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[casi] News, 02-10/1/03 (4)

News, 02-10/1/03 (4)


*  Britain to commit 20,000 troops to Iraq war
*  Envoys called home for Iraq talks
*  Church [of England] issues prayer against Iraq war
*  If war against Iraq is just, it must be proved
*  Britain: 2nd U.N. Iraq Plan Preferred
*  Iraq war must have UN backing, Labour MPs tell Blair
*  Support for Tam over Iraq action
*  Straw: Saddam is a threat to Islam


*  U.N. inspectors set up new base
*  UN inspectors search 16 sites, anger Iraqis
*  U.N. teams in Iraq use copters for first time
*  UN inspectors 'cast doubt on UK evidence dossier'
*  Iraq Bioweapon Report Lacks Key Answers
*  Suspect Iraqi Tubes Unintended for Atomic Arms -UN
*  Iraqi arms report had nothing new, Blix tells Council


by Tom Hundley
The State, from Chicago Tribune, 2nd January

LONDON - Britain is preparing to commit up to 20,000 troops to join U.S.
forces in a war against Iraq, but it is not likely that the British forces
will be in place until late February or the beginning of March at the
earliest, according to defense analysts.

U.S. military planners are contemplating a somewhat earlier timetable, with
Jan. 27 - the date by which chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix must
report to the Security Council - frequently cited as a potential "trigger"

An estimated 50,000 U.S. troops already are in the region, with another
50,000 soon to be on the way, as President Bush ratchets up the pressure.
Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein must understand that "his day of reckoning is
coming," Bush declared Thursday in Crawford, Texas.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair has told his armed forces to prepare for
war, but he is not expected to give the order to deploy until after the
Security Council acts on Blix's findings. Once the order is given, it will
take at least three to six weeks for the troops and equipment to get into
position and gear up to a state of full combat readiness.

"There's a political element to the timing. The U.K. government will have
tremendous difficulties if it doesn't look as though it has exhausted the
U.N. process," said Timothy Garden, director of the Royal Institute of
International Affairs, a London research center.

"The British public is not desperately enthusiastic about this campaign, and
if the U.S. wants Britain with it, which I think it does, it will have to
take this into consideration," Garden said.

Blair wants Britain to be a significant partner rather than a bit player in
any military action against Iraq. To that end, Britain is planning to
contribute an armored division, an aircraft carrier battle group and a
significant Royal Air Force (RAF) component to the U.S. buildup under way in
the Persian Gulf.

Britain is no stranger to the region. British forces played a major role in
the 1991 Persian Gulf War, and RAF fighter pilots continue to team up with
their American counterparts to enforce Iraq's no-fly zones, an activity that
has greatly intensified over the last several months.

Britain already has dispatched military planners to Qatar's al-Ubaid base,
America's operational headquarters for the Iraq campaign, and the treasury
has earmarked $1.6 billion for the anticipated conflict.

The U.S. has asked for and received permission to station long-range bombers
at RAF bases in Fairfield, Gloucestershire and the Indian Ocean island of
Diego Garcia.

But Britain's key contribution will be troops, the first of which could
start moving to the region by the middle of January.

"We are in the middle of a major psychological operation against Saddam
Hussein," said Charles Heyman, editor of Jane's World Armies.

"The pressure is being ratcheted up day by day. If Saddam suddenly collapses
or goes off into exile, then this military buildup has done its job."

If the Iraqi leader hangs tough, Heyman predicted, the U.S. and its allies
will then initiate a limited assault on a key target - perhaps the southern
port city of Basra - to see whether that might encourage the Iraqi military
command to revolt against the dictator.

If that failed, an all-out assault would follow, Heyman said.

A major concern on both sides of the Atlantic is the widening technological
gap between the U.S. military and its European allies, a fear that soon no
one will have the high-tech capability to fight alongside the United States.

Britain is one of the few that has tried to keep up. Although its $35
billion defense budget is less than a tenth of the Pentagon's, Britain's
defense planners have made an effort to develop weapons systems that are
compatible with U.S. systems.

But several well-publicized failures of basic British weaponry have raised

During exercises in Oman last year, the Challenger 2 tanks, the mainstay of
the Britain's armored units, ground to a halt after just four hours in
desert terrain when their air filters clogged with sand. The Defense
Ministry is now spending $144 million to refit the tanks with "desert kits"
that should be ready in about two months.

The AS90 155mm self-propelled howitzer and the Lynx helicopter also
performed poorly in Oman. Both will need to be modified before they can be
used in Iraq.

Britain has ordered 67 Apache helicopters, the most advanced attack
helicopter in the U.S. arsenal. Some of the choppers have been delivered,
but none will be available for service in Iraq because money was not set
aside to train pilots.

Perhaps the most frustrating problem for the British military is the
lingering doubt about its main infantry rifle, the SA80. The weapon, first
introduced in 1985, was recalled and refitted in 1999 after numerous
complaints about its tendency to jam.

Experts insist that the rifle is fixed, but soldiers who used it in
Afghanistan last year say it's still a lemon.

Glitches in weapons systems plague all armies, and the concerns about the
technological superiority of the U.S. leaving everybody behind are
exaggerated, said Jane's Heyman.

"What the U.S. military really needs in Iraq is not people to fight
alongside them but people to support them with troops on the ground in a
garrison scenario after the regime has fallen, and for that you don't need
to be high-tech," he said.

Heyman predicted that by the time the dust clears in Iraq, Britain could
have close to 30,000 troops committed to the operation. Others caution that
this will overburden a military stretched thin by commitments in more than
two dozen trouble spots.

Britain has a total of about 100,000 ground troops, an air force of 50,000
and a navy of 40,000.

The cost of British military operations in Afghanistan will surpass a $1
billion early next year. RAF operations in Iraq's no-fly zones cost $40
million last year, but intensified activity in the no-fly zones this year
has already pushed costs past $350 million.

Britain also maintains costly deployments in Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Northern Ireland appears to be heating up. Next month, as many as 20,000
troops may have to be called on to fill in for striking firefighters.

"The maximum of 20,000 (in Iraq) is considered feasible, but not for a
prolonged period," said the Royal Institute's Garden, a retired RAF air
marshal. "It's a small pot that we are trying to spread in an effective

Last week, NATO Secretary General George Robertson said that members of the
alliance had a "moral obligation" to support the U.S.-led war effort. But
thus far only Britain has been forthcoming with pledges of assistance, and
experts expect to see little change in coming weeks.

"The Germans are not going to have anything to do with this operation. The
French will probably involve themselves with a token force. We might see
somebody from the Netherlands," Heyman said.

"Turkey is debatable at the moment; the Turks will support operations, but
it is unlikely they will put troops on the ground.",3604,867980,00.html

by Richard Norton-Taylor
The Guardian, 3rd January

British ambassadors from around the world have been summoned to London for
an unprecedented brainstorming session against the background of the looming
war against Iraq and Tony Blair's stark new year warning about the serious
dangers facing Britain from abroad.

Officials say next week's "leadership conference" - which will bring
together around 200 ambassadors and high commissioners - is designed to make
the Foreign Office more effective and handle crises better by anticipating
rather than reacting to events.

They stress that the conference has not been called to consider the
consequences for Britain of a war against Iraq, but the crisis over Iraq is
certain to be raised.

Many senior British diplomats are known to share deep concerns about
President Bush's apparent determination to attack Iraq with or without
evidence that Saddam Hussein is hiding weapons of mass destruction.

The diplomats believe the Bush administration is further radicalising Arab
and Muslim opinion with its emphasis on military might against the long-term
interests of the west.

Many also share the view of the security and intelligence agencies that the
al-Qaida terrorist network represents a more serious threat than Iraq and
that there is no evidence of a link between the two.

Recent attacks on "soft targets" in Bali and Kenya have further emphasised
the need for the heightened protection of British interests abroad.

In his new year message, the prime minister listed his concerns as "Iraq,
and the prospect of committing UK troops to action... [and] the mass of
intelligence flowing across my desk that points to a continuous threat of
attack by al-Qaida".

The Foreign Office conference will be addressed by Clare Short, the
international development secretary, and Geoff Hoon, the defence secretary,
who is expected soon to announce the deployment of British troops to the
Gulf in preparation for a war against Iraq.

HMS Ocean, the Royal Navy's large helicopter and marine commando carrier
will soon be ready for operations next month after a major refit. It will be
able to join a naval taskforce led by the aircraft carrier, Ark Royal, and
including at least one cruise missile submarine, which will arrive in the
Gulf at the end of this month or early February.

Royal Marine commandos have been training with their US counterparts in the
Californian desert and are being vaccinated against anthrax and smallpox.

They will also be trained for chemical and biological warfare attack. It is
known that the Pentagon has asked Britain to provide marine commandos for an
invasion of Iraq.

It has also asked for the help of the SAS and its naval equivalent, the
Special Boat Service, and minesweepers which are already on exercise in the

Britain's 16 Assault Brigade, based in Colchester, including paratroopers,
is also likely to be deployed before any invasion of Iraq along with a
beefed-up armoured brigade.

The total number of British armed forces personnel from all three services
engaged in a conflict with Iraq is likely to amount to more than 20,000.

The US confirmed that around 50,000 American troops were expected to leave
for the Gulf in the next few weeks, nearly doubling the number already

Foreign Office sources said that all the sites in the British dossier on
Iraq had now been seen by UN weapons inspectors.

"It's going pretty well on the ground, we have nothing to complain about," a
UN official said yesterday, referring to the inspection teams in Iraq.

Hans Blix, the chief UN inspector, will make a preliminary report to the
security council next Thursday. He has been invited to visit Iraq on January
18 by General Amir al-Saadi, Saddam Hussein's weapons adviser.

On January 27 Mr Blix is due to give a full report on Iraqi cooperation and
the 12,000-page report submitted by the Iraqis to the security council last

BBC, 3rd January

The Church of England has issued a prayer for the people of Iraq, warning
that a war could unleash "crimes against humanity".

Designed to be used by parishes and congregations across the UK, it is a
further move by religious leaders to deflect a war.

Called For the Peoples of Iraq, by Fleur Dorrell from the Mothers' Union, it
has the backing of the Archbishop of York, Dr David Hope.

It contains the lines: "Lord, we pray fervently for the people of Iraq
facing the horror of a full-scale war, and for those people who may be
called upon to fight.

"Help us to persuade world leaders to continue negotiations."

It goes on that the people of Iraq have the right "to determine their own
future" and that "nobody has total power over any country or its people but
God alone".

The prayer is one of a selection which have the theme of world peace and are
available on the Church of England website, An Invitation to Prayer.

It follows anti-war rhetoric in particular from the new Archbishop of

Dr Rowan Williams used his Christmas address to make clear his deep unease
about the potential conflict.

And in a letter sent to parishes a week before Christmas, the Archbishop of
York said: "In October the House of Bishops `urged the British Government
and the international community to pursue all available peaceful means
towards resolving the crisis with Iraq' and `that to undertake a
preventative war against Iraq at this juncture would be to lower the
threshold for war unacceptability'.

He added: "I am writing to encourage parishes, congregations and individuals
to pray for peace at Epiphany (January 6). This is an appropriate season in
which so to focus our prayer."

Prayer in full:

Lord, we pray fervently for the people of Iraq facing the horror of a
full-scale war, and for those people who may be called upon to fight. Help
us to persuade world leaders to continue negotiations. Help all of us:
individuals, nations, governments and world leaders to remember the
unnecessary loss of life for millions of innocent people, the scale of human
suffering that war brings, the right of Iraqi people to determine their own
future, the gross violations of human rights and crimes against humanity
that are committed in the name of war, nobody has total power over any
country or its people but God alone. Let us be open to God's words in our
forthcoming decisions and try not to be God ourselves.

by Dr Finlay MacDonald
The Scotsman, 5th January

I RECENTLY read a newspaper article which accused church leaders opposed to
a war in Iraq of straying beyond their area of competence. The piece
concluded that "priests... are there to minister to that part of us that
will live on when our bodies perish. This does not disqualify them from
having opinions on profane matters; but the question of war against Iraq is
chiefly in Caesar's realm, not God's."

I prefer Jonathan Sacks' analysis, which acknowledges that religion can be a
source of discord (some will regard this as extreme understatement), but
claims that now, of all times, religion can also be a source of conflict
resolution. In The Dignity of Difference, (tellingly sub titled 'How to
avoid the clash of civilisations') the Chief Rabbi writes: "The great faiths
must now become an active force for peace and for the justice and compassion
on which peace ultimately depends." Amen to that!

>From a theological perspective it is difficult to grasp the idea that
something which threatens devastation to thousands of people is "chiefly in
Caesar's realm and not God's". The Old Testament teaches that "the earth is
the Lord's and the fulness thereof; the world and all that dwell therein."

Christians see God revealed in Jesus Christ, who most certainly ministered
to the material needs of those whom he encountered and who, when one of his
disciples took up the sword to defend him in Gethesemane uttered the
memorable words: "All they that take the sword shall perish with the sword."

The Koran declares, in a passage read by Bashir Maan last 11 September at a
commemorative service in St Giles': "Righteousness does not consist in
whether you face the east or the west to pray. The righteous is oneŠ who for
the love of God gives his wealth to kinsfolk, to the orphan, to the needyŠ"
All three Abrahamic faiths strongly resist what Walter Wink has described as
materialism outlawing the divine.

>From a religious point of view, war in Iraq involves more than secular
politics. As Magnus Linklater reminded us on these pages recently, it raises
profound moral questions about the kind of world in which we live and the
ways in which we resolve international disputes. This is why religious
voices from around the world have joined in a chorus of concern over the way
things are developing.

Church thinking on the matter has been broadly guided by traditional "just
war" theory. The doctrine is based on the premise that, as war may be a
necessary evil, there should be criteria against which its legitimacy can be

The first test concerns legitimate authority and this the various church
statements locate in the United Nations Organisation. It was no mean
achievement to obtain unanimity around Security Council Resolution 1441,
including the support of Syria. What is important now is that the weapons
inspectors be allowed to report back to the UN where any follow-up decisions
can be taken by the Security Council.

There are clear signs, however, that parallel to this process, the United
States government is preparing to take unilateral military action. In that
event it is likely that our own government will commit British troops in

In face of this, the Churches, reasonably and legitimately, are anxious to
preserve the integrity of the United Nations, seeing it, in Bishop Richard
Harries' words as "a crucial sign that we are groping our way towards a
truly international authority".

The second test has to do with just cause. Regarding possible unilateral
action by the US the question would be whether the September 11 attacks
could be deemed an attack which allowed that country to retaliate against
Iraq in self-defence. Replying "yes" to that question would still leave a
question mark over British involvement.

However, there appears to date to be not a shred of evidence linking Iraq to
the September 11 atrocity, so that argument falls. The issue remains,
therefore, both legally and morally within a UN framework. Even then the
Security Council will require compelling evidence - presumably based on the
weapons inspectors' report - of "just cause" to warrant a new resolution
authorising military action.

The third test involves the use of all peaceful means to resolve the dispute
with war only as a very last resort. It is certainly good that the weapons
inspectors have resumed their duties and, in time, it will be for the UN to
study their findings.

However, there is also a need to develop a broad peace-building coalition so
that we see Iraq, not in isolation, but in context. I share the view that
the route to Baghdad leads through Jerusalem and that, if only we were to
apply more even-handed energy to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,
Saddam and others would lose much of their menace.

A declaration last August by the International Catholic Movement for Peace,
Pax Christi, which attracted over 3,000 ecumenical signatures, put it like
this: "The way to peace does not lie through war but through the
transformation of structures of injustice and of the politics of exclusion.
That is the cause to which the West should be devoting its technological,
diplomatic and economic resources."

The fourth test has to do with proportionality and whether war would create
more evil than it sought to redress. In November the General Synod of the
Church of England expressed concern over "the degree of suffering likely to
ensue" while the Scottish Catholic Bishops recalled the pope's words that
"the scale and horror of modern warfare made it an unacceptable means of
settling differences between nations".

In a letter to President Bush last September the United States Conference of
Catholic Bishops wrote: "War against Iraq could have unpredictable
consequences not only for Iraq but for peace and stability elsewhere in the
middle east," a concern also expressed by the Muslim Council of Great

The American bishops also worried that military action might provoke the
very kind of attacks it was intended to prevent. The final test has to do
with the prospect of success. There seems little doubt that US and UK forces
would prevail militarily over Saddam's Iraq. However, in terms of the
considerations raised under the previous test it might be difficult to
describe such an outcome as a success. Such are the concerns which continue
to weigh with the churches.

Meantime, we continue to pray for a peaceful outcome to a process designed
to ensure that the undeniably brutal Iraqi regime is not a threat to the
world community and to bring the isolated and suffering people of that
country back into the community of nations.


by Ed Johnson
Las Vegas Sun, 6th January

LONDON (AP): Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said Monday that the prospect of
war against Iraq has ebbed but that if conflict becomes unavoidable Britain
would prefer a second U.N. resolution authorizing military action.

While neither remark appeared to signal a change in Britain's firm support
for U.S. policy, it came against a background of fresh U.S. deployments
including a hospital ship, and British news reports suggesting that the
countdown to conflict had begun.

Asked to comment on a statement that the odds of war with Iraq had slipped
from 60-40 to 40-60, Straw told British Broadcasting Corp. radio that "I
think that is a reasonably accurate description."

Straw said nothing specific had happened to make him shift his estimate of
the chances of war, but said he was trying quell the notion in many
newspaper reports that war was unavoidable.

Ellie Goldsworthy, head of the U.K. armed forces program at the Royal United
Services Institute for Defense Studies, said Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein
would have no incentive to cooperate with weapons inspectors if a U.S.-led
attack was inevitable.

"Britain and America want the threat of military action to be credible but
not inevitable and want Saddam to think he can still do something about it.
They do not want him to start concentrating on defense strategies,"
Goldsworthy added.

Straw repeated his government's position that Britain would prefer a second
U.N. resolution authorizing military action against Saddam, if inspectors
found he had weapons of mass destruction.

"We have always made it clear, explicitly, our preference for a second
resolution if we think that military action was necessary and justified,"
Straw said. "I believe that it also the position of the United States."

Prime Minister Tony Blair's government has said since November that Britain
would prefer a second resolution before taking military action, but has said
it could join the United States in war without one.

The United States - backed by Britain - has threatened to use force to
disarm Iraq if it does not voluntarily give up chemical and biological
weapons as required by U.N. Security Council resolutions. Iraq maintains it
has no banned weapons.

Some European allies have said they would not support a war without a second
U.N. resolution.

"There has to be a clear decision in the U.N. for such a serious and
wide-reaching action," Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik said on

French Foreign Ministry spokesman Francois Rivasseau said "we continue to
believe that war is not inevitable."

"We must continue on the path that started with the adoption of Resolution
1441, that of the disarmament of Iraq" by U.N weapons inspectors, he told

A second resolution would be a dilemma for Germany, which takes a
non-permanent seat on the Security Council this year. Chancellor Gerhard
Schroeder has said his country would not participate in a military campaign,
but he has sidestepped questions about supporting a further resolution
authorizing force.

In a speech to British ambassadors from around the world Monday - the first
ever such gathering - Straw said that terrorists and rogue states like Iraq
and North Korea were part of the "same picture."

He said Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network "would stop at nothing to inflict
mass slaughter" and would use weapons of mass destruction if it could
acquire them.

"The most likely sources of technology and know-how for such terrorist
organizations are rogue regimes which continue to flaunt their obligations
under international law not to develop nuclear, chemical and biological
weapons," he said.

"North Korea typifies the unpredictable nature of the threats we face over
the next decade," Straw added.

The two-day meeting of 150 ambassadors was not a specific response to the
Iraq crisis, a Foreign Office spokesman said on condition of anonymity.

by Andrew Grice, Political Editor
The Independent, 9th January

Tony Blair was thrown on to the defensive over Iraq yesterday as his
strategy was called into question by Labour, Tory and Liberal Democrat MPs.

After there was little sign of support for Mr Blair at Prime Minister's
Questions, he came under fire at a private meeting with leaders of Labour
backbenchers last night. They demanded that no military action be launched
against Iraq without the specific approval of the United Nations.

But Downing Street was appearing to play down the prospect of early military
action against Saddam Hussein's regime. Mr Blair's official spokesman
suggested the report to be made to the United Nations Security Council by
Hans Blix, the UN's chief weapons inspector, on 27 January would not
necessarily be the moment when decisions were taken on a war. He said: "We
don't regard 27 January as a deadline."

Winning support for a new UN resolution to authorise military action "would
be preferable" but discussions could be held within the scope of the
existing resolution on Iraq.

The more cautious approach was seen at Westminster as an attempt to reassure
Labour MPs opposed to a war and to dissuade the American President, George
Bush, from rushing into a conflict immediately after Mr Blix delivers his

Mr Blair told MPs in the House he was not playing a game of "dangerous
brinkmanship" with President Saddam. The Baghdad regime had to be stripped
of its nuclear, chemical and biological programmes, and he said it was "only
a matter of time" before they fell into the hands of international
terrorists. "What I would actually think is dangerous is if we allow Saddam
to develop these weapons in breach of UN resolutions and do nothing about
it," he said. "We will rue the consequences of that weakness at a later

Iain Duncan Smith tried to exploit alleged differences over Iraq between
Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, and Geoff Hoon, the Defence Secretary,
who is seen as more hawkish. The Tory leader told Mr Blair: "Not for the
first time, this Government is sending different messages to different
audiences and cabinet ministers are in open disagreement. How can you
convince the British people that war might be necessary if you cannot
convince your own Cabinet?"

Mr Blair's official spokes-man said it was "simply not true" that the
Foreign Office and the Ministry of Defence were at odds and insisted the
Cabinet was "100 per cent united." The Prime Minister sidestepped a question
from Charles Kennedy, the Liberal Democrat leader, on whether he would back
US-led military action if UN inspectors failed to find clear evidence of
weapons of mass destruction. Some ministers privately fear the inspectors
will not find a "smoking gun", and that Mr Blair will decide to back
unilateral action by America.

The anxiety on the Labour benches was shown when Terry Davis, MP for
Birmingham Hodge Hill, asked Mr Blair pointedly: "Who is better placed to
decide whether Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction, President
Bush or Hans Blix?"

Michael Martin, the Commons Speaker, rejected a plea by the veteran Labour
MP Tam Dalyell for an emergency debate on Iraq "before any more British
servicemen and women are committed to the Gulf". Mr Dalyell said: "I
passionately believe that if we send British troops to risk their lives that
they are entitled to know that it is the settled overwhelming conviction of
their countrymen their case is just and they are doing something that is
urgent for Britain. That settled conviction at present does not exist.",3604,871226,00.html

by John Ezard
The Guardian, 9th January

In a rare step for a poet laureate, Andrew Motion today speaks out in his
newest poem against the momentum towards a US-led invasion of Iraq using
British forces who would be serving nominally under the Queen.

In the 30-word poem, Motion, who was appointed by the Queen in 1999, sides
with those who are "doubtful" about a war - and against the political
leaderships of Britain and America.

He said yesterday that the leaders' rhetoric hid "several of the motives
which are actually driving the thing forward. In other words, it's as much
to do with oil, imperialism and a sort of strange father fixation [on
President Bush's part]. They are not being candid".

The poem, printed here exclusively, is called Causa Belli, a Latin phrase
translated as "causes, motives or pretexts of war". It is based on an anti
thesis between "They... ", the leaders, and "Our straighter talk...", that
of doubters in conversations among the public.

In the poem, the doubters' voices are "drowned" by the leaders. But their
arguments are also described as "ironclad" because, Motion said yesterday,
"they will endure".

Motion's most famous precedent for doing this as poet laureate is Alfred
Lord Tennyson. Tennyson included in his poem The Charge of the Light Brigade
the controversial and popular lines "... the soldier knew/someone had

However, he was writing after the Crimean war. During the second world war
John Masefield as laureate published two patriotic volumes, A Generation
Risen and Some Verses to Some Germans.

Motion added: "I do believe that, if there are weapons of mass destruction
discovered in Iraq, something needs to be done.

"There is no compelling evidence yet. It may still come to light, in which
case the picture changes. This is not a poem about whether we should go to
war. We can't decide that because we don't yet know whether there are
weapons. It's a poem about wishing to be more candid.

"I have absolutely no misgivings about getting short words from the Queen.
In fact, if weapons do turn out to be there, I may well write a poem
supporting going."

During his tenure as laureate, Motion has often departed from the tradition
of ceremonial poems on royal occasions. He has written on Nelson Mandela,
national identity, homelessness and bullying.

He said: "My underlying feeling is that poetry ought to be part of general
life rather than being ghettoised."

CAUSA BELLI by Andrew Motion

They read good books, and quote, but never learn
a language other than the scream of rocket-burn.
Our straighter talk is drowned but ironclad:
elections, money, empire, oil and Dad.,,59-537060,00.html

Letter from Field Marshal Sir John Stanier
The Times, 9th January

Sir, Since my friend Tam Dalyell has included me in a list of people who are
"vehemently opposed" to war in Iraq I would like to make my position clear.
I am fully in support of our Government's wish to stand firmly with the
United States in their determination to defeat terrorism. I believe strongly
that we should retain our close ties with America, whose people and way of
life I respect and admire. I am also old enough to remember the immense debt
which we in Europe owe to America, without whom we should have fallen under
Hitlerite Fascism or later under Soviet Communism. But, despite this, I
remain unconvinced that an attack on Iraq is a necessary step in the War on

Over the past 30 years, America has a long record of attacking small
countries ‹ all admittedly with good intent. Panama, Grenada, Somalia,
Libya, Iraq, Serbia and Afghanistan all feature in this list. But despite
the good intentions, all these operations leave pockets of hatred for
America around the world. This hatred breeds terrorism.

While terrorism is one of the plagues of modern times, it is only one among
many. The drug trade and the Aids epidemic account for far more deaths and
misery than terrorism, while huge numbers of people in the world are simply
unable to feed themselves adequately. Our planet itself is endangered by the
output of noxious gases.

It is my reluctant conclusion that, until the United States shows herself to
be a caring and committed participant in combating the woes of the world,
her military options will only regenerate terrorism.

Yours faithfully,
The Old Farmhouse,
Hazeley Bottom, Hartley Wintney,
Hook, Hampshire RG27 8LU.
January 7.

by Kathy Marks in Sydney
The Independent, 10th January

Jack Straw warned yesterday that Iraqi weapons of mass destruction posed as
great a threat to the Muslim world as to the West.

Speaking in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, the Foreign
Secretary, said the Iraqi President, Saddam Hussein, had to be disarmed
either peacefully or by force. "If he continues to get away with it, other
would-be [weapons] proliferators will take heart and the world will become a
far more dangerous place," Mr Straw told an audience in the capital,

The Foreign Secretary is on a tour of South-east Asia aimed at gathering
support for British views on Iraq and other issues including terrorism and
North Korea's nuclear programme. He has been to Singapore and will travel to

Indonesia is concerned that a war on Iraq will inflame anti-Western
sentiment among its majority Muslim population. Hassan Wirajuda, the Foreign
Minister, said a report due to be filed on 27 January by UN weapons
inspectors would have more impact on the government's views than evidence of
breaches presented by individual countries such as Britain and the US. He
said Indonesia supported "multilateral efforts especially through the UN
Security Council to solve and clarify the existence of Iraq's possession of
weapons of mass destruction".

In a speech aimed at defusing Muslim anger at the prospect of war, Mr Straw
said action taken against Iraq should not be viewed as anti-Islam. He said
that while people in both Britain and Indonesia were anxious about the
prospect of war, "the consequences of a failure of nerve to deal with the
threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction are potentially
devastating for Muslims and non-Muslims alike".

He added: "The world would have then emboldened a dictator who had
previously shown no mercy in turning chemical weapons against the Iraqi
people and the Iranian army."

Moderate Muslim leaders reiterated their opposition to military action.
Ahmad Syafii Maarif, chairman of Indonesia's second largest Muslim
organisation, Muhammadiyah, said an attack on Iraq to oust President Saddam
would be tantamount to "state terrorism".


Washington Times, 5th January

BAGHDAD ‹ U.N. weapons inspectors began setting up a new office yesterday in
the northern city of Mosul to broaden the range of their searches while
Iraq's government declared that U.S. funding and military training for Iraqi
opposition groups violate international law and Iraqi sovereignty.

A team of experts in various weapons drove from Baghdad to Mosul, 250 miles
north in a convoy of white U.N. vans. The inspectors have visited sites near
the city before, but they've then had to return samples and equipment to

The new base "will serve as a convenient location to conduct inspections,
particularly in the north," U.N. spokesman Hiro Ueki said before the team
left for Mosul early yesterday.

The eight U.N. vans, followed by an ambulance, arrived in Mosul in
midafternoon, and the arms inspectors raised the blue U.N. flag over the
Nineveh Palace Hotel, their temporary headquarters until their new base is


by Nadim Ladki,
Boston Globe, 6th January

BAGHDAD, Reuters: UN weapons inspectors flexed their muscles yesterday,
searching a complex housing Iraq's own arms Monitoring Directorate and
leaving two senior Iraqi officials trapped inside and fuming for hours.

Iraqi officials said the UN specialists searched 16 sites across Iraq, the
largest number in a single day since the hunt for weapons of mass
destruction resumed Nov. 27 after a four-year gap.


In Iraq yesterday, an inspection sprung on the compound housing Baghdad's
arms Monitoring Directorate provoked protests from directorate chief General
Hussam Mohammed Amin and visiting UN Ambassador Mohammed al-Douri of Iraq.

Witnesses said UN inspectors closed the main gate and blocked the entrance
to the complex. For more than six hours, they stopped people and cars inside
the complex, filmed cars, and searched vehicles and personnel.

"They wanted to exercise their maximum intrusiveness, maximum hardness of
implementation of Resolution 1441," said Amin, clad in military fatigues.

UN specialists yesterday also searched other sites, including a graphite
facility, a hospital, and a university.


Baltimore Sun, 7th January

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP): U.N. arms experts used helicopters for the first time
today in their search for banned weapons in Iraq, while inspectors on the
ground visited at least six sites, including a missile factory and a cancer
research center.

The helicopters were the second step in recent days aimed at improving the
search for weapons of mass destruction or programs to develop them. On
Saturday, the inspectors opened a new base in Mosul and they've since
carried out daily searches around the northern city.

Western journalists were told they could not cover the take-off since it was
from a military base, but the Arabic satellite TV channel Al-Jazeera showed
white U.N. helicopters lifting off from Baghdad's Al-Rashid military air
base. It said three U.N. aircraft were tailed by two military choppers
carrying the Iraqi liaison officers who work with the inspectors.

The helicopters were said to be making an aerial survey, but U.N. officials
have said the choppers also would make it easier to swoop down on potential
weapons sites.


by John Hooper in Berlin
The Guardian, 8th January

The head of the UN's weapons inspectors in Iraq, Hans Blix, will tell the
security council tomorrow that several of the key claims in Tony Blair's
dossier of evidence against Saddam Hussein are unfounded, according to a
German newspaper report.

But, Die Tageszeitung says today, the UN will also be told that Baghdad had
failed to answer questions concerning its alleged efforts to produce weapons
of mass destruction.

The leak from the interim report appears to confirm comments by the head of
the the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed El Baradei, who said on
Monday that the inspectors had not so far found anything suspicious.

The claims in the British dossier that the paper says cannot be verified

‹ That production has been resumed at two key Iraqi plants suspected of
producing biological toxins;

‹ That Iraq breached a UN resolution by extending the reach of its
short-range missiles to 200km;

‹ That Baghdad had attempted covertly to acquire more than 60,000 of the
specialised aluminium tubes used in uranium enrichment.,2933,74940,00.html

Fox News, 8th January

UNITED NATIONS  ‹ Iraq's arms declaration fails to provide new answers to
key questions on stocks of biological agents such as anthrax, the nutrients
used in their production and the means to deliver them, according to U.N.
officials and an Associated Press review of the dossier.

In response to many of the questions, the Iraqis enclosed photocopies of 4-
and 5-year-old answers long considered insufficient by inspectors.

The biological declaration, part of a 12,000-page package the Iraqis handed
over to the United Nations on Dec. 7, is virtually identical to ones
submitted in 1996 and 1997, according to U.N. officials who spoke on
condition of anonymity. The earlier declarations were rejected by inspectors
as "deficient in all areas."

The only differences between the previous reports and the new one, the
inspectors said, related to equipment now being used in civilian areas.

Hans Blix, the chief U.N. weapons inspector, has said he plans to confront
the Iraqis about unanswered questions in Baghdad next week. He is also
expected to raise the matter in the Security Council on Thursday, when he
provides his second assessment of the Iraqi declaration.

Inspectors had hoped the Iraqi declaration ‹ which also includes sections on
chemical, nuclear and missile programs ‹ would address hundreds of questions
that inspectors outlined in a January 1999 report to the Security Council.
According to the 1999 report, Iraq had failed to account for thousands of
pounds of nutrients needed to produce anthrax, as well as materials used in
the production of mustard gas and aflotoxin.

One weapons inspector who serves under Blix and also worked for the previous
inspections regime, which ended in 1998, said anthrax remains the No. 1
concern for the biological weapons teams. "They could have provided new
answers, new information, but they didn't," the inspector said.

"During the last round of inspections we found more anthrax-filled warheads
than they had declared. We found seven and they declared five, so material
had to be produced to make seven and they still haven't told us where that
is," the inspector said.

According to U.N. Resolution 1441, crafted by the Bush administration and
approved by the Security Council on Nov. 8, any omissions or false
statements in Iraq's declaration, coupled with a failure to cooperate with
inspectors, could open the way for military action against Saddam Hussein's

Secretary of State Colin Powell has already said, based on an early
assessment of the declaration, that Iraq is in "material breach" of its
obligations under the resolution.

Baghdad claims it hasn't been working on weapons of mass destruction since
the 1991 Gulf War. A submission of anything new would have contradicted that

A team of weapons analysts on the 30th floor of U.N. headquarters in New
York have been poring over several thousand pages in the biological
declaration and comparing it to earlier, incomplete submissions, which were
a source of intense frustration for the previous inspection regime.

The AP reviewed Iraq's 1996 biological declaration and the 2002 dossier and
found them to be virtually identical although the new report includes
information Iraq provided in 1997 and 1998 in response to inspectors'
questions. Neither report has been made public.

For the first four years of inspections, which began at the end of the 1991
Persian Gulf War, Iraq denied it had a biological weapons program. Only in
the face of irrefutable evidence gathered by inspectors, did Baghdad finally
acknowledge the program in 1995, but inspectors were often unable to verify
Iraq's claims then to have destroyed its program.

"There were a lot of unanswered questions about the material balance and the
types and quantities of agents they had produced," said Jonathan Tucker, a
former biological weapons inspector. "Even though Iraq claimed to have
eliminated its biological program in '91, there was evidence, even while
inspectors were operating in the country, that it continued to develop
capabilities for that program," he said.

Soon after U.N. inspectors left Baghdad in December 1998 ahead of U.S. and
British airstrikes to punish the Iraqi government for its lack of
cooperation, former chief weapons inspector Richard Butler produced a
280-page report on Iraq's disarmament.

Butler said inspectors remained strongly convinced that Baghdad had
documents that would reveal "the full picture" of its weapons programs ‹ but
had refused to hand them over.

But Iraq claims in its latest report that it has no such documents and can
only reconstruct events based on the memories of those involved in the
program. In some cases, the Iraqis wrote there was no way to provide fuller
answers since they had unilaterally destroyed all the evidence and the
documents related to the biological weapons program, which they claim ended
after the Gulf War.

The Butler report cites Iraq's failures to account for all stocks of
biological agents and the nutrients used in their production. Inspectors
said, for example, that they believe Iraq produced three times the amount of
anthrax and 16 times more gas gangrene than Baghdad declared.

Butler's report, submitted to the Security Council in January 1999,
concluded that Iraq's declaration had been "deficient in all areas."

Another U.N. official said inspectors were surprised that the Iraqis "didn't
even make an effort to make the answers look new. It's the same old stuff."

For example, many of the answers are addressed to Butler's inspections
regime, known as UNSCOM, rather than to Blix's U.N. Monitoring, Verification
and Inspection team, which uses the acronym UNMOVIC.

In one section, Iraq claims that it has destroyed all records of any tests
it conducted with biological weapons.

"Therefore any discrepancies found between the accounts given in this
declaration and the reports and visual records are entirely due to failure
of recollecting exact details rather than withholding information, contrary
to what UNSCOM may seem to think," the declaration said.

An international panel that made recommendations to the Security Council on
Iraq's disarmament in March 1999 said "critical gaps" in Iraq's biological
program "need to be filled to arrive at a reasonably complete picture."

It noted that biological warfare agents can be produced using simple
equipment and Iraq possesses the capability and knowledge to make them
"quickly and in volume."

The panel said Iraq needs to account for 500 R-400 aerial bombs equipped for
chemical and biological agents, for 550 artillery shells filled with mustard
gas that it claimed to have lost shortly after the Gulf War, and for its
military plans to use the deadly nerve agent VX.

Yahoo, 9th January

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the U.N. nuclear
watchdog agency, told the U.N. Security Council on Thursday that aluminum
tubes suspected of being a part of an Iraqi nuclear arms program were
unsuitable for that use.

ElBaradei, director-general of the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy
Agency, said according to his speaking notes obtained by Reuters that U.N.
arms inspectors in Iraq had concluded that the tubes "appear to be
consistent with reverse engineering of rockets," as Baghdad has claimed,
rather than for enriching uranium for nuclear arms.

The United States and Britain have raised the alarm in recent months over
alleged attempts by Iraq to buy aluminum tubes that could be used to process
uranium. Iraq denied the charges and said it had had the tubes since the

by Serge Schmemann
International Herald Tribune, from The New York Times, 10th January

UNITED NATIONS, New York: The chief United Nations arms inspector in Iraq
told the Security Council on Thursday that his team had found no "smoking
gun" so far, but he also charged that the information supplied by Iraq was
"devoid of any new evidence" that the country had no weapons of mass

The report by Hans Blix, who heads the UN Monitoring, Verification and
Inspection Commission, and another by Mohamed ElBaradei, the director of the
International Atomic Energy Agency, who is charged with checking on Iraq's
nuclear capabilities, did not appear substantially to affect the positions
of the United States or other governments over what would constitute
justification for military action.

John Negroponte, the U.S. representative, sternly declared that Iraq's
failure to provide the required information was a "deliberate attempt to
deceive" the Security Council and so amounted to a "material breach" of the
council's resolutions.

But Negroponte did not directly address a major question hanging over the
council's deliberations: whether failure by Iraq to provide the required
information by Jan. 27, when the inspectors are scheduled to provide a
formal progress report, would effectively be a trigger for military action.

"This is entirely up to Iraq," Negroponte said. "We have to see what happens
between now and then." Failure by Baghdad to change its behavior by then, he
said, would be an "extremely serious matter," but he stopped short of
declaring that it would automatically trigger war.

Negroponte's comments were considerably sharper than those of other council
members, including Britain, Washington's closest ally on the issue. Sir
Jeremy Greenstock, the British representative, argued against treating Jan.
27 as a deadline. The report scheduled for that day, he said, would be only
"another in a series of reports, not the last by any means."

His advice, he said, was "to calm down about the 27th."

The German ambassador, Guenter Pleuger, whose country has opposed a war
against Iraq, was more explicit. The report of the inspectors, he said,
reaffirmed Germany's position that the inspections should continue, and
"that there are no grounds for military action."

Both Blix and ElBaradei, who are scheduled to visit Iraq on Jan. 19,
declined to discuss military alternatives, saying that this was a political
decision of the Security Council.

Blix, whose inspectors began work in Iraq on Nov. 27 and are now about 100
strong, said 150 inspections of 127 sites had now been conducted, and that
Iraq had posed no obstacles. "If we had found any 'smoking gun,' we would
have reported it to the Council," he said.

But Blix stressed that this did not support Iraq's contention that the
country was free of illegal weapons, and he criticized the absence of
convincing information in the voluminous declaration that Baghdad was
required to give the Security Council last month about its weapons programs.
Under the Security Council resolution adopted in November, Iraq is required
actively to assist the inspectors.

Referring to the 12,000-page declaration that Iraq submitted in December,
Blix said, "The overall impression is that it is rich in volume but poor in
new information about weapons issues and practically devoid of new

"In order to create confidence that it has no more weapons of mass
destruction or proscribed activities relating to such weapons, Iraq must
present credible evidence," he said. "There is still time for it."

ElBaradei, in his report, also declared that "to date, no evidence of
ongoing prohibited or nuclear-related activities has been detected" - though
he, too, said Iraq had supplied no new information.

But on one specific charge made by the United States, about an attempt by
Iraq to procure high-strength aluminum tubes, ElBaradei appeared to absolve
Baghdad, saying that the tubes, while in violation of other prohibitions,
did not appear suitable for the manufacture of centrifuges, which would be
used in a nuclear program.

Blix also criticized Iraq for failing to provide the names of all personnel
currently or formerly associated with programs to develop weapons of mass
destruction. The names supplied by Iraq, he said, did not even include those
given in previous lists.

"We do not feel that the Iraq side has made a serious effort to respond to
the request we made," he said.

Both inspectors said they had run into problems trying to interview
scientists privately, or outside Iraq, as the United States has demanded.

"Iraq is a totalitarian country, and we do not want to have interviews where
people are intimidated," he told reporters. "We are ready to use the options
that we can, but at the same time we cannot force any individual to speak if
he doesn't accept that. Or we cannot force anybody to go abroad, or force
them to defect."

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