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News, 18-24/3/01 (2)

News, 18-24/3/01 (2)


*  From Bay of Pigs to Bay of Goats, History Would Repeat Itself [defence of
Powellıs policy. ŒHe 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
*  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 Œall
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]

V 0103230007,FF.html
*  Bush's fuzzy stance on foreign policy
by Georgie Anne Geyer
Chicago Tribune, March 23, 2001


*  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
*  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
Œsaid there was no programme that could substitute a normal economic life in


*  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 Œwar crimesı]
*  Rogue nation missiles threaten Canada: CSIS


*  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]


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

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

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

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

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

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
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

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.

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

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.

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

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

The INC's new Iran operation is critical as a way for the group to prove

"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.

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

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

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

"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.


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

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

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.,2669,SAV

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.

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."


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

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

"(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

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)

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

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.

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

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.


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

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.,,248-104137,00.html

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.
March 24, 2001

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

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

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

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

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,,56-102938,00.html

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.

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