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News, 17-23/11/01 (1) After September 11th, there were some people in the world, not many, who expressed joy and exultation. This was generally regarded as very reprehensible. But now great joy and exultation is being expressed because of a success achieved through the massive killing of thousands of high-spirited idealistic young men. It is generally assumed that their mothers, wives and sisters will welcome this as a liberation. Of course the young men in question were combatant soldiers, many of them themselves guilty of much bloodshed, so this does not count, technically, as a war crime. But to fail to see it as an immense and terrible tragedy is to be less than human. There is something weak about the emphasis that has been put on innocent civiliansı. The US, and the US alone, possess a technology which enables them to wage war while keeping civilian casualties to a minimum. They donıt need to slaughter anything like the numbers they/we slaughtered in Germany and Japan at the end of the Second World War. Between them, Mr Bush and Mr Blair may only have blown apart something in the region of a couple of thousand innocent civilians (though thereıs also all the many thousands driven from their homes and the many more thousands probably less than could reasonably have been expected given the speed of the war who will die of starvation and disease). But the Taliban collapse came about for one reason and one reason alone: another massacre, not the first and certainly not the last, conducted at a safe distance by aerial bombing. Logically speaking, this asymmetric war in which only one side suffers massive casualties is better than the endless mutual slaughter of First World War trench warfare. It remains nauseating. And we may wonder what it has achieved for the US and (if they can be said to matter) the British? It certainly hasnıt done anything to reduce the danger of terrorism. But it has still achieved something. After September 11th we felt bad. Now we feel good. FINGER POINTING AT IRAQ * Now it's time to halt the war [Andrew Murray gives some reasons for not expanding the war to Iraq. Which sound a bit like some of the reasons given for not launching the war on Afghanistan ...] * Schroeder: Europe Opposes War Beyond Afghanistan [But did he say this before the vote on sending German troops into Afghanistan, or after?] * When the dust settles in Afghanistan, where will Bush take his war on terror? [Rupert Cornwell. Extracts. Attempt to reflect on what the wider US foreign policy will be like after Sept 11. Much what it was before Sept 11] * Imagining the liberation of Iraq [The Jerusalem Post looks forward (with exemplary concern for the wellbeing of an Arab population) to the liberation of Baghdad. They also conclude that sanctions arenıt doing a lot of good, since: Western Europe and Russiaı are trading with Saddam, including billions of dollars in sales of dual-use technology for weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missilesı. Scary, eh? * Don't take the war to Baghdad [Similar arguments to the Andrew Murray article above - Arab public opinion and even domestic US opinion (!). It somehow feels a bit weak. And it is defending a status quo that is itself putrid] * Iraq 'not linked to September 11' [Given that one assumes intelligence agencies always have political reasons for what they say, why should Israeli agencies be downplaying the possibility of an Iraqi connection to Sept 11?] * U.S. Turns Attention to Iraq * Oil fears make attack on Iraq unlikely [Argument that we canıt go to war against Iraq because it will push the price of oil up. Unfortunately the argument is rather successfully refuted in A case for moving against Saddam etcı below] * We were wrong to let Saddam go, claims Gulf war adviser * Now we must try and free the Iraqis from Saddam Hussein [David Aaronovitch. The article is mostly an expression of hatred directed against S.Hussein. Do any of us like him very much? He doesnıt think Bush is as bad as Hussein, but badness is largely a matter of circumstances. The Bushes have killed many more people than Saddam but theyıve done it at a distance through a multitude of willing agents. Whether they would have enjoyed doing it themselves or not we do not know. It would have been very impolitic on their part to try. However, if Aaronovitch pours out a lot of spleen on folk such as ourselves he ends up coming to the right conclusion: I am now convinced that we must, as soon as we can, end almost all sanctions, allow Iraq to use its oil revenuesı. And he provides the strongest, indeed the only, good argument Iıve seen all week for not invading Iraq (that is to say, the only argument that would cut any ice with the US administration in the present circumstances), namely that there is no way it could be done without American soldiers being obliged to wage a land war, and some of them getting killed] * We've only just begun, says Bush, but allies urge caution [The emphasis here is on likely targets other than Iraq, all of them being Muslim] * A case for moving against Saddam after bin Laden's defeat in Afghanistan [A well written article, apparently from the Iraqi opposition, which suggests that the arguments against waging war on Iraq are less convincing than were the arguments against waging war on Afghanistan.] * US unlikely to widen war against terror [Problems of pursuing war against targets another than Iraq. Failed statesı can be hit with Cruise missiles but, and one senses the authorıs regret: In Europeı (where al-Qaeda is also present) this could not be done.ı Phew. * Let's not rush into W.W. IV AND, IN NEWS, 17-24/11/01 (2) ENFORCING THE EMBARGO * Navy Searching for Sailors, Iraqis * 2 US Sailors, 3 Iraqis Presumed Dead [Sinking of unseaworthy vessel, oil slick in Gulf, predictable consequences of the embargo] * Iraq accuses US navy of sinking ship in Gulf [Iraqi view of the story] * Malaysian oil tanker seized for violating UN sanctions * A Hard Look at Iraq Sanctions [An apparently objective, even-handed account which ends up with a rose-tinted spectacle view of Oil for Food and Smart Sanctions. Some sensible suggestions for improving smart sanctions which in themselves, by the fact theyıre not already agreed, make up a quite severe critique: permitting foreign investment in Iraq, eliminating restrictions on non-oil exports, and providing cash for the purchase of food and other goods from local producers rather than foreign suppliersı. IRAQIMIDDLE EASTERN/ARAB WORLD RELATIONS * Saudi suspicions [General account of Saudi/US relations. Nothing we havenıt seen before. Iıve just given extracts relating to Iraq] * Gulf war fresh in its mind, Kuwait keeps eye on Iraq [Account of life on the Kuwaiti side of the Iraq/Kuwaiti border] * Two Iraqis sentenced to death in Jordan * U.S. troop buildup in Kuwait sends signal to Iraq * Iraq Says It Foiled 'Terrorist' Attack in Baghdad IRAQI/INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS * Ottawa individuals, businesses believed to have terrorist links to Iraq [This is about the anti-Iranian Mujaheedin Khalq and some of its members operating in Canada. But should the US decide (and it has been suggested) to expand the war against terrorism to Iran, surely the Mujaheedin Khalq (who are to Iran what the INC canıt quite bring itself to be to Iraq) will turn into Freedom Fighters.] * Russian Ural plant builds 60 big tractors for Iraq IRAQI OPPOSITION * Iraqi Opposition Rejects Money Offer [Difficulties of establishing terrorist cells in Iraq without money from the US government] IRAQI/UN RELATIONS * Major-general Miguel Angel Moreno Appointed Force Commander In United Nations Iraq Kuwait Observation Mission * UN doles out Gulf War reparations * Revenue for U.N. Iraq Plan Plummets * Iraq to consider return of weapons monitoring WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTIONı * U.S. says Iraq, N. Korea have biological weapons [Conference on the proposed Biological and Toxic Weapons Convention. Sabotaged by US desire to protect its pharmaceutical industry from prying eyes. The US is now proposing among other things international rules to combat biological weapons production by making it easy for those accused in another country to be extraditedı. Extradited where, we wonder. * Arms Experts Say Anthrax Attacks a Wake-Up Call [Argument that EVERYONE, including the US and Israel, should be subject to inspection. This is the argument that should be at the centre of the debate, if it can be called that, over weapons inspections and Iraq] * Iraq Rebuts U.S. Claims on Violating Germ Arms Ban [Hypocrisy of US accusations that Iraq has biological weapons] * US will use Iraq arms threat as pretext for attack Baghdad [Similar to previous but with different emphasis and details] INSIDE IRAQ * Former Iraqi envoy denies rift with Saddam * Hussein invites Iraqis for Ramadan [To his palaces. You see, heıs not really such a bad guy after all] NORTHERN IRAQ/SOUTHERN KURDISTAN * Kurds 'caught in the crossfire' [Uneasiness over position of Kurds in the event of an attack on Iraq] GENERAL INTEREST * Return of the H-Block [Well written polemic against the new terrorist legislation. Begins by evoking the case of Iraq students rounded up at the outbreak of the Jihad against Iraq] FINGER POINTING AT IRAQ http://www.dawn.com/2001/11/17/int14.htm * NOW IT'S TIME TO HALT THE WAR by Andrew Murray Dawn (Pakistan) 17th, 01 Ramazan 1422 The article also appeared in the Guardian [.....] The danger is that the war on terrorism will simply move on, to more intractable targets than the brittle Taliban movement. The "forward to Iraq" faction in the US administration is now in full cry. Donald Rumsfeld, the defence secretary, has already been quick to downplay any suggestion that the demise of the Taliban and imminent liquidation of Osama bin Laden's infrastructure in Afghanistan are the end of the matter. No remotely credible evidence has been adduced to link the Saddam government with the horrific attacks of September 11. Instead a climate is being created for an intensification of the current Anglo-American bombing of Iraq as the logical next step. In recent weeks, there has been a stream of intelligence-inspired stories attempting to link Saddam either with September 11 or the anthrax attacks in the US, while the FBI is convinced they were the work of a lone home-grown terrorist. Nevertheless Baghdad, not New Jersey, is in the Pentagon's sights. This would be fraught with still greater dangers than anything done so far. The Iraqi government is not as friendless as the Taliban. And any attack, coming on top of a sanctions regime which has already killed more than half a million Iraqi children in the past 10 years, according to the UN's own tally, would inevitably reinforce the view that this is indeed a war against Muslim peoples. That opinion is not just held in the Middle East. According to this week's BBC opinion poll, it is shared by most British Muslims, too. Extending the war will surely be the quickest way to ensure that a hundred Osama bin Ladens' are created for every one that is captured or killed. The alternative is to attempt a peaceful solution to the crisis, which also means addressing the concerns of the Arab and Muslim worlds - for a Palestinian state and an end to the futile sanctions against Iraq above all. Last week, western public support for the Bush-Blair war was heading south faster than Taliban troops have been this week. In Germany and Spain more than 60 per cent wanted an end to the bombing. French and British support for the campaign was also falling fast. [.....] http://www.reuters.com/news_article.jhtml?type=worldnews&StoryID=381673 * SCHROEDER: EUROPE OPPOSES WAR BEYOND AFGHANISTAN Reuters, 16th November BERLIN: Several European Union states oppose widening the U.S.-led war on terrorism beyond Afghanistan, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said on Friday. "Britain, France, Germany and others agree with each other that this would be wrong to do," Schroeder told ZDF television when asked about the possibility of widening the war. Some members of the U.S. administration have hinted that the war on terrorism could extend beyond Afghanistan. One possible target could be Iraq, amid clues of contacts Baghdad had with the leader of the Sept. 11 attack on the World Trade Center. Schroeder said there were no signs that the United States had plans to widen the war. The German leader spoke on a day that his government narrowly survived a parliamentary confidence vote over the issue of mobilizing troops to Afghanistan. http://news.independent.co.uk/world/asia_china/story.jsp?story=105547 * WHEN THE DUST SETTLES IN AFGHANISTAN, WHERE WILL BUSH TAKE HIS WAR ON TERROR? by Rupert Cornwell Independent, 18th November [.....] At first glance, the unilateralist, let-the-rest-go-hang mindset for which George Bush was excoriated in the first few months of his Presidency seems to have been expunged by the devastating shock of 11 September. It may have taken the mass murder of 5,000 of its citizens on its own soil, but America is conscious once more of a world beyond its borders, and accepting of its role as what Madeleine Albright, Bill Clinton's Secretary of State, once called "the indispensable nation". Look more closely, however, and this is leadership with a diamond-hard, unilateralist edge. Take the "Bush doctrine" which the President expounded at the United Nations last weekend. Either you are with us or against us, he told his audience; there was no middle way. Countries had to stand up and be counted. "Every nation has a stake in this cause. For every regime that sponsors terror there is a price to be paid, and it will be paid." There was, Mr Bush stressed, no such thing as a good terrorist. And so to the post-Afghanistan Phase Two. Taken at face value, Mr Bush's words mean that the likes of Hamas and Hizbollah, and those who shelter them, will be in the sights of the US. But is Washington really going to take on states such as Iran, avowed sponsors of terror against Israel, but which are being to borrow a diplomat's favourite word "helpful" in the present crisis? Almost certainly not. But anything less would merely bear out the complaint that this a war not against terrorists but against America's enemies. And then of course there is Iraq. Early on, Paul Wolfowitz, the icily brainy Deputy Secretary of Defense, led a chorus of conservative hawks in demanding action against Baghdad, partly out of a genuine belief that Saddam Hussein was involved with al-Qa'ida, and partly out of frustration that in 10 years the US had not been able to finish the job that George Bush Snr embarked upon so promisingly a decade ago, before deciding not to go all the way to Baghdad. Mr Wolfowitz has since gone silent, and the don't-rock-the-boat approach of Colin Powell has prevailed. First things first, says the Secretary of State. Get the Taliban out, eliminate Mr bin Laden and his henchmen, and then let's think about Iraq. Sooner or later, however, Saddam will be back on the agenda. But when he is, asks a leading Western diplomat here, "What do they really imagine they're going to do?" "No one's thought it through. Do you bomb Iraq like it was Afghanistan, kill maybe thousands of people and turn the entire Arab world against you? Or do you send half a million troops as in 1991 only with the difference that this time countries such as Saudi Arabia won't let you in? Or do you send in special forces to get Saddam, when you don't have decent intelligence on the ground to tell you where he is?" Short, then, of conclusive proof linking Iraq with al-Qa'ida, or that Saddam is planning to use weapons of mass destruction against the US, no dramatic step against Baghdad. Rather Iraq will be a target among many others, in the "war" in earnest against terrorism, a campaign of attrition which to be fair Mr Bush has all along warned might last for years. [.....] In short, nothing Mr Bush has done suggests any departure from Palmerston's script nor that America's longer-term policies will greatly change. He is more fixated than ever on missile defence, however useless it is against terrorists who crash airliners into skyscrapers. But this President's perceived unilateralism was no novelty. Bill Clinton could talk the talk like no other but when it came to walking the walk, he was not so different from Mr Bush. It was under Mr Clinton that the US refused to ratify the nuclear test-ban treaty, first cast doubt on a 1972 treaty outlawing biological weapons, spurned the proposed International Criminal Court and failed to pay its dues at the United Nations cynically signing up to Kyoto and the ICC only after the November 2000 presidential election, in moves tailored to win approval from the undiscerning abroad, but made in the full knowledge that neither agreement had a snowball's chance in hell of ratification by Congress. "The difference between Clinton and Bush is one of language," says a Washington insider who knows both men. "Bush is saying much the same thing; he just puts it more bluntly." All of which suggests that when the dust settles in Afghanistan, and the "war against terrorism" turns into one of mainly covert action and of unceasing but unspectacular vigilance, America will revert to its old ways. Its approach to the world may become not less self-centred, but more self-centred than ever. http://www.jpost.com/Editions/2001/11/18/Opinion/Opinion.38282.html * IMAGINING THE LIBERATION OF IRAQ by Gerald M. Steinberg Jerusalem Post, 18th November How will Iraqis celebrate the demise of Saddam Hussein and his "Republic of Fear?" Will they wrap themselves in American flags, instead of burning them? Will they blow up the ubiquitous statues of Saddam, or pulverize them into rubble? Whatever form it takes, the liberation of Kabul will look like a warm-up for the main event. The spontaneous joy in Afghanistan shows that even in the most repressed societies, basic human instincts of freedom and liberty continue to survive. Immediately after the Taliban's Islamic enforcers and Arab mercenaries fled, men ran out to get their hair trimmed and to remove their beards. The streets were filled with music for the first time in years, and women emerged outside to breath again. The celebrations in liberated Afghanistan are reminiscent of the street parties and celebrations in Prague after the communist regime finally crumbled. The expulsion and destruction of the Taliban will not, in itself, end Afghanistan's problems, particularly given the record of the Northern Alliance when it ruled in the previous round. Perhaps somewhat wiser following their previous experiences, and with the pressure from the US, the leaders of the Northern Alliance may rise to the occasion, and break the cycle of war between Pashtuns and the other Afghani groups. Beyond attempting to settle Afghanistan's future, the main objectives for US President George W. Bush remains the capture of Osama bin Laden and the destruction of the Qaida terror network. This may take some time, particularly if they have already escaped to another safe haven. However, a stable and open government in Afghanistan (perhaps even a democracy) will at least take this territory out of the map used by Islamic terrorist movements. American and British officials also correctly continue to emphasize that the war in Afghanistan is only the first stage of the war against terrorism. There are also many other active hosts, including Syria, Lebanon, and the Palestinian Authority, but Baghdad is the top priority. Clear evidence points to direct Iraqi involvement in the September 11 attacks, including the meetings in Prague between Muhammad Atta, the chief of the suicide hijackers, and Iraqi officials. In addition, the Iraqis are known to have operated training facilities and programs for commandeering aircraft and steering them to destruction. Saddam also continues to build and acquire deadly weapons of mass destruction - chemical, biological, and nuclear - and to develop different delivery systems. The anthrax that has killed a number of people in the US may well have originated in the programs that Saddam hid from the UN inspectors for many years. If the threat of terrorism is to be addressed seriously, Iraq is next in line. As in the case of Taliban and al-Qaida, the stakes involved in Iraq go beyond targeting Saddam and destroying his support networks and terrorist operations. The Iraqi people have suffered under Saddam's tyranny for decades, and for them, the images of celebration from Kabul must be particularly tantalizing. Ten years ago, the US committed a huge error, both political and moral, by stopping short of deposing Saddam. As a result, the Iraqi people were forced to resign themselves to continued repression by one of the most violent regimes in the world. The bombing campaign and support for the opposition forces that successfully routed the Taliban provides renewed hope that the US and its allies will complete the job of liberating Iraq from terror and tyranny. While the Taliban controlled and ruined the lives of ordinary Afghanis through enforcement of an extreme form of Islamic fundamentalism, Saddam simply terrorizes his people into submission. The Iraqi opposition groups are, in some ways, the equivalent of the Afghani Northern Alliance. Neither may be the perfect ally, but the time has come to support groups working to topple Saddam and give the Iraqi people a chance for a new beginning. As a preliminary step, the leaders in Western Europe and Russia will first have to stop trading with Saddam, including billions of dollars in sales of dual-use technology for weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles. This duplicity not only allowed Saddam to survive, but systematically undermined the UN sanctions regime designed to limit his capabilities. Saddam's regime is also more firmly entrenched than the low-tech and untrained Taliban forces, and will be harder to defeat. Nevertheless, beyond the need to dismantle the world's most dangerous terrorist network, it is time for the Iraqi people to celebrate their liberation and freedom in the streets of Baghdad. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/printedition/chi 0111200150nov20.story?coll=chi%2Dprinteditorial%2Dhed * DON'T TAKE THE WAR TO BAGHDAD Chicago tribune, 20th November With the war in Afghanistan going so well, some people think this is the perfect time to deal with a matter left over from a previous war. Many conservatives want to expand our target list to include Iraq's Saddam Hussein, whom they regard as an ally of Al Qaeda and the biggest terrorist threat in the world today. Otherwise, they warn, he will remain in place to build weapons of mass destruction and, someday, use them against America or its allies. They also believe it would be a simple task to remove our longtime nemesis once and for all. Columnist William Safire of The New York Times suggests that the approach we have used to oust the Taliban--U.S. air power combined with indigenous opposition military forces and a population weary of oppression--could also yield quick success in Iraq. It's a tempting idea, but not a convincing one. Taking the war to Hussein would be a much more formidable undertaking than defeating the Taliban, and one that might do as much to undermine the current war against terrorism as to enhance it. In the first place, the war in Afghanistan is not over, and may not be for a long time. The collapse of most Taliban strongholds has been swift and surprising. But Taliban resistance may be hard to eradicate entirely. Whatever government inherits power in Kabul may face a protracted guerilla war. In addition, the tedious job of smashing the Al Qaeda network in Afghanistan and dozens of other countries has only begun. Attacking Iraq would not help this effort. Just the opposite. Much of the behind-the-scenes help Washington has gotten from governments in the Muslim world would suddenly evaporate. Anti-American sentiment in the Middle East might boil out of control, endangering comparatively moderate regimes in Cairo, Riyadh and beyond. Nor is there any guarantee that Iraqi opposition groups would prove as aggressive and resourceful as the Northern Alliance has in Afghanistan. Advocates of a wider war suspect Saddam Hussein helped the hijackers who hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Yet the evidence to support that charge remains thin at best. Without a solid case, Washington would find itself with few allies in the effort. It would also sow debilitating doubts here at home--unlike in the war in Afghanistan, where the urgency of answering the Sept. 11 attacks assured that Americans would be united in their resolve to win. While the Iraqi dictator unquestionably has developed chemical and biological armaments, and has made great efforts to acquire nuclear ones, he conspicuously declined to use them against the United States when American forces were routing his army during the Gulf War. Why? Because he knew he would be inviting overwhelming retaliation that would mean the end of him and his regime. The demolition of the Taliban should also deter mischief-making by letting Hussein know that if he is implicated in attacks on America, he will face the same fate. That work, however, is still in progress. Less urgent concerns should not be allowed to get in the way of finishing it. http://portal.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2001/11/21/wirq21.xm l&sSheet=/news/2001/11/21/ixhome.html * IRAQ 'NOT LINKED TO SEPTEMBER 11' by Anton La Guardia Daily Telegraph, 21st November ISRAELI intelligence agencies have not detected any link between Iraq and the September 11 terrorist attacks, officials said yesterday. They also dismissed claims that Osama bin Laden has acquired nuclear weapons. The Czech Republic has confirmed that the suspected ringleader of the September 11 hijackers, Mohammed Atta, had met an Iraqi intelligence agent in Prague earlier this year. But Israeli officials say this does not amount to evidence of Iraq's involvement in the attacks. "Our assessment is that bin Laden works without co-operating with governments," said one Israeli official. "It is too easy to detect the intelligence fingerprint of an administration or a leader. Many intelligence agencies are focused on Iraq. I am sure bin Laden is clever enough to avoid them." http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,39282,00.html * U.S. TURNS ATTENTION TO IRAQ Fox News, 21st November WASHINGTON The Pentagon has turned its sights toward Iraq as the world braces for the war on terror to expand. Administration officials said this week that Iraq, at the top of the State Department's list of leading state sponsors of terrorism, continues to pose a threat with a suspected biological weapons program still in the works. Fox News has learned that satellite surveillance has picked up Iraq hiding military and other equipment, as if anticipating an attack. "We see a good deal of evidence -- chemical, biological and even nuclear -- that the Iraqis are working both with their indigenous capabilities and acquiring what they can illicitly on the international market," said Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz. During an appearance Wednesday at Ft. Campbell, Ky., President Bush did not mention Iraq by name, but repeated his warning that any nation sponsoring terrorists will draw the wrath of the United States and its allies. "America has a message for the nations of the world: If you harbor terrorists, you are a terrorist; if you train or arm a terrorist, you are a terrorist; if you feed a terrorist or fund a terrorist, you're a terrorist, and you will be held accountable by the United States and our friends," Bush told soldiers preparing for possible deployment to Afghanistan. In private, Secretary of State Colin Powell has been the chief opponent to expanding the war on terror beyond Afghanistan, and has argued that it would disrupt the international coalition and lose Muslim and Arab support. But Powell's deputy, Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control and Security John Bolton, said Iraq is the second deadliest threat to the world. "Beyond Al Qaeda, the most serious concern is Iraq. Iraq's biological weapons program remains a serious threat to international security," Bolton said this week. The Iraqis have denied any involvement in the Sept. 11 attacks, and Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein even corresponded with an American who sent him an e-mail urging him to make peace with Bush. Hussein offered his condolences for the lost lives but made no gesture that his anti-American position is softening. Hussein's intransigence has defense planners drawing up potential target sites for possible bombing and has elevated discussion between the Defense and State Departments about possibly attacking Hussein -- options that the president has not discounted, according to Wolfowitz. "This is a president who encourages debate among advisers, encourages having options presented to him, has no hesitation to make decisions," Wolfowitz said. That debate, however, may be muted as proponents of attacking Iraq have become more visible and vocal, and critics have faded from the scene. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/getarticle.pl5?eo20011122a1.htm * OIL FEARS MAKE ATTACK ON IRAQ UNLIKELY by Gwynne Dyer Japan Times, 22nd November LONDON -- "We hear that Iraq may be targeted," said Sheik Ahmed Zaki al-Yamani, oil minister of Saudi Arabia during the 1970s and '80s heyday of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and now chairman of the London-based Center for Global Energy Studies. "Now, if that is a fact, the attacks will remove Iraqi production (from the marketplace). There could be knock-on effects." By which he meant very expensive oil. Yamani made his remarks six weeks ago, just before the United States began bombing Afghanistan. Now, with the Taliban regime near collapse and the first phase of President George W. Bush's "war on terrorism" seemingly close to success, speculation in Washington about a follow-on strike against Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq is growing daily more heated. But if an attack on Iraq means soaring oil prices and, in turn, a longer and deeper recession in the U.S., then Saddam is probably safe. Oil remains the most volatile key commodity in the global economy, having dropped to as low as $10 a barrel and soared above $30 a barrel within the past 30 months. The price more or less stabilized in the upper $20s during most of this year, but it again nudged $30 after the terrorist attacks in the U.S. on Sept. 11, only to fall below $20 as the rapidly deepening recession ate into demand. At the moment, the fear in the OPEC countries is that they cannot halt a renewed slide toward the $10 mark, so they are trying to enforce a cut in production to hold the price up. OPEC has already announced three production cuts this year, amounting to more than 3 million barrels a day or 13 percent of its entire output, but it is now seeking a further cut of 1.5 million b/d among the OPEC countries accompanied by a half-million barrel cut by the biggest non-OPEC oil exporters Mexico, Norway and Russia. Since the OPEC cut will only happen if the non-OPEC producers agree to their share of the cuts, this is by no means assured. Russia, in particular, is playing for bigger political stakes during the current crisis. Moscow is trying to earn credit toward eventual membership in the World Trade Organization, the European Union and even NATO by being very helpful to the West on all sorts of political, military and economic issues. If Russia refuses to cut its oil production, the whole proposed 2 million b/d cut by OPEC and non-OPEC countries will probably fail and the price will go on dropping. Given the steep fall in global demand for oil as the recession deepens -- airlines alone are expected to be using 400,000 barrels less per day by December -- the price could continue to drift downward even if the package of cuts occurs. But the underlying volatility remains. It would be a very different story if the 2.8 million barrels per day currently produced by Iraq were suddenly removed from the world's oil supply. That would be the very least that would happen if the U.S. attacked Iraq, as the Washington lobby led by Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz continues to urge. The impact of a U.S. attack on Iraq on the global oil supply could be even greater, since Hussein might retain for some time the ability to threaten tankers carrying oil from neighboring Gulf countries like Iran, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. If the Arab world, including its major oil exporters, were to close ranks and impose an oil embargo in response to an essentially unprovoked attack on Iraq, then the consequences could be as extreme as in 1973. Even stopping the flow of oil from Iraq would be enough to send the price soaring well past $30 a barrel. If there were any convincing evidence that Iraq was implicated in the terrorist attacks on the U.S. last September, popular pressure on the U.S. government to strike back against Hussein might well be irresistible, but there is not. There is only the general suspicion and hostility that permeates all American dealings with the Iraqi dictator, plus a clique of bureaucrats that very badly want to finish off the job that the previous Bush administration failed to accomplish during the Gulf War 10 years ago. We are in the early stages of a global recession that has probably been made worse by the events of Sept. 11 and after, but it was already going to be pretty bad. For the first time in 30 years, all three industrialized regions of the world, North America, Europe and Japan, are entering a recession together -- and as the International Monetary Fund recently pointed out, it is in unlikely in any case that the biggest, longest boom of the past half-century will be followed by a short, shallow recession. The length of the recession matters to the Bush administration. It will almost certainly last long enough to do the Republicans some damage in the mid-term Congressional elections that are now only a year away. A really lengthy recession could also destroy Bush's own hopes of re-election two years later. Now consider, what single event would be most likely to kill an early recovery and condemn the global economy to a very long recession? That's right: soaring energy prices. So how likely is it that Bush will sanction a U.S. attack on Iraq that would send the oil price through the roof? Exactly. http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,603349,00.html * WE WERE WRONG TO LET SADDAM GO, CLAIMS GULF WAR ADVISER by Duncan Campbell Guardian, 22nd November The former US secretary of state, Lawrence Eagleburger, now believes that the US should have pursued Saddam Hussein, pushed on to Baghdad and driven the Iraqi leader from power during the 1991 Gulf war. His claim came as a further 2,000 US troops arrived in Kuwait to take part in war exercises aimed as a warning to Iraq. Mr Eagleburger, who was deputy secretary of state during the Gulf war, was one of many advisers who counselled against pursuing President Saddam to Baghdad after Iraqi troops had withdrawn from Kuwait. But this week he said he had changed his mind. He told CNN: "In retrospect I'm not sure we were correct - in the end, while I thoroughly understand and totally supported President Bush's decision not to pursue Saddam personally, I am now prepared to admit that it was probably a mistake." He was far from alone in the Bush senior inner circle in advising against hot pursuit: "I didn't hear anyone making the argument very strenuously, quite frankly." The decision not to move on Baghdad had been backed at the time by both politicians and the military. "We had declared that our purpose was to drive the Iraqis out of Kuwait," he said. "We never said our purpose was to replace the Iraqi leadership." The US would also have faced opposition from its Arab allies if it had decided to press on, he said. The comments of the former secretary of state are significant in that some of the more hawkish advisers of the present President Bush are pressing for President Saddam to become a target of the current military action. They see the current alliance as an opportunity to unseat the Iraqi leader as part of a campaign against international terrorism, as an additional 2,000 US troops started to arrive in Kuwait to take part in "desert war games". The troops will join 5,000 troops already stationed in the country. They will take part in a training operation but their presence is bound to raise suspicions that an assault on Iraq remains a possibility. Any US action against Iraq would threaten the fragile relationship with Arab states that have so far backed the action against Osama bin Laden. http://argument.independent.co.uk/regular_columnists/david_aaronovitch/story .jsp?story=106324 * NOW WE MUST TRY AND FREE THE IRAQIS FROM SADDAM HUSSEIN by David Aaronovitch Independent, 23rd November Right. who's next? The MP George Galloway says that "senior" people in the Iraqi government (and George knows a few) expect it to be them. This view seemed to be backed up by yesterday's editorial in the New York Times, which stated that "there continues to be an intense debate within the Bush administration about the next phase of the war, including whether to take it to Iraq and try to defeat Saddam Hussein." Wait. Iraq is one of our greatest failures. 10 years after the Gulf War and the victory against Saddam Hussein, his people suffer more than ever from his tyranny and the efforts of others to contain it. They have the worst of all possible deals and their plight is an inevitable feature of savage criticism of the West, whether it comes from the troglodytic Mr bin Laden, the anti-war movement, ordinary Muslims or Third World leaders. As a symbol, the children of Iraq are almost more potent than the children of Palestine. That hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children are supposed to have died "because of sanctions" manages simultaneously to be "a truth that is not allowed to enter public consciousness" (John Pilger in the New Statesman this and almost every other week) and also a claim which I encounter all the time. These trade sanctions were imposed under Resolution 661 of the UN Security Council shortly after the invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Medical supplies, food and humanitarian items were excluded from the embargo. Since 1996, there has also been an "oil for food" system, which allows the proceeds from Iraqi oil sales to go to civilian use. What has happened since then is the subject of an intense propaganda war, one which America has comprehensively lost. The statistic most believed is that "half a million Iraqi children have died as a direct result of US sanctions". This figure derives from a Unicef report from 1999. It was arrived at by taking the trend line for the reduction in infant and child mortality in Iraq during the 1980s, calculating what the trend for the 1990s should have been, and then noting the difference. In fact Unicef's conclusion was: "Even if not all suffering in Iraq can be imputed to external factors, especially sanctions, the Iraqi people would not be undergoing such deprivations in the absence of the prolonged measures imposed by the Security Council and the effects of war." It is not the same thing as "sanctions kill half a million", but isn't a squillion miles away either. It's also rather contentious. One observer can argue in a report: "A dose of ordinary antibiotics would have saved the baby, but since the end of the Persian Gulf War there has been no such thing as ordinary medicine in Iraq. Or food. Or water." Another observer concludes that, "The sanctions are not crippling the entire country, as some pundits would have us believe. While the sanctions and the oil-for-food monitoring committees regulate which goods can enter Iraq, the UN has little power to control distribution." In the autonomous northern region, under the same sanctions but not under Saddam, the rate of mortality of children under five years old fell from 90 to 72 deaths per 1,000 live births between 1994 and 1999. Even so, and allowing for Saddam's exceptional insouciance concerning the deaths of his country's children, it is the West and not the Iraqi dictator that has taken the blame. In 1996, one American Middle Eastern think-tank wrote, "Whether the Iraqi regime is responsible for the continuation of sanctions or not is irrelevant. You do not shoot a plane down because it has been hijacked." Well OK, you do now. Right there, in that moustachioed persona, is the problem. None of us quite know what to do with Saddam. This week, John Pilger seemed to be suggesting that not only was there a moral equivalence between Saddam Hussein and George Bush Senior, but that the latter (and, for that matter, his son) was probably worse. This, I think, would be true had either of the Bushes: taken power in a coup; physically wiped out the Democratic Party; had Noam Chomsky murdered and his children tortured; attacked Russia without provocation and then fought her unsuccessfully for ten years and at the loss of a million casualties; and when that was over, invaded and held Canada until forced out; dropped mustard gas on the campus at Berkeley; or looked on indulgently one Thanksgiving Day as his twin daughters shot various other family members while they sat round the dinner table. Saddam is a sadist of the "I watch, you die" variety, who destroyed the Marsh Arabs through damming (if only the anti-Iliusu dam protesters had been around then) whereas Dubya's worst vices may include a bit of light bondage and denying the occasional stay of execution. I was reminded by the BBC the other night of what was found in the torture chambers of Suleimaniyeh when it was liberated by the Kurds in 1991 and what would still be found now if Baghdad were to become free. So Saddam Hussein is bad. But is he a menace? No, says Hans Von Sponeck, the much quoted former director of the oil for food programme. "Iraq today," he says, "is no longer a military threat to anyone. Intelligence agencies know