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[casi] News, 23-30/7/03 (2)

News, 23-30/7/03 (2)


*  Will Sunnis fight Shiites in Iraq?
*  Iraqi police close down newspaper
*  Turkoman leader sends Bremer written protest
*  Alternatives to the state in struggling Iraq


*  9/11 report: No Iraq link to al-Qaida
*  Bit by bit, the real Dr Kelly emerges from the shadows


*  Rights watchdog [Amnesty] raises alarm about detentions, use of force in
US-run Iraq
*  U.S. Soldiers Killed in Area where Saddam Sons Died
*  US troops turn botched Saddam raid into a massacre
*  Another soldier killed in Iraq as US accuses Arab media of incitement
*  'Third Gulf war' warning as more US troops die
*  US soldier killed in Baghdad attack


*  Are Washington hawks setting Damascus up?
*  Athens bar association to file suit against Blair over Iraq
*  [US soldier killed in Baghdad attack]
*  Syrian PM urges joint regional stand against US
*  Comment: Blair's lack of courage


by Juan Cole
Lebanon Daily Star, 22nd July

Some 15,000 angry Iraqi Sunnis marched in Basra Friday and several thousand
more rallied at the Umm al-Qura Mosque in west Baghdad. Another 10,000 came
out in Najaf Saturday, when Shiite protests spread to Baghdad and Basra.
These rallies signaled both the growing strength of Muslim fundamentalism
and a troubling potential for a Sunni-Shiite conflict in Iraq. Either way,
they form a black cloud on the horizon of the American project in Iraq.

In Basra, Sunni prayer leaders called for rallies Friday against the threat
that Shiites loyal to the firebrand cleric Muqtada al-Sadr would seize Sunni
mosques in the city. In Baghdad, disgruntled Sunni clerics said it was
shameful for the American-appointed governing council to declare April 9 -
the day of Baghdad's fall, which Sunnis regard as the beginning of a foreign
occupation - a national holiday. They alleged that the apportioning of seats
in the council by religious affiliation was an American attempt to divide
and rule.

In their Friday demonstrations, the Sunnis insisted that the new governing
council did not reflect "the Iraqi reality." They claimed that Sunnis were a
majority in Iraq and should not be a minority in the governing council.
(Actually, Shiites are estimated by social scientists to comprise 60-65
percent of the Iraqi population).

At the Umm al-Qura Mosque, the Sunnis held up placards asserting the
governing council had been appointed by dictators. Chillingly, some chanted:
"O Baghdad, revolutionary. Let (American civil administrator Paul) Bremer's
fate be that of Nuri." The reference was to Nuri al-Said, the conservative
pro-British prime minister who was torn apart by revolutionary mobs during
the republican coup of 1958.

Sadr's followers staged their own demonstration in Basra Friday, demanding
that the governing council be expanded with the addition of elected
delegates. Sadr, 30, gave his Friday prayer sermon to thousands at his
family's mosque in Kufa. He called for non-violent non-cooperation with the
US civil administration and what he referred to as the "illegitimate"
governing council, calling them infidels.

He then demanded the establishment of an alternative shadow government for
Iraq, in cooperation with other Islamic forces, insisting on an alternative
convention to draft a constitution in accordance with Islamic law. He also
announced the formation of a so-called "army of the Mahdi," a formal militia
of Shiites loyal to him. The Sadr movement already has an informal
paramilitary force, which controls many east Baghdad neighborhoods.

American jeeps were parked close to Sadr's house Saturday shortly before
noon. His people took the move as a sign that US troops intended to arrest
him for his Friday remarks. The coalition authorities denied such an
intention. Later that day, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz visited
Najaf, and the outbreak of the Sadr movement's demonstrations may have
forced him to leave early. An estimated 10,000 Sadr followers marched from
the shrine of Imam Ali, their holiest site, to the US military headquarters,
chanting: "Long live Sadr. America and the council are infidels. Muqtada, go
ahead; we are your soldiers of liberation." The protests spread to Baghdad
and Basra, where adherents demanded that the US release their leader. In
fact, Sadr was never taken into custody and sent out letters to protesters
asking them to go home.

This weekend of religious demonstrations was barely covered by the Western
media, but it was significant. It brought to the fore the plight of Sunnis
in the south, many of whom are being targeted for reprisals by militant
Shiites. If large-scale Sunni-Shiite disturbances were to break out in Iraq,
it would complicate the US task enormously.

The rhetoric of the radical mosque preachers of both branches of Islam
pointed to another possibility, however, namely that groups seeking an
Islamic state will join together across sectarian lines to challenge the
Americans and the governing council. Such cooperation is not unheard of in
Iraq, where an estimated 10 percent of the radical Shiite Al-Daawah Party
was Sunni in the 1970s.

Whether Sunni and Shiite radicals fight one another or forge a political
alliance, they pose a significant long-term threat to US plans for the
country. Their weapon of choice - large urban demonstrations - is very
difficult for an occupying army to fight. The possibility that Wolfowitz had
to be whisked out of Najaf in the midst of his victory lap there symbolizes
the uncertainties the US faces in Iraq.

Juan Cole is professor of Middle Eastern and South Asian History at the
University of Michigan. His web address is He wrote this
commentary for The Daily Star


RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT, Vol. 6, No. 32, 24 July 2003

A special investigative unit of the Iraqi police closed down the offices of
"Al-Mustaqillah" newspaper on 21 July, arresting the newspaper's office
manager, a press release posted on the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA)
website ( announced the same day. "'Al-Mustaqillah'
newspaper published on 13 July a clearly inciteful [sic] article entitled
'Death to all spies and those who cooperate with the U.S.; killing them is
religious duty'," the press release stated. "'Al-Mustaqillah' newspaper has
chosen to threaten the basic human rights of Iraqi citizens, especially the
right to life and the right to live without fear or threat," it stated,
adding, "The CPA and the Iraqi Police Service therefore judged that
'Al-Mustaqillah' poses a significant security threat to Iraqi citizens,
placing it in violation of international humanitarian law, as well as in
breach of CPA Order Number 14 'Towards a Free Iraqi Press.'" That order can
be viewed on the CPA website. (Kathleen Ridolfo)


RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT, Vol. 6, No. 32, 24 July 2003

San'an Ahmad Agha, the leader of the Iraqi Turkoman Front, has reportedly
sent a letter dated 14 July to CPA head L. Paul Bremer, protesting the CPA's
exclusion of his organization from the Iraqi Governing Council. The text of
the letter was printed in "Turkomaneli" on 20 July. Agha writes that the
Iraqi Turkoman Front was "shocked" when it learned of its exclusion from the
council. "Unlike other [groups] the Iraqi Turkoman Front was not consulted
on the question of our representation in the council," he wrote, adding,
"The name included in the [CPA] list as a representative of the front is not
a nominee of the Iraqi Turkoman Front."

