In the space of a few minutes yesterday, two starkly
contrasting faces of power were on view: diplomatic power, clothed in the
formulaic rites of the United Nations Security Council, and raw, real power as
brandished by President George Bush in the Rose Garden of the White House. (AFP
The war machine builds in the Kuwait desert, Bush is ready
to strike, the oil is right at his fingertips. Hitler would be proud.
I do not think anyone believes that little George's war on
Iraq can be stopped. The Iraqi oil fields are just too tempting to
The potential of everything going wrong is there. The
potential for Muslims to revolt at the neo Christian crusades. The price
wars that OPEC is going to begin or try to begin. The nukes that Israel is
itching to launch. The irresistible temptation for Sharon and Netanyahu to
put a swift end to the Palestinian problem while little George is busy with
little George has control in the U S Congress and the U S
Senate now. There can be no doubt that if he can manhandle the U N,
keeping his Republican party in line is just a cake walk. (Interesting
little George's Republican Party is going to challenge Saddam's Republican
little George has shown that the United States is undoubtedly
the nation of nations in the world. I guess this is part of the New World
Order that daddy George was talking about ten years ago.
Oh well. The world is going to be burning a lot more oil in
the near future and global warming is going to get an extra boost. Human
rights are going to only get lip service. The Iraqis are going to be made
over into good Americans just like the Japanese and Germans.
What is really interesting to consider in this whole scenario
is that once the U S takes over the oil reserves in Iraq, what does it need
Has anyone considered what it is going to be like when the
Christian churches begin to go up in Baghdad? Can you see Jerry Falwell
building the first Christian outpost in New Iraq?
Meanwhile Saddam understands that his time is coming to an
end. He understands that he cannot beat the U S war machine. I guess
the only thing left is a Doomsday surprise for the whole world. If Saddam
has any weapons of mass destruction he is forced to use them or lose them.
Can anyone doubt that he has over the years assembled a core of fanatics who are
prepared to unleash biological agents everywhere, set every oil well on fire,
wait until the Americans are entrenched in Baghdad and then set off the mother
of all weapons of mass destruction?
November 9, 2002
The face of power, the raw, real power of Bush's America
By Rupert Cornwell in Washington
09 November 2002
In the space of a few minutes yesterday, two starkly contrasting faces of
power were on view: diplomatic power, clothed in the formulaic rites of the
United Nations Security Council, and raw, real power as brandished by President
George Bush in the Rose Garden of the White House.
For a moment, surveying the placid scene at the Security Council, or reading
the nuanced legalistic language of Resolution 1441, you could believe the vote
was the unqualified opinion of 15 like-minded nations, rather than what it
really was: a document, amended a little to be sure, but conceived and driven
through by the US to permit Washington to take military action against Saddam
Hussein should it unilaterally decide to do so.
The resolution speaks of "serious consequences". Mr Bush was far
more blunt. The Iraqi leader had to extend "prompt and unconditional"
co-operation with the weapons inspectors, or he would face not merely
"serious" but "the severest" consequences.
The doubters on the Security Council may take solace in the absence of "automaticity"
of any military attack should President Saddam disobey. But Mr Bush put that
assertion in context. Nothing would impede America's freedom of action. Nor will
the President tolerate nit-picking when the council discusses future obstruction
by Iraq. There could be no "unproductive debates over whether specific
instances of non-compliance are serious. Any Iraqi non-compliance is
Yesterday capped a fantastic week for Mr Bush, a Republican election sweep
followed by his most important diplomatic victory. The President without a
mandate has been transformed into one of unquestioned dominance.
Yesterday's UN vote, like analogous ones in Congress before it last month,
underline how much the world's diplomatic landscape has changed in the 12 years
since Saddam Hussein challenged the United Nations by invading Kuwait.
The cause then would seem far more clear cut than today; the reversal of an
invasion of a neighbour, flouting every international law, compared to a
preventive strike of dubious legality to forestall a threat which many people
believe does not exist. But in 1990, Russia and China abstained, and Yemen and
Cuba voted against force to evict Iraqi forces from Kuwait. This time, the
Security Council voted unanimously. In 1990 President Bush's father only
narrowly prevailed in his war powers vote in the Senate, but Congress this time
gave its approval by three to one.
There are three reasons. A new post-11 September urgency in dealing with a
perceived terrorist threat; a greater readiness of the US to use its military
might after quick, low-casualty wars in the Gulf, Kosovo and Afghanistan, but,
first and foremost, the overwhelming power of America in a world whose best
interests it believes it represents. Those who oppose America, do so at their
The scene at the White House brought to mind the maxim of Al Capone, a figure
who Mr Bush's foes abroad might liken him to: "You can go a long way with a
smile. You can go a lot further with a smile and a gun." Except that at in
the Rose Garden yesterday, while the gun was sticking out of the holster, there
was no smile.
The US military build-up continues in the Gulf. "The full disarmament of
weapons of mass destruction by Iraq will occur," Mr Bush flatly stated. Who
is to disbelieve him?
|US tanks ready to roll on Baghdad
Tim Ripley in Kuwait City
PRESIDENT Bush continues to tell the world that
he has not made up his mind about attacking Iraq. But in the Kuwaiti
desert, the US Army is busy preparing for war.
At their huge military base on the outskirts of Kuwait City, hundreds
of American army tanks are being prepared to roll northwards towards
Baghdad. As US military hardware piles up at Camp Doha, the locals
have given it a suitably gung-ho nickname - "Camp Fuck Iraq".
As the US army’s Abrams tanks and Apache gunships venture out into
the desert, ostensibly for "training exercises", they look
ready to roll northwards at very short notice.
Posted all along the road north, from Kuwait City to the Iraqi border,
are small detachments of GIs, hidden under camouflage netting and
cautiously watching the desultory traffic passing them by. Kuwaiti
construction teams are hard at work improving the road, fitting
lighting and laying new tarmac, despite the fact that the border has
been closed since the Gulf War 11 years ago. "Either the Kuwaitis
are very optimistic about a speedy and peaceful resolution to the
crisis, or the US military want to have their main supply route into
Iraq in tip-top condition," was the wry comment of one western
"They have not come here for fun", was the conclusion of a
British engineer, watching the display of military might from an oil
field only 20 miles from the Iraqi border. "The Yanks tell us
they will be ready to go after Ramadan in early December."
Less than a mile from Camp Doha, however, the residents of the
oil-rich Gulf Emirate still know how to party.
At the Entertainment City theme park, Kuwaitis can ride the
roller-coasters, take the African jungle cruise, or a car ride round
Europe. Alternatively, they can take aim at cartoons of Saddam Hussein
on the Wild West shooting gallery.
"Saddam is finished," commented Mustafa, the gallery
attendant, as he reloaded for more eager customers. "Then we will
have to put up a picture of Ariel Sharon".
Residents of the Emirate, from where it is widely assumed the main US
armoured thrust would begin, seem to share none of the doubts of their
fellow Arabs about the wisdom of toppling Saddam.
This week, the Kuwait government said that it would allow the US and
UK to attack Iraq from its bases - in sharp contrast to a sensitive
Saudi Arabia, which has ruled out use of bases on its soil, Kuwait
public opinion seems strongly in favour of a US attack.
Unlike in previous Iraqi crises over the past decade, Kuwait has so
far remained very calm. There have been no mad rushes to the airport
or panic buying of war supplies. Even sales of gas masks have barely
Yacoub Al-Saleh, executive manager of Kuwait’s largest military
supply store, told The Scotsman: "The people’s fear is still at
a minimum level. Mainly educated people are buying - those who have
some awareness of the situation. That is a sign of the temperature. I
feel it is low at the moment."
Kuwait City remains a bustling metropolis, hardly feeling like a city
50 miles from a potential war zone. There are early morning traffic
jams and business is brisk, from the traditional souks to
western-style shopping malls.
The decision to close down the Kuwait city bureau of the Arabic al-Jazeera
satellite television station highlighted government nervousness over
For the record, the US Army is saying almost nothing about its
preparations for war, beyond parroting comments from President Bush
that "no decisions" have been made.
Inside the sprawling Camp Doha, the US Third Army’s spokesman,
Lieutenant Colonel Rick Thomas, was unable to provide details of
10,000 strong US forces in Kuwait or the continuing troop build up.
His only comment was that, "US Central Command is re-positioning
forces in the region to support the President’s global war on
In private US Army officers display no doubts that there is only one
outcome to the crisis - war. Their contingency invasion plans are
ready and they are just waiting for the "execute" order.
Two scenarios seem ready, a surprise assault that could be launched
within days, or a more deliberate campaign with a start date in late
January or early February. The latter seems to be their preference,
with a major build up of supplies and equipment building up to a peak
Last week a brigade combat team of the 3rd Infantry Division moved out
of Camp Doha into the desert for a extensive series of exercises that
will culminate in live firing by Abrams tanks later in the month. All
of the north west of the Emirate, a quarter of Kuwait’s land mass,
has been declared a military zone and sealed off to allow the
exercises to take place.
Currently two armoured brigades are known to be in the Emirate, and
Kuwaiti military sources say that since June the tanks, armoured
vehicles, artillery and other heavy equipment for one to two more
armoured brigades has arrived. This would allow a further 10,000 GIs
to fly in, link up with the heavy equipment and be ready for combat in
72 hours. Plans are underway to move the heavy equipment for another
US division, to equip in excess of 18,000 troops, into Kuwait by
Three US Military Sealift Command ships have been dispatched to the
Gulf carrying armoured vehicles and helicopters. The Pentagon is
contracting for commercial vessels to carry 300 containers of
ammunition to the Middle East by the middle of December. Apache attack
helicopters are already flying patrols over the desert in the west of
In a further sign of the relentless American build-up, the US Army has
begun contracting local construction firms to begin building at least
one huge tent city out in the western desert - to accommodate a
further 3,000-5,000 troops. All the facilities are to be up and
running by the end of December.
From the Kuwaiti desert, it appears the countdown to war has already
|Bush's UN victory corners Saddam
Tim Ripley and Tim Cornwell
SADDAM Hussein will bow to pressure in the face
of the UN security council’s demand that he disarm or face
"serious consequences", western diplomats claimed last
The security council voted 15-0 for a tough new resolution yesterday
that gave the Iraqi president only seven days to confirm his regime
will "fully comply" with efforts to root out his arsenal of
He must accept the return of UN inspectors to his country with
sweeping powers to close down and search suspected weapons sites and
grill Iraqi officials in secret.
President George Bush threatened Saddam yesterday with "the
severest consequences" if he fails to eliminate any nuclear,
chemical or biological weapons, along with ballistic missiles he is
suspected of fitting to carry them.
"The outcome of the current crisis is already determined. The
full disarmament of weapons of mass destruction will occur. The only
question for the Iraqi regime is to decide how," Mr Bush said.
With the threat of war hanging on Baghdad’s response, Tony Blair
issued a similar warning. "Defy the UN’s will and we will
disarm you by force," the Prime Minister said. "Be in no
doubt whatsoever over that. Conflict is not inevitable, but
Few observers now believe that Saddam will hand a golden opportunity
to his foes to attack Iraq by rejecting the UN demands outright. He
will agree to let the inspectors return if only to "string out
the crisis" and attempt to frustrate US and British attempts to
build a new anti-Baghdad coalition, one western diplomat said.
There are also reports from the Gulf region that Saudi Arabia is now
working behind the scenes to persuade Baghdad to go along with the new
inspection regime. The chief UN weapons inspector, Hans Blix, said an
advance team of inspectors will arrive in Baghdad on 18 November after
an absence of nearly four years .
The unanimous security council vote "strengthens our mandate very
much", said Mr Blix, whose progress reports to the UN could
determine if the US gets an international blessing for its long-held
wish to oust Saddam.
The new measure leaves Washington free to attack Iraq without a formal
second UN resolution authorising the use of force. But it requires the
security council to meet again before a military strike.
Mr Bush yesterday scored a diplomatic triumph almost as sweeping and
sweet as his gains in the US congressional elections earlier in the
After eight weeks of bargaining at the UN, first China, then
critically France and Russia, were persuaded to back a resolution that
lays down a gauntlet to Baghdad.
In addition to the security council’s five permanent members, the
vote was also unanimous among ten rotating members of the council.
They included the only Arab member, Syria, which had earlier pleaded
for a delayed vote.
The stringent conditions governing the inspectors’ return mean that
even Saddam’s palaces are not off-limits to their wide powers of
search. It left the ball firmly in Baghdad’s court yesterday as to
how it would respond.
Iraq must agree to the inspectors’ return under UN terms in seven
days, and has 30 days to make an "accurate, full and
complete" declaration of its weapons programmes, and related
industries, even those with civilian uses.
Commanders of the US forces assembling in the desert close to
Kuwait’s border with Iraq - backed by long-range bombers and
aircraft carrier groups converging on the Persian gulf - are saying
little about their plans.
But two scenarios now seem ready: a surprise assault within days, if
Baghdad baulks at UN demands, or a more deliberate campaign with a
start date in late January or early February.
The rhetoric from Baghdad has been uncompromising, describing the US
and British sponsored-resolution as "the law of evil". While
Baghdad has agreed to new weapons inspections in principle, it says
the new resolution amounts to a declaration of war because it sets
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