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[casi] News, 5-11/10/02 (4)

News, 5-11/10/02 (4)

MIDDLE EAST [only] MATTERS [for a little while]

*  US asks Turkey to provide bases for attack on Iraq
*  US has not asked to use Turkish bases for war on Iraq: Ecevit
*  Majlis [Iranian parliament] debates formation of special committee on
*  Sabah: Turkey and border gates with Syria, Iraq
*  Iran Denies Airspace for Iraq Attack
*  Iraq supporters flay US at Syrian congress
*  Kuwaiti Gunmen Attack U.S. Forces
*  Egypt rebuffs Straw over Iraq
*  Iraq gave $15 mn to suicide bombers' families: Israel
*  Straw arrives in Iran for talks
*  Jordan's Prince Hassan: future king of Iraq?
*  Kuwaitis hate Saddam, but fear America
*  Saudis Won't Help in Iraq Attack
*  Khatami gives Straw a grilling over Iraq's chemical weapons


*  I won't abandon Iraq: Saddam
*  Keeping the faith
*  Punching holes in 'madman' legend

MIDDLE EAST [only] MATTERS [for a little while]

Daily Star, Bangladesh, 6th October

AFP, Ankara: The United States has asked Turkey, a NATO member, for
permission to use its air bases for possible military action against
neighbouring Iraq, the NTV news channel reported on Saturday.

The request was the reason for a surprise meeting of the Turkish leadership
on Friday, the channel said.

Turkish Foreign Minister Sukru Sina Gurel declined to comment on the issue
when questioned by reporters in the western city of Izmir.

NTV quoted Gurel as saying that "such specific matters" could not be made

The US has requested to use the Incirlik base in southern Turkey. It also
wants to increase the number of warplanes it already has stationed there,
NTV said.

Incirlik has been home to US and British jets enforcing the northern no-fly
zone over Iraq since the end of the 1991 Gulf War.

US warplanes used the base to launch air strikes on Iraq in 1991.

The United States has also asked for permission to use two other miltary
bases in the southeastern cities of Diyarbakir and Batman, which are closer
to the Iraqi border, according to the report.

The demands did not include a request for the deployment of US troops on
Turkish soil.

Turkey is opposed to US military action against Iraq, fearing that a war in
region could exacerbate its own economic woes and destabilize the
Turkish-Iraqi border, populated on both sides by Kurds.

But many observers believe that Turkey, a close Muslim ally of the United
States, would reluctantly extend support to Washington if it decides to
intervene in Iraq.

Ankara worries that toppling the Baghdad regime could prompt the Kurds in
northern Iraq, who have set up a near autonomous region under the protection
of the no-fly zone, to declare independence, something that could incite its
own Kurds in adjoining southeast Turkey to renew their own efforts to break

President Ahmet Necdet Sezer on Friday convened a meeting on Iraq, which was
attended by Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, the country's foreign and defense
ministers, the army chief and the head of the intelligence service.

Sezer's spokesman Tacan Ildem said after the meeting that "for Turkey,
military intervention which did not have international legitimacy would be

He added that Turkey considered it important to seek a peaceful settlement
to the conflict, and he urged Iraq to comply with UN Security Council
resolutions on disarmament.

Gurel reiterated Saturday that the dispute between Iraq and the US should be
resolved peacefully, but added that if military action becomes inevitable it
should have an international blessing.,0005.htm

Hindustani Times, 5th October

Ankara,October 05, Agence France-Presse: Turkish Prime Minister Bulent
Ecevit on Saturday denied in a televised press statement that the United
States had asked Turkey for permission to use its air bases in any possible
military action against neighbouring Iraq.

"No, there are no demands for bases," Ecevit said.

Iranmania, 6th October

Majlis this week will debate whether to form a special committee on Iraq, as
demanded by several MPs who want it to examine regional developments in the
wake of US threats to oust Saddam Hussein's regime, IRNA said.

Seventeen legislators have broached the plan, requiring the committee to
chalk out Iran's policy on Iraq in the event of a US attack on that country
and announce its assessment on the visits of Iraqi officials to the Islamic

The plan comes right on the heels of Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri's
two-day visit to Tehran last Saturday in which he submitted Saddam Hussein's
message to President Mohammad Khatami.

Several parliamentarians criticized the visit, with an MP from northwestern
Ardebil, Noureddin Pirmoazzen, saying that it was not in line with Iran's
national interests.

Tehran recently announced it was practicing "active neutrality" regarding
the Iraqi crisis. The Islamic Republic fought an eight-year imposed war with
Baghdad, while it has held no diplomatic relations with the US since the
1979 Islamic Revolution.

Iran has said it is opposed to a US-led military attack on Iraq and has
mounted its lobbies to avert a possible war in the region.

On Friday, President Khatami called on former South African President Nelson
Mandela on phone to use his international charisma to preempt a probable US
attack on Iraq.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran has had many problems with Iraq over past
years, but we believe that the bigger danger is the American intention to
build an absolute hegemony in the region and interfere in other countries's
internal affairs by relying on military might," Khatami's office quoted him
as telling Mandela.

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw is expected to arrive in Tehran
Wednesday and meet with his Iranian counterpart Kamal Kharrazi.

Arabic News, 7th October

The Turkish daily Sabah said Saturday that Turkey has been accelerating
steps to open new border gates with Syria and Iraq as an alternative for the
"Khabour" border Gate which is situated on the Turkish- Iraqi borders. A
Gate which is expected to be closed in case an American military attack is
launched against Iraq.

The paper added that the US had given to Turkey guarantees that give the
Turkmans in the city of Karkouk and al-Mousel a self rule authority
following the toppling of the Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, and this will
be for Turkey's opening its lands for the American forces to cross to Iraq.

The paper explained that the decision of the American forces to enter Turkey
needs the consent of the Turkish parliament.

by Ali Akbar Dareini
Las Vegas Sun, 7th October

TEHRAN, Iran (AP): Iran will not allow the United States to use its airspace
to attack Iraq, and its armed forces will defend the country's territory,
the Foreign Ministry said Monday.

"We hope such an error will not be committed by anybody," ministry spokesman
Hamid Reza Asefi said. "It's clear our armed forces are prepared to defend
the country's territorial integrity and its airspace and land. The Islamic
Republic will not accept such acts in any way."

He said Iran was not a friend of Iraq but will not take part in any military
operation to topple Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. Iraq's neighbors fear a
U.S.-Iraq war would destabilize the region, and Iran fears U.S. influence in
the region would increase if Washington succeeds in ousting Saddam.

Iran fought a 1980-88 war with neighboring Iraq and the two sides still view
each other with suspicion.

"Iran has suffered a lot from Iraq. At the same time, it does not forget
America's hostilities. Iran will not participate in any attack on a Muslim
and neighboring country. It doesn't accept use of force" in international

Iran has intensified its diplomatic efforts to help avert a possible U.S.
military attack to topple Saddam but has said it would stay away from the

Asefi said British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw will pay a two-day visit to
Iran beginning Wednesday to discuss heightened tension in the region.

Asefi said Iran was not aware if Straw would carry any message from the
United States for Iran.

Earlier this month, Iran hosted officials from its arch foes, Iraqi Foreign
Minister Naji Sabri and Kuwait's defense minister Sheik Jaber Mubarak Al
Sabah, with Sabri seeking Iranian friendship and Al Sabah seeking Iranian
support to punish Saddam.

Iran has repeatedly said it opposes a possible U.S. attack on Iraq, but has
said it would support any U.N.-led action against Baghdad if inspectors
confirmed the Iraqi regime was still developing weapons of mass destruction.

Times of India (from AFP), 8th October

DAMASCUS: Supporters of Iraq blasted the United States on Tuesday at a
congress held in Damascus which gathered some 800 people, including Iraqi
Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz.

The rally, organised by the Syrian committee for the lifting of the
international embargo on Iraq, took place as US pressure builds for military
action against Baghdad.

Those present included maverick British Labour member of parliament George
Galloway, who said he represented his colleagues opposed to the US and
British governments' policy on Iraq.

Warning that US President George Bush was "driving along the edge of a
precipice," Galloway said other regimes apart from that of Iraqi President
Saddam Hussein could change.

Aziz told journalists the rally, grouping leading Syrians and delegations
from elsewhere, including Lebanon, Jordan and the Palestinian territories,
showed that people would act together in the face of aggression.

The congress is scheduled to end Wednesday with a final statement.

by Diana Elias
Las Vegas Sun (from AP), 8th October

KUWAIT- Two Kuwaiti gunmen in a pickup truck attacked U.S. forces during war
games Tuesday on an island in the Persian Gulf, killing one Marine and
wounding another before they were shot to death by U.S. troops. Kuwait
called the assault a "terrorist act."

The Pentagon said the assailants pulled up to a group of Marines conducting
urban assault training on Failaka, an uninhabited island off Kuwait's coast,
and opened fire with small arms. They then drove to another site, stopped
and attacked again before being killed by Marines, the Pentagon said.

Marines later found three AK-47s and ammunition inside the vehicle,
according to a statement released in Washington by the Bahrain-based U.S.
Fifth Fleet. It said the injured Marine was hit in the arm.

In a brief statement, the Kuwaiti Interior Ministry condemned the attack and
identified the assailants as Anas al-Kandari, born in 1981, and Jassem
al-Hajiri, born in 1976. It said both were Kuwaiti civilians.

U.S. intelligence has not determined if the attackers had any terrorist
links, said an intelligence official, speaking on the condition of

An Interior Ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity, described
the two men as fundamentalist Muslims. More than 30 of their friends and
relatives were detained for questioning, he said.

"The ministry announces that this is a terrorist act," the Interior Ministry
said in a statement. "It will not allow anyone to undermine the country's

Pentagon spokesman Lt. Daniel Hetlage said the Marines returned to their
ships shortly after the attack, but would resume exercises on the island

Failaka Island, about 10 miles east of Kuwait City, was abandoned by its
inhabitants when Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, and Iraqi forces heavily mined
it during their occupation.

After a U.S.-led coalition liberated Kuwait in the 1991 Persian Gulf War,
the government compensated islanders for their property and resettled them
on the mainland. The island has since been cleared of mines and many
Kuwaitis fish there on weekends. Some former residents visit occasionally.

The shooting attack was unprecedented in Kuwait, a Washington ally since the
Gulf War. More than a decade later, most Kuwaitis remain supportive of the
close relationship.

Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clarke said the two Marines were taken to the
Armed Forces Hospital in Kuwait City, where one of them died of his wounds.
Their names were withheld until relatives were contacted.

The military exercise, dubbed Eager Mace 2002, involves Kuwaitis at some
stages. However, the Pentagon said the attack happened during an exercise
that only involved U.S. forces.

The war games started Oct. 1, after the amphibious transport ships USS
Denver and USS Mount Vernon arrived in Kuwaiti waters and began unloading
1,000 Marines and their equipment. The men and women are from the 11th
Marine Expeditionary unit based in Camp Pendleton, Calif. The vessels' 900
sailors were also taking part in the maneuvers.

The U.S. military has carried out exercises in Kuwait since the Gulf War as
part of a defense agreement the small oil-rich state signed with Washington.
The Pentagon has said the current war games were routine and not related to
any possible war to oust Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

Kuwait opposes any unilateral action against Iraq and fears retaliation with
non conventional weapons if the United States attacks Baghdad. However, it
has said the United States could use its land for an attack if the war is
sanctioned by the United Nations. Muslim fundamentalists are politically
strong in Kuwait. They want Saddam removed from power, but many believe
President Bush's real motives for waging war would be to revive the
foundering U.S. economy and to weaken Arabs out of support for Israel.

Two years ago, Kuwaiti authorities arrested three Kuwaitis they said plotted
attacks on Camp Doha, an army base used by U.S. forces in Kuwait, and on the
homes and cars of Western military personnel.

Scores of Kuwaitis have fought alongside Muslims in Afghanistan, Chechnya
and Bosnia, but they have not attacked Americans in Kuwait - even at the
height of the U.S. war that toppled Afghanistan's Taliban regime. The
Taliban harbored Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida organization, which is blamed
for last year's Sept. 11 attacks in the United States.

When a Canadian man was shot and killed while walking in the street just
after the war in Afghanistan started, it was thought to be in retaliation
against foreigners. A Kuwaiti religious extremist was apprehended and later

Eventually, a group of Filipinos, including the victim's wife, was arrested
and tried for murdering the man for his life insurance. One Filipino was
convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

"I just hope it is not Islamists," former oil minister and lawmaker Ali
al-Baghli said of Tuesday's attack.

Al-Baghli said he hopes the government will clamp down on extremists in the

However, an Islamic fundamentalist leader, Abdul-Razzak al-Shayeji, said
authorities should deal with the shooting as an isolated incident and not
hold all Islamist movements responsible for it.

"There are few jihad fighters (holy warriors) in Kuwait. The Islamic
movement here is moderate," he said.

The U.S. Army prepositions weapons at Camp Doha, located along the Gulf
coast about 12 miles west of Kuwait City. The U.S. Air Force uses two
Kuwaiti bases to patrol the southern no-fly zone over Iraq, which was set up
after the war to protect Iraqi Shiites who rose up against Saddam.

London Evening Standard, 8th October

Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has failed to persuade Egypt to back a new
United Nations resolution on Iraq.

Following talks in Cairo, Egyptian foreign minister Ahmed Maher said there
was "no necessity" for the resolution, for which Britain and the US are
trying to secure international backing and UN Security Council approval.

Egypt was the first stop on Mr Straw's four-day diplomatic mission to the
Middle East to secure the backing of Iraq's neighbours for action to
eliminate Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction.

The Foreign Secretary said his meetings with Egyptian President Hosni
Mubarak and his ministers confirmed that they shared Britain's goal "if at
all possible, to have this resolved by peaceful means".

But Mr Maher made clear Egypt's opposition to the Anglo-American resolution,
which would set out requirements for Saddam to give up any chemical,
biological or nuclear arsenals and authorise military action if he failed to

Security Council permanent members France, China and Russia oppose the
resolution, and chief weapons inspector Hans Blix has said he will not send
his experts to Baghdad until the wrangling in the UN has been settled.

Mr Maher suggested it was better to operate under existing resolutions,
dating back to the end of the Gulf War in 1991.

Mr Straw also discussed proposals for a conference to resurrect the peace
process between Israel and the Palestinians, which Mr Blair wants to take
place before the end of the year.

There was widespread support for the principle of such a gathering, provided
it was held at an "appropriate" time, said Mr Straw, who welcomed Mr Bush's
assurance, during a TV address, that an attack on Iraq was not inevitable.,0005.htm

Hindustani Times, 9th October

Jerusalem, Press Trust of India, October 09: Israel has evidence that Iraqi
President Saddam Hussein has transferred some $15 million in funds to the
families of Palestinian suicide bombers and other militants over the last
two years, Israel's General Intelligence Services (GSS) said.

Evidence of multiple financial transfers from Iraq to the West Bank town of
Ramallah was revealed during the interrogation of the leader of a pro-Iraqi
Palestinian group who was arrested at his Ramallah home last week, the GSS
said in a statement on Tuesday.

Rakat Salem, secretary general of the Arab Liberation Front and a member of
the Palestine National Council, the PLO's parliament-in-exile, was "directly
responsible for the transfer of financial help from Iraq to the families of
suicide bombers", the GSS said.

According to documents seized during Israel's five-week invasion of the West
Bank last spring, Salem was identified as the individual appointed by Iraqi
President Saddam Hussein to distribute financial grants, it said.

Under investigation, Salem said he was in close contact with Iraq's ruling
Baath party and met with Saddam in 2000, during which time they discussed
the situation in the occupied territories.

Since then, Salem said he has managed an estimated sum of about $15 million
which was distributed to the families of suicide bombers and other
militants, and to those wounded during the two-year-old intifada, or
Palestinian uprising.

The sums awarded ranged from $10,000 to the relatives of someone who was
killed, $1,000 to a person who was seriously wounded and $500 to those who
were lightly injured.

BBC, 9th October

Jack Straw has visited Egypt, Kuwait and Jordan

Talk of war against Iraq has already marginalised efforts for Middle East
peace, Iran's leaders have told UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.

Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Karrazzi also argued that American unilateral
policies were causing "deep hatred" in the Islamic world.

The warnings come as Mr Straw continues his four-day tour of the Middle
East, aimed at garnering support for a tough stance against Iraq.

Arab leaders have made clear their disquiet about possible conflict and in
Iran Mr Sraw once again stressed the need for fresh momentum on Middle East
peace efforts.

Speaking after meeting the UK minister, Mr Kharrazi said: "We feel the
beating the drums of war for Iraq has been reason enough for Palestine to
become marginalised.

"This has prepared the ground for Israel to continue its aggressions and its
wants, through military might and through force, to solve the issue of
Palestine to its own aim."

The Iranian foreign minister said he wanted a peaceful resolution to both
the Iraqi crisis and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

He added: "All countries in the Islamic world are against the unilateral
policies of the US.

"This has been reason enough for a deep hatred to be felt throughout Islamic

Mr Straw was anxious to quell fears that tackling the alleged threat posed
by Iraq meant less attention was given to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

But he stressed the biggest threat posed by Saddam Hussein was to
neighbouring countries in the region.

"Iraq is in a league of its own both because of what we know it has
developed, both chemical and biological, and is developing in a nuclear
capacity, and because of what we know of its intentions."

The UK and US were determined to confront build-up of weapons of mass
destruction and not engaged in the "sordid pursuit of oil", added Mr Straw.

The foreign secretary's visit comes after Tehran finally approved London's
nomination for its next ambassador to Iraq.

Earlier in the year, the Iranians had taken the unusual step of turning down
Britain's preferred nominee, David Reddaway.

He had been dubbed a "Jewish spy" by sections of the right-wing Iranian

The man who was later approved, Richard Dalton, will be in Mr Straw's
delegation, eager to take a look at the country where he will be serving
when he arrives officially in some weeks' time.

Before the seven-month breach over Mr Reddaway's nomination, Mr Straw had
already visited Tehran twice after 11 September last year.

Elsewhere on his tour, Mr Straw has been told of Egypt and Jordan's worries
about a possible conflict.

As efforts continued for a new United Nations resolution, Egyptian Foreign
Minister Ahmed Maher warned against "rewriting the rules in the middle of
the game" on weapons inspections.

And a statement from King Abdullah of Jordan said he hoped Iraq's offers on
restarting inspections would help avoid a new Middle East conflict.

Speaking at the end of his talks in Kuwait, Mr Straw said all the nations of
the Middle East realised the "evil" nature of the Baghdad regime.

Kuwaiti army chief of staff Major General Ali Al Moumen said his country was
ready to defend itself.

But its army was limited by its constitution to a defence role, he said.

More welcome has been given to Mr Straw's reassurance about UK commitment to
kick starting Middle East peace efforts.

He has voiced support for the idea of a new peace conference between leaders
in the region "at the appropriate time".{1F558080-604E-4CD6-ADB1

by Peter Goodspeed
National Post (Canada), 10th October

WINNIPEG - For 34 years he was a Crown Prince, who stood a heartbeat away
from power and served as the closest advisor and confidant to his brother,
the late King Hussein of Jordan.

Now, as the world braces for war with Iraq, Prince El Hassan bin Talal of
Jordan is increasingly seen as a possible replacement for Saddam Hussein --
a new King of Iraq -- a man who could almost singlehandedly transform the
face of the Middle East.

Prince Hassan sidestepped diplomatically yesterday in an exclusive interview
with the National Post, saying: "I am not obsessed with red carpet fever."

He sees himself instead as a statesman who has been steeped in the turmoil
of the Middle East for 55 years, a humanitarian who wants to bring peace and
stability to his troubled region, a man who, for decades, has tried to find
understanding among what he calls "the Abrahamic faiths of Judaism,
Christianity and Islam."

"I am always available to anyone who wants an agony aunt," he joked, before
delivering a special lecture on the "Culture of Peace" at the University of

"I don't like to talk about pecking orders and hierarchies and so forth," he
added. "I genuinely am concerned about the future and would like to do
whatever I can to promote the concepts I believe in.

"Obviously, the Iraqis have to decide on their own constituent assembly
arrangements and what the future holds for them is their choice," he said.

It is neither a "yes" nor a "no" about the likelihood of his heading a
rebuilt Iraq. But in the shadowy no man's land of the current crisis, it is
as precise a statement of personal availability as can reasonably be made.
Especially when George W. Bush, the U.S. President, is insisting on "regime
change" in Baghdad, but with no clear indication of who or what might
actually replace Saddam's dictatorship.

That is something that deeply concerns Prince Hassan.

He fears not enough attention is being paid to the possible aftermath of a
war to depose Saddam.

A defeated Iraq could start to disintegrate, he warns, fuelling ethnic and
sectarian violence more horrible than the recent Balkan wars.

A massive military confrontation and loss of life could be just a prelude to
a "scorched earth policy" by Saddam that would make the environmental damage
inflicted on Kuwait during the Gulf War look like child's play, he added.

"My abiding fear is that, as critical as I am of the state system [in Iraq],
the alternative of ethnic and sectarian bloodshed, Balkan-style, from Israel
to India, is too horrifying to contemplate.

"I think how wars end is a very important thing to keep in mind."

He stresses he has opposed the use of force against Iraq since the Gulf War
in 1990. But, he adds, in the end, war may be inevitable.

"A moment comes, quiet clearly, when the irresistible force meets an
immovable object and something has to give," he said. "In the context of the
Arab world, I know the consensus is against the use of force, as it is in
most parts of the world. But President Bush says war is a last resort. There
is still some wiggle room.

"Nevertheless, I think it is very important for the Arab world to make it
very clear to Iraq that, at the end of the day, we have done what we can to
stay the hand of war. But we also have our interests."

In the last four months, since he publicly attended a London conference of
Iraqi exiles who were plotting to overthrow Saddam, Prince Hassan has been
seen as someone uniquely qualified by lineage and experience to serve a
special role in reintegrating a post-Saddam Iraq into the world community.

Just as the United States used former Afghan King Mohammad Zahir Shah to
pull quarrelsome groups of Afghans together in the wake of the overthrow of
the Taliban, Prince Hassan, the elder statesman of the Hashemite royal
family, may be called upon to transcend the ethnic and political cleavages
that are bound to erupt in a post-Saddam Iraq.

In some ways, he offers an elegant solution to the very messy problem of
regime change.

The Prince is a well-respected statesman in the Arab world and a direct
descendant of the Prophet Mohammed, a member of the 42nd generation of the
Hashemite family, which originally served as guardians of Mecca and Medina
and, in the last century, established kingdoms in Syria, Iraq and Jordan.

Only Jordan survives as a Hashemite kingdom. But Prince Hassan's great-uncle
was the founder of modern Iraq and his cousin, King Faisal II, ruled in
Baghdad until 1958, when army rebels slaughtered the 19-year-old ruler and
his family in the first of a long string of bloody coups that ultimately led
to Saddam's dictatorship.

More modest and less flamboyant than his late brother, King Hussein, Prince
Hassan is widely regarded as a man of dignity, knowledge and impeccable

In his 34 years as Crown Prince, he cultivated an international reputation
as a writer, speaker, humanitarian and environmentalist.

Today, three years after King Hussein, on his deathbed, replaced him as
Crown Prince with his own son, the present King Abdullah of Jordan, Prince
Hassan still plays a major role on the international stage. He is president
of the Club of Rome, an advisor to the United Nations High Commissioner for
Refugees, vice-chairman of the Foundation for Interreligious and
Intercultural Research and Dialogue in Geneva, a board member of the Council
on Foreign Relations, founder of Jordan's Royal Scientific Society and the
Arab Thought Forum and president of the Center for Peace Studies and
Conflict Resolution at the University of Oklahoma.

A short barrel of a man, who speaks English like an Oxford don, he is also
fluent in Arabic, Hebrew and French, and can get by in a pinch with Spanish,
German and Turkish.

He has a boisterous laugh, a solemn frown and loves to discuss abstruse
theories in a low, rumbling voice, sprinkling his conversation with quotes
from European philosophers and historians and medieval Muslim scholars.

A man with an intimate knowledge of the cultural, religious and political
issues of the Middle East, his ascension to power in Iraq would put a friend
of the United States in power, help ease tensions with Israel and informally
unite Jordan and Iraq as a counterweight to regional rivals such as Syria,
Iran and Saudi Arabia.

More importantly, a restoration of the old Hashemite monarchy might
forestall Iraq's disintegration and serve as a bridge leading to a more
democratic and inclusive Iraqi state.

"I have been saying this for years and years and years," he says. "Human
dignity, elimination of the role of the military in public life and
recognition of the fact that Iraq itself is a mosaic culturally are all

"I have been in public life for over 54 years, alongside my dead brother,"
he adds.

"I have, I think, acquired a certain working knowledge of the causes of what
has gone wrong in the many parts of our region. To put them right, I think
basically one has to talk not of monarchy or republic, but of people -- of
the need for consensus, for inclusion, for pluralism."{EAECD358-7A60-4CE0-8213

by Matthew Fisher
National Post (Canada), 10th October


Kuwait is a wealthy place where bored young men play a never-ending game of
cat-and mouse with police by drag racing their Rolls Royces, Lamborghinis,
Porsches and BMWs along the Corniche, the waterfront road. A nearby mall is
built on the spot where Iraqis planted land mines in 1991.


The sheikdom is the most deeply conservative of the Gulf mini-states.
Alcohol is forbidden, many women wear veils and magazines such as Time have
photographs and artwork removed if they contain nudity.

But this way of life is under siege from around-the-clock music videos on
television and ultra-luxurious U.S.-style multiplexes and mega-malls where
every Western taste is on display.

A decade ago, teenage Kuwaiti girls were not much seen, especially during
the evening. They all wore black gowns that covered them from head to toe
or, at least, shoulder to toe.

Today, swarms of girls, some with bleached hair and many in tight jeans,
blouses and gaudy lipstick, congregate at cinemas and malls or at fast food
emporiums with names that would be familiar to any Canadian. Teenage boys in
jeans, T-shirts and baseball caps ogle the girls in a mating ritual familiar
to any Westerner.

The only difference is that, until now, they have had little direct
communication, except perhaps by the cellphones they all seem to carry.

When asked, every one of these kids had something mildly or strongly
anti-U.S. to say.

But they never stopped to talk for long. Being caught in the middle of a
clash of civilizations was a frantic experience. There were long corridors
to troll and electronics stores and designer shops to visit with their

"It gets to be too much sometimes," says Abdul Al Rowily, 30, a government
secretary clad in a white dishdasha, the traditional Arab flowing gown.

"If I know the people -- if they are neighbours or friends -- I tell them
they should be more modest. But I cannot say anything to people I don't

Unlike most Kuwaitis, he is firmly opposed to the more or less permanent
presence of about 10,000 U.S. troops at air and army bases in northern
Kuwait, with many more now on their way to begin final preparations to
confront Iraq.

"What is there to like about this? Nothing," he says.

"Yes, Saddam is a dangerous man with a sick mind and capable of anything,
including chemical warfare, but it is for the United Nations, not the U.S.,
to catch him without there being a war.

"I cannot say whether I trust Americans or not, but I can say I don't trust
them in this war. Once it starts, there are no guarantees that Saddam won't
use chemical weapons."

"The media are winding us up with scare talk about chemical weapons," says
Jacoub Al Saleh, whose family business is doing a steady trade in masks and

"Still, having a gas mask still makes sense. Saddam did not use them on us
last time, but you never know what Iraq might do. People read the news and
come to see us because most of the filters on the gas masks in Kuwait
expired several years ago."

Another local firm is offering a US$15,000 Finnish-made tent it claims will
protect up to 10 people from chemical and biological attacks. The only
purchaser so far has put it up in his basement so his family can run inside
if Iraq starts firing Scuds.

Many Kuwaitis with four-wheel drive vehicles struck out across the desert
for Saudi Arabia in 1990, then sat out the war there or in Egypt or Britain.

There have been no signs yet such an exodus will take place this time around
but, unlike during the first war 11 years ago, the civilian airport should
remain open, making such escapes even easier.

"I like Americans a lot, but having so many of them anywhere is a bad
indication because it means a place is not safe," Mr. Al Shamarl says.

"We cannot believe Saddam so we need American help. But that does not mean
we have to like it. My family will probably stay, but we won't decide this
until we know more about what is going to happen."

Associated Press, 10th October

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP)  Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud said Thursday
his country won't participate in any attack on Iraq, but short of that would
cooperate in a U.N. effort to address concerns about Iraq's weapons of mass

Saud also said any action against Iraq should come after the war on
terrorism is finished and the terror networks are destroyed.

Otherwise, "terrorists will be able to utilize the war on Iraq to add to the
number of issues they will raise against the United States and the West,"
the prince said in an interview with The Associated Press.

Saud spoke as speculation is mounting about possible U.S. military action
against Iraq. The U.N. Security Council is debating whether to adopt a new
resolution to toughen U.N. weapons inspections following the Iraqi
government's decision to allow inspectors to return after nearly four years.

Saud said that if the new resolution is based on Chapter 7 of the U.N.
Charter, "then every country is obligated to cooperate with the United
Nations in this."

"This does not mean that every nation is obligated to fight or to use its
territory in the conflict but to follow the objective of the resolution by
the United Nations," added Saud.

Chapter 7 of the charter authorizes the collective use of force, under the
Security Council, in cases of threats to international peace and security.

When asked if Saudi Arabia would send a clear "no" to the United Nations if
it came to the use of its territory in a strike against Iraq, Saud said:

"We are not going to join in the military action, but if the United Nations
takes a decision in this we will cooperate with it."

"We will cooperate with the United Nations actions like every other country,
(but) not as a member of the forces that will be undertaking missions for
the United Nations."

Arab nations uniformly have come out against a U.S. military campaign to
oust Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, even though there is little love
regionally for the Iraqi leader.

Most Arab nations joined the U.S.-led Gulf War coalition that liberated
Kuwait in 1991, with Saudi Arabia inviting U.S. troops to the oil-rich
kingdom to help defend it against Saddam's forces.

Bangladeshi Independent, 11th October

AFP, Tehran, Oct 10: Iran's President Mohammad Khatami has voiced his doubt
over the threat posed by Saddam Hussein, and hit out at the West for
supplying Iraq with chemical arms in the first place, IRNA reported

"There is talk of a foreign invasion of Iraq on the pretext of a campaign
against dictatorship and weapons of mass destruction," Khatami was quoted as
telling visiting British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.

"But is the Baghdad government the only tyrannical government, and is there
a real threat of Iraq using chemical weapons or weapons of mass

"Why then then was Iraq supported the day it invaded our country? Which
powers equipped it with chemical weapons that were used against us and even
its own people?" the normally mild-mannered president was quoted as saying.

Khatami and Straw, who was on the final leg of a four-nation whirlwind
regional tour that also took in Egypt, Jordan and Kuwait, met late on

Accusing US leaders of "arrogance and haste", Khatami warned Straw that
Washington's "political conduct can only result in the strengthening of
extremist movements' activities in the Islamic world." "Iran is opposed to
the launching of a military attack against Iraq," the president said.

"That is Iran's stand, even though we Iranians have suffered great losses
from the Iraqis", he added, referring to the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war. Straw
arrived in Tehran on Wednesday, seeking to sound out Tehran over Iraq but
also getting a firm reprimand over US and Israeli policies. He left Tehran
early Thursday, the British embassy here said.


INSIDE IRAQ,5936,5239946%255E401,0

The Mercury (Australia), 7th October

IRAQI President Saddam Hussein has vowed never to abandon Iraq and the
defence of its independence.

In comments broadcast on state television, Saddam said it was impossible for
him to "renounce the mission of defending the independence of Iraq and leave
it a prey to foreign powers".

"We have accepted (this mission) with joy, and it is impossible to renounce
it and allow the outside world to govern us," he said in a meeting with
Defence Minister Sultan Hashem Ahmad.

Earlier, Baghdad's top diplomat at the United Nations, Mohammed Aldouri,
said Iraq would consider a new UN Security Council resolution on weapons
inspections and allow inspections at sensitive "presidential" sites.

"We are not rejecting any resolutions of the Security Council," he told the
US television network ABC.

The Iraqi government had previously ruled out any new conditions before
weapons inspectors return to Baghdad.

Aldouri said: "I think now the Security Council will go to Baghdad and have
all facilities, feel free to search any site in Iraq, even the sensitive
sites, or so-called presidential sites."

He stressed that Iraq wanted "to finish with this problem so to see the
blockade, the sanctions lifted ... because of one simple reason: We don't
have mass destruction weapons".

by Larry Johnson
Houston Chronicle, 8th October

BASRA, Iraq -- In a small church near the center of this city of 1 million
Muslims, a choir of boys and girls sings in Aramaic, the language of Jesus.

The message is of peace at the service amid talk of war in the world

"We need peace more than everything there is," Archbishop Djibrael Kassab
says after the service. "More than we need bread."

Kassab is leader of Basra's Chaldean Christian community, a minority in this
largely Muslim nation. About 720,000 Christians reside throughout Iraq,
about 3 percent of the population.

"There have always been good relations between Muslims and Christians here,"
Kassab says.

Both Muslims and Christians here find themselves in dire need of bread and
many other things to help them return to a normal life. The people of this
once prosperous southern city on the banks of the Shatt-al-Arab have
suffered from two wars. From 1981 to 1988 the area was at the center of the
war with Iran, which killed or wounded 375,000 Iraqis. The 1991 Persian Gulf
War added to the toll.

Kassab says missile attacks were so bad during much of the Iran-Iraq War
that people had to leave Basra for the countryside. During the Gulf War,
helicopters, jet fighters and missiles attacked the city.

Kassab also says the Gulf War never ended for the people of southern Iraq.
Almost every day there is a bombing by U.S. or British planes enforcing the
southern no-fly zone, he says.

The United States and Britain established the zones after the Gulf War,
citing a need to protect Kurds in the north and Shiites in the south. Iraq
considers the patrols a violation of its sovereignty and frequently shoots
at the planes. In response, U.S. and British pilots strike Iraqi air defense
systems and other targets.

Since 1991, according to a 1999 UNICEF report, 500,000 Iraqis died as an
indirect result of the war. The main reason was waterborne diseases like
typhoid and dysentery brought on by the wartime destruction of Iraq's
electrical infrastructure and subsequent collapse of the water system.

Kassab says that despite some positive signs of improvements in conditions
here -- more paved roads, well-stocked stores, for instance -- U.N. economic
sanctions imposed after the war keep as many as 90 percent of the people
dependent upon the United Nations for food supplies provided under the
Oil-for-Food program.

Kassab also blames the sanctions for the exodus of Christians from Basra.
Christians here have always been few, but they are dwindling rapidly. Before
the Gulf War they numbered about 13,500; just 1,000 families, or about 5,000
people, remain.

He says he is working to develop programs to help families and give them a
reason to stay. He runs a kindergarten, works with the Red Crescent to
distribute food and medicine, and travels to the United States to raise

Much speculation has circulated that if the United States invades Iraq, the
Shiites of southern Iraq would rise up against the minority Sunnis who
control the government. A violent uprising by the Shiites at the end of the
Gulf War, when Saddam's regime was tottering, started in Basra and spread to
other cities. It was soon brutally crushed by Saddam's loyal forces.

Kassab says he does not believe such an uprising would happen now.

"I hope with all my heart that we don't go to war," he says. "But, if it
comes, I think the Shiites and Sunnis will be united. There is a strong
feeling that we are one people."

With most of his extended family living in the United States now, it would
be easy for Kassab to emigrate, but he says he could never leave Basra.

"I like Iraq," Kassab says. "Besides, I am responsible for 1,000 families."

by Steve Chapman
Baltimore Sun, 8th October

CHICAGO -- He's a megalomaniac who has weapons of mass destruction and
dreams of conquest.

If left alone, he is bound to shatter the stability of the Middle East and
the world.

Anyone who expects him to behave rationally is deluded.

He's so reckless and warlike that there's no telling what he might do.

No, I'm not talking about George W. Bush. I'm talking about Saddam Hussein,
as portrayed these days by those advocating war with Iraq. They claim we
must act now to keep him from getting nuclear warheads and other weapons of
mass destruction.

Skeptics, including myself, reply that he would never use those weapons
against us because he knows we would obliterate his regime and his country.
The administration's supporters insist that though our nuclear arsenal was
enough to contain Josef Stalin and Mao Tse-tung, it can't deter the Iraqi

Why not? Because Mr. Hussein, writes former CIA analyst Kenneth Pollack in
The New York Times, "is often unintentionally suicidal -- that is, he
miscalculates his odds of success and frequently ignores the likelihood of
catastrophic failure. ... Mr. Hussein is a risk-taker who plays dangerous
games without realizing how dangerous they truly are."

So we hear wild scenarios for what a nuclear-armed Mr. Hussein would do. He
might set off a nuclear device in New York City. He might slip one to
al-Qaida. Or he might invade a neighboring country and then threaten to
incinerate any nation that tries to force him out.

The indictment of Mr. Hussein is based on such crazy episodes as his
decision to start a war with Iran in 1980 and his 1990 invasion of Kuwait.
Both look like mistakes today. But in each case, Mr. Hussein had rational
motives for what he did -- and had good reason to think he would succeed.

Iraq had a longstanding border dispute with Iran, and when the radical
Ayatollah Khomeini gained power in Iran, he tried to incite his fellow
Shiite Muslims in Iraq to overthrow Mr. Hussein. An Iranian-backed group
tried to assassinate Mr. Hussein's foreign minister.

Mr. Hussein went to war because he saw his survival threatened by a powerful
enemy, not because he had any messianic drive to conquer Iran.

In military terms, Mr. Hussein eventually won the war at great cost and
gained some concessions from Iran.

One key to his success was using chemical weapons -- more supposed proof of
his lunacy.

But Mr. Hussein was a U.S. ally at the time, and Washington continued to
provide help even after the gas attack.

For that matter, as Newsweek reports, the Reagan administration approved the
sale of bacteria cultures that "could be used to make biological weapons,
including anthrax."

If he was out of his mind, why didn't we notice it then?

Nor does his behavior in Kuwait suggest dementia. Why did he invade? Because
he was angry at Kuwait for pumping too much oil, which kept prices low and
crippled his efforts to rebuild Iraq's ruined economy after the war with
Iran -- and because the United States had indicated it didn't care about

When the first President Bush vowed to force him out, Mr. Hussein was
surprised -- as were most Americans, who had never anticipated going to war
for an obscure Arab monarchy.

The Iraqi dictator refused to budge because it wasn't clear until very late
in the game that the United States was truly willing to fight a full-scale
war. He made a losing wager, but it's not hard to imagine things turning out

Mr. Hussein would stop at nothing to keep himself in power. That explains
his attacks on Iran and Kuwait.

But it also explains why he would never dare to use weapons of mass
destruction against us, unless he were going to be destroyed regardless.

If he were suicidal, he would have unleashed his chemical and biological
weapons during the Persian Gulf war -- which he very rationally chose not to

Yet today, the Bush administration and its supporters insist we must go to
war because Mr. Hussein can't be deterred from doing the very thing he has
already been deterred from doing. If you're looking for a leader who's
disconnected from reality, you don't need to go to Baghdad.

(Steve Chapman is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune, a Tribune Publishing
newspaper. His column appears Tuesdays in The Sun.)

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