The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]
Supplement, 30/9-6/10/01 (2) US POLICY contd * America's war on terrorism [Pakistani view saying that the US have missed the opportunity to excite real, heartfelt, sympathy in the world] * A War on Many Fronts [Extracts. Anyone wanting to understand why the US is disliked and despised in the world only has to read the articles of Charles Krauthammer. His basic thesis is that the world is too unpleasant a place for Americans to tolerate its continued existence. It should be remarked in reply to the argument on biological weapons that the genie of this satanic technology has been let out of the bottle, as much in the laboratories of the US as anywhere else, and simply cannot be put back again] * Cold War II: America needs you, Harry Truman [Argument that GW Bush is, rightly in the author¹s estimation, opening a new Cold War, in many ways equivalent to the old one, against radical Islam] * Saddam's shadow haunts quiet Americans [extracts from interesting article arguing that the US cannot afford to form a real alliance - eg through a UN mandate - for fear of losing its freedom to act against Iraq. Outlines the few moves that have been made to get UN backing] * U.S. Strategists Begin to Favor Threat to Use Nuclear Arms * 'I believe the terrorists wanted a nuclear attack on Baghdad' [Conversation between famous conversationalists PJ O¹Rourke and Clive James. Some interesting passages, once Clive James¹ contributions are removed, on the massacre on the road to Basra and the purge of the Palestinians in Kuwait. Ends with a complaint that the US is too innocent in world affairs and therefore not sufficiently interventionist. Funny to think people get paid for making this sort of conversation. And other people pay to hear them.]. IRAQ¹S FRIENDS AND NEIGHBOURS * Arab states not to be targeted, assures US * Dangerous anti-Americanism next door [Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez¹s little joke last week about Osama bin Chaven¹ didn¹t go down very well with the Miami Herald] * Islamabad plays its wild card [Interesting Pakistani view of possible options for an alternative government to the Taliban (Syed Ahmed Gialani of the National Islamic Front of Afghanistan)] * Servility does not pay in the war against terrorism [Indian complaint that the Kashmiri Muslim suicide bomb against the Indian-supported Jammu and Kashmir assembly isn¹t being taken seriously as an act of world terrorism because the US needs Pakistani support ... for the war against Terrorism] http://www.dawn.com/2001/10/04/op.htm#2 * AMERICA'S WAR ON TERRORISM by Prof Khalid Mahmud Dawn (Pakistan), 4th October [.....] Critics say the US has missed a historic opportunity to earn worldwide goodwill. Barring diehard fanatics, no one, regardless of one's colour, creed or nationality, approves of wanton killings of ordinary citizens. The outpourings of sympathy for the American people would have contributed to rectifying the long-standing image of the 'Ugly American'. For a change the Americans were victims of aggression and they could have used the opportunity to win friends and allies among the people the world over for a rational, just and popular drive against terrorism. But they have opted for a show of force and that too far too excessive, arbitrary and indiscriminate. Little wonder, they are being censured by a growing number of observers for arrogating to themselves the authority to dictate terms for a coalition of forces for waging a war against terrorism. The dicey game, it is being said, is basically aimed at reassuring the American people that the US continues to call the shots in the world. [.....] Seizing Kandahar or Kabul in a lightning move following bombing raids may not be much of a problem but that would not be enough to turn the Taliban out of business. Any alternative leadership in Afghanistan, if sponsored by Americans will be seen as a Quisling and therefore unable to enforce its writ without the continued presence and backing of the occupation forces. This was precisely the blunder the Soviets committed when their tanks rolled into Afghanistan to prop up a puppet regime. It is hard for the Americans to comprehend as to why Osama bin Laden has a high public rating in the Muslim world. They have willy-nilly agreed to furnish evidence of his involvement in the September 11 terrorist attacks but still insist on acting the as prosecutor as well as the judge. However, their indictment of Bin Laden as the number one terrorist in the world does not cut much ice with the Muslim populace. Ironically, some western media persons have frankly acknowledged that his popular rating has gone up even in Saudi Arabia. [.....] The Saudi ambassador frankly said that he did not like the use of the term 'the civilized world', as it has the overtone that 'we in the Muslim world were uncivilized'. The Americans, he said, do not need permission to act in whatever manner they deem it fit, but if they are trying to forge a coalition to fight terrorism they should be more sensitive to the feelings of their partners. The Saudi ambassador was keen to underscore the point that he did not care much if the Taliban were overthrown or what happened to Osama bin Laden, but the entire Muslim world would be inflamed if innocent Afghan people were killed in the process. The essential point of his advice to the Americans was to limit their goals and seek larger support for their cause. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A8707-2001Oct4.html * A WAR ON MANY FRONTS . . . by Charles Krauthammer Washington Post, 5th October [.....] Why, even the State Department, after wobbling, has come around to the idea that getting Osama is not enough. The Taliban regime must fall too. What happens then? That will depend on whether we succeed against the Taliban. If we do not, then we have lost the war and we will live the rest of our lives in the gas-mask-buying dread we feel today. But what if we do topple the Taliban? Do we stop there? We cannot. We have entered a new era with a new threat. They're called weapons of mass destruction, but that is a euphemism. These are weapons of genocide. What is at stake is not a repetition of the World Trade Center but a massacre unseen in human history, possibly millions of Americans dead from biological or chemical warfare. You do not make weaponized anthrax in Afghan caves. For that you need serious scientists and serious laboratories, like the ones in Baghdad. Richard Butler, the former chief arms inspector in Iraq, tells us that Iraq has weaponized anthrax and VX gas. Syria has chemical weapons. Iran is developing nukes. They all sponsor terrorists. The threat is unique, but so is the moment. The provocation is clear. The American people are committed. The entire West and even India and Russia are behind us. Now is the time to go after state-sponsored terrorism. This does not mean invading every country. It means getting some regimes to change policies and others to fall -- whether by economic and diplomatic pressure, internal revolt or, as a last resort, military action. At a time like this, the imprudent ones are those who simply want to lop off one tentacle of the terrorist threat, the one that perpetrated Sept. 11. Doing that will give us satisfaction, a sense of accomplishment, and an entirely false sense of security. The next attack, catastrophic beyond our imagination, is waiting to happen. If we do not have the will to go after that threat now, these sophisticated weapons will fall into the hands of al Qaeda's comrades and successors. We will be living the 13 days of the Cuban missile crisis -- our last encounter with the real possibility of genocidal attack on America -- for the rest of our lives. http://atimes.com/front/CJ06Aa02.html * COLD WAR II: AMERICA NEEDS YOU, HARRY TRUMAN by Walter A McDougall* Asia Times, 6th October The first Cold War crept in slowly and was not at all evident to most average Americans when President Truman addressed a joint session of Congress in March 1947. No US forces overseas, much less the United States itself, had been attacked, and Americans were obsessed with demobilizing from World War II and preventing a return of Great Depression conditions. So if Truman were to arouse the nation to resist world communism, he had to do what Senator Arthur Vandenberg recommended, which was to "scare the hell out of the American people" The president explained that a moment in history had come when nearly every nation had to choose between freedom based on majority rule and human rights, or tyranny imposed through terror and oppression. He declared it the policy of the United States to support all peoples threatened by internal subversion or outside pressure and warned that an American failure to lead might endanger world peace and would surely endanger the welfare of the United States. But the $400 million in aid that he requested for Greece and Turkey was only the ante the poker-loving Truman required to get America into the game. The ultimate cost of calling every Soviet bet and bluff in a game lasting years, perhaps decades, was bound to be immeasurably higher. What is more, this poker game carried the greatest of risks, not excluding that of nuclear war, and offered the American public no instant gratification or assurance of a future catharsis. Walter Lippmann gave the conflict its name - the Cold War - and a left-to-right spectrum from Henry Wallace to George Kennan to Robert Taft immediately warned that a protracted conflict against the communist conspiracy might draw the United States into unlimited commitments, Machiavellian ploys, and collusion with all manner of foul bedfellows. But the Congress and public stood up almost as one behind the Truman Doctrine, Marshall Plan, NATO, and the Korean War. The second Cold War may also have crept up on us slowly. Leaving aside introspective domestic recriminations to the effect that America deserved the attack of September 11 (a matter best left to the purveyor of "infinite justice"), historians are certain to clash over questions of causality and blame. Did Americans' energy-guzzling habits, hence dependence on Persian Gulf oil and support for authoritarian Muslim regimes, create fertile soil for Islamic fanatics? Did American disengagement from Afghanistan following the expulsion of the Soviets permit the Taliban to seize power? Did American support for Israel and the 1991 war on Iraq validate in the bazaars an image of the United States as the Great Satan? Did the George H W Bush administration's display of irresistible military might but reluctance to finish off Saddam Hussein all but invite rogue states to wage asymmetrical warfare, including sponsorship of terrorist groups, to promote their agendas? Did the Clinton administration's penchant for poking, but not killing, the dens of rattlesnakes in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Sudan only stiffen their determination to show Americans how it feels to be defenseless before random assaults? Were US defense and intelligence agencies just not up to their job, in which case an entirely different set of questions dating back to Vietnam and Watergate needs to be asked? Whatever the long-range causes of our second Cold War, public cognizance of it came in a flash and George W Bush had no need to scare the hell out of the American people when he addressed Congress on September 20. Otherwise, he faced the same task as Truman, which was to channel the public's fear, anger, and vengefulness into reservoirs to be husbanded, replenished in need, and gradually released to sustain public support for a conflict of unknown duration, cost, and risk. As in Truman's time the enemy is an abstraction - terrorism in place of communism - but one given sanctuary and support from sovereign states. As in Truman's time the president prefers not to declare formal war on those states, but rather puts them on notice as to the rules of engagement the United States intends to enforce in the protracted conflict to come. Truman did not expect to convert the Soviets to democracy, but he put them on notice that subversion and aggression were unacceptable weapons in the ideological contest. Likewise, Bush does not expect (as perhaps Clinton did) to persuade our adversaries to love Coca-Cola, Disney and Playboy. But he put them on notice that terrorism is an unacceptable weapon in the clash of cultures, estimated that terrorists lurk in no less than 60 nations, named the Islamic fundamentalists the heirs to all the murderous ideologues of the 20th Century, and vowed that the war would not end until every terrorist group of global reach had been crushed. Bush also specifically condemned neutralism ("Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists), implied that all states who practice or abet terrorism are subject to retaliation in times and places of our own choosing, and cautioned that a long, twilight struggle lies before us. Thus did he conflate in his speech not only Truman's message, but Eisenhower's and Kennedy's as well. Just as in the late 1940s, critics across the political spectrum warned that the Bush doctrine would require the United States to make unlimited commitments, adopt an amoral realpolitik, prop up "friendly tyrants," provoke still more hatred of America, and thus ratchet up the cycle of violence. But again, just as in 1947, the Congress and people declared themselves, almost unanimously, ready to ante up and get into the game, whatever the risks down the road. ************** Cold War II: So many people thought it would be waged against China. But cold wars are not declared against mere geopolitical rivals - hot wars, yes, but not cold ones. Cold wars are fought against nations or movements that pose a genuine alternative and thus a threat to "our way of life" at home. Communism, with its plausible ideology, moral critique of capitalism, international armies of spies and propagandists, and fifth column of fellow travelers in the United States, certainly qualified. That is why Truman said that a failure to resist communism everywhere would surely endanger American welfare at home. Americanism, with its powerful ideology of secular humanism, hostility to Islamic customs (eg, concerning the place of women), ubiquitous economic, cultural, and military presence, and mighty fifth columns of Westernized Muslims, certainly qualifies as a candidate for a cold war from the traditional Muslim perspective. From the American point of view, by contrast, terrorism in the name of fundamentalist Islam would seem no candidate at all since it has no plausible ideology or party of sympathizers among American citizens (unless one counts the "blame America" crowd). But Islamic fundamentalism does raise a serious moral critique of the West, does possess an international network of saboteurs, and has shown itself capable of sowing doubt and division among us in ways we are loath to admit. Thus, however many uplifting and poignant remarks were made by American leaders and common folk in the aftermath of September 11, many stupid and troubling things were said, too. The stupidest remark I heard was uttered by an upscale white, suburban woman who blamed the terrorist attack on Bush's tax cut. "Couldn't that money have gone to the FBI?" she asked. The most troubling remark I heard was uttered by a downscale black urban woman who blamed the attack on US meddling in the Near East. "Why can't we just mind our own business?" she asked. My own "man on the street" interviews suggest that as angry and hot for revenge as Americans are, many are prone to look in the mirror, at themselves or each other - and I don't mean at Arab Americans. If the answer to the question "Why do they hate us?" is - as Bush says - that they hate us for who we are, for our freedoms, then it should not surprise us when Americans ask, "who are we?" [.....] *Walter McDougall is Editor of Orbis, chairman of the Foreign Policy Research Institute's History Academy, and the Alloy-Ansin Professor of international relations at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a Pulitzer prizewinning historian and a veteran of the Vietnam War. This essay is excerpted from his editorial column in the Winter 2001 issue of Orbis, due out in December. Related essays by Foreign Policy Research Institute scholars include: "Bleak New World" by Harvey Sicherman, September 13, 2001; "September 11: Ten Ways To Look at What Happened and What To Expect" by Michael Radu, September 17, 2001 and "America's War Against Terrorism" by Alvin Z. Rubinstein, October 1, 2001 http://www.smh.com.au/news/0110/06/world/world6.html * SADDAM'S SHADOW HAUNTS QUIET AMERICANS by Paul McGeough. Sydney Morning Herald, 6th October [.....] The UN Security Council last week carried far-reaching resolutions on a new body of international law to fight terrorism. But it will be months or years before it is absorbed into legal codes around the world and neither the council nor the General Assembly is getting a voice on the detail or strategy for the military undoing of bin Laden. Nor is it being asked for an explicit mandate. [.....] Washington believes its plans are covered by the self-defence chapter of international law and a resolution carried by a shocked Security Council little more than an hour after the attacks on New York and Washington, in which it said it was ready to act although not that it would act. The Guardian quoted a senior source in the British Foreign Office saying: "That's not the same as a mandate, [but] it is very strong and it provides a huge amount of moral authority." NATO is locked in. But there were indications this week that the only support that might be sought by the US from NATO would be to excuse Washington from its commitment in Kosovo and Macedonia, which requires it to have 12,000 men and machines on the ground in Europe. [.....] For now, Russia and China are saying that the Islamic threat is of greater interest than trade and regional power. But will that hold if and when the US extends the war on terrorism to the "rogue states" Iraq, Iran and Syria? [.....] This week, the Iranian Foreign Minister, Kamal Kharrazi, hit the road in the Middle East, calling on skittish US allies Egypt and Saudi Arabia to support a push to have the fight against terrorism conducted under the banner of the UN, not the US. Mr Rumsfeld was in the air, too, headed for Cairo to give comfort to a troubled ally, the Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak, who has said he will not join the coalition against terrorism unless it is controlled by the UN. Pakistan has made several forlorn efforts to put the UN in the driver's seat and China, which also has a veto power, has been calling for the Security Council to run any military campaign. The Russians also have called for the council to have a key role and have been talking to the French. [.....] This is what troubles people. In the broad coalition, countries such as Russia and France, and maybe China, will want to argue against attacking Iraq. But if the White House wants to reserve its right to march on Baghdad, it can't afford to give the naysayers a forum such as the UN Security Council or the General Assembly. By the end of last week, the US rhetoric had softened, but Mr Rumsfeld wrote in The New York Times: "Our opponent is a global network of terrorist organisations and their state sponsors." The US has constructed a solid argument for getting rid of Saddam: if he were eliminated, so too would be two of three key reasons for the deep resentment of the US in the Muslim world - the need for no-fly zones over Iraq, patrolled by the US and Britain, and the stationing of foreign servicemen in Saudi Arabia. That would leave only the Israeli Palestinian conflict to be resolved. [.....] http://www.iht.com/articles/34777.html * U.S. STRATEGISTS BEGIN TO FAVOR THREAT TO USE NUCLEAR ARMS by Dana Milbank (Washington Post Service) International Herald Tribune, 6th October WASHINGTONThe Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on Washington and New York have invigorated national security strategists inside and outside the government who favor using nuclear weapons to deter and respond to chemical or biological attacks. Conservatives outside the Bush administration have been calling on the administration to make an explicit threat to use nuclear weapons to respond to a biological or chemical attack. This would change a long-standing U.S. policy of refusing to rule in or rule out use of nuclear weapons in the event of such an attack. So far, at least, senior administration officials have maintained this policy of deliberate ambiguity, though some administration figures appear to be sympathetic to a change that would entail a more specific threat. A report issued in January by the National Institute for Public Policy declared that "U.S. nuclear weapons may be necessary" to deter regional powers from using weapons of mass destruction or for "providing unique targeting capabilities" against such things as buried targets or biological weapons targets. "Under certain circumstances," the report said, "very severe nuclear threats may be needed to deter any of these potential adversaries." Among the report's authors were Stephen Hadley, now deputy national security adviser to President George W. Bush; Robert Joseph, the head of proliferation strategy at the National Security Council, and two key defense advisers to Mr. Bush, Stephen Cambone and William Schneider Jr. Proponents of the shift in policy said the attacks on New York and Washington had affirmed their views. "Sept. 11 really underscores the need to look at a full range of flexible options," said David Smith, a military consultant who was an author of the institute's report. "What we were trying to get at there is we don't believe the current arsenal of the United States is persuasively deterrent to all comers." Many Bush administration officials have endorsed the notion of switching to smaller nuclear arms that could be used for, among other things, hitting chemical and biological weapons sites and targeting such figures as Osama bin Laden or Iraq's president, Saddam Hussein, who hide in deep underground bunkers. A report in June 2000 by Stephen Younger, who has been named to head the Threat Reduction Agency at the Defense Department, called for smaller nuclear weapons as part of a rethinking of the role of nuclear weapons. Though a shift in the arsenal would take years to implement, an early sign will be the Nuclear Posture Review under way in the Pentagon and due to Congress by year's end. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Richard Myers, in his confirmation hearing on Sept. 13, said that deterrence against weapons of mass destruction was "a critical component" of the review. He also pointed out that the military already had "a number of low-yield weapons in the current stockpile." Another author of the institute's report, William Van Cleave of Southwest Missouri State University, said the review would argue "that we need to regain some capability for some low-yield nuclear weapons." For the past decade or so, U.S. leaders have been deliberately ambiguous about using nuclear weapons to respond to a chemical and biological threat. One example was after Iraq invaded Kuwait. When Dick Cheney was defense secretary, he said in December 1990, "Were Saddam Hussein foolish enough to use weapons of mass destruction, the U.S. response would be absolutely overwhelming and it would be devastating." Administration officials said later that he was not implying a nuclear threat. Some arms control experts say they believe that the Bush administration's statements so far already go beyond past administrations' ambiguity. "That is an implied threat," said Daryl Kimball, the executive director of the Arms Control Association. "They've crossed the line or they're at the line by implying the possible use." Opponents said nuclear threats would encourage nuclear proliferation and worry friendly governments. Joseph Cirincione of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace said, "It would create its own crisis, fracture the alliance and have no military purpose." http://portal.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2001/10/07/ntalk07.x ml&sSheet=/news/2001/10/07/ixhome.html * 'I BELIEVE THE TERRORISTS WANTED A NUCLEAR ATTACK ON BAGHDAD' Sunday Telegraph, 7th October [.....] I think that terrorism is essentially a reactionary thing - it really has more to do with fighting back a world that is changing. The reason for much of terrorism in the world is that we are moving towards an open, liberal, cosmopolitan, tolerant, modern indeed middle-class world, and it terrifies certain people who have a hold on, and a power over, other people by virtue of things that are not tolerant, not liberal, not modern, not middle class. It isn't because they are intent on winning that terrorists resort to these things, it is because they are losing. [.....] I firmly believe that these terrorists wanted, indeed foresaw, a nuclear attack on Kabul or Baghdad or perhaps both. The reason they want that sort of thing is that it would help galvanise the people who they consider to be their potential allies but who are presently not their allies - millions and millions of people across the globe who are Muslim, but Muslim as I am Methodist. I consider myself a pretty religious person but I am not looking to create an absolutist Methodist state. [.....] PJ: No, it's not that long in time but it's that long in attitude. Anyway, you can say that all Muslims are against the kind of thing that these terrorists are trying to set up. They are hoping that if enough Muslims were attacked with enough viciousness that everyone will rally. Or so I believe. CJ: It occurs to me that in the Muslim countries, even if they are not theocracies, if there is an emergent middle class they will have difficulty articulating themselves as they come under pressure from the Right wing. PJ: Absolutely. I think that the worst fear after this terrorist attack was probably within Muslim states. I'm sure the government of Egypt is extremely upset, even the governing people in Sudan must be upset. Not because of the prospect of retribution but because of the prospect of this kind of thing striking them, where it really could bring them down. [.....] I was in the Gulf covering the Gulf war. I didn't understand at the time why it stopped when it stopped. CJ: You were there when the retreating Iraqi army was getting annihilated. PJ: I was. I didn't disagree with it. I didn't understand why we stopped when we stopped but I didn't disagree with it. I was up on the Basra Road about a day after the American aerial attack. It was a slaughter, just a slaughter, and I was sickened and ready for it to be over. I'd looked around up there and had encountered all these Iraqi soldiers who were begging for water - not food even - who were on the road trying to get back to Iraq, some of them in shock and indecisive as to the direction Iraq was. Some of them were actually headed back to Kuwait, which would not have been very good for them if the Kuwaitis had got hold of them. I watched the Kuwaitis, there were a lot of Palestinians in Kuwait and the Palestinians had tended to be acquiescent to the Iraqis if not actually somewhat in favour of the Iraqis. The Kuwaitis were taking people from their apartments, taking them off and I don't imagine that they came back. Yet I didn't understand the strategic logic of stopping it. If you have an enemy that was as bad as we said that Saddam Hussein was, why do you have a chance to destroy him and stop short? [.....] I am not known for my cultural sensitivity but I would like to stick something in to that and remind people that the most severe behaviour towards women in the Islamic world is not Islamic per se, it is almost all tribal customs. CJ: Like Somalia? PJ: Exactly - clitorectomy etc. There is nothing in the Koran about that. The Koran was relatively enlightened for its time, granting property rights to women and certain rights which were not much but probably a lot better than they had in the tribal pre-Islamic society. The Koran says that women and men were to dress modestly and leaves it at that. [.....] CJ: One of the things I get increasingly worried about is that the age of information is not the age of knowledge: that our children will know nothing unless they can find it on the internet at random. For example, a whole generation educated by our newspapers will grow up believing that America, powerful America, is fundamentally interventionist and it simply isn't true. Until after the Second World War there was no such thing as American interventionism. What there was was American isolationism, and that's what we're all scared of. The world was scared that the Americans would never come. PJ: To be fair, there was a certain amount of American interventionism - it was weak and intermittent. We did get into a pretty silly war with Spain and we did have colonial possession of the Philippines, although for the life of us we couldn't figure out what on earth to do with it. CJ: But it wasn't an intervention against European or Asian power was it? PJ: No, it wasn't intervention on a European scale and, yes, actually a very big problem has been the lack of American interventionism. We were real slow coming to your help in World War One. It was one of those things: "Well, is it over yet - is it safe to come over?" CJ: Decisive when America did, though. PJ: We had to be dragged kicking and biting into the Second World War even though that was a much more evident fight against evil than the First World War. The Second World War was a much more clear cut thing and yet we didn't exactly rush in to help. Then immediately after the Second World War we completely disarmed. We just said: "Well, we don't need an army, an air force, a navy, stuff like that", and then had to completely re-arm ourselves for Korea, which we very nearly lost. It took Churchill's speech in Missouri to alert us to what the... CJ: The Iron Curtain speech, yes. PJ: ...commies were up to. Overall, although American intervention has doubtless done its share of harm, probably more harm has been done to the world by lack of American intervention. [.....] * This is an edited extract of a conversation that took place between PJ O'Rourke and Clive James on September 27 at a Red Cross fundraising benefit arranged by PEN and The Guardian Hay Festival. IRAQ¹S FRIENDS AND NEIGHBOURS http://www.dawn.com/2001/09/30/int4.htm * ARAB STATES NOT TO BE TARGETED, ASSURES US Dawn (Pakistan), 30th September CAIRO, Sept 29 (AFP): Washington has given assurances that no Arab country will be targeted by its anti-terror coalition in response to the Sept 11 attacks, Egypt's Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher said in an interview published on Saturday. "The United States is concentrating on Osama bin Laden and does not expect to enlarge the confrontation. We have obtained assurances on this matter. (The US) does not foresee a strike against any country in the region," Maher told the government Al-Ahram daily from Washington. Maher was in the US capital for meetings earlier this week with officials, including Secretary of State Colin Powell. Asked whether Iraq was on Washington's hit list, Maher said that "American officials themselves said that there was no proof" to implicate Baghdad in the attacks on their country. He also reaffirmed that Cairo was prepared to assist the fight against terrorism but not participate in a US-led military campaign. Washington has lobbied Egypt to help build its world coalition against terror. "Every party contributes to the fight against terrorism in its own way, and we have a tremendous amount of information on terrorist elements that have been active in Egypt," he said, adding that the information "was helping the investigations" into the attacks on the United States. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has been reluctant to commit his country to the coalition being forged by US President George W. Bush fearing it could result in a backlash from Muslims who might see it as anti-Islamic or anti-Arab. Mubarak has also been trying for more than a decade to persuade the world community to organize an international conference on terrorism. http://www.miami.com/herald/content/opinion/opcol/digdocs/080336.htm * DANGEROUS ANTI-AMERICANISM NEXT DOOR by David Paulin Miami Herald, 4th October The rabid anti-Americanism that drove fanatical terrorists to attack the United States can be found a lot closer to home than the Middle East. In Venezuela, President Hugo Chávez has made anti-Americanism a cornerstone of his foreign policy since taking office in 1999, and he has of- fered a ``smile and wink'' to terrorists. Chávez, a left-leaning nationalist, has allied himself with Cuba's Fidel Castro, Iraq's Saddam Hussein and Libya's Moammar Gadhafi. These countries may end up having played a role in the Sept. 11 attacks. Some of Chávez's actions have been bizarre. Not long after taking office, he wrote a fawning letter of solidarity to Venezuelan-born terrorist ``Carlos the Jackal,'' now in a French prison. Chávez apparently identified with Carlos as a fellow ``revolutionary.'' Chávez also has alarmed neighboring Colombia with his sympathetic attitude for that nation's murderous Marxist narco-guerrillas, whose members admitted murdering in 1999 three U.S. citizens who had worked as activists for indigenous Colombians. Their bodies were dumped across the border in Venezuela. Chávez now is under increasing criticism at home for his chummy relationships with terrorist nations. Most Venezuelans do not support the anti-Americanism spewed by Chávez and other government officials. He would not be a problem if Venezuela were not sitting on the biggest oil reserves outside of the Middle East. This OPEC member is a top oil supplier to the United States. Its state oil company has billions of dollars of re- fineries in the United States, along with a network of Citgo stations. Chávez has promised a steady supply of oil in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks, and he has denounced terrorism. But he has yet to distance himself from his past conduct. There are methods to Chávez's madness. Believing that U.S. hegemony is bad for the world, he has sought to develop a military and economic alliance to balance that influence. He frequently lashes out against ``savage neo-liberalism'' and globalization. He has gleefully opposed the United States in the United Nations. A former paratrooper, Chávez, who led an aborted and disorganized coup attempt in 1992, regards himself as a ``revolutionary'' in the mold of 1960s-era Marxist guerrillas, some of whom now serve in his administration. He campaigned for office on an anti-establishment platform, promising to clean up corruption, eliminate ``savage capitalism'' and share the nation's oil wealth with the poor. His anti-American tirades became increasingly apparent as he consolidated his power, rewrote the constitution and even renamed the country Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, after South American independence hero Simón Bolívar. Even as oil prices have soared, filling Venezuela's coffers with billions of petrodollars, the country's economic fortunes have suffered. About 80 percent of 23 million Venezuelans remain impoverished, but Chávez has been spending inordinate time traveling abroad, undertaking trips to China, the Middle East, and Cuba. He plans to visit Argelia and several European countries on Oct. 8-24. Ostensibly, Chávez's travels have been to drum up business for Venezuela, but he has been just as eager to talk about his ``revolutionary'' views and the need for Third World solidarity against the United States. He has said that Venezuela would sail in the same ``sea of happiness'' as Cuba. In China, he declared himself a ``Maoist.'' Chávez recently ended a long-standing military agreement with the United States and is developing ties with China for military supplies. His anti-Americanism and fondness for terrorists regimes co-exists, incongruously, with his fondness for U.S. popular culture and desire for U.S. investment and respect. The Clinton and Bush administrations have played along with Chávez, believing that it has been better not to make waves because of Venezuela's importance as an oil supplier. What makes Chávez tick? My theory is that Venezuela suffers from some of the same cultural ``complexes'' found in Middle East countries that ought to be doing better. These complexes are based less on U.S. policies than on resentment over U.S. culture and success. As one Venezuelan sociologist once told me: ``Venezuelans have an inferiority complex, like the guy who should have made it, but didn't. They think they are the best in the world, although they can't explain why their government is so corrupt and inept; it's always somebody else's fault, not their own.'' The United States has not publicly accused Chávez of directly harboring terrorists. However, observers suspect that he took an active role in hiding disgraced ex-Peruvian spymaster Vladimiro Montesinos, who stands accused of gun running, bribery and murder in his own country, where he now is imprisoned. Venezuelan authorities picked up Montesinos earlier this year, just when Peruvian agents, with the help of U.S. intelligence, were ready to do the job. It's thought that Chávez owed Montesinos many political favors. Bush has said that the United States will not distinguish between terrorists and nations that protect them. Given Chávez's antics, and his sympathy for terrorists and their governments, the Bush administration ought to find a better way of dealing with Chávez -- just as soon as the United States and its allies are no longer embroiled in the Middle East. David Paulin, a journalist, was based in Venezuela during the years that Chávez rose to power. http://atimes.com/c-asia/CJ05Ag04.html * ISLAMABAD PLAYS ITS WILD CARD by Syed Saleem Shahzad Asia Times, 5th October KARACHI - Behind the scenes horse trading continues apace over the composition of a post-Taliban administration in Afghanistan, with Pakistan expressing its strong objections to the United States to any government formed by a belligerent former monarch or by a volatile, fractious Northern Alliance. The US is believed to favor a government headed by former king Zahir Shah, with support from the various groups within the Northern Alliance, which is fighting in Afghanistan to oust the Taliban, and which favors India rather than Pakistan. Initially, Pakistan wanted to cultivate the less radical leadership within the Taliban to replace the hardline hierarchy of Mullah Omar. However, after receiving signals from the US that it would not accept any form of Taliban government, with or without Mullah Omar, the decision-makers within the Pakistani military regime began to scout around for someone with whom they had long-standing connections and who would also be acceptable to the majority of the Afghan factions, as well as to the US. And they have come up with Syed Ahmed Gialani of the National Islamic Front of Afghanistan, one of the groups within the now defunct seven-member Islamic alliance that fought against invading Soviet forces for 10 years until they left the country in 1989. Gialani remained on the scene in Afghanistan until the emergence of the Taliban in the mid-1990s. Former Pakistan president Sardar Farooq Ahmed Leghari has played a key role in identifying Gialani, convincing President General Pervez Musharraf that there is no better compromise choice as prime minister of a new Afghanistan. Leghari's mother was related through marriage to Gialani. Gialani would appear to be a good candidate. He comes from the spiritual Syed family, which migrated from Baghdad in Iraq three generation ago and in a short time gathered a huge following of disciples across Afghanistan. He is considered a relative liberal, and importantly, he could head off the former king's challenge without too much acrimony. Gialani's family has been close to Zahir Shah's family for generations. Gialani's father, who was popularly known as Sher Agha (Agha is the supreme title of the Syed family in Afghanistan) was a confidante and trouble-shooter for the king during tribal wars during his reign, which ended in 1973. The king knew that Sher Agha could reconcile warring factions because many of them were his spiritual disciples. As a result, there is a strong chance that with these bonds, the former king will gather his support around Gialani. The Pakistan government prefers Gialani even though he was at odds with the groups who were supported by its Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) during the Afghan war against the Soviets. This is because of Zahir Shah's stance on the issue of a separate Pashtun state. The majority of the Afghan population is ethnic Pashtun, while the restive tribal areas on Pakistan's border with Afghanistan are also mostly Pashtun. The former monarch promoted the concept of a separate state at the behest of the Soviet Union and India, with whom Afghanistan, under the king, had very strong trade ties. Pakistan is bitterly opposed to a Pashtun state. Gialani, meanwhile, has maintained good connections with successive Pakistani governments, even though he has not been given as much importance as leaders of other groups by the ISI. This is because he has had only a small number of fighters in Afghanistan, and because the ISI resents his family ties with Zahir Shah. Gialani has already met with many senior army officials in Islamabad. According to sources, another important person from the Afghan resistance movement during the Russian invasion, commander Abdul Haq, is also in the capital for talks with officials. Similarly, Nabi Mohammedi of the Harkatul Inqalab-i-Islami, another member of former Islamic alliance, is meeting with top army officials. Sources say that the Taliban ambassador to Pakistan, Mullah Abdus Salam Zaeef, has gone to Kandahar with a message from Islamic scholars for Mullah Omar in which they agree that the Taliban should send a high-level delegation to Islamabad to participate in talks on the future set-up for Afghanistan. If such a delegation arrives in Islamabad on Friday, it will be on the same day that British Prime Minister Tony Blair pays a four-hour visit. http://www.economictimes.com/today/05edit07.htm * SERVILITY DOES NOT PAY IN THE WAR AGAINST TERRORISM by Narendar Pani Economic Times (India), 5th October THE terrorist attack on the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly has been received in the country with a terrible sense of deja vu. We have seen each element of this brutality before. The blood-soaked bodies, the screams of the injured, the statements of outrage over the attack and the widespread belief that nothing much will be done about it. And yet this incident has at least one element that makes it different from earlier attacks on Kashmiri civilians. This suicide bombing took place after September 11. Having built international outrage against terrorism, the United States cannot now simply look the other way. The American and British leadership have been forced by circumstances to condemn the attacks in rather more forceful terms than they have in the past. Within Pakistan too the costs of supporting terrorism could begin to rise. Soon after the attack on America, Pakistan stepped up its rhetoric against terrorism even as it sustained support for terrorist strikes on the ground. It hoped, no doubt, to show the world that terrorist activities in Kashmir were entirely home-grown and had no more than moral support from Pakistan. But terrorist groups are evidently not as disciplined as General Musharraf would like. The Jaish-e-Mohammed not only carried out the attack on the Kashmir legislature but also claimed credit for it. And this group¹s links with Pakistan are no secret in major Western capitals. India has been quick to seize this opportunity to place this evidence in front of the heightened global consciousness against terrorism. Mr. Jaswant Singh has presented the attack on the Kashmir legislature as evidence in support of President Bush¹s argument that democracy is the real target of the terrorists. But in doing so India has managed to give an impression that it accepts American leadership. The prime minister chose to write to President Bush alone rather than all major world leaders. The entire response has, in fact, been interpreted in sections of the American media as a plea to the United States to intervene in Kashmir. It is difficult to see how this near-servile acceptance of American leadership suits India¹s interests. In the short run it obviously doesn¹t. The United States has already made it clear that in its battle against Osama bin Laden and the Taliban, Pakistan is the important front line Islamic state. And having presented bin Laden to the American people as the most feared terrorist leader in the world, there is no chance of this focus shifting in the immediate future. India is, no doubt, hoping for greater support in the long term. The government has found comfort in the statements of America¹s leaders that the war against terrorism goes beyond bin Laden and could include the terrorists in Kashmir. This has been interpreted to mean the US will shift its focus to terrorists in Kashmir once the bin Laden nuisance is taken care of. But this interpretation completely ignores the nature of the problem the United States faces in fighting terrorism. Terrorism is essentially a global activity. It cuts across not just borders between neighbours, as in Kashmir, but distant borders as well, as in the attack on the World Trade Centre. It is financed by a global network of crime and supporters of extremist views. And its impact, as we now know, can also be global. The world¹s political system, on the other hand, remains in the control of national governments. The United States thus finds it necessary to identify national governments with the global practice of terrorism. The defence of bin Laden has made the Taliban government in Afghanistan the current target. But after the current battle other targets will have to be found in the war against terrorism. In choosing these alternative targets the United States is bound to be governed by its national interests and the sentiment at home. The pent-up American hatred of Saddam Hussein will probably see Iraq becoming the next target. This in turn will be followed by other enemies of America. For India to expect Pakistan to be put on this list is clearly wishful thinking. Pakistan is not just an old American ally, but is also strategically placed. The US appears unlikely to make the Soviet mistake of installing a puppet regime in Kabul. Iran too is hardly an American friend. Pakistan then becomes critically important to US interests in the region. Rather than merely waiting for American patronage, India needs to put together an alternative alliance that shares its priorities in the fight against terrorism. Countries that directly face the threat of terrorist attacks are obvious candidates for such a loose alliance. The list could include Russia, Sri Lanka and possibly even Israel. But the government is unlikely to even recognise these options until it recovers from its recent severe attack of servility to the United States. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email email@example.com CASI's website - www.casi.org.uk - includes an archive of all postings.