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Updated: 22-Jul-2003

SHAPE News Morning Update

22 July 2003

  • NATO’s Lord Robertson slams “buy America” defence bill


  • UN secretary-general welcomes Iraqi Governing Council but warns that “democracy cannot be imposed.”
  • Turkish premier: U.S. wants Turkish soldiers for Iraq
  • British admiral had anthrax jab before Iraq war


  • EU approves extension of peacekeeping mission in Macedonia (sic)


  • Germany to cut Afghan deployment by September
  • U.S. military says Taliban stepping up attacks
  • Afghan deputy defense minister calls for overhaul of army


  • NATO chief George Robertson branded a U.S. defence procurement bill on Friday as an unjustified attempt to protect “little companies in little parts of America” and said it could put joint arms programmes at risk. Lord Robertson also criticised an export licensing bill passed in the House of Representatives that would mean restrictions on the sale of defence equipment between the United States and Britain. Lord Robertson said he was not advocating an “anything goes” liberalisation of U.S. arms export controls, but without steps to create a more level playing field arms cooperation and procurement would remain expensive and complicated, hobbling both military capability and cohesion within the NATO alliance. “Protectionism and, worse still, more protectionism is not the answer,” he told a seminar on Transatlantic defence industrial cooperation in Brussels. “It brings huge associated penalties with it, not only in costs, but in political unity,” he added. (Reuters 181350 GMT Jul 03)


  • In a toughly worded report, Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Monday urged the United States to quickly restore control to Iraqis and warned that “democracy cannot be imposed from the outside.” In the 23-page report to the Security Council, Annan also noted concerns regarding the U.S. treatment of Iraqi detainees and the failure to improve security conditions in Baghdad. He welcomed the creation of a U.S.-picked Iraqi Governing Council, though he wrote that Iraqis were feeling “an overwhelming demand for self-rule.” “It is important that Iraqis are able to see a clear timetable leading to the full restoration of sovereignty,” Annan wrote. The critical tone of the report was unlikely to help U.S. efforts to win support for an international peacekeeping force that could ease overburdened American troops in Iraq. Still, U.S. diplomats offered an initially positive reaction to Annan’s report. “We certainly agree that Iraqis should be in charge of their own country and we are working hard to do that and that’s why the governing council is a good first step,” said Richard Grenell, spokesman for the U.S. mission to the United Nations. (AP 211949 Jul 03)

  • The United States has asked Turkey to contribute soldiers to help patrol Iraq, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was quoted as saying on Sunday by the Anatolia news agency. Erdogan did not elaborate but the request apparently came during a visit on Friday by two top U.S. generals who held talks in the Turkish capital to help smooth strained relations. The Hurriyet newspaper said on Sunday that during talks the sides discussed the possibility of Turkey contributing up to 10,000 soldiers to Iraq. There was no immediate comment from the military. Erdogan did not say whether Turkey had agreed to send soldiers, but officials have in the past indicated that Turkey was willing to contribute peacekeepers. Turkey’s military said in a statement on Saturday that the sides have discussed possible military measures against an estimated 5,000 Turkish Kurdish rebels who are based in northern Iraq. The statement did not elaborate. Robert Pearson, the U.S. ambassador to Turkey, told Hurriyet in an interview published on Sunday that the United States would not allow the rebels to have shelter in northern Iraq and could use force to oust them. Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul is scheduled to travel to Washington next week for talks expected to center on Turkish troop contributions and cooperation against the rebels. (AP 201322 Jul 03)

  • Britain’s navy chief said on Monday that he was so convinced Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction that he had an anthrax jab before the Iraq war. Admiral Sir Alan West said he felt sure evidence would be found that the deposed Iraqi leader did have such weapons and told reporters: “I have no difficulty having fought a war against him.” (Reuters 211708 GMT Jul 03)


  • The European Union on Monday extended its 350-member peacekeeping mission in Macedonia (sic) until Dec. 15, EU diplomats said in Brussels. The decision was made at the request of the former Yugoslav republic. (AP 211553 Jul 03)


  • Germany said on Saturday it would cut the size of its force in an international peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan to 1,500 from 2,300 by September. A Defence Ministry spokesman said the reduction had nothing to do with a suicide attack on German troops in June that killed four soldiers and wounded more than 30. He said fewer German soldiers would be needed. “We were a lead nation for a half-year and it was always clear the size of the force would be reduced afterwards,” he added. (Reuters 191403 GMT Jul 03)

  • The U.S. army said on Monday that Taliban guerrillas had stepped up attacks in southern Afghanistan. Afghan officials said the militants were crossing from Pakistan. Afghan officials blamed Pakistan for the incursions and shellfire has been traded on parts of the border. (Reuters 211502 GMT Jul 03)

  • Afghanistan’s deputy defense minister on Sunday called for an overhaul of the state army, saying the existing force was deeply politicized. “Each leader, each general and each commander of this (existing Afghan) army is follower of a party or faction,” Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum’s spokesman Zaki Faiz said. He said that Gen. Dostum submitted a list of recommendations for the establishment of a “genuine Afghan army” to the Afghan National Security Council. Dostum’s comments were directed at the force that is currently in place while the United States and France train recruits for a new force that is supposed to be more ethnically diverse. The new force is expected to be 70,000 strong, but no deadline has been set for its establishment. (AP 201527 Jul 03)


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