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[casi] News titles, 17-24/8/02

News titles, 17-24/8/02

Most surprising item this week is Richard Butler, of all people, castigating
the Australian government  quite violently  for slavishly supporting US
warmongering ('Ex-envoy blasts Iraq stance' in the Iraqi/International
Relations section). Otherwise mainstream US and UK opinion is still tending
against a war with even the US opinion polls showing a drop in support. If
its any encouragement we may remember that the warmongers in the press
(Safire, Kristol etc) were saying at the beginning of the year that if the
war didn't follow immediately on the Afghan war the optimum moment would be
lost. However, Iraq's immediate neighbours all seem to be operating on the
assumption that war is imminent and that the US will win, though the
prospect is rendered more difficult by the increasingly serious quarrel that
has broken out between the Kurdish Democratic Party and Turkey.


*  But What's The Legal Case For Preemption? [The article sets out from the
naive premiss that, in launching the 1991 Gulf War, George Bush Sr 'was
inaugurating a new era in which major wars were not to be launched by
presidential fiat, but only after the considered approval of representatives
of the nation and the world.' The 1991 Gulf War was preceded by the illegal
war on Panama and followed by the illegal war on Serbia. All that happened
in 1991 was that in the case of this particularly audacious project (using
the gullibility of King Fahd of Saudi Arabia in  order to establish a
massive military presence in the Middle East), the circumstances were such
that the niceties of legal procedure could be observed, mainly because of
the Soviet Union's extreme weakness and consequent anxiety to please.
Nonetheless the point that in acting in defiance of the United Nations
Charter the US government is acting in defiance of the US constitution is
worth making. Any possibility of taking a case?]
*  U.S. aided Iraq in '80s despite gas use, officials say [We thought we
knew all this, but its useful to have it in black and white. Only trouble
is, we're all glad Iran didn't take the area over, aren't we?]
*  General tells Bush: Don't go it alone [Norman Schwarzkopf and Wesley
*  For an Iraq Amnesty [Argues that President Hussein should be detached
from his supporters through the offer of a general amnesty. The broad
argument is fair enough even if it makes a nonsense of the Ex-Yugoslavia war
crimes tribunal, but it is frightening that an academically trained mind
(the author is Warburg Research Fellow at St. Anne's College, Oxford) can
have such a simplistically black and white view of the world. Also I would
doubt that the first anxiety of the US army is the possible deployment of
weapons of mass destruction. I would think their main worry is the
possibility of having to fight in cities and therefore to have to commit
face to face (as opposed to long distance) atrocities.]
*  New York Times misrepresents Kissinger on Iraq
*  U.S. Agents Tried to Bribe Iraqi Officials During UN Talks: Sabri
*  Times Takes Flak on Iraq [Complaints that the NY Times is exaggerating
opposition to the war on Iraq. Compared to the sort of lies and
misrepresentations we are used to from the proponents of war (Saddam
expelling the inspectors in 1998 for example) this is small beer. The only
half way serious complaint is over the reporting of Kissinger's remarks and
so far as I have seen Kissinger himself hasn't complained - though one
imagines the old mass murderer would probably have to be paid a couple of
thousand dollars before he would even say hello ....]
*  Editorial: Irrational on Iraq  U.S. justifications for war do not
measure up [Editorial in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette arguing that no good
reason has yet been given for going to war with Iraq]
*  Despite the war talk, Bush is unlikely to attack Iraq [The article
numbers Zbigniew Brzezinski and, unapologetically, H.Kissinger, among those
counselling caution.]
*  US Congress already at war over Iraq
*  President says he can wait on Iraq [Note that Bush says he wants to try
to find "a way to see that that region is not developing weapons of mass
destruction." The whole region? The article also features remarks by Tom
DeLay who may be Richard Armey's successor after the next elections as House
majority leader, strongly supporting the war: "Regime change is a central
goal of the war on terror." He doesn't seem to want to limit this to regime
change in Iraq.]
*  Poll: Support for action against Iraq dropping [Madeleine Albright
opposes a war on the grounds that 'Iraq and Saddam Hussein are contained
pretty well within this sanctions box'. No old nonsense about liberating the
Iraqi people from oppression for her! Kissinger is quoted sounding a bit
more pro-war.]

URL ONLY:,2933,60704,00.html
*  Transcript: Lawrence Eagleburger on FNS
Fox News, 19th August
[Lawrence Eagleburger thinks the Saddam question has come up again because
sanctions were relaxed (is he referring to Oil for Food?) and that, instead
of threatening war with Iraq, the US should follow through the war on terror
by turning its attention to Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas. This is what counts
as an anti-war argument.]


*  Don't trust Bush or Blair on Iraq [given past USUK implication in Mr
Hussein's crimes as revealed in the Scott Report, eg 'Soon after the attack
(on Halabja), Washington approved the export to Iraq of virus cultures and a
$1bn contract to design and build a petrochemical plant the Iraqis planned
to use to produce mustard gas.']
*  Straw plays down Iraq war talk [Much has been made of this as indicating
a difference from the US position. It may indicate a difference from the
Perle/Wolfowitz/Rumsfeld position that weapons inspections are an
irrelevance; but its quite in harmony with G.Bush who also has been playing
down the talk of war, telling us what a patient man he is.]
*  Ex-diplomat warns Blair over attack on Iraq [Lord Wright of Richmond.
Also anti-war remarks from the Tory Party's John Gummer. And the text of an
anti-war motion to be discussed at next month's TUC conference.]
*  Iraq cannot be left to its own dangerous devices [The Guardian's Martin
Woollacott believes in the legitimacy and desirability of US intervention to
right the wrongs of the world and so is depressed to find that 'America's
legitimacy in that capacity, already questionable, could be damaged both by
recourse to war and by a retreat from it after so many threats and
*  Cook wins Cabinet debate over Iraq.


*  US protests Germany's stance on Iraq
*  U.S. Makes Restrained Comment on Possible Russia-Iraq Deal
*  Iraqis reverse wheat ban [on Australia]
*  Iraqi FM to visit China next week
*  Russia 'giving illegal millions to Saddam for trade deals' [Anonymous
'western diplomats' accuse Russian company Emercom of paying the 'illegal'
surcharge Iraq is said to have imposed on oil exports.]
*  Police storm Iraqi embassy in Berlin [ending occupation by Iraqi
opposition group.]
*  Iraq Embassy Invaders to Be Detained
*  Ex-envoy blasts Iraq stance [Richard Butler blasts the Australian
government for its uncritical support of the US, and expresses anxiety that
"What is emerging is an interpretation in Washington that says we will do
whatever we want, anytime, anywhere all under the rubric of terrorism
whether it is provable or not." Has he been anywhere near Damascus in the
last few days?]


*  Hans Blix, United Nations' chief weapons inspector [Hans Blix's interview
with the BBC. He says the Iraqis are refusing to accept inspectors, but he
also says they are being encouraged to do so by the belligerence of the USA
('Well, I would think that if the Iraqis conclude that an invasion by
someone is inevitable then they might conclude that it's not very meaningful
to have inspections.'.]


*  IRIB [ Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting] to Establish Permanent
Office in Baghdad: Iraqi Daily
*  Kuwait Airways gets $56m [Compensation against Iraq. Rather strangely
this case is being conducted in front of a British court.]
*  Bahrain joins Iran in opposing U.S. attack on Iraq [The King of Bahrain
in Iran; the President of Yemen in Saudi Arabia. Are interesting and
unexpected alliances being formed?]
*  Kuwait Says OPEC Can Boost Output If Iraq Attacked [Kuwait's supposed
opposition to a US invasion of Iraq does not amount to very much. Kuwait's
Acting Oil Minister, Sheikh Ahmad al Fahd al-Sabah promises to keep the oil
going and 'said Kuwait would not support a military strike on Iraq, but said
no decision had been taken on whether or not to allow U.S. forces to use
Kuwaiti bases.]
*  U.S. Strike on Iraq: For Jordan, Ball Is in Baghdad's Camp ["The ball is
now in Baghdad's Camp. It is up to Iraq to play the game by accepting the
return of the UN (weapons) inspectors and bowing to the will of the
international community." This sounds like Jordan positioning itself to
switch sides. The Jordanian officials quoted say: 'they will not adopt the
position taken by Amman in 1990.' But in 1990, contrary to what is often
asserted, Jordan did not support Iraq. It was neutral. So if it adopts a
different position this time it will not be neutral. It will support the
*  Most Arab parliaments ready to attend Baghdad meeting on US threats
[Proposed meeting of the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union in Baghdad]
*  Baghdad ready to restore ties with Riyadh: VP
*  Syrian PM Meets With Iraqi Trade Minister
*  Iraq, Turkey hail improved trade

*  A rough neighborhood: Arms race adding to tensions in Mideast
by Michael Cabbage
Seattle times, from The Orlando Sentinel, 18th August
[Long article giving details of weapons capacity of different countries in
the Middle East including Israel. Very obvious that by far the least
dangerous of the countries discussed is Iraq.]


*  Iraqi Deputy Oil Minister Moussa Dead - Industry Source
*  Iraq opens warehouse to press to refute US biological weapons  charges.
*  Iraq says Abu Nidal was working against Baghdad [Interview with CNN chief
news executive Eason Jordan who has been told Nidal had been under house
arrest in Baghdad and was accused by the Baghdad authorities of 'conspiring
with forces outside of Iraq to work against the Iraqi government'. These
forces include Kuwait. The interview continues with an insistence from the
same anonymous but we are assured very highly placed official that there is
no question of the inspectors coming back.]
*  Abu Nidal killed by Iraqi assassins, insist supporters [by Robert Fisk]


*  Al Qaeda Presence In Iraq Reported
*  Al-Qaida Link to Iraq Lab Suspected [report on ABC News based on remarks
by 'unidentified intelligence officials'. The lab in question is operated by
Ansar el-Islam in the Kurdish Autonomous Zone, outside Baghdad's control.]
*  KDP to Turks: Kurdistanis will turn Kurdistan into a graveyard to
attackers [The English is poor but the overall sense  a violent war of
words between the KDP and Turkey  is very clear.]
*  Eyewitness: I saw Al-Khazraji kicking a Kurdish child to death [Kurdish
witness Mudir Ali would not agree with the view expressed in the article
'For an Iraq Amnesty' that Saddam's associates should be amnestied for the
sake of an easy war.]
*  Turkey, Iraqi Kurdish Tensions High [This is the first appearance I have
seen in the mainstream news suppliers of this immensely important dispute
between the Turkish government and the KDP. We learn that the Turkish
defense ministry claims sovereignty over Northern Iraq and that the
('illegal') diesel imports into Turkey on which the KDP depend have been cut
off since last February. Is it any wonder Jalal Talabani is looking like the
cat who got the cream?]
*  Saddam's son points finger at Iran [as being behind Ansar al-Islam.]
*  Iranian troops deployed on Iraqi border: Kurds
*  Militant Kurds training al-Qaida fighters [from The Guardian. One of the
fullest accounts of Ansar al-Islam I've yet seen, though its still not very

URL ONLY:,6903,776547,00.html
*  'Saddam will not stop me being a Kurd'
by Jason Burke, Barda Qaraman refugee camp, Northern Iraq
The Observer, 18th August
[The Observer finds a humanitarian pretext for supporting the policy of
bombing Iraq - the 'Arabization' policy being imposed on the Kurds around
Kirkuk. The details are much the same as in previous articles on the
subject, notably last week's 'Iraqi Kurds feel the brunt of Saddam's
'Arabization' (New York Times)]


*  Iraq: Military Spokesman Says Four Civilians Hurt In U.S.-British Attack
On Iraq [This refers back to last Wednesday - 14th August, reported in last
week's news - but with some more details.]
*  US, UK jets raid civilian installations: Iraq [Saturday, 17th August]
*  Western jets strike air defence site [Tuesday 20th August]
*  U.S. Planes Bomb Iraqi Site [Friday, 23rd August]


*  Bid to market US policy on Iraq to Arabs [FT article claiming that the US
are sending the Opposition representatives who saw them last week to try to
reassure local opinion about the possible war on Iraq. This seems very
unlikely given that the Opposition leaders themselves failed to get any
assurances as to the US leaders' aims and methods.]
*  Saddam's foes hope to recruit soldiers [The Iraqi National Council,
recently formed in London under the (possibly rather reluctant) aegis of the
Iraqi National Congress, is recruiting soldiers for an Iraqi exile army to
help with the 'liberation' of Iraq. We may well doubt if this is good news
either for the US or for the Iraqi National Congress.]


*  Saudis reconsider US links after terrorism lawsuit [Possible consequences
of lawsuit launched against leading Saudi personalities and institutions by
relatives of Sept 11 victims.]
*  Aide says Nidal confessed to Lockerbie bombing  

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