The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]
News, 24-30/11/01 (2) IRAQIMIDDLE EAST/ARAB WORLD RELATIONS http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/011124/2001112415.html * AIR FLIGHTS RESUMED BETWEEN JORDAN, BAGHDAD Arabic News, 24th November A report issued on Thursday said that the Jordanian airlines is intending to resume its flights to Baghdad by the beginning of this December after a cessation of more than two months. The Iraqi weekly al-Zawraa said that talks were recently held between Iraq and Jordan to resume air flights to Baghdad and to run four flights per week to be increased to seven flights in case a turnout is observed and at a rate of one flight every day. The paper stressed that the two sides agreed to reduce travel ticket prices less that previous value. Worthy mentioning that Syrian, Egyptian and Jordanian airlines are organizing regular weekly flights to Iraq since one year after Iraq has re-opened Saddam's international airport before international navigation since more than one year. http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/011124/2001112416.html * IRAQ RATIFIED THE FREE MARKET AGREEMENT WITH ALGERIA, UAE Arabic News, 24th November Iraq has ratified the two agreements it signed with Algeria and the United Arab Emirates UAE recently to eliminate customs barriers and to establish a common free market. Worthy mentioning that Iraq's ratification comes " to expand economic integration among the Arab states and increasing brotherly ties which contribute to consolidating economic unity pillars among the Arab states." During the visit held by the Iraqi vice- President Taha Yassin Ramadan to Algeria by the end of October, Iraq and Algeria signed an agreement to eliminate customs barriers and establish the free market. The Iraqi minister of commerce signed with his UAE counterpart on November 2nd a similar agreement. Worthy mentioning that since the beginning of the current year 2000, Iraq signed agreements on eliminating customs barriers with Syria, Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen. Iraq's agreements with Syria and Egypt have been materialized after ratification by the governments of the countries concerned. http://news.ft.com/ft/gx.cgi/ftc?pagename=View&c=Article&cid=FT3QSIX3HUC&liv e=true&tagid=ZZZINS5VA0C&subheading=middle%20east%20and%20africa * KUWAITI LIBERALS ENJOY MOMENT IN THE SUN Financial Times, 25th November A constitutional state or a Taliban state? was the highly-charged motion set before hundreds of Kuwaitis crowded into the Graduates Society building to be addressed by a selection of professors and liberal members of parliament. Observers had not seen such a good turnout at meetings in support of the liberals since the last parliamentary election campaign in 1999. Since the September attacks on the US, liberals in Kuwait are enjoying a rare moment in the sun and are exploiting subsequent events to take on a powerful Islamist bloc active both in parliament and in society. "We think of ourselves as being more principled. We think they (the Islamists) are opportunist and that they use double standards - even multi-standards," says Abdullah Naibari, a prominent liberal deputy. "They create the atmosphere in which an Osama bin Laden can flourish." In Kuwait, home to only 2.2m people and owner of 10 per cent of the world's oil reserves, the debate between reformist thought and a conservative Islamism is more public, if not more heated, than anywhere else in the Arab world. In a country where political parties are forbidden, Islamists, with the backing of their religious groups, have been better organised than their liberal counterparts. That even the most westernised reformist does not want to be labelled "un-Islamic" by opponents has also provided the traditionalists with powerful ammunition. However, Kuwaitis were shocked when Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, one of their fellow countrymen, appeared on television as a spokesman for Mr bin Laden. Mr Abu Ghaith, a mosque preacher and latterly a teacher, was immediately stripped of his Kuwaiti citizenship after he appeared on the Qatari Al-Jazeera satellite channel. The move attracted cross parliamentary support and since September's attacks, liberal deputies, most of them academics, are visibly more confident after years in which Islamists have made most of the political running. The government has set up a commission to close down unlicensed charities which might have been involved in channelling funds to Mr bin Laden's al-Qaeda network. The authorities have also removed collection boxes from public areas and acted to ensure that all contributions in mosques are now managed by the beit al-zakat, a state fund that gathers religious taxes. Liberal deputies, who have long expressed frustration over the Islamists' access to funds, say that much of the fund raising was channelled to the domestic Islamist groups, although no one knows how much went to the al-Qaeda network. Diplomats in Kuwait City think the sums have been substantial if only because Kuwait is such a rich state and charitable giving a well-entrenched institution. Before the events of September 11 the Islamists had been in the ascendant. They hold about 20 seats in the 50-strong assembly, compared with about 12 held by avowed liberals and have scored a number of political victories in recent years in Kuwait. The most notable has been a law introducing segregation by gender into Kuwait university. Earlier this year the Islamists also defeated by just two votes a government-sponsored motion that would have given the vote to Kuwaiti women in parliamentary elections. The next battleground is the status of the sharia, or Islamic law,within the Kuwaiti legal system. Kuwaiti Islamists want Islamic law to be the basis of the penal code. "We believe that these laws are from God," says Nasser al-Sane, a deputy of Ikhwan, one of the country's Islamist groups. But the government, led by Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed, Kuwait's foreign minister and acting prime minister, which had earlier appeared to support the findings of a commission appointed to look into the whole issue, last week said it would oppose the sharia proposal. Liberal politicians say that they will fight the sharia proposals more effectively than the battle over the segregation of Kuwait university. "This is not a joke, this is a serious issue," said one senior liberal minister. But however heated the debate becomes in Kuwait, it is unlikely to lead to heightened anti western or anti-US sentiment. While 23 deputies signed a declaration condemning the US attacks on Afghanistan, nearly all Kuwaitis recognise that their state would not exist if it were not for the US and its continuing presence deterring Saddam Hussein's Iraq. "America is a friend of Kuwait," says Mr Sane. "The US presence in the region is in the interests of both sides," he says. http://www.jpost.com/Editions/2001/11/26/News/News.38743.html * IRAQ-BACKED TERROR CELL NABBED IN WEST BANK by Margot Dudkevitch Jersusalem Post, 26th November JERUSALEM: The General Security Service announced the arrest in the West Bank of at least 15 members of a terrorist organization who were trained, funded and armed by Iraq. The terrorists belong to the Palestine Liberation Front, headed by Muhammad Abbas, who lives in Iraq. Abbas, who is also the chairman of the Palestinian Authority's National Council, was the mastermind of the October 7, 1985, Achille Lauro cruise ship hijacking, during which disabled Jewish passenger Leon Klinghoffer was killed in his wheelchair and thrown overboard. According to details of the GSS action, released yesterday, plans to perpetrate attacks at Ben-Gurion Airport and in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem were foiled with the recent capture of some of the group's members. The GSS investigation discovered the group's activities were funded by Iraqi security agents, who transferred funds to banks in Jordan and thence to the Palestinian Authority. The GSS charged Abed Al Razak Yehiye, head of the PA's Monitoring Committee, abused his VIP status granting him immunity from security checks at border crossings to smuggle weapons into the West Bank. Three of those arrested by the GSS participated in the abduction and subsequent brutal murder of 18-year-old Yuri Gushchin of Pisgat Ze'ev on July 24. They were identified as Matsaka Salah of Jidira, Nidal Ziad of Kalandia and Ahmed Hadir of Atarot, who admitted to kidnaping Gushchin and handing him over to his murderers. Others admitted to shooting attacks at Israeli vehicles on bypass roads in the areas of Ramallah and Jenin; planting a bomb that exploded at the Haifa Checkpost, wounding five; planting a bomb near Um Tsafa detected before detonating near soldiers; and attempting to place a bomb on a bus transporting soldiers near Jenin, before being spotted by soldiers. Others arrested in the GSS sweep were identified as Mahmud Kundos of Sinjil, Mamoun Hamdan and Jalal Motsalah of El Bireh, and Alii Udeh of Dir Amar. Hamdan revealed the whereabouts of 40 kilos of components used to make bombs. In other developments, the GSS and IDF arrested a member of the Islamic Jihad's military cell responsible for a number of shooting attacks at Israeli vehicles and the wounding of motorist Yedidya Koren of Carmel in September. Osama Masalem Ali Sharita of Yatta was arrested at the beginning of this month and confessed to participating in a number of attacks against Israelis in the south Hebron Hills. Also, the IDF revealed yesterday paratroopers manning the Rama roadblock foiled an attempt by a Palestinian truck driver to smuggle weapons and ammunition from Nablus to Ramallah on Saturday. The IDF Spokesman said the soldiers found ammunition and rifles hidden among bags of vegetables. The driver was handed over to the GSS for questioning. http://independent-bangladesh.com/news/nov/26/26112001ap.htm#A5 * IRAQ FOILS IRAN-LINKED ATTACK Bangladeshi Independent, 25th November BAGHDAD, Nov 25: Iraq said on Saturday it had foiled a planned attack in a Baghdad residential area by agents working for neighbouring Iran, reports Reuters. "Apparatus of the Iranian regime planned the attack in favour of the American Administration and the Zionist entity (Israel),'' the official Iraqi News Agency (INA) quoted a police statement as saying. "Security police have arrested a group of criminal elements while trying to carry out a terrorist and sabotage act in a residential area in Baghdad,'' the statement said. INA gave no further details. Iraq has in the past blamed Iran, its former foe in a 1980-1988 war, for several bombings. Iran has denied the accusations. Iraqi television on Saturday showed six Iraqis admitting they had worked for Iran's intelligence service and carried out mortar and bomb attacks. Ahmed Mahmoud, 31, a Kurd from northern Iraq, said he had been in contact with Iranian intelligence and recruited five other Iraqis, mostly from Baghdad, to work with him. He said the group had attacked Iraq's intelligence headquarters, the oil and interior ministries, a central Baghdad market and a residential area in the capital. http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la 000094998nov29.story?coll=la%2Dheadlines%2Dworld * EGYPT SAYS U.S. VOWS NOT TO ATTACK IRAQ by Norman Kempster Los Angeles Times, 29th November WASHINGTON -- Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher said Wednesday that his government--the closest U.S. ally in the Arab world--has received an "understanding" that the Bush administration will not use military force against Iraq or any other Arab government accused of harboring terrorists. Describing Egypt as a staunch member of the U.S.-led coalition against terrorism, Maher warned, "If we want to keep this consensus . . . we should not resort, after Afghanistan, to military means." In a speech at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank, Maher conceded that some administration officials and some nongovernmental foreign policy specialists are urging President Bush to expand the war on terrorism to Iraq and perhaps other countries once the Taliban's hold on Afghanistan has been broken. "It is our understanding that this will not happen," Maher said. Although the clear implication was that Maher, who confers regularly with top Bush administration officials, had obtained his understanding from the highest level of the U.S. government, he would not elaborate when asked to do so. Nevertheless, Maher said the U.S. government and its allies would pay a high price for using military force against governments that are not directly implicated in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. If the United States carried the war beyond Afghanistan, he said, it would "cause serious internal problems for friends of the United States" in the Middle East. He said there are nonmilitary means, such as economic sanctions, that can be used against countries that shelter terrorists. Maher, Egypt's ambassador to the United States for almost a decade before his appointment as foreign minister earlier this year, also urged Bush and Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft to use restraint in applying extraordinary methods against terrorist suspects in the United States. He said the administration "should be very careful in applying these [new counter-terrorism] laws not to tarnish its image as a country that believes in democracy and diversity." It was an extraordinary reversal of roles for the United States and Egypt. In the past, U.S. officials have rebuked Egypt for human rights violations, especially over Cairo's sometimes draconian crackdown on domestic terrorist organizations. For years, Egypt waged its own war on terrorism "without the support of our closest friends," Maher said. "Not only did they not support us, but their contribution was criticism." http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20011129/wl/islamic_dilemmas_1.html * KUWAIT DEBATES U.S.-ISLAMIC LIFE by Donna Abu-Nasr, Associated Press Writer Yahoo, 29th November KUWAIT (AP) - The questions on which religious scholar Khalid al-Mathkoor rules reveal the dilemma many conservative Kuwaitis grapple with - reconciling Islam with modern life in a country with a taste for American-style malls and fast food. For instance, are Barbie dolls with revealing clothes sanctioned by Islam? Would vacationing in the United States and Europe, where women don't have to cover up and alcohol is legal, conflict with a Muslim's faith? What about flirting on the phone or the Internet? Al-Mathkoor, a scholar who belongs to a government-run committee that issues fatwas - nonbinding religious opinions - fields the questions on a TV program. Such shows are common in the Arab world, but religious opinion - old and new - is taking on added significance in Kuwait these days as the tiny, oil-rich emirate goes through another debate between fundamentalists who want to implement sharia, or Islamic law, and liberals who oppose it. Liberals still fume over al-Mathkoor's opinion years ago that Barbie should be banned. ``She's no innocent doll,'' said al-Mathkoor. ``She's a mature woman who wears accessories and revealing clothes and has a boyfriend.'' The debate between forces of modernization and conservatism has always