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News, 15-22/6/02 (2) LICENSE TO KILL * CIA given powers to topple Saddam: WP * Gunning for Saddam - but is the CIA capable of triggering his demise? * Behind 'Plot' on Hussein, a Secret Agenda [Scott Ritter] NORTHERN IRAQ/SOUTHERN KURDISTAN * Islamist militants suspected behind Iraq blasts * Iraqi Kurds fear talk of war * Kurds report ethnicity cleansing by Iraq IRAQI/MIDDLE EASTERN-ARAB WORLD RELATIONS * 3 new Israeli submarines may carry nuclear warheads * Iraq is ready to discuss issues of the missing since the Gulf war * Iran 'opposes US attacking Iraq' NO FLY ZONES * U.S. Plane Bombs Iraqi Defense Site * US planes strike command center in Iraq * US-British raids kill four Iraqis in Baghdad IRAQI OPPOSITION * US turf wars betray the Iraqis * Iraqi opposition to hold meeting in London LICENSE TO KILL http://www.dawn.com/2002/06/17/int2.htm * CIA GIVEN POWERS TO TOPPLE SADDAM: WP Dawn, 17th June, 05 Rabi-us-Saani 1423 WASHINGTON, June 16: US President George W. Bush early this year signed an intelligence order directing the CIA to conduct covert operations to topple Saddam Hussein, The Washington Post reported on Sunday. The covert programme included authorization to use lethal force to capture Saddam, the Post said, citing informed sources. Bush has openly declared his desire to remove the Iraqi president, by military force if necessary, but has offered few details of how he plans to accomplish that. The Post said the presidential order directs the CIA to use all available tools, including: ‹ Increased support to Iraqi opposition groups and forces inside and outside Iraq including money, weapons, equipment, training and intelligence information. ‹ Expanded efforts to collect intelligence within Iraqi government, military, security service and overall population where pockets of intense anti-Saddam sentiment have been detected. ‹ Possible use of CIA and US Special Forces teams, similar to those that have been successfully deployed in Afghanistan since the Sept. 11 airliner attacks. Such forces would be authorized to kill the Iraqi president if they were acting in self-defence. Sources said CIA Director George Tenet told Bush and his Cabinet that the covert program alone - without military action or diplomatic and economic pressure - had only about a 10 per cent to 20 per cent chance of succeeding, the Post said. One source said the CIA covert action should be viewed largely as "preparatory" to a military strike so the agency can identify targets, intensify intelligence gathering on the ground in Iraq, and build relations with alternative future leaders and groups if Saddam is ousted, the Post said. "It is not a silver bullet, but hopes are high and we could get lucky," the Post quoted another source as saying.-Reuters http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/story.jsp?story=306338 * GUNNING FOR SADDAM - BUT IS THE CIA CAPABLE OF TRIGGERING HIS DEMISE? by David Usborne Independent, 18th June Saddam Hussein now knows what he is up against: President George Bush has given the green light to the Central Intelligence Agency to do all it can to drive him from power - even killing him, although this would have to be in "self-defence". But if the Iraqi leader is quaking at the news, is it from fear or just laughter? On the one hand, the CIA has 55 years of experience in diverting the politics of other nations, sometimes to historic effect. Governments have been ousted in countries as far apart as the Congo and Chile thanks to its dastardly doings. And leaders have indeed been killed, with CIA connivance. During the 1950s, 60s and 70s the agency clandestinely and successfully masterminded coups in Iran, Guatemala, Iraq, Chile, Guyana and the Congo, formerly Zaire. On the other hand, the CIA's operations over the decades have frequently either gone awry - remember the disastrous "Bay of Pigs" invasion of communist Cuba in 1961 - or even when deemed a success, left a tragic political legacy. The CIA-backed assassination of Patrice Lumumba of the Congo in 1960 made way for the 32-year reign of terror by the former dictator Joseph Mobutu, later Mobutu Sese Seko. The 1954 coup in Guatemala led to 35 years of civil war that left more than 140,000 dead. And as secret documents have been declassified, Americans have learned of many of the unsavoury alliances CIA operatives have forged to achieve their aims - for example, in America's efforts to oust President Salvador Allende of Chile. And there was Washington's silent approval of the invasion of East Timor by Indonesia, along with the illegal use of US arms. Mr Bush's order to the CIA, detailed by The Washington Post last weekend, to use all its resources to precipitate Saddam's ousting, means the agency will once more be up to its old tricks in Iraq. As well its own spies, it will have crack teams of American special forces at its disposal. It is a mission in the best - and arguably the very worst - of the agency's traditions. That it might fail is something that the CIA director, George Tenet, has reportedly put on record already. According to the Post, Mr Tenet told the President and his cabinet recently that the CIA's actions alone, without any kind of follow-up military assault, stands only a 10 to 20 per cent chance of succeeding. He knows his history and his caution was probably well-placed. So dismal was the image of the CIA when it turned 50 in 1997 that voices were raised in Washington - including those of two former directors - that it be dismantled and a new intelligence body be built from scratch. That didn't happen. It is ironic that since 11 September, when its worst failure of all - protecting America from foreign terror - was exposed, the agency has been given new and multiplied burdens, notably hunting al-Qa'ida and now toppling President Saddam. Now all the old questions about the CIA and its methods