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SHAPE NEWS SUMMARY & ANALYSIS 07 JULY 2002

 

 

 

NATO
  • French academic views consequences of U.S.-European differences

IRAQ

  • Allies moving toward air assault as disquiet over Iraq grows

 

 

NATO

 

  • In a contribution to French daily Le Monde, Aug. 6, French academic Zaki Laidi, researcher at the Center for International Studies and Research (CERI), views the consequences of U.S.-European differences. "The Europeans are wondering what they will have to do to keep the Americans in NATO. There is no small risk that the Americans will link their staying in NATO to a falling into line with the U.S. stances," claimed Laidi. Europe is discovering that its differences with America are beginning to pile up in a worrying fashion and that it is in matters of security that the reversal is most spectacular, he observed. "Ten years ago, some Europeans were wondering how to build an autonomous defense identity in the face of the United States. Today, the situation is the other way round," he added and continued: "It was thought an optimistic conclusion could be drawn from this worrying situation: since Europe is separating from the United States, it will have to take charge of its own destiny. But despite appearances, this hypothesis is the least likely, even if highly desirable. It is not in fact at all sure that the return of the brutal logic of the nation state will lead the Europeans to intensify the logic of shared sovereignty. European societies are profoundly reluctant to the idea of Europe as a power…. Europeans wax indignant about U.S. warmongering but they not seem the least concerned to increase their defense expenditure. They fear that this outlay will be to the detriment of their very high standard of social welfare…. The word system finds itself … devoid of a political grammar."

 

 

IRAQ

 

  • The Independent quotes defense and diplomatic sources saying a plan to attack Iraq using overwhelming air power, rather than by a land invasion, is gaining support in American and British governments. According to the newspaper, the operation envisages prolonged bombardment of Iraqi defenses followed by the landing of light brigades of airborne troops once resistance has collapsed. The article remarks that the air option is attractive to London because it will keep British involvement to a minimum in a war bound to provoke huge public protest. The Americans would need little help from other countries to launch aerial attacks. As in the Afghan campaign, the British role is likely to be limited to providing bases, air refueling and supplying reconnaissance aircraft. The air war has the advantage of avoiding the political problem of America and Britain needing to find bases for troops in countries neighboring Iraq, the newspaper continues.

 

 

The possibility of a U.S.-led attack on Iraq remains the main story in international media. In Germany, where a debate is raging on whether the subject should be an issue in the country’s electoral campaign, Die Welt writes that in the wake of the ruling coalition’s rejection of German participation in a possible war against Iraq, the opposition FDP and CDU Parties have warned against a "German separate way." According to the newspaper, they demanded that instead the government should work out a common European position in the Iraq debate.

Noting that opposition to war appears to be growing in Britain, AP reports Foreign Office Minister Mike O’Brien said in an interview Wednesday that war against Iraq is not inevitable if Saddam Hussein agrees to readmit UN weapons inspectors. "Nobody wants war for the sake of it. The ball is now in Saddam Hussein’s court…. If international law is complied with, of course the position will then be very different," O’Brien, junior minister to Foreign Secretary Straw, reportedly said. According to the dispatch, he added that regime change was desirable, but not the primary objective. Earlier, the BBC World Service reported that UN Security General Kofi Annan had told Iraq it must accept the Security Council’s terms on disarmament and weapons inspectors before a UN official can take up an Iraqi invitation to visit. In a letter to Iraqi Foreign Minister Sabri, Annan reportedly did not reject the invitation but said talks would have to focus on practical arrangements for weapons inspections. The program noted that Annan’s response came as Iraq tried to build up support in the Middle East region.

 

 

In a contribution to the Financial Times, Sir Michael Quinlan, permanent undersecretary at the British Ministry of Defense, 1988-92, and now a visiting professor at the Center for Defense Studies at King’s College London, calls on America’s allies to make clear that there is no military or political justification in seeking to topple Saddam Hussein.

The doctrine of just war rests on centuries of reasoned reflection and underlies much of the modern law of war. Attacking Iraq would be deeply questionable against several of its tests, such as just cause, proportionality and right authority, claims Quinlan. Warning that a British government decision to participate in a U.S.-led action could provoke more severe domestic division than Britain has seen since the Suez crisis, he adds: "Benefit-of-the-doubt acquiescence within the armed forces, the media and the public might prove much weaker than it was then…. To oppose the U.S. administration would be a serious step. But this is a serious matter, and what is influence for? In spite of the administration’s resolve not to be deflected from its policy preferences, it would scarcely be unmoved by a clear signal—whether public or private—from its most solid ally that neither military participation nor political support was to be assumed. Such a signal ought to be given soon."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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