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[casi] Last News, 21-28/05/03 (5)

News, 21-28/05/03 (5)


*  NATO: Poland Will Lead Iraq Peacekeepers
*  Iraq arms inspectors must wait: Rumsfeld
*  France, Russia Back Lifting of Iraq Sanctions
*  U.S.-French Ties Take Step Forward
*  Occupation of Iraq illegal, Blair told
*  War on Iraq was illegal, say top lawyers
*  Turkey finds itself at a critical juncture
  Iraq and the UN
*  Neo-cons move quickly on Iran


*  Britain finds Iraq's 'smoking gun': a top-secret missile
*  Iraq Weapons Hunters Drop Outdated Leads


ABC News, from The Associated Press, 21st May

BRUSSELS, Belgium May 21: NATO's 19 nations agreed unanimously Wednesday to
start planning to help Poland lead a multinational peacekeeping force in
Iraq, a move that begins to heal the alliance's deep divisions over the war.

Although the plans involve only modest technical assistance, the step also
marks the possibility of a wider role for NATO in postwar Iraq.

"This is a big step forward by the NATO alliance," said Nicholas Burns, the
U.S. ambassador to NATO. "Today's decision puts us squarely in the mix in

The apparent ease with which allies reached the deal is in stark contrast
with the acrimonious dispute before the war in Iraq, when France, German and
Belgium held up sending defensive units to Turkey for weeks to emphasize
their opposition to the U.S.-led war.

Since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, France and Germany have sought to
repair ties with Washington. Burns said the speedy consensus on Poland's
request indicated the alliance had put the Iraq dispute behind it.

"I think NATO has overcome that crisis," he told reporters.

French diplomats said Paris had no objection to authorizing the help to the
Poles, who are expected to assemble at least 7,000 peacekeepers in a force
expected to deploy next month to work between a U.S.-run northern zone and
the British-controlled south.

The assistance is expected to involve setting up a headquarters,
intelligence sharing, communications and logistics, but no direct NATO
involvement on the ground.

"We are not talking about a NATO presence in Iraq, we are talking purely and
simply about NATO help to Poland," said Lord Robertson, the alliance's
secretary general.

Burns said NATO's military commander, U.S. Marine Corps Gen. James L. Jones,
would likely present plans for approval next week.

First, alliance military experts will work with the Poles to see what they
need and provide a list of available support, and nations considering
joining the mission will meet in Warsaw on Thursday and Friday. Poland is
expected to provide 2,200 troops to lead its force in Iraq. Bulgaria will
contribute 450 soldiers, but it was not immediately clear which other
countries would join.

Although limited, U.S. officials see NATO's involvement in Iraq and a recent
decision to take on peacekeeping in Afghanistan as signs the alliance is
making good on pledges to reinvent itself post Cold War to face global

"There is no question that NATO is out on the frontier in the war on
terrorism," Burns said.

Diplomats at NATO headquarters said they would continue discussions on the
alliance taking over a more central role in longer-term Iraq peacekeeping
perhaps as early as the end of this year.

That could follow the model in Afghanistan, where the alliance first
provided back up to the German-Dutch peacekeeping force in the capital,
Kabul, before agreeing to take command of the mission.

Starting in August, the Afghan operation will mark NATO's first mission
outside its traditional Euro-Atlantic theater.

The Iraq mission is a test for Poland which only joined NATO in 1999, and
has struggled to modernize and restructure its military along western lines
since the collapse of communism 10 year earlier.

Toronto Star, 21st May

WASHINGTON‹U.N. nuclear inspections won't be returning to Iraq until a new
Security Council resolution is in place, U.S. Defence Secretary Donald
Rumsfeld said yesterday.

Mohammed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, has said
his experts must be allowed back inside Iraq to help account for radioactive
materials that had been stored at looted weapons sites.

Rumsfeld told a Pentagon news conference that having IAEA officials return
to Iraq to check inventories would be a good idea, but that effort would
have to wait until the Security Council enacts a resolution on the United
Nations' role in Iraq.

U.S. officials say that vote could come as early as today.

"It's just not up to us," Rumsfeld said. "It is fine, and my guess is it'll

ElBaradei said Monday he was frustrated that his appeals to send in a team
of IAEA experts had been met with silence from the Americans. The IAEA has
been particularly worried about a facility at Tuwaitha, where tonnes of
uranium and other radioactive materials are stored and where looters had
free rein for a time.

Meanwhile, the United States predicted yesterday it would have "substantial
support" for a resolution to lift U.N. sanctions against Iraq and allow the
country's oil revenue to finance its reconstruction.

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell worked the phones yesterday to win
support for a newly revised draft resolution, introduced late Monday.

The new draft would end nearly 13 years of U.N. sanctions, imposed on Iraq
after its 1990 invasion of oil-rich Kuwait.

It would give occupying powers United States and Britain broad power to run
the shattered nation and use its oil revenues for rebuilding, until a new
Iraqi government is in place.

The draft also would gradually shut down, over six months, the oil-for-food
humanitarian program, ending strict U.N. controls on the Iraqi economy.


by Colum Lynch
Washington Post, 22nd May

UNITED NATIONS, May 21 -- The foreign ministers of France, Russia and
Germany said today that they will support a U.N. Security Council resolution
lifting more than a decade of international sanctions on Iraq, clearing the
way for approval of the measure and providing the Bush administration a
major diplomatic victory.

The Security Council is poised to adopt the resolution as early as Thursday,
granting the United States and Britain -- Washington's leading military ally
during the war in Iraq -- broad control over the country's economy and its
budding political process until an internationally recognized Iraqi
government is in place, according to senior U.S. and U.N. diplomats.

Meeting in Paris, the French, Russian and German foreign ministers, whose
countries led the opposition to the war this spring, announced that they
will support the United States' postwar plans despite reservations about
what they view as the limited U.N. involvement in shaping the country's
political and economic future.

"Even if this text does not go as far as we would like, we have decided to
vote for this resolution," French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin
told reporters at a news conference with German Foreign Minister Joschka
Fischer and Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov. "This is because we have
chosen the path of unity of the international community."

The announcement ensured that the resolution, which the Bush administration
said it will put to a vote before the 15-nation Security Council on
Thursday, will pass easily. Only Syria, the lone Arab country on the
council, has indicated it may not vote for the resolution, saying that it
needs more time to consider the text.

The support the United States has been able to muster represents a major
diplomatic achievement for the Bush administration, which launched an
invasion of Iraq in late March in the face of broad international
opposition. The adoption of the resolution would mark the Security Council's
first endorsement of a foreign occupation of a U.N. member nation after an
invasion that its members roundly opposed.

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell struck the final deal in a series of
telephone conversations with his French, Russian and German counterparts
during the past 24 hours, officials said. He will meet with them in France
on Thursday at a meeting of foreign ministers from the Group of Eight
economic powers.

The seven-page resolution would immediately transfer legal control over
Iraq's oil industry from the United Nations and Iraq to the United States
and its allies. The oil proceeds would be used to finance the country's
reconstruction, the costs of an Iraqi civilian administration, the
completion of Iraq's disarmament and "other purposes benefiting the people
of Iraq."

Iraq's revenue would be placed in the Development Fund of Iraq, to be held
in Iraq's Central Bank, which is being run by a former U.S. bank executive.
The United States and Britain would select an auditor, subject to the
approval of an international advisory and monitoring board, to scrutinize
expenditures. A blanket immunity would shield Iraq's oil revenue from claims
by foreign creditors until the United States yields control to an
internationally recognized Iraqi government.

The resolution would also extend political legitimacy to U.S. rule in Iraq
by granting the U.S.-run Coalition Provisional Authority a formal mandate to
"promote the welfare of the Iraqi people through the effective
administration of the territory." It would pave the way for international
financial institutions and for countries that questioned the legality of the
overthrow of the Iraqi government to participate in the reconstruction of

In an effort to broaden support for the resolution, the United States
preserved a significant, though limited, role for the United Nations, with
the resolution directing Secretary General Kofi Annan to appoint a special
representative to oversee the U.N. relief and reconstruction efforts and to
participate in the political transition to an Iraqi government. Powell has
been urging Annan to appoint to the post a Brazilian diplomat, Sergio Vieira
de Mello, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, who oversaw East
Timor's transition to independence.

Despite sharp differences with the United States over the substance of the
resolution, France and Russia were unable to marshal sufficient political
momentum to force the Bush administration to make serious concessions that
would ensure continued international control over Iraq's oil and place the
United Nations at the center of efforts to rebuild the country.

Though the United States ceded little ground on crucial matters during two
weeks of negotiations on the draft resolution, it made a total of 90 changes
to address the concerns of Security Council members. One key concession that
helped clinch the agreement was the inclusion of a provision that would
allow the council to review the implementation of the resolution within 12

The United States also agreed to grant the U.N. secretary general as much as
six months to phase out the U.N. oil-for-food program, which has $13 billion
in the bank. But the United Nations would have to immediately transfer $1
billion of that money to a fund controlled by the U.S. military and its
allies. The extension of the 7-year-old humanitarian program, which
permitted Iraq to sell its oil to finance the purchase of food, medicine and
other humanitarian goods, would allow Annan to honor -- on a priority basis
-- billions of dollars in contracts for products approved by the former
Iraqi government. Russia has more than $4 billion in outstanding contracts.

The United States also left open the door to a return of U.N. weapons
inspectors to Iraq, a key demand of several council members.

Despite the concessions, the resolution proved tough to accept for Syria. In
a bid to gain more time, Syria's ambassador to the United Nations, Mikhail
Wehbe, flew to Damascus to discuss the U.S. proposal with the leadership.
Syria's charge d'affaires, Fayssal Mekdad, said he will boycott a vote on
Thursday if he does not receive instructions. "Can you imagine how difficult
it is for the Syrians to endorse something which is legitimizing the foreign
occupation of an Arab country?" a council diplomat said. "It is not easy."

De Villepin said today he was satisfied that the text provides a "tangible
and independent role" for the United Nations. "The text on the table is the
result of compromise," he said. "The important thing today is that the
United Nations play a key role."

by Keith B. Richburg
Washington Post, 23rd May

PARIS, May 22 -- Secretary of State Colin L. Powell today called French
support for the new U.N. Security Council resolution lifting sanctions on
Iraq "a step in the right direction of moving forward together" but said
that the rift between Washington and Paris over Iraq is far from fully

Speaking at a news conference here, Powell said that French officials would
need to do more to improve relations. "Does it mean that the disagreements
of the past are totally forgotten? No," he said of the Security Council
vote. "We've got to work our way through that."

Asked whether France still faced unspecified "consequences" for threatening
in February to veto any Security Council resolution authorizing the United
States and Britain to wage war on Iraq, Powell said a "review" was still
underway. "If it is appropriate to draw some conclusions, and consequences
flow from those conclusions, then that's the way it is," he said.

In a rebuke to his hosts, Powell told reporters that it was France that
first threatened countries waiting to join the European Union that they
faced "consequences" for siding with the United States by signing a letter
endorsing military action against Iraq.

Powell was in Paris for a meeting of foreign ministers from the Group of
Eight -- the seven leading industrial democracies and Russia -- in advance
of a summit of the countries' leaders June 1-3 in the French Alps. Tomorrow,
he will have a breakfast meeting with his French counterpart, Dominique de

Today, de Villepin said he hoped for an end to the dispute with the United
States. "The best therapy is action. France's absolute priority now is to
look to the future and address the challenges the world faces," he said at a
separate news conference, mentioning the threats of terrorism and weapons
proliferation, the Reuters news service reported.

In another sign that France was trying to mend the relationship, President
Jacques Chirac telephoned President Bush at the White House today, and the
two discussed the agenda for the upcoming summit.

They talked about measures to improve the global economy, and the continuing
threat of international terrorism, according to Chirac's spokeswoman, who
described the two presidents' cooperation as "excellent."

It was Chirac's second call to Bush since the fallout over Iraq. The two
will meet face to face at the G-8 meeting for the first time since the

Chirac has long counted himself as a friend of America, an English-speaker
who professes to love American junk food and worked as a "soda jerk" on the
East Coast during his student days. But he has also spoken in interviews of
a need to contain unchecked American power through the development of a
"multipolar" world in which Europe would act as a counterweight to the
United States.

But today his government sided with the United States in voting for the U.N.
resolution, which recognizes the authority of the United States and Britain
to govern Iraq pending creation of a new government. The measure passed 14
to 0, with Syria's delegate absent.

In recent days, the Pentagon has taken steps that in effect punish France
for its earlier obstruction. Two weeks ago, a Pentagon official told France
its invitation to take part in military exercises called Red Flag, to be
held in Nevada next year, was being withdrawn; the United States also told
France that it would be downgrading and limiting its participation in the
Paris Air Show next month.

Powell said today that the Pentagon action "doesn't reflect an overall
administration policy." Asked if the anti-French attitude in the Defense
Department was undercutting his own stated efforts to begin getting
U.S.-French relations back on track, Powell replied quickly, "My efforts are
on track.",2763,961146,00.html

by Clare Dyer, legal correspondent
The Guardian, 23rd May

Leaked advice from the attorney general, Lord Goldsmith, reveals that he
warned Tony Blair two months ago that attempts at postwar reconstruction of
Iraq by US-British occupying authorities would be unlawful without a further
UN resolution.

Lord Goldsmith, the government's chief law officer, told the prime minister
that the longer the occupation went on and the more the actions of the
occupying authorities departed from their main task of disarmament, the
harder it would be to justify the occupation as lawful.

The advice, published in today's New Statesman, was written in a memo to Mr
Blair and circulated to a small number of government departments on March
26. The magazine says it follows oral advice from Lord Goldsmith at a
cabinet meeting six days into the war, making clear that all activity beyond
essential maintenance of security would be unlawful without a further
security council resolution.

"My view is that a further security council resolution is needed to
authorise imposing reform and restructuring of Iraq and its government,"
Lord Goldsmith wrote.

He listed specifically the limitations placed on the authority of an
occupying power under international law. These included attempts at
"wide-ranging reforms of governmental and administrative structures", any
alterations in the status of public officials or judges except in
exceptional cases, changes to the penal laws, and the imposition of major
structural economic reforms.

Lord Goldsmith stressed that any military action must be limited to
achieving Iraqi disarmament. He wrote: "The government has concluded that
the removal of the current Iraqi regime from power is necessary to secure
disarmament, but the longer the occupation of Iraq continues, and the more
the tasks undertaken by an interim administration depart from the main
objective, the more difficult it will be to justify the lawfulness of the

His opinion throws into doubt the legality of the efforts of the US-led
office of reconstruction and humanitarian assistance to form an interim
Iraqi administration. It also shows how close to the wind the British
administration was prepared to sail in its Iraq role.

The foreign secretary, Jack Straw, has worked hard to bring the UN on board
and was last night relieved when France, Russia and Germany announced that
they would vote in favour of a UN resolution to let the US-led coalition run
the country until a recognised government takes over and to lift 13 years of
sanctions. It should make it a virtual certainty that the resolution will
pass when the security council votes on it today.

The issue of the UN's role was key to Clare Short's resignation as
international development secretary on May 12, when she told MPs: "I believe
the UK could and should have respected the attorney general's advice, told
the US this was a red line for us and worked for international agreement to
a proper UN-led process to establish an interim Iraqi government, just as
was done in Afghanistan."

At the time Lord Goldsmith said: "In relation to the current situation in
Iraq, I am satisfied that the government is acting in accordance with
international law." His spokesman refused to comment last night.

Downing Street said last night: "We don't comment on leaks. The attorney
general has put on record that what the government is doing is legal."

The shadow attorney general, Bill Cash, said: "In her resignation letter,
Clare Short levied the most serious charges against the prime minister,
indicating that she regarded herself as having been misled about the legal
basis for the postwar reconstruction of Iraq, and that she in turn, relying
on that advice, misled the House."

by Severin Carrell and Robert Verkaik
The Independent, 25th May

The war on Iraq will be condemned as illegal by a panel of eminent
international lawyers at a conference being organised by the actor Corin

The symposium, to be held next Sunday at the Young Vic theatre in London,
will also hear senior legal experts allege that the conflict has seriously
weakened the authority of the United Nations and potentially threatened
global security.

