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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 Afghanistan? NEWS, 6-13/12/02 (1) INSPECTIONS * 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] IRAQI/UN RELATIONS * 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) INSIDE IRAQ * 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 him.'] * 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 government] NORTHERN IRAQ/SOUTHERN KURDISTAN * 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 war] * 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 al-Qaida] URLs ONLY: http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/342/nation/Two_senators_assure_Kurds_the_U S_will_not_forget_them+.shtml * 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] http://abcnews.go.com/sections/world/DailyNews/iraq021210_kurds.html * 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 Algeria] * Russian ambassador to Iraq visits Kurds AND, IN NEWS, 6-13/12/02 (3) IRAQI/INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS * 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 resolution] * 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 OPPOSITION/COLLABORATION * 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 Conference * 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] URLs ONLY: http://www.ahram.org.eg/weekly/2002/615/op12.htm * 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.' http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A47802-2002Dec12.html * 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) IRAQI/MIDDLE EASTERN RELATIONS * 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 REMNANTS OF DECENCY * 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) IRAQI/US RELATIONS * 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 power.] * 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 section.] * 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?] URLs ONLY: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/chronicle/a/2002/12/06/MN148820 .DTL * 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.] http://www.bergen.com/page.php?level_3_id=34&page=5859606 * How Saddam Hussein became U.S. enemy No. 1 by Jim Landers Bergen.com, 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.'] http://www.washtimes.com/national/20021209-13959234.htm * '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.] http://newsobserver.com/24hour/opinions/story/667554p-4989617c.html * Selling the war with Iraq by MORGAN STRONG 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.'] _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk