Fwd: Threatening With Nukes Could Well Lead to Use of Nukes - Part 1
Lutfi M. Hussein
lutfi.hussein at ASU.EDU
Fri Mar 22 19:02:17 UTC 2002
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Date: Fri, 22 Mar 2002 11:23:07 -0500
From: Mid-East Realities <MERL at MiddleEast.Org>
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Subject: Threatening With Nukes Could Well Lead to Use of Nukes - Part 1
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THREATENING WITH NUKES MAY WELL LEAD TO USING OF NUKES
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.
U.K. WARNS SADDAM OF NUCLEAR RETALIATION
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
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
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
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
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
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."
THERE IS NO JUSTIFICATION FOR WAGING WAR AGAINST IRAQ
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
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
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
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
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
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Lutfi M. Hussein
Department of English
Arizona State University
Tempe, AZ 85287-0302, USA
Email: lutfi.hussein at asu.edu
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