Agha stressed that the Turkoman representative to the governing council
should have been chosen based on the Iraqi Turkoman Front's choice, as he
believed other groups participating in the council were allowed to do. He
reminded Bremer that the Iraqi Turkoman Front for years "led the struggle of
our Turkoman people" and "has taken part in all Iraqi opposition conferences
which began in Vienna and were concluded in the meetings of Salah Al-Din at
the end of January 2002." (Kathleen Ridolfo)

by Turi Munthe
Lebanon Daily Star, 25th July

Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's heirs are dead, and on Monday July 14,
Bastille Day, the new interim governing council of Iraq was formed - an
irony perhaps lost on the French. Baathism is finished, and Iraq has a new

Twenty-two men and three women filed into the main theater of Baghdad's
Conference Palace. There were men in beards, men in turbans, men in suits
and men in tribal dress. Of the three women, two wore headscarves and one
wore a suit. The 25 members are supposed to represent groups of a million
people each. In front of 30 television crews and countless journalists,
Sheikh Mohammed Bahr al-Ulum, the council's spokesman, declared the moment

In the days that followed the governing council came under fire from almost
every side. Much of the Iraqi press and almost all the Arab media criticized
it for being an appointed body, calling it a powerless puppet government
made up mainly of exiles chosen by the Americans. Inside Iraq, its most
vocal opponent was Muqtada al-Sadr, the political leader of the Hawza - the
largest grouping of religious Shiites in the country, and therefore the
largest single political movement too.

Kanan Makiya, a sophisticated ideologue of the anti-Baath opposition, is now
trying to establish a council to draft a new constitution. He told me: "Hizb
(party) is a swearword in Iraq. All the political parties and leaders are
getting burned."

Ahmed Chalabi, the leader of the Iraqi National Congress and the most
prominent figure in the new governing council, is referred to in the Iraqi
press as "Al-Harami" (the thief). Ayad Allawi, the head of the Iraqi
National Accord, the No. 2 opposition party, is called "Abu Baath" (Father
of the Baath).

Even Adnan Pachachi, a pre-Baath foreign minister and by far the most
respected council member, is ridiculed. Long ago Pachachi's ancestors were
specialized butchers. His name derives from Bacha, a traditional Iraqi dish
made from offal. A running joke in Baghdad says Pachachi would replace the
"Allahu Akbar" (God is Great) currently on the Iraqi flag with the image of
a sheep. None of the four religious Shiite representatives on the council
have spent any significant time in Iraq in the last decade. Even Iraqis
living in Baghdad have never heard of the majority of the other members.
Oddly, it's the Kurdish representatives - Massoud Barzani of the Kurdish
Democratic Party and Jalal Talabani of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan -
who command the greatest nationwide respect.

Before the war, there was concern in the West that Iraq would fragment.
Worst-case scenarios predicted a Shiite separatist movement in the south
that would align itself with Iran; Kurds calling for independence in the
north that would prompt Turkish intervention; and chaos in Iraq's center as
Sunnis and Shiites battled for control of the last vestiges of the state.
Iraq has been a unified country for almost as long as Italy. Among its Arab
population at least there has never been talk of redrawing borders. Iraq
will not fragment territorially, but it may shatter structurally.

>From its earliest days, government in Iraq has been supplemented by two
para-state structures: religious institutions and the tribes. Historically,
the weaker the central authority, the stronger is their influence. At the
height of Baathism all power was concentrated in Baghdad and religion was
derided. In the 1990s, as Saddam Hussein's power waned, he devolved power to
certain key tribes and began a major rapprochement with Iraq's religious
centers of influence.

Iraq today is a standard failed state - it lacks a government, justice or a
police force. This vacuum has meant it is the religious groups and tribes
that have kept the country from slipping further into anarchy. For example,
in the immediate aftermath of the war it was Hawza volunteers who saved
major Baghdad hospitals from looting. The same was true in the southern
towns of Najaf, Karbala, Amara and Nassiriya, where volunteers patrol
neighborhoods every night. When leading Shiite clerics, including ayatollahs
Ali Sistani and Mohammed Baqer al-Hakim, issued a joint fatwa attacking the
looters, theft across the country markedly abated.

If religious institutions are helping reduce the likelihood of anarchy, the
tribes have come in to deal with its effects. Under the legal code of the
former regime (and previous ones) provisions were made for implementing
tribal law. State and tribal law coexisted: The state punished murder by
prison or execution, and tribal law cleared it through a system of blood
money payment.

The Anglo-American coalition's efforts to rebuild Iraq's judicial structure
have so far been disastrous. Its hands have been tied by lack of security,
the breakdown of state infrastructure, a high level of criminal activity and
the language barrier. Across Iraq the judicial process is not functioning.
Human rights organizations are publishing reports of extensive judicial
malpractice by the coalition, and Iraqis have no access to state justice.

Tribes have stepped into that void. Iraqis have turned tribal leaders into
lawmakers. Last week I met Sheikh Salem of the Juburi tribe, who was
returning from Baghdad where he had offered cash compensation to a
counterpart in the Rifai tribe in payment for a Juburi's murder of a Rifai.
In Nassiriya, I met Ghazvin al-Safi, an 8-year-old boy from the Safi tribe
just released after being kidnapped by another tribe. The boy's father, the
son of the head of the Safi tribe, hadn't bothered alerting the US military
police. Via tribal intermediaries he arranged a truce with the kidnappers
and the boy was returned. For most Iraqis their tribes are the only

Perhaps understandably, the coalition is wary of handing over power to
clerics who revere the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini or to tribes notorious
for their unwillingness to bend to central authority. Representatives of
both groups were noticeably absent from the July 14 festivities, yet they
will continue to remain reference points if state authority remains absent.
Religious and tribal representatives need to be included in a power-sharing
arrangement. If they are not, the rift between Iraqis and those officially
representing them will widen, with perilous consequences.

