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News titles, 15-22/11/02 It seems that we are now in for a period of waiting for the Iraqi government to slip on a banana skin, punctuated by an escalation in US provocations (bombing raids on Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday). Most interesting has been the refusal of all the other permanent members of the Security Council (including Britain) to accept that Iraqi firing against the evil ravens constitutes a 'material breach' under para 8 of Resolution 1441. Which states: 'that Iraq shall not take or threaten hostile acts directed against any representative or personnel of the United Nations or of any Member State taking action to uphold any Council resolution'. If the US/British No Fly Zones are not being pursued as 'action to uphold any Council resolution' then, surely, they are illegal. In which case the bombing raids are then necessarily all the more illegal ( not that I wish anyone to think I'm falling into the idiocy of imagining that it is possible under the UN Charter to seriously challenge the legality of anything done by any of the permanent members of the Security Council or of any of their proteges.) One little glimmer of hope appears in an article in the Arabic language paper Al-Quds ('The delegation of the opposition' in the Inside Iraq section), a news item that has not yet made it into the mainstream press and which suggests that the Iraqi government is about to engage in a radical constitutional reform which would allow the development of what might be called a 'loyal opposition' (the phrase, and concept, is of course British.), an opposition that is not tainted through contact with a brutal and relentless Enemy. It is difficult to imagine any initiative open to the Iraqi government that would throw more confusion and discord into the enemy ranks than this. It is of course very risky to the integrity of the Iraqi state but, faced with the near certain prospect of imminent chaos and massacre surely this - the only initiative that has any chance of success - must be worth a try. News, 15-22/11/02 (1) WEAPONS INSPECTIONS * UN Security Council will decide on Iraqi breach [says Hans Blix, optimistically.] * Experts: Iraq hid vast chemical-biological stocks ['When the UNSCOM inspectors left Iraq in 1998, they said they still did not know the full extent of Iraq's chemical and biological programs but had collected both hard and circumstantial evidence suggesting that the programs were far more advanced and wider in scope than previously believed.' My memory has it that 'When the UNSCOM inspectors left Iraq' etc they issued a report saying their job had almost been finished. It was only much later that they began to claim that, on a re examination of their data, they found 'hard and circumstantial evidence' etc. For the most part this article recicles material that is familiar and dealt with in the Rangwalla/Simpson Dishonest Case essay.] * Iraqis 'infiltrated UK germ labs' [Beware of shifty-eyed foreign-looking students, says the BBC.] * Weapons inspector says spies will be dismissed [Blix, asked if there are spies among his team, replies 'no, I don't think either the KGB or the CIA can give that absolute assurance', which is a rather odd way of putting it (rather like saying, no, I don't think the Iraqi government can give an absolute assurance it doesn't have any chemical or biological weapons.] * U.S., U.N. Differ on Arms Hunt [Extract from Washington Post article which includes the admission that UNSCOM 'was shuttered in late 1999, following revelations that the United States had used the inspection agency to collect intelligence on the Iraqi government.' As well as what appears to me a very important statement from Blix that 'the former inspection agency had "lost its legitimacy by being too closely associated with intelligence and with Western states."'] * Saddam hiding arms in mosques: U.S. spies * Iraq has powder that carries poison [Aerosil, which could be used to penetrate VX even through US army protective clothing.] * Experts Weigh Smallpox Threat [The argument is that because the Australians have found an even more deadly strain of smallpox the Iraqis might have found it too, so we need to follow Israel's example and immunise the entire population. Only trouble is 'Existing models predict that up to 1,400 Americans would die from the effects of the vaccination or by catching the disease from others who were vaccinated if the entire population was immunized. However, scientists at the conference said they thought that figure was based on outdated information and far too low.'] * Blix offers prospect of ending Iraq sanctions ["we hope that opportunity will be well utilised so that we can get out of [UN] sanctions." Though there do not appear to be any possible grounds for his saying this.] * Armed and dangerous? Spy antics helped derail U.N.'s last Iraq mission [Account of "The United Nations and Iraq" by Yale University scholars Jean Krasno and James Sutterlin, to be issued next month by Praeger Publishers. Charles Duelfer, of all people is quoted as saying: 'he has "no doubt that a lot of people went back and shared information" with their governments.' (note the rather touching plural.)] * As arms inspectors arrive, row erupts over US smears [Blix 'rounds on' his enemies rather in the style of Sven Goran Ericsson: 'Asked whether he thought US hawks were behind the smear campaign, Mr Blix said: "You can say there's some truth in that judgment."' I find myself beginning to like him.] * Iraqi aide puts limits on arms inspections * Microbiologist on a mission [Account of German weapons inspector Gabriele Kraatz Wadsack] ECONOMIC BLOCKADE * U.S., Britain "Block" $7.5bn in Supplies for Iraq * Allies seek to interdict Iraq's oil shipment ['"Our job is to stop the bad guys from doing bad things and make sure the good guys can navigate freely," Lt. Cmdr. Gilbert Hageman said recently as his Orion patrolled at more than 20,000 feet.' It good to know they're up there doing their stuff to quote the Lorenzo Semple Jr scripted Batman film.] * More Must Be Done to Help Iraqis: Annan [Renewal of the Oil for Food arrangement.] AND, IN NEWS, 15-22/11/02 (2) IRAQI/US RELATIONS * Saddam can be beaten in four days [Ex US army officer complains that the proposed plan to take Iraq 'is a Bill Clinton special' (which, in case readers don't know, is a Bad Thing) largely imposed by meanspirited Saudis: 'they have refused to allow us to use the multibillion-dollar air operations command center we built on their territory, and they will not allow any U.S. troop deployments in support of ousting Saddam. Without the use of Saudi territory, our planners have serious real estate problems.'] * Rumsfeld Confesses U.S. Assisted Saddam Hussein [Rumsfeld blurts out a little bit of truth but falls back into moralistic cliches at the earliest possible opportunity.] * Agencies Track Iraqis in U.S. Ahead of Possible War * Invisible Woman [Account of what it could be like to be born in the USA of an Iraqi family] * Assyrians -- not just part of ancient history * Are students apathetic? Not on Bush's turf, where they're scuffling over Iraq [Account of trouble in the University of Texas campus at Austin. Our own Roger Van Stroope doesn't get a mention, but we're sure he's in there somewhere.] * US erred in shifting focus of war on terror to Iraq: Gore * U.S. Politicians Back Group Labeled 'Terrorist' [Attempt to take the Iraq based Mujahideen Khalq off the State Department's list of foreign terrorist organisations] URLs ONLY: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A7725-2002Nov18.html * Iraq on His Mind by Bob Woodward Washington Post, 19th November [This is part of a series which seems to be trying to show that Bush is torn between the hawks (Rumsfeld) and doves (Powell) in his entourage. Yawn. In this episode Bob and George go for a walk on George's farm, see a strange rock formation and throw stones at it.] http://www.thenewamerican.com/tna/2002/12-02-2002/vo18no24_insurrection.htm * Weapons of Mass Insurrection by William Norman Grigg The New American, Vol. 18, No. 24, 2nd December [Intriguing vision of a revived Black Muslim/Black Panther movement undermining the United States from within. Is there after all hope for the rest of the world?] IRAQI/UK RELATIONS * CND threatens court action over Iraq invasion plans [without 'United Nations' backing, the magic wand that will make everything all right.] * The tragedy of Kut [Nightmarish account of the fate of the British force that attempted to take Baghdad in 1915.] * Blair bows to pressure and grants MPs vote on Iraq * Military warn Labour on Iraq [Army morale is being undermined by the prospect of having to do something useful for a change, says Admiral Sir Michael Boyce.] NORTHERN IRAQ/SOUTHERN KURDISTAN * U.S. cool to Kurds on offer of war aid [We learn that the Washington representative of the PUK is a nuclear physicist so perhaps the overthrow of Mr Hussein won't be the end of the problem of WMDs in Iraq. The general tenor of the article is that what is required if democracy is to be installed in Iraq is a different people living there.] AND, IN NEWS, 15-22/11/02 (3) THE OPPOSITION/COLLABORATION * Ex-Iraqi Generals Advise U.S. [Five Iraqi generals address a seminar sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute.] * Exiled Iraqi Groups Settle Feud * Iraqi exiles throwing elbows [Extract from an article by David Isenberg on the INC dealing with a report written by Kanan Makiya recommending a post-war deBaathification of Iraqi society.] * Iraqi Dissidents Move Unity Meeting [Possibly December 11, in London. The Belgian government it seems was reluctant to host them because their professed aim is to topple the Iraqi government. Why then do the Belgians continue to have diplomatic relations with the US and Britain?.] * War crimes arrest blow to Iraqi opposition [Arrest of General Nizar Khazraji, perhaps depriving him of the chance to be our son of a bitch.] * US forms Iraqi opposition army [Curious operation using Northern Iraq/Southern Kurdistan to form what may well turn into an anti-Kurd army (and since the Kurd leaders are quoted speaking against it why are they allowing it to happen on their turf?)] INSIDE IRAQ * 8 senior Iraqi officers executed: Daily * UN Oil-for-Food Program Has Halved Child Malnutrition in Iraq [Meanwhile, in the real world ...] * Saddam shuts down newspaper run by his son Uday * How Times barked and Saddam's son was bitten [The Times thinks Babil was suppressed for publishing the story about President Hussein seeking a refuge for his family in Libya. I propose as a hypothesis that it might have something to do with the possibly very important last item in this section ('The delegation of the opposition ...')] * Vibrant reminder of Iraq's rich history [Exhibition in London on the history of the Jews in Mesopotamia. We learn that Miss Baghdad, 1947, was a Jew.] * Iraq Christians Hail Saint's Relics [St Therese of Lisieux, underscoring the relatively recent alignment of an important part of Iraq's old Christian community with the Roman Catholic Church] * Iraqi women tell of Iraq oppression [News conference in London on oppression of minorities in Iraq] * The delegation of the opposition Iraqi National Alliance gets ready to meet Saddam ['Committees to draft a new Iraqi constitution, and a law for political multilateralism. Preparations continue for war and ten million Iraqis armed'] AND, IN NEWS, 15-22/11/02 (4) IRAQI/MIDDLE EAST RELATIONS * Resolution 1441: what price Syria? [Detailed Lebanese account of Syria's reasons for supporting Res 1441. It seems the chance to talk to an Important American Personage is itself deemed to be a very tasty 'carrot'.] * Hezbollah may strike Israel in case of US war on Iraq [sez the Israeli army. Obviously what is needed is a bit of pre-emptive defence.] * U.S. Discusses Aid for Turkey to Defray Costs of an Iraq War * Syria and Iraq Tightening Their Ties [Appears to be a good account of general Syrian/Iraqi relations.] * Jordan shortlists three firms for oil pipeline from Iraq [From Oman, Russia and, rather perversely, Britain.] * Hammoud: Strike on Iraq is now inevitable [The Lebanese Foreign Minister not only injects some sense into this discussion but he also seems to be quite freely critical of Syria.] * Iran to Export Goods to Jordan and Syria Via Iraq * [Lebanese] Families demand news on detainees in Iraq ['He added that since then Lebanese and Iraqi officials have exchanged several visits "with an aroma of love and fuel oil in the air, but no one mentioned the detainees, as if they were of no concern to anyone."'] URL ONLY: http://news.scotsman.com/latest.cfm?id=5424512 * Iran 'Could Help U.S. Topple Saddam' by Tom Kelly The Scotsman, 15th November [They might. But then again, they might not.] IRAQI/INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS * No power should enforce its will on Iraq: [Indian] PM [Atal Bihari Vajpayee] * NATO onslaught against Yugoslavia offers lessons for attack on Iraq [A tribute to the skill and courage of the Yugoslav army. But what use is military skill in the face of an enemy who goes straight for the lives and livelihoods of civilians far behind the lines?] * Eritrean port may become US base for Iraq attack * Bosnian Serbs Seek Interpol Help in Iraq Arms Case * In with Iraq, out of NATO [The leaders of Belarus and the Ukraine are excluded from the meeting of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (parallel to the NATO meeting) in Prague because of suspicions that they helped the Iraqi conventional weapons programme.] * Germany confirms US asked it for Iraq support * Russian 'Interests' In Iraq Recognized ['A high-ranking Russian foreign ministry official involved in negotiations with the United States over the U.N. resolution told an American visitor to Moscow this week that a "gentleman's agreement" had been reached with Washington on Iraq' principally on the need to keep up the price of oil which might collapse when Iraqi oil falls into Western hands (but the interest of Western oil men - Bush and Cheney - is surely to keep it up).] * [Japanese] Govt eyes refugee aid for Iraq's neighbors * Key allies baulk at support for US in Iraq war [One of the mysteries of the United Nations Security Council is that it has a very clear procedure for what happens when it decides to go to war. It involves assembling a Military Staff Committee, consisting of 'the Chiefs of Staff of the permanent members of the Security Council or their representatives.' (UN Charter, Art 47.2). I seem to remember that some pretence that this was being done was maintained at the time of the Gulf War but there doesn't seem to be much talk of doing it this time round.] AND, IN NEWS, 15-22/11/02 (5) NO FLY ZONES * Coalition resumes no-fly zone strikes [Najaf, Saturday 16th November] * U.S. accuses Iraq of shooting at jets [Statement that the US consider Iraq's targeting of aircraft violating Iraqi airspace a breach of Res 1441.] * 7 civilians killed in US-British raids: Iraq [Najaf, Saturday 16th November. Refers to another bombing on Friday 15th. Note that the general account of the no-fly zones at the end contains, unusually, the admission that they 'are not explicitly covered by any UN resolution.'] * No-fly zones: The legal position [This BBC article does stress that the no fly zones are not authorised by any UN resolution. But it doesn't mention the extension of the southern No Fly Zone in retaliation for Iraq's 1996 intervention - at the invitation of the KDP - to repel the Iranian invasion of Southern Kurdistan.] * Allies bomb air defenses in northern Iraq for second straight day; leaflets dropped in southern Iraq [Near Mosul, Monday 18th November] * US warplanes strike Iraqi air defence sites [Sunday 17th, Monday 18th, both near Mosul.] * U.N. opposes U.S. stand on Iraq no-fly zone violation [On the face of it this is an extraordinary moment of toughness on the part of the world. It even includes the UK. It seems obvious that para 8 is designed to be open to this interpretation but: 'Britain's U.N. ambassador, Sir Jeremy Greenstock, co-sponsor of the resolution, told the Security Council before the vote that paragraph 8 referred to any personnel that the inspectors might ask to help them and not the no-fly zones.'] * United States bombs three Iraqi air defense facilities [Southern Iraq, Wednesday 20th November] * Western Planes Bomb Targets in South [Thursday, 21st November, radar sites near Ash Shuaybah and Tallil] REMNANTS OF DECENCY * Thousands rally against Iraq war [in Canada] * Greeks Protest Against War in Nov 17 Rally * Atlantan in Iraq on medical mission [James Jennings, of Conscience International, going to Iraq] * Testimony in Support of Baltimore's Anti-Iraq War Resolution [William Hughes, speaking in favour of a bill apparently proposed in Baltimore City Council to oppose war on Iraq (on the grounds that the general Bush administration policy makes the proliferation and use of weapons of mass destruction more not less likely).] AND, IN NEWS, 15-22/11/02 (6) IMPLICATIONS OF WAR * Pentagon Schools Reporters for Possible Iraq War [Teaching them among much else how to avoid chemical and biological attacks. Since one of the possible causes of Gulf War syndrome is the antidote to chemical attacks perhaps we're going to see an outbreak of it among journalists?] * Iraqi army is tougher than US believes [But since the main motive the article adduces is self-interest (defence of a privileged position) it doesn't seem to me to be totally convincing. People don't usually engage in suicidal struggles out of sheer self interest.] * International Law Has Failed to Lessen Horrors of War [Extract from article in the Salt Lake Tribune which draws on Tom Nagy's research on the targeting of civilian infrastructure and its defence by Lt Col Rizer.] * Saddam's regime prepares for escape from Iraq * US puts microwave bomb on Iraqi menu * A Modest Proposal: Let Iran "Liberate" Iraq [by Noam Chomsky. 'nuff said.] * After Saddam [Sceptical analysis of the Japanese analogy] * US again turns its back on Afghans * Nasty surprise for US airmen [The Ukrainian Kolchuga passive detection system which is able to track Stealth bombers. Somewhat unfair if they're not allowed to sell it to the one country in the world that has most need of it.] URL ONLY: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/15850 * Iraq: The Economic Consequences of War by William D. Nordhaus The New York Review of Books, 5th December [Lengthy attempt to analyse the costs of different war scenarios (its a shorter version of a lengthier analysis available at www.econ .yale.edu/~nordhaus/iraq.html.) It comes to the general conclusion that war is a bad idea.] _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. 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