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[casi] News titles, 05-12/02/03

News titles, 05-12/02/03

The sheer amount that is happening at the present time - and the sheer
amount that is being written about it - means that this collection is
becoming ever more arbitrary and unmanageable. I had hoped to produce a
brilliant and scintillating introduction that would have brought it all
together but I find I have about five minutes left to catch a train. Just to
say this - that the US at present is in the position of a seducer who has
got the unwilling partner (Iraq's neighbours. See in particular everything
concerning Turkey and the depressing section, 'Tightening the Net' ) into
bed and is just about to go to work when the door bell rings ('Europes Old
and New'. The fact that Vladimir Putin is spending three days in France
suggests that something serious might be going on but it would be dangerous
to say too much before we know what Hans Blix has to say and how everyone
reacts to it.)

To pursue the sexual analogy, looking at Turkey's behaviour, the words 'cock
teaser' come to mind. The Parliament allows the bases to be upgraded. Then
goes off on holiday for a week without making the crucial decision allowing
the US to actually use the upgraded bases. And then there are all sorts of
difficulties of protocol put in the way of actually starting the upgrading.
In particular, one imagines, the Turkish government, acting against its own
profoundest convictions and the overwhelming militant feeling of its people,
would like to be able to say that it is only fulfilling the obligations it
has as a member of NATO. And after three months, Lord George suddenly
decides to force the issue, with disastrous results.

And all that without mentioning the sheer nightmare of Northern
Iraq/Southern Kurdistan. Is Kurdish autonomy to be respected? And if so will
it extend to Kirkuk and Mosul (the Kurds could have had their autonomy long
ago from the hands of Saddam Hussein if they'd only been willing to
relinquish Kirkuk). The Turks have to have an army that will be much bigger
than the US army. The US assure the Kurds that it will be under US command.
(Or rather 'coalition' command. Perhaps they'll put a Latvian, or a Slovak,
in charge.) The Turks of course refuse. The thing gets worse and worse. And
in the South, who are the US allies? Who might be in power if a large amount
of autonomy is granted to them? A pro-Iranian guerrilla army which is
obviously not a million miles removed in its ideology from the Lebanese
Hisbollah. And what are they going to do when they don't have Saddam Hussein
to fight? And if the US decides that Iran's possession of uranium is a
menace to the peace of the world?

And all that without mentioning that Colin Powell's masterly coup de theatre
in the UN Security Council was upstaged (almost completely as far as public
opinion in Britain is concerned) by a hastily thrown together email on a
website largely maintained by a bunch of teenagers ...

News, 05-12/02/03 (1)


*  Only by Swallowing Big Lies Can Powell Justify a War [Robert Scheer
writing in the Los Angeles Times, reminds us that twenty years after he had
smoothely and in all apparent sincerity 'justified the deaths of more than a
million Vietnamese, tens of thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands
of Laotians and Cambodians', Mr Powell claimed he had known all along that
it was a bad idea. But after a strong beginning this article degenerates
into an argument for 'containment', meaning, as we know, at best a
subsistence level of existence for the great majority of the Iraqi people]
*  US claim dismissed by Blix [So far no mobile labs have been found. The
inspectors know they are probably being bugged 'by several nations' so they
take that into account]
*  US recycles human test claims [Background to C.Powell's claim that
experiments on biological and chemical weapons were conducted on death row
prisoners in 1995. Though the fact - if it is a fact - that the Iraqis
admitted to conducting experiments on animals indicated that they did indeed
have a programme in 1995]
*  Highlights of Powell's Presentation [Associated Press account]
*  Kurds Puzzled by Report of Terror Camp [Powell situates his "Terrorist
Poison and Explosives Factory" in Khurmal, a village which, it turns out, is
held by a group broadly friendly to US allies in the region]
*  Ritter dismisses Powell report [Does the fact that I only saw this
damning commentary ("You know who came up with the idea of mobile trucks?
The inspectors...") in Japan Today suggest that  the little scandal
concerning Scott Ritter has had its effect?]
*  Inspectors: Powell case is circumstantial [Chief weapons inspector Hans
Blix said of Secretary of State Powell's  presentation to the UN: "I don't
think there was clear-cut evidence that they  have weapons of mass
destruction. Very much of it was circumstantial."]  
*  U.S. inaction on camp questioned ['Lawmakers who have attended classified
briefings on the camp say they have been stymied for months in their efforts
to get an explanation for why the United States has not begun a military
strike on the compound near the village of Khurmal. Powell cited its
operation as one of the key reasons for suspecting ties between Baghdad and
al Qaeda.']
*  Vatican: Powell evidence unconvincing [Archbishop Renato Martino
interviewed by Reuters]     
*  Responding to Colin Powell [Excellent review by Rahul Mahajan in Z
Magazine. Extract pointing out why absolute co-operation with the inspectors
is not a reasonable demand: 'The first round of weapons inspections started
to fall apart in 1998 for one reason - the United States refused to commit
to lifting the sanctions once Iraq was disarmed. This refusal was an
abrogation of its own commitment under UNSCR 687.' and now 'Iraq is in the
bizarre position of being called on to disarm while being attacked by
another country, and then being reviled by the "international community" for
partial compliance.']
*  Media Tour Alleged 'Poison Site' in Iraq [Not only did Mr Powell get the
name of the village wrong but there was no sign of any chemical weapons.]
 *  Reporters on Ground Get Iraqi Rebuttal to Satellite Photos [Al Rafah and
Al-Mussayib rocket testing sites. Explanation of facilities Mr Powell quotes
as evidence of intention to develop 745 km range missiles. This must surely
be a question that can be answered, yes or no, by the inspectors?]

*  A masterly display by a trusted American
by Rupert Cornwell in Washington
The Independent, 6th February
[Rupert Cornwell is impressed and think the case is sewn up]
*  You wanted to believe him ­ but it was like something out of Beckett
by Robert Fisk
The Independent, 6th February
[Robert Fisk is not impressed]
*  'No proof of Powell claim on al-Qa'ida link'
by James Palmer
The Independent, 10th February
[International Crisis Group in a statement called "Radical Islam in Iraqi
Kurdistan: the mouse that roared" argues that Ansar al-Islam doesn't amount
to a hill of beans]

AND, IN NEWS, 05-12/02/03 (2)


*  Pope gives audience to Iraqi minister [Tariq Aziz next week]
*  New Allies Back U.S. Iraq Policy [Ten Eastern European countries join the
Gang of Eight. This gives them, I think, a majority in Europe taken as a
whole though it does not yet imply firm support for a war without UN
Security Council backing]
*  French history: Appease & surrender ['With a century of abysmal decisions
for which tens of thousands of Americans lie dead in that country, France
should have the decency to keep quiet.' The Sun is outshone by the New York
Daily News. But the NYDS have an advantage since some of the sins of the
French (Munich, the phony war during the bombing of Poland) were shared by
the UK]
*  Nato challenge to protect Turkey ['"All that Nato is considering for the
moment are prudent deterrent and defensive measures with regard to one
nation which happens to have a common border with Iraq," Lord Robertson
*  Russia Opposes New U.N. Iraq Resolution
*  Turkey insists on NATO protection
*  Rumsfeld Faces Tense Greeting and Antiwar Rallies in Munich [Rumsfeld
puts his foot in it by insulting the Germans just at the moment when the job
of drawing them in as part pof NATO was reaching its most delicate moment]
*  France and China Rebuff Bush on Support for Early Iraq War ['A day after
Mr. Bush said, "the game is over," [French] Prime Minister Jean-Pierre
Raffarin told reporters during a trip to New Delhi: "It's not a game. It's
not over."']
*  NATO Allies Trade Barbs Over Iraq [Rumsfeld v Fischer in Munich. Rumsfeld
complains that 'If the United Nations doesn't change course, it runs the
danger of repeating the failure of its predecessor, the League of Nations
... When the League failed to act after the invasion of Abyssinia [by Italy
in 1935], it was discredited as an instrument of peace and security."'. But
this is a test the UN has failed many times in the past (Vietnam, Laos,
Cambodia, Nicaragua, Panama, Grenada, Serbia) yet somehow it is still in
*  Belgium to block US Nato request [Plucky little Belgium!]
*  Germany in bid to block war on Iraq ['Project Mirage, which would
authorise the UN effectively to take over the running of Iraq ...' and which
could, as it is presented here, turn into another trigger for war]
*  Pope Takes Issue with America's 'Just War' [in dispute with American just
war theorist Michael Novak]
*  NATO members muddle U.S. plans for war
*  NATO unity threatened at bad time [Rather a good account from the New
York Times. Good because it understands that the problem is 'symbolic': It
had nothing o do with the defence of Turjey. The US (and probably the Turks)
were trying to create the illusion that they had 'NATO' support prior to the
passing of a UNSC resolution: '"Our position is coherent," said a French
official. "If we are not yet deciding to go to war in the Security Council,
we cannot decide to go to war at NATO. Once the Security Council authorizes
force against Iraq, it will be very easy to send material to Turkey right
*  Pentagon plans NATO blitz on Germany by pulling out [and installing
themselves in Eastern Europe (closer to Russia)]
*  Bush team united by European 'treachery' [Everybody likes knocking the
French. 'Sir Christopher Meyer, the outgoing British ambassador to
Washington, has taken to referring to Mr Blair and other leaders supportive
of overthrowing Saddam as the voices of "real Europe".']
*  Schröder faces calls to quit over peace plan [Confused article which
indicates that though the majority in Germany support Schroder's opposition
to war there is widespread discontent with his manner of handling relations
with the Americans and especially to 'project mirage', apparently revealed
rather haphazardly over a bottle of wine (but surely the title is itself
proof that the thing is a joke?)]
*  As Cold War Link Itself Grows Cold, Europe Seems to Lose Value for Bush
[NY Times article interpreting the current row as the result of a deliberate
US decision to ditch 'old Europe']

