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[casi] News titles, 01-07/05/03 (Thursday-Wednesday)



News titles, 01-07/05/03 (Thursday-Wednesday)

This mailing brings us almost up to date. At the time of writing, the United
States seems to be setting up two, possibly three, possibly even more than
three different systems of government in Iraq. On the one hand there's the
continuation of the 'Opposition' conferences involving the Kurdish parties,
the INC, the INA, SCIRI and, possibly, for the sake of having someone with
Sunni credentials, Adnan Pachachi (see in New Iraqi Order 'Garner: Group of
9 Will Likely Lead Iraq'). Then there's the host of ideologically motivated
Iraqi technocrats who 'will live and work in compounds guarded by American
soldiers': New Iraqi Order - 'U.S.-Backed Iraqi Exiles Return to Reinvent
Nation'). Then there's whatever the Coalition of the Willing are going to be
allowed to do (New World Order - '10 nations agree to contribute
combat-ready forces for Iraq' and the various articles on Poland). Then
there's the extraordinary introduction of private enterprise into what would
normally be thought to be the business of government - notably the role of
the Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) in paying the
salaries of the Iraqi technocrats (how does this work? Do they receive the
money from the Pentagon and then hand it to the Iraqis? Or is it their own
money? For which their shareholders would, presumably, expect a return?);
and, in Opportunities for Business - 'U.S. Struggles in Quicksand of Iraq',
there is the 'North Carolina-based Research Triangle Institute' which is to
create '180 local and provincial governments in Iraq, identifying suitable
Iraqis 'to assume key government posts in villages and towns.' They have
talented people in North Carolina. In general the private enterprises
(Bechtel, Halliburton) involved in the rebuilding of the Iraqi
infrastructure are being employed - and paid - by USAid, so USAid too,
which, I understand, is subject to the State Department, possesses some of
the characteristics of a government of Iraq.

>From a distance all these initiatives look pretty incoherent and it is not
easy to see how they will mesh together into a single programme. But the
same people are involved in all of them. It isn't necessarily a product of
interdepartmental rivalries (L.Paul Bremer, the new Dictator - I think that
is the correct term in Roman law. 'Proconsul' would assume an already
existing legal structure - may come from the State Department but he is
clearly cut from the same cloth as the old Reaganites of the Pentagon). One
assumes that there is a programme - one that has probably been in gestation
ever since the decision was made over a year ago to invade Iraq. The
indications are that Paul Wolfowitz and company are indeed serious about
making of Iraq a revolutionary model that will transform the politics of the
whole area and that this is, as he says to the Turks (Nervous neighbours -
'US official criticizes Turkey over Iraq') 'maybe the most important project
of this century.' That is not the language of someone who is looking for a
quick exit. No 'we won't stay a minute longer than we have to' for Dr
Wolfowitz! It is the language of someone who is playing for high stakes and
looking to the long term.

Which puts Dr Wolfowitz and his friends into a different league from the
rest of us. He has a sense of what the future could be and a project for
getting there. He is in the same position as the Communists at the beginning
of the twentieth century. Except of course that he is in the palace
(speaking of which we cannot help noticing how thoroughly at home ex-General
Garner seems to feel in the palaces of President Hussein) and they were in
the streets. His future in fact bears a remarkable resemblance to the
eighteenth/nineteenth century past when, we remember, the formation of the
British Empire was powered by private enterprise. The technology changes but
the political logic seems remarkably constant. The world as it is at present
resembles the world as it is described in Lenin's Imperialism - the Highest
Stage of Capitalism, except that the gravedigger of capitalism - the
proletariat - seems absent, or at least pushed into a position of abject
terrorised powerlessness in the 'developing nations'.

So we - if 'we' are presumed to be on the left - don't have a project for
the future. We just react to the provocations. And - and it is an immensely
useful thing to do - we observe them and chronicle them. We might, if we
strike lucky, though it hasn't happened for a while, succeed in stopping
things from happening. We have no project for making things happen. Very few
of us, I'm sure, are positively thrilled at the prospect of victory for any
of the forces that might triumph in the world as the result of a successful
confrontation with the United States.

There remains, however, one positive ideal which is widely shared throughout
the world and which could mobilise populations with widely different
religious and political traditions to work together, and that is the ideal
of International Law. Real law, law based on the Kantian 'Categorical
Imperative' - 'act only on that maxim by which you can at the same time will
that it should become a universal law.' (Foundations of the Metaphysics of
Morals). That is certainly not how President Bush was acting when he
proclaimed the doctrine of pre-emptive defence. He certainly did not intend
that any country other than the USA or countries suitably authorised by the
USA should be allowed to apply that doctrine.

It should be noted that International Law based on a universal principle
accepted by all individuals has nothing to do with 'multilateralism' which
is merely a weasel-like, Madeleine Albright/William Clintonish, way of
saying 'coalition of the willing'.

It is indeed natural that a great military machine such as the USA should
refuse to bow its head to the categorical imperative. It is equally natural
that the weaker nations of the world should be willing to accept it. And in
theory the United Nations exists for the very purpose of promoting it, of
obliging the stronger nations to submit to it. That is the professed aim of
the UN Charter, but it is radically contradicted by the actual structure put
in place to implement it. No-one, not even the entire General Assembly
speaking with a single voice, can constrain the United States, or any of the
other permanent members of the Security Council,  to act according to the
generally admitted fundamental principles of law. But they can make it
perfectly clear that the United States is acting outside the generally
admitted fundamental principles of law. We should emulate our enemies' taste
for blunt speaking.

Up until recently everyone, including the USA, has paid lipservice to the
United Nations as an expression of the categorical imperative, not
necessarily as a present reality but as a seriously intended aspiration for
the future. It is quite astonishing that the US has been allowed to keep up
this pretence but in general it has. Now, however, it has thrown the mask
(the little, thin, frilly, totally unconvincing mask) aside. That is the
great defining change that has come upon the world since the attack on the
World Trade Centre. The United States has formally and openly renounced not
the reality of International Law - it never observed that - but the ideal:
the sense that International Law was part of the future to which we all
aspire.

We have to decide if we should follow America's lead - either as dependants
(Mr Blair) or as imitators (President Hussein, whose invasion of Kuwait was
so clearly an imitation of the US invasion of Panama); or, alternatively,
if, as I am inclined to think, a real, principled system of international
law should be reasserted forcefully as part of our own idea of the future,
an ideal that can mobilise large numbers of people who will recognise that
it is incompatible with the present constitution of the United Nations. This
means reaffirming the Charter's commitment to the 'equality of nations' The
question of what to do about abuses occurring within individual regimes is
another matter, but never should the powers of the Anglo-Saxon Axis be
allowed to get away with the idea that they are fighting for 'liberation',
for the benefit of subject peoples. The whole policy adopted towards Iraq
over not just twelve but forty four years - well, why not eighty three
years? - has been calculated to maximise the need for internal repression.
In 1991, for example, when thanks to circumstances created by the
Anglo-Saxon Axis, President Hussein had no option but to conduct an
extremely rapid and violent campaign of terror. And the Axis powers quite
knowingly stood by and let him do it and so all these 1991-related mass
graves that are now being uncovered all point to the guilt of the British
and American governments.


NEWS, 01-07/05/03 (1)

