The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]
News, 05-12/02/03 (7) IRAQI OPPOSITION * Iraqi Opposition Says War Is Inevitable * Iraqi Exiles Seek U.S. Army Training * Envoy's Effort to Recruit Iraqi Exile for Possible Future Government Sparks Protests * Potential Saddam Replacement Owes Money * Plan would see U.S. rule postwar Iraq US OPINION * Bush and Sharon Nearly Identical On Mideast Policy * Schwarzkopf turns on need for force against Saddam * US will aid Iraq 'even if Saddam has fled without fighting' INSIDE IRAQ * The Saddam branch of Islam NO FLY ZONES * Blix Holds Out Hope for Iraq Cooperation * U.S. Hits Missile Launcher in S. Iraq IRAQI OPPOSITION http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/w-eur/2003/feb/10/021004009.html * IRAQI OPPOSITION SAYS WAR IS INEVITABLE by Scheherezade Faramarzi Las Vegas Sun, 10th February LONDON (AP) - European efforts to prevent war in Iraq have upset many Iraqi exiles anxious for the end of Saddam Hussein's rule. Still, key opposition figures believe the 11th hour effort will fail and that Saddam's days are numbered. "I cannot understand their position," Ahmad Barmani, a representative of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan in Paris, said of French, German and Russian calls for a diplomatic solution to the crisis. "They want to let Saddam stay in power." France, Russia and Germany issued a joint declaration Monday calling for strengthened U.N. weapons inspections in Iraq to disarm Saddam without firing a shot. The proposal has heightened tensions between the European allies, who are resisting military action, and the United States, which says Saddam is almost out of time and must be disarmed. Sabah Mukhtar, an Iraqi lawyer and former legal adviser to the Iraqi National Oil Company, said the Americans, Saddam and the Europeans are "playing a political game." "They are waiting to see who is going to blink first," Mukhtar said. The French, Germans and others want the inspectors to be given more time to verify that Iraq has destroyed chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, as it is required to do under resolutions dating from the 1991 Gulf War. If that approach works, however, it could still leave Saddam in power - something that the opposition opposes. "Unfortunately the position of some of the European countries gives the impression to the Iraqi people that these countries are trying to prevent Saddam from being overthrown," Barmani said. Nevertheless, Barmani said he believes that war "is inevitable." "It's too late for Germany, France and Russia to stop the American machinery of war," he said. U.S. officials have rejected the French-German plans and U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell called them "a diversion" from efforts to make Iraq comply with U.N. weapons inspectors. Barmani and other opposition figures like Nabil Musawi, the spokesman of the opposition Iraqi National Congress in London, said eliminating Saddam's weapons of mass destruction was not the Iraqi opposition's top priority. The Iraqi people, they said, were more concerned with overthrowing Saddam because of his repressive regime. Musawi accused French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder of failing to condemn Saddam's human rights record, and said Saddam should be overthrown and stand trial for crimes against humanity. "This matter of weapons of mass destruction is not important to the Iraqi people," said Barmani, a Kurd. Thousands of Kurds were killed in chemical attacks in 1988 by Saddam's troops. Six major opposition groups formed a 65-member steering committee during a conference in London last month to formulate policies and facilitate communication between Iraqi dissidents and the international community. The opposition hopes the committee will form the core of a transitional government if the United States topples the Iraqi regime. http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/w-me/2003/feb/10/021002442.html * IRAQI EXILES SEEK U.S. ARMY TRAINING by Scheherezade Faramarzi Las Vegas Sun, 10th February LONDON (AP) - Fadhel Kalf has volunteered to receive training by the U.S. Army so that he can help get rid of Saddam Hussein, who he claims executed two of his brothers. But he is torn between the urge to avenge his brothers' deaths and a nagging distrust of the United States. Kalf, 30, was among thousands of Iraqi Shiite Muslims and Kurds who - after Iraq's defeat in the Gulf War in 1991 - heeded a call by then President George Bush to rise up against Saddam. But American forces failed to prevent Saddam from crushing the rebellion, that led to the death of thousands of Iraqis. "To be honest, we don't trust the Americans," said Kalf, a Shiite and father of two who manages a supermarket in London. "They let Saddam use helicopters against the rebels. Of course we don't trust them." But then, this might be a chance of a lifetime to have a regime change in Iraq. "I feel it's time for revenge against Saddam and all his people. If I had the opportunity, I would shoot him. There's so much anger built inside me. I haven't got any forgiveness for him or any of his men," said Kalf, who was shot in the shoulder in the uprising. He has applied for the two-session courses - in self defense, the use of small arms, first aid, land mine detection, the Geneva Conventions, and other subjects - that the U.S. Army is offering exiled Iraqi opposition groups around the world. The Americans began training a few dozen volunteers living in North America on Monday in Taszar air base, 120 miles southwest of Budapest, under heavy security. The call-up of recruits kicked off the largest known U.S. effort to train Saddam's enemies since passage of the 1998 Iraq Liberation Act, which called for his overthrow and authorized $97 million to train and equip his opponents. The Hungarian government has authorized the United States to bring 1,500 trainers and up to 3,000 volunteers for the training sessions, provided it is not combat. "I need somebody to trust and make sure they will not stab me in the back again," said Kalf. "There's still something inside me, anxiety, that the Americans will let us down, like they did in '91. I want to make sure I am doing the right thing so I don't regret it later." Many Iraqi exiles opposed to Saddam are concerned that a war may not be the best way of removing Saddam. Kalf is worried that a war would result in the death of many of innocent people - including soldiers who would be forced to fight - and the destruction of his country. He says he would be uncomfortable to be helping American troops if U.S. planes bomb civilian installations, bridges, factories or even military garrisons. "I only want them to kill Saddam. I don't want anything to get hurt there, not even the trees," said Kalf, who said he had not made up his mind whether to participate in the training courses if he is accepted. However, he is not worried about America's motives for going to war. He doesn't believe the aim is to install a democratic regime. "It's only for oil and because Saddam is a threat," he said. But that doesn't bother him. "The Americans can have our oil, as long as they get rid of Saddam. We never benefited from the oil anyway." In contrast, Raad, 45, has put all his trust in the United States in its drive to oust Saddam and believes human loss in a U.S.-led war would be minimum. Although he barely speaks English, Raad, who asked that his last name not be used, said he would act as a translator for American troops in Iraq. "It's shameful that the Americans would be rescuing my country and I would be sitting in Edgware Road (in London) doing nothing," Raad said. "I should be the first one to go in, before the Americans." "We will be trained on how to enter Iraq, how to organize people to rebel against Saddam and to change the regime," Raad said, apparently unclear of what exactly his duties would be. He said when American troops invade Iraq, thousands of people will surrender. It will be the volunteers' job to organize the masses. They will also have to protect government installations and buildings, such as municipalities, police stations and banks. Ammar, a 32-year-old computer engineer who did not wish that his surname be used, has also filled out an application form for training in Hungary - where applicants are rigorously screened to exclude possible "undesirables." "My job will be to explain to people that the Americans are there for their good and that they will not betray them this time," said Ammar. http://www.nytimes.com/2003/02/11/international/middleeast/11ENVO.html * ENVOY'S EFFORT TO RECRUIT IRAQI EXILE FOR POSSIBLE FUTURE GOVERNMENT SPARKS PROTESTS by Judith Miller New York Times, 11th February WASHINGTON, Feb. 10 ‹ President Bush's special envoy to the Iraqi opposition is quietly trying to recruit a former senior Iraqi official to help provide a transition to democracy in the event that Saddam Hussein is ousted, administration officials said today. But the effort by Zalmay Khalilzad, the White House envoy, to woo Adnan Pachachi, an octogenarian exile who once served as a foreign minister and ambassador to the United Nations for Iraq, has sparked opposition within the administration and among other Iraqi exiles. Mr. Pachachi declared publicly in 1961 that Kuwait was part of Iraq and had no right to exist independently, a statement he renounced in 1999. Laith Kubba, another exile and a researcher at the Washington-based National Endowment for Democracy, defended Mr. Pachachi, calling him a "voice of authority and wisdom" and saying that "he must be allowed to play a role." Mr. Khalilzad recently traveled to the United Arab Emirates to recruit Mr. Pachachi. But officials said that several Pentagon officials and Iraq experts had warned Mr. Khalilzad that the effort at this late stage would backfire politically and could alienate Kuwait, an essential base of operations in any gulf war. "The outreach to Mr. Pachachi, a once ardent Arab nationalist and Sunni Muslim, the minority branch of Islam in Iraq, suggests that the United States is mainly interested in perpetuating the status quo in a post-Saddam Iraq, and not in promoting democracy," an administration official said. Danielle Pletka, a vice president of the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington-based research center, called the effort "very disappointing." "Pachachi was the first person that the administration tried to cultivate as an alternative to Ahmad Chalabi and to other Iraqi exiles who have been working for over a decade to oust Saddam," she said. Mr. Chalabi is the secular, Shiite leader of the Iraqi National Congress, the opposition umbrella group that the administration officially supports. Officials said Mr. Khalilzad was scheduled to meet Mr. Pachachi on Tuesday. Mr. Khalilzad's office said he could not be reached because he was traveling, and he did not respond to questions e-mailed to him about the diplomatic flap. Several officials said that at the Pentagon in particular, objections had been raised to the recruitment of Mr. Pachachi in meetings with Mr. Khalilzad and with State Department officials. The State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency are known to have strong reservations about Mr. Chalabi's leadership of the Iraqi National Congress. They complain that he has little support inside Iraq and doubt that he is a commanding enough figure to lead a transition to democracy. Both the State Department and the C.I.A. have sought to broaden the Iraqi opposition, apparently in the hope of finding someone who could serve the role that President Hamid Karzai has played in Afghanistan. Mr. Khalilzad has worked to include what some officials denigrate as "Sunni establishment" figures in a consultative council that Mr. Khalilzad is trying to create. Ms. Pletka, other Iraq experts and several Administration officials said recruiting Mr. Pachachi also raised questions about whether plans for a post-Hussein leadership were falling behind plans for a war. Francis Brooke, the Iraqi National Congress's longstanding Washington adviser, said that the I.N.C. was still barred from spending American money to foment opposition to the Hussein government inside Iraq, and that a shortage of funds had forced the umbrella group to shut down its radio and television stations in northern Iraq. Mr. Brooke said his group had received no money for such activities since July. "The lack of planning for a post-Saddam Iraq shows confusion that is very troubling," he said. "And in some minds it calls into question the U.S. commitment to a united, democratic opposition." Mr. Chalabi is in northern Iraq, meeting with Kurdish leaders and other opposition figures and trying to organize a meeting of dissidents there. The meeting, which has repeatedly been postponed, is now scheduled for Saturday, though some dissidents said it could be deferred again. Meanwhile, Mr. Khalilzad has been trying to organize yet another meeting of exiles in London this week, leading some Iraqi dissidents to question whether the administration is trying to prevent the I.N.C. from gathering because it fears that Mr. Chalabi and the Kurdish leaders might try to form a government-in-exile at their meeting. The Bush administration has decided against promoting the formation of such a government in exile, a decision that some Iraq experts have praised. "Washington can't anoint a group of exiles and tell the Iraqi people: here they are, meet your new leaders, and have Iraqis find people they don't know and don't like," said Ken Pollack, a former White House Middle East expert in the Clinton administration. "That would make us look like a colonial power." But Mr. Chalabi and Kurdish leaders have repeatedly said they did not want to form a government in exile. They have said they would rather establish a coordinating committee that would work with other exiles and Iraqis, once they were liberated, to build a democratic government in Baghdad. http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/w-me/2003/feb/11/021105221.html * POTENTIAL SADDAM REPLACEMENT OWES MONEY by Borzou Daragahi Las Vegas Sun, 11th February SALAHUDDIN, Iraq (AP): Kurds working in this mountaintop town are reluctant to support the man often mentioned as a successor to Saddam Hussein for one simple reason: They say he owes them money. Ahmad Chalabi, leader of the Iraqi National Congress, has returned from exile to Kurdish controlled northern Iraq ahead of a potential U.S.-led military attack - only to face hundreds of lawsuits for unpaid debts from the group's last guerrilla campaign in the 1990s. "He was here for a while and he owes a lot of people a lot of money," said Khaled Ismail Amad, a former driver for the congress who says he's owed $6,250. The absence of a clear, universally accepted alternative to Saddam has complicated efforts to devise a plan for how to govern Iraq after a regime change in Baghdad. Although Chalabi enjoys support in the U.S. Congress, his relations with successive American administrations have been rockier, reflecting doubts, especially in the U.S. State Department, about his effectiveness as a national leader. Most of the cases against Chalabi are pending at a court in Irbil, 25 miles southwest of Salahuddin, according to government officials and Govand Baban, an attorney who filed most of the cases. Baban estimated the total damages at about $6 million. Zaab Sethna, a spokesman for Chalabi, rejected the charges and said the congress has paid all of its debts. "The cases are without merit, and we have documents to prove it," he said. "We have signed receipts, and all outstanding bills and invoices are settled." Those who claim Chalabi owes them money also say they have documents. Salem Pirma, a gas station owner, says Chalabi's group owes his family $4,625 for oil and gasoline. "At first they paid and they were good customers," he said. "Then they stopped paying." The Salahuddin court cases are not the first time Chalabi has faced an accusation of financial impropriety. Both the State Department and the CIA have questioned the congress' accounting practices. In Amman, Jordan, Chalabi was sentenced in absentia to 22 years of hard labor after a bank he ran collapsed in 1990 with about $300 million in missing deposits. Chalabi left the country before the case went to trial. Sethna said that case came about on Saddam's orders to the late King Hussein. "King Hussein ... apologized to Dr. Chalabi," he said. "He said it was a big mistake." Sethna says all the financial accusations against Chalabi are politically inspired. "It's a constant thing that people try to use these allegations of misconduct rather than argue against someone's political views," he said. But almost all those making claims against Chalabi say they admired him and his views. Baban, a well-to-do lawyer who sports a garish blue-green felt sports jacket and a bright yellow and blue tie, calls himself an Iraqi and Kurdish patriot. He's legal consultant for the weekly Hawlati, an independent and lively newspaper. Baban suggested Chalabi's conduct was unbecoming of a future leader of Iraq. "The person who will be the leader of Iraq has to have ethics," he says. "Ahmad Chalabi's group abused people." Chalabi crossed the Iranian border last week and came to this city for the first time since 1996, when the ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party permitted Baghdad's forces to enter the region and drive out their rivals, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. In the process, Saddam attacked the Iraqi National Congress, and sent its forces scurrying into exile. At its peak, the congress had a headquarters, a radio station and a small army based in northern Iraq, and the CIA poured millions of dollars to finance its activities. But a March 1995 congress-led offensive to overthrow Saddam was crushed by the Iraqi army and led to hundreds of deaths. Chalabi blamed the CIA for pulling air support. Amid the anti-Saddam activities, a civil war erupted between the two main Kurdish parties. The United States - which had kept a significant intelligence and military presence in the autonomous Kurdish area established following the 1991 Gulf War - pulled up stakes and left. Chalabi did too. Except for a brief visit in 1998, he stayed off Iraqi soil for seven years. "It's not like we could come back and address these issues," said Sethna, who is traveling with Chalabi and a group of other prominent Iraqi political figures. But while the rival Kurdish factions appear to have laid aside their differences ahead of a planned opposition meeting, the drivers, guards, shopkeepers and gas stations owners who say Chalabi owes them money said his visit reawakened their bitterness. "They kept saying not today, tomorrow. Not tomorrow, the day after tomorrow," said Hadisham Sadine Navkorky, a former guard for the congress who says he's owed $2,250. "If he were an honorable person, he would pay me." Sethna blames the lawsuits partly on the Kurdistan Democratic Party, which "riled up" sentiment against the congress after the group's departure. When the Kurdistan Democratic Party and the congress had friendly relations, there were numerous joint projects. "The KDP passed off the expenses on us after we left," he said. Amad, the driver to whom the congress allegedly owes money, concedes his debt of $6,250 is relatively small. But he said so much money means a lot to an average Kurd, who makes about $60 a month. He had to sell his truck and is now relegated to peddling fruit on the street. "I have gone into debt because of him," he said. "It turned my life inside out." http://www.globeandmail.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/front/RTGAM/20030212/wxiraq02 12/Front/homeBN/breakingnews/ * PLAN WOULD SEE U.S. RULE POSTWAR IRAQ by Stephanie Nolen Globe and Mail, 12th February Sulaymaniyah, Iraq ‹ The United States intends to rule postwar Iraq through an American military governor, supported by an Iraqi consultative council appointed by Washington, Iraqi opposition leaders gathered in this northern Kurdish city said Tuesday. They learned of the plan for a post-Saddam Hussein state when delegates from three key Iraqi opposition groups met with senior U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad in Ankara over the weekend. In interviews, the leaders said the provisional plan calls for an American appointed council to draft a new constitution for Iraq and hold national elections for an assembly that eventually would assume power. They believe the U.S. plan is driven by fears of future sectarian and ethnic fighting in Iraq, and the likelihood of a majority Shia regime emerging from current opposition forces and unsettling the balance of power in the Middle East. "This is a victory for the forces in the U.S. administration that deeply distrust the Iraqi opposition and who imagine ‹ wrongly, I think ‹ that there are forces that they can rely on to build a democracy in Saddam Hussein-controlled Iraq," said Kanan Makiya, one of three opposition members who met with U.S. President George W. Bush last month. "They have come to the arrogant conclusion: 'Why piss around with the opposition? Why not do this in a way the Arab regimes will be much happier with?'" The prime minister of a Kurdish autonomous zone, Barham Salih, also knew of the plan, and said his group and others would have to accept it because U.S. forces will be doing the "heavy lifting" in any war against Mr. Hussein's regime. "We cannot get rid of Saddam ourselves," Mr. Salih, head of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, said in an interview. Senior U.S. officials confirmed Tuesday that an interim administration is being planned for Iraq, and could be in place for years. Marc Grossman, the undersecretary of state for political affairs, told the Senate foreign relations committee that a U.S. military occupation could last "two years" and would involve American control over civilian ministries and the Iraqi oil industry. He played down any hope for the Iraqi opposition playing a major role. "While we are listening to what the Iraqis are telling us, the United States government will make its decisions based on what is in the national interest of the United States," Mr. Grossman said. "There are enormous uncertainties," said Douglas Feith, U.S. undersecretary of defence. "The most you can do in planning is develop concepts." Ahmed Chalabi, leader of the opposition Iraqi National Congress, said in an interview in northern Iraq that the U.S. plan presented at the Ankara meeting consists of five points: ‹ a military governor; ‹ a consultative council with "unspecified duties, none of them probably executive, who will work at the pleasure of the governor;" ‹ a judicial council, which will draft a temporary constitution; ‹ the replacement of each current minister and deputy minister in Iraq's government with U.S. military officers; ‹ an election within a year for a constituent assembly, which would draft and approve a permanent constitution. "To be kind, it is unworkable," Mr. Chalabi said. Security analysts believe there are differing plans for Iraq's future stemming from a long-time struggle between the Pentagon, U.S. State Department and Central Intelligence Agency. The Pentagon has pushed for civilian rule, fearing its troops and officers would be bogged down for years running the country. The CIA and State Department have tended to favour military leadership for Iraq, fearing a swift change to democracy could lead to a breakup of the country and instability across the region. Opposition leaders inside Iraq believe Washington has crafted a military plan to placate Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Egypt, whose leaders are known to fear the idea of a new federal democracy in Iraq. All Sunni-majority states, they likely want to see the existing power structure in Iraq left in place, allowing Sunni Muslims to exert control over a country that is an estimated 65-per-cent Shiite. Another factor is the Turkish military, which fears any surge in Kurdish influence in Iraq might spill into neighbouring Turkey, where a Kurdish minority has long felt repressed. "They see some sort of Shiite/Kurdish cabal," Mr. Makiya said of U.S. concerns. Much of the focus is now turning to Iraq's exiled Shia leader, Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir Hakim, who is widely seen as a critical figure in any post-Saddam Iraq. The ayatollah is backed by Iran and would form a considerable threat to the neighbouring Sunni regimes, as well as to American interests, if he returned to Iraq. "He will run in the election on an antioccupation platform," Mr. Makiya predicted, raising the prospect of other repercussions from the U.S. plan ‹ especially the risk to American officials installed in any positions in Iraq's major cities. "I warned against this time and time again: for the sake of your long-term relations with Iraq, don't go in there and patrol those cities. Let Iraqis make these mistakes," he said. Among many options, the plan presented at Ankara would see U.S. troops protecting key figures from the ruling Ba'ath party as part of an amnesty deal that would secure a role for Sunni officials in any future administration. "Power is being handed essentially on a silver platter to the second echelon of the Ba'ath party and the officer corps," Mr. Makiya said. The fractious Iraqi opposition has for more than a month been slated to meet in northern Iraq to agree on some sort of transitional government. That meeting has been repeatedly delayed, allegedly for security reasons. Leaders now say it will take place on Saturday, a day after United Nations weapons inspectors are scheduled to present a critical report to the UN Security Council. Opposition groups so far have been careful not to upset U.S. plans. At a meeting in London in December, 65 key opposition members agreed to pursue a democratic, federal system that would allow for all minority groups to be represented. They suggested they would be joined in a provisional government by an equal number of opposition figures from within Iraq. Mr. Makiya said there was no hint of American opposition to such plans when he went to the White House in the first week of January. US OPINION http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A45652-2003Feb8.html * BUSH AND SHARON NEARLY IDENTICAL ON MIDEAST POLICY by Robert G. Kaiser Washington Post, 9th February [.....] Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, a leading figure in Jewish-Evangelical Christian relations for two decades, offered a more sympathetic description of Bush's alignment with Israel and Sharon. "President Bush's policy stems from his core as a Christian, his perceptions of right and wrong, good and evil, and of the need to stand up and fight against evil," Eckstein said. "I personally believe it is very personal, not a political maneuver on his part." Politics have played a role, several sources said. Gary Bauer, an evangelical Christian activist and Republican presidential candidate in 2000, said that he and like-minded evangelicals have campaigned vigorously in support of Israel and Sharon's tough policies. "I think we've had some impact," Bauer said. Another conservative Republican with Christian ties who has made Israel a cause is House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.). Last April, speaking to a Jewish group in Washington, DeLay called Israel "the lone fountain of liberty" in the Middle East, and endorsed Israeli retention of the occupied territories. He referred to West Bank by the biblical names, Judea and Samaria, which are often used by Israelis who consider them part of Israel. The Rev. Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention said the White House and its political director, Karl Rove, know "how critical [evangelical] support is to them and their party," and know how strongly evangelicals support Israel. "We need to bless Israel more than America needs Israel's blessing," Land said, "because Israel has a far greater ally than the United States of America, God Almighty." "This is not your daddy's Republican Party," said James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute in Washington, who argues the administration is losing its ability to act as an honest broker in the Middle East by lining up with Israel. "There's a marriage here between the religious right and the neoconservatives," he said, referring to intellectual hard liners such as Abrams and Perle, both of whom worked for Democrats before joining the Reagan administration. [.....] http://www.washtimes.com/national/20030210-22388892.htm * SCHWARZKOPF TURNS ON NEED FOR FORCE AGAINST SADDAM by Ellen Sorokin Washington Times, 10th February Retired Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, who led U.S. military forces in the 1991 Persian Gulf war, yesterday reversed his reluctance to use military force against Iraq, saying Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein should be disarmed. Gen. Schwarzkopf said he changed his mind after hearing Secretary of State Colin L. Powell's presentation before the United Nations Security Council last week. "I found it very compelling, and I found it a very, very good rationale," Gen. Schwarzkopf said on NBC's "Meet the Press." Two weeks ago, Gen. Schwarzkopf said in an interview with The Washington Post that he believed U.N. inspections were the proper course to follow because he hadn't seen enough evidence to convince him a war was warranted. He told The Post he was worried about the cockiness of the U.S. war plan and by the potential human and financial costs of occupying Iraq. Gen. Schwarzkopf also told The Post he believed Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and his advisers lack much military experience themselves and shouldn't disregard the Army's judgments on the issue. Yesterday, Gen. Schwarzkopf said Mr. Rumsfeld should base military action on sound military advice. "It's very, very important that you use your military expertise, your military planners, people who've been trained for this for years and years and years; and use all of these capabilities and don't just run off on your own," he said. "That's what concerned me." Gen. Schwarzkopf said capturing Saddam would be the bottom line. "Saddam Hussein is a monster," he said. "The mere thought of Saddam Hussein with a nuclear, biological, chemical capability is frightening to me because the difference between him and some of the other nuclear powers is the fact that he'll use them, and that's what makes it scary." But Gen. Schwarzkopf said he doesn't believe it's necessary for the U.S. to use weapons of mass destruction against Saddam, even if the dictator uses them against U.S. troops. "I think that we are going to prevail, no matter what he uses," he said. "Our troops know how to take care of themselves in that kind of chemical environment. It's not easy ... But they know how to prevail in that environment." Gen. Schwarzkopf also said it's equally important for the United States to catch terrorist Osama bin Laden, blamed for plotting the September 11 attacks on the U.S., if he still lives. "It's necessary to bring him down, one way or the other," he said. "Someone asked me, 'Can we forgive him?' and I said, 'Forgiveness is up to God. I just hope we hurry up the meeting.' That's the way I feel about him, really." http://news.ft.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=FT.com/StoryFT/FullStory&c =StoryFT&cid=1042491651206&p=1012571727172/ * US WILL AID IRAQ 'EVEN IF SADDAM HAS FLED WITHOUT FIGHTING' by James Harding in New York Financial Times, 10th February The Bush administration yesterday said the US would expect to play a role in stabilising Iraq and setting it on the path to democracy even if Saddam Hussein and his entourage fled into exile. Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser, said that even if the Iraqi leader made a last minute decision to abandon Baghdad to save Iraq from war, the "US has to remain committed" to creating a country that maintains its territorial integrity, destroys its weapons of mass destruction and ends the repression of its own people". The comments from President George W. Bush's closest foreign policy aide underline US determination to intervene in Iraq. Adding to the sense in the US that military action is all but inevitable, former US administration officials and military officers who have criticised the White House over Iraq have begun to come on board. Madeleine Albright, secretary of state in the Clinton administration, said yesterday she was still concerned the US was getting diverted from the war on terrorism, but said she would support the military in the Gulf. Norman Schwartzkopf, the chief combatant commander in the 1991 Gulf war, who just last month said the administration had not yet made a convincing case, said he now supported its argument. The presentation made by Colin Powell, secretary of state, to the UN Security Council last week was "compelling", he said. [.....] INSIDE IRAQ http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/EB08Ak04.html * THE SADDAM BRANCH OF ISLAM by Syed Saleem Shahzad Asia Times, 8th February BAGHDAD - Surprisingly, despite all the war talk, the past few years (and months) have seen a boom in the construction industry in Baghdad. So much so that the industry has, in fact, served as a significant source of earnings for poor Iraqis. Most interestingly, perhaps, is the fact that the construction of new mosques all over Baghdad has been the largest chunk of this industry. Over the past two years, in every part of Iraq, one can witness newly constructed mosques and many more under construction. When this writer tried to find out how many, he was told (on condition of anonymity by an Iraqi official) that the phrase "how many" is prohibited in Iraq except on those occasions when you're buying something in a shop. But even then you are only permitted to ask the shopkeeper a simple variant: "How much?" A simple visual inspection of the city, however, results in an estimation that within the past year or so, about 30 new mosques have been built in every corner of Baghdad, with at least 10 more under construction. The anonymous official admitted that Saddam Hussein had started building mosques after 1991 as part of a new posture in which he tried to add "spiritual color" to the national fabric. This was the need of the hour, when Saddam realized that the Cold War was over and that his nation needed a new uniting ideology. What it got was the new Islamic crusader Saddam. There were new television programs about Koranic recitations that began broadcasting day and night. At Baghdad's large Saddam Hussein University, courses in Islamic sciences were added. Saddam's newest portraits (which permeate civic life here) now include "Saddam at prayer". The Islam preached in Iraq today is certainly not the radical, political or fundamentalist sort of the al-Qaeda variety. It is merely a new "addiction" to lull the Iraqi people to sleep. In truth, like other Arab rulers, Saddam also feels threatened by al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun (the Muslim Brotherhood). All publications written by al-Ikhwan are banned, and its leaders are still discouraged from staying in Baghdad despite the fact that they supported Iraq in 1991 and still support Iraq against the US. Still, the Muslim Brotherhood does exist in Iraq, although its presence is not strong or overt. Because of the threat it poses to the ruling regime, on Saddam's special instructions mosques remain always closed except for one hour before and one hour after each prayer time. This is in recognition that mosques have historically served as the strongest breeding ground and platform of Islamic fundamentalism. These observations apart, Iraq has a centuries-old tradition of moderate Islam and Islamic figures. It is the only land in the Arab world in which the Muslim Brotherhood could not form an organizational structure. Syed Ahmed Gillani is the descendant of Sheikh Abdul Qadir Gillani, the founder of the Qadri order of Sufi Islam (the order with the largest following among Sufis, with about 80 million disciples all over the world). A clean-shaven man attired in a three-piece Western suit, Gillani welcomed this correspondent at his office in Baghdad recently. Gillani termed al-Qaeda wrongdoers to the extent that they attack civilians. But he also insisted that their stance against America is laudable simply because of US aggressive designs in the Middle East. Sufi Islam is divergent of the Salafi branch of Islam (the more radical branch that includes Wahhabism). After September 11, the two branches developed sympathies with each other, but they still have not abandoned their ancient rivalries. "We are sympathetic with Osama [bin Laden] because he is Muslim, but we do not agree with what he did in Tanzania, or other places," Gillani said, referring to the 1998 attacks on US embassies in Africa. When this reporter discussed the role of Salafis and al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun in the Arab world, Gillani said, "They only preach extremism, and they have only slogans to raise - not any serious program." But he added that "it is only because of the suppression by the Egyptian government that sympathy has been allowed to grow among Egyptians for the Muslim Brotherhood". Similarly, Sheikh Muhammad bin Abdul-Wahhab (founder of Wahhabism) was a sincere Muslim, but he was strict and extremist in his teachings. He refused even the taking of photographs of Islamic shrines, said Gillani. "However, I do not say that Sheikh Wahhab preached something that was un-Islamic; I only say that he was too harsh in his manners and teachings." Syed Gillani is an ardent believer in Saddam, calling him a real hero of Islam. "We do not want organizations such as al-Ikhwan in Iraq because our leader Saddam has fully implemented Islamic rules in letter and spirit." Unlike some versions of Salafism, the Saddam interpretation of Islam entails a strict separation of church and state. It allows simple prayers within mosques only during prayer times and promotes the hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca), etc, but it leaves decisions regarding economics and politics to the will of the rulers. It is quite contrary to the teachings of Salafis, al-Ikhwan and al-Qaeda, which designate the mosque as the center of the congregation and maintain a defiant posture on the superiority of Sharia over man-made laws regarding social justice, economics and politics. NO FLY ZONES http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/w-me/2003/feb/09/020900843.html * BLIX HOLDS OUT HOPE FOR IRAQ COOPERATION by Charles J. Hanley Las Vegas Sun, 9th February [.....] Meanwhile, coalition aircraft patrolling the no-fly zone in southern Iraq attacked an Iraqi military mobile command and control center near Al Kut, about 95 miles southeast of Baghdad, U.S. Central Command said in a statement. The facility's presence in the no-fly zone was a threat to coalition aircraft, the statement said. [.....] http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/archives/2003/feb/11/021105938.htm l?Iraq * U.S. HITS MISSILE LAUNCHER IN S. IRAQ by Matt Kelley Las Vegas Sun, 11th February WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. planes bombed a ballistic missile launcher in southern Iraq on Tuesday, Pentagon officials said, in the first operation against Iraqi weapons that are meant to hit ground targets instead of aircraft or ships. Eight American warplanes dropped a total of 16 bombs on the Iraqi missile system near Basra at about 11 a.m. EST, Pentagon officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity. A statement from U.S. Central Command said the Iraqis had moved the mobile missile launching system into the southern no-fly zone. "Saddam Hussein put these systems in range of our troops and the people of Kuwait, and under U.N. authority, we struck them," said Jim Wilkinson, a Central Command spokesman. The U.S. bombs struck an Iraqi Ababil-100 missile launcher, a command van and resupply vehicles, senior defense officials said. The Ababil is a solid-fueled missile developed after the 1991 Gulf War. Iraq says it does not fly farther than the 93-mile limit on Iraqi missiles imposed by United Nations sanctions. The United States and Britain say the Ababil probably either has a longer range or could easily be modified to fly farther. U.S. officials say the Ababil also can be used to carry chemical or biological warheads. Even under the U.N. limit, an Ababil missile fired from Basra could easily reach Kuwait, where thousands of U.S. troops are massing in preparation for a possible invasion of Iraq. U.S. warplanes also attacked a mobile surface-to-air missile system near Basra on Monday. Iraq claimed that strike killed two civilians. American military officials say they go to great lengths to avoid hitting civilians and say Iraq often lies about civilian casualties. Tuesday was the 15th day this year that U.S. or coalition forces have struck at targets inside Iraq's two no-fly zones. The airstrikes are meant to retaliate against Iraqi attempts to shoot down coalition warplanes and to soften up Iraqi defenses before a possible invasion. Basra, Iraq's second-largest city, is about 245 miles southeast of Baghdad in the southern no-fly zone set up by the United States to protect Iraq's Shiite Muslims. Iraq considers the zones over northern and southern Iraq to be violations of its sovereignty and repeatedly tries to shoot down the U.S. and British warplanes patrolling them. Iraq has not succeeded in downing a piloted plane over either zone. The United States also has dropped millions of leaflets in the southern no-fly zone, warning soldiers not to repair damaged facilities and telling Iraqis how to tune in to American military propaganda radio broadcasts. _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk