The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[casi] News, 20-27/12/02 (2)

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
*  Nasty turn on human rights in terror fight
*  Not All Iraq Claims Backed by Evidence
*  Did U.S. condemn Iraq too quickly?
*  US push for democracy in Arab world may not work
*  With Saddam, its Don Corleone or Donald Duck
*  Saddam planned to use bioweapons in Gulf War: CIA
*  Anti-Iraq Military Alliance Builds Slowly
*  Iraqi native accused of sending money home ordered held
*  U.S. ready to fight two wars at once
*  Persian Gulf War Veterans to Sue Alleged Iraq Suppliers
*  Iraq bans CNN Baghdad bureau chief
*  Coalition Gels Despite Some Latecomers


by Sandra Sobieraj
Las Vegas Sun (from AP), 20th December

The White House called off President Bush's planned trip to Africa next
month, citing the standoff with Iraq and a desire to start work on domestic

The trip will be rescheduled for later in the year, said White House press
secretary Ari Fleischer.

Fleischer said the multi-nation trip, which would have been Bush's first to
the African continent, was being postponed "due to a combination of domestic
and international considerations."

"The president looks forward to visiting Africa in 2003 to continue building
America's partnership with the continent and to sharing firsthand with
African leaders his commitment to working on issues ranging from the war on
terrorism to economic development," Fleischer said.

One senior administration official denied that security was a factor.

But law enforcement sources said the Secret Service had serious concerns for
the president's safety in Africa after last month's terrorist attacks in
Kenya, for which Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network claimed responsibility.

Voice of America, 21st December

The U.S. Army has launched its biggest military exercise in the Persian Gulf
region since the Gulf war, in preparation for possible war with Iraq. The
day and night live-fire exercises in the Kuwaiti desert involve thousands of
troops from the army's Third Division and hundreds of armored vehicles.

In one maneuver Saturday, an army spokesman said an armored brigade sent its
high speed M1 Abrams tanks against forward positions that resembled Iraqi
trenches and minefields.

Third Division Major General Buford Blount told reporters the exercises
involve what he called one of the best trained division in the army.


by Milan Rai
Counterpunch, 21st December

The presence of weapons inspectors in Iraq could delay and perhaps derail
the US drive to war, therefore they are part of the problem, not part of the
solution, so far as the US is concerned.

A top US Senate foreign policy aide observed in May 2002 that: "The White
House's biggest fear is that UN weapons inspectors will be allowed to go

When he addressed the UN General Assembly on 12 September, President George
W Bush demanded the elimination of "all weapons of mass destruction,
long-range missiles, and all related material" in Iraq, "if the Iraqi regime
wishes peace."

He also demanded an end to Iraqi "support for terrorism", an end to Iraq's
"persecution of its civilian population", and an end to the oil smuggling
which is the lifeblood of the regime.

Nowhere did the president demand or even mention the return of UN weapons
inspectors to Iraq.

The message seemed to be that even if weapons inspectors were re-admitted,
the US could find another justification for a war against Iraq.

Secretary of State Colin Powell said in May, "US policy is that regardless
of what the inspectors do, the people of Iraq and the people of the region
would be better off with a different regime in Baghdad. The United States
reserves its option to do whatever it believes might be appropriate to see
if there can be a regime change."

There is pressure on UN weapons inspectors to instigate a confrontation that
can be used to justify war, perhaps over the US demand that inspectors take
weapons scientists and their families out of Iraq for questioning (where
they will be offered asylum by the US).

Iraq is expected to refuse to permit this, creating a "justification" for

Chief weapons inspector Hans Blix is reluctant, having said: "We are not
going to abduct anyone. The UN is not a defection agency."

The abduction of scientists is not necessary to verify whether or not Iraq
has weapons of mass destruction, but disarmament is not the goal. The US
goal is to bring about the replacement of Saddam Hussein.

Thomas Friedman, diplomatic correspondent of the New York Times, said in
July 1991 that economic sanctions would continue until there was a military
coup which would create "the best of all worlds": "an iron-fisted Iraqi
junta without Saddam Hussein".

A return to the days when Saddam Hussein's "iron first" held Iraq together,
"much to the satisfaction of the American allies Turkey and Saudi Arabia".
This is not "regime change"; this is "regime stabilisation/leadership

In October, Ari Fleischer, White House spokesperson, tried to deflect a
question about the multi-billion-dollar cost of a US invasion by observing
that the expense of a war on Iraq could be saved by the "cost of a bullet".
Asked if he was calling for Saddam Hussein to be assassinated, in
contravention of US law, Mr Fleischer said, regime change was welcome "in
whatever form it takes".

This clarifies the meaning of "regime change" beautifully: delete the
Supreme Leader, and slot in another Iraqi general in his stead.

In this viewpoint section on 12 December, Daniel Neep of the Royal United
Services Institute commented that, in the event of war: "The ideal scenario
is someone within Iraq, preferably within the army, killing Saddam and
taking control. That would mean that entering Baghdad would not be necessary
and would also solve the problem of who will govern once he has gone."

The search for a replacement for the Supreme Leader has not gone well. The
exiled general possessing the most "credibility" with the Iraqi military,
General Nizar al- Khazraji, is being investigated in Denmark in connection
with the war crime of gassing 5,000 Kurds in 1988.

Another US favourite is Brigadier General Najib al-Salhi, who has called for
multi-party democracy in Iraq. The general rather gave the game away,
however, when he stressed the need to encourage Iraqi military leaders to
switch sides by promising that no more than 20 of Saddam's closest henchmen
would be treated as criminals by a new Iraqi Government.

The United States is not committed to the weapons inspection process, has
never called for the return of weapons inspectors, and is interested in the
inspectors only insofar as they can be manipulated into creating a war

That war has as its immediate goal the assassination and replacement of
Saddam Hussein and his immediate entourage, and a continuation of the same
regime (with minor modifications).

"Regime stabilisation with leadership change" will reinforce the stability
of Washington's clients in the region, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, and
re-establish US dominance of Iraq's huge oil wealth.

This is a deeply cynical exercise, as well as being illegal and immoral.

Milan Rai is author of War Plan Iraq: Ten Reasons Against War (Verso, 2002)
and a member of Active Resistance to the Roots of War (Arrow). He is also
co-founder of Voices in the Wilderness UK, which has worked for the lifting
of UN sanctions in Iraq.

New Zealand Herald, 21st December

Hundreds of Middle Eastern and African men, some as young as 16, have been
hauled into custody across southern California in the past few days,
enraging civil liberties groups and drawing comparisons with the internment
of tens of thousands of Japanese Americans during World War II.

The round-ups in Los Angeles, San Diego and suburban Orange County were part
of a new counter-terrorism initiative by the Bush administration requiring
men and teenagers from specific countries to register with the immigration
authorities and have their fingerprints taken.

Several thousand citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Sudan - many of
them accompanied by lawyers - willingly came forward to meet Tuesday's

However, as many as a quarter of them - estimates vary between 500 and 1000
people - were arrested on the basis of apparently minor visa violations and
herded into crowded jail cells under threat of deportation.

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.

They said the numbers were so high that authorities were talking about
transferring several hundred detainees to Arizona to await immigration
hearings and deportation orders.

Both the lawyers and the southern California chapter of the American Civil
Liberties Union denounced the round-up as an outrage that did not advance
the fight against terrorism and very possibly hindered it.

At a public demonstration in Los Angeles on Thursday, at least 3000 peaceful
protesters waved signs saying "What Next? Concentration Camps?" and "Detain
Terrorists, not Innocent Immigrants".

"All of our fundamental civil rights have been violated by these actions,"
one lawyer, Ban Al Wardi, told the Los Angeles Times after 14 of her 20
clients were arrested during the registration process.

"I don't know how far this is going to go before people start speaking up.
This is a very dangerous precedent we are setting. What's to stop Americans
from being treated like this when they travel overseas?"

In one case, a 16-year-old youth was ripped from his mother and told he
would never return home. The mother is a legal resident married to an
American citizen.

Many of the detainees came from Los Angeles' large Iranian Jewish population
and are highly unlikely to have any link to militant Islamic guerrilla

Immigration officials said they would not discuss numbers but did not
dispute one report putting the number of detainees at between 500 and 700.
They acknowledged that anyone with even a slight visa irregularity was
subject to arrest, regardless of their personal histories.

The detainees' lawyers challenged the Government to produce any evidence of
criminal behaviour among their clients, let alone a link to international
terrorist groups.

Many of the detainees, lawyers said, were waiting for green cards and other
residency documents - all of which have been held up for months because of
security concerns. The expiry of their student or tourist visas would
normally be regarded as a minor issue.

The next deadline for registration is January 10 and will cover the citizens
of Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Eritrea, Lebanon, Morocco, North Korea,
Oman, Qatar, Somalia, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen - countries
all associated by the Bush administration with either "evil" or "terrorism"
or both.

However, two countries whose citizens were closely associated with the
September 11 attacks - Egypt and Saudi Arabia - have been exempted,
presumably because of close ties between their governments and the Bush

The registration scheme was conceived by President Bush's
ultra-conservative, much criticised Attorney General, John Ashcroft, and had
already come under heavy criticism for blatant discrimination.

One prominent dissident lawyer, Stephen Yagman, said he was shocked by the
detentions but not entirely surprised given the US history of indiscriminate
round-ups of minorities.

"The en masse round-ups of people in this country always have involved
members of a despised minority group. It's the American way - round up all
the aliens and make a spectacle of it."

by Calvin Woodward
Las Vegas Sun (from AP), 22nd December

Today's claims about Iraq could become tomorrow's call to arms. But not all
the statements coming from the Bush administration have been supported by
evidence, and some that haven't are central to the question of whether
Americans should go to war.

The overarching claim, that Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction, may
have the weight of probability behind it, but it has yet to be backed by
proof shared with the public.

Behind that is a cast of supporting allegations, some veering off into murky

Human rights monitors, for example, say it is news to them 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.

When President Bush flatly asserted about Saddam, "He possesses the most
deadly arms of our age," he seemed to ignore the consensus that Iraq does
not have the weapons of Armageddon - nuclear ones - however actively it may
be pursuing them.

A decade ago, Americans preparing for their first war against Iraq were
shocked when a Kuwaiti girl, testifying to Congress, said she saw Iraqi
soldiers occupying her country take infants off of their respirators and let
them die.

The story quickly became part of the first President Bush's campaign to win
public support for the war. "Babies pulled from incubators and scattered
like firewood across the floor," he said.

Only after the war did the story fall apart and the witness' true identity -
the daughter of Kuwait's ambassador to the United States - become known.

With that in mind, Joe Stork, a Middle East monitor for Human Rights Watch,
urged the government not to stretch its claims of Iraqi atrocities, because
doing so can undermine confidence in carefully documented reports of genuine

"I do think the human rights abuses in Iraq are systematic and serious,"
said Stork, whose group investigates mistreatment of citizens worldwide.
"This is one of the worst governments in the world. There is absolutely no
need to exaggerate."

On the crucial question of Iraqi weapons, knowledge of Saddam's past
chemical and biological stockpiles, combined with shadowy actions since the
world last had a good look around there, leads many analysts to think he is
capable of causing huge destruction now.

But U.N. inspectors are still inspecting, some suspicions remain
suppositions, and U.S. allies are waiting for a clincher.

"So far the inspectors have found nothing, and the U.S. has produced
nothing," said Phyllis Bennis, a Middle East analyst for the liberal
Institute for Policy Studies in Washington. "I'm not prepared to support a
war on spec."

Other analysts put more weight behind U.S. allegations that Iraq has
regenerated its biological weapons capabilities and may have chemical
weapons, which it used in the past, as well.

But the indictment offered by Washington last week, accusing Iraq of being
in "material breach" of the U.N. disarmament resolution, rests not on what
has been uncovered in the inspections but, in large measure, on what was
omitted in Iraq's report on its weapons inventory.

Among the administration's points:

-Satellites have picked up on construction of an unknown nature at
previously bombed weapons sites.

-Iraq has offered no proof that it has destroyed a long list of highly
destructive weapons it acknowledged having had before.

-Iraq has imported suspicious materials that could advance its attempts to
develop nuclear weapons.

On other fronts, U.S. officials have made several charges without offering
support in the past few weeks.

For example, intelligence officials said Iraq has an audacious plan to
destroy its own food sources, power supplies and oil fields, and blame
America for it, if war against U.S. forces does not go well - all for the
purpose of turning international opinion against Washington. They refused to
describe their evidence.

Government sources also said, in leaked comments, that Islamic extremists
affiliated with the al-Qaida network might have taken possession of the
deadly chemical weapon VX while in Iraq. The claim weakened under

U.S. officials have tried before to establish a connection between Iraq and
the terrorist network that attacked America.

In this case, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld would not talk about any
Iraq-terrorist VX transaction but said: "I have seen other information over
a period of time that suggests that could be happening."

But a variety of counterterror and defense officials said later they had no
credible evidence that Iraq supplied the nerve agent to al-Qaida operatives.

Questions also have been raised about claims made in U.S. radio broadcasts
to Iraqi soldiers and citizens. One was the ear-cutting claim.

Referring to the Iran-Iraq war, one new broadcast proclaims: "When the Iraqi
soldiers that were taken prisoner were returned, Saddam ordered their ears
cut off as punishment for being captured."

Pentagon officials would not verify the claim.

In fact, a 1994 investigation by the U.N. Human Rights Commission took note
of reports that doctors were carrying out a decree that military deserters
and evaders have their ears amputated.

The report did not find that loyal Iraqi troops who had been captured in the
Iran war years earlier were similarly punished. "That's quite a different
assertion," said Stork. "I frankly doubt if it's true."

by Julia Preston
Seattle Times, from The New York Times, 22nd December

United Nations ‹ By asserting that Iraq's arms declaration put it once again
in material breach of U.N. resolutions, the United States added to the stash
of violations it can use to make its case before the Security Council when
Washington is ready to go to war against Iraq.

Secretary of State Colin Powell's charge against Iraq on Thursday was
reinforced in the eyes of Council nations by the similarities between the
Bush administration's view of the Iraqi arms documents and the bluntly
critical assessment by Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei, the chief U.N.
weapons inspectors.

But the U.S. contention that Iraq's lapses amounted to the most serious form
of defiance put it far out ahead of the other Council nations, including
Britain, its closest ally.

While it appears that the Council will generally agree about the failings of
Iraq's declaration, Washington's move strained the united front that the
Council has presented to Iraq since it unanimously adopted Resolution 1441,
the measure of Nov. 8 that started the inspections.

One after another, Council diplomats have come forward since the weapons
inspectors' briefing Thursday to urge caution about activating the severe
consequences threatened in the resolution if Iraq commits new infractions.

Russia argued that the Bush administration was out of line in unilaterally
saying that there had been a "material breach." The Russian ambassador to
the United Nations, Sergey Lavrov, insisted that only the Council as a whole
was entitled to make such a judgment, and only on the basis of reports from
the weapons inspectors, not intelligence from national governments.

"The work of the inspectors is at a very early stage," Lavrov said, barely
concealing his aggravation. He demanded again that the Bush administration
come forward with hard intelligence to prove that President Saddam Hussein
of Iraq is hiding weapons of mass destruction.

"To say, 'We know, but we wouldn't tell you,' is not something that is
persuasive, frankly speaking," Lavrov said. "This is not a poker game, when
you hold your cards and call others' bluff."

France, a U.S. ally that negotiated stubbornly so Resolution 1441 would
include no terms that could automatically be a trigger for war, was openly
critical of the Iraqi declaration, saying, "It does not remove the doubts"
about Baghdad.

But the French ambassador, Jean-Marc de la Sabliere, also maintained that
only the whole Council could make the grave charge that Iraq was in further
breach of U.N. resolutions. Even Britain did not second the statement by the
chief U.S. delegate to the U.N., John Negroponte, that Iraq had committed
"material omissions that in our view constitute another material breach."

Not the least of the reasons why Washington's charge of a "material breach"
seemed premature was that most of the 10 nonpermanent Council nations had
barely had time to read the cover sheets of the 12,000-page Iraqi tome. The
rotating nations only received their filtered copies late Tuesday.

Many Council nations were uneasy ‹ although not surprised ‹ that the Bush
administration was driving the events faster than they wanted to go.

In fact, the Council consensus was already showing wear and tear. Syria,
which shares a border with Iraq and is the only Arab nation on the Council,
was infuriated by the U.S. maneuver two weekends ago to obtain uncensored
copies of the Iraqi declaration for the five permanent members, excluding
the nonpermanent group.

Even more diplomats were irritated when Negroponte said the U.S. had made it
clear that they would demand to see the Iraqi documents immediately, rather
than after they had been filtered by Blix and ElBaradei. That was not so,
they complained.

Although Bush administration officials have said they are ready to provide
more direct support to the weapons inspectors, the dissension on the Council
complicates matters for Blix and ElBaradei as they struggle to decipher
Iraq's weapons programs with little hard information from Iraq to work with.

But after Iraq has made an arms declaration that has been judged to be
flawed, the burden of proof in the inspections now falls even more heavily
on the officials in Baghdad.

"Because of Iraq's patchy record of cooperation, they need to have a 100
percent proactive posture in coming up with evidence to exonerate
themselves," ElBaradei said. "The less clarification they provide, the less
certainty with which we can report to the Security Council."

He added, "Without a credible or high degree of certainty, I do not see the
Security Council exonerating Iraq.",4386,162183,00.html?

by Asad Latif
Straits Times, 23rd December

A WAR with Iraq can help bring democracy to the Arab world - so some
Americans believe.

As the prospects of a conflict in the Middle East loom large, the argument
is being scrutinised before it is put to the test and indications are that
the US push for a democracy in the Arab world may not work.

Earlier this month, Dr Richard Haass, who directs the policy planning staff
in the US State Department, declared that his country would support
democratic trends in the Muslim world more actively 'than ever before'.

The reason for his emphasis on democracy is a growing gulf between many
Muslim regimes and their citizens.

The divide can compromise those governments' ability to co-operate with the
United States in its efforts to combat terrorism or halt the spread of
weapons of mass destruction, he noted.

Many would agree that the Middle East is in dire need of reform.

Scholar Fareed Zakaria noted in a Newsweek article that the Arab world does
not have a single full-fledged democracy among its 22 countries.

'More broadly, only 25 per cent of the Muslim world is democratic, compared
with more than 50 per cent of the rest of the world,' he wrote.

But can Iraq be democratised by force? And can that Iraq unleash a
democratic tsunami across the Arab world?

One view is utterly hostile to such suggestions.

'Everyone knows that the Iraqi opposition is so weak that it can only get to
Baghdad aboard American tanks after a devastating war,' said the Al-Khaleej
newspaper, which is published in the emirate of Sharjah.

It was referring to exiled Iraqi opposition groups, which expect to play a
crucial role in the country should President Saddam Hussein's regime be

'Washington will not hesitate to use any means to achieve its aim of
crushing the Arabs and redistributing the roles in the region to the
advantage of Israel,' the newspaper added.

Other approaches to Middle Eastern issues question, not so much America's
intentions, as its abilities to democratise the region by bringing about a
regime change in Baghdad.

A recent report by the Washington-based Carnegie Endowment for International
Peace casts doubt on this ambitious project.

Looking at precedents, it notes that the US invasion and subsequent
rebuilding of Haiti have led to political chaos.

There is a 'tenuous political equilibrium' in Bosnia, it points out.

Afghanistan - which Iraq resembles in that it is torn by ideological,
religious and ethnic conflicts - suffers from a troubled and uncertain
political situation.

Iraq's future can be problematic, therefore.

As for the wider Middle East, the report 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.

Rather, autocratic regimes that refuse to support America's war efforts may
strengthen their positions on the back of revived Arab nationalism. Domestic
advocates of reform will be in danger, then, of being branded as

Conversely, autocratic regimes that support the invasion of Iraq may win a
reprieve from new US pressure to democratise.

Also, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's government may see a US invasion
of Iraq as an invitation to skirt the issue of Palestinian statehood.

The report argues that the Middle East lacks the domestic conditions that
set the stage for democratisation elsewhere.

The region has not seen prolonged periods of economic growth and dramatic
changes in educational and living standards that helped democratic change in
Taiwan and South Korea.

Focusing on Islamist movements, it warns: 'Democratisation ironically raises
the possibility of bringing to power political parties that might well
abrogate democracy itself.'

The report concludes that the idea of instant democratic transformation is a

It proposes ways in which the US can promote democracy.

Washington should press Arab states to respect political rights, widen
political space, and carry out constitutional changes, it argues.

The US should also nurture efforts to develop the rule of law and support
civil society activists, including 'moderate Islamists'.

This month, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency George Tenet spoke
of the need to encourage 'the silent majorities throughout the Muslim world
to speak out on behalf of moderate alternatives to radical Islamic

He acknowledged that the US could not impose an 'approved' version of Islam
on the Islamic world. 'What we instead need to do is help the Muslim world
come to grips with its issues and to find its own way out of the political
and economic dead end the radicals are urging,' he added.

This US goal is a worthwhile one, to the extent that a democratic Middle
East can reduce the push towards extremism in the region and make the rest
of the world a safer place.

The question is whether an invasion of Iraq will serve that purpose.

Time will tell. Perhaps soon.,3604,864579,00.html

by Thomas Friedman
The Guardian, from New York Times, 23rd December

Saddam Hussein has always been a unique political creature - a combination
of Don Corleone and Donald Duck. He's always been capable of the most
shrewd, but brutal, survival tactics, à la the Godfather, and the most
cartoonish miscalculations, à la the Donald. At the moment, we are
witnessing his Donald Duck side. Imagine if instead of issuing a report
saying he had no weapons of mass destruction, Saddam had said: "Oh my gosh,
we just found eight Scud missiles and four barrels of chemicals hidden under
some blankets in the basement. I had no idea they were there! Please, take
them away. I've already executed the general who was hiding them."

That would have created a huge problem for the Bush war team. Instead, by
playing totally (and unbelievably) innocent, Saddam is helping the US make
the case for war. But does that mean war is inevitable? Not yet. I believe
Saddam will have one more exit opportunity, and the Bush team needs to be
ready for it. I call it "the Primakov moment".

Yevgeny Primakov was the Russian envoy and KGB veteran who made several
trips to Baghdad in 1990-91 to try to talk Saddam out of Kuwait-diplomacy
that drove the first Bush administration crazy. Saddam probably could have
kept half of Kuwait had he played along.

My guess is we will see this play again. Before Gulf War II is launched,
there will be a Russian-French or Arab delegation that tries to persuade
Saddam to spare his family, and everyone else, from a war - either by
disclosing his weapons or by going into exile under its protection.

Why? Because, unlike Gulf War I, too many nations don't want Gulf War II.
Egypt got two thirds of its debts to the west forgiven for participating in
Gulf War I. But today Egypt is terrified about a popular backlash. Syria
reportedly got $1bn from Saudi Arabia for joining Gulf War I, but the regime
in Damascus has no interest in Gulf War II, because it could be the next
target. Turkey got $3bn for its help in Gulf War I, but it will only get a
huge headache from Gulf War II - which will choke its trade with Iraq and
possibly bring a huge influx of Kurdish refugees across the border.

Iran enjoyed watching Saddam get pasted in Gulf War I, but the last thing
the Iranian hardliners want now is a pro-US Iraqi democracy next door. Saudi
Arabia had to fight Gulf War I to survive. But public opinion today is
strongly against war. Ditto the Russians and Europeans, who are not keen on
Iraq becoming part of pax Americana, with all the economic benefits that
could entail.

And then there are the Iraqi Kurds. Their zone is protected by the no-flight
regime and they have their own quasi-independent state, with oil revenues.
They're not at all keen on having some new "democratic" regime emerge in
Baghdad that tries to reassert control over them.

Finally, the Sunni Muslim-dominated Arab world knows there is not a single
credible Sunni Muslim among the whole US-funded Iraqi opposition front. They
are virtually all Iraqi Shi'ites and Kurds. The Arab Sunnis are worried that
if Iraq becomes a democracy, Iraq's Shi'ite majority will take over and
energise Shi'ites in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Syria and Bahrain to start
challenging Sunni domination.

For all these reasons, the US needs to be both cool and prepared for
anything. We need let the UN inspections process play out - because we have
such reluctant allies, we must not appear as overanxious warriors. We still
need a smoking gun to justify a war, if we expect any support.

And as we approach the climax of this story, an Arab or European delegation
could show up in Baghdad and forge a deal. The Don Corleone side of Saddam
just might say yes. Or, once again, the Donald Duck in him will
miscalculate. In which case, it will be his last cartoon.,0005.htm

Hindustani Times, 23rd December

Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had a secret plan for a biological weapons
strike during an early stage in the Gulf War but failed to carry it out
because his reconnaissance planes got shot down, according to a
newly-declassified Central Intelligence Agency document.

The 1992 CIA dispatch, made public over the weekend by the National Security
Archive, a local research organisation, displays blank spaces where the
target of the strike had been mentioned.

The document does not specify what biological agent was going to be used.

However, researchers at the archive believe the operation was probably aimed
against Israel.

Iraq fired dozens of conventionally-armed Scud missiles into Israel during
the Gulf War in hopes of drawing the Jewish state into the conflict and
fracturing an international coalition of Western and Arab countries
determined to eject Iraq from occupied Kuwait.

The biological weapons strike, conceived by Saddam Hussein in the fall of
1990, was to have been a reconnaissance mission carried out by three Iraqi
Soviet-made MIG-21 fighter jets carrying conventional ordnance, according to
the document.

"If these aircraft were able to penetrate air defences and successfully
bomb, then a second mission was to take off within a few days of the first,"
said the CIA dispatch.

The second phase of the operation was to include another three
conventionally-armed MIG 21s, whose task was to divert the attention of
enemy air defences from a single SU-22 fighter-bomber, which was to deliver
a biological agent.

Associated Press, 23rd December

WASHINGTON: The United States has slowly and quietly begun building momentum
for an international military coalition to challenge Iraq's Saddam Hussein
as wavering allies have gotten on board in recent weeks.

Nations such as Canada that had expressed doubts about joining a U.S.-led
invasion of Iraq a few months ago have changed course since the U.N.
Security Council unanimously approved a resolution last month ordering
Saddam to disarm. As U.N. weapons inspectors resumed their work in Iraq for
the first time in four years, more countries began talking openly of their
support for military action should the inspections fail.

Besides staunch allies like Britain and Australia, the list of countries
agreeing to aid a military campaign against Iraq now includes Iraq's
northern neighbor, Turkey; other NATO allies such as Italy, Spain, Denmark
and Portugal; and Arab states including Kuwait and Qatar.

"When the (Bush) administration invested in the inspections process and
decided to go the route of the United Nations, that's what a lot of these
countries needed to hear," said Michael Donovan, an analyst at the private
Center for Defense Information.

"It's not so much because they necessarily felt Saddam was worthy of one
more chance. The inspections process was the political cover they required
for even quiet support of an operation like this."

Some countries, especially new or aspiring NATO members such as Romania and
Bulgaria, have been eager to offer help. Despite reservations by Germany and
France, NATO itself is considering aiding any Iraq campaign, albeit mainly
in a supporting role.

Going to the United Nations showed reluctant countries that President Bush
was willing to make the fight against Saddam an international one, analysts

"What it means is, even if we don't get a second Security Council resolution
(authorizing force), we'll still be in a better place," said Michael
O'Hanlon of the liberal-leaning Brookings Institution. "I think we'll get a
decent coalition."

Bush and other officials have said they welcome military and other
assistance from abroad, pointing to the more than 90 nations helping in the
global war on terrorism. But they have said repeatedly they will not let
coalition partners change U.S. plans or keep America out of the fray.

The administration has approached about 50 countries to ask if they would be
willing to help in any military action against Iraq, Defense Secretary
Donald H. Rumsfeld said last month.

"Some have said they will help a lot, some have said a little," Rumsfeld
said. "Some have asked that what they are prepared to do be kept

Another reason the coalition is growing is that countries realize the United
States has the military power to make Saddam's ouster virtually certain.

"There is a growing acceptance internationally that a war is unavoidable
against Iraq," said Nile Gardiner, a visiting scholar at the conservative
Heritage Foundation. "Most countries will want to be seen supporting the
winning side."

That motive could prompt more Arab countries to join the anti-Iraq
coalition, at least quietly, to be in a better position to protect their
interests after Saddam's ouster.

"At the 11th hour, I think you'll see a lot of countries jump on board,"
said the Center for Defense Information's Donovan.

by Peter Shinkle and Jeremy Kohler
The State, from St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 24th December

ST. LOUIS - (KRT) - An Iraqi native living in St. Louis, who friends say was
merely helping Iraqis here send money home to impoverished relatives, was
ordered Tuesday to remain in jail in Seattle until his trial on charges he
was part of a conspiracy that illegally sent money to Iraq.

At the same time, prosecutors filed court documents showing that a business
and at least two other individuals in St. Louis have come under scrutiny in
the investigation into illegal money transfers to Iraq.

At the prosecution's urging, U.S. Magistrate Judge Audrey Fleissig ruled
that Khalid Amen, a naturalized U.S. citizen accused of wiring $513,960 to
Iraq through a Seattle-area businessman, must be detained without bail
because of the risk that he might flee.

Meanwhile, Hussein Alshafei, the Seattle-area businessman accused of
handling Amen's money transfers and an additional $11.6 million sent to
Iraq, could be freed on $100,000 bond following a ruling Tuesday in a
federal court in Seattle.

Amen has lived in St. Louis since 1994 and works as a math teacher at St.
Louis Community College at Forest Park. He and Alshafei were among 11
defendants indicted last week for sending money to Iraq in violation of an
Aug. 13, 1990, declaration by then-President George Bush.

According to an indictment unsealed last week, Alshafei's company, Alshafei
Family Connect Inc., collected money from "agents" like Amen in various U.S.
cities from April 2000 to January 2002. The money was sent to Jordan and
then later transferred to Iraq.

Supporters of Amen said Tuesday that he was helping refugees send financial
support to family members remaining in harsh conditions in Iraq. Amen is a
Shiite Muslim, a sect that has suffered persecution at the hands of Iraqi
President Saddam Hussein. U.S. officials have said there is no sign the
money went to terrorists.

On Feb. 20, customs agents nationwide raided various locations in connection
with the case, including a St. Louis convenience store, Gravois Discount
Smokes at Gravois Avenue and Chippewa Street, Amen's home and the homes of
two other Iraqis, Ikbal Alshafei and Adnan Aboregeda, all in south St.

Ikbal Alshafei, a cousin of Hussein Alshafei in Seattle, said investigators
took some documents when they searched his small, one-story brick house on
Concordia Avenue near Morganford Road, though he wasn't sure which ones.

Alshafei, who said he fled Iraq and spent two years in a refugee camp in
Saudi Arabia before immigrating to St. Louis in 1993, said he has sent $100
or $200 several times to his relatives in Iraq. He sends the money to
Jordan, and it is hand-delivered to his relatives, he said.

He said he could never afford to send much money home because he makes only
$300 a week as a parking attendant at St. John's Mercy Medical Center, and
he would never dare send money directly, because if Saddam found out he was
sending money, his family could be in jeopardy.

Saddam had Alshafei's brother killed in 1985 and his father killed in 1987,
he said.

"Anything you say they don't like and you are gone," said Alshafei, who is
married and has two young boys. "You are dead."

A naturalized U.S. citizen, Alshafei said he knows nothing about his
cousin's business in Seattle and said he was unaware that sending money to
Iraq was illegal.

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.

Al-Waeli, a cook at the Marriott West who was watching the store for his
cousin, said it is ridiculous to think that any Iraqis in St. Louis, many
who are fleeing persecution as Shiites, would try to help Saddam.

Al-Waeli, who fled southern Iraq into Saudi Arabia in 1991 before entering
the United States in 1994, said Saddam had his father killed for speaking
out against him at an election.

"If someone kills your family, you help him?" he asked. "No Shiites like

In court Tuesday, Amen's attorney, Gordon Freese, urged Judge Fleissig to
let Amen remain free, saying there is no chance Amen would return to Iraq
because doing so would carry a risk of death.

"He is a political refugee in this country and would face possible execution
if he ever went back to Iraq," Freese said.

Freese also noted that Amen has no criminal record and is taking care of his
wife, who is due to have a baby in February.

Fleissig, a former U.S. attorney in St. Louis, said the detention issue was
"very difficult" and said Amen could appeal her decision to a judge in

Amen's wife, Fatima Alhasani, refused to comment.

The investigation of the money transfers was spurred by Alshafei Family
Connect's filing of a lawsuit in January seeking to block a bank from
shutting down its account. Articles on the suit appeared in Seattle
newspapers Jan. 12 and prompted a U.S. Customs Service investigation.

A document seized at the business listed among its agents three people in
St. Louis: Amen, Aboregeba and Ikbal Kadim, the application says.{54DE2942-25BD-4035-B570

by Jan Cienski
National Post, Canada, 24th December

WASHINGTON - The United States is ready and able to fight two wars at the
same time, Donald Rumsfeld said yesterday, warning North Korea "it would be
a mistake" to assume Washington is too absorbed with Iraq to do battle in
Asia as well.

"We're capable of winning decisively in one and swiftly defeating in the
case of the other," the U.S. Defence Secretary said. "Let there be no doubt
about it."

His comment came as the U.S. found itself confronting potential crises in
two of the three countries that -- with Iran -- make up the "axis of evil"
identified by George W. Bush, the U.S. President.

At the same time, the International Atomic Energy Agency, a UN watchdog,
said North Korea had broken UN seals on about 8,000 spent fuel rods in a
cooling pond at its Yongbyon nuclear reactor, a possible prelude to
recovering plutonium needed to make nuclear weapons.


Tehran Times, 25th December

TEHRAN -- Nearly 50 European chemical concerns are likely to face a
class-action suit early next year by more than 3,000 sick Persian Gulf War
veterans who accuse them of complicity in Iraq's drive to acquire weapons of
mass destruction, an attorney for the plaintiffs said.

The planned case also offers an unexpected glimpse into a sensitive portion
of an Iraqi weapons declaration that is being examined behind closed doors
by members of the UN Security Council and UN arms inspectors, Attorney Gary
Pitts said Monday.

The lawsuit will be based on new documents provided to the Houston,
Texas-based Law Form of Pitts and Associates by the government of Iraq,
which listed a total of 56 international suppliers of equipment and raw
materials necessary to manufacture sarin, VX, mustard gas and other chemical

"It's the same list of people as in the most recent declaration," Pitts said
in a telephone interview.

A spokesman for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, which is leading the
U.S. government's review of the Iraqi declaration, said he could not comment
on the list because of the need to maintain confidentiality.

But the New York Times, which broke the story over the weekend, said it was
able to confirm the document's authenticity through its own sources.

The list, obtained by AFP, includes the names of 19 German, 10 British, four
Swiss and two French concerns, as well as three companies from the
Netherlands, Austria and the United States that supplied materials allegedly
used in the Iraqi chemical weapons program through the 1980s.

Leading the roster is the German firm Preussag, which, according to the
document, supplied Baghdad with tons of precursor chemicals for
manufacturing nerve gas, helped it build chemical agent facilities and sold
it chemical agent production equipment.

Other German companies include Hoechst, which is accused of supplying 10
tons of phosphorus oxychloride, a chemical used to manufacture the nerve gas
sarin, and Karl Kolb that provided Iraq assistance in building and equipping
a plant used for chemical weapons production, the document said.

Dutch KBS shipped to Iraq more than three thousand tons of precursor
chemicals between 1982 and 1984. At the same time, British firms Lummus,
Gallenkamp, Sigma, Oxoid and others provided laboratory equipment that Iraqi
weapons scientists used in perfecting their deadly agents, the list

One of the U.S. suppliers on the list, Alcolac International, which sold
Baghdad thiodyglycol, a precursor for mustard gas, has already been
prosecuted for violating U.S. export law, according to the roster. Another,
Al Haddad, is believed to be no longer in business.

Pitts said the lawsuit on behalf of U.S., British, French and other Persian
Gulf War veterans will probably be filed sometime in the next three months
in Britain. "Essentially what we are saying is that Saddam (Iraqi President
Saddam Hussein) was killing people with poison gas against international
law," he stressed. "These companies were enabling him by doing what they

It should be noted that these Western countries, which helped Iraq to
develop chemical weapons, were the main supporters of Baghdad in its war
against the Islamic Republic of Iran which lasted from 1980 to 1988. Iraq
made repeated use of chemical and biological weapons against Iran in the
1980-1988 war.

The Iranian Judiciary has provided lawsuits against those Western firms
which supplied Iraq with chemical weapons.

The impacts of chemical war against Iran by Baghdad are still looming and
there are many Iranian soldiers who succumb to their chemical injuries every

The Los Angeles Times said recently that between the years 1985 to 1990 the
U.S. Trade Department agreed to sell 5.1 billion dollars of military
technology to Iraq.

Baghdad even used chemical weapons against its own Kurdish people in
northern Iraq.

According to a U.S. government report released in September, there was "no
indication" that Iraq resorted to offensive use of chemical weapons in the
1990-1991 Persian Gulf War.

But the report allowed the possibility that allied troops could have been
exposed to deadly agents following the bombing of Iraqi chemical production
and storage facilities, particularly of an ammunition dump in the southern
Iraqi town of Khamisiyah that, as it became known later, was used to store
sarin and cyclosarin.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is currently monitoring more than
100,000 veterans suffering from so-called Persian Gulf War syndrome, which
manifests itself in joint pain, skin rashes, shortness of breath and other

"They are accountable to these people for their medical bills and their lost
income," Pitts said of Iraq's former Western suppliers.

The list of companies was brought to the United States from Iraq by Scott
Ritter, a former UN weapons inspector-turned-critic of U.S. plans to use
military force against the country, who made a controversial trip to Baghdad
in September, according to the attorney.

It occupies three full CD-ROMS that the law firm is storing at a secure
location after sharing the information with the Federal Bureau of
Investigation, Pitts said.

CNN, 26th December

Iraq has banned longtime CNN Baghdad Bureau Chief Jane Arraf from Iraq.

Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Saeed Al-Sahaf notified CNN of the ban
in a Baghdad meeting this week with CNN newsgathering chief Eason Jordan.

Al-Sahaf refused to explain why Arraf was being banned from Iraq, although
he and other Iraqi officials have complained in recent days and weeks about
CNN reporting they characterized as biased and offensive.

Jordan appealed in vain for the ban to be rescinded, saying the ban was
unjustified and that Arraf and CNN's Iraq reporting was journalistically

Arraf has been the only Westerner to serve as a Baghdad-based bureau chief
and correspondent over the past four years.

Arraf is the fourth CNN correspondent to be banned from Iraq this year. In
August, Iraq banned CNN's Christiane Amanpour, Wolf Blitzer and Richard

Jordan said Arraf, who is now in Amman, Jordan, will keep her Baghdad bureau
chief title while she reports from neighboring countries and as CNN
continues appealing to Iraqi authorities to permit her to return.

CNN said it will maintain its Baghdad bureau, with CNN Senior Correspondent
Nic Robertson, Rym Brahimi and other CNN correspondents reporting from the
Iraqi capital. The CNN Baghdad team will be headed by Senior Producer Ingrid
Formanek, Jordan said. Robertson and Formanek were among the CNN journalists
in Baghdad during the 1991 Gulf War.,2933,73964,00.html

Fox News, 26th December

WASHINGTON ‹ For all his talk about an international coalition against the
Iraqi regime, President Bush has found coalition-building a slow, sometimes
unsteady process.

Secretary of State Colin Powell sounded optimistic last week after the Iraqi
weapons declaration drew criticism from countries beyond the United States
and Great Britain.

"The international community is concentrating its attention and increasing
its resolve as the true nature of the Iraqi regime is revealed again,"
Powell said in a State Department news conference.

"I think that we're actually doing reasonably well, maybe better than many
thought that we would at this stage. What we have right now is general
support for the process" of coalition building, said former Amb. Dennis
Ross, a Fox News analyst.

When asked in October about the difficulty of cobbling together a coalition
against Saddam Hussein, White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer told
reporters that it would "not [be]very hard at all."

Since then, the president has received public pledges of cooperation from
Great Britain, Australia, Canada, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Portugal, Qatar and
Kuwait, which was invaded by Saddam's forces 12 years ago.

Senior administration officials have hinted that other nations are just as
eager to join forces, but not eager for their participation to become known
just yet.

"In terms of how many nations would join the coalition, I don't know. My
sense is that we have a great many friends, partners and allies who see the
situation the same way we do. And I'll leave it at that," said Gen. Tommy
Franks, CENTCOM commander.

But not all friends and partners have been clear as to how they approach the
Iraq situation. For example, Turkey, one of the U.S.'s main Muslim allies
and Iraqi neighbor with an airbase that houses more than 100 allied planes,
seems to have drawn the line of its support.

Earlier this month at high-level meetings in Turkey, Deputy Defense
Secretary Paul Wolfowitz thought he had secured usage of the country's air
bases and airspace for any U.N. sanctioned strike against Iraq.

"We reached agreement on the next steps in military planning and
preparations," Wolfowitz said during a stopover there.

Later, though, Turkey's foreign ministry said no "commitment" was made. So a
few days later at the White House, President Bush personally wooed the
leader of Turkey's largest political party.

"You're a strategic ally and friend of the United States," Bush told Recep
Tayyip Erdogan, head of Turkey's governing Justice and Development Party.

And although NATO has agreed to play a support role in a U.S. attack, member
nation Turkey is not officially on board.

Also key to European support are the French, whose U.N. ambassador signaled
a newfound kinship with U.S. policy on Iraq when he found fault with Iraq's
weapons declaration submitted earlier this month.

"The declaration does not clearly answer and resolve impending questions
identified in 1999," said French U.N. Ambassador Jean-Marc De La Sabliere.

French support is crucial to any U.S. military plans, said Ross.

"The way the French go becomes kind of a symbol for others, that if the
French are willing to say this is okay, then it means it's not simply an
American show," Ross said.

Fox News' James Rosen contributed to this report.

Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
To unsubscribe, visit
To contact the list manager, email
All postings are archived on CASI's website:

[Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]