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[casi] News titles, 20-27/12/02

News titles, 20-27/12/02

An undistinguished crop of articles, but the general picture remains the
same. Resolution 1441 is looking more and more like a paper tiger. The US
have, so far, failed in their effort to shift the burden of proof to Iraq;
they have failed to get control of the inspections process; and they have
really failed to persuade the rest of the world that the problem is urgent.

We are about to see what their trump card (the ability to interview
scientists outside Iraq itself) is worth. For the moment it doesn't look as
if it is worth very much. To work as the US administration would like it to
work, the inspectors would have to forcibly remove the scientist together
with everyone for whom s/he could possibly be expected to have any feelings
of affection, granting them all political asylum for an indefinite period of
time, and all with no guarantee that the scientists would have anything
useful to say. The USA's own reluctance to give an automatic right of asylum
indicates that they know perfectly well what the practical difficulties are.

So at present the Iraqi government is still on top of the situation and the
US government is squirming. It seems very unlikely that there will be a
second UN resolution (the Iraqi government would have to do something
breathtakingly stupid) and without it the US 'coalition' is looking
decidedly seedy. It is by no means certain that even Qatar and Kuwait would
co-operate without a second resolution. There is a general feeling of
weariness with US bullying and hectoring. One important indication of it is
the fact that Germany has been given the chairmanship of the UN's Iraq
sanctions committee against US opposition (see under Iraqi/International

In the absence of a second resolution, the US are faced with the
disagreeable prospects of going it alone against the hostility of the world,
possibly from aircraft carriers; slinking away with their tails between
their legs; or, as was being suggested in several articles a couple of weeks
ago, leaving a huge military disposition sweltering in the Gulf until, say,
next October, so giving more time for the inspectors to discover something
(but it has to be something pretty radical).

And in the meantime, the US administration's threats to take out North Korea
as part of the 'axis of evil', and the failure of both the Clinton and Bush
administrations to fulfil the terms of the 1994 agreement (to deliver the
promised light water reactors) have opened up a second front. Donald
Rumsfeld breezily declares that the US will have no problems winning two
major wars at once, but the length of time it is taking to build up enough
of a presence to defeat Iraq - a country which, we all know, has no military
capacity worth talking about - suggests otherwise. The indications here too
are that the Project for a New American Century team are heading towards a
horrible humiliation.

Which is not necessarily good news for the rest of us. The consequences when
people of that sort feel they have been driven to desperate measures can be
terrible. The town of Halabja in Southern Kurdistan/Northern Iraq is there
as a proof ...

NEWS, 20-27/12/02 (1)


*  Quizzing scientists will be tricky [Rather a good outline of the
practical problems involved, eg '"It's not clear what family means. Do the
inspectors bring out 50 people or an entire village ...?"']
*  6,000 gas bombs could be missing
*  U.S. to Give U.N. Inspectors Better Iraqi Site Intelligence
*  U.S. Is Preparing to Share Intelligence With U.N. Team [Some details on
how intelligence is, and has been in the past, shared with inspectors:
'Security for intelligence provided by the United States to U.N. weapons
inspectors has been an ongoing problem for Washington since Blix decided
that he would not have a senior American deputy. During the 1990s
inspections, the American who served as the deputy chief of the U.N.
inspectors also served as the entry point for U.S. intelligence.']
*  U.N.: Give Iraqis who talk asylum ['The Bush administration ... has so
far declined to offer blanket assurances of asylum to all Iraqis questioned
by the inspectors.' The Iraqi scientists Liberation Act passed by Congress
(see News 1-8/11/02 (4)) presumably only offers asylum as a reward for
spilling the beans.]
*  Iraq hits back with CIA offer [Press conference by General Amir al-Sadi,
scientific adviser to the president: '"We do not even have any objections if
the CIA sent somebody with the inspectors to show them the suspected sites,"
Gen Sadi said.']
*  Iraq 'ready' for questions on dossier [More details from Amir al-Saadi
press conference. Uranium from Niger, production of VX (he suggests that
UNSCOM tampered with the evidence).]
*  UN arms experts search Iraqi space site for banned weapons [The Al
Battanee Center in Baghdad, 'a scientific group engaged in "space
technology, space optics, atmospheric studies and remote sensing ...provides
the telemetry systems for the Al Samoud missile system."']
*  U.S. to give Iraq inspectors photos of 'sanitation activities' [US have
definite satellite proof that some Iraqi factories have been disposing of
rubbish. If they'd only thought of it in time, they could have made rubbish
disposal a prohibited activity under Res 1441.]
*  Christmas Cause: American Weapons Inspector Doing Job in Iraq, Away From
Family [Account of inspector Kay Mareish]
*  Iraqi nuclear scientists quizzed [Dr. Sabah Abdul Noor et al]
*  US can't withdraw inspectors from Iraq: UN [This may prove to be an
important point. Difficult for the US to launch a unilateral strike if the
inspectors are still there]
*  U.S. courted top Iraqi scientist [Attempt last May to secure defection of
'Jaffar Dhia Jaffar, widely regarded as the father of Iraq's secret nuclear
weapons program' (was that not supposed to Khidr Hamza? Who by the way
doesn't seem to be too keen on the idea of interviewing scientists outside
Iraq, though if I'm not mistaken he was one of the ones who suggested it in
the first place).]
*  Iraq to Let Scientists Leave for Interviews [Its a personal choice. But
only someone who intended to spill the beans would make that choice. So
no-one will. This, the brightest idea in the US arsenal of bright ideas,
would only work if it was compulsory. Which it isn't. Another fine mess
you've gotten us into ...]


*  British Bishops To Deliver Anti-war Christmas Sermons [Overwhelming
opposition from hierarchies, not just of the CofE but also other hierarchial
churches. But the Daily Telegraph draws comfort from the fact that on
November 11 the General Synod of the CofE failed to pass a resolution saying
that it believes UN consent to be necessary to war.]
*  Church leaders attack war plans [Rowan Williams and Cormac Murphy
O'Connor. Plus Stop the War Coalition's children's Christmas card to Prime
Minister Blair]
*  British people reject action against Iraq [sez MP Chaudhry Sarwar on a
visit to Pakistan]
*  Blair's priest denounces PM over war on Iraq

AND, IN NEWS, 20-27/12/02 (2)


*  Citing Iraq, Bush Postpones Africa Trip
*  US Army Division Launches Massive Live-Fire Exercises in Kuwait
*  A Cynical Exercise in Iraq [Milan Rai argues that the US only want to
replace Mr Hussein with another strongman and that they see the weapons
inspection process as an obstacle to that end, and so want to sabotage it]
*  Nasty turn on human rights in terror fight [Roundups of hundreds of
Middle Eastern and African men in Southern California. 'Lawyers reported
that some detainees were forced to stand up all night for lack of room, that
some were placed in shackles and others were hosed down with cold water
before being thrown into unheated cells.' Citizens of Egypt and Saudi Arabia
were exempted from the process.]
*  Not All Iraq Claims Backed by Evidence [eg story 'that when Iraqi
soldiers captured by Iran in the 1980s returned from that war, President
Saddam Hussein ordered their ears cut off, as the Pentagon stated.']
*  Did U.S. condemn Iraq too quickly? [Suggests that the US has rushed out
too far in advance of other SC members]
*  US push for democracy in Arab world may not work ['A recent report by the
Washington-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace ... describes as
far-fetched the notion that the Arab street will rise up in pro-democracy
protests and install pro-Western governments in the wake of a regime change
in Iraq.']
*  With Saddam, its Don Corleone or Donald Duck [Thomas Friedman. His basic
point is that since no-one except the US wants the war, Saddam will soon be
offered an appealing exit strategy. But he might be too stupid (a la Donald
Duck) to take it. Basically Don Corleone is the smart Saddam who does what
the US wants him to do. Donald Duck is the stupid Saddam who tweaks the
lion's tail. Friedman fails to understand that tweaking the lion's tail is
what Saddam is all about. If he didn't do that he would be nothing. And if
he was nothing he would be dead.]
*  Saddam planned to use bioweapons in Gulf War: CIA
*  Anti-Iraq Military Alliance Builds Slowly [The article tries to put a
brave face on what is for USUK - failing a second UNSC resolution - a
diplomatic catastrophe]
*  Iraqi native accused of sending money home ordered held ['At Gravois
Discount Smokes, Hussein Al-Waeli, 33, a Shiite Muslim and naturalized U.S.
citizen, said he has sent money to his six sisters in Iraq. About three
years ago, he sent them $200, he said. He realizes that it is illegal, but
without his help, "How will they eat?" he asked.']
*  U.S. ready to fight two wars at once
*  Persian Gulf War Veterans to Sue Alleged Iraq Suppliers [This article
comes from the Tehran Times which points out that the consequences for
Iranian soldiers were rather more serious.]
*  Iraq bans CNN Baghdad bureau chief
*  Coalition Gels Despite Some Latecomers [or the Gentle Art of Making a
Silk Purse out of a Sow's Ear]

