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News titles, 25/10-1/11/02 By far the most important article this week is Ramzi Kysia's 'Busting Sanctions - Nutrition in Iraq' (Inside Iraq below. It need hardly be said it did not appear in the USUK press). It describes the huge efforts that have been made in Iraq to overcome the effect of sanctions, and the disastrous consequences a war will have if, like the last war, it targets the infrastructure that has been put in place with so much difficulty. Other than that, expectations that the dispute in the UN Security Council would be resolved this week were disappointed. The point at issue, it seems to me, has not been described very well in the press. Essentially the US government wishes to be the sole judge of whether or not Iraq is in breach of the requirements of the UN Security Council. They wish to assume the prerogatoves of the UNSC in the same way that the President of the United States has assumed the prerogatives of Congress. From the simple point of view of the dignity of the 'international community', as currently understood, the demand is outrageous and France is quite right to resist it. This resistance does not, alas, imply a principled opposition to war on Iraq. It is reasonable to assume (see the article by Jacques Almaric in the UN section below) that if France holds good on this principle it will have exhausted its powers of resistance and, if it comes to a second resolution - for war - it will agree quite easily. Many papers picked up a notion that the chief weapons inspector, Hans Blix, had given moral support to the US position. My reading (see 'Inspectors back tough line', in the UN section) is that his position, discreetly expressed, coincides almost exactly with the French position. He is and wishes to remain a servant of the Council, not of the US; and he does not want his own personal judgement to serve as an automatic trigger for war. NEWS, 25/10-1/11/02 (1) INSIDE IRAQ * Iraq Denies Expelling Reporters [It seems that the issue turns on the expiry date of limited period visas.] * A Place of Tears [Account of visit to the Amarijah bomb shelter.] * Bred in brutality, Saddam clings to power through bribery, intimidation and the oil card [Attempt by US Middle East specialist Jere Bacharach to understand Saddam Hussein's political motives, concluding that, although war may be necessary, the conditions at present are not right. He makes the important point that: 'Every ruler of Iraq since Britain created the monarchy in the 1920s has followed parallel policies, with Saddam being the most ruthless in carrying them out.'] * Iraqis leery of US role if Saddam goes [Includes a more than usually accurate account of the effects of sanctions in an article apparently carried by the Los Angeles Times and Washington Post.] * Iran blames Iraq for border fires ['huge fires which are reported to be burning large areas of the former marshland'] * Iraq Most Spiritually Hungry Nation in Middle East [You do learn interesting things from the US evangelical Christian press: '"I know two Bible organizations that distributed a half million New Testaments to the government schools in Iraq, and the government of Iraq allowed them to be distributed in the schools," Nelson says. "You can't do that in the United States," he says.'] * Baghdad wants media to monitor arms inspectors [which rather interestingly complements the Murdoch press's proposal to televise the inspections (see under UN Matters below). Though we might question if Fox News can really be regarded as either 'independant' or 'neutral'.] * Iraq's Major Contract for Power Generators Released from Hold [Apparently this is to reconnect Erbil and Sulaymaniyah to the national grid. There must be a story behind this, shurely ...] * Iraqi Children Get Final Polio Shot * Saddam's shop of horrors [Account of book by Kenneth Pollack on cruelty of Saddam Hussein. Anyone know the source of the story that as a child he used to impale animals on white hot pokers? (sounds to me like German soldiers tearing the limbs off Belgian babies in 1914)] * Iraq's Shiites Pledging Loyalty [sincerely or not as the case may be. The article doesn't mention it but the Shi'i tradition does have a well established principle, perfectly reasonable given the conditions of oppression they have long suffered, that lies can lawfully told under duress.] * Busting Sanctions - Nutrition in Iraq [Among much else in Ramzi Kysia's imensely valuable article is the recognition that the Iraqi government 'distribution of food, to 24 million people on a monthly basis for over 12 years, is one of the most massive, logistical operations in world history.' I have often thought this must be the case but this is the first time I've ever seen it put down in print.] AND, IN NEWS, 25/10-1/11/02 (2) SIDE OF THE ANGELS * The Voices of Conscience Must Be Heard on Iraq [Interesting on the state of mind of senators who voted for the resolution authorising war on Iraq, hoping (but can they really have imagined such a thing?) that to strengthen Bush's hand would make war less likely.] * 'Corrections' author [Jonathan Franzen] attacks Blair's stance on Iraq war * Americans rally against war in Iraq ['Tens of thousands'. The article also mentions the death of anti-war congressman, Paul Wellstone.] * Europeans Rally Against War in Iraq * U.S. pacifist group stages Saddam rally in Baghdad [John Burns, of the New York Times, sneers at a Voices in the Wilderness demonstration in Baghdad. Kathy Kelly is singled out for particular contempt. Referring to her campaigning against sanctions he says blandly: 'Those sanctions, greatly eased, remain in place as part of a U.S.-led effort to force Iraq to allow weapons inspections.'] * Retiring Archbishop of Canterbury speaks against war with Iraq [The term 'spiritual leader of the world's 70 million Anglicans' somehow doesn't feel quite right for Dr Carey ...] * Thousands March In San Francisco Against War In Iraq * Wellstone Looms Large at St. Paul Peace Rally * Thousands Descend on Capital to Condemn Iraq War [Apparently good report of Saturday's Washington demo] * Artist calls for "Silent Protest" on Iraq [Bill Drummond, formerly of The Justified Ancients of Mu-Mu, aka the KLF. £1m might have come in useful at the present time.] * Weapons of mass illusion [Short interview with H. von Sponeck] * Iraq protesters halt [Welsh] assembly debate ['What is perhaps harder to understand is why the protesters demonstrated on Wednesday - the day after AMs debated the possibility of war with Iraq.' And what is even harder to understand is that no report on this Welsh Assembly debate on Iraq seems to have found its way through to me, here in Wales (I tried the BBC Wales website but couldn't find anything)] * 1,500 join war protest [in Edinburgh] URL ONLY: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/features/30_10_02_a.htm * New book lists US crimes against Iraqis by Ramsay Short Daily Star, Lebanon, 30th October [Review of Geoff Simons: Targeting Iraq: Sanctions & Bombing in US Policy, Saqi Books] IRAQI OPPOSITION * Shia exile ready to end Iraq's 'nightmare' [This article and the next are two accounts of the Shia religious/political leader Ayatollah Sayed Mohammad Baqr al-Hakim, a man who could become very powerful if Iraq really does become democratic (probably one of the reasons why C.Powell, for example, isn't keen on the idea). The two articles, from The Times and The Independent, seem to describe the same event but the second version, from The Independent, locates it much more clearly in the context of militant Iranian Shi'ism. The Times informs us that the US has promised Hakim's brother that they would withdraw the moment President Hussein is overthrown: '"They should stay not a month, not a week, not a day," he said. "We told the Americans in Washington that we would not agree to a military or even an imposed government." Promises to this effect had been made to a brother at a meeting of Iraqi opposition forces in Washington in August. The exact nature of these promises are unclear.'] * Subtle performance from the pretender to Saddam's throne AND, IN NEWS, 25/10-1/11/02 (3) UN MATTERS (sort of) * American empire is facing a potential challenge [Patrick Seale, in the Lebanon Daily Star, suggests that what we are seeing in the UN Security Council is the possible emergence of a 'bipolar' world, with Europe and Russia forming a counterweight to the US (Europe of course being 'shamefully' weakened by Britain). He gives a rather starry-eyed vision of the ideals of Jacques Chirac and finishes by saying that, agreeable as this bipolar world might be, there is still a large part of the world - Arabs, for example - that doesn't fit into it.] * China backs France on Iraq resolution * US-British strategy on Iraq close to collapse [The forces of darkness have 'Bulgaria, Colombia, Norway and Singapore ... Russia, China, France and Syria do not support the present US-British text. The swing votes are Cameroon, Ireland, Guinea, Mauritius and Mexico.' Mexico seems decidedly against. But what is inhibiting France and Russia from simply using their veto?] * Televised inspections sought [Fox News wants to send in its cameras with the inspectors.] * Inspectors Back Tough Line on Iraq [Blix is quoted as saying "Yes, I think it is desirable that Iraq understands that any lack of cooperation or violation of the provisions of the resolution will call for reactions on the part of the council." This actually corresponds to the French position not the US position which is that it will call for reactions on the part of the US.] * End-game for France ['A French veto would almost certainly contribute to the decline of the Security Council as a respected, influential entity.' Though one suspects that the National Post doesn't have much respect for the Security Council or have much time for its influence. And, obnoxious as this anti-French screed is, let us admit that they've got a point when they remind us that France went along with the war in Kosovo despite the lack of a 'United Nations' resolution.] * Bush urges Blix to stay firm on Iraq inspections * France is defending global order [This is actually an ironically written French anti-Chirac - and rather pro-Blair - article, which suggests that, in Chirac's view of things, when (I repeat, when) there is a row over the inspectors and the issue comes back to the UNSC, France will prove to be accommodating. The author, Jacques Amalric, is a very shady character in French politics and I would not rule out the possibility that this apparently independent article is a coded message from the French political establishment to the establishments of USUK.] SERIOUS CONSEQUENCES * Iraq War 'Will Increase Risk of Terror Attacks' [according to a 'report, by Paul Rogers, professor of peace studies at Bradford University'] * Oil Companies Weigh Up Future in Iraq [The article ends with the interesting tidbit that hopes for a big killing for Western companies in Kuwait were dashed when the Kuwaiti parliament voted to keep them out. Perhaps the Kuwaitis aren't so bad after all ...] * Does the Arab World Want Something Better? ['The Arab world is in a disastrous state of its own making.' But, as Paul Wolfowitz, that man with a heart of gold, believes, we can help them out of their parlous state so long as we possess the 'moral clarity' which characterised Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher with regard to the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, which are now, thanks to our efforts, 'places of democracy, free markets and peace'. To think that Arabs might want anything other than the state of perfection that has been achieved by us is to insult them racially. All that's missing from this rosy picture is any notion of the long bloody history of massacre and conquest and torture that lies behind the apparent perfection and happiness we, the superior people of the world, are all enjoying at the present time.] * U.S. Military Creates Deep Biometric Database Oct. 29, 2002 ["We're trying to collect every biometric on every bad guy that we can" They expect Iraq, once they enter into it, to yield a rich supply of bad guy biometric data.] * U.N. Members- Trying to Weaken Saddam Sanctions Will Pay Later [William Safire evokes the joy and happiness that will flow to everyone (except the bad guys, Russia, France and China) if the US liberates Iraq without the benefit of a UN resolution. And the beauty of it is that the happy liberated Iraqis will be able to pay for it all out of oil. Incidentally I haven't yet seen William Safire's apology for his efforts to promote the Prague Al Qaida story. But one can't catch everything and perhaps I missed it.] * US warned not to seize control of Iraqi oil [by 'the chief executive of BP, Lord Browne'] AND, IN NEWS, 25/10-1/11/02 (4) PRIVATE ENTERPRISE INITIATIVES * Saddam and the Yugoslav link [Apparently quite detailed account. The most sensible remark comes from President Kostunica: "When we came to power in October 2000, we knew very well what state of affairs we had inherited. We know today, as we did then, that we were under sanctions for 10 years and that the economy, despite the sanctions, had to function somehow. Therefore it is mean and hypocritical for anyone to pretend to be extremely surprised and almost offended because someone in all likelihood - and in this case it is Yugoimport - violated UN sanctions by continuing old practices." There is no hint that any of this involves 'weapons of mass destruction'. The real scandal is that the sanctions have not allowed Iraq to maintain its perfectly legitimate need for self defence, leaving it totally unprotected in the face of foreign aggression.] * Bosnian officials quit over Iraq sales * Cigarette Business Good for the Sons of Saddam * EU sues R.J. Reynolds, claims smuggling aids Iraq [It appears that the attempt to prevent a tobacco-addicted people from access to tobacco has - to everyone's surprise and righteous indignation - resulted in a great increase in the amount of criminal activity. But how fortunate it is that the tobacco in question transitted through Kurdistan via the PKK (bad guys) and not via the KDP and PUK (good guys)] IRAQI/MIDDLE EASTERN-ARAB WORLD RELATIONS * Hope Fades for Kuwaiti POWs in Iraq [But it is difficult to take the Kuwaitis seriously when they continue to insist on the presence of USUK representatives at discussions on the POW issue.] * U.S. Brass in Saudi Amid Lingering Iraq Tension * Ar'ar border between Iraq, Saudi Arabia opens Wednesday * Returning back Kuwaiti archive to complete by Wednesday * Pakradouni [leader of the Lebanese Phalange Party] accepts invitation to visit Baghdad [Impressive to learn that the Christian Phalange Party still exists under Syrian occupation.] * Iraq yet to return national archive says Kuwait [Kuwaitis claim the material they've received is relatively trivial] * Washington officially asks for using the Saudi bases * Prince Hassan in Ankara to discuss the Iraqi issue [This is included just to record the continuing speculation that CP Hassan could be the next ruler of Iraq.] * Increasingly, Turkey fears attack on Iraq * Allied flotilla, with Iran's aid, cuts flow of illegal Iraqi oil [thus further reducing the possibilities ordinary Iraqis might have to live independent of government handouts. The shameful role of Iran is here described with admiration. The article boasts that 'The tighter embargo has proved so effective that it has even halted much of Iraq's export of dates, a valued commodity in the Gulf that pound for pound fetches a higher price than oil.'] * Iraq says return of Kuwaiti national archives completed [This may develop into a nasty little story of its own. The Kuwaitis claim that Iraq hasn't restored the important documents which may (I speculate) include documents the Kuwaitis believe validate their right to exist as a separate state.] LIFE AS USUAL * Lebanon, Iraq ink deal on standards [On the quality of goods imported by Iraq under its 'free trade' agreement with Lebanon.] * European firms to join Iraq trade fair * Thais crush Iraq to move into semi-finals [of Asian five-a-side football championship] * More Than 100 Turkish Firms To Attend 35th International Baghdad Fair * UK company backs Iraq at Baghdad fair AND, IN NEWS, 25/10-1/11/02 (5) IRAQI/INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS * KL Pleased With US Explanation On Iraq - Syed Hamid [Kuala Lumpur, capital of Malaysia. One can only think that in this case they're easily pleased.] * Germany's Fischer Says U.S. Wrong to Focus on Iraq * German Foreign Minister Visits U.S. [Fischer 'flatly ruled out Germany contributing troops to any attack on Iraq but said legal commitments to the United States left open the possibility of playing a supporting role.' The election is over so the opinions of the German populace don't matter any more and things can get back to normal.] NORTHERN IRAQ/SOUTHERN KURDISTAN * Some 35 Kurdish parties discuss Iraq's constitution [but the Turkmen party is excluded] * Illegal oil lines Saddam's pockets [This is an unpleasant article. Unpleasant because it is written to discredit the oil 'smuggling' to Turkey which is, among much else (see Ramzi Kysia's article in the Inside Iraq section), a lifeline for the Kurds, at least those who live in KDP-held territory. The article does say that its their only possible economic activity. Why so? Because of sanctions. But the article doesn't say that.] URL ONLY: http://cgi.wn.com/?action=display&article=16435548&template=baghdad/indexsea rch.txt&index=recent * Business Is Growing in Kurdish Iraq The Associated Press, 27th October ['"See what we can do with freedom? I can see a bright future," said Mohammad Ismail Jamil, owner of Matbax, a fast-food restaurant that mimics McDonald's right down to a rip off of the golden arches logo.'] MILITARY MATTERS (a great deal ...) * Armed forces call up medics as Britain goes on a war footing [Going on to discuss the more general situation, the article tells us: 'Yesterday the Kuwaiti government announced that it was sealing off a vast area of the country so that US military manoeuvres can be expanded ... The area sealed off is the equivalent to one quarter of the whole country, which shares a border with Iraq.' So much for Kuwait's opposition to the war.] * Troop Call-Up for Iraqi War Could Equal That of PG [Persian Gulf] War: NYT [NY Times] [largely for protecting targets of possible terrorist attacks] * UN Voices "Concern" Over DMZ Airspace Violations Into Iraq [It appears that to reach Iraq from Kuwait, USUK aeroplanes have to pass through what is supposed to be a 'demilitarized zone'; but the UNIKOM forces whose job it is to ensure that demilitarised zones remain demilitarised don't have the necessary equipment to spot them flying overhead (or perhaps to see their markings and thus to identify them?). Have I understood this aright? And if so doesn't it say something about USUK's (not to mention the 'United Nations'']) commitment to 'international law'?] * US-British jets raid northern Iraq [Wednesday, 29th October] _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. 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