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[casi] News titles, 12-19/02/03

News titles, 12-19/02/03


At the precise moment of writing (morning of 21st February) it looks as
though the US have lost Turkey. Which is really extraordinary, since Turkey
is very largely a US dependency and stands to lose a great deal through its
failure to co-operate. The Turks may calculate that the US needs them (as
the acceptable face of Islam) as much as they need the US. But they may be
wrong. It may be that Donald Rumsfeld and his group welcome the quite
amazing diplomatic catastrophe the United States is undergoing at the
present time.

It is consistent with his ideology to assert that the US doesn't need
anyone. It is a completely free agent with the right and the ability to do
whatever it wishes. Rumsfeld may well believe that he can still succeed,
quickly and surgically, without Turkey's help (see the article by Dan
Plesch, 'Operation regime change ' in Implications of War), that such a
victory will be stunning, and that once a massive military presence has been
installed in Iraq then all those troublesome natives will be queuing up to
pay homage. Probably won't even have to be paid for it.

This perspective is certainly not consistent with the pathetic shreds of a
pretence that all this is being done for the sake of bowing a rogue state to
the will of the 'international community' [!]. What is encouraging at the
present time is the clear blue water that is being created between the
United States government and everyone else (the 'international community',
insofar as that term has any meaning. And including much of the population
of the US as see 'Some US Cities Pass Anti-War Resolutions' under Anti-war
protests). Rumsfeld likes that, and I like it too, though Messrs Powell and
Blair are drowning in it.

Of course Powell may even now get his resolution and the Turks may still
cave (or there may be a military coup - see 'Why Turkey cannot refuse to
support a US attack on Iraq', under Uppity Turks). But the phrase 'coalition
of the willing' is still going to have a very hollow ring to it.  More
probably the US will go ahead on its own, win, take power and have to cope
with the inevitable huge policing job that will result, surrounded by
growing hatred and suspicion (it is notable that international opposition to
US military adventures has grown steadily with each incident since1991, and
this despite the fact that the consequences of these military successes
have, generally, been kept out of the public eye),.

On the other hand we may remember what Elliot Cohen - one of the authors of
the Project for the New American Century and a member of Rumsfeld's Defense
Policy Board - said back in December: 'Turkey is obviously crucial. I don't
think you could do anything without Turkey' ('Turks, Sauds offer aid in a
war on Iraq' [sic. There was a time when we had a lot of articles with
titles like that] in News, 29/11-6/12/02 (5)) In which case, the war may be
over, for the moment at least. Difficult as it is to imagine, the US might
have to start a process of climbing down or at least reconcile themselves to
the humiliating prospect of having to hang around in the vague hope that the
inspectors might turn something up and the whole process can begin again.

If that turns out to be the case then it will put a heavy burden on us: to
try to turn the moral disgust that Mr Blair has succeeded in stimulating
among the British people into a moral disgust against sanctions. Since
surely the most intolerable of all the possible scenarios (I find it
personally more intolerable than war; but I know the bombs aren't going to
be falling on me) is that we should just sink back into the status quo, into
a policy of endless, murderous 'vigilant containment'.

Perhaps the most important article this week is the one on press reporting
in the UN Gulf War ('What I saw was a bunch of filled in trenches' under
Down memory Lane). The controversy between the US and the INC over the
future government of Iraq (under Iraqi Opposition/Collaboration) also has
its importance, though the reply to it is given in a wonderful article by
Kamil Mahdi in Thursday's Guardian (20th Feb), It will, hopefully, appear in
next week's mailing. Readers who are discontent with my No Fly Zones section
may like to know that a hopefully complete record of bombing incoidents is
being maintained at

News, 12-19/02/03 (1)


