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News, 28/10-3/11/01

News, 28/10-3/11/01

The obviously orchestrated flood of articles advocating war on Iraq
continues. Iıve tried to be ruthless about cutting elements that have
appeared before. Readers who feel shortchanged about this can refer to the

What is most worrying is that, in and around the Kurdish autonomous zone,
Turkey and Iraq are both behaving as if they expect an imminent US attack;
though I note again that there seems to have been little activity over the
Œno fly zonesı since the terrorist attacks on Afghanistan began.

The overall picture of an al-Qaida/Iraqi alliance of evil forces is a little
confused by the amount of material that is sloshing around implicating Saudi
Arabia. The Saudis are going up in my estimation. In the simplistic, racist
way in which we all tend to think about other peoples in the world, I had
thought of them as a nation of dissipated hypocrites, uselessly virtuous in
public, uselessly sybaritic in private. Now it appears that there is a
purposeful, intelligent elite, serious about the ideals publicly proclaimed
by the society and willing to put its money and energy into something other
than underground swimming pools and Hollywood films.

Stories about Pakistani involvement, which is obviously the most significant
of all, seem to have been buried with wonderful efficiency.

I remark again that the all too obvious Israeli desire to widen the war into
a confrontation between Œthe Westı and the whole Arab/Muslim world
complements Osama bin Ladenıs desire to widen the war into a confrontation
etc. And yet there is something unconvincing about the alternative ­ which
amounts to trying to split the Arab world at Israelıs expense. Ariel
Sharonıs view that the American reaction to the activities of suicide
bombers vindicates his own reaction to the activities of suicide bombers (no
negotiations with those who refuse to hand the terrorists over) is, in the
terms in which these people think, perfectly reasonable.

But then, by the logic all these people apply, if Iraq was responsible for
the WTC attacks it could legitimately plead that, considering what Iraqis
have suffered at the hands of the US, it was only acting in self defence.

Meanwhile the Iraqi government has come out (not for the first time) with
two suggestions which, if anyone was willing to listen, could provide the
programme for a really serious and worthwhile global opposition:

1) a universal treaty banning weapons of mass destruction, with all parts of
the world, including the US and Israel, open to inspection. This of course
has been on the cards for a while and the main obstacle has been the US. But
even if the papers are signed, they may well prove to be pretty useless

2) abolition of the Veto system in the UN Security Council and Security
Council decisions to be subject to approval by the International Court of
Justice at the Hague (the real one of course, not the Security Councilıs own
little puppet War Crimes Tribunal for ex-Yugoslavia).

Politics requires the conflict of divergent interests and views, each of
them in itself Œtotalitarianı in nature. At present the conflict between
Islam and Œthe Westı is sterile and can only result in a victory for the
West, since Islam (I speak as a non-Muslim. I know many Muslims will
disagree), unlike Œfree enterpriseı or in earlier times Communism or
Socialism cannot have a universal/totalitarian appeal. It would be useful to
subsume this rather sterile confrontation of interests and moral ideals into
a different, more widely based confrontation of interests and moral ideals.
The ideal of a system of world justice above ALL the nations, including the
United States, could unite a much wider opposition and would not require
terrorist methods. It is a pity that at present it is only the Iraqi
government who is advocating it.


*  Every day, the case mounts against Saddam [Daily Telegraph: Islamic
terrorist conference in Baghdad three weeks before September 11th ­ anthrax
­ brief history of training camps in Iraq ­ Farouk Hijazi ­ al-Ani in Prague
­ activities since Sept 11]
*  No proof of Iraqi contamination
*  Saddam must go [The Times: Khidr Hamza ­ Abdul Rahman Yasin (Iraqi
implicated in the 1993 WTC bombing ­ was Ramzi Yousef (convicted for the
1993 WTC bombing) an Iraqi agent? ­ links between bin Laden and Farouk
Hijazi, Iraqi ambassador to Turkey ­ Atta in Prague ­ SH still has
biological and chemical weapons and is close to getting nuclear weapons]
*  The pitfalls of an attack on Iraq [A common sense reply to the above from
a former British ambassador to Syria and Saudi Arabia]
*  What is to be done about Iraq? [Evening Standard: William Shawcross
argues that any state that might possess biological weapons should be
destroyed. His nerve begins to fail him, however, as he contemplates how
exactly this should be achieved; and he has nothing to say about what you do
once youıve succeeded in destroying the state]
*  Baghdad Denies Iraqi Official Met Atta [Very short extract insinuating
into our minds the idea that al-Ani in Prague might have given Atta a packet
of anthrax]
*  Stop U.S. victory says Saddam [The third of Saddam Husseinıs interesting
open letters to the West since September 11. This is where he advocates a
general treaty to get rid of WMDs everywhere]
*  Iraq smuggles agents into Germany via Prague [It would surely be
surprising if they didnıt ...]
*  The Moment Has Arrived for America to Be Bold [Jim Hoagland says: Donıt
listen to the siren voices suggesting that the US has any responsibility to
reconstruct the countries it destroys. If the Afghans canıt produce a
government ready to submit to the US they should be allowed to rot ...]
*  Saddam 'still ready to use germ warfare' [Suddenly Rolf Ekeus - remember
him? - bursts upon the scene. When he still thought there was some chance of
his inspection team getting into Iraq he was more circumspect about whether
or not Iraq still had WMDs. But perhaps he isnıt in charge of the inspection
team any more. Here he is presented as ŒOSCE High Commissioner for Ethnic
*  A Lesson From Israel [This article has been popping up all over the
place. It advocates the very tactic of the pre-emptive strike that the
Japanese used at Pearl Harbour. It argues that had the Israeliıs not
prevented Saddam from developing a nuclear bomb in 1981, Œthere would have
been no Desert Stormı. Given the appalling consequences of Desert Storm
(which indirectly include the attack on the WTC) that may not have been a
bad thing. The article gives, disapprovingly of course, the following
perceptive quotation from the New York Times: "Even assuming that Iraq was
hellbent to divert enriched uranium for the manufacture of nuclear weapons,
it would have been working toward a capacity that Israel itself acquired
long ago. Contrary to its official assertion, therefore, Israel was not in
`mortal danger' of being outgunned. It faced a potential danger of losing
its Middle East nuclear monopoly, of being deterred one day from the use of
atomic weapons in war."
*  We should have got Saddam, says envoy {Lord Powellıs, who was
M.Thatcherıs private secretary at the time. The article does not actually
quote him saying what he is alleged to have said in the headline].

URLs ONLY:,9171,1101011105-181598,00.html
*  Thinking About Saddam
by Michael Elliott
Time magazine, 29th October
[Elliottıs main argument for hesitating to attack Saddam seems to be that he
may respond with biological weapons. Which amounts to saying that the
development of biological weapons has been a necessity imposed on him by the
situation in which, largely thanks to US policy, he finds himself]
*  Saddam's death labs
by Uri Dan
Jerusalem Post, 1st November
[the article argues that the fact that no link has been established is proof
that there is a link, since clearly if there was a link, Saddam would be
anxious to conceal it, since ŒObviously he doesn't want the US to destroy
Iraq, as it actually deservesı (interesting little phrase, all too
indicative of the current Israeli mentality). The Iraqis have shown
themselves to be monsters by killing four people with anthrax so (the
authorıs mouth begins to water): ŒIn the end, it is likely that the US will
be forced to deploy tactical nuclear weapons of the post World War II era,
in order to demonstrate to millions of fanatical Muslims that this is how
their crazy terrorist campaign will endı.


*  Amnesty International Criticizes Iraq.

AND, IN NEWS, 28/10-3/11/01 (2):


*  Iraq lifts restrictions on Malaysians
*  Iraq sends requirements for wheat [to Pakistan]
*  Iraqi vice-president holds "positive" meeting with Algerian president
*  Irked U.S. Recalls Venezuela Envoy [Hugo Chavez has been expressing a
sense of moral outrage at the terrorist attack on Afghanistan].
*  Iraq Wishes to "Turn a New Page" in Ties With France
*  World Court should oversee Security Council: Iraq [see general
introductory comments above]


*  Afghans cast adrift at sea saved by Iraqis [Story of Afghans summarily
expelled from Kuwait in a boat apparently just because they were Afghans. A
bit like the way S.Hussein treats Kurds in Kirkuk]
*  Iraq Says Ready to Solve Missing Persons Issue [with Kuwait. Worth
remembering here that the sticking point for resuming negotiations is still
Kuwaitıs insistence, for no reason that is very clear to me, that the US and
Britain should be present]
*  Iraq agrees to raise supply to Jordan
*  Iraq and UAE Sign Free Trade Agreement [Good to see that the UAE havenıt
lost all their spirit since they broke diplomatic relations with the


*  Kurds, Turkish parties meet on discussing expected attacks at Iraq [A
curious article, apparently suggesting that Turkey is pressing for the
establishment of a Kurdish government in Iraqi Kurdistan, under the KDP,
against the opposition of the local Turkmen minority.]
*  Iraq Accelerates Ethnic Cleansing of Kirkuk
*  Kurdistan Developing Attributes Of Statehood
*  Iraq Masses Troops on Kurdish Areas [Apparently in expectation of an
imminent, Turkish backed, invasion]


*  Iraq: UN sanctions committee approves oil prices for US market
*  U.N. probes Iraqi oil shipment
*  Iraq says OPEC indirectly financing US attacks
*  US-British 'smart sanctions' Iraq plan in doubt [Suggests that Russiaıs
proposal for a clear timetable for the ending of sanctions as the reward for
the return of weapons inspectors may, at last, be under consideration]


*  The reluctant Saudis: Royal family increasingly nervous about keeping
grip on power at home [On the growth of anti-US feeling at all levels of
Saudi society. Note the similarity between the statements quoted from
radical Saudi clerics and those of G.Bush (youıre either with us or youıre
against us ...]
*  Even after a savage attack, America still remains generous [Muslim living
in the US points out (rightly in my view) that there has been surprisingly
little anti-Muslim activity in the US since Sept 11. But he is perhaps a
little naive about how benign US intentions are towards the people of
Afghanistan. And is there not a contradiction between saying Œthere is
absolutely no moral equivalence between what the terrorists perpetrated and
American's action abroadı and then referring to Œthe economic sanctions that
are killing thousands of Iraqi civilians every monthı.

*  We're Still Chasing a Criminal
by Jim Hoagland
Washington Post, 2nd November
[Hoagland, it appears, has interviewed many feared terrorists, so he knows
what heıs talking about. He sees OBL as a psychopath who Œfinds an identity
otherwise denied him in the death and destruction of others, on a massive
scale. He ties it all together in a package of religious fantasy, vengeful
politics and local grudges that has gathered a cult of killers around him,
just as Abu Nidal concocted a half-baked Marxist spiel to cover his blood
lust. It is the destruction that is attractive to bin Laden's followers and
useful to his official sponsors. He too is embedded in a system that judges
him neither morally nor rationally -- neither with heart nor with mind --
but fearfully and in sick anticipation.ı So all the stuff about Palestinian
grievances and Iraqi children and Arab public opinion is a lot of tosh. The
Arabs donıt matter. Thereıs a little bit about Iraqıs sheltering of OBLıs
fellow psychopath, Abu Nidal, who, it seems, has disappeared.]


by Jessica Berry
Daily Telegraph, 28th October

THE room was full and the speeches under way when the various
representatives began a resounding chant of "Allah Akhbar!" - God is great -
but it was the banners that gave the strongest indication that this was no
ordinary conference.

They adorned the walls and set the mood in no uncertain terms: "Down with
America", "Down with Israel". The annual terrorist recruitment conference in
Baghdad was under way.

It was just three weeks before the September 11 suicide attacks on America,
and members of the world's most-wanted international terrorist groups were
waiting impatiently to deliver their speeches.

On the dais, beside a row of their intelligence officers, Taha Ramadan and
Izzet Douri, the Iraqi vice-presidents, were seated. Before them were more
than 100 Islamic terrorists, each holding a leaflet listing the groups

It read like a CIA document. Members of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda group sat
side by side with those from Gamaa al Islamiya from Egypt, Jund Al Islam, an
Iraqi-based terror group consisting mainly of Afghan Arabs, and Hamas and
Islamic Jihad from the West Bank and Gaza. Less notable Islamic terror
groups from Bangladesh, Sudan, the Philippines and Somalia were also there.
Names of individuals were not given for security reasons.

Many had journeyed for several days to be present. A twice-weekly ferry from
the United Arab Emirates to the Iraqi port of Basra had brought some, while
others had travelled by land through Syria and Jordan. All carried fake

For the first time in the conference's five-year history, its convenor,
Saddam Hussein, had decided to invite only extremist elements. The former
Algerian president and conference regular, Ben Bella, who is regarded as a
moderate in Iraqi circles, was not invited.

Saddam, still furious at British and American attempts to impose new
sanctions on Iraq, used the August 19 meeting as an opportunity to find
terrorists willing to exercise their lethal skills to foment unrest from the
West Bank to Asia. He needed Muslims to unite in a common cause to protest
against the regime's treatment by the West.

To this end, as the ruckus emanated from the main convention suite, Iraqi
intelligence officers got down to the real business in the back rooms. Here,
they were hard at work recruiting potential terrorists and pinpointing
potential targets for attack.

Since the conference, Western intelligence officers estimate that 6,000
volunteers have been recruited to Iraq's "cause". "What really counts," one
officer says, "is not what happens during the conferences. It is what
happens before and after and on the sidelines that matters."


Neither is it a secret that Saddam has a long track record of hosting and
recruiting terrorists. The 6,000 men who volunteered two months ago are now,
according to intelligence officials, undergoing rigorous training in the
arts of explosives and guerrilla warfare.

It is understood that some of the men recruited in August are attending two
of Iraq's most sophisticated camps at al Safar and al Habaniya, both beside
expansive lakes.

A Western intelligence official said: "These are not just places where you
learn how to use a bomb or suchlike. Here, they are even taught underwater
swimming, communications and how to use sophisticated eavesdropping

Such "schools" for budding terrorists have a long pedigree, stretching back
to the 1970s, when Iraq became the refuge of Carlos the Jackal. At that
time, it was also home to the more extreme Palestinian terror groups, such
as Abu Nidal and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which
has now claimed responsibility for the October 17 assassination of Rehavam
Ze'evi, the Israeli tourism minister.

It was also in the early 1970s that Saddam began to have expansionist dreams
of extending Iraq's borders. In 1973, he formed the Al Hassan Ibn Al Haithem
Institute, which was responsible for two programmes: nuclear energy and the
manufacture of toxins and poison gases. It was the forerunner to the
Military Industrialisation organisation which now develops weapons of mass
destruction. It was built with funds gained from the rise in oil prices
after the 1973 Arab-Israeli war.

If that war provided the necessary finance, it was the Iran-Iraq war of the
1980s that provided the trigger for the birth of Islamic terror. Saddam
needed support to fight Iran and he needed a new tactic.

In the previous decade, terror groups had been mainly Arab. In order to
compete with the Islamisation of Iran after the 1979 revolution, Saddam
needed to follow suit. The first of the many Islamic terrorist groups to
move to Iraq in the 1980s was the Mujahideen Helk, which was dismayed by
events in Iran and vowed to fight.

Not content with recruiting from only Middle Eastern organisations, Saddam
also explored Muslim Africa for possibilities. He began to provide extensive
funding for groups in Somalia, Zanzibar and Sudan, as well as for those
nearer home in Syria. Much of the finance, again, came from his oil


Now The Telegraph can reveal that similar meetings have taken place since
September 11. Just one week after the attacks, Mohammed Nouri, a colonel in
Iraqi intelligence, travelled to Bangkok. "He went in a great rush," says a
Western intelligence officer. "We know he met an al-Qaeda representative,
though we are not sure what else he has been up to."

Four days later, on September 24, Brigadier Abdul Khader Majid took three
senior intelligence officers with him to Bangladesh, a week before the
country's general elections.

"We know for certain that Iraq was instrumental in some of the worst
violence ahead of the elections there," says the intelligence officer. "That
includes paying recruits to organise anti Western riots, to flare up Islamic
tensions. They know that the more the Muslim world protests against the
Western coalition's attacks on Afghanistan, the less likely the coalition
will find support to risk attacking Iraq. It would only flare Muslim
tensions even more." Similar street riots took place at the same time in
Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur.

A week after Majid's successful mission, Lt Col Qassim made one of the
Baghdad regime's most important trips since September 11. He took four
junior intelligence officers to Pakistan on October 5, where they, too, met
members of al-Qaeda. "The visit was an essential intelligence-sharing
mission," the Western intelligence officer said.

There is no doubt that Iraq has been involved in terrorism in the past.
President Bush must now decide whether the evidence of Iraqi terrorist links
in recent weeks still passes merely as circumstantial.

As Mr Woolsey warned last week: "This war began with the direct and
immediate murder of thousands of Americans, and, if we find that we have a
reasonable target along with Osama bin Laden in the government of Iraq, we
must wage this war quickly. We must wage it powerfully. We must wage it
cleverly. And we must wage it ruthlessly."

by Bill Sammon
The Washington Times, 29th October

The White House yesterday disputed reports that the anthrax sent to the
Senate contained bentonite, an additive that has been used in Iraqi
President Saddam Hussein's biological weapons program. Top Stories

"Based on the test results we have, no bentonite has been found," White
House spokesman Scott Stanzel said in an interview. "As always, there will
be continuing tests."

Mr. Stanzel was responding to reports by ABC News and others that bentonite
had been detected in the anthrax that was mailed to the office of Senate
Majority Leader Tom Daschle, South Dakota Democrat. The reports cited
anonymous sources in the administration.

But White House press secretary Ari Fleischer later told the network that
tests had found no bentonite, which is used to prevent anthrax particles
from sticking together so they can become airborne. He also noted that the
tests detected no aluminum, which would normally be present in
bentonite-enhanced anthrax.

But even if bentonite is found in the anthrax, that would not necessarily
mean it came from Saddam. In fact, some experts believe Iraq has developed a
different strain of anthrax. And while bentonite has previously been used in
Saddam's biological weapons program, it has also been used elsewhere.

"Bentonite was used by the Iraqis in producing the anthrax that they
produced," said Dr. David Franz, former commander of the U.S. Army's Medical
Research Institute of Infectious Diseases. "However, bentonite is found
throughout the world. Bentonite is found in the United States. It's found
wherever there was ever an active volcano, probably."

Speaking on ABC's "This Week," Mr. Franz added: "Bentonite is available from
chemical companies, a number of them in the United States and throughout the


On Friday, Mr. Fleischer said tests on the anthrax sent to Mr. Daschle
proved that the poison could have been produced in a small laboratory by
someone with a Ph.D. in microbiology. That expanded the possible
perpetrators of the anthrax attacks to individuals or groups not linked to
foreign governments.

The presence of bentonite would not shrink the list of possible perpetrators
dramatically, although the specific strain of bentonite might provide clues
to investigators.

"There are some interesting characteristics of bentonite," Mr. Franz said.
"It's made up typically of silicon dioxide and some metal oxides. And
they're in various formulations and various ratios in bentonite from various
parts of the world. So there's possibly another clue."

But he cautioned that even if investigators link the anthrax to a particular
region of the world, that does not preclude the possibility that the anthrax
was moved before being mailed to Mr. Daschle.

"It's not like the bullet and rifling relationship in ballistic forensics,"
Mr. Franz explained. "It's not like when you have a bullet with the marks on
it from a specific barrel, you've got a definitive answer. That's not the
way biology works."

He added: "Even if we have definitive proof that we have bentonite in a
sample from the Daschle letter, in my mind, that's just another piece of the
puzzle. It's not the final piece of the puzzle."


by Daniel Finkelstein
The Times, 29th October

Some of my friends think Iıve gone slightly out of my mind about Iraq. They
are mostly too polite to say so, but I know what they are thinking. ³We are
already bogged down in a terrible war in Afghanistan, with no end in sight,
and that fool wants to start a war with Iraq.² Thatıs what they are

Now, itıs true that I think the war on terrorism cannot be won without
deposing Saddam Hussein, but I donıt think that makes me foolish. Then
again, perhaps you think that is precisely what a fool would say. So letıs
do a deal. I am going to tell you three stories. You read them, and if you
still think Iım wrong at the end, I will shut up about Iraq.

Letıs start with the story of Amal al-Mudarris, once the best-known
personality on Baghdad radio and much admired by the educated elite. She was
not, however, much admired by President Saddam Husseinıs wife. Sajida
Hussein began calling the presenter, complaining that she wasnıt praising
her husband often enough. One day at the radio station, after yet another
crude call, al-Mudarris was chatting to some of her friends. ³That woman
isnıt fit to be Iraqıs first lady,² she said. Unnoticed, one of her
colleagues slipped away and phoned the Ministry of Information. Within
minutes the station was surrounded and the presenter was arrested. Amal
al-Mudarris was tortured until she confessed what she had said. Then she was
hanged. After her execution her tongue was cut out and delivered to her
family. Since it came to power, Saddamıs Baath Party is estimated to have
killed 5 per cent of Iraqıs population.


from Sir Andrew Green
The Times, 1st November

ir, Daniel Finkelstein (Times 2, October 29) calls for Saddam to be removed,
but your leading article (October 25) is absolutely right to point out the
pitfalls of an attack on Iraq.

Not only would the coalition dissolve but the entire Arab, and much of the
Muslim, world would be infuriated. Our evidence, necessarily based on
intelligence, would fail to convince the many who feel that the Iraqis have
suffered enough at Western hands. The contrast with the Westıs toleration of
Israelıs behaviour towards the Palestinians would be even starker.
Widespread public demonstrations would be inevitable and the Saudis would
certainly refuse the use of their territory as a base from which to launch
an attack.

Beyond that, it is hard to see a clear achievable military objective. The
1998 air offensive Desert Fox demonstrated the futility of bombing for
political ends. Attempts to stir up internal opposition failed dismally in
1996 and would fail again. The opposition is divided, discredited and
penetrated. The removal of Saddam or his weapons of mass destruction would
involve the invasion and occupation of Iraq, requiring an army of several
hundred thousand men. In the unlikely event of that being achieved, knocking
out the Sunni-led army would lead, as in 1991, to a Shia uprising in the
South and to Kurdish unrest in the North. Neighbours would be strongly
tempted to interfere with arms and money. Turkey, Iran, Syria and Saudi
Arabia would all have a vital interest in the outcome. The result would be a
civil war that would make Lebanonıs troubles seem like a vicarage tea party
and would be a fatal blow to our central policy objective ‹ stability in the

The American approach is often ³can do². The British is usually ³think it
through². The latter is essential if we are to avoid a situation even worse
than Afghanistan.

Yours sincerely,
(Ambassador to Syria, 1991-94; Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, 1996-2000)

by William Shawcross
London Evening Standard, 29th October


Saddam refused to cooperate and Tariq Aziz, then his foreign minister, tried
to lead a dance around the inspectors. But, using methods worthy of both
Sherlock Holmes and Indiana Jones, the inspectors did find a massive amount
of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons material. In 1998, Saddam threw
the inspectors out. As a result sanctions have continued. Saddam has
skilfully thrown the blame for the consequent suffering of the civilian
population, particularly children, on the West. This is nonsense - the UN
created a specific programme to allow imports for the vulnerable - Saddam
has not used it properly, preferring weapons and propaganda to relieving his


William Shawcross is on the board of the International Crisis Group and is
the author of Deliver Us From Evil - Warlords, Peacekeepers and a World of
Endless Conflict.

Reuters, 10th November


The German daily Bild reported last week that security experts in Germany
were investigating whether Atta carried anthrax spores allegedly obtained
from Iraq agents in Prague to the United States.


Reuters, 30th October

BAGHDAD: President Saddam Hussein of Iraq has urged the world to prevent the
United States winning its war in Afghanistan and says Washington should get
rid of its weapons of mass destruction before any other country.

"The world now needs to abort the aggressive U.S. schemes, including its
aggression on the Afghan people, which must stop. It must not allow the U.S.
to be victorious," Saddam said.

He made the statement in an open letter to the West, his third since the
September 11 attacks on New York's World Trade Centre and the Pentagon near

The world would not be saved "from the deep abyss it is being push into by
the U.S." if the United States achieved victory in Afghanistan, Saddam

The United States and Britain began military strikes on Afghanistan three
weeks ago after the ruling Taliban refused to surrender Osama bin Laden,
chief suspect in the U.S. attacks.

Saddam said the United States should be the first country to get rid of its
weapons of mass destruction if it wanted to avert danger from the spread of
anthrax. Other countries including Israel should follow suit.

"We have heard in the news recently that American officials think that the
source of anthrax is probably the U.S. itself. Hence...they should be busy
in eliminating the weapons of mass destruction in the U.S. first," Saddam

He said Iraq would join the world in signing a "binding agreement to get rid
of the burden and the threat of the weapons of mass destruction.

"When the U.S. is really willing to disarm itself of these weapons, we do
not think that anyone of a sound mind would stay out of the framework of
such a practical plan," Saddam added.

The United States, which led a multinational force that ejected Iraqi troops
out of Kuwait in 1991, says Iraq has been developing weapons of mass
destruction since U.N. weapons inspectors had left the country in 1998.

by Hugh Williamson and Philipp Jaklin in Berlin
Financial Times, 31st October

Iraq has moved secret agents into Germany as part of illegal
people-smuggling operations, German authorities confirmed on Wednesday.

The agents had been smuggled from eastern European countries in an operation
co-ordinated by Iraqi diplomats in Prague, the Czech capital.

"There is evidence that Iraqis with secret service backgrounds have
infiltrated Germany, helped by professional smuggling gangs," according to a
spokesman for Germany's Agency for the Protection of the Constitution,
Berlin's internal intelligence authority.


by Jim Hoagland
International Herald tribune [from The Washington Post], 1st November


Three achievable outcomes of this campaign that are within American means
are now visible.

First, Afghanistan should have no central government that supports or
permits international terrorism. If that means Afghanistan will have no
central government at all, so be it. Russia's decision last week to provide
its client, the Northern Alliance, with 40 tanks and 100 armored vehicles by
year's end is indicator of and catalyst for Afghanistan's fragmented future.
United Nations administrators, U.S. economic aid given to Afghans who
undertake anti-terrorist actions, and constant U.S. surveillance will tie a
series of ethnic fiefdoms together into a self-absorbed, manageable mess.

An outcome more ambitious than that would require a change in strategy and a
commitment of resources that you do not seem to have yet envisioned.

Second, you may well not capture bin Laden in this first armed search. Too
bad. Declare right now that the American nation will treat this war criminal
as Israel treated Adolf Eichmann: Bin Laden will be tracked every day of his
life, however long that is.

If it takes 20 years to find him and his gang, America will spend 20 years
doing that. You and your successors must think of New York's Ground Zero and
the Pentagon every day that you awake and learn that bin Laden and the other
perpetrators have not yet been identified, captured and punished.

Third, the need to deal with Iraq's continuing accumulation of biological
and chemical weapons and the technology to build a nuclear bomb can in no
way be lessened by the demands of the Afghan campaign. You must conduct that
campaign so that you can pivot quickly from it to end the threat that Saddam
Hussein's regime poses.

Russia, France, Saudi Arabia and other nations warning that you cannot
strike Iraq and keep their support expect to benefit economically from the
survival of a Saddam-type regime when sanctions are lifted. When they become
convinced that they will confront in the near future a post-Saddam
government in Baghdad that will punish them for having courted Saddam, these
countries will cooperate to end global terror.

The conventional thinkers around you will argue that you cannot afford such
boldness and clarity just now. They are wrong. U.S. leverage is at its high
point while American lives are at risk and American warplanes are in the
skies. No nation should expect you to pursue diplomacy as usual, or assume
that it will not face your wrath in some form if it does not cooperate with
you now. Can you imagine Pervez Musharraf saying to his people: I have
thought it over, America is wrong and can't use our bases? And surviving? I

You are in a position of strength, not weakness. Show that this is not a
feel-good military campaign launched in anger but a strategic struggle based
on clear, achievable goals that will make the world safer.

by Bruce Johnston in Rome
Daily Telegraph, 1st November

SADDAM HUSSEIN still wants Iraq to become a world power and is prepared to
use biological weapons to achieve that, according to the diplomat who knows
his military capabilities best.

Rolf Ekeus, who for six years was president of the Special UN Commission
with the task of verifying that Iraq had renounced arms of mass destruction,
said Saddam still wanted to dominate the Middle East.

His scientists had the knowledge to help him realise his dream, said Mr
Ekeus and apart from anthrax, they had found ways to isolate and develop
deadly viruses.

He said that while Iraq had denied having anything to do with the anthrax
attacks in the US, and while the spores might have come from a Russian or
American laboratory - the facts suggested that Saddam may be behind them.

"For more than four years Baghdad denied, formally and in writing, the
existence of a project to develop biological weapons," Mr Ekeus told an
Italian newspaper. "It was only when, after inspections, research and tests,
we managed to find scientific proof that there was a project after all, that
they admitted its existence.

"The main research centre in al Hakam was hidden in the desert, protected by
fencing and walls. It was made up of a lot of buildings, with laboratories
and a great deal of sophisticated equipment.

"We razed it to the ground in 1996." That did not mean that Iraq's germ
warfare capacity had been wiped out, he said. "In al Hakem we found a
milling machine capable of refining anthrax for military purposes, and we
destroyed it. But there was the suspicion that there was another which we
never found.

"Moreover, despite the embargo, not only does Saddam have no problems with
money, but he is awash in it. And people who have no cash worries usually
find a seller. "And since December 1998, when the inspections stopped, there
is no one who can check and see what is going on. Not to mention research
into viruses.

"We found that they had experimented on camel pox, a sickness of camels
similar to smallpox. Another project that greatly interested them was the
poisoning of lakes and aquaducts." Asked if bin laden and Saddam could be
working together, Mr Ekeus said that the two men had "clearly different

But he added: "Let's not forget the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. Stalin and
Hitler had diametrically opposed strategic objectives, but that did not stop
them becoming allies in 1939, because at that time they shared certain
tactical objectives.

"Bin Laden and Hussein are both at war with America, and they share the same
immediate objective. To drive the Americans out of the Gulf. And on this
point, Saddam said exactly the same thing as bin Laden. Word for word."

Mr Ekeus, now the OSCE High Commissioner for Ethnic Minorities, said:
"Saddam continues to repeat that he is the one who is winning. And I think
that for him, things are actually going rather well. In the streets of Arab
countries he is becoming ever more popular."

by George F. Will
Hartford Courant (also in Wash Post, NY Post, and much else besides), 1st

When Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, accompanied by Ambassador David
Ivry, recently visited the Oval Office, President Bush remarked that Israel
certainly has the right ambassador for the moment. He said this because Ivry
has shown that he understands how preventive action is pertinent to the
problem of weapons of mass destruction in dangerous hands.

Bush's remark, pregnant with implications, revealed that the president as
well as the vice president remember and admire a bold Israeli action for
which Israel was roundly condemned 20 years ago.

On the afternoon of June 7, 1981, Jordan's King Hussein, yachting in the
Gulf of Aqaba, saw eight low-flying Israeli F-16s roar eastward. He called
military headquarters in Amman for information, but got none. The aircraft
had flown below Jordanian radar. So far, so good for Ivry's mission,
code-named Opera.

Ivry, a short, balding grandfatherly figure with a gray moustache, was then
commander of Israel's air force, which had acquired some of the 75 F-16s
ordered by Iran from the United States but not delivered because of the 1979
revolution that toppled the shah. The F-16s were to be tested to their
limits when Israel learned that Iraq was about to receive a shipment of
enriched uranium for its reactor near Baghdad - enough uranium to build four
or five Hiroshima-size bombs.

The reactor was 600 miles from Israel. Ensuring that the F-16s had the range
to return to base required the dangerous expedient of topping off the fuel
tanks on the runway, while the engines were running. Measures were taken to
reduce the air drag of the planes' communications pods and munitions racks.

Prime Minister Menachem Begin ordered the attack to occur before the uranium
arrived and the reactor went "hot," at which point bombing would have
scattered radioactive waste over Baghdad. The raid was scheduled for a
Sunday, to minimize casualties. It was executed perfectly. Aren't we glad.

The U.S. State Department said Israel's destruction of the reactor
jeopardized the "peace process" of the day, said relations with Israel were
being "reassessed," canceled meetings with Israeli officials and suspended
deliveries of military equipment, including F-16s, pending a decision about
whether Israel had violated the restriction that weapons obtained from
America could be used only for defensive purposes. The New York Times said
Israel had embraced "the code of terror" and that the raid was "inexcusable
and short-sighted aggression." The Times added this remarkable thought:

"Even assuming that Iraq was hellbent to divert enriched uranium for the
manufacture of nuclear weapons, it would have been working toward a capacity
that Israel itself acquired long ago. Contrary to its official assertion,
therefore, Israel was not in `mortal danger' of being outgunned. It faced a
potential danger of losing its Middle East nuclear monopoly, of being
deterred one day from the use of atomic weapons in war."

Today on Ivry's embassy office wall, there is a large black-and-white
photograph taken by satellite 10 years after the raid, at the time of the
Gulf War. It shows the wreckage of the huge reactor complex, which is still
surrounded by a high, thick wall that was supposed to protect it. Trees are
growing where the reactor dome had been.

The picture has this handwritten inscription. "For Gen. David Ivry, with
thanks and appreciation for the outstanding job he did on the Iraqi nuclear
program in 1981- which made our job much easier in Desert Storm." The author
of the inscription signed it: "Dick Cheney, Sec. of Defense 1989-93."

Were it not for Israel's raid, Iraq probably would have had nuclear weapons
in 1991 and there would have been no Desert Storm. The fact that Bush and
Cheney are keenly appreciative of what Ivry and Israel's air force
accomplished is welcome evidence of two things:

In spite of the secretary of state's coalition fetish, the administration
understands the role of robust unilateralism. And neither lawyers citing
"international law" nor diplomats invoking "world opinion" will prevent
America from acting as Israel did, pre-emptively in self defense.

by Rachel Sylvester
Daily Telegraph, 3rd November

TONY BLAIR'S new envoy to Syria believes that Iraq is involved in the
terrorist war being waged against the West and that it was a mistake not to
topple Saddam Hussein at the end of the Gulf war.

In an interview with The Telegraph, Lord Powell, who travelled to Damascus
last month with a message from the Prime Minister for President Assad, said
it was "wholly credible" to suppose that Iraq was giving covert support to
Osama bin Laden and his terrorist network.

"My instinct is that Iraq is involved in some way, but I have absolutely no
evidence for that other than the deepest possible suspicion," he said.

The anthrax attacks on the United States were particularly worrying, he

Lord Powell, who, as Charles Powell was Margaret Thatcher's private
secretary during the Gulf crisis, said that toppling Saddam would have been
a "massive task".

"Look at how difficult it is to get rid of the Taliban and think of that
cubed", he said.


*  Amnesty International Criticizes Iraq.
by: David Nissman
Kurdistan Observer, 2nd November

Amnesty International's annual report on Iraq this year concludes that
"hundreds of people,  among them political prisoners including possible
prisoners of conscience, were executed.  Hundreds of suspected political
opponents, including army officers suspected of planning to  overthrow the
government, were arrested, and their fate and whereabouts remained
unknown." And it adds that new punishments have been introduced, including
beheading  and amputation of the tongue.

Also noted in the AI report was the large-scale application of  the death
penalty, the extra judicial executions (especially the beheading of women
accused  of prostitution in Baghdad under the supervision of the Ba'th Party
and the Iraqi Women's  General Union), the widespread use of torture, the
arrests of suspected political opponents,  and the forcible expulsion of
Kurds, Turkmens, and Assyrians from the Kirkuk region. 

In April of this year, the UN Commission on Human Rights adopted a
resolution  condemning the "systematic, widespread, and extremely grave
violations of human rights  and international humanitarian law by the
government of Iraq." Moreover, the UN extended  the mandate for the Special
Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iraq for another year.   The Iraqi government
has not yet responded to Amnesty International's report. 

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