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[casi] News titles, 07-14/05/03 (Wednesday to Wednesday)

News titles, 07-14/05/03 (Wednesday to Wednesday)

Clare Short (see under Junior Partners) has resigned on the grounds that the
Prime Minister has broken a promise that responsibility for the rebuilding
of Iraq would be handed over to the United Nations. It is, however, not
humanly possible that either she or Mr Blair ever thought that the Americans
would do any such thing. Mr Blair, it is true, did tell the House of Commons
on the 18th March that 'the oil revenues ... should be put in a trust fund
for the Iraqi people administered through the UN'. But surely it was obvious
that that was just flim flam to get Parliament's consent to the war. Surely
Clare Short, who must know the situation pretty well, can never had any
illusions on the matter.

She says that the resolution before the Security Council giving the Anglo
Saxon Axis powers control over oil revenues is illegal. The Prime Minister
says he cannot understand her point. Nor can I. As a mere resolution it
can't be illegal. If the UN Security Council adopts it then it will become
the law. It will establish The Authority as a UN supported presence in Iraq
with the right to administer Iraq's oil revenues and reorganise the industry
in the interests of the Iraqi people. The Authority will have the right to
decide, in consultation with the World Bank and IMF (oh, and the UN as well)
that the interests of the Iraqi people are best served by privatising the
oil industry and dividing it among the leading American oil companies. Clare
Short may feel that this is a wrong interpretation of the best interests of
the Iraqi people, but it won't be illegal.

The probability is that the resolution as it stands won't be passed, but
that something like it, which would give companies other than US ones a
share in the spoils will replace it. This would be done under the cover of a
transfer of some degree of authority to the UN.

Rahul Mahajan (under Last Days of International Law, below) argues that UN
control should be maintained by the simple device of maintaining
'sanctions', principally, of course, the arrangements introduced under the
general name 'Oil for Food'. Others, including the anti-war libertarian
Justin Raimondo (The Anti-Americans: Why the left-turnabout on sanctions?, and, from a rather different
standpoint, Voices in the Wilderness, have argued that the humanitarian
problem is too pressing for political games, so 'sanctions' should be lifted
and we should accept that at least for the moment The Authority is the only
body that has the means to bring about the reconstruction of what they
themselves have destroyed.

The second view is right in practice, the first view is right in principle.
And they are not mutually incompatible. No-one can stop the invading forces
from doing what they want and, frankly, from the comfort of my computer
stool here, surrounded by the lovely scenery of the Brecon Beacons, the
spectacle of the effort to turn Iraq into a model western-style liberal
democracy is going to be so fascinating that I would be positively reluctant
to see the US replaced by the UN (whose record in Bosnia, Kosovo and
Afghanistan does not inspire confidence). And I would certainly rather see
US soldiers attacked by angry crowds than blue helmets.

But what the UN can do is to refuse to confer legitimacy on the occupation.
The invasion and everything that flows from it should be firmly established
as being (like most US foreign policy initiatives) outside The Law. This is
not something that should be done for the sake of the good of the Iraqi
people - our chances of doing anything for the good of the Iraqi people are
now and always have been very slight. It should be done for the sake of the
integrity of International Law. Not for the sake of an integrity that
already exists (it doesn't); but for the sake of an integrity that might
exist in the future, but will never exist so long as the UN always adapts
itself to the whims of its most powerful member.

By a curious historical accident (the decision of George Bush Sr, in the
mood of optimism engendered by the collapse of the Soviet Union, to go
through the UN in 1990) this is one of the rare US initiatives in which the
opinion of the UN matters - because the UN possesses the key to the escrow
account. Advantage should be taken of this rare state of affairs to sicken
the United States government, to persuade them that there is nothing to be
done with the UN and that they should withdraw from it. In particular that
they should withdraw from the UN Security Council. Only a US withdrawal will
create the circumstances in which a reform of the UN Security Council system
and, thereby, the establishment of a credible system of international law,
will begin to be possible.

NEWS, 07-14/05/03 (1)


*  Strong Must Rule the Weak, said Neo-Cons' Muse [Extract giving an account
of Leo Strauss by Shadia Drury, author of 'Leo Strauss and the American
*  The secret that Leo Strauss never revealed [The Asia Times' Meaning of
Life correspondent, the splendidly named 'Spengler', ridicules the notion
that has been promoted widely, including by me, that US neo-conservatismn is
based on the philosophy of Leo Strauss. He argues that Strauss's philosophy
isn't sufficiently coherent to provide the basis of a political conspiracy.
He offers an amusing (if possibly racist) impression of the philosophy of
Heidegger as expounded by Eddie Murphy.]
*  U.S. imperialism -- a force for good [Max Boot,  an editorial writer for
the Wall Street Journal, argues that the United States has been an
Imperialist power since 1803 and that it should make a determinedly,
unashamedly Imperialist commitment to Iraq - 'imposing the rule of law,
property rights, free speech and other guarantees, at gunpoint if need be',
billions of dollars, and a heavy military presence for decades to come.]


*  Halliburton Unit's Bill for Iraq Work Mounts [Apparently detailed account
of huge sums of money paid on providing home comforts for the US
administration(s). Meanwhile 'in Baghdad, a small army of the Iraqi workers
hired by the newly formed, London-based Iraq Project & Business Development
Co. is grateful for work that starts at $2 a day to clear garbage, clean
latrines and mop the palace floors.']
*  Bush ally set to profit from the war on terror [James Woolsey's
involvement with the Washington based private equity firm Paladin Capital]
*  Iraq work beckons for British firms [as subcontractors to US firms
supported by USAid 'following a change of heart by the US government']


*  Burridge interview in full [The Commander of British troops, Air Marshal
Brian Burridge, gives the official view. Anything would be an improvement on
the Baath regime, which was 'the most brutal, corrupt and reprehensible
regime in history'; the military campaign was a 'stunning success' against a
potentially formidable enemy; an expensive programme for WMD development
existed and will be uncovered. As for Basra, '80% of the population now have
running water which was a greater proportion than ever before' but problems
remain because 'Saddam used water as a weapon'.]
*  Poland rethinks troops' mission in Iraq [Not sure if they have the means
or the experience for an imperialist mission - a rather delicate one since
the Anglo Saxons are giving them the Northern - Kurdish - zone]
*  Queen puts kybosh on Iraq parade
*  Short's resignation statement [Extract giving her dissatisfaction with
the USUK proposed UNSC resolution. See comments in introduction. She refers
to the Attorney General's 'advice' implying that he has argued that the
proposed resolution is 'illegal' .But since Clare Short accepted on the
basis of the Attorney General's previous judgment that the invasion was
legal - that was why she stayed in office - she believes it was a legitimate
expression of the will of the Security Council and therefore that it was
legitimate. The presence of the Anglo Saxons is legitimate and if the SC
gives them the authority, they can do what they like. When she says 'The
coalition is ... not entitled to make major political, economic and
constitutional changes', I can only understand her as meaning that the Baath
government is still the legal government of Iraq. Which is what I think but
I can't imagine Clare Short saying it. And it presupposes that the war Clare
Short supported was illegal ...]

AND, IN NEWS, 07-14/05/03 (2)


*  Economic recovery plan: Train Iraqi stockbrokers [Account of "Moving the
Iraqi Economy from Recovery to Sustained Growth," a report, prepared by the
Treasury Department and the Agency for International Development (AID)]
*  Snow Discusses Iraq's Financial System [US Treasury Secretary John Snow
and Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan 'who happened to be in Snow's
office for their weekly breakfast, told the group (a team of about 20
Treasury Department officials in Baghdad) they had "a chance that comes to
few people to lay out the foundations for a well-functioning economy and
your work will pay dividends for generations to come."' Clearly the
intention is to establish an entire economic system which will be difficult
to change, before any native administration has a chance to come in and
spoil it all]
*  Bush Shakes Up Iraq Administration [Departure of B.Bodine]
*  In One Major City, Power Goes to an Iraqi With a Past [Role of Mishan
al-Jaburi in appointment of new mayor of Mosul: 'delegates were given a
choice of just three candidates for mayor, all nominated by Mr. Jaburi.'
Difficult to know why the article should refer to 'the renegade Kurdish
leader Massoud Barzani']
*  New Iraqi TV Complains of U.S. Censorship [Dan North, a Canadian
documentary maker advising Iraqis at the station 'said the U.S.-led
administration's Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance (ORHA)
had requested the station's news programmes be reviewed by the wife of Jalal
Talabani'. North too, as it happens, is employed by the ORHA]


*  Interview: Islamic regime unwise - Al Qubeisi [68-year-old Sunni cleric
Sheikh Ahmed Al Qubeisi in sermon delivered in the Abu Hanifa Al Nouman
mosque, which houses the tomb of Abu Hanifa, the founder of the "Hanafi"
Sunni school of thought: 'He believes fighting is the weakest form of jihad:
"Jihad could be carried out through prose, poetry, dialogue and many other
peaceful ways." He supported his position quoting a Hadith (saying) by the
Prophet Mohammed (PBUH). Returning from a battle, the Prophet said: "We
returned from the small jihad to the bigger jihad."]
*  Excerpts of Remarks by Iraqi Ayatollah [Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim]
*  Fate of Arab volunteers still unknown after end of hostilities
*  Iraqi crowds welcome ayatollah home [Arrival of Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir
al-Hakim in Basra]

NEWS, 07-14/05/03 (3)


*  U.S. troops evicting squatters ['There is no official count of Arabs
driven from their homes. But a random check of more than two weeks, along an
arc from south of Kirkuk to areas near the Syrian border, found communities
totaling more than 13,000 Arabs, where villagers said Kurds had stolen their
*  Two Servicemen Killed in New Attacks in Baghdad [with general account of
fraught security situation: 'The American military permits the police
officers to carry only pistols, not their usual Kalashnikov rifles, while
open-air gun markets in the city sell the rifles to anyone who has the
asking price of about $75.']
*  U.S. Colonel Admits 500 Tons of D.U. Were Used in Iraq [This interview
does not sound very authentic but if it is then it is evidence that huge
quantities of depleted uranium were used in civilian areas, and that the
Pentagon is fully aware of the health risks]
*  Black Hawk crash kills three soldiers in Iraq ['during the rescue of an
Iraqi child wounded in an explosion']
*  Villagers sick after looting nuclear power plants [in villages close to
the huge Tuwaitha Nuclear Facility: 'As Saddam Hussain's regime collapsed
last month villagers began looting barrels of the uranium oxide, known as
"yellowcake", from the site, which they then emptied to use to store water,
milk and yoghurt.']
*  Soldiers of the new front [Excellent little article from the Asia Times
giving sympathetic and witty portraits of lone US soldier, angry peace
activists, hungry middle class mob. Even the media come out of it
*  Christians 'murdered for selling alcohol' ['Under Saddam, Iraqi
Christians were the only citizens permitted to sell alcohol. The trade would
attract day trippers from neighbouring Kuwait, about two hours' drive away,
which has a complete ban on alcohol.' An interesting, unusual angle on
Iraqi/Kuwaiti relations]
*  Plundering of Museums in Baghdad [Dramatic German account of the damage
done to Iraq's cultural heritage with the apparent connivance of The
*  Shiite gains trouble Christians [Grim account of the situation of
Christians in Sadr City and in Basra]
*  U.S. risks losing Iraq in anarchy, Kurd says [In particular, Massoud
Barzani is worried about the departure of Jay Garner who had worked with him
in establishing the Kurdish Autonomous Zone: "The rapid change of officials
is not very helpful because we need focus ...  if we continue in this
confusion, this wonderful victory we (sic - PB) have achieved will turn into
a quagmire." Jack Straw is also quoted as expressing dissatisfaction]

NEWS, 07-14/05/03 (4)


*  From Baghdad to Tehran? [Jim Lobe on the threats to Iran, largely
focussing on a deal struck with the Mujahedeen Khalq (which seems later to
have been dropped. See' Iran Group Negotiating Surrender in Iraq') and on a
recent article by W.Kristol, who says: "The theocrats ruling Iran understand
that the stakes are now double or nothing. They can stay in power by
disrupting efforts to create a pluralist, non-theocratic, Shia-majority
state next door--or they can fail, as success in Iraq sounds the death knell
for the Iranian revolution."]
*  Iran Group Negotiating Surrender in Iraq [The Mujahedeen Khalq. After
signing a ceasefire on April 15th which allowed them to keep their weapons,
and alarmed Iran, the US now seem to be coming down hard]
*  Qatar says Iraq will be democracy test case ["If the United States
managed to help establish democracy in Iraq, as it used to be in the 1920s,
I think that would be the greatest step that could be taken both for America
and for the whole Middle East". Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, emir of
the oil-rich state of Qatar, looks back to the British occupation of Iraq as
a model of liberalism and democracy]
*  Soldiers repatriated to Iraq recall torture in Iran camps [Account of
difficult to understand gratuitous sadism exercised on Iraqi prisoners in
*  Report: Iraq Infiltrated Al-Jazeera TV
*  Kurds ask Turks to leave Iraq [The article is worth retaining mainly for
the amusing description of Turkish soldiers in the Kurdish Autonomous Zone
(whose main concern presumably was tracking down the PKK) as 'peacemakers']


*  Pentagon to Increase Team on Weapons Hunt [A new team of 1,300 people.
Though it emerges, from subsequent reports, that these are not being added
to the existing team but replacing it; and about half of them 'will be
looking for and analyzing information on regime leaders, terrorists, war
crimes, the former Iraqi intelligence service, atrocities and prisoners of
war'. If this interpretation is correct then the total number looking for
weapons of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons is not being increased
by very much]
*  U.S. weapons team to leave Iraq [The 75TH Exploitation Task Force, to be
replaced by the new and bigger Iraq Survey Group. A number of those involved
in the task force feel thay had been wasting their time: 'At nearly every
top-tier "sensitive site" the searchers reached, intruders had sacked and
burned the evidence that weapons hunters had counted on sifting.' Which
makes it a delicate forensic task. The sort of task UN inspectors were
supposed to be good at]
*  U.S. Weapons Hunters Hindered in Iraq [No translators (further proof of
the utter uselessness of the 'Free Iraqi Forces') and 'each team is
currently visiting one site a day - far fewer on average than U.N. teams
conducted during their stint.' We are told that 'the United States provided
Blix with some intelligence which didn't yield results. The best leads,
however, were followed up unsuccessfully by the 75th XTF' Does that mean
'the best leads' weren't given to Blix? And then, after this sorry tale of
incompetence we are told: 'Eventually we'll ... teach a new Iraqi government
how to do it themselves.']
*  Suspected bioweapons labs found ['three trailers believed to be mobile
biological weapons laboratories ... Former U.N. weapons inspector David Kay
told NBC there was no other possible purpose for the lab. "This is it," he
*  U.S. Sending New Team to Iraq for Weapons Search ['Rice said Iraq
appeared to have had a virtually "inspections proof" system of concealing
chemical and biological weapons by developing chemicals and agents that
could be used for more than one purpose, but that could be put together as
weapons at the last minute.' It didn't work, did it?]
*  Second suspected bioweapons lab found [I wasn't able to make out what the
relationship is to 'Suspected bioweapons labs found' above. For good reasons
for thinking these are not bioweapons labs see Glen Rangwala's article The
Progress of the Pretext,]

AND, IN NEWS, 07-14/05/03 (5)


*  Dr. Huda Ammash's Detention - Jailed for Exposing Costs of Sanctions &
*  Health chief refuses to disavow Baath party [Ali Shnan al-Janabi
renounces the Baath Party but refuses to denounce it]
*  Former vice-president of Iraq under Syrian army protection [Izzat Ibrahim
*  Relatives of Iraqi leaders fled to Syria: Assad [but not the leaders
*  Coalition Takes Another Card [Ghazi Hammud, Baath regional chairman in
the Kut district, with list of all the Iraqi government members kidnapped so
far (12th May)]
*  Civil turmoil greets Iraq's new U.S. leader [Extract on the arrest of
Rihab Rashid Taha al-Azzawi al-Tikriti (insultingly nicknamed "Doctor Germ")
and the former chief of staff of the Iraqi armed forces, Ibrahim Ahmad Abde
al-Sattaf Muhammad al-Tikriti]


*  US sanctions move is likely to be accepted [Account of the Anglo Saxon
resolution from The Times. We are told 'The diplomacy unfolded under the
threat of unilateral US action. Officials have signalled that the US is
ready to breach UN sanctions if they are not lifted.' The Times seems to
regard this threat to act in defiance of international law as a perfectly
normal negotiating procedure (if only Russia and the Arab states had had the
courage to do likewise over the past twelve years)]
*  Text of U.S.-supported U.N. resolution on Iraq [The main thing is the
acceptance of 'The Authority' (the Anglo Saxon Axis) as legitimate, even
though the war was fought in violation of the UN Charter. It also creates a
Chapter VII obligation 'to deny safe haven to those members of the previous
Iraqi regime responsible for crimes and atrocities' which could become a
justification for sanctions on Syria and Iran; and it establishes (no, it
doesn't. It 'notes the establishment of') an 'Iraqi Assistance Fund' which
will take control of 'all funds remaining in the escrow account established
pursuant to resolution 986 (1995) ...' and all proceeds from 'export sales
of petroleum'. 'The funds in the Iraqi Assistance Fund shall be disbursed at
the direction of the Authority'. 5% of the export sales of petroleum will go
to the compensation fund (para 19). A modest sum. One wonders if this is
fair to the Kuwaitis. There is also a Chapter VII obligation for all
concerned to observe the terms of the Geneva Conventions. Could that provide
a pretext for UN sanctions against the Anglo Saxon powers?]
*  Don't lift the sanctions yet [Rahul Mahajan argues that in the present
context the lifting of sanctions will do little more than confer legitimacy
on the Anglo Saxon occupation and enable the occupiers to use Iraqi money to
provide business opportunities for their chums. The sanctions, or rather Oil
for Food, if maintained, would be much less severe than previously since the
Anglo Saxons will not be applying them so maliciously. They provide a means
by which the UN can exercise a general oversight both of the administration
of Iraq and of the process by which a new Iraqi government is created.
Mahajan points to the analogy with President Hussein's effort to instal a
puppet government in Kuwait. He doesn't mention the all important analogy of
the US/UN response to the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia]

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