existed in most of the Arab world, but it has been most vocal in Kuwait. The emirate's parliament, the only elected legislative body in the Arab countries of the Persian Gulf, provides a platform for both sides and is increasingly influenced by the fundamentalists, who now hold 20 of the 50 seats. To some in Washington, the rise of fundamentalism is worrying in Kuwait, which was freed from a seven-month Iraqi occupation by U.S. forces in the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Kuwait's constitution says Islamic sharia is a ``main'' source of legislation, a phrase fundamentalists for decades have been trying to change to: ``Islamic sharia is the only source of legislation.'' This summer, two fundamentalist legislators introduced a bill in parliament that calls on the government to revise the country's penal code to conform with sharia. That means, murderers would be beheaded, thieves would have their right hand cut off and adulterers would be stoned. Recently, an Ethiopian folk dance show was canceled after opening night because fundamentalists deemed the dancers' outfits too revealing. The fundamentalists also pressured the government not to air some Olympics competitions because they thought the female athletes dressed too scantily. The confrontation between fundamentalists and liberals intensified after the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States. Liberal lawmakers accused several Kuwaiti charities of funneling part of their donations to groups like Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida organization and pressured the government to control the funds they raise. The fundamentalists deny the charges, and the liberals have not provided detailed evidence. Unlike in other parts of the Middle East, Kuwait's fundamentalists do not have armed wings. The charities have helped fundamentalists increase support - and the groups are also active running summer camps, drug rehabilitation centers and sporting events in the community. ``I respect the fundamentalists,'' said Shamlan Issa, a liberal university professor who writes some of the strongest antifundamentalist newspaper editorials. ``They are organized, they help each other, and when they want to do something, they go out and do it.'' The U.S. bombing in Afghanistan has been unpopular here, and there are fears it will push more people toward the fundamentalists. The rise of Kuwait's fundamentalists began in the 1960s, when Kuwait's parliament was packed with supporters of the pan-Arab nationalist movement sweeping the Arab world then. To counter such a liberal force that mostly belonged to the country's wealthy merchant class, the ruling family began accepting as citizens the more conservative bedouins. Following the Arabs' defeat against Israel in the 1967 Mideast war, many Kuwaitis, disillusioned with the nationalist movement, turned to fundamentalism. Liberals began seeing their opponents' influence everywhere. For instance, in the 1960s, students had one religious class a week; today they have three. Movie censors allowed kisses to be shown; today, they cut them out. Following the Persian Gulf War, many Kuwaitis showed gratitude to the United States, which led the anti-Iraq coalition, and began imitating Western dress, hairstyle and mannerism. That has waned, with many men returning to the traditional white robe common in the Persian Gulf. Western clothes like shorts and t-shirts, common a decade ago, are all but disappeared from Kuwaiti streets. While the fundamentalists have been making headway, change has been slow. Opinions like al-Mathkoor's, while respected, have not been adopted as laws. Dolls are still on sale in Kuwait - an Arab boyfriend and girlfriend are sold together as the ``Singing, Dancing Couple,'' the man in a long, traditional white robe, a microphone in hand, his arm around the woman dressed in a low-cut pink dress. At the touch of a button, the woman shakes her hips to the strains of an Egyptian love song. Al-Mathkoor says liberals' fears that conservative Islam would strip them of their modern life are unfounded. Still, he said Muslims should be careful how they use modern technology. For instance, mobile phones and the Internet are good, but when used for flirting, they become evil. As for vacationing in the West, al-Mathkoor said it's allowed as long as it's ``to check out the sights and museums and not the bars and beaches.'' Kuwait's liberals are not reassured by talk like al-Mathkoor's. ``We won't leave them alone,'' said Ahmed Bishara, head of the National Democratic Movement - one of Kuwait's two liberal political parties. ``Either they take us back to the 7th century or we take them to the 21st century,'' said Sultan. http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20011130/wl/attack_turkey_iraq_dc_1.html * BAGHDAD RECALLS AMBASSADOR TO TURKEY Yahoo, 30th November ANKARA (Reuters) - Iraq recalled its ambassador to Turkey on Friday after media reports linked him to meetings with members of the al Qaeda network, suspected of involvement in the September 11 attacks on the United States. Ambassador Farouk Yahya al-Hijazi denied his departure from Turkey was in connection with allegations that he was involved in contacts between Mohammed Atta, a suspect in the attacks on New York and Washington, and Iraqi intelligence. ``These (allegations) are baseless. I was recalled to my country after the normal period of time,'' al-Hijazi was quoted as saying by Turkey's state-run Anatolian news agency. ``I am returning because my time of duty has ended. I want to stress that my return has nothing to with anything else.'' When asked about press reports tying him to Atta, al-Hijazi said: ``We definitely do not have any such ties within Turkey or outside.'' Iraq has denied any contacts with Atta and Saudi-born militant Osama bin Laden, accused with his al Qaeda network of masterminding the attacks on the United States that killed nearly 4,000 people. Turkish investors have wobbled this week on fears U.S.-led attacks on Afghanistan would spread to neighboring Iraq, which refuses to allow the return of U.N. weapons inspectors. Ankara has worked to revive commercial and diplomatic relations with Baghdad after losing billions of dollars in trade revenues since U.N. sanctions against Iraq were set in 1991. But NATO member Turkey has also allowed U.S. warplanes to patrol northern Iraq's no-fly zone from its Incirlik airbase. ENFORCING THE EMBARGO http://www.reuters.co.uk/news_article.jhtml?type=worldnews&StoryID=402559 * RESCUERS FIND BODY OF U.S. SEAMAN IN GULF Reuters, 25th November WASHINGTON: Navy divers have found the body of an American sailor, missing since a tanker he was checking for smuggled oil sank in the Gulf six days ago, a Pentagon official said. Benjamin Johnson was part of a U.S. team, enforcing United Nations oil sanctions against Iraq, that boarded a tanker suspected of smuggling 1,700 metric tons of oil. Two Iraqi crew members died when the overloaded Samra tanker sank and another U.S. seaman and two Iraqis are still missing. "U.S. Navy divers recovered the body of Benjamin Johnson, who was lost at sea. The search is continuing for the other sailor," Lieutenant Colonel David Lapan told Reuters. Officials still do not know what caused the sinking but U.S. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said last week there was no hostile incident and bad weather may have been to blame. The eight-man team from the USS Peterson boarded the tanker and found contraband oil hidden under piled-up bags of grain. They ordered the tanker's Iraqi captain to move to a holding area for ships carrying contraband goods but the vessel sank en route. The incident follows a spate of accidents involving ships carrying Iraqi oil in the Gulf. Since its 1990 invasion of Kuwait, Iraq is only allowed to sell oil under close U.N. supervision. http://sunspot.net/news/nationworld/bal te.iraq25nov25.story?coll=bal%2Dnationworld%2Dheadlines * IMPOVERISHED IRAQIS STRUGGLE TO SURVIVE ON PAST'S LEFTOVERS Baltimore Sun (Associated Press), 25th November BAGHDAD, Iraq - It is 10 in the morning. Akil Abdel Zahra is up to his waist in the Tigris River under a fierce sun, searching for gold. For years, the 20-year-old has been scavenging the river, abandoned jewelry shops, wells and even dumps for gold, silver, bronze or copper that may have clung to the waste jewelers threw away back in Baghdad's heyday. With the Iraqi economy in tatters, many people eke out a living on the leftovers of a glorious past. The present is a harsh reality: a country impoverished by two wars and more than a decade of economic sanctions. Gold-domed mosques built centuries ago tower over streets bearing the names of Abbasid caliphs who built Baghdad on a site settled by cultures already ancient. Some Iraqis wonder whether their nation will ever recapture its past grandeur. President Saddam Hussein, who has ruled Iraq for two decades, says the sanctions imposed to punish him for invading Kuwait are to blame for the deterioration of Iraq. The United Nations, whose sanctions cannot be lifted until it is assured that Iraq has surrendered weapons of mass destruction, blames Hussein. Regardless of who is to blame, a rich and promising Iraq, sitting on the world's second largest oil reservoirs, has been reduced to a country whose name brings to mind images of people begging on the streets, dying in hospitals or standing in long lines waiting for monthly food rations. Gold scavenger Abdel Zahra has been in the business since he was 11. Today, he supports a wife and child on the money he makes from his unusual labors. Like Abdel Zahra, renowned sculptor Mohammed Ghani Hikmat also has been reduced to scavenging. The 72-year-old searches for old doors and windows to get wood. He also recycles wooden columns from Iraqi homes and frantically looks for scraps of metal he can reshape. Hikmat has turned bronze, marble and stone into colossal monuments that often depict historical characters or were inspired by legends from 1,001 Nights, the ancient tales associated with Baghdad. But for the last 10 years, he has only been able to sculpt miniatures. "Compared to before, Iraqi artists produce less now, but the important thing is that they never stopped. We may stoop before the storm, but we never fall," said Hikmat in his brick walled studio. Before the sanctions, Hikmat worked with imported metals. Some of the memorials he sculpted were completed in Europe and then shipped back to Iraq. Hikmat remembers an Iraq that was an artistic and cultural hub in the Arab world. "People used to come from abroad and hold exhibitions here," he said. "We Iraqis used to travel a lot. In recent years, all this stopped." He knows he's luckier than many other artists. Unlike most Iraqis, he can afford to travel from time to time. He still displays work abroad. Young art students who revere the silver-haired sculptor flock to his studio and help him with his work. Hikmat has faith that despite their isolation from the international world of art, they can grow as artists by drawing on their own rich traditions. Others have a bleaker vision of the future. "The economic problems that evolved because of the sanctions have prevented us from ... having our own futures, raising our children the way we want and giving them the positions we hope for," said Nasra al-Sadoon, editor-in-chief of the state-owned Iraq Daily. While many older Iraqis speak more than one foreign language and are Western-trained, many young people in the city that once housed one of the Muslim world's greatest libraries cannot read. In the academic year before sanctions were imposed on Baghdad, the Iraqi government spent $230 million on education. Average spending during the past six years has been $23 million per year. Government study-abroad scholarships have disappeared, and the underfunded schools at home are in bad shape. Some parents complain that students in secondary school can barely write their names. Dropout rates have skyrocketed as children increasingly join the work force to help their struggling families. "We hope to compensate with the experience of those who have traveled abroad. We opened new horizons, looking inside instead of outside, like gaining experience from the past," al-Sadoon said. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A25244-2001Nov27.html * U.S. BOMBS IRAQI AIR DEFENSE SITE Washington Post (Reuters), 28th November U.S. warplanes attacked an air defense target in southern Iraq yesterday in response to continuing Iraqi threats against U.S. and British jets patrolling a no-fly zone, the Defense Department said. The announcement, which came as Baghdad rejected a call from President Bush to allow U.N. arms inspectors back into Iraq, said only that an air defense "command and control system" had been struck. http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4309594,00.html * THE HOSTAGE NATION by Hans von Sponeck and Denis Halliday The Guardian, 29th November A major shift is occurring in US policy on Iraq. It is obvious that Washington wants to end 11 years of a self-serving policy of containment of the Iraqi regime and change to a policy of replacing, by force, Saddam Hussein and his government. The current policy of economic sanctions has destroyed society in Iraq and caused the death of thousands, young and old. There is evidence of that daily in reports from reputable international organisations such as Caritas, Unicef and Save the Children. A change to a policy of replacement by force will increase that suffering. The creators of the policy must no longer assume that they can satisfy voters by expressing contempt for those who oppose them. The problem is not the inability of the public to understand the bigger picture, as former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright likes to suggest. It is the opposite. The bigger picture, the hidden agenda, is well understood by ordinary people. We should not forget Henry Kissinger's brutally frank admission that "oil is much too important a commodity to be left in the hands of the Arabs". How much longer can democratically elected governments hope to get away with justifying policies that punish the Iraqi people for something they did not do, through economic sanctions that target them in the hope that those who survive will overthrow the regime? Is international law only applicable to the losers? Does the UN security council only serve the powerful? The UK and the US, as permanent members of the council, are fully aware that the UN embargo operates in breach of the UN covenants on human rights, the Geneva and Hague conventions and other international laws. It is neither anti-UK nor anti-US to point out that Washington and London, more than anywhere else, have in the past decade helped to write the Iraq chapter in the history of avoidable tragedies. The UK and the US have deliberately pursued a policy of punishment since the Gulf war victory in 1991. The two governments have consistently opposed allowing the UN security council to carry out its mandated responsibilities to assess the impact of sanctions policies on civilians. We know about this first hand, because the governments repeatedly tried to prevent us from briefing the security council about it. The pitiful annual limits, of less than $170 per person, for humanitarian supplies, set by them during the first three years of the oil-for-food programme are unarguable evidence of such a policy. We have seen the effects on the ground and cannot comprehend how the US ambassador, James Cunningham, could look into the eyes of his colleagues a year ago and say: "We (the US government) are satisfied that the oil-for-food programme is meeting the needs of the Iraqi people." Besides the provision of food and medicine, the real issue today is that Iraqi oil revenues must be invested in the reconstruction of civilian infrastructure destroyed in the Gulf war. Despite the severe inadequacy of the permitted oil revenue to meet the minimum needs of the Iraqi people, 30 cents (now 25) of each dollar that Iraqi oil earned from 1996 to 2000 were diverted by the UN security council, at the behest of the UK and US governments, to compensate outsiders for losses allegedly incurred because of Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. If this money had been made available to Iraqis, it could have saved many lives. The uncomfortable truth is that the west is holding the Iraqi people hostage, in order to secure Saddam Hussein's compliance to ever-shifting demands. The UN secretary-general, who would like to be a mediator, has repeatedly been prevented from taking this role by the US and the UK governments. The imprecision of UN resolutions on Iraq - "constructive ambiguity" as the US and UK define it - is seen by those governments as a useful tool when dealing with this kind of conflict. The US and UK dismiss criticism by pointing out that the Iraqi people are being punished by Baghdad. If this is true, why do we punish them further? The most recent report of the UN secretary-general, in October 2001, says that the US and UK governments' blocking of $4bn of humanitarian supplies is by far the greatest constraint on the implementation of the oil-for-food programme. The report says that, in contrast, the Iraqi government's distribution of humanitarian supplies is fully satisfactory (as it was when we headed this programme). The death of some 5-6,000 children a month is mostly due to contaminated water, lack of medicines and malnutrition. The US and UK governments' delayed clearance of equipment and materials is responsible for this tragedy, not Baghdad. The expectation of a US attack on Iraq does not create conditions in the UN security council suited to discussions on the future of economic sanctions. This year's UK-sponsored proposal for "smart sanctions" will not be retabled. Too many people realise that what looked superficially like an improvement for civilians is really an attempt to maintain the bridgeheads of the existing sanctions policy: no foreign investments and no rights for the Iraqis to manage their own oil revenues. The proposal suggested sealing Iraq's borders, strangling the Iraqi people. In the present political climate, a technical extension of the current terms is considered the most expedient step by Washington. That this condemns more Iraqis to death and destitution is shrugged off as unavoidable. What we describe is not conjecture. These are undeniable facts known to us as two former insiders. We are outraged that the Iraqi people continue to be made to pay the price for the lucrative arms trade and power politics. We are reminded of Martin Luther King's words: "A time has come when silence is betrayal. That time is now." We want to encourage people everywhere to protest against unscrupulous policies and against the appalling disinformation put out about Iraq by those who know better, but are willing to sacrifice people's lives with false and malicious arguments. The US Defence Department, and Richard Butler, former head of the UN arms inspection team in Baghdad, would prefer Iraq to have been behind the anthrax scare. But they had to recognise that it had its origin within the US. British and US intelligence agencies know well that Iraq is qualitatively disarmed, and they have not forgotten that the outgoing secretary of defence, William Powell, told incoming President George Bush in January: "Iraq no longer poses a military threat to its neighbours". The same message has come from former UN arms inspectors. But to admit this would be to nail the entire UN policy, as it has been developed and maintained by the US and UK governments. We are horrified by the prospects of a new US-led war against Iraq. The implications of "finishing unfinished business" in Iraq are too serious for the global community to ignore. We hope that the warnings of leaders in the Middle East and all of us who care about human rights are not ignored by the US government. What is now most urgently needed is an attack on injustice, not on the Iraqi people. Hans von Sponeck was UN humanitarian coordinator for Iraq from 1998 to 2000; Denis Halliday held the same post from 1997 to 1998. DEPLETED URANIUM Communicated to list without date or URL * GOING BACKWARDS US WINS DEFEAT OF DEPLETED URANIUM STUDY by Irwin Arieff UNITED NATIONS (URL): After lobbying by Washington, the General Assembly rejected yesterday an Iraqi proposal that the UN study the effects of the depleted-uranium shells used by US-led forces in the Gulf War. Baghdad has insisted for years that there is a link between the depleted uranium used in armor-piercing weapons during the 1991 war and an increase in the number of Iraqis with leukemia and other kinds of cancer. Iraq's Health Ministry has said that cancer cases rose to 10,931 in 1997 from 6,555 in 1989, especially in areas bombed during the war, in which a US-led coalition drove Iraq out of Kuwait after it invaded its oil-rich neighbor. The 189-nation General Assembly voted down the Iraqi plan 45-54, with 45 abstentions. The assembly's committee on disarmament and international security had approved the plan earlier this month, 49-45. Diplomats credited a lobbying campaign by Washington for the turnaround. Acting at Baghdad's request, the World Health Organization began an in-depth study this year of the health impact of depleted-uranium munitions used in Iraq. Baghdad has cited studies saying that coalition forces used 944,000 depleted-uranium shells against Iraq during the Gulf War. A resolution drafted by Iraq said the shells had spread radioactive particles and chemical dust over large areas and contaminated ''animal and plant life and the soil.'' It asked UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to survey UN member nations and relevant outside groups ''on all aspects of the effects of the use of depleted-uranimum armaments'' and submit a report on his findings to the assembly next year. The use of ammunition containing depleted uranium sparked a furor across Europe earlier this year, after some allied peacekeepers in Bosnia and Kosovo said they had developed leukemia because of exposure to the material. NATO and many health officials have denied that the munitions cause cancer. http://www.independent.co.uk/story.jsp?story=107715 * A CHAMBER OF HORRORS SO CLOSE TO THE 'GARDEN OF EDEN' by Andy Kershaw The Independent, 1st December I thought I had a strong stomach - toughened by the minefields and foul frontline hospitals of Angola, by the handiwork of the death squads in Haiti and by the wholesale butchery of Rwanda. But I nearly lost my breakfast last week at the Basrah Maternity and Children's Hospital in southern Iraq. Dr Amer, the hospital's director, had invited me into a room in which were displayed colour photographs of what, in cold medical language, are called "congenital anomalies", but what you and I would better understand as horrific birth deformities. The images of these babies were head-spinningly grotesque - and thank God they didn't bring out the real thing, pickled in formaldehyde. At one point I had to grab hold of the back of a chair to support my legs. I won't spare you the details. You should know because - according to the Iraqis and in all likelihood the World Health Organisation, which is soon to publish its findings on the spiralling birth defects in southern Iraq - we are responsible for these obscenities. During the Gulf war, Britain and the United States pounded the city and its surroundings with 96,000 depleted-uranium shells. The wretched creatures in the photographs - for they were scarcely human - are the result, Dr Amer said. He guided me past pictures of children born without eyes, without brains. Another had arrived in the world with only half a head, nothing above the eyes. Then there was a head with legs, babies without genitalia, a little girl born with her brain outside her skull and the whatever-it-was whose eyes were below the level of its nose. Then the chair-grabbing moment - a photograph of what I can only describe (inadequately) as a pair of buttocks with a face and two amphibian arms. Mercifully, none of these babies survived for long. Depleted uranium has an incubation period in humans of five years. In the four years from 1991 (the end of the Gulf war) until 1994, the Basrah Maternity Hospital saw 11 congenital anomalies. Last year there were 221. Then there is the alarming increase in cases of leukaemia among Basrah babies lucky enough to have been born with the full complement of limbs and features in the right place. The hospital treated 15 children with leukaemia in 1993. In 2000 it was 60. By the end of this year that figure again will be topped. And so it will go on. Forever. (Depleted uranium has a half-life of 4.1 billion years. Total disintegration occurs after 25 billion years, the age of the earth.) In any other country, in which the vital drugs are available, 95 per cent of these infant leukaemia cases would be treated successfully. In Basrah, the figure is 20 per cent. Most heartbreakingly, many children on the road to recovery go into relapse part way through treatment when the sporadic and meagre supply of drugs runs out. And then they die. By the United Nations' own admission 5,000 Iraqi children die every month because of a shortage of medicines created by sanctions imposed by ... the United Nations. Tony Blair, on numerous occasions, has misled Parliament and the country (perhaps unwittingly) by saying that Saddam Hussein is free to buy all the medicines Iraq needs under the oil-for-food programme. This is not true. Oil for food amounts to just 60 cents (40p) per Iraqi per day and everything - food, education, health care and rebuilding of infrastructure - has to come out of that. There simply is not enough to go around. And has Mr Blair heard of the UN Security Council 661 Committee? If he has, then he keeps quiet about it. The committee was certainly unknown to me until I toured the shabby hospitals of Basrah. This committee, which meets in secret in New York and does not publish minutes, supervises sanctions on Iraq. President Saddam is not free to buy Iraq's non-military needs on the world market. The country's requirements have to be submitted to 661 and, often after bureaucratic delay, a judgement is handed down on what Iraq can and cannot buy. I have obtained a copy of recent 661 rulings and some of the decisions seem daft if not peevish. "Dual use" is the most common reason to refuse a purchase, meaning the item requested could be put to military use. So how does the 661 committee expect Saddam Hussein to wage war with "beef extract powder and broth"? Does 661 expect him to turn on the Kurds again by spraying them with "malt extract"? Or to send his presidential guard back into Kuwait armed to the teeth with "pencils"? Pencils, you see, according to 661, contain graphite and therefore could be put to military use. (Tough on the eager schoolchildren of Basrah who have little with which to write). Across town at the Basrah Teaching Hospital, the whimsical rulings of 661 are not so comical. Dr Jawad Al-Ali, the director of oncology, trained in the UK and a member of the Royal College of Physicians, talked of an "epidemic" of cancers in southern Iraq. "The number of cancer cases is doubling every year. So is the severity of the cancers, and there has been a big increase in cancer among the young," he said. Last week he was struggling to treat 20 cancer patients with "a huge shortage of chemotherapy drugs" and just two days supply of morphine. "We are crippled," he said, "by Committee 661." The doctor applied for, but was denied, life-saving machinery - deep X-ray equipment, blood component separators, even needles for biopsies. All, said 661, could have military use. Tell that to Mofidah Sabah, the mother of four-year-old Yahia. The little boy has both leukaemia in relapse and neuroblastoma, a cancer behind the eye that has bulged and twisted his left eyeball in its socket. Ms Sabah travels miles every day to sit and cuddle her son on his grubby bed. If Yahia lived in Birmingham, his chances of survival would not be in much doubt. But not in Basrah. "I'm afraid he will not live very long," Dr Amer whispered. Ms Sabah said: "I will leave everything to God, but I want God to revenge those who attacked us." Yahia's illness is not her first brush with tragedy. She lost 12 members of her family during an Allied bombing in 1991. Her husband, a soldier, fought in the Gulf war. He is still in the Iraqi army and has just been reposted, to Qurna, 50 miles north of Basra and among the contaminated former battlefields. Qurna, according to legend, was the site of the Garden of Eden. IRAQI OPPOSITION Communicated to list without URL * A TALE OF 70 FACTIONS AND 400 SUITS by Said Aburish New Statesman, 26th November President Bush, beware: if you really want to extend the Afghan war to Iraq, you should know that the nightmarish internal politics of Afghanistan are as nothing compared with those of Iraq. The Northern Alliance may not be a very palatable alternative to the Taliban, but it has a certain rough credibility. There is no equivalent in Iraq. Over the two years I spent writing his biography (Saddam Hussein: the politics of revenge), I got to know Saddam's opponents. They are such a corrupt, feckless and out-of-touch lot that they make the Butcher of Baghdad look good. The four million Iraqi Kurds are divided into two tribes, the followers of Massoud Barazani (Kurdistan Democratic Party) and those of Jalal Talabani (Patriotic Union of Kurdistan). Together, they occupy a large enclave in northern Iraq where they have conducted an on and-off civil war for years. Barazani and Talabani disagree, often bloodily, over how to divide the money they get from the CIA, which pays them to keep Saddam off balance. They fight over the proceeds from smuggling goods, including oil, between Iraq and Turkey. And they compete for the bribes Saddam offers them. Their hostility to each other keeps them from doing anything to bring down the Iraqi regime. In fact, they choose to forget that Saddam used chemical weapons against them, and shamelessly accept financial and military support from him. They even accept financial help from Iran. Iraq's Shi'as, 60 per cent of the population, are equally split. Some want an Iraq with close ties to Shi'a Iran; others insist they are Arabs and that, to succeed, they should depend on fellow Arabs, namely Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. A third group believes in co-operating with the US, and accordingly gets paid for it. The US and UK are reluctant to help the two Shi'a groups that command real followings inside Iraq, largely because Daawa and the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq are Islamic fundamentalist. In addition to the Kurds and Shi'as, there are more than 70 other "opposition" parties. Some are made up of Saddam's old cronies, people who turned against him after they lost their jobs. To make a living, they accept the backing of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. They publish newspapers and magazines no one reads. They have no offices or followers. In private conversation, they admit that their cause is hopeless. Other anti-Saddam parties are led by former Iraqi army officers; some are Saddam appointed generals, people who rose through the ranks because of their loyalty to him, rather than any military competence. Their reasons for opposing him are also mostly personal - demotions or sackings. The last anti-Saddam faction is made up of old politicians who left Iraq in the 1950s, when the monarchy was overthrown. Having lived abroad most of their lives, the leaders of these groups know very little about Iraq and its people. According to one of them, Saddam should not rule Iraq because he came from a poor background and "we don't even know who his father is". Another claims that Saddam is an undercover Mossad agent, part of "a Jewish conspiracy to destroy Iraq". These are the groups the United States is trying to unite under one command capable of toppling Saddam, as the Iraqi National Congress (INC). Over the past ten years, they have met in Vienna, Salahuddin in northern Iraq, at Windsor and, most notably, in New York in October 1999. The participants frequently walk out during these meetings; the men quarrel over who got most of the $96m allocated by the US to Saddam's opponents under the Iraq Liberation Act. One of the delegates at the New York meeting told me about the former INC chairman Ahmad Chalabi: "He takes more than his share, much more than his share, and I get nothing. Just look at the way he dresses. They say Saddam has 300 suits; well, this guy has 400." Last year, both Frank Ricciardone, the former head of the Iraq desk at the US State Department, and General Anthony Zinni, the former head of the US Central Command, stated that the Iraqi opposition to Saddam was incapable of toppling him. Yet now, with 11 September and the war on terror, Washington's commitment to overthrow Saddam is growing stronger by the day. As a result, the United States is re-energising the idea that these groups can replace a regime which runs one of the most tightly organised security systems in the world. But this is a fiction. Recently, I examined my notes of the lengthy interviews I conducted with 82 Iraqi opposition leaders. I began identifying those on my list whose thinking resembles Saddam's. To my horror, I decided that 75 of the people I interviewed were men who would kill to achieve their goal. Poor Iraq. Even if Saddam goes, Saddamism, corruption and violence are there to stay. NORTHERN IRAQ/SOUTHERN KURDISTAN http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/011126/2001112607.html * THE KURDISTAN'S NATIONAL FEDERATION AND JUND AL-ISLAM GROUP Arabic News, 26th November Adel Murad, the representative of the Kurdistani national federation in Syria has announced that his organization which is led by Jalal al-Taliban is preparing during the few coming days to launch a large- scale attack at Jund al-Islam ( soldiers of Islam) group which he considered as linked to Osama Bin Laden. In statements issued by the Kuwaiti daily al-Rai al-Am on Saturday, Murad indicated that this attack will be at a direct support by weapons and money from the Kurdistani democratic party led by Meosut al-Barazani and in co-ordination with the Iranian government. Murad said that the " Jund al-Islam" organization which declared itself by the beginning of last September and declared the " Kurdish citizen" Warya Holery, better known as " Abdullah al-Shafe'" as a ruler ( prince ) for it had committed an ugly crime when it attacked Shamal village to the " East of Iraq" in an area falls under the control of the Kurdish militias which declared rebellion at Baghdad and he also killed 25 persons. Murad continued that striking Bin Laden's group in Afghanistan will be reflected on the " Jund al-Islam movement and will result in its collapse, noting that the Kurdistani federation party will not wait until the collapse of all Taliban, rather will work to settle the situation concerning what is called " the Kurdistan of Iraq." Murad said that the national federation led by al-Taliban did not make contacts with the US concerning the elimination of " Jund al Islam " organization. IRAQ1/INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS http://quotes.freerealtime.com/dl/frt/N?art=C2001112600330t3562&SA=Latest%20 News * ROUND-TABLE CONFERENCE ON RUSSIA-IRAQ TRADE OPENS IN MOSCOW by Dina Pyanykh, Dmitry Vinitski MOSCOW, Nov 26, 2001 (Itar-Tass via COMTEX) -- An international round- table conference on Russian-Iraqi economic cooperation in the conditions where the U.N. sanctions against Baghdad are still in effect opened in Moscow Monday morning. The conference has been organized by the committee for cultural, scientific and business cooperation with Iraq in a bid to consolidate the efforts of Russia's political, public and business quarters in defending Russian economic interests in Iraq. The conference gathered in the run-up to the December 3 meeting of the U.N. Security Council that will discuss the situation around Iraq and a possible extension of the Oil-for- Food program. Yuri Shafranik, Russia's former minister of fuel and energy who now chairs the committee, says the program will be deadlocked altogether if the Security Council passes a version of the resolution drafted by the U.S. and Britain. The U.S. and British proposal boils down to a further toughening of sanctions against Baghdad. Its adoption by the Security Council may force Russian businesses to suspend all operations on the Iraqi market. The round-table conference is attended by Russian diplomats, officials from the industrial ministries that have interests in Iraq, members of parliament, public figures, and also executives of large Russian companies that have contracts in Iraq. The Iraqi delegation is headed by the Chairman of the Organization for Peace, Friendship and Solidarity with Foreign Countries, Dr Abdel Razzak al-Hashimi. Officials from the Iraqi ministries of oil, industry, commerce and agriculture plan to inform the participants on the situation in the Iraqi economy and to comment on the Iraqi government's steps to make business environment in the country favorable for Russian companies. http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow.asp?art_id=778510784 * IRAQ TO DOUBLE ITS TRADE WITH INDIA Economic Times (PTI), 29th November IRAQ is looking at doubling its trade with Indian companies in electrical goods from the existing $350 million in the next two years, Iraqi minister of commission of electricity Sahbaan Mahjoob has said. Speaking at a meeting with Indian electrical and electronic manufacturers association, Mahjoob said there was a large potential as Iraq is rebuilding its power generation plants. Mahjoob held a round of talks with the IEEMA members to discuss increased trade prospects with India, an IEEMA release said. The talks covered wide ranging issues including supply and installation of power generation plants, exporting transmission and distribution equipment and supply and installation of production plants for electrical equipment. In the last three years Iraq has imported electrical equipment worth over $750 million, out of which $350 