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A. Saddam 'steps up quest for nuclear bomb', The Times, 5th March B. 'Saddam must allow weapons inspectors into Iraq or suffer the consequences', The Times, 5th March [opinion piece by the Foreign Secretary Jack Straw] C. Iraq developing nuclear bomb, says Straw, Guardian, 5th March D. Why is Blair banging the drum for an attack on Iraq?, Guardian, 5th March [opinion piece by Hugo Young] E. . So how would you stop Saddam without going to war?, Independent, 5th March [opinion piece by Donald Macintyre]. F. US to present evidence of Iraq weapons activity, FT, 4th March G. Lieberman: Action Against Iraq Might Start Secretly, Reuters, 3rd March The Times: email@example.com Independent: firstname.lastname@example.org Guardian: email@example.com Today's Times contains a major propaganda piece by Jack Straw (B), which is also reported on in today's Guardian (C). Having stated that Saddam Hussein ' persistently flouts the authority of the UN Security Council and international law' - a judgement which certainly applies to the US and Britain - Mr Straw goes on to make a number of allegations about Iraq's WMD capabilities the 'threat' of which he claims to be 'growing once more.' With tiresome predictability Straw then goes on to claim that sanctions have nothing to do with suffering in Iraq which is 'inflict[ed]' by Saddam and no-one else: 'It angers me when well-meaning people are taken in these lies. The UN allows the regime access to more than enough money for all the humanitarian goods the Iraqis need. It is the regime which refuses to use these funds to order food and medicine. It suits Saddam to make Iraqis suffer and starve, because this distracts attention from the threat he poses to global security.' Goebbel's would have been proud! Straw then goes on to give a plug for "smart" sanctions before claiming that SH 'effectively threw out the UN inspectors three years ago' and issuing a veiled threat that 'no one - especially Saddam - [should] doubt our resolve.' D. is a 'dovish' opinion piece from the Guardian, E. excerpts from a more hawkish piece in the Independent. F. is from yesterday's FT: Washington is apparently about to release 'evidence' 'proving' that Iraq has been using trucks procured under oil-for-food for military purposes. Finally in G. 'a leading Democrat' claims 'that U.S. action against Baghdad might begin without notification to Congress to allow President Bush "to employ surprise in attacking or going against the leadership of Iraq.' Several anti-sanctions letters appeared in today's Indy and Guardian, so keep it up! Note that the Times require exclusivity for their letters and all the papers require you to provide an address and telephone number. Best wishes, Gabriel voices uk ********************************************************** A. Saddam 'steps up quest for nuclear bomb' By Philip Webster, Political Editor The Times March 05, 2002 SADDAM HUSSEIN has stepped up his efforts to obtain nuclear materials and would have a nuclear bomb by now but for the sanctions imposed by the West, Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, says today. Writing in The Times Mr Straw — ratcheting even higher the rhetoric against Iraq in advance of Tony Blair’s talks with President Bush next month — says that if Saddam refuses to open his weapons programme to international inspection, “he will have to live with the consequences”. In a clear reference to the findings of Western Intelligence, Mr Straw says that evidence is building that the threat from Iraq’s weapons programme is growing again, with many of the facilities damaged in 1998 by Operation Desert Fox repaired. “There is evidence of increased efforts to procure nuclear-related material and technology and that nuclear research and development work has begun again. Without the controls which we have imposed Saddam would have had a nuclear bomb by now.” He adds: “We cannot allow Saddam to hold a gun to the heads of his own people, his neighbours and the world . . . let no one — especialy Saddam — doubt our resolve.” *************************************************************************** B. Saddam must allow weapons inspectors into Iraq or suffer the consequences by Jack Straw The Times March 05, 2002 The stalemate between the United Nations and Iraq cannot go on for ever. For more than a decade, Britain and the United States have led the UN’s efforts to protect Iraq’s neighbours from aggression and protect the world from Iraq ’s weapons of mass destruction. Iraq persistently flouts the authority of the UN Security Council and international law. But the people who have suffered most of all from President Saddam Hussein’s brutality are the Iraqis themselves. The threat from Iraq is not receding. Unique among the world’s tyrants, Saddam has both the ruthlessness and capability to employ weapons of mass destruction. He used chemical weapons against Iranian soldiers in the 1980s and against citizens of his own country at Halabja, in the Kurdish region, in 1988. In 1991 it took concerted international action to oust Saddam from Kuwait, and to establish UN procedures for inspecting and destroying Iraq’s arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. But UN inspectors, consistently prevented from doing their job, left Iraq in 1998. Since then, evidence has been building up that the threat from Iraq’s weapons programmes is growing once more. Many of the facilities damaged in 1998 by the American and British strikes in Operation Desert Fox have been repaired. Iraq has persisted with its chemical and biological weapons programmes, and is developing ballistic missiles capable of delivering such weapons to targets beyond the 150km limit imposed by the UN. This would allow Iraq to hit countries as far away as the United Arab Emirates and Israel. There is evidence of increased efforts to procure nuclear-related material and technology, and that nuclear research and development work has begun again: indeed, without the controls which we have imposed, Saddam would have had a nuclear bomb by now. The regime has admitted hiding weapons of mass destruction in the desert, in caves and in tunnels. It has admitted manufacturing chemical weapons like sarin and mustard gas, and biological agents like anthrax. The destructive potential of these weapons beggars the imagination. Nerve agents can cause death within minutes. Tiny doses of sarin or anthrax are deadly. UN weapons inspectors, denied access to Iraq, cannot account for large quantities of materials used to make these deadly substances. Because we have contained the threat for so long, many have assumed it has gone away. This is patently not true. But meanwhile the Iraqi propaganda machine has tried to pin the blame on the UN policy of containment for the suffering which Saddam inflicts on the Iraqi people. It angers me when well-meaning people are taken in by these lies. The UN allows the regime access to more than enough money for all the humanitarian goods the Iraqis need. It is the regime which refuses to use these funds to order food and medicine. It suits Saddam to make Iraqis suffer and starve, because this distracts attention from the threat he poses to global security. It is time to stop him hiding behind the human shield of his people’s suffering. British and US diplomats have devised an improved policy, which tightens controls on military goods, while lightening controls on civilian goods. There would be a “Goods Review List”, focused on military and weapons-related goods, which would be subject to review before they could be exported to Iraq. There would be no prohibitions against exporting to Iraq any civilian goods not on the list. The United Nations Security Council has decided in principle to implement these revised measures. But Saddam opposes the idea because helping the Iraqi people is not his priority. He prefers to spend money on weapons, not food; on statues and monuments to himself, not medicines. The international community’s most pressing demand is for Iraq to allow UN officials to inspect his weapons programmes. Saddam broke his word and has been in breach of his international obligations since he effectively threw out the UN inspectors three years ago. If he has nothing to hide, why doesn’t he let them return and do so without preconditions? As long as he refuses, we can only suspect the worst — and this obliges us to look at other ways of limiting his capability. We cannot allow Saddam to hold a gun to the heads of his own people, his neighbours and the world for ever. Intense diplomatic efforts will continue, and I hope they will achieve our aim of removing the threat which Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction pose to humanity. But if he refuses to open his weapons programmes to proper international inspection, he will have to live with the consequences. No decisions have been taken, but let no one — especially Saddam — doubt our resolve. ************************************************************************* C. Iraq developing nuclear bomb, says Straw Nicholas Watt, political correspondent Tuesday March 5, 2002 The Guardian Saddam Hussein is pressing ahead with the development of a nuclear bomb and would already have one were it not for sanctions imposed by the United Nations, the foreign secretary, Jack Straw, warns today. Mr Straw's tough rhetoric is designed to increase the pressure on Baghdad ahead of the prime minister's talks in Washington next month with George Bush. Tony Blair warned at the weekend that Britain is preparing to join the US in a military confrontation with Baghdad. He will also meet US vice president Dick Cheney for talks on Iraq next week in London, it was reported last night. Stepping up the pressure on Baghdad to open up its weapons programme to inspections, Mr Straw warns that Saddam will have to "live with the consequences" if he refuses to abide by international law. "There is evidence of increased efforts to procure nuclear-related material and technology, and that nuclear research and development work has begun again," the foreign secretary writes in today's Times. "Without the controls which we have imposed Saddam would have a nuclear bomb by now. "We cannot allow Saddam to hold a gun to the heads of his own people, his neighbours and the