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News titles, 05-09/03/03 INTRODUCTION 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) MILITARY MATTERS * 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 aircraft'] * 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 connection] * 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 friends] URL ONLY: http://abcnews.go.com/sections/world/2020/iraq030305_cordesman.html * 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) LAST CHANCE SALOON * 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) NORTHERN IRAQ/SOUTHERN KURDISTAN * Kurdish Leader Faces Charge in Norway [Mullah Krekar] * More Killings in Kurdistan [Accidental killing of five Kurdish Islamic militants] * 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] NO FLY ZONES * 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 Baghdad] * Western Jets Attack Iraqi Radar System [Saturday, 8th March, about 230 miles west of Baghdad] IRAQI OPPOSITION * 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 SECOND THOUGHTS? * 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] TONTO'S CORNER * Campbell revives roving press unit to 'spin the war' AND, IN NEWS, 05-09/03/03 (5) THE FUTURE * 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] INSIDE IRAQ * 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 engagement'] * 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) ARAB OPINION * '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 government] * 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] _______________________________________________ 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 email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk