January 10, 2003
World Media Watch
by Gloria R. Lalumia
BUZZFLASH NOTE: Once again, these are the views and perspectives of the individual papers, not of BuzzFlash or Gloria. They offer BuzzFlash readers a way of reading what other nations are saying about the crisis, whether we like it or not. We repeat: This is not an endorsement of their viewpoints.
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Independent, UK--BRITAIN TO SEND 120 TANKS TO GULF WHILE RAF JETS HEAD
TO JORDAN (An armoured British assault force of more than 120 tanks is
expected to be mobilized next week for a possible Iraq war...The aircraft
carrier HMS Ark Royal will sail for the Gulf this weekend with support
ships, to be joined by the helicopter carrier HMS Ocean and Royal Marines
from 3 Commando Brigade. Shipping sources have disclosed that the Ministry
of Defence is seeking to charter up to 20 cargo ships for the transport
of material and personnel.)
5//Asia Times Online, Hong Kong--US-NORTH KOREA: POLITICKING BUSH STYLE? (But others were less sanguine. "I think the Bush administration is prepared to have North Korea have an unrestrained nuclear-weapons program while they try to isolate Pyongyang in hopes, long-term, of bringing down the regime," Gary Samore, a former non-proliferation expert with the administration of US president Bill Clinton, told the Wall Street Journal.)
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Independent 09 January 2003
TO SEND 120 TANKS TO GULF WHILE RAF JETS HEAD TO JORDAN
An armoured British assault force of more than 120 tanks is expected to be mobilised next week for a possible Iraq war.
The force, including the army's main battle tank, the Challenger 2, will form part of a 15,000-strong force Britain is likely to contribute in preparation for impending military action led by the United States.
Advance parties, including tanks, artillery and armoured infantry units from the 7th Armoured Brigade, part of the 1st (UK) Armoured Division based in Germany, are to begin deploying in the Gulf in the next two weeks. They will be followed by additional units from the division's 4th Armoured Brigade.
And the RAF is sending a mixed squadron of Tornados, Jaguars and Harriers to Jordan for a "training exercise". So far, Jordan has said it would not allow its territory to be used for an attack on Iraq. But the RAF fast jets would be ideally placed there for raids on Iraqi anti-aircraft defences and Scud launchers in western Iraq.
aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal will sail for the Gulf this weekend with
support ships, to be joined by the helicopter carrier HMS Ocean and Royal
Marines from 3 Commando Brigade. Shipping sources have disclosed that
the Ministry of Defence is seeking to charter up to 20 cargo ships for
the transport of material and personnel.
OZKOK: TURKISH ARMED FORCES IN NORTHERN IRAQ
ANKARA - Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok said late on Wednesday that Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) had some elements in Northern Iraq and they had some missions there, stating that this force was exaggerated in the press and they felt sad about it.
Replying questions in a press reception, Ozkok said, ''I have told them that you should not show us as bully in the region. We assume a moderate attitude.''
Upon a question on military Turkish existence in Northern Iraq, Ozkok said, ''TSK has some elements there. Barzani and Talabani know that. But, there have been tanks there for a long time. They had some missions. Those are exaggerated. We feel sad about it. Since it also decreases our activity.''
When asked if the number of elements could be increased in case of a possible U.S. operation against Iraq, Ozkok said, ''it depends on conjuncture in that time. We have no very big forces there. How will our parliament decide on that? It depends on politic instructions.''
When a reporter said, ''do you think that a psychological effect has been created on Turkey when an operation against Iraq is getting closer, Ozkok said, ''When the United States has started such an incident, it starts its activities before two or three years. It makes writers write articles and books. It makes psychological actions through media establishments.''
SAYS IT WON'T ATTACK ISRAEL DURING IRAQ WAR
Top Hezbollah officials in Lebanon have been indicating in recent days that the organization has no intention of attacking Israeli targets during an American offensive against Iraq. Early in the week, Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah declared in an interview that the organization will not respond to Israeli "provocation" on the northern border.
Yesterday, Mohammad Raad, chairman of Hezbollah's faction in Lebanon's parliament, dismissed as mere propaganda Israeli claims about Hezbollah intentions to attack on the border at a time of an American campaign in Iraq.
In recent months, Israel Defense Forces officers have warned that Hezbollah could try to exploit an American offensive in Iraq to attack Israeli targets. Yet IDF military intelligence officers have revised this estimate recently, saying that Hezbollah is actually unlikely to launch offensives, since it is deterred by the prospect of severe Israeli retaliation in Lebanon.
Nasrallah declared this week that his organization will show no restraint should Israel attack Lebanon. And he denied that Hezbollah has ever been supplied by Iraq - "we have never recieved anything from Iraq - not now, and not in the past," he said.
AND PRESSURE OVER IRAQ
There have been intriguing but unconfirmed reports about peace initiatives by Syria's President Bashar Al-Assad to avoid the risk of a conflict between the USA and Saddam Hussein.
Foreign Report's sources say that during Assad's recent meeting with Tony Blair in London, the Syrian president told the British prime minister he was thinking of flying to Baghdad to try and convince Saddam to give up his non-conventional weapons of mass destruction and avoid US intervention. Blair, though sceptical, replied: "Why not?"
According to our unconfirmed report, Assad flew to Baghdad and saw Saddam, but nothing came of it. However, a separate unconfirmed report says Assad made a U-turn, switching from persuasion to pressure.
Why? Because if war breaks out, the Syrians fear hundreds of thousands of refugees will flood their country from Iraq. The Syrian regime, dominated by an unpopular group of the Alawite sect, could be in danger. So, President Assad made a U-turn and ordered the pumping of Iraqi oil to stop.
KOREA: POLITICKING BUSH STYLE?
WASHINGTON - Does the new willingness of the administration of President George W Bush to "talk" with North Korea mark a major policy shift or a tactical maneuver designed to put Pyongyang on a back burner while Washington focuses world attention on Iraq?
That is the big question following Tuesday's release of a joint US-Japan-South Korean communique in which Washington, after vowing for weeks not to talk with North Korea until it dismantled its nuclear programs, agreed to talk after all, even while it continued to insist that it was not prepared to "negotiate".
Washington has also tried to defuse the crisis by not urging the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to refer that matter to the United Nations Security Council as quickly as the administration had been urging until this week.
Whether these steps will be enough to persuade Pyongyang, which has been systematically raising the stakes over its nuclear intentions in the last month, to pause remains to be seen.
Independent analysts are divided both over whether Washington is now willing to be more flexible in dealing with Pyongyang, as its Asian allies have urged, and, if so, whether a deal that could resolve the crisis can still be put together. "I think the administration has taken the first step toward a more sensible and effective policy," said Don Oberdorfer, a Korea expert who met with North Korean officials in Pyongyang in November.
But he was less optimistic about a deal. "I think the North would have given up their uranium-enrichment program in November for a promise of non-aggression if it had been made in the right way, but when the US refused to engage them in October and November, and then began to bring pressure by cutting off the oil, the military [in Pyongyang] got the upper hand and are now going straight for nuclear weapons as fast as they can go."
Some analysts believe this could mark a major turning point. "I think they will be getting in touch with the North Koreans, probably through others at the beginning, with the clear aim of bilateral discussions, and, if we're fortunate, we'll end up in negotiations," said Oberdorfer.
"This is another sign that the administration's head-butting approach to world politics isn't going to work," said Charles Kupchan of the Council on Foreign Relations. "I think it's a victory for the [Secretary of State Colin] Powell faction [of the administration] to some extent and a victory for China, Japan and South Korea."
But others were less sanguine. "I think the Bush administration is prepared to have North Korea have an unrestrained nuclear-weapons program while they try to isolate Pyongyang in hopes, long-term, of bringing down the regime," Gary Samore, a former non-proliferation expert with the administration of US president Bill Clinton, told the Wall Street Journal.
"I don't think the administration is backing down," said Chalmers Johnson, a Northeast Asia specialist at the University of California. "They're just dissimulating as usual. They're trying to smooth ruffled feathers until after Iraq," he added.
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© 2003, Gloria R. Lalumia, firstname.lastname@example.org
for Progressives at
otherwise noted, all original