*  Bush and Aznar New, if Unlikely, Allies
New York Times, 11th February
[Uninspiring account of interview  with Prime Minister José María Aznar of

AND, IN NEWS, 05-12/02/03 (3)


*  Germans probe man U.S. suspects of Iraq-Qaeda link [Moussab al-Zarqawi's
possible connection with a German cell of the Al Tawhid group]
*  Intelligence break let Powell link Iraq and Qaeda [The intelligence link
- with Zarqawi, not with al-Qaida - turns out to be a phone call from
'Northern Iraq', ie the Kurdish autonomous zone. The article goes on to show
that a much more substantial link has been established with Qatar which is
at present the centre of the US command in the region]
*  Portrait of a terror suspect: Is he the Qaeda link to Iraq? [Another
account of Abu Mussab Zarqawi]


*  Turkey to Let U.S. Upgrade Bases ['the parliament stopped short of giving
the United States overall permission to station troops here', but this is
expected at the end of twelve days - giving the US a fortnight to prepare if
Pepe Escobar is right about March 3rd. The article claims that 'Turkey no
longer demands a second Security Council resolution to authorize use of
force', but it does want 'international legitimacy'. From NATO, perhaps?]
*  U.S.: Turkey Troops to Stay in Coalition [Turkey says its troops in the
Kurdish zone must outnumber the Americans. The Amercians assure the Kurds
that Turkish troops will be under US command]
*  U.S. in Talks on Allowing Turkey to Occupy a Kurdish Area in Iraq
*  Smell of fear in Halabja ['"We have been expecting this war for a long
time," he said. "The international community could not remain indifferent to
the situation here for much longer. It was bound to happen sooner or
*  Fearing separatism, Turks ban Kurdish names [This article, which says:
'As the Pentagon takes aim at Iraq, Turkey's security forces are zeroing in
on babies,' and relates Turkish reluctance to engage in war with Iraq to
anti-Kurdish feelings, may turn out to be very dishonest. It is referring to
a policy initiated, it claims, in December 2001 by the - generally pro-US -
military government. The - generally antiUS - Islamist party which is in
power now and is being bullied into supporting the US war contains a
comparatively large Kurdish membership and it is reasonable to hope that it
will ease up on policies like this (unless USUK political ineptitude
produces a new, all out Turkish/Kurdish war)]
*  Turkish military objects giving command to US [and the PKK aka PADEK
announce that they might restart their military campaign]
*  U.S. to back Kurd assault on Ansar base [in the event of a war]
*  Kurd general killed; possible al Qaeda link seen ['The attack would not
have taken place without al Qaeda's blessings, the (PUK) officials
contended.' Which does not inspire confidence in the trustworthiness of the
*  Protocols hold up troop preparation ['U.S. work on modernising the bases
is not being allowed to proceed until both sides agree to a detailed
"memorandum of understanding" covering liability issues, the scope and
location of the work, and other technical matters.']
*  Turks Balk at Foreign Command of Army
*  Islamic group takes another Kurd hostage
*  Turkish Citizens Near Iraq Worry of War [No gas masks for Turks living on
the border with Iraq]

AND, IN NEWS, 05-12/02/03 (4)


*  Leaked Report Rejects Iraqi al-Qaeda Link
*  Blair defends al-Qaeda claim
*  Britain's report on Iraq lifted from published materials [New York Times
*  Real authors of Iraq dossier blast Blair [Reactions of Sean Boyne and
Ibrahim al-Marashi as given in the Daily Mirror]
*  First casualties in the propaganda firefight [Background tale of the
Dossier. Though I didn't think Glen's email was 'Full of academic outrage'.
On the contrary, it was very laidback, though perhaps a whiff of Little Jack
Horner knowing he's got hold of a nice juicy plum could be detected. The
article goes on to point to USUK's problem. The reason for going to war now
is precisely that Iraq is disarmed and unable to put up a fight. The pretext
for going to war is that Iraq is bristling with weapons of mass destruction.
Between the reason and the pretext ... falls the shadow]
*  The Propaganda War  Iraq [Channel 4 poll. The great majority in Britain
think Mr Hussein is hiding WMDs and would go to war if there was a mjority
of the UNSC in favour, even if one or two vetos were placed (but do the
great majority understand how the UNSC works?). Without a UNSC resolution
only 28% support the war. Most people think the US is the greatest threat to
world peace]
*  Inquiry into the 'tainted' No 10 dossier on Iraq [as part of an already
programmed wider review of government propaganda methods]

URL ONLY:,3605,892273,00.html
*  Cool, calm, confident: the MoD's top hawk
by Jackie Ashley
The Guardian, 10th February
[Account of Mr Hoon, if anyone is interested]


*  Online Iraq game hits the button ['"Gulf War 2" ... The game appears
interactive but leads players down a set path, designed by O'Connor to
highlight the risks of war.']
*  Ex SAS man fights for tale of raid [Further efforts to recount tale of
SAS exploits in the UN war blocked by the MoD]

*  Ex-Iraqi bombmaker has book, hopes for film deal
by Richard Leiby
San Francisco Chronicle, from Washington Post, 7th February
[Khidr Hamza - The Movie]


*  Iraq: Scientist Agrees to U.N. Interview
*  Iraq's point man on weapons is considered a chemical mastermind [Account
of Lt. Gen. Amir al-Saadi]
*  Blix Holds Out Hope for Iraq Cooperation
*  Blix unhappy with Iraqi list of scientists
*  Iraq says it will allow inspections by air [It should be stressed that
Iraq never actually refused to allow U2 plane overflights. It simply said it
could not guarantee their safety in parts of Iraqi territory that were
subject to attack from enemy aircraft. It should be stressed that of the
permament members of the Security Council only USUK regards the overflights
in the 'No Fly Zones' as legal. If Iraq does now refrain from shooting at
enemy aircraft illegally entering its territory for fear of shooting down a
U2 spy plane, it will be interesting to see if USUK stops bombing Iraqi
installations - attacks which are always presented as retaliations for Iraqi
anti-aircraft fire]

AND, IN NEWS, 05-12/02/03 (5)


*  Who will benefit from America's latest fabrications against Baghdad?
[Daily Star, Lebanon roundup of Arab commentary, amounting to a general howl
of despair at the inadequacy of Arab politics]
*  Frankly Speaking! [Article from Bahrain - one of the countries that is
crucial to the US effort since that is where a large part of the US fleet is
based - complaining about US arrogance in planning for the aftermath of a
war which everyone in the region is trying to prevent]
*  Saudi Arabia pushes initiative to avert US-led war on Iraq ['"Instead of
constantly harping, `If you don't do what we want, we will pursue you,' say
the reverse: `If you do what we want, you will not be pursued, you will
secure yourself and your future,'" Prince Saud advised the United States.']
*  Rumblings in Riyadh [Glasnost in Saudi Arabia?]
*  Riyadh: Linchpin to a new religious order [The subject - the evolution of
Muslim thought in Saudi Arabia - is immensely interesting and important. But
it is difficult to understand why someone called 'Syed Saleem Shahzad'
should quote with apparent approval an account by a 'US diplomat' which
makes a distinction between Salafi Islam, which is, he says, based on the
Koran unmediated by interpretation; and other schools which rely 'on the
interpretations of different scholars and Islamic jurists'. These latter,
together with Sufism, he says, developed in the context of the Ottoman
But as I understand it, the Salafi movement - a late nineteenth century
development which is now almost wholly identified with the Hanbali school
which is one of the four traditional 'pillars' of Islam, each of them
thoroughly reliant on the interpretations of their respective scholars and
jurists. And each of them well established, as was the Sufi tradition, long
before the arrival of the Ottomans. Have I misunderstood it and is the Sayid
(if that is what he is) really quoting the US diplomat just to show how
ignorant the Americans are?]
*  Isn't it time the Kuwait war ended? [Saudi commentator Jamal Ahmad
Khashoggi attacks those who claim the Iraqis will put up a stiff fight:
'Their rants raise expectations which will surely come crashing down when
images are eventually beamed of Iraqi soldiers welcoming the US Army to
Baghdad and Tikrit.' An account of the humiliating collapse of the Iraqi
army in Kuwait]
*  Saudi Arabia may cut military ties with US ['Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah
will ask US President George W Bush to withdraw all American armed forces
from the kingdom as soon as the campaign to disarm Iraq has concluded.']
*  Hizbullah reveals 'Iraqi Taif' plan [Hizbullah proposes a conference
between the Iraqi government and opposition forces to bring about 'national
reconciliation'. Sounds like a good idea to me]
*  Rivalry for Eyes of Arab World [Account of new Arab news stations aiming
to compete with Al Jazeera which itself is planning an English language
*  Arabs shower France with praise for opposing US war efforts [Extracts
from Arab editorials, eg '"The United States is seeking a blank cheque on
Iraq, but the Franco-German plan withdrew it and gave it to the United
Nations," said Qatar's Al Watan daily. ']
*  Tape Ascribed to bin Laden Urges Muslims to Stand With Iraq

*  All quiet on the Arab street
by Pepe Escobar
Asia Times, 8th February
[Spendid evocation of the mood of the bazaars in Cairo as Mr Powell makes
his presentation. Fatalist]

AND, IN NEWS, 05-12/02/03 (6)


*  Iran admits to having uranium [It seems this is a good time for the axis
of evil to be making 'admissions' of this sort]
*  Iraqi FM in Tehran for Talks [This is interesting given the apparently
powerful support noted in previous mailings for a move to impeach the
Iranian foreign minister if this visit went ahead]
*  Leader: American-Style Democracy for Arabs, Muslims as Destructive as
Their Bombs [Full text of Annual Hajj message from the Leader of the Islamic
Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei on the efforts of the US to
undermine the process by which the Muslim world was liberating itself from
western control. Difficult to disagree with any of it except the
specifically Muslim parts (me not being a Muslim) and the contention that
the attack on the World Trade centre was the work of Zionists. His view that
US policy has failed in Afghanistan seems to suggest that Iran is backing
the opposition]


*  Egypt Asks U.S. for Trade Pact, Aid Boost
*  U.S. Met With Iranians On War [They 'asked Iran to join search-and-rescue
missions for downed U.S. air crews, officials reported. They further
requested that the Iranian government deny haven to fleeing Iraqis who might
try to cross into Iran and regroup against a U.S.-supported government in
Baghdad ... while also reassuring the Iranians that a prospective war for
control of Baghdad would not target them.']
*  U.S. tells some staff, family to leave four Mideast nations [Israel,
Jordan, Syria and Lebanon]
*  US and Britain give Saddam just 48 hours to leave Iraq [On the proposed
second resolution: 'Britain will put forward the resolution because
Washington "does not want to be seen to need it"']
*  Philippines' Baghdad embassy to close
*  Saudis set conditions for use of bases [The article says 'strict
conditions' have been placed on the use of the Prince Sultan air base and
its combined air operations centre, but it doesn't say what these are; in
particular if this can be used as the controlling centre for the war which
is what I understand the Americans want. It also denies the report that US
forces will be asked to leave Saudi Arabia once the war is over]
*  Mandela requested to negotiate exit plan for Saddam ‹ report ['asked by
"distinguished people," including leaders of Arab states bordering Iraq ....
but would only intervene if the United Nations requested him to do so',
having already been taken for a ride once over the Lockerbie affair when he
assured the Libyan President that sanctions would be lifted and a fair trial
held if he handed the Libyan suspects over]     
*  Kuwaiti minister calls Iraq 'failed state' [CNN interview  with Kuwait's
minister of state for foreign affairs, Sheikh Dr. Mohammed Al Sabah. Who is
quite sure that Iraq has WMDs and intends to use them. He claims that the
oher members of the Gulf Co-operation Council, 'Saudi Arabia, the United
Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman ... are sending their boys to stand
shoulder to shoulder with the Kuwaiti army.']
*  Jordan Pressing U.S. to Offer Exile to Hussein [The article in the NY
Times presents this as evidence that 'a neighboring Arab state heavily
dependent on economic ties to Baghdad and cheap Iraqi oil has effectively
abandoned any moves to preserve the current Iraqi leaders in place.']


*  Turkey ends ex-Marine's 'human shield' protest trip [Turkey doesn't
recognise Ken O'Keefe's World Service Authority passport]
*  [Lib Dem leader, Charles] Kennedy to join Hyde Park march as he urges PM
to clarify war aims
*  Kennedy to join Hyde Park march as he urges PM to clarify war aims
[Germany, Indonesia, Austria, Australia, Hungary, Jordan, Turkey]
*  Trade unions threaten to block military shipments [at a Stop The War
Coalition press conference at Westminster; and Tam Dalyell rather
unecessarily calls Ibrahim al-Marashi a 'teenage scribbler'; and the Tories
liken Charles Kennedy to Neville Chamberlain (but does anyone really care?)]
*  Iraq Grants Visas to 'Human Shields'

AND, IN NEWS, 05-12/02/03 (7)


*  Iraqi Opposition Says War Is Inevitable [Ahmad Barmani, a representative
of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan in Paris, frustrated at Old Europe's
stand: "They want to let Saddam stay in power."]
*  Iraqi Exiles Seek U.S. Army Training [The article, about the camp in
Hungary, mentions 'a few dozen volunteers living  in North America'. They
plan for 'up to 3,000 volunteers' with '1,500 trainers' (a 1:2) ratio?) but
they'd better move quickly or they might be too late]
*  Envoy's Effort to Recruit Iraqi Exile for Possible Future Government
Sparks Protests [Row over former 'foreign minister and ambassador to the
United Nations for Iraq', Adnan Pachachi who is being cultivated as a
possible Sunni alternative to Ahmad Chalabi, much to the displeasure of the
*  Potential Saddam Replacement Owes Money [Ahmad Chalabi seems to have left
a bad memory in the Kurdish Autonomous Zone]
*  Plan would see U.S. rule postwar Iraq [Zalmay Khalilzad in Ankara
outlines proposals which INC fear will favour the existing Sunni elite: '"To
be kind, it is unworkable," Mr. Chalabi said.']


*  Bush and Sharon Nearly Identical On Mideast Policy [Long article on
Jewish influence. This extract emphasises the 'Christian' connection]
*  Schwarzkopf turns on need for force against Saddam [Schwarzkopf won over
by Powell.]
*  US will aid Iraq 'even if Saddam has fled without fighting' [Condoleeza
Rice undermines the best hope the Arab world had of a peaceful resolution.
Madeleine Albright joins Norman Schwartzkopf on board the ship]

*  The question of American power
by Bill Keller
International Herald Tribune, from New York Times, 10th February
[Article on confused attitudes among the Democrats]


*  The Saddam branch of Islam [Disappointing article from the Asia Times on
the rather undemanding variety of Islam favoured by President Hussein
(plenty of prayer, not much discussion) and how different it is from the
radical version. He says some 30 to 40 new mosques have been built in
Baghdad over the past year, presumably all of them with large cisterns

*  Going behind 'enemy' lines
New Zealand Herald, 8th February
[First impressions of Iraq by an ex-army officer from New Zealand working
for the inspectors. Makes pleasant but inessential reading]


*  Blix Holds Out Hope for Iraq Cooperation [Extract. Sunday, 9th February,
near al-Kut. This is the only reference I have seen to this particular
bombing raid. I have the impression that the press have stopped reporting
*  U.S. Hits Missile Launcher in S. Iraq [Tuesday 11th February and Monday
10th February near Basra (when, the Iraqis say, two people were killed).
There seem to be fewer incidents these days, contrary to expectation but it
may be that I am missing them or they are not being reported. This article
says there have been 15 since the beginning of the year]

AND, IN NEWS, 05-12/02/03 (8)


*  Objectives of the 'Shock and Awe' strategy [Report of the New York-based
Centre for Economic and Social Rights - continuation of the Harvard
International team which reported back in 1991 on the humanitarian
consequences of the UN war - detailing the offences against generally
accepted principles of international law that are implicit in the proposed
strategy of 'shock and awe'] 
*  Britain to play key role in Iraq after war ['Between 10,000 and 20,000
troops from the UK might be needed in an American-led stabilisation force
aimed at preventing the disintegration of the country following the fall of
Iraqi President Saddam Hussain ... American commanders are believed to be
reluctant to place the Challenger tanks and Warrior infantry fighting
vehicles of the UK's Seventh Armoured Brigade too near to their own armoured
forces because of the primitive state of British communications, which could
lead to confusion in battle and a proliferation of friendly-fire
*  Powell doesn't know who he is up against [Convincing description of the
functioning of islamic militancy as a mass of autonomous little groups. Al
Qaida is only the best known of them, not necessarily the most important and
certainly not the organising centre]
*  Iraq after Saddam - the next Yugoslavia? [Robert L Barry, who headed the
OSCE mission to Bosnia-Herzegovina from 1998 to 2001, draws some interesting
parallels with the effort at 'nation building' in Bosnia. They are't
*  War or peace - blood will still be spilled [David Aaronovitch points out
that the peace camp too has blood on its hands because the 'peace' is not
peace: 'The failure of "vigilant containment" to help the people of Iraq is
just about the biggest reason I have for supporting war.' Vigilant
containment as recommended by France and Russia has already resulted in the
deaths of huge numbers of people. On the other hand a policy of no war, no
sanctions, liberates the evil genie, Saddam Hussein. Anyone got an answer ?
(I have, but it involves arguing that Mr Hussein is not as evil as he's made
out to be. Not many people agree)]
*  U.S. Military Set to Provide Aid to Iraqi People in the Event of War [but
relief organisations complain of a lack of co-ordination]
*  Strong cases for and against war - but we don't hear them [Ian McEwan who
supported the wars against Serbia and against Afghanistan is wavering over
the war on Iraq. Difficult to know why since his arguments against the
'peace' camp are stronger, from his point of view, than his arguments
against the war camp (mainly fear of what S.Hussein might do in extremis)]
*  The US lacks a compelling case [If Saddam could have unleashed these
horrors on us 'at any moment', why has he not done so already, asks former
Reagan adviser, Doug Bandow]
*  The real 'Mother of all Battles' is about to get under way [Patrick Seale
in the Daily Star, Lebanon, stresses the sheer radicalism of what the
Americans are about to undertake - attempting to reverse the whole twentieth
century process of decolonisation]
*  Israeli activists demand gas masks for Palestinians ['Physicians for
Human Rights said the old division between areas under Israeli rule and
those controlled by the authority had been wiped out by the re-occupation of
the West Bank, so all should receive gas masks.']
*  Iraqi civilian toll, postwar trauma apt to be more dire than in 1991
[Despite the title, this is a very rosy view of US military planning which
will involve for example ''careful targeting away from civilian areas --
aiming to avoid electrical generators or water reservoirs", even though the
start of the war will be 'seemingly brutal' (!). Any undue horrors will be
enitirely down to President Hussein and to the UN's failure to prepare
adequately for the war they were hoping to avoid]

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