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News titles, 11-18/10/02 Apologies for the late mailing. Last week saw the open session of the 'United Nations' Security Council which gave the real world (as opposed to the oligarchy that squats on top of it in the 'United Nations' Security Council) a chance to make its voice heard. If the very few reports I saw in the press are anything to go by the world had almost nothing of any interest to say. Rather reminiscent of the Lib Dem and Labour conferences - a chance to launch a clearly defined opposition to the Oligarchy was lost. Some shreds of such a thing do seem to exist in South Africa and Malaysia but hardly anywhere else - not even, it seems, Venezuela, where Hugo Chavez seems to have been chastened by his brush with US sponsored violence (for more on this see 'Hugo's Crude Common Ground With America' in Time, 12th October - http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,364314,00.html). Closer to Iraq, there is the Turkish military build-up (denied this week) in Iraqi Kurdistan. One of the most important articles in what follows is 'Kurdistan's fighting men feeling abandoned by their protector', on the US refusal to provide their Kurdish allies with the means to defend themselves. Also worthy of note is the analysis of Khidr Hamza's credibility as a nuclear weapons specialist in ' Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction: A Net Assessment'. Oh. And there was also the Iraqi election/referendum. About which I have nothing to say. So far as I can see it was as ridiculous as it appears to have been and therefore surprising from a government which has, I believe, handled a horrendously difficult situation with some skill. I can only see it as having been an excuse for a party. NEWS, 11-18/10/02 (1) THE SIDE OF THE ANGELS * Turkish doctors stage strike in protest of US war on Iraq * Dozens Arrested in San Francisco Anti-War Protest * Thousands in Paris Protest Iraq War * 30,000 rally against war with Iraq [in Melbourne, Australia] * Opposition over Iraq takes rise via the Net [Organising international anti-war solidarity on the web.] * Actor Sean Penn Lashes Bush Over Iraq War Drums FORCES OF DARKNESS (see also White Man's Burden) * Rumsfeld's makes military guidelines for Iraq * Bush's Road to War on Iraq Leads to Rome's Empire, and Its Downfall [List correspondent Brian Auten won't like this much because it doesn't give a lot of evidence, but I think it captures the spirit of the thing.] * Wolfowitz Rebuts Concerns About War Against Saddam [Wolfowitz argues that Saddam should be attacked now because he doesn't have weapons of mass destruction (yet) and because the necessary head of steam has already been worked up.] UNITED KINGDOM * Cook Gives Pledge on Iraq Vote WORLD (see also 'United Nations' Security Council) * Action Against Iraq Must Be Based On Evidence - Najib [Malaysian defence minister] * [Malaysian Prime Minister] Mahathir warns attack on Iraq could lead to N-terrorism * 'Paying price' for Iraq policy [Australia, in Bali] * Malaysia calls for urgent OIC [Organisation of the Islamic Conference] meeting on Iraq * Iraq keen to buy 0.5m tons more wheat [from Pakistan] * Church head blames bombing on Australia's stance on Iraq AND, IN NEWS, 11-18/10/02 (2) WHITE MAN'S BURDEN * Radical Shias are a worry for Bush as well as Saddam * U.S. Changes Gulf War Pilot's Status [See comment on 'A grim reminder of Iraq's tawdry evil' in Mideast section] * Toward a human disaster [Possible humanitarian aid consequences of the invasion] * How we'll fight [New weapons of mass destruction will ensure the total invulnerability of US forces and total elimination, within a very short period of time, of the enemy. No reason to enter Baghdad since it can be starved into submission. Leaving ' the enemy' with no alternative (though the author deos not spell this out) to the method of surprise terrorist attack aimed against soft targets.] * The war debate: Peter Bouckaert [Peter Bouckaert of Human Rights Watch, not someone who objects in principle to US military interventions (HRW played an important role in the war on Serbia) thinks the intervention in Iraq could be very bloody and nasty.] * War against Iraq will hurt global economy: Stiglitz [It appears that 'a war of total mobilization with huge expenditures', such as the Second World War 'helped the world out of global deflation and had a positive impact on the world economy' ... 'But a war on Iraq was likely to involve fewer people and less expenditure' and this will have a bad effect on the world economy. If ever I manage to understand this I will feel I have mastered something of very great importance.] * Why the odds on war in Iraq are just one in three [Anatole Kaletsky argues that the UN gambit is working and will hold the war off until next Autumn, when, according to his argument, it becomes very likely. Meaning we have to go through all this nonsense all over again?] * The Fifty-first State? [Very long reflection on the problems of a post-Saddam era in Iraq. Most of it is expressing doubt if the US is able or willing to assume the responsibilities. I have just retained the end of the article when he lets the men of faith (mainly James Woolsey. It seems a long time since we've had him in our sights) have their say. One interesting aspect of their contribution is the conviction that the overall result of the catastrophic wars of the twentieth century - including the First World War - is positive.] URL ONLY: http://alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=14317 * Marine General Speaks Out Against Bush's War Plans by Eric Boehlert Salon.com, 17th October [Lengthy interview with Anthony Zinni who thinks nonetheless that Saddam is going to have to be taken out sometime, thus leaving himself open to the Wolfowitz retort, why wait until he's got his weapons of mass destruction. However, it is remarkable to hear him say: 'I will tell you that in my time, I never saw anything come out of fighting that was worth the fight.'] NO FLY ZONES * Airstrikes Focus on Key Iraq Air Base [Tallil air base, a frequent target. Rare attempt at an in-depth examination of bombing raids. Another target, 'H-3', near Jordan, is also discussed.] * U.S., British Jets Strike Iraq Air Defenses [Tuesday, 15th October, Al Kut] AND, IN NEWS, 11-18/10/02 (3) INSIDE IRAQ * British war cemeteries desecrated by Iraqis [But for the way in which we respect the enemy dead read 'A grim reminder of Iraq's tawdry evil' in the Middle East section.] * Saddam sure of victory in exuberant Iraqi poll * Saddam's man says: it [the Bali bombing] serves you [Australia] right [The headline and first paragraph in Paul McGeough's article is an irresponsible distortion of a perfectly reasonable argument by 'Abdul Al-Hashimi, a former Iraqi ambassador and a Saddam confidante.'] * Iraq's last Jews wait in fear for war IRAQIS OUTSIDE IRAQ * Iraqi Exiles Nurture Dreams in London [Record of an enterprising journalist's trip into the furthest reaches of Westbourne Grove.] * Jews forge ties with Iraqi dissidents ['Chalabi told the JINSA (Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs) audience last week that Saddam is the source of all terrorism in the Middle East ...'] NORTHERN IRAQ/SOUTHERN KURDISTAN * Iraqi Arabs Leaving Kirkuk for Fear of U.S. Offensive: Paper * Turkish premier says Kurds dragging Turkey to war [and that the Kurds are being 'directed' by the US.] * Turkey has sleepless nights over Kurdish fox, Iraqi hen house [Problems posed for Turkey by its own forthcoming elections, the invasion of Iraq, and the reappearance of the Kurdish parliament.] * Kurdistan's fighting men feeling abandoned by their protector [They have received nothing by way of military aid. And one should bear in mind that, being subject to the same sanctions as the rest of Iraq, they've probably been having some difficulty obtaining military equipment by other means. By encouraging them to form a parliament the Americans are encouraging them to provoke Turkey while at the same time depriving them of the means to defend themselves. Somehow this story has a familiar ring to it. Doesn't it suggest ... Bosnia in about 1992? (Congratulations anyway to The Scotsman for drawing attention to this)] * Barham Saleh: Iraq is divided ethnically and religiously [The PUK Prime Minister gives the impression that the Syrian government is quite supportive of 'Kurdistan'.] * Some 10,000 Turkish soldiers deployed in North Iraq, Ankara to establish security belt * Iraqi Kurdish [Barham Saleh] leader makes his case ["the Kurdish people are one nation Š but we have been divided for decades, and I think people have come to acknowledge and realize that this is our fate."] * Kurdish leader [Barzani] wants Turkish troops out of Iraq AND, IN NEWS, 11-18/10/02 (4) 'UNITED NATIONS' SECURITY COUNCIL * Putin demands proof over Iraqi weapons * Saddam Could Revoke Access [to weapons inspectors, 'if it deems Washington is manipulating them'] * New Iraqi letter vows to ease inspection hurdles * Palaces flashpoint in war of nerves [by Paul McGeough: 'It seems the US insistence on getting into the palaces is as much about sullying symbols of the regime as it is about denying Saddam his weapons of mass destruction.'] * Bush Corleone: "Saddam Hussein sleeps with the fishes" [Jeremy Scahill points out the similarity between the proposed 'UN' resolution and the Rambouillet Ultimatum imposed on Serbia. Both amount to occupation and the surrender of sovereignty (and both are clearly of the same family as the Austrian ultimatum given to Serbia in 1914, not to mention the German ultimatum to Czechoslovakia in 1939.] * Iraq Did Not OK All Inspection Rules - UN's Blix [Among much else, Blix does not like the idea of ' allowing key council members to join inspections and choose the sites and using troops to clear any roadways Iraq might block for inspections.'] * Congress puts UN in the dock: Bush's Iraq obsession ['"The ability to have our own people on inspections teams, and not just a bunch of UN bureaucrats" is not open to discussion, said a senior administration official closely involved in Iraq planning.' Mainly about the debate between pro-UN and anti-UN factions in the US. Its difficult to believe that the pro UN elements ever thought Bush's appeal to the UN was much more than a device for getting Iraq's neighbours on board. A device which, for the moment, doesn't seem to be working.] * Non-Aligned Countries Urge UN to Refrain From Using Force Against Iraq [Extract giving Kofi Annan informing the UN Security Council that 'Iraq's 11-year defiance of council resolutions posed "one of the gravest and most serious" challenges to the UN today'. Who is he trying to fool?] URLs ONLY: http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/nyt/20021015/ts_nyt/u_s__fren ch_split_on_iraq_deepens * U.S.-French Split on Iraq Deepens by JULIA PRESTON with ERIC SCHMITT Yahoo, from The New York Times, 15th October [The article mentions that one of the sticking points is 'Washington's proposals for security guards from other countries for the inspectors and for the Council powers to attach their own experts to the United Nations weapons teams.'] http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/w-me/2002/oct/15/101504162.html * Iraq Accord Eludes Security Council by Edith M. Lederer Las Vegas Sun (from AP), 15th October [And this article tells us that 'Diplomats said they believe a U.S. resolution with any language that could authorize force would likely be opposed by France, Russia, China, Syria, Ireland, Mexico, Cameroon, Guinea and probably Mauritius - which means it would get a maximum of only six or seven "yes" votes.' http://www.nytimes.com/2002/10/17/international/middleeast/17NTEX.html * In the Council: Pleas for Unity and a Debate on Resuming Arms Inspections The New York Times, 17th October [One of the very few accounts of the open session of the UN Security Council, a chance for the united nations to make their voices heard. I would like to have been able to think this was an important event but if the extracts given here (in a rather long article) are anything to judge by it was an opportunity thrown to the winds. Everyone agrees that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction are an important problem (more important than the very visible preparations one nation is making for an illegal war and the announcement by that nation that illegal war - pre-emptive defence - is a matter of policy); that Iraq, while under threat of imminent invasion, must let the weapons inspectors crawl all over them; that a new tough resolution is needed and that it should all be done through the United Nations Security Council. The day when the united nations will finally get round to challenging the 'United Nations' is still far off.] LEGITIMATE MEANS OF SELF DEFENCE * Co-chair of Belarus-Iraq trade commission replaced * Iraq seeks chemical for arms [Possibility that China might be selling Iraq 'a chemical used in making missile fuel'. Given that Iraq is allowed to possess a certain limited missile capacity, is this illegal? And what is the distinction between 'Chinese arms proliferation activities' and the export of arms which is such a very important part of our own and the US economy?] * 'Radar sale to Iraq' inquiry opens [Suspicion that the Ukraine might have helped to provide Iraq with the means to defend itself - quite legal means so far as I know - leads the US to suspend $55 million of 'aid' (though 'aid' to the private sector remains unaffected).] * Ukraine Sites Checked in Iraq Probe [This and the following article are based on the proposition that Iraq has no right to acquire any means of self defence, a UN sanction which, if it is true, clearly obliges the Iraqi government to engage in 'illegal' activity (as it obliged the Germans in the twenties. The spectacle of US and British weapons experts crawling all over the Ukraine strikes me - am I alone? - as being a quite outrageous violation of national sovereignty. Or does no-one believe in national sovereignty any more?] * Friends Can Bust Sanctions [An account of the process by which Iraq has been able to acquire some limited means of self defence. Russia has played an important part. Everyone knows about this and has agreed to hush it up. 'However, if in the coming days Moscow vetoes a U.S.-sponsored anti-Saddam resolution in the UN Security Council, some major Western media outlet may come out with an anti-Russian arms smuggling scoop. If Russia abstains, Kuchma and Lukashenko may remain as the only ones in the dock.'] AND, IN NEWS, 11-18/10/02 (5) WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION * Film Probes German-Iraq Nuclear Link * Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction: A Net Assessment [Interesting, informative, important but very long review of Khidr Hamza's book and of the Government's 'dossier' by someone who appears to know a great deal at least about the nuclear side of things. I only give extracts (mainly to do with Hamza) but the whole article is well worth reading.] * North Korea has what Iraq dreams of [North Korea's possession of nuclear weapons as an argument for war on Iraq and against 'appeasement' of third world dictators.] * U.S. Approaches to N. Korea And Iraq Are Vastly Different [Diplomatic approach to North Korea as possible model for dealing with Iraq. The difference as everyone knows is that North Korea possesses nuclear weapons, Iraq doesn't. The US have shown the world that possession of nuclear weapons is the necessary prerequisite of national sovereignty.] MIDDLE EAST/ARAB WORLD * A grim reminder of Iraq's tawdry evil [This disgusting article starts with a graphic description of the massacre we committed on the road to Basra which, the author says, he saw with his own eyes. He then goes on to say in effect that the miserably poor, largely Shi'i conscripts surrounded by the ostentatious wealth of Kuwait, deserved what they got because they had been ... looting. The article does confirm what I've long supposed, and I've never understood why no-one has made an issue of it: that they were denied what I had thought was their right under the Geneva convention, a proper burial: 'Many hundreds of Iraqis who died at Al Mutla were buried beneath what is now a border police parking lot at the top of the ridge.' And these are the people who complain about 'mass graves' in Kosovo and Bosnia. Any effort to identify these 'many hundreds of Iraqis'? to notify their families?? And anyone going to mention it when the possible fate of Scott Speicher is lifted up to the status of casus belli???] * Bahrain calls for Arab summit to discuss Iraq crisis [Bahrain has been touted as a US ally but this is quite tough talk from the Bahraini prime Minsiter: '"The continuous threats (by the U.S.) to wage war in this vital region was not intended to enforce the return of the UN weapons inspectors to Iraq but to dominate this Arab country," he said, urging all GCC and Arab countries to come forward to stop any further deterioration.'] * UN's Iraq decision not binding, says Prince [Prince Sultan of Saudi Arabia says that even with a UN resolution, Saudi Arabia wouldn't be obliged to participate in a war with Iraq]. * Saudi Arabia won't take part in Iraq attack: Saudi FM [Prince Saud, in Algeria, reinforcing the recent declaration by Prince Sultan.] * Syria expects U.S. to launch attack on Iraq ["Syria is opposed to this strike because Iraq is a sisterly country and there are no justifications for such an attack. Unfortunately, the United States, backed by Israel, has aborted all peaceful efforts because they want to crush any Arab country which possesses large resources and elements of power." Which is fine. But it was equally true eleven years ago.] * War Games Held in Southern Jordan ['the government stressed the exercise had nothing to do with preparations for a possible U.S. attack on Iraq' though conducting war games with forces that are preparing for war on a neighbouring state is not a neutral act.] * Key US headquarters move to Kuwait * Qatar Opposes Any U.S. War on Iraq, Considering Bases [though if they were really opposed one wouldn't think the process of consideration would take very long.] * Iraq accuses Iran of 53 ceasefire violations _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. 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