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News titles, 15-22/01/03 Saddam Hussein has declared that he has no problem sleeping at night, doesn't need a sleeping pill, and that, although he may feel obliged to put on a stern expression in public, inside himself he is smiling ('Saddam says he's smiling ...', Inside Iraq). This declaration is not without its importance. Humiliating 'Saddam' and causing him to squirm has been one of the main aims of US foreign policy in the region since the United Nations' war. Saddam Hussein is the little mobster who has tried to make it into the big time and needs to be put in his place, visibly, for all to see. But since he has not been humiliated, and continues to raise the voice of defiance, the Americans - especially those very touchy Americans called the 'Neo-Conservatives (though what it is they're supposed to be conserving is anyone's guess) - don't feel they won the war. That is one of the main driving forces behind the present campaign. And on that reading, at this point in time, they are still losing, and Hussein is still winning. They look increasingly fraught and irritable. He is still looking fresh as a daisy. With a quite staggering display of political and diplomatic ineptitude, the United States leadership has dissipated the almost universal support and friendship that was being thrown at them in the wake of the attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon. Though perhaps that support and friendship was not quite as sincere as it could have been. Perhaps the feeling that the US was getting some of its own medicine was more widespread than anyone would care to admit. Now all Iraq's neighbours (see nearly all the articles in the Middle East relations section) and all the major powers except Britain (see nearly all the articles in the International relations section) are more or less openly expressing hostility and contempt - a hostility and contempt which is likely to continue even if the US score a mighty victory in Iraq, as everyone expects they will. Rumsfeld's remarks about 'old' Europe and the 'vast numbers' (I heard this expression on the radio. It suggests his sense of geography is rather shaky) of new European countries that support him are not likely to help very much. The only real card that the neo-conservatives still have is terror. Their use of force will be so spectacular that we will all be cowed into submission and rush to do their will. And perhaps we will. But this is a recipe for the rapid degradation of the whole world to the sort of existence that is presently enjoyed (and has been since the general acceptance of Theodore Roosevelt's interpretation of the Monroe doctrine) by southern America. We should all get interested in southern America. It may be the future. And yet, one feels, it could all have been very different. There is a real problem with Iraq. It is simply this. Potentially, given its oil reserves, it is an immensely powerful country. The lifting of sanctions, which is CASI's main concern, means in practical terms (leaving aside the options of war and revolution) restoration of control over this great economic potential to the Iraqi government. That government is a militant nationalist dictatorship which has attempted to create a unified nation out of very unpromising material under very difficult conditions (see 'Iraqi Wild Card' and 'Hussein's efforts to pacify Shiites may pay off', Inside Iraq) several times facing the imminent possibility of complete breakdown. National unity is not something that comes easily. In many if not most countries of the world (including France and Britain) it has been achieved over a long period of time through terror and civil war. It is after such national unity has been achieved, after one of the competing protection rackets has managed to establish perpetual control of all the others, that a functioning illusion of 'democracy' begins to be possible. What is the point of including history as a subject in the core curriculum if such things are still not understood? These are real problems, problems the Americans will face when and if they step into Mr Hussein's shoes. Problems the British had to face before him. If the debate could be advanced in these terms instead of as a sterile and hysterical confrontation between Good Guys and Bad Guys, then perhaps it would change its nature. It could be something other than a confrontation between long distance terror (us) and eyeball to eyeball terror (Saddam). Such a debate might not spare us the horrors of war. But at least it would spare us the horror of having our intelligence insulted every time we open a newspaper. NEWS, 15-22/01/03 (1) INSIDE IRAQ * Confronting Iraq [Rather a good account of the effect of Oil for Food on the Iraqi economy. Includes acounts of CASI list subscribers 'Ghazwan Al-Mukhtar, a member of Iraq's old business elite ...' and Nermin Al-Mufti] * Iraqi exile [Engineer, Azzam Alwash] dreams of restoring life to marshlands * Iraqi Wild Card [Interesting article on the workings of the tribal system in Iraq. The Ba'ath Party tried to eliminate it but since the UN's Gulf War has had to come to terms with it: 'Hussein now appears so confident about support within many of Iraq's 150 major tribes, which comprise about 2,000 smaller clans, that he has given them tens of thousands of light weapons to distribute to their members.' The killing of Saddam Hussein's sons in law is probably correctly situated within the domain of 'tribal justice'] * TV antennas are mushrooming [in Iraq] * Hussein's efforts to pacify Shiites may pay off * Group [Human Rights Watch] Demands Arrest of Envoy [Gen. Hassan al-Majid] for Kurdish Campaign [A cause I might have supported if I thought it would be followed by the arrests of Norman Schwarzkopf and some of his associates] * Bush has his 'casus belli' but will war be worth it? [Rosie Dimanno, writing in the Toronto Star, after complaining about 'anti-war activists who are maddeningly ill-informed and conspiracy-minded,' launches into a ferocious attack on Saddam Hussein. She certainly seems to think the war is worth it] * Christians Say Saddam's Iraq a Safe Haven [Unusual encounter with Syrian Orthodox - as opposed to Chaldaean - Christians in the Mosul area, 'where the various Christian denominations make up almost half of the population'] * Saddam says he's smiling inside despite threats URLs ONLY: http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Artic le_Type1&c=Article&cid=1035776772542&call_pageid=968332188854&col=9683500607 24 * Iraq's troubled children of war by OLIVIA WARD Toronto Star, 18th January [Moving account of suffering in Iraq emphasising the hatred of the US. It begins with this: 'I suffer loss. Who saves me now? Where shall I run to? In my bedroom There is a wolf.' ‹ From "Wolf," by Iraqi poet Yaseen Taha Hafiz] http://observer.co.uk/iraq/story/0,12239,878001,00.html * The environmental damage of war in Iraq by Duncan McLaren and Ian Willmore of Friends of the Earth Observer, 19th January [The article is a little out of date. It expresses fear that US bombing might destroy the wetlands ... Otherwise its fine but mostly familiar territory] AND, IN NEWS, 15-22/01/03 (2) INSPECTIONS PROCESS * Iraq objects to use of spy planes in U.N. search [It is indeed outrageous that US pilots preparing for what will probably be an 'illegal' (ie non-UNSC authorised) war should be allowed to overfly the territory in spy planes. It is bizarre that Hans Blix should even think of it.] * Inspectors' find raises more questions than answers [On the discovery of the chemical warheads] * Arms inspectors search scientists' homes, field [Siezure of documents at the home of Faleh Hassan, 'a physicist and director of a military installation that specializes in laser development'] * Discovery not surprising, former inspectors say [Warheads. The article gives details of similar material destroyed previously, and when] * Discovery of Iraq's Chemical Warheads Not a 'Smoking Gun', Says Blix [Hans Blix visiting Mr Blair] * No Violations at Iraqi Sites of Concern [Going through the places indicated as sites of concern by the US and Britain] * 'Nuclear data' found in scientist's home * Blix Says Document Find in Iraq Worrying * Indian firm sold prohibited materials to Iraq ['the first clear evidence that Iraq obtained materials over the past four years to produce or deliver weapons of mass destruction'] * Iraq: The disputed evidence [Outlines the points in which Hans Blix says Iraq has not been fully co-operative, which is theoretically sufficient to trigger ... what? 'Serious consequences' I think is the phrase] * Iraq and UN reach deal on cooperation [Ten point agreement which does not allow overflights by US spy planes] * Physicist Is Key in U.N. Probe in Iraq [Account of UN arms expert, Demetrius Perricos] OPPOSITION/COLLABORATION * Iraqi Exiles Start Reporting for Training ['the exact number of men and exact jobs they'll do are still to be determined', five years after the 'passage of the 1998 Iraq Liberation Act, which ... authorized $97 million to train and equip his (President Hussein's) opponents.] * 3,000 Iraqi exiles to train at US base in Hungary for secret role in war AND, IN NEWS, 15-22/01/03 (3) IRAQI/INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS * Chretien Wants U.N. Campaign Against Iraq * Czech News Agency: Iraq may use smallpox - press [The Czechs seem to know an awful lot. Not only that the Iraqis probably have smallpox (assiduous readers will remember that UNSCOM once found an empty jar with the word 'smallpox' written on it in Arabic) but also that they have 83 rockets with a range of 600km. One wonders why Mr Blix doesn't consult with them instead of with the obviously much less efficient intelligence services of the US and Britain ...] * Czech Republic OKs Iraq Troop Deployment [A 'unit could be sent to treat soldiers injured by chemical or biological weapons attacks', an area in which the Czechs seem to have a particular expertise.] * German on trial says equipment was bound for Iraq * Dalai Lama against 'thrusting war' on Iraq * US seeks aid from Nato as rift grows * Poland to Contribute Troops to Operation in Iraq * Poland Needs US Missile Defense System: Defense Minister [Poland seeks from the US the sort of relationship it used to enjoy with the USSR] * Allies start to squabble over arms report [It seems that the 1999 resolution setting UNMOVIC up requires Hans Blix to report again on March 27. The US, having other plans, wants the UN Security Council to drop this requirement] * Iraq still in firing line if weapons not found [But the Australian Minister of Defence, Robert Hill, still thinks its up to the Security Council to make the decision] * Russia has reasons to worry [Presumably Mark Brzezinski is something to do with Zbigniew. He refers to 'the Saudi oil glut of 1985, when Saudi Arabia allowed its excess capacity to flood the market and drive oil prices down to $12 a barrel, ruining any hopes of a Soviet economic revival.', an element in the downfall of the Soviet Union which is rarely mentioned. Mark, perhaps a chip off the old block, goes on to say that President Hussein's 'abrogation of the Lukoil contract should make the Russians more willing to cooperate with Washington'. Yet the Russians are still running after President Hussein. Do they know something we don't?] * Israeli Astronaut Bombed Iraqi Nuclear Reactor in 1981 * Voting 'yes' to war on Iraq inconceivable: Germany [sez Defence Minister Peter Struck] * Russian Firms Clinch 3 Oil Deals in Iraq [LUKoil contract to develop the vast West Qurna field; Gazprom's construction arm Stroitransgaz to develop block 4 of the Western Desert oil field. Soyuzneftegaz to develop the Rafidayn oil field in southern Iraq. All giving Russia strong reasons for wanting to keep the present Iraqi government in power and to lift sanctions] * France may block U.S. war march [Divisions at UN Security Council foreign ministers meeting on Monday 20th] * Nato backs US on Iraq [Sez George 'Lord' Robertson (though his argument presupposes a UN Security Council resolution)] * Germany, France Line Up Against Iraq War NORTHERN IRAQ/SOUTHERN KURDISTAN * Iraqi opposition postpones Kurd-hosted congress [The proposal was that it should be held in KDP territory. The KDP are very conscious that the US may ditch the Iraqi opposition altogether (what else do all the stories about seeking an exile for Saddam Hussein mean?) In which case they will be left facing a US backed Ba'ath government. Hardly surprising that they want a more substantial US commitment. Which the ever sinister Zalmay Khalilzad says he may be able to give them in early February.] * Kurdestan Ready to Exchange Tourists with North Iraq [Surprise article of the week. Though 'Iraq' here seems to be a misprint for 'Iran'] * U.S. Building Secret Military Airport in Northern Iraq [In Arbil Province of Iraq. Which, if I'm not mistaken, is KDP territory] URL ONLY: http://www.tehrantimes.com/Description.asp?Da=1/16/03&Cat=2&Num=21 * Iraqi Kurdish Militia Prepare for War Tehran Times, 16th January [Although in general this article is just the usual account of PUK agonising it slips in the following surely rather important piece of information: 'Massoud Barzani, leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), which shares control over autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan with the PUK, was quoted by the Lebanese press as saying Monday that his forces would play no part in an upcoming war.'] NO FLY ZONES * US, UK attack Iraqi radar [Sunday (sic. Friday?), 17th January. Ad Diwaniyah, about 120km south of Baghdad] * U.S., British Planes Hit Iraqi 'No-Fly' Sites [Sunday 19th January. Eight sites located between Al Kut, about 95 miles southeast of Baghdad, and An Nasiriyah, around 170 miles southeast of Baghdad, following attacks on similar targets on Friday 17th] * Unmanned U.S. craft shot down, Iraq says [On Wednesday 22nd January (the US authorities later denied it). The article includes the rather touching phrase: 'our civilian military installations'] AND, IN NEWS, 15-22/01/03 (4) IRAQI/MIDDLE EASTERN RELATIONS (1) * Kuwaitis support war to oust Saddam ['Because of the threat of Scuds and the constant presence of U.S. troops, Kuwait has the most sophisticated air-defense system in the region. Patriot missile batteries ring the city and other strategic areas. Gas masks have been widely distributed.' Meanwhile, in Kudistan ...] * Turkey, Arabs advising Saddam to go into exile: diplomats [This article claims that the initiative came from the Turkish Prime Minister Abdullah Gul] * Syrian diplomacy stalls as Assad calls off Tehran visit [Roundup of regional press from the Lebanon Daily Star. Extracts. Syrian Vice President in Moscow to negotiate 'the supply of a Russian-built nuclear power station' and military equipment; new Arab order proposed by Saudi Arabia (see Revived 'Fertile Crescent', later in this section); article from Beirut which takes seriously the notion that the US might create a "reformist democratic Islamic Iraq"; and a disquisition on the absurdity of the London based conference on Palestine: 'Sharon's snub was a "public insult" to Blair, all the more humiliating because the Bush administration did not intervene in his favor, despite the "many services" he has rendered it in the Middle East ...'] * Iran warns US to be ready for tough fight [in Iraq. The article also reminds us that the haj (pilgrimage) season is coming up in February and would not be suitable for war] * Turkey to host Iraq summit * Saddam ready to go into exile: Diplomats' proposal in few days ['According to the three diplomats, further conditions for Saddam's departure would be the withdrawal of United States troops from the Gulf region, the end of United Nations arms inspections and sanctions against Iraq as well as measures against the production of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. However, the US had so far rejected these conditions and Egypt was now trying to convince Baghdad to accept a compromise, the diplomats said.'] * An alliance with a price tag may prove too costly [William Safire likes the Turks. So long as they continue to do what they're told. He gives reasons why it is in their interests to toe the line. Very strong reasons. Which makes it all the more obvious that they must have very strong reasons - reasons that are perhaps outside Mr Safire's range of comprehension - for not doing it.] * Report: Saudi Arabia Plotting Iraqi Coup * Are strains surfacing between Iran and Syria? [Daily Star, Lebanon round up of the regional press. Syrian suspicion that Iran is cosying up to the US; possibility of an Israeli attack on southern Lebanon; speculation on the US' likely next target after Iraq - including Pakistan, whose relations with Washington seem to be cooling fast] * Revived 'Fertile Crescent' to crown 'new' Middle East [Piece by Jamal Ahmad Khashoggi, Saudi political analyst and deputy editor in chief of Saudi Arabia's English-language Arab News, envisaging the possibility of a single Middle East embracing the whole area - excluding Israel - in a common economy and culture. The villain of the piece is Gertrude Bell. His optimism is encouraged by the desire of Turkey to co-ordinate its efforts with everyone else] URLs ONLY: http://news.independent.co.uk/world/politics/story.jsp?story=368408 * New crisis, old lessons by Robert Fisk The Independent, 15th January [Account of Suez crisis drawing some not really terribly cogent parallels with the present situation in Iraq (one obvious difference lies in the respective popularity ratings of Presidents Nasser and Hussein)] http://www.tehrantimes.com/Description.asp?Da=1/16/03&Cat=12&Num=1 * Regional Cooperation Necessary to Thwart Foreign Intervention by Nahid Pilvar Tehran Times, 16th January [Interview with Sabah Zangeneh, the Iranian presidential advisor on foreign policy, especially on Iranian-Kwaiti relations. Eg 'Has Kuwait accepted that it made a mistake in supporting Iraq during that country's war with Iran?' which reminds us that Kuwait too, was allied to Iraq at the time when it was using chemical weapons against the Kurds and the Iranians; and that the Kuwaitis undoubtedly helped to pay for them. Otherwise the interview is a bit of an old Soviet style succession of lofty sentiments] AND, IN NEWS, 15-22/01/03 (5) IRAQI/MIDDLE EASTERN RELATIONS (2) * Ghost of Lebanon looms over Iraq [Interesting comparison between Lebanon in 1982 and Iraq now. Some familiar faces, notably William Safire and Charles Krauthammer. 'And, as the hawks never tire of repeating, US forces are likely to be welcomed with flowers and celebrations by ethnic, political, and religious minorities, that have suffered enormously under Saddam Hussein - just like the Israelis were received by the Shiites in southern Lebanon 21 years ago.'] * Qataris Voice No Fears of Saddam, but Question U.S. Motives [Vox pop in Qatar finds most people unenthusiastic about the US presence in their midst. An amusing misprint introduces us to a certain 'Mr Mush' ...] * Kuwait says spy arrest shows Iraq has evil intent [Its a bit rich complaining that 'the Iraqi regime continues to harbour evil intentions towards Kuwait' when, as the article states, 'More than 15,000 American troops are training on its soil for a possible U.S.-led attack on Iraq'] * Aoun predicts multiple 'regime changes' after Saddam falls [General Aoun, who led the last stand for Christian Maronite power in the Lebanon before Syria took over, hopes that a US war against the whole region will vindicate him in the eyes of posterity] * Beirut, excluded from Ankara summit on Iraq, wants to be kept informed * U.N. War Missing Envoy Arrives in Kuwait [Yuli Vorontsov 'said both countries have made "very good progress" in talks to determine the fate of those missing since the Gulf War.' We're still not told if USUK representatives were present.] * Kuwait: Alleged Iraq spy intended to poison U.S. troops * Turkey Hosts Top General [Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers] For Talks on U.S. Force * Ambush Kills One American, Wounds Another in Kuwait * Abul Ragheb: Jordan will not take part in any military act against Iraq ['even if this came at a UN resolution, nor will Jordan permit the use of its lands or airspace for this purpose'] * Washington is making Saddam an offer he can't accept [Daily Star, Lebanon, round up of regional press. Extracts. Confusion over Hussein exile proposal; Saudis arguing need to get best outcome if war occurs, especially in relation to Turkey; squabbles in the Lebanese government; Cairo trying and failing to do what London tried and failed to do with the Palestinians] * Pharaohs and liberators [Pepe Escobar on the prospects for the Saddam in Exile option; and the likelihood of an Osama bin Laden strike in the event of a war on Iraq] * Turkey to Allow U.S. to Use Bases Under a Smaller Plan [New York Times interview in which Yasar Yakis, the foreign minister, proposes a plan which would allow a small American presence on the Northern front. The thinking is fairly obvious. If the Americans invade from the South and Turkey makes it clear that they will not permit an attack from the North, Saddam will abandon the North and concentrate his efforts on the South. Then the Kurds will rise. Which the Turks don't want. The idea is to have just enough of a US presence to keep the Iraqi army in place and inhibit the Kurds] * Turkey to Allow U.S. to Use Bases [Extract in which Yakis denies that the strategy outlined in the above NYTimes article had been agreed] AND, IN NEWS, 15-22/01/03 (6) ANTI-WAR PROTESTS * Local Professors Protest Against War In Iraq [One hundred of them, in north-east Ohio] * Iraq War Protesters: Sanctions Have Been A Disaster [Meeting organised by Voices in the Wilderness in London] * Thousands in U.S. Rally Against Iraq War * A King Day Plea for Peace: Antiwar Message Dominates Observances at Area Churches, Rallies * Demonstrators wrap up a weekend of protests against possible war with Iraq * Volunteer 'Human Shields' to Head for Iraq [The article remembers the western hostages who 'were put near sensitive sites in a bid to stop attacks that proved futile, although there are not thought to have been any casualties among the Western hostages', forgetting that they were all released before the war started] IMPLICATIONS OF WAR * Questions about war that can't be ignored [Philip Gold, military strategist whose natural home would appear to have been with the hawks but who sees many dangers in the proposed war with Iraq: "Since Vietnam, whenever we've been hit, we run." Though he emphasises possible hatred between Kurds and Shia. Is that such a problem?] * Child fighters would pose ethical nightmare for allied troops in Gulf ['Experts have said the Iraqi regime has been intensely training children aged 10 to 15 ...'] * Iraq Has Mined Its Oil Wells [This brief but charged article also suggests that the US plan to invade from Jordan] * Iraq warned against using human shields [It seems that it is illegal, and could even be construed as a war crime, for a fair skinned blue eyed person to go anywhere near an electricity generator if the US military is thinking of bombing it. But since the USA never declares war - at least not, so far as I know since 1941 - one wonders if anything it does or anyone does against it can really be regarded as a war crime.] * The dangers of delaying an attack on Iraq [Michael O'Hanlon, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, Washington, DC, thinks we have to attack in order to preserve the credibility of the United Nations. Paper, as Stalin once remarked, will support anything that is written on it] * The Media Column: War journalists should not be cosying up to the military [by Robert Fisk. Who also warns, though a little less forcefully, against cosying up to the Iraqi military ...] * Averting another Gulf War syndrome [The US are putting a lot of effort into this. Since the UK still denies the existence of Gulf War syndrome one wonders if they are doing likewise] AND, IN NEWS, 15-22/01/03 (7) IRAQI/US RELATIONS * Public Not Persuaded on War With Iraq [Pew Research Centre poll] * US 'obstructing aid to Iraq' [Complaint from US co-ordinating group, InterAction] * America didn't seem to mind poison gas [Joost R. Hiltermann claims to be in a position to finally lay to rest the story that Iran was responsible for the chemical attacks in Halabja. He has documentary proof - not given here - that the whole story was got up by the Pentagon] * Chicago City Council Rejects War on Iraq ['Anti-war statements have been passed in other U.S. cities, including Evanston, Ill., Baltimore, Seattle, Ithaca, N.Y., Berkeley, Calif., and Kalamazoo, Mich.'] * Powell: US Will Present Evidence Iraq Has Banned Weapons ['Powell says Iraq's lack of cooperation will be proven by the end of the month', which is now pretty close. Perhaps he's referring to the Apparatus of Lies document] * Rumsfeld: Saddam exile could avoid war * [Senator Edward] Kennedy slams Bush on Iraq * US special operations teams lead hunt to track down Saddam * US retired general [Maj-Gen Jay M. Garner] to plan Iraq's future * Hart says he opposes Iraq war [Gary Hart, apparently testing the water for a new attempt at the presidency. '"How short is the time before suicidal young people with nothing to gain and nothing to lose blow themselves up in U.S. shopping malls in a tragic search for martyrdom?" he asked.' I've been wondering that too. Why should al-Qaida be expected just to do big spectaculars?] * US details Iraq's 'apparatus of lies' [Document from the 'newly-created office within the White House - the Office of Global Communications'] URL ONLY: http://www.cnn.com/2003/LAW/01/18/iraq.chemical.suit/index.html * Gulf War veterans suing companies for chemical exports by Phil Hirschkorn and Richard Roth CNN, 18th January [Quite a long article on the subject with names of concerned companies] IRAQI/UK RELATIONS * Bishops Condemn Plans for War with Iraq ['we have contained this threat over the last 10 years by a policy of deterrence and containment' sez the Bishop of Oxford, thus endorsing a policy of deliberately condemning thousands of small children to a slow death by starvation and disease] * US, British leaders to meet on Iraq [on January 31st, after Hans Blix's report to the UNSC and George Bush's State of the Union address] * McConnell fights rebels over Iraq [Vote on anti-war (or rather pro-UN Security Council) SNP motion in the Scottish Parliament] * Rough ride at Holyrood for Blair's Iraq line [The Labour Party disgrace themselves in showing loyalty to their leader - who has shown scant loyalty to them - in Scotland] * Enthusiasm for Iraq war wanes, poll finds [MORI poll which says 77 per cent would oppose war without UN backing. 62 per cent disapprove of Mr Blair's handling of the problem] * Lengthy conflict could cost British taxpayers £5bn * Plan to lock up Iraqis [in Britain] _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. 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