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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Cairo Press Review

Thursday, February 5, 1998



HEADLINES



President Mubarak: Egypt not to take part in military action against Baghdad; Secretary General of the Arab League Dr. Esmat Abdel Meguid carries no Egyptian proposals to Iraq.

President Mubarak, Argentine President Carlos Menem inaugurate Egypt's second nuclear reactor for industrial, agricultural, medical purposes.

President Mubarak in opening speech, statements to the press:
Iraq called on to implement Security Council resolutions otherwise situation will be grave.
Egypt keen on subjecting its nuclear establishments to international supervision, all countries without exception should do so.

President Mubarak, Argentine President Menem meet on means of promoting bilateral ties; 4 cooperation agreements signed.

New 22 Mega Watt reactor is furnished with most up-to-date personnel, environment protection system.

President Menem: Argentina supports Egypt's initiative on a nuclear free Middle East.

Mubarak, Menem witness the signing of security, scientific cooperation agreements.

Egypt informed of Iraqi approval to open 8 presidential sites for international inspection.

FM Moussa, EU Peace Envoy Moratinos discuss means of reviving ME peace process.

EU president to Al Ahram:
Israel urged to implement re-deployment of troops to break peace stalemate.
Cairo talks to touch on economic cooperation with Europe.

Minister of Tourism Dr. Mamdouh El Beltagui after returning from Spain:
4 Spanish conferences to be held in Egypt, Golf tourism successfully promoted, charter flights to start next month.

"Al Ahram"


President in statements to the press following inauguration of peaceful nuclear reactor:
Egypt not to take part in military action against Iraq.
Iraq called on to implement Security Council resolutions.

FM Moussa: Iraq agreed to open presidential sites for inspection.

Nuclear reactor to usher in greater cooperation between Egypt, Argentina.

At inauguration of Nuclear reactor:
President Mubarak: Reactor model for South-South cooperation in field of technology.
All countries urged to lay nuclear establishments open to international inspection.

Argentine President Menem: Argentina supports Egypt's peace-making, terrorist-combating efforts. Joint ventures to be established to serve technological progress.

President Mubarak, Argentine President Menem witness signing of trade, industrial cooperation protocols.

President to inaugurate Cairo 30th International Book Fair today.

Russia warns the US against striking Iraq.
Arab-American organizations warn of grave consequences of military action against Iraq.

"Al Akhbar "


Iraqi President Saddam Hussein agrees to inspection of 8 presidential palaces.

Mubarak warns of grave developments.

"Al Wafd"


Israel told when US strike is due.

Military option rejected by Arabs, Mubarak tells Albright.

Minister of Economy: Another part of Egypt's foreign debts up for sale.

"Al Akhbar"


Extensive efforts exerted to prevent US-Israeli strike of Iraq.

"Al Ahali"


Egypt not to join military action against Iraq, urges Baghdad to obey UN resolutions.

Mubarak, Menem support nuclear-free MidEast.

Iraq to let UN into 8 sites, says FM Moussa.

Russian President Borris Yeltsin warns of World War III over Iraq.

President confers with intellectuals at Cairo Book Fair.

Talks in Cairo on peace impasse.

German Ambassador in Cairo: Successful Egyptian reforms boost economic relations with Germany.

Meeting discusses making use of Arab funds for encouraging foreign, regional investment.

New team to set up economic maps for villages

100 Arab, foreign diplomats to visit Tushki this month.

British Minister to discuss investments in Egypt.

"The Egyptian Gazette"



EDITORIALS



Had the key aim of the recently-concluded Middle East tour by US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright been to "market" the "devastating" air strikes vowed by Washington against the defiant Iraq, then a "big NO" has seen off the US official on almost all legs of her swing. Almost except for Kuwait, the entire Arab capitals stand firm against the planned American military action.

This opposition is motivated by the deeply-rooted conviction in the Arab Nation that the US is at pains to further cripple Iraq regardless of ample indications that the military response would compound the situation, and that the step is clearly aimed at maintaining the Israeli supremacy over the whole Arab Nation.

Except for Britain, the rest of the Western allies and major powers elsewhere have been exhorting Washington to give diplomacy a full chance in order to defuse the crisis. French and Russian envoys are now in Baghdad in order to make it dawn on Saddam Hussein that Washington means business and is ready to let hell break loose on his country, no matter how vociferous the world opposition is. In truth, Washington, emboldened by vanity of power and its de facto monopoly of global affairs, appears poised to press ahead on its own mandate. But the US would fool none but itself when it acts under the illusion that today's conditions are akin to those prevalent in the wake of Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

Seven years have elapsed since Saddam acted so rashly and was forced to disgorge the oil-rich emirate. His misadventure has earned his hapless country an all-out UN embargo. Washington has been for almost one month now threatening a shattering blow against Iraq over obstruction of UN arms inspection of suspected sites. Seven years of constant inspections and criss-crossing different parts of Iraq (now reduced to a virtual no-man's land) have not convinced Washington that many, if not all, fangs of Iraq have been removed, and that a severely punished country with destitute and malnourished people could not pose a threat to neighbors. Even those neighbors have contested the American claim that Baghdad's relentless stand could be a good reason to take risks with another large-scale war.

The Gulf countries have already left the US in no doubt that they would not allow their territories be used in the planned military action against Iraq. For sure, Baghdad must comply with the UN resolutions vis-a-vis granting a free access to locations of prohibited weapons. Still, the past seven years of compliance must in turn earn the besieged Iraqis a respite from the suffocating sanctions, and a serious rethink of dropping this collective penalty. The embargo must not go unheeded by the policy-makers in Washington. One thing is sure, that brute power never provides a solution.

"The Egyptian Gazette"


The message US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright received from President Hosni Mubarak in the final stop of her Middle East tour was clear and firm: no to a military strike against Iraq and yes to all-out efforts to settle Baghdad's dispute with the United Nations by peaceful means.

Albright had toured the region to garner support for military action to cripple Iraq militarily. With the exception of Kuwait, and possibly Jordan, all Arab countries she visited were adverse to a military strike. Egypt, already deeply concerned for the Iraqi people who have been suffering greatly as a result of international sanctions clamped after Iraq's 1990 invasion of neighboring Kuwait, is totally opposed to a military strike that would not only decimate Iraqi military power but is bound to inflict great harm on the civilian population. Iraqi military sites are not isolated islands. They rub shoulders with population centers.

Another consideration behind the Egyptian stance is the devastating effect a military strike could have on the entire Middle East. On one hand, it would inflame nationalist Arab sentiment against the United States, the main power broker in the Arab-Israeli peace process. This would fuel violence throughout the area against US and possibly Israeli targets and provide terrorists with a new pretext to expand their operations in their home countries.

Yet another consideration - which has not been subject to officials comment but is on everybody's mind - is the double standard implicit in US dealing with this part of the world. Washington looks the other way when it comes to Israel's huge nuclear arsenal, reputedly consisting of some 200 warheads. But it raises hell about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and does not want any other country in the Middle East, notably Libya and Iran, to have such weapons. The fallout from military action against Iraq is virtually certain to engulf the peace process, with unpredictable consequences.

"Al Ahram Weekly"



ARTICLES AND COMMENTARIES



A new mentality must be brought to bear in all fields of activity. In agriculture, for example, large tracts of land would be open to large-scale investment and mechanized farming, while smaller tracts of land can be distributed in the form of cooperatives to be managed by their owners. Hi-tech valleys would engage the most qualified experts in the manufacture and assembly of electronic components, while research and data centers would work together with university and academic institutions to continually up-date and streamline production. Small and mid-scale enterprises should also have their place alongside the many larger projects to be established in the valley. The low starting costs of such enterprises, their competitive advantage in local and foreign markets, lower demand for machinery and greater capacity to rely on local raw materials render small enterprises a major component of the New Valley project. In this respect, we do well to remember that small enterprises contribute 31 per cent of Italy's total industrial production and their exports were largely responsible for the 1996 recovery of the Italian economy.

In Egypt we have already seen a tangible manifestation of this spirit of flexibility, dynamism and innovation in the houses designed by the internationally reputed Egyptian architect Hassan Fathi. His houses and other community structures, constructed out of locally available raw materials and featuring numerous domes and vaulted chambers to provide natural cooling and ventilation, could well serve as a model for the homes and buildings of the new communities of the Western Valley.

By: Ibrahim Nafie
"Al Ahram Weekly"


There is no doubt that Clinton's sex scandals and the charges of perjury and subornation of witnesses that he risks facing are bound to adversely affect his ability to carry out his sponsorship of the Middle East peace process effectively. This raises the question of whether any other international actor, specifically, Europe, could fill the vacuum, in the context of a world order in which the United States is assumed to be the leading power.

It should be remembered that just before his meetings with Netanyahu and Arafat in Washington last month, and before the disclosure of the Monica Lewinsky affair, Clinton received messages from British Prime Minister Tony Blair, French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl. The European leaders urged him to spare no effort in bridging the gap between the protagonists, on the grounds that moving forward with the peace process was not an issue of interest to the US alone, but also to its European allies. Indeed, it is hard to imagine the Europeans allowing such a dangerous vacuum to remain unfilled in the event that Washington fails to achieve the common objective. Moreover, Europe is worried by the US premise that the Iraqi crisis will only be resolved through the military option. Europe believes that working out a peaceful resolution to the Iraqi crisis is no less important than achieving progress in the Arab-Israeli peace process.

It can be argued that Europe is unable to act in concert because the European Union is still in the making and no one representative can speak in its name. Indeed, achieving consensus on any specific topic remains an arduous process for the Europeans. But one must not forget that the United States, despite its centralized federal government, also has great difficulty in reaching consensus on many issues of public concern, because the American system is based on a game of contending lobbies jockeying for power, which, by definition, presupposes divergent opinions.

So far, the Europeans have re-opened old files selectively, on the grounds that to do otherwise would be damaging for all concerned. Their reticence is understandable but, I believe, wrong. I proceed from the premise that our world is still bipolar, if not in the previous form of blatant East-West bi-polarity, then in a more insidious form between North and South. The new bi-polarity is blurred by an emerging globalism. But a North-South divide cannot go hand in hand with globalism: the later presupposes the removal of all material barriers between States and societies; the former presupposes the protection of the privileged North from mass immigrations from the dispossessed South. In the absence of material barriers, spiritual barriers emerge instead. Racism is the most appropriate ideology by which to justify immunizing the North against threats coming from the South. A revival of racism is thus an in-built feature of the New World Order. And, as the most striking expression of this mechanism, the Arab-Israeli conflict, if unresolved, will remain a catalyst for the revival of racism worldwide indefinitely.

By: Mohamed Sid-Ahmed
"Al Ahram Weekly"


Cairo has invariably been of the view that war never resolves a crisis; rather it breeds grave consequences. Moreover, probably Egypt knows better than others the plight of the Iraqis under the UN sanctions. They are suffering from severe lack of food and medicine supplies.

Such being the case, Egypt could by no means help add to their ordeal. That's why I was baffled by the statement of US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright that the views of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait and Oman are identical. In no way could the Egyptian position, for instance, be linked to that of Kuwait because they are totally different on a host of grounds. Kuwait was the victim of the 1990 Iraqi invasion, a traumatic experience that pushes it to tread along the way of revenge to the end. Added to this, Albright's remarks implied contradictions when she told the Iraqis that her country was not at odds with them and that she did not wish to see the Iraqi women and children used as human shields. In practice, this does not hold water, given that the US knows well Saddam Hussein, and that he does not give a damn about others' survival.

By: Samir Ragab
"The Egyptian Gazette"


Speaking of firm principles, it may be apt to draw attention to Egypt's assertion that South-South cooperation should be nurtured and that inspection of nuclear establishments must be conducted by the IAEA without bias or discrimination (an illusion to Israel refusal to have its nuclear establishments subjected to IAEA inspection). Egypt, yesterday, opened the second research nuclear reactor built in cooperation with Argentina. Two countries belonging to the southern hemisphere set an example of cooperation in a vital domain. Though the plant is used for peaceful purposes, President Mubarak said it would come under the guarantee system of IAEA.

By: Samir Ragab
"The Egyptian Gazette"


For seven years, the US has threatened and undertaken military action against Iraq. "No-fly zones" were designated by the US and Britain in Iraq. UNSCOM inspection teams took turns destroying all weapons they found, and economic boycott was imposed and constraints placed on the pumping of Iraqi oil; yet the end result was a series of fiascoes as far as US policy in Iraq is concerned. Today, with the coalition dismembered, only Israel and Britain remain willing - or rather eager - to lend their support to a US attack on Iraq. Evidently, Kuwait is forced by its circumstances to back the US in realizing its objective of destroying Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

It is clear that the notorious injustice and arbitrary nature of US policy in Iraq, the ambiguity of its true objectives, US reluctance to close the Iraqi file and gradually lift the sanctions, which have compounded the suffering of the Iraqi people through shortages of food and medicine, are further complicating, not solving, the problem. US policy strangely resembles a vendetta, a fact which has heightened tensions in the region still further. While the Arab countries loathe Saddam's methods in dealing with his people and his neighbors, the US has provided the Iraqi President with sufficient justification to remain in power, and to win the sympathy and support of his own people, as well as other Arab peoples who oppose US military action against Iraq.

The danger of US policy resides in the difficulty of putting an end to military operations once they prove ineffective in subjugating Saddam. In fact, there is a chance that air operations will get out of hand, spreading into an all-out war on the ground. If this happens, US troops will suffer losses, and the repercussions of the war will be felt far and wide in the Middle East. Then, the US will have failed to achieve any of its objectives.

By: Salama A. Salama
"Al Ahram Weekly"


Egypt officially inaugurated its second research reactor on 4 February. EG RR-2 is a 22-megawatt open pool multipurpose reactor designed and manufactured by INVAP, an Argentine company, under the auspices of the National Committee of Nuclear Energy. As such, the reactor is a product of successful cooperation between Egypt and Argentina, both signatories of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The inauguration highlighted the importance of South-South cooperation in peaceful applications of nuclear energy and advanced technology.

The new reactor, which attained criticality at 5.11 am on 27 November 1997, is 11 times more powerful than the existing two-megawatt reactor, which attained criticality in 1961.

Egypt's new reactor may well inaugurate a new dynamism in stagnating nuclear technology. It can promote the peaceful application of nuclear energy in medicine, agriculture, environmental protection and industry. Scientists in universities and other research centers will visit its facilities. The technology transfer and localization undertaken during the design, construction and fuel fabrication stages has led to the formation of a new generation of scientists and engineers capable of undertaking advanced nuclear projects. Unless success is sustained in other projects, however, stagnation will recur.

Demonstration projects in nuclear desalination should be undertaken immediately, with an emphasis on small and medium reactor systems. Consideration should also be given to dual use reactors for desalination and electricity generation. Supplying potable water and electricity economically to remote areas will alleviate water shortages and foster economic development.

By: Fawzi Hammad - president of the Egyptian Atomic Energy Authority
"Al Ahram Weekly"


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