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[casi] News titles, 09-14/03/03 (Sunday-Friday)

News titles, 09-14/03/03 (Sunday-Friday)


Assuming that war starts in a few days time it will be a war that Jacques
Chirac and probably a majority of members of the UN Security Council,
including a majority of the permanent members - and almost certainly a
majority of the nations of the world as represented in the General Assembly,
for what that matters - believe to be illegal. Which means that whatever
government the Americans put in place after the war must also be regarded as

This flagrant breach of international law on the part of two permanent
members of the UN Security Council is a very radical situation and it is
difficult to imagine things continuing as before as if nothing had happened.
After this, how can anyone take the US and UK seriously as guardians of
international law? And how can the UN agree to help with the administration
of a territory that will be under illegal occupation? Kofi Annan has
declared that this war will be in breach of the UN Charter. Can he then
continue to deal with the US and the UK as if they are respectable,
law-abiding members of the international community?

Logically we are heading towards a split in the United Nations in which
Europe, as represented by Jacques Chirac, has a wonderful opportunity to
take on the political leadership of that part of the world that believes in
the rule of law. But what courage and vision it would require to see it
through. Can we really believe that Jacques Chirac, Gerhard Schroeder, and
Vladimir Putin have it in them? And yet if they allow themselves to be
defeated on this, if they do not put up a fight now, the defeat will be
absolute and irreparable.

What is required is nothing less than that the international community
should constitute itself in opposition to the International Community, and
the united nations in opposition to the United Nations. It is a large
project. The rogue states (US and UK) are counting on a quick successful war
and an Iraqi feeling of being liberated (whether from Saddam Hussein or from
the UN imposed sanctions regime, it hardly matters). They may get this
result - though it is by no means certain. The balloon could go up quickly
in the Kurdish areas; they could be faced with the disagreeable prospect of
siege warfare (Kirkuk, Tikrit, Baghdad); difficulties could be created
through the differences among the Shia. But even if it all goes according to
plan, the euphoria is likely to be shortlived as they find they have to cope
with the problems their predecessors had to cope with and perhaps find
themselves coming up with similar or parallel solutions.

The opponents of the war must hold good in their opposition and insist that
the occupation is illegal. They must not give it respectability and let the
US off the hook by assuming responsibility for it. The fund of discontent
created this time round must be preserved as far as possible to constitute a
starting point for the moment when the next stage in the process of US world
domination has to be confronted. The policy formulated by the ideologically
driven circle round President Bush and endorsed by Prime Minister Blair, is
the creation of a unipolar world. To oppose this now requires a positive act
of resistance that can match the determination of its advocates.

In particular it requires a turning towards numbers in opposition to
economic power - a turning towards the 'third world' and its current
embodiment in the Non-Aligned Movement. And there we might just encounter
someone with the vision and toughmindedness that is required, in the person
of the Malaysian Prime Minister Mahatir Mohamed, its current President. Such
a development is all the more necessary since we can be sure that the US
unipolar world is going to be resisted anyway and if no principled
international political opposition can be found then the only possible form
of resistance will be the loose, decentralised spontaneous terrorism of the
type that is symbolised by Al-Qaida.

NEWS, 09-14/03/03 (1)

THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY (its death and possible resurrection)

*  Battle to rebuild the old alliances [Extract. George Bush Sr plays the
role of wise old hobbit]
*  Urgent Diplomacy Fails to Gain U.S. 9 Votes in the U.N. ['"We need to
knock down this idea that nobody is on our side," he [Colin Powell] said.
"So many nations recognize this danger. And they do it in the face of public
*  U.S. Asks Over 60 Nations to Expel Iraqi Envoys [Another attempt to
implicate the other nations of the world in their crime]
*  Belgium Refuses U.S. Request to Expel Iraq Diplomat
*  France and Russia campaign for mass abstentions at United Nations [Daily
Telegraph eye view of shifty French machinations: "By coming out publicly
with their veto promise, France and Russia have also shown their
desperation. They have had to say to the 'wavering' countries - whatever you
decide will be a waste of time because we will veto, so you might as well
abstain or vote no and keep in step with your electorate." Cunning, eh?
Giving small nations a chance to keep in step with their own people rather
than with their elders and betters in the USA]
*  Global court opens despite US fears
*  US ready for war without Britain [and deadline may slip a little beyond
17th March]
*  For France, the war is between Europe and the United States ['In his
interview on Monday, M Chirac said he envisaged Europe emerging from the
Iraq crisis "in a unique position, as a new force". We just have to hope
J.Chirac has it in him to see this through]
*  Prime Minister's six tests for Saddam
*  UN border monitors withdrawn [UN response to US breach of its rules: get
out of the way]
*  Last-Chance War Summit [Announcement of meeting in Azores and proposed
Israeli Palestinian 'road map'. Indirect announcement that they have failed
to secure a majority on the UN Security Council]
*  UN trims Iraq staff amid war fears
*  The forgotten power of the General Assembly [Robert Fisk puts the case
for Resolution 377]
*  The gall of France: Point the finger of blame elsewhere [The Guardian
explains that Jacques Chirac's phrase 'whatever the circumstances' doesn't
mean what the government wants us to think it means, ie 'whatever the
circumstances'. Better to argue that the French might in certain
circumstances vote for war but that they won't under any circumstances vote
for a motion that gives USUK an automatic right to take the decision into
their own hands]

*  Summaries Of Statements Made In UNSC Open Session
Scoop (New Zealand), 12th March
['held on the 11th March, as requested by Malaysia on behalf of the
Non-Aligned Movement in a letter to the President of the Council of 7
March.' Note that the meeting is described as 'Today's Security Council
meeting on Iraq/Kuwait'. Which perhaps, legally speaking, it is. In which
case can the forthcoming illegal war be described as a Kuwaiti invasion of
Iraq? The discussion begins with speakers from Iraq and Kuwait and the
Kuwaiti position is a little ambiguous: 'The Iraqi Government bore full
responsibility for the suffering of the Iraqi people during the past 12
years. He fully supported efforts made to arrive at a peaceful settlement of
Iraq's disarmament, in keeping with international legality.' The US position
is supported (more or less) by Australia, Turkey ('the course of action Iraq
had chosen to follow, disgruntled rather than cooperative, lay at the centre
of the present difficulties the Council was currently faced with'), Norway,
Iceland, Singapore, South Korea and Albania]

AND, IN NEWS, 09-14/03/03 (2)

THE WHITE MAN'S BURDEN (in the near future)

*  Looking Beyond Saddam [Tasks faced by ex Lt Gen Jay Garner]
*  Iraqis arming for ethnic bloodbath [flourishing trade in black market
*  For Army, Fears of Postwar Strife [Interesting roundup of opinions of
various advisers on military affairs. We are told that 'the officers believe
a decade of peacekeeping operations in Haiti, Somalia, the Balkans and now
Afghanistan makes the Army uniquely qualified for the job' (sic!) but even
so, the needs of Iraq - including the need to 'govern hundreds of towns and
villages' - appear daunting. The article ends with some comments on
Operation Provide Comfort which was, it seems, a rather less rosy affair
than we were led to believe at the time: "It was really a wild time, a very
bloody time"]
*  Politicians underestimate Iraq force [Defence of General Shinseki's
estimate of the numbers that will be required to hold Iraq]
*  US Firms Set for Postwar Contracts [The government doesn't in fact appear
to be offering very much but the firms that get in first -  which of course
include Haliburton - "are going to become brand names in Iraq. That's
*  Iraq's new rulers wait in the wings [Favourable account by Michael Young
in the Lebanon Daily Star of Barbara Bodine, tipped as governor of the
central region of the future Iraq. Less favourable account of her boss, Jay
Garner, friend of Israel and president of California based defense
contractor SY Technology: 'One cannot help but presume that Bodine will be a
comforting but powerless civilian facade for an operation run mainly by the

THE WHITE MAN'S BURDEN (in the past)

*  Liberating the Mideast: Why Do We Never Learn? [Robert Fisk reflects on
previous altruistic efforts to liberate Arab peoples from tyranny and
*  Miss Bell's lines in the sand [Interesting and timely account of the
architect of modern Iraq: 'Bell and her superior as British high
commissioner, Sir Percy Cox, laid down policies of state in Iraq that were
taken up by Saddam's Arab Ba'ath socialist party. Those policies were to
retain, if necessary by violence, the Kurdish mountains as a buffer against
Turkey and Russia; to promote Sunni Muslims and other minorities over the
Shia majority; to repress the Shia clergy in Najaf, Kerbela and Kazimain, or
expel them to Iran; to buy off the big landowners and tribal elders; to
stage disreputable plebiscites; and to deploy air power as a form of
political control. ....  The Iraq of Gertrude Bell had lasted 37 years ...
As of yesterday, Ba'athist Iraq had lasted 35 years.']

THE WHITE MAN'S BURDEN (in the present)

*   Cumbersome chemical suits could kill ['Military commanders have ordered
that all troops heading into Iraq must don the charcoal-lined suits ...
Saddam has already scored a small victory over any invasion army by
frightening them into wearing equipment that badly damages their ability to
fight, argues retired military scientist Bernard Fine ... "Running, with
weapon and full field gear, or carrying very heavy loads such as ammunition,
for example, under conditions of high ambient temperature...will inevitably
result in a very significant number of heat casualties in a short time."']
*  Life on hold in Operation Sandstorm [Misery of life waiting in Kuwait
when the sand rises]

AND, IN NEWS, 09-14/03/03 (3)


*  Just War  or a Just War? [Former President James Carter argues that the
proposed war does not conform to just war criteria. Though his suggestion
that this is the first time the US has done such a thing seems a little
*  Democracy at the Edge of a Sword [The whole article is a powerful
restatement of the anti-war case though, speaking as someone who could be
considered to be a 'religious fundamentalist' I find his generalisations
about 'fundamentalism' a little empty (Ramzi Kysia is himself
'fundamentally' and as a matter of absolute principle opposed to war). Only
a short extract is given on the absurdity of the idea that the war is about
democracy and isn't about US economic interest]
*  Sacha Trudeau slips quietly into Baghdad [Former Canadian PM Pierre
Trudeau's son, a film-maker: "Whatever happens next may set back the world
so far we will suffer the consequences for the rest of our lives." The
article includes this from Toronto Star journalist Scott Taylor: 'Though
technically armed combatants, the frontline soldiers are all underfed
conscripts, many of whom would likely shed the uniforms they were forced
into and flee if stationed in Baghdad ... "These guys are starving. Just
sitting there in the open desert without camouflage. They have stationary
artillery cannons that can't reach the bombers, which will be flying at
15,000 feet (4,500 metres). There is nowhere to run, there is nowhere to
hide, nobody to surrender to and they are not there by choice," he said. "In
my opinion, that makes them civilians. And tens of thousands will die."']
*  New York City Council Goes on Record Against an Iraq War [together with
at least 139 cities in the US]


*  Lawyers split over right to use force ['The US could argue that this
doctrine ["anticipatory self-defence"] is supported by nearly two centuries
of state practice.' Indeed it is justified by thousands of years of state
practice, one recent example being the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour.
Some poor idiots thought the UN Charter represented the end of 'state
practice' as the rule of thumb for what could or couldn't be done]
*  Why the sword is mightier than the law [Daily Telegraph summary of
dispute between Prof Ian Brownlie (war would not be legally justified) and
Prof Christopher Greenwood (war would be legally justified). The strongest
point on Prof Greenwood's side appears (to me) to be the fact that
Resolution 1441 evokes Resolution 678 in its preamble. He interprets this as
meaning that it 'reactivates' Resolution 678]


*  Opposition group [Iraqi National Accord] sets up main base in Jordan
*  First 'Free Iraqis' flown to Gulf [Comforting to know that the 300,000 US
soldiers will be accompanied by 'Free Iraqi Forces' - all 50 of them. They
will be working with strange hybrid creatures called 'civil military
organisations' charged with relief work and armed, doubtless, with large
quantities of sticking plaster]


*  Ayatollah warns US will repeat its errors [Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir
al-Hakim, head of SCIRI: 'A US occupation, no matter how short, would be an
affront to Islam and Iraqi nationalist sentiment, he said. "The Iraqi people
will believe that what the Americans do will be part of a religious war
against them."']
*  Iraq's Shiite opposition in show of force [Al Badr brigade in the Kurdish
Autonomous Zone: 'When asked if his group was in any way coordinating its
armed operations with Washington, he boasted that "on the level of field
actions, there is no specific agreement with any country because we don't
need it"']


*  Captured torturer tells of brutality of Iraq regime [The article tells us
he was 'arrested in December while working as an undercover agent in the
semiautonomous, Kurdish-controlled area of northern Iraq'. Is it smart to
use someone who is also described as a very well known torturer, and who is
a recognisable 6' 3" tall, as an undercover agent?]
*  Report reveals horror of torture used in Iraq [from Indict]

*  Inside Saddam's mind
by Pepe Escobar
Asia Times, 14th March
[Long (too long to be included) literary and as always enjoyable romp
through President Hussein's intellectual world, largely, according to Pepe
Escobar, fed by American films ('Look Ma, top of the world') and by the
history of Babylon/Abbasid Baghdad. It contains the startling assertion that
the President cannot sleep at night unless he has killed at least one person
(the same Republican Guard source says he has no chemical or biological
weapons) and - perceptively in my opinion, this: 'He wants to be enshrined
forever in Arab mythology - even in death, surrounded by the bodies of his
enemies. So it's unlikely that he would engineer a humanitarian disaster of
apocalyptic proportions, directed against the Iraqis themselves, because he
would not be remembered as a hero.' There is also an account of the panic
that is spreading through Baghdad as people realise they are likely to end
up as captives in a siege of Stalingrad]

AND, IN NEWS, 09-14/03/03 (4)


*  Turkmen fears of Iraqi conflict [Disagreement as to how well or badly the
Turkmen fare in the Kurdish Autonomous Zone]
*  Birds are absent from the hills of Qushtapa [Though mainly about Baath
cruelty, the article hints that those living in the territory of Masoud
Barzani are as discreet about his possible failings as those living in Iraqi
government-controlled territory are about the failings of S.Hussein]
*   Iraq rigs its oilfields to explode ['One traveller said some Iraqi
forces in Kirkuk were wearing U.S. military uniforms, "because when the war
starts they plan to kill people and will pretend that American soldiers have
killed the people of Kirkuk."' Though in that case it seems a little
premature of them to be wearing the uniforms already]
*  Bomb Goes Off Near Politician's [Kosrat Rasool Ali, a top official in the
Patriotic Union of Kurdistan] Home
*  Kurds are about to be betrayed - again ['"The Turkish government has been
far worse to the Kurds than Saddam has"  ... They described past Turkish
military techniques like raping wives in front of husbands, or assembling
villagers to watch men being tied and dragged to their death behind tanks,
and they noted that Turkey had been less tolerant of Kurdish language and
culture than Saddam.']
*  Jalal Talabani speaks to NBC News in northern Iraq [Ma vie en rose]


*  Turkey's Erdogan to Wait on Troop Move ['Erdogan blamed parliament's
rejection of troop deployment last week on pressure from Washington. "On the
issue of the motion, there was no need to act with such haste," he said. The
right atmosphere, environment needs to be created."]
*  Turkish port abuzz with U.S. activity
*   Erdogan to become Turkish premier [and sets about exploring the
possibilty of a new vote on US deployment in a leisurely manner]
*  Turkish MPs in furious debate over US military presence [The opposition
Republican People's Party (CHP) complains about the amount of US military
activity already taking place in Turkey which the government claims is
compatible with the resolution allowing the US to upgrade military bases]
*  Ocalan trial unfair, court says
*  Police shoot at Turkish demo [warning shots as the demonstrators 'tried
to enter the eastern Mediterranean port of Iskenderun, where United States
military personnel were unloading equipment for a war against Iraq'. The
Turkish government is also delaying the business of granting overflight
*  U.S. ready to throw in towel on Turkey ['"The situation now is that it's
all off," the official said. "We don't have an agreement, and we don't want
them to go in unilaterally. The mission now is to discourage and deter them
from going in, and to reach an understanding with them on legitimate issues
of concern." ']

AND, IN NEWS, 09-14/03/03 (5)


*  U.S.-Saudi deal allows U.S. use of some air bases [say the dissident
Saudi Islamic Reform Movement. Prince Sultan replies that the US soldiers
are there to help the Saudis defend thesmelves against Israel. Hmmmm. This
is reminiscent of the first UN Gulf War when the King of Morrocco said he
was joining the coalition in order to defend the Islamic holy places in Iraq
from the Americans]
*  Egyptian state co-opts popular anti-war marches [The article, from the
Lebanon Daily Star, is also a general reflection on the nature of political
demos in Egypt]
*  Post-war Baghdad: US envisages Iraqi quartet alongside American
triumvirate [Lebanon Daily Star roundup of Arab press, including US proposal
to divide Iraq in three, and some new names for proposed Iraqi
collaborators; an unremarkable Kurdish critique of the Turks; and comment on
the resignation of Charlotte Beers, charged with the job of selling the US
to the Muslim world]
*  Saudi Arabia: US giving technical assistance to kingdom to help cope with
Iraqi refugees [But if Saudi Arabia was seriously opposed to a US invasion
they wouldn't be giving the US so much credibility]    
*  Facilitating an attack by pretending to try and prevent it [Interesting
Lebanon Daily Star roundup of Arab press on the proposed Arab League mission
to Baghdad. Possibility that it will ask President Hussein to stand down and
that this has French and Russian backing. Strong statement from Bashir Assad
against those Arab states that have made the invasion possible by allowing
US use of their facilities: 'instead of undertaking to deny bases to the
Americans they sufficed with pledging not to "participate" in the invasion.
"I can assure you that all the Arab states are sincere on this count," Assad
quipped, "for the simple reason that America is not allowing anyone to
participate because it does not need anyone's participation."]

*  LUNCH WITH THE CHAIRMAN: Why was Richard Perle meeting with Adnan
New Yorker, 10th March
[Long article by Seymour Hersh on possible conflict of interest between
Richard Perle's positions as chairman of the Defense Policy Board on the one
hand and managing partner in a venture-capital company called Trireme
Partners L.P. on the other. It refers to an apparent attempt to arrange
exile for President Hussein and mentions as one of the conditions that he
was to appear on television and confess that he had possessed illegal
weaponry but now intended to give it up. Which sounds familiar. Adnan
Khashoggi appears to be a Saudi who fixes things for the West]


*  Short spearheads rebellion with threat to quit over war
*  Labour plotters take first steps to oust Blair ['Yesterday Hilton Dawson,
Labour MP for Lancaster and Wyre, became the first backbencher to call
publicly on Mr Blair to consider stepping down.']
*  Firefighters' union calls 24-hour strike
*  Cook threat to quit over Iraq crisis [Difficult to know why the man who
gave us the war on Serbia should suddenly start developing scruples now but
we have to be grateful for what we get]

AND, IN NEWS, 09-14/03/03 (6)

[For an attempt at a more comprehensive roundup of these incidents see]

*  U.S. 'no-fly' patrols hit air defences hard [Telephone conversation with
Air Force Lt. Gen. T. Michael "Buzz" Moseley who informs us that "We've
killed what we know is there"]
*  Third day of no-fly zone strikes [Sunday, 9th March: 'mobile missile
guidance system about 370 kilometers (230 miles) west of Baghdad' and 'four
military communication sites ... near Qalat Sukkar, approximately 200
kilometers (125 miles) southeast of Baghdad']
*   Western jets attack Iraqi sites ['five, unmanned, underground military
communications sites about 60 miles southeast of Baghdad', 9th March (may be
the same as the four sites '200 kilometers (125 miles) southeast of Baghdad'
of the previous item)]
*  US warplanes bomb radar in western Iraq [Mobile radar was located south
of Ar Rutbah, west of Baghdad, Wednesday 12th March. There is also a
reference to 'five underground military communications sites near An
Numinayah, about 95km east of Baghdad', apparently on 11th march]
*  Danger multiplying in no-fly zone [but the real problem appears to be
'traffic hazards in skies filled with mounting numbers of coalition aircraft
... A spokesman for the U.S. Central Command, Marine 1st Lt. Josh Rushing,
said that aircraft of all types flew 1,000 sorties one day last week']
*   Western jets attack Iraqi radar [Thursday, 13th March, 'about 265 miles
(426 km) southwest of the Iraqi capital'. The article claims that the last
previous attack was on Monday, 10th March]
*  U.S. beefs up Iraq airstrikes by employing B-1 bombers [Thursday 13th
March. Radar sites in western Iraq]

WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION (Iraq's possible possession of)

*  A Hazy Target: Before going to war over weapons of mass destruction,
shouldn't we be sure Iraq has them? [US defence specialist William M. Arkin
gives reasons for thinking Iraq's 'weapons of mass destruction' may not be
such a problem after all]
*  U.S. Says Iraq Retools Rockets for Illicit Uses [Apparently quite
detailed account of accusations based largely on the longer UN weapons
inspectors' report. Cluster bomb material that could be suitable for use
with chemical or biological weapons]
*  UN critical of ministers' 'unfounded' allegations over Iraq [Claims that
Iraq was trying to import uranium from Niger are still on government
websites even after the 'evidence' has been shown to have been forged]
*  U.N. cancels U-2 flights over Iraq ['after Iraq complained that two of
the aircraft flying simultaneously constituted a hostile action.']
*  A quick invasion unlikely as Iraq prepares its defences [Roundup by Paul
McGeough of what is known of Iraqi defence plans]
*  ElBaradei Calls for U.N. to Compromise ['he questioned Britain's demand
for a televised statement by Iraqi President Saddam Hussein that banned
weapons are hidden in Iraq. "We have no clear evidence he has things he is
hiding for him to admit"']
*  FBI Probes Fake Evidence of Iraqi Nuclear Plans ['including the
possibility that a foreign government is using a deception campaign to
foster support for military action against Iraq'. The more obvious possible
explanation doesn't appear to be under consideration]
*  Three nations, a hidden motive and an explosive link with Iraq [W.Safire
reveals fiendish Chinese and French machinations to supply Iraq with
hydroxy-terminated polybutadiene, 'the chemical that is among the best
binders for solid propellant']

WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION (USUK's definite possession of)

*  The allies don't need to take Baghdad to defeat Saddam [John Keegan
emphasises that 'the coalition' are going to use Turkish and other territory
regardless of what the indigenous inhabitants might think. He says Baghdad
can be looked after by a blockade, without the need for street fighting.
Presumably the same way Sarajevo was]

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