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News, 13-20/12/02 (6) IMPLICATIONS OF WAR * Iraq After D-Day: The Cordesman Memo * Online Extra: Madeleine Albright on Democracy and Force * Most Favor Nuclear Option Against Iraq * Poll: Most unconvinced on Iraq war * How two US factions plan not to lose the peace: Post-Saddam strategy * 'Scorched Earth' Plans in Iraq Cited IRAQI/UK RELATIONS * Troops start countdown to war * British troops bound for Iraq conflict to be given suspect Gulf war syndrome drugs * CND loses bid to prove Iraq war illegal * Has Blair got the nerve to back down over Iraq? * Scots to spearhead Iraq force IMPLICATIONS OF WAR http://www.counterpunch.org/cockburn1214.html * IRAQ AFTER D-DAY: THE CORDESMAN MEMO by Alexander Cockburn Counterpunch, 14th December Napoleon would sketch out in an afternoon the new constitution and legal arrangements for one of France's imperial conquests. In Washington today, there's no such panache, no Jacques-Louis David limning Bush in imperial drapery and resplendent crown (though surely Josephine's heart beats beneath Laura's delicious bosom). All over town, lights blaze far into the night as staffers at the Pentagon, State Dept. and National Security Council pore over blueprints for invasion and the possible lineaments of a post-Saddam Iraq. You'd have to go back to Kennedy-era nation-building to find equivalent hubris and expectancy. But as the war planners irritably deride Iraq's 12,000-page chronicle, detailing its abandonment of weapons of mass destruction, a briefer memo sets forth with sarcastic glee all the reasons that even now Bush and his inner circle should think again and perhaps shrink back, even as George Bush Sr. did, from seeking to install an American mandate in Baghdad. On Washington's carousel, Anthony Cordesman is a prominent fixture, currently headquartered in the Center for Strategic and International Studies, prime Republican think tank on K Street, where an elevator ride can confront you with museum pieces stetching all the way back to Reagan's first NSC adviser, Richard Allen. Cordesman has held down big jobs in the Defense and Energy departments, has served as Senator John McCain's national security assistant and strides confidently before the cameras whenever ABC News summons him for analysis and commentary. Unusually, given this sort of curriculum vitae, Cordesman is a pretty smart fellow. We must ask, therefore, why he felt impelled, from all his dignity as the Arleigh Burke Chair at CSIS, to issue a "rough draft" memo, dated December 3 and now sparking its way around town, that derides Operation Oust Saddam as the recipe for a bloody mess. So? Bloody Mess has been a standing item on the American imperial menu for more than a century. It's a specialty of the house. Maybe Cordesman wants an "I told you so" on record. Maybe he's irked at a setback in his private political agenda. Whatever his motives, he paints with deft strokes an unflattering record of all those blueprints now being staffed out in Washington's drafting studios. Political etiquette requires Cordesman to couch his criticisms in "Here's how we should plan it better" mode, but it's clear he sees no such possibility in the offing, as he prods through the plans with his scalpel. Title of paper: "Planning for a Self-Inflicted Wound: US Policy to Shape a Post-Saddam Iraq". Theme: Operation Oust Saddam is an "uncoordinated and faltering effort." We should "admit our level of ignorance." "Far too many internal 'experts'" have scant working knowledge of Iraq, writes Cordesman, who actually knows a lot about the place. The sales job for Operation Oust Saddam has been lousy: "We face an Arab world where many see us as going to war to seize Iraq's oil, barter deals with the Russians and French, create a new military base to dominate the region, and/or serve Israel's interest. Our lack of clear policy statements has encouraged virtually every negative conspiracy theory possible." Rather unconvincingly, Cordesman adds that we must "prove we are not a 'neo-imperialist' or 'occupier.'" Stigmatizing what he calls "the US as Liberator Syndrome" Cordesman warns that "we may or may not be perceived as <liberators.S> We may well face a much more hostile population than in Afghanistan. We badly need to consider the Lebanon model: Hero to enemy in less than a year." He notes "an unpredictable but inevitable level of collateral damage and civilian casualties" and deplores the arrogance among planners for gaming out a "best-case war." To the contrary, Cordesman warns, "we may have to sharply escalate and inflict serious collateral damage." Given the shape Iraq is in after the Gulf War and a decade of sanctions, one can easily envisage what that means. Riffling through the nation- and democracy-building game plans, Cordesman bleakly declares them "mindlessly stupid." In words that should hang on the wall of every liberal interventionist, he says fiercely that "Iraq cannot be treated as an intellectual playground for political scientists or ideologues, and must not be treated as if its people were a collection of white rats that could be pushed through a democratic maze by a bunch of benevolent US soldiers and NGOs." Forget the carny lingo about building democracy. America's priorities are already "non democratic," since "we virtually must enforce territorial integrity, and limit Kurdish autonomy." There are, Cordesman maintains, already US war plans that call for an early US military presence in Kirkuk to insure the Kurds do not attempt to seize it. Long-term efforts to establish some kind of Kurdish autonomy may go the same way as those early in the last century, which ended with British planes seeking to enforce the League of Nations mandate by poison gas. The Iraqi National Congress, he sneers, is far stronger inside the Washington Beltway than in Iraq. As for the Shiites in the south, Cordesman seems to imply, no autonomist momentum should be allowed to develop, nor civil society permitted to flourish far beyond the existing supervision of the police and armed forces, which, after necessary purging at the top, should remain in place. Most of the existing structure of the Iraqi government is "vital." Iraq "is not going to become a model government or democracy for years." What kind of economy would the US proconsul be supervising? Cordesman offers a reality check. Even before the Gulf War and sanctions, Iraq was plummeting from its peak at the start of the 1980s, when per capita oil wealth stood at $6,000, as against $700 now. Only twenty-four out of seventy-three oilfields are working, and anywhere from 20 percent to 40 percent of the wells are at risk. These days, with a population expected to reach 37 million by 2020 (up from 9 million in 1970), unemployment stands at more than 25 percent, with 40 percent of the population under 15. It doesn't take long to run through Cordesman's eleven pages, and the momentum of the argument is clear enough, as clear as the same arguments were to Bush the Elder and his advisers back in 1991: Why get deeper into this mess? Let Saddam keep his security forces intact and butcher the Shiites. Offer protection to the Kurds and let the place stew under the weight of sanctions. Only in one respect does Cordesman part company with reality. He predicts that "everything we do from bombing to the first ground contact with Iraqis will be conducted in a media fishbowl." Now, just as it knows how to create Bloody Messes, Empire knows how to ignore them later. So will the Bloody Mess in Iraq get bloodier still? I'd say at this point the odds are even. http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/bw/20021217/bs_bw/b3813028 * ONLINE EXTRA: MADELEINE ALBRIGHT ON DEMOCRACY AND FORCE Yahoo, 17th December Bill Clinton's Administration devoted substantial amounts of time and effort to crises in the Middle East. It was on Clinton's watch, in 1998, that U.N. weapons inspectors were pulled out of Saddam Hussein's Iraq to make way for a bombing raid by the U.S. and Britain of suspected banned weapons facilities. And Clinton and his diplomatic team came close to brokering a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in 2000. That was before violence between the two sides escalated, and talks broke down. Serving with Clinton through these tumultuous events was Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, the first woman to hold that position. She also served as U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. from 1993 to 1997. And she's still actively involved in international affairs. Albright now advises multinational companies and nongovernmental organizations on environmental, health, and global policy issues as head of her own company, Albright Group. She's also chairman of the board of the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, which helps promote the process of democratization around the world. And she chairs the Pew Global Attitudes Project -- a new effort by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press to poll citizens in 44 countries about their attitudes toward the U.S., the war on terrorism, and other global issues. The former Secretary of State recently met with editors at BusinessWeek in New York to discuss the Middle East, Iraq, and challenges facing the Bush Administration. Here are edited excerpts of their conversation: Q: You're a strong promoter of democracy. Do you think there can be democracy in the Middle East, even though most of the countries in the region are authoritarian? A: I think that the Middle East is the largest piece of unfinished business that we all have. I happen to believe in the democratization process. At the National Democratic Institute, where I am chairman of the board, we have programs and contacts in the Middle East, including Bahrain and Yemen and some in Kuwait. I think ultimately something can happen to foster democratic participation [in this region]. But I can't see democracy occurring by force -- after an Iraqi war, because of the fallout from that. It strikes me that a war by the infidels in this area doesn't help the democratic process. Q: How do you see a war in Iraq evolving? A: I would see the war in several phases. I think the military part of this war could be over fast because I have the highest respect for the U.S. military, and it is stunning what we are able to do. It is very hard to tell whether they will find Saddam -- or whether there will be house-to-house combat in Baghdad. I think the first phase of the war will be quite victorious. But that is the mere beginning as we have seen in Afghanistan -- and Iraq is more complicated than Afghanistan. The questions will be who runs the country, and can you keep the country together? What I would call the unintended consequences of foreign policy decisions may be a problem. Q: What do you mean? A: The only analogy I can use is that Saddam Hussein is in a box. Over the last decade, we have managed to contain him. But we're not terribly sure what's in the box with him. We're going to hit the box, and sparks are going to fly out into an area that is literally and figuratively full of oil. And we don't know what the consequences of it will be. Q: How bad could it get? Are you concerned about a clash of civilizations with the Arab world? A: I don't actually believe in a clash of civilizations. I believe in a clash of the civilized and the noncivilized. What you have to be concerned about are the extremists. On the whole, we need to understand the more moderate Muslims before they become more radicalized. We don't understand enough about the Islam religion and Muslim world. Q: Are you surprised that the Bush Administration has pursued a diplomatic path by going to the U.N. rather than striking at Iraq unilaterally as many expected? A: Most people like the idea he went to the U.N. I salute it. The speech he made at the U.N. was a very good speech. I admire him for getting a 15 to nothing vote [on the U.N. resolution authorizing the return of weapons inspectors to Iraq]. That is really hard work. I know because I [had to get resolutions as U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.], and I know how hard they are to get. So he is going the route of the inspectors. The next question for me is how long will he follow this diplomatic string? Q: How long should he? A: I think he should play it out. I think he needs to take a certain amount of time to read [the Iraqi report to the U.N. on its weapons arsenal]. And then if he thinks we still have to go in, then he has to show us what the problem is. The Bush Administration keeps saying that Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction. So show us. Q: That could take months. A: No, it can't be months. Our troops are over there [in the Mideast]. They would need to be rotated. It's expensive, and the logistics are complicated. That's why it's hard for me to see how to get out of it. I can't see a scenario where [war] goes away. Q: Do you have any qualms about commenting on the Administration at a time of war? A:I decided when I became Secretary of State that I would never criticize anybody again because the job is so difficult. After six months, I thought I could begin to state my views. Then 9/11 happened, and I didn't because we needed to unite. I think the jobs [at the top] are unbelievably difficult, and there is nothing easier than second-guessing people. The thing that I have had the most trouble with is that those of us who have asked questions are considered unpatriotic. I consider it my patriotic duty as an ordinary citizen -- not as Secretary of State -- to ask questions. I think we have to ask ourselves the tough questions. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A4014-2002Dec17.html * MOST FAVOR NUCLEAR OPTION AGAINST IRAQ by Richard Morin Washington Post, 18th December Most Americans favor using nuclear weapons against Iraq if Saddam Hussein attacks U.S. military forces with chemical or biological weapons in a war that the public believes is virtually inevitable, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll. The survey found that six in 10 Americans favored a nuclear response if Hussein orders use of chemical or biological weapons on U.S. troops. Slightly more than a third -- 37 percent -- were opposed. Nearly nine in 10 Americans said the United States is headed for war with Iraq, which most Americans believe possesses weapons of mass destruction. "We need to get Saddam Hussein out of power, even if it means using nuclear weapons, particularly if they attack us with dirty weapons," said Rebecca Wingo, 35, a trucking dispatcher who lives in Johnstown, Ohio. "When you're dealing with people like him, the only thing they understand is brute force." But the new survey also found that 58 percent of those interviewed would like to see President Bush present more evidence explaining why the United States should use military force to topple the Iraqi leader, up from 50 percent in September. And while most Americans view Iraq as a major threat, fewer than half said it poses an immediate danger to this country. That finding and others suggest that Bush may be moving faster toward war than the public would prefer. At the time Americans are becoming more certain that war will break out, the survey found they also are growing more wary of the president and his motives for pressing to move quickly with military force against Iraq. More than half -- 54 percent -- feared that Bush will act too quickly to use force, while 40 percent worried that he won't move quickly enough. And an even larger majority -- 58 percent -- opposed taking military action against Iraq without the support of the United Nations. "Eventually, yes, I believe we will have to use force," said David Sherman, 49, who delivers medical oxygen and lives outside Grand Rapids, Mich. "But . . . I have not seen enough that would make me give my support for sending troops to go in right now." Nina Russell, 67, of Mettie, W.Va., said, "It's really looking like war, but I'd like to know more facts about what Iraq has and what our friends plan to do. I worry that Bush has made it personal with Saddam Hussein." For some Americans, skepticism about Bush's motives make it even more important that the United States secure support from its allies. "He's got that little smirk on his face," said Brian Rust, 51, a Realtor living in Moneta, Va. "After 9/11, he wants to go out after some of those countries that were behind this and behind that. It concerns me a little bit. That's why I think it's important to have support from other countries, to use their airstrips or at least be able to say we have their support." Overall, six in 10 -- 62 percent -- said they support using U.S. forces to topple Hussein. But when asked specifically if the United States should send American ground troops to invade Iraq, fewer than half -- 45 percent -- said yes while 50 percent disagreed. Two-thirds of those interviewed said Bush has done enough to win the backing of other countries, up from barely half three months ago. Among those who say Bush as done enough, seven in 10 favored military strikes against Iraq. But among those who say he needs to do more, 54 percent opposed the military option, a finding that underscores the importance for Bush to secure international backing. Overall, six in 10 -- 62 percent -- said they support using U.S. forces to topple Hussein. But support for a U.S. invasion of Iraq with ground forces stands at only 45 percent with 50 percent opposed. A total of 1,209 randomly selected adults were interviewed Dec. 12-15 for this survey. The margin of sampling error for the overall results is plus or minus 3 percentage points. The poll found that homeland security, the war on terrorism and Iraq dominate the public's agenda, and overwhelm such perennial concerns as education, health care and Social Security. Nearly half of the country said homeland security and the campaign against terrorism were issues they wanted Bush and the Congress to give their "highest" priority. Four in 10 rated the economy and Iraq as a priority. "After September 11, I'm feeling a little less secure," said Shannon Groskreutz, 22, a recent college graduate in Tallahassee. "I know the world is changing, and we need to concentrate right on making our country safer as well as spreading peace before we go on to other issues." Barely six weeks after Republicans claimed both chambers of Congress in the midterm elections, this mix of defense and security issues has given Bush and the GOP a clear advantage over Democrats. By 2 to 1, the public trusts the Republicans more than Democrats to handle homeland security, terrorism and the situation with Iraq. The two parties are at parity on handling the economy, which barely a third of the public rated as "excellent" or "good." Democrats hold more modest advantages over the GOP on domestic issues such as health care, education, Social Security and prescription drugs, issues that only a third or fewer Americans now rate as top priorities for Bush and Congress. The Republican Party, by 44 to 41 percent, continues to be viewed by the public as the party best able to deal with the country's biggest problems. Bush's overall job approval rating stood at 66 percent. Even larger percentages of Americans said they approved of the way the president is handling the anti-terrorism campaign (79 percent), while two-thirds approved of the way he is dealing with homeland security concerns. Nearly six in 10 -- 58 percent -- approved of the way he is handling the confrontation with Iraq. Assistant director of polling Claudia Deane contributed to this report. http://www.ctnow.com/news/nationworld/sns-iraq-poll lat,0,3775002.story?coll=sns%2Dnewsnation%2Dheadlines * POLL: MOST UNCONVINCED ON IRAQ WAR by Maura Reynolds Hartford Courant, from Los Angeles Times, 17th December WASHINGTON -- Despite a concerted effort by the Bush administration, more than two thirds of Americans believe the president has failed to make the case that a war with Iraq is justified, according to a Los Angeles Times poll. The overwhelming majority of respondents ‹ 90% ‹ said they do not doubt that Iraq is developing weapons of mass destruction. But in the absence of new evidence from U.N. inspectors, 72% of respondents, including 60% of Republicans, said the president has not provided enough evidence to justify starting a war with Iraq. The results underscore the importance of the outcome of U.N. arms inspections underway in Iraq if the Bush administration expects to gain clear public support for an attack. "I'm not against [war] if it is necessary," said 59-year-old Kramer Smith, a preacher, carpenter and registered Republican from Bloomfield, Iowa, one of a number of respondents who explained their views in follow-up interviews. "But I think we need to be pretty sure before we start pulling in the big guns. If they could put their hands on evidence of real production of weapons of mass destruction, then I would say go ahead and do it." The poll also found that support for a possible war appears to be weakening, with 58% saying they support a ground attack on Iraq. In an August Times poll, 64% said they would support a ground attack. Last January, after President Bush first denounced Saddam Hussein in his State of the Union address, the Times and other polls found support for military action greater than 70%. "Still, almost three-quarters of Americans approve of the way George W. Bush is handling the threat of terrorism in the country, and nearly three out of five also approve of his handling of the country's affairs," said Susan Pinkus, who directed The Times poll. Traditionally, support is low before a president declares war, but increases after troops are in the field. "If he actually does go to war, I suspect people will swing behind him as they did in the Gulf War," said John Mueller, an expert on war and public opinion at Ohio State University. "But right now, there isn't all that much enthusiasm for the war." That lack of support may stem from the impression that the president has failed to present enough hard evidence to prove that Hussein possesses weapons of mass destruction and is prepared to use them. The administration has spent much of the last three months trying to build a case for war ‹ internationally at the United Nations, and domestically during the president's frenetic campaigning in advance of midterm elections last month. "How come they can show satellite photos of nuclear sites in Iran but they can't find the same in Iraq?" asked Nancy Carolan, 52, a jewelry artist on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. "I don't think they're justified, but they are just going to do it anyway." The poll also indicates that Americans do not agree with the president's argument that any error or omission in the arms declaration Iraq sent to the United Nations earlier this month is adequate to justify war. Instead, 63% of respondents said war would be justified only if the United Nations finds a pattern of serious violations by Iraq. Just 22% agreed with the administration's position; 6% said it would depend on the nature of the omissions; and 9% said they were not sure or declined to reply. Almost six in 10 say it is unlikely that the U.N. inspectors will find Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. "I don't doubt that they do" have weapons of mass destruction, said respondent Victoria Ellison, 57, a Democrat from Burbank. "But I want to see proof. " If U.N. inspections fail to turn up evidence of Iraqi weapons programs, almost half of respondents said they would oppose war. Only 41% would favor war, and 10% said they don't know whether they would favor or oppose. The Times poll also suggests Americans are more informed about the possibility of war with Iraq, with 84% saying they are following the news closely ‹ up from 76% in August. Sixty three percent of respondents in the recent poll said they feel war is inevitable, 27% said war may or may not occur, and 4% said they believed war would not occur. Respondents also expressed concern that the president may not be getting balanced information from his advisors. Fifty-one percent of respondents said they believe Bush's advisors favor going to war; 20% said the advisors present a balanced view; and 11% said the advisors are opposed to war. Roughly a fifth said they are not sure whether Bush's advisors favor or oppose war. If the United States should launch an attack, 68% of Americans want it to be only with the support of the international community. Only 26% said they were willing to support war if the United States acted alone. "I am not opposed to doing something, but it would have to be in the right circumstances," said Geoff George, a 20-year-old independent from Albany, Ore. "I would probably be a little more supportive if the U.N. and the rest of the world united and we all decided to do it together. But [if we act] as one nation, I don't think there would ever be enough evidence for me." However, at least theoretically, Americans agree with the administration's argument that sometimes preemptive or preventive war is justified. Sixty-four percent of respondents, including 49% of Democrats, believe the United States should reserve the right to launch a preemptive attack against regimes that threaten the country. Only 25% said they opposed such a policy, and 11% said they did not have an opinion on the issue. If the United States does go to war, the decision is likely to have serious ramifications at home and abroad, respondents said. Sixty-seven percent said war is likely to increase the threat of terrorist attacks in the United States; 51% said they feel it would destabilize the Middle East; and 45% said it will have a negative effect on the U.S. economy. They are also concerned about the possibility of military casualties. Of those who initially said they support a ground attack against Iraq, 18% said they would do so only if no American soldiers are killed. However, support falls off gradually as the theoretical death toll is raised, but 29% said they would support war no matter what the cost in American lives. Finally, in the wake of a war, the vast majority of Americans ‹ 70%, according to the poll ‹ feel the country has an obligation to stay and rebuild Iraq. The Times poll was conducted Dec. 12 to 15 and interviewed 1,305 adults nationwide. Margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points. http://www.dawn.com/2002/12/20/int13.htm * HOW TWO US FACTIONS PLAN NOT TO LOSE THE PEACE: POST-SADDAM STRATEGY by Jim Lobe Dawn, 20th December WASHINGTON: While US military strategists are refining their plans for invading Iraq early next year, the configuration of a post-invasion Iraq remains a matter of hot debate within the administration of President George W. Bush. The dispute breaks along lines that have become very familiar to those who have followed the administration's foreign policy since Bush first took office. On one side are the neo-conservative and unilateralist hawks in and around the offices of Vice President Dick Cheney and Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who also have key allies strategically placed in the National Security Council and the State Department. On the other side are the more internationalist realpolitikers led by Secretary of State Colin Powell and senior career officers in the foreign service, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the military itself. They are aided by former top officials in the administration (1989 1993) of past president George H.W. Bush. On Wednesday, the realists unveiled their vision of a post- Saddam Hussein Iraq, one that differs completely with the neo-con plan. The two groups have tangled repeatedly - from the Kyoto Protocol and North Korea to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and, of course, Iraq - over the past two years. They fought hard over whether to go to the United Nations Security Council before launching an invasion, and even over how to attack Iraq. The hawks, who opposed the UN route, initially favoured an invasion plan that called for US Special Forces, working with local militias in Kurdistan and other "liberated" parts of Iraq, to direct US air power against strategic targets. That would, they argued, cause the collapse of the Saddam Hussein government in much the same way that the Taliban was defeated in Afghanistan. As insurance, the plan called for some 70,000 US troops to stand by, ready to intervene if the going got tough. This strategy was scorned by the realists, and especially by the military brass, who found it not only hopelessly optimistic, but potentially disastrous. Ret. Gen. Anthony Zinni, Powell's Mideast adviser who served in the late 1990s as the commander of US Central Command, which includes the Gulf region, even refers to it as the "Bay of Goats". Consistent with the so-called Powell Doctrine, the dissenters called for mustering hundreds of thousands of US troops and major weapons systems for a full-scale invasion that would completely overwhelm defending forces. By the end of last summer, a compromise was struck in which the realists got the better of the bargain, just as they did in September when Bush went to the United Nations. While air power and Special Forces will still be given major roles in an attack, Washington will deploy only about 1,000 US- trained Iraqis, who will mainly act as guides, translators, and military police. Added to these forces will be between 200,000 and 250,000 US troops in Kuwait and possibly Turkey, most of who will be part of the invasion force. While the army and marine corps are still arguing for more reinforcements, the general battle plan has been agreed. Not so the configuration of a post-invasion Iraq, over which the factions remain at war. The neo-conservatives in Rumsfeld's and Cheney's office see the invasion of Iraq as the first step in a profound transformation of the Arab world. They have argued for establishing a US military occupation similar to that which followed the Second World War in Germany and Japan. Indeed, a seminar held just this week by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), which has increasingly taken on the role of policy think tank for the Pentagon hawks, was devoted to how to carry out a 'de-Baathification' of Iraq, just as the US carried out a 'de-Nazification' of Germany almost 60 years ago. The hawks see as their main partner in this enterprise one particular opposition leader, the head of the exiled Iraqi National Congress (INC), Ahmed Chalabi, a long-standing friend of both Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and the chairman of the Defence Policy Board (DPB), Richard rd Perle, who is based at AEI. They have also favoured establishing a provisional government headed by Chalabi once the invasion gets underway. And they reject a major role for the United Nations in administering Iraq. Finally, the same group has pushed for the United States to take control of Iraqi oil fields and installations after the war, both to protect and rehabilitate them, but also to pay for the invasion and occupation and gain control of an important share of the world market in order to undermine the Arab-led Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). The realpolitikers, on the other hand, think these plans are as dangerous as the hawks' initial ideas about a military campaign. Their rebuttal was laid out in the new study by a 25- member task force released here on Wednesday by the influential Council on Foreign Relations and the James Baker III Institute for Public Policy, named for Bush Senior's secretary of state. Headed by Edward Djerejian and Frank Wisner, two retired foreign service officers who held top diplomatic positions under Bush Senior, the task force rejected virtually every key position pushed by the hawks. Offering what it called "guiding principles" for a post- conflict Iraq, the study called for the creation of a "short- term, international and UN-supervised Iraqi administration ...with an eye toward the earliest possible reintroduction of full indigenous Iraqi rule" in full control of its oil sector. "The continued public discussion of a US military government along the lines of post-war Japan or Germany is unhelpful," the 28-page report said, stressing that "it will be important to resist the temptation, advanced in various quarters, to establish a provisional government in advance of hostilities or to impose a post-conflict government, especially one dominated by exiled Iraqi opposition leaders". "There has been a great deal of wishful thinking about Iraqi oil, including a widespread belief that oil revenues will help defray war costs and the expense of rebuilding the Iraqi state and economy," the report continued, concluding that those views are not realistic given the current state of Iraq's oil sector. "A heavy American hand will only convince (Iraqis), and the rest of the world, that the operation was undertaken for imperialist, rather than disarmament reasons," it said. "It is in America's interest to discourage such misperceptions." In order to stabilize the region after the invasion, Washington should immediately "re-engage actively and directly" with the other members of the 'Quartet' - Russia, the European Union and the United Nations - in support of the road map leading to a viable and independent Palestinian state by 2005, it added. Failing such steps, "the United States may lose the peace, even if it wins the war," warned the report.-Dawn/The InterPress News Service. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A8632-2002Dec18.html * 'SCORCHED EARTH' PLANS IN IRAQ CITED by Bradley Graham Washington Post, 19th December U.S. intelligence officials warned yesterday that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein plans to pursue a "scorched earth" strategy in the event of war with the United States and would destroy his country's oil fields, electrical power plants, food storage sites and other facilities while blaming U.S. military forces for the damage. The officials, briefing reporters at the Pentagon, said they have evidence that Hussein, if he believes his government is about to fall, will try to create a humanitarian crisis that could slow any U.S. invasion and foster international opposition to the war. They also warned that Hussein likely will attempt to release biological or chemical weapons as a last desperate act. The officials said they cannot predict with certainly which germ or chemical agents Hussein might unleash, or when or where. But they said the likely targets would include not only U.S. forces but also Israel and Kuwait and Iraqi civilians such as Shiite Muslims who have protested Hussein's rule in the past. Iraq has declared it has no stockpiles of chemical or biological weapons. In preparation for such attacks, the officials said, Iraq has likely shifted some of its stores of anthrax, botulism, ricin and mustard gas nearer to the forces that would employ them -- special Republican Guard units and selected air and missile units located in the central part of the country. To undercut any order that might come from Hussein, the Bush administration has begun warning Iraqi officers that they will be held personally responsible for releasing any weapons of mass destruction. "Saddam's point of view is, you fight with everything you've got," one official said. "He might use it right away, but he'll certainly use it when he thinks he's about to fall." Similar U.S. intelligence assessments preceded the Persian Gulf War in 1991 that evicted Iraqi invasion forces from Kuwait, but few proved accurate as U.S. and allied ground troops encountered relatively little Iraqi resistance. It was impossible to independently assess the reliability of yesterday's comments by intelligence officials or the motivation for giving the briefing. Although the Bush administration has an obvious interest in demonizing Hussein as it lays out a public case for war, a military spokesman attributed the timing of the briefing to a buildup of reporters' requests for an assessment of Iraq's military strength and intentions in the event of war. The intelligence officials declined to specify the evidence to further their case, saying it would compromise sources. Other officials have argued that, unlike 1991, Hussein will be more willing to fight with nonconventional means because his own government's existence would be at stake. The Iraqis have been preparing for war since immediately after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in New York and Washington, believing they would be a U.S. target, the intelligence officials said. They have accelerated imports of spare parts, moved ammunition closer to troop positions and dug trenches for soldiers and military vehicles. They also have begun placing trucks, concrete barriers and other obstacles on runways at key air bases where U.S. invasion forces might attempt to land. But instead of planning to engage U.S. troops along Iraq's borders and in the open desert, as they did in the 1991 war, Hussein's commanders intend to use rivers and other natural features as obstacles to any U.S. advance and to set up a layered defense with Baghdad at the center, the officials said. [.....] IRAQI/UK RELATIONS http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-513001,00.html * TROOPS START COUNTDOWN TO WAR by Michael Evans, Elaine Monaghan and James Bone The Times, 14th December Thousands of British troops are expected to begin deploying to the Gulf next month in an intensive build-up of forces in preparation for a war with Iraq as early as February. The Times has learnt that American and British intelligence services have dismissed President Saddam Hussein's 12,000-page declaration on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction to be full of holes "big enough to drive a tank through". A Foreign Office official said that up-to-date information that appeared in the British intelligence dossier published in September is not mentioned in the Iraqi declaration. Until now, the Government has been reluctant to give details of Britain's likely involvement in a war with Iraq. Tony Blair has deliberately left the Americans to make all the running with their build-up of forces in the Gulf region, saying only that Britain was ready to play a "substantial" role. According to authoritative sources, the Prime Minister wanted to ensure that the UN had a free rein to exploit all diplomatic efforts and to give weapons inspectors a reasonable period to do their work. But with time running out for Britain to put its Armed Forces on war alert, the Government has been under pressure from the Service chiefs to allow deployments to begin. The Government is expected to make an announcement before Christmas in the first concrete sign that Britain is ready to join the Americans in fighting a second war against Iraq. The Government is likely to indicate its general plan for troop movements soon after the UN Security Council meeting next Thursday at which Saddam's weapons declaration will be discussed. Officials in Washington said that America would keep its views on the declaration to itself until it had talked to the inspectors at that Security Council meeting. Ari Fleischer, White House spokesman, said: "We will continue to be deliberative and thoughtful as we review this document." Washington has insisted that the dossier itself would not necessarily be a trigger for war, although UN diplomats expect President Bush to say that the omissions in the Iraqi declaration amount to a "material breach" of the UN resolution, which obliged Baghdad to deliver a complete and current list of its arsenal. The problem for the British military is that their American counterparts view the ideal time for an attack on Iraq as between now and April. The Americans are so far advanced with their build-up, both in the Gulf and at the key B2 and B52 bomber base at Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, that they could be ready for war at comparatively short notice. There are still four US aircraft carriers in the vicinity, although at least one, USS George Washington, is now on her way home, having been relieved by USS Harry S. Truman. By contrast Britain, which has not officially sent any troops to the region to prepare for war, will need several weeks to deploy and acclimatise. Under current contingencies, troops earmarked for Iraq are likely to be allowed to spend Christmas at home with their families before beginning the move to the Gulf. British troops from 7th Armoured Brigade and 4th Armoured Brigade in Germany, part of the 1st (UK) Armoured Division, are training at their bases for what is expected to be the main British land force. Other key elements will also be ready early in the new year, including the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal, which is due to leave Portsmouth towards the end of next month for a Naval Task Group training deployment in the Far East. HMS Ocean, the helicopter and Royal Marine Commando carrier, will also be ready for operational service in a few weeks. For the Government, the Saddam dossier has made it easier to go public about British military plans. British officials who have seen the document say that many biological and chemical warfare materials and missiles that escaped previous UN weapons inspections in the 1990s were still unaccounted for. They are not mentioned in the Saddam declaration. "We know they have been hidden," one official said. US officials confirmed to The Times that the Administration's initial assessment was that the declaration mainly comprised previously published statements. The US had expected this and was looking for a "pattern of abuses". Mr Bush said last night that it was too early to tell whether Saddam was lying. But he added: "I don't want to prejudge the report. But my gut feeling about Saddam Hussein is that he is a man who deceives, denies." Additional reporting by Elaine Monaghan in Washington and James Bone in New York http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,860597,00.html * BRITISH TROOPS BOUND FOR IRAQ CONFLICT TO BE GIVEN SUSPECT GULF WAR SYNDROME DRUGS by David Pallister The Guardian, 16th December British troops preparing for deployment to the Gulf will be exposed to vaccines and anti chemical and biological medicines similar to those that many scientists believe have caused unexplained illnesses for up to 9,000 veterans of the last Gulf war in 1991. In anticipation of a war against Iraq early next year, troops are being given at least 10 vaccines, including one for anthrax, and pills to ward off the effects of a chemical attack. Yet scientists have still not agreed on how this pharmaceutical cocktail - as well as the use of pesticides and the effect of depleted uranium from anti-tank shells - will affect the health of the troops. The spectre of a repeat outbreak of what is known as Gulf war syndrome is a real one, say veterans' campaigners. Dr Lewis Moonie, the veterans' minister, dismisses these fears. Two weeks ago he told Labour MP Llew Smith he was confident there would be "no significant adverse health effects" associated with the use of the prophylactics. An investigation by the Guardian has also discovered that the agency responsible for the welfare of British troops sent into battle, the defence medical services (DMS), is woefully understaffed, relies on reservists that will have to be withdrawn from the NHS and has in the past had to rely on coalition partners who may not be present in this new conflict. At a conference on the DMS two weeks ago Bruce George, the chair of the Commons defence committee, said the services had been in "indisputed crisis for some years" with an ability to provide only four of 14 field hospitals needed for a large-scale war effort. The latest figures with a staff shortfall of 23% "do not make happy reading," he said. For consultants the position was "horrendous" with a 50% shortage. Gulf war veterans on both sides of the Atlantic have complained of a lack of funding and commitment from governments after the first signs of the illnesses occurred in mid-1993. The veterans are supported by former major general Robin Short, the director general of army medical services in the Gulf war. In a parallel investigation by Channel 4 News to be shown tonight, he says: "The evidence I have is when they come back the care ceases. I don't think the resources have been provided to allow the medical services to do their job. "There has been a reliance on discharging the soldiers and the NHS to pick up the bill for those who require further treatment. The one thing I will remember from the Gulf conflict is the fact that we lost the confidence of the soldiers." Only in the last six years, mainly with American money, have extensive experiments begun into the illnesses. The main British one, under way at Porton Down since 1997, will not be finished for a year. Labour made a "debt of honour" promise to the veterans when they came to power in 1997. But the MoD, which denies that Gulf war syndrome exists, has long been accused of dragging its feet. One leading American researcher, Robert Haley, recently accused veterans' minister Dr Moonie of "a lack of awareness of certain facts on which there is widespread agreement in the US". In an interview with Channel 4, Professor Alistair Hay, a chemical and biological expert at Leeds University says: "The Americans have pumped into this a huge amount of money to try and assess whether Gulf illness is a problem and what caused it. I have to say our response in the UK has been particularly poor in comparison. What was put in was put in reluctantly and very late in the day." Earlier this year the US veterans affairs department accepted that Gulf war illnesses are likely to be neurological after Dr Haley concluded they were probably caused by brain damage from low level exposure to nerve gas when an Iraq military dump was blown up, and other organophosphate exposures in vaccines and pesticides used by the troops. Lord (Alf) Morris, another veteran campaigner, says: "The veterans are saying the US is acting while the UK is studying." The US department also agreed this summer to compensate veteran victims for the rare neurological motor neurone disease which has manifested itself at twice the rate in veterans as in rest of the population. In a series of letters and parliamentary answers recently, UK defence ministers have claimed that the armed forces are significantly more informed about medical counter-measures than before and that new detection equipment and record keeping, both subjects of criticism in the last Gulf war, have been introduced. But in a letter to Lord Morris in October, the defence minister Lord Bach conceded: "Obviously we cannot guarantee that deployed forces will not suffer ill-health but we are doing everything we can to minimise the risks." http://news.scotsman.com/politics.cfm?id=1405132002 * CND LOSES BID TO PROVE IRAQ WAR ILLEGAL The Scotsman, 17th December THE Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament today failed in its bid for a High Court declaration that it would be against international law for the UK to wage war against Iraq without a fresh United Nations resolution. Three judges ruled that the court had no power to declare the true interpretation of UN Security Council Resolution 1441 which set out Saddam Hussein's disarmament obligations. CND had argued at a two-day hearing last week that there was currently no clear mandate for the US and its allies, including the UK, to launch hostilities. They claimed that Resolution 1441 did not authorise the use of force in the event of a breach of its conditions. CND sought judicial review against Tony Blair, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon. Described by Lord Justice Simon Brown as a "novel and ambitious claim", it was believed to be the first time a UK government had faced a legal challenge over the possibility of a declaration of war. The judge, sitting with Mr Justice Maurice Kay and Mr Justice Richards, said CND did not question the Government's good faith in committing itself only to take action which was justified by international law. CND argued there was great public interest in ensuring that the Government had judicial guidance on what the law actually was so that it did not embark on military action in the mistaken belief that it was lawful to do so when it was not. But the judge held the court had no jurisdiction to interpret an international instrument which had never been incorporated into domestic law. http://news.scotsman.com/columnists.cfm?id=1404132002 * HAS BLAIR GOT THE NERVE TO BACK DOWN OVER IRAQ? by Bill Jacobs The Scotsman, 17th December YESTERDAY, Tony Blair met Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad and was told to hold off from war with Iraq. In a historic first visit by a Damascus leader to Number 10 , the talking was tough. The Prime Minister was keen to stress that military action was inevitable if Iraqi president Saddam Hussein did not own up to and get rid of his weapons of mass destruction. But Mr Al-Assad hit back by claiming that such a strike could destabilise the whole Middle East and breed more al-Qaida terrorists. In even meeting the Syrian leader, Mr Blair was defying his close ally, United States President George W Bush, as Washington believes that Syria is a major sponsor of terrorism. But despite misgivings about the number of Palestinian extremists resident and prospering in Damascus, Mr Blair believes improving relations with the Syrians is vital to any resolution of the Middle East problems. He believes it was his historic, if slightly embarrassing, meeting with Mr Al-Assad in Damascus which paved the way for Syria to unexpectedly back the tough Security Council resolution on Iraq and disarmament. And this week's visit by the Syrian president to the UK is vital to Mr Blair's attempts to draw Syria and other Arab nations into a wider coalition on the Middle East. Ironically, when Mr Al-Assad publicly criticised Mr Blair and the West at a Damascus news conference, it was seen in Syria as a setback for the British Prime Minister, but a watershed in openness in the Arab nation. It was the first time journalists had ever been allowed to publicly question a Syrian leader. Then Mr Blair and Mr Al-Assad were very much at odds on many issues. But now there is a growing suspicion that the Prime Minister may share his Syrian counterpart's reservations about a war on Baghdad. One Westminster insider said: "I can't put my finger on why, but I am pretty sure that Mr Blair is cooling on war with Iraq. It just seems that he's not as keen as he was and he's no longer totally in the Bush camp." It's become very clear of late that Foreign Secretary Jack Straw would like to avoid a military strike. He's adamant over what he calls the "Straw paradox" that the only way to avoid the use of force is to make a credible and determined threat of it. However, if he could avoid such action, he clearly would like to. And the mood in the Cabinet is now moving steadily against action. That reflects the view of the Labour Party, the Liberal Democrats, many Tories and the country. One aide to Gordon Brown said: "We've got no problems with regime change in Iraq. We'd all like to get rid of Saddam, but we're not sure that war is the way forward." Mr Blair is clearly hoping that Saddam can be persuaded to do a proper job of publicly getting rid of what weapons of mass destruction he still has and explaining where any others he used to have are now. Mr Blair is fully aware that with Israeli president Ariel Sharon never afraid of taking the military option, and now seeking re-election, any attack by Iraq on the Jewish state could lead to an extreme reaction. And with plenty of problems at home over the firefighters' strikes, the economy and the Cheriegate affair, Mr Blair knows he's not in the strongest of domestic positions. Despite the preparations to commit thousands of British troops and hundreds of tanks, ships and planes to the Gulf to try and frighten Saddam into compliance, the signs are that Mr Blair is becoming increasingly worried about the effects or success of military action. A failed military adventure could devastate the economy and his unexpectedly damaged public reputation. However, he's now so close to President Bush that to pull out at the last minute would be an act of great courage. Mr Blair can reflect that former Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson resisted the strongest of US pressure to commit British troops to Vietnam - a decision that few would now quibble with. But if Mr Blair was to stand up to Mr Bush it would be the extraordinary achievement of a politician who, despite his reputation for caution, is prepared to take tough decisions and make big gambles. http://news.scotsman.com/scotland.cfm?id=1406062002 * SCOTS TO SPEARHEAD IRAQ FORCE by Alison Hardie The Scotsman, 18th December TWO Scottish regiments were yesterday named by defence officials as the spearhead of a Gulf task force which could be heading for war against Saddam Hussein within 30 days. The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards and the 1st Battalion, The Black Watch were taken off emergency firefighting duties in September to prepare for the call-up which came yesterday. As part of the Desert Rats 7th Armoured Brigade, they will be crucial in any land assault on Iraq. The Scottish regiments are among 18 British military units placed on reduced notice to move yesterday as part of Ministry of Defence moves that make the prospect of war look ever more likely. [.....] _______________________________________________ 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 firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk