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[casi] News titles, 27/12/02-2/1/03

News titles, 27/12/02-2/1/03

A couple of articles in the 'Implications of War' section indicate that the
US intends to continue the Oil for Food scheme (ie sanctions) even after the
fall of President Hussein. Which suggests a question that has not yet been
raised in the public debate so far as I can see, but which has certainly
occurred to the Masters of the Universe: what is to happen to the
compensation scam? Will it continue? Has the 'Iraqi opposition' agreed to
continue it? Has the matter been raised with them? Has the Supreme Council
for the Islamic Revolution agreed to continue paying it? Or the Kurdish
parties (we rather imagine Ahmad Chalabi won't pose any problems)? Will Iraq
be expected to pay for 'Gulf War' Mark II? And if not, why not? After all,
isn't it all Iraq's fault for (maybe) having all those illegal weapons?

Otherwise, this collection includes a few interesting articles on the Cairo
'Conference Against US Aggression on Iraq' (under Remnants of Decency),
especially a deeply felt piece by Denis Halliday. And of course the week saw
the general public regaled with stories of support for Iraq in the 1980s
from the US in general and D.Rumsfeld in particular. I think the source of
all that was the Washington Post's 'U.S. Had Key Role in Iraq Buildup',
given here under Iraqi/US relations. And a very weak justification for the
war (and for not allowing himself to be distracted by North Korea) from
G.Bush. But since he'd just eaten a cheeseburger from his local diner he
might be forgiven if his brain had gone a little fuzzy.

I haven't been trying to follow the course of the inspectors. Every so often
it seems articles appear that give lists of all the places they've visited.
I shall try to collect those. Enthusiasts will find regular updates in the
very good Iraq dossiers put out weekly by Radio Free Europe (

NEWS, 27/12/02-2/1/03 (1)


*  Book market is telling of Baghdad's storied past
*  Talk of war rekindles Iraqi Jews' old feelings [Interviews with former
Iraqi Jews living in Israel. The article says that 'About 450,000 Iraqi Jews
live in Israel, which has a population of 6.5 million, making them the
fourth-largest immigrant group, behind Russians, Moroccans and Romanians'.
Which left me wondering what, other than those of Palestinian Jewish origin,
is meant by a non-immigrant group of Jews living in Israel?]
*  Unidentified aircraft flies over Baghdad (my title - PB)
*  Poet rich with praise for Saddam
*  UN sanctions almost KO Iraq's boxing team
*  Iraq urges Korea-style defiance ["Korea insists on its right to possess a
technology used by the US to raze Japanese cities (during the Second World
War) and which it still uses to blackmail the world and force it to obey its
orders. Through its courageous stance, North Korea demands that
international law be applied to all in the same manner." Which I think is
the best summary of the North Korean problem I've yet seen, anywhere.]


*  Russia slams US, UK bombings
*  Japan a hostile country, says Iraqi vice president
*  Germany Doesn't Rule Out Backing Iraq War
*  Most Pinoys [Filipinos] want RP to be neutral on Iraq war
*  ECB: War in Iraq Would Hurt Economy [European Central Bank president, Wim
*  Iraq attack [computer] virus threat
*  Pahad Warns of Fallout If US Invades Iraq [South African Deputy Foreign
Affairs Minister Aziz Pahad]


*  Kurds Say Would-Be Assassin Proves Al Qaeda Is in Northern Iraq [We learn
that the US is considering taking out Ansar el-Islam to get them out of the
way for the big push against Iraq]

AND, IN NEWS, 27/12/02-2/1/03 (2)


*  'Yemen' Scuds Baghdad-bound [Guess where this story comes from. You got
it. Right first time!]
*  Assad arrives in Algeria for talks on Iraq crisis
*  Deal would let U.S. fund Turkey during Iraq war
*  Arab League Chief: US and British accusations against Iraq are unfounded
['It is unconceivable that an Arab state accepts an attack against Baghdad
as long as the U.N. inspectors are carrying on their job in Iraq, he added
stressing that the few states where the USA have military bases will not
allow that these bases be used in a war against Iraq.']
*  Turkey will announce its position on military action against Iraq only
after a UN resolution to this effect
*  Pakistan, Qatar Stress No Military Action In Iraq ['"Our position is
(that) we are hoping and working hard to avoid any military action (in
Iraq), this is our position," the Qatari Minister Sheikh Hamad said to a
question ... " We are urging that it could be resolved through the UN
Security Council".']
*  Jordan warns US on Iraq ["Jordan will not participate in any war on Iraq
and its territory will not be used as a launchpad for military action."]
*  Saudi Arabia Said to Pledge Use of its Bases Against Iraq [As usual the
article only quotes unnamed 'US officials'; and as usual doesn't specify if
this aid would or would not be dependent on a new UNSC resolution]
*  Arab Leaders May Push for Saddam Exile [On the other hand, they might
*  U.S. looks to Oman for jet fuel in Iraq war [Everyone has to do their
bit. But note the phrase ' if Washington decides to attack Iraq'. Not 'if
the UN Security Council decides to authorise Washington to attack Iraq.']
*  Gulf Cooperation Council opposes any military action against Iraq (my
title - PB) [This wasn't mentioned in earlier reports that gave the GCC's
support for Kuwaiti complaints against Iraq]
*  Riyadh denies any obligations to the American forces in fighting Iraq
*  Kuwaitis seethe with anger as U.S. war drum beats ["We don't like Saddam.
But we hate the Americans"]
*  Soccer diplomacy not working for Iraqis, Kuwaitis [Iraqis not invited to
the 8th Arab Cup, held in Kuwait]
*  Turkey Seeking Diplomacy With Iraq

*  What will 2003 bring after demise of 'political Arabism?'
Daily Star, Lebanon, 30th December
[Argument that the Arabs are finished as a coherent political force. Long
article which I thought was disappointing given the importance of the


*  U.S. denies hitting Iraqi mosque
*  Western warplanes attack two Iraqi radar sites [Sunday 29th December,
near Ad Diwaniyah, about 75 miles south of Baghdad]
*  Iraqi defences bombed [Monday 30th December, near al-Kut]
*  U.S. Predator strikes again in Iraq [Monday 30th December. With a
description of all the exciting new hardware that was used]
*  Warplanes kill civilians in attack [Wednesday, 1st January, near al
Qurnah, 210km southeast of Baghdad]

AND, IN NEWS, 27/12/02-2/1/03 (3)


*  Report from Cairo [A Brazilian perspective on Iraq in the context of the
Cairo Congress against American Aggression. Norman Madarasz reminds us of
the scandal of Brazilian ambassador Joe Bustani's dismissal as director
general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons]
*  Notes on the Cairo Conference Against US Aggression on Iraq [with
particular reference to the inhibitions experienced by Arab/Muslim leaders,
especially, in this context, in Egypt, when it comes to criticising the US]
*  'Human shields' head for Iraq [Peace convoy on its way to Iraq. But why
is it going to Sarajevo and not to Belgrade? One might have expected to find
some sympathy in Belgrade ...]
*  Back to Iraq as a human shield [Powerful article by Ken Nichols O'Keefe,
former Marine and participant in the Gulf War. The previous article tells us
that 'He was an infantryman on the road to Basra, where heavy Allied bombing
killed hundreds [sic - PB] of retreating Iraqi soldiers ... 'Part of the
reason I want to go back is to apologise to the Iraqi people for what I was
doing there the first time I was in their country']
*  Iraqis Focus of Nuns' Efforts [Sister Margaret Galiardi of the Amityville
Dominican Sisters]
*  A bizarre display in Egypt [Scathing account of the International
Campaign against Aggression on Iraq conference in Cairo from a Lebanese
journalist who favours the overthrow of Arab tyrants but would have been
happier if it wasn't being done by the United States]
*  Bush's War is Obscene and Unjustifiable [Denis Halliday, a man who has
devoted his entire life to the UN, sees things clearly. He says of the UN
Security Council 'The ambassadors around that table and their heads of state
should all be indicted for crimes against humanity.' He argues that the UN's
policy on Iraq is incompatible with e.g. Article 2 of the UN Charter which
'indicates that the Organisation is based on the principle of the sovereign
equality of all its members'. The problem is that the UN Security Council
system  with its five permanent, veto-wielding members, is itself
incompatible with this principle. So the UN Charter is incompatible with

AND, IN NEWS, 27/12/02-2/1/03 (4)


*  UN Adjusts Goods Review List for Iraq under 'Oil-for-food' Program
[Rather inadequate account of what seems to have been a complete cave-in of
the UN Security Council. Which may not augur well for the crunch vote
expected at the end of January/beginning of February.]
*  Annan says no justification for Iraq war
*  UN Security Council Takes on Five New Members [Germany, Spain, Pakistan,
Chile and Angola]


*  UN Experts Talk to Iraq Scientist on Aluminum Tubes
*  Iraq's germ weaponry upgraded [This article, from the Associated Press,
which should know better, provides no evidence that this has happened. Only
some reasons for thinking it is possible that it could have happened.]
*  Bush is pressed not to use land mines in any invasion of Iraq [Mainly a
letter to President Bush from Kenneth Bacon, president of Refugees
*  UN experts accused of 'fabrication'  [Metallurgist Kathim Mijbil says he
knows nothing about military programmes and all he's done has been to clean
a few old aluminium tubes which date back to 1989]
*  Iraq opposition says it is ignored [Supreme Council for the Islamic
Revolution claims it has definite proof of weapons of mass destruction but
no-one is interested.]
*  Iraq reveals names of weapons scientists
*  Short-circuit causes fire in UN inspection HQ in Iraq
*  Tips to Kurds about Iraqi weapons seem too good to be true [Lots of
stories but much of it could be disinformation planted by the Iraqi secret
*  Repeat inspections get sour reception [Despite the title the article is
mainly about how excessively obliging the Iraqis have been and how unlikely
it is that anything will be found]
*  Ex-Iraqi tells of fooling inspectors [This story, if accurate, suggests
that UNSCOM, on the basis of information from Hussein Kamel Hassan Majeed,
found material that was being developed for a current chemical or biological
weapons programme.]

AND, IN NEWS, 27/12/02-2/1/03 (5)


*  Judge Releases Man Accused of Aiding Iraq [In Phoenix, Arizona. Case of
Iraqis illegally sending money to keep their relatives from UN-induced
*  U.S. Orders Thousands of Troops to Gulf
*  U.S. Had Key Role in Iraq Buildup [Apparently detailed account of
Iraqi/US relations in the 1980s, which has been making waves in the popular
press. But its OK: '"It was a horrible mistake then, but we have got it
right now," says Kenneth M. Pollack']
*  US cancels Charles visit over Iraq views [Curious that this is the only
reference I've seen to what looks like rather a good story]
*  Powell rules out attack on North Korea [The article refers to 'a deal in
which North Korea agreed to freeze work at nuclear plants in return for
oil.' It continues: 'But the oil was cut off in October, after a US official
visiting North Korea was stunned to be told of a covert programme to enrich
uranium.' It doesn't mention that the deal was also supposed to give North
Korea two light water reactors and to move towards the lifting of US
sanctions that had been imposed since the Korean War. Neither of these two
conditions were met. Instead, the US government classified North Korea as
part of the axis of evil and threatened it with pre-emptive strikes ...]
*  Book review: The Last Jihad [Amusing review of apparently appalling novel
which gives some insight into the internal world of 'a communications
strategist who has worked for Steve Forbes, Rush Limbaugh and Benjamin
*  US grand strategy and Iraq [Indian writer Pramit Pal Chaudhuri argues
that the US have a grand strategy of turning Iraq into a model democratic
state that will be a pole of attraction for the whole Arab/Muslim world,
including, of course, Pakistan (the strategy presupposes a long period of
stable, purposeful government in Washington). Extracts.]
*  Put Iraq war on 'back burner' [sez Former US secretary of state Warren
*  Bush: Iraq Attack Would 'Cripple' Economy [President Bush reflecting on
the state of the world 'outside "Coffee Station," a diner near Bush's ranch
where the president and his wife, Laura, stopped for a New Year's Eve
*  Tax Cuts at Stake in Iraq War Cost Debate
*  Iraq war would prompt Rep. Rangel to push for military draft ['"I believe
that if those calling for war knew their children were more likely to be
required to serve - and to be placed in harm's way - there would be more
caution and a greater willingness to work with the international community
in dealing with Iraq," Rangel wrote.']

*  Dawn of Imperial America
Toronto Star, 1st January
[General reflections on US global dominance. Quotes George Kennan, head of
U.S. State Department Planning, Feb 24, 1948, saying "We have about 60 per
cent of the world's wealth but only 6.3 per cent of its population. Our real
task in the coming period (will be) to maintain this position of disparity"
and also former New York Times foreign correspondent Chris Hedges describing
'war's attractions as "fill(ing) our spiritual void" and of giving societies
a sense of collective purpose, because, once at war, "We view ourselves, our
people, as the embodiment of absolute goodness," and therefore the opponents
as evil.']
*  William Raspberry: Peacemakers or a big, global bully?
by WILLIAM RASPBERRY, possibly from Washington Post, 1st January
[A set of good questions but I imagine we could all have thought of them

AND, IN NEWS, 27/12/02-2/1/03 (6)


*  The folly of US nation-building in Iraq [Unconvincing argument against a
US Japan-style imperialist occupation of Iraq. Unconvincing because the
arguments against it (the political problems posed by Iraq's divided
population) apply equally well to all the other options other than replacing
Saddam with a lookalike (always the favoured option of the old US political
establishment - Bush Sr's entourage, Clinton/Albright, and Powell). The
article ends up suggesting that the role ascribed to the US should be
assumed intead by the UN. Which is charming. The UN gets the responsibility
for the mess the US has created and the blame when it all goes predictably
wrong (though if the UN Security Council agree to a US invasion then perhaps
they should be required to assume responsibility for the consequences).]
*  Iraq's displaced: a test for democracy [Problem facing a post-Saddam
government of undoing the Ba'ath government policy of internal displacement
of populations.]
*  Bush steps up post-war Iraq planning ["The desire is to continue the
oil-for-food programme and to direct the revenues to feeding the Iraqi
people and paying for reconstruction." Does that mean sanctions continue
after the fall of President Hussein? And does it mean this official actually
believes US rhetoric that oil revenues under Oil for Food haven't been
directed 'to feeding the Iraqi people and paying for reconstruction'?]
*  UNHCR warns of humanitarian crisis in Iraq
*  '1m refugees' will flee Iraq war [The article refers to Clare Short's
opposition to war and also to the possibility of epidemics.]
*  Threat of war crime ruling on British forces [Through the International
Criminal Court. Not necessarily for our own war crimes but for our support
for US war crimes.]
*  Morals take a back seat in churches as conflict with Iraq nears [Magnus
Linklater writes under the illusion that there is some connection between
the just war theory worked out by the thirteenth century philosopher Thomas
Aquinas and what he calls 'Christian morality'. A glance at the Sermon on
the Mount would assure him, however, that there is no place in 'Christian
morality' (always assuming that that has something to do with the
commandments of Jesus) for any notion that any war of any sort could ever be
considered 'just' ('necessary', 'unavoidable' or 'expedient' is another
matter. But these are not concepts that are recognised in the teaching of
Jesus). If, however, we accept Mr Linklater's premise, or rather, if we
accept that Thomas's theory has some validity in philosophy, politics and
law (which also have no or very little place in the teachings of Jesus) then
his argument still appears weak. He says it is just to attack Iraq because
it has weapons of mass destruction and intends to use them against other
countries. The first of these propositions cannot be asserted until the UN
weapons inspectors have completed their work; the second has no basis
whatsoever. No-one has presented the slightest shred of evidence that Iraq
plans to attack other countries (except perhaps Israel? But Israel is
generally assumed to have the means - the necessary quantity of illegal
weapons of mass destruction - to defend itself). There is however a country
in the world that is liberally provided with weapons of mass destruction and
has not only announced its intention to use them against other countries but
has been doing so in a fairly uninhibited way over the past fifty years. Mr
Linklater's theory of just war would certainly justify attempts at a
pre-emptive strike against that country if anyone (Osama bin Laden for
example) had the means to do it. Is it for nothing that Thomas Aquinas is
said to have been heavily influenced by the philosophy, politics and legal
theories of Islam?]
*  Pentagon's enigma: how to preserve Iraq's archeological treasures
[Archaeologists employed to plot sites for the Pentagon who, we are told,
movingly, 'have long endeavoured to limit civilian casualties in military
*  U.S. Would Protect Iraqi Oil Fields [Includes the intention to continue
the current phase of the Oil for Food scheme (until June) even in the event
of a successful invasion]
*  Foul-mouthed maverick changed the art of war [Account of Colonel John
Boyd, said to be the father of US methods of warfare such as we know them
*  Kirkuk - a focal point if US enters Iraq
*  Iraq war may mean high death toll of troops, civilians ['especially if
Saddam Hussein decides to use his weapons of mass destruction', assuming of
course that he has weapons of mass destruction to use (interesting to see
what is said if the war takes place and it turns out that he hasn't). The
article gives a precise figure for the number of US dead in the first (sic)
Gulf War - 148, and a rough account of US casualties and difficulties in
other engagements. It says 'It was not until Kosovar partisans began
engaging Slobodan Milosevic's forces on the ground, and the U.S. threatened
to do the same (! - PB), that the Serb military began to run from its hiding
places (!).' But this is in my view a myth, put about by those who had
argued, forgetting about Japan, that wars could not be won by air power
alone. In Kosovo itself the Yugoslav army was winning. What was decisive was
the bombing of the civilian infrastructure in Serbia itself.]

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