Monday, February 24, 2003

US and Britain Pound Iraqi Defenses in Massive Escalation of Airstrikes
"Targets have included surface-to-air batteries as well as an anti-ship missile launcher which was considered a threat to the growing concentration of naval vessels in the Gulf. In the past two weeks there have been at least three strikes in the same area on Ababil-100 mobile missile batteries.

"Attacks on such battlefield weapons, rare until recently, are part of a semi-secret air campaign, conducted under cover of the no-fly patrols, which has intensified sharply since the beginning of the year. Allied aircraft have gone into action over Iraq almost every day. By the end of this month the number of missions is likely to overtake the 78 flown during the whole of 2002. While the number of attacks and the targets are known, important information is almost always kept back, including the number and type of aircraft deployed, the weapons used and the success or otherwise of each attack."

This escalation of illegal air attacks undoubtedly represents the beginning of the war and deserves to be front page news, however that is not likely as the fearsome charade of weapons inspectors and UN Security Council resolutions has to run its course. The war party is repeatedly calling on the UN to be 'relevant' but the real relevance that the UN has had throughout this crisis consists in exposing for public view and condemnation the aggressive intentions of the Bush administration. This is a vital contribution and must be sustained for as long as possible, all the way through to voting down or vetoing if necessary whatever 'second resolution' the US/UK come up with. However, at this stage it looks like most of the work has been done. The weekend of 14/15/16 February is the contribution that the UN has made, with the French Foreign Minister earning rare applause in the Security Council for his speech against war combined with the truly massive and miraculously well timed public demonstrations against the war.

No comments: