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News, 20-27/12/02 (5) INSIDE IRAQ * Iraqi Christians fear invasion backlash * Iraq: Babil newspaper resumes publication * 'If God wants to take us, he will take us' * Iraq turns to human shields * Iraqi government uses Muslim leaders to court anti-Saddam Kurds * Iraq orchestra strikes chord of normalcy * Satellite ban stays: Saddam IMPLICATIONS OF WAR * Iraq war could deepen world food crisis -aid groups * Air campaign plans to spare Iraq infrastructure * After Saddam, What? * Debate over control of Iraq oil * Oilmen don't want another Suez * Why any war with Iraq will be over in a flash INSIDE IRAQ http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/usatoday/20021220/ts_usatoday /4718937 * IRAQI CHRISTIANS FEAR INVASION BACKLASH by Vivienne Walt Yahoo, from USA TODAY, 20th December BAGHDAD: S addam Hussein's visage stares down at customers from a wall above shelves of Johnnie Walker whiskey and Russian vodka in Yonan Ibrahim's liquor store. The Saddam calendar, showing the Iraqi president in a Tyrolean-style hat and firing a carbine in the air, doesn't just keep track of the date. It lets shoppers know that this Christian shop owner is a patriot. During the 23 years of Saddam's rule, Ibrahim's fealty has served him and hundreds of thousands of other Iraqi Christians well. But as a U.S.-led war against Iraq looks increasingly likely, Ibrahim believes the Christians' luck might finally be running out, along with their leader's. "Until now this has been a very good place to be a Christian," says Ibrahim, 50, a soft spoken man with thick spectacles and a natty business suit. His father opened the liquor store decades ago on Baghdad's Aqaba Square. "The government likes us because we don't cheat or lie." As Christmas approaches, Iraq's 1 million Christians feel threatened. Saddam, for most of his career a moderate Muslim, is beginning to appeal to the country's growing number of devout Muslims. A U.S.-led war, the Christians here believe, could pit orthodox Islam against one of the Middle East's largest and oldest Christian communities. With many involved in trade, Iraq's Christians are known for being trustworthy, Ibrahim says. Ibrahim and other Christians interviewed during two weeks in the capital say they believe a U.S.-led war would be seen by many Iraqis as a battle between the Christian and Muslim worlds. "People will think we are with the Americans," he says. Iraqi officials say there is ethnic harmony in the country. Ibrahim believes many Christians hesitate to mention tensions publicly, for fear of conflicting with official thinking on religion. In fact, Christians in this country long known for its Western links and secular culture already have sensed a shift toward Islam. "Right now, Christians are afraid of the future, of what will happen. Most of the Christians are preparing to leave," Ibrahim says. Hundreds of thousands already have. From the moment the 1991 Gulf War ended, Christians from one of the world's most ancient communities began a stampede to the USA, Canada, Europe and Australia. About 1 million of Iraq's 24 million people are Christian. An estimated 500,000 Christians live in central and southern Iraq. That's 50% fewer than the number that lived in that area a decade ago. About 500,000 live in northern Iraq's three provinces, which comprise a semi autonomous territory governed by two Kurdish parties. The area, which is under U.N. protection, is patrolled by British and U.S. jets. Many of the Christians are Assyrian Catholics, known as Chaldeans here, similar to those in Syria and Lebanon. Their liturgy is in Aramaic, the language Jesus Christ is believed to have spoken. A large number of Christians fled the economic crash caused when the United Nations imposed economic sanctions after the Gulf War. The sanctions, designed to prevent Iraq from rebuilding its military, blocked all normal imports and exports. Baghdad now has to barter a limited amount of oil for goods. Many Christians were businessmen and traders. They were used to taking vacations in Europe and driving new cars. Unlike many Iraqis, they had the money to emigrate or had relatives in the West to help with visas. Ibrahim's brother lives in Detroit. Others among his 11 siblings have scattered to Canada, Australia and Sweden. The exodus of Christians from Iraq slowed by the mid-1990s. Those able to move already had left. Christians who stayed hoped the situation would improve. Having lived here since Biblical times, they say life in Iraq has been surprisingly secure since the Gulf War. Until now, they've seen few signs of prejudice. But they fear a U.S. military offensive could quickly lead Iraqis to become far more religious amid anti-American sentiment. "I wouldn't choose to live in any other country in the Middle East," says Bob Shaya, 38. He runs a computer parts store in Baghdad's high-tech district with his brother Samir. "This is the best thing about living in Iraq. There is no differentiation between Christian and Muslim." The Shaya brothers have hung a cross next to the racks of software programs, which they copy and sell for $1.50 each. They say hanging a cross in a store in the neighboring Islamic republics of Iran and Saudi Arabia would be a risky move. "I don't even like going outside to nearby countries," says Samir Shaya, 40. Iraq has until now been one of the most secular countries in the region. Saddam's Baath Party has a policy of secularism. Tariq Aziz, the deputy prime minister and one of the Iraqi leader's closest aides, is Christian. Christmas is an official holiday, although only Christians take the day off. Baghdad's art galleries openly exhibit nudes. Liquor stores like the one run by Yonan Ibrahim have catered to Christians and moderate Muslims -- among them, government officials buying for government functions -- who don't follow Islam's ban on alcohol. Islamic extremism has been heavily restricted under Saddam, a Sunni Muslim who has always regarded his greatest threat as coming from the religious Shiite majority that has close ties to Iran. Iran and Iraq fought a seven-year war during the 1980s that claimed 1 million lives. The West saw Baghdad as a buffer against the fundamentalist Islamic leadership that removed the pro-Western government of the shah in 1979. Saddam, in turn, saw Iraq's Christians as a counterbalance to any Shiite Muslim fervor. Because of their secular traditions, many Iraqis say they are baffled by the Bush administration's claims that al-Qaeda terrorists might receive help from Iraq. But cracks in Iraq's moderate Islamic culture began surfacing a few years ago. Some Iraqis have turned to religion for relief from the poverty caused by the sanctions. Masterful at sensing the popular mood, Saddam has changed too. He banned alcohol from restaurants and cafes, which long gave Baghdad, a city of 5 million people, a buzzing nightlife. The government-controlled Iraqi television began broadcasting hours of clerics reading the Koran. Last year, a cleric went to the holy Muslim city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, to perform a pilgrimage on behalf of the Iraqi president. And Saddam has spent tens of millions of dollars building several mammoth mosques in Baghdad. One is the largest in the world outside Mecca. Christians say they sense that the shift toward Islam here has accelerated since the Sept. 11 attacks. They believe some Iraqis identified with the strong anti-American feeling. Others were swept up in a move to more radical Islam in the region. Ibrahim says his business has been pummeled as people have become more observant. "It's unbelievable, my business has gone down more than 50% since Sept. 11," he says. "Sometimes I can't pay the salaries of the workers." Perhaps the greatest shock to Christians came in August. A 71-year-old Assyrian nun, Cecilia Moshi Hanna, was knifed to death and then decapitated in a botched robbery of church relics in Mosul, about 250 miles north of Baghdad. The city, which is known as Nineveh in the Bible, houses priceless Christian relics. Three men were publicly hanged in Mosul's main square for having carried out the murder, according to Ibrahim. "It was a way (for the government) to say that nobody must do this again," he says. Government officials would not confirm the hangings. In an attempt to bring some Christmas cheer, a group of French missionaries traveled to Iraq last week with the bones of St. Theresa of Lisieux, a French saint best known as "the little flower of Jesus." She died from tuberculosis in 1897 at the age of 24. She was canonized for her devotion to teaching spirituality. Iraqis packed churches to see the box of bones lying on the altar. In the Saint George Chaldean Church in New Baghdad, a relatively prosperous part of the city, about 500 people crowded into the pews for a special Mass for the bones last week. In a hall filled with incense smoke, they crossed themselves and chanted ancient Assyrian prayers. For a brief moment, the community was at peace. In his private office, the parish priest admitted the church has been through rough times. "Our parish has 2,500 families. But it is a lot smaller than it was 10 years ago," said Habib al-Nofaley, sitting at his desk in his long black robes. "Many are leaving for economic reasons." Whether they begin leaving for political reasons, too, will depend on what happens during the next critical months. Ibrahim says many Christians believe they will be targeted if a U.S.-led war ousts Saddam, who has until now shielded them from discrimination. Some fear a post-Saddam Iraq could bring a far less tolerant country toward Christians if anti-American feelings run high. "Our government likes us, and they protect us," he says. "But if something happens, we don't know what it will be like. We are really afraid." http://hoovnews.hoovers.com/fp.asp?layout=displaynews&doc_id=NR20021223670.2 _19360002449b95e0 * IRAQ: BABIL NEWSPAPER RESUMES PUBLICATION Hoover's (Financial Times), 23rd December, from Babil web site, Baghdad, in Arabic 21 Dec 02 The web site of Babil, a pro-government newspaper published by Uday Saddam Husayn, which was suspended by the Iraqi Information Ministry for one month on 20 November, was observed to update as usual on 21 December. In its "First Page" section, the paper said: "We draw our honourable readers' attention to the fact that Babil newspaper has resumed publication today, Saturday, after a one-month halt. It is resuming publication with a special edition of 96 pages in tabloid newsprint only for this day by using its stocks of paper and in order to cover all news, reports and activities that took place and are taking place in the domestic, Arab and international arenas. On the occasion of resuming publication, Babil announces that it has reduced the price of the paper by half of the original price in response to, and in appreciation for, our dear readers, and so that the paper will be affordable for them." http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,865059,00.html * 'IF GOD WANTS TO TAKE US, HE WILL TAKE US' by Rory McCarthy in Baghdad The Guardian, 24th December [.....] Since 1993 the Iraqi regime has run a nationwide "Faith Campaign". Changes in the school curriculum have expanded Islamic studies. Religious schools have been set up across the country to train young boys to become clerics. The regime has also established the Saddam University of Islamic Studies to enshrine the new Iraqi Islamic philosophy. The university now has 1,500 students, a third of whom come from abroad - most from Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, India and Pakistan, as well as Gulf states. The Islam that Mohammad Majid al-Saeed, the university's president, teaches is a complex mixture of religious observance and the secular Arab nationalism espoused by President Saddam. "We are facing a very big challenge now and we must unify the Arab countries as one nation," said Dr al-Saeed. However innocuous, the campaign is also an arm of state control which mirrors attempts by governments from Egypt to Pakistan to influence the clergy and harness their power. One of its aims was to tackle the corruption which has flourished in an economy stricken by wars with Iran and the West and 12 years of UN sanctions. "Our society has been exposed to two severe wars and the Iraqis have been exposed to a very serious test. "There is a very big temptation in our society to slide into corruption. This campaign has succeed in fortifying Iraq and making our citizens avoid corruption, robbery and adultery," said Dr al-Saeed. It also appears to be an attempt to rally the Iraqi people to the president's cause. "We are teaching Iraqi citizens to endure their lives," said Dr al-Saeed. "It is a test of loyalty to God and the principles of Islam." http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,865060,00.html * IRAQ TURNS TO HUMAN SHIELDS by Suzanne Goldenberg in Washington The Guardian, 24th December The psychological war games between America and Iraq moved up a notch yesterday when Baghdad announced it was to welcome its first batch of volunteer human shields, ready to fling themselves in front of US bombers in the event of a war. "We are in the process of receiving the first group of volunteers who like to act as human shields," said Saad Qasim Hammoudi, an official of the ruling Ba'ath party. "These people will be distributed to vital and strategic installations in all Iraqi regions." The introduction of an element of choice for human shields is a departure for Iraq from the last Gulf war when hundreds of Iraqis were deployed at Saddam Hussein's palaces in Baghdad and throughout the countryside. 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. Mr Hammoudi claimed yesterday that he was expecting volunteers from the US and Europe to risk their lives for President Saddam. However, Mr Hammoudi's news was greeted with distaste yesterday by America's tiny anti war movement, which has spent months deflecting charges that its activists are prepared to die for the Iraqi leader. Three peace organisations which have been active in humanitarian relief and in organising visits to Iraq in defiance of US law denounced the report as propaganda. The Institute for Public Accuracy, which organised the visit to Baghdad of the actor Sean Penn, as well as a tour by US congressmen, said the stories about foreign human shields were untrue. "I know of groups going over to witness and to educate themselves, but I don't know of anybody going over and saying I am a human shield," a spokesman said yesterday. Members of a US delegation which returned from Baghdad at the weekend said there are about two dozen Western peace activists in Iraq at any one time. "Nobody is naive enough to believe that a superpower like the US is not going to bomb Iraq because there are peace people there," said Mary Trotochaud, who returned on Saturday. The increased sparring between Baghdad and Washington comes at a time when the US is doubling its military forces in the Gulf. On Sunday, an adviser to President Saddam, General Amir al-Saadi, challenged Washington to send in the CIA to investigate Baghdad's claims that it has no secret weapons. Washington dismissed the offer as a "stunt". http://www.thestate.com/mld/thestate/news/world/4809168.htm * IRAQI GOVERNMENT USES MUSLIM LEADERS TO COURT ANTI-SADDAM KURDS by Christine Spolar The State, from Chicago Tribune, 24th December KIRKUK, Iraq - (KRT) - Amid reports that U.S. intelligence is seeking recruits among a Kurdish minority that generally is opposed to Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi government is trying to use Islam as a lever to turn the Kurds in favor of Baghdad. Under government auspices, hundreds of Muslim leaders gathered Monday for an emergency meeting in the northern city of Kirkuk, which lies just south of the no-fly zone that was instituted to prevent Iraqi attacks on Kurds and is patrolled by U.S. and British aircraft. The clerics called on their followers to "stand together and stand against" the United States. They decried the ambitions of a "wicked America" aimed at Iraq and its people and issued a fatwa for all Muslims to be ready to resist any military assault. The religious decree was the third such statement in recent months from Muslim factions within Iraq. Facing the threat of a U.S. military attack, Saddam's regime is seeking to use Islam as a unifying element to shore up domestic support and make it harder for Muslims in his own nation as well as other Muslim countries to stand by or side with the United States. Saddam's government is building dozens of mosques at a pace unseen in the Arab world for centuries, clerics say, and the Iraqi dictator has added pictures of himself in prayer to the others in circulation that show him in military garb or firing a rifle. The order from religious Kurd leaders Monday came amid a U.S. military buildup in the Persian Gulf region and reports that U.S. intelligence is recruiting Kurds to scout and translate in northern Iraq. The order issued by the Popular Islamic International Congress Organization was welcomed with song and emotional outbursts as many there openly and repeatedly condemned "American aggression," "American-Zionist tyranny" and "the American enemy," all focused on Iraq. The struggle, as one speaker told the crowd, was for Iraqi Muslims to confront an "enemy that wants us to be destroyed and wants to destroy our religion." The crowd largely saw the West's demands on Iraq and Saddam as another example of Western tyranny on a country that has suffered through years of sanctions after the Gulf War of 1991. "God curse them all. They will go to hell by the hand of God," one man called out as he jumped to his feet in an auditorium packed with about 600 men and festooned with large photos of Saddam. Sheik Abdul Latif Hameem, secretary general of the Iraq-based organization, said the fatwa was not aimed at inciting Muslims in Iraq. Rather, the organization was attempting to unite all Muslim factions, Sunni, Shiite and Kurds, behind the idea of sovereign Iraq and against "infidels" who could challenged that. "All Iraqis are the same people," Hameem explained. "They must defend their country. We are a peaceful people and we are facing an aggression. There is no choice for any people anywhere who are facing such a war." Those people who would cooperate with America were nothing less than traitors, he said. "They are some who are betraying their country," Hameem said. "They are after their own selfish interests." Other speakers were far less restrained in their characterization of the problems facing Iraqis and Muslims, in particular. "The wicked America is using everything it has - and weapons of mass destruction - to destroy Iraq," said Omar Hussein al-Sangawi, a member of the executive committee who lives in Kirkuk. Al-Sangawi said American preparations for war were aimed at "destroying our people" and demanded that "jihad be waged to face the enemy and face the infidel." It was clear in further conversations with Islamic leaders, after the conference, that they were using the term "jihad" to indicate a struggle and not armed battle itself. "It is the real thing," one 23-year-old Ali Ahmed Khudur, from the eastern city of Sulaimaniya. "But it will not be applied unless they (the Americans and their allies) attack us. This doesn't mean now we're going to war and we'll attack. This just means we'll defend ourselves." Sheik Abdul Khader al-Fadly, who read the fatwa issued by 110-year-old cleric Abdel Kareem al-Mudress, said that the struggle for Iraq was a duty demanded by Islam in the face of attack, or preparations for attack, on home, culture and family. http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/story.hts/world/1715714 * IRAQ ORCHESTRA STRIKES CHORD OF NORMALCY by Neil Macfarquhar Houston Chronicle, from New York Times, 25th December BAGHDAD, Iraq -- The musicians of the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra, elegant in black tie or long black skirts, were just settling into their places on the final night of their Christmas week concerts when the electricity failed and the performance hall was plunged into darkness. For a while afterward on Wednesday night, the performance unrolled with a dreamlike quality. A note from the oboe floated through the pitch black, guiding the players tuning their instruments, until candles affixed to the music stands illuminated their scores. The musicians played an initial overture and then the tenor soloist, Emad Jamil, sang the Agnus Dei from Bizet's L'Arlesienne. But with each turn of the sheet music, the players grew increasingly nervous about the risk of igniting the barely legible pages. So they stopped before the final Bach piano concerto. "We might as well have been playing in Bach's time," Jamil later joked ruefully. "But at least I could forget myself in the music. For a short period of time there was nothing but music. It's very hard living with the thought that soon we will have another war." Baghdad used to pride itself as the living soul of "1,001 Nights," a cosmopolitan place where sophisticated music, theater or cabaret acts spun on long into the night, and where the Iraqi middle class kept every publisher in the Arab world afloat. Since the beginning of the eight-year Iran-Iraq war in 1980, however, Iraqis have ricocheted from one crisis to the next. The once thriving middle class has been groping through an especially long dark night of plunging living standards since international economic sanctions were imposed after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990, an invasion that led to the Gulf War. Now they find themselves bracing for yet another conflagration in which they have little voice. In response, they cling to what normalcy they can, defiant one minute and utterly gloomy the next. "In life, sorrow tends to last just a little longer than joy," said Abdul Razak al-Alawi, who helped found the orchestra in 1950 and has been its conductor since 1974. His son and daughter, elementary school students, died in 1985 when their home took a direct hit from an Iranian missile. Most Iraqis seek any brief escape, although even the jokes tend to swirl around their desperation. Audiences have been packing the National Theater every night for a show called Vagabonds, which gently mocks Iraqis for having become a nation of beggars. "Imagine the difficulty of making people laugh after 20 years of war and 12 years of sanctions," said Abed Ali Qaed, the show's writer and director, weighing in with his own twist on an oft-heard political remark: "The conspiracy against our people by the Zionists and the Americans is to kill our ability to laugh." Iraqis sense they are caught in a twilight zone that nobody else shares, or wants to. When the last two passengers holding up a plane from Amman, Jordan, to Baghdad were stopped at security, the officer rummaging through their bags asked the airline agent, "Are they journalists?" "Of course, they are journalists," the agent shot back. "Who else would want to go to Baghdad?" http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,5743605%255E40 1,00.html * SATELLITE BAN STAYS: SADDAM The Australian, 26th December IRAQI President Saddam Hussein today turned down a suggestion to lift a ban on foreign satellite television, saying it was illogical to relay enemy or immoral material. Saddam told a cabinet meeting during which the suggestion to allow Iraqis to receive satellite broadcasts was made that only an elite in Baghdad was interested in receiving such broadcasts while the man in the street was busy with more mundane pursuits. Moreover, "airing the views of others ... who are in enemy ranks would be tantamount to sabotage," he said, according to the State-run television. And "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, whose speeches increasingly have religious overtones. Only foreign media, embassies and senior state officials are currently allowed access to foreign satellite television in Iraq. There are four television channels in the country: state television, which is run by the information ministry; a state satellite channel; Youth Television, which is run by Saddam's elder son Uday, and a sports channel. IMPLICATIONS OF WAR http://biz.yahoo.com/rm/021220/iraq_food_2.html * IRAQ WAR COULD DEEPEN WORLD FOOD CRISIS -AID GROUPS by Richard Cowan Yahoo, 20th December WASHINGTON, Dec 20 (Reuters) - A U.S. war to oust President Saddam Hussein could create a food emergency for most of Iraq's 24 million people as world food aid programs battle starvation in Africa and dwindling global grain supplies, relief groups said this week. With the Iraqi government providing every household food coupons through a U.N. program, Bush administration officials and food aid organizations are looking at how to avert a crisis that would exacerbate the devastation of a possible war. "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. With Washington threatening to disarm Iraq by force, there are worries a war could end the U.N.'s annual $2.5 billion oil-for-food program, leaving Iraqi homes with bare cupboards. The program has been vital in reducing malnutrition. After President Saddam Hussein's troops invaded Kuwait in 1990, the United Nations imposed economic sanctions. But since the U.N. loosened the sanctions in 1996 by allowing the country to sell oil and use the revenues to buy food and medicines, malnutrition rates in the central and southern regions of Iraq have been cut by 50 percent, Hasmik Egian, the U.N.'s Iraq humanitarian program spokeswoman, said. Under the U.N.-sponsored food program, every Iraqi household receives monthly coupons to buy a "basket" of food that includes wheat flour, sugar, rice, cooking oil, dairy products and pulses such as lentils and chickpeas. "Sixty percent of the (Iraqi) population relies entirely on the food basket and it's their only means of covering their nutritional food needs," Egian said. The Bush administration is drawing up plans for delivering food to Iraq "on a very timely basis" if a war were to interrupt monthly rations, J.B. Penn, a U.S. Department of Agriculture Undersecretary, told Reuters. He did not provide details on the food aid plans. The U.S. government typically spends about $1 billion a year on its primary food aid program in which USDA buys excess corn, soybeans, wheat, and other commodities grown by American farmers to supply the aid. A food emergency in Iraq could not occur at a worse time. Drought this year has cut Australia's wheat crop in half and stunted the production of two other major producers -- the United States and Canada -- and poor weather this summer has also cut into U.S. corn production. Global grain stocks this year are estimated by the USDA to be 371 million tonnes, down from 501 million tonnes in 2000. The U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization this week estimated that 40 million people in sub-Saharan Africa face severe food shortages. For 2003, without considering Iraq, the World Food Program estimates minimum world humanitarian food needs at 5.3 million tonnes, up from 3.8 million tonnes from a year ago. This year, the United States has given about 500,000 tonnes of food, worth $230 million, to six southern African nations. But budget constraints are limiting how much the United States can spend on world food aid, especially with rising commodity prices meaning food dollars don't go as far. Penn said his agency recognizes "that the situation (in Africa) is worsening and that we're probably going to have to reappraise" U.S. donations, which have led the world. http://www.washtimes.com/national/20021220-27287747.htm * AIR CAMPAIGN PLANS TO SPARE IRAQ INFRASTRUCTURE by Rowan Scarborough Washington Times, 20th December U.S. war planners are devising a different kind of air campaign against Iraq compared with Desert Storm a decade ago. Breakthroughs in precision weapons and a new strategic goal this time will mean fewer missions and potentially less destruction of infrastructure, such as bridges and power plants, military sources and analysts say. The air component of what senior Bush officials believe will be a quick war will be shorter 10 days or less before a full-throttle ground offensive begins. In the fight to liberate Kuwait 11 years ago, tactical and heavy bombers struck for more than 30 days before a ground invasion. Because the objectives are different this time, there will be fewer overall targets. The United States wants to kill or capture Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and is gearing its target list to achieve that well-defined objective. That was not the stated goal in 1991. From day one, the Air Force had to bomb huge concentrations of Iraqi troops in and around Kuwait. It also had to attack the infrastructure that supported them, such as supply bridges south of Baghdad. This time, the United States is trying to befriend much of the Iraqi army in the hopes that it stays neutral, or better yet, turns on Saddam and storms the capital. Gen. Richard B. Myers, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, said this week that the military is "postured" to accept the help of Iraqi generals in the event of war. Bush administration sources told the Associated Press yesterday that it's unlikely that the president will make a decision about going to war until late next month or early February. Bridges inside Baghdad may be bombed to cut off escape routes and reduce mobility for Saddam's prime security force, the Special Republican Guard. But bridges elsewhere are likely to be exempt, officials said. This would be similar to the coalition bombing of Afghanistan, where bridges and electric power were spared to ease post-war reconstruction. "This is a war of liberation," said retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney. "We want to send a signal to the people that we are not after them. We are after regime change and weapons of mass destruction." Military sources say some targets have not changed. The allies will have to hit communication lines to ensure that Saddam cannot easily direct his troops. Barracks and headquarters of the Republican Guard also are on the list. "If we can neutralize internal security forces for some period of time, the Iraqi military can get its act together to do what it has wanted to do for 20 years" overthrow Saddam, said retired Air Force Col. John Warden, who helped design the 1991 campaign from a basement office at the Pentagon. Quasi-military targets such as bridges and industrial sites can be spared this time, officials say, because Washington wants reconstruction to be as seamless as possible. "You certainly would not blow up all those darn bridges across the Tigris and Euphrates," Col. Warden said. What U.S. forces don't destroy, Saddam might. U.S. intelligence officials said this week that Iraq is preparing for a scorched-earth campaign if it goes to war, targeting its own oil fields, food supplies and power plants and blaming America for the devastation. Saddam intends to create a humanitarian crisis to hamper a U.S. advance and garner sympathy from the international community, said the officials who briefed reporters at the Pentagon on the condition of anonymity. The officials said they expect Saddam to use biological and chemical weapons against U.S. forces in Iraq, Israel and Kuwait. A big advantage will be evident on the war's opening night. In January 1991, the United States had to rely heavily on the F-117 stealth fighter and sea-launched cruise missiles to do damage in downtown Baghdad. The city's heavy air defenses prevented the use of non radar-evading planes. This time, the United States has two new weapons: the B-2 radar-evading bomber and the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM). When paired, 16 B-2s and the JDAMs will be able to hit more than 200 targets the first night. The bomber can destroy key air defense and command structures that took weeks to bomb in the 1991 campaign. "When you roll it all together, we're 10 times more powerful," Gen. McInerney said. The Air Force believes its blitzkrieg of Iraqi occupying forces softened them up to the extent that few units wanted to resist Army and Marine Corps ground forces. He said there is little need in this war for Army armored brigades to engage Republican Guard tanks. Instead, he said, tactical aircraft can pick off the tanks one by one using satellite- or laser-guided bombs. One debate still ongoing in the Pentagon is the extent to which the allies should bomb electric power grids. "I would shut down the electricity," Col. Warden said. "I know I'm in a minority here. The reason I would do it is Saddam's strength is in the cities. If you shut down the electricity it makes it that much harder for him to operate and resist from the cities." The new air campaign will continue the Air Force philosophy of "effects based" attacks, an idea promoted by Col. Warden and other planners about 15 years ago. The goal is to achieve a desired effect, such as shutting off electric power or communications lines, without destroying the supporting infrastructure. For example, the Air Force can destroy an electrical grid or node that can be rebuilt quickly, while sparing the source of power a generation plant which would take months to rebuild. "All we want is for the lights to go out, not to do relatively long-term damage," Col. Warden said. He recalled that during the height of the 1991 war, Defense Intelligence Agency analysts circulated a report that attacks on electric power were a failure because many circuits were not bombed. Col. Warden said that what mattered was that the lights were off in Baghdad. "People are still very much in an attrition-war mentality," he said. "If it isn't rubble, then you haven't done much to it." http://www.nzz.ch/english/editorials/2002/12/20_iraq.html * AFTER SADDAM, WHAT? by Jürg Bischoff Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 20th December (First published in German, December 19, 2002) Iraq is not a nation-state that evolved historically. It was pieced together by colonial powers, established as a monarchy under a British protectorate and has been held together since then by authoritarian regimes. The last of those regimes, that of the Baath Party and Saddam Hussein, is nearing its end. In all probability, its demise will also mark the end of the post-colonial model of Arab states: authoritarian, socialist, secular and militantly nationalist. Saddam, who saw himself as the implementer of the Arab dream of unity and strength, will leave behind a country which has lost two wars, a people emaciated by terrible sanctions, and a society depleted morally and politically. In the 80 years of the country's existence as a nation, a sense of national identity or a national vision has evolved only at a rudimentary level. This was also visible from the tensions at the recent London congress of Iraqi opposition forces. Over the 25 years of dictatorship, opposition groups inside and outside of Iraq have not managed to develop an indigenous and viable alternative to Saddam's regime. Under pressure from the USA, which wants to provide a political facet for its plans to conquer Iraq, the leading opposition groups have now, willy nilly, agreed on a political platform. It contains all the concepts which, in the Western view, go to constitute a modern state: human rights, civic freedoms, democracy, pluralism and federalism. After years of despondency and quarreling, the proclamation of this program can at least be counted as progress. But the selection of the members of the 65-member Coordinating Committee established at the London congress clearly showed that the opposition's internal dissension and lack of legitimacy have by no means been overcome. Only the two Kurdish parties, the KDP and PUK, which already administer territory in northern Iraq, and the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (Sciri), a party of Iraqi Shiites operating from Iranian exile, have the degree of civil and military organization and popular support to make them effective political players. The claims to be representative made by other Shiite and Kurdish groups, Sunni politicians and organizations, and spokesmen for various religious and ethnic minorities, are highly questionable. Many Iraqis in exile who now claim to be members of the opposition were officials in the Baath regime before they fled abroad and therefore have little or no credibility as potential leaders of a new Iraq. Only by their willingness to subordinate themselves to the wishes and ideas of their American patrons can these weak groups and would-be leaders gain political weight. But their American orientation in turn weakens their credibility, making them appear as mere puppets of Washington. This is not well calculated to enhance their prestige either inside Iraq, where many people regard the Americans as most responsible for their present plight, or in the larger Arab and Islamic world, which increasingly sees the U.S. as a hostile power. 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. The Sunnis, who see themselves as the force holding the country together, have been disorganized and disoriented by Saddam's repressive regime; the Kurds, Shiites and minorities are primarily interested in the well-being of their own communities, and in those of the Iraqi state only for lack of a realistic alternative. The London congress of opposition forces made compromises, but it did not produce a united leadership which could bring a new vision to the country's governance. If it is the Americans who finally drive Saddam from power, the future of Iraq will depend largely on Washington. The decision of whether or not to preserve Iraq's unity will reside mainly with George Bush, and the maintenance of law and order will depend on America's willingness to keep large portions of the country under military control for an indefinitely long time. The establishment of a viable, Western-style government will be determined by the ability of the Americans to effectively communicate with the country's social and political forces. President Bush must be clearly aware that the decision to attack Iraq will also bring these responsibilities with it. http://www.post-gazette.com/nation/20021222iraqoil1222p5.asp * DEBATE OVER CONTROL OF IRAQ OIL by Warren Vieth Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, from Los Angeles Times, 22nd December WASHINGTON -- Sentiment is growing in the Bush administration and global energy circles to place Iraqi professionals in charge of their country's oil production after any war, despite a push by some officials for the United States to seize control of the lucrative oil fields. With many critics convinced that oil is the ultimate objective of U.S. war planning, pressure is growing to give the United Nations an oversight role over the Iraqi oilmen. Many experts believe that it should be up to the Iraqis to decide how to rebuild their battered industry -- and which foreign oil companies will get to take part. That view was emphatically endorsed by a panel of experts in a report issued recently by the Council on Foreign Relations and Rice University's Baker Institute, and it is believed to represent the thinking of many U.S. officials. "A lot of us have confidence in people who were professionals in the Iraqi oil industry and left the country, and in people who are still there," said Baker Institute energy analyst Amy Myers Jaffe, who contributed to the report. But that conclusion is not unanimous. According to sources familiar with the discussions, some Bush administration officials have proposed that the United States assume control of Iraq's war-ravaged petroleum industry to make sure the oil continues to flow and the money it brings in -- some $30 million a day -- isn't misspent. The deliberations over oil reflect a fundamental fault line within the Bush administration, officials say. One one side is a hawkish group of civilians at the Pentagon led by Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz, sources say. That group has suggested that the United States assert control of Iraqi oil fields during any transition to democracy. Besides providing physical protection and financial oversight, U.S. supervision would give the United States a bigger role in determining global oil production and prices, reducing the clout of Saudi Arabia and other OPEC nations. The other group, associated with Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and the Pentagon's military leadership, has countered that the United Nations should oversee Iraqi oil production until a new government is firmly in place. Putting Washington in charge would alienate the Iraqi people, this group contends, and could trigger a political backlash throughout the Arab world and in other foreign capitals. Although Iraq sits atop an underground ocean of crude -- its reserves are second only to Saudi Arabia's -- experts say there won't be nearly enough oil revenue to cover even the expenses of reviving the industry, at least not initially. If Iraq manages to emerge from war with no additional damage to its oil infrastructure, an uncertain proposition at best, its annual oil revenues probably wouldn't exceed $12 billion a year, according to the CFR-Baker report. http://observer.co.uk/iraq/story/0,12239,864387,00.html * OILMEN DON'T WANT ANOTHER SUEZ by Anthony Sampson The Observer, 22nd December While Washington hawks depict a war against Iraq as achieving security of oil supplies, Western oil companies are worried about the short-term danger and the supposed long-term benefits of intervention. Left-wing critics in Britain depict the proposed invasion as an oil war. Former Cabinet Minister Mo Mowlam has called it a 'war to secure oil supplies' as a cover for a war on terrorism. And the fact that President George Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney have both been enriched by oil companies raises suspicions about their motives for war. But oil companies have had little influence on US policy-making. Most big American companies, including oil companies, do not see a war as good for business, as falling share prices indicate; while the obvious beneficiaries of war are arms companies. Western oil companies have differing attitudes. The French want to maintain their special relationship with Iraq, while seeking links with Iraqi opposition leaders who may form a post-war government. The Russians are performing a more difficult balancing act. Worried that their previous friendship with Saddam might exclude them from a post-war share-out, they have sought assurances from Washington in return for their diplomatic support for a war. But Saddam has counter-attacked by cancelling the Russian contract for developing new oilfields. The British believe they are specially entitled to share in the development of Iraqi oil supplies. BP (then known as Anglo-Persian) was involved in the discovery of oil after the British and the French invented Iraq as a separate state, carved out of the Ottoman Empire in 1920. But BP is worried about being displaced by US companies. As Lord Browne, its chief executive, said in October: 'We would like to make sure, if Iraq changes its regime, that there should be a level playing-field for the selection of oil companies to go in there.' The Americans, if they won the war, would be in the strongest position to insist on access to Iraqi oil and exploration. But they cannot ignore the interests of the Iraqi opposition. The State Department has convened a working group on oil and natural gas in Washington this week. It will include representatives of Iraqi groups and the US Energy Department, which will present proposals to a transitional government. A State Department spokesman said: 'There is a misconception that the US is trying to orchestrate the post-Saddam oil market in Iraq. That's not at all what we are doing.' But European companies fear the Americans are trying to do just that, while using the promise of future oil supplies as leverage to ensure support for the war. James Woolsey, former CIA director, has explained: 'The French and Russians should be told that if they are of assistance in moving Iraq towards decent government, we'll do our best to ensure the new government and American companies work closely with them.' Some companies are worried that the opportunities for developing Iraqi oil will lead to a free-for-all. 'I've had one opposition leader offering a commission in return for access to oil,' said one oil executive. 'I showed him the door, but there will be many more.' Many neo-conservatives in Washington are indicating they want the US intervention to go beyond Iraq; and to redraw the diplomatic map of the Middle East. They look to a realignment of US foreign policy, to intervene in both Iran and Saudi Arabia, ensuring both the security of American oil supplies, and the security of Israel. Above all, they see the development of Iraqi oil as lessening US dependence on Saudi Arabia, which they see as a dangerous source of future terrorists. The oil companies are much less confident that this escalation will protect supplies. Shell and Exxon-Mobil have made huge investments in natural gas in Saudi Arabia, which could be at risk in a confrontation with the Saudi government. All oil companies in the Middle East would face a more dangerous political climate, caught between the American-Israeli intervention and nationalists fearing reversion to a neo-colonial system. Oil companies dread having supplies interrupted by burning oilfields, saboteurs and chaotic conditions. And any attempt to redraw the frontiers could increase the dangers in both Iran and Iraq, as rivals seek to regain territory. Hawks in Washington believe military intervention could bring about the demise of Opec (the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries), thus cutting oil prices. But collapsing prices would be devastating, not only for regional producers, but for Russia, which depends on exporting oil for its economic survival. A low oil price would massively increase unemployment and poverty in producing countries. Saudi oilmen recall how George Bush Snr, when he was Vice-President, was so concerned about the declining oil price that he visited Saudi Arabia to persuade its government to restrict production. After a war, Bush Jnr might need to repeat the exercise to try to stabilise the market; but the Saudis might be less willing to help him out. Bush insisted last week that America must become less dependent on foreign oil producers 'who don't like America'; but last month the US Department of Energy forecast that, by 2035, 51 per cent of world production would come from Opec - compared with 38 per cent today. When Anthony Eden invaded Egypt in 1956, with France and Israel, he claimed to be defending British interests - without consulting the oil companies which opposed the invasion. The Suez war proved a great setback for BP and Shell, which faced angry nationalist reactions throughout the Middle East, while the Americans made the most of their advantage. Many oil executives now fear a war against Iraq could have more dangerous repercussions; if it goes wrong, they will be among the first to blame the governments that launched it. Anthony Sampson is the author of 'The Seven Sisters' about the oil industry. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-523686,00.html * WHY ANY WAR WITH IRAQ WILL BE OVER IN A FLASH by Michael Evans The Times, 24th December THE planned war against Iraq is intended to be one of the fastest operations yet conducted, possibly using secret new weapons to overcome Iraqi resistance and topple Saddam Hussein. The creation of satellite-guided missiles has extended Americaıs superiority over Iraq by such a large margin that the first night of air attacks could see hundreds of targets destroyed or damaged. But Americaıs new technological trump card is the microwave bomb, which is capable of knocking out Baghdadıs electricity supplies without damaging a single building. An early version of this concept was tested by the Americans in the 1999 air campaign over Yugoslavia when cluster bombs containing carbon fibre filaments were dropped on electricity supply lines in Belgrade and other cities, causing massive short-circuits. If it is deployed, the latest "directed energy weapon" would involve bathing areas of Baghdad in waves of high-frequency electromagnetic pulses, crippling computers and power supplies linking the Iraqi capital to the countryıs air defences. However, Rob Hewson, Editor of Janeıs Air-Launched Weapons, said: "The Americans are being deliberately vague about these directed energy weapons. "They have reached an advanced stage in development and have been tested. Basically, a microwave weapon would fry the electrics, but it would be indiscriminate, not just turning off electricity for Iraqıs radar stations, but also affecting power to hospitals and schools. "Will the Americans risk using such a weapon?" It will also be a laptop war. One of the key lessons learnt from Afghanistan, which will be put to good use in Iraq, was the ability of special forces, armed with backpack, satellite-connected laptops, to communicate by data link with every type of aircraft. The covert soldiers were able to use a marker pen on their laptop screens to pinpoint moving targets, guiding bombs to within a few feet of the enemy, if not a direct hit. Twelve years ago, it was the F117 Stealth fighter and Tomahawk cruise missile which dominated the battlefield. This time, if war becomes necessary, it will be the satellite-linked Joint Direct Attack Munition (Jdam), the B2 Stealth Bomber, and unmanned spy drones watching every move on the ground which will play the big roles in determining Saddamıs fate. The whole thrust of the new campaign against Saddam would be based on high-tech, high speed, and ultra high impact. The Jdam is just a tail-kit attached to a "dumb" bomb, converting it into one of the smartest weapon systems around. The kits, each costing "just" £16,500 extraordinarily cheap in a superpowerıs warfighting inventory link the 1,000lb or 2,000lb bomb to the satellite Global Positioning System (GPS) network, guaranteeing greater accuracy than ever before. In a space shuttle mission in 2000, sponsored by the Pentagonıs National Imagery and Mapping Agency, special radars collected topographic data for about 80 per cent of the globe, minutely plotting the undulations of the Earthıs surface. With this information, the Jdam bomb will be capable of landing within a few yards of its target. Another new weapon will be crucial in destroying targets on the move, such as Iraqi tanks and artillery. The Joint Standoff Weapon (Jsow) is known as a "launch-and-leave" system, fired from an aircraft at a range of about 40 miles and at high altitude. The missile receives in-flight target updates from a US Air Force-converted Boeing 707-300, known as an E8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint Stars) aircraft. The Jsow is currently fitted to B2s, B52s, F16s and the carrier-based FA18s. Four other post-1991 Gulf War weapon systems will also have a big impact on Iraq because they played a noticeably significant role in the campaign over Afghanistan. They are: The B2 Stealth bomber, to be based at Diego Garcia, the British-owned Indian Ocean island, and possibly at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire. It is estimated that on the first night of air attacks on Iraq, 16 B2s, armed with Jdams, would be able to hit more than 200 targets. This would have taken several weeks in the 1991 war. The Predator unmanned spy drone, armed with Hellfire missiles. This system is not invulnerable, but it transformed the battlefield in Afghanistan by providing accurate information of al-Qaeda and Taleban movements there. A Hellfire fired by a Predator using remote control killed leading al-Qaeda figures travelling in a vehicle in Yemen last month. Thermobaric bombs, which are fuel-rich explosives that suck air out of a confined space, creating a lethal combination of heat and pressure. They were used for the first time in Afghanistan against Osama bin Ladenıs suspected cave hideouts. The special warheads were integrated into laser-guided missiles launched by F15s. The explosives, which burn for longer than conventional explosives, would be particularly effective at incinerating chemical and biological agents. The US Marines are getting shoulder-mounted thermobaric weapons which, if ready in time for a war with Iraq, could have devastating potential in streetfighting in Baghdad. The FA18E/F Super Hornet, which is about 25 per cent larger than its predecessor. It also has a greater range and more armaments. The first operational Super Hornets were put on board the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln. With such an array of firepower, the US will inevitably dwarf anything Britain will be able to contribute. The Royal Navy has landattack Tomahawk cruise missiles, but relatively few. The RAF is also waiting for its first delivery of a new air-launched cruise missile called Storm Shadow. Itıs behind schedule and may not be ready in time. However, even if production is rushed through, Mr Hewson of Janeıs said that the RAF was hardly likely to fire too many of them; they each cost about £500,000. "Thatıs like launching a three-bedroom house in London at an Iraqi target," he said. _______________________________________________ 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