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News, 6/9-13/9/02 (4) IRAQI/INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS * Belarusian official explains visit to Iraq * Putin doubts grounds for using force against Iraq * Bush meets rebuff on Iraq in calls to 3 leaders * Japan PM to Meet Bush Next Week * India to resume wheat exports to Iraq * Malaysia won't be peace broker in US-Iraq conflict , says Mahathir * Pre-emptive strike on Iraq * US Forces Can Use Our Facilities, Says Philippines * US official arrives in Moscow for Iraq talks * Exporters of food face tighter US checks * America's war record is littered with lies * Annan Warns Against Unilateral Strike on Iraq * Iraq expresses condolences on Sept 11 anniversary * Arroyo orders evacuation of all Filipinos from Iraq * India questions Iraq strike * Kremlin gives short shrift to US hawk [John Bolton] over Iraq * USA Threatens World Peace, Says Mandela * Vietnam opposes military activities against Iraq * Georgia, Iraq Two Sides of Same Coin * US tempts Russia with profits of ousting Saddam IRAQI/INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS http://hoovnews.hoovers.com/fp.asp?layout=displaynews&doc_id=NR20020906670.2 _d2270001a2d32ba5 * BELARUSIAN OFFICIAL EXPLAINS VISIT TO IRAQ Hoover's (Financial Times), 6th September Source: Belapan news agency, Minsk, in English Minsk, 6 September: Leanid Kozik, leader of the Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus and a close aide to Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, said his trip to Iraq earlier this week had much to do with "the situation concerning the Belarusian firm, Belmetalenerha [Belarusian Metals and Energy]". The company has been the exclusive exporter of Belarusian goods to Iraq for years, including 500 tractors worth more than 5m dollars in 1999 alone, Mr Kozik said at a trade union meeting in Minsk on 6 September. "Belarus never saw the money," he added. Furthermore, according to Mr Kozik, unknown people approached him at the Minsk airport prior to his departure for Iraq and threatened to "set the press on him" unless he let Belmetalenerha alone. Mr Kozik denied media reports that his son had accompanied him to Iraq. "In reality, I visited Iraq as the co-chairman of the Belarusian-Iraqi joint commission on trade and economic cooperation," he stressed. http://news.ft.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=FT.com/WireFeed/WireFeed&c =WireFeed&cid=1031119360359&p=1014232938216 * PUTIN DOUBTS GROUNDS FOR USING FORCE AGAINST IRAQ Financial Times, 6th September MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin has told U.S. President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair that he doubts there are any grounds for using force against Iraq. Kremlin statements on Friday said Putin had set down Russia's position after taking telephone calls from both leaders while on holiday in the Black Sea resort of Sochi. Spokesman Alexei Gromov said Putin told Bush he had "serious doubts that there are grounds for the use of force in connection with Iraq from the standpoint of international law and from a political standpoint". Putin, he said, stressed the need to "coordinate political and diplomatic efforts with the aim of implementing existing U.N. Security Council resolutions". Both sides, the spokesman said, pledged to work out common positions to boost international security and the fight against terrorism launched after last September's hijacked airliner attacks on the United States. The White House said Bush had also contacted the leaders of France and China. The United States, Russia, Britain, France and China are the five permanent members of the Security Council with veto rights. An earlier Kremlin statement quoted Putin as telling Blair that the use of force could have "serious, negative consequences for the situation in the Gulf region, the Middle East and for the future of the U.S.-led anti-terrorism coalition". Putin especially stressed the "real potential" for reaching a political solution with regard to Iraq. The Kremlin said the phone call had taken place at the request of the British side. It added that both leaders had agreed on the need for U.N. weapons inspectors to return to Iraq to check on allegations that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein is developing weapons of mass destruction. A Russian Foreign Ministry statement expressed concern at the latest attacks by U.S. and British warplanes on targets in a "no-fly" zone of southern Iraq, the latest of a series of exchanges. Iraq said U.S. and British warplanes had attacked civilian targets. Blair will visit Russia in early October for talks with Putin. The British prime minister is due to travel to the United States on Saturday to discuss the Iraqi situation with Bush. http://www.iht.com/articles/69966.html * BUSH MEETS REBUFF ON IRAQ IN CALLS TO 3 LEADERS by Mike Allen International Herald Tribune, from The Washington Post, 6th September WASHINGTON: President George W. Bush encountered frosty resistance Friday when he telephoned the leaders of China, Russia and France in the formal start of his campaign to assemble an international coalition to depose President Saddam Hussein of Iraq. Bush told the leaders he would send high-level officials to each of their capitals for further consultations after he lays out his case for action to the United Nations General Assembly in New York next week. White House officials acknowledged that none of the leaders embraced Bush's intention to force a regime change in Baghdad, possibly beginning within months and probably with military force. U.S. officials called the rebuff disappointing but not surprising. Kremlin officials said President Vladimir Putin expressed "serious doubts" about both the legal and political validity of invading Iraq, and French officials said President Jacques Chirac insisted on UN approval of military action. Bush's aides said the three leaders sounded willing to hear more, and said the calls were intended only as the start of many rounds of consultations. But the leaders' opposition to immediate U.S.-led action gave Bush stark evidence of how much more treacherous this campaign will be compared with his swift success in uniting world powers against Afghanistan last fall. [.....] Bush talked for an average of 10 minutes each, including translation, to Chirac, then to Putin and finally to President Jiang Zemin of China, aides said. Those three nations, along with the United States and Britain, are the permanent members of the UN Security Council. The calls, made from the Oval Office, began at 7:15 a.m. Washington time and were concluded within half an hour. A few aides were in the room. "The president heard messages of openness, a willingness to listen," Ari Fleischer, the White House press secretary, said. "But it is fair to say that each of these three leaders has various thoughts of their own." The accounts from abroad were very different. Itar-Tass reported that Putin, who was on vacation at the Black Sea resort of Sochi, told Bush that he "doubted that the use of force against Iraq was grounded in the international legal and global political respect." Putin stressed "the need for coordinated political and diplomatic efforts to implement resolutions of the UN Security Council on Iraq," the report said. Chirac's spokeswoman, Catherine Colonna, told reporters that Chirac had said the world needs to show determination in dealing with Baghdad, but the UN must be involved. She said Chirac views the unconditional return of arms inspectors to Baghdad as "indispensable for regional security." Bush's aides said he began by telling the leaders he wanted to talk directly to them about "world security," and how to proceed against Iraq. "We need to work together to make the world peaceful," he was quoted as saying. Fleischer said Bush told the leaders he valued their opinions, and that he "has not made any decision about the next course of action to take." "The president stressed that Saddam Hussein is a threat and that the United States was going to work together with the world to make the world more peaceful, and we welcome their role and their involvement," Fleischer said. [.....] http://cgi.wn.com/?action=display&article=15551018&template=baghdad/indexsea rch.txt&index=recent * JAPAN PM TO MEET BUSH NEXT WEEK Associated Press, 7th September TOKYO (AP) ‹ Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi intends to emphasize the need for international cooperation in dealing with Iraq when he meets with President Bush next week, his spokeswoman said Saturday. She also said Japan is still undecided about whether it would back the United States if Bush decided to use force against Iraq. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage came to Japan earlier this month, trying to build a coalition against Baghdad. But he failed to convince officials here that Iraq was harboring terrorists or building weapons of mass destruction. "The bottom line is that we want international collaboration," spokeswoman Misako Kaji said. "We haven't decided yet how to react if and when there is an attack on Iraq." Japan has been a valuable ally in the U.S. war on terrorism, sending ships, troops and supplies to the Indian Ocean in a non-combat role. Japan's speedy support of the United States in Afghanistan largely reflected Koizumi's desire to avoid the kind of criticism it encountered during 1991 Gulf War. Tokyo was accused of "checkbook diplomacy" for offering mostly money to the international coalition fighting Iraq. While in the United States, Koizumi is also expected to discuss his trip to North Korea later this month for a summit with reclusive leader, Kim Jong Il. It is the first trip to North Korea by a Japanese prime minister and is aimed at establishing full diplomatic relations between the Asian neighbors. Japanese newspapers reported Saturday that the Sept. 17 meeting in Pyongyang would result in both sides agreeing on further talks to pursue diplomatic ties. On Friday, officials from the United States, Japan and South Korea opened two days of talks in Seoul to coordinate their policies toward North Korea. Koizumi is expected to discuss the results with Bush, Kaji said. http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/020907/2002090725.html * INDIA TO RESUME WHEAT EXPORTS TO IRAQ Arabic News, 7th September India will resume wheat exports to Iraq by early next month and samples are being readied to be sent to the Grain Board of Iraq (GBI) to be analyzed by the laboratories in Baghdad. "We are negotiating with two companies for sending a joint cargo of up to 25,000 tons to Iraq by early next month and the godowns are being identified for karnal bunt-free wheat for the purpose," Chief Executive Officer of L T Overseas V K Arora was quoted by the Indian news agency PTI as saying. Managing Director of Priyanka Overseas, R K Jain, said his company will send a shipment of 20,000 tons to Iraq next month for which it has identified the wheat quality, but stocks are yet to be lifted from the Food Corporation of India. He said samples will be sent for inspection to the GBI and if found positive, a shipment will be dispatched. The line of credit has been extended by the Iraqi authorities up to December 31 this year and based on this the price will remain the same as earlier negotiated of US$ 204 a ton, he added. Jain said there is no ban on exports to Iraq as the government had not issued a notification to this effect, only a verbal advisory was given to prevent the embarrassment in the event of rejection. The export plan has received a boost with the recent visit of Petroleum Minister Ram Naik to Iraq where the authorities expressed their readiness to accept karnal bunt fungus-free wheat from India. http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2002/9/9/nation/sbmono&sec=nation * MALAYSIA WON'T BE PEACE BROKER IN US-IRAQ CONFLICT , SAYS MAHATHIR The Star (Malaysia), 9th September [Extracts with some rather good comments by the Malaysian Prime Minister about the unipolar world] [.....] The Prime Minister said a monopoly of power was a bad thing as it denies competition and therefore options for other countries. During the Cold War when there were the East and West blocs, the two were helpful to other countries due to the competition between the two sides, he said. Like in businesses, he said a monopoly was bad, adding that perhaps there should be an anti-trust law against governments over a monopoly of power. Dr Mahathir likened monopoly to having a bully in a village. "But if you have two bullies, maybe they will wear each other out," he added. [.....] http://independent-bangladesh.com/news/sep/09/09092002pd.htm * PRE-EMPTIVE STRIKE ON IRAQ by Mahbub Husain Khan Daily Star, Bangladesh, 9th September In June this year, the US President George W. Bush made it official: The United States will indeed launch a military attack against Saddam Hussain's regime in Iraq. His speeches unveiled a seemingly general doctrine - 'pre-emption' ‹ which happens to apply only to Iraq at present. In furtherance of this doctrine, and specifically planned preparations, on September 6th, about 100 US and British aircraft took part in an attack on a major Iraqi air defence installation, in the biggest single operation over the country in the last four years, and the first after last June's declarations by George Bush. Just such a 'pre-emptive attack' was, in fact, proposed in 2000, and again early in 2001. At the time, however, before 3000 Americans were killed in one day on September 11, the Pentagon would not risk even a few casualties to undertake such an operation. Dictatorships launch surprise attacks, not democracies. Democratic countries suffer the first blow and stike back with the full force of the righteously aggrieved victims. That is how it was after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour on December 7th, 1941. Iraq's conventional armed forces are now much weaker than they were in 1991, and would hardly test the endurance of the US Armed Forces in long years of campaigning. The perceived danger comes from Saddam Hussain's extraordinarily persistent effort to acquire biological and chemical agents that, contrary to legend, are not effective weapons of war, but which could be used for devastating terror attacks. Since the end of the war in the Persian Gulf in 1991, Saddam Hussain has always had the option of accepting unlimited United Nations inspection in exchange for unrestricted oil exports, sufficient civilian imports, removal of travel and other sanctions, and the end of US and British retaliatory bombings. Instead, he chose to sacrifice immense oil revenues and much else, including all types of relief for his civilians to pursue his biological and chemical weapons programs. Saddam Hussain still remains unmoved by the resulting impoverishment of lraq's population, but the lost billions of dollars could also have served his own political purposes, by bringing poorer foreign allies and agents, and buying loyalty of followers inside Iraq. What is the compelling motive that induces Saddam Hussain to pay such a huge price? The only persuasive answer, based on the record of his entire political career, is revenge. In his early years of power, Saddam Hussain distinguished himself by murdering those who had opposed him long before, many years after they had retreated into harmless obscurity. More recently, he ordered the killing of his two sons-in-law, even after they returned to Iraq from exile in Jordan, on his assurance. Saddam Hussain's revenge against the United States as a whole for the crushing defeat of 1991, and the destruction of his hopes to dominate Arabia, remains unaccomplished. President Bush and his leading advisers are convinced that the Iraqi leader values his biological and chemical weapons so highly because they alone can serve as the instruments of large-scale revenge, rather than large-scale conventional war. Unlike the remnants of the Iraqi air force that could scarcely reach nearby Kuwait, biological and chemical agents, as well as radioactive materials, supplied by France, could reach the largest cities in the United States ‹ and Britain for that matter - in several different ways, some virtually impossible to prevent. Bush and his team are also convinced that only the elimination of Saddam Hussain can safeguard the United States from his plans for revenge. The end of his bloody dictatorship would be welcomed for many other reasons as well, but the crucial factor is essentially technical : Biological agents can be grown in any basement, and significant quantities of nerve gas can be kept in any garage. To keep looking for sites to bomb is probably futile. Only the removal of Saddam Hussain can stop his obsessive efforts to accumulate lethal agents. Until September 11, however, few US politicians and officials called for a pre-emptive attack against Saddam Hussain and his regime. Most ‹ including Secretary of State Colin Powell ‹ believed it was enough to 'contain' the Iraqi leader with US-British air patrols, and UN sanctions. Now, having failed to prevent one catastrophic attack on America, one year back, the US President is now determined to prevent another by destroying Saddam Hussain's power. Preparations were being made, from the paving of more apron space in Gulf air bases to the diplomacy to secure British cooperation, Russian consent and China's inaction. Also other steps were taken to nullify Saudi and French objections. Finally, a few days before the first anniversary of the September 11 tragedy, comes the first wave of pre-emptive strikes by the US-British air forces. We will see more of this, as it now seems that the US and Britain has more or less completed its conventional military preparations and diplomatic initiatives. News reports say that Bush will be holding talks with the Canadian Prime Minister, Jean Chretien today ( Monday), on these issues, and will address the UN General Assembly on September 12, to make his case for military action against Iraq and Saddam Hussain. The largest and militarily now the most dominant of the former imperial powers or of those so regarded, the US naturally arouses the greatest fear of some imperial residuum. This is now heightened by the frequent references to the need of the United States to exercise leadership in the world community, to assume its natural leadership role. Caution and restraint are of prime importance here and now. Leadership and initiative are, of course, now required, but in the modern world of the new millennium they must be a wise and collective response to need, not a seeming manifestation of imperial right. http://news.crosswalk.com/partner/Article_Display_Page/0,,PTID74088|CHID1943 43|CIID1150818,00.html * US FORCES CAN USE OUR FACILITIES, SAYS PHILIPPINES by Patrick Goodenough Crosswalk, 10th September 10, 2002 www.CNSNews.com - Pacific Rim Bureau (CNSNews.com): The government of the Philippines will allow the U.S. military to use its docking and refueling facilities and overfly its territory as part of a possible anti-terrorist campaign against Iraq. Foreign Affairs Secretary Blas Ople, speaking before flying to New York for the U.N. General Assembly session, said while Manila was not endorsing a war against Baghdad, it remained an ally of the U.S. and had a mutual defense treaty with Washington. U.N. anti-terrorism resolutions could also be invoked, he added. Ople said the Philippines had not received any U.S. request for assistance, but President Gloria Arroyo's earlier offer of overflight rights for U.S. military aircraft remained in effect. "This is part of the global fight against terrorism in which we are taking part," he added. Although the Philippines is not throwing its weight behind any attack, the government's position does constitute a greater show of support than that received so far from other Asian countries. The Philippines was home to huge U.S. Navy and Air bases until the Philippine Senate refused a decade ago to renew their leases. American forces returned to the country early this year to participate in a six-month anti terror training exercise, and the government allowed military aircraft overflight rights during the campaign in Afghanistan following Sept 11. Another foreign department official, undersecretary Franklin Ebdalin, was quoted as saying any government support for an actual campaign against Saddam Hussein would require evidence linking Iraq to terrorism. The Philippines foreign department has raised the security alert level for the almost 120 Filipinos known to be living in Iraq, including diplomats, U.N. officials and foreign workers. Ople said embassy staff were on 24-hour alert but there was no need at this point for Filipinos in the region to panic. Some 1.4 million Filipinos work in the Middle East. During the 1991 Gulf War, the Philippines government evacuated more than 27,000 of its citizens from the region. Elsewhere in Asia, the U.S. has yet to receive much backing for its stance on Iraq, which is accused of flouting a string of U.N. resolutions and developing weapons of mass destruction. In Malaysia, for example, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad told a conference of businessmen this week that sanctions and attacks on Islamic nations would simply drive more Muslims to extremism. "Everything is being done to alienate them further, anger and frustrate them," he said. "This will only ensure a constant and probably increasing supply of recruits to terrorism." And in neighboring Indonesia, Vice President Hamzah Haz said any attack on Iraq could not be justified and would be condemned. Tourism bodies concerned about the potential impact on Indonesian tourism revenues of a war on Iraq plan to send a letter to the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta urging the U.S. not to mount an assault. http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/181_63552,0005.htm * US OFFICIAL ARRIVES IN MOSCOW FOR IRAQ TALKS Hindustani Times, 11th September Agence France-Presse, Moscow, September 11: US Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton arrived in Moscow on Wednesday for three days of consultations centred on Iraq and strategic stability, the US embassy said. Bolton will hold talks until Friday with Deputy Foreign Minister Georgy Mamedov, Atomic Energy Minister Alexander Rumyantsev, Russian Space Agency director Yuri Koptev and other high-ranking officials, a spokeswoman told AFP. The consultation will also touch on non-proliferation issues, including the sale by Russia of sensitive technology to Iran. "Proliferation will also be a topic, and that would include Iran," the spokeswoman said. Bolton's visit is to prepare for a meeting of the Russian-US consultative group on strategic stability in Washington on September 20, due to be attended by Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, US Secretary of State Colin Powell and defence ministers Sergei Ivanov of Russia and Donald Rumsfeld of the United States. [.....] http://www.bangkokpost.com/Business/11Sep2002_biz62.html * EXPORTERS OF FOOD FACE TIGHTER US CHECKS by Woranuj Maneerungsee Bangkok Post, 11th September Of all Thailand's exports, food products appear likely to bear most of the long-term impact of the attacks. In June, the United States introduced a bio-terrorism law, which has led to more stringent inspection of all imports of food and related products. Poonkeite Thangsombat, the president of the Thai Food Processors' Association, said the law was likely to affect small and medium-size food exporters more than large companies. Many small players, unlike large companies with more experience in the market, had yet to comply with the new system which requires registration with the US authorities. The US can then trace the origin of the raw materials. Small and medium-scale exporters would soon need to introduce quality control systems in order to retain access to the US market, he said. However, large-scale food exporters were waiting to see how stringent inspections would be at US seaports. For example, checks on all containers would lead to costly delays in delivering goods. Mr Poonkeite said that to smooth the process, the US might ask other countries with large ports, such as Hong Kong, China and Singapore, to help by checking products on shipment. Adisai Bodharamik, the commerce minister, said that exports to the United States had recovered in recent months after growing by a slower rate than before in the six months to the end of March. The result in the first quarter meant that shipments to the US between January and July this year were worth US$7.4 billion, down from $7.6 billion in the same period last year. "I think Thailand's exports to the US will grow unless there is a war [between the US and Iraq]. That would cause oil prices to surge and global economic growth would be frozen," Dr Adisai said. http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2002/09/11/1031608270446.html * AMERICA'S WAR RECORD IS LITTERED WITH LIES by Kenneth Davidson The Age, Australia, 12th September Before Australians get sucked into the Bush administration's war with Iraq on what appears the flimsiest excuses, they should remember the excuses Americans offered the world to justify their involvement in the Vietnam and Gulf Wars. President Lyndon Baines Johnson got Congress to approve US military intervention in Vietnam based on the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, based on the claim that North Vietnamese torpedo boats made unprovoked attacks on two US destroyers. Does anybody believe this story now? If it is true, why hasn't the US released the archives relating to the incident? After the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990, a group backed by the Kuwait government-in exile hired a US public relations firm to devise a campaign to win American support for the war. The high point was the use of the daughter of Kuwait's ambassador to the US as a star witness to a congressional hearing into the Iraq invasion. Under an assumed name, she said: "I saw Iraq soldiers come into the hospitals with guns, and go into a room where 15 babies were in incubators. They took the babies out of the incubators, took the incubators and left the babies on the cold floor to die." She later admitted she had lied. But this lie, and others, worked. So why did Saddam Hussein invade Kuwait? Before the invasion, the US ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie, said the US would not interfere. It was a reasonable expectation. Saddam was a US ally against Iran, so much so that between 1985 and 1989, dozens of biological agents were shipped to Iraq from the US under licence from the Commerce Department, despite the fact that Iraq had been reported to be engaging in chemical and possibly biological warfare against Iranians, Kurds and Shiites since the early 1980s. And Iraq had real grievance against Kuwait. According to Saddam, Kuwait had been exceeding its OPEC oil production quota and this was depressing the price of oil and Iraq's revenue, which was needed to pay for its war with Iran. Saddam believed Saudi Arabia and Kuwait owed part of Iraq's debt for its war against Iran because Iraq was protecting both these countries against Iran. And to add insult to injury, Kuwait was drilling into Iraq's share of the Rumaila oil field which straddles both countries. Saddam is a monster. Arguably the murderous concoction of ethnic and religious rivalries which constitute the population of Iraq can only be held together by a monster. The oil interests which direct US policy in the Middle East believe this. They want Saddamism without Saddam. He is no longer their man. That is why they call for "regime change". But Saddam is no religious fanatic. According to Alex Standish, editor of Jane's Intelligence Digest: "Saddam's Ba'ath Party regime, despite its Islamic trappings, is a deeply secular and fundamentally socialist ideology. "You can think whatever you like about Saddam but he is not so foolish that he would threaten his own region's stability by financing the extreme and violent likes of al Qaeda." It is possible to imagine that a religious fanatic would be prepared to use weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in a first strike against the US, which would invite massive retaliation that would vaporise most of the population of Iraq. But in this respect Saddam and his generals are as sane as the Russian communist leadership during the Cold War who understood the concept of Mutually Assured Destruction. They are not likely to adopt a policy of mass suicide, either directly by launching WMD or indirectly by arming al Qaeda, which could conceivably use WMD irrespective of the consequences. This week's report by the London-based Institute for Strategic Studies has been used by the hawks in Whitehall and Washington as "proof" that Saddam is close to having a WMD capability, yet it contains no factual information that undermines informed opinion that Iraq is far weaker in WMD than it was before the Gulf War. So why did Saddam expel UN weapons inspectors in 1998? He didn't. The head of the inspection team, Richard Butler, ordered the inspectors to leave Baghdad in anticipation of an attack. The Russian ambassador, Sergei Lavrov, criticised Butler for withdrawing the inspectors without seeking the permission of the UN Security Council. It has since been shown that the Iraqi charge at the time - that the weapons inspectors had been used as spies for the US - was the truth, not propaganda. According to former weapons inspector Scott Ritter: "There is no way the Iraqis are going to let in the inspectors now . . . why would they let in the inspectors to spy on them, target them more effectively and then be used to manipulate justification for war?" So far, neither George Bush nor Tony Blair have come up with any reason that could justify a first strike against Iraq - except the unstated (because it is unacceptable) reason that "regime change" would give America control of Iraq's 100 billion barrels of oil reserves. Kenneth Davidson is a staff columnist. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.tehrantimes.com/Description.asp?Da=9/12/02&Cat=4&Num=003 * ANNAN WARNS AGAINST UNILATERAL STRIKE ON IRAQ Tehran Times, 12th September LONDON -- United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan warned the United States on Wednesday not to take unilateral action against Iraq, saying any steps must be sanctioned by the UN Security Council. "It is extremely important that it should be multilateral, which also means sanctioned by the Security Council," Annan told BBC Radio. "If one does it unilaterally, or with one or two countries, we don't know what happens at the end -- the unexpected consequences of this conflict," he said, pointing to fears that a defeated Iraq could splinter and destabilize the region. U.S. President George W. Bush is due to address the UN General Assembly about Iraq on Thursday, after winning public endorsement at the weekend from British Prime Minister Tony Blair for his determination to deal with Baghdad. But many other foreign leaders have expressed reservations about any U.S. attack on Iraq to topple President Saddam Hussein and halt Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction program. Asked if he saw a "chink of light" that Iraq might agree to UN demands for unfettered weapons inspections, Annan said: "We haven't seen it yet, but it cannot be excluded." Annan, who has repeatedly warned about the consequences of waging a military campaign against Iraq, said the world was already a "messy place" with an ongoing crisis in Afghanistan, potential conflict in Kashmir, violence raging between Israelis and Palestinians and continued wars in Africa. "On top of all this if we get into a major military operation in Iraq it's going to increase international tensions," he said. "And I've not even mentioned the economic downturn and the impact this will have on all this as well." Annan said the need to engage the United Nations in tackling Iraq was crucial to "international legitimacy". "It's an issue of ensuring there is some order in the difficult world we are living in. If we do not have these rules, the world would be a very difficult place to manage," he said. Asked about Blair's insistence that the United Nations be used as a vehicle to act over Iraq, not to delay action, Annan said there was no question of the UN trying to ease pressure on Saddam. "I don't think the UN is going to go out and protect a regime that has defied its resolutions," he said. "...if the council acts in a manner that all countries may not approve of, it does not mean that the council is shielding President Saddam Hussein." [.....] http://japantoday.com/e/?content=news&cat=8&id=229992 * IRAQ EXPRESSES CONDOLENCES ON SEPT 11 ANNIVERSARY Japan Today (Kyodo News), 12th September BAGHDAD ‹ Iraq on Wednesday expressed condolences to a former U.S. attorney general on the first anniversary of the Sept 11 terrorist attacks and compared the death of the 3,000 people who died in the attacks to those who died in Iraq after 12 years of U.N. sanctions. "Both are victims of non-peaceful means and acts out of the norms of international law," Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz said in a telegram to former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, according to the Iraqi News Agency. "On this occasion, and out of such principles, I repeat my condolences to you and to the families of the Sept 11 victims," Aziz said. Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri said over 1.7 million Iraqis died as a result of economic sanctions the United Nations imposed after Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990. "We understand human sufferings and the suffering of the American people. This is because the people in Iraq have been subjected to yet a greater suffering by hundreds of times," Sabri told reporters. While the Iraqi government has previously expressed sympathy to U.S. non-government organizations over the Sept 11 attacks, Baghdad has not expressed any official condolences to the U.S. government. In choosing Clark, a frequent visitor to Iraq and a supporter of Iraq's demand to end U.N. sanctions, as the message bearer of Iraqi condolences, Aziz apparently aims to sway American public opinion in Iraq's confrontation with the United States. "I also thank you and all good-intentioned people in the U.S. who stand courageously against the plans for a military action intended by the (U.S.) administration against the people of Iraq," Aziz said. http://www.philstar.com/philstar/News200209120402.htm * ARROYO ORDERS EVACUATION OF ALL FILIPINOS FROM IRAQ by Marichu Villanueva, Delon Porcalla and Mayen Jaymalin The Philippine Star, 12th September President Arroyo ordered yesterday an immediate evacuation of 118 Filipinos from Iraq, including the Philippine Embassy's non-essential personnel and their dependents, in the wake of increasing pressure from the United States to oust Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. "It's better to be prepared than to be caught flat-footed," the President said, but added the evacuation was not a panic reaction to the reported US plans to launch preemptive strikes against Iraq. The President designated newly retired Armed Forces chief Gen. Roy Cimatu as "crisis manager" to implement the government's contingency evacuation plans to protect the estimated 1.5 million Filipinos in the Middle East, mostly overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), in case the US attacks Iraq. Cimatu's immediate task is the Baghdad evacuation. Meanwhile, Ambassador to the US Albert del Rosario said that James Kelly, the US State Department assistant secretary for Asia-Pacific Affairs, had told him during a meeting on Monday that he thought it would be a "sound decision" to evacuate Filipinos in Iraq. Del Rosario's statement was contained in an official communication dated Sept. 10 to Foreign Affairs Secretary Blas Ople. In a statement, Ople said "the Baghdad evacuation is a first step" and that it was "not yet the major movement that we have planned for." Ople said that while the Philippine government "has no final information that a US attack is indeed imminent, our judgment is well-based and reasonable, and... we would err on the side of prudence." "We have not yet reached a critical mass of information with respect to other Middle East posts," he said. The evacuation route would entail a 10-hour drive from Baghdad along a 1,000-kilometer, four-lane highway to Amman, the capital of Jordan, he said. Once the Filipinos have crossed the Iraqi-Jordanian border, Ople said Philippine Embassy personnel in Amman will take care of them. The 118 Filipinos in Iraq include 10 OFWs and 30 Filipino technicians who are members of the UN peacekeeping force in northern Iraq. Ople said the contingency plans for other Middle East posts "will be activated only when necessary." He said each post in the region has been authorized additional spending money, on top of the existing embassy funds, which may be used for emergency evacuation. Ople issued the statement in New York, where he was attending the United Nations General Assembly and the meeting with officials of the International Office of Migration. Acting Labor Secretary Manuel Imson said the evacuation of Filipinos in Iraq was already underway, adding that the deployment of Filipino workers to Iraq was suspended. "There is no imminent danger but President Arroyo has already ordered the immediate evacuation of 118 Filipinos in Iraq," Imson said. "The mass evacuation of Filipinos is not as massive and serious as we perceive it," he said, while disclosing a possibility that some of the OFWs may even opt to remain in Iraq. Imson said the government has allocated P1 billion for the evacuation and repatriation of Filipinos who will board commercial airlines to reach Manila. He said a welfare officer based in the United Arab Emirates was dispatched to Jordan to assist in the evacuation. [.....] http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/181_63847,0005.htm * INDIA QUESTIONS IRAQ STRIKE by S. Rajagopalan Hindustani Times, 12th September India has made clear to the United States that it will not support any unilateral military action against Iraq, but will fully back any fresh moves by the United Nations to force Baghdad to comply with its mandate on weapons inspections. Two days ahead of the UN General Assembly session, where US President George W Bush is slated to make out a strong case for action against Iraq, External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha set out the Indian position in clear terms. Before leaving for New York, Sinha told an interactive session at the Brookings Institution in Washington on Tuesday that if the UN were to come up with any new guidelines on weapon inspections, India would support the move. Sinha, replying to a question from former Congressman Stephen Solarz, also spoke of the need for "credible evidence" that Iraq is in possession of weapons of mass destruction. The minister is believed to have articulated the Indian position during his discussions with Secretary of State Colin Powell. http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,790458,00.html * KREMLIN GIVES SHORT SHRIFT TO US HAWK OVER IRAQ by Ian Traynor in Moscow The Guardian, 12th September The US state department's leading hawk arrived in Moscow yesterday on a tricky mission to persuade the Kremlin to soften its strong opposition to a US military campaign against Saddam Hussein. John Bolton, the US under-secretary of state, was greeted by a chorus of Russian warnings of the folly and dangers of a war against Iraq. The Russian foreign minister, Igor Ivanov, warned that a new Gulf war could wreck broader international cooperation against al-Qaida and terrorism. His deputy said a US military campaign was utterly unacceptable to Russia. The talk of war also brought protests in the Russian parliament. Moscow's position on Iraq, a traditional ally, is becoming critical if Washington hopes to secure UN security council blessing for military action. But while the Kremlin looks likely to insist on a new security council resolution mandating the use of force against Baghdad - a resolution it could veto - Mr Bolton insisted that no new international mandate was needed to launch a war against President Saddam. "You don't have to wait for a mushroom cloud before you take appropriate action," he said. "Whether the president decides to seek another resolution from the security council is a matter of political judgment, but it's certainly not a matter of international legal necessity," he told the BBC before landing in Moscow. "I think it's sanctioned morally and legally." His position contrasted strongly with that of Russia's influential deputy foreign minister and former spy chief, Vyacheslav Trubnikov, who ridiculed the US case against President Saddam. "The military scenario concerning Iraq is absolutely unacceptable for Russia, and our position is consonant with that of the majority of states," he told the Vremya Novostei newspaper. Echoing what appears to be the developing Russian position on Iraq, Mr Trubnikov said Russia stood four-square with America on fighting international terrorism, but US unilateralism and resort to force would wreck that solidarity, not only in Russia, but also in Germany and elsewhere in the west. "The fight against terrorism and the Iraq situation are completely different things, as are the return of UN inspectors to Iraq and the problem of changing the Saddam regime." But it still remains unclear how President Vladimir Putin will react if Mr Bush launches a war either with or without international backing. On several key occasions since the New York and Washington atrocities, Mr Putin has put on a brave face and bowed to US pressure on arms control, missile defence, the US military deployments in post-Soviet central Asia and the Caucasus. It may be Russia could be bought off with pledges of protection for its substantial economic interests in Iraq under a post-Saddam regime. Other possible areas for a trade-off to blunt Russian opposition would be a tacit green light from the west for Mr Putin's war in Chechnya and taking Moscow's side in the confrontation between Russia and Georgia over the latter's alleged harbouring of Chechen "terrorists". http://allafrica.com/stories/200209120405.html * USA THREATENS WORLD PEACE, SAYS MANDELA The Post (Lusaka), 12th September ONE of the world's most respected statesmen, Nelson Mandela, has condemned United States intervention in the Middle East as "a threat to world peace". In an interview with the US magazine, Newsweek published on Wednesday, the former South African president repeated his call for President George Bush not to launch attacks on Iraq. He charged that US President George Bush was trying to please the American arms and oil industries. And Mandela, 84, called some of Bush's senior advisers, including Vice-President Dick Cheney "dinosaurs". He said the United States' backing for a coup by the Shah of Iran in 1953 had led to that country's Islamic revolution in 1979. On Afghanistan, Mandela said US support for the mujahideen, including Osama Bin Laden, against the Soviet Union and its refusal to work with the United Nations after the Soviet withdrawal led to the Taleban taking power. "If you look at those matters, you will come to the conclusion that the attitude of the United States is a threat to world peace," he said. Mandela said the US was clearly afraid of losing a vote in the United Nations Security Council. "It is clearly a decision that is motivated by George W Bush's desire to please the arms and oil industries in the United States," he said. Mandela said no evidence had been presented to support the claim that Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction, while former UN weapons inspector in Baghdad Scott Ritter has said there is no such evidence. "But what we know is that Israel has weapons of mass destruction," Mandela said. "Nobody mentions that." Mandela made it clear that the only member of the Bush team he respects is Colin Powell. He called Cheney a "dinosaur" and an "arch-conservative" who does not want Bush "to belong to the modern age." Mandela recalled that Cheney had been opposed to his release from prison. http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2002-09/12/content_559534.htm * VIETNAM OPPOSES MILITARY ACTIVITIES AGAINST IRAQ HANOI, Sept. 12 (Xinhuanet) -- Vietnam opposes any military activities against Iraq to overturn the government of President Saddam Hussein, Vietnamese spokeswoman reiterated on Thursday. Vietnamese Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Phan Thuy Thanh said that together with the international community, Vietnam is very concerned about reports saying that the United States is planning military attacks against Iraq. Iraq is a sovereign and independent state and a member of the UN, she noted, adding that Iraq's government is elected by the Iraqi people. "Interference by external force to change the political regime of a country is a brazen violation to international law and the UN Charter and it is unacceptable," the spokeswoman stressed. http://www.themoscowtimes.com/stories/2002/09/13/005.html * GEORGIA, IRAQ TWO SIDES OF SAME COIN Moscow Times (Editorial), 13th September President Putin's keen eye for analogies in international power politics has paid off once again. By outlining plans for a possible military strike on Georgia and citing UN resolutions as the basis, Putin has underscored the similarity between Moscow's conflict with Tbilisi -- which it accuses of harboring terrorists who pose a direct threat to Russia's security -- and Washington's explosive conflict with Baghdad. (One year ago, Putin did a similar shadow dance when he offered Chechen rebels a 72-hour deadline to sever ties with terrorists, mirroring an ultimatum Washington had just presented to the Taliban.) Putin's threat of military action has raised the stakes of the game. His reference to the UN Security Council's anti-terrorism resolution gives Russian national interests a thick coat of international legitimacy. Moreover, the harshness of the warning sends a double message to Washington. On one hand, Putin has put pressure on the Bush administration to show how far it will go in its support for Tbilisi. On the other, by acknowledging the United Nations' role as arbiter, he has played on the world's exasperation with Washington's go-it-alone attitude on Iraq. Additionally, open talk of a potential use of force is an attempt, albeit clumsy, to justify last month's poorly handled Russian air raid into the Pankisi Gorge, which Moscow has unconvincingly denied. But Putin's bark is worse than his bite. Russia is highly unlikely to pursue a ground operation that would put new demands on its shoddy armed forces. More important, a military conflagration in Georgia could quickly fan out across the Caucasus, further destabilizing the entire region. Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, who has railed against Tbilisi for providing safe haven to terrorists, said Thursday that using force against Georgia "may prove unnecessary." Some observers say Putin's statement on Georgia was aimed at Washington. Clearly, there has been no simple trade-off, whereby the Kremlin has agreed unconditionally to support Bush's drive to oust Saddam Hussein in exchange for carte blanche in Georgia. But both Moscow and Washington have overlapping security and economic interests in Georgia and Iraq. And the former superpowers have obviously linked their plans for these two nations in more subtle, still nascent agreements. If Russia's tough stance on Georgia helps nudge the Bush administration toward accepting world opinion and seeking UN approval for an attack on Iraq, both Moscow and Washington will win out. What would otherwise have seemed like the unbridled pursuit of national interests will be ennobled by the air of international legitimacy. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-413127,00.html * US TEMPTS RUSSIA WITH PROFITS OF OUSTING SADDAM by Robin Shepherd The Times, 13th September AS PRESIDENT BUSH demanded action from the United Nations against Iraq, a US emissary was lobbying for support in Russia, the one member of the UN Security Council that might block approval for the use of force. John Bolton, the Undersecretary of State, was officially in Moscow to discuss non proliferation, but officials said privately that Iraq was at the top of his agenda. A Russian veto would force the United States and Britain to reconsider their plans to oust President Saddam Hussein or to wage a lone military campaign against Iraq. Diplomats and analysts are far from certain that Russia will agree to the use of force, despite President Putin's rapport with Mr Bush. They say that economic factors will be a key argument, with a promise that Russia will be offered big contracts in the rebuilding of a postwar Iraq at the top of the list of incentives. The Soviet Union was largely responsible for the development of Iraq's military and industrial infrastructure and Russian firms would be well placed to help to modernise it once Saddam has gone. Some experts argue that Russia's recent announcement of a £26 billion investment programme in Iraq should be seen as nothing more than brinkmanship ‹ Russia's way of naming the price for its support. "We view the programme as Russia staking out its claim to any postwar deal," Paul Lewis, a Russia and Eastern Europe specialist at the Economist Intelligence Unit in London, said. They also say that Russian oil companies are likely to benefit from investment opportunities if Saddam is removed, and Iraq's £5 billion debt to Moscow is much more likely to be paid, as Alexander Vershbow, the US Ambassador, suggested this week. Washington could throw in some incentives of its own, such as easier access to American markets and help in entering the World Trade Organisation. One problem is that Russia has heard it all before. Senior Russian politicians have been increasingly vocal in arguing that the post-Cold War relationship between Russia and America has been nothing but one-way traffic. Russia has pulled out of Vietnam and Cuba, backed down over Nato's plans to admit the Baltic states of the former Soviet Union, and kept quiet when the US unilaterally pulled out of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. The US Congress has failed to reciprocate by, for example, lifting Cold War-era trade restrictions such as the Jackson-Vanik Amendment ‹ a double humiliation since its terms no longer apply even to China. In addition, Russia still has no firm timetable for WTO membership. Another problem is that Russia already does well out of its relationship with Saddam. Russian industry is a prime beneficiary of the UN oil-for-food programme, and is able to capitalise on a variety of industrial projects in Iraq that would be opened up to fierce foreign competition should Saddam be ousted. Moreover, if a new Iraqi regime decided to turn on its oil taps the price of oil could plummet, which would hurt the Russian economy considerably. With elections in 2004 this is a factor that Mr Putin cannot afford to ignore. It is likely, therefore, that the price of Moscow's support will be higher than the mere encouragement it has received so far. President Putin warned the UN Security Council yesterday that Russia may soon launch its own war against terrorism in Georgia, with the aim of hunting down Chechen guerrillas. Mr Putin sent a message to the Council's four other permanent members as well as to Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary-General, saying that Russia would take "adequate measures" if Georgia failed to re- establish control of its Pankisi Gorge region, near the border with Chechnya. Chechen rebels have used the area as a base throughout their three-year war with Russia. Moscow's uneasy relations with Georgia have threatened to break down over the issue. "If Georgia fails to take concrete steps to destroy the terrorists, and they continue to attack us from its territory, then Russia, in strict compliance with international law, will take adequate measures for averting the terrorist threat," Mr Putin said in his message. However, he added that Russia had no intention of bringing about a change of government in Tbilisi. The Russian media has speculated that Moscow and Washington have reached an agreement in which Mr Putin would turn a blind eye to any US operation in Iraq provided Mr Bush does the same over Georgia. _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk