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[casi] News, 05-12/02/03 (8)

News, 05-12/02/03 (8)


*  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


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

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.

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

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

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.,6903,891943,00.html

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.,6903,891376,00.html

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

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

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

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.,3604,892983,00.html

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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