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News, 13-20/9/02 (3) UK OPINION * CND Plans Opposition Campaign over Iraq * Saddam and me * More Britons Support Iraq Attack * The case for war * President Bush wants war, not justice - and he'll soon find another excuse for it IRAQI/INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS * Philippines backtracks on offering US airspace in attack on Iraq * Greece won't take part in war against Iraq * Afghans Fret Over Iraq Distraction * Havel endorses U.S. line on Iraq * Mandela slams US scepticism * Germany offers UN inspectors to Iraq * Mandela slams bush the world bully * German Official Compares Bush on Iraq to Hitler * Stoiber vows to back U.S. on Iraq UK OPINION http://news.scotsman.com/latest.cfm?id=5192308 * CND PLANS OPPOSITION CAMPAIGN OVER IRAQ by Vik Iyer, PA News The Scotsman, 15th September Peace movement CND today unveiled plans for a campaign of civil disobedience to oppose a potential war on Iraq. Delegates attending the organisation's annual conference voted to back a resolution calling for "non-violent direct action to oppose war". Carol Naughton, chair of the organisation which has tirelessly campaigned for nuclear disarmament, explained the resolution would mean acts of civil disobedience. She said: "It could mean anything from blockades to sit-down demonstrations. Anything which is non-violent but which would set up a position to put a spanner in the works." Speculation is growing that Britain and America could become involved in a war on Iraq because of accusations that it is developing weapons of mass destruction. Ms Naughton suggested the non-violent demonstrations could take place at different military bases. All resolutions condemning the possibility of war on Iraq were passed at the London conference. CND is also planning to demonstrate at Downing Street on the Saturday after any possible invasion of Iraq began from midday. Ms Naughton said the plan was for other cities and towns to follow suit at 6pm on the same day. She added: "The overwhelming result was that clearly CND does not believe that military action is the way to bring about nuclear disarmament." http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,792917,00.html * SADDAM AND ME by Simon Hattenstone The Guardian, 16th September (He's Saddam Hussein's sole friend in Westminster, believes the collapse of the Soviet Union was a tragedy and thinks his party has been hijacked. Doesn't it ever get lonely being George Galloway?) George Galloway pulls up a chair, and hitches up his very smart trousers. He's wearing a fresh suntan, having just returned from a holiday in Portugal. Galloway is never seen without a tan. Galloway, also known as Gorgeous George, is beautifully coordinated. The pale blue eyes match the pale blue shirt and suit. He sits confidently, thighs splayed, his checked tie hanging long and suggestive between them. In recent years, the Labour MP for Glasgow Kelvin has become Britain's champion of the Arab world. Some regard him as a thorn in the government's side, others dismiss him as a laughing stock, discredited as an anti-war voice by his readiness to cosy up to Saddam. As you read this, he should have arrived in Iraq with a handful of journalists on his latest mission to convince the world that Iraqis are human beings too. Last month he also went out to meet Saddam in Iraq, and he wrote up the interview for the Mail on Sunday. He revealed how Saddam had offered him Quality Street chocolates, told him how much he admired British buses. He also said how shy and retiring the Iraqi dictator was. The account may have been widely ridiculed, but Galloway is probably the only British politician who would be granted such an audience. Why didn't he accept one of Saddam's chocolates? "I never eat sweets, my dear. Never." In his article, Galloway also related how Saddam commented that he had lost weight since their last encounter a few years ago. Galloway smiles when I mention it. "He didn't have a chocolate either, which is interesting. But everyone else wolfed them down, so I got the impression that the tin doesn't get brought out all that often." The British public may have been astonished that the Iraqis were scoffing Quality Street, but Galloway says that just reflects our ignorance. "Tariq Aziz [Iraq's deputy prime minister] puts HP sauce on every dinner. There's HP sauce every time you sit down with him. That's one of the ironies of the whole thing. When I was demonstrating outside the Iraqi embassy against the regime, British politicians and businessmen were inside doing business - trade and arms deals. Iraq is the most Anglophile of all the Arab countries with their HP sauce, their Quality Street, their red London buses and three-pin plugs." Galloway is quick to remind you that he, and his comrades on the left, were among the first to condemn Saddam's human rights record, even if the chief motive was that the country had become a virulently anti-communist puppet of America. Until 1991, Iraq was the only Arab country he'd not visited. "I wouldn't have been allowed in. I was a known opponent of the Iraqi regime because I was with the left, and the communists in Iraq who were shattered and sent into orbit in the late 70s." He says his political position is no different now than it was then; that while there are so many politicians marching across the ideological spectrum without explanation, he has stayed put. What is that position? "I am on the anti-imperialist left." The Stalinist left? "I wouldn't define it that way because of the pejoratives loaded around it; that would be making a rod for your own back. If you are asking did I support the Soviet Union, yes I did. Yes, I did support the Soviet Union, and I think the disappearance of the Soviet Union is the biggest catastrophe of my life. If there was a Soviet Union today, we would not be having this conversation about plunging into a new war in the Middle East, and the US would not be rampaging around the globe." I tell him how much I like his suit. He looks pleased, and thanks me. I ask him what make it is. He shows me the label to the jacket - Kenzo. Is that a designer label? "It's famous, but not top of the label." I later discover that you can't get much more "top of the label" than Kenzo. Galloway is known for his suits, for his fat cigars and expensive cars. And the money from the Mail helps him enjoy his lifestyle. Even your friends say you're on the vain side, I say. "Well if that means do I take care to look my best before I leave the house in the morning, if that's vanity, then I'm guilty of it." He says his father, God rest him, was the same, and what's wrong with a little self-respect? His friends also accept that he is unusually accident-prone. Trouble has followed him most places he has gone. The classic case was at War on Want, which he raised from an unknown, impecunious outfit to being a major charity. At the same time, he was accused of fiddling his expenses and philandering. While an independent auditor cleared him of dishonesty, he admitted to coming away from a business trip to Greece with "carnal knowledge" of more than one woman, despite being married at the time. That was when he earned the soubriquet Gorgeous George. Since 1991 he has lived with Amineh Abu-Zayyad, a Palestinian scientist. Meanwhile, many of his enemies admit that he is smart, one of the most eloquent speech-makers in the commons, and charming. Do people still call him Gorgeous George? "No. Formerly. The artist formerly known as Gorgeous George." So what happened to GG? "Too old now, mate. Too old," he says with a mix of regret and relief. Does he think the name did for him as a serious politician? "It's better than being called Ugly George. No, I never considered myself gorgeous. But I don't think I ever looked like a traditional politician. I never dressed in the way your traditional politician dressed and I don't live a sackcloth and ashes life. So I think I was always slightly unusual." He says that people are desperate for politicians with a bit of life to them, and that is why Ken Livingstone triumphed as London's mayor. Doesn't he feel out of place in the Labour party? Well, he says, he is less isolated than he was. "I certainly feel I have far more friends in the Labour party than I had four or five years ago. Basically the Labour party was hijacked. It was one of the most successful hijackings in political history, but I believe the passengers are taking back control of the plane." Just look at the numbers who are anti-war, who are coming over to his side, who are telling him he was right all along, he says. Perhaps. But what was he doing in the Labour party in the first place? Well, he says, Labour was a broad church, and he loved the language and rituals of the Labour movement. "I was a very close friend of John Smith who had always been on the right of the party and I'd always been on the left, yet we were close friends. I think that was because we were both Labour people." He tells me of the time he returned from Iraq in 1994 to an unsurprising carpeting from the whips having told Saddam "Sir, I salute your courage, your strength, your indefatigability." Galloway has always claimed he was addressing the Iraqi public rather than the leader, and that it was most infelicitous to use "you" instead of "youse". Whatever, he was sitting alone in the members' tearoom, when Smith walked in. "John came into the room clutching his tray, picking his things. All the bright young things were sitting upright hoping that he would come and sit beside them. I, because I was slightly embarrassed by the row and upset if I'd upset him, put my head in the Evening Standard hoping that he would go past me and sit with someone else. Of all the people in the tearoom, in the epicentre of this row, the day after the bollocking, John Smith came down and sat opposite me to the evident dismay of the other suitors, and proceeded to sit with me for an hour, which ended with tears running down both our cheeks and laughter as Smith went through, for the umpteenth time, his court circuit stories. And he didn't even - I swear to you on my my child's life - he did not even mention the row which had transfixed the media." So what point was Smith making by not mentioning it? "Blood is thicker than water." He says he feels rage - a word he likes - at the way Smith has been airbrushed out of Labour history. "Our headquarters were called John Smith house. No longer. Then we moved to Millbank and there was a John Smith suite in Millbank and now we've moved again and there's not even a John Smith chair. And it's openly stated now by Mandelson and others that we lost the 1992 election because of John Smith, and that we would not have won the 1997 election had John Smith not died. Now that's first a perversion of history, and second a great insult to his memory, and to those who loved him. If John Smith had lived, we would now be in the fifth year of a Labour government. That is the difference." Sure, he says, they would certainly have their rows as they always did, but that's politics. "There would be disagreements within a family whereas the people running New Labour have nothing to do with our family. They are complete strangers. They are here today, and will be gone tomorrow." He accepts that there is no way back with Blair. I ask him whether he's ever been tempted to toe the line. Years ago, he was regarded as a future cabinet member. He smiles, and tells me about his dad, an old-fashioned trade unionist, somewhat to the right of him. "Even my father said to me, 'Why don't you hide your views, then one day when you're up there you can surprise everybody by pulling your views out of the hat like a rabbit?'" He stops. "This is a foolish analysis of politics," he says sharply. "What is the point of a political life if it's based on a lie?" Anyway, he says, he's only 48, younger than Blair, not finished yet. We're looking at the photomontage on his wall. Heroes and family. John Lennon sits at a piano wearing his "People for peace" armband. What a man, he says. "Imagine is the socialist anthem. I believe in every word of it." We pass on to Che Guevara, whom he calls his ultimate hero. Why? "Because he sacrificed everything for the revolutionary cause, to liberate the world. And because he was a person with poetry in his soul." What's Churchill doing there, with his two-fingered salute - hardly your classic leftie icon? "I think Churchill was the British man of the millennium because without him we would have been overrun by fascism." It takes Galloway back to war with Iraq. However much devastation Saddam wreaks on his people, he says, it will be be nothing compared to war. Yes, but surely Saddam isn't as cuddly as he made him out to be in his interview? "I could come back and conform to the stereotyping of dictators. I could have said he had a brutish handshake, but he didn't. I could have said that he was bombastic and loved the sound of his own voice, but that was not true. I believe in telling the truth as I find it. Which is not to say that he's not a brutal dictator. He is a brutal dictator." He wants to see his regime replaced by a democratically elected government. He says he would have loved to have used whatever influence he has to help Blair and Bush to a resolution, but he's convinced it's too late now. On the way out, I spot a letter on the wall that Harold Pinter sent him after he'd written an article lambasting the government. Dear George, Cracking article. Right behind you as you know. Fuck 'em, and you can tell that to the chief whip. Yours, Harold. He reads the last line aloud. "Fuck 'em, and you can tell that to the chief whip." And he laughs. http://uk.news.yahoo.com/020916/140/d9qft.html * MORE BRITONS SUPPORT IRAQ ATTACK Yahoo, 17th September The British public has changed its opposition to a military attack against Iraq, a survey has shown.There is no longer a majority opposing an attack to remove Saddam Hussein, according to the Guardian/ICM poll. Public opinion changed 10% in three weeks as President Bush and PM Tony Blair battled to gather support for action. An earlier survey showed opposition at 50% with only 33% in favour - a gap of 17%. This has dropped to 40% now compared to 36% in favour. The number of "don't knows" has risen from 17% to 24%, with 44% of men approving military action compared to 37% against. About 42% of women are against war compared to 28% in favour. In the previous survey, men disapproved by 50% to 36%, while 50% of women opposed action, compared to 31% in favour. Just over 1,000 people were interviewed by phone from September 13 to 15 for the poll. http://www.guardian.co.uk/law/story/0,3605,793427,00.html * THE CASE FOR WAR by Adam Roberts The Guardian, 17th September Would the use of force against Iraq be justifiable in international law even if the current negotiations in the UN security council result in no new authorisation? On this key question there are profound differences of opinion, in part reflecting different views of what international law is. The debate has been needlessly muddled due to the baroque range of rationales for an assault on Iraq produced by various members of the US administration over the past few months. In an extraordinarily amateurish cacophony, US officials have stressed the need for regime change, for preventive war to stop a possible future threat, and for a pre-emptive strike against an imminent threat. They have also spoke of an attack on Iraq as the next phase of the war on terrorism. Although these rationales reflect real concerns, and some have respectable legal precedents, each presents acute problems if viewed as the prime basis for action. In some cases the evidence available may be widely viewed as insufficient to fit the argument. Some of these rationales will not persuade key constituencies, especially in the region. Worst of all, some of them (especially regime change and preventive war) risk opening up possibilities of other states taking unilateral action against any country they fear or dislike: witness current Russian threats of unilateral action in Georgia. It is no wonder that many lawyers and others have been sceptical about the US rationales. The fundamental legal argument against a projected US-led use of force, which adds to the current scepticism, is that under the UN charter force against a sovereign state is legitimate only when it is unambiguously self-defence against an armed attack, or when the security council specifically authorises it. In this view of the law, since the US and UK continue to say they may take action even if they fail to get security council approval, the proposed military action would appear unlawful. This is a serious view, which has attracted considerable support, but it is not the last word on the subject. Another view of international law puts more weight on ongoing practice. In this view, the very success of the UN system in propounding international standards can, in exceptional circumstances, create situations in which force may be lawful - or at least not unambiguously illegal. For example, if a state systematically kills or drives out its own citizens or supports wholesale terrorist activities, then the use of force against it may be accepted internationally even if there is no specific security council resolution. The coalition action that enabled Kurdish refugees to return home to northern Iraq in April 1991 is an example of such a "unilateral" use of force that gained international acceptance. Such action can be necessary because the security council has developed the habit of willing certain ends, but being reluctant to accept the military means to enforce them. For example, over Kosovo in 1998-99, the security council called on Yugoslavia to stop persecuting the Kosovan Albanians, but could not agree on military action because of the threat of a Russian or Chinese veto. When Nato embarked on military action, a move in the security council to declare it illegal failed, and the security council subsequently recognised the results of Nato's use of force by collaborating closely in the running of the province. In the case of Iraq, the core rationale for military action is Iraq's consistent violation of UN security council resolutions, particularly as regards disarmament and inspection. Over the summer, the Bush administration's ambivalence, or worse, about international institutions has prevented some of its members from putting security council resolutions at the heart of the argument about Iraq. This caused exceptional international hostility and scepticism towards US policy. George Bush's remarkable address at the UN general assembly on September 12 rectified that elementary mistake. The basic facts about the security council resolutions on Iraq are simple. All were adopted under chapter VII of the charter, which deals with enforcement; and all (unlike the main resolutions on the Israeli-occupied territories, which call for a negotiated settlement) require specific, immediate and unilateral Iraqi action. In resolution 678 of November 29 1990, the security council authorised member states to use force not just to implement the resolutions demanding Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait, but also "to restore international peace and security in the area". At the time this was not seen as authorisation for a march on Baghdad, but it was a prudent recognition of the need for a range of measures to ensure stability. This resolution, including its reference to restoring peace and security, was strongly reaffirmed in resolution 686 of March 2 1991, at the end of the campaign to expel Iraq from Kuwait. Then resolution 687 of April 3 1991, "the mother of all resolutions", which spelt out the detailed terms of the ceasefire, required Iraq to renounce, unconditionally, any biological, chemical or nuclear programmes, and accept international inspection and weapons destruction by the UN special commission. Iraq has persistently violated these ceasefire provisions. The facts about this are laid out in Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction: A Net Assessment, published by the International Institute for Strategic Studies on September 9. One could add that by systematically concealing information from the UN weapons commission, Iraq compelled it to rely on western intelligence agencies, including the CIA, whose modus operandi contributed significantly to the commission's problems. In 1998, Iraq ceased all cooperation. Security council resolution 1205 of November 5 1998, passed unanimously, condemned Iraq as "in flagrant violation" of its ceasefire commitments. If one party violates ceasefire terms there must be doubt about whether the other parties, including the US and UK, remain bound by the ceasefire. In short, the strongest case for the legality of military action rests not on any general propositions about preventive defence or any other such ground, but upon Iraq's violation of UN resolutions. These resolutions already reflected wider concerns about the dangers posed by the Iraqi regime: it was precisely because of the need for preventive action that these particular ceasefire terms were imposed on Iraq in the first place. To rely on the violation of security council resolutions as the core legal rationale reduces a worrying risk that all the other purported rationales for military action present: they raise the bar for what would be convincing evidence justifying military action, for example requiring evidence of imminent threat of attack. With the violation of resolutions the evidence already exists, and there is less need to hype up the Iraqi threat in a manner that invites disbelief. Apart from the fundamentalist view that the only lawful unilateral use of force is self defence, what are the main legal counter-arguments? Perhaps the strongest is that the key 1991 ceasefire resolution, 687, concludes by saying that the security council "decides to remain seized of the matter and to take such further steps as may be required for the implementation of the present resolution and to secure peace and security in the area". This implies an obligation to try to take action through the security council. The US, thanks in part to UK pressure, is belatedly taking this path. Might the UN security council go so far as to authorise the use of force? It could do implicitly, by setting Iraq a deadline for compliance, and by spelling out that the ceasefire was and remains contingent on Iraqi compliance with all the terms of resolution 687. Or the security council could explicitly authorise force. The UK and US indications that they may act militarily whatever happens at the security council have already had a galvanising effect, compelling other members to consider whether they want the UN body responsible for international security to be left out of the picture. Also, security council members should be aware that one way to avert war may be to make a clear collective threat, thereby inducing concessions from Baghdad; indecision on the security council is more likely to lead to war. There is a real possibility that neither Russia nor China will exercise its veto power and that a tough resolution could be passed. The key arguments about the threatened military operation are prudential. Has deterrence of Iraq failed so clearly that action must now be taken? Is it wise to start this war when there is so much unfinished business in Afghanistan? Should action be taken against Iraq before there is a further effort to address the Israel-Palestine problem? Is there any viable plan for the future of Iraq? These all need to be explored, but preferably on the understanding that, in legal terms, there is a stronger basis for military action against Iraq than there was over Kosovo in 1999. Baghdad's systematic violation of ceasefire terms is the mother of all the other legal justifications being offered for the use of force against Iraq. ‹ Sir Adam Roberts is Montague Burton professor of international relations at Oxford University and co-editor of Documents on the Laws of War. * An inquiry into the legality of the use of force against Iraq, organised by Public Interest Lawyers on behalf of Peacerights, will be held at 10am on October 11at Gray's Inn hall, London WC1. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. http://argument.independent.co.uk/commentators/story.jsp?story=334318 * PRESIDENT BUSH WANTS WAR, NOT JUSTICE - AND HE'LL SOON FIND ANOTHER EXCUSE FOR IT by Robert Fisk The Independent, 17th September You've got to hand it to Saddam. In one brisk, neat letter to Kofi Annan, he pulled the rug from right under George Bush's feet. There was the American president last week, playing the role of multilateralist, warning the world that Iraq had one last chance through the UN to avoid Armageddon. "If the Iraqi regime wishes peace," he told us all in the General Assembly, "it will immediately and unconditionally forswear, disclose and remove or destroy all weapons of mass destruction, long-range missiles and all related material." And that, of course, is the point. Saddam would do everything he could to avoid war. President Bush was doing everything he could to avoid peace. And now the Iraqi regime has put the Americans into a corner. The arms inspectors are welcome back in Iraq. No conditions. Just as the Americans asked. No wonder the United States was whingeing on about "false hopes" yesterday. No wonder the Americans were searching desperately for another casus belli be sure that they will find one in an attempt to make sure that their next war keeps to its timetable. Be sure, too, that Saddam, that master of the post-agreement conditional clause, will have a few surprises for the UN inspectors when they do turn up in Baghdad. Will the UN boys be allowed to visit the Beast of Baghdad's palaces? Will they be waved through all checkpoints when they want to visit Tuwaitha or any of the other horror factories in which the Iraqis once cooked up their biological weapons? But for now, the Americans have been sandbagged. It will take at least 25 days to put the UN inspection team together, another 60 for their preliminary assessment always assuming they are given "unfettered" access to all Iraqi government facilities -- then another 60 days for further inspections. In other words, George Bush's latest war has been delayed by more than five months. Saddam, of course, must have his own worries. Back in 1996, the Iraqis were already accusing the UN inspectorate of working with the Israelis. Major Scott Ritter, Iraq's nemesis-turned-saviour, was indeed as an inspector regularly travelling to Tel Aviv to consult Israeli intelligence. Then Saddam accused the UN inspectors of working for the CIA. And he was right. The United States, it emerged, was using the UN's Baghdad offices to bug Iraq's government communications. And once the inspectors were withdrawn in 1998 and the US and Britain launched "Operation Desert Fox", it turned out that virtually every one of the bombing targets had been visited by UN inspectors over the previous six months. Far from being an inspectorate, the UN lads though they didn't all know it had been acting as forward air controllers, drawing up an American hit list rather than monitoring compliance with UN resolutions. But a glance back at George Bush's UN speech last week shows that a free inspection of Saddam Hussein's supposed weapons of mass destruction was just one of six conditions which Iraq would have to meet if it "wishes peace". In other words, stand by for further UN Security Council resolutions which Saddam will find far more difficult to accept. The other Bush demands, for example, included the "end of all support for terrorism". Does this mean the UN will now be urged to send inspectors to hunt for evidence inside Iraq for Saddam's previous or current liaisons with guns-for-hire? Then Bush demanded that Iraq "cease persecution of its civilian population, including Shia, Sunnis, Kurds, Turkomans and others". Notwithstanding the inclusion of Turkomans worthy of protection indeed, though one wonders how they turned up on the Bush list does this mean that the UN could demand human rights monitors inside Iraq? In reality, such a proposal would be both moral and highly ethical, but America's Arab allies would profoundly hope that such monitors are not also dispatched to Riyadh, Cairo, Amman and other centres of gentle interrogation. Yet even if Saddam was prepared to accede to all these demands with a sincerity he has not shown in response to other UN resolutions, the Americans have made clear that sanctions will only be lifted that Iraq's isolation will only end with "regime change". For Mr Bush's sudden passion for international adherence to UN Security Council resolutions -- an enthusiasm which will not, of course, extend to Israel's flouting of UN resolutions of equal importance is in reality a cynical manoeuvre to provide legitimacy for Washington's planned invasion of Iraq. My own suspicion is that the Americans may try for a war crimes indictment against Saddam Hussein. Mr Bush's crocodile tears for the victims of Saddam's secret police torturers who were hard at work when the president's father was maintaining warm relations with the Iraqi monster suggest that somebody in the administration is playing with the idea of a war crimes trial. The tens of thousands of Iraqis subject to "summary execution, and torture by beating, burning, electric shock, starvation, mutilation and rape" could provide the evidence for any war crimes prosecution. Indeed, when the Americans sealed off northern Iraq in 1991 to provide a dubious "safe haven" for the Kurds, they scooped up masses of Iraqi government documents, flew them out of Dohuk in a fleet of Chinook helicopters and squirrelled them away in Washington as evidence for a possible future tribunal. But even this idea has a hand grenade attached to it. Today, for example and you will look elsewhere in vain for any mention of this marks the 20th anniversary of the 1982 Sabra and Chatila massacre, the slaughter of 1,700 Palestinian civilians by Israel's Phalangist militia allies, a bloodbath which Israel's own army watched and noted and did nothing about. Lawyers for the families of the victims are even now appealing against a Belgian decision not to allow Israel's prime minister, Ariel Sharon then the defence minister who was judged "personally responsible" by Israel's commission of inquiry to be tried for these mass murders. If Saddam Hussein can be charged with war crimes and he should be then why not Ariel Sharon? Why not Rifaat Assad, the brother of the late president of Syria, whose Special Forces killed up to 20,000 Syrians in the rebellious city of Hama in 1982? Why not the Algerian police officers who have routinely tortured and murdered civilians in the country's dirty war against the "Islamist" insurgency? But justice is not what President Bush wants unless it's a useful way of putting America's enemies out of the way, of effecting "regime change" or of providing a useful excuse for a military invasion which will leave US oil companies including Mr Bush's own buddies in control of one of the world's largest reserves of oil. Saddam Hussein's own cynicism for he could have given UN inspectors free rein years ago will be matched by Mr Bush's cynicism. Saddam's letter to Mr Annan was a smart move, as contemptuous as it was inevitable. Stand by, then, for an equally contemptible response from President Bush. IRAQI/INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2002-09/15/content_561859.htm * PHILIPPINES BACKTRACKS ON OFFERING US AIRSPACE IN ATTACK ON IRAQ MANILA, Sept. 15 (Xinhuanet) -- The administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has backtracked and withdrawn its offer tothe United States to use Philippine air space for its planned attack on Iraq. The Presidential Palace said in a policy statement released Saturday by Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye that it would consider allowing American war planes into Philippine air space "for humanitarian purposes," but only if the United Nations Security Council would support the US action, the Philippine Daily Inquirerreported Sunday. The statement also said that it saw "no clear basis" for military action against Iraq under existing UN Security Council resolutions, and that the Philippines' concern at the moment was the safety of the 1.2 million Filipinos in the Middle East. The government had been drawing heavy criticism since it offered last week to the United States the use of Philippine air space and refueling facilities even without a formal request. Arroyo and Foreign Secretary Blas Ople had said the offer was part of the Philippines' commitment to the call of the UN SecurityCouncil for a global anti-terrorism war following the attacks in the United States on Sept. 11, 2001. But on Saturday, the statement noted that if a UN resolution ispassed on which the United States can base its action, the Philippines will join other countries in the attack on Iraq, adding that it would study the resolution's contents "in the context of our primordial interest of protecting Filipinos in the Middle East." "At most the Philippines might allow the use of its territory and air space, but only for humanitarian purposes," it went on. "If no such resolution is passed, it is clear that the Philippines cannot even consider allowing the use of its territory and air space for an attack on Iraq." The statement also said the government continued to hope for a "peaceful and diplomatic" solution to the US-Iraq conflict. But itstressed that its stance against terrorism was unchanged. Arroyo was one of the first to declare support for the US-led war against terrorism launched after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001,which the United States blamed on the al-Qaeda network of Osama bin Laden. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow.asp?art_id=22385092 * GREECE WON'T TAKE PART IN WAR AGAINST IRAQ Times of India, 17th September ATHENS (AFP): Greece said on Monday it would not participate in any military offensive against Iraq even if it had the backing of the UN Security Council. "We are totally opposed to any military conflict, and we will not participate even if there is a UN resolution," Greek Development Minister Akis Tshohatzopoulos said in a television interview. But he said Greece viewed a Security Council resolution as essential for any use of force against Iraq. Greece refused to take part in military action against Iraq during the Gulf War although it did open some of its installations, such as the Souda airbase on the island of Crete, to coalition forces at the time. Prime Minister Costas Simitis earlier this month said he believed an intervention against Iraq would have "very negative consequences" for the region. http://cgi.wn.com/?action=display&article=15718018&template=baghdad/indexsea rch.txt&index=recent * AFGHANS FRET OVER IRAQ DISTRACTION Associated Press, 17th September WASHINGTON (AP) ‹ Afghanistan's young government is worried that President Bush will become so distracted by Iraq that he can't focus on the continuing fight against terrorism in Afghanistan. Afghan foreign minister Abdullah made the rounds in the nation's capital Tuesday, telling Congress and the Bush administration that Afghan President Hamid Karzai faces a severe test: Making good on promises of security and economic recovery. That test will be made more difficult, Abdullah said, if U.S. support for Karzai's regime falters because official attention is diverted elsewhere. In an interview with The Associated Press, Abdullah said Karzai expressed his concerns to Bush when they met at the United Nations last week. Abdullah said he planned to raise the issue with U.S. officials again during this visit, even though Bush "assured us and reassured us" that Afghanistan will remain a priority. "While there are other major concerns for the United States like the Middle East, like Iraq, the focus from the campaign against terror shouldn't be shifted, because that campaign is far from being over," Abdullah said. "Our point, at this stage, is that Afghanistan is a test for the international community, for the United States. Success or failure will be judged by the whole world, and will have its implications." As for Iraq, Abdullah said he viewed Saddam Hussein's surprise offer to allow weapons inspections as just another stalling tactic that ignores the need to fully comply with U.N. resolutions. "In the past, they have played with time," Abdullah said. "I wonder if they realize that that period is over now, and they have to comply fully and immediately. ... There was enough time for negotiations. And they have managed so far, the Iraqis, to pass time. I'm not sure if they will be allowed to do so again." [.....] http://www.washtimes.com/world/20020917-1171473.htm * Havel endorses U.S. line on Iraq by Bruce I. Konviser Washington Times, 17th September PRAGUE ‹ Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein is a menace to his neighbors and pre-emptive military action may be warranted against him, Czech President Vaclav Havel said in an interview ahead of a visit to Washington beginning today. "Saddam Hussein's regime poses a major threat to many nations and to his own people," Mr. Havel said. "The right thing for [President] Bush is not to go in alone. There should be an international intervention." The visit, which includes a meeting with Mr. Bush tomorrow and talks with leaders of the Senate and the House of Representatives, will be Mr. Havel's final one to Washington before his scheduled retirement in January. But in an interview late last week, the one-time dissident playwright expressed more interest in current issues than in nostalgic memories of 13 years as Czech president. The Bush administration doctrine of pre-emptive military action could be justified on a case by-case basis, said the often-ailing Mr. Havel, who turns 66 next month. He said World War II might have been avoided had Western powers ‹ Britain and France, in particular ‹ not pursued a policy of appeasement with Adolf Hitler. One of Mr. Havel's last official acts will be to preside over a NATO summit in the Czech capital in November that is expected to sharply change the alliance. Meeting for the first time in a former Warsaw Pact territory, delegates will invite as many as seven more countries to join the alliance. Mr. Havel said NATO enlargement is critical to stabilizing Eastern Europe and would lay to rest an ugly chapter of European history. "It will finally show there are no more spheres of influence," he said. http://www.news24.com/News24/World/Middle_East/0,1113,2-10 35_1258694,00.html * MANDELA SLAMS US SCEPTICISM News24 (South Africa), 17th September "What right has he (US President George W Bush) to come in to say that offer is not genuine? We must condemn that very strongly," Mandela told reporters at his home in Johannesburg. "That is why I criticise most ... leaders all over the world of keeping quiet when one country wants to bully the whole world," the revered African statesman said. Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, under intense world diplomatic pressure backed by the US threat of military action, agreed on Monday to allow UN weapons inspectors back without conditions after an absence of nearly four years. The United States, whose declared policy is Saddam's removal, treated the move with disdain, saying the Iraqi leader could not be trusted and vowed to work for a tough new UN resolution on Iraq. "This is a tactical step by Iraq in hopes of avoiding strong UN Security Council action. As such, it is a tactic that will fail," White House spokesperson Scott McClellan said. Mandela, who has condemned what are seen as US attempts to act unilaterally on Iraq, said those who had benefited from US support in the past should not let that stop them from speaking out against its actions. "I have got assistance from the United States ... I am grateful for that ... but I'm not going to allow what they have done for me to shut my mouth. I will speak when they're wrong." Mandela, who has lobbied hard for Iraq to readmit arms inspectors, said in an interview last week that hard-line US policies were aimed to please American oil and arms companies and branded its tough stance on Iraq a threat to world peace. The Nobel peace prize winner told a Muslim symposium in Johannesburg on Monday he had personally called Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz as part of his efforts to convince both Western and Arab nations to respect UN resolutions. Mandela said he had also spoken to US Secretary of State Colin Powell, Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to get their support for action on Iraq through the UN. Iraq's decision to readmit arms inspectors, although treated with doubt by the United States, was welcomed elsewhere. Malaysia called for sanctions against Iraq, in place since Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990, to be lifted. Mandela championed the fight against white minority rule and emerged from 27 years in apartheid jails to become South Africa's first black president from 1994 to 1999. http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2002-09/18/content_565170.htm * GERMANY OFFERS UN INSPECTORS TO IRAQ BERLIN, Sept. 17 (Xinhuanet) -- German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder on Tuesday promised that Germany could provide the United Nations with experts needed to carry out weapons inspections in Iraq. Schroeder told press that Baghdad's decision to allow without conditions the return of UN weapon inspectors is quite important step, which offers a chance to solve the Iraqi crisis through peacefully means. He said that Germany could provide UN experts of biological andchemical weapons as well as of missile technology, in addition to laboratory facilities. He promised to talk with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on the German assistance. The German chancellor said that the Iraqi readiness to allow the return of UN inspectors is a "great achievement" for Annan, while the Arab League also played a positive role. Schroeder repeated his opposition to Washington's threat of launching military strike against Iraq, saying that it is always the goal of the German government to have UN inspectors return to Iraq "without resort to war." http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/allnews/page.cfm?objectid=12207703&method=full& siteid=50143 * MANDELA SLAMS BUSH THE WORLD BULLY by Richard Wallace, US Editor, in New York Daily Mirror, 19th September FRANCE dramatically joined a UN split over Iraqi weapons inspections yesterday as Nelson Mandela branded the US a world bully. Leading Security Council members France, Russia and China opposed any new UN resolution approving military action against Iraq without first giving time for inspectors to do their work. But the US, backed by Britain, dismissed Iraq's offer to allow inspectors back without conditions as a stalling ploy, insisted a new resolution was still necessary - and continued to prepare for war. President Bush said last night: "The UN must act. We will not be held to blackmail by a barbaric regime. It's time for us to deal with the true threats of Saddam." His hardline stance outraged former South African president Nelson Mandela, who said: "What right has he to say Iraq's offer is not genuine? We must condemn that very strongly. "No country, however strong, is entitled to comment adversely in the way the US has done. "They think they're the only power in the world. They're not and they're following a dangerous policy. One country wants to bully the world. We must not allow that." His concern was welcomed by Arab nations who believe nothing Saddam can do will satisfy the US. Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri said on Monday Iraq would readmit weapons inspectors with no strings attached. Last week, Deputy Premier Tariq Aziz said no such move was considered. France said yesterday the world should test Iraq by quickly sending in inspectors. The Foreign Ministry said: "We must let Saddam's words speak for themselves." Russia said: "It is essential to resolve the issue of the inspectors. No new resolutions are needed." China said it hoped Iraq would create the "necessary conditions" for the issue to be resolved. The three countries, with Britain and the US, are members of the Security Council's Big Five. Each can veto any resolution. But the US and Britain said only the threat of military action would stop Saddam cheating. Firing a scornful shot across UN bows Mr Bush said in Nashville, Tennessee: "It's time for the UN to determine if they want to be a force for good and peace, or an ineffective debating society." He feared a "barbaric regime" linking with terrorists and providing weapons of mass destruction to hold the US and allies to blackmail. The president warned: "We will not allow that. After 11 years of not doing what he'd say he'd do it's time for us to do deal with the true threats of Saddam. It's time for us to secure the peace." Earlier, Secretary of State Colin Powell told Security Council foreign ministers the US would press on with a proposal allowing the use of force if Saddam fails to comply. He said: "We didn't see Iraq suddenly acknowledging the error of its ways. What we saw was Iraq responding to enormous pressure. "We cannot take a page and quarter letter signed by the Foreign Minister as the end of this matter. We have seen this game before." Keeping up the pressure, the a senior White House official said: "This is just Saddam playing rope-a-dope with the world all over again. He's never kept his word. We need a new resolution. Another official added: We've seen Iraq's stop-and-start before. If we stopped every time they started, we'd never end their programme of weapons of mass destruction." US military preparations continued with Pentagon plans to send six B-2 Stealth bombers to the British island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, cutting in half the distance they would fly to Iraq. Echoing the US, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said that for nearly 12 years since the Gulf War Iraq had been "playing games". He said: "This apparent offer is bound to be treated with high scepticism coming only days after Tariq Aziz said precisely the opposite. "If we're going to have reintroduction of inspectors without conditions, we need a new resolution." Home Secretary David Blunkett said Saddam meant to make "a monkey of the rest of the world". Israel was equally doubtful. Foreign Minister Shimon Peres said: "Supervision only works with honest people. Dishonest people know how to overcome this easily." German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said Baghdad's offer was "very important". Australian Prime Minister John Howard called Iraq's move "a cautious first step". Britain's dismissal of Saddam's offer provoked fury among Labour MPs. Ex-Foreign Office minister Tony Lloyd said: "Those who still want military action under any circumstances have to back off." Tam Dalyell and Alice Mahon said Tony Blair should focus on inspectors, not war. They urged him to "seize the moment". British diplomat Sir Marrack Golding, former Under-Secretary General of the UN, accused London and Washington of sounding "disappointed" because Iraqi offer could scupper their war plans. Chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix met Iraqi officials last night to discuss "practical arrangements" for experts to return after four years. But Iraqi Foreign Minister Sabri said the talks were "preliminary". An Iraqi official said later the two sides will meet in Vienna in nine days to complete arrangements. The Security Council asked its current president, Bulgarian Stefan Tafrov, to arrange a council meeting with Blix as soon as possible. The US and Britain said such a session could wait, but were outvoted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A41669-2002Sep19.html * GERMAN OFFICIAL COMPARES BUSH ON IRAQ TO HITLER by Peter Finn Washington Post, 20th September BERLIN, Sept. 19 -- Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's justice minister said yesterday that President Bush's "method" of pressuring Iraq was similar to tactics employed by Adolf Hitler because both sought to divert attention from domestic problems, according to a German newspaper. The minister, Herta Daeubler-Gmelin, was also quoted as saying that the United States "has a lousy legal system" and that "Bush would be sitting in prison today" if current U.S. laws against insider trading had been on the books when he worked in the oil industry in Texas. The reported remarks, a new example of anti-U.S. sentiment coursing through an election campaign leading up to voting on Sunday, quickly brought calls from the opposition for Daeubler-Gmelin's resignation. In Washington, Bush's spokesman, Ari Fleischer, noted the long, close relations between the United States and Germany and said the Hitler remark was "outrageous" and "inexplicable." In the run-up to the parliamentary election, Schroeder's firm stance opposing any military action against Iraq has become the dominant campaign issue, apparently helping the chancellor bounce back from a weak showing in public opinion polls. U.S. officials have expressed dismay to their German counterparts about Schroeder's remarks. According to the newspaper Schwaebisches Tagblatt, Daeubler-Gmelin issued her remarks while speaking to a group of trade unionists in the western city of Tuebingen and did not know that the newspaper had a reporter in the room. Daeubler-Gmelin began by discounting oil as the reason Bush would want to wage war, according to the newspaper, a local publication. "The Americans have enough oil," it quoted her as saying. "Bush wants to distract attention from his domestic problems. This is a popular method. Hitler also used it." Even the hint of a comparison to Hitler is a blistering insult in public discourse here and there was a murmuring of dissent in the audience, according to news reports here. "I did not equate Bush with Hitler," Daeubler-Gmelin hastily added, according to the newspaper. The Justice Ministry in a news release today said that the newspaper's report was "absurd and far-fetched," and officials noted that it was written by a "local reporter." But the ministry did not deny that Daeubler-Gmelin had mentioned both Bush and the Nazi dictator in the same remarks and compared their "method." "I would deeply regret that this matter would cast even a shadow on my respect for the President of the United States," Daeubler-Gmelin said in a statement. Daeubler-Gmelin has long been a critic of the death penalty in the U.S. judicial system, echoing a view widespread in Germany and the rest of Europe. Last month she said Germany would not hand over documentary evidence for the trial of Sept. 11 suspect Zacarias Moussaoui if the evidence could help secure a capital conviction; the matter has not been resolved. The opposition immediately jumped on the quoted remarks and demanded that Schroeder fire Daeubler-Gmelin, a fellow Social Democrat. By tonight, Schroeder had made no comment on Daeubler-Gmelin's remarks. http://www.cnn.com/2002/WORLD/europe/09/19/germany.stoiber/index.html * STOIBER VOWS TO BACK U.S. ON IRAQ CNN, 19th September ESSEN, Germany -- Conservative challenger Edmund Stoiber has vowed to end Germany's opposition to involvement in any U.S. attack on Iraq if he wins Sunday's election. He told Reuters that Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder had made a "grave mistake" in his decision to oppose a strike on Iraq even if it was backed by a U.N. Security Council resolution. "We Europeans must co-ordinate our interests and bring them to bear with the United States ... No chancellor can distance himself from a unanimous decision of the Security Council," he said on board his campaign bus. Stoiber, speaking as opinion polls showed Schroeder running ahead of his rival for the September 22 election, told Reuters one of his first jobs if he won would be to repair harm done to Germany's name abroad by Schroeder's "isolationism" on Iraq. "I have a very important task, to do repair work among our friends, especially with the French, but also the Americans." Stoiber said Schroeder had not consulted Germany's main European ally France or the United States -- for decades its ally in the Cold War -- over his decision to oppose an Iraq strike. He had driven Germany into isolation and upset a doctrine maintained by every German head of government since the conservative post-war chancellor Konrad Adenauer, Stoiber said. "Schroeder has made the gravest mistake a chancellor can make. He has gambled with continuity in foreign policy for the sake of a short-term boost in sentiment." Stoiber attacked Schroeder, who is fighting to avoid becoming the first post-war chancellor to be voted out after one term, for advocating a "German way." His comments come as U.S. President George W. Bush sought Congressional approval for military action against Saddam Hussein if his diplomatic drive to get allies on board failed. Schroeder has been the most outspoken among the U.S. administration's European partners in opposing military action against Iraq -- a stance that has seen his popularity surge among an electorate opposed to U.S. calls for a military strike. The chancellor told the German parliament last Friday: "It is still clear that under my leadership, Germany will not participate in military action (in Iraq)." Schroeder's Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer also recently told Germany's ZDF television: "In no case should we escalate ... There's still a big danger of war, and that is a point where we really have a differing opinion." The Iraq debate, combined with Schroeder's strong handling of last month's floods and his greater personal popularity, have distracted voter attention from the sluggish economy, widely seen as his Achilles heel and Stoiber's strength. CNN's European Political Editor, Robin Oakley, said: "The German economy is one of the major battle grounds. "Growth has been 2.6 percent this year and 2.5 percent for the previous seven years. "Stoiber has been able to make early progress by reminding voters of Schroeder's pledge last time round to cut unemployment from 4 million to 3.5 million, which he has failed to do." One week ago, Schroeder took the lead in opinion polls for the first time this year, boosting his hopes of re-election in the weekend's poll. In August, Schroeder's SPD was seven points adrift of the opposition Christian Democrats. But the latest polls put the SPD two to three percentage points ahead of the Christian Democrats and give Schroeder's ruling coalition with the Greens a majority for the first time this year. _______________________________________________ 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