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[casi] News, 31/8-6/9/02 (2)

News, 31/8-6/9/02 (2)


*  Kirk [Church of Scotland] warns against Iraq war
*  Osama wants US to attack Iraq: Rushdie
*  Tories Urge Blair to Lead Iraq Debate
*  Rest of the world might have uses: Signs of awareness in US
*  71% against war in Iraq without UN backing
*  Scots Opposition to War in Iraq Soars
*  Hawkish PM demands public's trust
*  Blair has to talk up war in order to make it less likely
*  Brown 'is fully behind Blair on Iraq'
*  Cook urges Blair to seek UN backing on Iraq
*  Archbishop warns over war with Iraq
*  The real goal is the seizure of Saudi oil
*  Iraq: war is not the way


*  Iraq says return of weapons inspectors must be linked to broader issues
*  Bush to lay out case against Iraq in UN address


*  Al-Majallah: Al-Sharif Ali: America's aim is to topple Saddam, not occupy
*  Talabani: Kirkuk is not a Solely Kurdish city


BBC, 31st August

The Moderator of the Church of Scotland's general assembly has urged Tony
Blair to try and prevent war against Iraq.

In a speech to the Kirk's annual Guild meeting, Reverend Dr Finlay
Macdonald, asked the prime minister to advise restraint in Washington.

He also wanted Mr Blair not to commit British troops to any military action
without a clear UN mandate and the support of parliament.

The Moderator said he feared another war in the Middle East would make a bad
situation worse and inflict further suffering on the Iraqi people.

Dr Macdonald has written to the prime minister voicing his concern about an
attack on Iraq.

He said Mr Blair should use his influence in Washington to counsel restraint
at a time when senior American politicians are indicating that military
action is imminent.

The Moderator also said that British troops should not be committed to fight
alongside any American force without a clear UN mandate and the support of a
majority of MPs.

He said: "If there is to be military action then it should be sanctioned by
the United Nations.

"These have been the main points I have been making to the Guild today and I
encourage members who agree with me to write to their MPs and the prime

He said starting such a war was not an appropriate use of power.

Times of India, 1st September

LONDON: India-born Booker Prize winning author Salman Rushdie has said that
a US attack on Iraq would have disastrous effect and it is just what Osama
Bin Laden wanted.

In the event of an attack on Iraq by the US, Saudi Arabia would almost
certainly feel obliged to expel US forces from its soil (thus capitulating
to one of Bin Laden's main demands), Rushdie said in a commentary in The

"Iran -- which so recently fought a long, brutal war against Iraq -- would
surely support its erstwhile enemy, and might even come into the conflict on
the Iraqi side. The entire Arab world would be radicalised and destabilised.
What a disastrous twist of fate it would be if the feared Islamic jehad were
brought into being not by the al-Qaeda gang but by the President of the US
and his close advisers," Rushdie said.

The controversial author was also critical of UN's failure to intervene
during recent India Pakistan stand-off on Kashmir and the Bush
administration's failure to investigate US based groups that are allegedly
funding organisations responsible for killing of thousands of Muslims in
Gujarat and wondered how long Pakistani-backed terrorism in Kashmir will be
winked by America because of Islamabad's support to the allies in the war
against terror.

"Just as American-Irish fund-raisers once bankrolled the terrorists of the
Provisional IRA, so now, shadowy bodies across America are said to be
helping to pay for mass murder in India, while the US government turns a
blind eye," he alleged.

by John Deane
The Scotsman, 1st September

Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith today called for the Prime Minister to lead
the public debate over a war on Iraq and spell out the "clear and growing
danger" Saddam Hussein represents.

Arguing that the Prime Minister has allowed the argument for action against
Saddam to "drift" during the summer, the Tory leader said the UK and the US
had common cause for such action, given Saddam's refusal to divest himself
of weapons of mass destruction, adding that "the case for UK involvement can
and should be made on its own merits."

Writing in today's Sunday Times, Mr Duncan Smith said: "It is now time for
the Prime Minister to explain to the British people what he already knows ≠
that Iraq is a clear and growing danger to Britain.

"That will mean leading the public debate and arguing from real principles,
using every opportunity to put the case including a debate in Parliament as
soon as it returns (from the summer recess).

"Those who believe we can simply do nothing must say how we would counter
Saddam in the future when he has nuclear and biological weapons. Ultimately,
the question is not whether we deal with Saddam, but when and how."

Mr Duncan Smith said the world should not underestimate Saddam's
determination to acquire weapons of mass destruction, and the means to
deliver them across significant distances.

"The next generation of Iraqi missiles will be able to reach the whole of
Europe as well as the Indian subcontinent. On top of that Saddam is just as
likely to use terrorists to deliver such weapons."

And Mr Duncan Smith warned that Britain could well be a target.

"We are a member of the UN Security Council that passed the Gulf War
resolutions. We were a major component of the allied coalition during that
war. And today British forces are still engaged in Iraq policing the no-fly
zones that protect Kurds in the north of the country and Shi'ite Muslims in
the south."

Britain was faced with a choice, the Tory leader argued: to allow Saddam to
build up his arsenal, including nuclear weapons, or move against him before
he did so.

"We can choose to act pre-emptively or we can prevaricate. But everyone
should understand that the only winner from the current confusion is Saddam
Hussein," said Mr Duncan Smith.

His remarks came as the Ministry of Defence revealed that the Defence
Secretary Geoff Hoon is to visit the United States for a six-day trip
surrounding the first anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks.

Mr Hoon's visit will include talks on that date with US Defence Secretary
Donald Rumsfeld.

Although Mr Rumsfeld is regarded as the chief "hawk" in the US
administration pushing the case for military action to oust Iraqi leader
Saddam Hussein from power, the MoD said only that the two men would discuss
"matters of mutual interest".

The visit will also include a speech by Mr Hoon at Louisville University.

The Observer suggested that Mr Hoon and accompanying MoD officials would be
given detailed briefings by their American counterparts on the options for
military action against Saddam, and in return detail what British assistance
could be available for a military operation.

The newspaper claimed Mr Hoon would make a number of hardline comments about
the need for Saddam to be tackled.

But an MoD spokeswoman said final details of the trip had yet to be
finalised, adding that she could not speculate about what issues would be on
the agenda during Mr Hoon's engagements.

by Julian Borger
Dawn (from Guardian), 1st September

WASHINGTON: There has been so much talk lately from the Bush administration
about "going it alone" against Saddam Hussein that US policy on Iraq is
beginning to sound a bit like an cowboy song.

"Doing the right thing ... may seem lonesome," Donald Rumsfeld, the defence
secretary, told marines this week, but it was more important to be right
than have other people agree with you. In two speeches to war veterans the
US vice president, Dick Cheney, made essentially the same argument.

With one traditional US ally after another going public with misgivings, if
not downright opposition, this has become more than merely a rhetorical
flourish. Isolation over Iraq has become a hard reality and, as far as the
American public is concerned, the image of the lonesome cowboy loses its
romantic appeal when it comes to going to war in a far-off country.

The most recent Gallup poll shows there is still a slim majority, 53 per
cent, in favour of military action to topple President Saddam, though that
support has declined significantly over the past two months. Only 20 per
cent of those asked said they would back going it alone. Unsurprisingly with
mid-term elections looming, Congress feels the same way.

"I don't think it is in the best interests of this country ... or any of our
allies for us to act unilaterally. If we would go into Iraq, we certainly
would want allies with us, and certainly Arab allies," argued Chuck Hagel, a
Republican from Nebraska who has become the leading voice for caution in the

The issue of whether to act alone or make a significant effort to bring
other states on board has become the central debate in Washington, where few
significant figures of any political complexion question the urgent need for
"regime change" in Iraq.

In that context, Britain's position has become singularly important, if only
because its support has been taken for granted for so long by successive US
administrations and by the public. Although Mr Rumsfeld is fond of referring
to Winston Churchill to underpin his arguments for unilateralism, it is also
a nod to the iconic importance of having Britain by America's side when it
goes to war.

Anatol Lieven, an analyst at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
said: "Britain is at least as important as all the other European states put
together. If Britain came out publicly and said it was against it. It would
really shake them."

In terms of military strength, however, any British contribution would be
near irrelevant, in view of the vast and widening gap between US and
European military capacity.

Ian Davis, head of the British American Security Information Council office
in Washington, said: "Whatever the British could supply in military
capability, the US will supply anyway. Its marginal in terms of military
capacity, although it's everything in terms of symbolism."

The important exception to Britain's military irrelevance would be its base
on the Indian ocean island of Diego Garcia, which has served as a launch pad
for US bombing sorties over Afghanistan.

The need for such bases is the only logistical restraint on the US going to
war alone. Any invasion plan being considered requires the use of bases on
solid ground, whether it envisages a US force of 250,000 or 70,000. Aircraft
carriers will not be enough.

In this respect, the small Gulf states are far more important to the US than
Britain. Washington has long been resigned to the fact that it will not be
able to use its bases in Saudi Arabia, and has instead built up the al-Udeid
airfield, in Qatar, and leaned more heavily in its plans on the various US
bases in Kuwait and Bahrain. Turkey has also become more or less essential
as a launching pad.

The hawks in the Bush administration have always maintained that, for all
their public equivocations about a war in Iraq, such small-fry allies would
scramble on board once the shooting started. Such assumptions are implicit
in Mr Rumsfeld's assertion that: "Leadership in the right direction finds
followers and supporters."

However, the realisation is now beginning to dawn in Washington that when
these small states say they want nothing to do with a pre-emptive assault on
Iraq, they might actually mean what they are saying.

"It is a good idea when leading a charge to occasionally stop and look
behind to see whether anyone is following," argued Stephen Baker, a retired
rear admiral who was an operations officer in the Gulf war and who was
formerly the Navy's chief of staff in Bahrain.

"President Bush needs to do that now in his march to the 'inevitable'
invasion of Iraq. He would see some of his staff, a vaguely supportive
Congress, a nervous defence department and the British prime minister, Tony
Blair. That's about it."

The desperate need for basic logistical support in the Gulf appears to have
been behind the invitation to the Saudi ambassador, Prince Bandar, to come
to stay at President Bush's Texas ranch this week. The administration hoped
that even if it could not use Saudi bases, it could at least count on
permission to fly over Saudi territory to reach Iraq. It appears that
permission was not forthcoming, causing near panic among military planners.

"For them, the big strategic question is basing rights. That's the biggest
difficulty the US faces. That's the one issue that causes the hawks to stop
and think," Mr Davis said.

According to Mr Lieven, administration hawks are seriously suggesting using
bases in the Gulf without consulting their host countries. But such a
violation of sovereignty would be likely to arouse a powerful backlash among
America's closest allies and sour relations in the region for years.

The continuing difficulties for US policy in Afghanistan have also served as
a reminder to the administration that even if it can defeat Saddam Hussain
single-handedly, it will need international help to keep Iraq together in
the aftermath - for a decade or more.

"If they're smart, they'll start to consult allies now about the post-Saddam
period," said Michael Hirsh, a Newsweek journalist and the author of a
forthcoming book on US foreign policy. "Watching the learning curve on
Afghanistan has been painful, but they seem to be getting there."

Signs of a dawning awareness that the rest of the world might have its uses
are beginning to appear in the remarks made by administration officials.

John Negroponte, the US ambassador to the UN, said this week that the return
of weapons inspectors to Iraq would be "an important part of the resolution"
when it came to disarming Baghdad. That is an important step down from Mr
Rumsfeld and Mr Cheney's position that inspections would be useless.

So far, President Bush himself has remained silent about all this, and he is
not expected to say much about the subject until an address to the UN
general assembly on September 12. Until then at least, US policy is still in
flux.-Dawn/The Guardian News Service.

Daily Record, 2nd September

Seventy-one per cent of Britons oppose joining a war on Iraq without the
approval of the UN.

The finding come in a survey carried out for the Daily Mirror newspaper and
GMTV by ICM Research.

Only 12% of those questioned think an invasion of Iraq is justified under
any circumstances.

The poll suggests that the public are deeply sceptical about the merits of
the West's war on terror.

Only 16% say it has been a success while 31% say it has been a failure or a
big failure.

ICM interviewed a random sample of 1,001 adults by telephone between August
27 and 29.

Twenty two per cent of people think George W Bush is the biggest threat to
world peace, behind Osama Bin Laden, 30% and Saddam Hussein 30%.


by Yakub Qureshi, PA News
The Scotsman, 2nd September

The number of Scots opposed to military action in Iraq has increased
significantly, according to a poll published today.

Six months ago, a previous poll showed evenly split opinion with 43% of
Scots surveyed opposing action, 38% supporting it and 15% undecided.

But now the opinion gap has increased considerably, with 57% opposed to war
and only 30% in support.

The survey comes amid growing speculation about US-led military action
against Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein after repeat calls to allow UN
inspectors into the country.

The NFO System Three poll for The Herald also found anti-war support was
growing among all four of Scotland's political parties.

The previous poll for the paper showed Liberal Democrat supporters strongly
opposed to war but opinion roughly split among Labour, SNP and Conservative

In a clear hardening of views, Labour supporters' opinion has now shifted by
23% against military action.

In March, those identifying themselves with the party were split 44% for
action and 40% against but today's figures now show only 34% in favour and
57% in opposition.

Similar turnarounds were reported for other parties with 53% of Tories and
55% of Scottish Nationalist supporters opposed to action.

More than 70% of Liberal Democrats now oppose a possible conflict.

The number of people reported to be undecided about military action has also
fallen from 19% to 13%.

Just under 1,000 people were surveyed in 43 constituencies last month as
part of the poll.,3605,785624,00.html

by Patrick Wintour
The Guardian, 4th September

The need for a fresh UN resolution in support of an attack on Iraq

"The most important thing is that whatever we do is with the broadest
possible basis of support. That is what we did in Afghanistan and Kosovo. We
had the international community with us. The UN has to be the route to deal
with the problem, not a way of avoiding the problem. We cannot have a
situation where people turn a blind eye."

Mr Blair was repeatedly asked over his 90-minute press conference whether he
was determined to ensure any fresh military action was matched by a fresh UN
security council resolution. In the end he implied he would prefer to go
down the route of the UN, but he would not be bound by this course. His
remarks reflect concern that it will be impossible to get sufficient support
in the security council for a tough resolution. Although he said France and
China backed Iraqi compliance with the return of the weapons inspectors,
there is doubt these countries would back a resolution and further
persuasion might be needed. Dick Cheney, the US vice-president, is resisting
calls from US republicans for a return to the UN.

Mr Blair claimed he deserved some trust since before taking military action
in Afghanistan and Kosovo he had sought UN backing. He also insisted any
action would comply with international law. The Foreign Office has argued
that a fresh resolution might not be needed since the UN has passed
resolutions permitting action in the event of Baghdad's failure to comply
with inspections. Those resolutions were used to implement Operation Desert

"International terrorism committed its worst atrocity on the streets of
America, but it was an attack on the whole of the civilised world. America
should not have to face these problems alone. It is not based on misplaced
allegiance or blind loyalty. If Britain and Europe want to be taken
seriously as people facing up to these issues then our place is facing them
with America."

Mr Blair insisted the portrait of President Bush as unilateralist was a
parody, arguing that he acted with calm. But the prime minister's aides will
have informed him of the mood of anti-Americanism sweeping through parts of
the Labour party. Mr Blair must also know that divisions inside the
Republican administration are making it harder for him to make the case
inside the EU for military action.

"For a long period of time we have done our best to contain that threat
although it is increasingly difficult to do it without inspectors being back
in there with a proper regime on the ground capable of altering the way the
regime behaves. Either the regime starts to function in an entirely
different way - and there is not much sign of that - or the regime has to
change. The choice is that simple."

Mr Blair went further than before in suggesting it would not be sufficient
for Iraq to let the weapons inspectors return with unfettered access. In
saying this he tried to square himself off with Mr Cheney, who said last
week that the return of the weapons inspectors would provide no reassurance.

Mr Blair argued that Saddam Hussein had messed around the inspectors so much
in the past that it was difficult to see how they could operate effectively.
Although he insisted he was not espousing a new doctrine of pre-emptive
action and interference in a sovereign state, he did go close to doing so.
He said: "If September 11 taught us anything it teaches us the importance of
not waiting for the threat to materialise but, when we see the signs of
threat, dealing with it."

But he also said: "I totally understand the fact that this is an appalling
brutal dictatorial vicious regime, but this does not mean you have to remove

"One of the things I have found bizarre is the sight of very decent
liberal-minded people lining up and saying we should not do anything about
the regime of Saddam Hussein. Originally I had the intention that we
wouldn't get round to publishing the dossier until we had actually taken the
key decisions, but I think probably it's a better idea to bring that
forward. A lot of the work has already been done. There needs to be some
more work and some more checking done, but I think probably the best thing
to do is publish that within the next few weeks. I think that when that
happens people will see that there is no doubt at all, the United Nations
resolutions that he stands in breach of are there for a purpose."

Expressing his near-shock at the turn of public opinion in Britain, Mr Blair
said that when listening to the debate in recent weeks it seemed as if it
were the west in breach of UN security council resolutions not Iraq. He
claimed he was facing two forms of doubters, those who were implacably
opposed to war, and those such as Donald Anderson, the foreign affairs
select committee chairman who raised proper questions about the context and
the need for evidence.

Despite persistent questions about large opinion poll majorities opposing
war, Mr Blair claimed the British people's mind was not yet settled and they
would be open to argument.

But the dossier's publication may not prove to be the big turning point he
hopes. The dossier on the role of Osama bin Laden in the September 11
attacks was full of unsubstantiated assertions that would hardly have stood
up in a court of law. And publication will be constrained by the need to
protect the intelligence community.

"It is an absolutely despicable and loathsome regime which routinely
represses and tortures its political opponents."

Despite his fierce attacks on the regime, Mr Blair struggled to explain why
the Iraqi threat had risen so much in recent months that military action was
now needed. He argued: "At some point Iraq was trying to develop nuclear
weapons capability and there is evidence they will acquire nuclear weapons
capability if they can." He also claimed Iraq now had access to $3bn
(£1.9bn) of illicit oil revenues, up from $1.8bn.

Although few would argue with this contention, it is not generally accepted
that Iraq is still seeking nuclear weapons, or could really be characterised
as a state with weapons of mass destruction.

by Krishna Guha and Mark Nicholson
Financial Times, 5th September

Gordon Brown has moved to end speculation about his position on Iraq, amid
evidence that his silence has been encouraging anti-war Labour MPs.

The chancellor's spokesman†on Wednesday night said Mr Brown was fully behind
Tony Blair and shared Mr Blair's conviction that Saddam Hussein had to be
dealt with. "Just as the chancellor has been unwavering in his support for
the war against terror following September 11, so he has consistently made
clear his full support for the prime minister's position on Iraq."

Mr Brown would make this clear in person the next time he gave an interview.

The statement follows mounting unease among cabinet ministers handling Iraq,
who were anxious Mr Brown should set the record straight before the Labour
rebellion gathered strength.

As more and more ministers made their views on Iraq known in public, the
silence of the second most powerful member of the cabinet was striking.

Rebel MPs have taken heart from Mr Brown's silence, interpreting it as
signalling concern about the economic and human cost of war, and the
strength of feeling within the party against unilateral action.

They claim this view is shared by Mr Brown's close allies within cabinet,
including Alistair Darling, Margaret Beckett and Clare Short. "I think the
person who is profoundly unhappy is the chancellor," said Tam Dalyell, a
leading dissident MP. "He has still not said anything himself on Iraq."

"Brown is different from Blair. He cares about the Labour party. The
activists are saying: 'If you go ahead and endorse invasion, I am not
working for you during the next election'."

Mr Dalyell said Labour leaders in Scotland - Mr Brown's power base - feared
a backlash in elections to the Scottish assembly next May, which could take
place during or just after war.

Labour members of the Scottish parliament deny this, claiming elections to
the devolved assembly would turn on local issues.

The Scottish National party believes Iraq could prove a factor in May and is
already positioning itself to outflank Labour on the issue.

John Swinney, SNP leader, has tabled a motion in the assembly saying war
should only take place with UN approval and after a vote in parliament.
"This is a mainstream issue at a fundamental level," he said.

Mr Dalyell and other Labour rebels are trying to stir up momentum for a push
to replace Mr Blair with Mr Brown. "There are a lot of people in the
constituency parties who feel like that," he said. "If Blair is hell-bent on
this, there will be tremendous pressure for a regime change in Downing

But the Treasury is determined this speculation should now end. "Gordon is
right behind Tony Blair," said a senior official.

by Krishna Guha, Political Correspondent
Financial Times, 5th September

Robin Cook on Thursday stepped up the pressure on Tony Blair to gain a fresh
United Nations mandate ahead of a military strike on Iraq, while making the
case for the Commons to be allowed to vote on the issue.

He indicated in an interview with the Financial Times that an accompanying
UN resolution was an essential condition if he was to back a military strike
against Saddam Hussein in cabinet. Mr Cook, who as Leader of the Commons is
responsible for its procedures, also said he favoured the idea of allowing
MPs a formal vote on whether UK troops should be sent to Iraq, arguing that
a precedent for this was set at the start of the 1991 Gulf war.

The prime minister said this week that he was prepared to consider calling
for a fresh UN mandate on Mr Hussein's weapons of mass destruction. Mr Blair
emphasised that he would only back the UN route if this was "a way of
dealing with it, not a way of avoiding dealing with it".

But Mr Cook said: "If we are to succeed in curbing Saddam's military
ambitions we have a better chance of success if we have the world with us
and Saddam isolated. The best place to build that international coalition is
the United Nations. It is UN resolutions that Saddam, after all, has been

He outlined a series of questions that had to be answered before a decision
to go to war - "What is the best way in which we make sure that we keep
Saddam's ambitions contained? If there were military action, how would that
affect the situation in the Middle East? Would it make it more difficult or
easier to secure [Arab-Israeli] peace? Where would it leave our relations
with the rest of the Arab world? And what would happen after Saddam in

On a Commons vote, Mr Cook said: "In the last Gulf war in 1991 the Labour
opposition agreed with John Major to provide a forum for debate on a
substantive motion, with an amendment from the opposition, which was
accepted by the government and then followed by a vote. I am sure that this
Labour government will be aware of that precedent."

Labour MPs opposed to military action fear that when parliament finally gets
to debate action military against Iraq, Mr Blair will try to avoid a vote on
the issue itself and instead opt for an "adjournment motion" in which MPs
simply vote to wind up the debate. Such a move would lessen the
embarrassment for the government if Mr Blair were opposed by large numbers
of his own MPs.

Mr Cook said the government would examine the question of whether to recall
parliament after the conclusion of this weekend's Camp David summit between
Mr Blair and the US president, George W. Bush. "I suspect neither President
Bush nor the prime minister know exactly what may come out of the Camp David
meeting. We will consider in the light of that meeting whether it is
appropriate for parliament to meet."

He added: "Maybe the right time for parliament to consider [the prospect of
war with Iraq] is when we see what reaction there is at the United Nations."

Mr Cook's comments on the need for a UN resolution expose the pressure Mr
Blair will face when plans for an attack on Iraq are discussed at a cabinet
meeting on September 19.

London Evening Standard, 5th September

A war against Iraq could set the Arab world against the West, the leader of
Roman Catholics in England and Wales has warned.

The Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, also warned
it may undermine efforts directed at peace between Israel and the

Writing in the Times, he suggested an unprecedented coalition of aid to the
poorest peoples of the world, including the impoverished peoples of the
Middle East, should be formed.

"Would not that be a more far-reaching, sustainable and positive way to
challenge both the evil of terrorism and the scandal of world poverty?" he

The Archbishop said there were good reasons why many, including the British
and US Governments, regard the regime in Iraq as a threat to the security of
the region and, presumably, the West.

But he added: "A war in Iraq would cause great destruction and suffering. It
would also entail grave consequences for our own country and for the world.

"There is reason to be concerned that military intervention would set the
Arab world against the West, and undermine efforts directed at peace between
Israel and the Palestinian people," he wrote.

He said that without "preferably incontrovertible" evidence of an Iraqi
threat, as promised by the Prime Minister, he said it would be hard to see
how concerns about military action could be allayed.

The Times also reported that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey,
had raised his concerns about Iraq in a private letter to the Prime

A spokesman for Dr Carey said only: "The Archbishop has written to the Prime
Minister about Iraq, that correspondence was conducted in private, and
remains confidential.",3604,786180,00.html

by Mo Mowlam
The Guardian, 5th September

I keep listening to the words coming from the Bush administration about Iraq
and I become increasingly alarmed. There seems to be such confusion, but
through it all a grim determination that they are, at some point, going to
launch a military attack. The response of the British government seems
equally confused, but I just hope that the determination to ultimately
attack Iraq does not form the bedrock of their policy. It is hard now to see
how George Bush can withdraw his bellicose words and also save face, but I
hope that that is possible. Otherwise I fear greatly for the Middle East,
but also for the rest of the world.

What is most chilling is that the hawks in the Bush administration must know
the risks involved. They must be aware of the anti-American feeling
throughout the Middle East. They must be aware of the fear in Egypt and
Saudi Arabia that a war against Iraq could unleash revolutions, disposing of
pro-western governments, and replacing them with populist anti American
Islamist fundamentalist regimes. We should all remember the Islamist
revolution in Iran. The Shah was backed by the Americans, but he couldn't
stand against the will of the people. And it is because I am sure that they
fully understand the consequences of their actions, that I am most afraid. I
am drawn to the conclusion that they must want to create such mayhem.

The many words that are uttered about Saddam Hussein having weapons of mass
destruction, which are never substantiated with any hard evidence, seem to
mean very little. Even if Saddam had such weapons, why would he wish to use
them? He knows that if he moves to seize the oilfields in neighbouring
countries the full might of the western world will be ranged against him. He
knows that if he attacks Israel the same fate awaits him. Comparisons with
Hitler are silly - Hitler thought he could win; Saddam knows he cannot. Even
if he has nuclear weapons he cannot win a war against America. The United
States can easily contain him. They do not need to try and force him to

But that is what Bush seems to want to do. Why is he so determined to take
the risk? The key country in the Middle East, as far as the Americans are
concerned, is Saudi Arabia: the country with the largest oil reserves in the
world, the country that has been prepared to calm the oil markets, producing
more when prices are too high and less when there is a glut. The Saudi royal
family has been rewarded with best friend status by the west for its
cooperation. There has been little concern that the government is
undemocratic and breaches human rights, nor that it is in the grip of an
extreme form of Islam. With American support it has been believed that the
regime can be protected and will do what is necessary to secure a supply of
oil to the west at reasonably stable prices.

Since September 11, however, it has become increasingly apparent to the US
administration that the Saudi regime is vulnerable. Both on the streets and
in the leading families, including the royal family, there are increasingly
anti-western voices. Osama bin Laden is just one prominent example. The love
affair with America is ending. Reports of the removal of billions of dollars
of Saudi investment from the United States may be difficult to quantify, but
they are true. The possibility of the world's largest oil reserves falling
into the hands of an anti-American, militant Islamist government is becoming
ever more likely - and this is unacceptable.

The Americans know they cannot stop such a revolution. They must therefore
hope that they can control the Saudi oil fields, if not the government. And
what better way to do that than to have a large military force in the field
at the time of such disruption. In the name of saving the west, these vital
assets could be seized and controlled. No longer would the US have to depend
on a corrupt and unpopular royal family to keep it supplied with cheap oil.
If there is chaos in the region, the US armed forces could be seen as a
global saviour. Under cover of the war on terrorism, the war to secure oil
supplies could be waged.

This whole affair has nothing to do with a threat from Iraq - there isn't
one. It has nothing to do with the war against terrorism or with morality.
Saddam Hussein is obviously an evil man, but when we were selling arms to
him to keep the Iranians in check he was the same evil man he is today. He
was a pawn then and is a pawn now. In the same way he served western
interests then, he is now the distraction for the sleight of hand to protect
the west's supply of oil. And where does this leave the British government?
Are they in on the plan or just part of the smokescreen? The government
speaks of morality and the threat posed by weapons of mass destruction, but
can they really believe it?,3604,786113,00.html

The Guardian, 5th September

We are told a war on Iraq is needed to preempt a threat to the region and to
free the Iraqi people from Saddam Hussein's tyranny (Blair: Saddam has to
go, September 4). We, as Iraqis already free from that tyranny, living
outside Iraq and in the western democracies, say that both these claims are
false. As professionals, writers, teachers and other responsible and
concerned citizens, many of whom have personally experienced the persecution
of the dictatorship in Iraq, we say "No to war; not in our name, not in the
name of the suffering Iraqi people".

Generations of Iraqis have endured a succession of tyrannical regimes, two
devastating wars, and 12 years of "the most pervasive sanctions ever imposed
on a nation in the history of mankind" (Sandy Berger, US national security
adviser, November 14 1997). On the arms issue, Iraq underwent seven and a
half years of intrusive inspection and its proscribed production facilities
were controlled or destroyed, while the most threatening power in the
region, Israel, refuses inspection of its nuclear, chemical and biological

In Iraq, the regime of Saddam Hussein has nothing left but bombast. Hence it
tries to exploit the genuine explosive rise of anger in the whole Middle
East at the unbelievable suffering of the Palestinian people. It is the
inhumanity of the civilised world in letting Sharon's atrocities continue in
defiance of scores of UN resolutions that leaves the Iraqi regime with any
credibility at all.

In the meantime, the sanctions have been catastrophic for the welfare of the
people of Iraq. They have made the lives of Iraqis dependent on the state
machine rather than on free production and distribution. The fabric of
society is barely holding out under the brutality of UN siege, manipulation
by the regime and unscrupulous regional intrigues. Sectarian and ethnic
politics has displaced modern civil political activity, and intellectual and
cultural life is in accelerated decline, with the flight of creative talents
and technically qualified people. Another war will crush a vulnerable
society and may mean civil war, with unpredictable spill-overs all over the
Middle East and potential destabilisation to Europe and the world at large.
Already, Iraqis form a large proportion of those risking their lives while
seeking asylum in the west.

Our aspirations for Iraq - and indeed the whole of the Middle East - is for
nations that respect human rights, guarantee the national rights of the
Kurdish people, universally apply international law and are free of weapons
of mass destruction. We believe Saddam's regime is responsible for leading
Iraq from a situation of great promise into one of unmitigated catastrophe,
and this regime must be held to account for its abject failure and for the
crimes it committed against Iraqi people, Arabs and Kurds, of all beliefs
and persuasions.

But the remedy must not cause greater damage to the innocent and to society
at large. Real change can only be brought about by the Iraqi people
themselves within an environment of peace and justice for all the peoples of
the Middle East. A change of this kind, combining truth and reconciliation
with legal processes of punishing offenders is being espoused all over the
world. Why shouldn't that be the case for Iraq?

We call on the UN to put together a timetable for the lifting of the
economic sanctions and do all it can to halt the drive for war that will
only plunge the region into the abyss. We also call on everyone to challenge
the dangerous and irresponsible war plans of the US.

Mundher Al-Adhami
Kamil Mahdi
Haifa Zangana (novelist)
Kings College, London, Exeter University
and 97 other Iraqi exiles


Boston Herald, from Associated Press, 3rdSeptember 3, 2002


At the World Summit in Johannesburg, Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz
said Baghdad would only discuss the inspectors issue in conjunction with
other issues - a stance U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has rejected in
the past.

"If you want to find a solution, you have to find a solution for all these
matters, not only pick up one certain aspect of it," Aziz said after meeting
with Annan. "We are ready to find such a solution."

The other issues Iraq wants to discuss include the lifting of sanctions, the
restoration of Iraqi sovereignty in the north and south of the country and
the end to U.S. threats of invasion, Aziz said.

Annan urged Aziz to comply with Security Council resolutions, which call for
the unconditional return of inspectors, his spokeswoman said.

Annan's office described the 20-minute meeting as part of an "ongoing
dialogue aimed at agreeing on the return of inspectors, which in turn will
lead to a comprehensive solution, including the lifting of sanctions."

Aziz insisted his country was "ready to cooperate." But he said Iraq only
wanted U.N. inspectors to come "for a special mission," but not "if they
send people who drag their feet for years." He noted the last team of U.N.
inspectors stayed for 7 years.

He reiterated Baghdad's invitation last month for U.S. Congress members and
experts of their choice to search sites in Iraq where they suspect weapons
are hidden. The White House has dismissed the offer as a stunt.

Aziz accused Washington of being uninterested in dialogue.

"If the question of so-called weapons of mass destruction is a genuine
concern by the United States, this matter could be dealt with reasonably and
equitably," he said.

"But if it's a pretext, pretexts can change," he said.

"In the end they will use whatever pretext remains in their hands to attack
us," he said, adding "we are preparing ourselves to defend our country."


Times of India, from AFP, 4th September

WASHINGTON: US President George W. Bush said on Wednesday he would lay out
his case against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in an address to the United
Nations General Assembly next week.

"I am going to state clearly at the United Nations what I think," Bush told
reporters after meeting with Congressional leaders at the White House.

The president is to address the UN General Assembly on September 12.


Arabic News, 2nd September

Al-Sharif Ali Bin al-Hussein, the official spokesman for the Iraqi
opposition National Congress stressed that the aim of the US is toppling the
Iraqi regime, rather than occupying Iraq and colonizing it.

In a statement to the London- based weekly al-Majallah ( the magazine)
issued on Sunday, al-Sharif Ali did not rule out that monarchy will come
back to Iraq after the US invades it. He explained that the Iraqi people had
experience the republican form of government for 40 years and today
according to our contacts with the Iraqis, the majority of the Iraqi people
prefer to return back to the monarchy rule due to the failure of the
republican rule in all its forms.

Al-Sharif Ali who is considered the heir of monarchy in Iraq added "we do
not want to impose ourselves on the Iraqi people who will not, as from
today, accept instructions to be imposed on them." Replying to a question on
whether the Iraqi opposition accepts to take the American train to Baghdad,
al-Sharif said "we are not riding an American plane and will not land by an
American parachute. we had been resisting this regime when the American were
supporting it and when Saddam Hussein was serving the American interests in
the region. When Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, the Americans became in our
trench. Throughout 30 years our position has not been changed, rather the
position of the Americans has changed. The Americans are coming to Iraq in
an Iraqi train. They ( the Americans ) are in need of the Iraqis in the
process of changing the regime and they will not go to occupy Iraq, rather
to liberate Iraq from this regime."


London: Kirkuk is not Solely Kurdish city; Kurds, Turkomans, Arabs,
Assyrians, Christians, and others live in it. Mr Talabani has made this
statement to the TV channels CNN-Turk and TV8 and reported in Anba
Kurdistan, the PUK news bulletin (see:

However, Mr Talabani said that the relevant documents which were issued by
the Ottoman Empire reveal that Kirkuk was the capital of the [Kurdish]
Sharazur province. Also the Turkish encyclopaedia reveals that Kirkuk is an
important Kurdistani city, that Kurds, Turkomans, Arabs, Assyrians,
Christians, and others lived in it, Talabani has emphasised.

Previously Mr Talabani regarding the importance of Kirkuk for the Kurds,
said: "Kirkuk is a city that has the same sacred significance as Jerusalem
has for Arabs and Jews. In the same way, the Kurds consider Kirkuk as the
Jerusalem of Kurdistan. Some say Kirkuk is the Jerusalem of Kurdistan;
others say Kirkuk is the heart of Kurdistan. Heart or Jerusalem, this city
cannot be abandoned and forgotten." (See: Kurdistani Nuwe ≠ PUK, 25 Mar

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