Category Archives: Iraq

August 18, 2002 Israel To US: Don’t Delay Iraq Attack

Israel is urging U.S. officials not to delay a military strike against Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, an aide to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Friday.

Israeli intelligence officials have gathered evidence that Iraq is speeding up efforts to produce biological and chemical weapons, said Sharon aide Ranaan Gissin.

“Any postponement of an attack on Iraq at this stage will serve no purpose,” Gissin said. “It will only give him (Saddam) more of an opportunity to accelerate his program of weapons of mass destruction.”

The United States has been considering a military campaign against Iraq to remove Saddam from power, listing him as one of the world’s main terrorist regimes. However, there is considerable world opposition to a U.S. strike.

As evidence of Iraq’s weapons building activities, Israel points to an order Saddam gave to Iraq’s Atomic Energy Commission last week to speed up its work, Gissin said.

“Saddam’s going to be able to reach a point where these weapons will be operational,” he said.

Meanwhile, Iraq told the United Nations on Friday that it will continue to discuss the return of U.N. weapons inspectors, but it insisted on conditions that Secretary-General Kofi Annan has already rejected.

In a 10-page letter to Annan, Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri reaffirmed an Iraqi offer to hold a round of technical negotiations but he insisted they focus on outstanding issues related to Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction as well as “practical arrangements for the return of the inspection system in the future.”

Sabri was replying to a letter from Annan that rejected Iraq’s proposal to have chief weapons inspector Hans Blix and Iraqi experts determine outstanding disarmament issues of mass destruction and figure out how to resolve them before inspectors return to the country.

Also on Friday, President Bush said he knows there are “very intelligent people” who doubt the wisdom of attacking Iraq.

But he says Saddam Hussein is “thumbing his nose at the world” — and must be ousted.

Speaking to reporters near his Texas ranch, the president vowed to make his own decision — based on the best intelligence available.

Gissin also said Israel was not seeking to dictate the timing of a U.S. military campaign but said that, faced with the threat of one, Saddam was fast developing weapons.

While the Israeli government backs U.S. action against Iraq, there is also concern in Israel that in response, Iraq would launch missile attacks against Tel Aviv and other cities in Israel.

During the 1991 Gulf War, in which U.S.-led forces pushed back an Iraqi invasion of neighboring Kuwait, Iraq hit Israel with 39 Scud missiles — none of them with chemical or biological warheads — causing few casualties but extensive damage.

In an interview published Friday, Ben-Eliezer told the daily Yediot Ahronot that Israel would surely become a target during such a conflict and would consider retaliation in coordination with U.S. forces.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/israel-to-us-dont-delay-iraq-attack/

Ten Years on, New Estimates of the Economic Cost of the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

open quoteLast week the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University released a new set of estimates. The numbers are summarized on the web site of the institute’s Cost of War project and detailed in a paper by Professor Neta C. Crawford. The institute’s estimate of the total cost of the two wars now comes to just under $4 trillion.

It wasn’t supposed to cost so much

The wars were not supposed to cost so much. As the administration of President George W. Bush was building a case for the Iraq war in 2002, with some 5,000 American troops already deployed in Afghanistan, the question of cost naturally came up. In September of that year, Lawrence B. Lindsey, then Chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, estimated that a new Iraq war would cost $100 billion, maybe $200 billion at a maximumclose quote (Read more)

MI6 and CIA were told before invasion that Iraq had no active WMD

open quoteFresh evidence is revealed today about how MI6 and the CIA were told through secret channels by Saddam Hussein’s foreign minister and his head of intelligence that Iraq had no active weapons of mass destruction.

Tony Blair told parliament before the war that intelligence showed Iraq’s nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons programme was “active”, “growing” and “up and running”.

A special BBC Panorama programme tonight will reveal how British and US intelligence agencies were informed by top sources months before the invasion that Iraq had no active WMD programme, and that the information was not passed to subsequent inquiries.close quote (Read more)

police persecution of gays in Iraq

open quoteA BBC World Service investigation has revealed that law enforcement agencies in Iraq are involved in the ongoing systematic persecution of homosexuals.

Activists say hundreds of gay men, and some women, have died in targeted killings in Iraq in recent years.

These numbers are difficult to verify, but the United Nations confirmed it was extremely concerned about what it called a deadly anti-gay campaign.close quote (Read more)

Tony Blair and George Bush’s phone conversation a week before Iraq invasion ‘must be released’

open quoteWords that Tony Blair spoke over the phone to George Bush on the eve of the Iraq war are to be made public, a tribunal has ordered.

The Foreign Office has been ordered to release parts of the note detailing the conversation on 12 March 2003, a week before the invasion of Iraq began.

A panel chaired by tribunal judge Professor John Angel overruled objections from the Foreign Office that publishing any part of the conversation could do “serious damage” to relations with the USA

They said in their ruling: “The circumstances surrounding a decision by a UK government to go to war with another country is always likely to be of very significant public interest, even more so with the consequences of this war.”close quote (Read more)

Bush Convicted of War Crimes in Absentia

open quoteKuala Lumpur — It’s official; George W Bush is a war criminal.

In what is the first ever conviction of its kind anywhere in the world, the former US President and seven key members of his administration were yesterday (Fri) found guilty of war crimes.

Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and their legal advisers Alberto Gonzales, David Addington, William Haynes, Jay Bybee and John Yoo were tried in absentia in Malaysia.

The trial held in Kuala Lumpur heard harrowing witness accounts from victims of torture who suffered at the hands of US soldiers and contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan.

They included testimony from British man Moazzam Begg, an ex-Guantanamo detainee and Iraqi woman Jameelah Abbas Hameedi who was tortured in the notorious Abu Ghraib prison.

At the end of the week-long hearing, the five-panel tribunal unanimously delivered guilty verdicts against Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and their key legal advisors who were all convicted as war criminals for torture and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment.close quote (Read more)