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Iraq - View from here & personal notes

02/11/2003

The Middle East (Israel included) is preparing for yet another war. It seems that every 10 years or so there is a war, whether we need one or not. Sometimes there are two.

For a personal Iraqi view of these preparations - see http://www.dear_raed.blogspot.com/ .

It is a moot point whether or not Israel or Israelis support this war, since nobody asked us. Nobody asked us when the USA, Britain, France and Germany helped to create the Saddamonster in the 80s. Nobody asked us the USA, Britain and France attacked Iraq, and then, in a collosal and inexplicable "oversight" forgot to finish the work. It didn't take a geopolitical genius to figure out that leaving Saddam to fight another day would mean trouble. It also left the Kurds, Shi'a and and various other enemies of the regime to their fates, which included being gassed, dissolved in acid and other humane treatments.

Now the USA is finally prepared to do something, and so, as noted, we are all preparing for war. Everyone is pretty much convinced this is going to happen, in the two weeks most likely, or by the end of March for certain. The nightly TV news program is explaining the best way to behave in case buildings collapse, and discussing the question of whether or not to hoard medicines.

Israeli preparations include:
- Discovering that all the smallpox vaccine prepared in Israel is tainted and should not be used.
- Distributing leaflets that explain how to prepare for the war (buy lots of canned goods and
bottled water, and prepare a sealed room, prepare gas masks...)
- Announcing in advance that the Israel Broadcasting System agrees to lie again, as they
did in the last war, and not tell people about major screw-ups. For some reason, this policy
is very popular.

The leaflets distributed by the home front command (in Hebrew, it is "Pikud Haoref" - the Neck Command) feature cheery families wearing gas masks. The father is reading a book in the sealed room, while Mommy entertains the daughter. The teddy bear does not have a gas mask. The theme of these books seems to be, "The family that is gassed together, stays together." The front cover of these leaflets features a wholesome family picture. The picture of the mother, in modest turtle neck sweater but without a suitable hair covering, caused ultra-orthodox religious fanatics to riot and beat up mailmen delivering these leaflets. In the last war there was a great crisis, because someone had to engineer, at great expense, a special gas mask that could be worn over a beard.

An ominous feature of these booklets, is that they are dated January, 2003, which suggests that there will be periodic updates for each of the wars that the USA may plan to correct its diplomacy.

In the last war, everyone praised the emergency news bulletins given during these attacks, which became a regular feature of Israeli life. The wailing of sirens was followed by a soothing announcement, guaranteed to calm the most faint hearted among us. "Your attention please. This is an emergency. Israel is undergoing a missile attack. Please stay calm and enter your sealed rooms." This was repeated in Hebrew, English, Russian, Arabic and Amharic. This was followed by the calming voice of IDF spokesperson Nahman Shai, whose job it was to give incorrect information about where the missiles were landing, as well as to disseminate misinformation about the effectiveness of the Patriot missiles.

After the war, it took quite an effort to remove the tape that sealed the windows and door in our bedroom, much to the detriment of the pain. An improvement in this war - we are promissed that
the tape does not remove paint. However, I still have several rolls of special tape left over from the last
war, which we call "Saddam Hussein Tape."

Another great improvement is the availability of anti-WMD kits for pets. For about NIS 1500 apiece, we can get kits for dogs and cats. Cheaper kits that don't do anything at all cost about NIS 200. No kits for tropical fish. Tough. I think our dogs will also have to take their chances.

When they make the movie about this war, American cinema companies will write at the end:
"No animals were harmed in making this film."

Many Israelis are not bothering with gas masks and sealed rooms this time, as they were worthless
against the conventional-warhead missiles sent last time. However, I think it is such a minimal nvestment that it is worth making. Probably, any attacks will be from a different direction, such as poisoning the water supply for example. On the other hand, since US officials promissed that "No missiles will fall on Israel" one might assume that lots of missiles will fall on Israel.

For a view of the war preparations and the Iraqi regme from inside Baghdad, including some pictures - visit http://www.dear_raed.blogspot.com/

For a view of Saddam's regime by an Iraqi expatriate and e-friend - http://www.geocities.com/skhalis/

Some news items are below.


State radio chief: no Israeli disputes aired in
wartime
http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/spages/261816.html

By Haaretz Service


Israel Radio chief Amnon Nadav said Tuesday that in the event of war in
Iraq, the state-owned radio network will keep revelations of Israeli mistakes,
miscalculations, and disputes off the air for the duration of the conflict.

During the 1991 Gulf war, in which Iraq attacked Israel with 39 Scud
missiles, causing widespread damage but few injuries, Israel Radio's flagship
Reshet Bet merged with Army Radio, and other subsidiary stations were kept off
the air. Nadav said that in the expected war, Israel radio will go it alone.

"I've heard other journalists saying that the lesson to be learned from
the previous war was that the screw-ups and the disputes were not brought to
light in the course of the war," Nadav said, speaking on Reshet Bet.

"To all those who expect Israel Radio to do this, I am hereby announcing
in advance, that during the war, we will not deal in differences of opinion,
and won't embarrass ourselves.

"As in the last war, when the matters are over, we will open up
everything to all opinions," Nadav said. "During wartime, we will endeavor to
present a clear and unified message."

He said that during meetings held by Communications Minister Reuven
Rivlin with a range of media representatives, news outlets strongly objected
to the concept of "speaking with one voice." "Outside of emergencies, everyone
in the press wants to broadcast what they want."

Nadav added that in contrast to the 1991 war, "for all of those who wish
to relax between outright emergency and outright emergency, the Voice of Music
will continue to broadcast as usual, as well as other music stations, until
there is an alert for a real emergency, then all stations will unite."


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-----------

Mon., Feb. 10, 2003 The Jerusalem Post
Mailman assaulted in Mea Shearim while delivering war safety booklets
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/A/JPArticle/ShowFull&c
id=1044851303690


A routine mail route turned hazardous when a mailman delivering booklets on
how to survive non-conventional warfare was attacked in an ultra-Orthodox
Jewish neighborhood of Jerusalem, postal officials said Monday.

The cover page of the brochure features a photo of an Israeli family,
including a smiling woman who wears a modest turtleneck sweater, but no head
covering a violation of the strict dress code of ultra-Orthodox Jews.

Angry residents of the Mea Shearim neighborhood pushed around the mailman,
ripped up the booklets and threatened to attack him again if he returned to
their area with more brochures, said Yitzhak Rabihiya, a Postal Authority
spokesman.

The mailman had been working the same beat for seven years and knew his
attackers, Rabihiya said, adding that the brochures would continue to be
distributed in the neighborhood. "Our job is to deliver mail, nothing and no
one will stop us," Rabihiya said. It was not immediately clear whether a
police complaint was filed.

In Mea Shearim, residents voluntarily cut themselves off from the secular
world in order to preserve their way of life and are offended when it is
imposed on them from the outside. Street signs at the entrance to the
neighborhood ask the public to wear "modest" clothes that keep knees, elbows
and women's hair from view.

The brochures were put together by the Israeli military to prepare the
public for a possible attack by Iraq with non-conventional weapons in the
event of a US offensive against Baghdad.

During the 1991 Gulf War, Iraq fired 39 Scud missiles at Israel, causing
some damage but few casualties. All carried conventional warheads. The
military had no immediate comment.

The Yediot Ahronot daily cited army officials as saying one solution would
be to distribute the booklet entitled "Information About Civil Defense for
the Family" without the front cover in ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods.

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Original text copyright by the author and MidEastWeb for Coexistence, RA. Posted at MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log at http://www.mideastweb.org/log/archives/00000036.htm where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Distributed by MEW Newslist. Subscribe by e-mail to mew-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by email with this notice and link to and cite this article. Other uses by permission.

by Ami Isseroff @ 07:49 PM CST [Link]

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Replies: 1 Comment

If the US does invade and takes over Iraq, I predict:
France rushes in to take advantage of its oil contracts, demanding they be upheld.
Very recent weapons (inc. biological & chemical) are found to be of French & German origin, along with other European peace loving countries.
Do I think the European govts. opposition is at all sincere, no way! They are afraid of what might be found & also of loss of revenue from their secret deals.

Karen

Posted by Karen @ 02/15/2003 01:31 AM CST


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