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[casi] cyber war

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WASHINGTON/BAGHDAD (Jan. 11) - Details of a U.S.- Iraqi skirmish in
cyberspace, in which Baghdad blocked U.S. e-mails aimed at key figures,
emerged on Saturday after Washington ordered more troops to the Gulf for a
possible war.

U.S. defense officials said the military had begun an e-mail campaign urging
military and civilian leaders in Iraq to turn against President Saddam
Hussein and reveal the location of any chemical, biological or nuclear

News of the cyber-campaign, part of a psychological war mounted by elite U.S.
Special Operations, came as U.N. weapons inspectors flew by helicopter to
scour more sites in Iraq in search of weapons of mass destruction.

The inspectors have urged the United States to provide more specific
intelligence to help pinpoint any banned Iraqi weapons before they give a
January 27 report on two months of searches.

Officials have said President Bush has yet to decide on any invasion of Iraq
over the alleged banned weapons, but Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld
ordered nearly 35,000 more troops on Friday to the Gulf as part of a build-up
aiming to more than double the 60,000 U.S. troops now in the region.

In the campaign on the Internet, the e-mails in Arabic urge Iraqis not to
follow orders to use chemical, biological or nuclear weapons, to identify
where they are located by signals or render the weapons ineffective.

The state-controlled e-mail service is available only to a small number of
Iraqis, mainly government officials, senior public servants, academics and
scientists. Iraqis began to receive the e-mails last week, visitors there

Iraqi authorities have blocked the e-mail service access in an apparent
attempt to stop the messages from spreading inside the country, visitors said.


Iraq denies it has any banned weapons programs. Washington says it does and
that if Iraq continues to deceive, it would be in ''material breach'' of U.N.
Security Council resolutions and that could mean war.

Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog, and his colleague Hans
Blix, chief of the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission
(UNMOVIC), told the U.N. Security Council on Thursday there were no ''smoking
guns'' to prove Iraq had banned weapons.

Top officials in Europe have spoken out against a rush to war on the basis of
inconclusive weapons inspections.

''Without proof, it would be very difficult to start a war,'' European Union
foreign policy coordinator Javier Solana said.

The U.N. arms inspectors flew by helicopter to an oil facility west of
Baghdad on Saturday, the second aerial inspection since they resumed work in
Iraq on November 27.

They also searched seven other sites, their visits including a trip to a
university in the town of Tikrit, birthplace of Saddam and 125 miles north of

On the diplomatic front, Turkish Prime Minister Abdullah Gul arrived in Saudi
Arabia on Saturday for talks on the Iraq crisis. Before heading for Riyadh,
Gul told reporters in Ankara:

''We are a country in the region and one of the countries that will suffer
the most (in case of a war),'' he said. ''It's to our interest if the crisis
ends up without a war. To be able to achieve this, every country in the
region has a responsibility, but the greatest responsibility belongs to

Saudi Arabia and Turkey have publicly opposed a war against Iraq and both
have so far declined to grant Washington permission to use bases on their
territory for military strikes.

In Algeria, Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz held talks with President
Abdelaziz Bouteflika as part of a drive to drum up Arab support for Baghdad.


U.S. ground forces ordered to deploy so far are substantially short of the
more than 250,000 sent to the region for the 1991 Gulf War but the current
shift could grow more rapidly in January and February.

Britain is also mobilizing its forces alongside the Americans despite grave
doubts within Prime Minister Tony Blair's Labour party.

The flagship of Britain's navy, the aircraft carrier Ark Royal, set sail on
Saturday at the head of the largest UK amphibious task force deployed since
the 1982 Falklands War.

The 16-ship flotilla is officially sailing for long-planned naval exercises
in the Far East, but British officials say they have upgraded the force in
case it is needed in Iraq.

In Vienna, OPEC producers prepared for emergency talks on Sunday that will
decide how far to open the oil taps to prevent a price shock as war looms in

Reut14:39 01-11-03

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Roger Stroope
Treat others not as you wish to, but as they wish to be...
Austin College, Sherman Texas

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