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]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[casi] News, 22-29/11/02 (3)

News, 22-29/11/02 (3)


*  US-based body slams US tracking of Iraqi americans
*  Ironworker broken by Iraqi captivity
*  Iraq, oil and security
*  US military chiefs visit troops in Gulf
*  City Council to hold forum on resolution against Iraq war
*  Sen. Lugar Plans Hearings on Iraq
*  Thinking with a Manichaean bent
*  Who minded Iraqi mustard gas in 1983?
*  Lilliputians loosening ropes on Gulliver


*  Iraqi defector insists he was ordered to gas Kurds
*  Iraqi opposition issues democracy plan for post-Saddam era
*  Why the ICP does not participate in the Opposition Conference?


Arabic News, 22nd November

The Arab Anti-Discrimination Council (ADC) has slammed the tracking of
Iraqi-American nationals for security reasons.

"In the past few days, several media reports have discussed a possible plan
by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) to monitor and interview
Iraqi-Americans in an effort to identify potential threats to national
security," ADC said.

According to media reports, this plan may involve tracking thousands of
Iraqi citizens and Iraqi-Americans. These reports claim that the DOJ plans
to begin voluntary interviews of Iraqi members of the Arab-American
community asking them to report suspicious activity related to Iraq.

The ADC said it has received multiple inquiries from Iraqi-American
organizations and individuals concerned with the potential use of national
origin and/or ethnicity as the sole reason for questioning individuals as
potential suspects.

If correct, this proposed plan would ethnically profile thousands of
individuals, including American citizens, which smacks of guilt by
association and the incrimination of an entire ethnic population, ADC added.
ADC emphasized to members of the Iraqi-American community and the
Iraqi-immigrant community that equal protection and due process rights are
afforded to everyone, including non-citizens, in the United States.

ADC would advise concerned persons contacted by law enforcement authorities
of the right not to answer questions without the presence of an attorney,
the absolute discretion whether to submit to any voluntary interview, the
absolute discretion in selecting the date, time, and location of any
voluntary interview as well as who may attend the interview and what
questions to answer during such a voluntary interview.

by Richard Leiby
Detroit News, from Washington Post, 24th November

Lake Havasu City, Ariz. -- Jack Frazier was a legend.

The rugged 6-foot-4 ironworker took on the toughest construction jobs in the
world. In Saudi Arabia's 130-degree desert, he rigged 50,000 tons of steel
for a $2 billion petrochemical plant. He nearly lost use of his hands while
supervising a refinery job in Kazakhstan's 40 below winter, but finished
months ahead of schedule.

When Saddam Hussein's forces invaded Kuwait in 1990, Frazier was on a
massive oil project in Iraq for Bechtel Corp., the U.S. construction
conglomerate. Held hostage with other Americans in Baghdad and denied his
diabetes medicine, he went blind in one eye. But Frazier returned to the war
zone to help Bechtel put out the oil fires Saddam's army set in Kuwait.

Today the legend is disappearing. "I've shrunk," Frazier mutters in disgust
from his narrow bed in a nursing home here. His arms and legs are withered,
raw and ulcered. More than two months in captivity without medication caused
severe, irreversible health problems, doctors say.

"The way my body is deteriorating, I may have a year or two at the most,"
says Frazier, 65. He sobs for several minutes. "It still gets to me."

"Take a couple of deep breaths," says Deanna Frazier, an optimist who
believes her husband and his fellow victims of Iraqi cruelty will see

After all, last year U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson awarded
Frazier $1.75 million, to be paid from about $2 billion in frozen Iraqi
accounts in U.S. banks. After all, the president himself declared that
evildoers like Saddam must pay for their crimes.

Just one problem. The Bush administration, for all its loathing of Saddam,
has been reluctant to allow any former hostages -- including scores used as
"human shields" -- to receive the Iraqi money. The State Department opposes
legislation that would let 177 victims collect $93 million in court-awarded

The agency's position is that using the blocked assets to pay judgments will
not deter terrorism.

This all started a dozen years ago.
The call came to his Baghdad hotel room at 10:30 p.m. "Get ready. We're
going into hiding," a Bechtel supervisor told Frazier.

It was Aug. 18, 1990, 16 days after the invasion, and Saddam had barred
Americans and other foreigners from leaving Iraq and Kuwait. Bechtel, which
had 108 employees and dependents in Iraq, was working with the Iraqi
Ministry of Industry and Military Industrialization on an oil refinery and
petrochemical plant about 60 miles from Baghdad.

That night, a number of Bechtel employees gathered in their hotel lobby with
overnight bags and small supplies of food and water. Around midnight, they
headed for waiting taxis and embassy vehicles.

"Where are you going?" one of the Iraqis asked, trying to detain them.
Frazier felt someone snatch a bag from his hand. In that bag were his
diabetes and blood pills.

Bechtel people from other hotels and expatriates found diplomatic sanctuary
several miles from the U.S. Embassy in the home of April Glaspie, U.S.
ambassador to Iraq. The home had a pool and gardens, but just four bedrooms.
Eventually 55 people crowded into the residence. Iraqi sentries were
stationed at the exits.

Some ex-hostages fault Bechtel for putting them in jeopardy, but anyone who
takes such an assignment knows it can be dangerous.

Though most of the hostages weren't physically abused, captivity instilled
psychological terror. Many grew depressed and felt expendable -- especially
since U.S. officials had made clear they would not negotiate with Iraq over

Stress aggravated Frazier's diabetes. His optic nerve was damaged; he would
never regain sight in that eye. As the weeks wore on he dropped 50 pounds,
aggravating his diabetes -- which, untreated, can damage every organ of the

A delegation of Iraqi-American businessmen flew to Baghdad on a peace
mission, meeting with Frazier and other hostages. After their plea to
Saddam, the dictator released 14 Americans on medical or humanitarian
grounds Oct. 23.

"I have been a lot of places and done many things in my life," Frazier told
a Washington Post reporter after landing in New York. "But I have to tell
you, the most traumatic thing I have ever done was get in that car yesterday
and drive away from my friends. That is something I will never forget."

He couldn't shake feelings of guilt. He felt he'd run out on the others.

After being freed, Frazier spent 15 days in the hospital. That November, he
went to Bechtel headquarters to videotape a message the company hoped would
reach its 64 still-captive employees, in which he spoke of Bechtel's
diligent efforts on their behalf: "They're trying, guys. And this is not a
paid political statement. ... I don't know if they're doing it right or not,
but I know the effort's genuine."

But it all came down to what Saddam willed. In one of his periodic charm
offensives, he allowed all remaining hostages to leave Iraq and Kuwait
starting Dec. 9, 1990, about five weeks before the U.S. began bombing.

Up to this point in Frazier's story, the primary villain has been clear. But
in his quest for compensation, he sees two other antagonists: his own
company and the U.S. government.

In Bechtel's view, Frazier put himself in harm's way to make a buck. It has
aggressively fought his workers' compensation claims.

>From his wheelchair in the nursing home, Frazier responds: "They have shown
me that loyalty, dedication and hard work mean nothing."

After the Gulf War ended, Bechtel had a contract to suppress hundreds of oil
and gas well infernos in Kuwait.

In 1992 he filed a disability claim in California for lost eyesight and
other health problems. Attorneys for Bechtel and its insurer disputed his
medical evidence. He eventually settled for $50,000.

In February 1999, Bechtel terminated him. He was 61. He got a letter from
the company's human resources department: Sign a secrecy agreement and turn
in your badge. Not even a thank-you.

Around that time Frazier qualified as fully and permanently disabled under
Social Security guidelines. (His federal check comes to $1,350 a month.) He
also was one of the first to sign up with a Washington lawyer, Daniel Wolf,
who was suing Saddam in federal court and hoped to unfreeze Iraqi assets for
the ex-hostages.

Frazier filed a claim in California for disability benefits and medical
costs from 1995-98, when he worked for Bechtel. Over the years, several
experts would reach the same conclusions: Frazier's health woes started in
captivity in Iraq and worsened progressively.

Last December, Judge Jackson awarded a dozen plaintiffs $300 million in
punitive damages against "the defendant Saddam Hussein." Jackson also
parceled out compensatory awards totaling $9 million. Frazier, who had
suffered the greatest physical problems, got the biggest award: $1,749,000.

The California disability ruling came down Oct. 25 -- 12 years and two days
after Frazier was freed from Baghdad. That judge sided with Frazier, too,
saying the combined effects of captivity in Iraq and "the stress and strain
of his (later) employment with Bechtel" caused him total and permanent

The ruling means medical bills totaling $328,500 should be the
responsibility of Bechtel or its insurer. The judge also awarded Frazier
retroactive disability payments of $108,445, plus $490 a week for the rest
of his life.

Jeff Berger, Bechtel's public communications manager, says the company's
insurer will appeal.

by Mahmood Elahi
Bangladeshi Independent, 25th November

The easiest way to get cheap oil would to arrive at some kind of agreement
with Saddam Hussein which will let Iraq export its vast oil supplies and
bring down the oil prices to the pre-invasion of Kuwait levels. In fact,
this was the earlier strategic thinking in which the United States thought
Saddam would become a protector of its Arab neighbours against any Iranian
desire to dominate the region. Saddam's invasion of Kuwait was a rude
awakening. Since then it was security of Kuwait and other militarily weak
Middle Eastern states that was the main concern of the United States. After
his defeat in 1991, Saddam Hussein is trying to build weapons of mass
destruction, hoping it will give him the necessary leverage to dominate the
region again.

The widely held argument that a U.S. attack on Iraq stems primarily from a
desire to gain access to Iraq's oil reflects ignorance of basic economic
principles and the reality. As Canadian historian, Dr. Mark Proudman,
recently pointed out: "If the real objective of U.S. policy was simply to
get cheap oil, it would only need to lift the blockade of Iraq, thus letting
the enormous Iraqi oil reserves onto the market, and probably driving the
price of oil below $10 a barrel. The problem, of course, is that money would
go into the coffers of Saddam Hussein, and would then get spent on nuclear

It is obvious that it is not oil, but Saddam's brutal regime that is the
crux of the problem. To understand what an aggressive regime means, one has
only to look at Japan during the World War II. Here was a militarist Japan
which attacked Pearl Harbor without any provocation and was carrying out a
war of aggression against its neighbors. Defeating and disarming Japan was
the top priority of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. But once Japan was
defeated and became an ally, President Ronald Reagan had been urging Japan
to rebuild its military to share the responsibility to protect Asia from any
Soviet expansionism. What a difference a regime change makes!

Similarly, as long as Saddam Hussein is in power, he will use his oil wealth
to build weapons of mass destruction which he might again use to threaten
his neighbors as he has done before. The real danger is that once Saddam has
nuclear weapons, he might assume this would free him to conduct conventional
aggression with impunity. With nuclear deterrent, he might try to reconquer
Kuwait wrongly thinking that the U.S. and its allies would shrink from
taking any action for fear of nuclear retaliation. Saddam may not be
suicidal, he is capable of serious miscalculation when he thinks he is
strong. His refusal to withdraw from Kuwait in 1991 even when a formidable
U.S.-led force was ready to go into action to oust him from Kuwait is a
clear example of this.

Another great danger Saddam poses is terrorism. As Dr. Khidir Hamza, a top
Iraqi nuclear physicist and director of Iraq's nuclear weapons program
before his defection in 1993, wrote after September 11 in The Los Angeles
Times: "Then there is scariest possibility of all: Iraq has the capability
to produce biological agents, including anthrax, in large quantities - not
just raw anthrax in liquid form, which almost anybody can prepare, but in a
powder that is effective as a terrorist tool. Whether Hussein was involved
in providing spores and powder that hit Codgers, the U.S. postal service and
other people and institutions is irrelevant; it is his capability to do it
that should concern us."

Clearly, it is about security and military threats that Saddam Hussein poses
that is crux of the problem. It is about Saddam's using his oil wealth to
acquire nuclear and bio-chemical weapons of mass destruction. Bio-chemical
weapons are particularly threatening because they can be unleashed
clandestinely and perpetrators are difficult to identify. A year after the
anthrax attacks, the United States does not know who was behind these
attacks. Such an unconventional attack, one that would combine Iraq's
easy-to-hide bio-chemical weapons with the terrorists' skill, can be

It's about these military and security threats. Oil is important for the
world economy. But oil without security is like living in a house without
any roof.,00050001.htm

Hindustani Times, 27th November

Reuters, Dubai, November 27: The chiefs of the United States Air Force and
Army and the head of US Central Command, General Tommy Franks, are in the
Gulf this week visiting US troops that could be part of a possible invasion
of Iraq.

Their tours coincide with the start of a new UN arms inspection regime in
Iraq and the countdown to a December 8 deadline for Baghdad to declare all
weapons of mass destruction or face the prospect of war with the US and

A spokesman for the US Fifth Fleet in Bahrain said on Tuesday the visits by
Franks, Air Force chief General John Jumper and Army Chief of Staff General
Eric Shinseki were Thanksgiving Day morale-boosters for US troops in the

The holiday takes place on Thursday.

"They're in the region in support of USO (United Services Organisation).
It's a low-key visit. It's not for the media. It's to give the troops a pat
on the back," the spokesman told Reuters.

The US has been reinforcing troops in the Gulf for a possible attack on
Iraq. US President George W Bush has threatened to use force to disarm Iraq
if Baghdad failed to honour a new UN Security Council resolution providing
for a tough inspection regime.

Most of Washington's Gulf Arab allies publicly oppose a US attack on Iraq.

Bahrain's BNA news agency said Franks, who might command any invasion of
Iraq, visited Bahrain on Tuesday and held talks on Iraq and other issues
with King Hamad bin Isa al Khalifa.

King Hamad stressed the need to safeguard regional security and stability
and uphold UN resolutions and "reiterated the role of the United States in
protecting peace and international security", the agency said.

The Saudi Press Agency said Jumper visited Saudi Arabia on Tuesday and held
talks with Deputy Defence Minister Prince Khaled bin Sultan bin Abdul-Aziz.

On Monday, Prince Khaled held talks on the Iraq crisis with General Franks,
the agency said.

Newspapers said Jumper and Shinseki were in Kuwait on Monday, where the
United States now has about 10,000 troops.

Saudi Arabia has not made it clear if it would allow its American ally to
use the main US command-and-control centre for the Gulf, at Prince Sultan
air base near Riyadh, in the event of war.

by Tom Pelton
Baltimore Sun, 27th November

Peter D. Molan is no dreamy peacenik.

He not only supported the bombing of Afghanistan last year and the Persian
Gulf war of 1991, he helped the Pentagon execute these attacks as an
intelligence analyst for the Department of Defense.

But now Molan, who recently retired and lives in Baltimore, is strongly
opposed to the war that President Bush is threatening against Iraq.

Molan believes Bush is "delusional" about the threat posed by Saddam
Hussein, and argues that invading Iraq will unleash worse violence in the
Middle East and undermine the Pentagon's efforts to hunt down the real enemy
- Osama bin Laden.

This evening, Molan is scheduled to air his views in what many might
consider an odd venue: Baltimore's City Hall.

The City Council is holding a public forum on the possible war at 5 p.m. in
a fourth-floor hearing room, as it considers a resolution opposing the war.

While some deride the City Council - which was designed to debate such
issues as local sewer and water rates - as a silly place to address U.S.
foreign policy, Molan and other supporters of the resolution say that a
growing number of local governments see themselves as a fitting podium from
which voters should voice their opinions about the war.

The City Council in Washington approved Nov. 7 a resolution opposing
unilateral U.S. military action in Iraq, after similar votes in San
Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley, Calif.; Ithaca, N.Y.; Seattle; Kalamazoo,
Mich.; and several other, mostly liberal cities around the country.

Suburban and more conservative local governments, such as those in Howard,
Baltimore and Anne Arundel counties, have not taken up such antiwar

Molan, 61, who holds a doctorate in Middle Eastern studies from the
University of California, Berkeley, believes Baltimore City government
should be worried about war with Iraq because it would drain federal
resources needed for local education and crime fighting, among other issues.

Molan said he will speak out tonight in City Hall because he has tried every
other means of expressing his opposition to the war. He has written letters
to the president and congressional representatives and newspapers. And he
joined in a peaceful protest on the anniversary of Sept. 11.

"What the U.S. is proposing to do in Iraq now is what Saddam did in 1990 -
completely upsetting the political structure that has been in place in the
Middle East since World War II," said Molan, an analyst and translator for
the Department of Defense from 1984 until last year.

"We could completely destabilize the whole Middle East," said Molan. "Does
the administration, with its oil connections, really hope to take control of
Middle Eastern oil? It does seem that that could be a motivation here."

City Councilman Kwame Osayaba Abayomi, who proposed the resolution, said
tonight's meeting will help collect public opinion before a possible vote on
the antiwar resolution by the full council Dec. 9.

The resolution opposes "the United States' continued and threatened
violation ... of international law by the unilateral, preemptive military
action against the nation of Iraq."

This would not be the first time the council has waded into international

The council in past years has passed resolutions demanding the right of self
determination for the Lithuanian people, condemning slavery in Mauritania,
criticizing the repression of the Ahmadiyya religious movement by the
Pakistani government, and calling for the end of violence in Northern
Ireland and apartheid in South Africa.

Louis Cantori, a professor of political science at the University of
Maryland, Baltimore County, said it is remarkable that a former Department
of Defense analyst with Molan's credentials would be among those testifying
in a local government chambers about the possible war.

"He's no lightweight," said Cantori. "He's spent his whole career as a
senior intelligence analyst for the U.S. government."

by Ken Guggenheim
Las Vegas Sun (from AP), 27th November

WASHINGTON- The United States had the luxury of military and political
support from more than 30 nations, including prominent Arab states, the last
time it took on Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

This time, if war comes, how large the force would be is uncertain. But even
should it come from far fewer countries, the next chairman of the Senate
Foreign Relations Committee says, "It will be just as effective in terms of
the military result."

Sen. Richard Lugar, who takes over the committee when Congress reconvenes in
January, said in an interview Tuesday that the difficulty of proving
chemical and biological materials in Iraq are intended for weapons could
undermine chances of winning support from reluctant allies, such as France
or Russia.

He said he hopes that any attack would be backed by a broad coalition, as it
was when President Bush's father, President George H.W. Bush, marshaled a
U.S.-dominated coalition to drive Iraqi forces out of Kuwait in 1991. Lugar,
considered a Senate expert on arms control and foreign affairs, recognizes
that may be impossible.

Iraq probably will insist that any chemical or biological materials it
possesses are used for peaceful purposes, Lugar said, and it would be
difficult for the United States to prove otherwise.

"Some countries might argue that the United States is too eager to find
problems here, and further proof is required for the world community," he

Iraq is likely to be the dominant issue facing Lugar's committee, but he
commented on a wide range of topics in an Associated Press interview looking
ahead to Lugar's tenure.

He said:

-The United States should insist that Saudi Arabia do more to stop the
financing of terrorists, "with the implied threat the United States will
take charge of the situation, and we will attempt to impose some controls."

With possible war with Iraq approaching, the United States should have high
expectations of its allies, Lugar said. "This is a time that firmness ought
to be on the part of the United States," he said.

-His committee is likely to hold hearings on reports that Pakistan, a close
ally in the war against terror, has helped North Korea's nuclear weapons

-He wants to follow up a program he began 11 years ago with then-Sen. Sam
Nunn, D-Ga., to dismantle nuclear warheads from the former Soviet Union.
Lugar said a similar program is needed to address weapons of mass
destruction in other nations.

Iraq faces a Dec. 8 deadline for providing the United Nations with details
of its nuclear, chemical and biological programs, and U.N. inspectors will
determine whether it is meeting its obligation to disarm.

Leaders in Iraq have insisted the nation has no weapons of mass destruction.
Lugar said that is not true.

Lugar, who also headed the Foreign Relations Committee in 1985-1986, said he
plans hearings on what Iraq might be like in the aftermath of any U.S.
invasion. Many lawmakers are concerned about questions such as the
difficulty of finding qualified political leaders and the potential for
ethnic and religious conflict.

On Tuesday, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., sent a letter to Defense Secretary
Donald H. Rumsfeld complaining that he has been unable to get information
from the Pentagon about how the conflict might affect oil prices and
supplies. The Pentagon said the letter was being reviewed.

Lugar also said he is planning hearings to explore overall political
situations overseas.

Like current chairman Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., Lugar has stressed the
importance of bipartisan cooperation on the committee. One area of possible
dispute is the nomination of Otto Reich for the top State Department
position on Latin America.

Lugar said he has told the Bush administration he hopes someone else will be
nominated. Given the turmoil in the region, "I think we really need a very,
very strong leader who has strong bipartisan confidence."

Bush bypassed Congress in January and gave Reich a recess appointment as
assistant secretary of state last year after Democrats refused to hold
hearings on the nomination. Democrats said he was unqualified; Republicans
said he was being punished for his support of the Cuban embargo.

The recess appointment ended last week, and Reich was named special envoy
for the region. The Bush administration has not said if he will be
renominated for the assistant secretary's position.

On the Net: Lugar:

by William Pfaff
International Herald Tribune, 28th November

PARIS: The attitude of the Bush administration, and of the neoconservative
policy community that supplies its ideas, is condescending at best to those
who question its actions. The members of the administration and their
backers claim a moral realism that their critics, specifically their
European critics, allegedly lack. The Washingtonians are "grown-ups," in one
particularly unfortunate recent formulation.

Their "realism" consists in believing that there are evil leaders and
governments in the world. They are under the impression that their critics
are moral relativists, who do not recognize this. They interpret a
reluctance to go to war against Iraq, and potentially Iran and North Korea,
and an unwillingness to follow the United States in making radical
government reorganizations and restricting civil liberties, in an
ill-defined and thus far conspicuously unsuccessful war against terrorism,
as evidence of this moral relativism. One might think it evidence of good
sense or an informed prudence, but the Bush people believe themselves more
farsighted than others.

This is a recurrent fallacy in Washington.

It was Madeleine Albright, secretary of state in the Clinton administration,
who provided this belief's most complacent statement when she said that the
United States "sees farther" because it "stands taller," being more virtuous
than other countries.

George Ball, an immensely respected U.S. diplomat of the postwar period,
argued in the 1960s that the United States is "unique in world history"
because its foreign policy is disinterested. Europeans, he added, "have
little experience in the exercise of responsibility divorced from ... narrow
and specific national interests." He said this in explaining why the United
States would win the war in Vietnam. Naturally this attitude does not always
go down very well in other countries and has become a particular irritant in
American relations today with Europe.

The serious formulation of the neoconservatives' argument says that while
the United States acts on moral realism, the West Europeans have adopted an
idealistic view of international affairs that may be appropriate in dealing
with the concerns of the European community but is irresponsible as an
approach to an international order threatened by rogue states and anarchic
failed states.

It contends as well that the European view reflects a lack of courage and a
deplorably selfish willingness to allow the United States to defend the
international order while Europeans appease rogue rulers and seize shady
commercial advantages that the United States high-mindedly scorns. In the
past year, France and Germany have also been accused of displaying
anti-Semitic sentiments, expediently concealed since Nazi and Vichy times
but now rampant and ignored by a European leadership which in this respect
is no better than that of the 1930s. In part, all this reflects old cultural
attitudes tied to the complicated relationship of Americans of European
descent to the countries their ancestors left in the 18th and 19th
centuries, and in the case of the neoconservatives, many of them Jewish, the
attitudes of children and grandchildren of the Nazis' victims. Not a great
deal can be done to change any of this.

It also presents, in an intense form, the same disagreement that has
separated American governments from their European allies on a number of
previous occasions. This, by analogy at least, is a theological

Dualism has always been a powerful tendency in religion, the unmistakable
good - light - confronting darkness and evil. Both Calvinism and the 17th
century Catholic heresy of Jansenism were affected by theological dualism,
preaching predestination and the corrupting force of material goods and
pleasures. Both had great influence on the American consciousness, the first
through the 17th century Puritanism that shaped Congregationalism in the
18th century and the evangelical Protestantism of the 19th and 20th
centuries. They preached that the world was replete with Satan's snares, and
they took an activist approach to doing something about this. (Remember not
only Prohibition but Carrie Nation and her hatchet.) The Jansenist influence
reached the United States via Irish Catholicism, deeply Puritan in outlook.
Manichaeism has become a generalized term, usually of abuse, but the
religion originated (not far from Baghdad) early in the second century of
the Christian era and was a synthesis of Zoroastrianism and Christianity,
with several other Asian religious influences.

Its dualism was of eternal war between God and Satan, light and darkness. It
held that evil was physical, not a moral thing. Believers fell into two
classes: the elect, or perfect, bearers of light, and their followers, who
could hope to merit rebirth as elect. All others were sinners, destined to

Manichaeism itself had largely disappeared in Europe by the 6th century,
although it influenced the medieval heresies of the Cathars, Albigenses and
Bogomils. Its dualism is an interpretation of existence that has proved
persistent and seductive. In the United States its religious expression has
weakened, but its larger influence on the American mind, as it addresses
foreign affairs, is stronger than ever.

by Joost R. Hiltermann
International Herald Tribune, 29th November

WASHINGTON: In warning against a possible Iraqi chemical or biological
strike against U.S. troops, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld remarked
last week that "there's a danger that Saddam Hussein would do things he's
done previously - he has in the past used chemical weapons."

Rumsfeld should know. Declassified State Department documents show that when
he had an opportunity to raise the issue of chemical weapons with the Iraqi
leadership in 1983, he failed to do so in any meaningful way. Worse, he may
well have given a signal to the Iraqis that the United States would close
its eyes to Iraq's use of chemical weapons during its war with Iran,
providing an early boost to Iraq's plans to develop weapons of mass
destruction. As President Ronald Reagan's special envoy for the Middle East,
Rumsfeld in December 1983 made the first visit by a U.S. official of his
seniority to Baghdad, where he met President Saddam Hussein and Foreign
Minister Tariq Aziz. Iraq had broken off diplomatic relations with the
United States in June 1967. Now both sides hoped that the talks in Baghdad
would facilitate a resumption of formal ties.

The visit came at a time when Iraq was facing Iranian "human wave" assaults
that posed a serious threat to the regime. In response, Iraq had started to
use chemical weapons on the battlefield - primarily mustard gas, a blister
agent that can kill. This was known in Washington at least as early as
October 1983. State Department officials had raised the alarm, suggesting
ways of deterring further Iraqi use. But they faced resistance. Washington,
while taking a formal position of neutrality in the Gulf conflict, had
started a pronounced tilt toward Iraq, providing it with significant
financial and political support. As talking points and minutes of the
meetings show, the aim of Rumsfeld's mission was to inform the Iraqi
leadership of America's shifting policy in the Middle East. It was also
intended to explore a proposal to run an oil pipeline from Iraq to the
Jordanian port of Aqaba (a U.S. business interest involving the Bechtel
Corporation), and to caution the Iraqis not to escalate the war in the Gulf
through air strikes against Iranian oil facilities and tankers (which
Washington feared might draw the United States into the war).

There is no indication that Rumsfeld raised U.S. concerns about Iraq's use
of poison gas with Saddam Hussein. But in a private meeting with Tariq Aziz,
he made a single brief reference to "certain things" that made it difficult
for the United States to do more to help Iraq. These things included
"chemical weapons, possible escalation in the Gulf, and human rights." There
is no record of further discussion of chemical weapons or human rights at
these meetings, which covered the length and breadth of the warming
relationship. Rumsfeld did, however, place considerable emphasis on the need
for Iraq to prevent an escalation in the Gulf conflict via attacks on
Iranian oil installations and tankers. Certainly nothing suggests that he
told the Iraqi leadership to take care of "certain things" before diplomatic
relations could be restored.

The senior U.S. diplomat in Baghdad reported a few days later with evident
delight that "Ambassador Rumsfeld's visit has elevated U.S.-Iraqi relations
to a new level." But, he noted, "during and following the Rumsfeld visit we
have received no commitment from the Iraqis that they will refrain from
military moves toward escalation in the Gulf."

The record of the war suggests that, flush with their new confidence in U.S.
backing, the Iraqis may have felt that they were now less restrained. They
attacked Iranian oil facilities and ended up drawing the United States into
the war, in 1987.

In the first Iranian offensive after Rumsfeld's visit, in February 1984,
Iraq used not only large amounts of mustard gas but also the highly lethal
nerve agent tabun. It was the first recorded use of the nerve agent in
history. In November 1984, shortly after Reagan's re election, diplomatic
relations between the Washington and Baghdad were restored.

Iraq made increasing use of chemical weapons on the battlefield and even
against civilians. This culminated in the wholesale gassing of the Kurdish
town of Halabja in March 1988, causing the deaths of several thousand
innocent men, women, and children.

Eventually Iraq was able to force a cease-fire with Iran after eight years
of fighting.

The American public should demand a full accounting for the support its
leadership provided Iraq in the past, including its green light to chemical
weapons use - weapons that Washington is belatedly claiming should be

The writer, Middle East project director for the International Crisis Group,
is preparing a book on U.S. policy toward Iraq, with partial support from
the Open Society Institute and the MacArthur Foundation. He contributed this
comment to the International Herald Tribune.,4386,157699,00.html?

by Strobe Talbott
Straits Times, 29th November

WHEN Mr George W. Bush assumed office in January 2001, many in his
administration believed that the United States was a Gulliver who had given
the Lilliputians the ropes to tie him down. Theirs was a new, more
assertive, less consensual brand of internationalism.

American foreign and defence policies would be rooted in the pre-eminence of
American power and the willingness of the President to use that power to
advance US interests, unfettered by international agreements or

Sept 11 provided an almost ideal opportunity for the US to demonstrate what
it could do to its enemies with a combination of military prowess and
political will. A combination of international sympathy, outrage and
solidarity muted, for the time being, complaints that Mr Bush was a cowboy
in charge of a rogue superpower.

Instead, as editorials in Europe and Asia commented at the time, the
President suddenly had the look of a brave and righteous sheriff, like the
Gary Cooper figure in High Noon. In that movie, the townspeople cower behind
closed curtains and locked doors while the sheriff squares off against the
villains on a dusty street.

The war in Afghanistan, however, departed from the Hollywood script. Largely
at the instigation of Secretary of State Colin Powell, the US assembled a
broad-based coalition, so that when the showdown with the Taleban and
Al-Qaeda came, the scene had more the look of a sheriff and a posse driving
the bad guys out of town.

Then came the Iraq sequel. The administration hoped to apply the energy
generated by US induced regime change in Kabul to accomplishing the same
objective in Baghdad. But it had trouble transferring international support
for its handling of Sept 11 to its campaign to oust Mr Saddam Hussein.

In the late summer, there seemed to be a growing determination, personified
and articulated by Vice-President Dick Cheney, to dispense with the United
Nations and do whatever it took, with whoever would join an ad hoc
coalition, to bring down Mr Saddam.

President Bush kept that option open when he went to the UN on Sept 12. He
warned the UN that it risked becoming irrelevant and going the way of the
League of Nations.

But, in a strategy designed largely by Mr Powell, Mr Bush said he would
prefer working through the Security Council and using a tough new resolution
as the instrument for forcing Mr Saddam to disarm or, if Mr Saddam refuses,
as the basis for military action.

The tactic worked. The Security Council unanimously passed a resolution with

THAT'S the first of the ironies that critics of the administration's mindset
and mode of operation must recognise: Mr Bush's ultimatum - his threat to
act independently of the UN - may actually have saved the body from
precisely the irrelevance that he warned against.

But there's a second irony: having won something close to the resolution he
wanted, Mr Bush may now be all but locked in to a UN framework for dealing
with Iraq.

He will no doubt reiterate that the US has all the authority it needs to
pull the trigger on Mr Saddam. Indeed, he must keep reminding the UN of his
determination, or the UN will slip back into playing a cat-and-mouse game
with Mr Saddam in which the mouse wins.

Still, having brought the Security Council this far, Mr Bush is likely to
stay with that process. To break ranks with the UN would cost him
international legitimacy, the participation of many states both in the
conduct of the war and the keeping of the troubled peace that will follow.

So on the issue of Iraq, at least, Mr Bush has become a multi-lateralist,
even a traditionalist in his preference for working through international
bodies in dealing with the villains of this world.

That leads to the third and final irony: Mr Bush may well end up dealing
with Iraq in a fashion that is quite consistent with the way his
predecessor, Mr Bill Clinton, dealt with similar threats to international

The post-Cold War years reveal a pattern in the way that three American
presidents have made their country's power the driving force behind
interventions on behalf of the international community. The first president
Bush did that in the 1991 Gulf War. He used his personal rapport with Mr
Mikhail Gorbachev to keep the Soviet Union, then in its dying days, from
casting a veto in the Security Council.

During the Clinton administration, the US led the UN and other global or
regional bodies in the military operations and in the nation-building that
followed: in Haiti in 1994, air strikes against the Serbs in Bosnia in 1995;
and the bombing of Serbia in 1999.

THE current Bush administration, for all its initial determination to
repudiate anything and everything Clintonian, is now poised to deal with Mr
Saddam in a similar fashion, whether dealing with him means merely disarming
him or - the unmistakable preference - decapitating him.

Back in the administration's early months, it was often said that what
distinguished the new President's approach to the world from his
predecessor's (and, for that matter, from his father's) was that those
earlier occupants of the White House operated on the slogan: together if
possible, alone if necessary, while with Mr Bush, it's the other way around.

Iraq may play out as a disproof of that conventional wisdom and as a
reminder that there remains a high degree of continuity in American foreign
policy. If so, that will come as a relief to much of the rest of the world,
and it will increase the chances that others will follow the American lead
in the future.

The writer was US Deputy Secretary of State from 1994 to 2001. Copyright
2002 Yale Center for the Study of Globalisation.


by Khaled Yacoub Oweis
Boston Globe, 22nd November

LONDON (Reuters): The most senior Iraqi defector alive, who is facing a
possible war crimes case in Denmark over the gassing of Kurds, said
yesterday that he was horrified by the chemical attacks but had been
powerless to stop them.

General Nizar al-Khazraji, who was chief of staff of the Iraqi Army when
Kurds in northern Iraq were subjected to genocide in 1988, said he could not
have resigned because that would have put his life in danger.

"The concept of resignation does not exist in Saddam's Iraq," Khazraji said
by telephone from Soro, west of Copenhagen. "My family would have been also
killed if I tried to step down."

Iraqi military operations to crush a Kurdish rebellion killed up to 200,000
Kurdish civilians in 1988. The genocide, which the Kurds call al-Anfal,
included razing thousands of villages, depopulation, and bombing Kurdish
areas, such as Halabja, with chemical weapons.

"Ask British and US military intelligence, and they will tell you about
Iraqi command structure: Saddam alone ordered Anfal, and Ali Chemical
executed it," said Khazraji, referring to Ali Hasan al-Majid, who is
President Saddam Hussein's son.

Khazraji fled to Jordan and four years later applied for political asylum in

An independent group of Kurds has been trying to bring a war crimes case
against Khazraji.

Local news reports said Khazraji had been placed under house arrest, but an
official said he had only been denied permission to travel and was required
to inform the police of his movements.

The two Iraqi Kurdish parties that have controlled an enclave in northern
Iraq since the end of the 1991 Gulf War also supported the general.

"We have not been given any proof that he took part in any gassing operation
against the Kurds," said a spokesman for the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan.

A Kurdistan Democratic Party official said in a telephone interview from
northern Iraq: "We have not seen sufficient evidence to implicate him. We
believe the real perpetrators of those crimes are still outside the law."

by Judith Miller
International Herald Tribune, from The New York Times, 27th November

Iraqi opposition members are circulating a detailed plan for transforming
Iraq from a dictatorship into an essentially secular democracy in two to
three years if President Saddam Hussein is removed from office.

The plan, "The Transition to Democracy in Iraq," was formed after fierce
debate among representatives of a State Department-supported group that
consists of Iraqi intellectuals in exile, representatives of human rights
groups, other private organizations and representatives of leading Iraqi
opposition groups.

The document, 98 pages long, suggests that the groups have been able to
compromise over divisive issues like the role of religion and ethnicity in a
post-Saddam Iraq.

It endorses a set of principles that its authors say enjoys broad support
among opposition groups, like democracy, federalism, respect for the rule of
law and human rights, and a "road map" for the transition to a government
that would begin organizing in exile.

On Monday, a State Department official welcomed what he characterized as the
latest "draft" of the document and endorsed several of its major principles.

But he said that the administration did not favor the "road map" the paper
recommended and that it opposed any effort to establish a government in
exile that might "disenfranchise" prospective opponents of Saddam's
government in Iraq.

The major authors discussed the paper Monday at a meeting with Condoleezza
Rice, national security adviser to President George W. Bush, and other White
House officials.

People at the meeting said Rice had invited the group back to discuss their
ideas further next week. She had previously expressed reservations about
establishing a transition government that might rule out internal
alternatives to the fractious opposition that has emerged in exile,
officials said.

The document being circulated is widely expected to be considered next month
at a major conference of opposition groups.

Deep ideological disputes and mistrust of one another had prompted
opposition leaders to postpone such a meeting set for this month, which the
Bush administration had intended to be a showcase for an emerging unity
among the opponents of Saddam. It had originally been scheduled for Nov. 22
in Brussels, but opposition leaders said they now expected it to be Dec. 10
in London.

The paper maps out a process - no more than three years - that would
culminate with elections in which Iraqis would vote on a constitution and
the structure of a new government, almost certainly without the
participation of the current ruling party, the Arab Ba'ath Socialist Party.

The report says a "transitional" government would be responsible for
guaranteeing basic human and political rights. Torture would be forbidden,
as would arbitrary arrest, detention and exile. All citizens would be
considered equal no matter their sex, race, religion or ethnicity.

Some issues remain so divisive that the authors chose to offer competing
alternative visions or to defer them. Although they recommended that Iraq
undergo "de-Ba'athization" similar to the "de-Nazification" of Germany after
World War II, the paper also noted that some opposition groups strongly
oppose outlawing the Ba'ath Party.

Similarly, although the authors clearly favor separation of religion and
state, they defer the issue of what relationship should exist between the
new state and religion, specifically between the government and Islam, to
which the overwhelming majority of Iraqis subscribe, although in different

The major obstacle for the Bush administration is the two-stage process that
the paper endorses. "We want an identifiable leadership to come out of this
process, a leadership that can become the future leadership of Iraq," said
Kanan Makiya, a prominent dissident who was a major author of the paper.

Toward that end, the document assigns a pivotal role in establishing the
"transitional authority" to the opposition groups in exile and to the Kurds
of northern Iraq. The Kurds are under the protection of Gulf War allies
within a no-flight zone.

The core of the "transitional authority," the paper states, should be drawn
from those 4 million Kurds and the 3 million Iraqis in exile. The assertion
of a lead role for the exiles has been resisted not only by the State
Department but also by some smaller Iraqi groups that fear being
marginalized by Ahmed Chalabi, founder of the Iraqi National Congress, an
umbrella group in London. Chalabi has strong support in the Pentagon and
from Vice President Dick Cheney's office.


The Iraqi CP will not be taking part in the "Opposition Conference" which is
to be held in London next month, due to "differences regarding how such a
conference should be convened, and how to build an alliance", in addition to
"differences in opinion regarding the way to deal with international

Mr. Hameed Majid Mousa, the Secretary of the party's Central Committee, has
said in an extensive interview with the independent Kurdish weekly "Hawlati"
which is published tomorrow (25/11/2002), "The proper way of convening such
a conference is through direct consultations among Iraqi patriotic
opposition forces, without interference or patronage from any foreign

Mr. Mousa pointed out that keeping out foreign interference and patronage
"does not, at all, negate our need and desire for international support and
backing". "The priority, however, is to activate our Iraqi forces in the
struggle against the dictatorial regime, and only then to approach the
international community and its members, including the United States. In
this way, we would be laying the basis for a normal relationship within a
framework of international legitimacy, in congruence with the UN Charter".

The Iraqi Communist party leader said that the relationship with the US
should be built on the basis of equality and mutual respect which is in line
with Iraqi people's interests, rather than on subservience to the "Iraq
Liberation Act" and implementation of American schemes.

"Salvation from the dictatorial regime is our cause and the cause of the
Iraqi people, and it does not make sense to ignore this and to pin hopes on
American war, American invasion and American "liberation". No! This is what
the Iraqi opposition should take care not to fall into," he said.

Mr. Mousa pointed out that the exclusion of the Iraqi Communist Party, in
advance, from the preparatory work for the "Conference", is "a political
stance; and not a technical administrative one". The party's disagreement
with the "conference" and with this project is, therefore, of a political
nature and has nothing to do with the level of representation reportedly
allocated to the party.

He stressed that the party's decision not to participate in the proposed
conference "does not mean it would have a negative impact on our bilateral
relationship" with many of the forces which will be taking part in it. "Each
party is free to take the position which it considers to be proper, and
believes to be the best, and more useful and beneficial for the people and
their interest".

He added: "We have always considered our principal objective to be getting
rid of the dictatorship, and establishing a democratic alternative which
embodies the people's will and interests: a unified democratic Iraq, in
which the Kurdish national question would be resolved on a federal basis".

BM Al-Tarik, London , WC1N 3XX, UK
Fax: 0044(207) 419 2552

Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
To unsubscribe, visit
To contact the list manager, email
All postings are archived on CASI's website:

[Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]