The panellists include Professor Philippe Sands QC, a member of Cherie
Booth's Matrix chambers, Professor Christine Chinkin, professor of
international law at the London School of Economics, and Jan Kavan, the
president of the UN General Assembly and former Czech foreign minister.

Another prominent speaker, Professor Burns Weston, a human rights lawyer at
the University of Iowa in the US, fears that other countries might use the
American decision to wage war illegally to justify their own unlawful wars.
He is most concerned about India and Pakistan - two nuclear powers in
dispute over Kashmir. "It is a very bad precedent for other countries that
might seek, in their own lack of wisdom, to emulate the United States," he

The event, called "Liberation or War Crime" will be chaired by the former
Radio 4 Today programme presenter Sue MacGregor and is expected to attract
other prominent figures, including the playwright David Hare, the Booker
Prize-winning Indian writer Arundhati Roy and the former foreign secretary
Robin Cook. Prof Sands, one of 16 prominent international lawyers who
earlier this year publicly warned Tony Blair that the war was illegal, said
the conflict raised two major issues.

"First, did the Security Council authorise the use of force, and the answer
to that is no. And [second] were we misled about the presence of weapons of
mass destruction? Apparently, yes. These things are going to come back to
haunt us," Prof Sands said.

Mr Redgrave, whose film roles include parts in Four Weddings and A Funeral,
Enigma and In the Name of the Father, said one objective in staging and
paying for the event was to investigate the damage caused by the war to
international peace.

"Very early on, before the war began, it seemed that one of the main
casualties of war was the whole fabric of international law and convention,"
he said. "It seemed to me there was a willingness, indeed a desire, on the
part of America at least, to rend that fabric in a way that would almost
make it irreparable."

The controversy over the legality of the war partly subsided on Thursday
after the US supported an unexpectedly far-reaching resolution at the
Security Council guaranteeing Iraq's independence and giving the UN a more
powerful role in its reconstruction.

Although the resolution answered widespread concerns that the occupation of
Iraq was also illegal - concerns shared by the Attorney General, Lord
Goldsmith - British lawyers warned there were still serious worries over the
legality of the coalition's conduct.

Peter Carter QC, chairman of the Bar Council's human rights committee, said
coalition forces were in breach of UN Resolution 1325, which requires
participants in a conflict to have particular regard to the rights of women.

Since the war, Mr Carter said, women feared more for their safety because of
the frequent looting, chaos and unlawfulness. "Women must feel free to walk
the streets and go about their business. It is true to say that Iraqi women
during Saddam's rule experienced greater freedoms than in other Arab

Prof Sands said the new UN resolution had, for the first time, cancelled all
previous legal or contractual rights to Iraq's oil - giving the coalition
freedom to sell the oil to whichever firm they wanted. This raised
"far-reaching" questions about the rights of an occupier to control a
country's natural resources.

'There was no threat. There was no resolution'

Professor Philippe Sands QC Director of the Centre on International Courts
and Tribunals, University College London The war was contrary to
international law and it was contrary to international law whether or not
they find weapons of mass destruction. The illegality was based on the
absence of a Security Council resolution authorising the use of force. I
think that is the view of almost every independent commentator.

The claim by the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith - that the war was legal
because Saddam Hussein had failed to comply with UN resolutions dating back
to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait - has received almost no support outside the UK
or the United States from independent academic commentators.

Professor Robert Black QC Professor of Scots law, Edinburgh University, and
architect of the Lockerbie trial in The Hague It's simple and
straightforward. There are only two legal justifications for attacking
another country: self-defence, or if the Security Council authorises you to
do so. It is perfectly plain that none of the Security Council resolutions
relating to Iraq authorised armed intervention. It's possible to cobble
together what looks like a legal argument, but the real test of any legal
argument is whether a court would accept that argument. I challenged the
Attorney General to say what he thought the odds were of the International
Court of Justice in The Hague accepting his argument. In my view, the odds
against were greater than 10 to 1.

Professor Sean Murphy Associate professor of law at George Washington
University, Washington DC I think there's a real question to be raised about
whether the US, UK and Australian coalition properly intervened in Iraq
without Security Council authorisation, and I think there are very sound
reasons for saying that the intervention was not permitted. The US-UK legal
justification, which is based on Security Council resolutions dating back to
1990-91, isn't credible. When you look closely at the resolutions and the
practice of the Security Council, it's clear that the majority of members of
the Security Council believed that further authorisation was needed in March
2003 than, in fact, existed.

Professor Vaughan Lowe Chichele Professor of Public International Law, All
Souls College, Oxford The new resolution provides a firm legal basis for the
coalition occupation of Iraq. It gives the UN a role that is prominent on
paper but which, in fact, is not at all powerful on the ground. The
coalition practically has a free hand in 'promoting' reform and the
formation of an interim administration ... The key question is how far the
coalition may proceed with economic and political restructuring in Iraq
before the election of a government by the Iraqi people. The resolution does
not spell that out; nor does it fix any timetable for the return of power to
the Iraqi people. Nor does it stipulate how the massive reconstruction costs
of the programme - and the benefits, in terms of commercial contracts - will
be distributed.

