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[casi] News titles, 6-13/12/02

News titles, 6-13/12/02

This week saw the US hijacking of the Iraq dossier, though its difficult to
work up a feeling of righteous indignation over it given that there were two
copies (Iraq's photocopying facilities seem to be superior to those of the
UN) so it will be difficult for the US to tamper with it. What is surprising
is that they see to have agreed in the first place to only receiving a
version sanitised by the inspectors.

There were also preparations for the opposition conference in London; the
Iraqi cancelling of its West Qurna oilfield deal with Russia; further
conflicts between the PUK and Ansar al Islam near Halabja; Saddam's call to
Holy War against the Infidel (disguised as an apology) in Kuwait; and in
general (despite aggressive courting of the new government in Turkey)
further signs of a US backing off imminent war. This last is analysed by Dan
Plesch in an article in the Iraq/US relations section that should have
appeared last week.

Apart from the Plesch article I would recommend Tim Llewellyn's 'Iraq under
Siege' (Inside Iraq); 'Experiment in Evil' (life in Halabja: Northern
Iraq/Southern Kurdistan); and, if it is true, Robert Fisk's horrifying 'Did
Saddam's army test poison gas ...? (Inside Iraq). 'How to stop the
disintegration of Iraq (Opposition/Collaboration) should also perhaps be
read if only for the importance of the subject. We still assume there will
be a war and this will, to say the least, change the nature of the political
problem. What would be the best outcome? What would we like to see happen in

NEWS, 6-13/12/02 (1)


*  U.N. Has Long List of Iraq Questions [Brief list of material unaccounted
for at the time of UNSCOM's departure.]
*  Saddam: What a fiasco [In another life, William Shawcross was the man who
exposed US hypocrisy and genocide in Cambodia. Here he scrapes the barrel in
an article for the Sun which suggests, if I have understood it rightly, that
the best way to avoid war is to institute inspections which will be
sufficiently aggressive and provocative to trigger war.]
*  Blix not convinced by US claims on Iraq [Blix says he has not been shown
evidence British and Americans claim they have that Iraq possesses weapons
of mass destruction]
*  New Group of Weapons Inspectors Arrives [Mainly from IAEA. Also visits to
the State Company for Geological Survey and Mining in Baghdad and a
pesticide plant outside Falluja.]
*  Ex-Inspector Reviews Iraqi Declaration [Short extract. The ex-inspector
concerned is the interesting David Albright, but he has only seen the
contents list. The article does, however, contain a tell tale detail on the
manner in which Colombian Ambassador Alfonso Valdivieso 'agreed' to hand the
dossier over to the US.]
*  U.N. Inspectors Back at Iraqi Nuke Site [Fajullah II chlorine plant]
*  US and UK admit lack of 'killer' proof [The title doesn't amount to much
but the article gives a little more detail on the contents of the dossier]
*  Inspectors tackle uranium mine [Akashat and 'a veterinary medicine
establishment at Abu Ghraib, just west of Baghdad ‹ presumably the Amariyah
Serum and Vaccine Institute']
*  UN Arms Experts Probe Missile and Tank Parts Factory Outside Baghdad [The
Al Fatah factory of the Al Karama State Company and the Al Razi Medical
Research Center]
*  U.N. still awaits list of scientists [It does seem strange that this was
not part of the deadline imposed in Resolution 1441]
*  Arms suppliers to Iraq will be kept secret [Extract giving a couple of
interesting details on arms supplies to Iraq]
*  Other comment: Pull scientists out of Iraq [James Woolsey. Only worthy of
notice for the following: ' The only countries that are important are
Britain, Turkey, Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar.' But since Turkey, Kuwait,
Bahrain and Qatar and, who knows? maybe even Britain, will only co-operate
with a UNSC resolution the SC countries become important again. Otherwise
why should JW care if the inspectors interview scientists or not? After all,
'Everybody knows that Saddam has chemical and bacteriological weapons. We
don't need to prove material breach.']
*  UN inspectors at work as US secures base for attack [The Amil liquid
nitrogen plant]
*  US Rejects Criticism of Handling of Iraq Documents [includes a fairly
full account of the US hijacking of the Iraq dossier]
*  Former U.S. Diplomat Talks Iraq Strategy [Joe Wilson, a former charge
d'affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, seems to believe that the problem
really is Iraq's possible possession of wepons of mass destruction]


