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]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

News, 16-23/2/02 (3)

News, 16-23/2/02 (3)


*  Iraq Says Over 2,400 Contracts Shelved by U.S., Britain
*  European banks jostle for Iraq's UN contract
*  Iraq: U.N. Special Rapporteur Concludes Visit, Prepares Report
*  Iraq Blasts U.N. Compensations Committee [which apparently has been
illegally hearing claims from individuals and corporations which have not
passed through their respective governments.]
*  Washington blocks $5bn supplies to Iraq [This one makes some attempt to
explain the diparity between UN and Iraqi figures]


*  Iraq seeks Pak expertise in power generation
*  [Canadian] PM stands firm on Iraq despite U.S. pressure
*  Baghdad backs anti-terror campaign in Chechnya [In the article, Alexander
Rose puts the term ³anti-terrorist² in inverted commas, referring to the
Russian campaign in Chechnya. No-one seems to have told him that a large
number of the people blown apart in the Al Qaida camps in Afghanistan were
Chechens, even though not once, so far as I remember, in all the literature
we had to endure at the time of the Afghan massacre, were the rights and
wrongs of the Chechen question ever discussed]
*  Russian Duma to Consider Draft in Support of Iran, Iraq, DPRK [Is the
Russian Duma now standing alone as the only free and honourable institution
left in the world?]
*  Self-interest should guide foreign policy [Unusually forthright approach
to the problem from Canada. For example: ŒIn a few months, the U.S. will
manufacture a causus belli for attacking Iraq, as by insisting on impossibly
intrusive U.N. inspections. If Saddam agrees, he'll suffer a devastating
loss of face as well as the loss of some of his weapons of mass destruction.
If he refuses, down come the bombs with Canada saying, Aye, Aye.¹ Concludes
that Canada¹s self interest means taking the moral high ground. And opposing
the war (but not, apparently, sanctions).]
*  What they're saying about intervention in Iraq [Extracts from newspapers
through the world. Too short to be very informative, but the one from the
Daily Star in Lebanon is a cracker: "Saddam, in short, is the goose that
continues supplying the US with fresh golden eggs every morning. Remove
Saddam and US troops will be booted out of the Gulf before you can say
'Rumsfeld is a sucker.'"]
*  Go-slow approach makes sense [Another quite sensible article advocating
independence for Canada but still falling short of opposing the existing
murderous policy on Iraq.]
*  China warns Bush over bully tactics against Iraq


*  Hussein rejects development of weapons of mass destruction [He said Iraqi
nuclear scientists' mission was to "increase Iraq's knowledge, bring
happiness to men and to employ science to serve mankind." Pretty scary, eh?]
*  Alqanat [Arabic language daily] says Iraq buying advanced missiles
*  Saddam's Olympics
*  Iraq Decides to Distribute Money to Poor People
*  Iraq Roadtrip: Caught in the DMZ [This was sent to the list. I don¹t know
if ŒCounterpunch¹ really counts as a newspaper but I thought it would be
good to insinuate a little hint of the reality of things into the fantasy
world of the newspaper cuttings service.]
*  Iraq sees 12 fold increase in cancer, depleted uranium cited
*  War tensions tough on Christians in Iraq [This article refers to the
importance of Œ²cousin aid² from the outside¹, which connects interestingly
with the stories about the suppression of attempts to send money to Iraq
from the US, especially the one concerning Detroit in Michigan.]


People's Daily (China), 18th February

Iraq said on Sunday that 2,417 humanitarian contracts with a value of 8.139
billion U.S. dollars have been put on hold by representatives of the United
States and Britain at the United Nations Sanctions Committee.

This is the first time that Iraq reports the value of suspended contracts
has surpassed 8 billion dollars.

Iraqi Trade Minister Mohammad Mehdi Salah told the official Iraqi News
Agency (INA) that Iraq's pivotal oil sector has been hit hard with suspended
contracts totalling 591.

Contracts for agriculture and irrigation sectors suspended account for 318,
303 for medicine, 228 for food, 222 for transport and communication, and the
rest for other vital sectors such as trade, electricity, water and drainage,
he said.

Salah slammed the "hostile" behaviour of the U.S. and Britain as aiming at
doing more harm to Iraq, the INA said.

These contracts have been signed between Iraq and other countries under the
five-year-old U.N. oil-for-food program, which allows Iraq to bypass the
U.N. sanctions to sell oil and use part of the oil revenues to buy food,
medicine and other essentials to offset the impact of the sanctions.

Iraq has been under sweeping U.N. sanctions since its 1990 invasion of
Kuwait. The United States and Britain have been the dominant forces behind
the continuation of the sanctions.

by Carola Hoyos
Financial Times, 18th February

While the US mulls bombing Iraq, Baghdad is trying to court European banks
with the opportunity to compete for billions of dollars of business under
the United Nations humanitarian programme.

After insisting for five years that BNP Paribas was the only bank the UN
could use for Iraq's closely-monitored financial transactions, Baghdad
recently agreed to open the contract up for bidding. The UN Secretariat,
which had been pushing Iraq to diversify the growing fortune it has amassed
in the UN's escrow account at the New York branch of BNP Paribas, agreed to
Baghdad's change of heart.

European banks, including BNP Paribas and Crédit Agricole of France;
Deutsche Bank and Hypovereinsbank of Germany, Banco Bilbao of Spain,
Rabobank of the Netherlands and Credit Suisse Group of Switzerland, are
competing against each other to become one of few banks that will handle the
money Iraq makes from its oil sales and issue letters of credit for
companies wishing to do business under the UN's oil-for-food programme.

The programme, an exemption to the UN's 11-year-old sanctions regime, allows
Iraq to sell its crude oil and use the revenues to buy humanitarian items
and repay its Gulf war debts. Iraq has E77bn ($67bn) plus $6.5bn in the
escrow account, in part because it cannot import goods as quickly as it can
export its crude oil because of restrictions on items that could be used for
military purposes.

