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[casi] News, 8-15/6/02

News, 8-15/6/02


*  Blind Anthrax Alley [Letter from Drew Hamre]
*  Bush reportedly tells [Japanese PM] Koizumi he's going to attack Iraq
*  Iraq attack is on [sez novelist, John Ringo]
*  Rumsfeld's tough talk on Iraq [in Kuwait]
*  Rumsfeld tells U.S. troops Hussein is 'world-class liar'
*  Kristol's War will need better salesmanship
*  Why a First Strike Will Surely Backfire


*  Hussein holds rare Q&A on Iraqi TV


*  Morocco, Iraq to set up business council
*  Iran accepts refugees if war breaks out in Iraq, Pakistan
*  Iraq, Qatar sign free trade agreement
* [Lebanese] Parliamentary delegation returns from Iraq
*  Kuwait's age-old woes
*  U.S. Iraqi Expert [Robert Deutsch] Assigned to Embassy in Ankara


*  Refiners Learn to Live Without Iraqi Oil
*  Iraq Opposes OPEC Oil Output Hike


*  Saddam's opponents claim attack on party chief


*  US artists damn 'war without limit'

*  Aussie warship intercepts 16 boats
*  US attacks Iraqi radar site


*  Reporter owes reluctant thanks to Saddam Hussein


Letter from Drew Hamre
Washington Post, 8th June

Fred Hiatt saddles a dead horse when he attempts to link Iraq to the recent
anthrax mailings [op ed, June 3]. The culprit is almost universally held to
be an American bioweapons scientist.

The evidence:

(1) The spores' genetic fingerprint is closely related to U.S. Army stock
(the misnamed "Ames strain"). As reported in your paper, the investigation
is now centered on a Fort Detrick, Md., lab and the Dugway Proving Ground in
Utah ["Polygraph Tests Set in Anthrax Probe," news story, May 21]. A second
wave of 200 polygraph tests is scheduled among current and former employees.

(2) The processing of the mailed spores was equivalent (in size and
concentration) to the "best" our Army ever achieved, and presumably it was
far beyond what could be done elsewhere.

(3) The motive appears to have been terror, not death. As Nicholas Kristof
noted in the New York Times, "each of the letters that has been recovered
[in addition to being tightly taped] announced that the substance was
anthrax and advised the recipient to take antibiotics."

Iraq weaponized anthrax, and it was a natural target of early investigation.
But Iraq today is hardly a suspect. Your paper has done well in covering the
evolution of this story, but Hiatt's opportunistic scare-mongering leaves a
bitter taste.

Drew Hamre

Japan Today, 9th June

TOKYO ‹ U.S. President George W Bush told Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi
of his intention to attack Iraq when the two met in Tokyo in February, a
Japanese daily reported Sunday.

Citing Japan-U.S. diplomatic sources, the Mainichi Shimbun said in a
front-page story that Bush did not refer to any specific date but said
twice, "It would be swift."

"We'll attack Iraq. We'll do it definitely," Bush was quoted as telling

Koizumi told Bush that Japan is always on the side of the United States in
its war against terrorism and Washington took Koizumi's statement as Japan's
support for a future U.S. raid on Iraq, the newspaper said.

The Japanese government officially said Bush told Koizumi that he did not
rule out any possible options regarding Iraq during the summit talks. (Kyodo

by John Ringo
New York Post, 9th June

THE generals warn of dire consequences if Iraq is attacked, especially from

Meanwhile, a cautious military buildup starts in the Persian Gulf. Countries
that had said they would never betray their Arab brother start opening up
their ports, airfields and military bases to American forces.

The State Department leaks that Saddam might be willing to open up for

The United Nations increases diplomatic pressure on Saddam Hussein, who
signals that maybe he would consider letting inspectors back in, under the
right guarantees.

Sound familiar? It should, if you've been reading the news. And, except for
the first bit, it's step for step the pattern I laid out Jan. 4 in my piece
"Baghdad by Christmas."

>From Berlin to San Francisco, the liberals are trumpeting the paean that the
Evil Axis (that is, Bush, Rumsfeld & Wolfowitz) has been stymied and war
against Iraq has been indefinitely postponed. And the indications are that
that would be just fine by many of the brass in the Pentagon.

But back in January, I pointed out that the U.N. vote on sanctions (which
went better than I'd anticipated - Syria voting in favor? Who'da thunk it?)
was just the first step on the road to war. The second step is to either get
inspectors in the country or have Saddam officially refuse them. Saddam is
too cagey to refuse outright, not with war balancing on the edge of a
scimitar. So they will probably go, probably by August.

But, when the inspectors go in, sooner or later they are going to want to
inspect some Iraqi "condensed milk factory" (read: biological weapons
facility) or "palace" (read: weapons of mass destruction storehouse). At
that point, Saddam will have had all he can take, and impolite Iraqi guards
will turn them away.

I'm not sure that Central Command will even wait until they are out of the
country; turning away the inspectors is both a de facto (under the
cease-fire agreement from 1991) and de jure (likelihood of development of
weapons of mass destruction) casus belli. We've forgotten the arrogant
nature of the expulsion in 1998, but with it back up on the front page, it
will be hard for the opposition to the war (from Foggy Bottom to Central
Command) to gain any ground.

That, right then, is the time to start the bombardments. I respectfully
suggest that it be a direction of the president.

Seem unlikely? Consider for a moment what will happen if the opposition to
the war succeeds.

First of all, there has been endless speculation (most of it since that Jan.
4 article) that the war against Iraq would start in the fall. Whatever the
generals might say, the logistics for the campaign could be fully in place,
and we would prosecute the war - possibly with some operational difficulty,
but nothing that we can't handle. And in the fall, with the mid-term
elections approaching, even the Democrats will be saying the same thing.

If America could have moved against Iraq but didn't, any electoral gains the
Republicans might have expected will probably be losses. If the Democrats
work the issue hard enough, they could even take back the House. Forget that
they're the party that always opposes the use of force (unless it's an
idiotic debacle like Somalia), they're going to be beating the "Republicans
can't do it, the Democrats can!" drum for all it's worth.

Then let us say that Saddam Hussein is in power at the time of the next
State of the Union Address. President Bush, after having stood up the year
before and promised unremitting war against terrorism and the terror of
weapons of mass destruction, will have to stand before the voters of America
and list approximately zero accomplishments in the year.

He will have to stand up, not too long before the endless campaigning of the
presidential election starts, and admit that he gave a pass to Musharraf in
Pakistan, Saddam in Iraq, Kim-Il Jung in North Korea and the mullahs in
Iran. (If you think we'll have Osama in custody, by the way, I have a bridge
to sell you.)

Last but not least, given another year to wriggle, Saddam might be able to
come up with a real strategic threat: a modified camel-pox virus, an
air-spreadable botulinus, a strengthened Ebola that can be air-dispersed . .

We'd be looking down the barrel of a war where the casualties, on both
sides, would be in the hundreds of thousands. And on the American side, they
would be among our civilian populace.

There is no case for withholding the assault, and to do so may well cost
George W. Bush his presidency and the United States any hope of being free
of the terrorism of petty dictators and racist thugs. There is no Democrat
who could, or would, pursue this war effectively or to its logical end.

George Bush is no fool. He prefers to be president, loves his nation and
loves Western civilization in all its glory and oddity. He will not let the
generals turn him aside from the war.

So, the May vote was step one. Step two is to send in inspectors or have
them turned away. Step three is war.

Baghdad by Christmas. You heard it here first.

Former paratrooper John Ringo's latest novel is "When the Devil

by Barbara Starr
CNN, 10th June
[Rumsfeld Œsaid to a room full of reporters, including many in the Kuwaiti
press, that he viewed that reconciliation possibility as something like the
lion inviting the chicken into the den. [He created] a little bit of a faux
pas, perhaps not realizing that he was calling the Kuwaitis chickens.]

U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Monday portrayed Iraq as a
continuing threat in the Middle East with an ongoing program to develop
weapons of mass destruction.

Rumsfeld, who is touring Persian Gulf states to shore up support for U.S.
presence in the region, avoided questions about future military action
against Iraq.

STARR: The secretary held a press conference in Kuwait City [on Monday]
morning just before leaving to come here to Bahrain, and he was
exceptionally blunt in his language indeed. He said the Iraqis were lying,
that they had weaponized chemical weapons, and he was certain they were
continuing to work on their biological weapons and their nuclear weapons.

And then he got even tougher in his language. He was asked by the Kuwaiti
press corps about the reconciliation between Kuwait and Iraq that has now
taken place most recently at the Arab League summit in Beirut.

And the secretary of defense said to a room full of reporters, including
many in the Kuwaiti press, that he viewed that reconciliation possibility as
something like the lion inviting the chicken into the den. [He created] a
little bit of a faux pas, perhaps not realizing that he was calling the
Kuwaitis chickens. His language was very, very tough.

He also said for the first time that Kuwaiti government representatives will
now be allowed to travel to Guantanamo Bay to interview the 12 Kuwaiti
detainees being held there. Kuwaiti government officials will interview them
to find out what they know about possible future terrorist activities. The
trip moves on [Tuesday]. We move on to the Asian subcontinent, on to India
and Pakistan, which is likely to be very newsworthy.


Baltimore Sun, 11th June

MANAMA, Bahrain - Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is a "world-class liar" who
is trying to fool the world into thinking he has no interest in weapons of
mass destruction, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld told U.S. troops
yesterday on this island nation in the Persian Gulf.

Addressing several hundred sailors and Marines at U.S. Navy Central Command
headquarters, Rumsfeld left no doubt he believes Iraq is pursuing stocks of
nuclear, chemical and biological weapons in defiance of United Nations
resolutions that ended the 1991 Persian Gulf war.

In emphatic tones, the defense secretary noted a public assertion by
Hussein's government that it has no weapons of mass destruction and is
making no effort to acquire them.

"He's lying. It's not complicated," Rumsfeld said.

The Iraqi Foreign Ministry in Baghdad issued a statement Sunday asserting
the government has neither made nor possessed weapons of mass destruction in
more than a decade.

"If you want to know a world-class liar, it's Saddam Hussein," Rumsfeld told
the troops, who gathered in a courtyard.
by Richard Cohen
International Herald Tribune (from The Washington Post), 13th June

CERNOBBIO, Italy: Kristol's War, as it will henceforth be called, was
declared after dinner here at the splendid Villa D'Este hotel on Lake Como.
He announced a vast U.S. foreign policy agenda, beginning with a war against
Iraq and ending with replacing the monarchy in Saudi Arabia.

His audience of mostly Europeans at first gasped and then reacted with
irritation. "Very provocative," many of them commented - a polite way of
saying that he, and by extension the Bush administration, was totally mad.

And yet much of what Kristol, a former Reagan and Bush administration
official and now the editor of the influential Weekly Standard, was saying
is nearly commonplace in the United States. In Washington it is a given that
sometime around January America will eliminate Saddam Hussein and his
weapons of mass destruction one way or another.

Kristol's audience was having none of it. Assembled by the Council for the
United States and Italy, it included diplomats, cabinet officials, academics
and business leaders from across Italy and America. The Europeans viewed
Kristol as a virtual spokesman for the Bush administration.

I support the toppling of Hussein - when the time is ripe. January may be
too soon. The Middle East is now roiling, and Egypt and particularly Jordan
might be endangered by yet more instability in their region. The Arab street
may be more myth than reality, but with one-sided coverage of events in the
West Bank, popular sentiment cannot be discounted. It is now strongly anti
American. No one I talked with after Kristol spoke necessarily dissented
from what he said about Iraq. Yet for the most part they could not see the
urgency or the necessity for dealing with Saddam. He poses no immediate
threat to them, and Europeans are not, as opposed to Americans, much
concerned about Israel.

George W. Bush clearly has his work cut out for him. Much of Europe still
sees him as a unilateralist, the president who came into office determined
to abrogate this or that treaty and who, either in word or in manner,
considered Europeans to be wimps. Europe cannot be ignored. Whether as NATO
or merely a community of nations that shares America's values, it has a role
to play vis-à-vis Iraq. Bush will never be able to assemble the alliance
that his father did for the Gulf War, but, if only for appearances, America
must not be seen as going it alone. Kristol outlined a proposed agenda that
amounts to ridding the world of regimes that are developing scary weapons
or, even inadvertently, supporting terrorism - first Iraq, then Iran and
North Korea and even the House of Saud. His was yet another "axis of evil"
speech, somewhat similar to Bushian rhetoric, moralistic and America-Israel
centered - and it does not travel well.

But if the case is made for action against Iraq on purely practical terms -
a very bad man has some very bad weapons - then, probably, much of Europe
will go along. This is Bush's task. He had better get started.

by William A. Galston
Washington Post, 14th June

As the White House moves closer to a brand-new security doctrine that
supports preemptive attacks against hostile states or terrorists that have
chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, Iraq would be first on its list of
targets. The Bush administration has argued before that the national
security of the United States requires the elimination of Saddam Hussein's
regime, by force if necessary. Democrats with national ambitions have been
lining up to agree.

A preemptive all-out invasion of Iraq would represent one of the most
fateful deployments of American power since World War II. Given the stakes,
the policy discussion in official Washington has been remarkably narrow. To
be sure, glib analogies between Iraq and Afghanistan and cocky talk about a
military "cakewalk" have given way to more sober assessments: A regime
change would likely require 150,000-200,000 U.S. troops, allies in the
region willing to allow us to pre position and supply them, and a
post-victory occupation measured in years rather than months.

But hardly anyone in either party isdebating the long-term diplomatic
consequences of a move against Iraq that is opposed by many of our
staunchest friends. Fewer still have raised the most fundamental point: A
global strategy based on the new Bush doctrine means the end of the system
of international institutions, laws and norms thatthe United States has
worked for more than half a century to build.

What is at stake is nothing less than a fundamental shift in America's place
in the world. Rather than continuing to serve as first among equals in the
postwar international system, the United States would act as a law unto
itself, creating new rules of international engagement without agreement by
other nations. In my judgment, this new stance would ill serve the long-term
interests of our country.

I raise these doubts with the greatest reluctance, as a Democrat who
believes that the global projection of American power has been, in the main,
an enormous force for good. I strongly supported the Persian Gulf War, and I
helped draft a public statement rallying intellectuals behind the Bush
administration's initial response to the events of Sept. 11. I agree with
the administration that the threat of stateless terrorism requires a new,
more forward-leaning response.

But an invasion of Iraq is a different matter altogether. We should contain
Hussein, deter him and bring him down the way we brought down the Evil
Empire that threatened our existence for half a century -- through economic,
diplomatic, military and moral pressure, not force of arms.

On June 1, in a speech at West Point, President Bush sought to justify the
new doctrine. The successful strategies of the Cold War era, he declared,
are ill-suited to the requirements of national defense in the 21st century.
Deterrence means nothing against terrorist networks; containment will not
thwart unbalanced dictators possessing weapons of mass destruction. We
cannot afford to wait until we are attacked, he declared. In today's
circumstances, Americans must be ready for "preemptive action" to defend our
lives and liberties.

Applied to Iraq (although the president did not do so explicitly in his
speech), the case for preemption runs roughly as follows: We do not know
whether Hussein has yet acquired nuclear weapons or whether he has
transferred them to terrorists. It doesn't matter. We know that he's trying
to get these weapons, and his past conduct suggests that he will use them
against our interests. The White House view goes on to say that the
probability of the worst case is low but hardly negligible. And that we must
not be held hostage to standards of proof better suited to courts of law
than to circumstances of war. And that we cannot wait until one of Hussein's
bombs, packed into a terrorist's suitcase, blows up Manhattan or Washington.
We must act now -- do whatever it takes -- to eliminate this threat.

While the administration's arguments are powerful, they are less than
persuasive. The proposed move against Iraq raises issues fundamentally
different from those posed by our response to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait and
to al Qaeda's attacks against New York and Washington. In those cases our
policy fitted squarely within established doctrines of self-defense, and in
part for that reason our deployment of military power enjoyed widespread
support around the world. By contrast, if we seek to overthrow Hussein, we
will act outside the framework of global security that we have helped

In the first place, we are a signatory to (indeed, the principal drafter of)
the U.N. charter, which explicitly reserves to sovereign nations "the
inherent right of individual or collective self-defence," but only in the
event of armed attack. Unless the administration establishes Iraqi
complicity in the terrorism of Sept. 11, it cannot invoke self-defense, as
defined by the charter, as the justification for attacking Iraq. By
contrast, in his speech justifying the April 1986 strike against Libya,
President Reagan was able to say that "the evidence is now conclusive that
the terrorist bombing of La Belle discotheque was planned and executed under
the direct orders of the Libyan regime. . . . Self-defense is not only our
right, it is our duty. It is the purpose behind the mission undertaken
tonight -- a mission fully consistent with Article 51 of the United Nations
charter." If the Bush administration has comparable evidence against Iraq,
it has a responsibility to lay these facts before Congress, the American
people and the world.

The broader structure of international law creates additional obstacles to
an invasion of Iraq. To be sure, international law contains a doctrine of
"anticipatory self-defense." But even construed broadly, that concept would
still be too narrow to support an attack: The threat to the United States
from Iraq is neither specific nor clearly established nor shown to be
imminent. The Bush doctrine of preemption goes well beyond the established
bounds of anticipatory self-defense, as many supporters of the
administration's Iraq policy privately concede. They argue that the United
States needs to make new law, using Iraq as a precedent.

But if the Bush administration wishes to discard the traditional criterion
of imminence on the grounds that terrorism renders it obsolete, then the
administration must do what it has thus far failed to do -- namely,
discharge the burden of showing that Iraq has both the capability of harming
us and a serious intent to do so. Otherwise, "anticipatory self-defense"
becomes an international hunting license.

Finally, we can examine the proposed invasion through the prism of "just
war" theories developed by philosophers and theologians over a period of
centuries. One of just war's most distinguished contemporary exponents,
Michael Walzer, puts it this way: First strikes are justified before the
moment of imminent attack, at the point of "sufficient threat." That concept
has three dimensions: "a manifest intent to injure, a degree of active
preparation that makes that intent a positive danger and a general situation
in which waiting, or doing anything other than fighting, greatly magnifies
the risk." The potential injury, moreover, must be of the gravest possible
nature: the loss of territorial integrity or political independence.

Hussein may well endanger the survival of his neighbors, but he poses no
such risk to the United States. And he knows full well that complicity in a
Sept. 11-style attack on the United States would justify, and swiftly evoke,
a regime-ending response. During the Gulf War, we invoked this threat to
deter him from using weapons of mass destruction against our troops, and
there is no reason to believe that this strategy would be less effective
today. Dictators have much more to lose than do stateless terrorists; that's
why deterrence directed against them has a good chance of working.

It is not hard to imagine the impatience with which serious policymakers
inside the administration (and elsewhere) will greet arguments such as mine.
The first duty of every government, they might say, is to defend the lives
and security of its citizens. The elimination of Hussein and, by extension,
every regime that threatens to share weapons of mass destruction with
anti-American terrorists, comports with this duty. To invoke international
norms designed for a different world is to blind ourselves to the harsh
necessities of international action in the new era of terrorism. If no other
nation agrees, we have a duty to the American people to go it alone.

These are weighty claims, and it is not my intention to dismiss them
entirely or lightly. But even if an invasion succeeds in removing a threat
here and now, it is far from clear that a policy of preemption will make us
safer in the long run. Nations cooperating with us in the war against terror
might respond to a preemptive U.S. attack on Iraq by ceasing to arrest and
turn over suspected terrorists, and by halting the sharing of intelligence.
Our allies in Europe (and elsewhere) might respond by accelerating their
diplomatic and military separation from us. Our adversaries might well
redouble their efforts against us. New generations of young people --
including those of our erstwhile allies -- could grow up resenting and
resisting America. One thing is certain: If we promote and then act on our
new principles, nations around the world will adopt them and shape them for
their own purposes, with consequences we will not always like.

We are the most powerful nation on Earth but we are not invulnerable. To
safeguard our own security, we need the help of the allies whose doubts we
scorn, and the protection of the international restraints against which we
chafe. We must therefore resist the easy seduction of unilateral action. In
the long run, our interests will be best served by an international system
that is as law-like and collaborative as possible,given the reality that we
live in a world of sovereign states.

William Galston is a professor at the University of Maryland's School of
Public Affairs and director of the Institute for Philosophy and Public
Policy. From 1993 until 1995 he served as deputy assistant to President
Clinton for domestic policy.


by Rym Brahimi
CNN, 9th June

BAGHDAD, Iraq: Iraqi President Saddam Hussein appeared on television Sunday
for a rare question-and-answer program on his ruling Baath party.

About 45 minutes of the meeting were taped and broadcast on both Iraqi
television networks.

The program showed the Iraqi president giving his views on how to best
reorganize the Baath party and its various branches throughout Iraq. He also
took questions from party leaders, none of whom was openly critical of the

Hussein compared the Baath party revolution in Iraq to the birth of Islam,
in which he said Muslims had suffered and made sacrifices and blood had been

He said changes in how the Baath party operates should be focused on making
it more efficient. He told party leaders he had nothing against the
expansion of party cells throughout the country as long as they met this

"It is possible to increase the number of branches we have, and expand the
party cells, but it should be within a well studied plan, because too many
branches may be difficult to oversee," Hussein said.

The president also told party leaders it was important to maintain control.

"So many leaders in the world have failed to rule their people. On a
humanitarian basis, they are seen as good, gentle people, but on a political
basis, they are weak and lose control of their people," he said.

The Q&A session was one in a series of actions by the Iraqi government that
appear to encourage political dialogue and openness after years of
international isolation and United Nations-imposed sanctions.

As of Monday, the government will allow sales of television satellite
receivers and decoders for the first time. Only entertainment programming,
however, will be available.


Arabic News, 8th June

Morocco and Iraq are projecting to set up a business council on the
sidelines of the high joint commission that will be convening in Rabat next
week. The council will work to promote cooperation and partnership between
the two states' economic operators in the realms of trade, industry,
technology and investments, a release by the Moroccan employers' association
(CGEM) said.

The council will be set up at a meeting between CGEM members and a
thirty-member delegation of Iraqi businessmen.

Iranmania, 10th June

TEHRAN, June 9 (AFP) - Iran is worried by the threat of war breaking out in
two bordering countries, Pakistan and Iraq, and is preparing to take in
refugees if the situation deteriorates into armed conflict, a government
official said Sunday.

"We are very concerned that war has been evoked," Ahmad Hosseini, the senior
interior ministry official charged with refugee affairs told AFP.

"Whether we are dealing with Iraq or Pakistan, the policy we have with the
UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is to assist the refugees at the
border and send them back to their country when the crisis comes to an end,"
he said.

The United States has been hinting that an attack on Iraq might be the next
step in its unilaterally declared "war on terror", while tension has
recently mounted between nuclear rivals India and Pakistan.

Arabic News, 11th June

Iraq and Qatar signed in Baghdad Sunday a free trade agreement to foster
their commercial and economic ties.

The accord was signed by Iraqi trade minister, Mohammed Mehdi Saleh, and
Qatari economy and trade minister, Sheikh Hamad Ben Faisal Al-Thani.

The Qatari minister said the talks resulted in the signing of several
agreements worth some US$ 200 million. Iraq will sign similar agreements
with Egypt, Syria, Tunisia, Sudan, Yemen, Algeria, Lebanon, the United Arab
Emirates and Oman.

Daily Star (Lebanon), 11th June

A parliamentary delegation headed by Metn MP Antoine Haddad returned to
Beirut on Monday after a five-day visit to Iraq, where it provided support
to the Iraqis against the ³American-Zionist conspiracy.²

The visit came soon after Parliament concluded several recent trade
agreements with Iraq.

Iraqi Deputy Premier Tareq Aziz met with the delegation, which represented
various Lebanese areas. Aziz said bilateral relations were progressing, and
he expressed hope that a bilateral oil agreement would be finalized soon
between the two countries. The deal would boost Lebanese exports to as much
as $400 million.

Iraqi Finance Minister Hikmat al-Azawi said economics was a ³weapon² that
the United States was resorting to as a means of imposing its ³colonial

Members of the delegation called for a united Arab stand, adding that
pressure suffered by Lebanon, Iraq and several other countries resulted from
their refusal to submit to the ³American Israeli hegemony.²

by Neil MacFarquhar
International Herald Tribune (from The New York Times), 14th June

KUWAIT: The failing health of Sheikh Saad al Abdullah as Salim as Sabah, who
has been Kuwait's prime minister and crown prince for 24 years, causes him
to lose track of what is happening around him for long periods of the day,
say Kuwaiti officials, members of Parliament and foreign diplomats who have
seen him recently.

When his lucidity drifts, the 72-year-old prince no longer recognizes his
ministers. He drops the thread of conversations to such an extent that the
royal interpreters are periodically instructed to tell visiting statesmen
anything except his inarticulate meanderings.

Saad needs help walking down stairs - four men assisted him at the opening
of Parliament last fall - and he became so disoriented that during the
daylight fasts of Ramadan last year that he repeatedly demanded that guests
be served tea and coffee.

Although the question of succession hangs over many aging leaders in the
Arab world, it is perhaps most acute in this moneyed emirate, because the
governing trio suffers from such serious ailments.

The ruling emir, Sheikh Jaber al Ahmad as Sabah, 73, suffered a stroke last
year and spent the fall and part of the winter recuperating in England.

With the emir and the crown prince incapacitated, the job of running the
country has fallen to Sheikh Sabah al Ahmad al Jaber as Sabah, the
73-year-old prince who has been foreign minister since 1962 and who wears a

Kuwait's significant oil wealth, with one-tenth of the world's reserves, and
the presence of thousands of American troops, ensure a minimum stability.

Kuwait's relationship with the United States and the agreement by Iraq at
this year's Arab summit meeting in Beirut to respect Kuwait's sovereignty
mean that the doddering state of Kuwait's leadership is unlikely to tempt
President Saddam Hussein of Iraq into a repeat of his 1990 invasion.

But Kuwaitis feel that their country is stagnating, caught up in endless
public squabbles over minor issues. Many Kuwaitis say a younger leadership,
conscious of the Internet and globalization, would prevent such bickering
and instead focus on competing economically with nearby emirates whose
innovative rulers are transforming the region.

"What is delaying progress here is that the leadership is too old," said
Mohammed Jassem, the editor in chief of the newspaper Al Watan. "Everybody
is ready for a new Kuwait with a younger generation. But you can't really
say to the old guys that you are wrong and it's time for you to retire."

Unlike other royal dynasties in the Gulf, Kuwait has no set pattern for
succession. The family decides by consensus. There have been reports that
the next generation of princes is trying to get the family to discuss the
matter, but they appear to have been stymied.

Part of the problem is that Sabah, the effective ruler, discourages public
discussion and has even banned Kuwait's newspapers from writing directly
about the issue, now sometimes referred to in print as "the Big Decision."

"It seems that so far no steps have been taken to organize this issue," said
Ahmad Deyain, a Kuwaiti columnist. To try to make his point, he devoted a
column to describing Libya in 1969, when a benevolent, aging monarch with
American and British bases on his soil was overthrown by the first
temperamental colonel who happened along.

"The Sabah family believes that this is a family affair," he added. "Of
course we do not interfere in the affairs of the family, but we are talking
about the situation in the country, the competence of the decision makers.
Obviously there is a problem here."

The royal family tends to deny any such problem. Sheikh Muhammad Sabah as
Salim as Sabah, 47, the minister of state for foreign affairs, said the
country still benefited from the older generation's wisdom. "Mentally they
are fit," he said. "Physically they are ailing. We need leaders, not

With the dynasty loath to discuss succession, senior members of Kuwait's
business community formed a committee several months ago to lobby the family
- not on who would lead, but on at least facing the question.

It galls Kuwaitis that 30 years ago they were sending financial aid to the
United Arab Emirates for things like hospitals and schools. Now one of the
emirates, Dubai, has eclipsed Kuwait in every aspect of modern commerce,
running a very successful port, an international trade zone, an airline and
airport and cargo services, to name a few.

Kuwait, in fairness, faced severe setbacks, ranging from the collapse of its
financial sector in the early 1980s to Iraq's invasion. But Kuwaiti thinkers
point out that the setbacks have not strengthened a resolve to move the
country forward.

Since it was restored in 1992, the elected Parliament has been tied up
largely with squabbles between the Islamic factions and their allies against
more liberal opponents.

Political analysts say many tough issues that have been shot down or shunted
aside in Parliament - like the right of women to vote, or economic
privatization - could have been pushed through by a younger, stronger

The 2.2 million population, roughly half Kuwaiti, grows rapidly while the
economy does not. The government employs 95 percent of the Kuwaitis in the
work force, while foreigners do the service jobs.

"The entire Kuwaiti population has become government clerks," said Abdullah
Nibari, one of the stalwart liberals in Parliament.

"How long can we go on that way?"

Xinhuanet, 14th June

ANKARA, June 14 (Xinhuanet) -- Robert Deutsch, a diplomat known to be an
expert on Iraq and northern Iraq in particular, has been appointed as the
deputy chief of mission of the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, the Turkish Daily
News reported on Friday.

Deutsch will replace James Jeffrey, who is to be transferred to the U.S.
Embassy in Albania as Ambassador.

Deutsch, who is expected to assume the new post at the end of June, is
currently in Washington on a Turkish course.

Deutsch is one of the figures behind the Ankara process initiated in 1996
involving the Jilal Talabani-led Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, Massoud
Barzani-chaired Kurdistan Democratic Party, Iraqi Turkomans, Britain, the
United States and Turkey.

He has travelled to northern Iraq many times and maintains closecontacts
with the Iraqi Kurdish leaders.

Deutsch is said to be one of the diplomats with a deep background on Iraq
and northern Iraq.

At a time when the Iraqi affairs are dominating the international politics,
the appointment of Deutsch to Ankara has been evaluated as of strategic

It was reported that Washington has recently stepped up efforts to iron out
differences between different political groups in northern Iraq as part of
preparations for a military operations against Iraqi government of President
Saddam Hussein.


by Manuela Badawy
Yahoo, 10th June

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Ample alternative supplies are minimizing the pain for
U.S. refiners from a sustained drop in exports by key supplier Iraq over the
last two months, traders said on Monday.

Higher exports from Venezuela and slow demand because of poor profit margins
have enabled U.S. oil refiners to evade a dilemma of whether to buy Iraqi
crude now that there is growing scrutiny in Washington about an illegal
surcharge Baghdad gathers on its oil sales, traders said.

Baghdad has now been forced to reduce the surcharge after purchases by the
middlemen that sell Iraqi oil onto U.S. firms dried up because of tough
pricing controls imposed on Iraq's sales under its U.N-supervised
oil-for-food scheme.

"I think refiners have learned to live without the Iraqi crude oil. We
haven't got enough margins to incite people to get concerned about," a crude
trader with a U.S. refining firm said.

Baghdad was the sixth biggest supplier to the Unites States last year and
was supplying about two thirds of its 1.7 million barrels per day (bpd)
exports to the United States in the first months of this year.

Iraq's sales have since slowed to a trickle after Baghdad first suspended
oil sales for a month from April 8-May 8 to protest Israel's incursion into
Palestinian territories.

Iraq's April export halt may have been a final straw for the customers, who
say they have lost money on recent transactions because of a U.N's pricing
system aimed at stamping out the illegal kickbacks.

The United Nations, which oversees Iraq's oil exports as a result of
sanctions imposed on Baghdad after its 1990 invasion of Kuwait, has forced
Iraq to set prices after shipments leave port to prevent Baghdad leaving
room for a surcharge.

"Most of the lack of movement you are seeing is from the trading houses that
wound up losing money on the 'retroactive' pricing when they bring it (Iraqi
crude) to the U.S.," a trader with a large oil firm said.

Oil majors Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM - News) and ChevronTexaco (NYSE:CVX -
News), as well as refiners Valero (NYSE:VLO - News) and Marathon (NYSE:MRO -
News) have said they will still take Iraqi crude if the price was right,
despite growing unease in Washington about the surcharge which goes straight
to the Iraqi government.

Iraq has decided to cut the surcharge to 15 cents per barrel from 25-30
cents a barrel in a bid to revive liftings. If the move persuades the United
Nations to lift the retroactive pricing then shipments would quickly pick up
again, traders said.

"The issues with the pricing will get resolved at least to the satisfaction
to put the trading houses back into business and then you will see Basrah
(Light) crude lifting late June for arrival around August," the trader with
the large oil company said.

Latin American crudes from Colombia, Peru and Ecuador have stepped into fill
the breach left by Iraq since early April.

Supplies have been further fleshed out by increased Venezuelan exports as
the South America's biggest producer raises supply to makes up for
disruption suffered in protests ahead of April's failed military coup.

Venezuela lifted supplies of main export grade Mesa by about 3 million
barrels in June although sales volumes are back to normal in July, traders

The ample supplies helped U.S. crude inventories rise 6 million barrels last
week to a level little changed from last year's bloated levels.

Import levels were robust even though the impact of April's halt to Iraqi
exports -- which take around 40 days to reach the United States -- should
still be taking its toll.

Comfortable U.S. crude supplies are biting into world oil prices, which have
fallen more than $5 a barrel, or nearly 17 percent in than a month ago.

July crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange fell another 40 cents to
$24.35 a barrel on Monday.

Peoples Daily, 12th June

Iraqi Oil Minister Amir Muhammad Rashid has said that Iraq is opposed to any
oil output increase by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries
(OPEC) at the upcoming extraordinary meeting in Vienna on June 26, the
official Iraqi News Agency (INA) reported on Tuesday.

Iraqi Oil Minister Amir Muhammad Rashid has said that Iraq is opposed to any
oil output increase by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries
(OPEC) at the upcoming extraordinary meeting in Vienna on June 26, the
official Iraqi News Agency (INA) reported on Tuesday.

"Iraq sees that the current oil market is not in need of any crude
production increase," Rashid was quoted as saying.

Iraq will urge the oil-cartel to stick to its current oil production levels,
Rashid said.

OPEC slashed its oil production by 3.5 million barrels per day (bpd) last
year to halt the slump of oil prices, which fell to as low as 20 U.S.
dollars a barrel after last year's September 11 terror attacks on the United

Iraq has repeatedly appealed to the OPEC to lower production to protect the
interests of oil producing countries.

Iraq, under stringent United Nations sanctions for its 1990 invasion of
Kuwait, is not part of the OPEC quota system.

It is allowed, under the U.N. oil-for-food program launched since 1996, to
export oil and use part of the revenues to import food, medicine and other
essentials to offset the impact of the sanctions.


CNN. 11th June

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) -- An Iraqi dissident group claimed Tuesday that Saddam
Hussein's opponents have attacked and wounded a senior official of his
ruling party.

The Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq said in a statement
on its website that Aziz Saleh al-Numan was wounded in his arms and legs in
the May 14 attack in the southern city of Amara, some 350 kilometers (234
miles) south of Baghdad. It said al-Numan was responsible for "vicious
crimes against our citizens."

Three of his bodyguards were also wounded. An official at the council's
office in London confirmed the statement was issued by the group.

The group has made such claims in the past and on several occasions its
guerrillas fired Katyusha rockets at Baghdad targets. The Iraqi government
does not comment on opposition claims.

On Monday the Iran-based group claimed that "resistance forces" attacked a
motorcade of another senior official, saying it was unclear if he was harmed
but that three of his bodyguards were killed.

The Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq is a major Shiite
opposition group and in conjunction with other dissidents is trying to forge
a unified and broad based organization to oust Saddam from power. It was
among the Iraqi opposition groups U.S. administration officials have met
with in recent days in what the State Department said were discussions on
how best to mobilize against Saddam and prepare for governing Iraq after

In the debate over how best to oust Saddam, U.S. officials have questioned
whether Iraqi opposition groups are strong enough to play a role similar to
that played by the anti-Taliban northern alliance in Afghanistan. Bitter
divisions among Iraqi opposition groups also raise questions about their
ability to form a stable post-Saddam administration.

Washington has warned of pre-emptive U.S. military action against Iraq
because, U.S. officials say, Saddam continues to pursue development of
weapons of mass destruction in violation of U.N. Security Council

Iran and Iraq host rebels fighting each other's government. The neighbors
fought a war in 1980-88 that left a million dead and wounded.

REMNANTS OF DECENCY,3604,736973,00.html

by Duncan Campbell
The Guardian, 14th June

A group of leading American writers, actors and academics have signed a
statement strongly criticising their government's policies since September
11. It is an indication of a growing feeling that the administration is
promoting its own agenda on the back of the attacks.

In a statement called Not In Our Name, the signatories say the government
has "declared a war without limit and instituted stark new measures of
repression". They also criticise the media for failing to challenge the
direction the government has taken.

They include the musicians Laurie Anderson and Mos Def, the actors Ossie
Davis and Ed Asner, the writers Alice Walker, Russell Banks, Barbara
Kingsolver and Grace Paley, and the playwrights Eve Ensler and Tony Kushner.

Martin Luther King III, Gloria Steinem, Noam Chomsky, Edward Said and Rabbi
Michael Lerner have added their names, making this the widest ranging group
of opponents of government policy since September 11.

Jeremy Pikser, one of the organisers of the statement, said yesterday that
he had been concerned that the rest of the world was under the impression
that there was no dissent in the US to the bombing of Afghanistan and the
plans for a war against Iraq.

Pikser, a screenwriter who wrote Bulworth, a satire on American politics in
which Warren Beatty played a politician who finally decided to speak his
mind, said some people had been reluctant to add their names. "A lot of
people haven't signed it, although they agree with it, because they think it
might jeopardise other things they're involved in."

Clark Kissinger, another of the organisers, said they had been heartened by
the number of people wanting to sign.

Mr Kissinger, one of the organisers of the first anti-Vietnam war marches on
Washington in 1965, said he was receiving about 60 emails a day from people
who wanted to add their name to the list.

"It's a shame that there's not a voice of opposition coming out of the
United States."

The statement, which the signatories hope will be published by the American
media, ssays: "We must take the highest officers of the land seriously when
they talk of a war that will last a generation and when they speak of a new
domestic order.

"We are confronting a new openly imperial policy towards the world and a
domestic policy that manufactures and manipulates fear to curtail rights."

Support for the president's policies remains high, however, and those who
appear critical of them have been accused of lacking patriotism.

It was announced last week that Bill Maher, host of the television show
Politically Incorrect, has not had his contract renewed by ABC.

Maher was criticised for an exchange six days after September 11 in which he
and a guest agreed that whatever else the hijackers were, they were not

SIEGE OF IRAQ,4057,4496029%255E421,00.html

*  AUSSIE WARSHIP INTERCEPTS 16 BOATS (Australia), 12th June

AAP: AN Australian warship intercepted 14 boats carrying illegal goods in
the Arabian Gulf last week as it enforced United Nations sanctions against

Australian Defence Force spokesman Brigadier Mike Hannon said HMAS Canberra
made 16 boardings, with 14 of the boats found to be breaching United Nations
sanctions by carrying illegal oil and other exports.

Under UN resolutions, Iraq is allowed to sell oil for food and medicines.

But the Iraqi government can still achieve a substantial and non-accountable
cash flow by selling oil, cash up-front, to smugglers who then seek to
export it in violation of the UN resolutions.

Brigadier Hannon said HMAS Canberra intercepted seven boats leaving Iraqi
waters on Monday last week.

"The search revealed six of the seven were carrying illegal oil and were
directed back to their last port of call," he said.

"The scene was repeated the next day when another convoy of seven dhows,
which included two repeat offenders from the previous day, were boarded and
a quantity of illegal oil was found.

"Six of the seven dhows were directed back to their last port of call."

Brigadier Hannon said the following Wednesday the crew of HMAS Canberra
stopped a small merchant vessel.

"The boarding party found a quantity of export goods that were in
contravention of the UN sanctions," Brigadier Hannon said.

"The next night another ship attempted to run the blockade, resulting in a
non-compliant boarding by the Canberra crew.

"Illegal oil was discovered on the vessel and it was directed back to its
last port of call."

He said the Australian warship had stopped 2000 tonnes of illegal oil
leaving Iraqi waters.

BBC, 14th June

US aircraft have bombed an Iraqi military facility in response to an attack
against coalition aircraft monitoring the no-fly zone in southern Iraq, US
officials have said.

 The strike hit a radar facility at Al-Amarah, about 165 miles (265
kilometres) south-east of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad at 0520 (0920 GMT)
after Iraq fired on coalition airplanes on Thursday.

A statement from US Central Command, which overseas the patrols by the
British and American airforces, said that the strikes were "a self-defence
measure in response to hostile Iraqi acts against coalition forces and their

It is not clear what damage was caused to the Iraqi facility.

Iraq has shot at US and British aircraft about six times since the beginning
of May, and the coalition in turn has responded with strikes about four
times, US military official Lieutenant Colonel Dave Lapan told the
Associated Press news agency.

British and American planes routinely patrol two air exclusion zones in
northern and southern Iraq that were established after the Gulf War in 1991.

American and British military officials have expressed concern that Iraq
attacks in the zone have become more aggressive in recent months.

The zones were created to protect the Kurdish population in the north and
the Shia population in the south.

Iraq does not recognise the zones, which are not covered by any UN Security
Council resolution.

Iraq has said that it shot down three unmanned American spy planes between
August and October 2001. The losses were confirmed by the US.

However the US has denied reports that Iraq managed to force down an
unmanned US spy plane in May this year.

It also did not confirm reports in May from Kuwait that another unmanned spy
plane crashed in the emirate while returning from surveillance operations.

Baghdad claims that US and British air strikes have killed 1,477 people and
injured 1,358 since the no-fly zones were set up. However, the figures
cannot be confirmed.


by Steven Harmon
The Grand Rapids Press, 11th June

Linda Fasulo laughingly says Saddam Hussein has been good for the news

The United Nations and foreign correspondent for NPR and NBC News said
Monday that stories keep coming her way, thanks to events that center around
the Iraqi dictator.

"In a strange way, I really do owe my career in journalism to Saddam," she
said at the World Affairs Council's annual meeting at the Steelcase
Headquarters in Grand Rapids. "I'm not trying to make light of him. He's a
dictator, he's ruthless and he's addicted to weapons of mass destruction.
But one thing I know is he's a man you can count on for news."

Saddam soon may be back at the top of the news when United Nations Secretary
General Kofi Annan emerges on July 5 from fresh rounds of talks with Iraqi
foreign minister Naji Sabri on whether Iraq will allow U.N. weapons
inspectors back into the rogue nation.

Fasulo said she is skeptical that Iraq will do all that the U.N. and the
United States wants, which is to open the entire nation to inspections. Iraq
has kept inspectors out for three years.

"Most people at the U.N. are predicting that within six to nine months, the
United States will probably be engaged in some kind of military action with
Iraq," she said.

She added that the Iraqi-U.N. talks -- which have gone on since March -- are
more likely part of a stalling game Saddam is playing to delay the

Fasulo, who has covered the United Nations since 1989, said her beat has
twice been revived from flagging interest by events in Bush administrations.
The first came on Aug. 2, 1990, the day that Saddam invaded Kuwait during
George H.W. Bush's term.

"It was a watershed moment," she said. "The U.N. Security Council burst into
action, applied sanctions to get him to leave. Of course, he didn't. But
what did happen was the U.S. decided to use the U.N. for foreign support
against Saddam."

She saw up close Thomas Pickering, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., build
the now-famous coalition so vital to the Gulf War's success.

And contrary to popular perception, that coalition did not come around
easily -- or right away.

"Even in the Gulf War, nobody was upfront and united," she said. "It was
only after the U.S. decided it would pursue this come hell or high water
that countries came on board."

The second time world events jolted her beat came on Sept. 11, when
terrorists attacked the United States and forced the world to fight back
against terrorism.

Before Sept. 11, U.N. coverage sagged, particularly during the 2000 election
and the early part of George W. Bush's term.

"It was a very irritating time to follow U.N. affairs," she said. "The
signals were not promising."

Congress was dragging its feet on payment arrears of over three years, she
said. There was a concern the United States would renege. And the nomination
of John Negroponte had been languishing for eight months.

"It was not a recipe for an activist U.S. role," she said. "Well, all that
was very true on 9-10. But 9 11 changed everything."

The U.N. General Assembly "jumped into action" by condemning the terrorist
attacks and passing a resolution to work with 189 nations to stop the
financing and harboring of terrorists.

"That was a contributing factor to greater U.S. engagement with the U.N.,"
she said, noting that the relationship between Secretary of State Colin
Powell and Annan has developed into a "quasi romance."

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