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News, 18-24/3/01 (2) US POLICY * From Bay of Pigs to Bay of Goats, History Would Repeat Itself [defence of Powellıs policy. He knows that for now, Hussein is in his box, and our priority must be to keep him there.ı Points out that the US canıt afford to win against Saddam because then they would have to take responsibility for the difficult job of ruling Iraq. Doesnıt manage to draw the conclusion that perhaps these difficulties have something to do with the nastiness of S.Hussein.]] * Iraq 'unable to build weapons of mass destruction' [saysVice Admiral Charles Moore, Commander of the U.S. Fifth Fleet, at the IDEX arms bazaar] * U.S. says making progress on Iraq sanctions package * US Official: Iraq Sanctions Failed [defence of powellıs policy by Assistant Secretary of State Edward Walker] * Anti-Saddam group angers US backers [this and the next two articles preparing public opinion for the dirching of the Iraqi National Congress] * Bush changes tack on Iraq * U.S. Eyes Other Iraq Opposition Groups Besides INC [the implication of these three artyicles is that there has been a split in the INC and the Sunni/Baıath element has gone off. And the Sunni/Baıath element the element closest to S.Hussein is the one the US wants to back] * Should we still bomb Saddam? [Apparently not. Because he might soon be able to shoot down a US plane] * Iraq Weapon Goals Said Unfullfilled [interview with Powell who says all U.S. efforts are designed to prevent Iraq from become a menace to its neighbors.The international community must not let them, because they are threatening the children of the region ...ı] URL ONLY: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/commentary/printedition/article/0,2669,SA V 0103230007,FF.html * Bush's fuzzy stance on foreign policy by Georgie Anne Geyer Chicago Tribune, March 23, 2001 IRAQI/UN RELATIONS * UN official asks staff to abide by oil deal [its unclear in what way they are not abiding by the oil deal but it seems to be related to the next piece:] * Iraq accuses UN official of recruiting US spies * UN Adopts New Policy on Iraqi Oil Cargo * Sanctions Against Iraq Should Be Lifted, Says UN Envoy [Tun Myat, who said there was no programme that could substitute a normal economic life in Iraq.ı] NEW WORLD ORDER * Downer [Australian foreign minister] understands US stand on missiles * This international court isn't simply unjust, it is a threat to peace [Norman Lamont waking up to the fact that irresponsible people acting from political motives could construe certain things done by the UK government to be war crimesı] * Rogue nation missiles threaten Canada: CSIS POMPOUS NONSENSE * Saddam of Sumeria [Editorial from The Times. Rupert Murdochıs paper muses on the way in which the written word - invented in Iraq - can be used as an instrument of social control. Indeed] US POLICY http://www.latimes.com/news/comment/20010318/t000023538.html * FROM BAY OF PIGS TO BAY OF GOATS, HISTORY WOULD REPEAT ITSELF by Derek Chollet Los Angeles Times, 18th March Secretary of State Colin Powell has locked in a policy against Saddam Hussein that is far more moderate than many of his colleagues, or even the president himself, have favored. By stressing the need to revitalize sanctions and U.N. weapons inspections, both on his trip last month to the Middle East and later on Capitol Hill, he has sent a quiet but powerful signal that the idea of supporting an Iraqi opposition to overthrow Hussein--a policy vigorously supported by many in the Bush administration and one that Congress has authorized $97 million to fund--is on hold indefinitely. Powell's maneuver was bureaucratically clever. He caught the overthrow strategy's strongest proponents flat-footed, taking advantage of the fact that many of them were just getting started in their jobs. He made this policy on the fly, as powerful secretaries of State can do. But Powell's approach is more than deft decision-making; it is also good policy. There are many problems with the idea that by arming, training and funding an Iraqi opposition, the U.S. could overthrow Hussein. Historically, there are few examples of such a strategy ever going well, especially when the opposition group is as disorganized and disjointed as the Iraqi National Congress. Such ideas are often compared to President Kennedy's disastrous Bay of Pigs. One of Norman Schwarzkopf's successors, retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni, has publicly berated plans to overthrow Hussein as a Bay of Goats. The problems with an Iraqi overthrow strategy are also reminiscent of another debacle from the Kennedy administration: the 1963 assassination of South Vietnam's leader, Ngo Dinh Diem. The analogy is not exact, but the broader implications of a U.S.-backed overthrow are similar to those President Kennedy faced almost four decades ago. After Diem was killed in an action indirectly supported by the United States, Saigon fell into chaos. Kennedy's men had supported the coup with the hope that they could install, as National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy put it, "responsible leadership." But South Vietnam never found stability. From 1964 to 1965 alone, the Saigon government changed hands five times. Most important, however, is what the Diem assassination meant for the U.S. commitment to Vietnam. Kennedy's complicity linked the U.S. directly to the stability of successive Saigon governments, no matter how dysfunctional, corrupt or unpopular. Looking back, former Assistant Secretary of State William Bundy said that Diem's death made "America more responsible for what happened in Vietnam." Gen. William Westmoreland believed that the event morally locked "the U.S. into Saigon. Were it not for our interference," he wrote, "America could [have] justifiably withdrawn [its] support." LBJ himself called it a "tragic mistake." The lesson from this story for today is clear. Once one gets into the business of deciding who leads a country, particularly when it means becoming involved in a violent overthrow and a possible commitment of U.S. ground troops, it is very difficult to get out. Thirty-five years ago, President Johnson grappled with whether the U.S. could walk away from South Vietnam after supporting the overthrow of its leader. Today, those who advocate U.S. action to overthrow Hussein must acknowledge the same issues of commitment and responsibility. Ousting Hussein is not a short-term strategy. Once he is gone, the U.S. would be expected to help provide stability and support until a viable Iraqi regime is in place. At best, this will mean years of money and assistance to Baghdad; at worst, it will mean involvement in an Iraqi civil war. Anyway you cut it, the U.S. would be in the middle of a dangerous mess, one that would likely rupture relations with the Arab world and create an even bigger problem with our allies. It also would squeeze out other important priorities, like dealing with China or pursuing a missile defense. Further, the Bush administration would be responsible for the mother-of-all nation-building operations, one far more difficult than those it criticized the Clinton administration for in the Balkans or Haiti. The bottom line is this: If Saddam Hussein is taken out tomorrow with our backing, are the American people and their leaders prepared to face the consequences and carry the costs? We know Powell's answer: not yet. As someone who knows firsthand about the costs America carried in Vietnam, Powell understands that the support isn't there. He knows that for now, Hussein is in his box, and our priority must be to keep him there. Saddam Hussein is a menace, and as long as he remains in power, Iraq is a regional threat. But this fact should not lead us blindly into a commitment that America is not yet prepared to meet. - - - Derek Chollet, a Research Associate at George Washington University's Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies, Served in the State Department From 1999 Until This Year http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/news.asp?ArticleID=12378 * IRAQ 'UNABLE TO BUILD WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION' Abu Dhabi, Gulf News, 19th March A senior U.S. naval officer has said that Iraq was not able to produce or develop weapons of mass destruction since the Gulf War because it has not had the money to do so. Baghdad's heavy weapons programme could not take off due to severe financial constraints, said Vice Admiral Charles Moore, Commander of the U.S. Fifth Fleet, who is here to attend the International Defence Exhibition (IDEX 2001). Moore said all alleged Iraqi attempts to violate UN sanctions were aimed at generating revenue for building weapons of mass destruction. "The reason that Iraq was not able to develop weapons of mass destruction is because it had no cash to develop such weapons." But the commander alleged the Iraqi authorities sold oil products illegally to help the government obtain the hard currency required for building weapons. Admiral Moore made the remarks during a breakfast function hosted by members of the American business community. The function was also attended by U.S. Ambassador Theodore Kattouf. Justifying the U.S. troop presence in the region, considered a lifeline for American interests, Moore summed up his outlook, saying: "We are fighting the war today but shaping the peace tomorrow." The Vice Admiral praised the 'significant change' in Iranian policy towards the U.S. presence in the Gulf, reflecting his personal view that it was time that the U.S. mended its ties with Iran."I see the strategy of co-operation coming from Iran. In the long-term, Iranians will become essential to the economy of the region and in my view, we should reach out for them," he said. He added that Iran, who used to provide sanctuary for smugglers of Iraqi oil, is now co operating with the UN sanctions commission. Recalling events of Operation Desert Storm, Moore said that the U.S. Administration had the alternative of either marching to Baghdad and toppling the regime, which no one, among the troops or in the region, had an appetite for, or to adopt a containment policy, which eventually proved very effective. http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/news.asp?ArticleID=12550 * U.S. SAYS MAKING PROGRESS ON IRAQ SANCTIONS PACKAGE Washington, Reuters, 21st March Washington has made progress in talks with Arab states on revised sanctions against Iraq, the State Department said yesterday, despite a flood of Arab statements in favor of lifting the restrictions. But the United States is unlikely to have written proposals ready in time for next week's Arab summit, officials said. U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, touring the Middle East last month, said the United States wanted the Arab League to support revised sanctions against Iraq at the summit, which opens in the Jordanian capital Amman on March 27. He also said that he found broad agreement among Arab leaders for the concept of easing the restrictions on civilian goods while tightening restrictions on military equipment, especially when related to weapons of mass destruction. Only Kuwait spoke out in favor of the U.S. concept in the days after Powell's trip. Yesterday, even Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah said his country would welcome a summit call for lifting economic sanctions. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher, asked to explain the apparent discrepancy between U.S. and Arab statements, said Arab governments were talking about lifting the restrictions on Iraqi imports of civilian goods. "I do think that there is strong support in the region for making sure that Iraq cannot threaten the people of these countries, and cannot use weapons of mass destruction in the future as they have in the past," he said. "I don't think anybody in the region that we talked to thought that we should be supplying Iraq with weapons or material to make weapons of mass destruction," he added. An Arab diplomat said the United States had not sent Arab governments a detailed explanation of the sanctions package proposed by Powell, apparently because Bush administration officials cannot agree between themselves on Iraq policy. Some U.S. officials continue to favor overthrowing Iraqi President Saddam Hussein through the opposition in exile, but Powell hardly mentioned this on his trip, which took him to Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Syria, he said. Arab leaders are skeptical about the prospects for the Iraqi National Council, the opposition umbrella group that Washington has tried to promote. "No Arab leader is going to support in public a plan that does not exist, when they don't have the details," he said. Boucher told his daily briefing: "We've continued to make progress since the secretary's trip along the lines of the approach that was outlined during that trip. "We have been in further contact with many of the governments about some of the specific steps, the ways and the means of making sure it's effective, and that work will continue. But I don't think there's any announcement planned in the next few days." The Arab diplomat, who asked not to be named, challenged the State Department's reading of Arab opinion, saying that most Arab countries would not object to Iraq receiving conventional weapons to maintain an army like any other state. "If you're talking about stopping chemical and biological weapons, then that's fine. But if it's tanks and artillery, then why? As long as Iraq is a sovereign state, it has the right to have an army and defend its borders," he said. "Don't forget that there is always a linkage in the minds of Arabs between Iraq and the Palestinians," he added.Arabs say the United States applies a double standard in the Middle East, focusing on Iraq while turning a blind eye to Israel's nuclear programs and illegal activities such as building settlements on occupied territory in the West Bank. http://www.latimes.com/wires/wpolitics/20010321/tCB00V0742.html * US OFFICIAL: IRAQ SANCTIONS FAILED by Barry Schweid, AP Diplomatic Writer Los Angeles Times, 21st March WASHINGTON--A top State Department official said Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has used the U.N. sanctions imposed on his country after its 1990 invasion of neighboring Kuwait as "a club" against the United States. "It was clear we had to have a different approach," Assistant Secretary of State Edward Walker said Wednesday in explanation of why the Bush administration decided that restrictions on consumer goods should be eased and those on weapons materiel tightened. Walker, who sought support for the new policy on a recent trip to Turkey and several Arab countries, said it has broad support in Britain, France, Russia and China, the other states with veto power over decisions of the U.N. Security Council. Also, Walker said, "The direction we are taking has broad support in the area." Arab governments strongly advocated such a policy to Secretary of State Colin Powell during his first tour of the Middle East last month. Walker, a former ambassador to Egypt and Israel, said Bush administration officials also are in the midst of devising a strategy to remove Saddam from power. Some were known in the past as advocates of using force, but Walker gave no indication of tactics President Bush eventually will approve. Reports from Arab capitals suggest the Arabs will request an end to sanctions at their Arab League summit meeting next Tuesday in Amman, Jordan. Walker, like State Department spokesman Richard Boucher on Tuesday, said sentiment for tightening curbs on weapon exports is strong. He spoke at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a private research group. Both the previous Bush administration and the Clinton administration pushed hard for sanctions on everything except food, medicine and other humanitarian exports. The United Nations imposed sanctions shortly after the Aug. 2, 1990, invasion of Kuwait and left them in place after the six-week Persian Gulf War that drove out the Kuwaitis in 1991. Walker was ambassador to the United Arab Emirates during the war. While Iraqis who were engaged in smuggling have grown rich, most of the people suffered. Finding enough to eat was a serious problem. The Clinton administration responded by supporting a resolution that permitted Iraq to sell some oil -eventually limits were removed -if the proceeds were used under U.N. monitoring to help the people. Saddam refused to accept the outside restrictions, and few of the humanitarian imports materialized. At the same time, the United States was blaming Saddam for the hardships. U.S. spokesmen accused the Iraqi president of enriching himself and building palaces while letting the people starve. Secretary of State Powell took soundings in the Middle East and Persian Gulf last month and concluded consumer goods should not be embargoed, nor even some questionable Iraqi imports that could have military use. http://dawn.com/fixed/subs/dinasub.htm * ANTI-SADDAM GROUP ANGERS US BACKERS by Robin Wright Dawn (from Los Angeles Times), 20th March WASHINGTON: Despite millions of dollars in US aid, the leading Iraqi opposition group has proved so hapless in making use of the money, accounting for it, finding recruits for Pentagon training and preventing its own fragmentation that the State Department is searching for alternatives. The Iraqi National Congress is also now so out of favour in the Arab world and Turkey that all but one of the states bordering Iraq have made clear to Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and other US officials that they won't allow the group to operate out of their territory, officials say. "Leaders in the region say that the INC now has no meaningful support left inside Iraq and even less ability to threaten, much less topple, (Iraqi President) Saddam Hussein. They see them as the gang that couldn't shoot straight," said a well-placed administration official. "So they see our involvement with the INC as a clear sign that we're not serious about changing the regime in Baghdad." Although it still has support in key quarters of Washington, the growing questions about the INC mark a reversal of fortunes for a group once heralded as the "future liberators" of Baghdad. In an attempt to prove the group's bona fides, INC leader Ahmad Chalabi was in Iran last week to set up an office in Tehran, to be paid for by US aid - a move that required a special waiver from Washington because of American sanctions against Iran. The opposition group hopes to use Iran as a base to send about 100 operatives into northern Iraq in three-person teams to gather news and "political intelligence," according to US officials and former intelligence agents who still have contact with the group. But even this plan has frustrated US officials because the INC has not taken advantage of Pentagon training that might significantly enhance its ability to carry out this and other operations. Even more contentious is funding. The INC was so slow to submit proposals for $4 million from the last administration that the grant ran out last month after only half was spent. The INC had to reapply for it. So far, only $3 million of the $97 million in Pentagon training or used equipment allocated by Congress in the 1998 Iraqi Liberation Act has been used. An additional $25 million in funding managed by the State Department is available to the group, but again its initial plans have stumbled on specifics and accounting. A US official familiar with the funding said "serious questions" remain about whether the group has the ability to provide either "an overall game plan or an accounting of its costs that would warrant that kind of ongoing cooperation." Citing the delicate diplomacy involved, most officials contacted for this article asked that they not be quoted by name. The United States has tried to help by providing a lawyer, grant-writer and accountant to assist in outlining how the group could use US aid and how to account for funds after they have been spent, as US law requires. But the INC still has major problems in meeting US specifications, officials acknowledge. The CIA, which played a major role in backing the INC between 1992 and 1996 when both had headquarters in northern Iraq, has ongoing questions about how tens of millions of dollars in earlier funding was used, according to former intelligence agents who worked with the group. "There's still a black cloud over the INC because of the black hole that money seemed to go into," said a former intelligence official who worked with the INC. Because of past disputes over funds, as well as tactics and goals, the US intelligence community is now loath to get involved with the group, he said. The growing frustration has led the Bush administration to look for a wider group of Iraqi dissidents. Last week, Assistant Secretary of State Edward Walker met with three leading dissidents outside the INC. "We're not walking away from the INC. We're broadening our scope," the senior State Department official said. The INC does still have strong support in Republican quarters in Congress and in both the Pentagon and Vice President Dick Cheney's office. "We support the INC 100 per cent. The goal of our policy has to be the overthrow of Hussein, and the INC is the umbrella group willing to take the risks to do that," said Marc Thiessen, spokesman for Republicans on the Senate Foreign Relations committee chaired by Sen. Jesse Helms. "Our strategy in Iraq must be the same as in Nicaragua, which was to provide the means and training necessary for the Contras to take back their country. Every argument used against the INC was used against the Contras. Until the US got serious about helping, the Contras also weren't any more organized than the INC. And with the Contras, we eventually overthrew a dictatorship together." The INC's new Iran operation is critical as a way for the group to prove itself. "This programme is a test of the INC's ability to operate in an effective way, and then we'll see what the options are for further activities," the senior State Department official said. If the group succeeds in its field operations, expands both leadership and membership, and accurately accounts for its expenditures in better-designed proposals, it could gain US approval to open offices in Syria, Egypt and the Czech Republic, where Radio Free Iraq is based. http://news.ft.com/ft/gx.cgi/ftc?pagename=View&c=Article&cid=FT3X1WTILKC&liv e=true&tagid=ZZZINS5VA0C&subheading=middle%20east%20and%20africa * BUSH CHANGES TACK ON IRAQ by Roula Khalaf and Stephen Fidler in Washington Financial Times, 22nd March The Bush administration is distancing itself from the Iraqi National Congress, the main exiled opposition group backed by the US, and reaching out to former military officers and Sunni opposition figures who might have a better chance of overthrowing President Saddam Hussein. According to State Department officials, the US is broadening its options and recognising the limitations of the INC, which includes the Kurdish and Shia opposition but not opponents of Saddam from the Sunni minority. "We're not abandoning the INC but it has an overt and public role and gaps in coverage and there are limits to what it can do," said a senior official. Efforts to encourage a change of regime in Baghdad will be one of three policy legs expected to emerge from a review of Iraq policy. The other two relate to policing of the US and UK imposed no-fly zones in the north and south of Iraq and adjustments to international sanctions, which require discussions at the United Nations. Critics say the INC was a convenient tool for the Clinton administration, which had not seriously sought a regime change in Baghdad. With President George W. Bush's foreign policy team determined to project a more serious attitude towards toppling the regime, the INC appears to be becoming a burden. Most Arab allies of the US have made clear they would not co-operate with the current opposition. The umbrella organisation continues to have support in congressional Republican circles. But critics said that US-backed efforts in recent years to broaden its appeal have failed. The INC also lacks the organisational structure to spend the funds allocated to it by the 1998 Iraqi Liberation Act. Most importantly, US officials said the focus on the INC had alienated Sunnis, who are the minority regime's power base, and discouraged them from challenging the Iraqi leader's rule. "The Sunnis got nervous and they got closer to the regime for protection, so we have reinforced the regime," noted a US official. Three prominent Iraqi Sunni exiles who had differences with the INC leadership met State department officials recently and are thought to be considering a separate opposition group. But it is far from clear that the focus on military officers and Sunni former members of the Ba'athist regime would give the administration a better shot at toppling Mr Saddam. An INC official said the group was unaware of any shift in the administration's thinking, noting that policy had yet to be formulated. "It is not military officers who are going to make a change in Baghdad," he said. http://news.excite.com/news/r/010322/14/news-iraq-usa-dc * U.S. EYES OTHER IRAQ OPPOSITION GROUPS BESIDES INC by Paul Taylor LONDON (Reuters, 22nd March) - The United States is looking to build ties with other opposition groups that might help bring down President Saddam Hussein, in addition to the Iraqi National Congress (INC), U.S. officials said on Thursday. The officials said the Bush administration was considering developing contacts with the Tehran-based Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) and unspecified Sunni Muslim groups as part of a review of all aspects of Iraq policy. But they denied a Los Angeles Times report that Washington was seeking an alternative to the INC because the fragmented group had proved hapless in using U.S. money, accounting for it or finding recruits for military training. "There hasn't been a change of mind about the INC. We are continuing to work with them and provide them with support. We are also looking at other groups," one State Department official told reporters in London. SCIRI was the only group he mentioned by name. The Shi'ite Muslim movement has rejected taking U.S. money in order to uphold its credibility among Iraqis, and Washington has in the past been wary of dealing with an organization based in Iran. While Kurdish and some Shi'ite Muslim opposition groups have real guerrilla forces, the INC has been criticized by Iraq's neighbors and derided by the former top U.S. military commander in the Gulf as "silk-suited, Rolex-wearing guys in London." Other opposition groups include the Iraqi Communist Party, the radical Shi'ite Muslim Dawwa movement and the Iraqi National Accord, a grouping of senior military defectors and former members of Saddam's ruling Baath party. POLICY REVIEW NOT COMPLETE The officials said the U.S. policy review was several weeks from completion, and the parts concerning military measures and support for opposition groups with a view to "regime change" were the least advanced. Progress had been made on ways of retargeting U.N. sanctions to exempt imports of civilian goods and focus on preventing Iraq acquiring military equipment and dual-use items that could help in making weapons of mass destruction. Such a change would probably require action by the U.N. Security Council and the United States was consulting the four other permanent members -- Russia, China, France and Britain -- to seek a consensus, the officials said. However, a switch would not need the agreement of the Iraqi government, they stressed. The officials said Washington was determined to keep U.N. financial controls on all Iraq's revenues and clamp down on oil smuggling outside the sanctions regime, which would require increased cooperation from Syria, Iran, Turkey and Jordan. They pledged to take into account the economic interests of Iraq's neighbors, and noted that the level of oil smuggling through Iranian waters in the Gulf had fallen significantly recently. Asked whether a revamped system that relied on cooperation and controls by countries such as Syria and Iran was credible, they said the sanctions regime imposed after Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990 was no longer sustainable. The officials also said the United States was working with groups seeking to indict Saddam for alleged war crimes, although it was not clear under what jurisdiction he could be tried. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/editorial/printedition/article/0,2669,SAV 0103220135,FF.html * SHOULD WE STILL BOMB SADDAM? Chicago Tribune, 22nd March In a kind of undeclared war, U.S. and British planes have been bombing Iraq on average nearly twice a week, sometimes more, since December of 1998. The targets are reasonable: radar, missile and air defense sites that could threaten allied pilots who patrol "no-fly" zones over Iraq. But the airstrikes also have a major downside. They have killed scores of Iraqi civilians, outraged Arabs (our allies included) and eroded respect for the U.S. around the world. Finally, a new U.S. administration seems to recognize that the poorly defined objective of the bombing, not to mention its shaky legal justification, has made it increasingly hard to defend, both morally and militarily. A change is in order. As part of President Bush's review of U.S. policy toward Iraq, the administration has wisely opted to rethink not just the failing economic sanctions, but the no-fly zones as well. This review is long overdue. It in no way absolves Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein of the tyranny and treachery he has inflicted on his own people and his neighbors. Nor should the no-fly zones be traded away for no real gain. Nonetheless, this should spark a much-needed debate with Congress and U.S. allies over how best to use U.S. military options to achieve our original mission: to contain Hussein's aggression and shield his domestic opponents from harm. The flight-exclusion zones were created after the 1991 Persian Gulf War to ground Iraqi military aircraft in order to protect Kurdish Iraqis in the north and Shiite Muslims in the south from Hussein's vicious attacks. Early on, they had some success in achieving that worthy objective. But even the State Department's human rights reports show evidence that since 1996 the no-fly zones no longer effectively protect Iraqi civilians from the threat of ground troops, artillery and other attacks from Baghdad. What's worse, instead of keeping Hussein in a box, the flight-exclusion zones over northern and southern Iraq have allowed him to portray the U.S. as a bully and win international sympathy. Every time he turns on his radars to target allied warplanes, U.S. and British pilots react by pulverizing his air defense sites, often killing some of the civilians they seek to protect. Instead of playing a defensive role for allied pilots, the airstrikes are cynically portrayed by Hussein as offensive attacks against an Iraqi population already suffering under U.S.-driven United Nations sanctions. Hussein seems to be in control of a cat-and mouse game that lets him jerk around the world's sole superpower--and gives him a shot at downing a prize: a U.S. warplane. Even Air Force and other U.S. military personnel have privately opined in recent years that the airstrikes are ineffective and that the no-fly zones put an undue burden on the pilots and support crews--unmatched by a compelling tactical benefit. Is this simply inflicting pinpricks against Hussein at the expense of higher risks and a much more demanding tempo of operations? Not to mention the high costs. U.S. outlays for the northern and southern no-fly zones amounted to $1.1 billion last year. Most worrisome, it may be just a matter of time before a U.S. pilot gets shot down. With some 200 attacks so far, there have been plenty of opportunities. Sometimes Hussein's forces don't even turn on their radars but simply fire their missiles blindly in the direction of allied planes. One lucky shot could do it. On the upside, the Pentagon's pilots are getting invaluable combat experience in a relatively low-threat environment. It's training behind the lines against a real-world enemy. What's more, with UN weapons inspectors gone from Iraq since 1998, allied pilots provide some of the best eyes and ears for intelligence and monitoring of the terrain in Iraq, keeping watch for signs of troop movements, missile deployments, the rebuilding of weapons plants or any obvious violations of the UN sanctions regime. Realistically, too, the constant presence of warplanes over Iraq has kept the pressure on Hussein and prevented him from completely rebuilding or upgrading his air defenses. The airstrikes have degraded his military capabilities, restricting his power to wage war on his people. With so many strong arguments for and against more bombing, this is an excellent time to ask tough questions about current policy. If Bush wants to continue prosecuting this not quite-war, he should consult closely with Congress. To his credit, he and his foreign policy team have begun doing that. Secretary of State Colin Powell told House and Senate committees recently that a review of the no-fly zone policy is underway. But Powell also made it clear that, review or no review, the U.S. is leaving Iraq on notice that "we reserve the right to strike militarily any activity out there, any facility we find that is inconsistent with their obligations to get rid of such weapons of mass destruction." That posture makes sense. Pentagon officials also want to make sure Hussein can't portray any easing of the sanctions or reduction of airstrikes as a victory. He will try, but let him. The whole world knows that his shrunken arsenal remains vulnerable to U.S. attack at any time. In fact, scaling back enforcement of the no-fly zones should be tied to a broadening of the options for launching airstrikes against suspected weapons research and production facilities in Iraq. Or against movements of Iraqi troops that may threaten Hussein's people or his neighbors. Deterrence has kept Hussein at bay for a decade. He knows that if he does attack his neighbors again, or if he produces and uses weapons of mass destruction, he's going to pay, big time. The U.S. will respond with massive retaliation. That's the right approach for Washington to follow--and one Hussein must not be allowed to forget. It has worked in the past. It will continue to work--whether U.S. warplanes are patrolling the skies over Iraq constantly or not. The Bush administration, not wanting to look weak, is also looking for ways to make the UN sanctions--economic as well as military--smarter. The Pentagon should find more creative or surgical ways to hem in Saddam. Examples: The brass could fly fewer missions, plan more carefully targeted airstrikes, or even offer to trade away the zones for truly verifiable concessions from Baghdad. If there were easy answers, they would have been found long ago. But it's time to ask the right questions. Do we still need these no-fly zones with their limited military value and high risks? Are they worth the damage the U.S. is inflicting on itself diplomatically? Is there a better way to contain Hussein and rebuild a strong allied policy to thwart him? Good questions. Good for the Bush team for asking them. http://www.latimes.com/wires/20010324/tCB00V3293.html * IRAQ WEAPON GOALS SAID UNFULLFILLED by George Gedda, Associated Press Writer Los Angeles Times, 24th March WASHINGTON--Secretary of State Colin Powell says Iraq is trying to produce weapons forbidden by the U.N. Security Council, but so far lacks the capability to endanger the region in an "exceptionally threatening" way. Powell commented Friday in an interview with wire service reporters as Arab leaders prepared to attend a summit in Jordan beginning Tuesday that will feature a discussion on Iraq's call for an end to U.N. economic sanctions. The secretary said he spoke to leaders from almost every country in making his case for reducing sanctions on civilian-oriented goods without losing sight of Iraq's potential for developing weapons of mass destruction. "I think they all go in there with a clear understanding of the danger they face and a clear understanding of where we are moving, and I would hope the summit leaders would take that into consideration," Powell said. He said his confidence about the limitations thus far on Iraq's military capability comes from intelligence data and other information he has seen. "I have seen nothing that persuades me they have an operational capability that could endanger the region in a way that I would find exceptionally threatening," Powell said. "I am sure they are working on it. If they weren't working on it they would let the (U.N.) inspectors in," he said. Addressing the Iraq issue in a speech earlier Friday, Powell said all U.S. efforts are designed to prevent Iraq from become a menace to its neighbors. "The international community must not let them, because they are threatening the children of the region, the people of the region," he said. Elsewhere in his interview, Powell: -Said the Bush administration "will be looking to making adjustments downward" in the contingent of U.S. peacekeeping troops in Bosnia. About 3,700 Americans will still be in place after a reduction of 750 soldiers already under way. "It seems appropriate to bring out those kinds of units that are not needed," he said. -Offered assurance that the United States will sell no weapons system to Taiwan that violates a 1982 agreement with China. That pact forbids transfer of weapons that are qualitatively or quantitatively superior to those of any previous year. Powell told China's visiting deputy prime minister, Qian Qichen, this week that Chinese missile deployments threatening Taiwan were destabilizing the region. -Declared it was up to Israel and the Palestinians to decide how significantly violence must subside before they reopen negotiations. "This is not a judgment that can be made by the United States of America," he said. "That is a judgment that has to be made by the two sides." Powell added, however, that he is "not so naive as to believe that violence is going to go down to zero." IRAQI/UN RELATIONS http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/news.asp?ArticleID=12376 * UN OFFICIAL ASKS STAFF TO ABIDE BY OIL DEAL Baghdad, Reuters, 19th March A senior United Nations official has urged UN agencies working in northern Iraq to abide by provisions of the oil-for-food deal, Iraqi newspapers reported on Sunday. The newspapers said Tun Myat, UN Coordinator in Iraq, has written to the heads of UN agencies working in north Iraq, urging them to respect Iraq's sovereignty and unity of its land. He also asked them to abide by provisions of the oil-for-food deals signed by the United Nations and Iraq to make their work a success, said the newspapers. They said Myat warned UN staff in the north against any violation of the provisions of the oil deal, demanding that heads of the agencies review the provisions and explain them to their staff.Last month Baghdad complained to the UN about what it called "practices and behaviour" by UN employees working in northern Iraq which it said violated their international commitments and basic duties. In a letter to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Iraq's Foreign Minister said Baghdad would take measures against international staff who act to serve specific international parties. Unlike Baghdad-controlled central and southern parts, the oil-for-food deal was administered by UN staff in the three northern provinces of Suleimaniya, Duhouk and Arbeil. Northern Iraq slipped from Baghdad's rule at the end of the 1991 Gulf war when Western powers set up a safe haven for the Kurds. But two rival Iraqi Kurdish parties have failed to set up a joint administration despite efforts by the United States to bring them together. The United States says Iraq's lack of cooperation with the UN's administration of the oil-for food programme has led to widespread suffering in government-held territory but that in the north, where Kurdish leaders are more cooperative, it has worked well. http://www.timesofindia.com/190301/19mide7.htm * IRAQ ACCUSES UN OFFICIAL OF RECRUITING US SPIES Times of India, 19th March BAGHDAD: The head of the United Nations oil-for-food programme for Iraq is recruiting spies to work in parts of Iraqi Kurdistan, a newspaper charged on Sunday. "(Benon) Sevan asked the Security Council during a debate on the difficulties in the northern provinces to recruit foreigners," said Babel, run by President Saddam Hussein's eldest son Uday. "But what Sevan omitted to say is that the foreigners that he wants to recruit for his programme are spies paid by the United States, Britain and the Zionist entity and have nothing to do with implementing his humanitarian programme." The daily charged that UN personnel "do not distribute all the quota of food" earmarked for Kurdistan but "steal and sell (part of) it in league with the traitors". The newspaper was referring to Kurdish leaders in northern Iraq who have operated independently of the Baghdad regime and under the protection of US air power since the Gulf War in 1991. The United Nations in Baghdad could not be reached immediately for comment. Iraq protested to the world body at the end of February over UN personnel in Iraqi Kurdistan and warned that Baghdad could take "necessary measures". "The behaviour and actions of UN employees in northern Iraq constitute a flagrant violation of the UN charter and rules on its activities in Iraq," said Foreign Minister Mohammad Said al-Sahhaf. Sahhaf said certain UN employees were not respecting the terms of the UN oil-for-food programme which began at the end of 1996 to alleviate suffering caused by international sanctions. (AFP) http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/200103/21/eng20010321_65559.html * UN ADOPTS NEW POLICY ON IRAQI OIL CARGO People's Daily (China), 21st March The United Nations oil overseers have adopted a new policy to prevent the diversion and discharge of Iraqi oil cargo at a destination other than that authorized in an approved oil purchase contract, the UN said here on Tuesday. The Office of the Iraq Program said that according to the new policy, the masters of the vessels loading Iraqi oil will sign a notification indicating the authorized destination of the cargo. Any diversion from the authorized destination will be the liability of the shipping company, the office said. The new policy is in response to an incident in February when an oil cargo of two million barrels of Basrah Light destined for the United States was discharged in the Far East. http://www3.bernama.com/web/features/fe2303_7.htm * SANCTIONS AGAINST IRAQ SHOULD BE LIFTED, SAYS UN ENVOY by Shukran Shaharuddin BAGHDAD, March 23 ( Bernama, Malysian news agency) -- Almost a year after being appointed the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq (UNOHCI), Tun Myat, who has witnessed the many untold sufferings of Iraqi children, feels the economic sanctions against Baghdad must be lifted. But Myat, who was appointed to the post by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan effective April 30, last year, was quick to say that it was only his personal view. "I do not have to keep it a secret," said Myat, whose post as humanitarian coordinator places him on the same level as that of a UN assistant secretary-general. Speaking to Malaysian journalists here recently, Myat, a Myanmar national with 22 years of experience with the UN World Food Programme, said he was not too happy to see malnutrition among Iraqi children. "I am more happy if there are no sanctions and that sanctions can be lifted," he said. The 59-year-old Myat said the world body was not to be blamed for the sanctions imposed against Iraq after Baghdad's short-lived invasion of Kuwait in 1990. He said there was a lot of misunderstanding on who had imposed the sanctions. "And I know that Malaysia has been very active in voicing that the sanctions be lifted," he said. Myat said: "People must remember this is not what I or the UN secretary-general wanted. "The sanctions was imposed by the governments in the UN Security Council. It can only be undone by the Security Council and the government of Iraq. Nobody else can do it." In 1996, as part of the UN negotiating team, Myat helped set up the food component of the Security Council Resolution 986 Oil-for-Food (OFF) Programme which allowed Iraq to sell up to US$2 billion worth of oil in a period of 180 days. The ceiling in oil sales was eased in 1998 and finally lifted in 1999, enabling the programme to move from a focus on food and medicine to the repair of essential infrastructure including the oil industry. Myat said there was no programme that could substitute a normal economic life in Iraq. "The OFF programme may not be perfect but it is the only arrangement currently available for the people in this country. "Therefore, I think I should concentrate my energy as sufficiently, effectively to make sure this programme goes on smoothly," he said. Last year, Iraq sold US$18 billion worth of oil under the OFF programme of which US$12 billion was used for the humanitarian programme. During that period, Iraq sold about 2.3 million barrels of oil per day especially to neighbouring countries like Jordan and Turkey. Myat said among the scope under the OFF programme were agriculture, mining, education, electricity, food, food handling, housing, medicine, nutrition and water sanitation. "There has been tremendous improvement compared to four years ago. We do not control what they (Iraqi government) should be selling and buying but has the advisory role," Myat said. He said the problem with some of the Iraqi people was that those in the lower income bracket had been selling the nutritional food items given to them to buy other things. "This is affecting their own health due to malnutrition," he said. He said each family receives a ration card given by the government whereby they could go to the store or supermarket to get basic food necessities such as cooking oil, wheat flour, sugar, tea, rice, cheese and milk every month. "The food from the government is the only source of income. They need other things too and what is happening is they are selling the food they get, back to the market. They are not consuming the food. "As a result, they are not eating good food. You can see these people around Baghdad," he said. NEW WORLD ORDER http://www.smh.com.au/news/0103/23/national/national13.html * DOWNER UNDERSTANDS US STAND ON MISSILES by Gay Alcorn Sydney Morning Herald, 23rd March The Foreign Minister, Mr Downer, has given the Government's strongest endorsement of the United States's controversial missile defence shield, boasting that opponents were coming around to Australia's viewpoint. Mr Downer, in Washington for two days of meetings with top Cabinet members and business leaders, said he had discussed missile defence with the Vice-President, Mr Dick Cheney, and the National Security Adviser, Dr Condoleezza Rice, and had emphasised Australia's concerns about the proliferation of missiles. "A missile defence system is not going to kill anyone, missiles will. That's why we're very understanding of their [America's] position," he said. Australia has given important backing to the missile defence plan at a time when most allies fear it could destabilise the world's strategic balance. But Mr Downer said: "The international environment on this issue is changing quite rapidly. "We're seeing a greater level of understanding now among NATO countries - the UK, Germany, Italy. We just happened to have that position a bit earlier. I'm glad to see many of the NATO countries now sharing our concerns." President George Bush is adamant a missile defence shield that could shoot down missiles launched deliberately or accidentally from "rogue states", like Iraq and North Korea, will proceed as soon as possible. The administration is presenting missile defence as inevitable and stressing to allies that it supports a shield that would protect them as well as American states. That approach has dampened some of the criticism. In visits to Washington recently, the British Prime Minster, Mr Tony Blair, and South Korean President Kim Dae Jung, while remaining sceptical, signed virtually identical statements saying they understood the threat of long-range missiles and believed defence was part of the strategy against them. But most European nations, Canada, and especially China and Russia are vehemently opposed, saying a shield would upset global stability and cause an arms race, particularly with China. China's Vice Premier, Qian Qichen, has said that if Washington goes ahead with the sale of advanced destroyers to Taiwan, as requested, it would consider a "military solution". But Mr Downer played down what some analysts have called a cooling of the American Chinese relationship under the new Republican administration. Officials had told him that "the Chinese have been very positive in their approach to the United States, not that there has been growing tension". He said nobody had raised the role Pine Gap would play in America's missile defence shield. Mr Downer sees the Secretary of State, Mr Colin Powell, and US trade representative Mr Robert Zoellick today, and will push for a bilateral free trade agreement. http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/0,,248-104137,00.html * THIS INTERNATIONAL COURT ISN'T SIMPLY UNJUST, IT IS A THREAT TO PEACE by Norman Lamont The Times, 24th March On the last day of this Parliament the Conservative Party and the Government will have to reach agreement about what part of the Governmentıs legislative programme should become law before a general election. I hope that the Conservatives will not give way to emotional blackmail and allow the International Criminal Court Bill to pass without substantial amendment. This Bill would allow Britain to ratify the agreement to set up a permanent international court to try people for ³genocide², ³crimes against humanity² and vaguely defined ³war crimes². When it completed its stages in the Lords, Baroness Scotland of Asthal, the Foreign Officer Minister, portentously announced that it would change ³the course of history². So it will but in a way that may be disastrous. The ICC has virtually no political support in America. Donald Rumsfeld, the Defence Secretary, and Colin Powell, the Secretary of State, are against it. If put before the Senate it might get no votes at all. Jesse Helms, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has presented a Bill that would impose sanctions on any non-Nato country that ratifies the court. As Americaıs main partner in peacekeeping, Britain should think carefully about American worries. The Government claims that the Bill cannot be amended because it is based on a treaty. But that is nonsense. Even President Clinton referred to ³significant flaws² in it, and said he would not recommend it to the Senate without amendment. As Jeremy Rabkin, the distinguished academic at Cornell University has pointed out the court is a gigantic leap towards a new level of global governance. Criminal prosecution is normally part of a stateıs sovereign authority. A state can punish those it has the authority to govern. Nuremberg was not an international court but one established by the legal authority in Germany at that time. The ICC cannot enforce its jurisdiction or its warrants because it has no police or troops of its own. But it can inhibit the countries that do have troops and are prepared to use them when needed. Some Americans believe that the US will never get involved in international peacekeeping again if this court comes into being. One concern shared by senior British military personnel is that American troops will be vulnerable to political charges. Under the courtıs statutes, a military commander can be prosecuted, not because of what he knew, but because of what ³he should have known². By that standard the accidental Nato bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade could convincingly be labelled a war crime. What worries America further is that the courtıs jurisdiction extends not only over nationals of states that have ratified the treaty, but also over nationals of states that have not. This is bad enough, but it goes even further. A non-party state, such as, say, Iraq, can decide by declaration to accept the jurisdiction of the court and seek prosecution of another countryıs nationals even though Iraq was not prepared to allow the prosecution of its own officials. Of course, there is an alternative scenario, which is that is that the court will be politically constrained by the superpowers. That appears to be the cynical view of Lord Robertson of Port Ellen, the Secretary-General of Nato, who said that many of the defendants will be ³from countries with no super power support². If this is how it works, Putin and Jiang Zemin can roam the world without worrying about what their troops are doing in Chechnya or Tibet. But elderly former South American dictators, as long as they are not Fidel Castro, will have to be more careful. This is hardly the impartial rule of law. The Yugoslav war crimes tribunal does not inspire confidence. About half those indicted have not been taken into custody. The most important Bosnian Serbs remain free almost certainly because some Nato commanders fear their arrest could start the fighting again. My main worry about the court is that if it did operate as intended, it would prove an obstacle to reconciliation and the resolution of conflicts. In many countries such as South Africa or Chile, governments have agreed to amnesties in order to end conflicts. Britain ought to appreciate this, as it has done something remarkably similar in Northern Ireland. Sometimes there is a cruel choice between legalism and peace. The inflexible application of international law and the imposition of this court may make it likely that civil wars last longer and are fought to the last civilian. And America will be nowhere to be seen. http://www.nationalpost.com/home/story.html?f=/stories/20010324/511902.html March 24, 2001 * ROGUE NATION MISSILES THREATEN CANADA: CSIS by Stewart Bell National Post, Canada, 24th March Canada will soon be within striking range of intercontinental ballistic missiles being developed by Iran, Iraq and other unfriendly rogue regimes, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service warned in a report released yesterday. None of the "nations of concern" identified by CSIS are now able to launch a missile attack against Canada from their own soil, but they are feverishly working on long-range missiles that could be ready by 2010. "In the longer term, a few states potentially hostile to Canadian interests could acquire the capability, already possessed by Russia and China, to strike Canada directly with ballistic missiles," CSIS says. The report provides new ammunition for advocates of the National Missile Defense shield, which George W. Bush, the U.S. President, wants to create to protect North America from attack by such nations as North Korea, Iraq, Iran and Libya. Ottawa has not yet decided whether to participate in the missile shield and has been reluctant to endorse the plan, fearing a renewed arms race and the wrath of the European NATO allies. Canada has been asked by several countries, including China and Britain, to pressure the United States not to develop missile defence systems. Now that the government's own intelligence service is warning that Canada could soon be within shooting range of Saddam Hussein and the hardline Islamic regime of Iran, the Liberals may find it more difficult to delay an endorsement of the Bush plan. Recently, Russia unveiled a proposal to develop its own anti-missile defence shield, designed to protect Europe from attack by rogue states. Moscow has persistently attacked the Bush plan, saying it violates arms-control treaties and threatens to trigger a new arms race. Ballistic missiles are not highly accurate but they are relatively inexpensive and extremely difficult to defend against. They can also be armed with nuclear warheads as well as biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction. The U.S. National Missile Defense plan is intended to protect the United States and its allies from nuclear attack by shooting down intercontinental missiles with satellite-guided missile interceptors. This week, the Canadian navy announced it may equip its ships with theatre ballistic missile defences -- a small-scale version of the U.S. system. Theatre missile defence systems aim not to protect an entire continent, but to shield a theatre of war by shooting down incoming missiles aimed at an army, a naval fleet or even at a city. Though both systems are still in development, navy officials urged Ottawa to seriously consider deploying the technology on Canadian ships in the coming years. Canada has not been at serious risk of a missile strike since the Cold War. However, as missile technology spreads, Canada's peacekeeping role, stance on volatile issues such as the Middle East and close relationship with the U.S. could make it a target of rogue states. Short-range missiles are already deployed throughout the developing world, but some nations have been making strides toward the production of more modern missiles with greater range, payload and accuracy, the CSIS study says. The report, Ballistic Missile Proliferation, calls South Asia the region of greatest concern. India and Pakistan are locked in a nuclear-missile arms race that has "potentially severe consequences for regional and global security," it says. "The ballistic missile programs of some other states [such as Iran, Israel, North Korea, Syria and potentially Iraq] are also worrisome because they have acquired, or soon will have, the capability to deliver weapons of mass destruction against neighbouring states and foreign military forces within their respective regions and even, in some cases, beyond," the report says. Before the Gulf War, Iraq had a large-scale ballistic missile program that included the Al Hussein, a version of the Soviet Scud-B, the longer-range Al Abbas and Badr 2000, and the Tammouz I capable of reaching Italy, Greece and Russia. Iraq launched 96 Soviet Scuds at Israel and Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Storm but its program was severely damaged in the war. Since then, however, it has been rebuilding its arsenal, and its ambitions for an intercontinental missile could be realized before the end of the decade, the report says. Iran has roughly 300 Scud-Bs and Scud-Cs and 150 CSS-8s, short-range missiles mostly acquired from Libya, North Korea and China. Iran has also started producing its own missiles and in 1998 flight-tested the Shahab-3, which has a 1,300-kilometre range. The report cites sources as saying there are now plans for intercontinental-range Shahab-5 and Kosar missiles, being developed with the help of Russian scientists and engineers, which could be ready for testing within 10 to 15 years. North Korea mass-produces its own version of the Scud and is suspected of exporting large numbers to Iran, Syria, Egypt, Libya and Vietnam. It has tested the Taepo Dong-2, which could strike North America, CSIS says. The U.S. is attempting to finalize a deal that would see impoverished North Korea abandon its long-range missile program in exchange for aid money. Thus far, North Korea has proved intractable on the issue. This week, after accusing the Bush administration of trying to avoid discussion of the missile defence program, North Korea invited the European Union for talks. The CSIS report says international efforts to control the spread of missile technology have failed and the number of states buying and producing such weapons "will continue to grow." Aside from the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, a dozen states possess or are developing missiles with a range greater than 300 kilometres. POMPOUS NONSENSE http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/0,,56-102938,00.html * SADDAM OF SUMERIA The Times, 22nd March The Sumerians, it is said, told a story to explain their invention of writing. The King of Uruk, wishing to communicate with the ruler of some far off court, dispatched a messenger who, by the time he had hot-footed it up the fertile crescent, arrived so out of puff that he could hardly speak. So the wise king of Uruk alighted upon a solution. He made tablets of clay upon which, from then on, he would inscribe his communications. However implausible this tale may be, it properly suggests the origins of writing in power politics. Writing was an instrument of kings and control long before it was a medium for free expression. The Greeks, followed later by Rousseau, liked to think that some languages spoke for freedom better than others. But in ancient Mesopotamia it was certainly the record keeper who ranked third after king and high priest: when the record keeper Anam found himself elevated to King of Uruk, he refused to renounce the title of his previous office, recognising that the calligraphic implements of the day were as powerful as the sword. This week, as an international conference takes place in Baghdad to mark the 5,000th anniverary of the invention of the written word, it seems as apposite to ponder the political role of writing as it is to mull over such enigmas as why, when no one could read, someone started to write, or debate whether writing was invented only once and then spread or whether it arose independently several times in several places. The lands once ruled by the kings of Uruk are now domineered by Saddam Hussein and in too many ways the politics of Southern Iraq today resembles that of ancient Mesopotamia. Five thousand years ago, the Sumerian slave would have been as bullied by his leaders as any member of the Iraqi masses. Cuneiform letters on clay were like armaments, a means to buttress claims of rights, privilege and possession. The literate stood guardian over the arsenal of law and administration. Communication in modern Iraq is just as rigorously controlled. Free speech is denied. The written word remains a primary instrument of state power. The cradle of civilisation is now among the least civilised of places. In the desert sands the political principle that underlay the invention of writing holds sway and only the hope survives that writingıs role as a liberator will ever have its day. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email firstname.lastname@example.org Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website: http://www.casi.org.uk