The UN Secretariat has held several bids for the contract, but clear winners
are yet to emerge.

Diplomats say Baghdad's decision to diversify the funds came after France,
one of the Security Council members typically more sympathetic to Iraq,
joined the UK and US, Iraq's arch enemies, in refocusing the UN's sanctions
more tightly on the regime of Saddam Hussein, Iraq's president.

The decision has given Iraqi officials the opportunity to play the banks off
each other as the institutions compete to become one of the two banks that
will be chosen by the UN to handle Iraq's crude oil accounts.

"It will be easier for the Iraqis to play games and abuse the system after
the diversification than it is now, when you are a customer of several banks
you have more power than when you are the customer of just one bank," said
one person close to the UN.

Iraq has already proved its ability to abuse the UN's oil-for-food
programme. Diplomats estimate Baghdad garners $2bn a year by smuggling crude
oil over its borders, charging buyers illegal surcharges and demanding
kickbacks. Diplomats who helped design the programme admit they did not
anticipate the scope of Baghdad's ability to circumvent it.

UN Wire, 20th February

U.N. special rapporteur on the Iraq human rights situation Andreas
Mavrommatis has completed an initial visit to the country, the first that
Baghdad has allowed in a decade, and is drafting his report to the U.N.
Human Rights Commission, slated to begin its annual meeting next month in
Geneva (U.N. release, Feb. 18).  Mavrommatis spent three days in Iraq last
week in the hopes of setting a foundation for a full-scale, follow-up
mission later this year.

"In general, he had a meaningful exchange of views with the government on
human rights issues," a U.N. statement said.  "He expected that this
dialogue might be continued in the future with a view to achieving concrete
positive results. ... Given the nature and duration of the mission, only a
preselected number of human rights issues were discussed during those
meetings, including the question of missing persons and prisoners of war,
the right to life, religious freedom, rule of law, the rights and status of
minorities, the situation of women as well as economic and social rights."

During his visit, the special rapporteur met with government ministers,
lawmakers, religious leaders and lawyers and went to two prisons, a
children's hospital, a food distribution center, a primary school and
religious sites (Associated Press, Feb. 18).


BAGHDAD, February 21 (Xinhuanet) -- Iraq has accused the United Nations
Compensations Committee of taking procedures contrary to the International
law and accepting too many claims of war reparations, the official daily
Al-Zawra reported on Thursday.

An unidentified Foreign Ministry official was quoted as saying that the U.N.
committee has adopted regulations which entitle individuals, companies and
organizations to bypass their governments and present war compensation
demands to the committee.

Consequently, the U.N. committee takes into account too many compensation
demands from individuals, companies or organizations, instead of accepting
reparation claims from countries as a whole, the official complained.

"This is against the International Law," the official said.

According to the official, Gulf War compensation claims have risen to 2.6
million from individuals, companies, organizations andgovernments with a
staggering value of 322 billion U.S. dollars.

The U.N. committee has approved 2.5 million compensation demandswhich are
worth 35 billion dollars, and has paid a total of 13.67 billion dollars in
war reparations, the official said.

The U.N. committee was formed after the Gulf War, which drove Iraqi
occupation troops out of Kuwait. The committee has been responsible for
processing and paying governments and companies which suffered losses
following Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait and the subsequent Gulf War.

Under a U.N. oil-for-food program, launched in 1996, Iraq is allowed to
bypass the sanctions imposed for its invasion of Kuwait and sell oil to buy
food, medicine and other essentials.

The U.N. Compensations Committee receives 25 percent of Iraq's oil proceeds
for war reparations, while 72 percent of Iraq's oil revenues have been
allocated for the sanctions-hit country to buy food and medicine. The
remainder goes to covering U.N. activities in Iraq.,3604,653603,00.html

Guardian (from Reuters in New York), 21st February

The UN's humanitarian programme in Iraq has been hampered by a record $5.3bn
(£3.7bn) worth of blocked supplies, mainly by the US, it was revealed

The contracts include some $4.6bn worth of humanitarian supplies and $703m
for oil industry equipment, the UN office of the Iraq programme said in its
weekly report.

Many of the contracts are approved individually by a security council
sanctions committee, any one of whose 15 members can block them. The US has
put "on hold" nearly all of the blocked contracts while Britain shares
objections on some $500,000 worth of contracts under the UN oil-for-food
programme, committee members say.

The programme allows Iraq to sell oil in order to buy essential supplies.

But the oil revenues have to be deposited in a UN account out of which the
goods Iraq orders are paid and reparations to Gulf war victims are made.

Iraq sold nearly $11bn worth of oil last year under the programme.

Baghdad routinely puts out higher figures for the blocked contracts, and
this week reported $8bn worth of supplies, which it blamed equally on the US
and Britain. UN officials say the figures are inaccurate.

They claim that Iraq was including in its numbers every contract submitted,
which UN officials had not approved or were still pending.

These included contracts not yet processed by UN officials, those where
information was missing and those drawn up improperly by a supplier and not
yet resubmitted before reaching the security council's sanctions committee.


Hoover's (Financial Times, from APP), 16th February 16, 2002 4:42am

KARACHI : The leader of visiting Iraqi delegation, Abdul Al-Rahman Jadaan
Theab, said on Friday that his country was interested in acquiring Pakistani
expertise in power generation, installation and rehabilitation.

He was talking to the Vice-Chairman of the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB),
Ejaz Qureshi, during the visit of the Bureau.

Theab, who is the Director-General, General Company of Electrical Energy
Production, Iraq, said that the objective of the current visit was to
explore possibilities for co-operation in the field of electricity
generation, installation, rehabilitation and replacement of old equipment.

He pointed out that there was great demand for other consumer products in
Iraq and the Pakistani exporters could capture this potential market. He
said that the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) had agreed to
send a delegation of engineers and technical person to Iraq for providing
assistance and help in the rehabilitation of power sector.

Theab said that his delegation had held meeting with the Chairman and high
officials of the Wapda, Heavy Mechanical Complex, Heavy Electrical Complex,

The EPB. Vice-Chairman said that the present government was focussing on
forging links with Muslim countries, particularly Iraq.

He said there was a lack of communication and awareness in Iraq about
Pakistan's capability of supplying food and consumer items.

The awareness about Pakistani consumer products had increased in Iraq with
the help of couple of single country exhibitions of Pakistani products in
Baghdad, he added.

Ejaz Qureshi suggested Iraqi authorities to provide feed back to those
Pakistani firms, which were participating in the bidding for various items.

He was of the view that if Pakistani companies were provided with feed back
on bidding, they would be competitive in pricing, adopt correct procedure
and supply proper quality in the next bidding.

The Chairmen, Pak-Iraq Sub-committee of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers
of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI), Haroon Suleman, who was also present on
the occasion, said that bilateral trade had increased from seven million
dollars to 150 million dollars in the past two years with the help of hectic
marketing efforts.

He said four Pakistani companies, including Siemens Engineering, Pakistan;
Pak Cables and Alstom Ltd were actively involved in the bidding process in

Toronto Star, 17th February

BERLIN (CP) ‹ Prime Minister Jean Chretien is standing firm against U.S.
unilateralism in Iraq, despite subtle but growing pressure from Washington.

Chretien reiterated his position on Sunday in favour of joint action against
terrorists based in Afghanistan ‹ but that doesn't extend to Iraq.

"Our position is well-known. We are with the Americans on terrorism and ...
it is based on (a) resolution of the UN and . . .NATO," Chretien said as he
arrived in Berlin, mid-way through a 10-day trade mission to Russia and

"We are with them on terrorism. And terrorism today is in Afghanistan."

Similar comments made Thursday by Chretien in Moscow caught the attention of
Washington, which has been subtly turning up the pressure on Ottawa to join
the United States in its intensifying battle against a so-called "axis of

U.S. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice went so far as to call her
Canadian counterpart on Saturday and quiz him about news reports the
previous day on Chretien's Moscow comments.

"She seemed to be concerned by some of the headlines appearing in Canada,"
Claude Laverdure, Chretien's foreign affairs and defence adviser, told

But Rice seemed "satisfied and pleased" with his explanation that Chretien
wasn't trying to send a warning to Washington with his comments, added

And he added he didn't feel pressured by Rice to bring Canada closer to the
U.S. position.

Still, U.S. President George W. Bush himself seemed to be turning up the
pressure on Friday with comments made in Alaska.

Bush said he would be telling his global counterparts, ``Either you're with
us or you're against us. Either you stand for freedom or you stand for

"And the good news is many nations have heard that message," he said.

Bush is beginning to brace the American public and world leaders for a
lengthy war against terrorists around the globe, starting with Iraq, which
is part of what he has called an "axis of evil."

But following meetings Thursday with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the
Kremlin, Chretien said he's not interested in supporting U.S. unilateralism.

"We look at every case on a one-by-one basis, but at this moment we are not
implicated in any plans for Iraq or other nations," Chretien said.

Canadian officials noted that U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell has
promised to consult America's allies, although Washington may ultimately
decide to move unilaterally against Iraq.

Canada has supported the United States in its war on terrorism so far,
committing 750 troops to Afghanistan.

But officials said Ottawa took that step only after proof was supplied
showing it was a terrorist state ‹ and similar evidence against Iraq hasn't
yet been produced.

"Some people suggest that the Americans have proof but I don't think they
have come forward to give any of that proof to any of their allies," a
senior official said.

"We have not been provided with confirmation or any documentation," said the
official. "We are in Afghanistan, this does not automatically suggest that
we are going into another country."

Last week, Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham said Canada doesn't support

"Everybody recognizes that in international politics you have to have a
process . . . before you invade a sovereign country there has to be a reason
for it or we're going to lead to international chaos," Graham said.

Chretien's caution about joining the new Bush campaign seems to be reflected
in parts of Europe.

And the issue will likely be raised when Chretien meets Monday with German
Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, whose Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer has
taken a strong stand against U.S. unilateral action.

"The international coalition against terror does not provide a basis for
doing just anything against anybody - and certainly not by going it alone,"
Fischer has said.

It's similar to the views of Putin, who had what officials called a
"leisurely, private family meeting" with Chretien on Sunday before the trade
mission moved the Germany.

by Alexander Rose
National Post (Canada), 18th February

attacking Iraq, Baghdad has set its cap firmly at the Kremlin in the hope of
acquiring some diplomatic cover.

In the past few weeks, Tariq Aziz, the Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister and a
long-time Saddam Hussein flunky, has visited Moscow several times,
ostensibly to finalize business deals -- Russia, it seems, has quietly
become Iraq's biggest trading partner. In fact, Iraq wants to buy Russian
diplomatic support and has discovered a cheap way of doing it.

n return for a boilerplate Russian "condemnation" of UN sanctions and any
plan to attack Iraq, Baghdad has been backing Russia's "anti-terrorist"
campaign in Chechnya. "Despite the fact that Iraq is an Islamic state, it
fully backs Russia on Chechnya," Mr. Aziz declared after meeting Gennady
Seleznev, speaker of the Duma, the Russian lower house.

Mr. Seleznev, for his part, assured Mr. Aziz: "Russia is flatly against air
strikes." Russia is expected to push for UN arbitration between Iraq and the
United States, which it believes will tie Washington's hands. However, if
the United States determinedly proceeds with a plan to attack Iraq, there is
little Russia can do to stop it.

The United States will be lining up its own ducks today when John Wolf, the
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State, attends what would have otherwise been a
routine meeting of the UN's new weapons inspection verification body.

It is thought Washington will insist on having inspectors go to Iraq,
attempt to enter identified weapons installations (as per UN Security
Council resolutions) and call in air strikes if refused (as seems likely).

People's Daily (China), 19th February

Russia's state Duma is expected to consider a draft resolution in support of
Iran, Iraq and the Democratic People Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Wednesday.

The three countries were recently declared by the U.S. as an " axis of

The slogan of combating terrorism cannot be used by the U.S. to square
accounts with Iran, the DPRK and Iraq, the so-called "axis of evil," the
Duma says in its draft resolution.

The parliament condemns "the actions of groundlessly labeling and raising
barriers to the development of international cooperation," according to the
draft resolution worked out by the Duma's International Affairs Committee.

by Richard Gwyn
Toronto Star, 20th February

EVER SINCE President George Bush's "axis of evil" speech, America's allies,
beginning with those in Europe and then some in Asia and with Canada now
joining the queue, have been lining up to express shock, shock, shock.

It's worth asking why. Why the surprise at U.S. behaviour?

The obvious explanation is disquiet at Bush's presumption that because he
wants to knock off Iraq's Saddam Hussein, everyone else should tag along
behind in accordance with his rule, "those who are not with us are against

Jean Chrétien has expressed this attitude as well as anyone by saying that
proof of Saddam's complicity with terrorism must be produced, and the
mission itself be sanctioned by the United Nations.

But this kind of response is valid only up to a point. Demanding to be
consulted and for the U.N. to have the chance to give its seal of approval
is a process ‹ a string of diplomatic niceties ‹ rather than a policy.

This argument will be won eventually by whichever side has a clear idea of
what it actually wants to do. Which Bush does.

Sooner or later the others, including us, will get dragged into accepting
the brutal but appealing logic of Bush's policy, which is to force a "regime
change" in Baghdad by whatever means it takes.

The first step in this drearily predictable retreat has already been taken
by Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham. He says Canada remains open to
accepting all options, such as that "an emergency might arise" which would
force Washington to take swift, military action.

Already, that's almost a done deal. In a few months, the U.S. will
manufacture a causus belli for attacking Iraq, as by insisting on impossibly
intrusive U.N. inspections. If Saddam agrees, he'll suffer a devastating
loss of face as well as the loss of some of his weapons of mass destruction.
If he refuses, down come the bombs with Canada saying, Aye, Aye.

What else to do?

Copy Bush and the Americans. That sounds paradoxical. It is paradoxical. But
it could be both the right way and the best way politically.

Ever since Sept. 11, Bush has put U.S. national interest ahead of
everything. In the initial counterattack against terrorism, that
self-interest coincided with international interest: Al Qaeda and Islamic
extremism are a menace to the world community.

As time goes by, though, American national self-interest, and Bush's
political interests, are becoming increasingly predominant. The Pentagon has
just got a $48 billion budget increase. The U.S. is securing new bases in
the Central Asia republics. Defence spending is functioning as a
Keynesian-type economic stimulus. The mood of patriotism has united
Americans wonderfully. Bush's personal popularity is sky-high. Knocking off
Saddam will keep him up there, and, as important, leaving Saddam untouched
would cause Bush Jr. to be tagged as a look-alike who'd blinked, as once did
his father.

That some of these motives are opportunistic doesn't at all negate the
validity of U.S. policy on Iraq. There's a conviction in Washington these
days that toughness against evildoers ‹ in the manner of Ronald Regan
against Soviet communism ‹ is both the right policy and the best policy

It's that quality of conviction that we ourselves most need to copy.

Canadians' convictions about international affairs are entirely different
from the Americans'. Militarily we are irrelevant, and spending more money
won't change our condition (we're just too small).

We are relevant internationally only to the extent that we are seen as good
guys. That sounds icky. And it is a bit. But it's a fact. It's why the U.S.
wants our approval for its impending attack on Iraq (and also for its
controversial anti-missile defence program).

Even if we steeled our nerve to continue to say No to an attack on Iraq,
this wouldn't be nearly enough. We need a comprehensive foreign policy
suited to our national self-interests, just as Bush is waging a
comprehensive military-diplomatic-financial war against terrorism (one in
which we must still play our part).

We'll need to pursue our convictions about being good international guys
right through our foreign policy ‹ increasing our foreign aid, accepting
more refugees, making our entire military into a peacekeeping force, arguing
about Washington's treatment of prisoners.

We shouldn't be doing all this only because it is the right thing to do. As
much because it's all in our self-interest. Being seen to be doing good
defines our distinctiveness.

That's my point. We need to pursue our national self-interest in exactly the
same bold and decisive way that Bush is now pursuing the U.S. national
self-interest ‹ but in an entirely different direction because we are an
entirely different country.

by Sarah Kendzior
NY Daily News, 20th February

Eleven years ago, it all seemed so easy. Armed with unparalleled military
technology and backed by a Gulf state coalition, The U.S. led a video-game
war against Iraq that resulted in few allied casualties and even fewer
voices of international dissent.

After all, who could possibly support Saddam Hussein? The brutal Iraqi
dictator's abominable policies and growing military arsenal frightened and
disgusted even America's staunchest foes. By mid-1991, the nation formerly
known as "The Great Satan" enjoyed international respect while idle chatter
of scud studs and George H.W. Bush's soaring ratings dominated the

Today, it's not so simple. UN-levied economic sanctions begun during the war
have allegedly resulted in the deaths of untold numbers of Iraqi innocents,
including children. Saddam Hussein has remained in power and developed a
formidable array of biological and chemical weapons. Whose fault might this
be? According to American allies, it's all Dubya's doing. Here's what
newspapers around the world are saying about intervention in Iraq:

"Baghdad beckons. But President Bush has to persuade the world that he is
not acting like a global cowboy. He must make a persuasive case that
military action is right, legal and imperative for global security."
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 2/14/02

"The western media have demonized Iraq, so as any Iraqi was prevented from
living a normal life because of the UN imposed sanctionsŠIraqi people have
been mass murdered in cold blood as a direct result of the Security Council
sanctions imposed for more than eleven years, and might continue as long as
the US is not in complete control over Iraq natural resources, mainly oil."
Iraq Daily, Published by Ministry of Information, 2/13/02

"The administration's recent conduct of the diplomatic aspects of the war on
terrorism has been bizarre, to say the least. What was the purpose in
alarming the world with talk of an 'axis of evil', when it was plain no such
axis existed?"
The Straits Times, Singapore, 2/16/02

"The risks pale next to a near certainty: An unchallenged Iraq will use
weapons of mass destruction to hold hostage the world's oil supply, arm
terrorists and other rogue nations, and threaten the United States. Mr.
Bush, to his credit, has vowed not to let that happen."
The Orlando Sentinel, 2/19/02

"An attempt by Mr. Bush to complete business left unfinished by his
presidential father during the Gulf War would involve immense dangers. If
Saddam Hussein does indeed have chemical or biological weapons, he would
presumably try to use them. Neighbouring nations with bases vital to the US
effort would face a terrible predicament. Traditional alliances would be
severely strained. Worst of all ‹ a terrible irony ‹ the enraged reaction
within Islam would surely bring recruits to terrorist groups."
The Sydney Morning Herald, Australia, 2/18/02

"Saddam, in short, is the goose that continues supplying the US with fresh
golden eggs every morning. Remove Saddam and US troops will be booted out of
the Gulf before you can say 'Rumsfeld is a sucker.'"
The Daily Star, Lebanon, 2/14/02

"The reality is that the world would be a much safer place if Mr. Hussein
were no more in power. Ordinary Iraqis suffering under political repression
and economic sanctions would also be better off. America's allies, including
Canada, should be doing all we can to help. That includes keeping an open
mind about joining an eventual attack."
The Vancouver Sun, Canada, 2/18/02

"An attack on Iraq will split the world coalition. Not only its Muslim
components: even America's European partners, besides China and Russia, have
opposed the moveŠOnly an enemy of America would recommend a second Gulf
DAWN, Pakistan, 2/13/02

"The more the US hesitates, the more the world will question whether
Saddam's removal is really so inevitableŠIf the Bush administration is not
careful, the sense of inevitability it won by the victory in Afghanistan
will begin dissipate, and will be difficult to reconstruct."
The Jerusalem Post, Israel, 1/24/02

"It is troubling that some military analysts and hawks in the Bush
administration make it sound as if it's no sweat to conquer IraqŠNo one
should be lulled into thinking that Saddam's defeat automatically would be
as easy as the rout of the Taliban in Afghanistan."
The Las Vegas Sun, 2/14/02

"Sometimes gamblers bluff and threaten because they don't know what else to
do. That, unfortunately, seems to be the way U.S. policy toward Iraq is
being shaped."
Toronto Globe and Mail, Canada, 2/15/02

by Jim Travers
Toronto Star, 21st February

JEAN CHRÉTIEN should leave home more often. Abroad only a few days, the
Prime Minister is providing some of the direction often missing from a
government content to drift through the years between elections.

On the guns now pointing at the "axis of evil" and on the roses of the Kyoto
environmental accord, Chrétien is putting down important markers on where
Canada stands. More spine and less equivocation would be nice, but those
emerging policies push Canada nearer the moral high ground of enlightened
diplomacy and environmental protection.

Chrétien's reluctance to automatically close ranks with the U.S. on Iraq is
a particularly welcome relief from the beck and call relationship developing
between a powerful country pursuing its own interests and one that is weak
and unassertive.

After arming the war on terrorism with the emotional, simplistic notions of
good vs. evil, Washington hopes to settle old scores and prevent future
attacks by strong-arming its allies into action against a state that is
clearly rogue but not clearly linked to the horrors of Sept. 11.

In effect, the U.S. is telling its friends to support a unilateral, made in
the U.S.A. decision that may not be in anyone's interest and will certainly
end peaceful efforts to neutralize Iraq.

Riding the U.S. rocket into Baghdad is particularly problematic for
Washington's Arab allies. No love is lost on a murderous leader who holds
his people hostage, but a U.S. attack and subsequent power vacuum in Iraq
could easily tip an already unstable region into chaos. Those realities
haven't changed since the U.S. last stopped short of toppling Saddam

Canada's concerns are no less profound. At a time when Washington is in no
mood for naysayers and a unified continental defence is on the table, Canada
needs the security of international organizations. Unlike the current U.S.
police action, the United Nations and NATO offer the cumbersome but
necessary protection of international command and control when the world
imposes its collective will.

In that context, Chrétien's go-slow approach is an exercise in common sense.
But there are more compelling reasons not to quickly let loose the dogs of

Armed conflict may be unavoidable but should never be entered into lightly
or mythologized. War is state-sponsored homicide. Bombs are not smart enough
to save civilians. Bodies stink, hearts break and glory is largely a product
of time, distance and Hollywood. Suffering is the only certain result.

Chrétien owes it to Canadians not to be stampeded into such a monumental
decision. This country stands firmly with the U.S. in Afghanistan and is
committed to border security. Its loyalty should not be judged by blind
willingness to join an adventure certain to shatter the rare unanimity of a
world now joined in its abhorrence of terrorism.

The similarities with the coming environmental crisis and the world's
response are striking.

By refusing to succumb to the theatrical, thuggish tactics of Ralph Klein
who publicly ambushed the Prime Minister in Moscow, Chrétien is
demonstrating more than characteristic toughness. Flawed as it is, the 1997
Kyoto Protocol to limit carbon dioxide emissions is an essential first step
toward a global solution to a global problem and, ultimately, sustainable

The alternative is dangerously myopic. While oil-soaked and polluting
Alberta has every reason to worry about the competitive consequences of
slipping out of economic phase with the U.S., Washington's response to the
threat of potential worldwide environmental catastrophe is isolationist and
ineffective. A Canadian government with broader responsibilities than just
creating economic growth and investment opportunities can't in good
conscience support it.

What is needed is what Kyoto envisions: a tougher, more enforceable plan
than Bush's grand-sounding, essentially toothless scheme to cut greenhouse
gas "intensity," not emissions themselves, by 18 per cent over the next 10

Without mandatory industrial controls or a tax to discourage destructive
consumer behaviour, the U.S., Canada and others at the top of the economic
food chain will continue to trade long-term environmental health for
short-term wealth.

As a small economy living next door to the economic superpower, Canada has
only two choices: It can accept an unacceptable course chosen by the
president and former oil man environmentalists call the Toxic Texan, or it
can cast its lot with the rest of the world.

>From a distance, the Prime Minister has looked at the fist shaking at Iraq
and the Kyoto Protocol and he has seen a future that can only be made more
secure by an international community joined in the singular purpose of
finding collective solutions to collective problems. It's a wise perspective
the Prime Minister should stuff into his bag and bring home.

by Roland Watson
Irish Independent (from The Times), 22nd February

RECITING Chinese proverbs and Christian wisdom, President Jiang Zemin gave a
subtle but firm warning to President Bush not to act the "bully" by rushing
into unilateral military action against Iraq.

Asked about America's intention of widening the war against terrorism,
President Jiang cautioned his guest standing alongside him in the Great Hall
of the People by saying that "peace is to be valued most".

After two hours of talks, Mr Jiang, who will wield a potentially critical
vote on the United Nations Security Council if the US seeks a UN mandate for
action, concluded by recalling the age-old Chinese advice of "more haste,
less speed".

He said: "Despite the fact that sometimes you will have problems that cry
out for immediate solution, patience is sometimes also necessary. Or perhaps
I could quote another Chinese saying to describe the situation, 'One cannot
expect to dig a well with one spade'."

The wary note on expanding the war against terrorism, in which the US has so
far lauded China as a useful ally, was in keeping with a summit in which
Washington failed to clinch the deals over trade and missile exports that it
had sought.

However, a certain stiffness between the two leaders was dispelled later
when Mr Jiang became the life of the party at a banquet. After a western
meal, Mr Jiang and a Chinese accordionist took Mr Bush by surprise by
serenading him with 'O Sole Mio'.

The Chinese leader also danced with Laura Bush, Condoleezza Rice, the
President's National Security Adviser, and the wife of Clark Randt, the US
Ambassador, as a People's Liberation Army band played American favourites
such as 'The Eyes of Texas Are Upon You' and 'Moon River'.

There were minor agreements to announce, including the launch of a joint
initiative to help to combat HIV/Aids, Chinese agreement for the FBI to open
a bureau in Beijing, and a future trade mission to China led by Don Evans,
the US Commerce Secretary.

On the 30th anniversary of Richard Nixon's ground-breaking visit to China,
Mr Ziang also accepted an invitation to visit the US in the autumn, shortly
before he is due to step down.

But Mr Bush failed to persuade China to curb weapons proliferation with a
law banning exports of dual-use items and technology, which White House
officials had suggested was within reach.

He also fell short of winning assurances from Mr Jiang that he would swiftly
honour China's commitments, as a new member of the World Trade Organisation,
to open Chinese markets to American produce, particular soy beans.

Better access for US farmers was one of the issues pursued most vigorously
by Washington in advance of yesterday's meeting. But Mrs Rice admitted
afterwards: "There's not been any movement."

The two sides also failed to close the gap on a series of broader,
fundamental issues which divide them, such as the future of Taiwan and Mr
Bush's plans for a missile shield.

After Mr Jiang said that progress on bringing Taiwan under "one country"
rule was "vital to the stability and growth of US-China relations", Mr Bush
reiterated that Washington would come to Taipei's aid if Beijing used force.


CNN, 17th February

BAGHDAD, Iraq: Iraqi President Saddam Hussein told a meeting of atomic
scientists Saturday that it is not in his country's interest to develop
weapons of mass destruction.

"Although weapons come as part of fortifying the country against the designs
of foreigners and the elements of evil in their minds, it is not in your
country's interest to enter the club of weapons of mass destruction
armaments," Hussein said, according to the Iraqi news agency INA.

He said Iraqi nuclear scientists' mission was to "increase Iraq's knowledge,
bring happiness to men and to employ science to serve mankind."

The comments marked the second time since President Bush named Iraq as part
of an "axis of evil" in his State of the Union address that Hussein has said
Iraq is not trying to develop nuclear weapons.

The first time was in a February 8 letter to Turkish Prime Minister Bulent
Ecevit, in which he said Iraq no longer has weapons of mass destruction "and
it has no intention to produce them."

U.S. threats against Iraq have intensified since the September 11 attacks on
New York and Washington and the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan that followed.
In his January 29 speech, Bush named Iraq, Iran and North Korea an "axis of
evil" that were trying to build weapons of mass destruction capable of
threatening the West.

Since then, Iraq has told the United Nations it would consider allowing U.N.
weapons inspectors back in. The inspectors left in 1998 just before a series
of December 1998 bombing raids by U.S. and British forces to punish Iraq for
failing to cooperate with inspections.


Tehran, Feb 17, IRNA -- Internet web-site of "Alqanat" Arabic daily Saturday
reported informed authorities in Oman [sic. Amman], Jordan's capital as
saying that recently a consignment of advanced missiles has been imported by
Iraq to be used against a probable US attack.

The consignment has directly entered Iraq and other consignments are
supposed to be received by this country.

The missile consignment has been delivered to Iraq either by Russia or North

Iraq is not going to use the advanced missiles against the US and British
fighters that routinely fly over Iraq's air apace everyday, because it does
not intend to reveal its might before the US imminent attacks.

The sources say that if Washington is ascertained about the import of such
missiles by Iraq, it might revise its position against that country. Yet,
knowing the extent of the US militray power that assumption sems a bit too

Hoover's (Financial Times), 17th February
Source: The Sunday Mirror, February 17, 2002

SADDAM Hussein is building a 100,000-seater super stadium complex in a bid
to host the 2012 Olympics in Baghdad.

News of the scheme comes as the US is believed to be planning to topple the
Iraqi dictator.

Saddam wants the stadium to meet standards set by the IAAF athletics
federation and football's governing body FIFA.

Saddam, who has insisted that a screened-off VIP area must be built to seat
his entourage, also wants the stadium to "reflect Iraqi architecture in
stages of history".

The contract will attract bids from construction companies all over the
world, although British firms may be deterred by the fact that Iraq is still
subject to sanctions.

But some UK firms may still bid. The British Contractors and Consultants
Bureau said: "We have had a couple of tentative inquiries."


BAGHDAD, February 16 (Xinhuanet) -- Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has
decided to allocate a total of 120 million Iraqi dinars (about 60,000 U.S.
dollars) to the poor families in the Iraqi capital, an Iraqi official
announced on Saturday.

Aziz Saleh Numan, member of Iraq's ruling Arab Baath Socialist Party, told
the state-run Iraq TV that the move comes ahead of the annual Greater
Bairam, the most important festival in Arab countries.

The Greater Bairam will start from February 22 in Iraq and is expected to
last for four days.

The Iraqi government distributed the same amount of money to the poor
families in Baghdad during the Lesser Bairam (Festival of Fast-breaking),
which fell in December last year.

Long years of international sanctions, imposed on Iraq for its 1990 invasion
of Kuwait, have dilapidated the once-affluent country and caused millions of
Iraqis live in poverty.

by Ramzi Kysia
CounterPunch, 18th February
[This was sent to the list. I don¹t know if ŒCounterpunch¹ really counts as
a newspaper but I thought it would be good to insinuate a little hint of the
reality of things into the fantasy world of the newspaper cuttings service.]

The drive from Basra to Safwan, Iraq, is eerily apocalyptic. In the
Demilitarised Zone, the Iraqi desert is an odd mix of greenhouse farms
competing for space with decrepit and bombed-out concrete factories and
mills. To the east run a series of rebuilt plastics factories whose
stackfires bellow acrid, black smoke over the whole landscape. Burned,
rusting cars dot the sides of the road on this, the northern tip of the
infamous "highway of death". This is the road along which the US massacred
thousands of retreating Iraqi soldiers after an armistice had been signed at
the end of "Desert Storm".

A stone's throw from the Kuwaiti border, Safwan was once a large farming
town that traded with the whole Gulf. Today, the sight of strangers is
enough to bring out seemingly every child for miles around to chase after
our car and beg for money. Throughout Iraq, war and drought and sanctions
have resulted in a 30 per cent drop in crop production. After the
destruction of Iraq's vaccine facilities by UN weapons inspectors, hoof and
mouth disease ran rampant, killing over 1 million cattle.

Since 1980, half the date trees - over 15 million trees - have died. There
are 14 new crop diseases, and, since 1998, the screw worm parasite, which is
not native to the Middle East, has suddenly appeared in Iraq to devastate
the remaining farms.

Mohason Mehsen's home and farm in Safwan could almost be beautiful. His
courtyard boasts a garden surrounded by old brickwork standing under a huge
and stunning sky. But the bricks are patched with cheap concrete, and
Mohason is an angry and depressed man. His wife refuses to leave the house,
and spends her days crying.

Their son, Nadham, is dying.

Born just after "Desert Storm," Nadham has been seriously ill since he was a
year old. It could have been exposure to war pollutants or depleted uranium
while he was in the womb. It may simply be bad luck.

Nadham's been diagnosed with Xeroderma Pigmentosum, a rare genetic disease
that causes extreme sensitivity to the UV radiation in sunlight. He only has
partial vision left in one eye. His face is a pockmarked ruin of open,
bloody sores. His nose has rotted away. When he comes out of the house, he
must hide from the sun under the black robes of his grandmother's abaya.

Nadham's condition is treatable, but not in Safwan.

There is medication that can help, but the family cannot afford it. Mohason
has been to the Iraqi Ministry of Health, the Red Cross, ICRC, UNIKOM,
UNOHCI, and others, but to no avail. Nadham's story has been told on Iraqi
and French TV. NBC did a segment on him for American viewers. No help came.

Mohason has no message to take to the rest of the world. He made no plea to
me. Through our translator, he told me: "What are you going to do? Nothing.
There's no help in America. There's no help anywhere. We are Muslim. We
believe in God more than American people, more than European people. Only
God can help us."

As we left the Mehsen's home, their neighbour Hussein Sultan ran to our car
carrying his baby daughter, Barah. She has a heart defect. She needs
corrective surgery. When we told him we weren't doctors, his face fell.

"Can't you help my child?" he quietly asked us.

Our driver grimly informed us as we drove back to Basra that he was certain
whatever homes we visited in Safwan, every one of them would have a Nadham,
a Barah.

Once, once upon a time, there was and was not a people on whom catastrophe
after catastrophe were driven, and no help came.

Ramzi Kysia is a Muslim-American peace activist who serves on the board of
directors for the Education for Peace in Iraq Centre. He recently spent two
months in Iraq as part of a Voices in the Wilderness peace mission trying to
stop the war.

Arabic News, 18th February

Number of cancer cases (Leukemia and kidney, liver and lung cancer) reported
has increased in Iraq especially in the southern Iraqi cities.

Doctors from the environment and pollution control centers at al-Mousel
university unveiled that types of cancers resulting from environmental
pollution witnesses a notable increase following the second Gulf war, adding
that the use of depleted uranium and other traces of war and the pollution
of air and soil are among the first reasons for cancer.

The surgeon at al-Nasareyah hospital Kamal Naeem al-Khafaji attributed the
spread of kidney diseases among children, youths and elderly to the
pollution of drinking waters and of containing the depleted uranium, while
the two researchers at al-Basra university Amal Saleh and Mustafa Abdullah
said that the grave environmental deterioration resulted in the increase in
the number of cancer cases, especially in Basra as number of reported cancer
cases increased to more than 12 folds over the figures of 1991.

A specialized European delegation visited Iraq in April 1998 from the south
to the north and was briefed on the negative health conditions resulting
from the American attacks and the use of internationally banned weapons.

by Hadani Ditmars
San Francisco Chronicle, 20th February

Baghdad, Iraq -- At St. Teresa's Church, a woman kneels to pray. Making the
sign of the cross, she offers up silent benedictions as the priest leads a
prayer for the peace and prosperity of his congregation, their country and
their president, Saddam Hussein.

Although its interior -- with candles, icons and crucifixes -- would be
familiar anywhere in the Catholic world, St. Teresa's is in central Baghdad,
where the power of God should never try to rival that of the president.

Iraq is a land steeped in biblical history. It was the birthplace of
Abraham, claimed to be the site of the Garden of Eden, and a place where
apostles such as St. Thomas sojourned en route between Jerusalem and India.

Iraq's 800,000-strong Chaldean Christian community enjoys a relatively
important place in a mainly Muslim society, exemplified by prominent figures
such as Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz. There are also another 200,000
Christians -- Roman Catholics and members of eastern churches. All are
afforded government protection as religious minorities.

But since the international embargo against Iraq began more than a decade
ago, Iraqi Christians -- who can trace their roots back to Babylonian times
-- have been slowly disappearing.

The largest Chaldean community outside of Iraq is now in Detroit, and many
Christians are using family connections to emigrate in search of a brighter
economic future than the one offered in embargoed Iraq.

Some observers express concern that the exodus is helping create an
increasingly Islamicized culture in what has long been a secular society.

As rural migrants from Iraq's predominantly Muslim south flood such major
cities as Baghdad and Basra, urban cosmopolitanism is gradually giving way
to a more fundamentalist outlook.

In Baghdad, more and more women don't leave home without donning chadors --
a combination head covering, veil and shawl -- and streets in many
neighborhoods are empty of women after sunset.

Since Sept. 11, the role of Christians in Iraqi society has been put into
even sharper relief. With President Bush's "with us or against us" rhetoric
and threats of U.S. military attack emphasizing the boundaries -- usually
benign -- between Iraqi Christians and Muslims, it is not an easy time to be
a Christian in this country.

The state-appointed Chaldean patriarch, Raphael Bidawid, said that although
Iraqi Christians strongly identified themselves as "Iraqis first and then as
Christians . . . we are sometimes accused of being agents of the West."

"But when the bombs fall," he noted dryly, "they are not especially for
Christians or for Muslims. They're for everyone."

Bidawid's flock feels abandoned by the "Christian" nations that they believe
are persecuting Iraq, he said.

"No country in the Western world can call themselves Christian," he said.
"They do not act according to the Christian principles of peace and

Without addressing issues of moral relativity, he added: "Those who point
the finger at Iraq should not forget Hiroshima and Vietnam. They should not
forget that they are starving a whole generation of children here."

>From Detroit, Bishop Ibrahim Ibrahim, the top Chaldean Catholic religious
figure in the United States, said: "It's very hard to see a bright future
for Christianity in the Middle East.

"On the one hand, there is the rise in Islamic fundamentalism; on the other
there is the U.S. position on Israel, which causes many Christians to be
blamed as co-conspirators with the West. Both issues have a real impact on
Christian populations in the whole area. We are really caught in the

Ibrahim says there are now 250,000 Iraqi Christians in the United States,
about 150,000 of them Chaldeans.

"We must follow the faithful, and that's why I'm here in Detroit," he said.

Despite their growing isolation, the Iraqi Christians do not stand alone.

Though the visit of a delegation of U.S. Episcopal bishops around Sept. 11
was postponed indefinitely, Archbishop Djibrael Kassab of Basra spent
Christmas Day with some Christian anti-sanctions advocates who came from the
United States to express their solidarity with Iraqis.

"The fact that they spent Christmas with us means they have not forgotten
us," he said. "There are some who care about what's going on here.

"We love our enemies. During Mass on Christmas Day I delivered a special
message to Mr. Bush, saying that we are both men of faith and that we are
praying for our leader and for him. We are praying that he will come to know
that sanctions come from a place that is evil."

There are only about 1,000 Christian families left in Basra, down from three
times that before the Iran-Iraq war began in 1980, but Kassab says they get
along well as a minority.

"We are living here like brothers with Muslims," he said, adding that at
least 70 percent of the people who benefit from his parish's free pharmacy,
day care center and home for the elderly are Muslim.

The Christian community in Basra is actually quite well off, a nugget
revealed by the archbishop's guileless comment that "Iraq is an egalitarian
society. My houseboy and I both receive the same amount of rations."

Besides benefiting from "cousin aid" from the outside, the community also
prospers in the liquor business, something reserved only for Christians in
Iraq. It is not uncommon to hear stories about Christians who literally help
keep their Muslim neighbors alive by providing financial assistance.

At St. Teresa's in Baghdad, a group of women stopped to chat after Mass. In
the presence of a government "minder," they answered a question about
Christian emigration with an emphatic denunciation of "those who abandon
their country."

"I would never leave," said 25-year-old Rana, an attractive young woman
dressed fashionably in a faux-Chanel suit. "I love my country. And besides,
those people in the West are not friendly; they don't like us." (Pope John
Paul II, whose supportive anti-sanctions stance is much appreciated by Iraqi
Christians, is excepted.)

But later on Rana confided, "Even if I wanted to leave, where would I get
the money? How would I get the visa?"

And eventually she asked in a more curious tone, "How would I get the visa?"

When the group was asked whether they had any concerns about the growing
Islamicization of society and the increase in women wearing the hijab, or

53-year-old Amira said, "Well, it says in the Bible that women should dress
modestly. It's the same thing."

As for the United States, Amira said, "Those people who embargo our country
are not true Christians. They do not love peace and justice."

"I want to tell the Americans that Christ came for peace, not for war," she

Canadian journalist Hadani Ditmars recently returned from a monthlong
reporting trip to Iraq.

This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq
For removal from list, email
CASI's website - - includes an archive of all postings.

[Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]