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> And many would like to blame Iraq for the attacks. But Iraq played no role whatsoever > in the September 11 kamikaze attacks in the United States, Foreign Minister Naji Sabri > said in an interview published Wednesday. And I believe that. "The United States, Great > Britain, the Western states and the rest of the world know full well that Iraq has no > link, near or far, with the attacks against American interests," the minister told the > Al-Iqtissadi weekly. > I think this is a very clear statement. Yes, there's certainly a constituency in the US that sees Saddam lurking behind every bush. While I have no privileged information, I find it unlikely that there's an Iraqi government connection here. The Iraqi government knows that it's on America's most wanted list, and it knows that it had a pretty good chance of staying ahead of the game as long as no crisis occurred. While the "smart sanctions" proposals were a threat to it, it saw off the first round of them, and may have seen off the second. The attacks, though, have almost certainly worsened the Iraqi regime's position. Perhaps the Iraqi regime didn't anticipate this; it has made bad decisions in the past. I find this unlikely: it would have been fairly easy to predict that hijacking four airplanes, crashing two into the WTC and one into the Pentagon would not prompt an American confession to having run a harmful foreign policy in the Middle East, and a decision to repent. I also find Osama bin Laden (whose connection to these events are not well established in my mind) and Saddam Hussein unlikely allies. A bin Laden "promotional video" apparently denounces various enemies of Islam, and refers to Saddam, who rose to power as a militantly secular figure, as a kafir, disbeliever. Yes, politics make strange bedfellows, but if bin Laden is the religious fundamentalist that he's portrayed to be, I find it unlikely that he would ally himself with Saddam. One piece of information that did cause me to start wondering about this connection again was the claim that there was unusual stock market activity before September 11. I've yet to see a good source on this, but the claim seems to be that individuals may have purchased futures contracts that became very valuable after September 11, thus making a lot of money. The Iraqi government has apparently used its knowledge of its future production decisions to take positions in the oil futures market to make money as well, a similar modus operandi. If the Iraqi government was involved in the attacks in some way, then I think it very unlikely that they would wish to publicise this as it opens them to the risk of attacks that have not been possible for nearly a decade. Thus, when Foreign Minister Naji Sabri denies Iraq's involvement, I am not surprised: it is in his interests to do so. More generally, while some statements issued by the Iraqi government are accurate (e.g. the claim that Unikom is failing to report border violations between Iraq and Kuwait by US aircraft) they, like British and American statements, are intended to advance interests. Failing to recognise these interests is dangerous for two reasons: we risk allowing ourselves to be misled and, in the case of Iraqi government statements, we risk looking - correctly - like dupes to those that we are trying to convince of the wrongness of the current sanctions policy. Colin Rowat work | Room 406, Department of Economics | The University of Birmingham | Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK | 0121 414 3754 | firstname.lastname@example.org personal | 07768 056 984 (UK mobile) | (917) 517 5840 (USA mobile) | (707) 221 3672 (US fax) | email@example.com _________________________________________________________ Do You Yahoo!? Get your free @yahoo.com address at http://mail.yahoo.com -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email firstname.lastname@example.org CASI's website - www.casi.org.uk - includes an archive of all postings.