*  U.S. Circulates New List of Iraq Imports [Including 'heavy tires that
could be used for military vehicles']
*  U.S. Approved Sale of Atropine
*  U.N. Approves Payment of More Gulf War Damage [The reparations process
grinds on. This time its $181.5 million, which 'includes $36.3 million to 11
oil companies in five states  - Britain, France, Italy, the Netherlands and
Saudi Arabia']

AND, IN NEWS, 6-13/12/02 (2)


*  Report From Iraq: "Fear in the Streets" [Interview with Peter Arnett who
appears to be a good, serious journalist with a real affection for Iraq and
for its people. He makes one of those devastatingly obvious points that are
never raised in the current mindless chatter on Iraq's 'weapons of mass
destruction': 'UN inspectors roamed Iraq for seven years during the past
decade in the most intrusive inspections ever inflicted on a country. While
they did find evidence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction made in the
1980s, they discovered no existing programs.']
*  Iraq Under Siege [Tim Llewellyn has I believe got the essence of the
Iraqi/USUK struggle. It is a struggle for dignity. Perhaps USUK don't
consciously want to humiliate the entire Iraqi people but they do want to
humiliate Saddam and so incompetent and crude are they that they have ended
up with an assault on everyone. The article also contains one of the most
lucid, least hystercal accounts I have yet seen of Hussein himself and his
government: 'It would be foolish to say he is popular; but the
administrators of sanctions, the purveyors of Western moralizing, the
supporters of Israel, and the bombers of Najaf and Mosul, have restored him
to a kind of credibility. None of the West"s opposition figures can match
*  Saddam orders top brass to step up combat-readiness
*  Child death rate in Iraq trebles [According to Unicef's The State of the
World¹s Children 2003]
*  Voices from the streets of Iraq [The International Crisis Group discover,
surprise, surprise, that most Iraqis want to be ruled, at least for a while,
by the US]
*  Did Saddam's army test poison gas on missing 5,000? [Robert Fisk produces
what may be the most horrible charge yet levelled against the Iraqi


*  Iraq Villagers Describe Life of Violence [Life in liberated Kurdistan. Or
in that part of it, near Halabja, that suffered most during the Iran/Iraq
*  Experiment in evil [Halabja continues to live in Hell and the West isn't
even interested in finding out what chemical weapons were actually used and
what their effects were.]
*  The Kurdish democratic model could save Iraq [Barham Salih of the PUK
argues for a US managed transformation of the Iraqi state to take it out of
the hands, not just of S.Hussein, but of the Sunni Arab minority. It is
difficult to see how a radical transformation of Iraq politics that would
bring in Shi-i and Kurds on an equal basis, could be achieved without a
period of external dictatorship, whether by the US or - is it thinkable? -
by the UN. And what sort of 'democratic model' does Kurdistan provide?
Barzani controls the West; Talabani controls the East. Ansar al-Islam
controls a little pocket round Halabja. Under difficult circumstances
they've built some schools and other facilities. So has the government of
Saddam Hussein.]
*  The missing link? Mysterious Iraqi may tie Saddam to bin Laden [Just as I
was wondering what had happened to the Itraqi intelligence agent captured by
the PUK who claims to have been the link between the Iraqi government and

*  Two senators assure Kurds the US will not forget them
by Borzou Daragahi,
Boston Globe, from Associated Press, 8th December
[Chuck Hagel and Joseph Biden]
*  Fierce Clashes Spark Tensions in Kurdish-Controlled Northern Iraq
by Kevin McKiernan
ABC News, 10th December
[Another depressing account of the PUK/Ansar al-Islam confrontation.
Particularly depressing, if it is true, is the gratuitous sadism apparently
practised by the Ansar forces, unpleasantly reminiscent of events in
*  Russian ambassador to Iraq visits Kurds

AND, IN NEWS, 6-13/12/02 (3)


*  Armitage in Asia to drum up support for Iraq war
*  Brajesh holds talks with Rice in Washington [Indian National Security
Adviser Brajesh Mishra. The Indians have of late been very supportive of
Iraq. But perhaps its just a device for upping the price.]
*  Serbs Call Arms Sales to Iraq 'Peanuts' [Serb military help to Iraq cut
down to size]
*  German Coalition at Odds Over Help for U.S. in Iraq Attack [Ambiguity
over whether overfly facilities would be granted on the absence of a new
UNSC resolution]
*  Iraq war turns off Russian power chief [Valentin Kuznetsov, head of
Techno-promexport, the Russian state-controlled power contractor]
*  Iraq slashes wheat imports [from Australia]
*  Germany will Participate in NATO Operations Against Iraq [though one
assumes that NATO will not be involved unless there is a new UNSC
*  Oil Deal Canceled, Iraq Tells Russians [Lukoil's deal to develop the West
Qurna oil field. At first sight this doesn't look very smart since Russia's
desire to fulfil this contract is one of its motives for what limited
support it has given the Iraqi government. On second thoughts, though, it
may be a reaction to the feeling that the US has made some sort of deal to
honour Iraqi government contracts. If the Iraqis end the contract the US
won't be obliged to honour it and the Russians will have to come back to the
Iraqis ...]
*  Kaunda Speaks Out Against Bush, Blair [Kenneth Kaunda seems to buy the
whole Saddam Hussein package, even including the 100 per cent referendum


*  Iraqi Challenges Critics Over Arms Claim [Short extract in which al-Hakim
of SCIRI claims to have conclusive proof that Saddam Hussein is storing
weapons of mass destruction.]
*  Iraq's denies connection to killing of opposition member, al-Mayahi
*  How to stop the disintegration of Iraq [Proposal for an Iraqi
constitution based on individual citizenship rather than on ethnic,
religious or tribal affiliation. This seems to be the position of the group
round Chalabi and may help to explain his unpopularity with the ethnically
based Kurdish parties and the religious based SCIRI.]
*  Three Iraqi Opposition Leaders Meet in Iran [Chalabi, al-Hakim and
Barzani. Who, it seems, have not reached agreement over the imminent
conference in London]
*  Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq to Take Part in London
*  Iraqis eager to fight Saddam: US ["We're quite gratified with the
response we had under that," said State Department deputy spokesman Philip
Reeker. "Thousands of expatriate Iraqis all over the world have expressed an
interest in participating," We shall see.]
*  Iraqi exile gets warm welcome home [Abdul Jabbar Kubaisi,  of the Iraqi
Loyal Opposition]
*  Iraqi Opposition Tells U.S. to Spare Iraqi Army [A difficult trick to
overthrow S.Hussein without harming the army'; but necessary if the army is
to perform the job of suppressing the the inevitable Shi'i and Kurd
uprisings. Note that the 'Opposition' in this case is not the INCongress,
still less the Kurds or Shi'i, but the military-based Iraqi National Council
who may or may not have been invited to the forthcoming London opposition
conference (see next article).]
*  Tehran Bars Iraqi Opposition From Using its Soil for Attacks [and says
that Iran will not attend the London opposition conference as an observer.
Here it is stated that former general Najib al-Salhi will attend despite the
statement last week (Al-Hayat: Al-Yasiri and the coup against Saddam Hussein
in News, 29/11-6/12/02 (4)) that the Iraqi National Coalititon of which he
is a member hadn't received an invitation. The SCIRI refuses to touch the
money the US has put up for training. One interesting question: since the
Kurds are living under sanctions can any of this money for military purposes
be given to them (indeed do they have any right to have atropine as an
antidote to the nerve agents which, if the US government is right, are very
likely to be used against them?) If not, that leaves only the Congress (who
don't seem to represent anyone), the Accord (who represent the Sunni elite)
and the Constitutional Monarchy movement as possible recipients]
*  Smaller Saddam opponents feel ignored [Brief account of Ahmed al-Haboubi,
a former minister in the government overthrown by Saddam Hussein's Baath
party, who disapproves of the US alliance]

*  The naïveté of the native critic
by Sinan Antoon
Al Ahram weekly, c6th December
[Article critical of Kanan Makiya from another Iraqi anti-Saddam exile who
is opposed, not necessarily to war but, to the prospect, which Makiya
champions, of a long US occupation: 'Most Iraqis dream of the day when
Saddam is gone. However, we cannot, even in the absence of practical and
realistic alternatives, call on the US to occupy Iraq -- the same US which,
along with Saddam, is the main culprit in destroying the country's
infrastructure through war and sanctions.'
*  Leagues Apart, Iraqi Exiles Convene in London
by Daniel Williams and Peter Slevin
Washington Post, 13th December
["This is a complete disaster for Iraq," said Kanan Makiya ... "I personally
am going to blast the organizers of the conference when I give my talk,"
Makiya said. "These essentially implant the seeds of division in the hearts
of Iraqis before we even start."]

AND, IN NEWS, 6-13/12/02 (4)


*  Saddam's Apology to Kuwait [Mr Hussein claims there were joint US/Kuwaiti
military manoeuvres in October 1989 and that the threat of an increased US
presence in Kuwait was one of his motives for going to war. This is new to
me. His apology is in fact a call to holy war against the presence of the
infidel and the infidel could reasonably see it as a provocation at a moment
when Iraq is supposedly trying to distance itself from holy warriors. But
Saddam has another constituency to address - the 'Arab street' which puts
pressure on the Arab governments not to support the Americans. He has to be
both defiant and compliant at the same time - a difficult game but one which
so far he seems to be playing to perfection.]
*  Iraq acknowledges using chemical weapons against Iranians during war
[Quote from Tariq Aziz, interviewed on Swedish TV]
*  Why Does Israel Want a U.S. War with Iraq? [Article from Palestine
Chronicle arguing that Israel is attempting to whip up US/Muslim hostility
because it has no useful role to play in the New World Order and its ethnic
nationalism is an anachronism in the age of globalisation.]
*  GCC dismisses Saddam's speech to Kuwait as "disappointing"
*  Qatar an important exercise for U.S. military [Account of General Franks
exciting new mobile headquarters. Which is presumably necessary if one wants
to launch a war in a region were none of the potential host countries can be
relied upon.]
*  Kuwait Restricts Access to Waters [Apparently Kuwait still believes that
its boats were fired on by the Iraqis]
*  Bush Presses Turkey Cooperation on Iraq [Extract in which George Bush
tries to persuade Recep Erdogan that allowing US access to Turkish bases
would help to avoid war because it would increase pressure on Saddam Hussein
to give up his weapons. But if Saddam Hussein gives up his weapons NOW,
after he has handed in his dossier saying he has no weapons, then he will be
in breach and the US will go to war. The only thing that might prevent the
US going to war would be the need for a new UNSC resolution. And the only
reason why he might have to wait for a new UNSC resolution is that it would
be a necessary condition for securing access to Turkish bases. One assumes
Mr Erdogan, who has been impressively non-committal, will have figured all
that out for himself.]
*  Saddam's Speech Impedes Restoration of Kuwaiti-Iraqi Relations: OIC [The
Organization of Islamic Conference]
* Viewpoint: Skilful Saddam plays to Arab opinion [Daniel Neep of the Royal
United Services Institute for Defence Studies envisages the interesting
possibility of a renewal of the original pan-Arab Ba'ath ideal out of the
destruction of its nationalist variant as personified by President Hussein]
*  Iraq invites U.N. envoy in charge of Kuwait captives [Yuli Vorontsov]
*  US, Qatar ink military pact


*  Local priest joins peace group on trip to Iraq [The Rev. John Grathwohl,
from Kalamazoo]
*  CND in court over Iraq war ['a world without international law would be
back to the jungle' sez Tony Benn. But is he trying to suggest that the
world as we know it at the present time isn't a jungle?]
*  Canadian women enlist in 'army' of volunteer human shields [Note this
encouraging sign: 'Republican strategists are concerned at the anti-war
feeling in blue-collar workplaces and organised labour. John Sweeney,
president of the AFL-CIO, one of the biggest unions in the country with 13
million members, and once courted by President Bush, has come out against
the war.']
*  [100 Holywood] Celebrities urge Bush to avoid Iraq war [Reluctant though
I am to classify anything coming out of Holywood, even this, under the
heading Remnants of Decency]
*  Anti-War Groups Protest in 37 States

AND, IN NEWS, 6-13/12/02 (5)


*  Why war is now on the back burner [Apologies for missing this article
last week from the always interesting and perspicacious Dan Plesch. Where
I've been attributing Bush's apparent patience with the UN process to the
need to get Turkey etc on board, Plesch here accepts the view that Bush
wants to have his war much closer to the 2004 election (though he also
stresses campaign managers' anxiety about the US public's manifest hostility
to a unilateral war). Accounts of Bush Sr's electoral failure do tend to
forget, however, that the mighty victory of 1991 was followed by the fiasco
of Somalia. Which should not be forgotten because it was also driven by the
conviction that all the wrongs of the world could be righted by US military
*  Noam Chomsky Analyzes the Bushies ['It's interesting to read the archives
of Nazi Germany, fascist Japan, the Soviet Union. The leaders are acting
from the highest imaginable motives, and probably believed it. It is
remarkably easy to come to believe what it is convenient to believe. That's
the secret of being a "responsible intellectual," someone who serves power
abjectly while believing oneself to be an independent thinker.']
*  Idealism Deserts the Left [David Skinner, assistant managing editor at
The Weekly Standard, attempts to convey the impression that, after reducing
a proud and cultured nation to a state of destitution and murdering them in
their tens or perhaps hundreds of thousands, he and his cronies represent
the side of compassion and humanitarian concern. The answer to this article
can be found in Tim Llewellyn's 'Iraq under siege' in the Inside Iraq
*  Not such a super power after all [Extract giving figures from the Pew
poll on world attitudes to the US]
*  Nobel winner Carter urges respect for UN leadership
*  Pentagon stockpiling land mines for Iraq war
*  Safe for democracy [Michael Young, in the Lebanon Daily Star, argues that
the war on Iraq would be justified if it was a war to impose democracy. He
isn't however quite convinced that it will be and it should be said that it
is only very recently that that possibility has been advanced as a serious
political proposition]
*  Bush's Nuclear Stick [Matthew Rothschild of The Progressive on the
implications of G.Bush's threat to use nuclear weapons in the event of an
unconventional attack. We might also remember that under the Bush doctrine
which favours pre-emptive strikes they don't actually have to wait for the
unconventional attack to occur.]
*  Report: Iraq gas given to al-Qaida [All very anonymous despite great play
given to the word - from an anonymous source - 'credible'. Its importance is
downplayed by all the 'authorised' anonymous spokespersons]
*  US Carrier Heads Home; War Seen Less Likely for Now ['The U.S. aircraft
carrier George Washington and its battle group have begun steaming back to
the U.S. East Coast']
*  Smallpox jabs for 11m Americans [Are the US public eventually going to
get the full cocktail of protective jabs etc against all possible chemical
and biological threats? A cocktail which some people believe to have been
responsible for Gulf War Syndrome?]

*  U.S. at junction of war, faith
by Edward Epstein, Chronicle Washington Bureau
San Francisco Chronicle, 6th December
[The article looks at those 'Christians' who want the US to declare its war
openly as a war between (virtuous) Christianity and (wicked) Islam.]
*  How Saddam Hussein became U.S. enemy No. 1
by Jim Landers, from The Dallas Morning News, 8th December
[Long establishment account of Iraqi/US relations since 1980, sufficiently
critical to appear to be independent minded but coming in the end to the
'right' conclusion: the US is and was essentially innocent in its intentions
but constrained by necessity. It does make the important but rarely
acknowledged point that 'The 1980-1988 war launched by Iraq against Iran
ended in stalemate, but it blunted Iran's revolutionary religious ideology
before it could spread elsewhere.']
*  'Big Gun' ready and loaded for Iraq duty
Washington Times, 9th December
[Account of the US AC-130 fighter plane. Worthy of mention simply as an
illustration of the US right's almost religious veneration of its own
weapons of mass destruction.]
*  Selling the war with Iraq
News & Observer, from UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL, 10th December
[On Hill and Knowlton and baby incubators. It includes the following which
invites comparison with interviews with refugees on the border between
Kosovo and Macedonia: 'I interviewed several refugees following their
videotaped sessions with the public relations firm, at the border crossing
between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Some admitted to me that they had lied
about what they saw, and that they had been coached about what to say. They
said they did this to help their country.']

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