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Supplement, 7-13/10/01

Supplement, 7-13/10/01

Any responses as usual to

It is difficult to find words to express how deeply shameful the attack on Afghanistan has been. 
Afghanistan, as everyone knows, is in the grip of a famine which threatens millions of lives. The 
aid agencies had about two months left before the winter sets in and much of the country becomes 
inaccessible. September was lost because of doubts as to what the intentions of the Œcoalitionı 
(sic) were. No sooner was the aid moving again than the bombing began. On the clear understanding 
that it was unlikely to Œsucceedı (ie get O bin Laden) before the Summer.

It would have been better (if public opinion in the US has to be assuaged) to have done the 
spectacular bombing straightaway, Clinton style, to get it over with; then announce a pause until 
the Spring (when the conditions for military action are much better anyway) to let the aid in. To 
have renounced the bombing altogether to concentrate on aid would have done wonders in turning 
Muslim opinion against ObL. But to try to combine bombing and aid is a joke in poor taste. Enough 
to satisfy the empty headed public opinion of the Œfreeı world (where, we are assured, we are all 
independent-minded individuals, the summit of the world historical process); but there surely isnıt 
a single soul among the so-called backward peoples of the world so stupid as to be taken in by it.

Mr Bush and Mr Blair have, knowingly and deliberately, engaged in a policy which will kill (by a 
conservative estimate) hundreds of thousands of people by starvation and disease. They have thereby 
outdone - and by a very large margin - the evil that has been attributed to Osama bin Laden. And 
no-one need ever again express surprise that German public opinion in 1942-5 tolerated the 
holocaust. The phenomenon is there, here and now, plainly laid out before our eyes.

*  Alliance rivals Alliesı efforts in World War Two [Short extract. Interesting little item I 
hadnıt noticed elsewhere: that in the midst of all the noise about the war against terrorism, 
sanctions - UN sanctions at that - have been lifted off the Sudan]
*  Focus-For Taliban, donıt read Saddam [Comparison between problems posed by war on Afghanistan 
and war on Iraq]
*  Al Jazeera, the pride of Qatar
*  [Jim] McDermott [Seattle] first U.S. lawmaker to criticize attack
*  The new war between Georgia and Abkhazia has started [Nothing to do with Iraq, or even, 
directly, with Afghanistan, but it may be an interesting application of the Joe Moore principle 
that the Georgian/Abkhaz war has been reactivated]
*  American Œimperialismı condemned by Tehran
*  Bush and Blair have already lost the talking war across the Middle East [by Robert Fisk]
*  Protests may force US to turn to ground troops [Extract. Britain too, it appears, is acting in 
self defence because it too has been attacked by Afghanistan. It must be true. Its official]
*  Without the UN, we can never have a just end to the Afghan nightmare [by Charles Kennedy. 
Despite the moderate tone - which amounts to an endorsement of mass murder - the argument is 
important, turning on the need to transfer sovereignty over the world from the US to the UN. Though 
Kennedy doesnıt realise that this canıt be done without rewriting the UN Charter and dismantling 
the pernicious Security Council system]
*  Wars & coalitions: lessons from the Gulf war [Extract. After a rather dreary start about 
Washingtonıs problems in putting its Œcoalitionı (sic) together, the article makes a couple of 
rather sharp criticisms of the British document on Osama bin Laden]
*  Recent Military Mistakes [A chronology of embarrassing incidents]


*  Alliance rivals Alliesı efforts in World War Two
by Jan Cienski
National Post (Canada), 8th October


Sudan, the target of U.S. cruise missile strikes following the terrorist bombing of the U.S. 
embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 and once bin Ladenıs home, has condemned the Sept. 11 
attacks and has been rewarded. United Nations sanctions, imposed after Sudan failed to turn over 
suspects in an attempted assassination of Egyptıs President, have been lifted. U.S. legislation 
that would have penalized companies doing business with the government in Khartoum has been dropped.


*  Focus-For Taliban, donıt read Saddam
Reuters, 8th October

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - On the face of it, Afghanistanıs ruling Taliban could take comfort from the 
fate of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

Saddam ‹ the leader of the last Muslim country to fight the United States ‹ is entrenched in power 
10 years on, defying the many Western predictions of his imminent demise.

He has weathered the Gulf War defeat, a decade of U.N. sanctions, the imposition of no-fly zones 
and rebellions by Kurds and Shiıite Muslims.

