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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' * Mystery still shrouds motives for war * Pentagon Contradicts General on Iraq Occupation Force's Size * The Pashtun prophet who shapes U.S. policy * Iraq now the rallying call for champions of freedom * The American camel noses itself into the Middle East tent * War is coming, deal with it IRAQI/UK RELATIONS * Blair rocked by biggest revolt over war on Iraq * UK taxpayers forced to pay millions for Iraq arms * Britain to Close Yemeni Embassy * The first privatised war IMPERIALIST DESIGNS http://www.nytimes.com/2003/02/26/international/middleeast/26ELIT.html * U.S. INTELLIGENCE CATEGORIZES IRAQIS TO PUNISH, OR TO DEAL WITH by Thom Shanker and David Johnston New York Times, 26th February WASHINGTON, Feb. 25 ‹ United States intelligence officials have specifically identified more than 2,000 members of the Iraqi elite, including some to be captured as possible war criminals and many more the American military will try to turn against Saddam Hussein during any invasion, senior government officials said today. The officials said the computer database, whose existence was previously undisclosed, divided the Iraqi leadership into three categories: hard-core allies of Mr. Hussein; senior Iraqis whose allegiances are uncertain but who may be willing to cooperate with United States forces; and another group of people who are believed either to secretly oppose the government or whose technical expertise is deemed crucial to running a post-Hussein government. President Bush seemed to have some of these officials in mind when he told reporters that Iraq's generals should "clearly understand that if they take innocent life, if they destroy infrastructure, they will be held to account as war criminals." But not all of Mr. Hussein's commanders face the possibility of harsh treatment. "If they prevent use of weapons of mass destruction or if they surrender their troops without fighting, that would mitigate whatever punishment is coming to them," a senior Bush administration official said today. The list was assembled by a number of government agencies and departments, including the Central Intelligence Agency, the Pentagon and the Justice Department. Senior officials acknowledged that the idea of identifying the leadership of a potentially hostile country was not a new one. But they described it as the largest effort of its kind, one that dwarfs work by American intelligence to identify Taliban leaders during the war in Afghanistan or to analyze the military and political leadership in Belgrade during the war in Kosovo. Mr. Bush's warning, along with the comments of senior officials throughout the government, is part of a coordinated American effort to encourage acts that undermine Mr. Hussein's authority, unsettle his leadership circle and perhaps persuade him to leave the country, the officials said. Exile for the Iraqi leader is an option that Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld raised anew today in a speech in Washington and that Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser, spoke of on Monday at the White House. To that end, public discussion of the new intelligence database could prompt those members of the Iraqi leadership who are not in Mr. Hussein's immediate inner circle to contemplate cooperation with the American military. "Clearly, our desire is to have as small a number as possible with any stake in the survival of the regime," said one senior administration official. [.....] A senior Bush administration official said it was unlikely that the government, either on its own or with allies, would engage in extensive war crimes prosecutions. "Don't think Nuremburg," one senior official said. "Think about the Tokyo war crimes trials," in which Gen. Hideki Tojo and a few dozen of his lieutenants were tried after Japan's surrender. The Iraqi people may also be encouraged to develop so-called truth commissions similar to those in postapartheid South Africa or post-Communist Eastern Europe. A senior Defense Department official said today that the list was available only to the most senior people in the administration ‹ as well as C.I.A. officers and Special Operations forces who already had been working inside Iraq and were expected to spearhead the hunt for Mr. Hussein and his inner circle. http://www.nytimes.com/2003/02/27/international/middleeast/27NATI.html * U.S. DIPLOMAT RESIGNS, PROTESTING 'OUR FERVENT PURSUIT OF WAR' by Felicity Barringer New York Times, 27th February UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 26 ‹ A career diplomat who has served in United States embassies from Tel Aviv to Casablanca to Yerevan resigned this week in protest against the country's policies on Iraq. The diplomat, John Brady Kiesling, the political counselor at the United States Embassy in Athens, said in his resignation letter, "Our fervent pursuit of war with Iraq is driving us to squander the international legitimacy that has been America's most potent weapon of both offense and defense since the days of Woodrow Wilson." Mr. Kiesling, 45, who has been a diplomat for about 20 years, said in a telephone interview tonight that he faxed the letter to Secretary of State Colin L, Powell on Monday after informing Thomas Miller, the ambassador in Athens, of his decision. He said he had acted alone, but "I've been comforted by the expressions of support I've gotten afterward" from colleagues. "No one has any illusions that the policy will be changed," he said. "Too much has been invested in the war." Louis Fintor, a State Department spokesman, said he had no information on Mr. Kiesling's decision and it was department policy not to comment on personnel matters. In his letter, a copy of which was provided to The New York Times by a friend of Mr. Kiesling's, the diplomat wrote Mr. Powell: "We should ask ourselves why we have failed to persuade more of the world that a war with Iraq is necessary. We have over the past two years done too much to assert to our world partners that narrow and mercenary U.S. interests override the cherished values of our partners." His letter continued: "Even where our aims were not in question, our consistency is at issue. The model of Afghanistan is little comfort to allies wondering on what basis we plan to rebuild the Middle East, and in whose image and interests." It is rare but not unheard-of for a diplomat, immersed in the State Department's culture of public support for policy, regardless of private feelings, to resign with this kind of public blast. From 1992 to 1994, five State Department officials quit out of frustration with the Clinton administration's Balkans policy. Asked if his views were widely shared among his diplomatic colleagues, Mr. Kiesling said: "No one of my colleagues is comfortable with our policy. Everyone is moving ahead with it as good and loyal. The State Department is loaded with people who want to play the team game ‹ we have a very strong premium on loyalty." http://www.dailystar.com.lb/opinion/28_02_03_b.htm * MYSTERY STILL SHROUDS MOTIVES FOR WAR by Patrick Seale Daily Star, Lebanon, 28th February [.....] Instead of a stable and democratic Middle East in harmony with the US and Israel, one can predict massive loss of life and material destruction in Iraq; the collapse of central government leading to mob rule and vicious killings in many parts of the country; a huge flood of desperate refugees seeking shelter across borders; the drying up of trade, investment and tourism throughout the Middle East, dealing a harsh blow to the fragile economies of Egypt, Syria, Jordan and also Israel; a ruthless scramble for Iraq's oil by the world's leading governments and oil companies; an upsurge of Islamic and nationalist outrage expressed in a wave of individual attacks on American and British targets, evolving gradually into more organized guerrilla warfare against their occupying armies and against the docile government they may hope to put in place. American (and British and Israeli) expectations in Iraq could in fact be torpedoed by their closest ally, Turkey. Ever since its foundation in the 1920s, the modern Iraqi state has felt threatened on both its western and eastern flanks by Turkey and Iran. It was only in 1926, and under strong British pressure, that Turkey gave up its attempt to win back the oil-rich northern part of Iraq, governed by the Ottoman Empire until its dismemberment in World War I. Turkey has always been especially interested in the district of Mosul, inhabited to this day by Kurds and Turkmans as well as Arabs. A collapse of the Iraqi state and the ensuing chaos might revive these dormant Turkish ambitions. In any event, Turkey is determined to crush the aspirations for independence of the Iraqi Kurds and is preparing to send tens of thousands of troops into northern Iraq the moment war breaks out. If Iraq is defeated, as seems likely, the Turkish Army will race for Kirkuk and its oil fields to prevent them falling into Kurdish hands. Violent clashes between Turkish troops and Kurdish irregulars can be expected. If Turkey takes a bite out of Iraq, Iran could do so as well. It might seek total control of the Shatt al-Arab waterway which marks the disputed border that triggered the Iraq-Iran war of the 1980s and which for centuries envenomed relations between the Ottoman and Persian empires. The Islamic regime in Tehran would no doubt also like to extend its influence over the Shiite holy cities of Najaf, Karbala and Al-Kazimain, all located in Iraq and which act as a magnet for Shiite communities everywhere. Some reports suggest that units of Iranian trained Iraqi exiles - the so-called Badr Brigades of the Tehran-based Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq - are preparing to intervene in the north, center and south of Iraq. The invading US armies might have to deal not only with Saddam's forces but with disgruntled and suspicious Kurds and Shiites who fear that the United States will betray them yet again and install another Sunni Arab regime in Baghdad. Rather than "taming" the Arabs, as the US and Israel hope, an attack on Iraq - seen as illegal, unjustified and unprovoked by much of the world - might inspire a new and more militant Arab generation to seek the true independence which the present Arab generation has patently failed to secure and defend. Patrick Seale, a veteran Middle East analyst, wrote this commentary for The Daily Star http://www.nytimes.com/2003/02/28/politics/28COST.html * PENTAGON CONTRADICTS GENERAL ON IRAQ OCCUPATION FORCE'S SIZE by Eric Schmitt New York Times, 28th February WASHINGTON, Feb. 27 ‹ In a contentious exchange over the costs of war with Iraq, the Pentagon's second-ranking official today disparaged a top Army general's assessment of the number of troops needed to secure postwar Iraq. House Democrats then accused the Pentagon official, Paul D. Wolfowitz, of concealing internal administration estimates on the cost of fighting and rebuilding the country. Mr. Wolfowitz, the deputy defense secretary, opened a two-front war of words on Capitol Hill, calling the recent estimate by Gen. Eric K. Shinseki of the Army that several hundred thousand troops would be needed in postwar Iraq, "wildly off the mark." Pentagon officials have put the figure closer to 100,000 troops. Mr. Wolfowitz then dismissed articles in several newspapers this week asserting that Pentagon budget specialists put the cost of war and reconstruction at $60 billion to $95 billion in this fiscal year. He said it was impossible to predict accurately a war's duration, its destruction and the extent of rebuilding afterward. "We have no idea what we will need until we get there on the ground," Mr. Wolfowitz said at a hearing of the House Budget Committee. "Every time we get a briefing on the war plan, it immediately goes down six different branches to see what the scenarios look like. If we costed each and every one, the costs would range from $10 billion to $100 billion." Mr. Wolfowitz's refusal to be pinned down on the costs of war and peace in Iraq infuriated some committee Democrats, who noted that Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Mitchell E. Daniels Jr., the budget director, had briefed President Bush on just such estimates on Tuesday. "I think you're deliberately keeping us in the dark," said Representative James P. Moran, Democrat of Virginia. "We're not so naïve as to think that you don't know more than you're revealing." Representative Darlene Hooley, an Oregon Democrat, also voiced exasperation with Mr. Wolfowitz: "I think you can do better than that." Mr. Wolfowitz, with Dov S. Zakheim, the Pentagon comptroller, at his side, tried to mollify the Democratic lawmakers, promising to fill them in eventually on the administration's internal cost estimates. "There will be an appropriate moment," he said, when the Pentagon would provide Congress with cost ranges. "We're not in a position to do that right now." At a Pentagon news conference with President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, Mr. Rumsfeld echoed his deputy's comments. Neither Mr. Rumsfeld nor Mr. Wolfowitz mentioned General Shinseki, the Army chief of staff, by name. But both men were clearly irritated at the general's suggestion that a postwar Iraq might require many more forces than the 100,000 American troops and the tens of thousands of allied forces that are also expected to join a reconstruction effort. "The idea that it would take several hundred thousand U.S. forces I think is far off the mark," Mr. Rumsfeld said. General Shinseki gave his estimate in response to a question at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Tuesday: "I would say that what's been mobilized to this point ‹ something on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers ‹ are probably, you know, a figure that would be required." He also said that the regional commander, Gen. Tommy R. Franks, would determine the precise figure. A spokesman for General Shinseki, Col. Joe Curtin, said today that the general stood by his estimate. "He was asked a question and he responded with his best military judgment," Colonel Curtin said. General Shinseki is a former commander of the peacekeeping operation in Bosnia. In his testimony, Mr. Wolfowitz ticked off several reasons why he believed a much smaller coalition peacekeeping force than General Shinseki envisioned would be sufficient to police and rebuild postwar Iraq. He said there was no history of ethnic strife in Iraq, as there was in Bosnia or Kosovo. He said Iraqi civilians would welcome an American-led liberation force that "stayed as long as necessary but left as soon as possible," but would oppose a long-term occupation force. And he said that nations that oppose war with Iraq would likely sign up to help rebuild it. "I would expect that even countries like France will have a strong interest in assisting Iraq in reconstruction," Mr. Wolfowitz said. He added that many Iraqi expatriates would likely return home to help. In the 1991 Persian Gulf War, many nations agreed in advance of hostilities to help pay for a conflict that eventually cost about $61 billion. Mr. Wolfowitz said that this time around the administration was dealing with "countries that are quite frightened of their own shadows" in assembling a coalition to force President Saddam Hussein to disarm. Enlisting countries to help to pay for this war and its aftermath would take more time, he said. "I expect we will get a lot of mitigation, but it will be easier after the fact than before the fact," Mr. Wolfowitz said. Mr. Wolfowitz spent much of the hearing knocking down published estimates of the costs of war and rebuilding, saying the upper range of $95 billion was too high, and that the estimates were almost meaningless because of the variables. Moreover, he said such estimates, and speculation that postwar reconstruction costs could climb even higher, ignored the fact that Iraq is a wealthy country, with annual oil exports worth $15 billion to $20 billion. "To assume we're going to pay for it all is just wrong," he said. At the Pentagon, Mr. Rumsfeld said the factors influencing cost estimates made even ranges imperfect. Asked whether he would release such ranges to permit a useful public debate on the subject, Mr. Rumsfeld said, "I've already decided that. It's not useful." http://www.globeandmail.ca/servlet/story/RTGAM.20030301.wxkhal0301/BNStory/I nternational/ * THE PASHTUN PROPHET WHO SHAPES U.S. POLICY by Barrie McKenna Globe and Mail, 1st March Washington ‹ When U.S. President George W. Bush needed help on how to overthrow the Taliban, rebuild Afghanistan, plan for an Iraq without Saddam Hussein and arm-twist Turkey, Zalmay Khalilzad was there. The Afghan-born Mr. Khalilzad, the highest-ranking Muslim in the Bush administration, has quietly emerged as a key architect of Washington's ambitious plans for remaking the political landscape of the Persian Gulf and Central Asia. This week, Mr. Khalilzad led a historic U.S. mission into Kurdish- controlled northern Iraq for a summit of Iraqi opposition leaders. Making a dramatic arrival at the Kurdish resistance's mountain stronghold of Salahuddin, along with an entourage of heavily armed U.S. agents, he laid out the Bush administration's vision of a prosperous and democratic post- Saddam Iraq. "The horrors of the past will become a memory," Mr. Khalilzad assured the 56 opposition delegates assembled there. "A new Iraq will join the family of nations." Officially, Mr. Khalilzad, 52, is White House senior director for Persian Gulf, Southwest Asian and other regional issues, working directly for U.S. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice. The title minimizes his growing influence as a strategist, emissary and troubleshooter for Mr. Bush's doctrine of pre-emption in the region. Mr. Khalilzad, a Middle East scholar and former oil-industry consultant, is also working as a key negotiator with Turkey, which has been resisting U.S. pressure to allow its troops to use Turkish soil as a key launch pad for invading Iraq. Mr. Khalilzad has toiled in the shadows for decades as a foreign- policy expert in the Republican administrations of Ronald Reagan and George Bush Sr. He is regarded as a protégé of U.S. Undersecretary of State Paul Wolfowitz, and a confidante of Defence Secretary Donald Rumseld and Vice-President Dick Cheney, the administration's leading foreign-policy hawks. When Mr. Bush became President in 2000, Mr. Khalilzad headed up Mr. Rumsfeld's transition team at the Pentagon. Mr. Khalilzad, a native Pashtun who came to the United States as a graduate student, moved over to work at the White House four months before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. His remarkably prophetic pre- Sept. 11 warnings about the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, his early advocacy of overthrowing Mr. Hussein and his Muslim heritage have made him a respected voice within Mr. Bush's inner circle. "Afghanistan is a haven for some of the world's most lethal anti-U.S. terrorists and their supporters," Mr. Khalilzad, then a political scientist at the Rand Corp., wrote along with colleague Daniel Byman in a winter, 2000, article. "Bin Laden is only the most famous of a large and skilled network of radicals. . . . Owing to Taliban tolerance, the network bin Laden helped created flourishes in Afghanistan, where terrorists have a place to train, forge connections and indoctrinate others. They pose a threat to U.S. soldiers and civilians at home and abroad, to the Middle East peace process and to the stability of our allies in the region." Warning against neglect, he and Mr. Byman urged the United States to undermine the Taliban regime by working with the Pashtun-led Northern Alliance, pressing Pakistan to cut off ties, providing humanitarian relief and then organizing a grand tribal council to plan a new government. That strategy quickly became U.S. policy in the weeks after the terrorist attacks. Mr. Khalilzad was similarly ahead of the curve on Iraq. In 1998, he joined Mr. Wolfowitz and others in signing an open letter to the Clinton administration, urging Mr. Hussein's overthrow. A decade earlier, he sparred with former secretary of state George Schultz by suggesting the United States should dump Iraq as a strategic partner in favour of closer ties with Iran. Mr. Khalilzad's views have evolved considerably over his career, inside and outside government. In the mid-1990s, while a consultant to U.S. oil company Unocal Corp., he worked on forging closer ties between the United States and the Taliban. Unocal had been seeking to build a $2-billion (U.S.) natural-gas pipeline through Afghanistan. As late as 1998, he was still urging the United States to "re- engage" the Afghan regime on the grounds that "the Taliban does not practise the anti-U.S. style of fundamentalism practised by Iran." In the early 1980s, he was an active supporter of the Afghan mujahedeen fighters in their struggle against the Soviet invasion. After joining the Reagan administration in 1985, Mr. Khalilzad and Mr. Wolfowitz were among a group of State Department policymakers who argued successfully that Washington should arm the mujahedeen with Stinger missiles. As a young student in the 1970s, friends and associates said, he was overtly pro Palestinian, a stance out of step with the current administration's staunch support of Israel. http://www.dailystar.com.lb/opinion/03_03_03_d.htm * IRAQ NOW THE RALLYING CALL FOR CHAMPIONS OF FREEDOM Abdelwahab El-Affendi Daily Star, Lebanon, 3rd March The other day as I was discussing the Iraq crisis with a Palestinian neighbor, I told him Saddam Hussein had recently said that if the Americans attacked Iraq, the Iraqis "would fight in a way that makes all Arabs proud." "Allahu Akbar!" shouted my young friend, who happens to be a Christian. I was taken aback by this enthusiasm for Saddam from the young man who also happens to be a pop singer. I was even more surprised when I had another discussion with a young Palestinian who had been in the Occupied Territories when the last Gulf War erupted in 1991. He told me that when Scud missiles hit Israel, he and other young people went on rooftops cheering and urging Saddam to use chemical weapons. I said to him that was weird, since they would have become victims as well. "We did not care," he said. "We were that desperate." It is not the anger of those who see themselves as victims of Saddam's enemies that is the mystery here. It is to be expected that a person held hostage by one thug would only welcome another to vanquish him and release him from his bonds, despite the uncertainty thereafter. A significant section of Arab opinion supported Britain in World War I against Turkey, which they saw as the more immediate oppressor. When Britain betrayed its allies, many found it easy to sympathize with Germany in World War II, since it was the power that humiliated the British and French colonialists. Like Britain in World War I, Germany also promised Arabs liberation, with much less credibility. Today, the Iraqi opposition pins its hopes on American intervention and dismisses any misgivings and fears about a repeat of 1918, when Western powers failed to keep their promises and instituted the colonial policies that are at the root of the ongoing instability in the region. And one can perfectly understand their sentiments. Like the Palestinians, the Iraqis find their position so intolerable that any alternative is welcome. The increasing desperation creates entangled webs of amoral (even immoral) but unavoidable alliances that breed more instability and even deeper desperation. But that is beside the point and to some extent understandable. What is remarkable in this crisis is the way in which Saddam Hussein's regime is shaping up to become the symbol of heroic resistance to "greedy and callous Western domination." Iraq is now the world's most visible cause celebre and the rallying cry for the champions of freedom and international justice. Meanwhile, many perceive those who claim to be the champions of freedom and world peace as villains and warmongers. Those rallying to their support are the usual assortment of right-wing fanatics and latter day imperialists. It is Saddam Hussein and the good guys on one side, George W. Bush, Tony Blair and all the bad guys on the other. This is indeed remarkable. To be the villain of the piece in a picture where Saddam is hero takes some hard work. How did Bush and Blair work that miracle? It was much easier for Bush than for Blair. Being a socialist allying himself with the most right-wing regime to hit the White House since Ronald Reagan - and to fight the battles of the ultra-hard-liners in the Pentagon from the turf of the British Labor Party, which until a few years back advocated unilateral nuclear disarmament - is a tough call indeed for Blair. But no less significantly, war mongering just doesn't appear to be Blair's forte. Try as he may, he cannot convince many people that this is his agenda. And this may be his Achilles heel. He is just not your regular imperialist. People can perfectly understand why an American right wing president who believes in Armageddon may want to make his own personal contribution to ending life on earth. They may not sympathize with his quest but they can see that it is in his character. What they cannot fathom is what Blair is doing in this party (pun unintended). The irony is that if it succeeds in removing Saddam, the war could do the Middle East a world of good, though not in the way the Bush-Blair faction intended. It could do Blair some political good as well. Most of the million Iraqi refugees knocking at Britain's door at the moment would turn back, and many Iraqis living in the West would go home. That would be one less problem for the British prime minister to worry about. But what the invasion will not do is absolve the US and Britain from taking tough decisions in support of political reform in the region and a just peace in the Middle East. Some US policymakers entertain the illusion that occupying Iraq and reasserting military dominance in the Arab world will enable them to reshape the Middle East like a fresh piece of clay. This is also the main worry of those who oppose US intervention. Both sides are grossly mistaken. American presence in the region since the last Gulf War has not given America any edge in dealing with the region's problems, and these problems are today much worse than when they started. Rather than stabilize the region, the US is now itself facing the danger of destabilization, and its democratic traditions are under serious threat. A deeper intervention in the area is going to worsen its already marked instability and create a greater threat to world peace. Ironically, deeper involvement in the region is going to increase demands on the powers involved to do more to solve its problems, although it is doubtful whether the countries in question will be able to shoulder this burden. However, the people of the region would be right to lay claims on them in this regard, just as the people of Afghanistan today demand and get international support in all areas - something no one would have believed them entitled to had it not been for the American invasion. The people of the Middle East would have a louder voice in Washington, New York and London, and the international community would feel obliged to deliver on peace, prosperity and reform. One could then safely say that the war may be good for the people of the Middle East, but it is certainly not going to be good for Britain, America or Israel. The true American and British patriots should, therefore, be out among the war protesters; but those who would like to see change for the better in the Middle East should keep silent and allow Bush to sleepwalk into that quagmire. Abdelwahab El-Affendi is a Senior Research Fellow at the Center for the Study of Democracy, University of Westminster. He wrote this commentary for The Daily Star http://www.dailystarnews.com/200303/04/n3030409.htm * THE AMERICAN CAMEL NOSES ITSELF INTO THE MIDDLE EAST TENT by Nuruddin Mahmud Kamal Lebanon Daily Star, 4th March For over a century the Americans have been creating abundance for themselves by setting and continually breaking world's record in the development and use of energy. This has been their special genius pioneering modern, industrial society. Not only they have shown the rest of the world how to develop nature's energy resources, but also to satisfy their own needs, they have spread out over the planet with their know-how and capital and developed other nations' resources. Their history