Threatening With Nukes Could Well Lead to Use of Nukes - Part 1
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Threatening With Nukes Could Well Lead to Use of Nukes - Part 1

MID-EAST REALITIES - MER - www.MiddleEast.Org - Washington - 3/22/2002: One dreadful day they will be used. That likelihood seems now to be growing, especially as irresponsible leaders in both the US and UK keep publicly threatening to do just that rather than insisting that such weapons should never ever be used, pledging never to do so first, and finding ways to descalate the new world arms race rather than promote it.

When that dreadful day comes -- be it in the sub-continent, or in the Middle East, or at some other spot the Americans decide to target -- historians may too late remind us that it was the Israelis (with American and French help) who first brought nuclear weapons to the Middle East thus seriously stimulating the arms race in the region extending to Iran and Pakistan. Historians may well then focus on how it it was the US and the UK, as well as the Israelis in more discreet ways and more recently the Indians in more bellicose ways, who went around publicly threatening their use while at the same time demanding that only they and their friends could possess "weapons of mass destruction", that every one else must not and dare not.


By George Jones, Political Editor and Anton La Guardia

[The Daily Telegraph, UK, 21 March 2002]: BRITAIN would be ready to make a nuclear strike against states such as Iraq if they used weapons of mass destruction against British forces, Geoff Hoon, the Defence Secretary, told MPs yesterday.

He issued his warning as officials in Washington and London privately predicted that military action to try to topple Saddam Hussein was likely to be launched at the end of the year.

Mr Hoon was briefing the Commons defence select committee on the threat posed by four countries Britain had identified as "states of concern": Iraq, Iran, Libya and North Korea.

He said that Saddam had already used chemical weapons against his own people. The possibility that rogue states would be prepared to use such weapons again, possibly sacrificing their own population, could not be ruled out.

He said that dictators such as Saddam "can be absolutely confident that in the right conditions we would be willing to use our nuclear weapons.

"What I cannot be absolutely confident about is whether that would be sufficient to deter them from using a weapon of mass destruction in the first place."

Mr Hoon's willingness to confirm readiness to use nuclear weapons in such circumstances was seen at Westminster as a clear sign that the Government is becoming more alarmed that Saddam is developing chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.

A joint Ministry of Defence and Foreign Office paper to the committee said it was a "serious cause for concern" that states were developing a ballistic missile capability at the same time as they were seeking to acquire weapons of mass destruction.

Mr Hoon said that Britain could come within range of missiles fired from the Middle East within the "next few years".

Although Mr Hoon later denied in the Commons that any decision had been taken on military action against Iraq, his comments about the nuclear deterrent will add to Labour MPs' concern that such preparations are being actively considered. His forthrightness was unexpected, because many Labour MPs are opposed to retaining nuclear weapons.

In the 1980s Labour was unilateralist and Tony Blair was briefly a member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, although as party leader he has backed the nuclear deterrent.

Mr Hoon's comments follow similar noises from America. Two weeks ago a leaked Pentagon policy document laid out the possibility of a "devastating response" to the use of biological or chemical weapons against American troops.

The Prime Minister intends to use the large deployment of British fighting forces to Afghanistan as a political lever to push President Bush into seeking United Nations approval for any military action against Iraq.

He supports Mr Bush in his campaign to remove Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and topple Saddam, but wants to broaden the front.

Downing Street hopes the deployment to Afghanistan of 1,700 British troops, led by 45 Commando the Royal Marines, a unit specialising in Arctic warfare, will strengthen his position when he meets Mr Bush at his Texas ranch after Easter.

"The speed and size of the deployment to Afghanistan is a cheque that Blair will cash in," a source said. "He will tell Bush that he needs to carry the international community with him."

The Foreign Office, in particular, is deeply worried about the impact that a war in Iraq would have on the Middle East. But it appears to have been overruled by Mr Blair.

"The Prime Minister thinks Saddam poses a threat that has to be met with a strong response," a source said. "He is feeling gung-ho."

Whitehall officials said that America first made its request for commandos at the height of Operation Anaconda this month in a "panicky" response to the unexpectedly fierce resistance Taliban and al-Qa'eda fighters put up in the mountains south of Kabul.

The United States suffered its biggest casualties of the war on the opening day of Anaconda, when eight Americans and at least three Afghan allies were killed.

This week America said Anaconda had been successful, but British officials privately spoke of "a near disaster" and said many guerrillas appeared to have slipped away despite American claims to have killed hundreds of the enemy.

Dick Cheney, the American vice-president, headed home yesterday after an 11-day tour of the Middle East in which he received little support for an attack on Iraq. Instead he was urged to do more to end the fighting between Israel and the Palestinians.

As Iraq gloated about Mr Cheney's "bitter disappointment", the Turkish prime minister, Bulent Ecevit, said he felt greatly relieved that Washington was not planning imminent action against Iraq.

"This does not mean an operation has been ruled out," he said. "But I do not think there could be military action in the coming few months."


By John Casey*

[The Daily Telegraph, UK, 21 March 2002]: ENOCH POWELL liked to say that the Americans have always taken a "Manichean" attitude to world affairs, dividing the world into "good" (Us) and "evil" (Them) camps. In its application to Iraq and the forthcoming war against that country it is an attitude that generates plenty of heat, but not that much light. I hope it is still allowable to ask the sorts of question that come naturally to an English Tory sceptic.

It was quite right that the Tories forced an emergency debate on further commitments in Afghanistan yesterday, but both sides of the House should also be asking: what should our aims be in a war against Iraq? Answer: "To get rid of Saddam Hussein." Question: "In favour of what successor regime?" Answer comes there none. There was, similarly, no answer when the same question was asked of Afghanistan - which explains how so much of that country was incontinently handed over to the barbarian warlords of the Northern Alliance, whose excesses had created the popularity of the Taliban in the first place.

America talks vaguely of "opposition forces" in Iraq. But the truth is that any government in Baghdad will have to be a minority, authoritarian regime whose chief aim must be to prevent an artificial, fissiparous country from flying apart.

Ever since the founding of the Hashemite kingdom of Iraq by the British in 1921, the country has been run by a Sunni Arab minority of about 20 per cent of the population. The Kurds of the north (also Sunni but permanently disaffected) were excluded from a share in power, as were the Shias who populate the south all the way down to the Iranian border, and are well over half the total population.

If Saddam is overthrown, the likeliest possibility is that the country will break up, with the Kurds declaring independence and going on to foment trouble with their fellow Kurds in Turkey, and the Shias becoming a client state of the only officially Shia country in the world - Iran.

The only way to prevent this will be for the Americans to impose another aggressive military leader. With every change of regime - from the end of monarchy in 1958, to the Ba'ath socialists in 1963, to Saddam's regime, which is a small rump of the Ba'athists - the need to tighten the screws has got stronger as the basis of popular support has got tinier. The British had set up the state to provide stability and prevent religious and ethnic conflicts from destabilising the region.

Now, if you are not against the Axis of Evil, you must be for it. No matter that a Triple Axis consisting of two such bitter enemies as Iran and Iraq (and a third partner, North Korea, that might as well be on the moon as far as the other two are concerned) could not possibly act in concert. We have to fight Evil.

So - is Saddam's regime supremely evil? Possibly. It is more oppressive than the Saudi regime. But there is religious freedom in Iraq, a secular state, where there is none in Saudi Arabia. Saddam may have killed thousands of rebellious Kurds and Shias, but he has probably not matched the single greatest atrocity of the area: the late President Assad's massacre of tens of thousands of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Syrian town of Hama.

But hasn't Saddam got megalomaniac ambitions? I am sceptical even here. Iraq had a particular quarrel with Kuwait. It was partly a small dispute over an oilfield from which Kuwait was alleged to be syphoning off Iraqi oil. Kuwait had also pushed down the price of oil when Iraq desperately needed the income to rebuild its infrastructure after the war with Iran, which Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and all the other Arab states had cheered on.

Iraq had always claimed Kuwait. King Faisal I and King Ghazi used to broadcast to the "lost province", urging it to "return" to the motherland. So did all the republican rulers before Saddam. Obviously none of this begins to justify the disgraceful seizure of Kuwait. But there is no historical backing and no serious evidence to suggest that Iraq ever had designs on Saudi Arabia or the Persian Gulf. Saddam now has peaceful relations with these states.

The attempt to show that Iraq has links with al-Qa'eda seems to me worse than feeble. There is no solid evidence. Saddam's main relation with Islamic radicals has been to fight them. He fought against the Islamic Republic of Iran for eight years - with very useful help from the CIA, who gave him regular satellite updates on the battlefield dispositions of Iranian troops.

So it comes down to weapons of mass destruction. Do we know that Saddam has rebuilt his armoury of chemical and biological weapons? Several members of the United Nations inspection teams deny this. Few objective observers think Saddam is anywhere near getting nuclear weapons - but he would obviously love to have them.

Does that justify war? One of Aquinas's conditions for a just war is that one's enemy has committed a "fault" - that is, done one an injury. The possession of particular technologies is not in itself a "fault". The question is what Iraq intends to do with them. The notion that it intends to attack America is patently ridiculous. Israel? Israel is one of the most formidable fighting machines in the world, and could pulverise Iraq, using its own weapons of mass destruction if necessary.

And now some United States politicians are saying that, even if Iraq allows the inspectors back, the march to war should still go on, since we can never be sure of finding such weaponry. That means that we will be prepared to go to war simply on grounds of suspicion. We are looking for excuses for a war when the decision to wage it has already been taken. That has very unpleasant historical resonances. The very name of Saddam Hussein is enough to bring blood to the eye - but that should not be a guide to policy. Neither on grounds of reason nor justice - let alone our national interest - has the case for war been made.

* The author is a fellow of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge

Comment on these article(s)

March 2002


Saudi Future Unstable; More Money to Secretly flow to Palestinians
(March 29, 2002)
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Arafat Surrounded - And A Letter from Bir Zeit University near Ramallah
(March 29, 2002)
"Reports are rampant, breaking news that there is a planned incursion, occupation, total destruction... who knows of Ramallah and so we have to act and act quickly."

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(March 28, 2002)
With the #2 summit Saudi suffering a stroke and hospitalized (how appropriately) at the American University in Beirut, the Arab League summit was even more of a circus and disaster than we had predicted.

The "Saudi Peace Plan"...of 20 Years Ago
(March 28, 2002)
In April 1981 Crown Prince Fahd of Saudi Arabia unveiled the "Saudi Plan" which then dominated the Arab League summit held in Fez, Morocco, in November.

Saudis Humiliated, Betrayed, and now "Invited"
(March 28, 2002)
Quite literally as Saudi Royal "Crown Prince" Abdullah was following his script in Beirut no matter what, the U.S. Government was announcing in Washington that he had "accepted" to visit the Bush Presidential Ranch in Texas at the end of next month.

"The summit is heading toward total chaos"
(March 27, 2002)
Today's "Arab Leaders" always seem to manage to bumble themselves from one disaster to another. Then the controlled media and commentators they either own or manipulate in one way or another mostly cover up for them, including such subsidized and sponsored English-language publications as "Middle East International" in the UK and "Washington Report on Middle East Affairs" in the U.S.

Arafat Unheard at Summit - Secret Israel Phone Calls to Cairo and Amman
(March 27, 2002)
How much is factual, how much is disinformation from Mossad, how much is twisted and spun....these are all legitimate questions needing consideration, especially these days. But there's no doubt Irish author Gordon Thomas has considerable connections in the murky world of intelligence and especially with the Israeli Mossad, and he's been on target with quite a few things in the past.

They Call This A Summit?
(March 26, 2002)
Readers of MER won't be nearly as surprised as most may be that journalists are already proclaiming the grand Arab summit in ruins and as the BBC correspondent concluded this evening, "they might as well go home now before it starts".

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(March 26, 2002)
Such a mess. "Arab Leaders" who are mostly inept and corrupt and miserably repressive. An Arab League that is impotent and crippled. Arab media that can't figure out whom to interview about what.

Huge Damascus Demo Screams About Sharon and Warns Arab Summiteers
(March 26, 2002)
History is repeating itself after 20 years, but everything is even worse today for the vast Arab world and its fast growing now over 200+ million.

"Grand Plan" For War On the Palestinians
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Vital History - Origins of Israel's "Arab Problem"
(March 25, 2002)
In 1947, the then representative of the Zionist Organization in Washington, Nahum Goldman, urged David Ben-Gurion not to declare a "Jewish State" but rather to hold out for finding some way of accomodation with the Palestinians that could lead to a unified "bi-national state" ...

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Much too weak, fractured, and frightened to actually act in any serious and independent manner -- even in the face of such repeated Israeli and American provocations and humiliations -- the grand "Arab world", meeting in summit in Beirut later this week, is poised to essentially do nothing.

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(March 23, 2002)
Time magazine was wrong a few months ago, but understandably so under the circumstances and few really expect much more from the mass American media .

Cheney Admits US will attack Iraq 'for Israel's sake'
(March 22, 2002)
While the mostly co-opted and cowardly "Arab leaders" -- the Arab "client regimes" -- fly their lavish private jets into Beirut 20 years after the Israelis besieged the city, destroyed the country, and attempted at great cost to bring Lebanon under their and American domination ...

Threatening With Nukes Could Well Lead to Use of Nukes - Part 1
(March 22, 2002)
One dreadful day they will be used. That likelihood seems now to be growing, especially as irresponsible leaders in both the US and UK keep publicly threatening to do just that rather than insisting that such weapons should never ever be used ...

Marching toward an American Police State - Part II
(March 22, 2002)
The above title was used to headline an article published on Wednesday, the same day we now learn the federal government was raiding Muslim homes and organizations in the Washington DC area.

U.S. Shifting to Large once Secret Qatar Military Base for Regional Control
(March 21, 2002)
The Americans have apparently agreed to let the Saudis off the hook when it comes to Prince Sultan Airbase, the largest and most sophisticated in the region, as long as they are on the hook when it comes to controlling the Arab Summit and fronting politically with "the Saudi Plan".

A Plea to US and Europe: Don't Participate in Killing and Torture of our People
(March 21, 2002)
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Just days after Vice-President Richard Cheney visited Saudi Arabia and other countries in the area there are reports coming from the region that U.S. military forces are beginning to move out of Prince Sultan Air Base, a facility the U.S. is said to have spent tens of billions of dollars to make the most modern command base in the region.

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A FOX NEWS cameraman was accosted by Pentagon Police outside the building on Tuesday -- as he was shooting pictures of an arrest being carried out by Virginia State Police on a highway that runs alongside the Pentagon but outside Pentagon property!

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(March 20, 2002)
The Israelis, and the Americans of course, have Yasser Arafat right where they want him now. He either does as he is told and paid or he's a way or another.

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(March 19, 2002)
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(March 17, 2002)
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(March 15, 2002)
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Israeli forces fired for 10 to 15 minutes from tank-mounted machine guns on a hotel where journalists were photographing armor targeting the al-Amari refugee camp early Tuesday.

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Nothing like this has happened to the Palestinians since the 1967 War. And this time the cowardly "Arab leaders" are simply watching and pretending; while those who claim to be supportive of the Palestinians in the U.S. are, disorganized, inept, impotent, demoralized, and used up.

Two Poems
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(March 10, 2002)
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(March 9, 2002)
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The Israeli Spy CoverUp
(March 9, 2002)
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American Univ in Washington - Second Rate and Third Class
(March 8, 2002)
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Now the US Says it was the Iranians and the Palestinians not the Libyans. Right!
(March 8, 2002)
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(March 7, 2002)
Just who pressured FOX News? Why did FOX News cave in so easily? What now months later when an expanded story is not just coming back to life in foreign publications but appears to be the greatest spy scandal ever involving the Israelis spying on the Americans?

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(March 6, 2002)
The world of spying, like the world of "black ops", is full of confusion, disinformation, and false leads. Those in the media, even the biggest establishment news outlets, usually lack the means (as well as the will) to penetrate very far into this world on their own.

LeMonde on the Israeli Spy Ring in U.S.
(March 5, 2002)
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Israeli Spy Rings Rolled Up in U.S.
(March 5, 2002)
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Arafat in Dog Kennel, Sharon in Twilight Zone, Hosni Lost in Space
(March 5, 2002)
After some 20 years in power Hosni Mubarak, chatting with George Bush II today at the White House, has helped lead his country to nowhere, the Palestinians to disaster, and the Arab world to impotent feebleness. More on Mubarak and his shameless Egypt to come -- for he as well as Saudi Abdullah are Lost in Space.

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