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[casi] News titles, 29/6-6/7/02

News titles, 29/6-6/7/02

I am finding some difficulty in understanding why so many of those who
supported the war on Serbia seem to be opposed to the war on Iraq. What are
the differences between Slobodan Milosevic and Saddam Hussein? Well, chiefly
that Mr Milosevic was democratically elected and was engaged in a war
against a terrorist campaign taking place in what is still recognised as
being legally part of Serbia. His treatment of ethnic Albanians certainly
wasnıt any worse than Mr Husseinıs treatment of the Kurds (which hasnıt been
much worse than the Turksı treatment of the Kurds, but thatıs another
matter). In fact, prior to the actual launching of the war, any comparison
between the two is really outrageous. The ŒRacak massacreı which provided
the pretext for the war was small beer compared to the massacres the US have
been engaging in in Afghanistan (and the dispute, civilian or terrorist?
Greatly resembles the dispute over the latest wedding party massacre). Large
sections of European and British opinion need to be told: if the bombing of
Serbia was justified then thereıs nothing to be said against the bombing of
Iraq; if the bombing of Iraq is wrong, then thereıs nothing to be said in
favour of the bombing of Serbia.

That having been said, the most depressing piece of news in what follows is
to be found in the International section - ŒEritrea eager for U.S. military
partnershipı. Perhaps the breakdown of the talks on weapons inspections is
also depressing but it was predictable. Kofi Annan is not a man of moral
courage and was not in a position tp offer the terms under which a return of
the weapons inspectors would have been acceptable. But the whole thing is
farcical since it is perfectly obvious that with the blockade in place
around Iraq it is virtually impossible that any substantial quantities of
material for weapons opf mass destruction could be getting in. Even when the
inspectors were there all their work turned round old stocks not new
material. As a pretext for war the Œweapons of mass destructionı is not so
much a fig leaf as a magnifying glass ...


*  Israelıs submarine menace raises stakes {Details of the latest stage in
Israelıs US approved Weapons of Mass Destruction programme. The article ends
with a little piece on Iraqıs WMD capacity in 1990/1 which is all that is
given here, but the rest of it is interesting for those who like that sort
of thing.]
*  The real case against Saddam [New York Post. Quotes Jesse Helmsı Œformer
chief Iraq stafferı, Danielle Pletka as saying: "Nobody credible makes the
case that there's some connection between Saddam Hussein and what happened
Sept. 11." So much for William Safire et al. Goes on to say that there is
nonetheless a demonstrably true case for overthrowing Saddam Hussein. It
comes in 4 points. Of these, the first (that Saddam Hussein is clearly evil
and reckless) could equally be applied to any US President one might care to
name (one would like to make an exception of Carter but he did have Zbigniew
Brzezinski for his Secretary of State). The second point - that he is trying
to get weapons of mass destruction - has turned out to be as difficult to
prove as the connection with Sept 11 (though it is not difficult to prove
that Israel is chock a block with them). Only the last two points are
demonstrably true: that Iraq is potentially a very strong nation, and that
current US policy is unravelling.]
*  Iraq using new mobile missile launchers: Jane's [At last, solid proof of
Iraqıs aggressive intentions]
*  A shameful attack [Mark Seddon of Tribune criticises John Sweeneyıs
Mother of All Ironies programme. Unfortunately he rather leaves the
impression that he thought he could control the content of the programme
through the privileged position he occupies as the person who can get
reporters into Iraq; and is rather miffed that he found he couldnıt. Not the
best critique that could have been made of the programme (that was made by
MediaLens, circulated to list by Katy Connell on 24th June)]
*  BBC was fair on Iraq [Letter in reply to above from Mark Damazer, Deputy
director, BBC News]


*  Iraqi President Discharges 3 Elderly Ministers
*  Baghdad slams UNESCO over World Heritage List
*  Diverse Iraqi painting revealed in all its richness

IRAQI/INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS (South Africa, Pakistan, India, Czech
Republic, Europe, Eritrea, Russia)

*  Iraqi Deputy Minister Visits SA
*  Baghdad accepts 31,000 tons wheat
*  India's FICCI [Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry] to
send delegation to Iraq
*  Iraq denounces the Free Europe radio
*  EU approves aid package to Iraq [Curious little item that perhaps hasnıt
attracted the attention it deserves. Given that we are told the problem does
not lie in access to (imported) food and medicines but in infrastructure, is
that what the European proposal addresses?]
*  Eritrea eager for U.S. military partnership [It is deeply distressing to
see Eritrea which, some years ago, appeared to me at least to be a beacon to
the world, apparently offering to turn itself into a US aircraft carrier:
ŒEritrea could also serve a launching point for a future attack on Iraq,
Asmerom (Eritrean ambassador to the US) said.ı
*  Iraqi Ambassador Talks the Talk [Abbas Khalaf, Iraqıs new ambassador to


*  Kurds grit teeth for US strike [The thesis is that the Kurds donıt want
to go to war but will be obliged to do so by the Americans. At present,
theyıre happy because they can drink, women donıt have to wear the veil, and
they get a monthly food basket, though there is still a lot of poverty.
Sounds a bit like the rest of Iraq.]
*  Restaurant Explosion Injures 20 in Kurdish-run northern Iraq
*   '88 gassing still killing Iraqi Kurds [John Sweeney, in one of his
exchanges with anti-sanctions campaigners, suggested we should go to
Halabja. Iıve seeen no sign that Mr Sweeney has ever been to Halabja but
this article is by someone who has, and he finds it disgracefully neglected
by the Œinternational communityı (and by implication the Kurdish
authorities). Long term after effects of the 1988 chemical attack havenıt
been properly researched, partly for fear of the consequences for the
Western firms that supplied the chemicals. The US is willing to use Halabja
for propaganda purposes but will do nothing to alleviate the suffering. On
the whole its an all round desolating story (one small interesting detail.
Halabja is outside the zone Œprotectedı by the US/British air forces.)]
*  Iraq Turns Up Heat on Ethnic Kurds, Non-Arabs in Kirkuk [The arrival in
the autonomous zone of large numbers of Kurds apparently expelled from the
Kirkuk region is one of the more serious and verifiable charges that can be
made against Saddam Hussein - though John Sweeney wasnıt very interested in
it. In this particular article the effect is a little weakened by a young
Turkoman who seems to be fleeing Œone or two yearsı military service. Much
as one might sympathise with him on a personal basis, thatıs what military
service was until recently in France. The fact that in the Iraqi army he
risks being killed is more the fault of those (who include the author of the
article) who want to wage war on Iraq. And the way things are going he
probably doesnıt have a lot of advantage going to the autonomous zone.]

AND, IN NEWS, 29/6-6/7/02 (2)


*  Iranian pilgrims to Iraq have doubled to 7,000 a week
*  Jordan denies the existence of American forces to strike Iraq
*  U.S. buildup in Qatar may foreshadow Iraq attack
*  Two American secret military bases in Qatar [Arab report in rather
imperfect English emphasising Qatari anxiety that their treachery should be
kept secret]
*  Al-Sharq al-Awsat: the next war against Syria [Prospects for an imminent
Israeli attack against Syria, possibly under cover of the US war against
*  Iraq grants Turkish companies oil contracts

*   Arab Report Cites Development Obstacles
by Karen DeYoung
Washington Post, 2nd July
[UN report written by Arabs says Arabs are backward. Still too much interest
in matters other than making money.]
*  A way of seeing - book takes look at Arab visual culture
by Jim Quilty
Daily Star, Lebanon, 1st July
[Book on Arab photography - an art form whose very existence shows how far
the Arab peoples have fallen since the days when any sort of illusionistic
copy of the external appearances of nature was regarded with contempt, and
calligraphy was recognised as among the highest forms of human activity.]


*  Policy goes too far to combat terrorism [At last someone - in this case
an editorial in the Atlanta Constitution - has noticed that by the standards
now being proclaimed by Mr Bush: ŒJapan's attack on Pearl Harbor could be
considered a justified pre emptive strike ...ı Only quibble I have is with
the reference to Œour newly aggressive approach.ı How long is it since the
US has waged a war that could by any stretch of the imagination be termed
*  World exclusive interview: George Michael [Long article from the Daily
Mirror (was it all really published) which was, it appears, behind
G.Michaelıs recent decision to enter into political, um, debate. Michaelıs
main anxiety appears to be that Britain might get attacked, not that we
might kill a lot of people He gives the impression of wanting to appease the
terrorists to rpevent another September 11th on his doorstep. It really
isnıt true to say that ŒBritain's the second most dangerous place on earth
right nowı - presumably after the US, but Israel/Palestine, Afghanistan,
Somalia , Kashmir etc are still more dangerous than eiter of them. Only a
short extract dealing with Iraq is given here (and again, anxiety about what
Saddam Hussein might do if cornered prevails over anxiety as to what we
might do to Iraq.)]
*  Rise of a new imperialism [Extract from a new book by John Pilger. He
suggests that the new imperialists are losing any inhibitions they may ever
have had about behaving like the old imperialists. But he does suggest that
they are still inhibited about the name, Œimperialistı. Has he not read the
recent pieces by old Foreign Office hand, Robert Cooper?]
*  U.S. Is Right to Spurn Int'l Criminal Court [The New York Daily News
opposes the International Criminal Court on the grounds that Americans could
be subjected to the jurisdiction of a bunch of wogs from worthless places
like Lesotho. The paper fears that ŒIf the court had existed before now,
President Bush, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State
Powell might be dodging subpoenas. The U.S., after all, has killed civilians
in Afghanistan.ı And they may be right. All the courtıs defenders are
assuring us that the US has nothing to fear but if it canıt prevent what the
US did in Afghanistan then surely it isnıt worth having.]
*  Liberty Mutual fined for Iraqi dealings
*  The rogue State [John Pilger attacks the US - mainly on Afghanistan -
from the pages of the Daily Mirror. Piers Morganıs commitment to this sort
of thing is heartening but it still needs some sort of effective embodiment
in politics, outside the Labour Party Œusual suspectsı group. Are Morgan and
the Labour group willing to organise a real opposition (and could they do it
without getting nobbled by the SWP?)]

*  Experts fear crude bomb could be built
by Charles J. Hanley
The Plain Dealer (Cleveland), 30th June
[Scary thoughts on the possible proliferation of nuclear materials. But
worried as the Americans might be they donıt appear to be that worried: ŒThe
IAEA's advocates, meanwhile, say it's time the U.N. watchdog agency's budget
- long frozen because of Washington's anti-U.N. sentiment - be increased.ı]
*  We'll strike first
by Robert Schlesinger, 6/30/2002
Boston Globe, 30th June[Reflections on the rights and wrongs of pre-emptive
strikes. Problem of arguing why, with the removal of the only serious
competing power, one has to become more, not less, aggressive.]
*  Bridging The Dangerous Gap Between The West And The Muslim World
by Paul Wolfowitz
Weekly Trust (Kaduna, Africa), 1st July
[Second part of a long semi-philosophical reflection by Paul Wolfowitz on
the difference between good Muslims (willing to recognise Israel) and bad
ones (terrorists). But he doesnıt seem to have explored the question very
far: ŒStrikingly, by the way, even in a portion of Iraq -in the
Kurdish-controlled areas in the North  we see an example of the kind of
self-government Muslims can achieve. There, beyond the reach of the Baghdad
regime, the people are healthy and they enjoy a level of prosperity that far
surpasses the rest of Iraq.ı This is something of an exaggeration but
assuming we concede the case we may well wonder: if the Kurds can do so well
left to their own devices why isnıt Mr Wolfowitz supporting their autonomy
vis a vis Turkey?],3604,747559,00.html
*  Contempt of court
The Guardian, 2nd July
[The Guardian waxes indignant about US refusal to countenance the
International Criminal Court. But so far as I can see theyıve missed the
point. They think the ICC is an extension of the kangaroo courts set up for
ex-Yugoslavia and Rwanda. It isnıt. These were responsible to the United
Nations Security Council, which is controlled at least negatively by the US
(it might not do everything the US wants but it wonıt do anything the US
doesnıt want). The US was NEVER going to support an international court not
under its control. This is nothing to do with Œthe suspicious, slab-sided
rightwing psyche that informs and so badly skewers Bush administration
attitudes to most international issuesı. Clinton would have (in fact we are
told he did) come to the same conclusion. In refusing the ICC the US is
consistent with itself. In backing a court which will do its political will
it is acting consistently with itself. In backing a US controlled court and
pretending it has international legitimacy (the ex Yugoslavia Tribunal) the
Guardian is merely acting consistently with its own delusions of moral
*  Cos. Pay Gov't Millions in Fines
The Associated Press, 3rd July
[Fines for breaking US imposed sanctions on Afghanistan and Cuba]
*  The Last Defender of the American Republic?: An interview with Gore Vidal
by Marc Cooper
Yahoo (from Los Angeles Weekly), 3rd July
[What makes Gore Vidal particularly interesting is that he represents a
substantial American political tradition - isolationism - which probably
corresponds to the instincts of many if not most of the US population but
which has almost no political expression, except perhaps on the extreme
fringes of the extreme right. Which helps to explain Vidalıs sympathetic
interest in Timothy McVeigh: ŒAnd when it comes to Oklahoma City and Tim
McVeigh, well, he had his reasons as well to carry out his dirty deed.
Millions of Americans agree with his general reasoning, though no one, I
think, agrees with the value of blowing up children. ... The whole Patriot
movement in the U.S. was based on folks run off their family farms. Or had
their parents or grandparents run off. We have millions of disaffected
American citizens who do not like the way the place is run and see no place
in it where they can prosper. They can be slaves. Or pick cotton. Or
whatever the latest uncomfortable thing there is to do. But they are not
going to have, as Richard Nixon said, "a piece of the action." The article
is long and not much about Iraq so Iım not giving it but its worth having a
look at.]
*  Iran Bond Attracts European Banks Ignoring `Evil' Tag (Update2)
by Gavin Serkin 4th July
ŒIran's first foreign bond sale since the Islamic revolution of 1979 is
attracting interest from Deutsche Bank AG, Pictet & Cie and other banks who
aren't put off by its place in U.S. President George W. Bush's ``axis of
evil.''ı The article includes the following curious little tidbit of
information: ŒColm McDonagh, who helps manage $110 million for Aberdeen
Asset Management, has about half of his $13 million Exotic Debt Fund
invested in Iraqi and North Korean debt, on expectations the loans will be
repaid if Saddam Hussein is ousted or the two Koreas reunite. The fund has
gained 24 percent this year after dropping by the same percentage in 2001.
³It's toxic stuff, but when it moves, it really moves,'' McDonagh said. ³All
we need is one of these countries to happen and our holdings will
sky-rocket.'' Œ By Œhappenı I think he means Œget bombed to piecesı (am I
wrong to be reminded of Gogolıs novel ŒDead Soulsı?)]
*  Deformed US foreign policy obsessed with terrorism
by Gwynne Dyer
New Zealand Herald, 5th July
[Article notable for the following rather witty sentence: ŒThe average
person's grasp of risk factors is so poor that it's commonplace to meet
cigarette smokers who worry about terrorism.ı Also for reminding us of the
existence of Haıaretz as an effective centre for Israeli opposition to the
Sharon/Bush perspective.]
*  Arabs and Red-Indians: Brothers in fate!
by Yamin Zakaria
Daily Star (Bangla Desh), 6th July
[Quite exhilarating piece of Muslim, anti-ıJudaeo-Christianı propaganda. But
it may be remarked that, although many ŒChristiansı have been won over to
the view that Israel is the homeland for Œthe Jewsı this is not the
Christian position, which is that it is now the Christians who are Œthe
Jewsı, heirs to the Biblical promises. The people who call themselves Jews
are the people who have betrayed their destiny as Jews by failing to
recognise the Messiah. Far from supporting the Jewish claim to Jerusalem for
religious reasons, Christians should be reasserting their own claim to
Jerusalem, for religious reasons. That would throw a spanner in the works
*  Changing the Arab world will take people power
by David Ignatius
International Herald Tribune (from Washington Post), 6th July
[An amazing piece of prose which turns President Bushıs recent speech into
an expression of concern for the wellbeing of the Palestinian people.
Ignatius goes on to argue that though bombs will certainly be necessary to
introduce democracy in Arab lands, a bit of funding of dissident movements
might not be a bad idea as well].

AND, IN NEWS, 29/6-6/7/02 (3)


*  GCC states take $20b oil price hit
*  BAGHDAD: Iraq ups West Qorna output
*  Iraq to drill wildcats


*  Iraq rebels oppose U.S strike to topple govt-paper [The Supreme Council
for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, who appeared a few months ago to be
toying with supporting the Americans, are beginning to figure out what an
American occupation might mean. Not great for champions of the Islamic
Revolution ...]
*  Iraqi exiles dream of toppling Hussein [On the newly formed Iraqi
National Movement, the sons of privilege in Iraq wanting their privileges
back. But given that they openly support a US invasion of their country why
should the Syrians be offering them a base in Damascus?]


*  Activists accused of 'dumping' asylum-seekers in the desert [in the
Woomera breakout]
*  Officials: Saddam's stepson admits mistake over US visa


*  U.S. Bombs Iraqi Defense System


*  US has plan to kill Saddam, says Iraqi opposition leader
*  Time to deploy a large American military force [Jim Hoagland argues for a
massive US military presence permanently installed in Iraq as the best
recipe for solving the Israel/Palestinian confrontation. The core of his
thesis is that once the Arabs get democracy, they will be happy to recognise
the state of Israel. He doesnıt quite explain how he makes the connection
but we suspect the massive US military presence might have something to do
with it (what is behind all this is probably the notion that the Arab world
can be remodelled like the Japanese and Germans at the end of the 1939-45
*  Failure of other efforts led U.S. to plan war on Saddam [The article
turns round the following interesting paragraph: ŒThe evidence that Saddam
still possesses such weapons remains murky - particularly in the view of
America's European allies, most of whom have argued against a new war on
Iraq. In the United States and its principal Middle East ally, Israel,
however, a number of senior officials - including Prime Minister Ariel
Sharon and former Prime Minister Ehud Barak - believe that a post-Saddam
Iraq could be fashioned into some form of democracy.ı Interesting because it
begins with an important fact that is rarely acknowledged - the near total
absence of any evidence that Iraq has access, or is even seeking access - to
weapons of mass destruction. But then, with a Œhoweverı, the paragraph
changes subjects. The US and Ariel Sharon (!) think Iraq could become
Œdemocraticı. The next paragraph tells us what the word Œdemocraticı means.
Iraq is to be conquered and thousands of Iraqis killed in order to Œsecure
Israel's eastern flankı. The sentence also reveals what the word Œterrorismı
means ­ willingness to support Palestinian opposition to the Israeli
occupation of Palestine. A later paragraph tells us that ŒThey [Kurdish
leaders] also want Kurdish cities protected from the kind of onslaught that
Saddam unleashed during the Clinton administration's failed attempt to
dislodge the Iraqi leader. The failure forced the CIA to evacuate partisans
from Iraq at a cost of more than $100 million, according to administration
officials.ı My understanding is that the Œpartisansı, insofar as they were
Iraqi, were left behind and killed. It was the Americans who were lifted
out. And as always the author forgets that the Iraqi army was invited in by
the KDP in order to prevent a combined Iranian/PUK takeover of the

by Ralph Peters
New York Post, 1st July
[Tough talkinı case, published in the New York Post, for stomping on Saddam
Hussein with massive force: ŒFirst, that sucker needs to go down, and he
needs to go down ugly. The world needs to see pain on his decomposing snout
so that all the other scumbag dictators in the Middle East and elsewhere get
the message that the gringos are back in the game and feeling mean. Bring
down one dictator, and the next 10 will think twice before they mess with
Uncle Sugar and the Stars and Stripes. That's real pre-emption.ı Want to
read any more?]
*  U.S. Plan for Iraq Is Said to Include Attack on 3 Sides
New York Times, 5th July
[This has achieved some publicity but I donıt see anything in it we havenıt
had before. With the administration constantly talking up the need for
regime change it is hardly surprising that the Pentagon is drawing up all
sorts of plans, but, as the article says: ŒNothing in the Central Command
document or in interviews with senior military officials suggests that an
attack on Iraq is imminent.ı In fact it appears that the document has been
leaked by someone (I wonder can we guess who. Would the name begin with D,
by any chance?) who is dissatisfied with the present state of preparations
for war.]


*  UN: United Nations Compensation Commission approves awards of USD4.9Bn
for compensation [The absurdity of the figures cited in this article is
staggering. Note the website address: (when I tried it it
worked, but became]
*  UN deal leaves Iraq's Kurds at mercy of Baghdad [This is a rather more
detailed version of the charge levelled by John Sweeney that Baghdad
prevents the flow of essential supplies to the Kurdish north. What is
surprising is that no-one (least of all Sweeney) seems to be making the
obvious point that the Kurdish autonomous zone, supposedly outside the
administration of the wicked Baghdadis, shouldnıt be subject to sanctions at
all, or at least should be supplied directly and not through UN agencies
based in Baghdad. One can only guess that the obstacle is Turkey, but are
the Turks so mighty that they can prevent the question even being
*  Iraq, UN fail to agree on arms inspections

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