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[casi] News, 13-20/9/02 (3)

News, 13-20/9/02 (3)


*  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


*  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


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

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

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.",2763,792917,00.html

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

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

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.

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.,3605,793427,00.html

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

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

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

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.



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,

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.

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

"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

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."


*  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

"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

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.,1113,2-10

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

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

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

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.


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

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

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.

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

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.

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

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

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

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.

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