THE MASTERS

*  In Speech, Bush Focuses on Conflicts Beyond Iraq ['He argued that by
vanquishing the government of Saddam Hussein, he had removed "an ally of Al
Qaeda.''' 'Major combat operations' have ended but victory has not been
declared: 'White House officials said they did not want to declare a final
end to the war, in part because that would require them, under the Geneva
Convention, to release more than 6,000 prisoners of war, many of whom are
still being interviewed.']
*  In between war and peace in Iraq [Richard Holbrooke says it is important
for all Americans, including those who opposed the war, to 'embrace the
victory'. He goes on to make a severe criticism of the 'peace' in
Afghanistan]
*  Relax, celebrate victory [A brief message from R.Perle celebrating 'the
most important military victory since World War II' (more important than the
Vietnamese victory over the US?) and reminding us that only bad guys need to
fear the United States: 'Does any peaceful state that neither harbors
terrorists nor seeks weapons of mass destruction fear that we will launch a
preemptive strike against it? Who are they? Why would they?' I commented on
this article further in my introduction to News, 23-30/4/03]
*  Transcript: Powell Says U.S. Interested in Comprehensive Mideast
Settlement  [Extracts on Syria (threats) and Iraq (wmds will be found. Or at
least scientists with knowledge of wmds whom President Hussein has failed to
liquidate will be found). The interview also includes (not given)
expressions of contempt for Cuba and Harry Belafonte, Iran and North Korea]
*  Selective Intelligence [Seymour Hersh on the Pentagon's Office of Special
Plans set up around last October (see 'Pentagon Sets Up Intelligence Unit'
in News, 19-25/10/02 (1))  to search for intelligence overlooked or
misunderstood by the CIA. Extracts, mainly satisfying my own interest in the
Leo Strauss connection and especially Strauss's ideology of deliberate
deception: 'The director of the Special Plans operation is Abram Shulsky, a
scholarly expert in the works of the political philosopher Leo Strauss.'
Also some criticisms of the quality of INC-supplied intelligence. We learn,
among much else, that the first version of Khidr Hamza's book 'Saddam's Bomb
Maker" was to be called 'Fizzle' and to recount the story of Iraq's failure
to develop a nuclear weapon. The publishers didn't think it would sell ...]
*  USAID's Natsios Defends Iraq Contracts Process ['"Many of the political
leaders who are raising this are unaware of what the statutes are in their
own country," he said, adding France had among the strictest laws when it
came to bidding for projects funded by taxpayers.']


AND, IN NEWS, 01-07/05/03 (2)

NEW IRAQI DISORDER

*  Two killed in new Iraq demo shooting [Daily Mirror eye witness account of
incident in Fallujah]
*  Grenade attack wounds seven U.S. soldiers [in Fallujah, Wednesday 30th
April]
*  Gunmen seize houses in chaotic, violent Baghdad [including INC and PUK
gunmen siezing the houses of Iraqi government loyalists]
*  U.S. forces launch raid in Tikrit
*  Iraq television building attacked

NEW IRAQI ORDER

*  Reds under the ruins [Account of Iraqi Communist Party, setting up shop
in Baghdad]
*  Garner: Group of 9 will likely lead Iraq [Extract on the release of
Mohammed Mohsen al Zubaidi, 'self proclaimed' Mayor of Baghdad]
*  Baghdad's police chief resigns [US appointed Zuhir al-Naimi]
*  KDP head says Peshmerga may merge with Iraqi military ['"As soon as a
government is formed and the state institutions are established, then
naturally there will be a single [Iraqi] army," Barzani said, adding, "There
will be no need for the special security forces, the militants.']
*  Bush taps antiterrorism advisor as Iraq pro-consul [Detailed Socialist
account of L. Paul Bremer who is apparently to replace Jay Garner as head of
the interim authority in Iraq. Including his membership of Kissinger
Associates, his advocacy of war on Libya, Syria, Iran and Sudan (in 1996,
prior to the incidents of 11th September 2001), Heritage Foundation,
association with James Woolsey. The article includes the Jay Garner quote -
worth retaining but I haven't given it elsewhere: '"We ought to look in a
mirror and get proud and stick out our chests and suck in our bellies and
say: 'Damn, we're Americans!'" One suspects this might have been the moment
even Wolfowitz et al realised Garner wasn't quite the man for the job. We
are reminded that Garner 'began his military career as a US Army "advisor"
supervising the "strategic hamlet" program during the Vietnam War in which
tens of thousands of Vietnamese peasants were forced off their land and
driven into concentration camps surrounded by barbed-wire' (rather after the
manner of President Hussein and the Kurds)]
*  U.S.-Backed Iraqi Exiles Return to Reinvent Nation [Important New York
Times article on group of 150 brought together by P.Wolfowitz because they
share his 'values' (Leo Strauss's political Platonism?). They include Khidr
Hamza. 'In Baghdad, Dr. Fadhal said, the team will live and work in
compounds guarded by American soldiers. But technically, they are working
for SAIC, a defense contractor, and their heavily guarded offices outside
Washington have been equipped with telephone numbers and e-mail addresses
that betray no hint of a Pentagon link.' The Dr Fadhal of this quote is a
legal theorist: "The Iraqi people have been brainwashed," Dr. Fadhal said,
"and it is our responsibility to build a new brain." The implication is that
the process of 'brainwashing' went back long (perhaps about 1424 years?)
before the time of President Hussein.]
*  Garner: Group of 9 Will Likely Lead Iraq [and he comments on Bremer's
appointment - 'He said the appointment of someone such as Bremer had been
planned all along and that he was intended to be here temporarily.' - and
his own disappointment at 'his operation's inability to inaugurate an
extensive television and radio broadcast system for Iraq']
*  US officer's skills pay off as key Iraq city goes to polls today [Account
of the formation of a local government in Mosul, concentrating on the role
of its US organiser, Major General David Petraeus]
*  Baghdad slowly flickering back to life [Extracts on the heads appointed
to the Oil and Health Ministries]


AND, IN NEWS, 01-07/05/03 (3)

OLD IRAQI ORDER

*  Iraqi footballer tells of torture under Saddam
*  Baghdad's plan to influence Ritter [by offering his wife a gold bracelet]
*  The Shia who survived his own execution [Eye witness account of mass
execution near Najaf in 1991]

PROGRESS OF THE PRETEXT

*  Suspected Bioweapon Mobile Lab Recovered

REMNANTS OF THE GOVERNMENT OF IRAQ

*  Ex-Iraqi U.N. Ambassador Favors Democracy [Interview with Mohammed
al-Douri on Dubai-based al-Arabiya television]
*  Dealing With Former Baathist Officials [Amir Taheri of the Saudi Arab
News reproaches the US government with not being sufficiently severe against
mmbers of the Iraqi government. He says a Nuremburg style trial would be too
good for 'em]
*  US takes three Iraqi officials to custody [Abd al Tawab Mullah Huwaysh,
director of the Office of Military Industrialization, and Taha Muhie-eldin
Marouf, an Iraqi vice president and member of the Revolutionary Command
Council. as well as Mizban Khadr Hadi, a member of Saddam's Revolutionary
Command Council and a top Baath Party leader]
*  Process to try Iraqi PoWs could take months
*  Does America have legal rights to try Iraqi officials? [Daily Star,
Bangladesh. 'The short answer is No. The arguments are canvassed below'.
I've cut out a long preamble arguing that many Iraqi officials nonetheless
deserve to be put on trial]
*  US seizes Iraq's "Mrs Anthrax" as interim leadership emerges [Huda Salih
Mahdi Ammash. Contributions to the CASI discussion list indicate that there
is more to this than meets the eye as Ammash was an expert on the effects of
depleted uranium. An article on her from Counterpunch will appear in next
week's mailing]
*  Sydney paper says it has tape allegedly recorded by Saddam this week
*  Full transcript of the Saddam tape [Uninspiring - at least in the
translation - address by the President of Iraq]
*  Coalition detains wanted Iraqi Baath party leader [Ghazi Hammud
al-Ubaydi, Baath Party Regional Command chairman and Baath militia leader
for Wasit governorate]    
*  Iraq bank manager: Thieves, not Qusay


AND, IN NEWS, 01-07/05/03 (4)

STATE OF THE NATION

*  All the king's horses [Nermeen Al-Mufti conducts a vox pop in Fardos
Square on why the regime crumbled. She gets a wider variety than usual of
attitudes towards the old regime]
*  Children of Sadr City bear brunt of crisis made worse by war ['The US-led
Organisation for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance has not provided
any help, so it is the Islamic scholastic group Hawza that is paying the
doctors, has hired the man at the door with the AK-47 to keep out looters,
and is shipping in from Najaf what little medical supplies it can.']
*  UN officials back in Baghdad to manage aid effort ['Ramiro Lopes da
Silva, the UN Humanitarian Co-ordinator for Iraq, and 21 senior officials
from UN agencies such as the World Food Program and World Health
Organisation made the 950-kilometre journey from Amman in Jordan to Baghdad
in a convoy of eight vehicles.']
*  Anarchy in Iraq - a small price for ending cruel tyranny [Though the
article does arrive at the conclusion given in the title, the anarchy is
described with gusto. He also says: 'I went to see Qusay Ali Al-Mafraji, the
head of the International Red Crescent in Baghdad. Though some name-tags
have been lost, and though some districts have yet to deliver their final
tally, guess how many confirmed Iraqi dead he has listed, both civilian and
military, for the Baghdad area? He told me that it was 150, and he has no
reason to lie.']
*  Obscure sect hopes for greater freedom in new Iraq [Attractive
description of the Yezidis who venerate the 'Peacock Angel']
*  Its a humanitarian disaster: UN envoy [Ramiro Lopes da Silva. 'Engineers
struggling to restore power in the capital were grappling with unusual
layouts of distribution networks and the destruction of the main
distribution plant, said US Captain Travis Morehead.Work is proceeding
slowly because of a bizarre power grid - a Saddam legacy built to light his
golden palaces rather than to efficiently channel kilowatts to the capital,
Morehead said.']
*  Birth Pangs: As a New Era Dawns in Baghdad, Life Goes On -- Sometimes,
Just Barely [Convincing account of life in a middle class suburb and in the
Al-Alwiyah Children's Hospital]
*  Civilian Deaths: The Bombs That Keep On Killing [Time Magazine article:
'Karbala civil defense chief Abdul Kareem Mussan says his men are harvesting
about 1,000 cluster bombs a day in places Myers said were not targets.']
*  Cholera outbreak feared in Iraq  [expecially in the Basra area]


AND, IN NEWS, 01-07/05/03 (5)

NEW WORLD ORDER

*  EU says U.S. delays medical supplies for Iraq [Belgium is prevented from
sending in urgently needed medical supplies]
*  Sir Richard Branson lands in Basra [but no such problems for Sir Richard]
*  10 nations agree to contribute combat-ready forces for Iraq [The United
States, Britain and Poland, Italy, Spain, Ukraine, Denmark, Bulgaria,
Albania and the Netherlands, with non-combat help from the Philippines,
South Korea, Qatar and Australia]
*  U.S., Britain drafting resolution limiting U.N. role in Iraq to
humanitarian relief [Some further details added to the above]
*  Poland Takes on Lead Role in Postwar Iraq [The article, trying to explain
why Poland should suddenly appear so dramatically on the scene, reminds us
that 'For the past 12 years, Poland has represented U.S. interests at its
embassy in Baghdad after America closed its own diplomatic representation
down during the 1991 Gulf War']
*  Poland denies weakening EU common stance ['"This is a very important
development for Poland," explained Mr Nowak. "For the first time in our
history we will be among powers that would decide the destiny of a specific
country and a specific problem."' Or, to put it another way, the first time
Poland has featured among the Imperialist powers of the world]
*  Iraq reconstruction inches forward, as humanitarian disaster looms [Short
extract on refusal of Russian LUKOil to relinquish the Iraqi oil field of
West Qurna-2]
*  Poland Says Needs UN Mandate for Iraq Peace Force [Poland also wants to
team up with Germans and Danes in policing the Kurdish zone. Looks as if
plucky little Poland may be showing signs of having a mind of its own]
*  Washington Targets Chirac and ElBaradai [The Israeli Debka.Net maintains
that the US have abundant evidence out of Iraqi archives for the involvement
of politicians with the Iraqi regime. There is a heavy hint that the
Galloway material was leaked from US sources. El Baradei is to be exposed
and replaced, perhaps, by the Jordanian Crown Prince Hassan. I find the
fixation with Hassan as a possible 'good guy' in the area strange given that
he did such a good job of explaining Jordan's refusal to support the UN Gulf
War. See On the Origins of the 'Gulf War', available at
http://www.atholbooks.org/current/iraq/iraqiindex.html]
*  Many embassies set to reopen in Baghdad [Germany, Sweden, Turkey, UK]
*  IAEA head calls for UNSC reform, return of inspectors [ElBaradei 'called
for a Security Council that reflects the current balance of global and
economic power in the world', which sounds like a UNSC whose only member
would be the US. The demand for the return of inspectors relates to the
possible looting of radio-active material]

MOTHER OF ALL PARLIAMENTS

*  Anger over Dalyell's 'Jewish cabal' slur
*  Britain kept open secret channel to Iraq [David Blair and chums discover
documents that prove the nobility and magnanimity of heart of Peter Hain. We
are told that in 2000-01: 'Using many intermediaries, including Arab
governments, Britain sought to assure Saddam that it was serious about
effecting a deal being offered through the United Nations. The offer was
that if Iraq readmitted weapons inspectors in line with UN resolution 1284,
sanctions would be lifted within six months.' This so far as I remember was
all happening in public. The Iraqis had very good reason not to believe it.]
*  Why I am sure the documents are genuine [Ibrahim al-Marashi, a research
associate at the Centre for Non-Proliferation Studies in Monterey, gives the
Daily Telegraph telling little details to prove the authenticity of the
Galloway memorandum. But since, if this was a forgery, the Centre for
Non-Proliferation Studies in Monterey is precisely the sort of body one
might suspect of putting it together, his testimony is less than compelling]


AND, IN NEWS, 01-07/05/03 (6)

NERVOUS NEIGHBOURS

*  Pullout from Saudi Arabia part of new US regional strategy  analysts
['Okaz daily said the decision showed the kingdom has absolute sovereignty
over its territory and that the presence of these troops "was for a specific
purpose to monitor the no-fly zone over southern Iraq."' So that's all
right]    
*  What must Syria do to defend itself? [Patrick Seale argues in the Lebanon
Daily Star that Iraq lost because it was a repressive society no-one wanted
to defend. Syria should heed the lesson. There was of course more to it than
that, but oh! if only the Iraqi Baath Party had had the intelligence to
follow through the proposal to allow a loyal opposition, to follow the
suggestion of its possible leader, Abd al-Jabbar al-Kubaysi: 'we must cause
the "dictatorship card" to fall from America's hand, the way we have made
them drop the excuse of "mass destruction weapons"' (see News, 13-20/12/02
(4))]
*  Few signs of US-Iran rapproachment [Extract on Iran's tacit support for
the US presence in Iraq]
*  U.S.-Israel strategic talks focus on threats from Iran and Iraq [The US
side includes Dr. Paul Wolfowitz]
*  Tehran is our next target [and Damascus. But, says Michael Ledeen, they
can be brought down by political pressure. Part of his argument is that
Syria and Iran pose a danger to US security now that a US presence is
installed in Iraq and Afghanistan. He claims that, in the run-up to the war
on Iraq 'Scores of young Iranian dissidents were publicly hanged after
summary trials' and 'foreign thugs were brought into the country to put down
demonstrations'. Also that Iran is a major refuge for members of the Iraqi
government (though the President himself is in Damascus)]
*  U.S. Official Criticizes Turkey Over Iraq [but Paul Wolfowitz goes on to
say that Turkey does have an opportunity to redeem itself and 'cooperating
on maybe the most important project of this century, which is to build a
free, democratic Arab country to the south of your country', so long as it
forgets that Syria and Iran are its 'neighbours']
*  Washington to Syria: Hand over Saddam's WMD First [DEBKAfile on three
demands supposedly made of Syria by the US during Mr Powell's visit: hand
over Iraq's weapons of mass destructuion; hand over members of the Iraqi
government; 'disband the command structures of the Hizballah, Hamas, Jihad
Islami and other Palestinian terrorist groups operating out of Lebanon and
Damascus and give their leaders into American hands'. Syria hopes to get
away with only capitulating to the second]
*  Chalabi threatens to lift lid on Saddam links [Ahmad Chalabi claims to
possess a modest 25 tonnes (in another version it becomes 60 tonnes) of
sensitive Iraqi intelligence material with which to blackmail EVERYONE. So
watch out, CASI list subscribers! Your Baghdad gold is about to be exposed
to the whole world]
*  Charity foundation to run three hospitals in Iraq [Apparently effective
Muslim self help initiative based in Dubai]
*  GCC forces withdraw from Kuwait [where, we remember, some bright soul
thought they might serve some useful purpose defending Kuwait against Iraqi
aggression]
*  OPEC President says Iraq will remain in organization [How does he know,
we wonder?]

TURBULENT MULLAHS

*  Shiite politician plans return to Najaf [Possibility that Mohammed Baqr
al Hakim might step down as head of the Supreme Council for Islamic
Revolution in Iraq in order to establish himself as a spiritual authority.
Shaping up for a confrontation with Moqtada al Sadr]
 *  Iraqi Shi'Ite leader claims regime executed 750,000 [Dr. Hadi Ansari,
son of executed Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Ansari]
*  Two suspects detained in killing of Shi'ite cleric [Khoei] in Iraq
*  Iraq's Shiites contemplate a power vacuum [Colourful description of mass
pilgimage in Najaf, following the one in Karbala]
*  Shiite radicalism and the future of Iraq [Juan Cole on the influence of
Muqtada al-Sadr and Ayatollah Kazim al-Haeri, who support the Iranian but
not, Cole says, typically Iraqi view that the clergy should exercise direct
governmental power]


AND, IN NEWS, 01-07/05/03 (7)

OPPORTUNITIES FOR BUSINESS

*  U.S. to Hold Off on Iraqi Telecom Reconstruction Award [apparently
because USAid can't afford it]
*  Iraqi firms excluded from reconstruction ['until U.N. sanctions are
lifted'. But the objection is that 'Firms from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Cuba and
North Korea are barred from working as subcontractors on U.S. Agency for
International Development reconstruction contracts because they are not
designated as countries of the free world', which is, surely, an internal US
matter - nothing to do with the UN. Under a strict interpretation of
'sanctions' surely nothing can be brought into Iraq without the permission
of the Sanctions Committee - including material needed by Bechtel and money
from USAid ...]
*  U.S. Struggles in Quicksand of Iraq [Lengthy account of the problems. We
do learn some curious things about the US faith in the virtues of private
enterprise: 'North Carolina-based Research Triangle Institute was hired
April 11 by the U.S. Agency for International Development to help create 180
local and provincial governments in Iraq. Under a contract worth as much as
$167 million, one of RTI's immediate tasks is to help identify "appropriate,
legitimate" Iraqis to assume key government posts in villages and towns.']
*  Halliburton Contract Goes Beyond Fires

RUMOURS OF THE WAR

*  A Timeline of the War in Iraq [A very rose tinted chronology of the war
detailing the little things that happen to US soldiers but not mentioning
the thousands of Iraqi soldiers slain in the approach to Baghdad. A sample:
'April 9 ... Jubilant crowds ... topple a 40-foot statue of Saddam']
*  Embedded In Iraq: Was It Worth It? [The article gives five accounts of
the experience of 'embedded' journalists. The two most interesting are given
here. The other three struck me as staggeringly banal. They should perhaps
have been given for precisely that reason]
*  Deal with Iraqi Commander Opened Baghdad to Marines [General Maher Safian
Al Tikriti, according to Israel's Debka.Net]
*  Legality of war no longer an issue: PM [Australian PM John Howard argues
that once an illegal act has been successfully accomplished it should
thenceforward be recognised as a new fact in the world, part of the order of
actual things,  and it is irresponsible and destablising to continue
insisting on its illegality]




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