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News, 5-11/1/02 (1)

News, 5-11/1/02 (1)

Some more out of date news. In this week (last week), the ŒIncitement to
Hatred¹ section is wilting. Still plenty of hatred of course, but counsels
of timidity are prevalent (the old hawk/dove dispute in Washington has been
replaced by a hawk/mouse debate). Perhaps Safire, Krauthammer, Kristal et al
are still away on their Christmas holidays. On the ground, in Turkey, Iran
and Iraq, there seems to be a general assumption that war is inevitable.
Note the two articles on Australia in the ŒInternational¹ and ŒRefugees¹
sections. On the one hand they rush to compound the misery of the Iraqi
people by enforcing the blockade; on the other hand, they compound the
misery of Iraqis fleeing their misery, or opposing S.Hussein, by setting up
concentration camps for refugees. Note also the apparent increase in holds
(up to $5 billion, according to Benon Sevan) ­ clearly a crude attempt to
make Œsmart sanctions¹ look more attractive.


*  No, a U.S. Attack on Iraq Would Do More Harm Than Good [Leon Fuerth,
former adviser to Al Gore, argues that al-Qaida is sufficiently complex to
require all US attention in the near future]
*  Haig: Syria should be next target [Alexander Haig, ex-NATO Supreme
Commander. Some interesting thoughts, as, for example, that the presence of
70,000 US troops in Germany is Œthe bona fide of our economic success ... it
keeps European markets open to us¹. Also he doesn¹t seem to notice the
contradiction between his approach towards China (Œinterventionism usually
aggravates the improvement in human rights and sets things back¹) and his
approach towards Iraq, not to mention Syria]
*  We must attack Iraq and free its people [Geraldine Brooks¹ article in The
*  U.S. Hawk Hints Iraq Won't Be Next Target [Paul Wolfowitz sounding like a
Œdove¹. Though in the present climate the word Œdove¹ has to signify those
who, like Colin Powell, only want to bomb the very easiest of targets].
*  Stalling in Somalia? [Washington Times panics as the hairlines seem to
shift away from Iraq. In their desperation to try to impicate Iraq in the
war against terrorism they¹ve discovered the Iranian Mujaheddin al-Khalq.
But really their strongest argument amounts to this: ŒIraq has shown no sign
of opposing terrorism¹. And this despite all their efforts against the
Iranian backed Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution!]
*  Inspectors to Iraq? It's not that simple [Charles Duelfer, UNSCOM¹s
Deputy Chairman, says weapons inspections and the UN are no use because they
allow the regime to continue to exist, thus confirming that his role as ŒUN
weapons inspector¹ was merely to prolong sanctions until such a time as the
regime might (somehow) fall.]
*  A smarter way of dealing with Saddam [The Œsmarter way¹ consists of
simply continuing as before ­ slow death by starvation, disease and
hopelesssness. Almost leaves one preferring the advocates of quick death by
blowing peoples¹ bodies to bits.]


*  US criticised over Iraq relief contracts [by the UN Iraq Programme. Benon
Sevan is about to go to Iraq]
*  UN official sceptical of [Sanctions] Council committee [short extract
adding some figures to the previous article]
*  Iraq steps up protest on UN oil pricing
*  Diplomats: U.S. Quiet on Iraq Inspections


*  Iranian official confers with Iraqi opposition [Iran seemingly anxious to
establish links with a wide range of opposition groups, not just the Shi¹i
Islamist movement]
*  U.S. Seeks to Restore Funds to Iraqi Group [The title is of course
*  Iraqi opposition links funding row to US policy differences [It seems the
State Department want the INC to build a strong presence inside Iraq before
they will give them any money to build a strong presence inside Iraq. Catch
*  8 people executed, says Iraqi Oppn [Good to be reminded of the existence
of the Iraqi Communist Party, presumably the only substantial opposition
movement that isn¹t in anyone¹s pay (one assumes the Russians aren¹t paying

AND, IN NEWS, 5-11/1/02 (2):


*  Iraqi consultant sounds double warning on Bula's oil ambitions [Irish oil
company. The Iraqi consultant is Riad el Taher, founder of Friendship across
*  Diggers run Iraqi blockade [Plucky Australia cheerfully assumes its share
of the white man¹s burden]
*  Troop deployment not a sign of anti-Iraq plan: German minister [though
deploying chemical warfare specialists in Kuwait doesn¹t sound like part of
a pro-Iraq plan]
*  Iraq may allow private sector to handle shipment: Wheat exports [to


*  Diesel fuel transport operations resumed from north Iraq to Turkey
*  Turkish security belt in north Iraq [A very short article but a sinister
one to do with Turkish moves to prevent a flood of refugees into Turkey in
the event of a US attack]
*  Daily analyzes hidden part of Iraq in terrorism [Possibly significant
article from the Iranian Press Agency Irna saying that Iran won¹t support
Iraq in its efforts to prevent a US attack]
*  Iraqi revealed as owner of weapons ship
*  Iraq decries Israeli 'piracy'
*  Trial of Iraqi accused of smuggling arms to Palestinians opens in Amman
*  Arab lawyers condemn American threats against Iraq


*  This is no way to run a foreign policy [by Gavin Esler. I¹m not quite
sure it deserves the Œremnants of decency¹ tag but it does make some sharp
points about simplistic good/evil politics. It also includes the following
astonishing paragraph about the turkey shoot which ended the war: ŒI was in
Washington at the time, and the war lay heavily on the heart of Bush senior,
who had a firm and decent religious faith. Bush senior thought deeply about
the morality of sending men into battle to kill or be killed, and he did not
want any needless killing of Iraqi soldiers.¹]


*  US fears Iraq radar can see stealth plane [Strange that an arms company
able to develop something so very desirable as a means of detecting stealth
bombers should go bankrupt. Is there a story there? Felicity?]
*  US may face missile threat from N Korea, Iraq by 2015 [Summary of the
National Intelligence Estimate. Note the surprising last sentence: Œ"All
agencies agree that Iraq could test different ICBM concepts before 2015 if
UN prohibitions were eliminated in the next few years," it said, adding
"most agencies, however, believe it is unlikely to do so, even if the
prohibitions were eliminated."¹


*  Fallen angel's role key in secret ritual [Interesting Kurdish religious
minority apparently treated better now than it was under previous
administrations. Finds solidarity with fellow Iraqis in the army: ŒWe ...
fight the enemy together¹]
*  New gas field discovery in Iraq
*  Saddam says attacks on Iraq will fail [Short extract which could be
interpreted as giving support to Al-Qaida, and website address for whole
text, for enthusiasts]
*  Blocked Contracts Hinder Breeding, Farming, FAO Official Says
*  Iraq's production capacity to rise-MEES


*  The 'Crime' of Being a Young Refugee [On the conditions in the
concentration camps of Australia. Its a long article and I cut two passages
but the whole thing is worth reading.]
*  Hopes grow of a mercy visa for Iraqi mother of sea tragedy girls


by Leon Fuerth
International Herald Tribune, 5th January

WASHINGTON: Advocates of going to war to displace Saddam Hussein are working
hard to sell their case to the public, and there are indications of a
vigorous debate on Iraq within the Bush administration. But eliminating
Saddam's regime will not solve the terrorism problem as exemplified by Qaida
- and waging war against Iraq could create new threats.

Saddam Hussein is dangerous and likely to become more so. He may well
possess stocks of biological weapons that escaped both the bombardments of
the Gulf War and the subsequent investigations by United Nations inspectors.
He has demonstrated more than enough ruthlessness for Americans to credit
him with the will to use weapons of mass destruction. He is a permanent
menace to his region and to the vital interests of the United States.

Nonetheless, Saddam is not America's most serious problem, and attacking him
would be at the expense of higher priorities.

There may well have been interaction between Saddam's intelligence apparatus
and various terrorist networks, including that of Osama bin Laden. But it
was bin Laden's network that brought about the Sept. 11 attacks, and his
agents did not come from Iraq. There is no credible public information to
indicate that Iraq was significantly involved.

It is, indeed, characteristic of bin Laden's network that it does not
entirely depend on a state sponsor like Iraq. What makes Qaida so dangerous
is not bin Laden - although his death or capture would remove a great, evil
talent from the leadership of terrorism - but his development of the concept
of using a network as a vehicle for leveraging many individuals and groups,
each weak on its own, into an engine of destruction powerful enough to hurt
the United States.

The capacity to network, as described by a growing number of scholars, means
an ability to create ad hoc patterns of activity among widely distributed
cells: to communicate, pass resources, move key personnel and maintain the
initiative through audacious planning. It is the network that gives what bin
Laden created the means to adapt even to his demise, taking advantage of an
organizational pattern that resembles that of a global multinational

After the dislocation of Qaida in Afghanistan, the next phase needs to be a
sustained assault on the broader network: attacking its individual cells by
working in concert with intelligence and police services around the world.
Multilateral cooperation is of the essence, as it was in the Afghanistan
campaign. Anything that distracts the United States from relentless pursuit
of the system by which terrorist groups can operate as networked entities -
and anything that detracts from the willingness of other governments to work
alongside America- is at the expense of U.S. national security.

An immediate attack on Saddam carries a very high risk of constituting just
such a fatal diversion. Arguments that his fall would require little
American military investment are reckless in the extreme. Claims that the
Iraqi National Congress, or the two main Kurdish groups, are ready to be
Iraq's version of the Northern Alliance are misapplied analogies. Assurances
that Iraq's neighbors would be happy to see Saddam eliminated are dangerous
simplifications. Claims that America can either hold the coalition together
if the United States promptly attacks Saddam or that America no longer needs
a coalition are simply guesses. U.S. choices are not limited to attack or
neglect. There can be an interim program for Iraq. America should reheat the
demand for international inspectors and return to the Security Council for
"smart" sanctions. Washington should take the position that if Saddam blocks
inspection of facilities suspected of being used for manufacturing weapons
of mass destruction, the United States will destroy those sites. America
should also develop the capabilities of the Iraqi National Congress and help
the Kurds.

America's hand could be forced by convincing evidence that Saddam was a
central actor in the use of anthrax as a weapon against the United States or
by some new move on his part that threatens his neighbors. Absent such
developments, the United States should focus on destroying what threatens it
most: the ability of terrorist organizations to organize and to attack
through a dispersed network; literally, the globalization of terror.

The writer, visiting professor of international relations at George
Washington University, was national security adviser to Vice President Al
Gore. He contributed this comment to The New York Times.

by Arnaud de Borchgrave

WASHINGTON, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- The man who has held three key appointments in
past administrations -- secretary of state, White House chief of staff, and
NATO supreme commander - said Monday Syria, not Iraq, should be the next
target in the war against terrorism.

In an exclusive interview with United Press International, Gen. Alexander M.
Haig, Jr., said Syria's "footprints" are much clearer than Iraq's.

"This doesn't mean that Iraq isn't a more venal threat ... There's a great
deal of culpability in Iraq for the past 10 years, but not necessarily as a
branch of Global Terror, Inc.," he said.

"Syria," Haig made clear, "is a terrorist state by any definition and is so
classified by the State Department. I happen to think Iran is, too."

The defeat of Osama bin Laden's al Qaida terror network in Afghanistan "did
not neutralize the venality of other (terrorist) tentacles, such as Islamic
Jihad, Hamas and Hezbollah," he explained, organizations that would not
hesitate to provide "aid and succor" to al Qaida fighters. Syria and Iran
are the sponsors of these terrorist groups, not Iraq.

For the United States to take on Iraq, Haig said, would require about
100,000 combat troops.

"We have to recognize that we had far more people over there the first time
than we ever needed," he continued. "The Gulf War itself was fought
essentially by two units."

Haig said, "Saddam is not part of a transnational terrorist network. Which
is not to say he is not a threat to the entire Gulf region with his growing
arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. Because he is.

"First and foremost we must go after hydra-headed al Qaida's global
tentacles. These Islamist terrorists look upon their defeat in Afghanistan
as the loss of a piece of real estate on the larger canvas of Islamist
fundamentalist extremism that has developed roots in some 40 Muslim
countries and which has cells all over the Western world, including the
United States, " the retired general said.

But, he went on, "Iraq doesn't belong on this canvas. International
terrorism continues to be the mission. So Iraq is not an immediate priority.
There are several factors that will determine future targets. First of all,
our capability to deal with them effectively and efficiently. Also evidence
of their culpability, conflicting priorities with other objectives, and how
much time we have before the venality of these regimes becomes a bigger
threat than the evidence we have."

Asked whether culpability had been proved in Iraq in the context of
international terrorism, Haig replied that there has been "a great deal of
culpability in Iraq for the past 10 years, but not necessarily as a branch
of Global Terror, Inc. Iraq is a substantial target, but not an
insurmountable one. We've proven that. And it won't be as tough a nut next
time as Iraq is now a much-weakened state. But we still have to assess the
situation against our worldwide commitments, our current forces levels and
capabilities, our priorities for dealing with transnational terrorism, and
our intelligence with respect to the nature of the targets we develop."

Haig also hinted that the United States does not have sufficient troops on
the ground in Afghanistan "given the magnitude of the problems we now face
(there). A major U.S. force on the ground would convince the world we were
in for the long haul recovery of a country devastated by 21 years of
warfare," he said. "We lost interest in Afghanistan and left it in the lurch
after the Soviets pulled out in 1989 -- and paid a terrible price for our
shortsightedness, witness the emergence of Taliban and al Qaida. If we are
to thwart another round of warlordism and tribal warfare, such as what
followed the Soviet withdrawal, and encourage the Afghans to get on with
rebuilding their own nation, U.S. assistance, diplomacy and a muscular
military presence will be required."

"In Desert Storm," in 1991, Haig said, "we had too many troops; in
Afghanistan probably not enough for the major commitment we have made." He
blamed the inadequacy of current force levels on the Clinton administration.
With all the commitments made by Clinton "and a continued reduction in our
manpower base in all the services, we should be asking ourselves whether or
not we have sufficient forces to cope with a global war against terrorism
that involves several nation states. Sooner or later something had to give.
But President Bush, faced with the unprecedented affront of 9-11, could not
wait to take action. So he had to do what we were capable of doing and he
did it brilliantly ... he achieved maximum success despite a number of
formidable restraints."

Other key points made by Haig:

­ China -- "We could begin by refraining from gratuitous insults. Our
interventionism in China's internal affairs is something we committed not to
do in the Shanghai and subsequent communiqués. And yet we've proceeded to do
just that with increased intensity, especially during Clinton's eight years.
... How can we expect China to live up to its commitments when we don't live
up to ours? ... The fact is that interventionism usually aggravates the
improvement in human rights and sets things back ... The best way to promote
our values, whether its human rights or a market economy...[is] by example
and by success ...The conditions for what we are today do not exist in large
parts of the world. So we ought to be more patient. Most of our posturing is
done by politicians for domestic political gain, not to achieve results
around the world."

*Taiwan - "Of course, we should defend Taiwan in case of attack."

­ Europe -- The United States continues to maintain 70,000 U.S. troops in
Germany because: "This presence is the basis of our influence in the
European region and for the cooperation of allied nations whose security it
enhances. A lot of people forget it is also the bona fide of our economic
success ... it keeps European markets open to us. If those troops weren't
there, those markets would probably be more difficult to access."

­ Russia -- President Bush has moved toward a new global security system
"when he said Russia is no longer our enemy, that NATO wants to cooperate
with them, and he didn't discount future NATO membership for Russia...[but]
if you make the case for Russia in NATO, then there would be no reason for
NATO. You would have to rechristen it and change its overall objective.",3604,629625,00.html

by Geraldine Brooks
The Guardian, 9th January

A grey day, a cup of tepid coffee, an unwiped table in a London student
cafeteria. The haggard man sitting opposite me is an Iraqi Kurd, a poet. In
the early 1980s, he wrote a verse whose metaphors were read somewhere in the
Baathist hierarchy as incitement to Kurdish nationalism. He was invited to a
meeting where the yoghurt beverage served to him was laced with thalium -
rat poison. He did not drink all of it, and so he survived to get across the
border, to be treated in a western hospital, to be granted asylum, to live.

In a middle-class house near Wimbledon Common, there is another Iraqi, a
southern Shiite. She wears a scarf around her hair, even in the privacy of
her home. When she goes out, she covers everything but her face and hands.
She is an obstetrician and gynaecologist, married into a family of venerable
Shiite clergy. In the 1980s, every male member of her husband's family
between the ages of 12 and 70 was rounded up and executed.

But we do not talk about this outrage, which is famous and thoroughly
documented. We talk instead about her own work - how she wasn't legally
allowed to prescribe contraceptives of any kind to her patients, who were
meant to serve as baby factories, making men to replace the casualties of
Saddam Hussein's constant wars; how she risked her job, and maybe more than
that, every time she failed to report an illicitly inserted intrauterine
device; how, during a difficult delivery, a patient had moaned that she
hoped her child would be a girl, not a boy who would grow to be a soldier
for Saddam. On hospital rounds the day after, when she came to check on her
patient, a nurse whispered that the security police had taken her away in
the night.

It is one thing to hear stories, and another thing to see the physical
evidence of such crimes. A few days after the Kurdish uprising that followed
the Gulf war, I was in the basement of the office of Amen, Saddam's feared
security police, in the north-eastern Iraqi city of Sulaimaniya. Rebellious
Kurds had liberated the complex, which, at street level, was a bland office

Below ground, it was a warren of lightless dungeons, with excrement on the
floor and meat hooks in the ceiling. In one room, a Kurdish guide spoke
passionately and drew me towards something nailed to the wall. I couldn't
quite make out what it was, so I leaned closer as he struck another match.
It was a piece of cartilage - part of a human ear.

Outside, above ground, was a small, demountable building of the kind they
use at my child's elementary school. By the steps was a pile of discarded
women's clothing - Kurdish things, bright-coloured skirts and scarves woven
through with shiny thread. Inside, the room was bare except for a stained
mattress and a medicine cabinet which, when opened, revealed a bottle of
valium. This, my guide explained, was a raping room, where the relatives of
male detainees - mothers, daughters, sisters - the women of his blood, on
whose sexual purity his honour depended, were brought, drugged, and violated
in his presence, in an attempt to break his morale.

The United States-led policy since the Gulf war has been morally
indefensible, from the day Kuwait was liberated until today. When the
victorious allied armies gave Saddam's helicopter gunships permission to
fly, they flew directly north, and I was under them, with thousands of
fleeing civilians trying to reach safety over mined mountain passes into
Turkey. I will never forget the faces of the people around me, who couldn't
understand why President George Bush had encouraged them to rise up against
Saddam, only to betray them so cruelly. Worse things happened to the Shiites
and marsh Arabs of the south.

There would be more betrayals, a decade's worth, when the CIA pulled the
plug on its liaison with the dissident Iraqi National Congress and left its
locally -recruited Kurdish assets defenceless; when it became clear that
Saddam had manipulated the post-war sanctions regime to enrich himself and
his cronies while conveniently keeping what had been the middle class so
destitute they had no energy left for dissent.

To be fair, allied analysts from Colin Powell down did not expect Saddam to
survive a defeat of the magnitude they had inflicted. The metaphor of choice
was the piece of rotting fruit: Saddam's hold on power was tenuous, he would
fall from the tree within days, weeks, months at the most. Now, a decade has
passed, and many are gone from power: two US presidents (George Bush, Bill
Clinton); two British prime ministers (Margaret Thatcher, John Major); two
Arab monarchs (King Fahd, King Hussein); three Israeli leaders (Yitzhak
Rabin, Ehud Barak, Benjamin Netanyahu); even Syria's sinewy strongman, Hafez
Asad. Yet Saddam is still there. If there is any joy at all in the business
of war, it is the securing of a better peace.

Even those who deplored the bombing of Afghanistan must celebrate the
re-opening of girl's schools, the restoration of personal liberties of all
kinds, and the prospect of a nation beginning to rebuild. Iraq is a far
richer country than Afghanistan, gifted with oil, water, good farmland,
scenic beauty, rare antiquities. If it were not for the bleak and terrible
regime of Saddam Hussein, it could be the showplace of the region. Now is
the time to make some belated amends for a tragic mistake. Some in the Bush
cabinet want to strike Iraq to safeguard the west from future terrorism.
That is a reason. But there is an even better one. It should be done for the
sake of the Iraqis.

Geraldine Brooks is a novelist and former Middle East correspondent for the
Wall Street Journal.

by James Dao and Eric Schmitt
International Hersald Tribune (from New York Times), 9th January

WASHINGTONThe war on terrorism after Afghanistan could focus on denying
terrorist groups sanctuary in such places as Somalia, Yemen, Indonesia and
the Philippines, countries where they have sometimes operated freely,
according to Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz.

Mr. Wolfowitz's remarks, in an interview Monday, provided one of the
clearest outlines of the military's strategy for the evolving war on

While he has a reputation as one of the more aggressive members of President
George W. Bush's war council, his statements suggested that the Pentagon
could choose to put off the bigger but politically more difficult targets in
the war on terrorism like Iraq, and thus avoid conflict with some of its
most important Arab and European allies, which have been wary of taking on

Instead, Mr. Wolfowitz said, the military is now engaged with friendly
countries like the Philippines and Indonesia that would welcome American
help in ridding themselves of terrorist networks. The Pentagon is also
looking hard at possible terror bases in such countries as Somalia and Yemen
that are weakly governed and ill-equipped to uproot them.

Mr. Wolfowitz stressed that he was not providing an explicit forecast for
the next step in the war on terrorism and that the Pentagon had not ruled
out imminent military action against any country.

But he has been one of the leading advocates in the Bush administration for
removing President Saddam Hussein of Iraq. And he seemed to signal to Iraq
and other state sponsors of terrorism that unless they stopped harboring
terrorists, they could face increased diplomatic, financial and, if
necessary, military pressure from the United States.

He asserted that the U.S. air campaign in Afghanistan had already induced
many countries that had supported terrorism to change their ways and that it
would serve as a powerful deterrent against future acts of terrorism.

"I'd say almost everywhere one has seen progress," he said. "A lot of that
progress is motivated by the sense of American seriousness and the fear of
getting on the wrong side of us."

"To the extent that's the motivation," Mr. Wolfowitz continued, "then
obviously you don't want to issue a report card on those people and have
them let up, because they're not doing it out of the goodness of their

He also asserted that the Pentagon's main focus remained Afghanistan, which
he described as being "at least as treacherous and dangerous now as it was a
month or two ago."

"One of the most difficult things in the next few months," Mr. Wolfowitz
said, "is going to be establishing which of our allies of convenience in the
early stages of this war can become real allies over the longer term, and
which ones are going to be major troublemakers, and which ones are going to
just switch sides."

So far, Hamid Karzai, the leader of the interim government in Kabul, has
"proven to be an impressive man," Mr. Wolfowitz said. "Whether he's up to
the formidable job he has is a different question."

While careful not to identify countries where the United States might next
aim its military might, Mr. Wolfowitz said that Somalia, perhaps more than
any other place, fits the bill of a lawless state that draws terrorists like
a magnet.

The Bush administration has identified Itihaad, a militant religious group
based in Somalia, as a terrorist organization with ties to Qaida. The United
States has also shut down Somalia's major money-transfer company and stepped
up aerial reconnaissance flights off its coast.

"Obviously Somalia comes up as a possible candidate for Qaida people to flee
to, precisely because the government is weak or nonexistent," Mr. Wolfowitz

But he acknowledged that U.S. options were limited in Somalia, where, he
said, "by definition you don't have a government you can work with." The
CIA, he added, is "looking for exactly those sorts of people" that the
United States can use as proxy forces, as it did with anti-Taliban groups in

In the Philippines, he said, the government has been eager to quell a
rebellion by hundreds of Muslim militants from the Abu Sayyaf group who have
been linked to Qaida and have been battling government forces on Basilan
Island, in the southern part of the country.

U.S. officials have begun training Philippine forces in counterterrorist and
special operations activities.

U.S. involvement "might include direct support of Philippine military
operations," he said. "There's no question that we believe that if they
could clear the Abu Sayyaf group out of Basilan Island, that would be a
small blow against the extended Qaida network."

But Mr. Wolfowitz said that the government in Manila was "very anxious to do
it themselves."

"That's the crucial standard for them" he said. "They're very willing to
take help within the framework of helping them help themselves."

In Indonesia, Islamic militants have fought with Christians on Sulawesi
Island and in Maluku Province, areas where the government "is extremely
weak," he said.

"You see the potential for Muslim extremists and Muslim terrorists to link
up with those Muslim groups in Indonesia and find a little corner for
themselves in a country that's otherwise quite unfriendly to terrorism," he

He said that while Indonesia had expressed a willingness to crack down on
terrorists, the government there was fearful of unleashing a violent
backlash among its large Muslim population. He also said the United States
was prepared to provide assistance, though the Pentagon was restricted from
conducting certain joint exercises with the Indonesian military, which has
been accused of human rights abuses.

But it is unlikely, Mr. Wolfowitz said, that the United States would
consider direct military action in Indonesia, "because it's such a big and
disparate place."

Yemen also has pockets or regions of lawlessness that lie outside the
control of the central government, he said. "There are very significant back
regions of Yemen," Mr. Wolfowitz said.

After the Sept. 11 attacks, the United States pressured Yemen to crack down
on suspected Qaida cells in the country. Three months later, Yemeni special
operations troops exchanged fire with tribesmen in remote parts of the
country's central region, as the troops tried to capture suspected members
of the terrorist network.

Washington Times, 10th January

The Taliban has been conquered, and Hamid Karzai has been made temporary
leader of Afghanistan and invited to the White House. However, the Bush
administration has assured the world that the war on terrorism is far from
over. Next on the agenda: Somalia.

Reconnaissance aircraft are identifying future bombing targets, such as port
facilities and terrorist training camps in northern and southern Somalia.
Which leads to the question: How serious is the administration about the war
on terrorism? Somalia has al Qaeda training camps, it is true. The
Washington Times also reported last week that about 100 al Qaeda terrorists
were identified in the East African country. Yet, on the list of countries
where the administration is focusing its counterterrorism efforts ‹ Somalia,
Yemen, the Sudan, Indonesia, the Philippines ‹ Iraq is glaringly absent. But
it poses a greater security and terrorism threat to Americans than all the
other countries combined.

Not only was Iraq once again on the State Department's most recent list of
state sponsors of international terrorism, but as an exporter of terrorism
to the Middle East, Saddam Hussein's reputation with regard to the
development of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction
is well-known. Procurement, research and development for the weapons was not
stopped during the years of U.N. weapons inspections from 1991 to 1998, and
it surely has not come to a halt since then. Iraq has shown no sign of
opposing terrorism. According to the State Department, Iraq has continued to
provide weapons, bases and protection to terrorist groups such as the
Iranian Mujahedin-e-Khalq. There are also reports that Iraqi intelligence
agents met in Prague with Mohammed Atta, the leader of the September 11
hijackings, while he was planning the attacks.

In a meeting with editors and reporters of The Washington Times on Tuesday,
Secretary of State Colin Powell said that the administration was constantly
reviewing its plans, both in military and intelligence strategy, with
respect to a regime change in Iraq. Right now, however, he said there would
be no policy shift. Yet a shift has surely taken place: The State Department
announced Saturday that the United States has suspended funding for the
leading Iraqi opposition group, the Iraqi National Congress. This signals
both the Iraqi opposition and Saddam that the Iraqi dictator is being given
a pass ‹ at least for the present time.

It is true that the administration would have great political challenges
should it set its sights on Iraq, both from its allies in the Middle East
and in Europe. Yet, the White House must consider what the long-term costs
will be of focusing its energy on the smaller bastions of terrorism, while a
terrorism headquarters is still active. September 11 taught America that it
can no longer afford to be merely reactive. As long as Saddam and his allies
are left, the American people must know that the anti-terrorism effort
against them will continue.

by Charles Duelfer
Miami Herald, 11th January

President Bush has said that Saddam Hussein must accept the return of the
United Nations weapons inspectors . . . or else. This may not be a bad
position -- so long as Hussein continues his refusal to accept the new U.N.
weapons inspectors. The risk is that if Hussein begins to feel a noose
tightening around his regime and neck, he may accept a dialogue with the
United Nations over accepting inspectors.

There are two big problems with such an outcome:

­ Defining the Iraqi problem in the limited terms of compliance with
restrictions on weapons of mass destruction misses the broader risks posed
by the regime to its people and neighbors. Leaving the Iraq issue in the
Security Council is a sure way to wrap a line around our propeller should we
wish to address the Iraqi threat directly. Secretary General Kofi Annan
could feel obligated to engage in a potentially endless dialogue with
Baghdad to avoid war. He did this before, in 1998, producing an agreement
with Hussein to permit the former weapons inspectors access to sensitive
presidential areas under very limited conditions. (The agreement was broken
later that year.)

Some council members (such as Russia, France or China) would push Hussein to
engage in a process that would inhibit unilateral action by the United
States. The clear goal of many in the council is to contain the United

Baghdad has become quite astute at playing its tune in the council. It
combines defiance with a plea about the harm that the council's resolutions
have inflicted on Iraqi citizens. At the same time, Iraq skillfully has used
its oil contracts to give some council members a strong interest in
preserving the current regime, rather than condemning it for noncompliance
or for invading other countries and using chemical weapons.

The State Department's effort to get approval for the ``smart sanctions''
has been going on for a year, during which time Iraq's strength and
influence in the region have continued to grow.

­ The U.N. negotiations to get inspectors into Iraq would lead to a
compromise on their freedom of action. Even when the aggressive previous
inspection team, UNSCOM, was in Iraq, it couldn't fully monitor or prevent
Iraq from engaging in prohibited activities. Presumably, this is why the
Clinton administration conducted a four-day bombing in late 1998.

The new inspection organization was created after a year of contentious
negotiations in the council between the United States and the United Kingdom
and Baghdad's supporters -- Russia and France. It's intended to be more
diverse, transparent and sensitive to cultural circumstances in Iraq.

This is all well and good, but the resolution contains no performance
criteria to demand that the monitoring system be extensive enough for the
chairman to make a firm judgment about whether Iraq is continuing work on
weapons of mass destruction. All the organization must do is deploy some
monitoring system and report what it finds. Any system that Iraq would
accept isn't likely to be intrusive enough to determine what Iraq's doing.
Nevertheless, if Annan came to an agreement with Hussein, there would be
tremendous enthusiasm on the part of some council members to declare
success. Washington would be hard-pressed to declare the terms inadequate.
Once again we would have kicked the Iraq problem down the road without
addressing the fundamental threats that the regime poses.

The Security Council may be valuable for some problems, but its utility for
addressing the growing risks of the regime in Baghdad is limited. Its
resolutions limit Iraq's expenditures of its vast oil wealth and don't
address the threat of this regime to its own people, regional states or the
United States, nor do they even prevent Iraq from acquiring weapons of mass

Washington needs to be explicit in stating the near- and long-term risks
presented by Baghdad. A decision to center U.S. policy toward Iraq in the
council will be an explicit decision to live with those risks -- for better
or worse. Is that the intention? Before Sept. 11, we were awaiting a
comprehensive Iraq policy. The president's statement about accepting weapons
inspectors reminds us that we are still waiting.

Charles Duelfer was UNSCOM's deputy chairman from 1993 until 2000.

by H.D.S Greenway
Boston Globe, 11th January

BUSH ADMINISTRATION hawks appear to be wisely backing off their efforts to
have the United States invade Iraq as the next order of business in the war
against terror. Of course, the hawks are right about Saddam Hussein and the
long-run danger he represents. But all efforts to link him with Sept. 11 and
the anthrax attacks have turned up nothing, and the United States lacks a
casus belli.

Furthermore, there are more important tasks at this time, such as preventing
a war between India and Pakistan and making sure that Al Qaeda does not
regroup in some lawless corner of the world.

At the moment our focus should be on Pakistan and supporting its leader,
Pervez Musharraf, as he moves against his own Islamic extremists.

Under the Bush litmus test of ''you are either with us or against us,''
there is no question that Iraq is against us. Saddam most certainly harbors
terrorists. High-level Iraqi defectors have given eye-witness accounts of
terrorist training schools, with students from many countries learning
hijacking techniques and other methods of terror and destruction.

Al Qaeda operatives have been known to make Iraqi intelligence contacts.

There is also no question but that Saddam continues to develop biological,
chemical, and probably nuclear weapons, and he has all the state-run
facilities that an organization such as Al Qaeda lacks.

Saddam has the motivation as well. A former Iraqi general told The New York
Times that ''the Gulf War has never ended for Saddam Hussein. He is at war
with the United States. We were repeatedly told this.''

Proponents of going after Iraq look to the Afghan model. The United States
would use the semi-autonomous Kurds in the north as the Afghan Northern
Alliance was used. The United States would provide air power and special
forces as the Kurds swept south. Shia Muslims in the south would act as did
the anti-Taliban Pashtuns, and the United States might even carve out a bit
of territory with its own troops in the south as a rallying point for Iraqi

And so Saddam falls as did the Taliban, according to this scenario.

The argument against this is that the international coalition against terror
would fall apart. Even the Europeans have said they are against an attack on
Iraq without the most smoking of guns to connect Iraq with Sept. 11 and Al
Qaeda. Iraq is in the heart of the Arab world, not a peripheral Central
Asian backwater, and the Arab world would not support the United States
unless Iraq threatens them directly. Even UN Secretary General Kofi Annan,
using the bully pulpit of the Nobel Peace Prize, has warned the United
States not to attack Iraq.

Proponents say that worrying about the allies is confusing means with ends.
What is the point of a coalition if it stops us from defending ourselves?
The answer is that we badly need the coalition, especially friendly Muslim
powers, if we are going to track down and uproot terrorist cells and Al
Qaeda sleepers - a task that is closer to the heart of our war against
terror. For the police and intelligence work ahead we desperately need

Even more powerful arguments are that the Kurds are not united enough to
perform such a role, the Iraqi National Congress is too slim a reed on which
to base a policy, and we have no clear vision of what a post-Saddam Iraq
should be.

If our eventual goal is to topple Saddam, we should ''do it the
old-fashioned way,'' as one former US intelligence chief put it. We should
begin grooming a serious Iraqi government in exile and begin building up a
coalition to pressure Iraq. Saddam has the means and the motive, but he is
not now threatening his neighbors at this time, nor do we have evidence that
he is harboring or abetting Al Qaeda.

In the meantime, a strong, internationally coordinated effort to get the
weapons inspectors back into Iraq and replace the current embargos with
smart sanctions, less detrimental to the Iraqi people and more concentrated
on denying Iraq the means to destroy his neighbors, would be the best
strategy at this time. The United States should secure French and Russian
cooperation this time around.

If it succeeds, at least we have Iraq's weapons programs on the run. If it
doesn't, if Saddam resists all international pressure, then at least the
danger emanating from Baghdad would become more and more apparent to our


by Carola Hoyos
Financial Times, 9th January

The United Nations on Tuesday criticised the US for blocking billions of
dollars of humanitarian contracts bound for Iraq, expressing "grave concern
at the unprecedented surge in volume of holds placed on contracts".

In a move that is likely to frustrate Washington, the UN announced it would
next week send Benon Sevan, the executive director of its Iraq programme, to
Iraq to assess the massive humanitarian project and the impact of the US

The UN's Iraq programme expressed its grave concern in a statement that was
clearly aimed at the US, which is behind more than 90 per cent of the nearly
$5bn-worth (£3.5bn) of humanitarian and oil equipment contracts that have
been delayed, though it did not specifically name the country.

