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News, 19-26/02/03 (8) IMPLICATIONS OF WAR * Iraq says able to ensure food flow in case of war * Israel worried about unstable postwar Iraq * British forces take road back to scene of defeat and victory * Lack of funds delays Iraq contingency plan ‹ UNHCR * Living in poverty and fear of abandonment, the barely functioning state that trusted its saviours * The Dividends of Delay: Allies' foot-dragging has strengthened U.S. war strategy * White House Outlines Postwar Aid for Iraq * Iran: Won't take Iraqi refugees without financial help * Army Chief: Huge Force Would Occupy Iraq * U.S. would counter Iraqi propaganda with media access IMPLICATIONS OF WAR http://biz.yahoo.com/rm/030219/iraq_food_1.html * IRAQ SAYS ABLE TO ENSURE FOOD FLOW IN CASE OF WAR Yahoo, 19th February BAGHDAD, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Iraq said on Wednesday it had taken all the steps necessary to ensure its people would have sufficient food supplies in the event of a U.S.-led war. "Even if all the outlets were closed we will ensure food for the Iraqi people as we ensured it in 1991 under the fall of bombs," Trade Minister Mohammed Mehdi Saleh told a news conference, referring to the 1991 Gulf War. "We are fully confident we will be able to meet the requirements of the Iraqi people," he added. The United States and Britain are massing troops in the Gulf region in preparation for a possible invasion over Baghdad's alleged weapons of mass destruction. Saleh said authorities had distributed six months of food rations in advance to every Iraqi family and dug wells in residential areas as part of arrangements to safeguard water supplies during any conflict. "Iraq has prepared all possible strategies to meet the requirements of the Iraqi people during any military action or aggression," he said. Saleh said Baghdad had also been supplying the Kurdish- controlled north with flour. "We have been providing the north of Iraq with flour for four months...from the stock of the government outside the oil- for-food deal," Saleh said. The remote mountainous enclave of northern Iraq has been outside Baghdad's control since the end of the 1991 Gulf War over Kuwait and is controlled by two rival Iraqi Kurdish groups. Iraq, under U.N. sanctions since it invaded Kuwait in 1990, is allowed to sell oil for food and medicine under an agreement with the United Nations. http://www.thestate.com/mld/thestate/news/world/5235227.htm * ISRAEL WORRIED ABOUT UNSTABLE POSTWAR IRAQ by Carol Rosenberg The State, 21st February TEL AVIV, Israel - Israel's military establishment believes there is a "low probability" that Iraq will attack the Jewish state with biological or chemical weapons, but is concerned about instability after a U.S. war that ousts Saddam Hussein, a senior security official said Friday. Israeli defense officials foresee a quick U.S. victory and detect little sentiment among the Iraqi military to use weapons of mass destruction. The security official discussed the multi pronged Israeli analysis only on the condition of anonymity. Among the Israeli conclusions: ‹ Iraq may still have a limited number of planes and missiles capable of attacking Israel, but Saddam is unlikely to order such an attack in the early days of a war because an Iraqi attack using weapons Baghdad has claimed it doesn't have would help unite a divided international community behind an American-led invasion. ‹ U.S.-led forces will cripple Iraq's capacity to hit Israel in the early days of the war, both through air strikes and by seizing control of western Iraq, the launching area in 1991 for Scud missile attacks on Israel. ‹ An ongoing campaign of U.S. "psychological warfare," which has threatened Iraq's military if it unleashes weapons of mass destruction, has already weakened Saddam's chain-of-command so that Iraqi officers would "escape the need" to obey a launch order. ‹ If the first three assumptions prove wrong, Israel is counting on its combined Arrow and Patriot missile defense system to destroy or deflect any attack on civilian population centers. The security official's comments were unusual because Israeli military authorities have been reluctant to draw attention to anything that might upset the delicate Arab-European American balance that allows the United States to operate in the region. The official offered a "quite good" prognosis for U.S. ability to unseat Saddam's regime. "It should not take more than maybe a few weeks before this regime will collapse," he said, predicting "not very much casualties." Israel supports the effort to topple Saddam, but expects to remain on the sidelines, even though the Home Front Command, a wing of Israel's military, is distributing gas masks to citizens and foreign workers, and offering instructions on how to seal special rooms against a poison gas attack. In a public briefing for foreign reporters earlier this week, 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, said Israel is "not expecting a series of missiles" and noted that Iraq is weaker than it was in 1991. "We are expecting sole events - like one missile here, one missile there, one airplane here, one airplane there," he said. On Friday, the senior security official said that if a chemical or biological attack struck Israel, the military would balance the desire to retaliate with an equal desire not to complicate the American-led campaign to unseat Saddam. "Of course, we will have to find something creative enough in order to satisfy both sides," he said. The official, however, said he is "very skeptical" that defeating Saddam would bring stability to the region. He cited differing interests among Iraqi Kurds, Shiite Muslims and Sunni Muslims, as well as economic instability and a huge refugee wave that could come with a bombing campaign that ravaged Iraq's infrastructure. "Even if the offensive in Iraq is successful militarily," he said, the United States might emerge from the campaign "a little exhausted. ... Even an empire like the United States should have a break after such a situation." Overall success, he said, will require a wider U.S. commitment: first, finding another strong, stable leadership for Iraq that avoids uncorking ethnic disputes; then dealing with other regimes that could exploit Iraqi instability. He cited Syria, saying Israel estimates that Damascus controls more weapons of mass destruction than Baghdad, and has more missiles. In Iraq, he said, "We do not see the natural, potential leader that will emerge after the campaign." Absent that strong leader, he said, there could be economic and refugee problems and splintering of the state that could spill over into the region. "We are not sure the Iraqis and the rest of the Arab world will accept calmly and peacefully their role in the American campaign." In that case, circumstances could deteriorate and require the United States to maintain "dozens of thousands of troops" in Iraq for a year or more, facing "guerrilla warfare and demonstrations," economic problems and an Arab power vacuum. 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. "Democracy is a funny word in the language of the Middle East." The official declined to give specifics, but said Israel's defense establishment has contributed behind the scenes to the U.S. effort in three ways: ‹ Intelligence sharing, including providing information on Iraqi military sites that the United States may not have but that Israel acquired because of its geographic position in the region. ‹ Strategic analysis, what the official called "sharing perspectives" on the potential consequences of war. ‹ Military tactics, including counter-terrorism techniques, which he obliquely described as "some very small, very specific, not very important military lessons that we have, military devices that we have under certain circumstances." As an example, he described how Israel has become better at rapidly gathering and deploying intelligence to stop "in two minutes" a suicide bomber who already has strapped on a bomb belt and is on the road to his attack destination. ttp://news.scotsman.com/columnists.cfm?id=226692003 * BRITISH FORCES TAKE ROAD BACK TO SCENE OF DEFEAT AND VICTORY by Ian Mather The Scotsman, 23rd February THE British armed forces are no strangers to Basra. Their experience of Iraq's second city, the principal British target if war goes ahead, dates back to the First World War, when the army seized it to secure the neighbouring oil fields. But a foolhardy advance towards Baghdad ended in humiliating surrender to the Turks in 45ºC desert heat. The lesson was learned, and in the Second World War Britain acted swiftly to take Iraq. An Anglo-Indian force landed at Basra while another British force invaded from Transjordan. Both forces quickly reached Baghdad, and Iraq remained firmly in the Allied camp for the rest of the war. The Basra memorial with the names of over 40,000 British, Indian and West African soldiers who died in the disastrous Mesopotamian campaign remains a humbling reminder of the disastrous consequences of mistakes in war. Basra is used to fighting. During the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war it was under constant bombardment from Iranian artillery, and almost fell. In the 1991 Gulf War it was heavily bombed by the allies. In the immediate aftermath of that war it bore even more of the brunt of the suffering than Baghdad itself. At the urging of a victorious President George Bush Sr the inhabitants of the Basra region rose up against Saddam, only for Bush to do nothing to help them. Thousands were massacred by Iraq's Republican Guards. Even if there had been no such rebellion Basra was never likely to receive any special favours from Saddam's ethnic Arab Ba'th regime as it is a predominantly Shia city. But Saddam's troops too have seen death and suffering in the environs of Basra. The short dual-carriage highway linking Basra with Kuwait became the 'highway of death' when the Iraqi army was strafed and bombed by the US air force as it retreated from Kuwait. There are few natural features to help the defenders against a British advance short of the environs of Basra itself, where Saddam's elite Republican Guards will make their stand, assuming, that is, that they do not surrender en masse. There are just lines of ditches and hillocks constructed by the Iraqis, knowns as birns, which in 1991 were manned by inexperienced conscripts, many of them very young or elderly, who were simply cannon fodder. But Basra itself, lying near the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates, straddles numerous canals and is surrounded by marsh and water. Many of the water features were constructed by the Iraqis during the long siege of Basra by the Iranians, and were much praised by western defence experts at the time. Significantly, the Iranians never managed to take Basra, although they destroyed the eastern parts of the city. The Americans and British have already demonstrated the seriousness of the threat posed by Iraqi forces in Basra. They have stepped up the bombing of targets in the southern no-fly zone, and last week they attacked missile batteries, communications centres and a mobile early warning radar that could pose a threat to British forces in Basra. At Basra airport one of the first things the British troops will notice will be the burnt-out hulks of tanks, armoured personnel carriers, and artillery from past wars still lining the airport's taxi ways, and old bomb craters that have never been filled in. In the town itself the elegant suburbs have fallen into disrepair, and the colonial buildings from the 1930s look deserted. The first priority of the invading troops will be to secure Basra itself, Iraq's principal port, and to prevent retreating Iraqi forces from setting fire to the 1,000 oil wells nearby. The overall allied force this time is much smaller than in 1991, when a 'grand coalition' of states was formed to evict the Iraqis from Kuwait. But it is probably deadlier since far more planes are now capable of delivering precision-guided bombs, and with all the bases, ships and submarines available more than 1,200 Tomahawk cruise missile launchers are in the arena. Despite this formidable array of aerial firepower, the troops know that if there is determined Iraqi resistance the battles will have to be won on the ground. The advance towards Basra is one of a three-pronged invasion of Iraq being planned by the US and Britain, from Kuwait in the south, Turkey in the north and Jordan in the west. The British role in what the Ministry of Defence calls Operation Telic is a significant high profile one. At first US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld offered a number of minor roles, but Tony Blair persuaded George W Bush that as Britain was taking political risks it wanted to reap the political benefits from having played a substantial part in the operation. The plan calls for Royal Marine commandos to spearhead an amphibious landing at Basra, supported by US marines and airborne troops. Commandos will also move quickly to secure the oil wells. The Desert Rats (7th Armoured Brigade), are likely to secure and hold the city. Other units of Britain's helicopter-borne assault brigade will attack remaining resistance points to give the main US land force in Kuwait a clear run at Baghdad. Preparations for the invasion from Kuwait, where the entire northern half of the country has been turned into a military zone as infantry and armour pour into camps along the border with Iraq, are more advanced than those along the Northern Front through Turkey. Ideally, the Americans want to send 38,000 troops into Iraq across the long Turkish border to seize the oil fields at Mosul and Kirkuk before advancing rapidly towards Baghdad. But there are many complications. The first is the reluctance of Turkey to let its territory be used as a launch pad. Last week as a fleet of American military cargo ships carrying tanks for the 4th Infantry division waited off the Turkish coast, the Turkish government was haggling with the Americans over the price of its support - the country wants $10bn. Turkey faces intense US pressure to accept a deal and cannot afford to alienate Washington, whose political and economic support is crucial. But the new government of prime minister Abdullah Gul is bolstered by almost universal opposition to an invasion of Iraq among Turkey's population. The second complication is the attitude of Turkey towards the Kurds in northern Iraq, who have been living a charmed life during the past decade protected from Saddam by the US British no-fly zone. Turkey has genuine concerns that if the Iraqi Kurds gain full control of northern Iraq, including the oil fields, Turkey's own Kurdish minority might be emboldened to rise against Turkey and join the Iraqi Kurds in declaring a Kurdish state. Turkey is demanding that 80,000 of its own troops be allowed into Iraq to establish 'strategic positions' as much as 140-170 miles inside the border as the price of its co operation with Washington, which would take Turkish troops halfway to Baghdad. The main reason for the third prong of the invasion, from Jordan, is to stop the Iraqis from launching Scud missiles, possibly armed with chemical weapons, against Israel and Jordan. There is real concern in Washington that if Saddam, in the death throes of his regime, succeeds in landing a chemical weapon in Israel, Ariel Sharon will carry out a threat to retaliate with nuclear weapons. >From Jordan special forces, including the SAS, will be dropped by helicopter in the western desert to seek out mobile Scud missiles and destroy military airfields. Jordan will also be a base for search and rescue operations. But before any of this happens there will be a massive bombing campaign, with some 3,000 missiles, including cruise missiles, raining down on key targets. Taking part in the initial bombardment will be two Royal Navy submarines now in the Gulf. The targets will be Saddam's palaces, military headquarters, barracks and communications centres. The objective will be to prevent Saddam's regime from communicating with military commanders around a country which has a highly centralised Soviet-style command and control system. Senior commanders are privately hoping that this bombardment will be such a severe psychological blow that the Iraqi regime, including the Republicans Guards, will implode. If the Iraqis surrender quickly the journey along the highway from Kuwait to Basra will be short and simple for the British troops. http://www.jordantimes.com/Mon/homenews/homenews8.htm * LACK OF FUNDS DELAYS IRAQ CONTINGENCY PLAN ‹ UNHCR Jordan Times, 24th February AMMAN (AP) ‹ Lack of funds is delaying a contingency plan to assist refugees who may try to escape a possible US-led war on Iraq, a representative of a UN refugee agency said Sunday. 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. "In Jordan, we have only received about $22 million. We have already spent $21 million on storage," Bronee, based in Amman, told reporters. He said UNHCR had food, tents and blankets in storage at the Red Sea Port of Aqaba, 350 kilometres south of the capital. He urged the international community to assist UNHCR so it could carry out "enormous duties" expected during a war. Bronee also urged Jordan to allow Iraqi and other refugees, including Arab and Asian workers, into the Kingdom in the event of war. Jordan has rejected hosting refugees from Iraq, saying it would only facilitate their transit through the country. Two weeks ago, Jordanian newspaper reports said the government had stepped back from its rejection of refugees and accepted in principle to set up two settlements near the Iraqi border. Al Arab Al Yawm, the country's third-largest Arabic-language daily, quoted unnamed sources as saying two tent-like cities would be erected in the Kingdom two days before war erupts. Bronee echoed Jordanian concerns over funding refugee accommodation and urged unnamed world countries to assist. "We need to be assured that the international community will help Jordan if there is a direct need," he said. He declined to provide details on UNHCR's contingency plan but said his agency was working closely with humanitarian organisations, including the International Committee of the Red Cross, and other non-governmental organisations, which have offered manpower services, such as doctors and nurses. http://news.independent.co.uk/world/asia_china/story.jsp?story=381093 * LIVING IN POVERTY AND FEAR OF ABANDONMENT, THE BARELY FUNCTIONING STATE THAT TRUSTED ITS SAVIOURS by Phil Reeves in Kabul The Independent, 24th February [.....] People remember Tony Blair's pronouncement that the world "will not walk away from Afghanistan, as it has done so many times before". But Afghans have also listened with astonishment as Americans portray their country's experience since the overthrow of the Taliban as a "success". Now the United States is priming its laser-guided bombs anew, and the attention of the world's media has swivelled to the deserts and oilfields of Iraq. Few in Kabul seem convinced by the repeated assurances from the US government and its military, from the UN and Britain that they will not be forgotten or allowed to lapse back into the bloodshed that prevailed after the occupying Soviet forces were driven out by the CIA-funded and CIA-armed mujahedin in 1989. There are plenty who dislike the presence of the Americans and their allies sweeping around their pot-holed streets in shiny new four-by-fours or army jeeps. This is a city that still has a deeply conservative strain despite all the trumpeting about the liberation of women, many of those on the streets still wear burqas and one whose capacity for trust has been corroded by past international betrayals. But a fear of abandonment or at least a sharp fall-off in international support is palpable and encompasses many international aid agency workers as well as residents. One agency official, a veteran of several previous conflicts, told The Independent: "The Pentagon and the White House have absolutely no policy on Afghanistan." [.....] There are other ominous signs. Some 400 rockets have been fired at American forces in 10 months. They find two or three caches of arms, often 107mm Chinese rockets, each week. "This place is a 100 times more dangerous than Iraq," said one US reserve officer at Bagram, a veteran of Operation Desert Storm in Iraq in 1991. "Here they are liable to toss a grenade under your vehicle at any time." A fortnight ago the Taliban issued what is thought to be its first communiqué since being removed from power. It named two senior figures Mullah Obaeidullah and Mullah Biradar as commanders in a new campaign to oust the Americans. And the international effort to help establish a meaningful central government under Hamid Karzai is also incomplete. Many of the building blocks of a viable nation institutions capable of imposing law and order, health services, power supplies, a road network, communications, education are often absent. In the first six months of the Karzai interim administration, two ministers including the first vice-president were assassinated. The President came close to being killed in Kandahar last September. Some international agency workers report that there is outright anger and frustration in the provinces over the slow pace of reconstruction and the lack of security, a sense that the Karzai government has done nothing for them. Ethnic rivalries are crucial: dissatisfaction is said to be particularly strong among Pashtuns, who believe that the interim government is dominated by the light-skinned, sandy-haired and often green-eyed Panjshiris. The Karzai transitional government has been unable to assert its control over most of the country. Until it does so, the free-and-fair elections required next year by the Bonn Agreement will remain a pipe dream. [.....] The lack of money has dogged Afghanistan from the start. A year ago, the World Bank estimated $10.2bn (£6.4bn) was needed over five years. International pledges were about half that sum. And, according to Care International, an NGO monitoring international aid, the money actually spentper capita last year in Afghanistan was under half that of post conflict Rwanda, Bosnia, Kosovo and East Timor. The CIA has spent some of that paying warlords and militias for help in the "war on terror" strengthening rivals to the central government. So what does this tell us about the fate of Iraq after the Americans have taken it apart? It is not hard to find international aid workers who see that the problems of Afghanistan will be repeated in Iraq. "There is a real question over whether the international community is prepared to take on the burden of rebuilding Iraq over the long term," said Paul O'Brien, advocacy co-ordinator for Care in Afghanistan. Another Western observer summed up his views more acidly. "If the Americans think this is success, then outright failure must be pretty horrible to behold." NO URL (sent to list) * THE DIVIDENDS OF DELAY: ALLIES' FOOT-DRAGGING HAS STRENGTHENED U.S. WAR STRATEGY by William M. Arkin Los Angeles Times, 23rd February SOUTH POMFRET, Vt. -- Thanks to France and Germany, to Turkey and NATO, to Saudi Arabia, the United Nations and protesters worldwide, when war with Iraq comes, the United States will have a far better battle plan and a more realistic political strategy than it had before all the unpleasantness began. Gone is reliance on Iraqi exiles to fight as "proxies." Abandoned is the initial design of an armored force driving straight for urban Baghdad. Rejected are dreams of quick victory through air power or exotic weapons. Vanished are the visions of another Afghanistan, with CIA and special operations forces carrying the day. Since the first contingency plans for Iraq were drafted last spring, the U.S. military has vastly improved its design for war. And much of that improvement comes from the extra time afforded by the procession of diplomatic miscues and setbacks. What is more, though hawks in the administration have been driven mad by the real world's defiance of their unilateralism, eight months of delay may turn out to have moved the United States onto stronger political ground as well. It wasn't supposed to have been this way. Senior administration officials admit a lot of cold water has been thrown in their faces over the last six months. Some insist that diplomatic accommodations have been a mistake and that the U.S. military has been weakened. But these hawks fail to appreciate the degree to which additional time has permitted serious errors to be rectified in both war planning and political strategy. Originally, the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) called for 250,000 soldiers, five full divisions of heavy armor and mechanized infantry, driving "up the middle" from Kuwait against Iraqi forces. Over the last eight months, planners have shifted to a strategy embodied in the current buzzword "simultaneity." The Army's institutional impulse to play a dominant role and prove its future worth has given way to an approach that emphasizes air, ground and special forces working in unison to achieve a more subtle effect. By linking massive airstrikes with ground operations, planners hope to achieve several objectives. Their goal is to show the Iraqi populace and the Iraqi military that the United States is deadly serious about total victory. They intend to banish any notion that Washington expects to defeat the regime solely from the air or on the cheap, and thus might be deflected by the prospect of heavy casualties or urban combat. Faced with simultaneous air attacks and ground operations, together with psychological warfare and special operations, a CENTCOM planner says, key elements in Iraqi society may reconsider their options. Senior Iraqi officers, the conscript troops in the regular army and/or the civilian population might rise up against the regime and its Republican Guard. Such an uprising, supported by U.S. forces, could obviate the need for American soldiers to write the final chapter of the war in the streets of Baghdad. America's plan for war in Iraq is now what could be called a Muhammad Ali strategy, to "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee." It will threaten Baghdad from many directions and in many ways simultaneously. Powerful blows to the head will be delivered by a mind-boggling number of precision-guided weapons. Meantime, flexible ground operations will overload Iraqi defenses with more threats than they can handle. Though the news media continue to report whole "divisions" being sent to the region, the actual deployments are more selective -- an assortment of units from inside those divisions, each chosen for its particular capabilities. And many of the units will be used in far more varied and flexible ways than in the past. As an example, although the media report the 82nd Airborne Division deploying from Ft. Bragg, N.C., in fact, only one of the division's three regiments -- the 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment -- is slated for Iraq. The second regiment of the 82nd is in Afghanistan; the third has just returned from there. The single brigade-size unit can parachute deep into Iraq to set up a forward operating base. Similarly, the 3rd Infantry Division, a traditional mechanized unit, is being supplemented to increase its flexibility. The addition of Task Force 11th Aviation regiment, a composite brigade that consolidates attack and transport helicopters from Germany, as well as the new Apache Longbow chopper from Texas, transforms the division into a far more mobile force. The central element of any war will be the deployment of forces deep inside Iraqi territory. Meanwhile, months of delay have brought tangible benefits for U.S. military units as they prepared for war. First, the support base and the command and control setups are much stronger today than planners anticipated a few months ago. Second, constant bombing in the southern no-fly zone has significantly degraded Iraqi air defenses and communications networks; the bombing has also created pockets inside the country that are isolated from Baghdad. Iraqi forces themselves are weakened and immobilized, psychologically battered by the tensions of the yearlong stand-off. Finally, American intelligence has benefited enormously from the work of the United Nations inspectors. They have visited hundreds of factories and military bases, including the Iraqi missile force, indirectly updating U.S. target folders and verifying where weapons of mass destruction are not being hidden. Testifying before Congress on Feb. 12, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell stated for the first time the most significant grand strategy change that has developed as America has tried to convince its Arab partners to support the use of force against Saddam Hussein. When the war is over, Powell said, "We'll be able to change the presence levels of American troops throughout [the] region in the absence of a threatening regime like Saddam Hussein's Iraq." In other words, the administration now accepts the fact that the permanent presence of U.S. military forces in Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf breeds terrorism and resentment. 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. Jordan has restarted its clandestine support, opening the way for special operations from its soil and air operations across its skies. Though use of the U.S. air command center at the Prince Sultan Air Base in Riyadh had been a bone of contention, Saudi Arabia has not only given its approval but it is quietly allowing the buildup of offensive air units on its soil. Meanwhile Qatar is letting the U.S. use an important air base and will be the center for the thousand-strong CENTCOM forward headquarters and the hundreds of news media representatives who will report from the region. How the war plan will unfold, Powell told Congress, "will depend, frankly, on the resistance that is put up by Iraqi forces. It might collapse quickly [or] it may be a more prolonged conflict, particularly if you get into some sort of siege situation in Baghdad." >From its cocksure initial beliefs, the administration has gained a textured appreciation of the risks of war, and of the importance of a clear outcome. Sparing the Iraqi infrastructure from destruction is not a sign of a "timid" plan, as some complain. It is part of the new determination to pave the way for as quick an exit as possible. "The plans that we are looking at for the after[math]," Powell said, "would include using the institutions that are there but purged of Saddam Hussein's cohorts, and build on what's there and put in place a new government, and get out as fast as we can." http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/bw-wh/2003/feb/24/022405183.html * WHITE HOUSE OUTLINES POSTWAR AID FOR IRAQ by Harry Dunphy Las Vegas Sun, 24th February WASHINGTON (AP) - The Bush administration outlined plans Monday for more than $100 million in immediate humanitarian aid to a postwar Iraq, including stockpiling water and other relief supplies. U.N. aid workers are already leaving Iraq, but U.S. officials said they plan to minimize disruption to the U.N. oil-for-food distribution system, which provides rations for almost all Iraqis and is the sole source of food for 60 percent of the population. Elliott Abrams, director for the Middle East at the National Security Council, said that planning for a postwar Iraq was difficult because it was impossible to predict the severity of war-related damage. "We recognize that military action, if necessary, can have adverse humanitarian consequences and our planning is based on mitigating these consequences," he said at a briefing for American and international reporters organized by the White House's new Office of Global Communications. Representatives from the State Department, Pentagon, U.S Agency for International Development and other departments took part in the briefing. They included a representative of retired Army Lt. Gen. Jay M. Garner, who will head a Pentagon-based office to assess Iraq's resources and to be ready to help it rebuild. Garner had a leading role in the post-Gulf war effort to aid Kurdish Iraqi refugees. Abrams said he could not provide a timeline on how quickly administration of Iraq could be turned over to Iraqi civilians after any conflict because the situation may vary from region to region "but the general principle is to do this as soon as possible." "At the local, provincial and national level," Abrams said, "the sooner the Iraqis can take over the better it will be for the Iraqis themselves and for coalition forces." Andrew Natsios, administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, said $26.2 million already had been spent on various aspects of the planned relief effort, including aid to U.N. organizations, and discussions were underway on providing another $56 million. The State Department has given the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees $15 million in anticipation of the displacement of up to two million people within Iraq or to neighboring nations. Stockpiling in the area includes $17 million worth of blankets, water containers, shelter supplies, essential medicines and other relief items for 1 million people, plus nearly 3 million emergency daily rations similar to those dropped over Afghanistan in the first weeks of that conflict. Abrams said other governments in the coalition had promised to provide additional millions to the United Nations and international humanitarian organizations. The government is training and preparing a 60-person Disaster Assistance Response Team that would enter alliance-controlled areas of Iraq to coordinate relief involving the government, the United Nations and international humanitarian organizations. The team soon will have representatives in Kuwait, Turkey, Jordan and Qatar, a White House fact sheet said. http://www.thestate.com/mld/thestate/news/nation/5253147.htm * IRAN: WON'T TAKE IRAQI REFUGEES WITHOUT FINANCIAL HELP by Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson The State, 24th February TEHRAN, Iran - The Iranian government will close its borders to Iraqi refugees if there is a war involving Iraq unless someone else foots the huge bill for caring for them, government officials say. With most refugees from an anticipated U.S. invasion of Iraq expected to head for Iran, the policy could leave countless Iraqis stranded in a mine-infested, no-man's land between the countries. Roughly 1.3 million Iraqi Kurds and Arabs fled across the 911-mile-long Iranian border in the aftermath of the first Persian Gulf War - three times more refugees than the United Nations prepared for. Most of the refugees remained in Iran for four months, costing the Islamic Republic tens of millions of dollars in food and supplies. The international community spent only $1 for every $100 Iran spent on those refugees, claimed Ahmad Hosseini, Iran's head of refugee affairs. "Now, our policy is a closed-door policy. The responsibility for these refugees is that of the people who start this war and of Iraq itself," Hosseini said in an interview. "We'll help by expediting visas (for aid workers), easing supplies through customs and making available our transportation system, but we can't afford to pay for refugees, not again. "We are not ready to take any more money out of Iranian pockets because of a war the United States is once again starting," he added. Iran hosts more refugees than any country in the world, according to the United Nations. At least 2 million Afghans, who first began arriving after the Soviet invasion of their country in 1979, remain in Iran, holding jobs that should go to Iranians at a time when the country suffers from 16 percent unemployment, officials here complain. Another 200,000 Iraqi refugees have also stayed on, many of them in camps in the western provinces. The impending wave of new refugees is even more alarming, Hosseini said. Thirteen years of U.N.-imposed sanctions against Iraq have left its population hungry and sickly, thus in need of more services than those who fled the last Gulf War. Laura O'Mahony, a spokeswoman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees office in Tehran, sympathized with Iranian officials' woes. "There is hope that things will be resolved peacefully, but having said that, we also have to be pragmatic," she said on Sunday. That is proving difficult, when international support for anticipated Iraqi refugees is far less than what was provided in advance of the U.S.-led war on Afghanistan in late 2001, O'Mahony said. U.N. agencies have so far raised less than one third of the $123 million they project they will need to care for an estimated 600,000 Iraqi refugees expected to cross into Jordan, Turkey and Iran. The United States has contributed more than any other single country, offering $15 million, she said. "The UNHCR is prepositioning some supplies, mainly shelter and non-food items," she said. "However, we're very, very limited about what we can do at the moment." Hosseini, meanwhile, has set up an Iranian crisis committee to plan for the anticipated arrival of Iraqis. A growing number of independent humanitarian organizations, including Mercy Corps International of Portland, Ore., are arriving in Iran to help, he added. U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Ruud Lubbers is expected to come to Iran in the coming weeks to discuss the potential refugee crisis. He and Iranian officials are likely to clash over the proposed closed-border policy, as they did during the U.S. war in Afghanistan in 2001. The 10 refugee camps Iran plans on erecting will almost certainly be on Iraqi, rather than Iranian soil, Hosseini said. The same policy with Afghan refugees in 2001 led to a rift between Iran and the U.N. refugee agency, which criticized Iran for setting up camps in a war zone, thus threatening the safety of refugees and aid workers. The argument was never resolved and the United Nations refused to send its workers to the camps. The closed-border policy may be less strictly enforced this time, Hosseini said. "When we are saying we are closing the border, it doesn't mean we are building a wall. If their lives are in imminent danger, we'll let them cross. Our Muslim faith requires it. "But we learned lessons from the (2001) Afghanistan war, the most important of which is that to help refugees, we don't need to bring them into our country." http://cgi.wn.com/?action=display&article=18896022&template=kurdishpost/inde xsearch.txt&index=recent * ARMY CHIEF: HUGE FORCE WOULD OCCUPY IRAQ Associated Press, 25th February WASHINGTON: The Army's top general said Tuesday a military occupying force for a postwar Iraq could total several hundred thousand soldiers. Iraq is "a piece of geography that's fairly significant," Gen. Eric K. Shinseki said at a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee. And he said any postwar occupying force would have to be big enough to maintain safety in a country with "ethnic tensions that could lead to other problems." In response to questioning by Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, the senior Democrat on the committee, Shinseki said he couldn't give specific numbers of the size of an occupation force but would rely on the recommendations of commanders in the region. "How about a range?" said Levin. "I would say that what's been mobilized to this point, something on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers," the general said. "Assistance from friends and allies would be helpful." At the White House, meanwhile, President Bush kept up pressure on Saddam Hussein and the United Nations. He predicted that Saddam would try to "fool the world one more time," by revealing the existence of weapons that he has previously denied having. But the president insisted the only way the Iraqi leader could avoid war was "full disarmament. The man has been told to disarm. For the sake of peace, he must completely disarm." Bush said anew he would welcome a U.N. Security Council vote supporting the U.S. position on using force against Iraq "but I don't believe we need a second resolution." 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." He noted that Iraq sent some of its warplanes out of the country during the 1991 Gulf War, and he suggested Saddam might do the same with weapons in the current situation. Reached after the Senate hearing, Levin said Shinseki's estimate of an occupation force was "very sobering and I would hope the American public would have the opportunity to read that testimony." "It sounded as though almost as large a contingent would need to remain as was there to begin with," Levin said. He said he wanted to review the transcript himself to make sure he understood Shinseki comments completely. Army spokesman Col. Joseph Curtin said later that Shinseki was only giving a rough estimate. Pentagon officials have said that U.S. forces massed in the region number about 200,000, about half of them Army. Responding to concerns raised by the committee chairman, Sen. John Warner, R-Va., Shinseki and Gen. John P. Jumper, the Air Force chief of staff, said some of their forces, particularly special operations troops, were being stretched thin by the demands made on them. In addition to the buildup in Iraq, special forces have been deployed in the Afghanistan region, the Philippines and Colombia. "They are stressed," Shinseki said. "We are using them on multiple missions that a few years ago was not anticipated." Navy and Marine leaders said the problems weren't as great with their troops. "Am I concerned about the next 60 to 90 days? No,I am very confident," said Adm. Vern Clark, chief of Naval operations. Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., questioned whether the administration was so focused on Iraq, it wasn't paying sufficient attention to other threats, such as North Korea's nuclear program and pursuit of Osama bin Laden, despite its insistence that it could fight two wars simultaneously. "It appears to me that we developed and sustained a two-war military to only have it run by an administration with a one-war attention span," he said. [.....] http://www.mlive.com/newsflash/business/index.ssf?/cgi free/getstory_ssf.cgi?f0034_BC_WSJ--Media-IraqWar&&news&newsflash-financial * U.S. WOULD COUNTER IRAQI PROPAGANDA WITH MEDIA ACCESS by Christopher Cooper Ann Arbor News, from Associated Press, 25th February WASHINGTON -- If there is a war in Iraq, only part of it will be fought with bombs and bullets. The rest will be waged with information. And the Pentagon is trying to make sure it has overwhelming firepower in that category, too. Revising internal policies regarding the release of "gun video" from cameras mounted on many of their planes and bombs, U.S. commanders hope to quickly rebut false Iraqi claims of civilian casualties or errant strikes. Pentagon technicians are also building an archive of before-and-after satellite photographs to show how Saddam Hussein has intentionally mingled military and civilian installations, upping the risk of collateral damage. At the same time, 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. "This will be a war of words as much as anything," predicts Gen. Ronald Rand, an Air Force public-affairs officer involved in planning the media campaign. With few prospects for a battlefield victory, the Iraqi dictator is expected to work hard to generate world sympathy and peel support away from a U.S.-led coalition. In 1991, Mr. Hussein managed to end the bombing in Baghdad simply by leading CNN cameras to the al Firdos air-raid shelter, where nearly 400 civilians were killed after the U.S. mistook it for a military bunker. World outrage was so great that a chastened Colin Powell, then-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, ordered an end to bombing in the city. The first Bush administration called off the fighting altogether after pictures appeared around the world of the "highway of death" -- a ribbon of asphalt leading out of Kuwait that was clogged with hundreds of charred vehicles, all victims of a U.S.-led "turkey shoot" air campaign. The Pentagon's plan to allow more than 500 reporters from the U.S., Europe and Arab countries to accompany troops as they invade is also a critical part of the information strategy. The arrangement represents an unusual effort to bring real-time news of the war to a world audience. The last time journalists accompanied a large American invading force in this fashion was on the beaches of Normandy in World War II. Defense officials also are trying to learn from some of the problems encountered in explaining last year's Afghanistan campaign. Lt. Col. Bryan Hilferty, spokesman for the Army's 10th Mountain Division, says the U.S. needs a strategy to protect itself against the kind of propaganda put out by the Taliban during the Afghani fighting. He cites a raid by airborne 10th Mountain Division troops on the remote village of Banditemur, a purported Taliban holdout. The U.S. military hadn't alerted reporters; when journalists visited the village a day after, residents claimed soldiers had run down and killed a small child and then beat an 80-year-old man to death with their gun butts. This account dominated some reports about the episode, with only passing denials from the U.S. military. Col. Hilferty, who wasn't along on the raid, now says the only person killed was a 45-year old man who menaced soldiers with a machine gun. "We should have had reporters on that raid because the villagers lied," he says. "We didn't have any evidence to rebut their allegations." U.S. officials say they are girding for far worse disinformation in Iraq and are aiming to counter it with newscasts to Iraqis hosted by Shameem Rassan, a former Baghdad TV-news reader. Officials say such broadcasts will likely include a U.S. justification for the war. "A lot of Iraqis aren't even aware of 9/11," one official says. "We've got a lot of catching up to do." Transmitting from a Kurdish-held part of northern Iraq, the Pentagon has already begun broadcasting radio messages about Pentagon press conferences and other events. The U.S. also has permission from Jordan, on Iraq's western border, to locate a clandestine radio transmitter there. A fleet of "Commando Solo" planes -- modified C-130s -- are broadcasting radio signals in the area but also have the capability to beam in full-color television once the new programs are ready. The special aircraft have only a 100-mile range for TV broadcasting, however, and are slow-moving, relatively easy targets. An additional mission for Commando Solo: jamming Iraqi television signals. Pentagon planners say they want to ensure Mr. Hussein is muzzled and can't rally the citizenry or make a show of being alive and in charge. Also under consideration once the war begins: using troops to commandeer Iraqi television stations and local transmitters to use for Pentagon-directed news programs. The plan has precedent. In the 1989 U.S. invasion of Panama, the U.S. military took over that country's state-owned television station and broadcast its own messages. During the 1994 invasion of Haiti, the 193rd Special Operations Wing ran an extensive pirate-television operation from the sky, offering a mix of news and political programs. Senior Master Sgt. Mike Kovach, spokesman for the wing, says that as the operators fed their broadcasts into Haiti, they were surprised to see a message on the screen of a government-owned station urging viewers to ignore the "illegal" broadcasts coming in on the adjacent channel. "I don't think we could have bought better advertising," Sgt. Kovach says. No matter how careful American forces are, defense officials say they expect to face charges in Baghdad that many civilians have been killed, harmed or displaced. These officials claim Baghdad has been working for years on ways to mingle its military assets with civilian installations, both to deter some attacks and to get propaganda benefit from whatever destruction American bombs do cause. A fiber-optic communications system installed in 2001, gave Iraq the flexibility to relocate key parts of its air defense close to oil fields and other commercial installations, Pentagon officials say. More recently, they say, Iraqis have begun locating radar in mosques and painting taxicabs to resemble military vehicles, presumably to draw U.S. fire. In response, the Pentagon is dragging out years of satellite data to document the changes being made to civilian and military installations. Showing the Iraqi adjustments will help to "roll out the rationale" for the choice of bomb targets, one Pentagon official says. For the same reason, the Pentagon has decided it will release much more "gun video" from bombing runs than it did in the first Gulf War, primarily by changing its internal policies. In past wars, such video was cleared at the top, and security-conscious officers often balked at releasing it out of fear of giving away tactics. Even when the video was essential to making the U.S. case, getting clearance fast enough to make the evening news was nearly impossible. The Army's Col. Hilferty says the process was so frustrating in Afghanistan that at times "we'd bypass procedure and install a lipstick camera from CNN in the cockpit." Lipstick cameras are tiny devices used by undercover journalists and spies. This time, Pentagon officials say all but the most sensitive video imagery will be cleared quickly by officers in the field. On Feb. 10, the Pentagon told its public-affairs officers that in Iraq, "the use of lipstick cameras and helmet-mounted cameras on combat sorties is approved and encouraged to the greatest extent possible." The instruction adds that "decisions should be made ASAP, preferably in minutes, not hours." Pentagon officials say that for this war, decisions to release gun video will be made by field commanders, which should speed the reaction time. For all of the changes, at least one part of the Pentagon's information plan is hitting roadblocks. Turkey, harboring historic resentment of the British, has told the U.S. it won't allow British reporters to join U.S. forces stationed in its country. And the British, invoking security concerns, will likely forbid reporters from riding on any U.S. bombers flying from its base in Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean. The Saudis, not keen on publicizing their contributions to the war effort, may bar all reporters from their bases, military officials say. And Qatar has already declared that one of its air bases, which employs a number of its citizens, will be off-limits to television cameras. But despite problems, the Pentagon's opinion-shaping efforts already may be having a positive effect. As part of its attempt to reach out to Arab audiences, the Pentagon has invited 10 reporters from the pan-Arab television network al Jazeera -- best known in the U.S. for broadcasting messages from Osama bin Laden -- to accompany U.S. troops into Iraq if there is a war. Not everyone is convinced this is a great idea. Al Jazeera "is nothing but a propaganda machine, and I wouldn't take them to war on a bet," says retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey, a Desert Storm veteran. Al Jazeera recently hired a full-time Pentagon reporter, Dana Buderi, a Syrian national, whose last assignment was covering Jerusalem for the Associated Press. Ms. Buderi says she has already taken a cruise on a U.S. aircraft carrier. "I guess people at the Pentagon do distrust us," she says. "But I'd say our relationship is already a lot better than it was during the war in Afghanistan." _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. 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