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[casi] News, 20-27/8/03 (1)

News, 20-27/8/03 (1)


*  To Many Arabs, the U.S. and U.N. Are One Entity
*  Expand the UN role in Iraq
*  U.N. Chief Says New Force in Iraq Can Be Led by U.S.
*  Former UN chief: bomb was payback for collusion with US
*  Ansar denies role in UN HQ bombing
*  Al Qaeda says it bombed UN in Baghdad ‹ website
*  Red Cross cuts staff as clashes spread
*  Beware the bluewash
*  New UN resolution on Iraq jeopardised by fierce resistance ‹ US officials


*  Living proof as Chemical Ali is captured
*  U.S. Recruiting Hussein's Spies Occupation Forces Hope Covert Campaign
Will Help Identify Resistance
*  'Remains found in Iraq belong to three Kuwaitis'     


*  Japan may delay troop dispatch to Iraq     
*  When is Enough Enough?
*  Rumsfeld says no more troops needed now in Iraq
*  Iraq attack critics start to get heard
*  Turkey signals troop decision to Iraq unlikely before October



by Megan K. Stack
Los Angeles Times, 21st August

AMMAN, Jordan-- The silence said the most: Aside from a chorus of official
sympathy and condemnations, the devastation of the U.N. headquarters in
Baghdad drew barely a shiver on the Arab street and in the Middle Eastern
media Wednesday.

In a shift made blazingly clear with the bombing, the United Nations' status
has become so thoroughly degraded in the Arab world that many people here no
longer draw a distinction between the international body and the United
States. It has long been criticized as puny and has traditionally been
mistrusted in these parts, but the U.N.'s inability to stop the war in Iraq
has sowed new seeds of resentment.

"Didn't they see it coming?" Mohsen Farouk, a 36-year-old carpenter from
Cairo, demanded. He decried the deaths of innocent people but insisted that
nobody should be surprised. "It was just a matter of time," he said. "The
U.N. is just a puppet of the U.S., and anyone who is angry with the U.S. is
likely to consider the U.N. a target."

The hard-line Iranian newspaper Kayhan was even blunter. A front-page
headline Wednesday read, "Destruction and Killing the Result of Bush's
Policies in Iraq."

Throughout the Arab world and Iran, the bombing was chalked up -- tacitly or
explicitly, depending on who was talking -- to a blundering U.S. occupation,
an organic outgrowth of the untenable instability in Iraq. Moreover, many
Arabs argued, the U.S. invasion endangered the United Nations by rendering
it irrelevant.

"There has been resentment simply because the U.N. became a tool in the
hands of superpowers," said Hasan abu Nimah, a longtime Jordanian diplomat
and former representative to the U.N.

The power wielded by the U.S. at the United Nations has long stoked anger in
much of the Middle East. The Arab world has seethed whenever Washington used
its U.N. veto -- as it has done with some frequency -- to quash efforts to
send international observers into the Palestinian territories or halt the
construction of Israeli settlements.

"The U.S. is so powerful and the U.N. is so weak," said Mishary Nuaim, a
political analyst at Saudi Arabia's King Saud University. "Nobody can do
anything to stop the U.S."

But in a region that scorns weakness, the United Nations  sank to new depths
in public opinion when the United States invaded Iraq without the
international body's approval.

"There's a widespread feeling that the Americans were lazy in protecting the
United Nations. Perhaps they've done it on purpose. Now it has been proven
to the Arabs that it is a weak instrument," said George Jabbour, a Syrian
political scientist. "It was assassinated twice -- first when the U.S. went
to war without a decision from the Security Council, and again yesterday."

When the U.N. entered Iraq after the war, some neighboring countries decried
the move as lending a whiff of U.N. legitimacy to an unjust occupation. To
critics, the world body appeared to endorse the controversial U.S.-led
administration of Iraq.

"The U.N. did nothing for the Iraqis during the war," said Mohammed Hindawi,
a 32-year old engineer in Cairo. "They arrived in Baghdad when the coast was
clear. People expected the U.N.'s support, and they didn't get it. It's
payback time."

At a cafe in Cairo's leafy Zamalek district, where the drone of Al Jazeera
television mingled with the clatter of conversation, a table full of men
erupted in protest at the mere suggestion that the U.N. and the U.S. are two
distinct bodies.

"The U.N. is just a screen for the U.S. -- it lost all credibility during
the war," said Ahmed Dafran, a 60-year-old retired cabdriver. "The Iraqis
haven't had time to breathe since the war and haven't got their heads around
what's happened. All they see is a stream of foreign bodies coming in and
telling them what's good for them."

Although some Arab governments supported the war, most of the Arab street
was bitterly opposed to it from the outset -- and has interpreted the chaos
of the occupation as confirmation of its worst fears.

In their political rhetoric, Arab countries have dealt uncomfortably with
the occupation. A deeply divided Arab League decided this month not to grant
a seat to the new Iraqi Governing Council. It wasn't an elected government,
members explained, although it was a step in the right direction.

Beneath the criticism, analysts say, neighbors are gulping against the fear
of what might happen if the United States eventually became so bloodied it
pulled its troops from Iraq.

"We're now entering a dangerous phase, and there's an understanding that if
the United States should leave Iraq, there would be chaos and it could
engulf them," said Michael Young, a political analyst in Beirut. "So even
though publicly there may be talk of ending the occupation, privately they
understand the U.S. has to stay."

Still, many mainstream Arabs draw a certain quiet satisfaction from the
stream of guerrilla attacks on U.S. soldiers, said Abu Nimah, the Jordanian

"They didn't support the war, and they don't support the occupation," he
said. "And they don't want to make the life of the occupiers easy."

Times staff writer Azadeh Moaveni in Tehran and Jailan Zayan in The Times'
Cairo Bureau contributed to this report.

*  Expand the UN role in Iraq
Lebanon Daily Star, 21st August

The bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad Tuesday signaled a
new and dangerous phase in the struggle between the United States and Iraqi
guerrillas. By targeting the UN, the radicals were attempting to push out of
the country the most popular foreign political institution, and to deprive
the US administration in Baghdad of a key source of legitimacy.

The perpetrators may have thought of themselves as Iraqi nationalists, or
they may have been Sunni radicals affiliated to Al-Qaeda. Each group would
have its own grievances against the United Nations. Remnants of the Arab
nationalist Baath Party may remember with bitterness the UN economic
sanctions on Iraq and the weapons inspections that they considered so

The Sunni radicals are the other suspects. Truck bombings against diplomatic
offices such as embassies have been the stock in trade of Al-Qaeda, which
has also frequently used suicide bombers, unlike the secular Baath Party.
Al-Qaeda has a longstanding grudge against the UN, and members have plotted
the destruction of UN headquarters in New York. Osama bin Laden has
denounced Muslims who cooperated with the world body.

The guerrillas have added to their repertoire, branching out from small
attacks on US military personnel with rocket-propelled grenades. Over the
weekend, saboteurs blew up the oil pipeline to Turkey near Kirkuk, in two
separate places. It may take weeks to repair. Each day the conduit is out of
commission costs the Anglo-American civil administration in Iraq $7 million.
Without income from such petroleum exports, the US will find it even more
difficult to provide key services and to train a new Iraqi military.

Rebuilding Iraq depends crucially on the help of the United Nations and its
member states, and of nongovernmental organizations such as charities.
Reconstruction will cost $7 billion this year, and petroleum exports are
unlikely to cover more than half that sum. The overall cost of rebuilding
Iraq may be $100 billion or more, and just maintaining the US military in
Iraq costs $48 billion a year. At a time when the Bush administration's deep
tax cuts have pushed the budget deficit to $450 billion a year, the US
simply cannot afford to undertake reconstruction on its own.

Yet the bombing may help further isolate the US in Iraq. Civilian aid
organizations may be unwilling to risk running offices if they fear their
workers will become soft targets for terrorists. Many have already found it
difficult to operate in Iraq because of a continuing crime wave that
includes car thefts, robberies and burglaries. There is no danger of the UN
pulling out altogether, but many of its efforts will be less successful if
conducted from behind heavy barricades - something the organization has
avoided. Indeed, it was notable that while the Shiite religious leader
Ayatollah Ali Sistani has refused to meet with Paul Bremer or other US
officials, he did consult with the late head of the UN mission, Sergio
Vieira de Mello.

Also, member states such as India, France and Egypt have refused to send
troops to Iraq, in part out of fear that guerrillas would target them. The
task of the US to acquire more military allies has just become much harder.

There is no doubt that the various guerrillas fighting the US administration
in Iraq are, at the very least, succeeding in creating the impression that
the Americans are not in control. The situation on the ground is not quite
as bad as the guerrillas would like to make it seem. Still, the conflict has
moved to a public relations phase - in Iraq, the US and in the wider world.
The guerrillas are winning the public relations war, and it is fairly easy
for them to do so. All they have to do is commit symbolic acts that
humiliate the US administration in their country.

The bombing of UN headquarters may reveal that the guerrillas fear most of
all the moral authority and legitimacy of the international body. Without
this, the US and Britain look suspiciously like neoimperialists to angry
young Iraqis, whom the radicals hope to enlist in their fight. Ironically,
the wisest American response may be to involve the UN much more extensively
in Iraqi security and reconstruction.

It is increasingly clear that the Americans cannot rebuild Iraq by
themselves and need the world community to help. Such a change in course
would be the best way to honor the sacrifice made by de Mello and his
colleagues Tuesday.

Juan Cole ( is professor of Middle Eastern and South Asian
history at the University of Michigan. He wrote this commentary for THE

by Felicity Barringer
New York Times, 23rd August

UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 22 - Secretary General Kofi Annan suggested today that
the Security Council could set up a new multinational force in Iraq that
would be led by the United States as the largest troop contributor - a
common practice in joint military operations.

In addition, Mr. Annan said continuing security concerns in Iraq were a part
of a larger challenge of persuading Iraqis that the foreigners in their
midst were acting in their interest and intended to turn back the reins of
power quickly.

In remarks to reporters, he said the Security Council might "decide to
transform the operation into a U.N.-mandated multinational force." But, he
added, "it would also imply not just burden-sharing, but also sharing
decisions and responsibility with the others."

"If that doesn't happen," he added, "I think it's going to be very difficult
to get a second resolution that will satisfy everybody."

A spokesman for Mr. Annan later said a unified command would not exclude
having the leaders of other troop contingents work as part of the same
headquarters unit.

It was not immediately clear if Mr. Annan's suggestion would provide common
ground between the United States - with its insistence on complete control
of political, economic and particularly military operations - and Council
members like France, Germany and Russia. They remain disinclined to lend
their approval to a military effort undertaken despite their fierce

But it was clear from Mr. Annan's public remarks today and a brief interview
that he is certain that a new United Nations mandate is required to give the
organization a clearly defined role and to allow Iraqis to have confidence
that control over Iraq's future is reverting to them.

"We are focusing a lot on the force, the multinational force, and security,"
he said. "I think it's because of what happened. But that is only part of
the answer. The other part of the answer is to move quickly to create an
environment where the average Iraqi will support the operation and see that
what is happening is in their interest."

He added, "That's why I keep saying, let's come up with a timetable to let
them know that the occupation is really time-bound."


But the bitterness, particularly on the part of France, was back in evidence
on Thursday in the remarks of a French envoy to the Council.

In interviews published and broadcast today, Dominique de Villepin, the
French foreign minister, did not reject the idea of supporting a new
resolution calling for international help in Iraq.

Mr. de Villepin did, however, talk of moving Iraq from a "logic of
occupation" to a "political logic of the restoration of sovereignty." He
called for elections for a constituent assembly, to be supervised by a new
special representative of the secretary general and to take place as early
as the end of the year.

It was unclear how nations like India, Pakistan and Turkey, which have
balked at providing troops in the absence of a mandate, would respond to the
secretary general's notion of essentially embracing the existing occupying
force as part of a United Nations-mandated multinational force.

In a related development, Mexico has angered the United States by calling
for a vote Monday on its moribund resolution on the security of United
Nations employees overseas, diplomats here said today.

Council diplomats said today that the resolution, which was proposed in May,
was put aside after the United States threatened to veto it because of its
invocation of the powers of the International Criminal Court. The Bush
administration opposes the court, a standing war crimes tribunal, arguing
that it might be used to harass American soldiers and government officials.

But vetoing a resolution to enhance the security of United Nations staff,
less than a week after 23 people died in the Baghdad bombing, would be too
embarrassing, the diplomats added. Even an abstention would be hard to
explain. So the United States would be left with a choice of agreeing to
language it has repeatedly rejected or finding some way to get Mexico to
modify the draft.

But, diplomats said, almost all the rest of the Council members have
indicated support for the measure. Bulgaria, a close ally of the United
States during the Iraq debates, expects to be a co-sponsor, the Bulgarian
envoy, Stefan Tafrov, said today. Even Pakistan, which also has reservations
about the court, has indicated its support.

A State Department official said Secretary of State Colin L. Powell would
call the Mexican foreign minister, Luis Ernesto Derbez, to push for
modification of the draft resolution. "We want to make sure our concerns
regarding the International Criminal Court were addressed before we could
support such a resolution," the official said.

by Neil Mackay
Sunday Herald, 24th August

THE reason the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad were bombed is because
the UN has been taken over by the US and turned into a "dark joke" and a
"malignant force", according to one of the UN's most internationally
respected former leaders.

Denis Halliday, the former UN Assistant Secretary-General and UN
Humanitarian Co ordinator in Iraq, attacked the UN as an aggressive arm of
US foreign policy in the immediate aftermath of the truckbomb attack on the
UN mission in Baghdad which killed at least 23 people ­ many of whom were
Halliday's former friends and colleagues.

"The West sees the UN as a benign organisation, but the sad reality in much
of the world is that the UN is not seen as benign," said Halliday, who was
nominated for the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize. "The UN Security Council has been
taken over and corrupted by the US and UK, particularly with regard to Iraq,
Palestine and Israel.

"In Iraq, the UN imposed sustained sanctions that probably killed up to one
million people. Children were dying of malnutrition and water-borne
diseases. The US and UK bombed the infrastructure in 1991, destroying power,
water and sewage systems against the Geneva Convention. It was a great crime
against Iraq.

"Thirteen years of sanctions made it impossible for Iraq to repair the
damage. That is why we have such tremendous resentment and anger against the
UN in Iraq. There is a sense that the UN humiliated the Iraqi people and
society. I would use the term genocide to define the use of sanctions
against Iraq. Several million Iraqis are suffering cancers because of the
use of depleted uranium shells. That's an atrocity. Can you imagine the
bitterness from all of this?

He warned that "further colla boration" between the UN and the US and
Britain "would be a disaster for the United Nations as it would be sucked
into supporting the illegal occupation of Iraq".

"The UN has been drawn into being an arm of the US ­ a division of the state
department. Kofi Annan was appointed and supported by the US and that has
corrupted the independence of the UN. The UN must move quickly to reform
itself and improve the security council ­ it must make clear that the UN and
the US are not one and the same."

Halliday said the US should withdraw from Iraqi within six months and allow
free elections to be held. The UN could then start the work of helping the
Iraqis rebuild their nation. "Bush has blown $75 billion on this war, so he
should spend $75 billion on reconstruction ­ and the money shouldn't just go
to Halli burton [an oil firm now operating in Iraqi which was once run by
vice- president Dick Cheney] and the boys either. Once the US goes from
Iraq, the terrorist will go as well.

"Bush and Blair have misled their countries into war. By invading Iraq and
placing the US inside the Islamic world, America is inviting terrorists to
come on the attack."

Halliday, who resigned from the UN in 1998, knows his comments will upset
London, Washington and Kofi Annan, but he claims many senior UN figures feel
the same anger.

Gulf News, from Reuters, 25th August

Rome, 25-08-2003:Militant group Ansar Al Islam said yesterday it was not
behind the bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad, but warned
the United States and Britain that they could face fresh attacks.

U.S. officials have named Ansar as a suspect in last week's truck bombing.

"It wasn't Ansar Al Islam... The Pentagon and CIA have got it wrong," the
group's Iraqi Kurdish founder, Mullah Krekar, told Italian newspaper La
Repubblica in an interview.

"I think it was rather an operation born inside the country and carried out
by Saddam's faithful," he said, speaking from the Norwegian capital Oslo
where he has had refugee status since 1991. He denies any links to terror

The day after U.S. President George W. Bush promised "the world would not be
intimidated" by terror, Krekar warned the United States of more attacks at
home and abroad.

"America runs the risk of new attacks if it doesn't concede space to Islam.
Not only in Iraq, but in its own back yard," he said, noting how much a
recent power blackout which hit seven U.S. states had cost the American

When asked if any other country should fear an attack, Krekar fired a
warning shot at British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who stood
shoulder-to-shoulder with the United States throughout the Iraq war.

"In Europe no-one apart from Britain... In Europe the true spokesman of
Bush, in fact probably harsher than him, is Blair."         

Jordan Times, 26th August     
CAIRO (Reuters) ‹ A statement posted on the Internet in the name of Osama
Ben Laden's Al Qaeda network has claimed responsibility for an attack on the
UN headquarters in Baghdad last week which killed 23 people, including the
head of mission.

It was posted in Arabic late on Sunday on the discussion website and dated Aug. 19, the day of the attack on the UN

The statement's authenticity could not be verified. On Thursday, an Arabic
television channel reported a previously unknown Iraqi group had claimed
responsibility for the attack.

Written in heavily symbolic and oblique language, the latest statement was
signed by Brigades of Abu Hafs Al Masri and followed by the words Al Qaeda
in parentheses.

It referred to a previous warning issued on Aug. 15 in which it said it
would "exhaust and confuse" America and its "henchmen."

"We meant that we would carry out such a lethal and surprising attack that
the enemy will not know where, when and how we will strike," the statement

"So why the United Nations? Number one, the United Nations (is against
Islam), it is a branch of the American State Department and it wears the
robes of an international organisation.

"The double standard policies of the United Nations are against Arabs and
Muslims. This issue does not need to be proved. It is clear like the light
of the sun at midday," the statement said.

The statement called UN envoy to Iraq, Brazilian Sergio Vieira de Mello,
"America's number one man."

Mello was killed when a truck loaded with explosives blew up outside his
Baghdad office on Aug. 19 and some investigators have suggested he was an
intended target.

Diaa Rashwan, an expert on Islamic militant groups at the Cairo-based Al
Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies, said Al Qaeda had been
using Internet discussion boards to distribute statements for about six

"The language and reference are in line with other Al Qaeda statements," he

In the days after the attack Iraq's US governor, Paul Bremer, said he
believed the truck bombing had been carried out by Saddam Hussein loyalists
or "foreign terrorists" ‹ or a combination of both.

The United States has blamed remnants of Saddam's regime for attacks in Iraq
in the months since US President George W. Bush declared major conflict in
the war to oust the Iraqi leader over on May 1.

But US officials have said a large number of foreign fighters were entering
the country. Bush last week said "Al Qaeda-type fighters" were present in

by Jamie Wilson in Baghdad
The Guardian, 26th August


Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for the ICRC in Baghdad said the organisation had
gradually been cutting back the size of its staff since a Sri Lankan aid
worker was killed in an attack on a convoy south of Baghdad on July 22.

Nada Doumani said the ICRC would maintain about 50 workers in the country,
but declined to give specific numbers of those being withdrawn from Iraq.
"We are concerned about the security of the staff working with us and the
people who come to visit us," she said.

"It seems some groups are not willing to let us work normally," she added.
She said the agency had received warnings that it could be a target but said
the threat was not specific.


by George Monbiot
The Guardian, 26th August

The US government's problem is that it has built its foreign policy on two
great myths. The first is that it is irresistible; the second is that as
time advances, life improves. In Iraq it is trapped between the two. To
believe that it can be thwarted, and that its occupation will become harder
rather than easier to sustain as time goes by, requires that it disbelieves
all that it holds to be most true. But those who oppose its foreign policy
appear to have responded with a myth of equal standing: that what
unilateralism cannot solve, multilateralism can. The United Nations, almost
all good liberals now argue, is a more legitimate force than the US and
therefore more likely to succeed in overseeing Iraq's reconstruction and
transition. If the US surrendered to the UN, this would, moreover, represent
the dawning of a fairer, kinder world. These propositions are scarcely more
credible than those coming out of the Pentagon.

The immediate and evident danger of a transition from US occupation to UN
occupation is that the UN becomes the dustbin into which the US dumps its
failed adventures. The American and British troops in Iraq do not deserve to
die any more than the Indian or Turkish soldiers with whom they might be
replaced. But the governments that sent them, rather than those that opposed
the invasion, should be the ones that have to answer to their people for the
consequences. The vicious bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad last
week suggests that the jihadis who now seem to be entering Iraq from every
corner of the Muslim world will make little distinction between khaki
helmets and blue ones. Troops sent by India, the great liberal hope, are
unlikely to be received with any greater kindness than western forces. The
Indian government is reviled for its refusal to punish the Hindus who
massacred Muslims in Gujurat.

The UN will swiftly discover that occupation-lite is no more viable than
occupation-heavy. Moreover, by replacing its troops, the despised UN could,
in one of the supreme ironies of our time, provide the US government with
the escape route it may require if George Bush is to win the next election.
We can expect him, as soon as the soldiers have come home, to wash his hands
not only of moral responsibility for the mess he has created, but also of
the duty to help pay for the country's reconstruction. Most importantly, if
the UN shows that it is prepared to mop up after him, it will enhance his
incentive to take his perpetual war to other nations.