Most of the rest of the slowed contracts have been put on hold by the UK,
Washington's closest ally on Iraq policy. "I remember less than a year ago,
we were worried about the number [of holds] exceeding $2bn," said one

Under the UN's oil-for-food programme, Iraq may use its oil revenue to buy
humani tarian goods and oil spare parts. These exceptions to the
comprehensive sanctions the UN placed on the country more than 10 years ago
must, however, be approved by the UN's sanctions committee, comprising the
15 Security Council members.

The US has been the group's most vigilant member in screening the contracts
in order to block those that include items that could also be used for
warfare. But in the last year the US has come under increasing scrutiny for
its policy, which many say goes beyond ensuring that no dual-use items enter

One diplomat said: "Off the record they [US diplomats] say, 'this is part of
the war on terrorism. Don't expect us to be softer on the subject after
September 11'." He added: "If the Iraqis don't co-operate with the
programme, don't ask why."

Critics say the US is using the humanitarian programme to punish Baghdad for
not complying with weapons inspectors and for smuggling increasing volumes
of its oil. The US has denied the accusations and in the past year promised
to streamline its procedures. In the UN's most recent resolution the US won
Russia's agreement to revise the programme. Russia, which blocked the same
measure last summer, had argued the US needed to change its own policies of
unilaterally delaying con tracts, rather than rewrite the UN's humanitarian

Times of India (PTI), 9th January


Sevan expressed grave concern over the unprecedented surge in the volume of
holds which totalled 4.95 billion dollars, including 1,265 contacts worth
about 4.28 billion dollars for humanitarian supplies and 589 contracts worth
676 million dollars for equipment for oil industry.


WorldOil (from Reuters), 10th January

Iraq is raising the level of its protest over the United Nations'
retroactive crude oil price scheme which it says is hampering oil export

Security Council powers the US and Britain have for several months
effectively imposed de facto retroactive pricing to eradicate alleged
illicit payments to Baghdad via oil sales. Iraq denies requesting any extra

Sluggish UN oil sales -- the past four weeks have seen some 1.6 million
barrels per day (bpd) versus normal rates of more than two million bpd --
have prompted Baghdad to speak out.

"No one in this world would accept to buy oil without knowing the price," an
Iraqi oil industry source told Reuters on Thursday. He was referring to the
UN policy which prices Iraqi barrels after loading.

Sellers and lifters of Iraqi oil have made this point repeatedly between
themselves. Now Baghdad is registering official complaints both in the Iraqi
capital and at UN headquarters.

"(State oil marketer) SOMO has written a letter (to the UN) and it will be
put up for discussion at the next Security Council meeting," a Western
diplomat told Reuters, adding that session would probably occur in the next
few weeks.

He did not know the exact contents of the recently-sent letter, but said it
contained a "complaint about de facto retroactive pricing."

Iraqi officials also intend to raise the pricing issue with Benon Sevan,
executive director of the UN humanitarian oil-for-food deal, when he visits
the country from January 14.

by Colum Lynch
Washington Post, 11th January

UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 11 -- Despite President Bush's demand last month that
Iraq allow a return of U.N. weapons inspectors, the United States has yet to
begin rallying other countries at the United Nations to force Baghdad to
accept inspections, U.S. and U.N. officials said today.

U.N. diplomats said that U.S. officials rarely discuss the president's
desire to see weapons inspectors return to Iraq. Hans Blix, the Swedish
executive director of the U.N. weapons inspection unit, said in a recent
interview that he has seen no sign that the Bush administration has
"accelerated" its efforts.

John D. Negroponte, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said today
that the main focus of U.S.-Iraqi diplomacy at the U.N. over the next
several months will be to secure an agreement with Russia on a plan to
revamp U.N. sanctions against Iraq.

Under the terms of a humanitarian exemption to sanctions, Iraq is permitted
to sell billions of dollars of oil each year to purchase food and medicine
and to rebuild the country's battered infrastructure. While all the proceeds
of Iraq's oil sales are supposed to be placed in a U.N. escrow account, U.S.
and U.N. diplomats estimate that Baghdad siphons off as much as $2 billion a
year in oil revenue to purchase luxury goods and revive its banned weapons

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell has been working for nearly a year to
persuade the Security Council to tighten U.N. sanctions imposed on Iraq
after its 1990 invasion of Kuwait. But he has faced opposition from Iraq's
closest ally in the council, Russia, and its neighbors -- Jordan, Syria and
Turkey -- who profit from the illicit trade.

Negroponte said the administration's current strategy is designed to achieve
consensus in the council on a key component of U.S. policy -- compiling an
agreed-upon list of items with potential military applications that could
not be sold to Iraq without Security Council approval -- before moving onto
to more contentious issues such as weapons inspectors.

Russia agreed in late November to begin negotiations with a view to
endorsing an amended version of the list before June 1. But it has also
insisted that Washington begin parallel discussions to clarify a 1999
Security Council resolution calling for the return of inspectors. Moscow
hopes that a fresh negotiation on that resolution would provide Iraq with a
clearer commitment from the council to suspend sanctions.

"We need to focus on something you can really get done, while thinking about
how we're going to move on to the next thing," Negroponte told reporters
during a luncheon at his residence. "This is an issue" that the Security
Council's five permanent members "and the council as a whole have now


Arabic News, 5th January

The London- based al-Hayat daily issued on Friday quoted sources of the
Iraqi opposition in Damascus as saying that Seif Ellahi, the official in
charge of the Iraqi file at the office of the spiritual guide of the Islamic
revolution in Iran Ali Khameini is currently making talks in Syria with the
Islamic, national and Kurdish trends in the Iraqi opposition.

The sources indicated that there is a new Iranian inclination in dealing
with the Iraqi file based on two axes: openness to all opposition trends and
not supporting one trend at the expense of the other and working for
achieving democracy in Iraq.

After the paper said in the context of a report by its correspondent in
Damascus, yet sources at the Iranian embassy in Damascus were hesitant in
conforming or denying the nature of the mission of the Iranian official in
being a private or an official visit, the paper said quoting the Iraqi
opposition sources that Seif Ellahi for whom the Iranian ambassador in
Damascus organized a work luncheon attended by leading figures at the Iraqi
opposition, had on Wednesday evening made talks with the chairman of the
Iraqi (al-Watan) " the homeland" party Mashaan al-Jabouri.

The sources quoted al-Jabouri as saying that his party will strongly oppose
every political project on the future of Iraq based on dismissing the
authority's party, the army and the intelligence from the political life.
Al-Jabouri added " I am defending the interests of those because they are
faithful to their principles. The ruler might have had led them to the wrong
destination and therefore our position should be positive towards them."

The sources indicated that al-Jabouri stressed during his meeting with
Ellahi support for democracy and human rights in Iraq and his country's
determination to create a meeting point between all Iraqi opposition trends.

The paper indicated that Seif Ellahi arrived in Damascus last Friday and was
welcomed at the airport by the Iranian ambassador in Damascus Hussein Sheikh
al-Islam, al-Jabouri, the Ghazi Zeibari the representative for the
Kurdistani democratic party led by Mesout al Barazani, Adel Murad the
representative of the Kurdistani national federation and Bayan jaber the
representative of the higher council of the Islamic revolution led by
Muhammad Baqer al-Hakim.

by Elaine Monaghan
Yahoo, 7th January

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The State Department said on Monday it still wanted
to work with the main Iraqi opposition force trying to overthrow President
Saddam Hussein despite suspending some of its aid.

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said the Bush administration was
working with the Iraqi National Congress to restore the funds suspended
after an audit conducted last year uncovered financial management

He said operating expenses of $500,000 would be paid for this month but
added, ``Pending improvements in the financial management of INC programs,
the State Department is withholding funding for certain of these programs.''

The INC is a London-based umbrella group that some Bush administration hawks
have proposed arming to help overthrow Saddam, suspected of developing
weapons of mass destruction and seen as a potential next target in the U.S.
war on terrorism.

``We've looked forward to finding ways to continue to support Iraqis who are
interested in regime change, and we do see value in supporting an umbrella
organization for many groups or individuals who oppose the Iraqi regime,''
he said.

``We want them definitely to put in place the kind of ... auditing systems
that mean that any U.S. money that goes there can be well accounted for in
the future,'' he added.

``This is an issue that was flagged by our inspector general last spring and
has been part of our discussions with them for nine, 10 months now,'' he
told a news briefing.

U.S. officials declined to offer details of the audit. None reported
specific abuses of the millions of dollars that have gone to INC
humanitarian, war crimes and media programs.

But they made clear the announcement that aid was being suspended was a bid
to draw a line in the sand.

Boucher said the INC was notified of the audit findings in October and given
a January deadline to fix the problems.

One official said differences emerged over the INC's wish to expand its
activities inside Iraq, a move opposed by Kurdish parties in northern Iraq
who fear retribution by Baghdad.

The INC said opponents of using force to topple Saddam inside the Bush
administration had prompted the report, specifically members of the State
Department bureau that works with the INC.

``The statement ... was premature and was clearly engineered by officials
who don't want aggressive action against Iraq,'' spokesman Sharif Ali Bin
AlHussein said. Boucher denied this.

The INC spokesman said his group sought $25 million in September, $17
million of which was to be spent inside Iraq, and since then they had not
been able to agree funding activities.

The funding suspension comes amid a debate within the Bush administration
over whether to extend the campaign against terrorism, which toppled
Afghanistan's Taliban, to Iraq.

Secretary of State Colin Powell has said the administration is ``looking
at'' whether the INC and Shi'ite Muslim groups in southern Iraq could work
with U.S. forces to oust Saddam.

The United States has given $12.5 million to the INC since 1999, when it
became an official entity qualifying for U.S. aid. Before that, about $4
million went to the Iraqi opposition over two years through intermediaries,
officials said.

The suspension applies to an information collection program worth $3.6
million a year and a mobilization and training office that allows deliveries
of up to $97 million in excess, nonlethal defense items like computers and
fax machines.

U.S. funding to two other programs is also under scrutiny -- a humanitarian
aid project and a satellite television station whose viability were in
question, they said.

Times of India (AFP), 9th January


Iraqi opposition sources in Washington told AFP on Tuesday that a number of
State Department officials favored maintaining the policy of "containing"
Iraqi President Saddam Hussein rather than working to overthrow him.

"These officials argue that INC operations inside Iraq to oust the regime
might have an adverse effect on the Middle East peace process as well as on
Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries," one of the sources said by
telephone, speaking on condition of anonymity.

They said this was in contrast with the prevailing view in the Pentagon, the
National Security Council and Congress that favored the overthrow of the
Iraqi leader.

The State Department therefore opposed an INC proposal in September to spend
17 million of 25 million dollars, earmarked by Congress in the 2001 budget,
on operations inside Iraq, according to the sources.

In November, the department unilaterally extended an arrangement to give the
INC eight million dollars over four months to be spent exclusively on
activities outside Iraq, the sources added.

The Los Angeles Times, which first reported the aid suspension on Saturday,
said the INC wants the United States to pay for operations inside Iraq but
Washington says that before it will do so, the group must build a strong
organization and attract a wider following both inside Iraq and in the

The group has failed to make significant progress on these fronts, US
officials told the Times.

The INC has failed to qualify for most of the 97 million dollars that
Congress allocated the group under a 1998 Iraq Liberation Act, largely due
to a dispute over tactics, the officials said.

Times of India (AFP), 8th January

DUBAI: Baghdad has executed eight Iraqis alleged to have had "contacts with
opposition forces," the opposition Iraqi Communist Party said on Monday.

The eight men, all from the southern Basra province, were arrested in
December 2000 and their bodies returned to their families in November 2001,
the party said in a statement datelined from Kurdish-held northern Iraq and
received by AFP in Dubai.

Charging that there were signs of torture on the bodies of the eight dead,
whom it named, the ICP urged humanitarian organisations to intervene to "put
an end to the violations of human rights and summary executions in Iraq."

The ICP has repeatedly condemned executions in Iraqi prisons, accusing
authorities of leading a campaign to "cleanse the jails." Iraqi authorities
usually refuse to comment on such allegations.

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