this. All the different conjectures about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq lack evidence." People who quote Sponeck and who are therefore unfussed by the throwing out of the United Nations arms inspectors in 1998 rarely go on to mention the testimony of people such as Khidhir Hamza, a scientist who defected in 1994 and who did give evidence of the existence of two atomic devices as well as loads of various unpleasant gases. This, I suggest to Mr Pilger, is certainly something that has failed to reach public consciousness. As has the work of Dr Germ herself, Dr Rihab Taha, the scientific Eichmann of Saddam's biological weapons team. Still, all the options not only look bad, but they are bad. Saddam cannot be toppled by proxy. We lost our chance to do that when we failed to help the anti-Saddam insurgents who rose against him in 1991. The opposition forces are weak and divided. Nor can we engineer a coup d'etat from the outside. Nor do we know, in the event of such a coup, who would take over. The moment disappeared, too, for mounting a broad coalition, invading Iraq and installing an interim government to be replaced, eventually, by an elected one. Though I think that, if this were to happen, there would be such joy in the streets of Baghdad as we haven't seen anywhere since 1989. Recent scenes in Kabul remind us that people rather like freedom, even though some of us tend to forget it. And I am now convinced that we must, as soon as we can, end almost all sanctions, allow Iraq to use its oil revenues, and kill the excuses that tie Saddam to his suffering countrymen and women. We can demand, as a quid pro quo, the return of arms inspectors in the form of the new United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission, Unmovic (the replacement for the former UN Special Commission, Unscom, which was given the mandate to disarm Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction.) Then least worst vigilant, we wait for him to die (he's 64), or we wait for him to act. One will give the Iraqi people an opportunity, and the other, regrettably, will force the completion by us of a task that has taken too long. http://www.smh.com.au/news/0111/23/world/world1.html * WE'VE ONLY JUST BEGUN, SAYS BUSH, BUT ALLIES URGE CAUTION by Gay Alcorn Sydney Morning Herald, 23rd November The United States, flushed with military success in Afghanistan, is insisting that its war against terrorism is just beginning, with plans underway to destroy terrorist cells in the Asia Pacific and possible military strikes against Iraq. The push came as Britain's Sky News broadcast television pictures late yesterday that it said showed hundreds of Taliban fighters surrendering Kunduz, their last enclave in northern Afghanistan. But any plan to widen the war on terrorism risks a serious split with America's European allies. A European government minister has warned against any move to launch strikes on Iraq. Germany's Foreign Minister, Joschka Fischer, said after meeting members of the Bush administration that Europe would have "very, very serious questions about engaging Iraq" as part of the war on terror. The clearest indication yet that the US wants to take the war to new fronts came yesterday from the President, George Bush. Addressing cheering soldiers in Kentucky, he made it clear that the "Bush Doctrine" - to treat nations which harbour terrorists as enemies of the US - would not end with the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. "Afghanistan is just the beginning on the war against terror," he said at Fort Campbell, home of the 101st Airborne Division. "There are other terrorists who threaten America and our friends, and there are other nations willing to sponsor them." Calling the US "patient and determined and relentless", Mr Bush said it would "not be secure as a nation until all these threats are defeated". The Secretary of Defence, Donald Rumsfeld, was equally bellicose before troops in North Carolina, telling them they would carry the president's message to US enemies, "sealed with the muscle and might of the greatest warrior force on earth". The next phase of the war will be far more complicated than the seven-week campaign in Afghanistan, in which the Taliban have been internationally isolated. While there is intense debate in the Bush administration about toppling Iraq's Saddam Hussein, the focus now is to eliminate the al-Qaeda network, which the administration says operates in about 60 countries. Several weeks ago, Mr Rumsfeld asked US military chiefs to draw up counter-terrorist plans, and the Philippines has emerged as a high priority. This week, Mr Bush promised the President of the Philippines, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, assistance in wiping out the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf, which has links with al-Qaeda. The administration will give equipment including a C-130 transport plane, eight helicopters, a patrol boat and 30,000 M-16 rifles plus ammunition. A Knight-Ridder report said the US is also drafting plans for military action against training camps, bases and other al-Qaeda targets throughout the world. One plan, officials said, would see navy commandos seizing coastal freighters that the US believes al-Qaeda uses to smuggle weapons to Islamic extremists in Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea. Washington's focus is also strongly on Islamic extremists in Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim country. http://www.dailystar.com.lb/opinion/23_11_01_c.htm * A CASE FOR MOVING AGAINST SADDAM AFTER BIN LADEN'S DEFEAT IN AFGHANISTAN Lebanon Daily Star, 23rd November (thanks to Salwa de Vree) Despite the fact that the war in Afghanistan still has a long way to go, the events of the last several weeks have nevertheless changed many strongly-held convictions. These shifts will have a bearing on the way the US will deal with Iraq in future. With strong American backing, the forces of the Afghan Northern Alliance have scored quick and decisive victories. But it seems that while deciding the Taleban's fate as a political force has been a relatively straightforward task, the political and diplomatic effort aimed at coming up with an acceptable alternative is still in its infancy, and will undoubtedly be seen as the yardstick by which US and Western success is measured. The measure of success in Afghanistan will be the way in which the Afghan nation is rebuilt and not only the killing (or capture) of Osama bin Laden. It is simply not enough to 'dry up the Taleban swamp' to get bin Laden, only to leave another 'swamp' in its place which might well spawn another Taleban in coming years. Military campaigns in places such as East Timor, Bosnia and Kosovo were only deemed successful because they created conditions conducive to building more secure and stable societies. Success in Afghanistan in which conditions are more complex will consecrate a new US and international course of action which will inevitably be reflected on other trouble spots, of which Iraq might well be the first. Over the last 10 years, many excuses have been cited against direct American intervention to help overthrow the Saddam Hussein regime. Among these is the absence of an alternative acceptable to neighboring states and fears that the country might slide into chaos, affecting Iraq's neighbors. Conflicting regional interests and suspicions made the continued existence of the Saddam Hussein regime a second-best choice. Iran fears the rise of a pro-Washington regime in Baghdad, while Damascus fears that the overthrow of the Baathist regime might have negative ramifications for its own survival. For its part, Turkey fears rising Kurdish ambitions, while the Gulf Arab states tremble at the prospect of a Shiite-ruled Iraq which they see as enhancing Iran's influence over their own Shiite minorities. Divisions among the different factions making up the Iraqi opposition, and the lack of a unified leadership are also reasons for Hussein's survival as well as the fact that his regime no longer poses a credible threat to Iraq's neighbors, having been contained by sanctions, no fly zones, and the presence of US forces in the Gulf. American public opinion is unprepared to countenance the use of US forces for the sake of overthrowing the Iraqi regime, especially since Congress only approved of president George W. Bush's decision to go to war against Iraq by one vote. Arab and Muslim public opinion is opposed to US intervention in Iraq and there is a lack of an international coalition in support of this sort of action. Russia, with its large commercial stake in Iraq, is particularly opposed. Another issue would be Iraq's unfettered return to the world oil market, which will cause convulsions that will undermine the interests of all major oil producers. America's ally Saudi Arabia will be the first to suffer. Another point: cessation of Iraqi oil exports as a result of military intervention will cause oil prices to rise to unacceptable levels. Consequently, it is far better to keep things as they are, with Iraq exporting oil but within defined limits. All these 'facts' were somewhat altered by what was achieved in Afghanistan. Consider: If the US shows enough determination, it is able to create new facts on the ground. Washington's relations with Afghanistan's neighbors have changed out of all recognition. New alliances have been created which were thought unlikely just a short time ago. The most significant of these is the alliance with Pakistan, which was built at the expense of Islamabad's close relationship with the Taleban. Another is America's burgeoning relationship with Russia. The Americans even succeeded in creating a working relationship with Iran. Taking these successes into consideration, Washington will have a considerably easier ride with Iraq's six neighbors, especially since Jordan, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia are already strategic allies of the United States. Moreover, when it seemed (in early 1991) that Washington was serious about replacing the Baghdad regime, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Iran expressed willingness to cooperate and coordinate their positions to that end. Thanks to the efforts of these three, it was possible to convene the first ever joint meeting of the Iraqi opposition in Beirut in March 1991. But once it transpired that the Americans were not serious about unseating Saddam Hussein, this cooperation unraveled. The latest American opinion polls show that 80 percent of the American people support military intervention in Iraq. President George W. Bush's approval rating is at an all-time high, although it has to be said that a conclusive victory in Afghanistan is needed to maintain this level of public approval. Previous US administrations chose containment of Iraq (through sanctions, no-fly zones, limited air strikes) as a means to preserve the status quo exactly like Washington tolerated the Taleban as a means to preserve the status quo in Afghanistan. The devastating attacks of Sept. 11, however, proved to the US that this policy was in fact a precursor for mayhem. If change in Afghanistan became inevitable as a result of the attacks on New York and Washington, then the festering situation in Iraq requires similar measures from Washington, since the tools it has been using to contain Baghdad have become a burden both for the Iraqi people as well as for America's interests in the Middle East. A moderate regime in Baghdad, on the other hand, will be a better guarantor for the region's security and stability than the presence of US forces in the Gulf. The advent of such a regime would hasten the departure of these forces whose presence on Gulf soil was the major impetus for the birth of the 'bin Laden phenomenon.' The Taleban regime at least enjoyed a measure of support among the Pashtuns the largest ethnic group in the country. By contrast, the Baathist regime in Baghdad is rejected by almost all the population of Iraq save for a tiny minority of beneficiaries that is prepared to abandon it if it feels that its interests are secure with any future regime. Nevertheless, Iraqis are extremely reluctant to move against Saddam unless they receive cast iron guarantees that the Americans are committed to a change in Baghdad. Memories of the uprising of 1991 are still fresh. One of the lessons coming out of Afghanistan has been that a political alternative that saves the country from disintegrating into murderous chaos is possible despite its ethnic and social diversity. In contrast to Afghanistan, Iraq has never witnessed a civil war. The Iraqi regime, unlike the Taleban with its Pashtun background, doesn't rely for its existence on a certain ethnic or racial power base. Nevertheless, when Taleban terror was destroyed, all the Afghan people came out in favor of change. If it was possible to prevent Afghanistan from sliding into chaos, then it will be even easier to maintain order in Iraq after the Saddam Hussein regime is destroyed. Regional rivalries played a major role in fomenting civil strife in Afghanistan in the mid-1990s. Therefore, one of the major tasks for Iraq's neighbors Saudi Arabia, Iran and Turkey, in preventing the possibility of chaos would be to reassure Iraq's different communities. Uniting the various factions of the Iraqi opposition will be a much simpler task than that of unifying the various Afghan factions. The Iraqi opposition united readily when it was convinced that change was on the way. This happened in Beirut in 1991 and in Irbil in 1992. Once again, neighboring states can play a positive role in this context, particularly with those opposition factions resident on their soil. Arab public opinion is mainly concerned at the possibility of Washington continuing to deal with the issue of Iraq like it has been doing these past 10 years, i.e. by bombing the country and leaving it at the mercy of the regime. A concerted regional and international drive aimed at supporting the Iraqi people's desire for democratic change, however, will not only be supported by the Arab peoples as a whole, but will also act as a catalyst for democratic transformation throughout the region. America's visible success in building a new Afghan state and feeding its people will have a profound effect on how Arab public opinion will view Washington's role in effecting change in Iraq. Arab oil is no longer as crucial as it once was for the United States. The reason for that, as former energy secretary Bill Richardson once said, is that the US has diversified its sources of energy away from the turbulent Middle East. Nevertheless, Bush has already ordered America's strategic oil reserves increased from 544 million barrels to 700 million barrels which would allow the US to forego oil imports for three months. In addition, investment in Alaskan oil has been increased. Moreover, questions have been raised about the future of Saudi Arabia in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, which make post-Saddam Hussein Iraq an ideal source of oil for the US should anything happen that might cut off or disrupt Saudi supplies. Much has changed in the world as a result of Sept. 11, not least among which is the relationship between the US and Russia. It would be very difficult to envisage the Russians sacrificing this improving relationship with Washington for the sake of their interests in Iraq which can be compensated for somewhere else anyway. According to the Wall Street Journal (Nov. 15), former British Foreign Secretary David Owen proposed canceling some old Soviet debts to compensate Russia for the loss of its interests in Iraq. Iraq will become America's next target, once the lessons of Afghanistan are properly assimilated. In this there is no disagreement between Pentagon 'hawks' and State Department 'doves.' What is left is to look for the proper means and the appropriate timing. This is in sharp contrast to American policy pre-Sept. 11, when Washington was mainly interested in looking for justifications not to overthrow Saddam Hussein. Ghassan al-Atiyyah is the Iraqi editor of the London-based monthly Al-Malaf Al-Iraqi or Iraqi File (firstname.lastname@example.org) http://news.ft.com/ft/gx.cgi/ftc?pagename=View&c=Article&cid=FT37ADRZCUC&liv e=true&tagid=ZZZOMSJK30C&subheading=US * US UNLIKELY TO WIDEN WAR AGAINST TERROR by Alexander Nicoll (Additional reporting by James Lamont in Johannesburg) Financial Times, 22nd November The US has made clear it plans to hound al-Qaeda and other international terrorist networks for years after it concludes the campaign in Afghanistan. But defence experts believe this is unlikely to involve concerted military action in other countries, at least for some time. Pentagon officials have said al-Qaeda, led by Osama bin Laden, has tentacles in 60 countries. Some rightwingers in the Bush administration make no secret of their desire to resume the