Opposition to the coalition among Baathists may have been quelled by the
deaths of Saddam Hussein's sons, but the exclusion from the governing
council of the Hawza and of powerful tribal representatives will only foster
another kind of opposition, one that will generate considerably more support
down the road.

Turi Munthe is a British literary editor and critic currently in Iraq. He
wrote this commentary for THE DAILY STAR



by Shaun Waterman
United Press International, 23rd July

WASHINGTON: The report of the joint congressional inquiry into the suicide
hijackings on Sept. 11, 2001, to be published Thursday, reveals U.S.
intelligence had no evidence that the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein was
involved in the attacks, or that it had supported al Qaida, United Press
International has learned.

"The report shows there is no link between Iraq and al-Qaida," said a
government official who has seen the report.

Former Democratic Georgia Sen. Max Cleland, who was a member of the joint
congressional committee that produced the report, confirmed the official's

Asked whether he believed the report will reveal that there was no
connection between al Qaida and Iraq, Cleland replied: "I do ... There's no
connection, and that's been confirmed by some of (al-Qaida leader Osama) bin
Laden's terrorist followers."

The revelation is likely to embarrass the Bush administration, which made
links between Saddam's support for bin Laden -- and the attendant
possibility that Iraq might supply al Qaida with weapons of mass destruction
-- a major plank of its case for war.

"The administration sold the connection (between Iraq and al-Qaida) to scare
the pants off the American people and justify the war," said Cleland. "What
you've seen here is the manipulation of intelligence for political ends."

The inquiry, by members of both the House and Senate intelligence
committees, was launched in February last year amid growing concerns that
failures by U.S. intelligence had allowed the 19 al-Qaida terrorists to
enter the United States, hijack four airliners, and kill almost 3,000

Although the committee completed its work at the end of last year,
publication of the report has been delayed by interminable wrangles between
the committees and the administration over which parts of it could be

Cleland accused the administration of deliberately delaying the report's
release to avoid having its case for war undercut.

"The reason this report was delayed for so long -- deliberately opposed at
first, then slow walked after it was created -- is that the administration
wanted to get the war in Iraq in and over ... before (it) came out," he

"Had this report come out in January like it should have done, we would have
known these things before the war in Iraq, which would not have suited the

The case that administration officials made that al-Qaida was linked to Iraq
was based on four planks.

Firstly, the man suspected of being the ringleader of the Sept. 11
hijackers, Mohammed Atta, was supposed to have met with an Iraqi
intelligence official in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, in April
2001. But Czech intelligence - the original source of the report - later
recanted, and U.S. intelligence officials now believe that Atta was in the
United States at the time of the supposed meeting.

The Iraqi official, Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani is now in U.S.

Secondly, U.S. officials said Iraq was harboring an alleged al-Qaida
terrorist named Abu Mussab al-Zakawi.

But the government official who has seen the report poured scorn on the
evidence behind this claim.

"Because someone makes a telephone call from a country, does not mean that
the government of that country is complicit in that," he told UPI.

"When we found out there was an al-Qaida cell operating in Germany, we
didn't say 'we have to invade Germany, because the German government
supports al-Qaida.' ... There was no evidence to indicate that the Iraqi
government knew about or was complicit in Zakawi's activities."

Newsweek magazine has also reported that German intelligence agencies -
having interrogated one of Zakawi's associates - believed that Zakawi was
not even an al-Qaida member, but headed a rival Islamic terror group.

Thirdly, defectors provided to U.S. intelligence by the then-exiled
opposition group, the Iraqi National Congress, said that Islamic terrorists
had been training to hijack airliners using a disused plane fuselage at a
camp in Salman Pak in Iraq.

"My understanding was that there was an alternate explanation for that,"
said the government official, suggesting that that they were doing counter
terrorism training there. "I'm not saying that was the explanation, but
there were other ways of looking at it."

Fourthly, officials have cited a series of meetings in the 1980's and 1990's
between Iraqi officials and al-Qaida members, especially in Sudan.

Former CIA counter-terrorism analyst Judith Yaphe has questioned the
significance of this data, "Every terrorist group and state sponsor was
represented in Sudan (at that time)," she said recently, "How could they not
meet in Khartoum, a small city offering many opportunities for terrorist

The government official added that the significance of such meetings was
unclear: "Intelligence officials, including ours, meet with bad guys all
around the world every day. That's their job. Maybe to get information from
them, maybe to try and recruit them.

"There are a series of alternative explanations for why two people like that
might meet, and that's what we don't know."

He went on to suggest that the conclusions drawn from the information about
the Sudan meetings was indicative of a wider-ranging problem with the
administration's attitude to intelligence on the alleged Iraq al-Qaida link.

"They take a fact that you could draw several different conclusions from,
and in every case they draw the conclusion that supports the policy, without
any particular evidence that would meet the normal bar that analytic
tradecraft would require for you to make that conclusion," he concluded.


by Raymond Whitaker, Paul Lashmar and Severin Carrell
Independent, 27th July

It is just over a week since Dr David Kelly's body was found in the
Oxfordshire countryside, yet the shock waves from his apparent suicide are
still spreading.

The BBC quickly revealed that the scientist was the source for Andrew
Gilligan's Today programme report which said Downing Street had intervened,
against the wishes of the intelligence services, in the preparation of the
September 2002 dossier on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction to make it
"sexier". Soon afterwards Tony Blair, on tour in the Far East, announced a
judicial inquiry into Dr Kelly's death.

At that point it appeared that the BBC was guilty as charged by Alastair
Campbell, the Prime Minister's director of communications: it had quoted a
"middle-level technician", in the description of the Ministry of Defence
(MoD), with no connection to the intelligence services and in no position to
know what had happened as the dossier neared publication. A week later,
however, things look very different.

It has become clear that Dr Kelly was not quite the narrowly focused
specialist, with little connection to the world of spying, that he seemed
when he gave evidence to the parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC)
during its investigation of the decision to go to war in Iraq. He himself
sought to create that impression before the committee, and his reasons for
doing so may be significant.

It was public knowledge that Dr Kelly had a distinguished career as a
leading UN weapons inspector in Iraq and had been nominated to lead the
British contingent in the Iraq Survey Group, formed to take the UN
inspectors' place. But we now know that not only was he probably the
Government's most knowledgeable adviser on the history of Iraq's weapons
programmes, but he also had a high security clearance, sat in on MI6
interrogations of Iraqi defectors and was a member of a high-level committee
reviewing all the intelligence on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. His
value was such that he had been appointed a "special deputy chief scientific
officer", a rarely used civil service grade that allowed him to move in
senior circles without having administrative responsibilities.

When it came to the contents of the dossier, in short, David Kelly was
certainly in a position to know what he was talking about. And it emerged
that he had talked, not only to Mr Gilligan, not only to two other BBC
journalists whose names were put to him by the FAC (one of whom, it turned
out, had recorded the interview), but to several more reporters. The picture
is of a man who had suppressed his doubts last September, only to feel
growing disquiet in the aftermath of war as it became clear how wrong the
Government's claims on Iraqi WMD had been.

Some have suggested Dr Kelly was an unworldly scientist led on by the
reporters, but he was used to dealing with the media. He was not simply one
expert among many on Iraq's weapons programmes: in his field - biological
weapons - he was the expert. Although he did not seek them out, journalists
came to him over the years whenever they wanted to make sure they had the
details right on the efforts of the United Nations weapons inspectors to
root out Iraqi WMD.

Among them was Judith Miller of the New York Times, the paper's WMD expert
and the recipient of an e-mail on the day Dr Kelly died, in which he spoke
of "dark actors playing games". In Germ, the 1998 book she co-wrote, she is
fulsome in her praise for him as part of the "Gang of Four", the senior
inspectors who forced so many admissions about WMD out of the Iraqis in the
mid-1990s. More than anyone else, Dr Kelly was instrumental in getting the
regime to admit the existence of its biological weapons programme.

This was an achievement for which Dr Kelly and his team deserved a Nobel
prize, according to the then chief inspector, Rolf Ekeus - only for that
achievement to be slighted earlier this year in The Independent on Sunday by
the Prime Minister.

"The UN inspectors found no trace at all of Saddam's offensive biological
weapons programme - which he claimed didn't exist - until his lies were
revealed by his son-in-law," Mr Blair wrote in answer to an IoS reader's
question in March. In fact, Dr Kelly's work had wrung this admission from
the regime more than a month before the son-in-law defected to Jordan -
according to at least one expert, it was probably what caused him to flee.

Whether or not Mr Blair's comment fed the scientist's disaffection, his
conversations with journalists after the Iraq war went well beyond the usual
technical subject matter. The tape of his interview with the Newsnight
journalist Susan Watts is now under lock and key, pending its submission to
Lord Hutton's judicial inquiry, but the words read by an actor on the
programme are a virtual transcript.

"It is beginning to look as if the Government's committed a monumental
blunder," Dr Kelly says of the most controversial claims in the September
dossier - that Iraq had links to al Qa'ida, and that it could deploy WMD
within 45 minutes of the order being given. Of the latter, he says: "It was
a statement that was made, and it just got out of all proportion. They were
desperate for information ... that could be released. That was one that
popped up and was seized on, and it's unfortunate that it was.

"That's why there is the argument between the intelligence services and the
Cabinet Office/No 10 - because they picked up on it, and once they've picked
up on it, you can't pull it back from them."

He goes on to say that in the week before the dossier was put out, many
people were expressing unease about questions of accuracy and emphasis. At
no point, however, was Mr Campbell named by Newsnight, as he was by Mr
Gilligan in The Mail on Sunday, precipitating the row which resulted in Dr
Kelly's death.

A former colleague suggested he might not have realised the full
ramifications of his disclosures, saying: "He knew his microbiology through
and through, he was a real expert from that point of view. Whether he had
the political antennae, I'm not sure." Nor might he have realised the
implications of telling his superiors at the MoD that he had spoken to Mr
Gilligan, although the journalist Tom Mangold, a family friend, wrote:
"David never liked the MoD, he used to complain bitterly about them."

Much of the speculation of the past week has focused on how the MoD dealt
with him, and how his name was leaked to the press. On Friday the ministry
denied that it had threatened Dr Kelly's pension, or told him action could
be taken under the Official Secrets Act. The Independent on Sunday asked
whether his security clearance had been discussed, but the MoD refused to

When the scientist appeared before the FAC, however, MPs had been led to
expect that he would confess to being Mr Gilligan's source. Almost
inaudibly, he reinforced the impression that he was a man out of his depth,
who had had no right to speculate on the interaction between the Government
and the intelligence services. The atmosphere was hostile.

But then Dr Kelly said he did not think he could have been the source, and
the MPs swung on to his side. Had he reneged on a deal? It is impossible to
say, but it is becoming increasingly clear that he was less than truthful
with the committee - denying, for example, that he had met Gavin Hewitt, the
third BBC journalist, which he had done.

Whatever went on at the MoD, it must have been clear to Dr Kelly after the
hearing that his security clearance might be in jeopardy, perhaps also his
chances of taking up his post in Iraq, a country to which he was deeply
attached. His friend and fellow weapons expert Alistair Hay, whose wife
committed suicide, believes the scientist felt deeply isolated.

"It wasn't as if the MoD were saying, 'You're our man, we're supporting you
to the hilt'," said Professor Hay. "He was being fed to everyone as being
the person probably responsible for the Government's difficulty ... If he
felt he had been less than truthful before the committee ... [and] had been
caught dissembling and not being absolutely truthful, I would have thought
this would create huge conflicts for him."

But did this lead David Kelly to kill himself? That is a question for Lord
Hutton and the coroner, but it goes to the heart of the Government's case
for going to war. How far the law lord will want to travel down that path
remains to be seen.


Jordan Times, 24th July     
BAGHDAD (AFP) ‹ An Amnesty International report, released Wednesday, savaged
the US military in Iraq for human rights abuses, particularly violence
against civilians and its treatment of prisoners.

The Human Rights Watchdog warned US military raids are claiming the lives of
everyday people and resulting in the disappearance of Iraqis without a trace
into the prison system.

"Given the legacy Iraq has ..., it's definitely not sending the right
message that the provisional authority really respects the rights of the
Iraqi people," Amnesty's spokeswoman, Judit Arenas Licea, told AFP.

In a cause for concern, Licea, who attended a meeting with Iraqi civil
associations Tuesday morning, said she was struck by the groups' eagerness
to talk about abuses under the Americans as opposed to those under Saddam
Hussein, who terrorised the country until his fall April 9.

"People are afraid of going out on the streets, being picked up and going
missing," she said, in a warning that the climate evoked by the Americans
unintentionally reminded Iraqis of their experiences at the mercy of
Saddam's dreaded security services.

"It is the same scene being repeated now. You still have the same crowds of
people outside Abu Gharib Prison looking for their relatives," she said,
referring to the penitentiary where many vanished after being taken away
under Saddam's autocratic rule.

The Amnesty report, or memorandum, surveys incidents across Iraq, from north
to south, since April 24, two weeks after Baghdad fell.

While acknowledging the dangerous situation for US troops in postwar Iraq,
the report expressed alarm about violence against the civilians.

It noted the April shooting deaths by US troops of demonstrators in Fallujah
west of Baghdad and in Mosul in northern Iraq, and said it had since gone on
to uncover further "possible unlawful killings" of protesters.

It expressed worry about the lethal use of force by the US-led coalition.

"Amnesty International has received a number of reports of cases of
detainees who have died in custody where ill treatment may have caused or
contributed to deaths that have been reported," the report said.

The report lists multiple incidents of excessive force, in which the death
of Saddi Sueliman Ibrahim Al Ubayadi stands out.

Witnesses told Amnesty Ubayadi's house was raided in the early morning by US
forces in Ramadi, west of Baghdad, on May 14, when they proceeded to beat
him with rifle butts.

"He ran out of the house to get away from them; soldiers shot him a few
meters away and he died immediately," the report says.

Licea also drew attention to the shooting of Mohammad Al Kubaisi, aged 12,
in Baghdad on June 26.

Soldiers in an opposite building opened fire on Kubaisi, as he carried
bedding up to the roof of his house.

A witness told Amnesty he shouted to the soldier. "`That baby', but the
soldier said `No baby' and opened fire."

The boy's mother told Amnesty about 20 soldiers entered the house and
"kicked her aside, as she held the heavily bleeding boy and did not offer
medical treatment."

When neighbours tried to drive the boy to the hospital, a tank stopped them
and the driver was handcuffed to the ground, despite the presence of a US

They were allowed up after 15 minutes, but by then the boy was dead, the
report says.

"That boy might have been alive if he'd been able to get to the hospital,"
Licea said.

Reuters, 24th July

MOSUL, Iraq (Reuters) - Three U.S. soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division
operating in northern Iraq were killed in a rifle and grenade attack
Thursday, a U.S. military spokesman said.

Soldiers from the 101st, based in Mosul, killed Saddam Hussein's sons Uday
and Qusay in a raid on a house in the city Tuesday. At least one shadowy
group has vowed to avenge their deaths.

"Three 101st Airborne Division soldiers were killed in a small arms and RPG
(rocket propelled grenade) attack," the spokesman at U.S. headquarters in
Baghdad said by telephone.

That brings the total of soldiers killed by the enemy to 44 since Washington
declared an end to major combat on May 1.

It was the second fatal attack on the 101st since the massive raid, which
was backed by rocket-firing helicopters and killed Uday and Qusay after they
barricaded themselves into a house.

Saddam himself is still believed to be in hiding somewhere in Iraq. U.S.
authorities plan to publish photographs of his sons' bodies in an effort to
convince Iraqis there is no prospect of the former ruling family returning
to power.


by Robert Fisk in Baghdad
Independent, 28th July

Obsessed with capturing Saddam Hussein, American soldiers turned a botched
raid on a house in the Mansur district of Baghdad yesterday into a
bloodbath, opening fire on scores of Iraqi civilians in a crowded street and
killing up to 11, including two children, their mother and crippled father.
At least one civilian car caught fire, cremating its occupants.

The vehicle carrying the two children and their mother and father was
riddled by bullets as it approached a razor-wired checkpoint outside the

Amid the fury generated among the largely middle-class residents of Mansur -
by ghastly coincidence, the killings were scarcely 40 metres from the houses
in which 16 civilians died when the Americans tried to kill Saddam towards
the end of the war in April - whatever political advantages were gained by
the killing of Saddam's sons have been squandered. A doctor at the Yarmouk
hospital, which received four of the dead, turned on me angrily last night,
shouting: "If an American came to my emergency room, maybe I would kill

Two civilians, both believed to have been driving with their families, were
brought to the Yarmouk, one with abdominal wounds and the other with "his
brain outside of his head", according to another doctor.

At the scene of the killings, there was pandemonium. While US troops were
loading the bullet-shattered cars on trucks - and trying to stop cameramen
filming the carnage - crowds screamed abuse at them. One American soldier a
few feet from me climbed into the seat of his Humvee, threw his helmet on
the floor of the vehicle and shouted: "Shit! Shit!"

There was no doubt about the target: the home of Sheikh Rabia Mohamed Habib,
a prominent tribal leader who had met Saddam but who was not even in his
house when the Americans stormed it. One report says they killed a guard as
they entered.

"The Americans searched the house completely, very roughly," Sheikh Habib
said. "It seems they thought Saddam Hussein was inside." It appears the
killings started as the troops were searching the building and as motorists
approached the barbed wire which the soldiers had placed without warning
across the road. Witnesses said the first car contained at least two men.
"The second contained two children about 10, their mother and their father
who had been wounded in the Iran-Iraq war - he was a cripple," a local
shopkeeper told me. "They all died. The man's legs were cut in half by the
bullets," he added. A third car then approached the Americans, who opened
fire again. One of the occupants fled, but the other two remained in the
vehicle and were killed.

When another car arrived US troops riddled it with more bullets and it burst
into flames. It is believed that two people were inside and both were burnt
to death. "The Americans didn't try to help the civilians they had shot, not
once," a witness said. "They let the car burn and left the bodies where they
lay, even the children. It was we who had to take them to the hospitals."

Yet again, false informers, ill-trained American soldiers who appeared to
exercise no fire control and a lack of military planning has created a
tragedy among the people the Americans claimed to be 'liberating' from
Saddam Hussein only 15 weeks ago. Last night, there were reports from the
southern city of Karbala that three men had been shot dead by American
troops during a demonstration.

Jordan Times, 28th July
BAGHDAD (AFP) ‹ The death of a US Marine Sunday brought to five the number
of soldiers killed in Iraq within 24 hours, adding urgency to coalition
efforts to catch Saddam Hussein and insurgents.

A top US official, meanwhile, accused Arab news networks of inciting
violence against troops in Iraq, as the coalition announced it was poised to
decide what to do with the bodies of Saddam's dead sons.

The Marine was killed early Sunday and another wounded in a grenade attack
near a bridge in Al Haswat, 30 kilometres south of Baghdad, a military
spokesman said.

The coalition lost four US soldiers on Saturday, three of whom were killed
in a grenade attack while on guard duty at a children's hospital in Baqubah,
northeast of Baghdad.

The fourth was killed west of Baghdad in a small arms and rocket-propelled
grenade attack, Central Command said.

Ten soldiers have now died in attacks since Saddam's sons Uday and Qusay
were killed in the northern town of Mosul in a huge US swoop last Tuesday.

A senior coalition official dismissed the attacks as reflective of an
extremist fringe. ³What is clear are these are not disenchanted Iraqis.
These attacks are taking place in banks and childrens' hospitals,² the
official said.

³These are people trying to destabilise the country ... They're trying to
turn back the progress.²


by Charles Clover in Baghdad
Financial Times, 29th July

Five US soldiers were killed over the weekend in a spate of attacks by Iraqi
militants, as a new study warned that the US may soon find itself in the
midst of "a third Gulf war against the Iraqi people".

On Saturday, three soldiers were killed in a grenade attack while guarding a
children's hospital in the city of Baquba, and a fourth was killed in an
attack on a convoy west of Baghdad. Yesterday, the fifth was killed by a
grenade attack south of Baghdad near the city of Hilla.

Forty-nine coalition troops have been killed by militants in Iraq since the
beginning of May, and attacks average 10 to 20 a day. General John Abizaid,
Centcom commander, on July 16 became the first senior US official to
acknowledge that the coalition faces a "classical guerrilla campaign".

A study on guerrilla warfare in Iraq by the Center for Strategic and
International Studies (CSIS), a Washington think-tank, blames bad planning
by the US administration and the low priority given to "conflict
termination" and nation-building strategies by the Pentagon.

CSIS military specialist Anthony Cordesman says the US has not learned the
lessons of past conflicts, that "even the best military victories cannot win
the peace".

He writes: "Unless this situation changes soon, and radically, the United
States may end up fighting a third Gulf war against the Iraqi people . . .
It is far from clear that the United States can win this kind of asymmetric

The US administration is already facing mounting criticism for chaotic
reconstruction efforts in Iraq.

Mr Cordesman offers a grim assessment of the future of the Iraqi conflict:
"The most likely case still seems to be a mixed and poorly co-ordinated US
nation-building effort that does just enough to put Iraq on a better
political and economic path, but does so in a climate of constant low-level
security threats and serious Iraqi ethnic and sectarian tensions."

The Pentagon's policymakers saw the Clinton administration's focus on
nation-building as a waste of resources, the report says.

US policymakers say the Iraq war ended too suddenly for an effective postwar
strategy to be launched. Mr Cordesman credits the coalition with avoiding
many worst-case scenarios, such as a refugee crisis. But he offers a
critique of the planning that went into the war - 26 "avoidable problems"
ranging from failure to introduce a police force to assuming that toppling
Saddam Hussein would have won "hearts and minds".

‹ US troops opened fire in the Shia holy city of Kerbala yesterday as Iraqis
protested over Marines killing a man the day before, Reuters reports from
Kerbala. An officer said his men returned fire in self-defence but did not
know if anyone was hit. He said the man shot dead on Saturday was carrying a

Doctors showed Reuters the body of a second man they said was shot dead

Jordan Times, 29th July
BAGHDAD (AFP) ‹ A US soldier was killed Monday in a Baghdad bomb attack, a
day after an American raid in which five Iraqis died, as Iraq's Governing
Council inched closer to naming its president and Cabinet.

A US military official told AFP that the soldier was killed and three of his
colleagues wounded when an improvised explosive device was hurled at their
convoy from a bridge on a main road in central Baghdad.

The death brought to 50 the number of US soldiers killed in attacks since
May 1 when US President George W. Bush announced the end of major combat to
oust Saddam Hussein.



Lebanon Daily Star, 24th July

There are deep and bitter struggles taking place within US President George
W. Bush's administration over what policy line to take with Syria. Some
administration hawks wish to destabilize the Syrian regime next, while the
US intelligence community thinks that continuing cooperation with Damascus
on intelligence matters may prove key to fighting the "war on terrorism."

Pentagon officials are continuing to decline commenting on the June 18
strike into Syria by US Special Forces - who entered 40 kilometers into the
country and caused numerous Syrian casualties. According to US military
officials, Central Command intelligence reported that 80 Syrians were killed
when a convoy of SUVs tried to cross the border from Iraq into Syria. In a
New York Times report, administration officials said the strike, carried out
by a special operations force known as Task Force 20, followed intelligence
that the SUVs carried former senior Iraqi leaders.

"The intelligence reportedly claimed that senior Iraqis, perhaps even
(deposed Iraqi dictator) Saddam Hussein, were getting out of the country," a
State Department official told United Press International. The ensuing raid
"was conducted under the rules of hot pursuit," another official said.
However, a former very senior CIA official called the intelligence "flimsy"
and "deeply flawed," describing the raid as an attempt to disrupt joint
US-Syrian intelligence operations designed to expose Al-Qaeda networks in
the Middle East and Europe.

One former senior CIA official said he believed the source of the
intelligence was Israel, which for months has claimed that Saddam Hussein or
Iraqi weapons of mass destruction had entered Syria. "The (Israelis) have
been pitching this to anyone who would listen," the official said. It was
later revealed that the savage attack, far from capturing or killing the
former Iraqi leader or senior officials, in fact accidentally targeted a
local gas smuggling ring that "was using the SUVs modified to be
mini-tankers," a US intelligence official said.

The attack resulted in huge fireballs, the destruction of nearby houses and
many casualties. Syria, anxious not to anger the US with its 150,000 troops
in neighboring Iraq, made little fuss about the incident. It adopted a
similar low-key approach when Syrian soldiers were seized and their return
delayed for several days by the Pentagon.

However, several serving and former CIA officials claimed the raid strained
US-Syria intelligence cooperation, which one government official described
as "superb" until that point. He pointed out that "Syria has given us
invaluable help on hunting down members of Al-Qaeda and was instrumental in
exfiltrating some major Iraqi fugitives back into Baghdad - that is not to
everyone's liking."

Indeed, in early May, two top Iraqi biological scientists in Syria were
returned to Iraq, where they were captured by US military forces, former CIA
officials said.

As one American intelligence official put it: "It was a gift to Secretary of
State Colin Powell," and also an effort by Damascus to compensate for its
apparent lack of cooperation with the United States in closing the Damascus
offices of Palestinian militant groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad,
which are on Washington's list of terrorist organizations.

However, cooperation between the CIA and Syria is far more extensive. The
two sides operate a joint exploitation center in Aleppo, Syria, and the
Syrians have provided key information from their networks in Germany,
allowing the CIA to learn where the Sept. 11 hijacker Mohammed Atta once
worked. "Syria was not the only source, but they were very helpful in this
matter," a former senior CIA official said. The CIA was also grateful to
Damascus for giving early warning of a planned Al-Qaeda attack on American
installations in Bahrain using an explosives-laden glider invisible to

Syria is also attempting to deflect American criticism by moving on
political reforms, according to Richard Murphy, a former assistant secretary
of state and current Syria expert at the Council on Foreign Relations.
Murphy pointed out that Syria's Baath Party, a fixture in Syrian political
life, is being phased out of all policymaking and administration. He
predicted: "During the upcoming elections, Baath members will not be big
winners - a first," and pointed out that Syria had kept the lid on

Perhaps most importantly, Murphy argued that Syria had asked to be involved
in Arab Israeli peace negotiations and had even offered Israel help in
obtaining the release of Israeli prisoners being held by Hizbullah. A State
Department official noted that Israel had "reacted coolly" to such

Another former government official was equally positive about Syrian
assistance.  "The help Syria was giving us in tracking down Al-Qaeda was
invaluable - we want that cooperation to continue. Syria has no love for
militant fundamentalists," he said, adding that the Damascus offices of
Hamas and Islamic Jihad had been closed down.

Will the softer view prevail? The divisions in the Washington bureaucracy on
Syria are such that no clear answer is obvious for the time being.

Richard Sale is intelligence correspondent at United Press International. He
wrote this commentary for THE DAILY STAR

Jordan Times, 29th July     
ATHENS (AFP) ‹ The Athens Bar Association was scheduled Monday to lodge a
complaint with the International Criminal Court against Prime Minister Tony
Blair's government for what it said were crimes against humanity in Iraq.

The president of the association, Dimitris Paxinos, said in a radio
interview that he did not expect the court to summon Blair to testify but
added that this was a decision to be taken by the tribunal in The Hague.

The 20,000-member bar association alleges that US and British military
forces in Iraq breached international treaties such as the UN Charter, the
Geneva Conventions and the statutes of the International Criminal Court.

The action also cites Jack Straw, the British foreign secretary, Geoff Hoon,
the secretary of defence and Adam Ingram, the minister of state for the
armed forces.

It is now up to the prosecutor of the court, Luis Moreno O Campo, to decide
if there is any substance to the 47-page complaint, and whether it should be

Blair would have to appear before the court is there is "indication of
guilt", said Paxinos. "I don't think that's very probable, but that does not
concern me. I think that is my duty (to bring the action)," he said. The
court, which was inaugurated on March 12, was set up last year to conduct
investigations and prosecutions of genocide, crimes against humanity and war
crimes. However, the court is only able to act when national courts are
unable or unwilling to investigate or prosecute.

The Greek public and all the main political parties overwhelmingly opposed
the US-led war in Iraq.

However, the United States has challenged the court's jurisdiction over
Americans and has put pressure on other nations not to extradite US troops
and other Americans charged with human rights and war crimes.

Paxinos said the bar association had not brought a similar case against US
President George W. Bush because the United States had not ratified the
treaty setting up the International Criminal Court and is therefore outside
its jurisdiction.

If the case is heard, the bar association said it would summon a number of
high-level personalities as witnesses, including UN Secretary General Kofi
Annan, former UN weapons inspector Hans Blix, the president of the European
Commission, Romano Prodi and the EU's foreign and security policy chief,
Javier Solana.

Jordan Times, 29th July


In an apparent setback for the US-led coalition, Denmark's Ole Woehlers
Olsen announced Monday that he was stepping down as regional coordinator for
the southern Iraqi town of Basra, the Danish news agency Ritzau reported.

Olsen had been critical of the US administration in Iraq, accusing it in
June of failing to provide him with the necessary security back up.

Jordan Times, 29th July
ANKARA (AFP) ‹ Syrian Prime Minister Mustapha Miro said in remarks published
Monday that regional countries such as Turkey, Iran and Syria should
strengthen their ties in a bid to resist US efforts to reshape the Middle

Miro made the appeal on the eve of his visit to Ankara, which will take
place amid US warnings to Turkey, a long-standing Muslim ally and NATO
partner, to toe Washington's line in relations with its southern neighbour

"The whole world knows about America's policy to establish a new order in
the Middle East," Miro told the the mass-circulation Turkish daily Sabah
from Damascus.

"Therefore I think Turkey, Syria and Iran as well as other countries need to
act more and more together because if we stay alone it becomes easier to do
what has been done to Iraq," he was quoted as saying.

The United States ‹ as the current rulers of Iraq ‹ are a neighbour "at
least as bad as Saddam Hussein", said the Syrian premier, whose country
Washington accuses of harbouring terrorists and weapons of mass destruction.

"Our common wish is that the occupation ends as soon as possible and America
leaves the region as soon as possible," Miro was quoted as saying.

Turkey's relations with both Syria and Iran ‹ often tense in the past ‹ have
warmed in the wake of the US-led war in Iraq.

The three neighbors share concerns that any move towards self-rule by the
Kurds in northern Iraq could spark unrest among their own sizeable Kurdish

But the United States has warned Turkey that its cooperation with Syria and
Iran should be limited and coordinated with Washington.

"I think anything that Turkey does with Syria or does with Iran should fit
into an overall policy with us, of getting those countries to change their
bad behavior," US Deputy Secretary of Defence Paul Wolfowitz said in an
interview with Turkish television in May.

In remarks to another Turkish newspaper, however, Miro said the recent
improvement in Turkish-Syrian ties was not against US interests.

"The objective of Turkish-Syrian relations is not to challenge the United
States ... These are relations between neighbors," he told Hurriyet.

Miro's talks here will take place in the wake of Turkish Foreign Minister
Abdullah Gul's visit to Washington last week, in which the two NATO allies
sought to improve their ties, at an all-time low following Ankara's failure
to back the war in Iraq and persisting tensions over Iraqi Kurdistan.

In the past, Turkey itself had accused Syria of supporting "terrorists" ‹ or
Turkish Kurdish rebels.

The two neighbours came to the brink of war in 1998 when Turkey threatened
military action if Syria continued to shelter Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah
Ocalan and his armed militants.

Tension eased in October 1998 when Ocalan left Damascus, his long time safe
haven, and Syria pledged to stop harbouring the rebels, allowing a
significant improvement in both political and economic relations.

Miro told Hurriyet he hoped the increasing cooperation would allow the two
neighbours to also resolve differences over the sharing of the waters of the
Euphrates River and some territorial disputes.

Turkish and Syrian officials held talks on increasing bilateral trade and
economic cooperation Monday, ahead of Miro's arrival.

Turkish state minister for foreign trade, Kursat Tuzmen, said they were
discussing the establishment of a free trade area as well as trade centres
in regions along the Turkish-Syrian border.

The volume of Syrian-Turkish trade has risen sharply, climbing to $1.5
billion in 2003, compared to $800 million in 2001.

The two sides are expected to ink accords on preventing double taxation and
encouraging mutual investment during Miro's visit on Tuesday and Wednesday.
It will be the first visit to Turkey by a Syrian prime minister since 1986.

Miro's mission comes ahead of a visit to Turkey by Syrian President Bashar
Assad due to take place by the end of this year.,3604,1008470,00.html

by Clare Short
The Guardian, 30th July

It is right that we should continue to argue over the route to war in Iraq.
But it is more urgent that we address the continuing chaos, suffering and
loss of life. The British military was very clear that the conflict would
take no more than a few weeks. In my briefings, they talked of the need to
prepare for very rapid success. And - despite claims to the contrary - the
UN was well prepared to return to Iraq as soon as order was restored to take
charge of emergency humanitarian needs.

The advice that I, and the Department for International Development, gave to
the prime minister was that we should internationalise the reconstruction
effort as quickly as possible. This was based on our experience in East
Timor, Kosovo and Afghanistan, and also on our understanding of
international law. I was delighted when the attorney general provided clear
legal advice on the limitation of the authority of occupying powers, which
strongly reinforced the case we were making.

The legal position is laid down in the Geneva convention and Hague
regulations. They provide that occupying powers have a duty to keep order,
keep civil administration functioning and provide for immediate humanitarian
need. They have no powers to engage in major political, economic or
constitutional reform. They also have no power to bring into being a
sovereign government since they hold no sovereignty. Only the UN can do
that. The attorney's advice concluded: "The lawfulness of any occupation
after conflict has ended is still governed by the legal basis for the use of
force... namely, Iraqi disarmament... 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 occupation."

Thus it was clear the right way forward was that the coalition focus on
keeping order and that the UN humanitarian system restore food supplies,
water and electricity. The security council needed to lift sanctions and
appoint a special representative to establish an interim government and a
route to elections, as had been done in Afghanistan. This would enable the
Asian Development Bank, World Bank and IMF to provide support for the
interim government's economic reform programme. And it would ensure that all
contracts were let transparently.

When the prime minister pressed me to remain a member of the government, he
promised that the UN would be given the central role in reconstruction. I
was much criticised for staying, but decided that although the war was
unstoppable it was possible to organise a proper international effort to
rebuild Iraq.

At the spring meetings of the IMF and World Bank in early April, I worked to
persuade ministerial colleagues from France, Germany and other countries
which had been opposed to the war that, whatever past differences, we should
reunite to help Iraq reconstruct. The Bretton Woods institutions were
desperately anxious not to be contaminated by the bitter divisions that were
festering in New York, and keen to find a way to support Iraq with the
approval of all their members.

They made clear they needed the UN to play its role in bringing into being a
legitimate government with which they could work - both for legal reasons
and because it is impossible to lend to a government that cannot bind its
successors. The ministerial communiqués from the spring meetings set out an
international willingness to engage in this way.

But the US was not interested in internationalising reconstruction. It had
established the Office for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance (ORHA)
in the Pentagon only a couple of months before the conflict was to begin. It
was led by retired general Jay Garner. ORHA was immediately bogged down in
Washington politics and the squabble between the Pentagon and state
department over who was to choose the new Iraqi administration. There was a
complete failure to prepare for the Geneva convention obligations. The
British military did take these obligations more seriously and the attorney
general proposed that British staff seconded to ORHA be protected by a
memorandum of understanding on the legal rights of occupying powers. But the
US brushed the idea aside and it was quietly dropped.

The prime minister did press President George Bush to commit to a "vital
role" for the UN at the Hillsborough meeting and President Bush obligingly
said the appropriate words. But it was increasingly clear that the US would
not agree an appropriate UN role. The US was sneeringly hostile to the UN,
arguing that it was not willing to undertake the cost of military action and
then to hand over Iraq to the UN. Jack Straw talked shockingly of France and
Germany having made the wrong call and not being allowed to "get their
snouts in the trough".

The prime minister therefore took personal charge of the drafting of
security council resolution 1483. This was passed on May 22. It recognised
the coalition as occupying powers and, very unusually, gave them equal
authority with the UN in establishing the Iraqi interim authority. In
practice even this resolution has been breached with Paul Bremer, the US
administrator who has taken over from Gen Garner, making the decisions with
the UK and UN trotting along behind.

And now, after months of chaos and loss of life, there is increasing worry
in Washington that the US is carrying too much of the financial and military
burden in Iraq. There is also mounting public concern about the number of US
soldiers who are being killed and injured. A recent mission of experts
commissioned by the Pentagon has strongly recommended that the US should
work with the G7, the World Bank and the UN. India, Pakistan, and Germany
among others have been asked to send peacekeepers. The response from almost
all countries is that they will do so only if the UN is given a clearer
mandate to lead the reconstruction.

 And thus we come full circle. The law, the UN and the international
community were pushed to one side. Four months later, after much
destruction, suffering and loss of life, Washington is considering a return
to the security council in order to strengthen the UN role and widen
international engagement. If the prime minister had only had more courage,
reconstruction in Iraq would almost certainly be more advanced and the US
and UK at less risk of getting bogged down in an unpopular and costly

Just as the UK could have played an honourable role in refusing to support
military action until the Blix inspection process had been completed, the PM
could have insisted on honouring his legal obligations and best policy
advice on reconstruction. But at this stage the US wanted to minimise the UN
role and our prime minister was not willing to challenge them.

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