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News, 22-29/01/03 (2) IMPLICATIONS OF WAR * Use winning strategy from Cold War on Iraq * US begins secret talks to secure Iraq's oilfields * Freeing Iraqis is worth the trouble * Vital to get allies onside, for when the war dust settles * The art of a desert war * Iraq Faces Massive U.S. Missile Barrage * A mess of our making * Regime change in Iraq isn't optional * The Prince of Peace Was a Warrior, Too * Iraq War: The First Question * Bloody Coward IMPLICATIONS OF WAR http://www.sunspot.net/news/opinion/oped/bal op.iraq23jan23,0,7239011.story?coll=bal%2Doped%2Dheadlines * USE WINNING STRATEGY FROM COLD WAR ON IRAQ by Ray Takeyh Baltimore Sun, 23rd January FOR THE past several months, the debate over Iraq has focused on the presumed inadequacies of the decade-long containment policy. For Bush administration hawks, the notion of containing Saddam Hussein is not only naive but dangerously untenable given the Iraqi dictator's efforts to acquire nuclear weapons. Advocates of containment, including America's staunchest allies, inexplicably retain faith in a policy of economic sanctions and arms inspections that offers only the flimsiest restraints on Iraq's nuclear ambitions. The problem with this debate is its assumption that a containment regime is necessarily static and cannot be conditioned to meet evolving dangers. The answer to the Iraqi threat, even a Saddam Hussein with the bomb, is neither pre-emptive war nor the status quo, but a different type of containment. The Bush administration's peculiar obsession with Mr. Hussein, and its proclaimed affinity for pre-emptive war, obscures the reality that America has faced dangerous tyrants before. For much of the Cold War, the United States confronted an aggressive Soviet empire imbued with an expansionist ideology. Washington negated the Soviet challenge by trip-wire deterrence, placing American forces on the frontiers of Europe to ensure that a Soviet attack would trigger an unacceptable U.S. retaliation. Despite its overwhelming conventional and nuclear power, the logic of deterrence and the risks of escalation led successive Soviet leaders to conform to America's lines of containment. Nor is the Soviet example unique. The American armada managed to easily contain Mao Tse-tung's aggressive designs against Taiwan. Both Mao and Stalin, two of history's most pernicious tyrants, appreciated the strategic disutility of nuclear weapons when confronted with expressed American commitment. This model of trip-wire containment can similarly contain Iraq. Instead of waging unilateral war in contravention of international opinion, Washington can use the current crisis to craft a durable containment regime, buttressed by U.N. resolutions and multilateral forces. The task is to craft Security Council resolutions guaranteeing the territorial integrity of Iraq's most vulnerable and valuable neighbors, such as Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi. Following passage of such resolutions, the United States and its allies can dispatch a symbolic contingent of several thousand troops to Iraq's periphery, ensuring that if Mr. Hussein invades his neighbors he will have to kill U.S. troops and violate international treaties, leading to full-scale U.S. retaliation. Indeed, such a containment policy is likely to garner active allied cooperation, as both European and Arab states would prefer to avert a destabilizing military conflict in the Middle East. Instead of a lonely invasion, trip-wire deterrence would ensure that America's lines in the sand enjoy international approbation and moral legitimacy. The critical question remains whether nuclear weapons in Mr. Hussein's hands would alter the calculus of trip-wire containment. As the hawks continuously insist, Mr. Hussein is a serial aggressor who has twice invaded his neighbors and used chemical weapons against both the Kurds and Iranians. Mr. Hussein is a brutal, aggressive dictator, but his belligerence has always been calculated, even rational. The awkward reality remains that, given fears of revolutionary Iran, Mr. Hussein was relatively assured that the Reagan administration and the Persian Gulf princes would countenance his methods of war against Iran, even when those methods transgressed international law. When such benevolence was withdrawn, as it was during the gulf war, Mr. Hussein's impressive arsenal of chemical and biological weapons remained in the warehouses. His history of aggression demonstrates that he is prone to use weapons of mass destruction only against those who cannot respond in kind. Neither the Kurds nor the Iranians had the capacity for a type of retaliation that would imperil Mr. Hussein's survival, thus giving him free rein to engage in his deplorable conduct. A nuclear-armed Hussein will likely learn the lessons of other rapacious dictators, namely that atomic weapons are of limited diplomatic and strategic value when confronted with American determination and the likely retaliation from the world's most impressive military machine. Even at such a late date, there is still an alternative to war. By granting a formal international commitment to Iraq's neighbors and deployment of U.S. forces to the front lines of Iraq, the Bush administration has an opportunity to deter Mr. Hussein's aggressive instincts. The policy of trip-wire containment that successfully deterred far more powerful and reckless dictators during the Cold War can once more compel the reticence of yet another pernicious ruler with grandiose ambitions. Ray Takeyh is a fellow in international security studies at Yale University. http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,880392,00.html * US BEGINS SECRET TALKS TO SECURE IRAQ'S OILFIELDS by Nick Paton Walsh in Moscow, Julian Borger in Washington, Terry Macalister and Ewen MacAskill The Guardian, 23rd January The US military has drawn up detailed plans to secure and protect Iraq's oilfields to prevent a repeat of 1991 when President Saddam set Kuwait's wells ablaze. The US state department and Pentagon disclosed the preparations during a meeting in Washington before Christmas with members of the Iraqi opposition parties. Iraq has the second biggest known oil reserves in the world producing, in their current run down state, about 1.5m barrels a day. But experts contacted by the Guardian predict this could rise to 6m barrels a day within five years with the right investment and control. At the meeting, on the future of a post-Saddam Iraq - details of which have been disclosed to the Guardian - the state department stressed that protection of the oilfields was "issue number one". One of those at the meeting said the military claimed that a plan to protect the multibillion oil wells was "already in place", hinting that special forces will secure key installations at the start of any ground campaign. As well as immediate concern about the environmental impact of having hundreds of Iraqi wells on fire, US, British, Russian, French and other international oil companies are already taking soundings about Iraq's multibillion pound oil supply. The companies are reluctant to mention oil in public, fearing it will feed Arab suspicion that it is the main factor in the confrontation with Iraq. Yet, with war looming, discussions in private have inevitably begun on the future of the world's second biggest oil reserves. The US and British governments deny that oil is a factor in the confrontation with Iraq. The Foreign Office minister, Mike O'Brien, said yesterday: "The charge that our motive is greed - to control Iraq's oil supply - is nonsense, pure and simple. It is not about greed: it is about fear [about the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction]." The US secretary of state, Colin Powell, told the Boston Globe yesterday: "If there is a conflict with Iraq, the leader ship of the coalition [will] take control of Iraq. The oil of Iraq belongs to the Iraqi people. Whatever form of custodianship there is ... it will be held for and used for the people of Iraq. It will not be exploited for the United States' own purpose." Asked whether US companies would operate the oilfields, Mr Powell said: "I don't have an answer to that question. If we are the occupying power, it will be held for the benefit of the Iraqi people and it will be operated for the benefit of the Iraqi people." There is a debate within the US administration over whether some of Iraq's oil revenues might be used to cover part of the costs of occupation, which is expected to last 18 months. The office of the vice-president, Dick Cheney, and some officials at the Pentagon have reportedly advocated commandeering revenues from the oilfields to pay for the daily costs of the occupation force until a democratic government can be installed. The state and justice departments, meanwhile, have insisted that the money be held in trust. "There are two competing needs here: the budgetary need for forces which will be extraordinary, and the need to get it up and running and show the Iraqi people some real results and some real improvement in life," said Andrew Krepinevich, a Pentagon adviser, whose organisation, the Centre for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, carried out a study of the issue for the Pentagon. The relationship between the oil industry and the US administration, from the president, George Bush, downwards, is the closest in American history. The Wall Street Journal last week quoted oil industry officials saying that the Bush administration is eager to rehabilitate the Iraqi oil industry. According to the officials, Mr Cheney's staff held a meeting in October with Exxon Mobil Corporation, ChevronTexaco Corporation, ConcocoPhilips, Halliburton, but both the US administration and the companies deny it. The BP chief executive, Lord Browne, said last year he was putting pressure on Mr Bush and Tony Blair not to allow a carve-up. A Foreign Office source confirmed that the security of Iraq's oilfields was of paramount concern. "That is something that is being assessed across Whitehall," said the source. "But whether or not the Iraqis manning the wells will blow their future livelihood upon an order from Baghdad remains another issue. A lot of that will be about getting there first. The importance of preventing an environmental catastrophe is right up there." http://www.iht.com/articles/84248.html * FREEING IRAQIS IS WORTH THE TROUBLE by Thomas L. Friedman International Herald Tribune, 23rd January WASHINGTON: Today I explain why I think liberals under-appreciate the value of removing Saddam Hussein. Next time I will explain why conservatives under-appreciate the risks of doing so - and how we should balance the two. What liberals fail to recognize is that regime change in Iraq is not some distraction from the war on Al Qaeda. That is a bogus argument. And simply because oil is also at stake in Iraq doesn't make it illegitimate either. Some things are right to do, even if Big Oil benefits. Although President George W. Bush has cast the war in Iraq as being about disarmament - and that is legitimate - disarmament is not the most important prize there. Regime change is the prize. Regime transformation in Iraq could make a valuable contribution to the war on terrorism, whether Saddam is ousted or enticed into exile. Because what really threatens open, Western, liberal societies today is not Saddam and his weapons per se. He is a twisted dictator who is deterrable through conventional means. What threatens Western societies today are the undeterrables - the boys who did Sept. 11, who hate the West more than they love life. It's these human missiles of mass destruction that could really destroy open society. So the question is: What is the cement mixer that is churning out these undeterrables - these angry, humiliated and often unemployed Muslim youth? That cement mixer is a collection of faltering Arab states, which, as the United Nations' Arab Human Development Report noted, have fallen so far behind the world that their combined GDP does not equal that of Spain. The reason they have fallen behind can be traced to their lack of three things: freedom, modern education and women's empowerment. If we don't help transform these Arab states - which are also experiencing population explosions - to create better governance, to build more open and productive economies, to empower their women and to develop responsible news media that won't blame all their ills on others, we will never begin to see the political, educational and religious reformations that they need to shrink their output of undeterrables. America has partners. There is a part of every young Arab today that recoils at the idea of a U.S. invasion of Iraq, because of its colonial overtones. But there is a part of many young Arabs today that prays that the United States will oust not only Saddam but all other Arab leaders as well. It is not unreasonable to believe that if the United States removed Saddam and helped Iraqis build not an overnight democracy but a more accountable, progressive and democratizing regime, it would have a transforming effect on the entire Arab world - a region desperately in need of a progressive model that works. And liberals need to take heed. Just by mobilizing for war against Iraq, the United States has sent this region a powerful message: We will not leave you alone anymore to play with matches, because the last time you did, we got burned. Just the threat of a U.S. attack has already prompted Hezbollah to be on its best behavior in Lebanon. And it has spurred Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Abdullah to introduce a proposal for an "Arab Charter" of political and economic reform. Harvard's president, Lawrence Summers, has said: "In the history of the world, no one has ever washed a rented car." It is true of countries as well. Until the Arab peoples are given a real ownership stake in their countries - a real voice in how they are run - they will never wash them, never improve them as they should. And here is an American Indian saying: "If we don't turn around now, we just may get where we're going." The Arab world has been digging itself into a hole for a long time. If our generation simply helps it stop digging, possibly our grandchildren and its own will reap the benefits. But if we don't help the Arabs turn around now, they just may get where they're going - a dead end where they will produce more and more undeterrables. Liberating the captive peoples of the Mideast is a virtue in itself. And in today's globalized world, if you don't visit a bad neighborhood, it will visit you. http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/01/27/1043534000735.html * VITAL TO GET ALLIES ONSIDE, FOR WHEN THE WAR DUST SETTLES by Thomas Friedman Sydney Morning Herald, from New York Times, 28th January In my previous column I laid out why I believe that liberals underestimate how ousting Saddam Hussein could help spur positive political change in the Arab world. This column explores why conservative advocates of ousting Saddam underestimate the risks, and where we should strike the balance. Let's start with one simple fact: Iraq is a black box that has been sealed shut since Saddam came to dominate Iraqi politics in the late '60s. Therefore, one needs to have a great deal of humility when it comes to predicting what sorts of bats and demons may fly out if the US and its allies remove the lid. Think of it this way: if and when we take the lid off Iraq, we will find an envelope inside. It will tell us what we have won and it will say one of two things. It could say, "Congratulations! You've just won the Arab Germany - a country with enormous human talent, enormous natural resources, but with an evil dictator, whom you've just removed. Now, just add a little water, a spoonful of democracy and stir, and this will be a normal nation very soon." Or the envelope could say, "You've just won the Arab Yugoslavia - an artificial country congenitally divided among Kurds, Shiites, Sunnis, Nasserites, leftists and a host of tribes and clans that can only be held together with a Saddam-like iron fist. Congratulations, you're the new Saddam." In the first scenario, Iraq is the way it is today because Saddam is the way he is. In the second scenario, Saddam is the way he is because Iraq is what it is. Those are two very different problems. And we will know which we've won only when we take off the lid. The conservatives and neo-cons, who have been pounding the table for war, should be a lot more humble about this question, because they don't know either. Does that mean we should rule out war? No. But it does mean that we must do it right. To begin with, the President must level with the American people that we may indeed be buying the Arab Yugoslavia, which will take a great deal of time and effort to heal into a self sustaining, progressive, accountable Arab government. And, therefore, any nation-building in Iraq will be a multi-year marathon, not a multi-week sprint. Because it will be a marathon, we must undertake this war with the maximum amount of international legitimacy and UN backing we can possibly muster. Otherwise, we will not have an American public willing to run this marathon, and we will not have allies ready to help us once we're inside (look at all the local police and administrators Europeans now contribute in Bosnia and Kosovo). We'll also become a huge target if we're the sole occupiers of Iraq. In short, we can oust Saddam all by ourselves. But we cannot successfully rebuild Iraq all by ourselves. And the real prize here is a new Iraq that would be a progressive model for the whole region. That, for me, is the only morally and strategically justifiable reason to support this war. The Bush team dare not invade Iraq simply to install a more friendly dictator to pump us oil. And it dare not simply disarm Iraq and then walk away from the task of nation-building. Unfortunately, when it comes to enlisting allies, the Bush team is its own worst enemy. It has sneered at many issues the world cares about: the Kyoto accords, the World Court, arms control treaties. The Bush team had legitimate arguments on some of these issues, but the gratuitous way it dismissed them has fuelled anti-Americanism. No, I have no illusions that if the Bush team had only embraced Kyoto, the French wouldn't still be trying to obstruct America in Iraq. The French are the French. But unfortunately, now the Germans are the French, the Koreans are the French, and many Brits are becoming French. Things could be better, but here is where we are - so here is where I am: my gut tells me we should continue the troop build-up, continue the inspections and do everything we can for as long as we can to produce either a coup or the sort of evidence that will give us the broadest coalition possible, so we can do the best nation-building job possible. But if war turns out to be the only option, then war it will have to be - because I believe our kids will have a better chance of growing up in a safer world if we help put Iraq on a more progressive path and stimulate some real change in an Arab world that is badly in need of reform. Such a war would indeed be a shock to this region, but, if we do it right, there is a decent chance that it would be shock therapy. http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2003/01/24/1042911549158.html * THE ART OF A DESERT WAR The Age (Australia), 24th January How might a US invasion of Iraq unfold? Paul Daley and Peter Fray in London report on the likely sequence of events. For most of the world, the US-led invasion of Iraq begins when the military bases south of Baghdad are hit by the killer payload dropped by long-range bombers. But for the small, semi-autonomous units of Britain's Special Air Service (SAS) and Special Boat Service (SBS), and for members of America's Delta Force, the war has been under way since last year. They are wiry, agile and highly intelligent men. Many are dark-skinned and moustachioed. They dress according to their environment; some look like Iraqi civilians or soldiers, others wear desert robes and head-dress. Since late 2002 they have been "laser marking" strategic targets for American and British war planes - B-52s, B-2s and B-1s. The special forces troops have also been training and arming Saddam Hussein's military opponents - those they hope will become to Iraq what the Northern Alliance was to the Taliban - and infiltrating the Iraqi military to identify senior, potential defectors and spies. The spies have leaked details about Iraq's overall defence strategy. More specifically, they have also passed on details of Iraq's troop numbers, aircraft and artillery strength. Signals intelligence and phone intercepts have been used to verify this information. These insurgents have set the scene. If the campaign sticks to the Pentagon's scenario, this is how the next Gulf War could unfold: When the signal is given from US war headquarters in Qatar, the bombers drone in from the huge US military base in Diego Garcia. They are supported by fighters based in Turkey and on carriers in the Gulf. American and British airborne early warning and control (AEWAC) aircraft sit outside Iraq's borders to call in the fire and warn the allied planes of any enemy fighter jets. These lumbering AEWACs also receive intelligence updates - including photos and video footage - from the ground. Some of these planes are manned and captained by Australians. The bombers release their payload of laser-guided weapons. Thanks to the special forces, the bombs home in on laser markings that have been carefully placed inside defence and communication centre and key millitary bases at Thu al Fiqar and Yawm al Axim south of Baghdad. Other key targets inside the so-called "Scud box" area in Iraq's west, the point from which President Saddam would launch any immediate retaliatory action by firing Scud missiles at Israel, are quickly taken out. "Bunker buster" bombs - weapons which burrow deep into concrete and metal before they explode - penetrate underground weapons and troop facilities. It's a highly risky and intelligence-led process: only those facilities known to be empty of chemical and biological weapons can be hit. The high percentage of laser-guided "smart" bombs (60 per cent in this war compared with 10 per cent in the 1991 Gulf War) sees to that. Weapons systems have improved enormously since 1991, enabling forces to reduce civilian casualties. But as they deliver their payloads, the pilots are nonetheless aware that innocent Iraqi civilians are also dying in the "collatoral damage" caused by exploding buildings and machinery. US General Tommy Franks, who runs this war, and his fellow commanders hope they may have something to boast about. With the Americans keen to quickly rebuild Iraq and foster a new democratic government, they want to "soften up" the Iraqi defences while keeping as much of the country's infrastructure intact for a new, more internationally palatable Iraq. In Qatar, British and American generals focus on the next, and riskiest, part of the operation - the land invasion. A decade ago, the bombs rained down for 39 days. Only when they stopped did the troops move towards Iraq. This time the approach is more coordinated, and within 48 hours the first of 150,000 to 250,000 Allied troops are infiltrating Iraq's borders from Kuwait and Turkey. The opening bombing campaign lasts little more than a week. Dozens of British Challenger 11 tanks rumble across the southern border with tanks from the US 1st armored division. Dozens more tanks, also manned by Britain's 7th Armored Brigade - the so-called "Desert Rats" - infiltrate the Northern border. The Northern border is sealed to stop Iraqi troops gaining key positions in the main Kurdish areas, based on oil-rich Kirkuk. Tens of thousands of US and British amphibious commandos and marines, meanwhile, are pouring ashore on the coast south of Basra, a vital beachead, 550 kilometres from Baghdad. Allied aircraft are destroying Iraqi troop installations along the waterway and further south along the coast, and around Basra itself, while nine British minesweepers, based in the Gulf, clear the Shat-al Arab waterway to make way for the landing boats to come ashore closer to Basra. The allied special forces troops are directing the fire around Basra while British and American paratroopers are dropped into the city's outskirts. The paratroopers are led by fresh crews of special forces troops, going from building to building as the hand-to-hand combat begins. In Baghdad and other key centres, allied psychological operations - including leaflet dropping and radio broadcasts - are under way to persuade Iraq to surrender without a full scale onslaught. The allied tanks will close off roads to Baghdad. This will give the US and Britain two options: they can either "starve" Saddam out and chip away at his defences or mount a full scale assault on the capital. Hand-to-hand combat will be virtually inevitable, with high casualties. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/01/24/eveningnews/main537928.shtml * IRAQ FACES MASSIVE U.S. MISSILE BARRAGE CBS News, 24th January WASHINGTON, Jan. 24, 2003 (CBS/AP): If the Pentagon sticks to its current war plan, one day in March the Air Force and Navy will launch between 300 and 400 cruise missiles at targets in Iraq. As CBS News Correspondent David Martin reports, this is more than number that were launched during the entire 40 days of the first Gulf War. On the second day, the plan calls for launching another 300 to 400 cruise missiles. "There will not be a safe place in Baghdad," said one Pentagon official who has been briefed on the plan. "The sheer size of this has never been seen before, never been contemplated before," the official said. The battle plan is based on a concept developed at the National Defense University. It's called "Shock and Awe" and it focuses on the psychological destruction of the enemy's will to fight rather than the physical destruction of his military forces. "We want them to quit. We want them not to fight," says Harlan Ullman, one of the authors of the Shock and Awe concept which relies on large numbers of precision guided weapons. "So that you have this simultaneous effect, rather like the nuclear weapons at Hiroshima, not taking days or weeks but in minutes," says Ullman. In the first Gulf War, 10 percent of the weapons were precision guided. In this war 80 percent will be precision guided. The Air Force has stockpiled 6,000 of these guidance kits in the Persian Gulf to convert ordinary dumb bombs into satellite-guided bombs, a weapon that didn't exist in the first war. "You're sitting in Baghdad and all of a sudden you're the general and 30 of your division headquarters have been wiped out. You also take the city down. By that I mean you get rid of their power, water. In 2,3,4,5 days they are physically, emotionally and psychologically exhausted," Ullman tells Martin. Last time, an armored armada swept into Kuwait and destroyed Saddam's elite republican guard divisions in the largest tank battle since the World War II. This time, the target is not the Iraqi army but the Iraqi leadership, and the battle plan is designed to bypass Iraqi divisions whenever possible. If Shock and Awe works, there won't be a ground war. Not everybody in the Bush Administration thinks Shock and Awe will work. One senior official called it a bunch of bull, but confirmed it is the concept on which the war plan is based. Last year, in Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan, the U.S. was badly surprised by the willingness of al Qaeda to fight to the death. If the Iraqis fight, the U.S. would have to throw in reinforcements and win the old fashioned way by crushing the republican guards, and that would mean more casualties on both sides. http://books.guardian.co.uk/review/story/0,12084,880829,00.html * A MESS OF OUR MAKING by Jonathan Steele The Guardian, 25th January Saddam Hussein: An American Obsession by Andrew Cockburn and Patrick Cockburn 340pp, Verso, £9 War on Iraq by Scott Ritter and William Rivers Pitt 78pp, Profile, £4.99 War Plan Iraq: Ten Reasons Against War on Iraq by Milan Rai 251pp, Verso, £10 Saddam: The Secret Life by Con Coughlin 384pp, Macmillan, £20 TE Lawrence (of Arabia) was unhappy about British methods of putting down Iraqi rebels in the early 1920s. "It is odd we do not use poison gas on these occasions," he wrote to the Observer. Britain's man on the spot, Arthur Harris, who later became famous as "Bomber Harris" for repeating his tactics on cities in Nazi Germany, preferred to use air strikes. "They [the Arabs and Kurds] now know what real bombing means, in casualties and damage," Harris reported after quelling the latest resistance to British colonial interference. "Within 45 minutes a full-sized village can be practically wiped out and a third of its inhabitants killed or injured." You will not find these revealing passages in the national curriculum, where the cruelty and mass murder that Britain often used in acquiring and maintaining its empire are bypassed, leaving the latest generation of school-leavers as ignorant about Britain's overseas role in the not-so-distant past as most of today's policy makers. But they are there in Andrew and Patrick Cockburn's excellent updated survey of Iraq and the west's relationship to it. For the millions of people in this country who do not know that it was Britain which drew the borders of Iraq and has never ceased playing a significant role there, the book could be an eye-opener. At least it would strip away the moral indignation which distorts the current debate. Britain and the US have not only acted to thwart democracy throughout most of Iraq's short history as a modern state. They have consistently turned a blind eye to or encouraged crime and terrorism, most recently in 1994 and 1995 when Abu Amneh, a terrorist on the Central Intelligence Agency payroll, took part in a bombing campaign which aimed at destabilising the regime and killed more than a hundred people sitting innocently in a Baghdad cafe, a cinema and a mosque. The Cockburns do not write in a tone of accusation. Their book is a careful, low-key compilation of evidence, from the British installation of a foreign Arab monarchy over Iraq in 1921 to Saddam Hussein's rise to power and the west's role in arming him. They point out that it was the CIA that helped to organise the Baath party's coup against the nationalist General Abd al-Karim Qassim in 1963, after he nationalised the western-owned Iraqi Petroleum Company and took the country out of the anti-Soviet Baghdad Pact. Appalling massacres followed. The authors say Saddam, then a relatively junior member of the party, took no part in that coup and they do not claim, as others have, that he was an agent, paid or unpaid, of the CIA. The links between him and the west came later, when the CIA gave intelligence briefings and satellite photographs to the Iraqi military during Saddam's war against Iran - a working relationship that he ended in 1989, after the war was over. The Cockburns' knowledge of Iraq, based on several visits there as journalists, makes their assessment of the likely course of an American attack more plausible than that of most pundits. They are convinced that Saddam's base of support is narrow, but they discount the chance of an internal coup, a popular uprising, defections by the officer corps, or of easy US victory on the pattern of the quick defeat of the Taliban by means of air power. Armed regime loyalists have been dispersed to all the main cities to nip any sign of rebellion in the bud by massacring leaders swiftly, they say. Only a ground invasion by thousands of US troops would work. The number of horrible things that Saddam has done is almost incalculable, but if there are any crimes that have not yet been fully aired, Con Coughlin fills the gap. The portrait he paints is one of a young man's petty murder and back-street thuggery leading via remorseless removal of rivals to a career of mass murder and international thuggery. Why this is a "secret life", as the book's subtitle claims, is not clear since Coughlin's biography depends in large part on earlier works - which he has the honesty to cite in his footnotes. Or does "secret" refer to the fact that many of his sources are intelligence officials? In each case, whether in picking out the worst incidents in a life of evil as told by other writers or by the spooks, Coughlin effaces any doubts about whether the data are true. There is circumstantial evidence that Saddam was in contact with the CIA as a student in Cairo in the early 1960s, he writes. In one case he describes it as "sufficient", in another as "strong", but never gives detail of what it amounts to. More strikingly, on the opening page of the book, he claims Saddam had prior knowledge of the September 11 attacks on the United States and is linked to al- Qaida. A highly contentious point is tossed in like a piece of undigested raw intelligence. If biographies should be about judgment, this one is not. The current issue for the world is not Saddam's human rights record but the num ber and type of weapons of mass destruction Iraq still retains. Saddam denies he has any, and the declaration he gave the United Nations in December is open to more than one interpretation. Scott Ritter's long interview with William Rivers Pitt in War on Iraq is the most comprehensive independent analysis of the state of knowledge about Iraq's weapons programmes until the new team of inspectors went back. Point by point, Ritter deals with every suspicion, and concludes that any chemical or biological weapons Saddam might have concealed from the UN inspectors before they pulled out would by now have degraded and become useless. Any attempts to build nuclear weapons or missiles and aircraft to deliver them would have been detected by satellites. Milan Rai's book complements the Cockburns and Ritter in its campaigning style and also by focusing in more detail on the wider points of the current debate: the role of the inspectors, the legal arguments about pre-emption, and the fears of many western military experts that a US attack would enhance the threat of armageddon by creating the only scenario in which Saddam might use whatever weapons he has - as a wild measure of retaliation rather than as an aggressive step in a war which he initiates. Rai and the Cockburns argue that behind the talk of "regime change" the US and Britain have always meant "leadership change". Forget about democracy. In Saddam's place they want another Sunni general or strongman who would be loyal to the west and prove able to hold together the artificial country that Britain created. What the authors did not foresee was the latest twist in Washington's thinking. The new notion being discussed in the Pentagon seems to be long-term US occupation with thousands of US troops "securing" the oil fields for decades to come. Lawrence of Arabia would have been pleased. George Bush's sudden conversion to "nation-building" in Iraq sounds like hard fisted empire, all over again. http://www.iht.com/articles/84743.html * REGIME CHANGE IN IRAQ ISN'T OPTIONAL by Carl Bildt International Herald Tribune, 28th January ISTANBUL: Let's face it: There can be no going back when it comes to the confrontation over Iraq. There are understandable apprehensions about a war - at best we shall see four to six weeks of difficult regime removal followed by four to six years of even more difficult regime reconstruction. Great humanitarian and economic rehabilitation challenges will have to be faced. There are all the reasons in the world to try to find a better alternative than war. But it must not be going back to where we were. The policy (although that is a generous name for it) that has been pursued since the end of the Gulf War has been a miserable failure both for the people of Iraq and for the international community. It has been far more a posture than a policy. As they normally do, sanctions have solidified support for the local dictator, brought suffering to ordinary people and destroyed some of the foundations for a normal economy and society in the possible post-dictatorship period. Many have criticized the policy as immoral. Others should add that it has been ineffective - probably even counterproductive. And sanctions have hurt not only ordinary people in Iraq but also the region as a whole. Countries like Jordan and Turkey have had to shoulder the heavy burdens of this policy. In addition to sanctions, there have been the legally dubious no-flight zones with occasional bombings. This has hardly had any effect on repression in the south, and has only prolonged an unsustainable situation with a fractious Kurdish proto-state in the north. Again, more a posture than a policy. No one should have an interest in going back to this situation. Everyone, not least the region of which Iraq is a part, should have an interest in the present situation leading to abandonment of a policy that has so obviously failed. There is simply no way in which sanctions against Iraq will be lifted as long as Saddam Hussein is in power. This was the implicit policy of the previous U.S. administration, and has changed since then only in becoming more explicit. And when the Security Council in Resolution 1441 said that Iraq "has been and remains in material breach" of its obligations after the Gulf War, it said in effect that this regime has a record such that whatever it does will never be rewarded with the lifting of sanctions. Thus, the only way to get out of a policy that has failed is to remove the Saddam Hussein regime in Baghdad. The countries of the region, worried as they are over the prospect of a war, should have a profound interest in achieving this. While the focus of the international effort is on securing respect for UN resolutions on weapons of mass destruction, the interest of the region should be securing the regime removal that will pave the way for the ending of sanctions and the return to some sort of normalcy in the region. To this end, the buildup of military pressure is essential. But buildup in general terms will not be enough. It must also be clear that if the far preferable ways of achieving regime removal do not succeed, the less preferable way of war will have to be undertaken. The alternative of just backing down, returning to the profoundly failed and damaging policy of the past and waiting for the next eruption of tension could not be seriously contemplated by any sensible actor. The main burden in the weeks to come will be on the different states of the region. They have two strong interests. One is to avoid a war. The other is to prevent a return to the policy that has failed. The way to reconcile these two interests is to pursue as active and as all-encompassing an effort at regime removal in Baghdad as possible. Messages to this effect coming from the region itself might have greater force in key segments of Iraqi society than messages from farther away. If the regime is removed, the restoration of Iraq will be a concern primarily for the region but also for the wider international community. Massive problems of debt and underinvestment will have to be tackled. We must not be blind to the humanitarian suffering of the people of Iraq. There must be some sort of constitutional settlement for the Kurds. Remains of the programs of weapons of mass destruction must be cleared away. For the peoples of Iraq, there has been war on an almost daily basis for the last two decades. I don't think anyone in Iraq would see sanctions, a devastated economy and regular bombings as peace. Removal of the Saddam Hussein regime is the only way peace can be achieved. The next few weeks should be the beginning of the end of decades of war for the peoples of Iraq and for the region. The writer, a former prime minister of Sweden, is a member of the board of the Center for European Reform in London as well as of the board of the Rand Corp. in the United States. http://www.nytimes.com/2003/01/28/opinion/28LOCO.html * THE PRINCE OF PEACE WAS A WARRIOR, TOO by Joseph Loconte New York Times, 28th January Everyone, it seems, wants Jesus on his side. Nutritionists publish books with titles like "What Would Jesus Eat?" Environmentalists issue policy statements asking "What Would Jesus Drive?" With talk of war, we're now hearing "How Would Jesus Vote on Iraq?" ‹ assuming that he were a member of the United Nations Security Council. A growing number of religious leaders have decided that Jesus would veto a war against Saddam Hussein. Back from a fact-finding trip to Iraq earlier this month, a delegation from the National Council of Churches said it harbored no doubts: "As disciples of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, we know this war is completely antithetical to his teachings." The Christian Century magazine, quoting from the Sermon on the Mount, has criticized military action by warning that "he who hates his neighbor is in danger of hellfire." Religious liberals are making the same mistake that often bedevils religious conservatives: They're grossly oversimplifying the Bible. It's true that Jesus put the love of neighbor at the center of Christian ethics. Forgiveness, not vengeance, animates the heart of God, offered freely to any person willing to renounce sin. But the Christian Gospel is not only about "the law of love," as war opponents like to put it. It's also about the fact that people violate that law. That's why Jesus talked a great deal about punishment, and the moral obligation to oppose evil with a strong and swift hand. Human evil must be confronted, he said, not merely contained. Depending on the threat, a kind of "pre-emptive strike" or judgment against evil might even be required: "Be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matthew 10:28). Allow the darkness to roam unchecked, Jesus said, and it will devour individuals and entire regimes. That helps explain why in the New Testament we see the Son of God rebuking hateful mobs, casting demons into the abyss, chasing religious charlatans out of a temple with a whip. "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth," he said. "I did not come to bring peace, but a sword" (Matthew 10:34). Ministers have always invoked the example of Jesus to judge the morality of United States military action, but not always with their eyes open. The Rev. Ernest Fremont Tittle, a Methodist leader during World War II, insisted on American isolation even after Hitler's war machine had ravaged most of Europe and threatened Britain. Jesus "does not try to overcome evil with more evil," Mr. Tittle argued. "I can see only ruin ahead if the United States becomes a belligerent in Europe or in Asia ‹ ruin for us and for all mankind." Like Mr. Tittle, many of today's war critics hail Jesus as "the Prince of Peace," while forgetting that the Bible also calls him "the Lion of the tribe of Judah," the one "who judges and wages war." In itself, that's not an argument for a pre-emptive strike on Baghdad. But it's a good reason for a little more humility among the apostles of diplomacy. Joseph Loconte, a fellow at the Heritage Foundation, is a commentator on religion for National Public Radio. http://www.nytimes.com/2003/01/28/opinion/28KRIS.html * IRAQ WAR: THE FIRST QUESTION by Nicholas D. Kristof New York Times, 28th January A new book about Iraq by Con Coughlin describes Saddam's younger son, Qusay, giving a speech last year in an underground bunker before his father and top officials: "With a simple sign from you, we can make America's people sleepless and frightened to go out in the streets. I only ask you, sir, to give me a small sign [to] turn their night into day and their day into a living hell." The older son, Uday, told Iraqi journalists last week: "If [the Americans] come, what they wept for on Sept. 11 and what they view as a major event, it will appear as a picnic for them." That Baghdad bonhomie comes to mind now that the U.N. reports have been issued and the debate about invading Iraq moves to center stage. The starting point to justify an invasion, it seems to me, has to be an affirmative answer to the question: Will we be safer if we invade? The real answer is that we don't know. But it's quite plausible that an invasion will increase the danger to us, not lessen it. As a C.I.A. assessment said last October: "Baghdad for now appears to be drawing a line short of conducting terrorist attacks [in the U.S.]. Should Saddam conclude that a U.S.-led attack could no longer be deterred, he probably would become much less constrained in adopting terrorist actions." It added that Saddam might order attacks with weapons of mass destruction as "his last chance to exact vengeance by taking a large number of victims with him." Frankly, it seems a bad idea to sacrifice our troops' lives ‹ along with billions of dollars ‹ in a way that may add to our vulnerability. No doubt this seems craven, and I admit there are so many high-minded American hawks and doves that I'm embarrassed that on this issue I'm unprincipled. To me there is no principle involved here; it's just a matter of assessing costs and benefits. It would be nice to weigh only lofty principles. But the greatest failure in foreign relations in the last half-century has been blindness to practical, on-the-ground dangers, like those that mired us in Vietnam. And it's only sensible to weigh them before leaping into Iraq. There's no moral tenet that makes me oppose invasion. If we were confident that we could oust Saddam with minimal casualties and quickly establish a democratic Iraq, then that would be fine ‹ and such a happy scenario is conceivable. But it's a mistake to invade countries based on best-case scenarios. A dismal scenario is just as plausible: We could see bloody street-to-street fighting, outraging the Muslim world, igniting anti-American riots and helping Al Qaeda recruit terrorists. The first regime change we see could be in Jordan and Pakistan, where pro Western governments have a fragile hold on angry populations. If Pakistan topples, Al Qaeda might gain nuclear weapons. Moreover, President Bush has undermined the hawk position by the very success of his campaign against Iraq. To his credit, Mr. Bush has revived U.N. inspections, boxed Saddam into a corner and increased the chance that Saddam will be assassinated or overthrown. If Mr. Bush stops where he is now, he will have defanged Saddam at minimal cost. As the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace put it in a new report on Iraq, the U.S. goal of preventing any attack by Iraq has already been achieved. "Saddam Hussein is effectively incarcerated and under watch by a force that could respond immediately and devastatingly to any aggression," the report noted. "Inside Iraq, the inspection teams preclude any significant advance in [weapons of mass destruction] capabilities. The status quo is safe for the American people." Hawks can fairly complain that the status quo may not be sustainable. If we let this chance to invade slip by, will Saddam outfox us and emerge in a year's time with nukes? No, very unlikely. Inspections were maintained from 1991 to 1998, in which period the U.N. destroyed far more Iraqi weaponry than the U.S. had during the gulf war. Saddam will be forced to remain on his best behavior, and in any case he is 65 and an actuarial nightmare. If we just get intelligence on where he's going to spend one night, then my guess is that we'll respond to Iraqi antiaircraft fire by striking that particular building. Will an invasion make us safer? That's the central question, and while none of us know the answer, there is clearly a significant risk that it will do just the opposite. http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/allnews/page.cfm?objectid=12581179&method=full& siteid=50143 * BLOODY COWARD by John Pilger Daily Mirror, 29th January William Russell, the great correspondent who reported the carnage of imperial wars, may have first used the expression "blood on his hands" to describe impeccable politicians who, at a safe distance, order the mass killing of ordinary people. In my experience "on his hands" applies especially to those modern political leaders who have had no personal experience of war, like George W Bush, who managed not to serve in Vietnam, and the effete Tony Blair. There is about them the essential cowardice of the man who causes death and suffering not by his own hand but through a chain of command that affirms his "authority". In 1946 the judges at Nuremberg who tried the Nazi leaders for war crimes left no doubt about what they regarded as the gravest crimes against humanity. The most serious was unprovoked invasion of a sovereign state that offered no threat to one's homeland. Then there was the murder of civilians, for which responsibility rested with the "highest authority". Blair is about to commit both these crimes, for which he is being denied even the flimsiest United Nations cover now that the weapons inspectors have found, as one put it, "zilch". Like those in the dock at Nuremberg, he has no democratic cover. Using the archaic "royal prerogative" he did not consult parliament or the people when he dispatched 35,000 troops and ships and aircraft to the Gulf; he consulted a foreign power, the Washington regime. Unelected in 2000, the Washington regime of George W Bush is now totalitarian, captured by a clique whose fanaticism and ambitions of "endless war" and "full spectrum dominance" are a matter of record. All the world knows their names: Bush, Rumsfeld, Rice, Wolfowitz, Cheney and Perle, and Powell, the false liberal. Bush's State of the Union speech last night was reminiscent of that other great moment in 1938 when Hitler called his generals together and told them: "I must have war." He then had it. To call Blair a mere "poodle" is to allow him distance from the killing of innocent Iraqi men, women and children for which he will share responsibility. He is the embodiment of the most dangerous appeasement humanity has known since the 1930s. The current American elite is the Third Reich of our times, although this distinction ought not to let us forget that they have merely accelerated more than half a century of unrelenting American state terrorism: from the atomic bombs dropped cynically on Japan as a signal of their new power to the dozens of countries invaded, directly or by proxy, to destroy democracy wherever it collided with American "interests", such as a voracious appetite for the world's resources, like oil. When you next hear Blair or Straw or Bush talk about "bringing democracy to the people of Iraq", remember that it was the CIA that installed the Ba'ath Party in Baghdad from which emerged Saddam Hussein. "That was my favourite coup," said the CIA man responsible. When you next hear Blair and Bush talking about a "smoking gun" in Iraq, ask why the US government last December confiscated the 12,000 pages of Iraq's weapons declaration, saying they contained "sensitive information" which needed "a little editing". Sensitive indeed. The original Iraqi documents listed 150 American, British and other foreign companies that supplied Iraq with its nuclear, chemical and missile technology, many of them in illegal transactions. In 2000 Peter Hain, then a Foreign Office Minister, blocked a parliamentary request to publish the full list of lawbreaking British companies. He has never explained why. As a reporter of many wars I am constantly aware that words on the page like these can seem almost abstract, part of a great chess game unconnected to people's lives. The most vivid images I carry make that connection. They are the end result of orders given far away by the likes of Bush and Blair, who never see, or would have the courage to see, the effect of their actions on ordinary lives: the blood on their hands. Let me give a couple of examples. Waves of B52 bombers will be used in the attack on Iraq. In Vietnam, where more than a million people were killed in the American invasion of the 1960s, I once watched three ladders of bombs curve in the sky, falling from B52s flying in formation, unseen above the clouds. They dropped about 70 tons of explosives that day in what was known as the "long box" pattern, the military term for carpet bombing. Everything inside a "box" was presumed destroyed. When I reached a village within the "box", the street had been replaced by a crater. I slipped on the severed shank of a buffalo and fell hard into a ditch filled with pieces of limbs and the intact bodies of children thrown into the air by the blast. The children's skin had folded back, like parchment, revealing veins and burnt flesh that seeped blood, while the eyes, intact, stared straight ahead. A small leg had been so contorted by the blast that the foot seemed to be growing from a shoulder. I vomited. I am being purposely graphic. This is what I saw, and often; yet even in that "media war" I never saw images of these grotesque sights on television or in the pages of a newspaper. I saw them only pinned on the wall of news agency offices in Saigon as a kind of freaks' gallery. SOME years later I often came upon terribly deformed Vietnamese children in villages where American aircraft had sprayed a herbicide called Agent Orange. It was banned in the United States, not surprisingly for it contained Dioxin, the deadliest known poison. This terrible chemical weapon, which the cliche-mongers would now call a weapon of mass destruction, was dumped on almost half of South Vietnam. Today, as the poison continues to move through water and soil and food, children continue to be born without palates and chins and scrotums or are stillborn. Many have leukaemia. You never saw these children on the TV news then; they were too hideous for their pictures, the evidence of a great crime, even to be pinned up on a wall and they are old news now. That is the true face of war. Will you be shown it by satellite when Iraq is attacked? I doubt it. I was starkly reminded of the children of Vietnam when I travelled in Iraq two years ago. A paediatrician showed me hospital wards of children similarly deformed: a phenomenon unheard of prior to the Gulf war in 1991. She kept a photo album of those who had died, their smiles undimmed on grey little faces. Now and then she would turn away and wipe her eyes. More than 300 tons of depleted uranium, another weapon of mass destruction, were fired by American aircraft and tanks and possibly by the British. Many of the rounds were solid uranium which, inhaled or ingested, causes cancer. In a country where dust carries everything, swirling through markets and playgrounds, children are especially vulnerable. For 12 years Iraq has been denied specialist equipment that would allow its engineers to decontaminate its southern battlefields. It has also been denied equipment and drugs that would identify and treat the cancer which, it is estimated, will affect almost half the population in the south. LAST November Jeremy Corbyn MP asked the Junior Defence Minister Adam Ingram what stocks of weapons containing depleted uranium were held by British forces operating in Iraq. His robotic reply was: "I am withholding details in accordance with Exemption 1 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information." Let us be clear about what the Bush-Blair attack will do to our fellow human beings in a country already stricken by an embargo run by America and Britain and aimed not at Saddam Hussein but at the civilian population, who are denied even vaccines for the children. Last week the Pentagon in Washington announced matter of factly that it intended to shatter Iraq "physically, emotionally and psychologically" by raining down on its people 800 cruise missiles in two days. This will be more than twice the number of missiles launched during the entire 40 days of the 1991 Gulf War. A military strategist named Harlan Ullman told American television: "There will not be a safe place in Baghdad. The sheer size of this has never been seen before, never been contemplated before." The strategy is known as Shock and Awe and Ullman is apparently its proud inventor. He said: "You have this simultaneous effect, rather like the nuclear weapons at Hiroshima, not taking days or weeks but minutes." What will his "Hiroshima effect" actually do to a population of whom almost half are children under the age of 14? The answer is to be found in a "confidential" UN document, based on World Health Organisation estimates, which says that "as many as 500,000 people could require treatment as a result of direct and indirect injuries". A Bush-Blair attack will destroy "a functioning primary health care system" and deny clean water to 39 per cent of the population. There is "likely [to be] an outbreak of diseases in epidemic if not pandemic proportions". It is Washington's utter disregard for humanity, I believe, together with Blair's lies that have turned most people in this country against them, including people who have not protested before. Last weekend Blair said there was no need for the UN weapons inspectors to find a "smoking gun" for Iraq to be attacked. Compare that with his reassurance in October 2001 that there would be no "wider war" against Iraq unless there was "absolute evidence" of Iraqi complicity in September 11. And there has been no evidence. Blair's deceptions are too numerous to list here. He has lied about the nature and effect of the embargo on Iraq by covering up the fact that Washington, with Britain's support, is withholding more than $5billion worth of humanitarian supplies approved by the Security Council. He has lied about Iraq buying aluminium tubes, which he told Parliament were "needed to enrich uranium". The International Atomic Energy Agency has denied this outright. He has lied about an Iraqi "threat", which he discovered only following September 11 2001 when Bush made Iraq a gratuitous target of his "war on terror". Blair's "Iraq dossier" has been mocked by human rights groups. However, what is wonderful is that across the world the sheer force of public opinion isolates Bush and Blair and their lemming, John Howard in Australia. So few people believe them and support them that The Guardian this week went in search of the few who do - "the hawks". The paper published a list of celebrity warmongers, some apparently shy at describing their contortion of intellect and morality. It is a small list. IN CONTRAST the majority of people in the West, including the United States, are now against this gruesome adventure and the numbers grow every day. It is time MPs joined their constituents and reclaimed the true authority of parliament. MPs like Tam Dalyell, Alice Mahon, Jeremy Corbyn and George Galloway have stood alone for too long on this issue and there have been too many sham debates manipulated by Downing Street. If, as Galloway says, a majority of Labour backbenchers are against an attack, let them speak up now. Blair's figleaf of a "coalition" is very important to Bush and only the moral power of the British people can bring the troops home without them firing a shot. The consequences of not speaking out go well beyond an attack on Iraq. Washington will effectively take over the Middle East, ensuring an age of terrorism other than their own. The next American attack is likely to be Iran - the Israelis want this - and their aircraft are already in place in Turkey. Then it may be China's turn. "Endless war" is Vice-President Cheney's contribution to our understanding. Bush has said he will use nuclear weapons "if necessary". On March 26 last Geoffrey Hoon said that other countries "can be absolutely confident that in the right conditions we would be willing to use our nuclear weapons". Such madness is the true enemy. What's more, it is right here at home and you, the British people, can stop it. _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk