|W O R L D||
Friday, December 18, 1998
|US air strikes: UN members,
Republicans question motive
UNITED NATIONS, Dec 17 Even as US President Bill Clinton declared war on Iraq, some permanent members of the Security Council and even US lawmakers sharply questioned its timing and motivation.
gift to Iraqis
Grieving relatives at the bed of a man hospitalised with severe burns allegedly from a missile attack in Baghdad early Thursday morning. Iraqi sources report over 30 injuries and two dead. AP/PTI
get death for killings
on Anwars house for mattresses
US air strikes
UNITED NATIONS, Dec 17 (IANS) Even as US President Bill Clinton declared war on Iraq, some permanent members of the Security Council and even US lawmakers sharply questioned its timing and motivation.
While France wondered what led to the US decision, the representative of China at the Security Council came out very angrily to question the motivation of the attack.
A late night emergency meeting of the Security Council was scheduled at the behest of Russia.
Mr Clintons announcement came after he reviewed the report of Mr Richard Butler, head of the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) in Iraq.
In his report submitted to the Secretary-General late last evening, Mr Butler said the UNSCOM could not continue its work any more in the future in the absence of Iraqi cooperation.
Iraq will bear responsibility for defying the UN Security Council, Clinton said in a nationally televised address. He said the international community had given chances to Iraq but (President) Saddam (Hussein) has failed to seize the last opportunity.
Mr Clinton said Iraq was posing a threat to its neighbours in the Persian Gulf as well as the international community.
Despite Mr Clintons criticisms, some Republicans Party leaders in the USA felt the timing was not coincidental but had something to do with changing the course of events at Congress tomorrow, alluding to the vote on impeachment today against him in the Monica Lewinsky affair.
Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott said the time was wrong. Its the right thing to do at the wrong time, the CNN quoted him as saying.
CNN said that while a majority of the Americans supported Mr Clintons act, a large section felt the action was partly to divert attention from the Monica Lewinsky affair.
WASHINGTON: Republican lawmakers questioned President Bill Clintons motives in ordering US air-strikes against Iraq before the party agreed to delay impeachment proceedings scheduled for today.
House Speaker-elect Robert Livingston, who made the announcement last night after a closed-door Republican caucus meeting, warned members of the House of Representatives against leaving Washington. He asked all lawmakers already in Washington in anticipation of the impeachment debate to remain in town pending further action, possibly Friday, possibly Saturday, but within the near future.
They should remain available to the call of the chair to take up the issue of impeachment, the first such debate in 130 years. The majority Republican Party rejected House Democratic Leader Richard Gephardts call for deferring action against Mr Clinton until the hostilities have ended.
House Majority Leader Richard Armey said the peoples suspicions that the attack on Iraq was motivated by the Presidents desire to avoid or distract from the impeachment debate were themselves a powerful argument for impeachment.
Suddenly, on the eve of a vote to impeach him, after six years of a weak approach to (Iraqi President) Saddam Hussein, we are now told bombing is an urgent necessity, Republican Congressman Matt Salmon remarked.
Republicans intend to convene the House as originally scheduled today and pass a resolution of support for military personnel rather than launch what had been scheduled as a historic debate over the fate of the nations 42nd President.
Mr Clinton himself made a brief reference to the juxtaposition of events, saying that Saddam Hussein and the other enemies of peace may have thought that the serious debate currently before the House of Representatives would distract Americans or weaken our resolve to face them down.
The Speaker-elect hit out at the White House for its lobbying effort to convince moderate Republicans to oppose impeachment. We have left the issue of impeachment to the consciences of the men and women in Congress, Mr Livingston said. Unfortunately, thats not been the case with respect to the White House and the administration. Theyve weighed in, theyve lobbied, but weve said its a matter of conscience.
Meanwhile, eight more Republicans announced their intention to vote for one or more articles of impeachment, including Congressman Michael Pappas who called on Mr Clinton to resign.
Five Republicans have
announced they would vote against impeachment. Of those
still believed to be undecided, the White House counts at
least three as likely to vote against impeachment. That
leaves Mr Clinton struggling to find about eight more to
stop the process in the House itself.
gift to Iraqis
IT is distasteful to support Saddam Hussein, a textbook dictator. But it is also distasteful to support the US bombing of Baghdad and its surroundings, killing and maiming famished Iraqis. It is a classic cruel dilemma of an analyst choose between two undesirable characters.I plump for Iraqi citizens.
President Clinton was on TV for many minutes on Thursday to tell his fellow Americans why he had ordered the awesome navy-based airpower to punish Saddam. In his speech he referred to the Iraqi President more than a hundred times, making it clear that his war is with the Iraqi President as a person and policy-maker and not with the country. But he was actually punishing the country, the common citizens, the man in the street whose name is not Saddam Hussein.
This is an acute paradox and it is the sole creation of President Clinton. (I add his office to his name as a matter of protocol even though Mr Clinton contemptuously refers to his enemy No 1 as plain Saddam.)
The US President and his Defence Secretary claim that Iraq has to be bombed to protect vital US national interests. In plain words, this means that they are expecting a surprise Iraqi attack using a weapon of mass destruction, say, a nuclear, chemical or biological bomb delivered by a long-range missile.
As a justification for the heavy bombardment, this argument is totally unconvincing, and as a serious input into US strategic policy this is laughable in the extreme. As a former US envoy to Iraq pointed out, Iraq is light years away from making a nuclear bomb; it just does not have the industrial base. The other lethal bombs cannot be delivered by a long-range missile.
Who is telling the truth? President Clinton, of course. His relentless demonising of President Saddam Hussein gives the game away. He wants to get rid of the Iraqi President, and if it takes banging a few hundred Cruise missiles in Baghdad localities, so be it. Go Saddam, go is the message from Washington to the people of Iraq and they are not listening. And they wont listen as long as the USA showers death and destruction on them.
There is a total communication breakdown. President Clinton wont talk to President Saddam Hussein and the US Presidents obvious incitement to the Iraqis has no takers. So the bombs and Cruise missiles speak and there is nobody in Iraq listening to them either.
The USA says Saddam is defying the world and as the sole and self-appointed peace policeman of the world, it is obliged to punish those who defy the UN. It is curious logic with a lot of holes.
The UN today is sharply divided on the nature of punishment to Iraq. Three of the five veto-wielding members are opposed to the continuation of the death-dealing economic sanctions and would like these to be lifted. Only the USA and the UK are standing in the way. It is two versus three against allowing Iraq to live like a nation with its dignity intact. And the USA says it has the right to pound Iraq to submission.
Consumed as he is by his moral outrage against President Saddam Hussein, President Clinton has forgotten his basic lesson in democracy. If he really believes that the USA has the right to unleash its awesome Cruise missiles 200 in all in the first few hours of bombing why not test it democratically once again in the UN Security Council? Legal sanction flows from a free vote and the USA should seek it. With Russia and China angry at the US attack on Iraq, the veto power will go against the USA and not in its favour as now.
There is also another big hole in its claim to be the self-appointed crusader of world peace. President Clinton should take a few minutes off from his concentration on the crimes of Iraq and shift his gaze to Israel. This beloved country of his has violated every UN resolution since 1967, yes, since 1967, or for more than 31 years. The UN has not shown any guts to take action against Israel and the USA has gifted billions of dollars to Israel as though rewarding it for defying the UN resolutions.The sanctity of the UN resolution cannot be savage punishment for violation in the case of Iraq and sweet gifts in the case of Israel.
The pious talk of peace
and ensuring a threat-free environment in West Asia,
pouring out of the mouth of several power-wielders in
Washington will sound as cynical posturing in Baghdad and
as a ridiculous self-justification in Tel Aviv. President
Clinton might have bought a day in facing the inevitable
impeachment trail, but the price Iraqis have to pay is
too brutal. It is a Ramzan gift the Iraqis
and their Muslim brethren in neighbouring countries would
rather have done without.
Netanyahus poll threat over deal vote
NICOSIA, Dec 17 (ANI) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has threatened to call an election if Parliament refuses to back his suspension of the Wye River land-for-security deal with the Palestinians on Monday.
The embattled Prime Minister told activists of his Right-wing Likud party in Tel Aviv late yesterday that he would ask the Labour opposition and his allies to vote in favour of his decision not to proceed with the accord unless Palestinians fulfilled the conditions set by him.
Senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat described Mr Netanyahus move as a sacrifice of the peace process to retain his post as the Prime Minister and keeping his coalition intact.
Labour leader Fhud Barak said he wanted the polls advanced as he could not work with a government that had surrendered to the extremists.
A senior Israeli official predicted Linked and Labour would agree on a date for elections, most likely sometime in April. The elections were not scheduled to take place until late 2000.
Coalition hardliners in Parliament, where Mr Netanyahu commands 61-59 majority, have opposed giving up of West Bank land to Palestinians.
Mr Netanyahu, with a crumbling coalition, is due to face a no-confidence vote next Monday linked to a Bill to bring forward elections. A senior government official said Mr Netanyahu would first address the 120-member Parliament and call for it to support his stand in the Wye pact.
If he doesnt get 61 or more votes for his position, he will then initiate early elections, an Israeli official said.
WASHINGTON (Reuters): The USA has pressed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to adhere to the Wye given peace deal but conceded them a second handover of West Bank land to Palestinians would probably be delayed.
We believe the Wye memorandum should be implemented and that both parties should fulfil the obligations they undertook at Wye, State Department spokesman James Rubin said.
14 get death for killings
MULTAN, Dec 17 (Reuters) A Pakistani court on Wednesday sentenced to death 14 activists from rival Islamic sects for their role in two shootings that killed 34 persons, court sources said.
They said eight members of a militant group from the majority Sunni sect were convicted for killing an Iranian official and seven Pakistani Shia employees of an Iranian cultural centre in Multan city in the south of the central province of Punjab, in a shooting on February 20, 1997.
Raid on Anwars house for mattresses
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 17 (AFP) Malaysian police has raided the former residence of ousted deputy premier Anwar Ibrahim to seize more mattresses, a senior police officer said today.
Musa Hassan, Deputy Chief of the Police Criminal Investigation Department, told Anwars trial the raid carried out yesterday had nothing to do with the four corruption charges against the former Deputy Prime Minister.
The raid came only a day after prosecutors hauled a queen-sized mattress into the courtroom as an exhibit. The mattress, sporting 13 holes where suspected semen stains had been removed, was later displayed to photographers but has since been returned to the courtroom where it sits before the judge.
As the trial resumed today, senior defence counsel Raja Azzis Addruse said he had learned from his client that his former official residence was raided yesterday afternoon and mattresses and pillows were taken away.
|Warrants against Nusrat issued
LAHORE: The Ehtesab Bench of the Lahore High Court, comprising Mr Justice Ihsanul Haq Chaudhury and Mr Justice Raja Muhammad Khurshid, has issued non-bailable arrest warrants against Nusrat Bhutto, mother of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, to ensure her presence on January 28 before the Bench hearing the assets and accounts reference against her. The court issued the warrants after Nusrat Bhutto repeatedly refused to accept the summons. The Commissioner and District Magistrate, Karachi, have been directed to get the warrants executed. ANI
18 die in mishap
Ambassador to USA
Eritrea gets 10
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