Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Friday, 28 February 2003

Saddam's latest PR coup

Surprise, surprise - on the day Hans Blix is due to deliver his latest findings on Iraq's arms capability, Saddam Hussein announces that tomorrow his regime will start to destroy the al-Samuud missiles which breach the UN limitations on maximum range. Of course, earlier this week in an interview with Dan Rather he denied that any missiles Iraq possessed breached UN guidelines, despite Hans Blix having earlier condemned the Iraqis for possessing them.

And now I just saw Hans Blix on TV saying the latest Iraqi announcement is a major step forward.

In reality it is just Saddam Hussein's latest ploy to sow further dissent between the Americans, British, Spanish Italians and Australians and other countries, principally France, Germany and Russia, which it would seem are quite content to see Saddam's delaying tactics succeed.

I'm torn between anger at the wilful appeasement of some so-called allies, and admiration at the ease with which Saddam is able to manipulate the gullible.

(I just looked al-Samuud up in my Hans Wehr. Of course, I anticipated the kind of thing it must mean - no surprise, really, it has 'defiance' as one of its meanings)
Link Added

Pandagon (Jesse Taylor); there's enough good sense here to make me overlook the profanity.

Wednesday, 12 February 2003

The Scottish Conservatives announce they will fight the May 2003 Scottish Parliament elections on a 'family values' extremist platform

The Scottish Conservative Party has announced it plans to campaign on 'family values' and disdains any idea of some form of civil partnership for same-sex couples, declaring that they wish to do nothing to 'undermine' marriage. The party hierarchy wants to appeal, it seems, to its aged and dwindling membership by proposing retorgrade policies and to attract the same kind of voter who campainged unsuccessfully against the abolition in Scotland of Clause 2a (aka 'Section 28') which prohibited the 'promotion' of homosexuality and the teaching of the 'acceptability of homosexuality as a pretend family relationship.

You can read a lengthier article on this subject in my main website by clicking here, from which there is a link to an article in today's Scotsman newspaper (link to that article direct by clicking Scotsman).

Saturday, 8 February 2003

The Iraqi crisis and the continuing differences in strategy between the United States and certain of its so-called allies, such as France and Germany

It appears that not all the 'allies' are yet persuaded that action to remove the threat of Saddam Hussein's Iraq is necessary in the very near future. France and Germany are apparently discussing measures to send large numbers of additional inspectors to Iraq, whilst insisting that the UN inspectors require more time (a great deal more time?) to carry out their duties. They have also, it seems, declined to allow 'planning' to go ahead for the defence of Turkey (under the mutual-defence agreements which form part of the NATO framework).

The BBC reports this relatively 'neutrally' (that's a charitable way of putting it) emphasising the strong 'pro-peace' stance of Germany's Joska Fischer, whereas the UPI (perhaps predictably) adopts a rather more rigorous approach, emphasising Donald Rumsfeld's 'fury' at the attitude of certain of the European countries.

One may laugh at Rumsfeld for some of his verbal 'innovation', but the man is no fool, and in a difficult situation I think I would prefer to listen to the hard-nosed, but intellectually robust, arguments of Rumsfeld and our own Tony Blair. I'm a committed pro-European, in favour of greater EU-integration and all that goes with it, but recent developments over some EU members' policies concerning how to deal with Saddam Hussein are indeed testing these views. It is indeed welcome that a number of the soon-to-be members of the EU, who suffered for years under Soviet tyranny, are far more willing than some of the softer Western European allies to face up to this difficult situation.

Thursday, 6 February 2003

Links added

InstaPundit (Glenn Reynolds). Slugger O'Toole (Mick Fealty).
Links added

AntiWar. Ted Barlow.
Links to other Weblogs

In the coming days and weeks I plan to add a number of links to other 'blogs' which I consider worthy of mention. I plan to include a variety of 'blogs' which comment reguliarly on current affairs and politics, in terms of the locations of those who post them, and their points of view. I happen to have [what I consider to be] a moderate 'right-of centre' view on many things, but whether someone classes him- or herself (or others do) as 'right-wing' or 'left-wing' will not be a major consideration for me. Provided the reasoning is fairly presented and cogently argued then I will consider them for inclusion - 'extremists' of whatever kind are highly unlikely to be considered. Weblogs which hide under a veil of 'anonymity' and most specifically those where there is no e-mail link to those who purport to post to them will under no circumstances be included, however amusing or interesting I may otherwise find them. I will mention briefly, and in passing, the names of blogs which fall into this category, without providing a link to them.

To start this off, two which fall into this category are SullyWatch and SmarterAndrewSullivan - there are many others highly critical of that person who do show their own names and who will appear here in due course.
Minor update to blog links (Rittenhouse) and inclusion of a policy defining which blogs may be linked to.
War to remove Saddam Hussein's Iraqi regime is now almost inevitable

Tony Blair met today with UN chief weapons inspector Hans Blix and the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency Mohamed ElBaradei in London to discuss the speech made by US Secretary of State Colin Powell to the UN Security Council yesterday.

Both UN officials now accept that the Iraqi regime is not co-operating fully and that its behaviour is deceitful.

According to a report of the meeting carried by the BBC, Mr Blix says that whilst Iraq continued to co-operate on the "process" of the inspections, such as granting access, he noted that the Iraqis were still failing either to present forbidden items to be destroyed or show evidence they had been destroyed already: "I hope at this later hour they will come to a positive response," he said. Mr ElBaradei is quoted as saying that whilst war is not inevitable, there must be "drastic change" in Iraq's co-operation. "The message coming from the Security Council is very clear, that Iraq is not co-operating fully," he said.

The BBC report that Mr Blair and Mr Straw also held talks on Thursday with Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi. The allies are seeking to ensure Iran does nothing to obstruct any future military action against Iraq.

It is true that Mr Powell's speech yesterday did not comprise the same level of 'evidence' as has been presented before to the UN in similar situations, but unless one is pre-disposed to disbelieve everything said by the United States, almost on principle (viz the Syrian Ambassador to the UN, following Mr Powell's speech), it is my view is that it contained very credible circumstantial evidence that the danger posed by Iraq to the region and the wider world is real, imminent (and ongoing) and growing. In a few years time the cost of stopping Saddam Hussein may be considerably greater - the ongoing situation wiith North Korea should be a salutary warning.