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[casi] News, 9-16/3/02 (index)

News, 9-16/3/02 (index)

[Some mildly interesting articles this week: ŒSitting on the Sidelines Isn't
Good Enough¹ (under Idiotic Paranoia); ŒDubious Iraqi Link¹ (under Doubts
and Queries); Œ Iraqi oppositionist ponders possibility of toppling Saddam¹
and ŒSourchi: US Military Action Won¹t Benefit Kurds¹ (under Iraqi
Opposition). Otherwise, there¹s the encouraging refusal of Saddam¹s
neighbours to join in the paranoia about the threat he¹s supposed to pose to
them; and the opposition to war in the British House of Commons which seems
to indicate the existence of some twitchings of a moral and intellectual
life within the Labour Party. Shame however that it has to be ­ and I
recognise that realistically it does have to be ­ tied in with suport for
the non-existent ŒInternational Coalition against Terror¹ and return of
Œweapons inspectors¹ to Iraq. The lenghty article which appeared in Friday¹s
Guardian is being sent as a separate supplement at the end of News,
9-16/3/02 (5).]

YEARS (which is the only sense I can make of the phrase Œthe end of

*  UK, US to link Iraq with al-Qaeda [Iraq is said to have helped some of
them to escape. This line doesn¹t seem to have been followed up so far.]
*  Old opponent makes about-face: states case for invading Iraq [In an item
under ŒDoubts and queries¹ Kenneth Pollack seemed to be hesitant about war
on Iraq but here he¹s all for it. Because otherwise SH might get nuclear
*  Get ready for a nasty war in Iraq [Daniel Byman Œdirects research in the
Center for Middle East Public Policy at the Rand Corporation.¹ Here is an
example of his scholarly acumen:Perhaps uniquely in military history,
America cares more about the suffering of the enemy regime's people than
does the regime itself.¹ He concludes that Washington Œmust prepare
militarily for fighting in cities and for taking out colocated targets¹
(hospitals, schools etc, where there are  - or perhaps where there might be,
you never know ­ military installations.)]
*  Sitting on the Sidelines Isn't Good Enough [Another contribution from the
Rand Corporation, this time a coherent Œphilosophical¹ view of the extension
of US world domination ­ treating the world as Europe was treated after the
Second World War, including a Marshall Plan. This could be quite an
inspiring vision (for someone other than myself) but it would require the
sort of moral courage the US simply doesn¹t possess. What he calls, and
condemns as, Œepisodic engagement¹ is much more likely.]
*  War threat crisis talks on anthrax [Conference at a secret location in
London. Gosh, this is getting exciting!]
*  Iraqi says gulf war U.S. pilot is alive [Case of Michael Speicher again.
There were a lot of articles on this. Could it really be presented as a
convincing casus belli?]
*  Only fools ignore Saddam [The Sun gives you the case for mass murder in
the form of a poem in free verse]
*  Russia, France offer gauge for Iraq policy [Here is quite an amusing
fantasy. Russia and France let the US off the hook by being tough on Saddam,
thereby provoking an internal Iraqi revolt, thereby proving that diplomacy
rather than war works and protecting their investments.]
*  Gazing into the nuclear night [The logic is impeccable. All advanced
industrial countries who manifest any signs of hostility to the US and have
any sort of capacity, however slight, of attacking it, must be destroyed.]
*  Bush denounces Saddam
*  US hawks unleash public opinion war [Establishment of new body ­ AVOT
(Americans for Victory over Terrorism) to track and expose unAmerican
activities especially on US campuses, following on the work of the American
Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA), founded by the wife of Richard

by William Safire
International Herald Tribune (from The New York Times), 11th March
[William Safire establishes his credentials as a bona fide intellectual with
a little encomium on the meaning of words. Without interest.]
by George Jones, Political Editor and Ben Fenton in Washington
Daily Telegraph, 12th March
[President Bush: 'Men with no respect for life must never be allowed to
control the ultimate instruments of death.' Indeed]
New York Daily News, 13th March
[ŒIraq is a rogue state. America is not. Twinning us with them ‹ the clear
import of The (NY) Times editorial ‹ is an incredibly flawed application of
the doctrine of moral equivalence. If Sept. 11 taught us anything, it's that
evil really does exist and that it must be defeated before it strikes ‹ not
afterward. Waiting until Saddam can do to us ‹ or to Israel or others ‹ what
we can do to him now would abrogate America's standing as a moral society.¹]

AND, IN NEWS, 9-16/3/02  (2)


*  U.S. Works Up Plan for Using Nuclear Arms Military
*  Bunker bomb will bust test ban [This article gives names of the advocates
of nuclear terrorism. They all seem to be called ŒStephen¹.]
*  Itchy fingers on the trigger [More on the Stephens. One feels there is a
phenomenon here which can only be understood in psychological terms. These
people spend all their time working out the means of killing vast numbers of
people. It is their job and it is on their mind all the time. The spectre
haunts them to the point of paranoia. Eventually they convince themselves
that its all about to happen and this causes them to precipitate the very
catastrophe hey fear. Bear in mind that this is a generation whose brains
have been softened by Arnold Schwarzenegger films, and films such as
Independence Day. Culture counts for a lot as Marx didn¹t say often enough.]


*  British Cool on Using UK Troops in Iraq - Poll
*  Bush wants 25,000 UK Iraq force
*  The case against Iraq [Mr Neil doesn¹t think that the British people have
any business discussing the possibility of war on Iraq until the US have
made up their minds on the matter. He gives a highly tendentious account of
the old Muhammad Atta/al-Ani story. He says Atta travelled half way round
the world to meet al-Ani. This is not at all known. What is known is that
Atta spent one evening in Czechoslovakia. He came from neighbouring Germany.
No-one knows what he did or who he met. It is thought that someone who
looked like Atta met al-Ani on another occasion when, it is known, Atta was
in the US; so, if it was him, but it might not have been, he would have had
to travel half way round the world. There is no evidence of Atta¹s coming to
Prague at that time. Neil even drags out the fumbling story of the Czech
Prime Minister Milos Zeman who Œknew¹ that they had met and what they
discussed (bombing Radio Free Europe), a story he later retracted. The Czech
President, a rather more substantial figure, said he was only 70% certain
that any meeting took place (see, e.g. ŒNew Clue Fails to Explain Iraq Role
in Sept. 11 Attack, NY Times, 16/12/01. See also ŒDubious Iraqi Link¹ in
Doubts and Queries below ). Neil reaches a paroxysm of absurdity when he
tells us that that the evidence for Iraq¹s possession of WMDs is so
overwhelming it has even managed to convince so hardened a sceptic as ...
Jack Straw! Finally, having delivered himself of this half-baked concoction
of ancient rumours, he calls for a Œmore grown-up, informed discussion than
we have had so far.¹  Axis of evil ... used chemical weapons against his own
people ... You know. That sort of thing.]
*  Blair's just a Bush baby [On the naivety of the British establishment¹s
notion that they are a moderating influence on the US regime.]
*  Britain Wants to Make Cyprus Forward Operating Base Against Iraq [Article
from Greek Cypriot worried about the likely effect on the tourist industry.
It seems they lost a lot through the Gulf War, though doubtless the UN
Compensation Committee proved very understanding. But perhaps they¹re right
to be worried, since what sort of compensation, we wonder, will be paid if
Saddam is removed and an American proxy installed in his place?]
*  UK minister argues against attack on Iraq [Clare Short. Which is fine and
courageous but CS et al must summon up the courage to say, or at least
think, that WMDs are considerably less dangerous in the hands of SH than
they are in the hands of GB (or of a TB following in GB¹s footsteps.)]
*  Straw outlines Iraq's 'severe threat' [Straw¹s evidence, followed by
voices of caution, right and left, in the Commons, followed by an idiotic
intervention from Ann Clwyd who says indicting Saddam would be better than
bombing Iraq: as if there is any point in having an indictment if he can¹t
be brought before a court and how can he be brought before a court without
bombing Iraq? Oh, I know. We could freeze his assets.]
*  Tough talk on Iraq [Guardian editorial opposing war, though more as a
matter of convenience than of moral principle.]
*  If Saddam would fall, Bush should push him [Disappointing to see Simon
Jenkins joining in the paranoia. It is also very odd. He blandly informs us
that Œsanctions¹ (that is to say, US and UK policy] have killed tens of
thousands of Iraqis for no good reason; then he presents Saddam Hussein as
if he is in some way more dangerous and villainous that Messrs Bush and
Blair. Perhaps it is because he hasn¹t understood (because no-one has taken
the trouble to explain it to him) that there were REASONS for the evil
things Saddam Hussein has done. They may have been evil, but unlike the evil
things done by the Bushes, the Clintons and the Blairs, they weren¹t
gratuitous evil.]
*  Terror of Saddam's hidden arsenal [Extract giving what appears to be
concrete in the article, from the Daily Telegraph,. But surely the
government can come up with something better than this. Good title, though.]
*  100 MPs back protest over strikes on Iraq [It is a matter of deep shame
to the Conservative Party that there are no ŒTory¹ signatures. Has all
independent thought stopped in that little world? The article goes on to
smear tactics against G. Galloway. Which is a good sign that he is no longer
seen as just a harmless eccentric.]

URL ONLY:,5478,3925229%255E401,00
*  Brits deny plan to storm Iraq
Herald Sun (Australia), 11th March
[Worth mentioning the following: ŒMeanwhile, the Foreign Office said junior
foreign minister Ben Bradshaw had met Iraqi opposition leaders in London
last week. Another meeting was planned for next week, a spokeswoman said,
but insisted there was "nothing significant" in the talks, which were held
periodically.¹ In a later article (ŒUS pursues ex-generals to topple Iraq
leader Œ) we learn that the last time a British government minister met a
member of the Iraqi opposition was two years ago. See also ŒIraqis search
for a successor to Saddam¹ under the Iraqi Opposition.]

AND, IN NEWS, 9-16/3/02 (3)


*  Belgium calls on EU to send mission to Iraq
*  German FM unaware over US plans for post-Saddam summit [See ŒIraqis
search for a successor to Saddam¹ under Iraqi Opposition. Someone had the
bright idea that if the conference was held in Bonn it would like the
conference to choose a government for Afghanistan. They neglected to inform
the German government.]
*  Germany Says Would Need UN Mandate for Iraq Action [Though since Germany
was behind the rogue attack on Serbia ­ launched without a UN mandate ­ this
is a matter of choice, not of respect for the law.]

*  Europeans starting to change tune on Iraq
by Paul Taylor and Yves Clarisse
Reuters, 12th March
[A chorus of anonymous Œdiplomats¹ mouthing what President Bush wants to


*  Iraqi Baath Party Criticizes U.S. Campaign Against Iraq [Account of a
delegation to Indonesia.]   
*  New Zealand Unlikely to Join Any Action Against Iraq
*  Vietnam VP leaves for tour of Iraq, India [Let¹s hope she¹s able to pass
on a few tips ...]
*  Russia rethinks its support for Iraq [This is just speculation but given
the nature of V.Putin and the fact that he has now secured the support of
the ŒInternational Coalition against Terror¹ aka the US for his war against
the Chechens, it is credible.]
*  Russia denies it might accept anti-Iraq strikes


*  Some 3000 Iranian refugees to return home shortly: UNHCR[Iranian refugees
in Iraq. Difficult to understand this unless they are supporters of the more
secular Iranian tendencies.]
*  Jordan warns of catastrophe if US attacks Iraq
*  Jordan: tap line reopening reviewed by Saudi team [We are often told that
Jordan has been Œsympathetic¹ to Iraq because it is dependent on Iraqi oil,
which Iraq supplies free (which is really a very remarkable arrangement that
doesn¹t get enough attention, but it probably explains why Jordan has still
managed to retain some shreds of sovereignty despite the malice of the US,
Saudi Arabia and Kuwait at the end of the Gulf Massacre). This article
reminds us that prior to the Massacre, they got their oil from Saudi Arabia
as well as from Iraq, and had to pay for both. The Saudis turned the tap off
and forced Jordan into Iraq¹s embrace because of Jordan¹s attempts to find a
peaceful solution in the midst of the 1990/91 atmosphere of hysteria, which
is now developing again.]
*  Cheney finds skepticism toward U.S. Iraq strategy on first Mideast stop
*  Syrian President Meets Senior Iraqi Officials
*  Egypt says Iraq may OK weapons inspectors
*  Iraqi Delegation to Visit Lebanon
*  Saudis to take hard line with Cheney against war on Iraq
*  Turkey Says Iraq No Threat, Should Not Be Attacked

URL ONLY,3604,664468,00.html
*  Envoy's role linked to Arab backing on Iraq
by Julian Borger
The Guardian, 9th March
[The title has what there is in the story that is interesting, but the
people making the link ­ between Zinni¹s visit and the campaign against Iraq
­ seem pretty uninteresting. Which isn¹t to say they¹re wrong, just that
your guess is as good as theirs.]


*  Iraq wants equal treatment in U.N. talks [ie Iraq makes the obvious point
that if its possession of trucks that could be converted into rocket
launchers is a problem, the sanctions that have killed hundreds of thousands
of people is also a problem.]
*  Iraq: no weapons inspectors
*  U.N. approves in payments of $1.8 billion for Iraq invasion of Kuwait


*  Make war, not politics [Pepe Escobar continues to be disappointing on the
subject of Iraq. A fairly average account of the country¹s tribulations
picks up at the end with mention of the big profits there are to be made,
notably by Alliant Techsystems, Raytheon and L-3 Communications, out of the
war on Iraq.]
*  An Iraqi Campaign Faces Many Hurdles [Mostly views of ex-CIA men Kenneth
Pollack and Whitley Bruner. Short extract giving reasons for hesitation.
Including the weather. Too hot in the Summer, too rainy in November.
Planning a war is almost as difficult as planning a holiday.]
*  Extending the war on terror: Prudent or paranoid? [Short extract from
Bangladeshi article, expressing splendid contempt for the US victory in
*  It's Washington vs the united state of Iraq [Pepe Escobar again. Makes
interesting point - if true - that Iraq after the Baath coup of 1968 was the
first Middle East country to secure full competence in  operating an
independent oil industry. And the man responsible was one Saddam Hussein.
Which helps to explain why they don¹t like him.]
*  Dubious Iraqi Link [David Ignatius would probably prefer to find himself
in the Idiotic Paranoia section, but he seems to have an odd, and wholly
inappropriate, penchant for telling the truth ­ and for treating lesser
peoples (Europeans, Arabs) with respect. So here he is blowing the gaffe on
the Czech connection. Or is he just trying to divert some of the paranoia
away to Iran? Extracts.]
*  The inevitable war [Pepe Escobar on the irrelevance of the new UNSC
resolution on a Palestinian state and the immorality of the proposed action
against Iraq.]

by Azra Parveen
Bangladeshi Independent, 10th March
[General expression of anxiety over the US drive to world domination]

AND, IN NEWS, 9-16/3/02  (4)


*  US pursues ex-generals to topple Iraq leader [Dispute between the
apparently virtually non-existent INC and a bunch of Saddam Hussein
*  Ex-General Works to Topple Saddam [Account of Nizar al-Khazraji who,
whether or not he was actually responsible for the use of chemical weapons
against Halabja, was clearly involved in the war against the Kurds and is
now tipped as Washington¹s man to replace Saddam.]
*  Can we trust Iraqi military to help oust Saddam? [Views of General Najib
al-Salhi, who argues that some spectacular US gesture, such as blowing up
statues of Saddam Hussein (have I got this right???) would be enough to
spark an army revolt.]
*  Iraqi Opposition Looks to General [General account of Iraqi opposition
groups which at least has the decency to mention ­ in a 3 line paragraph
towards the end ­ the Iraqi Communist Party.]
*  Saddam renews Kurdish threats [The editorial line can¹t make up its mind
whether to condemn Mr Hussein for - very cleverly concealed - threats or
hypocrisy in suggesting a reasonable solution to the problem.]
*  Kurdish group denies reported US military mission in northern Iraq
*  Iraqi oppositionist ponders possibility of toppling Saddam [Apparently
intelligent assessment by an Iraqi opposition leader ­ but the piece doesn¹t
say who it is ­ who advocates (if I¹ve understood it right) a quick strike
to eliminate the central government then accepting whatever results are
thrown up by the ensuing civil war. Makes the interesting observation that:
ŒDirect combat on the ground between American and Iraqi troops will make the
United States responsible for arranging the situations and filling the
vacuum, and that is something the Americans do not want to do. Even in
Afghanistan, they refused to join the international forces. Had it not been
for the British forces, there would not have been a government in Kabul.¹]
*  Iraqis search for a successor to Saddam [This has more details about the
Ben Bradshaw meeting the opposition story. It is the more interesting end of
the Iraqi opposition ­ the Kurdish parties, the SCIRI and the Iraqi National
Accord. It appears that there is now virtually no pretence even that the INC
represent the Kurds, leaving us wondering who they have left. Note how the
word Œtribe¹ is being heard more often these days (its part of the discourse
of the INA). But what does it mean, if a single Œtribe¹ can encompass Sunni,
Shia and (most odd) Turkmen?]
*  Sourchi: US Military Action Won¹t Benefit Kurds [What appears to me a
brutally realistic, intelligent Kurdish assessment of the position of the
Kurds in Iraq.]
*  US has not sought Kurdish aid to topple Saddam


*  Marvellous artwork [In the Iraqi pavilion at Carpet Oasis. Its not clear
where Carpet Oasis is but it seems to be outside Iraq and they also appear
to be selling paintings. And ceramics. Is this legal? Shouldn¹t someone be
doing something about it? What is the Australian navy doing? Why has HMS
Kent been recalled?]
*  Tensions kept lid on Iraqi tomb's treasure [I have a certain admiration
for the Egyptian fundamentalists who opposed the practise of opening up
tombs and presenting the dead and their funerary arrangements to be gaped at
by the idle curious.]
*  Artists make best of it in oppressive Iraq [The last of a courageous
series if articles by Hadani Ditmars on life in Iraq, published in the San
Francisco Chronicle]

AND, IN NEWS, 9-16/3/02  (5)


*  15 Iraqi refugees bury themselves [In Woomera, Australia]
*  Sharp Mideast lines are blurred in U.S. [In this case the Iraqis outside
Iraq are Jews who had to flee Iraq in 1948. There is a reference ­ perfectly
justified ­ to the poor treatment of Palestinians in refugee camps in Arab
countries. But the article goes on to talk about camps in the Gaza Strip.
Which have been in Israeli hands since 1967.]
*  Iraqis in asylum limbo [Woomera again]


*  Bush, Wrapped in Irish Green, Discusses Iraq
by Steve Holland
Reuters, 13th March
[Visit of Irish Prime minister, Bertie Ahern, on something called Œthe Irish
Wednesday¹. ŒBush, wearing a pale green tie, was handed the traditional
crystal bowl of shamrock by Ahern in a small ceremony in the White House
Roosevelt Room. Bush's wife, Laura, stood nearby wearing a bright green
dress. Bush pointed out that a dozen American presidents were of Irish
descent.¹ (He failed to point out that most of them were of Ulster
Protestant stock.)]


*  Some Oklahoma City Victims Sue Iraq [This one has simply left me


*  Iraq: the myth and the reality [Lengthy analysis in The Guardian. Sent

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