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News, 24-30/11/01 (1) Apologies for the late delivery of the following due to a bit of travelling. News still dominated by the possibility that Iraq will be next, in this case structured by an interview and speech Bush gave on Monday (Bush warns Iraq on weapons inspectionsı). The best articles are those that have already been circulated: The hostage nationı (Von Sponeck and Halliday, under Enforcing the Embargo), A chamber of horrors so close to the 'Garden of Eden' (under Depleted Uranium) and A tale of 70 factions and 400 suitsı (under Iraqi Opposition). Thereıs also (under New World Order) US a terrorist state: Chomskyı. FINGER POINTING AT IRAQ * War has only just started: Bush [Extracts. According to an ex-Clinton adviser, Iraq is the headquartersı of world terrorism though, considering the wrong that has been done to it, it seems that, on the face of it, Iraq has shown remarkable patience and restraint, especially when compared with the US. Since it appears, however, that patience and restraint are not to be rewarded, perhaps they will change their policy ...] * Bush warns Iraq on weapons inspections * Bush turns America's fury towards Saddam * Smiles in Kabul, Then in Baghdad, Tel Aviv, Gaza [Touchingly naive article which informs us that the Iraqi people are longing to be blown to smithereens by the people who have been starving them and depriving them of the means to make a living or heal their sick for the past ten years. The article contains one curious phrase: Just last month the Iraqis are said to have secretly executed nine pro-Syrian members of the Ba'ath Party.ı Has the idea of a union with Syria (speed the day!) been surfacing again in the ranks of the Iraqi Baıath Party? * Not the Most Urgent Goal [Article by ex-national security adviser to Al Gore. The US should continue to starve the people of Iraq until the army has had a chance to rest from its exertions in Afghanistan. Then go in and bomb the place to pieces] * Bush Iraq Comments May Set Stage for Showdown [Extracts giving views of ex-arms inspection team member Tim McCarthy and his Monterey Instituteı] * Americans want a war on Iraq and we can't stop them [Hugo Young on our future as just one poodle among many] * Saddam in the crosshairs [Israeli argument that anyone who possesses weapons of mass destruction must be crushed. Well. Perhaps not everybody, exactly ...] * Turkey Hints It Could Back Iraq Strikes [Though the hint is so delicate as to be almost imperceptible] * War on terror will enter second phase: Tony Blair [Just in case anyone is hoping Tony might put up opposition to anything Bush might want to do] * Demand for Iraq Inspections Could Be Ploy for Attack [The myth of a feeble UN weapons inspection team consistently outfoxed by wily Iraqis until having to leave with a cry of despair is now being presented everywhere as fact. The real history is of a series of deliberate provocations and insults by a gang of US intelligence agents designed to prolong the sanctions regime indefinitely, despite an historically unprecedented degree of compliance on the part of the Iraqi government, who eventually concluded, rightly, though rather late in the day, that the game just wasnıt worth playing]. * Powell Downplays Talk of U.S. Action Against Iraq * . . . And Now to Iraq [Extracts. Afghanistan proves that massacre from the air can work (actually that was proved in Japan in 1945) and that Muslim opposition to US adventurism is just a lot of hot air. So go after Iraq. The only reason to hesitate is that he may possess nasty weapons. Moral: self defence under the New World Order requires the possession of nasty weapons] * Iran Warns U.S. on More Attacks * A Lonely Battle Against Terror [The lonely battle is in fact Spainıs battle against ETA. The Spanish Prime Minister recommends (rather late in the day) that the US should abide by the law. As if the US cares what the Spanish PM thinks. The article goes on to an account (not given here) of Afghan refugees in Iran] * Blair rejects Tory call for action on Iraq [a little finger pointing at Iraq] URLs ONLY: http://www.smh.com.au/news/0111/26/world/world7.html * Anthrax trail leads from Iowa to Iraq by Steve Fainaru and Joby Warrick Sydney Morning Herald (from Washington Post), 26th November Despite the headline, the article gives not the slightest hint of a trail leading to Iraq. http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20011129/us/attacks_iraq_s_weapons_3.html * Experts Sure Iraq Has Bio-Weapons by Dafna Linzer, Associated Press Writer Yahoo, 29th November Nothing new in this. It reflects the Richard Butler rather than the Scott Ritter version of the history of the weapons inspectors. OIL FOR FOOD * Oil sales are not enough for buying the food for the Iraqis * Changes would nullify UN oil-for-food accord-Iraq * UN Security Council Approves Iraq Sanctions Plan * Reducing the risk of war with Iraq [Seems to suggest that the Russians have agreed to implement - rather than just to consider - the full smart sanctionsı policy next Summer] AND, IN NEWS, 24-30/11/01 (2) IRAQIMIDDLE EAST/ARAB WORLD RELATIONS * Air flights resumed between Jordan, Baghdad * Iraq ratified the free market agreement with Algeria, UAE * Kuwaiti liberals enjoy moment in the sun * Iraq-backed terror cell nabbed in West Bank [The connection with Iraq is rather nebulous] * Iraq foils Iran-linked attack * Egypt Says U.S. Vows Not to Attack Iraq * Kuwait Debates U.S.-Islamic Life [After all weıve done for them, there are still some of them who dare to disapprove of Barbie dolls] * Baghdad Recalls Ambassador to Turkey ENFORCING THE EMBARGO * Rescuers find body of U.S. seaman in Gulf * Impoverished Iraqis struggle to survive on past's leftovers [Back to the reality on the ground. Though the sculptor Mohammed Ghani Hikmat, who wants to do colossal monuments that often depict historical characters or were inspired by legends from 1,001 Nightsı but is obliged instead to do miniatures does not greatly excite my sympathies.] * U.S. Bombs Iraqi Air Defense Site * The hostage nation [Powerful denunciation of current UN policy by Hans von Sponeck and Denis Halliday] DEPLETED URANIUM * Going Backwards US Wins Defeat of Depleted Uranium Study [This was communicated to the list and I have been unable to find a URL or date for it, but it seems very important that the US should be preventing a proper investigation of the whole question of the use of depleted uranium] * A chamber of horrors so close to the 'Garden of Eden' [Powerful description from the Independent of the health effects of the Gulf War and its aftermath] NORTHERN IRAQ/SOUTHERN KURDISTAN * The Kurdistan's national federation and Jund al-Islam group IRAQI OPPOSITION * A tale of 70 factions and 400 suits [An unkind but probably accurate description of what the US Imperialist press like to call the democratic oppositionı in Iraq. Points to the problems but doesnıt say much about the reasons for those problems. But as in the case of S.Hussein himself what is interesting is the causes - why such a person should get into such a position - not the badness of otherwise of the individuals concerned] IRAQ1/INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS * Round-table conference on Russia-Iraq trade opens in Moscow * Iraq to double its trade with India NEW WORLD ORDER * US a terrorist state: Chomsky [Not much about Iraq but included just for the pleasure of reading someone able to see what is going on in front of his nose] * In Role Reversal, War Criticism Is Mostly From Right [Extract on views of William Kristol, editor of the US paper the Weekly Standard, on he need for an American liberal, imperial role in the worldı. In case anyoneıs wondering, the terms liberalı and imperialı are not at all, historically speaking, contradictory.] URL ONLY: http://www.iht.com/articles/39860.html * Now Arab and Muslim Societies Need to Wage a War of Ideas by Thomas L. Friedman International Herald Tribune, from The New York Times, 24th November Moral teachings from the most enlightened and peaceloving nation in the world. A treat for the masochists in our midst. FINGER POINTING AT IRAQ http://www.themercury.