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News, 25/5-1/6/02 (1) IRAQI/MIDDLE EAST-ARAB WORLD RELATIONS * Iraq's trade minister arrives in Damascus * Iraq, UAE signed joint cooperation agreements * Iraq Using Oil Pipeline To Sway U.S. Ally [Turkey] * Saudi- Iraqi border opened today * Iraq, Lebanon ink media cooperation protocol * Moroccan health minister expected Sunday in Iraq * Qatar's economy minister to visit Iraq in June * Iraq-Jordan pipeline work 'to start before year-end * Call for concerted GCC military efforts * American factor gains strength in Jordan * Iraq allowed to send ambassador to OIC (Organization of the Islamic Conference) * Saudis channel anger into charity [Short extract on the rather obscure distinction to be drawn between Saudi aid for victims of Israeli aggression and Iraqi aid for victims of Israeli aggression. The article seems to be suggesting - but surely Iıve misunderstood it - that the Saudis arenıt financing Hamas, well, not very much anyway ...] * Jenin families pocket Iraqi cash [Note that houses are being rebuilt in Jenin with large sums of money from the United Arab Emirates. Has anyone even suggested that Israel should pay - um - compensation?] IRAQI/IRANIAN RELATIONS [See also the Pepe Escobar supplement] * Iranian naval units trade fire with phony Iraqi fishermen [The article claims that Iranian fishing boats have repeatedly been the target of Iraqi aggressions in recent months.ı] * On the Occasion of 20th Anniversary of Liberation of Khorramshahr [The incomplete paragraphs come from the original but I thought the article worth presenting anyway for some interesting insights into Western support for Iraq during the Gulf War - the real Gulf War, not the subsequent massacre that goes by that name. Pity the apparently very interesting quote from Kissinger ("If Iraq had won the war, there would have been no concern and fear in the Persian Gulf ...²) is truncated.] * Daily on UN inaction towards production of chemical weapons [Claims that Some 130,000 Iranians have been suffering from injuries caused by dangerous chemicals used in the (Iran-Iraq) war.ı Yet this is rarely cited as among Saddamıs crimes, perhaps because of course the Iranians too are known to be evil.] * Islamic republicıs drive to develop ballistic missiles boosts regional tensions * Iranian Abandons Push To Improve U.S. Ties [Predictable consequence of the Axis of Evilı rhetoric.] IRAQI/US RELATIONS * Hesitant Hawks [I have a feeling that an article like this positively mocking the Bush/Blair warmongering rhetoric couldnıt have been published in the Washington Post even a month ago.] * The confusion deepens over U.S. foreign policy [It is really very encouraging, indeed heartwarming, to see articles appearing in the US press which are beginning to treat the President and his war against terrorism with the cool intellectual contempt that they deserve.] * U.S. fears Iraq could channel weapons into terrorist hands * Global Eye -- The Foggy Dew [If even the Moscow Times is publishing cheeky articles about the US government things are really on the slippery slope ...] IRAQI/MIDDLE EAST-ARAB WORLD RELATIONS http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/020525/2002052535.html * IRAQ'S TRADE MINISTER ARRIVES IN DAMASCUS Arabic News, 25th May Iraqi Trade Minister Mohammed Mehdi Saleh arrived in Damascus for a several-day visit to Syria and is leading a delegation to the Iraqi-Syrian Committee meetings to expand cooperation between Iraq and Syria, INA reported today. http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/020525/2002052509.html * IRAQ, UAE SIGNED JOINT COOPERATION AGREEMENTS Arabic News, 25th May Iraq and the United Arab Emirates UAE on Thursday evening in conclusion of the meetings of the first session of the joint Iraqi- UAE committee on economic, trade and technical cooperation, an agreement to expand their bilateral cooperation especially in the fields of commerce, industry and health. On the Iraqi side, the agreement was signed by the deputy premier and minister of finance Hikmat Ibrahim al-Ezzawi and on the UAE side by the minister of state for financial and industrial affairs Muhammad Khalfan Bin Kharbash, currently visiting Baghdad. In a statement following the signing of the agreement, al- Ezzawi said that the coming phase will witness a large expansion in the area of trade cooperation between the two states. For his part, Bin Kharbash explained that his country is careful to deepen and consolidate ties of cooperation with Iraq in all fields especially after the two states have signed the free trade bilateral agreement. www.stratfor.com (Subscription only. Sent to list) * IRAQ USING OIL PIPELINE TO SWAY U.S. ALLY Stratfor, 24 May 2002 Iraq's use of economic diplomacy to forestall a possible U.S. strike continues to develop, with Baghdad targeting key U.S. ally Turkey. The Iraqi government has nearly finished reconstructing a major pumping station on a joint pipeline, running from Kirkuk in Iraq to Ceyhan in Turkey, which this summer will become fully operational for the first time since 1990. The pipeline repairs will generate hundreds of millions of dollars in oil-transit fees for the Turkish government, which is struggling to revive its stagnant economy. Baghdad hopes that the cash flow will make the Turks reconsider supporting U.S. military action against Iraq. It is not clear exactly what the White House has in mind for Iraq. U.S. President George W. Bush told an audience in Germany May 23 that an attack on Iraq was not imminent. The Pentagon seems to have major concerns over such an operation, and the White House and civilian leaders at the Pentagon appear to be pressing the U.S. military leadership for more imaginative attack plans than those that have been presented so far. However, no matter what scenarios are being offered for ousting Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, Turkey is key in all of them. U.S. aircraft from Turkish bases enforce the Iraqi northern no-fly zone, and Turkey's border with Iraq is a potential invasion route. This makes swaying the opinion of the government in Ankara a top priority for Baghdad. The repair and reopening of the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline will almost double the line's total capacity from 900,000 barrels per day to 1.6 million bpd. The additional volume through the pipeline will mean a corresponding increase in the transit fees collected by the Turkish government, something on the order of a half billion dollars a year in revenue. This is serious cash for the Turkish government. The economy is in intensive care: It shrank 9.4 percent last year amid an economic crisis and is only now steadying under an International Monetary Fund-backed recovery program. Many Turkish politicians place a large measure of blame for their economic woes on U.S. policies in the aftermath of the Persian Gulf War. The oil embargo on Iraq and a collapse in trade between the two countries have cost the Turkish economy tens of billions of dollars. The financial hit was partially offset by aid from U.S.-backed international institutions. Last February, Turkey won a $16 billion loan package from the IMF, making it the organization's biggest borrower with a total of $31 billion. However, Ankara would rather that the billions of dollars come from trade instead of loans. Although the money coming from Iraq may make the Turkish government more sympathetic to Baghdad's diplomatic efforts, it likely won't be enough get Ankara to turn its back on Washington. However, Turkey may still use this relationship to raise its price for participating in a U.S. campaign against Baghdad. http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/020525/2002052501.html * SAUDI- IRAQI BORDER OPENED TODAY Arabic News, 25th May The Saudi daily Okaz said in its Friday's issue that today (Saturday) the border center between Saudi Arabia and Iraq at Araar closed since August 1990 will be opened for trade movement. The paper added that ten Saudi truck lauded by [trucks loaded with? - PB]iron equipment and plastic products have arrived on Friday at the border point in preparation to export them to Iraq, noting that the border center has become ready to facilitate the process of goods moves through the two sides. http://www.dailystar.com.lb/27_05_02/art28.asp * IRAQ, LEBANON INK MEDIA COOPORATION PROTOCOL Daily Star (Lebanon), 27th May Iraq and Lebanon have signed a protocal on media cooperation, during a visit by Information Minister Ghazi Aridi and other officials to Baghdad. Aridi arrived in Iraq Saturday, at the invitation of his Iraqi counterpart Mohammed Said Sahhaf. Khalil Khoury, who heads Lebanonıs National News Agency, signed the accord on behalf of Beirut. Aridi said that ³different (political) regimes and circumstances² faced by Arab countries did not do away with the need for cooperation, ³although Lebanon and Iraq have a similar reading of the issue of confronting Israel.² Last June, Arab information ministers met in Beirut and agreed on measures to support the intifada and to counter what they considered Israeli propaganda, but a proposal to establish an Arab satellite channel broadcasting in English has stalled. http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/020527/2002052730.html * MOROCCAN HEALTH MINISTER EXPECTED SUNDAY IN IRAQ Arabic News, 27th May Moroccan health minister, Thami El Khyari, will start on Sunday a three-day work visit to Iraq, the Moroccan embassy here announced. During his visit, the Moroccan official will meet Iraqi peer Oumid Medhat Mubarak and other Iraqi officials on issues pertaining to health and medicine. According to the source, Morocco will be holding medical days in Baghdad with the participation of Moroccan laboratories and pharmaceutical companies. http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/020527/2002052720.html * QATAR'S ECONOMY MINISTER TO VISIT IRAQ IN JUNE Arabic News, 27th May Qatar's minister of economy and trade Sheikh Hamad Bin Faisal al- Thani will visit Baghdad by the beginning of June on top of a large delegation including high ranking officials and businessmen in the ministry. According to diplomatic sources this visit is greatly welcomed by Iraq in its being the first since the second Gulf war (the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait), besides this visit is a manifestation of the developed political relations between Doha and Baghdad. The sources said the two sides will discuss during this visit several issues aiming at deepening trade and economic cooperation and the possibility of signing a free trade agreement between the two sides as well as several other agreements currently under study. The two sides will also discuss the expansion of commercial exchange in light of the UN "oil for food" program. The Iraqis are looking for increasing Qatar's share in this regard. During the two past years, the Iraqi minister of commerce Muhammad Mahdi Saleh visited Doha for the same purpose. http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/news.asp?ArticleID=52585 * IRAQ-JORDAN PIPELINE WORK 'TO START BEFORE YEAR-END Gulf News (Reuters), 28th May Work to build an oil pipeline from Iraq to Jordan will start before the end of this year, Nabdh Al-Shabab weekly newspaper said yesterday, quoting an unidentified oil source. "Specialised technical companies will start work on the Iraq-Jordan oil pipeline project before the end of this year," the source told the newspaper. The source did not give an exact date for the start of the work but said the 750 km pipeline would replace the current export of crude by trucks. "First stage of the project includes building the section of the pipeline on Jordanian territory and a pumping and storage station near the borders on the Iraqi territory, while the second stage includes building section of the line on Iraqi territory," the source said. He said that the $350 million pipeline will have a capacity of 250,000 barrels a day. The weekly said the Jordanian Ministry of Energy anmd Mineral Resources had received bids from companies to build the line in mid April and it will announce the name of the winning company in July. Work was not expected to exceed 15 months. The planned $350 million pipeline will extend from the Iraqi pumping station in Haditha, 260 km northwest of Baghdad to Jordan's refinery of Zarqa, northeast of Amman. The first stage of the project will be from the Iraqi-Jordanian border to Zarqa, a 300 km stretch. Officials argue that since the project, originally agreed in 1998, would not in the first stage be built on Iraqi territory it did not require prior United Nations approval. The UN has already exempted around 110,000 bpd of Iraqi crude exported by truck to Jordan from the sanctions regime imposed on Iraq for its 1990 invasion of Kuwait. Baghdad is Jordan's main energy supplier, delivering annually around 5.5 million tonnes of crude oil and petroleum products to the kingdom under undisclosed concessionary terms that ease Jordan's budget deficit. http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/news.asp?ArticleID=52580 * CALL FOR CONCERTED GCC MILITARY EFFORTS by Mohammed Almezel Gulf News, 28th May Calling for military cohesion and integration among all GCC states, Bahrain's Defence Minister Sheikh Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Khalifa hinted yesterday that his country was not part of any military effort against terrorism since it has never been a target of any terror activities. He also affirmed his country's strong objection to any military attack on Iraq or any other Arab country. "There are countries that are engaged in the war against terrorism according to their own concept of terror as a result of what they perceive as a terrorist threat; and we, in Bahrain, are not threatened," the minister told reporters at the end of the ninth meeting of the GCC Armed Forces Chiefs' High Committee in Manama yesterday. He also denied that the meeting had anything to do with any sort of threat or the current regional developments. "It is an ordinary consultative meeting which had been scheduled six months ago," he pointed out. Sheikh Khalifa reiterated the island kingdom's "opposition to any move to strike any Arab country including Iraq." Addressing the GCC army chiefs, the minister called for concerting military efforts to sustain regional stability. "We are witnessing a world of many changes, internationally and regionally, that impose on all of us in the GCC a huge responsibility to coordinate our efforts and capabilities in a way that sustains the stability of this region," he said. He pointed out that the aim of the meeting was "to further boost the cohesion and integration among the GCC states and stability and security for all Gulf countries." Meanwhile, Abdul Rahman Al Attiyya, GCC Secretary General, emphasised the importance of the three joint projects; the Peninsula Shield Force (PSF), the Cooperation Belt, the Cable Military Telecommunications and the GCC Military Reconnaissance Satellite. However, he pointed out that the main item on yesterday's agenda was relating to the Shield's joint force which comprises more than 6,000 of soldiers form the six member states. The meeting was to discuss the situation of non-GCC nationals working in the force and the need of the force Command for combat readiness equipment. The Peninsula Shield was created in 1982 with the aim of unifying operational procedures, training, and military curricula, while a 1997 Kuwait Summit resolution underlined a plan to link the GCC member states with a military communication network for early warning. http://www.dailystar.com.lb/business/28_05_02_a.htm * AMERICAN FACTOR GAINS STRENGTH IN JORDAN Daily Star, Lebanon, 28th May Within its drive for better economic relations with countries beyond its immediate neighbors, and also for political reasons, Jordan has recently opened trade with the United States, becoming the fourth country to sign a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Washington and the second state outside the Americas to do so after Israel. The agreement, which took effect last December, will eliminate duties and commercial barriers to bilateral trade in goods and services originating in the United States and Jordan. The roster of items that will be exempt from customs will grow over a 10-year span, to include almost all exports and imports, except for cigarettes, alcohol and cars, which are important sources of Jordanian customs revenues. The FTA also includes, for the first time in the context of a trade agreement, provisions addressing trade and the environment, trade and labor, and electronic commerce. Other provisions address intellectual property rights protection, balance of payments, rules of origins, safeguards and procedural matters such as consultations and dispute settlement. The most critical issue discussed during negotiations between the two countries was the rule for handling intellectual property rights, particularly in the dynamic pharmaceuticals industry, which is now unable to produce in-patent drugs without expensive licensing agreements. In the past two years copyright enforcement efforts by Jordanian authorities have resulted in good progress toward the realization of obligations contained in the WTO agreements - to raise the level of criminal sanctions for copyright piracy. Accordingly, Jordan was removed from the Office of the United States Trade Representativeıs special 301 ³watchlist² of countries deemed to be inadequately protective of intellectual property. However, more follow-up will be needed, as the effective implementation mechanisms and legal procedures have not yet been fully established. Except for pharmaceuticals, as well as for prosecutorial and judicial delays, have stymied the hopes of any tangible progress. As a result, the number of local pirate resellers remains high. Unlicensed software was even detected in corporate end-users, including banks and various government offices. The rate of computer software piracy in Jordan was 71 percent in 2000, costing the computer industry $2.1 million, according to the US-based Business Software Alliance, which represents leading software developers. Implementation of the FTA, along with the dismantling of the numerous trade barriers, is expected to facilitate a substantial expansion of Jordanian exports to the US, which have generally been meager. In 2001, however, Jordanıs exports to the US rose significantly, due in part to expectations of FTA ratification. Exports to the US for 2001 were JD 164.4 million ($234 million), compared to JD 44.9 million in 2000. The shoring up of trade and other economic ties between the two states is evidence of detente with Washington. Of these, Qualifying Industrial Zones (QIZ) are also important. The QIZ model begun in 1998 has provided investors with duty- and quota-free access to the American market for products manufactured by qualifying enterprises located in enclaves designated by the US trade authorities. Certain requirements must be met, and the product, for example, must be ³a new and different article² that has been used, manufactured or grown in the zone. Also, 35 percent of the appraised value of the good, upon entry to the US market, must ³consist of the costs or value of materials produced and direct cost operation performed in the QIZ.² Clothing and apparel exports from Jordanıs QIZs, goods from which enjoy duty-free access to the US, were the main engine behind the accelerated growth in export earnings witnessed last year. National exports of clothes have almost tripled in price values in 2001, from JD 75.9 million in 2000 to JD 203.6 million last year. However, Jordanıs lack of enthusiasm for a possible US military attack on Iraq in response to the Sept. 11 tragedies in Washington and New York, as well as strong internal opposition to US-backed Israeli violence against civilians in Palestine, threaten to disrupt these links. (Although Iraq does not appear to have had any involvement in the Sept. 11 attacks.) Because of these and other factors, a public campaign is being waged in the kingdom to boycott American products in favor of local goods, a notion absent from the lexicon of Jordanıs public discourse before 2000. At the same time, there is also a trend to turn to the Arab world, tightening commercial bonds with Gulf states and other countries instead of with the US. Yet for the time being Amman must remain on good terms, for strategic and economic reasons, with Washington - not least of which is that the US emerged as Jordanıs major export market in 2001. Members of the government, bipartisan economists and independent businesspeople justify furthering the rapport with Washington on economic grounds, arguing that a boycott of American products could hamper Jordanıs chances of development and growth, especially in the fields of trade, investment and tourism, a consideration underscored by the prime minister in a recent meeting with the chairman of the Chambers of Industry and Trade and influential journalists. In light of these and other conflicting interests, the ability of King Abdullah II to strengthen economic and other links with the US, while public tolerance of Washingtonıs strong support for Israeli aggression in the West Bank appears to have been reduced, is vital. In 2001, Abdullah emerged as a key player on the regional political scene - lobbying for a just, equitable and lasting solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The kingıs recent visit to Washington has resulted in closer ties at all levels, including politically. For its part, the US administration stated its commitment to a Palestinian state. So far the US has not moved strongly to punish Israel for its hard-line policies in the West Bank. The Bush camp has tended to take the Israeli line that Palestinian President Yasser Arafat is not a legitimate negotiating partner, and has even accused Arafat of collaborating with terrorist groups responsible for bomb attacks in Israel. Nevertheless, economic relations with the US will continue to expand in the short run, despite opposition elements in Jordan and the rest of the Arab world. Amman will continue to count the US as its principle ally, and a $100 million increase in economic and development assistance to the kingdom (if ratified by Congress), to fight unemployment and poverty, as well as for educational projects is proof of the substantial rewards that close ties with Washington can bring. The US administration is also asking Congress to double its official aid to Jordan from $225 million this year to $448 million in fiscal 2003, including $250 million in financial assistance in support of Abdullahıs efforts to improve the well being of ordinary Jordanians. The increase would make Jordan the fourth-largest recipient of US aid after Israel, Egypt and Colombia. Amid heightened tensions in the Middle East stemming from the Palestinian uprising and the subsequent election of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, extra-regional factors may come more prominently into play to promote development of the economy. However, there is no guarantee that these will be welcomed or easily accepted unless the West in general and the US in particular takes a more proactive role in the Arab-Israeli dispute, as a means of ending the violence. Marwan A. Kardoosh, an independent economist based in Amman, wrote this commentary for The Daily Star. http://www.dawn.com/2002/05/30/int5.htm * IRAQ ALLOWED TO SEND AMBASSADOR TO OIC by Syed Rashid Husain Dawn, 30th May, 17 Rabi-ul-Awwal 1423 RIYADH, May 29: Saudi Arabia, which currently has no diplomatic ties with Iraq, has agreed to let Baghdad send an ambassador to the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), sending a clear sign of improving ties between the two countries. "The (Saudi) foreign ministry has given consent" to an Iraqi request via the OIC to appoint an ambassador to the 57-member body, the Saudi daily Al-Hayat said, quoting a Riyadh based Arab diplomat. The Iraqi envoy, who is likely to operate out of the currently closed Iraqi consulate building in Jeddah, will also be responsible for future contacts with Riyadh. The consulate and the Iraqi mission in Riyadh have been closed since the Gulf war. An Iraqi newspaper said earlier this month that an Iraqi academic, Mohammad Majid Al Said, was tipped for the Jeddah position. Of late Saudi Arabia and Iraq have gone a long way in mending fences. Saudi exports to Iraq under the UN "oil for food programme" has crossed the one billion dollar mark. According to Iraq's industries minister, who was in Saudi Arabia recently, the prospects of these ties growing further were very much there. Despite no official announcement yet, reports here indicate that in order to facilitate the movement of goods from Saudi Arabia to Iraq, the Arar border post between is likely to be reopened soon. Already queues of trucks loaded with Saudi goods are seen moving towards the border post, waiting for arrangements to be completed before they are allowed entry into Iraq. http://www.dawn.com/2002/05/31/int12.htm * SAUDIS CHANNEL ANGER INTO CHARITY by Scott Peterson Dawn (from Christian Science Monitor), 31st May, 18 Rabi-ul-Awwal 1423 [.....] But while Saudis view their aid as an Islamic duty, Israel accuses Saudi Arabia of funding terrorism by supporting the families of suicide bombers and militants. Among the documents Israelis collected during their West Bank offensive last month were letters from the Al Quds fund that referred to a payment of more than $500,000 to 102 families of those Israel calls "terrorists." Saudis dismiss those claims and say their aid is only necessary because of Israeli military actions. They draw a line - as do senior US officials - between Saudi support and that of Iraq's Saddam Hussein, who has offered $25,000 to families of any suicide bomber. Although 15 of the 19 hijackers on Sept 11 came from Saudi Arabia - and more than one third of the detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, are Saudi, according to US officials - Riyadh has never knowingly supported terrorism, Western diplomats and analysts say. "The Saudis are not supporting Palestinian terrorist groups," says a US official here. "If they were, we would have a tremendous problem." Analysts note that some private Saudi money has been funnelled in the past to Palestinian groups, such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad, which carry out many of the suicide attacks. But that is far removed from the new reservoir of popular sympathy for the Palestinian cause, Saudis say. America's staunch support for Israel is fuelling a regional boycott of American products that has reached fever pitch. [.....] http://www.washtimes.com/world/20020531-14704685.htm * JENIN FAMILIES POCKET IRAQI CASH by Alan Philps Washington Times (from DAILY TELEGRAPH), 31st May JENIN, West Bank One of the few smiles in Jenin, the site of the biggest battle between Israelis and Palestinians last month, is on the face of Mahmoud Besharat, the man who is handing out millions of dollars of largesse from Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. Mr. Besharat has just started distributing checks of $25,000 each to the hundreds of people whose homes in the Jenin refugee camp were destroyed by the Israeli army in April. He is budgeting for a total expenditure of $7.3 million, a vast sum for this dirt-poor refugee camp. In the offices of the Arab Liberation Front (ALF), a Palestinian group funded by Iraq and loyal to Saddam, Mr. Besharat is besieged by families seeking their money. "People embrace me on the street," said Mr. Besharat, the ALF representative for the northern West Bank. "But they know that it is not my money but a gift from Saddam Hussein." Saddam's bounty is all the more astonishing as refugee families will not have to use it to rebuild their homes. The United Nations is taking care of that expense and is providing schools, clinics and social services for the refugees, thanks to a promise of $25 million from the United Arab Emirates. "The Iraqi money is a gift, no more than that. They can put the money in their back pockets or build another house," said Mr. Besharat. Saddam's award for losing a home applies only to the Jenin refugee camp, in honor of the camp's status in Palestinian lore as the "citadel of steadfastness." About 60 Palestinians and 23 Israeli soldiers died during a battle in the narrow alleys, which ended with the army bulldozing about 140 houses in the middle of the camp. ALF also is doling out generous bounties for the dead and injured in the 20-month intifada. Payments are on a strict scale: $500 for a wound, $950 for disablement, $9,500 for death as a "martyr" and $25,000 for a suicide bomber. The largesse comes at a time when Iraq and other Arab countries are complaining of widespread poverty in Iraq, with hospitals running short of supplies and medicine and children suffering and dying from malnutrition. The hardship is blamed on U.N. economic sanctions imposed after Saddam's invasion of Kuwait in 1990. But U.S. officials point out that Saddam has been able to find ample funds to rebuild his palaces and to pay his elite Republican Guards and other allies. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has accused Iraq of fomenting the recent wave of suicide bombings, which has traumatized Israel and shocked the world. Mr. Besharat does not disagree. "You would have to ask President Saddam why he is being so generous. But he is a revolutionary and he wants this distinguished struggle, the intifada, to continue," he said. IRAQI/IRANIAN RELATIONS http://www.iranmania.com/news/ArticleView/Default.asp?NewsCode=10379&NewsKin d=CurrentAffairs&ArchiveNews=Yes * IRANIAN NAVAL UNITS TRADE FIRE WITH PHONY IRAQI FISHERMEN IranMania.com, 25th May TEHRAN, May 25 (AFP) - Iranian naval patrol vessels recently traded fire with "armed Iraqi agents disguised as fishermen," the Jomhuri e-Islami daily reported on Saturday. The incident occurred in the waters of the Persian Gulf, when the Iranian boats arrived on the scene in response to a call for help from an Iranian fishing vessel, the newspaper said without providing further details. Jomhuri e-Islami said Iranian fishing boats have repeatedly been the target of Iraqi aggressions in recent months. http://www.tehrantimes.com/Description.asp?Da=5/25/02&Cat=2&Num=14 * ON THE OCCASION OF 20TH ANNIVERSARY OF LIBERATION OF KHORRAMSHAHR Tehran Times, 25th May Tehran - The Iranian nation yesterday celebrated the 20th anniversary of the liberation of Khorramshahr from Iraqi occupation, also known as the "Day of Resistance and Victory." On this day, the yo The Baathist regime of Iraq began its wide-scale and all-out attack against Iran on September 22, 1980, occupying parts of the Iranian soil. The Persian Gulf port city of Khorramshahr, located in the border that divides Iran and Iraq, was occupied by the aggressor Iraqi Army in November 1980 despite 34 days of brave resistance by Iranian f However, after 575 days of occupation, following an operation the Iranian forces liberated the city in less than 48 hours, at 11:00 on May 24, 1982. The operation to liberate Khorramshahr took place only a few days after the Baathist regime of Iraq had invited a group of Western reporters to visit the city so that Saddam Hussein could show his pow The liberation of Khorramshahr by the brave Iranian combatants became an epic story that surprised the world, especially supporters of the Iraqi regime, because after the city's liberation the fate of Despite its eight divisions and 16 brigades in the area, the Iraqi regime could not resist the vast operation of Iranian forces. In this operation, all Iraqi brigades and divisions were demolished. All in all, during the operation to liberate Khorramshahr some 19,000 Iraqi soldiers were captured and another 16,500 were killed or injured. The liberation dealt the military power of Iraq a heavy blow. The effects led to a new twist in the direction of the Iraqi-imposed war against Iran, because the military superiority of Iran over Iraq Iran's proven military superiority made the U.S. and Arab countries of the region seek ways to save Saddam Hussein's regime more than ever before. The Americans stressed speedy cessation of war withou Indeed, the liberation of Khorramshahr had an impact on regional developments in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf on the threshold of escalation of tensions between Arabs and Israel and the creati The U.S. and Zionist regime, in their desperate attempts to make Iraq win the war, tried to form a new front in Lebanon to engage Iranian forces in another scene. Their aim was to confront Iran in two In pursuit of that objective, the Zionist regime's forces violated South Lebanese territory in June 1982, only 11 days after the liberation of Khorramshahr. Western analysts, while expressing surprise over the defeat of the aggressor forces of Iraq, wrongly described Iran as a threat to the region. Former U.S. secretary of state Henry Kissinger, in an article published in the Washington Post, said, "If Iraq had won the war, there would have been no concern and fear in the Persian Gulf Those circles tried to portray Iran as a threat to the region in order to convince the regional Arab countries to increase their assistance to Iraq or, at least, prevent Iran from attacking Iraq. Also, some 27 days after the liberation of Khorramshahr, the Iraqi regime announced it would withdraw from Iranian territory. However, by doing so, Iraq was not looking for peace, but in fact through Considering the heavy blow that it had received, Iraqi regime tried to convene a meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in Baghdad in 1982 in order to restore its tarnished image and seek help from On the other hand, some regional countries, after Iran proved its military capability, rushed to support the Iraqi regime. The former Soviet Union despite its claim of being impartial actually increas France, Britain, Germany and the U.S. gave all kinds of financial, economic and military aid to Baghdad. In 1982, the then U.S. president Ronald Reagan removed the name of Iraq from the list of "suppo Washington further agreed to provide Iraq another $1 billion in arms. In the same year, following a meeting in the White House, Washington decided to give the Iraqi regime access to sensitive informat To increase its support for Iraq, the U.S. government also decided to reestablish ties with Baghdad that were suspended for many years. The current U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, as the speci After the liberation of Khorramshahr, Western countries, especially the U.S., provided the Baghdad regime with all kinds of advanced and sophisticated arms to save Saddam Hussein. For instance, with t In addition, in 1982, the Pentagon authorized the international Signal-and-Control Company to put $43 million worth of Rocky cluster bombs at the disposal of the Iraqi regime. These bombs are the most Furthermore, the American company Bechtel, in cooperation with an Italian firm, in 1982 began exports of equipment for manufacturing all kinds of chemical weapons to Iraq so as to enable the Iraqi reg On the contrary, all kinds of political, economic and military sanctions had been imposed on Iran. Despite this, the Iranian soldiers created an unprecedented epic in the history of their homeland through their valor and self-sacrifice. The liberation of Khorramshar will be remembered forever as the summum bonum of bravery and resistance unprecedented in Iranian history. http://www.irna.com/newshtm/eng/06114322.htm * DAILY ON UN INACTION TOWARDS PRODUCTION OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS Tehran, May 27, IRNA -- `Tehran Times' on Monday highlighted the plight of suffering Iranians injured by chemical weapons used during the Iraqi-imposed war, and criticized the UN and other international organizations for doing nothing to prevent tragedies of the kind. The Iranian Society of War Veterans Injured by Chemical Weapons, in a letter to the UN representative in Tehran on Saturday, expressed its regret over the silence of the United Nations in the face of continued production and deployment of chemical weapons, said the English-language daily in its Perspective column. The society, in its letter, pointed to the considerable number of Iranians who have attained martyrdom as a result of the injuries sustained from chemical weapons used during the 1980-88 Iraqi-imposed war, it said. According to the daily, the letter also deplored the failure of the United Nations to act on behalf of victims of chemical warfare in accordance with its duties and responsibilities under the UN Charter. The letter also stressed the fact that pertinent documents proving the deployment of chemical weapons by Iraq during the imposed war have already been forwarded to the United Nations. It also accused the world body of becoming a tool of big powers to achieve their policies, even if these policies run counter to human rights. Some 130,000 Iranians have been suffering from injuries caused by dangerous chemicals used in the war while nine have already succumbed to their injuries since the start of the current year, pointed out the daily. The Baathist regime of Iraq, backed by the big powers in its eight-year war against Iran, deployed chemical weapons on two hundred different occasions against the Iranian forces, it pointed out. Western countries like the United States, England, Germany, France, Italy, Russia and the Netherlands are known to have supplied Iraq with the equipment necessary to produce a large variety of chemical weapons to be used against Iranian forces, the Opinion further said. The United Nations, in the face of the tremendous suffering of victims of chemical and biological warfare, is actually an accomplice in the crimes perpetrated by the big powers who supply these weapons, suggested the daily. http://www.dailystar.com.lb/28_05_02/art19.asp * ISLAMIC REPUBLICıS DRIVE TO DEVELOP BALLISTIC MISSILES BOOSTS REGIONAL TENSIONS by Ed Blanche The Daily Star (Lebanon), 28th May Amid the tension gripping the Middle East over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the possibility of a US assault against Iraq, President George W. Bushıs campaign against Osama bin Laden and US encroachment into Central Asia, not to mention the dangerous confrontation between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan, another crisis is smoldering in the region. Iran is forging ahead with its drive to produce an arsenal of ballistic missiles that US and Israeli officials say will eventually have the range to hit Western Europe and much of the Middle East, but with Israel a prime target. Since Bush lumped Iran in with Iraq and North Korea as an ³axis of evil² bent on acquiring weapons of mass destruction (WMD), there seems little doubt that the Islamic Republic is becoming a major target for the US administration because of Tehranıs efforts to develop ballistic weapons as well as its alleged drive to acquire nuclear arms in a new regional arms race. What that will entail is not yet clear, but the strident rhetoric emanating from the Bush administration these days is deepening the sense of foreboding that has gripped the region over the last year-and-a-half. Worse, it is clearly undercutting the reformist movement in Iran led by President Mohammad Khatami, who has advocated dialogue with the US to end more than two decades of hostility, and strengthened the hand of his conservative opponents. That in itself is cause for dismay. But since Khatamiıs political adversaries also control the key centers of power, particularly the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) which in turn controls Iranıs missile forces, and the intelligence services, there is reason for even greater dismay. They have made it clear on more than one occasion that they consider the national security benefits to the clerical regime of acquiring WMD to be higher than the cost involved. In part, this stems from Iraniansı searing memories of the broadsides of Iraqi missiles that battered Tehran and other cities during the latter stages of the 1980-88 Gulf War - and Iranıs lack of the means to retaliate in kind, largely due to a US-led arms embargo that remains in place to this day. No Iranian leadership can accept being so defenseless again. Israelıs nuclear arsenal is another factor. Iran, along with the regionıs Arab states, sees that as a constant threat to their security and believes that the country must have the means to defend itself, or to make the cost of aggression prohibitively high. That fear was heightened when Israel and Turkey formed a military alliance in February 1996 and has been fueled further by growing US and Israeli influence in Central Asia, on Iranıs northern borders, that was under way long before Sept. 11. Since the cost to Iran of trying to match Israelıs conventional and technological superiority is too great, nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles, the Iranians reason, would be the great equalizer with Israel - the kind of balance of terror that prevented conflict during the Cold War. US support for Israel can only intensify this arms race. Israel, which has deemed Iran its most dangerous threat, was pressing Washington to take tough measures to curtail the transfer of technology and expertise by Russia, China, Pakistan and North Korea to the Islamic Republic long before Sept. 11, but that pressure has intensified since then and is certain to continue. Tehran insists that its missile program is purely for deterrence, but that notion is frequently overwhelmed by such slogans as ³Israel should be wiped off the face of the Earth² which were attached to the Shehab-3 when it was paraded through Tehran a couple of years ago. Iranian Defense Minister Admiral Ali Shamkhani, a former revolutionary who rose rapidly through the ranks of the IRGC as a battlefront commander in the 1980-88 war against Iraq, said on May 7 that the Islamic Republic has stepped up efforts to improve the range and warhead capabilities of its Shehab-3 medium-range ballistic missile. On Sunday, Tehran confirmed a US intelligence report that Tehran had successfully flight-tested the 17-ton system, modeled primarily on North Koreaıs No Dong series of ballistic missiles and which has an estimated range of 1,300 kilometers, earlier this month. That was the fourth such test since July 1998, two of which were failures. Shamkhani said that US pressure on Russia and China to halt all cooperation with Tehran had not impaired the missile program. He spoke on Iranıs state-run television following Bushıs four-day summit with President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, during which they signed an agreement to reduce their nuclear arsenals, but remained at odds over Russiaıs $800 million contract with Iran to build a nuclear power plant outside the southern city of Bushehr and what US and Israeli officials allege is technological assistance from Russian scientists and companies. As recently as March 19, Central Intelligence Agency Director George Tenet told the US Senate Armed Services Committee that Russia, China and North Korea continued to supply advanced technology and training to Iran for its missile programs, despite promises by Moscow and Beijing to stop doing so. The Americans insist that the plant, scheduled to begin operating by September 2003, will accelerate Iranıs efforts to acquire nuclear weapons. Tehran and Moscow deny that the nuclear plant, and several others they have discussed, will have any military application. US officials have warned that Tehran is also pressing ahead with developing the longer range Shehab-4, which could threaten much of the Middle East along with Western and Central Europe. Shamkhani was quoted by the official Islamic Republic News Agency as saying that ³the supply and strengthening of the Shehab-3 missile is one of the defense policies of Iran, and use of smartı systems can reasonably boost the Shehab-3ıs destructive power, accuracy and range.² He gave no details beyond saying that ³Iran enjoys remarkable capabilities within the framework of its defense policy.² His remarks appeared to be directed at Israel, which has warned that it would unleash pre-emptive strikes against Iran if it sought to use weapons of mass destruction - and its use of long-range strikes with US built aircraft against Iraqıs Osiraq nuclear reactor in 1981 and against Palestinian President Yasser Arafatıs headquarters in Tunis in 1985 has shown that the Jewish state will attack its adversaries if it considers itself under threat. However, such raids against Iran would be much more difficult and complex because the Iranians have widely dispersed their strategic facilities, although Bushehr remains an easily identifiable target. With the Bush administration taking an increasingly tougher line over Iran, the Israelis may feel confident enough to launch pre-emptive attacks once they deem Tehran is close enough to achieving a WMD strike capability. Shamkhani warned that if Israel ³carries out any military action against Iran, the response will be beyond the imagination of any Israeli politician.² This was seen as a threat to use Shehab-3s. According to unconfirmed reports, Iran began serial production of the system several months ago. US officials have warned that the missile could be in service ³soon,² possibly by curtailing its test program. US intelligence officials believe that Iran now has several Shehab-3s available to launch in an emergency, but that it still has not been able to develop a completely reliable system. Israeli Transport Minister Ephraim Sneh claimed on Feb. 6 that Iran had at least 20 Shehab-3s operational, which is about the same number of No Dong engines Iran was believed to have imported from North Korea in 1999. The latest test underlined that the Iranians were ³continuing to forward with their missile programs,² according to one US official. According to Israeli intelligence and US sources, the Shehab-3 program suffered a serious setback in January 2002 when a missile exploded as it was being fueled for a flight test. Several people were reported killed in the accident, which some reports blamed on an engine failure. Iran has never acknowledged the accident. Israel, which has been backed by the Bush administration, claims Iran has been increasing its involvement in the Palestinian intifada with weapons, funds and political support. Bush branded Iran part of the ³axis of evil² in January after Israel intercepted a shipment of Iranian arms allegedly bound for the Palestinians. The Iranians have appeared in recent months to be increasingly confident about their missile capability. The Americans, in turn, have been voicing growing concern about Iranıs alleged effort to develop nuclear arms and its missile program, including longer range versions called the Shehab-4 and Shehab-5. The former is still under development and the latter remains at the theoretical stage, although Israeli intelligence claims the Iranians are seeking a range of up to 10,000 kilometers. Shamkhani says the Shehab-4 will be used as a launch vehicle to put an Iranian communications satellite in space. That could eventually put a chain of Iranian surveillance satellites in space which could be linked to Iranıs missile force - the mirror image of Israelıs own Jericho-2 long-range missile, Arrow-2 anti-missile system and its Ofeq spy satellite program. On May 9, a senior US administration official warned that the Shehab-4 would have an initial range of 2,000 kilometers, but anticipated upgrades would allow it to reach Italy, Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Greece and Turkey. Attacks on the European states are considered unlikely because of Tehranıs good relations with them, but Israel, its military ally Turkey and US military forces in the Gulf are seen as potential targets in the event of hostilities. Tehran has become increasingly concerned with the growing US military presence in Afghanistan and Central Asia, particularly the disputed oil-rich Caspian Basin, reinforcing fears that along with Israelıs military pacts with Turkey, the Americans are seeking to encircle and isolate the Islamic Republic. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A30240-2002May29.html * IRANIAN ABANDONS PUSH TO IMPROVE U.S. TIES Washington Post (from Reuters), 30th May TEHRAN, May 29 -- President Mohammad Khatami urged his reformist allies in parliament today to abandon a quest for better relations with the United States because of what he described as the growing U.S. belligerence toward Iran. Khatami, a moderate cleric who made a dramatic overture to the United States in 1997, said he was put off by the tone U.S. leaders have taken toward Iran. "When a big power uses a militant, humiliating and threatening tone to speak to us, our nation will refuse to negotiate or show any flexibility," he said at a meeting with members of parliament, where his allies hold a majority. He called on supporters to abandon efforts to reach out to the United States and said they should follow Iran's official policy instead. Defying old taboos on relations with Washington, reformist lawmakers have held closed-door meetings to explore ways of resolving two decades of hostilities between the two countries. The move drew rebukes from Iran's supreme religious leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and threats by the hard-line judiciary to prosecute anyone who advocated dialogue with "the Great Satan." And a hard-line lawmaker today accused those favoring ties of being U.S. spies. Iran's Supreme National Security Council, headed by Khatami, has reportedly ruled out talks with Washington in reaction to charges by President Bush that Iran is part of an "axis of evil" with Iraq and North Korea. IRAQI/US RELATIONS http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A30703-2002May29.html * HESITANT HAWKS by Mary McGrory Washington Post, 30th May Demonstrations were the common thread of the president's week in Europe. There were the protesters in the streets of Berlin and Paris, even a nervous smattering in Moscow. Then NBC's David Gregory in Paris demonstrated a facility in French -- he put a question about demonstrations to President Jacques Chirac en français and touched off a demonstration of bad temper from the leader of the Western world, who later accused Gregory of showing off "as soon as you get in front of a camera," forgetting completely that this is what TV reporters are paid to do. The Bush blowup could be attributed to fatigue rather than to the poster-bearers who protested what we are doing in the Middle East and on global warming, and what we might do, such as invade Iraq. But these dissenters were kept well out of his sight, and besides, in the Bush inner circle -- which is to say handler Karl Rove -- European demonstrations are not to be taken seriously. The sight of decadent, elitist, stuck-up continental ingrates stirs anger in the heartland, where Rove thinks elections are won. The marchers might as well be working for the Republican National Committee: Their raised fists and furious faces provide a contrast to the Texan who always speaks his mind, saying what he feels if not always precisely what he means. No, something else was eating George Bush when he chewed out David Gregory. And it was probably a demonstration at, of all places, the Pentagon. It was a demonstration of cold feet on the part of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who leaked to Post Pentagon correspondent Thomas E. Ricks that they, just like the rabble in the streets of Europe, thought that invading Iraq was a chancy affair that would involve a large commitment of troops and casualties. And victory would bring only the unappetizing prospect of occupying Baghdad for an extended period. Bush must have been steamed, as they say. Why was the rhetoric of beads and sandals emanating from the brass? Had the chiefs become flower children grown old? For the public, perhaps, it was only the appropriate commemoration of Memorial Day. India and Pakistan were shouting threats at each other across a nuclear divide. Suicide bombers were exploding in Israel. The chiefs at least provided a timely reminder of the inescapable fact that when you send young men and women to war, they get killed -- the message on the Vietnam Wall. The chiefs certainly knew that the commander in chief of the world crusade against terrorism was adamant about the need for a regime change in Iraq. They heard his State of the Union speech on Jan. 29. They were sitting in the front row when he said to the faint-hearts of the world: "Some governments will be timid in the face of terror. And make no mistake about it: If they do not act, America will." But in Germany, the unilateralist was talking more softly and had checked his big stick at the door. Bush said he had "no war plans on my desk." He spoke of "unified diplomatic pressure" and of shared intelligence. In Paris on Sunday, he promised to consult with Chirac. Retired rear admiral Gene Carroll was pleased but not surprised by the bombshell from the Pentagon. Despite the drumbeat from the right, he says uniformed men like to plan precisely for situations where men will be fighting. "Amateurs talk about strategy, professionals talk about logistics," he says. It was evident that "we wouldn't have the allies, supplies and bases that were available to us in the Gulf War." The Carnegie Endowment's anti-proliferation expert, Joseph Cirincione, hails the chiefs' leak as bringing a sense of sanity to a ludicrous situation by reminding us that "it is complicated and expensive." He thinks a basic problem is that "the president is surrounded by yes men who try to encourage the Gary Cooper image, which is terrible for military policy." Lawrence J. Korb, an old Pentagonian who now works at the Council on Foreign Relations, says the chiefs have "burst the bubble of inevitability [around Iraq] -- it was all not if but when." He predicts that the"war fever in Washington will go down now." Consternation is high, of course, in the ranks of the civilian boosters of war with Saddam Hussein. The leaders are career hawks who loved the Vietnam War but declined to fight in it. For instance, Richard Perle thinks that The Post's Ricks got the story wrong -- he wishes, clearly -- and has decided it's not true. William Kristol, editor of the literate right-wing Weekly Standard, co-wrote a lead editorial asking if Bush had "gone wobbly." He still thinks Bush could "set it right," but he thinks the "odds that an invasion will happen have gone to 50-50," which he considers "too close for comfort." Europe may not have broadened Bush's perspective or changed his mind, but the Pentagon surely did. http://www.iht.com/articles/59435.html * THE CONFUSION DEEPENS OVER U.S. FOREIGN POLICY by William Pfaff International Herald Tribune (from Los Angeles Times), 30th May PARIS: President George W. Bush finished his European journey with U.S. foreign policy in deepening confusion. The crises between Pakistan and India, and Israel and the Palestinians, are slipping beyond American control. The European trip did nothing to add to the administration's credibility. Speaking in Paris on Sunday, the American president admonished Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf to "show results" in stopping incursions into the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir. His demand got no better response than his angry and peremptory order in early April to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to immediately halt Israel's military offensive against the Palestinians, withdraw from the occupied territories and end the settlements. That was simply ignored. Expansion of the settlements, terrorist attacks and retaliatory incursions and assassinations have all since resumed. Bush's inability to control his own protégés in the war on terrorism undermines the administration's credibility. It lends weight to the accusation that U.S. policy in practice disrupts international order. The risk of another India-Pakistan war, conceivably nuclear, is now considerable. Musharraf's enforced cooperation with Washington's war against terrorism in Afghanistan has so destabilized him in his own country that he seems to have lost control of the extremist elements in Pakistan's army and intelligence services. Their efforts to liberate all of Muslim Kashmir from Indian control have stoked a virulent Hindu nationalism in India, and within the government in New Delhi, which has been relying on Washington to keep Pakistan in check. Israel has this week rejected Washington's plan to reform Palestinian security forces under CIA director George Tenet's guidance, meant to rebuild a foundation for Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. This scheme was unrealistic from the start. It serves nothing to tell the Palestinians to reform a Palestinian Authority that Israel has spent the last three months destroying. Negotiations would be a charade so long as Israel insists on colonizing the territories and the Palestinian terrorists insist on destroying Israel. The administration's favored solution for the Middle East is to attack Iraq, but another generals' revolt, this one in Washington, has become the obstacle to that. While Bush was away, the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff made it known that they are unanimously against a military move against Iraq this year, and harbor serious doubts that such an attack should take place at all. In leaked stories to The Washington Post and other newspapers, spokesmen for the Joint Chiefs argued that it is an illusion to think that someone else, with a little American help from the air, is going to fight and defeat Saddam Hussein on behalf of the United States. They say that American forces numbering at least 200,000 would be needed to overturn Iraq's government, requiring a lengthy buildup and bases in a region hostile to such an undertaking. The chiefs say there is serious risk of chemical or biological weapons used in defense, and they fear high-casualty urban combat to take Baghdad. They see the political outcome uncertain at best, and at worst as producing an even more hostile successor regime in Baghdad. Until now, the Washington policy debate has been dominated by civilian hawks in the Defense Department, promoting the idea of a painless war that would lead to pro-American forces' taking power throughout the region, turning the Middle East into an American protectorate. Those who really believe this - Defense Department civilians; General Wayne Downing, the White House anti-terrorism coordinator; and the neoconservative press - have not backed down, so Bush faces a Washington policy struggle bigger than any his administration has faced yet. Nothing happened in Europe to counterbalance these negatives. The arms control and NATO agreements with Moscow were mainly successes for Vladimir Putin's foreign policy, giving him a place in NATO and, it seems, tacit American acquiescence in how he runs his war "against terrorism" in Chechnya. Light notes were provided by Bush's reiteration of personal confidence in the Russian president, assured this time not by looking into Putin's soul but because Putin and his wife "loved their daughters." His rather bad-tempered appearances in France with his friend Jacques Chirac produced faintly ironic, or possibly amused, responses from the French president, similar to those Bush had already received, if perhaps not registered, from his other great friend, Vladimir. The president's final meeting was with still another great friend, Silvio, and other friends from the NATO countries, meeting in Prime Minister Berlusconi's travertine-painted plywood edifices, built for the occasion on a secure military air base near Rome. There were 15,000 troops and police present, to protect NATO and Bush from Al Qaeda and the rogue states. http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/news.asp?ArticleID=52784 * U.S. FEARS IRAQ COULD CHANNEL WEAPONS INTO TERRORIST HANDS Gulf News (Reuters), 30th May A senior Pentagon official said yesterday that Iraq was hostile and aggressive enough to channel weapons of mass destruction into the hands of terrorists. "We are focussed on (Iraq) because of the inherent danger of a regime that hostile and that aggressive possessing weapons of that type... and the support that that regime has provided to terrorist organisations," U.S. Undersecretary of Defence Douglas Feith told a press briefing in Cairo. "It is a strategic problem that there is risk that weapons that powerful could get into the hands of terrorists," said Feith, who discussed the war on terror with Egypt's defence and foreign ministers earlier in the day. U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Friday refused to discuss any plans for a U.S. invasion of Iraq to overthrow President Saddam Hussein after reports that top American military commanders had argued against an imminent attack on Iraq. The New York Times and the Washington Post said last week that some military leaders had cautioned President George W. Bush and Rumsfeld to delay or abandon any attack on Iraq. Bush has accused Iraq of developing weapons of mass destruction and backing terrorism. Iraq denies the charges. "The people who attacked the United States on September 11 would not have had any moral compunction about using weapons of mass destruction if they had possessed them," said Feith. Feith refused to be drawn on possible disputes in the U.S. administration on whether to support the ouster of Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, who Bush has repeatedly blamed for failing to rein in Palestinian militants in a 20-month-old uprising against Israeli occupation. "President Bush has been stressing how important it is that there develop a (Palestinian) leadership that makes progress towards peace possible," Feith said, adding: "I'm sure (U.S. envoy William) Burns will be exploring this while he's here". http://www.themoscowtimes.com/stories/2002/05/31/120.html * GLOBAL EYE -- THE FOGGY DEW by Chris Floyd Moscow Times, 31st May Let us return briefly to the question of Saddam Hussein's employment of the poison gas he developed with the help of those lovers of humanity, Ronald "Bitburg" Reagan and George Herbert Walker Bush. Hussein is alleged to have bombarded Iraqi Kurds with poison gas in 1987 and/or in 1988, in the midst of his long and ferocious war with Iran. There are conflicting accounts of the incident. Some say thousands were killed; some say hundreds; a few say none. Some say the Kurds were actually caught in a murderous crossfire of noxious fumes between the Iranian and Iraqi armies. Others say the Kurds -- long persecuted by Saddam, as they are persecuted by NATO stalwart Turkey -- were fighting alongside the Iranians and thus made themselves "lawful combatants." The official story is that Hussein simply gassed the Kurds in a paroxysm of ethnic cleansing (for which he was later rewarded by the aforesaid GHWB with even more American money and material). Whatever the facts, the charge that Hussein "gassed his own people" has been the bloody shirt repeatedly waved by George W. Bush in his frantic bid to build support for an invasion of Iraq. Such an action, we are told, puts a nation beyond the pale of civilization and sends it hurtling into the abyss of ultimate evil. Any state that would "gas its own people" is, we're told, a rogue state, a terrorist state. What then to make of the revelations last week that the United States "gassed its own people" during the Vietnam War? The Defense Department has admitted that the Pentagon sprayed more than 4,000 U.S. sailors with various substances, including the deadly nerve gas sarin and a gruesome biological toxin, in a four-year operation (1964-68) called Project SHAD, The New York Times reports. The Pentagon said its records do not show that the sailors gave their "informed consent" to participate in the secret tests. (And how exactly would that consent process have worked, anyway? "Avast, ye swabs! Can we spray ye salty dogs with poison gas?" "Arrr, Cap'n, that ye may. We herewith absolve ye of all legal responsibility for this immoral act!") The purpose of these terrorist attacks on patriotic Americans serving their country was to test defenses against biochemical warfare -- so said the Pentagon brass at the time. That would be the same Pentagon brass that two years earlier had sent a plan to President John Kennedy calling for a series of terrorist attacks to be launched against the American people - by the United States government -- in a frantic bid to build support for an invasion of Cuba. But we live in more enlightened times now, of course. For example, even though most experts say that the fatal anthrax unleashed upon the American people last fall was almost certainly developed by the U.S. military, we know that things like Project SHAD don't happen anymore. We know that the unelected "shadow government" headed by Vice President Dick Cheney in secret caves and undisclosed locations -- along with the cadre of Iran-Contra terrorist conspirators back in power in Washington, and the FBI chieftains mysteriously rewriting field reports to downplay the danger of terrorist attacks from Islamic radical groups once cultivated by the CIA -- will surely keep the American people safe from all harm. Even from governments that gas their own people. On the other hand, Shadow Cheney and other Defenders have spent an inordinate amount of time lately insisting that they cannot keep the American people safe from all harm -- or any harm, evidently. While President Bush was wowing Europe last week with endearing displays of sleep deprived crankiness (him not used to staying up so late like Pootie-Poot do; that's why him got so grumpy, The New York Times lovingly reported), Cheney led a series of top officials in declaring that more terror attacks are "inevitable." In fact, Shadowman said they will be "even worse" than Sept. 11. The "great success" of the "war on terror" has apparently left the American people in far greater danger than before. (But if the United States is even more threatened now, then what was all that fighting in Afghanistan about? Would Hamid Karzai, former consultant for Texas oil giant Unocal, have some idea? Just asking.) In this atmosphere of leader-spawned national panic, imagine what would happen if a heavily armed, black-clad prowler were found planting a bomb at a civilian power plant. Surely the story would be 24-7 in the national media, right? Tabloids, networks, talking heads would be screaming the news to high heaven: "America Under Attack! Terrorists in Our Midst!" Unless, of course, the heavily armed prowler happened to be -- wait for it -- a member of the U.S. military. And unless the incident occurred in Jeb Bush's satrapy of Florida. Then all you would see is small story in a provincial paper, the Savannah Morning News, which last week told the curious tale of Specialist Derek Lawrence Peterson, 64th Armor Division, who was nabbed for planting a bomb in a power station in Jacksonville, Florida. Police spotted Peterson pulling out from the plant in his pick-up truck, which was laden with knives, guns, ammo and explosives gear. They later found the bomb he'd left at the plant. Peterson said he'd been "practicing reconnaissance techniques." Or maybe he was just "testing defenses," SHAD-like, in the best Pentagon tradition? We'll probably never find out; he's being held incommunicado in one of Jeb's jails -- and the Army's not talking either. Perhaps the Shadow knows? _______________________________________________ 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