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News titles, 9-15/11/02 Now that the dust has died down over the 'United Nations' Security Council's unanimous vote in favour of Resolution 1441 one is left wondering what difference it is going to make in practice. Glen Rangwalla in his notes on the resolution while it was still in draft form pointed out that it has rewritten the history of previous UNSC resolutions, thereby justifying USUK's previous unilateral actions. But the other UN members, despite their protests, have already shown themselves very tolerant of USUK's violations of international law in this regard. The resolution has also given the weapons inspectors increased powers which, if they so wish, could be used to create a whole series of truly impossible situations (as Glen has remarked, para 5 could be interpreted as entitling them to spirit S.Hussein and his family out of the country). But UNMOVIC was created with the intention of correcting the abuses to which UNSCOM had been liable and the US hasn't succeeded in its initial bid to change its composition (though para 10 could possibly be used put Hans Blix under pressure to behave provocatively against his own better judgment). The resolution provides for all sorts of situations which USUK could interpret as pretexts for war, but then they already say they have a right to go to war even without the Resolution. They would only gain if it helps them to win other countries, most notably Iraq's nearest neighbours, over to their point of view. If Iraq slips on one of the many banana skins that have been carefully laid out under its feet, then the 'United Nations' Security Council will meet. USUK will feel immediately entitled to go to war regardless of the Council's deliberations; the other members will think a new resolution is necessary. And that doesn't seem to me to differ very much from the situation as it was over a month ago when Iraq first accepted the return of the inspectors. A few more banana skins perhaps but there were already a lot of those and if UNMOVIC is genuinely independent (this remains to be seen) the banana skins won't make up for the loss of the eminently manipulable UNSCOM. What would have been really useful for the US would have been an unequivocal endorsement of their right to unilateral action which could have been used to compel Iraq's neighbours to allow them overland access. That is what they still haven't got. In last week's mailing I suggested that the resolution did give them an opportunity for a certain level of self righteous sadistic pleasure - watch Saddam squirm. They are fond of accusing the Iraqi government of playing 'cat and mouse' with previous inspections teams. Which suggests that a generation brought up on Tom and Jerry cartoons doesn't know what a cat and mouse game is. In Tom and Jerry, Jerry not only stands a chance, but he normally wins, the cunning little rogue; and that does express quite well the relation between the Iraqi government and the inspection teams (the inspectors usually got their way in the end, mainly because they had Bonzo the Bulldog on their side). But in a real cat and mouse game the mouse has no chance. Both cat and mouse know that the game is going to end with the death of the mouse. The pleasure of it is to see the mouse feeling hope while knowing perfectly well that there is no hope, trying to escape while knowing perfectly well that escape is impossible. The image expresses very well the game that the US government has been playing at the expense of the Iraqi people ever since 1991. This year's Baghdad World's Fair was a success for Iraq. Resolution 1441 is a reminder that all such successes, won with a great deal of diplomatic effort and skill, are, ultimately, pointless. Another point that may have been gained with resolution 1441 is that for over a month (filling up the time it takes to get the right military disposition into place) the world's attention has been focussed on the nonsense issue of the United States' need to defend itself against the possibility of attack from Iraq; and has been consequently diverted away from the continuing Israeli state terrorist assault on the West Bank. And there is perhaps another game of cat and mouse being played, more subtle and perhaps even more amusing than the game being played with a starving and exhausted people; and that is the game with those - including those in our own Parliament - who persist even now in believing that in the New World Order there is a role to be played by the 'United Nations' as guardian of the peace and security of the world and champion of the weak against the strong. News, 9-15/11/02 (1) RESOLUTION 1441 a) IN THE 'INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY' * Chirac, Annan talk with al-Assad on US resolution on Iraq; desire to Syria's consent [Syria claims that it has received all sorts of assurances that resolution 1441 won't automatically lead to war. eg 'Powell lastly said that adopting this resolution unanimously now would serve to avoid military confrontation later on.'] * Divisions Emerge over UN Authorisation for War [Jeremy Greenstock does not agree with the Syrian view that war would require another UN resolution. Hans Blix however, says: "It's not certain a material breach will lead to war." How else would he be able to sleep at night?] * Damascus opens way for Arabs to side with UN [Roundup of world reaction to resolution 1441. Mass moral and intellectual capitulation (it includes Germany). Usual pompous posturing from T. Blair. And in the middle of it all the Iraqi UN ambassador, Mohammad al-Douri radiates a most surprising and almost saintly air of forgiveness: "Others did their best, they did what they could - France, Russia, Syria and China - and in the end they had to look after their own national interest."] * Turkish Party Backs U.N. Resolution [but only on the understanding that it doesn't authorise war. The problem of US use of Turkey to launch a land attack isn't resolved.] * Chinese representative votes for new Iraq resolution [Its official, from the Chinese news agency. But suitably laconic.] * Jordan Calls UN Resolution "Positive," Urges Iraqi Compliance * Dollars yielded unanimous vote: Resolution against Iraq [Account of behind the scenes armtwisting. But why should the article assume that the 'worst case scenario' would have been an abstention by Russia/China/France? Was a veto ruled out from the start? And if so, why?] * US will attack without approval [The US affirms its intention to do to the world what Israel is doing to the West Bank. Rice and Powell affirm that Res 1441 only entitles the 'United Nations' Security Council to discuss any violations; it doesn't prevent the US from doing what it wants. As Frederick the Great put it, more or less: 'My subjects and I have come to a very suitable arrangement. They say what they like and I do what I like.'] * Analyst Says UN Resolution Can Never Prevent U.S.-Iraq War [Mohammad Saleh al Mosafar, a lecturer at the University of Qatar: 'I believe the resolution is the worst and most dangerous resolution that the Security Council has ever issued since its establishment in 1945.' He also indicates, correctly, that the whole problem boils down to a horrible failure for the politics of the Arab world.] * Ekeus questions Iraq resolution [Rolf Ekeus feels Res 1441 isn't tough enough. In particular it lacks a trigger that would allow an automatic recourse to force.] * UN resolution: Dangerous ambiguity [Extract from article by Ian Urbina, who points out that the resolution avoids saying that the UNSC must approve nilitary action, and reminds us that in 1998 only the US interpreted the UNSC resolution on Annan's negotiations with Iraq as authorising an automatic recourse to war.] * U.S.-French rift on Iraq: a feud that wasn't ['From the beginning, the Americans had clear, firm signals from France that it was not opposed to the eventual use of military force against the regime of Saddam Hussein.' The tone of the article reflects the disdain with which France is, understandably, regarded by the US administration. It leaves unanswered the question: if in the end the US intends to wage a unilateral war in any case, why did it bother with the resolution at all?] * Russia Warns U.S. Over "Illegal" Strikes on Iraq [Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Yury Fedotov suggests that Res 1441 hasn't changed very much. He remembers that Desert Fox was an illegal defiance of the Security Council and doesn't want to see it happen again.] AND, IN NEWS, 9-15/11/02 (2) RESOLUTION 1441 b) IN IRAQ * Iraqi deputies urge Saddam to stand firm [Iraqi parliament debate on Res 1441] * Iraq Agrees to Return of Inspectors * Saddam's merry dance cannot hide the sad inevitability of events [R.Fisk expresses contempt for S.Hussein whom he regards as a 'clown', mainly on the basis of the perfect presidential election. But however obnoxious SH may be in many ways he has achieved something remarkable. He has held his own in the face of the largest concentration of sheer brute physical force - by far - the world has ever known. The conflict with the US has been a blinking match and even now (despite headlines in the New York Daily News to the contrary) he hasn't blinked. This is something I find it difficult not to admire.] * Text of Iraq's Letter to U.N. Secretary General [Its a spirited piece of writing which has obviously lost a great deal in the English translation. Is there no-one out there able to put Iraqi government statements into good English prose?] * Iraq to allow in weapons inspectors [This version suggests that by denying that they have anything the Iraqi letter has already put Iraq in 'material breach' of Res 1441.] INSIDE IRAQ * Contracts Worth $0.5bn Signed at Baghdad Trade Fair URL ONLY: http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,3604,839391,00.html * Saddam, tell me about your mum' by Julian Borger The Guardian, 14th November [Amateur, sixth form level, if that, attempt to psycho-analyse President Hussein. Scary to think that this is the way the Pentagon tries to understand what is going on in the world.] NO FLY ZONES * US, British jets again bomb Iraqi defences [Thursday 7th November, al-Kut] * U.S., British jets bomb Iraq "no-fly" zone [Sunday, 10th November, 'near Tallil, approximately 175 miles southeast of Baghdad.'] * Coalition fighters attack Iraqi missile sites [This mentions that "Today's strike came after Iraq moved the SAM sites into the no-fly zone in violation of UN resolutions," the command said in a statement. "Presence of the sites is deemed a threat to coalition aircraft." On this basis, US and British planes could be interpreted as enforcing 'United Nations' resolutions and therefore Iraqi attempts to stop them could be presented as a 'material breach' under the terms of art 8 of res 1441.] * Latest American airstrikes pave way for an invasion IRAQI/US RELATIONS * Woman who Voted Against War on Iraq Elected Democratic Leader of US House of Representatives [Account of Nancy Pelosi who looks as though she may be an improvement on her predecessor, Robert Gephardt.] * Why Do Professors Routinely Oppose America? [Daniel Pipes, an American patriot, complains that US academia is a 'topsy turvy world' in which threatening to use overwhelming force to crush a defenceless nation that isn't threatening anyone is characterised as aggression. He wants to do something about it: 'Especially as we are at war, the goal must be for universities to resume their civic responsibilities.'] * Bush's new media strategy: pop-aganda ['Stodgy' Voice of America is replaced by groovy Radio Sawa] AND, IN NEWS, 9-15/11/02 (3) IRAQI/INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS * Germany opens inquiry into illegal arms sales to Iraq * Iraqi Dissident Says Hundreds of MKO Terrorists Sent to Europe [This seems ipso facto unlikely. On the assumption that Iran is next in line on the Axis of Evil it seems that the Mojahedin Khalq Organization should be seeking an alliance with the US rather than indulging in suicidal gestures of loyalty to President Hussein. And if that is a reasonable speculation one would think Mr Hussein would be reluctant to let them out of his sight.] * German FM rules out participation in war on Iraq ["Our policy has not changed ... Germany will not take part in any military attack on Iraq."] * Mahathir warns of repercussions of war on Iraq [Mahathir of Malyasia is still one of the few political leaders in the world who, without hysteria, sees the depth of the moral abyss that has opened in front of us.] * Deferent and Defiant Putin [General picture of the continued unravelling of Russia.] * US allies would be pinched in possible war [Not likely to be much money forthcoming for war no-one wants.] IRAQI/MIDDLE EAST RELATIONS * Don Quixotes Who Have WMD Instead of Kind Hearts [Iranians remind us once again of the US support for President Hussein at the time when he was actually using his chemical weapons against Iran.] * Arabs Want Arab Inspectors in Iraq [They (the meeting of Arab foreign ministers) ' also put forward a united Arab position of "absolute rejection" of any military action against Iraq, saying it represents a threat to the security of all Arab nations.' 'United' presumably includes Kuwait. Does that not deserve more attention than it got?] * Thousands of Jordanian troops control town: Tribals hold dual nationality; over 100 held; at least four dead; house-to-house searches [Crackdown on Muslim militants after assassination of Laurence Foley seen as preparation for reaction should Jordan support the war on Iraq.] * US concerned by Iraqi order for nerve gas antidote [A little tale that seems to be going the way of babies in incubators in Kuwait and mysterious meetings in Prague.] * Turkey denies Iraqi demands for Atropine [So where did the story come from? Mr Rendon?] * Israeli Forces Sweep Into Gaza City [Lest we forget.] * Bin Laden transcript: 'As you assassinate, so will you be' ["For how long will fear, massacres, destruction, exile, orphanhood and widowhood be our lot, while security, stability and joy remain your domain alone?"] * Erdogan Opposes Attacking Iraq NORTHERN IRAQ/SOUTHERN KURDISTAN * Prominent Jaff personalities from Halabja [This doesn't belong to this week, but its a treat, leaving us with a lovely image of Halabja, a reminder that before we started interfering with that part of the world and imposing on it the idea of the nation state, Halabja had a life and history of its own. It was something more than just the victim of a chemical attack. Note that much of the material comes from that noble and unfairly maligned human type, the 'orientalist'.] * Iraqi Kurdish leader [Talabani, of course. No-one ever seems to quote Barzani these days.] says US military action is inevitable ['we are against war and Š an invasion and we fear that armed conflict might destroy our infrastructure and properties.' He remarks interestingly that there is a large Kurdish element in the Justice and Development Party which has just won the recent elections in Turkey.] * Fears of new tragedy lead Kurds to call for help ["There is not a single gas mask in Kurdistan," said a government official in the regional capital of Arbil. "Why is that all other American allies - like Israel, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia - have protection and we, who are in the frontline against this dictator and are already victims of his weapons of mass destruction, don't?"] AND, IN NEWS, 9-15/11/02 (4) IRAQI OPPOSITION * Exile Groups' Efforts Stalled by Intense Rivalries [The article repsents it as a conflict between Ahmad Chalabi and everyone else. As presented here, Chalabi wants to establish rule by meritocracy regardless of ethnic/religious identity, the rest want power sharing between the ethnic/religious groupings. All very reminiscent of debates about the government of Northern Ireland.] * A Grad Student Mimicked Saddam Over the Airwaves Broadcast Ruse [The amusing account of a satirical Saddam Hussein/Ozzie Osbourne family show almost makes the John Rendon group appear quite loveable. More sinister (but unsubstantiated in this article) is the notion that Rendon is running the INC.] * Iraqi opposition groups fail to unite [Meeting scheduled to start on the 22nd November has been postponed.] * The US will soon have to choose Saddam's successor [Martin Woollacott says rightly that those opposed to the war should still be concerned to get the best possible aftermath and should therefore take a sympathetic interest in the doings of the opposition. He also - rightly - says that their problems are real and the word 'squabbling' is unhelpful. But he attributes the problems to the 'depoliticisation' that is said to have occurred during the period of the Ba'ath administration. It doesn't seem to occur to him that the Ba'ath Party and its sins are themselves a product of the same - anterior and difficult - problems.] INSPECTIONS PROCESS * U.N.'s Blix to have Cyprus base * AL [Arab League] chief to ask for Arabs in UN inspection teams ["I understood that out of the 250 members" of the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), "there are only four Arabs, all translators; there are no Arabs among the inspectors," he said.] * The nuclear physicist who could give peace another chance in Iraq [Account of Jacques Baute of the IAEA. 'Mr Baute has headed more than 20 arms inspections in Iraq in the years up to December 1998 when the mission was aborted. He says he never felt intimidated, that the biggest risk he faced was the Baghdad traffic.'] * Comment: Saddam still holding many cards [Essentially about the difficulties of finding a needle in a haystack. All the more difficult if the needle doesn't actually exist.] * Iraq Inspectors to Look for Pattern [Apparently based on an interview with IAEA head Mohammad ElBaradei.] * France to send six arms inspectors to Iraq [This gives figures for the representation of different countries on UNMOVIC. But they are confusing. It is said that there are 63 UNMOVIC inspectors going to Iraq out of a total pool of 250. France is contributing 5 military personnel and one other, or 7 military personnel and one other depending on the paragraph you read, with an additional 21 in the pool. This is said to make it the second biggest contributor. The US is contributing 24, Australia 19, Russia 18, which surely makes France, at least and by quite a large margin, fourth. And if we assume these are the figures actually going we have 6/8 + 24 + 19 + 18 = 67/9.] * How the techies will find Saddam's arsenal ['The PUMA technology is an advanced radionuclide detection tool that uses glass-housed lithium-6 atoms and cerium ions.' Pretty powerful stuff, I say. It can detect plutonium - though no-one so far as I know seriously imagines that Iraq has any plutonium. But never mind, I suppose its all being paid for out of Iraqi oil money. So that's all right.] IRAQI/UK RELATIONS * Short splits Cabinet on giving UN the final say [Further evidence that Resolution 1441 really hasn't changed very much.] * Now the world can face terror with resolution ['The President sees Britain as the reliable ally of the United States in maintaining world order. He sees Tony Blair as a steadfast friend. That is a national asset for us.' It is a pity that the literature of the European collaboration is so little known otherwise the authentic tones of - well, I can't think of anyone I despise sufficiently to come up with an exact analogy - would be recognised in William Rees Mogg's salivating enthusiasm for US global dominance.] * Fire union chiefs are stooges of Saddam Hussein [A poem in free verse from The Sun showing the unmistakeable influence of Percy Wyndham Lewis in the second line.] AND, IN NEWS, 9-15/11/02 (5) IMPLICATIONS OF WAR * Iraq's people deserve protection [Human Rights Watch (the team that brought you the war on Serbia), maintains it has no position for or against the war, but nonetheless calls for a massive US military presence in Iraq to stop the natives from massacring each other.] * Iraqi refugees threatened with death will be allowed in [Iran, part of the axis of evil as we all know, is once again preparing to receive thousands of victims of our own wars on behalf of democracy and the freedom of women.] * War in Iraq could lead to more mystery illnesses at home ['The Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Illnesses has estimated that 25 percent to 30 percent of the veterans have unexplained illnesses. Veterans advocates say it may be closer to 40 percent.'] * Hungary Offers Airspace, Airfields to U.S. If Iraq War Unavoidable [See what happens when a once great people have had their pride knocked out of them.] * US trains local force to join Iraq invasion ['Last month the Pentagon confirmed that Iraqi opposition groups had been asked to nominate 10,000 men to undergo American military training.' One suspects that if the request was made of the Pentagon favoured INC it was probably a little embarrassing for them. 5,000 Kurds are then mentioned (why not many more?). There is no mention of the 10,000 or so who already exist in the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, but they probably don't need any US training. Presumably everyopne has now forgotten Tawfiq al-Yassiri's offer to raise 200,000 Iraqis for the INC related Iraqi National Coalition, as reported by Richard Beeston in The Times, 24th August.] * Bush war plans assume fall of Saddam before invasion [Washington Post account of supposed current US strategy.] * Anti-West backlash awaits oil firms [Includes a brief but interesting account of the Iraqi oil industry, pointing to the enormous increase in production that occurred after nationalisation in 1972.] * A commitment to Iraq [The examples of Bosnia and Afghanistan show that tyranny is the only effective means of governing recalcitrant peoples.] * Iraq war 'could kill 500,000' [The report - Collateral Damage: the health and environmental costs of war on Iraq, introduced by Dr June Crown, Medact President and former president of the Faculty of Public Health Medicine of the Royal College of Physicians UK - is available at http://www.medact.org/tbx/pages/section.cfm?index_id=2] * Nation-busting from Afghanistan to Iraq [Account of US failure to invest in the reconstruction of Afghanistan: 'the U.S. record since the fall of the Taliban drains away any confidence about the prospects for postwar reconstruction in Iraq.' Ah but, Iraq has oil, which will enable it to pay the US to do the job of reconstruction ...] REMNANTS OF DECENCY * Half-A-Million March in Anti-War Rally in Italy * Nobel laureate [Oscar Arias] blasts U.S. 'arrogance' in dealing with Iraq * Sharpton: Clergy Must Oppose War * Law leads US bishops' discussion on Iraq [Account of Cardinal Bernard Law who is to draft the US Bishops's statement on Iraq but who is still under fire for his handling of the Church's child abuse scandal.] * US Catholic Bishops Say Iraq War Not Justified URL ONLY: http://abcnews.go.com/sections/us/DailyNews/antiwar021111.html * Antiwar Cry by Geraldine Sealey ABC News, 11th November [Much agonising over whether or not antiwar demos have any effect. In the absence of a political movement capable of exercising power they don't. But the day when they stop will be the day humanity ceases to be worthy of salvation.] _______________________________________________ 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