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[casi] News, 05-09/03/03 (5)

News, 05-09/03/03 (5)


*  Iraq Rebuilding Could Take A Decade, Report Says
*  Problems with a 'painless' war
*  U.S. divided over regime change
*  Post-war Japan a poor role model
*  War on Saddam can make the world safer and freer
*  Beyond Iraq, U.N. Is Issue
*  US plans to divide Iraq into three zones


*  Iraq: the end and after
*  6 more missiles destroyed; Russian workers leave Baghdad
*  Iraq sends five Western human shields home
*  Timely Primer On The Butcher Of Baghdad


by Mike Wendling, London Bureau Chief
Crosswalk, c5th March

London ( - A short conflict ending in a U.S.-led victory is the
most likely outcome of the current crisis over Iraq, according to a leading
British think tank, but building the Middle Eastern nation might take up to
a decade.

The Royal Institute of International Affairs, in a report issued this week,
detailed the pros and cons of four possible scenarios: a coup before
military action; the overthrow of Saddam Hussein after an invasion
commences; a short war; and a prolonged, complicated conflict.

Researchers concluded that a coup before an allied invasion "could be sold
to the American population as a victory" but would leave U.S. officials with
little influence over any post Saddam regime.

Popular opinion inside Iraq would move towards radical Islam, the
researchers said, and in the long term a quick coup "would lead to increased
domestic and ultimately regional instability."

A short, intense war ending in U.S. victory brings its own set of problems,
the RIIA said.

Without a committed effort to reform Iraqi society and politics, the
researchers said, Iraq would continue to be "a potential source of violence,
instability and weapons of mass destruction in the medium and long term."

"Once the war has been won, the altruistic explanations for U.S. involvement
in Iraq will have to compete with a U.S. economy in possible recession and a
U.S. public very sensitive to further casualties," the report said.

The immediate challenge facing U.S. troops will be to keep law and order
when scores of Iraqis will be itching to get revenge on the old regime. The
U.S. and its allies will then have to manage a transition to a democratic
government and deal with problems such as the semi autonomous Kurdish zones
in the north of the country.

The institute estimates that it will take three to 10 years and extensive
financial and resource support to rebuild the country.

On Wednesday, several newspapers reported that U.N. officials have drawn up
a plan for a post-Saddam government in Iraq, despite the current lack of a
second Security Council resolution explicitly authorizing military action.

RIIA research fellow Toby Dodge said that after a successful invasion,
domestic pressure will mount on the Bush administration to pull out of Iraq

"Popular opinion will want be in favor of 'getting our boys home,'" Dodge
said. "Along with economic troubles and a potential recession, that will
provide a distinct temptation to leave Iraq after the war."

Dodge identified three distinct lines of thought within the Bush
administration. One backed by Secretary of State Colin Powell would see U.N.
administrators take over the country with strong backing from the United
States. A second plan, which Dodge said would be supported by Deputy
Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, would see the United States take the
lead in transforming the Iraqi government.

The third line of thought, supported by Vice President Dick Cheney and
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, is more "unilateralist and isolationist"
and would see the U.S. attempt to minimize its involvement in a post-Saddam
Iraq, Dodge said.

"Transforming Iraq is going to be a hellishly difficult task, full of
economic, sociologic and political complexity," he said. "It makes perfect
sense for the United Nations to be planning ahead."

by Ahmad Faruqui
Asia Times, 6th March

While reflecting on the Napoleonic wars in the 19th century, the Prussian
philosopher soldier Carl von Clausewitz penned his famous line that "war is
a continuation of politics by other means". Later in the same century,
having witnessed first-hand the destructive power of war, American General
William Tecumseh Sherman would assert, war "is all hell".

In one of the last wars of the 20th century, the Soviet Union invaded
Afghanistan on Christmas Day in 1979, claiming that the Afghans had invited
them in. Ten years later, a humiliated Red Army crossed the Salang Pass back
into the Soviet Union. The war claimed 1.5 million lives and pushed 5
million refugees into Pakistan and Iran.

As the 20th century drew to a close, it seemed that war would no longer be
used to redraw political boundaries and would cease to be an instrument of
state policy. Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in August 1990 came as a rude shock
to post-modern analysts, and the subsequent Gulf War of 1991 to eject Iraq
out of Kuwait was an even bigger shock. In December of that year, the
breakup of the Soviet Union into 15 countries transformed the entire world
political situation, and created an air of optimism that the scourge of war
had been finally lifted.

In his speech last Wednesday to the American Enterprise Institute, US
President George W Bush not only rehabilitated the Clausewitz definition of
war, but went a step farther by presenting war as a painless way of
accomplishing regime change. By laying out a Wilsonian vision of what a
post-Saddam Iraq would look like, he sought to give war a justification that
it had lacked previously. In this vision, regime change in Baghdad would be
followed by the implementation of democracy in Iraq. This would permit the
resolution of the Israeli Palestinian conflict, presumably by removing a
fundamental threat to Israeli security. Once this conflict was resolved,
creative forces would be unleashed that would liberalize the entire Arab
world. Almost parenthetically, the president noted that a major threat to US
(and global) security would be removed by the elimination of Saddam Hussein.

In the Bush vision, given America's significant military advantage over
Iraq, war carries no downside for the United States. Victory is assured,
leading the president to aver repeatedly, "We shall prevail." Against such a
backdrop, war develops an irresistible allure, since it is the only policy
instrument with the potential for bringing about such great benefits that
nobody would question its costs.

Unfortunately, this vision reflects poor judgment. As Joe Klein has noted in
Time magazine, the world would have more confidence in Bush's judgment if
"if he weren't always bathed in the blinding glare of his certainty". David
Frum, the president's biographer, notes that Bush is providing a new kind of
leadership to the United States, "a spiritual leadership". But even Frum is
led to note, "In Iraq, it is about to be put to its most severe test yet."

Just because the costs of the war are masked does not mean they don't exist.
A variety of scholars around the globe have concluded that war with Iraq
would result in substantial costs to the United States, Iraq and the world

In his study for the American Academy of Arts and Sciences on the economic
consequences of the war, Professor William Nordhaus of Yale University has
quantified the economic costs of the war based on a detailed analysis of
several best-case and worst-case scenarios. He finds that the war would cost
US$99 billion over the next decade in the best case and in excess of $1.9
trillion in less favorable circumstances. The latter figure is 10 times the
estimate provided by the Bush administration. None of these costs have been
included in the US budget, which even without accounting for these costs is
expected to record a deficit in excess of $300 billion during the current
fiscal year. A deficit of this magnitude represents 3 percent of the US
gross domestic product (GDP), and has become a major cause for concern among
US policymakers. When the costs of the war are factored in, deficits of $400
billion to $500 billion per year are possible. These would represent a
threat to US economic prospects. To place this fiscal threat in perspective,
deficits above 5 percent of GDP would disqualify developing countries from
International Monetary Fund (IMF) lending.

In addition to these economic costs, the US is likely to experience
casualties among its troops. The director of the Central Intelligence Agency
(CIA), George Tenet, testified before Congress that Saddam Hussein was
likely to use his biological and chemical weapons if he viewed himself and
his regime in mortal danger, trapped by an invading force that wanted to
effect regime change. His conventional military capability has deteriorated
substantially since the Gulf War. According to the US Defense Secretary
Donald Rumsfeld, Iraqi conventional military capability is down by half from
what it was during the Gulf War. Others have argued it may be as low as a
quarter of that capability, since much military hardware is obsolete and in
poor repair even compared with that of Iraq's neighboring countries, much
less compared with what the United States has in its inventory. The Iraqi
Air Force is dysfunctional, and Iraqi air defenses have not been able to
shoot down a single allied plane that has patrolled the no-fly zones over
northern and southern Iraq during the past 12 years. One can assume that
troop morale within the Iraqi military is a tenth of what it was before the
Gulf War. All of this lowers the "redlines" for using biological and
chemical weapons, and raises the probability that Saddam will resort to
using non-conventional weapons during the conflict.

Even though US forces have been equipped with various types of protective
gear, many US analysts are skeptical about its workability. For example,
retired US Colonel David Hackworth believes that US troops are poorly
prepared for dealing with chemical and biological weapons and would suffer
high casualties if they were exposed to such weapons.

Finally, the war would expose the US civilian population to greater risks at
home, by raising the probability of terrorist attacks being carried out.
These may not happen during the course of the war, but may come several
years later. The damage could be astronomical. Ironically, a war that is
being fought to eliminate such risks to the US civilian population has a
significant chance of increasing them.

Retired US General Wesley Clark, the former head of North Atlantic Treaty
Organization (NATO) forces, has called the war against Iraq an elective
rather than necessary war. According to Clark, this war will "put us in a
colonial position in the Middle East following Britain, following the
Ottomans. It's a huge change for the American people and for what this
country stands for."

It is likely that that the United States would be no more welcome in Baghdad
than the Soviets were in Kabul in 1979. Notes Christopher Preble of the Cato
Institute in Washington, "We should expect that American troops would remain
in this troubled region for many years. In the case of Iraq, the American
people must recognize that a benign mission of liberation may become an
obligation of occupation, and we should expect that those who already hate
us will use the excuse of a US troop presence in the Middle East as a
vehicle to promote their mission of violence against Americans around the

As 3,000 cruise missiles rain on them within the first 48 hours of the war,
the people of Iraq will be the first to bear the immediate cost of the war.
It is useful to recall what happened during the Gulf War to the Iraqis. As
the war began, John Major, then prime minister of Britain, declared: "We
have no quarrel with the people of the Iraq." Yet the war took a deadly toll
on the people of Iraq, as sociologist Beth Osborne Daponte at the Heinz
School of Public Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon University was to
show a year later. It killed 205,500 Iraqis, including 109,000 men, 23,000
women and 74,000 children. Three quarters of the dead were civilians. More
than a 100,000 died of postwar adverse health effects.

The very large number of casualties in the Gulf War put to rest the myth of
precision bombing and high-tech weaponry. This hypothesis was rejected once
again in the US-Afghan war. Between October 7 and December 20, 2001,
military operations carried out by the US military killed 3,400 civilians,
according to a dossier compiled by Professor Marc Herold of the University
of New Hampshire. These casualties continue to mount with every passing
month, even though they only occasionally make it to the world news media.
The US has indeed installed Hamid Karzai in Kabul, but his ability to tame
the warlords in Afghanistan is suspect at best. It is questionable whether
Afghanistan has been liberated or moved back in time to the pre-Taliban

After the Gulf War, the West imposed economic sanctions on Iraq. These had
no impact on Saddam Hussein or his regime, but have had a devastating impact
on the well being of the civilian population. According to the United
Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the sanctions kill 5,000 children under
the age of five every month. Says The Economist, "Even if the truth is half
that number it would still mean that about 360,000 children had died as a
result of 12 years of sanctions."

Will the new Iraq war, which is postulated to be a war of liberation, be any
kinder to the people of Iraq than the Gulf War? The United Nations does not
believe so. Its secretary general, Kofi Annan, estimates that this new war
could swell the number of displaced people in Iraq to 2 million; create a
million refugees; and leave as many as 10 million (or 40 percent of the
population of 25 million) dependent on the outside world for food

A recently released UN document predicts that 30 percent of children under
the age of five in Iraq, or 1.26 million, "would be at risk of death from
malnutrition" in the event of a war. The draft document, "Integrated
Humanitarian Contingency Plan for Iraq and Neighboring Countries", was
produced by the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
(OCHA) on January 7.

The fallout of a war with Iraq would not stop with the people of Iraq. There
is a reasonable chance that it would stir up auxiliary regional conflicts,
leading to more casualties and chaos. In addition, the war would set a
dangerous precedent in international law, and render asunder the compact of
multilaterallism embodied in the UN Charter. 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. The Bush administration has, of
course, no interest in going to the General Assembly.

For the same reasons, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder remains opposed to
preemptive strikes because "no realpolitik and no security doctrine should
lead to the fact that, surreptitiously, we should come to regard war as a
normal instrument of politics".

What is the probability that the war would achieve its ends? The
neo-conservatives in Washington, who seem to have a lock on the thinking of
the Bush administration, regard this as a certain outcome. But given their
poor understanding of Arab politics and culture, one cannot give much weight
to their ability to assess probabilities of events in the Middle East.

A more illuminating response comes from Yossi Alpher, former director of the
Jaffe Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, and now co-editor
of, an Internet-based Israeli-Palestinian dialogue.
Commenting on the neo-conservative obsession with establishing a Wilsonian
democracy in Baghdad, Alpher says, "this is wishful thinking that appears to
have little basis in the likely postwar reality. Indeed, the very opposite
scenario - a wave of anti-American radicalism and terrorism sweeping the
Middle East, Iraq engulfed in ethnic unrest, and millions of refugees
destabilizing neighboring countries - is equally plausible."

The millions who marched in protest against this war on February 15 have
been labeled "wimps, appeasers, and lefties" by the proponents of this war.
A new strand of arrogance has emerged in US political thought, which argues
that France and Germany have no right ever to disagree with the United
States, since it liberated them from Adolf Hitler's evil regime. President
Bush's advisors have told him to ignore the protesters, as have some leading
pro-war Republicans. Senator John McCain of Arizona said it was foolish for
people to protest on behalf of the Iraqi people, because the Iraqis live
under Saddam Hussein and they will be far better off when they are liberated
from his oppressive rule. Retired General Norman Schwarzkopf and former
secretary of state James Baker, who had been opposed to invading Iraq
without any provocation, have withdrawn their opposition to the war.

However, there are still people such as Douglas Hurd, Britain's foreign
secretary during the Gulf War, who remain opposed to fighting a preemptive
war in Iraq. Writing in the RUSI Journal, he opines, "We might win the war
in six days and then lose it in six months." He says the Bush administration
has made a serious mistake by swallowing "whole [Israeli Prime Minister
Ariel] Sharon's argument that Israel is a straightforward ally against
terrorism. We run the risk of being viewed not as liberators but as
protectors of an oppressor." Lord Hurd says a war against Iraq has the risk
of turning "the Middle East into a region of sullen humiliation, a fertile
and almost inexhaustible recruiting ground for further terrorists".

Oblivious to all these views, the neo-conservatives are continuing to push
ahead with their agenda. War against Iraq is almost a certainty now. What is
equally certain is that it will not be an anodyne war.

by Toby Harnden
Gulf News, from the Daily Telegraph, 7th March


The Bush administration envisages Gen Garner taking over day-to-day control
of Iraq from Gen Tommy Franks, commander of allied forces in the Gulf, once
the country has been invaded and all forces loyal to Saddam have been killed
or taken prisoner.

At this point, opinions over what should happen diverge fundamentally. Doug
Feith, the number three in the Pentagon who has overall responsibility for
post-war Iraq, wants power to be passed to Chalabi as swiftly as possible.

"We would involve Iraqis as soon as possible and transfer responsibility to
Iraq entities as soon as we could," he said last week. Feith, a
neo-conservative closely allied to Paul Wolfowitz, the Pentagon deputy, is
strongly supported by Vice President Dick Cheney but faces determined
opposition from the CIA and State Department.

Career officials at the CIA's Langley headquarters and the State
Department's offices at Foggy Bottom have long opposed Chalabi and see the
exiled Iraqi opposition as unlikely to command the loyalty of indigenous

These officials, supported by Colin Powell, the Secretary of State, say a
military occupation lasting several years will be needed and an American or
UN figure should be in charge. A civilian "tsar" like Michael Mobbs, a
Pentagon lawyer, or David Kay, a former UN weapons inspector, was mooted.
The State Department has also suggested that an Iraqi serving in Saddam's
regime might emerge as a potential leader.

One neo-conservative official said: "We need to get Ahmad in there as
quickly as possible, help form an interim administration, secure the borders
and spread democracy elsewhere in Iraq. But we're in a mess over the
post-war planning. Our people at the Pentagon should be in control, but they
fell asleep at the switch and the State Department bureaucracy has begun to
take over again."

To the dismay of the neo-conservatives, several CIA and State Department
officials, some of whom are viewed as determined opponents of regime change,
have been given key positions in Gen Garner's office.

Thomas Warrick, a special adviser in the office of northern Gulf affairs at
the State Department, has been charged with helping to assign Iraqis to
government ministries after liberation. Meghan O'Sullivan, an assistant to
Richard Haass, director of policy planning at the Department, has also been
given a prominent role.

There have also been bitter disputes between civilian and military leaders
at the Pentagon over the size of a post-war force. Wolfowitz told
congressmen that an estimate by Gen Eric Shineski, the U.S. Army chief, that
several hundred thousand American troops would be needed was "wildly off the
mark". A figure of 100,000 was much more realistic.

by Antoine Blua
Asia Times, from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 7th March

PRAGUE - The administration of President George W Bush has prepared a
post-war scenario for Iraq reportedly envisaging an extended military

Reports indicate that a military commander is to wield absolute authority
during the early days of the occupation when the threat of unrest is
presumed greatest. A civilian administrator will then run Iraq in tandem
with the military commander.

The proposals amount to the most ambitious American effort to administer a
defeated country since the occupation of Japan at the end of World War II.
Following Japan's surrender to Allied forces in 1945, Emperor Hirohito and
the Japanese government became subject to the authority of the Supreme
Commander for Allied Powers in occupied Japan. The post was filled by US
General Douglas MacArthur, who presided over the reconstruction of Japan's
government, industry and society.

Six years later, in 1951, the US and 47 other nations signed a formal peace
treaty with Japan. The document recognized that country's full sovereignty
and provided for the termination of the occupation, which happened the
following year.

Hajime Kitaoka, a senior researcher with the Institute for International
Policy Studies in Tokyo, says that the occupation is widely viewed as a
success. He says that the key factor was that the US paid close attention to
Japanese traditions, while at the same time it carried out ambitious
political and economic reforms to revitalize Japanese society.

"General MacArthur, [along] with the general headquarters, paid attention to
the traditions of Japan and agreed to keep the emperor [in place]. But they
worked well for 'vitalizing' Japanese society. So they are regarded in a
favored manner by the Japanese people now."

Kitaoka says that two additional factors were also in place. The emperor and
the political elite were persuaded to go along with the occupation. At the
same time, the Japanese population was united behind the hierarchical
political structures.

Kitaoka says, however, these constitute important differences between
post-war Japan and Iraq. Iraqi society is divided among three main ethnic
and religious groups: the Kurds in the north of the country, Arab Sunnis in
the center, and the Arab Shi'ites in the south. Kitaoka warns that the
divisions are likely to cause postwar conflicts inside Iraq.

Gerd Nonneman, a teacher of Middle Eastern politics at the University of
Lancaster in Britain, agrees. He points out that in Iraq the leadership will
be deposed and that new political structures will be introduced. "It does
mean that when you put a different administration in place, partly run by a
civilian administration, partly by a military commander, you impose a new
set of structures that is not going to be all that straightforward. You
start with a divided society that has no recent experience of democratic
participation or negotiations among themselves. And there are no clear
structures ready-made. So it's going to be far more problematic than in the
case of Japan."

John Swenson-Wright is a lecturer in Japanese politics and international
relations at Britain's Cambridge University. He notes that the occupation of
Japan had clear and limited objectives: the democratization and
demilitarization of the country. He says the US's objectives in Iraq - no
less than the democratization of the entire region - are far wider.

"The wider regional context is likely to pose a serious challenge to any
occupation [of Iraq]. If we're right in taking Bush's remarks last week,
then the scale of the undertaking that the United States is contemplating -
embarking on not just the conflict itself but its clear commitment to regime
change and promoting democracy in the region - is far more ambitious than
the realpolitik practiced by the United States in Japan in 1945."

Swenson-Wright adds that he doubts the US's ability to successfully build an
international coalition to share the burden of rebuilding Iraq. He says
change in Iraq will require a genuine international effort in terms of money
and expertise. He points out that Harry Truman, the US president at the time
of the reconstruction of Japan, used a special envoy - John Foster Dulles -
to build international support.

"John Foster Dulles, who at that stage was the Truman administration special
envoy to Japan, played a key role in brokering an international coalition of
the willing, that was willing to support many of the American objectives.
It's hard to see that there's anyone with similar stature who would command
comparable cross-body respect in the case of future planning for Iraq."
Swenson-Wright says that in the case of Japan, specialists with an
"intimate" understanding of the country were actively involved in planning
the occupation at least three years ahead of time.

"In the case of Japan, the occupation [was] exercised the mind of
policymakers in Washington really from as earlier as 1942. And all the
evidences so far that I've seen suggest that where it comes to Washington's
response to the situation in Iraq is a much more recent phenomenon."

There's also the question of the US's long-term commitment to Iraq.
Swenson-Wright says that in Japan the US was driven by the notion that Japan
would be part of a bulwark against the Soviet Union. He says too that there
was a general perception that Japan had the capacity to stand on its own
feet. Iraq may lack this capability, he says.

"[As for Iraq] there are many more uncertainties: uncertainties about the
viability of the political regime, real ethnic and religious divisions
within the country. There are concerns about the ability of Iraq to put in
place the new civil society and economic structures that will enable it to -
with American and allied support - sustain itself over the long-term."

Reports say that the Bush administration is ready to take on the challenges.
But Iraq is likely to be more unstable and unpredictable than post-war
Japan. Analysts say that the US experience in Japan is instructive but one
should be careful not to exaggerate the extent to which it can act as a
model for America this time around.

by William Safire
International Herald Tribune, from New York Times, 7th March

NEW ORLEANS: How should free people feel - in their hearts, brains and guts
- about launching a preemptive strike?

Note that America is not "starting a war" with Iraq. That was begun by
Saddam Hussein more than a decade ago. America won the first battle, but he
has since been secretly violating the terms of surrender. Either the United
States will allow him to become capable of inflicting horrendous casualties
in American cities tomorrow - or it must inflict and accept far fewer
casualties in his cities today.

That's a Hobson's choice, which is no choice at all. The United States will
now get on with it. We Americans will not whip ourselves into jingoism, or
become fascinated by our exercise of ultra-tech superpower or suppress our
sadness at the pictures of Iraqi civilians Saddam will thrust into the line
of fire as human shields.

But we should not feel guilty about doing our duty. War cannot be waged
apologetically. Rather than wring our hands, Americans and our allies are
required to gird our loins - that is, to fight to win with the conviction
that our cause is just. We have ample reason to believe that Saddam's
gangster government is an evil to be destroyed before it gains the power to
destroy us.

It is futile to try to reason with passionate marchers waving signs
proclaiming that America's motives are to conquer the world and expend blood
for oil.

Nor should we waste more precious time trying to beg or buy moral approval
from France or Russia, their UN veto threats largely driven by economic
interests in Saddam's continuance in power. Nor should we indulge in placing
second thoughts first: How much will it cost? How many will be killed? How
long will it take? Will it kill the snake of terror or only poke it? Will
everybody thank us afterward? Where's the guarantee of total success? Too
cautious to oppose, these questioners delay action by demanding to know what
they know is unknowable.

Our task now, as citizens of nations burdened with the dirtiest work of
mankind - a preemptive attack to finish a suspended war - is to call up the
national spirit and determined attitude needed to sustain a great effort.
Skepticism is a fine American trait and many find patriotic fervor uncool,
but the eve of hostilities is the moment for opening the mind to

We are launching this attack, already too long delayed, primarily to defend
ourselves. This is a response to reasonable fear. We know Saddam is
developing terror weapons and is bound on vengeance; we know he has ties to
terror organizations eager to use those weapons for more mass murder; we
know he can bamboozle the UN inspectors again; we know Americans are
terror's prime targets. That's plenty of reason to take him out.

But this reasonable fear should be accompanied by a strong dash of hope.
Wilsonian idealists have found a soul mate in President George W. Bush, who
surprised us all with his challenging vision - not merely a "vision thing" -
for the coming generation.

The defeat of Saddam may just send a clear message to Kim Jong Il and other
tyrants that we will respond with more action than ransom to nuclear
blackmailers, thereby making the world a safer place. But safety is not all.

The liberation of 23 million Arabs and Kurds now ruled by a bloody-handed
dictator, followed by a transition to a confederation (aided by an
Arab-American general like John Abizaid, now General Tommy Franks's deputy),
may just make it possible for a rudimentary democracy to take root in this
major Muslim nation.

Such a birth of freedom in Iraq, a land of oil wealth and a literate
population, may just spread to its neighbors and co-religionists. This would
counter the cancerous growth of repression and rancor that has roiled the
Middle East and impoverished the people of 20 nations.

If Bush's vision of a transformed region fails, it would fail while daring
greatly - a nobler course than that weakly advocated, in Teddy Roosevelt's
words, by "those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."

This campaign near the Ides of March will make us safer, allaying our fears;
it has the potential of making the world freer, justifying our hopes.

by Patrick E. Tyler
New York Times, 8th March

UNITED NATIONS, March 7 ‹ "It is quite clear that the way in which we
resolve this problem will determine not just the future of Iraq," Russia's
foreign minister, Igor S. Ivanov, told the Security Council today.

As foreign ministers of the Council's 15 member nations gathered in New
York, on the morning after President Bush began preparing the American
people for war, they seemed to be fighting for their institution as much as
over Iraq.

Joschka Fischer, the German foreign minister, said, "The Security Council ‹
in fact, we all ‹ face an important decision, probably a historic turning

History will turn, he implied, on what the Council members do now, whether
they hang together as a world body or splinter apart in bitter dissent over
American war plans in Iraq.

No one mentioned it publicly, but some members said they were also thinking
about North Korea. If the Security Council cannot play the primary
authorizing role in Iraq, it might throw the international system off
balance in trying to unite in preventing the Korean peninsula from becoming
a zone of nuclear threat and competition.

Then comes Iran, where international concerns about a secret nuclear weapons
program are rising as Tehran's leaders sharply expand their civilian nuclear
industries with heavy Russian assistance and technology.

In each case, America has asserted a security interest in the potential
threats. Thus the consequences for how the Iraq crisis is resolved radiate
out in many directions.


Still, inside the Security Council, many diplomats believe that the most
important debate is over whether nations should simply bow to America's will
by joining the coalition in hopes of influencing the conduct of the war that
Mr. Bush appears poised to unleash. A number of nations seem determined to
hold their ground, diplomats report, in the belief that no superpower can
function in isolation.

"Under any circumstances, the United States will have to come back to the
United Nations," the European ambassador said, explaining that no coalition
will be able to shoulder all of the rebuilding and relief tasks that will
arise under the most optimistic scenarios for war.

Dawn, 9th March

WASHINGTON, March 8: The United States plans to split Iraq into three zones
immediately after the war, with each zone having a separate civilian
administrator, Pentagon officials said on Saturday.

All three administrators, however, will work under Gen Tommy Franks,
Commander-in Chief of the US Central Command, said the officials in an
exclusive briefing to a news agency.

Ethnic and geographic boundaries will be the key consideration while
dividing Iraq into northern, southern and central sectors, the officials
said, adding borders separating the three zones had not yet been determined.

Shias will be the dominant group in the southern sector while Kurds will
dominate the northern sector, the officials said. The central sector, they
said, would include the rest of the population.

Existing major roads, terrain features and population centres will also be
kept in mind while dividing the country, one of the largest in the Middle
East, the officials added.

The Pentagon officials, however, insisted that despite the division Iraq
would remain a single country, but did not explain how.

The three administrators could be American civilians or could be from
coalition countries and would report to retired US Army Lt. Gen. Jay Garner.



by David Baran
Monde Diplomatique, March 2003 (English edition; February 2003, French

David Baran is an Ottawa-based journalist, who is currently in Baghdad

The Bush administration has failed to convince the Iraqi people of the
morality or nobility of a war that it describes as a civilising mission and
an act of peace. But the Iraqis do now believe that the United States means
business. Until recently they refused to take threats of war seriously,
because they were expecting only the latest in the series of crises since
1991, all of which actually seemed to strengthen the hand of Saddam Hussein
(to the point that there were rumours that Baghdad and Washington might be
in unholy alliance).

Iraq's crises meant military strikes on key targets, with Iraqis reacting to
attacks with indifference and resignation. In December 1998 Operation Desert
Fox, the largest military operation in Iraq in the past 10 years, lasted
four days but caused only a little panic buying. The first bombs fell by
night, and next morning students returned to schools and universities;
absentees were penal ised. Families spent the next evening on their
rooftops, watching the proceedings like a game, trying to guess where
missiles might land. Iraqis describe Desert Fox as if it had been a holiday.

Iraqis now have an unaccustomed sense of dread. Things seem normal at first,
but there are signs of tension. Business is at a standstill. People are not
investing or buying anything but daily necessities. Car prices have fallen.
The volatile dollar exchange rate has hit record lows despite the
authorities' vigorous efforts to control the fluctuations. The state of
Iraq's foreign currency markets has reflected and intensified a wider public
awareness. Iraqis are tuning in to foreign broadcasts, in particular Radio
Monte Carlo (in Arabic) and an Iranian Arabic satellite channel that has
been recently approved. People now read imported magazines and pass them to
their friends. Even those who say they are tired of the news spread rumours,
revealing their awareness of events. Communications have multiplied so much
and so quickly that fear, the binding force of Saddam's regime, is gradually
losing its grip.

There is now a certainty of change, less because of the warmongering tone of
the US than because the regime's response makes it clear that time has run
out: Saddam yielded to US pressure when he agreed to the unconditional
return of inspectors from the UN monitoring, verification and inspection
commission (Unmovic). His subsequent offer to allow CIA agents to work
alongside the inspectors was regarded by some as treason. He granted
unfettered access to restricted military sites as well as to his own palaces
- a source of friction with the previous inspectors from the UN special
commission (Unscom) in 1998. He apologised to the people of Kuwait more than
12 years after the Iraqi invasion; Iraqis view this belated act of
contrition as a sign of weakness and cowardice. It is rumoured that Saddam
is also making oil deals in an attempt to remain in control. So he appears
willing to do anything to hold on power, even if this means sacrificing Iraq
and the dignity of the people.

But this new certainty is fragile. Iraqis describe current events as a play
in which they are just the spectators, with the real drama behind the
scenes. The true motives for Bush's war seem to have little to do with
weapons of mass destruction or the fate of the Iraqi people.

The Bush administration has failed to present any credible plan for Iraq's
future. Yet the Iraqi opposition, plagued by internal feuding and with no
base of popular support, continues to discuss post-Saddam scenarios
exclusively with the US. The opposition's subversive radio broadcasts are
considered as unreliable as the official media because they use the same
propaganda, disinformation and rhetoric. The Iraqi people have no crystal
ball, though they know that coming events will be critical. They will have
to face the profound consequences of war.

They need to debate, analyse and conjecture. Their unquenchable thirst for
meaning, together with the lack of any coherent, structured message that
might satisfy it, has led to horrible fantasies. Iraqis believe the
Americans want not to liberate them, but to invade and humiliate them. They
imagine having to show their papers to US soldiers on every street corner,
they imagine triumphant, arrogant marines wearing shorts and sipping beer,
chatting up girls and taking advantage of the nation's poverty.

Iraqis seek underlying reasons for their plight and attempt to identify the
evil forces that have produced such injustice and cruelty. The regime's main
argument takes a hackneyed pan-Arab worldview denouncing US imperialists for
seeking dominance over Arab nations in order to wrest long-term control of
their natural resources. (As usual, this is connected with a Zionist
conspiracy theory.) Any concordance of official dogma and popular fiction
should be seen for what it really is. Iraqis see Saddam, who proclaims
himself champion of the fight against the US and Israel, more as the agent
of those countries. So despite the show of the build-up of troops, Iraqis
think that war will be averted at the last minute by a secret, amicable

The ambiguous information and the ambivalent feelings mean that Iraqis often
hold contradictory beliefs. The fragmentation of Iraqi discourse extends to
the war. Most Iraqis favour change, but the prevailing uncertainty fosters
the here-and-now rather than any leap into the unknown. Will the war be
short, or will there be months of hardship? Is it best to remain in Baghdad
or seek refuge in the provinces? Will Saddam use non-conventional weapons
against his own people? If he used poison gas and blamed the US invaders for
it, this would make good propaganda for the regime and it would arouse
strong feelings among the people.

The questions amount to this. The Iraqis believe that the regime will
eventually fall, and that is good, but at what cost? Does anyone believe
that a better future will come from a war fought for private gain? The end
of the regime will leave a power vacuum, and the race will be on to fill it.
Any advances towards democracy will be risky. More importantly, when the
tight network of the Ba'ath party (1), the police and national security
apparatus unravels, what will check the frustrations and resentments of
poor, humiliated Iraqis? In 1991 there were widespread uprisings after
Operation Desert Storm. Although these were called an Iraqi intifada, they
were mostly wanton destruction and settling of scores.

Many of the regime's officials, from members of local Ba'ath party cells to
senior intelligence officers, fear reprisals and are worried about their
safety. Since any hint of disloyalty can be fatal in Iraq, these people
cannot abandon their posts. This leaves them vulnerable to their victims,
who may return seeking revenge. Some have tried to reconcile those whom they
have humiliated, explaining that they disagreed with the orders they were
obliged to carry out. Others have chosen the more radical option of moving.
If war breaks out, they will follow orders, if unenthusiastically. This will
avoid lengthening their list of enemies and cover the remote possibility
that Saddam will survive. These are the preliminary moves in a game of
repositioning that will be highly explosive once the regime falls.

The structured tribal system will complicate matters post-Saddam, when the
cards will be dealt anew (2). The tribes, led by influential social and
political figures, are known for their ability to mobilise their troops
whenever group interests and honour are at stake. Their large arsenals
include Kalashnikovs, grenades and mortar shells, and they will get more
supplies when the security apparatus collapses. They have broad social
autonomy and apply tribal law in many legal matters. Complex inter-tribal
conflicts will break out as they attempt to carve up land, water and weapons
while vying to boost their prestige and influence. There will be clashes
between the tribes and the new central government; these may well degenerate
into armed struggles.

Unlike their Afghan counterparts, Iraq's tribes will be of no military use
to the US. With no reason to criticise Saddam's policies, the strongest
tribes will be well-positioned in any negotiations with the future
administration. They have nothing to gain by betraying Saddam and everything
to lose if he survives (and he has survived many assassination attempts,
coups and the Gulf war, in which 33 countries were against him). In all
likelihood the tribes will seek to maintain their strategic positions as
they wait for him to fall.

The most likely scenario is a brief period of instability. During the
initial US-led operations, Iraq's security apparatus and forces will
cautiously perform their duties. Rebellious residents of Baghdad slums and
cities in southern Iraq will keep quiet, waiting for the opportunity to
pounce. Then the end will come: the regime will crumble among brutal
violence as people take flight in the confusion. Any subsequent uprisings,
looting or lynching will be irrelevant to the war effort. Iraqis' opinions
vary about the regime's ability to hold on, but everyone agrees chaos is

Although Washington discounts it, the prospect of instability figures
prominently in the regime's war plans. Saddam's goal will be to prevent or
delay social upheaval by keeping the population in line as long as he can.
Contrary to extravagant official pronouncements urging the people to rise up
en masse to fight the invader, the regime is ensuring that Iraqis stay in
their homes, with an around-the-clock curfew to be imposed as soon as
hostilities commence. Iraqis have enough food rations to last until June.
Televised warnings have discouraged families from selling rations as they
usually do since they may need them soon. Workers have dug wells to provide
drinking water in Baghdad and in provincial cities; this network is overseen
by the Ba'ath party.

The party's neighbourhood units have already vacated their offices, regarded
as potential targets, and set up headquarters in schools. Their tasks will
include distributing water and methylated spirits used for lighting, heating
and cooking. Party officials assigned to each neighbourhood will maintain
public order, with each household held responsible for the conduct of its
members, all of whom will be confined to their homes. Sandbags are already
stacked up at main intersections for stringent traffic control.

In subtle ways these activities explain the official mindset; most officials
would desert immediately if sent to the front to face the US's hi-tech
military. According to anxious rumours, the US has tanks capable of firing
missiles as fast as if they were bullets; planes that travel at 25 times the
speed of sound; and missiles that can stop in mid-air to detect the
slightest movement below. Safe in their headquarters, Saddam's agents will
be better at maintaining order, a task they can do with gusto. They are
currently being trained to supervise street-by-street fighting, with the
Republican Guard and Saddam's Fedayin in charge of the sessions (3). Some
people are already equipped with Kalashnikovs, and the authorities will
almost certainly distribute their stocks of small arms before the conflict.

Saddam's overriding goal is to maintain his grip. In the cities, where the
threat of uprisings is acute, Saddam is casting in his lot with the Ba'ath
party and the national security apparatus, although he is well aware that
their loyalty is fragile. Despite its threats of reprisals, the regime does
not require its representatives to make untenable commitments or sacrifice
themselves; it merely expects them to perform their regular duties. This
doctrine of strict-but-minimal engagement also applies to rural areas, where
the allied tribes will not be asked to fight unless they have to. Preventing
uprisings and foreign infiltration of tribal lands will be their job, and
they have been paid and armed with this in mind.

Saddam will try to play on the people's deep apathy, which he takes for
granted in peacetime. Spreading out the security personnel, to evacuate at
the slightest alarm, strengthens the regime's effectiveness and deterrent
power. Clever propaganda should be enough to maintain fear and preclude
rioting. Another key consideration is Saddam's personal safety, ensured in
conflict-proven ways. The emphasis is on mobile defensive procedures,
including decoys, unmarked vehicles and surprise stays with families forced
to surrender their homes overnight; Saddam is also said to use various
doubles. Lively rumours evoke his mysterious and wily ways as he seeks out
hiding-places, including the underground network of huge mosques under
construction in Baghdad.

The overwhelming US firepower rules out any standard counter-attack by Iraq,
which only stands to gain from any confrontation that runs counter to US
plans. A prolonged war with many casualties on either side could trigger a
counter-reaction leading to a popular uprising against the invaders. The
current US plans, which work only only if Saddam is quickly overthrown, are
still seen as unjust and immoral; it is in the regime's interests to make
street by-street fighting the focal point of war.

What will be the role of Iraq's conventional combat units, the standing army
and the Republican Guard? These are the only forces able to challenge US
firepower, although Saddam undoubtedly has little faith in his troops'
loyalty or military capabilities (4). One strategy could solve this:
requiring his soldiers to remain at their posts as they carry out their
minimal duties. Stationed outside Baghdad, Saddam's regular troops will
offer only token resistance to any US bombing campaign or military invasion,
allowing the US a foothold in the centre of the country. Iraq's elite
reserves might then step in; these are woven into the fabric of city life
and will be elusive targets for a bombing campaign. Besides the troops sent
to slaughter on the front lines, the regime will establish multiple combat
zones. If Saddam is still in power after popular uprisings, the regime will
attempt the counter-reaction scenario. The high probability that the regime
will fall does not preclude the possibility that that the Iraqis will rise
up in violent opposition to the US military presence, though few Iraqis will
take up arms in defence of the regime. But weapons are within reach for many
who say they are ready to kill soldiers from any occupation force.

All this seems to favour radicalism. The Iraqi regime and UN sanctions have
brought years of hardship and humiliation. Tensions are at boiling point.
Yet the swift establishment of democracy and peace in Iraq is theoretical.
In reality Iraqis may be receptive to new arguments; but simplistic,
dogmatic forms of debate, using war- mongers' words, are often the most
persuasive. Even though the Iraqis are the targets in all this, they are
strangely missing from the debate. Some Iraqis have made up their minds: if
there is no war, they will leave Iraq, since another decade of Saddam would
be too much to bear. Others, if forced to choose, would opt for a president
who is satisfied with his lot rather than a power-hungry successor who might
gobble up the nation. Do any Iraqis hope that the US will assume full
responsibility for Iraq's future, bringing peace and prosperity and a new
Marshall plan? No.

David Baran is an Ottawa-based journalist, who is currently in Baghdad

(1) See David Baran, "Iraq: the party in power", Le Monde diplomatique ,
English language edition, December 2002.

(2) See Faleh A. Jabar, "Parti, clans et tribus: un fragile équilibre" in
"L'Empire contre l'Irak", Manière de voir, n° 67, January-February 2003.

(3) Founded by Saddam's eldest son, Uday, this handpicked militia is made up
of poor young "volunteers".

(4) See Faleh A Jabar, "Iraq: the military response", Le Monde diplomatique,
English language edition, January 2003.

USA Today, 6th March

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) ‹ Iraqi bulldozers flattened six more al-Samoud 2
missiles Thursday, meaning the country has now destroyed a third of its
known stock of the banned rockets on the eve of a key report to the U.N.
Security Council about its disarmament.

Iraq said three civilians were killed in a strike by U.S.-British coalition
air patrols west of the capital, as the country built fighting positions and
deployed policemen with assault rifles on Baghdad's streets in preparation
for war. Hundreds of Russians began fleeing Iraq.

The destruction of the al-Samoud 2 missiles brought to 34 the number of
rockets crushed since last weekend. Iraq was estimated to have about 100
missiles before chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix ordered them
destroyed because some tests indicated the missiles could fly farther than
the 93 miles allowed under U.N. resolutions.

Iraq complied with the U.N. order in an attempt to show it is disarming and
to prevent a threatened U.S.-led attack. But with 230,000 American troops
massing at its southern border, Iraq was clearly preparing for the worst.

More sandbagged fighting positions and foxholes appeared throughout the
Iraqi capital, and policemen in green helmets and armed with Kalashnikov
assault rifles lined key intersections. The fighting positions, previously
seen only outside key installations, now dot the entire city.

"If the American administration goes ahead and attacks Iraq, it will be
committing an act of absolute foolishness," President Saddam Hussein told a
Cabinet meeting, the official Iraqi News Agency said.

In Washington, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said Bush and
congressional leaders have discussed a timetable for deciding on war, but he
said the president was not specific.

"The one timetable that the president identified that remains operative is
when on Jan. 30 he said weeks, not months," Fleischer said.

With war perhaps drawing nearer, hundreds of Russians waited at Saddam
International Airport, where three charter flights to Moscow were listed on
the departures board, witnesses said. Journalists were told not to go to the

An official at the Russian Embassy who wouldn't give his name said "as many
as 600" Russian citizens were leaving on two charter flights Thursday. He
hung up when pressed for details.

Russia's Foreign Ministry has said the Emergency Situations Ministry would
fly Russian workers and their families out of Iraq by Sunday, according to
the Interfax news agency. It said the Russian Embassy will continue to


by Dominic Evans
Reuters, 6th March

BAGHDAD, March 6 (Reuters) - Iraq ordered five human shields out of the
country on Thursday after a dispute over where the Western peace activists
should deploy to deter possible U.S. military strikes.

Accusing them of undermining the "noble and courageous" spirit of other
volunteers, senior Iraqi official Abdul-Razzaq al-Hashimi told a heated
meeting of about 100 human shields in Baghdad that the five should leave by

It was the latest setback to the high-profile mission to Iraq by peace
activists whose visit has been plagued by infighting, illness and a
broken-down red London bus.

"Out of concern for the success of the noble cause you are here for, and so
as not to let a few people in the group undermine this beautiful activity,
I'm very sorry to say that I'm asking the five people to leave," Hashimi
told the meeting.

He said the five who had been told to leave had set themselves up as
representatives of the group and had been "holding unnecessary meetings,
wasting time, knocking on doors at midnight...(and) asking stupid

"We appreciate very much that you are here, but the rules of the house have
to be respected," he said.

Activists at the meeting said the row centred on a disagreement over who
should decide where they should deploy. Some had wanted to station
themselves in hospitals or schools but were told instead to go to power

Former U.S. marine Ken O'Keefe, one of those ordered to leave, said it was
"absolutely unacceptable that human shields would arrive and immediately be
taken to sites without our knowledge".

O'Keefe, whose Human Shield Action Iraq group coordinated the departure of
dozens of volunteers from London six weeks ago, said Hashimi's decision
would ensure that many other human shields would be leaving Baghdad too.

"It's just a shame that there may be Iraqi lives that could be lost as a
result of numbers diminishing," he told Reuters.

One of the red double-decker buses which ferried O'Keefe and other human
shields to Baghdad broke down en route from London. Two more are now
stranded in Lebanon, with their owner needing $5,500 to ship them home.

Some volunteers fell ill on the journey and dozens more have since left
Iraq, saying they had wanted to protect hospitals and schools but had been
forced out to refineries, power plants and water works.

But others said they would not quit.

"We planned to be here and we intend to stay here," British volunteer Karl
Dallas told Hashimi to applause from the meeting.

Dallas said it was reasonable for Iraq to want the shields to defend power
plants because hospitals and schools were over-stretched and could not cope
with visitors.

by Mona Charen
Hartford Courant, 8th March

The solid reasons for going to war with Iraq - and rebuilding that nation as
a democracy - are cogently and succinctly sketched in Lawrence Kaplan and
William Kristol's slim volume "The War Against Iraq." The case does not rest
upon humanitarian concerns alone, but if it did, it would still be powerful.

The tyranny that Saddam has imposed on Iraq has few equals in the world
today. International human rights groups, as well as the United Nations,
report that some 16,000 Iraqis have disappeared, never to be accounted for.
Saddam's agents are everywhere searching out evidence of disloyalty. The
British Index on Censorship, Kaplan and Kristol recount, reported a case in
which a Baath Party member was present at a gathering where jokes at
Saddam's expense were exchanged. The party member - along with all of the
other males in his family, was executed - and the family home was bulldozed.
Another man had his tongue sliced off for "slandering" the Iraqi leader.

One of Saddam's first acts after coming to power in 1979 was to declare the
existence of a "Zionist spy ring." Fourteen people, including 11 Iraqi Jews,
were strung up before a crowd of thousands in Baghdad, and over the course
of the next several months, hundreds of Muslims said to have collaborated in
the plot were also executed. Saddam had the "plotters" executed on live
television and their bodies hung from lampposts in the city.

In 1992, Saddam arrested 500 of Baghdad's most successful businessmen on
charges of "profiteering." Forty-two were executed, their bodies left
hanging outside their stores with signs around their necks saying "Greedy
Merchant." In 1994, the regime issued a new decree announcing that anyone
found guilty of stealing an item worth more than $12 would have his hand
amputated. For a second offense, the thief would be branded.

Many regimes practice torture on their enemies. But Saddam tortures the
children of his enemies before their eyes. Kristol and Kaplan quote
testimony from a former political prisoner provided by Middle East Watch:
"Each hour, security men opened the door and chose three to five of the
prisoners - children or men - and removed them for torture. Later, their
tortured bodies were thrown back into the cell. They were often bleeding and
carried obvious signs of whipping and electric shock."

Twenty-nine of the children mentioned in that particular report were
eventually killed. Their bodies were returned to their parents with the eyes
gouged out. Saddam often took his own sons to the nation's prisons to have
them observe the torture - the better to "toughen them up."

During the war with Iran (which is predominantly Shiite), Iraq's own Shiite
population came in for especially brutal treatment. Thirty-five thousand
Iraqi Shiites were driven out of the country at the start of the Iran/Iraq
war, and thousands more were tortured and murdered before the war was
finished. Following the Persian Gulf War, Saddam's genocidal fury was even
worse. When the Shiites in southern Iraq rose up in rebellion, Saddam
determined to kill as many as he could. An Iraqi army document, obtained by
the U.S. State Department, showed that Iraq's military was under orders to
"withhold all foodstuffs, ban the sale of fish, poison the water and burn
the villages." As many as 100,000 Iraqis were murdered by the regime in the
months following the Gulf War.

Saddam's treatment of the Kurds was, if possible, worse. The Kurds are a
non-Arab minority living in Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Iran and Armenia. Saddam
accused the Kurds, who are Sunni Muslims, of collaborating with the Iranians
and gave orders for their extermination. The Iraqi air force used chemical
weapons to gas the towns of Halabja, Goktapa and two hundred smaller
villages, killing as many as 200,000. Mothers were found with their scarves
wrapped around their babies' faces, hoping to protect them.

The humanitarian one is not the only case to be made for intervention in
Iraq. But it should be kept in mind as America's enemies, foreign and
domestic, seek to put the most sinister possible spin on President Bush's
policy. It's a war for oil, or for hegemony, or for empire, they cry. In
searching for ways to undermine the case for war, they are propping up the
butcher of Baghdad.

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