Professor James Crawford Whewell Professor of International Law, Jesus
College, Cambridge On the information available, none of the exceptions that
permit the use of force applied. There was no UN Security Council
authorisation, and no imminent humanitarian catastrophe, and no imminent
threat of the use of force by Iraq. I think it was unlawful in the
beginning, and they haven't found anything since to make one change one's
mind. The earlier Security Council resolutions were related to the
occupation of Kuwait, and that situation has completely changed. It's very
contrived to treat Resolution 1441 as if it authorises the use of force.

Professor Mary Kaldor Professor of global governance, London School of
Economics Going back to the 1991 UN resolutions is the real weakness of
their argument. It is an awfully long time ago, and it's as though this
isn't a new war - as if it is the same war we fought in 1991. I think that
it is an incredibly weak legal case. I don't think there's any way we can
argue that the Iraq intervention was legitimate, and it's illegitimate for
two reasons. There was no real case that the inspectors weren't dealing with
the weapons of mass destruction. And, we're now seeing what a lot of people
warned we would see: that this will be bad for [curbing] terrorism rather
than good.

by Khatoun Haidar
Lebanon Daily Star, 26th May

Turkey will shortly be due to its IMF bi-monthly progress review. The
results will determine eligibility to a promised $500 million loan. Turkey
is late on 11 of 15 pledges to the fund that has already cut the latest
payment by more than half because of previous delays. The markets are
jittery and investors on their guards though the actual state of the economy
is not different from May 6 when the Turkish government was able to sell
one-year bonds at yields of 54 percent, down from the 63 percent previously
achieved in April.

The only difference is that today investors predict that the IMF will be
harsher on Turkey due to the deterioration of its relations with the US
following its stand during the Iraq war. The US is the largest shareholder
of the IMF and many say, ³relations with the IMF are completely political.²
The US seems unforgiving: earlier this month US Deputy Defense Secretary
Paul Wolfowitz said that the Turkish government needs to acknowledge its
mistakes if it wants to mend ties with the US.

The actual state of affairs is putting serious pressures on Prime Minister
Erdogan whose party was elected on a platform promising to build highways
nationwide, increase agricultural subsidies, and create 1.5 million jobs.
The government seems cornered and the feeling on the street is one of fear
of the political and economic fallout of the Iraqi conflict.

The latest polls showed opposition to the pro-US policies over Iraq fall
from 80 percent to 41.5 percent. The main reason for the shift is the worry
about financial survival especially when Ankara¹s expectations of 15 million
tourists this year seem way ambitious.

Turks are afraid and feel alone. For long they relied on their importance to
the US: the only Muslim member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization,
they share borders with Iran, Iraq, and Syria. And for long they basked in
the shadow of the military that is constitutionally in charge with guarding
the secular principles of the state. This time, surprising the world, the
Turkish Parliament heard the people, and the army did not interfere. Even
opposition nationalist such as Altemur Kilic recognized that opposing the
war was ³Turkey¹s democratic choice, but defying Washington will cost Turkey

It is true that the US is using and will use all available means of pressure
to get Turkey back to play the role of the staunch ally that never discusses
the validity of American policies. But it is also true that this
administration while publicly proclaiming itself the defender of democracy
around the world cannot afford to undermine what it has always proclaimed as
³the only democratic state in the Islamic world.²

Let us not forget that the war in Iraq was fought under a motto of promoting
democracy. The US has also to walk a fine line between its payback time urge
and keeping Ankara away from the Iranian-Syrian axis. Turkey, Iran, and
Syria all border northern Iraq and oppose any step toward Kurdish
empowerment, self-rule or statehood in post-war Iraq. They fear it would
nurture the existing separatist tendencies among their Kurdish populations.
Turkey still has a few thousand troops in northern Iraq to crack down on
Abdullah Ocalan PKK rebels that withdrew into northern Iraq after Abdullah
Ocelan was tried and jailed in 1999. Now Turkey is under pressure from the
US to withdraw its forces, however Washington cannot be seen as compromising
with the rebels that it had already labeled as ³terrorists.²

Clearly Turkey is one of the few countries that still can be allied to the
US and keep a margin of independence aimed at promoting self-interest
provided that they step away from half measures and take a final turn along
the road of democracy, economic development, and social cohesion. These
steps will also speed up the realization of Turkey¹s aspiration to join the
European Union. Besides a more pragmatic approach to the Cypriote problem,
Turkey has still to carry out a series of political and economic reforms to
meet EU criteria. The EU says that it will decide at the end of 2004 whether
it will open negotiations with Ankara. The odds are now in favor of a
positive attitude towards Turkey¹s candidacy.

Turkey is today at a conjunction in its history. A strong democratic Turkey
which is a member of the EU has the potential to play a leading role in a
region of the world where extremism is on the rise due to oppression,
hopelessness, and misunderstanding.

Khatoun Haidar is a Lebanese journalist. She contributed this commentary for
The Daily Star

by Arshad-uz Zaman
Daily Star, Bangladesh, 27th May

The Security Council has voted 14-1 and adopted her latest resolution on
Iraq. Thus closes a painful chapter in the history of the UN.

It is useful to recall the tumultuous period of the UN Security Council in
March last. After maximum arms twisting by the US and Britain the Security
Council adopted a resolution stipulating that the Arms Inspectors Hans Blix
and Baradei should go to Iraq and report back to the Council whether they
had discovered any arms of mass destruction on the basis of which there
would be further step in matters of disarming Iraq. US-Britain tried their
utmost to get a new resolution authorising them to attack Iraq. France,
Russia and China, three permanent members of the Security Council opposed
the move. US-Britain attacked Iraq nonetheless and this led to massive
bloodshed of the poor Iraqis, and destruction of their country in a massive

Relations between the US on the one hand and France, China and Russia on the
other went into deep freeze. Since France was leading the opposition she
became the target of US-Britain. Since the end of the war US-Britain have
been trying to set up an administration to run the show. First it was Gen.
Garner who miserably failed. Now Paul Bremer is trying his hand in setting
up an administration. Meanwhile Iraqis are determined that they will
administer their own country. They have held massive demonstrations
throughout the country and have put up an impressive show of unity between
the long quarreling Shias and Sunnis. This tableau of course excludes the
Kurds in the north, who had been promised the moon by their new found friend
-- America. In the chaos and confusion, which is today's Iraq, there is more
than a chance that the cause of the Kurds will face benign neglect.

US-Britain while launching their murderous attack on Iraq, totally sidelined
the Security Council and the UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, who pulled
out his observers from Iraq. The two Arms Inspectors were bluntly told by
the two belligerents that they need not return to Iraq.

The more than a month of administering Iraq must have taught the US the
necessity to mend fences with her old ally, France and her new friends
Russia and China. We may recall that the US was prepared to give the UN only
a peripheral role and did not want to hear about Blix or Baradei. The US,
according to the latest UN resolution, will see an eventual return of the
Arms Inspectors and, most importantly, a high profile role for the UN. The
UN will name shortly a representative to take up position in Iraq and is
expected to play a role in running the administration. For the time being
US-Britain will administer the country and the time table has been left
deliberately vague.

During the crisis Secretary General Kofi Annan had been severely attacked
when he pulled out observers from Iraq. We have to remember that the
Secretary General is unable to move his vast bureaucracy when the members of
the Security Council are, and particularly the most powerful one -- the US
-- is, determined to bypass him. Thus he has a most unenviable job -- he can
quit leaving the world in a limbo.

Hopefully the Iraq misadventure must have shown US the limits of her power.
Because of her military might she can cow down tiny Iraq but she was unable
to conquer the Iraqi spirit. That is becoming manifest with every passing
day. If anything the US invasion of Iraq has galvanised the Iraqis as rarely
in their history. The Iraq crisis has demonstrated the power of European
Union (EU) as manifest through the bold stand taken by France and Germany.
The US must come to terms with the reality that she is no longer the
colossus that strides the planet.

It may be premature to predict the future of President George W. Bush, who
will have to face US voters within a year and a half. He became President in
controversial circumstances. His record of presidency is lacklustre at best
within the US and full of strange happenings worldwide. His handling of
Foreign Affairs shows a very poor grip of the events and their fallout. In
one area his partisanship has crossed all limits. This is his handling of
the Arab-Israel dispute and more specifically Palestine-Israel dispute. Just
in order to flatter his mentor and friend Ariel Sharon, Prime

Minister of Israel, he blackballed the elected longstanding leader of the
Palestinians Yasser Arafat, giving the long festering Palestinian dispute a
fresh twist.

Now President Bush has come up with his brilliant Road Map, which may be
thrown into the dustbin within a short time. The predecessor of President
Bush President Bill Clinton succeeded in establishing an evenhanded approach
towards the Palestinians and the Israelis. In the US the Jewish lobby reigns
supreme and President Bush, who was enormously helped by the Jews for his
election is eagerly waiting for the Jewish lobby to bail him out one more

Since 11 September 2001, the US appears to have lost its moorings. Sooner or
later it has to come to terms with its lost power. Until then the world can
only wait in shock and awe.

by Jim Lobe
Asia Times, 28th May

WASHINGTON - Reports that top officials in the administration of President
George W Bush will meet this week to discuss US policy toward Iran,
including possible efforts to overthrow its government, mark a major advance
in what has been an 18-month campaign by neo-conservatives in and out of the

Overshadowed until last month by their much louder drum-beating for war
against Iraq, the neo cons' efforts to now focus US attention on "regime
change" in Iran have become much more intense since early May, and have
already borne substantial fruit.

A high-level, albeit unofficial, dialogue between both countries over Iraq,
Afghanistan and other issues of mutual interest was abruptly broken off by
Washington 10 days ago amid charges by senior Pentagon officials that
al-Qaeda agents based in Iran had been involved in terrorist attacks against
US and foreign targets in Saudi Arabia on May 12. Tehran strongly denied the

Now, according to reports in the Washington Post and the New York Times, the
administration is considering permanently cutting off the dialogue - which
included its senior envoy for both Iraq and Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad -
and adopting a far more confrontational stance vis-a-vis Tehran that could
include covert efforts to destabilize the government.

Pentagon hawks, particularly Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and
Undersecretary for Policy Douglas Feith, who have long been closely
associated with neo-conservatives outside the administration centered at the
American Enterprise Institute (AEI), reportedly favor using the heavily
armed, Iraq-based Iranian rebel group, the Mujahideen-e Khalq Organization,
which surrendered to US forces in April, as the core of a possible
opposition military force.

They are also pursuing links with the Iranian exile community centered in
southern California, which has rallied increasingly around Reza Pahlavi, the
son of the former Shah of Iran who was overthrown by the Islamic Revolution
in 1979.

According to a recent story in the US Jewish newspaper The Forward, Pahlavi
has cultivated senior officials in Israel's Likud government with which the
neo-conservatives in Washington - both in the administration and outside it
- are closely allied.

Besides charges - considered questionable by the State Department and the
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) - that Iran may be sheltering al-Qaeda
operatives allegedly involved in the May 12 attacks in Riyadh - the
administration has voiced several major concerns about the country's recent

Senior officials have accused Tehran of accelerating a major nuclear program
that they say is designed to produce weapons and of infiltrating "agents"
into Iraq in order to create problems for the US-dominated occupation there.
They have also continued to call Iran a major supporter of international
terrorism, primarily due to its backing for Hezbollah in Lebanon.

It was Tehran's backing for Hezbollah that earned it a prominent place on
the target list produced by the Project for the New American Century in an
open letter to Bush on September 20, 2001, just nine days after al-Qaeda's
attack on New York and the Pentagon.

The letter's 41 mainly neo-conservative signers urged Bush to retaliate
directly against Iran if it failed to cut off Hezbollah. The same letter
anticipated virtually every other step so far taken by the administration in
its "war on terror", including invading Afghanistan, severing ties to
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and removing Saddam Hussein from power in

In October, 2001, influential figures at the AEI and like-minded think tanks
launched a new line of attack on Iran by publishing articles in sympathetic
media, most notably on the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal,
arguing that the Iranian people were so disillusioned by the ruling mullahs
in Tehran, including the "reformists" around President Mohamed Khatami, that
they were ready to rise up against the government in a pro-US revolution.

"Iran is ready to blow sky-high," wrote AEI scholar Michael Ledeen back in
November 2001. "The Iranian people need only a bright spark of courage from
the United States to ignite the flames of democratic revolution."

When, much to the State Department's dismay, Bush named Iran as part of the
"axis of evil" in late January, 2002, both Israel and the neo-conservatives
pressed their advantage, arguing repeatedly that dialogue even with Khatami
was a waste of time and that Washington should cast its lot instead with
"the people" against the regime.

Reuel Marc Gerecht, a former CIA officer and Ledeen's AEI colleague, argued
last August in the neo-conservative Weekly Standard that the mere presence
of US troops in Iraq would bring about revolution next door.

"Popular discontent in Iran tends to heat up when US soldiers get close to
the Islamic Republic," he wrote. "An American invasion could possibly
provoke riots in Iran - simultaneous uprisings in major cities that would
simply be beyond the scope of regime-loyal specialized riot-control units."

But the intensity and frequency of the campaign against Tehran picked up
dramatically earlier this month. On May 5, Standard Editor William Kristol,
whose office is six floors below the AEI, wrote that the United States was
"already in a death struggle with Iran over the future of Iraq" and that
"the next great battle - not, we hope, a military battle - will be for

The very next day, the AEI hosted an all-day conference entitled "The Future
of Iran: Mullahcracy, Democracy and the War on Terror", whose speakers
included Ledeen, Sobhani, Gerecht, Morris Amitay of the neo-conservative
Jewish Institute for National Security Studies and Uri Lubrani from the
Israeli Defense Ministry.

The convenor, Hudson Institute Middle East specialist Meyrav Wurmser (whose
husband David worked as her AEI counterpart until joining the
administration), set the tone: "Our fight against Iraq was only one battle
in a long war," she said. "It would be ill-conceived to think that we can
deal with Iraq alone ... We must move on, and faster."

"It was a grave error to send [Khalilzad] to secret meetings with
representatives of the Iranian government in recent weeks," Israeli-born
Wurmser said, complaining that, "rather than coming as victors who should be
feared and respected rather than loved, we are still engaged in old
diplomacy, in the kind of politics that led to the attacks of September 11."

Just days later, the Khalilzad channel was abruptly closed, and a Christian
Right ally of the neo conservatives, Senator Sam Brownback, introduced the
"Iran Democracy Act" that sets as US policy the goal of "an internationally
monitored referendum to allow the Iranian people to peacefully change their
system of government".

"Now is not the time to coddle this terrorist regime," he said. "Now is the
time to stand firm and support the people of Iran - who are the only ones
that can win this important battle."


by Con Coughlin in Baghdad
Daily Telegraph, 25th May

British military officers have uncovered an attempt by Saddam Hussein to
build a missile capable of hitting targets throughout the Middle East,
including Israel, The Telegraph can reveal.

Plans for the surface-to-surface missile were one of the regime's most
closely-guarded secrets and were unknown to United Nations weapons
inspectors. Its range of 600 miles would have been far greater than that of
the al-Samoud rocket - which already breached the 93-mile limit imposed by
the UN on any Iraqi missiles.

Saddam's masterplan for the new missile, which was being developed by Iraq's
Military Industrialisation Commission (MIC), the body responsible for
weapons procurement, constitutes the most serious breach uncovered so far of
the tight restrictions imposed on Iraq's military capability after the 1991
Gulf war. The range of Saddam's missiles was restricted to prevent him from
using them as a delivery system for weapons of mass destruction.

David Kay, the former United Nations weapons inspector responsible for
dismantling Iraq's nuclear weapons programme in the 1990s, said the British
discovery proved that Saddam had no intention of complying with UN

"This is the smoking gun we have been looking for," he said. "We have known
all along that Saddam was desperate to develop a delivery system for his
mass destruction weapons, and this missile would undoubtedly have given him
that capability."

Details of Saddam's secret missile programme were discovered by British
weapons experts after interviews with several former senior officials of the

Gen Mudh'her Sadeq Sabe'a, the head of missile technology at the MIC, was in
charge of the development programme, which began in 1999. Once a week Gen
Mudh'her and Abdul Tawib Mulla Hawish, the minister responsible for the MIC,
would travel to the presidential palace in Baghdad to deliver a progress
report to Saddam, who is said to have taken a keen personal interest in the

Mr Hawish surrendered to coalition forces shortly after the war and has
provided British officials with a detailed breakdown of Saddam's plans to
manufacture the weapon.

The rocket motor was to be built at the Abu Ghraib military base, the main
fuselage at al Waziriyah and the navigation system at al-Taji. "We had
finished the research stage and entered the development stage," said a
senior Iraqi engineer who worked at the MIC and is now co operating with
British officials. "If it had not been for the war, development would have
been completed within a year."

Iraqi officials insist that the missile was intended to carry a conventional
warhead, but British weapons experts believe it could easily have been
adapted to carry chemical or biological weapons.

The Iraqis say that the missile's main purpose would have been to protect
Iraq from attack by neighbouring countries. However, it could also have been
used to attack Israel. During the Gulf war Saddam launched Soviet-made Scud
missiles at targets in Israel.

The discovery of the plans for Saddam's secret missile programme is being
hailed as a significant breakthrough by coalition commanders, who have so
far failed to find any convincing evidence of Saddam's weapons of mass
destruction programme.

by Dafna Linzer
Yahoo, 25th May

RUTBAH, Iraq - Frustrated weapons hunters are turning away from outdated
U.S. intelligence leads, which have failed to turn up any evidence of
chemical, biological or nuclear arms in Iraq after 10 weeks.

Teams are now moving toward their own intelligence gathering, based on
interviews with Iraqi scientists, factory workers and even neighbors who
lived near shadowy operations once run by Saddam Hussein.

The switch comes at a time of lowered expectations and increased frustration
among the searchers. President Bush has said he began the war to disarm
Saddam. But there has been no sign of either the ousted leader or the
weapons he long denied having.

In the war's early days, American officers said they expected to find such
huge stockpiles of unconventional weapons that their main concern was
whether they had enough people to destroy the materials.

"It never occurred to anyone, not even for 10 seconds, that we wouldn't find
any," said Capt. David Norris, who heads Mobile Exploitation Team Charlie.

The team ‹ one of four originally assigned to analyze evidence of weapons of
mass destruction ‹ is no longer part of the search. Its criminal
investigators, linguists and counterintelligence experts are now looking for
evidence of crimes against humanity that Saddam's regime may have committed.

MET-C has stumbled on some documents it hopes may help investigators piece
together cases against the ousted leadership. But Norris said only a few of
the 30 sites they've visited have produced results.

Two other teams are still involved with the weapons search, though no longer

The teams had been working under the 75th Exploitation Task Force. But their
work will soon fall under the Iraq Survey Group, a new Pentagon effort that
will deploy in Iraq in coming weeks and take charge of investigations into
everything from potential weapons to Saddam's alleged terrorist connections.

The search leaders hope intelligence tips will improve.

"The frustration level is increasing as we keep getting constant negative
results," said Lt. Col. Keith Harrington, 42, who spent years in the Special
Forces before joining the Pentagon.

"Intelligence needs to play a main role here," he said at the team
headquarters in a windowless, concrete cabana along a man-made lake outside

More than a dozen officers and soldiers interviewed recently complained
about the quality of information they've been given.

"The initial intelligence we got was old, and the target folders are
designed more for internal analysis than site exploitation," said Col. Tim
Madere, the senior officer for unconventional weapons with the Army's V

Col. John Connell, who will oversee the survey teams under the new setup,
said the task force will "bring in people with the background to attack
sites more comprehensively."

The original teams weren't designed to carry out the kind of detective work
that U.N. inspectors mastered over their years in Iraq, mostly because
military planners were convinced such weapons would be easily found once
Saddam was gone.

But the sites expected to yield the greatest finds came up dry.

Last week, one team began interviewing nuclear physicists in their Baghdad
homes. Norris' team is questioning neighbors who lived near intelligence
installations. And Harrington asked his team to develop questions for site
managers and other Iraqis they come across.

On Friday, Harrington's team hauled equipment aboard two Black Hawk
helicopters and flew for 2 1/2 hours across western Iraq to a suspected
storage facility 250 miles from Baghdad.

An undated satellite image of the site showed seven buildings along the edge
of an abandoned stone quarry called Rutbah, which U.N. inspectors had

When Harrington's team arrived, they found only three structures on the
dusty property, including a shed and a small shack.

Bags of mustard-colored sand were piled against the shed's back wall. "Oh,
here's the yellowcake," one British soldier on the team joked, referring to
a powdered form of uranium used in producing nuclear weapons.

Humor and camaraderie among team members helps ease the pressures from
hunting for weapons of mass destruction with the world watching. It's also a
way to keep spirits up in the blistering heat that bakes soldiers day and

After only 30 minutes at Rutbah, Harrington deemed it a "dry hole." But on a
tip from the 3rd Armored Calvary Regiment patrolling the area, he took his
team to what had been described as a "suspicious-looking town."

It turned out to be a farm recently taken over by a family of shepherds.
Harrington talked with the head of the household, then viewed his sheep pen,
an untended field of lavender and several mangy dogs.

An hour later, his team was back on the helicopters and headed to Baghdad.
It had nothing to report.

The problem was familiar to Madere, who has worked with all the search

"We're trying to make the case to the higher-ups that we need more
specifics," he said.

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