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News, 9-16/3/02 (index) [Some mildly interesting articles this week: Sitting on the Sidelines Isn't Good Enough¹ (under Idiotic Paranoia); Dubious Iraqi Link¹ (under Doubts and Queries); Iraqi oppositionist ponders possibility of toppling Saddam¹ and Sourchi: 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 International Coalition against Terror¹ and return of weapons 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).] IDIOTIC PARANOIA DELIBERATELY WORKED UP IN ORDER TO JUSTIFY MASS MURDER FOR THE PURPOSE OF ESTABLISHING A WORLD DOMINATION WHICH WILL LAST A THOUSAND YEARS (which is the only sense I can make of the phrase the end of history¹.) * 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 Doubts and queries¹ Kenneth Pollack seemed to be hesitant about war on Iraq but here he¹s all for it. Because otherwise SH might get nuclear weapons.] * Get ready for a nasty war in Iraq [Daniel Byman directs 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 must 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 philosophical¹ 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, episodic 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 Cheney.] URLs ONLY: http://www.iht.com/articles/50820.html * ON LANGUAGE A PHRASE OF RESTRAINED APOLOGY 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.] http://portal.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2002/03/12/wirq12.xm l&sSheet=/news/2002/03/12/ixnewstop.html * STOP SADDAM 'MARRIAGE OF TERROR' 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] http://www.nydailynews.com/2002-03-13/News_and_Views/Beyond_the_City/a 144242.asp * THERE'S A REASON TO KEEP OUR NUKES UP New York Daily News, 13th March [Iraq 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) WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION IN THE HANDS OF A ROGUE STATE * 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 Stephen¹.] * 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 OPINION * 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 knew¹ 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. New Clue Fails to Explain Iraq Role in Sept. 11 Attack, NY Times, 16/12/01. See also Dubious 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 more 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 sanctions¹ (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 Tory¹ 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: http://www.heraldsun.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5478,3925229%255E401,00 .html * Brits deny plan to storm Iraq Herald Sun (Australia), 11th March [Worth mentioning the following: Meanwhile, 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 (US pursues ex-generals to topple Iraq leader ) we learn that the last time a British government minister met a member of the Iraqi opposition was two years ago. See also Iraqis search for a successor to Saddam¹ under the Iraqi Opposition.] AND, IN NEWS, 9-16/3/02 (3) EUROPE * Belgium calls on EU to send mission to Iraq * German FM unaware over US plans for post-Saddam summit [See Iraqis 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.] URL ONLY: http://www.reuters.co.uk/news_article.jhtml?type=worldnews&StoryID=689953 * Europeans starting to change tune on Iraq by Paul Taylor and Yves Clarisse Reuters, 12th March [A chorus of anonymous diplomats¹ mouthing what President Bush wants to hear.] IRAQI/INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS * 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 International Coalition against Terror¹ aka the US for his war against the Chechens, it is credible.] * Russia denies it might accept anti-Iraq strikes IRAQI/MIDDLE EAST-ARAB WORLD RELATIONS * 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 sympathetic¹ 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 http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,664468,00.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.] IRAQI/UN RELATIONS * 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 DOUBTS AND QUERIES * 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 Afghanistan.] * 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.] URL ONLY: http://independent-bangladesh.com/news/mar/10/10032002pd.htm#A1 * AXIS OF EVIL¹: TIME FOR DIALOGUE, NOT WAR 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) IRAQI OPPOSITION * US pursues ex-generals to topple Iraq leader [Dispute between the apparently virtually non-existent INC and a bunch of Saddam Hussein lookalikes.] * 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: Direct 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 tribe¹ is being heard more often these days (its part of the discourse of the INA). But what does it mean, if a single tribe¹ 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 CULTURE * 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) IRAQIS OUTSIDE IRAQ * 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] CATEGORY OF ITS OWN (1) URL ONLY: http://www.reuters.com/news_article.jhtml?type=politicsnews&StoryID=697135 * Bush, Wrapped in Irish Green, Discusses Iraq by Steve Holland Reuters, 13th March [Visit of Irish Prime minister, Bertie Ahern, on something called the Irish Wednesday¹. Bush, 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.)] CATEGORY OF ITS OWN (2) * Some Oklahoma City Victims Sue Iraq [This one has simply left me speechless.] SUPPLEMENT * Iraq: the myth and the reality [Lengthy analysis in The Guardian. Sent separately] _______________________________________________ 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 email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk