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News, 28/9-4/10/02 (4) ARAB/MUSLIM OPINION * Changing rules * Payback time as Saddam's 'friends' desert him * Saudi Arabia Recalls Qatar Envoy * Al-Rai al-Aam: Al-Azhar Grand Sheikh says it is forbidden to assist attacks on Iraq * Iraq Provoked U.S. Adventurism in Region: Kuwaiti Defense Minister * Has Damascus struck a deal with Washington over Baghdad? * Iran and Kuwait Sign MOU for Military Cooperation MILITARY MATTERS * Iraqi sites targeted in air raids [Friday, 27th September] * U.S. Forces Building Up Around Iraq * Coalition Forces Hit Iraqi Radar [Sunday, 29th September] * U.S.-British airstrike hits Iraq military facility in no-fly zone [Tuesday, 1st October.] * Four U.S. carriers closing in on Iraq * Allies Drop Leaflets Warning Iraqis [Thursday, 3rd October] * US Strikes Southern Iraq Air Defense Center [Thursday, 3rd October] * 5 Iraqis killed in US-British raids [Thursday, 3rd October.] NORTHERN IRAQ/SOUTHERN KURDISTAN * Rival factions seek common ground * The dilemma of the Anti-War side: Lacking clear objectives ARAB/MUSLIM OPINION http://www.dailystar.com.lb/opinion/28_09_02_c.htm * CHANGING RULES by Abdeljabbar Adwan Daily Star, Lebanon, 28th September The international scene with regard to the question of Iraq was transformed utterly between the beginning and end of September, and the credit for that is due chiefly to Arab pressure on the Iraqi president, and to the intelligence and courage of the British prime minister. Were it not for Tony Blair¹s intervention, we may arguably have been facing the prospect of a declaration of war on Iraq by the Bush administration before the end of September - without Congress or the United Nations having been consulted, and with virtually the entire world (barring Israel) opposed. At the beginning of September, opinion polls were showing 71 percent of Britons were opposed to their country joining in any American military action without UN authorization, and a third was opposed even to a UN-endorsed war. At the same time, a majority of Americans were saying that the administration should only initiate military action with the approval of Congress and the support of America¹s allies. It was in this climate of worldwide opposition to war that Blair travelled to the US for talks with Bush. He stuck his neck out by voicing support for the US president¹s warmongering posture beforehand, and gave the impression of having put all his eggs in one basket. But he proceeded to persuade Bush and his hawkish aides to do what no one had expected of them: to hold back and seek some kind of UN endorsement, which would in turn make it easier to rally congressional approval and international support. The whole world was against an American war on Iraq. It had seen on its TV screens how much the Iraqi people had already been made to suffer under a dozen years of harsh economic sanctions. And it was unconvinced that there was any link between Baghdad and international terrorism. But it was also in favor of getting UN arms inspectors sent back to Iraq to complete their work and the implementation of UN Gulf War resolutions, as a prelude to lifting sanctions. The hawks in Washington had steered Bush away from that reasonable demand in pursuit of their agenda of imposing ³regime changes² throughout the region, securing Israel¹s interests and asserting greater control over the oil. Blair steered him back to the notion of addressing the threat supposedly posed by Saddam Hussein via the UN and arms inspections. It is not clear to what extent Blair was acting in concert with other members of the European Union and sharing roles with them. Whatever the case, Bush changed his approach in the face of concerted European, Arab and international opposition to war and listened to Blair. He went to the UN, and thus gave the Security Council a chance to assume a role. That in turn set the stage for governments around the world to alter their official positions and for Bush to obtain a vote from Congress giving him a free hand to act against Iraq as he deems fit. In the days between the Bush-Blair meeting and the US president¹s speech to the UN General Assembly, the Americans and British sent a number of messages to key world capitals, details of which remain unconfirmed. Russia, which was previously adamantly opposed to war, is now reportedly seeking a promise that if it backed a new Security Council resolution against Iraq, its old loans and new business contracts in the country will be honored by a post-Saddam regime. The Arab League also changed tack, from rejecting any threat to Iraq to pressing it to readmit arms inspectors. It is not clear whether this was motivated by a desire to defuse the situation, or by hints that the Americans might be prepared to seek a peaceful resolution to the crisis. Either way, sudden changes in policy followed Bush¹s Sept. 12 UN address. Moscow quickly toned down its stance. And Arab states declared they wouldn¹t oppose an attack on Iraq if it were internationally sanctioned, and indeed offered to let their territory be used for the purpose. That was followed by heavy Arab pressure on Baghdad to agree to the return of the inspectors before the Security Council issued any new resolution. And it worked. Baghdad¹s agreement to readmit the inspectors marks the end of one round and the start of another. Bush and Blair want to ensure that Iraq is free of weapons of mass destruction both now and in the future. They believe only replacing the current regime with a new and obedient one can do this. Should they back down from that demand, they will want a stringent and permanent system of arms monitoring put in place inside Iraq. Accordingly, Washington seeks a new and more comprehensive resolution from the Security Council authorizing quick military action should Baghdad violate any arms inspection procedures. Russia, France and the Arab states oppose that. It remains to be seen how British diplomacy proposes to bridge the gap, reining in the administration¹s hawks while keeping up the pressure on Baghdad. Baghdad¹s announcement that it would readmit the inspectors unconditionally took the wind out of the Americans¹ sails and reinforced worldwide opposition - both official and public - to war, on grounds that any threat posed by Iraq to the outside world will now be dealt with by the inspectors. But Bush put things into perspective when he reiterated on Sept. 17 that he would not allow ³the world¹s worst leader to threaten our friends and allies with the world¹s worst weapons.² Washington¹s Arab friends and allies, who are within range of Iraq¹s weapons, made clear in the strongly worded new statement issued by Arab foreign ministers after Saddam agreed to readmit the inspectors, that they do not want Iraq to be attacked or threatened. As for America¹s European allies, Iraq can¹t threaten them. Earlier UN resolutions barred it from possessing medium- or long-range missiles, and part of the task of the returning inspectors will be to verify that. So Bush was referring to the threat Iraq poses to Israel. Yet the UN resolutions that Baghdad is being told to comply with refer to Iraq¹s disarmament as a step toward ridding the entire Middle East, including Israel, of weapons of mass destruction. That has the support of the entire world, which believes, along with the British, that the peaceful resolution of the Middle East conflict would end all such threats. Blair¹s moves have so far helped to forestall a unilateral American war on Iraq and to generate pressure that prompted Baghdad to readmit the arms inspectors. It remains to be seen whether the British end up joining the Washington hawks in war, or pressing the administration to seek a peaceful settlement to the Arab-Israeli conflict that would make the entire world a more secure place. (Abdeljabbar Adwan, a Palestinian analyst, wrote this commentary for THE DAILY STAR) http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2002/09/29/1033283388149.html * PAYBACK TIME AS SADDAM'S 'FRIENDS' DESERT HIM by Paul McGeough Sydney Morning Herald, 29th September There has been gnashing of teeth, but while the United States fights much of the rest of the world, moody Arab leaders are resigned to the reality of another war in their backyard. And for all the cataclysmic rhetoric, a senior Saudi Arabian official said on Saturday: "The Americans will get the use of the bases they need, even if there is no United Nations decision. What can we do? Can we say no to the United States?" Even as one of the region's top diplomats, the Arab League's Amr Moussa, warned that a US strike on Iraq would "open the gates of hell", the leaders have said nothing about a very obvious US military build-up in the region - not even the suggestion that an ambassador might be recalled; not even a hint that they might resort to use of the oil weapon. The regional media is filled with anxious words by the leaders. But stripped of their domestic and regional worries, the message being sent to Washington is this: If you are going to do this, do it quickly; we accept that you will use the bases one way or another; we want Iraq's borders to remain intact; and, please, be careful about how you thank us in public. Perhaps the most telling sign is that leaders are already addressing the critical issue of what happens after the war. Turkey has ruled out a land-grab in northern Iraq, and official statements from Tehran and Riyadh used identical words to describe the agenda of a recent meeting between Iran's President Mohammad Khatami and Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Abdullah: "The aftermath of a military strike against Iraq." Where does all this leave the anger of the so-called Arab street? "The Arab world is paralysed," a Jeddah-based commentator, Jamal Kashoggi, said on Saturday. "There will be demonstrations and the US flag will be burnt. There will be fatwahs, and people will donate blood for the Iraqis that will never get to them. But major demonstrations will not be allowed - Arab governments are very powerful when it comes to controlling their own people." Kashoggi is a senior editor at Arab News, in which one of his colleagues, Amir Taheri, last week ridiculed the Western hang-up with the whole notion of the Arab street, dismissing it as "the Middle Eastern version of the Loch Ness monster". Ironically, the US is relying on the weakness of the Arab street to give it a clear run at Baghdad, while part of its justification for a war is that the region needs democratic muscle and that liberated Iraq will be a shining example of democracy and freedom that will spread through the region. There is a Western sense of a mass of seething Arab anger, but a local observer said that the Arab street was frustrated, "but it has been deprived of all the tools it might use to dictate terms to the leaders, by the security regimes we have in place and by the denial of political institutions, like unions and a formal opposition". "In this part of the world civil society has been dismantled. ... [Our leaders] have had us under the hammer for 50 years and they know how to keep us in check." Contrary to the view of some Saudis that Osama bin Laden had "won the war" because of the damage he had wrought on the Saudi-US relationship, Kashoggi argued that bin Laden had lost. Kashoggi, a proponent of the "march of freedom in the Muslim world" of the US National Security Adviser, Condoleezza Rice, said: "After the war, or even before it's over, the US will have to set up a conference of Iraqi dissidents to compose a transitional government. "It doesn't like it, but the US now will be stuck with nation building in this region. Thank you, Osama; this is the opposite of what you had hoped for." For all the hand-wringing, Saddam has ended up like the gangster who offended too many of those he thought were his friends and then taken a short-cut home one night through a darkened alley. Columnist Amir Taheri described Saddam's loss of friends thus: "He has antagonised traditional Islamists by preaching Ba'athism, seen by them as an invention of Christian Arabs; radical Islamists have little love for him because he attacked Iran in 1980; Pan-Arab nationalists are suspicious of him because he killed more Nasserists than anyone in history; and the Arab Left detests him because of his ruthless destruction of the Left in Iraq." Saddam was safe as long as the US figured he was a better bet than a Tehran-style ayatollah; the Iranians thought he was more manageable than a Washington stooge on their doorstep; and the Syrians were able to make money and engage in their own autocratic thuggery in his shadow. The Saudis, the Egyptians and the so-called Gulfies, all of whom could do with a dose of democratic salts, were able to bask in the mendicant attention of Washington. Now the region has accepted what much of the world is fighting - the US's serious intent. But that is all it has taken for Saddam to be abandoned; now it is late on a dark night and he has just turned into that alley. http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/nm/20020929/wl_nm/saudi_qatar _dc_4 * SAUDI ARABIA RECALLS QATAR ENVOY Yahoo.com, 29th September RIYADH (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia has decided to recall its envoy to fellow Gulf Arab state Qatar for consultations, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said on Sunday. The agency did not give any reasons for the Saudi decision. Ties between the two oil-rich neighbors have plunged to a new low over programs by the Qatar-based al-Jazeera television channel which the conservative kingdom sees as an affront to the Saudi royal family. Saudi newspapers that usually reflect official thinking have blasted Qatar for continued contacts with Israeli officials despite a pledge to cut all ties with the Jewish state. In August, Qatar played down a row with its powerful neighbor, saying the "misunderstanding" would not rupture ties. Gulf officials said they expected Riyadh to recall its envoy from Doha if the problems were not sorted out. They said Saudi Arabia could also boycott an annual summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), to be hosted by Qatar this year. The GCC regional political and economic alliance also includes Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and the United Arab Emirates. It was not immediately clear if the Saudi move was linked to Qatar's decision to allow their mutual ally, the United States, access to Qatari military facilities that could be used in a possible attack against Iraq. Faced with a possible refusal from Saudi Arabia to be a launch pad for strikes on Baghdad, Washington has poured money into expanding its $1.4 billion Al Udeid airbase in Qatar, which officials say will be finished by December. Riyadh has said it opposes any attack against Baghdad, but earlier this month it indicated it would support military action if it was authorized by the U.N. Security Council. Saudi Arabia played a pivotal role in the 1991 Gulf War ( news - web sites) that ejected Iraqi troops from Kuwait after a seven-month occupation. The kingdom has ignored repeated requests by Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr al-Thani to visit to resolve what he called a "misunderstanding between brothers." Saudi newspapers have singled Sheikh Hamad out for scathing criticism after he met his Israeli counterpart Shimon Peres in August. They described him as a "smart kid" trying to take his tiny state of 600,000 into the big league and accused him of sowing discord among Arabs and serving Zionist interests. Qatar has described al-Jazeera as a "perpetual headache" but insisted it would not close the popular channel, which has ruffled feathers in the Arab world for its outspoken political talk shows featuring dissidents banned in their home countries. Al-Jazeera is a private company funded by the Qatari government. http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/021001/2002100110.html * AL-RAI AL-AAM: AL-AZHAR GRAND SHEIKH SAYS IT IS FORBIDDEN TO ASSIST ATTACKS ON IRAQ Arabic News, 1st October Al-Azhar Grand Mufti, Sheikh Muhammad Sayed Tantawi, has announced that it is forbidden for any Muslim country to utilize its lands for the US or others to attack Iraq, or to facilitate aggression against a Muslim people. In a statement to the Kuwaiti daily al-Rai al-Aam issued on Sunday, Sheikh Tantawi said "we are against that Iraq's children, women and the elderly are attacked," because the Iraqi people are part of us and we are part of it," rejecting repression and aggression against any Arab or Islamic state whatsoever. http://www.tehrantimes.com/Description.asp?Da=10/1/02&Cat=2&Num=15 * IRAQ PROVOKED U.S. ADVENTURISM IN REGION: KUWAITI DEFENSE MINISTER Tehran Times, 1st October TEHRAN -- Visiting Kuwaiti Defense Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak al-Hamad al-Sabah on Monday said that the lack of trust among regional states had encouraged foreign interference in the Middle East and described as dangerous U.S. policies for regime change in the region. Al-Sabah, in a meeting with the secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Hassan Rowhani, blamed Iraq for giving the U.S. the pretext to reinforce its military presence and interference in the region by invading Iran and Kuwait. He said that the Iranian and Kuwaiti nations have suffered the heaviest damage as a result of the policies advocated by the Iraqi regime, adding that the Iraqi people deserve a peaceful life with their neighbors. The Iraqi people, al-Sabah said, are living in a dreadful prison under the rule of the Iraqi regime, which has been unprecedented in world history. He also stressed the importance of Iran and Kuwait closing ranks in joint efforts to promote ties and decrease the foreign presence in the region and highlighted the need for the two countries to reinforce cooperation toward that end. Elsewhere in his remarks, the Iraqi [sic. it should obviously be Kuwaiti - PB] defense minister said any change in the political map of the region was impossible. He also mentioned the Zionist atrocities in the occupied territories and said the crimes perpetrated by the Zionist regime against the Palestinian nation only served Baghdad's interests. Al-Sabah also said that the Zionists' oppressive policies against Palestinians had provided a pretext for Iraq to wage a propaganda campaign in the Islamic world. Rowhani, for his part, pointed to the historical affinities between Iran and Kuwait as the appropriate groundwork to promote mutual ties and said Iran's geopolitical position in the region had made the national security of both countries inseparable. He went on to say that Iran and Kuwait enjoy great potential to reinforce mutual ties, stressing that regional and international conditions had made the need to exploit this potential urgent. He said that world powers are greedily eyeing the energy resources of the geostrategically important Persian Gulf region, adding that this had fomented regional tensions and the deployment of troops and interference by extraterritorial powers in the region. Rowhani added that the Islamic Republic remains skeptical about U.S. objectives in their planned attack on Iraq and reiterated that Iran is opposed to military action against Iraq. "We hope Baghdad will never give any pretext to the U.S. to repeat the bitter incidents in the region," he said. Rowhani stated that it seems that the U.S. has extensive plans for the Middle East and may try to change the political map of the region. He said that the Islamic Republic believes that safeguarding the sovereignty and territorial integrity of regional states and fostering strategic cooperation among regional nations is the best way to promote peace and stability. Rowhani stated that Iran is pursuing a policy of détente with neighboring countries and is willing to boost relations with Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (PGCC) countries. The policy has made tangible headway, he added. http://www.dailystar.com.lb/opinion/03_10_02_c.htm * HAS DAMASCUS STRUCK A DEAL WITH WASHINGTON OVER BAGHDAD? by Ibrahim Hamidi Daily Star, Lebanon, 3rd October There were recent indications that Syria had changed its rhetoric vis-a-vis US plans to invade Iraq and oust President Saddam Hussein. Similar changes were also noted in the way Washington has been dealing with Damascus of late. Have the two sides struck a deal? And how much have they shifted their positions? Since the possibility of an American war on Iraq was first mooted, there was an understanding that Syria would assume a different position to that it adopted in the 1991 Gulf War. Then, Syria joined the US-led international coalition formed to evict Iraq from Kuwait. Syria joined the coalition for a number of reasons: Then-President George Bush had promised to launch an Arab-Israeli peace process; the Americans gave Syria a green light to bring down Lebanon's General Michel Aoun, who wanted the Syrian Army out of Lebanon; and the secular Syrian regime was desperate for US support in resisting change coming out of Eastern Europe. Where the current crisis is concerned, the perceived wisdom was that Syria would oppose a US blitz on Iraq because the regime had not occupied another country, the current administration of George W. Bush was not likely to launch a new Middle East peace initiative, and the US was not interested in making concessions to regional states like Syria, Turkey or Iran to entice them into a coalition. The Syrians pursued two apparently contradictory courses. On the one hand, Damascus played host to high-ranking Iraqi officials and said it opposed external attempts at "regime change." The Syrians said "any attack on Iraq is an attack on the entire pan-Arab nation." Official Syrian media launched a campaign saying US attempts to effect regime change in Baghdad were part of "an American plan to create a new political, economic and security order in the Middle East." "The attack on Iraq," the Syrian media declared, "will serve Israeli interests, since the borders drawn by the Sykes-Picot Treaty of 1916 no longer serve those interests." On the other hand, Syria was aware that Congress was debating the so-called Syria Accountability Act, a bill calling for additional political and economic sanctions on Damascus. The Bush administration was not making any visible efforts to oppose the bill - not to mention refusing to negotiate with Syria. In his June 24 speech, Bush criticized Syria and said it supported terrorism. Several US officials spoke of a "blood feud" between Washington and the Syrian-backed Lebanese Hizbullah. In other words, all indications showed that Washington and Damascus were moving farther apart - until a few days ago, when signs emerged indicating that relations were improving somewhat. These signs were: 1. The Bush administration agreed to allow Syria and Lebanon to attend meetings of the Middle East "Quartet" in New York. Washington had hitherto refused to allow the Syrians and Lebanese to attend these meetings, held to discuss the Palestinian issue. 2. No member of the US administration met with Aoun on his recent trip to America. Aoun only met with congressmen Richard Armey, a Republican, and the Democrat Eliot Engel, two of the most vociferous supporters of the Syria Accountability Act. 3. The Bush administration finally moved to obstruct the Syria Accountability Act by postponing the House International Relations Committee hearings in the subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia several times. These postponements made it impossible for the bill to be passed before the mid-term congressional election in early November. 4. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Satterfield announced in Damascus at the beginning of September that the Bush administration opposed the Syria Accountability Act. Satterfield also praised Syria's role in the fight against terrorism. He did not attend the congressional hearings in person and instead sent a statement lauding Syria's role in the peace process and in saving American lives. 5. Most importantly, in a Sept. 3 letter to Democratic Congressman Robert Wexler, Bush opposed the bill as it would "limit our options and restrict our ability to deal with a difficult and dangerous regional situation at a particularly critical juncture." These developments coincided with a new Syrian approach toward Baghdad. While Damascus was not expected to retract its public opposition to external attempts at regime change, the Syrians nevertheless stressed that Baghdad must implement UN Security Council resolutions. In other words, should a new resolution be issued by the Security Council, it would be very difficult for Syria to stand against it - especially since Syria has been insisting for a long time that Israel implement Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 and return the Golan Heights. Foreign Minister Farouk al-Sharaa said last week: "We should not provide the pretext for attacking Iraq. Iraq must implement all relevant Security Council resolutions and allow weapons inspectors back unconditionally in the context of a program designed to solve the dispute between Baghdad and the United Nations and lift the economic sanctions imposed on the Iraqi people." Whether these new positions came about as a result of direct negotiations or through political calculation, they show that each side has started to take the interests of the other into consideration. Syria realizes the US is determined to attack Iraq and it can do nothing to deter that. However, Damascus will do its best to minimize Iraqi losses and will work hard to prevent the fragmentation of Iraq and the possibility of an independent Kurdish state in the north. The Syrians are anxious to minimize the fallout of having a pro-American regime on their eastern flank. Syria is worried about being hemmed in by pro-American states. For its part, Washington realizes that having a stable, secular Syria is critical to American interests in the Middle East. That is why the US will not object to the continuation of some form of economic cooperation between Damascus and Baghdad. Washington will also continue to support the Syrian role in Lebanon, and will "work hard to achieve a settlement on all peace tracks according to UN resolutions 242 and 338." (Ibrahim Hamidi is a Damascus-based journalist specialized in Syrian current affairs. He wrote this commentary for The Daily Star) http://www.tehrantimes.com/Description.asp?Da=10/3/02&Cat=2&Num=12 * IRAN AND KUWAIT SIGN MOU FOR MILITARY COOPERATION Tehran Times, 3rd October TEHRAN -- Iran and Kuwait here Wednesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for military cooperation as Kuwaiti Defense Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak al Hamad wound up a four-day visit to the Islamic Republic. In the memorandum, which was singed by Hamad and his Iranian counterpart Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani, the two sides called for exchange of views among defense officials of the two Persian Gulf states on defense and security issues in the region and the world. Shamkhani hailed the agreement as a "turning point" in defense ties of the Islamic Republic with littoral states of the Persian Gulf and an "achievement" for the country in its "constructive cooperation" with members of the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council. "The signing of this Memorandum of Understanding is a suitable pattern for strengthening and expansion of constructive defense and security cooperation in the region," he added. "The Islamic Republic of Iran has now put behind with success its trust-building efforts with regional countries and entered a new stage to expand a model for regional cooperation," Shamkhani went on to say. Hamad arrived here at the head of a delegation on Sunday to strengthen relations with the Islamic Republic and reach mutual understanding on political, defense and security issues'. He met with several Iranian officials, including President Mohammad Khatami, Head of the Expediency Council Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani as well as Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Hassan Rowhani and Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi. The two sides reiterated their opposition to a possible U.S. attack on Iraq and called on Baghdad to cooperate with UN arms inspectors. Iran came under Iraqi invasion in 1980, which sparked the two neighboring country's eight-year war. Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1991 before being evicted by a U.S.-led coalition. President Khatami in the meeting underlined the importance of safeguarding the region's security and stability. He also stressed Tehran's policy of détente, friendship and non interference in the affairs of other states. Khatami said Iran's defense and security cooperation with regional countries does not threaten any country, IRNA reported. Hamad also visited several defense industry units of Iran. He was seen off by Shamkhani on Wednesday morning to return home. The Kuwaiti minister's visit to the Islamic Republic came in response to Shamkhani's trip to that country in May. MILITARY MATTERS http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2002/09/28/1032734373216.html * IRAQI SITES TARGETED IN AIR RAIDS Sydney Morning Herald, 28th September US and British jets bombed two Iraqi surface-to-air missile sites south of Baghdad after Iraqi forces fired on allied aircraft, the Pentagon said yesterday. In Baghdad, an Iraqi military spokesman said the targets attacked were civilian and that one civilian was hurt. The US Defence Department said the planes hit targets near Qalat Sikur, about 200km south-east of Baghdad. The jets opened fire in response to Iraqi firing at allied aircraft monitoring one of the two so called no-fly zones imposed on the country after the 1991 Gulf War, the Pentagon's Lieutenant-Colonel Dave Lapan said. "On an almost daily basis, our aircraft are fired at by the Iraqis. Every time we fly we get shot at," he said. The Pentagon said the latest attacks by US and British warplanes brought to 32 the number of strikes in Iraq's southern zone this year. There have been 10 strikes in the north. The Iraqi military spokesman said in a statement published by the official Iraqi News Agency: "'The hostile planes attacked our service and civilian installations in Dhi qar province and al Rifa'i district, hurting one civilian." The spokesman added that Iraq's defences fired at the planes, which returned to their Kuwait bases. http://cgi.wn.com/?action=display&article=15929874&template=baghdad/indexsea rch.txt&index=recent * U.S. FORCES BUILDING UP AROUND IRAQ The Associated Press, 29th September [.....] Along the featureless, rolling desert that is shared by Kuwait and Iraq as a border, unarmed U.N. monitors stand guard in a 10-mile-wide demilitarized zone. An electric fence and anti tank trenches mark it, but there's little to slow an invading force. Experts differ on the number of troops needed to invade Iraq ‹ estimates vary from 50,000 to 350,000, depending on the strategy. Deployments already planned would bring the number of troops in the region to near 50,000 by November, which coincides with a U.S. proposed deadline for Iraq to comply with U.N. resolutions. U.S. military personnel, with their close-cropped hair, military-issue luggage and incongruous civilian clothes, are already in hotels in Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait. F-16 fighter jets roar over Qatar's capital, Doha, and vans full of troops shuttle between the 5th Fleet's headquarters in Juffair, Bahrain, and the international airport, where the U.S. Navy maintains a special terminal for aircraft that fly to the USS Abraham Lincoln and other regional bases. The aircraft carrier USS Harry Truman, leading a third battle group, is scheduled to be within striking distance of Iraq in November to replace the USS George Washington battle group, Pentagon officials say, bringing the total U.S. naval forces in the area to more than 20,000 sailors and 255 aircraft. The Marines, in Kuwait for the ``Eager Mace'' exercise, make up the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, an amphibious invasion force of 2,200 troops. A similar force accompanies most carrier battle groups, meaning 6,600 Marines will be in the region in November. The U.S. Air Force keeps 6,000 personnel and an undisclosed number of planes at Saudi Arabia's Prince Sultan Air Base; 1,700 troops at Incirlik, Turkey; and 3,300 at the al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar, currently home to refueling planes. Several thousand more U.S. Air Force members operate from two air bases in Kuwait and hundreds of ground support workers are in the United Arab Emirates and Oman. Part of the 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division from Fort Benning is wrapping up a routine six-month tour as Kuwait's defenders, waiting to be relieved in November by the 2nd Brigade from Fort Stewart, Ga., a Central Command spokesman said. A typical armored infantry brigade numbers between 2,500 and 3,000 troops. The Fort Benning troops, like the USS George Washington battle group's sailors, could have their stay extended, military spokesmen said. Tanks and armored personnel carriers for another brigade sit ready at Camp Snoopy in Qatar and the U.S. Military Sealift Command recently hired cargo shops to carry more combat equipment to the region. Apart from Djibouti, where U.S. special operations forces have set up a base, residents of Eritrea have reported U.S.-financed construction at former Soviet air and naval bases in their country on the Red Sea. Sitting at a Starbucks in Kuwait City, Abdullah al-Mutairi said he thinks war is inevitable and necessary. ``Kuwait has a lot to lose from a war and Kuwait has a lot to lose if Saddam stays in power,'' al-Mutairi said. ``It is better we choose war than to continue to live in fear.'' http://cgi.wn.com/?action=display&article=15929873&template=baghdad/indexsea rch.txt&index=recent * COALITION FORCES HIT IRAQI RADAR The Associated Press, 29th September BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) ‹ Coalition aircraft patrolling Iraq's southern ``no-fly'' zone struck a mobile radar installation near Basra Sunday, along with a missile site in Qalat Sikur. A spokesman for Iraq's Ministry of Transport and Communications said the attack in Basra happened at 12:45 a.m. An official Radio Baghdad announcement did not mention casualties. It said the strike further damaged buildings at the airport 330 miles south of Baghdad. A spokesman for the U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Fla., said coalition aircraft monitoring the southern ``no-fly'' zone used precision-guided weapons to strike a military mobile radar near Basra and a surface-to-air missile site near Qalat Sikur in Nassirya province, 130 miles south of Baghdad. Asked whether the missile site was near the Basra airport, Air Force Maj. Bill Harrison said he didn't know, but said coalition aircraft never target civilian populations or infrastructure. The past week has been a heavy one for U.S. strikes on Iraq as part of routine patrols of the so-called no-fly zones, as global debate heightens over U.S. threats to topple Iraqi President Saddam Hussein for allegedly stockpiling weapons of mass destruction and harboring terrorists. The standoff has focused new attention on patrols by U.S. and British warplanes over swaths of southern and northern Iraq declared off-limits to the Iraqi military since shortly after the 1991 Gulf War to protect restive Shiite and Kurdish Iraqis. Last week, allied aircraft enforcing the southern ``no-fly'' zone hit eight targets, including the Basra airport on Sept. 26. The United States said it targeted a mobile air defense radar system at the airport, which it says has military and civilian uses. Iraq says the airport is civilian. Officials repeatedly have charged that Saddam moves military equipment to nonmilitary sites in hopes coalition forces will not strike for fear of injuring civilians. [.....] http://www2.bostonherald.com/news/international/ap_brit10022002.htm * U.S.-BRITISH AIRSTRIKE HITS IRAQ MILITARY FACILITY IN NO-FLY ZONE Boston Herald, from Associated Press, 2nd October WASHINGTON - Allied aircraft launched an airstrike in the southern no-fly zone over Iraq after Iraqi aircraft penetrated the restricted area, defense officials said Wednesday. It brought to 45 the number of strikes reported this year by the United States and the United Kingdom coalition put together to patrol zones set up to protect Iraqi minorities following the 1991 Gulf War. "They placed a mobile radar south of the 33rd parallel," the boundary for the southern zone, said Navy Commander Frank Merriman, spokesman for Central Command in Tampa, Fla. "And they flew military aircraft into the zone." He declined to say how many Iraqi aircraft. Coalition planes responded, targeting precision-guided weapons at the radar at Al Kut, some 100 miles southeast of Baghdad, at 5 p.m. EDT Tuesday, a statement from the command said. It was the sixth time in a month that coalition aircraft have struck at Al Kut, targeting it also on Aug. 29 and 30 and Sept. 5, 7 and 9. Pentagon officials said Iraqis keep moving mobileradar equipment to the area. The amount of any damage from Tuesday's strike was unknown because assessment was still under way. Tuesday's strike was in the southern zone, set up to protect Shiite Muslims, and it was the 35th one in the zone this year. In the northern zone, set up to protect Kurds, there have been 10 this year. Both groups were given protection after unsuccessfully revolting against the regime of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. [.....] http://www.cnn.com/2002/US/South/10/03/iraq.usa.carriers.reut/index.html * FOUR U.S. CARRIERS CLOSING IN ON IRAQ CNN, 3rd October WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- As many as four U.S. aircraft carriers are expected to be within striking distance of Iraq by the end of December, Navy officials said on Thursday, marking what may be the earliest possible moment for a full-scale U.S.-led attack. Two carriers and their battle groups are in the region, the Navy said. They are the George Washington, which deployed on June 20 and is in or near the Mediterranean, and the Lincoln, which got under way on July 24 and was in the Gulf this week. Scheduled to relieve them are the Constellation, due to leave the U.S. West Coast next month, and the Harry S. Truman, due to ship from the East Coast in December, officials said. The four battle groups would bring together as many as 250 precision strike aircraft and more than 2,000 Tomahawk cruise missiles -- assuming the nuclear-powered Washington, homeported in Norfolk, Virginia, and the Lincoln, based in Everett, Washington, stayed on beyond their normal six-month cruises. "I cannot see a full-scale invasion happening until the critical addition of a couple more carrier battle groups to the regional force structure," said retired Rear Adm. Stephen Baker, former chief of staff for the U.S. Central Command's naval forces. The carriers are accompanied by destroyers, cruisers and submarines capable of firing Tomahawks, the Navy's land-attack weapon of choice. On October 7, 2001, Tomahawks were fired at Taliban and al Qaeda targets more than 500 miles (800 km) away from Los Angeles-class attack submarines and Aegis guided-missile cruisers and destroyers in the first phase of the U.S. war on terror sparked by the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. A fifth carrier, the San Diego, California-based Nimitz, could also be in the Gulf region by late December, said Patrick Garrett, who has been tracking U.S. deployments for GlobalSecurity.org, a research group in Alexandria, Virginia. And a sixth, the Yokosuka, Japan-based Kitty Hawk, also would be available to be sent there by the end of the year, he said. Multiple battle groups in the region could be essential at a time that Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states may remain loathe to let the United States use their soil to launch a war unless it is authorized by the United Nations. "The carriers provide virtually unfettered operational capabilities," said Scott Truver, who has studied the issue for decades and is now vice president for national security studies at Anteon Corp., a Fairfax, Virginia, defense contractor. Another prerequisite is large-scale deployment of land-based fighter aircraft and bombers, said Baker, who served during the 1991 Gulf War as chief of staff for operations and plans for the Theodore Roosevelt battle group and is now with the private Center for Defense Information. The Congressional Budget Office estimated this week that five aircraft carrier battle groups would be used in a "Heavy Air Option" against Iraq costing about $9 billion above that budgeted for routine operations. Such a force likely would also include two and one-third Army divisions, 10 Air Force tactical air wings and about one-third of a Marine expeditionary force, the nonpartisan budget office said. By contrast, it said six carrier battle groups had taken part in Desert Storm, the 1991 U.S. led war that drove Iraq from Kuwait. But Truver, the aircraft carrier expert, said he understood that no more than four carriers had been engaged in Desert Storm at any one time. http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/w-me/2002/oct/03/100300301.html * ALLIES DROP LEAFLETS WARNING IRAQIS by Pauline Jelinek Las Vegas Sun, 3rd October WASHINGTON (AP): In a direct message to Iraqi troops, allied forces on Thursday dropped thousands of leaflets over the southern no-fly zone in Iraq warning gunners to stop firing on U.S. and British patrol planes. Iraqi forces responded by firing on aircraft delivering the leaflets. That led allied forces to bomb an air defense operations center, U.S. Central Command officials said. The leaflet drop was the first known direct warning from the Pentagon to Iraq's military rank and file in the Bush administration's campaign to topple Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. Defense officials said it was not directly related to another leaflet effort in which the Pentagon plans to warn Iraqi officers against firing chemical or biological weapons in the event of U.S. military action to remove Saddam. The allied retaliation brought to 46 the number of "strike days" reported this year by the coalition force that patrols zones set up to protect Iraqi minorities following the 1991 Gulf War. On some days, more than one area is bombed. Defense officials said coalition aircraft dropped 120,000 leaflets depicting a jet bombing a missile launcher and a radar site with the message: "Iraqi ADA (air defense artillery) Beware! Don't track or fire on coalition aircraft!" The back side of the leaflet had another message. "The destruction experienced by your colleagues in other air defense locations is a response to your continuing aggression toward planes of the coalition forces," leaflets written in Arabic said. "No tracking or firing on these aircraft will be tolerated. You could be next," said an English translation released by defense officials. "We were telling them 'Don't shoot at us or we'll shoot back,'" said Navy Commander Frank Merriman, a spokesman for Central Command in Tampa, Fla. "And they were shooting at that aircraft that was dropping the leaflets." He said a similar leaflet drop was done in October 2001 to try to halt the firing on patrol planes. That effort was not publicly disclosed until Thursday. Another defense official said Thursday's action was not related to any possible war with Iraq, portraying it as done periodically to remind Iraqi gunners that they target coalition planes at their peril. Central Command said the strike came after Iraq air defenses fired anti-aircraft artillery and surface-to-air missiles at coalition aircraft. The planes used precision-guided weapons against the operations center and air defense headquarters for the sector near Tallil, about 160 miles southeast of Baghdad, according to a Central Command statement. There was no immediate damage assessment. [.....] http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/nm/20021003/ts_nm/iraq_usa_at tack_dc_5 * US STRIKES SOUTHERN IRAQ AIR DEFENSE CENTER Yahoo, 3rd October WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. and British warplanes patrolling a "no-fly" zone over southern Iraq attacked an Iraqi military air defense center southeast of Baghdad on Thursday, the U.S. military said. The strike was launched at 4:30 a.m. EDT (0830 GMT) and at 12:30 p.m. in Iraq against an air defense and operations center near Tallil, about 160 miles southeast of Baghdad, the U.S. Central Command said in a release from its Tampa, Florida, headquarters. The command said the strike was in response to attempts to shoot down the warplanes with both anti-aircraft missiles and artillery. A Pentagon spokesman said the target was a military communications hub for radar surveillance and anti-aircraft missile sites in the southern no-fly zone. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told reporters last week that he had ordered U.S. aircraft to strike at more "fixed" air defense targets such as buildings and command and control centers in response to attempts to shoot down the patrolling American and British jets. There have now been 46 strikes this year by U.S. and British aircraft policing two no-fly zones in northern and southern Iraq set up after the 1991 Gulf War. Thirty-six of those have come in the southern zone. The frequency of the air strikes against Iraq has fluctuated over the decade since the Gulf War, but they have increased sharply in recent months as speculation has grown that President Bush might order an invasion to oust Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, whom Washington accuses of developing weapons of mass destruction. The no-fly zones, which Baghdad does not recognize, were imposed to protect a Kurdish enclave in the north and Shi'ite Muslims in the south from possible attacks by the Iraqi government. "Today's strike came after Iraqi air defenses fired anti-aircraft artillery and surface-to-air missiles at Coalition aircraft in the Southern No-Fly Zone," the Florida-based Central Command said in a statement. "Coalition strikes in the no-fly zones are executed as a self-defense measure in response to Iraqi hostile threats and acts against coalition forces and their aircraft." The last strike in the southern no-fly zone was against a military mobile radar near Al Kut on Tuesday. http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/181_77581,0005.htm * 5 IRAQIS KILLED IN US-BRITISH RAIDS Hindustani Times, 4th October Five Iraqi civilians were killed and 11 others wounded when US and British warplanes bombed southern Iraq on Thursday, an Iraqi military spokesman said, quoted by the official INA news agency. "Enemy warplanes bombed civilian installations in the town of Nassiriyah, 375 kilometers south of Baghdad, killing five Iraqi civilians and wounding 11 others," the spokesman said. He claimed surface-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft batteries had forced the "enemy warplanes to flee to their base in Kuwait," and that the US and British aircraft had conducted 55 raids over 18 areas in the south of the country during the day. The US military said earlier that US and British warplanes struck in southern Iraq today after an aircraft came under fire as it dropped leaflets on Iraqi air defence positions warning gunners not to fire on coalition aircraft or "You could be next." Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Dan Hetlage said US and British planes attacked an Iraqi air defense headquarters and operations center which was believed to be the source of the fire. With the United States also stepping up pressure for a renewed international campaign against Iraq, the raid was near Tallil, about 250 kilometers southeast of Baghdad, he said. "The air strike was in retaliation for shooting at the aircraft dropping the leaflets that say don't shoot at us," Hetlage said. NORTHERN IRAQ/SOUTHERN KURDISTAN http://news.ft.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=FT.com/StoryFT/FullStory&c =StoryFT&cid=1031119899987&p=1012571727172 * RIVAL FACTIONS SEEK COMMON GROUND by Guy Dinmore in Arbil, Iraq, and Najmeh Bozorgmehr in Tehran Financial Times, 30th September For the first time in eight years, Iraq's rival Kurdish factions will today hold a joint session of parliament as they search for a united strategy ahead of an expected US-led military overthrow of Saddam Hussein's government in Baghdad. The meeting of the National Assembly in Arbil in northern Iraq, just 10km from the front line with Iraqi forces, follows concerted pressure from the US administration on the Kurds to bury their differences and establish their democratic credentials. The parliament has not met in full session since 1994, when fighting erupted between the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and the Kurdish Democratic party (KDP), leading to their territorial division of the north. Jalal Talabani, the PUK leader, is expected to leave his stronghold in Sulaimani to return to Arbil for a ceremonial opening jointly hosted by his old rival, Masoud Barzani of the KDP. "This is a major milestone in the reconciliation process between the KDP and PUK," Fawzi Hariri, a KDP spokesman, said. Iraq's neighbours, though no friends of the Baghdad regime, are less than enthusiastic, however. In Tehran, an Iranian government spokesman said that the meeting was a "very domestic issue for Iraq" and that Iran had declined an invitation to attend as a guest. Turkey and Syria are also expected to stay away. The three neighbouring countries, with substantial Kurdish minorities of their own, have no desire to promote a process they suspect will eventually lead to a bid by the Iraqi Kurds to set up an independent state. High on the agenda for the Kurdish parliament is a joint proposal to establish a federal Iraqi state, divided between Kurds and Arabs, once Mr Hussein is removed. Many Kurds are sceptical, however, that the two veteran Kurdish leaders will be able to settle serious issues, such as unification of their separate administrations and the sharing of revenues. Today's meeting of all 105 members of parliament follows heightened tension just to the south of Arbil. Three weeks ago observers reported a heavy build-up of Iraqi armour, tank barrels pointed to the north. Some have since withdrawn. But with Arbil lying north of the 36th parallel and protected by a US- and UK-imposed no fly zone, Kurds appear confident that Baghdad will not intervene and repeat the events of 1991, when a Kurdish uprising was put down with huge loss of life and the flight of 1.5m refugees. Although the main Kurdish factions have bent to US pressure, there is little sign that the Bush administration plans to use the 30,000 or so combined Kurdish troops to act as a ground force in the event of an assault on the Baghdad regime. Diplomats say the US has no wish to see the Kurds move just a short distance south and take the oil-rich towns of Mosul and Kirkuk. Nonetheless, there are indications that the Kurds will attempt to do just that if they can reach a power-sharing agreement. This in turn has prompted widespread speculation in Arbil that Turkish government forces would intervene to secure Mosul, which historically has had a large Turkmen population. Turkish troops already have bases just inside northern Iraq and support from proxy Turkman forces in Arbil. "The battle for Kirkuk will be no less bloody than the war in Baghdad," commented an Iranian analyst in Tehran with close ties to the government. Iran's defence minister has stated, however, that Iranian forces have no intention of crossing the border, which would risk US retaliation. The parliamentary building in Arbil has been spruced up with fresh coats of paint and new panes of glass. Yellow ribbons were cut yesterday to celebrate the inauguration of a closed circuit television system and the broadcasting of proceedings. As one delegate commented: "We are waiting, like everyone else, for the attack on Baghdad. It's not in our interests to have an independent state now. Everyone around us is terrified of that. But who knows in the future?" http://www.kurdmedia.com/reports.asp?id=1076 * THE DILEMMA OF THE ANTI-WAR SIDE: LACKING CLEAR OBJECTIVES by Rebwar Rashed KurdishMedia.com, 3rd October During the last couple of years one can see a growing activity against a possible US strike on the Iraqi regime. Two different arguments are mainly put forward. The first one is economical and the second is humanitarian. When it comes to the economical argument the Anti-War side explains that they have an anti imperialistic political view. They see the US as an expansionist superpower, which seeks to open up new markets with through military force, that the argument US does not care about the human suffering and loss and that the US is only concerned with its short and long term interests. They also argue that a universal moral value does not have a place on the US political agenda. "Machivellian" in short could be a definition of the current US policy towards the rest of the world, according to the argument. When it comes to the humanitarian argument, the anti-war side, which I preferably would call an "interest group", claims that a war against Saddam Hussein (most of them see it as a war against the Iraqi people) will for sure results in high casualties among the Iraqi population. Those casualties usually being children, women and elderly. Due to those two major reasons there should not be a war against Iraq, they argue. As an Iraqi person, who never had the right to be or to count as an Iraqi by the Iraqi regime, I am obliged to present the situation from a different point of view. That view I believe is shared by the majority of Iraqi people be in the Diaspora or at home. It is quite strange that the Anti-war interest group never does care about the status quo of the current political situation in the Middle East. Therefore, in trying to remind them of some points which they should know, I will summarize my points: 1. Every single state in the Middle East is either fascist, totalitarian or a military democracy. Some times they are a fusion of all these. That means that they have/are killed(ing), imprisoned(ing), persecuted(ing) their "own citizens" (the word "own citizens" is politically and socially inhumane. I will explain that later on). They are corrupted and criminal. 2. Every single of these States are guilty of at least (a -one) genocide against a smaller nation within their territory. 3. No "minority" enjoys universal human rights, national or democratic rights within these States. The "minorities" are usually seen and treated as criminals or potential criminals. 4. In most of these States there is a "dynastic" system of coming to power. The feudal principles of consuming, sharing, using and grabbing power are almost practises on daily basis. 5. None of these countries spend a fair amount of their national income in the public sector, civil industry, public services and so on. The major expenditures are used to buy military equipment, devices and weapons of mass destruction, modernising the army, building military loyalty etc. 6. Most of them have been, at least once, in an expansionist war against its neighbour. 7. In our example, which is Iraq, I believe that there is not a single soul, who can talk about human dignity and value and can deny the reality that Saddam Hussein's regime is one of the most brutal regimes the world has seen since the Second World War. We do not need to write a list. Since the overthrow of the corrupt Iraqi monarchy, which the British gave to the people of the newly established Iraqi State, as a semi post colonial present, the Iraqis (Arabs in the south and Kurds in Kurdistan) have been fighting this brutal regime. Thus the war for emancipation and national independence is not really new and did not start with the US conflict. The political must-to-do in the globalisation area, as I believe, is that the economical changes enforce political changes. In other words, you cannot let literally crazy dictators have access to weapons of mass destruction. Somebody, and obviously with a political and a military capacity, must be able to set a line and to show that the international community cannot accept anarchy in the international political system. The lack of homogeneity in the international sphere makes it difficult for a pan-front answer to dangers that face the world. For instance, countries like Russia and France are against a military attack only because they can lose the debt money that they have given the Iraqi regime in form of weapons, and a regime change in Iraqi could, if not would, jeopardise their national interests in Iraq. China is a country that has very beneficial interests with the Iraqi regime. China is a communist dictator with grave violations of human rights, rights of minorities and helping scoundrel states to get weapons of mass destruction. These three countries in fact has been the first enemy of the Iraqi people. They have unconditionally helped and assisted the Iraqi regime to remain in power without taking the smallest note of how the Arab and Kurdish nations are living. These three countries, which unfortunately, the Anti-War side (or most of them) prizes, are indeed assisting the Iraqi regime in killing the Iraqi people. Now, I am not saying or suggesting that the US differ principally from these countries (I see of course the US government as more democratic, open and frank than Russia and China. France has never been a better colonial power than the US, so to speak) but the fellow protesters of the Anti-War must understand that if they are protesting against a war, that should include the War which the regime of Saddam Hussein has waged against the nations in Iraq. They must, the way I see it, explain why they have been quiet all those years when the Iraqi regime was killing millions in Iraq. In which way could they help the Iraqi people to get rid of the Iraqi regime, which has always been supported by countries that does not care about the Iraqi people? There are Europeans who say that if western democracies help a rebellion by the Iraqi people that would lessen the probability of Arab states feeling obliged to rush to Saddam's defence. These Arab states are themselves a bunch of dictators and corrupt regimes, which always support each other against their own citizens. There is not a single Arabic state, which in practice would not constitute a problem for the US. They only shout to pretend that they make noises. These are only noises. The Arab masses have not a clue about the fact that Saddam and his regime is a slaughter machine. The Iraqi people will definitely be librated if a war against the Iraqi regime becomes a reality. My fellow protesters, the European daydreamers of peace, must know that Iraq is already a country in massive debts to Eastern and Western European states. It does absolutely not matter if the US comes into the picture. We have not only a possibility, but a golden possibility, to be able to chose a democratic elected government and truly national assemblies in a federal democratic state which could in turn see that the Kurdish nation has all its rights in heaven to go its own way and choose it is own destiny. In 3 days, on October the 4th, the Kurdistan national Assembly opens its gates to a new era in the history of the people of Kurdistan. That is not just good for the Kurdish nation; it is an enormous chance for the Arab nation in Iraq to use the recent political experiences of Kurdish nation, to unite them, to believe in democracy as a tool for governance and representation. I believe that it is a crucial moment for my fellow protesters, the spirited Anti-War warriors, which look like lost souls, to help, assist, support the Kurdistan Regional Government in every manner they can. Help the Iraqi people, Arab and Kurdish nation, to organise themselves, to get political and military tools to defend and protect themselves, to get logistic and humanitarian support so they can plan for a new era for the people of Iraq. The US has for sure its own special interests (and who doesn't?) but we all can make it better in that way that all of us makes the war a war against the regime of Iraq while trying to lose as less lives as possible. Saddam Hussein's regime, and many others in the area, are already belonging to the lost ones, they are already the losing horses. Nobody should bet on them. Note The words "own citizens" is politically and socially inhumane if and when used to refer, for instance, to describe the Iraqi people and especially the Kurdish nation, according to my political view, and that is due to two reasons: Firstly, a human being is a "citizen" of a country at least when his/her democratic rights and duties are constitutionally and legislatively guaranteed. By that I mean the Citizenship should be a free choice of being a member of a society and not a forced identity, which is only considered as "obligations". Secondly, In Iraq the word "citizen" is a political package that consists of only "duties" and "obligations". and that belongs to a tradition which begins from the early days of the Ottoman Turks down to Arabic regimes in the area. The "Citizen" was a property "slave" belonging to the Sultan. Saddam Hussien is not just useing that political tradition, but also has managed to deepen it. The "Citizen" is a Slave Solder which only must follow orders. _______________________________________________ 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 firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk