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[casi] News titles, 26/02-05/03/03



News titles, 26/02-05/03/03

INTRODUCTION

Much has happened over the period of this mailing - the backbench revolt in
the UK House of Commons; the meeting of the Iraqi pro-US (more or less)
opposition in Salahuddin; Zalmay Khalilzad telling them they'll have to
behave themselves and not get in the way; the very real possibility of a
Turkish invasion of the Kurdish Autonomous Zone; the Arab League summit
which, however weakly, nonetheless definitely condemned the proposed war;
and of course the vote in the Turkish Parliament which has at the very least
- even if it is reversed - postponed the war by several weeks. And it now
seems clear that - barring the possibility that the weapons inspectors
actually find something (and no-one seems to think that is very likely) -
there won't be a UN Security Council resolution clearly and unambiguously
authorising war.

On the face of it, it seems that the US 'ultra' party - the old Reaganites,
the victors of the Cold War - have led the US, together with the British
Prime Minister, to the edge of an abyss. What should have been the easiest
of missions - an enemy already utterly reviled throughout the world and
deprived for twelve years of the means of defending himself - has turned
into a labour of Sisyphus and, instead of looking like a people who can do
whatever they like, the Americans are actually looking impotent. Assuming,
as everyone does, that they will win, the victory will hardly be glorious. A
man intent on swatting a fly may be assured of eventual overwhelming,
cataclysmic success, but in the course of missing time after time he will
end up looking, and feeling, ridiculous.

The handling of the delicate problems prior to the war does not augur well
for the handling of the delicate problems after the war - when, as seems
likely, even those elements of Iraqi opinion that support the Americans at
present will turn against them. The 'ultra' thesis is that sheer power will
see them through. But that hasn't worked very well up to now. Indeed it
could be argued (as I suggested last week) that, given the nonsense it has
swallowed already, ' the world's' arguments for opposing the war on Iraq are
actually rather weak: what has borne them along has been precisely a
reaction against the manifestation of sheer power.

None of this is sufficient to prevent war. The people who could prevent war
are the same people who could have prevented the 1991 war, and who could
have broken the sanctions regime, namely, Iraq's neighbours. Whatever little
arrangements might have been made nearly all the neighbours have refused to
allow an invasion from their own territory. If Turkey holds good then only
Kuwait is left. Kuwait was, presumably, present at the Arab league meeting
which opposed the war, and one wonders if, in addition to the talk of Saddam
being asked to resign, any pressure was put on them (the articles I have
picked up on the summit don't seem to address the question). Kuwait has
never to my knowledge declared itself to be in principle in favour of a war
under all circumstances; it has always given the impression - like Britain -
that it would require a UN Security Council resolution. At the time of
writing, a UN Security Council resolution also appears as the indispensable
condition of any change of heart by the Turkish parliament.

There is for the moment no possibility of such a resolution being passed
Indeed none is being proposed. It would be impossible for any reputable
lawyer to argue that the resolution currently proposed by USUK (plus Spain)
actually authorises war, still less a war waged on its own initiative by one
of its members with or without 'allies'. At best it declares that Iraq is
now liable to face unspecified 'serious consequences'. It puts the UN
Security Council under an obligation to meet again to decide what those
'serious consequences' might be. A decision to go to war would require a
third resolution. The obvious reason for this is that the framers of the
second resolution knew that an unequivocal authorisation for war had no
possibility of being passed. But the sleight of hand whereby some members
will interpret the resolution as a simple statement of fact  and others as
an authorisation is surely too gross even by the habitual standards of
United States diplomacy.

If the war takes place, then, it will be illegal, and very visibly so. The
US, with little Britain at its side, will have declared the UN to be
'irrelevant' and effectively have detached itself from a system of law which
is heavily weighted in its favour and has often served it in the past as a
useful instrument of policy. Some years ago Gore Vidal put forward the
apparently outlandish proposal that the United States should be expelled
from the UN. With the war on Iraq, however, the US will effectively have
expelled itself, together with its allies, ourselves included. Is it too
much to hope that the international community (the real one) will draw the
obvious conclusion and that we could see a division begin to emerge between
those countries that are willing to live under a system of international law
and to abide by the terms of internationally agreed conventions, and those
that are not?

In this way, the unipolar world could once again become bipolar - not on the
basis of two great superpowers but of a great superpower with its satellites
on one side and, on the other, a law-bound community of nations probably
based on what is now called the 'non aligned movement' or, what must almost
be the same thing, the United Nations General Assembly (which could,
perhaps, transfer the centre of its activities to Kuala Lumpur).

That would be a natural and elegant development of the remarkable political
achievement of Donald Rumsfeld and his friends who have managed in a very
short time to turn the great upsurge of solidarity with the US that appeared
in the wake of Sept 11 into a polarised world with themselves on one side
and everyone else on the other, thus achieving the quite dazzling political
feat of handing a moral advantage to President Hussein.

CORRECTION: Last week's mailing contained an article entitled 'Bush aide:
Inspections or not, we'll attack Iraq' about Richard Perle. It was
attributed to the Daily Mirror, 25th February. In fact it seems to be a much
older article possibly (as the reference to MPs should have alerted me)
dating back to RP's visit to Britain last November. We learn that Daily
Mirror URLs will summon up up old articles under the current date. Thanks to
Gabriel for pointing this out.


NEWS, 26/02-05/03/03 (1)

NORTHERN IRAQ/SOUTHERN KURDISTAN

*  U.S. Would Limit Action By Kurds in Postwar Iraq [Extracts on the
anti-Kurd elements of the proposed deal with Turkey]
*  When Iraqis play football in Kurdistan, local fans cannot hide their
hatred ['the main chant from 10,000-strong Kurdish crowd, when not cheering
on their own side, was: "Stuff the Turks."']
*  Iranian-Backed Brigade in Northern Iraq
*  Thousands of Kurds protest Turkish plans for Iraq
*  Iraq Kurd gun market bustles under Turkish threat
*  Turkey to Iraqi Kurds: We will protect our interests [Turkey apparently
using the crisis to increase its bargaining power against the Kurds]

OPPOSITION ALLIANCE

*  U.S. Envoy Reassures Kurds on Concerns About Turkey [Zalmay Khalilzad
addressing the Opposition conference in Salaheddin. Delays partly due to
Turkey's refusal 'to approve the full number of security officials that
Washington had requested to protect Mr. Khalilzad'. Wayne Downing (remember
him? He was the one who thought the Kurds could do for Iraq what the
Northern Alliance did for Afghanistan) was also turned back at the border]
*  Iraqi Opposition Names Leadership, Defies U.S. Plans [Six man leadership.
The 4 we know plus 'Ayad Allawi of the Iraqi National Accord, as well as
Iraqi dissident and former foreign minister Adnan Pachachi.' Pachachi, 80
years old, is the only Arab Sunni, and he has turned the offer down (see
'Iraq's route to a democratic future' below)]
*  Iraqi opposition elects a leading commission composed of 6 figures [It
mentions 'Adnan al Baja Jee, a former minister by the end of the 1960s', who
presumably replaces Pachachi]
*  Iraqi Opposition in Bitter Dispute With US Aide [Extract on conflict
between Zalmay Khalilzad and the SCIRI]
*  Iraq's route to a democratic future [Adnan Pachachi explains why he
rejected the invitation to join the leadership of the US recognised Iraqi
opposition and proposes an alternative to US military rule and to rule by
the INC.]

IRAQI/TURKISH RELATIONS (1 - before the vote)

*  Turkey Shuts Down Its Border With Iraq - BBC
*  Turkey evacuates embassy in Baghdad
*  Another delay sought on U.S. troops in Turkey [from Tuesday to Thursday
to Saturday]
*  Ankara takes new line in foreign policy [Mohammad Noureddine, in the
Lebanon Daily Star, maintains that Ankara has agreed to support the US
regardless of any second resolution. This, however, is a violation of the
Turkish constitution: 'Article 92 (? - in 'Turkish vote shocker: Why  and
what happens next?', also by Mohammad Noureddine, it becomes Article 29 -
PB) of the Turkish Constitution states that the army can only be deployed
outside the country's borders (and/or foreign troops can only be stationed
on Turkish soil) in cases deemed legitimate in international law. Turkish
legal experts agree that such a situation would arise if Turkey were
attacked by a foreign power, if there were a UN resolution sanctioning such
actions, and if Turkey acts according to a decision by NATO' (which helps
explain what all the recent fuss over NATO was all about). Noureddine goes
on to assert that the deal done with the US requires, among much else, 'that
the Iraqi Kurds must be disarmed after the war' and 'that a Turk must be
included in the administration that would rule Iraq after the overthrow of
the current regime'. He calls it 'a new American Turkish Sykes-Picot' and
describes at as a very dangerous development in Turkish foreign policy (away
from Kemalism, which he describes as essentially defensive)]
*  Turkey's top politician postpones U.S. deployment vote to Saturday
['Private NTV television said the two sides had agreed that U.S. officers
would arm and disarm Kurdish opposition groups in northern Iraq under the
supervision of Turkish officers.']
*  Turkey Offered Deal on Textiles ['The proposals would temporarily waive
long-standing "Buy American" provisions to enable the Pentagon to purchase
Turkish-made apparel for U.S. troops. Turkey would be allowed to increase
its duty-free exports of clothing above the present quota, but only for
goods made with American yarn and fabric.']
*  Turkey Remains Gridlocked on Bases [The article argues that the Turkish
military, as represented in the National Security Council, is refusing to
come down strongly on the question of US troop deployment in order to make
things more difficult for the JDP: "The party is trying to protect itself,
because it would be safer if the military backed the deployment, too.
Instead, the party is cruising in the dark without any signals from the
shore."]


AND, IN NEWS, 26/02-05/03/03 (2)

IRAQI/TURKISH RELATIONS (2 - after the vote)

*  Turkish vote on troops a stunning blow to U.S. ['Gul said Turkey's
democratic system had spoken with finality. "Turkey is the only democratic
country in the region," he said. "The decision is clear. We have to respect
this decision, as this is what democracy requires." ']
*  Turkey Rejects U.S. Use Of Bases [The article suggests among the reasons
failure to finalise the economic package and the determination of the old
military-political establishment to embarrass the JDP government (a high
risk strategy, I would have thought)]
*  U.S. Clings to Option Of Turkish Bases ['"it will alter our ability to
be, in effect, interspersed and be the interlocutors between the Kurds and
the Turks," Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Del.), the top Democrat on the Foreign
Relations Committee, said on "Fox News Sunday". The crisis has also revealed
that Egypt is letting US military material pass through the Suez Canal]
*  U.S. Forced to Rethink Iraq War Strategy [What are they going to do now
with the 'Iron Horse' and the 'Screaming Eagles' (and to think we're obliged
to take these people seriously)? Outlines reasons why they wanted Turkey -
which come down to keeping the Kurds out of Kirkuk and Mosul; to get quickly
to Tikrit; to mediate between the Kurds and Turks]
*  Troop Vote Strains U.S.-Turkish Ties [Ambiguity as to the possibility of
another vote. 'Almost 100 of the party's 362 legislators defected'. The
opposition must have voted unanimously against. Which is surprising given
that they are presumably largely the old Turkish Nats who could be expected
to be more pro-US ...]
*  Turkey Will Seek a Second Decision on a G.I. Presence [Extract giving a
bit of an account of the actual course of events:
*  'Serves rude America right' [Short, rather touching little vox pop in
Turkey]
*  Turkish Stocks Plunge on U.S. Troop Vote [This article makes the
important point that the by-election which is expected to get Erdogan into
Parliament occurs next Sunday. Which helps to explain both why he is not
promising a new vote on US deployment, and why the US think they're still in
with a chance]
*  War may be slower, riskier without Turkey [Extracts, with opinions as to
purely military implications from Tim Garden of the Centre for Defence
Studies at King's College, London and Joseph Cirincione at the Carnegie
Endowment in Washington]
*  An ally we're better off without: Why President Bush should turn his back
on Turkey [Christopher Hitchens inveighs against the Turks - Kurdistan,
Cyprus, the Armenians. A Turkish intervention in the Kurdish Autonomous Zone
would, he says, be destabilising. But how are the US going to prevent - or
control - it if they can't get in themselves, in sizeable numbers, from
Turkey?]
*  Erdogan calls for rethink on deployment of US troops [and certain AKP
members say they would change their votes if given the chance]
*  Turkish vote shocker: Why  and what happens next? [More than usually
detailed account from the Lebanon Daily Star. The article reminds us that
'on the eve of World War II ... the CHP-dominated legislature rejected
Turkey's entry in the war by one vote'. The CHP is the Republican People's
Party, which is at present in opposition and seems to have voted unanimously
against US deployment. Mohammad Noureddine concludes that a deal will
probably be struck at the expense of the Kurds]
*  Turkey gives Europe a lesson in democracy [Mary Dejevsky argues that
Turkey has now proved itself worthy to join Europe and sees the Turkish vote
as an augury of the future reconciliation of Europe 'new' and 'old']
*  Powell Interview by Turkish TV [Marc Grossman, Under Secretary for
Political Affairs (not Powell) being very reasonable and understanding.
Extract.]


AND, IN NEWS, 26/02-05/03/03 (3)

IMPERIALIST DESIGNS

*  U.S. Intelligence Categorizes Iraqis to Punish, or to Deal With
*  U.S. Diplomat Resigns, Protesting 'Our Fervent Pursuit of War' [John
Brady Kiesling, the political counselor at the United States Embassy in
Athens]
*  Mystery still shrouds motives for war [Extract. Patrick Seale, in the
Lebanon Daily Star, after blaming it all on Ariel Sharon, imagines possible
catastrophes]
*  Pentagon Contradicts General on Iraq Occupation Force's Size [Wolfowitz
at a hearing of the House Budget Committee, Rumsfeld at a press conference
with Hamid Karzai (remember him?), contradicting Gen. Eric K. Shinseki who
had said an occupation  would require hundreds of thousands of troops (Last
week's mailing, 'Army Chief: Huge Force would occupy Iraq' under
Implications of War)]
*  The Pashtun prophet who shapes U.S. policy [Account of Zalmay Khalilzad.
The reference to 'the Pashtun-led Northern Alliance' suggests there may be
limits to the     writer's knowledge]
*  Iraq now the rallying call for champions of freedom [Abdelwahab
El-Affendi argues that an invasion will be good for the Middle East but bad
for the US and Britain]
*  The American camel noses itself into the Middle East tent [Brief
historical account from Lebanon Daily Star of US interest in Middle Eastern
oil. It claims that the US was behind the removal of Qasim (1963. It says he
was hanged. I understood he had been shot. It also seems to suggest that
'President Arif' came before 'President Kassem' whereas in fact he came, or
rather went, after him), as well as the Iran/Iraq war.]
*  War is coming, deal with it [Michael Young in the Lebanon Daily Star
argues that instead of opposing the war, which is inevitable, Europeans
should be seeking to influence the post war settlement]

URLs ONLY:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A23867-2003Mar1.html
*  War Plan for Iraq Largely in Place
by Thomas E. Ricks
Washington Post, 2nd March
['Pentagon sources said they expect that more targets will be struck in
Baghdad on the first night of the campaign than were hit in the Iraqi
capital during the entire Gulf War, when about 330 bombs and missiles hit
the city ... Infrastructure such as electrical plants will not be hit, said
people familiar with the planning. ... Unlike in the Gulf War, said former
Navy secretary Richard Danzig, "[w]e know we have to repair whatever we
bomb."']

http://www.dawn.com/2003/03/04/int18.htm
*  US seeks to regroup after setbacks to Iraq policy
by Robin Wright
Dawn, from Los Angeles Times. 4th March
[The article quotes some 'experts' as looking to early April; Sen 'Jay'
Rockefeller saying an attack from the South could take two months, which is
too long; and Kenneth Pollack who sees the Arab summit resolution as a
serious blow: "The United States was hoping for a more neutral statement and
expecting a call for a high-level delegation to ask Saddam to step down.
What it didn't expect was a condemnation, which sends a bad signal to
everyone else," Pollack said.]

http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/stories/WO0303/S00044.htm
*  American Public Diplomacy and Islam (Press Release: US State Department )
Scoop Media, 5th March 2003, 10:04 am
[Interesting report of Charlotte Beers, Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy
and Public Affairs, to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on efforts to
present an attractive image of the US to the Muslim world]

IRAQI/UK RELATIONS

*  Blair rocked by biggest revolt over war on Iraq
*  UK taxpayers forced to pay millions for Iraq arms [in the form of
government underwritten insurance deals]
*  Britain to Close Yemeni Embassy ['in light of the deteriorating security
situation']
*  The first privatised war ['This could be the last war fought by British
armed forces predominantly in the public sector. The Ministry of Defence is
poised to enter into a welter of partnerships with business, ushering in the
most fundamental shake-up of the military for more than 100 years.' The
article is largely a complaint that this will impair the efficiency of
Britain's war machine. Which reads to me like a strong argument in its
favour]

URLs ONLY:
http://politics.guardian.co.uk/foreignaffairs/story/0,11538,903826,00.html
*  Saddam's time has almost run out, Straw tells Commons
by Patrick Wintour and Michael White
The Guardian, 27th February
[Guardian account of the House of Commons debate, for what its worth. I
assume something of more substance must have been said than what is recorded
here]

http://argument.independent.co.uk/commentators/story.jsp?story=382663
*  Why should we in Britain help Bush to get re-elected?
by Richard Dawkins
The Independent, 1st March
[Richard Dawkins provides an original reason for opposing the war. So that
Britain might be a more attractive haven for US scientists fleeing the
'uncouth fundamentalist redneck', George Bush, when he wins the next
election on the back of a victory in Iraq. Dawkins appears to think that US
decency is represented by ex-President Clinton and Mr Gore (not to mention
Madeleine Albright)]


AND, IN NEWS, 26/02-05/03/03 (4)

IRAQI/ARAB WORLD RELATIONS

 *  The Arabs and Iraq [David Hirst on the sense of hopelessness afflicting
the Arab world]
*  Saudis offer bases for war [according to the Washington Post: 'The
newspaper said the co-operation included full use of the air command and
control centre at Prince Sultan Air Base ...']
*  Turkey pockets the price, Iraqi Kurds pay the cost [Lebanon Daily Star
roundup of Arab press on the current state of the bargaining. Saad Mehio
writes in the UAE daily Al-Khaleej  that everyone "is treating Iraq like a
commercial deal that must be clinched, an auction that mustn't be missed, or
a slaughtered cow whose meat people are rushing to carve up."  And
passionate argument from Jordan's Mahmoud Rimawi for pressure on Mr Hussein
to resign]
*  League 'lacks courage to discuss UAE plan' [for pressure on Mr Hussein to
resign]
*  'There is No Future For the Arab League' [according to a range of Saudi
intellectuals and political commentators]
*  Riyadh says it won't be part of war [Speaking before the Arab League
summit and the confrontation with Gadaffy: "An occupation of Iraq is not
simple. How (are) 250,000 troops going to maintain order in a country like
that? Especially if war leads to the instability we think it will lead to,
if it leads to chaos we think it will lead to. If the social order breaks
down, who is going to be fighting who? It is going to be a mess we think"]
*  Zayed urges Saddam to resign, go into exile [It may be worth remembering
that Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan of the UAE was in the vanguard of
Arab laders breaking the isolation of Iraq and - quite honourably in my view
-undermining the effect of sanctions]
*  Bahrain, Kuwait join U.A.E. in opposing Saddam [They say Saddam's exile
is the only way to avert war. But there is another way, and it is in the
hands of Kuwait (and Bahrain and Qatar)]
*  Arab impotence and misguided anger [Pepe Escobar's account of the Arab
summit. Rather splendid on the confrontation between Gadaffy and Saudi
Arabia's Crown Prince Abdullah.  Includes a detour into the Arab reaction
to the invasion of Kuwait, stating as a fact that the Saudis had been fooled
into believing that Iraq was about to invade them, but wrongly giving the
impression that the first Arab League condemnation of the invasion had been
obtained under US pressure. He also mentions that the Gulf area is looking
forward to all the profitable business opportunities which will come
available after the invasion]
*  Analysts disagree on whether Arab summit rose to people's expectations,
agree little could be done to avert war [Some Arab opinions (generally
favourable) on the Summit, and appointment of Troika (Lebanon, Bahrain and
Tunisia) to tour world on a 'peace mission']    
*  Why we can trust Bush this time [Interesting argument from Saad Mehio of
the Lebanon Daily Star that once the US is installed in Iraq, the Middle
East and its problems, including Israel, will necessarily become major
preoccupations and it will be forced to change many of its present
assumptions and practises: 'This, in fact, is our only reason for feeling
optimistic.']


AND, IN NEWS, 26/02-05/03/03 (5)

INSIDE IRAQ

*  Saddam repositioning troops, U.S. officials say
*  Bin Laden gives Iraq an unlikely unity [Syed Saleem Shahzad gives an
account of Sufism in Iraq and remarks that all the Sufis he knows are great
admirers of Osama bin Laden: 'Ask any Iraqi about bin Laden and invariably
the eyes will light up, and the response will be along the lines of, "Bin
Laden is a Muslim, a faithful and a warrior of Islam."' He sees a community
of feeling between the supposedly antagonistic Sufi and Salafi schools,
mentioning that Mullah Omar is a devotee of Sheikh Mostafa bin Abdullah,
spiritual leader of the Naqshandi school of Sufis (and 'local government
official' in Arbil). We also learn that 'Izzat Ibrahim, the deputy leader of
Iraq ... is himself a Sufi of the Qadri and Rafahi schools'. I haven't had a
great regard so far for Syed Saleem Shahzad but assuming all this is right
he's really come up with the goods in this one]
*  Hearing War Drums, Iraqis Still March to Their Own Beat [Getting on with
life, and well digging, in Baghdad. The account of a TV encounter between
President Hussein and a couple of traffic police is quite funny: '"We will
be fighting with one hand and organizing the traffic with the other," the
commander of the traffic police reported.']
*  A 'third force' awaits US in Iraq [Syed Saleem Shahzad coming up with the
goods again with an article on the Muslim Brotherhood, well-placed to
mushroom in importance after the war]
*  What are we fighting for? [Review of books on Iraq - Bradt's Guide, Dilip
Hiro, Aburish, Tripp, Coughlin (not recommended), Cockburns]
*  Inside Saddam's military elite [Account of defector from the Republican
Guard]
*  Iraq's Christians fear being caught in the crossfire [Visit to Baghdad of
Bishop Pierre Whalon, 'a French-American who is in charge of the convocation
of American Episcopal churches in Europe'. He puts it bluntly: "The concern
is that Christians will disappear," said Bishop Whalon. "The present regime
gives them some tolerance, who knows what the next one will do."]

URL ONLY:
http://news.scotsman.com/international.cfm?id=261472003
*  No morality in leaving Iraqis in the Republic of Fear
The Scotsman, 3rd March
['He has been prepared to sacrifice his people and his country's economic
development to build the most formidable military machine in the region (it
still is, despite the sanctions). Since the inspectors left in 1998 he has
used illegal oil revenues to go on a global spree to acquire the
paraphernalia needed for weapons of mass destruction. Only a massive
American military build up stopped him from re-invading Kuwait in 1994.'
None of these statements are, to my knowledge, true. The Scotsman also uses
the quotes from Kenneth Pollack's book which can be found in 'What Iraq is
really like' under Anti-War Initiatives]

NO FLY ZONES

*  American Warplanes Bomb Two Iraqi Sites [Between Baghdad and Al Kut,
Wednesday, 26th February]
*  U.S. Strikes Iraq Communications Sites [near Mosul, Thursday, 27th
February]
*  Western jets hit Iraqi targets anew: US [Friday 28th February, near An
Nasiriyah, 170 miles (270 km) Southwest of Baghdad, according to the US
account. The Iraqi account claims there was also an attack in the North]
*  U.S. Says Iraqi Jets Entered No-Fly Zone [Two flights Tuesday and
Thursday, each by a lone Iraqi MiG-25]
*  Iraq: U.S.-U.K. Raid Kills Six Civilians in Basra [Sunday, 2nd March
(Iraq) or early Monday, 3rd March (US)]
*  Allies bomb key Iraqi targets [The article refers to 'allegations that
Britain and the US have unilaterally changed the rules of the no-fly zones'.
But since the no-fly zones were established unilaterally its difficult how
the rules could be changed any other way.]


AND, IN NEWS, 26/02-05/03/03 (6)

ANTI-WAR INITIATIVES

*  AFL-CIO Federation Labor Union Passes anti war resolution [though in
favour of continued, 'multilateral', pressure, ie Clinton, not Bush]
*  Thousands of Egyptians Protest Against a U.S. War in Iraq
*  140,000 Egyptians rally for Iraq [Extracts. Rather more scary for the
government than our little efforts]    
*  Massive Anti-War Rally in Bahrain
*  300,000 Yemenis Protest US War Plans
*  What Iraq is really like: Those who know can't wait for the U.S. to
attack [Jack Kelly, of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, says that a group of
anti-Saddam protestors over from France weren't allowed to participate in
the London demonstration on 15th February or to display 'placards reading
'Freedom for Iraq' and 'American rule, a hundred thousand times better than
Tikriti tyranny' ... the tough guys who supervised the march would have none
of that," Taheri said. "Only official placards, manufactured in the
thousands and distributed among the 'spontaneous' marchers, were allowed.'
Which is a blatant lie. But it does pose the question how come the 4 million
Iraqi exiles Mr Blair says favour the war haven't been able to get together
even a small public demonstration?]
*  Human shield cracks on Baghdad's cynicism [A rather strange report which
suggests that they would have been willing to take position at hospitals or
schools but not electricity plants, water treatment centres, communications
facilities. No evidence is given of any Iraqi 'cynicism'. The main problem
seems to have been that the expectation of very large numbers of people,
which would, it was felt, have made an impact on Western opinion, was
disappointed]
*  Inside the deluded world of the 'human shields' [Daily Telegraph account.
Although obviously written in a spirit of ridicule a certain amount of
genuine affection can also be detected]
*  Amman protest march cancelled
*  Independent Iraqis oppose Bush's war [Account of Da'wa and the Iraqi CP
who both oppose the war and sanctions as well as Saddam Hussein. But the
phrase 'moderate Islamic party' doesn't seem entirely appropriate for the
group whose activities in 1979 were one of the elements that contributed to
the launching of the Iran/Iraq war.]

CHEMICAL, BIOLOGICAL, NUCLEAR WEAPONS

*  Iraq agrees 'in principle' to destroy missiles [Extract referring to the
visit of the South African disarmament team. 'South African disarmament
experts visiting Iraq said today they were convinced Iraq was doing its best
to disarm.' After which, perhaps, USUK will go quiet on the argument
comparing Iraq unfavourably with the South Africans]
*  U.N. Finds No Long-Range Iraqi Missiles [Washington Post interviews
missile experts who don't see the threat from the al-Samoud as being
terribly serious]
*  Chemicals Would Be Major Threat in Iraq
*  Blix: Iraq could have made greater efforts: An edited text of Hans Blix's
report [Draft report apparently prepared prior ro the agreement to destroy
the al-Samoud missiles]
*  US prepares to use toxic gases in Iraq [in contravention of the (UK
drafted) Chemical Weapons Convention]
*  U.S. Commander: Iraq Use of Chemicals Against Iran "Most Extensive"
[Major General John Doesburg, head of the U.S. army's chemical and
biological defense command, 'speaking at a Pentagon briefing, said many
people have forgotten the fact that Iraq used chemical weapons in its war
with Iran'. Alternatively they are still under the influence of US efforts
to confuse the issue at the time]


AND, IN NEWS, 26/02-05/03/03 (7)

INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY

*  Australian experts warn attack on Iraq could end in international court
[the ICC, for breach of the UN Charter and Geneva Convention]
*  Germany Refuses to Provide More Aid to Turkey    [and Schroeder visits
Russia]
*  Antiwar Fever Puts Mexico in Quandary Over Iraq Vote
*  Key states bow to war pressure [Angola, Mexico and Pakistan, but not, it
seems, very much so far]
*  Non-aligned power in a unipolar world [Notes from the Lebanon Daily Star
on the necessity of the 116-member Non-Aligned Movement : 'The UN, which had
served as the foremost forum for NAM to express its opinions and enhance its
independence and freedom-oriented policies, faces one of two fates. The
first is the imposition of total US hegemony on the world body. The second
is that Washington may choose to relegate the UN to international oblivion
or the museum of history, like the League of Nations before it, if it
doesn't submit to its dictates.']
*  North Korea's scant electricity supply fuels nuclear drive [Not directly
to do with Iraq but a good short explanation of what is behind the present
crisis with North Korea]
*  Revealed: US dirty tricks to win vote on Iraq war [Willing as I am to
believe that the US is up to 'dirty tricks' I can't quite make it out of the
leaked memo in question (text in next item). In particular I don't see that
it details 'the US plan to bug the phones and emails of key Security Council
members']
*  US plan to bug Security Council: The text of the memorandum detailing the
US plan to bug the phones and emails of key Security Council members
*  Chirac given ecstatic welcome as Algerians back anti-war stance [A long
time since any French leader received a 'hero's welcome' in Algeria]
*  Iran Offers Plan to End Iraq Crisis ["We want a referendum to be held in
Iraq and the Iraqi opposition (to) reconcile with the current regime in that
country under the supervision of the United Nations ... " and 'a meeting of
Iraq's six neighbors, the five permanent members of the U.N. Security
Council and U.N. chief Kofi Annan to deescalate mounting tension in the
region']
*  Muslim leaders gather for summit on Iraq
*  US hints at fresh sweetener to stop Russia using veto [The article
doesn't seem to correspond to the title except that the US and Britain are
considering a further watering down of the 2nd Resolution, presumably making
it even clearer that it doesn't authorise war. At present it looks as though
any old second resolution - perhaps one on the virtues of motherhood and
apple pie - would do. Otherwise, Jack Straw is afraid that if Europe
continues to oppose the US, the US will go unilateral. Is he hoping that if
we go along with the US this time we will be in a better position to
restrain it the next time? Does that mean that he thinks that without such
restraint the US is in danger of acting ... unreasonably?]


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