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[casi] News titles, 9-15/11/02



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  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.]


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