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[casi] News titles, 29/01-05/02/03

News titles, 29/01-05/02/03

This collection was prepared prior to Secretary of State Powell's public
hijacking of the UN Security Council and the reactions to it, which will
probably generate quite a lot of print. It is unquestionably the best
argument the pro-war side have yet produced on the 'Weapons of Mass
Destruction' issue, and will probably have a noticeable effect on public
opinion in the West.

The major obstacle to a US invasion of Iraq, however, is not public opinion
in the West but the hostility of Iraq's neighbours, none of whom want to see
a massive US military presence, unconstrained by any local sovereign
government, installed in their midst. Even the 'countries' (if they can be
called that) most likely to co-operate - Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait - will
find it difficult without the cover of a clearcut UN mandate. Turkey, Saudi
Arabia and Jordan will find it all but impossible.

So securing a UN mandate is for the Americans a military necessity not, as
it is usually presented (moderate Powell v the hawks) a political choice.
They may be able to go ahead without it but it will be much more difficult.

At present, eleven members of the Security Council are opposed to providing
such a mandate but for some of them this may just be a ploy to secure
favours from the US (see 'Saddam get six more weeks', Iraqi/UN relations).
Russia has a substantial interest in keeping Mr Hussein in power because of
the contracts it has signed with him but if the US agrees to honour all, or
most, of these contracts, their opposition may well crumble ('The UN game
and the logic of war', Iraqi/International Relations). China seems unlikely
to attract attention to itself by issuing a veto. It will probably abstain,
as it did in 1991. And its difficult to imagine France holding out on its

But indications are that Messrs Bush and Blair won't even try for a clear
mandate for war. They will push for a 'second resolution' saying that Iraq
is in 'material breach'. Unless Hans Blix changes his line quickly he has
more or less ensured that a resolution along these lines would be
irresistible. Another slice of the sausage, which may still not be enough
for the Middle Eastern countries. The sausage slicing technique has been
possible because 'the world' allowed it to begin. They accepted - took
seriously - the first premise: that Iraq's possession or non-possession of
'weapons of mass destruction' is a real problem that requires immediate
attention. Whereas the real problem that requires immediate attention is the
United Nations' own refusal to allow the Iraqi people to engage in an
economic activity that would ensure them a half decent life.

As for the weaponry, every fair-minded person, to use a favourite phrase of
Saddam Hussein's ('The Saddam Hussein Interview' Iraqi/UK relations) will
agree that Iraq has a fundamental moral right, whatever a prostitute
'International Community' might declare, to the means of self defence. And
it is certainly very probable that a country encircled by enemies and
deprived of the means of maintaining its conventional weapons capacity,
would turn to unconventional means.

The circumstances under which Iraq used such means in the past - means that
are, admittedly, every bit as vile as the 'shock and awe' tactics that we
are preparing to use - were very extreme: a life and death struggle with the
Iranian revolution. We would certainly have used equivalent means in an
equivalent situation, and Geoff Hoon has said as much ('UK restates nuclear
threat', Implications of War). Indeed, where Iraq was using them in what had
become a defensive war, we are preparing to use them in a straightforward
war of aggression.

Iraq's neighbours, most of whom are very well armed, understand this
perfectly well and are much less paranoid about the whole affair than we
are. Besides which, between the dangers of having a well-armed Saddam
Hussein or a well-armed George Bush as neighbour there isn't a lot to
choose. If they collaborate with Mr Bush it is perfectly clear that it is
not because they want to but because they are afraid not to.

And that fear is itself very dangerous. The basic strength of militant Islam
comes from the perception that the existing Muslim leadership is incapable
of defending the Muslim world community from the non-Muslim west. When the
West comes crashing in, establishing itself massively in the very heart of
the Arab/Muslim world, then there will really be nowhere else for spirited
young Muslims to go.

Improbable as it may be, there is some light relief in this collection - see
'Iraqi spies said to be at work in US', Iraqi/US Relations; 'Iraq to Take
U.N. Post'; and 'Guernica Reproduction Covered at UN', both in that hotbed
of knockabout humour, Iraqi/United Nations Relations. Most gratifying news
of the week is 'Australian PM First Victim of Iraq War', Iraqi/International
relations. Otherwise the most interesting article, by quite a large margin,
is 'Stockpiling Popularity With Food', Inside Iraq.

News, 29/01-05/02/03 (1)


*  Al-Qaida and Iraq: how strong is the evidence? [Guardian attempt to
summarise the evidence. It doesn't mention Qassem Hussein Mohammed, the
prisoner held by the PUK who claims that 'Abu Wael' was a go-between for the
Iraqi regime and al-Qaida ('The missing link? Mysterious Iraqi may tie
Saddam to bin Laden' in News, 6-13/12/02 (2) and 'Militant Kurds training
al-Qaida fighters' in News, 17-24/8/02 (4) ) It claims that Laurie Mylroie's
Ramzi Youssef connection has been completely discredited, which may explain
her current absence from the radar screen where one would have expected to
see her frequently; and it throws in the rather bizarre information that
Mullah Krekar, supposedly head of Ansar el-Islam and recently in custody in
the Netherlands, is now living as a political refugee in Norway]
*  Saddam now holds key to war or peace in Iraq [Paul Wolfowitz uses the
Condoleeza Rice South Africa, Ukraine, Kazakhstan argument now also picked
up by Hans Blix; and he plays the usual trick of turning what UNSCOM says
Iraq could have done into what they think he did do. That having been said,
the article seems a bit half hearted compared to what one would expect. He
must find having to explain himself to the other peoples of the world
terribly tedious]
*  Powell to Go for Broke at the UN [It seems strange that the Security
Council has agreed that a meeting in which new evidence is being presented
and supported by audiovisual aids should be televised. Normally one would
expect SC members to want time to study the material presented before
discussing it in public. And is it normal for the US, rather than the office
of the - by now apparently invisible - UN Secretary General to announce such
a meeting and its arrangements?]
*  US says aluminium tubes are evidence of Iraq's nuclear goal [They haven't
given up. But the more Iraq did to conceal this import, the more surprising
it is that they picked something with unsuitable specifications. The article
goes on to indicate that the US might continue the war even if Mr Hussein
goes into exile]
*  Biological and chemical threats uncertain [Interview with ' Jean Pascal
Zanders, an arms control expert at the Stockholm International Peace
Research Institute in Sweden', largely on problems of using biological and
chemical weapons even if Iraq has them]
*  False trails that lead to supposedly Al Qaeda 'links' [Apparently
detailed account of the US star exhibit, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Though why
should we assume that Mullah Krekar is telling the truth when its quite
clear that if he was allied to President Hussein it would be in his interest
to deny it? And why should Ed Vulliamy who was so keen on the war against
Serbia now be so particular about the evidence necessary to justify a war on
Iraq? Is President Hussein better than President Milosevic?]
*  The C.I.A. and the Pentagon take another look at Al Qaeda and Iraq
[Extract from inordinately long philosophical disquisition on the states of
US intelligence, which wends its stately way towards the conclusion that
just because there's no evidence of an Iraqi/al Qaida link doesn't mean
there isn't one. The extract discusses the apparent change in George Tenet
since he argued in October that Iraq did not present a threat]
*  Iraqi troops getting gas masks, Kurds say
*  Saddam's guard tells of arsenal and terror links [A personal bodyguard,
who flees to Israel and gives Israeli intelligence the necessary stuff. So
it is Prime Minister Sharon who is going to produce the smoking gun. This is
surely a bit too 'good' to be true?]


*  Clues from ancient Babylon [Pepe Escobar's wandering but always readable
thoughts for the week. Though I can't help feeling he exaggerates the
importance of Osama bin Laden, who hasn't done much in over a year (touch
wood). I agree with his view that Mr Hussein's major concern at the present
time is probably what he should do in order to go down in history as an
inspiring figure to future generations: 'One thing is certain: Saddam is no
Shah of Iran. So how will he play it? As a martyr, like the last Abbasid
caliph? Or as a philosopher-king, like Gilgamesh?']
*  Stockpiling Popularity With Food [Long, detailed and impressive account
of the Iraqi rationing system, one of the best kept secrets of the whole
affair. The article, from the Washington Post, informs us that it 'is
regarded by the United Nations as the largest and most efficient food
distribution system of its kind in the world.' It started before the
'international community' started pretending to a humanitarian interest in
Iraq (quite the opposite)]

AND, IN NEWS, 29/01-05/02/03 (2)


*  Inspectors Answer U.N. Questions on Iraq [The article mainly turns on the
position of Russia but also on NATO's lack of enthusiasm for a US proposal
to 'defend' Turkey]
*  Inspectors dispute Bush's Iraq grievances [On US charges of possible
infiltration by Iraqi agents]
*  Iraq Invites Chief UN Inspectors for Talks in Baghdad [The Chinese
People's Daily says: 'Blix and ElBaradei gave a better-than-expected
assessment of Iraq's cooperation']
*  Inspectors: More Iraq Concessions Needed [Amin says Iraq will accept the
U2 planes (are there more than one?) so long as the US and Britain agree not
to penetrate the No Fly Zones while they are in the air ...]
*  Iraqi scientists refuse private interviews with UN team [and the
inspectors visit 'the privately owned Al-Tharthar Distillery and Al-Awali
Distillery' and are given a crate of whisky]
*  Blix may call meeting of experts over medium-range missile tests [Al
Samoud 2 and Al Fatah missiles, which may be able to go beyond the permitted
150 km and reach Tel Aviv, but which have been declared. So can Iraq be
attacked for things it has declared?]
*  Blix Says He Saw Nothing to Prompt a War [Interview with the New York
Times, more or less rubbishing specific US charges, but still insisting that
Iraq hasn't given whole hearted co-operation: '"I haven't pleaded for
continuing inspections because I haven't seen a change of attitude on the
part of Iraq," he said.']
*  U.N. Inspectors Search Campus in Kurdish Zone, Provoking Anger

URL ONLY:,,3-562093,00.html
*  US satellites 'spot Iraqis hiding suspected arms'
by Elaine Monaghan
The Times, 1st February
['"It's pretty clear. While the inspectors are getting into cars, the Iraqis
are in full panic moving boxes, crates, bulldozers and a couple of huge vans
which look like mobile labs," he said, referring to biological weapons
laboratories. "That will be in the briefing."']


*  Diplomats: Jordan to OK Airspace Use [Anonymous people say they will;
people with names say they won't]
*  Turk council gives limited OK to U.S. [The Turkish National Security
Council has agreed to recommend a limited presence to the Parliament -
which, under the Constitution, has the final say - provided there is
'international legitimacy', meaning a second UN resolution. So that's no
great change. Note that the Security Council includes the military and can
be assumed to be more pro US than the Parliament]
*  More Than 765,000 Pilgrims Have Arrived in Saudi Arabia for Hajj
*  Arab foreign ministers to discuss Iraq crisis [In Cairo, in mid-February.
Hopefully they'll do better than they did in Istanbul]
*  Anti-war feelings run high in Turkish parliament ahead of war decisions
[US pressures undermine what there is of democracy in the country they like
to present as the model of a Muslim democratic state]     
*  3,000 protest US-British plans to attack Iraq [in Jordan]     
*  Turkish leader hints Turkey preparing to support United States in Iraq
["If we remain outside the equation at the beginning of the operation, it
might not be possible to ... affect developments after the operation,"
Erdogan said. "And if that happens Turkey's long term interests and, God
forbid, its security might be endangered." The Parliament is expected to
vote on Friday 'to avoid disrupting U.S. war plans'.]
*  Kuwait declares border a military zone

AND, IN NEWS, 29/01-05/02/03 (3)