AND, IN NEWS, 20-27/12/02 (3)


*  Bad weather halts Iraqi oil shipping at Ceyhan
*  Could the Iranian revolution die on its feet? [Interesting account of the
conflict in Iran stressing the reasons for the strength of the Conservative
minority, but concluding that the US will probably get its way (which isn't
necessarily the way of the reformers) in the end.]
*  Milliyet: Turkey's position regarding Iraq [Americans promise the Turks
that the Kurds won't be allowed to get their hands on the oil round Kirkuk
and Mosul; the Turks still require a second resolution.]
*  Gulf Summit Ends With Decry of Saddam [Gulf Cooperation Council, meeting
in Qatar]
*  Baghdad returns Kuwaiti paintings [but not the key documents legitimising
Kuwait's existence as a separate state]
*  Pentagon negotiates Turkey staging area ['in addition to much larger
invasions planned from the west and the south'. What prospect is there of an
invasion from the West? The article is mainly concerned with ways in which
the US could use Turkey while being as little visible as possible to the
Turkish people.]
*  Iraq, Iran Ask UN to Open New Border Crossing
*  Barazani, Talibani in Ankara after Jalabi; Turkish parliament discuss
American requests
*  Jordan slogan [''Jordan First,"] readies citizens for Iraq war
*  Turkey opposed to US deployment [The article states that Ankara will open
five military air bases to the United States in case of a war and that
Turkey will ask the US to secure a new UNSC resolution but it isn't clear if
the latter is a necessary condition of the former.]
*  Three tracks for Egyptian moves to prevent attacks against Iraq
*  Turkey gives approval for U.S. to keep using air base [renewal of
*  Saudis win $44m Iraqi contracts
*  Israeli Leaders Accuse Sharon of Lying, Creating Hysteria Over Alleged
Iraqi Threat [Among others, 'Tsvi Farkash, the head of Israeli military
intelligence ... was quoted on Monday as saying that "there is no evidence
of any transfer of chemical or biological weapons from Iraq to Syria." ']
*  Beirut denies Iraqi WMD transportation to Lebanon
*  Turkey insists on UN resolution for possible Iraq war ['Yalcinbayir was
speaking during talks with representatives from an anti-Iraq war platform of
more than 150 non-governmental organisations which have recently held
demonstrations against military strikes on Turkey's southeastern neighbour.'
We are not expressing sufficient admiration of Turkish civil society at the
present time.]


*  US, UK warplanes again attack Iraqi defences [Friday 20th December, near
Basra and An Nasiriyah]
*  Casualties of an 'Undeclared War' [Account of life on the receiving end
of the No Fly Zone raids]
*  Iraqi jets shoot down US spy plane ['the first to be downed by Iraqi
warplanes', inside the 'No Fly' zone. Which, under the circumstances,
strikes me as positively cheeky.]
*  Iraq Says 3 Killed, 16 Injured in US-British Raids [Basra and Dhi Qar,
Thursdat, 26th December. They also hit a mosque. Now we know why Saddam is
building mosques with minarets made to look like ballistic missiles]

AND, IN NEWS, 20-27/12/02 (4)


*  U.S. Asks Germans to Guard Bases End of Jan-Source ['The United States
has 71,000 troops, mostly army and air force, stationed at various bases
around Germany.' Would this not be a good time to kick them out?]
*  French Defense Minister backs Mubarak's warnings against striking Iraq
*  Japan said to begin drafting bill permitting troops in Iraq [to help
dismantle weapons of mass destruction - if there are any, on the Iraqi side
that is - after the war is over] 
*  Oilman [Arthur Millholland, the president of Calgary-based Oilexco Inc]
to lead [Canadian] MPs on tour of Iraq
*  Germany wins key U.N. role [Chairmanship of the UN sanctions committee,
against US opposition]
*  Niger Denies Uranium Sale to Iraq, Accuses U.S. of 'Libel'
*  Iraq is 'dead meat' [Although most of this article, from the 'Pakistan
News' sounds like the New York Post trying to give itself Muslim airs, it
ends with an interesting suggestion: that the Arab league should take on the
task of disarming and replacing President Hussein]
*  Germany Says No Money for Iraq War This Time
*  Russia rallies round Iraq [Ivanov: "The most important thing is making
sure that Iraq has no weapons of mass destruction ... All other goals run
counter to our interests"]
*  Germany to pressure the EU against possible war in Iraq
*  Iraq to buy 50,000 tons wheat from Pakistan
*  Three UN Council members unconvinced of need to attack [Positions of
Russia, France and China]
*  Saddam secretly funded Pakistan A-bomb [Apparently detailed Indian eye
view of Iraq's nuclear weapons programme]
*  Intelligence Predicts Hussein's Reaction to Attack [Extract concerning
visit of delegation from Belarus to Baghdad, which is surely surprising at a
time when Belarus is supposed to be squirming under the pressure of US
accusations of selling arms to Iraq]
*  Iraq showing unusual interest in Ukraine nuclear laboratory
*  Nato would back attack if inspectors find arms [sez George ('Lord')
Robertson without specifying if another UN resolution would be required]
*  Niger Says Iraq Sought But Failed to Buy Uranium [twenty years ago]

*  Pope urges peace in Christmas eve mass
Asian Tribune, 25th December
[The article does not actually quote the Pope to this effect but gives some
quotes from senior Vatican officials]


*  Saddam's foes skewed by sectarianism [Complaint that the Opposition
document gives the impression that Saddam Hussein's government was a Sunni
government oppressing Shi'ites whereas in fact it oppressed everyone, Sunni
and Shi'ite alike.]

AND, IN NEWS, 20-27/12/02 (5)


*  Iraqi Christians fear invasion backlash [US pressure is pushing the Iraqi
population into a more militant form of Islam which is bad news for
*  Iraq: Babil newspaper resumes publication
*  'If God wants to take us, he will take us' [Extract, concerning the
doctrine taught at the Saddam University of Islamic Studies]
*  Iraq turns to human shields [The regime says peace activists are willing
to act as human shields. The peace activists themselves aren't so sure. nb
'Iraq also used civilians as human shields four years ago when the US and
Britain launched an extensive air campaign in response to Baghdad's failure
to cooperate with the last round of weapons inspections.' Leaving aside the
usual error about Baghdad's failure to cooperate etc, the question is posed:
did it work?]
*  Iraqi government uses Muslim leaders to court anti-Saddam Kurds [The
'Popular Islamic International Congress Organization', meeting in Kirkuk]
*  Iraq orchestra strikes chord of normalcy
*  Satellite ban stays: Saddam ["banning immoral behaviour while
simultaneously helping spread it (by airing footage that would encourage
such behaviour) would bring God's wrath down upon us," said Saddam]


*  Iraq war could deepen world food crisis -aid groups ['"Even without the
prospect of helping millions more in Iraq, we are heading into a year like
none we've ever seen, a tide of need almost incomprehensible in scope," Sara
Piepmeier, the U.N.'s World Food Program spokeswoman in Chicago, said.']
*  Air campaign plans to spare Iraq infrastructure [The US army only want to
hurt Saddam Hussein and his immediate circle, not anyone else. So if anyone
else gets hurt its obviously the fault of Saddam Hussein.]
*  After Saddam, What? [German Swiss reflections on the lack of real
national politics: 'Aside from the ruling Baath Party, there is today no
significant political movement which has at heart the interests of Iraq as a
*  Debate over control of Iraq oil [Should it go to Iraqis under UN
supervision (Powell) or directly to the US (Wolfowitz)]
*  Oilmen don't want another Suez [Oil companies less than delighted at the
prospect of war]
*  Why any war with Iraq will be over in a flash [All the very latest
fashions in weapons of mass destruction described with breathless

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