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[casi] News, 27/12/02-2/1/03 (6)

News, 27/12/02-2/1/03 (6)


*  The folly of US nation-building in Iraq
*  Iraq's displaced: a test for democracy
*  Bush steps up post-war Iraq planning
*  UNHCR warns of humanitarian crisis in Iraq
*  '1m refugees' will flee Iraq war
*  Threat of war crime ruling on British forces
*  Morals take a back seat in churches as conflict with Iraq nears
*  Pentagon's enigma: how to preserve Iraq's archeological treasures
*  U.S. Would Protect Iraqi Oil Fields
*  Foul-mouthed maverick changed the art of war
*  Kirkuk - a focal point if US enters Iraq
*  Iraq war may mean high death toll of troops, civilians


by H.D.S. Greenway
Boston Globe, 27th December

ONCE UPON A TIME the wind and the sun saw a traveler down below on a road,
and they wagered on who could make the man more quickly remove his cloak.
The wind blew and blew, but the traveler just drew his cloak tighter to him.
Then the sun took its turn and beamed down upon the traveler ever more
intensely, and pretty soon the traveler removed his cloak of his own free

There are suns and winds within the Bush administration right now arguing
about what should be done with Iraq if war comes and victory achieved. And
of all the post-Saddam scenarios being bandied about, the silliest and most
dangerous is the concept that the United States take on the complete
transformation of Iraqi society by a long-term American military occupation
to foster democracy, much in the manner as we changed Japan after World War
II under the visionary rule of General Douglas MacArthur.

Iraq is the product of Ottoman and British map makers and lacks the
homogeneity of most Arab countries with its competing ethnic and religious
groupings. Kurds in the north long for independence, and the Shia Muslims in
the South resent the control of the ruling Sunnis, to name only the most
obvious schisms. Iraq's neighbors, especially Iran and Turkey, also have
dogs in the Iraqi fight and their interests must be taken into account. As
for the Iraqi exiles, they have shown themselves to be as divided as
everyone feared. Democracy, as Americans know it, will not easily come soon
to such a divided land.

The new imperial vision is all very admirable and well meaning, but the
American occupation of Japan was centered on retaining its emperor, whose
cult of personality rivaled that of Saddam. Retaining the supreme leader
with god-like pretensions wouldn't work in Iraq. The homogeneity of the
Japanese people was unique, with no parallel in the Middle East, nor were
there Japanese-speaking, oil-rich neighbors in the region to bitterly
resent, oppose, and sabotage MacArthur's triumphs. In short: Iraqis will
never be Japanese in peace, and we better hope they won't be as tenacious as
the Japanese were in war.

But this grand imperial vision does not end with Iraq. Iraq would just be
the base from which to spread democracy into the rest of the Arab world with
its unelected kings, sultans, and emirs, as well as its dictatorships
masquerading as republics. This view promises a new Wilsonian ideal.

When members of the British delegation accompanying Prime Minister Blair to
the United States cautioned that all this talk of imposing democracy on the
region was worrying our Arab allies, Vice President Cheney snapped back:
''Are you saying we shouldn't promote democracy?'' And President Bush has
put the view forward that ''if the values are good enough for our people,
they ought to be good enough for others.''

There's nothing wrong with the desire for democracy in the Middle East, and
there is no doubt that the fall of Saddam Hussein would have a beneficial
effect on America's relations with Middle Eastern countries in the short
run. But the long run is another matter. Democracy is best promoted by
persuasion and not imposed, especially by American forces. The failure
resulting in such an imperial overreach would be a major catastrophe. A long
term American occupation would be seen as an imperial grab to the
secularists in the Muslim world, and a crusader assault against Islam to the
fundamentalists. Relations with the Arab world and Iran, which we are going
to need to fight Al Qaeda, would crumble, and the good that will come from
deposing Saddam Hussein would be thrown away.

Recently, New York's Council on Foreign Relations, together with Rice
University's James A. Baker Institute for Public Policy, released an
''intellectual road map'' on Iraq's future that the administration would do
well to read. Among the suggestions: After Saddam Hussein's defeat, the
United States should move as quickly as possible from a US-led ''emergency
transitional government with Iraqi advisers'' to an ''international and UN
supervised Iraqi government,'' which would lead to a final ''sovereign Iraqi
government'' later still. In other words, forget about being MacArthur and
remolding Iraq in our image, and get out of the occupation business just as
soon as possible. We are going to be perceived as oil hungry imperialists
anyway, so make the transition as short as possible, and let the Iraqis
''maintain control of their own oil sector.''

Democracy can be a long-term goal to which America can provide example and
encouragement, but not by long-term occupation and diktat. Twenty years ago
I was able to witness first hand how Israeli tanks were at first welcomed
into southern Lebanon with flowers by a population glad to be free of
tyranny from the PLO. But I also saw the terrible tragedy that followed when
Ariel Sharon's ambitions for transforming Lebanon overreached, and when the
flowers were replaced by Kalashnikovs and rockets after Israelis stayed too

So let the sun bring democracy to the Middle East in its own good time.
Betting on the wind is a good way to lose not only your money but the Middle
East as well.

H.D.S. Greenway's column appears regularly in the Globe.

by Roberta Cohen and John Fawcett
International Herald Tribune, 28th December

WASHINGTON: At Washington's initiative, delegates from Iraqi opposition
groups worked out a plan in London in December for governing Iraq should
Saddam Hussein's regime collapse. Their declared aims are democratic, but
one sure way to find out is to ask how they will deal with more than a
million people who have already been forcibly displaced inside the country.

For 30 years Iraq has used expulsion as an instrument of state policy to
take over oil-rich and fertile land, punish and subdue recalcitrant
populations, and stamp out political opposition. The main victims were the
Kurds and members of the Shiite majority, including the Marsh Arabs, but the
regime also targeted the smaller Turkmen and Assyrian minorities.

Beginning in the late 1970s, Saddam's government forcibly displaced hundreds
of thousands of Kurds, Iraq's largest minority, destroyed 4,000 of their
villages, and sprayed more than 200 of these with chemical weapons. Most of
the nearly 800,000 Kurds displaced in the north cannot return to their homes
because of the widespread destruction of their villages, the planting of
landmines and continued occupation of their lands by Iraqi security forces.

A responsible new government will have to work with the Kurdish authorities
to remove mines and rebuild the countryside and enable Kurds to reclaim
their lands. It will have to reverse Saddam's discriminatory "Arabization"
policy, which has ousted more than 100,000 Kurds, Turkmen and Assyrians from
the oil-rich and fertile region of Kirkuk and replaced them with Arabs.
Kurdish leaders have vowed to reestablish their control there, while Turkmen
look to Turkey to reinstate their interests. Arabs now established there
will seek to retain their monopoly.

To manage such explosive claims, a representative ethnic and religious body
will have to be set up to help the displaced regain their land and property.
The returns will have to be coordinated to prevent a rush on the area, with
legal procedures set up to adjudicate property disputes and oil revenues set
aside to compensate those who were expelled or arbitrarily dismissed from
the oil industry.

Similarly, the return of thousands of Shiite Arabs, expelled from their
homes in Baghdad, Basra and other areas on political grounds, will have to
be addressed. And efforts will have to be made to repair at least part of
the damage done to Iraq's Marsh Arabs. Baghdad brutally destroyed their
habitat along the lower Tigris and Euphrates rivers, forcibly uprooting at
least 200,000 people. It coupled massive engineering projects to drain water
from the oil-rich marshes with the shelling and burning of villages, the
poisoning of fishing grounds, and the assassination and abduction of local

Although it would be difficult to recreate the marshes, consultations should
be held with the former inhabitants and a feasibility study done to see
whether at least some of the marshes could be reflooded. For those who
cannot return, compensation should be paid from oil revenues.

Even before a change of regime, Iraq's opposition should be pressing the
United Nations to devote more aid to the displaced. The UN Oil for Food
Program, the largest humanitarian assistance program in the world, generates
$6 billion a year for civilian goods. Isn't it time for the United Nations
used its leverage to extract a price for the benefits the Iraqi government
receives? When the United Nations kowtows to Baghdad's threats and
intimidation, it is the displaced who suffer. UN officials should protest
all new displacement, insist upon unrestricted access to those uprooted,
publish data on their conditions and assure them better shelter and health

Iraq's internally displaced constitute too large a group to be ignored.
Their problems touch upon the central issues of water, land, oil, minority
and majority rights, ethnicity and religion, citizenship and national
allegiance, and systems of justice. If their plight is not addressed fairly,
there will be little prospect for a stable and democratic Iraq. Too little
has been said about them by Iraq's democratic opposition.

Roberta Cohen is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. John Fawcett,
an international consultant on humanitarian issues, visited northern Iraq in
October. They contributed this comment to the International Herald Tribune.

Times of India, 28th December

CRAWFORD, Texas (Reuters): Preparing for an Iraq without President Saddam
Hussein, the Bush administration is drawing up plans to secure key cities,
reopen schools and hospitals and use Iraqi oil revenues for reconstruction
after a possible US-led invasion, officials said on Friday.

Policy coordinating committees and internal working-groups are spearheading
the effort, which has become an urgent priority as President George W Bush
nears a decision on whether to take military action to topple Saddam and
eliminate his alleged weapons of mass destruction.

Administration officials plan to keep the United Nations oil-for-food
programme running, at least temporarily, to ensure that post-invasion oil
dollars are spent on the country's basic needs, US officials say.

The Bush administration is debating whether to ramp up Iraqi oil production.
The extra money could be used to expedite reconstruction efforts, an
official said, adding: "We aren't going to do it to benefit the US."

The administration is carefully weighing how oil policy in a post-Saddam
Iraq might affect oil prices, officials said. The stakes could be enormous
for the ailing US economy.

The current phase of the UN oil-for-food programme will expire in June 2003
and officials say keeping it running during and after a war makes sense
because the food warehouses and distribution systems that are needed are
already in place.

Another inter-agency committee is reviewing plans to distribute humanitarian
aid inside Iraq and to rebuild the country's infrastructure, including
roads, as well as water and power plants. As many as 4.5 million to 9.5
million of Iraq's 22 million people could quickly need outside food to
survive once a campaign began, according to UN sources.

The committee is also drawing up plans to reopen the country's hospitals and
schools with emergency shipments of medicine, textbooks and other supplies.

"It's an attempt to craft a coherent and unified policy for the
reconstruction of Iraq in the event of the removal of Saddam Hussein's
regime," an administration official said.

After an invasion, a multinational force would secure key cities and
facilities "for as long as it takes," an official said. The composition of
the force has yet to be determined. "It's going to be a major challenge,"
the official conceded.

The Bush administration is under pressure to come up with post-invasion
plans as quickly as possible.

In addition to causing food shortages, war could drive some 900,000 Iraqis
into neighbouring countries, with about 100,000 of those requiring immediate
assistance as soon as they arrived, according to the UN estimates.

"There is an increased concern and awareness of the potential human
consequences," said Rob Breen, a liaison officer with the United Nations
High Commissioner for Refugees. He said discussions were under way with the
State Department and other US government agencies.

Some US officials have advocated seizing control of key Iraqi oil production
facilities for security purposes and to avert major oil market disruptions,
but that proposal has come under fire from others in the administration and
outside experts who fear a backlash from Arab allies in the region.

"The desire is to continue the oil-for-food programme and to direct the
revenues to feeding the Iraqi people and paying for reconstruction," an
official said. "The question is what we can legally do to boost output," the
official added.

Boosting Iraq's output would provide extra funding for reconstruction and
could benefit the United States and other Western oil-consuming countries by
reducing oil prices. But US officials insist that any benefits from
increased production would flow into Iraq, not the United States.

Iraq sits on top of the world's second largest oil reserves, but war and a
decade of sanctions has withered its oil infrastructure and official

A recent report by the James Baker Institute at Rice University and the
Council on Foreign Relations estimated it would take $5 billion to bring the
Iraqi oil industry back to pre-1990s production levels, in addition to $3
billion in annual operating costs.

"The Iraqi oil belongs to the Iraqi people and the United States is going to
respect that, come what may," a US official said.

The current phase of the oil-for-food programme, approved earlier this
month, runs until June 3. The Security Council will need to do nothing, in
legal terms, to keep it running until then, a UN official said. It would
take a Security Council vote to cancel the programme before June 3 even if
there is a war and a regime change in Iraq, the official said.

Last week the US State Department hosted a meeting of Iraqi opposition
members who discussed the future of Iraq's oil and energy sector in a
post-Saddam era. Analysts have said international oil companies like Exxon
Mobil, BP, and Shell would want to take part in a rehabilitation of the
country's oil industry.

Daily Star, Lebanon, 28th December

LONDON: War with Iraq would prompt a humanitarian disaster, the United
Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said Friday.

Speaking to BBC radio, Ruud Lubbers said the international community should
make prevention of such a conflict a top priority and should encourage Arab
countries to take part in the inspection of suspected weapons sites in Iraq.

"Believe me, it will be a disaster from a humanitarian perspective," Lubbers
said when asked about the prospect of a US-led attack on Iraq. "There's even
a risk if there are bacteriological and chemical weapons (in Iraq) that
people there will die because of the attack."

Washington has threatened to go to war if Baghdad cannot prove it has
scrapped all its banned weapons programs, as required by UN resolutions.

UN arms inspectors are due to issue a final report on their findings in Iraq
on Jan. 27. With Baghdad insisting it no longer has the capacity to develop
weapons of mass destruction, speculation is growing the report could trigger

"I think such a war has to be prevented in the first place," Lubbers told
the BBC.

"We should indeed be very strict and strong on (Iraqi President) Saddam
Hussein, but the ambition is to disarm him with his potential of chemical
and bacteriological weapons.

"I would be in favor of the Arab world participating in the inspections and
the conclusions," he added. "Only, only, when Saddam Hussein does not comply
with both the inspections  then there can be reason for a military

The UN refugee agency has said it is gearing up for a possible conflict by
pre-positioning additional stocks of relief supplies in the Middle East,
amid fears of a mass exodus from Iraq.

UNHCR said relief agencies had asked an unspecified number of donor
countries for $37.4 million in emergency funding during a meeting in Geneva
on the Dec. 13.

"Pre-positioning is part of contingency planning, so there is some of that
going on," said Ron Redmond, chief spokesman for the Geneva-based UNHCR.

Citing "confidential UN planning papers" in New York, a British newspaper,
The Times, reported earlier that the UN was preparing to help about 900,000
refugees in case of a conflict, which was likely to shatter Iraq's

Redmond and other relief officials declined to reveal how many refugees they
expected to cope with if there is a US-led military action against Iraq.

"The UN in general is also considering the risk that large numbers of people
might be displaced, whether inside Iraq, or else crossing international
frontiers," Redmond told AFP, adding that the UNHCR wanted the borders of
neighboring countries to remain open.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which said two weeks
ago that it had started boosting stocks in countries neighboring Iraq, gave
no overall estimate of possible refugee numbers.

"We are not advancing a figure. That would be ridiculous," Nada Doumani, a
spokeswoman for the ICRC said.

"To speak of 100,000, 200,000 or 300,000 displaced would imply that we have
a scenario in mind, yet we do not know how a war would happen," she added.;

by Jo Dillon
The Independent, 29th December

Aid agencies have warned that one million refugees could flee Iraq if
Britain and America do not pull back from war.

Their warnings of a "humanitarian disaster" were echoed yesterday by the
International Development Secretary, Clare Short, who again broke ranks with
the Government, insisting war against Saddam Hussein cannot be justified if
it causes "devastating suffering" to his people.

Calling on the UK to exert its influence on George Bush to follow the course
set by the United Nations, she said: "An all-out war that caused devastating
suffering to the people of Iraq would be wrong."

Ms Short's intervention came as humanitarian charities working in and around
Iraq predicted that as well as vast numbers being forced across the borders
into Jordan, Syria, Turkey and Iran, Iraqis could contract life-threatening
diseases, including typhoid and cholera, on an "epidemic scale". And already
malnourished people could be deprived of food if charities cannot get in to
ensure the distribution of vital supplies.

Although the UK Government is currently drawing up contingency plans and
setting aside cash to fund a humanitarian operation, the aid agencies fear
their efforts will come too late for many.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Ruud Lubbers, said last
week: "A war in Iraq will be a disaster from the humanitarian perspective."
And representatives of major relief organisations working in Iraq  Oxfam,
Christian Aid, British Overseas Aid Group, ActionAid and the Catholic Agency
for Overseas Development  have warned against war. Paul Sherlock, Oxfam's
leading sanitation expert who has worked in the region for more than 20
years, said the numbers of Iraqis with mains water had dropped since the
1991 Gulf War from 75 per cent to 45 per cent in rural areas. Barely a third
of the waterwas treated following a decline in state funding of sewage
treatment, and the quality, he said, was already "very, very bad".

Any war, which would target the power stations needed to run the water
system, posed the possibility of "all sorts of epidemics" and a "very high
risk of water-related diseases".

These epidemics would come as the population of Iraq was struggling to get
sufficient food: 16 million people  more than two-thirds of the population
 depend on the already fragile food-rationing system run by the
international community. According to a senior source at Christian Aid, if a
bombing campaign was begun in February, the Iraqi people would have just two
weeks of food left.

Britain and the US continue to insist that war with Iraq is not inevitable,
and it is difficult to predict the length and scale of any conflict. The aid
agencies believe that many people would stay put for as long as they could,
especially in the capital. However, preparations are being made for upwards
of one million refugees to flee the country in the event of a sustained

The cost of the humanitarian operation in the event of action is estimated
at hundreds of millions of dollars. Aid agencies are already working with
neighbouring states to set up refugee camps and get medical and sanitation
equipment and food and water in place to avert the worst of the possible

by Chris Stephen in the Hague
The Scotsman, 29th December

LAWYERS have told the Ministry of Defence that British troops could be
indicted for war crimes if we go to war with Iraq.

Even units used in a supporting role with United States troops could face
indictments from the new International Criminal Court, now setting up shop
in The Hague.

The US is not a member of the ICC, and is not covered by its law, but
Britain, a founding member, will be in the spotlight should war erupt with

British troops are thought unlikely to commit atrocities themselves, with
only elite units and strike aircraft expected to be in action in Iraq.

But lawyers have told the MoD that indictments could follow if our troops
and airmen, or their commanders, are ruled to have assisted American forces
in committing war crimes.

This could include something as simple as providing reconnaissance pictures
that led to a US airstrike against civilians.

The ICC has no connection to the better-known United Nations war crimes
court in The Hague, which is now trying Slobodan Milosevic, but it follows
similar rules.

London could also fall foul of ICC law elsewhere - troops in Afghanistan and
Bosnia are also liable to its law, as are units in Northern Ireland, where
any resumption of fighting would leave Britain vulnerable to indictments in
the event that use is made of torture or internment without trial.

"With the coming of this court, British forces are going to go into battle
under unprecedented scrutiny," says Karin von Hipple, a senior research
fellow at the Centre for War Studies at London's King's College. "This court
is new and untried, but it would be unwise to underestimate its powers."

The closest Britain has come to war crimes charges was following the Kosovo
war, when Yugoslavia complained to UN war crimes prosecutors about bombing
raids that struck a train full of civilians, and a strike on a Belgrade TV

But the UN officials ruled both railways and communication centres as
legitimate strategic targets.

War crimes investigators are also lenient when it comes to near-misses: It
is assumed that in a war, "collateral damage" is inevitable. But the ICC is
likely to take a harder line concerning deliberate bombing of civilian
areas, or assassinations.

The ICC, like the UN court, can prosecute not just war crimes but also
crimes against humanity - a long list of offences against civilians, ranging
from torture and imprisonment, to deportation and murder.

Washington is also worried. Although not a member, Americans could be
indicted over their country's involvement in the guerrilla war in Columbia,
which is an ICC member.

Human rights groups are also tracking American funds being channelled to
opposition forces in another member country, Venezuela.

Many think Venezuela's generals are poised to order a coup to topple the
controversial president, Hugo Chavez. While a coup is not itself a war
crime, the bloodshed that may follow - from either side - could see ICC
investigators jump in with indictments. For the moment though, the court has
its own problems. It has a budget of about 20m - less than a third of that
given to the UN war crimes court.

It has also become the centre of a rift between the US, which wants to close
it down, and the EU, which is the ICC's key supporter.

Even if war crimes are committed in Iraq, it will be a long time before
indictments are taken. Court officials have failed to attract a single
applicant for the post of chief prosecutor, meaning there will not be one
when elections of judges are held in New York in February.

Chris Stephen is Hague bureau chief for the Institute for War and Peace

by Magnus Linklater
The Scotsman, 29th December

NOTHING fuels a good sermon better than the prospect of war. From pulpits up
and down the country this Christmas, the theme, repeated in different forms
and varying degrees of passionate intensity, has been that of war and peace.
Ministers, priests, bishops and archbishops have taken Iraq as their text
and delivered their moral verdict. By and large, the church has gone for
peace. With only a few exceptions the line taken has been that war against
Saddam Hussein would be unjustified, causing widespread suffering and

There is, however, a remarkable degree of confusion in the church's
position. The more we hear about its pronouncements on the morality of war,
the more it emerges that what it is really talking about is strategy and
politics. Most of its messages have been about the lack of strong evidence
to justify intervention, or the disastrous fall-out of a Middle East war.
They speak of the need to explore alternative options and to act through the
United Nations. All these, of course, are legitimate issues to debate. They
are not, however, the primary concern of the church. Its territory is the
morality and ethics of war. Yet here there is a marked reluctance to get to
the heart of the matter.

What is a "just war" - and would this be one? That, surely, is the key
question. Richard Harries, the Bishop of Oxford, said that "on the evidence
available to us at the moment the traditional just war criteria are not
met". His views were echoed by Dr Finlay Macdonald, the Moderator, who said
that none of the criteria for a just war could be answered in the
affirmative. Dr Rowan Williams, the archbishop-elect, went further, by
claiming that the moves towards war were potentially destructive. "The
strategists who know the possible ramifications of politics miss the huge
and obvious things and wreak yet more havoc and suffering," he said.

Even those, like the Archbishop of York in England, and Scotland's Catholic
leader, Archbishop Mario Conti, who have given cautious voice to the
proposition that war against Saddam might be necessary, have preferred to do
so in terms of international diplomacy rather than Christian morality.

Yet any study of the "just war" concept suggests precisely the opposite of
what these clerics are saying. The moral case, far from being weak, is
remarkably strong. It was first codified by Thomas Aquinas, who set out what
he considered to be the principles that should govern, not just the onset of
war, but the way it was conducted. Those principles have been refined over
the years, and particularly in the last, war-torn century - but they have
remained surprisingly consistent. Aquinas considered that war should only
take place between enemies of similar size and strength, it should be
launched only when all other options had been explored, and it should meet
five conditions: having just cause, having the proper authority to declare
war, possessing the right intentions, having a reasonable chance of success,
and ensuring that the means used were proportional to the ends contemplated.

All of these, bar the very first, would seem to be met by the present
situation, always assuming that the United States is ready to use the
minimum force necessary to overthrow Saddam and put his weapons beyond use.
That, of course, is a very large assumption, but let us accept it for the
time being and consider whether a just war can ever take place between two
states who are not of similar size and strength. The resources of America
and its allies are vast compared to those of Iraq - there is no real
comparison. On this basis alone, it might be said, the just war argument
fails. Yet what the events of the 20th century demonstrated was that the
relative size of the combatants was less important than the enormity of the
threat they posed. Britain went to war not just because Germany was a
comparable enemy but because it threatened the very existence of other
nations. When Churchill spoke of the need for "Victory, victory, at all
costs victory," he added: "for without victory there is no survival." No
one, in retrospect, could argue that Britain's war against Germany was
anything other than just.

Both George Bush and Tony Blair would make similar claims for their action
against Saddam. They would say that Iraq poses huge, if unquantified threats
to the free world. Many later interpreters of Aquinas and his "just war"
offer support for that argument. The consensus has been that, while
initiating a war is almost always wrong, it can be legitimate if an enemy is
clearly contemplating acts of aggression, and the intentions of those
resisting it are honourable. Indeed, the philosopher Immanuel Kant argued
that "good intentions" would always justify a war if those intentions could
be clearly demonstrated. I have not, admittedly, heard President Bush
quoting Kant recently, but it could happen.

Provided that it can be clearly shown that Iraq does indeed have weapons of
mass destruction, and that America is attempting to stop them being used
against another nations, then most Christian philosophers, from Aquinas to
Kant, would say that war was not only morally justified, but morally
required. One might have imagined that religious leaders in Britain would
wish to address this point. So far, the only one doing so is Tony Blair.

by Patrick Anidjar
Dawn,29th December

WASHINGTON (AFP): As Washington prepares to go to war against Baghdad, US
defence officials - mindful of the widespread devastation that a military
campaign would inflict - are looking for ways to preserve and protect Iraq's
priceless antiquities and archeological treasures.

Pentagon officials, who have long endeavoured to limit civilian casualties
in military engagements, are presented with an additional concern in the
impending conflict with Iraq, as they try to minimize the potential damage
to a treasure trove of irreplaceable religious and cultural artefacts in
Iraq that have come to be seen as part of the world's cultural heritage.

The first task however, is determining where these treasures are, US
officials say. There are roughly some 10,000 archaeological sites throughout
the area, according to experts, the oldest of which date back to 5000 BCE
and the vast majority of which are unexplored.

Uppermost in the concerns of US officials are archaeological sites located
in and near the ancient Mesopotamian city of Ur, identified in the bible as
the home of Prophet Abraham and deemed by some scholars to be the cradle of

Also of interest is Nineveh, the capital of the ancient Assyrian empire,
located in what is now northern Iraq. Both locales are believed to hold
substantial undiscovered antiquities.

Washington has enlisted a team of experts knowledgeable about the region who
will catalogue information about historical and archaeological sites
scattered across Iraqi territory, and who have agreed to pass that
information to the Pentagon.

Leading the effort is McGuire Gibson, an archaeologist from the University
of Chicago who has made frequent expeditions to Iraq over the past decade.
Working with him is Charles Butterworth, a professor at the University of

"They contacted us because they recognize our expertise in this field," said
Butterfield, who qualified Iraq's treasures as being of "incalculable
historical value."

The effort is massive in scope. It involves a detailed review of existing
archaeological surveys - some of which date back to the 19th century - and
in some instances even cross referencing maps of ancient Mesopotamia against
those of modern Iraq.

Gibson and Butterworth, who are to be aided by about 40 academics in the
task of locating and charting Iraq's historical sites, have a longstanding
interest in the antiquities of the region. The duo had hoped years ago to
open a historical research center in Iraq, but that effort had to be
abandoned because of the 1991 Gulf War.

"The work is indispensable," Butterfield said. "The plotting of these sites
was done by the Iraqis a long time ago, and is not precise enough."

The possibility that war could lead to the destruction of even a small
percentage of Iraq's historical treasures has raised the concern of
scholars, curators and archaeologists from around the world.

Ashton Hawkins, president of the American Council for Cultural Policy and
Maxwell Anderson, president of the American Association of Art Museum
Directors, said recently that it is not just the Iraqis who will be
impoverished should an errant missile strike one of the sites.

"What they contain is not merely the patrimony of one small nation but that
of much of the modern world, including the United States," they wrote in an
opinion piece published recently in the US press.

Even artefacts safeguarded at the Museum of Baghdad are not fully out of
harm's way, according to Butterworth.

He warned that a nearby television station likely would be a prime target of
US missiles, and worried that a bomb might go off course, laying waste to
the museum and its precious exhibits.

Josh Keller, a military expert with the Federation of American Scientists
said the risk of an errant missile striking an Iraqi museum or cultural site
is greatly diminished in this era of "smart bomb" technology, which allows
the US military to mark its target with pinpoint accuracy. He cautioned,
however, that such a system is not foolproof.

"It is difficult to mark the area electronically. It has to be done by the
intelligence," Keller said, adding that "it's almost impossible to mark
every area."

Yahoo, 29th December

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States plans to secure Iraqi oilfields if
it invades and is looking into the possibility of ramping up oil production
beyond the U.N. oil-for-food program to pay for post-war reconstruction,
Bush administration officials said on Sunday.

"The oilfields are the property of the Iraqi people," Secretary of State
Colin Powell told NBC's "Meet the Press."

"And if the coalition of forces goes into those oil fields, we would want to
protect those fields and make sure they are used to benefit the people of
Iraq and are not destroyed or damaged by the failing regime on the way out
the door," he said.

Revenue generated from the oilfields would be used "in accordance with
international law and to benefit the people of Iraq," he added.

Preparing for an Iraq without President Saddam Hussein has become an urgent
priority as the Bush administration nears a decision on whether to take
military action to topple the regime to eliminate its alleged weapons of
mass destruction.

Administration officials say they plan to keep the United Nations
oil-for-food program running, at least temporarily, to ensure that
post-invasion oil dollars are spent on the country's basic needs.

The Bush administration is considering whether it can, under international
law, increase Iraqi oil production beyond the oil-for-food program.
Proponents say the extra money that could be generated would be used to
expedite reconstruction efforts in Iraq.

"It is an option that is being researched," a U.S. official said. "The
question is how much further can you go legally."

The administration is carefully weighing how oil policy in a post-Saddam
Iraq might affect oil prices, officials say. Its decision could have
implications for the fragile global economy.

Increasing Iraqi oil production may help Western oil-consuming nations,
including the United States, by lowering oil prices. But it could hurt key
U.S. oil-producing allies, such as Saudi Arabia and Russia, by reducing
their revenues from oil sales.

Iraq sits on top of the world's second largest oil reserves, but war and a
decade of sanctions has withered its oil infrastructure and official

A recent report by the James Baker Institute at Rice University and the
Council on Foreign Relations estimated it would take $5 billion to bring the
Iraqi oil industry back to pre-1990s production levels, in addition to $3
billion in annual operating costs.

The current phase of the oil-for-food program, approved earlier this month,
runs until June 3. The Security Council will need to do nothing, in legal
terms, to keep it running until then, a U.N. official said. It would take a
Security Council vote to cancel the program before June 3 even if there is a
war and a regime change in Iraq, the official said.

Officials say keeping the program running during and after a war makes sense
because the food warehouses and distribution systems that are needed are
already in place.

The State Department recently hosted a meeting of Iraqi opposition members
who discussed the future of Iraq's oil and energy sector in a post-Saddam

Analysts have said international oil companies like Exxon Mobil, BP, and
Shell would want to take part in any rehabilitation of the country's oil

by Roger Franklin
New Zealand Herald, 30th December

NEW YORK - The coming assault on Baghdad already has its first hero: Colonel
John Boyd, a foul-mouthed, insubordinate fighter pilot who has been in his
grave at Arlington National Cemetery for almost five years.

When Iraq's tyrant is brought down, that inevitable victory will be Boyd's
doing. You won't hear Boyd's name being cited in Rose Garden speeches,
however. Nor will the Pentagon be authorising any posthumous decorations for
the man who, through 30 years of bureaucratic guerilla warfare, transformed
America's military.

Even though he gave them many of the tools that made Operation Desert Storm
such a sweeping success in 1991, the brass continued to hate Boyd with such
a passion that, as a final sign of contempt, they sent only a single general
as their official representative at his funeral.

But without his influence, the US would almost certainly be preparing to
enter Iraq much as it fled Saigon: a vast, muscle-bound killing machine
based on the assumption that big budgets and expensive weapons assured

That approach didn't work in Vietnam, nor even in tiny Grenada, where a US
expedition force required two days in 1983 to subdue a squad of 200 Cuban
construction workers.

"Thank God they have dumb sons of bitches in the Kremlin, too," Boyd fumed
not long after. "If they weren't thick as XXXX, Grenada would prove how weak
we really are."

Boyd's disgust was palpable. Army units on the island couldn't call in
artillery support from Navy ships because their radios worked on different
frequencies. Nor could soldiers on the ground stop air strikes hitting the
wrong targets. Almost 30 Americans were killed in the conflict, most the
victims of friendly fire.

"Grenada was confusion cubed," Boyd told me in 1985, after the Pentagon
released a report whitewashing the invasion's flaws and follies. "Our top
guys know the first rule of warfare: always protect your rear."

Boyd devoted the latter half of his career to catching those generals with
their pants down. The first half had been spent in the cockpit, first over
Korea and later as an instructor at the US Air Force "Top Gun" flight

Had he been just another joystick virtuoso, Boyd would have had a
traditional career: step by step up the ladder until retirement, when he
could have been expected to join one of the weapons companies, pitching
former colleagues on the latest, gold-plated guns, planes and tanks.

That's how the procurement game had always been played at the Pentagon,
where a weapon's usefulness was of secondary importance to its cost. Big
budgets still mean bigger staffs for the Pentagon's project-development
officers - and bigger salaries, too, when they leave to work for General
Dynamics, Grumman, or Boeing. To Boyd, the system produced "gold-plated XXXX
shovels" that "hurt us more than the enemy".

So, after rewriting the air combat rulebook he began looking at the broader
flaws in US military theory. They were, he concluded, the same ones that had
led to disaster in Vietnam, the ultimate symbol of which he saw as the

"The only good thing about the F-111," he said, "is that the dumbass Soviets
believed our propaganda and built their very own piece of useless XXXX, the
Backfire bomber."

His idea of the perfect fighter plane was the F-16. Small, cheap and simple,
it used only enough technology to make it a more efficient killing machine -
fly-by-wire control systems to save the weight of hydraulics, one engine to
keep it small, cut costs and make it hard to target.

When superiors tried to silence his criticisms by pushing him into a
dead-end office job, Boyd developed the concept on the sly by "stealing" a
million dollars worth of computer time, giving his brainchild a variety of
misleading names and slipping the evolving concept past bureaucratic enemies
before they realised what they had just authorised. It earned him a wealth
of grief.

There will be plenty of F-16s over Iraq pretty soon, but that won't be
Boyd's greatest contribution. Of much greater impact will be the culmination
of his life's work, a treatise on military tactics that he penned after
retiring to Florida and seeing the F-16 accepted, against all odds, as a
frontline mainstay.

"He called it Observe-Orient-Decide-Act - commonly known as the OODA loop,"
says Boyd's biographer Robert Coram. "Simply rendered, the OODA loop is a
blueprint for the manoeuvre tactics that allow one to attack the mind of an
opponent, to unravel its commander even before a battle begins."

To Coram and others, including Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Boyd is
"the most influential military thinker since Sun Tzu wrote The Art of War
2400 years ago".

So why should pacifists cheer the memory of a man whose life was devoted to
perfecting the use of martial force? Because, if the Iraq invasion goes even
remotely according to plan, Saddam's downfall will be short and relatively
bloodless. Isolated, unable to trust his generals and with his every move
tracked by the cheap, plentiful, all-seeing Predator drones that Boyd also
helped to develop, Saddam will have two options: surrender or perish.

The Baghdad campaign will reflect Boyd's greatest insight, the one he
borrowed from Sun Tzu. The sweetest victory, said the Chinese sage, is the
one that does not demand a battle. Even if you have the weaponry to win it
at a canter.

by Robin Wright
Dawn, from The Los Angeles Times, 30th December

CHAMSHAMAL: Just 30 minutes down the road from this isolated checkpoint,
beyond Iraqi troops and artillery deployed on a rocky ridge, lies a city
that could make or break a US intervention in Iraq.

Kirkuk might be one of the first stops for American troops.

The northern Iraqi city's importance was first hinted at in the Old
Testament. King Nebuchadnezzar cast the Jews of Babylon into a "burning
fiery furnace" - a site that some Middle East scholars believe was the
endless flame from Kirkuk's natural gas, a clue to oil deposits discovered
some 2,500 years later that give modern Iraq its economic and strategic

But protecting Iraq's oil wells to ensure that President Saddam Hussein's
forces don't destroy them, as they did to Kuwait's rigs before withdrawing
from that country in 1991, is only one reason that US troops might deploy in
this city. More important, say US officials and Iraqi dissidents, is its
ethnic makeup.

Kirkuk is the Jerusalem of Iraq, a city of about 900,000 with conflicting
claims on the land that symbolize a bigger flash point. Rivalries are so
deep that any scramble for the city could become a war within a war - with
Iraqis fighting among themselves to claim it, potentially dragging in
neighbouring countries.

"Taking Baghdad will determine the outcome of the war. Sorting out Kirkuk
will determine what happens afterward," predicted a senior US official.

In an ironic twist on the conflict over Jerusalem, Arabs dominate Kirkuk,
largely because of a deliberate and decades-long campaign by the Iraqi
leader to change the makeup of its population.

Between 120,000 and 200,000 Kurds as well as other Turkomans and Assyrians
have been expelled from Kirkuk since 1991, according to UN officials and a
recent Human Rights Watch report. Tens of thousands were forced out in
earlier decades.

Most were dumped at this lonely checkpoint, where Kurdish guards man a small
concrete shelter, or two other crossing points into the northern Iraqi
enclave known as Kurdistan. And most are still waiting near here to reclaim
the seized land, homes and possessions turned over to Arabs during Saddam's
rule and to bring Kirkuk back under Kurdish control.

"Kirkuk is the embodiment of the Kurds' suffering in Iraq. It's the place of
the most brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing, which continues to this day,"
said Barham Salih of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, or PUK, which
controls this checkpoint and half the Kurdish enclave that has gained
self-rule since 1991 under protection from US and British warplanes.

"For Iraq to be peaceful and rid of its terrible past, any new government
has to redress the injuries of the people of Kirkuk," said Salih, prime
minister in the eastern sector of Kurdistan.

A recent study by the Brookings Institution warned that, if Saddam is
toppled, the anger and plight of hundreds of thousands of displaced people
could ignite "political struggles that are now dormant, suppressed by the
larger struggle against the regime in Baghdad."

But undoing the past presents its own problems, which is why American troops
are likely to try to take and hold Kirkuk as one of the early acts of any
military operation, US officials say. The goal will be to prevent any race
for the land by Kurds and other displaced minorities - and the outbreak of
an internal war that could divert US attention and unravel the postwar

In the confusion of conflict, that might be a tough assignment, US analysts
and Kurdish officials concede.

Ibrahim Aziz Biez, 29, is a handsome and muscular young Kurd born in Kirkuk,
where his family ran a bakery. He was forced into exile in Kurdistan in 1992
and soon after joined the "peshmerga," the guerrillas whose name means
"those who face death."

"Now I have two big goals in my life - to get rid of Saddam Hussein and to
go home to Kirkuk," he said. "Kurdistan without Kirkuk is like a human being
without a heart."

Biez is not unusual. A UN survey found that about 45 per cent of the Iraqis
formally deported or unofficially squeezed from Kirkuk expect to return if
Saddam is ousted.

With the peshmerga, the Kurds have a force to make it more than just a
civilian rush to retrieve land. Indeed, most of the roughly 50,000 fighters
aligned with one of the two dominant Kurdish groups in northern Iraq have
ties to Kirkuk. The majority are from families deported from the area,
according to a Kurdish official.

"Saddam Hussein says Kirkuk is the center of the north - for intelligence,
the military, to administer the region and even for his Baath Party's
northern headquarters. If it's the capital of the north, it should be after
he goes too," said Noshirwan Mustafa, a Kurdish author and historian. "So we
demand that the Kurdistan regional government annex it. We will never give
up Kirkuk."

Kirkuk's status has been a top issue since the Kurdish parliament resumed in
October after a six-year hiatus due to internal tensions. One proposal calls
for Kirkuk to be named the capital of Kurdistan - a step that could provoke
other ethnic groups.

It could also anger Turkey, which traditionally sees Kirkuk as a stronghold
for Iraq's ethnic Turkomans, a smaller minority.

by Michael Kilian
The State, from Chicago Tribune, 30th December

WASHINGTON - On the basis of the 1991 Persian Gulf war, the campaigns in the
Balkans and the anti-terrorist war in Afghanistan, the American public has
grown accustomed to victorious U.S. military operations with relatively
little cost in American blood.

But, as some military leaders have privately cautioned in recent days, a
fight to the death with Saddam Hussein in Iraq could reap a grim harvest in
dead and wounded in terms of American servicemen and women and Iraqi
civilians in whose midst Hussein might establish his last stand.

A big unknown facing U.S. war planners, as they prepare for operations that
could commence as early as next month, is the death count and its effect on
U.S. and world opinion.

"No one can predict the casualties that will result," said Anthony
Cordesman, military analyst for the Center for Strategic and International
Studies and a leading Middle East expert. "People make estimates and they
get put in the papers but they're meaningless. We just don't know -
especially if Saddam Hussein decides to use his weapons of mass

The United States won the first gulf war with fewer than 150 U.S. dead, a
low number when compared with previous American wars that had losses in the
tens or hundreds of thousands. The 1999 assault on Yugoslavia liberated the
province of Kosovo without the loss of a single American in combat. The
invasion of Afghanistan toppled the Taliban, yet has resulted in fewer than
40 American deaths.

If the new Iraq war yields significantly more deaths, some say, the
administration could find itself with its own version of a Vietnam problem:
mounting body bags that prompt the public to question why the U.S. is at war
half a world away.

"If you get (the toll) into the mid-hundreds running up toward a thousand,
you will see public sentiment questioning the legitimacy of what we're
doing," said Jay Farrar, a former Marine Corps officer and Defense
Department official. "The public will want to know more about what it is
we're doing on a more regular basis, and why we're doing it this way, and
what is leading to this number of deaths."

The Bush administration is not publicly addressing the question of
casualties, although its battle plans appear designed to avoid numerous
American deaths. The White House may fear such talk could weaken public
support for the war.

Yet success or failure may turn on the casualty factor more than any other.

As the Vietnam, Korean and even Civil War have shown, too many U.S. losses -
combined with too little progress over too long a time - can erode the
political support a president needs to wage war.

A slaughter of Iraqi civilians could also diminish public support at home
while alienating U.S. allies in Europe and the Persian Gulf, provoke further
bloodshed between Israelis and Palestinians, and inflame anti-American
feelings among fundamentalist Muslims throughout the world.

Some estimate that as many as 50,000 Iraqi civilians could fall before a
U.S. onslaught. The exact number will depend on whether the much-vaunted
U.S. precision bombs and missiles work as advertised, and to what degree
Hussein decides to use his country's non combatants as shields.

As for U.S. military deaths, that number is likely to be determined by the
American battle plan and how large a force goes in, whether American troops
are compelled to wage urban warfare in Baghdad, and - in a worst-case
scenario - whether Hussein uses weapons of mass destruction.

According to many analysts, the most probable attack scenario calls for
American troops to seize the Iraqi port of Basra and key sections of
southern, western and northern Iraq, but to surround rather than invade the
heavily defended capital, in the hopes that a siege will compel Hussein's
downfall without a great loss of American life. As in Afghanistan, where
most of the fighting was done by the Northern Alliance and other Afghan
tribal groups, the U.S. would rely heavily on Kurdish and Shi'ite Muslim
rebels to take and hold territory, and would push for widespread defections
in the Iraqi military.

Massive, highly focused use of air power and precision bombs and missiles
would play a major role in the operation.

William Taylor, a Washington military consultant and former instructor at
the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, predicted that U.S. losses would
likely be less than 1,000, as they were in the first gulf war. "A lot of
people said we'd lose 20,000, 30,000, 40,000 at the time," Taylor said. "We
ended up with 148 killed."

But U.S. casualties could mount if the Baghdad siege became protracted, or
if an all-out assault on the city and Hussein's elite Republican Guard units
proved to be the only way to dislodge the Iraqi leader.

The Iraqis, for their part, are predicting a high number of U.S. deaths.

"The assault against Iraq will not be a cakewalk for the Americans, but a
fierce war during which the United States will suffer losses they have never
sustained for decades," vowed Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz earlier
this year.

Even if this is rhetoric, Michael O'Hanlon, a military analyst with the
Brookings Institution, said the number of U.S. casualties should not be

"The United States could plausibly lose  as many as 5,000 troops if the
Republican Guard fights as hard and as effectively as its size and weaponry
would plausibly allow within the urban settings of Baghdad and other Iraqi
cities," O'Hanlon said. "While such a war would not become a quagmire under
even the worst of circumstances, it could be rather bloody."

If that scenario materializes, the shock to the American system could be
considerable. Over the past three decades, Americans have recoiled anytime
the number of deaths in a world hot spot has grown beyond a handful - a fact
the country's adversaries have used to their advantage.

In 1983 after President Ronald Reagan sent a force of some 2,500 Marines
into Lebanon, about 250 of them died in a single terrorist bombing of a
barracks and the U.S. swiftly withdrew the force.

President Bill Clinton called a halt to operations in Somalia after losing
just 29 troops - 18 of them in the famous "Black Hawk Down" battle of
Mogadishu. These casualties represented less than 0.5 percent of the forces
deployed, but their loss was considered a testament to failure.

Going further back, the 1968 Tet offensive in Vietnam turned out to be an
enormous American victory by any objective military measure, with the U.S.
retaking all positions lost and suffering 1,536 battle deaths to the enemy's
45,000, according to the Pentagon's figures. But the bloodshed nonetheless
turned public opinion overwhelmingly against the war.

"The American people take a very simplistic view of military operations,"
said Farrar, a former National Security Council staffer. "Everyone thought
Tet was a huge U.S. defeat because that was the way it was portrayed. As you
know, it was a huge victory. The North Vietnamese were on the verge of

A phenomenon of recent times is the perception that the U.S. military and
its political overseers have become too casualty-averse to wage effective

The U.S. campaign against the Serbs in Kosovo was confined mostly to the
air, and combat pilots were forbidden to operate beneath 15,000 feet, lest
they fall victim to Serbian anti aircraft weapons. In World War II, losses
of 10 percent or more in long-range bombing raids were commonplace - a
casualty rate that would be unthinkable in an air war today.

It was not until Kosovar partisans began engaging Slobodan Milosevic's
forces on the ground, and the U.S. threatened to do the same, that the Serb
military began to run from its hiding places.

Taylor emphasized that his low casualty estimate of less than 1,000 in an
Iraq war does not take into account possible use of chemical and biological
weapons by Hussein's forces.

"That's a different ball game," he said. "If Saddam decides to commit
suicide and use them, we're going to take casualties, no doubt about it, and
no one can give you an estimate."

The Pentagon has stockpiled thousands of chemical and biological protective
suits for its troops. But the suits have not been widely tested in combat,
their use is of limited duration, and they make combat and even movement
terribly unpleasant in the heat - especially the 120-degrees-plus
temperatures typical of an Iraqi spring or summer.

Hussein has proven willing to unleash weapons of mass destruction in the
past. He used chemical weapons against his own people in the northern
Kurdish area and against Iranian troops during the war between Iran and
Iraq. In his 1980-1988 war with Iran, after suffering 250,000 battle
casualties to Iran's 300,000, Hussein sought unsuccessfully to end the
stalemate by using mustard gas and nerve gas against Iranian forces, killing
10,000 Iranians, according to a United Nations report.

Given the global nature of the terrorist threat and the increasing animosity
toward Americans among radical Muslims, the response to significant numbers
of Iraqi casualties among the Arab public is another big worry.

"The problem of civilian casualties and collateral damage can always become
a sudden political crisis, in spite of U.S. attempts to minimize it -
complicated by a worst case in which allied attacks on Iraqi military
facilities release significant amounts of chemical and biological weapons,"
Cordesman said.

Taylor asserted that U.S. technology has improved twelve-fold since the 1991
war, and precision bombs and weapons are now the norm. But recent experience
suggests that even this dazzling technology can prove imperfect.

The U.S. mistakenly bombed the Chinese Embassy and attacked a civilian
passenger train in the Kosovo war, for example. And an American flying
gunship shot up a civilian wedding engagement party in Afghanistan,
provoking outrage throughout the Islamic world.

These risks will increase if the battle for Baghdad becomes a bloody
hand-to-hand fight. "There's been a lot of loose talk about how high
technology allows you to do all sorts of new things," O'Hanlon said. "But in
cities it's pretty tough."

Farrar said he doubted Americans would be greatly concerned about Iraqi
civilian deaths. "That sounds pretty cold, but yeah, people in the U.S., if
it doesn't touch us in a real defined way, tend to see things very
abstractly," he said.

Polls bear out the notion that U.S. public support for a war on Iraq, which
has been fairly strong, could fade quickly if the body bags mount.

In a CBS News/New York Times poll taken in October, 67 percent favored
military action to remove Hussein. But only 54 percent still supported it if
there would be substantial U.S. military casualties, and 49 percent if there
were substantial Iraqi civilian losses.

Before commencing an attack, Taylor said, Bush will have to provide the same
kind of stark, shocking evidence of Iraqi capabilities and intentions as
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Adlai Stevenson did in 1962 when he
showed the UN Security Council photos of new Soviet missile emplacements in

"In Europe, no one wants to go to war in Iraq," said Charles Heyman, editor
of Jane's World Armies and a former British army major. "Americans don't
want to do it. They will do it if they feel they have to and it's in their
national interest. But they don't actually want to do it."

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