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5936,3307649%255E15802 ,00.html * WAR HAS ONLY JUST STARTED: BUSH by Stephen Romei The Mercury (from The Australian), 24th November [.....] Iraq tops the US's list of terror-sponsoring states. Hussein has developed weapons of mass destruction and used them, in the form of chemical agents, on Iraq's Kurdish population. "Iraq is the crucial question which looms before Bush. He must decide whether or not to repeat the error of his father," Dick Morris, former adviser to president Bill Clinton, told The Australian. "Terrorism is like cancer if you don't stop it everywhere, you haven't stopped it anywhere. If Bush leaves Saddam in control, he has only defeated a branch office of terrorism, not its headquarters." Hawks such as Morris and there are like minds in the Bush administration argue that crushing Hussein would send a powerful message to incubators of terrorism such as Libya, Lebanon, Syria and Sudan. "If we attack Iraq, it will show the war against terror is more than just a revenge killing for the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon. It will be a war against terrorism wherever we find it," Morris said. [.....] But some observers believe this is precisely the wrong time to take on Iraq. Indeed, they fear a gung-ho US will squander a rare opportunity to persuade the Arab world to stand up to its militant elements. Martin Indyk, the Australian-raised former US ambassador to Israel, has tracked the number of demonstrations in 21 Arab nations since the war began. In week one there were nine. In week two there were three and by week five there were none. Indyk, a senior fellow at the Washington think-tank the Brookings Institution, concluded: "The reality is that the Arab street does not want to be identified with terrorism." [.....] http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/front/2001/1127/fro2.htm * BUSH WARNS IRAQ ON WEAPONS INSPECTIONS by Patrick Smyth Irish Times, 27th November President George Bush yesterday appeared to signal an escalation in US war ambitions by pledging to "hold to account" countries which "develop weapons of mass destruction that will be used to terrorise nations". And, as media commentators increased their speculation about a possible next phase of the campaign against terrorism, he had a specific warning for President Saddam Hussein of Iraq: "He needs to let inspectors back in his country to show he is not developing weapons of mass destruction." What would the consequences be if he failed to do so? "He'll find out," the President said during a brief press conference in the White House Rose Garden. But journalists attempting to pin down the President on a perceived "shift of definition" in his war aims were told by a puzzled Mr Bush that "I've always held that definition". His spokesman, Mr Ari Fleischer, later insisted that the President's current focus was still on the Afghan phase of the war and that the comments, prompted by a journalist's questions, were merely the reiteration of "longstanding policy". Mr Bush was deliberately unspecific about consequences, Mr Fleischer said, and did not have a timescale for compliance in mind, insisting that accountability could take many forms. The US campaign against terrorism included financial sanctions, international arrests and the trading of intelligence, he said. In an editorial yesterday entitled "The Wrong Time to Fight Iraq" the New York Times responded to calls by many hawkish commentators for a war to topple President Saddam. The paper argued that the US should instead continue to apply "maximum" pressure on Iraq and help develop a real opposition. [.....] http://portal.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2001/11/26/wbush26.x ml&sSheet=/news/2001/11/26/ixhome.html * BUSH TURNS AMERICA'S FURY TOWARDS SADDAM by Stephen Robinson in Washington Daily Telegraph, 26th November LOOKING beyond what Washington now regards as an assured victory in Afghanistan, President Bush yesterday publicly laid out American strategy for tackling the terrorist threat from Iraq and beyond. "Saddam is evil," said Mr Bush, the first time he had applied that adjective to the Iraqi dictator. "I think he's got weapons of mass destruction, and I think he needs to open up his country to let us inspect." Mr Bush said it was obvious from Saddam's previous use of chemical weapons that he was a threat and harboured ambitions towards mass terrorism. "It's up to him to prove he's not," said Mr Bush, reversing the onus of proof. Mr Bush used an interview with Newsweek magazine to identify Saddam as a target, and appeared to relish the prospect of finishing the job of neutralising the Iraqi dictator, which his father did not achieve after the Gulf war 10 years ago. In effect, under a policy known within the administration as "coercive diplomacy", the Iraqi leadership will be told to readmit the expelled United Nations weapons inspectors or face military attack. The next military assault would be much wider than the occasional air strikes launched by US and British jets enforcing the no-fly zones over northern and southern Iraq. Mr Bush also cited Syria as a state that needed to "take a hard look at some of the groups in their country". Other military objectives in the widening of the campaign against terrorism include a suspected al-Qa'eda training camp in Somalia detected by reconnaissance planes. The CIA continues to believe that there are al-Qa'eda cells in Yemen and Sudan, despite public moves by both governments to satisfy Washington that they were taking action. Strikes against those countries could follow the completion of the Afghanistan mission. Speaking at length for the first time since the attacks on September 11, the president appeared determined and confident about the course of the war. He acknowledged that it could take time to capture or kill Osama bin Laden, but he was adamant that "we're going to get him one way or another". Mr Bush said the primary goal had always been to disrupt bin Laden's activities, and that had been achieved now that he was on the run. [.....] http://www.iht.com/articles/39989.html * SMILES IN KABUL, THEN IN BAGHDAD, TEL AVIV, GAZA by David Ignatius International Herald Tribune, 26th November PARIS: A simple way to assess U.S. policy choices over the next few months is to apply the smile test. Ask yourself what American actions would bring smiles to the faces of ordinary people in the Middle East like those we have seen from Afghan men and women in the past week. Photographs don't lie. Anyone could see the joy and relief as Afghans celebrated the collapse of a Taliban government that had governed by chopping off people's limbs and destroying thousand-year-old works of art. People could breathe again. Women could show their faces if they chose, and men could cut their beards. Thanks to foreign intervention, the hold of a small clique of religious fanatics had been broken. So where does this war of liberation go next? I share the view of many in the Bush administration that the right goals are to replace Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq and to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian problem. On the smile test, these two would be off the charts. But to succeed, the United States will need a solid coalition of support that includes Israel, Turkey, Syria, Egypt and perhaps also Iran. This next campaign will require time and patience. It should not begin until victory in Afghanistan is complete. But now is the time to lay the groundwork. A joyous celebration in Baghdad would greet Saddam's demise. Ordinary Iraqis loathe their leader with a passion most outsiders probably can't appreciate. This is a man who has governed for 30 years by torture. He has presided over what the Iraqi dissident Kanan Makiya rightly calls a "republic of fear" - a place where, according to human rights reports, children are thrown out of helicopters to terrify their dissident parents into submission. Iraqis have been praying that the United States and its allies would finally turn this odious page in their history. That task won't be easy, but it is time to begin building the coalition of support, overt and covert, that will someday make it possible. An early opportunity will come this week when the UN Security Council again takes up a U.S. proposal for "smart sanctions" against Iraq. Saddam hates the idea because it would help the people while hurting his regime. The plan was scuttled last time by a Russian veto. After his amiable visit to George W. Bush's Texas ranch, it is time for Vladimir Putin to help make smart sanctions work. Presidents Bush and Putin should also join in demanding a return of inspectors to Iraq to search for weapons of mass destruction. If Iraq refuses, the world will better understand what is at stake. Turkey seems eager to play a Pakistan-like role anchoring a new push against Saddam, but the Turks won't be enough. America will also need support from Arab nations such as Syria, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. It is precisely because these countries are often hostile toward the United States that their support against Saddam will matter. Why would Syria want to help oust Saddam? Just last month the Iraqis are said to have secretly executed nine pro-Syrian members of the Ba'ath Party. Iran presents an interesting dilemma. Although a terrorist state itself for most of the past 20 years, it has quietly allied with the United States against the Taliban. An Arab official told me recently that the Iranians have been allowing U.S. jets to fly through their airspace on the way to bombing Afghanistan. And French intelligence sources report that Iranian militiamen helped drive the Taliban from Herat. The other American effort that can bring smiles to the Middle East - in Tel Aviv as much as in Gaza - is to get Israeli-Palestinian negotiations back on track. "I have spent my whole life anguishing over this problem," an Arab intellectual complained to me. "Can't the United States do something to solve it?" Many Israelis would say the same thing. Secretary of State Colin Powell's speech to the United Nations last week was a good start. He said publicly some of what the United States has been saying privately, in secret letters to Saudi Arabia outlining its commitment to a Palestinian state. The American motto toward Israelis and Palestinians right now should be "tough love." That means putting teeth into long-standing U.S. policy opposing Israeli settlements - and making a stink when the Sharon government announces plans to harden settlements, as it did last week. Tough love also means working harder, through the CIA's growing intelligence network, to stop Palestinian terrorism against Israel. Change comes slowly in the Middle East, but it is coming. A small sign was a statement on Friday by Lebanon's Shiite leader, Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah - who 18 years ago was blamed by the United States for inciting the terrorist bombing that killed 241 Marines in Beirut. "Bin Laden is not the leader of the Muslim world and does not represent Islam," Sheikh Fadlallah told the Lebanese weekly Al Moharrer. He said bin Laden was merely "profiteering" from oppression in the Arab world. If Sheikh Fadlallah can denounce terrorism, perhaps the iceberg that has frozen politics in the Middle East is finally beginning to break up. This is a war of liberation - in part, from history itself - and this is no time to stop. More struggle, more victories, more smiles. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A19476-2001Nov26.html * NOT THE MOST URGENT GOAL by Leon Fuerth Washington Post, 27th November In Afghanistan the Taliban have been driven out of power, and Osama bin Laden's apparatus is disrupted and hunted. Iraq, however, is coming up as the next major piece of unfinished business. There are reports of strongly held views within the administration that the United States should strike while we have the opportunity. Those who hold this view are right in believing that neither the region nor the United States itself will be safe until both Saddam Hussein and the Baath political regime are gone. This is a man who was coming perilously close to having nuclear weapons capability before he made his disastrous misstep in Kuwait. He is believed to have developed chemical and possibly biological weapons, and he used chemical weapons on a massive scale against the Kurds in 1988. It is possible that he has concealed numbers of Scud ballistic missiles and their launchers. No one was certain about the status of weapons of this type even when U.N. inspectors were ensconced in Baghdad, and the inspectors have been gone now for three years. Meanwhile, Saddam has been trying to loosen the economic sanctions that bind him and has managed to use the sufferings he imposes on his own people to build sympathy worldwide for Iraq's plight. Illegal oil sales have given him access to hundreds of millions of dollars. Time is not weakening Saddam Hussein. Rather, his potential for rising again to threaten the interests of the United States is growing. But the tremendous risk involved in turning on him must be thought through. It is likely that immediately targeting Iraq would be more than the anti-terror coalition could sustain, not just because of the effect on the Arab "street" but because France and especially Russia have invested deeply in efforts to preserve Saddam Hussein as a man worth doing (oil) business with. If so, then Saddam's luck still holds. The first Bush administration might have destroyed him in 1990 but held back because it thought Iraq under Saddam was necessary as a counterweight to Iran. The Clinton administration could not generate international support for anything much more forceful than limited airstrikes. And at the end of the day, the current administration may also find that it cannot destroy Saddam without causing grievous damage to other, more urgent priorities. If persuasive evidence existed linking Iraq to the use of anthrax as a biological weapon in this country, that would create an open-and-shut case for finishing him. But without such a link, or some other fresh, major provocation, it would be difficult to build our case for dealing with Saddam. We would need to reheat the chilled and congealed crisis over his ejection of U.N. arms inspectors, and we would have to make (justified) demands for maximum access, given the length of time Iraq has been able to enjoy privacy. The administration would also have to revive its effort to refocus sanctions: perhaps setting up the equation "smart sanctions or smart bombs, take your pick." It would have to avoid notions of breaking up Iraq. Our goal should be to establish a federal, democratic state with a weak central government and strong local governments in the Kurdish, Sunni and Shia regions. We certainly ought to cooperate with the Iraqi National Congress, but not be swept up in romanticism about its ability to operate effectively inside Iraq. All this will take time to develop, and that is just as well. U.S. forces will need to be rested after the campaign in Afghanistan. There are also more urgent priorities than Iraq: carrying the campaign against terror to other parts of the world by whatever combinations of means turns out to be best suited in each location -- but above all, maintaining the initiative so that the ability of terrorists to network is dismantled, and they are reduced to isolated cells to be finished off by local authorities, with massive help from others. But when the moment comes, the United States must avoid half-measures. Given the changed climate produced by Sept. 11, we should aim from the beginning to destroy the Iraqi regime, root and branch. That is the only way to secure the logistically and politically indispensable support we need from the Gulf states. And finally, we must avoid a major ground war unless Saddam forces it upon us by massing forces against his neighbors. It could be that the war in Afghanistan will turn out to be a proving ground for the kind of tactics that would give us the means to take Saddam Hussein down once and for all. That is another reason to avoid haste. There are still lessons to be learned. The writer was national security adviser to former vice president Al Gore and is now Shapiro visiting professor of international relations at George Washington University. http://www.reuters.com/news_article.jhtml?type=politicsnews&StoryID=409995 * BUSH IRAQ COMMENTS MAY SET STAGE FOR SHOWDOWN by Randall Mikkelsen Reuters, 27th November [.....] "We're laying the groundwork for some activities against Iraq," said Tim McCarthy, a former member of the U.N. arms inspection team in Iraq and a senior researcher for the Monterey Institute of International Studies. A showdown could begin within six months, he said. A telltale sign of impending action would be if U.S. Navy carriers remained in the region after the battle in Afghanistan winds down. [.....] A summary of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction capabilities compiled by the Monterey Institute says Iraq has the expertise to build nuclear weapons, and it may have retained stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons. It is also rebuilding missile-production facilities destroyed in 1998 by U.S. bombs and may retain several missiles. [.....] http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,606625,00.html * AMERICANS WANT A WAR ON IRAQ AND WE CAN'T STOP THEM by Hugo Young The Guardian, 27th November President Bush's prime purpose now is gearing up America for a wider war. "It's not over. It's not over," he told Newsweek, concerned that the people might think otherwise. "Afghanistan is just the beginning," he roared to an audience of soldiers at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. "America has a message for the nations of the world. If you feed a terrorist or fund a terrorist, you're a terrorist." In Newsweek, he amplified this with reference to one man. "Saddam is evil," he declared for the first time. It could take years to catch Osama bin Laden, he allowed. But many other targets are now on notice of merciless aggression. You do not hear a single word of similar intensity from any European leader. Even Tony Blair, while regularly reinvoking the global campaign against terror, seldom talks about the enemy with Bush's slavering passion for specific eliminations. The president is mobilising an American national will such as we have not recently seen. During the cold war it was unquestioning, but static. During Vietnam, it disintegrated. Now the enemy, though invisible, is unmistakable, and the national stirring is deep against him. For the first time, the US was attacked: for the first time, the US doesn't mind if casualties are taken in the name of vengeance or self-protection. For the first time, therefore, public opinion is unambiguously ready to come in behind whatever intervention a president decides he must propose. One proof of this is what encroachments on their liberties Americans are willing to put up with. Protests against the repressive gospel according to the attorney general, John Ashcroft, are few and far between. A country that guards its constitutional freedoms with meticulous passion is prepared to surrender them with pious indifference. So easy is such submission to raison d'état that the quiet torture of recalcitrant suspects surely cannot be far behind. Europeans should reflect on this as a measure of the hard-eyed national commitment that differentiates the American mood from that of any other country. This, rather than the diplomatic niceties of coalition building, will mainly determine what happens next. Though a division over policy is not yet visible among the allies, the gulf of perception seems likely to become significant. The temper of the times will remain sternly hot in the US while, barring more terrorism, it eventually cools in Europe. Far from this campaign yielding a new concert of civilised nations, it will emphasise the deafening control of the trumpeter and conductor. The British piccolo, in particular, will find it harder to be heard. The band continues to play in rough harmony, but only on condition that it follows the unilateral beat of the big bass drum. In three theatres, you can see this starting to happen. Afghanistan itself has become an American operation. Sure, they needed allies in all adjoining countries, and worked to get them. There's been a huge amount of transatlantic traffic. When aspiring partners, from Italy to Japan, thirsted to get in on the action and prove their manly commitment, they were nominally accepted, their troops probably never to be used. When even the German Greens, at the weekend, voted to take part, a Rubicon of lasting importance to Germany and Europe was crossed. But Washington remains in unimpeded charge. Behind coalitionist talk, that's how they want it. They speak, moreover, for a different aftermath. Again the verbiage tries to soften this. But when Mr Blair talks about rebuilding Afghanistan and not forgetting it in the peace, it's plain he is sincere whereas Bush's people mouth the words and do not really mean them. There's nothing wrong with nation-building, but not when it's done by the American military," said Condoleezza Rice not long ago, speaking as the president's closest foreign policy aide. Though Washington is pledged to a large chunk of the $10bn aid Kabul has been promised, it's unlikely to stay and oversee the maintenance of a stable, semi-decent regime to spend it. That's not what the new Bush doctrine, a results-oriented, short-vision construct, is all about. Second, the world itself will not, I now guess, benefit from a new internationalism. After September 11, many of us wrote optimistically otherwise. A unilateral foreign policy was surely dead and buried. When it comes to collaborating against terror, that may remain so. Washington's withdrawal from the Middle East peace process is also no longer an option. But the other litmus tests seem likely to be failed. Swift smashing of the Taliban can't plausibly be seen as a platform for reneging on Republican hostility to either the comprehensive test ban treaty or the international criminal court. On the contrary. Seen from Washington, what's being achieved is, among other things, the triumph of an American view of the world that can now be amplified elsewhere. Third, and most delicately, comes Bush's promise that Afghanistan is not the end but the beginning. Again, many countries are signed up to that. Organised commitment to strangle the finances of terrorism should make a difference. But a choice presents itself, in which it's clear where every EU country, not to mention Russia and most of the Middle East, stands: on the slow road of economic and diplomatic action, rather than the fast track of bulldog threats followed by instant bombing. Though Iraq may not be the first place that comes under fire, it's by far the most sensitive, and now the president, talking to Newsweek, gives Saddam his warning: let the UN arms inspectors back in, or face the consequences. The American mood will tolerate this, perhaps demand it. Not long ago, speculation about the Iraqi option was linked to an anxious need for incontrovertible proof of al-Qaida connections. Now, the test is becoming looser. What looks like a speedy victory in Afghanistan is galvanising US ambitions to be the world's super-enforcer, whatever the problems, for a global cause Americans believe in more clearly than they've believed in anything since the second world war. It's hard to identify a single voice that might be loud enough to stop it. Least of all Tony Blair's. Though Mr Blair has done a good job as a major builder of the coalition, is it credible that he will count for more than the deep-throated thunder from of the Republican right, smarting with rage to complete the job Bush's father failed to do on Saddam? Most Europeans know which side they're on after the criminal obscenity of September 11. But as time passes, they're drawn ineluctably into a campaign over which they will have ever less influence. Their support is an essential token, and their networks are vital to the political and economic effort. But when it comes to calling the shots, Washington cannot be denied, at least by Britain. It's impossible to write the speech one could believe Blair might give to defend his withdrawal of support. Maybe he wouldn't want to. But, helplessly drawn along, we will not walk taller in the world. http://www.jpost.com/Editions/2001/11/28/Opinion/Editorial.38915.html * SADDAM IN THE CROSSHAIRS Jerusalem Post, 13 Kislev 5762, 28th November (November 28) - It is still not definitively known, and may not even be decided, who America will target in "Stage 2" of the war against terrorism. It is, however, known which regime must be toppled before this war can be considered provisionally won: Iraq's Saddam Hussein. In his appearance on Monday with two American missionaries rescued from Afghanistan, President George Bush did not mince words: "Afghanistan is still just the beginning. If anybody harbors a terrorist, they're a terrorist. If they fund a terrorist, they're a terrorist... If they develop weapons of mass destruction that will be used to terrorize nations, they will be held accountable. And as for Mr. Saddam Hussein, he needs to let inspectors back in his country, to show us that he is not developing weapons of mass destruction." With this, Bush has deftly and correctly dismissed a line of argument that even America's close European allies have used to exempt Saddam from the coalition's crosshairs. These allies, including even Britain's so far stalwart Tony Blair, have acted as if the only targets in this war will be those responsible for September 11 itself. "Show me the evidence," the Europeans say, "and we're with you." But Bush's point is that there is no need to link Saddam directly to September 11, even though it is hard to believe that Saddam provided no assistance to Osama bin Laden. What matters, says Bush, is that Saddam's megalomania is no less dangerous than bin Laden's, and Saddam is developing much more dangerous weapons to carry out his plans to dominate the Middle East and terrorize the world. Ten years ago, Bush's father gave Saddam an ultimatum: Get out of Kuwait or we'll push you out. Today's Bush ultimatum is give up your weapons or give up power. It should be clear that the logic of the war on terrorism leads inexorably to Bush's conclusion. Not reacting seriously against lesser attacks led to September 11. If Saddam's regime survives this war, the West will be inviting attacks and intimidation that make September 11 look relatively tame. Given the stakes, the counterarguments seem incredibly feeble. Some argue that the threat from Saddam is exaggerated. But evidence from the Gulf War demonstrates that Saddam was much closer to building a nuclear weapon than Western intelligence had estimated. The idea that Saddam can be "watched closely" and indefinitely prevented from adding to his already dangerous chemical and biological arsenals is irresponsible in the extreme. Some speculate that the elder Bush and some of his former advisers, including the current secretary of state, are reluctant to admit that they made a mistake by leaving Saddam in place a decade ago. Indeed, some in this group may still believe that Saddam should not be toppled because of the danger of "instability" in the Gulf. Here too, however, it is inconceivable that Bush would let the goals of the war be limited by the need to protect his father's pride. In retrospect, the senior Bush's determination and leadership far outweigh his mistakes. The eviction of Iraq from Kuwait was far from predetermined, and a strong case can be made that the first Bush administration had started working on Saddam's removal before leaving office. It is the Clinton administration, not Bush I, that should bear the primary burden for abandoning the Iraqi opposition in 1995 and letting Saddam "out of the box." The more serious charge against the current administration is that it is sympathetic to Saudi Arabia's desire to replace Saddam, but not his regime. In this scenario, the Saudis fear a democratic Iraq almost as much as they do Saddam, and the Bush administration is loath to risk instability in Saudi Arabia. We can only hope that September 11 dealt a mortal blow to a realpolitik based on the "stability" of corrupt Arab despotisms. America stands for a revolutionary form of freedom; that is why the bin Ladens of the world hate it so. Freedom need not be pursued recklessly, but it is reckless not to pursue it at all. It was a "stable" Saudi Arabia that helped produced not only bin Laden, but millions of people to cheer him on. It would be a bizarre twist of fate if America is so bent on preserving the current Saudi arrangement that effective support for the democratic Iraqi opposition continues to be withheld, and the threat from Saddam remains unchecked. http://news.excite.com/news/r/011128/10/news-turkey-nato-iraq-dc * TURKEY HINTS IT COULD BACK IRAQ STRIKES by Steve Bryant Excite, 28th November ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey's defense minister hinted Wednesday that the NATO member might drop its long-standing objections to a U.S. attack on Iraq if circumstances changed. "We have officially said again and again that we do not want an operation in Iraq but new conditions could bring new evaluations onto the agenda," Anatolian news agency quoted Defense Minister Sabahattin Cakmakoglu as telling a seminar on the defense industry in Ankara. Asked to elaborate on his remarks, Cakmakoglu said: "I said that with a general meaning, it is not based on any specific information or meaning." Turkey's defense minister does not wield as much influence as Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit or officers of the military General Staff, but Cakmakoglu's comments were the first sign from a senior politician that Turkey could change its position. Secretary of State Colin Powell is due to visit Turkey next week during a tour of Russia and other European countries. [.....] Fears that Powell could seek Turkey's support for a strike against Iraq contributed to falls of more than six percent on the Istanbul stock exchange Wednesday morning also fueled by concerns over the economy and discord with the EU over Cyprus. Brokers said the imminent Powell visit and a visit on Tuesday by Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt of Belgium, which holds the EU's rotating presidency, increased the feeling that something was up in the diplomatic field. "The fact that the EU term president and the U.S. foreign minister are coming in the same period point to talks on Cyprus and getting support for Iraq. Since both are negative, the market is tense," said Cem Kulahci of Meksa Securities. [.....] http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow.asp?art_id=1842600529 * WAR ON TERROR WILL ENTER SECOND PHASE: TONY BLAIR Times of India, 29th November LONDON ( AP ): The war on terrorism will enter a "deliberative and considered" new phase that will take it beyond the current campaign in Afghanistan, Prime Minister Tony Blair said Wednesday. "I have always said there would be two phases of this operation. The first is in Afghanistan and our military action is focused in Afghanistan," Blair told lawmakers in the House of Commons. "The second is, in a deliberative and considered way, to take what action we can against international terrorism in all its forms," he said. Blair was responding to a lawmaker who asked him to rule out military action by the U.S. led coalition against other countries such as Yemen, Somalia or Iraq. Blair did not say whether future "action" against terrorism would be military, but noted that countries that harbored terrorists or developed weapons to be used by them would be treated as terrorists. "That has been the position from the beginning," he said. "It is the position of myself, the American administration and everyone else in the international coalition and that remains the case." http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la 000094999nov29.story?coll=la%2Dheadlines%2DworldNovember 29, 2001 * DEMAND FOR IRAQ INSPECTIONS COULD BE PLOY FOR ATTACK by Ronald Brownstein Los Angeles Times, 29th November WASHINGTON -- In demanding the resumption of U.N. inspections inside Iraq, President Bush is advancing a solution that many experts consider incapable of preventing Saddam Hussein from acquiring weapons of mass destruction. Indeed, national security analysts are so pessimistic that renewed inspections could effectively deter Iraq that many believe Bush is hoping Hussein will continue to reject the offer--and thus provide a justification for a military strike against his regime. "We may be laying the groundwork here for actions against Iraq," said Sen. John McCain (R Ariz.). Bush's call earlier this week for renewed inspections has drawn praise from some Middle East experts, who maintain that the United States must offer the Iraqi president a chance to cooperate now if it is to build a coalition for tougher steps against him later. Others worry that Hussein--who so far has unequivocally rejected Bush's demand--may outfox the United States by eventually accepting it. That could begin another round of inspections that probably would prove inconclusive while preempting any effort to assemble support for military action to overthrow him. "The folks in the administration who are supportive of going after Saddam are taking somewhat of a risk in that the focus becomes inspections, which implicitly leaves Saddam as the legitimate government," said Gary J. Schmitt, executive director of the Project for a New American Century, a hawkish think tank. Yet the demand for inspections offers the administration a way to further isolate Hussein while delaying decisions on possible military action until the campaign in Afghanistan is closer to completion. "What it gets us is showing that we are prepared to work with the international community to try to deal with the threat of Saddam," said James B. Steinberg, the deputy national security advisor under President Clinton. The difficulty the Bush administration would face in achieving international backing for military action against Iraq was underscored Wednesday when Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher, during an appearance in Washington, said his government has been given an understanding that the United States does not intend to launch such a campaign. Maher did not specify the source of his information. The history of the international efforts to uncover and destroy Iraqi chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs in the decade since the Persian Gulf War is a story of virtually unremitting frustration. The United Nations imposed the inspections in the resolutions ending the war in 1991. But from the start, investigators faced relentless Iraqi resistance that undermined their efforts. Although the inspections did produce some important discoveries over the years, the larger lesson of the experience was that "when a determined criminal flouts international law under cover of the principle of state sovereignty, the world system, as currently constituted, appears unable or unwilling to stop him," said Richard Butler, the former chief U.N. weapons inspector, in his memoir "The Greatest Threat." Iraq used an assortment of tactics to block the investigators. It ignored U.N. mandates to provide an accurate roster of weapons facilities. It began a systematic program of revealing portions of its weapons programs and concealing the rest--a ruse that was unearthed when one of two Hussein sons-in-law who defected in 1995 revealed details about the policy. Frequently, Iraqi officials simply stalled inspectors at the gates of a facility while other Iraqis raced from the site with documents, literally in view of the investigators. Later, Iraq unilaterally barred inspectors from "presidential sites" such as palaces that the investigators believed were hosting weapons research. Khidhir Hamza, who directed Iraq's nuclear weapons program before defecting in 1994, said at a forum last year that Hussein's regime had grown expert at hiding its biological weapons program from inspectors. "Much of the work was being moved specially during the inspections. . . . [It] would move around in hospitals, factories, military areas, bunkers, anywhere," he said. "They've learned to do it with smaller units working in more or less mobile situations." Finally, in December 1998, the obstruction reached the point that Butler reported to the U.N. that the commission he headed was no longer able to verify the status of Iraq's weapons programs. The United States and Britain launched several days of airstrikes against Iraqi facilities believed to be producing weapons of mass destruction and other military targets. No international inspectors have been allowed back into Iraq since, though the U.N. demanded their return in a December 1999 resolution. Earlier this month, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice said the only reason Hussein could be blocking the return of inspections was "so that he can build weapons of mass destruction." Given the bleak history of weapons inspections, few analysts are optimistic that such efforts would prove more effective now. Even Steinberg, the former deputy national security advisor, who is a persistent skeptic as regards unilateral military action against Hussein, agrees that inspections are unlikely to stop Iraqi weapons programs. "I'm not confident at all that they can," he said. "If you take for granted [that Hussein] is going to preserve some capacity [for weapons of mass destruction] as part of his regime survival strategy, he is only going to let the inspectors do that which doesn't interfere with his ability to do that." Further complicating the equation, Butler and other experts believe that the monitoring system the U.N. called for in December 1999 would allow Iraq even greater leeway to block inspections than it had before. "The new proposed [inspection program] is not as intrusive, at least on paper, as [the old one] was," said Geoffrey Kemp, a National Security Council aide under President Reagan who co-chaired a recent commission on Iraq policy. "Inspectors are needed in Iraq, but if they have even less access . . . it will become a farce." http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20011129/ts/iraq_usa_powell_dc_1.html * POWELL DOWNPLAYS TALK OF U.S. ACTION AGAINST IRAQ Yahoo, 29th November WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Secretary of State Colin Powell (news - web sites) on Thursday downplayed talk of possible U.S. action against Iraq that has moved markets in Turkey, a country he is due to visit next week. ``I don't know what people think is about to happen,'' he told a small group of reporters at the State Department. ``This sort of suggestion out of the media right now that something is on the verge of happening has no particular underpinning substance to it,'' he added. He was responding to a question about a slip in Turkish stocks, bonds and its currency amid fears that U.S. strikes on Afghanistan (news - web sites) might spread to Turkey's neighbor Iraq. President Bush said this week that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein should let weapons inspectors back into his country. Asked what would happen if Saddam refused, he replied, ``He'll find out.'' Asked whether Turkey would be crucial to any military campaign against Iraq, Powell said, ``The president has all of his options with respect to what he might do to deal with the Iraqi danger to the region.'' ``But I think it is highly inappropriate, speculative and hypothetical of me to talk about a war that nobody has declared.'' He made clear the Iraqi president could not rest easy however, saying, ``We are keeping an eye on Saddam Hussein. He develops weapons of mass destruction.'' Powell, who is due to visit Turkey next week during a tour of several countries to boost support for the U.S. operation in Afghanistan, noted a vote was due to take place later at the United Nations that is expected to revise sanctions against Iraq within six months and extend the existing U.N. ''oil-for-food'' program until then. ``We continue to support the U.N. sanctions regime against Iraq and I am pleased that we have a rollover vote that will lead to an imposition in due course of a new way of determining what items may be allowed to go to Iraq,'' he said. Powell, who heads first to Romania on Tuesday, said he was in constant contact with U.S. friends in the region including Turkey, with which the United States has a close relationship underscored by Ankara's support for Washington's bombing campaign in Afghanistan. ``I don't want to go so far as to say that we have to get permission from anybody to take action. That's not the case,'' he said. ``But we recognize that we have close friends in the region who have equities in the region and we would be in close consultation with them,'' he added. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A36678-2001Nov29.html * . . . AND NOW TO IRAQ by Richard Cohen Washington Post, 30th November Saddam Hussein is not having a good war. One by one, the myths and concerns that have long protected him from outright American attack have fallen like Taliban in the Afghan sun. Truth may still be war's first casualty, but the second, surely, are hoary preconceived notions. In this case, they include the mantra that air power does not work, that the Muslim world will go berserk and that regimes such as the Taliban will be supported by their people if only to battle the infidel. It turns out, however, that your average male Afghan would prefer a good shave in the here and now to the promise of virgins for eternity. It is now absolutely clear that air power works. The evidence has been accumulating in recent years -- the Gulf War, Kosovo -- but it has taken the war against the Taliban to show just what can be done from the wild blue yonder. The use of air power coupled with proxy fighters -- the Northern Alliance -- has meant that American casualties have been minimal. We all have our fingers crossed on that one, but even when that changes -- and it will -- the zero casualty rate that stood for some weeks will still have been a major accomplishment. At the same time that the United States was waging war on a Muslim nation, the rest of the Muslim world did not rise up, take to the proverbial street and topple the authoritarian regimes of our dear friends and -- not that it matters any -- oil suppliers. Not a single one has been imperiled by mobs cursing Uncle Sam. In some countries, the inventory of unburned American flags must be a real drag on the economy. The big surprise -- even within the Bush administration -- is Pakistan. Not only did it do a reverse twist off the highest board in geopolitics -- going from being the Taliban's pal and supporter to Uncle Sam's most dutiful nephew -- but it has remained virtually calm in the wake. There have been occasional demonstrations, but none has amounted to much. How does all this relate to Iraq? (I'm glad you asked.) Iraq, too, is a largely arid country where air power can be used to maximum advantage. It, too, is ruled by a deeply unpopular regime. Just as it didn't take much for various Afghan tribal leaders to start shouting, "Hello, Yank," so it may not take much before Iraqis abandon Hussein. After all, they loathe him. As with Afghanistan and its Northern Alliance, Iraq, too, comes equipped with opposition forces -- the Kurds in the north, the Shias in the south. The Afghan war suggests that these forces don't have to be exactly crack units if (1) the United States is in the skies and (2) the regime's forces are lacking enthusiasm. The trick is for the opposition to draw out Hussein's armor -- and then for the United States to hit it from the sky. [.....] http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20011130/wl/iran_us_1.html * IRAN WARNS U.S. ON MORE ATTACKS by AMIR ZIA, Associated Press Writer Yahoo, 30th November ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) - Iran's foreign minister cautioned the United States against striking militarily beyond Afghanistan in the fight against terror, saying Friday the Islamic world would oppose attacks against Muslim nations. ``There is no excuse to justify any military operation against any Islamic country,'' Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi told a news conference in Pakistan's capital, Islamabad. The statement came amid growing concerns among Muslim countries that after its fight in Afghanistan was over, Washington might attack Saddan Hussein's regime in Iraq or another Islamic nation accused of supporting of terrorism. ``If any country ... attacks another country just with allegations. This would be a chaos,'' Kharrazi said. ``Nobody in the Islamic world or outside the Islamic world would accept this.'' Shiite Muslim Iran is a staunch opponent of the Afghanistan's mainly Sunni Muslim Taliban and waged a bitter war against Iraq in the 1980s. It supports the U.S.-led campaign against terrorism. But, unlike some other countries in the region, it has not opened its military bases or airspace to U.S. forces operating in Afghanistan. Pakistan's Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar said the United States had made no sign that it would strike militarily at other countries. Even so, he said that ``terrorism cannot be equated with Islam.'' The ministers from Pakistan and Iran said they supported U.N.-sponsored talks now being held in Germany with rival Afghan factions to promote a broad-based, multiethnic government. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A36749-2001Nov29.html * A LONELY BATTLE AGAINST TERROR by Nora Boustany Washington Post, 30th November Jose Maria Aznar, the Spanish prime minister, warned yesterday against taking surprise action against Iraq in the next phase of the war against terrorism. "We have to convince ourselves whether an extension of that conflict is desirable and feasible, and you have to determine what your objectives and goals are," he said at a breakfast with Washington Post editors and reporters. "One has to look at the connections. . . . I would aspire to end the Afghan problem first," he said, reflecting the view of European powers opposed to opening up a new front. Aznar laid out Spain's philosophy in dealing with terrorism, saying patience and keeping within the rules of democracy and freedom are paramount. "Only if we take this long path to strengthen democracy will we be successful," he said. He compared the tactics of ETA, Spain's Basque separatist movement, to Nazism in Europe and said Spain has waged a lonely battle against the group. "We have felt alone for a long time in our fight," he said, noting that he had lost several friends in ETA attacks. [.....] http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/politics/story.jsp?story=107544 * BLAIR REJECTS TORY CALL FOR ACTION ON IRAQ by Rupert Cornwell in Washington Indpendent, 30th November Tony Blair rejected calls from Iain Duncan Smith, the Conservative leader, for new international pressure on Saddam Hussein yesterday, and distanced Britain from American demands to widen the war against terrorism to Iraq. The Prime Minister, speaking after an Anglo-French summit in London, said: "The military action is focussed on Afghanistan. We've not finished that action yet. What is important is that we should complete it militarily." He said that the terrorist network in Afghanistan still had to be closed down properly and "other issues" could be discussed later. British Government sources said Britain and France agreed that action should only be taken outside Afghanistan if there was "incontrovertible evidence" of another country's involvement in terrorism. Earlier Mr Duncan Smith dismissed claims that steps against Iraq would split the delicate anti-terrorism coalition put together by President George Bush. Mr Duncan Smith was in Washington for his first foreign trip since being elected Tory leader in September. He held talks with senior US administration officials including the Vice President, Dick Cheney, and the National Security Adviser, Condoleezza Rice, as well as Paul Wolfowitz, the Deputy Defence Secretary and a leading advocate of military strikes against Baghdad. Mr Duncan Smith said: "Iraq has clearly been involved in a whole series of activities." A top priority of his discussions was to learn the American assessment of the nuclear, chemical and biological weapons threat posed by Iraq. If Iraq had used the three-year absence of United Nations inspectors to develop weapons of mass destruction, "then we need a clear course of action graded up to military action", he said. He insisted that this would not necessarily fracture the coalition. Colin Powell, the US Secretary of State, poured cold water on speculation that America was about to make a military move against Iraq. "This sort of suggestion that something is on the verge of happening has no particular underpinning substance to it," he said. OIL FOR FOOD http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/011124/2001112406.html * OIL SALES ARE NOT ENOUGH FOR BUYING THE FOOD FOR THE IRAQIS Arabic News, 24th November The US has stated the recession in oil prices and the decrease in exports violate the UN food for oil program which permits Iraq to sell its oil for financing buying food, medicines and other commodities in order to alleviate the impact of sanctions imposed on it since 1990. The UN humanitarian program has expected to get USD 5.5 billion out of the oil sales during the past five months but it could only achieve USD 3.77 billion. This is according to a report submitted by the UN secretary General Kofi Annan to the UN Security council. Annan explained that the shortage which is estimated at USD 1.73 billion is considered a source of great concern. The program, however, could only distribute 2129 nutritional calories and 50.5 grams of protein per individual every day. The UN recommends to distribute at least 3642 calories and 36.6 grams of protein per person every day. Iraq says that the sanctions have tightened its economy, undermined the health care system and this resulted in increasing the sufferings of the Iraqis, especially children among them. http://www.worldoil.com/news/newsstory.asp?ref=http://188.8.131.52/feeds/wo rldoil/new/article_e.asp?energy24=244565 * CHANGES WOULD NULLIFY UN OIL-FOR-FOOD ACCORD-IRAQ World Oil (AFP), 26th November If the UN Security Council makes any unilateral changes to Iraq's oil-for-food programme, the deal will no longer be valid, Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri has warned. "Any modifications carried out without Iraq's consent will signal the programme's cancellation," Sabri told AFP in an interview. "The programme was an accord between Iraq and the UN secretary general and if one of the two parties wishes to modify its clauses, it must obtain the consent of the other party beforehand, Sabri added. Iraq expects the United Nations this week to roll over the latest phase of the oil-for-food programme designed to alleviate the impact of sanctions on ordinary Iraqis. But the process could be upset by Baghdad's rejection of any new British or US bid to revise the 11-year-old embargo with a revamped set of "smart" sanctions. The Security Council in July put off indefinitely a vote on such a US-British plan after Russia threatened to use its veto and opposition from Iraq's neighbours. However, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said on November 15 that the United States and Britain were studying with Russia and other nations a proposal to revise the embargo. Iraq wants to see the United Nations renew for a new (six-month) period the oil-for-food programme -- established in late 1996 -- without any changes. Iraq suspended its oil exports last June, to obstruct the last US and British bid to restructure the sanctions regime. And Sabri was confident Sunday no changes were on the immediate horizon. "The general trend in the UN is going towards a renewal of the accord without modification," he said. "Nobody has told us until now of any modifications or amendment." Explaining his opposition to the tinkering, he added: "Logically all changes decided upon must be for the better, that is to say for the lifting of the embargo and not towards a reinforcement of the unjust sanctions regime." Iraq has existed under sanctions since its ill-fated invasion of Kuwait in 1990. http://news.excite.com/news/r/011129/17/international-iraq-un-sanctions-dc * UN SECURITY COUNCIL APPROVES IRAQ SANCTIONS PLAN by Evelyn Leopold and Richard Valdmanis Excite, 29th November UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously on Thursday in favor of a U.S.-Russian compromise resolution that pledges to revise sanctions against Iraq within six months and extends the existing U.N. oil-for-food program for Baghdad until then. The vote signified an unusual show of unity between the Washington and Moscow, which have been feuding for years on policy over Iraq but have drawn closer since the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States. "I am satisfied with the resolution as adopted. It is an important event -- that we have consensus on something that is very important," Russian Ambassador Sergei Lavrov said. Said U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte: "It's an important step forward in terms of the unity of the Security Council vis a vis Iraq and I think it should send a signal to Iraq that we are determined to press forward with this program." Under the oil-for-food program, Iraq can sell oil and use the proceeds to buy food, medicine and many other supplies, an exception to the sanctions imposed in August 1990 when Baghdad's troops invaded Kuwait. But oil revenues must be deposited in a U.N. account out of which suppliers are paid. The program, which would have expired on Friday, must be renewed every six months. In the resolution adopted on Thursday, Russia agreed to approve by May 30 a new "goods review list" that council members would have to approve separately and a key element of earlier U.S.-British proposals to revise the sanctions. All civilian goods not on the list do not have to go through such procedures. In return, the United States agreed to look again at gaps in a December 1999 resolution that outlines vague steps toward suspending the 11-year-old sanctions -- providing Iraq allows U.N. weapons inspectors to resume their work. The United States and Britain have tried three times since June to revise the program with the aim of streamlining imports of civilian goods to Iraq but tightening restrictions on items that can be used for military purposes. One purpose is to counteract worldwide criticism that the sanctions have caused civilian suffering -- a notion the United States strongly disputes. Moscow stands to lose lucrative contracts if it opposes Baghdad and previously balked at any change in the program. About 40 percent of Iraq's oil contracts go through Russian middlemen. Iraq shut off oil supplies for a month in June until it was sure Russia would reject an overhaul of the sanctions, which it believes only make them more permanent. Baghdad's U.N. ambassador, Mohammad Aldouri, said he had no instructions yet on his government's reaction to the resolution and expected a decision once it was adopted. Despite threats from Washington, Iraq has repeatedly refused to allow U.N. weapons inspectors back into the country, insisting sanctions be suspended first. Although there is broad council agreement on the need for inspections, Russia, France and China disagree with the United States and Britain on how to achieve it. Russia wants the sanctions suspended shortly after the inspectors return, a position rejected by the United States and Britain. The only way to radically solve the situation in Iraq is to make sure international monitoring resumes in conjunction with suspension and the lifting of sanctions," Lavrov said. He said criteria-easing sanctions "must be unambiguous," adding: "We intend to work in this direction parallel with the goods review list which has to be finished in six months." Nevertheless, with Russia having become a key player in the U.S. war in Afghanistan, the new deal papers over the sharp differences on Iraq until next year. "Because of what is going on in Afghanistan we are taking this in stages," said British Ambassador Sir Jeremy Greenstock. "While everything else is going on, there is no need to have a fight on this." http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Artic le_Type1&c=Article&cid=1007074890708&call_page=TS_Editorial&call_pageid=9682 56290204&call_pagepath=News/Editorial&col=968350116795 * REDUCING THE RISK OF WAR WITH IRAQ The Toronto Star, 30th November Saddam Hussein has launched two Middle East wars, sacrificed 1 million Iraqis, attacked Israel and has tried to obtain nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. He's been a threat to peace for two decades and more. And for the past three years he has refused to let United Nations weapons inspectors into Iraq, even as he schemes to get the U.N. to ease military and economic sanctions imposed after the Gulf War in 1990/91. But there's less tolerance for reckless despots following the Sept. 11 terror attacks on the United States. U.S. President George Bush has threatened to turn his guns on Saddam once the Taliban are toppled in Afghanistan. And yesterday, all 15 U.N. Security Council countries agreed to crank up the military sanctions on Iraq, beginning June 1, unless the weapons inspectors go back in. This is a political coup for Bush, who favours a tougher approach. It's also good news for the world, which has no appetite for a U.S.-Iraqi war. The Bush administration will have less reason to confront Saddam militarily now that the U.N. has decided to make it harder for him to rearm. Russian President Vladimir Putin deserves credit for agreeing to support American and British proposals for better-targeted "smart sanctions" starting next year. Last summer, Russia vetoed the idea. But recently, Putin has been trying to work with the U.S., not at cross-purposes. The "smart sanctions" will intensify direct pressure on Saddam and his military supporters, while easing the hardship facing 23 million civilians. The Security Council partners have agreed to begin by expanding the current list of military goods that Baghdad is not permitted to import. In future more "dual use" goods that can be put to both military and civilian use will be on the restricted list. This will tighten the squeeze on Iraq's defence industry, and on the military, by limiting their access to advanced technologies. Moreover, as the June 1 deadline draws near, Turkey, Syria and Jordan will be invited to stop pouring $2 billion a year into Saddam's coffers by flouting the U.N. trade embargo and purchasing Iraqi oil and goods. This will hit the regime in the pocket. Washington will continue to investigate whether Saddam has links to the Al Qaeda network that destroyed the twin towers or to those who engineered the anthrax attacks, and whether he's developing new weapons. That would invite a devastating U.S. attack. But barring a crisis, Saddam has six months to reconsider inspections. Mindful of Iraqi civilians, the Security Council voted yesterday to extend its oil-for-food program, allowing Baghdad to sell as much oil as it can pump, but requiring that the cash be spent only to purchase food, medicines and other humanitarian goods, and to repair infrastructure. The council agreed, as well, to consider clarifying the conditions under which sanctions would be lifted altogether, if and when inspectors can resume their work. Saddam should not mistake this U.N. concern for Iraqi civilians as weakness. Life will get harder for him and his cronies on June 1, unless the inspectors go back in. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 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.