The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]
News, 5-11/1/02 (1) Some more out of date news. In this week (last week), the Incitement 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 Still plenty of hatred of course, but counsels of timidity are prevalent (the old hawk/dove dispute in Washington has been replaced by a hawk/mouse debate).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 International¹ and Refugees¹ 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 smart sanctions¹ look more attractive. INCITEMENT TO HATRED * 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 the 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 (interventionism 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 Guardian] * U.S. Hawk Hints Iraq Won't Be Next Target [Paul Wolfowitz sounding like a dove¹. Though in the present climate the word dove¹ 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: Iraq 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 UN 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 smarter 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.] IRAQI/UN RELATIONS * 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 IRAQI OPPOSITION * 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 misleading] * 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 22?] * 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 them)] AND, IN NEWS, 5-11/1/02 (2): IRAQI/INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS * Iraqi consultant sounds double warning on Bula's oil ambitions [Irish oil company. The Iraqi consultant is Riad el Taher, founder of Friendship across Frontiers] * 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 Pakistan] IRAQI/MIDDLE EASTERN-ARAB WORLD RELATIONS * 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 REMNANTS OF DECENCY * This is no way to run a foreign policy [by Gavin Esler. I¹m not quite sure it deserves the remnants 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: I 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] MILITARY MATTERS * 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: "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 INSIDE IRAQ * 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: We ... 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 REFUGEES * 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 INCITEMENT TO HATRED http://www.iht.com/articles/43776.html * NO, A U.S. ATTACK ON IRAQ WOULD DO MORE HARM THAN GOOD 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 corporation. 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. http://upi.com/view.cfm?StoryID=07012002-022358-8327r * HAIG: SYRIA SHOULD BE NEXT TARGET 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." http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,3604,629625,00.html * WE MUST ATTACK IRAQ AND FREE ITS PEOPLE 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 block. 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. http://www.iht.com/articles/44223.html * U.S. HAWK HINTS IRAQ WON'T BE NEXT TARGET 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 terrorism. 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 Baghdad. 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 heart." 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 said. 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 Afghanistan. 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 said. 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. http://www.washtimes.com/op-ed/20020110-71327928.htm * STALLING IN SOMALIA? 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. http://www.miami.com/herald/content/opinion/opcol/digdocs/092336.htm * INSPECTORS TO IRAQ? IT'S NOT THAT SIMPLE 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 States. 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 destruction. 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. http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/011/oped/A_smarter_way_of_dealing_with_Sad dam+.shtml * A SMARTER WAY OF DEALING WITH SADDAM 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 defectors. 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 allies. 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 allies. IRAQI/UN RELATIONS http://news.ft.com/ft/gx.cgi/ftc?pagename=View&c=Article&cid=FT37UDUK8WC&liv e=true&tagid=ZZZINS5VA0C&subheading=middle%20east%20and%20africa * US CRITICISED OVER IRAQ RELIEF CONTRACTS 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 policy. 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 diplomat. 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 Iraq. 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 programme. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow.asp?art_id=465717906 * UN OFFICIAL SCEPTICAL OF COUNCIL COMMITTEE 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. [.....] http://www.worldoil.com/news/newsstory.asp?ref=http://220.127.116.11/feeds/wo rldoil/new/article_e.asp?energy24=246128 * IRAQ STEPS UP PROTEST ON UN OIL PRICING 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 flows. 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 fees. 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. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A28582-2002Jan10.html * DIPLOMATS: U.S. QUIET ON IRAQ INSPECTIONS 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 programs. 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 agreed." IRAQI OPPOSITION http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/020105/2002010508.html * IRANIAN OFFICIAL CONFERS WITH IRAQI OPPOSITION 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. http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20020107/pl/iraq_usa_inc_dc_1.html * U.S. SEEKS TO RESTORE FUNDS TO IRAQI GROUP 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 weaknesses. 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. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow.asp?art_id=1772882919 * IRAQI OPPOSITION LINKS FUNDING ROW TO US POLICY DIFFERENCES 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 region. 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. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow.asp?art_id=528267961 * 8 PEOPLE EXECUTED, SAYS IRAQI OPPN 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. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 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.