world... Let no one - especially Saddam - doubt our resolve." Mr Straw says that Iraq is developing ballistic missiles capable of delivering weapons beyond the 90-mile limit imposed by the UN, which would allow it to hit countries "as far away as the United Arab Emirates and Israel". There is a growing feeling at Westminster that the increasingly bellicose rhetoric from the British government is designed to soften up public opinion ahead of any strikes against Iraq. It is understood that Mr Blair is planning to publish detailed intelligence material outlining Iraq's weapons programme in the same way that he published intelligence about al-Qaida. ******************************************************************** D. Why is Blair banging the drum for an attack on Iraq? The PM is talking up the case for action when he should be sceptical Hugo Young Tuesday March 5, 2002 The Guardian Listening to the right in Washington and the left in London, you might think an American invasion of Iraq this year is certain to happen. It is not. The question remains moot, for the compelling reason, sensed in Washington as keenly as anywhere, that an invasion would be very risky. The Foreign Office hopes it will not happen. So does the Ministry of Defence. So, according to all available intelligence, does Tony Blair. So another question presents itself. Why is Mr Blair going round the world softening up opinion for a war that may not happen, and which he would prefer not to see? An Iraqi war would be difficult, first of all, militarily. Iraq is not Afghanistan, and Afghanistan is hard enough. American troops have been bogged down there, not just destroying the Taliban but trying to stop factions disintegrating into civil war, much longer than the Pentagon wanted. Battle scenarios in Iraq contemplate at least 200,000 US troops on the ground, whatever the result of an air assault. This is very big stuff, involving armies that may not be easily extricated from what they're doing, let alone smoothly assembled. The generals may not want to do it. The rationale is as troubling as the battle plan. Unlike Afghanistan, Iraq will lack the pretext that fitted it for urgent coalition-building and attack. The most ferocious Washington warriors have failed to find an al-Qaida connection. The continuity between Afghanistan and Iraq is one of timing alone. This could be the convenient moment to move on from global terrorism to the recalcitrant enemy. That may make sense to Pentagon hardliners, but would mean an Iraqi war conducted in much more fragmented political conditions than the war against Osama bin Laden. Quite forbidding. Most of the Arab world would like to see Saddam Hussein destroyed. But how many regional leaders will talk and act accordingly? On past evidence, they'll wait to see who's winning. Vice-President Cheney's coming tour is designed to shore up the coalition for all eventualities. It will not be easy. In Afghanistan, the neighbour whose support was crucial, and fiercely fought for, was Pakistan. In Iraq, an entire region will be in play as the US military seeks a swift success that must include the visible departure from this life of Mr Saddam. Hard to plot with certainty. Another pragmatic flaw in the brutalist world-view of Richard Perle. So, compared with the instant response to September 11, the slow build-up to an Iraqi war has problems on every front. I have touched on only a handful. Even if the UN procedures are gone through, with weapons inspectors once again proposed and rejected, the world's will for American action will be deeply splintered. Louring over everything is the gamble on success. The domestic politics of war might play well in the autumn, during mid-term elections the Republicans are in danger of losing. But the politics of mili tary failure would play catastrophically in 2004 when Mr Bush is up for re-election. Outsiders might be seized of another thing. Added to these reasons that might yet make Bush hesitate is the prospect of international chaos, as one nation unilaterally decides to exert its powerful will to revolutionise another. All in all, a shocking price to pay, justifiable, a sceptic might think, only in the event of clear and present global danger, together with the certainty that such action could eliminate it. But Tony Blair is doing everything he can to sound unsceptical. He seems to have launched himself on another of his missions. His words are as calculated as they are gratuitous. He makes the Bush argument about weapons of mass destruction if not the axis of evil, and offers no doubt about the need to go after them. He is making himself part of the propaganda build-up to normalise the necessity of invasion. Into a scepticism that extends even to parts of Washington, let alone his other friend Vladimir Putin, he drops statements that solidify the case the hawks are making, and incidentally assure Bush that anything he does will not be unilateralist: he will always have a friend in Downing Street. Yet here, too, Iraq is not quite like Afghanistan. Whereas the war against al-Qaida drew little dissent that mattered, war in Iraq is another matter. The cabinet might at last have something to say. Mr Blair talks as if his is the only British voice that counts. But foreign policy here is not, as in France, a presidential fief. Decisions like this one surely need proper collective endorsement. As we will see when the Commons debates it tomorrow, the Labour backbenches are seriously divided. They're the open face, I believe, of covert anxieties about the Iraqi option that are starting to grow across the cabinet. It's possible, I'm prepared to concede, that the objective doubts anyone ought to have about an invasion may begin to fall away. Saddam Hussein is an international criminal, brutal to his own people and an unrepentant enemy of any world order the UN attempts to invigilate. Maybe the indigenous forces vital to his overthrow can be fashioned by the US into a credible replacement. Maybe a military plan can be shaped in Washington and Tampa that makes watertight sense. Maybe the neighbours can be persuaded, by whatever furtive means, not to oppose America outright. Maybe - perhaps it's more than maybe - other major nations of the EU will not, if it comes to the point of war, publicly oppose the US. Britain, we know, would fall into that unresisting camp. But does this have to happen so brazenly before the question is even asked? Does our leader need to go round not only talking up the weapons of mass destruction, but implying that just about any action will be legitimate to attack them? When strategy and tactics are, for the best of reasons, disputed, why does he choose to put his weight behind the hawks and not the doves, especially when the entire British and EU political establishment, except the Duncan Smith fraction, is more conscious of the hazards than the necessity of an Iraqi war? Pushed on this, Mr Blair would say his influence lies behind closed doors. He talks an American game in public to play a European one in private. If that was ever true, it's now plainly a fantasy. His stance is American in private as well as public: reassuring, cosy, intimate, trusted, enlisted, carved-up. There is another way. Last month, the German foreign minister, Joschka Fischer, was asked about an Iraqi invasion. He said calmly, "There is a debate that is getting more intense and that we view with concern." Such quiet scepticism probably reflects British public opinion. Consider it in Blair's mouth, and you reach the heart of the British predicament. It would sound like mutiny. Yet that is the barrier Britain needs to cross. If the mere expression of concern is a price loyalty declines to pay to independence, then the relationship really has become a curse. ****************************************************************** E. So how would you stop Saddam without going to war? by Donald Macintyre. The Independent 5th March Excerpts: 'The issue ... [is] the threat, regional and global ... that Iraq represents.' 'The British Foreign Office, at least, has set considerable store on the negotiations, which will come to a head in the next two months, for the so-called "smart sanctions" UN regime, which the Russians, partly for commerical reasons, have so far declined to countenance. But they would have the double advantage of further reducing the export of hardware with military potential while expanding the export of medical and food supplies, to an extent which would make it much more difficult for Saddam to claim that Iraqi children are dying because of UN sanctions.' 'It may be .. that those who resolutely oppose any action against Iraq are making the wrong point. To say that wiping out the Taliban is right but that stopping Saddam's continued defiance of international and democratic opinion is wrong is a form of moral relativism, that is not, in the end, so easy to apply. But the real criticism of the more hawkish elements in Washington is that they appear, at times, dangerously uninterested in a more enlightened approach towards Iran or to Israeli-Palestinian dialogue that might create support for its toughening stance on Iraq.' 'The cause worth fighting for, in other words, is not so much the elimination of the threat of military action - at least, as the last resort - against Iraq. For it's a case that invites the hard question: what would you do instead?' ***************************************************************** F. US to present evidence of Iraq weapons activity By Carola Hoyos, United Nations Correspondent Financial Times Published: March 4 2002 21:55 | Last Updated: March 5 2002 00:41 The US this week will present the United Nations Security Council with intelligence showing that Iraq has converted trucks imported through the UN's humanitarian programme into rocket launchers and other military vehicles. The sharing of evidence on Iraq, which is expected to include satellite pictures, is highly unusual for the US. A diplomat said it will be the "first time in years" that new US intelligence about Iraq's weapons programme has been discussed in the sanctions committee, which is made up of the 15 members of the Security Council, including Russia, China and Syria. UN diplomats said Washington was motivated by two goals. Its first was to justify the blocking of contracts involving trucks in the so-called oil-for-food programme, which allows Iraq to sell its oil and purchase humanitarian goods. The US has come under growing criticism as the number of contracts it has held up has increased to about $5bn - a quarter of the total value of goods that have reached Iraq since the UN's programme began in December 1996. The US's second aim, diplomats say, is to win over UN sceptics for a tougher policy on Iraq by revealing the full scale of Iraq's activities. Kofi Annan, UN secretary general, is scheduled to meet a high-level Iraqi delegation on Thursday to discuss ways of breaking the stalemate between the UN and Iraq. Mr Annan is expected to urge Iraq to allow the return of UN weapons inspectors, who left the country on the eve of the US bombing campaign in December 1998. Iraq's talks with the UN are seen as part of Baghdad's efforts to avert another US military campaign that could aim to dislodge the regime of President Saddam Hussein. The US has bracketed Iraq as part of the "axis of evil", which also includes Iran and North Korea. The administration has warned Baghdad to resume inspections or face the consequences, but the more hawkish members of the US defence department are said to favour direct military action on Iraq, which would be more difficult if weapons inspectors were on the ground. The US and UK have often alleged that Iraq diverts money from the oil-for-food arrangement to its weapons programme. "The briefing will show clearly that Iraq is misusing all kinds of trucks ordered through the oil-for-food for military purposes," said one diplomat, adding that the information could explain the contract hold-ups. Others, however, doubt whether the US will be able to prove the trucks were bought through the UN programme and not smuggled into the country via Turkey or Jordan. ************************************************************ G. Lieberman: Action Against Iraq Might Start Secretly Sun Mar 3, 1:19 PM ET WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A leading Democrat said on Sunday that U.S. action against Baghdad might begin without notification to Congress to allow President Bush "to employ surprise in attacking or going against the leadership of Iraq. Sen. Joseph Lieberman, a Connecticut Democrat and former vice presidential candidate, criticized the Bush administration for generally failing to consult enough with members of Congress in the ongoing war against terrorism, telling CBS's "Face the Nation" program: "The administration could at this point do a better job of involving members of Congress in some of the discussions about where the war is going." But Lieberman made a blunt distinction with regards to Iraq and efforts to overturn President Saddam Hussein. Bush's recent declaration of Iraq, Iran and North Korea as an "axis of evil" bent on pursuing weapons of mass destruction fueled speculation the U.S. administration would act next against Saddam, whose regime survived the U.S.-led 1991 Gulf War. Bush has warned Saddam his country will face the consequences if he does not allow U.N. weapons inspectors to return, and also has reportedly approved a covert plan to topple Saddam. Iraq denies it has any weapons of mass destruction. "The president should consult with members of Congress as his administration it seems to me has clearly turned a corner here and made a judgement that it is critically important to American security to change the regime in Baghdad," Lieberman said. "But I think you have also got to give the commander in chief the right to employ surprise in attacking or in going against the leadership of Iraq," the senator added. "And therefore, consultation, but it may be that we will not have an actual congressional resolution until after activities or actions have begun in Iraq." Lieberman was one of 10 leading members of Congress who have urged Bush to make Iraq the next target in the U.S. war on terrorism, saying it had reinvigorated its weapons programs since U.N. inspectors left in December 1998. Another senator who joined the effort, Arizona Republican John McCain, told CNN's "Late Edition" program, "Saddam presents a clear and present danger to the United States" and should be removed from power. "The administration and others are discussing and planning whether to pursue diplomatic, economic and other means," said McCain, a former presidential rival to Bush. "The United States I think has to examine all options. I don't think there is going to be a precipitous invasion of Iraq but I do believe that we have to explore the options necessary for a regime change," he said. Lieberman also hailed the Middle East peace proposal recently outlined by Saudi Prince Abdullah, calling it "a significant development." "The United States should seize this moment of opportunity, send a high-level, permanent ... representative to stay in the Middle East and use the Abdullah plan as a way to begin to create negotiations," Lieberman said. McCain called the plan "an important framework" the United States must embrace in the face of "a terribly, terribly explosive situation." _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk