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[casi] News titles, 14-21/05/03

News titles, 14-21/05/03

Whatever else can be said for or against the Anglo Saxon conquest of Iraq,
it can no longer be said that it was illegal. The case for saying it was
illegal was based entirely on the string of UN Security Council resolutions
which had gone very far to accommodate the Anglo Saxon project for world
domination but not quite that far. There was, for a couple of months, a
brief moment of hope that the United Nations might amount to something in
the world, that it might, even at this late stage, prove to be what it was
always meant to be - the beginnings of an intellectually respectable system
of international law. That moment is now passed, the door is slammed shut.
The Anglo Saxons have declared publicly their contempt for the
'International Community' and the 'International Community' has, in a
grotesque and blasphemous parody of the Christian Gospel, blessed them for

The British Prime Minister has been triumphantly vindicated. He took a
terrible gamble and won. The defeat of the anti-war movement is total. This
is not to say that it was all completely useless. The high visibility of the
anti-war movement showed the Arab/Muslim world that Christian Europe was far
from being of one mind on this issue and, in particular, that the most self
consciously 'Christian' elements were willing to stand up in  opposition to
the New Crusaders. This is something of inestimable value. And we may easily
imagine that the anti-war movement could reform and and appear on an even
bigger scale once the next imperial adventure comes along. And that might
add to the inhibitions felt by the Prime Minster.

But what the anti-war, anti-sanctions movement has not done is to form a
coherent political opposition that has to be taken seriously in the
intervals between the wars. The Left of the Labour Party, which has opposed
all the adventures of the past twelve years, still hasn't developed a
convincing political philosophy that would enable it to go on the offensive
in peacetime. It is still reacting to events as they occur. And now that the
war has been legalised the Liberal Democrats are left without a leg to stand
on. In this context it seems quite appropriate that Clare Short should burst
upon the scene, compounding our humiliation with her idiotic argument that
the war was legal but the occupation was not. The Anglo Saxons, we are asked
to believe, should have left the government of President Hussein intact even
after that government had, quite clearly and spectacularly, ceased to exist.
Even if there had been anything in this case, it was destined to collapse as
soon as she made it once the new Security Council Resolution had been

The resolution was welcomed by CASI, the body that hosts this discussion
list and has done so much to publicise the effects of the sanctions regime.
Perhaps, given that CASI is a single issue group with no general political
overview, they had little choice in the matter. But it seems to suggest a
very naive view of what the sanctions actually were. They were a means of
delivering the Iraqi economy into the hands of a United Nations dominated by
the Anglo Saxon axis. This was a negative control, designed simply to
prevent the administration of President Hussein from functioning as a
government. Under the terms of the new resolution, the Anglo Saxon powers
will be controlling the economy directly. Only when the economy has been
completely reorganised to suit the Anglo Saxon interest will it be handed
back to an Iraqi administration. In this way, all the work of the Arab
awakening of the 1950s, the drive for Arab independence, has been undone. If
there is any spirit left in the region (and there may not be) it will have
to be done all over again.

Under these circumstances, yes, it is true that the Anglo Saxons will
probably allow the people living in Iraq to eat, to tend their sick and
perhaps even to sell a few dates heavily contaminated with depleted uranium.
And yes, that will be an improvement. And so, yes - if one is only
interested in the immediate humanitarian problem and if one has no interest
at all in the creation of an international law that will protect the weaker
people of the world - then there may be grounds for welcoming 'the lifting
of sanctions' on Iraq.

NEWS, 14-21/05/03 (1)