will be asked anew. How far can its operatives go in precipitating the murder of a foreign leader? And what sort of tactics - ethical or repugnant - might it employ? And in the event that the CIA does trigger President Saddam's demise, would Iraq without him prove more benign or even more of a nightmare than it is now? The killing of Saddam should be as easy as popping some poison in his whisky - he is, we are often reminded, fond of more than an occasional glass of the stuff. That sounds silly but it was, after all, the kind of approach that was adopted by the agency in the early 1960s when Washington was clamouring for the removal of Cuba's left-wing leader, Fidel Castro. Early in 1961, the CIA sought the services of a mobster from Chicago to kill the Cuban revolutionary. At a secret meeting in Miami, they furnished him with tiny gelatine capsules filled with botulinum toxin. The gangster, John Rosselli, was instructed to drop the capsules in Mr Castro's food, with the warning they wouldn't work in "boiling soup". The plan failed, of course, partly because Mr Castro suddenly stopped frequenting the restaurant that Rosselli had cased. There were plenty of other, equally comical, plots hatched in the corridors of the agency. Famously, one proposed lacing one of Castro's cigars with a hallucinogenic similar to LSD, in the hope that he would then give a speech under its effects and be revealed as a ranting madman. Someone else in the agency thought of dusting his shoes with thallium to make his beard fall out. There was also the idea of infecting his diving suit with a fungus to cause a chronic skin disease. It was also in 1961 and in Cuba that the CIA suffered possibly its most humiliating disaster ever. That was the CIA-led Bay of Pigs mission: designed to topple Mr Castro, it foundered almost as soon as the brigade of anti-revolutionary fighters tried to come ashore. Despite attempts at secrecy, Mr Castro apparently had ample warning to respond. When it was over, 114 members of the invading force were killed and 1,189 more were taken prisoner. It is unclear, meanwhile, just how far the CIA could go in seeking, or orchestrating the murder of President Saddam. Mr Bush couched his authorisation for the Iraqi to be killed in "self-defence" for a very good reason. Since the 1970s, the CIA - or any agent of the US government - is prohibited from directly seeking the assassination of a foreign leader. The attempts on Mr Castro's life were first revealed to a Senate intelligence committee, known as the Church Committee after its chairman, Senator Frank Church, in 1976. Members also learned how the CIA tried to infect a toothbrush of Lumumba, the first post colonial premier of the Congo, with a deadly African plague. That led President Gerald Ford to issue an executive order banning assassinations by all US agencies. Later presidents renewed the ban. There has always been debate, however, as to how water-tight the ban really is. An executive order does not have the same legal standing as a law passed by Congress. Nor is it obvious how far America's spies are at liberty still to help engineer a murder of a foreign leader, for instance by assisting would-be assassins from indigenous dissident groups to commit the act so long as they leave no American fingerprints. The other possible loophole - the one apparently chosen by this White House - is to allow the killing of a leader "in self-defence". Few people would mourn the death of President Saddam. But other unintended consequences might flow from an extended CIA operation in Iraq. The catalogue of the CIA catastrophes around the world - albeit some of them catastrophes with the benefit of hindsight - is, after all, depressingly thick. Previous CIA plots IRAN The 1951 nationalisation of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company by Iran's Prime Minister at the time, Mohammed Mossadegh, brought him into conflict with the Shah of Iran when Britain boycotted Iranian oil in protest. The US and Britain orchestrated a coup by encouraging Iranians working for the CIA to turn the Islamic community against the nationalist Mossadegh. In August 1953, the Shah signed a CIA-penned royal decree replacing Mossadegh with General Fazlollah Zahedi, who was handpicked by America and Britain. CHILE The CIA began undermining the coalition government of the socialist President Salvador Allende even before he was elected in 1970, amid fears of the impact of his election on US owned mining firms. President Nixon ordered the CIA to prevent him taking office but the first attempted coup failed. The CIA did not give up, having been told to "make the economy scream". The US approved $1m in covert aid to political parties and private organisations three weeks before Allende's overthrow in 1973 by General Augusto Pinochet. For years, Washington denied its role in the coup. CUBA Two years after the overthrow of the US-backed dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista in 1959 by Fidel Castro, the US launched its disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion, which sent 1,300 CIA trained Cuban exiles to the island. Their defeat after three days of battles was a huge embarrassment for President John F Kennedy. Various madcap assassination schemes followed. President Castro has survived 40 years of sanctions, which the US is refusing to lift. CONGO Patrice Lumumba, who led his country to independence from Belgium and became its first elected Prime Minister in 1960, was assassinated in a CIA-backed operation with the help of Belgian intelligence and UN connivance -- four months after he took office. He was abducted by Congolese rebels and killed in the province of Katanga, which declared independence after Lumumba's election. The order for his assassination came from President Eisenhower. Belgium has apologised for its role in his killing. INDONESIA President Suharto came to power in a CIA-backed coup in 1966 that ousted Sukarno, the father of the current President, Megawati Sukarnoputri. The coup followed an abortive putsch in 1965, engineered by America and Britain, and blamed on Indonesia's Communist Party. Hundreds of thousands of Communist sympathisers were massacred by the army. Historians have said America passed on the names of Communists to the army. The new president offered lucrative concessions to Western firms. SENT TO LIST. NO URL SUPPLIED. * BEHIND 'PLOT' ON HUSSEIN, A SECRET AGENDA by Scott Ritter Los Angeles Times, 19th June President Bush has reportedly authorized the CIA to use all of the means at its disposal- including U.S. military special operations forces and CIA paramilitary teams--to eliminate Iraq's Saddam Hussein. According to reports, the CIA is to view any such plan as "preparatory" for a larger military strike. Congressional leaders from both parties have greeted these reports with enthusiasm. In their rush to be seen as embracing the president's hard-line stance on Iraq, however, almost no one in Congress has questioned why a supposedly covert operation would be made public, thus undermining the very mission it was intended to accomplish. It is high time that Congress start questioning the hype and rhetoric emanating from the White House regarding Baghdad, because the leaked CIA plan is well timed to undermine the efforts underway in the United Nations to get weapons inspectors back to work in Iraq. In early July, the U.N. secretary-general will meet with Iraq's foreign minister for a third round of talks on the return of the weapons monitors. A major sticking point is Iraqi concern over the use--or abuse--of such inspections by the U.S. for intelligence collection. I recall during my time as a chief inspector in Iraq the dozens of extremely fit "missile experts" and "logistics specialists" who frequented my inspection teams and others. Drawn from U.S. units such as Delta Force or from CIA paramilitary teams such as the Special Activities Staff (both of which have an ongoing role in the conflict in Afghanistan), these specialists had a legitimate part to play in the difficult cat-and-mouse effort to disarm Iraq. So did the teams of British radio intercept operators I ran in Iraq from 1996 to 1998--which listened in on the conversations of Hussein's inner circle--and the various other intelligence specialists who were part of the inspection effort. The presence of such personnel on inspection teams was, and is, viewed by the Iraqi government as an unacceptable risk to its nation's security. As early as 1992, the Iraqis viewed the teams I led inside Iraq as a threat to the safety of their president. They were concerned that my inspections were nothing more than a front for a larger effort to eliminate their leader. Those concerns were largely baseless while I was in Iraq. Now that Bush has specifically authorized American covert-operations forces to remove Hussein, however, the Iraqis will never trust an inspection regime that has already shown itself susceptible to infiltration and manipulation by intelligence services hostile to Iraq, regardless of any assurances the U.N. secretary-general might give. The leaked CIA covert operations plan effectively kills any chance of inspectors returning to Iraq, and it closes the door on the last opportunity for shedding light on the true state of affairs regarding any threat in the form of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Absent any return of weapons inspectors, no one seems willing to challenge the Bush administration's assertions of an Iraqi threat. If Bush has a factual case against Iraq concerning weapons of mass destruction, he hasn't made it yet. Can the Bush administration substantiate any of its claims that Iraq continues to pursue efforts to reacquire its capability to produce chemical and biological weapons, which was dismantled and destroyed by U.N. weapons inspectors from 1991 to 1998? The same question applies to nuclear weapons. What facts show that Iraq continues to pursue nuclear weapons aspirations? Bush spoke ominously of an Iraqi ballistic missile threat to Europe. What missile threat is the president talking about? These questions are valid, and if the case for war is to be made, they must be answered with more than speculative rhetoric. Congress has seemed unwilling to challenge the Bush administration's pursuit of war against Iraq. The one roadblock to an all-out U.S. assault would be weapons inspectors reporting on the facts inside Iraq. Yet without any meaningful discussion and debate by Congress concerning the nature of the threat posed by Baghdad, war seems all but inevitable. The true target of the supposed CIA plan may not be Hussein but rather the weapons inspection program itself. The real casualty is the last chance to avoid bloody conflict. Scott Ritter, a former U.N. weapons inspector in Iraq, is author of "Endgame: Solving the Iraq Problem, Once and for All" (Simon & Schuster, 1999). NORTHERN IRAQ/SOUTHERN KURDISTAN http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow.asp?art_id=12987199 * ISLAMIST MILITANTS SUSPECTED BEHIND IRAQ BLASTS Times of India (from AFP), 15th June DUBAI: Suspicions are centered on "Islamist extremists" in two recent bomb blasts in the Kurdish enclave of northern Iraq that left two people slightly wounded, an Iraqi Kurdish spokesman said on Friday. "The bombs exploded on last Friday (June 7) in the summer resorts of Shaklawa and Shallal Ali Bek" in the northern province of Arbil, which is under the control of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), the KDP's London representative Dilshad Miran said over telephone. Miran said investigations into the minor blasts were still ongoing, but they followed a pattern of bomb explosions in Iraqi Kurdistan in recent months for which "extremist Islamist elements" were found to be responsible. Such attacks targeted perceived "un-Islamic" manifestations, such as shops that sell alcohol and beauty salons, he said. He said that while local authorities had still not determined who was responsible for last week's blasts in popular resorts, the purpose of the attacks against "soft targets" was clearly to "spread fear and confusion in the area." The KDP shares control of northern Iraq, which has been off limits to the Baghdad government since the end of the 1991 Gulf War, with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK). KDP leader Massoud Barzani and PUK chief Jalal Talabani agreed during a meeting in Germany in mid-April to pool their two factions' resources to combat Islamist radicals they say are operating in the Western-protected Kurdish enclave. The PUK has clashed in recent months with Islamic radicals based in the part of Iraqi Kurdistan it controls, pushing them back to the mountainous Biara region bordering Iran. A PUK spokesman said in May that an outfit calling itself "Ansar al-Islam" (Supporters of Islam) comprises a number of groupings, including 200-to-300 members of the so-called "Jund al-Islam" (Soldiers of Islam). The spokesman added that some of the members admit to having links with the al-Qaeda "terror" network, which Washington blames for the September 11 attacks, and having received training in Afghanistan from "terror" groups. However, critics accuse Kurdish officials of playing up the al-Qaeda link in a bid to win further US support and protection. The KDP's Miran said his group and the PUK had been "fully cooperating" in the fight against extremists through a joint operations center they have set up. In the past, the KDP and PUK often fought each other for predominance in the Kurdish north, but Barzani and Talabani agreed at their Germany meeting to complete the implementation of a 1998 US-brokered peace deal between their two factions. http://www.washtimes.com/world/20020619-79782122.htm * IRAQI KURDS FEAR TALK OF WAR by Joshua Kucera The Washington Times, 19th June ERBIL, Iraq ‹ Its people hate Saddam Hussein, its government is pro-Western and its soldiers battle-hardened and familiar with the terrain. So it would seem that Iraqi Kurdistan, the Kurdish-controlled entity in northern Iraq, would be a natural ally in an expected U.S. attack against Iraq. Top Stories Not so fast, say officials and ordinary people here. In the 10 years since Kurdistan has been sheltered from Baghdad's control by an Anglo-U.S. no-fly zone, it has provided its mostly Kurdish population with a life relatively free of the hardships and restrictions most Iraqis face. There are freedom of speech, education in local languages, Internet and cell phones in the big cities, and better economic opportunities. Government officials say they want to make sure any action they participate in will maintain this situation. "We are not going to be the initiator of any military action," said Sami Abdul-Rahman, a deputy prime minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government. "But if a military conflict takes place, we'll behave in the best interests of the Kurdish people and Iraqi people." Specifically, Kurds want to make sure that Saddam's successors don't end Kurdistan's autonomy. "The status quo is the best thing our people have had in their recent history, and it would be good if it continued," said Mr. Abdul-Rahman. "We hope that such a successful experiment will not be strangled." After the 1991 Persian Gulf war, an uprising by Kurds in northern Iraq was repressed by Iraq, prompting the United States and Britain to impose the no-fly zone protecting three Kurdish provinces. Two other provinces, Mosul and Kirkuk, are still under Baghdad's control but are considered by Kurds to be part of Kurdistan. In their protected enclave, Kurds established a parliament and government structures. Infighting among the rival Kurdistan Democratic Party and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan in the 1990s left about 1,000 dead. But a deal in 1998 ended that conflict, and the two now share power, the KDP controlling two provinces and the PUK the third. Many believe that the KDP and PUK are leery of war because they want to protect their fiefdoms. Concern that Kurdistan's autonomy might be threatened or that Saddam might pre-empt or retaliate against a U.S. attack by moving into Kurdistan are overstated, said Yonadam Y. Kanna, general secretary of the Assyrian Democratic Movement and a member of the Kurdish enclave's parliament. "That's politicians saying that, not people. [They] want a guarantee from the West that they'll have some autonomy [in a post-Saddam Iraq]," he said. PUK and KDP leaders have recently met American officials in Berlin and in Virginia, where they discussed the Kurdish position on a U.S. attack. Concerns about war appear to be less based on issues of autonomy than on instability in general, as well as worries that any action might be based more on U.S. interests than on those of Kurds or Iraqis. Wasfi Barzanjy, who owns a computer shop here in the capital of the Kurdish enclave, is expanding because business is getting better. "In a year and a half, everyone will be able to buy a PC," he predicted. The talk of war worries him, though. "People are afraid of the news about the U.S. and Iraq. people are afraid of what will happen in the future," he said. "If Saddam Hussein is gone, we don't know if anyone better will come." "The Kurdish people will help the U.S., but people don't want change to come from the outside," he added. Although people here hate Saddam Hussein ‹ he destroyed 4,500 Kurdish villages in the 1980s, attacking some with chemical weapons after they had been overrun by Iranian forces in the eight-year Iran-Iraq war ‹ Kurds have no problem with ordinary Arabs. There is a small indigenous Arab population, and in the last 10 years many Arabs have come to Kurdistan for better job opportunities. Most people are not interested in Iraqi Kurdistan becoming an independent country, but rather staying part of Iraq and controlling their own affairs. "We can't live alone. We don't want the U.S. to bomb Iraq, because we're part of Iraq and we don't want the Iraqi people to suffer," said Jamal, a retired bazaar salesman in Erbil. There is also a lingering mistrust of the United States because it encouraged and then abandoned the uprising in 1991, and then failed to back another in 1996. "If nothing like in '91 or '96 happens, then we'll help [a U.S. attack]," Jamal said. "But if it's like then, we don't want to have the U.S. anywhere near here." http://www.washtimes.com/world/20020622-92307624.htm * KURDS REPORT ETHNICITY CLEANSING BY IRAQ by Joshua Kucera Washington Times, 22nd June BENASLAWA, Iraq ‹ Iraqi police went to Mohammed Osman's home in Kirkuk, northern Iraq, in May 1996, and gave him a choice: Renounce his Kurdish ethnicity or leave town. Mr. Osman, who in the past managed to buy time with a $60 bribe, could not afford it anymore and chose to leave. Mr. Osman came to this refugee camp, where 100 families from Kirkuk have fled what they call the "Arabization" of the city. They are among tens of thousands of Kurds, Turkomans and Assyrians who have had to leave Kirkuk for one reason: They aren't Arabs. Kirkuk is a center of oil and agriculture and is of prime strategic importance for northern Iraq. Since the founding of the Iraqi state after World War I, Arab-controlled governments in Baghdad have been expelling non-Arabs in an effort to solidify control, say non-Arabs and international human rights groups. In 1999, the government introduced a new policy of "nationality correction," under which non-Arabs are asked to change their ethnicity on identity cards and census documents or leave. Mr. Osman said he knows of only a handful of people in Kirkuk who have accepted the offer. "We are Kurds. We refuse to be Arabs," he said. Those who do change their ethnicity still face discrimination. They are not allowed to hold top jobs in the government or oil industry and may have to adopt Arabic names. In a perverse twist, some are punished for having "incorrectly" declared their Kurdishness in the first place, according to some Kurds who have left the area. In Kirkuk, there is no education in Kurdish, and the only media source in Kurdish is a two hour daily television program of propaganda from Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath party. "When we were in Kirkuk, they forbade Kurds from owning houses or cars or marrying Arab girls. If we wanted to have a car, we had to register it in an Arab's name," said Azad Ali, who was kicked out of Kirkuk as a high school student in 1996 and is now a soldier living in the Benaslawa camp. According to a report by two French human rights groups in 2001, Kurds in Kirkuk are subject to "harassment, intimidation, arrests, torture and expulsion." "As long as the Ba'ath party is in power in Baghdad, I don't want to go back [to Kirkuk]," Mr. Osman said. Since 1991, the three northernmost Iraqi provinces have been administered by the Kurdistan regional government, protected from Saddam Hussein's rule by U.S. and British enforcement of a no-fly zone. The Benaslawa camp lies in this area, just outside Kurdistan's capital, Erbil. Two more largely Kurdish provinces are still controlled by Baghdad, including the province of Kirkuk. The Erbil-based Committee for Confronting Arabization in Kurdistan estimates that since the 1960s, 190,000 people have been expelled from Kirkuk province into Dohuk and Erbil provinces in the no-fly zone. The committee is preparing a census to get more accurate numbers on the people affected by Arabization. According to Iraqi census figures, from 1957 to 1977 Kirkuk's Kurdish population fell from 47 percent to 38 percent while the proportion of Arabs rose from 28 percent to 44 percent. Iraq has not published newer census figures. Arabs moving to Kirkuk get incentives such as a modern house, a plot of land to farm or a good job, the Kurds say. They also get paid to rebury their relatives in Kirkuk to make it appear that the Arab presence has been a long one, the committee said. IRAQI/MIDDLE EASTERN-ARAB WORLD RELATIONS http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/chronicle/a/2002/06/15/MN142341 .DTL * 3 NEW ISRAELI SUBMARINES MAY CARRY NUCLEAR WARHEADS by Walter Pincus Washington Post, 15th June Washington -- Israel has acquired three diesel submarines that it is arming with newly designed cruise missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads, according to former Pentagon and State Department officials, potentially giving Israel a triad of land-, sea- and air-based nuclear weapons systems for the first time. The U.S. Navy monitored Israel's testing of a new cruise missile from a submarine two years ago off Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean, according to former Pentagon officials. One former senior American official said U.S. analysts have studied the nuclear capability of the cruise missile. But, according to a former Pentagon official, "It is above top secret knowing whether the sub-launched cruise missiles are nuclear-armed." Another former official added, "We often don't ask." The possible move to arm submarines with nuclear weapons suggests that the Israeli government might be increasingly concerned about efforts by Iraq and Iran to develop more accurate long-range missiles capable of knocking out Israel's existing nuclear arsenal, which is primarily land-based. Although developing a sea-based leg would preserve the deterrent value of Israel's nuclear force, according to analysts, it would complicate U.S. efforts to keep other countries in the Middle East and elsewhere from seeking to acquire nuclear arms. It also could spur a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. Israel has long refused to confirm or deny it has nuclear weapons. U.S. analysts say it has a modest arsenal of short- and medium-range nuclear- capable missiles, nuclear bombs that could be delivered from jet fighters and Harpoon missiles that could be launched from planes or ships. Mark Regev, spokesman for the Israeli Embassy, confirmed that his country had recently acquired three submarines from Germany but would not comment on whether they were being outfitted with nuclear weapons. "There has been no change in Israel's long-standing position not to introduce nuclear weapons in the Middle East," Regev said. A book published this week by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace reported that Israel was attempting to arm its diesel submarines with nuclear cruise missiles. "Probably the most important nuclear-related development in Israel is the formation of its sea-based nuclear arm," wrote Joseph Cirincione, director of the Carnegie Endowment's nonproliferation project and a former staff member of the House Armed Services Committee who served as chief author of the book. The U.S. government "favors" Israel's preserving the ambiguity surrounding its nuclear force, just as it has since the late 1960s, a former senior U.S. diplomat said. "It gives it a strategic deterrence," he said, adding, "If (Israel) were being explicit, that would create problems with its neighbors like Egypt and Syria . . . whose leaders years ago agreed that (ambiguity) did not pose an offensive threat to them." Iraq and Iran, he added, are different because "they are destabilizing" countries and could launch a first strike against Israel or U.S. forces in the region if they succeed in developing and deploying nuclear weapons. There have been published reports going back to 1998 that describe Israel's acquisition of the diesel submarines and its testing of a cruise missile. In an article two years ago in the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz, Reuven Pedatzur, a former Israeli fighter pilot and director of the Galili Center for Strategy and National Security, wrote that Israel was motivated by "the need to find deterrence solutions . . . from the probability that during the next decade Iran, and maybe even Iraq, will acquire the nuclear ballistic capability to hit Israeli targets." Pedatzur said that faced with that threat, a submarine force armed with missiles is a reliable deterrent because Israel's enemies would not be able to locate and destroy them and thus "it is impossible to avoid their lethal counterstrike." The Carnegie Endowment book said Israel "is believed to have deployed" 100 Jericho short range and medium-range missiles that are nuclear-capable. In addition, it has nuclear bombs that could be delivered from U.S.-made F-16 jet fighters and U.S.-built Harpoon missiles that could be launched from planes or ships. Israel's nuclear-capable, sea-launched cruise missiles were tested in May 2000, the book said, and might have a range of more than 900 miles. With three submarines, Israel could "have a deployment at sea of one nuclear-armed submarine at all times," the book said. Cirincione said that at least eight countries have nuclear weapons -- the United States, Russia, Britain, France, China, Israel, India and Pakistan -- and three more are apparently seeking them -- Iraq, Iran and North Korea. Four countries, he said, have in recent years given up their weapons -- South Africa and the former Soviet republics Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakstan. The Carnegie Endowment book attributed Iran's decision to seek nuclear, chemical and biological weapons to its experience during its war with Iraq in the 1980s, when Iraqi President Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons against Iranian forces. Iran is influenced by its "extended neighborhood (where) it sees Israel, India and Pakistan with advanced nuclear weapons" and Iraq's weapons program no longer subject to inspection by the United Nations, the book said. The authors said U.S. sanctions against Iran, which have hurt its ability to build conventional military forces, "have likely worked toward reaffirming belief in the utility of unconventional weapons." Iraq's search for nuclear and biological weapons rests on Hussein's desire to be the "dominant power in the Middle East" and his belief that "a nuclear bomb would provide him with the ultimate symbol of military power," the book said. It said "Iraq may have a workable design for a nuclear weapon" and that if Baghdad "were to acquire material from another country, it is possible that it could assemble a nuclear weapon in months." http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/020618/2002061808.html * IRAQ IS READY TO DISCUSS ISSUES OF THE MISSING SINCE THE GULF WAR Arabic news, 18th June Iraq on Monday informed the International Committee of the Red Cross ICRC its readiness to discuss the issue of the missing since the Gulf war. In a message sent to the office of the ICRC in Baghdad, the Iraqi foreign ministry said that the Iraqi government is ready to directly cooperate with the ICRC and with Kuwait in order to discuss the issue of the missing Iraqi and Kuwaiti peoples, in line with the international law. http://news.ft.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=FT.com/StoryFT/FullStory&c =StoryFT&cid=1024578106305&p=1012571727172 * IRAN 'OPPOSES US ATTACKING IRAQ' by Guy Dinmore in Tehran Financial Times, 20th June Iran is strongly opposed to any US-led attack on Iraq but would probably remain neutral in the event of an attempt to remove President Saddam Hussein by force, according to a leading Iranian official. Although Iran has made clear it opposes US ambitions to impose a change of regime in Baghdad, the statement by Mohsen Rezaei was the clearest indication to date by a senior official that Iran would not seek actively to oppose a US military campaign. Mr Rezaei, who commanded the Revolutionary Guards for 16 years, told the FT: "The US will definitely attack Iraq. Even if Saddam lets the weapons inspectors in, the US will attack. Iran opposes such a move as we opposed the attack on Afghanistan, but I believe Iran would be neutral and keep its impartiality." Analysts said Mr Rezaei's comments should not be seen as a green light for the US to intervene in Iraq, but rather as an indication that Iran would not lend tacit support as it did last year during the US campaign in Afghanistan through its backing of the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance. Mr Rezaei spoke of the deep disappointment within the Iranian establishment over the conduct of the US campaign in Afghanistan and its aftermath. For this reason, he said, it was impossible to predict how Iran would respond to a US assault on Iraq. "Our government is very dissatisfied with the behaviour of the US in Afghanistan, which had a very negative impact on Iran. In Afghanistan we really co- operated within the framework of the United Nations, but the US did not show correct behaviour towards Iran." Mr Rezaei did not elaborate but European diplomats in Tehran said his comments reflected how the more pragmatic among Iran's leaders were frustrated that their response to the September 11 terror attacks on the US and subsequent co-operation in supporting the interim administration in Afghanistan had not led to a serious dialogue between Tehran and Washington. President George W. Bush's bracketing of Iran in an "axis of evil" alongside Iraq and North Korea came as a shock to the reformist administration led by President Mohammad Khatami and strengthened hard-line clerics opposed to re- establishing ties with the US. Mr Bush's verbal attack on Iran, reinforced by signs that the US intends to tighten its unilateral economic sanctions, was based on concern over Iran's alleged pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and its support for militant Palestinian groups. European diplomats think the "axis of evil" speech, made in late January, was a tactical mistake from the point of view of engaging Iran's co-operation in bringing about "regime change" in Baghdad. Although Iran, which fought a devastating 1980-88 war with US-backed Iraq, actively supports Iraqi opposition groups, the ayatollahs in Tehran are more convinced than ever that the fall of Mr Saddam is seen in Washington as a prelude to removing their clerical regime. The continued US military presence on Iran's doorstep in Afghanistan and the opening of bases in several central Asian countries to the north has heightened their fears of encirclement. Although Iran would not wish to provoke US retaliation by actively opposing any military campaign in Iraq, it could play a significant role in shaping a post-Saddam government through its backing for the Iraqi Shia Muslim opposition, which has forces based inside Iran led by Ayatollah Mohammad-Baqer Hakim. As in Iran, Shia Muslims form a majority of the Iraqi population, although they have never wielded power in Iraq's modern history. NO FLY ZONES http://cgi.worldnews.com/?action=display&article=14211728&template=baghdad/i ndexsearch.txt&index=recent * U.S. PLANE BOMBS IRAQI DEFENSE SITE The Associated Press, 19th June WASHINGTON (AP) ‹ An American fighter jet dropped a bomb on an anti-aircraft artillery site in northern Iraq on Wednesday after Iraqi air defense forces fired on U.S. planes patrolling a ``no fly'' zone, officials said. All U.S. planes departed the area safely, according to a brief statement issued by U.S. European Command, which is responsible for U.S. military operations over northern Iraq. U.S. and British warplanes have been enforcing ``no fly'' zones over northern and southern Iraq since shortly after the 1991 Gulf War. Iraq considers the zones to be illegal and has vowed to shoot down an American pilot. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow.asp?art_id=13586242 * US PLANES STRIKE COMMAND CENTER IN IRAQ Times of India (from AFP), 20th June WASHINGTON: Warplanes from a US-British coalition on Thursday struck an Iraqi military command and control center that was helping to direct anti-aircraft artillery fire at coalition aircraft patrolling a no-fly zone in southern Iraq, the US military said. The US Central Command said the air strike was launched at 0930 GMT after aircraft enforcing the no-fly zone came under Iraqi attack. Warplanes used precision guided weapons to strike "facilities of a military command and control center," the command said in a statement. "This facility was struck because it helped direct anti-aircraft artillery attacks against coalition aircraft authorised by the United Nations Security Council to enforce the no-fly zones in southern Iraq," it said. The facility was located about 265 km southeast of Baghdad at al Amarah, a place that was struck June 14 by US warplanes, said Lieutenant Colonel Martin Compton, a spokesman for the US Central Command said. The strike came a day after a US-British air strike in the northern no-fly zone and was the latest in a series directed at Iraqi air defenses. http://www.dailystarnews.com/200206/21/n2062113.htm#BODY4 * US-BRITISH RAIDS KILL FOUR IRAQIS IN BAGHDAD Daily Star (from Bangladesh), 21st June AFP, Baghdad: Four Iraqis were killed and 10 wounded when US and British warplanes bombed southern Iraq yesterday, a military spokesman in Baghdad said. The United States and Britain "added another ugly crime to their black record when their aircraft attacked our civilian and services installations in Missan province, 366 km south of Baghdad, killing four citizens and wounding 10 others," said the spokesman, quoted by the official INA news agency. The US Central Command earlier said US and British warplanes struck an Iraqi military command and control centre that was helping to direct anti-aircraft artillery fire at coalition planes patrolling a no-fly zone in south Iraq. IRAQI OPPOSITION http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,739411,00.html * US TURF WARS BETRAY THE IRAQIS by Henry Porter and David Rose The Guardian, 18th June President Bush's instruction to the CIA to kill or capture Saddam Hussein defies previous presidential orders banning the assassination of foreign leaders. It can also be seen as another bewildering turn in American policy towards Iraq. Policy has been characterised by drift, inconsistency and a marked indifference to the suffering of Iraqis. Bush may be determined that Saddam "needs to go," but the US record does not augur well. The CIA is all but starting from scratch in Iraq. In 1995, President Clinton ensured the defeat of a planned uprising by announcing the withdrawal of US support on its very eve. Many of the CIA's assets were murdered. Since the departure of the UN weapons inspectorate in 1998, the sole source of information about what is happening on the ground and in Saddam's regime has been the Iraqi National Congress, a dissident group led by Dr Ahmad Chalabi in London. The INC has helped arrange the defection of a stream of high-ranking members of the regime who have brought out crucial information. These include Adnan Saeed al-Haideri, a specialist building contractor who had documents to back his story of how his firm had built new chemical and biological weapons facilities, and Abu Zeinab al-Qurairy, an Iraqi intelligence brigadier-general, who in three days of interviews with us in Beirut, cheerfully confessed to directing massacres, torture, extra-judicial imprisonment and a training camp for terrorists near Baghdad. The INC maintains contact through encrypted emails and satellite phones with a network of agents inside Iraq, some of whom have access to political and military secrets. The INC has the wherewithal to ask specific questions of its agents in the field and to provide swift, accurate answers. This is an invaluable asset in planning insurgency and the administration could be expected to seek to boost the INC's information-gathering role. Unsurprisingly, given the US record in Iraq, it is trying to close it down. The INC depends for its funding on money voted in 1998 by Congress. The purse strings are held by the State Department. Last week, driven by bitter rivalry within the US government, officials gave Dr Chalabi an ultimatum: all funding would be withdrawn unless the INC agreed to cease its information-collection programme permanently. Chalabi refused, saying the INC would be "disembowelled" and reduced to exactly the vapid, exile talking shops its Washington critics have long claimed it to be. What makes this so hard to understand is that the US has few real alternatives on the ground in Iraq. During the past decade there has been only sporadic CIA representation in the north-east, where for a time the INC operated with the cooperation of one of the warring Kurdish factions. Bob Baer, a former CIA officer, has described in his recent book, See No Evil, how his attempt to orchestrate armed opposition against Saddam during the mid-90s was frustrated by mixed messages from the State Department and ended when he was hauled back to Washington and investigated by the FBI on a charge of conspiracy to murder Saddam Hussein. After the covert attempts on Fidel Castro's life in the 60s and many similar operations all over the world, the US was trying to clean up its act, at least for public consumption. Today America is shamelessly having it both ways, to the point where a Democrat such as Dick Gephardt can insist that the no-assassination policy is intact. That is precisely the kind of confused double-think which left so many Iraqis stranded during two uprisings against Saddam and which must make them doubt Bush's word now. The defector Abu Zeinab testified that Saddam waited to see if the US would intervene with airpower in support of the insurgents in 1991. When this failed to materialise the regime took it as a sign that it could suppress the uprising with all necessary force. Tens of thousands of people were killed. Cutting off the INC's money is a sign of the State Department's wariness of the INC's pro democracy agenda. Since the 1995 debacle, the chief market for INC intelligence has not been the CIA, which works closely with the State Department, but the defence intelligence agency, which is run by the much more hawkish Pentagon and places a high value on information concerning the manufacture and movement of weaponry. It is this intelligence which has been used to press Bush to take action against Saddam. Much of American foreign policy seems to owe its genesis to a turf war inside the Beltway, which is at least as complicated as anything in the Middle East. But with so much at stake in Iraq and the Middle East, it is disastrous that America appears unable to elaborate a coherent policy which goes beyond the excited rhetoric of smart bombs and covert action. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow.asp?art_id=13609263 * IRAQI OPPOSITION TO HOLD MEETING IN LONDON Times of India (from AFP), 21st June LONDON: Iraqis who oppose President Saddam Hussein will meet in London with 90 of their army officers in July to discuss overthrowing his regime, those organising the meeting said Thursday. Iraqi army officers will come "from all over the world" for the July 6 to July 8 meeting, Albert Yelda of the Iraqi National Coalition told AFP. All Iraqi opposition movements, large or small, have been invited to the meeting which will be held at an undisclosed location, he said. They will discuss how to topple the existing regime, Iraq's future and the role of the army post-Saddam, he added. _______________________________________________ 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 firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk