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News titles, 12-19/02/03 INTRODUCTION 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 http://www.ccmep.org/usbombingwatch/2003.htm. News, 12-19/02/03 (1) UPPITY TURKS * 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] URL ONLY: http://news.scotsman.com/features.cfm?id=183212003 * 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] NORTHERN IRAQ/SOUTHERN KURDISTAN * 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 factory] * 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] UPPITY INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY * 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 Montreal] * 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) NOT SO UPPITY ARABS * 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 public.'] UPPITY EUROPEANS * 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/COLLABORATION * 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 leadership."'] * 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] ISRAELI INTEREST * 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) FINGER TRYING TO POINT AT IRAQ * 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.'] INSPECTION PROCESS * 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 impossible)] * American U-2 Plane Makes 1st Iraq Flight AND, IN NEWS, 12-19/02/03 (5) INSIDE IRAQ * 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' NO FLY ZONES * 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 Introduction] 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) IMPLICATIONS OF WAR * 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 associates] * 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] DOWN MEMORY LANE * 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) PROTESTS AGAINST WAR * 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] HISTORICAL ANALOGIES * 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 T.E.Lawrence.] * Rhetoric Of Evil Has Backfired On U.S. Before [in the case of Juan Peron's Argentina] EXCITING NEW BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES * 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 ...] _______________________________________________ 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