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News, 29/7-4/8/01 (1)

News, 29/7-4/8/01 (1)

The news this week is dominated by the notion that the Lone Ranger
(doubtless supported by his faithful sidekick,Tonto) may be about to launch
some sort of punitive action against Iraq. The most interesting articles are
David Hirstıs pieces on the Kurds and Hans Von Sponeckıs letter to the Irish
Times, both in News, 29/7-4/8/01 (2). The most important news item may prove
to be the last, the opening of a German embassy in Baghdad.


*  Iraq Says Nearly Hits US F-15 Jet, Not U-2 Spy Plane [It seems that
targeting a U2 is a more serious Œprovocationı. Iım not sure I understand
why, except that it may require more sophisticated technology because,
though slower, they fly much higher]
*  Seeking Saddam's smoking gun [The tireless Laura (or is it Laurie?)
Mylroie accuses Saddam of Œmasterminding terrorism through Arab
fundamentalists who are left holding the bag.ı. The evidence does not seem
to be very compelling but it is indeed surprising that under the
circumstances S. Hussein seems to have done so little in this line. Given
the US record of running away from danger - Lebanon, Somalia - it could look
like a good idea but it would be of little use unless he let it be known
that he was responsible]
*  Rice vows 'resolute' action against Iraq [after U2 incident. ŒVowsı is
putting it a little strongly ...]
*  U.S. Pilot Sees Iraqi Missile [in Saudi airspace]
*  U.S.-Iraq Tensions Increase [The Iraqis have found ways of launching
missiles against aircraft illegally entering their territory without
revealing their own location and opening themselves up to instant
retaliation. This, it seems, is very wicked of them]
*  United States weighs strikes against Iraq (extracts) [ quotes
Janeıs Defence Weekly giving apparently very unsubstantiated arguments that
Iraq is reconstituting its WMD capacity. Stratfor concludes that the US
might as well attack Iraq because they have nothing to lose: ŒEvery bomb
that strikes Iraq may be another nail in the coffin of sanctions, but
efforts to isolate the regime and reduce its threat to the region are
effectively dead anyhow.ı
*  Rumsfield: Iraq Building Defenses [More on the wickedness of the Iraqis
in seeking to defend their territory]

*  Attacking Iraq a double-edged sword for Bush
Knight-Ridder Tribune News, 31st July
[A rather dull roundup obvious points]


*  Pentagon rates N. Korea, Iraq as top threats [Thoughts of Paul Wolfowitz
on the danger the US faces from Œthose primitive Scud missilesı which killed
24 Americans in the Gulf War. As opposed to how many hundreds of thousands
of Iraqis killed? At any rate, theyıve now found the solution. Its called
the Strategic Defense Initiative and costs about $100 billion]
*  America must fight in the real world [On the problems facing US Defense
Secretary Donald Rumsfield in trying to put a budget together. Note in the
middle of it: Œthe cost of keeping troops in Europe as opposed to the US
constitutes less than 1 per cent of the defence budget. That is a small
price to pay for America's leadership role in European security affairs.ı So
it seems weıre cheaper than the Middle East]
*  Why Rumsfield Has No Battle Plan (extracts) [more on poor Mr Rumsfieldıs
problems in justifying a huge military expenditure on the part of a country
which faces no military threat of any kind]
*  Germ warfare talks suspended [because the US doesnıt want anyone to see
what its biotechnology industry is doing]


*  Annan urges Iraq rethink [on the need to allow Iraq to control some money
from oil sales to maintain the very shaky infrastructure of the oil
industry. I thought this principle had already been agreed?]
*  Iraq Says U.S., Britain Blocking More Imports [US undoes the relaxation
of holds it introduced when it was trying to sell Œsmart sanctionsı]
*  Iraq Earns 252 Million US Dollars Under "Oil-for-Food" Program

AND, IN NEWS, 29/7-4/8/01 (2)


*  Iran's opposition rises against "religious dictatorship" [On the
activities of the Iraqi based Mujaheedin]
*  Iraqi gas supply for Turkey [proposed pipeline from Kirkuk to southern
Turkey. Bad news for the Kurds.]
*  Iraq urges refugees stranded in Saudi Arabia to come home [3,000
refugees, out of 33,000 in Saudi Arabia at the end of the war, have returned
to Iraq. It would be interesting to know what has happened to them]
*  Smuggler operating in Iraqi border killed
*  Iraqi official: Rehabilitation of the Iraqi planes landing at Amman's
airport very soon
*  Kuwait Says Iraq Still a Threat to Region [³Kuwait has no role in any
military strikes against Iraq ...², according to the Kuwaiti Information
Minister. Saudi Arabia have been claiming this for some time but this is the
first time I have seen it coming from Kuwait. Is it new?]
*  Algiers: Contracts worth over US$100 million signed
*  Iraq defends invasion of Kuwait, 11 years on
*  Turkey, Syria seek to advance cooperation [more bad news for the Kurds]
*  Lebanese- Iraqi economic relations


*  Iraqi Minister Rasheed speaks to the TDN: 'Even the CIA knows the truth'
- Iraqi Oil Minister [Despite the title, this is mainly about the opening of
a second crossing point between Turkey and Iraq. The interviewer tries to
press the point that this creates problems for the Kurds, but the Iraqi
minister refuses to acknowledge that they have an existence distinct from
that of the rest of Iraq]
*  Liberated and safe, but not yet free [David Hirst on the unenviable
position of a people surrounded by enemies and reliant on the very
unreliable broken reed of Western goodwill]
*  The Kurdish dream: emigration to Europe [Hirst again on the painful,
costly and often fruitless business of emigration]
 * Archer 'used charity role in bid for Iraqi [or, if you prefer, Kurdish -
PB] oilı


*  UK envoy fails to justify Iraq sanctions {letter from H.Von Sponeck to
Irish Times]
*  Sanctions on Iraq [reply from British Ambassador to Dublin.
Congratulations to our Irish colleagues for putting the Ambassador in a spot
where he has to do this sort of thing]


*  Iraqi President's Son Says He Has No Intention Of Converting to Shia
Islam [As rumours go this was a corker!]
*  Iraq renovate the flower producing sectors
*  Saddam Appoints Foreign Minister


*  Iraqis, Afghans Lead World in Asylum Requests [Unpleasant as the Iraqi
and Afghan regimes may be, is it a coincidence that both these countries -
like Vietnam at the time of the boat people - are subjected to particularly
vicious sanctions?]
*  German embassy resumes its activities in Baghdad [This may prove to be
significant if I am right in thinking that under a cover of slavish loyalty
to the New World Order, Germany is developing the capacity to act as an
independent, purposeful and powerful force in the world]


People's Daily, 29th July

Iraqi air defenses have nearly hit a US F-15 jet overflying Iraq's southern
no-fly zone on Tuesday, rather than a U-2 spy plane as claimed by the US, an
Iraqi military spokesman said Saturday.

In a statement carried by the official Iraqi News Agency (INA), the
spokesman said that Iraqi anti-aircraft artillery, by using upgraded
Russia-made missiles, just missed a U.S. F-15 plane flying at an altitude of
11 kilometers over southern Iraq on Tuesday.

Yet U.S. President George W. Bush and Pentagon officials said on Thursday
that Iraqi forces tried to shoot down a U-2 spy plane as it flew a
reconnaissance mission Tuesday over southern Iraq, the spokesman said.

The U-2s usually fly at altitudes greater than 60,000 feet (20, 000 meters).

Iraqi air defense system has not targeted U.S. and British warplanes flying
at altitudes of 70,000 feet (21,000 meters) , the spokesman said, adding
that Iraqi artillery have often opened fire at U.S. and British F-14, F-15
and F-16 warplanes which fly at a much lower height.

The intention of the U.S. was "to justify itself for launching more air
attacks against Iraqi radar and air defense installations in the future,"
the spokesman said.


by Joe Lauria,, 7/29/2001
Boston Globe, 29th July. Review of Study of Revenge: Saddam Hussein's
Unfinished War Against America, by Laurie Mylroie, American Enterprise
Institute, 321 pp., illustrated, $24.95

Saddam Hussein vowed revenge earlier this year for one of President Bush's
first acts in office: the Feb. 16 bombing of Iraq in response to Saddam's
increased attacks on US aircraft patrolling the no-fly zone.

Conventional Washington wisdom said Saddam was too boxed in by sanctions to
hit back. Instead, he called on Arabs outside Iraq to strike US interests in
the region. That, according to a new book by Laurie Mylroie, a specialist on
Iraq, fits Saddam's pattern of revenge since the 1991 Gulf War:
masterminding terrorism through Arab fundamentalists who are left holding
the bag.

Mylroie argues in ''Study of Revenge: Saddam Hussein's Unfinished War
Against America'' that the Clinton administration erred by prosecuting such
individuals in Justice Department led criminal trials, rather than
conducting national security investigations that would have singled out

Coauthor of the 1991 national bestseller ''Saddam Hussein and the Crisis in
the Gulf,'' Mylroie sees Saddam's fingerprints on four terrorist attacks:
the 1993 World Trade Center bombing; the 1995 bombing of the US training
mission for Saudi troops in Riyadh; the 1996 attack against the US base in
al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia; and the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Tanzania
and Kenya.

Saddam's motive is not in doubt: continue the Gulf War through other means.
Proving it is more difficult. Mylroie sets out an intriguing case for Iraq's
involvement in the World Trade Center blast based on circumstantial evidence
- there is no smoking bomb. But the late director of the FBI's office in New
York, James Fox, believed Iraq was behind the trade center attack.
Washington ignored him, believing a ''loose network'' of Islamic radicals
intended to topple the twin towers onto each other with their bomb,
releasing a cloud of cyanide gas to maximize the killing.

Mylroie's evidence, based mostly on phone, airline, and passport records
entered into the trial, appears to show that mastermind Ramzi Yousef, now
serving life, was an Iraqi agent who traveled to New York on an Iraqi
passport to direct dupes intended to deflect attention from Saddam.

He and other conspirators placed numerous telephone calls to Iraq while in
New York during the lead-up to the bombing, which occurred on the second
anniversary of the Gulf War's end. Mylroie's detective work indicates Yousef
later tried to change his identity with a doctored Kuwaiti passport. Another
convict who fled New York a day after the bombing is living under Saddam's
protection in Baghdad, she says.

But Mylroie argues that President Clinton ignored these signs because he
didn't want to confront the issue of Iraq as a terrorist threat. His order
to strike Iraqi intelligence headquarters in June 1993, she says, was
presented as retaliation for an Iraqi attempt to kill former President Bush.
But he was also seeking a gesture that would address the terrorist bombing
in New York: ''He believed [the strikes] would take care of the terrorism in
New York. It would take care of the strong suspicions of the New York FBI
that Iraq was behind the World Trade Center bombing and would deter Saddam
from all future acts of terrorism.''

Among those who support this contention is James Woolsey, who was CIA
director at the time the Iraqi intelligence headquarters was hit. Woolsey
says he believed Iraq may have been involved in the World Trade Center
bombing, but was never asked his opinion by the Clinton White House.

Mylroie says the Riyadh bombing that killed five Americans was probably
Saddam's response to a negative United Nations weapons inspectors' report
and was aimed at US troops still in the region from the Gulf War. She quotes
an unnamed senior Saudi official: ''Of course that was Iraq. That was a
professional bomb. It was not made by a bunch of Saudis sitting in a tent.''
She admits: ''There is no proof Iraq was behind the Riyadh bombing. Yet Iraq
should have been considered a prime candidate, and it was not.'' She says
progress in the Mideast peace process at the time created a ''climate of
euphoria incompatible with the notion that the war with Iraq was not yet

The al-Khobar bombing seven months later killed 19 US servicemen who had
helped enforce the Iraq no-fly zone. Mylroie constructs á scenario in which
Iraqi agents in Khartoum, Sudan, worked with Osama bin Laden to plan the
attack. She quotes Israeli counterintelligence sources and Saudi officials
who believed Saddam was behind that bomb too.

Likewise, Mylroie believes Iraq worked with bin Laden in the African embassy
bombings on Aug. 7, 1998, two days after Saddam formally suspended weapons
inspections. In the planning of the attack, bin Laden's group and Saddam
issued parallel warnings. In May, Baghdad warned of ''dire consequences'' if
UN sanctions were not lifted. Because US intelligence never investigated
possible links to Saddam, Mylroie says, there is no proof. Instead the US
indictment stops at bin Laden and his alleged conspirators.

But Iraq was not mentioned at all during the African embassy trial in New
York. Richard Murphy, an Iraqi expert at the Council on Foreign Relations
think tank, sees that as sufficient proof that Mylroie is wrong. ''I don't
think she's found support in terms of the FBI and the CIA,'' he says.

Mylroie sees the tendency to not recognize the role of hostile governments
in terrorist acts as dangerous. But CIA Director George Tenet told a US
Senate committee in February that state-sponsored terrorism appears to have
declined over the past five years. Transnational groups, he says, are
emerging with fewer centrally controlled operations and more acts initiated
at lower levels.

Clinton's secretary of defense, William S. Cohen, spoke of ''a grave new
world of terrorism'' in which ''perpetrators may leave no postmark or return
address'' and ''traditional notions of deterrence and counter-response no
longer apply.''

Mylroie is swimming against this stream. Americans and their elected
officials continue to see terrorism as the violent, random deeds of the
world's lunatic fringe, not as state sponsored acts. ''According to the
Clinton administration, a new terrorist threat has come into being,
represented by loose networks of Muslim extremists,'' she writes. ''It is
truer to say that the Clinton administration's handling of terrorist
episodes and its refusal to address the question of state sponsorship have
encouraged further terrorist attacks.''

Mylroie's argument that the legal threshold in a criminal trial is not
necessary for intelligence agencies to prove state sponsorship is fraught
with danger, however. Bombing without conclusive proof can lead to
embarrassments such as Clinton's mistaken attack on a pharmaceutical plant
in Sudan.

We may never know if Iraq was behind these terrorist attacks, but if the
Bush administration wants to lead a more robust policy against Baghdad, it
might be wise for it to find out.

Joe Lauria covers Iraqi issues and the United Nations for the Globe.


WASHINGTON (CNN, 29th July) -- National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice
signaled Sunday that the Bush administration was prepared to respond to what
it views as provocative military action by Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

"Well, the president has made very clear that he considers Saddam Hussein to
be a threat to his neighbors, a threat to security in the region, in fact a
threat to international security more broadly," Rice said on CNN's "Late
Edition with Wolf Blitzer." "And he has reserved the right to respond when
that threat becomes one that he wishes no longer to tolerate."

Rice did not rule out military action.

"I think it's always best not to speculate about the grounds or the
circumstances under which one would do that," she said. "But I can be
certain of this, and the world can be certain of this: Saddam Hussein is on
the radar screen for the administration."

Twice in the past week, Iraq fired missiles at U.S. war planes patrolling
the no-fly zones, and Bush last week said Hussein was still a "menace."

House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt, D-Missouri, said a military response
to Iraq would be appropriate.

"I think we should. I think this no-fly zone has been a productive policy.
It's dangerous for us, but we don't want our fliers in risk," he said on the
same CNN program.

"And we have repeatedly warned Iraq that we're not going to put up with them
attacking our planes or putting them in harm's way," the congressman said.
"So, I fully back the administration in sending further messages to Saddam
Hussein that we intend to keep this policy in place."

Rice said the administration had a broader policy of trying to effect change
in Iraq, and she cited the use of what she called "smart sanctions."

Such sanctions, she said, would "go after the regime, not after the Iraqi
people." She said the administration would look at the use of military force
"in a more resolute manner, and not just a manner of tit-for-tat with him
every day."

The Bush administration, Rice said, will "increase pressure" on Hussein.

The United States and its allies, principally Great Britain, have been
patrolling parts of Iraq since the end of the Gulf War.


WASHINGTON (Associated Press, Mon 30 Jul 2001) ‹ The pilot of a U.S. Air
Force radar warning aircraft reported seeing an Iraqi anti-aircraft missile
fired into the airspace of Saudi Arabia, two U.S. defense officials said

Both officials said, however, that no electronic or other sensors in the
area confirmed the visual sighting and that it was possible the pilot was
mistaken. If confirmed, the missile firing would mark a new provocation,
following the Pentagon's claim last week that Iraq fired on a U.S. spy

The pilot of an AWACS aircraft ‹ which is equipped with sophisticated
communications gear and radar designed to provide early warning of hostile
aircraft and missiles ‹ said his plane was flying over Saudi Arabia last
week when he spotted an Iraqi surface-to-air missile about 200 miles away,
according to the defense officials. The officials discussed the matter on
condition of anonymity.

The incident was first reported Monday by CBS News, which also said the
Pentagon is drawing up plans for a major strike against Iraq's air defense

The officials who confirmed the AWACS report to The Associated Press said
they saw room for doubt that the pilot's report was accurate.

``You have a visual report and you have no other corroboration,'' one
official said.

Nonetheless, the report fits a pattern of increasingly aggressive Iraqi
resistance to the no-fly zones that the United States and Britain have been
enforcing over southern and northern Iraq for the past decade. Iraq asserts
that the exclusion zones are a violation of its sovereignty.

The Pentagon says that last Wednesday Iraq fired a missile at a U.S. Air
Force U-2 surveillance plane flying at high altitudes over Iraq. The spy
plane was not hit but the missile exploded close enough to be felt by the

Several days earlier the crew of a Navy E2-C radar plane flying over Kuwait
reported seeing the plume of an Iraqi surface-to-air missile fired in its
direction. That firing has yet to be confirmed by other means, officials
said Monday.

Saudi Arabia recently accused Iraq of firing at its border guards. Iraq
denied the accusation and said that Saudi forces fired at unarmed Iraqi
soldiers, killing one. Saudi Arabia sided with the U.S.-led coalition that
evicted the Iraqi army from Kuwait in 1991.


by Barbara Starr
ABC News, July 31

Pentagon officials had harsh words today for Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein
amid the growing sense that the United States may be getting ready to launch
a new round of airstrikes against Iraq.

"They have shown over the course of all calendar year 2001 a considerably
more aggressive stance in trying to bring down a coalition aircraft," said
Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral Craig Quigley.

If an attack took place, U.S. forces could bomb Iraq's air defense system of
radar, communications networks, missile and artillery batteries that have
been increasingly threatening U.S. warplanes patrolling the "no-fly" zones
in northern and southern Iraq.

"The volume of fire is up" in both the "no-fly" zones patrolled by U.S. and
British forces, said Quigley. He offered the Pentagon's most detailed public
assessment in months.

Provocations Increase

In the southern "no-fly" zone, Quigley said Iraqi forces "provoked"
coalition forces 370 times since the beginning of this year, compared to 221
times all of last year. In the northern zone, 62 provocations have occurred
in 2001, compared to last year's 145. A provocation could be the firing of a
missile or artillery piece, targeting of an aircraft, or the prohibited
flying of Iraqi airplanes into the "no fly" zones.

The United States particularly is concerned because Iraq has rebuilt key
portions of its air defense network since the last major bombing in February
when U.S. and British warplanes struck radar and communications nodes in
central Iraq. U.S. officials believe Iraq has fully repaired those

According to military officials, that repaired network again allows Iraq to
track U.S. and British aircraft from the moment they enter Iraqi airspace by
using radars deep inside the country near Baghdad.

Tracking information is passed to missile batteries in southern Iraq. Those
batteries can then fire against American aircraft without turning on their
own tell-tale fire control radars which can be readily destroyed by U.S.

July Incidents

Pentagon officials believe that Iraq twice used this technique recently. One
was a firing against an unarmed U.S. Navy E2-C surveillance aircraft flying
in Kuwaiti airspace in mid July. The other was the firing of an SA-2
surface-to-air missile against a high flying U-2 over southern Iraq a few
days later. That missile exploded so close to the U-2, that the pilot felt
the vibrations in the cockpit.

U.S. officials have signaled privately for the last several days that they
are gathering intelligence on Iraqi forces to be ready if the White House
should order airstrikes. U.S. reconnaissance aircraft and satellites are
watching the Iraqis disperse and move their aircraft, missile and artillery
batteries around southern Iraq and Baghdad in an attempt to avoid potential
U.S. bombing.

Officially, the words were only slightly tempered, with the message that the
United States will take its time. "We reserve the right to strike targets at
a time and place of our choosing," said Quigley.

STRATFOR.COM's Global Intelligence Update, Jul 30, 2001
Asia Times, 31st July


In February, the United States sent a large strike package into Iraq to
neutralize the growing air defense threat but inflicted only limited damage
due to a weapon malfunction, according to military officials. In the months
since, Iraq's air defenses have fired more missiles and anti-aircraft
artillery in the northern no-fly zone than in the entire previous year,
according to Western intelligence sources. The United States last month
retaliated against an anti- anti-aircraft installation, as it has done
regularly for several years in the ongoing cat-and mouse game.

In the latest incidents, Iraqi forces have intensified their challenge,
lighting up radars to shoot down patrol aircraft on nearly a daily basis.
The Iraqis are also "bursting" their radars - firing an unguided missile by
turning the radar off in time to avoid return fire, according to sources.
The refinement of this tactic would be made easiest by the acquisition of
better radars and tying them into the command posts.

But beyond challenging the increasingly unpopular no-fly zones, Iraq has
taken advantage of the passage of time and limited enforcement of UN
economic sanctions to reconstitute elements of its former arsenal. A series
of recent reports indicate Iraq is attempting to rebuild its program for
making weapons of mass destruction, which was heavily bombarded in four days
of US-UK air strikes in December 1998 after Iraq turned out UN weapons

Inspectors are not expected to return. In the meantime, the Iraqi regime has
been able to reconstitute elements of its nuclear, biological and chemical
weapons development programs, according to a July 25 report in Jane's
Defense Weekly, which cited Western and Iraqi officials.


The United States has at its disposal the usual forces capable of carrying
out a limited military operation. According to the US Defense Department, an
estimated 20,000 American personnel are in theater. This includes the USS
Constellation aircraft carrier, guided-missile ships and submarines in the
Persian Gulf; air bases in Turkey and Saudi Arabia; and a small army
contingent in Kuwait. Land- and sea-based attack planes and cruise missiles
are in place - along with supporting elements such as electronic jamming and
command-and-control planes - to strike a limited but substantial blow.

Washington has comparatively little to lose by launching a series of
careful, pinpoint strikes now. Earlier this month, the Bush administration's
UN proposal to overhaul the sanctions by lifting trade restrictions but
tightening controls on military imports was defeated. The
Israeli-Palestinian conflict seems beyond US influence. And Iraq has been
free of international weapons inspectors for two-and-a-half years. The Bush
administration must be careful, however, not to upset Arab nations enough to
significantly impact the price of oil.


Every bomb that strikes Iraq may be another nail in the coffin of sanctions,
but efforts to isolate the regime and reduce its threat to the region are
effectively dead anyhow.

The Associated Press, Fri 3 Aug 2001

WASHINGTON (AP) ‹ Iraq has rebuilt its air defenses since U.S. and British
warplanes attacked radar and communications targets around Baghdad on Feb.
16, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Friday.

Rumsfeld offered no indication of whether or how the United States would
respond, but he seemed to hint that any retaliation would go beyond the
limited set of targets in the February raid.

``One tends to want to do things that will have somewhat more lasting
effects,'' he told a Pentagon news conference.

He noted that the February attacks struck air defense sites that had been
linked by fiber optic cable to make them more effective. The problem, he
said, with striking those cables is that they get re-laid.

Iraq has used its rebuilt air defenses to target U.S. and British planes
which fly regularly over southern and northern Iraq to enforce ``no fly''
zones. Iraq considers the flights to be violations of its sovereignty.

Other comments by Rumsfeld seemed to suggest that near-term military
retaliation may not be in the cards. He said the administration's main goal
in Iraq is to have adequate warning time of any move by President Saddam
Hussein's forces to attack either neighboring countries or internal rebel

``Our interest is in understanding what is taking place in that country,''
he said. ``... If, in the last analysis, you're reasonably comfortable that
you have a reasonable understanding of what's taking place on the ground,
which gives you a reasonable warning time, then that is what you're goal



by Joyce Howard Price
The Washington Times, 29th July

Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz says the Pentagon sees North Korea
and Iraq as the leading military threats to the United States in the near

"Wars might happen tomorrow in Korea and Iraq," Mr. Wolfowitz said in a
pretaped interview on CNN's "Evans, Novak, Hunt & Shields" that aired

But he made it clear the Department of Defense views North Korea as the more
serious threat, given the United States' defeat of Iraq in the 1991 Persian
Gulf war.

"We face enormous conventional threats from North Korea," the department's
second-in command said, before being interrupted by one of the show's hosts.

Mr. Wolfowitz also identified the Middle East as a possible flash-point in
the near-term. "Iraq is still a potent force. If the United States weren't
there, Saddam Hussein could be in Riyadh [Saudi Arabia] tomorrow," he said.

"But we know what Iraq can do. We fought that war. We know their weaknesses.
We know our strengths," Mr. Wolfowitz said.

In fact, he said, the United States "overestimated what we needed against
Saddam Hussein" in the Gulf war, with one major exception.

That exception, said Mr. Wolfowitz, was this country's inability to "shoot
down those primitive Scud missiles" launched by Iraq that "killed 24
Americans [in a military barrack] in Dhahran" and "that almost dragged
Israel into the war."

"The one place where [Saddam] had more capability than we ever imagined was
his ability to keep launching ballistic missiles," the deputy defense
secretary said.

More than a decade after Operation Desert Storm, Mr. Wolfowitz said, the
United States has "finally developed" the methodology to defend against Scud

"We're now developing means to intercept the faster missiles that would come
in at intercontinental ranges," he said.

The Bush administration is seeking congressional approval of a limited
national missile defense system to counter possible missile attacks from
"rogue states." Many Democrats oppose the plan, fearing it would spark an
arms race.

However, some leading Democrats have said they may withdraw their opposition
because of an agreement reached last week between President Bush and Russian
President Vladimir Putin. The two men agreed to enter negotiations that
could remove a major international stumbling block to development of a
multilayered missile defense program. If the negotiations are successful, it
would free the United States and Russia from constraints imposed under the
Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty they signed in 1972.

The ABM Treaty outlaws the United States and the now defunct Soviet Union
from building missile defense systems. But Russia now says it would let the
United States employ a missile shield if the United States would reduce its
offensive nuclear weapons stockpiles.

In the CNN interview, Mr. Wolfowitz was asked about claims made by some
critics that the missile defense system Mr. Bush envisions might wind up
costing $100 billion.

"The problem is we're in a development phase. ... Until we know what works
and what doesn't work, I can't give you cost estimates," Mr. Wolfowitz said.

Nevertheless, he said: "These notions that the missile defense is going to
cost hundreds of billions of dollars are figments of people's imagination."

Mr. Wolfowitz said he recognizes "it's going to be a battle" to get Congress
to approve the $18.4 billion in added Pentagon spending the White House is
seeking next year. The Pentagon brass wanted an additional $30 billion.

He listed readiness training, dealing with infrastructure problems, boosting
military pay and investing in missile defense as top spending priorities for
the Pentagon.

"As long as we were constrained by the ABM Treaty, we were limited from
doing those things which would allow us to do missile defense most
efficiently," Mr. Wolfowitz said.;

by Michael O'Hanlon
Financial Times, 30th July

Donald Rumsfeld, US defence secretary, seems to have a great job. His armed
forces possess a budget equal to those of the planet's next eight military
powers combined. Most of those eight - as well as 55 other countries - are
close US friends or allies.

Mr Rumsfeld works for a pro-defence president in a country that is enjoying
peace, budget surpluses and remarkable technological opportunities. He has
always been considered a master bureaucratic operator and manager to boot.

Alas, all is not well. During his first six months in office, Mr Rumsfeld
has been widely criticised as insular, arrogant and ultra-conservative. And
for all the problems he has already faced, his biggest challenge lies ahead.
The defence secretary must replace stocks of ageing weaponry, fashion a new
military strategy for the 21st century - and do so under surprisingly
constraining fiscal conditions.

Unless President George W. Bush wants to run for re-election as the
president who did little but cut taxes while engineering a peacetime
military build-up, the annual Pentagon budget is likely to remain $20bn to
$50bn below where Mr Rumsfeld would like it to be.

For some experts, the strategic prescription is obvious. They sense a
revolution in military affairs helped by advances in technology. They
suggest a broad shift in US security policy - from Europe to Asia and from
land armies to long-range weaponry, missile defences and space warfare.

Within many American think-tanks, these ideas have been popular for a
decade. But it was not until Mr Bush began his presidential bid in 1999 that
such ideas found their way into the political spotlight. And it was not
until Donald Rumsfeld took over the Pentagon that the octogenarian Andy
Marshall, resident iconoclast and chief promoter of radical military
innovation, finally gained the defence secretary's ear.

Unfortunately for Mr Rumsfeld, the real world is more complicated. The US
military will have to keep doing most of what it already does while
preparing for new challenges. A bold and sexy new defence strategy for the
US will probably not work. Consider each of the radical claims often made by
military reformers, and the problems with each:

The US military should change its focus from Europe to Asia. This has
already happened in large measure, so any potential for a further shift is
modest. Neither of the places where it is commonly assumed that the US might
have to fight major wars - the Gulf and Korea - is in Europe.

True, the US still maintains roughly as many troops in Europe as in Asia.
But the presence is largely for political purposes and the cost of keeping
troops in Europe as opposed to the US constitutes less than 1 per cent of
the defence budget. That is a small price to pay for America's leadership
role in European security affairs.

The US no longer needs a two-war capability. It is true that current US
military strategy dwells too much on Iraq and North Korea. It assumes that
deterrence could fail simultaneously in two places where America's
commitments are unambiguous and its forward-deployed capabilities
considerable. It also assumes that each war would require half a million
GIs, even though Iraq is only half as strong militarily as a decade ago and
North Korea's gross domestic product has halved since 1990.

That said, some type of two-war capability still makes sense. While fighting
a given war in one place, it is important to be able to deter would-be
aggressors elsewhere. And to deter, one needs a credible combat capability.
That may not require the prompt means for overthrowing an enemy government.
But it does require the ability to establish a robust defensive position and
carry out some counter-offensive operations.

The US needs to anticipate possible future conflict with China. Again, there
is something to the reformers' argument. Taiwan would be unlikely to need US
help to repulse a Chinese invasion, given the inherent difficulties of
amphibious assault, Taiwan's substantial defences and inhospitable beaches
and China's limited means for carrying out such an attack. But Taiwan could
require assistance to break a naval blockade designed to coerce it into
accepting a conditional surrender.

However, the US already has most of the requisite forces for carrying out
such an operation today. Moreover, it need not prepare to wage war on
Chinese territory. The US knows it would never fight to protect Tibet the
way Nato went to war over Kosovo, or bomb nuclear armed China the way the
west bombed Belgrade. Even once one accepts the need to focus more military
attention on China, radical change is not necessary.

High technology will replace the foot soldier and the future American
military will feature long-range weaponry based on US soil or in space. It
is true that smart munitions, stealth aircraft and advanced satellite
systems provide great opportunities. But their limits can be seen by
considering specific scenarios.

Protecting Taiwan against a blockade would require establishing continuous
control of the airspace and waters surrounding the island. B-2 bombers
cannot accomplish those tasks. Long-range weaponry may some day be able to
stop Saddam Hussein from invading Saudi Arabia. But it will not work as well
in the complex terrain of Korea.

Nor will stand-off weapons and missile defences suffice if coalition forces
some day march on Baghdad or Pyongyang to overthrow an enemy government in a
future war or conduct a stability operation in Indonesia, South Asia or the
Middle East.

Do not feel too bad for Mr Rumsfeld. He is likely to get a $30bn increase in
next year's defence budget - real money even by Pentagon standards. And
today's US military measures up well to likely challenges. But Mr Rumsfeld
will have to find a way to make modest additional cuts in forces, cancel a
few prominent weapons programmes and make the Pentagon more efficient.

There is nowhere near enough money for everything and there is no new US
military strategy that will magically save the day. For most of America's
allies looking on, that is probably just as well.

The writer is a senior fellow of the Brookings Institution and author of
Defence Policy Choices for the Bush Administration.

by Stan Crock
Yahoo BusinessWeek Online, 2nd August


Rumsfeld hadn't had any say in then-candidate Bush's major defense speech at
the Citadel last September, in which W. talked about a ``revolution in the
technology of war'' and the possibility of skipping a generation of weapons.
What exactly had he meant? Rumsfeld didn't know. Bush aide Richard Armitage
might have known -- he had written the words. But by the time Rumsfeld came
aboard, Armitage was headed for a different billet: the State Dept.


So Rumsfeld ordered up a bunch of studies to see what he should do -- and to
stall for time. That's because it was clear to Rumsfeld that he would be
working with only one political aide -- Deputy Defense Secretary Wolfowitz
-- for months before the confirmation process slowly spewed out more help.
The studies were aimed at keeping everyone at bay until the staff was in

According to those who know Rumsfeld, the studies taught him a number of
things, much to his chagrin. One is that the infrastructure problems are a
lot worse than he had thought. Housing, utilities, and other capital items
are being replaced on a cycle that would take nearly two centuries to update
everything. Rumsfeld wants to move to a 67-year cycle -- still longer than
the 50 years or so that is standard in private industry. The cost of
accelerating replacements is huge, as is the multibillion-dollar tab for a
new medical-benefit plan for retirees.

Meanwhile, the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marines' programs have been
retooled for the post-Cold War era, meaning there weren't many Cold War
relics that could be jettisoned, or generations of weapons to skip. If you
think air superiority will ever matter, for example, you need the F-22
Raptor. There's no other option -- though maybe you don't need all of the
339 that the Air Force wants.

Result: The combination of higher expenses and the inability to cut weapons
costs has left Rumsfeld high and dry. The tax cut, combined with the slowing
economy, has only made matters worse by limiting the amount of money the
Office of Management & Budget and Congress want to pour into Defense.
Rumsfeld hopes for some savings from moves such as base closings. But they
actually aggravate the problem in the near term because of the immediate
costs for severance and environmental cleanups. He might try to save money
by cutting ground troops, but then whom would he send into southern Iraq to
help change the regime in Baghdad?


BBC, 3rd August

International negotiations to enforce a global ban on germ warfare have been
suspended following a recent decision by the United States to pull out of
the talks.

The chairman of the 56-nation talks, Tibor Toth of Hungary, said the group
could not go on working on a protocol on enforcement of the 1972 Biological
Weapons Convention without the participation of the United States.

Quite a number of delegations would be reluctant to engage in continued
negotiations among themselves in the absence of a major negotiating partner,
that is the United States of America

The germ warfare convention, while outlawing the manufacture, storage or use
of toxic weapons, has no mechanism to ensure that states adhere to it.

Washington withdrew from the talks towardsat the end of July, saying it
objected to too many clauses on the proposed agreement.

The US says the draft will be ineffective in stopping countries from
developing germ warfare, but will endanger US security and expose the
commercial secrets of its biotech industry to industrial espionage.

Mr Mahley said the US would come up with new proposals

"In our assessment, the draft protocol would put national security and
confidential business information at risk, " the US representative, Donald
Mahley, told the forum last week.

Washington's allies have expressed regret at the US decision.

Unlike the case of the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, which was ratified
last week despite Washington's absence, the countries in the biological
weapons talks decided the germ warfare protocol was not worth signing
without the US.

Instead, the forum, which has been working since 1994, has agreed to suspend
the talks for a year.

France said it expected the US to come up with new ideas on enforcing the
anti-germ warfare treaty, so that they could resume.

Iran and Iraq were among the countries opposed to continuing the talks
without the US.

Baghdad noted that Washington was needed in any agreement because the United
States has one of the most advanced biotechnology industries.

According to the rules of the talks, the 210-page draft protocol must be
ratified by consensus, and any country has the power to veto inspection
procedures or anything else.

The latest meeting of the group, which started in Geneva on 23 July, had
been intended to finalise the wording of the draft plan.

Mr Toth told the members that "the overwhelming majority" of the delegates
had been hopeful that an agreement on how to enforce the convention could
have been reached by now.

Unfortunately, he said, "it is not possible to do that."

A periodic review of the Biological Weapons Convention is to be held in
November, with the participation of all 143 nations who ratified it.


by Carola Hoyos, United Nations correspondent
Finacnial Times, 30th July

Kofi Annan, the United Nations' secretary-general, has recommended the most
far-reaching changes in the UN's controls on Iraq's economy since the
organisation allowed Iraq to import oil industry parts three years ago.

The suggestions will test the limits of Washington's willingness to ease
sanctions on Iraq and risk again dividing the UN Security Council.

The 15 security council members requested Mr Annan's input in a resolution
passed at the end of last year and are scheduled to discuss the
secretary-general's recommendations within the next two weeks.

In a report issued last month, Mr Annan recommends the UN modify its
financial controls on Baghdad to enable Iraq to use E1.2bn ($1.05bn) a year
domestically to pay for the upkeep of its oil industry. Under current UN
rules, Baghdad is not supposed to be able to handle any of its oil revenues
itself. Instead the funds are spent on permitted foreign products via an
escrow account controlled by the UN.

"The cash component goes to the heart of sanctions, the heart of revenue
control and all the contradictions of the US and UK policy, the price of
which is born largely by the Iraqi people," says Raad Alkadiri, analyst at
the Petroleum Finance Company.

The secretary-general drew his conclusion from a report by a team of experts
that visited Iraq in March. The six experts found the country's oil industry
in such disrepair that Iraq's oil exports could drop by 30 per cent within
the next 12 months.

"New production is therefore an absolute necessity if current production and
export levels are to be sustained and the humanitarian programme funded at
current levels," the team concluded.

While security council members agree in theory to the so-called "cash
component", the US and UK have already voiced reservations over the security
risks such a mechanism poses.

Diplomats are especially wary of Saddam Hussein, Iraq's president, using the
money to finance a weapons programme.

Mr Saddam has already proven his ability to siphon off funds from the UN's
current oil-for food programme. Baghdad has illegally earned millions of
extra dollars in the past year by manipulating the price of its oil - which
is set by UN overseers - and by charging buyers an illegal surcharge.
Diplomats fear Mr Saddam will do the same with the cash component.

by Irwin Arieff
Yahoo, 30th July

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Iraq accused the United States and Britain on
Monday of preventing it from buying badly needed goods under the U.N.
oil-for-food program, even as they sought to streamline the program to ease
its burden on the Iraqi people.

Baghdad said the value of contracts blocked under the oil-for-food program
had crept up to $3.5 billion after falling to under $3 billion at the end of
May, when Washington released some $800 million of contracts it had put on
hold in the past.

``We appeal to you to put an end to this policy of seeking vengeance on the
people of Iraq, and we urge you to intervene so that the holds ... may be
lifted,'' Baghdad's U.N. ambassador, Mohammed Aldouri, said in identical
letters to the U.N. Security Council and Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

``The policy of placing contracts on hold has gone so far that it is no
longer possible to remain silent,'' Aldouri said.

Washington's late May move to lift a large number of holds had been part of
an effort to build credibility and support for a proposed major U.S.-British
overhaul of the 11-year-old sanctions regime against Iraq. The sanctions,
including a ban on oil sales, were imposed after Iraq's 1990 invasion of


People's Daily, 1st August

Exporting 12 million barrels of crude over the past week, Iraq has earned an
additional 252 million US dollars under the UN "oil-for-food" program, the
United Nations Office of the Iraq Program said Tuesday in a statement.

During the week leading back to July 21, the UN oil overseers approved six
more oil purchase contracts for 37 million barrels of oil. In total, 65
contracts for 227 million barrels of oil have been approved under the
current phase of the program, which runs through 30 November.

At the end of the week, the value of contracts placed on hold by the
Security Council sanctions committee stood at 3.5 billion dollars, according
to the office.

Fifteen contracts worth 15 million dollars were released from hold, while 33
new contracts worth 66 million were placed on hold, it said.

After the Security Council on July 4 adopted resolution 1360 extending the
program for 150 days, Iraq gradually resumed its oil exports which had been
switched off for one month in protest against the U.S.-British "smart

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