*  Water Woes: In Iraq, Water and Oil Do Mix [The whole article on the
overall problems of control of the water supply throughout the region is
worth reading but it is long and I only give an extract concerning the role
being played by Bechtel in the project for reclaiming the marshlands.
Particularly interesting to learn that 'two years ago current USAID
administrator Andrew Natsios was working for Bechtel as the chairman of the
Massachusetts Turnpike Authority']
*  Iraqi courts resume work
*  British hand over Iraqi port to local authorities
*  U.S. Treasury official testifies on recovery of Iraqi funds
*  "New Policy in Iraq to Authorize G.I.'s to Shoot Looters" ['But imposing
measures that call for the possible killing of young, unemployed or
desperate Iraqis for looting appears to carry a certain level of risk ...'
Quite. Though the license to kill story was later denied (see eg a paragraph
in 'Kurds making their own Iraqi oil deals' below). The article goes on to
suggest that Garner and Bodine were withdrawn because they didn't get on
*  Forces Step Up Arrests In Iraq ['The predawn operation to surround the
village and sweep its houses was conducted by more than 500 soldiers from
the 4th Infantry Division of the 1st Brigade, backed by howitzers, AH-64
Apache helicopters and armed boats on the nearby Tigris River.' Sounds like
the sort of thing the Serbs were doing in the Drenica valley in Kosovo]
*  US warned off barring Baathists [but apparently disregard the warning]
*  U.S. Adviser Says Iraq May Break With OPEC [Account of intervention with
Philip J. Carroll, chief 'adviser' (sic!) to Iraq's Oil Ministry]
*  Iraqi Women Out of the Picture
*  British, U.S. troops are accused of torture by Iraqi soldiers, civilians
*  In Reversal, Plan for Iraq Self-Rule Has Been Put Off [Power is whisked
away from 'the opposition'. Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of people]
*  Iraqi Students and Faculty Face Task of Purging Baathists
*  British official says Iraq handover could take years [John Sawers,
British Prime Minister Tony Blair's special envoy (but who in earth IS he?
Anyone know anything about him?) treats the opposition with contempt: "They
as politicians obviously want to build on their leadership roles and attract
support in the country, but it will only be possible to hand over power to
an Iraqi government when it has been genuinely elected by the Iraqi people."
Prompting the INC to come on tough: "We are allies of the United States but
we do not take orders"]

AND, IN NEWS, 14-21/05/03 (2)

NEW KURDISH ORDER (and see 'Return of the Natives')

*  Kurds making their own Iraq oil deals [This is cheeky. Oil exploitation
deals between the PUK - can the PUK any longer be considered to be a party
of government? - and two Turkish (!) oil companies]
*  On Oil, Iraqis Defer to U.S. [Problems organising security in oil fields
near Kirkuk. The Iraqis, being a very backward people, take it for granted
that employers ought to provide some form of social protection. Kellogg,
Brown & Root are trying to initiate them into the ways of the twenty first
*  A Mix of 'President . . . and Pope' [Wiry, intellectual screaming eagle
David H. Petraeus exercises unlimited power over a childish and recalcitrant
people in Mosul]
*  [No. 10 Most-Wanted Iraqi Surrenders] [Democracy is to be imposed on
Kirkuk. The people can have anything they want. Well, almost: '"You must
throw off the chains of a brutal dictatorship and the choke hold of a
socialist command economy," Odierno told residents of Kirkuk at a meeting
Saturday. "The message: You must embrace democracy and a market economy."'
Any colour so long as its black]
*  Iraqi Kurds Growing Restless Over Unpaid Wages [We are told that 'The
Kurdish region was in effect exempt from U.N. sanctions imposed after the
1991 Persian Gulf War, because its border with Turkey was open and Kurds
imposed trade tariffs on incoming goods.' Is that why statistics for the
Kurdish regions tended to be better than those for the rest of Iraq? And
there was me thinking it was because Saddam Hussein was deliberately
starving his people and spending all the money on gold taps for his palaces]
*  Power struggle emerges in Kirkuk [Kurdish manoeuvring to get control of
Kirkuk and attempt by Army Col. William Mayville, commander of the 173rd
Airborne Brigade to set up a council representative of the different


*  Lebanon lobbies UN over 'oil-for-food' contracts
*  Turkey emerges stronger for not bowing to US [Rather complex but
optimistic reading of Turkey's current situation arguing essentially that
the country has proved itself as a mature democracy. It is just about the
only country in the region that behaved honourably. But that isn't likely to
do it much good. The only countries in the region that behaved honourably in
1991 were Jordan and the Yemen ...]
*  U.A.E. Red Crescent completes water purification projects in south...
*  Iraqi business has key role to play - and so do Arabs [Lebanon Daily Star
article suggests that Arabs must co-operate with the US occupation of Iraq
in order to establish an Arab economic presence that will eventually enable
the Iraqis to get rid of the US occupation of Iraq. This has the advantage
that it is both 'both a moral duty and a lucrative opportunity'.]

AND, IN NEWS, 14-21/05/03 (3)


*  Reports continue of robbery and disorder in Baghdad
*  Senior UN Relief Official Discusses Lack of Security with US Authorities
[Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs Kenzo Oshima. Also Mr.
Annan's Representative on Internally Displaced Persons, Francis M. Deng on
the problem of Arabs displaced by the return of the Kurds]
*  Museum staffers refuse to give up antiquities taken for safekeeping
*  ElBaradei Warns of Iraq Nuclear Emergency [Through looting of nuclear
*  Helicopter Crashes In Iraq; Four Marine Crewmen Killed

RETURN OF THE NATIVES (and see New Kurdish Order)

*   Iraq gets a new class of nomads [Arabs displaced by Kurds recovering
what they claim to be their lands]
*  Among Kurds, Impatience and Anger Is Growing [Kurdish complaints that US
forces are encouraging Arabs to resist the repossession of lands claimed by
*  At least five die in Iraq as Arabs, Kurds clash [in Kirkuk]
*  Harvest in Middle of Kurdish-Arab Dispute [US in Makhmur, Northern Iraq,
trying to impose a 50/50 share in the harvest between returning Kurds and
displaced Arabs]
*  10 killed in Arab, Kurd clashes [in Kirkuk over the weekend]
*  Kurd-Arab clashes imperil Iraq cease-fire ['Around May 1, Mizeyal said,
Kurds from a nearby village blockaded their only road and confiscated cars.
They began shooting at the Arabs at night. After two women and four children
were killed, he said, the village was evacuated. The Kurds, accompanied by
peshmerga fighters, began coming at night to burn houses.' So, what do we
think? The Kurds are practising reverse ethnic cleansing against the Arabs.
The US is trying to put some - it isn't clear what - order into the process
and, according to the Kurds (and Alexander Sternberg), only making things
worse. Do we support the forces of occupation? Or do we believe 'the Iraqi
people' should be left to sort out their own affairs? As they see fit?]
*  Americans Try to Quell Arab-Kurd Flare-Up [American patrol gets shot at
in firefight, apparently by Arab farmers mistaking them for Kurds. In
response they killed 'five cows, six or seven sheep and a donkey, tore holes
in six houses and destroyed two tractors'. '"The weapons we found were not
typical of farmers," the captain said. "One of the guns they had I couldn't
afford. The movement tactics we saw were not from farmers."' But what does
Captain Fischer know about Iraqi farmers?]

AND, IN NEWS, 14-21/05/03 (4)


*  Use of cluster bombs in Iraq criticised [by Stephen Goose of the US-based
Human Rights Watch. 'UK forces had admitted using 600 air-dropped bombs and
2,100 launched from surface systems, Mr Goose said. The US had air-dropped
1,500 cluster bombs, but had refused to release a tally for ground-launched
weapons, which were likely to have been far more numerous.']
*  US used new missile in Iraq: Rumsfeld [D.Rumsfeld boasts about 'a new
kind of helicopter-launched missile - the AGM-114N Metal Augmented Charge
Hellfire - which uses a thermobaric warhead to create a blast wave that
kills people while leaving a building, bunker or cave intact'.]
*  Baghdad's Death Toll Assessed ['At least 1,700 Iraqi civilians died and
more than 8,000 were injured in the battle for the Iraqi capital, according
to a Los Angeles Times survey of records from 27 hospitals in the capital
and its outlying districts.'  The article is largely an account of the
difficulties of getting information. Only extracts are given here. One
wonders what was going on when Qusay Ali Al-Mafraji, the head of the
International Red Crescent in Baghdad told Boris Johnson that there were
only 150 confirmed Iraqi dead, both civilian and military, for the Baghdad
area - 'Anarchy in Iraq - a small price for ending cruel tyranny' in News,
01-08/05/03 (4)]
*  At least 1,700 civilians died in Baghdad battle [Note how the Los Angeles
Times story is weakened in the Seattle Times summary]
* Remains of toxic bullets litter Iraq [The experts who say depleted uranium
isn't very harmful say that nonetheless it should be cleared up. The
Christian Science Monitor finds that it isn't being cleared up. And gives
evidence that the army doesn't think its totally harmless: 'Six American
vehicles struck with DU "friendly fire" in 1991 were deemed to be too
contaminated to take home, and were buried in Saudi Arabia. Of 16 more
brought back to a purpose-built facility in South Carolina, six had to be
buried in a low-level radioactive waste dump.']
*  Belgium: government seeks to block war crimes case against US General
Tommy Franks [One of the grounds of this case is the attack on the Al
Jazeera offices and the murder of Tariq Ayoub. Normally the press is keen on
defending its own, so why is there not more support here?]
*  War crimes case against General Franks: Interview with Belgian lawyer Jan
*  Let's hear it for Belgium [George Monbiot reminds us that 'while the US
forbids other nations to proscribe the actions of its citizens, it also
insists that its own laws should apply abroad. The foreign sovereignty
immunities act, for example, permits the US courts to prosecute foreigners
for harming commercial interests in the US, even if they are breaking no
laws within their own countries.' Curiously, his summary of the grounds for
this case doesn't mention Al Jazeera]
*  The future of the Mujahideen Khalq [The article gives what appears to be
a detailed account of the reduction of the MKO. It states that the
Mujahideen 'in fact took active measures against invading American and
British forces' but all it gives are accounts of Anglo Saxon aggression
against the MKO]
*  Six Iraqi children die while playing with bomb
*  German lawyers sue Bush over war in Iraq

AND, IN NEWS, 14-21/05/03 (5)


*  Iraq's 'new patriots' [Wamith Nadthme, 'Baghdad's most outspoken
political scientist': '"When I spoke before the war, I was holding back,"
Nadthme acknowledged. "But not just about Saddam. We all know he lost touch
with reality after 1991. What I could not reveal then is how shameful we
find the opposition groups who are working with the Americans.']
*  Iraqi Clerics Urge Anti-U.S. Protest [Mohammed Fartousi, supporter of
Moqtada Sadr]
*  Protesters in Iraq assail U.S. occupation [Joint Sunni/Shi'i
demonstration in Baghdad, Monday 19th May]
*  Bodies of Kurds found at desert site [in al-Shinafiyah, Southern Iraq]
*  Former Iraqi General Khazraji in Iraq, Son Says
*  U.S. forces storm Islamic Party of Iraq headquarters
*  SCIRI issues memo on choosing interim national council
*  Comments by Juan Cole [I have only recently discovered Juan Cole's
regular comments on Middle Eastern affairs. These extracts do not strictly
belong to a collection culled from the press but they do provide some
insights into the current, very important, intra-Shi'i disputes in Iraq] 


*  Thousands of bodies uncovered in mass grave in Iraq
*  Hussein's stamp still all over Iraq [Boston Globe on the ambivalence of
Iraqi feelings towards their President: 'in Nawar's popular kebaberie, a
vase decorated with a full-color image of a grinning Hussein remains next to
the owner's chair at the cash register. Sometimes, Nawar gives it a kiss.']
*  No. 10 Most-Wanted Iraqi Surrenders [Gen. Kamal Mustafa Abdallah Sultan
al-Tikriti and Adilabdillah Mahdi al-Duri al-Tikriti, Baath Party regional
command chairman for the Dhi Qar district near Tikrit]
*  Proved innocent [Ed Vuillamy on the execution of his fellow Observer
journalist Farhad Bazoft. He finds his former interrogator who says he knew
all along he wasn't a spy. He was just a journalist doing his job. Though
from the point of view of a Dictator engaged in a day by day fight for
survival the distinction between a spy digging up secrets to pass on to a
government, and a journalist digging up secrets to share them with the world
at large might have seemed rather fine. Vuillamy doesn't mention that the
public insults thrown out by the UK Prime Minister of the day (M Thatcher)
more or less ensured the impossibility of President Hussein giving Bazoft a
reprieve without losing face]
*  Chemical Ali 'may have survived raid' [The article mentions in passing
that "The army hasn't even been to check the rubble for Chemical Ali's body,
they just came to take a few photographs and left. No bodies have been
removed" from the property that was bombed because it was supposed to
contain General Ali Hassan Al Majid. Is this not a violation of Article 17
of the 1949 First Geneva Convention which requires examination and burial of
enemy dead? Or does that not apply to civilians?]
*  Pro-Saddam singer shot dead [and the deputy dean of the science faculty
at Baghdad's Mustansiriyah University, recently shot dead by students]
*  Iraqis Killing Former Baath Party Members [especially in Saddam/Sadr

AND, IN NEWS, 14-21/05/03 (6)


*  No Political Fallout for Bush on Weapons ['According to a May 1 Gallup
poll for CNN and USA Today, 79 percent of Americans said the war with Iraq
was justified even without conclusive evidence of the illegal weapons ...' I
have already circulated as Quote of the Week, the following from Kenneth
Adelman who 'says Hussein may even have launched "a massive disinformation
campaign to make the world think he was violating international norms, and
he may not have been."']
*  America's Shocking Hypocrisy on WMD: An Interview with Richard Butler
[Richard Butler expresses amazement at US hypocrisy in continuing to develop
nuclear weapons and denying everyone else's right to them; and in going to
war on Iraq without UNSC backing. What universe has Richard Butler been
living in for the past fifty years? And what game did he think he was
playing when he was head of UNSCOM? Extract]
*  Forget WMDs - they're not the real reason we went to war [Brian McNair,
in The Scotsman, explains that weapons of mass destruction were always a
very weak pretext. The real reason was 'the establishment of a strategic
bridgehead in the fight against al-Qaeda.' Ah, if only they'd explained that
from the beginning. Though it sounds to me like a good argument for going to
war with Pakistan]


*  French let fly at US hawks over smears [Mainly over recent accusations in
the Washington Times. But why should it be considered improper to give
passports to members of a legitimate, internationally recognised government,
fleeing the fake justice of a usurping power?]
*  Eurozone in Iraq [Timothy Garton Ash, one of the advocates of US
intervention in Europe during the Balkan crisis, says: 'Polish air force
pilots once gave their lives for the defence of this country, in the Battle
of Britain', so it would be elegant for our Prime Minister to support the
Polish intervention in Iraq. In fact the Polish air pilots thought thy were
giving their lives for the liberation of Poland and their sacrifice was
treated with scorn when Britain handed Poland pover to Stalin. Its surely
impossible that the Poles should be so naive as to be as flattered by their
new global importance as Mr Ash says they are. The indications are that they
are rather embarrassed. Ash tells us that they're no longer being asked to
manage the Kurdish part: 'Instead they've got the zone the Americans have
tagged "upper south", which contains some of the heartlands of Shia Islam.'
That'll be fun.]
*  U.S. Wins German Support on Iraq Sanctions, Modifies UN Resolution [New
text 'inserts a phrase that explicitly says Iraq's sovereign debt will be
dealt with through multinational institutions, such as the Paris Club.'
Powell to visit France, Rumsfeld to visit Germany]
*  De Villepin: "There Must be an Iraqi Administration Legitimized by the
UN" [In a deeply depressing interview with Le Monde, Dominique de Villepin
neglects to point out that the US presence in Iraq is illegal. He seems
basically to be looking for a veto on the administrative and financial
arrangements in Iraq. 'Our conviction is that the United Nations incarnates
a universal conscience above and beyond nation states.' It is an agreeable
sentiment but hardly worth uttering so long as by 'the United Nations' he
means the Security Council, not the General Assembly. the interview goes on
- not given here - to express enthusiasm for US commitment to the
Israeli/Palestinian 'road map' As one might express enthusiasm for
charitable sentiments expressed by Al Capone]
*  US proposes giving UN more authority in Iraq [Extract giving a UNESCO
assessment that most of the National Museum collection has been saved]
*  Iraq showdown: Winners and losers [Pepe Escobar has been quiet of late
possibly because his main thesis on Iraq - that, whatever happened, Saddam
Hussein can't lose - isn't looking too good at the moment. But he's back
with his usual spirit, running around inside and outside Iraq, stimulating
and rash as ever. Like many other people (I am a sceptic) he sees hope on
the global scale from China: 'The financing of America's deficit is based on
Asia buying American Treasury bonds. And this "Asia" increasingly means
China, not Japan. In five years, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan will control
roughly 50 percent of America's debt (the Bank of China already holds 30
percent).' He has an unusual take on the impact of the Iraq war on Arab
politics: 'But still the Arab League as it is seems to have found a new
lease of life. Before the war on Iraq, many analysts believed the new
geopolitical core in the Middle East would be Tel Aviv-Ankara-Baghdad. But
at least for the moment the new core is actually Cairo-Riyadh.' He continues
(amazingly in my view) to have a high regard for Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah
and 'the extremely reasonable and sound Saudi Foreign Minister Saud Faisal'.
And he has hope in the Franco-German axis and thinks Britain can and should
be brought into it (my instinct is that Britain should be thrown out of it).
'If they get their act together, Europe will be the true winner.' Well, at
least its original ...]

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