conflict with Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi president, which has simmered since the end of the 1991 Gulf war. However, even they are signalling Washington will take one step at a time. Paul Wolfowitz, deputy defence secretary, told CBS television this week: "I think we have got to keep our focus right now on Afghanistan. There's a great danger that we're going to declare victory before we have achieved our objectives there." He hoped countries that supported terrorists, including Iraq, would see the Taliban's fate and "would be reconsidering whether this is a promising career". John Chipman, director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said: "Barring something exceptional, there will be no second front until the Afghanistan front is closed down completely." The exception, he said, would be the receipt of intelligence suggesting al Qaeda leaders had set up somewhere else - for example, in Somalia - with sufficient forces and operational control to pose an immediate threat to the US. In this case the US could demand the government give them up, and follow up quickly with actions such as closely targeted raids or cruise missile strikes. However, Michael Clarke of the Centre for Defence Studies at King's College, London, believed Washington was uncertain how to pursue the next phase, having been surprised by the fast pace of the first stage. "Al-Qaeda will undoubtedly surface somewhere else," he said. But it was likely to operate much more covertly than before, with clandestine cells and without the visible terrorist training camps such as those it had in Afghanistan. This, in turn, will alter the nature of the campaign against it, defence experts believe. In countries deemed to be failed states or outright enemies, the US could revert to extreme options such as the cruise missile strikes on Afghanistan and Sudan in 1998, using self defence as a justification. But in most countries where people with al-Qaeda links are believed to have been operating, such as in Europe, this could not be done. Experts believe that before military action could be undertaken, Washington would need to exert diplomatic pressure and build a case, so that it had legal backing and public support - otherwise it would appear to be conducting a more indiscriminate war against Islam. Professor Clarke said: "The next phase will require a great deal more diplomacy. The US has got to go back to the United Nations and use it as a legitimator for aggression." Therefore the second phase is more likely to be pursued for the time being along the broader fronts seen since September 11, including diplomatic pressure, economic measures, police work, intelligence gathering, and the provision of military advice and equipment to help friendly governments deal with terrorist threats. For example, this week President George W. Bush promised the Philippines nearly $100m of security assistance, including helicopters, patrol craft and rifles, to help it counter Abu Sayyaf, a Muslim rebel group believed to have links with al-Qaeda. J. Stephen Morrison, Africa director for the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, argued the US should help strengthen military counter-terrorist capacities in Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania and South Africa. He said al-Qaeda had cells in South Africa and the government was "too ill-informed and ill-equipped to bring effective controls upon radical Islam within its borders". However, flashpoints in the campaign against global terrorism were more likely in Somalia, Sudan and Nigeria, he said. Political efforts have been under way in countries like these which have been linked with al Qaeda. Iraq, however, will remain the big question mark. Mr Chipman predicted a debate within the US administration about whether to take on President Saddam. There would be practical difficulties such as the need to use bases in Saudi Arabia as a platform. The US would also have to build support for a new fight both domestically and abroad. http://www.cincypost.com/2001/nov/23/kelly112301.html * LET'S NOT RUSH INTO W.W. IV by Michael Kelly Cincinnati Post Now that at least short-term military victory in Afghanistan seems reasonably likely, the focus turns to the question of how to maximize the gains of victory. In some quarters, the thinking is suddenly rather grand. Eliot A. Cohen, a professor of strategic studies at the Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, writes in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal that what we are engaged in here is nothing less than World War IV (the Cold War was III). Cohen declares: ''If one front in this war is the contest for free and moderate governance in the Muslim world, the U.S. should throw its weight behind pro-Western and anti-clerical forces there.'' Specifically regarding Iran, he says that we Americans should ''do everything in our power to support a civil society that loathes the mullahs and yearns to overturn their rule,'' adding: ''The overthrow of the first theocratic revolutionary Muslim state. . .and its replacement by a moderate or secular government would be no less important a victory in this war than the annihilation of bin Laden.'' Also, we should finish off Iraq. (There, that should keep us busy through Ramadan.) Thomas L. Friedman, writing the same day in The New York Times, is not nearly so keen for Armageddon as is Cohen, but he agrees that the great victory we are fighting for is, as he puts it, ''democracy, stupid.'' He writes: ''Those who argue that we needn't press for democracy in Arab-Muslim states, and can rely on repressive regimes, have it all wrong.'' Is this true? Is this why we are in Afghanistan, to spread democracy throughout the Muslim world? The immediate reason we are fighting is simply to destroy a terrorist organization and its host government, and the reason we must do that is because the terrorist organization represents an active and massive threat to us. Once that is achieved, it seems to me, the United States has a moral and practical obligation in Afghanistan to (1) see to it that there is established some regime that is not hostile to the United States, and that is representative enough of the various local forces to escape a resumption of inter-tribal war, and that does not threaten our ally Pakistan; and (2) provide some material aid, particularly in the matters of refugees, food, and war damage. This may be achieved without recourse to a peacekeeping force, but probably some outside force will be necessary. It will not, however, be the job of that force to forge in Afghanistan a democracy - any more than the peacekeeping forces in Bosnia and Kosovo are charged with forging democracy. The forced truces that the United States and NATO brought about in Bosnia and Kosovo are tremendously flawed; no one can pretend that we have achieved there anything like democracy, or moderate government, or even rule of law. We have achieved, imperfectly in an imperfect world, the cessation of an immediate destabilizing violence. It is true that the goals in the war go beyond Afghanistan. There will need to be years of international security efforts to destroy the terror networks. There will need to be a conclusive reckoning with Saddam Hussein's regime, since it too represents a continuing and massive threat to American lives. But beyond this? Let's concede that democracy is, in the long run, necessary for the establishment of free, tolerant and neighborly states, and that this is desirable. But three questions remain: Are we generally capable of overthrowing undemocratic Islamic regimes (there are a lot of them) and replacing them with free and moderate democracies? What would happen if we tried? If we succeeded? By and large, we are not capable of overthrowing such regimes, most of which are much more entrenched than the Taliban. If we tried, we would probably get a jihad for real. If we succeeded, we would get a world of unintended consequences.Once, the U.S. had an ally in the Middle East, a repressive regime, but pro-Western and anti-clerical. We threw a lot of weight behind this regime but it was overthrown by a movement that, at the time, seemed to genuinely represent the popular will. And that, Mr. Cohen, is how we ended up with today's Iran. Michael Kelly, a former reporter for The Post, is editor of Atlantic Monthly. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 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.