Hit by U.S. and British military strikes to force it to surrender Islamic militant Osama bin Laden, 
the Taliban is now feeling the same kind of heat that Saddam has often taken.

But U.S. analysts say the Iraqi dictator is in a league of his own when it comes to survival.

³Itıs much more difficult to topple Saddam than to topple the Taliban. Saddam has a much more 
significant military capability,² said Geoffrey Kemp, Middle East expert at the Nixon Center in 

A highly developed security apparatus, including large conventional armed forces, has allowed the 
Iraqi leader to keep the lid on internal dissent.

Although Afghanistan is a notorious graveyard for foreign invaders, the Taliban lack the 
infrastructure of repression available to Iraqıs ruling Baath Party should Afghans try to rise up 
against their rulers with U.S. help, analysts say.

Support for Northern Alliance rebels and ex-king Zahir Shah appear to be part of a concerted U.S. 
effort not only to hit the Taliban but to unseat it completely.

³The U.S. is more serious about the objective of changing the whole structure of government (in 
Afghanistan) than in Iraq,² said Shibley Telhami from the Brookings Institution.

Prime Minister Tony Blair was confident enough of a possible ouster that he publicly warned the 
Taliban last week they could soon lose their five-year-old grip on power.

For all that they would love to see their Iraqi nemesis fall, removing Saddam from office has never 
been the main focus of the Western alliesı approach to Iraq, analysts say.

³The cornerstone of U.S. policy is containment, making sure Iraq doesnıt threaten its neighbors and 
develop weapons of mass destruction,² Telhami said.

Washington has given financial and political support to the fractious Iraqi opposition but has 
never put much faith in its ability to seize power.

³The strategy is to keep the regime off balance and hope you might get lucky,² Telhami said.

The West lost much of its ability for covert activity in Iraq in 1996 when Saddam sent troops into 
the Kurdish-held north of the country for the first time in five years, destroying a CIA-sponsored 
opposition network.

Fears that Iraq could implode without a strong central government haunt its neighbors, presenting 
another barrier to any U.S. overthrow of Saddam.

Analysts say U.S. friends Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Jordan would be among the losers in a scenario 
of oil-rich Iraq ³Balkanizing² into Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish fiefdoms.

³Their greatest nightmare is that chaos in Iraq might spill over their borders,² said Kemp. ³In the 
case of Afghanistan, I donıt think anyoneıs going to weep if the Taliban were overthrown except a 
few people in Pakistan,² he said.

The Iraqi people, not Saddam, have borne the brunt of the U.N. sanctions, although Baghdadıs 
capability to wage war has suffered.

³Sanctions have worked in the sense that (Iraq) has not been able to acquire military equipment and 
spare parts,² said Judith Kipper of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

While it is still far from clear how the Afghan conflict will play out, analysts say there may be 
lessons to be learned from the aftermath of the Gulf War.

The Iraqi opposition is bitter that the United States never followed through after defeating Saddam 
on the battlefield.

³There was no political plan for what to do afterward to build civil institutions and get democracy 
going. We just left it to chance,² said Francis Brooke, a U.S. adviser to the Iraqi National 
Congress opposition umbrella group.

³Iım hoping weıll do it differently this time.²

*  Al Jazeera, the pride of Qatar
Times of India, 8th October

NEW DELHI: When Osama Bin Laden, the worldıs most wanted man, has something to say, he goes to Al 
Jazeera. When Taliban want to denounce allied attacks on their country, they go to Al Jazeera. And 
Al Jazeera, a Qatari satellite TV channel, is happy to oblige. In fact, so much that the US 
authorities have started questioning the liberal credentials of the channel.

But everyoneıs watching Al Jazeera, established now as one of the first sources of news from and on 
Bin Laden and the Taliban.

The US, meanwhile, is keeping a close eye on it.

The channelıs surprisingly close links with Bin Laden and the Taliban have seen the US add it to 
its long list of detractors since the September 11 attacks. The channel is being accused of 
reporting in favour of the Taliban, a charge it denies.

It was not always so. The channel was till recently well-received in the US. After all, it has been 
satiating Americansı ‹ and the worldıs ‹ hunger for information about a man as elusive as he is 

On Sunday, Al Jazeera broadcast a recorded video message from Osama Bin Laden. An ominous message, 
really, promising that the United States ³will never again know security before Palestine knows it².

And this was not a first.

Video footage released a day earlier showed Bin Laden and lieutenant Ayman al-Zawahiri with 
followers celebrating, presumably after the September 11 attacks. Earlier, its offices received a 
fax purportedly from Bin Laden, denouncing US President George W Bush.

Al Jazeera also interviewed Bin Laden at least thrice ‹ 1997, 1998, and in January this year ‹ and 
had exclusive footage of the wedding of his son Mohamed at Kandahar.

The tapes are now under the scrutiny of the US authorities. Much is being read into the timing of 
the release of the latest tapes, especially since Bin Laden, it is said, allows himself to be 
filmed only when he has a message to convey.

Al Jazeera, however, has a long, liberal background. The CNN of the Arab world, as it is popularly 
known, has beamed freedom into Arab homes since it began broadcasting in November 1996, touching 
taboo topics like womenıs rights, relations with Israel, sex, fundamentalism and religion, and 

Breaking every rule, it aired interviews and debates with controversial figures ‹ Israeli leaders, 
Hamas leader Musa Abu Marzuk, and shadowy folk like Robert Hatem, alias Cobra, the former bodyguard 
of Eli Hobreika, leader of the Lebanese Phalange militia responsible for the massacre at Sabra and 

The channel began as a pet project of Qatarıs liberal Emir, Shiekh Hamad bin-Khalifa al-Thani. Its 
lively programmes like The Opposite Direction, Without Borders and The Other Opinion, have forever 
changed the way TV will be viewed in the region. For the first time in a conservative land, it 
criticised governments and refused to edit contrary views.

No wonder then, it is the pride of Qatar. The ruling family put up $150 million as a five-year 
³loan² to set up the channel on the condition that Al Jazeera became financially independent by 
April 2001, which incidentally it has not. The channel, however, has invested heavily in 
state-of-the-art equipment, new infrastructure and commercial studios. It has bureaus in all 
important centres of international news, can be seen almost throughout the world and has plans to 

Though viewers have embraced the channel with the fervour of a people hitherto denied free 
information, it has long been a thorn in the flesh of Qatarıs neighbours, including Saudi Arabia, 
Egypt, Lebanon, Algeria, Bahrain and Jordan.

The marked exception has been the Taliban. And Al Jazeera is using it to its advantage.

*  McDermott first U.S. lawmaker to criticize attack
by Kevin Galvin and John Hendren
Seattle Times, 9th October

WASHINGTON ‹ Breaking bipartisan solidarity on Capitol Hill, Rep. Jim McDermott yesterday 
criticized the U.S.-led attacks on military targets in Afghanistan, questioning whether President 
Bush had ³thought this action out completely or fully examined Americaıs cause.²

The Seattle Democrat issued a two-paragraph statement that suggested Bush and his military advisers 
reacted too quickly to the Sept. 11 suicide jet attacks against the Pentagon and World Trade 
Center. The statement was the first public criticism of the retaliatory strikes by a federal 

As U.S. and British jets dropped bombs on anti-aircraft batteries, airports and other targets 
controlled by the ruling Taliban government for a second day, the seven-term Democrat drew a 
parallel with the 1991 bombardment of Iraq.

³The destruction of the infrastructure did not work in Iraq a decade ago,² McDermott said in the 
statement. ³This sounds an awful lot like Iraq. Saddam Hussein is still in power! It is Iraqıs 
citizenry, not Saddam, which continues to suffer the consequences of those air and missile strikes 
during the Gulf War and the sanctions we subsequently imposed against that nation.²

White House officials did not return calls seeking comment. The rest of the stateıs congressional 
delegation expressed support for the bombings.

Criticism of a military action during a time of heightened nationalism might come back to haunt 
most politicians, but McDermott, an outspoken liberal whose district is primarily in the city of 
Seattle, has one of the safest seats in Congress.

He was overwhelmingly reelected without GOP opposition in 2000. As an indication of how liberal the 
district is, the Green Party candidate got nearly 20 percent of the vote.

This weekıs airstrikes drew public support perhaps not seen since World War II for an American 
military action.

An ABC News-Washington Post poll said 94 percent of Americans supported the strikes against Taliban 
targets in Afghanistan. The poll of 506 randomly selected adults, interviewed by telephone Sunday 
night, had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

In an interview yesterday, the congressman said he had not received significant public feedback 
during the Columbus Day holiday and did not consider the public reaction before taking his stand.

³I simply raise the question of whether this is the thing to do,² McDermott said.

³To simply say that whatever the president wants to do is right is not to use your own critical 
faculties. And the people of the 7th District elected me to represent them and to think on their 
behalf on the basis of what I know.²

McDermott, who voted against authorizing then-President Bush to use force in the Persian Gulf War a 
decade ago, last month voted in favor of authorizing the younger Bush to respond to attacks that 
left nearly 6,000 dead. The only member of Congress to oppose the measure was Rep. Barbara Lee, 

³Heıs a hypocrite,² said Chris Vance, Washington state Republican Party chairman. ³I can understand 
the left standing up against past military actions in Vietnam and Panama and even the Gulf.

³But here, the president is striking back against people who physically attacked America, and even 
then Jim McDermott doesnıt want to use military force.²

McDermott was interviewed on KIRO radio yesterday afternoon, prompting what host Dori Monson said 
was the most immediate negative response heıd experienced on his show.

Monson said sentiment was running 20-1 against the statement. But he noted that several callers who 
voted for McDermott said they were supporting the congressman.

Hollis Giammatteo, a strong McDermott supporter, said the remarks were exactly what she would 
expect from the congressman.

³Iım relieved that thereıs a dissenting voice among the citizenry right now,² she said. ³Patriotism 
becomes dangerous when it doesnıt allow all points of view.² The bombing, said Tim McBeth, who 
tends to vote Democratic, ³is something we need to do. But this country is built on free speech. If 
McDermott wants to say those things, he should be able to.²

McDermott said that he and many other members of Congress considered voting with Lee last month but 
wanted to support the president and give him a free hand to act.

³In this case, I couldnıt bring myself to vote no. He has to have the power to do something, and at 
that time it wasnıt clear what was going on,² McDermott said. At the time, he said Bush should act 
slowly and thoughtfully.

Yesterday, McDermott criticized the speed with which the president acted and his decision to notify 
only a handful of congressional leaders.

³I miss the point of needing to strike now. He has not made that clear to anybody, either in his 
public statements or anything Iıve heard in the Congress,² he said.

In his written statement, McDermott took issue with what he perceived as a lack of planning.

³I am not so sure that we have fully developed a comprehensive strategic plan. It has been less 
than a month since the terrorist attacks against our country. A scant four weeks to plan and 
implement an operation like this doesnıt seem like a very long time to me.²

McDermott did not address the differences between the extensive air-defense system and the large 
number of troops that defended Iraq during the Gulf War and the Talibanıs limited military 

He cautioned against celebrating too soon any measure of success from the air campaign.

³It smacks of certain arrogance we can ill afford at this crucial juncture in our nationıs 
history,² his statement said. ³Iım not so sure President Bush, members of his administration or the 
military have thought this action out completely or fully examined Americaıs cause.²

Pravda, 9th October

Events in the unrecognized republic of Abkhazia are developing very fast. Guerilla movements, 
raids, skirmishes: everything has sudently turned a real war. Georgian aviation has supported the 
nationalists and Chechen gunmen, who have penetrated Chechnya from the territory of Georgia.

Lately, there has not been much attention paid to events that have been occuring in that region of 
the Caucasus. Possibly, it was because of the events going on in the U.S.A. and Afghanistan; the 
events in the republic of Abkhazia surely paled in comparison. There have been several settlements 
seized and civilians shot ­ ainıt no big deal. Georgiaıs obvious participation in the recent events 
came into the background. The guerrillas made their way from the Pankissky gorge (they are not 
officially registered there) to the Black Sea. The fact that the gunmen shot down a U.N. helicopter 
in Abkhaziaıs air space was going to be perceived as ³a regular incident.² However, there can not 
be any doubts now: the new war between Georgia and Abkhazia has started this morning.

Georgia launched missiles on several targets in the Gulripshsky district of the republic, which had 
already become the battle place of a struggle with terrorists. Abkhaziaıs officials stated that 
Georgian battleplanes made an air raid with the only one goal ­ to render help to bandit groups.

Chechen guerrillas and the local nationalists, who joined them, seized several settlements 
including the village of Machara, which is situated 6 kilometers far from the city of Sukhumi (the 
capital). There is not much distance to cover to reach the capital of the unrecognized republic.

When the night fell on Monday, the guerrillas moved closer to the Armenian village of Naa, the 
Gulripshsky district. Having rushed into the village, they shot 14 civilians. Abkhaziaıs troops 
ousted the gunmen, but the skirmish with the bandits continued for almost 24 hours.

A mobilization has been announced in Abkhazia; the country is getting ready to repulse the attack. 
The goal of the gunmen is known: to punish Abkhazia for betrayal and cooperation with Russia. 
Georgia pretends that nothing is happening. Georgian President Shevardnadze believes that there is 
nothing going on the Georgian‹Abkhazian border.

The concentration of the gunmen on the Georgian territory was registered about 2 months ago, by 
both the Abkhazian and Russian militaries. The guerrillası activity makes us assume they have good 
communication and supply channels, taking account of the fact there are no other countries around 
with the exception for Georgia.,3604,565721,00.html

*  American Œimperialismı condemned by Tehran
by Jonathan Steele
The Guardian, 9th October

Iranıs supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, condemned the American air strikes on Afghanistan 
yesterday even as Iranian diplomats sat down in Geneva with their US counterparts to discuss 
options for the country if the Taliban regime falls.

The apparently contradictory moves underlined Iranıs complex posture of opposing the Taliban and 
wanting a say in the future of the country with which it shares a 500-mile border, while not giving 
a green light to American action against a Muslim country.

³We condemn the attack on the country and the people of Afghanistan,² state television showed the 
ayatollah telling clerics at the prayer hall at his residence in central Tehran yesterday. ³Death 
to America, death to Israel,² the congregation chanted.

³How is this oppression justified? How can you allow innocent civilians to be killed or injured and 
many more to be forced to leave their homes to take refuge in the wilderness, starving without 
food?² Mr Khamenei asked, adding that Washingtonıs aim was not to combat terrorism.

³Terrorism is only an excuse,² he said. ³Why donıt they announce their real intention - their 
motivation for grabbing more power, for imperialism? Since when has it become the norm to send 
troops to another country and to hit its cities with missiles and aerial bombardment because of 
so-called terrorism in that country?²

As supreme leader the ayatollah commands the armed forces and has the final word on matters of 
state policy.

Earlier Kamal Kharrazi, the foreign minister, called the US action unacceptable. He said: ³There 
are serious doubts about its real purpose. It will harm civilians. Is this the way to go to fight 
terrorism? We are concerned that such an operation will not eliminate extremism, but on the 
contrary extremist ways of thinking and the extremist movement will expand.²

Iran expressed suspicions about US intentions last week, saying Washington might be trying to 
establish a permanent military base in central Asia.

The Iranians have long supported ground operations by the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance, to whom 
they give arms supplies, and Dr Kharraziıs condemnation of the US attacks seemed aimed mainly at 
the use of air power.

Iran takes an active role in several UN-sponsored forums for trying to end Afghanistanıs civil war 
and finding a broad-based government to replace the Taliban. Diplomats from Germany, Iran, Italy, 
and the United States met yesterday in what is called the ³Geneva initiative² at the invitation of 
Francesc Vendrell, the UN secretary generalıs personal envoy for Afghanistan.

Iran sent 30,000 troops to its border with Afghanistan two weeks ago to try to prevent an influx of 
refugees. It is also continuing its policy of deporting refugees who come across. But it turns a 
blind eye to the small group of Afghan anti-Taliban mojahedin who move in and out from the 
south-eastern Iranian city of Zahedan to Afghanistanıs Nimruz province.

The official news agency, Irna, reported on Sunday that clashes had erupted between the Taliban 
militia and the people in the nearby Afghan border city of Zaranj in the wake of the US strikes.

*  Bush and Blair have already lost the talking war across the Middle East
by Robert Fisk
Independent, 10th October 2001

Messrs Bush and Blair may tell the world they are going to win the "war against terrorism" but in 
the Middle East, where Osama bin Laden is acquiring almost mythic status among Arabs, they have 
already lost.

Whether it be a Lebanese minister, a Saudi journalist, a Jordanian bank clerk or an Egyptian 
resident, the response is always the same: Mr bin Laden's voice, repeatedly beamed into millions of 
homes, articulates the demands and grievances ­ and fury ­ of Middle East Muslims who have seen 
their pro-Western presidents and kings and princes wriggling out of any serious criticism of the 
Anglo-American bombardment of Afghanistan.

Viewing Mr bin Laden's latest video tape, Western nations concentrated (if they listened at all) on 
his remarks about the atrocities in the United States. If he expressed his approval, though denied 
any personal responsibility, didn't this mean that he was really behind the mass slaughter of 11 

Arabs listened with different ears. They heard a voice which accused the West of double standards 
and "arrogance'' towards the Middle East, a voice which addressed the central issue in the lives of 
so many Arabs: the Palestinian- Israeli conflict and the continuation of Israeli occupation.

Now, as a long-time resident of Cairo put it yesterday, Arabs believe America "is trying to kill 
the one man ready to tell the truth''.

Arab civilians, usually uneasy about identifying themselves when their views conflict with their 
government, are now speaking more freely about their anger. "They say their target is bin Laden,'' 
Samar al-Naji said in Jordan. "Then they strike at innocent people in Afghanistan who have nothing 
to do with terrorism. "They strike Muslims while ignoring the acts of Israel, the terrorist state 
which is demolishing Palestinian homes and killing women and children.'' Mr al-Naji is only a bank 
clerk, at 29 hardly a seasoned politician.

At the Ain Shams University in Cairo, prayers were performed for the dead of Afghanistan and in the 
Nile delta town of Zagazig, students went to the heart of the problem in all pro-Western Arab 
regimes. "Our rulers, why are you silent?'' they chanted. "Have you got orders from America?'' This 
is rubbish, of course. Rulers of what we like to call "moderate" Arab states don't need orders to 
give their discreet support to the West. And Mr bin Laden is, after all, calling for their own 

Only in the freer Arab countries could ministers speak their minds. The Lebanese information 
minister, Ghazi Aridi, regards Mr bin Laden's video tape as "a stroke of intelligence''. There was, 
he said, "an international incitement against one person. If he is killed, he will become a symbol 
and if he survives he will become a stronger symbol.''

In the Gulf, feelings are very fragile. "Look, I know old women who are staying up late at night to 
say prayers for Mr bin Laden,'' a Saudi journalist says. "His appearance on television was very 
good public relations for him, especially when he talked about Palestine. In public, people don't 
praise him; there has been no comment in the mosques. But in private, they are all talking about 

A Saudi editor, Jamal Kashoggi, insisted that many Saudis were far more critical of Mr bin Laden ­ 
believing that he is defaming Islam ­ and ready to see a less pessimistic outcome in Afghanistan. 
"Kandahar contains supporters of the monarchy as well as the Taliban,'' he said. "Afghans who were 
disappointed by the anti-Russian mujahedin and turned to the Taliban are now disappointed with the 
Taliban and may accept a royalist comeback.'' But this, a view that would most certainly coincide 
with Saudi Arabia's own royal family, may be a minority one.

In countries which have been afflicted by a "terrorism'' far greater in suffering and death than 
the crimes against humanity in New York and Washington, the very language used by President Bush 
has been a cause for great anger.

"I'm sick of hearing about terrorism, terrorism, terrorism,'' a prominent Lebanese construction 
manager shouted at me. "When you have enemies, they are 'terrorists' or 'madmen' or 'evildoers'. 
When we have enemies, we are asked to compromise with them. You have bin Laden. We have Sharon ­ 
who is your friend and whose hand Mr Bush shakes".

Many Lebanese believe that Israel's Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, should be indicted as a war 
criminal for his role in the Sabra and Chatila Palestinian camps massacre of 1982, in which up to 
1,800 civilians ­ almost half the number of victims slaughtered in America on 11 September ­ were 
killed in three days by Israel's Christian militia allies while Israel's army watched from the camp 

*  Protests may force US to turn to ground troops
by Rupert Cornwell, in Washington and Kim Sengupta
Independent, 10th October 2001


The British government sent a similar letter to the Security Council, justifying the military 
action as self-defence.

British forces were operational "against targets we know to be involved in the operation of terror 
against the United States, the United Kingdom and other countries around the world, as part of a 
wider international effort," said the letter written by Stewart Eldon, the UK charge d'affaires to 
the UN.


*  Without the UN, we can never have a just end to the Afghan nightmare
The Times, 13th October

So, we now know that the military action in Afghanistan wonıt end soon; probably not before the 
summer, according to Admiral Sir Michael Boyce, the Chief of the Defence Staff. But then what?

While most governments united in horror at the events of September 11, they are already divided 
about the next step. Clearly, faced as we are with the menace of terrorism ‹ which endangers all 
nations and all governments ‹ our protection lies in a genuine global consensus. So, although the 
United States and Britain have assembled this ³coalition² to deal with bin Laden, it is also why I 
have called, in the House of Commons, for a greater involvement of the United Nations.

Only the UN can truly represent the world. It may be an imperfect body. But itıs all we've got. 
Under its auspices nations can unite. The dangers of this being seen as a true ³war² of the West 
against Islam, or of the rich against the poor, are apparent.

We must build a better Afghanistan. If the Taleban are ousted, I would argue strongly that a 
broad-based Afghan administration would be the best solution. But the history of civil war in 
Afghanistan since the Soviet occupation suggests further international involvement may be 
necessary. Iıve suggested in Parliament that we may need a form of UN protectorate. And itıs 
encouraging that Jack Straw, as Foreign Secretary, has signalled a shift towards a pivotal role for 
the UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan. The UN should be included from the start.

But first, we must deal with the refugee crisis. Dropping food parcels from 15,000ft is little more 
than propaganda. Unlike smart bombs, pallets of food cannot be laser-guided. Our priority must be 
to get supplies flowing on the ground. Once again, action through the UN is the best way.

When our national security is threatened, it is vital that we draw together. That is why the 
Liberal Democrats offer the Government our support; but it doesnıt mean that we suspend our 
judgment for the duration. The role of an effective opposition is to make sure that the Government 
is held to account. Thatıs parliamentary patriotism.

>From my conversations with the Prime Minister and members of his Cabinet, I can see how much 
>reflection is going into some agonising decisions. I know that great care is being taken to ensure 
>that this military action is a proportionate and focused response, minimising civilian casualties.

In the House of Commons, in the three emergency sessions since September 11, Iıve been struck by 
the absence of bellicose talk; with very few exceptions, MPs have accepted the cross-party 
agreement about bin Laden and what he represents. So we have acted in a way that is contrary to 
everything that he represents ‹ weıve responded with sanity and humanity.

That ³sanity² has been clear in the measured internationalist approach. I have been particularly 
encouraged by the changed demeanour of the Bush Administration. Its instinctive isolationism has 
necessarily been challenged ‹ and a good thing too. If the events of the past three weeks have also 
shifted opinion on Capitol Hill towards the merits of the United Nations, so much the better. I 
would urge the Administration to go further, and reconsider its attitude to the International 
Criminal Court.

Now the bombing has started, we must keep a watchful eye on the stated aims of this action. It will 
be hard to locate bin Laden, though he must answer for his crimes. Certainly his network of terror 
must be crippled. But already we hear siren voices urging a widening of the military operation to 
include Iraq. As yet, Iıve been shown no evidence linking Iraq to September 11; and the current 
coalition could not withstand an attack on Baghdad.

In all this we must also not lose sight of the human cost. The humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan 
began long before bin Ladenıs terrorists attacked the United States. Millions of Afghan people were 
already in desperate need after years of civil war and drought. Unicef, the UN Childrenıs Fund, has 
testified to the scale of the problem. Women, in particular, had been forced under the Taleban into 
a servile, twilight, existence.

It has become trite to observe that the terrible events of September 11 have changed the world, yet 
by facing up to the implications of what has happened, good must emerge from the evil. It is only 
through international, and internationally agreed, action that the menace of terrorism can be 
obliterated. September 11 should make us more aware of our common humanity. That is the message 
that can come out of the rubble of the twin towers.

*  Wars & coalitions: lessons from the Gulf war
by Dilip Hiro
Dawn, 13th October


After the imposition of comprehensive economic sanctions against Baghdad by the United Nations 
Security Council on August 6, 1990, the debate in the US on the pros and cons of attacking Iraq was 
finely poised. The American Senate authorized, by 53 votes to 47, then President George Bush to use 
military means following Security Council resolution.

This time too the Security Council unanimously resolved that all states should cooperate in 
apprehending the perpetrators of the attacks on New York and Washington, but the Council has been 
sidelined by the US.

That does not detract from the fact that the Security Council resolution was unprecedented in that 
it applied not to a state but to a group of unnamed individuals.

In demonizing the enemy, inconvenient facts are often distorted or thrown to the winds. Consider 
the following: Under the heading 'The Facts', listed in a 21-page dossier on Osama bin Laden and 
the Taliban released to British Members of Parliament on 4 October, it is said that:

* In 1989 Osama bin Laden and others founded an international group known as Al-Qaida (the Base).

Fact: In 1989, Osama and others founded a charity for the welfare of the families of the Arabs who 
had died in the 1980s anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan, since Islam enjoins that the Muslim 
community should look after the widows and children of those who have died for the faith.

* On September 9, Osama phoned his stepmother in Jeddah and told her of something big to happen in 
two days.

Fact: Osama has not used a telephone for some years now. Circumstances that lead to an armed 
conflict can differ, but the process that builds up to it hardly ever changes.
Saturday October 13 5:22 PM ET

*  Recent Military Mistakes
Yahoo (Associated Press), 13th October

Some bombing accidents involving the U.S. military from recent history:
-Oct. 13, 2001: A Navy F/A-18 Hornet drops a 2,000-pound bomb on a residential neighborhood in 
Kabul, Afghanistan, a mile from the military helicopter it intended to hit at Kabul's airport. A 
Pentagon statement says ground reports indicated that four people were killed and eight injured; 
U.S. officials say they had no way to confirm the number of casualties.
-March 12, 2001: A bombing range accident in Kuwait kills six and seriously injures three when a 
Navy F/A-18 pilot is mistakenly given the signal to bomb what turns out to be an observation post.
-Feb. 16, 2001: U.S. warplanes bomb military targets near Baghdad; about half the bombs miss their 
-May 20, 1999: At least three people are killed when NATO missiles hit a hospital near a military 
barracks in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, with NATO acknowledging one of its laser-guided weapons missed a 
target. The same day, NATO airstrikes damage the Swiss ambassador's residence in Belgrade during a 
reception, along with the Spanish, Swedish, Norwegian and Hungarian ambassadors' residences. 
Serbian media say damage also was reported at Libya's embassy and the Israeli diplomatic mission.
-May 13, 1999: NATO acknowledges an attack on a Kosovo village, Korisa. Yugoslav officials said 87 
ethnic Albanians are killed and more than 100 injured. NATO says Korisa was a Serb military command 
post, and suggests Serb forces trapped the refugees next to the target as human shields.
-May 7, 1999: U.S. planes flying a NATO mission mistakenly bomb the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, 
killing three journalists and injuring 20 people. A bad map from CIA target planners is later 
-May 7, 1999: NATO admits it is highly probable that a bomb headed for an airfield ``went astray 
and hit civilian buildings.'' Serb officials say a cluster bomb attack damages a marketplace and 
the grounds of a hospital in Nis, Yugoslavia killing at least 15.
-May 1, 1999: A missile hits a bus crossing a bridge north of Pristina, Yugoslavia, killing 47. 
NATO says the bus started across the bridge after a bomb directed at the span had been released.
-April 28, 1999: A missile slams into a private home in Sofia, Bulgaria, but no injuries are 
reported. NATO acknowledges a missile went off course and may have crossed the Yugoslav-Bulgarian 
-April 27, 1999: A missile strike in the Serb town of Surdulica kills at least 20 civilians. NATO 
says one of its bombs missed the target, a nearby military barracks, and struck a residential 
-April 14, 1999: NATO mistakenly bombs a refugee convoy near Djakovica during its campaign, saying 
a misfire ``may have caused damage to a civilian vehicle and unintentional harm to civilian 
lives.'' Yugoslav officials said 75 people died and more than two dozen were hurt.
-April 12, 1999: NATO confirms a rail bridge was struck by allied aircraft and that a train was 
nearby at the time. Yugoslav state media report NATO missiles struck a railroad bridge near the 
Serb town of Grdelica and hit a passenger train, killing 17.
-April 10, 1999: Two Marine jets drop bombs on a lookout post at the Vieques training ground in 
Puerto Rico. One civilian guard is killed. Four others are injured, including three civilians.
-April 9, 1999: NATO says a bomb, intended for the main telephone exchange in Kosovo's capital of 
Pristina, fell short of its target, causing damage to a residential area.
-April 1994: Two U.S. Air Force F-15s shoot down two U.S. Army helicopters on a diplomatic mission 
over Iraq, mistaking them for hostile aircraft in the ``no-fly zone,'' killing 26 people. No one 
was found criminally responsible.
-Feb. 13, 1991: A Baghdad shelter was attacked in the Persian Gulf War, killing more than 300 
civilians. U.S. officials said it was a military command center, and they did not know civilians 
were inside.
-January 1991: Seven U.S. Marines are killed when a missile fired by a U.S. Air Force A-10 attack 
aircraft hits their armored vehicle during a battle with the Iraqis.

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