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News, 19-26/4/02 These mailings have been largely justified these past weeks by the Pepe Escobar pieces, so sorry I seem to be missing number eleven this time (it could easily be found by going to the website addresses of the other ones). Perhaps it will appear next time, but next time threatens to be even later than usual, since my problems are not yet at an end. Otherwise note the scandalous expulsion of Jose Bustani from the UN Chemical Weapons inspection body as the most important event of the week. MILITARY MATTERS * RAF and US warplanes bomb Iraq * British pilots face more Iraqi missiles [poor dears] * Size of force on ground key in plan for Iraq war [Includes the idea that many Arab leaders told Richard Cheney privately that they would support a strike against Iraq. UAE, Qatar and/or Oman would provide the necessary landing strips. Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has recently gone to Crawford, Texas for five hours of talks with Mr Bush. All this implies that these leaders are lying outrageously to their own people. The champions of freedom and democracy don’t seem to find anything here that is objectionable.] OIL POLITICS * Senate kills Bush's plan for Alaska drilling * Iraq to propose OPEC candidate * Iraq Diary Part 10: Using the oil weapon [Pepe Escobar] * Iraq oil deal not probed [On the effects of the boycott on the recent contract with South Africa] AND IN NEWS, 19-26/4/02 (2) IRAQI/MIDDLE EAST-ARAB WORLD RELATIONS * Saddam Hussein, Yasser Arafat and the dynamism of the Arab street [Article from Lebanese Daily Star arguing that the US and Israel, who complain that the Arabs are incorrigible religious fanatics, are the very ones who destroyed the chances of the once very lively Arab liberal secular democracy. Finds a source of hope in the liveliness of Arab democracy in the form of ‘the street’.] * Egyptian trade fair opens in Baghdad * Iraq, Somalia, Sudan owe $595m to AMF [Arab Monetary Fund] * Iraq gives cash for lost homes * New border openings between Saudi Arabia, Iraq IRAQI/US RELATIONS * Bush wants death for 'spy who offered secrets to Iraq' * Jacksonvillians aim to collect $18.8M judgment against Iraq for prison terms [A Mr Daliberti, traumatised by four months in an Iraqi jail, was upset on September 11th and is demanding millions of dollars compensation from the Iraqi government, without much consideration for the traumas experienced by the inhabitants of Baghdad and Basra at seeing the destruction of the entire infrastructure of their country. Question. If the US succeeds in installing a puppet government in Iraq will it be obliged to pay these compensation claims which the world would be treating with justifiable derision if they were advanced in any country other than the US?] * Spy Trial for Retired Officer Is Postponed AND IN NEWS, 19-26/4/02 (3) NORTHERN IRAQ/SOUTHERN KURDISTAN * Top 2 Kurdish factions in Iraq met with U.S. on Hussein ouster [One would have thought that by now the Baltimore Sun would know that the Kurds are NOT ‘the only armed Iraqi opposition groups.’ The only armed Iraqi opposition group actually active in Iraq (the Kurds in the autonomous zone are doing nothing to help their brothers still living under the oppression of the Iraqi government in the area reound Kirkuk) is the Shi’i fundamentalist SCIRI. Somehow the US doesn’t seem to want to acknowledge the existence of a radical Islamist opposition to SH. It rather confuses their simple notions of Good and Evil. Another curious thing to note: ‘Barzani and Talabani also discussed with US officials plans for merging their two governments.’ We keep on being told that the problems between them are resolved and that a united administration has been formed ...] * Islamic militants find haven in Iraq [The article leaves one with the impression that this Kurdish fundamentalist group - William Safire’s current best hope of finding a Saddam/Al Qaida link - is quite marginal and undefined.] IRAQI/UN RELATIONS * US forces ouster of UN body's chief [Dismissal of Jose Bustani for trying to arrange a politically neutral system of chemical weapons inspections. Dawn and The Guardian say only 6 or 7 countries voted against US pressure while 43 moral cowards of the first order abstained. The Washington Times says 43 voted against the US while only 6 abstained. It all seems very odd after he had been unanimously reappointed last year and won a no-confidence motion only last month. What new pressures were brought to bear by the Masters of ‘International Law’?] * Anti-Chemical Chief Sacked [This to some extent tries to answer the above question.] * UN-Iraq talks to start on May 1 IRAQI/BRITISH RELATIONS * Brown accuses PM over ‘gung-ho’ Iraq policy * Iraq dossier not pulled, says PM AND IN NEWS, 19-26/4/02 (4) INSIDE IRAQ * Business as usual in Iraq [First of an, I think, rather good series of on-the-spot reports from the BBC’s Kim Ghattas] * Iraq's middle class wiped out [BBC] * Saddam: Sentimental, terrifying and ruthless [Account of an in-depth psychological study of President Hussein in the Atlantic Monthly. It was written by the author of Black Hawk Down which doesn’t augur well for a sophisticated understanding of international affairs. To judge from this review its just a rehash of material from pretty familiar sources.] * Iraqis seek refuge in religion [BBC. It seems that the Iraqi government is engaged in ‘an attempt to use religion to try to erase religious differences inside Iraq’, which is an interesting sociological experiment.] * Play goes on for Saddam, still the survivor at 65 * Iraq Diary Part 12: The Carthaginian solution [All Pepe Escobar’s articles on Iraq have been worth reading but here he really hits his stride. He is helped by a splendid quotation from Noam Chomsky on the desirability of reducing the population size of oil producing countries. An article to be cut out and framed on the wall.] IRAQI/INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS * Belgian MP confers with Iraqi officials ------------------------------------------------- This mail sent through UK Online webmail _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. 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