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News titles, 19-26/02/03 INTRODUCTION The anti-war movement made a decision very early on in the present crisis which has proved - so far - to be very astute but which was, nonetheless, in principle, wrong. It decided to support the inspections process. I call it wrong in principle because it appears to endorse the idea that Iraq's possible possession of 'weapons of mass destruction' is a major and urgent problem and, worse, that until this urgent problem is resolved, Iraq should be subjected to an extraordinary regime of 'containment,' It accepted that the 'international community' - insofar as that mythical entity is embodied in the United Nations Security Council - has a moral right to judge the Iraqi government, even though it is itself responsible for the deliberate murder of many thousands of Iraqi citizens. It puts the decision as to whether or not there should be a war into the hands of that same infinitely guilty UN Security Council. But the present success of the anti-war movement - and its success has been quite astonishing - has, or seems to have been, dependent on getting the support of all sorts of people who supported the blockade on Iraq, the war on Serbia, the war on Afghanistan. I find their position difficult to understand. It seems to me that there are much stronger grounds for a war on Iraq than there were for the war on Serbia. Saddam Hussein's 'Arabisation' (though I'm not sure that that is his word. 'Ethnic cleansing' was not a term used to my knowledge by any prominent Serb leader) of Kirkuk, and the draining of the marshes and destruction of the 'Marsh Arabs' are much worse than anything the Serbs were doing in Kosovo - where a large part of the problem was that the Albanians refused to recognise the government and therefore to exercise their political rights. Mr Milosevic could have been voted out of office in 1993 if the Albanians had not boycotted the vote. These are not the terms in which anyone is discussing the politics of Iraq. It is frustrating to have to rely on the argument that war cannot be waged without a second resolution of the UN Security Council. One even feels a twinge of sympathy for the US government. After all, so the argument goes, inspections are 'working'. The Iraqi government is complying. Why? because of the USUK military buildup. If it is a good thing that Iraq should comply then the military buildup is a good thing and we should all be grateful for it. We really shouldn't be easing up on the pressure with all our peace marches and our backbench rebellions. But I am of the view that the inspections were a scam from the start, whose only purpose was to provide an excuse for prolonging the blockade and consequent sufferings of the Iraqi people. Once it was clear that the process was endless (and how could it end when, as Mr Rumsfeld now constantly reminds us, it was impossible to be absolutely sure that nowhere in a country the size of California was there a laboratory producing quantities of sarin) I believe the Iraqi government was right not to let the inspectors back in. They did not kick the inspectors out as is so often stated - but had they done so they would have been quite within their rights so far as I am concerned. And they would also have been within their rights to reconstruct a capacity for defence. And it would have been perfectly understandable if, given the impossibility of importing the means of mounting a conventional form of defence, this had taken an unconventional form. If Donald Rumsfeld et al are genuinely convinced that Saddam Hussein has built an unconventional capacity, it is probably because they know very well that that is what they would have done in similar circumstances. These are all of course things it would be impolitic to say. But because they are not said, much of the mainstream argument against war - the arguments of Charles Kennedy, or Jacques Chirac, for example - is gobbledegook. How could it not be when these people supported the blockade, which is already a generally recognised form of war (a siege). The proposed shooting war is simply a culmination of the state of war that has been going on with these people's approval for the past twelve years. What one hopes is happening, however, is that people who did not take much notice of the invasion of Panama; who supported the UN war on Iraq, together with the subsequent blockade and bombing raids; the failed invasion of Somalia; the war on Serbia; the war on Afghanistan - perhaps with a steadily declining level of enthusiasm - are now beginning to see a pattern: the projection of US power into every part of the globe except, perhaps, Africa, considered to be not worth the bother. Its hardly a new pattern, but it has become more flagrant now that the old excuse - the need to confront Soviet power - is no longer valid. If this is the case then, even if the present arguments against the war are a little thin the feeling behind them (the much maligned and in fact utterly admirable 'anti-americanism') is genuine and is unlikely to turn overnight into enthusiasm for the war in the event of a second resolution. Looking beyond the immediate nightmare, the job is to fortify that feeling with better, more principled, arguments than those that are being used at the present - to build a more solid, more resilient world view. In the present collection, the two articles by George Monbiot (both under Anarchy in the US) may be particularly valuable from this point of view. Descending from the general to the particular, the question of Turkish support for the war still remains unresolved and the quite astonishing patience the US are showing indicates just how important that support is. I have long argued and still hold that that is where the really important drama is taking place. If the Turks hold good, the war may simply not be possible. Quite plainly, even if the leadership has really succumbed as we are assured (and as we have been assured many times before), there is still no certainty that the Parliament will oblige. Does Mr Erdogan, head of the Justice and Development (not Justice and Democracy as misstated in the last news mailing) Party want them to oblige? Maybe not. He wants to show the Americans he has done his best; he may not want to succeed. He may not want to be forced into the situation where he has to confront the Iraqi Kurdish parties, where the Turkish/Kurd civil war could be reignited, where the Turkish army will press for emergency legislation (as evoked in one of the article in The Enigmatic Turk below). But a strange thing has happened. A week ago, we were talking about perhaps 20,000 US troops. The US was offering $26 billion, and the Turks wanted $32 billion. Now we are talking about 62,000 troops and $16 billion. This seems to be going in the wrong direction. I have seen no explanation for it but it surely requires explanation. Has a substantial concession been offered elsewhere? In Northern Iraq/Southern Kurdistan, for example? Are the Kurds about to be sold down the river once again? Their position is indeed dramatic. Yes, they've been enjoying autonomy and its being going reasonably well since the last bout of civil war between them in 1996. But this autonomy is limited to three provinces which they could have had from the Baath Party back in the 1970s. They refused because they insisted on wanting Kirkuk. Everything they suffered at the hands of Saddam Hussein in the 1980s as a result of their disastrous decision to support Iran in the Iran/Iraq war they suffered for the sake of Kirkuk. And now if there is one thing that is generally agreed on all sides it is that Kirkuk is still going to be refused to them. Perhaps their only hope is that the Turks hold good in their refusal and the US are forced to fall back on them. No wonder Talabani is offering to turn the whole of Kurdistan into one huge airstrip if that's what they want. Meanwhile, the US press is beginning to wake up to the fact that the most substantial non Kurd component of the 'Iraqi National Congress' is a militant pro-Iranian Islamic Fundamentalist militia of the type we're all supposed to disapprove of. And to add to the complications - although they are well armed, the SCIRI are probably not representative of the Iraqi Shi'i population who are not, generally, pro-Iranian. So if there is a Shi'i rising as envisaged by Pepe Escobar ('At the gates of heaven - or hell' in Shifty Arabs, below) it might well take the form of a conflict among the Shi'i themselves as well as against the Baath establishment and the occupying power. As for the centre of the officially - ie US - recognised 'opposition', Mr Chalabi and his friends, who hope to form the next Iraqi government (remember Mr Chalabi suggesting the Russians should renegotiate their oil contracts with him?), the strength of their support is being cruelly exposed in 'Camp Freedom', in Hungary. A nervous Hungarian government limited the numbers allowed to receive training there to 3,000 - not an unreasonable figure out of 4 million exiles burning with the desire to overthrow a vicious dictatorial regime. So far they've been able to rustle up perhaps 160, on the very eve of the war (see articles in Opposition/Collaboration). But what, we wonder, has happened to the Iraqi National Coalition - the military alliance established with no little publicity a few months ago under the leadership of Tawfiq al-Yasiri? Where are the snows of yesteryear - though who knows, given that they did seem to have a substantial base among exiled army people (and they have an impossibly flashy website) they might pop up again unexpectedly. Finally its quite possible that the most important article in what follows will turn out to be 'Allies hushed up weapons' under Weapons of Mass Distraction. Hussein Kamel's testimony - given at a time when he was trying to provoke a US invasion of his country - is very strong evidence that they did in fact destroy all existing stocks in the immediate aftermath of the war and before the arrival of the inspectors. News, 19-26/02/03 (1) THE ENIGMATIC TURK * US offloads ammunition in Turkey [Hundreds of armoured vehicles and trucks] * Why Turkey is reluctant to see a war [Impression of life on the Turkish/Iraqi border now that smuggling is no longer feasible: "Bush says he wants to take away Saddam's weapons of mass destruction," said Cumhur Ozpun, 58, a Kurdish trucker waiting last week to cross into Iraq at Habur gate, Turkey's only legal border crossing. "That's fine. But the Americans have already used a weapon of mass destruction against us ‹ the embargo."] * Turkey's leader blames EU for failing to give political support in crisis [He isn't complaining at not getting NATO support for the war but saying Turkey would have been better placed to resist US pressure if it had had more certainty of EU accession] * Turkish military calls for return of emergency rule [in Kurdish provinces] * A Turkish 'no' to U.S. would make it tougher [Extract, giving some details of the purely military considerations] * Ankara tries to play both sides [Article from Lebanon Daily Star arguing, evidence in hand, that Turkey has sold the pass. The evidence includes the following: 'Turkey exerted intense pressure on the recent Istanbul meeting of six Middle Eastern foreign ministers to declare Iraq solely responsible for the current crisis. Washington was absolved of any responsibility.'] * Turkey fouls up the US works [Extracts. Turkey insisting on new UNSC resolution; and possible alternatives, including Saudi Arabia and Jordan, if they don't comply. 'Mitchell' is Phillip Mitchell, a ground-forces analyst at the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies; 'Flournoy' is a senior adviser for the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies] * Worried about war? Imagine what it's like in Turkey [Norman Stone shows how things look from Turkey's point of view - complete with a rather sceptical attitude toward the Kurds: 'There is also no single Kurdish language. Abroad, efforts are being made to standardise "Kurdish", but on the ground they make no sense because there are at least seven strikingly different variants. In Iraq an Arabic alphabet is used, in Turkey a Latin one. It is sometimes claimed that Turkey bans Kurdish publications, but this has not been true for years. In fact, people do not buy them. The PKK, the communist guerrilla movement with which Turkey has had to contend all these years, itself used Turkish and announced that Turkish would be the official language of "Kurdistan".'] * Blame Turkey's mood on the U. S. [Delightful article from the Baltimore Sun on the US mishandling of Turkey, incuding the disastrous effort to shoehorn Turkey into Europe] * Haunted by Gulf War memories, Turkey dithers over US-led Iraq war [Account of what happened in 1991: 'Ozal had calculated ‹ wrongly, as it rapidly became clear ‹ that his wholehearted backing for the US-led war effort would pay handsome dividends for Turkey. We're going to gamble one and win three," he told a sceptical public, in words that have since been the subject of satire.'] * Vote is nearing in Turkey on American use of bases [Extract in which Turkish foreign minister, Yasar Yakis calls for the Kurdish militias to be disarmed] * Turkey's Cabinet Approves Plan, With Details Lacking, for U.S. Troops [Leading to question if it is wise to put an incomplete agreement before Parliament or, if it is done, Parliament's approval will then be sufficient to deploy, prior to a final agreement being reached] * Turkey Delays Final Vote on U.S. Troops [Extracts. A Deputy Prime Minister (there seem to be more than two) urges a vote against deployment] * Turkoman minority offers gateway for Ankara's influence [Mustafa Ziya of the Turkoman Front seems to be broadly in favour of a US military governorate] URLs ONLY http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A32467-2003Feb19.html * U.S. WON'T SWEETEN AID OFFER TO TURKEY by Bradley Graham and Peter Slevin Washington Post, 20th February [This article is notable for the following splendid euphemism: 'Turkey, whose Islamic-led government is torn between popular sentiment about the war and a desire to accommodate a fellow member of the NATO alliance'.] http://www.iht.com/articles/87916.html * TURKEY TO VOTE ON ADMITTING 62,000 U.S. TROOPS by Dexter Filkins International Herald Tribune, from New York Times, 26th February ['One senior member of the Turkish government said Tuesday that many members of Parliament were excoriated by their constituents when they returned home for the recent Muslim holiday of Kurban Bayram. The lawmakers were reminded, this government official said, of how staunchly opposed the Turks are to their country's involvement in a war with Iraq. "They have a very tough time, I can tell you," said the Turkish official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "All the people attacked them. The feeling is very negative."'] AND, IN NEWS, 19-26/02/03 (2) SHIFTY ARABS * Bahrain peace delegation leaves for Iraq [Impressive demonstration from Bahrain (home of the US fleet). It includes a letter of appreciation to Germany: "Your support has overwhelmed us. As citizens of the world, Arabs and non-Arabs alike we thank you and raise our voices with yours against this unjust war on the Iraqi people."] * Arab governments 'reserving their places' for after war in Gulf [Lebanon Daily Star roundup of Arab press. War is a certainty. Arab leaders are impotent and/or corrupt. The Arab order is cracking under the strain] * 7,500 students demonstrate in Egypt against Iraq war [and 'earlier in the day, police prevented 3,000 Egyptian and Arab lawyers from venting their anger at the United States in the streets of the capital.' Also a protest in the Lebanon] * Fresh doubts cast on US case, but buildup to war continues [Lebanon Daily Star roundup of Arab press. Saudi-backed al-Hayat has an article advocating a little belatedly that the Arab nations should pre-empt Washington by going in themselves to disarm and depose President Hussein. Al-Quds al-Arabi provides a summary of the present state of play: '"America won't respect either its promises or its allies," he warns them. "What it wants are not allies but clients, which it can quickly discard once it has used them, just like paper tissues (not to use a more fitting metaphor). Thus it has abandoned the Kurds and sold them out to Turkey, agreeing to disarm them and end their current special status, and shattering their dreams of a federal or independent state."' * At the gates of heaven - or hell [Pepe Escobar gives a general roundup of regional and international opposition to the war, then evokes the spectre of the US finding itself in the same position as Saddam Hussein in 1991 - having to put down a massive popular Shi'i revolt: 'unlike 1991, Washington won't be able to count on a Saddam to smash them. The liberators will have to do it themselves.'] URL ONLY: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/opinion/21_02_03_f.htm * ARABS IRRECONCILABLY DIVIDED - BUT INTO HOW MANY CAMPS? Daily Star, Lebanon, 21st February [Lebanon Daily Star roundup of rather predictable Arab press - largely on the conflict between pragmatists who might ompromise and rejectionists who won't (and for the most part probably won't have to)] ANARCHY IN THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY * Morality for sale: Building a coalition against Iraq is costly [The Guardian reflects on the price of the various elements that will go to make up the Coalition of the Willing, especially those parts of it that are currently on the UN Security Council. One hopes that, like Turkey, they all have the wit to get it down in writing] * A trigger for war? New axis of peace throws UN into chaos [The USUK resolution and the French/German memorandum] * Text: U.S.-British Draft Resolution Stating Position on Iraq [The resolution turns entirely on the declaration submitted by Iraq. It says this declaration contained 'false statements'. Is that true?] * Text: Memorandum Opposing U.S. Iraq Policy [French/Russian and German memorandum for the Security Council. Though I hate all the nonsense about Iraq's WMDs posing a terrible threat that has to be dealt with immediately, still, this is the sort of thing one would do if one took it all seriously] * France and Germany Call for Long Inspections ['Asked if France would use its veto to block a new American-British resolution, Mr. de Villepin said the question was not important because Washington was unlikely to win the nine votes on the Security Council needed for passage.'] AND, IN NEWS, 19-26/02/03 (3) ANARCHY IN THE UK * PM caught out over Iraqi letters [of 'four so-called independent Iraqis', two of whom turned out to be closely connected with the INC and the US State Department] * Iraqis will not be pawns in Bush and Blair's war game [Kamil Mahdi's article is doubly excellent because it gives some real political background, helping to explain the horrors Iraqis have undergone over the past twenty five years instead of just reacting to them. He arfgues that the predictable effect of USUK policy has been consistently to strengthen the repression and weaken the real, unceasing, native Iraqi opposition to the regime. He is strongly opposed to an invasion: 'the main historical opposition to the Ba'ath regime - including various strands of the left, the Arab nationalist parties, the Communist party, the Islamic Da'wa party, the Islamic party (the Muslim Brotherhood) and others - has rejected war and US patronage over Iraqi politics. The prevalent Iraqi opinion is that a US attack on Iraq would be a disaster, not a liberation, and Blair's belated concern for Iraqis is unwelcome.'] * No votes for Saddam [The Guardian sits down in despair at the complexity of it all] * The West must not win the war only to lose the peace [Surely only John Major could unblushingly use the phrase 'the wily Kurds'] * Both the military and the spooks are opposed to war on Iraq [Richard Norton-Taylor gives a very good account of the reason why security people should have doubts, though not much evidence that they actually do] ANARCHY IN THE US * US army's 'Mad Arab' tipped for governor role [General John Abizaid, a Californian of Lebanese descent, who is fluent in Arabic, with a masters degree in Middle Eastern studies at Harvard University. Sounds perfect] * Top Bush aide savages 'selfish' Chirac [Some straight talkin' from an Observer interview with Richard Perle. Perle insists that the US supports Ahmad Chalabi and doesn't want to impose a military governor, whatever anyone else might say] * U.S. reaches out to Iraqi-Americans [Paul Wolfowitz addressing an adoring Iraqi American audience in Dearborn, Michigan: "We may someday look back on this moment in history as the time when the world defined itself for the 21st century, not in terms of geography or race, or religion, or culture, or language, but in terms of values -- the universal values of freedom and democracy." Golly, we do live in exciting times.] * Two men driving Bush into war [Karl Rove and Paul Wolfowitz. Particularly interesting on Rove. But did Wolfowitz's 'Defence Planning Guidance' really advocate the pre-emptive use of chemical and biological weapons?] * Too much of a good thing: Underlying the US drive to war is a thirst to open up new opportunities for surplus capital [This article should have appeared last week but I missed it. It is one of the very few articles that manage to go beyond the idiocies of Good and Evil (an idiocy that affects our side as much as it does theirs) to the underlying pressure of - in this case economic - Necessity. Monbiot is just about the best we have at the present time] * Out of the wreckage: By tearing up the global rulebook, the US is in fact undermining its own imperial rule [George Monbiot once again sees the wider picture. The US is shedding the appearance of legitimacy that had previously so effectively disguised its true rapacious nature. It is by no means clear that this is in its longterm interests: 'America's assertions of independence from the rest of the world force the rest of the world to assert its independence from America. They permit the people of the weaker nations to contemplate the global democratic revolution that is long overdue.'] * Bush aide: Inspections or not, we'll attack Iraq [sez Richard Perle] AND, IN NEWS, 19-26/02/03 (4) IRAQI OPPOSITION/COLLABORATION * Iraqi Opposition Figures Delay Meeting [because of a snowstorm. And the KDP arrest 'the security chief of the Iraq Turkoman Front' saying he was an agent of Saddam Hussein wanting to sabotage the meeting (though the opposition seem to me to be perfectly capable of sabotaging their own meetings without any help from Saddam Hussein)] * Iraq Shi'ite group [SCIRI] denies troop build-up in N.Iraq [but Reuters don't appear to believe them] * Shiites ready to fight, but on their own terms [Somewhat breathless account of SCIRI, reminiscent of certain pre-Afghan war articles we used to read about the Northern Alliance] * Al-Sharif Ali [Constitutional Monarchist. Ahmad Chalabi's closest ally, I thought] movement boycotts Irbil meetings * US rule in post-Saddam Iraq 'would bring terrorist attacks' [Says Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim. Who should know. He also says force to overthrow Mr Hussein should have a UNSC resolution] * Iraqi Opposition Leaders Gather [In a state of discontent in Irbil. What happened to Salahuddin? apparently they include members of 'the Kurdistan Communist Party, which polled 10 percent of the vote in Irbil municipal elections last year and has military bases in several northern Iraqi cities'] * Iraqi Dissidents Get Military Training ['Though the first group included only about 50 Iraqis, the Army says more have arrived and will begin training this week.' * U.S. drill sergeants train Iraqi exiles on remote base [Amusing article about the attempt to make soldiers out of Mr Chalabi's not very numerous friends in Hungary. They come over as quite loveable. 'When Sgt. Carl Debose told another recruit that his bunk wasn't made properly, the Iraqi responded angrily: "I am well educated and I don't think that you are," Sgt. Debose recalls.' The article also reminds us of the disgraceful way in which Iraqi exiles were treated in Saudi refugee camps for many years after the war. 'Another group, likely to number slightly more than 100 ... is expected before the end of February.' That will bring the total up to around 160] * Regional Squabbling Scuttles an Iraqi Opposition Meeting [The title is an exaggeration, I think. Journalists coming from Turkey hoping to cover the conference refused entry because of Kurdish fears that they might be accompanied by Turkish spies] * U.S. Said to Doom Iraqi Opposition Conference [US doesn't want the conference to set up a provisional government or formally condemn the idea of a US military dictatorship] AND, IN NEWS, 19-26/02/03 (5) ANTI-WAR MOVEMENT * Saddam's simpletons [Australian gossip columnist - as I imagine from the style of the article - heaps abuse on Big Brother star, Gordon Sloan, who has offered himself up as a human shield in Iraq. The article retained my attention because it mentions that one Richard Butler was present, apparently as a supporter, at a massive anti-war rally, Sunday 16th Feb, in Sydney's Hyde Park] * What would you suggest? [Jonathan Freedland (whose use of the word 'we' referring to himself and the anti-war campaign I find a little jarring) suggests that 'we' should change the anti-war campaign into a use-the-threat-of-war-to-force-democracy- and-human-rights campaign. The suggestion, though it has its attractions, presupposes a saintly willingness on the part of the USUK forces to sit in the desert looking threatening for years to come] * Marchers oppose war [in Hungary. Some hope for the new Europe yet? (though its a pity about The Blood and Honor Cultural Association)] * The 'Axis of Evil' film fest [Movies from Iraq, North Korea and Iran, together with Cuba, Syria and Libya. Sounds like a good idea to me] * Chirac Fortifies Antiwar Caucus: 52 African Leaders Endorse French Stance Toward Iraq * The Left's unholy alliance with religious bigotry [Nick Cohen complains that the Stop the War Coalition is allied to the Muslim Association of Britain which, he says, is attached to the Muslim Brotherhood which believes in the Qu'ran as a system of law. Mr Cohen, however, is an enthusiastic supporter of the Iraqi National Congress, and what is the most substantial Arab component in the INC? The Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq - the Iraqi equivalent of Hizbullah - is it not?] * Los Angeles Council Adopts Resolution Against Iraq War ['After the 9-to-4 vote, Los Angeles became the country's largest city to oppose such a war, joining more than 100 other cities and counties including Chicago, Philadelphia and Detroit.'] * Malaysian premier uses Non-Aligned summit to call for end to war [Two day summit of the 116-nation Non-Aligned Movement, representing more than half the globe, assembles and condemns unilateral invasion. But who cares what 116 nations representing more than half the globe thinks? Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad 'seems intent on reinventing the group as an anti-war movement that could reach out to doves in rich countries - which he refers to collectively as "the North" - to form an influential voice to oppose the "slaughter of people for whatever reason."'] EUROPES OLD AND NEW * Europe's Family Feud: President Jacques Chirac puts pressure on E.U. candidate countries to toe the French line on Iraq [Difficult to know why Chirac should have been so unnecessarily rude. Despite the servile tone of the letter there was nothing in the substance of it that France and Germany couldn't have endorsed. They could have killed this little manoeuvre off by offering to sign it] * Greece reported setting up U.S.-Iraq meeting [Between retired U.S. general Anthony Zinni and two unnamed Iraqi generals] * US-EU tug-of-war hides cultural divide [Interesting Lebanese view of the divisions in 'the West' and the possibility of averting the 'clash of civilisations' longed for by Richard Perle and Osama bin Laden] AND, IN NEWS, 19-26/02/03 (6) INSIDE IRAQ * Britons are urged to quit Iraq as war looms * Iraq minister raps Blair for misinformation [A 'spirited rebuttal of British Prime Minister Tony Blair's critique of Iraq being better off before Saddam Hussein' from Iraq's trade minister Mohammed Mahdi Saleh] * 10 million land mines lie in wait inside Iraq [Despite "the most intensive, extensive and expensive de-mining campaign in history" US bomblets (or is it all mines, including the bomblets? - PB) have killed 1,700 people and injured another 2,300 since the Gulf War ended. Hardly any de-mining has been done in Iraq.] * What is the US really up against? [Attempt by Pepe Escobar to understand in some detail how the Baath system in Iraq operates and what its means of resistance are. Much of it seems to be based on conversations with Iraqi historian and sociologist Faleh Jaber, a researcher at the University of London] * Prominent Iraqis appeal for democracy [Desperate attempt to put a postwar government under the aegis of the UN not the US. In another account of what appears to be the same appeal - the continuation of 'U.S. Said to Doom Iraqi Opposition Conference', above - the signatories are given as former cabinet ministers Adnan Pachachi, Abid al-Jadir, Issam al Chalabi, Ahmad al-Habubi and Abed al-Hassan Zalzala, and two former government undersecretaries, Fadhil Chalabi and Mundir Uraim. Also a petition from the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies opposes war and calls for democratic reform within Iraq.] * Arslan meets with Saddam to show Lebanese support [Visits to Saddam Hussein by Lebanese Minister of State Talal Arslan and 'Maan Bashour, the head of the Association of Leagues and Committees, who visited the Iraqi president for the first time since he and Minister of State Beshara Merhej broke away from the Iraqi Baath Party 30 years ago'. To Bashour, presumably an old comrade, Mr Hussein manages to say something quite insteresting: '"In the 1950s Israel led Britain and France against (former Egyptian President Gamal Abdel) Nasser, and that war proved to be the beginning of the end for the European powers' influence ... Now Israel is doing the same with the United States. This war against Iraq will end America's influence in the world; therefore both the Iraqis and the Americans will be victims of a war planned by the Zionists." Bashour is impressed by his tranquillity: '"Facing a superpower like the United States makes him feel like Salaheddine and getting defeated by it would make him feel like a martyr, like Hussein was ... In both cases for him, it's a victory."'] * Saddam Hussein Rejects Going Into Exile [Account of interview with Dan Rather. The article says 'the Iraqi president indicated he wouldn't heed a U.N. demand to destroy Iraq's Al Samoud 2 missiles', and that has been the burden of most of the headlines referring to this, but it isn't borne out by the transcript of the interview posted to the list (Feb 27) by Ibrahim Ebeid] WILY KURDS * Norway Expels Islamic Extremist Leader [Mullah Krekar starts out on his travels again] * KDP arrests agents of Iraq regime ["This threat was real, genuine and credible." The style of the language sounds familiar. It seems the Kurds are indeed learning the ways of democracy] * Move to freeze assets of Islamic group [Ansar el-Islam. But does it have any assets in British banks? Foolish of it if it does] * Iraqi Kurd leader says strong moral case for war [Barham Salah, wouldn't you know: 'The scenes in Baghdad will not be too different from the scenes witnessed in Paris and Rome in 1944," he told Radio 4's Today programme.'] * Feud Between Kurdish Clans Creates Its Own War [Feud between the - formerly pro Baathist - Sourchi and Barzani famlies] * Iraqi Kurds terrified by prospect of Turkish invasion ['"It will be bad for the reputations of the US and the UK to see two of their allies the Turks and the Kurds at each other's throats."'] * U.S. Slow To Sanction Terror Group [Now we know why the Bank of England has suddenly been ordered to freeze Ansar's assets (whatever they might be). And everywhere that Mary went the lamb was sure to go] AND, IN NEWS, 19-26/02/03 (7) WEAPONS OF MASS DISTRACTION * Expert dismisses dirty bomb risk [Some common sense on weapons of mass destruction from Brigadier Malcolm Mackenzie-Orr, former head of the Australian National Counter Terrorism and Protective Security Organisation. "CBR weapons have received only desultory attention from old terrorist organisations and almost none from new. Al Qaeda have shown no interest."] * Exclusive new column: America leaves rest of world out in the cold [This article really belongs to last week but it is by Richard Butler, the exciting new columnist for theAustralian Sunday Telegraph. He believes that Iraq has WMDs ('beyond doubt') but is opposed to US unilateral action. He gives an account of the Security Council meeting on the 15th and says of Dominique Villepin: 'But an astonishing event took place as he finished his speech. Against all the rules, and in an unprecedented way, the packed security council chamber erupted in applause. That applause, like the shot that sparked World War I, was heard around the world.'] * Inspectors Call U.S. Tips 'Garbage' [The 'tips' in question are the bits and pieces of intelligence information that have been handed over] * Defiance on missiles could be war trigger [and Igor Ivanov says pressure is being applied to the inspectors 'to provoke them to discontinue their operations in Iraq, as happened in 1998'] * Iraq's date with destiny [Richard Butler tells us that 'Following last week's events in the Security Council particularly what the Americans consider to be grandstanding by the French Foreign Minister Washington has insisted that Blix's next report be delivered in writing.' No more watching C.Powell's face turn to ice. But what was Powell's own TV show if it wasn't 'grandstanding'? Shouldn't it have been delivered in writing and put on the website?] * Why Saddam will never disarm [According to William Shawcross (getting some of his information from Amatzia Baram, of the Saban Centre at the Brookings Institution in Washington) 'WMD are tied into his (Saddam's) sense of survival and his sense of destiny'. He says 'In 1999 a Shia revolt in the town of Najaf was crushed by Saddam's security forces accompanied by troops in white uniforms wearing gas masks'. With this perspective, Iraq MUST have WMDs as a matter of mathematical certainty, therefore the failure to produce them is a breach of resolution 1441. QED.] * Baghdad seeks peaceful resolution after Blix demands destruction of al-Samoud missiles * Allies hushed up weapons' destruction [Very important revelation that, after his defection, Hussein Kamel, while revealing much that was very harmful to the government (and people) of Iraq, confirmed that the pre-1991 chemical and biological stocks had indeed all been destroyed.] * Iraq 'discovers' documents relating to weapons disposals NO FLY ZONES * U.S. Bombs Iraqi Communications Sites [Cable relay sites between al-Kut and Basra] * Iraq says U.S. and British jets hit southern areas [Disputed strikes near Basra and Dhi Qar, Saturday evening and Sunday morning, 22nd and 23rd February] * US and Britain pound Iraqi defences in massive escalation of airstrikes * U.S. Bombs Northern, Southern Iraq [near Mosul and Basra, 25th February] AND, IN NEWS, 19-26/02/03 (8) IMPLICATIONS OF WAR * Iraq says able to ensure food flow in case of war [No humanitarian snivelling for Saddam!] * Israel worried about unstable postwar Iraq [Maj. Gen. Amos Gilad, a former intelligence chief who has been chosen by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to serve as an Israeli spokesman during the war makes a reasonable assessment of the dangers, from Israel's point of view. he does not share the Richard Perle/Donald Rumsfeld illusion that 'democracy' in Iraq would lead to an Arab-Israeli rapprochement: 'Moreover, he predicted that a U.S.-style democracy could be at odds with the goal of stability because it could empower anti-American, anti Israeli Shiites in Iraq, if not the region.'] * British forces take road back to scene of defeat and victory [The Scotsman outlines the proposed USUK strategy, with special emphasis on the British role in Basra. The article presupposes a definite - if limited- co-operation from Jordan] * Lack of funds delays Iraq contingency plan ‹ UNHCR ['Sten Bronee of the UNHCR said only 14 per cent of an estimated need of $154 million was available to accommodate an envisaged 600,000 refugees in Jordan, Turkey and Iran for six months.'] * Living in poverty and fear of abandonment, the barely functioning state that trusted its saviours [The world walks away from Afghanistan, as it has done so many times before] * The Dividends of Delay: Allies' foot-dragging has strengthened U.S. war strategy [William Arkin outlines current strategic thinking. His most surprising observation is this: 'According to a senior military officer, the administration is loath to commit itself publicly to withdrawing the majority of its forces and reshaping the U.S. presence in the Persian Gulf after Hussein is gone. But a secret promise to do so has prompted virtually all the neighboring states to offer at least tacit support for military action.' It is a Powellish orientation that presupposes the sudden disappearance from the scene of Messrs Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and Perle. And considerable ignorance on the part of the neighbouring states who should know by now that secret agreements with the US aren't worth the paper they aren't written on] * White House Outlines Postwar Aid for Iraq [which has been entrusted to the reliable hands of Elliott Abrams] * Iran: Won't take Iraqi refugees without financial help ["We are not ready to take any more money out of Iranian pockets because of a war the United States is once again starting."] * Army Chief: Huge Force Would Occupy Iraq [Gen. Eric K. Shinseki, at a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee: 'Iraq is "a piece of geography that's fairly significant"', he said. 'Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said he believes Iraq has chemical and biological weapons that are "more lethal and dangerous today than they would have been in '91, but I don't know that for sure."' Best not to take any chances] * U.S. would counter Iraqi propaganda with media access ['U.S. pilots may be ordered to avoid bombing certain power facilities in Baghdad so local citizens -- whom the U.S. is hoping to turn against their ruler -- can watch Pentagon-produced newscasts of the war. A former Iraqi TV anchor now living in Virginia will deliver programs beamed in by airborne transmitters.'] _______________________________________________ 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 firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk