Last Friday US and British planes struck five Iraqi military targets five to 20 miles from Baghdad, using long-rangeprecision-guided weapons.
Iraqi television reported three dead and 30 injured and showed houses and shops in an area in Baghdad it said wasdamaged by the strikes. This strike was the first US bombing raid outside the no-fly zone in two years, and the firstindication of Bush administration policy toward the Middle East.
Although Pentagon spokesmen said they saw no need for further strikes soon, one told The London-based _Observer_that the raids signaled the start of escalating attacks. “This has sent a signal,” said the unnamed Washington source,”but you have to do more–you’ve got to go after him like we did Milosevic, you’ve got to go for the money, you’vegot to challenge his control.”
The official predicted a more “active backing” for Iraqi rebels in Kurdistan and the Shia south. The attack on Iraqcame as members of the Iraq National Congress, the INC, were in Washington for meetings with Bush administrationofficials. Bush has just released $3 million for training the INC to take part in action inside Iraq.
Meanwhile the attacks have drawn global criticism, with only Britain and Israel backing the strikes. While thousandsmarched in the streets of Baghdad, Russia and China led diplomatic protests. They are joined by France Algeria, India,Iran, Jordan, Egypt, Malaysia, Syria, Pakistan, New Zealand, Cuba and even Turkey.
- Abbas Alnasrawi, Professor of Economics, University of Vermont, former President of the Middle EastEconomics Association.