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[casi] News, 13-20/9/02 (4)

News, 13-20/9/02 (4)


*  Iraq first, Iran and China next
*  Bush abused HR reports on Iraq, says Amnesty


*  Turkmens Worried About Consequences Of Operation Against Iraq
*  Turkey Welcomes Invitation Of Turkmens To The Meeting Of Iraqi Opposition
In The United States
*  Turk Kurdish rebels declare defense zones in Iraq


*  Egypt Says It Would Reluctantly Support UN-Backed Strike on Iraq
*  Saudis put heat on Saddam
*  Where Jordan stands on the impending blitz on Iraq
*  Al-Seyash: An Iraqi document admits Kuwaiti prisoners
*  Arab regimes are up to same old tricks again
*  Jordan's Secret Deal Would allow U.S. forces to use country to defend


*  UK firms to visit Iraqi trade fair despite warnings

NEW WORLD ORDER,3604,791301,00.html

by Dan Plesch
The Guardian, 13th September

President Bush's concern over Iraq's weapons of mass destruction is a
pretext for a global strategy of pre-emptive attack. He and his advisers
intend to establish precedents with Iraq that can be used against other
states that stand out against US global control. The US, he says, cannot
allow anyone the capacity to attack it, but the country will keep its own
power to destroy all-comers.

How we tackle this debate is critical. How the Iraq crisis is resolved will
shape future crises, for Iraq will probably be part of a series of campaigns
against the "axis of evil". It is likely that Saddam does have some WMD,
likely that the security council will endorse action that ends in his
overthrow and likely that the war will be won quite easily. Iraq's forces
were shattered and have not been rebuilt, US power is unbelievably greater.

Why then should President Bush's policy be opposed and what changes must we
insist on? He summarises his policy as tackling "the worst weapons in the
hands of the worst leaders". But little is being done with respect to the
"worst weapons". Attempts by the international community to control nuclear,
biological and chemical weapons have been relentlessly undermined by Bush's
Republican party for more than a decade.

Military action against states flouting international norms on WMD can only
be justified if we and the US are implementing them too. Saying "do as we
say", not "do as we do", is an invitation to everyone to acquire them. Tony
Blair is making terrorism and proliferation far easier by accepting Bush's
deliberate introduction of anarchy in international security. Members of the
Bush administration were in office in the 1980s and were silent when Iraq
used poison gas on Iran, the US's arch-enemy at the time. And we in Britain
may have forgotten that our airforce used poison gas to suppress rebellion
in Iraq in the inter-war period; one can be sure that the Iraqis have not.

You will hear two further arguments in support of US policy. The first is:
"We are democracies so our weapons are OK and we do not need further
control." This is no more than saying that because we are good we cannot be
bad. The second is that only western nations believe in ethics and law, so
they are no good in the real world. This is as self contradictory as the
first, and insidiously racist.

Sustained by such principles, the architects of President Bush's policy hope
to see it applied to Iran, North Korea and, ultimately, China. For those
Republicans who pride themselves on having destroyed the Soviet Union and
unified Germany, their duty now is to achieve the same success over
Beijing's nuclear-armed communist dictatorship, which oppresses the
Tibetans, runs its economy from a prison gulag and represses religious

Friends look at me as if I have lost the plot when I say this. But John
Bolton, Richard Perle, Condoleezza Rice, Frank Gaffney and Paul Wolfowitz
have no problem with a pre-emptive political-military strategy towards an
emerging China. Ambassador David Smith, who contributed to the influential
National Institute for Public Policy report on nuclear strategy, explained
that "the US has never accepted a deterrent relationship based on mutual
assured destruction with China" and will act to prevent China gaining such a

Even though we were told that deterrence had stopped Saddam from using his
weapons in the last Gulf war, now it is said that he cannot be deterred and
must be pre-empted. Yet it is safer and easier to replace deterrence with
elimination of all WMD. A policy of inspections that are militarily enforced
would be quite useful if it were applied universally and provided a
guarantee against one nation breaking a global ban on nuclear arms. We need
to use the fact that WMD and human rights are now on the international
agenda as an opportunity. The introduction of a pre-emptive strategy by
Washington contradicts Nato strategy and must be rejected at the alliance's
November summit.

Our immediate focus should be a precise and public debate on the terms of
the cabinet discussion, in accordance with the constitutional principle of
collective responsibility. We should insist that the UN mandate a conference
to manage and eliminate all WMD without exception - including American and
British nuclear weapons - in accordance with the existing obligations of UN
member states.

If economic and other events do not deflect an attack on Iraq, there will be
no declaration of war by the Commons because our constitution gives that
power to the prime minister. Perhaps people should insist that parliament
change the constitution, so that it appropriates the power to make war on
behalf of the people. Britain would then be importing some of America's
democratic, rather than its military, strength.

Dan Plesch is senior research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute
and author of Sheriff and Outlaws in the Global Village

Dawn, 14th September, 06 Rajab 1423

LONDON, Sept 13 (AFP): Amnesty International on Friday criticized US
President George Bush for "selective use" of its reports of human rights
violations in Iraq over recent years , adding the human rights of the Iraqi
people were being ignored in the buildup to military action.

"Once again, the human rights record of a country is used selectively to
legitimize military actions," the London-based organization said.

In a background paper distributed to the press as Bush spoke to the United
Nations on Thursday, references were made to Amnesty reports on human rights
in Iraq.

Amnesty pointed to inconsistency in the use of its reports by the West.

"The US and other Western governments turned a blind eye to Amnesty
International reports of widespread human rights violations in Iraq during
the Iran-Iraq war, and ignored Amnesty International's campaign on behalf of
the thousands of unarmed Kurdish civilians killed in the 1988 attacks on
Halabja," it said.

Turning to pending military conflict, it warned of the effects on the
civilian population.

"As the debate on whether to use military force against Iraq escalates, the
human rights of the Iraqi people, as a direct consequence of any potential
military action, is sorely missing from the equation," it said.

Civilian security had to be the "the paramount consideration" in any action

Amnesty warned of a looming humanitarian crisis with floods of refugees,
internal displacement and disruption of essential supplies.



Anadolu Agency, 17th September

KONYA - Aydin Beyatl, a member of the Northern Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITC)
Executive Board said on Tuesday that they were worried about the possibility
of a chaos among opposition groups in Northern Iraq following a U.S.
operation against Iraq.

Beyatli said that they closely follow the developments in the international
platform about a possible U.S. operation against Iraq.

Beyatli said that the tension is escalating in Northern Iraq and all
opposition groups determine their interests according to a possible
operation. Beyatli said that they speeded up working to protect their rights
as Turkmens who constitute 12 percent of the Iraqi population.

Beyatli remarked that they want formation of a democratic parliamentary
system in which all opposition groups can be represented in Baghdad
according to their population after a possible operation, adding that they
are also worried about eruption of a new chaotic atmosphere in the region.

Beyatli said that they were worried about eruption of chaos among opposition
groups in Northern Iraq after a possible U.S. operation in Iraq, adding that
"we wish nine opposition groups to live in peace and within territorial
integrity after the operation. Yet the designs on our territories have been
revealed once again during the opposition groups meeting in London two days
ago. KDP leader Barzani has an eye on Kerkuk and PUK leader Talabani has an
eye on Erbil. Barzani wants to declare Kerkuk where 60 percent of the
population is Turkmen, as the capital of the state he wants to set up. He is
very interested in rich oil beds there."

Beyatli said that they continuously tell in international platforms that
Kerkuk and Erbil are Turkmen territory, adding that "we are worried about
the possibility of an operation in Iraq to bring onto again these demands
and eruption of a chaotic atmosphere. Our non governmental organizations and
political flank explain our right cause."

Beyatli commented that these groups in Northern Iraq wanted to isolate
Turkmens from the administration to be formed in Iraq after the operation,
adding "Turkmens are ranked the first in respect of culture and education
level among the peoples living in Iraq. We can't accept to be the minority
of a minority in the administration to be formed in Iraq after the end of
Saddam Hussein regime."

Anadolu Agency, 18th September

ANKARA - Turkey on Wednesday welcomed invitation of Turkmens to the new
meeting of the Iraqi opposition in the United States.

Foreign Ministry Deputy Spokesman Huseyin Dirioz, who addressed a weekly
news conference, pointed out that they welcomed the invitation.

Pointing out that Turkey supported taking of decision, regarding
re-structuring of Iraq's future by all the sections, within the framework of
political process, Dirioz said, "to this end, consideration of rights of
Turkmens, who are the third biggest population in Iraq, has importance for

When asked how would be the point of view of Ankara toward a federation in
Northern Iraq in which Turkmens will also be represented, Dirioz said,
"Turkey supports preservation of Iraq's territorial integrity and political

The United States who earlier brought together the Iraqi opposition groups
in Washington D.C. for a coordination meeting, re-convened them in New York,
and this time invited Turkmens.

Turkmen Front Washington Representative Orhan Ketene will join the meeting
in New York on behalf of the Turkmens. U.S. Department of State
Undersecretary Marc Grossman will head the meeting.

Observers in Washington stated that the U.S. President George Bush for the
first time mentioned Turkmens while speaking about Iraqi opposition in a
speech he delivered in the United Nations last Thursday, and noted that
importance of Turkmens increased in the recent period with the efforts of

Iraqi Turkmens, mainly populated in Kerkuk region, also want to have the
right to speak in future of Iraq.

CNN, 19th September

TUNCELI, Turkey (Reuters) -- Kurdish rebels from Turkey declared "defense
zones" in regions of Kurdish northern Iraq on Thursday and warned Turkey
they would defend them against any attack during possible turmoil in Iraq.

In a statement certain to anger close U.S. ally Turkey, the Kurdish rebels
said they had made the declaration in anticipation of potential U.S.-led
strikes on neighboring Iraq.

"During any attack on the region some forces, particularly Turkey, may want
to liquidate the People's Defense Forces," the rebels said in a statement
quoted by the Germany-based Mezopotamya news agency, close to the

"If either today or tomorrow there is an attack on our defense zones our
defense units will immediately respond and will defend themselves to the
end," the statement, monitored in the eastern Turkish city of Tunceli, said.

The rebels were known as the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) but now call
themselves the Kurdistan Freedom and Democracy Congress or KADEK. They
largely withdrew to northern Iraq after Turkey captured their leader,
Abdullah Ocalan, in 1999.

The rebels' statement did not say where the zones were, but the group is
known to control remote parts of the region. Turkish security sources say
the group controls some 40-50 villages in northern Iraq, mostly near the
Iranian border.

Thursday's declaration was the latest example of jostling for position in
northern Iraq, a region likely to play a major part in any campaign against

NATO member Turkey fears Iraqi Kurds, who wrested control of the region from
Baghdad after the 1991 Gulf War and are ostensibly protected by a U.S.- and
British-enforced "no fly" zone, may try to set up an independent state in
the north in the event of a U.S. attack.

That could spur Turkey's restive Kurds to fight for an ethnic homeland in
the region, Turkey fears.

Ankara has in recent weeks traded angry words with Massoud Barzani, leader
of one of two Iraqi Kurdish groups that administer the enclave, over the
possibility of Turkish troops invading the enclave if the United States hits

Turkish forces have been fighting the PKK since 1984 in a conflict that has
killed more than 30,000 people. Ankara says the group's name change and
recent pledges to abandon their armed struggle for Kurdish autonomy are just
meaningless ruses and has pledged to wipe them out.

Turkey already garrisons thousands of troops inside northern Iraq to attack
PKK bases in the mountainous region.

Barzani's Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of
Kurdistan (PUK) have split control of northern Iraq and have frequently
clashed with PKK guerrillas.

The KDP and PUK are also seen as potential allies if Washington uses
military force to oust Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, whom it accuses of
developing weapons of mass destruction.

Ankara has repeatedly asserted its opposition to U.S. military action in
Iraq. As well as the fear of a Kurdish push for statehood, a conflict next
door could also undermine Turkey's shaky economic recovery from recession.


Tehran Times, 14th September

CAIRO -- Egypt would give its reluctant support to military action against
Iraq if it was endorsed by the United Nations, Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher
said in comments published Friday.

"Egypt, because of practical reasons and principles, cannot support U.S.
military action unless there is a UN resolution against Iraq's refusal to
implement international resolutions and, in this case, Egypt will support
the resolutions of international legality," Maher said.

"If there is a UN resolution that imposes certain measures on Iraq, we will
support it," he said in the interview with Time magazine, excerpts of which
were published in Arabic in Cairo's Al-Ahram daily. "Iraq must accept the
return of the international weapons inspection team. If it doesn't, Egypt
sees that this must be dealt with in the framework of the United Nations."
But Maher cautioned that Egypt still believed "a military strike would
destabilize the Middle East."

"The Arab peoples are angry at what is happening in Palestine and, for
humanitarian reasons, at what is happening to the Iraqi people.

"A strike on Iraq will exacerbate this anger, even though many people in the
Arab region have no sympathy for (president) Saddam Hussein," he said as
quoted by AFP.

Maher gave the interview before U.S. President George W. Bush's speech on
Iraq before the UN General Assembly Thursday, in which he said U.S. action
against Baghdad was "unavoidable" unless the United Nations disarmed Iraq.,2763,792965,00.html

by Nicholas Watt and Brian Whitaker
The Guardian, 16th September

Saddam Hussein was facing intense pressure last night after Saudi Arabia
indicated that American forces would be free to attack Iraq from bases on
its soil if Baghdad rejects a fresh United Nations resolution on weapons

As Washington declared that world leaders were throwing their weight behind
George Bush's call for "tough" UN action, Saudi Arabia highlighted the new
atmosphere by softening its stance on the use of US bases in the kingdom.

Weeks after warning that the US would not be able to use its bases in Saudi
Arabia to attack Iraq, the Saudi foreign minister used an interview with CNN
to make it clear that permission would be granted if Washington was acting
under UN auspices. Asked whether the US would be free to use military bases
in the kingdom if Iraq refused to comply with a fresh UN security council
resolution, Prince Saud al-Faisal said: "Everybody is obliged to follow

His remarks are likely to transform relations between Washington and Riyadh,
which have been strained after it emerged that most of the September 11
hijackers came from the kingdom. Saudi Arabia is likely to argue, however,
that its announcement is not a u-turn because it would regard American
forces as UN troops if Iraq defies a fresh resolution. The prince also made
clear that Saudi Arabia still opposes the toppling of the Iraqi regime.

British sources last night welcomed the kingdom's announcement as a sign of
the improved atmosphere in the wake of Mr Bush's decision to consult the
security council.

Colin Powell, the US secretary of state, claimed yesterday that world
leaders were now lining up to call for firm action against Iraq if it defies
the will of the UN.

Speaking after talks at the weekend with his counterparts from the other 14
members of the UN security council, Mr Powell told NBC's Meet the Press
programme: "I got good responses from all the people I talked to. We had a
very good dialogue and I'm pleased with the initial reactions from friends
and colleagues in Europe and elsewhere."

His remarks came after foreign ministers from the Arab League called on
President Saddam to avoid a military confrontation by allowing UN weapons
inspectors to return. Iraq's foreign minister, Naji Sabri, reportedly told
the league that Baghdad was ready to comply, though he said that conditions
would have to be met.

The call by the Arab League was echoed by Prince Saud al-Faisal who told the
London based Al-Hayat newspaper that Iraq should readmit the inspectors
before a security council resolution was drawn up. "Timing is important, and
allowing the inspectors back before a security council resolution to that
effect would be in Iraq's favour," the Saudi foreign minister said. "We are
afraid that [a refusal] would harm the Iraqi people and increase their
burden. We are worried about Iraq's unity, stability and independence."

Britain is to take the lead in the next week in drawing up a fresh security
council resolution calling on Baghdad to allow UN weapons inspectors, who
last visited Iraq in 1998, unfettered access. The resolution will indicate
that Iraq will face military action if it fails to comply, although this is
expected to be spelt out in diplomatic language. This is designed to
persuade China, Russia and France - permanent members of the security
council with a power of veto - not to block the resolution.

Jack Straw, the foreign secretary, spoke yesterday of "very positive"
discussions with the council's permanent members. He said the resolution
would have three core elements:

 to "recite" all the UN resolutions Iraq has ignored, which amounts to a
"material breach" of the will of the security council;

 to call on Iraq to readmit inspectors "without condition and without

 to make clear to Iraq that it will face "consequences" if it defies the

Speaking on BBC1's Breakfast with Frost, Mr Straw said that Iraq could avoid
a military confrontation: "Allowing [the inspectors] to do their job without
restrictions and without conditions - then the case for military action
recedes to the point almost of invisibility," Mr Straw said.

But British sources remain sceptical of the chances of Baghdad complying. If
Iraq again defies the UN, Mr Straw warned, Britain will endorse the US
policy of "regime change". "Either [Saddam] deals with those weapons of mass
destruction or his regime will have to end," he said. "The choice is his. He
hasn't got much time to make up his mind."

Such remarks show that there is still a gulf between Britain, the US and the
Arab world, despite the growing consensus on weapons inspectors. Arab
countries are opposed to the US policy of "regime change" in Iraq.

by Fahed Fanek
Daily Star, Lebanon, 16th September

Western reporters visiting the region never seem to tire of asking what the
economic impact on Jordan of the anticipated US war on Iraq is likely to be.
Perhaps their underlying motive for posing the question is to ascertain why
Jordanians are so strongly opposed to Washington's plans for military

What they don't seem to want to comprehend is that the Iraqis, Jordanians,
Palestinians and other Arab peoples are part of a single nation, the Arab
nation, and that an attack on Iraq would thus be an attack on every Arab. We
would stand against it regardless of considerations of economic profit or
loss, whether short-term or permanent.

Nevertheless, there is nothing wrong with pointing out what the economic
consequences for the kingdom of Jordan of a war on Iraq would be. Nor is
there anything wrong with us having economic interests in Iraq. They would
be severely damaged in the event of war, which once initiated would prove
protracted, destructive and bloody. And we Jordanians are entitled to want
to safeguard those interests.

The first thing that comes to mind is Jordan's near-total reliance on Iraqi
oil. Jordan obtains all its crude and petroleum products needs from Iraq,
without paying for them in hard currency, or indeed in any currency. Iraq
provides Jordan with a grant equivalent to around half the value of the
imported oil, which it deducts from the total cost. The other half is paid
for through barter arrangements, exchanged for Jordanian goods and services.

Which leads us to the second main effect of war: The cessation of Jordanian
exports to Iraq. Iraq is Jordan's biggest customer, taking some 20 percent
of its exports. Jordan's manufacturing industry is particularly reliant on
the Iraqi market and would be hardest hit. Iraq also uses Jordan's port of
Aqaba as a transit point for some of its imports from other countries,
helping employ some of its spare freight and docking capacity. Iraq-bound
cargoes are off-loaded there and then transported overland on Jordanian
trucks. A war on Iraq would thus deal a major blow to the Jordanian
transportation sector.

The tourism industry would also face paralysis as one of the indirect
effects of war. It is hard to imagine hordes of tourists flocking to the
Middle East in the midst of a devastating conflict.

In addition to the enormous economic damage that Jordan stands to sustain,
there is the potential security and political fallout that could affect the
stability that the kingdom enjoys. No one knows what role Israel will end up
playing in the prospective armed hostilities, or how Prime Minister Ariel
Sharon's government may try to exploit the war. It might use it to carry out
a mass expulsion of Palestinians from the West Bank to Jordan. Or it could
participate directly in military operations, which would probably mean using
Jordanian territory or air space to reach Iraq.

Jordan's relationship with Iraq is of a strategic nature. That is why it has
remained relatively stable under varying political conditions and despite
successive changes of regime in Baghdad. The two countries went as far as
forming a federal union in 1958 and an economic union in the 1980s.

The recent spate of reports in, and leaks to, the Arab and Western media
claiming that Jordan is colluding with America's coming campaign against
Iraq, or placing its territory, air space, and military bases at the
disposal of US forces for an attack on its neighbor, smack of an attempt to
sabotage the special relationship that exists on both the official and
popular levels between the two countries.

These reports were designed to discredit Jordan as a fellow Arab country
bound to Iraq by close ties; the Jordanian people who have always stood by
their Iraqi brethren; and the Jordanian regime which draws its historic
legitimacy from a revolt aimed at liberating and uniting the Arabs; and its
constitutional legitimacy from rallying the support and expressing the will
of the Jordanian people.

Jordan's relationship with Iraq survived the violent Iraqi military coups of
the 1950s and 1960s, and has gained in strength over the past quarter of a
century. The awareness of both peoples of the importance of the relationship
will ensure that it also survives the latest attempts made to undermine it.

Indeed, their efforts already seem to have backfired. The campaign to
sabotage Jordan's ties with Iraq provided Amman with an opportunity to
demonstrate how resilient they are, to reaffirm Jordan's opposition to
aggression, and to rule out any possibility of Jordan being used as a
vehicle for attacking a fellow Arab people who have stood by us in the
toughest of times.

Before these trial balloons were launched, some commentators were casting
doubt on the strength of the Jordanian-Iraqi relationship. But the bursting
of those balloons led to the rehabilitation of the relationship, and
delivered a direct response to those behind the leaks. Their aim was to lure
Jordan into meddling in the internal affairs of another state to contribute
to destabilizing the region. What they got was a categorical affirmation
that this is absolutely out of the question.

There can be no doubt that the war-drum beaters in the Pentagon would like
Jordan to cooperate with them and facilitate their task of battering Iraq.
But they wanted to ascertain what Jordan's response would be before asking
it, and they have been sent a loud and unequivocal reply.

Were those bogus and damaging leaks to the press, one wonders, an early
sample of the output of the Pentagon's new strategic deception bureau?

Fahed Fanek is one of Jordan's leading economic and media consultants. He
wrote this commentary for The Daily Star

Arabic News, 16th September

A Kuwaiti paper said on Sunday a "smuggled" official Iraqi document admitted
that there are four Kuwaiti prisoners held by Baghdad since the Gulf war in

The document, a memorandum, the Kuwaiti daily al-Seyash got from members in
the Iraqi opposition, undersigned by Qusai, son of the Iraqi President
Saddam Hussein, who chairs over the security department in the secretariat
of the Iraqi Presidency. The document dates March 2nd, 2001 and addressed
from Qusai to Avecina ( Ibn Sina ) hospital in Baghdad asking the hospital
to check the health conditions of four members who are Issam Abdul Wahab
al-Roumi; Asal Turkey al-Ajamai; Ali Amman, and Abd al-Qudsi.

Mozawakg al-Mteiri, the chairman of the families of the Kuwaiti prisoners
and detainees told al-Seyasha that the four are Kuwaiti citizens whose names
were mentioned in the lists as missing or taken at the knowledge of the
Iraqi forces during the occupation of Iraq to Kuwait which lasted for seven
moths 1990- 1991.

Kuwait claims that more than 600 Kuwaitis and other war prisoners are held
in Iraq since the Gulf war. However, Iraq denies these claims.

Worthy mentioning that among the numerous decisions included in the UN
resolutions following the Gulf war, imposed on Iraq is a decision that sets
a precondition for the return back of the war prisoners or explaining what
happened to them in order to lift the trade sanctions imposed on Iraq.

Daily Star, Lebanon, 17th September

The alacrity with which the Arab League and many of its members have jumped
on US President George W. Bush's "get Iraq" bandwagon has caused many to
detect a decidedly bizarre diplomatic phenomenon. There is nothing new, they
note, in the United States' insisting on the sanctity of UN Security Council
resolutions as they apply to Iraq but ignoring those (far older ones)
dealing with Israel's occupation of Arab lands. But the sight of Arab
governments doing exactly the same thing, these observers complain, is a
radical departure from both logic and tradition.

Unfortunately, they are wrong: This particular instance of Arab governments'
adopting Washington's double standards began in 1990 and has been the rule,
not the exception, ever since.

Of course, Arab regimes frequently pay lip service to both a fraudulent
solidarity with the Iraqi people and a simulated commitment to the national
aspirations of the Palestinians. But what have they ever done in terms of
practical work to help further the interests of either cause?

They pledge aid funds to help fight poverty in the West Bank and Gaza, but
the money that gets through is always a pale shadow of what was promised.
They express sympathy with the suffering imposed on ordinary Iraqis by UN
sanctions but rarely do anything to either alleviate the impact of the
embargo or encourage Baghdad to seek some kind of accommodation with the
United Nations. Arab rulers love to lecture their own populations about
Israel's defiance of the international community, but how many have bothered
to set up lobbies on Capitol Hill?

To be brief, the Arab world finds itself in a predicament largely crafted by
its own hand. Even when its most influential regimes do get around to acting
(as opposed to the usual posing), they are always reacting to crises instead
of taking the initiative to prevent them. Much of the tension in the region
is the result of outside interference and/or the threat thereof, but Arab
vulnerability to such mischief is a by-product of bankrupt Arab leadership.

In all likelihood, the United States is going to make war on Iraq within a
matter of weeks or months. The possible consequences of that conflict are
too numerous to contemplate, but at least one of them should be keeping Arab
rulers awake at night: When an American blitzkrieg has once again made
mincemeat of Iraq and the Palestinian plight remains as painful as ever, how
are they going to explain themselves to their respective peoples? How are
they going to rationalize their having been naive enough to exacerbate the
mistake of the Gulf War, when at least they got the Madrid Conference in
return for having joined the US led coalition?

No Arab country has genuine democracy, so no Arab leader has to worry about
being tossed out of office by an angry electorate. But that should be cold
comfort. Angry masses become that much more dangerous when they are denied
the right to properly express their frustration. The proverbial "street" can
be relied upon to blame Israel for much of the region's troubles, but its
eyes and ears cannot help but witness the failure of Arab governments to
either competently represent their constituents or faithfully pursue the
welfare of their cousins.

It remains to be seen whether any Arab regimes will be brought down by
popular outrage over Iraq, but one thing is certain: None of them will be

by Matthew McAllester
Newsday, 19th September

Amman, Jordan -- Despite deep opposition in the Arab world to U.S. plans for
a war on Iraq, Jordan and the United States are secretly negotiating a deal
to let U.S. forces use this country to defend Israel from Iraqi missiles,
according to Western diplomats and Jordanian officials.

To help stabilize this strategically crucial kingdom against internal
rebellion in the event of war, the United States will guarantee the
replacement of cheap oil supplies that Jordan now gets from Iraq, the
sources said.

With hundreds of Iraqi agents believed to be in this country, Jordan faces a
particular threat of terrorism by Iraq's wide intelligence network,
intelligence officials in the region and Western diplomats said. Western
intelligence agencies are cooperating with those in the Middle East in
preparations to counter such a threat, they said.

Many analysts of the Arab world say a U.S. attack on Iraq would risk broad
upheaval against pro-Western governments such as Jordan's. And this
politically fragile kingdom has not publicly agreed to cooperate with such
an attack because of the pro-Iraq, anti-American passions among many of its

But privately, the government of King Abdullah II has decided to work with
Washington because it sees the U.S. as the eventual winner in a fight,
officials said. In the 1991 Gulf War between Iraq and a U.S.-led coalition,
Jordan suffered diplomatic vilification for siding with Baghdad. Jordan's
rulers now feel that it would be disastrous for the country to side with an
almost inevitable loser in a new war, the officials said.

Jordan and the United States have been working together to avoid creating
conditions that could cause a popular uprising here or an attempt to topple
Abdullah, officials said. "The U.S. will not make requests of Jordan that it
knows Jordan cannot carry out," said a Western diplomat. "The real concern
is if something happens between Iraq and Israel and the havoc that Iraq
could cause" in Jordan.


If the United States does attack Iraq, "the reaction will be more like
al-Qaida's actions," said Labib Kamhawi, a Jordanian businessman with good
relations with some influential Iraqis. "Small groups taking action against
American interests. America will be inviting a new era of terrorism.
Basically American targets, maybe regime targets. We have strong reasons to
believe that the outcome of such an attack will invite the formation of
underground militant groups. ... There might be some, dormant ones."

ATTEMPTS AT A NORMAL LIFE,3604,791882,00.html

by David Pallister
The Guardian, 14th September

As George Bush and Tony Blair prepare for military action against Iraq, a
group of British businessmen are planning to defy government advice and
travel to Baghdad for the annual international trade fair in November.

The group will be joining hundreds of other companies from Europe, the
Middle East and the Far East in the hope of winning a slice of Iraq's
burgeoning multibillion pound import market.

"It will be the first British trade pavilion in Baghdad since 1989," says
Brian Constant, the director general of the Middle East Association (MEA).
"The Iraqis are keen for us to come." The Foreign Office says no British
people should go there.

For the Iraqis the 10-day event starting on November 1 will be a diplomatic
triumph and, according to western diplomats, goes some way to explain the
reluctance of so many countries to involve themselves in America's crusade
against Saddam Hussein.

Ever since the United Nations lifted the ceiling on the export of Iraqi oil
in 1999, the regime has launched itself on a commercial blitz, signing free
trade agreements with Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Egypt and the United Emirates
and negotiating a $40bn economic package with Russia.

Another financial factor is debt. Russia, Iraq's largest trading partner
under the United Nations oil-for-food programme, is owed about $8bn in
Soviet-era debt and France, once Iraq's closest European partner is owed a
further $4bn in unpaid bills. Both countries have argued for lifting of
sanctions and they were the first two years ago to break the UN ban on
flights into Baghdad's newly reopened Saddam international airport.

Even Saudi Arabia has relented. This week the Saudis announced that they
were sending a delegation of up to 70 major firms in the hope of winning
contracts worth $250m. Iraq has imported $1bn of Saudi goods over the past
four years, according to the Iraqi trade minister Mohammed Mahdi Saleh.

Last year the fair attracted more than 1,600 companies from 47 countries,
including 10 from Europe. The French led the way with 104. On that occasion,
because of the fall-out from the attacks on America, the British stayed

But on September 5 this year a meeting of businessmen was held at the London
chamber of commerce to see if interest in penetrating the Iraqi market had
revived. It was organised by Orient Exhibitions, a specialist exhibition
contractor for the Middle East based in Sevenoaks in Kent, and a member of
the MEA.

Saad Hadi, a director of Orient, said yesterday: "We have half a dozen
medium to big firms who want to go if the military situation doesn't change.
We won't be putting anyone at risk. Our message to the Iraqis will be: 'We
are commercial people and we are willing to do business with you regardless
of our government's position'." Mr Hadi said it would be inapproriate to
name the firms but they come from the medical, water treatment and oil

Last month Ron Shaw, the chairman of the MEA, wrote to Tony Blair warning of
the dangers to the 4.7bn positive balance of trade with the Middle East.
"We carry no torch for the Iraqi regime," he wrote. "But in certain
circumstances British support for an American assault on Iraq, let alone
participation by British forces in an American-led attack, could severely
damage our commercial interests in the region."

In the past the British government has encouraged civilian trade with Iraq.
Yesterday a spokesman repeated the position about encouraging legitimate
trade but he added: "The travel advice remains against all travel to Iraq."

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