NotInOurName.net rally in Union Square today

Rally in Union Square today, and reports coming later this afternoon.

Today at 1 p.m., NotInOurName.net is staging a national day of protest, urging high school and college students to stage a one-day walkout and protest the seemingly inevitable war with Iraq. (Why did I link to that story just now? Because by warning Saddam not to deny the possesion of WMD, Bush is boxing him in. Kur5hin.org has a fine editorial on this titled, “Has Saddam Stopped Beating His Wife?”)
I will be attending this rally and reporting on it. Look for first-hand reports later tonight.

Memo to readers: Media coverage, part deux

Time Out New York reviews b2i, and a plea for your support.

To: The readers
From: Chris@back-to-iraq.com

Hi, everyone… Yesterday, the San Diego Union-Tribune ran a piece that mentioned Back to Iraq in the context of online fundraising. (The links and the URL are now corrected.) Today, for the readers in Gotham, Time Out New York‘s Angela Gunn favorably reviewed Back to Iraq in her tech column as a source of independent news and analysis. (View a scan of the page here.)
Also, I’m trying to get more attention and stories published. If any of you know any editors who are looking for stories on Iraq, whether for newspapers or magazines, please mention me and the site. I would really appreciate it. Also, if you like the site, please pass the URL around, tell your friends and colleagues about it. Things are starting to pick up here, but I could use your help.
OK. That’s the end of the booster shot for now. More news as it happens.
Thank you for your support,
Christopher

No-fly zones attacks not a material breach

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said yesterday that Iraqi firing on allied planes patrolling the no-fly zones in northern and southern Iraq was not a violation of UNSCR 1441, no matter what the United States may say.

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said yesterday that Iraqi firing on allied planes patrolling the no-fly zones in northern and southern Iraq was not a violation of UNSCR 1441, no matter what the United States may say.
“The United States believes that firing upon our aircraft in the no-fly zone, or British aircraft, is a violation — it is a material breach,” said Scott McClellan, a spokesman for the White House.
Ah, no, said Annan. “Let me say that I don’t think that the Council will say this is in contravention of the resolution of the Security Council.” The Russians agreed with Annan: “Recent claims that Iraq’s actions in the ‘no-fly’ zones can be seen as a violation of the U.N. Security Council resolution 1441, have no legal grounds,” the Russian foreign ministry said.
UNSCR 1441’s eighth paragraph says, “Iraq should not take or threaten hostile acts directed against any representative or personnel of the United Nations or of any member state taking action to uphold any Council resolution.”
The problem with this wording is that there is no Council resolution explicitly setting up the no-fly zones. They were established in 1991 after the Gulf War by the United States, France and the United Kingdom to protect the Kurds and Shi’ite minorities from Saddam’s murderous reprisals after the Gulf War. (France pulled out after 1998’s Desert Fox operation.) I did a search on the legality of the zones and found that the United States usually cites UNSCR 688 in defending the zones. But there’s nothing in the resolution authorizing their set-up. At best, their continued existence is a mark of implicit approval by the Council. Another view, which I’ve come to hold, is that the Council has recognized that there’s not a lot it can do about them anyway and U.K. and U.S. vetoes keep Russia and France from introducing resolutions to end them.
That’s not to say I don’t think they should be there. I was quite happy to have allied war planes high above me when I was in the country, otherwise the Kurds would never have achieved the levels of autonomy they have. Still, they’re a pretty flimsy excuse to try to declare Iraq in material breach, and thankfully the United Nations sees through that ruse.
Of course, now it just means there is more time to move troops and armor into the region.

Much news and catching up… (LONG POST)

Hi all. Sorry for the delay in posting. Not only have we seemed to enter a “phony war” period regarding impending hostilities with Iraq without anything definite happening, but I also needed to take a little break. Be that as it may, there have been some interesting stories to show in the last few days.

Hi all. Sorry for the delay in posting. Not only have we seemed to enter a “phony war” period regarding impending hostilities with Iraq without anything definite happening, but I also needed to take a little break.
Be that as it may, there have been some interesting stories show up in the last few days. First off, United Nations weapons inspectors have gone … back to Iraq. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.) Hans Blix, the chief of the inspectors, holds the fate of Iraq in his hands and he has said he will asses the intent of any delays on the part of the Iraqis as to whether foot-dragging is obfuscation or simple foul-ups. Considering that much of my time in Iraq was characterized by hurrying up and waiting — and I was in friendly territory! — I wonder if the, ah, “flexible” concept of time in societies other than northern European ones will be taken into account. Blix is Swedish after all; I hear they frown on tardiness. At any rate, Iraq has until Dec. 8 to present UNMOVIC with a full accounting of its weapons of mass destruction programs or it will be in “material breach” of UNSCR 1441. We’ll see what happens. (P.S. When the Iraqis fire on Allied aircraft patrolling the no-fly zones in the south and the north, does that constitute a “material breach”? Some in the Bush administration want it to be so. Please note, Operations Northern Watch and Southern Watch have never been sanctioned by the UN and Iraq has never accepted them.)

Continue reading “Much news and catching up… (LONG POST)”