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News, 23-30/7/03 (2) CIVIL SOCIETY * Will Sunnis fight Shiites in Iraq? * Iraqi police close down newspaper * Turkoman leader sends Bremer written protest * Alternatives to the state in struggling Iraq PRETEXT * 9/11 report: No Iraq link to al-Qaida * Bit by bit, the real Dr Kelly emerges from the shadows SECURITY * 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 REST OF THE WORLD * 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 CIVIL SOCIETY http://www.dailystar.com.lb/opinion/22_07_03_b.asp * WILL SUNNIS FIGHT SHIITES IN IRAQ? 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 www.juancole.com. He wrote this commentary for The Daily Star RADIO FREE EUROPE/RADIO LIBERTY * IRAQI POLICE CLOSE DOWN NEWSPAPER 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 (http://www.cpa-iraq.org) 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) RADIO FREE EUROPE/RADIO LIBERTY * TURKOMAN LEADER SENDS BREMER WRITTEN PROTEST 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) http://www.dailystar.com.lb/opinion/25_07_03_d.asp * ALTERNATIVES TO THE STATE IN STRUGGLING IRAQ 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 authority. 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 historic. 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 protection. 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 PRETEXT NO URL * 9/11 REPORT: NO IRAQ LINK TO AL-QAIDA 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 statement. 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 people. 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 declassified. 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 said. "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 administration." 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. custody. 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 tête-à-têtes." 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. NO URL * BIT BY BIT, THE REAL DR KELLY EMERGES FROM THE SHADOWS 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 comment. 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. SECURITY http://www.jordantimes.com/Thu/news/news10.htm * RIGHTS WATCHDOG RAISES ALARM ABOUT DETENTIONS, USE OF FORCE IN US-RUN IRAQ 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 interpreter. 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. http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=topNews&storyID=3148218 * U.S. SOLDIERS KILLED IN AREA WHERE SADDAM SONS DIED 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. NO URL * US TROOPS TURN BOTCHED SADDAM RAID INTO A MASSACRE 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 house. 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 him." 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. http://www.jordantimes.com/Mon/news/news2.htm * ANOTHER SOLDIER KILLED IN IRAQ AS US ACCUSES ARAB MEDIA OF INCITEMENT 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 [.....] http://news.ft.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=FT.com/StoryFT/FullStory&c =StoryFT&cid=1058868200383&p=1012571727172 * 'THIRD GULF WAR' WARNING AS MORE US TROOPS DIE 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 war." 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 weapon. Doctors showed Reuters the body of a second man they said was shot dead yesterday. http://www.jordantimes.com/Tue/news/news1.htm * US SOLDIER KILLED IN BAGHDAD ATTACK 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. [.....] REST OF THE WORLD http://www.dailystar.com.lb/opinion/24_07_03_d.asp * ARE WASHINGTON HAWKS SETTING DAMASCUS UP? 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 radar. 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 Hizbullah. 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 overtures. 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 http://www.jordantimes.com/Tue/news/news7.htm * ATHENS BAR ASSOCIATION TO FILE SUIT AGAINST BLAIR OVER IRAQ 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 prosecuted. 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. http://www.jordantimes.com/Tue/news/news1.htm * [US SOLDIER KILLED IN BAGHDAD ATTACK] 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. http://www.jordantimes.com/Tue/news/news6.htm * SYRIAN PM URGES JOINT REGIONAL STAND AGAINST US 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 East. 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 Syria. "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 minorities. 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. http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,1008470,00.html * COMMENT: BLAIR'S LACK OF COURAGE 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 occupation. 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. _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. 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