*  'The transatlantic bond is our guarantee of freedom': Declaration of
Eight European Leaders in Support of United States on Iraq [Text of letter
from five EEC and three not-yet EEC members which expresses great admiration
for the USA and suports a tough stand over Mr Hussein's supposed weapons
capacity, but still sees the final responsibility as belonging to the UN
Security Council]
*  German parliament ponders role of U.S. bases in Iraq action [Argument
that Germany isn't obliged to let the US use its bases on German soil, or
fly over the territory, if the US acts unilaterally]
*  Chirac should accept a timetable [James Rubin, Madeleine Albright's old
sidekick, hasn't lost his touch. While appearing as a moderate and champion
of the United Nations route, he demands: 'Iraqi co-operation in destroying
the thousands of tonnes of chemical and biological agents that, as the UN
confirms, are unaccounted for,' thus insinuating into our minds the idea
that because material is 'unaccounted for', therefore it must exist. He
finishes by very moderately suggesting that if France doesn't play ball then
the US should tear up the UN Charter and attack anyway (he doesn't bother
himself with the views of the non-permanent members of the Security Council,
all of whom, except Spain and Bulgaria, are currently in the anti-war camp -
see '11 Security Council members oppose war against Iraq')]
*  8 European states back US over Iraq: Setback to France, Germany [Extract,
mainly on reactions from Germany and Greece]
*  11 Security Council members oppose war against Iraq [and a flurry of
diplomatic activity, including Prime Minister Blair visiting France next
week and the Iranian foreign minister visiting London]
*  Mandela denounces Blair over Iraq war ["If there is a country that has
committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United States of
America. They don't care for human beings." And after that poor Mr Mbeki has
to go to meet Mr Bush. With regard to the Rice/Blix/Wolfowitz South African
analogy, Mr Mbeki 'has also offered the services of R.F. "Pik" Botha, the
former Foreign Minister, who played a key role in co-operating with the
International Atomic Energy Agency over the destruction in 1993 of the seven
atomic weapons built by apartheid South Africa, in helping Iraq "to improve
its co-operation" with UN weapons inspectors. Defending Pretoria's "no war
at any cost" position, Mr Mbeki said that it took UN inspectors two years to
verify South Africa's disarmament.' Though I suppose Mr Wolfowitz et al
could reply that Iraq has already had twelve years]
*  Poets see no rhyme or reason for Iraq war [Website with 100 poems against
the war, should such a thing take your fancy]
*  Op-ed diplomacy makes its mark [William Safire says the statement by the
Gang of Eight (he makes it nine, adding Slovakia) originated as a brainchild
of reporters with the Wall Street Journal and started with their contacting
Mr Berlusconi - not the most respectable member of the list. Media-savvy Mr
Blair insisted that it could not be an exclusive to the WSJ]
*  The UN game and the logic of war [March 3rd, according to Pepe Escobar.
Who tells us that the US has agreed to honour contracts signed by the Iraqi
government with Russian and French oil companies, so their resistance can be
expected to crumble very quickly]
*  France talks peace but sends warships east [Chirac 'may copy President
François Mitterrand's tactics in the  first Gulf war, which was to join the
US-led coalition at the last moment after extracting every ounce of possible
*  Australian PM First Victim of Iraq War [Australian senate passes a motion
of no-confidence in Australian Prime Minister John Howard because of his
support for the US war]


*  US, British Planes Attack North Iraq 'No-Fly' Zone [Near Mosul, Friday,
31st January]
*  Iraq Bombing Softens Air Defenses [Extract on the significance of cable
repeater sites]


*  Iraqi Opposition Leader Back in Homeland [Chalabi's return to the Kurdish
zone (not exactly his homeland), marking a reconciliation with the KDP, who
allowed Saddam Hussein's forces to expel and massacre the INC in 1996. He
says that, now that he's on 'Iraqi' soil, he's no longer an exile.]

AND, IN NEWS, 29/01-05/02/03 (4)


*  Kurds will not take part in U.S.-led war - Barzani [Interview with
Massoud Barzani, who says that the Kurds are not making any exceptional
military preparations and that 'no attack will be made from
Kurdish-controlled areas', which effectively means no attack from Turkey,
unless my sense of geography is very much mistaken. Nonetheless he assumes
that regime change is about to take place. Note also that, asked if Baghdad
is in breach of Resolution 1441 he says: 'I don't have any concrete
information on the matter to judge whether Iraq has violated the
resolution.', which contrasts with both th SCIRI and, I think, the PUK who
say they've loads of evidence but that nobody seems to be interested in it]
*  Growing activity reported at air base in Kurdish northern Iraq [Activity
at Harir airstrip. Barzani - 'Kurds will not take part in U.S.-led war',
above - insists that these are routine Kurdish military operations. This
article proposes three or four different possible explanations]
*  Saddam May Be Creating War Buffer Zone [On border between Iraq and the
Kurdish autonomous zone]
*  A War Crime or an Act of War? [Stephen Pellettiere doesn't stress his
well known argument that Iran, not Iraq, might have been responsible for the
gassing at Halabja. Instead, he insists that, whoever did it, it was done as
an act of war, not from a simple desire to massacre civilians: 'Iraq used
chemical weapons to try to kill Iranians who had seized the town, which is
in northern Iraq not far from the Iranian border. The Kurdish civilians who
died had the misfortune to be caught up in that exchange. But they were not
Iraq's main target.' This is a much stronger argument. He also argues that
control of water might be as strong a motivation for the forthcoming war as
control of oil.]
*  Iraqis and Kurds fear ethnic bloodletting when bombing stops [Impressions
of Kirkuk: '"Photo me. Photo me," pleads a fresh-faced young Iraqi soldier
as he poses with his friend for my cameraman. "Me too," cries another ...
There is something bizarre about these Iraqi boys in their crisp uniforms
out in the spring sun, demanding to be pictured by a television crew hailing
from the same clime as the RAF pilots.']
*  Exiled Turkmen lay claim to oil riches [round Mosul and Kirkuk]
*  Once a Site of Death, Now a Whirl of Fun [Site of former Iraqi
interrogation centre turned into an amusement park in Sulaimaniya]
*  Interview: PUK will not attack Baghdad - Talabani [Talabani confirms
Barzani's view that there will be no attack from the Kurdish zone:
'America's plans do not include the Kurdish-controlled areas in northern
Iraq, nor do they include using Kurdish forces.' But he also says: 'We are
expecting Turkey to grant permission to the Americans. When the U.S. army
crosses the Turkish border and enters northern Iraq, we expect a reaction
from the Iraqi regime.' Rather surprisingly, he refers to Mosul and Kirkuk
as 'Arab cities'.]
*  Iraqi Islamist denies link with Baghdad [The case of Mullah Krekar is
very strange. He makes no secret of his importance in Ansar al-Islam yet,
after four months in a Dutch jail, 'He was released for lack of evidence.
His lawyer, Victor Kope, suggested yesterday that Mr Krekar had been
detained because of US pressure.']
*  Ansar al-Islam leader threatens to document his links to US [In interview
with Al-Hayat. The article also says he 'has enjoyed political refugee
status in Norway since 1991' leaving one wondering what he has to do with
Ansar, which is usually presented as a quite recent phenomenon]

*  Split at C.I.A. and F.B.I. on Iraqi Ties to Al Qaeda
New York Times, 2nd February
[not a split between them. Both are agreed that President Bush is
exaggerating evidence that is still very 'murky'. But its all quotes from
the sort of anonymous official we don't take very seriously when its the
other side that is quoting them]

AND, IN NEWS, 29/01-05/02/03 (5)


*  Iraq War Not Justified, Say Labour MEPs [Resolution passed in the
European Parliament. It condemns Saddam Hussein, wants his weapons of mass
destruction removed and says this should be done by the Security Council. So
far, so much in line with the 'vast numbers' of European countries who
support Donald Rumsfeld. But they also say: "breaches of UN Security Council
resolution 1441 currently identified by the inspectors with regard to
weapons of mass destruction do not justify military action" - in line with
Mr Blix's own view of the matter.]
*  Starting a massive offensive [Massive Attack against the war. We learn
that the BBC persuaded them to change their name during the United Nations'
Gulf War. And he (Robert del Naja) makes this rather good observation: "We
came out of a period where conspiracies were mysterious and exotic, the
truth behind the shadows. But some of the things that are happening
politically, globally, are just so transparent I find it amazing. It's like
daylight robbery - it's so blatant nobody can believe it."]
*  The Asylum Trail [No internment camps or mass deportations for Iraqis
living in the UK]
*  Saddam gives Benn TV interview
*  The Saddam Hussein Interview [the full, completely uninspiring, text.
What a wasted opportunity]
*  Two Plaid Euro-MPs on Iraq visit
*  Safe havens plan to slash asylum numbers ['Officials stress that care
needs to be taken that the scheme is not seen as "dumping asylum seekers on
the poorer nations" ...', which is exactly what it looks like]

URL ONLY:,3605,885299,00.html
*  Why we should go to war
by Julie Burchill
The Guardian, 1st February
[Julie Burchill compares the present anti-war movement unfavourably with
'the common sense and progressiveness of arguments against American
intervention in Vietnam, Chile and the like' - which isn't quite how I
remember it. I remember being expected to sing rousing choruses of 'Ho Ho Ho
Chi Minh' and refusing to do so, not because I had anything against Ho Chi
Minh but because I reckoned I didn't know enough about him, or about the
wishes of the population of Vietnam, to be expressing such enthusiasm. At
least nobody's expecting me to express any enthusiasm for Saddam Hussein. A
national liberation movement is easy to support because we don't know how
its going to perform in government. It becomes more difficult now we're
dealing with people who have had their hands bloodied by actual power.
Though Julie Burchill's commonsense and progressive left didn't have too
many problems with Russia and China. The Julie Burchills, Tony Blairs and
Jack Straws are the sort of people who were in CND at the time when we were
facing the comparatively credible threat of the Soviet Union but, now that
that is gone, they're all on board for the Strategic Defense Initiative.
Burchill goes on to complain that 'Military inaction, unless in the defence
of one's own country, is the most extreme form of narcissism and
nationalism' so it appears she wants intervention everywhere. But is it just
the USA and UK who are to be allowed to intervene, or can everyone have a
go? Saddam Hussein liberating the two thirds of the population of Kuwait who
were completely deprived of citizenship rights under the Kuwaiti
constitution, for example? If military inaction is the most extreme form of
narcissism, and if that is a bad thing, then surely everyone has to engage
in military action. But I've left her strongest argument to the end,
dreading the moment when I would have to face up to it. Its about the
company we keep. She's on board with the groovy Condoleeza Rice, while we're
stuck with the Mothers' Union and the faggotty Catholic Church and pop music


*  Iraqi spies said to be at work in US [My favourite article of the week.
So that explains all those demos ... I thought there was something funny
about that chap with the big moustache on the Chicago Town Council ...]
*  Anthrax vaccination day for US Marines in Gulf ['"It makes it very real
when they start giving you vaccinations for things you hadn't even heard of
before," said 22-year-old Carrie Cornell ...' Carrie Cornell, it seems,
hasn't heard of anthrax or smallpox. One wonders if she's heard of Gulf War
*  Bush reverses drift in poll ['about half of all Americans say the United
States should take military action even without the endorsement of the
United Nations' according to new Washington Post-ABC News poll.]
*  Building a buzz for peace [Long account of problems US peace movement has
with the US media]


*  Iraq to Take U.N. Post [Iraq, it seems, is due to hold the chair of the
disarmament conference in Geneva for four workweeks from March 17 to May 25
because, it seems, its done in alphabetical order and Iran, perhaps out of a
sense of humour, 'abruptly stood aside, giving no explanation']
*  Saddam gets six more weeks [Extract which mentions US bribes offered to
other members of the Security Council. The bribes mentioned are still
trifling. They should obviously hold out for much more than that]
*  Guernica Reproduction Covered at UN [I have some dim memory that Eric
Gill was asked to do a frieze for the UN Security Council chamber but his
proposed subject - Christ driving the money changers from the temple - was
turned down for much the same reason as here. Not that it was inappropriate
but because it was too appropriate]

AND, IN NEWS, 29/01-05/02/03 (6)


 *  The recolonisation of Iraq cannot be sold as liberation [Extracts.
Although the prospects it offers for the future occupation of Iraq are grim,
they could look quite attractive when compared to the present state of
affairs. Direct foreign government might be an improvement on intense
foreign pressure on a supposedly independent government]
*  Iraqis want to be rid of Saddam [David Hirst broadly thinks all Iraqis
are in favour of the war. He thinks it will be good for them, but bad for
the US. And he gives this clear and succinct account of the ambitions of the
'neocons': 'The Middle East stands on the brink of geopolitical upheavals
unlike anything since the break-up of the Ottoman Empire, and the US is
embarking on a quasi colonial enterprise, involving direct, physical
conquest and occupation, comparable to the one which it strongly opposed
when, 80 years ago, the old colonial powers, Britain and France, were doing
the colonizing. The basic idea is to install a client regime in Iraq, then
turn this potentially rich and strategically pivotal country into the
fulcrum of a wider design that will bring the entire region firmly under
American-Israeli control: for such are the neoconservatives' personal,
professional and ideological ties with Israel, and right-wing Israel at
that, that the agenda is patently Israeli as much as American.']
*  Blair backs Kosovo-UN model to rule after Saddam ['Officials said Britain
favours a model inspired by the experience in Kosovo whereby civil affairs
in Iraq would be run by the UN while security would remain in the hands of
American-led forces.']
*  Imperial America is about to strike ['Hailed as a triumph of anti-war
European diplomacy, UN resolution 1441 has in fact provided cover for a US
military build up.' Patrick Seale, developing an argument rather like David
Hirst's - also in the Lebanon Daily Star - sees this as a triumph for 'a
cabal of Zionist extremists who have shaped America's political and military
agenda', and a catastrophe for the USA. he has this nice phrase about
'Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair, who ... is fond of saying, in the
teeth of a great deal of contrary evidence, that America is a "force for
good" in the world!']
*  Why the Left is wrong on Saddam [David Aaronovitch argues passionately in
favour of humanitarian intervention of the sort that didn't occur in Bosnia
and Rwanda. I agree with him that those who argued in favour of the
intervention in Kosovo and against the intervention in Iraq are being
inconsistent; but if Mr Aaronovitch wants to be consistent, should he not be
arguing in favour of intervention in Israel/Palestine?]
*  Saddam 'plans to use UN staff as hostages' ['a senior Iraqi official told
the London-based Arab language newspaper Al Sharq Al Awsat.' One wonders why
a senior officer should say such a thing. Or why an Arab language paper
shoulod print it. We are also told that the Special Republican Guard's
'chemical and biological unit has been ordered to prepare missiles armed
with chemical warheads for deployment in Baghdad.' So now we know.]
*  Bush approves nuclear response [in National Security Presidential
Directive 17, September 2002, with discussion on extent to which it
represents a new departure]
*  Grounded by War? ['According to a new study commissioned by a major
airline and obtained by Time, half of America's large airlines could be
bankrupt within months if war ‹ even a brief one ‹ breaks out in Iraq.']
*  UK restates nuclear threat ['He (Geoffrey Hoon) said: "We have always
made it clear that we would reserve the right to use nuclear weapons in
conditions of extreme self defence."' As for example if Britain found itself
about to go under to the forces of the Ayatollah Khomeini. Which were the
conditions in which President Hussein 'gassed his own people' at Halabja]
*  Iraqi water and sanitation systems could be military target, says MoD
[The war against Serbia was won entirely by targeting the electricity system
with the deliberate intention of disrupting civilian life. See the Select
Committee on Defence Minutes of Evidence, Thursday 20th June 2000, Lord
Gilbert, para 1046. Though the elected President Milosevic may have been
more concerned for the wellbeing of his civilians and therefore more
susceptible to that kind of pressure than President Hussein]
*  US chooses Saddam's successor [and guess who it is! Interview with
Mohamed al-Jabiri, a sidekick of Saddam's successor who was involved in the
drafting of a new Iraqi legal system and constitution. 'He said a new
government would be in place three months after Saddam's removal and
elections for a national parliament after one year.' We shall see. He also
says: 'He said that they (the bad guys - PB) would be prosecuted in Iraqi
courts, not in the International Court of Justice in the Hague. "We don't
want to give Saddam the chance like [former Yugoslav leader Slobodan]
Milosevic to use it for propaganda," he said.' But didn't the US go to great
lengths to prevent Mr Milosevic from being tried in Serbia?]
*  Only justice can bring peace to Middle East conflicts [Extract giving
proposals of the 'Iraqi Initiative for Democracy' for defanging Mr Hussein
without an outright war. The intiative has the support of Chibli Mallat -
who has launched an effort to indict Prime Minister Sharon in Belgium - and
Edward Said. It sounds to me a bit like the sort of thing John Hemmings has
been suggesting on the list]
*  Iraq's 'ghost' troops ready for war: exiles [Tawfik al-Yassiri thinks the
Iraqi army will put up a good fight, but it will be a guerrilla hit and run
affair. Is this pride in what used to be his own army? a suggestion that the
professionalism of his own, rather neglected, military group is necessary?
or just a straightforward assessment by one who is in a position to know?]
*  Wage war in Iraq for the sake of peace in the Middle East [Rosy but
confused account of the possible consequences of a US victory, by David
Owen. The article reads as if it has been badly edited]
*  Peace will cost more than war [Anonymous MoD source tells The Scotsman
they are planning to instal 20,000 troops in Iraq for three years.
Apparently to prevent power from getting into the hands of those who are
currently called 'the opposition', principally the Kurdish and Shi'i parts
of it]

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