expected Iraq to permit his team to
inspect the 300 sites in question soon.

With the election of Mr. Bush, Middle East watchers hoped for a positive
diplomatic initiative to shake up the intractable Iraqi issue which he
inherited from his father and President Clinton. Unfortunately, the first
Bush administration statement concerning Iraq was a military one. While the
president claimed the attacks were routine, they represented an escalation
of the U.S. and British intent to patrol northern and southern Iraq at the
expense of renewed weapons inspections.

As an almost unmentionable side note to the issue of enforcing the no-fly
zones, Turkey, a U.S. ally and NATO member, has reportedly introduced at
least 500 -- and as many as 10,000 -- ground troops up to 100 miles into
Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq since Dec. 20 for a military offensive
against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

The State Department's latest report on Turkish human rights practices notes
that Turkish ground operations into Iraq are routinely conducted "with air

Such air support violates the no-fly zone, constituted above the 36th
parallel in April 1991 with the expressed intent of creating a "safe haven"
for Kurdish refugees. Though Turkey claims that its operations into northern
Iraq are to target PKK terrorists, its inability, or disinterest, in
determining Kurdish rebels from the Kurdish civilians has been exhaustively
documented by international observers.

For the sake of consistency, the Bush administration should acknowledge it
is overlooking Turkish violations of the no-fly zone.

For the security of the region and the world, it should also work to insist
UNMOVIC be permitted to resume international weapons inspections in exchange
for more targeted and less burdensome sanctions.

Although their movement and access was sometimes limited, from 1991 to 1998
U.N. inspectors did more to eliminate the weapons programs of Iraq than the
airstrikes of 1993, 1996, 1998, or Friday's. With his actions, Mr. Bush has
temporarily demonstrated the resolve of the shrunken Persian Gulf war

The likelihood that Iraq will match the airstrikes by capitulating over the
matter of inspections are nil. The vacuum of information inside Iraq
remains. Speaking to reporters after the strikes, Bush noted that "our
intention is to make sure that the world is as peaceful as possible."

Don't hold your breath.

Micah Zenko is a researcher in the Foreign Policy Studies program at the
Brookings Institution, a Washington policy organization.
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