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News, 05-12/02/03 (8) IMPLICATIONS OF WAR * Objectives of the 'Shock and Awe' strategy * Britain to play key role in Iraq after war * Powell doesn't know who he is up against * Iraq after Saddam - the next Yugoslavia? * War or peace - blood will still be spilled * U.S. Military Set to Provide Aid to Iraqi People in the Event of War * Strong cases for and against war - but we don't hear them * The US lacks a compelling case * The real 'Mother of all Battles' is about to get under way * Israeli activists demand gas masks for Palestinians * Iraqi civilian toll, postwar trauma apt to be more dire than in 1991 IMPLICATIONS OF WAR http://www.jordantimes.com/Thu/opinion/opinion2.htm * OBJECTIVES OF THE 'SHOCK AND AWE' STRATEGY by Michael Jansen Jordan Times, 6th February BAGHDAD Washington's "Shock and Awe" strategy for waging war on Iraq involves the commission of international war crimes for which individual members of the Bush administration could, in theory, be held responsible if the post-World War II system of international order survives the onslaught. These crimes include indiscriminate air strikes on civilian population centres, the use of weaponry which does not discriminate between military and civilian target, strikes on electricity plants damaging and destroying "civilian life support systems" and use of bombing "for non-military purposes", for affecting civilian morale and inducing the Iraqis to overthrow their government. This short list of potential violations of the Geneva Conventions and customary international law was included in a report released last week by the New York-based Centre for Economic and Social Rights. In its discussion of the "international law framework governing war", the centre says that international humanitarian law places constraints on military action in order to minimise its impact on civilians. Military action is governed by two principles: "distinction" and "proportionality". On the one hand, attacking forces must distinguish between military and civilian targets, on the other, they must forego attacks on military targets "if such attacks have a disproportionate impact upon civilian life or civilian objects". "Shock and Awe", promulgated far and wide with the aim of scaring the Iraqis into capitulating, ignores both the principle of "distinction" and that of "proportionality". The campaign is slated to begin with a 48-hour blitz on a virtually undefended "open city" with 3,000 "precision guided" bombs and missiles. This would coincide with the use of "High Power Microwave" (HPM) weaponry devised to knock out electricity installations, communications and electronic equipment including computers. This blitz in itself will constitute a war crime. The initial assault would be succeeded by the targeting of Baghdad with 300-400 cruise missiles on a daily basis for at least a week, averaging one missile attack on the city every five minutes. Other weapons listed in the report include precision-guided missiles fired from aircraft, area-impact munitions, such as cluster bombs, fuel-air explosives and multiple rockets. Some of the munitions are likely to carry warheads tipped with depleted uranium, which pollutes the target territory for generations and, deployed in a dry, desert area, is spread by wind to neighbouring countries. (Kuwaitis are now exhibiting the same symptoms of depleted uranium sicknesses which affected Iraqis soon after the 1991 war). The use of tactical nuclear weapons has not been ruled out by the US and Britain, regardless of consequent fall-out in the region. During the blitz, ground forces would seize control of Iraq's northern and southern oil fields and seal the country's frontiers to prevent Iraqis from seeking refuge in neighbouring countries which do not want to be landed with a humanitarian disaster. As the code name for the operation indicates, the objective of the sustained assault on the capital is to compel the Iraqi armed forces to surrender without mounting serious resistance which could cost lives amongst the invading forces. Any resistance would be countered by more intensive bombardment and, according to a Western diplomat based in Baghdad, the invading forces could use armoured bulldozers to clear wide swaths of territory for the entry of tanks and armoured troop carriers into closely built neighbourhoods. Although the US claims that 75 per cent of the explosives to be used will be electronically guided munitions (as compared to nine per cent in the 1991 war), the consequences of "Shock and Awe" for Iraqi civilians could be catastrophic. Since military camps, defensive positions, government and party offices and other strategic sites are located throughout Iraq's cities in and adjacent to neighbourhoods inhabited by ordinary folk, they are likely to become "collateral casualties" in a massive assault. Thousands could be killed outright by "smart" bombs and missiles which hit their targets, by ordnance which goes astray and by the 25 per cent of "stupid" bombs which do not have guidance systems. According to UN estimates, 3.6 million city dwellers may lose their homes and will need emergency shelter, and 900,000 could flee their country to seek safety in Iran, Turkey, Jordan and Syria. HPM weapons will shut down Iraq's power and sewage treatment plants and water purification facilities for an indefinite period, putting the lives of millions of Iraqis at risk from water borne and infectious diseases. "Shock and Awe" is designed to have a far greater impact than the 1991 bombing which killed 3,500 civilians and 56,000 troops outright. During the civil conflict which followed the US campaign 35,000 people died. Some 111,000 Iraqis also died during that first year from adverse post-war health affects. The toll for 12 years of sanctions is 1.75 million. The intensity of the bombardment in a coming war is certain to kill and maim far more Iraqi civilians and wreak greater havoc than the 1991 offensive. Forinstance, the total number of cruise missiles used during the entire 1991 assault was less than the figure slated for one day's expenditure in the coming war. The UN figures are 100,000 for direct casualties killed and wounded and 400,000 for those who suffer the immediate adverse affects of the war. If one takes the traditional battlefield ratio of 1:3 for killed to wounded, this would mean 33,000 killed (nine times the 1991 figure) and 66,000 wounded in the onslaught. The number of Iraqis estimated to suffer death and serious illness from lack of power, freshwater and sanitation could be four times the figure of 1991. These are conservative estimates. The US had "international legality" on its side when it launched its attack on Iraq in 1991, because Iraq had occupied the territory of its neighbour Kuwait. Iraq is no longer occupying anyone else's territory and is not seen as a threat by any of its neighbours. Furthermore, the second Bush administration has failed to make a compelling case for "Shock and Awe". US Secretary of State Colin Powell has admitted that "there is no smoking gun". Therefore, the US is preparing for a "war without evidence" that Iraq is in serious breach of UN resolutions prohibiting its possession of arms of mass destruction. This means that the legality of a new war is highly questionable. It will be a "war without evidence" of dubious legality, perpetrated in such a way as to commit international war crimes. The Centre for Economic and Social Rights is examining possibilities of taking the US government to court, perhaps within the inter-American system, if it launches a war on Iraq. US lawmakers and officials have alreadybeen warned that they could face prosecution for acts which violate international humanitarian law. However, the hawks in the Bush administration have little regard for international law or the UN, which they are using as a convenient cover for unilateral aggression against Iraq. By waging war on Iraq in accordance with the "Shock and Awe" strategy, the Bush administration's hawks will achieve larger objectives than subjugation of Iraq and control over the oil resources of the region. The hawks will finish off both the UN, which they despise, and the body of international law which has been painstakingly built up since World War II. As far as they are concerned, "might is right" and since the US is the mightiest power in the world today, the US is "right" even when it is totally wrong. http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/news.asp?ArticleID=76488 * BRITAIN TO PLAY KEY ROLE IN IRAQ AFTER WAR by Neil Tweedie Gulf News, from Daily Telegraph, 6th February London: British troops will remain in Iraq after a war for three years and beyond on peacekeeping duties under contingency plans being drawn up by the Ministry of Defence. 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. The disclosure comes amid speculation that British ground forces will play only a subsidiary role in the invasion of Iraq, which is expected to begin in weeks if Saddam fails to co operate with United Nations inspectors. A ministry source said planners had been told to work on the assumption that British troops would be required in Iraq for three years at least. The force is seen as necessary to aid humanitarian efforts in post-war Iraq and prevent the country's fragmentation into a collection of Kurdish, Sunni Muslim and Shia Muslim successor states. The British contingent will be assigned its own sectors in an American-dominated force that will control the whole country, not just Baghdad. Lt Gen. David McKiernan, commander of the U.S. Third Army, now deploying in Kuwait, is tipped to take charge of the occupation force. His role as military governor in a transitional administration has been compared to that of Gen. Douglas MacArthur in post-war Japan. The British force, led by Maj. Gen. Robin Brims, is expected to control a sector of Baghdad. It is top-heavy with infantry units, allowing it to mount intensive patrols. The servicemen already earmarked for deployment have been warned to prepare for a standard six-month tour of duty, but they are likely to be away for eight months. Follow-on units can expect similarly long deployments because the Army's chronic shortage of manpower will slow the process of rotation. The Army is understood to be working on the assumption that it will have to keep the equivalent of two brigades - up to 20,000 personnel, including support units - in Iraq for the foreseeable future. That would be a huge strain for an organisation 7,000 under strength. The Army has had to scale down its contingents in the Balkans and West Africa over the past year, with the 2,000-strong force in Kosovo due to be pulled out by the end of April. There are also plans to cut the number of troops in Northern Ireland. Even then, more reserve servicemen and women may be required. Some 6,000 army reservists have been called up, with a warning that they might be asked to serve for a year. 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 incidents. The disparity in British and U.S. communications equipment is the most serious issue in the two armies working together. The digital radios in U.S. armoured vehicles allow their commanders to send and receive fully-encrypted information, giving them a thorough awareness of the battle via the "tactical internet''. Each radio has a satellite positioning device that automatically sends out the position of the tank or infantry fighting vehicle in question, reducing the chance of friendly fire - "blue on blue'' - incidents. British armoured vehicles are equipped with the Clansmen radio dating from the 1960s and 1970s. An analogue system, it has an extremely limited ability to transmit data. In another sign of the build-up to war, Kuwait said the northern areas bordering Iraq would become a closed military zone from February 15. http://observer.co.uk/focus/story/0,6903,891943,00.html * POWELL DOESN'T KNOW WHO HE IS UP AGAINST by Jason Burke The Observer, 9th February For three days we drove across Afghanistan. Overhead American planes laced the wintry sky with vapour trails. Around us the 'Jihad International' was falling apart. In Jalalabad we watched fighters from the Pakistani Harkat ul Mujahideen group captured. In Gardez we saw Taliban soldiers rounded up. The bombers above us were on their way to pound the northern cities where militants from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan were holding out against American and Afghan soldiers. To understand who they were, and what they were doing in Afghanistan, is to understand why US Secretary of State Colin Powell's rhetoric last week was rooted in a fundamental misconception of the nature of modern Islamic terrorism. Powell linked Abu Musab al Zarqawi, an experienced and committed Jordanian militant, with both Osama bin Laden and Baghdad. To grasp the truth about al-Zarqawi, and thus the truth about contemporary Muslim militancy, a major revision of the conventional wisdom is needed. Powell, like many strategists, seems to think he is fighting a war against a single enemy or an identifiable group. He is not. He is fighting a war against a political religion. None of the men I saw as I bounced across the rutted tracks that pass as roads in Afghanistan were members of 'al-Qaeda'. Nor indeed were many of the fighters from Chechnya, Yemen, Egypt, Algeria and, of course, Iraq who were scattering through the mountains and deserts in an attempt to escape the US-led onslaught. They were certainly militants, full of hatred of the West and the 'Crusader-Zionist' Alliance that they blamed for the problems of their homelands and those of the Islamic world more generally. They were all undoubtedly committed to the violent holy struggle that they saw as their duty of jihad. That is why they were in Afghanistan. But, though they may have admired bin Laden, they were not his operatives. Indeed many had been in Afghanistan long before bin Laden returned to the country, after a seven-year absence, in 1996. They had come to fight the Soviets and, unable to return to their own countries for fear of incarceration and execution, had stayed on after Moscow pulled its troops out in 1989. Over the next decade many continued their activism, organising violence against Middle Eastern regimes and, increasingly, against the people who they felt were supporting those regimes: America and its allies. In the late Eighties, bin Laden, because of his wealthy background and clever media projection, was one of the more prominent among the various men leading the volunteers who flocked from all over the world to fight the Soviet Union. Al-Zarqawi, who led his own little group of Jordanians, did not fight for him or with him. There were scores of groups of Arabs in combat. Bin Laden led one. Al-Zarqawi led one too. Bin Laden spent from 1989 to 1996 in his native Saudi Arabia and in Sudan. He had contact with many radicals, including some of those who had remained in Afghanistan. But many more militants had nothing to do with him. They had their own resources. They did not need him. From 1989 to 1998, when al-Qaeda pulled off its first big attack, there were scores of bombings. Bombs exploded in France, under the World Trade Centre in New York, in Saudi Arabia and throughout the Middle East. None was the work of bin Laden, but of the diverse groups who formed a new wave of Islamic militancy washing across the world. Al-Qaeda was part of that wave. But al-Qaeda was not a large part of it. There were dozens of independent operators with their own funding, their own contacts, their own ambitions and agendas. The violence that extended the jihad against the Soviets into cities from Yemen to the American East Coast was their work, not bin Laden's. Al-Zarqawi was one of these men. Even after their bombing of the American embassies in east Africa and Dar-es-Salaam, al Qaeda still remained nothing more than primus inter pares. The Taliban made alliance with dozens of different organisations during their five years in power. As the number of Afghan recruits dropped and Pakistani government support diminished, the mullahs turned increasingly to overseas groups for manpower. That was why my drive across Afghanistan in the autumn of 2001 had been so cosmopolitan. Groups from dozens of countries - with Pakistanis, Egyptians and Uzbeks most prominent - concluded pragmatic and mutually beneficial alliances with the hardline Islamic militia. So, of course, did al-Qaeda. So too did al-Zarqawi and his little band of Jordanians. All lived and worked together in Afghanistan, co-operating on some things, arguing over others. Afghanistan, with its security and the facilities that bin Laden and others were able to develop, saw a temporary coalescing of different radical groups. In all they represented the full range of modern Islamic militancy. All had their own agendas and their own backgrounds. And when the bombers came some fought, temporarily united by a common enemy, and some fled. Al-Zarqawi, injured in March 2002, escaped to Iran, which expelled him. He ended up in northern Iraq, the nearest safe haven. It also had the advantage of being close to Jordan, his homeland and primary target for over a decade. He was not alone of course. More than 100 other men who had been with various groups, or in training in camps run by al-Qaeda or other organisations, had arrived in Kurdistan too. Together they infused the Ansar-ul-Islam group, which has roots going back to the late Eighties, with a new violent and fanatical edge. Then, so we are told, al-Zarqawi headed to Baghdad for medical treatment where, apparently, he still is. Al-Zarqawi is not an al-Qaeda operative. If there is a link between bin Laden and Saddam Hussein he is not it. His story is the story of modern Islamic militancy. It is also the story of why the American-led 'war on terror' risks backfiring badly. Al-Zarqawi is not even, on close examination, an 'al-Qaeda associate', as Powell claimed. Primarily, al-Zarqawi is part of a broad movement of Islamic militancy that extends well beyond the influence and activities of any one man. This is a movement that is rooted in broad trends in the Middle East, in the economic, social and political failure of governments, both locally and in the West, to fulfil the aspirations of hundreds of millions of people. Islamic militancy is a multivalent, diverse and complex phenomenon. Focusing on individuals, even bin Laden, is a ludicrous oversimplification. Desperately trying to paint all Muslim militants as 'al-Qaeda' is wrong and counter productive. Eliminating one man, or one group, will not make much difference. Nor will concocting spurious links between very different threats. If Powell believes his own rhetoric then he has simply not understood the nature of his enemy. http://observer.co.uk/comment/story/0,6903,891376,00.html * IRAQ AFTER SADDAM - THE NEXT YUGOSLAVIA? by Robert L Barry The Observer, 9th February Following Colin Powell's presentation to the UN Security Council, war with Iraq seems virtually inevitable. This could be done without a new Security Council resolution - but the United States and the United Kingdom would own the problem of what to do with Iraq on the morning after Saddam goes. Our publics are not prepared to take on this burden, and more time is needed to develop support for a large scale multilateral effort at nation building. The central question concerning post-Saddam Iraq is whether we will be looking at Yugoslavia in 1992 or Japan in 1945. Based on my years in post-war Bosnia, the Yugoslav parallel seems compelling. There are strong separatist movements in both countries. Both have neighbours which would pull it in different directions, both are awash in arms, and bloody reprisals will likely take place in Iraq as they have in the former Yugoslavia. Political parties care more about gaining control of resources and state industries than about introducing democracy. Corruption and a weak justice system discourage foreign investment. The military and police and judiciary need to be rebuilt from the ground up. And outside help is urgently needed to repair war damage and deteriorated infrastructure. In the former Yugoslavia we have dealt with these problems through a major effort at nation building, involving tens of thousands of peacekeeping troops, thousands of civilian experts from the UN, NATO, the EU, OSCE, the World Bank, the IMF and more than 50 nations around the world. Yet a decade later the job is far from done, despite the expenditure of somewhere close to $100 billion. There is little sign that serious preparations are under way to deal with post-Saddam Iraq. The first question to face on the morning after is who is in charge. If Jim Hoagland of the Washington Post is correct, President Bush has decided to assign responsibility to the US Department of Defense, with US Central Command commander General Tommy Franks in command, assisted by a civilian political adviser. If the past is any guide, the US Defense Department will be eager to get out of the business of running Iraq, especially since the one thing all Iraqi exile groups oppose is a US military government. The idea of a UN civil administration has been mentioned, but no planning for this, or even UN relief operations, can begin without the backing of the Security Council. A UN administration would also be unpopular with many Iraqis and would be slow to mobilize and expensive to maintain. Another option is the appointment of a High Representative of the international community, drawn from among the "coalition of the willing". Lord Paddy Ashdown, who fills this role in Bosnia, has learned that this model fosters dependence, is very expensive, and is difficult to end. Another urgent question concerns the size of the occupation force and the duration of their mandate. Most reporting points to the need for some 75,000-100,000 troops. The US and the UK could not sustain a force of this size, given the need to rotate units to their home bases and maintain readiness elsewhere. So a new coalition of the willing would have to be created to maintain the peace - or the US and UK standing armies would have to be increased significantly to meet the demand. Based on NATO's experience in Bosnia and Kosovo, peacekeepers will have to remain on the ground for at least five years. On the morning after Saddam goes, there will be an immediate need for large-scale international assistance, to rebuild and provide relief. The costs of rebuilding the infrastructure, even in the absence of major war damage, are likely to be huge. A donors' conference, such as followed the victory over the Taliban in Afghanistan, is the usual first resort of the international community. But the Afghan donors' conference was notable for pledges that were never redeemed, and given resentment in Europe over US and British policies in Iraq, a major contribution by the EU would be a surprise. If war comes, it will not be about oil, but what to do with the oil fields which will be occupied in the opening days of war will be a major headache. Rival Kurdish groups and the Turks may come to blows over the rich fields around Kirkuk, an area which Saddam has "cleansed" of its original Kurdish and Turkmen population. Much has been made of the possibility of using Iraqi oil revenues to finance rebuilding the economy, but increasing production or even restoring production will be slow, and will depend on foreign investment. Who will decide what to do about Iraq's billions in external debts, for example to Russia and France? Faced with these alternatives and given the US Defense Department's distaste for nation building, a possible "exit strategy" would be to toss the ball to Iraqis as soon as decently possible. This was the course the US aimed at in Bosnia, believing that elections within a year would enable NATO forces to withdraw. As we learned to our regret, premature elections aggravated the problem. In some quarters in Washington talk of finding a secular authority figure, possibly a general who might emerge as an early defector from Saddam, has replaced talk about a democratic Iraq inside its current borders. This would be a short-sighted solution. Secretary Powell made the case that Saddam Hussein is in material breach of Security Council Resolution 1441, and that inspections are not the answer. But turning to the our publics and the international community on the morning after Saddam goes with a request for help in cleaning up the mess left behind will not be good for Iraq, the Middle East or the transatlantic relationship. Giving diplomacy more time will produce a Security Council resolution, even if not unanimous, which will be needed to mobilize the support of governments for a major effort at nation-building in Iraq. That time can be well used to win the support of our own publics for taking on a burden larger than war. Robert L Barry, a retired US Ambassador, headed the OSCE mission to Bosnia-Herzegovina from 1998 to 2001 and is a member of the board of the British American Security Information Council. http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,3604,892983,00.html * WAR OR PEACE - BLOOD WILL STILL BE SPILLED by David Aaronovitch The Guardian, 11th February Miryam writes to ask me if she can't persuade me to change my mind on the war. All too easily, I think. My reasons for reluctantly supporting military action in Iraq aren't even the main ones being given by those preparing to go to war. I detest the stupid propaganda ploys and schoolkid errors of the pro-war camp, and can only roll my eyes at the arrogant and counter-productive way in which the Bush administration has dealt with the sensibilities of its allies. But could I change Miryam's mind? Miryam, I guess, will be on the march on Saturday, along with several members of my own family. It will be a huge, diverse affair, with kids in pushchairs and pensioners. Miryam may take one of the placards depicting a bomb with a red line through it, or a photo of an Iraqi child with big eyes, a child like the ones who may die under allied bombs, no matter how much the military might want to avoid such killings. Even Charles Kennedy will address the rally. Where will I be? Holding my own march of five sceptical journalists and academics, all clutching placards of a smiley bomb with "On balance, I think this may be the only way" written on it. None of this, though, will make Miryam right and me wrong. Because, as she marches and I skulk, both of us must accept that were our view to prevail, we would have blood on our hands, she as surely as I. My bloody hands first. Let's say there is a second resolution of the UN security council for war and - some day in the next month or so - 300 cruise missiles and God knows what else besides smack into command posts, ministries, Scud sites and Chinese embassies. Even in an optimistic scenario many Iraqi soldiers are likely to die in the ensuing conflict, as well as hundreds of civilians. A UN report, based on World Health Organisation estimates, says that there will be 500,000 people requiring treatment "to a greater or lesser degree as a result of direct or indirect injuries", including food shortages, power disruption and disease (this figure, incidentally, somehow became 500,000 war-related deaths, when wielded by the comedian Mark Thomas in the New Statesman last week). Then let's add to my gory account any allied casualties, the cost of rebuilding the Iraqi infrastructure, a possible upsurge in anti-western terrorism (though this really is speculative), splits in Nato and the EU and - above all - the danger of the creation of a highly unilateral Pax Americana. Not good. Right Miryam. Now we'll look at your hands. You are on the side of peace and light, so they ought to be spotless. But hold them up to the light and you'll see that they aren't. The most obvious stain on them comes from the continuation of the Saddam regime. I am not going to detain you once again with the reports from Amnesty, nor the (from your point of view) disquieting amount of evidence that Iraqis would like to see him deposed by force if necessary. You must know it by now. And then there is the question of what you think ought to be done about the famous weapons. You could take the risk that the Iraqis don't really have any, that they won't build any and that (as some analysts argue) they will never be used because we could always nuke Iraq if it dropped anthrax on, say, Israel. But you might prefer to go along with the French and Germans and opt for a continuation of what is known as "vigilant containment". This consists of policing the no-fly zones (which also entails the occasional bombing of Iraqi air defences), extending the flights ban, beefing up the inspectors and - should Saddam fail to cooperate - continuing the regime of sanctions on Iraq. Given that Saddam has never voluntarily cooperated with the inspectors, save when under the threat of military action, a tough sanctions regime would seem a cert. I cannot for the life of me see what UN peacekeeping forces would add to this equation. Sanctions are blunt weapons. Aware of the effect they were having on the Iraqi people, the UN has several times refined its sanctions policy. Opponents of sanctions argue that, even as changed, they increase child mortality through disruption of the country's infrastructure and the prohibition of certain "dual use" imports. Some talk of half a million extra dead children. Whether this can be blamed on Saddam is almost irrelevant, since the policy itself is, essentially, Saddam plus sanctions. You don't fancy that? Don't want it on your conscience? I don't blame you. The failure of "vigilant containment" to help the people of Iraq is just about the biggest reason I have for supporting war. Which, of course, you can't. So perhaps you will argue for no war and no sanctions. Possibly you will (as some of your fellow campaigners do) also call for the end of the no-fly zones. In this peace Saddam will stay (and Uday, his eldest son, will get ready to take over), the Iraqi government will use air power against the Kurds and any other anti-Saddam rebels, and the chances are pretty good that the Iraqi tyrant will resume chemical and biological weapons manufacture, if he ever stopped it. Would you like to calculate how many people will die, if you have your way? There will be the direct victims of the Saddam regime, but you have already decided (however reluctantly) to live with those. There will be the consequences of the overwhelming proof of the powerlessness of the UN, and I can't compute that. There is the chance that Tony Blair is not so mad when he raises the possibility of a future link between terrorism and the availability of terror weapons in states such as Iraq - we would certainly find out in the most interesting way. There will be the chance of a pre-emptive strike by Sharon's Israel (we can all protest against that, much good that it will do us). I think, Miryam, that what I'm saying is this. You can march, but you can't hide. http://www.nytimes.com/2003/02/11/international/middleeast/11MILI.html * U.S. MILITARY SET TO PROVIDE AID TO IRAQI PEOPLE IN THE EVENT OF WAR by Eric Schmitt and Thom Shanker New York Times, 11th February MacDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla., Feb. 10 As the United States edges closer to attacking Iraq, the commander of American forces in the Persian Gulf said today that the military would take much of the responsibility for providing food and medicine to the Iraqi people from the first day of any war. Gen. Tommy R. Franks, the chief of the United States Central Command, also said that despite public disputes with some of America's traditional allies, especially Germany and France, who are working to slow any march to war, "we will have all of the support we need" from military partners in the region and around the world should President Bush order the nation to war. General Franks is scheduled to be in Washington on Wednesday to brief Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and possibly Mr. Bush on the progress of war planning. He said he would return to the Persian Gulf region by the end of the month. A senior military official said it was likely that General Franks would then remain at his command's forward headquarters in Qatar until the Iraq crisis ended. General Franks declined to say whether he had formally decided to move to the region, along with his senior staff, an action that would be widely interpreted as one of the final preparations for war. Even as more than 100,000 American forces have massed in the gulf and commanders are fine-tuning their battle plans, General Franks, in a wide-ranging, hourlong interview conducted at his headquarters here, said the military was coordinating with international relief organizations and regional governments to prevent a disaster for civilians in the immediate aftermath of any attack. A senior military official said that the Central Command was now sending "millions of meals" to the region, a program many times larger than the airdrop and delivery of 2.4 million prepackaged rations the Pentagon carried out in Afghanistan. "Humanitarian supplies are being positioned in order to address this sort of an issue," General Franks said, noting that one of the factors driving the shape and size of his forces was the need to deal with aid to the Iraqi people. In some cases, the military will provide leadership and some suggestions, and in other cases the military will offer its help coordinating the work of other organizations. General Franks made clear that his command had not convened any type of general session involving the major aid groups. While much of the discussion surrounding Iraq in recent weeks has focused on the buildup of forces in the Persian Gulf, General Franks was clearly telling the Iraqi people and a world that remains skeptical of the Bush administration's intentions that the American military wants to be viewed as the liberator and protector of an oppressed Iraq, not an enemy occupying force. But relief organizations immediately disputed the degree of coordination that has taken place so far, saying that the military might well have prepared detailed plans for aid but so far had not shared them with the groups that would help provide food, clothing and medicines. "Until this point, the administration has been quite reluctant to discuss the details," said Kenneth Bacon, president of Refugees International, an aid group in Washington. "The military's response has been, we'll call you when we're ready." Sandra Mitchell, vice president of the International Rescue Committee, said today that her organization had not been briefed on the military's plan for relief assistance to Iraq. "We have been trying for five or six months now to get an information from the U.S. military about what type of humanitarian activities they are planning to do in Iraq," she said. "We are not coordinating any planning with the military." She said nongovernment relief organizations had very little capacity for work in Iraq, because they are barred from operating there by international sanctions. Up to 60 percent of Iraq's 23 million to 25 million people already rely on the United Nations oil-for-food program for sustenance, Ms. Mitchell said. A senior military official said tonight that major details of the plan had been withheld from the aid groups until the military could notify Congress and because the details were so closely tied to the operational planning for carrying out the war. General Franks expressed complete optimism that he would have enough military power surrounding Iraq to assure victory should President Bush order the nation to war. "There is considerable interest in the international community in the building of a coalition in the event that military operations are necessary," General Franks said. "I do not know what size it will be. I do know that if an operation is necessary, and you've heard this before, we will have all the support we need in order to accomplish the mission." He predicted international support for American action regardless of an additional security resolution or formal NATO endorsement. But he deflected repeated questions about the timing and tactics of a war with Iraq, except to say that any conflict would not look like the gulf war in 1991. He also declined to discuss the size and duration of any allied force that would remain in Iraq after a conflict. General Franks dismissed fears voiced by critics of war with Iraq that a conflict would divert military resources and focus away from the hunt for Al Qaeda. The general, who is the subject of a Pentagon inspector general inquiry into possible abuse of his office, also said the scrutiny was in no way affecting his ability to carry out his mission. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2003/02/10/do1001 .xml * STRONG CASES FOR AND AGAINST WAR - BUT WE DON'T HEAR THEM by Ian McEwan Daily Telegraph, 11th February Ambivalence is not a useful sentiment on the brink of war, but my misgivings about military action have been tempered, or complicated, by the writings of various Iraqi exiles as well as the testimonies of those persecuted by the Baghdad regime. In the right context, with the right ambitions, it could be a moral act to remove Saddam and his hideous entourage by force and restore Iraq to its people. By the right context, I refer to an attempt to begin the process of a focused, creative and inclusive settlement to the Palestinian problem. Naturally, this would require American leadership, and at present that is a remote prospect. But without such an initiative, and in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, the whole area is too unstable; it seethes with hatred. Mutual incomprehension between the Arab world and the West is at a new peak. Only last month, the mainstream Cairo press was repeating the story that the US itself destroyed the Twin Towers in order to have a pretext to attack Islam. Meanwhile, the US administration is vague about its post-invasion plans. There has been no forthright commitment to a democratic Iraq. This invites suspicion. Military action in the Middle East now could prompt any number of very undesirable, if not tragic, consequences. No one, no "expert", can know what is going to happen. But I think it is safe to assume, given the present pandemic of irrationality, that this is not the best time to be going to war against an Arab nation. For all that, I can't say I've been much impressed by the arguments of the anti-war movement in Britain. Peace movements are of their nature incapable of choosing lesser evils, and it is at least conceivable that invading Iraq now will save more suffering and more lives than doing nothing. That possibility needs to be faced and reasoned through. The movement's failure to take an interest in, or engage with, Iraqi exiles, or the Iraqi National Congress meeting in London recently, was a moral evasion - all the more shameful when a large part of the INC embraces the liberal or libertarian and secular values that much of the anti-war movement professes. I keep hearing the raised voices of those very same people who preferred to leave the Taliban in power, and who were prepared to let the Kosovans rot in their camps on the borders of their homeland, and to let Serbian genocidal nationalism have its way. Why should we trust those voices now? Tony Blair, vilified at the time, played a tough hand in both those campaigns, and he was proved right. Far more would have suffered if nothing had been done. The "Bush's poodle" charge this time round is lazy. It was the Blair-Powell axis of compromise that brought the US to the UN in the first place. Another empty argument I keep hearing is that it is inconsistent to attack Iraq because we are not attacking North Korea, Saudi Arabia and China. To which I say, three dictatorships are better than four. To the waverer, some of the reasoning from the doves seems to emerge from a warm fug of illogic: that the US has been friendly to dictators before, that it cynically supported Saddam in his war against Iran, that there are vast oil reserves in the region - none of this helps us decide what specifically we are to do about Saddam now. The peace movement needs to come up with concrete proposals for containing him if he is not to be forcefully disarmed. He has obsessively produced chemical and biological weapons on an industrial scale, and has a history of bloody territorial ambition. What to do? No one seriously disagrees about his record of genocide - perhaps a quarter of a million Kurds slaughtered, thousands of their villages destroyed, the ruthless persecution of the Shi'ites in the south, the cruel suppression of dissent, the widespread use of torture and summary imprisonment and execution, with the ubiquitous security services penetrating every level of Iraqi society. It is an insult to those who have suffered to suggest, as some do, that the US administration is the greater evil. Nor does it advance the cause of peace to ignore the opportunity as well as the responsibility Saddam has, even at this late stage, to avoid a war. Those in the peace camp who argue for a complete military withdrawal from the area ignore the fact that the Kurds would face further genocide without the current protection of the no-fly zones. The peace movement does not have a monopoly of the humanitarian arguments. As for the hawks, they have evasions of their own. There is a simple piece of arithmetic that they cannot bring themselves to do in public: given the vile nature of the regime and the threat it presents to the region, how many Iraqi civilians should we allow ourselves to kill to be rid of him? What is the unacceptable level? The best argument for a pre-emptive invasion would be evidence of a recent nuclear weapons programme. So far, nothing has been found. Other questions do not dissolve because they are unanswerable: if nation building is too lowly a task for this US administration, what might follow from the break-up of the nation state of Iraq, an artifice devised and imposed last century by the British? What if a missile attack draws in the efficient and bellicose Israelis? Will an invasion be al Qa'eda's recruiting sergeant? And might Saddam, the "serial miscalculator" in Kenneth Pollack's memorable phrase, take everyone down with him in a final frenzy of psychosis? To choose war is to choose unknown terrifying futures. Containment by perpetual inspection might be the duller, safer option. Still, the hawks have my head, the doves my heart. At a push I count myself - just - in the camp of the latter. And yet my ambivalence remains. I defend it by reference to the fact that nothing any of us say will make any difference: ambivalence is no less effective than passionate conviction. At present, following the Blix and Powell reports to the UN Security Council, a war looks inevitable. One can only hope now for the best outcome: that the regime, like all dictatorships, rootless in the affections of its people, will crumble like a rotten tooth; that the federal, democratic Iraq that the INC committed itself to at its conference can be helped into existence by the UN, and that the US, in the flush of victory, will find in its oilman's heart the energy and optimism to begin to address the Palestinian issue. These are fragile hopes. As things stand, it is easier to conceive of innumerable darker possibilities. A version of this article first appeared on the OpenDemocracy website http://www.bangkokpost.com/News/12Feb2003_news39.html * THE US LACKS A COMPELLING CASE by Doug Bandow Bangkok Post, 12th February Americans all should be dead. At least, Americans all should be dead if the Bush administration is correct about Saddam Hussein. It believes there is nothing today that prevents a weak and isolated Iraq from striking the United States, the globe's dominant power. Before the United Nations Security Council, Secretary of State Colin Powell proved what we all already knew: Saddam Hussein has worked to develop weapons of mass destruction. But would Baghdad really use such weapons when doing so would risk its own survival? Secretary Powell suggested that the pragmatic secular dictator has made common cause with the suicidal religious fanatic. Alas, even the pro-war Economist magazine pronounced it "the weakest part of the case for war". The administration points to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, whom it links to al-Qaeda and who received medical treatment in Baghdad. The Ansar al-Islam group is said to include al Qaeda soldiers and have established a poisons training camp. It is not clear how much credence to give to information gleaned from American captives, however. They could hope to win favour with their interrogators or provoke another conflict with America. Moreover, al-Zarqawi's ties to al-Qaeda are thin _ it is not a rigid organisation with a well defined membership. German intelligence says al-Zarqawi's al-Tawhid organisation is more like an affiliate, and one focused on the Palestinians (and Jordan), not the US. An American intelligence analyst argues that al-Zarqawi "is outside bin Laden's circle. He is not a sworn al-Qaeda". The alleged link to Baghdad is especially threadbare: al-Zarqawi has worked more closely with Iran, also visited Lebanon and Syria, and been aided by a member of the royal family of Qatar. One German intelligence officer told the New York Times: "As of yet we have seen no indication of a direct link between [al-]Zarqawi and Baghdad." Nor is there solid evidence that either Saddam or Osama bin Laden supports Ansar al Islam. In fact, the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz reports that the group is tied to Iran. Ansar al-Islam asserts a desire to overthrow Saddam to impose an Islamic theocracy and is operating in territory no longer under Baghdad's control because of America's "no-fly zone" policy. As for the alleged poisons lab, even many Kurds say that they haven't heard of it. Although the allegations are dubious, the Bush administration has brought enormous pressure to bear on US intelligence agencies to prove them. Yet the CIA and FBI remain sceptical. Of Secretary Powell's claims, one intelligence official told the New York Times: "We just don't think it's there." The Blair government has done little better. A recent British intelligence report concludes that "any fledgling relationship foundered due to mistrust and incompatible ideology". Alleged connections between Baghdad and al-Qaeda must be viewed as inherently suspect. "They are natural enemies," observes Daniel Benjamin, a former National Security Council staff member. The biggest problem with the theory, however, is the fact that we are still alive. If there was a link, we all, or at least a lot of us, should be dead. Last October, President Bush declared that Iraq could attack America or its allies "on any given day" with chemical or biological weapons. But Saddam has not attacked. Or, explained President Bush: "Iraq could decide on any given day to provide a biological or chemical weapons to a terrorist group." But Saddam has not done so. Apparently Saddam wants to stay alive. He understands that an attack, direct or indirect, would trigger overwhelming, annihilating retaliation. However much he hates America, he doesn't want to die. As CIA director Tenet put it last October: "Iraq for now appears to be drawing a line short of conducting terrorist attacks with conventional or chemical or biological weapons." Alas, the Bush administration is pursuing the one course that will eliminate this deterrence. Attack Iraq, and Saddam has no incentive not to strike and then hand off any remaining weapons to terrorists. Notes Mr Tenet: facing defeat, Saddam "probably would become much less constrained in adopting terrorist actions". Indeed, he might see helping Islamists use such weapons against the US as "his last chance to exact vengence by taking a large number of victims with him". Saddam wouldn't even have to give an order. As Mr Benjamin explains, "In the fog of war, much of this material would rapidly be 'privatised' _ liberated by colonels, security service operatives and soon-to-be unemployed scientists." The best evidence that Iraq can be deterred is that Americans are alive today. Unfortunately, seeking to oust Saddam removes any leverage to prevent him from conducting the sort of attack that the Bush administration claims to most fear. Attacking Iraq will make more _ and more dangerous _ terrorist attacks more likely. Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute in Washington DC. He is a special assistant to former President Ronald Reagan and the author and editor of several books. http://www.dailystar.com.lb/opinion/07_02_03_b.htm * THE REAL 'MOTHER OF ALL BATTLES' IS ABOUT TO GET UNDER WAY by Patrick Seale Daily Star, Lebanon, 7th February A major Arab country is about to be invaded by a Western army - the first time this has happened since the "Tripartite Aggression" against Egypt in 1956, which was aimed at overthrowing Gamal Abdel-Nasser. Then, US President Dwight Eisenhower forced Britain, France and Israel to withdraw from Egyptian soil. Abdel-Nasser survived, while his arch enemy, Britain's Prime Minister Anthony Eden, was driven from office. This time, the likely aggressor is the world's sole remaining superpower. Who in the world today can check Imperial America's appetite for war? Certainly not the United Nations, or a divided Europe, or a post-communist Russia, or a feeble Arab world, or the tattered remnants of international law. History will show that the real "Mother of all Battles" was not the Gulf War, which expelled Iraq from Kuwait, but the coming war against Iraq itself. The big difference between 1991 and 2003 is that this time, the war will be waged on Iraqi soil. It will be a war of survival for President Saddam Hussein personally, his regime, the Iraqi Baath Party, the Iraqi armed forces, and the many other political, economic, military and security organs and institutions which together make up the modern Iraqi state. Official American sources make clear that the ambitious objective is the complete "remaking" of Iraq on "democratic"lines. Whether this is a realistic objective or whether it is mere propaganda to justify the coming attack remains to be seen. What is being planned in Washington is nothing less than the destruction of the present Iraqi structure of power, the killing or capture of its leading personalities, the occupation of the entire country for a number of years, the dismantling of the vast Baath Party apparatus (which has produced, in American reports, the horrible word "de-Baathification"), the demobilization of much of the army, and the dissolution of elite units such as the Republican Guard, and the Special Republican Guard, and of security organs such as the Jihaz al-Amn al-Khas (the Special Security Organization) and the Himayat al-Rais (the Presidential Protection Unit). US Secretary of State Colin Powell's speech on Wednesday before the UN Security Council left no doubt about America's intentions. He denounced what he called Iraq's "policy of evasion and deception going back 12 years." He showed satellite pictures, played intercepts of telephone exchanges between Iraqi officers, and quoted defectors - all to show that Iraq was still hiding an elaborate and ongoing capability to manufacture chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. But although forcefully delivered, Powell's speech was less than compelling. His further claim that Iraq had ties with an Al-Qaeda cell was weakened by the fact that the cell he mentioned is allegedly located in a Kurdish area of northern Iraq not under Baghdad's control! Nevertheless, Powell declared that Iraq was "deeper in material breach" of its obligations to disarm and must soon face the consequences. Saddam "will stop at nothing until something stops him." Colin Powell's detailed testimony will be carefully examined, but it will not convince everyone. The evidence he presented is, by its nature, un-checkable. Most people will want the inspectors to be given the chance to examine it. France, in particular, has pleaded for a reinforced inspection regime. Powell's personal tragedy is that having long sought to check the Washington hawks from a naked use of American power, he has now joined them. In a public seminar in New York on Feb. 4, a leading hawk, Richard Perle, chairman of the Pentagon's Policy Advisory Board, declared: "Iraq is going to be liberated, by the United States and whoever wants to join us, whether or not we get the approbation of the UN or any other institution." There could be no clearer declaration of war. A precedent for such an armed Western intervention in the Arab world is not so much the Suez war of 1956 as the British seizure of three Ottoman provinces during World War I: Basra was occupied in November 1914, Baghdad in March 1917, and Mosul in November 1918. As the above dates show, it was not an easy or speedy process. An Ottoman counter attack drove the British expeditionary force back to Kut, where it eventually surrendered in 1916 after a four-month siege. The British then regrouped with greater strength and, over the next couple of years, seized Baghdad and Kirkuk, destroying the Ottoman 6th Army. The modern history of Iraq began with Britain's merging of the three Ottoman provinces into a unitary state, the crushing of a widespread revolt in 1920 (in which about 6,000 Iraqis and 500 British and Indian troops lost their lives), and the decision at the Cairo Conference of March 1921, chaired by Winston Churchill, to establish a kingdom of Iraq and offer the throne to the Hashimite Amir Faisal (who had been chased out of Damascus by French troops the previous year). The essential motive was to protect British interests in the Gulf. In much the same way, the essential motive behind the coming war is to protect American and Israeli interests. When all the pretexts and excuses are stripped away and all the talk of "democracy" and of weapons of mass destruction is forgotten, the fundamental reason for the conflict between the United States and Iraq, in 1991 as in 2003, is that Saddam Hussein poses a challenge to the American-dominated "order" in the Gulf and to the security of Israel. That is why the neoconservatives and pro-Israeli hawks in Washington are hell-bent on destroying him. They see Iraq under American control as providing a military and political platform for the projection of American power from the Gulf to the Caspian. The first thing to note about the coming war and its aftermath is that the US is about to undo what Britain achieved during its Mandate over Iraq. Britain united the three provinces into a single state with Baghdad as its capital. The US is said to be planning to "remake" Iraq as a loose federation without a strong center, so that it can no longer pose a threat to anyone in the region - whether Israel, Kuwait or any other American client states. The US will thus be breaking up what had been put together in 1920. The de facto dismemberment of Iraq has, in fact, already taken place, seeing that the Kurds, after a decade of self-rule, will not easily agree to be reintegrated into a unitary Iraqi state. A second consequence of the coming war is likely to be a reshuffling of the sectarian and ethnic mix in Iraq's power structure. In 1920, there were about 3 million inhabitants in Iraq, of whom more than half were Shiite, 20 percent were Sunni, roughly another 20 per cent were Kurdish, and another 8 percent or so were composed of Jewish, Christian, Yazidi, and Turkmen minorities. Yet, as Charles Tripp points out in his new book, The History of Iraq (Cambridge University Press), the government ministers, the senior state officials and the officer corps were drawn almost exclusively from the Sunni Arabs. This, he comments, was not a promising basis for national integration. Today, Iraq has a population of about 24 million. The proportion of Shiite, Sunnis and Kurds is about the same as it was, but power still resides largely in the Sunni community and, even more narrowly, in the hands of loyalists from Saddam Hussein's home town of Tikrit and from his tribe the Albu-Nasir. This concentration of power is certain to be challenged if, as seems probable, the United States smashes the existing structure. The armed revolt of 1920 against the British - a decisive moment in Iraq's modern history - was largely inspired by the tribal sheikhs of the mid-Euphrates and by Shiite mujtahids from Najaf and Karbala. But when the revolt was defeated, it was the old Sunni-dominated order of Ottoman times that was reinstated. This time, however, when Iraq is "remade" by the United States, the Shiite population is likely to demand a share of power commensurate with its numbers. Some Shiite leaders, either in underground groups like the Daewa or in the Higher Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, are said to have already established contacts with the Americans. Be that as it may, the exact form of government in a post-Saddam Iraq, the identity of the future ruler, and the composition of the officer corps of a purged and reformed army are as uncertain today as they were in 1920. Equally uncertain is how the considerable cost of the transition will be financed and which foreign companies will secure the concessions to exploit Iraq's vast oil reserves. For the Arabs and their friends, the tragedy of the present situation is that the independent Arab "order," established after World War II, has not proved robust or cohesive enough to protect its members from foreign attack and control. Patrick Seale, a veteran Middle East analyst, wrote this commentary for The Daily Star http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=%2Fnews%2F2003%2F02%2F12%2Fwm ask12.xml * ISRAELI ACTIVISTS DEMAND GAS MASKS FOR PALESTINIANS by Alan Philps in Jerusalem Daily Telegraph, 12th February An Israeli human rights group went to the High Court yesterday to demand government supplied gas masks for 3.5 million Palestinians in case of chemical or nerve agent attacks from Iraq. All Israelis are eligible for free gas masks, and the government is distributing a 50-page booklet on how to prepare for war, showing a family sitting at home, reading and watching television in their protective gear. But no protection is available for the vast majority of Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Their towns would not be Saddam Hussein's targets but they could be gassed if a chemically armed missile fell short or was shot down before reaching Israel. The Israeli branch of Physicians for Human Rights said it was petitioning the court to demand fair treatment for all residents of Israel and the occupied territories, and that all Palestinians should get free gas masks. Prison camps for thousands of Palestinian detainees should also be protected, it said. After an earlier petition in 1998, the army set aside 60,000 gas masks for the small proportion of Palestinians living in areas formally under Israeli civilian and military control. The rest live theoretically under the civil control of the Palestinian Authority, but this body has almost ceased to exist since the Israeli army re-occupied the West Bank last year. 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. All Israelis have had gas masks since the 1991 Gulf war when Iraq launched 39 Scud missiles towards Tel Aviv. They need to be checked and exchanged regularly. Half the population has done this in the past year. The authorities are expected to call on the population to prepare sealed rooms soon, though the official assessment is that the risk of chemical attack is small. The army believes that it can give a three-minute warning of an impending missile strike, which should allow Israelis time to go to their shelters or a sealed room at home. http://www.post-gazette.com/World/20030212deathsiraq0212p5.asp * IRAQI CIVILIAN TOLL, POSTWAR TRAUMA APT TO BE MORE DIRE THAN IN 1991 by Ann McFeatters Pittsburgh, Post-Gazette, 12th February 12, 2003 WASHINGTON -- In the 1991 Persian Gulf War, which the U.S. military dubbed Operation Desert Storm, the Pentagon has estimated that 3,500 civilians were killed. Most analysts in Washington expect that the toll in a second war with Iraq could be much higher. At a Brookings Institution forum yesterday, Ken Bacon, the Pentagon's spokesman from 1994 until 2001 and now president of Refugees International, said there are several reasons to expect what he called "vastly higher" civilian casualties. He said those include Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's possible resort to chemical and biological weapons, potential use of civilians as shields, anticipated placement of likely military targets inside Iraqi schools and hospitals and the likelihood that a ground war this time will last much longer than the prior confrontation's 100 hours. Nonetheless, Bacon said the Pentagon can be expected to make efforts to reduce civilian casualties including U.S. employment of far more accurate weapons, careful targeting away from civilian areas -- aiming to avoid electrical generators or water reservoirs -- and cordoning off Baghdad, the Iraqi capital. He also predicted that it will be necessary after the war ends to rebuild Iraq and provide food, medical care and water to hold down civilian deaths. In another setting yesterday, current Pentagon spokeswoman Torie Clarke said the U.S. military was convinced that Saddam Hussein would use civilians in the "most cynical" way and might also be preparing to set afire oil fields once again, as it did in Kuwait in 1991, ensuring that post-war Iraq would be without resources. Victor Tanner, a Johns Hopkins University faculty member and a consultant on humanitarian issues, said he most fears that as the military effort winds down, there will be little protection for the Iraqi people from rival tensions likely to be ignited among long repressed groups such as the Kurds, Turkmen and Shiite Arabs. He said violence could "spiral out of control," especially with the likelihood of reprisals for years of abuse and torture by security forces. Christophe Girod of the International Committee of the Red Cross directed the 1991 Red Cross effort in Iraq. He said it is imperative for the United States to understand that the rules of war mandate that if the U.S. military occupies Iraq, it must then maintain law and order; protect women from rape; feed, shelter and clothe civilians; and provide access for the Red Cross. There is widespread anger in Washington over what many regard as the United Nations' failure to prepare humanitarian aid for post-war Iraq. Sandra Mitchell, the International Rescue Committee's vice president for government relations, said she thought the U.N. reluctance stemmed from not wanting to appear to be preparing for war when many member-nations are still arguing that the Iraq arms inspection regime needs more time. Roy Gutman, senior fellow at the United States Institute of Peace, director of American University's Crimes of War Project and Newsweek magazine's chief diplomatic correspondent, said it is imperative that journalists be free to report in post-war Iraq to monitor what happens and possibly prevent atrocities such as the killing of prisoners by ethnic captors. He said war crimes will be committed by Saddam Hussein and his forces, not the U.S. military. William Nash, a retired major general who saw Gulf war combat and now is director of the Center for Preventive Action and a Council on Foreign Relations member, agreed. "I'm very confident they [the U.S. military] understand the laws of war better than journalists understand the laws of time. War is a horrific event. "Should there be war in Iraq," Nash said, "it will be a bloody affair, and it will be a shock to Iraq and to many in the United States. The start of war will be abrupt and seemingly brutal." After combat, he said, the main problem the military will have is going from a state of excellent military intelligence in battle to near-blindness -- not knowing where the next threats may come from, not knowing the local leaders or the political lay of the land nor if a dead body is the victim of an ordinary crime or of ethnic violence as the infrastructure has fallen apart. Gutman said the Pentagon is already "blue-skying" the coming conflict, even suggesting that troops could be out of Iraq in 60 to 90 days. This administration is "viscerally opposed to nation-building," he said, while adding that it is exactly the direction the president is going with his Iraq policy. "The Department of Defense is in charge and has all but shut down the State Department's Future of Iraq Project. You need all hands on deck. I'm baffled they're operating this way." While some suggest that non-governmental organizations and allies who now oppose going to war will be called on to provide humanitarian assistance, Tanner said: "The only actor in terms of security will be the U.S.-led coalition. [Non-governmental organizations] will not be on the ground and will not be operational. They will have no logistical knowledge. The U.S. military will need good contacts and good local intelligence and the realization they'll be the main actors," possibly for months. Nash said the 4 million Iraqis living outside Iraq and the 24 million still there must help. "Otherwise, we'll put a puppet in place," justifying al-Qaida terrorist network leader Osama bin Laden's prediction that the United States is intent on dominating the Middle East and ultimately leading to further destabilization in the region. _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. 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