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[casi] News titles, 05-09/03/03

News titles, 05-09/03/03


A rather truncated news mailing to accommodate my travels. USUK is
energetically promoting the impression that war is imminent - on or about
the 17th March. Yet a convoy of US ships stuffed with military material is
still sitting patiently in the Mediterranean waiting on the rather leisurely
timetable of Turkish politics. Will Tayyip Erdogan manage the remarkable
feat of allowing them in just in time to get the loans he is after (though
these appear to be so many chains binding Turkey still further to the US
interest) but just too late to be of any real assistance to the US military
effort? He has declared that he wishes to wait until after the UN vote. But
if the UN fails to pass the resolution it will surely be impossible for the
Turkish parliament to change its position (if the UN resolution passes, and
IF - but this is a very big 'if' - it can reasonably be construed as
authorising an invasion, then, under the terms of the UN Charter, Turkey
will surely be legally obliged to support it).

Can Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar allow their territory to be used for a war
launched in defiance of a UN Security Council veto? Is anybody even asking
the question?

The USUK justification for war is that Iraq is not disarming. This implies
(and even Dominique Villepin has been using language that carries this
implication) that Iraq is armed - ie it possesses chemical and biological
weapons and has a programme of research for nuclear weapons. If this is not
true then Iraqi co-operation has been as good as could be reasonably
expected. The main thing that was asked of them was done a long time ago and
all the subsequent quarrels have only been over matters of accounting.

It may be that this is not true and that they do indeed have large stocks of
forbidden material. But for the moment we have no reason for thinking this
except for what we are told has been established by USUK 'intelligence'. Yet
if one thing has emerged clearly since the inspections began it is the total
unreliability of USUK 'intelligence'. The various 'dossiers' produced by the
UK government, the wonderfully televisual performance of Colin Powell in
front of the UN Security Council , not to mention all the fairy tales that
used to crowd these news mailings in the early days of the campaign for war
- all have been systematically discredited. And now most spectacularly we
learn that not only was this 'intelligence' passing forged documents on to
the IAEA but they were incompetently forged documents at that.

Unfortunately though, all this adds up to only one conclusion. The USUK
leadership is in a swamp and the only way it can get out of this swamp is to
wage a spectacularly successful war - a war which will be short, with
virtually no casualties on the USUK side but also very few casualties on the
Iraqi side (this time, unlike the last time, the world will be concerned
about that). And this will have to be followed by a process of
reconstruction which continues to look successful, popular and not too
expensive at least until the next US election, since this time, unlike
Afghanistan, Bosnia or Kosovo, the world will be watching. All of this would
require more competence than this particular administration appears to
possess but it the only way they can possibly go. They find themselves now
in the position Saddam Hussein has been in for many years. if they blink,
they're dead.

NEWS, 05-09/03/03 (1)


*  Turkey's decision heightens danger for U.S. [Disadvantages of having to
fight one's way through the swampy Euphrates valley. Problem of what to do
with all the rubbish that is queuing up to get into Turkey when 'bases in
Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates already are saturated
with hundreds of American and allied fighters, bombers and support
*  US truck convoys leave Turkish port for Iraqi border [Indications that
the US is still making use of Turkish facilities]
*  Pentagon planning won't wait for Turkish approval
*  Lack of international funding imperils refugee camps in Iran ['So far,
the U.N. agency has spent $25 million on supplies and administrative costs
in anticipation of Iraqi refugees but received only $16 million from
international donors, according to a spokeswoman for its Tehran office. At
least $125 million will be needed to fulfill all U.N. responsibilities
toward refugees, officials estimated.']
*  A setback that may shape America's military [Dispute between army and air
force as to whether heavy equipment on land rather than tactical fighter
aircraft is necessary. If it isn't then the loss of Turkey might not matter]
*  Saddam 'planning uniform deception' [Iraqi soldiers to commit atrocities
disguised as US soldiers (they'll presumably have to shave their moustaches
off and then keep in hiding until they grow again)]
*  Official: Al-Qaida May Hit Allied Forces [The article turns into a quite
detailed account of the supposed Zarqawi - Ansar - Iraqi government
*  The tragedy of war as an end in itself [Ramsey Clark on the United
Nations Gulf War and its immediate aftermath]
*  Troop Movement Could Cost $25 Billion, Congressional Office Finds
*  Securing an Iraqi arsenal of WMDs could be a real problem for U.S. [The
shape of things to come. Stories about Saddam Hussein's stockpiles of
chemical and biological weapons]
*  Military experts are expecting 'war within days' [Matthew Baker, chief
analyst for the private intelligence firm Stratfor of Austin, Texas and

*  Desert Light? Going to War With Iraq Early Could Present Problems for
by Anthony H. Cordesman
ABCNEWS, 5th March
[Account of problems caused by Turkish vote. 'Light' should better be
spelled 'Lite'. Mainly a breathless account of the supertechnology involved.
I found it heavy going.]

AND, IN NEWS, 05-09/03/03 (2)


*  Failed Diplomacy, Renewed Clarity [Extracts. Jim Hoagland, one of the
longstanding champions of war, admits that 'the scale of the failure of U.S.
diplomacy to give Bush workable alternatives to the situation in which he
finds himself -- going to war over the concerted opposition of allies and
world public opinion -- is staggering' but argues that a failure to go to
war would be a betrayal of the Shia and Kurds. The Kurds in particular
deserve to be given a place in the sun (though its not clear why)]
*   U.S. expels two Iraqi diplomats
*   Blix disputes Iraq's anthrax claims [Account of the 167 page draft
report Blix is due to submit to outline remaining tasks. It contains some
remarkable statements (almost smoking guns if they are true) including this:
"There is credible information available to UNMOVIC that indicates that the
bulk agent, including anthrax, was in fact deployed during the 1991 Gulf
War. The question then arises as to what happened to it after the war"; and
this: 'The new report also said Iraq may be producing more banned missiles
in addition to the Al Samoud 2 rockets it is now destroying and had declared
last year to inspectors.']
*  Excerpts From Bush's News Conference
*   Iraqi border fence cut down [More indications of US contempt for the UN
and international law]
*  Diplomatic lines harden [in the UN Security Council]
*   Bush wants U.N. vote within days [Bush prime-time press conference]
*  Thousands take anti-war protest to Scottish Parliament
*  Let Us Inspect [Important article by Mohamed ElBaradei arguing that
inspections are effective, can achieve a high degree of certainty and that
Iraqi co-operation - albeit under the threat of force - has been good]
*  Bitter split deepens at UN [Exchanges after Blix/ElBaradei reports.
Messrs Straw and Powell take comfort from the lengthier and more detailed,
leaked, draft report. Jack Straw gets applause after attacking Dominique
Villepin but do we believe it was as spontaneous as the applause de Villepin
got after the last Blix report?]
*  Some Evidence on Iraq Called Fake [On the evidence offered by the US to
prove attempts to procure uranium in Niger. "We fell for it," said one U.S.
official who reviewed the documents.' No one seems in a hurry to speculate
on who was responsible for the forgeries. The Washington Post article then
goes on to a fairly comprehensive account of the reasons for thinking the
aluminium tubes were not meant for centrifuges to enrich uranium. It
finishes by quoting David Albright, most reliable of the remnants of UNSCOM,
as saying that all this had been pointed out to Colin Powell before he made
his presentation and he chose to disregard it]
*  U.N. Split Widens as Allies Dismiss Deadline on Iraq [Dramatic account of
UN Security Council confrontation]

AND, IN NEWS, 05-09/03/03 (3)


*  Kurdish Leader Faces Charge in Norway [Mullah Krekar]
*  More Killings in Kurdistan [Accidental killing of five Kurdish Islamic
*  Kurds riddled with rivalries [Background to recent killing in PUK
territory in the Kurdish Autonomous Zone. We learn that 'it was the
Patriotic Union, for example, that invited the predecessors of Ansar al
Islam to hole up in the mountains near the Iranian border after the
Democratic Party kicked them out' and 'a 1993 killing of four Islamists at a
checkpoint by the Patriotic Union sparked three years of fighting that left
more than 600 dead']
*  Residents of border town locked in standoff with Iraqi soldiers [Account
of life in Kalak in KDP territory on border with government controlled Iraq.
They don't like Saddam Hussein. The reference to the Patriotism classes -
"The main theme of the Patriotism class is an independent Kurdistan," -
doesn't bode well for the KDP's comitment to a unified Iraq]


*  Western Jets Up Patrols, Attack Iraq Air Defense [Thursday 6th March,
'240 miles west of Baghdad']
*   Allied raid kills three Iraqis [Thursday 6th March, 'Anbar province']
*  U.S. warplanes fired on from Iraq [USUK has tripled its flights over
Iraq. 'crowding the sky with warplanes ... to keep Iraqi defenders guessing
and mask the start of combat']
*  Allied planes pound Iraqi mobile radar [Friday 7th March, 370km west of
*  Western Jets Attack Iraqi Radar System [Saturday, 8th March, about 230
miles west of Baghdad]


*  Iraqi Shia Opposition to Meet in Iran Today
*  'Exciting times' inspire a leader-in-waiting [Account of Adnan Pachachi,
who wants to see a UN rather than a US protectorate, and hints that this
would be easier obtained if the UN would back the war]

AND, IN NEWS, 05-09/03/03 (4)


*  Turkish Vote on Troops Shows Surprises of Democracy [Turks pleased with
themselves for having taken an honourable initiative: 'We did something not
even the British Parliament, the cradle of democracy, was able to do. We
voted with the public, against a war']
*   Turkish military backs U.S. troops [Somewhat belated expression of
opinion by Chief of the General Staff Hilmi Ozkok. The article mentions that
the stock market dip after the Turkish vote has steadied]
*  Turkey Awaits U.N. Vote Before Troop Deal
*   US Offers Turkey Short-Term Loans on Iraq -Sources [More details of the
proposed financial package: '$6 billion in direct aid, $4 billion of which
would secure loans totaling as much as $24 billion' It seems to get less
generous the closer one gets to it]
*  Out with the US, in with the Turks - Part 1: Turkish parliament's
double-fisted knockout [Robert M Cutler, in Asia Times, says the Turkish
vote against US deployment was also a vote against Turkish deployment in
Northern Iraq. He suggests that after Erdogan's election the Assembly might
support Turkish deployment while continuing to block US deployment. Which
would have very worrying consequences. He also evokes the strength of Iraqi
groups opposed both to President Hussein and to a US invasion, mentioning
(and I've seen this nowhere else) that at the opposition conference SCIRI
refused to support a motion 'welcoming' US intervention]
*   Turkish military convoy heads to Iraq border [and group of congressmen
go to Turkey to assure the Turks that Congress will support the proposed
financial deal]
*  The poor and devout give Erdogan a springboard [Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on
the campaign trail]


*  Campbell revives roving press unit to 'spin the war'

AND, IN NEWS, 05-09/03/03 (5)


*  Iraq Rebuilding Could Take A Decade, Report Says [Account of report from
the Royal Institute of International Affairs.]
*  Problems with a 'painless' war [Long article from Asia Times on likely
consequences of war - huge financial cost, boost to international terrorism,
Iraqi hatred, enormous [Iraqi] casualties, collapse of the system of
international law. Includes among much else the following little gem from
David 'Axis of Evil" Frum: 'David Frum, the president's biographer, notes
that Bush is providing a new kind of leadership to the United States, "a
spiritual leadership"', and this, on the legal situation: 'According to
Judge Christopher Weeramantry, former vice president of the International
Court of Justice, there is no provision for a preventive war in the UN
Charter. He argues that the Security Council cannot make decisions that are
contrary to the charter without consulting the UN General Assembly.']
*  U.S. divided over regime change [Division between State Dept/CIA and the
Pentagon over installing A.Chalabi in power (difficult to see any grounds
for doing so whatsoever)]
*  Post-war Japan a poor role model [Mainly because of the continuity of
pre-war structures of authority, most notably the Emperor (thank heaven
Indict didn't get their hands on him, and the International Criminal Court
was not in existence)]
*  War on Saddam can make the world safer and freer [Inspiring call by
William Safire to get on with 'the dirtiest work of mankind - a preemptive
attack to finish a suspended war'. Saddam Hussein could have used this line
of argument when he launched the war with Iran. The trouble is, of course,
that if it is true that Mr Hussein might at some future date launch a
terrifying attack on a US city, he is not the only one. War to eliminate all
possible imaginable scenarios of this kind will prove to be unending]
*  Beyond Iraq, U.N. Is Issue [Implications for future conflicts if US goes
against an explicit UNSC veto]
*  US plans to divide Iraq into three zones [Doesn't say if Kirkuk will be
in the northern sector or in the central sector]


*  Iraq: the end and after [Lengthy and apparently well informed account of
the state of public feeling in Iraq and the strategy for resistance to a US
invasion, which he describes as based on a 'doctrine of strict-but-minimal
*  6 more missiles destroyed; Russian workers leave Baghdad
*  Iraq sends five Western human shields home [including Ken O'Keefe]
*  Timely Primer On The Butcher Of Baghdad [Iraqi government atrocities from
Lawrence Kaplan and William Kristol's "The War Against Iraq."]

AND, IN NEWS, 05-09/03/03 (6)


*  'Peace initiatives' proliferate, while Kuwait guns for Moussa [Lebanon
Daily Star roundup of Arab press. Usual agonising over Arab impotence and
the fact that 'the Arab map is soon set to be redrawn in the Arabs'
absence.' Yet Qatar, Bahrain and, especially, Kuwait, could put a stop to it
all by simply refusing to allow the use of their territory for this purpose.
This is said, more or less, by Assayed Zahra in the Bahrain daily Akhbar
al-Khaleej, and by Al-Quds al-Arabi, which 'notes that the Kuwaitis have
also been gunning for Moussa, especially since he chaired last month's
meeting of Arab foreign ministers, which opposed, despite the emirate's
objections, the provision of Arab base facilities to American troops
preparing to invade Iraq.' No wonder tempers are frayed]
*  Peaceniks: 50 Years After Stalin's Death [Passionate polemic - rather
unexpected coming from an author with an Arab name in the Saudi Arab News -
against western peaceniks. He accuses them/us of being more anti-US than
pro-peace. It is, he says, the continuation of the peace movement launched
by Stalin in 1946. The general point - that people are more shocked by US
wars than other wars such as Russians v Chechens etc - deserves a response.
Perhaps it is true. Civil wars and wars between neighbours may be longer,
more bloody, and in every respect more terrible but the US wars have
something about them that is especially shocking. Civil wars and wars
between neighbours appear more natural. The interests of the warring groups
really are in conflict, they have good reasons for hating each other. But
the US wars are usually fought a long way away from the US, using
passionately affirmed but very flimsy moral pretexts as a cover to cold
calculations of political or economic interest. In some ways it is the fact
that there is less real genuine hatred involved that makes it more shocking]
*  Politicians praise Maronite bishops' stand on conflict [Evidence that
opposition to the war on Iraq is helping to overcome longstanding and deeply
felt political hostilities in the Lebanon]
*  The post-summit quest for reforming the Arab world [Saudi view of the
Sharm el-Sheikh summit. The emphasis should be on a process of post-Saddam
reform which is necessary but impossible so long as he is in power]
*  The Arab summit, a post-mortem ['It is obvious a war on Iraq (that has
seriously undermined such august institutions as the UN Security Council,
NATO, and the EU) would kill off the Arab League once and for all. Should
that happen, the Arab world would begin a long period of even more serious
decline that would further undermine inter-Arab relations and might even
affect the fragile internal cohesion in a number of Arab states.']
*  Arabs trade insults as Israelis cash in and Turks cut their losses
[Lebanon Daily Star roundup of Arab press on the OIC conference in Doha.
Refers to a '"million-strong march" organized in Cairo by the ruling
National Democratic Party', raising (or rather failing to raise) the
question of why Mubarak is allowing US military material access to the Suez
canal. The article largely turns on the reasons behind the apparent
abandonment of the UAE proposal to press for the resignation of the Iraqi
*  Bahrain's foreign minister off to US to discuss Iraq crisis [as part of
Arab League delegation with the foreign ministers of Syria, Lebanon, Tunisia
and Egypt and Arab League Secretary General Amr Musa]      
*  Can anyone stand in the way of the 'axis of war?' [Lebanon Daily Star
round up of Arab press. Despondency and impotence. The answer to the
question, incidentally, is yes. Kuwait]

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