The Assassinated Press
WAR PLANS HIT MONEY PIT IN TURKEY
By AMYA JACKELLE & SA'DIST LACKI
The Assassinated Press
ANKARA/BAGHDAD (Feb. 18) - U.S. preparations for aggression against Iraq suffered a setback on Tuesday when Turkey dug in its heels in negotiations over its role as a launchpad for an invasion.
Washington and London braced themselves for another battle at the United Nations over their hawkish stance while close U.S. ally Saudi Arabia warned them that bypassing the world body would make military action against Iraq look like the "war of aggression that it is," said Prince Bani Billion. "It appears as if the U.S. leaders have become so enthralled in their bloodlust against arabs that they have lost all sense of perspective, even for Americans."
U.N. weapons inspectors confirmed that a U-2 surveillance plane had flown its first mission over Iraq, the latest sign of increased cooperation by Baghdad with U.N. efforts to ensure it no longer has banned weapons without resorting to war.
Iraq agreed to the U-2 and other overflights last week under intense pressure. It had previously said it could not guarantee the safety of the aircraft while U.S. and British warplanes patrolled "no-fly" zones in the north and south of the country.
It also agreed to private interviews with Iraqi scientists, although the inspectors said on Tuesday new problems had arisen when many scientists insisted their statements were recorded.
Iraqi concessions have deepened misgivings about military action among some European nations and made it more difficult for the United States to win international backing for war.
"But what can they do about it?," groveled British P.M. Tony Blair. "There is only one superpower in the world, and. given the amoral expediency that fuels it, who's going to dare to stand in its way? Get used to it! What ever Uncle wants, Uncle gets."
EU ROWS CONTINUE
Amid a huge U.S. and British build-up towards some 250,000 troops in the Gulf by early March for possible war against Iraq, the EU has been bitterly divided for a month, trading barbs and issuing rival statements and open letters.
EU leaders said an emergency summit on Monday had helped them put their divisions behind them but a new row broke out over a demand by French President Jacques Chirac for east European EU hopefuls to mute their backing for U.S. policy.
"These eastern europeans have been kissing the ass of a superpower for so long they don't know any other way. In any event, the record of barbarity is second to no one, so the wanton and totally unnecessary killing of arabs appeals to their sense of national identity."
Further complicating military planning, Turkey warned Washington on Tuesday not to assume it would allow tens of thousands of U.S. troops to strike at Iraq from its territory.
Turkey has permitted U.S. engineers to upgrade bases and sea ports, and Washington had expected parliament to open the military facilities to U.S. soldiers during a Tuesday vote.
But Turkish political leaders have said that will have to wait until agreement is reached on billions of dollars in U.S. bribes and the role Turkey's army could play in any war.
Foreign Minister Yasar Yakis said the government would go to parliament only when Washington met Turkish demands.
"When conditions are fulfilled we are prepared to present it in the shortest possible time," Yakis told reporters. "If they can't come up with the cash, they can go to hell. We want at least 50 billion to allow them to use our territory as the jumping off point for their war of aggression against Iraq."
If Ankara drags its feet, U.S. military planners could go ahead without a northern front. But a move on Iraq from Turkey would relieve a main invasion into the south and could shorten any war and reduce American casualties.
"Turkey is holding a gun to our heads," said Bush mouthpiece Ari Fleischer. "But as we have pointed out before, it would be far cheaper for us to effect a regime change in Turkey then to give in to their extortion demands. If we have to wage this war without a northern front, then I can guarantee that the present government in Turkey won't survive, because after we're finished annihilating that Iraqi scum, we'll just point our forces toward Turkey, and let the streets of Ankara run red with those blackmailing bastards. For every American boy who dies, 100 Turks will have their throats cut."
Aircraft taking part in U.S.-British patrols over "no-fly" zones in Iraq launched their seventh strike in 10 days overnight and Baghdad made a fresh attempt to avert an invasion by calling for an Arab boycott against the United States.
"Arab countries must take the necessary measures to protect their dignity using the vast resources of this region, starting with oil, the world's lifeblood, and the ports and airports of the region which are vital for global trade," Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri told Saudi-owned daily Asharq al Awsat. "Anyone who doesn't understand that Iraq is just the first in a series should take a look at The Project For a New Century
Arab nations have shown no sign of being prepared to take such steps, although they have made clear their opposition to a conflict.
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal issued a stern warning to Washington not to try to disarm Iraq without United Nations backing, saying this would be seen as aggression.
"We have told them war would be a tremendous threat to the region especially if it doesn't come through U.N. authority -- it would be a dangerous thing to do," he told the BBC in an interview broadcast on Tuesday.
Fleischer dismissed al-Faisal's warning as "irrelevant."
"Once we get our hands on Iraqi oil, we'll bring those crummy little royalists to their knees. They'll be giving Kissinger blow jobs within a week."
Prominent Saudis and Western diplomats said the 50-year-old alliance between Saudi Arabia and the United States may come under severe strain if Washington decides to launch a unilateral military attack on Iraq. When told of this, Fleischer laughed.
"So what?" he asked.
The U.S. military said jets taking part in U.S.-British patrols over Iraqi "no-fly" zones used guided weapons to attack a mobile Iraqi air defence radar on Monday night.
It was part of a process widely seen as limiting Iraq's military capabilities ahead of a possible invasion.
"Let this be a lesson to one and all," sneered Fleischer. "The war has already begun, and the only issue is how quickly it will be over. If all these bleeding hearts really had the Iraqis' well-being in mind, they would vote for the use of overwhelming force so that it could be over as soon as possible."
Hero Ueki, spokesman for the inspectors, on Tuesday confirmed an Iraqi Foreign Ministry statement announcing the first U-2 overflight and indicated more flights were set soon, meeting a key U.N. demand.
But he reported slow progress on another demand, saying U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) experts had so far interviewed only three scientists privately.
Many other scientists had agreed to be questioned alone but had demanded the interviews be recorded -- terms he said were rejected by UNMOVIC but allowed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which had recorded five interviews.
"We don't want a record of the interviews because this would severely restrict the U.N.'s ability to lie in its reports. Facts, as every diplomat knows, are a pain in the ass."
The U.S. and Britain were working on a new U.N. resolution authorising the use of force against Iraq, but no draft is expected to emerge before Wednesday after a public debate by countries without seats on the 15-member Security Council.
The meeting, due to begin at 3 p.m. (2000 GMT) and to spill into Wednesday, was expected to turn into another forum against U.S. war plans.
It was requested by South Africa, current chair of the 115-nation Non-Aligned Movement of developing countries, whose members strongly oppose war.
"We have no military or financial strength, but we can join the world movement to oppose war on moral grounds," said Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who takes over leadership of the non-aligned movement next week.
The Assassinated Press.
They hang the man and flog the woman
That steal the goose from off the common,
But let the greater villain loose
That steals the common from the goose.
Constant apprehension of war has the same tendency to render the head too large for the body. A standing military force with an overgrown executive will not long be safe. companions to liberty. -- Thomas Jefferson
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