million worth of products were supplied by Indian companies. NEW WORLD ORDER http://www.dawn.com/2001/11/25/top17.htm * US A TERRORIST STATE: CHOMSKY by Ashraf Mumtaz Dawn 25th November, 09 Ramazan 1422 LAHORE, Nov 24: Renowned American scholar Dr Noam Chomsky said on Saturday that the United States did not seek authorization for launching air strikes on Afghanistan from the United Nations because the involvement of the world body could have limited its unilateral power to act. Delivering a lecture and then answering questions from a packed hall at a hotel as well as an on-line audience in Karachi, he said Russia and China were happy because of their own interests. Hundreds of people had come to listen to the scholar, many of them without invitation with the result that most of them had to sit on the floor. They gave a standing ovation to Prof Chomsky as he stepped into the hall. Prof Chomsky said that except for standing on the side of the international coalition, Pakistan had few options in the situation - partly because of Islamabad's role in the past, especially its support for the CIA and then the Taliban. He said the Muslim world as a whole was in serious trouble. Making an obvious reference to the Arab states, he said they were surviving on oil wealth which would not last long. Resources of these countries were being drained to the West and in case the situation remained unchanged, the future of next generations would not be good. He did not agree with the suggestion that the American people had supported US attacks on Afghanistan, or that the results of the opinion polls in this regard were reflective of their thinking. In fact, he said, the response by the American people depended on the questions put to them. If they were asked whether action should be taken against the perpetrators of the Sept 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, their response would be in the affirmative. But if they were asked whether innocent people should be targeted, their answer would be quite different. When a questioner tried to support the US action against a 'repressive' regime in Afghanistan, Prof Chomsky said it was not for America to take action against repressive regimes. He said the governments of India and Pakistan were "highly repressive" but this did not mean that they should be destroyed. In his opinion the US system was most fundamentalist in the world, more fundamentalist than even that of Iran. He said a fundamentalist system could be possible even in a democracy. Answering a question, the American dissident said that going by the definition of terrorism, the US itself was a terrorist state. He did not agree with the suggestion that American people were supporting what their government was doing in Afghanistan. He said the media was not portraying the entire picture because of which people were not fully aware of the ground situation. He recalled a UN agency's request that US should withdraw the threat of bombing of Afghanistan as it was obstructing humanitarian assistance in that country and creating danger for starvation of millions of people there. But, he regretted, it was ignored by the media. The paper which carried the report made only a passing remark at the tail of some other story. In reply to a question about the US establishment's assertion that after Afghanistan they would target more countries, Iraq being one of them, Prof Chomsky said the US had said at the outset that they would go after everyone, every defenceless. He said the US would not touch countries where its own interests were hurt. Oil-rich Saudi Arabia, he added, was one example. He pointed out that statements by Osama bin Laden and President Bush and Prime Minister Blair were identical, although both sides interpreted them differently. While Osama said he would use force to drive aggressors out of Afghanistan, Bush and Blair meant that they would drive such people from the world. Prof Chomsky said the US was pressing Afghanistan to "hand over" Osama and not "extradite" him as in the latter case the US would have required the Security Council's sanction. He said it was strange that war against terrorism was being led by a country which was condemned by the world for terrorism. Referring to American plans for militarization of space, he said no other country was in race with the US and it alone was its competitor. He was critical of the US support to Israel, saying when an Israeli helicopter killed somebody, it should be taken as an American helicopter because the Jewish state did not manufacture helicopters. Prof Chomsky paid glowing tributes to Dr Eqbal Ahmad, saying he never wavered from his cause despite reversals and always supported good neighbourly relations between Pakistan and India. He also wanted an end to religious and secular fanaticism in the two states. The race for nuclear arms between the two countries and cycle of repression was yet another matter of serious concern for Dr Eqbal, Prof Chomsky said. The lecture was organized by The Friday Times and Eqbal Ahmad Foundation. This was the fourth lecture of the series and the next year's guest speaker will be Prof Edward Said. Dr Pervaiz Hoodbhoy, Najam Sethi and Jugnu Mohsin also spoke. Ministers, politicians, diplomats, etc., attended the lecture and the proceedings were also relayed to a hall in Karachi. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A14105-2001Nov25.html * IN ROLE REVERSAL, WAR CRITICISM IS MOSTLY FROM RIGHT by Dan Balz Washington Post, 26th November [.....] William Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard and co-author of a number of articles challenging the administration's war policies, said that, for many Americans, Sept. 11 represents "a challenge we need to beat back competently," but not much more than that. "For us, more is at stake," he said. "If this war is fought right, the benefits will be huge, but if it's fought wrong, the costs will be huge. If you think what's at stake is the shape of the world order, if you think about threats of weapons of mass destruction in the future . . . then you're likely to be engaged in how this war ought to be fought." The flash point in the debate remains Iraq and whether the administration decides that its war against terrorism requires a new effort to drive Iraqi President Saddam Hussein from power and wipe out his capability to develop weapons of mass destruction. "Iraq is not just a tactical issue of how we manage the situation," Kristol said. "Whether we take on Iraq has huge implications for the U.S. role in the world, and fundamentally, it's whether we're going to take it upon ourselves to shape a new world order." In recent days, Bush's critics on the right have seen signs that the administration is swinging toward their view of how the war on terrorism should be fought. They cite remarks Bush made several weeks ago about weapons of mass destruction and recent comments from national security adviser Condoleezza Rice and other senior administration officials as evidence that Iraq may be the next target in the war. Kristol summedup what he and others on the right have been advocating as the outlines of "an American liberal, imperial role" in the world. That is likely to provoke a huge debate and could prompt the first serious dissent from the left. Since Sept. 11, the left has chosen to embrace Bush's policies in Afghanistan while criticizing policies at home that they say will undermine civil liberties in the name of fighting terrorism. Bush has escaped criticism, but Attorney General John D. Ashcroft has not. [.....] -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 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.