books prate much about political, social and cultural events, foreign policies and wars. But it is what they have done about energy that has changed their history, improved their lives and raised their expectations. In his unrestrained exuberance and pursuit of many goals, the US president George Bush has suddenly created a new energy ego for himself to acquire new oil and gas reserves, outside the United States, in Iraq. In fact Iraq has long been a sore point for the Americans. In the history of oil exploration one would find Great Britain, France and Holland realised the importance of oil and were determined to keep American oil explorers out of Middle East and Far East. Iran, for instance, under concession to the British Anglo-Iranian Oil Company was the only major oil producing country in the eastern hemisphere. However, Iraq which had been part of Turkey was known to have great oil prospects. Under an agreement in the League of Nations, to which the US did not belong, all the oil rights to the former Ottoman empire were given to Iraq Petroleum Company, jointly owned by the British, French and Dutch. Americans were inflamed by this closed door policy, and an international diplomatic war began. In 1921, a joint American company received about a quarter of interest of Iraq, which soon became one of the most lucrative oil areas in the world. >From 1930 onwards the international oil game turned into a horse race between British Dutch oil companies and American majors such as Standard Oil of California (Socal), Gulf, Texaco and Mobil. Later, these five US majors, and Shell and British Petroleum (BP) came to be known as Seven Sisters in the oil parley of the world. Socal discovered oil in Bahrain in 1932. Its success influenced King Ibn Saud of neighbouring Saudi Arabia to give the company an exclusive oil concession on all the Saudi Arabia for 66 years. Meanwhile, the Gulf Oil Co. obtained an option to acquire a prospective property on a British concession in Kuwait, which adjoins Saudi Arabia and was outside Iraq Petroleum Company's restricted area. The US State Department intervened. Slowly, the American camel nosed all of itself into the Middle East tent. An interesting episode would reveal how the Americans influenced the Saudis or shall I say how the Saudis gave up themselves to the Americans. In 1932, when Socal first approached king Ibn Saud for a petroleum concession, he called the Royal Council of the ruling family to consider the proposal. The Council opposed permitting the Americans to enter the country on the grounds that its offer of four shillings gold or its equivalent in dollar or sterling per ton royalty was too little. The king overruled their objections saying, "The Koran says on fertile land a tithe of one-tenth, on unfertile land, one-half as much. The Americans are offering about one-fourth. Are you unsatisfied with one-fourth when Allah is satisfied with one-tenth?". The deal was made. Saudi Arabia, at that time, was so isolated from the so called civilized world that the first American geologist arrived wearing beards and Arab dress (like Laurence of Arabia) in order to avoid attracting attention. Socal discovered oil in neighbouring Bahrain, but it was five years before Socal and its new partner, Texaco, discovered oil in Saudi Arabia. The US government sent a group of experts to the Middle East to establish proven and probable oil reserves. The mission was headed by E L De Golyer, world famous geologist and appraiser of oil reserves, and Dr W E Wrather, another geologist of the United States Geological Survey (USGS). They reported the startling and sobering fact that "The centre of gravity of world oil production is shifting from the Gulf Caribbean areas to the Middle East, to the Persian Gulf area, and is likely to continue to shift until it is firmly established in that area." At that time such a conclusion was as momentous as Columbus' proclaiming the world was round, not flat. The Americans knew the game well. Profit sharing in Iran became a pawn in a political struggle, involving riots, bloodshed, international intrigue. CIA's direct participation (Ref: The Invisible Government, David Wise and Thomas B Ross, February, 1974, New York) bankrupted the country. The wrestle between CIA and Dr Mohammad Mossadegh, Prime Minister of Iran, ended in a fiasco. It is said that guerilla raids are small actions compared to an operation that changes a government. It clearly indicated that there is no doubt at all that the CIA organised and directed the 1953 coup that overthrew Premier Mossadegh. But few people know that the coup that toppled the government of Iran was led by a CIA agent who was grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt. Kermit Kim Roosevelt, also a cousin of President Franklin D Roosevelt, is still known as Mr Iran around the CIA for his spectacular operation in Tehran, accomplished more than fifty years ago. He later left the CIA and joined the Gulf Oil Corporation. Gulf named him a vice president in 1960. Another key player involved in the operation was Fazollah. General Fazollah Zahedi, the man the CIA chose to replace Mossadegh, was also a character worth of spy fiction. He fought the Bolsheviks, was captured by the Kurds, and in 1942, was kidnapped by the British, who suspected him of Nazi intrigues. During World War II, the British and Russians jointly occupied Iran. After the war Zahedi rapidly moved back into public life. He became minister of Interior when Mossadegh became premier in 1951. It was against this background that the CIA moved to oust Mossadegh and install Zahedi. The majors already had suffered a severe setback in Iraq, the second largest oil producing Middle East country. Meanwhile, a military dictator, General Abdul Karim Kassem, had chosen a pro-nationalist policy. He wanted the Iraq Petroleum Company, with its British, French and American ownership, to relinquish the majority of the area of its monopoly oil concession which had been converted to a fifty-fifty profit sharing basis. The whole thing was not to General Kassem's taste. He created the Iraq National Oil Company to develop the country by themselves. But the Americans staged two consecutive coups in which President Arif was shot dead and President Kassem was hanged. Thus began the longest, strangest deadlock in oil history, lasting until Iraq nationalised the company. This time the Americans played a new game. A rift was created between Iran and Iraq which ultimately turned into a long drawn war between them. Now both Iran and Iraq distrust the Americans. Still underlying all the economic uncertainties of the international oil scene are the dangerous petropolitical hazards that exist. The oil dagger as a political weapon has never been sheathed. Now that the danger man Aerial Sharon has been reelected, his mentor President George W Bush is doubly enthused to do the worst. Failing to produce new evidence against Iraq in a bid to convince wary allies that Baghdad is flouting UN demands to disarm, George Bush has decided to even go alone and strike Baghdad any time. But to US's misfortune antiwar protestors came out in their millions in London, Rome and Paris in February, and the Americans look increasingly isolated over a possible invasion in Iraq. Meanwhile, the UN Security Council has given an effective slap in the face of Americans hope of gathering support for forcible overthrow of Iraq's President Saddam Hussein. Even the staunchest ally of the Americans, British Prime Minister Tony Blair thinks that UN inspectors should be given more time, as they need. However, there is nothing to be happy about because the second government in the United States, the invisible one known as CIA, must be active as before. Because of its massive size and pervasive secrecy, the invisible government's meddling in the affair of Iraq has not become public as yet. When that happens, the result will be a disaster for the Americans! http://www.dailystar.com.lb/opinion/05_03_03_b.htm * WAR IS COMING, DEAL WITH IT by Michael Young Lebanon Daily Star, 5th March It may be worth the jet lag to cross the Atlantic and see how different are European and American perceptions of the upcoming war in Iraq. Where many Europeans feel the military Leviathan can still be stopped, Americans are well into planning for what comes afterward. This lag in perceptions is interesting for several reasons, not least of which is that the Europeans opposed to a war are making a big mistake. By ignoring the obvious - that war is inevitable - they ensure their irrelevance in a post-war Iraq. This is disturbing given that the Bush administration's hubris makes metastasizing Iraqi complications almost a certainty. Many Europeans would quietly welcome an American fiasco in the Gulf. This spite is largely fueled by a view that the Bush administration is a warren of arrogance, and that the president, George W. Bush, is an insufferably pious idiot. If the contempt for Bush sounds personal, that's because it is: The president's purported defects are a recurring theme in European anti-war rants. The administration might have tried to better engage France. Bush's entourage was so convinced the protests of French President Jacques Chirac emanated solely from political calculation that it did not consider an alternative: France was blending self-interest and high principle, so that its anti-war stance could have been neutralized by both satisfying its appetite for advantages in Iraq and recognizing, through consultations, its status as a world power. Opponents of war have also erred in dealing with America. France and Russia have been so taken up with avoiding a conflict that they seem indifferent to whether Iraq really disarms. Even the doggedly bland Hans Blix has insisted that Baghdad failed to account for chemical and biological agents. There is no doubt, therefore, that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is hiding something, as indeed numerous weapons discoveries have shown. Yet rather than admit this, Paris and Moscow have interpreted UN Security Council Resolution 1441 in a minimalist way, focusing on the limited progress Saddam has allowed, rather than the obstacles he has placed before inspectors. They argue that the progress proves inspections are working, but they know Saddam has allowed them to partially work to buy time and provide momentum to the anti-war coalition. One can hardly expect the US to play along. At this point those opposing war should reconsider. A conflict is coming and nothing will prevent the Bush administration from pursuing its aims in Iraq. One might disagree with these, but US failure is not in Europe's interest. While the Bush administration may open a Pandora's box in trying to install a democratic regime in Baghdad, it makes no sense for Western countries to actively undermine this to the benefit of the region's anti-liberals. The president's disciples have mobilized a surplus of confidence on Iraq to compensate for a deficit in knowledge. The problem, however, is not their belief in the possibility of a democratic Middle East, but the assumption that an American military occupation can bring it about. Who in the region will buy the democracy argument when the administration is plainly as eager to use Iraq to advance less idealistic goals, such as using its oil against the Saudis? Rather than undercutting the US, the European governments rejecting war are better off trying to shape post-war Iraq. This includes holding the Bush administration to account on establishing a democratic government. Already, an opportunity has been missed to warn Washington that a military deal with Turkey may so threaten the Kurds that any talk of Iraqi democracy is futile. The US is mistaken if it assumes it can enter Iraq without an international consensus. Opponents of a war won't prevent one from happening, but they can impose a post-war consensus that helps the Americans if they stumble, and that allows Iraqis to cobble together a bona fide democracy. IRAQI/UK RELATIONS http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2003/02/27/nirq27.xml&s Sheet=/portal/2003/02/27/ixportaltop.html * BLAIR ROCKED BY BIGGEST REVOLT OVER WAR ON IRAQ by George Jones, Political Editor, Toby Helm and Robin Gedye Daily Telegraph, 27th February Tony Blair faced the prospect last night of taking the nation to war with the most divided Parliament since Suez after almost 200 MPs from all parties opposed early military action against Iraq. An impassioned six-hour Commons debate on the Iraq crisis ended with the biggest and most dangerous rebellion Mr Blair has faced since coming to power in 1997. A cross-party amendment declaring the case for military action against Saddam Hussein "as yet unproven" was supported by 199 votes - almost a third of the total strength of the Commons. The anti-war vote was much bigger than the Government expected, with 121 Labour MPs defying a three-line whip to vote for the amendment. They were joined by 13 Tories, 52 Liberal Democrats and Nationalist MPs from Scotland and Wales. Although the amendment was defeated by 194 votes, the opposition to what Mr Blair's critics call a "rush to war" has gained strength significantly. The last time the Commons voted on Iraq a month ago, 53 MPs opposed military action. Senior Tories, including Kenneth Clarke and John Gummer, broke ranks with their leadership to go into the division lobby alongside former Labour Cabinet ministers Chris Smith and Frank Dobson, and Charles Kennedy, the Liberal Democrat leader. It was a concerted attempt to demonstrate the strength of opposition within Parliament and the country to joining an American-led invasion of Iraq. The Speaker, Michael Martin, took the unusual step of allowing the vote on the backbench amendment in recognition of the pressure among MPs for a substantive vote on whether Britain should go to war - despite assurances from Mr Blair that last night's vote should not be seen as authorising military action. The Government's motion, emphasising that Iraq had a final opportunity to disarm peacefully, and stressing that Britain was working through the UN, was approved by 434 votes to 124, a majority of 310. Fifty-nine Labour MPs went on to vote against the Government's main motion, including Tam Dalyell, Father of the House, and former ministers Glenda Jackson, Peter Kilfoyle and Mark Fisher. The rebellion on the anti-war amendment was the biggest of Mr Blair's premiership, easily outstripping the previous total of 67 Labour MPs who opposed disability benefit cuts in May 1999. Most Tories came to Mr Blair's aid and backed the Government. But it was a damaging blow to his authority when he could be only weeks away from sending British forces to war. The action underlined the fact that Mr Blair is taking the biggest gamble of his career by supporting President George W Bush's stance on Iraq. Some MPs compared the split over Iraq to the Suez crisis of 1956, which divided Britain and led to the resignation of the Tory Prime Minister, Anthony Eden. The rebellion is believed to be the biggest by members of a governing party in recent political history. Mr Blair was left in no doubt that securing the authority of the United Nations Security Council for the use of force will be essential to keeping his party together if there is war. Labour MPs predicted that without it there would be an even bigger rebellion. At Prime Minister's Questions, Mr Blair told the Commons he was working "flat out" to secure a second UN resolution authorising military action. He showed no sign of softening his position, telling Iain Duncan Smith, the Tory leader, that any veto of a second resolution would be "unreasonable" if Saddam ignored a last chance to disarm. Mr Blair remained on the Government front bench for the speech from Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, opening the Iraq debate. He left immediately after, having been in the chamber for 35 minutes of the most crucial debate since he became Prime Minister. Mr Blair returned to Downing Street to record a television debate with anti-war protesters. The mood of the Commons yesterday was apprehensive about the prospects of the looming conflict. Mr Straw was given a rough ride by MPs who argued that the Government was "rushing" towards military action before efforts to disarm Saddam peacefully had run their course. Mr Straw said it was close to the "crunch point" for Iraq as both inspections and containment had failed to rein in the Iraqi dictator. He accused Saddam of prevaricating for 12 years and failing to disarm his "horrific arsenal" of chemical and biological weapons. He assured MPs the Government would put any decision on military action to a Commons vote, though this would be subject to the usual reservation about delaying it until after war had begun to protect the safety of British forces. Mr Smith, the former Culture Secretary, who proposed the anti-war amendment, said if MPs backed the Government they would be endorsing a timetable "which leads inexorably to war within the next three to four weeks". "We must say now is not the time, that the case has yet to be fully made and that war, with all its consequences, cannot be the present answer." Later, he said the vote exceeded his "wildest hopes." It showed "a significant amount of concern about the speed with which the American administration seems to be dragging us towards war". Mr Clarke, the former Tory chancellor, said the next time a terrorist bomb went off in a Western city, political leaders would have to live with the question: "How far did this policy contribute to it?" Mr Blair and Mr Straw highlighted an admission by Hans Blix, the UN chief weapons inspector, that he was still uncertain whether Iraq really wanted to co-operate. http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,904683,00.html * UK TAXPAYERS FORCED TO PAY MILLIONS FOR IRAQ ARMS by David Leigh and Rob Evans The Guardian, 28th February The British taxpayer has unknowingly picked up huge bills for helping to arm Iraq before the last Gulf war, the Guardian can disclose. The government has secretly written cheques totalling more than £33m for arms companies who supplied Saddam Hussein in the 1980s. The files on these disastrous insurance deals have been locked up for 12 years since they were secretly authorised by Margaret Thatcher. The total loss to the taxpayer on military and civil credit sales her administration carried out with Iraq now exceeds £1bn. In a detailed investigation, we have identified for the first time from Whitehall documents all the arms contracts concerned and the firms and banks who benefited. Racal, Thorn-EMI and Marconi secretly supplied President Saddam's army with artillery control, anti-mortar radar and secure radio systems, much of which it is believed still to possess. The firms are all now subsidiaries of defence giants BAE and Thales. Military deals also included generators to start up military jets and helicopters from Houchin Ltd and Braby Auto Diesels; air force reconnaissance cameras from Vinten; and an electron microscope from Cambridge Instruments. The giant construction firm John Laing, and a smaller firm, Tripod Engineering, were given government insurance for a £23m contract to build a training complex for Iraqi fighter pilots. Whitehall paid out £2.9m on the collapse of the project when the Gulf war broke out. Other purely civilian deals included a 1990 guarantee for a Rolls-Royce subsidiary to build a power station near Baghdad. The government wrote a compensation cheque for £65m. Whitehall files show that the government guarantees were given regardless of President Saddam's brutal record and regardless of his being a normally unacceptable credit risk. The details of these guarantees have hitherto been kept secret by claims of "commercial confidentiality". But in an unprecedented display of commitment to open government, the export credit guarantee department last week agreed to release the files. http://www.arabnews.com/Article.asp?ID=23203 * BRITAIN TO CLOSE YEMENI EMBASSY Arab News (Saudi Arabia), 2nd March LONDON, 1 March 2003 (AP, AFP): Citing concerns about security in Yemen, the British government said Thursday that it is withdrawing most of the staff from its embassy and consulate in the country and will close them to the public beginning March 1. "The Foreign Office is taking this step in light of the deteriorating security situation," it said. In November, the Foreign Office warned all Britons not to travel to Yemen and said that those living there should consider leaving. On Thursday, the Foreign Office refused to say what had happened in Yemen to prompt its decision regarding the British Embassy in Sanaa and the British Consulate in Aden, citing unidentified intelligence information. However, terrorists have targeted other Westerners in Yemen. On Wednesday, a security official there said that Yemeni authorities had detained a suspect because he was trying to carry a gun into a hospital where three US missionaries were shot dead last year. On Tuesday, Yemeni authorities said they had identified and tried to arrest the suspected mastermind behind a bombing attack last year on a French oil tanker that killed one crew member and spilled 90,000 barrels of oil into the Gulf of Aden. Meanwhile, thousands of people marched in Sanaa yesterday to protest a possible United States-led war on Iraq and Israeli policies toward the Palestinians. Protesters poured out from mosques in Sanaa city center chanting slogans against the "terrorism of US fleets and aircraft carriers". Carrying Iraqi and Palestinian flags and photos of Lebanese Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasr Allah, the demonstrators chanted: "America cannot intimidate us with its military buildup" and "Death to America ... death to Israel." The demonstrators burned US and Israeli flags and effigy of US President George W. Bush. NO URL (sent to list) * THE FIRST PRIVATISED WAR by Nick Mathiason The Observer, 2nd March More than 40,000 British troops are bracing themselves for action in the Gulf. 'Our Boys' are backed by hundreds of tanks, fighter jets and warships in what is the UK's biggest military build-up since the Falklands conflict. But any imminent action against Iraq will be historic for another reason. 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. Entire training, logistics and supply operations are set to be hived off to big business in the most far-reaching intrusion of the private sector into what was considered the state's preserve. More than 900 procedural reviews by MoD officials and consultants are coming to a head. There are strong indications from within the ministry and unions that a shift is under way from the armed forces' procurement body being a 'decider and provider' of logistic support to an 'intelligent decider' that may contract out most requirements,. The Defence Logistics Organisation (DLO), which costs £6 billion a year - a quarter of the MoD's budget - is responsible for providing supplies such as arms, food and aircraft. It is the prime candidate for a radical shift away from traditional procurement. Advised by McKinsey since last summer, a recently published DLO strategic plan said that to achieve its vision would require it to 'leverage industrial capacity and shape our relationship with industry'. The shift will be welcomed by companies such as Compass and Sodexho, which provide food services, and a host of defence contractors. Training of troops is the other main area of focus. BAE Systems and VT Group, the shipbuilder and defence PFI specialist, along with Thales and a number of building firms, are set to benefit hugely from lucrative new contracts. Training schools for the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force are now separate, but they are set to amalgamate in what could be a property bonanza. Most controversially, perhaps, management of the armed forces' secret files - which cover Northern Ireland, the Gulf war and a host of sensitive and historic areas - is set to be handed over to a private contractor. Two private firms are vying to take on the contract, move staff from west London to the North and computerise the records. Alarm bells are ringing about Britain's fighting capability being fatally compromised by wide-ranging privatisation. Critics point to recent MoD procurement from the private sector as the shape of things to come, and list a number of botched or delayed key projects : · Most glaring is the scandal over the multi-million-pound upgrade of RAF Nimrod aircraft, which suffered a setback because the wings built by BAE were the wrong size. Nimrods are used for reconnaissance and submarine hunting and have been deployed in every significant British military operation in the past 30 years. Not this one, though. · New Apache helicopters, costing £27m each, are being mothballed at a cost of £6m. The National Audit Office (NAO) last November found pilot training was messed up because of an attempt to introduce competition into the regime, which cost an extra £34m. The helicopters are absent from the Gulf deployment. · The SA80 rifle, once feted as the ultimate assault weapon, was the target of widespread complaints by soldiers. Made by BAE, it could not be fired in the left-handed position because ejected rounds hit the firer in the face, it was difficult to maintain in bad weather and the magazine fell out when carried against the body. The faults have since been corrected, according to the MoD. · Halliburton, the oil and defence combine that US vice-president Dick Cheney worked for, was contracted to rebuild Devonport dockyard in Plymouth. Last December, an NAO report said the price had escalated from £505m to £933m and could be a lot more. · Britain's Gulf build-up has already been dogged by supply shortages and equipment failures. Ten days ago it emerged that troops in Kuwait are so short of rations they are being sent food parcels by their families. Basics such as desert boots are unavailable. There are even reports of shortages of toilet paper. 'It was horrific logistical debacles during the Crimean War in 1854 and the Boer War in the early 1900s which forced government to take overall responsibility for procuring supplies and co-ordinating military training,' said Dean Rogers, negotiations officer at the Public and Commercial Services Union, which represents thousands of civil servants currently working in the armed services. 'Now there is a serious risk that this is all being unwound and the implications are truly frightening.' Senior officers have voiced doubts in private about the imminent shift. They are training a searchlight at beleaguered Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon, and asking if he is aware of the magnitude of the reviews undertaken by his department. One prominent officer who contacted The Observer despaired at the prospect of a carve-up. 'The Army spent £3bn on Apache fighter helicopters. Training the pilots was a contract given to the private sector. The helicopters are ready but there are no pilots. They haven't been trained and I don't think they'll be ready for at least three years. This is a shambles. And yet the indications are the ministry is proceeding with wholesale privatisation.' Last week six trade unions issued a joint statement responding to what they see as a 'revolution'. They concluded: 'Despite the assurance that the McKinsey report is not itself the basis for an implementation strategy, we can hardly ignore the view it expressed that DLO could reduce staff by 20-40 per cent... The supply chain has been rationalised and it seems those savings now merely form the baseline against which further private-sector involvement will deliver.' In addition, unions responsible for Britain's 90,000-strong fighting force say the criteria for offering vast tranches of work in contracts worth billions of pounds are skewed in favour of business at the expense of in-house alternatives. The MoD has been one of privatisation's standard bearers following the sale of Royal Ordnance in the early 1980s. It is now set to go into uncharted territory with everything bar its core competence up for grabs. A ministry spokesman said it had a duty to ensure value for money. It was not predisposed to privatisation but reform was necessary. 'We certainly don't accept our policies are daft, damaging and demoralising,' a spokesman said. Hoon may be used to being vilified following flak over his decision to take a half-term family skiiing holiday as troops were being deployed to the Gulf. But as the MoD quick-steps into a new era, a new front against Hoon could be opening up among his own staff. _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk