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News, 26/02-05/03/03 (6) ANTI-WAR INITIATIVES * AFL-CIO Federation Labor Union Passes anti war resolution * Thousands of Egyptians Protest Against a U.S. War in Iraq * 140,000 Egyptians rally for Iraq * 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 * Human shield cracks on Baghdad's cynicism * Inside the deluded world of the 'human shields' * Amman protest march cancelled * Independent Iraqis oppose Bush's war CHEMICAL, BIOLOGICAL, NUCLEAR WEAPONS * Iraq agrees 'in principle' to destroy missiles * U.N. Finds No Long-Range Iraqi Missiles * Chemicals Would Be Major Threat in Iraq * Blix: Iraq could have made greater efforts: An edited text of Hans Blix's report * US prepares to use toxic gases in Iraq * U.S. Commander: Iraq Use of Chemicals Against Iran "Most Extensive" ANTI-WAR INITIATIVES No URL (Sent to list) * AFL-CIO FEDERATION LABOR UNION PASSES ANTI WAR RESOLUTION by Leigh Strope The Associated Press, 27th February The nation's largest labor federation declared its opposition Thursday to war against Iraq at this time, saying President Bush has not made a case for an attack without broad support from U.S. allies. The executive council of the AFL-CIO, made up of 65 unions, ended its four-day meeting by unanimously passing the carefully worded resolution, which also says Saddam Hussein must be disarmed - with "multilateral resolve, not unilateral action." Organized labor had tough words for President Bush, without naming him directly, saying the United States has squandered the goodwill it enjoyed after the terrorist attacks and insulted the nation's allies. "The president has not fulfilled his responsibility to make a compelling and coherent explanation to the American people and the world," the resolution said. Organized labor has typically backed military action in the past, including strong support for the Vietnam War. "By historical standards, this is unusual and this is significant," Robert Bruno, labor professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, said of Thursday's resolution. Morton Bahr, president of the Communications Workers of America, said the resolution was the result of a number of briefings on Iraq with officials who worked in the Clinton administration, including former national security adviser Sandy Berger and former chief of staff John Podesta. "We had real broad input from these guys who had been living with this for a long time," Bahr said, adding that organized labor has historically taken positions on wars that involve American workers and their families. The resolution urges the Bush administration to pursue broad, global consensus to put pressure on Iraq, "ensuring that war, if it comes, will truly be a last resort." [.....] http://www.nytimes.com/2003/02/28/international/middleeast/28EGYP.html * THOUSANDS OF EGYPTIANS PROTEST AGAINST A U.S. WAR IN IRAQ by Steven Lee Myers New York Times, 28th February CAIRO, Feb. 27 ‹ Tens of thousands of Egyptians gathered today in this city's main stadium for the largest protest so far in the Arab world, outside Iraq, against an American led war to topple Saddam Hussein. Egyptian authorities, who have in recent weeks arrested dozens of demonstrators and forcibly restricted several smaller protests against the war and against Israel, sanctioned today's rally in what appeared to be an effort by President Hosni Mubarak's government to carefully modulate public anger over the prospect of a conflict. "By our soul, by our blood, we will redeem you, Baghdad," protesters chanted in unison as speaker after speaker denounced the Bush administration's threat to overthrow Mr. Hussein. The chant's coda changed to "Palestine" and back again, underscoring how many link the Iraqi crisis with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. "Our gathering is a message to Arab leaders and America," Khaled Mohieddin, the leader of the leftist opposition party Tagamua, told the crowd. "The message is that Iraq and Palestine are questions of prime importance for us; they are more important than internal questions." The rally, held at Cairo International Stadium in Nasser City, a suburb of the capital, was organized by labor unions and opposition parties, as well as the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic political and social organization that is officially banned here. Egypt's emergency laws ‹ in effect, with only a brief interruption, since the 1967 Middle East war ‹ bar public demonstrations, making today's one of the largest tolerated in Egypt in years. With public sentiment strongly opposed to a war, even Mr. Mubarak's National Democratic Party announced that it, too, would organize an antiwar march next week. "I think the government felt it had to do something to allow the people to speak," Mamoun al-Hudaibi, the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, said amid the rally's rhythmic din. "The government has respected the will of the people." The stadium, with a capacity of more than 80,000, was overflowing. By some estimates, the crowd totaled more than 100,000, while the protest's organizers said that the police turned away thousands more, citing safety concerns. Today's rally came as senior Arab leaders began to gather for the Arab League's annual summit meeting, which is to be held on Saturday in the Red Sea resort Sharm el Sheik. Several speakers at the rally called on Arab leaders to oppose any war, but the league's 22 members have been deeply divided, with some providing bases for the American and British forces now poised to strike Iraq. Jordan's foreign minister, Marwan Moasher, said today that the league wanted "a unified Arab position" that would take into account United Nations resolutions as well as the interests of Iraq, but he hardly sounded optimistic. "Chances are small, but we must find a means to avoid war," he said, according to Agence France-Presse. Mr. Mubarak has repeatedly called on Mr. Hussein to cooperate with the United Nations weapons inspections, saying only that could avert a war. At the same time, the official Egyptian news media appear to be preparing the public for a war. One official government weekly, Al-Musawar, went so far this week as to call for Mr. Hussein to step down as leader of Iraq. "The gates of hell," it said, "will not be closed without Saddam's exodus." To the extent today's rally served as a gauge of public moods, however, many here are deeply angered by the Bush administration's threat to depose Mr. Hussein. Thousands waved banners and posters denouncing America and Mr. Bush. "America, are you O.K.?" one said. "Bush will fill your tanks with the blood of Iraq's children." The rally was raucous, but peaceful. When two protesters ran onto the stadium's field and tried to burn an American flag, security guards stopped them. http://www.jordantimes.com/Fri/news/news3.htm * 140,000 EGYPTIANS RALLY FOR IRAQ Jordan Times, from AFP, 28th February [.....] It was organised by Islamist, leftist and pan-Arab Nasserian opposition parties and held in Cairo's central stadium. The venue was a compromise with them to calm the government fears of letting people vent their anger in the streets. [.....] A clear majority of the participants belonged to the Islamist movement, brandishing copies of the Koran. Thousands of veiled women were seated on separate blocks of the stadium's steps. Some demonstrators also vented their anger at President Hosni Mubarak's plans to meet recently reelected Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. "Those who agree to talk to Sharon the butcher are not part of us," said a 19-year-old student, Ibrahim Seifuddine. http://www.arabnews.com/Article.asp?ID=23204 * MASSIVE ANTI-WAR RALLY IN BAHRAIN Arab News (Saudi Arabia), 2nd March MANAMA, 1 March 2003 ‹ Thousands of protesters marched through Bahrain's capital yesterday, burning US flags, blocking traffic and demanding Washington cancel its plans to invade Iraq. Police said there were about 12,000 protesters, although organizers claimed there were 20,000. Following Friday prayers, the protesters marched from Manama's Ras Rumman mosque to United Nations offices in the capital chanting "Death to America, Death to Israel." Some demonstrators also carried placards accusing Washington of wanting to invade Iraq to seize its oil reserves and support Israel, while others urged Bahrain's government to close the US Navy base on this Gulf island and expel the US ambassador if Iraq is attacked. "US President George W. Bush is the carbon copy of Hitler who is planning a genocide against the Iraqi people," activist Fadheela Al-Mahroos said as other marchers burned US and Israeli flags and carried a makeshift coffin with "Bush" scrawled on one end. "I don't think Bush will be satisfied until he drinks the blood of the Iraqi people," said Mohammed Khaled Ebrahim, one of about 20 lawmakers who joined the demonstration. "Death to America! No American bases in Arab countries!" one man shouted over a loudspeaker as the protesters blocked three lanes of traffic on the busy Shaikh Hamad Causeway during their march. "Israel is the enemy of God. America is the enemy of God," the loudspeaker called. Carrying small blue placards reading "No war," demonstrators later dispersed near the UN headquarters. Two boys waved toy guns at the front of the protest where young men carried a mock corpse on a stretcher. Behind them children with Iraqi and Palestinian flags periodically collapsed on the road to dramatize the consequences of a conflict. "War is terrorism," read one placard among the crowd. "I am against the war because it is injustice," said Hassa Al-Khamiri, a member of the Bahrain Human Rights Society who joined the crowd. She said demonstrating was the only thing people could do to voice their opposition. "We cannot do more." Shaikh Ali Salman of the Islamist Association, the country's largest organization, said a wide spectrum of political and civic groups joined the protest. "We believe we must give more chance for the inspectors in Iraq to do their work without war," Salman said, referring to the UN arms inspectors searching for alleged weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Salman said the demonstrators hoped to send a message to US President George W. Bush: "All the world is against the war and you must listen to us." http://www.arabnews.com/Article.asp?ID=23228 * 300,000 YEMENIS PROTEST US WAR PLANS Arab News (Saudi Arabia), 2nd March Reuters, SANAA, 2 March 2003 ‹ More than 300,000 Yemenis took to the streets yesterday to denounce the United States and Israel as an "axis of evil" and urge Arab leaders meeting in Egypt to deny Washington any help in a war against Iraq. In one of the biggest anti-war protests in the Middle East, students and members of Yemeni political parties gathered in the capital for the demonstration, and called on Arab states to kick out from their countries any US forces poised to attack Iraq. "America and Israel are an axis of evil," banners read, recalling the words US President George W. Bush used to describe Iraq, Iran and North Korea. Other placards read "No to Military Bases in Arab Land" and "No to Blood for Oil." The protest was held as Arab leaders began a summit in Egypt's Sharm El-Sheikh resort to agree a unified policy on Iraq they hope can prevent a US-led war in the volatile region. Yemen's senior presidential adviser, Abdul Karim Al-Iryani, read a statement to the crowd which urged Arab leaders to prevent any "aggression" against fellow Arab nation Iraq. Yemen, whose parliament last week passed a law requiring advance permission for protests, has seen some of the largest peaceful anti-US demonstrations in the region over the Israeli Palestinian conflict and Iraq. [.....] http://www.post-gazette.com/forum/col/20030302edkelly02p3.asp * WHAT IRAQ IS REALLY LIKE: THOSE WHO KNOW CAN'T WAIT FOR THE U.S. TO ATTACK by Jack Kelly Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 3rd March Goli Afshar, a 23-year-old college student in Tehran, is worried about an American attack on Iraq. The Americans, she fears, are taking too long. "Are they changing their mind?" Goli asked a Los Angeles Times reporter. "Can they hurry up with Iraq already, so they can get on with attacking us?" Goli's attitude is widely shared by young people in Iran, who have no love either for Saddam or for their own tyrants. "The day Saddam is arrested, killed or exiled, Iranians will pass out sweets in the streets," Mehdi Ansari, a newspaper vendor, told Azadeh Moaveni, the LA Times reporter. Iraq and Iran are historic rivals who often have been enemies. But on the question of an American attack on Saddam, there is a meeting of the minds. On Sunday, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz addressed a meeting of about 300 Iraqi emigres in Dearborn, Mich. "Wolfowitz, one of the administration's leading hawks on Iraq, frequently found himself in the unusual position of being urged to swift action, as if he were overly dovish," reported Tom Ricks of The Washington Post. Amir Taheri, an Iranian expatriate who lives in Paris, went to London with a few Iraqi friends to take part in the big anti-war march. "Our aim had been to persuade the organizers to let at least one Iraqi voice be heard," Taheri wrote. "Soon . . . it became clear the organizers were as anxious to stifle the voice of the Iraqis in exile as was Saddam Hussein in Iraq. "The Iraqis had come with placards reading 'Freedom for Iraq' and 'American rule, a hundred thousand times better than Tikriti tyranny.' "But 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. . . . The thugs also confiscated photographs showing the tragedy of Halabja, the Kurdish town where Saddam's forces gassed 5,000 people to death in 1988." The most blatant and despicable of the lies "activists" tell is that their opposition to war with Iraq is driven by concern for the welfare of the Iraqi people. Salima Kazim, a grandmother whose three sons were murdered by Saddam Hussein, found out how phony this claim is when she approached the Rev. Jesse Jackson at the London rally and asked for permission to speak, according to Amir Taheri's account. "Could I have the microphone for one minute to tell the people about my life?" the 78-year old Salima asked Jackson. He refused. "Today is not about Saddam Hussein," Jackson snapped. "Today is about Bush and Blair and the massacre they plan in Iraq." Saddam Hussein has killed about a million Iraqis in the course of his bloody reign, and he has killed most of them ugly. "This is a regime that will gouge out the eyes of children to force confessions from their parents and grandparents," wrote Kenneth M. Pollack in his book "The Threatening Storm: The Case for Invading Iraq." "This is a regime that will crush all the bones in the feet of a 2 year-old girl to force her mother to divulge her husband's whereabouts. This is a regime that will hold a nursing baby at arm's length from its mother and allow the child to starve to death to force the mother to confess." "The Iraqi nation is like a man who is kept captive and tortured by a gang of thugs," said Abdel-Majid Khoi, son of one of Iraq's foremost religious leaders. "The proper moral position is to fly to help that man liberate himself and bring the torturers to book. But what we witness in the West is the opposite: support for the torturers and total contempt for the victim." To compare today's war protesters to Vidkun Quisling or the Vichy French would be unfair . . . to Quisling and to the French collaborators. They sucked up to Hitler, but they were bowing to a superior power which had occupied their land. The support Jackson et al. are giving the Butcher of Baghdad is entirely gratuitous. The activists say we should be impressed with the turnout for their protests. But the Nuremberg rallies attracted bigger crowds. Neville Chamberlain was never more popular than upon his return from Munich. http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,906368,00.html * HUMAN SHIELD CRACKS ON BAGHDAD'S CYNICISM by Suzanne Goldenberg in Baghdad The Guardian, 3rd March A plan to demoralise American fighter pilots by stationing western human shields at potential bombing targets was on the verge of collapse yesterday following an exodus of disenchanted activists from Iraq. At least 30 of the so-called human shields, including several Britons, were on their way home last night. Their departure brought a dispiriting end to their heady arrival in Baghdad two weeks ago. The activists accused the Iraqi authorities of trying to use them as pawns in the war with America. More defections are expected in the coming days. The bitter flight from Iraq follows a showdown with the Iraqi authorities who demanded that they decamp from their hotels in central Baghdad and take up their self-assigned roles as civilian protectors. "Basically, they said we are not going to feed you any longer," said John Ross, an American who has been active in radical causes since he tore up his draft card in 1964. He said that the Iraqi authorities ordered the activists to deploy at some 60 sites across the country: electricity plants, water treatment centres, communications facilities. None of the potential targets deemed worthy of protection were hospitals or schools - a decision activists said compromised their mission. But the response of the activists was a marked change from a week ago when the majority of them were firmly convinced they were serving the cause of peace by bedding down at strategic installations. Ken O'Keefe, a former US marine who led the shields to Baghdad, was scathing about the ambitions of some activists to face the bombs at orphanages and hospitals, dismissing them as naive. Yesterday he changed his tune. "If people insist on staying on the sites then the human shields will be pawns," he said. "People who choose to stay have to realise it diminishes the credibility of the human shields very much." http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2003/03/02/wshiel202.xm l * INSIDE THE DELUDED WORLD OF THE 'HUMAN SHIELDS' by Charlotte Edwards Daily Telegraph, 2nd March 'I am ashamed to be leaving you at this time of need, but I'm going out of pure, cold fear," Godfrey Meynell, 68, told the two Iraqi factory workers standing before him. His white hair was, as always, unbrushed; his navy windcheater zipped up to the chin. "This power plant is next to a bridge, surrounded by Republican Guard," he continued. "It's obviously a prime target." The men, who understood this fear too well, returned his handshake and thanked him warmly. As he heaved his rucksack into the taxi, Mr Meynell, a former Colonial Office civil servant, was tearful. He was not, however, the only "human shield" fleeing Baghdad yesterday in a state of high emotion. Nine of the 11 British shields on the pioneering wave of red double deckers left this weekend. At the Andalus hotel five kilometres away, Dr Abdul Hashimi, the official overseeing their mission in Iraq, had issued the shocked group with an ultimatum: deploy to the "strategic sites" hand-picked by the government or leave immediately. It was a chilling twist in the saga of the human shields' mission to stop a war in Iraq. It was also inevitable. I accompanied the first wave of shields throughout their 3,500 mile, three week journey aboard three double-decker buses from Europe to Baghdad and remained with them while they battled unsuccessfully with Iraqi officials to be allowed access to the civilians most thought they had come to protect. The eccentric, eclectic group, none of whom fitted the "peacenik" stereotype, may have been drawn from all ages, backgrounds and experience, but they all shared one trait: naivety. Beset by problems on the road, lack of sufficient funds or a clear, universally-shared agenda, most had been tested beyond their limits before they even arrived in Iraq. Among the catalogue of dramas they experienced en route were numerous breakdowns of the creaking 1967 Routemasters, bickering over the preferred route and acrimonious departures and illness. During one cold, rainy night in Milan, we were left without our sleeping bags after an Italian went AWOL with the support bus. Later, a £500 donation from a well-wisher in Istanbul was squandered on boxes of Prozac in a misguided attempt to cheer up the war-weary Iraqi civilians. Conspiracy theories spread like a contagion through the ranks. Whenever a puncture occurred it would be blamed on the CIA. "It's sabotage," Peter Van Dyke, 36, had whispered to a bemused mechanic as he removed a thick screw from a flat tyre in a garage outside Naples. Sue Darling, 60, a former diplomat from Surrey, had been eager to demonstrate her civil service credentials: most importantly, she confided in one shield, she knew how to recognise a spy. Her first suspect turned out to be The Telegraph's photographer. Little surprise then that so few were alert to the real nature of the regime that welcomed them to the Iraqi capital two weeks ago. After a propaganda lecture from Dr Hashimi, one young American told me: "It's so interesting to hear what is really going on in this country." He scoffed at any suggestion that their good intentions might be misused by Saddam's regime: "All we have seen here is continuous kindness and hospitality." Bruce, a 24-year-old Canadian wearing a T-shirt saying "I don't want to die", was one of a group of tanned young men who were drafted into protect a grain store. Initially, he, like others, had concerns about the sites, which included an oil refinery, a water purification plant and electricity stations. He was won over when the Iraqis provided televisions, VCRs, telephones and a Play Station. "Dr Hashimi has explained that we help the population more by staying in the 'strategic sites'," he explained. His friend added: "We play football in the afternoons and the Iraqis bring us cartons of cigarettes. It's just like summer camp." Not all the sites were as welcoming. Daniel Pepper, a 22-year-old student from Pennsylvania, was not fooled by the oil refinery, despite the comfortable beds with parcels of goodies laid out on the pillows. "The people staying there sleep 50 yards from stacks billowing black smoke." he said. "And it's sinister: 20 minders are there for eight shields. There are three security gates, including one manned by plain-clothed guards carrying AK47s. Most shields want to get out of there and go to the granary. "We need to negotiate with Dr Hashimi about this." Any negotiations with the Iraqi official, however, would undoubtedly be met with a frosty reception. The Iraqi government has invested an estimated £10,000 to provide free food and hotel accommodation to the 200 shields and have lost patience with their dithering. It could be argued that this confusion is as much the fault of their leaders as the Iraqi government. On the bus, Sue Darling, who was in touch with Dr Hashimi, had told the shields they would stay with families or in schools, hospitals and orphanges. "As a former diplomat, I should deal with the Iraqi officials. I speak their language," she said. Once in Baghdad, Ms Darling, who had traded her red puffa-jacket and walking boots for smart suits and Jackie O glasses, quickly acquiesced to the demands of the regime and moved into the granary. Kevin and Helen Williams, a soft-spoken couple from Wales, were baffled by this volte-face: "We always understood that human shield meant a shield of humans and that we would be allowed to work with Iraqi civilians. Why it is being interpreted differently now?" Others acted on their suspicions and left without a word. Adele Peers, a 23-year-old special needs teacher from Liverpool, and Peter Van Dyke, a therapist from Portsmouth, left for Jordan three days ago after the Iraqis reneged on a promise to allow them to work with children. Not everyone was upset by the latest turn in events. Ken O'Keefe, 33, the founder of the human shields movement who served as a US marine during the Gulf war, had always planned to protect Iraqi "installations" should bombs rain down on the capital. During the journey, the heavily-tattooed O'Keefe, who earned the title "black Ken" on account of his penchant for the colour and outlook on life, had alienated his companions who felt he had developed both a death wish and a messiah complex. Prone to tantrums and mood swings, his credibility had not been helped by the fact that he had, for much of the journey, been accompanied by his mother, Pat. In Baghdad, Ken came into his own. Dressed in a thick, grey dishdash, he took to ambushing me in the Andalus corridors to brief me on his latest soundbites. "Dark forces have worked against me," he said, "but I have survived. My mission is hard core, in-your-face activism." O'Keefe's nemesis was Joe Letts, 52, a former television cameraman from Dorset and the owner of the two red buses. Dressed in his fawn duffle coat and a ragged, bright jersey, the Glastonbury Festival regular devoted his unswaying optimism to propelling the convoy to Baghdad regardless of O'Keefe's absence. "We will stop the war," he would tell me cheerfully everyday. "If that doesn't happen, I'm taking my buses back to London - with a detour via the vineyards of Lebanon." It was precisely this attitude that enraged the militant O'Keefe, who yesterday waved aside any talk of the exodus affecting his mission. "They have a soft, fluffy attitude to activism," he muttered. "We are better off without them." While the group visibly "radicalised" once in Iraq, Godfrey remained charming and affable. One afternoon, Sue Darling posted an angry message on the Andalus hotel noticeboard: "Can whoever stole my bag of nuts, sultanas and dried bananas, please return them. They are my emergency rations". Godfrey scrawled below: "Sue, I can let you have some of my prunes. If it would help." Back at the Andalus hotel yesterday, the British contingent who arrived on the red double decker buses were packing up to leave, their faces chalk-white with exhaustion. Closeby Erdogan Erikci, a 25-year-old who had never before left his village in Turkey, was telling Turkish CNN that he planned to stay: "I have a message for my mum," he told the camera, "You should be proud of me, I am a human shield. " http://www.jordantimes.com/Tue/homenews/homenews5.htm * AMMAN PROTEST MARCH CANCELLED Jordan Times, 4th March AMMAN (JT) ‹ Amman Governor Abdul Karim Malahme rejected an application by the Jordanian National Mobilisation Committee for the Defence of Iraq to hold a march next Friday against any potential US-led war. Committee officials expressed surprise over the action, saying the march was planned to coincide with UN chief weapons inspector Hans Blix's report to the Security Council regarding Iraq's compliance with disarmament per UN Resolution 1441. The mobilisation committee had approached the Opposition Parties Higher Coordination Committee (OPHCC) for cooperation on organising its pro-Iraq activities. The government ended a 10-month ban on public activities in February, allowing opposition parties to stage two major pro-Iraq marches. Authorities, however, have rejected the application for one march in Salt andrefused to issue a permit for another in Irbid. The Muslim Centrist Party was refused permission to conduct a pro-Iraq march in the northern city of Salt today because the party failed to apply for a permit several days in advance of the actual event, said authorities. A similar march in Irbid ‹ organised by OPHCC ‹ did not materialise last Thursday afternoon after party leaders called off the protest due to differences with authorities over the route. http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,907687,00.html * INDEPENDENT IRAQIS OPPOSE BUSH'S WAR by Jonathan Steele The Guardian, 5th March A new myth has emerged in the pro-war camp's propaganda arsenal. Iraqi exiles support the war, they claim, and none took part in last month's march through central London. So if the peaceniks and leftwingers who joined the protest had the honesty to listen to the true voice of the Iraqi people they would never denounce Bush's plans for war again. Wrong, and wrong. A large number of Iraqis were among the million-member throng, including two key independent political groups. They carried banners denouncing Saddam Hussein (thereby echoing the sentiments of many non-Iraqis since this was not a protest by pro-Saddam patsies, as the pro-war people also falsely claim). They represented important currents in the Iraqi opposition, and ones whom the Americans have repeatedly tried to persuade to join the exiles' liaison committee. "No way," says Dr Haider Abas, London spokesman of Da'wa, Iraq's moderate Islamic party. "When we met Zalmay Khalilzad (the US special envoy for Iraq) we told him we didn't want to give a cover to US military operations. It's not our role. We won't be respected by our people." His party has other reservations. It fears the US will retain control of Iraq long after Saddam is toppled and will not hand power to Iraqis for months to come - and then only to its placemen. Da'wa also doubts US plans for ethnically based federalism, arguing that this will create the risk of Balkan-style discrimination and pogroms, when the reality of Iraq is that every major city is culturally mixed. Sunnis, Shiites, Kurds and Arabs are found everywhere. Saddam's repression cost Da'wa thousands of its members over the past two decades. It argued for human rights in Iraq long before Washington and London stopped backing Saddam and took up the cause - another reason why it distrusts US motives. Dr Abas says there is a paradox in that while his party opposes the war he believes many Iraqis inside the country have become so desperate that they may support it. His argument reflects the psychological dilemma which keeps Iraqis awake at night. "People in hell think nothing can be worse. They just want to end it. But we see the bigger picture as well as fearing it will lead to death and destruction for our families at home. We have two problems with the United States. First, its track record. In 1991, when the aim was simply to get Saddam out of Kuwait, they destroyed the infrastructure of the country. People couldn't understand why they bombed power stations and bridges all over Iraq." His other doubt is over US intentions. One camp in Washington, he feels, wants to rebuild Iraq. The other wants to keep it undemocratic by only removing Saddam and his closest colleagues. "We don't know which camp will win," he says. In the meantime, any Iraqi group which ties its flag to a foreign invader's mast without any guarantee of its postwar intentions loses its patriotic and democratic credentials. Salam Ali, another marcher and spokesman for the Iraqi Communist party, has similar criticisms. The ICP, the biggest party in Iraq before Saddam Hussein's regime came to power, also lost tens of thousands of its cadres when the Iraqi president turned against it. Its strength cannot be reliably assessed, but its Da'wa rivals concede it has widespread support among Iraqis of all classes. Ali has just returned from northern Iraq where his party's central committee was meeting. They turned down yet another US invitation to come out in support of the looming war and join the coordinating committee to work with Iraq's postwar US governor. "We reject the war on principled and moral grounds as well as being the worst and most destructive alternative," the party said. The ICP supports the approach taken by France and Germany but says it should be integrated into a broader framework for restoring democratic rights in Iraq in line with earlier UN security council resolutions. These are no less important than the recent resolution, 1441, which concentrates on disarmament and ignores human rights. The party calls for a genuinely independent conference of the opposition groups. Like Da'wa, the ICP opposes the economic sanctions on Iraq which the United States and Britain continue to back in spite of the hardship they have caused to ordinary Iraqis but not the regime. "We want sanctions lifted and replaced by an effective UN mechanism for controlling Iraq's oil revenue for the benefit of people. We said the Oil for Food programme would strengthen Saddam's hand," says Salam Ali. "Sanctions have crushed people and weakened their will to resist. If they are lifted, people can start living and thinking politics again." Most parties on the opposition committee set up under Khalilzad's pressure last week are paid by the US government. Da'wa and the ICP have not succumbed. Pro-war pundits who claim to know the views of Iraqi exiles should check they are not listening to opinions made in Washington. CHEMICAL, BIOLOGICAL, NUCLEAR WEAPONS http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/story.hts/world/1797367 * IRAQ AGREES 'IN PRINCIPLE' TO DESTROY MISSILES Houston Chronicle, (from AP), 27th February [.....] The United States and Britain have insisted that Iraq's reported cooperation with the U.N. inspectors had failed to satisfy international demands for disarmament. And U.N. Security Council members met behind closed doors in New York today to discuss a proposed U.S. British-Spanish resolution that could authorize war. But South African disarmament experts visiting Iraq said today they were convinced Iraq was doing its best to disarm, and appealed to the Security Council to give weapons inspections more time. "It's clear there is movement on the whole issue of weapons of mass destruction," South Africa's Deputy Foreign Finister Aziz Pahad said at a Baghdad news conference. "Clearly (the inspection regime) is working, and if it's working why stop it?" "The Iraqi side has consistently told us that every time they move on an issue, the goal post gets changed," Pahad said. The South African team has been in Baghdad since Sunday night to share its experience in verifiably destroying weapons programs. It was to leave Friday morning. In the 1990s, U.N. inspectors were sent to South Africa and praised the country's voluntary destruction of weapons of mass destruction during the previous decade. The inspectors, meanwhile, returned to an airfield near the town of al-Aziziya, 60 miles southeast of Baghdad, where Iraqi workers dug in search fragments of R-400 biological weapons bombs Iraq says it destroyed there in 1991. Hiro Ueki, spokesman for the inspectors, said some fragments were found. A second team of inspectors supervised workers who drilled holes in eight remaining 155mm artillery shells filled with mustard gas that Iraq reported to the inspectors, Ueki said. Ueki also confirmed an Iraqi report that French Mirage reconnaissance planes have begun flying in support of the U.N. inspections. Three American U-2 spy planes -- which fly at higher altitudes -- already have made similar runs. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A12808-2003Feb27.html * U.N. FINDS NO LONG-RANGE IRAQI MISSILES by Charles J. Hanley Washington Post, from The Associated Press, 27th February The U.N. inspectors swarming over Iraq's missile industry found an infraction last week: The short-range Al Samoud 2 sometimes flies a few miles farther than allowed. But the experts have reported no sign of any longer-range missiles that could strike Israel or neighboring oil nations as Washington fears. In fact, after three months' intensive work, the U.N. teams are looking ahead to ending their current investigative phase, and moving on to long-term monitoring via electronic "eyes and ears." Such a system could rein in missile development for years, experts say. Chief U.N. arms inspector Hans Blix gave Iraq until Saturday to begin destroying the Al Samouds, and Baghdad was reported Thursday to have agreed in principle to go ahead with their elimination - via explosives, crushing, cutting or other means. Blix called it an important test of Iraq's cooperation with U.N. disarmament efforts. The Iraqis must also eliminate the design data and equipment to build the weapons - a damaging blow to their young missile industry. Under the U.N. arms control regime that followed the 1991 Gulf War, Iraq was forbidden to have missiles that could travel beyond a 150-kilometer range - 93 miles. That's considered the outer limit of short-range or "battlefield" missiles. Blix reported the newly developed Al Samoud 2 exceeded that limit on 13 test flights, by no more than 20 miles. On 27 of 40 flights, the missile tested short of the permitted threshold, Blix told U.N. diplomats behind closed doors. The Al Samouds' technical violation "isn't particularly worrisome ... isn't dramatic," said Victor Mizin, a former missile inspector in Iraq. He said he saw Blix's ban, announced last week, "more as a political move" - to assert U.N. control in Baghdad at a time when the Bush administration, threatening war against Iraq, contends U.N. inspections are ineffective. The Iraqis protested the ban, contending the flights would come up shorter when missiles were fully loaded with warheads and guidance systems. "They have a point," said Aaron Karp, a missile proliferation expert at Virginia's Old Dominion University. "I'm sure there's a heavy version and a light version." "All missile experts will tell you it's very difficult to precisely find the range," said Mizin, a Russian former arms negotiations adviser who served three tours as an Iraq inspector. "It depends on how it's launched, the flight profile. There are all kinds of trade-offs between payload and actual range." The slender white Al Samoud is not part of some hidden Iraqi arms program. It was under U.N. scrutiny from its first rollout, in 1997, when inspectors probed and tested it with gauges and scales to check its capabilities. When the U.N. teams returned last November after a four-year absence, they again descended on the Al Samoud factories, copied design files, observed engine tests and held long meetings, day after day, with Al Samoud production team leaders behind the 9-foot high walls of their Karama Company compound in north Baghdad. It was the Iraqis, however, not the inspectors, who declared the technical violations of the range limit - violations the U.N. experts then confirmed via computer modeling. At the same time, inspectors were making dozens of other unannounced visits to design, production and test sites to check for more serious violations. Reports by the U.S. and British governments, based on satellite photos showing expansion of missile industry sites, said the Iraqis might be developing missiles with ranges over 600 miles. But after the on-the-ground inspectors looked under the roofs in those photos, they reported no violations. Similarly, after three months of unfettered U.N. access in Iraq, no signs have been reported of "up to a few dozen" longer-range Scud missiles the U.S. and British intelligence reports speculated were illegally hidden by the Baghdad regime. Those reports contended, without offering evidence, that the Iraqis saved some of the imported, Soviet-made missiles from U.N. destruction in the 1990s. Both Mizin and Karp believe inspectors should focus suspicions on the possibility Iraq will upgrade missile guidance by incorporating technology that uses Global Positioning System satellites. This could make primitive "cruise missiles" - airplanes converted to bomb-laden unmanned drones - much more accurate. Along those lines, in February alone the U.N. inspectors have paid at least a half-dozen surprise visits to installations making guidance-and-control systems. They're also inspecting sites where unmanned aircraft are developed. In February, the missile inspectors began unspecified preparatory work for the long-term monitoring system envisioned under U.N. resolutions. That system will include around-the clock cameras and other monitoring devices inside and outside plants, along with regular oversight visits to missile-industry sites. Missiles, with their test facilities, test flights and large pieces of gear, are especially susceptible to monitoring, the experts agreed. "There are things you ultimately can't hide," Karp said. In any U.S. war, the Al Samoud missiles might threaten advancing American forces, although they might also be knocked out in pre-emptive U.S. airstrikes. Now Iraq faces the painful order to destroy its 50 or more Al Samouds, along with stocks of engines, liquid fuel, production and launch equipment, design and production software and documents. In the 1970s and 1980s, Iraq was believed to have wasted $10 billion of its oil money in a failed bid to build missiles. It finally succeeded with the Al Samoud in the 1990s, and went on to build a second line of short-range missile, the solid-fuel al-Fatah. Losing the Al Samoud program now would be a major setback to its military-industrial complex. http://cgi.wn.com/?action=display&article=18971179&template=kurdishpost/inde xsearch.txt&index=recent * CHEMICALS WOULD BE MAJOR THREAT IN IRAQ The Associated Press, 28th February WASHINGTON: Iraqi forces guarding Baghdad are armed with chemical weapons and may have orders to use them, U.S. officials say, raising the grim prospect of American troops closing in on the capital city and facing a battlefield filled with deadly agents. Because these Iraqi units are protecting the approaches to Iraq's largest city, the possibility of chemical weapons being used near populated areas also raises the possibility of unprotected civilians being exposed to such weapons, officials say. U.S. troops have sensors and protective gear designed to shield them from chemical attack. Their tanks and other armored vehicles can seal them off from a battlefield where chemical weapons are used. Still, "a couple of lucky hits can produce several hundred or thousands of casualties," said Anthony Cordesman, an Iraq expert with the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "Nobody in the U.S. military can discount that risk." The Iraqi Republican Guard controls the bulk of Iraq's chemical weaponry, most of which can be fired from artillery guns or short-range rocket launchers, according to U.S. officials, who discussed the intelligence information on the condition they not be identified. These weapons can generally hit targets from a few dozen miles or less. Saddam Hussein has arrayed most of his Republican Guard units around Baghdad, officials say. Of his six divisions ‹ each numbering between 10,000 and 12,000 well-trained troops ‹ they say four defend Baghdad, while a fifth is moving a significant part of its force to Saddam's hometown of Tikrit, a city north of Baghdad where much of his power is concentrated. A sixth remains near Kirkuk in northern Iraq. The weapons of greatest concern include the nerve agents sarin, cyclosarin and VX, as well as World War I-era mustard gas, officials said. When used, all but sarin can linger on a battlefield for hours or even days, although experts say these won't spread far. While sarin breaks down quickly, it puts out deadly vapors before it becomes inert. The Iraqi forces are most likely to fire chemical warheads to cover their retreat or to put down an internal uprising, officials said. Civilian deaths would be all but certain in populated areas, officials said. But whether Iraq would use these weapons is unknown. Secretary of State Colin Powell, citing unspecified intelligence sources, told the U.N. Security Council that Saddam had authorized some of his field commanders to use chemical weapons. In recent testimony to Congress, CIA Director George J. Tenet said, "Do I know whether his subordinates will take the orders? I don't know. There are some unknowables, but you must plan as if he will use these weapons." The Pentagon has tried to e-mail Iraqi generals to warn them against using chemical or germ weapons against U.S. or allied forces. U.N. weapons inspectors have found only a few pieces of Saddam's allegedly vast arsenal, but U.S. intelligence officials remain convinced Iraqi field forces are armed with the weapons. While estimates suggest Iraq may have 20 or 30 Scud missiles capable of carrying chemical or biological weapons, officials say Saddam's military may have 30,000 artillery warheads capable of carrying chemical weapons and 550 artillery shells filled with mustard agent. Chemical weapons can kill quickly and therefore have battlefield utility, while Saddam's biological weapons, particularly anthrax, are more apt to strike civilian targets because they can take hours or days to take effect, U.S. officials said. Much of the concern about Saddam's arsenal has been directed at its potential use against political targets ‹ particularly Israel, Saudi Arabia, or Kuwait ‹ using Scud missiles. Some have suggested these and U.S. targets are also at risk of terrorist-style attacks originating in Iraq. While Saddam also has planes equipped with bombs and spray tanks, experts predicted these would not survive long against superior U.S. fighter aircraft. That leaves the short-range battlefield weapons as the likeliest means of employing a chemical arsenal against U.S. forces. Experts said these weapons function by detonating above the ground, spraying the deadly chemicals as both liquid droplets and aerosol over a wide area. Many shells or rockets are required to contaminate even a few dozen acres of land. Iraq used chemical weapons on Kurdish insurgents and Iranian forces in the 1980s, killing thousands. http://news.independent.co.uk/world/politics/story.jsp?story=382419 * BLIX: IRAQ COULD HAVE MADE GREATER EFFORTS: AN EDITED TEXT OF HANS BLIX'S REPORT The Independent, 28th February ‹ Unmovic [the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission] is presently finalising an internal document of some importance, namely, a list of the disarmament issues which it considers currently unresolved, and of the measures which Iraq could take to resolve them ... It could also serve as a yardstick against which Iraq's disarmament actions under Resolution 1441 may be measured. ‹ Iraq has from the outset satisfied the demands for prompt access to any site, whether or not it had been previously disclosed or not. Iraq has further been helpful in getting Unmovic established on the ground, in developing the necessary infrastructure for communications, transport and accommodation ... Iraqi staff have been provided, sometimes in excessive numbers as escorts for the inspection teams. There have been minor frictions. ‹ Unmovic has been able to send surveillance aircraft over the entire country. ‹ The Iraqi Commission established to search for and present any prescribed items is potentially a mechanism of importance ... It has so far reported only a few findings: four empty 122mm chemical munitions and recently two BW aerial bombs. ‹ Iraq has recently reported to Unmovic the commission had found documents ... concerning Iraq's unilateral destruction of proscribed items. As of the submission of this report, the documents are being examined. ‹ The list of names of personnel reported to have taken part in the unilateral destruction of biological and chemical weapons and missiles in 1991 will open the possibility for interviews which, if credible, might shed light on the scope of the unilateral actions. ‹ It has not yet proved possible to obtain interviews with Iraqi scientists, managers or others believed to have knowledge relevant to the disarmament tasks in circumstances that give satisfactory credibility. ‹ The Declaration of 7 December, despite the hopes attached to it and despite its large volume, has not been found to provide new evidence or data that may help to resolve outstanding disarmament issues ... it did, however, usefully shed light on the developments in the missile sector. ‹ The destruction of some items ... is taking place under Unmovic supervision and further such actions will take place. ‹ The presidential decree ... which prohibits private Iraqi citizens and mixed companies from engaging in work relating to weapons of mass destruction, standing alone, is not sufficient to meet the UN requirements. ‹ During the period of time covered by this report, Iraq could have made greater efforts to find any remaining proscribed items or provide credible evidence showing the absence of such items. The results in terms of disarmament have been very limited so far. The destruction of missiles ... has not yet begun. Iraq could have made full use of the declaration, which was submitted on 7 December. It is hard to understand why a number of the measures, which are now being taken, could not have been initiated earlier. If they had been taken earlier, they might have borne fruit by now. It is only by the middle of January and thereafter that Iraq has taken a number of steps, which have the potential of resulting either in the presentation for destruction of stocks or items that are proscribed or the presentation of relevant evidence solving longstanding unresolved disarmament issues. http://news.independent.co.uk/world/science_medical/story.jsp?story=383006 * US PREPARES TO USE TOXIC GASES IN IRAQ by Geoffrey Lean and Severin Carrell Sunday Independent, 2nd March The US is preparing to use the toxic riot-control agents CS gas and pepper spray in Iraq in contravention of the Chemical Weapons Convention, provoking the first split in the Anglo US alliance. "Calmative" gases, similar to the one that killed 120 hostages in the Moscow theatre siege last year, could also be employed. The convention bans the use of these toxic agents in battle, not least because they risk causing an escalation to full chemical warfare. This applies even though they can be used in civil disturbances at home: both CS gas and pepper spray are available for use by UK police forces. The US Marine Corps confirmed last week that both had already been shipped to the Gulf. It is British policy not to allow troops to take part in operations where riot control agents are employed. But the US Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, has asked President Bush to authorise their use. Mr Bush, who has often spoken of "smoking out" the enemy, is understood to have agreed. Internal Pentagon documents also show that the US is developing a range of calmative gases, also banned for battlefield use. Senior US defence sources predict these could be used in Iraq by elite special forces units to take out command and control bunkers deep underground. Rear Admiral Stephen Baker, a Navy commander in the last Gulf War who is now senior adviser to the Centre for Defence Information in Washington, told The Independent on Sunday that US special forces had knock-out gases that can "neutralise" people. He added: "I would think that if they get a chance to use them, they will." The Pentagon said last week that the decision to use riot control agents "is made by the commander in the field". Mr Rumsfeld became the first senior figure on either side of the impending conflict to announce his wish to use chemical agents in a little-noticed comment to the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee on 5 February the same day as Colin Powell's presentation of intelligence about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction to the UN. The Defence Secretary attacked the "straitjacket" imposed by bans in international treaties on using the weapons in warfare. He specified that they could be used "where there are enemy troops in a cave [and] you know there are women and children in there with them". General Richard Myers, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke of using them against human shields. The revelations leave the Bush administration open to charges of double standards at a time when it is making Iraq's suspected arsenal of chemical and biological weapons the casus belli. Charles Kennedy, leader of the Liberal Democrats, said last night: "This all adds to the confusion over how the war will be conducted. If the argument with Saddam Hussein is over disarming him of weapons of mass destruction, it is perverse of the US to push the boundaries of international chemical warfare conventions in order to subdue him." Leading experts and Whitehall officials fear that using even pepper spray and CS gas would destroy the credibility of the Chemical Weapons Convention, provoke Iraqi chemical retaliation and set a disastrous legal precedent. Professor Julian Perry Robinson, one of the world's foremost authorities on the convention, said: "Legally speaking, Iraq would be totally justified in releasing chemical weapons over the UK if the alliance uses them in Baghdad. "When the war is over and these things have been used they will have been legitimised as a tool of war, and the principle of toxic weapons being banned will have gone. The difference between these weapons and nerve gas is simply one of structural chemistry." The Ministry of Defence has warned the US that it will not allow British troops to be involved in operations where riot control agents are used, or to transport them to the battlefield, but Britain is even more concerned about the calmatives. This is shown by documents obtained by the Texas-based Sunshine Project under the US Freedom of Information Act. These reveal that the US is developing calmatives including sedatives such as the benzodiazapines, diazepam, dexmeditomide and new drugs that affect the nervous system even though it accepts that "the convention would prohibit the development of any chemically based agent that would even temporarily incapacitate a human being". A special working group of the Federation of American Scientists concluded last month that using even the mildest of these weapons to incapacitate people would kill 9 per cent of them. It added: "Chemical incapacitating weapons are as likely as bullets to cause death." The use of chemical weapons by US forces was explicitly banned by President Gerald Ford in 1975 after CS gas had been repeatedly used in Vietnam to smoke out enemy soldiers and then kill them as they ran away. Britain would be in a particularly sensitive position if the US used the weapons as it drafted the convention and is still seen internationally as its most important guardian. The Foreign Office said: "All states parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention have undertaken not to use any toxic chemical or its precursor, including riot-control agents. This applies in any armed conflict." http://www.tehrantimes.com/Description.asp?Da=3/5/03&Cat=2&Num=019 * U.S. COMMANDER: IRAQ USE OF CHEMICALS AGAINST IRAN "MOST EXTENSIVE" Tehran Times, 5th March TEHRAN -- The most extensive Iraqi use of chemical weapons was in fighting to retake city of Basra from the Iranians during the Iran-Iraq war, Major General John Doesburg, head of the U.S. army's chemical and biological defense command said in New York on Monday. Doesburg, speaking at a Pentagon briefing, said many people have forgotten the fact that Iraq used chemical weapons in its war with Iran, stressing that Baghdad had gassed Iranian troops in several operations. He stressed that Iraq had used mustard gas and nerve agents throughout the conflict, which lasted from 1981 to 1988, and also used nerve agents against the Kurds in northern Iraq. The U.S. commander said the battle of Basra perhaps had been the biggest confrontation between the two countries in which the Iraqi President Saddam Hussein used the largest quantities of chemicals against Iranian troops. Doesburg, who had been a member of the U.S. delegation at a UN meeting in Geneva on banning chemical weapons, said he never forgot the photos of those injured by mustard gas that had been presented to the delegates by an Iranian diplomat. "The most terrible photos were about women and children who had been injured by the chemicals," he said. _______________________________________________ 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