January 22, 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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1//The Guardian, UK--NO WAY OUT FOR SADDAM - BLAIR (Tony Blair today refused to rule out using nuclear weapons in a conflict against Iraq, as MPs grilled the prime minister for two and a half hours on the subject of Saddam Hussein.)
2//TurkishPress.com, USA--YAKIS: SUMMIT WILL TAKE PLACE ON JANUARY 23 IN ISTANBUL (When Yakis was reminded the news reports which appeared in New York Times that Turkey gave permission to the United States to use bases, Yakis said he did not have a statement saying permission was given for usage of bases.)
3//ArabNews, Saudi Arabia--MOSCOW URGED TO STEP UP EFFORTS TO AVERT WAR (The member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council yesterday called on Russia to step up diplomatic efforts to prevent a threatened US war against their Iraq and to resolve the crisis peacefully...Opening the first conference between businessmen from the GCC states and Russia, Atiyya [GCC Secretary-General Abdul Rahman Atiyya] said the six-member bloc was concerned about war affecting the people of Iraq, its stability, unity and territorial integrity...Former Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov, who heads the Russian delegation, on Monday warned that a US war against Iraq could split the world on religious lines.)
4//Asia Times Online, Hong Kong--IRAQI OIL: ONE BIG STICKY MESS (...Thus,
the real question is, whither the future of Iraqi oil...As for those
who see US domination of Iraqi oil as a way to break OPEC's ability to
control prices, they should think again. Analysts say a surge in production
would do no one - except, possibly, Western consumers in the short term
- much good. Increased Iraqi oil production would be harmful even to
the major US oil companies, who would see their profit margins cut with
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Guardian Tuesday January 21, 2003
The prime minister said Britain and the US would deal with the threat from Iraq by "any way necessary".
Appearing before the liaison committee, made up of select committee chairmen and women, Mr Blair told Iraq it could not play "hide and seek" with weapons inspectors and reiterated his belief that it was "highly desirable" to have a second UN resolution authorising military action.
The prime minister was speaking ahead of a mass peace "lobby" of parliament addressed by the Blur singer Damon Albarn and anti-war MPs.
He said the allies would respond "in any way we thought necessary" to any Iraqi threat to use weapons of mass destruction against their troops.
Asked if that might include a warning to Saddam that non-conventional weapons - such as nuclear bombs - could be used against him in the event of such an attack, Mr Blair said: "It is best to say that we are aware of the potential of that threat and we would deal with it in any way that we thought necessary.
YAKIS: SUMMIT WILL TAKE PLACE ON JANUARY 23 IN ISTANBUL
ANKARA - Foreign Minister Yasar Yakis said on Tuesday that ''regional meeting'' which is planned to take place with the participation of regional countries for the solution of Iraqi problem through peaceful means will take place on January 23.
When Yakis was reminded the news reports which appeared in New York Times that Turkey gave permission to the United States to use bases, Yakis said he did not have a statement saying permission was given for usage of bases.
''If such a thing is written, this is not right. We only authorized our military authorities to negotiate with the U.S. military authorities. Military authorities of the two countries would determine what kind of a cooperation could be done in a level which will not make North alternative meaningless,'' Yakis said.
MOSCOW URGED TO STEP UP EFFORTS TO AVERT WAR
JEDDAH, 22 January 2003 - The member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council yesterday called on Russia to step up diplomatic efforts to prevent a threatened US war against their Iraq and to resolve the crisis peacefully.
"We call on Russian diplomacy to...be more active at this delicate stage and lead diplomatic efforts aimed at finding a political and peaceful solution to the Iraqi crisis and prevent war which we all reject," GCC Secretary-General Abdul Rahman Atiyya said.
Opening the first conference between businessmen from the GCC states and Russia, Atiyya said the six-member bloc was concerned about war affecting the people of Iraq, its stability, unity and territorial integrity.
Atiyya also warned of the impact another war will have on the stability of the whole Gulf region. Atiyya's speech was delivered by Dr. Anwar Al-Abdullah, director of energy and economic affairs at the GCC Secretariat.
Former Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov, who heads the Russian delegation, on Monday warned that a US war against Iraq could split the world on religious lines.
Primakov, currently president of the chambers of commerce and industry in Russia, also feared war may lead to internal conflicts in many states.
Primakov met with Crown Prince Abdullah, deputy premier and commander of the National Guard, in Riyadh, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
The Jeddah conference aims at promoting Gulf investments in the Russian federation especially in the field of energy. Moscow estimates that total investments from Gulf states in Russia stand at just $100 million.
IRAQI OIL: ONE BIG STICKY MESS
While antiwar protesters chant "no blood for oil", most informed commentators assume that the United States is at the point of no return regarding a future war with Iraq. Thus, the real question is, whither the future of Iraqi oil.
Some of those advocating war have suggested that Iraqi oil could pay for the costs involved. An article in the current issue of Insight magazine reveals that a National Security Council working group headed by former assistant secretary of state Elliott Abrams has recommended that the United States assert de facto control over Iraq's oil wells. Abrams apparently has the backing of Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz.
But this is extremely unlikely. No Iraqi government could allow oil revenues to be used to pay US costs and survive. Even Pentagon officials acknowledge that continuation of oil revenues for humanitarian and development efforts a-la the food for oil program will continue to be the number one priority. Few things are more likely to alienate the Iraqi population on any postwar US presence than the perception that the US is exploiting Iraq's oil for its own benefit.
Furthermore, Iraq is highly unlikely to produce more than 3 million barrels per day during the next five years. That seems reasonable since, according to the US Energy Information Administration, in 1990 Iraq was pumping a bit over 2 million barrels a day and its 10 month average in 2002 was 1.955 million barrels.
A joint report by Rice University's Baker Institute and the Council on Foreign Relations issued last month found, "Oil production capacity in Iraq is dropping by 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) annually. Significant technical challenges exist in stanching the decline and eventually increasing production ... It will take 18 months to three years and $5 billion to bring the Iraqi oil industry back to pre-1990s production levels of 3.5 million bpd, in addition to $3 billion in annual operating costs. To get to the oft-quoted 6 million bpd will take years and require massive expansion of infrastructure, billions of dollars in investment and a stable political environment. War and its aftermath could further limit, not increase, Iraq's oil production."
Given that Iraq is encumbered with massive loan and reparation obligations and about 30 percent of its petroleum profits go to reparations, the likelihood that it can pay for a US war and occupation is similar to the lifespan of a snowball in hell.
As for those who see US domination of Iraqi oil as a way to break OPEC's ability to control prices, they should think again. Analysts say a surge in production would do no one - except, possibly, Western consumers in the short term - much good. Increased Iraqi oil production would be harmful even to the major US oil companies, who would see their profit margins cut with lower prices.
And for oil-producing countries, the results could be very bad news. Russia depends on oil revenue to run the government. The Kremlin already has said that it could not live with the price of Russian crude oil falling below $18 a barrel. Lower prices could render Russian oil more expensive to produce and, thus, uncompetitive. This would cloud the prospects for attracting foreign investment to tap Siberian oil deposits.
The Saudis are said to be amassing a war chest of nearly $100 billion to weather a period of low oil prices, although many doubt Saudi Arabia has the finances to create such a large emergency fund.
2,000 PAKISTANIS FLEE FROM US TO CANADA
WASHINGTON, Jan 20: So far about 2,000 Pakistanis have fled to Canada to escape arrest and deportation from the United States where they had been living for years before forced to leave.
The Pakistan Embassy in Washington says it knows about 400 families who have taken refuge in Canada but acknowledges that many more might have gone quietly.
Pakistani welfare groups, who assist the refugees, say they know of at least 2,000 Pakistanis who have fled to Canada.
"They may be right. We do not have the exact figure but we know many are going," says Imran Ali, the second secretary at the Pakistan Embassy who deals with such issues.
Interviews with some of the Pakistani refugees reveal that most asylum seekers use three border crossings, one in Michigan and two in New York.
Each night, Pakistanis board the midnight Greyhound bus at Manhattan's Port Authority, and six hours later they arrive at a deserted strip mall on the western edge of Plattsburgh, NY. Taxi drivers charge $50 for the ride up through frozen northern farmlands to the border turnaround.
They walk the final 300 yards through the snow to the Canadian immigration centre. Another popular route is the Buffalo-Niagara border crossing, which too is in New York.
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© 2003, Gloria R. Lalumia, email@example.com
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