The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]
News, 1-8/11/02 (2) IRAQI OPPOSITION * Pentagon takes over program to gather intelligence on Iraq * The Dissident * Threat to meeting of Iraqi exiles * Iraqi opposition divided over Brussels meeting VARIOUS OPINIONS * Should We Invade Iraq? * Rushdie favours Saddam ouster; rejects US approach * A Mideast future worth imagining SIDE OF THE ANGELS * Iraq protest causes chaos * Ex-Inspector Appeals to Germany * Woody Allen Says Bush Unconvincing on Iraq War * Students quietly protest IRAQI OPPOSITION http://www.washtimes.com/national/20021101-91504674.htm * PENTAGON TAKES OVER PROGRAM TO GATHER INTELLIGENCE ON IRAQ by Bill Gertz Washington Times, 1st November The Pentagon has rescued an intelligence-collection program in northern Iraq from critics in the Senate and State Department who held up U.S. funds for an Iraqi opposition group that has scored major successes in getting information from defecting government officials in Baghdad. The $8 million program to support activities by the Iraqi National Congress (INC), an opposition group based in London and northern Iraq, was held up for several months by the Senate Appropriations Committee because of political opposition to the group, said congressional and administration officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The INC's covert information-collection program scored several major intelligence coups in getting information from Iraq and in communicating with opposition sources inside the country, the officials said. One senior Iraqi defector who was part of the program recently provided valuable data on the location of storage sites in Iraq used to hide chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs and materials. Officials said that several other Iraqi government officials are also involved in helping the program. The program also uses television broadcasts and other information programs to communicate to opposition groups inside Iraq. The funding cuts to the information-collection program were imposed in May, resulting in operations being shut down or severely restricted since the summer. According to the officials, the $8 million has been approved for release to the INC to cover expenses for operations that already were undertaken in June and July. However, the State Department objected to using $619,000 of the total $8 million package needed to fund the information-collection program. It claimed that the program is involved in covert intelligence activity and therefore inappropriate for the State Department to run. The department's Near East and South Asia office instead demanded that the Pentagon or CIA take over the program. The Pentagon began running the program recently, but the decision to hold up funding has undermined the INC's efforts to conduct more intelligence gathering that could be used in the U.S. campaign to oust Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, the officials said. The INC wants the $619,000 in funds to be used for the information-collection program kept as part of the $8 million package. However, officials said this is being opposed by the Appropriations foreign operations subcommittee chairman, Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat. Asked about the funds, a subcommittee aide familiar with the program said the State Department's Near East affairs bureau asked the panel to withhold the money for the information program. Mr. Leahy believes the information program should not be funded by the State Department, the aide said. Several Republican senators are fighting to keep the program going because of the prospect of U.S. military action against Iraq. They have appealed to Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage to fix the problem. An official at the INC said the group wants the subcommittee to release the $619,000, which is urgently needed to pay agents in the field and operations that were already conducted and paid for with credit. "We're not prepared to do that," the subcommittee aide said. "It's been recognized that this is not an appropriate program for the State Department to run and ought to be funded by the Department of Defense. It makes no sense to fund what is essentially a covert program with overt money." But an administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that an agreement had been reached with Mr. Leahy to release the funds. "I think we've finally worked out a deal with Leahy and he will lift the hold," the official said. Republican Senate aides blamed the funding hold on opponents of U.S. military action in Iraq, especially key members of the Senate Appropriations Committee. Five of the 22 Senate Democrats who voted against the recent congressional resolution authorizing the use of force in Iraq are members of the Appropriations Committee, including Mr. Leahy, and Appropriations Committee Chairman Sen. Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia. http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/307/focus/The_Dissident+.shtml * THE DISSIDENT by Laura Secor Boston Globe, 3rd November IN HIS 1993 book ''Cruelty and Silence,'' Iraqi exile Kanan Makiya includes an unforgettable description of a document. It is a ledger that has been ''carefully covered in pink wrapping paper, and on the wrapping paper are printed large, cartoonish white petunias,'' Makiya writes. ''The clerk who kept this particular notebook... had chosen a purple felt-tip pen, and an elaborate calligraphic style, to identify the contents of the notebook on a small square of white paper taped to the cover: `Register of Eliminated Villages.''' The villages in question are Kurdish ones, gassed and destroyed by Saddam Hussein in his 1988 ethnic cleansing campaign known as the Anfal. When Makiya visited newly liberated northern Iraq in the aftermath of the Gulf War, he left with a suitcase full of documents like this one, retrieved from former government buildings. They were the first in an archive that now includes some 3 million pages of Iraqi government files. Makiya heads a Harvard-based project that's translating them. Today the ledger resides in a closet in the Cambridge apartment Makiya uses as an office. No sooner has he placed it in my hands than his cellphone rings, and I am left awkwardly clutching this piece of childish kitsch that also happens to be evidence of the murder of more than 100,000 Kurdish villagers. In the other room, I can hear Makiya on the phone. He will be in Washington tomorrow to meet with deputy defense secretary Paul Wolfowitz, he explains to his colleague, but he can't go back there the following week. He has been spending far too much time away from his family. The neoconservative Wolfowitz would once have seemed strange company for this soft spoken Brandeis professor, who came to politics as an undergraduate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where in the late 1960s he was a Trotskyite and pro-Palestinian activist. So, for that matter, would Vice President Dick Cheney, with whom Makiya has also met. But times have changed, and so has Makiya. The attack on the Kurds was part of that change; nearly two decades of sustained research and writing on the institutional violence of Ba'athist Iraq was another. Since the Bush administration announced its plans to topple Saddam Hussein, Makiya, one of the dictator's most outspoken Iraqi critics abroad, has found common ground with the Bush administration's most hawkish elements. Like them, Makiya supports the war. He's even confident that most Iraqis feel similarly. But the agenda he's pressing neither begins nor ends with weapons of mass destruction: He wants the Bush administration to endorse a liberal democratic future for post-Saddam Iraq. And so Makiya, the son of Iraq's most celebrated architect and an architect himself, finds himself drawing up blueprints for a transition to democracy in the country of his birth. Working with more than 30 other Iraqi dissidents under the auspices of the US State Department's ''Future of Iraq'' project, Makiya is completing a set of working papers. They suggest a transitional government, made up in equal measure of Iraqi exiles and of community leaders currently residing in the country, to shepherd the country toward elections within one to three years. The truly daunting tasks of the transitional period will include addressing the crimes of the Ba'ath, dismantling the military, and reforming the judiciary, all while reintegrating millions of party bureaucrats and military officials into democratic life. But the document's authors also envision implementing an ambitious new federal system, under which Iraq would be divided into territorial units, with equal civic status accorded to all Iraqis regardless of religion or ethnicity. Here's the hitch: The plan's implementation requires a US military presence measured, Makiya says, ''not in months but in years.'' He believes such a deployment would be necessary in order to defend the territorial integrity of the newly demilitarized state against the possibilities of outside incursion or civil war. Would the United States accept such a role? Should it? The document does not reflect official US policy. But in late November, the Iraqi opposition will convene a large conference in northern Iraq. If that gathering endorses the report, Makiya suggests that Washington will strongly support its recommendations. For political reasons, Makiya has been unable to return to Iraq since he left to attend MIT in 1967. Nonetheless, his 1986 book ''Republic of Fear,'' published under the pseudonym Samir al Khalil, was the first thoroughgoing account of Saddam Hussein's repression. It was received quietly when it was published. But around the time of the Gulf War, it became a bestseller, and the American press dubbed Makiya ''the Iraqi Solzhenitsyn.'' The state apparatus Makiya depicted in ''Republic of Fear'' was one laced with spies and sustained through violence. Even the slightest whisper of dissent provoked savage reprisals. Although Makiya wrote ''Republic of Fear'' in New York, he had good reason to fear for the safety of his family and sources. ''I wrote that book in total secrecy, hiding my own name originally,'' he recalls. ''Nobody would talk about anything, and so nearly everything came through people's writings or official statements. I dealt with stories that I heard through family channels, and then I hid people's identities.'' Later, in the aftermath of the Gulf War, ''the barrier of fear broke,'' Makiya recounts. Kurds in the north and Shia in the south rose against Baghdad. But when the Shia appealed to the Allies for help, they were rebuffed, and Saddam crushed the rebellion, taking an estimated 60,000 civilian lives. It was in March of that year that Makiya revealed his identity. Emboldened by the uprising, he recalls, ''People were positively seeking me out to tell their stories. And so I started to meet them in northern Iraq. I met them in Jordan, I met them all over the place.'' The result was his controversial 1993 book, ''Cruelty and Silence.'' The first half of ''Cruelty and Silence,'' called ''Cruelty,'' draws from those interviews to document the ferocity of Iraqi repression during the Anfal, the Gulf War, and the suppression of the 1991 uprisings. The landscape that emerges is one of near total devastation. Particularly heart-breaking to its author was the fact that those who rose against Saddam in 1991, notably in the Shiite south, committed the very sorts of atrocities that had inspired their rebellion. But most of his critics, Makiya laments, glossed over ''Cruelty'' and went straight for the polemic of the book's second half, ''Silence.'' There Makiya assailed the Arab intelligentsia's opposition to the Gulf War, which he saw as blindly nationalistic and unprincipled. A ''malaise'' had set into Arab politics, he contended. By focusing on Western responsibility for Middle Eastern problems, Arab thinkers practically gave home-grown tyranny a free pass. He wrote: Millions upon millions of words have been written about the destruction of hundreds of Palestinian villages in order to bring about the creation of the Israeli state. And rightly so. Yet many of the very intellectuals who wrote those words chose silence when it came to the elimination of thousands of Kurdish villages by an Arab state. A furious backlash greeted ''Cruelty and Silence'' in Arab circles. The late activist Eqbal Ahmad, who reviewed the book for The Nation, and California State professor As'ad AbuKhalil, who reviewed it for Middle East Journal, charged Makiya with misrepresenting the views of the Arab intellectuals he criticized, conflating opposition to the Gulf War with support for Saddam, and minimizing the impact of Western policies on the Middle East. Makiya was grandstanding and promoting himself, AbuKhalil fumed. And his efforts, according to Ahmad, would feed ''anti-Arab and anti-Muslim hatemongers.'' Makiya had hoped the book would spark debate, but he hadn't expected it to be so personal. And so today he says that the book ''did not work.'' ''In retrospect, that was a book born in the vortex of really white-hot, world-transforming events,'' Makiya recalls. ''It was a book of its time and place. So I'm not sure I would write it quite the same way again.'' ''That's not to say that I back away from anything that's in it,'' he adds. ''But I suspect that the tone - well, it certainly hurt people.'' What Makiya stands by is his belief that although Western powers have done ''terrible things'' in the Middle East, particularly during the colonial era, Arabs need to take responsibility for the current policies of states that have been independent for more than 50 years. He cites a recent United Nations Development Program report - authored by Arabs - that traces the socioeconomic problems of the Middle East to the region's politics, and most specifically, to the failure of democracies to take root there. It may seem strange, then, that Makiya envisions democracy arriving in Iraq on the wings of an American invasion. But Makiya maintains that the United States has an opportunity in Iraq - and that Iraqis have an opportunity, via the United States - that's unique in the Arab world. As he puts it, ''Whereas in the rest of the Arab world, the United States is criticized for even thinking of getting involved in Arab affairs, in the Iraqi mind, the problem is that they are not getting involved, and that they leave Saddam in power.'' True, the United Nations sanctions - which Makiya maintains have been manipulated by Saddam to inflict the greatest suffering on ordinary people - have embittered many Iraqis against the United States. So, too, did the first Bush administration's decision to abandon the uprising it had encouraged. Nonetheless, according to Makiya, there is a flowering of Western-oriented democratic sentiment inside Iraq and among its estimated 3 million exiles. Makiya is not a member of any political organization, but he works closely with the Iraqi National Congress, an umbrella group of Kurdish and liberal Arab opposition groups based in London and northern Iraq. Like much of the Iraqi opposition, the INC accepts backing from the United States. For that reason, Makiya says, such groups are ''constantly discredited and looked down upon'' in the Arab world. But Makiya sees a hypocrisy at work here. ''Every Arab opposition party over the last 30 years has had a regional backer like Syria, Iran, Libya, Saudi Arabia - the PLO itself for years received the bulk of its finances from the Gulf princes,'' he points out. ''That was always perfectly okay.'' According to Makiya, the Iraqi opposition has broken the mold. ''It is saying, we don't want to be like the Islamic republic of Iran, we don't want to be like the Ba'athist Republic of Syria, and we certainly don't want to be like the Saudi autocracy. None of these are models for what we want to be.'' Iraq's opposition is pluralistic and enterprising, but it also unwieldy and often fractious. Some in Washington worry that the INC, as an exile group, lacks popular legitimacy, or that it has lost touch with contemporary Iraqi realities. Although it has gotten a receptive hearing from neoconservatives like Cheney and Wolfowitz, the State Department and CIA have reportedly preferred to work with the Iraqi National Accord, another exile group comprised largely of former Ba'athist military and security officers. Makiya finds it ironic that the ''more liberal and less hawkish'' elements in American politics are the ones most suspicious of Iraq's democrats. They are also, he says, ''the ones who are saying that the whole idea of democratizing Iraq, even over a long period of time, is laughable. Needless to say, I find that an extremely offensive line of argument. And of course it's a very conservative appeal to the status quo of the Arab world, which is a very unhappy situation.'' To most Iraqis, Makiya says, the US debate over war in Iraq seems a selfish one. The war's proponents talk about weapons of mass destruction; its opponents point to imperial designs. Who has considered the welfare of the Iraqi people? Though they are likely to pay the price, Makiya maintains that by and large, Iraqis support US military action as the best option for improving life in their country over the long term. There is no scientific way to assess public opinion inside Ba'athist Iraq. But Makiya and other exiles informally survey friends, relatives, and acquaintances who slip through the porous borders to Jordan and Iraqi Kurdistan. Faleh Abu Jabar, an Iraqi exile at the University of London and one of the world's leading authorities on Iraq's tribal and religious politics, opposes US military action. But he told a recent gathering at Harvard's Center for Middle East Studies that when he speaks to relatives inside Iraq, they impatiently ask him, ''Where are the bombers?'' ("They are not in my pocket,'' he points out with a laugh.) Still, not everyone interprets the mood in Baghdad the same way Makiya does. Sinan Antoon, an Iraqi poet doing graduate work at Harvard, left Iraq after the Gulf War in 1991. ''Look,'' he says, ''people are fed up. They are completely drained after two wars and ten years of sanctions, and I felt the same way when I was in Baghdad in 1991. I just wanted Saddam to go. But that does not mean that Iraqis want US military occupation. We just got rid of the Brits half a century ago.'' Antoon believes the United States is interested only in oil and weapons, and he does not think Iraqi civilians should be sacrificed for such interests. ''It is very easy for Makiya to say yes, go to war, because he has never experienced war,'' Antoon objects. ''It's not a lot of fun to sit in the shelter, in the darkness, not knowing if you're going to live or not. It's very easy to say that when you're living on the banks of the Charles.'' Makiya is not himself entirely at peace with the war plans. ''I don't like the idea of unilateral American action in the world,'' he stresses, describing the precedent as worrisome. He also thinks Saddam is likely to try to unleash chemical or biological weapons on his way down. Still, he predicts that such efforts may fail, and that there will be fewer casualties than critics imagine. A permanent occupation strikes him as far-fetched. ''I don't see a typical, classical imperialist role to the United States. We're not in that period. I don't think the United States is drawn to that.'' In fact, if there is one thing Makiya has learned from his repeated trips to Washington, it's that although the Bush administration may be certain that it wants to get rid of Saddam, what exactly it hopes to see follow remains an open question. One possibility would be a military junta, which Makiya believes would quickly result in civil war. Lately, there's also been talk of an American military governor with Caesar-like powers. ''That's horrific,'' Makiya remarks. ''It really frightens the hell out of me.'' And so Makiya is arranging a marriage of convenience between his democratic agenda and Washington's war. He is gambling, and he knows it. Chances are, the war he's supporting as the engine for Iraqi democracy will result in nothing of the kind. To many, that's a good reason to oppose it altogether. To Makiya, it's a reason to do everything possible to widen what he knows is a tiny window of opportunity. ''I think there's a less than five percent chance that what I'd like to see happen actually happens,'' Makiya tells me. ''But it seems to me an obligation, even if it's a five percent chance, to try to make it happen. You could call it a triumph of hope over experience. But what else is politics if not that?'' http://news.ft.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=FT.com/StoryFT/FullStory&c =StoryFT&cid=1035873071838&p=1012571727172 * THREAT TO MEETING OF IRAQI EXILES by Roula Khalaf in London Financial Times, 7th November A dispute among Iraqi opposition groups threatens to undermine the first broad-based conference of exiled dissidents, expected to take place in Brussels this month. According to opposition officials, the Iraqi National Congress, the London-based group headed by Ahmad Chalabi, is threatening to boycott the conference unless the number of delegates invited is greatly increased. The conference is supposed to mark the first show of unity by an disparate opposition long dogged by internal divisions and personal rivalries. The meeting, expected to begin on November 23, is designed to enhance co-operation and send the message that the opposition is a relevant force that should be included in US plans for a post-Saddam Hussein era. A steering committee representing the six largest groups has been planning for the conference and four of the organisations agreed that a total of 180 delegates should be invited. The INC, however, has been pushing for much broader representation. Nabil Musawi, an INC spokesman, said yesterday that the group wanted many independents, not only parties, to attend. Both the INC and another small opposition group, the Constitutional Monarchy Movement, were "reviewing the situation and will decide in the next two days whether to go or not". According to INC officials, Kanan Makiya, a prominent author close to the INC, has written a letter to the US state department asking that it intervene. However, some of the other members of the steering committee, which includes the two main Kurdish factions and a leading Shia group, accuse the INC of trying to sabotage a conference that it fears would dilute its role within the opposition. These officials argue that the INC, with no real political base in Iraq, wants to add hundreds of independents in order to bolster its own standing at the Brussels meeting. http://www.philly.com/mld/philly/news/world/4459229.htm * IRAQI OPPOSITION DIVIDED OVER BRUSSELS MEETING by Jonathan Wright Philadelphia Inquirer, 6th November WASHINGTON (Reuters): A bitter rift has divided the Iraqi opposition in exile as it prepares for a conference in Brussels this month on how to rule Iraq after President Saddam Hussein, opposition sources said on Wednesday. A dispute over the allocation of seats pits the mainstream Iraqi National Congress (INC) and the small monarchist movement against three big groups with an ethnic or sectarian power base - the two Kurdish groups and the mainly Shi'ite Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), they said. Kanan Makiya, a well-known author and activist close to the INC, wrote to the State Department on Wednesday urging the United States to intervene in favor of more representation for what he called Iraqi democrats and independents. An INC official said the committee preparing the conference, which is scheduled for Nov. 22, allocated 40 per cent of the 180 seats to the Shi'ite Muslim group and 25 percent to the two Kurdish groups. Turkoman groups would have six percent and Assyrians three percent, leaving 26 percent for Sunni Muslim groups and Iraqis who have opted out of ethnic or sectarian politics. "The meeting is relying on an outmoded 12-year out-of-date set of fixed percentages for the same old tired political parties of the past, which between them have not a single new idea to bring to the people of Iraq," Makiya wrote in an E-mail to David Pearce, the director of the State Department's office of Northern Gulf affairs. "This is a power grab, not a conference. It is about distributing positions and allocating portfolios, not discussing and agreeing upon a roadmap for the future of Iraq," added Makiya, author of the "Republic of Fear," the classic study of brutal rule by Saddam's Baath Party. An INC official said Makiya was largely reflecting the views of the INC, an umbrella group that has received U.S. funding but whose fortunes wax and wane according to the vagaries of policy shifts within the Bush administration. "It's a determined effort by the group of four so that they can control power," said the official, who asked not to be named. The group of four is SCIRI, the Kurdish Democratic Party, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and the Iraqi National Accord - the main groups other than the INC and monarchists. "We have submitted a long memo listing our grievances to the (preparatory) committee and we hope they will study it very carefully," said Nabeel Musawi, a senior political adviser to de facto INC leader Ahmed Chalabi. "We hope they will expand the conference and make it as inclusive as possible, but I made it clear we reserved the right not to attend the meeting," he told Reuters from London. An official of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, who asked not to be named, played down the gravity of the dispute. "This thing is being blown out of proportion by certain people. There is a consensus on this (the allocation of seats) and the INC were part of the discussions," said the official. "But unfortunately democracy is democracy and, if they are not happy with the outcome, it's up to them to withdraw or participate, as they wish," he added. Spokesmen for the other groups were not immediately available. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said: "Our understanding is that there are still differences among the Iraqi opposition as to the proposed conference. We expect them to work out these problems in an open and democratic manner." "We'll be keeping in touch with them as far as our thoughts and how they can work this out so that we have a conference that has the widest possible representation," he added. The memo to the State Department said only the United States had the clout to correct the alleged imbalance. "I urge you in the name of all those Iraqi democrats and independents, many of whom are American citizens, not to allow this travesty of justice and fairness to take place. "You have the power. You have the influence. One firm unequivocal phone call is all it takes. You owe that much to the principles upon which these great United States were founded," Makiya added. Boucher said: "To the extent that we can be helpful and present ideas or make suggestions that can help them work together, we want to do that. But fundamentally, these issues need to be resolved among Iraqis." The United States does not plan to finance the conference, officials said. VARIOUS OPINIONS http://www.newsday.com/features/printedition/ny bkone2987172nov03,0,951050.story?coll=ny%2Dfeatures%2Dprint * SHOULD WE INVADE IRAQ? by Nicholas Goldberg Newsday, 3rd November THE THREATENING STORM: The Case for Invading Iraq, by Kenneth M. Pollack, Random House, 494 pp., $25.95. In a dusty almond grove in the Kurdish territory of northern Iraq in 1996, I met a man who had watched from behind a tree while Saddam Hussein's soldiers opened fire on 33 men and boys - aged 13 to 43 - killing them all. He watched his brother and nephew and next door neighbor die. In Baghdad I met weapons inspectors who showed me containers of the chemical and biological agents that Hussein was developing to kill his enemies on a mass scale. I saw babies dying of curable diseases in a local hospital because Hussein arrogantly refused to take the simple steps required to end the sanctions against his country. I am no apologist for Saddam Hussein. I think he is probably evil, morally crippled, dangerous, possibly unbalanced. Were he to drop dead today or disintegrate into thin air, I think it would be, on balance, good for Iraq and its people, good for the region, good for the United States. But none of these things means that we should go to war to oust him. Going to war is a complicated decision that involves sifting through many, many variables, to calculate the potential chains of reaction, the aftershocks and the unexpected outcomes. Before deciding to fight, we need to understand the threat Hussein poses to our country, and what makes victory worth the loss of a single American life - much less thousands. We need to gauge the value of Persian Gulf oil to our economy, and we need to calculate the chance that our actions will inadvertently destabilize - rather than stabilize - the region. We need to know what dangerous precedent we set if we invade unilaterally - and measure it against the authority and credibility we cede if we fail to act. We need to weigh the benefits of removing Hussein against the anger we will surely engender around the world. These are the questions Kenneth M. Pollack sets out to answer in his timely and comprehensive book "The Threatening Storm." Evoking Europe's response to Hitler in the 1930s, Pollack argues the United States today faces a critical, defining foreign policy choice: whether to take up arms today to prevent an enormous danger from emerging in the years ahead. A former CIA analyst and director of Persian Gulf affairs for the National Security Council, Pollack makes a case for war that is sophisticated, cogent and thoughtful - certainly more so than the simplistic rhetoric coming from the White House. It takes into account the history of U.S. relations with Iraq, the critical importance of Middle East oil, and the rise, reign and character of Saddam Hussein. Pollack's argument, in brief, is this: Hussein today poses a threat we cannot ignore. The "containment" regime we established after the 43-day Gulf War in 1991 - consisting of a mix of economic sanctions and weapons inspections and Western-protected "no fly zones" - has collapsed after 11 years, along with the international will to enforce it. Hussein has begun rebuilding his conventional army, his biological and chemical weapons programs and, most ominously, his nuclear weapons capability. According to Pollack, Iraq not only possesses chemical and biological weapons such as sarin, VX gas, anthrax and aflatoxin, but he may be in a position to launch a full-scale nuclear weapon as soon as 2004, having begun a crash program to enrich uranium several years ago. What's more, according to Pollack, Hussein cannot be trusted not to use those weapons. Although he is not insane - and not even irrational, by many standards - Hussein is aggressive and unpredictable and morally bankrupt and a serial miscalculator. Although he understands the concept of deterrence, he cannot be trusted to live by it. What, then, should be the U.S. response? Counting on Hussein to do the rational thing is too risky, Pollack says. The United States could try to rebuild the United Nations-sponsored containment regime - by sending in new weapons inspectors, beefing up the no-fly zones, tightening the sanctions. But that, Pollack says, will be opposed by France, Russia and China on the Security Council - and will be ignored, as always, by Hussein. The world is currently inclined to loosen sanctions, he says, not tighten them. The only alternative, Pollack concludes, is to rid ourselves of Hussein and his aggressive, tyrannical regime altogether. He quickly rules out covert action (read: assassination or CIA engineered coup) and what he calls "the Afghan approach" (Iraqi ground troops aided by U.S. Special Forces and American air cover) as impractical and likely to fail. "The scalpel is not the solution to every surgical problem," he says. According to Pollack, only a full-scale invasion will be fast enough and sure enough to serve our needs. In his optimistic vision, an American invasion will allow us not only to take out Hussein once and for all, but also to rid the world of his weapons of mass destruction, save the Iraqi people from repression, protect our oil needs and even build the first democratic Arab state in history. Pollack's war will work as follows: It will require four to six divisions, along with supporting cavalry units, helicopter brigades, infantry brigades and 700-1,000 aircraft. In total, 200,000-300,000 troops. It will involve a main advance on Baghdad and one or more "secondary thrusts." At best, he says, it will take a few weeks and result in a few hundred American deaths; at worst, it will be three to six months and cause 10,000 combat deaths. Most likely, it will fall somewhere in between, with 500 to 1,000 American deaths. It should be followed, Pollack says, by an all-out effort to reconstruct the country and build a stable, at least semi-democratic, Iraqi political system. "We can wait until tomorrow and risk the death of millions and the economic ruin of the global economy in the hope that Saddam will defy the evidence and the odds and become a man of peace," he writes. "We can ignore the problem and hope that it will just go away - or we can take the steps needed to solve it ... Ten years from now, when we look back on this moment, which choice will we most regret not having made?" Is Pollack's case persuasive? Probably it is as persuasive as it can possibly be. He argues rationally. His knowledge and experience are broad. But at the end of the day, he is a partisan. He minimizes the risks of his proposals - arguing, for instance, that the war will be fast and deaths minimal, and that the battle against terrorism can be continued while the United States is at war in Iraq - while maximizing the risk of inaction ("The deaths of millions" is what we risk if we do not invade). His conclusion that Saddam Hussein could have nuclear weapons in two years goes against other, less dire assessments, and his assurance that Hussein would use those weapons has been questioned by others, who note the Iraqi leader refrained from using biological and chemical weapons against Israel or U.S. troops during the Gulf War. Despite his confident tone, the reality is that war is uncontrollable and unpredictable. Its course cannot be accurately charted in advance (although we have no choice but to try), and where it will end is a mystery. Pollack's optimistic vision of America's ability to change the world for the better through war may be right in the end, or it may be terribly wrong - and we will not know until it is too late. But for anyone who thinks seriously about these issues or who wants to understand what lies behind the simplistic rhetoric that comes from the White House, this book should be required reading. It is the best and most comprehensive case for the war that has yet been made. http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2002/11/03/1036027123546.html * RUSHDIE FAVOURS SADDAM OUSTER; REJECTS US APPROACH Sydney Morning Herald (from AFP), 3rd November Novelist Salman Rushdie has called for the overthrow of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, but said regime change in Baghdad must be part of concerted action rather than unilateral United States military action. Calling the Iraqi leader and his lieutenants "homicidal criminals", Rushdie said in a Washington Post opinion piece the most convincing argument for overthrowing them is that it would put an end to "the brutal oppression of an entire Muslim nation". "He has impoverished them, murdered them, gassed and tortured them, sent them off to die by the tens of thousands in futile wars, repressed them, gagged them, bludgeoned them and then murdered them some more," Rushdie wrote. "If, as now seems possible, the United States and the United Nations do agree on a new Iraq resolution, and ... if Iraq refuses to accept the new UN resolution, then the rest of the world must stop sitting on its hands and join the Americans and British in ridding the world of this vile despot and his cohorts," the Indian-born Briton wrote. But while he favours ousting Saddam, he does not approve of Washington's go-it-alone approach towards regime change. "A war of liberation might just be one worth fighting. The war that America is currently trying to justify is not," he wrote. Rushdie also insisted that a pre-emptive strike policy would make the US a more likely target of terror. "If the United States reserves the right to attack any country it doesn't like the look of, then those who don't like the look of the United States might feel obliged to return the compliment," he wrote. He continued: "The connection between Hussein and al-Qaeda remains comprehensively unproven, whereas the presence of the al-Qaeda leadership in Pakistan, and of al-Qaeda sympathisers in that country's intelligence services, is well known. "Yet nobody is talking about attacking Pakistan." Rushdie was condemned to death in February 1989 by the former Iranian spiritual leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini after publishing his novel The Satanic Verses, a book deemed by some Muslims to have blasphemed Islam. The author was forced to go into hiding for several years. http://www.iht.com/articles/76129.html * A MIDEAST FUTURE WORTH IMAGINING by Stanley A. Weiss International Herald Tribune, 7th November WASHINGTON: Imagine. A pro-Western democratic Iraq forges an alliance with the only other democracies in the Middle East, Turkey and Israel. Surrounded and squeezed by U.S. forces and allies on all sides, Syria and Iran sever their terrorist ties with Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the Palestinian territories. Starved of cash and weapons, Palestinian suicide bombers become a rarity. A moderate Palestinian Authority emerges. No longer fearing a Palestinian terrorist state on its borders, Israel ends its untenable occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Without daily television images of Israeli soldiers killing Palestinians to distract Muslims from what the United Nations calls a "poverty of opportunities" across the Middle East, frustrated young populations turn on their aging, corrupt rulers. In Iran, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere, oppressive regimes succumb to public demands for more political freedom and economic opportunity. The Arab-Israeli conflict gives way to historic handshakes on the White House lawn. Arab Israeli trade blossoms, with Israeli tourists spending millions in Baghdad, Damascus, Tehran and Beirut. Sound absurd? No more so, perhaps, than the notion, in the darkest hours of World War II, that a post-Hitler Germany could underpin a democratic, prosperous and peaceful Europe. And it seems that this is the sort of vision the White House has in mind as it contemplates its next move in the Middle East. President George W. Bush speaks of a "very different future" for the region with a democratic Afghanistan, Palestine and Iraq "inspiring reforms throughout the Muslim world." Political and economic liberty, he says, "can triumph in the Middle East." Ahmad Chalabi, leader of the Iraqi National Congress, the umbrella opposition group, agrees. "The greatest chasm in the region is not between Arabs and America," he tells me, "it's between the people and their own governments." In fact, the building blocks of an Iraq-Turkey-Israel alliance already exist. The historic military ties that Ankara and Jerusalem inaugurated in 1996 are now a military, political and economic partnership. Turkish and Israeli sailors and pilots train together. Ankara gets prized Israeli high-tech weapons. Jerusalem gets coveted Turkish water and a partner in a hostile neighborhood. Boosted by a free trade agreement and Israeli tourists vacationing in Turkish seaports, bilateral trade topped $1 billion last year. This partnership will grow, despite the newly empowered Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party. When it comes to defense matters in Turkey, the military controls the civilians. A democratic Iraq would have the same enemies that have bound Ankara and Jerusalem: Syria and Iran's support for terrorism, Iran's missiles and weapons of mass destruction, and militant Islamic fundamentalism. Baghdad and Ankara would share other compelling security and economic interests: preventing an independent Kurdistan in northern Iraq and ensuring the free flow of Iraqi oil. Building ties between Baghdad and Jerusalem would be harder, but not impossible. Senior leaders from the Iraqi National Congress, which is bound to play a prominent role in a post Saddam Iraq, have met openly with Israeli officials. An Iraqi government heavily dependent on U.S. economic and military assistance would have enormous incentive to make peace with Israel. Think Egypt 1979 and Jordan 1994. Other members of a new security arrangement would, over time, include Jordan, which has sent observers to the Turkish-Israeli naval exercises and which Israel has offered to include under its Arrow missile defense shield. Israel and India, a secular democracy with the world's second largest Muslim population, are cementing their military ties out of a common fear of Pakistan's "Islamic bomb" and radical Islam. Risks abound. The Middle East is littered with the wreckage of failed defense pacts that only heightened tensions. Alliances can provoke counter-alliances. Syria, with a chemical and biological arsenal that dwarfs Saddam Hussein's, could deepen its ties with Iran. A largely non-Arab axis of Turks, Jews Americans and Iraqis could be a recruiting bonanza for Al Qaeda. Yet early returns from the Turkish-Israeli partnership reveal the potential rewards. Arab governments have sought Turkish influence with Jerusalem on the Israeli Palestinian conflict. Suddenly facing two potential fronts and fearing a Turkish invasion, President Hafez Assad ended Syria's historic support for the terrorist Kurdistan Workers Party in 1998. His son Bashar has tried to offset the Ankara-Jerusalem partnership by mending fences with Turkey and Jordan. When the Turkish-Israeli military partnership was first announced, the Israeli defense minister, Yitzhak Mordechai, declared: "When we lock hands, we form a powerful grip." The 22 regimes of the Arab League fear an even more powerful grip - an Iraq-Turkey-Israel axis of hope that could begin transforming the Middle East from tyranny and theocracy to freedom and democracy. That's a future worth imagining - and working for. The writer is founder and chairman of Business Executives for National Security and former chairman of American Premier, a mining and chemicals company. He contributed this personal comment to the International Herald Tribune. SIDE OF THE ANGELS http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/articles/1859821 * IRAQ PROTEST CAUSES CHAOS by Rob McNeil London Evening Standard, 1st November Traffic was brought to a standstill in central London as 3,000 protesters against a war on Iraq marched on Parliament. They paralysed a large area around Trafalgar Square during the rush hour by sitting in front of traffic. The group had marched from Trafalgar Square to Downing Street last night before congregating at the junction of Aldwych and Kingsway where they stopped the traffic for almost an hour. One protester carried a bannersaying "Nightmare on Downing-Street" and had fake blood smeared on his shirt sleeves. Although most of the protest was peaceful, some skirmishes did break out and police arrested at least eight people, including one of the protest's organisers, Helen Salmon, for public order offences. The march and road blocks were part of a national day of action organised by the Stop The War Coalition. A large police presence monitored the protesters as they moved towards Downing Street, followed by officers on horseback. In Whitehall, police removed CND demonstrators staging a sitdown protest, including two elderly women who were carried away. Omar Waraich, 20, a student who helped to organise the protest, said: "We have been apologising to the thousands of drivers caught up in the traffic jams. But we want them to know that, though we are not so naive as to think that the war against Iraq can be stopped by what we are doing, it is not being carried out in our name." Addressing the crowd, Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn demanded a Commons-vote on whether to declare war while writer and broadcaster Tariq Ali urged British soldiers to remember the example of Israeli reservists who had refused to serve in the occupied territories. At the London School of Economics, students debated the threat of war with Iraq, echoing the Vietnam protests of 30 or so years ago. The Stop The War Coalition says the campaign against military action is gaining momentum. They cite an opinion poll which says 40 per cent of people oppose the war with only 35 per cent backing Tony Blair's approach. Andrew Murray, chair of the coalition, said: "We represent a clear majority of people." http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/w-eur/2002/nov/01/110101468.html * EX-INSPECTOR APPEALS TO GERMANY by David Rising Las Vegas Sun (from AP), 1st November BERLIN- A former U.N. weapons inspector and Gulf War veteran on Friday appealed to German leaders to keep up their opposition to U.S. military action against Iraq, arguing that there are still alternatives to war. Scott Ritter, who served as a weapons inspector in Iraq from 1991-98, said Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's opposition to military action in Iraq during his campaign for Sept. 22 elections conveyed an important message to the American public. "The German election resounded across America, Germany sent a clear signal to the American people that Germany would not participate in a war against Iraq," said Ritter, in Berlin to speak at a weekend forum. Hans von Sponeck, former head of the U.N. oil-for-food program who quit his job in 2000 to protest the effect of international sanctions on ordinary civilians, criticized Germany's foreign minister for weakening his anti-war stance on a recent visit to Washington. Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said Thursday Berlin would not send troops to Iraq, but left open the possibility of playing a supporting role in a possible strike. "This is a step back," said von Sponeck, a German. Heads of the various peace groups that organized the forum said German and U.S. government officials declined invitations to take part in the two-day conference that starts Saturday. Ritter and von Sponeck, who have been on the public speaking circuit opposing war against Iraq, backed the return of U.N. weapons inspectors with unfettered access, saying previous teams had eliminated 95 percent of Iraq's deadly weapons and its ability to produce them. There have been no inspection teams in Iraq since Baghdad kicked them out in 1998. At a separate news conference, Raid Fahim of the Iraqi Communist Party said non-military means of pressing Saddam to give up weapons of mass destruction and also halt human rights abuses had not yet been exhausted. "War also brings destruction, and we know this regime will do anything to stay in power," Fahim said. http://abcnews.go.com/wire/Entertainment/reuters20021102_135.html * WOODY ALLEN SAYS BUSH UNCONVINCING ON IRAQ WAR ABC News, 2nd November PARIS (Reuters) - Quirky U.S. film director Woody Allen says President Bush's argument for war against Iraq is unconvincing, according to French weekly newspaper Journal du Dimanche. Allen told the newspaper in an interview that Bush had squandered America's post September 11 goodwill because "he has no idea about anything." "Like the majority of Americans, I think Bush has not advanced convincing reasons for war. So one has the disturbing impression that he is persisting for personal and political reasons," he said. The New York-born director, comedian, writer and actor, famous for movies including "Manhattan," "Hannah and Her Sisters" and "Annie Hall," visited Paris last week for a couple of concert performances. http://www.heralddemocrat.com * STUDENTS QUIETLY PROTEST by Jerrie Whiteley Herald Democrat, 3rd November While most of the local people packed into Austin College's Sid Richardson Center Friday night seemed thrilled to get to see former President George H. W. Bush, some of the private liberal arts school's students protested his selection as this year's Chair of Excellence in International Leadership.Outside the building in which Bush spoke, a small group of students wore white arm bands to protest the visit. Roger Stroope, an Austin College senior, was one of those students, and he said the small group was quickly disbanded by Secret Service agents.Stroope said the arm bands, which represented peace, were just part of a bigger, but respectful, protest of the college's choice to have Bush on campus. He said about 40 students spent part of Thursday night putting chalk to pavement in an attempt to make the rest of the campus aware of the thousands of people killed in El Salvador and Nicaragua at the hands of people trained by the School of the Americas during Bush's presidency and vice presidency."We were looking for a respectful way of showing our solidarity with the oppressed of the world," Stroope said. He said another senior, Sara Sparks, came up with the idea of writing down the names. Sparks said she and the others had hoped the names would still be on AC's mall walkway when Bush arrived Friday. "We didn't really know what would happen. I knew that we would not change his mind about the things that happened while he was president and I knew that we wouldn't make the school change its mind about giving him the award, but I thought we could educate some of the people around us." Stroope said the group spent hours down on their knees in the cold writing down the names before another group of students showed up to try to stop the protest. Stroope said the second group of students erased about a hundred names before they were convinced that the names were part of an act of free speech.Even though early morning rains washed the rest of the names away, and former President Bush left campus without seeing them, Sparks and Stroope said they felt their protest raised awareness about the suffering people in other parts of the world endure and the way U.S. foreign policy can affect that suffering. _______________________________________________ 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