Final gulf peace efforts begin:
Bush asks Congress to endore UN resolutions
By Reuven M. Lerner
Secretary of State James A. Baker III is expected to meet with Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz in Geneva later today in what President George Bush has called a last-ditch effort for a diplomatic solution to the crisis in the Persian Gulf.
The meeting is being held just one week before the Jan. 15 United Nations deadline for Iraqi forces to withdraw from Kuwait. The UN Security Council resolved last month to permit the use of "all necessary means" to remove Iraq from Kuwait after that date.
Aziz said yesterday that he would like to have a useful meeting with Baker. The meeting can be productive, he said, if he finds that there is a "genuine, sincere interest" in peace "through the whole Middle East."
Aziz was referring to the Iraqi government's insistence that any solution to the gulf crisis be linked to a pullout by Israel from the West Bank and Gaza Strip and by Syria from Lebanon.
The Bush administration has refused to link the conflicts, saying that there is no connection between Iraq's invasion and problems in the Israeli occupied territories and Lebanon.
Aziz said yesterday that if Baker wants to limit their meeting to the gulf crisis, he will give what he calls "the proper answer." Baker responded that he would welcome anything that would result in a peaceful solution to the gulf crisis, but insisted that the conflicts remain separate.
Baker is reported to be carrying a letter from Bush for Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, in which Bush warns Hussein that Iraq "will be destroyed" if he does not withdraw his troops by the UN deadline.
Yesterday, Bush asked for official congressional support for the UN resolutions, including permission for the use of of force after the 15th. He explained that a vote allowing the use of force would be the best way for Congress to express its support for him during what he called a "crucial time."
Local groups protest
the military buildup
Several local organizations, including the recently formed MIT Initiative for Peace in the Middle East, continue to protest a possible attack on Iraq. Penn S. Loh '90, an active member of the group, said that the group's philosophy, while not articulated in any formal document, could be summed up in the words "no gulf war."
Loh said that the Initiative is a member of Northeast Campuses Against War, a loose association of campus anti-war movements. While no local groups have been formed which support the Bush administration's policy, Loh said that some such groups have begun meeting at other campuses.
The Initiative plans to have a teach-in on Monday night, which will include a kick-off speech by the Rev. Jesse Jackson, a former contender for the Democratic presidential nomination.
In addition, the Initiative plans to have a different speaker every night for the rest of the week, including Institute Professor of Linguistics and Philosophy Noam A. Chomsky, Loh said.
Loh said that the activities are meant to increase individuals' involvement in the gulf crisis. He said that there will be workshops on nonviolent protests, a daily publication updating the MIT community of the status of the gulf situation, and letter-writing campaigns to prominent politicians. He also said that the group is looking to establish a "peace center" on campus, to serve as a headquarters for their activities.
(Editor's note: Parts of this article were based on information provided by The Associated Press.)