It should also be pretty obvious that, tough as it is for both the American
troops and the Iraqis, pinned down in Iraq may be the safest place for the
US army to be. The Pentagon remains reluctant to fight more than one war at
a time. One of the reasons that it has tackled Iran and North Korea with
diplomacy rather than missiles is that it has neither the soldiers nor the
resources to launch an attack until it can disentangle itself from Iraq.

It is clear, too, that the UN, honest and brave as many of its staff are,
possesses scarcely more legitimacy as an occupying force than the US. The US
is now the only nation on the security council whose opinion really counts:
its government can ignore other governments' vetoes; the other governments
cannot ignore a veto by the US. In other words, a handover to the UN cannot
take place unless George Bush says so, and Bush will not say so until it is
in his interests to do so. The UN, already tainted in Iraq by its
administration of sanctions and the fact that its first weapons inspection
mission (Unscom) was infiltrated by the CIA, is then reduced to little more
than an instrument of US foreign policy.

Until the UN, controlled by the five permanent members of the security
council, has itself been democratised, it is hard to see how it can claim
the moral authority to oversee a transition to democracy anywhere else. This
problem is compounded by the fact that Britain, which is hardly likely to be
perceived as an honest broker, is about to assume the council's presidency.
A UN mandate may be regarded by Iraqis as bluewash, an attempt to grant
retrospective legitimacy to an illegal occupation. None of this, of course,
is yet on offer anyway. The US government has made it perfectly clear that
the UN may operate in Iraq only as a subcontractor. Foreign troops will take
their orders from Washington, rather than New York. America's occupation of
Iraq affords it regional domination, control of the second biggest oilfields
on earth and, as deputy defence secretary Paul Wolfowitz has hinted, the
opportunity to withdraw its troops from Saudi Arabia and install them in its
new dependency instead. Republican funders have begun feasting on the
lucrative reconstruction contracts, and the Russians and the French, shut
out of the banquet, are being punished for their impudence.

Now that the US controls the shipping lanes of the Middle East and the
oilfields of central Asia and West Africa, it is in a position, if it so
chooses, to turn off the taps to China, its great economic rival, which is
entirely dependent on external sources of oil. The US appears to be seeking
to ensure that when the Iraqis are eventually permitted to vote, they will
be allowed to choose any party they like, as long as it is pro-American. It
will give up its new prize only when forced to do so by its own voters.

So, given that nothing we say will make any difference to Bush and his
people, we may as well call for a just settlement, rather than the diluted
form of injustice represented by a UN occupation. This means the swiftest
possible transition to real democracy. Troy Davis of the World Citizen
Foundation has suggested a programme for handing power to the Iraqis which
could begin immediately, with the establishment of a constitutional
convention. This would permit the people both to start deciding what form
their own government should take, and to engage in the national negotiation
and reconciliation without which democracy there will be impossible. From
the beginning of the process, in other words, the Iraqi people, not the
Americans, would oversee the transition to democracy.

This is the logical and just path for the US government to take. As a
result, it is unlikely to be taken. So, one day, when the costs of
occupation become unsustainable, it will be forced to retreat in a manner an
d at a time not of its choosing. Iraq may swallow George Bush and his
imperial project, just as the Afghan morass digested the Soviet empire. It
is time his opponents stopped seeking to rescue him from his

Jordan Times, 27th August     
WASHINGTON (AFP) ‹ The United States is rethinking plans to press ahead with
a UN resolution that would expand the mandate of the stabilisation force in
Iraq after meeting fierce resistance from opponents of the war, US officials
said Tuesday.

Although the officials stressed that the idea was not dead, they said the
initial reaction to US suggestions presented last week had not been positive
and their hopes for passing a new resolution in early September had dimmed.

"The initial reaction wasn't very promising," one State Department official
said of the response to suggestions for the resolution put forward by John
Negroponte, the US ambassador to the United Nations.

The negative reactions ‹ mainly from anti-war Security Council members
France, Russia and Germany ‹ revolve around US insistence that it not cede
any control over the command of the stabilisation force, officials said.

In addition, those nations and some other council members are resisting any
language in the resolution that would suggest UN authorisation of the war
after the fact, the officials said.

The officials, who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity, said they were
hoping to hear more formal reaction to Negroponte's ideas on Tuesday as the
Security Council holds consultations on Iraq and a number of other matters.

A decision on whether to go ahead with a new Iraq resolution will not be
made until after Washington assesses those responses, the officials said.

"We want to hear what they (the other council members) have to say and then
see where we stand," one official said.

Deputy State Department spokesman Philip Reeker told reporters that there
"were still no determinations at all" on what to do.

Another US official said the United States was still "very seized" with
negotiating language for a resolution that would be acceptable to the entire

That official noted that Washington was still eager to get more countries to
contribute troops to the stabilisation force and assist in reconstruction
efforts,something that a new resolution could attract.

The need to bolster those forces was made all the more apparent by last
week's attack on UN headquarters in Baghdad ‹ an event the United States had
hoped would galvanise the Security Council behind a new resolution and
overcome the objections.

"This is not the time for a sterile debate on rights and responsibilities
but a time to stand up for the international community," a senior State
Department official said on Friday, referring to the atmosphere after the

That official and others had said the United States would press ahead with
the new resolution despite the risk that it might reignite the fierce battle
over the legitimacy of the war.

But even as they vowed to plow ahead, negative reaction was pouring in and
by Monday Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage appeared to backtrack,
telling reporters that no decision had been made on a new resolution.

"We haven't made the determination whether we'll have another resolution or
not," Armitage said.

DOWN MEMORY LANE,3604,1027335,00.html

by Suzanne Goldenberg in Washington
The Guardian, 22nd August

Ali Hassan al-Majid, the cousin of Saddam Hussein who personified the
genocidal impulses of the regime by gassing, starving and executing 100,000
Kurds, has been captured by American forces in Iraq, US military officials
said yesterday.

With Majid in their hands, Washington could claim to have captured Saddam's
main instrument of repression. It all but completes the elimination of the
top tier of the most notorious members of Saddam's regime - barring the
dictator himself.

"That regime will not be coming back," the US defence secretary, Donald
Rumsfeld, said yesterday. He said 42 of the 55 most wanted leaders had been
captured or killed.

But despite the satisfaction in Washington, Majid's cap-ture could deepen
pressure on the US to try leaders of the former regime before an
international war crimes tribunal.

Known in the west as Chemical Ali, the 64-year-old first cousin of Saddam
sanctioned the killing of 5,000 Kurds in a single day when he approved the
use of poison gas against the village of Halabja in 1988.

He went on to deploy similar levels of brutality in the south, against a
Shia uprising in 1991, and against the Marsh Arabs.

Few details were released on the events leading to his capture, or where he
had been hiding. But the announcement is bound to be received with some
embarrassment by British military officials who claimed to have identified
his body in the rubble after the shelling of Basra in April.

That discovery hastened the British decision to enter the town. In the
village of Halabja, Kurds rejoiced at their oppressor's demise, and news
organisations carried obituaries.

In May, the list of the Saddam regime's 55 most wanted on the central
command website was adjusted, and Majid rejoined the living. A military
spokesman said yesterday that his death had never been confirmed.

Taking the general alive is bound to step up pressure on Washington for an
international war crimes trial for postwar Iraq, and the Bush administration
has an aversion to international justice.

"We think it is very good that he was taken alive, and that he is in custody
where he can be held accountable. Now the question is how to hold him
accountable," said Joe Stork, of Human Rights Watch.

"The US has done nothing that we are aware of to set up a fair, impartial
and independent tribunal."

Although Majid started life as a motorcycle dispatch rider, as a cousin of
Saddam on his father's side, he attached himself to the leader's coat tails.
He became Saddam's enforcer during the 60s.

After Saddam became president, he was put in charge of public security.

He served as defence minister in the early 1990s, and later intelligence
chief and interior minister.

His continued importance to the upper echelons of the regime was underlined
at the start of the war when he was given charge of defending the south from
the US invasion.

Majid's infamy in the world outside Iraq dates from the late 1980s when, as
boss of the ruling Ba'ath party's northern branch, he presided over a
campaign called al-Anfal, which destroyed northern Kurdistan. Conservative
estimates say 100,000 Kurds were killed by mass executions, starvation and
poison gas.

Majid applied the same approach to Kuwait when he was appointed governor of
the "19th province" during the Iraqi occupation, and to the crushing of the
Shia rebellion after the 1991 Gulf war. Some 30,000 people were killed or
reported missing.

Smuggled videos from the time show him observing executions - and reveal a
spectacular lack of conscience. "Who will say anything?" he tells a group of
party officials. "The international community? Fuck them."

His capture came as the US considered whether to introduce a new resolution
at the UN in an attempt to improve the security situation in Iraq after
Tuesday's devastating Baghdad suicide bomb, which killed 23.

The US secretary of state, Colin Powell, admitted America wanted more
countries to become involved in Iraq but refused to countenance a situation
where the US would cede military control of the country.

by Anthony Shadid and Daniel Williams
Washington Post, 24th August

BAGHDAD, Aug. 23 -- U.S.-led occupation authorities have begun a covert
campaign to recruit and train agents with the once-dreaded Iraqi
intelligence service to help identify resistance to American forces here
after months of increasingly sophisticated attacks and bombings, according
to U.S. and Iraqi officials.

The extraordinary move to recruit agents of former president Saddam
Hussein's security services underscores a growing recognition among U.S.
officials that American military forces -- already stretched thin -- cannot
alone prevent attacks like the devastating truck bombing of the U.N.
headquarters this past week, the officials said.

Authorities have stepped up the recruitment over the past two weeks, one
senior U.S. official said, despite sometimes adamant objections by members
of the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council, who complain that they have
too little control over the pool of recruits. While U.S. officials
acknowledge the sensitivity of cooperating with a force that embodied the
ruthlessness of Hussein's rule, they assert that an urgent need for better
and more precise intelligence has forced unusual compromises.

"The only way you can combat terrorism is through intelligence," the senior
official said. "It's the only way you're going to stop these people from
doing what they're doing." He added: "Without Iraqi input, that's not going
to work."

Officials are reluctant to disclose how many former agents have been
recruited since the effort began. But Iraqi officials say they number
anywhere from dozens to a few hundred, and U.S. officials acknowledge that
the recruitment is extensive.

"We're reaching out very widely," said one official with the U.S.-led
administration, who like most spoke on condition of anonymity because of
sensitivity over questions of intelligence and sources.

Added a Western diplomat: "There is an obvious evolution in American
thinking. First the police are reconstituted, then the army. It is logical
that intelligence officials from the regime would also be recruited."

Officials say the first line of intelligence-gathering remains the Iraqi
police, who number 6,500 in Baghdad and 33,000 nationwide. But that force is
hampered in intelligence work by a lack of credibility with a disenchanted
public, and its numbers remain far below what U.S. officials say they need
to bring order to an unruly capital. Across Iraq, walk-in informers have
provided tips on weapons caches and locations of suspected guerrillas, but
many Iraqis dismiss those reports as haphazard and sometimes motivated by a
desire for personal gain.

The emphasis in recruitment appears to be on the intelligence service known
as the Mukhabarat, one of four branches in Hussein's former security
service, although it is not the only target for the U.S. effort. The
Mukhabarat, whose name itself inspired fear in ordinary Iraqis, was the
foreign intelligence service, the most sophisticated of the four. Within
that service, officials have reached out to agents who once were assigned to
Syria and Iran, Iraqi officials and former intelligence agents say.

For years, U.S. relations with both Syria and Iran have remained tense and,
if anything, have deteriorated since American forces overthrew Hussein's
government on April 9. Once vigilantly patrolled borders stretching hundreds
of miles are remarkably porous, and L. Paul Bremer, the U.S. civilian
administrator of Iraq, has openly accused Syria of allowing foreign fighters
to enter Iraq. A senior American official said those fighters inside Iraq,
mainly from Saudi Arabia and Syria, number between 100 and 200. The emphasis
on intelligence mirrors a decision earlier this month by Lt. Gen. Ricardo
Sanchez, the commander of U.S. ground forces, to minimize large military
sweeps to the north and west of Baghdad. Launched in June and July, the
sweeps rounded up hundreds of Iraqis, but angered residents who complained
of mistreatment, arbitrary arrests and humiliation at the hands of U.S.

Sanchez and others have suggested that the anger caused by those raids could
bolster the support for guerrillas, who are thought to number in the
thousands, mainly in the Sunni Muslim-dominated regions that provided
Hussein much of his support. The guerrilla tactics have grown in
sophistication over the four months of the occupation. But U.S. officials
said the guerrillas remain decentralized, with no sign yet of national
coordination. In the view of Bremer, a former counterterrorism specialist,
and other U.S. officials, their amorphous nature makes them harder to stamp
out, and makes more pressing the need for intelligence to pinpoint raids and
create the possibility of infiltrating the groups.

"The expectation is that we're going to have to fight it out," one senior
official said.

The official said it might require 500,000 U.S. troops, perhaps far more, to
secure every potential target in the country -- an unlikely prospect, given
that many U.S. allies are balking at the prospect of sending more soldiers,
especially without a U.N. mandate. The United States has 132,000 troops in
the country, and there are 17,000 other soldiers, the majority of them
British. "The key is to try to stay ahead of this game and prevent it from
happening," the senior official said.

At a news conference today, Bremer repeatedly stressed the need for better
intelligence, saying that U.S. authorities were "constantly working to
refine and upgrade our intelligence capabilities."

The goal, he said, was "to find and, if necessary, kill as many of them as
possible before they find and kill us." Hussein's security forces were a
suffocating presence in Iraq and still cast a long shadow.

Of the four security branches, the Mukhabarat was the best-treated and often
supplied agents for the other branches. The largest was internal security,
known as Amn al-Amm, which focused on domestic intelligence. The third was
special security, which protected government officials. These three answered
to the presidency. Only military intelligence was nominally independent of
Hussein's inner circle and operated within the Defense Ministry. The Baath
Party, with membership in the millions, provided a check of sorts, with its
almost endless network of informers in every town and village.

Within the Mukhabarat, former intelligence officers say, the branches
dedicated to Iran, Israel and, during the 1990s, the United Nations were the
most important. One officer, a 23 year veteran who spied on the United
Nations, said about 100 agents worked on Iran, between 75 and 100 on the
United Nations and 50 each on Israel and Syria, in addition to their
networks and contacts. Earlier this summer, Bremer dissolved those services,
along with the information and defense ministries. But Wafiq Samarrai, a
former military intelligence chief who went into exile in 1995 and retains
contacts, said U.S. officials were seeking to reconstitute them in some
form. "They are trying to rebuild it very quietly," he said.

One officer, who was not contacted by the Americans, said he believed that
about 300 people were being recruited. Adil Abdul Mahdi, the director of the
political bureau for the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq,
one of the groups taking part in the Governing Council, said his
organization has a list of almost 20 names of recruited officers from the
dreaded Fifth Section, an organ inside military intelligence that focused on
Iran. He said his group believed that at least one of those agents was sent
to the United States for training last month. An official with the U.S.-led
administration said he was not aware of agents having been sent to the
United States.

While not disclosing how they check the operatives, U.S. officials said they
believed some agents remained "fairly untainted" by Hussein's government.
But they said they recognized the potential pitfalls in relying on an
instrument loathed by most Iraqis and renowned across the Arab world for its
casual use of torture, fear, intimidation, rape and imprisonment.

"We have to be very careful in how we vet them, in how we go through their
backgrounds," the senior American official said. "We don't want to put a
cancer right in the middle of this."

Another official called the recruitment part of an ongoing struggle between
principle and what he called the practical needs of the occupation.
"Pragmatically, those are people who are potentially very useful because
they have access to information, so you have to compromise on that," he
said. "What we need to do is make sure they are indeed aware of the error of
their ways."

While many Iraqi officials say they are aware of the recruitment, some have
spoken against the use of former operatives, and others have warned against
reconstituting an intelligence service before an independent Iraqi
government takes charge. Former exiles who cooperated with the Americans
were trailed by Iraqi intelligence for years, and among them the issue is
particularly sensitive. "We've always criticized the procedure of recruiting
from the old regime's officers. We think it is a mistake," Mahdi said.
"We've told them you have some bad people in your security apparatus."

The objections come in the context of a struggle between Bremer and the
Governing Council over the degree of Iraqi control over the security
services. Bremer said today that despite Iraqi objections, security will
remain in the hands of U.S. forces. But many Iraqis, both former operatives
and U.S.-allied officials, are dismissive of the U.S. ability to run
intelligence inside the country. They say U.S. officials lack the means to
recruit effective networks and are overwhelmed with information of dubious

"There's a difference between how we perceive things and how they react,"
said one council member. "There's no quick response to intelligence. The
Americans have huge quantities of it, most of it nonsense. They have no
means of distinguishing."

Jordan Times, 25th August
KUWAIT CITY (AP) ‹ Kuwait said Sunday it has identified three of its
nationals and a stateless Arab whose remains were found in a mass grave in
southern Iraq.

Fayez Al Enezi, who heads a government team looking for hundreds of Kuwaitis
and other nationals missing since the 1990-91 Gulf crisis, said DNA tests
proved the remains recovered recently in Samawa belonged to three Kuwaiti
students: Obeid Falah Al Mutairi, born 1970; Mohammad Ghazai Al Mutairi,
born 1972; and Abdul Rahman Saad Al Otaibi, born 1973.

Al Enezi said the fourth set of remains belonged to Farhan Harbi Al Thefiri,
a Kuwait army soldier and stateless Arab born in 1952.

The remains were found following the US-led invasion of Iraq that toppled
Saddam Hussein's regime.

Iraqi forces had arrested the four men in late 1990 and accused them of
belonging to Kuwait's underground resistance, Enezi told the Associated

The latest announcement brings the number of identified Gulf War missing to
17 from 605 Kuwaitis and other nationals missing for more than a decade.

More than a 130 samples from the Samawa grave site are being tested to see
if they match DNA samples collected from families of the missing.

Remains have also been recently exhumed from graves in the Kuwaiti desert
where unidentified victims of the Iraqi occupation had been buried, Enezi

Saddam's regime had insisted that it had released all prisoners taken from
Kuwait during the seven-month occupation and subsequent 1991 Gulf War. Iraqi
officials refused to cooperate with Kuwaiti and international efforts to
find the missing.

No prisoners have been found alive.


Jordan Times, 22nd August
TOKYO (AP) ‹ For war-wary Japan, it would have been historic ‹ dispatching
troops to help rebuild an Iraq that's far from safe. But the bombing of UN
headquarters in Baghdad could force Tokyo to shelve plans to send a
peacekeeping force to a combat zone for the first time since World War II.

Japanese officials now say the dispatch, approved last month by parliament,
may be delayed by up to several months.

"A dispatch may not be feasible this year," Defence Agency chief Shigeru
Ishiba told reporters late Wednesday.

"If we provide humanitarian aid, it doesn't seem out of the question that
(Japanese troops) could be targeted for attack. It will probably take some
time before the peace is restored," he said. "The fact is, a troop dispatch
won't happen soon." Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who has sought to
raise Japan's international profile by expanding its peacekeeping role, has
stressed Japan's duty to help with reconstruction.

But Koizumi, who is up for reelection as head of the ruling party next
month, has promised to make a decision on the timing after a government team
confirms it is safe to do so. Underlining the danger to many here was the
announcement that a Japanese employee of the United Nations was among those
injured in the Baghdad blast.

"We will carefully monitor the situation and plan to conduct a thorough
survey," he told reporters Wednesday in Poland, where he is on a
three-nation European trip. "We have to continue the aid." He avoided saying
when Tokyo planned to send its team to assess the security situation, after
postponing a trip scheduled in mid-August.

His top spokesman has also deflected similar questions.

Under new legislation, troops can be sent to overseas trouble spots to offer
medical assistance, repatriate refugees, reconstruct buildings and roads,
and give administrative advice.

They will be allowed to carry weapons to defend themselves when under fire ‹
not to help US forces keep the peace.

Supporters of a mission involving ground troops argue that Japan needs to
stand-by the United States, a key ally and important bulwark against such
potential threats as North Korea. Media reports said Tokyo was considering a
force of 1,000 soldiers for transport and other duties to begin as early as

In July, two Japanese C-130 transport aircraft began shuttling UN supplies
between Italy and Jordan, where they were packed onto trucks and transported
overland. The planes returned on Monday.

But recent media polls indicate a majority of voters are opposed to
expanding Japan's participation. In the wake of this week's bombing attack,
doubt among voters and objections from opposition parties and anti-war
groups who fear a revival of Japanese militarism is likely to grow.

Many voters fear casualties are likely in Iraq, a prospect that is worrisome
to those who see it as an American war.

Despite constitutional restraints on the use of force to settle
international disputes, small Japanese military contingents have taken part
in several UN peacekeeping operations since 1992, most recently in East

Only one serviceman has died on those missions, from a heart attack while on
a naval vessel in the Indian Ocean.

Even if Japan deems it safe to send the military, called the Self-Defence
Forces, Defence Agency officials say troops would not be immediately
available. They would require weapons training and advance supplies would
need to be packaged and shipped beforehand.

"At least three months would be needed to prepare troops for a mission," an
agency official said, on condition of anonymity.

by Jennifer Barrett
Newsweek Web Exclusive, MSNBC, 23rd August
Aug. 23 ‹  Americans are increasingly pessimistic about the U.S. mission in
Iraq, saying the United States should reduce its spending and scale back its
efforts there, according to the latest NEWSWEEK poll.     

SIXTY-NINE PERCENT of Americans polled say they are very concerned (40
percent) or somewhat concerned (29 percent) that the United States will be
bogged down for many years in Iraq without making much progress in achieving
its goals. Just 18 percent say they're confident that a stable, democratic
form of government can take shape in Iraq over the long term; 37 percent are
somewhat confident. Just 13 percent say U.S. efforts to establish security
and rebuild Iraq have gone very well since May 1, when combat officially
ended; 39 percent say somewhat well.

Nearly half of respondents, 47 percent, say they are very concerned that the
cost of maintaining troops in Iraq will lead to a large budget deficit and
seriously hurt the U.S. economy. And 60 percent of those polled say the
estimated $1 billion per week that the United States is spending is too much
and the country should scale back its efforts. One third supports the
current spending levels for now, but just 15 percent of those polled say
they would support maintaining the current spending levels for three years
or more.

Against this backdrop, President George W. Bush's approval ratings continue
to decline. His current approval rating of 53 percent is down 18 percent
from April. And for the first time since the question was initially asked
last fall, more registered voters say they would not like to see him
re-elected to another term as president (49 percent) than re-elected.
Forty-four percent would favor giving Bush a second term; in April, 52
percent backed Bush for a second term and 38 percent did not.

Despite the costs and the continued attacks against both U.S. and United
Nations personnel, most Americans support maintaining current military
levels in Iraq‹for now anyway. Fifty-six percent approve of keeping large
numbers of U.S. military personnel in Iraq for two years or less; 28 percent
would support a stay of one to two years, while another 28 percent would
support a stay of up to one year. Eighteen percent support keeping large
numbers of troops in Iraq for three to five years, three percent for six to
10 years, and 11 percent for more than 10 years (just five percent want to
bring troops home now).

Sixty-one percent still believe that the United States was right to take
military action against Iraq in March; 33 percent do not. But respondents
are split on how effective the U.S. war with Iraq has been in fighting Al
Qaeda and terrorism in general. Forty-five percent say the war has reduced
the terror network's power by removing an oil-rich regime that supported
terrorism while 38 percent say the war has actually increased Al Qaeda's
power by inspiring a new generation of terrorists to take up arms against
the United States and its allies.

The failure to capture Saddam Hussein or Osama Bin Laden, and the slow
progress in Iraq have also affected Americans' views on the Bush
administration's efforts to fight terrorists at home and abroad‹but not
drastically. A slim majority (54 percent) still approve of the way Bush is
handling the situation in Iraq, though Bush had a 74 percent approval rating
in his handling of Iraq in mid-April

Fifty-seven percent say Bush is doing a better job than Democrats in finding
and defeating terrorists abroad, while 21 percent say Democratic party
leaders in Congress are dealing better with terrorists. At the beginning of
last year, nearly three-quarters of those surveyed thought Bush was doing a
better job than the Democrats on fighting terrorism overseas‹just 9 percent
gave higher marks to Democrats. Fifty-seven percent say Bush is best at
handling the fight against terror at home, down from 74 percent in January
2002. Nearly a quarter (24 percent) now think the Democrats do a better job
at handling homeland security, versus 11 percent in January 2002.

The biggest shift in opinion, however, comes in Bush's handling of
non-terror issues. A plurality of voters now think the Democratic leaders in
Congress have a better approach to dealing with the economy, tax cuts,
healthcare, education, social security, the environment and energy policy.
In January 2002, more thought Bush had the best approach to handling all the
issues above, except the environment.

Forty-five percent of respondents now think the Democratic party leaders are
doing a better job of finding ways to stimulate the economy (36 percent say
Bush is)‹a huge shift from January 2002, when 55 percent thought Bush was
better on the economy and just 29 percent thought Congressional Democrats
were. Over the past year-and-a-half, Americans have also shifted their views
of Bush's tax cuts‹45 percent prefer his cuts to those supported by
Democratic leaders now, but that's down 12 percent from January 2002.

Nearly half of those polled (47 percent) say Democratic leaders have the
best approach to health care (31 percent say Bush does), a flip from January
2002, when 45 percent preferred Bush's approach and 36 percent liked the
Democrats'. Bush has lost the most support for his handling of education
issues. Just 39 percent prefer his approach now‹down 16 percent from January
2002. Forty-three percent say the Democrats are now doing the better job in
their approach to education issues.

Similarly, more Americans (45 percent) say Democrats have the better
approach to handling Social Security issues. About one-third (32 percent)
say Bush has the best approach to Social Security, down 12 points from
January 2002. On the environment, 53 percent prefer the Democrats' approach,
while 29 percent support Bush's handling of environmental issues versus 43
percent and 38 percent respectively in January 2002. Finally, 42 percent of
Americans prefer the Democrats' approach to energy policy, while 33 percent
say Bush is doing a better job on the issue (versus 33 percent and 46
percent respectively in January 2002).

Bush has the lead over Democrats in his handling of foreign policy in
general, with 48 percent of Americans preferring his approach to
foreign-policy issues (37 percent prefer the Democrats' approach).

The NEWSWEEK poll is conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates,
which interviewed by telephone 1,011 adults aged 18 and older on Aug. 21 to
Aug. 22. The margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

by Amiram Cohen
Haaretz, 25th August

The United States has asked Israel to check the possibility of pumping oil
from Iraq to the oil refineries in Haifa. The request came in a telegram
last week from a senior Pentagon official to a top Foreign Ministry official
in Jerusalem.

The Prime Minister's Office, which views the pipeline to Haifa as a "bonus"
the U.S. could give to Israel in return for its unequivocal support for the
American-led campaign in Iraq, had asked the Americans for the official

The new pipeline would take oil from the Kirkuk area, where some 40 percent
of Iraqi oil is produced, and transport it via Mosul, and then across Jordan
to Israel. The U.S. telegram included a request for a cost estimate for
repairing the Mosul-Haifa pipeline that was in use prior to 1948. During the
War of Independence, the Iraqis stopped the flow of oil to Haifa and the
pipeline fell into disrepair over the years.

The National Infrastructure Ministry has recently conducted research
indicating that construction of a 42-inch diameter pipeline between Kirkuk
and Haifa would cost about $400,000 per kilometer. The old Mosul-Haifa
pipeline was only 8 inches in diameter.

National Infrastructure Minister Yosef Paritzky said yesterday that the port
of Haifa is an attractive destination for Iraqi oil and that he plans to
discuss this matter with the U.S. secretary of energy during his planned
visit to Washington next month. Paritzky added that the plan depends on
Jordan's consent and that Jordan would receive a transit fee for allowing
the oil to piped through its territory. The minister noted, however, that
"due to pan Arab concerns, it will be hard for the Jordanians to agree to
the flow of Iraqi oil via Jordan and Israel."

Sources in Jerusalem confirmed yesterday that the Americans are looking into
the possibility of laying a new pipeline via Jordan and Israel. (There is
also a pipeline running via Syria that has not been used in some three

Iraqi oil is now being transported via Turkey to a small Mediterranean port
near the Syrian border. The transit fee collected by Turkey is an important
source of revenue for the country. This line has been damaged by sabotage
twice in recent weeks and is presently out of service.

In response to rumors about the possible Kirkuk-Mosul-Haifa pipeline, Turkey
has warned Israel that it would regard this development as a serious blow to
Turkish-Israeli relations.

Sources in Jerusalem suggest that the American hints about the alternative
pipeline are part of an attempt to apply pressure on Turkey.

Iraq is one of the world's largest oil producers, with the potential of
reaching about 2.5 million barrels a day. Oil exports were halted after the
Gulf War in 1991 and then were allowed again on a limited basis (1.5 million
barrels per day) to finance the import of food and medicines. Iraq is
currently exporting several hundred thousand barrels of oil per day.

During his visit to Washington in about two weeks, Paritzky also plans to
discuss the possibility of U.S. and international assistance for joint
Israeli-Palestinian projects in the areas of energy and infrastructure,
natural gas, desalination and electricity.

Jordan Times, 26th August     
SAN ANTONIO (Reuters) ‹ US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said on Monday
troop levels in Iraq were adequate despite calls in Washington for extra
forces to secure the country more than five months after the US invasion.

Speaking at a Veterans of Foreign Wars meeting in San Antonio, Rumsfeld said
that analysis by the US Joint Chiefs of Staff indicated the United States
had enough troops in Iraq to execute its mission.

"If at any time that were not the case, neither Gen. (Richard) Myers, the
chairman of the joint chiefs, nor I would hesitate for a minute to recommend
appropriate increases to the president of the United States," Rumsfeld said.

"But absent such analysis, it seems to me that it would be a mistake to rush
to such a conclusion." The United States has 136,000 troops in Iraq along
with 20,000 troops from other countries, primarily Britain, according to
military officials.

Rumsfeld was speaking a day after prominent Republican Sen. John McCain of
Arizona called for "at least another division" of US troops ‹ which could
total about 20,000 troops ‹ saying the situation in Iraq had become "a race
against time."

Members of Congress of both parties and defence experts have called for more
troops in the face of persistent attacks against US troops and the bombing
of the UN headquarters and the Jordanian Embassy in Baghdad.

Rumsfeld said US military leaders were not surprised at the calls for more
troops and compared the situation to post-World War II Germany, where allied
forces came under attack from former Nazi soldiers.

"Like the death squads in Iraq, they failed to stop the liberation of
Germany," he said. "The resistance our coalition faces today may appear more
significant than otherwise might have been the case."

by Antonia Zerbisias
The Toronto Star, 26th August


Those of us who toil in the media criticism mire, and there are only a
handful of us in the mainstream (although plenty on the Internet) squawked
often about how the lies, the spin and the outright propaganda - from
stories of the crowds who cheered the toppling of the statue of Saddam to
the rescue of Private Jessica Lynch to yellowcake uranium and on and on -
could fill a book.

And fill a book they did: Weapons Of Mass Deception: The Uses Of Propaganda
In Bush's War On Iraq, by counter-spinmeisters John Stauber and Sheldon

Stauber is founder and director of the Center for Media & Democracy
( while Rampton is his co-writer and editor of the
quarterly PR Watch: Public Interest Reporting On The PR/Public Affairs

Their just-released paperback deconstructs the marketing campaign that sold
Americans on the war - and the interesting thing is, much of it was written
before the first bombs fell on Baghdad. That's long before the truth about
Jessica Lynch emerged, well before the hubbub about Nigerian uranium, and
months before a British weapons expert apparently offed himself in the woods
after being outed as the source of a BBC story saying that Prime Minister
Tony Blair's nose was just as long as George W. Bush's proboscis.

Now here's a surprise: The mainstream media have largely ignored the book,
just like they did Michael Moore's still best-selling Stupid White Men. I
mean, you don't see Rampton and Stauber all over TV the way you see that
harridan Ann Coulter, whose hateful and shrill right-wing screeds (Treason,
Slander, etc.) get plenty of promotion all over the cable dial.

"Despite the U.S. media's lack of attention the book has been regularly in
the top 100 best sellers; it's on the San Francisco Chronicle
best seller list (#5) for the second week in a row, and now it's on the New
York Times list,'' Stauber told me last week.

Weapons Of Mass Deception is just one of a number of new books which cast a
jaundiced eye on the White House and media's role in these times.

My favourite media dissector Danny Schechter (
has compiled his weblog columns, as well as other articles into Embedded:
Weapons Of Mass Deception, an online book from Tony Sutton, an Ontario-based
newspaper consultant and designer. (Conflict alert! Sutton edits, which publishes reports by journalists from around
the world, including John Pilger, Robert Fisk and me.)

Saturday Night Live alumnus Al Franken has Lies And The Lying Liars Who Tell
Them: A Fair And Balanced Look At The Right -which earned him a lawsuit from
the aforementioned Fox News which, laughably, claimed that it owns "Fair And
Balanced'' as its promotional slogan. (Last week a judge rightfully tossed
out the lawsuit.)

Big Lies: The Right-Wing Propaganda Machine And How It Distorts The Truth by
Joe Conason, a writer for the New York Observer and, was excerpted
all last week in Salon. It is a lacerating look the chicken hawks, including
Bush and vice president George Cheney, who sat on their rich and/or
privileged butts during Vietnam but had no compunction about marching other
people's children off to war.

Completely different is Embedded: The Media At War In Iraq, an oral history
by 60 reporters who covered the invasion. Edited by Bill Katovsky and
Timothy Carlson, it includes testimony from CBS' John Roberts, CNN's Sanjay
Gupta and others who purport to tell the "real-life stories behind the
media's own stories.''

This includes some of the truths you didn't see those CNN anchors cheering
about the blood and the guts and the disembowelled victims, with
not-so-sweet stories such as that from the New York Times' Dexter Filkins
who quoted a Marine sharpshooter saying, "We dropped a few civilians but
what do you do? I'm sorry, but the chick was in the way.'' Oh now, there's a
Paula Zahn moment for you.


Jordan Times, 27th August
ANKARA (AFP) ‹ Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday
the government had no plans to recall parliament early, signalling that a
decision on sending Turkish troops to Iraq was unlikely before October.

NATO-member Turkey has yet to decide on a US request to contribute troops to
an international security force in war-torn Iraq, and any such decision
needs to be approved by the parliament, which is in recess until Oct. 1.

Asked whether MPs would be summoned for an extraordinary session in
September, Erdogan told reporters: "No. parliament will start work as

His comments were widely interpreted to mean that there would be no formal
decision on sending troops to Iraq before October.

Recent press reports had suggested that the government would recall
parliament in mid September to discuss both Iraq and a vetoed constitutional
amendment on government land sales.

A parliamentary group chairman for Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development
Party (AKP) also confirmed that the government would wait until October to
decide on troop deployment.

"The motion (on troop deployment) will be evaluated when parliament opens,"
Faruk Celik told reporters.

Both the Turkish government and some army commanders have already said that
they favour extending military assistance to the United States, but the idea
has attracted opposition from the public and several MPs.

According to a poll commissioned by the AKP, 68 per cent said they were
opposed to Turkey sending troops to Iraq, the NTV television channel
reported on its website.

Sixty-four per cent of the 2,032 people questioned, meanwhile, said they
thought the government was not successful in its Iraq policy.

The AKP sees the deployment of troops as an opportunity to mend ties with
the United States, which were strained in March when the Turkish parliament
voted against allowing US troops to invade northern Iraq from Turkey.

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