*  Turkey denies British troops role on border ['because they fear the
British "are trying to influence the Iraqi Kurds to create distrust for
Ankara".' Is there a story behind rhis?]
*  Turkey Delays Vote on U.S. Troops
*  Turkey Wants Bigger Aid Deal From U.S.
*  Why Turkey cannot refuse to support a US attack on Iraq ['Turkey's
secular army generals had threatened to organise a constitutional overthrow
of the JDP [Justice and Democracy Party - PB] if needed, according to one US
intelligence officer in the region. "And it worked," he said.' And this is
of course exactly what happened in the case of the JDP's predecessor, the
Welfare Party, when it too came to power]
*  Turkey Warns Support for U.S. Not Inevitable [Includes a clear statement
that Turkey cannot co-operate without a second UNSC resolution]
*  Bush losing patience with Turkey's growing demands [Extract giving more
details of the figures in question]

*  Villages of the damned
by Nicholas Birch
The Scotsman, 16th February
[Although not directly related to the problems of Iraq this is a long and
moving account of the problems of Kurds displaced from PKK territory in
Turkey. It should however be kept in mind that these were wrongs done by the
generally pro-Western Turkish Nationalists, not by the rather less
pro-Western politically minded Muslims who are currently in power]


*  Barazani, Talibani open two new offices [in each other's territories]
*  One wrong word, one fearful village [Citizens of Khurmal in the Kurdish
Autonomous Zone understandably upset that the village may be a target after
it was wrongly identified by C.Powell as the site of an Ansar el Islam ricin
*  Kurds look south and see weakness [Account of the state of the Iraqi
regime around Kirkuk]
*  Iranian-backed forces cross into Iraq [The SCIRI either moving into or
already present in PUK territory in the Kurdish Autonomous Zone]
*  Oil and ethnic rivalries fuel fight for Iraqi border town ['Sami
Abdul-Rahman, 71, a veteran of Kurdish politics, said: "It was the question
of who should control Kirkuk which prevented us reaching agreement with
Saddam in negotiations in 1970 and 1974, and led to another war."' Now its
Turkey, the US and Britain they have to contend with]


*  Insults fly as Canada falls out with its next-door neighbour [Partly as a
consequence of US mistreatment of a dual Syrian-Canadian national from
*  Iran joins the club with a risk management exercise [John Simpson, who
has a well-established soft spot for revolutionary Iran, argues that
announcing they have uranium which can be used for nuclear weapons poduction
is a smart thing to do. He thinks Iran can't be tackled by the US. But once
a massive and unrestrainable US military presence is established in Iraq
many new possibilities open up ...]
*  U.N. Nations Urge U.S. to Choose Peace in Iraq [Another open meeting of
the UN Security Council. Another ghastly experience for USUK]

AND, IN NEWS, 12-19/02/03 (2)


*  Iraq and the 'astonishing quiescence' of Arab leaders [Lebanon Daily Star
round up of the Arab press. Largely centred on Egypt's apparent acceptance
of the inevitability of war. Failure of the Arab leadership to support the
European antiwar movement]
* Please handle with care [Editor of the Lebanon Daily Star gives advice to
Colin  Powell about the pitfalls to be avoided when restructuring the Arab
world (essentially a polemic against the restructuring the Arab world
suffered at the hands of the British in the 1920s.)]
*  The great Arab face-saving theater [Pepe Escobar on the recent meeting of
foreign ministers in Cairo which decided to hold an emergency summit, oh,
some time soon. He contrasts Arab manifestations of feeling in a matter so
close to them (very much discouraged by their respective governments) with
the demos in Europe: 'Arabs can scream in private, but they cannot shout in


*  Vatican rolls out red carpet for Christian Aziz [I think this is the
first time I've seen it stated that Aziz is a Chaldaean. He risks having his
head turned especially when he meets the '"stars from the world of Italian
culture" at a dinner in his honour.']
*  Aziz prays at tomb of St Francis 'the pacifist' ['Mr Aziz, who is the
only one of Saddam Hussein's inner circle to be Christian'. Am I wrong in
thinking Naji Sabri is also a Christian? (A quick Google search produced the
following confirmation: 'One of his most faithful servants, Tariq Aziz, is a
Christian Chaldean; as is his new foreign minister, Naji Sabri.' from a US
Reformed Presbyterian website which has since changed text).]
*  Who did Chirac and Schroder shock the most? The federalists [Eurosceptic
Tory MEP Daniel Hannan argues that the most enthusiastic European
federalists tend also to be pro-NATO and are therefore very shocked at the
behaviour of France, Germany and Belgium: 'They are determined that
Washington should be constrained by supra-national structures - chiefly Nato
and the UN - just as their own states are. By acting as they have, Chirac
and Schroder have destroyed any pretence that the action against Saddam
Hussein will be waged in the name of the New World Order. And that, for the
Euro-federalists, is the true crime.']
*  NATO Settles Rift Over Aid to Turks in Case of a War [The article makes
it very clear that it was not about defending Turkey but about helping US
efforts to pressure Turkey into enabling the invasion]
*  Supporters desert Aznar as Spaniards reject conflict [1 in 15 Spaniards
march against the war. Two thirds of Aznar's own party are opposed]
*  European Union Says Iraq Must Disarm Quickly and Fully [The European
Summit seems to have turned out a bit like the various Arab and Muslim
summits that have taken place over the last two months. Begging Iraq to
comply in order to get themselves off the hook]

AND, IN NEWS, 12-19/02/03 (3)


*  Iraqi Opposition Delays Meeting
*  Some in Iraqi opposition fault US plans for post-Hussein regime [Extract
indicating that the KDP is not as opposed to the proposal as the PUK and the
group round Ahmad Chalabi: 'Kurdish officials suggested yesterday that the
interests of the Kurds and other opposition groups with no military force
may not coincide.']
*  U.S. general would run Iraq ['"The plans we are looking at include using
the institutions that are there," Powell told the House International
Relations Committee. "There is a nation there. What it has is rotten
*  Meet the new boss [On the dispute between the US State Dept and the INC.
The INC have the support of Richard Perle and George Schultz but appear to
have just lost the support of Richard Cheney: '"When Cheney took a look at
the edifice the US was creating [with the INC], he apparently decided it
couldn't bear the weight of international scrutiny," an anonymous official
told the Los Angeles Times last week.' The State Dept want to keep in place
the lower level of the Baath bureaucracy which appears to have done such an
extraordinary job of holding the country together over the past twelve
years. The INC are at the centre of a fantasy idea that a 'democratic' Iraq
will set the whole region off on a process of reconciliation with Israel]
*  Our hopes betrayed: How a US blueprint for post-Saddam government quashed
the hopes of democratic Iraqis [Important article by INC theorist Kanan
Makiya complaining against the current US policy of maintaining a large
amount of the current Iraqi bureaucracy intact under temporary, perhaps,
American command. But his case is based on the premise that the INC -
independent of the Kurdish and Shi'i parties - is a substantial political
force. After 10 years and a great deal of US money, however, it has failed
to become the real organising principle of a democratic opposition even
among the exile communities. It doesn't even seem to have tried very hard.
The restructuring of Iraq will have to take account of the forces within
Iraq, including those that are currently supporting the Baath party. The
suggestion of a radical 'debaathification' is the height of
irresponsibility. By itself it almost disqualifies its advocates from having
any role in the future government of Iraq. If the war so desperately wanted
by Messrs Chalabi and Makiya takes place it will necessitate a policing job
and the INC can't do it themselves and can't very well ask the Americans to
do it under their command. A period of US military rule would seem to be the
best option. That having been said, Mr Makiya is probably right. It will
probably be a catastrophe and everything with spirit in the country will
rise against it.]
*  The Left isn't listening: The Stop the War coalition is the greatest
threat to any hope for a democratic Iraq [Nick Cohen continues his struggle
on behalf of 'the democratic opposition in [sic] Iraq'. He too seems to be
living in something of a fantasy world in which: 'Iraq is the only country
in the Arab world with a strong, democratic movement'. He identifies it with
the PUK and maintains that the PUK, KDP and SCIRI are all under the umbrella
of the INC, which is much truer in theory than it is in practise. And why
should these essentially ethnic or religious movements be seen as more
democratic than the Iraqi CP, which was, as it happens, present at the
London peace march? and hasn't Mr Cohen noticed that it is only very
recently and reluctantly that the SCIRI has come round to - endorsing seems
too strong a word - not opposing a US invasion?]
*   Opposition Scramble for Role in a Post-Saddam Iraq [Meeting in KDP
territory in Salahuddin]
*  Iraqi opposition groups meet in Seloubi, Turkey [Meeting of Turkish and
Kurd representatives. Which seems a rather good idea at the present time]
*  Opposition puts its trust in new spirit of reconciliation [Opening of
Iraqi opposition meeting at Salahuddin (though we learned later that it has
been delayed again). Bayan Jabor, of SCIRI is quoted as saying "At the end
of the day, the Americans will have to deal with the people - the PUK, the
KDP and SCIRI - who are the main forces on the ground and who can influence
the Iraqi street during and after any change." But though this is obviously
true of the KDP and the PUK it probably isn't true of SCIRI (whose
pro-Iranian sympathies are probably not shared by the majority of Iraqi
Shi'ites) and certainly isn't true of the Ahmad Chalabi/Kanan Makiya group.
The main forces on the ground outside the Kurdish Autonomous Zone will
probably be what is left of the Baath Party and the tribal leaderships. The
article ends with a note about the training camp in Hungary ('Camp Freedom',
wouldn't you know): 'Reports have suggested there are far fewer than the
3,000 maximum set by the Hungarian authorities.']
*  Iraq for the Iraqis: After the invasion, leave it to us to establish
democracy [Ahmad Chalabi appeals to the US to please allow him to preside
over a reign of terror. This piece of rhetoric would have been more
acceptable had it come from people who really did make great sacrifices in a
bloody struggle - KDP, PUK, SCIRI, the Iraqi CP. Coming from Chalabi it is
positively nauseating]


*  The case against war: A conflict driven by the self-interest of America
[Passionate polemic by Robert Fisk, heavily stressing the Israeli agenda
behiond the current push for war. He refers, surely mistakenly, to 'the
RAF's use of gas on Kurdish rebels in the 1930s']
*  'The axis of evil' [Article from the Jordan Times on what Israel might
hope to gain from the forthcoming war. The Haaretz article referred to is
given separately as 'Enthusiastic IDF awaits war in Iraq']
*  Enthusiastic IDF awaits war in Iraq [The article 'Axis of Evil' in the
Jordan Times dates this as the 17th February. A Google search found it dated
16th February, but I couldn't find it under the Haaretz website for either
of those two dates. Its pretty scary stuff. It goes on to a fairly routine
discussion of the 'road map' to an Israeli/Palestinian settlement]

AND, IN NEWS, 12-19/02/03 (4)


*  CIA Chief Testifies on Security Threats [George Tenet claims that
'al-Qaida ... is developing a presence in Iran and Iraq'. He says 'the key
link between Baghdad and al-Qaida is Abu Musab Zarqawi, a senior associate
of bin Laden.' But perhaps most interestingly 'Tenet also said U.S.
intelligence has given U.N. inspectors all of its information on what it
believed were Iraqi weapons sites.']
*  Powell is flawless - inside a media bubble [Strong polemical attack on
C.Powell, reminding us if we didn't know (I didn't) that he played a role in
the Iran-Contra scandal]
*  Iraqi dissident: Saddam has no nukes, but...  [Dr. Hussain
Al-Shahristani, once the chief adviser of Iraq's Atomic Energy Commission,
interviewed in the The Philippine Star. He doesn't offer much that isn't
already in the public domain but what he does offer seems a little doubtful
(if the interviewer has understood him correctly): 'Shahristani said Saddam
continues to use the chemical weapons on Iraqi dissidents, mainly Kurds in
the north and Shiite Muslims in the south and east.']


*  Blix Gives Mixed Picture of Iraqi Disarming Effort [The article refers in
passing to a strike in the Southern no-fly zone on Friday 14th February:
'the fifth strike on Iraqi targets in a week.']
*  Britain and US unmoved as Blix calls for more time over Iraq [Account
from Daily Telegraph. It says 'he pointedly did not repeat his previous
accusation that Saddam had no intention of disarming.', which is a bit of an
exaggeration of Blix's statement on the 27th January]
*  U.S. to Seek Tests to Show That Iraq Resists Disarming [Article outlining
possible US strategy for getting a second resolution (otherwise known as
creating the circumstances in which Iraqi compliance with the UN becomes
*  American U-2 Plane Makes 1st Iraq Flight

AND, IN NEWS, 12-19/02/03 (5)


*  Basra pinning its hopes on battle passing it by [The article suggests
that the Iraqi government is concentrating all its defenses on the North.
The South has been more or less abandoned]
*  Key aide of Saddam's son in Beirut defection riddle [Mysterious
disappearance of Uday's aide Adeeb Shabaan, as observed by Mashaan Jebouri,
the Syria-based leader of the 'Homeland party, an Iraqi opposition group']
*  The prisoner of Baghdad [Long, horrific account of torture in an Iraqi
jail suffered by a Shi'i dissident at the beginning of the Iran/Iraq war]
*  Iranian dissident is war's first casualty [Interesting article on the
Iranian Mujahideen-e-Khalq and the apparently disastrous (but still
essentially unexplained) decision of its leader Masoud Rajavi to turn to
Iraq, in the middle of the Iran/Iraq war]
*  Iraqi defence minister [Lieutenant-General Sultan Hashim Ahmad al-Jabburi
Tai] 'under house arrest'


*  U.S. Planes Bomb Iraqi Missile System [Wednesday 12th February, near
Basra. the paucity of this No Flky Zone section isn't, I don't think, due to
a lack of incidents. See also 'Blix Gives Mixed Picture of Iraqi Disarming
Effort' under Inspections process, above. And comment at end of

IRAQIS OUTSIDE IRAQ (now that the 'opposition' claims to be inside Iraq)

*  Council will give Australian Iraqis a single voice
*  Iraqi exile groups divided over ousting regime [Interesting account of
the variety of Iraqi opinions in Chicago]

AND, IN NEWS, 12-19/02/03 (6)


*  Vulnerable But Ignored: How Catastrophe Threatens the 12 Million Children
of Iraq [Report published by the charity Warchild about pre-war stress
experienced by Iraqi children]  
*  Now, bin Laden takes aim at Pakistan [Indian analysis of bin Laden's
latest message. It ends with an intriguing suggestion that 'the reaction to
the US-led invasion could come not from the streets of Baghdad, but from the
streets and barracks of Egypt.']
*  About War, Real Estate and the Anti-War Movement [Ramzy Baroud, editor in
chief of the Palestine Chronicle, makes the important point that the
imminent war on Iraq is not something new but simply a radicalisation of a
war that has been continuous since 1991]
*  So what happens now? [David Frum, famous as the man who invented the
'axis of evil', sees the present problems of the US as a minor glitch, which
has to be endured because Tony Blair wants to try for a second resolution
and the US owes him a favour. A mere matter of noblesse oblige. The war goes
ahead - with or without a second resolution - in March. Not for D.Frum any
anxiety about what Turkey might or might not allow the US to do. Though he
is (of course) anxious about the wellbeing of the 'democrats' of the INC]
*  An extract from Tony Blair's speech to the Labour Party conference
yesterday [List members have already noted the description of all the evils
that are a result of the sanctions fostered by T.Blair himself and his
*  Why the left is betraying traditions [John Lloyd ridicules the view that
the United States is more of a danger to world peace than Iraq. Which just
goes to show that in some peoples' eyes when a phenomenon (in this case the
US drive towards world conquest) is sufficiently large it becomes invisible]
*  Blair makes use of Iraqi student's private email message [Email from
Rania Kashi, which was also posted to the CASI list on 13th February ([IC]
Iraq and "War"* - my opinion)]
*  Failure foretold? [The article from the Lebanon Daily Star takes Kanan
Makiya's disillusionment with his US allies as a starting point and
concludes 'Asia has swallowed far better men than George W. Bush, and most
of them, as it so happens, knew what they were doing.']
*  Perils Could Multiply in Post-Saddam Iraq [George Gedda quotes Anthony
Cordesman making the obvious but necessary point that after Saddam Iraq will
want and be able to rearm itself, and there is no guarantee - other than a
permanent US military presence (though in my view there will be a permanent
US military presence. That's the whole point of the exercise) - that it will
be pro western]
*  Operation regime change [Dan Plesch outlines the current thinking of US
strategy devised by Rumsfeld against the opposition of the US military. As
he describes it (after his very witty first paragraph) it looks quite
convincing. No wonder Rumsfeld is impatient to try it out]


*  Estimates of deaths in first war still in dispute [Account of Beth
Daponte and her work in estimating Iraqi casualties in the UN Gulf War. The
article refers to research by John Heidenrich and John Mueller which comes
to much lower figures, based on 'the low number of Iraqi bodies found by
American forces (577)'. For what may be a quite sufficient comment on that,
see the next article]
*  'What I saw was a bunch of filled-in trenches with people's arms and legs
sticking out of them. For all I know, we could have killed thousands' [This
is the most substantial of the series of articles which accompanied
photographs of the United Nations Gulf War in the Guardian's G2 on the 14th
February. The photos, though upsetting, still didn't amount to the
indictment of United Nations morality that a dossier of photos (even of
stills from the extraordinary - and extraordinarily brief - TV coverage) of
the massacre on the road to Basra would have provided. Why does this not
exist? Why has nobody done it? Maggie O'Kane in another article reveals the
beauty of her sensitive soul but doesn't explain why, after the UN war, she
still thought the US had the moral authority to intervene in the Balkans.
The present article, by Patrick Sloyan, describes and explains the near
total moral bankruptcy of the reporting of the US inspired wars, and it
begins with a valuable reminder of the policy of burying Iraqi conscripts
(all of them probably ready to surrender at the first possible opportunity
after weeks of terrorist bombardment) alive in their trenches. Leaving the
mystery of a battlefield without bodies (apart from a few arms and legs
sticking up out of the sand)]

AND, IN NEWS, 12-19/02/03 (7)


*  I'll be seeing you at the anti-war march on Saturday [Armando Iannucci
attempts to construct the sort of mental state that would induce a Daily
Telegraph reader to go on the peace march. The article inspired the anti
peace march polemic by Mark Steyn - Marching for Terror - which follows]
*  Marching for terror ['Marching for "peace" means marching for, oh,
another 15 years of Saddamite torture and murder, followed by a couple more
decades under the even more psychotic son'. Steyn goes on to suggest that
President Hussein's paycheques are the main thing keeping the Palestinian
suicide bombing campaign alive. Which rather discredits an otherwise
impressive polemic]
*  Millions Worldwide Rally Against Iraq War [World roundup. Especially
impressive turnouts in Britain, Spain, New York, Italy and Germany]
*  Some US Cities Pass Anti-War Resolutions ['Some 90 U.S. cities have
passed resolutions opposing military action against Iraq', including
'Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Portland, Des Moines,
Newark, Cleveland, Providence, Seattle, Milwaukee'. Who says the anti-war
movement is anti-American?]
*  37 human shields leave capital to protect Iraqi women, children
*  U.S. Accuses Iraq of War Crime Over Human Shields [Donald Rumsfeld
expresses impressive moral indignation at the idea of mixing up civilian and
military personnel and facilities in time of war. Those who have been
following the list discussion on the targeting of water facilities in Iraq
are advised not to read this article. It could bring about a severe, if
temporary, disorder of the stomach]


*  The opponents of war on Iraq are not the appeasers [Seumas Milne's
argument against the Hitler/Munich analogy is fine but he presupposes Iraq's
present state of powerlessness and destitution. Which is itself a
consequence of of war and sanctions which the people on this list and, I
suppose, Seumas Milne, disapprove. He also refers to 'the British gassing of
Iraqi Kurds in the 20s' which I think the discussion on this list has
established did not happen, despite the best intentions of W.Churchill and
*  Rhetoric Of Evil Has Backfired On U.S. Before [in the case of Juan
Peron's Argentina]


*  Race to rewire a postwar Iraq ['"A new government in Baghdad more
favorably disposed to the United States could tilt the geopolitical favor of
telecoms' future contracts in the direction of American companies." ' Oh
well, its an ill wind ...]

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