The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[casi] News titles, 13-17/7/02

News titles, 13-17/7/02

I am going away for a week so this is by way of a stop-gap. Largely a
continuation of last week's mailing. Iraq's neighbours are still holding
firm against US military plans (remember the days when the US used to
pretend it was doing it all for their sake?). Turkey also seems to be
holding firm if we are to believe CNN (US and Turkey at odds over Iraq). The
Iraqi officers' conference is over. It has opposed any US moves that might
kill large numbers of Iraqis, which effectively means it has opposed an
invasion since there is no other way of doing it. But it isn't clear if this
group is serious about this or just going through the motions. Most
interesting and sinister article below is, in my estimation: "Washington is
drooling at the prospect of 'Iraq jackpot'" from the Lebanese Daily Star.


*  Iraq Weapons Glance [This looks like a piece of irresponsible
scaremongering from very tainted source (Anthony Cordesman, Center for
Strategic and International Studies). If it is true, then the last report
issued by UNSCOM saying Iraq was almost ready to be declared free, was
rubbish. The ultimate attributed source is US and UN Officials and, in the
text 'The United Nations'. We know of course what that means. The
discrepancy between what the 'weapons inspectors' are saying now and what
they said then has of course been remarked upon in the past and the reply
has been that the inspectors have had more time to think about the data they
collected. What it looks like, though, is that then they wanted to dangle a
carrot in front of the noses of the Iraqis (the possibility of an end to the
process) and now they just want to say what needs to be said to get the war
off the ground.]

URL ONLY:,,2-358039,00.html
*  Evidence of Saddam's menace far from clear
by Peter Riddell
The Times, 17th July
[Includes this curious extract from Blair's Question and Answer session in
Parliament: "The only reason we have not published some of this
documentation (on weapons of mass destruction) is that you have got to
choose your time for doing this, otherwise you send something rocketing up
the agenda when it is not necessarily there." This seems even less
convincing than the standard protection of sources argument. The issue, one
would have thought, is already fairly high up on the agenda. What he
presumably means is that the 'evidence' should be put out at the moment when
war is declared. That way, people won't have too much time to think about


*  atlarge Iraq mainheadlines {This is indeed all that is given as a
headline. Saddam Hussein orders the execution of fishermen because he
thought they were trying to assassinate him, or because they were fishing in
his private lake, or because they were using explosives to go fishing, a
practise he has banned, together with the use of poison.]
*  Excerpts from Saddam Hussein's interview
*  Iraq Lets Polish Diplomats Travel Again: Diplomat [Why didn't the Poles,
who are, after all, doing the Americans a favour by 'protecting' them in
Baghdad, simply take one of the 'illegal' commercial flights?]


*  Cosying up to Iraq could prove costly [Argument against S.African
friendly relations with Iraq. L.Benjamin sees that Iraq is losing its pariah
status in the Arab world and that this could provide an argument for
friendly relations. But he says (and here he is probably right) that the
very fact that relations between Iraq and its neighbours are improving makes
a US and British attack more likely. Benjamin offers a bit of
pseudo-humanitarian tosh to justify the war but basically believes S.Africa
should back the winner. The success of the US propaganda machine in inducing
people to believe absurdities is attested by the following: 'the
humanitarian catastrophe that confronts Iraqi civilians as a result of more
than a decade of sanctions and EQUALLY [my emphasis - PB] as a result of
Baghdad's failure to adequately distribute humanitarian relief supplies.'
there is also the following strange remark: 'the regime in Baghdad continues
to be one of the most overtly repressive, not only in its own region, but on
a global scale'. A global scale? Is there something I haven't noticed?]
*  Pakistan Questions Iraqis in Attack [on the Protestant church in
Islamabad's diplomatic quarter]
*  Iraq accountable for misdeeds: Straw [Straw speaking in China. He also
spoke against North Korea. And the Chinese sat and listened to this gushing
torrent of hypocrisy politely saying nothing?]

URL ONLY:,0005.htm
*  Russia's Ivanov slams military action on Iraq
Hindustani Times (from Reuters), 16th July
['"News of preparation of military action against Iraq worries us," Ivanov
told a news conference.' pretty pathetic, eh?]


*  'Saddam kills strong men' [The article is part of the Times campaign to
whip war fever in a population which is, generally, quite indifferent
(indifferent, alas. Not actually hostile.). But it is still interesting, one
of the best accounts I have yet seen of Ahmad Chalabi. We learn (or I learn,
I'm sure others already knew it) that his family was close to the monarchy
and that he himself has not been in Iraq since 1958, when the monarchy fell.
He was thirteen years old at the time. He was in the Kurdish Autonomous Zone
from 1991 to 1995, organising the rebellion whose details are still so very
mysterious. He denies vigorously being a US poodle and he is probably right.
It would probably be more true to say he would like to be a US poodle but
the US won't let him, largely because the US is still looking for the Strong
Man who will hold Iraq together as a unit against the wishes of its people.
Given that these are the only terms in which it seems possible to make sense
of his quarrel with the US it is difficult to know why he should say so
confidently: 'If the United States is going to go to remove Saddam, there
will be a democratic government in Iraq even if they invade the country with
hundreds of thousands of troops as some people are advocating. What would
the US military do in Iraq? Establish a dictatorship, protect a government
which shoots demonstrators in the city? Of course not."' This also seems to
go against the main thrust of the London conference which seems to be
wanting to prevent the massive invasion in order to provide some possibility
of an Iraqi input into the post Saddam regime.]
*  Iraqi opposition leaders warn US and Britain not to invade [They prefer
'a swift intelligence operation' targeting Saddam. This will prompt the
Iraqi people to rise in revolt. It really isn't very convincing.]
*  Exiled generals promise civilian rule in new Iraq [The meeting occurred
in a building rented by the INC, using an emergency generator because the
INC hadn't paid its electricity bill, because it hadn't received its money
from the US. What is remarkable here is not the stinginess of the US but the
apparent suggestion that the INC doesn't have sufficient support among the
Iraqi exile community to pay an electricity bill ...]
*  Iraqi dissidents 'seek change and the removal of tyranny' [The Financial
Times has noticed that in the event of a regime change, and in the absence
of a US backed Sunni Strong Man, the likely beneficiaries are the Islamic
revolutionaries of the SCIRI.]

*  Iraqi officers elect military council
BBC, 15th July
 '"We shall not allow ourselves to be a replacement to the Iraqi opposition
- our council is at the service of the Iraqi opposition'"... Major
al-Yassiri .... is an ally of Dr Ahmad Chalabi, the head of the Iraqi
National Congress umbrella group which supported the meeting.' Which sounds
as though the Military Alliance is simply the military wing of the INC.

AND, IN NEWS, 13-17/7/02 (2)


*  Just another stage in the long journey to freedom ['Once upon a time
Aowham (pronounced O-ham) was one of six children of a prosperous Baghdad
merchant. On holidays, they would accompany her father on business trips to
Cairo, Hamburg, Teheran, Damascus, Kuwait and Delhi. "Life seemed in that
time an endless, beautiful journey which only stopped when school started
over again," she reminisces. Then came eight long years when, she says, "we
felt even the sky is more red than it should be when the sunset came" and
further hardship "when America gathered armies and weapons from all over the
world against my people". "We never imagined that with the end of the
bombing we would start a new war against diseases and poverty. A life with
no electricity, no medicine, with polluted water and polluted air."' One can
see why Aowham is imprisoned in Woomera, Australia, and not attending a
conference in Kensington.]


*  Top clerics opposed to invasion of Iraq [The Pax Christi statement,
signed by the man tipped to be next Archbishop of Canterbury, is excellent.]
*  Before Setting Out for Iraq, Heed These Words of War [At first glance you
might think this article - surprisingly for the NY Daily News - is a
compassionate cry that the lessons of the Vietnam war should not be
forgotten. But when he says that '55,000 were killed in the long dance of
death that was Vietnam.' it is clear that he isn't counting the Vietnamese,
Cambodian, Laotian dead. The lesson he is talking about has in fact been
learned. The US army kills at a great distance. It sees nothing, feels
nothing, risks nothing. In this way of looking at things, only a couple of
hundred, or less, were killed in the short spasm of death that was the Gulf
*  Weapons expert: Iraq attack wrong [Scott Ritter outlines a counter-domino
theory to the one outlined in the Lebanese Daily Star - the whole area falls
to fundamentalism. A pity that in this and other versions of the same story,
he is described as having been the 'head' of Unscom.]


*  Iraq's FM in Belgium to discuss the return of UN weapons inspectors [Iraq
wants a reply to its 19 questions from the UN Security Council, not just
from Mr Blix.]


*  Why it makes sense to end Saddam Hussein's regime [There are two main
arguments in this piece from The Scotsman. One is that the great threat to
the peaceloving peoples of the world (ourselves) at the present time is the
'dysfunctional state' (I love that 'y'); the second, inspired by watching
Albert Finney on TV pretending to be Winston Churchill, is that we must
overcome our natural pacifism to tackle the beast Saddam as Churchill urged
us to do against Hitler.
The two arguments are related, but perhaps not quite in the way the author
intended, since Hitler's justification for the attack on Czechoslovakia was
precisely that it had become a dysfunctional state and, consequently, a
danger to its neighbours. We might also add that when Saddam Hussein invaded
Iran he undoubtedly thought he was launching a pre-emptive strike against a
dysfunctional state that was a danger to its neighbours. Blair and Bush
would have very little to say against him (but to be fair, the US President
at the time had very little to say against him).
For the author, Iraq is 'the prime dysfunctional state. Saddam Hussein is a
psychopathic thug [there is much else in this vein] ... He rules a tiny bit
of the state of Iraq around Baghdad using absolute terror.' Which implies
that the Shia South is living in a condition of stateless freedom, which
would probably suit them very well since Shi'ism is a system of law that is
well adapted to operating in the absence of a state.
But the centralised Iraqi state seems to be far from dysfunctional in the
area, as witness, for example, the draining of the southern marshes, a major
state initiative carried out against the wishes of the local inhabitants
very far away from Baghdad. It is also difficult to see how a dysfunctional
state could have coped with the eight year war with Iran, bringing it to a
more or less successful conclusion; or with the extraordinarily difficult
conditions of the 1990s.
What is dysfunctional of course is the Iraqi economy but that is
unmistakeably a straightforward consequence of US and British policy.
Some time we are going to have to face the Hitler analogy more squarely than
we have done so far but here are some preliminary thoughts. At the end of
the First World War, Germany was subject to a blockade, disarmed, and
required to pay outrageous sums in reparations. The Americans, British (and
French) had discovered the virtues of insisting on unconditional surrender
and refusing to negotiate terms with the enemy. Everything was done so that
Germany would be ruined and humiliated, though this was still small beer
compared to what was done to Iraq after the 'Gulf War'. Hitler was the
logical, almost predictable consequence of this policy - a policy that,
contrary to the usual myth, was perpetuated after he had assumed power. The
boycott, the refusal to allow Germany to trade, the determination to fence
it about with hostile nations, continued through the thirties. Hitler was
the product of a policy of repression and sanctions and flourished in spite
of it. His example is therefore far from providing an argument in favour of
repression and sanctions as so many of those who brandish the Hitler
analogy, as if Hitler popped out of the blue in a cloudless sky - as if
Saddam Hussein popped out of the blue in a cloudless sky - seem to think.]
*  NATO in Iraq [Alan Isenberg argues that the best way for Europe to
preserve its sense of its own power and dignity in the world, and to curb
the US tendency to unilateralism, is to always do exactly whatever the US
wants it to do.]
*  Decoding the headlines about Iraq [Article from CNN arguing that, behind
all the leaks and counterleaks the idea of a war on Iraq is unravelling]
*  Washington is drooling at the prospect of 'Iraq jackpot' [An intelligent
Lebanese geopolitical analysis of the US strategy for the Middle East. A
real domino theory. The taking of Baghdad delivers up the whole area, piece
by piece. Stripped of all the nonsense about weapons of mass destruction
that is put out for the consumption of the general public and Tony Blair,
this is indeed probably what the US are thinking (assuming - as I tend to do
- that there is a [process of thinking behind it all). It could of course
all go horribly wrong, and whatever happens, it will be horrible for the
populations concerned. One curious point. It is by no means obvious that the
Lebanese Daily Star is opposed to it.]
*  Britain backs US plan for attack on Iraq [Despite the way this has been
reported, I see little change from earlier statements. Yes, we must do
something. No, I don't know what (the Boss hasn't yet told me.)]

URLs ONLY:,6903,755032,00.html
*  Crisis over over Iraq
by Jason Burke in London and Ed Vulliamy in New York
Observer, 14th July
[Uninteresting on the one hand ... on the other hand ... reflections from
the Observer.],6903,755036,00.html
*  PM and Bush plan Iraq war summit
by Kamal Ahmed, Jason Burke and Nick Pelham in Amman
The Observer, 14th July
[The Observer continues its important task of chasing after straws in the
*  Iraqi weapons seen as threat to U.S. troops, not civilians
The Bergen Record, New Jersey (from The Associated Press), 14th July
[This has been widely reported but is only a statement of the obvious, viz.
that Iraq will not be launching any missile attacks against the US mainland.
There is a sensible and accurate remark from A,Cordesman, an event worth
remarking upon: "Most people outside the U.S. feel we are crying wolf"] 157414.asp
*  Saudi Habit Gets a Kick
New York Daily News, 14th July
[The US plans to replace Saudi Arabia with Russia as its major source of
oil: 'The United States intends to topple dangerous Middle Eastern regimes,
starting with Saddam Hussein's Iraq and Yasser Arafat's Palestinian
Authority. The Saudis can either go along or get themselves added to the
American hit list.' Its going to be amusing watching the process by which
Blair persuades himself to go along with the attack on the Palestinian
authority when it comes.]{8625D934-DA40-4C62
*  Iraq is bound to lose, quickly, completely
by John Keegan
National Post (Toronto), 16th July
[John Keegan works himself up into a little frenzy at the excitement of it
New York Post, 16th July
[New York Post tells Bush he ought to attack Iraq to cover up the corporate
scandals. Its would be nice to be able to think the article was meant to be


*  Iraq herding Kurds [Interesting article on the 'Arabisation' of the
Kirkuk area. Makes it clear that this is the continuation of a policy that
was well established (by the British) long before Mr Hussein appeared on the
*  Kurds against Saddam [Letter from Colin Rowat. Three paragraphs of
coherent thought in the midst of all the nonsense.]

AND, IN NEWS, 13-17/7/02 (3)

*  Jordan invites Iraq to check if US military is on its bases for attack [A
short article with a surprisingly detailed account, from a Lebanese source,
of a US-Jordan plot]
*  Pressure on Iraq comes at bad time for Turkey [The article suggests that
the US is having difficulty thinking up yet more things to give Turkey in
return for their support over Iraq. They are already 'the International
Monetary Fund's largest single borrower, with $18bn of debt outstanding and
more on the way.' ]
*  Arab League Chief Says Hands-Off Iraq
*  Iraq/business Jordan/ business unitedstates atlarge/business biz ['Iraq
and the United States continue to be the Kingdom's largest trade partners'.
One can see the problem.]
*  Hiding Jordan ['William M. Arkin, the author of ten books and numerous
studies on military affairs' gives an outline of the history of military
co-operation between Jordan and the US, then expresses puzzlement as to why
Jordan should be so unwilling to co-operate at the present time. He gives
four possible explanations, favouring the idea that Arabs are hopelessly
duplicitous and it is best to have nothing to do with them - or rather they
should just be kept down without any attempt to secure their co-operation in
the process. He doesn't consider the possibility that Jordan feels aggrieved
that its economy has been wrecked and tens of thousands of its fellow Arabs
killed in pursuit of a war which Jordan opposed and which was fought by a
force which is supporting Jordan's worst enemy (the country that ethnically
cleansed a large part of Jordan's present population); but that, largely as
a consequence of the poverty imposed by US policy, Jordan has become
economically dependent on the US, a situation that is hardly calculated to
encourage feelings of affection towards the benefactor.]
*  Qatar in dilemma over U.S. threat to Iraq [Qatar begins to realise that
the sheep should hesitate before it asks protection from the wolf.]
*  Bahrain Opposed to U.S. Attack on Iraq
*  Shahrudi [head of the Iranian judiciary] warns Iraqi opposition against
US "trap"
*  Jordan opens door to air base amid reports it's housing U.S. troops
preparing Iraq strike [The Times clearly convicted of lying. Has this
created any sort of scandal?]
*  U.S. and Turkey at odds over Iraq [CNN does its stuff again. Apparently
Ecevit told Wolfowitz that 'he believed military action in Iraq would "lead
to chaos in the region, would be destabilising, and cost Turkey very dearly
in economic terms"']
*  No State for Iraqi Kurds, U.S. Aide Assures Turks [So not only has
Wolfowitz failed to impress the Turks, he's also pretty well scuppered any
prospect of co operation with the Kurds.]


*  U.S. air assault injured 7, says Iraqi military
*  U.S-British force hits Iraqi sites

Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
To unsubscribe, visit
To contact the list manager, email
All postings are archived on CASI's website:

[Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]