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News titles, 20-27/12/02 An undistinguished crop of articles, but the general picture remains the same. Resolution 1441 is looking more and more like a paper tiger. The US have, so far, failed in their effort to shift the burden of proof to Iraq; they have failed to get control of the inspections process; and they have really failed to persuade the rest of the world that the problem is urgent. We are about to see what their trump card (the ability to interview scientists outside Iraq itself) is worth. For the moment it doesn't look as if it is worth very much. To work as the US administration would like it to work, the inspectors would have to forcibly remove the scientist together with everyone for whom s/he could possibly be expected to have any feelings of affection, granting them all political asylum for an indefinite period of time, and all with no guarantee that the scientists would have anything useful to say. The USA's own reluctance to give an automatic right of asylum indicates that they know perfectly well what the practical difficulties are. So at present the Iraqi government is still on top of the situation and the US government is squirming. It seems very unlikely that there will be a second UN resolution (the Iraqi government would have to do something breathtakingly stupid) and without it the US 'coalition' is looking decidedly seedy. It is by no means certain that even Qatar and Kuwait would co-operate without a second resolution. There is a general feeling of weariness with US bullying and hectoring. One important indication of it is the fact that Germany has been given the chairmanship of the UN's Iraq sanctions committee against US opposition (see under Iraqi/International relations). In the absence of a second resolution, the US are faced with the disagreeable prospects of going it alone against the hostility of the world, possibly from aircraft carriers; slinking away with their tails between their legs; or, as was being suggested in several articles a couple of weeks ago, leaving a huge military disposition sweltering in the Gulf until, say, next October, so giving more time for the inspectors to discover something (but it has to be something pretty radical). And in the meantime, the US administration's threats to take out North Korea as part of the 'axis of evil', and the failure of both the Clinton and Bush administrations to fulfil the terms of the 1994 agreement (to deliver the promised light water reactors) have opened up a second front. Donald Rumsfeld breezily declares that the US will have no problems winning two major wars at once, but the length of time it is taking to build up enough of a presence to defeat Iraq - a country which, we all know, has no military capacity worth talking about - suggests otherwise. The indications here too are that the Project for a New American Century team are heading towards a horrible humiliation. Which is not necessarily good news for the rest of us. The consequences when people of that sort feel they have been driven to desperate measures can be terrible. The town of Halabja in Southern Kurdistan/Northern Iraq is there as a proof ... NEWS, 20-27/12/02 (1) WEAPONS INSPECTIONS * Quizzing scientists will be tricky [Rather a good outline of the practical problems involved, eg '"It's not clear what family means. Do the inspectors bring out 50 people or an entire village ...?"'] * 6,000 gas bombs could be missing * U.S. to Give U.N. Inspectors Better Iraqi Site Intelligence * U.S. Is Preparing to Share Intelligence With U.N. Team [Some details on how intelligence is, and has been in the past, shared with inspectors: 'Security for intelligence provided by the United States to U.N. weapons inspectors has been an ongoing problem for Washington since Blix decided that he would not have a senior American deputy. During the 1990s inspections, the American who served as the deputy chief of the U.N. inspectors also served as the entry point for U.S. intelligence.'] * U.N.: Give Iraqis who talk asylum ['The Bush administration ... has so far declined to offer blanket assurances of asylum to all Iraqis questioned by the inspectors.' The Iraqi scientists Liberation Act passed by Congress (see News 1-8/11/02 (4)) presumably only offers asylum as a reward for spilling the beans.] * Iraq hits back with CIA offer [Press conference by General Amir al-Sadi, scientific adviser to the president: '"We do not even have any objections if the CIA sent somebody with the inspectors to show them the suspected sites," Gen Sadi said.'] * Iraq 'ready' for questions on dossier [More details from Amir al-Saadi press conference. Uranium from Niger, production of VX (he suggests that UNSCOM tampered with the evidence).] * UN arms experts search Iraqi space site for banned weapons [The Al Battanee Center in Baghdad, 'a scientific group engaged in "space technology, space optics, atmospheric studies and remote sensing ...provides the telemetry systems for the Al Samoud missile system."'] * U.S. to give Iraq inspectors photos of 'sanitation activities' [US have definite satellite proof that some Iraqi factories have been disposing of rubbish. If they'd only thought of it in time, they could have made rubbish disposal a prohibited activity under Res 1441.] * Christmas Cause: American Weapons Inspector Doing Job in Iraq, Away From Family [Account of inspector Kay Mareish] * Iraqi nuclear scientists quizzed [Dr. Sabah Abdul Noor et al] * US can't withdraw inspectors from Iraq: UN [This may prove to be an important point. Difficult for the US to launch a unilateral strike if the inspectors are still there] * U.S. courted top Iraqi scientist [Attempt last May to secure defection of 'Jaffar Dhia Jaffar, widely regarded as the father of Iraq's secret nuclear weapons program' (was that not supposed to Khidr Hamza? Who by the way doesn't seem to be too keen on the idea of interviewing scientists outside Iraq, though if I'm not mistaken he was one of the ones who suggested it in the first place).] * Iraq to Let Scientists Leave for Interviews [Its a personal choice. But only someone who intended to spill the beans would make that choice. So no-one will. This, the brightest idea in the US arsenal of bright ideas, would only work if it was compulsory. Which it isn't. Another fine mess you've gotten us into ...] IRAQI/UK RELATIONS * British Bishops To Deliver Anti-war Christmas Sermons [Overwhelming opposition from hierarchies, not just of the CofE but also other hierarchial churches. But the Daily Telegraph draws comfort from the fact that on November 11 the General Synod of the CofE failed to pass a resolution saying that it believes UN consent to be necessary to war.] * Church leaders attack war plans [Rowan Williams and Cormac Murphy O'Connor. Plus Stop the War Coalition's children's Christmas card to Prime Minister Blair] * British people reject action against Iraq [sez MP Chaudhry Sarwar on a visit to Pakistan] * Blair's priest denounces PM over war on Iraq AND, IN NEWS, 20-27/12/02 (2) IRAQI/US RELATIONS * Citing Iraq, Bush Postpones Africa Trip * US Army Division Launches Massive Live-Fire Exercises in Kuwait * A Cynical Exercise in Iraq [Milan Rai argues that the US only want to replace Mr Hussein with another strongman and that they see the weapons inspection process as an obstacle to that end, and so want to sabotage it] * Nasty turn on human rights in terror fight [Roundups of hundreds of Middle Eastern and African men in Southern California. 'Lawyers reported that some detainees were forced to stand up all night for lack of room, that some were placed in shackles and others were hosed down with cold water before being thrown into unheated cells.' Citizens of Egypt and Saudi Arabia were exempted from the process.] * Not All Iraq Claims Backed by Evidence [eg story 'that when Iraqi soldiers captured by Iran in the 1980s returned from that war, President Saddam Hussein ordered their ears cut off, as the Pentagon stated.'] * Did U.S. condemn Iraq too quickly? [Suggests that the US has rushed out too far in advance of other SC members] * US push for democracy in Arab world may not work ['A recent report by the Washington-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace ... describes as far-fetched the notion that the Arab street will rise up in pro-democracy protests and install pro-Western governments in the wake of a regime change in Iraq.'] * With Saddam, its Don Corleone or Donald Duck [Thomas Friedman. His basic point is that since no-one except the US wants the war, Saddam will soon be offered an appealing exit strategy. But he might be too stupid (a la Donald Duck) to take it. Basically Don Corleone is the smart Saddam who does what the US wants him to do. Donald Duck is the stupid Saddam who tweaks the lion's tail. Friedman fails to understand that tweaking the lion's tail is what Saddam is all about. If he didn't do that he would be nothing. And if he was nothing he would be dead.] * Saddam planned to use bioweapons in Gulf War: CIA * Anti-Iraq Military Alliance Builds Slowly [The article tries to put a brave face on what is for USUK - failing a second UNSC resolution - a diplomatic catastrophe] * Iraqi native accused of sending money home ordered held ['At Gravois Discount Smokes, Hussein Al-Waeli, 33, a Shiite Muslim and naturalized U.S. citizen, said he has sent money to his six sisters in Iraq. About three years ago, he sent them $200, he said. He realizes that it is illegal, but without his help, "How will they eat?" he asked.'] * U.S. ready to fight two wars at once * Persian Gulf War Veterans to Sue Alleged Iraq Suppliers [This article comes from the Tehran Times which points out that the consequences for Iranian soldiers were rather more serious.] * Iraq bans CNN Baghdad bureau chief * Coalition Gels Despite Some Latecomers [or the Gentle Art of Making a Silk Purse out of a Sow's Ear] AND, IN NEWS, 20-27/12/02 (3) IRAQI/MIDDLE EAST RELATIONS * Bad weather halts Iraqi oil shipping at Ceyhan * Could the Iranian revolution die on its feet? [Interesting account of the conflict in Iran stressing the reasons for the strength of the Conservative minority, but concluding that the US will probably get its way (which isn't necessarily the way of the reformers) in the end.] * Milliyet: Turkey's position regarding Iraq [Americans promise the Turks that the Kurds won't be allowed to get their hands on the oil round Kirkuk and Mosul; the Turks still require a second resolution.] * Gulf Summit Ends With Decry of Saddam [Gulf Cooperation Council, meeting in Qatar] * Baghdad returns Kuwaiti paintings [but not the key documents legitimising Kuwait's existence as a separate state] * Pentagon negotiates Turkey staging area ['in addition to much larger invasions planned from the west and the south'. What prospect is there of an invasion from the West? The article is mainly concerned with ways in which the US could use Turkey while being as little visible as possible to the Turkish people.] * Iraq, Iran Ask UN to Open New Border Crossing * Barazani, Talibani in Ankara after Jalabi; Turkish parliament discuss American requests * Jordan slogan [''Jordan First,"] readies citizens for Iraq war * Turkey opposed to US deployment [The article states that Ankara will open five military air bases to the United States in case of a war and that Turkey will ask the US to secure a new UNSC resolution but it isn't clear if the latter is a necessary condition of the former.] * Three tracks for Egyptian moves to prevent attacks against Iraq * Turkey gives approval for U.S. to keep using air base [renewal of Incirlik] * Saudis win $44m Iraqi contracts * Israeli Leaders Accuse Sharon of Lying, Creating Hysteria Over Alleged Iraqi Threat [Among others, 'Tsvi Farkash, the head of Israeli military intelligence ... was quoted on Monday as saying that "there is no evidence of any transfer of chemical or biological weapons from Iraq to Syria." '] * Beirut denies Iraqi WMD transportation to Lebanon * Turkey insists on UN resolution for possible Iraq war ['Yalcinbayir was speaking during talks with representatives from an anti-Iraq war platform of more than 150 non-governmental organisations which have recently held demonstrations against military strikes on Turkey's southeastern neighbour.' We are not expressing sufficient admiration of Turkish civil society at the present time.] NO FLY ZONES * US, UK warplanes again attack Iraqi defences [Friday 20th December, near Basra and An Nasiriyah] * Casualties of an 'Undeclared War' [Account of life on the receiving end of the No Fly Zone raids] * Iraqi jets shoot down US spy plane ['the first to be downed by Iraqi warplanes', inside the 'No Fly' zone. Which, under the circumstances, strikes me as positively cheeky.] * Iraq Says 3 Killed, 16 Injured in US-British Raids [Basra and Dhi Qar, Thursdat, 26th December. They also hit a mosque. Now we know why Saddam is building mosques with minarets made to look like ballistic missiles] AND, IN NEWS, 20-27/12/02 (4) IRAQI/INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS * U.S. Asks Germans to Guard Bases End of Jan-Source ['The United States has 71,000 troops, mostly army and air force, stationed at various bases around Germany.' Would this not be a good time to kick them out?] * French Defense Minister backs Mubarak's warnings against striking Iraq * Japan said to begin drafting bill permitting troops in Iraq [to help dismantle weapons of mass destruction - if there are any, on the Iraqi side that is - after the war is over] * Oilman [Arthur Millholland, the president of Calgary-based Oilexco Inc] to lead [Canadian] MPs on tour of Iraq * Germany wins key U.N. role [Chairmanship of the UN sanctions committee, against US opposition] * Niger Denies Uranium Sale to Iraq, Accuses U.S. of 'Libel' * Iraq is 'dead meat' [Although most of this article, from the 'Pakistan News' sounds like the New York Post trying to give itself Muslim airs, it ends with an interesting suggestion: that the Arab league should take on the task of disarming and replacing President Hussein] * Germany Says No Money for Iraq War This Time * Russia rallies round Iraq [Ivanov: "The most important thing is making sure that Iraq has no weapons of mass destruction ... All other goals run counter to our interests"] * Germany to pressure the EU against possible war in Iraq * Iraq to buy 50,000 tons wheat from Pakistan * Three UN Council members unconvinced of need to attack [Positions of Russia, France and China] * Saddam secretly funded Pakistan A-bomb [Apparently detailed Indian eye view of Iraq's nuclear weapons programme] * Intelligence Predicts Hussein's Reaction to Attack [Extract concerning visit of delegation from Belarus to Baghdad, which is surely surprising at a time when Belarus is supposed to be squirming under the pressure of US accusations of selling arms to Iraq] * Iraq showing unusual interest in Ukraine nuclear laboratory * Nato would back attack if inspectors find arms [sez George ('Lord') Robertson without specifying if another UN resolution would be required] * Niger Says Iraq Sought But Failed to Buy Uranium [twenty years ago] URL ONLY: http://www.asiantribune.com/show_news.php?id=1688 * Pope urges peace in Christmas eve mass Asian Tribune, 25th December [The article does not actually quote the Pope to this effect but gives some quotes from senior Vatican officials] IRAQI COLLABORATION * Saddam's foes skewed by sectarianism [Complaint that the Opposition document gives the impression that Saddam Hussein's government was a Sunni government oppressing Shi'ites whereas in fact it oppressed everyone, Sunni and Shi'ite alike.] AND, IN NEWS, 20-27/12/02 (5) INSIDE IRAQ * Iraqi Christians fear invasion backlash [US pressure is pushing the Iraqi population into a more militant form of Islam which is bad news for Christians] * Iraq: Babil newspaper resumes publication * 'If God wants to take us, he will take us' [Extract, concerning the doctrine taught at the Saddam University of Islamic Studies] * Iraq turns to human shields [The regime says peace activists are willing to act as human shields. The peace activists themselves aren't so sure. nb 'Iraq also used civilians as human shields four years ago when the US and Britain launched an extensive air campaign in response to Baghdad's failure to cooperate with the last round of weapons inspections.' Leaving aside the usual error about Baghdad's failure to cooperate etc, the question is posed: did it work?] * Iraqi government uses Muslim leaders to court anti-Saddam Kurds [The 'Popular Islamic International Congress Organization', meeting in Kirkuk] * Iraq orchestra strikes chord of normalcy * Satellite ban stays: Saddam ["banning immoral behaviour while simultaneously helping spread it (by airing footage that would encourage such behaviour) would bring God's wrath down upon us," said Saddam] IMPLICATIONS OF WAR * Iraq war could deepen world food crisis -aid groups ['"Even without the prospect of helping millions more in Iraq, we are heading into a year like none we've ever seen, a tide of need almost incomprehensible in scope," Sara Piepmeier, the U.N.'s World Food Program spokeswoman in Chicago, said.'] * Air campaign plans to spare Iraq infrastructure [The US army only want to hurt Saddam Hussein and his immediate circle, not anyone else. So if anyone else gets hurt its obviously the fault of Saddam Hussein.] * After Saddam, What? [German Swiss reflections on the lack of real national politics: 'Aside from the ruling Baath Party, there is today no significant political movement which has at heart the interests of Iraq as a nation-state.'] * Debate over control of Iraq oil [Should it go to Iraqis under UN supervision (Powell) or directly to the US (Wolfowitz)] * Oilmen don't want another Suez [Oil companies less than delighted at the prospect of war] * Why any war with Iraq will be over in a flash [All the very latest fashions in weapons of mass destruction described with breathless admiration] _______________________________________________ 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