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News, 10-17/8/02 (2) INSIDE IRAQ * Iraq Makes Case Against U.S. Claims * 'Saddam's Cubs' train at camp * Despite an embargo, Iraq boosts military with smuggled parts * Nerve gas plants dormant but deadly * Iraq Said to Move Materials at Site * US begins push for humanitarian aid in Iraq * NGOs wary of US aid for Iraq * U.S. to Help Iraqi Dissidents * War on Iraq: No Surrender: Saddam is 160ft under * Saddam¹s son [Qusay] injured in attempted assassination [say INC] * Saddam to run for another term INTERNATIONAL OPINION (Germany, France, Australia, Japan) * Joschka Fischer: Iraq is not a test of solidarity for anti-terrorism * Schröder ally attacks him for Iraq war stance * Germany calls for NATO decision on Iraq * Most French Oppose to US Military Attack on Iraq * Not one drop of Australian blood should be spilt in Iraq: [former Australian Prime Minister, Bob] Hawke * Likely war with Iraq is not Rambo rhetoric: Howard * Saddam jibe fans Iraq row * PM polls apart from public over Iraqi strike * Bring an end to all war INSIDE IRAQ http://cgi.wn.com/?action=display&article=15111265&template=baghdad/indexsea rch.txt&index=recent * IRAQ MAKES CASE AGAINST U.S. CLAIMS The Associated Press, 12th August BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) ‹ Iraq is stepping up a public relations efforts to convince the world a U.S. military campaign to oust Saddam Hussein is unwarranted, most recently escorting journalists to a dusty laboratory to prove it wasn't a biological weapons center. Iraqi officials say the facility is a livestock vaccination laboratory. The reclusive Iraqi leader also recently summoned a visiting British member of parliament, George Galloway, for a meeting in an underground bunker. Galloway, a frequent visitor to Baghdad and critic of U.S. and British policies toward Iraq, wrote about the meeting in an article published in the British tabloid The Mail on Sunday. Iraq accused an engineer who fled the country, Adnan Saeed al-Haidari, and unidentified others of making false claims about the alleged weapons site to the CIA. "Some Iraqis who escaped Iraq from abroad are saying that this site ... is producing biological agents," said Husam Mohammed Ameen, director-general of the group responsible for coordinating with U.N. weapons inspectors when they were in Iraq. Ameen said that Al-Haidari, who once worked with a military industrial company in Baghdad, "is lying to the CIA. ... He was motivated by our enemies." A sign at the entrance to the laboratory, which Iraqi officials say was closed By U.N. inspectors in 1996, reads "General Establishment for Animal Development." Inside, dusty bottles and tubes were scattered on the floor and equipment appeared broken and dusty. Monitoring cameras said to have been installed by the U.N. inspectors were still mounted on the walls, though not functioning since inspectors departed in 1998. Baghdad has barred them from returning. Iraq claims the site was dismantled and wrecked by U.N. weapons inspectors who had been monitoring it before they left. Ameen reiterated Iraq's claim it is not hiding any weapons of mass destruction. [.....] http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/134511488_iraqcubs12.html * 'SADDAM'S CUBS' TRAIN AT CAMP by Waiel Faleh Seattle Times (from The Associated Press), 12th August BAGHDAD, Iraq ‹ Thousands of boys in Iraq have swapped soccer practice and tennis lessons for light-weapons training and religion lessons as they prepare to defend Iraq, they say, from "our enemies." Firing pistols and AK-47s while studying Islam and history, 1,800 boys between 13 and 16 are getting three weeks of training at "Saddam's Cubs Training Camp" in a southern Baghdad suburb, one of about 30 such camps scattered across the country. "We are sharp swords in the hand of President Saddam Hussein to be used to fight our enemies," 14-year-old Mustafa Amir said yesterday. "I am looking forward to finishing the course as soon as possible to be able to defend the country when it is attacked," Amir said as he cleaned his AK-47. Amir and his fellow trainees rise early each morning for days filled with physical exercises, light-weapons training and religious and political classes. The training comes amid speculation that the United States is weighing options to wage war on Iraq. Washington accuses Saddam of producing and stockpiling weapons of mass destruction. The Iraqi government established "Saddam's Cubs" camps throughout the sanctions strapped country in 1996. Another young trainee, 15-year-old Sinan Abid Salman, said he had been worried about going to the camp, but soon got used to its regime. "I was scared in the beginning but when I was acquainted with the people and the weapons, the days started to pass fast," Sinan said. "It is a pleasure to be trained to say that I am able to defend my family and country." Amir, meanwhile, said he liked the camp from Day One, and had joined to learn "to be able to fight like a man." "Most summers I go to clubs to play sports like tennis and soccer," he said, "but I am having as much fun in the camp as I do at the clubs." http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/story.hts/world/1533545 * DESPITE AN EMBARGO, IRAQ BOOSTS MILITARY WITH SMUGGLED PARTS by John J. Lumpkin Houston Chronicle (from Associated Press), 13th August WASHINGTON -- Spare parts for Iraq's military are being smuggled from Eastern Europe and former Soviet republics, keeping Saddam Hussein's troops prepared for combat despite an international embargo on weapons trafficking, U.S. defense officials say. The equipment -- from truck tires to aircraft parts -- is being brought across the border from Syria and Jordan in trucks, officials believe. They commented on condition of anonymity. Iraq uses many of the same Warsaw Pact-era tanks and planes as Eastern Europe and the former republics of the Soviet Union. But it's unclear who is getting the equipment into the country, and U.S. officials do not accuse any of the governments where the material originated. The equipment may come from arms traffickers and corrupt military personnel in the former Soviet bloc, officials said. Iraq is able to buy the parts with profits from oil smuggled into Jordan and elsewhere. Officials are unable to specify how much equipment is reaching the Iraqi army and air force. Sometimes U.S. officials learn that certain kinds of prohibited equipment have reached Baghdad only when they observe, say, previously grounded aircraft taking to the skies for pilot training. The U.N. embargo, in place since the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990, has stopped Iraq from importing complete weapons systems like combat aircraft or tanks, officials said. But it is able to maintain some of its aging arsenal with the smuggled spare parts. The parts also allow for more training for Iraq's military, which numbers more than 400,000 troops, according to official estimates. That's 40 percent of the million-man army Saddam boasted before the 1991 Gulf War. Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Tuesday dismissed an official Iraqi statement that weapons inspectors had completed their work. He said said Baghdad's comments on Monday were "a broken record of repeated acceptances followed by repeated rejections of U.N. monitors." The Pentagon also said on Tuesday that it planned to hire two transport ships to haul weapons to the region, although officials said the cargo was not part of a shadow deployment ahead of an offensive to topple Hussein. Almost all of Iraq's heavy equipment -- tanks, artillery and combat aircraft -- is of Warsaw Pact vintage and more than 12 years old. Iraq's military also has some older French equipment. http://news.scotsman.com/international.cfm?id=883312002 * NERVE GAS PLANTS DORMANT BUT DEADLY by Tim Ripley Scotsman, 13th August NEW satellite images of an Iraqi nerve gas plant show that the site has been rebuilt after being bombed by the United States, but there seems to be little sign that production of chemical weapons is under way. The site, named Fallijah I, some 38 miles north-west of Baghdad, is one of three similar facilities built in the late 1980s around the town of Habbaniyah to mass-produce elements, known as precursors, of the nerve gases used in the Iran-Iraq war and against the Kurds in 1988 and 1991. Images taken by an American company, DigitalGlobe, and published yesterday by the Washington-based "think tank", globalsecurity.org, clearly show that the plant has been rebuilt. Piles of rubble left after air strikes by US warplanes during the 1991 Gulf war have been bulldozed to the side of the 68-acre site. Although the photographs would appear to support claims by hawks in Washington and London that the Iraqis have been able to rebuild their nerve gas arsenal, the images show huge storage bunkers around the site to be empty. There is little evidence of recent activity, such as tracks from trucks or forklift, to indicate that Iraq is trying to build up a stock-pile of chemical weapons. The hot Middle East climate means that Iraqi chemical weapons are only effective for a few days after production before dissipating, so Baghdad would be unable to store them for long periods. The Iraqis would have to ship them directly to the front lines from factories for combat use. Heavy activity at sites like Fallujah would be a key indicator that Iraq was making preparations for chemical warfare. Fallujah was once part of the Iraqi nerve gas production chain, with the precursors being produced there before shipment to the Muthanna state establishment north of Baghdad for final production and insertion into artillery shells or aircraft bombs. In 1994, Iraq told UN inspectors that it wanted to convert Fallujah I into a plant for the civilian production of "general and fine" chemicals. Production would be at a rate of several hundred to some thousand tonnes per year, the Iraqis claimed. At the time the UN said this was reasonable and the site was monitored by inspectors, after equipment used for nerve gas production was removed and destroyed. Since December 1998, when the inspectors left, the Iraqis have been able to do what they want at the plant, away from the prying eyes of the outside world. It would, for example, have been possible to make vital conversions ready to allow precursor production to be ramped up at very short notice. The pictures highlight the dilemma faced by Washington and London over the return of United Nations inspectors. From orbit there is little to differentiate an ordinary chemical plant from a nerve gas factory. Only close inspection inside buildings will be able to prove if sites such as Fallujah have reverted to nefarious use. Still, for now, the US and Britain appear to be set against the return of inspectors. http://cgi.wn.com/?action=display&article=15153388&template=baghdad/indexsea rch.txt&index=recent * IRAQ SAID TO MOVE MATERIALS AT SITE The Associated Press, 14th August WASHINGTON: U.S. intelligence agencies detected signs that Iraq may be moving material or equipment out of a suspected biological weapons facility near Baghdad, officials said Wednesday. Some intelligence analysts believe the movements indicate an effort by Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to disperse the items in anticipation of possible American military strikes, the officials said. The movements were reported first in the Wednesday editions of the Washington Times. U.S. officials who spoke on condition of anonymity said spy satellites spotted trucks at the Taji complex, which includes the suspected biological weapons facility as well as a missile production plant. The purpose of the truck activity was not entirely clear, the officials said, but it appeared they were moving equipment or materials out of, rather than into, the facility, which is about six miles northwest of Baghdad. The officials cautioned that the intelligence is subject to different interpretations. Other officials said the presence of trucks at a single weapons site probably means little, and said they have not observed any significant increase in activity at other suspected weapons of mass destruction sites around Iraq. United Nations weapons inspectors determined several years ago that Iraq had produced botulinum toxin, which causes botulism, at that facility. Iraq admitted to the United Nations that it had made 400 liters of botulinum toxin there, but it now insists it has no biological, chemical or nuclear weapons. U.N. inspectors also found 6,000 empty canisters at Taji that were designed to be filled with chemical weapons for use on 122mm rockets. U.N. inspections ended in 1998; in December of that year, U.S. and British air strikes targeted Taji and other military facilities in and around Baghdad. Taji also was struck by U.S. bombs during the 1991 Gulf War. Anthony Cordesman, an Iraq expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said U.S. intelligence experts believe Iraq rebuilt the missile production facility at Taji after the 1998 attacks. In stating that Iraq poses a threat to the United States and its allies, President Bush has cited Saddam's pursuit of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons in defiance of its disarmament pledge after the Gulf War. Bush has vowed to achieve "regime change" in Iraq, although he says he has not approved a war plan. Two weeks ago, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld told reporters it was "safe to say" that Iraq has developed mobile biological weapons laboratories. "They move around a lot of things to avoid detection or, if not detection, at least to avoid having them attacked," he said. http://news.ft.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=FT.com/StoryFT/FullStory&c =StoryFT&cid=1028185767490&p=1012571727162 * US BEGINS PUSH FOR HUMANITARIAN AID IN IRAQ by Carola Hoyos in Washington Financial Times, 14th August The US has launched a public bidding process for humanitarian relief organisations to work in Iraq and surrounding areas in the run-up to a possible military campaign against the regime of Iraqi president Saddam Hussein. In addition, Central Command, the military operations centre co-ordinating the war against terrorism, this week asked for a list of American international relief organisations - non governmental organisations - working in or around Iraq, senior members of NGOs said. A document sent by the State Department to NGOs last month, a copy of which has been obtained by the FT, states : "The office of northern Gulf Affairs [a department within the state department] announces an open competition for proposals for humanitarian assistance projects in Iraq (south, central or northern) and for Iraqi refugees in neighbouring countries." The initiatives are the latest in a series of US moves, such as the boosting of the country's strategic oil reserves, apparently geared to planning for a possible war in Iraq. The State Department proposal involves $6.6m of government funds. The money would be split into at least five awards of $500,000 to $3.5m each and would cover areas such as medical care, relief for refugees, shelter, water supply, sanitation, as well as longer-term issues, such as education and landmines. Some NGOs have hesitated to apply for the grants, fearing that they could be enabling a war with Iraq. They believe the US is trying to establish initial contact with the Iraqi people in a pre-war "hearts and minds" strategy, meanwhile setting up a network of relief agencies in Iraq that could respond to the humanitarian needs of civilians displaced by a military campaign. Joel Charny, vice-president for policy at Refugees International, based in Washington, said: "I find it strange that at this particular moment, the US government is announcing an open competition for proposals for humanitarian assistance projects in Iraq, specifying that it can be in any part of the country. It seems in contradiction to the policy of embargo and limiting assistance to areas controlled by Saddam Hussein." The moves come despite President George W. Bush's recent efforts to lower domestic and international anxiety over the imminence of a US attack. A US official said he believed the State Department's proposal was the first time the government had offered money to humanitarian agencies working in Iraq and that it was part of a new push to set up relief networks within Iraq, working in co-operation with the Iraqi opposition, who are key to Washington's plans for regime change. One former government official with experience of working in humanitarian operations insisted the proposals should not be seen as linked to the war planning, but rather as a State Department decision to allow US organisations to help the Iraqi people. http://news.ft.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=FT.com/StoryFT/FullStory&c =StoryFT&cid=1028185773043&p=1012571727172 * NGOS WARY OF US AID FOR IRAQ by Carola Hoyos Financial Times US humanitarian agencies this week were divided over whether to accept US government funds to set up relief networks inside Iraq, fearing that they might be facilitating a US military attack. The state department has initiated a bidding process for $6.6m (£4.2m) to fund at least five US humanitarian relief projects in all areas of Iraq and outside Iraq. The projects would include medical care, shelter, water and relief supplies for refugees. It would mark the first time the US has funded relief work in Iraq since the beginning of the United Nations' 12-year sanctions regime, said one US official - adding that the US hoped to include the Iraqi opposition in the project. Some leading non-governmental organisations believe the US could be trying to set up a relief network ahead of an attack to oust Saddam Hussein, Iraq's president. Though international staff would almost certainly be evacuated before a US campaign, local staff would then be able to carry out the relief work once the infrastructure had been established, as in Afghanistan. "It's not a huge amount of money, but if you make five awards you have five different organisations on the ground in Iraq," one senior NGO official said, adding that if the awards included large organisations such as Care, Catholic Relief Services and the International Rescue Committee, a relief network capable of handling the effects of war could be established. One former US official insisted war planning and the state department's request for humanitarian relief proposals were not related. "I can tell you Rumsfeld and Co are totally unaware [of the plan]," he added, referring to the US secretary of defence. Nevertheless, some organisations have decided not to bid for the money to maintain their closely guarded neutrality. Even Kenneth Bacon, former spokesman for the Pentagon under President Bill Clinton and now president and chief executive of Refugees International, believes the timing amid the increased war rhetoric and the nature of the proposal is strange, according to Joel Charny, the organisation's vice-president for policy. On July 30, Mr Bacon wrote to Donald Rumsfeld, in a letter obtained by the Financial Times, asking the Pentagon to "consider the humanitarian challenges that military action will generate, particularly if Saddam uses chemical or biological weapons." He warned: "Humanitarian workers are simply unprepared to work in a toxic environment, and this could dramatically slow the delivery of medical services and other aid." http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/bw-exec/2002/aug/15/081503060.html * U.S. TO HELP IRAQI DISSIDENTS by George Gedda Las Vegas Sun, from Associated Press, 15th August WASHINGTON- The State Department is planning to spend $8 million to support opponents of Saddam Hussein and an additional $6.6 million to help needy Iraqis inside and outside of the country. [.....] The $6.6 million in humanitarian assistance would be earmarked for nongovernment organizations for medical care, relief for displaced Iraqis, shelter, water supplies, sanitation and other services, Reeker said. Administration officials said the assistance was not related to humanitarian needs that many Iraqis will face if Bush orders military action against Iraq to unseat Saddam and his regime. The officials, asking not to be identified, said the funds had been appropriated by Congress but have not been spent. They said that if arrangements had not been made to spend the money, it would not have been available after the fiscal year ends Sept. 30. Contracts to provide the services were open for bids from nongovernment organizations in July. The officials said the money spent inside Iraq would be earmarked for the Kurdish population of Northern Iraq, which generally has been outside of Saddam's control because of military protection provided by the United States and Britain. Iraqis forced to flee to neighboring countries also would be eligible for assistance, the officials said. [.....] http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/allnews/page.cfm?objectid=12110516&method=full * WAR ON IRAQ: NO SURRENDER: SADDAM IS 160FT UNDER by James Hardy Daily Mirror, 15th August SADDAM Hussein is moving his Government into underground bunkers to prepare for a US and British attack. >From his hideout 160ft down, the Iraqi tyrant yesterday sent out a defiant message to the West. "If they come, we are ready," he said. "We will fight them on the streets, from the rooftops, from house to house. We will never surrender. "That is what Churchill promised the invaders threatening England. And that is what we can promise the crusaders if they come here." The warning was delivered through Labour MP George Galloway during an interview an hour's drive from Baghdad. Entire ministries are thought to be leaving their permanent headquarters, likely to be targeted for cruise missile attack, and moving into command bunkers. Mr Galloway said communications between ministries and Saddam were being relayed by word of mouth to beat high-tech US eavesdropping. During his interview, in a curtained room 20 seconds by lift underground, Saddam spoke of his admiration for the "Britain of Churchill". He told the MP: "You've lost a stone since I last saw you."" Offering Mr Galloway a tin of chocolates, he added: "It's Quality Street. Choose your personal favourite." Saddam, guarded by a military officer with a pearl-handled revolver, then embarked on a long joke set at a Second World War summit attended by Churchill, US President Franklin Roosevelt and the Soviet dictator Josef Stalin. The three leaders, sitting around the dinner table, had tried to catch a goldfish in a bowl of water using their cutlery. Stalin tried to stab it with his fork, Roosevelt attempted to flick it out with his knife, but it was Churchill who succeeded by using his spoon to empty the water, leaving the fish stranded. Saddam said: "What became of the Britain of Winston Churchill? "You were a colonial power which was not hated when you agreed to leave your conquests. Unlike some others in the game of empire, you should have been able to hold your heads up in front of your former subject peoples, but you seem determined to throw it all away. "Take Iraq. Even at the height of our strategic relationship with the Soviet Union, Britain was the Iraqis' first choice. "Whether for holidays - one million big-spending Iraqis a year used to travel to London - or for Made in Britain goods. "Our measurements, our scientific standards, our punctual red double-decker buses, even our electric plugs were all based on the British. "Our people trusted the British banking system and have had their money seized and frozen. "People die at the British embassy in Jordan while waiting vainly for visas to go to London." During the interview, published in the Mail on Sunday, Saddam renewed his offer to allow back UN weapons inspectors. He insisted Iraq "accepted and would implement in full" a series of UN Security Council resolutions covering its weapons programme. In an apparent bid to drive a wedge between President Bush and Tony Blair, Saddam said: "Iraq has never harmed Britain, nor its interests. "We don't know why you turned against us more than any other European country. "If Britain were to find a more independent policy, one which took more account of its own interests and less to the interests of others, your country could recover its once significant status in the Arab world." [.....] http://news.scotsman.com/international.cfm?id=892872002 * SADDAM¹S SON INJURED IN ATTEMPTED ASSASSINATION The Scotsman, 15th August The Iraqi National Congress opposition group said yesterday that its operatives had shot and wounded the youngest son of President Saddam Hussein in an assassination attempt two weeks ago. "Qusay was an obvious target for assassination, said a spokesman for the group, which is based in London and includes most of the opposition factions. "He is the second man in command in Iraq, a war criminal who cleansed prisons and put down revolts brutally." Qusay heads the Republican Guards, Iraq¹s best trained and equipped army unit entrusted with the protection of the president. He has been promoted to the regional command of the Baath party and touted as a possible successor to Saddam. The Iraqi National Congress spokesman said Qusay was hit in the arm when a gunman shot at his motorcade in the Mansour district on 1 August. Iraqi security forces clashed with the attackers, who fled the scene, he added. "The national resistance carried out the operation in the heart of Baghdad¹s security district. Knowing Qusay¹s whereabouts shows that the regime is penetrated." No comment was immediately available from Iraqi officials in Baghdad and there was no independent confirmation that an assassination attempt took place. Like his father, Qusay rarely appears in public, and he avoids publicity - unlike his brother Uday, who owns at least one newspaper, as well as television and radio stations. Uday was wounded in an assassination attempt in 1996 that targeted his motorcade. In 1999, the Saudi newspaper Asharq al-Awsat reported that Saddam had granted Qusay powers to take on the duties of the presidency in case of an emergency as part of grooming him for succession. Babel, the newspaper run by Uday, ridiculed the report. [.....] http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/news.asp?ArticleID=60702 * SADDAM TO RUN FOR ANOTHER TERM Gulf News, from Reuters, 16th August Saddam Hussain and the Revolutionary Command Council agreed unanimously yesterday that the Iraqi leader should seek another term as president in a referendum set for later this year. The move comes as the United States pushes for a "regime change" and Saddam's ouster in Baghdad. The state Iraqi News Agency said the Revolutionary Command Council, at a meeting chaired by Saddam, unanimously agreed on the nomination but did not set a date for the referendum. Iraqi government newspapers reported last month that a referendum on the presidential post would be held in mid-October. Saddam said last week any U.S. attack on Iraq would fail. A referendum on October 15, 1995, to endorse Saddam as president was the first such vote in Iraq since it became a republic following a 1958 revolution which toppled the monarchy. The vote followed amendments to Iraq's interim constitution that included a provision to elect the president by secret ballot for a seven-year term. Government figures showed Saddam won 99.96 per cent of more than eight million valid votes cast on a turnout of 99.47 per cent. INTERNATIONAL OPINION (Germany, France, Australia, Japan) http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/020810/2002081005.html * JOSCHKA FISCHER: IRAQ IS NOT A TEST OF SOLIDARITY FOR ANTI-TERRORISM Arabic News, 10th August The German foreign minister Joschka Fischer said that the current controversy on a likely American intervention in Iraq does not constitute a test for the solidarity of the "international alliance against terrorism." In a statements to two German papers, the German minister said that the recent statements made by the US President George Bush in which he stressed that the US takes into account views of its friends and allies in its ideas regarding an action against Baghdad constitutes "a very good indicator." Fischer renewed his country's rejection to a military intervention in Iraq, warning against "unpredictable results" that might result from a decision of that sort. Fischer said "at the meantime, we do not see any new analysis indicating that there are mass destruction weapons in Iraq." He said that the decisive point in the question of Iraq is to know the extent of our readiness "to stay one or several years in order to rebuild this country." In statements to the same paper, the German defense minister Peter Struck said the current military scenarios do not take into account the political results of a military intervention in Iraq "especially the question of Saddam's succession." Worthy mentioning that Germany has been witnessing an increasing rejection to an attack against Iraq. Members of the alliance government, socialists or democrats as well as environment protection advocates warn Washington against any "irresponsible action" and rule out a German participation in any action of this sort. http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,772979,00.html * SCHRÖDER ALLY ATTACKS HIM FOR IRAQ WAR STANCE by John Hooper in Berlin The Guardian, 12th August The German chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, has come under attack from several quarters over his pledge to keep Germany out of any future war with Iraq. He has even faced fire from within his own party. Most damaging were remarks from the leader of a body representing the interests of members of the armed forces. Colonel Bernhard Gertz, head of the German Military Federation, described the chancellor's initiative as "extremely unfortunate". "Anyone who says 'no' at the outset weakens the United Nations. The UN needs to have a credible threat to continue demanding a resumption of the weapons inspection programme," Col Gertz said. A more coded reproof came from the chairman of parliament's foreign affairs committee. Hans-Ulrich Klose, a member of the chancellor's own Social Democratic party, said: "We all of us - Europeans included - have good reason to take very seriously Saddam Hussein's dangerous potentiality." He added: "Instead of warning in advance against American war plans, it would be better to warn against the dangers posed by Saddam Hussein." In a weekend television programme, Mr Schröder definitively ruled out any German military participation if he were returned to office. His stance has won enthusiastic backing from the Greens, the junior partners in his centre left coalition. But the right-of-centre Christian and Free Democrats have claimed that the chancellor's new policy could lead Germany into isolation from its traditional allies. http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2002-08/13/content_521649.htm * GERMANY CALLS FOR NATO DECISION ON IRAQ BERLIN, Aug. 12 (Xinhuanet) -- German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder on Monday called on the defense ministers of the North Atlantic Organization Treaty countries to deal with the issue of possible military strike against Iraq by the United States at a meeting in Warsaw in September. The German leader has repeatedly ruled out the possibility of German participation in such an attack. His stance "is so and it remains so. And there is nothing to change," he said. Defense Minister Peter Struck supported Schroeder's suggestion that the NATO makes a preliminary decision on the attack on Iraq. It is unimaginable that such an important issue would not be discussed at the meeting in Warsaw attended by NATO defense officials, he noted. NATO officials said that the Iraq issue has not been on the agenda of the September NATO meeting so far. Struck reiterated Germany's independence over the Iraq issue, ruling out German participation in the possible war even if there is a mandate by the United Nations. "We are not subject to an automatic operation even with an UN resolution," said Struck. Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer warned of a weakening of the international anti-terror coalition due to "overhasty decision" onthe Iraq. The fight against international terrorism has the "highest priority" all along, he said to the Braunschweig Zeitung newspaperon Monday. "From my point of view the facts (about Iraq) have not changed," he noted. http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/200208/11/eng20020811_101280.shtml * MOST FRENCH OPPOSE TO US MILITARY ATTACK ON IRAQ Peoples Daily, 11th August A large majority of the French people oppose military intervention against Iraq, either decided by the United Nations or by the United States, according to the results of a survey announced Saturday. The survey conducted by IFPO on Thursday and Friday indicated that if an attack is decided by the United Nations, 55 percent of the interviewed do not favor at all and 20 percent almost do not favor such an attack. Twenty-two percent said they favor and 3 percent declined to response. If an eventual intervention is decided by the United States, 76percent of the surveyed said they do not favor, of whom 54 percentdo not favor at all and 22 percent almost do not favor. Those who favor a Washington-decided attack accounted for 18 percent. http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2002-08/11/content_519804.htm * NOT ONE DROP OF AUSTRALIAN BLOOD SHOULD BE SPILT IN IRAQ: [former Australian Prime Minister, Bob] HAWKE CANBERRA, Aug. 11 (Xinhuanet) -- The Australian opposition Sunday took a tougher stance against any involvement in a war against Iraq. "I would totally oppose, at this stage, this open-ended support which the government has given," former Prime Minister Bob Hawke told the local television Nine Network. "You should pursue every diplomatic effort you can to get the inspectors back there and establish the facts, and secondly see ifthere is any evidence establishing a link with al Qaeda," the former Labor prime minister said and added, "Until you've done both those things, there is no justification for spilling one drop of Australian blood or committing, at this stage, one Australian soldier to that cause." He criticized the Howard government for jumping ahead of the United States in advocating a war against Iraq. "We should not be jumping ahead of the US the way we are. It's wrong, it's against our interests and it's not, I believe, in the interests of the community internationally or of the US itself," he said. http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2002/08/12/1029113894696.html * LIKELY WAR WITH IRAQ IS NOT RAMBO RHETORIC: HOWARD by Craig Skehan, Foreign Affairs Correspondent Sydney Morning Herald, 13th August The Prime Minister, John Howard, was forced onto the defensive yesterday over growing criticism that overblown Government rhetoric was threatening hundreds of millions of dollars in further losses of wheat sales to Iraq. Mr Howard denied war-mongering, stating he had only expressed the view that it was increasingly likely the United States would attack Iraq. "Now, there was nothing 'Rambo' about that," he said. "I was telling what I believe to be the truth." Mr Howard, the Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, and the Defence Minister, Robert Hill, have all been accused of playing domestic politics by suggesting that the Federal Opposition wanted to appease the regime of Saddam Hussein. The Government's in-principle support for any US first strike resulted in the cancellation last month by Iraq of 500,000 tonnes of wheat purchases from Australia and the delay of another four shiploads. Iraq has also threatened to terminate total annual sales of more than 2 million tonnes, worth $800 million. The Opposition's foreign spokesman, Kevin Rudd, yesterday accused the Government of going out in front of even the United States in rhetoric supporting a military strike. "Having spent more than a month frantically politicising the Iraq question in the Australian domestic political debate, Foreign Minister Downer has the gall to accuse others of politicising the question," he said. Mr Downer said it was vital that "Iraq's chemical and biological weapons" were destroyed, saying that there was evidence nuclear weapons were also being developed. To achieve a return of weapons inspectors, it was necessary for the international community to maximise pressure on Iraq, he said. Australian Grains Council president Keith Perrett said yesterday: "We would have to question why the Government seems to be leading the world in its criticism of Iraq at this stage. "That's a concern to growers, and certainly the growers that I speak to are getting very concerned that we're the ones that are going to suffer from the Government's policy decisions." Mr Howard said yesterday that Mr Perrett had made the "quite erroneous claim" that Australia was out ahead of other countries, including the US, about attacking Iraq. "What the Government has done is to make it plain that this is an issue that the Australian community has got to debate and ... think about," he said. "Nobody wants military conflict and the reason why we have a difficulty at the moment is because Iraq has failed for years to comply with resolutions of the United Nations Security Council." The Opposition Leader, Simon Crean, said yesterday there should be "cool heads" to protect Australian interests. "No one is expecting them [the Australian Government] to give in to Iraqi threats ... ," Mr Crean said. "I'll join with the Prime Minister and support any effort to get the UN weapons inspectors back into Iraq. "But we shouldn't be putting Australian grain growers at risk through inappropriate statements by the foreign minister." http://www.theadvertiser.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5936,4898999%255E42 1,00.html * SADDAM JIBE FANS IRAQ ROW by Rick Wallace The Advertiser, Australia, 14th August ALEXANDER Downer yesterday likened Labor leader Simon Crean to Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein as the row over wheat exports worsened. Grain growers lamented the threat to exports while the Foreign Affairs Minister and Opposition Leader called each other fools. Mr Downer's condemnation of Iraq has led the country to threaten to cancel its $800 million a-year wheat purchases. But he was yesterday not tempering the rhetoric that has jeopardised the wheat sales, accusing Mr Crean of backing Iraq. "Simon Crean is talking like Saddam Hussein," Mr Downer said. "I noticed, much to my astonishment, he picked up the language of the Iraqi envoy at the weekend and started running the Iraqi envoy's lines. "I think that was a foolish thing to do." Mr Crean said Mr Downer's remarks were an outrageous slur. "I believe he is a fool. I think he has lost it," Mr Crean said. "He has already cost the country money -- $820 million of our wheat sales has been lost because of his stupidity and now he has just gone over the top again." As the Australia Wheat Board considers sending a delegation to Iraq to smooth tensions, Grains Council of Australia president Keith Perrett again questioned Mr Downer's condemnation of Iraq. "Our concern is the frequency of those statements and the strength of those statements," Mr Perrett said. Iraq is Australia's biggest wheat buyer, taking about 15 per cent of our $4 billion annual exports under UN-sanctioned oil for food arrangements set up after the 1990 Gulf War. http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2002/08/16/1029114012013.html * PM POLLS APART FROM PUBLIC OVER IRAQI STRIKE by Michael Millett and Craig Skehan Sydney Morning Herald, 17th August The Federal Government is struggling to convince the public about Australian involvement in any military action against Iraq, a national poll has revealed. The survey, carried out by UMR Research, showed less than a third of respondents believed Australia should commit troops to a United States-led offensive, despite the Howard administration's pro-Washington stance. It also reveals concern about the Government's foreign policy approach, especially Australia's relationship with America. Forty-seven per cent of respondents said they believed Canberra was extending "too much" support to the US. More than 60 per cent also support compensation for wheat farmers caught in the firing line between Canberra and Baghdad, amid sensitive talks in Iraq to save export contracts worth up to $800 million. The telephone poll, involving 1000 people and commissioned by lobbying firm Hawker Britton, was conducted from August 9 to 14 amid heated debate between the Government and the Opposition over Australia's response to a likely US strike. The war of words was prompted by Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's threat to cancel lucrative wheat contracts, citing Australian belligerence. The Opposition and other critics accused the Government - particularly the Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer - of risking Australia's trade position by "war-mongering". According to the poll, 57 per cent of respondents disapproved of any Australian involvement in an Iraqi campaign and 33 per cent supported it. Only 32 per cent approved of Australian participation in a US-led operation. Support for military action was particularly weak among the over-65s and people aged in their 40s. Hawker Britton's managing director, Bruce Hawker, claimed the findings suggested "Australians who have had the most experience of war have the strongest views against Australian joining in another [war]". The poll also gauges support for the participation of Australia's armed forces in military operations in other locations, such as East Timor, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Indonesia. East Timor, where Australian troops are involved in prolonged peacekeeping duties, was the only area of military operation to get a strong majority vote, recording 72 per cent support. Meanwhile, the Australian Wheat Board (AWB) yesterday described negotiations in Baghdad with the Iraqi Trade Minister, Mohamed Mehdi Saleh, as "very constructive and positive". The board's managing director, Andrew Lindberg, was heading to the port of Umm Qasr, "hopeful' that further talks would result in the unloading of four ships containing Australian wheat. Another eight ships carrying Australian wheat are currently en route to Iraq. A previous 500,000-tonne order was cancelled altogether and Iraq threatened to scrap 2million tonnes of annual imports from Australia. The board said yesterday that the Iraqi Trade Minister had said he "took no pleasure" in seeking to reduce future wheat commitments in response to the Australian Government's perceived hostile position towards Iraq. The Opposition said it was "profoundly disturbing" the Iraqi government had now told the AWB it would resume buying Australian wheat only if the Howard Government "rules out future military action". http://www.asahi.com/english/op-ed/K2002081600425.html * BRING AN END TO ALL WAR Asahi Shimbun, 15th August [.....] U.S. President George W. Bush has repeatedly insisted that the only way to defend the United States is to attack an enemy before the enemy can strike at the United States. This suggests, if necessary, he would not hesitate even to resort to pre-emptive first use of nuclear weapons. Thus it seems there is a new and unfettered intent of bringing an enemy into submission by force 'When we consider the modern history Japan, we are reminded of the argument given by Aritomo Yamagata for defending a "sovereignty line" and an "interest line." Pleading for parliamentary approval of huge expenditures for the army and navy in the first session of the Imperial Diet in 1890, Yamagata, as prime minister, insisted that Japan had to defend not only a "sovereignty line" but also an "interest line" to protect the nation's independence among the other major world powers. He interpreted the line of sovereignty to mean the territory of Japan and its territorial waters. The line of interest he had in mind represented the areas adjacent to Japan considered to be strategically important in the defense of the nation and its territorial waters. He sought to make the point that Japan needed to invade the Korean Peninsula to protect Japan from big-power threats. For the next half century, Yamagata's delusions continued to expand until the calamitous conclusion of Aug. 15, 1945. Now, the United States is turning its attention to action against foreign targets to defend the sovereignty of its homeland. But the argument being presented in the United States seems to impose the same kinds of dangers presented in the prewar contentions made by Japan. It can be argued that Bush's approach has already given Israel an excuse to drag its own conflict with the Palestinians into the quagmire. When we look back upon the 20th century, we find that it was the United States itself that contributed the most to establishing a new world order in the chaotic times after the conclusion of the two world wars. After World War I, the United States proposed formation of the League of Nations, and pursued signing the Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928 that declared war illegitimate as a form of foreign policy and sought to eliminate it altogether. After World War II, the United States again took the lead, organizing the United Nations and helping rebuild European nations and Japan with the Marshall Plan and other assistance programs. Drawing from the lessons of the Great Depression bringing about World War II, the United States went to considerable effort to stabilize the global economy by taking the initiative in formation of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. History is full of ironies, however. Even against that historic backdrop, the United States now makes light of the United Nations and often puts a damper on initiatives in the international community. The United States uses its overwhelming military might to have things its own way; it is up to the nations of Europe and Japan to try to keep the United States in check. A little more than 10 years since the end of the Cold War, the international community of nations has not yet succeeded in establishing a new world order to resolve mankind's problems of poverty, environmental pollution and regional conflict. What, then, are the nations of the world to do? First, Europe and Japan must unite to be able to address the United States on an equal footing. This would not amount to a closing of the ranks against the United States. Instead, it is a matter of preparing a way to make up for a lack of military might by the strength of numbers and discussing with Americans as equals the skepticism about the U.S. government's belief that war will solve the problem. Germany's Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has already made it clear that Germany cannot cooperate militarily or financially with the United States in an assault upon Iraq. Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, who contested against Bush in the last presidential election, has warned that if the United States attacks Iraq without the support of other countries, the foreign policy damage would be incalculable. There is, therefore, dissent even within the United States. Nor are the Americans the only ones we must have the fortitude to speak up to. Whether the issue is terrorism or nuclear development, a varied range of the international problems the United States is so earnest about resolving cannot be resolved by the United States on its own. It is important, therefore, to strengthen the roles of international organizations and have the nations of the world follow through upon the arrangements they jointly make. It is also essential that there be a long-term effort to resolve the gap between the rich and the poor, which is an underlying element behind many acts of terrorism. We must pursue the challenge to the creation of a society in which people of diverse ethnic, religious and cultural backgrounds can live and prosper together. Japan is a developed nation with considerable economic strength, situated in a corner of Asia. Its culture is not too heavily larded with any particular religious overtones, and it has a bitter history of military encounters. It seems fitting that a country with this background should have an important role in discussing such issues. It has become almost habit for Japan to fall into foreign policy lockstep with the United States. In the conduct of its foreign policy, Japan has rarely come up with its own ideas or sought to put them into practice by reaching out to the rest of the world. Very few of the international accords made since the end of World War II are popularly named after Japan or any Japanese cities. One is the 1963 Tokyo Convention on prevention of crimes aboard aircraft. Another recent one is the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on reduction of emission of greenhouse gases. Overall, however, Japan's reputation in the policy realm is far too pathetic for a nation that is the world's second largest economic power. In the United States, Japan is regarded both by government officials involved in relations with Japan and researchers on policy in Washington as being a taciturn nation that always complies in silence with U.S. demands. But Japan cannot afford to be that way forever. As long as the United States insists upon pursuing a self-centered policy approach, Japan's silent diplomacy will eventually impair its own national interests. [.....] _______________________________________________ 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