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Dear Sam >Is conflict with Iraq inevitable? President Bush is absolutely determined to launch a major attack on Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein. He will do everything in his power to achieve this aim. He can be stopped, but only by considerable domestic and international pressure - and probably only if Britain deserts his side. >What can people do to prevent it? Get informed so that you can refute the bogus arguments being put forward by the Government and its supporters. Use pressure on MPs, MSPs, on religious and other leaders, and campaign by extra-parliamentary means to force Tony Blair to disengage from the war effort and commit himself to the legal means available - negotiations and inspections - as a way of resolving the weapons issue. Pledge to carry out or support nonviolent direct action in the event of war (see www.banthebomb.org or www.justicenotvengeance.org). Be confident - 56 per cent of people in the UK are opposed to war on Iraq, and that proportion is likely to be even higher in Scotland. >What solution to the Saddam Hussein question be? The solution to Iraq's weapons of mass destruction is to re-establish the inspection and monitoring regime that was destroyed in 1998 when (a) the US ordered UNSCOM to leave and then bombed Iraq, and (b) the international community learned how US intelligence had used UNSCOM to spy on the leadership of Iraq. However the international community decides to solve the 'Saddam Hussein question', we have to separate that from the question of sanctions and the humanitarian crisis they have created in Iraq. We must lift the economic sanctions now, unconditionally, to allow Iraq's children a chance to live, whatever we decide to do in relation to Iraq's leadership. The children of Iraq cannot be made to pay for policies they have no control over. Informed experts warn that the present leadership of Iraq is not the most angry or dangerous element of Iraqi politics - simply killing Saddam Hussein could just bring a more aggressive and hostile faction into power. >Why should the British/Scottish public be sceptical about Blair and >Bush's "incontrovertable evidence of weapons of mass destruction"? Because no hard evidence has been produced. Evidence from defectors is limited and in some cases suspect. David Albright, a former nuclear inspector in Iraq has lost faith in one Iraqi defector he previously sponsored: ‘If Hamza has become a monster, I partly blame myself. He had good information on what he knew about, but where we fell out was that I was concerned he was telling me stuff he had read elsewhere, including stuff he could have read in Time magazine.’ (Observer, 17 March 2002) >Even if Saddam Hussein did possess such weapons, would it be an >excuse for attacking Iraq? There is no legal basis for attacking a country because it has weapons - whatever kind of weapons they may be. The UN Charter only allows you to use force in self-defence against an armed attack across international borders. It may be possible to justify a pre-emptive military attack but only if the evidence is cast-iron that the enemy is preparing to attack you or your ally. In this case, the evidence is not only not cast-iron, it is non- existent. The only circumstance in which Iraq is likely to use whatever weapons of mass destruction it may possess is precisely in response to a US attack. The way to solve the weapons issue is to use the monitoring system of hundreds of cameras and inspections developed over seven years by UNSCOM to ensure that Iraq cannot develop these weapons. According to Scott Ritter, former chief weapons inspector for UNSCOM, as long as the monitoring programme is in place, Iraq is effectively disarmed. >Do you think the 'leaks' from US sources about possible attack plans >against Iraq are genuine or part of the propoganda war? The leaks are almost all genuine, but they represent different factions within the Administration, and the plans have not yet been amalgamated into a single agreed strategy. Incidentally, President Bush originally ordered this to happen by 15 April. Many of the leaks are also part of a propaganda war designed to bring about a coup in Baghdad by convincing the Iraqi military leadership that they are about to suffer tremendous destruction and defeat if they do not dispose of Saddam Hussein and his inner circle. >What scenario is most likely in your eyes, and what would the results be? The course of events is completely unpredictable, and depends greatly on the strategy the US adopts. The worst case scenario would see (a) massive damage to the civilian infrastructure in Iraq once again, with the concomitant post-war deaths as a result of deteriorating water supplies, lack of power for hospitals, and so on; (b) a number of different civil wars inside Iraq; (c) Turkish and possibly other intervention into and occupation of Iraqi territory, increasing regional tension and the risk of further wars at some point; (d) a surprise massive defeat for US forces with a very large US death toll leading to the use of nuclear weapons; (e) the use of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction against Israel, triggering nuclear retaliation and a wider Arab-Israeli war. On the basis of the information available, and UNSCOM reports, it seems almost impossible for Iraq to retain or to have developed a functioning chemical or biological weapon. It is flatly impossible for Iraq to have a nuclear bomb. >What are the benefits to US corporations (Bush donors) of continued >regional instability? There is no benefit to US corporations in regional instability. The idea of going to war is based on the assumption that regional instability can be crushed and contained at an acceptable level by US clients in the area. War on Iraq is designed in part to reinforce the aura of US domination and mastery of violence - 'credibility', in technical terms - which is supposed to reduce instability and increase US power and domination of the region's resources. >What are the real reasons that Bush and Blair want to attack Iraq? Is >there an aspect of 'family revenge' for Bush, and for Blair is it >because he seems to be losing some ground in the popularity stakes >and the unions are being bolshy? Family revenge can be ruled out, in my view. Mr Blair knows this is an unpopular war - 56 per cent of British people oppose the war according to an April MORI poll in Time magazine - so that cannot be the reason. The US is committed to regaining control of Iraq's oil resources, and different factions within the US political mainstream have different strategies for achieving that. Currently the 'Prussians' are in charge, and they are using the 11 September effect to press for massive military intervention that would have been desirable (to them) but unachievable in the last twenty years. When President Reagan tried to mobilise the US for the invasion of El Salvador in 1981, he had to back off because of a large-scale, leaderless, spontaneous but highly committed popular opposition movement. That was called the Vietnam Syndrome (resisting war and aggression is a disease). The hope among the Prussians is that this 'sickly inhibition' has now evaporated. The 'axis of evil' speech was entirely serious. There is a stream of candidates for annihilation, and President Bush means to destroy them all, one by one. The Prime Minister is caught in the traditional postwar British dilemma that Britain can only have Great Power status by attaching itself firmly either to the US or to some European bloc. For various reasons, Britain has always opted for Washington. The US and Britain are overdeveloped militarily and underdeveloped in terms of political strength. They will always seek to move international crises to the realm of violence where they can demonstrate their domination. >In America it seems there will be some semblance of 'public >consultation' and congress debate over attacking Iraq - while in >Britain the government has said there'll be no Commons debate; why do >you think this is? It's a more democratic system. >Is there anything you want to add? I've just finished a 240 page book called _War Plan Iraq: Ten Reasons Why We Shouldn't Launch Another War Against Iraq_ It's due to come out mid-September and it will cost £12 in the shops, £10 direct from 'ARROW Publications', 29 Gensing Road, St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex, TN38 0HE. Orders received before 11 September will be sent post-free in the UK. >Hope emailing you is okay; are you going to be around on Friday in >case I need to check anything out with you? Yes. Cheers Milan Rai ARROW www.justicenotvengeance.org & Voices in the Wilderness UK _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk