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News titles, 23-30/4/03 Another delayed news mailing. I finished the introduction to the last news mailing by referring to Richard Perle's 'relax and enjoy it' article ('Relax, celebrate victory', Yahoo (from USA Today), 2nd May, http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=679&ncid=742&e=2&u=/usatoday /20030502/cm_usatoday/5124949). It will be given in the next mailing but I will continue my comments on it here. Perle says the war 'ended quickly with few civilian casualties and with little damage to Iraq's cities, towns or infrastructure. It ended without the Arab world rising up against us, as the war's critics feared, without the quagmire they predicted, without the heavy losses in house-to-house fighting they warned us to expect. It was conducted with immense skill and selfless courage by men and women who will remain until Iraqis are safe, and who will return home as heroes.' At first sight one might be tempted to think there is something in this. Yes, the present humanitarian situation is disastrous. But not as disastrous as the end of the First or Second World Wars (and that is the scale Perle is thinking on. He calls it 'the most important military victory since World War II'). We still don't know if the catastrophe will get worse or better. Things may improve and the present horror may eventually look like a temporary blip. In an earlier mailing (02-09/04/03) I drew a comparison between this war (a month and thousands of human bodies blown apart) and the Iran/Iraq war (ten years and hundreds of thousands of human bodies blown apart) which might seem to justify Mr Perle's rosy view of the matter. But there is of course more to it than that. In fact this war lasted much longer than a month. It is the culmination of a war that has been going on since 1990. To the month and thousands of bodies blown apart (and the further deaths caused by the shortages of water and medical facilities) must be added all the casualties of the UN Gulf War and of the subsequent twelve-years-long blockade. Mr Perle's 'most important military victory since World War II' was fought against a nation which had long been systematically deprived of the means of defending itself and debilitated by a policy deliberately designed to provoke mass starvation and disease. Although this would certainly not have happened without the deadly, Satanic will of the USUK axis, it was a crime aided and abetted by 'the international community' as a whole - including France, Russia and Iraq's beyond belief contemptible neighbours. And I would suggest that many of the crimes committed by the Iraqi government were contingent on the crime committed against Iraq by 'the international community'. So the Iraqi government was paranoid. Under the circumstances can anyone really blame them? With this in mind we can assert that even now the US military machine has not been fully tested in war. In Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan they had people who in other circumstances could easily have been characterised as 'terrorists' to do their ground fighting for them. They would never have attempted the Bosnian adventure if the Croats had not previously upset the applecart with the expulsion of the Serbs of Krajina (it was, in other words, dependent on the most spectacular piece of ethnic cleansing in the entire war). In Kosovo as such they were losing (the KLA were only really of use in working up the pretext for the war) and it was only the bombing of the civilian infrastructure of Serbia itself that induced President Milosevic to surrender, with a little help from his Russian friends. In Afghanistan of course they simply returned the country to the non-Pashtoun mountain men of the 'Northern Alliance', and thus to its pre-Taliban state of anarchy.; And in Iraq, they faced an army which, thanks to Kofi Annan and the international community, was living on starvation rations and almost completely deprived of modern equipment. These are hardly victories any military leader worth his salt would want to boast about. This interdependence between the final shooting war and the blockade raises questions as to whether the anti-war movement should be continuing with the line that the war was 'unnecessary' or 'avoidable' - on the grounds that Iraq could have been 'contained' by the UN weapons inspection process, a process that itself was only possible because of the blockade and the threat of war. A recent ARROW briefing (no 43, 28th April) quotes Robin Cook, apparently approvingly, saying the effectiveness of the inspections would be an excuse for maintaining them 'as a way of keeping Saddam in his cage without the necessity for war and the thousands of casualties that followed (Guardian, 25th April. Not given below. Sorry). Such a line of argument had its uses when it was a matter of gaining a consensus sufficiently broad to prevent the war. That could then (always assuming the inspectors found nothing, or very little) have been used to create a momentum to end sanctions - nothing succeeds like success. But now that strategy has failed. It is still worth affirming again and again that the pretext for war (the threat Iraq posed to the security of the US) was nonsense - unless we are also willing to take into account (as I'm sure the radical Straussians are) of the threat Germany, say, or any independent country, or anything with any life in it at all, poses to the security of the US. And that the war was fought on the basis of lies - some of them quite staggering. But it is only if we take the pretext seriously that the war can be presented as 'avoidable'. From the Straussian (these people are not 'Conservatives', neo or not - they are radical revolutionaries with an instrumental view of politics and ideology that rivals that attributed to Lenin or Stalin) viewpoint, nothing that openly defies the US monopoly of major power, or shows any desire to resist it, can be allowed to exist. From that perspective - quite clearly and consciously shared by Messrs Blair and Straw - this war was both perfectly necessary and unavoidable. Like the others before it. And the others to come. NEWS, 23-30/4/03 (1) NEW IRAQI ORDER * Marsh Arabs ambivalent about returning to their lost paradise * Garner enjoys burger and Cola at Saddam's palace ['The palace appears to have escaped major damage in the three-week war ...' leaving us wondering what the USUK axis powers were bombing in Baghdad during the first couple of weeks before they got down to the power stations and government offices] * Iraqi exiles meet in Spain [Weekend conference with representatives from the INC, Iraqi CP and al-Dawa] * Pentagon Sending a Team of Exiles to Help Run Iraq [Team of Iraqi technocrats selected by Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz but officially employed by a defense contractor, SAIC. They are to act as advisers in the twenty three ministries to be set up by Jay Garner (or his new boss, Paul Bremer). They include a certain Khidr Hamza who is going to be advising on 'atomic energy'. But weren't we all assured that Iraq, with all that oil sloshing around, doesn't need atomic energy? Isn't that the clincher argument in defence of the Israeli bombing of the Osirak reactor?] * Chalabi Hated Because of His Political Vision [Defence of the INC against Arab suspicions published in the Saudi Arab News] * Iraqi oil officials undertake planning, oil flowing [An Iraqi group which includes 'eight ministry officials and top oil company executives and is reportedly being coordinated by Thamir Abbas Ghadhban, an Oil Ministry official from the Hussein regime. Ghadhban has said that the Daura refinery has been reactivated and is producing about half of its normal capacity of 100,000 barrels a day'] * Iraq Delegates Agree to Meet In a Month [Meeting in Baghdad. Which included a low level delegation from SCIRI. In fact everyone, including the INC, seems to have sent a low level delegation. The article makes the bizarre observation that generally speaking exile reps want less US involvement, while those living in Iraq want more] * Chalabi: Iraq Agents Work at Al-Jazeera [Ahmad Chalabi has been putting his thumb into Iraqi intelligence files and pulling out plums. Though he could reasonably claim to have been provoked if it is true that 'Al-Jazeera reported - incorrectly - that Chalabi had been arrested by U.S. troops for embezzlement'] * Iraq's borders may be a work in progress [a bit of classically minded right wingery from Canada's National Post, which concludes: 'Why spill blood in the 21st century to preserve an entity, such as Iraq, carved out of the Ottoman empire in the early 20th century, primarily for the former British empire's reasons of state?'] * Bush Chooses Iraq Civilian Administrator [L.Paul Bremer, apparently as a superior to both Jay Garner and Zalmay Khalilzad] AMERICAN (AND BRITISH) DREAMS (AND NIGHTMARES) * Puzzle pieces fit to reveal US fundamentalism [Jamil Ali Hammoud in Lebanon Daily Star suggests that as societies mature and become more stable so theoretically they should become resistant to extremes in politics. So why, he asks, has the US government fallen into the hands of a bunch of fundamentalist extremists? He suggests that the US is less stable than it appears and that the Bush administration is the result of a tension between the drive towards globalisation (which he seems to regard as progressive, whatever that might mean) and the conservative instincts of 'Joe Six Pack', the Average American. He couldn't be more wrong. If the Bush administration really was conservative and fundamentalist it would be isolationist and wouldn't be seeking adventures in the world. Vide Pat Buchanan and the text I gave a couple of weeks ago from the John Birch Society. In fact the 'neoconservatives' are radical globalists, indissolubly wedded to the logic of radical free market capitalism which is, by its very nature (and for these people it is a virtue) destabilising. The 'conservatism' and 'fundamentalism' and 'democracy' are for the birds. Their philosopher is the elitist atheist cynic, Leo Strauss] * Using new ways to kill [Cluster bombs? Bunker busters? Daisycutters? MOAB? No. Such things are beneath the notice of Mike O'Callaghan, executive editor of the Las Vegas Sun. He has his eye firmly fixed on car bombs and suicide bombers. The world, he tells us, has become a very dangerous place with all these crazy guys wandering about on the looose. He does admit that the US itself might have contributed to the danger. But only a little bit: 'The United States has contributed marginally to the supply of missiles, having sold more than 900 U.S.-made Stingers to Afghan militias fighting the Soviets between 1979 and 1988.'] * Partners in imperialism [Extract from Mark Curtis: Web of Deceit: Britain's Real Role in the World,Vintage books. I have taken a passage which concentrates on Britain's role in Nepal and on the implications of the Strategic Defense Review of 1998, with its orientation away from defense and towards projection of power] * U.S. Military Will Leave Saudi Arabia This Year [as part of a wider redeployment which also involves reductions in Germany and (intriguingly) South Korea] URL ONLY http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/meast/04/24/sprj.irq.war.main/index.html * Saddam's deputy prime minister in custody CNN, 24th April [Just mentioned here for the sake of the following quote from Jay Garner: "This is a tough job, and it's very difficult to take people out of a darkness and lead them into light ... Once they have been standing in light long enough, their eyes will adjust." AND, IN NEWS, 23-30/4/03 (2) NEW IRAQI DISORDER * Anti-U.S. Protests After Iraqi Arms Dump Carnage [in 'Zaafaraniya on the capital's southern outskirts'] * Fears capital on verge of cholera epidemic * Media, Troops Investigated in Iraq Theft [Small fry western looters get it in the neck] * UK soldiers to be tested for toxic exposure ['A ministry spokeswoman said that if soldiers followed instructions correctly and wore respirators in areas where depleted uranium might have been used they would not suffer dangerous exposure ...' The spokeswoman did not say if respirators had been distributed to civilians living in or entering contaminated areas] * Terrorist group claims it carried out attacks in Iraq ["Resistance and Liberation Command in the Republic of Iraq"] * Arms Dump Blast Fuels Fury [in Zaafaraniya, a mixed residential-industrial suburb in Baghdad] * Baghdad 'Council head' gives interview, admits no relationship with U.S. [Muhammad Muhsin al-Zubaydi explains, more or less, how he gained legitimacy as 'head of the Baghdad Administration Executive Council'] * Baghdad's Self-Appointed 'Mayor' Arrested [Mohammed Mohsen al-Zubaidi] * 13 killed in fight between U.S. troops, protesters * Fallujah - A Shooting Too Far? [This article, by Felicity Arbuthnot, though not, so far as I know, published in the mainstream press, is included here because it gives useful background to the feelings of the people in Fallujah] * Iraq's cancer children overlooked in war [Account of children in Nasiriyah cut off from access to necessary drugs and hospital facilities] * Groups Grab Power in Key City, Factions Fight [Account of Baquba, 'the capital of Diala province which stretches from the fringes of Baghdad to the Iranian border'. It seems to have a bit of everything (Kurds, SCIRI, government loyalists, INC). The article mentions in passing that the US have 'evicted the resident mayor of the southern city of Kut from his compound along with hundreds of supporters'] TURBULENT MULLAHS * White House warns Iran on Iraq [US complains that Iraqi Shi'ites in the Badr brigade, forced to take refuge in Iran to escape the tyranny of President Hussein, 'have moved into southern Iraq to promote Shiite and Iranian interests with the Shiite community there' (no problems with Iraqi exiles forced to take refuge in the US etc moving into Iraq to promote US interests etc)] * Iraqi Shi'ites show strength [in pilgrimage to Karbala - which I believe wasn't actually banned in recent years by the Iraqi government though it was controlled. US officials are quoted as saying 'the administration had underestimated the organisational strength of the Shi'ite majority and were not in a position to prevent the possible rise of an anti-American, Islamic fundamentalist government.' Which seems rather a remarkable admission] * Kubaisi's Return Raises Questions [Arrival of Sunni Sheikh Ahmad Al-Kubaisi in the Abu Haneefa Mosque in Baghdad] * Al-Sadr supporters offer leadership to cleric ['Ayatollah Kazim al-Ha'iri, a prominent Iraqi Shi'ite cleric currently based in Qom, Iran', in preference to Sadr's son, Sayyid Muqtada al-Sadr (who we remember, was presented at the time of the Khoei murder as being opposed to foreign - including Iranian - influence in Iraq). al-Ha'iri is described as "the jurisprudent of the Al-Da'wah"] * Coalition forces reportedly detain Shi'a clerics in Iraq ['Shaykh Muhammad al-Fartusi, a representative of the office of Ayatollah Muhammad Sadiq al-Sadr' as well as, briefly Grand Ayatollah Muhammad Taqi al-Mudarissi and Ibrahim al-Mutairi; Ayatollah Izz-al-Din Muhammad al-Shirazi, Ayatollah Husayn al-Rabadi, and Ibrahim Shubbar.] AND, IN NEWS, 23-30/4/03 (3) NORTHERN IRAQ/SOUTHERN KURDISTAN * PUK head pledges to intercede on behalf of MKO members * Kurdish Fighters Face Deadline in Mosul * Troubles in Kirkuk [Account by Human Rights Watch observers of Kurdish/Turkmen tensions in Kirkuk immediately prior to the introduction of US patrols] * Rival Iraqi groups strike deal on Mosul government NERVOUS NEIGHBOURS * Exclusive Interview With King Abdullah [Short extract from a long Dan Rather interview. The interview is mostly about Israel/Palestine and 'the road map'. The most interesting thing about it all is the abject way King Abdullah treats 'the coalition' as if it is a respectable member of the family of nations with a right to chase after members of the Iraqi and even Syrian governments. Though he does say he wants Iraq to be ruled by 'very strong community leaders. Maybe generals, or ministers of the government that were not necessarily part of the regime' (!). Not, anyway, by a man wanted in Jordan for bank fraud. With leadership of this quality it is difficult to avoid the concusion that the Arabs are a doomed race] * A Turkish Special Forces team is caught by U.S. troops in Kurdistan [aiming, so we are told, to create trouble among the Turkmen near Kirkuk] * Turkey denies Iraq incursion * Turkey, US share strategic vision [Limp article by Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which doesn't have much to add to its title and leaves me thinking any hopes I might have invested in him prior to the war were probably misplaced] * Political Experiment Stumbles in Turkey [Interesting account of the struggles of the Justice and Development Party in Turkey where, rather than embarras everyone by turning up wearing a headscarf, Muslim wives are obliged to remain at home. So much for women's rights in the secular republic] OLD IRAQI ORDER * In a Rush To Kill: Sufi Muslims resisting regime slain in a final purge ['a previously unknown underground Sufi group calling itself the Collection of Iraqi National Unity' who had been 'working in the underground organization in a bid to destabilize the Hussein regime ... It was exposed a few days before the war started, when a courier was captured by the Mukhabarat carrying incriminating letters to the north of Iraq'] * Iraqis dig up corpses in search of the missing [in the Madaen intelligence base just south of Baghdad] * Parallels in the past [Extract from article by Prakash Karat, a member of the Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) on the colonial oppression of Iraq] * Iraqi graves end years of searching [At Abu Ghraib] * U.S. Troops Say Kill Six Iraqi Fighters in Mosul [After what might (or might not) have been an attack from Iraqis who might (or might not) have been celebrating President Hussein's birthday] * Barzani Says U.S. Forces Should Leave After Iraqi Govt. Takes Over [Barzani doesn't seem to have been told about the twenty three ministries under Jay Garner (or Paul Bremer) and staffed by 'Iraqi' employees of the Science Applications International Corporation] * Iraqi writers tell of persecution under Saddam [at the newly named Union of Free Iraqi Writers and Thinkers] AND, IN NEWS, 23-30/4/03 (4) REMNANTS OF THE GOVERNMENT OF IRAQ * Saddam's deputy prime minister in custody [Tariq Aziz] * Saddam's intelligence chief surrenders [General Zuhayr Talib Abd al Sattar al Naqib, Saddam's chief of military intelligence; Salim Sa'id Khalaf Al-Jumayli, the former head of the Iraqi Intelligence Service's American desk; Muzahim Sa'b Hassan al-Tikriti, Air Defence Force commander; and former Iraqi minister of trade, Muhammad Mahdi al-Salih] * Fears over treatment of captured leaders [ICRC and Amnesty raise questions of international law as if they didn't know that a new category of human being - 'unlawful combatant' - has come into existence who does not come under the protection of international law] * Arch-spy for Hussein in custody [Farouk Hijazi, who could provide information on the attempted assassination of President Bush Sr in 1992, assuming Iraq was actually involved. The article goes on to discuss the possible trial of Iraqi government members quoting a US official as saying that, though they should be conducted by Iraqis: "We're prepared to provide support, which could range from financial aid to legal experts to judges, to make it credible." (sic!)] * Saddam to Iraqis: they only triumphed over you through betrayal [text of letter purporting to come from President (described here, I'm not sure why, as 'former President) Hussein urging continued resistance] * Comical Ali finds surrendering a challenge * Two More Saddam Officials Reportedly Have Surrendered [Amer Mohammed Rashid, 'a former general who oversaw Iraq's top-secret missile programs. He is married to Rihab Taha, a microbiologist known as "Dr. Germ"'; also Walid Hamed Tawfiq al-Tikriti, the former governor of Basra province] PROGRESS OF THE PRETEXT * Washington sidelines Blix in search for weapons * Finding banned weapons in Iraq irrelevant, British official claims ['Six Iraqi scientists working at different Baghdad research institutions told how they were ordered to destroy bacteria and equipment just before inspections', which was a violation of resolution 1441 even though 'they had not been working on weapons programs'. 'Lee Casey, a Washington based international law expert and former Justice Department official in the Reagan administration' assures us that the fact that the Iraqi government had been telling the truth all along is irrelevant. The main thing is the fact that it didn't do enough to persuade USUK that it was telling the truth. This is what justifies the death by bombing of thousands of people.] * Documents link Iraq, bin Laden [This and the following two articles suggest that a representative of Al Qaeda was in Baghdad in 1998, but provides no evidence that any more longlasting connection was established. Hardly the scoop of the century. As a former archivist the most shocking thing to me is that all these papers are being allowed to blow about in the wind and no-one seems to be methodically scooping all of them (not just the obvioulsy juicy bits) up] * Star finds Bin Laden-Iraq links * U.K. officials knew of visit by Al Qaeda [Its all old hat, but Ahmad Chalabi, surprise, surprise, has proof, which he's not yet in a position to disclose, surprise, surprise, that the relationship went much further] * Search Goes On for Weapons Powell Cited [Fairly methodical run through all Mr Powell's claims showing that not one of them so far has been vindicated] * Concern Grows Over Weapons Hunt Setbacks [Extract sent to list suggesting that the US weapons inspectors have got off to a bad start] * Al-Qaida Associate Detained in Iraq [An associate of Abu Musab Zarqawi, described here as 'a senior associate of Osama bin Laden'] * US changes tune on Iraqi weapons threat [Condoleezza Rice suggests that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction were so well hidden they may never be found] AND, IN NEWS, 23-30/4/03 (5) NERVOUS INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY * Chirac and Putin vie for moral low ground [In William Safire's interesting view of the world, Vladimir Putin becomes Jacques Chirac's 'poodle', while a scheme whose every detail was scrutinised by a committee dominated by USUK becomes a secret slush fund being run for the benefit of a venal France and Russia] * U.S. to Offer Resolution to End Sanctions ['Current versions of the resolution offer specific plans for the Iraqi oil industry, moving its profits from U.N. control to an Iraqi Central Bank fund to be spent on reconstruction activities designated either by the Pentagon-run Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance headed by retired Army Lt. Gen. Jay M. Garner or by the Iraqi Interim Authority (IIA), once it is in place ... Distributions from the fund would be monitored by an international financial authority, perhaps the International Monetary Fund or the World Bank.] TRIALS OF GEORGE GALLOWAY * I'm a victim of the war against the Iraqi people [George Galloway, writing in The Independent] * Mariam's family give Galloway their support * Galloway's a crook - how convenient [Tribute to G.Galloway from Scott Ritter] * Newly found Iraqi files raise heat on British MP [The Christian Science Monitor document] * MP may be tried as traitor [George Galloway, for his suggestion that british soldiers should act in accordance with the UN Charter] * 'Now I'm certain ... all these documents are forged' [George Galloway's reaction to the Christian Science Monitor. Interview in the Sunday Herald which goes into some detail on the Mariam Campaign and, for anyone who is interested, Mr Galloway's private financial affairs] _______________________________________________ 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