Author Topic: WW3  (Read 333076 times)


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« on: May 22, 2003, 12:31:06 PM »
Woof All:

  The following from the always thoughtful

Crafty Dog

Please feel free to send the Stratfor Weekly to a friend
or colleague.

21 May 2003
by Dr. George Friedman
Al Qaeda Acts


As Stratfor predicted, al Qaeda has launched an offensive in the
wake of the Iraq war. Thus far, it has fallen far short of the
most extreme possibilities -- a strike in the United States that
is equivalent to or greater than the Sept. 11 attacks. Recent
actions have reaffirmed that al Qaeda continues to operate, but
have not yet established that the network retains its reach and
striking power. We suspect that its striking power has been
limited, but its reach still might be substantial. Further
operations are likely: We see Latin America in particular and, to
a lesser extent, Southeast Asia as ripe for attack.


In our quarterly forecast, we wrote:

We regard the second quarter of 2003 as one of the highest-risk
periods for al Qaeda action against the United States. It is
unclear whether the group has the ability to act -- but if it
does, the pressure to strike at the United States is enormous.
The psychology of the Islamic world is such that unless al Qaeda
can act, it will be seen as having dragged the Islamic world into
a disaster. The organization must show that it has not been
defeated and that the United States is not invincible. It is
impossible to know what al Qaeda's capabilities are at this
point, but if it retains the ability to act, by sheer logic, this
is the quarter in which it should.

Obviously, we have seen at least the beginning of that
counteroffensive. The May 12 al Qaeda strikes in Riyadh were
followed by an attack in Casablanca on May 16. It is speculative
-- but not unreasonable -- to assume that two attacks in Chechnya
around the same time also were in some way coordinated with the
strikes in Saudi Arabia. Certainly, the coincidence of the timing
raises serious questions.

The following, therefore, have been established:

1. Al Qaeda remains operational.
2. The capabilities demonstrated thus far do not indicate that al
Qaeda retains the capabilities it showed on Sept. 11, 2001.

This means that al Qaeda has passed its first hurdle. There was
serious question in the Islamic world about whether the network
remained operational. Over time -- and not very much time -- a
quiescent al Qaeda would begin losing support personnel and
operatives who were detached from the main organization. Extended
silence and inaction would raise the possibility that the group
had been destroyed. This would become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Logic would argue that al Qaeda would lead with its strongest
attack to prove its continued viability. The United States
lowered its security level after the Iraq war; after the initial
al Qaeda action, it would be expected that the United States and
other countries would raise their alert status while increasing
effective security as well. Therefore, the most ambitious attack
in a series ought to come first. Al Qaeda has shown a deep and
reasonable aversion to attacking hardened targets that are under
intensified security. Therefore, while nothing is ever certain
when it comes to reading al Qaeda, it would seem reasonable to
assume that its main attack would come first and that secondary
operations would take place only if the primary strike failed. Al
Qaeda clearly likes to maintain a slow tempo of operations, using
scarce resources sparingly.

If our reasoning has any validity -- and again, al Qaeda's
ability to surprise is not minor -- then it would mean that the
coordinated strikes in Riyadh were the main thrust of this cycle.
Taken together, this was not a trivial attack. There are those
who argue that anyone with some explosives would be able to carry
out the strike. That might be the case, but al Qaeda's
sophistication does not have to do with the munitions used, but
rather with its ability to evade security forces. For at least
nine people to mount an operation without being detected
sufficiently to prevent the attack represents a substantial
degree of sophistication. To be able to plan a campaign that
encompasses Saudi Arabia and Morocco -- as well as possibly
Chechnya -- represents an achievement in security practices. This
is where al Qaeda's sophistication lies. It is sometimes the
simplest sophistication -- allowing local groups to operate

It would appear from the outside that the United States has
improved its intelligence ability against al Qaeda to some
extent. If the U.S. claim is true, then Washington warned
officials in Riyadh about the possibility of al Qaeda attacks. If
the Saudis are telling the truth, then the U.S. report focused on
a particular compound where an attack was thwarted, rather than
on the other facilities that were bombed. However this plays out,
no one is denying that the United States had intelligence that an
attack in Saudi Arabia was in the offing; that alone represents a
substantial improvement in U.S. capabilities.

It is not, however, a perfect picture by any means. Washington
also said that it had intelligence of potential operations being
planned for Kenya and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Officials did not say
anything about Casablanca. Thus far, no post-Riyadh attacks have
come in the places where attacks were expected. An attack did
occur in a place where no forecast was made. Thus, it would seem
reasonable to say that the United States has increased its
insight into al Qaeda's operations. Increased insight does not
mean that Washington has achieved anything approaching
comprehensive intelligence: It knows more than it once did, but
not enough to consistently forecast -- let alone prevent -- al
Qaeda attacks.

On the other side of the equation, al Qaeda used 19 men to strike
the United States on Sept. 11. They used nine men to carry out an
operation in Riyadh that had a tiny fraction of the impact of the
Sept. 11 operation. Given al Qaeda's goals, we must assume that
it would wish to expend scarce resources in the most effective
manner possible. If this was the most effective operation
available, it represents a substantial decline in the group's

This is not to say that the May 12 strike was trivial. It had two
important effects, apart from demonstrating the network's ability
to act.

The first was to create a crisis of confidence in the expatriate
community in Saudi Arabia. This community is critical for the
operation of the Saudi economy, and the attacks raised serious
questions among the expats about their safety and that of their
families. A serious exodus of expatriates would be a crippling
blow. The strike has not achieved that yet, but if there are
follow-on attacks, that very well might occur.

Second, the attack drove a wedge between Washington and Riyadh --
a wedge we believe that al Qaeda's leadership fully understood.
The United States has been making two demands of the Saudi
government: First, that it step up internal operations against al
Qaeda and its supporters, and second, that U.S. intelligence and
security services be permitted to operate inside the kingdom.
Saudi leaders have claimed to be doing the best they could in the
first case, while claiming that formal Saudi sovereignty had to
be respected even though informal operational arrangement could
be made. For their part, officials in Washington did not believe
that the Saudis were doing all that they could, and felt that
their personnel were not being given sufficient access.

This was the case prior to the Iraq war. One of the purposes of
the war was to put Saudi Arabia in a position in which it felt
vulnerable to the United States. The Saudis walked a fine line,
permitting U.S. forces to use some of their facilities during the
war while almost immediately announcing -- with U.S. compliance -
- the withdrawal of U.S. forces from the kingdom. Washington's
expectation was that this would set the stage for more effective
and collaborative action against al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia. The
expectation on the part of Saudi leaders -- more a hope, really -
- was that the withdrawal would buy them sufficient slack that
they could comply with U.S. demands to some degree.

The al Qaeda attacks in Riyadh struck at the very heart of this
complex arrangement. U.S. officials immediately claimed that the
Saudis had ignored their warnings -- raising the old charge that
the Saudis were unprepared to act against al Qaeda -- while Saudi
leaders denied any lack of initiative on their part. The United
States flew a team of FBI and CIA agents into the country very
publicly, demanding access to the investigation. The Saudis,
caught in a public challenge to their sovereignty, trapped
between the danger of increased al Qaeda operations and U.S.
pressure, could not find a firm standpoint from which to operate.
Both U.S.-Saudi relations and the image of the Saudi government
domestically and abroad were weakened.

Al Qaeda, which now clearly sees the Saudi regime as an American
collaborator, therefore achieved a political victory in creating
this crisis. This, in addition to simply showing it could act,
was an achievement. It was not, however, a definitive
achievement, nor was the network's apparent action in Casablanca.
This is al Qaeda's problem: As a result of Sept. 11, the Afghan
and Iraqi regimes have been toppled, U.S. military forces are
deployed in both countries as well as in other Islamic states and
U.S. intelligence has deeply penetrated the region. Al Qaeda has
not triggered a rising in the "Arab street," has not toppled any
governments and established Islamic regimes in their place and
has not managed to sustain an intense tempo of operations against
the United States. In other words, al Qaeda has not done
particularly well.

If, therefore, the operation in Riyadh is the strongest move that
al Qaeda has at this point, it would indicate to us that while
the United States might not be winning the war, al Qaeda might be
losing it. In other words, the direct effectiveness of the United
States against al Qaeda might be limited, but the internal
dynamic of al Qaeda might be undermining the group's ability to
act. We therefore doubt that the actions taken so far can halt
the unraveling of al Qaeda, even if they might slow the group. If
this attack is followed by another six months of relative
quiescence, the same doubts that surfaced in the past few months
will resurface with an intensified ferocity.

Obviously, al Qaeda leaders know this. Equally obviously, they
want to do something about it. The issue is whether they have the
resources to do so. Al Qaeda might be planning at this moment to
replicate the Sept. 11 strikes, in terms of magnitude, yet we
find that unlikely. We simply think that it would not have waited
until European and American security organizations were at their
highest level of alert, and have risked the capture of key
operatives in other countries that might have compromised a U.S.
or European operation, to strike. It's possible -- but it doesn't
make a whole lot of sense.

At the same time, it does not appear to us that al Qaeda can
avoid carrying out further attacks. This leads us to the
conclusion that the most likely scenario is one of other attacks,
probably against U.S. targets, in less expected countries. We are
particularly interested in the possibility of an attack in Latin
America -- which would be relatively unexpected, and where there
are substantial U.S. targets. Asian targets are also possible,
although the psychological affect of an attack in Latin America
would be more substantial. Al Qaeda and its sympathizers are well
placed in Latin America to carry out a strike: The tri-border
region of Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina is rife with Hezbollah
members and associates, who are known to swap arms for drugs with
the FARC in Colombia. There also is a precedent for Islamic
violence in Latin America as well.

As with all things al Qaeda, this is speculation. However, if one
accepts the premise that al Qaeda does not like to attack hard
targets in the midst of security alerts -- and that it must
continue to act for the sake of its credibility -- we think
attacks on the flanks are most likely. Remembering that al Qaeda
does not have infinite personnel, these must be fairly
substantial operations.


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« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2003, 05:07:44 PM »
thanx Crafty for this informative update - i appreciate this analysis; its truth raises the bar above the mediocracy of our mass media.



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post moved to this thread
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2003, 08:56:01 AM »
Current Events
Five Vital Lessons From Iraq
Paul Johnson, 03.17.03

The Iraq crisis has already pointed up a number of valuable lessons. So far
I have identified five:

? Lesson I. We have been reminded that France is not to be trusted at any
time, on any issue. The British have learned this over 1,000 years of
acrimonious history, but it still comes as a shock to see how badly the
French can behave, with their unique mixture of shortsighted selfishness,
long-term irresponsibility, impudent humbug and sheer malice. Americans are
still finding out--the hard way--that loyalty, gratitude, comradeship and
respect for treaty obligations are qualities never exhibited by French
governments. All they recognize are interests, real or imaginary. French
support always has to be bought. What the Americans and British now have to
decide is whether formal alliances that include France as a major partner
are worth anything at all, or if they are an actual encumbrance in times of

We also have to decide whether France should be allowed to remain as a
permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, with veto power, or whether
it should be replaced by a more suitable power, such as India. Linked to
this is the question of whether France can be trusted as a nuclear power.
The French have certainly sold nuclear technology to rogue states in the
past, Iraq among them. In view of France's attempts to sabotage America's
vigorous campaign to halt the spread of weapons of mass destruction, we need
to be sure that France is not planning to cover the cost of its flagging
nuclear weapons program by selling secrets to unruly states. Certainly
Anglo-American surveillance of French activities in this murky area must be

? Lesson II. Germany is a different case. The Germans are capable of loyalty
and even gratitude. For many years Germany was one of the most dependable
members of NATO. But the country is now very depressed, both psychologically
and economically, with unemployment moving rapidly toward the 5 million mark
and no prospect of an early recovery. With a weak, unpopular and demoralized
government, Germany has been lured by France into a posture of hostility
toward the Anglosphere, a posture that corresponds neither to the instincts
nor the interests of the German people. Germany is a brand to be snatched
from the burning; we must make a positive and urgent effort to win it back
to the fold.

? Lesson III. The assumption, in many minds, seems to be that whereas
individual powers act on the world stage according to the brutal rules of
realpolitik, the U.N. represents legitimacy and projects an aura of
idealism. In fact, more than half a century of experience shows that the
U.N. is a theater of hypocrisy, a sink of corruption, a street market of
sordid bargains and a seminary of cynicism. It is a place where
mass-murdering heads of state can stand tall and sell their votes to the
highest bidder and where crimes against humanity are rewarded. For many
people the true nature of the U.N. was epitomized by the news that Libya, a
blood-soaked military dictatorship of the crudest kind, is to chair the U.N.
Commissionon Human Rights. It's people like Muammar Qaddafi who benefit from
the U.N., who are legitimized by its spurious respectability.

Looking back on the last year, it is clear the U.S. should not have accepted
Britain's argument that, on balance, the U.N. route was the safest road to a
regime change in Iraq. In fact, going this way has done a lot of damage to
U.S. (and British) interests and has given Russia, China and other powers
the opportunity to drive hard bargains. President Bush should soon make it
clear that, where his country's vital interests are concerned, the U.S.
reserves the right to act independently, together with such friends as share
those interests.

? Lesson IV. The split within NATO underscores the fact that in its present
form and composition NATO is out of date. There is no longer a frontier to
defend or to act as a trip wire; there is no longer a reason for the U.S. to
keep large forces in fixed bases on the European continent--at great cost to
the U.S.' balance of payments. These forces should be repatriated with all
deliberate speed. There is obviously a need to have bases, which can be
activated in an emergency, in states the U.S. feels can be trusted to honor
their obligations.

Britain, which is not so much an ally of America as it is a member of the
same family, will continue to serve as the geographical center of the
Anglosphere and as America's offshore island to the Eurasian landmass. Other
than that, the U.S. should put its trust in the seas and oceans, which offer
a home and a friendly environment to its forces and do not change with the
treacherous winds of opinion. The military lessons to be learned from the
lead-up to the Iraq operation are profound, and all point in the same
direction: America should always have the means to act alone, in any area of
the globe where danger threatens and with whatever force is necessary.

? Lesson V. This last lesson flows from the fourth. The U.S. must not merely
possess the means to act alone if necessary; it must alsocultivate the will.
Fate, or Divine Providence, has placed America at this time in the position
of sole superpower, with the consequent duty to uphold global order and to
punish, or prevent, the great crimes of the world. That is what America did
in Afghanistan, is in the process of doing in Iraq and will have to do

It must continue to engage the task imposed upon it, not in any spirit of
hubris but in the full and certain knowledge that it is serving the best and
widest interests of humanity.

Paul Johnson, eminent British historian and author, Lee Kuan Yew, senior
minister of Singapore, and Ernesto Zedillo, former president of Mexico, in
addition to Forbes Chairman Caspar W. Weinberger, are now periodically
writing this column.
Back to top    
LG Dog Russ

 Posted: Fri May 30, 2003 2:44 pm    Post subject: Response from Germany    

Hilarious...., I later informed him that Paul Johnson is British!

"Hi Rus,
seldom a read more bull shit in a row!
Take care in this contry were some guys think, this is the place where all the
wisdom is held.

Dog Russ


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moved from a different thread
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2003, 09:02:37 AM »
Paul Johnson
Current Events
P , 06.09.03, 12:00 AM ET

The U.S., Not the UN, Speaks for Humanity

I would not care to be an American President. The weight of responsibility is too heavy. The power is awesome. If the 20th was the American century, the 21st will be, too--only more so. Of course I'm working from projections that can be negated by events. But as of now they all indicate this. In the last quarter of the 20th century the U.S. added $5 trillion in real terms to its GDP. By the mid-21st century its wealth-creating capacity will be two to three times that of Europe and more than 25% of the non-U.S. global total. The U.S. takes in more educated immigrants than the rest of the world combined; figure in these people along with the U.S.' natural increase, and its population should exceed 400 million by 2050. By then the populations of Europe and Japan will be falling, as more than likely will be those of India and China.

The uniquely free climate that enterprise and inventiveness enjoy in America ensures that the U.S.' lead in most aspects of technology will widen. This will reinforce America's military and economic paramountcy. What will the U.S. do with all this power? America has a long tradition of geopolitical laissez-faire. When George Washington spoke of "the rising American empire," he surely meant what a later generation would call manifest destiny. When Thomas Jefferson called the U.S. an "empire of liberty," he was merely updating John Winthrop's image of the "city upon a hill."

U.S. foreign policy has been interventionist within its hemisphere but
generally inactive outside it. Indeed, the U.S. has reacted to world events
rather than caused them. President Woodrow Wilson entered WWI only when Germany's unrestricted submarine warfare became intolerable. It took Japan's bombing of Pearl Harbor and the Nazis' declaration of war to bring the U.S. into WWII. The Cold War was Joseph Stalin's doing, with Harry Truman's America a reluctant participant. And for eight years President Bill Clinton responded to terrorism in traditional U.S. fashion--by ignoring it and hoping it would go away. It was the colossal outrage of 9/11 that impelled George W. Bush to go to war.

But there are now signs of a historic change. The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the comparative ease with which they could, in theory, be deployed against the U.S., as well as the hatred that America's wealth, power and paramountcy inspire have left the U.S. no alternative but to construct an active global strategy in its own defense. This has already led to a punitive war in Afghan-istan and a preventive war in Iraq. I have little doubt that a further one, against North Korea, is inevitable, probably next year.

When will it all end? Never. Or, rather, not until America's strength ebbs
and the duties it feels compelled to undertake pass to other hands. And that looks to be a long time from now. The truth is, once states evolve to the point of being committed to the rule of law and then develop democratic liberties that include free speech and, thus, a righteous public opinion, a Manichean world swiftly follows, in which vice and virtue struggle for supremacy.

The Greeks, the first constitutionalists, divided the world into two: the
oikoumene, where Greek civilization reigned; and chaos, the world of
pandemonium, beyond. The Romans thought in terms of Civitas
Romanorum--universal Roman law--and barbarism. The first global sea power, Britain, eventually tried to suppress slave trading and piracy everywhere, and in the 1850s and 1860s, under Prime Minister Palmerston's leadership, encouraged constitutional government all over the world. But Britain was a small offshore island in Europe, with limited resources, and never tried to push its global aims too far.

More Masterful Arbiter of Vice and Virtue
From its inception the U.S. has been a millenarian society, dedicated to
showing the rest of the world how to live. Its Presidents have always tended to use quasireligious rhetoric and to speak to a world congregation, as well as to its own. The U.S. feels it has almost limitless, God-given resources to carry out a noble mission on behalf of all mankind and in accordance with providential directives. President Ronald Reagan spoke of "the Evil Empire," and demolished it. President Bush has referred to "the Axis of Evil" and is dismantling it. This process may soon develop a momentum all its own.

Two things give America's actions legitimacy:

? The failure of the UN to be an effective peacekeeper, even in minor
conflicts. These conflicts will become far more serious if weapons of mass
destruction fall into the hands of aggressive dictators. If the UN cannot
impose order in an increasingly dangerous world, then America's duty is

? The U.S. is the nearest thing to a microcosm of world society, with every people represented in its vast democracy. This is why I regard
anti-Americanism as racism; it, in effect, amounts to a hatred of humanity itself. No nation has more right to speak, and act, on behalf of the human race than the U.S. Its armed forces are, by their very nature, multiracial.  They are as diverse in origin as a UN force but have none of the baggage of natural antagonisms that makes the UN so feeble and corrupt. And the American military has the huge advantage of working under a single directive.

What is not yet clear, however, is whether the American people are ready to take on this global task, which will certainly be arduous and more than likely unpopular. The debate must begin so that America's national will can emerge.

Paul Johnson, eminent British historian and author, Lee Kuan Yew, senior
minister of Singapore, and Ernesto Zedillo, former president of Mexico, in
addition to Forbes Chairman Caspar W. Weinberger, are now periodically
writing this column.


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VD Hanson
« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2003, 11:16:48 AM »
A rant from VD Hanson:
May 23, 2003 8:45 a.m.
Middle East Tragedies
Pressing ahead is our only choice.

The images are jarring, the hypocrisies appalling, the rhetoric repulsive.
Only in the Arab Middle East - and the Islamic world in general - are
suicide-murderers operating and indeed canonized, even blessed with cash bonuses. An inveterate liar like Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf is lauded for his defense of a mass killer like Saddam Hussein - and at last lampooned not on moral grounds, but because his yarns about thousands of dead Marines are finally exposed by the sound of American tanks rumbling his way. The last gassings in the modern world - Nasser's in Yemen and Saddam's in Kurdistan and Iran - were all Mideastern; so are promises of virgins in exchange for bombing women and children.

Pick up any newspaper and the day's bombings, killings, and terror are most likely to have occurred somewhere in the Islamic world. The big, silly lie - Jews caused 9/11, the U.S. used atomic weapons against Iraq, Americans bombed mosques - has been a staple of Middle East popular culture. The hatred of Jews is open, unapologetic, and mostly unrivaled on the world stage since the Third Reich.

I think the American street - and as we have learned in the case of anger
toward the French, there surely is such a thing - has finally thrown up its
hands with Arab ingratitude. Egyptian, Jordanian, and Palestinian recipients of billions of dollars in American aid routinely reply by trashing the United States, whether in the street, through government publications, or via public declarations in Arab and European capitals.

In embarrassed response, we are tossed the old bone by their corrupt leaders - "Ignore what we say publicly and look instead privately at what we do." Arab apologists claim that triangulating with and backing off from the only democracy in the region would win back their good graces; but we know that  such perfidy toward Israel would only win us contempt, as we were shown to be not merely opportunistic, but weak and scared into the bargain as well.

Shiites, once murdered en masse by Saddam Hussein, now turn on the American and British liberators who alone in the world could do what they could not.  Iraqis, freed by us from their own home-grown murderers, in thanks now blame us for not stopping them from robbing themselves. Our citizens are routinely blown to pieces in Saudi Arabia or shot down in Jordan, even as we are told that Americans - after losing 3,000 of their citizens to Islamist killers - are not being nice to Arab students and visitors because we require security checks on them and occasionally tail those with suspicious backgrounds. Egyptians march and shout threats to America and the West - and then whine that thousands in Cairo and Luxor are out of work because most over here take them seriously, and choose to pass on having such unhinged people escort them around the pyramids and the Valley of the Kings. Have all these people gone mad?

The world is watching all this, and it is not pretty. After talking to a
variety of foreigners who do not necessarily share the American point of
view, I conclude that South Americans, Europeans, Asians, and Africans don't much like what they see in the Middle East - and blame those over there, not us, for the old mess.

The general causes of these Middle Eastern pathologies have been well
diagnosed since September 11, ad nauseam. The Arab world has no real
consensual governments; statism and tribalism hamper market economics and ensure stagnation. Sexual apartheid, Islamic fundamentalism, the absence of an independent judiciary, and a censored press all do their part to ensure endemic poverty, rampant corruption, and rising resentment among an exploding population. Siesta for millions is a time not for napping between office hours, but for weaving conspiracies over backgammon.

Class, family, money, and connections - rarely merit - bring social
advancement and prized jobs. The trickle-down of oil money masks the generic failure for a while, but ultimately undermines diversification and sound development in the economy - as well as accentuating a crass inequality. Autocracies forge a devil's bargain with radical Islamists and their epigones of terrorist killers, from al Qaeda to Hezbollah, to deflect their efforts away from Arab regimes and onto Americans and Israelis. All the talk of a once-glorious Baghdad, an Arab Renaissance in the 13th century, or a few Aristotelian texts kept alive in Arabic still cannot hide the present dismal reality - and indeed is being forgotten because of it.

Millions in the Arab street now enjoy merely the patina of Western culture - everything from cell phones, the Internet, and videos - but without either the freedom or material security that create the conditions that produce these and thousands of other such appurtenances. The result is that appetites and frustrations alike arise faster than they can be satisfied with available wealth - or constrained by the strictures of traditional and ever-more-fanatical Islam. Americans now accept all this - and snicker at the old Marxist and neocolonialist exegeses that the British, the Americans, the French - or little green men on Mars - are responsible for the Middle East mess.

Illegitimate governments - whether Arab theocracies, monarchies,
dictatorships, or corrupt oligarchies - rely on state police and their
labyrinth of torture and random execution to stifle dissent. Filtered
popular frustration is directed toward Israel and the United States - as the martyrs of the West Bank are the salve for anger over everything from dirty water to expensive food. Millions of Muslims collectively murdered by Saddam Hussein, Milosevic, the Taliban, the Assads, Qaddafi, and an array of autocrats from Algeria to the Gulf seem to count as nothing. Persecuted and often stateless Muslims without a home in Kurdistan or Bosnia gain little sympathy - unless the Jews can be blamed. It is not who is killed, nor how many - but by whom: One protester in the West Bank mistakenly shot by the IDF earns more wrath in the Arab calculus than 10,000 butchered by Saddam Hussein or the elder Assad.

Before 9/11, the West in a variety of ways had been complicit in all this
tragedy, and either ignored the alarming symptoms - or, worse still, aided and abetted the disease. Oil companies and defense contractors winked at bribery and knew well enough that the weapons and toys they sold to despots only impoverished these sick nations and brought the dies irae ever closer. "If we don't, the French surely will" was the mantra when bribery, Israeli boycotts, and questionable weapons sales were requisite for megaprofits.

Paleolithic diplomats - as if the professed anti-Communism of the old Cold War still justified support for authoritarians - were quiet about almost everything from Saudi blackmail payments to terrorists and beheadings to mass jailings, random murder, and disfigurement of women. Political appeasement - from Reagan's failure to hit the Bekka Valley after the slaughter of U.S. Marines, to Clinton's pathetic responses to murdered diplomats, bombings, and the leveling of embassies - only emboldened Arab killers.

Judging magnanimity as decadence, the half-educated in al Qaeda embraced pseudo-Spenglerian theories of a soft and decadent West unable to tear itself away from thong-watching and Sunday football. Largess in the halls of power in New York and Washington played a contemptible role too - as ex-ambassadors, retired generals, and revolving-door lawyers created fancy names, titles, and institutes to conceal what was really Gulf money thrown on the table for American influence.

On the left, multiculturalists and postcolonial theorists were even worse,
promulgating the relativist argument that there was no real standard by
which to assess third-world criminality. And by mixing a cocktail of
colonial guilt and advocacy about the soi-disant "other," they helped to
create a politically-correct climate that left us ill-prepared for the
hatred of the madrassas. Arab monsters like Saddam Hussein sensed that there would always be useful idiots in the West to march on their behalf if it came to a choice between a third-world killer and a democratic United States. More fools in the universities alleged that oppression,
exploitation, and inequality alone caused Arab anger - even as well-off,
educated, and pampered momma's boys like Mohamed Atta pulled out their Korans, put on headbands, and then blew us and themselves to smithereens, still babbling about unclean women in the last hours before their rendezvous in Hell.

So the general symptomology, diagnosis, and bleak prognosis of this illness in the Middle East are now more or less agreed upon; the treatment, however, is not. Arab intellectuals - long corrupted by complicity with criminal regimes, and perennial critics of American foreign policy - now suddenly look askance at democracy, if jump-started by the United States. American academics, who once decried our support for the agents of oppression, now decry our efforts to remove them and allow something better.

What in God's name, then, are we to do with this nonsense?

We seek military action and democratic reform hand-in-glove to end Islamic rogue states and terrorist enclaves - not because such audacious measures are our first option (appeasement, neglect, and complicity in the past were preferable), but because they are the last. Go ahead and argue over the improbability of democracy in the Middle East. Reckon the horrendous costs and unending commitment. Cite the improper parallels with Germany and Japan until you are blue in the face. Stammer on that Baghdad will never be a New England town hall.

Maybe, maybe not. But at least consider the alternatives.

Hitting and then running? Did that in Iraq in 1991 - and Shiites and Kurds
hated us before dying in droves; Kuwaitis soon forgot our sacrifice, and we spent $30 billion and 350,000 air sorties to patrol the desert skies for 12 years. Afghans gave no praise for our help in routing the Soviets, but
plenty of blame for leaving when the threat was over.

Establish bases and forget nation-building? Did that too once, everywhere
from Libya to Saudi Arabia, and we still got a madman in Tripoli and 60,000 royal third cousins in Riyadh.

Turn the other cheek and say, "What's a few American volunteers killed in Lebanon or the Sudan when the stock market is booming and Starbucks is sprouting up everywhere?" Did that also, and we got 9/11.

Pour in money? Did that for a quarter-century; but I don't see that the
street in Amman or Cairo is much appreciative about freebies, from tons of American wheat to Abrams tanks.

Get tough with Israel? Taking 39 scuds, pulling out of Lebanon, offering 97 percent of the West Bank, and putting up with Oslo got them the Intifada and female suicide bombers.

The fact is that the only alternative after September 11 was the messy,
dirty, easily caricatured path that Mr. Bush has taken us down. For all the
reoccurring troubles in Afghanistan, for all the looting and lawlessness in
the month after the brilliant military victory in Iraq, and for all the
recent explosions in restaurants, synagogues, and hotels - we are still
making real progress.

Two years ago the most awful regimes since Hitler's Germany were the Taliban and the Hussein despotism. Both are now gone, and something better will yet emerge in their place. The American military has not proven merely lethal, but unpredictable and a little crazy into the bargain - as if our generals, when told to go to Baghdad or Kabul, nod yes and smile: "Hell, what are they going to do anyway, blow up the World Trade Center?"

Two years ago the world's most deadly agent was an Arab terrorist; now it is an American with a laptop and an F-18 circling above with a pod of GPS bombs.

Two years ago nuts in caves talked about Americans who were scared to fight; now the world is worried because we fight too quickly and too well. There are no more videos of Osama bin Laden strutting with his cell phone trailing sycophantic psychopaths. Yasser Arafat is no longer lord of the Lincoln bedroom, but shuffles around his own self-created moonscape.

Two years ago Syria and Lebanon were considered sacrosanct hideouts that we dared not enter - or so a sapling ophthalmologist from Syria threatened us. Today we tell the custodians of terror there to clean it up or we will - and assume that eventually we must.

Two years ago - and I speak from experience - faulting our corrupt
relationship with Saudi Arabia brought mostly abuse from hacks in suits and ties in Washington and New York; now defending that status quo is more likely to incur public odium.

Two years ago the Cassandra-like trio of Bernard Lewis, Daniel Pipes, and Fouad Ajami were considered outcasts by disingenuous but influential Middle Eastern Studies departments; now they - not the poseurs in university lounges and academic conferences - are heeded by presidents and prime ministers.

No, we are making progress because we have sized up the problem, know the solution - and have the guts to press ahead. No one claimed all this would be easy or welcome. But like Roman senators of old with each hand on a fold of the toga, we offer choices. We hope that there are still enough people of good will and sobriety in the Middle East to rid themselves of the terrorist killers, and thus select a freely offered, Western-style democracy over the 1st Marine Division, a 1,000-plane sky, and some 30 acres of floating tarmac.


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« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2003, 07:14:56 AM »


Geopolitical Diary: Tuesday, June 3, 2003

As U.S. President George W. Bush heads to the Middle East to begin a round of critical meetings, it is useful to pause and reflect on the driving force behind these meetings: al Qaeda. In early April, we stated that this quarter would represent the greatest risk for al Qaeda attacks since Sept. 11. We then saw a set of attacks -- the centerpiece of which were the multi-pronged attacks in Riyadh, with lesser attacks in Morocco. The question now is simply: Is that all there is? Because if it is, al Qaeda is indeed weakened.

To gauge this, we need to think about al Qaeda's strategic requirements
after the Iraq war. The militant network's credibility was on the line: Its
actions on Sept. 11 had led to the destruction of the Taliban regime in
Afghanistan and to that of the Baathist regime in Iraq. Rather than rallying the Islamic masses, al Qaeda had struck once, carried out some lesser operations and seemed to be sliding into impotence. In our view, the organization had to strike quickly and as hard as it could to revive its
credibility. It had to take its best shot.

Its best shot was sufficient to stun the Saudi government and create an
atmosphere in which Saudi officials were working intimately and fairly
publicly with the CIA and FBI inside the kingdom. The panic the attacks in
Riyadh initially created has abated, and we have reports of life returning
to normal among the expatriate community; Saudi leaders are attending the summit this week in Egypt. Thus, the Riyadh attack was enough to goad the Saudi government to move closer to the United States and too weak to generate a serious move against pro-American elements.

Perhaps more serious is the apparent shift in Hamas' position. At least to
this moment, Hamas has not launched a suicide bombing campaign against the Aqaba summit between Bush, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas -- nor has anyone else. It appears at this moment that Hamas has decided to allow the political process to go forward. There undoubtedly are many dimensions to this decision, which is easily reversible. Nevertheless, it represents a substantial shift in Hamas' thinking, and part of it undoubtedly is based on the sense that, for now, the politico-military realities in the region are moving against radical Islamic movements. With governments in the region scrambling to find some basis of accommodation with the United States, the strategic foundations of Palestinian resistance have weakened.

This is the exact opposite of what al Qaeda hoped for, and the process is
based in part on a perception within the region that al Qaeda has failed.
The recent campaign clearly has not reversed that perception but actually
has accelerated it. The problem is that events are now rolling over al
Qaeda, and structures are being put into place that will be difficult to
dislodge. What al Qaeda intended to do was to destabilize the region and
exploit the political opportunities created. However, what has happened thus far is that Washington has exploited the destabilization more effectively than has al Qaeda.

The militant network needs to show that it has the power to disrupt the
summits in Sharm el Sheikh and Aqaba. It would appear that it lacks that
ability. Its followers took their best shot in May, and that was not good
enough to change the course of events. Al Qaeda needs to do something badly, and it needs to be dramatic, either during or immediately after as a
response to the Aqaba meeting. For all we know, it has laid on just such an operation. However, from what we see -- and from the view in the region -- it simply doesn't have the capability at this time. If al Qaeda cannot do something significant by the end of June, its credibility -- and its hold on personnel -- increasingly will evaporate. It is our view that the
organization now is in serious trouble: The May offensive failed to achieve
its goals, and if that was al Qaeda's best shot, its best is no longer good

Obviously, counting al Qaeda out always is dangerous. However, at this
moment, forces other than al Qaeda are generating threats to American
interests. In Iraq, the threat is from Sunni, Baathist forces trying to wage
a guerrilla war and from Shiites, who under the influence of Iran could rise and destabilize the American positions. Iranian forces on Monday night captured a boat carrying U.S. military personnel and civilian contractors. They were released after a few hours, but Iran simultaneously is trying to reach accommodation with the United States and to flex its muscles. In Pakistan's Northwest Frontier Province, an Islamist party has imposed Sharia law, creating tensions between Islamabad and Washington.

All of these, along with a dozen other problems, represent challenges to the United States. But with June here, al Qaeda -- which has been the United States' most dominant nightmare for almost two years -- seems to be slipping into irrelevance. There is no question but that al Qaeda wants to correct this with a major operation; the question is whether it can mount one before it loses its credibility and operational infrastructure. Time is not on its side now. Al Qaeda's intentions are clear to us; it is its capabilities that are becoming dubious. Maybe that increases the danger it poses. Maybe it is the end of the beginning, to borrow Churchill's phrase. That is the question of the moment, and it is an historic one.


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Concerning WMD
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2003, 11:20:29 PM »
If the truth matters, then all should read the full text of President Bush's speech to the UN General Assembly on 12 September 2002. This speech began the overt and official US policy that culminated in the invasion of Iraq. For those who wish to read the complete speech, here is the text. I have posted the complete text here because excerpts have a way of reflecting the editor's bias.

As an example, consider the Wolfowicz quote in the Vanity Fair press release. That press release hyping the Vanity Fair article fails to include Wolfowicz's next sentence. That sentence reads, "But there have always been three fundamental concerns: One is weapons of mass destruction, the second is support for terrorism and the third is the criminal treatment of the Iraqi people."

One thing is clear. The President's speech to the UN mentioned a lot more than just WMD's.


"Mr. Secretary General, Mr. President, distinguished delegates, and ladies and gentlemen: We meet one year and one day after a terrorist attack brought grief to my country, and brought grief to many citizens of our world. Yesterday, we remembered the innocent lives taken that terrible morning. Today, we turn to the urgent duty of protecting other lives, without illusion and without fear.

We've accomplished much in the last year -- in Afghanistan and beyond. We have much yet to do -- in Afghanistan and beyond. Many nations represented here have joined in the fight against global terror, and the people of the United States are grateful.

The United Nations was born in the hope that survived a world war -- the hope of a world moving toward justice, escaping old patterns of conflict and fear. The founding members resolved that the peace of the world must never again be destroyed by the will and wickedness of any man. We created the United Nations Security Council, so that, unlike the League of Nations, our deliberations would be more than talk, our resolutions would be more than wishes. After generations of deceitful dictators and broken treaties and squandered lives, we dedicated ourselves to standards of human dignity shared by all, and to a system of security defended by all.

Today, these standards, and this security, are challenged. Our commitment to human dignity is challenged by persistent poverty and raging disease. The suffering is great, and our responsibilities are clear. The United States is joining with the world to supply aid where it reaches people and lifts up lives, to extend trade and the prosperity it brings, and to bring medical care where it is desperately needed.

As a symbol of our commitment to human dignity, the United States will return to UNESCO. (Applause.) This organization has been reformed and America will participate fully in its mission to advance human rights and tolerance and learning.

Our common security is challenged by regional conflicts -- ethnic and religious strife that is ancient, but not inevitable. In the Middle East, there can be no peace for either side without freedom for both sides. America stands committed to an independent and democratic Palestine, living side by side with Israel in peace and security. Like all other people, Palestinians deserve a government that serves their interests and listens to their voices. My nation will continue to encourage all parties to step up to their responsibilities as we seek a just and comprehensive settlement to the conflict.

Above all, our principles and our security are challenged today by outlaw groups and regimes that accept no law of morality and have no limit to their violent ambitions. In the attacks on America a year ago, we saw the destructive intentions of our enemies. This threat hides within many nations, including my own. In cells and camps, terrorists are plotting further destruction, and building new bases for their war against civilization. And our greatest fear is that terrorists will find a shortcut to their mad ambitions when an outlaw regime supplies them with the technologies to kill on a massive scale.

In one place -- in one regime -- we find all these dangers, in their most lethal and aggressive forms, exactly the kind of aggressive threat the United Nations was born to confront.

Twelve years ago, Iraq invaded Kuwait without provocation. And the regime's forces were poised to continue their march to seize other countries and their resources. Had Saddam Hussein been appeased instead of stopped, he would have endangered the peace and stability of the world. Yet this aggression was stopped -- by the might of coalition forces and the will of the United Nations.

To suspend hostilities, to spare himself, Iraq's dictator accepted a series of commitments. The terms were clear, to him and to all. And he agreed to prove he is complying with every one of those obligations.

He has proven instead only his contempt for the United Nations, and for all his pledges. By breaking every pledge -- by his deceptions, and by his cruelties -- Saddam Hussein has made the case against himself.

In 1991, Security Council Resolution 688 demanded that the Iraqi regime cease at once the repression of its own people, including the systematic repression of minorities -- which the Council said, threatened international peace and security in the region. This demand goes ignored.

Last year, the U.N. Commission on Human Rights found that Iraq continues to commit extremely grave violations of human rights, and that the regime's repression is all pervasive. Tens of thousands of political opponents and ordinary citizens have been subjected to arbitrary arrest and imprisonment, summary execution, and torture by beating and burning, electric shock, starvation, mutilation, and rape. Wives are tortured in front of their husbands, children in the presence of their parents -- and all of these horrors concealed from the world by the apparatus of a totalitarian state.

In 1991, the U.N. Security Council, through Resolutions 686 and 687, demanded that Iraq return all prisoners from Kuwait and other lands. Iraq's regime agreed. It broke its promise. Last year the Secretary General's high-level coordinator for this issue reported that Kuwait, Saudi, Indian, Syrian, Lebanese, Iranian, Egyptian, Bahraini, and Omani nationals remain unaccounted for -- more than 600 people. One American pilot is among them.

In 1991, the U.N. Security Council, through Resolution 687, demanded that Iraq renounce all involvement with terrorism, and permit no terrorist organizations to operate in Iraq. Iraq's regime agreed. It broke this promise. In violation of Security Council Resolution 1373, Iraq continues to shelter and support terrorist organizations that direct violence against Iran, Israel, and Western governments. Iraqi dissidents abroad are targeted for murder. In 1993, Iraq attempted to assassinate the Emir of Kuwait and a former American President. Iraq's government openly praised the attacks of September the 11th. And al Qaeda terrorists escaped from Afghanistan and are known to be in Iraq.

In 1991, the Iraqi regime agreed to destroy and stop developing all weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles, and to prove to the world it has done so by complying with rigorous inspections. Iraq has broken every aspect of this fundamental pledge.

From 1991 to 1995, the Iraqi regime said it had no biological weapons. After a senior official in its weapons program defected and exposed this lie, the regime admitted to producing tens of thousands of liters of anthrax and other deadly biological agents for use with Scud warheads, aerial bombs, and aircraft spray tanks. U.N. inspectors believe Iraq has produced two to four times the amount of biological agents it declared, and has failed to account for more than three metric tons of material that could be used to produce biological weapons. Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons.

United Nations' inspections also revealed that Iraq likely maintains stockpiles of VX, mustard and other chemical agents, and that the regime is rebuilding and expanding facilities capable of producing chemical weapons.

And in 1995, after four years of deception, Iraq finally admitted it had a crash nuclear weapons program prior to the Gulf War. We know now, were it not for that war, the regime in Iraq would likely have possessed a nuclear weapon no later than 1993.

Today, Iraq continues to withhold important information about its nuclear program -- weapons design, procurement logs, experiment data, an accounting of nuclear materials and documentation of foreign assistance. Iraq employs capable nuclear scientists and technicians. It retains physical infrastructure needed to build a nuclear weapon. Iraq has made several attempts to buy high-strength aluminum tubes used to enrich uranium for a nuclear weapon. Should Iraq acquire fissile material, it would be able to build a nuclear weapon within a year. And Iraq's state-controlled media has reported numerous meetings between Saddam Hussein and his nuclear scientists, leaving little doubt about his continued appetite for these weapons.

Iraq also possesses a force of Scud-type missiles with ranges beyond the 150 kilometers permitted by the U.N. Work at testing and production facilities shows that Iraq is building more long-range missiles that it can inflict mass death throughout the region.

In 1990, after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, the world imposed economic sanctions on Iraq. Those sanctions were maintained after the war to compel the regime's compliance with Security Council resolutions. In time, Iraq was allowed to use oil revenues to buy food. Saddam Hussein has subverted this program, working around the sanctions to buy missile technology and military materials. He blames the suffering of Iraq's people on the United Nations, even as he uses his oil wealth to build lavish palaces for himself, and to buy arms for his country. By refusing to comply with his own agreements, he bears full guilt for the hunger and misery of innocent Iraqi citizens.

In 1991, Iraq promised U.N. inspectors immediate and unrestricted access to verify Iraq's commitment to rid itself of weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles. Iraq broke this promise, spending seven years deceiving, evading, and harassing U.N. inspectors before ceasing cooperation entirely. Just months after the 1991 cease-fire, the Security Council twice renewed its demand that the Iraqi regime cooperate fully with inspectors, condemning Iraq's serious violations of its obligations. The Security Council again renewed that demand in 1994, and twice more in 1996, deploring Iraq's clear violations of its obligations. The Security Council renewed its demand three more times in 1997, citing flagrant violations; and three more times in 1998, calling Iraq's behavior totally unacceptable. And in 1999, the demand was renewed yet again.

As we meet today, it's been almost four years since the last U.N. inspectors set foot in Iraq, four years for the Iraqi regime to plan, and to build, and to test behind the cloak of secrecy.

We know that Saddam Hussein pursued weapons of mass murder even when inspectors were in his country. Are we to assume that he stopped when they left? The history, the logic, and the facts lead to one conclusion: Saddam Hussein's regime is a grave and gathering danger. To suggest otherwise is to hope against the evidence. To assume this regime's good faith is to bet the lives of millions and the peace of the world in a reckless gamble. And this is a risk we must not take.

Delegates to the General Assembly, we have been more than patient. We've tried sanctions. We've tried the carrot of oil for food, and the stick of coalition military strikes. But Saddam Hussein has defied all these efforts and continues to develop weapons of mass destruction. The first time we may be completely certain he has a -- nuclear weapons is when, God forbids, he uses one. We owe it to all our citizens to do everything in our power to prevent that day from coming.

The conduct of the Iraqi regime is a threat to the authority of the United Nations, and a threat to peace. Iraq has answered a decade of U.N. demands with a decade of defiance. All the world now faces a test, and the United Nations a difficult and defining moment. Are Security Council resolutions to be honored and enforced, or cast aside without consequence? Will the United Nations serve the purpose of its founding, or will it be irrelevant?

The United States helped found the United Nations. We want the United Nations to be effective, and respectful, and successful. We want the resolutions of the world's most important multilateral body to be enforced. And right now those resolutions are being unilaterally subverted by the Iraqi regime. Our partnership of nations can meet the test before us, by making clear what we now expect of the Iraqi regime.

If the Iraqi regime wishes peace, it will immediately and unconditionally forswear, disclose, and remove or destroy all weapons of mass destruction, long-range missiles, and all related material.

If the Iraqi regime wishes peace, it will immediately end all support for terrorism and act to suppress it, as all states are required to do by U.N. Security Council resolutions.

If the Iraqi regime wishes peace, it will cease persecution of its civilian population, including Shi'a, Sunnis, Kurds, Turkomans, and others, again as required by Security Council resolutions.

If the Iraqi regime wishes peace, it will release or account for all Gulf War personnel whose fate is still unknown. It will return the remains of any who are deceased, return stolen property, accept liability for losses resulting from the invasion of Kuwait, and fully cooperate with international efforts to resolve these issues, as required by Security Council resolutions.

If the Iraqi regime wishes peace, it will immediately end all illicit trade outside the oil-for-food program. It will accept U.N. administration of funds from that program, to ensure that the money is used fairly and promptly for the benefit of the Iraqi people.

If all these steps are taken, it will signal a new openness and accountability in Iraq. And it could open the prospect of the United Nations helping to build a government that represents all Iraqis -- a government based on respect for human rights, economic liberty, and internationally supervised elections.

The United States has no quarrel with the Iraqi people; they've suffered too long in silent captivity. Liberty for the Iraqi people is a great moral cause, and a great strategic goal. The people of Iraq deserve it; the security of all nations requires it. Free societies do not intimidate through cruelty and conquest, and open societies do not threaten the world with mass murder. The United States supports political and economic liberty in a unified Iraq.

We can harbor no illusions -- and that's important today to remember. Saddam Hussein attacked Iran in 1980 and Kuwait in 1990. He's fired ballistic missiles at Iran and Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Israel. His regime once ordered the killing of every person between the ages of 15 and 70 in certain Kurdish villages in northern Iraq. He has gassed many Iranians, and 40 Iraqi villages.

My nation will work with the U.N. Security Council to meet our common challenge. If Iraq's regime defies us again, the world must move deliberately, decisively to hold Iraq to account. We will work with the U.N. Security Council for the necessary resolutions. But the purposes of the United States should not be doubted. The Security Council resolutions will be enforced -- the just demands of peace and security will be met -- or action will be unavoidable. And a regime that has lost its legitimacy will also lose its power.

Events can turn in one of two ways: If we fail to act in the face of danger, the people of Iraq will continue to live in brutal submission. The regime will have new power to bully and dominate and conquer its neighbors, condemning the Middle East to more years of bloodshed and fear. The regime will remain unstable -- the region will remain unstable, with little hope of freedom, and isolated from the progress of our times. With every step the Iraqi regime takes toward gaining and deploying the most terrible weapons, our own options to confront that regime will narrow. And if an emboldened regime were to supply these weapons to terrorist allies, then the attacks of September the 11th would be a prelude to far greater horrors.

If we meet our responsibilities, if we overcome this danger, we can arrive at a very different future. The people of Iraq can shake off their captivity. They can one day join a democratic Afghanistan and a democratic Palestine, inspiring reforms throughout the Muslim world. These nations can show by their example that honest government, and respect for women, and the great Islamic tradition of learning can triumph in the Middle East and beyond. And we will show that the promise of the United Nations can be fulfilled in our time.

Neither of these outcomes is certain. Both have been set before us. We must choose between a world of fear and a world of progress. We cannot stand by and do nothing while dangers gather. We must stand up for our security, and for the permanent rights and the hopes of mankind. By heritage and by choice, the United States of America will make that stand. And, delegates to the United Nations, you have the power to make that stand, as well.

Thank you very much."


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« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2003, 11:11:36 AM »
Woof All:

Moving Dog Russ's post over to this thread.


Is the real reason something to be ashamed of...or not?

June 4, 2003
Because We Could

he failure of the Bush team to produce any weapons of mass destruction (W.M.D.'s) in Iraq is becoming a big, big story. But is it the real story we should be concerned with? No. It was the wrong issue before the war, and it's the wrong issue now.

Why? Because there were actually four reasons for this war: the real reason, the right reason, the moral reason and the stated reason.

The "real reason" for this war, which was never stated, was that after 9/11 America needed to hit someone in the Arab-Muslim world. Afghanistan wasn't enough because a terrorism bubble had built up over there ? a bubble that posed a real threat to the open societies of the West and needed to be punctured. This terrorism bubble said that plowing airplanes into the World Trade Center was O.K., having Muslim preachers say it was O.K. was O.K., having state-run newspapers call people who did such things "martyrs" was O.K. and allowing Muslim charities to raise money for such "martyrs" was O.K. Not only was all this seen as O.K., there was a feeling among radical Muslims that suicide bombing would level the balance of power between the Arab world and the West, because we had gone soft and their activists were ready to die.

The only way to puncture that bubble was for American soldiers, men and women, to go into the heart of the Arab-Muslim world, house to house, and make clear that we are ready to kill, and to die, to prevent our open society from being undermined by this terrorism bubble. Smashing Saudi Arabia or Syria would have been fine. But we hit Saddam for one simple reason: because we could, and because he deserved it and because he was right in the heart of that world. And don't believe the nonsense that this had no effect. Every neighboring government ? and 98 percent of terrorism is about what governments let happen ? got the message. If you talk to U.S. soldiers in Iraq they will tell you this is what the war was about.

The "right reason" for this war was the need to partner with Iraqis, post-Saddam, to build a progressive Arab regime. Because the real weapons of mass destruction that threaten us were never Saddam's missiles. The real weapons that threaten us are the growing number of angry, humiliated young Arabs and Muslims, who are produced by failed or failing Arab states ? young people who hate America more than they love life. Helping to build a decent Iraq as a model for others ? and solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict ? are the necessary steps for defusing the ideas of mass destruction, which are what really threaten us.

The "moral reason" for the war was that Saddam's regime was an engine of mass destruction and genocide that had killed thousands of his own people, and neighbors, and needed to be stopped.

But because the Bush team never dared to spell out the real reason for the war, and (wrongly) felt that it could never win public or world support for the right reasons and the moral reasons, it opted for the stated reason: the notion that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction that posed an immediate threat to America. I argued before the war that Saddam posed no such threat to America, and had no links with Al Qaeda, and that we couldn't take the nation to war "on the wings of a lie." I argued that Mr. Bush should fight this war for the right reasons and the moral reasons. But he stuck with this W.M.D. argument for P.R. reasons.

Once the war was over and I saw the mass graves and the true extent of Saddam's genocidal evil, my view was that Mr. Bush did not need to find any W.M.D.'s to justify the war for me. I still feel that way. But I have to admit that I've always been fighting my own war in Iraq. Mr. Bush took the country into his war. And if it turns out that he fabricated the evidence for his war (which I wouldn't conclude yet), that would badly damage America and be a very serious matter.

But my ultimate point is this: Finding Iraq's W.M.D.'s is necessary to preserve the credibility of the Bush team, the neocons, Tony Blair and the C.I.A. But rebuilding Iraq is necessary to win the war. I won't feel one whit more secure if we find Saddam's W.M.D.'s, because I never felt he would use them on us. But I will feel terribly insecure if we fail to put Iraq onto a progressive path. Because if that doesn't happen, the terrorism bubble will reinflate and bad things will follow. Mr. Bush's credibility rides on finding W.M.D.'s, but America's future, and the future of the Mideast, rides on our building a different Iraq. We must not forget that.

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« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2003, 11:31:13 AM »
Putting the world back together again
From The Economist print edition

American diplomacy is widely regarded as arrogant and selfish. The president's trip this week should refine that verdict

GEORGE BUSH began at Auschwitz. He laid wreaths at the wall of death, a place where prisoners were summarily shot, and at the unbearable ruins of Birkenau's gas ovens, a jumble of bricks that remain as they were found in 1945, half-destroyed by the retreating Nazis.

The sombre symbolism of the camps suited a week-long tour to the two most troublesome objects of American diplomacy. As the president said later that day, ?They remind us that evil is real and must be called by name and must be opposed.? That was aimed at critical Europeans. The camps also provide?though this remained unspoken?terrible reminders about Jewish insecurity. This was not irrelevant to the second half of the visit, to the Middle East.

Since September 11th 2001, the foreign policy of almost every other country has been driven by reaction to America's willingness to project its power unilaterally. Critics have argued that the Bush administration has too narrow a view of America's interests and uses its immense power disruptively. They have sought to restrain it, Gulliver-like, in a net of obligations. Supporters have tried to steer it, engaging in America's foreign-policy debates before decisions get made, and backing them afterwards. Arab states have hoped to attract its attention by persuading the president to commit himself to regional peacemaking.

This week they had their wish. Mr Bush made his first visit to the region, standing with the Israeli and Palestinian prime ministers and the king of Jordan at Aqaba, in Jordan, to announce that they would take the first steps on the road map, supported the day before by Arab leaders at their summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, in Egypt. In Aqaba, Ariel Sharon and Mahmoud Abbas, the Israeli and Palestinian prime ministers, recognised each other's right to have a state. Mr Abbas reiterated Israel's right to peace and security and vowed to end both the armed intifada and incitements to violence against Israel. Mr Sharon confirmed Israel's acceptance of the ?two-state solution?, allowed that a Palestinian state would have to be formed on contiguous territory to be viable, offered to ease the plight of Palestinians under occupation and said his government would begin to remove ?unauthorised outposts?. These declarations all follow the road map.

Several developments made this possible. Victory in Iraq has prompted America and Arab regimes to push anew for peace, as happened after the first Gulf war. A reformed Palestinian Authority?itself partly a product of American pressure?is a more acceptable and viable partner. As important, terrorist strikes, especially those in Saudi Arabia last month, have given Arab governments a bigger stake in settling the dispute, since it fuels violence that threatens them, too.

?We will continue to fight the scourge of terrorism,? said Hosni Mubarak, Egypt's president, ?regardless of justifications and motive.? The lack of a qualification marks a shift. Arab regimes?though not Syria, which denounced the statement?now accept that terrorism by Palestinians is still terrorism. They promised to funnel their aid through the Palestinian Authority which, if done, might help dry up the outside money that fuels the militant groups.

At the summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, the five Arab participants unambiguously endorsed the road map and Mr Bush's role. The ?rejectionists? were marginalised?Syria was not invited?and the Arab regimes, in contrast to some previous peacemaking attempts, were properly involved. ?A good beginning,? said Mr Bush, as he flew off to visit American troops in Qatar.

Naturally, that guarantees nothing about the future. During the first phase of the road map, the Israeli army is also supposed to withdraw from areas it has occupied since September 2000. Mr Sharon made no mention of that. The hardest issues of all?Jewish settlements, Palestinians' ?right of return? and the status of Jerusalem?remain for the third phase. Meanwhile, the summit raised, but left unresolved, more immediate doubts.


Many Arabs still worry that the Americans will disengage when things go wrong

First, many Arabs still worry that the Americans will disengage when things go wrong, as things surely will. For the administration, this is a brief but passing period which is favourable to engagement, after the Iraq war and before the 2004 election campaign. But Mr Bush shows some signs of preparing to stick it out. The administration announced a new envoy to the region, John Wolf, a career diplomat who is associated with the neo-conservatives. He will head a team of Americans who will go to the region to monitor negotiations. Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser, has been named as Mr Bush's ?personal representative? on the topic, a clear sign of engagement by the White House.

Great to see you, Prince Abdullah, President Mubarak, my good friend Tony...

Second, what are the roles of Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinians' new prime minister, and Yasser Arafat, their president? Mr Arafat was not invited, though Arab regimes have previously said peace will not be possible without him. Since last June, Mr Bush has said the opposite: peace will be impossible with him. The summits advanced America's aim of building up support for Mr Abbas as an alternative. Arab leaders gave his Palestinian government a ringing endorsement, and Mr Abbas himself seems to have increased his prestige with Mr Bush. By the end of their first meeting, said one observer, ?They were like pals from a long time ago.? But, as he also noted, Mr Abbas will need to show Palestinians proof that he can deliver benefits on the ground.


The hard road to trust

Politically, it is Mr Sharon who is in immediate trouble. According to Israeli defence sources, the government will start taking down some 15 ?unauthorised outposts? next week. There are dozens more outposts, built since March 2001, dotting the West Bank, which must be removed in this first phase of the road map. But if 15 go it will be a significant start, certainly in terms of domestic politics.

There have been intelligence warnings of violent or even armed resistance from settler extremists. The defence sources said that the army would act fast and firmly to dismantle the outposts, and to make sure that the evicted settlers did not return to them or set up new ones. Leaders of the mainstream settler movement, while dissociating themselves from threats of violence against the soldiers, intend to organise large-scale passive resistance against the dismantlement operation.

More than 40,000 people attended an anti-government rally organised by the settlers in Jerusalem, just hours after the summit ended. ?We won't allow a single inhabited spot to be removed,? declared one speaker. ?This road map goes straight to hell.?

?This road map goes straight to hell?
The looming clashes over the outposts could well grow into a terminal showdown between Mr Sharon and the two parties of the far right that sit in his cabinet. The National Union, with seven seats in the 120-seat Knesset, and the National Religious Party, with six, say they are staying in the government to keep the Labour Party out. But if Mr Sharon's words turn into deeds, they may have no choice but to leave. Labour promises Mr Sharon the support of its 19 Knesset members without necessarily joining the government?so long as he gets on with removing the outposts and freezing the rest of the settlements as required by the road map.

Mr Abbas faces a less immediate political embarrassment, but the challenge before him, if he is to translate his promise to end the armed intifada into reality, is enormous. He needs to achieve a ceasefire that includes the Islamic factions, Hamas and Islamic Jihad. He will be able to do so only if he can point to changes on the ground.

Sobered by the new American wind blowing right into their now closed offices in Damascus, the Islamists have been sounding conciliatory, vowing not to ?embarrass? Mr Abbas in his endeavours for peace. But their terms for a truce remain as hard as ever, demanding reciprocity from Israel. They want a ?guarantee? that Israel will withdraw from the Palestinian areas it has reoccupied, and end its policy of assassinating known Islamist fighters. They have ruled out disarmament. ?We will continue to defend ourselves,? said one Hamas man. Many in Mr Abbas's own Fatah movement hold the same view.

At Aqaba, the Palestinians' new security chief, Muhammad Dahlan, urged Israel to release more prisoners beyond the 100 or so freed as goodwill gestures in recent weeks. There are 6,000 Palestinians in Israeli jails, many of them Fatah activists, including the movement's West Bank leader, Marwan Barghouti. Mr Dahlan believes the release of these prisoners would give him the legitimacy and the personnel to build an effective police force that might one day take on Hamas.

This is his and Mr Abbas's cautious game plan: first a ceasefire, next policing and then, and only then, disarmament. Time, and reciprocal action by the Israelis, will be required for all three phases. The Palestinians believe that Mr Bush, eager to see the new leadership strengthened, is sympathetic to this approach.

Monitoring both Israeli and Palestinian compliance with the road map, monitored by a team of American supervisors under Mr Wolf, will begin next week. The team, said Mr Bush pointedly, would be ?stating clearly who is fulfilling their responsibilities?. The Israelis professed themselves pleased that only America, and not the other authors of the map?the UN, the EU and Russia?would be involved in this monitoring. The Palestinians were pleased that it would begin forthwith.

Israel was particularly gratified that Mr Bush had been persuaded at the last minute to add a reference in his Aqaba speech to Israel as ?the Jewish state?. Silvan Shalom, Israel's foreign minister, said that this was meant as a negation of the ?right of return? claimed by the Palestinian refugees. Israel initially had wanted Mr Abbas to make this point in his speech, but the Palestinians are not prepared to renounce the right of return at this early stage.


Europe's quicksands

In the glare of all this momentous activity, the earlier leg of Mr Bush's trip was almost forgotten by mid-week. But this, too, was a vital mission to repair damage and make peace. Europeans had long taken America's power and Europe's relative powerlessness for granted, until the build-up to the war in Iraq. At that point, France and Germany started talking about American power as something to be contained. Some Americans started dividing Europe into old and new, sceptics and allies. Mr Bush's trip attempted to reinstate the old close ties, but only on certain conditions.

?The United States is committed to a strong Atlantic alliance,? the president told a crowd in Cracow, in Poland. ?This is no time to stir up divisions in a great alliance.? He went out of his way to claim that, in the Middle East and in developing countries generally, ? we need the help, the advice and the wisdom of our European friends and allies.? This seemed good evidence?and the rash of joint policy agreements on trade and aid after the G8 summit at Evian-les-Bains produced more?that the administration is still committed to the transatlantic alliance as a whole, not just to a few select members of it.

In some areas, closer transatlantic co-operation is certainly on the cards. After the G8 summit, NATO's secretary-general, Lord Robertson, reiterated demands that the organisation do more to act as a peacekeeper outside its traditional area of operation. During the summit, America announced the extension of the so-called Global Partnership against nuclear proliferation. Set up at last year's summit, the project is concerned with such matters as destroying Russian chemical weapons. It has now been joined, for the first time, by a group of small European countries.

What is much less clear is whether the broader differences about the use of American power have been narrowed enough to improve ties across the board. Only strong assertions of mutual interest were likely to allay the deep distrust engendered by the Iraq war, and these were not forthcoming.

Mr Bush did not flinch from pointing out specific areas where the two sides disagree: on lending conditions for poor countries, for example, and on genetically modified food. Nor did he gloss over the ructions before the war. He told the Poles that ?you have not come all this way only to be told [by France] that you must now choose between Europe and America.?

Backstage, the talk was blunter. Miss Rice talked of her disappointment at the questioning of America's motives in Iraq and of her ?consternation? at French and German behaviour. ?There were times,? she said, ?that it appeared that American power was seen to be more dangerous than, perhaps, Saddam Hussein. I'll just put it very bluntly. We simply didn't understand it.? She added, at another point, ?That disappointment will, of course, not go easily.?

Jacques Chirac, France's president, was no less clear where he stood. ?I've no doubt whatsoever,? he said at Evian, ?that the multipolar vision of the world that I have defended for some time is certainly supported by a majority of countries throughout the world.? He turned the G8 meeting of rich industrial nations into virtually a global summit, inviting 13 leaders from developing countries. And he summarily rejected an American suggestion that the G8's resolution on Iran and North Korea implied that force could be used against countries that breach international rules against proliferation. ?This interpretation,? he said, ?seems to be extraordinarily daring.?

The contrast with Vladimir Putin was instructive. Russia, too, has worried about America's projection of unilateral power and has praised attempts to constrain it internationally. But Mr Putin gave Mr Bush almost everything he wanted. Before their meeting, at the 300th anniversary celebrations in Mr Putin's home city of St Petersburg, Russia's parliament ratified the treaty that pledges to reduce the two sides' nuclear arsenals by two-thirds over ten years (the treaty was signed last year, but the parliament had refused to ratify it during the Iraq war). Mr Putin said that Russian and American policies on Iran?one of the most contentious issues between them over the past few years?were closer than anyone thought, and that Russia did not want Iran to get hold of nuclear weapons. Their meeting ended in a bear-hug.

The difference lies partly in European and Russian attitudes. Russia has decided that it needs to work with America on strategic and nuclear matters, while Europe is divided about how close it wants transatlantic ties to be. It also lies partly in American attitudes. As Mr Bush's trip confirmed, his administration will not let allied reluctance slow down something that it perceives to be in its national interest. And when Europeans are split, America is quite prepared to cherry-pick among them. No better evidence for this can be seen than a new anti-nuclear proliferation measure announced at the G8 summit. Incensed by its inability legally to confiscate a weapons shipment from North Korea to Yemen that was intercepted at sea earlier this year, America decided to set up a new interdiction regime to crack down on such trade. The first countries it went to for support were Spain, Poland, Britain and Australia, the ones that sent troops to Iraq.

That may be understandable. When a country thinks its national security is threatened, it will hardly let even allies dictate its response. Yet the Bush administration also shows signs of cherry-picking here, seeing as its particular allies Britain, Spain, Italy and the new democracies of central Europe. To paraphrase Lord Acton, America may be seeking to create a New Europe in order to redress the balance of the Old.

Vladimir, let's hug again! After you, Jacques, you French bastard. This one's Polish, right?


This will not happen without a fight. The leaders of France and Germany frequently (though mistakenly) like to assert that nothing much happens in the EU unless they agree. Moreover, they do not seem seriously abashed by the outcome of the war in Iraq. True, both voted for the United Nations resolution to lift sanctions. But French officials do not think America has been vindicated by victory. On the contrary, they argue that military action has reaped a harvest of chaos in Iraq and more terrorism by al-Qaeda. If anything, they feel their opposition has been vindicated by the failure to find Mr Hussein's weapons of mass destruction.

In short, American diplomacy, like Mr Bush's foreign travels, seems to come in two parts. In the Middle East, America showed that it is willing to use its power in ways that are neither arrogant nor selfish. But whether that will be enough to reassure European critics is another matter.


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« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2003, 07:19:45 PM »

Please feel free to send the Stratfor Weekly to a friend
or colleague.

5 June 2003
by Dr. George Friedman


The inability to discover weapons of mass destruction in Iraq has
created a political crisis in the United States and Britain.
Within the two governments, there are recriminations and brutal
political infighting over responsibility. Stratfor warned in
February that the unwillingness of the U.S. government to
articulate its real, strategic reasons for the war -- choosing
instead to lean on WMD as the justification -- would lead to a
deep crisis at some point. That moment seems to be here.


"Weapons of mass destruction" is promising to live up to its
name: The issue may well result in the mass destruction of senior
British and American officials who used concerns about WMD in
Iraq as the primary, public justification for going to war. The
simple fact is that no one has found any weapons of mass
destruction in Iraq and -- except for some vans which may have
been used for biological weapons -- no evidence that Iraq was
working to develop such weapons. Since finding WMD is a priority
for U.S. military forces, which have occupied Iraq for more than
a month, the failure to find weapons of mass destruction not only
has become an embarrassment, it also has the potential to
mushroom into a major political crisis in the United States and
Britain. Not only is the political opposition exploiting the
paucity of Iraqi WMD, but the various bureaucracies are using the
issue to try to discredit each other. It's a mess.

On Jan. 21, 2003, Stratfor published an analysis titled Smoke and
Mirrors: The United States, Iraq and Deception, which made the
following points:

1. The primary reason for the U.S. invasion of Iraq was strategic
and not about weapons of mass destruction.

2. The United States was using the WMD argument primarily to
justify the attack to its coalition partners.

3. The use of WMD rather than strategy as the justification for
the war would ultimately create massive confusion as to the
nature of the war the United States was fighting.

As we put it:

"To have allowed the WMD issue to supplant U.S. strategic
interests as the justification for war has created a crisis in
U.S. strategy. Deception campaigns are designed to protect
strategies, not to trap them. Ultimately, the foundation of U.S.
grand strategy, coalitions and the need for clarity in military
strategy have collided. The discovery of weapons of mass
destruction in Iraq will not solve the problem, nor will a coup
in Baghdad. In a war [against Islamic extremists] that will last
for years, maintaining one's conceptual footing is critical. If
that footing cannot be maintained -- if the requirements of the
war and the requirements of strategic clarity are incompatible --
there are more serious issues involved than the future of Iraq."

The failure to enunciate the strategic reasons for the invasion
of Iraq--of cloaking it in an extraneous justification--has now
come home to roost. Having used WMD as the justification, the
inability to locate WMD in Iraq has undermined the credibility of
the United States and is tearing the government apart in an orgy
of finger-pointing.

To make sense of this impending chaos, it is important to start
at the beginning -- with al Qaeda. After the Sept. 11 attacks, al
Qaeda was regarded as an extraordinarily competent global
organization. Sheer logic argued that the network would want to
top the Sept. 11 strikes with something even more impressive.
This led to a very reasonable fear that al Qaeda possessed or was
in the process of obtaining WMD.

U.S. intelligence, shifting from its sub-sensitive to hyper-
sensitive mode, began putting together bits of intelligence that
tended to show that what appeared to be logical actually was
happening. The U.S. intelligence apparatus now was operating in a
worst-case scenario mode, as is reasonable when dealing with WMD.
Lower-grade intelligence was regarded as significant. Two things
resulted: The map of who was developing weapons of mass
destruction expanded, as did the probabilities assigned to al
Qaeda's ability to obtain WMD. The very public outcome -- along
with a range of less public events -- was the "axis of evil"
State of the Union speech, which identified three countries as
having WMD and likely to give it to al Qaeda. Iraq was one of
these countries.

If we regard chemical weapons as WMD, as has been U.S. policy,
then it is well known that Iraq had WMD, since it used them in
the past. It was a core assumption, therefore, that Iraq
continued to possess WMD. Moreover, U.S. intelligence officials
believed there was a parallel program in biological weapons, and
also that Iraqi leaders had the ability and the intent to restart
their nuclear program, if they had not already done so. Running
on the worst-case basis that was now hard-wired by al Qaeda into
U.S. intelligence, Iraq was identified as a country with WMD and
likely to pass them on to al Qaeda.

Iraq, of course, was not the only country in this class. There
are other sources of WMD in the world, even beyond the "axis of
evil" countries. Simply invading Iraq would not solve the
fundamental problem of the threat from al Qaeda. As Stratfor has
always argued, the invasion of Iraq served a psychological and
strategic purpose: Psychologically, it was designed to
demonstrate to the Islamic world the enormous power and ferocity
of the United States; strategically, it was designed to position
the United States to coerce countries such as Saudi Arabia, Syria
and Iran into changing their policies toward suppressing al Qaeda
operations in their countries. Both of these missions were

WMD was always a side issue in terms of strategic planning. It
became, however, the publicly stated moral, legal and political
justification for the war. It was understood that countries like
France and Russia had no interest in collaborating with
Washington in a policy that would make the United States the
arbiter of the Middle East. Washington had to find a
justification for the war that these allies would find

That justification was that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.
From the standpoint of U.S. intelligence, this belief became a
given. Everyone knew that Iraq once had chemical weapons, and no
reasonable person believed that Saddam Hussein had unilaterally
destroyed them. So it appeared to planners within the Bush
administration that they were on safe ground. Moreover, it was
assumed that other major powers would regard WMD in Hussein's
hands as unacceptable and that therefore, everyone would accept
the idea of a war in which the stated goal -- and the real
outcome -- would be the destruction of Iraq's weapons.

This was the point on which Washington miscalculated. The public
justification for the war did not compel France, Germany or
Russia to endorse military action. They continued to resist
because they fully understood the outcome -- intended or not --
would be U.S. domination of the Middle East, and they did not
want to see that come about. Paris, Berlin and Moscow turned the
WMD issue on its head, arguing that if that was the real issue,
then inspections by the United Nations would be the way to solve
the problem. Interestingly, they never denied that Iraq had WMD;
what they did deny was that proof of WMD had been found. They
also argued that over time, as proof accumulated, the inspection
process would either force the Iraqis to destroy their WMD or
justify an invasion at that point. What is important here is that
French and Russian leaders shared with the United States the
conviction that Iraq had WMD. Like the Americans, they thought
weapons of mass destruction -- particularly if they were
primarily chemical -- was a side issue; the core issue was U.S.
power in the Middle East.

In short, all sides were working from the same set of
assumptions. There was not much dispute that the Baathist regime
probably had WMD. The issue between the United States and its
allies was strategic. After the war, the United States would
become the dominant power in the region, and it would use this
power to force regional governments to strike at al Qaeda.
Germany, France and Russia, fearing the growth of U.S. power,
opposed the war. Rather than clarifying the chasm in the
alliance, the Bush administration permitted the arguments over
WMD to supplant a discussion of strategy and left the American
public believing the administration's public statements -- smoke
and mirrors -- rather than its private view.

The Bush administration -- and France, for that matter -- all
assumed that this problem would disappear when the U.S. military
got into Iraq. WMD would be discovered, the public justification
would be vindicated, the secret goal would be achieved and no one
would be the wiser. What they did not count on -- what is
difficult to believe even now -- is that Hussein actually might
not have WMD or, weirder still, that he hid them or destroyed
them so efficiently that no one could find them. That was the
kicker the Bush administration never counted on.

The matter of whether Hussein had WMD is still open. Answers
could range to the extremes: He had no WMD or he still has WMD,
being held in reserve for his guerrilla war. But the point here
is that the WMD question was not the reason the United States
went to war. The war was waged in order to obtain a strategic
base from which to coerce countries such as Syria, Iran and Saudi
Arabia into using their resources to destroy al Qaeda within
their borders. From that standpoint, the strategy seems to be

However, by using WMD as the justification for war, the United
States walked into a trap. The question of the location of WMD is
important. The question of whether it was the CIA or Defense
Department that skewed its reports about the location of Iraq's
WMD is also important. But these questions are ultimately trivial
compared to the use of smoke and mirrors to justify a war in
which Iraq was simply a single campaign. Ultimately, the problem
is that it created a situation in which the American public had
one perception of the reason for the war while the war's planners
had another. In a democratic society engaged in a war that will
last for many years, this is a dangerous situation to have


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« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2003, 11:29:19 PM »
An internet friend for whom I have high regard in these matters writes:

"I agree that this administration made a definite decision to overthrow Saddam. However, I think that it was based upon two facts.

First, Saddam's government had grown increasingly cozy with terror groups like al Qaida. Reliable intelligence showed that many of these groups were seeking to acquire the ability to use CB (chem-bio) weapons and dirty nukes against the US. Iraq possessed the capability to manufacture and deliver CB weapons and had possessed a nuclear weapons program. When the US sought Iraqi assistance in the apprehension of two al Qaida fugitives from Afghanistan who played a role in 9-11, Saddam's government refused to assist; thus, providing de facto sanctuary to those terrorists.

Second, Saddam's government had refused to verify the disposition of a lot of CB stuff. This went back to the UNSCOM days of 1998 and continued into 2002. The US feared that Iraq would provide some of this unverified CB stuff to al Qaida or other groups.

When Iraq filed an incomplete declaration last December and failed to account for the old UNSCOM stuff, the US decided to go to war and oust Saddam. After that time, I agree with you, Bush's mind was made up.

But I think that he made it up based upon a comparison of risks. He could not afford to do nothing and have that policy result in subsequent CB or dirty nuke terror acts against the US. When Saddam refused to provide the needed assurances about his CB weapons, Bush decided to take him down.

I think that Bush considered the possibility that Saddam was bluffing. But Bush decided that he had to call him on it. When Saddam then refused to show his cards, Bush decided to end the game."


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« Reply #11 on: June 13, 2003, 07:14:35 AM »

Geopolitical Diary: Friday, June 13, 2003

U.S. forces carried out the first major counterinsurgency operation against Iraqi guerrillas. Operation Peninsula Strike included air and ground operations in the area north of Baghdad. An Apache helicopter was shot down during the operation. An F-16 also went down, although the cause has not been announced, and the cause could have been something other than hostile fire. Some 400 Iraqis were detained. A spokesman at U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) said the intelligence situation had improved enough that U.S. forces were able to target Iraqi forces, implying that Peninsula Strike was not a random sweep hoping to disrupt guerrilla operations but a focused mission with clear objectives.

Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap, commander of North Vietnamese forces in both the war against France and the United States, divided guerrilla warfare into three stages:

Stage 1: Small-scale operations against enemy forces, designed to inflict
casualties, integrate guerrillas with the population and conduct political
education to create the framework for broader operations against the enemy. This stage is political and psychological. The goal is to drive a wedge between the enemy and the population by forcing the enemy into operations that harass and alienate the people.

Stage 2: A combination of small-scale operations combined with larger
units -- platoon to regimental formations that increase the tempo of
operations -- drawing enemy forces into ambushes by the use of superior
intelligence, mobility and stealth, creating areas where the enemy could not operate for military reasons. This stage is designed to exhaust the enemy by forcing him into endless offensive operations that simultaneously drain resources and generate hostility in the population.

Stage 3: The final stage in which large, conventional military formations
engage and defeat main enemy forces.

Giap pointed out that a guerrilla insurgency is based on three key
elements -- among many others. First, deny the enemy intelligence while
building their own intelligence, enabling them to know when the enemy was coming while the enemy never really knew the guerrillas' location. Second, use enemy operations to win the loyalty of the population. Third, erode support for the war in the home country by imposing unacceptable costs.

A successful counterinsurgency strategy is based on cutting the guerrilla
from popular support and destroying supporting infrastructure before the war reaches the second stage. To achieve this, superb intelligence is necessary.

If Operation Peninsula Strike was based on sound intelligence, the air
strikes destroyed an important Baath facility while the cordon operation
captured a large number of guerrillas without more than inconveniencing the rest of the population. That means that U.S. intelligence officers were in a position to distinguish guerrillas from non-guerrillas -- which is
extraordinarily important to do. It also is extraordinarily difficult to do,
particularly in a Stage 1 counterinsurgency operation, which generally is
characterized by relatively poor intelligence caused by the opacity of enemy operations.

What we are arguing is that the United States is in a Stage 1 guerrilla war
against an enemy that apparently has thought this through and has made
suitable plans. The enemy has fundamental weaknesses. The terrain makes it difficult to hide the movement of Stage 2 formations, and even if Syria or Iran were willing to provide sanctuary to the operations, terrain and technology make monitoring that border much easier than it was in Vietnam.

However, the United States is not yet in a Stage 2 situation, but in Stage
1. Here, the key is identifying and neutralizing guerrillas without
generating the popular hostility that generates more guerrillas.

That takes a degree of intelligence that is possible, but which we don't
think the United States has yet. One of the things you do to gather
intelligence is the kind of operation we saw today. But these operations
must be carefully balanced between the capture of prisoners for
interrogation and the wholesale alienation of the community. That is easier said than done.

A saying from Vietnam was "grab them by the balls; their hearts and minds will follow." That is not necessarily a bad strategy, but it requires a
surgical position, otherwise you can wind up grabbing every other body part and actually help the enemy move into and through the second stage by serving as the guerrillas' recruiting office. The U.S. problem is not the principle of more Peninsula Strikes, but executing these operations effectively. Military intelligence is combing through the results of this operation as we speak. It will not have captured the Holy Grail -- the names and addresses of guerrillas and their sympathizers. It will have acquired some intelligence. The speed at which that information accumulates will determine the success of the U.S. suppressing this movement.


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« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2003, 11:11:40 PM »

Geopolitical Diary: Monday, June 15, 2003

Tensions in Iran rose to significant levels over the weekend, as gunmen supportive of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei raided university dormitories in Tehran in actions clearly designed to intimidate pro-reform students. Motorists in the city responded by causing traffic jams and blowing their horns when pro-Khamenei paramilitaries were not in sight. The Iranians accused the United States of being behind the demonstrations and of exaggerating their significance. The Iranian Foreign Ministry said the United States was engaged in a "flagrant interference in Iran's internal
affairs." U.S. President George W. Bush said, "This is the beginning of people expressing themselves toward a free Iran, which I think is positive."

There is little doubt that the Iranian crisis has begun. The United States, directly or indirectly, is encouraging an insurrection not so much against the official Iranian government -- run by President Mohammed Khatami -- as
against the religious authority Khamenei controls. The internal pressure is being supplemented by the presence of U.S. forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, which are in a position to carry out covert operations in Iran in support of anti-Khamenei forces. There are unconfirmed reports that such operations already are under way. It is not clear that the students in Tehran have decisive support either in the city or in the country. However, it is clear that the United States views them as having sufficient weight to destabilize
the regime or, at the very least, generate massive tensions between the Khatami government and the Khamenei faction.

All of this is in a very early state. U.S. pressure on the Iranians may or may not have a decisive effect on the Iranians. The U.S. goal is to pressure the Iranians into changing their behavior both toward al Qaeda and on the
question of nuclear weapons development. The internal pressures on Iraq are complicated by the fact that the Iranians themselves have critical cards to play against the United States. At this point, the United States is dealing
with a guerrilla war within the Sunni areas of Iraq, where the scope and outcome are unclear at this moment. The Iranians have the ability to destabilize the U.S. occupation of Iraq if they were to use their influence to generate massive anti-American demonstrations south of Baghdad, where
Shiites dominate. The United States is risking this as it presses the Iranians. Therefore, it is critical for Washington to bring guerrilla operations north and west of Baghdad in the Sunni community under control before there are any actions in the south.

Given this, the United States launched operation Desert Scorpion, which appears to focus on the town of Al Fallujah, 45 miles to the west of Baghdad. It also appeared to be the largest U.S. combat operation since Washington announced the cessation of major hostilities in early May. Desert
Scorpion combined search-and-seize operations designed to identify Baathist guerrillas with the distribution of food and other supplies, which were designed to win over the population. Desert Scorpion appears to be targeting
the core dilemma facing the U.S. command in Iraq. Operations designed to engage and destroy guerrilla forces also are likely to increase hostility toward the United States among the populace, in effect strengthening the guerrillas. Desert Scorpion is intended as a test of a model that will not
generate the counteraction the United States fears. Still, Iraqi guerrilla forces attacked a U.S convoy about 20 miles south of the town of Balad. A truck was destroyed, and there were reports of several American casualties.

Israel remained surprisingly and interestingly quiet over the weekend. There were no further suicide bombings by Hamas, and there were reports of an Israeli withdrawal from parts of Gaza. The United States has brought massive pressure in an attempt to re-establish the proposed peace plan. Bush on June 15 condemned Hamas, saying, "The free world and those who love freedom and peace must deal harshly with Hamas and the killers." U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar, who heads the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said, "Clearly, if
force is required ultimately to root out terrorism, it is possible there would be American participation." We doubt that he said this without consultations with the White House.

It is not clear to us what an American force in Gaza or the West Bank could achieve that the Israel Defense Forces couldn't, but practicality is not the point of Lugar's statement. The White House is trying to tell Hamas that if
it continues to oppose the peace plan, the United States will stop all attempts at restraining Israel, freeing Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to do whatever he wants to destroy Hamas. Hamas considered a cease-fire only because -- in the words of its leaders -- the U.S. victory in Iraq clearly
is caught between what it regards as the unequal concessions of the peace plan and fear of Israel unrestrained. It is obvious that some negotiations have taken place over the weekend between the Palestine National Authority
(PNA) and Hamas, and Israel and the PNA.

The United States undoubtedly does not want to cast Sharon loose. At the same time, it understands that the peace plan is dead unless Hamas can be sufficiently intimidated. So, the United States has carried out four operations over the weekend. First, Washington is moving to re-establish its
credibility by trying to quickly defeat Baath guerrillas. Second, it is trying to expand its credibility by destabilizing the Iranian regime. Third, it is trying to use its credibility to intimidate Hamas. And fourth, it is trying to exploit its credibility by forcing Hamas to the negotiating table.

All of this requires that the United States is not bogged down in a war it can't win in Iraq. It is not fair to expect the U.S. military to solve the problem posed by the Baath insurrection in a week. Nevertheless, that is what is needed. The United States went into Iraq to establish its credibility and indeed, its irresistible ferocity. Stalemate in Iraq is not, as they say, an option for the United States, as it affects the situation
from the Himalayas to the Mediterranean. The Baath challenge is strategic, not tactical. A rapid resolution is needed to influence the region. Therefore, the pressure on the U.S. military is not fair -- but it is real.


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« Reply #13 on: June 18, 2003, 04:54:59 PM »
Please feel free to send the Stratfor Weekly to a friend
or colleague.

18 June 2003
by Dr. George Friedman
Guerrilla War in Iraq


The United States is now clearly involved in a guerrilla war in
the Sunni regions of Iraq. As a result, U.S. forces are engaging
in counterinsurgency operations, which historically have proven
most difficult and trying -- for both American forces and
American politics. Suppressing a guerrilla operation without
alienating the indigenous population represents an extreme
challenge to the United States that at this point does not appear
avoidable -- and the seriousness of which does not appear to be
broadly understood.


The United States currently is involved in an extended, low-
intensity conflict in Iraq. More precisely, it is involved in a
guerrilla war in the Sunni areas of the country, including much
of Baghdad proper as well an arc that runs from due west to the
north. The almost daily guerrilla attacks against U.S. forces
have resulted in nearly 50 deaths since U.S. President George W.
Bush declared the end of major military operations; they also
have tied down a substantial number of troops in
counterinsurgency operations, two of which (Operations Peninsula
Freedom and Desert Scorpion) have been launched already.

The war is not strategically insignificant, even though the level
of intensity is relatively low at this point. Guerrilla warfare
can have a disproportionate effect strategically, even when it
can be tactically and operationally managed.

There are two reasons for this. The first is that it violates the
principles of economy of force: The quantity of force required to
contain a guerrilla operation is inherently disproportionate
because the guerrilla force is dispersed over a large geographic
area, and its stealth and mobility requires a much larger force
to contain. Second, guerrilla war generates political realities
that affect the strategic level of war. Because of the nature of
counterinsurgency operations, guerrillas can generate a
simultaneous perception of weakness and brutality, regardless of
the intentions of the conventional forces. Since guerrillas
choose the time and place of their own attacks and use mobility
to evade counterattacks, the guerrilla appears to be outfighting
the regular forces. Even when they are merely holding their own
or even losing, their continued operation generates a sense of
power for the guerrillas and weakness for the counterguerrilla

The nature of counterinsurgency requires that guerrillas be
distinguished from the general population. This is
extraordinarily difficult, particularly when the troops trying to
make the distinction are foreign, untrained in the local language
and therefore culturally incapable of making the subtle
distinctions needed for surgical identification. The result is
the processing of large numbers of noncombatants in the search
for a handful of guerrillas. Another result is the massive
intrusion of force into a civilian community that may start out
as neutral or even friendly, but which over time becomes hostile
-- not only because of the constant intrusions, but also because
of the inevitable mistakes committed by troops who are trying to
make sense of what appears to them an incoherent situation.

There is another level on which the guerrilla war intersects
strategy. The United States invaded Iraq in order to be perceived
as a decisive military power and to set the stage for military
operations elsewhere. Guerrilla warfare inevitably undermines the
regional perception of U.S. power -- justly or not -- while
creating the impression that the United States is limited in what
it can do in the region militarily.

Thus, the United States is in a tough spot. It cannot withdraw
from Iraq and therefore must fight. But it must fight in such a
way that avoids four things:

1. It cannot fight a war that alienates the general Iraqi
populace sufficiently to generate recruits for the guerrillas and
undermine the occupation.

2. It cannot lose control of the countryside; this could
destabilize the entire occupation.

3. It cannot allow the guerrilla operation to undermine its
ability to project forces elsewhere.

4. It cannot be allowed to extend the length of the conflict to
such an extent that the U.S. public determines that the cost is
not worth the prize. The longer the war, the clearer the
definition of the prize must be.

Therefore, the task for U.S. forces is:

1. Identify the enemy.

2. Isolate the enemy from his supplies and from the population.

3. Destroy him.

The dos and don'ts of guerrilla warfare are easy to write about,
but much more difficult to put into practice.

The centerpiece of guerrilla warfare, even more than other types
of war, is intelligence. Knowing who the enemy is, where he is
and what he plans to do is the key to stopping him. In Vietnam,
the North Vietnamese had much better intelligence about these
three things than the United States. Over time, despite material
weakness, they were able to turn this and a large pool of
manpower into victory by forcing the United States to do the four
things it should never have done.

Since intelligence is the key, we must consider the fact that
this war began in an intelligence failure. The core assumption of
U.S. intelligence was that once the Baath regime lost Baghdad, it
would simply disappear. Stratfor had speculated that Saddam
Hussein had a postwar plan for a national redoubt in the north
and northeast, but our analysis rejected the idea of a guerrilla
war on the basis that Iraq's terrain would not support one.

Nevertheless, it is the strategy the Baathists apparently have
chosen to follow. In retrospect, the strange capitulation of
Baghdad -- where large Iraqi formations simply melted away --
appears to have been calculated to some degree. In Afghanistan,
the Taliban forces were not defeated in the cities. They declined
combat, withdrawing and dispersing, then reorganizing and
returning to guerrilla warfare. Hussein appears to have taken a
page from that strategy. Certainly, most of his forces did not
carry out a strategic retreat to return as guerrilla fighters;
most went home. However, a cadre of troops -- first encountered
as Mujahideen fighters in Basra, An Nasiriyah and Karbala -- seem
to have withdrawn to fight as guerrillas.

What is important is that they have retained cohesion. That does
not necessarily mean that they are all being controlled from a
central location, although the tempo of operations -- daily
attacks in different locations -- seems to imply an element of
planning by someone. It does mean that the basic infrastructure
needed to support the operation was in place prior to the war:

1. Weapons and reserve weapons caches placed in locations known
to some level of the command.

2. A communications system, whether simply messengers or
communications gear, linking components together by some means.

3. Intelligence and counterintelligence capabilities designed to
identify targets and limit enemy intelligence from penetrating
their capabilities.

The central question is how they do this. First, how many and
what kind of weapons are stored, and where are they? Not only in
terms of conventional weapons, but also of weapons of mass
destruction. This is a critical question. We continue to suspect
that Hussein had chemical and possibly biological weapons before
the U.S.-led war. Where are the weapons now? Are they stored in
some way? Are they available for use, for example, against U.S.
base camps at some point?

Second, what is the command and control system? Are these
autonomous units operating without central control, are they
centrally controlled or is it a mixed system? Suddenly, the
question of Hussein's whereabouts ceases to be irrelevant. Are
Hussein and his lieutenants operating the war from a bunker
somewhere? How do they communicate with whatever command
authority might exist?

How can U.S. intelligence penetrate and disrupt the guerrilla
movement? The United States is best at electronic and image
intelligence. If the guerrillas stay away from electronic
communications except in extreme cases, electronic intelligence
will not work. As for image intelligence, it might be used to
find arms caches, but it is generally not particularly helpful in
a guerrilla war at this level.

Vo Nguyen Giap, who commanded communist forces against both
France and the United States in Vietnam, divided guerrilla war
into three stages:

1. Stage one: very small unit, hit-and-run actions without any
attempt to hold territory.

2. Stage two: continuation of stage one attacks combined with
larger units, regimental and below, engaging in more intense
attacks and taking and holding remote terrain as needed.

3. Stage three: conventional warfare against a weakened enemy who
is engaged and defeated.

Giap argued that the transition between stages is the key to
successful guerrilla operations: Too late or too early are the
issues. In Iraq, the guerrillas have a separate problem -- the
terrain makes the concentration of forces too risky. It is one
thing to mass several companies of light infantry in the
Vietnamese jungle. It is another thing to do the same in the
Iraqi desert. The Iraqi Achilles heel is that the transition from
the current level of operations is very difficult to achieve.

This is the same problem facing the U.S. forces. If a guerrilla
war is to be won, the second stage is the point at which it can
be won. During the first stage, the ratio between operational
costs and damage to the enemy is prohibitive. Carrying out
battalion-sized operations to capture or kill three guerrillas is
not only exhausting, it also undermines popular support for
counterinsurgency measures. In a stage two operation, the ratios
are more acceptable. But the Iraqis can't move to stage two
without playing into the hands of the Americans.

That seems to argue that the Iraqis intend to remain at this
level of operations for an extended period of time. How long
depends as much on their resources as on their intentions. How
many fighters they have, how secure their command system is,
where their weapons are located and how many they have will
determine the length of the fight.

From the U.S. point of view, fighting a retail guerrilla war is
the worst possible strategy. The key for the United States is the
destruction of the Iraqi guerrilla command and control system.
The North Vietnamese had a clearly defined command and control
system, but it was in the north and in Cambodia. There were
sanctuaries. At this moment, it would appear that the Iraqis have
no sanctuary. Therefore, the command centers are within political
reach of the United States. The question is where are they? Where
are Hussein, his sons and his other commanders? Gen. Abid Hamid
Mahmoud al-Tikriti, Hussein's No. 4 commander, was seized today,
which certainly represents a breakthrough for the United States.
What is not yet clear is whether this is the beginning of the
systematic collapse of the guerrilla command structure or whether
he was irrelevant to that.

Unless the United States is fortunate and this war comprises only
a handful of fighters who quickly will be used up, the only
strategy the United States has is to find and destroy the command
structure. Every army -- even a guerrilla army -- depends on
commanders, communications and supplies. Find and destroy the
commanders, and the army will not be able to resist a general
offensive. But first you have to find the commanders. Sweeping
after foot soldiers will only upset the population; going after
the generals is the key.

Therefore, the question of where Hussein, his sons and the rest
of the officials pictured on the deck of cards is not academic.
It has become the heart of the military equation.



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« Reply #14 on: June 19, 2003, 11:00:35 PM »
Geopolitical Diary: Friday, June 20, 2003
Jun 20, 2003

The war in Iraq continued today with more attacks and casualties. U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell downplayed the significance of his visit to the Middle East, saying it was just another day. The United States continued to warn Iran about developing nuclear weapons while Iran continued to resist. They are the same stories, different day.

The situation in Britain is a much more interesting tale. British Prime Minister Tony Blair is now in trouble. Whether he faces a mortal blow or not is not clear, but we tend to believe that his ability to govern is in rapid decline, with little to reverse it. The issue is Iraq. Two former ministers who resigned from Blair's cabinet have made the claim that Blair bypassed the normal operations of the British cabinet in making the decision to go to war with Iraq. More damaging is the claim that intelligence reports that should have gone to the cabinet were suppressed, while laundered versions tilted to support the decision to go to war were distributed instead. According to the ministers, the United States and Britain decided last summer to invade Iraq, with the date set for February. The justification for the war came later.

Stratfor has regarded this as the decision-making process since last fall, so obviously, we tend to believe the ministers. What is interesting, however, is the manner in which Blair is being weakened. This is particularly interesting when compared to the way his American counterpart, U.S. President George W. Bush, is not being weakened, certainly not equally.

The issue here is duplicity in the making of foreign policy, in particular, carrying out certain policies with differing public and private justifications. Duplicity in foreign policy is an essential characteristic, much as it is in a good marriage. If your wife asks you if she looks as good as she did 30 years ago, what are you going to say? When former U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was asked why he was aiding the Soviet Union, he had two potential answers. One was to say that he was aiding a blood thirsty dictator -- Joseph Stalin -- because he wanted the Red Army to bleed Nazi Germany dry, so that the United States could come in for the kill at the lowest possible cost. He certainly could have said it, but he took the second route. He avoided public justification for ignoring the nature of the Soviet regime, ignoring the cynical use of Soviet lives to ease the American way into Europe and simply emphasized the need to defeat Nazi leader Adolph Hitler. When asked about his true thoughts about Lend-Lease to Britain prior to the war, FDR simply tap danced around the question. His plans were crisp in his mind -- support Britain regardless of the Neutrality Act. His actions frequently went beyond the limits of the law. His speeches were designed to obscure reality.

When we look at the statecraft of a Roosevelt, we see that in a democratic society, politicians frequently lie about their true motives. Instead, they invent acceptable fabrications, so they don't have to state publicly what they think privately. This is not so much to fool the public, although FDR certainly intended to do that. Rather it is to avoid stating publicly to allies what your true intention is. Had FDR publicly stated that his strategy with the Soviets was to use them to bleed the Wehrmacht dry, it would have created an untenable situation for Stalin. Stalin was not exactly na?ve. He knew that the United States had him by the short hairs, and that the squeeze would be hard. He knew he had no choice. But it is one thing to understand that you are being hammered and another thing to admit it.

If the United States and Britain admitted publicly their real motives -- that they intended to squeeze the Saudis, Syrians and Iranians by occupying Iraq -- they would not have created a domestic political problem. However, without the domestic political problem, it would have been much more difficult for the Saudis, for example, to allow themselves to be squeezed. It is much easier to capitulate if you are permitted to keep your dignity than if you are going to be publicly humiliated.

And herein is the tale: As it becomes increasingly clear that the United States had complex geopolitical motives for invading Iraq and that WMD played only a small part in it, the U.S. public is relatively comfortable. The only ones getting excited are those who opposed the policy regardless of justification. There is no great shift in the polls over this issue. The American public appears to be more comfortable with both the underlying reason and the need to fabricate public justifications because, in the end, they simply supported the strategy.

Blair is in much bigger trouble, because the British public didn't support the general strategy and, more important, because Blair is from the Labor Party and his own party fragmented over the war. The WMD issue was more important to Blair because the Labor Party required a justification other than strategic requirements. This is because, in the end, Britain has somewhat different strategic requirements than does the United States. In particular, the Labor Party is uncomfortable with realpolitik and has been for a long time. The revelations have shown Blair to have been a cynical manipulator in the grand tradition, and that won't wash in the Labor Party. Nor are the Tories, who are more comfortable with this, likely to bail him out.

We suspect that in the end, Blair will execute a graceful exit. For Bush, the critical quesiton will not be whether he lied about WMD, but whether he can pacify Iraq and achieve his strategic goals in the region. For Blair, it is about what he did; for Bush, it is about what he will do. Since Blair can't change what he did, his enemies will bring him down. Bush is far from safe, but at least his fate is in his hands.


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« Reply #15 on: June 21, 2003, 06:44:11 AM »


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« Reply #16 on: June 25, 2003, 10:37:45 AM »
Stop Blaming, Wise Up to Postwar Realities

A clever foe may have an 'occupation fatigue' strategy for victory
by Caleb Carr, Caleb Carr, a military historian and a novelist, is the author of "The Lessons of Terror: A History of Warfare Against Civilians" (Random House, updated 2003) and "The Alienist" (Random House, 1994).

Americans have a long tradition of blaming their own civilian and uniformed commanders for wartime setbacks instead of recognizing the success of an enemy's efforts. There's a very good chance that this tradition is alive, well and hard at work in Iraq today.

The occupation goes badly. The press, the media and members of Congress demand to know: Who is to blame? As perhaps befits the most narcissistic (along with the most advanced and generous) society in world history, we Americans don't like to believe that our fate is ever out of our own hands or that anyone else in the world can beat our best efforts. When we fail, it must be the fault of our own incompetence.

Take Little Big Horn, for example. Gen. George Armstrong Custer was an arrogant fool, runs the standard wisdom, who rode blindly into an obvious trap. Actually, the Sioux chieftains Sitting Bull and, especially, Crazy Horse were two of the greatest ? and cleverest ? unconventional warriors in modern history.

And Pearl Harbor? Americans were asleep, runs the same strain of thinking, insensible to the dangers around them. Actually, the American armed forces knew that such an attack was possible and had even war-gamed it; but no war game could prepare them for the precise planning and the truly astounding daring of one of the premier offensive geniuses of World War II, Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto.

And what of the only war the United States ever lost (an arguable epithet), Vietnam? Didn't we go down in defeat because our people and politicians stabbed our commanders in their collective back after making them fight the war with one hand tied behind it? Actually, no. American soldiers were overwhelmingly well supplied and fought bravely; but their commanders ? often men who had acquitted themselves well in prior conflicts ? were simply outwitted by Ho Chi Minh and his creative and determined military right arm, Vo Nguyen Giap, both past masters of a variety of war with which we had little or no experience.

To put those experiences in terms that our plain-talking President Bush might understand, we got whupped; and right now, we may ? may ? be on our way to getting whupped in Iraq.

We like to believe that when Saddam Hussein spoke of dragging the United States into Armageddon, he meant a war involving weapons of mass destruction, and that we were simply too quick and overpowering to allow such a scenario to develop.

But what if the Iraqi dictator actually realized that we would be so overpowering? And what if, acting on this realization, he abandoned a biochemical campaign before the war started, destroying or hiding his weapons of mass destruction deep underground, in terrain controlled by his most ardent supporters, while stockpiling enough cash to bankroll a different kind of Armageddon?

I'm speaking here of a carefully planned effort to sow anarchy and thus a desire among the Iraqi people for the return of a strong hand, as well as a complementary effort to destroy American domestic will when it comes to sustaining a gruesome and grueling occupation.

If "occupation fatigue" is indeed taking root in the American consciousness, it is not the fault of failed or cooked intelligence ? the subjects that are getting the most attention from critics of the Iraq undertaking. We should remember, after all, that American leaders from the founding fathers to Franklin Delano Roosevelt and beyond have flat-out lied about war aims, threats and intelligence in order to get the American people ? who generally have no taste for war ? to fight.

The American Revolution did not, ultimately, fulfill its promise of making all or even most men, to say nothing of women, equal (although few would argue this was reason to abort the separation from Britain); and FDR told legendary lies about such things as the Greer incident (in which the U.S. Navy provoked a German submarine attack on the destroyer, after which Washington tried to spin the event as German aggression) and the Lend-Lease program (which saw American supply and weapons shipments reach Britain before Congress had approved their dispatch).

Even if the Bush administration exaggerated the immediacy of the threat of Iraqi WMDs, it did not create the fact of Hussein's addiction to such weapons, any more than FDR fabricated the danger that totalitarian states posed to the world when he misrepresented what was going on in the North Atlantic before Pearl Harbor.

This is not to say that the American intelligence community did not make grievous mistakes before and during the Iraq war. But analysts trying to determine why we're in such a mess in Iraq right now by deciding which American leader or agency got us there are ignoring the possibility that Hussein may have had this mess in mind all along. And if that is the case, then we're in even deeper trouble than we thought: Hussein has been planning and organizing his unconventional resistance for a considerable period, while we have only begun to figure out a way to counteract it.

The continuing violence means that Iraq is not yet ready for the Middle Eastern Marshall Plan we were once so convinced that the Iraqis wanted. Let's remember that in order to implement the Marshall Plan, we destroyed Germany and dealt with the German populace ruthlessly. Had anyone in the former Nazi Reich mounted the kind of violent dissatisfaction with the pace of our charitable intentions that we're seeing in Iraq, they would have been arrested or wiped out, no questions asked.

Do we now want to shift gears toward a similarly draconian preparation for reconstruction in Iraq? Perhaps not, but the war is clearly not over, despite what Bush said during his patently silly amateur theatrics on the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln.

The Pentagon must, however reluctantly, send in not only additional Special Forces units (the only troops we have that are capable of handling this situation without alienating the Iraqi people) to pick apart the resistance machine, but also police troops to meet the public safety emergency, as well as extra engineering units to restore services quickly.

We were all supposed to be happy friends in Iraq by now. But our antagonist may have proved, once again, to be a damnably clever opponent. Before we get entirely swept up with finding people on our own side to blame (there will be ample time for that later), we ought to be about the business of devising new schemes to neutralize our foe ? schemes even more imaginative than those admirable plans that brought us into Baghdad so quickly.


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« Reply #17 on: June 26, 2003, 06:58:31 AM »  
Signing up highly recommended-Crafty

We suppose it does not constitute news to say the Israeli-Palestinian peace plan is in trouble, but it represents the primary event of the day. The reason is simple: If Israeli-Palestinian relations deteriorate to the levels of violence seen in the not-too-distant past, the implications will go
beyond Israel and the Palestinian National Authority (PNA). The goal of U.S. President George W. Bush's administration, from the beginning, was to isolate this issue and quell tensions by reducing U.S. intrusion. Sept. 11, 2001, reduced that possibility dramatically, and the invasion of Iraq
eliminated the possibility. An element of diplomacy leading up to the war,
particularly in the Islamic world, was the guarantee of best efforts on the
part of the United States in creating a solution to the problem.

When the United States maneuvered to box Saudi Arabia into a measure of support for the war effort, a U.S.-supported peace plan for Israel and the PNA was part of the deal. Despite serious and justified misgivings on the part of the United States, having the example of the Camp David disaster in front of it, the United States made the guarantee. The peace plan's failure would have two results. First, Islamic governments that were relatively pro-Washington would face increased pressures from internal forces arguing that the United States betrayed its commitment to find a peaceful solution. Second, it could create a situation in which two insurrections are going on simultaneously -- one in Israel and one in Iraq -- which would be portrayed by many as a single conflict separated only by Jordan. Thus, keeping the lid on it has become, in spite of initial intentions, a fundamental interest for the United States, with failure carrying substantially potential penalties.

At the same time, the United States is seriously limited in the pressure it
can put on Israel. This is not because of the Jewish lobby's power in
Washington, which certainly is not trivial but also is not nearly as
decisive at this point as some would claim. Moreover, Jewish opinion is
hardly monochromatic anymore. Rather, the problem is symmetry. The United States is engaged in a war against Islamists believed to support terrorism. Israel is involved in a war against Islamists for the same reason. Washington is trying extremely hard to convince others to participate in the war, using the logic that radical Islamic forces equally threatened everyone. If the United States presses Israel to compromise with Hamas while at the same time pressuring everyone else -- such as Pakistan -- to take an uncompromising role on Islamic fundamentalism, inconsistency would be the least of its problems. It would have created a framework for compromise with Islamic fundamentalism that other countries would seize.

This is the basis of today's strange events, which included a statement by
senior Hamas leader Abu Shanab, who said, "What is the point in speaking in rhetoric? Let's be frank, we cannot destroy Israel. The practical solution is for us to have a state alongside Israel." Alongside this was a statement from Bush -- who might have been expected to latch onto Shanab's statement -- that "I urge the leaders in Europe and around the world to take swift, decisive action against terror groups such as Hamas, to cut off their funding and support, as the United States has done."

Shanab, considered a moderate, does not speak for Hamas, and some Hamas sources denied that he ever said that. This is the problem. A split appears to have developed within Hamas between a faction that essentially is prepared to shift to the stance taken by the PNA of accepting the existence of Israel, and a larger group that is unprepared to take that step. That split has kept Hamas from giving a definitive answer to the question of a cease-fire. Vastly conflicting signals have been given, leading to the expectation -- for days now -- that a cease-fire was near.

The problem has been that the only cease-fire Hamas can offer with any unity is one that doesn't commit Hamas to any time period, that doesn't guarantee long-term cessation of hostilities and certainly doesn't agree overtly to the existence of Israel. From Israel's point of view, this is the best of all outcomes. First, it shifts the burden of failure to Hamas, pushing the United States into confrontation with it. Second, it frees Israel from the burden of a cease-fire, which it regards simply as an opportunity for Palestinians to regroup under its protection. Israeli officials have no interest in a short-term cease-fire, don't think they can get a long-term cease-fire and want the blame for failure to rest on Hamas.

From Hamas' point of view, an explicit recognition of Israel would give away a critical bargaining chip and would, in addition, alienate its political
base, which might move toward another organization like Islamic Jihad or
simply split Hamas into two factions, with the pro-recognition faction
simply drifting into the PNA coalition. Nothing on the ground would change.

U.S. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice will be in the region this
weekend. Undoubtedly, any chance for a solution to this problem will have to wait for her arrival, since all factions on both sides now are posturing for the benefit of the United States. Bush has lashed out at Hamas in an apparent last-ditch attempt to frighten it into a compromise. After all, this entire process began when Hamas said the power of the United States had reached a level that made remaining outside the peace process untenable. Possibly the threat of a direct confrontation with the United States will sway Hamas' leaders to move toward Shanab's position. More likely, it will persuade Shanab to shift his position back to the main Hamas line.

There is not much left to this process, barring a major surprise from Hamas. Therefore, it is time to consider not whether there will be a cease-fire, but the level to which the next round of violence will rise. We expect this to depend on the rise in Iraq. If the violence can be sustained and the
United States perceived as unable to suppress it, the attraction of a double Intifada might be too much for Islamic forces to resist. If the United States can suppress the guerrilla movement, the perception of American power and relentlessness might cause Hamas to recalculate its position once again. Crises are blending together in the region. We suspect the Bush administration is acutely aware of this.


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« Reply #18 on: June 26, 2003, 11:33:53 PM »
Please feel free to send the Stratfor Weekly to a friend
or colleague.

26 June 2003
by Dr. George Friedman
Summer Offensive


When we step back, the broader picture of the U.S.-al Qaeda war
becomes clearer. It appears to us that both sides are gearing up
for a summer offensive. Each, for its own reasons, is going to
try to engage in operations in a series of theaters, including in
the United States. This does not mean the offensives will be
successful. It does mean we can expect complex action from both
sides on a broad geographic scale. These need not be individual
large-scale operations, but collectively they will constitute
significant attempts to get an advantage in the war.


The conquest of Iraq has created an interesting dynamic in the
war. Both sides are now under pressure to launch summer
offensives. Al Qaeda must demonstrate its continued viability.
The United States must exploit the victory in Iraq and disrupt al
Qaeda operations globally. This indicates to us that both sides
will carry out intense operations over the next few months.

If we look at the world through al Qaeda's eyes, the period since
the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks has consisted of a series of
significant reversals. First, a U.S. offensive dislodged the
Taliban regime in Afghanistan. Second, the hoped-for insurrection
among the Islamic masses did not materialize. The primary goal of
the Sept. 11 assault -- to prompt a rising in the Muslim world
designed to create an Islamic regime in at least one country, to
serve as al Qaeda's anchor -- did not take place. Finally, Iraq
was occupied. The Baathist regime was no friend of al Qaeda,
except in the sense that the two shared an enemy. Nevertheless,
it appears in the Islamic world that al Qaeda has cost Iraq its

In short, al Qaeda has little to show for Sept. 11 except
significant losses and failure. If this trend continues, as we
argued in our second-quarter forecast, al Qaeda will begin an
irreversible disintegration process, with support personnel
concluding that the organization has ceased to be operational and
therefore beginning to fall away. It is insufficient for al
Qaeda's network to assert operational capability; it must
demonstrate this capability. Thus, during the past quarter al
Qaeda has conducted operations in Saudi Arabia and Morocco, and
possibly in Chechnya. Al Qaeda networks also have been disrupted
in Southeast Asia and Africa. The last few months were not
decisive; while they demonstrated that al Qaeda still was
functional, they did not demonstrate that the organization
remained fully effective.

Al Qaeda's challenge in the next few months will be intensified
over time -- we are moving toward the second anniversary of Sept.
11. Al Qaeda has developed an operational model in which it
launches major attacks about once every two years. The
organization's supporters could rationalize that the dearth of
major attacks over the past two years dealt more with operational
tempo than disruptions in the network. That excuse is going away
soon: Al Qaeda must demonstrate its ability to launch a single
major operation or, alternatively, a substantial cluster of
secondary operations.

While al Qaeda is under pressure to attack, the United States is
under the same pressure, deriving from a very different cause.
The U.S. invasion of Iraq was not an end in itself: It was
designed to set the stage for follow-on operations that would
shatter al Qaeda's infrastructure -- both by direct assaults on
al Qaeda and, indirectly, by pressuring regimes that have not
sufficiently controlled al Qaeda supporters. With that stage now
set, the primary value of the Iraq campaign will be Washington's
ability to rapidly exploit the advantage it has gained.

It follows from this, of course, that al Qaeda and its allies
must undermine the U.S. victory in Iraq. The current guerrilla
war has its origins in the Baathist desire to engage, attrite and
defeat the United States, but Islamists outside Iraq who have an
interest in limiting Washington's ability to exploit its victory
are supporting it directly. The guerrilla war serves a number of
functions, one of the most important of which is to tie down U.S.
forces and limit the bandwidth of U.S. command so it cannot
effectively exploit the Iraq victory.

As happens in war, therefore, events have combined to create a
sort of swirling engagement -- this time on a global scale. The
United States is attacking al Qaeda along multiple axes, and the
group is counterattacking. Each side has critical advantages, and
the outcome is unclear. Therefore, to gain conceptual control
over the operation, the United States -- with far greater
resources and therefore far greater opportunities for conceptual
confusion -- must build a system of theaters for organizing and
managing the war. This already has been done; now is the time
that the organization is being implemented operationally.

U.S. operational theaters can be divided this way:

1. Homeland: U.S. intelligence services appear to be moving from
surveillance to disruption mode. Both modes are necessary. In the
surveillance mode, the primary goal is to trace relationships to
map the full extent of the network. In the disruption mode,
security services attack the network -- either because they are
confident they have mapped its full extent, or because they feel
the risk of passive surveillance is too high. There are two risks
to be balanced: If the network is assaulted too early, large
segments might be left untouched; but if the surveillance
continues for too long, the network might be able to attack in
spite of surveillance. There is no science to this, and the art
generates many gray hairs since an error either way could be
disastrous. The exogenous factor driving decisions is the
perception of the imminence of attacks -- the greater the
perception of imminence, the greater the pressure to move from
the intelligence mode to the police mode and make arrests. Recent
actions, including the public arrest of an Ohio truck driver,
indicate that an offensive against known networks in the United
States is under way. Washington is shutting down known and
suspected networks to disrupt an al Qaeda offensive.

2. Afghan-Pakistan Theater: U.S. and allied forces continue to
come under attack in Afghanistan, despite the fact that they have
been playing a relatively passive role. There does not seem to be
a plan to launch a major counteroffensive against groups within
Afghanistan, but an offensive clearly is under way along the
country's border with Pakistan, in the north. The goal apparently
is to repeat the events of the winter 2001-2002 offensive in
Afghanistan: attack, disperse and disrupt al Qaeda command and
control facilities that appear to have redeployed to the remote
regions along the border. The offensive has been under way for a
while, but it clearly will intensify, which was one of the themes
of the Musharraf-Bush summit earlier this week. For Washington,
the capture or death of Osama bin Laden is a desirable end, but
not the principle end. The principle end is to destroy al Qaeda's
strategic command while undermining tactical and operational
capabilities in the United States.

3. Africa: Last week, a B-52 bomber on a training mission dropped
munitions that accidentally killed a U.S. Marine and wounded
several others near Djibouti. It struck us as interesting that
forces in Djibouti, which normally would be training for fairly
low-intensity conflict, would have been conducting exercises with
B-52s -- an expensive endeavor that is unlikely to be undertaken
without reason. The task force at Djibouti is responsible for the
Horn of Africa region as well as operations deeper in Africa. The
United States clearly has intense concerns over Kenya, where it
issued a major alert and closed its embassy for several days last
week. There also are indications of concern about al Qaeda in
Sudan. One example: A ship laden with explosives was captured
recently by Greek special forces. The ship was traced to Northern
Ireland, and Sudan claimed ownership of the explosives on board.
There have been concerns about al Qaeda using Sudan as a base of
operations in the past, rendering the ownership of the munitions
particularly interesting. A group of al Qaeda operatives were
captured in Malawi earlier this week and have been transferred to
U.S. control. Meanwhile, U.S. President George W. Bush will
travel to Africa in early July, with visits planned to Senegal,
South Africa, Botswana, Uganda and Nigeria. The visit to Uganda
is particularly interesting, since it is strategically placed in
relation to al Qaeda's area of operations. In our view, a
campaign against al Qaeda is intensifying in Africa and will
become more visible over the summer.

4. Iraq region: U.S. and British forces are under attack
throughout Iraq. If disorganized mobs are doing the attacking,
then so much the worse, since it is more difficult to shut down a
disorganized operation. However, our view is that there is a
substantial degree of control over many of the operations against
U.S. forces, and Washington is under pressure to deal with the
situation. Reconstruction and development are more difficult in
an insecure environment, and persistent attacks on pipelines will
undermine the U.S. ability to underwrite costs through the sale
of oil. Perhaps more important, the perception that the United
States is incapable of bringing operations in the region under
control will undermine Washington's ability to exert pressure on
Iran and Syria, and to maintain the current relationship with
Saudi Arabia. Therefore, U.S. officials are under substantial
pressure to manage the insurrection more effectively -- and that
will mean a summer offensive.

There are other areas, such as Southeast Asia and Latin America,
that are highly relevant, but where the United States might not
launch intense offensives -- either because the threat hasn't
matured, the networks are already disrupted or due to resource
constraints. What is clear is that the summer will bring overt
and covert operations for the United States in multiple theaters
of operation worldwide.

It also means that if the United States makes headway, al Qaeda
will have to come to life. First, if the United States is
effective, it will have to protect itself. Second, if the United
States is effective, al Qaeda will face a use-it-or-lose-it
situation. If its assets are being rolled up, there is little
incentive for the network to continue to patiently preserve those
assets. It is paradoxical, but in the short run, the more
effective the U.S. operation is, the greater the danger from al
Qaeda becomes. Finally, al Qaeda itself is under pressure due to
its own circumstances to demonstrate that it remains capable. A
recent videotape and communique from al Qaeda's head of training
both assert that an offensive is in the offing. On the whole, we
think that is true.

The bottom line is that both sides in the war -- al Qaeda and the
United States -- are looking at this summer and fall as critical
periods. The United States must make some decisive inroads
against both al Qaeda and the regimes that do not control its
members. Al Qaeda must demonstrate that, in spite of U.S.
pressure, it remains a viable organization. This demonstration
could involve a series of smaller-scale operations -- as in Saudi
Arabia -- or a major Sept. 11-level operation in the United
States. But it seems to us that both sides need to make a move
soon, and we are therefore looking for a summer offensive that
stretches into fall. It will be an intense, complex and dangerous


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« Reply #19 on: July 03, 2003, 07:08:03 AM »

Geopolitical Diary: Thursday, July 3, 2003

The change of command at CENTCOM is scheduled for July 7, the U.S.
Department of Defense announced today. That answers the question we posed on June 26, when we wrote, "Since our view is that Iraq is now in crisis and that the crisis is intensifying, it follows that an accelerated change of command is in order. If [Defense Secretary Donald] Rumsfeld grasps the magnitude of the challenge -- and by now he would have to be in a coma not to -- he will dramatically speed up the transition at CENTCOM." Clearly, Rumsfeld is not in a coma. We can speculate as to why he has chosen to speak about Iraq as he has, but that is no longer all that interesting. The fact is the change of command at CENTCOM will take place at the earliest possible moment, which means Rumsfeld fully understands the severity of the situation, regardless of what he says.

Obviously, it will be left to Gen. John Abiziad to craft the counterinsurgency strategy. However, the Philadelphia Enquirer reported that Paul Bremer, the U.S. administrator in Iraq, is asking for a 33 percent increase in the number of troops in Iraq. Reuters quoted a "senior Pentagon official" -- also known as Rumsfeld (we never have figured out why Washington officials play these games, but they all do) -- as saying, "There has been no such request. There are still remnants that are going to try to do harm to our forces. And there are still going to be casualties. The other side is if you put more troops in, you put more targets in there." But you also increase the risk to the guerrillas. Either way, it is clear that a bottoms-up review of U.S. strategy will take place under Abiziad's control, and that review is under way now. Abiziad is in-theater now but will return next week for the change-of-command ceremony. We expect that he also will present his recommendations to Rumsfeld and U.S. President George W. Bush.

It should be noted that there appears to be a decrease in Iraqi guerrilla
operations in the past 24 hours, since Operation Sidewinder got into high
gear. Therefore, an argument can be made -- and we suspect it will be
made -- that more troops mean more Sidewinders, not that 24 hours means a whole lot.

As if Iraq and al Qaeda weren't enough, it looks fairly certain that the
United States will send nearly 1,000 Marines to Liberia. There has been an
ongoing civil war there, and the country is essentially in a state of chaos.
U.N. General-Secretary Kofi Annan asked the United States to send troops to Liberia. U.S. officials did not want to get involved there, but Annan was insistent and Washington was trapped. Having made the case for intervention in Iraq against Annan's wishes, U.S. officials were hard-pressed to reject Annan's call for intervention in Liberia. The logic is not crisp, but the public relations are. We suspect Annan enjoyed maneuvering the United States into an intervention. As of this hour, the intervention is not a done deal. Washington is hoping for any miracle that would keep it from sending troops into a situation that is both hopeless and not directly related to what the administration sees as core U.S. interests. But the probability is that the Marines will go in -- although the mission and exit strategy are not clear to us at all, and imaginative explanations is what we do for a living.

Japan buckled under U.S. pressure today. The Japanese were moving toward a deal worth $2 billion to develop the Azadegan oil field in Iran. The United States is putting intense pressure on Iran to curtail its nuclear
development program and one of the levers is to try to isolate Iran
economically. Japan's decision to reconsider its investment is a measure of the intensity of Washington's campaign. Japan imports all of the oil it
uses. It constantly is looking for long-term sources of oil as a matter of
core national policy. It also has a core national policy to maintain its
security relationship with the United States. The two cores collided, and
the United States won. The Japanese certainly are not happy to have been put in this position.

Making Japan unhappy is fairly gratuitous these days. What U.S. officials
really want to do is to make the Iranians unhappy. We suspect that they are quite unhappy with both the pressure and its effectiveness. What we continue to anticipate is the Iranian response. The student uprising in Iran has collapsed, but the Iranians continue to regard the rising as an American plot. It is very dangerous to make an enemy feel it is being crushed without actually crushing them. The heavier the pressure on the Iranians, without breaking them, the greater the pressure is for Iran to try to do something decisive -- like stir up the Iraqi Shiites. The United States is on a tightrope with Iran, which is why the faster Abiziad can get control of the situation in Iraq -- assuming he can get control -- the happier Washington is going to be.


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« Reply #20 on: July 08, 2003, 01:24:27 AM »
More quality analysis from

U.S. Counterinsurgency Strategies in Iraq
Jul 07, 2003


The appointment of Gen. John Abizaid as head of U.S. Central Command opens a new phase in both the Iraq campaign and the war on al Qaeda. In order to wage follow-on operations against al Qaeda, an effective counterinsurgency operation must be launched against the Iraqi guerrillas. This is a politico-military imperative. Politically, the United States must demonstrate its effectiveness against the full spectrum of opponents. Militarily, the United States must show it can project forces from Iraq while the base of operations remains insecure. Directly suppressing an insurrection without indigenous support historically has been difficult, but Iraq has a built-in opposition to the guerrillas: the Shiites in the south. But their desire to dominate an Iraqi government -- and their ties to Iran -- runs counter to U.S. policy. This means Washington will have to make some difficult choices in Iraq, and in the end will give away some things it does not want to give away.


U.S. Army Gen. John Abizaid will officially take over as head of Central Command during the week of July 7. His mission will be not only to stabilize the situation in Iraq, but also to command the main U.S. offensive against al Qaeda. The summer offensive that Stratfor has written about has begun, and Abizaid's mission will be to wage war, integrate the various operations into a coherent whole and achieve the goal of the offensive: to further undermine al Qaeda's ability to strike at the U.S. homeland.

In war, no plan unfolds as expected. This war began in a completely unexpected fashion on Sept. 11, 2001. As is inevitable, the course of the war has taken unexpected turns. The most recent and significant turn of this war has been the emergence of a guerrilla war in Iraq. To be more precise, it appears to us that in Iraq, as in Afghanistan, the fighters on the ground understood that they could not win a conventional war. Rather than engage in the sort of conflict at which the United States excels, they put up token conventional resistance, all the while planning to engage the United States in unconventional warfare over an extended period.

In other words, the Iraqi forces understood that they could not defeat the United States in conventional war. Instead, the Iraqi war plan consisted of declining conventional engagement and subsequently engaging U.S. forces in operations in which their advantages were minimized and their weaknesses were exposed.

This has left the United States with the following battle problem: It must wage the broader summer offensive while simultaneously containing, engaging and defeating the Iraqi guerrillas. This is not an easy task, not only because it spreads U.S. forces thinner than planned, but also because the challenge posed by the guerrillas has trans-military implications, politically and psychologically. Abizaid must not ignore these considerations and must integrate them into his war plan. This is neither easy nor optional.

It is useful to begin by recalling the overarching strategic purpose of all of these operations: the disruption of al Qaeda and potential follow-on groups to prevent further major attacks on the United States. The Iraq campaign was an element in this broader strategy, designed to achieve these three goals, in increasing importance:

1. The elimination of a regime that potentially could support al Qaeda operations.

2. The transformation of the psychological architecture of the Islamic world. The perception in the Islamic world, developed since the U.S. withdrawal from Beirut in 1983 and reaffirmed by events since then, was that the United States was incapable of resolute action. The United States was seen as powerful militarily, but as lacking the political will to use that power. U.S. forces withdrew after taking minimal casualties in Beirut and Somalia. In Afghanistan, the United States halted operations after seizing major cities, apparently because it was unwilling to engage in more extended conflict. The U.S. invasion of Iraq was designed to change the Islamic world's perception -- accepting anger at the United States in exchange for greater fear.

3. The creation of a base of operations that would allow the United States to bring political and military pressure to bear on a cluster of nations the U.S. administration sees as directly or indirectly sustaining al Qaeda operations -- in particular Saudi Arabia, Syria and Iran. Riyadh began shifting its position prior to the Iraq invasion. Immediately after the end of the campaign, the United States turned its attention to follow-on operations against Syria and Iran. These operations have been primarily political since the end of the Iraq campaign, but the constant threat exists that they could move to a military phase at any point.

The guerrilla war in Iraq strikes directly at the second objective of the Iraqi campaign. It is what Stratfor has called a trans-military goal: It is rooted in a military operation but ultimately arrives at an issue that transcends the purely military -- namely the psychological perception of the United States and the credibility of U.S. military threats. As a secondary matter, it also complicates the logistics of follow-on operations after Iraq. At the moment, that is not the primary issue -- although it should be emphatically noted that an evolution in the conditions in Iraq very well could undermine the U.S. ability to use Iraq as a base of operations.

The problems that have arisen in Afghanistan and Iraq are rooted in U.S. strategy. The United States invaded both countries as a means toward other ends, rather than as ends in themselves. The invasion of Afghanistan was intended to disrupt al Qaeda's main operational base. The invasion of Iraq was intended to bring U.S. power to bear against al Qaeda's enablers in the region. In neither case did the United States have an intrinsic interest in either country -- including control of Iraq's oil.

The United States could achieve its primary purpose in each country without complete pacification. In Afghanistan, the U.S. administration accepted from the beginning that the complex tribal and ideological conflicts there would make pacification impossible. U.S. forces seized the major cities and a few strategic points, kept most forces in protected garrisons and conducted military operations as opportunities to combat al Qaeda arose. U.S. forces avoided any attempts at pacification projects, understanding that the level of force and effort required to achieve any degree of pacification far outstripped U.S. interests and probably U.S. resources. The United States had a limited mission in Afghanistan and ruthlessly focused on that, while publicly professing ambitious and complex goals.

The Iraq campaign took its primary bearings from the Afghan campaign. The goals were to shatter the Iraqi army and displace the Iraqi regime. These goals were achieved quickly. The United States then rapidly pivoted to use its psychological and military advantage to pressure Syria and Iran. As in Afghanistan, pacification was not a primary goal. Pacification was not essential to carrying on the follow-on mission. But the U.S. reading of the situation in Iraq diverged from that of Afghanistan. The U.S. administration always understood that the consequences of the invasion of Afghanistan would be the continuation and intensification of the chaos that preceded that invasion. The underlying assumption in Iraq was that the postwar Iraqi impulse would be toward stability. The U.S. administration assumed that the majority of the Iraqi public opposed Saddam Hussein, would welcome the fall of his regime, would not object to an American occupation and, therefore, would work harmoniously with the United States in pacification projects, easing the burden on the United States tremendously.

The U.S. administration expected the defeat of the Taliban to devolve into guerrilla warfare. The United States did not expect the defeat of the Baath regime to devolve into guerrilla warfare. It did not expect the Shiites to be as well-organized as they are, nor did they expect this level of Shiite opposition to a U.S. occupation. In other words, the strategic understanding of the Iraqi campaign took its bearings from the Afghan campaign -- and the United States had no interest in pacification -- but at the same time, the United States did not expect this level of difficulty and danger involved in pacifying Iraq, because U.S. intelligence misread the situation on the ground.

At its current level of operations, the guerrilla war does not represent a military challenge to the United States. Therefore, the first and third goals are for the moment achieved. The United States has displaced the Iraqi regime, limiting its ability to engage in strategic operations with the United States, and U.S. forces can conduct follow-on operations should they choose to. But the United States is in serious danger of failing to achieve its second goal: transforming the psychological perception of the United States as an irresistible military force.

It certainly is true that the guerrilla war does not represent a strategic threat to the United States. But on one level, the reality is irrelevant. Perception is everything. The image that the U.S. Army is constantly taking casualties and is unable to cripple the guerrillas undermines the perception that the United States wanted to generate with this war. The reality might be that the United States is overwhelmingly powerful and the guerrilla war is a minor nuisance. The perception in the Islamic world will be that the United States does not have the power to suppress Saddam Hussein's guerrillas. It will complicate the politico-military process that the United States wanted to put into motion with the invasion. It is therefore a situation that the United States will have to deal with.

The United States has, in essence, two strategic options:

1. Afghanistize the conflict. Move into secure base camps while allowing the political situation on the ground to play itself out. Allow the tension between Shiite and Sunni to explode into civil war, manipulating each side to the U.S. advantage, while focusing militarily on follow-on operations in Syria, Iran and elsewhere. In other words, insulate the U.S. military from the Iraqi reality, and carry on operations elsewhere.

2. Try to engage and defeat the guerrillas through counterinsurgency operations, including direct military attacks and political operations.

The dilemma facing the United States is this: From a strictly military perspective, Option 1 is most attractive. From a political and psychological perspective, Option 1 is unacceptable. It also creates a military risk: The insurgency, unless checked, ultimately could threaten the security of U.S. forces in Iraq no matter how well-defended they were in their secure facilities. On the other side of the equation, counterinsurgency operations always require disproportionate resources. The number of insurgents is unimportant. The number of places they might be and the number of locations they might attack dictate the amount of resources that must be devoted to them. Therefore, a relatively small group of guerrillas can tie down a much larger force. A sparse, dispersed and autonomous guerrilla force can draw off sufficient forces to make follow-on operations impossible.

The classical counterinsurgency dilemma now confronts the United States. The quantity of forces needed to defeat the guerrillas is disproportionate to the military advantage gained by defeating them. Failure to engage the guerrilla force could result in a dramatic upsurge in their numbers, allowing them to become unmanageable. The ineffective engagement of guerrillas could result in both the squandering of resources and the failure to contain them. The issue is not how large the guerrilla force is but how sustainable it is. At this stage of operations, the smaller the force the more difficult it is to suppress -- so long as it is large enough to carry out dispersed operations, has sufficient supplies and the ability to recruit new members as needed. At this point, the Iraqi guerrilla force is of indeterminate size, but it is certainly well-dispersed and has sufficient supplies to operate. Its ability to recruit will depend on arrangements made prior to the U.S. occupation and the evolution of the conflict. This sort of guerrilla warfare does not provide readily satisfactory solutions for the occupying power.

The classic solution of a guerrilla threat to an occupying power is to transfer the burden of fighting to an indigenous force. Not accidentally, the Iraqi guerrillas in recent days attacked and killed seven Iraqis being trained for this role. Inventing a counterinsurgency force beyond your own forces in the midst of conflict is not easy. Nevertheless, successful containment of a guerrilla force must involve either an indigenous force motivated to suppress the guerrillas or, alternatively, forces provided by a faction hostile to the guerrilla faction -- an ethnic or religious group that shares the occupier's interest in suppressing the guerrillas.

The greatest threat the United States faces in Iraq is not the guerrillas. It is the guerrillas combined with a rising among the Shiites south of Baghdad. If the guerrilla rising combines with an intifada -- a mass rising that might not use weapons beyond stones, but that could lead to a breakdown of U.S. controls in the south -- it would represent a most untenable situation. An intifada, apart from its intrinsic problems, could complicate logistics. Demonstrators likely would clog the supply routes from the south. Suppressing an intifada not only is difficult, it has political and psychological consequences as well.

It is imperative that the United States prevent a rising among the Shiites. It is also imperative that the United States find a native faction in Iraq that is prepared to take on some of the burden of suppressing the primarily Baathist guerrillas. The United States is afraid of a Shiite uprising, but could use the Shiites in suppressing the Baathists. The Shiites are the center of gravity of the situation.

Shiite leaders have made it clear that they want to dominate any new Iraqi government -- and that they expect the United States to create such a government. The United States has been concerned that Iran influences and even might control the Shiites and that handing over power to the Iraqi Shiites would, in effect, make Iran the dominant force in Iraq and ultimately in the Persian Gulf. That is a reasonable concern. Indeed, it violates the core U.S. strategy. The United States invaded Iraq, in part, to coerce Iran. To argue that the only way to stay in Iraq is to strengthen Iran makes little sense. On the other hand, if the United States continues to refuse to create a native government in Iraq, the probability of a Shiite rising is substantial.

The key to a U.S. strategy in Iraq, therefore, rests in Iran. If regime change in Iran could be rapidly achieved or a substantial accommodation with the Iranian government could be negotiated, then using the Iraqi Shiites to man an Iraqi government and bear the brunt of the counterinsurgency operation would be practical. The key is to reach an agreement with Iran that provides the United States with substantial assurances that the Iranian government would neither support nor allow Iranians to provide support to al Qaeda.

The regime in Tehran has no love for the Sunnis, nor do the Sunnis for the Shiites. The events in Pakistan show how deeply sectarian religious violence is rooted in the Islamic world. The United States cannot supplant Islamic fundamentalism. It can potentially manipulate the situation sufficiently to control the direct threat to the United States. In other words, if the United States can reach an understanding with Iran over al Qaeda and nuclear weapons, then the Shiites in Iraq could become a solution rather than a problem.

If there is to be an agreement with Iran, the United States must demonstrate to Iranian hardliners first that it has the ability to destabilize the Islamic Republic, and second that it is prepared not to do so in return for Shiite cooperation. Without this, any alliance with Iran over Iraq rapidly would spiral out of U.S. control, and Iran would become uncontrollable. The key for the United States is to demonstrate that it has leverage in Iran. The United States does not want to overthrow the Iranian government. It simply wants to demonstrate its ability to destabilize Iran if it chose to. If it can do that, then other things become possible.

It follows that the United States likely shortly will work to reignite the demonstrations in Iran -- in all probability in the next few days. The purpose will not be to overthrow the Iranian government -- that is beyond U.S. capabilities. Instead, it will be designed to persuade Iranian leaders -- including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei -- that some form of cooperation with the United States over issues that matter to the Americans is in their interest, and could result in something that the Iranians have longed dreamed of: a Shiite-dominated Iraq.

This strategy is extraordinarily convoluted and fraught with difficulties. But the prospect of fighting a counterinsurgency campaign in Iraq, alone, without indigenous support, is equally fraught with danger. So too is attempting an Afghan solution -- packing forces into air bases and army camps and allowing the insurrection to evolve. There are few good choices in Iraq at the moment. Alliance with the Shiites is extremely difficult and risky, but the other choices are equally difficult. If the Iranian/Shiite play fails, then it will be time to choose between counterinsurgency and enclaves.


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« Reply #21 on: July 08, 2003, 01:01:27 PM »


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« Reply #22 on: July 14, 2003, 11:25:27 PM »
WMD, Blame and Real Danger
Jul 14, 2003


The crisis du jour in Washington is a revelation that President George W. Bush quoted from a forged letter about Iraq trying to buy uranium from Niger in his State of the Union address. Congress, as usual, is missing the point. Weapons of mass destruction were not the primary reason Bush went to war in Iraq, but he certainly thought they were there. Everyone thought they were there. The critical issue is: Where are Saddam Hussein's chemical weapons today? What the CIA did with the Niger letter is of no real importance. What the CIA knows and doesn't know about the current war in Iraq and whether guerrillas control chemical or biological weapons is the critical issue that everyone is avoiding.


The United States -- or at least Washington -- has come down with a full-blown case of the WMD flu. The trigger was the White House admission that President George W. Bush quoted intelligence in his State of the Union message that was based upon a forged document. During the speech, Bush claimed British and U.S. intelligence had information that Iraq had tried to purchase uranium from Niger. The document upon which the statement was based later was found to be a forgery.

On July 10, the White House -- via National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice -- blamed the incident on the CIA. The agency had vetted and approved Bush's speech and had failed to detect the forgery in time. CIA Director George Tenet fell on his sword on July 11, accepting full responsibility. The Democrats in Congress smelled blood and demanded a full investigation. Sen. John McCain (R.-Ariz.) came out in favor of hearings, so they are likely to commence -- at least in the Senate. What their outcome will be, and whether they achieve anything, is another matter.

The issue here is not whether the CIA made a mistake about a document. Stratfor sorts through mounds of information every day trying to distinguish the real from the bogus; mistakes are inevitable. To avoid a major mishap, an intelligence organization must measure each piece of evidence against a net assessment. We derive our net assessment from a huge volume of information and inference that allows us to make a judgment based upon the weight of a large sample of evidence -- a judgment in which no single piece of information is decisive.

In the case of the Niger intelligence, the issue is not whether the CIA screwed up in its analysis of a single document, but whether its net assessment of Iraq was correct. If the net assessment was incorrect, then it is important to discover why the mistake occurred.

The first question is whether the CIA's net assessment included a determination that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction -- defined as chemical, biological and/or nuclear weapons. The second question is how the CIA came to this conclusion. If it determined that Iraq had WMD (and this is now a question), then the issue is how the agency reached that conclusion. Whether right or wrong is less important than whether the conclusion was based on a sound intelligence process -- a sound intelligence process can still make mistakes. Another possibility is that the White House or Defense Department pressured the CIA to certify that Iraq had WMD in order to justify the war.

Here is the first real set of issues. First and foremost: Did the Bush administration go to war with Iraq because it feared Iraqi WMD, or did it go to war with Iraq for other reasons and use the WMD argument as public justification? This issue must frame the debate over WMD and U.S. intelligence. Stratfor's view, since early 2002, has been that the primary motivation for invading Iraq had nothing to do with WMD. Even if Iraq had had no weapons at all, the United States still would have invaded because of the country's strategic position and for psychological reasons. For reference, please see The Iraq Obsession and Iraq: Is Peace an Option?

The U.S. administration chose not to express its true reasons for going to war, believing such an admission would have undermined the effectiveness of the strategy in the Islamic world. Saying that the United States was going to attack Iraq in order to intimidate other countries that were permitting al Qaeda to use their territory would have made it difficult for some countries, such as Saudi Arabia, to change their policies. Since it was not possible to conduct one public diplomacy campaign in the Middle East, another in the United States and yet another in Europe, the administration chose a public justification for the war that did not represent the real reasons, but that was expected to be plausible, persuasive and -- above all else -- true.

This is the key. The Bush administration did not go into Iraq because of WMD. To the extent that U.S. officials said that was the primary reason, they were lying. However, they fully believed that there were WMD in Iraq, which is why using that as justification was so seductive. It was not simply the CIA's view that Iraq had at least chemical weapons. Almost all other intelligence agencies -- including French and Russian -- that dealt with the matter also believed it was true. There was a net assessment within the global intelligence community that Hussein had chemical weapons and would have liked to develop nuclear weapons. This net assessment was not based upon any one document. It was based, among other things, on some very public information:

There is no doubt that Iraq had chemical weapons in the past: Hussein used them on Iraqi citizens. If he did not destroy his stockpile, then he still had them. At the very least, Hussein's scientists knew how to make WMD and had the necessary facilities.

Israel destroyed an Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981 because it said it was close to developing nuclear weapons. Iraq had made a large investment in nuclear technology. Surely Hussein did not simply drop it after 1981.

Several Iraqi scientists were known to be working on biological weapons. Hussein controlled and protected these scientists as though they were extremely valuable to the Iraqi regime.

The global net assessment was that Iraq had chemical weapons and could create biological weapons if motivated to do so, and had a program for developing nuclear weapons but wasn't there yet. This net assessment was non-speculative. It wasn't even based on secret intelligence. It simply assumed that the Iraqi regime had not destroyed the weapons it had. If that was true, then Hussein had chemical weapons at least.

Hussein's behavior from the beginning of the inspection process supported this net assessment. If he did not have weapons of mass destruction, then he would have had no reason to act as he did. For example, he would have had no reason to forbid his scientists from speaking to U.N. inspectors outside the country. All they would have done was confirm that there were no weapons. Hussein would have had no reason to complicate the physical inspection process if there was nothing to find. And finally, when he produced the massive document on Iraqi weapons, he could have included a video showing the destruction of chemical weapons. Put simply, if he really didn't have WMD of any sort, then Hussein's behavior from November to March 2003 could only be described as bizarre and self-destructive. Even if he thought that the United States would attack regardless of whether he had WMD, Hussein had every reason to disprove the allegations if he could in order to complicate the diplomatic and domestic difficulties of the U.S. administration. Either Hussein was insane or he had weapons of mass destruction.

This seems to be the current argument: the United States justified its invasion of Iraq based on Iraqi WMD. U.S. forces have found no WMD inside the country. Therefore, either the CIA made a mistake or the administration lied. The administration tried to shift the blame to the CIA, under this logic. The Democrats hope to demonstrate that the CIA did not lie, but instead that the administration deliberately misrepresented the intelligence and pressured the CIA to change its story.

There is another way to look at what happened. The United States had multiple reasons for going to war with Iraq. The least important was WMD, but it chose to use that excuse because it required the least effort to make. The administration would have gone to war with Iraq regardless of WMD, but it believed, based on reasonable evidence, that there were WMD. In other words, the Bush administration did not tell the whole truth about its motives for invading Iraq, but it did believe that there were WMD in the country.

The congressional investigation will probe what the administration knew and when they knew it, in typical, tedious Washington style. But they will miss the real story, which is far more complex than the one presented. The administration hid its motives for invading Iraq but did expect to find WMD there. From the administration's point of view, the complexity of its motives never would have become an issue had a single round of chemical weapons been found. Either the administration set itself up for a fall, or it is as surprised as anyone that no WMD have been found.

Misleading the U.S. public about foreign policy is hardly novel. Numerous books chronicle how former President John F. Kennedy cut a secret deal with the Soviets over Cuba. In the deal, the United States promised to withdraw its missiles from Turkey as long as the Soviets kept it secret from the public. Franklin D. Roosevelt was drawing up war plans with the British while publicly declaring that he had no intention of getting involved in World War II. Dwight Eisenhower lied about the U-2 incident, claiming it was a weather plane that had gone off course -- 2,000 miles off course! As far as lies go, Bush's was pretty tame. Unlike Roosevelt, he never lied about wanting to go to war. Unlike Kennedy, he never hid a secret deal. And unlike Eisenhower, he never denied the U-2s were where they were supposed to be. The most he can be accused of is lying about his reason for war.

Even that was unnecessary -- if he knew it was a lie. But there is every reason to believe from the evidence that Bush believed, as did most intelligence agencies around the world, that Hussein had WMD. Everything Hussein did after November simply confirmed this belief.

The question, therefore, is what happened to the weapons? There are three possible explanations:

1. They never existed
2. Hussein destroyed them but didn't tell anybody.
3. They still exist.

Sherlock Holmes said that when the impossible is eliminated, then whatever is left, however improbable, must be the truth. We are in that situation now. It is impossible to believe Iraqi WMD never existed because it is an absolute fact that Hussein used chemical weapons on Iraqis. It is equally difficult to believe that he would have destroyed them without at least inviting former chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix to the party. What could Hussein possibly gain from destroying them in secret? It makes no sense. Why did he behave as he did if he had no weapons? We find it impossible to believe that Hussein once had WMD but destroyed them in secret.

Therefore, the extraordinarily improbable must be true: Iraqi WMD still exist. There is, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld notwithstanding, a guerrilla war under way in Iraq. It appears Hussein is alive, possibly somewhere in Iraq. Chemical and biological weapons never have been used in a guerrilla war. That does not mean that they would not make excellent weapons used against U.S. troops. Chemical and biological weapons do not require huge containers. The bunkers that were built around Iraq over the years, not all of them identified by U.S. intelligence, could be hiding not only Hussein and his staff, but also the missing WMD.

Congress is about to begin an investigation into a forgery about Niger uranium, WMD and the rest. Congress is missing the point. The issue is not whether the administration invented the story of WMD. It is also not whether the administration went to war over WMD. The real issue is where the WMD went and why the CIA doesn't have a definitive answer to that. The WMD issue as Congress if framing it is about as interesting as finding out when Kennedy really knew about Cuban missiles and what secret deals he really made. It is interesting, but not relevant. The urgent issue is: Where are Iraq's weapons of mass destruction?


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« Reply #23 on: July 17, 2003, 12:05:10 AM »
Today's Featured Analysis

Iraqi Governing Council: A Window of Opportunity for the U.S.?


The United States has always clearly opposed the possibility of a
theocratic state in postwar Iraq. Now the U.S. administration has
crafted a new 25-member Iraqi Governing Council, which includes
seven Islamists. It appears Washington is trying to craft an
Islamic democracy that could be used as a future model for the
Arab Middle East and possibly for the larger Muslim world.


The United States has brought together Iraq's various political
forces -- with the exception of the Baath Party -- under the
banner of the new 25-member Iraqi Governing Council. The U.S.
interim administration crafted the body, which involves 25
individuals who are representative of most of the country's
various religious and ethnic groups.

The council's composition suggests that the United States is
trying to strike a balance between imposing a Western-style
democracy and thwarting the emergence of an Iranian-style
theocratic state in Iraq. If the U.S. administrators pull it off,
it could result in the emergence of an Islamic democracy that
could be used as a model for future governments in the region. It
will require careful calibration, however, to move from theory to

The ethnic, ideological and religious mix in the IGC highlights
the diversity that is the hallmark of Iraq, a nation-state
created by Britain 1921, following the collapse of the Ottoman

The IGC has 25 members, but a few of them warrant individual
mention. Prominent among this group is Ahmed Chalabi, of the
Pentagon-supported Iraqi National Congress. There are familiar
faces also from Iraq's Kurdish groups: Massoud Barzani of the
Kurdistan Democratic Party; Jalal Talabani of the Patriotic Union
of Kurdistan; Salaheddine Bahaaeddin, leader of the Kurdistan
Islamic Union; and Mahmoud Othman, founder and leader of the
Kurdish Socialist Party. Hamid Majid Mousa represents the Iraqi
Communist Party; he has been its secretary since 1993.

Two members from the Shia Islamist Dawa Party also are among the
group: Dawa leader Ezzedine Salim and spokesman Ibrahim al-
Jaafari. Abdel-Karim Mahoud al-Mohammedawi represents Iraqi

Mohammed Bahr al-Ulloum, widely regarded as a liberal Shia, is
the only cleric on the council. Mohsen Abdel Hamid, secretary-
general of the Iraqi Muslim Brotherhood, represents Sunnis.
Abdel-Karim Mahoud al-Mohammedawi represents Iraqi Hezbollah.

In a sense, the U.S. administration has retained a member of the
old regime: Aquila al-Hashimi, a woman, was a Foreign Ministry
official and diplomat under Saddam Hussein. There are two other
women on the council: Raja Habib al-Khuzaai, a southern tribal
Shia leader; and Sondul Chapouk, representing the Turkmen

Iran also appears to have a say in the council. Abdel-Aziz al-
Hakim is the brother of Iranian-backed SCIRI leader Ayatollah
Mohammad Baqr al-Hakim. In all, 13 of the 25 members are Shia
Arabs -- which likely is an acknowledgement of Iraq's Shia
majority. The council also has five Sunni Arabs, five Sunni
Kurds, one Christian Arab and one Turkman.

The presence of seven Islamists on the council is consistent with
U.S. President George W. Bush's stated desire for the
establishment of an "Islamic democracy" in Iraq. Likely toward
this end, Bush appointed New York University law professor Noah
Feldman to head the committee and oversee the drafting of Iraq's
new constitution. Feldman has a doctorate in Islamic thought from
Oxford and wrote After Jihad: America and the Struggle for an
Islamic Democracy, published in 2003.

Following mounting resistance from militant Islamic clerics and
Arab nationalists -- and the ever-present threat of Iranian
interference -- Bush said April 24 that he was determined to see
an "Islamic democracy" built in Iraq. In other words, this was
the compromise the United States was willing to make in order to
avoid being seen as disregarding the Islamic sensibilities of the
Iraqi people, some of whom openly have called for an Islamic
state. The Bush administration's goal is for the government in
Baghdad not to threaten U.S. interests, nor to facilitate any
non-state actors who would wish to do so. Washington apparently
views the establishment of an Islamic democracy in Iraq as a
potential way of ensuring these goals.

The problem is that neither the United States nor the Iraqi
people have a model of Islamic democracy to emulate. Turkey and
Iran perhaps could be categorized as Islamic democracies-in-the-
making, but they won't get there anytime soon. Both appear to be
slowly moving toward some form of Islamic democracy -- albeit
from opposite directions.

If the task at hand in Iraq is to be accomplished, it will
require careful calibration on Washington's part. For the U.S.
administration, it will be important to show support for the
project without inadvertently discrediting ICG members,
especially the moderate Islamists, in the eyes of their domestic
audience. If the masses view the council as being a group of U.S.
lackeys, it will quickly lose the respect of the Iraqis, not to
mention the entire Arab world.

However, if the United States is able to strike this delicate
balance, it could have far-reaching consequences in terms of
redeeming the U.S. image in the Muslim world. An Islamic
democracy in Iraq might even be able to help stem the tide of
radical and militant forms of Islam.

Stratfor has argued that the war against Iraq was only part of a
campaign in the larger war on terrorism. The United States has
tried to avoid associating the war on terrorism with Islam, but
these efforts have proved futile. Recent Gallup, Pew Trust and
other polls suggest that an overwhelming majority of Muslims do
not trust U.S. foreign policy when it comes to their part of the

In the case of Iraq, there is a widespread impression that the
United States effected regime change in order to secure its
energy interests. The new Iraqi council provides a window of
opportunity for the United States to practice damage control by
trying to transfer power to an elected Iraqi government -- but
that requires security. Daily attacks on U.S. forces offset the
possibility of a quick transfer of power.

The IGC is bound to face a crisis of legitimacy, since it is a
U.S.-appointed, not elected, body. In a sense, there is a window
of opportunity here for Washington to make great strides in its
broader war. A successful Islamic democracy in Iraq not only
would stabilize that country, but eventually could break support
for militant Islam on a global scale, and perhaps pave the way
for democratization in the greater Islamic world. This, however,
will acquire a great deal of effort and statesmanship from the
Bush administration.


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« Reply #24 on: July 17, 2003, 07:02:21 AM »

Geopolitical Diary: Thursday, July 17, 2003

Gen. John Abizaid, commander of U.S. Central Command, said July 16 that the United States is facing "what I would describe as a classical guerrilla-type campaign against us. It's a low-intensity conflict in our doctrinal terms, but it's war however you describe it." He also said, "We're seeing a cellular organization of six to eight people armed with (rocket-propelled grenades), machine guns, etc., attacking us at some times and places of their choosing, and other times we attack them at times and places of our choosing."

This statement is an extremely significant event. Washington has been in a state of denial as to what is happening in Iraq, with U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld leading the charge to pretend that the obvious wasn't happening. Even if he knew privately what was going on --which we certainly would expect -- the public presentation reminded us of Baghdad Bob in his heyday. That, coupled with the obsession about forged letters and WMD, created a sense both at home and among troops in Iraq that the National Command Authority had lost track of reality in Iraq. Abizaid's statement tells us two things: First, he intends to wage a military campaign in Iraq, and second, he will define the reality in Iraq regardless of what the situation is in Washington.

This comes at a critical moment. U.S. newspapers were filled with reports on Wednesday of declining U.S. morale in Iraq. The decisions to delay the
return of forces to the United States obviously hit hard, as can be
imagined. The letdown from having been told that the war was won -- only to discover that it is just beginning -- also hit. But nothing frightens a
soldier more than the sense that the situation is out of control, no one is
in charge and no plans for waging war are in place. For more than two
months, U.S. forces have been involved in a guerrilla war with daily action, only to have Rumsfeld trivialize the problem -- that has to hurt.

How serious the war has become was driven home Wednesday when a
surface-to-air missile was fired at a C-130 near Baghdad International
Airport. It is not surprising that the guerrillas have surface-to-air
missiles; they had access to all weapons in the Iraqi arsenal, and weapons obviously were stored in anticipation of the war. C-130 pilots had been practicing evasion techniques for a while, executing maneuvers on approach and takeoff and occasionally dispensing flares designed to confuse infrared-guided missiles. Abizaid commented that a C-130 on which he was a passenger had executed such maneuvers. Obviously, commanders in Iraq are aware of the potential threats.

On the other hand, the attack failed. Indeed, the day of violence that was
predicted for July 16 did not occur -- or more precisely, the level of
violence did not rise above what has become normal, save for the attempt to bring down the plane. The questions raised by the C-130 incident are these: How many more missiles are in the Baathist arsenal, what other weapons are there, and how secure are the arms caches?

In the end, Abizaid's concession that there is a war on leads to the
question: What is the war plan? As we have noted in the past, suppressing
guerrilla forces with conventional forces is not an easy task. The
guerrillas clearly are embedded in the Sunni population. They are not
operating in isolated areas covered by terrain. This is urban and near-urban guerrilla warfare, reminiscent of the Battle of Algiers in the 1950s. It should be noted that the French won that battle, suppressing insurgent
forces in the city. They won through intense ruthlessness, coupled with a
large, friendly French population and an Arab population that was divided.
The French knew the city and had allies. It should be noted that in the end, they lost the war -- but they did win that battle.

The key problems in Iraq are that the United States does not have a large
American population on the ground, the troops don't know the terrain very well and, at the moment, U.S. allies among the Sunni community are few and under heavy American guard. Abizaid's strategy is not yet clear. Flailing away in search-and-seize missions based on poor intelligence is hardly the solution. Good intelligence is the solution, and that requires allies on the ground -- either to provide intelligence or to bear the burden of fighting or both.

Here is the problem now: Guerrilla war is political war, and it is not clear
that CINCENT (as we still call him) has the authority to make political
decisions, concerning alliances and so on. That seems to be in the hands of Paul Bremer, the U.S. administrator in Iraq, and it is not clear how much strategic authority he has. This leads us to recall Saigon, where the
ambassador sometimes had one policy, the military another and the CIA a third -- it sort of didn't work. Unified command in a guerrilla war requires more than just military authority. Either Abizaid and Bremer have to be joined at the hip, or one of them has to have undisputed command authority. Right now, the issue is how much authority either of the leaders has to make the radical decisions that will be needed to fight a guerrilla war.


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« Reply #25 on: July 21, 2003, 09:09:55 AM »

Geopolitical Diary: Monday, July 21, 2003

Four U.S. soldiers were killed in action over the weekend -- including two
members of the 101st Airborne Division who were killed in an ambush west of Mosul that left another soldier injured. Sunday's ambush occurred near Tall Afar. The interesting thing about these attacks is that both took place outside the "Sunni Triangle" north and west of Baghdad, where attacks have been focused. The guerrillas appear to be expanding their operations deliberately, trying to unnerve U.S. troops and force their commanders to expand the combat arena -- and thereby stretch their resources even more. What is unclear is whether these were special operations at long distances by the Iraqis, or whether they indicated a sustained move into these regions -- and the answers to these questions will be critical.

U.S. officials have decided to raise an Iraqi army, designated as an Iraqi
"civil defense corps." Paul Bremer, the U.S. administrator in Iraq, said the
force "will be made up of Iraqis who will be under American military command to help us basically with the armed part of the work we're doing." If they do nothing but help interpret both language and culture to the American troops, they will be beneficial. If they are not expected to engage in combat operations on their own, they can be spun up fairly rapidly."

The corps poses two challenges. The first is finding anyone willing to serve in it. There will be two classes of people volunteering: One class consists of criminals and down-and-outers who see a chance to come out on top in the new Iraqi order, with not much to lose if it fails; then there will be the people that Bremer wants: people rooted in the community with families -- people who in addition to serving in the force can also influence their communities. This is not an impossible idea by any means, but it does depend on one thing: being able to protect their families. The men will be safer on patrol with U.S. forces, but their families will not. If the United States can't protect them, the whole project fails. And protecting the families of troops always has been one of the nightmares of guerrilla warfare.

The second problem will be security. This force will be a treasure trove of
intelligence for the Baathists. If we were Baath commanders, our men would be standing in line to join up. Getting close up and personal with U.S. troops would provide tactical and operational intelligence. In Vietnam, the Viet Cong made it a point to place people in the Army of Vietnam (ARVN) slots where liaison with the Americans was heavy. It is unclear how you do a background check in Iraq, and we'd love to see the polygraphs. Keeping the force clean is going to be a nightmare -- that is, if Bremer plans to put up recruitment posters all over the country to create a force that "looks like Iraq," in former U.S. President Bill Clinton's old phrase. If, on the other hand, the bulk of the forces are to be raised from the Shiite regions -- where deals are being made -- and from the Kurdish regions, the security concerns might be less. Of course, the Kurds will engage in smuggling and the Shiites will report to Tehran, but they will be motivated to stop the Baath guerrillas, which is the item on the agenda.

If this is the case, then what is happening is that the United States will
recruit non-Sunni forces to share the burden of occupying the Sunni regions. As we have argued in the past, this is the only way to do it. It does not create a pro-American faction inside the Sunni regions, but it does increase the force available to engage and defeat the Baathists. Both the Kurds and Shiites have the interest to carry out the mission, but both will have to be induced to do so with political arrangements. In the case of the Shiites, those arrangements will be costly.

Since the idea of a general recruitment from the population strikes us as
self-defeating, we suspect that this proposal is the cover for the creation
of a combined U.S.-Shiite force for occupying Sunni areas. Whether we are right in this will be visible when the recruitment starts. Pay no attention to the first media reports on this, which will be staged carefully to show the diversity and motivation of the force. After the cameras leave, we will take a careful look at the force and see how many of their families live in the "Sunni Triangle."


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« Reply #26 on: July 21, 2003, 10:27:38 PM » maintains its standards of thoughtful analyis-- Crafty

Please feel free to send the Stratfor Weekly to a friend
or colleague.

21 July 2003
by Dr. George Friedman

U.S. Strategy: Perception vs. Deception


The Bush administration's continued unwillingness to enunciate a coherent picture of the strategy behind the war against al Qaeda -- which explains the war in Iraq -- could produce a dangerous domino effect. Lurking in the shadows is the not fully articulated perception that the Iraq war not only began in deception but that planning for the Iraq war was incompetent -- a perception driven by the realization that the United States is engaged in a long-term occupation and guerrilla war in Iraq, and the belief that the United States neither expected nor was prepared for this. Ultimately, this perception could erode Bush's support base, cost him the presidency and, most seriously, lead to defeat in the war against al Qaeda.


We keep waiting for the moment when Iraq does not constitute the major global event of the week. We clearly are not there yet. In Iraq, the reality is fairly stable. The major offensive by the guerrillas forecast by both U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and what seemed to be a spokesman for al Qaeda last weekend did not materialize. The guerrillas tried to shoot down a C-130 coming into Baghdad International Airport, and that was a significant escalation, but they missed -- and it was only a single act. Casualties continue to mount, but with the dead
averaging at just more than 10 per week, it has not come close to reaching a decisive level.

The deterioration of support in Washington and London is not yet decisive. Support for U.S. President George W. Bush sank from a percentage in the high 70s in the wake of the war, to just more than 50 percent in the past 10 days. But as we read the successive polls, the slump that hit when the WMD issue came to the fore -- along with the realization that the United States was dealing with a guerrilla movement -- has not accelerated. It slumped and held. Meanwhile, London headlines have focused on the apparent suicide of weapons expert David Kelly, the probable
source for a BBC story about British Prime Minister Tony Blair's manipulation of intelligence data. It is unclear whether these reports have had an impact on public opinion.

However, the current issue is not public opinion. Lurking behind this issue is the not fully articulated perception that the Iraq war not only began in deception but that planning for the Iraq war was incompetent -- a perception driven by the realization that the United States is engaged in a long-term occupation and guerrilla war in Iraq, and the belief that the United States in particular was neither expecting nor prepared for this.

A cartoon republished in the New York Times News of the Week section by Mike Smith of the Las Vegas Sun sums up this perception. A general, holding a paper titled "Guerrilla War In Iraq," says to a table full of generals, "We need to switch to Plan B." Another general responds, "There was a Plan A?" The media loves the trivial and can't grasp the significant. If the United States fabricated evidence about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq as critics are claiming, the question is not whether it did so. The question is: Why did it do so? In other words, why was invading Iraq important enough to lie about -- if indeed it was a lie, which is far from clear. The emerging perception is that there was no Plan A and there is no Plan B -- that the decision to invade was arbitrary and that the lying was therefore gratuitous.

In other words, the Bush administration has a four-part public relations problem:

1. The perception that it lied about weapons of mass destruction
2. The perception that it had no strategic reason for invading
3. The perception that it was unprepared for the guerrilla war
4. The perception that it is at a loss for what to do next

As we argued last week, lying in foreign policy does not bother the American public. From Woodrow Wilson's "too proud to fight" slogan in the 1916 presidential campaign, to Franklin D. Roosevelt's war planning with the British while publicly denying such plans, to John F. Kennedy claiming that the United States had nothing to do with the Bay of Pigs, what bothers the American public is the idea that the lying is not designed to hide the strategy, but to hide the fact that there is no strategy.

The media are clever. The public is smart. The media have the ability to generate intellectual mayhem within Washington. What should be troubling for Bush is that, as we review the local papers this past weekend, the deepest concern creeping into letters to the editor is that there is no underlying strategy, no point to it -- and no exit. Bush clearly retains a massive support base that is not, as we have said, continuing to erode. The media's fixation on "what did he know and when did he know it" will not erode it by itself, but the administration's continued unwillingness to reveal a strategy behind the war on al Qaeda likely will.

The core problem the United States has had in enunciating a
strategy rests on this: Since Sept. 11, 2001, al Qaeda has not carried out a strategic operation. It has carried out a series of tactical operations -- Bali, Mombassa, Riyadh, Casablanca and so on -- but it has not struck again at the United States in an operation of the magnitude of Sept. 11. The operations outside the United States are not, by themselves, sufficient to justify the global war the United States is waging. Preventing another Sept. 11 is worth the effort. However, as time passes, the perception -- if not the reality -- grows that Sept. 11 was al Qaeda's best and only shot at the United States. If that is true, then the level of effort we have seen on a global basis -- including the invasion of Iraq and certainly the continued occupation of Iraq in the face of insurrection -- simply isn't worth it. Or put differently, the United States is fighting an illusion and exhausting resources in the process.

The mere assertion of the threat will work if Bush and his
advisers have a pristine record of honesty with the public. At
the point where the public has reason to doubt the word of the president on anything concerning the war, it will affect his
ability to be authoritative on anything concerning the war.
Moreover, the president's basis for information on al Qaeda's
intentions and capabilities rests with confidence in the quality
of intelligence he is getting. The current crisis over who failed
to identify the forgery is trivial. However, it melds into two
other serious intelligence crises. First, did the intelligence
community fail in its analysis of Iraqi WMD? Second, and more serious in our view, did the intelligence community fail to understand former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's war plan and, therefore, fail to understand that the fall of Baghdad was not the end of the war but the beginning of the guerrilla phase?

Reasonable arguments can be made to justify each of these
failures. However, at the end of the day, if the CIA did not know about the forgery, did not understand the WMD situation in Iraq and did not anticipate the guerrilla war, then why should the public believe it regarding the on-going threat of al Qaeda? Pushing the argument further, if the intelligence community did in fact know about each of these things and the president chose to ignore them, then why should the public believe Bush when he talks about al Qaeda?

Bush cannot afford a crisis in the intelligence community or in
the public perception of his use of intelligence. More than any
of the other world wars in which the United States has
participated, this is an intelligence war. Al Qaeda does not have a geographical locus. It does not have a clean organizational chart. It is as much an idea as an organization. Everything that followed Sept. 11 has depended on the public's confidence in its intelligence community. If that confidence is destroyed, then everything else said about al Qaeda -- including that it is an ongoing threat that justifies a global war -- becomes subject to

If the CIA cannot be trusted, then the president can't be
trusted. If the president can't be trusted, then the urgency of
the war cannot be trusted. If the urgency of the war can't be
trusted, then the massive exertion being demanded of the U.S. military and public cannot be justified. Thus, having CIA
Director George Tenet fall on his sword and accept responsibility for the 16 words in the President's speech might make a lot of sense inside the beltway, but it is an act of breathtaking recklessness in the rest of the country. Even if he were responsible -- which we regard as pretty dubious --the White House does not seem to understand that desstroying the credibility of the CIA is the same thing as destroying the war effort. The entire war effort is based on the public's trust of the CIA's portrayal of the ongoing threat from al Qaeda. If the CIA isn't to be trusted, why should anyone believe that al Qaeda is a threat?

This self-destructive behavior by the Bush administration is not at all confined to undermining the credibility of the CIA.
Rumsfeld's incomprehensible behavior regarding the guerrilla war in Iraq was another axis of self-destruction. Back in May, any reasonable observer of the situation in Iraq -- including Stratfor -- saw that there was an organized guerrilla war under way. However, Rumsfeld, as late as June 30, not only continued to deny the obvious, but actually hurled contempt at anyone who said it was a guerrilla war. Rumsfeld's obstinate refusal to acknowledge what was obvious to everyone was the sort of behavior designed to undermine confidence in U.S. strategy by both the public and the troops in the field. Rumsfeld kept arguing that this was not Vietnam, which was certainly true, except in the sense that Rumsfeld was behaving like Robert McNamara. As in Vietnam -- and this is the only comparison there is between it and Iraq -- the behavior of the leadership made even supporters of the war and the troops in the field feel that there was no strategy.

Napoleon once said, "In battle, the morale is to the material as 2 is to 1." Maintaining the morale of one's forces depends on maintaining confidence in the military and political commanders. When forces are killing U.S. troops -- forces that the defense secretary dismisses -- the only conclusion the troops can draw is that either they are not very good soldiers, since they can't stop them, or that the defense secretary has taken leave of his senses. Either way, it undermines morale, increasing the need for the material. It is militarily inefficient to tell self-evident lies to troops.

Similarly, the United States is fighting a war against a barely visible force that cannot be seen by the naked eye, but only by the esoteric tools of the intelligence community. Making the head of that community appear to be a liar or a fool might make good sense in Washington, but it undermines trust in the one institution in which trust is essential if the war is to be prosecuted. It is not casualties that undermine public morale. It is the reasonable belief that if the CIA is incompetent, then neither the justification for the war nor the strategy driving the war can be trusted.

Bush has created a crisis. It is far from a fatal crisis, but it is a crisis that requires a radical readjustment in approach. The public explanation of the war and the reality of the war must come into alignment. Stratfor has extensively chronicled the underlying strategy of the war, and we will not repeat it here. That strategy has never been enunciated publicly. The connection between the war against al Qaeda, the Iraq campaign and future actions throughout the world never has been laid out in a conceptual framework. This is a complex war. It does not reduce itself to the simple dictum of Desert Storm enunciated by Secretary of State Colin Powell: First we will cut off the enemy, then we will surround the enemy, then we will kill the enemy. That was a good line and truly reflected the solution.

This war does not reduce to one-liners. However, there is a threat and there is a strategy. WMD make wonderful one-liners and they are not altogether irrelevant. But that is not what the war against Iraq was about, it is not the reason for fighting a guerrilla war and it is certainly only part of the broader war. The most dangerous thing Bush can do from his standpoint is to continue to play a bad hand rather than endure the pain of having to throw it in and reshuffle the deck. However, it will be easier to explain the real force driving U.S. strategy than to allow his presidency to degenerate into an argument of who forged a letter and whether he knew it.

The basic strategy behind a war always has been publicly
discussed. In World War II, after Dec. 7 and the German
declaration of war, the basic outlines of the war plan were
widely discussed in the media -- in spite of censorship. Everyone knew the Germany First strategy, the goal of landing in France at some point, the purpose of the bombing campaign, the nature of island hopping. No one expected to know the landing site in France or the next island to be invaded in the Pacific, but everyone understood the core strategy.

This is a much more complex war. That increases -- not decreases -- the need for strategic clarity among the public and the troops. The United States is not randomly in Iraq, and it is not there because Hussein was a butcher or because he might have had WMD. Those are good reasons, but not the real reason. The United States is in Iraq to force Saudi Arabia, Syria and Iran to change their behavior toward al Qaeda and other Islamist groups. The United States already has overwhelmed the Saudis and is engaged in threatening Syria and Iran. This is visible to everyone who is watching. That is why the United States is in Iraq. It might or might not be good strategy, but it is a strategy that is much better than no strategy at all.

Admitting this undoubtedly will create a frenzy in the media
concerning the change in explanation. But there will be nothing to chew on, and the explanation will be too complex for the media to understand anyway. They will move on to the next juicy murder, leaving foreign policy to the government and the public. We suspect that before this is over, both Tenet and Rumsfeld will have to go, but that matters more to them than to the republic, which will endure their departure with its usual equanimity. Alternatively, Bush will continue to allow the battle to be fought over the question of "what did he know and when did he know it," which is a battle he cannot win. Bush has a strategic decision to make. He must align strategy with public perception or have his presidency ripped apart.


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« Reply #27 on: July 23, 2003, 08:57:13 AM »
Geopolitical Diary: Thursday, July 24, 2003

After 82 postwar days of absorbing casualties in Iraq, the United States has inflicted two significant blows on the Iraqi resistance. Former Iraqi
President Saddam Hussein's two sons, Odai and Qusai, were confirmed killed in a six-hour raid in Mosul on July 22, U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez said at a news conference in Baghdad.

The demise of Odai and Qusai Hussein certainly will serve as a morale
booster for U.S. troops, who were unpleasantly surprised to find themselves embroiled in a guerrilla war when they expected to be bound for home following Operation Iraqi Freedom. For the troops, these deaths will serve as a light at the end of an unanticipated tunnel. They also could generate at least a temporary rebound in U.S. President George W. Bush's popularity ratings, which have fallen to their lowest levels since March.

The greater impact could be on Sunnis in Iraq -- both the resistance and the would-be U.S. collaborators.

Among their other roles in the ousted Iraqi government, Odai Hussein led the Saddam Fedayeen militia and Qusai Hussein the Special Security Organization and Republican Guard. Qusai Hussein was believed to control at least two of Iraq's intelligence services. These organizations are believed to be at the core of the Iraqi resistance. However, the degree to which the Hussein boys' deaths will directly impact the resistance remains unclear.

In spite of the deaths, the resistance will persist on the resources and
initiative of its individual operational cells -- at least for a while. But
before long, the degree to which the Hussein family controlled the
distribution of funds and coordinated guerrilla strategy will become

The Baathist resistance in Iraq must be concerned about security. A "walk-in tip" reportedly clued the U.S. troops in on the villa in Mosul. The source might be the homeowner, who various reports say might have been Hussein's cousin. There have been other reports of betrayal within the Hussein family. Everyone from senior officers to family members to Hussein's personal bodyguards helped identify the bodies of Odai and Qusai Hussein.

Clearly, the intimidation tactics the resistance has directed at Sunni
collaborators are not working, and this, more than anything, will undermine the insurgents' continued ability to wage guerrilla war. Iraqi geography is not well-suited for a rural wasteland-based insurgency. Insurgents need to blend with the populace.

The recent captures and killings of senior Baathist commanders also could
answer these questions: How much of the Iraqi resistance comprises
unreformed Baathists and how many Jihadi volunteers does it contain? Some of Stratfor's sources say that foreign Islamist volunteers operate alongside the Baathists in Iraq. Despite the clash of ideologies, they apparently couldn't resist the opportunity to hunt American soldiers. Foreign mujahideen might be able to operate on leaner rations and draw support from outside the country, but they will stand out like sore thumbs if the Sunni community withdraws support for the resistance.

Sunnis who otherwise would cooperate with an interim government have been dissuaded by direct attacks from the resistance. They have lived in dread of a return of Hussein -- a fear the Baathists have played upon in their choice of "al Auda" (the Return) for the name of their insurgency. Until now, Hussein's return has not been unimaginable, and no one in their right mind would want to answer treason charges before the former dictator.

There now is real doubt for Hussein's future, although the resistance
undoubtedly will redouble its efforts to convince the Sunnis of al Auda.

About the only people outside the Sunni regions of Iraq who are likely to be uncomfortable with the deaths of Odai and Qusai Hussein are the leaders of Russia, China, France and Germany. It's not that they had any love for the Hussein brothers: Instead, U.S. success in Iraq will spoil what might have been a promising campaign to expand the role of the United Nations in Iraq -- at the expense of a unilateralist U.S. rule.

Leaders opposed to U.S. hegemony and unilateral action have looked on smugly as Washington's quick victory over the Iraqi military turned into a grinding guerrilla war. Stratfor's diplomatic sources say that they saw the United States as increasingly desperate over the loss of money and blood in Iraq. They took Washington's repeated and widespread requests for the deployment of international troops to Iraq as a clear sign of weakness, and with British Prime Minister Tony Blair on the ropes, they saw this as an opportune time to knock the United States back down to size.

When Washington ignored multilateral opposition and deftly dispatched the Iraqi regime, it reshaped the international system. The United States
demonstrated not only that it had the military force to achieve its goals on
its own (with a few willing allies in tow), but also that no constellation
of powers could coalesce to dissuade Washington from deploying that force. The United Nations could play cleanup, and allies could profit from the aftermath, but only at U.S. discretion.

Moscow, Beijing, Berlin and Paris are committed to rectifying the imbalance of global power, containing U.S. hegemonic action and reviving a multi-polar system with the United Nations at its core. Key to this is depriving the United States of the fruits of its conquest of Iraq, namely: 1. Use of Iraq as a strategic base from which to project power throughout the Middle East and 2. Control of Iraq's oil and the economic power it entails. Ideally, they also would like to teach the United States the folly of acting alone, but slapping Washington down would be enough to satisfy.

The U.N. Security Council meeting on July 22 was to have launched a new
phase in this campaign.

Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov told reporters before the meeting, "The situation in Iraq is continuing to deteriorate rapidly," requiring immediate action from the international community, which in turn requires a new resolution giving the U.N. a greater role in Iraq. China made a similar appeal on July 21. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan opened the council session echoing Ivanov's call for an early end to U.S. occupation of Iraq and transfer of power to an elected Iraqi government.

European Union foreign ministers issued a joint statement on July 22,
stating their willingness to participate in multilateral reconstruction
efforts in Iraq, but only under the auspices of the United Nations.

French President Jacques Chirac, accepting the inaugural Kuala Lumpur World Peace Award on July 22 for his opposition to the war against Iraq, chastised the United States for perpetuating "the law of the strongest. the law of the jungle." Chirac declared multilateralism the foundation for peace, and called the United Nations "unavoidable."

Stratfor's diplomatic sources say that representatives from Russia, China,
France and Germany, along with Annan, began the day with a plan for
adjusting relations with the United States. The core of that plan was
pushing through a U.N. resolution requiring the United States to hand over
supreme authority in Iraq first to the United Nations and then to an
Iraqi-elected government -- which they were convinced would contain none of the American "marionettes" in the current interim government.

The diplomats believed that the intensifying guerrilla war in Iraq and the
resulting billions of dollars in costs to the United States and dozens,
hundreds, or more U.S. deaths would convince Washington to accept a U.N. bailout -- and leash.

Moreover, Blair's political duress might be enough to cause him to break
ranks with the United States, further weakening Washington's position.

The Indian government, also holding out on providing military support to the United States in Iraq for lack of a U.N. mandate, announced July 22 that the preceding night, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell had said Washington is examining the possibility of a new U.N. resolution for an expanded U.N. role in Iraq. The suggestion seemed to validate the multilateralists' hopes and plans.

Certainly they expected the United States either to: 1. Try to craft the new resolution in such a way that it handed the burden to U.N. troops while retaining Washington's autonomy and authority in Iraq, 2. Reject a stronger resolution or 3. Accept a stronger resolution, but twist or ignore it in practice.

The UNSC planned to veto the first, wait for the Iraqi quagmire to change
Washington's mind on the second and address the third through careful
crafting of the resolution and management of its implementation.

These plans all might have met their fate with the Hussein brothers in Mosul today. All calculations were based on the belief that Washington was nearing desperation with the situation in Iraq and would make any deal to extricate itself from the quagmire -- a questionable belief, but one firmly held nonetheless. They also were premised on the belief that the Iraqi people would assent to U.N. leadership much more easily than to U.S. occupation -- again, a questionable proposition, and one unlikely to be tested now.

The deaths of Odai and Qusai Hussein will stiffen the U.S. resolve in Iraq
and could weaken the Iraqi resistance as well. In the end, there could be a new U.N. resolution -- and a greater U.N. role in Iraq -- but it will come
on U.S. terms.


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« Reply #28 on: July 28, 2003, 03:00:13 PM »
'This Was a Good Thing to Do'
Iraqis' greatest fear is that America will cut and run.

Monday, July 28, 2003 12:01 a.m. EDT

NAJAF, Iraq--Toppling a statue is easier than killing a dictator. Not the man himself, but the idea of his despotism, the legacy of his torture and the fear of his return. This kind of reconstruction takes time.

Just ask the 20-some members of the new city council in this holy city of Shiite Islam. Their chairs are arrayed in a circle to hear from Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy secretary of defense, who invites questions. The first man to speak wants to know two things: There's a U.S. election next year, and if President Bush loses will the Americans go home? And second, are you secretly holding Saddam Hussein in custody as a way to intimidate us with the fear that he might return? Mr. Wolfowitz replies no to both points, with more conviction on the second than the first. But the question reveals the complicated anxiety of the post-Saddam Iraqi mind.

Most reporting from Iraq suggests that the U.S. "occupation" isn't welcome here. But following Mr. Wolfowitz around the country I found precisely the opposite to be true. The majority aren't worried that we'll stay too long; they're petrified we'll leave too soon. Traumatized by 35 years of Saddam's terror, they fear we'll lose our nerve as casualties mount and leave them once again to the Baath Party's merciless revenge.
That is certainly true in Najaf, which the press predicted in April would be the center of a pro-Iranian Shiite revolt. Only a week ago Sunday, Washington Post reporter Pamela Constable made Section A with a story titled "Rumors Spark Iraqi Protests as Pentagon Official Stops By." Interesting, if true.

But Ms. Constable hung her tale on the rant of a single Shiite cleric who wasn't chosen for the Najaf city council. Even granting that her details were accurate--there was a protest by this Shiite faction, though not when Mr. Wolfowitz was around--the story still gave a false impression of overall life in Najaf. On the same day, I saw Mr. Wolfowitz's caravan welcomed here and in nearby Karbala with waves and shouts of "Thank you, Bush."

The new Najaf council represents the city's ethnic mosaic, and its chairman is a Shiite cleric. Things improved dramatically once the Marines deposed a corrupt mayor who'd been installed by the CIA. Those same Marines have rebuilt schools and fired 80% of the police force. The city is now largely attack-free and Marines patrol without heavy armor and often without flak jackets. The entire south-central region is calm enough that the Marines will be turning over duty to Polish and Italian troops.

This is the larger story I saw in Iraq, the slow rebuilding and political progress that is occurring even amid the daily guerrilla attacks in Baghdad and the Sunni north. Admittedly we were in, or near, the Wolfowitz bubble. But reporters elsewhere are also in a bubble, one created by the inevitable limits of travel, sourcing and access. In five days we visited eight cities, and I spoke to hundreds of soldiers and Iraqis.

The Bush administration has made mistakes here since Saddam's statue fell on April 9. President Bush declared the war over much too soon, leaving Americans unprepared for the Baathist guerrilla campaign. (The Pentagon had to fight to get the word "major" inserted before "combat operations in Iraq have ended" in that famous May 1 "Mission Accomplished" speech.) But U.S. leaders, civilian and military, are learning from mistakes and making tangible progress.

One error was underestimating Saddam's damage, both physical and psychic. The degradation of this oil-rich country is astonishing to behold. Like the Soviets, the dictator put more than a third of his GDP into his military--and his own palaces. "The scale of military infrastructure here is staggering," says Maj. Gen. David Petraeus of the 101st Airborne. His troops found one new Iraqi base that is large enough to hold his entire 18,500-man division.

Everything else looks like it hasn't been replaced in at least 30 years. The General Electric turbine at one power plant hails from 1965, the boiler at one factory from 1952. Textile looms are vintage 1930s. Peter McPherson, the top U.S. economic adviser here, estimates that rebuilding infrastructure will cost $150 billion over 10 years.

All of this makes the reconstruction effort vulnerable to even small acts of sabotage. The night before we visited Basra, someone had blown up electrical transmission pylons, shutting down power to much of the city. That in turn triggered long gas lines on the mere rumor that the pumps wouldn't work. Rebuilding all of this will take longer than anyone thought.

Iraq's mental scars are even deeper. Nearly every Iraqi can tell a story about some Baath Party depredation. The dean of the new police academy in Baghdad spent a year in jail because his best friend turned him in when he'd said privately that "Saddam is no good." A "torture tree" behind that same academy contains the eerie indentations from rope marks where victims were tied. The new governor of Basra, a judge, was jailed for refusing to ignore corruption. Basra's white-and-blue secret police headquarters is called "the white lion," because Iraqis say it ate everyone who went inside.

"You have to understand it was a Stalinist state," says Iaian Pickard, one of the Brits helping to run Basra. "The structure of civic life has collapsed. It was run by the Baath Party and it simply went away. We're having to rebuild it from scratch."

This legacy is why the early U.S. failure to purge all ranking Baathists was a nearly fatal blunder. Officials at CIA and the State Department had advocated a strategy of political decapitation, purging only those closest to Saddam. State's Robin Raphel had even called de-Baathification "fascistic," a macabre irony to Iraqis who had to endure genuine fascism.

Muhyi AlKateeb is a slim, elegant Iraqi-American who fled the Iraqi foreign service in 1979 when Saddam took total control. (In the American way, he then bought a gas station in Northern Virginia.) But when he returned in May to rebuild the Foreign Ministry, "I saw all of the Baathists sitting in front of me. I couldn't stay if they did." He protested to U.S. officials, who only changed course after L. Paul Bremer arrived as the new administrator.

Mr. AlKateeb has since helped to purge the Foreign Ministry of 309 secret police members, and 151 Baathist diplomats. "It's an example of success," he says now, though he still believes "we are too nice. Iraqis have to see the agents of Saddam in handcuffs, on TV and humiliated, so people will know that Saddam really is gone." This is a theme one hears over and over: You Americans don't understand how ruthless the Baathists are. They'll fight to the death. You have to do the same, and let us help you do it.

Which brings up the other large American mistake: The failure to enlist Iraqi allies into the fight from the very start. Pentagon officials had wanted to do this for months, but they were trumped by the CIA, State and former Centcom chief Tommy Franks. The result has been too many GIs doing jobs they shouldn't have to do, such as guarding banks, and making easier targets for the Baathist-jihadi insurgency.

The new Centcom boss, Gen. John Abizaid, is now correcting that mistake by recruiting a 14,000-man Iraqi security force. He's helped by division commanders who are adapting their own tactics in order to win local support and eventually be able to turn power back over to Iraqis.

In Mosul in the north, Gen. Petraeus of the 101st Airborne runs the equivalent of a large Fortune 500 company. He's having to supply electricity, buy up the local wheat crop (everything here was bought by, or supplied by, Saddam's government), form a city council, as well as put down an insurgency. He's even run a Task Force Pothole to fix the local roads. It's no accident that an Iraqi turned the whereabouts of Uday and Qusay into the 101st Airborne. Like the Marines in Najaf, Gen. Petraeus's troops have made an effort to mingle with the population and develop intelligence sources.

In Kirkuk, Maj. Gen. Raymond Odierno's Fourth Infantry Division has had similar success tapping Iraqi informers to map what he calls the "network of mid-level Baathists" who are running the insurgency. Late last week they raided a house near Tikrit after an Iraqi tip and captured several Saddam loyalists, including at least five of his personal bodyguards. Some have been reluctant to talk, but Gen. Odierno observes that "when you mention Guantanamo, they become a lot more compliant."

The U.S. media have focused on grumbling troops who want to go home, especially the Third Infantry Division near Baghdad. And having been in the region for some 260 days, the Third ID deserves a break. But among the troops I saw, morale remains remarkably high. To a soldier, they say the Iraqis want us here. They also explain their mission in a way that the American pundit class could stand to hear.

"I tell my troops every day that what we're doing is every bit as important as World War II," says one colonel, a brigade commander, in the 101st. "The chance to create a stable Iraq could help our security for the next 40 or 50 years." A one-star general in the same unit explains that his father served three tours in Vietnam and ultimately turned against that war. But what the 101st is doing "is a classic anti-insurgency campaign" to prevent something similar here.

These men are part of a younger Army officer corps that isn't traumatized by Vietnam or wedded to the Powell Doctrine. They understand what they are doing is vital to the success of the war on terror. They are candid in saying the hit-and-run attacks are likely to continue for months, but they are just as confident that they will inevitably break the Baathist network.

The struggle for Iraq will be difficult, but the coalition is winning. It has the support of most Iraqis, a creative, flexible military, and the resources to improve daily lives. The main question is whether America's politicians have the same patience and fortitude as its soldiers.

The one word I almost never heard in Iraq was "WMD." That isn't because the U.S. military doesn't want, or expect, to find it. The reason, I slowly began to understand, is that Iraqis and the Americans who are here don't think it matters all that much to their mission. The liberation of this country from Saddam's terror is justification enough for what they are doing, and the main chance now isn't refighting the case for war but making sure we win on the ground.
"So I see they're giving Bush a hard time about the WMD," volunteers a Marine colonel, at the breakfast mess in Hilla one morning. "They ought to come here and see what we do, and what Saddam did to these people. This was a good thing to do."

Mr. Gigot is The Wall Street Journal's editorial page editor.


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« Reply #29 on: July 28, 2003, 11:07:40 PM »
Tribute to Matthew Baker

Stratfor is mourning the loss of its chief analyst, Matthew
Baker, who has been with the company since its inception in 1996.
Matthew, aged 33, was shot and killed at his home in Austin,
Texas, on the evening of July 24.

As chief analyst, Matthew helped keep Stratfor's analysis ahead
of the mainstream media coverage. He was interviewed frequently
by the press as a military expert, especially during the Kosovo
war and again during the recent Iraq war. Matthew has been quoted
by many media sources, including the Boston Herald, Sun Sentinel,
London Free Press, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,, the
Washington Times, and by Stars & Stripes and other military

He also has been interviewed on numerous radio and TV stations as
a military expert.

Matthew will be greatly missed by his friends and colleagues at
Stratfor, and we pay tribute to his exceptional dedication to his
work and to this company. We want our subscribers to know that
although Matthew's death leaves a void in our hearts, the best
way we can honor him is to continue to uphold his example in
providing excellence to our audience and customers.

Please feel free to send the Stratfor Weekly to a friend
or colleague.

28 July 2003
by Dr. George Friedman

Iraq and the Broader War


The failure of the United States to achieve a decisive victory in
Iraq would have substantial consequences. The deaths of Qusai and
Odai Hussein last week reflect the American belief that
decapitating the guerrilla movement might be decisive. So far,
the tempo of operations by the guerrillas has not declined, but
that means nothing yet; it might take time for the effect of the
two deaths to ripple through the system. Nevertheless, it is
possible that the Hussein brothers were not critical to guerrilla
operations. Indeed, it is possible that those operations are
designed to continue without centralized leadership. Bringing the
guerrillas under control could be a daunting task, but the
current disarray within the Bush administration makes it much
harder to achieve.


The Stratfor Weekly is supposed to focus on the most important
geopolitical issue of the week. The last six have been about
Iraq; this will make the seventh. Certainly, there are a great
many things happening in the world. However, our apparent
obsession with Iraq reflects our conviction that Iraq, right now,
is the pivot of the international geopolitical system. A global
war is under way between the United States and militant Islam.
That war is reshaping the international system. As with the Cold
War or World War II, a host of relationships in the international
system are aligning themselves along the axis defined by the war.
The Iraqi campaign is a subset of that global war; however, it is
a critical subset because the outcome of that campaign will
decisively shape the U.S.-Islamist conflict -- which in turn will
shape the international system.

The failure of the United States to achieve a decisive victory in
Iraq can have a massive effect on the global war. The United
States has now invaded two countries: Afghanistan and Iraq. In
both, the regime has been displaced and the strategic threat to
the United States eliminated. Yet in neither case has the United
States been able to impose a Pax Americanus. The inability to
reach a completely satisfactory outcome undermines the perception
the United States wanted to achieve -- relentless, irresistible
power. U.S. officials knew they could do nothing about anti-
Americanism in the Islamic world, so they moved to compensate by
increasing fear of the United States. The current situations in
Afghanistan and Iraq are, from this standpoint, unsatisfactory;
they undermine the intent of the war and represent a major crisis
in U.S. global strategy. Therefore, the next few weeks and months
are, in our mind, absolutely critical in defining the shape --
difficulty, length and outcome -- of not only the Iraq campaign
but the global war as well. We are at a defining moment.

There are four possible outcomes for the Iraq campaign:

1. The attacks against the Baath leadership will shatter the
Iraqi guerrillas, who will shortly fade away. This will set the
stage for the United States to exploit its Iraq victory by
redefining the dynamics of the Islamic world.
2. The guerrillas will be able to maintain the current tempo of
operations but not to increase it. This would represent a
strategic military victory for U.S. forces, but one with
potential political ramifications in the region and in the United
3. The guerrillas increase their tempo of operations
dramatically, imposing higher casualties on American forces --not
threatening, in strictly military terms, the U.S. occupation of
strategic points of Iraq, but deeply undermining the intention
behind the invasion.
4. The guerrillas, coupled with a mass uprising of the
population, make the American presence in Iraq untenable --
forcing a withdrawal, shattering U.S. strategy in the broader

There are variations on these themes, but these four general
outcomes are reasonably definitive categories.

Washington wants to limit the worst-case scenario to Case 2,
while working aggressively to achieve Case 1. The guerrilla
desire is to prevent their suppression, remaining in Case 2 while
working up the scale to Case 3 and, at some point, triggering a
massed uprising -- taking them to Case 4. For both sides, Case 2
is a barely tenable condition. U.S. forces do not want to be in a
guerrilla war tying down hundreds of thousands of troops,
creating an appearance of failure and preventing follow-on
operations. The guerrillas must show that they not only can
sustain the current level of operations but increase it, both for
internal morale reasons and political reasons.

We therefore have a situation that neither side wants to remain
static. However, the United States has a bigger problem than the
guerrillas: In the end, the longer the guerrillas can sustain the
current tempo of operations, the greater their credibility, their
ability to recruit and the greater their effect on the war as a
whole. The longer they can stay at this stage, the more likely
they are to move to Stage 3. The longer the United States stays
at Stage 3, the more difficult it will be to achieve Stage 1.
Therefore, while neither side wants the current status as an
outcome, the United States can afford it less. It must, if
possible, pacify the country.

This is why the deaths of Qusai and Odai Hussein are so
important. If the guerrilla war emanates primarily from the Baath
party, and if it is organized along the centralized lines the
party historically followed, then a decapitation strike against
the leadership is both a logical and deadly strategy. The deaths
of Odai and Qusai represent a major coup in two senses: First,
they mean that two of the movement's three key leaders have been
eliminated, and second, they demonstrate that U.S. intelligence
has successfully penetrated the Baath security system. This is of
potentially greater importance than the deaths -- the sense that
the United States has penetrated the guerrilla movement could
well destabilize it. Certainly, the insecurity of Saddam Hussein
increases dramatically, as does that of other guerrilla leaders.

There have been continued attacks since the deaths of Qusai and
Odai. Ten U.S. troops have been killed since the Hussein brothers
died, with additional casualties. Guerrilla operations have
intensified. The significance of this is ambiguous at this point,
but four explanations are possible:

1. The killings will take a while to seep through the system, as
will the security breach. Operations already planned are being
carried out and low-level planning for new operations is taking
place, but over time, the guerrilla movement will disintegrate.
This is the U.S. hope.
2. Odai and Qusai were not part of the military command and were
potentially estranged from the movement. Their security was
breached precisely because of their unimportance. The movement is
indeed a Baathist movement, but Odai and Qusai were not among its
3. The movement is not modeled on traditional, centralized
guerrilla organizations but takes its bearings from al Qaeda,
with individual units free to operate independently and central
command offering only general guidance. Knocking out Saddam
Hussein and his sons won't affect the movement.
4. The guerrilla movement is not primarily Baathist, but either
is controlled by Jihadists from outside the country or is a
hybrid of Jihadists and well-trained remnants of the Iraqi army
who identify with the religious factions rather than with the
secular Baathists.

If Cases 2-4 are true, then killing Hussein himself will have
minimal effect on the guerrillas' ability to fight. Quite the
contrary, it would represent wasted effort -- a U.S. pursuit of
irrelevant figures that doesn't really hurt the guerrillas'

The fourth case is the most troubling possibility. Hussein was
deeply hated by many Iraqis, particularly Shiites in the south.
There are certainly tensions between Sunni and Shiite under any
circumstances, but if the Baathist element was to be eliminated,
the possibility of some sort of collaboration along Islamist
lines obviously increases. This is the concern of the U.S.
command in Iraq: Lt. General Ricardo Sanchez, who commands U.S.
troops in Iraq, said July 27, "I think as long as we're present
here in Iraq, we will always have the threat of Islamic
fundamentalists and terrorists coming to try to kill American and
coalition soldiers, and that is something that we will have to
contend with."

The issue is the mix. If the center of gravity for the Iraqi
guerrillas was in fact the Hussein family and the Baathist
leadership, the events of the past week should shatter the
movement. If the center of gravity is the Jihadists plus local
allies -- or more precisely, if the movement is designed not to
have a vulnerable center of gravity -- then, from the U.S.
viewpoint, the situation is much more dangerous. One of the
things that Sanchez said was, "We have to understand that we have
a multiple-faceted conflict going on here in Iraq. We've got
terrorist activity, we've got former regime leadership, we have
criminals, and we have some hired assassins that are attacking
our soldiers on a daily basis." If the situation is as
multifaceted as Sanchez describes, it is difficult to see how
there will be a rapid termination of the conflict; there are
simply too many oars in the water.

Add to this the fact that over the past few days, tensions have
risen between U.S. troops and Shiites in the south. The United
States has been trying to win over the Shiites and at least
prevent their participation in the guerrilla war. But the
Shiites' price is extremely high: Essentially, they want to
supplant the U.S. occupation forces as the government of Iraq.
That is something Washington is not prepared to consider. At the
same time, the Shiites are showing the ability to bring large
numbers into the streets for demonstrations against U.S. troops.
Combine a guerrilla war with an intifada, and you have the worst-
case situation for the United States.

U.S. forces must, at the very least, achieve two objectives.
First, the guerrilla war must be contained at the current level;
second, there must not, under any circumstances, be a Shiite
rising in the south. An expanded guerrilla war in the north and a
rising in the south would move the U.S. situation to the worst-
case scenario.

Preventing this requires political rather than military
leadership. Washington must make core decisions about the future
of U.S. relations with Shiites in general and with Iran in
particular. Just as Nixon split the communist bloc by forming an
alliance with Mao, so too does the United States see the need to
divide the Islamic world, which it cannot face as a single bloc.
Complex and sophisticated political maneuvering is needed to
split the Islamic world and, more immediately, to co-opt Muslims
in Iraq. If the United States can't achieve this, it must fight a
war on all fronts simultaneously -- hardly an ideal situation,
and possibly not winnable. Therefore, containing the Shiites in
Iraq at an affordable price represents not only a key to Iraq,
but to the entire war.

It is for this reason that we regard the events in Iraq as
definitive. At the moment, our expectations are low. The Bush
administration is in such internal disarray that it is not clear
whether it can make strategic decisions at this time. Command
appears to be in the hands of U.S. officials in Baghdad, whose
perspective is limited to this campaign rather than to the war as
a whole. In the meantime, Washington officials are maneuvering
against each other as if who held what post were a matter of
national significance. Whether CIA Director GeorgeTenet, National
Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald
Rumsfeld or any of the rest are here a week from now is not
nearly as important as the fact that there is a war to fight.

In fairness, the political infighting in Washington is inevitable
at times when wars enter crisis phases. The problem is that at
this moment, the debate does not appear to be concerned with what
strategy is to be followed either in the Iraq campaign or in the
war in general. Rather, the fighting is over who committed what
intelligence failure when. The situation in Iraq is difficult
enough, but the real threat to U.S. warfighting is that the
president will allow the "inside the Beltway" nonsense to
continue. There is a crisis in the war; he can fire someone,
everyone or no one. But the president must command, and that
command must generate political and military strategy.

Therefore, we would argue that there can be no strategic solution
to Iraq or the war until political order is imposed in the
administration. Killing Odai and Qusai Hussein can't possibly
hurt the warfighting effort, but their deaths are hardly a
substitute for a coherent strategy in which the military and
political aspects mesh.


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« Reply #30 on: July 29, 2003, 11:43:06 PM »
Another deep thoughtful one from

Today's Featured Analysis

Iraq: U.S. Seeks Compromise With Iran?


U.S. President George W. Bush reportedly has considered calling
in the services of former Secretary of State James Baker in Iraq.
Washington appears to be seeking Iran's help in courting Iraq's
Shiite majority, which will require some tough negotiations.
Baker, viewed by many to be among the top U.S. political
negotiators, likely would be used to help forge an agreement with
Tehran in this regard. If a deal is made, it could catapult Iran
from isolation to the position of regional hegemon.


U.S. President George W. Bush has considered calling in the
services of former Secretary of State James Baker to help work
alongside L. Paul Bremer, the administrator of Iraq -- the second
major change in three months to the team overseeing
reconstruction, the Washington Post reported July 26. Though
unnamed administration officials said Baker might not want to the
job, the White House would still look for a "Baker-like figure"
to assist Bremer, sources told the newspaper.

Washington likely is seeking a senior statesman who can help to
stabilize the situation in Iraq by forging a deal with Tehran.
The occupation of Iraq is not going well for the United States,
which faces daily attacks from a mainly Sunni resistance
movement. Since neither retreat nor the use of excess force are
acceptable options for dealing with the resistance, Washington is
left with one alternative: Seek an alliance involving Iraq's
Shiite majority to counter the guerrilla movement and to help
keep Shiites' own anti-U.S. sentiment from moving toward armed
resistance. But the United States cannot court Iraq's Shiites
without the indulgence of Iran.

Ultimately, a U.S.-Iranian compromise concerning Iraq could leave
Iran as the regional hegemon -- operating under the auspices of
the United States -- and thus alter the geopolitical landscape of
the Persian Gulf and/or the Middle East.

So far, the United States does not appear to be able to stamp out
the armed resistance in Iraq, and the steady flow of American
casualties can have negative consequences for reconstructions
efforts. This -- coupled with the controversy over pre-war
allegations concerning Iraq's WMD and the general perception that
Washington lacks a clear strategy for dealing with the Iraqi
resistance -- have prompted a 17 percent drop in Bush's approval
ratings, which now register at 53 percent, according to recent
polls. In essence, Washington is desperately seeking a solution
to the problems it faces in stabilizing Iraq as the presidential
election campaign season nears.

Given the quarter-century of antagonism in Iranian-American
relations, a deal between the two countries over the
stabilization of Iraq might seem implausible, but in realpolitik
there are no permanent enemies or friends. The United States has
a long history of forging alliances with unanticipated
counterparts to solve strategic problems -- including Stalin, Mao
and the Afghan mujahideen during the 1980s. Given that both Iran
and the United States are capable of stirring up trouble for each
other, the United States will find it difficult or impossible to
rebuild Iraq -- with its large Shiite majority -- without some
kind of compact with Tehran.

Iran has difficulties of its own concerning its nuclear program,
domestic dissent and allegations that it harbors members of al
Qaeda and other militant organizations. As a result of the war
against terrorism, Iran is now surrounded by U.S. military
forces, and Tehran is searching for a way out of its increasingly
uncomfortable position. Iran traditionally has been wary of
threats to its security from both the north and south, but it now
has an unprecedented opportunity to secure its western border. If
Tehran can gain a sphere of influence in Iraq, it could create a
buffer zone that gives the country strategic depth and help to
insulate it from potential security threats.

The challenges that both Washington and Tehran are facing have
opened a window of opportunity for both: Each understands the
other's dilemmas and realizes that they can help one another in
the search for solutions. The United States wants to align itself
with the Shiite majority of Iraq, over which Iran wields
influence. Iran, on the other hand, would like to secure itself
against the risk of regime change -- whether through internal
forces acting at the instigation of the United States or as the
result of a U.S. attack. And -- with Iraq no longer a major
power, Syria buckling under U.S. pressure and Saudi Arabia
struggling with internal and external problems -- Iran can work
with the United States in order to eventually assert itself as
the regional power in the Persian Gulf and/or the Middle East.
The actual nature of this regional hegemonic status would, of
course, be subject to the oversight of the global hegemon, the
United States.

Enter James Baker.

Baker, a senior counselor at the Carlyle Group -- an influential,
U.S.-based private equity firm with extensive ties to the Saudi
royal family -- is quite possibly the best negotiator the United
States has in its diplomatic arsenal. He has an impressive track
record in international negotiations, with involvement in issues
such as the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the creation of
an anti-Iraq coalition in the 1991 Gulf War.

Washington would like to gain Iran's help in dismantling al Qaeda
and for Tehran to refrain from developing nuclear weapons.
However, the Bush administration might be willing to allow Iran
to play a greater role in the political reconstruction of Iraq,
in return for guarantees that U.S. interests will not be
threatened. If Iran agrees to such an arrangement, it would be
presented with a unique opportunity to become the regional

Within Iran, such a deal likely would play well. Reformists would
see the alliance as a move closer to the West and, therefore, as
a chance for liberalization and increased trade. Devout Shiites
would be see it as a way of protecting Iran from the reemergence
of a Sunni Iraq and the fulfillment of Khomeini's dream. In a
region where everyone is perceived as collaborating with the
Americans, the Iranians at least would be seen as having attained
real value from collaboration. Tehran would pay a price where the
Sunni jihadists are concerned, but the agendas of the two
entities don't really converge anyhow.

The greatest fear of Iran's Islamist regime is that it will be
overthrown -- either by direct military intervention from the
United States or by U.S.-instigated insurrection. However, a
compromise with Washington concerning Iraq would secure both the
Islamic revolutionary regime and the country's western flank, and
would position Iran to dominate the region in the long term.
Ultimately, the entire deal could be covertly struck: The United
States creates a Shiite-dominated government in Iraq that cracks
down on the guerrilla resistance movement; Iran covertly
cooperates with the United States against al Qaeda and dials back
its nuclear program. This does not require grand pronouncements,
like those that characterized the U.S. detente with China during
the Nixon administration; it could be handled and contained

Washington would have to alleviate any security concerns by
Israel in order to strike such an agreement with Tehran, which
sponsors Palestinian militant groups. Apart from that, however,
the United States -- unlike Iran -- has few inherent obstacles to
overcome in order to strike a deal. In our view, if Washington
could forge agreement with China to diminish the threat from
Communism, it likely could do the same with Islamism by aligning
with Shiite Iran to counter the threat from Sunni jihadists.

This would not be easily achieved, however, given the limitations
on Iran's maneuvering room: The most crucial issue for Tehran is
to avoid the perception in the Muslim world that is has
somersaulted from an anti-American position to a pro-American
one. The fact that the vast majority of the Muslim world is Sunni
also poses a problem for Tehran, which has been desperately
pursuing a policy predicated upon Shia-Sunni unity. A U.S.-
Iranian understanding would trouble particularly trouble Saudi
Arabia. Riyadh is loathe to see a rival power emerging in the
region, and the kingdom's influential Wahhabist religious
establishment is equally opposed to the possibility of growing
Shiite influence.


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« Reply #31 on: August 04, 2003, 10:48:37 AM »
Iran Closes In on Ability to Build a Nuclear Bomb
 Tehran's reactor program masks strides toward weapons capability, a Times investigation finds. France warns against exports to Islamic Republic.
French Report on Iranian Nuclear Program (Acrobat file)

*  Possible Uranium Enrichment Plant at Natanz

?  Closeup of Natanz Facility

?  Possible Heavy Water Production Plant at Arak

?  Closeup of Arak Facility

 Related Links

?  International Atomic Energy Agency

?  World Nuclear Assocation

?  Excerpts of 12/01 Rafsanjani Speech on Using Nuclear Weapon Against Israel (MEMRI) (PDF)

?  Carnegie Endowment for International Peace/ Non-Proliferation

?  Institute for Science and International Security

?  Center for Policy Studies in Russia

?  International Institute for Strategic Studies London

?  National Council of Resistance of Iran

?  State Dept. Fact Sheet on Nuclear Supplier's Group

Iran Closes In on Ability to Build a Nuclear Bomb

Afghans on Edge of Chaos
There's No Business Like Camels
Israel Approves Release of Prisoners
more >
By Douglas Frantz, Times Staff Writer

VIENNA ? After more than a decade of working behind layers of front companies and in hidden laboratories, Iran appears to be in the late stages of developing the capacity to build a nuclear bomb.

Iran insists that like many countries it is only building commercial nuclear reactors to generate electricity for homes and factories. "Iran's efforts in the field of nuclear technology are focused on civilian application and nothing else," President Mohammad Khatami said on state television in February. "This is the legitimate right of the Iranian people."

But a three-month investigation by The Times ? drawing on previously secret reports, international officials, independent experts, Iranian exiles and intelligence sources in Europe and the Middle East ? uncovered strong evidence that Iran's commercial program masks a plan to become the world's next nuclear power. The country has been engaged in a pattern of clandestine activity that has concealed weapons work from international inspectors. Technology and scientists from Russia, China, North Korea and Pakistan have propelled Iran's nuclear program much closer to producing a bomb than Iraq ever was.

No one is certain when Iran might produce its first atomic weapon. Some experts said two or three years; others believe the government has probably not given a final go-ahead. But it is clear that Iran is moving purposefully and rapidly toward acquiring the capability.

Among the findings:

? A confidential report prepared by the French government in May concluded that Iran is surprisingly close to having enriched uranium or plutonium for a bomb. The French warned other governments to exercise "the most serious vigilance on their exports to Iran and Iranian front companies," according to a copy of the report provided by a foreign intelligence service.

? Samples of uranium taken by U.N. inspectors in Iran in June tested positive for enrichment levels high enough to be consistent with an attempt to build a nuclear weapon, according to a foreign intelligence officer and an American diplomat. The Reuters news service first reported the possibility that the material was weapons-grade last month.

? Iran is concealing several weapons research laboratories and evidence of past activity at a plant disguised as a watch-making factory in a Tehran suburb. In June, U.N. inspectors were refused access to two large rooms and barred from testing samples at the factory, called the Kalaye Electric Co.

? Tehran secretly imported 1.8 tons of nuclear material from China in 1991 and processed some of it to manufacture uranium metal, which would be of no use in Iran's commercial program but would be integral to weapons production.

? As early as 1989, Pakistani generals offered to sell Iran nuclear weapons technology. Abdul Qadeer Khan, a Pakistani nuclear scientist regarded by the United States as a purveyor of nuclear secrets, has helped Iran for years. "Pakistan's role was bigger from the beginning than we thought," said a Middle Eastern intelligence official.

? North Korean military scientists recently were monitored entering Iranian nuclear facilities. They are assisting in the design of a nuclear warhead, according to people inside Iran and foreign intelligence officials. So many North Koreans are working on nuclear and missile projects in Iran that a resort on the Caspian coast is set aside for their exclusive use.

? Russian scientists, sometimes traveling to Iran under false identities and working without their government's approval, are helping to complete a special reactor that could produce weapons-grade plutonium. Moscow insists that it is providing only commercial technology for the civilian reactor under construction near the Persian Gulf port of Bushehr, an assertion disputed by Washington.

? In recent months, Iran has approached European companies to buy devices that can manipulate large volumes of radioactive material, technology to forge uranium metal and plutonium and switches that could trigger a nuclear weapon. European intelligence sources said Tehran's shopping list was a strong indication that Iran has moved to the late stages of weapons development.

Regional Impact

A nuclear-armed Iran would present the United States with a difficult political and military equation. Iran would be the first avowed enemy of Israel to possess a nuclear bomb. It also has been labeled by the Bush administration as a state sponsor of international terrorism.

Iranian nuclear weapons could shift the balance of power in the region, where Washington is trying to establish pro-American governments in Afghanistan and Iraq. Both of those nations border Iran and are places where Tehran wants to exert influence that could conflict with U.S. intentions, particularly in Iraq.

The Bush administration, which partly justified its war against Iraq by stressing concerns that Saddam Hussein had revived his nuclear weapons program, calls a nuclear-armed Iran unacceptable. At his news conference Wednesday, President Bush said he hopes international pressure will convince the Iranians that "development of a nuclear weapon is not in their interests," but he added that "all options remain on the table."

Foreign intelligence officials told The Times that the Central Intelligence Agency, which has long contended that Iran is building a bomb, has briefed them on a contingency plan for U.S. air and missile attacks against Iranian nuclear installations. "It would be foolish not to present the commander in chief with all of the options, including that one," said one of the officials.

A CIA spokeswoman declined to confirm or deny that such a plan has been drafted. "We wouldn't talk about anything like that," she said.

There is precedent for such a strike. Israeli fighter-bombers destroyed a French-built nuclear reactor outside Baghdad in 1981 shortly before it was to go online. The attack set back Iraq's nuclear program and drove it underground.

Taking out Iran's nuclear infrastructure would prove tougher, said Israeli military planners and outside analysts. For one thing, the facilities are spread around the country and small installations are still secret. At least one key facility is being built to withstand conventional airstrikes.

Contacts between Washington and Tehran are very limited, and analysts said U.S. decision-making is still dominated by a distrust of Iran rooted in the taking of American hostages during the Islamic Revolution in 1979 and an ideological aversion to negotiating with a regime regarded as extremist.

"The administration does not have a strategy because there is a fight in the administration over whether you should even deal with this government in Iran," said George Perkovich, a nuclear weapons expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington.

Inspections' Challenge

For now, the Bush administration is pinning much of its hopes of containing Iranian nuclear ambitions on the same international inspection apparatus that it blames for failing to locate weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

So far, the U.N.-affiliated International Atomic Energy Agency, based here in Vienna, has preferred negotiation to confrontation with Iran.

In a June 16 report to the 35 countries represented on the agency's board, its director-general, Mohamed ElBaradei, criticized Iran for concealing many of its nuclear activities. But he resisted U.S. pressure to declare Iran in violation of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which was created in 1968 to stop the spread of nuclear weapons.

Inspections are continuing along with Iranian roadblocks to a thorough examination, according to officials monitoring the progress. Still, IAEA officials hope to have a clearer picture of Iran's nuclear program by Sept. 8, when a follow-up report to the board is due.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry did not respond to telephone requests for interviews or to written questions for this article. Iran said last year that it plans to build six civilian reactors to generate electricity for its fast-growing population of 65 million. Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi has said that allegations that Iran is concealing a weapons program are "poisonous and disdainful rumors" spread by the United States.

Iran's civilian nuclear energy program started in 1974 and was interrupted by the Islamic Revolution. It got back on track in 1995, when Russia signed an $800-million contract to complete the commercial reactor at Bushehr, which is scheduled to come online next year.

Russia also promised to sell Iran the uranium fuel to power the reactor. But Iran maintains that it wants to develop its own nuclear fuel-making capability, a position that has roused international suspicions.

Typically, nations with civilian nuclear programs buy fuel from the countries that export the reactors because the fuel-making process is complicated and expensive. In the most common way to make the fuel, uranium ore is converted to a gas and pumped into centrifuges, where rotors spinning at twice the speed of sound separate isotopes. The process concentrates, or "enriches," the uranium to the point that fission can be sustained in a reactor, which pumps out heat to drive electrical turbines.

The same enrichment process can concentrate fissionable uranium at greater levels to produce material for a bomb.

Countries that try to enrich their own uranium or manufacture plutonium in special reactors are immediately suspected of trying to join the elite nuclear arms club. Israel, India and Pakistan developed their own plants for producing fissile material for bombs under the guise of commercial reactors.

Iran agreed not to produce nuclear weapons when it signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty in 1970, which opened the door for it to acquire civilian reactors. The treaty does not prohibit Iran from producing or possessing enriched uranium but requires it to submit its nuclear facilities to international monitoring to ensure that materials are not diverted to weapons use.

Iran has permitted inspections of its declared commercial nuclear facilities. But last year, an Iranian exile group pinpointed a secret underground enrichment plant outside Natanz, a small mountain town about 200 miles south of Tehran known for its bracing climate and fruit orchards.

In December, the Institute for Science and International Security, a small think tank in Washington, published satellite photos of Natanz from the archives of a commercial firm, DigitalGlobe. The photos showed large-scale construction inside the perimeter of a security fence. Among the buildings were a pilot centrifuge plant and two underground halls big enough for tens of thousands of centrifuges, the institute said.

Pressure mounted to allow international monitors into Natanz, and senior IAEA officials visited the plant in February. They found 160 assembled centrifuges and components for 1,000 more. Moreover, the equipment was to be housed in bunkers 75 feet deep, with walls 8 feet thick.

The level of centrifuge development at Natanz already reflects thousands of hours of testing and advanced technological work, experts said. By comparison, Iraq had tested a single centrifuge for about 100 hours when IAEA inspectors began dismantling Baghdad's nuclear weapons program after the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

"They are way ahead of where Iraq was in 1991," said a U.N. official who is familiar with both programs.

Once it is up and running, Natanz could make enough material for a bomb within a year and eventually enough for three to five bombs a year, experts said.

Nuclear Neighbors

The Iranian exile group also revealed a secret site near Arak, a city of 400,000 in western Iran known as a historic center for weaving fine Persian carpets. Under international pressure, Iran conceded in February that it plans to build a special type of reactor there that will generate plutonium for research. Plutonium is the radioactive material at the heart of some of the most powerful nuclear bombs.

The disclosures cast previous Iranian government statements in a new light.

Hashemi Rafsanjani, head of an influential government council and president of Iran from 1989 to 1997, gave a speech on Dec. 14, 2001, that has been interpreted widely as both a signal that Iran wants nuclear weapons and a threat to use them against Israel. Describing the establishment of the Jewish state as the worst event in history, Rafsanjani warned, "In due time the Islamic world will have a military nuclear device, and then the strategy of the West would reach a dead end, since one bomb is enough to destroy all Israel."

Rafsanjani has since stepped back in his rhetoric, noting in a sermon on Friday that "because of religious and moral beliefs and commitments that the Koran has created for us, we cannot and will not pursue such weapons that destroy humanity."

On July 20, Iran unveiled a missile based on a North Korean design that brings Israel within range and hailed the event as an important step in protecting the Palestinians. Experts said the new missile could be armed with a small nuclear warhead, and Iran is developing a version that will carry a heavier payload.

"Today our people and our armed forces are ready to defend their goals anywhere," Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, said in a ceremony unveiling the missile.

Many outside experts as well as Iranians say that even reformers linked to Iranian President Khatami believe that Iran needs a deterrent against its nuclear neighbors ? Israel, Russia and Pakistan ? and possibly against the United States.

"These weapons would guarantee the territorial integrity and national security of Iran," Nasser Hadian, a professor at Tehran University who is aligned with the reformers, said in a telephone interview from New York, where he is teaching at Columbia University. "We feel that we cannot possibly rely on the world to provide security for us, and this is felt by all the factions."

At a symposium in Rome in early July, ElBaradei told the audience that stopping the spread of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons depends greatly on eliminating the incentives for states to possess them. "It is instructive that the majority of the suspected efforts to acquire WMD are to be found in the Middle East, a hotbed of instability for over half a century," he said.

A senior U.N. official said he is not sure that Iran is developing a bomb. But the different fates of Iraq and North Korea, the other members of what Bush called the "axis of evil," demonstrate why countries out of favor with the United States might want a nuclear weapon, he added.

Iraq did not have a bomb and was easily invaded, he said, while North Korea claims to have a bomb and is trying to use it as a bargaining chip with the U.S. for security assurances and possibly increased aid. "If a regime has the feeling that it is not on the right wavelength with the United States, its position is to have a nuclear weapon," he said.

Iran faces numerous technological obstacles before it can produce a nuclear bomb, according to intelligence officials and independent experts. Once those problems are solved or close to being solved, some experts said they expect Iran to withdraw from the nonproliferation treaty, as North Korea did, and close its doors to IAEA inspectors.

"They have made the decision to develop a breakout capability, which will give them the option to leave the treaty in the future and complete a nuclear weapon within six months or a year," said Gary Samore, director of nonproliferation programs at London's International Institute for Strategic Studies and a former Clinton administration security official. "I think the program is probably unstoppable through diplomatic means."

Others disagree.

"I don't believe they have passed the point of no return," said Perkovich, the nuclear weapons expert at the Carnegie Endowment. "We should try to reverse Iran's direction by providing better, low-cost options to fuel the Bushehr electricity plant and by easing the security concerns that make Iranians, reformers and hard-liners, interested in getting a bomb."

Diplomacy has proved an imperfect solution in the past. The Clinton administration persuaded China not to sell nuclear items to Iran in the mid-1990s. Administration officials later used sanctions and negotiations to convince Russia to curb technology transfers to Iran's civilian program that U.S. intelligence believed were being diverted to weapons work.

But Russia is committed to the Bushehr reactor, which generates 20,000 jobs for its beleaguered nuclear industry. The project also allows hundreds of Iranians to train in Russia, raising concerns within the intelligence community that knowledge and hardware for weapons work will slip through.

Officials in Moscow, outside experts and foreign intelligence officials said economics are driving continuing Russian assistance to the Iranian weapons program and that it is probably occurring without government approval. They said thousands of Russian physicists, mathematicians and other scientists are unemployed or paid a pittance at home, pushing them to sell their expertise elsewhere.

"Russian scientists are freelancing, leading to a leakage of expertise, and you can't control that," said Bobo Lo, a former Australian diplomat and associate fellow at the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London. "That's where it gets really messy with the Iranians."

Multiple Sites

"Iran has made tremendous progress during the last two years, and according to our estimates it could reach a technical capability to create a nuclear device by 2006," said Anton Khlopkov, a nuclear expert at Moscow's Center for Policy Studies in Russia. "The problem is neither Russia nor the U.S. nor the IAEA had a clear understanding about real Iranian achievements in the nuclear field."

U.S. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell echoed the sentiment in March, saying on a CNN program, "It shows you how a determined nation that has the intent to develop a nuclear weapon can keep that development process secret from inspectors and outsiders, if they really are determined to do it."

Plants as large as Natanz are not necessary to build a bomb. Once the technology is developed, as few as 500 centrifuges can enrich enough uranium for a small weapon, experts said. Hiding that number would be easy, said an IAEA official, which is why intelligence officials are concerned about several smaller, still-secret plants throughout Iran.

For example, officers from two foreign intelligence agencies said weapons research is being conducted at a plant outside Kashan. One of the intelligence officials said the plant was involved in nuclear fuel production in two large halls constructed 25 feet underground.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran, the Paris-based exile group that revealed the Natanz and Arak sites, said in July that it had pinpointed two more weapons research locations in a rural area called Hashtgerd about 25 miles northwest of Tehran. The group is the political arm of the Moujahedeen Khalq, which is listed by the U.S. State Department as a terrorist group, but independent experts said its information from inside Iran has often been accurate. IAEA inspectors' requests to visit the Hashtgerd sites have been refused by Iranian authorities.

This spring, after considerable pressure from the IAEA, Iran reluctantly allowed inspectors to visit a nondescript cluster of two warehouses and smaller buildings tucked into an alley in the Tehran suburb of Ab-Ali. The place, called the Kalaye Electric Co., claimed to be a watch factory, but Iran conceded it had been an assembly point for centrifuges.

When the IAEA team arrived in March, they were refused access to the plant. A second trip in May was slightly more successful ? inspectors entered the buildings, but two large rooms were declared off limits, according to new information from U.N. officials.

On June 7, inspectors returned to Iran for four days of probes at various sites. This time authorities refused to let them near Kalaye, U.N. officials said. They also were barred from using sophisticated testing equipment the team had brought from Vienna.

Such tests could detect a particle of enriched uranium within a huge radius and determine whether its concentration exceeded the 2%-to-5% level generally used in civilian reactor fuel. One IAEA official compared the ability of a swipe to detect enriched particles to finding a four-leaf clover in a field of clover 6 miles long, 9 miles wide and 150 feet deep.

But during their trip in June, IAEA inspectors took samples from an undisclosed location in Iran that tested positive for enriched uranium at a level that could be used in weapons, according to diplomatic and intelligence sources. IAEA officials refused to comment on the report.

Chinese Uranium Ore

Officials from two foreign intelligence services said Iranian scientists used nuclear material from a secret shipment from China to help enrich uranium at Kalaye and elsewhere.

China had long denied rumors about transferring nuclear materials to Iran. Early this year, U.N. officials said in interviews, the Chinese admitted selling Iran 1.8 tons of uranium ore and chemical forms of uranium used in the enrichment process in 1991.

Faced with a letter describing China's admission, Iranian authorities acknowledged receipt of the material, said the officials. At the same time, Iran said some of the chemicals were used at Tehran's Jabr ibn Hayan laboratory to make uranium metal, which has no use in Iran's commercial program but is a key part of a nuclear weapon.

In addition to China and Russia, Pakistan and North Korea have played central roles in Iran's nuclear program, according to foreign intelligence officers and confidential reports prepared by the French government and a Middle Eastern intelligence service.

North Korean technicians worked for years helping Iran develop the Shahab-3 missile, unveiled last month in Tehran. A foreign intelligence official and a former Iranian intelligence officer said the Koreans are now working on a longer-range Shahab-4 and providing assistance on designs for a nuclear warhead.

The foreign intelligence official said high-ranking North Korean military personnel have been seen at some of Iran's nuclear installations. A hotel is reserved for North Koreans in Tehran and a resort on the Caspian Sea coast northwest of Tehran has been set aside for their use, according to one of the sources and a U.N. official.

The centrifuges seen by IAEA officials at Natanz in February were based on a Pakistani design, according to intelligence officials. The design and other new evidence point to Pakistan as a bigger supplier of nuclear weapons technology to Iran than initially thought, said foreign intelligence officers, Iranian exiles and independent experts.

While U.S. intelligence is aware of Pakistan's help to Iran, the Bush administration has not pushed the issue with Islamabad because of Pakistan's role as an ally in the battle against the Al Qaeda terrorist network and Afghanistan's Taliban, outside experts and foreign intelligence officials said.

Signs of Pakistani Aid

The most convincing sign of Pakistan's role in Iran comes from what several people described as the long involvement in Iran of Khan, the scientist regarded as the father of Pakistan's nuclear bomb.

The CIA concluded in a top-secret analysis last year that Khan shared critical technology on centrifuges and weapons-test data with North Korea in the late 1990s. The agency tracked at least 13 visits by Khan to North Korea over a span of several years, according to a January article in the New Yorker magazine.

Two former Iranian officials and American and foreign intelligence officials said Khan travels frequently to Tehran to share his expertise. Most recently, two of these people said, he has worked as a troubleshooter to iron out problems with the centrifuges and with weapons design.

Ali Akbar Omid Mehr, who was in charge of Pakistani affairs at Iran's Foreign Ministry in 1989 and 1990, said he came across Khan as he prepared what is known as a "green book" detailing contacts between Tehran and Islamabad.

"I saw that Mr. A. Q. Khan had been given a villa near the Caspian Sea for his help to Iran," Mehr said in an interview in Denmark, where he and his family live under assumed names since he defected in late 1995.

His account of the villa was supported by other Iranian exiles.

Khan might have played a role in a previously undisclosed offer from Pakistani military commanders to sell nuclear weapons technology to Iran in 1989, two former senior Pakistani officials said in separate interviews describing the episode.

According to their accounts, soon after Rafsanjani's election as president of Iran in 1989, he took Benazir Bhutto, then prime minister of Pakistan, aside at a reception in Tehran and told her about the proposal from her generals.

Rafsanjani was commander of Tehran's armed forces at the end of the Iran-Iraq war in 1988, and one of his goals as president was to reestablish his country as a regional power. He told Bhutto that the Pakistani generals wanted to transfer the technology secretly, on a military-to-military basis, but he wanted her to approve the transaction, the former Pakistani officials said.

Earlier that year, Bhutto had appeared before the U.S. Congress and promised that Pakistan would not export nuclear technology. Bhutto often bucked the generals, and the two officials said she blocked the transfer ? at least until she was ousted in 1996.

Current Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf said in an interview with The Times that his country never provided nuclear assistance to Iran, before or after he took office in a military coup in October 1999. "Zero," the general insisted. "Never worked ? even before ? never worked with Iran. This is the first time this has been raised, ever."

Pressured by the United States, Musharraf removed Khan as head of Pakistan's nuclear program nearly two years ago. Since then, Musharraf said, Khan has been retired and his travel is not monitored.

Other intelligence officials and governments disputed Musharraf's denial.

"There are convincing indications about the origin of the technology ? it is of Pakistani type ? but Iran undoubtedly controls the manufacturing process of centrifuges and seems even able to improve it," said the French government report on Iran's nuclear program, which was delivered in May to the Nuclear Suppliers Group, an organization of governments with nuclear programs.

A growing body of evidence suggests that Iran is simultaneously pursuing another way to produce material for a bomb.

This alternative is a heavy-water reactor, which could breed weapons-grade plutonium. In the initial stage of the program, Iran is building a plant to distill heavy water near the Qareh Chay River, about 35 miles from Arak. Heavy water, which is processed to contain elevated concentrations of deuterium, allows the reactor to operate with natural uranium as its fuel and produce plutonium.

This type of reactor is used in some places to generate electricity, but it is better known as a means of producing plutonium for weapons that bypasses uranium enrichment and its many technical obstacles. As a result, the presence of a heavy-water reactor is often regarded as a sign that a country is trying to develop a weapon.

American spy satellites had detected construction at Natanz before its existence was made public last year. But the work near Arak had remained secret because the plant under construction looked like any other distillery or similar factory, according to intelligence officials and U.N. authorities.

After exiles revealed Arak's existence, Gholamreza Aghazadeh, the president of Iran's atomic energy organization, informed the IAEA that the planned reactor was strictly meant for research and producing radioisotopes for medical use.

To many experts, however, the project raises another red flag. "For Iran, there is no justification whatsoever to have a heavy-water plant," said Samore of the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Echoing him, a senior U.N. official said, "The heavy-water plant sticks out like a sore thumb."

Iran first tried to buy heavy-water reactors as turnkey projects from China and India in the mid-1990s, according to a previously undisclosed dossier prepared by a foreign intelligence agency and provided to The Times. Blocked on that front by the United States, according to former U.S. officials, Iran decided to build its own and turned to two Russian institutes.

The United States learned of the cooperation through telephone intercepts and imposed sanctions on the Russian institutes in 1999. The sanctions remain in effect, but officials with foreign intelligence agencies and the CIA said there is evidence that Russian scientists are still providing expertise for the project.

Khlopkov, the Russian nuclear expert, said he thinks it is unlikely that Russian scientists are helping Iran with any of its weapons programs. Still, he said, the recent disclosures about the Iranian program surprised Moscow and might cause Russia to cancel a second planned reactor unless Iran agrees to stricter international inspections of its nuclear facilities.

'Industrial Scale'

Despite Iran's progress, most experts said it is unlikely to develop a weapon without more outside help, particularly in procuring specialty technology. That is why some said they were alarmed by Iran's recent attempts to buy critical dual-use technology, which has military and civilian applications.

In November, German authorities blocked an attempt by businessmen allegedly working on behalf of Iran to acquire high-voltage switches that could be used for both breaking up kidney stones and triggering a nuclear weapon.

French authorities reported that French firms with nuclear expertise have received a rising number of inquiries from suspected Iranian front companies for goods with military uses.

In a previously undisclosed incident, French authorities recently stopped a French company from selling 28 specialized remote manipulators for nuclear facilities to a company in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, that the authorities said was a front for Iran's nuclear program.

Because the manipulators were designed to handle heavy volumes of radioactive material, intelligence authorities suspected they were destined for a plant in which uranium or plutonium would be reprocessed on a large scale.

"Such intent is indicative of a willingness to move from a laboratory scale to an industrial scale," said a European intelligence official who is familiar with details of the attempt.

The pattern of attempted purchases and the discovery of previously secret nuclear installations led the French government to conclude in May that Iran is using its civilian nuclear program to conceal a military program.

"Iran appears ready to develop nuclear weapons within a few years," said the French report to the Nuclear Suppliers Group.


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« Reply #32 on: August 04, 2003, 05:06:15 PM »
Stratfor Weekly: The Wall of Sharon

Please feel free to send the Stratfor Weekly to a friend
or colleague.

4 August 2003
by Dr. George Friedman

The Wall of Sharon


Seeking to end the risk of Palestinian attacks, Israel is
building a barrier to separate Palestinians and Israelis. For the
wall to work, it must be more like an iron curtain than the U.S.-
Mexican border. It must be relatively impermeable: If there are
significant crossing points, militants will exploit them.
Therefore, the only meaningful strategy is to isolate Israelis
and Palestinians. That would lead to a Palestinian dependency on
Jordan that might, paradoxically, topple the Hashemite regime in
Amman. If that happens, Israel will have solved a painful
nuisance by creating the potential for a strategic nightmare.


Israel, under Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, is in the process of
building a wall that ultimately will separate Israelis and
Palestinians along a line roughly -- but not at all precisely --
identical to the cease-fire lines that held from 1948 until 1967.
The wall is far from complete, but the logic for it is self-
evident: It represents Israel's attempt to impose a reality that
will both satisfy the Jewish state's fundamental security needs
and the minimal political demands of the Palestinians without
requiring Palestinian agreement or acquiescence. It is an
extraordinary attempt at applied geopolitics. The question is
whether it will work.

Let's begin with the technical aspect. It is possible, with
substantial effort, to create a barrier that not only stops
large-scale population movements but seriously inhibits small-
scale movements as well. The Iron Curtain was more than a
rhetorical term: We once walked along the Austro-Hungarian
border, seeing watch towers with machine guns and search lights;
concertina wire; wide, clear-cut killing fields where
infiltrators or exfiltrators could be observed day or night using
search lights and flares, and dense mine fields. The line ran
from the Baltic to the Yugoslav border. It did work -- there was
certainly some movement across, but only at great risk and
probable failure.

The purpose of the Iron Curtain was to prevent eastern Europeans
from moving to the west and away from Soviet occupation. It was
difficult to build and maintain, but it was built and it did work
quite well. It was built with World War II technology. The
Israeli project will involve more modern sensor technology, both
human and machine. Movement will not be spotted by the luck of
the flare, but with sound sensors, ground radar and unmanned
aerial vehicles. The point is that from a technical standpoint,
if the Iron Curtain could work, this can work. The challenge is
political and military, not technical.

From the Israeli standpoint, the driving force is desperation.
Suicide attacks have achieved what Palestinian planners hoped for
-- convincing the Israelis the status quo cannot be maintained.
The bombings have convinced Israeli leaders that the continued
physical occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza strip are not
an option. The problem the Israelis have had to confront is that
simply retreating and abandoning the occupation might not solve
their strategic problem. From the Israeli standpoint, the problem
of the Oslo accords is that they rested on a political decision
by the Palestinians, who had to guarantee that they would abandon
further claims -- and military operations -- against the state of
Israel in return for Israeli withdrawal.

The last two years convinced Israeli leaders of two things:
First, that any guarantee from a Palestinian government was
unstable and could not be regarded as permanent; and second, that
even if the Palestinian government was able to maintain its own
commitment to an agreement, it was incapable of guaranteeing that
all Palestinian factions would honor it. Israel observed the
ability of the Irish Republican Army, ETA and other groups to
continue operations without or against state sanctions. Since the
absolute minimum concession from the Palestinians had to be the
cessation of suicide bombings and related actions against Israel,
this posed an insuperable problem. On the one hand, the status
quo was untenable; on the other, a political foundation for
withdrawal appeared to be unattainable. Israel was trapped
between two impossible realities.

For Israel, the Camp David accords with Egypt provided the basic
model for negotiations with Arabs. Camp David consisted of three

1. Egyptian recognition that Israel could not be destroyed
through military action.
2. Israeli recognition that Egypt was capable -- as in 1973 -- of
carrying out military operations that were too costly for Israel.
3. Recognition that the Sinai desert could serve not only as
Israel's strategic depth in maneuver warfare, but equally well as
a demilitarized buffer zone large enough to prevent surprise

It was on this basis that Menachem Begin, Sharon's intellectual
and strategic mentor, reached agreement with Egypt to end
hostilities -- an agreement that remains the strategic foundation
of Israel's national security policy today. The crucial piece was
that the deal did not rely on Egypt's good will: The buffer was
sufficiently large that any Egyptian violation would be quickly
noticed and could be responded to militarily. In other words,
Israel could keep control of its fate without holding Egyptian

The Oslo agreement was an attempt to apply this same principle to
the Palestinian question. It was built on the Palestinian
recognition that Palestinians could not destroy Israel
militarily, and Israeli recognition that the cost of occupation
was greater than Israel could rationally bear. What was missing -
- and always has been -- was a third step. There has been no
possibility of disengagement. From the Israeli viewpoint, this
has meant that any settlement depended on both the continued
goodwill of the Palestinian state and the absence of dissident
anti-Israeli movements. Since neither could be guaranteed, no
solution was possible.

Hence, the fence. It should be noted that the creation of a fixed
barrier violates all Israeli military thinking. The state's
military doctrine is built around the concept of mobile warfare.
Israel's concern is with having sufficient strategic depth to
engage an enemy attack and destroy it, rather than depending on a
fixed barrier. From a purely military standpoint, Israel would
view this barrier as an accident waiting to happen. The view of
barriers (such as the Suez Canal) is that they can all be
breached using appropriate, massed military force.

This is the critical point. From the Israeli standpoint, the wall
is not a military solution. It is not a Maginot Line designed to
protect against enemy main force; it is designed to achieve a
very particular, very limited and very important paramilitary
goal. It is designed to stop the infiltration of Palestinian
paramilitaries into Israel without requiring either the direct
occupation of Palestinian territory -- something that has not
worked anyway -- nor precluding the creation of a Palestinian
state. It is not the Maginot Line, it is an Iron Curtain. And
this is where the conceptual problems start to crop up.

The Iron Curtain was a fairly impermeable barrier. Nothing moved
across it except at very clearly defined and limited checkpoints.
The traffic at these checkpoints was quite low during most of the
Cold War, and there was ample opportunity for inspection and
interrogation of traffic headed in either direction. Even so,
these checkpoints were used by Western intelligence both to
penetrate Warsaw Pact countries and to extract people. There were
other points along the frontier where more informal traffic
crossed, but what never took place -- particularly after the
Berlin Wall went up -- was mass, interzonal traffic on a
continual basis.

The Iron Curtain never looked like the U.S.-Mexican border, nor
can the U.S.-Mexican border become an Iron Curtain because
neither the United States nor Mexico wants that to happen. Trade
is continual, and the movement of illegal labor from Mexico to
the United States is informally viewed by the U.S. government as
necessary. The U.S.-Mexican border is therefore a barrier to
almost nothing -- virtually everything, legal and illegal, flows
across the barrier. As much as it is disliked, the flow is

For the Israeli security model to work, economic relations
between Israel and Palestine will have to be ruptured. The idea
of controlled movement of large numbers of workers, trucks and so
on across the border is incompatible with the idea of the fence
as a security barrier. Once movement is permitted, movement is
permitted. Along with that movement will come guerrillas, weapons
and whatever anyone wants to send across. You cannot be a little
bit pregnant on this: Either Israel seals its frontier, or the
fence is a waste of steel and manpower. If the wall is not
continual and impermeable, it may as well not be there.

The geopolitical idea underlying the fence is that that it will
not be permeable. If this goal is achieved, regardless of where
the final line of the fence will be, then economic and social
relations between Israel and Palestine will cease to exist except
through third-party transit. Forgetting the question of Jerusalem
-- for if Jerusalem is an open city, the fence may as well not be
built -- this poses a huge strategic challenge.

Palestinians historically have depended on Israel economically.
If Israel closes off its frontiers, the only contiguous economic
relationship will be with Jordan. In effect, Palestine would
become a Jordanian dependency. However, it will not be clear over
time which is the dog and which is the tail. Jordan already has a
large Palestinian population that has, in the past, threatened
the survival of the Hashemite Bedouin regime. By sealing off
Palestinian and Israeli territories, the Israelis would slam
Palestine and Jordan together. Over the not-so-long term, this
could mean the end of Hashemite Jordan and the creation of a
single Palestinian state on both sides of the Jordan River.

There are Israelis -- including Sharon, in our view -- who would
not object to this outcome. They have argued that the Hashemite
presence in Amman has long distorted the reality in the region.
The Hashemite regime was installed by Britain after World War I.
In the opinion of some Israelis, Jordan ought to be the real
Palestine. Therefore, if the fence results in the fall of the
Jordanian monarchy and the creation of a unitary Palestinian
state, these Israelis would find this a positive development.
Indeed, one argument goes that a Jordan with boundaries roughly
analogous to pre-1967 lines would undermine Palestinian radical
movements by creating a more stable, less aggressive Palestinian

Two other scenarios exist. In one, the Hashemites survive and
drive many of the Palestinians on the east bank of the Jordan
into the West Bank; the Israelis maintain their cordon sanitaire
and the Palestinian nation-state becomes an untenable disaster --
trapped between two enemies, Israel and Jordan. Israel would not
object to this, but the problem is that the level of desperation
achieved in Palestine might prove so chaotic that it either would
threaten Israeli national security or set into motion processes
in the Arab world -- and among Israel's Western allies -- that
would increase pressure on Israel. In other words, the Israelis
would wind up strategically where they started, with the non-
trivial exception of fewer or no suicide bombings.

The other scenario is that the Palestinians do merge with Jordan,
but -- given the dynamics of the Arab and Islamic worlds -- the
new nation-state does not moderate but instead generates, with
assistance from other Arabs, a major military strike force for
whom the fence represents at most a minor tactical barrier rather
than a strategic force. Under this scenario, the consequences
would be a return to the strategic situation of 1948-1967 (except
for Egypt's participation), with a potentially more powerful
enemy to the east. If Egypt were to change its policies, the
outcome could be strategically disastrous for Israel.

The problem with the fence, therefore, is this:

1. If it is to be effective as a barrier, it must be nearly
absolute; large-scale movement cannot be permitted.
2. If a Palestinian state is isolated, it would develop a
dependency on Jordan that could topple the Hashemite regime,
creating a potential strategic threat to Israel.

The fence strategy works only if the Palestinian-Jordanian
relationship yields a politically moderate Palestinian state.
That might happen, but there is no reason to be certain that it
will. The essential purpose of the fence is to give Israel
control of its security. The problem is that Israel can control
the construction of the fence, but not the evolution of events
after the fence is built. At some point in the process, Israel
becomes dependent on the actions of others.

This is Israel's core strategic dilemma. At some point, no matter
what it does, it becomes dependent on events that are not under
its control. In some scenarios, solving the problem of suicide
bombings leads into a massive deterioration of Israel's strategic
position. Israeli leaders obviously want to avoid that, but the
fence pushes out the strategic problem and paradoxically
intensifies it, rather than solving it. Israeli security
continues to depend on the decisions of the Palestinians. The
fence is an attempt to take control of Israel's future out of
Palestinian hands and place it securely in Israeli hands, but the
fact is that what the Palestinians do will continue to affect
Israel's security.

As is frequently the case in this world, Israel does not have
good choices. It has to make some bad ones work.


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« Reply #33 on: August 11, 2003, 03:10:45 PM »

Geopolitical Diary: Monday, Aug. 11, 2003

Over the weekend, major rioting broke out in the southern Iraqi city of
Basra. Basra is a Shiite city near the Iranian border and heavily influenced by Iran. If the rioting in Basra is not contained or -- more important -- if it spreads to the rest of Iran's Shiite regions, then the occupation of Iraq will have taken a dramatic turn, one that could define the future of the Anglo-American occupation. The events in Basra are of fundamental strategic importance.

To this point, the United States has faced a guerrilla war concentrated in
the Sunni regions of the country. The first assumption about this rising was that it represented a follow-on war plan of the Iraqi military, and that
militants reported to former President Saddam Hussein through his sons. His sons are dead, and if we are to believe the U.S. Defense Department, Hussein is on the run. That means that the first assumption about the guerrillas is wrong: Their operations are continuing, even with their supposed command structure shattered.

It follows that the Sunni insurrection is more deeply embedded and more
difficult to defeat than first surmised. The guerrillas appear to be the
remnants of parts of the Iraqi army -- more Islamist than Baathist, joined
with foreign Islamic operatives. They are increasing their operations and,
according to the U.S. military, becoming more effective. They have targeted not only U.S. troops but also Iraqis who are collaborating against the regime. They have proven a tough enemy so far.

Last week, the U.S. command in Iraq announced a shift in strategy, in which the number of intrusive sweeps into the Sunni community would be curtailed. Part of the reason for this decision is that these sweeps were proving ineffective. Another part is that the operations were fostering hostility against the United States and therefore increasing guerrilla capabilities. Essentially, this has left the United States searching for an effective strategy for dealing with the guerrillas.

Washington has two strategic options at this moment. The first is an enclave strategy, such as we have seen in Afghanistan; the second is to find an ally inside Iraq who is willing to share the burden. We have argued over the past weeks that the only force in Iraq that can take the burden away from the United States is the Iraqi Shiites. We have made two points about this: First, that their price will be the establishment of a Shiite-dominated government in Iraq, and second, that the path to an agreement with the Iraqi Shiites ultimately runs through Tehran, because the Iranians ultimately have the ability either to destabilize Shiite Iraq or to lead the Shiites into a coalition.

We have argued that intense, secret discussions in fact are taking place
between the United States and Iran in several venues, dealing with a range of issues that separate the two countries. Over the weekend, the U.S. Defense Department disclosed that an old figure in covert U.S.-Iranian relations who helped -- if that's the word -- organize parts of the
Iran-Contra relationship in the 1980s, Manucher Ghorbanifar, has been in
discussions with U.S. officials for about two years. Ghorbanifar undoubtedly is one of the lesser channels being used for these discussions. Newsday broke the story, and it is, in our opinion, merely the tip of the iceberg. The issue is not whether Ghorbanifar is a nice man -- which seemed the media's concern. The issue is what is being discussed between U.S. and Iranian officials.

Obviously, the topic of discussion is whether the United States will be able
to reach an accommodation with Tehran in particular and Shiites specifically to split the Islamic world and help put down the guerrilla war using Shiite forces. There are a host of subsidiary issues, such as exchanges of al Qaeda prisoners for Mujahideen e-Khalq militants, the structure of the Iraqi government, Iranian-U.S. intelligence-sharing, who will dominate Iraq's economy and how, and so on. The heart of the  matter is whether Iran will deliver the Iraqi Shiites and, most important, if it will restrain them, keeping them both from joining the guerrillas or staging a massed uprising -- an intifada -- that will make the British position in the south untenable.

This brings us back to the urgent question of riots in Basra this weekend.
This is absolutely the worst thing that could happen to the United States in
Iraq: If the Shiites move to a general uprising and there is an unmanageable guerrilla war in the north, the entire purpose of the Iraqi invasion will be lost and the April victory will give way to defeat. The United States does not have the ability to govern Iraq if the Shiites rise up. If Pentagon officials assert otherwise, then it's time they take jobs in the food service industry. Containing a massed Shiite rising -- even including shooting protesters down in the streets -- is not going to happen.

Therefore, the burning question is, what happened in Basra? If this was a
spontaneous rising in response to an incident, then it's one thing. We are
not really big on coincidence. Thousands of demonstrators could be out there spontaneously protesting poor electrical service, but we strongly suspect that there was planned organization behind it. Anything more than a couple of hundred demonstrators don't just happen.

That brings us to the more significant question: Is this a move by Iranians
and Iraqi Shiite leaders to create a massive rising in the south, or is this
a reminder from Tehran, at a strategic moment in the negotiations with
Washington, that the Iranians are holding some very high cards in this poker game? We do not believe that Iran is ready to walk from the table quite yet. On the other hand, events within Iran indicate some sort of power struggle is under way, probably over relations with the United States, and an entity other than the government might be organizing demonstrations. Yet our best guess is that the negotiations are at a critical juncture and the Iranians decided to raise the ante.

There are, of course, a variety of Shiite factions in Iraq that don't draw
their inspiration from Iran. But in the past 20 years, it has been Iranian
intelligence that has worked with the Shiites in Iraq, and Iran that
provided refuge for many of their leaders. The Iranians might not hold all
the cards in Iraq, but they hold enough to be able to create chaos. Iran
seems to have signaled its willingness to create chaos to the United States; Washington is not going to be able to ignore it. At some point soon, U.S. officials either will have to decide on an effective military strategy in Iran and go it alone, or cut a deal. The Iranians are letting the United States know that they don't have all day -- and that the price will be high.


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« Reply #34 on: August 13, 2003, 01:15:21 PM »
As They Were Saying . . .


Critics of the war are back in business. The Bush administration, they say, decided to go to war regardless of the facts. Having made that decision, it then amassed as much evidence to support its case as it could, to the point of intentionally exaggerating (or worse) the threat posed by Saddam Hussein's regime. The charge is false -- demonstrably so.

The Bush case for going into Iraq was based largely on findings of U.N. and International Atomic Energy Agency weapons inspectors, as well as those of other governments. The case for war was nearly identical to the one made by Democrats like President Clinton and Sens. Daschle and Kerry. In case the critics suffer from amnesia, here are just a few of their judgments that pre-date the Bush administration:

? When President Clinton addressed the nation on Dec. 16, 1998 -- after ordering a strike on military and security targets in Iraq -- he said: "[The] mission is to attack Iraq's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs and its military capacity to threaten its neighbors. [The] purpose is to protect the national interest of the United States, and indeed the interests of people throughout the Middle East and around the world. Saddam Hussein must not be allowed to threaten his neighbors or the world with nuclear arms, poison gas or biological weapons."
? On the same day, Vice President Gore made this statement: "If you allow someone like Saddam Hussein to get nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, chemical weapons, biological weapons, how many people is he going to kill with such weapons? He's already demonstrated a willingness to use these weapons. He poison-gassed his own people. He used poison gas and other weapons of mass destruction against his neighbors. This man has no compunction about killing lots and lots of people. So this is a way to save lives and to save the stability and peace of a region of the world that is important to the peace and security of the entire world."
? Sen. Tom Daschle said a 1998 use-of-force resolution would "send as clear a message as possible that we are going to force, one way or another, diplomatically or militarily, Iraq to comply with international law." And he vigorously defended President Clinton's inclination to use military force in Iraq. Summing up the Clinton administration's argument, Mr. Daschle said, "We have exhausted virtually our diplomatic effort to get the Iraqis to comply with their own agreements and with international law. Given that, what other option is there but to force them to do so? That's what they're saying. This is the key question. And the answer is we don't have another option. We have got to force them to comply, and we are doing so militarily."
? On Feb. 23, 1998, Sen. John Kerry agreed. "If there is not unfettered, unrestricted, unlimited access per the U.N. resolution for inspections, and Unscom cannot in our judgment appropriately perform its functions, then we obviously reserve the rights to press that case internationally and to do what we need to do as a nation in order to be able to enforce those rights. . . . Saddam Hussein has already used these weapons and has made it clear that he has the intent to continue to try, by virtue of his duplicity and secrecy, to continue to do so. That is a threat to the stability of the Middle East. It is a threat with respect to the potential of terrorist activities on a global basis. It is a threat even to regions near but not exactly in the Middle East."
? Richard Butler, who headed the U.N. team investigating Iraq's weapons programs, said: "The fundamental problem with Iraq remains the nature of the regime itself: Saddam Hussein is a homicidal dictator who is addicted to weapons of mass destruction." Mr. Butler also wrote in his book, "The Greatest Threat," "t would be foolish in the extreme not to assume that [Saddam] is developing long-range missile capabilities, at work again on building nuclear weapons; and adding to the chemical and biological warfare weapons he concealed during the UNSCOM inspection period."
? According to the New Yorker, in March 2002 August Hanning, the chief of German intelligence, said this: "It is our estimate that Iraq will have an atomic bomb in three years."
? Salman Yassin Zweir, a design engineer employed by the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission for 13 years, said that in August 1998 -- four months before U.N. weapons inspectors were expelled from Iraq -- Saddam ordered his scientists to resume work on a program aimed at making a nuclear bomb. When Mr. Zweir refused to rejoin the nuclear-weapons program, he was beaten with iron bars for three weeks. He fled to Jordan in October 1998. Saddam "is very proud of his nuclear team," according to Mr. Zweir. "He will never give up the dream of being the first Arab leader to have a nuclear bomb."
? In August 1995, Saddam's son-in-law, Hussein Kamel -- who had been in charge of Iraq's chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons program -- defected to Jordan. (He was later killed on Saddam's orders.) He provided information to Unscom, IAEA, and foreign intelligence agencies about Iraq's chemical, biological, and nuclear capabilities. These revelations badly damaged Iraq's credibility and Iraqi officials eventually admitted to Unscom officials that their previously hidden arsenal included (according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies) more than 100,000 gallons of botulinum toxin; more than 22,000 gallons of anthrax; more than 900 gallons of gas gangrene; more than 500 gallons of aflatoxin; four metric tons of VX nerve gas; and 2.7 gallons of ricin.
? Last October the director of Central Intelligence issued a National Intelligence Estimate of Iraq's continuing programs of weapons of mass destruction. That document contained the consensus judgments of the intelligence community, based upon the best information available about the Iraqi threat. The NIE reported, "We judge that Iraq has continued its weapons of mass destruction program, in defiance of UN Resolutions and restrictions. Baghdad has chemical and biological weapons, as well as missiles with ranges in excess of UN restrictions. If left unchecked, it probably will have a nuclear weapon during this decade."

The media has focused enormous attention on the State Department's dissent on whether Iraq pursued natural uranium in Africa. The department also said that "the Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research believes that Saddam continues to want nuclear weapons and that available evidence indicates that Baghdad is pursuing at least a limited effort to maintain and acquire nuclear weapon-related capabilities."

That Iraq posed a threat to America's security and world peace was a view shared by Democrats as well as Republicans; by the U.N. as well as the U.S.; by American intelligence agencies and by intelligence agencies of almost every nation that looked into this matter. Facts are stubborn things. Even the passage of time doesn't erode them.

Mr. Weber is a former Republican congressman from Minnesota.

Updated August 13, 2003


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« Reply #35 on: August 13, 2003, 10:52:45 PM »
Please feel free to send the Stratfor Weekly to a friend
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13 August 2003
by Dr. George Friedman

Military Doctrine, Guerrilla Warfare and Counter-Insurgency


The current situation in Iraq requires revisiting the basic
concepts behind counter-insurgency. Iraq now is an arena in which
counter-insurgency doctrine is being implemented. Historically,
counter-insurgency operations by large external powers have not
concluded positively. Vietnam and Afghanistan are the obvious
outcomes, although there have been cases where small-scale
insurgencies have been contained. The actual scale of the Iraqi
insurgency is not yet clear. What is clear is that it is a
problem in counter-insurgency, which is itself a doctrine with


The current situations in Iraq, Chechnya and Afghanistan
demonstrates the central problem of modern warfare. Contemporary
warfare was forged during World War II, when the three dominant
elements of the modern battlefield reached maturity: the aircraft
carrier-submarine combination in naval warfare, the fighter and
bomber combination in aerial warfare and the armored fighting
vehicle/self-propelled artillery combination on land. Tied
together with electromagnetic communications and sensors, this
complex of systems has continued to dominate modern military

It was not the weapons systems themselves that defined warfare.
Rather, it was the deeper concept -- the idea that technology was
decisive in war. The armed forces of all major combatants in the
20th century were organized to optimize the use of massed
technology. The neatly structured echelons in each sphere of
warfare were designed not only to manage and maintain the
equipment, but also to facilitate their orderly deployment on the
battlefield. Even the emergence of nuclear weapons did not change
the basic structure of warfare. It remained technically focused,
with the military organization built around the needs of the

The modern armored division, carrier battle group and fighter or
bomber wing represent the optimized organization built around a
technology designed to assault industrialized armies and
societies. They remain the basic structure of modern warfare, and
they carry out that function well. However, as the United States
discovered in Vietnam and the Soviet Union discovered in
Afghanistan, this force structure is not particularly effective
against guerrilla forces.

The essential problem is that the basic unit of guerrilla warfare
is the individual and the squad. They are frequently unarmed --
having hidden their weapons -- and when armed, they carry man-
portable weapons such as rifles, rocket-propelled grenades or
mortars. When unarmed, they cannot be easily distinguished from
the surrounding population. And they arm themselves at a time and
place of their choosing -- selected to minimize the probability
of detection and interception.

Guerrilla war, particularly in its early stages, is extremely
resistant to conventional military force because the massed
systems that dominate mainstream operations cannot engage the
guerrilla force. Indeed, even if collateral damage were not an
issue -- and it almost always is -- the mass annihilation or
deportation of a population does not, in itself, guarantee the
elimination of the guerilla force. So long as a single survivor
knows the location of the weapons caches, the guerrilla movement
can readily revive itself.

Therefore, in modern military thinking, a second, parallel
military structure has emerged: counter-insurgency forces.
Operating under various names, counter-insurgency troops try to
overcome the lack of surgical precision of conventional forces.
They carry out a number of functions:

1. Engage guerrilla forces on a symmetrical level, while having
access to technologically superior force as needed.
2. Collect intelligence on guerrilla concentrations for use by
larger formations.
3. Recruit and train indigenous forces to engage guerrilla
4. Organize operations designed to drive a wedge between the
guerrillas and population.

The basic units carrying out these counter-insurgency missions
have two components. First, there are Special Forces -- highly
trained and motivated light infantry -- intended to carry out the
primary missions. Second, there are more conventional forces,
either directly attached to the primary group or available on
request, designed to multiply the force when it becomes engaged.

During the first stages of U.S. involvement in Vietnam, counter-
insurgency units -- designated Special Forces or Green Berets --
carried out these operations.

Two fundamental and unavoidable weaknesses were built into the

The number of trained counter-insurgency troops available was
insufficient. The measure to be used for sufficiency is not the
number of guerrillas operating. Rather, the question is the size
of the population -- regardless of political inclination -- that
must be sorted through and managed to get through to the
guerrillas. This means there is a massive imbalance between the
guerrilla force and the counter-insurgency force that is
intensified by the need for security. Guerrillas operate in a
target-rich environment. The need to provide static security
against attacks on critical targets generates an even greater
requirement for forces, although not necessarily of counter-
insurgency forces.

The huge commitment of forces needed to begin the suppression of
a guerrilla force cannot be managed by an external power. Unless
the target country is extremely small both in terms of population
and geography, the logistical costs of force projection for a
purely external force are prohibitive. That means that a
successful force must recruit and utilize an indigenous force
that serves two purposes. First, they serve as the backbone of
the main infantry force, both defending key targets and serving
as follow-on forces in major engagements.

Second, since the counter-insurgency force normally needs intense
cultural and political guidance to separate guerrillas from the
population, these forces provide essential support -- from
interpreters to intelligence -- for the counter-insurgency team.

This leads directly to the second problem. The guerrillas can
easily penetrate an indigenous force, particularly if that force
is being established after the guerrilla operation has commenced.
Recruiting a police and military force after the guerrillas are
established guarantees that guerrilla agents will be well
represented among the ranks. Since it is impossible to
distinguish between political views using technical means of
intelligence, there is no effective way to screen these out --
particularly if the first round of recruitment and organization
is being carried out by the external power.

This means that from the beginning of operations, the guerrillas
have a built-in advantage. Having penetrated the indigenous
military force, the guerrillas will have a great deal of
information on the tactical and operational level. At that point,
the very sparseness of the guerrilla movement starts to work to
its advantage. Hidden in terrain or population, armed with
information on operations, guerrillas can either decline combat
and disperse, or seize the element of surprise.

The reverse always has been the intention for counter-insurgency
forces, the idea being that they would mirror the guerrillas'
capability. This sometimes happened on a tactical level. However,
the ability of foreign forces to penetrate guerrilla movements on
the operational level was severely limited for obvious reasons.
It was tough for an American to masquerade as a Vietnamese. It
potentially could be done, but not on a decisive scale. That
means that penetration on the operational level -- knowing plans
and implementation -- depended on indigenous allies whose
reliability was often questionable. Therefore, the ability of the
counter-insurgency forces to mimic the guerrillas was
constrained. In neither Vietnam nor Afghanistan was the
operational intelligence of the counter-insurgency forces equal
to that of the guerrillas.

The normal counter to this was to use imprecise intelligence and
compensate for it with large-scale operations. So, one counter
for not having precise knowledge of the location of guerrillas
was to use large, mobile formations to move in and occupy a
region, in an attempt to identify, engage and destroy guerrilla
formations. This had two consequences. First, it meant a
violation of the rules of the economy of forces as battalions
were used to search for squads. In this case, massive superiority
in forces did not necessarily translate to strategic success. The
guerrillas, disaggregated in the smallest practicable unit, could
not be strategically crushed.

Second, the nature of the operation created inevitable political
problems. Operations of this sort were not dominated by
specialized counter-insurgency units, which were at least trained
in discriminatory warfare -- trying to distinguish guerrillas
from neutral or friendly population. By the nature of the
operation, regular troops were used to seize an area and search
for the guerrillas. Since the area was frequently populated and
since the attacking troops had little ability to discriminate, it
resulted frequently in the mishandling of civilian populations,
hostility against the attackers and sympathy for the guerrillas.
Then, counter-insurgency troops, already handicapped in their own
way, were brought in to pacify the region. The result was
unsatisfactory, to say the least.

This points to the essential problem of guerrilla war. At its
lowest level -- before it evolves into a stage where it has
complex logistical requirements supplied from secure areas in and
out of the country -- guerrilla war is political rather than
military in nature. The paradox of guerrilla war is that it is
easier to defeat militarily once the guerrilla force has matured
into a more advanced, and therefore more vulnerable, entity.
However, by the time it has evolved, the likelihood is that the
political situation has deteriorated sufficiently that even heavy
attrition will be overcome through massive recruitment within the
disaffected population.

The loss of the political war makes a war of attrition extremely
difficult. As both the Soviets and Americans discovered, the
ability of the outside force to absorb casualties is inferior to
that of the indigenous force, if the indigenous force is
politically motivated. Since the process of suppressing early-
stage guerrilla movements almost guarantees the generation of
massive political hostility, the later war -- which should be
favorable to the counter-insurgency forces -- turns out to be
impossible to win. Even extreme attrition ratios are overcome by

The dilemma facing the United States in Iraq is to surgically
remove the guerrilla force from the population without generating
a political backlash that will fuel a long-term insurgency
regardless of levels of attrition. This is much easier to say
than to do. The heart of the matter is intelligence -- to deny
the guerrillas intelligence about U.S. operations while gathering
massive intelligence about the guerrillas. The only way to win
the war is to reverse, at the earliest possible phase, the
intelligence equation. The guerrillas must be confused and
blinded; the Americans must maintain transparency of the

That is clearly what the United States now is attempting to do.
It is limiting its search-and-seize operations while massively
increasing its intelligence capabilities. This is happening both
in terms of human intelligence and technical means of
intelligence. It is unclear whether this will work. Human
intelligence is political in nature and requires extreme
expertise with the culture, without dependency on indigenous
elements that might be unreliable. It is very difficult for
someone from Kansas, however gifted in the craft of intelligence,
to make sense of a tactical situation -- and at this point, the
guerrillas present only a tactical face.

It is nevertheless the key to any hope for success. It also is an
operation that will take an extended period of time. Washington's
hope obviously is that by curtailing the United States' own
large-scale operations and moving into an intense intelligence
phase, the guerrilla operations will alienate the population. It
is possible but difficult. It also will take time. But it is
clear that the United States is in the process of rewriting parts
of the counter-insurgency book and, therefore, is beginning to
write a new -- and as yet uncertain -- chapter in military


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« Reply #36 on: August 22, 2003, 01:19:27 PM »


Iran: Could Cooperation With U.S. Put Tehran in Al Qaeda's


Iran's national security chief claims that country, like the
United States, has been a target of al Qaeda plots. Tehran may be
manipulating the facts, but if it steps up cooperation with the
United States against al Qaeda, it could in fact become a target
in the future.


The secretary-general of Iran's Supreme National Security
Council, Hassan Rowhani, says Iran has foiled several al Qaeda
attacks, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported late
Aug. 17. The agency quoted Hassan as saying that Iran had been
battling al Qaeda for some time, and that Tehran had arrested
hundreds of suspected militants.

Rowhani's statements are a direct signal to the United States
that Iran is cooperating in the U.S. war against al Qaeda. Tehran
and Washington are currently in talks focused on two issues: the
situation in Iraq and Iran's harboring of al Qaeda members. In
reality, it is unclear if Tehran has ever been targeted by al
Qaeda, or if it will aid Washington's efforts to dismantle the
organization. The risk for Iran, however, is that its cooperation
with the United States could prompt al Qaeda to retaliate against
the country itself.

Iran's relationship with al Qaeda is of prime importance to the
United States. Washington believes one key to pre-empting further
attacks is to deny the group sanctuary, especially in countries
hostile to the United States. Washington also believes this will
be vital in preventing al Qaeda from regrouping.

Iran -- an Islamic state that is adjacent to Iraq, Afghanistan
and Pakistan, and shares some of al Qaeda's goals -- makes an
attractive host country for the group. Like Osama bin Laden's
network, Tehran wants to see the United States withdraw from the
Arabian Peninsula. Iran aspires to become the regional hegemon,
but it cannot do so as long as the U.S. military dominates the
area. Second, Iran sees instability stirred by al Qaeda in
countries like Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen as advantageous
to its influence over these states.

There are, however, reasons for discord between Iran and al
Qaeda. For one thing, the militant group hopes to establish a
Sunni Islamic caliphate, but Iran is predominantly Shia.
Moreover, an al Qaeda-inspired regime in Riyadh ultimately would
rival Tehran's influence in the region. These issues are real,
though can perhaps be glossed over in the short term. In
addition, Iranian diplomats tell Stratfor that al Qaeda has long
plotted and carried out attacks against Iranian assets --
including its airliners -- inside the country.

Iranian officials are now in senior-level talks with the United
States, and recent events point to progress on the terms of
cooperation. On Aug. 17, IRNA reported that Iraq would reopen its
embassy in Tehran on Sept. 1, 2003 -- a move that suggests Iran
is willing to expand diplomatic ties with U.S.-occupied Iraq. It
also indicates an indirect acceptance of the U.S. rule in
Baghdad, as well as perhaps a new avenue for talks and

Two days earlier, the U.S. State Department announced that it
would close two of the Washington offices of the Mujahideen e-
Khalq (MKO), an Iranian opposition group. Tehran has been angered
by the U.S.-MKO alliance since U.S. military troops seized
Baghdad. Washington's attempts to distance itself from the group,
which is based in Iraq and has fought a decades-long war against
the clerical regime in Tehran, signal a concession to Tehran.

The U.S.-Iranian talks are intended to prevent a clash between
the two countries and to reduce U.S. anxiety about Tehran's
relationship with al Qaeda. During a meeting with Australian
Foreign Minister Alexander Downer in late May, Rowhani claimed
that Iran had been battling al Qaeda even before Sept. 11 --
arresting more than 500 members and deporting scores to other
countries. Australia is a close U.S. ally, and Rowhani's
statements were meant for Washington's ears as well as

Rowhani's statement now that al Qaeda had planned to attack
inside Iran emerges at an interesting time -- at a point when the
U.S.-Iranian talks seem to be making progress. The claim might be
meant to demonstrate a shared concern with Washington, though the
plots themselves -- if they did in fact exist -- likely predated
the detente between Washington and Tehran.

In Rowhani's words, "Their [Al Qaeda's] plans for a wide range of
terrorist acts inside Iran were neutralized by our intelligence
organizations." This comment suggests a time frame that likely
would span the last several months, at the very least.
Intelligence agencies aren't known to operate with lightning
speed, and uncovering such plots can take weeks, months or even
years. In addition, Rowhani claimed in May -- when Tehran and
Washington were still doing more shadowboxing than secret talking
-- that his government had started the crackdown on al Qaeda
years ago.

Iran has reason to worry. Al Qaeda is no doubt unhappy with the
Khamanei-Khatami government's cooperation with the Bush
administration, nor will it appreciate Tehran's willingness to
extradite its members to other countries like Egypt, Kuwait or
Saudi Arabia, where members of the network would be tortured and
jailed, if not executed.

Various reports, rumors and flies on the wall have claimed that
several senior-level al Qaeda members are hiding out in Iran,
including Egyptians Ayman al Zawahiri and Seif al Adel, Kuwaiti
Sulaiman Abu Ghaith and Osama bin Laden's son, Saad. If Tehran
were to extradite these men, it would deal a crippling blow to al
Qaeda. A few small-scale attacks aimed at destabilizing Tehran
would not be an unexpected response.


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« Reply #37 on: August 28, 2003, 06:56:29 AM »


, , , ,

Geopolitical Diary: Thursday, Aug. 28, 2003

Richard Perle, ex-chairman of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board, announced today that mistakes were made in Iraq. Perle no longer holds an official position in the U.S. administration, but he still has clout with the likes of U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz. Perle's admission, unofficial and deniable though it is, indicates that the Defense Department has not completely lost touched with reality -- although the statement reveals no more than the merely self-evident.

Perle's description of the error is interesting: "Our principal mistake, in
my opinion, was that we didn't manage to work closely with the Iraqis before the war, so that there was an Iraqi opposition capable of taking charge immediately. Today, the answer is to hand over power to the Iraqis as soon as possible." Turning over Iraq to the Iraqis is an excellent idea, save that he does not specify which Iraqis he has in mind. Obviously it isn't Saddam Hussein or the Baath Party. So the question is -- who, exactly?

Iraq is divided along many lines. There are distinctions between Kurdish,
Sunni and Shiite Iraq. Other groups have tribal distinctions; still others
have political ones. These differences are not trivial, at least not to the
people of Iraq. There are deep and serious divisions that have, over the
centuries, deepened into profound distrust. Under Hussein, a generation of brutality drove deep wedges between Sunni and Shiite and other groups. Referring to them as "the Iraqi people" creates a fiction. Their loyalty does not go to the nation-state so much as to other institutions --
religious, tribal and ethnic.

Therefore, admitting to the mistake of not turning Iraq over to the Iraqis
completely misses the point. Since Perle is a very smart man, he knows that. He isn't suggesting turning Iraq over to the Iraqis. That would lead to
partition, chaos and civil war, or the reinstitution of dictatorship. What
Perle means is that the United States should have turned Iraq over to the
administrative council it created, one containing representatives of some
groups but not others.

The problem with the administrative council is that it has no inherent
power -- no army, no police force, no ability to tax, no budget. The council is in no sense representative. The most that it can do is serve as cover for the United States -- and not very plausible cover at that. To the extent that this board can act, it must do so through the United States, which does have an army, controls the police and holds the purse strings. The administrative council presides over nothing.

Institutions do exist to which the United States can transfer power. For
example, among the Shiites in the south, divided though they are, dwell
leaders with legitimacy among the public. They could rule in their own
regions, at the very least. The problem with this, though, is that they
don't want what the United States wants them to want, namely, a secular
democratic society. What they do want is an Islamic society modeled to some extent on Iran. They're also interested in dominating all of Iraq.

So the problem with the desire to democratize Iraq is that the Iraqis, were they to vote, would neither come to a consensus on who should lead them, nor, more importantly, choose the kind of regime the United States prefers. Turning Iraq over to the Iraqis won't rectify mistakes unless the United States is prepared to make deals allowing people whom the United States fears -- like the Shiites -- to govern in a way Washington detests.

Accepting that U.S. interest in Iraq is not nation-building, but prosecuting
the war on al Qaeda, means that we can look at Perle's statement and
acknowledge this: If he meant by his statement that the United States should make deals with traditional leaders to let them govern in their own way, then turning Iraq over to the Iraqis might work. But if he believes that the current administrative structure can govern Iraq, then mistakes will continue.

This is the problem the Bush administration faces. Understanding that the
United States cannot simply rule Iraq, but must allow the Iraqis to do so,
means grasping the fact that Iraq is not Wisconsin. There's not an American inside of every Iraqi struggling to get out. The military mission in Iraq -- to pressure the surrounding states -- still can be carried out. Iraqi factions can even be co-opted. But until the U.S. administration accepts the fact that Iraq will not be remade into anything resembling the kind of regime it wants, progress is difficult to imagine.

This does not mean that the war cannot be prosecuted. It does mean that the prosecution requires subtlety.


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« Reply #38 on: September 02, 2003, 05:43:07 PM »
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02 September 2003

by Dr. George Friedman

An Unlikely Alliance


Though the recent death of SCIRI leader Ayatollah Mohammad Baqir al-Hakim would appear to be raising the level of turmoil within Iraq, it might in fact help to push the United States and Iran toward a powerful -- if seemingly unlikely -- alignment.


The death of Shiite Ayatollah Mohammad Baqir al-Hakim, the leader of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), appears to have exacerbated the turmoil in Iraq. In fact, it opens the door to some dramatic shifts that might help stabilize the U.S. position in Iran. Indeed, it might even lead to a fundamental redrawing of the geopolitical maps of the region -- as dramatic as the U.S.-Chinese alignment against the Soviet Union in the 1970s.

To understand what is happening, we must note two important aspects of the al-Hakim affair. First, though far from being pro-American, al-Hakim was engaged in limited cooperation with the United States, including -- through SCIRI -- participating in the U.S.-sponsored Iraq Governing Council. Second, upon his death, Iran announced a three-day mourning period in his honor. Al-Hakim, who had lived in exile in Iran during much of Saddam Hussein's rule in Baghdad, was an integral part of the Shiite governing apparatus -- admired and loved in Iran.

We therefore have two facts. First, al-Hakim was engaged in
limited but meaningful collaboration with the United States,
which appears to be why he was killed. Second, he was intimately connected to Iranian ruling circles, and not just to those circles that Americans like to call "reformers." If we stop and think about it, these two facts would appear incompatible, but in reality they reveal a growing movement toward alignment between the United States and Iran.

The United States has realized that it cannot pacify Iraq on its own. One proposal, floated by the State Department, calls for a United Nations force -- under U.S. command -- to take control of Iraq. This raises three questions. First, why would any sane country put its forces at risk -- under U.S. command, no less -- to solve America's problems if it doesn't have to? Second, what would additional outside forces, as unfamiliar with Iraq as U.S. forces are, add to the mix, save more confusion? Finally, what price would the United States have to pay for U.N. cooperation; for instance, would the U.N. presence place restrictions on U.S. operations against al Qaeda?

Another proposal, floated by Defense Advisory Board Chairman Richard Perle, suggests that the way out is to turn Iraq over to Iraqis as quickly as possible rather than prolonging a U.S. occupation. The problem with Perle's proposal is that it assumes a generic Iraq, unattached to any subgrouping -- religious, ethnic or ideological -- that not only is ready to take the reins, but is capable of governing. In other words, Perle's proposal would turn Iraq over to whom?

Putting the Kurdish issue aside, the fundamental fault line
running through Iraqi society is the division between Sunni and Shiite. The Shiite majority dominates the area south of Baghdad. The Sunni minority, which very much includes Hussein and most of the Baath Party's national apparatus, spent the past generation brutalizing the Shiites, and Hussein's group also spent that time making certain that Sunnis who were not part of their tribe were marginalized. Today, Iraq is a fragmented entity where the center of gravity, the Baath Party, has been shattered and there is no
substitute for it.

However, embedded in Perle's proposal is a simple fact. If there is a cohesive group in Iraq -- indeed a majority group -- it is the Shiites. Although ideologically and tribally fragmented, the Shiites of Iraq are far better organized than U.S. intelligence reports estimated before the war. This is due to the creation of a clandestine infrastructure, sponsored by Iranian intelligence, following the failure of U.S.-encouraged Shiite uprisings in the 1990s. While Washington was worried about the disintegration of Iraq and the growth of Iranian power, Tehran was preparing for the day that Hussein's regime would either collapse or be destroyed by the United States.

As a result, and somewhat to the surprise of U.S. intelligence, organizations were in place in Iraq's Shiite regions that were able to maintain order and exercise control after the war. British authorities realized this early on and tried to transfer power from British forces in Basra to local control, much to U.S. displeasure.

Initially, Washington viewed the Iranian-sponsored organization of the Shiite regions as a threat to its control of Iraq. The initial U.S. perception was that the Shiites, being bitterly anti-Hussein, would respond enthusiastically to their liberation by U.S. forces. In fact, the response was cautious and sullen. Officials in Washington also assumed that the collapse of the Iraqi army would mean the collapse of Sunni resistance. Under this theory, the United States would have an easy time in the Sunni regions -- it already had excellent relations in the Kurdish regions -- but would face a challenge from Iran in the south.

The game actually played out very differently. The United States did not have an easy time in the Sunni triangle. To the contrary: A clearly planned guerrilla war kicked off weeks after the conquest of Baghdad and has continued since. Had the rising spread to the Sunni regions, or had the Sunnis launched an intifada with massed demonstrations, the U.S. position in Iraq would have become enormously more difficult, if not untenable.

The Sunnis staged some protests to demonstrate their capabilities to the United States, but they did not rise en masse. In general, they have contented themselves with playing a waiting game -- intensifying their organization in the region, carrying out some internal factional struggles, but watching and waiting. Most interesting, rather than simply rejecting the U.S. occupation, they simultaneously called for its end while participating in it.

The key goes back to Iran and to the Sunni-Shiite split within
the Islamic world. Iran has a geopolitical problem, one it has
had for centuries: It faces a threat from the north, through the Caucasus, and a threat from the west, from whatever entity occupies the Tigris and Euphrates basin. When both threats are active, as they were for much of the Cold War, Iran must have outside support, and that support frequently turns into domination. Iran's dream is that it might be secure on both fronts. That rarely happens.

The end of the Cold War has created an unstable area in the
Caucasus that actually helps secure Iran's interests. The
Caucasus might be in chaos, but there is no great imperial power about to push down into Iran. Moreover, at about the same time, the threat posed by Iraq abated after the United States defeated it and neutralized its armed forces during Desert Storm. This created a period of unprecedented security for Iran that Tehran exploited by working to reconstruct its military and moving forward on nuclear weapons.

However, Iran's real interest is not simply Iraq's neutralization; that could easily change. Its real interest is in dominating Iraq. An Iranian-dominated Iraq would mean two things: First, the only threat to Iran would come from the north and Iran could concentrate on blocking that threat; second, it would make Iran the major native regional power in the Persian Gulf. Therefore, were Iranian-sponsored and sympathetic Shiite groups to come to power in Iraq, it would represent a massive geopolitical coup for the United States.

Initially, this was the opposite of anything the United States
wanted. One of the reasons for invading Iraq was to be able to control Iran and its nuclear capability. But the guerrilla war in the north has created a new strategic reality for Washington. The issue at the moment is not how to project power throughout the region, but how to simply pacify Iraq. The ambitions of April have given way to the realities of September.

The United States needs a native force in Iraq to carry the brunt of the pacification program. The Shiites, unlike the United Nations, already would deliver a fairly pacified south and probably would enjoy giving some payback to the Sunnis in the north. Certainly, they are both more likely to achieve success and more willing to bear the burden of pacification than is the United States, let alone any U.N. member willing to send troops. It is not, at the moment, a question of what the United States wants; it is a question of what it can have.

The initial idea was that the United States would sponsor a massive rising of disaffected youth in Iran. In fact, U.S. intelligence supported dissident university students in a plan to do just that. However, Iranian security forces crushed the rebellion effortlessly -- and with it any U.S. hopes of forcing regime change in Iran through internal means. If this were to
happen, it would not happen in a time frame relative to Washington's problems in Iraq or problems with al Qaeda. Therefore, the Iranian regime, such as it is, is the regime the United States must deal with. And that regime holds the key to the Iraqi Shiites.

The United States has been negotiating both overtly and covertly with Iran on a range of issues. There has been enough progress to keep southern Iraq quiet, but not enough to reach a definitive breakthrough. The issue has not been Iranian nuclear power. Certainly, the Iranians have been producing a nuclear weapon. They made certain that inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency saw weapons-grade uranium during an inspection in recent days. It is an important bargaining chip.

But as with North Korea, Iranian leaders know that nuclear
weapons are more valuable as a bargaining chip than as a reality. Asymmetry leads to eradication of nuclear threats. Put less pretentiously, Tehran must assume that the United States -- or Israel -- will destroy any nuclear capability before it becomes a threat. Moreover, if it has nuclear capability, what would it do with it? Even as a deterrent, retaliation would lead to national annihilation. The value of nuclear weapons in this context is less real than apparent -- and therefore more valuable in negotiations than deployment.

Tehran has hinted several times that its nuclear program is
negotiable regarding weapons. Officials also have indicated by word and deed to the United States that they are prepared to encourage Iraqi Shiites to cooperate with the U.S. occupation. The issue on the table now is whether the Shiites will raise the level of cooperation from passive to active -- whether they will move from not doing harm to actively helping to suppress the Sunni rising.

This is the line that they are considering crossing -- and the
issue is not only whether they cross, but whether the United
States wants them to cross. Obviously, the United States needs help. On the other hand, the Iranian price is enormous.
Domination of Iraq means enormous power in the Gulf region. In the past, Saudi Arabia's sensibilities would have mattered; today, the Saudis matter less.

U.S. leaders understand that making such an agreement means problems down the road. On the other hand, the United States has some pretty major problems right now anyway. Moreover -- and this is critical -- the Sunni-Shiite fault line defines the Islamic world. Splitting Islam along those lines, fomenting conflict within that world, certainly would divert attention from the United States: Iran working against al Qaeda would have more than marginal value, but not, however, as much as Saudi Arabia pulling out the stops.

Against the background of the U.S.-Iranian negotiation is the
idea that the Saudis, terrified of a triumphant Iran, will panic
and begin crushing the extreme Wahhabis in the kingdom. This has delayed a U.S. decision, as has the legitimate fear that a deal with Iran would unleash the genie. But of course, the other fear is that if Iran loses patience, it will call the Shiite masses into the streets and there will be hell to pay in Iraq.

The death of SCIRI leader al-Hakim, therefore, represents a break point. Whether it was Shiite dissidents or Sunnis that killed him, his death costs the Iranians a key ally and drives home the risks they are running with delay. They are vulnerable in Iraq. This opens the door for Tehran to move forward in a deal with the United States. Washington needs to make something happen soon.

This deal might never be formalized. Neither Iranian nor American politics would easily swallow an overt alliance. On the other hand, there is plenty of precedent for U.S.-Iranian cooperation on a covert level. Of course, this would be fairly open and obvious cooperation -- a major mobilization of Shiite strength in Iraq on behalf of the United States -- regardless of the rhetoric.

Currently, this seems to be the most likely evolution of events: Washington gets Tehran's help in putting down the Sunnis. The United States gets a civil war in the Muslim world. The United States gets Iran to dial back its nuclear program. Iran gets to dominate Iraq. The United States gets all the benefits in the near term. Iran gets its historical dream. If Roosevelt could side with Stalin against Hitler, and Nixon with Mao against Brezhnev, this collaboration certainly is not without precedence in U.S. history. But boy, would it be a campaign issue -- in both countries.


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« Reply #39 on: September 09, 2003, 03:44:40 PM »

Two Years of War
Sep 09, 2003


Two years into the war that began on Sept. 11, 2001, the primary pressure is on al Qaeda to demonstrate its ability to achieve its goals. The events of Sept. 11 were primarily intended to change the internal dynamics of the Islamic world, but not a single regime fell as a result of the Sept. 11 attacks. However, the United States -- unable to decline action -- has taken a huge risk in its response. The outcome of the battle is now in doubt: Washington still holds the resources card and can militarily outman al Qaeda, but the militant network's ability to pull off massive and unpleasant surprises should not be dismissed.


Old military communiqu?s used to read, "The battle has been joined but the outcome is in doubt." From Stratfor's viewpoint, that seems to be the best way to sum up the status of the war that began on Sept. 11, 2001, when al Qaeda operatives attacked U.S. political, military and economic targets.

Though the militants were devastatingly successful in destroying the World Trade Center and shutting down U.S. financial markets, al Qaeda did not achieve its primary goal: a massive uprising in the Islamic world. Its attack was a means toward an end and not an end in itself. Al Qaeda's primary goal was the radical transformation of the Islamic world as a preface for re-establishing the Caliphate -- a multinational Islamic empire that, at its height, stretched from the Atlantic to the Pacific oceans.

To achieve this end, al Qaeda knew that it had to first overthrow existing regimes in the Islamic world. These regimes were divided into two classes. One was made up of secular, socialist and military regimes, inspired by Gamel Abdul Nasser. This class included countries such as Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Libya. The second class comprised the formally Islamic states of the Arabian Peninsula, which Osama bin Laden referred to as "hypocrites" for policies that appeared Islamic but actually undermined the construction of the Caliphate. Finally, bin Laden had to deal with the problem of Shiite Iran, which had taken the lead in revolutionizing Islam but in which the Wahhabi and Sunni al Qaeda had little confidence.

Al Qaeda's political objective was to set into motion the process that would replace these governments with Islamist regimes. To achieve this, al Qaeda needed a popular uprising in at least some of these countries. But it reasoned that there could be no rising until the Islamic masses recognized that these governments were simply collaborators and puppets of the Christians, Jews and Hindus. Even more important, al Qaeda had to demonstrate that the United States was both militarily impotent and an active enemy of the Islamic world. The attacks would serve to convince the masses that the United States could be defeated. An ongoing war between the United States and the Islamic world would serve to convince the masses that the United States had to be defeated.

Al Qaeda had to stage an operation that would achieve these ends:

1. It had to show that the United States was vulnerable.
2. Its action had to be sufficiently severe that the United States could not avoid a counterattack.
3. The counterattack had to be, in turn, countered by al Qaeda, reinforcing the perception of U.S. weakness.

The events of Sept. 11 were intended primarily to change the internal dynamics of the Islamic world. The attacks were designed so that their significance could not be minimized in the Islamic world or in the United States -- as had been the case with prior al Qaeda strikes against U.S. interests. Al Qaeda also had to strike symbols of American power -- symbols so obvious that their significance would be understandable to the simplest Muslim. Thus, operatives struck at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and -- in a failed attack -- Congress.

As expected, the attacks riveted global attention and forced the United States to strike back, first in Afghanistan and then in Iraq. The United States could not decline combat: If it did so, al Qaeda's representation of the United States as an essentially weak power would have been emphatically confirmed. That was not an option. At the same time, optimal military targets were unavailable, so the United States was forced into suboptimal attacks.

The invasion of Afghanistan was the first of these. But the United States did not defeat the Taliban; Knowing it could not defeat U.S. troops in conventional combat -- the Taliban withdrew, dispersed and reorganized as a guerrilla force in the Afghan countryside. It is now carrying out counterattacks against entrenched U.S. and allied forces.

In Iraq, the Islamist forces appear to have followed a similar strategy within a much tighter time frame. Rather than continuing conventional resistance, the Iraqis essentially dispersed a small core of dedicated fighters -- joined by an international cadre of Islamists -- and transitioned into guerrilla warfare in a few short weeks after the cessation of major conventional combat operations.

However, al Qaeda did not achieve its primary mission -- Sept. 11 did not generate a mass uprising in the Islamic world. Not a single regime fell. To the contrary, the Taliban lost control of Afghanistan, and the regime of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein fell. Nevertheless, given its goals, al Qaeda was the net winner in this initial phase. First, the U.S. obsession about being attacked by al Qaeda constantly validated the militant network's power in the Islamic world and emphasized the vulnerability of the United States. Second, the United States threw itself into the Islamic world, adding credence to al Qaeda's claim that the country is the enemy of Islam. Finally, Washington drew a range of Islamic regimes into collaboration with its own war effort, demonstrating that these regimes -- from Saudi Arabia to Pakistan -- were in fact collaborating with the Christians rather than representing Islamic interests. Finally, by drawing the United States into the kind of war it is the least competent in waging --guerrilla war -- al Qaeda created the framework for a prolonged conflict that would work against the United States in the Islamic world and at home.

Therefore, on first reading it would appear that the war has thus far gone pretty much as al Qaeda hoped it would. That is true, except for the fact that al Qaeda has not achieved the goal toward which all of this was directed. It achieved the things that it saw as the means toward the end, and yet the end is nowhere in sight.

This is the most important fact of the war. Al Qaeda wins if the Islamic world transforms itself at least in part by establishing Islamist regimes. That simply hasn't happened, and there is no sign of it happening. Thus far, at least, whatever the stresses might have been in the Islamic world, existing regimes working in concert with the United States have managed to contain the threat quite effectively.

This might be simply a matter of time. However, after two years, the suspicion has to be raised that al Qaeda calculated everything perfectly -- except for the response. Given what has been said about the Islamic world's anger at the United States and its contempt for the corruption of many governments, the failure of a revolutionary movement to take hold anywhere raises the question of whether al Qaeda's core analysis of the Islamic world had any truth, or whether other factors are at play.

Now turn the question to the United States for a moment. The United States clearly understood al Qaeda's strategy. The government understood that al Qaeda was hoping for a massive counterattack in multiple countries and deep intrusions into other countries. Washington understood that it was playing into al Qaeda's plans; it nevertheless did so.

The U.S. analysis paralleled al Qaeda's analysis. Washington agreed that the issue was the Islamic perception of U.S. weakness. It understood, as President George W. Bush said in his Sept. 7 speech, that Beirut and Somalia -- as well as other events -- had persuaded the Islamic world that the country was indeed weak. Therefore, U.S. officials concluded that inaction would simply reinforce this perception and would hasten the unraveling of the region. Therefore, they realized that even if it played directly into al Qaeda's plan, the United States could not refuse to act.

Taking action carried with it a huge risk -- that of playing out al Qaeda's scenario. However, U.S. leaders made another bet: If an attack on the Islamic world could force or entice regimes in the area to act against al Qaeda inside their borders, then the threat could be turned around. Instead of al Qaeda trapping the United States, the United States could be trap al Qaeda. The central U.S. bet was that Washington could move the regimes in question in a suitable direction -- without their disintegration. If it succeeded, the tables could be turned.

The invasion of Iraq was intended to achieve this, and to a great extent it did. The Saudis moved against al Qaeda domestically. Syria changed its behavior. Most importantly, the Iranians shifted their view and actions. None of these regimes fell in the process. None of these actions were as thorough as the United States wanted, either -- and certainly none were definitive. Nevertheless, collaboration increased, and no regime fell.

But at this point, the battle is in doubt:

1. The United States must craft strategies for keeping both the Afghan and Iraqi campaigns at manageable levels. In particular, it must contain guerrilla activities at a level that will not be perceived by the Islamic world as a significant victory.
2. The United States must continue to force or induce nations to collaborate without bringing down any governments.
3. Al Qaeda must, at some point, bring down a government to maintain its own credibility. At this point, merely surviving is not enough.

Both sides now are caught in a battle. The United States holds the resource card: Despite insufficient planning for manpower requirements over the course of the war, the United States is still in a position to bring substantial power to bear in multiple theaters of operation. For al Qaeda, the card is another massive attack on the United States. In the short run, the network cannot do more than sustain the level of combat currently achieved. This level is insufficient to trigger the political events for which it hopes. Therefore, it has to up the ante.

The next months will give some indication of the direction the war is going. Logic tells us that the United States will contain the war in Iraq and, to a lesser extent, in Afghanistan. Logic also tells us that al Qaeda will attempt another massive attack in the United States to try to break the logjam in the Islamic world. What al Qaeda needs is a series of uprisings from the Pacific to the Atlantic that would topple existing regimes. What the United States needs is to demonstrate that it has the will and ability to contain the forces al Qaeda has unleashed.

At this moment, two years into the war, the primary pressure is on al Qaeda. It has not yet demonstrated its ability to achieve its goals; it has only achieved an ability to mobilize the means of doing so. That is not going to be enough. On the other hand, its ability to pull off massive and unpleasant surprises should not be underestimated.


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« Reply #40 on: September 11, 2003, 04:14:20 AM »

  A different point of view  , , ,


The fourth world war

For two years, the U.S. has pursued the culprits behind the 9/11
atrocities with a vengeance that has shocked and awed ally and enemy
alike. But even the devastating attacks on the Afghan and Iraqi regimes
don`t illustrate the true scope of the campaign, DOUG SAUNDERS reports.
While everyone was preoccupied with the fireworks, Washington has
quietly deployed thousands of agents in a secretive struggle that may
last a lifetime


If you happen to find yourself in Nouakchott, a dusty and rarely
visited city of three million on the far western edge of the Sahara, you
may be surprised to find an unlikely sort of character hanging around
government buildings and better hotels. These new strangers, whose ranks
have been growing steadily in recent months, are a species of
serious-looking American men who bear little resemblance to the oil
explorers and motorcycle adventurers who until recently were this city`s
only foreign visitors.

These men, the first Americans in decades to pay any attention to this
poor region, began to appear only in the past two years. With their grim
and purposeful presence, they bring a Graham Greene sort of mood to this
very remote outpost, but instead of seersucker suits and Panama hats,
they tend to wear floppy safari hats and sunglasses, the unofficial
uniform of the Central Intelligence Agency and U.S. Special Forces.

What are these quiet Americans doing in the capital of Mauritania, a
nation that has never made the front pages and sits a continent and a
half removed from the immediate interests of the United States? And what
are their colleagues in a dozen other far-flung regions doing, handing
out money and guns and hard-won secrets to governments and warlords and
military men in the southern islands of the Philippines, on the steppes
of Uzbekistan, in the dense jungle between Venezuela and Brazil?

The guys in the sunglasses have a name for this not-so-secret campaign.
They call it World War Four, an unofficial title that is now used
routinely by top officials and ground-level operatives in the U.S.
military and the CIA. It is a global war, one of the most expensive and
complex in world history. And it will mark its second anniversary this
week, on Sept. 11.

The White House would rather it be known as the war on terrorism. But in
its strategies, political risk and secrecy, it is more like the Cold
War, which the CIA types like to consider World War Three. Its central
battles, in Afghanistan and Iraq, have been traditional conflicts. But
while the public`s attention was focused on those big, controversial and
expensive campaigns, the United States was busy launching a broader war
whose battlefields have spread quietly to two dozen countries.

Iraq also was a distraction in another way: It was a shocking and
awesome display of conventional military might that is not at all
typical of the stealth, spy craft, diplomacy and dirty tricks being
employed in the wider war on terrorism. Likewise, "although Operation
Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan understandably captured the imagination
and attention of the press and public," said William Rosenau, a former
senior policy adviser in the State Department, "large-scale military
operations are arguably the smallest aspect of the counterterrorism
campaign. That campaign resembles an iceberg, with the military
component at the top, visible above the water."

Below the surface are dozens of operations, some secret and some simply
unnoticed, conducted by the CIA, the FBI, the diplomatic corps and
small, elite military squads. They have been aided by changes to U.S.
laws after Sept. 11 that allow Americans to do things once forbidden --
such as assassinating foreign figures.

And much of the war is being fought by foreign governments that are
willing and able to do things Americans wouldn`t or couldn`t. "We simply
don`t have the resources, or the inclination, to be everywhere the
terrorists and their supporters are, so we have no choice but to
co-operate with other countries and their security services," Mr.
Rosenau said during a panel discussion in Washington last week.

In some cases, that co-operation has led the United States to endorse
and enable activities that are deeply unsavoury, all in the name of
stomping out terrorism. "Counterterrorism is now 90 per cent law
enforcement and intelligence," said Jonathan Stevenson, a senior
strategist with the International Institute for Strategic Studies in
London. "Since Sept. 11, the only overt military actions have been the
Predator [missile] strike in Yemen, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq
-- and I don`t think there will be many more. I think there`s a much
higher priority placed on law enforcement and intelligence now. It`s not
a traditional war."

Whether this is actually a world war, or a large-scale police action, or
(as both critics and some supporters say) the gestation of a new
American imperialism, there is no question that it has come to span the
globe. It has caused mammoth shifts in global allegiances, in the
positioning of U.S. military bases and CIA stations, in the flow of aid
dollars, soldiers and arms across distant borders, on a scale not seen
since the Cold War began.

Over the summer, while the world`s attention was focused on Iraq, the
Pentagon was busily preparing to shift hundreds of thousands of soldiers
to new real estate, in places most Westerners known little about, in
preparation for a world war that could last decades. "Everything is
going to move everywhere," Pentagon undersecretary Douglas Feith said.
"There is not going to be a place in the world where it`s going to be
the same as it used to be."

On Sept. 11, 2001, the world looked much as it had in the 1950s, even
though the Cold War had been over for a decade. Huge concentrations of
American soldiers were based in Germany, in Japan`s outlying islands,
and in South Korea.

It was around this time that Eliot Cohen, a military strategist and
historian, referred to "World War Four" in a Wall Street Journal article
that caught the eye of many Washington officials. James Woolsey, the
former CIA director, began to use the phrase last year in speeches
calling for a far wider sphere of covert activity.

The White House officially objected to the phrase as senseless, even
offensive: The first two world wars had real enemies and real victories,
and together killed 60 million soldiers and civilians. The Cold War
wasn`t a world war at all, but the avoidance of one. And this new
operation is a "war" against an improper noun, whose enemy was not a
nation nor even an ideology but a strategy, and its death toll,
including both its actual wars, remains in the thousands.

Still, it has caught on, both among the stern-faced guys on the ground
and in Washington`s hawkish policy circles. General Tommy Franks, head
of the U.S. Central Command, was in Addis Ababa this summer to announce
that Africa`s east coast had become a region of great strategic
importance. "We are in the midst of World War Four," he told his
audience, before imploring them to arrest local Islamist leaders in
exchange for $100-million in aid, "with an insidious web of
international terrorists."

As well, the general and his colleagues are acting as though it`s a
world war, or at least a global operation on the scale of the Cold War.
They are building a new kind of military, one that will be based in
lonely places we`ve never heard of, and doing things we won`t often hear

"As we pursue the global war on terrorism, we`re going to have to go
where the terrorists are," explained Gen. James Jones, head of the U.S.
military`s European Command. "And we`re seeing some evidence, at least
preliminary, that more and more of these large uncontrolled, ungoverned
areas are going to be potential havens for that kind of activity."

So American soldiers and spooks are moving out of Germany and into
Africa -- the east now, and soon into the western Sahara and the
northern Mediterranean coast as well. They are moving out of Japan and
Korea and into Southeast Asia, which has the world`s largest Muslim
population and is believed to be the area at highest risk of al-Qaeda
outbreaks. This fall, large numbers of U.S. soldiers are expected to
land in the southern Philippines, whose Muslim terrorists are accused of
having links to al-Qaeda.

And the soldiers are also manning bases created in such central Asian
republics as Uzbekistan for the Afghan war, and on the Black Sea in
Bulgaria and Romania for the Iraq conflict, but now expected to become

And even farther afield will be hundreds of new outposts that Gen. Jones
refers to as "warm bases," "lily pads" and "virtual bases" -- temporary,
stealthy or secret operations mounted with the help of local regimes.

This has led the United States into some highly unlikely allegiances,
which may or may not be directly related to the immediate threat of
Osama bin Laden`s circle. For example, it is conducting stealth
operations in South America -- in the "tri-border" jungle region between
Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina, and on Venezuela`s exotic Margarita
Island, both of which are home to large populations of Saudi Arabian
expatriates. It is not clear whether there are actual terrorists here,
or simply people who have sent money to terrorists, or if accusations of
terrorism are being used to support local conflicts and to attract U.S.

"The downside," said Herman Cohen, former U.S. secretary of state for
Africa, "is that you can take on the agenda of local leaders."

To understand the astonishing scope and morally swampy ground of this
ever-expanding war, it is worth visiting three of its lesser-known

The unlikely winner: Djibouti

Even American generals have to search for it on a map. It is a tiny,
barren speck of sand and lava rock on Africa`s upper right-hand corner,
a country with no tangible economy, no arable land, no tourism, no
reason to matter to anyone other than its 640,000 inhabitants.

That is, until the war on terrorism came along. During the two Iraq
wars, the United States used Djibouti`s conveniently empty desert for
training and war simulations. The generals were impressed with what they
found: a nearly vacant stretch of land right across the Red Sea from the
Persian Gulf nations, and right next to the eastern African nations
believed to be the "next Afghanistan" for their burgeoning community of
Islamist terrorists.

Even better, the government of Djibouti was a lot more amenable to
American soldiers than was Saudi Arabia, the traditional U.S. base in
the region. For only a few million dollars, the Americans could do
virtually anything they wanted -- and Djibouti would do almost anything
the Americans want.

In August, the United States turned its temporary station at Djibouti`s
Camp Lemonier into permanent headquarters for the war on terrorism,
setting up elaborate electronic listening posts and erecting a small
city of concrete buildings. More than 2,000 troops are now stationed
there, with more expected to arrive as the United States vacates Saudi
Arabia. They will spend years, maybe decades, keeping a close watch on
the unstable territories of Ethiopia, Somalia, Yemen and Sudan.

"If I was a terrorist, I`d be going to places like Africa," Sergeant Jim
Lewis of the U.S. Army said recently at the Djibouti headquarters.
"That`s why we`re here. To seek them out, do whatever we can to find and
kill them."

But Djibouti is typical of the strange new alliances the United States
is willing to enter -- and of the abuses it is willing to tolerate in
order to achieve its goals. This year, it wrote cheques for $31-million
to the tiny country, making it one of the larger recipients of U.S. aid.
The cheques go to the government of President Ismael Omar Guelleh, whose
party won all the seats in January`s general election. Opposition leader
Daher Ahed Farah complained that his Democratic Renewal Party received
37 per cent of the vote but failed to win a seat. For his criticisms, he
was arrested in March and thrown into Djibouti`s notorious Gabode
prison. Other opposition leaders are forced to live in exile in France.

The State Department officially says Djibouti`s human-rights record has
"serious problems," but the Bush administration seems to see this as a
potential asset. Last week, Djibouti expelled 100,000 residents, or 15
per cent of its population, to neighbouring countries. One government
official explained that these foreign-born residents are "a threat to
the peace and security of the country . . . How do we know whether an
individual is a terrorist biding his time to cause harm, or not?" The
official denied reports that the United States had requested the

The poor human-rights record has not hurt Mr. Guelleh`s relations with
his allies. In late January, shortly after the questionable election, he
visited Washington and was personally f?ted by President George W. Bush,
National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Defence
Donald Rumsfeld -- a level of access beyond the reach of leaders such as
Prime Minister Jean Chr?tien.

When a powerful truck bomb destroyed the Marriott Hotel in Jakarta and
killed six people a month ago today, local police and military were
quick to spring into action. Within a week, they had arrested top
officials in Jemaah Islamiyah, the Indonesian branch of al-Qaeda.

And no wonder: They not only had the direct help of U.S. Special Forces
soldiers and CIA agents who had flooded into the region after Sept. 11;
they had just received a special $50-million U.S. war on terrorism
assistance package, half of which went to the police force.

But the bomb`s aftermath reminded many people of another explosive event
a dozen years earlier. In 1991, Indonesian soldiers had opened fire on
protesters demanding independence for East Timor. More than 200 were
slaughtered in an event that shocked the world. The Cold War had created
endless horrors in Indonesia, where the Americans supported both the
army and Islamist separatists, whom it saw as useful opponents to
Soviet-backed Communist independence movements.

After the slaughter, the United States began to back away, throwing
support to democracy movements throughout Southeast Asia. The one in
Indonesia flourished after the 1998 departure of strongman Suharto, and
a year later, the United States actually helped East Timor gain
independence, using its aid muscle to keep the Indonesian army on the

So now, the people of the world`s most populous Islamic nation are not
exactly happy to see themselves becoming pawns in yet another global
war. While the U.S. aid and attention are welcomed by many, they
threaten to set back the democracy movement, turn the military back into
lawless and dangerous forces, and bring back the old Cold War dynamics.

In exchange for participating in the war on terrorism, the Indonesian
government has said it wants U.S. help in fighting what it defines as
"terrorist" groups. Chief among these is the Free Aceh Movement,
generally recognized as a legitimate party calling for the independence
of a former archipelago nation now part of Indonesia. So far, Washington
has refused to co-operate, saying its list of terrorist groups includes
only those that threaten U.S. interests.

All across Southeast Asia, this pattern is being repeated: fragile
democracy movements, enjoying U.S. support after years of Cold War
suppression, are being menaced by armies and governments emboldened by
the war on terrorism. In Thailand, in Malaysia and in the Philippines,
the threat of Islamic terrorism is real -- but so is the threat created
by the war against it.

The paradox: Mauritania

To appreciate the strange new ecology of this war fully, it`s worth
visiting its most distant front, and taking a closer look at those
mysterious Americans hanging around that dusty capital on the western
edge of the Sahara.

For 19 years, the former French colony of Mauritania has been ruled by a
military strongman named Maaouyah Ould Sid Ahmed Taya, in what his
partisans describe as a democracy, one that opposition parties accuse of
bloodily repressing political dissent.

Until 2001, this was of no interest at all to the United States or any
other English-speaking country. The war on terrorism has changed
everything. In a nation with a per-capita income of a dollar a day, the
prospect of becoming a foreign client is hard to resist. When the United
States and its allies drove al-Qaeda and its supporters out of such
northern African nations as Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia shortly after
Sept. 11 (with the help of foreign-aid dollars, secret military
campaigns and a new willingness to overlook the countries` abuses), the
Mauritanians saw an opportunity.

"We acted because it was obvious to us that this was the thing to do,"
Mohamedou Ould Michel, the Mauritanian ambassador to the United States,
told the Washington Times recently. "In a world situation in which one
nation is dominant, it serves the interest of other nations to take this
into account."

The United States suspected al-Qaeda cells had moved south into the
ancient trade routes that span the Sahara from Sudan to Mauritania. This
isn`t at all certain -- even senior Pentagon and CIA officials have said
they don`t really know. But Mr. Taya, whose military regime faces a
popular Saudi-backed opposition in elections scheduled this fall, was
quick to claim that his country was under threat.

Mauritania has certainly benefited. It received a large share of a
$100-million (U.S.) military aid package for friendly West African
nations this summer. Starting this month, it will become the prime
beneficiary of the Pan-Sahelian Initiative, in which U.S. military
advisers provide weapons, vehicles and extensive military training to
special terror-fighting squads in Mali, Niger, Chad and Mauritania.

In exchange for this largesse, it has embraced the Americans,
acknowledged Israel`s existence, and cracked down hard on its Islamist
opposition parties, often with U.S. help. Those parties, whose leaders
have been driven into exile in Europe, argue that there never was any
al-Qaeda link; rather, they say, Mr. Taya has used the imprimatur of
terrorism to ban the opposition and has even tortured some leaders to
death in prison -- with full U.S. support.

His co-operation with Washington has yielded the Mauritanian leader even
greater fruit. In the predawn hours of June 8, a group of Islamists in
the military staged a violent coup d`?tat, driving tanks into the
capital and mounting a two-day gun battle. But in the end the uprising
was put down, reportedly with help from the leader`s new Western allies.

The Americans tend to view this as a victory. Most observers are frankly
amazed at how much support a few million dollars bought. "A little bit
of money sure goes a long way out there," laughs Steven Simon, a former
senior director of the U.S. National Security Council who now provides
private consulting to the Pentagon with the RAND Corporation.

Beyond the possibility of a vaporous enemy, these dubious new
allegiances pose another threat, Mr. Simon noted. What if the United
States, in its zeal to eliminate the tens of thousands of people trained
by al-Qaeda around the world, winds up providing aid and encouragement
to unpopular regimes that are doing things almost as bad?

"The risk here is one of the big paradoxes of the war on terrorism," he
said. "One of the main grievances these terrorist groups are trying to
draw attention to is that the United States is consorting with evil
regimes that repress their people. But if the United States is going to
try to eliminate these groups, it will need the help and co-operation of
these regimes and therefore could give credence to those complaints."

Mr. Simon is among a growing group of Washington hawks who worry that
the war on terrorism may indeed have become a little too much like World
War Four -- or, worse, too much like the Cold War.

"Look at the similarities: Here we have a globalized organization that
was competing for hearts and minds with the rest of the world -- like
the Cold War, the battle is being fought all over the place. And one
mistake of the Cold War was that the U.S. came to think that you have to
fight the enemy everywhere. That`s how we wound up in Vietnam, which was
a terrible mistake in every sense. We seem to be having a very similar
situation here, and making the same mistake, where you end up stuck in
one place. I`m concerned that that`s happened in Iraq, and that it could
happen elsewhere."

The Cold War at least had a tangible enemy to negotiate with. "The
difference is that here, the enemy cannot be deterred in the same way,"
Mr. Simon said. Unlike the spectre of a nuclear conflict, "there`s no
mutually assured destruction."

World War Four, if that is going to be its name, had a firm and definite
beginning, when the jetliner attacks shocked the United States back into
an international role two years ago. But there is no chance that it will
have a firm and definite end. There will be no V-T day.

"Since al-Qaeda is not an army, but an ideological, transnational
movement, there is no enemy military force physically to defeat," said
Bruce Hoffman, a Washington-based terrorism expert and military
consultant. "In fact, our enemies have defined this conflict, from their
perspective, as a war of attrition designed eventually to wear down our
resolve and will to resist."

We have become used to a "war" being something that lasts a few months
at most, possibly only days. This one could last a lifetime -- and there
is no question, given the enormous shifts in manpower and geographic
focus, that the United States is preparing for just that. "Our enemies
see this conflict as an epic struggle that will last years, if not
decades," Mr. Hoffman said. "The challenge therefore for the U.S. and
other countries enmeshed in this conflict is to maintain focus, and not
to become complacent about security or our prowess."

For the harried commanders in Washington, that will indeed be the
challenge. For the rest of the world, the far more difficult challenge
will be understanding what is really going on in this lifelong,
worldwide conflict -- what is right and what is wrong in this morally
and strategically fraught new world.

Doug Saunders writes on international affairs for The Globe and Mail.


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« Reply #41 on: September 11, 2003, 11:02:37 PM »


August 23, 2003 -- THE terrorist is the pundit's friend. Plant one seed of terror and a thousand opinions bloom in the media's heavily manured fields. In the wake of last week's bombing of the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad, we heard, yet again, that the sky was falling, that our involvement in Iraq is damned and doomed. One online "intelligence" service even predicted a vast Arab uprising, from Morocco to the Iranian border, that would bury our soldiers beneath the desert sands.

Well, the Arab world can barely get out of bed in the morning, let alone rise up against America. Remember how the "Arab Street" was going to go on a rampage if our troops invaded Iraq, how our influence in the Middle East would be lost forever?

The more we listened to last week's debates about the U.N. bombing, the less we knew. Meanwhile, some remarkable facts about the lead-up to that attack and its aftermath have gone unreported. Why? Because the truth involved American heroes. Wouldn't want that sort of  thing to get mixed in with the constant accusations of American incompetence from the hackademic legions of the left. (I'm waiting for Noam Chomsky, Radio Pacifica and Al-Jazeera to blame the U.N. bombing on the Israelis. Or on us.)

Here's the truth, relayed from within the U.N. compound:

In the weeks before the truck-bomb attack, the U.N.'s veteran security officer on site struggled, argued and begged for better protection. He knew the Canal Hotel was a vulnerable and likely target -- but the U.N. chain of command refused to acknowledge the dimensions of the threat.

The U.S. military did offer protection -- repeatedly. But U.N. bureaucrats turned it down. They didn't want to be associated with those wicked, imperialist, ill-mannered Americans. After all, everybody loves the United Nations, don't they?

Repeatedly stymied by prejudice and inertia, the U.N. security chief -- a retired U.S. Army Special Forces officer with a wealth of prior experience -- nonetheless managed to cajole his superiors into letting him build a wall around the hotel. That wall was made of reinforced concrete, almost 17 feet high and a foot thick. But U.N. officials refused to let the security officer push the wall very far out from the hotel. They didn't want to annoy anyone by limiting access to a public alley. Still, the security officer inched the wall as far out as he could.

The truck-bomber could not get inside the compound -- the security measures in place at least prevented that. But the truck was able to speed toward the wall's exterior, using the alley that "had" to be kept open. The driver knew exactly where he was going. He aimed his truck-bomb precisely to decapitate the U.N.'s in-country staff.

We all know what happened: Two dozen dead, including one of the U.N.'s most capable senior diplomats. Almost 150 wounded. A tragic day, indeed.

But without that wall and the security measures for which one American veteran fought, the hotel would have been leveled, with a death toll in the hundreds. The wall absorbed the initial force of three separate bombs packed into the truck.

And there is some justice in the world: Although his office disintegrated around him, the security officer walked out of the wreckage uninjured.

An active-duty U.S. Army officer, Lt.-Col. Jack Curran, was in charge of  local medevac operations. Weeks before the truck-bomb attack, he, too, recognized the vulnerability of the hotel compound. Diplomatically, he asked if his pilots and medical personnel could "practice medevac ops" at the U.N. headquarters. "Just for training." With the security officer's help, he got permission.

As a result, there had just been two full, onsite rehearsals for what had to be done after the bombing. Thanks to this spirited, visionary officer, our helicopters and vehicles knew exactly how to get in, where best to upload casualties and where a triage station should be set up. With impressive speed, the U.S. Army medevaced 135 U.N. employees and Iraqi civilians from the scene, saving more lives than will ever be known for certain. U.S. Army Reserve engineers and Army mortuary personnel moved in to do the grisly, demanding work of rescuing any trapped survivors and processing the dead.

Now that the damage is done, the U.S. Army's welcome. A company of our 82nd Airborne Division took over external security for the site last week.

But what were the first complaints we heard from the media "experts"? That the U.S. Army was to blame, because it failed to provide adequate security. In fact, we offered the U.N. armored vehicles. They told us to take a hike. U.N. bureaucrats put more trust in the good will of terrorists and Ba'athist butchers than they did in GI Joe. But when the U.N.'s own people lay bleeding, they were glad enough for our help. As one U.N. employee, speaking from inside the Baghdad compound,
put it to me, "It was a proud day for the U.S. Army."

Of course, no one at U.N. headquarters had any public thanks to offer our soldiers. By the end of last week, the French delegation had already warned its U.N. colleagues not to be tricked into supporting American and British efforts to help the Iraqi people just because of a terror bombing. And our own media didn't give five seconds of coverage to the superbly
professional rescue efforts our military made after the bombing.

One is tempted to say, "Next time, let the French do it." But we're Americans, of course. We'll save your sorry backsides, even after you trash us.

If the United Nations won't say it, I will: "Thanks, GI."

Ralph Peters is a retired military officer and the author of "Beyond Terror: Strategy in a Changing World."


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« Reply #42 on: September 12, 2003, 11:07:41 AM »


Geopolitical Diary: Friday, Sept. 12, 2003

A major battle erupted in the Iraqi town of Khaldiya on Thursday, Sept. 11.  A U.S. Army truck broke down and was attacked while repairs were under way.  Two U.S. tanks joined the fight, and heavy machine gun fire was exchanged.  Two U.S. vehicles were destroyed and one soldier was wounded. The interesting thing is that the U.S. command could not confirm if any Iraqi guerrillas were wounded, saying simply, "They said the attackers fired two rocket-propelled grenades at soldiers working on the truck in the afternoon. Hopefully we gave as good as we got, but I do not have confirmation of that yet."

We take that to mean that the battle ended with the guerrillas leaving the
battlefield in fairly good order -- taking casualties, if any, with them.
That the guerrillas, while reducing the number of attacks, are increasing
the intensity of individual engagements. That the guerrillas continue to be
able to choose the time and place of engagements.

Another feature of this engagement, according to Reuters' account of it, is
that a crowd gathered after the battle and chanted, "We sacrifice our blood and souls for you, Saddam." That is interesting indeed. Islamic
fundamentalists certainly would not be chanting this. Regardless of who the combatants were, the crowd -- or at least whoever organized the crowd -- still stood with Saddam Hussein. Whether this represents a genuine fondness for the man or means that he has simply become a symbol of resistance remains unclear. However, the chanting does indicate that the political nature of the resistance is extremely complex, consisting of many contradictory strands that are potentially in conflict.

The challenge the U.S. command in Iraq must face is precisely how to take advantage of these fault lines. Hussein tried to play France and the United States against each other while he was in power. The United States is trying to play Sunni and Shiite against each other. But deep within the guerrilla movement, bound together by opposition to the United States, reside very different political visions and desires. The victory of the Islamists would be a defeat for the Baathists and vice versa. Therefore, it is logical to assume that at some point the United States must seek to break apart the now-allied factions.

This points to Washington's central problem. As Thursday's battle
demonstrates, the guerrillas remain at least minimally capable. They can
organize an attack rapidly, engage in relatively intense combat, and then
withdraw in reasonable order. Unless the United States seizes the military
initiative, which depends on the generation of superior intelligence, the
guerrillas pose a difficult military problem, at least at their current
level of operations.

Manipulating the fault lines within the guerrilla movement requires a
suppleness -- indeed, a Machiavellianism -- that will be difficult for the
United States to achieve. As hard as it is to cooperate with the Shiites
without appearing to be completely unprincipled, manipulating the guerrilla movement will be infinitely more difficult. Working with one faction to weaken the other sounds good in theory, but is extremely difficult to execute politically. On the other hand, allowing the guerrillas to strike -- at will -- whenever a truck breaks down is a bitter pill.

When trying to discern what the future holds, we continue to be struck by
Washington's three choices: defeat the guerrillas, accept and absorb the
costs of a certain level of guerrilla operations or make exquisitely painful
political deals. We do not think that defeat is likely in the foreseeable
future. We do not see how U.S. strategic aims and the appearance of
helplessness when confronted by guerrillas can be reconciled. Therefore, we continue to conclude that the third choice is the only potentially effective one -- make the deals, painful as they are.

Obviously, our conclusion depends on our perception that the guerrilla war cannot be controlled, and that ongoing low-intensity conflict cannot be
endured. The Bush administration may have a different calculus. They may have a plan to win the guerrilla war that isn't apparent to us, or they may think they can endure the war as it is. Right now, it appears that the
Shiites are being drawn into the war and that the administration will want
to turn the war over to them. But a piece is still missing -- a working
alliance of Baathists and Islamists is too complex to be stable. The
administration surely must be considering the possibilities here.


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« Reply #43 on: September 19, 2003, 10:40:33 AM »
- Sept. 19, 2003

Geopolitical Diary: Friday, Sept. 19, 2003

It was quite a day, and most of the media missed it. The Washington Post
published an interview with Jordan's King Abdullah II, and posted more on
its website in audio form. Abdullah said of Iran, "Iran was a very pleasant
surprise. They want to start a new page. At a minimum, the use of Jordan for terrorism is no longer an issue ... and also there are common grounds. The Wahhabi-Salafism is as much a threat to them as to the rest of us Muslims and the international community, and here's common ground that they want to work with all of us on." He continued, "They want to have a unified Iraq. They're terrified of Shia on Shia or Sunni on Shia conflict, so there's enough common ground here that has brought them closer to the way everyone else is thinking...."

That is quite a load for Abdullah to deliver publicly, before meeting U.S.
President George W. Bush. We have been tracking the growing relationship between the United States and Shiites and have been discussing possible back channels between Washington and Tehran. Abdullah is clearly one of them, and he came to Washington with a message from the Iranians: Iran is ready to settle with Washington.

Washington is obviously very interested. We have discussed various signs of growing cooperation on the ground between the United States and the Shiites, and it has been our view that this would not be happening without Tehran's sanction. Abdullah is now opening the door to a much broader, strategic entente between Washington and Tehran.

Abdullah is saying that the Iranians see the Wahhabis as a greater threat to Iran than to the United States. Translated, that means that Iran sees this as the moment to deal with the Saudis, establish itself as the dominant power in the Persian Gulf and enhance the Shiite position in the Islamic world. For this to happen, it has to dominate postwar Iraq.

The United States wants to extricate itself from daily combat in Iraq, while
retaining military bases there from which to threaten the Saudis and
Syrians. The Iranians have no problem with that. In fact, they like the idea of the United States pointing its guns at the Saudis. What Iran wants is a united, Shiite-dominated Iraq -- and a secure western flank.

The U.S. command in Iraq stated today that its goal is to withdraw from the cities of Iraq and turn over responsibility for security to Iraqis. It hopes to be out of Baghdad by December. If that is to be achieved, it will need to start turning over control of cities in the more secure areas soon. In other words, cities such as An Najaf and Basra -- Shiite cities -- will soon be turned over to Shiite authorities to patrol. By the end of the year, Iraqis also will patrol Baghdad -- but the U.S. command is not saying that it will be patrolled by Sunnis.

Naturally, the Saudis are going ballistic over this. They leaked a study
today saying that one of Saudi Arabia's options is to obtain nuclear
weapons. Another -- more practical -- option is to seek guarantees from a
nuclear power. That one is interesting since it clearly wouldn't be the
United States. Russia is a possibility, and Riyadh has been flirting
furiously with Moscow, but Moscow's nuclear arsenal offers little
protection. Then there's Pakistan, but under current circumstances, that's
not very practical. In fact, Saudi Arabia's problem is that it really
doesn't have many good choices -- leaking strategic studies is about its
best weapon at the moment.

In one sense, an alliance between the United States and Iran is the most
outlandish idea imaginable -- until we think of the U.S. relationships with
Stalin or Mao, both of which were improbable. An alliance makes strategic
sense for the United States in the short run, and Iran in the longer run,
since it would achieve an extraordinarily powerful position in the region.

The problem with the alliance for the United States is in the long run. The
Shiites comprise about 10 percent of the Islamic world, albeit a strategic
10 percent. Nevertheless, the United States is at war with a faction of the
Sunni world. Unless the alliance compels this faction to reach an
accommodation with the United States, the very real short-run benefits could eventually result in an Islamic civil war that pits Sunni against Shiite, with the United States betting on the much weaker party.

On the other hand, the United States has a very real problem right now in
Iraq and this is a very practical solution. The long run is a long way off,
and the short run is in Bush's face. Abdullah is dangling a short-term
solution right in front of him. It will be hard to resist unless the Saudis
and other Sunnis provide the United States with a better solution in Iraq
and against al Qaeda. The view in Washington is that the Saudis are so
afraid of their own radicals that they won't be able to act. That makes the
Wahhabi/Salafi faction -- in Abdullah's phrase -- the problem, not the
solution. Ergo, Iran is the answer.

We wonder what message Bush sent back to Tehran with Abdullah. We wonder what message the Saudis are sending Washington. We suspect the Iran deal is all but done. It will happen even if it is never announced. The Saudis inability or unwillingness to act decisively is creating an entirely new reality in the region. Abdullah does not speak casually about such things, certainly not on the way to Camp David.


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« Reply #44 on: September 30, 2003, 08:27:07 AM »
Please feel free to send the Stratfor Weekly to a friend
or colleague.

29 September 2003
by Dr. George Friedman

The Unpredictability of War and Force Structure


In the United States' open-ended war against al Qaeda and
militant Islam, two factors are driving up requirements for the
size of the U.S. military. One is the unpredictability
surrounding the number of theaters in which this war will be
waged in the next two years, and the second is the type of
warfare in which the United States is compelled to engage, which
can swallow up huge numbers of troops in defensive operations.
However, for several reasons, U.S. defense personnel policies
have not yet adjusted to this reality.


Prior to the beginning of the Iraq campaign, U.S. Defense
Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was asked how long the war would last.
His response was both wise and true: He said that he didn't know,
because the enemy got to vote. Much of the discussion about the
length, cost and requirements of U.S. military operations in Iraq
should be answered the same way -- there is no answer because the
other side gets to vote. The Iraqi command decided to abandon
conventional warfare and shift to guerrilla warfare. It is as
unreasonable to ask how long this will last and how much it will
cost as it would have been to ask Abraham Lincoln in 1862 when
the Civil War would end and how much it would cost. It is an
unanswerable question.

War is extremely predictable, with 20-20 hindsight. It is easy to
say now that the Soviets would defeat the Germans in World War
II. All of us know now that the North Vietnamese had the
advantage in Vietnam. We all know now that the Normandy invasion
would work. That's the easy part of military analysis; predicting
the future is the hard part. It is possible to glimpse the
outlines of the general forces that are engaged and to measure
their relative strength, but the finer the granularity sought,
the harder prediction is. The only certainty to be found is that
all wars end eventually, and that the war you are fighting is
only occasionally the war you expected to fight.

No one, therefore, knows the course of the U.S.-militant Islamist
war. The CIA has produced no secret papers nor uncovered any
hidden plans in the caves of Afghanistan that reveal the truth.
War is about the difference between plans and events: Nothing
goes according to plan, partly because of unexpected failures
among the planners and partly because the enemy gets a vote. Carl
von Clausewitz, the father of modern military theory, had a word
for that: friction. The friction of war creates an ever-widening
gap between plans and reality.

That means that the first and most important principle of
military planning is to plan for the worst. No general was ever
condemned for winning a war with too many troops. Many generals -
- and political leaders -- are reviled for not using enough
troops. Sometimes the manpower is simply not available;
demographics limit the number of troops available. But the lowest
ring of the military inferno must be reserved for leaders who
take a nation to war, having access to massive force but choosing
to mobilize the least numbers they think they can get by with,
rather than leaving a healthy -- even unreasonable -- margin to
make up for the friction of war. Calibrating force to expected
requirements is almost always going to lead to disaster, because
as we all know, everything comes in late and over-budget.

Washington is engaged with the question of what constitutes
sufficient force structure. As one might imagine, the debate cuts
to the heart of everything the United States is doing; the
availability of force will determine the success or failure of
its war. And here, it appears to us, the administration has
chosen a radical course -- one of maintaining a narrow margin of
error on force structure, based on plans that do not necessarily
take into account that al Qaeda gets to vote.

Last week, while speaking at the National Defense University,
Rumsfeld repeated his conviction that the United States had
deployed sufficient force in Iraq and that with additional
deployments it would be able to contain the situation there. Last
week, U.S. officials announced the mobilization of additional
reserve and National Guard units for 18 months of duty.

The reality is this: The United States went to war on Sept. 11,
2001, and since that date, it has not increased the aggregate
size of its armed forces in any strategically significant way. It
has raised the effectively available force by reaching into its
reserve and National Guard units. That short-term solution has
served well for the first two years of the war. However,
deployment requirements tend to increase over the course of a
war, so the needs in the first year were relatively light and
increased progressively as additional theaters of operation were

The problem with this structure of forces is simple. People can
choose to leave the military and its reserve and National Guard
components -- and they will. Following extensive deployments, or
anticipating such deployments, many will leave the active force
as their terms expire or leave the reserve components when they
can. In order to replace these forces, the pipeline should be
full of recruits. This is not World War II. The requirements for
all specialties, including combat arms, will not be filled by
basic training and a quick advanced course. Even in the simplest
specialties, it will take nearly a year to develop the required
expertise -- not just to be deployed, but to be deployed and
effective. For more complex specialties, the timeline lengthens.

U.S. leaders appear to be giving some attention to maintaining
the force at its current size, although we think the expectations
on retention in all components are optimistic. But even if they
are dead on, the loss of personnel will be most devastating among
field-grade officers and senior noncommissioned officers -- who
form the backbone of the military. These are men and women in
their 30s and 40s who have families and mortgages -- none of
which might survive the stress of a manpower plan designed in a
way that imposes maximum unpredictability and disruption on
mature lives. The net result is that the military might keep its
current size but become thin-waisted: lots of young people, lots
of gray hair, not nearly enough in between.

The problem, however, is that keeping the force stable is not
enough by a long shot. The United States is involved in two
significant conflicts, in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is also
operating in smaller deployments throughout and on the periphery
of the Islamic world. Added to this are immediate and potential
requirements for homeland security, should al Qaeda strike again,
as the U.S. government consistently predicts is likely. When
these requirements are added up and compared to the kind of force
planning and expectations that were being discussed prior to
Sept. 11, it is obvious that the U.S. force is at its limit, even
assuming that the complexities of reserve units weren't added to
the mix.

The strategic problem is that there is absolutely no reason to
believe that the demands on the current force represent the
maximum. The force level is decided by the administration; the
force requirement is decided by a committee composed of senior
Pentagon officials, Congress and al Qaeda. And on this committee,
al Qaeda has the decisive vote.

Al Qaeda's strategy is to expand the conflict as broadly as
possible. It wants to disperse U.S. forces, but it also wants
U.S. forces to intrude as deeply into the Islamic world as
possible in order to trigger an uprising not only against the
United States, but also against governments allied with the
United States. There is a simple-minded answer to this, which is
to refuse to intervene. The flaw in that answer is that it would
serve al Qaeda's purpose just as well, by proving that the United
States is weak and vulnerable. Intervention carries the same cost
as non-intervention, but with the upside that it might produce

Therefore, the United States cannot easily decline combat when it
is offered. Al Qaeda intends to offer as much combat as possible.
From the Philippines to Morocco, from central Asia to central
Africa, the scope -- if not the tempo -- of operations remains in
al Qaeda's hands. Should Indonesia blow sky high or Egypt
destabilize, both of which are obviously among al Qaeda's hopes,
U.S. forces will be required to respond.

There is another aspect to this. In Iraq and Afghanistan, the
United States is engaged in guerrilla wars. The force required to
combat a guerrilla army is not determined by the size of the
guerrilla forces, but rather by defensive requirements. A very
small guerrilla force can menace a large number of targets, even
if it cannot hit them all. Those targets must be protected for
military or political reasons. Pacification cannot take place
when the population is exposed to guerrilla forces at the will of
the guerrillas. A narrow defensive posture, as has been adopted
in Afghanistan, cedes pacification. In Iraq, where ceding
pacification is not a political option, the size of the force is
determined not by the enemy's force, but by the target set that
must be protected.

Two factors, therefore, are driving up requirements for the size
of the U.S. armed forces. First, no one can define the number of
theaters in which the United States will be deployed over the
next two years. Second, the type of warfare in which the United
States is compelled to engage after the initial assault is
carried out is a force hog: It can swallow up huge numbers of
troops in duties that are both necessary and parasitic -- such as
patrolling 15 bridges, none of which might ever be attacked
during the war, but all of which must be defended.

Rumsfeld's reassurances that there are enough forces in Iraq miss
the key question: Are there enough troops available and in the
pipeline to deal with unexpected events in two years? Iraq might
be under control by then, or it might not. Rumsfeld doesn't know
that, Iraqi National Congress leader Ahmed Chalabi doesn't, Osama
bin Laden doesn't. No one knows whether that is true. Nor does
anyone know whether the United States will be engaged in three or
four other theaters of operations by that time. It is certainly
al Qaeda's intention to make that happen, and so far al Qaeda's
record in drawing the United States into difficult situations
should not be discounted.

The problem is that on the one hand, the Defense Department is in
the process of running off critically needed troops with
unpredictable and spasmodic call-ups. Second, the number of men
and women in the training pipeline has not taken a quantum leap
forward in the course of the war. The United States is engaged in
a global war, but its personnel policies have not adjusted to
that reality. This is the first major war in American history
that has not included a large expansion of the armed forces.

There are a number of reasons for this. At the beginning of the
war, the administration envisioned it as a primarily covert war
involving special forces and some air power. Officials did not
see this war as a division-level conflict. They were wrong. They
did not count on their enemy's ability to resort to effective
guerrilla warfare. They did not expect the old manpower hog to
raise its ugly head. In general, Rumsfeld believed that
technology could substitute for manpower, and that large
conventional formations were not necessary. He was right in every
case but one: large-scale guerrilla warfare. Or more precisely,
the one thing the United States didn't want to be involved in is
the one thing the enemy dealt up. When you think about it, that
makes sense.

The assumption on which this war began was that there was ample
U.S. force structure for the requirements. At this point, that is
true only if one assumes there are no further surprises pending.
Since this war has been all about surprises, any force structure
built on that assumption is completely irresponsible.

We suspect that Rumsfeld and his people are aware of this issue.
The problem is that the Bush administration is in an election
year, and increasing the force by 50 percent or doubling it is
not something officials want to do now. It cannot be done by
conscription. Not only are the mechanisms for large-scale
conscriptions missing, but a conscript army is the last thing
needed: The U.S. military requires a level of technical
proficiency and commitment that draftees don't bring to bear.

To keep the force at its current size, Congress must allocate a
large amount of money for personnel retention. A father of three
with a mortgage payment based on his civilian income cannot live
on military pay. Military pay must not be permitted to rise; it
must be forced to soar. This is not only to retain the current
force size but to increase it. In addition to bringing in raw
recruits and training them, this also means, as in World War II,
bringing back trained personnel who have left the service and --
something the military will gag over -- bringing in trained
professionals from outside, directly into the chain of command
and not just as civilian employees.

Thinking out of the box is something Washington always talks
about but usually does by putting a box of corn flakes on top of
their heads. That's all right in peacetime -- but this is war,
and war is a matter of life and death. In the end, this is the
problem: While American men and women fight and die on foreign
land, the Pentagon's personnel officers are acting like this is
peacetime. The fault lies with a series of unexpected events and
Rumsfeld's tendency to behave as if nothing comes as a surprise.

The defense secretary needs to understand that in war, being
surprised is not a failure -- it is the natural commission. The
measure of a good command is not that one anticipates everything,
but that one quickly adjusts and responds to the unexpected. No
one expected this type of guerrilla war in Iraq, although perhaps
in retrospect, everyone should have. But it is here, and next
year will bring even more surprises. The Army speaks of "A Force
of One." We prefer "The Force Ready for the Unexpected." The
current U.S. force is not.

Geopolitical Diary: Monday, Sept. 29, 2003

One of the delights of our business is that we get to see surrealism without having to visit an art museum. Sometimes it's as if Salvador Dali painted a canvas just for us. It seemed that way today, when both U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice went on the Sunday news shows to reassert that the United States did have solid intelligence that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

Here's what happened. Members -- one Republican, one Democrat -- of a
congressional intelligence oversight committee went public with this claim
about the Bush administration's intelligence on Iraq's WMD: "The assessment that Iraq continued to pursue chemical and biological weapons remained constant and static over the past 10 years." Put simply, the intelligence community had arrived at a conclusion and didn't re-examine it.

Rice countered the congressmen by saying, " was very clear that this
(WMD development) continued and it was a gathering danger. Yes, I think I ould call it new information and it was certainly enriching the case in the same direction." Powell weighed in with, "There was every reason to believe -- and I still believe -- that there were weapons of mass
detruction and weapons programs to develop weapons of mass destruction." A CIA spokesman said, "The notion that our community does not challenge standing judgments is absurd."

What we have is this. Two congressmen have charged that the Bush
administration was wrong on Iraq's WMD program because it did not re-examine the intelligence. The administration and the CIA are deeply insulted. Their position is that they continually gathered the best intelligence that they could, and that this is the reason they were wrong. The great debate here is not whether the administration was wrong, but whether they were wrong because they either failed to challenge their old assumptions -- or the fresh intelligence they gathered was inaccurate.

This is not a trivial question. Understanding the origins of intelligence
failure is something every intelligence organization, including Stratfor,
has to do. It matters whether the failure was one of analysis, rooted in the Directorate of Intelligence, or of collection, rooted in the Directorate of Operations. If the White House overrode the intelligence, that matters even more. These things need to be understood. But the indignation with which the State Department, the National Security Council and the CIA are responding to congressional charges misses the point: Someone clearly screwed up, and if it wasn't a failure to challenge premises, then it was something else. Neither Powell nor Rice nor the CIA came close to offering an alternate explanation, as if one weren't needed.

Powell came closest of any to making sense when he said that getting rid of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was the important thing. At least that is a policy. Our view has always been that the invasion of Iraq was undertaken because of strategic considerations, not WMD -- that was just a basis for building a coalition with Europeans. However, the administration clearly thought it would find WMD -- otherwise it would have created another excuse.

This brings us back to the intelligence failure. One way or another, there
was either a massive intelligence failure, or the WMD are still out there
with the guerrillas. We think that to be marginally possible. But barring
that, the fact is, someone was dead wrong. We don't think anyone lied,
because that would be too stupid and unnecessary. Eventually they would wind up where they are now, and there was no need for that.

Therefore, there was an intelligence failure, and if the origins of that
failure were not in a fixed, unexamined set of assumptions, then it is time
for Powell, Rice and the intelligence community to cough up another
explanation. While they're at it, they might explain whether the CIA
predicted the guerrilla war that the United States currently has on its
hands, or whether this was another intelligence failure.

Intelligence failures happen. Alternatively, intelligence estimates are
sometimes overruled by customers who order up something more suitable to their political needs. All of this is understandable and part of the business. But the Bush administration's unending attempts to shoot down plausible explanations for intelligence failures without offering its own is bizarre.

If we are to believe the administration, the intelligence process worked
perfectly. The mere fact that it came up with the wrong answer should not be permitted to undermine the perfection of the process.

Gee, we wish we could get away with that.


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« Reply #45 on: October 01, 2003, 06:59:35 AM »
A friend writes:


The war IS against the radical islamists. Unfortunately, this radical islamic "nation" will not be pacified by pacifying Iraq alone (which we may or may not accomplish in either the short or long term). This radical islamic "nation", as I believe Dr. Friedman et al have pointed out earlier in Stratfor briefings, stirs across nation-state boundaries, and not just in islamic countries, but wherever muslims live, i.e. in every country.

This war is against those governments that use Islamist groups as a deniable front to foment unrest and instability in order to carry out their own hegemonic and/or monetary aims.  Iran, Iraq and Syria have long sought to dominate the Middle East.  All of them used and still use Islamist groups as a fifth column to fight their wars.  Ba'athism is nothing more than socialist pan-Arabism.  The Iranian mullahs seek Shi'a dominance through their version of the caliphate.  Elements of the Saudi royal family seek to buy Wahabbism into dominance.

Al Qaida could not have existed without support from various governments.  From 1991 - 1996, it received sanctuary in Sudan.  From 1996-2001, Afghanistan gave it sanctuary.  From 1991-2003, it received assistance (monetary and otherwise) from Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya and the PLO.  Indirectly, it received assistance from Pakistan through the Taliban and Saudi Arabia through its funding of Wahabbi madrassas and charities.

By viewing Islamists as an independent grassroots movement, the US permitted its influence to grow throughout the Islamic world.  Now, terror has influence in Southeast Asia because these government sponsored groups from the Middle East have linked up with indigenous Muslim rebels in places like the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia.  Since 1967, every major terror episode comning from the Islamic world - especially the Middle East - occurs because of government support.  Initially, the USSR was the source of that support.  Later, the former allies of the USSR, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, pre-Sadat Egypt, post Shah Iran, North Korea, Sudan all provided money and training to everyone from Abu Nidal to Usama bin Laden.

After 9-11, the US and its allies have reversed course.  They have recognized that without the assistance of governments, these terror groups cannot flourish.  Thus, the overthrow of Saddam is brilliant.  Geopolitically, it cuts the old silk road in half.  It isolates Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia with one stroke.

Ba'athist Iraq was a major supporter of al Qaida, Hamas and Islamic Jihad.  Why do you think that these groups have become much more openly vitriolic?  Their sugar daddy is on the run and his two sons are dead.  Nevertheless, these groups and a lot more permutations of them still have sufficient remaining resources to do damage for several years.  And their penchant for patience and secrecy should not allow us to relax our guard.

The reason that pacifying Iraq alone will not pacify the "Islamic nation" is because Iran, Syria and other disrupters still exist.  When we succeed in Iraq, their days will be numbered.


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« Reply #46 on: October 01, 2003, 10:51:10 AM »

Inside the Islamic Mafia
Bernard-Henri L?vy exposes Daniel Pearl's killers.
By Christopher Hitchens
Posted Thursday, September 25, 2003, at 10:18 AM PT

I remember laughing out loud, in what was admittedly a mirthless fashion, when Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, one of Osama Bin Laden's most heavy-duty deputies, was arrested in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Straining to think of an apt comparison, I fail badly. But what if, say, the Unabomber had been found hiding out in the environs of West Point or Fort Bragg? Rawalpindi is to the Pakistani military elite what Sandhurst is to the British, or St Cyr used to be to the French. It's not some boiling slum: It's the manicured and well-patrolled suburb of the officer class, very handy for the capital city of Islamabad if you want to mount a coup, and the site of Flashman's Hotel if you are one of those who enjoys the incomparable imperial adventure-stories of George MacDonald Fraser. Who, seeking to evade capture, would find a safe house in such a citadel?

Yet, in the general relief at the arrest of this outstanding thug, that aspect of the matter drew insufficient attention. Many words of praise were uttered, in official American circles, for the exemplary cooperation displayed by our gallant Pakistani allies. But what else do these allies have to trade, except al-Qaida and Taliban suspects, in return for the enormous stipend they receive from the U.S. treasury? Could it be that, every now and then, a small trade is made in order to keep the larger trade going?

One hesitates to utter thoughts like these, but they recur continually as one reads Bernard-Henri L?vy's latest book: Who Killed Daniel Pearl? Everybody remembers-don't they?- the ghastly video put out on the Web by Pearl's kidnappers and torturers. It's the only live-action footage we possess of the ritual slaughter of a Jew, preceded for effect by his coerced confession of his Jewishness. Pearl was lured into a trap by the promise of a meeting with a senior religious demagogue, who might or might not have shed light on the life of the notorious "shoe-bomber," because of whom millions of us must take off our footwear at American airports every day, as if performing the pieties required for entering a mosque.

What a sick joke all this is, if you study L?vy's book with care. If you ever suspected that the Pakistani ISI (or Interservices Intelligence) was in a shady relationship with the Taliban and al-Qaida forces, this book materializes the suspicion and makes the very strong suggestion that Pearl was murdered because he was doing his job too well, not because he was a naive idealist who got into the wrong car at the wrong time. His inquiries had at least the potential for exposing the Pakistani collusion and double-dealing with jihad forces, in much the same pattern the Saudi Arabian authorities have been shown to follow?by keeping two sets of books, in other words, and by exhibiting only one set to Americans.

Like a number of those who take a moral stand on this, Bernard-Henri L?vy was a strong defender of Bosnia's right to exist, at a time when that right was being menaced directly by Serbian and Croatian fascists. It was a simplification to say that Bosnia was "Muslim," but it would also have been a simplification to say that the Bosnians were not Muslims. The best resolution of this paradox was to assert that Bosnia-Herzegovina stood for ethnic and cultural pluralism, and to say that one could defend Islam from persecution while upholding some other important values at the same time. I agree with M. L?vy that it was a disgrace at the time, and a tragedy in retrospect, that so few Western governments took this opportunity.

But now we hear, from those who were indifferent to that massacre of Muslims, or who still protest the measures that were taken to stop the massacre, that it is above all necessary for the West to be aware of Islamic susceptibilities. This plea is not made on behalf of the pluralistic citizens of Sarajevo, but in mitigation of Hamas and Hezbollah and Saddam Hussein. One of the many pleasures of L?vy's book is the care he takes to show the utter cynicism of the godfathers of all this. He quotes by name a Saudi lawyer who specializes in financial transactions:

"Islamism is a business," he explains to me with a big smile. "I don't say that because it's my job, or because I see proof of it in my office ten times a day, but because it's a fact. People hide behind Islamism. They use it like a screen saying 'Allah Akbar! Allah Akbar!' But we know that here. We see the deals and the movements behind the curtain. In one way or another, it all passes through our hands. We do the paperwork. We write the contracts. And I can tell you that most of them couldn't care less about Allah. They enter Islamism because it's nothing other than a source of power and wealth, especially in Pakistan. ? Take the young ones in the madrassas. They see the high rollers in their SUVs having five wives and sending their children to good schools, much better than the madrassas. They have your Pearl's killer, Omar Sheikh, right in front of their eyes. When he gets out of the Indian prisons and returns to Lahore, what do the neighbors see? He's very well-dressed. He has a Land Cruiser. He gets married and the city's big-shots come to his wedding."

Everything we know about al-Qaida's operations, as of those of Saddam Hussein, suggests that they combine the culture of a crime family or cartel with the worst habits of a bent multinational corporation. Yet the purist critics of "globalization" tend to assume that the spiritual or nationalistic claims of such forces still deserve to be taken at their own valuation, lest Western "insensitivity" be allowed to triumph.

And this in turn suggests another latent connection, which L?vy does not stress at all though he does dwell upon one of its obvious symptoms. The most toxic and devotional rhetoric of these Islamic gangsters is anti-Semitism. And what does anti-Semitism traditionally emphasize? Why, the moving of secret money between covert elites in order to achieve world domination! The crazed maps of future Muslim conquest that are pictured by the propaganda of jihad and that show the whole world falling to future Muslim conquest are drawn in shady finance-houses and hideaways of stolen gold and portable currency, in the capital cities of paranoid states, and are if anything emulations of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion rather than negations of them. L?vy's reformulation of an old term?"neo-anti-Judaism" instead of the worn-out phrase "anti-Semitism"--is harder on the tongue but more accurate as regards the corrupt and vicious foe with which we are actually dealing. His book was finished before it became clear that the "resistance" in Iraq was also being financed by an extensive mafia, which offers different bonuses for different kamikaze tactics, as it was already doing in Palestine and Kashmir.

In a recent conversation, M. L?vy said to me carefully that he doubts the conventional wisdom of the Western liberal, who believes that a settlement in Palestine will remove the inflammation that produces jihad. A settlement in Palestine would be a good thing in itself, to be sure. But those who believe in its generally healing power, he said, have not been following events in Kashmir. Indeed, it is from the Pakistani-Saudi periphery that the core challenge comes. I don't think that anyone who follows L?vy's inquiry into corruption and fanaticism, and the intimate bond between them, will ever listen patiently to any facile argument again.


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« Reply #47 on: October 06, 2003, 05:23:48 PM »
Please feel free to send the Stratfor Weekly to a friend
or colleague.

06 October 2003
by Dr. George Friedman

The Dangers of Overconfidence


The 1973 Arab-Israeli War redefined the Arab-Israeli conflict,
the shape of the Arab world and the international economic order -- given that the war triggered the Arab oil embargo. It was a significant event in 20th century history. Its origins were in Israel's victory in 1967 and its overconfidence about its ability to read the Arab mind. Like the Sept. 11 attacks, Oct. 6, 1973, began as a massive intelligence failure. Moreover, the Israeli intelligence failure shaped Arab thinking about the nature of war and the role of intelligence in it. They learned that managing the enemy's intelligence process compensated for military weakness. It is a lesson that is still very much with us.


Oct. 6, 2003, marks the 30th anniversary of what the Israelis call the Yom Kippur War and the Arabs call the Ramadan War. That war represented the end of the first phase of the Arab-Israeli conflict, which we might call the era of conventional warfare. It opened up the second phase, which we might call the era of unconventional warfare. In one sense, the 1973 war changed everything by precluding the resumption of conventional warfare. In another sense, it changed nothing, leaving the fundamental issues unresolved. For 30 years the world has lived with the results of the 1973 war. As evidenced by the Israeli strike against a training camp in Syria on Oct. 5, the permanence of the post-1973 situation remains intact.

Everything in the Middle East must be understood in terms of what went before, but it's an infinite regression that always returns to the starting point: a deadlock. The same is true for the 1973 war. Israel carried out a full peripheral attack in June 1967.  Whether the war was triggered by Egypt's expulsion of U.N. advisers, closing the Straits of Tirana and mobilization in the Sinai -- or whether it was hardwired into Israeli strategy from the beginning -- is one of those infinite regressions. Suffice that it did happen, and that Israel occupied the Sinai, the West Bank and the Golan Heights.

Israel assumed that its victory in 1967 had improved its national security. First, it provided Israel with strategic depth, which it never had before. An attack by its neighbors, particularly Egypt and Syria, would first be fought outside of Israel. That gave the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) room to retreat and maneuver. Second, the Israeli defeat of the Egyptian army was so devastating that analysts assumed it would take a generation for the Egyptians to recover. Israel came out of 1967 feeling that it had pushed the boundaries of space and time sufficiently to give Israel a generation of peace. Israel also believed, sincerely in our view, that 1967 would set the stage for negotiations that would trade land for peace -- how much land and how much peace were left undetermined.

The Arab perception of the defeat paralleled that of the
Israelis. They understood that they had suffered a humiliating
defeat, but they concluded that the humiliation made peace
impossible. For the Arabs, any peace built on the 1967 foundation would represent a permanent capitulation to helplessness. Therefore, when Arab leaders met in Khartoum shortly after the war, they did two things. First, they issued their famous "three no's" -- no negotiation, no recognition, no peace. Second, they formally acknowledged the existence of a Palestinian nation independent of Jordan or Syria and outside the conceptual confines of the Arab nation. Palestine became a nation in its own right.

Thus, the Palestine Liberation Organization, under Yasser Arafat, became the effective government of the Palestinian national movement, and that movement came to be seen in the Arab world as ultimately autonomous. The Arabs effectively decided that there had to be another war, the purpose of which would not be so much to reverse the geographical outcome of the 1967 war as to reverse
its psychological outcome. The decision was to validate a
Palestinian national movement -- the same that dominates the landscape today -- coupled with another conventional war.

The Israelis were driven by a basic view of the Arabs as
incapable of mounting modern military operations. There was no question about the bravery of individual Arab soldiers; the only ones who sneered at their courage had never fought them. But the complexities of mastering advanced technologies, and more important, the difficulties of mastering the enormous organizational challenges involved in mobile warfare, undermined the Arabs' ability to fight a conventional war. The IDF and most observers thought this was a permanent condition. Therefore, the decisions made in Khartoum were viewed as unfortunate, but subcritical. If the Arabs did not want to make peace in 1967, then the Israelis would occupy the conquered territories until they changed their mind. There was no question for the Israelis about whether the Arabs could reverse 1967 by force of arms.

The issue was this: No matter how dominant Israel was on the battlefield, geography and demography precluded a definitive defeat like the United States had dealt Japan. Israel could extend its borders, but it could not render the Arabs permanently incapable of resistance. Arab states did not have a problem obtaining weapons -- the Soviets were happy to provide them. Nor did they lack manpower. Their problem was cultural: training a largely peasant army to use modern technology within a contemporary military organization. Since the Israelis thought the latter impossible, the former did not bother them too much.

For the Arabs, therefore, demonstrating an ability to transform their military culture became the center of gravity of the problem. No political evolution was conceivable -- or permissible -- while the Arabs were militarily helpless. Therefore, the Egyptians in particular began a program not only to rearm their military, but also to reorganize it culturally, intellectually and morally. The goal was the regeneration of the Egyptian army and, therefore, the resurrection of Egyptian foreign policy.

From the Israeli point of view, the Egyptians were the only real issue. If the Egyptians did not or could not fight, the Israelis easily could manage Syria and Jordan, either militarily or politically. However, if Egypt did fight, and if Syria for
example joined the fight, then Israeli forces, on the defensive, would be in danger of being drawn into the one kind of war they could not win: a war of attrition. Israel's strategic doctrine was built around one thing: fighting pre-emptive wars to avoid having to fight simultaneously on multiple fronts at the time and choosing of their enemies.

The Egyptians understood the Israeli strategic problem and
defined a strategy to take advantage of it. Under superb security arrangements, they did not hide their preparations. They simply allowed Israeli intelligence to draw the wrong conclusions. Knowing that Israel had reached the conclusion that Egypt and Syria were incapable of mounting a complex, multidivision assault that involved multinational coordination, they took advantage of Israeli preconceptions to organize, practice and finally launch simultaneous assaults across the Suez Canal into the Sinai and on the Golan Heights.

In the end, the Israelis were able to contain the assaults,
although during the initial 24 hours it appeared that Israel was facing military catastrophe. It readied a nuclear option. After containment, Israel carried out counterattacks on both fronts that defeated Egypt and Syria militarily.

The military defeat, however, was coupled with a psychological triumph. First, Egypt and Syria had demonstrated that they were capable of modern warfare. Israel realized that it could not take Arab military incompetence for granted any longer. Israel retained military superiority, but could no longer assume that that superiority would be a permanent condition. More important, the Israelis realized that the foundation of their pre-emptive strategy depended on strategic intelligence. Pre-emption cannot
exist without foreknowledge of enemy intentions. The intelligence failure stunned the Israelis more than their military difficulties. If their intelligence could not recognize the
threat posed by hundreds of thousands of troops massed a few miles away, then Israel's first line of defense was an illusion, and Israeli national strategy was in jeopardy. The next time, the Egyptians might not halt under their SAM umbrella, but move forward.

It is at this point that Egyptian and Israeli grand strategy
converged. The Israelis could not reach a settlement over the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The emergence of the PLO and other related groups had created a situation in which Israeli withdrawal became more difficult to imagine. Nor could Israel maintain the occupation while also preparing for and fighting high-intensity conflicts along its frontiers. If Egypt remained hostile, Israel's security problem became nearly unmanageable. Israel needed to take Egypt out of the equation, and it did not have an easy military option to do so. Israel needed a political solution.

Egypt also had reached the conclusion that it needed to revise its political situation. Its relationship with the Soviet Union had led to disaster. First, it had been excluded from the U.S.-dominated trading system, with devastating effects on its economy. Second, the abyss between Israel and the Soviet Union meant that the Soviets could not broker a settlement with Israel, leaving Egypt in a permanent state of war. Third, the 1973 oil embargo had shifted the balance of power in the Arab world away from the radicals and toward the oil-rich conservatives. The wind was blowing from the right, and Egypt wanted to tack with the wind.

The net result was the Camp David peace accords, which ended the state of war between Egypt and Israel and neutralized the Sinai desert, leaving a symbolic contingent of American peacekeepers in the center and creating a large buffer zone between the two armies. Most important, in taking Egypt out of the military equation, it ended the possibility of an Arab-initiated conventional war against Israel. That was no longer a possibility. Therefore, it ended any hope on the part of the Palestinians that conventional force from other Arab countries might liberate them. The Israeli-Egyptian treaty in essence abandoned the Palestinians to their fate.

The Palestinians at that point had two choices. One was to accept Israeli political terms, which over the years of Arab rejection had shifted from a simple land-for-peace formula to a more aggressive plan to retain the West Bank in particular while making limited autonomy possible for the Palestinians. In effect, the Israelis felt they were under no pressure to yield to Palestinian demands for an independent state -- nor did they want to yield. The creation of a Palestinian state was conceivable only if the Israeli-Egyptian peace was irreversible. Otherwise, a Palestinian state coupled with an Egyptian reversal would recreate the pre-1967 reality.

Worse, it would create the geographical reality in a new military context. The Israelis had discovered that easy assumptions about Arab military capabilities were not reasonable. The evolution of the Egyptian army from 1967 to 1973 was stunning; the assumption that it would evolve no further had no basis. Therefore, a Palestinian state followed by a new Egyptian policy could threaten Israel's survival. Since no one could guarantee the future, Israeli policy was to oppose a Palestinian state.

Since the Palestinians could not accept permanent domination by the Israelis, particularly one in which Israeli land policy in the territories became increasingly oriented toward settlements, the Palestinians chose a path of resistance, both on Israel's periphery, in the occupied territories and, ultimately, inside Israel itself. This was not a new strategy, but until Camp David, it was only one strand of a broader strategy. The 1978 agreement made resistance the Palestinians' only strategy.

The Palestinians had two problems with their only available
option. The first was how to escalate violence to the point that it would become intolerable to the Israelis, forcing them to make political accommodations. The second, which followed the first, was to master the arts of security, counterintelligence and intelligence to keep the Israelis from destroying their war-making capabilities. The Palestinians knew that whatever the Israelis could see, they could destroy. The foundation of their war was not the suicide bombers, but the ability to organize suicide bombing without Israeli intelligence knowing how it was organized.

This is the point at which the lessons of 1973 and the lessons of 2003 come together. Intelligence is the foundation of all warfare. However, in modern warfare -- both in 1973 and 2003 -- intelligence reaches a transcendent point. In 1973, the very survival of Israel was brought into question because of the failure of the Israeli intelligence community to recognize the threat. In 2003, the sanity, if not the survival, of Israel was put in jeopardy by its inability to overcome Palestinian defenses against Israeli intelligence.

The 1973 war taught the Arabs the value of security and the
limits of intelligence. The lessons of 1973 were indelibly marked on the Palestinian mind. They knew that Egyptian success depended on counterintelligence. They knew that their success depended on counterintelligence. They learned that military weakness can be compensated for by blinding the enemy.

This lesson was not lost on al Qaeda. Like the Egyptians and
Palestinians, it understood that its military force was a
fraction of the United States'. It understood that it had to
develop that force, but al Qaeda also knew that the real force multiplier was in blinding the Americans -- in cloaking al
Qaeda's actions from the eyes of the United States. This lesson has been continually pounded home ever since 1973 in the Arab world. It is the ability to blind the enemy's intelligence services that is the precondition for any operational capability. What the enemy can see, he can destroy. Therefore, in operating from a position of weakness, blinding the enemy is the key.

The teaching of Anwar Sadat was simple: The best way to blind the Israelis is to allow them to blind themselves. He used Israel's inability to take Egypt seriously as a military power to blind the Israelis to what was right in front of them. Israel's greatest weakness was contempt for its enemy and an overestimation of its ability to know what the enemy was
thinking. The Palestinians learned this lesson from the
Egyptians, and al Qaeda has learned from the Palestinians.

The greatest danger in war is underestimating the enemy and overestimating oneself.


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« Reply #48 on: October 08, 2003, 10:55:11 AM »

Geopolitical Diary, Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2003

The Turkish Parliament has voted to send troops to Iraq to support the U.S. occupation. Many of the details are blurry, particularly the timing of the insertion of troops. However, it appears that the Turks have agreed to send about 10,000 troops, nearly a division, that will deploy in the Sunni triangle -- the heart of the guerrilla war in Iraq.

Turkey's reversal of its noninvolvement policy is a major achievement for
the United States. In fact, it is the first major shift in the United
States' favor in a long while. The United States needs a cohesive force to
engage in operations in the Sunni region. That is to say, it does not really
need more international divisions whose various elements can't speak to each other. Moreover, the United States needs the active support of Islamic countries. The Turkish government is moderately Islamic, even if the regime is institutionally secular.

The Turks lend political cover to the United States -- globally and in the
Islamic world. The cover is hardly comprehensive, but it's more than the
United States had yesterday. The United States also needs troops to share the burden. Obviously, a price will have to be paid. Some of the cost is already visible, and some is not.

The visible cost is with the Kurds. Turkey vehemently opposes the creation of an independent Kurdish state, and doesn't particularly want to see Kurdish autonomy even in Iraq. The Kurds are one of the United States' firmest assets in Iraq. Kurdish forces are patrolling the Iraq-Iran
frontier, as well as conducting other operations in the northeast. Unless
the Kurds and Turks have accepted some sort of prior understanding, the
United States and the Kurds will have some real issues.

This also raises a question that we have been discussing for quite a
while -- the affect on the evolution of U.S. relations with the Shiites and
Iran. Clearly, the decision to keep the Turks in Sunni areas is conditioned
by military reality. It is also affected by political reality. The United
States is shifting responsibility in the south to the Shiite community. They
can probably live with the Turks in the north, so long as they don't come

The real mystery is why Turkey shifted its position. Part of the answer
concerns geopolitical reality. For all the stress and strain, the reality is
that the United States occupies Iraq and is the dominant military power in
the region. Turkey has interests in Iraq and cannot afford to be frozen out
of U.S. planning for the region. Another part concerns internal politics.
The Turkish military is secular and pro-United States. The government is
Islamic and has mixed feelings about the United States. The military is
institutionally the guardian of the secular character of the regime. In
plain English, that means that the military can stage a coup if it wants. A
coup wasn't near, but any Turkish government tries to take military
sensibilities into account. Still, the United States promised something
beyond money to Turkey. Turkey's decision is a godsend to the United States and the Turks know it. There is a price, as yet undisclosed.

It should be noted that Syria had a really bad day today. The Israelis hit
it from the air and massed on the Lebanese border. The Americans probed along its eastern frontier. And apart from all this, the Turkey-U.S. deal creates a major threat from the north. Syrian-Turkish relations have not been the warmest, to say the least. Renewing cooperation with the United States puts Turkey into play to Syria's north. Apart from everything else, Damascus is feeling the heat.

In a way, this puts the U.S. core strategy back on track: first, occupy
Iraq; second, bring pressure to bear on surrounding countries. Turkey's
decision bolsters the U.S. position in Iraq. It also massively increases the
pressure on, and isolation of, Syria. It goes without saying that it also
increases the likelihood of al Qaeda striking Turkey at the first practical


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« Reply #49 on: October 12, 2003, 11:39:29 PM »
One way or the other, we are determined to deny Iraq the capacity to
develop weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to deliver them. That is our bottom line."
  - President Clinton, Feb. 4, 1998

  "If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program."
     - President Clinton, Feb. 17, 1998

  "Iraq is a long way from [here], but what happens there matters a great deal here.  For the risks that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face."
     - Madeline Albright, Feb 18, 1998

  "He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983."  Sandy Berger, Clinton National Security Adviser, Feb, 18, 1998

  "[W]e urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs."
     - Letter to President Clinton, signed by Sens. Carl Levin, Tom Daschle, John Kerry, and others Oct. 9, 1998

  "Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process."
- Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D, CA), Dec. 16, 1998

"Hussein has ... chosen to spend his money on building weapons of mass  destruction and palaces for his cronies."
     - Madeline Albright, Clinton Secretary of State, Nov. 10, 1999

"There is no doubt that ... Saddam Hussein has invigorated his weapons
programs.  Reports indicate that biological, chemical and nuclear programs continue apace and may be back to pre-Gulf War status.  In addition, Saddam continues to redefine delivery systems and is doubtless using the cover of a licit missile program to develop longer-range missiles that will threaten the United States and our allies."
     - Letter to President Bush, Signed by Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL,) and others, December 5, 2001

"We begin with the common belief that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a
threat to the peace and stability of the region.  He has ignored the
mandated of the United Nations and is building weapons of mass destructionand the means of delivering them."
     - Sen. Carl Levin (D, MI), Sept. 19, 2002

"We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical
weapons throughout his country."
  - Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002

"Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to
deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power."
     - Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002

  "We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction."
     - Sen. Ted Kennedy (D, MA), Sept. 27, 2002

"The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of 1998.  We are
confident that Saddam Hussein retains some stockpiles of chemical and
biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to
build up his chemical and biological warfare capabilities.  Intelligence
reports indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons..."
     - Sen. Robert Byrd (D, WV), Oct. 3, 2002

"I will be voting to give the President of the United States the authority
to use force-- if necessary-- to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe
that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security."
     - Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Oct. 9, 2002

  "There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years ... We also should remember we have always underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction."
     - Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D, WV), Oct 10, 2002

  "He has systematically violated, over the course of the past 11 years, every significant UN resolution that has demanded that he disarm and destroy his chemical and biological weapons, and any nuclear capacity.  This he has refused to do"  Rep.
     - Henry Waxman (D, CA), Oct. 10, 2002

  "In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that
Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weap ons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program.  He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members.. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons."
     - Sen. Hillary Clinton (D, NY), Oct 10, 2002

  "We are in possession of what I think to be compelling evidence that Saddam n bsp;    Hussein has, and has had for a number of years, a developing capacity for the production and storage of weapons of mass destruction."
     - Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL), Dec. 8, 2002

  "Without question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein.  He is a brutal,
murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime ... He presents a
particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to
miscalculation ... And now he is miscalculating America's response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction
... So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real..."
     - Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Jan. 23. 2003