Newsletter : 2fax1230.txt
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London: Bush Told Sharon War will Begin Feb. 21
Sources in the Prime Minister's Office deny reports from Great Britain claiming that
the American attack on Iraq will begin on Feb. 21 - and that President George Bush
informed Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of this last week. Sharon's staffers say that the
report is a lie, and that Bush and Sharon have not spoken recently, and certainly not at
the time noted by the London papers. Defense Minister Mofaz, who returned from high-level
meetings in the U.S. last week, told the Cabinet Sunday that Israel does not know of any
particular date for the attack. He also said that the threat against Israel must be taken
in its proper proportions, and that unnecessary panic should not be caused.
Turkish Troops to Advance on N. Iraqi Oil Cities - Ahead of U.S. Attack
The conference held in Turkey on Dec. 24, between Israel's chief of staff, Lt. Gen.
Moshe Yaalon and Turkish army chief Gen. Hilimi Ozkok, wrapped up the arrangements made by
the U.S., Israel and Turkey for concerted action in the approaching war with Iraq.
The operations of their air and missile defenses, as well as their air and naval
forces, will be closely synchronized under arrangements that have also made provision
against Syria and the Hizbullah joining the conflict. Together with Turkish political and
military leaders and U.S. representatives, Kurdish representatives will try and hammer out
an historic Turkish-Kurdish accord based on a text drafted in Washington.
Its key elements are: The Kurdish autonomous government of northern Iraq will grant
70,000 Turkish troops of the 2nd and 3rd Corps free passage through its territory for the
Turkish push towards the big northern Iraqi oil cities of Kirkuk and Mosul.
While transiting this enclave, Turkish troops will show every respect for Kurdish
autonomy, thereby also conferring tacit recognition on the part of Ankara. The Turkish
contingents will seize control the two oil cities with the support of Iraqi ethnic
Turkoman units, who will be said to have risen up against Saddam Hussein's domination of
their region. For the moment, the Kurds will not press claims to Iraqi oilfields.
Turkey will then proceed to create an autonomous Turkoman entity stretching from
northern to central Iraq up to the approaches to Baghdad. According to DEBKAfile's
military sources, the successful outcome of the three-way parley on this document will
open the way for a possible Turkish invasion of northern Iraq and its advance on the oil
cities without waiting for the general American offensive to begin on other fronts.
Our military sources draw attention to a secret military pact between Syria and Iraq,
first revealed by DEBKAfile in 2001, which permits Iraqi military units in the event of
war crossing into Syria and using it as a base for striking at Israel. The information
Sharon revealed indicates that Baghdad has invoked that treaty by sending units across
into Syria to hide some of its unconventional weapons.
There is a certain amount of controversy in Israel over the relative perils presented
by various enemies. Labor leaders this week accused Sharon of fomenting an Iraqi war scare
as an electioneering stratagem, while the prime minister's Likud retorted that Labor was
trifling with national security for its own campaign. Some Israeli military experts argue
that the Syrian-backed Hizbullah missile deployment on the Lebanese border poses a more
tangible threat than Iraq. Appearing before the Knesset foreign affairs and defense
committee on Dec. 24, Israel's military intelligence chief, Maj.-Gen. Aharon Zeevi offered
as his judgment that al Qaeda presents a greater danger than Baghdad.
His point is valid. Even an Iraqi missile attack would be less damaging to a country
the size of Israel than a radiological, chemical, biological or mass-murder attack by
terrorists in a crowded town center, of the kind of which al Qaeda is capable. Terrorism
on this scale would have a lasting and profoundly traumatic effect on a small country.
Most Israeli military leaders agree with Zeevi that Palestinian and al Qaeda terrorism is
potentially more destructive than an Iraqi missile strike. What is not generally admitted
by the experts however is the possibility of al Qaeda and the Palestinians acting as
Iraq's surrogates. This possibility could become palpable much sooner than generally
expected should the Turkish army lead the American campaign against Iraq by marching into
Controversial 'Christ' Photo Exhibit Opens in Paris
By Lisa Bryant (VOA-Paris)
It is hard to escape images of Jesus this holiday season, particularly in traditionally
Christian countries, where every corner church boasts an elaborate Nativity scene. But,
nowhere are the images of Christ more provocative than at a new photography show-taking
place in the French capital.
Jesus is the main attraction at the Hotel de Sully, a graceful museum in the Marais,
the ancient Jewish quarter of Paris. Photographs depict likenesses of Jesus wrapped around
a Nazi swastika, or sprawled on a dusty road near the Palestinian territory of Gaza.
Christ appears as an old Japanese man, and as Cuban revolutionary fighter Che Guevara. He
is portrayed as one of many of those who regularly trudge up Jerusalem's famous Via Dela
Rosa carrying crosses.
Billed as the first photography show totally devoted to Jesus and Christian images, the
exhibition was conceived by the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. It may seem odd that the
Jewish state's flagship museum is interested in Jesus. But in an interview from Jerusalem,
the show's organizer, Nissan Perez, noted Jerusalem is the center of Christianity, as well
as Judaism. Besides, Perez said, the exhibition is not about Christianity.
"Let's make it clear this exhibition has nothing to do with religion itself," he said.
"Those are religious images or images related to religious subjects. But it's not a
religious exhibition. It's all done in the perspective of history of photography, and art
Perez, who is also curator of photography at the Israel Museum, spent months sifting
through hundreds of photographs for the show. The 150 selected include works from 1855 to
the present. The exhibition aims to reveal profoundly different interpretations of Jesus
across generations and cultures. Another theme is the exploitation of Christ-like images
in advertising and political propaganda.
Those points are underscored by the show's photographers, who not only include
Christians, but Jews and agnostics - although no Muslims. Both the Jewish and Muslim
faiths generally shun engraved images, but Perez believes Muslims tend to be stricter than
Jews on this matter.
The photographs on display are sometimes abrasive, but none are deeply offensive. Some
pictures are haunting, such as that of Jesus carrying his cross past Hitler. Perez sought
advice from Roman Catholic clergy to avoid what he called "gratuitous scandals." But he is
bracing for tough criticism in May, when the show opens in Jerusalem.
"I believe the Jewish Orthodox will scream and shout and yell at the fact that the
Israel Museum is daring to show photographs of Christ," he said. "Because for very
Orthodox Jews even the idea of Christ goes against the grain - its a no, no, it's a taboo,
it shouldn't be seen or talked about."
Also jarring are images of the ever-present clashes in Perez' own country. A 1999
photograph inspired by Christ's Last Supper features Israeli soldiers eating bread and
oranges. A 2001 scene by photojournalist Pavel Wohlberg captures women lamenting over a
Palestinian man who has fainted during an Israeli army raid in Gaza. The Paris show runs
through Jan. 5.
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