The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]
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 it. 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 passed. 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) NEW IRAQI ORDER * 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 together.] * 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 century] * 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 parties] ENTERPRISING NEIGHBOURS * 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) NEW IRAQI DISORDER * 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 sites] * 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 Kurds] * 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) LEGACY OF WAR * 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 Fermon * 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) FORCES OF CIVIL SOCIETY * 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] OLD IRAQI ORDER * 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 City] AND, IN NEWS, 14-21/05/03 (6) PROGRESS OF THE PRETEXT * 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] NEW WORLD ORDER * 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 ...] _______________________________________________ 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