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News, 19-26/02/03 (3) ANARCHY IN THE UK * PM caught out over Iraqi letters * Iraqis will not be pawns in Bush and Blair's war game * No votes for Saddam * Both the military and the spooks are opposed to war on Iraq ANARCHY IN THE US * US army's 'Mad Arab' tipped for governor role * Top Bush aide savages 'selfish' Chirac * U.S. reaches out to Iraqi-Americans * Two men driving Bush into war * Too much of a good thing: Underlying the US drive to war is a thirst to open up new opportunities for surplus capital * Out of the wreckage: By tearing up the global rulebook, the US is in fact undermining its own imperial rule * Bush aide: Inspections or not, we'll attack Iraq ANARCHY IN THE UK http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/allnews/page.cfm?objectid=12658262&method=full& siteid=50143 * PM CAUGHT OUT OVER IRAQI LETTERS by David Pilditch And Gary Jones Daily Mirror, 20th February TONY Blair has been found out for a second time misleading the public with old allegations against Saddam Hussein. The Prime Minister claimed that an "increasing numbers of Iraqi exiles" are "writing direct" to his office about atrocities under Saddam's regime. The Downing Street website quotes extracts and emails from four so-called independent Iraqis. But rather than being concerned refugees, the Daily Mirror can reveal that at least two of the four named people have well-established links with the Iraq National Congress, the opposition-in-exile group, and the US State Department. The first Iraqi exile named is Dr Adil Awadh, who is described as a "doctor who treated Iraqi soldiers whose ears were deliberately cut off as punishment". However, Dr Awadh's allegations first appeared in the Washington Post on June 26, 1998. At the time Dr Awadh was a member of the US-backed opposition group, the Iraqi National Accord, and made the ear-cutting allegations to support his application for political asylum in the United States. A second doctor Munther Alfadhal is quoted as saying that "we Iraqis have suffered enormously under Saddam". But Downing Street did not say Dr Alfadhal was a member of a US State Department working group on the future of Iraq, He is said to have drafted a replacement constitution. Only 10 days ago Mr Blair was exposed for plagiarising reports for his war dossier. TONY Blair was yesterday accused of misquoting UN official Sergio Vieira de Mello as backing regime change in Iraq. Mr de Mello's office later said that his remarks had been "mistranslated". http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,899030,00.html * IRAQIS WILL NOT BE PAWNS IN BUSH AND BLAIR'S WAR GAME by Kamil Mahdi The Guardian, 20th February Having failed to convince the British people that war is justified, Tony Blair is now invoking the suffering of the Iraqi people to justify bombing them. He tells us there will be innocent civilian casualties, but that more will die if he and Bush do not go to war. Which dossier is he reading from? The present Iraqi regime's repressive practices have long been known, and its worst excesses took place 12 years ago, under the gaze of General Colin Powell's troops; 15 years ago, when Saddam was an Anglo-American ally; and almost 30 years ago, when Henry Kissinger cynically used Kurdish nationalism to further US power in the region at the expense of both Kurdish and Iraqi democratic aspirations. Killing and torture in Iraq is not random, but has long been directly linked to politics - and international politics at that. Some of the gravest political repression was in 1978-80, at the time of the Iranian revolution and Soviet intervention in Afghanistan. But the Iraqi people's greatest suffering has been during periods of war and under the sanctions of the 1990s. There are political issues that require political solutions and a war under any pretext is not what Iraqis need or want. In government comment about Iraq, the Iraqi people are treated as a collection of hapless victims without hope or dignity. At best, Iraqis are said to have parochial allegiances that render them incapable of political action without tutelage. This is utterly at variance with the history and reality of Iraq. Iraqis are proud of their diversity, the intricacies of their society and its deeply rooted urban culture. Their turbulent recent history is not something that simply happened to Iraqis, but one in which they have been actors. Iraqis have a rich modern political tradition borne out of their struggle for independence from Britain and for political and social emancipation. A major explanation for the violence of recent Iraqi political history lies in the determination of people to challenge tyranny and bring about political change. Iraqis have not gone like lambs to the slaughter, but have fought political battles in which they suffered grievously. To assert that an American invasion is the only way to bring about political change in Iraq might suit Blair's propaganda fightback, but it is ignorant and disingenuous. It is now the vogue to talk down Iraqi politics under Saddam Hussain as nothing but the whim of a dictator. The fact is that leaders cannot kill politics in the minds of people, nor can they crush their aspirations. The massacres of leftists when the Ba'athists first came to power in 1963 did not prevent the emergence of a new mass movement in the mid-1960s. The second Ba'ath regime attempted to buy time from the Kurdish movement in 1970 only to trigger a united mobilisation of Kurdish nationalism. Saddam co-opted the Communist party in the early 1970s only to see that party's organisation grow under a very narrow margin of legality before he moved against it. In the 1970s, the regime tried to control private economic activity by extending the state to every corner of the economy, only to face an explosion of small business activity. The regime's strict secularism produced a clerical opposition with a mass following. When the regime pressurised Iraqis to join the Ba'ath party, independent opinion emerged within that party and Saddam found it necessary to crush it and destroy the party in the process. In the 1980s, the army was beginning to emerge as a threat, and the 1991 uprising showed the extent of discontent. In the 1990s, Saddam fostered the religious leadership of Ayatollah Muhammad Sadiq al-Sadr, only to see the latter emerge as a focal point for opposition. Even within Saddam's family and close circle, there has been opposition. Of course Saddam Hussain crushed all these challenges, but in every case the regional and international environment has supported the dictator against the people of Iraq. It is cynical and deceitful of Tony Blair to pretend that he understands Iraqi politics and has a meaningful programme for the country. Iraq's history is one of popular struggle and also of imperial greed, superpower rivalries and regional conflict. To reduce the whole of Iraqi politics and social life to the whims of Saddam Hussain is banal and insulting. Over the past 12 years of vicious economic blockade, the US and Britain have ignored the political situation inside Iraq and concentrated on weapons as a justification for their policy of containment. UN resolution 688 of April 1991, calling for an end to repression and an open dialogue to ensure Iraqi human and political rights, was set aside or used only for propaganda and to justify the no-fly zones. Instead of generating a real political dynamic backed by international strength and moral authority, Iraqis were prevented from reconstructing their devastated country. Generations of Iraqis will continue to pay the price of the policy of sanctions and containment, designed for an oil glut period in the international market. Now that the US has a new policy, it intends to implement it rapidly and with all its military might. Despite what Blair claims, this has nothing to do with the interests and rights of the Iraqi people. The regime in Iraq is not invincible, but the objective of the US is to have regime change without the people of Iraq. The use of Iraqi auxiliaries is designed to minimise US and British casualties, and the result may be higher Iraqi casualties and prolonged conflict with predictably disastrous humanitarian consequences. The Bush administration has enlisted a number of Iraqi exiles to provide an excuse for invasion and a political cover for the control of Iraq. People like Ahmad Chalabi and Kanan Makiya have little credibility among Iraqis and they have a career interest in a US invasion. At the same time, the main forces of Kurdish nationalism, by disengaging from Iraqi politics and engaging in internecine conflict, have become highly dependent upon US protection and are not in a position to object to a US military onslaught. The US may enlist domestic and regional partners with varying degrees of pressure. This in no way bestows legitimacy on its objectives and methods, and its policies are rejected by most Iraqis and others in the region. Indeed, 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. Kamil Mahdi is an Iraqi political exile and lecturer in Middle East economics at the University of Exeter K.A.Mahdi@exeter.ac.uk http://www.guardian.co.uk/leaders/story/0,3604,898936,00.html * NO VOTES FOR SADDAM Leader: The Guardian, 20th February Iraqi exiles and opposition parties based in Britain and elsewhere all agree on one point: Saddam Hussein must go. But beyond that one unifying issue, agreement is hard to find. Consensus is lacking on how Saddam's removal is best achieved, let alone on what should happen next. This treacherous ground must be trodden circumspectly. It is simplistic and misleading for the government to imply that all Iraqi exiles back US-British war plans or that Iraqis living in Iraq will necessarily welcome returning foreign-backed opposition groups. Tony Blair has made much this week of letters from Iraqis wanting swift action on humanitarian grounds, even including one from a militant Iran-backed Shia group. But he chose not to publicise a letter from 160 exiles opposed to war or to acknowledge that many Iraqis joined last week's anti-war marches. They fear that damage wrought by western aid for Saddam in the 1980s and western sanctions in the 1990s will be compounded by western-led violence now, leading to possible civil strife and "Balkanisation". The awkward truth for Mr Blair is that the underlying moral issues are far from clear-cut. A circumspect approach to Iraq's opposition parties is also wise. There are at least 20 foreign-based parties including monarchists, communists, Islamists, separatists, nationalists, Shias, Sunnis, Assyrians and Turkmens. Some of these groups are creatures of US, British, Saudi or Iranian intelligence agencies; all have differing visions of a post-Saddam Iraq. Some can hardly be called democratic; some detest each other more than they detest the Ba'athists. None except the Kurds has mounted sustained, effective challenges to the regime, despite endless talk. Crucially, most of the non-Kurdish groups lack credibility inside Iraq. If Iraq is ever to emerge as a stable, modern democratic state, its future leaders are best sought from within, not from without. Any attempt by the west or by returning exiles to impose rulers and constitutional arrangements will ultimately (if not quickly) fail. But initial US plans to install an American military governor overseeing a puppet administration of favoured civilians are not encouraging. Caught between hard-faced US generals and feuding political factions, Mr Blair's new democratic era in Iraq may be a while in coming. In seeking public support, he should beware of oversimplification and promising that which he has no real power to deliver. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2003/02/24/do2401 .xml&sSheet=/portal/2003/02/24/ixportal.html&secureRefresh=true&_requestid=6 880 * THE WEST MUST NOT WIN THE WAR ONLY TO LOSE THE PEACE by John Major Daily Telegraph, 24th February It is a natural human emotion to oppose war, but action against Iraq is not precipitate. Iraq has been ignoring the UN for 12 years and continues to do so, despite clear knowledge of the consequences. It has chemical, biological and conventional weapons and has used chemical weapons on its own people. It is feared as a threat to stability in the region and may have links with terrorist organisations. The longer the delay in disarming it, the greater its strength may become, not least in developing a nuclear capability: and if Saddam is seen to face down the most powerful nation in the world, his prestige in the Middle East will be given an enormous boost. If it does come to military action, America will win. Iraq, with its massive but ill-equipped army, cannot withstand the most powerful military force the world has ever seen. America spends more on defence than the next nine highest-spending nations added together - and such power is irresistible. But the fact that America will prevail militarily is one of the few certainties that lie ahead. The danger of Saddam unrestrained is well understood, but the short- and long-term risks in restraining him have had little public airing. In the short term, there is the dangerous situation that arises as Saddam is faced with a war he cannot win and the near-certainty that he will be deposed. This is very different from the Gulf war. Then, Iraq was to be evicted from Kuwait. Now, although Resolution 1441 does not specify regime change, it seems almost certain that Saddam and his government will be removed from power unless they disarm voluntarily. Since, notwithstanding defeat in the Gulf war, the regime has remained in power, sustained by the Republican Guard and the secret police, the chance of them stealing away quietly seems slim. We must, therefore, presume that we have an unstable and threatened man at bay: what might he do? At worst, there is the risk that Saddam, believing he has nothing to lose, will use all his arsenal, including biological and chemical weapons. If so, what would be his target? It could be the invading army. Or he could attack Saudi Arabia for being a staunch ally of America and as revenge for the Saudis' financing of the Gulf war. Or, of course, his target could be Tel Aviv, in order to draw Israel into the war, in the hope of maximising Arab support. He is likely to set alight the Iraqi oil wells in an attempt to maximise economic chaos. He would justify this latter act of destruction by deploying the populist but misguided view that America's aim is to control Iraqi oil. He may also seek to contaminate or set alight oil wells in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. He might also leave as his legacy a gift of weapons of mass destruction to terror groups, so they can strike against America and her allies for years to come. This, of course, assumes he has not already done so. None of these scenarios may come about, but none can be ignored. We must plan, also, for what may happen in Iraq itself, once the immediate battle is over. There may well be chaos, near-civil war, revenge-taking and the onset of anarchy. At the end of the Gulf war in 1991, a Shi'ite uprising began and may do so again, once American and other ground troops begin to get the upper hand. Such an uprising could even include Baghdad, where there is a large Shi'ite population. Last time, the strife was brutally put down by the Republican Guard. Over the years, hundreds of thousands of Shi'ites have been killed by Saddam's regime. As a result, Shi'ites in the holy cities - Najaf, Basra, Karbala - have old scores to settle and will not be merciful to their Sunni enemies. America and her allies may arrive as liberators, but be compelled to remain as peace-keepers. America may also have a task to keep Iraq as one entity since, as in 1991, there is a subliminal suspicion among many Arabs that one war aim might be to dismember it. This is not so, but, were it to happen, it would inflame suspicion and hostility throughout the region. In the north, the Kurds could well manoeuvre for an independent Kurdistan, a long cherished aim. It is highly unlikely to come about - America, Turkey and Iran will all oppose it - but the wily Kurds will be pushing for it and this may well add to the post-war cocktail of chaos. And what happens post-Saddam? What nature of government is likely to take power? Another "strong man" might be as bad as Saddam. America would have great difficulty in governing Iraq, so, no doubt during a UN-supervised interlude, there will be efforts to form a new Iraqi government. This will not be easy, and the replacement government may not be benign: the concept of a Western-style democracy can be dismissed. In practice, voting by clan would mean that power would pass from the less-than-20 per cent Sunni minority to the overwhelming Shi'ite majority. This would be bitterly resisted by both Sunnis and Kurds. Even if any new government is dressed up in some form of regional representation and minority involvement, it would still be dominated by the Shi'ites. We would awaken to a Shi'ite Iraq alongside a Shi'ite Iran, which would harbour ambitions to dominate the Gulf. At first, their eyes would turn to the Shi'ite communities in Bahrain and the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. The Gulf states would tremble and their tremors would reverberate throughout the region. The destruction of the whole hideous apparatus of Saddam's regime has an aftermath with ramifications far beyond Iraq. It would be folly beyond belief to plan only for a swift and successful war, followed by a smooth transfer of power. It may be that not all these problems will arise - but some surely will. We must prepare for the many problems ahead: it would be ironic to win the war, only to lose the peace. It will not be easy for America and Britain to win hearts and minds for their cause. It is not popular in the Arab world and, unlike 1990-91, there is no Arab coalition for the war. There is little or no regional support either. Instead, there is resentment and suspicion of the motives of America and Britain, with many voices claiming that a war would have more to do with imperialism and oil than disarmament. Although these charges are unfounded, they are deeply felt and damaging. To help minimise opposition and build long-term support, America and Britain must have their plans ready for the reconstruction of a war-damaged Iraq; for the renovation of its already-declining oil industry, which they must make clear will be left in Iraqi hands; for the provision of food, water and medicine to a population that will be grievously short of all such necessities; and for dealing with an exodus of refugees to neighbouring countries. The advocates of war cite the need for Churchillian resolve for their enterprise - and they are right. But when the fighting is done, they will need another Churchillian virtue - magnanimity - or Iraq will sink into despair and the Muslim world will grow still further in hostility to the West. If that were to be the outcome, it would be a calamitous setback in the war against terror. This is an edited version of an article appearing in today's issue of The House magazine. http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,901625,00.html * BOTH THE MILITARY AND THE SPOOKS ARE OPPOSED TO WAR ON IRAQ by Richard Norton-Taylor The Guardian, 24th February Why now? The question is of course being asked by those opposed to a war against Iraq, and those who have not made up their minds. But it has also been asked by one of the most senior Whitehall officials at the centre of the fight against terrorism. The message was clear: the threat posed by Islamist extremists is much greater than that posed by Saddam Hussein. And it will get worse when the US and Britain attack Iraq. Tony Blair may not want to admit it, but this is the common view throughout the higher reaches of government. As a leaked secret document from the defence intelligence staff puts it: "Al-Qaida will take advantage of the situation for its own aims but it will not be acting as a proxy group on behalf of the Iraqi regime." Osama bin Laden must be praying for a US assault on Iraq. "Do we help or hinder the essential struggle against terrorism by attacking Iraq?" asks the former Conservative foreign minister, Lord Hurd. "Would we thus turn the Middle East into a set of friendly democratic capitalist societies ready to make peace with Israel, or into a region of sullen humiliation, a fertile and almost inexhaustible recruiting ground for further terrorists for whom Britain is a main target?" He poses the rhetorical questions in the latest journal of the Royal United Services Institute. Blair says "now" because George Bush says so. Put it another way, had Washington decided to continue with a policy of containment, Blair would have followed suit. This, too, is the common view in Whitehall. It helps explain the government's problem in justifying a war. Claims that the Iraqi regime is linked with al-Qaida were dropped when ministers failed to provide the evidence. Blair and his ministers follow the wind from Washington and then counter public opinion at home. First, the objective was to rid Iraq of weapons of mass destruction. When the UN inspectors reported progress and "intelligence" dossiers were seen to be bogus, the emphasis shifted to regime change. When this was met with objections, notably of legality, Blair went for the moral high ground. The objectives were muddied further when Blair defended the "moral case" for war as follows: "It is not the reason we act. That must be according to the UN mandate on weapons of mass destruction. But it is the reason, frankly, why if we do have to act, we should do so with a clear conscience." Then, as Blair added the humanitarian case for war to the moral one, his spokesman further confused the message. "If Saddam cooperates," he said, "then he can stay in power." A senior adviser to Blair remarked recently that the Bush administration's aim is the "export of American democracy" throughout the Middle East; and Blair shared this vision. In his new book, Paradise and Power, the former US state department official Robert Kagan argues: "America did not change on September 11. It only became more itself. The myth of America's 'isolationist' tradition is remarkably resilient. But it is a myth. Expansion of territory and influence has been the inescapable reality of American history." British and American military commanders are hoping for a quick collapse of the regime, leaving the existing Iraqi state infrastructure, including the Republican Guard, to maintain law and order. Iraqi forces will be "monitored" by British and American officers to keep them in line. Hopelessly optimistic or not, the scenario has little to do with democracy. But let's say the objectives do include exporting democracy. Does that mean giving the Shi'a majority in Iraq a free vote? What if the Kurds vote for independence? Turkey's generals are calling for a return to emergency rule in the Kurdish areas of south-eastern Turkey. Does the export of democracy cover Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, including authoritarian Oman, in effect a British protectorate? Or Egypt, one of the largest recipients of American aid? The latest issue of Le Monde Diplomatique reminds us that the US supported Marcos in the Philippines, Suharto in Indonesia, the Shah in Iran, Somoza in Nicaragua, Batista in Cuba, Pinochet in Chile, and Mobutu in Congo/Zaire. "Some of the bloodiest tyrants are still supported by the US," it adds, noting that Teodoro Obiang of Equatorial Guinea was received with full honours by Bush last September. Now the US is cuddling up to Uzbekistan, another country with an appalling human-rights record, because it is convenient for US bases. Ah, says the government, but Saddam poses a unique threat, not only to his own citizens - ministers now claim they have intelligence that the Iraqi dictator is planning to poison all Iraqi Shi'as - but to the national security of Britain and the US. The US, meanwhile, barters with Turkey for bases from which to attack Iraq. How much is a decision opposing the will of more than 90% of Turks worth in dollars? What is the morality in bribing the UN security council to support a war waged, we are told, on moral grounds? Every time Blair and his ministers repeat a truth - that Saddam used gas against the Kurds and Iranian troops in the 1980s - they remind us that Britain responded by secretly encouraging exports of even more nuclear and other arms-related equipment to Iraq while Washington supplied the regime with more crucial intelligence. In his speech on the "moral case" for war last Friday, Jack Straw referred to Saddam's "ethnic cleansing" of the Marsh Arabs in the 1990s. That was after the US and Britain encouraged the south, and the Kurds in the north, to rise up following the 1991 Gulf war, only to betray them. The southern "no-fly" zone is said by Britain and the US to be a humanitarian initiative, yet it has not achieved any humanitarian purpose, any more than sanctions have. Its purpose is to disable potential threats to US and British forces rather than to protect the Iraqi people - US and British planes have bombed Iraqi missile, radar and communications systems 40 times this year, the last occasion on Saturday. While those responsible for protecting Britain's national security are concerned about the increased threat of terrorism from a military attack on Iraq, there is deep disquiet in Britain's military establishment about the confused objectives of a war and a pre-emptive strike against a country that poses no threat to the attackers. The latest dispute over the marginal excess range of Iraq's Samoud 2 missiles only highlights the weakness of the US-British argument. Saddam may believe he has nothing to gain by cooperating fully with UN inspectors if the Bush administration has already decided to invade, whatever concessions he makes. But those advocating war have yet to make anything like a convincing case for military action. ANARCHY IN THE US http://news.ft.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=FT.com/StoryFT/FullStory&c =StoryFT&cid=1045511054261&p=1012571727172 * US ARMY'S 'MAD ARAB' TIPPED FOR GOVERNOR ROLE by Peter Spiegel Financial Times, 22nd February Late last year, General Tommy Franks, head of US central command and the man who would lead US forces in a war against Iraq, approached Paul Wolfowitz, deputy defence secretary, about a delicate personnel change. "How do you think I could approach the secretary of defence about the possibility of my getting General John Abizaid as one of my deputies?" Gen Franks asked. "I don't know," Mr Wolfowitz replied. "He's not going to like it." He was right. Donald Rumsfeld didn't like it at all. Neither did General Richard Myers, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. The top brass at the defence department did not object to the assignment because of any concern over Gen Abizaid's abilities - the exact opposite. The 51-year-old army three-star general was so much in demand at the Pentagon, where he was serving in the critical post of director of the joint staff, that Mr Rumsfeld refused Gen Franks's request for weeks. "You better figure out a way that you can make it so persuasive. . . that he is the only one in the entire armed forces - army, navy, air force and marines - that can do that job for you," advised Mr Wolfowitz. "And that's not going to be easy." Just after Christmas, Gen Franks won out. And Gen Abizaid may indeed prove to be uniquely qualified in the US military to help oversee a war in Iraq and its aftermath. Not only is the Californian of Lebanese descent, he is also fluent in Arabic, with a masters degree in Middle Eastern studies at Harvard University. During an unusual detour from the traditional career path, he decided to leave the elite Rangers unit he had joined as a second lieutenant to instruct Jordanian special forces in Amman during the 1970s. Although administration of Iraq would eventually be handed to an American civilian, Gen Abizaid's background has several well-connected military leaders mentioning his name as the man to run the military's role in governing Iraq after the war, much as General Douglas MacArthur - who had served in Asia for years and had a wealth of knowledge of the region - oversaw the rebuilding of Japan after the second world war. "If you're looking for a MacArthur type, which the military is desperately looking to find, I think Abizaid is the candidate," said Andrew Krepinevich, head of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments and a former personal aide to three defence secretaries. "I think it's a move of significance that he's being sent to central command as deputy." Gen Abizaid has been there before. In the summer of 1991, the airborne battalion he commanded ran security operations in northern Iraq as part of Operation Provide Comfort, helping push back Iraqi army units from Kurdish areas after the end of the Gulf war. It was an experience that forced him to develop intelligence networks within Kurdish villages and turn a unit trained to fight into one that could keep the peace in a region where Iraqi troops and feuding Kurdish tribes constantly rubbed up against one another. It also made him a strong advocate of actively training US forces in the delicate and occasionally ambiguous task of peacekeeping. "Soldiers had to clearly understand the rules of engagement and the level of discipline necessary to keep cool under the most provocative circumstances," then-Lieutenant Colonel Abizaid wrote shortly after the operation. "Mistakes were made, but we learned from them and developed some very savvy, capable peacekeepers." "As we get ready to fight the next war," he wrote in the 1993 article, "let us also keep thinking about how we might have to keep the peace." In many respects, Gen Abizaid is the polar opposite of Gen Franks, who is considered a member of what some analysts consider the "old army", grounded in the traditional theories and strategies developed during the cold war. Gen Abizaid, on the other hand, is a graduate of the elite US military academy at West Point, where he earned the nickname "the Mad Arab" and is considered part of the new breed of army leaders with an advanced education and open to rethinking traditional doctrines. "He's the embodiment of the new army culture," says Loren Thompson, head of the Lexington Institute. The difference between the two generals is so pronounced that rumours recently circulated that Mr Rumsfeld, who has frequently locked horns with the traditional army officers, moved Gen Abizaid into the number two post at central command in order to keep an eye on his new superior - a view Mr Rumsfeld says is "hogwash". Still, there is little doubt that Gen Abizaid brings a reputation for high intelligence and quick decision-making that will be critical in a war where US troops are likely to be racing towards Baghdad - very unlike the standard slow-moving flanking actions used during the first Gulf war. His reputation for decisive action was cemented during the 1983 US invasion of Grenada, where, facing a nest of hostile Cuban troops, Captain Abizaid ordered one of his officers to climb aboard a bulldozer, raise its shovel, and drive it towards the enemy while he and his men advanced behind it. The incident became so celebrated that it was adopted by Clint Eastwood, who gave identical orders during his film about the Grenada invasion, Heartbreak Ridge. http://observer.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,901120,00.html * TOP BUSH AIDE SAVAGES 'SELFISH' CHIRAC by David Rose (interview with Richard Perle) The Observer, 23rd February A leading adviser to President Bush last night launched a savage attack on President Chirac's diplomatic campaign to block war with Iraq, saying that it was merely the product of French commercial interests masquerading as a moral case for peace. In an exclusive interview with The Observer, Richard Perle, chairman of the Pentagon's Defence Policy Board and a central figure in the circle of hawks around Bush, went well beyond US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's recent criticism of 'old Europe', warning that war without the further approval of the UN Security Council was now imminent. 'I'm rather pessimistic that we will get French support for a second resolution authorising war,' Perle said. 'I think they will exercise their veto, and in other ways obstruct unified action by the Security Council: they're lobbying furiously now.' Perle agreed that support for war in Britain and America would rise if there were a second resolution, and that the UN was 'a symbol of international legitimacy'. But in words that will serve only to deepen the transatlantic rift over Iraq, he added: 'These five countries, the permanent members of the Security Council, are not a judicial body. They're not expected to make moral or legal judgments, but to advance the respective interests of their countries. 'So if the French ambassador gets up and expresses the position of the government of France, what you are hearing is the moral authority of Jacques Chirac, whatever that may mean. 'What you're hearing is what the French President perceives to be in the interests of France. And the French President has found his own way of dealing with Saddam Hussein. It would be counter to French interests to destroy that cosy relationship, and replace it with a hostile one. 'So how much legitimacy attaches to a French veto? At some point, people are going to have to start asking themselves that question.' In Perle's view, the French position against regime change in Iraq is fatally undermined by its multi-billion-dollar oil interests negotiated since the last Gulf war: 'There's certainly a large French commercial interest in Iraq, and there are contracts that a new government in Iraq may not choose to uphold, partly because they're so unfavourable to the people of Iraq. Saddam has been prepared to do deals to keep himself in power at the expense of the people. 'My understanding of the largest of these deals, which is the French Total-Fina-Elf contract to develop certain oil properties in Iraq, is that it is both very large and very unfavourable to the Iraqis.' Perle added that he found the claim that America wished to topple Saddam for the sake of its own oil interests bizarre. 'The US interest is to buy oil cheaply on the world market. And the best way to increase the supply of Iraqi oil, and so cut prices, would have been to abandon sanctions in 1991 and urge the expansion of Iraqi exploration and development. 'When you consider that there is now a prospect that the oilfields may be destroyed by Saddam, if what we really wanted was more oil, not only should we not be supporting Saddam's removal, we should be working with him.' Perle denied claims widely reported on both sides of the Atlantic that the Bush administration intends to rule Iraq directly through a military governor for an extended period, and that it envisages no role for the Iraqi opposition. He was scathing about the 'conventional wisdom' among the foreign policy and intelligence establishment, which holds that the Iraqi opposition groups are hopelessly divided and the country far too fractious for meaningful democracy. 'This is a trivial observation and a misleading one, both by CIA officials and MI6,' Perle said. 'They're simply wrong about this. They don't understand the opposition. They say they're divided. Are they more divided than the Labour Party? I rather doubt it. Are they more divided than the Tories? I certainly doubt that.' His own long-term dealings with Ahmad Chalabi, leader of the Iraqi National Congress, and key figures in the main Kurdish groups, had convinced him and other leading US policymakers that 'Iraq is a very good candidate for democratic reform'. 'It won't be Westminster overnight, but the great democracies of the world didn't achieve the full, rich structure of democratic governance overnight. The Iraqis have a decent chance of succeeding under the leadership that has developed in the diaspora caused by Saddam's seizure of power.' Reports claiming that a US military governor would keep most of Saddam's Baath Party officials in place and run the country on existing administrative structures were inaccurate and absurd, Perle said. 'The idea that the US would simply issue orders to the same mob that served under Saddam is ridiculous. This is not simply about switching one mafia family for another. American policy after Saddam's removal will be to assist the Iraqis to move as quickly as physically and practically possible into positions of power.' As Assistant Defence Secretary under President Ronald Reagan, Perle was one of the key architects of the 1980s aggressive policy towards the Soviet Union, which Reagan dubbed an 'evil empire' and did much to undermine. He said he found it dismaying that many in Europe now found it 'politically incorrect' to describe regimes such as Iraq and North Korea as evil now: 'What we discovered from the victims of the Soviet empire, once they were free to speak, was that they agreed with us: evil was exactly the word they chose. I suspect that's the word that would be chosen by most of those forced to live in North Korea under Kim Jong Il, under the Iranian mullahs and Saddam Hussein.' http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/Midwest/02/23/sprj.irq.iraq.wolowitz/index.html * U.S. REACHES OUT TO IRAQI-AMERICANS CNN, 213rd February DEARBORN, Michigan: Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz reached out to Iraqi Americans on Sunday, asking them to spread the word about the suffering of the Iraqi people under Saddam Hussein and help the Bush administration shape Iraq's future. At a "town hall" meeting with a group of Iraqi-Americans in Dearborn, home to a large number of Arab-Americans, people told of suffering under Saddam's rule and expressed strong support for the administration's stance. Wolfowitz discussed ways they could help the U.S. government "in the reconstruction of a post-Saddam Iraq," including serving alongside the U.S. military and working closely with Iraqi opposition groups. "While there are decisions now that only President Bush can decide," Wolfowitz told his audience, "it is not too early for the rest of us to be thinking about how to build a just and peaceful and democratic Iraq after Saddam Hussein is gone. In fact, we in the administration have already begun doing so." A number of times, the audience applauded for Wolfowitz, and he smiled at their support. A standing ovation saw Wolfowitz off the stage, after which the audience chanted "down, down, Saddam" and "yes, yes, George." A banner at the meeting read, "No to dictatorship, yes to democracy in Iraq." Wolfowitz listed five principles that would guide the U.S. government's dealings with Iraq: ‹ The United States seeks to liberate, not occupy, Iraq ‹ Iraq must be disarmed of weapons of mass destruction and weapons-production capabilities, and the means to deliver such weapons ‹ Iraq's terrorist infrastructure must be eliminated ‹ Iraq must be preserved as a unified state, with its territorial integrity intact ‹ With coalition partners, the United States must help the Iraqi people begin economic and political reconstruction "These are principles that define American policy ... the principles on which the coalition will operate, and -- if I can judge from the reaction of this audience, it seems to me that they are principles that we here can agree on," he said. Other issues, however, can be addressed only by the Iraqi people, Wolfowitz said, and the U.S. government and its coalition partners need their help. They include choosing democratic institutions, making the transition to democracy, ensuring unity while developing self government, and accounting for past injustices while avoiding new animosities. "We know that to arrive at these goals, there is no greater engine than the industrious and well-educated people of Iraq themselves," Wolfowitz said. "Along with our coalition partners, we would help Iraqis begin the process of economic and political reconstruction. We would assist the people of Iraq in putting their country on a path towards prosperity and freedom." Wolfowitz denied critics' claims that Iraq is not capable of such a transition. He pointed to the Kurds in northern Iraq who have prospered out of the reach of Saddam's regime and to the success of Iraqi immigrants in adapting to Western democracy. He asked Iraqi-Americans to help the administration develop a post-Saddam Iraq. And, with large numbers of protesters in the United States and around the world opposing any attack on Iraq, Wolfowitz implored the Iraqi-Americans who lived under Saddam's regime to tell the world about their experiences. He also told them the Bush administration is starting a program to hire Iraqi-Americans as temporary employees or civilian contractors, which would allow them to help the U.S. military in specialized areas such as translation. A separate initiative will encourage Iraqi-Americans to join the U.S. military's Ready Reserve Force, which supports the rapid deployment of the military forces, he said. The deputy secretary also encouraged the crowd to train members of Iraqi opposition groups to work with the U.S. military as guides, translators and experts on civil affairs in case of war. After any conflict, they would be called upon to help rebuild the country. Training for that initiative has already started at a military base in Hungary and is open to Iraqis around the world, not just those in the United States, Wolfowitz said. "The president understands the hope of the Iraqi people and your hope," he said. "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." http://www.observer.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,901066,00.html * TWO MEN DRIVING BUSH INTO WAR by Ed Vulliamy The Observer, 23rd February Behind President George W. Bush's charge to war against Iraq, there is a carefully devised mission, drawn up by people who work over the shoulders of those whom America calls 'The Principals'. Lurking in the background behind Bush, his Vice-President, Dick Cheney, and Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld are the people propelling US policy. And behind them, the masterminds of the Bush presidency as it arrived at the White House from Texas, are Karl Rove and Paul Wolfowitz. It is too simple to explain the upcoming war as 'blood for oil', as did millions of placards last weekend, for Rove and Wolfowitz are ideologists beyond the imperatives of profit. They represent an unlikely and formidable alliance forged between the gritty Texan Republicans who took over America, fuelled by fierce conservative Christianity, and a faction of the East Coast intelligentsia with roots in Ronald Reagan's time, devoted to achieving raw, unilateral power. Rove and Wolfowitz have worked for decades to reach their moment, and that moment has come as war draws near. Bush calls Rove, depending on his mood, 'Boy Genius' or 'Turd Blossom'. Rove is one of a new political breed - the master craftsmen - nurturing a 24-year political campaign of his own design, but careful not to expose who he really is. His Christian faith is a weapon of devastating cogency, but he never discusses it; no one knows if his politics are religious or politics are his religion. A Christmas Day child born in Denver, as a boy he had a poster above his bed reading 'Wake Up, America!' As a student, he was a fervent young Republican who pitched himself against the peace movement. His first bonding with Bush was not over politics, but the two men's ideological and moral distaste for the Sixties - after Bush's born-again conversion from alcoholism to Christianity. Rove was courted by George Bush Snr during his unsuccessful bid to be the Republican presidential candidate for 1980. But Rove's genius would show later, on Bush senior's election to the White House in 1988, when he co-opted the right-wing Christian Coalition - wary of Bush's lack of theocratic stridency - into the family camp. Conservative Southern Protestantism was a constituency Bush Jr befriended and kept all the way to Washington, defining both his own political personality and the new-look Republican Party. When Rove answered the call to come to Texas in 1978, every state office was held by a Democrat. Now, almost all of them are Republican. Every Republican campaign was run by Rove and in 1994 his client - challenging for the state governorship - was a man he knew well: George W. Bush. 'Rove and Bush came to an important strategic conclusion,' writes Lou Dubose, Rove's biographer. 'To govern on behalf of the corporate Right, they would have to appease the Christian Right.' Bush's six years as Texas governor were a dry run for national domestic policy - steered by Rove - as President: lavish favours to the energy industry, tax breaks for the upper income brackets and social policy driven by evangelical zeal. Bush had been governor for only a year when, as Rove says, it 'dawned on me' he should run for President; two years later, in 1997, he began secretly planning the campaign. In March 1999, Bush ordered Rove to sell his consulting firm - 'he wanted 120 per cent of his attention,' says a former employee, 'full-time, day and night'. Rove hatched and ran the presidential campaign, deploying the Bush family Rolodex and the might of the oil industry and unleashing the most vigorous direct-mailing blizzard of all time. 'If the devil is in the details,' writes Dubose, 'he had found Rove waiting to greet him when he got there.' By the time George W. became President, Rove was the hub of a Texan wheel connecting the family, the party, the Christian Right and the energy industry. A single episode serves as metaphor: during the Enron scandal last year, a shadow was cast over Rove when it was revealed that he had sold $100,000 of Enron stock just before the firm went bankrupt. More intriguing, however, was the fact that Rove had personally arranged for the former leader of the Christian Coalition, Ralph Reed, to take up a consultancy at Enron - Bush's biggest single financial backer - worth between $10,000 and $20,000 a month. This was the machine of perpetual motion that Rove built. His accomplishment was the 'Texanisation' of the national Republican Party under the leadership of the Bush family and to take that party back to presidential office after eight years. Rove is unquestionably the most powerful policy adviser in the White House. Militant Islam was another world from Rove's. However, on 11 September, 2001, it became a new piece of political raw material needing urgent attention. Rove and Bush had been isolationists, wanting as little to do with the Middle East - or any other corner of the planet - as possible. But suddenly there was a new arena in which to work for political results: and, as Rove entered it, he met and was greeted by a group of people who had for years been as busy as he in crafting their political model; this time, the export of unchallenged American power across the world. Rove in theory has no role in foreign policy, but Washington insiders agree he is now as preoccupied with global affairs as he is with those at home. In a recent book, conservative staff speech writer David Frum recalls the approach of the presidency towards Islam after the attacks and criticises Bush as being 'soft on Islam' for his emphasis on a 'religion of peace'. Rove, writes Frum, was 'drawn to a very different answer'. Islam, Rove argued, 'was one of the world's great empires' which had 'never reconciled... to the loss of power and dominion'. In response, he said, 'the United States should recognise that, although it cannot expect to be loved, it can enforce respect'. Rove's position dovetailed with the beliefs of Paul Wolfowitz, and the axis between conservative Southern Protestantism and fervent, highly intellectual, East Coast Zionism was forged - each as zealous about their religion as the other. There is a shorthand view of Wolfowitz as a firebrand hawk, but he is more like Rove than that - patient, calculating, logical, soft-spoken and deliberate. Wolfowitz was a Jewish son of academe, a brilliant scholar of mathematics and a diplomat. When he joined the Pentagon after the Yom Kippur war, he set about laying out what is now US policy in the Middle East. In 1992, just before Bush's father was defeated by Bill Clinton, Wolfowitz wrote a blueprint to 'set the nation's direction for the next century', which is now the foreign policy of George W. Bush. Entitled 'Defence Planning Guidance', it put an onus on the Pentagon to 'establish and protect a new order' under unchallenged American authority. The US, it said, must be sure of 'deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role' - including Germany and Japan. It contemplated the use of nuclear, biological and chemical weaponry pre-emptively, 'even in conflicts that do not directly engage US interests'. Wolfowitz's group formalised itself into a group called Project for the New American Century, which included Cheney and another old friend, former Pentagon Under-Secretary for Policy under Reagan, Richard Perle. In a document two years ago, the Project pondered that what was needed to assure US global power was 'some catastrophic and catalysing event, like a new Pearl Harbor'. The document had noted that 'while the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides immediate justification' for intervention, 'the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein'. At a graduation speech to the Military Academy at West Point, Bush last June affirmed the Wolfowitz doctrine as official policy. 'America has, and intends to keep,' he said, 'military strengths beyond challenge.' At the Pentagon, Wolfowitz and his boss Rumsfeld set up an intelligence group under Abram Schulsky and the Under-Secretary for Defence, Douglas Feith, both old friends of Wolfowitz. The group's public face is the semi-official Defence Policy Board, headed by Perle. Perle and Feith wrote a paper in 1996 called 'A Clean Break' for the then leader of Israel's Likud bloc, Binyamin Netanyahu; the clean break was from the Oslo peace process. Israel's 'claim to the land (including the West Bank) is legitimate and noble,' said the paper. 'Only the unconditional acceptance by Arabs of our rights is a solid basis for the future.' At the State Department, the 'Arabist' faction of regional experts favouring the diplomacy of alliances in the area was drowned out by the hawks, markedly by another new unit with favoured access to the White House. And in Rove's White House, with his backing, the circle was closed and the last piece of the jigsaw was put in place, with the appointment of Elliot Abrams to handle policy for the Middle East, for the National Security Council. Abrams is another veteran of Reagan days and the 'dirty wars' in Central America, convicted by Congress for lying alongside Colonel Oliver North over the Iran-Contra scandal, but pardoned by President Bush's father. He has since written a book warning that American Jewry faces extinction through intermarriage and has counselled against the peace process and for the righteousness of Ariel Sharon's Israel. He is Wolfowitz's man, talking every day to his office neighbour, Rove. http://www.guardian.co.uk/Columnists/Column/0,5673,897814,00.html * Too much of a good thing: Underlying the US drive to war is a thirst to open up new opportunities for surplus capital by George Monbiot The Guardian, 18th February [.....] In a series of packed lectures in Oxford, Professor David Harvey, one of the world's most distinguished geographers, has provided what may be the first comprehensive explanation of the US government's determination to go to war. His analysis suggests that it has little to do with Iraq, less to do with weapons of mass destruction and nothing to do with helping the oppressed. The underlying problem the US confronts is the one which periodically afflicts all successful economies: the over-accumulation of capital. Excessive production of any good - be it cars or shoes or bananas - means that unless new markets can be found, the price of that product falls and profits collapse. Just as it was in the early 1930s, the US is suffering from surpluses of commodities, manufactured products, manufacturing capacity and money. Just as it was then, it is also faced with a surplus of labour, yet the two surpluses, as before, cannot be profitably matched. This problem has been developing in the US since 1973. It has now tried every available means of solving it and, by doing so, maintaining its global dominance. The only remaining, politically viable option is war. In the 1930s, the US government addressed the problems of excess capital and labour through the New Deal. Its vast investments in infrastructure, education and social spending mopped up surplus money, created new markets for manufacturing and brought hundreds of thousands back into work. In 1941, it used military spending to the same effect. After the war, its massive spending in Europe and Japan permitted America to offload surplus cash, while building new markets. During the same period, it spent lavishly on infrastructure at home and on the development of the economies of the southern and south eastern states. This strategy worked well until the early 1970s. Then three inexorable processes began to mature. As the German and Japanese economies developed, the US was no longer able to dominate production. As they grew, these new economies also stopped absorbing surplus capital and started to export it. At the same time, the investments of previous decades began to pay off, producing new surpluses. The crisis of 1973 began with a worldwide collapse of property markets, which were, in effect, regurgitating the excess money they could no longer digest. The US urgently required a new approach, and it deployed two blunt solutions. The first was to switch from the domination of global production to the domination of global finance. The US Treasury, working with the International Monetary Fund, began to engineer new opportunities in developing countries for America's commercial banks. The IMF started to insist that countries receiving its help should liberalise their capital markets. This permitted the speculators on Wall Street to enter and, in many cases, raid their economies. The financial crises the speculators caused forced the devaluation of those countries' assets. This had two beneficial impacts for the US economy. Through the collapse of banks and manufacturers in Latin America and East Asia, surplus capital was destroyed. The bankrupted companies in those countries could then be bought by US corporations at rock-bottom prices, creating new space into which American capital could expand. The second solution was what Harvey calls "accumulation through dispossession", which is really a polite term for daylight robbery. Land was snatched from peasant farmers, public assets were taken from citizens through privatisation, intellectual property was seized from everyone through the patenting of information, human genes, and animal and plant varieties. These are the processes which, alongside the depredations of the IMF and the commercial banks, brought the global justice movement into being. In all cases, new territories were created into which capital could expand and in which its surpluses could be absorbed. Both these solutions are now failing. As the east Asian countries whose economies were destroyed by the IMF five years ago have recovered, they have begun, once more, to generate vast capital surpluses of their own. America's switch from production to finance as a means of global domination, and the government's resulting economic mismanagement, has made it more susceptible to disruption and economic collapse. Corporations are now encountering massive public resistance as they seek to expand their opportunities through dispossession. The only peaceful solution is a new New Deal, but that option is blocked by the political class in the US: the only new spending it will permit is military spending. So all that remains is war and imperial control. Attacking Iraq offers the US three additional means of offloading capital while maintaining its global dominance. The first is the creation of new geographical space for economic expansion. The second (though this is not a point Harvey makes) is military spending (a process some people call "military Keynesianism"). The third is the ability to control the economies of other nations by controlling the supply of oil. This, as global oil reserves diminish, will become an ever more powerful lever. Happily, just as legitimation is required, scores of former democrats in both the US and Britain have suddenly decided that empire isn't such a dirty word after all, and that the barbarian hordes of other nations really could do with some civilisation at the hands of a benign superpower. Strategic thinkers in the US have been planning this next stage of expansion for years. Paul Wolfowitz, now deputy secretary for defence, was writing about the need to invade Iraq in the mid-1990s. The impending war will not be fought over terrorism, anthrax, VX gas, Saddam Hussein, democracy or the treatment of the Iraqi people. It is, like almost all such enterprises, about the control of territory, resources and other nations' economies. Those who are planning it have recognised that their future dominance can be sustained by means of a simple economic formula: blood is a renewable resource; oil is not. http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,902366,00.html * OUT OF THE WRECKAGE: BY TEARING UP THE GLOBAL RULEBOOK, THE US IS IN FACT UNDERMINING ITS OWN IMPERIAL RULE by George Monbiot The Guardian, 25th February The men who run the world are democrats at home and dictators abroad. They came to power by means of national elections which possess, at least, the potential to represent the will of their people. Their citizens can dismiss them without bloodshed, and challenge their policies in the expectation that, if enough people join in, they will be obliged to listen. Internationally, they rule by brute force. They and the global institutions they run exercise greater economic and political control over the people of the poor world than its own governments do. But those people can no sooner challenge or replace them than the citizens of the Soviet Union could vote Stalin out of office. Their global governance is, by all the classic political definitions, tyrannical. But while citizens' means of overthrowing this tyranny are limited, it seems to be creating some of the conditions for its own destruction. Over the past week, the US government has threatened to dismantle two of the institutions which have, until recently, best served its global interests. On Saturday, President Bush warned the UN security council that accepting a new resolution authorising a war with Iraq was its "last chance" to prove "its relevance". Four days before, a leaked document from the Pentagon showed that this final opportunity might already have passed. The US is planning to build a new generation of nuclear weapons in order to enhance its ability to launch a pre-emptive attack. This policy threatens both the comprehensive test ban treaty and the nuclear non-proliferation treaty - two of the principal instruments of global security - while endangering the international compact that the UN exists to sustain. The security council, which, despite constant disruption, survived the cold war, is beginning to look brittle in its aftermath. On Wednesday, the US took a decisive step towards the destruction of the World Trade Organisation. The WTO's current trade round collapsed in Seattle in 1999 because the poor nations perceived that it offered them nothing, while granting new rights to the rich world's corporations. It was relaunched in Qatar in 2001 only because those nations were promised two concessions: they could override the patents on expensive drugs and import cheaper copies when public health was threatened, and they could expect a major reduction in the rich world's agricultural subsidies. At the WTO meeting in Geneva last week, the US flatly reneged on both promises. The Republicans' victory in the mid-term elections last November was secured with the help of $60m from America's big drug firms. This appears to have been a straightforward deal: we will buy the elections for you if you abandon the concession you made in Qatar. The agri business lobbies in both the US and Europe appear to have been almost as successful: the poor nations have been forced to discuss a draft document which effectively permits the rich world to continue dumping its subsidised products in their markets. If the US does not back down, the world trade talks will collapse at the next ministerial meeting in Mexico in September, just as they did in Seattle. If so, then the WTO, as its former director-general has warned, will fall apart. Nations will instead resolve their trade disputes individually or through regional agreements. Already, by means of the free trade agreement of the Americas and the harsh concessions it is extracting from other nations as a condition of receiving aid, the US appears to be preparing for this possibility. The US, in other words, seems to be ripping up the global rulebook. As it does so, those of us who have campaigned against the grotesque injustices of the existing world order will quickly discover that a world with no institutions is even nastier than a world run by the wrong ones. Multilateralism, however inequitable it may be, requires certain concessions to other nations. Unilateralism means piracy: the armed robbery of the poor by the rich. The difference between today's world order and the one for which the US may be preparing is the difference between mediated and unmediated force. But the possible collapse of the current world order, dangerous as it will be, also provides us with the best opportunities we have ever encountered for replacing the world's unjust and coercive institutions with a fairer and more democratic means of global governance. By wrecking the multilateral system for the sake of a few short-term, corporate interests, the US is, paradoxically, threatening its own tyrannical control of other nations. The existing international agencies, fashioned by means of brutal power politics at the end of the second world war, have permitted the US to develop its international commercial and political interests more effectively than it could have done alone. The institutions through which it has worked - the security council, the WTO, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank - have provided a semblance of legitimacy for what has become, in all but name, the construction of empire. The end of multilateralism would force the US, as it is already beginning to do, to drop this pretence and frankly admit to its imperial designs on the rest of the world. This admission, in turn, forces other nations to seek to resist it. Effective resistance would create the political space in which their citizens could begin to press for a new, more equitable multilateralism. There are several means of contesting the unilateral power of the US, but perhaps the most immediate and effective one is to accelerate its economic crisis. Already, strategists in China are suggesting that the yuan should replace the dollar as east Asia's reserve currency. Over the past year, as the Observer revealed on Sunday, the euro has started to challenge the dollar's position as the international means of payment for oil. The dollar's dominance of world trade, particularly the oil market, is all that permits the US Treasury to sustain the nation's massive deficit, as it can print inflation-free money for global circulation. If the global demand for dollars falls, the value of the currency will fall with it, and speculators will shift their assets into euros or yen or even yuan, with the result that the US economy will begin to totter. Of course an economically weakened nation in possession of overwhelming military force remains a very dangerous one. Already, as I suggested last week, the US appears to be using its military machine to extend its economic life. But it is not clear that the American people would permit their government to threaten or attack other nations without even a semblance of an international political process, which is, of course, what the Bush administration is currently destroying. 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. The Age of Consent, George Monbiot's proposals for global democratic governance, will be published in June http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/allnews/page.cfm?objectid=12377231&method=full& siteid=50143 * BUSH AIDE: INSPECTIONS OR NOT, WE'LL ATTACK IRAQ Exclusive (? -PB) by Paul Gilfeather Daily Mirror, 25th February GEORGE Bush's top security adviser last night admitted the US would attack Iraq even if UN inspectors fail to find weapons. Dr Richard Perle stunned MPs by insisting a "clean bill of health" from UN chief weapons inspector Hans Blix would not halt America's war machine. Evidence from ONE witness on Saddam Hussein's weapons programme will be enough to trigger a fresh military onslaught, he told an all- party meeting on global security. Former defence minister and Labour backbencher Peter Kilfoyle said: "America is duping the world into believing it supports these inspections. President Bush intends to go to war even if inspectors find nothing. "This make a mockery of the whole process and exposes America's real determination to bomb Iraq." Dr Perle told MPs: "I cannot see how Hans Blix can state more than he can know. All he can know is the results of his own investigations. And that does not prove Saddam does not have weapons of mass destruction." The chairman of America's defence policy board said: "Suppose we are able to find someone who has been involved in the development of weapons and he says there are stores of nerve agents. But you cannot find them because they are so well hidden. "Do you actually have to take possession of the nerve agents to convince? We are not dealing with a situation where you can expect co-operation." Mr Kilfoyle said MPs would be horrified at the admission. He added: "Because Saddam is so hated in Iraq, it would be easy to find someone to say they witnessed weapons building. "Perle says the Americans would be satisfied with such claims even if no real evidence was produced. "That's a terrifying prospect." _______________________________________________ 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