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News, 12-19/1/02 (1) This brings us back up to date. The hawks make a comeback this week led by H.Kissinger and Sen. J.Lieberman. But they¹re still not quite up to where they were a few weeks ago when they thought they had a good case for an Iraqi/al-Qaida link. Nonetheless the Turks and the Iraqis are still plainly worried. It is surely worth noting that in all the speculation about whom the US is going to attack next, no-one seems to be suggesting that there is a proper procedure for going to war laid down in the UN charter to which the United States is supposed to be a signatory. The US is being allowed a margin of freedom in this domain which, if it was claimed by any other country in the world (if, for example, the UK had claimed the right to bomb Dublin in the wake of the Brighton Hotel bombing) would immediately provoke international outrage, not least from the US. For a wonderful expression of American self delusion see the article America the mighty¹. For a rare intelligent assessment of US interests with regard to Iraq, see No, to answer Iraqi question¹ (both in the Incitement to hatred¹ section below) INCITEMENT TO HATRED * Phase II and Iraq [by Henry Kissinger. The old mass murderer is at it again inter alia expressing regret that he did not manage to kill sufficient numbers of people in Vietnam (he modestly declines to mention his triumphs in Cambodia and Laos). However, his international consulting firm¹, Kissinger Associates, needs to shake up its research team a bit. It has told him that there is a Kurdish minority, a Shia minority and a Sunni majority in Iraq. In fact, the Sunnis only have a majority if the Kurds are counted as Sunnis (though they tend to be rather eccentric Sunni, inclined to Sufism). The basic argument is that removing S.Hussein would be such a spectacular piece of terror that everyone would fall trembling into line. He may be right.] * America the mighty: The U.S. can't lose by taking on Saddam [The American pattern in war is clear. We go there. We kill the bad guys. We hand out food and blankets and medicine. Then we go home ... The civilized in every nation should cheer whenever our troops take the field. But envy rules in hearts where gratitude should reign.¹] * A blind spot called Iraq [Audacious argument based on new book by Laurie Mylroie, that the loose network of Muslim extremists¹, including Al-Qaida, is really just a cover for the activities of S.Hussein] * U.S. seeks al Qaeda link to Iraq [but if any new evidence has been found it hasn¹t been revealed to the Washington Times] * Lieberman: Beware Iraq [the unique threat to American security by Saddam Hussein's regime is so real, so grave and so imminent that even if no other nation were to stand with us, we must be prepared to act alone¹. All of which just goes to show that immeasurable wealth and unlimited military superiority do not buy peace of mind and a sense of security.] * Will George jnr go the same way as his father? [Argues the quite credible case that the US can¹t afford to and don¹t want to overthrow Saddam because it would only strengthen Syria and Iran. Suter thinks the US government really wanted to find a means to rehabilitate Saddam but Saddam wouldn¹t play ball. I think they wanted to deal with a close associate who would replace him but resemble him closely - though preferably not Uday or Qusay (someone resembling the grotesque array of defectors that keep popping up every so often). This forlorn hope still seems to live on in the State department] * No, to answer Iraqi question [Sensible article giving, good right wing American reasons for seeking a modus vivendi with Saddam Hussein (the author, Doug Bandow, is a fellow of the Cato Institute and former assistant to R.Reagan. Perhaps he¹s still living in the 1980s). Makes the unusual point that Baghdad is brutal, but no more so than, say, Syria. Iraq persecutes its minority populations, but then, Turkey is little more kind to its Kurds... Was it published anywhere other than in the Japan Times?] AND, IN NEWS, 12-19/1/02 (2) IRAQI/MIDDLE EAST/ARAB WORLD RELATIONS * Iraqi Minister in Iran for Talks - Radio * Iraqi FM: Iraq wants full scale relations with Iran * Iraqi FM to visit Bahrain on Sunday: Report * Iraqi FM meets Bahrain's emir * Iraq Launches Diplomatic Initiative With Saudi Arabia, Kuwait [in visit to Bahrain] * Turkey Worries Iraq Is Next on U.S. List of Targets * Turkish border measures to deter 'Iraq, Iranian missiles' [Building of a US missile shield¹ in a Southern - presumably Kurdish - province of Turkey] * Barzani and the Kurdish state [Turks accuse Barzani of behaving as if there is a Kurdish state in northern Iraq] * Jordanian, Iraqi foreign ministers meet in Amman * Turkish Leader Softens on Iraq [Includes the following interesting angle on the situation of the Kurds in Northern Iraq: Turkish journalist, Derya Sazak said the Turks are floating the idea that alongside the autonomous Kurdish region, an autonomous area for Iraq's Turkmen minority should be created. Turkey would want the oil-rich area of Kirkuk to be under control of the Turkmen, with whom Turkey has close ties.¹] * Dollar-chase for Turkey [Ecevit will try to get relief for military debts, support for more IMF help¹] * Ecevit opposes strikes on Iraq * Moroccan business delegation explores investment opportunities in Iraq * Kuwaiti- Sudanese parliamentary agreement to strengthen bilateral cooperation [This rapprochement between the best behaved Muslim state and the international pariah seems less surprising in the light of the remarkable news of a US brokered truce between the two sides of the Sudanese civil war.] * Saudis may ask US military to leave: Report * Sources say Saudis want U.S. military presence ended [Extracts giving some details missing from the preceding article. Including this: The two governments never signed an agreement about their presence in the country.¹] IRAQI NATIONAL DEFENCE * U.N. inspectors at arm's length [Account of Hans Blix and UMNMOVIC] * IAEA team to visit Iraq, inspect nuclear facilities * Saddam has super-gun, report says * Iraq At It Again? [CBS news at it again. We¹ve had this story before (Iraqi defector says he renovated secret weapons labs¹ in News, 13-22/12/01) - defector Adnan Ihsan al-Haideri who claims to have worked on heavily protected, sealed chambers. Now, why would a country that is constantly under threat of unimaginably terrible attack from the most powerful country in all human history want heavily protected sealed chambers?] IRAQI/INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS * Iraq to send ambassador to Thailand [This article says Thailand sent an ambassador to Iraq early last year] * Iraq, Thailand exchange ambassadors [This one says Thailand will send an ambassador to Iraq this year] * Australia commits, and the navy bears the burden [Michael O¹Connor, executive director of the Australia Defence Association¹, argues that imposing a new form of colonial rule¹ in very distant parts of the world is by any measure ... not an illegitimate use of the right of national self defense¹ and if Australians want to get in on the act they had better spend more on their - er, um - defence¹ forces. We learn some interesting things, as for example, that three of Australia¹s nine frigates are devoted to catching asylum seekers¹, that new form of international criminal. We get a mention too, as dupes in the West who regurgitate his [S.Hussein¹s] claims of starvation and greatly increased infant mortality. Iraq is perfectly capable of providing adequate nutrition and health care provided it diverts money away from its military and regime protection programs.¹ So it seems that Iraq, unlike Australia, doesn¹t need a self defence capacity. Who, after all, is threatening it? What sort of threat is it facing from hordes of starving and desperate asylum seekers?] * Russia Is Top Iraqi Importer [Extract which indicates that the US is very blatantly using its power to impose holds¹ on goods going into Iraq as a means of exercising political pressure on Russia] * Zhirinovsky Cleans Up His Act, Loves America * Oil smugglers keep cash flowing back to Saddam * Baghdad urges Moscow to foil US plans * Russia to press Iraq for inspections * Russia introduces new export mechanism [Puzzling item, because the new¹ mechanism for exports to Iraq seems to correspond to what one assumed was Russia¹s legal¹ obligation under the terms of the UN embargo] AND, IN NEWS, 12-19/1/02 (3) IRAQI/UN RELATIONS * Sanction deal benefits only UN: Iraq REMNANTS OF DECENCY * The land of the free becomes the home of the hypocrite * Iraq 11 years on [by Dr Omar Al Taher in the Jordan Times. This article has been discussed at some length in the discussion list. I have left out the account of Iraqi suffering to concentrate attention on the political analysis. Which includes this, the key point that needs to be made about the weapons inspections: The Iraqi leadership is aware that if all its weaponry (from biological weapons to even hand grenades) are accounted for and decommissioned, the sanctions are there to stay. So, why cooperate?¹. The Iraqi government co-operated for seven years to an extent far beyond what anyone could reasonably have expected. Then one day they realised that there was no point and who, watching the subsequent behaviour of such as R.Butler and C.Duelfer could blame them? One statement in the article now seems a bit anachronistic: After all, war is governed by the Geneva Convention¹. That was before the US discovered the category of unlawful combatant.¹] REFUGEES * Judge Denies Young Iraqi's Bid to Join Family [Case of Iraqi draft dodger in US being sent back to join the Iraqi army. His argument that he would be killed if he went back was rejected. Is this a sign that the US doesn¹t intend to wage war on Iraq after all? (of course, had he been a mass murderer, a specialist in the weaponisation of anthrax or a close henchman of Mr Hussein¹s then he would have been a defector¹ and a precious jewel in the crown of Messrs Duelfer, Woolsey et al)] INSIDE IRAQ * Iraqi poll names bin Laden man of year * Arabs in Iraq Rally for Palestinians * Iraqi Oil Industry In 2002: A Turning Point [This may not really belong in the news items (it was summarised in an article in last weeks mailing - 5-11/1/02 (2), under Inside Iraq¹) but it appears to be a good scholarly account of the present state of the Iraqi oil industry and of the steady increase of its productive capacity (contrasting with recent reports of a sharp fall in oil sales). One curious detail. The capacity of the northern oilfield near Kirkuk appears to be declining but this is being concealed by piping large quantities of southern oil up North. Why?] * Iraq won't be caught off guard, Saddam says NEW WORLD ORDER * Turkey Offers To Lead Peacekeepers * CIA memoir tells all [Account of book See No Evil¹ by Robert Baer about the CIA which apparently includes what ought to be an interesting account of the failed CIA operation in Northern Iraq in 1996. Note that Martin Walker expresses astonished disgust that Robert Baer should have been criticised for wanting to assassinate President Hussein. He should have a word with Senator Lieberman, who would tell him that the attempt to assassinate a President is the worst kind of terrorism¹ (see article on Lieberman in Incitement to Hatred above. Of course Lieberman had a different president in mind ...)] * War, part two [Extract, making the obvious point that US reliance on proxies to do their fighting for them will often mean - and has often meant - reliance on unpleasant proxies] * Central Asian nations choose their sides [Some small indications of Russian anxiety about the possibility of a massive US military buildup on their southern flank] INCITEMENT TO HATRED http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A34680-2002Jan12.html * PHASE II AND IRAQ by Henry A. Kissinger Washington Post, 13th January As military operations in Afghanistan wind down, it is well to keep in mind President Bush's injunction that they are only the first battles of a long war. An important step has been taken toward the goals of breaking the nexus between governments and the terrorist groups they support or tolerate, discrediting Islamic fundamentalism so that moderates in the Islamic world can reclaim their religion from the fanatics, and placing the fight against terrorism in the context of the geopolitical threat of Saddam Hussein's Iraq to regional stability and to American friends and interests in the region. But much more needs to be done. Were we to flinch, the success in Afghanistan would be interpreted in time as taking on the weakest and most remote of the terrorist centers while we recoiled from unraveling terrorism in countries more central to the problem. Three interrelated courses of action are available: (a) To rely primarily on diplomacy and coalition-building on the theory that the fate of the Taliban will teach the appropriate lessons. (b) To insist on a number of specific corrective steps in countries with known training camps or terrorist headquarters, such as Somalia or Yemen, or those engaged in dangerous programs to develop weapons of mass destruction, such as Iraq, and to take military action if these steps are rejected. (c) To focus on the overthrow of the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq in order to change the regional dynamics by showing America's determination to defend regional stability, its interests and its friends. (This would also send a strong message to other rogue states.) Sole reliance on diplomacy is the preferred course of some members of the coalition, which claim that the remaining tasks can be accomplished by consultation and the cooperation of intelligence and security services around the world. But to rely solely on diplomacy would be to repeat the mistake with which the United States hamstrung itself in every war of the past half-century. Because it treated military operations and diplomacy as separate and sequential, the United States stopped military operations in Korea as soon as our adversaries moved to the conference table; it ended the bombing of North Vietnam as an entrance price to the Paris talks; it stopped military operations in the Gulf after the Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait. In each case, the ending of military pressure produced diplomatic stalemate. The Korean armistice negotiations consumed two years, during which America suffered as many casualties as in the entire combat phase; an even more intractable stalemate developed in the Vietnam negotiations; and in the Persian Gulf, Saddam Hussein used the Republican Guard divisions preserved by the armistice to restore control over his territory and to dismantle systematically the inspection provisions of the armistice agreement. Anti-terrorism policy is empty if it is not backed by the threat of force. Intellectual opponents of military action as well as its likely targets will procrastinate or agree to token or symbolic remedies only. Ironically, governments on whose territory terrorists are tolerated will find it especially difficult to cooperate unless the consequences of failing to do so are made more risky than their tacit bargain with the terrorists. Phase II of the anti-terrorism campaign must therefore involve a specific set of demands geared to a precise timetable supported by credible coercive power. These should be put forward as soon as possible as a framework. And time is of the essence. Phase II must begin while the memory of the attack on the United States is still vivid and American-deployed forces are available to back up the diplomacy. Nor should Phase II be confused with the pacification of Afghanistan. The American strategic objective was to destroy the terrorist network; that has been largely accomplished. Pacification of the entire country of Afghanistan has never been achieved by foreigners and cannot be the objective of the American military effort. The United States should be generous with economic and development assistance. But the strategic goal of Phase II should be the destruction of the global terrorist network, to prevent its reappearance in Afghanistan, but not to be drawn into Afghan civil strife. Somalia and Yemen are often mentioned as possible targets for a Phase II campaign. That decision should depend on the ability to identify targets against which local governments are able to act and on the suitability of American forces to accomplish this task if the local governments can't or won't. And given these limitations, the United States will have to decide whether action against them is strategically productive. All this raises the unavoidable challenge Iraq poses. The issue is not whether Iraq was involved in the terrorist attack on the United States. The challenge of Iraq is essentially geopolitical. Iraq's policy is implacably hostile to the United States and to certain neighboring countries. It possesses growing stockpiles of biological and chemical weapons, which Saddam Hussein has used in the war against Iran and on his own population. It is working to develop a nuclear capability. Hussein breached his commitment to the United Nations by evicting the international inspectors he had accepted on his territory as part of the armistice agreement ending the Gulf War. There is no possibility of a negotiation between Washington and Baghdad and no basis for trusting Iraq's promises to the international community. If these capabilities remain intact, they could in time be used for terrorist goals or by Saddam Hussein in the midst of some new regional or international upheaval. And if his regime survives both the Gulf War and the anti-terrorism campaign, this fact alone will elevate him to a potentially overwhelming menace. >From a long-range point of view, the greatest opportunity of Phase II is to return Iraq to a responsible role in the region. Were Iraq governed by a group representing no threat to its neighbors and willing to abandon its weapons of mass destruction, the stability of the region would be immeasurably enhanced. The remaining regimes flirting with terrorist fundamentalism or acquiescing in its exactions would be driven to shut down their support of terrorism. At a minimum, we should insist on a U.N. inspection system to eliminate Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, with an unlimited right of inspection and freedom of movement for the inspectors. But no such system exists on paper, and the effort to install it might be identical with that required to overthrow Saddam Hussein. Above all, given the ease of producing biological and chemical weapons, inspection must be extremely intrusive, and experience shows that no inspection can withstand indefinitely the opposition of a determined host government. But if the overthrow of Saddam Hussein is to be seriously considered, three prerequisites must be met: (a) development of a military plan that is quick and decisive, (b) some prior agreement on what kind of structure is to replace Hussein and (c) the support or acquiescence of key countries needed for implementation of the military plan. A military operation against Saddam Hussein cannot be long and drawn out. If it is, the battle may turn into a struggle of Islam against the West. It would also enable Hussein to try to involve Israel by launching attacks on it -- perhaps using chemical and biological weapons -- in the process sowing confusion within the Muslim world. A long war extending to six months and beyond would also make it more difficult to keep allies and countries such as Russia and China from dissociating formally from what they are unlikely to join but even more unlikely to oppose. Before proceeding to confrontation with Iraq, the Bush administration will therefore wish to examine with great care the military strategy implied. Forces of the magnitude of the Gulf War of a decade ago are unlikely to be needed. At the same time, it would be dangerous to rely on a combination of U.S. air power and indigenous opposition forces alone. To be sure, the contemporary precision weaponry was not available in the existing quantities during the Gulf War. And the no-fly zones will make Iraqi reinforcements difficult. They could be strengthened by being turned into no-movement zones proscribing the movement of particular categories of weapons. Still, we cannot stake American national security entirely, or even largely, on local opposition forces that do not yet exist and whose combat capabilities are untested. Perhaps Iraqi forces would collapse at the first confrontation, as some argue. But the likelihood of this happening is greatly increased if it is clear American military power stands in overwhelming force immediately behind the local forces. A second prerequisite for a military campaign against Iraq is to define the political outcome. Local opposition would in all likelihood be sustained by the Kurdish minority in the north and the Shiite minority in the south. But if we are to enlist the Sunni majority, which now dominates Iraq, in the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, we need to make clear that Iraq's disintegration is not the goal of American policy. This is all the more important because a military operation in Iraq would require the support of Turkey and the acquiescence of Saudi Arabia. Neither is likely to cooperate if they foresee an independent Kurdish state in the north and a Shiite republic in the south as the probable outcome. A Kurdish state would inflame the Kurdish minority in Turkey and a Shiite state in the south would threaten the Dhahran region in Saudi Arabia, and might give Iran a new base to seek to dominate the gulf region. A federal structure for a unified Iraq would be a way to deal with this issue. Creating an appropriate coalition for such an effort and finding bases for the necessary American deployment will be difficult. Phase II is likely to separate those members of the coalition that joined so as to have veto over American actions from those that are willing to pursue an implacable strategy. Nevertheless, the skillful diplomacy that shaped the first phase of the anti-terrorism campaign would have much to build on. Saddam Hussein has no friends in the gulf region. Britain will not easily abandon the pivotal role, based on its special relationship with the United States, that it has earned for itself in the evolution of the crisis. Nor will Germany move into active opposition to the United States -- especially in an election year. The same is true of Russia, China and Japan. A determined American policy thus has more latitude than is generally assumed. But it will be far more difficult than Phase I. Local resistance -- especially in Iraq -- will be more determined and ruthless. Domestic opposition will mount in many countries. American public opinion will be crucial in sustaining such a course. It will need to be shaped by the same kind of decisive and subtle leadership by which President Bush unified the country for the first phase of the crisis. The writer, a former secretary of state, is president of Kissinger Associates, an international consulting firm. http://www.post-gazette.com/forum/20020113edkell13p6.asp * AMERICA THE MIGHTY: THE U.S. CAN'T LOSE BY TAKING ON SADDAM by Jack Kelly Post-Gazette, 13th January Unremarked upon during the joyous celebrations throughout Afghanistan after the ouster of the Taliban was how commonplace this scene is after American military victories. We saw the same thing in Bosnia and Kosovo and Kuwait, and, not so long ago, in Paris and Rome and Manila and Seoul. The American pattern in war is clear. We go there. We kill the bad guys. We hand out food and blankets and medicine. Then we go home. No nation has ever had as much military power as the United States. And no nation has been less likely to use its power selfishly. We are liberators, not conquerors. Maybe later a vet will go back and open a McDonald's franchise. But this is pretty much the extent of American "imperialism." Most of the rest of the world is envious of our wealth and power. But this is more the product of flaws in them than of flaws in us. The French, for instance, dislike us because we don't speak French and our hamburgers have colonized world cuisine. But the only American soldiers in France are those buried near the beaches in Normandy. The Nazis would have remained longer if we hadn't thrown them out. Former enemies also have benefited from American generosity. Three years after American bombers were flying over Berlin, C-47s were landing every three minutes at Tempelhof airport to bring food and fuel to starving Germans. American kindness to Germany and Japan was so profound and so unprecedented that the British writer Leonard Wibberly used it as the premise for his hilarious novel "The Mouse That Roared." The rulers of a tiny European duchy are in such desperate economic trouble that they figure the only way they can get out of it is to lose a war to the United States. In an editorial last month, the Toronto Globe and Mail indicated why it's a good thing President Bush doesn't pay a lot of attention to world opinion. The Globe and Mail acknowledges that Saddam Hussein is "a ruthless megalomaniac who has murdered thousands of his own people;" that he is an implacable enemy of the United States and that he is building nuclear, biological and chemical weapons as fast as he can. But, says the Globe and Mail, military action against Iraq would be a "recipe for disaster." Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien thinks this, as do most political leaders in Europe, the newspaper noted. The reasons the Globe and Mail gives for why invading Iraq would be "to step into a pit" indicate that no amount of real world evidence will free Western liberals from their timidity. "Unlike the ragtag Taliban, Iraq's army of 430,000 is well-trained, well-armed and most unlikely to roll over," says the Globe and Mail. Really? Iraq had the fourth-largest army in the world in January 1991. Within a week, it was only the second-largest army in Iraq. The Iraqi army is smaller and less well equipped now. The United States estimates that 150,000 Iraqi soldiers deserted and 60,000 were captured. Hundreds tried to surrender to helicopters flying overhead. There are no indications morale has improved. Given a choice between an American tank battalion and an Iraqi armored division, there isn't a soldier on the planet who wouldn't take the American battalion. And that's before you give the battalion commander a radio to an F-16 on station. If we go to war with Iraq, the question isn't whether we will win, but how quickly and how easily. Some American ground troops will be required, but not many. If we do not destroy Saddam's regime before he acquires weapons of mass destruction, we risk attacks much more devastating than those of 9/11. Those who counsel against war in Iraq say they are concerned about American failure. But many also fear American success. The celebrations in Kabul were gall and wormwood to anti-American elitists. They don't wish to see them repeated in Baghdad. History makes it clear that the American soldier has been the most powerful force for peace and progress in the world. The civilized in every nation should cheer whenever our troops take the field. But envy rules in hearts where gratitude should reign. http://observer.co.uk/review/story/0,6903,631692,00.html * A BLIND SPOT CALLED IRAQ by David Rose The Observer, 13th January Review of The War Against America by Laurie Mylroie (HarperCollins £9.99, pp352) The torrent of comment that all but flooded the media of the West in the wake of the terrorist atrocities on 11 September was often, perhaps inevitably, marked by inaccuracies and glib assertions, recycled and repeated numerous times. Among the most frequent was the attribution to Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda network of previous attacks with which he had no connection, such as the first bombing of the New York World Trade Centre in 1993. As this prescient and penetrating book makes clear, misconceptions of this kind played a crucial part in the vast, collective failure of both intelligence and policy that 11 September represents. To disregard it now may well result in further devastating attacks. Mylroie's conclusion, reached by relentless forensic analysis of a huge array of human and documentary sources, is that the 1993 World Trade Centre bombing did not, as the Clinton administration claimed at the time, signal the emergence of a 'new kind of terrorism' by 'loose networks' of Muslim extremists. Instead, it was the first skirmish in 'a new kind of war' - sponsored, like old-style wars, by a hostile state, Iraq. Planned as the world's worst terrorist attack, in which one of the towers would have collapsed into the other amid a cloud of cyanide, the plot's Iraqi directors simply made use of a little Islamist muscle, stooges who were meant to be caught, in order to conceal its real origin. Of course, that muscle, corralled by New York's blind, radical mullah, Shakyh Omar Abdul Rahman, had nothing to do with bin Laden, who was busy building roads and airports in Sudan at the time. But to those of us who have studied the considerable evidence of Iraqi involvement in the 2001 atrocities, it seems clear that 1993 was essentially a botched prototype for the later operation. On both occasions, Iraqi training, intelligence and logistics were hidden behind an Islamist façade, which was indeed provided last year by al-Qaeda. Mylroie, whose previous work was a bestseller on Saddam and the 1991 Gulf War, argues that the Iraqi dictator has, since seizing power in a bloodstained coup in 1979, used violence as his main policy tool. His expulsion from Kuwait, the imposition of no-fly zones and UN weapons-inspection teams induced in him a fierce desire for revenge. One way he sought it was his attempt to assassinate George HW Bush in 1993. Another was the WTC bombing, in which six people died. Like a detective novelist, Mylroie uses the enormous official record of the FBI's investigations and subsequent trial to tell the story of Iraq's manipulation of the indigenous New York radicals. The FBI's chief agent, the late Jim Fox, was convinced that Iraq had been behind the attack, but was overruled. In the end, two pieces of evidence loom over everything else. Abdul Yasin, who allegedly mixed the bomb chemicals, is an Iraqi and managed to escape. He now lives in Baghdad, working for Saddam's government. The plot's leader, Ramzi Yousef, who was eventually arrested in the Philippines in 1995 as he plotted to blow up 12 US airliners on a single day and was sentenced to life in a US federal prison, was almost certainly a career officer from Iraqi intelligence, who stole the identity of a harmless, dead Kuwaiti, Abdul Basit Karim. This was a standard technique for deep-cover operatives, long propagated by the KGB, who trained Saddam's intelligence service until the Soviet Union ceased to exist. (Karim, who was 5ft 8in tall, was once a student in Wales - where his former teachers are understandably certain he was not the 6ft Yousef.) Mylroie first marshalled much of this evidence in scholarly articles in 1996, yet the response of the US government was determined denial. Clinton did not want to tackle Iraq seriously, and so the WTC bombing had to be down to Shakyh Omar. A similar process is at work in Whitehall and parts of Washington now. We know that Mohamed Atta and his two co-leaders of the 2001 hijackings made repeated, hasty journeys across the world to meet Iraqi intelligence officers in the months before the attacks. We also know Iraq ran a terrorist camp for foreign Islamists, where it taught them how to hijack planes with boxcutters, and that Farouk Hijazi, deputy head of Iraqi intelligence, travelled to Afghanistan to see bin Laden in 1998. Briefing the media, officials simply sweep these facts aside. Outside the group of hawks in the Pentagon, Iraq is apparently not a legitimate target for the 'war on terror'. Mylroie wrote the conclusion to this book many months before last year's attacks. It has equal relevance now: 'Saddam... has succeeded in thoroughly confusing America as to the nature of the terrorist threat it has faced. He is free, it would appear, to carry out more terrorist attacks - possibly even unconventional terrorism, as long as he can make it appear to be the work of a loose network of Muslim extremists. If America's leadership continues to deal with Saddam in that fashion, we must be prepared to see further acts of violence that are more successful, more brutal, and more devastating.' http://www.washtimes.com/national/20020114-78659763.htm * U.S. SEEKS AL QAEDA LINK TO IRAQ by Rowan Scarborough Washington Times, 14th January The Pentagon is collecting evidence of "linkage" between Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda organization and other international terror groups to bolster its case for attacking Iraq as part of the war on terrorism, Bush administration officials say. The Pentagon set up a secret unit shortly after September 11 to scan years of highly classified intelligence reports to find links between groups supported by Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and bin Laden's al Qaeda network. The project officers are also examining whether Iraqi business fronts for the country's intelligence service have ties to bin Laden. Sources say the CIA has electronically transferred intelligence data on various groups to the Pentagon. Opponents of striking Iraq say there is no evidence linking Saddam to the September 11 attacks on America. Thus, the United States would be hard-pressed to justify an assault to oust Saddam in the same way it removed the Taliban in Afghanistan, say critics, including some European allies. But if the Pentagon project can find operational links between terror groups, proponents of attacking Iraq could cite the need to remove a regime such as Saddam's as part of the president's goal to destroy al Qaeda. The bin Laden-led group is blamed for the September 11 hijacked-airliner attacks that killed more than 3,000 people. Officials said the Pentagon investigation of "linkage" already is turning up ties between radical groups in the Middle East who are supported by Saddam and al Qaeda operatives. But the study itself is stirring debate inside the administration because it goes against the intelligence community's long-held contention that most terror groups work independently of each other. Said one administration official, "There is a looming battle between the Pentagon and State and CIA over the issue of how elaborate the linkages are among terrorist organization and between terror organizations and states." The purpose of the Pentagon project is not just to compile a report, one administration official said, but also to "improve the intelligence we have and the analysis we have on these networks." Defense sources say CIA Director George J. Tenet and Secretary of State Colin L. Powell are opposed to immediate military action against Saddam. Mr. Tenet is said to want a year or more to foment a coup in Baghdad or in some other way destabilize the hard-line regime. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz is widely reported to be the administration's leading hawk when it comes to ousting Saddam and ushering in a more moderate government. He and other Pentagon officials are said to argue that the United States cannot totally win the war on terrorism if it leaves Saddam in power. Saddam is known to possess chemical and biological weapons, and has moved his nuclear weapons development facilities deeper underground to escape U.S. bombings. The Pentagon officials believe that these weapons eventually will be used against the United States, possibly through terrorist surrogates. Iraq is one of seven countries designated by the U.S. State Department as a state sponsor of terrorism. But its annual report, "Patterns of Global Terrorism 2000," does not list al Qaeda as one of the groups Baghdad supports. The report says Iraq "continued to provide safe haven and support to a variety of Palestinian rejectionist groups" an apparent reference to such terror groups as Hamas and Palestine Islamic Jihad." The report also notes Saddam plotted to assassinate former President Bush during a 1993 trip to Kuwait. One administration source said the Pentagon study "is trying to show that Iraq interacts with al Qaeda. The connections may be more run through business fronts than through the government. Iraqi intelligence runs a lot of business fronts." The official added: "You just have to look at the way al Qaeda has developed over the years, even before the 11th. It is well organized and has had state sponsors through Afghanistan and Pakistan through the ISI." The ISI is Pakistan's Inter-Service Intelligence agency. It helped put the Taliban in power in 1996 and is believed to have aided al Qaeda. In fact, the State Department's report on terrorism suggested that Pakistan could become the eighth country designated as a state sponsor. Since the report was issued and al Qaeda struck America, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, the Pakistani president, sharply reversed course under intense U.S. pressure. A growing number of lawmakers, both Democrats and Republicans, say the administration must dispose of Saddam before he develops nuclear weapons. President Bush has hinted that he will go to war with Baghdad if it persists in refusing to allow independent weapons inspectors back inside the country. "Next up: Baghdad," Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, told sailors on the carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, which is launching warplanes in the Afghanistan campaign. Senior Bush administration officials have suggested recently that they want to clear out al Qaeda cells and allied terror groups in other countries before making a decision on attacking Iraq. http://www.ctnow.com/news/politics/hc joe0115.artjan15.story?coll=hc%2Dheadlines%2Dpolitics * LIEBERMAN: BEWARE IRAQ by David Lightman Hartford Courant, 15th January WASHINGTON -- Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman spiked the new year's political rhetoric up a hawkish, even strident, notch Monday as he said that the U.S. should be ready for a unilateral military invasion of Iraq. Lieberman, D-Conn., who is actively considering a 2004 presidential bid, clearly separated himself from the Democratic Party - and for that matter, much of the Republican Party - with his strongest words to date on how the U.S. should oust Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. "Of course, it is better to build coalitions and act collaboratively when engaging in conflict for a cause," he told an audience of 700 at Georgetown University as the national press corps looked on. "But in this case, the unique threat to American security by Saddam Hussein's regime is so real, so grave and so imminent that even if no other nation were to stand with us, we must be prepared to act alone, and I assure you, we are fully capable of doing so." His comments were met with skepticism by some analysts. "We all agree Saddam Hussein is an evil man, and we all agree we'd be better off without him. But the real question is whether you can do that at an acceptable cost," said James M. Lindsay, senior fellow in foreign policy studies at Washington's Brookings Institution. "What would our military strategy be? What do we do if it doesn't work? These are questions not answered in Sen. Lieberman's speech," Lindsay said. Ted Galen Carpenter, director of defense and foreign policy studies at Washington's Cato Institute, has long made the same point. Although Hussein is a "thuggish leader," Carpenter said, simply overthrowing him "could be trading one set of problems for another," because Iraq is so unpredictable and factionalized. Lieberman said later in an interview he is convinced that if the U.S. did act, others would quickly join in. "It would be a manageable task if it got to that point," he said. Eleven years ago, Lieberman was an early - and rare - Democratic supporter of the Persian Gulf War, and when President Bush's father chose not to try to overthrow the Iraqi regime, Lieberman objected. `'We must use all reasonable economic, diplomatic and military means to bring about the downfall of Saddam's regime," Lieberman told the Senate in April 1991. He continued urging action throughout the 1990s, and in 1998 was a chief sponsor of legislation providing aid to the Iraqi opposition. After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, he made major speeches reiterating that position, and in a November interview, said, "There's enough reason now to take at least nonmilitary action, to at least declare a policy that we want to change the regime." Lieberman offered his suggestion Monday after a trip last week to six Central Asian countries. The trip served as the backbone for his 50-minute lecture, in which he laid out his views on conducting American foreign policy. "This is something I feel so urgently about," he said in the interview afterward. "I hope somebody in the State Department and the Pentagon and the intelligence community is thinking about strategic options." There have been widespread reports that top Bush administration officials have been split on the next moves toward Iraq. And also Monday, The Associated Press reported that a former Clinton administration official, retired Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey, went even further than Lieberman, predicting during a speech at the Naval War College that the U.S. will take military action against Iraq by next fall. Underlying Lieberman's initiatives on Iraq is his belief that a "theoretical iron curtain" threatens to divide the Muslim world from the rest of the planet. And no single figure drives that hatred and violence like Hussein, he said. The senator, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said that the war on terrorism "will not be over until Saddam Hussein is removed from power in Iraq." "Saddam is a sworn enemy of the United States and is still seeking revenge for his humiliating gulf war defeat," Lieberman said. "Remember, a decade ago he tried to assassinate President Bush's father. That's the worst kind of terrorism." What's most frightening, said Lieberman, is that Iraq has chemical and biological weapons, and is rapidly developing nuclear capability. "All Saddam needs," the senator said, "is the opportunity" to use such weapons against the U.S., "and I for one am not willing to wait passively for that day to arrive." And, he warned, "Our current policy options - sanctions, international pressure, limited military strikes - have been exhausted without reducing the threat to us or helping the people of Iraq lead better lives. ... Trying to manage the Iraqi threat under Saddam is like trying to cool a volcano with a thermostat. It doesn't work." http://www.smh.com.au/news/0201/18/opinion/opinion2.html * WILL GEORGE JNR GO THE SAME WAY AS HIS FATHER? by Keith Suter. Sydney Morning Herald, 18th January After Kabul, is Baghdad next? The United States-led offensive against Iraq began 11 years ago this week. Now there is talk among some Americans that the current President Bush should complete the task begun by the previous President Bush. But the current President Bush has basically the same problems to address as his father. An attack on Iraq would be a mistake. Ironically, the US policy since 1991 has not been a complete failure. By Machiavellian standards, the US has made the best of a bad situation. The difficulty is that the reasoning has been so Machiavellian that US governments have had problems explaining their objective to the general population. The objective has been to keep Saddam Hussein down but not out. This has been based on three themes. First, the problem in 1991 was that the US had maintained a very broadly based coalition (an achievement in itself) with the narrow objective of pushing Iraq out of Kuwait. The coalition would probably not have held together if the objective had been expanded to invade Iraq itself. Therefore, an attack on Iraq would have shattered that coalition. Second, assuming that the US could have extended its objective to include an attack on Iraq, it was presented with a choice of two objectives, both of them unpleasant. On the one hand, if it had had the limited objective of simply killing Saddam, there was no obvious replacement for him. He had already killed everyone he suspected of not being fully loyal to him. If the US had installed its own leader, then that person would have been tainted as being the US's preference, not the Iraqi one. On the other hand, if the US had decided on the larger objective of destroying Iraq, then it would have created a power vacuum to be filled by either Iran or Syria - neither of which was pro-US. Indeed, the US in the 1980s had been arming Iraq to fight Iran. Thus, the US decided to stay with Saddam. Third, the US hoped that the objective of keeping Saddam down but not out would give time for his eventual rehabilitation. After all, he had been willing to accept US weapons in the 1980s in his war against Iran (which had become the US's enemy in 1979, with the overthrow of the Shah of Iran). It is true that he treated the Kurds badly in northern Iraq but, then, so did Ankara (a NATO ally) in eastern Turkey. Also, he was not a fanatical Muslim. On the contrary, women enjoyed slightly more freedom in Iraq than in Kuwait. He was an Arab nationalist - not a Muslim fundamentalist. It was possible, then, to see a time when he would be rehabilitated. Admittedly he had been demonised in US politics. But the public can have a short memory if the White House wants to put the spin in another way. After all, President Reagan designated the Soviet Union as the "Evil Empire" in 1983 but Mikhail Gorbachev was a superstar in the US in 1988. Opinions can change. So what went wrong? Saddam failed to give the US the excuse to lift the sanctions and rehabilitate him. No-one in 1991 predicted that there would still be a need for the sanctions 11 years later. Many of his people have suffered since 1991 but he has not. He has not seen the need to change his ways or become more conciliatory. Thus, in January 2002 we are back to where we were in January 1991: debating whether to attack Iraq. But the obstacles remain the same. First, there is still no obvious replacement for Saddam. If the US went for the larger objective to smash Iraq, then Syria and Iran are still not much more friendly towards the US than they were in 1991. Also, if Iraq were to break up there could be the regional instability of the Kurds in northern Iraq helping the Kurds in eastern Turkey to also break away. This is the era of postmodern warfare. There are no clear "ends" to wars. You can never be sure that you have "won" (or "lost"). The US-led forces in 1991 inflicted great damage on Iraq - but they could not guarantee a change of heart. The US has "won" the war in Afghanistan - but will it win the peace? Keith Suter is a senior fellow of the Global Business Network Australia. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/getarticle.pl5?eo20020119db.htm * NO, TO ANSWER IRAQI QUESTION by Doug Bandow Japan Times, 19th January WASHINGTON -- With the conflict in Afghanistan drawing to a close, the question arises: where next? Iraq is a tempting target, but the U.S. and its allies should focus on eradicating what remains of the al-Qaeda terrorist network. Were Iraq a participant in the Sept. 11 attacks, it would deserve the same treatment as meted out against Afghanistan. Complicity in the anthrax mailings in the U.S. would be another justification. Yet despite ongoing efforts by America's Defense Department to document some connection, there seems to be no convincing evidence of Iraqi involvement in either case. Thus, the case for attacking Iraq is no different after Sept. 11 than before -- there's no hurry to attack now. Instead, Washington and its friends should devise a strategy to live with Baghdad, along with the many other ugly regimes that dot the globe. Hussein "is a very dangerous man," says U.S. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice. Right she is. But so are many other foreign dictators. That alone does not warrant war. Inaugurating conflict is not for the faint-hearted. It should be a last resort means to advance a vital interest. Baghdad is brutal, but no more so than, say, Syria. Iraq persecutes its minority populations, but then, Turkey is little more kind to its Kurds. Hussein is an aggressor, yet the U.S. was unconcerned when Baghdad attacked Iran two decades ago. Anyway, Iraq remains greatly weakened; a combination of its neighbors should be able to contain it. The most serious issue is Hussein's pursuit of weapons of mass destruction. U.S. President George W. Bush has threatened Iraq with unspecified, dire consequences if it does not resubmit to U.N. inspections. Yet Iraq, though an ugly actor, is eminently deterrable. To use weapons of mass destruction would be to court destruction at the hands of Israel as well as the U.S. Moreover, Hussein is more interested in retaining power than in promoting terrorism, especially through a medieval theocrat who detests secular Arab dictators. Attempting to enforce nonproliferation through coercion is problematic. A number of nations are pursuing nuclear or other destructive weapons, including such unpredictable states as Iran and North Korea. Equally unsettling is Pakistan's nuclear force; neither Islamabad's attitude toward the U.S. nor the integrity of its arsenal are secure. Ironically, going to war against Iraq would encourage other potential nuclear states to accelerate their programs. Only possession of deliverable atomic weapons would insulate a nation from Washington's attention. Nor would conquering Iraq be as easy as defenestrating the Taliban. No one knows how well Hussein might rally his population through skillful nationalistic propaganda. Most important, there is no proxy army upon which the U.S. and its allies could rely; creating one would be neither easy nor quick, especially after Washington recently suspended aid to the Iraqi National Congress, supposedly the leading opposition group. The U.S. also would lack allies, since the Europeans have made their opposition to a war on Iraq clear. >From where to attack is not obvious. Kuwait's border with Iraq is short; Turkish territory to the north is inhospitably mountainous, even if Ankara proved willing. The best staging ground is Saudi Arabia, but Riyadh is opposed this time. And if Baghdad has developed substantial biological or chemical weapons, or, less likely, a primitive nuclear capability, the war could be very costly. An American threat to go nuclear appears to have deterred Hussein from using such weapons a decade ago; he might risk Armageddon if the new U.S. goal was his ouster. Moreover, Baghdad is not filled with moderates ready to create a liberal government. To prevent the emergence of a new military strongman, or equally unsettling chaos amid warring Baathist elites, Kurdish forces and dissident Shiites, would require a lengthy occupation. Even that would not guarantee a friendly regime's long-term survival. Attacking Iraq would also risk creating a renewed perception of a Western war on Islam. The quick victory in Afghanistan, without an American occupation to follow, has helped quiet such sentiments in the Muslim world. A seemingly unprovoked, aggressive war, followed by the imposition of a pro-Washington regime in Baghdad, would do the opposite. It would prove fertile ground for terrorism by both Iraqi agents and whatever remains of the al-Qaeda network. Irritating allies and friendly Muslim regimes would be particularly inappropriate when al Qaeda remains a global threat requiring destruction. First things first. Current policy remains unsatisfactory: constant bombing, to no obvious advantage; an embargo that hurts Iraqi civilians and angers Muslims elsewhere. Worth pursuing is a modus vivendi that would replace the existing system with much more limited controls over dual-use technologies, so called smart sanctions. It might be unrealistic to ever expect Hussein's Iraq to become a responsible member of the international community. But there are means short of war to try to make it less threatening. Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C., and a former special assistant to President Ronald Reagan. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 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.