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News titles, 24-31/8/02 The week has seen Germany emerging as a potential leader of world opinion in opposition to US imperialism. Its quite an exciting prospect. Otherwise Richard Cheney's speech has had the effect of strengthening opposition but for the most part this still turns more on the need to go through the motions of a UN Security Council resolution than on the immorality of the war in itself. And no-one in a position of power is raising the problem of the immorality of the embargo. The problem with this, as Dan Plesch pointed out a couple of weeks ago (10-17/8/02) is that the US might go for its UN resolution, and then where would we be? But if the US continue to treat the UN Security Council with the contempt it deserves then why shouldn't the rest of us do the same? Why, for example, should we be obliged to respect its resolutions enforcing the embargo on Iraq? For the moment, if what we want is to see the development of a world opinion able to stand up in opposition to US power then we must hope that the Rumsfeld, Cheney, Wolfowitz line will prevail over that of the so-called 'doves' of Holbrooke, Albright and Kissinger Š IRAQI/INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS * Schroeder and Stoiber spar on TV over Iraq * Indian Firms Probed for Alleged Weapons Technology Sales to Iraq: Report [The Tehran Times offers a rather good formula for the departure of R.Butler et al in 1998: 'They fled the country in December 1998 on the eve of U.S. and British air strikes'.] * Iraqi FM Visits Shanghai * Use of force unhelpful in solving Iraq issue: China * Belgium warns Blair over US relationship [Cheeky little Belgium!] * Germany Slams U.S. Remarks on Iraq * Stoiber attacks US Iraq policy [saying the US should go through the UNSC.] * Annan snub for US assault on Iraq [and India. And Japan.] * France, Netherlands Call for European Common Position on Iraq [but don't tell us much about what it should be.] * Germany Steps Up Criticism of U.S. Call for Iraq Strike [Quite tough and interesting remark from J.Fischer to the effect that the overthrow of S.Hussein would necessitate a 'new order' in the Middle East and that 'Europe, being a neighbour to the Middle East, would be directly affected by hasty action. "That is why we have made our position clear, that we reject mistaken steps and will not take part in them."'] * France shifting stance on Iraq [though the article rather implies that it is a change in style rather than in substance: "We're driving the Pentagon crazy by keeping silent." (trouble is, despite what they think, the French aren't that smart.] * Japan, U.S. united on Iraq threat [Richard Armitage visit. 'High-ranking Japanese and U.S. officials agreed Wednesday to strengthen the bilateral alliance to counter threats from Iraq'. Iraq in its weakened state poses a threat simultaneously to the US and to Japan! S.Hussein may be a megalomaniac but it appears that other people have even more exaggerated notions of his prowess.] * Musharraf Critical of Attack on Iraq * Germany may remove tanks from Kuwait [Small as this may be it is the first I've seen of any country actually threatening to DO something to manifest its opposition in the event of a US attack.] * We'll send Australians home in bags, says Iraq [On the Iraqi/Australian wheat dispute which, it seems, is continuing.] * Ukrainian help for upgrade? [of Iraqi armoury] URLs ONLY: http://www.bangkokpost.com/News/26Aug2002_news20.html * Studying an Iraq cancer operation Bangkok Post, 26th August ['If the world is a body, Iraq is a cancer.' Includes the curious detail that, during the Gulf War: 'The Iraq embassy hired and imported foreign agents, planned terrorist activities and hoped to bomb foreign embassies and Thai establishments. Thai and foreign intelligence agencies thwarted the plot, arrested the terrorists and broke up the hostile ring. Hundreds of Thai security troops camped out at embassies and other locations around Bangkok, on 24-hour alert.'] http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-398650,00.html * Germany at one in opposing Iraq attack by Roger Boyes in Berlin The Times, 30th August [Edmund Stoiber is quoted as saying: "The Cheney speech changed the terms. We have to speak out clearly now against a preventive war."] INSIDE IRAQ * In Baghdad streets, they're not quaking in their boots [Declarations that no support will be given to a US backed Quisling government. We can only hope this will prove to be true since if a US imposed government is accepted it will only encourage them to further adventures.] * Saddam's dark star rising [Another good article from Paul McGeough of the Sydney Morning Herald on the present atmosphere in Baghdad, but its very long so I'm only giving extracts.] URL ONLY: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-397957,00.html * Secret files on Baghdad's weapons plans by Michael Evans The Times, 29th August [This, and an accompanying 'dossier' purports to give us an insight into the contents of the famous file which is being kept hidden in Whitehall and which Mr Blair assures us is positively bulging with proof of S.Hussein's efforts to get chemical and nuclear weapons etc. There is however nothing here we haven't seen many times before.] AND, IN NEWS, 24-31/8/02 (2) NORTHERN IRAQ/SOUTHERN KURDISTAN * Turkey to complain about South Kurdistan to US ['Turkey is to complain to the US about Kurdish political parties ..... threats to its army.' Well, if the USA can feel threatened by Iraq's 'weapons of mass destruction', I suppose the Turkish army can feel threatened by the Kurdish political parties.] * Turks and Kurds, Washington's Uneasy Iraq Allies [from the Tehran Times] * US to protect Kurdistan from any Iraqi or regional threats [Kurdish report on Jalal Talabani's trip to Washington where he met all sorts of Assistant this and Deputy Assistant that and came back convinced that 'Finally, the US has realised that the only remedy to eradicate the threat of terror and terrorism against the free world is to let democracy and the ideals of civil society take its course in the Middle East.' It doesn't inspire confidence in Mr Talabani's judgment.] * Norwegian aid project in Iraq taken over by terrorist group [Ansar al-Islam. With the added irony that the Ansar chief, Mullah Krekar, used to live in Oslo.] * Over 300 Iraqi Refugees Return to Their Country [The refugees in question are Kurds who had been living in Iran. It seems that the return was negotiated by the Iraqi government and that they are going back to the area still under Iraqi government control, though, we are told: 'the refugees have returned to Iraq owing to the prevailing calm and stability in the northern Iraq where the Kurds live.' One wonders if it makes much sense for the UNHCR to help refugees return to parts of the world that are living under threat of imminent massacre.] * Ankara stakes its claims in post-Saddam Iraq [Interesting discussion of Turkey's ambitions for the Mosul-Kirkuk area, which it claimed as its own until 1926.] IRAQI/MIDDLE EAST-ARAB WORLD RELATIONS * U.S. Ally Turkey and Iraq to Work for Long-Term Economic Deal * Analysts seek clarity in Qatar's view on Iraq * Qatar's foreign minister says his country opposes attack on Iraq [He says it rather weakly, but the fact that he's in Baghdad at all surely signifies something.] * Saddam 'ordered Nidal killing' [because he refused to train Al Qaida fighters in 'North Iraq' (Ansar al-Islam?), according to 'US officials' on the basis of reports from 'opposition groups'. 'nuff said?] * Saudi trade fair in Iraq from Sept 9 * Saleh defends Yemen about missiles: All Arab states to have Iraq's fate [Washington has 'imposed sanctions against a Northern Korean company for selling the components of Skud missiles for (to?) Yemen'. Apparently the Yemen apologised to Washington for this. Why should they have to apologise to Washington? In this article, however, the Yemeni President doesn't sound very apologetic.] * Iraq, Kuwait Agree on Arrangements for Archives Returning * Iraq VP in Syria for New Trade Talks * Mubarak warns against attack on Iraq as Baghdad launches diplomatic offensive [and Ramadan's visit to Egypt. And the agenda for the next meeting of the Arab League. It seems Iraq has succeeded in fending off a resolution calling for the return of weapons inspectors.] * Qatar rules out help for any US war on Iraq [The article contains other bits of news concerning the Syrian President Assad's visit to Saudi Arabia and Saudi relations with the US. It concludes with the following: 'Washington has named Charlotte Beers, a celebrated advertising magnate, to the newly created post of undersecretary for public diplomacy and public affairs, with priority on healing the post-Sept. 11 US-Islam rift.'] * Why the Arabs Shun Bush on Iraq [Very short extract from an article in Time which presents Arab opinion in an unusually reasonable light.] * Bush fails to sway Saudis on Iraq [The article also has John Negroponte sounding like Jack Straw: "if they (the Iraqis) were to cooperate fully with an international inspection regime," he said, "that could be an important part of the resolution of this question of disarming Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction."] * Riyadh has some tough choices to make [Extract from article suggesting that Saudi Arabia has to re-think its ideas as to the nature of the state.] * Jordan set to support attack on Iraq [On the problems created by Jordan's dependence on the US.] AND, IN NEWS, 24-31/8/02 (3) NO FLY ZONES * Iraq Says 8 Killed, 9 Hurt in Attack on South [Sunday, 25th August] * Iraq Says One Hurt in Western Air Strike on South [Monday 26th August. The rhythm of these attacks does definitely seem to be increasing.] * Allied airstrikes reportedly wreck key Iraqi surveillance site in south [An unusually full account of the raid on Sunday 25th August and of two further raids, both on Tuesday, 27thAugust.] * Iraq says U.S. attacks civilian airport [Tuesday 27th] * Allied raid destroys Iraqi spying base [Account of Tuesday's raids as seen by Iraqis on the ground.] * Allies Bomb Iraqi Military Site [Thursday 29th August (as we learn from another account). The article includes a general discussion on the effectiveness or otherwise of Iraqi defences and of the raids. One has the impression that an order has gone out to abandon the usual rather laconic way of reporting these things.] * America's undeclared war against Iraq [General account of Iraqi/US exchanges in the No Fly Zones from Lebanon Daily Star] NEW WORLD ORDER * Britain to back US on war crimes court [Continued controversy over US insistence on its right to evade responsibility for war crimes before the ICC. Wouldn't it be nice if the opposition to Mr Blair on Iraq could mobilise on this one as well?] * US immigration assurances end Iraqis' protest [Hunger strike of refugees wanting to be let into the US. Includes a horrendous account of the experience of a refugee deported from Lebanon to the Kurdish Autonomous Zone and from there back into Baghdad controlled Iraq.] * Record number of refugees removed [The British government boasts of its prowess in expelling refugees who come from countries such as Iraq whose governments they claim are so intolerable they can legitimately be overthrown in war.] URLsONLY: http://www.dailystarnews.com/200208/30/n2083009.htm * Afghanistan On the brink of another disaster by Robert Fisk Daily Star, Bangladesh (from The Independent), 30th August [Robert Fisk on the current state of Afghanistan: 'The truth is that Afghanistan is on the brink of another disaster. Pakistan is now slipping into the very anarchy of which its opposition warned. And the Palestinian-Israeli war is now out of control. So we really need a war in Iraq, don't we?'] http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,630-394763,00.html * Iraq poses crude oil headache for the US by Carl Mortished The Times, 26th August [Contains some interesting tidbits such as the following: 'The Iraqi Government has been extracting kickbacks from shadowy intermediaries ‹ the Russian Orthodox Church has been named as an Iraqi oil buyer ‹ who trade the crude' and 'Washington lobbyists are now courting West African governments, hinting to Nigeria that a decision to quit Opec might deliver debt relief as well as love and friendship.'] IRAQI OPPOSITION * Iraqi exiles recruit rebel force in London ['Major-General Tawfiq al-Yassiri ... said that as many as 200,000 Iraqis might join his ranks.' The success or otherwise of this daring initiative will be a good measure of Iraqi exile opinion. We should not automatically assume that those signing up for this (presumably mainly Sunni) army are pro-US. Is it not easy to imagine someone thinking that Iraqi will never be able to get its long overdue vengeance on the US until the scarecrow Saddam is out of the way?] * Suspects Held in Iraq [Berlin] Embassy Grab * Exiles recruited as US steps up war of words [The US wants to mobilise the Iraqi exile community in the crusade against President Hussein. Which is presumably fine, so long as the Iraqis in question don't get too carried away with any ideas and political aspirations they might have of their own.] * Iraqi opposition wants U.S. protection [for conference to be held in PUK territory in Northern Iraq/Southern Kurdistan (though perhaps we now have to add, Southern Turkey???).] UK OPINION * Hawks in the dovecot [Christopher Hitchens supports a US intervention to overthrow S.Hussein provided it is a wholly altruistic, kindly gesture whose only purpose is to help Kurds and other Iraqi peoples achieve a real, democratic self determination. He also wishes it could be Christmas every day.] * Doing nothing about Saddam is not an option [David Clark, a former Foreign Office special adviser, holds that President Hussein has to be contained so its either sanctions or war. He mocks at Jeremy Corbyn, who supported sanctions against Iraq at the time of Halabja and now attacks them. We see how much we have lost by allowing the use of the weasel word 'sanctions'. For what has been done to Iraq is nothing like 'sanctions' as applied, for example, to South Africa. The right term for what has been done to Iraq is 'embargo' or 'siege': it is more analogous to what the Serbs were doing to Sarajevo. It is not a matter of refusing to trade with Iraq; it is a matter of refusing to allow anything in or out of the country without permission of the enemy. But this having been said, Clark is right to point out that lifting sanctions now would be, or would look like, a huge victory for Mr Hussein and, given Iraq's oil wealth, would put him very quickly into a position of great power and influence (actually, even under the embargo, he is in a position of great power and influence). And he might indeed think of using this to inflict some sort of revenge for the wrongs that have been done to his country and to his Palestinian allies. So might any Iraqi leader - even one favoured by the US (as Saddam was once, from 1984 to 1990, favoured by the US). The logic of smashing Iraq because it might pose a danger in the future is a logic that leads to endless war because, so long as any independent life exists in the world there will always be someone who might pose a danger in the future. The thing is explained very well in Dostoyevsky's reflections on freedom in his Letters from the Underworld.] * Blair faces defeat on Iraq [Results of a Guardian opinion poll. What is most interesting is that 'Among Conservative voters disapproval is almost as strong with nearly half - 49% - saying that Mr Bush is "on the wrong lines" when it comes to Iraq. Only a third of Tory voters support an attack on Iraq ...'] * UK could push for Saddam inspections deadline, Straw * Former ministers back Dalyell on Iraq [Tony Lloyd and Doug Henderson] * Opinion: I believe that our pivotal moment has now come [Charles Kennedy used to share digs with an Iraqi engineering student. He doesn't want to drop bombs on nice people like that. Though he continues to be a supporter of the embargo, so he clearly doesn't mind depriving them of clean drinking water and the means of earning a living. He presumably believes that between 1939 and 1945 only nasty people were living in Germany. His argument, in other words, though its anti-war and should be welcomed as such, doesn't amount to very much.] * Blair Could Lose Leadership over Iraq - Healey AND, IN NEWS, 24-31/8/02 (4) US OPINION * Police tackle war protesters after Bush dinner is disrupted * Teaching the Teacher [Glimpse of the relationship between a Jewish teacher and her pupils, the sons of an Iraqi diplomat posted to the UN.] * Pentagon brief details Iraq's arms capability ['J.D. Crouch II, assistant secretary of defense for international security policy' has been commissioned to draw up a document justifying the contention that Iraq poses such a dreadful threat that invasion is justified. Though surely all he has to do is to ask our own Mr Blair for the document he says has already been drawn up but which he is holding back until the right psychological moment. Meanwhile the rest of us have to make do with 'outside analysts' who say 'Saddam may be two years away' from owning nuclear weapons (it used to be five years. Then it became four years), and that Mr Hussein has '157 bombs and 25 missile warheads suitable for germ agents anthrax, aflatoxin and botulinum' (sounds like someone has been leafing idly through old UNSCOM reports). It would be interesting now to learn what Israel has. Or what the US have.] * Cheney Speech on Iraq (text) [This (only for readers with particularly strong stomachs) is part of the text of Vice President Richard Cheney's recent, much publicised speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Convention: 'Today in Afghanistan, the world has seen that America acts not to conquer, but to liberate. It remains in friendship to help the people build a future of stability, self-determination and peace.' In the course of the speech he refers to 'the Middle East expert, Professor Fouad Ajami.' An apparently reasonably impartial article giving some idea of who Ajami is (The media's favorite Arab expert by Eric Boehlert) may be found at http://www.buzzle.com/editorials/12-21-2001-8389.asp?viewPage=3] * Key Bush ally urges cooperation with allies on Iraq [Baker is not opposing intervention any more than Kissinger was. He simply wants more effort put into keeping friends and allies. In itself, given the craven nature of the world's current leadership, this shouldn't be difficult. The difficulty is that Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz et al, not only don't want to do it - they positively want not to do it. They want to prove that the US is sufficient to itself and doesn't have to do it, ending all ambiguity as to whether or not the US is bound by any sort of international law.] * Former US attorney general [Guess who?] backs Iraq's resistance against war threats * Joe Conason's Journal: Cheney does a bad Churchill imitation. Plus: Hitchens' Kissinger isn't any better [A good reply to the ridiculous 'appeasement' argument which also points up some of the weaknesses in Christopher Hitchens' article (above, in the UK Opinion section, appropriately or not). The 'revealing story in the Nation by Jason Vest' is presumably 'The Men From JINSA and CSP', The Nation, 2nd September about the influence of pro-Israeli and pro-military spending lobbyists. The article was recently posted to the list but can be found at http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20020902&s=vest] * Bush finds legal loophole for attack on Iraq [Why, one wonders, should they want such a legal loophole when its quite clear that Congress could be induced to support a war quite easily. It seems that in addition to proving that the US is a free agent in relation to the rest of the world, the group around George II want to prove that the President is a free agent in relation to the rest of the American people. Its called 'arbitrary power'.] * The Terrible Logic of Nukes [Charles Krauthammer says: 'there is nothing more dangerous than an inviolable aggressor.' Quite.] * Mark Shields: Bush's 'ouchless' war against Saddam Hussein ['Not since the Mexican-American War nearly a century and a half ago has the United States entered a war without either a military draft to provide manpower or a tax increase to pay the costs, or both. This president asks us at home to pay no price, to bear no burden, to accept no hardship other than -- in the noble spirit of high national purpose -- to accept tax cuts.'] * Gen. raps plans [Anthony Zinni, again mainly attacking projects that call for a relatively light US commitment in support of native Iraqi forces.] * Activists worried about Iraq attack plan Las Vegas protest [Demonstration by a group called moveon.org. Apparently they're not protesting against the war as such but want a full congressional debate on the matter.] * Bush should seek Security Council approval [Richard Holbrooke has developed great expertise in manipulating international law in pursuit of US foreign policy objectives and one can understand his frustration that this skill should be treated as obsolete by the group currently in power. But the difference is only cosmetic. If approval is not secured, Holbrooke makes it clear that military action should go ahead anyway: 'If, however, such a resolution cannot be achieved, the administration, having made a best-faith effort in the Security Council, will be in a much stronger position to garner international and domestic support for action than if it had never tried at all.' He is NOT arguing that the US should comply with the requirements of international law.] * Cost of making war on Iraq needs a close look [Good article indicating that through Gulf War illness the casualty rate of the 1991 'war' was much higher than is generally assumed.] * The war with Saddam never ended [Straight from the shoulder military talk from Alexander Haig. Iraq is in breach of its obligations to the UN. The UN will be discredited if Iraq gets away with it, so the US should march in and keep marching until Iraq agrees to let in the weapons inspectors. I have to confess I find it rather difficult to know how those who believe in the UN (I am not of their number) could argue with this. Though preumably mention could be made of numerous unpunished US breaches of the UN Charter - Nicaragua, Panama, Serbia etc] * Clinton Questions Attacking Iraq URLs ONLY: http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,782136,00.html * At last, a great debate is beginning in America by Hugo Young The Guardian, 29th August [Hugo Young, impressed by the US's greatness as a military power, feels that it should be the scene of a correspondingly great intellectual/political debate so he tries to persuade himself that that is what is happening in the current paranoia over the alleged threat posed by Iraq.] http://www.dailystar.com.lb/features/30_08_02_a.htm * American activists put ignorance in the crosshairs by George S. Hishmeh Daily Star, Lebanon, 30th August [Interesting account of Americans for Mideast Understanding and of the individuals involved in it.] http://news.ft.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=FT.com/StoryFT/FullStory&c =StoryFT&cid=1028186165896&p=1012571727102 * The divided west by Michael Ignatieff Financial Times, 30th August [Michael Ignatieff on the breakup of the abominable 'us' and 'them' mentality that the US tried to impose after Sept 11. He seems to regret it, but he does have this interesting observation to make: 'September 11 has highlighted the extent to which the US remains the last of the great martial nation states, one that defines its sovereignty in absolute terms and defends it with force of arms. European states think they are beyond this adolescent stage in the development of nations. They believe they represent the future: pooled sovereignty, reduced military budgets, foreign policy as a branch of humanitarian social work. Americans believe just as firmly that Europeans live in a dream world, made possible by American protection.'] _______________________________________________ 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